Duelling with a Glass Sword
'Well,' Professor Minerva McGonagall thinks, looking around the reasonably sized building she now stands within, 'at least it's not an orphanage.' Though these 'Children's Homes' do not seem to be that much of a throw away from the orphanage concept. Just smaller, with a better staff to children ratio. More adults to be invested within a child's development was always a good thing as far as she is concerned.
"Right this way, Professor McGonagall," the rounded woman, Miss Rudd, proclaims, shuffling up the stairs to the children's rooms.
The witch checks the envelope once more, pursing her lips. In all of her years teaching, this is in fact the first time she has no idea how to pronounce a name, both first and last. She has hope that the matron will solve this problem by addressing the boy, but if not, than McGonagall's hand will be forced and she'll have to bend her neck and ask. Doubtlessly she will not be the first to do so, given the strange name. Were it just the given name, she'd think his parents muggles, trying to be clever.
Yet, the surname too, the strangeness of both seem to indicate wizarding ancestry.
This boy wouldn't be the first heir of a forgotten family to rise from obscurity; many a family have hidden from Dark Lords throughout the ages, and every so often the linage got whittled down to one child who didn't know how to hide themselves, and thus were bundled back into society. Not that such a thing has happened within McGonagall's lifetime until now.
Miss Rudd leads her into what is evidentially a common room, for the children to socialize, and there she finds him sitting beneath the window.
Perhaps the boy has Veela blood, McGonagall thinks. Yet, his hair isn't even the light blond of the Veela, devoured of all colour and shimmering a brilliant silver beneath the winter sun. His skin is pale as he sits, plucking at the harp that rests between his legs. The music is quite heavenly, enchanting in a way, and it pulls McGonagall in with a sensual ease, even as it speaks of mournful sadness.
Before she even quite realizes what is happening, tears are making tracks down her eyes and Miss Rudd shares an understanding, conspiratorial smile, for all that her own eyes glimmer with unshed tears.
"Rhaegar is exceptionally talented," the muggle breathes, taking a moment to dab at the corners of her eyes with her long sleeves. McGonagall can only agree.
Rhaegar's fingers dance across the strings, not even the slightest bit of hesitation, and the four girls that the Children's Home look after all watch him in awe. Certainly McGonagall could see the boy at Hogwarts, no matter his heritage, with every girl chasing after him and his almost unnatural beauty.
McGonagall has seen plenty of children throughout her years as an educator, has seen ugly ducklings grow into beautiful swans and vice versa. All it takes is one look to know that this child before her will only continue to grow more beautiful, more heartbreakingly breathtaking, as the years pass. Already she can see half the school falling in love with the boy upon his appearance alone.
So much is she staring, that Miss Rudd has to carefully break her from the trance by addressing the boy.
"Rhaegar, there is a professor to see you. Professor, this is Rhaegar Targaryen."
Having already handed over her muggle credentials, McGonagall is allowed into a room alone with Rhaegar, who has left his large harp upon the floor. Truly it would be a crime to remove him from the instrument, so she will offer to shrink it down for the boy's luggage a bit later into their talk.
Lovely dark indigo eyes glance up at her, curious and with a healthy amount of respect. Looking around Rhaegar's room, it is obvious that the boy cares a great deal for reading, plentiful of books piled up along the shelves, sheets of music neatly stacked upon the desk. The only indication that the boy does not always hide his pretty head away in a book is the wooden sword that remains mounted on the wall. It is well worn, fashioned just like a broadsword of old and the sole evidence that Rhaegar Targaryen has attempted living out the fantasy tales he evidentially reads about.
"How may I help you, Professor?" His voice, the question, startles her. There are iron tones to the boy's voice that have no reason to be present, and in that moment McGonagall can almost see shadows of the man this boy would become in his unusual eyes.
It is after a mere moment of observation, that McGonagall draws her wand, and begins her explanation of another world.
"My apologies Minerva, I appear to have misheard."
"You did no such thing, Albus."
Sitting back in his chair, Albus Dumbledore stares at his deputy Head Mistress with fascination in his eyes. The woman had told him of the latest muggleborn -though, quite possibly not muggleborn at all- she had welcomed into the Wizarding World, and all of the oddities he came with. Mature beyond his age, highly intelligent, and armed with an air of melancholy that he could weave around his form with effortless skill.
McGonagall had been sure, within minutes of their meeting, that the boy would make a name for himself.
But a scant few hours later, he had returned from a closed-door conversation with the goblins, a goblin-blade strapped to his side and a contemplating look upon his face. Many a witch and wizard had apparently gawked at the boy, gifted with a blade -for everyone knew of the fallout from the last goblin-blade freely given to a wizard- from the warrior race. Upon McGonagall questioning the boy, young Mr Targaryen a had looked upon her with unreadable eyes and simply stated that 'he is to be a warrior'.
Whatever that was to mean, Dumbledore does not know. But it appears as if the goblins are, as the Minister would put it, rattling their cages.
All they can do, is keep an eye upon the boy when he arrives at Hogwarts.
"Your owl is quite beautiful."
Harry flinches back at the unexpected voice, swirling around in a tangle of overly-baggy clothing and a riot of red curls.
There's a boy standing beside her, a trunk of his own upon a trolley and a cat resting calm as you do upon the surface. Her face flushes, nervously smoothing down her clothes that are actually quite atrocious, suddenly oh so hyper aware of her appearance.
This boy is beautiful.
"Hogwarts too?" He's wearing a dark red shirt, the sleeves rolled up to his forearms and sleek black jeans that tuck neatly into a pair of equally dark boots.
"Ah, yes," Harry stammers, gathering up her mass amount of hair and forcibly stuffing it into the bobble that Aunt Petunia had begrudgingly bought her. The same woman who forced her into ballet and gymnastics, pushed her to be the picture perfect niece, and she had sent her off to Hogwarts in Dudley's old rags.
If Harry Potter had to go to Hogwarts, the woman had reasoned, she would most certainly not be looking her best as she did so.
"Rhaegar Targaryen," the boy says, holding out his hand with a slight smile upon his face, "Ravenclaw, Second Year."
"Ah, Harry Potter, First Year." There's that word again, Ravenclaw. One of the four houses, that's what Hagrid had said anyway.
Unlike every other person she's met in the Wizarding World so far, Rhaegar's eyes do not dart up to glance at her forehead, instead offering her his hand, which she hesitantly takes, cheeks flaming when he drops a kiss to her knuckles instead of shaking.
"A pleasure to meet you."
Harry changes into her school robes as soon as she gets on the train.
Rhaegar was kind enough to help her store her luggage overhead, showcasing a spell she'll be learning later this year, instructing her on how it worked until she was able to perform it herself. The boy had then bade her goodbye for now, going off to check in with all the other students within his own year, though he had left his own trunk with her, a clear sign that he planned on coming back.
The last Harry had seen of him was Rhaegar disappearing into the corridor with the silver sword strapped to his belt flashing in the interior lighting.
In all honesty, Harry's still in a fair amount of shock.
Rhaegar Targaryen is beautiful, the kind of face she'd have only ever expected to see on TV, or the photos in her Aunt's magazines. His hair and his eyes were both such pretty colours to look at; to think she'd once considered her own green eyes to be a lovely feature.
No, Rhaegar has her beat in that department too.
Blushing furiously as she thought on the boy, Harry is quick to welcome another Hogwarts student to her compartment, a gangly redhead named Ronald Weasley.
Not to say that he's ugly, but it is a great relief for Harry to know that it is Rhaegar's beauty that is the outlier, and not her own commonness.
He's been sitting sitting in a compartment with Hariel 'Harry' Potter -how cool is that?- for little under half an hour before the door is opened.
Ron looks up from the vast amount of sweets that Harry has bought for them to share, and nearly swallows his tongue.
At first, he thinks it's the Malfoy boy his dad has warned him about, given all that light hair. He manages to stop himself from blurting things out though, thankfully enough.
Because point one, the boy is already dressed in Hogwarts robes with blue and bronze trimming, indicating he's already been sorted into Ravenclaw and thus meaning he couldn't be the Malfoy heir that is the same age as Ron.
The second point, is that Harry brightens something fierce when the other boy appears, happily showing the older student the spell she's been practicing since she allowed Ron to join her in her compartment.
"Ah, Rhaegar, this is Ron Weasley, he's a first year too," Harry says with obvious enthusiasm, smiling at the silver haired boy that gracefully seats himself upon the same bench. Close enough to be involved with the conversation, but with more than enough polite distance.
"Ron, this is Rhaegar Targaryen, and he's a second year."
This 'Rhaegar' is strange; he doesn't act like a stuck-up pureblood or like the muggles Ron has seen down in the village. He pays Harry her due attention, but gives her no more than what any other person would require, as if her legend means nothing to him.
When Harry asks him a question, he replies concisely, given just enough information to fully answer the question, but delivering it all in such a way that even Ron, who has no great love for reading or knowledge, finds himself listening in.
He's never heard of the Targaryen family before, but Ron's pretty sure he's not a muggleborn. He looks pureblood, far more Pureblood than any other person Ron has ever actually seen before. All regal angles and the kind of colouring that makes him hard to look away from.
Though the youngest Weasley son will forever insist that Harry's eyes are the most stunning he's ever seen.
It isn't until he finally notices the sword hanging from Rhaegar's hip that it actually clicks where he's heard his name before.
"You're the goblin sword kid!"
Okay, well that could have come out better.
But really, it's all Bill would rant about when he came home from an expedition. How an unknown child, name too strange and face too pretty to be muggleborn, had gone into the bank and then emerged a proclaimed goblin friend, complete with complimentary goblin-sword.
Gringotts as a whole had refused to make a statement, and the Hogwarts student in question had been maddeningly good at avoiding questions.
With new eyes, Ron looks at Rhaegar Targaryen, the first wizard since Godric Gryffindor to have been given a sword from the goblins, and decides that Harry's probably on the right track with the other boy.
He still thinks Harry's eyes are prettier though.
Harry narrowly escaped Slytherin, sorted into Gryffindor.
She sits up to the table her parents once dined at, perhaps even sat in this very seat, and is quite unable to help her eyes trailing over to the Ravenclaw table.
There, she finds Rhaegar politely clapping for the latest student who got sorted into Hufflepuff, not quite smiling but not quite frowning either. Sitting Sitting among his year-mates, it becomes obvious that he doesn't quite fit in with them. He acts so much older, looks so much different. There's a regality to him, Harry thinks, and it is a thought that sticks with her.
She doesn't manage to speak to Rhaegar until three days have passed.
Harry is up early, having worked out the best time to practice her ballet is in the dawning hours of the morning. Professor McGonagall has already said that a room was set aside every year for extra curricular activities such as her dancing, so it is to that room Harry sets off.
So tired, and with her mind racing on what possible magics she could be learning today, she doesn't even question the presence of the music, assuming Professor McGonagall has charmed an instrument for her use already.
Dressed in her typical training clothes, Harry assumes the starting position, before she begins to run through her regular warm-up.
Several minutes of stretching later, and she moves onto free-dancing, allowing the music to lead her across the floor, to choreography every flick of her wrists and step of her feet.
She sails through the moves with an easy grace, the lack of heavy expectations weighing upon her from Aunt Petunia's relentless gaze and Harry finds each movement falls fluidly from her limbs, evolving into one of her better dances.
It isn't until the dance ends that the music stops. And then the clapping starts.
Harry jolts, looking up with wide eyes to see the harp that had been performing such beautiful music was not magical after all.
Instead, Rhaegar sits before it, offering her both a rare smile and an applause.
Sheepish, Harry picks up her bag, making her way over to join him, for despite her embarrassment, it would be rude not to do so.
She sits upon one of the few plush chairs around Rhaegar, pulling free her water bottle and one of the many apples the house elves were happy to provide her. Once she'd found them that is. Passing one to the Ravenclaw, Harry digs another free from her bag as she takes a swig of water.
"I'm sorry I just came in like that," Harry begins, the urge to explain herself burning strong, "I didn't realise the music wasn't enchanted."
It goes without saying that Rhaegar seems to prefer his solitude; for all that he appears to be on good terms with everyone, it is also an acknowledged fact that he prefers his own company to others. Harry has yet to see him without a book nearby. Case in point, 'Creative Concoctions for Healthy Healings' rests on the stool beside him, bookmark indicating that Rhaegar is near completion with that particular text.
"No harm done, Harry... Will you sit with me for a moment?"
Trying to forcibly banish the blood that pools beneath her cheeks, Harry makes herself comfortable upon the stool.
It's both awkward and serene, simply sitting in Rhaegar's presence. Here, no one looks and whispers on her status, no one mutters beneath their breath about her scar.
But it's also oh so awkward, because for all that she rather likes Rhaegar, she barely knows him, has barely spoken to him past the time they spent together on the train journey.
"You dance exceptionally well," Rhaegar says once he has finished his apple, vanishing the cores that remain from their half-hearted breakfast.
"Not as well as you play."
It's the truth; while Harry is talented at ballet, Rhaegar is gifted with that harp.
That wrangles another small smile from the Ravenclaw, with his hair half braided up, even as the rest falls to his shoulders in artfully messy waves.
"I have played the harp for more years than should probably be possible," Rhaegar states, strumming his fingers along the strings to effortlessly release a simple melody, "if you had danced as long as I've played, then you would probably be just as good."
There's a moment of still silence, Harry only halfheartedly searching around for another topic because the silence is a gift in of itself, but Rhaegar takes the decision out of her hand.
"I come here every morning to play. You're welcome to come and join me, if you wish."
What else can Harry do but to agree? To dance to such enchanting music, she couldn't exactly say no.
It is within these morning sessions that Harry's crush upon Rhaegar dies a swift death, a steady friendship rising from the ashes instead.
He is the first to offer his condolences upon Halloween, and as it later turns out, the only one.
The sun dawns on a cold, crisp day, Rhaegar walking Harry back up to Gryffindor Tower, as he has done after every last one of their morning sessions. The only deviation in this is when Harry has Quidditch practice in the morning, and the Ravenclaw spends those days penning new music to share with her. No one has ever noticed their early morning meet ups, for no one else is ever awake at that time, excluding the prefects whom are too focused on organising their own lives and duties.
Harry finds Rhaegar's manners odd, something old fashioned that she hasn't expected to find outside of storybook tales. While part of her wishes to assert the fact she's quite capable of taking care of herself, another part warms at the idea of her fellow student caring enough to walk her back up to Gryffindor Tower.
Along the way, he even takes the time to answer her questions on potions, her worst subject. Slowly but surely she's improving, much to Snape's ire.
"Please be careful today, Harry."
Blinking, Harry looks up at Rhaegar with a frown.
He hums, a low sound in the back of his throat, dark eyes still upon the portrait of the Fat Lady, who unashamedly winks at him.
"I've found tragedy beheld in childhood has a way of lingering... Perhaps I am just superstitious though-"
"I'll be careful," Harry cuts him off with a promise, because Rhaegar is trying to say something in his undertones, something Harry doesn't understand, other than he's worried.
Rhaegar's her friend, so she'll do her best to be careful, if only for him.
The Ravenclaw offers her another of his small smiles, and Harry abruptly realises she knows nothing about his past. Not his family, not his blood status, not even what county of the country he lives in. She knows he favours toffee as a sweet, mangos as a fruit and steak as a meat, she knows his favourite colours are black and red.
But she doesn't know anything about Rhaegar's background.
It doesn't matter though, because he doesn't know about the Dursleys, past the fact she lives with her aunt and uncle. Maybe when there's more trust, maybe when they know each other better, then she'll open up.
"I'll be careful," Harry repeats, smiling.
Twelve hours later, she faces down a troll and promises Rhaegar an apology if she gets out of it alive.
Christmas comes, and Harry finds presents waiting at the bottom of her bed. One from Hermione, one from Ron and his mother, one from an anonymous source. She opens each one with reverent care; it's a few minutes into the morning when presents from the rest of her dorm-mates arrive by owl. She'd sent them small presents, just sweets and little hair-clips, and they had returned the favour.
Meeting up with Rhaegar, Harry holds the painstakingly wrapped box carefully between her hands. This is the fit's year she's ever had people to give gifts to, and she had taken hours making sure each present was wrapped perfectly.
Rhaegar accepts her gift and opens it with as much care as she took wrapping it.
Within, a hand-held harp rests, a three-headed dragon delicately carved from a part of the handle. She had seen Rhaegar drawing the same dragon a multitude of times, and his face had always been fondly sad as he looked upon it.
Harry hopes she wasn't overstepping her boundaries by planting that symbol upon the wood, and she holds her breath as Rhaegar traces his fingers over the carving.
"Thank you," he whispers, forcibly placing the small harp down and holding out a brightly coloured box of his own.
Within lay shoes, ballet shoes in a delicately light shade of gold. The soles though, have words upon them. 'Bold Nerve' on the left shoe, 'We Dare' upon the right.
Harry doesn't know if it's a quote from one of Rhaegar's many books, or words he's plucked from nowhere, but she likes them.
That morning, Harry dances to the values of her house, as Rhaegar plays to showcase the traits of his own.
Rhaegar walks her back, and she does not see him again until dinner.
It is there she leaned that only McGonagall seems to know of Rhaegar's talent with the harp, for he has yet to put down her gift and the Gryffindor Head of House asks after it.
When Dumbledore and Flitwick learn Rhaegar is a musician, it does not take long until they manage to tease a song from him.
For a moment, dark indigo meet emerald green, a silent question to which Harry shakes her head. While she does enjoy dancing as Rhaegar plays, she has no desire to do so before an audience.
Not right now.
The sorrowful melody Rhaegar plays reduces everyone to stunned tears. Even the emotionally constipated Ron.
All the other staff seem astonished at Rhaegar's sheer talent, all but McGonagall who has evidentially heard him play before. Even Snape seems both begrudgingly impressed and suspiciously shiny eyed.
He takes their praise gracefully, with all the composure of a prince, and Harry wishes she was able to handle attention as easily as Rhaegar does.
It truly is no wonder that not a soul in Hogwarts has a bad thing to say about him.
When the letter arrives from Hagrid, speaking of the egg hatching, Harry snatches up Ron and Hermione to make their way to Hagrid's Hut.
It is only when she is halfway there that she spots Rhaegar playing by the lakeside.
Ever since his Christmas performance, he has been more popular than ever among the student body; outside of their morning sessions, she barely sees him. Yet, the second she spots him, she knows he will want to see the dragon hatch.
Ever since she'd witnessed his reaction to the symbol, Harry had taken more notice of what Rhaegar was reading. And almost religiously, there would be one book related to dragons for every five he read.
He hides it well, but Rhaegar is fascinated dragons.
She cannot let him miss out on such an opportunity, not if she wants to look him in the eye again.
"You two head down, I'll be right back."
Pulling Rhaegar away from his duet with one of the merpeople is difficult, especially as she does not want to explain her reasoning behind such a move. The wide eyed awe of the Ravenclaw when he sees exactly why Harry has brought him to the Groundskeeper's hut is more than worth those two minutes it took to persuade him.
"That's a dragon egg," Rhaegar proclaims in absolute awe, the kind of emotion she's never heard from him before. It's a bit startling, to the point where Rhaegar manages to slip past Harry and Hagrid before either of them can think to stop him.
"Rhaegar!" Harry cries as the Ravenclaw runs his hands over the egg Hagrid has only just drawn from the fire.
But there's no pained sounds, no shocked scream and Rhaegar doesn't drop the egg to nurse his burns.
In fact, the searing heat doesn't seem to bother him in the least, even as it burns at the hem of his robes.
Harry watches in shocked awe, well aware Hagrid, Ron and Hermione are in the exact same state.
Harry doesn't understand.
It cannot be a wizard thing; she has always burnt whenever touching something too hot. Ron too, she remembers his tale of spilling hot tea down his arm as a child.
Yet, Rhaegar holds the egg close to him without flinching in the slightest, looking as if nothing else exists outside of that hard shell.
That hard shell that is cracking.
Harry gasps as the dragon breaks free, an ugly tangle of scales and leather that crawls up into Rhaegar's eager embrace without hesitation.
They watch in awe, not sure what else to do. Hermione has been sure that the dragon would be beyond their capabilities to care for, sure that Hagrid is mad.
But Rhaegar holds the creature with ease, talented long fingers dancing over the little dragons head and his smile is oh so warm.
It snowballs from there.
Dumbledore gets involved, then the Ministry.
After a three week battle, it is declared that Rhaegar's dragon is now a bonded familiar, one that will live at Hogwarts until Rhaegar has the funds to provide the correct living environment for it.
There's whispers of special skills, passed down in through families, and that perhaps Rhaegar has one that is linked to dragons.
After all, he does not burn, fire does not touch him, and the dragon is tame before him.
Already he's had four letters from dragon enclosures around the world, wanting to meet him. One has even offered him a job, regardless of his future OWL and NEWT grades.
Right now, the dragon is still small enough to follow Rhaegar around school, though it grows bigger everyday.
Malfoy has backed off, given that Rhaegar and Harry's comfortable friendship has been exposed as a result of the dragon incident. It's one of the good things to come of this, the other most important one is that Rhaegar smiles more now. Flashes of pearl white teeth, given freely and warmly when he finds himself both comfortable and in the presence of his dragon.
Right now, the beast lays curled at Rhaegar's feet, the size of a large hound. Head tilting as Rhaegar's music flows through the room, yellow eyes following Harry's every movement as she dances.
Barring Rhaegar himself, Harry is perhaps the one who has spent the most time with the dragon, Hagrid her only real serious competition.
Once the song finished and they settle done for breakfast -Rhaegar has spoken to the elves, and now they spend their first meal of the day eating in this room instead of the Great Hall- Rhaegar ghosts his fingers over the dragon's head.
And he gives her the first real piece of information.
"I named her Rhaella, for my mother."
The sentence rings through the room for a few moments, leaving Harry to consider her reply.
Eventually, she decides on an adequate response.
"I found a mirror over Christmas that showed me my heart's desire; it was my family, alive and happy."
"... I do believe I would see something similar," Rhaegar confesses, stroking at Rhaella's head as the dragon's tail lazily flickers back and forth.
They don't share anymore secrets, just sit in a comfortable silence before they can no longer ignore the world and must ready themselves for the day.
When she races to save the stone, Harry takes a brief moment to lament over the fact she does not yet know the location of Ravenclaw tower. For Rhaegar is exceptionally talented in every area he puts his mind to, and his spell work is no different. The professors proclaim him even more of a prodigy than Hermione, a praise which speaks for itself.
When she wakes up in the hospital wing, it is to a multitude of gifts.
The toilet seat is humorous, though Harry already has her favourite gift.
It is a small ring, nothing too expensive or fancy, from Rhaegar, linked to a copy that he now wears upon his own finger.
It came along with a note, heavily underlining the fact that if she feels the need to go and face off against danger again, than would she please alert him so he may accompany her. For he doesn't carry around a sword just for show, nor does he dislike being left to worry for his closest friend.
Touched, Harry slides the ring onto her finger right away.
She leaves Hogwarts with friends, family heirlooms, and hope.
Her life is not going to be the unpleasantness that the Dursleys foretold, she has pictures -both Wizarding and muggle- of her friends to prove such a thing.
Her photo album is filled with images of her parents, then of her. Her and Hagrid, her and Hermione and Ron, her and her dorm mates, her and Rhaegar and Rhaella, though Harry does not stand too close to the latter.
It is not that she dislikes Rhaella, she just has a healthy respect for the ten foot long dragon that could probably snap her thigh bone like a twig.
The words Rhaegar gave her, 'Bold Nerve, We Dare' decorate the front page, the Gryffindor House symbol drawn by the artistic Dean Thomas beside the photo of all the Gryffindor first years.
It's filled with months of happy memories, and as Harry sits on the train taking her back to the Dursleys, she holds it tight to her like a lifeline.
Summer doesn't really start until the Weasleys; there's just this period between Hogwarts and Summer that is the purgatory of living with the Dursleys.
Even then, Harry spends her first day at the Burrow replying to the increasingly concerned letters from Hermione and Rhaegar. The latter of which, the twins tease her endlessly for.
"Hey Mum, did you know Harry here's got a boyfriend?"
Ginny Weasley's head snaps up from her breakfast at the same time Mrs Weasley smacks both twins across the head in a gentle reprimand.
"Don't tease boys." And Harry thinks that maybe the woman is on her side.
Only for the redhead to turn to her with curious eyes.
"Rhaegar's only a friend," Harry blurts out, and it's the truth.
Her crush on him had made interaction awkward; friendship is just so much easier. It doesn't change the fact she's constantly aware of just how pretty Rhaegar is, but it's more of a 'I have to look okay so that I don't show Rhaegar up'.
She doesn't like how Mrs Weasley smiles at her, like she knows something Harry doesn't, but the Seeker pushes the thought away in favour of a pickup game of Quidditch.
Both Hermione and Rhaegar make plans to meet them at Diagon Alley. It will be the first time that they've ever spent time together outside of school, and Harry is very much looking forwards to it.
If one discounts the hiccup that comes with landing in Knockturn Alley instead of the intended Diagon Alley.
Oddly enough, it is Rhaegar and Hagrid who finds her there, effortlessly hauling her out.
Rhaegar's hand rests upon the hilt of his sword the entire time, lovely eyes narrowed and with a fiery steel to them that she's never been before. The scrape of the sword as he lifts it a mere inch from within its sheath rings through the alley, and the haggard man that has been making his way over is quick to flee in face of the sound.
Hagrid reminds her that she has to be careful when using the floo, and Harry considers it a lesson learned. The evident concern within Rhaegar's eyes send a chill running down her spine, and Harry attempts to subvert the conversation topic by offering up another; just what are they doing here?
"Hagrid was graciously accompanying me to sell off some of Rhaella's shed scales. Unsurprisingly, dragon scales are quite welcome produce in the alley, though I did not want to venture in here without a guide."
It goes unspoken that this place is 'the rough side of town' that Uncle Vernon insists exists. Maybe not in Surrey, but certainly in the magical world where dark magic hides in the shadows.
"Though I think I'll be quite alright on my own next time," Rhaegar muses, tapping thrice at his sword with neatly trimmed nails.
Harry smiles back, looking Rhaegar over once again. He's still taller than her, a gap she highly doubts will ever truly close. With his sword, hair half braided back and lightweight robe clasped solely at his collarbones so that it falls out behind him like a cape, he looks like a knight of old. The handsome kind, that rescued all the princesses and won all the battles.
When they find the Weasleys, Hermione is already with them, and Mrs Weasley is quick to bundle Harry up, checking her over for any and all injuries.
At the same moment, the twins make their way over to Rhaegar, teasingly elbowing him in the ribs and jesting over his new role as saviour of the saviour. Harry flushes, even as Rhaegar just gives them a curious look.
"I don't need to watch over Harry, she's quite capable of looking after herself. Though should she ever need my assistance, she knows how to reach me."
The ring on her finger feels cold at those words.
It is at this exact moment that Mrs Weasley and Ginny both notice Rhaegar themselves, eyes rounding in surprise.
Momentarily, Harry wonders if she had looked so surprised at meeting Rhaegar too. He's stunning, and she's not ashamed to admit that. Almost everyone that has passed them by in the street has done a double-take, and unlike last year they're not focused on her scar. Coming out with Rhaegar is evidentially a good idea.
She later retracts that statement at the bookshop.
Rhaegar is always hungry for books, he's a Ravenclaw so it's an acknowledged fact. Faced with shelves upon shelves of books and a pouch full of coin, he's insatiable.
Harry trails after her friend, having picked up three books for herself. The basket Rhaegar holds has to be enchanted, for he's already stuffed twenty books into its compartment and it has not yet split at the seams. His eyes dart over the spines upon the shelves, wiggling free another tome, unsurprisingly on dragons. The only thing that differs from his tendency towards nonfiction is the book of children's fairytales that he's picked up.
It isn't until they get back to the stairs that they realise something else is happening in the bookstore, that the man who wrote their Defence textbooks is here for a signing.
Rhaegar's lips are tight.
"His books are riddled with inconsistencies," he confines, sharp eyes watching the overly flouncy man flourish beneath the adoration of the crowd, "I don't have much hope for defence this year."
Looking upon him, Harry has to agree. He's trying too hard. He's got a reasonably pleasing face, one that his carefully styled hair draws attention to.
But it's not a face like Rhaegar's.
This man's face belongs on hair are adverts.
Rhaegar's belongs beneath a crown.
"Is defence ever good?" Harry hesitantly questions, halfway down the stairs and holding her latest purchases tight to her chest.
Rhaegar gives a low, considering hum that indicates the answer is not something she wants to hear. Which is a shame really, the idea of Defence is by far her favourite subject, being able to defend herself is a key given that Voldemort is actually still out there. How incredibly disappointing first year had been.
Unfortunately, it seems as if the trend will be continuing.
"A sickening display, isn't it?"
Harry doesn't startle or jump, but she does turn towards the cultured voice.
Besides Draco Malfoy, an older, matured variation of the boy stands, one hand resting upon the silver snake carving that tops his cane.
"Miss Potter, I believe. And of course, Rhaegar Targaryen, the Dragon Tamer."
Here, Rhaegar offers a bland smile, taking care to rest his hand upon the hilt of his sword, much as the elder Malfoy palms his cane.
"I think, of all the titles the press have given me, that I much prefer the Dragon Prince." He speaks as if it is an inside joke, and Harry is not the only one to catch his tone, for Malfoy Senior's lips tighten in a dry smile.
Whatever else the man wishes to say is interrupted as Mr Weasley arrives, and to Harry's bemusement, it all derives into a fist fight.
The outcome of which Harry does not get to witness, for as if sensing the potential for media press, the pampered pounce has made his way over.
"Ah! Harry! Just the girl I wanted to see!"
A heavy arm is slung over her shoulders before she gets the chance to protest, and Harry freezes in terror.
It is not that she dislikes touch, but to accept it from anyone she does not know well is something that make her uncomfortable.
There's a ring of metal, and then there is Rhaegar, standing before the man and holding him at sword point.
Mr Weasley and Malfoy Senior even stop their fight to watch.
"You are making my friend uncomfortable," Rhaegar says, and Harry has never heard such iron in his voice, even in comparison to earlier that very day when he found her in Knockturn.
The author instantly releases her, laughing it off even as Rhaegar takes a step forwards and his sword never wavers. Harry retreats to his side, not touching Rhaegar but certainly standing by him.
As the grabby handed pounce proclaims he will be teaching Defence this year, Harry and Rhaegar share an uncomfortable look of acknowledgement over that, and resign themselves to self study for the year.
Harry and Ron fly a car to Hogwarts.
It is not her most graceful moment, nor her proudest.
Snape is all for throwing her out of the castle, out of the magical world altogether, but by now she's pretty sure he can't do that. Rhaegar has spoken of her placement as the Wizarding World's Saviour; until she does something bad, she has a significant amount more leeway than any other student; Hogwarts can ill afford kicking her out. There's every chance that a foreign school will attempt to snap her up if that is the case, and for all that Harry is an icon, she is a British icon.
The Ministry will not stand for her attending a school not on British land.
So she's not surprised that she and Ron only get off with detention.
His broken wand might become an issue at some point in the future though.
Hermione leaps up from the sofa she's been lying on the entire night, Ron right beside her.
It is early morning, exceptionally early in the morning, but it is a means to an end. Harry is always awake before them, and she has never explained why she was up and ready every damn day.
It's not that Hermione doesn't trust her friend, it is just that Harry has a tendency to attract danger wherever she goes. Worried, that is what Hermione is.
"Good morning?" Harry hesitantly offers, head tilted to a surprise and voice rising at the end in a wordless question.
Ron explains before Hermione can do so, and Harry's lips twitch up at the corners, the annoyance and almost betrayal bleeding back into warmth. now that she knows their true motives.
"You could have just asked."
Harry leads them to a side room not too far from the Great Hall, and upon entering, the most amazing music Hermione has ever heard greets them.
When Harry removes her robes to reveal a ballet outfit, it all slots into place, and the brunette sits back to watch her friend perform. Harry dances really well, its impressive. Hermione once did ballet, until it got too difficult on her feet, until the other girls would not seem to shut up about her hair and her teeth. She'd quit at the age of six, but watching Harry right now, she wishes she hadn't.
Harry glides across the floor, all smooth limbs and graceful gestures. Every so often, she'll look to the source of the music, smiling brightly as the tune changes.
Hermione has heard about the Ravenclaw musician that reduced almost all the staff to tears at Christmas, but she hadn't realized that the harp player and Rhaegar Targaryen were one in the same person.
It is not that Hermione dislikes the Ravenclaw, though a certain jealously burns bright over his sheer ability with anything he attempts.
It's just that he's more Harry's friend than part of their group. The genius Ravenclaw who had set every end of year record for every subject he'd studied so far. She's not stupid enough to ignore the fact he will probably continue with this trend until he graduates.
"You're both really good," Hermione insists as the music dies and Harry's slows to a stop.
At least this has given her an idea of what to get Harry for Christmas. Maybe a pretty tutu to dance in, one that'll match her shoes. Harry's a smaller build than what Hermione is, but not by much. She's pretty sure tutus are elasticised, so it shouldn't be too hard to find one that fits.
"Thank you," Rhaegar says with a smile, turning to the table as breakfast appears upon in.
Hermione's not going to lie to herself, she has a crush on Rhaegar. Every girl in their dormitory excluding Harry herself does.
But it's the kind of crush you have on a celebrity; you like the idea of them, because you don't really know them. They just seem perfect through the rose tinted glass the surround themselves with.
Right now, watching Rhaegar, it's obvious he's not the atypical handsome heartthrob everyone makes him out to be; he's too quiet for that.
What he is, is Harry's friend and fellow performer.
With her curiosity sated, Hermione promises to herself that she'll leave Harry and Rhaegar to their mornings and not intrude upon them again.
No matter how heavenly that music is.
Harry's been hearing voices. That's not a good thing in the muggle world, never mind the wizarding one.
It all comes to head on Halloween, where she's face with blood dripping onto the floor, writing on the wall and her heart caught in her throat. Beside her, Hermione and Ron who'd both been at the Deathday party quiver, and Harry cannot swallow around her dry throat.
Of course, this is when everyone surfaces from the feast.
The whole thing has everyone on edge, but it isn't until after the Quidditch match that it gets worse, when an actual pupil is petrified instead of a cat.
It isn't until Harry is released from the hospital wing, bones freshly regrown, than she hears all about what's just happened.
"You did what?" Harry hisses, dropping into a seat upon the Ravenclaw table, Rhaegar calmly serving himself a helping of scrambled eggs as if the entirety of the school at not staring at them.
But, Hermione's words are still echoing around in her head as she stares at Rhaegar.
"You challenged Lockhart to a duel?"
Harry prods again, watching as the corner of Rhaegar's pale lips tilt up ever so slightly at the corners with his amusement.
"It appears that defending a Lady's honour is frowned upon now," he says in exchange of given an exact reply.
"You challenged Professor Lockhart to a sword fight!" One of the Ravenclaw girls in Rhaegar's year, something Chang, replied.
The student body appears at war with themselves, for while Lockhart is a celebrity who's done all these wondrously great things, Rhaegar is one of their own, and so much better than Lockhart on every level.
Really, Harry thinks, the answer on who to back is obvious.
"He vanished the bones in your arm," Rhaegar's far too well-bred to actually snarl, but the way those words leave his lips comes as close as he'll probably ever get.
His year mates physically recoil from him, and here Harry finds he houses a temper as fierce as Rhaella's fire, should someone be stupid enough to get on his nerves. Rhaegar with a temper, how strange a thought.
"Well, you might not get to cross swords with him, but there's a duelling club opening soon. Want to guess what ponce is leading it?"
Another Ravenclaw offers, and Rhaegar's smile is dangerous. It would appear Lockhart has managed to make an enemy of her friend, and for the life of her, Harry cannot offer up a reason as to why that is a bad thing for anyone other than the Defence Professor.
"Ignoring the man's cowardliness, are you well, Harry?"
"Yeah, the potion hurt, but I'm otherwise okay."
Rhaegar hums, and that's the end of it.
Apparently, speaking to snakes is not something that is held within high regard among the wizarding population.
Ron looks uncomfortable, but Hermione and Rhaegar are just fascinated.
Sat outside on Christmas morning, Harry finds that she needs to strip herself of her outer robes in the face of Rhaella's body heat. She's now twenty feet long, her growth slowing as she enters young adulthood, though she still has an average of fifteen feet to go. The dragon is curled around the two of them, enjoying the cow legs that Rhaegar had gifted her for the holidays.
Harry has a new tutu from Hermione, a gorgeous pale gold with green trimming the same shade as her eyes. It looks lovely, the changing of the leaves from summer to autumn.
Rhaegar's gift already rests on her collarbones; a charmed silk green ribbon that holds one of Rhaella's shed scales, big enough for the same words as the previous year, 'Bold Nerve, We Dare' carved upon the underside.
Harry's gift wasn't quite as fancy, but it did startle a laugh from Rhaegar, the first she's ever heard.
A miniature figurine of the boy stood on the grass, Rhaella having melted all the snow away with her overwhelmingly warm presence. Upon being tapped with a wand to its head, the little figure would raise its sword and hold it forwards, proclaiming in Old English that it challenged you to a duel.
"Do you think there are wizards out there capable of speaking to dragons?" Rhaegar asks, rubbing his hand at Rhaella's snot, even as she snorted in annoyance over the action the dragon allows Rhaegar to indulge in the contact.
"You're the first person in history to manage a dragon familiar," Harry counters with an amused smile. Truly, Rhaegar's fascination with the creatures would be quite sweet, were it not for the fact they were known wizard killers. Without Rhaegar's presence in her life, Harry's pretty sure Rhaella would have eaten her by now.
"If anyone could manage that, then it'd be you."
"I guess it shall forever remain a mystery then," Rhaegar muses, looking up at the winter sun that sets his hair ablaze in a firestorm of white gold, and never before has a person looked so regal before.
The petrifactions continue, the interrogation of Malfoy -not that he knows what went on- a bust. Harry stumbles across a journal in the girl's bathroom, one that writes back.
It is a clever thing, she thinks, to be able to respond to whatever she writes. When she's pulled into the memory, when she sees Hagrid announced to be the villain, Harry knows the diary can also lie.
If Hagrid had a beast capable of petrifactions, he wouldn't have been able to keep his mouth shut about it. So that in itself is a rather large lie.
The boy within had been handsome, the closest anyone has ever come to touching Rhaegar's standards of beauty.
But he just falls short in the end, regulated to second place in the face of the Ravenclaw.
A few months later, Harry will wonder if she had been able to sense the difference in personalities, and that was why she had found herself favouring Rhaegar.
It all comes to head soon enough.
The diary is stolen, the petrifactions start up again, and Harry is suspicious. When it is announced that a child has been taken down into the Chamber, something cold settles in Harry's ribs before she even hears the name.
Ron's pained whimper behind her is enough, and suddenly, it clicks into place.
The girl who died in the last Chamber of Secrets Fiasco, the location of her death, Hermione's note. It all makes sense.
Now, they only need to collect some backup.
When they arrive at the Defence office, it is to the sight of Rhaegar holding Lockhart at wand point, his other hand resting atop his sword. Conclusions are drawn, and Harry feels her disgust for the fraud of a Defence Professor rise in her chest.
They use him as a tester, it only makes sense.
It is in this moment that Harry learns of Rhaegar's ruthlessness. He has put up with Lockhart for the year, but now when his inaction would see a child die, Rhaegar rose like a dragon guarding its hoard.
If any harm befalls the golden haired 'hero', then the three of them will just claim that the Professor has insisted on going into the danger headfirst.
As it turns out, a landslide of rocks separates Harry from the group, and Lockhart attempts a spell with Ron's broken wand.
Needless to say, it does not go well for him.
By the time Rhaegar and Ron manage to clear the path, Riddle is defeated, the Diary destroyed, and Ginny saved.
Harry lays upon her back, hair soaked through from the copious amount of water in the flooded chamber, still wearing the Sorting Hat upon her head and the Sword of Gryffindor still clenched in one hand.
The spot on her arm that the basilisk bit through still stings, still hurts, and she cannot quite find the energy to get herself up off the floor.
Ginny runs into Ron's arms, sobbing with confessions flying from her lips, but Rhaegar pays the girl no attention.
Instead, he makes his way over to join her, kneeling down and drawing her up until she's laid against his side as opposed to the floor. For a moment, the two of them just look upon the Basilisk Harry has slain with nought but the sword she still grasps in a trembling hand. Laid here before it's might maws, it looks even greater, even more terrible than what she'd previously allowed herself to believe.
"I don't believe I have ever met a woman quite so capable," Rhaegar finally says, looking upon the beast with caution swimming deep in the depths of his eyes, the indigo so dark in the shadows of the chambers that they are practically black.
Harry considers the words for a moment, looking upon Gryffindor's Sword stretching out beside the length of Rhaegar's own sheathed blade.
"I think I need to learn how to use a sword."
The only sound in the room is the seemingly distant echoes of Ginny's sobs as Ron holds her close, the short, sharp breaths that leave from between Rhaegar's lips.
Finally, he sighs, brushing a curl back from her forehead to look at her scar, eyes sad.
"It seems you do."
Ron carries Ginny, Rhaegar carries Harry. She doesn't have a problem with this, she's done more than enough as it is. Her whole body feels tired, her arm still throbs from the Basilisk poison, for all that Fawkes has saved her life with his tears.
The Headmaster's Office is filled with the Weasley Clan, who all burst into tears at the sight of Ginny. Harry expects the hug, she expects the heartfelt thanks of the Weasley Family.
What she does not expect -what none of them expect- is for Rhaegar to calmly tear into every last member of the faculty for their inaction and their incompetence when it came to dealing with the situation.
He points out how if they, as senior staff, had been paying attention to their students, though would have noticed the oddities that came with being under the thrall of the diary. Barring that, they should have interviewed every personal with access to the castle, should have called in experts instead of just bumbling through it.
In the wake of Rhaegar's speech, the older student carefully takes a hold of Harry's arm and throws it over his shoulders, aiding her in walking, given the infrequent shaking of her legs.
Descending down the stairs with Rhaegar beside her on their way to the infirmary, Harry listens as the Ravenclaw admits that he has learnt to question those above him, for if they are free to run about unchecked without any consideration for the other pieces, they would end up losing the game.
Harry never asks what the 'game' is.
Summer does not begin with a Weasley rescue as it did the previous year.
Instead, it is in the face of Aunt Marge's invasion, that a very unexpected, but most certainly welcomed face appears at the door the very morn of the battle.
"Rhaegar?" Harry blinks, sure that what she is seeing is just her imagination.
But no, Hogwarts' most handsome is indeed gracing her doorstep, dressed in a simple cotton tee-shirt and shorts to combat the oppressive summer heat. His hair is pulled up into a loose high ponytail, a few rebellious strand framing his face in such a way that his beauty looks effortless.
She hears her Aunt approach, but is too stunned to really consider the implications of such a meeting.
Rhaegar offers her Aunt a smile, a polite handshake/kiss-thing that her equally bedazed relative is too shell-shocked to deny, before proclaiming he'd be stealing Harry away for the rest of the day.
She's halfway down the street before Aunt Petunia even manages to gather her wits.
"-training swords provided by the ever accommodating goblins, they're enchanted to reflect a muggle's attention. We'll be left alone to practice."
Certainly the sword feels about the same weight as Gryffindor's famous blade.
Adjusting her grip, Harry takes a low swing, and then cringes at the strangled noise Rhaegar makes behind her.
"I'm guessing I did it wrong?" Harry hesitantly questions, watching as Rhaegar gives a low sigh and shakes his head in mock disappointment.
"We've got a lot of work to do."
They work until dusk.
Rhaegar carries muggle money, and Harry hands him the equivalent in galleons for her meal. She dares not exchange some money to muggle currency, for surely if her relatives discover it they will flinch it away, reciting just how much she has cost them over the years to provide for. Even if all they have ever paid for are her gymnastic and ballet lessons.
Rhaegar speaks of his own studies, how he remains on track with the muggle educational system -for there is just so much in the world to learn- and Harry wonders if he is Rowena Ravenclaw reborn. He focuses upon devouring knowledge with a single-minded intensity that she has only ever seen within Oliver Wood and he adoration for Quidditch. It's admirable in a way, his drive that is.
Harry wants to enjoy her life; Rhaegar wants to make something of his. Though what, Harry doesn't know. She doesn't quite feel comfortable asking after his life goal, given that the very idea of admitting her own makes her cringe.
It's not Hermione's fault that she's so empowered and determined to do good in the world, but her dreams and ambitions seem to make Harry's own appear meek and mediocre in comparison.
Hermione wants to change the Wizarding World, drag it -kicking and screaming if necessary- into a new Age of Enlightenment.
Harry just wants to settle down with someone she loves and have a big family with them.
If she won't admit that to Ron and Hermione who are her very best friends, she won't admit it to Rhaegar either.
Rhaegar's her friend, and perhaps the only reason he's not as close to her as what Ron and Hermione are is because they've been sorted into a different house.
Slowly but surely though, they are growing closer, so perhaps one day she will find the courage to ask Rhaegar these questions.
Padfoot doesn't know what is happening to have Harry flee from that house as if the hounds of hell are upon her heels, but she does just that, running down the street with her trunk bouncing along after her.
He's oh so hungry, and vengeance burns bright in his stomach, but Harry comes first. He needs to make sure his gorgeous little goddaughter is okay.
She stumbles to a stop a few streets away, and the old familiar bang of the Knight Bus startles Padfoot to a stop. Harry too seems shocked by its appearance, even more so when a devilish teen leaps off right before her.
For a moment, Padfoot thinks he's looking at the Malfoy, whichever one it is now, but then he gets a good look at his face and it doesn't match up to the sneering blond in his memories. Nor does the hair actually look right, in fact, there's not any blond in there at all.
Though the name is pretentious enough for a Pureblood.
"You have every right to be upset with me, but I charmed the ring to tell me if you felt you were in a significant amount of danger."
Padfoot's eyes zero in on the ring Harry wears on her finger, letting out a breath he didn't realise he was holding upon realising it is not an engagement ring. Though Harry is too young for that. Isn't she? Just a gift between friends then.
Why does she have a boy as a friend? Especially one as pretty as this one is!
"I can be mad later," Harry finally says, letting out a low sigh and dropping down to sit upon her trunk.
The boy, Rhaegar, watches her for a moment but refrains from seating himself beside her. Good, he should keep at least a foot of distance between them. Though he does get points for rushing to help her. The jumper he's wearing is inside out, and only one side of his hair is held back in a neat braid, the other half having fallen free of its binds.
Lily is probably up there somewhere dancing, knowing her baby girl has the attention of such a handsome male. James'd probably want Padfoot to tear off the silver haired boy's leg.
This is what Padfoot needs to protect, he needs to kill the rat so that Harry only ever has to worry about beating back the boys.
"I would offer you shelter for the rest of summer, but I live in a Children's Home," the boy says, running a hand through the wild half of his hair and sighing heavily.
"I can get a room at the Leaky," grumbles Harry, lips pressed out in a little pout.
Rhaegar nods, not quite smiling but he's not frowning either.
"I'll make sure you get there," the boy promises, and only now does Padfoot notice the sword that hangs from his belt. By the sure way he rests a hand upon it, the kid clearly knows how to use it too.
Well, as long as the brat doesn't take any liberties, it seems Harry's found herself a good protector/friend.
For the first time since escaping Azkaban, Sirius Orion Black places his trust in someone and melts back into the shadows.
He has a rat to hunt.
Summer passes in a warm haze.
Now staying in Diagon, both she and Rhaegar train with their live blades alongside the goblins. The goblins gripe and grumble about ownership rights, but Harry is the heir to the Sword of Gryffindor, ironically enough through her mother's side, not her father's. It turns out way back on the Evans family tree, almost four hundred years, the last of the Gryffindor line, a squib, had married into the future Evans line.
Until her bloodline dies out, then the Sword of Gryffindor will forever remain in her family.
Harry eats ice cream, sometimes with Rhaegar, sometimes with Ron or Hermione, sometimes with which of her year mates are in the Alley for school shopping. It's nice to talk to people she knows, to spend a summer free and able to do whatever she wants.
She finds out that the children who live in the magical district often play a game of pickup Quidditch on the weekends, and she joins in with them.
It's a good summer.
She's learning how to defend herself without magic alongside Rhaegar who -unsurprisingly enough- is exceptionally talented with a sword, to the point even the goblins are surprised.
She does all of her summer homework well before they're due to return to Hogwarts, much to Hermione's surprise and relief, and surely Oliver Wood is going to cry tears of joy upon learning just how many manoeuvres she's figured out for Quidditch.
The Weasleys are kind enough to escort her to Kings Cross, in all of the madness that is the Azkaban Breakout. Why this escaped convict would go after her is both obvious and yet, still confusing.
Because she was the downfall of Voldemort, of course his loyal Death Eaters would be gunning for her.
Yet, surely they would know that their beloved Dark Lord is still out there? Shouldn't Black be off trying to regain a corporal form for his master?
Harry frowns to herself, sitting down in one of the train compartments and happily greeting Rhaegar when he showed his face mere moments before the train is due to set off. Armed with his sword, as usual, Rhaegar seems unusually tense, deep indigo eyes scanning the surroundings before he took his seat.
Of course, he greeted Hermione with a kiss to the knuckles as usual, Ron a clap upon the shoulder.
There's a silent question in his gaze as he looks over to the tried man already asleep in their compartment, to which Harry just shrugs in return. She honestly doesn't know who he is, and Rhaegar doesn't seem to approve of her sharing her compartment with him if that's the case.
An opinion heavily implied by the way he sits besides Harry with his sword in reaching distance.
As it turns out, no one in the compartment is a danger. It's the creatures outside of it that prove to be a threat.
Remus had thought Harry would be the student with the worst Dementor, that there could be nothing worse than Lord Voldemort appearing in a classroom full of children.
Given the incident on the train, and how she was not the only student to spend a night in the infirmary, he should have probably assumed otherwise.
Certainly as it turns out, he should have been more worried for his fourth year class, for Harry's friend, instead.
Oh, he'd known the boy's reaction to the Dementors on the train, known it had to be bad, but he hadn't thought it'd be because of something like this.
For when Rhaegar Targaryen steps before the Boggart, it morphs into people.
A woman so very clearly his mother lays dead in a pool of blood, face down and there is no way that her death was peaceful. Three terrified children are huddled before her, two sporting the silvery white hair that frames Rhaegar's face, the little girl dark haired but with the same purple eyes.
The eldest one, more than six, looks up at Rhaegar with wide, terrified eyes brimming with hopeful tears.
Recognition and absolute desperation.
"Brother! They're gonna kill us, Rhaegar! Help us!"
Rhaegar takes a step forwards, face a sight of absolute devastation, the kind of expression a person wears when they know any help they provide will be hopeless, but have to try anyway.
Another step forwards and the teen drops to his knees before the trio of children, and Remus cannot watch anymore.
He darts forwards, shielding the boy from the horrors of the boggart, and in retrospect, his silvery moon seems to be nothing in comparison now.
"Everyone out," Remus barks, and the Fourth Years scuttle free of the classroom in their hast to follow his orders.
All but Rhaegar, who remains knelt upon the hard stone floor, hands beside his knees and head bowed.
Remus doesn't need to have transformed to smell the tears in the air.
He later speaks to McGonagall, who informs him that Rhaegar lives in a Children's Home in the Muggle World.
There are no other purple eyed children in the same facility.
Something happens in the Fourth Year Defence class, and Rhaegar disappears for three days. Harry worries, panics because what if something happens to him?
By the third day, Harry can ignore it no longer, and she goes out to find him. Hagrid agrees to walk with her into the Forbidden Forest, worried for the boy who shares his love of dragons.
It takes an hour of solid walking, batting branches out of the way and tripping over protruding roots, but Harry finds her friend curled up in the embrace of Rhaella.
There's some kind of meat burning over a flame, and while Harry's happy to know the Ravenclaw hasn't gone without food, she dearly hopes that it is not a unicorn burning over that fire.
Rhaella catches their scent instantly, head swirling around to snarl at them, and Harry takes a step back, dragging Hagrid along with her. If Rhaella is going to go all protective mother dragon -though really, she's more Rhaegar's daughter than mother based on ages- then Harry will happily wait out the wrath of the dragon.
Even if she is quite worried for her friend.
That dilemma is put on hold though, for Rhaegar calms his dragon and gestures for Harry to come over.
Hagrid sits himself down by a tree at the edge of the clearing, obviously more than happy to just observe the dragon in all of her scaly glory.
Cautious in her approach, Harry stops by Rhaella's head, offering her a polite nod, which the dragon doesn't quite return, but she certainly nods to her, which is good enough right now.
Slipping carefully into the warm nest that Rhaegar has created, Harry ducks under the thick blanket, not even bothering to ask where he got it. Rhaella is more than warm enough to lean against, Harry doesn't understand why the blanket is a must. Other than the fact Rhaegar has always preferred summer to winter.
They sit like that for a while, side by side, arms just brushing against one another, staring up into the cloudless blue sky.
An hour passes and Harry mentally apologies to Hagrid for keeping him out of the warmth of his hut, but she needs to check if Rhaegar is okay. Professor Lupin had only given her the very gist of it, that the boggart had brought up some bad memories for Rhaegar, and Harry had deduced the rest. Rhaegar's bad memories were more along the line of her own, rather than Ron's childhood spider scare.
"With the dementor," Rhaegar begins, voice quiet and hoarse, throat raw. As if he'd spent a fair amount of time crying or screaming. "I can hear my father raping my mother. I can hear the screams of the people my father burned alive."
Her breath somewhere in her throat, all Harry can do is take Rhaegar's hand in her own, brain whirling. For what kind of family does Rhaegar come from, to hear such sounds, to have such things as his darkest moment?
"My boggart-" he cuts off, choking a little and pressing one pale hand to his eyes, to wipe away the tears, "my boggart quite possibly happened. I don't know. I was separated from them, fighting, and I never found out what happened. I just know I'm the only Targaryen here. The goblins certified it."
"I'm the last Potter," Harry says as if he doesn't already know, looking up to the treetops and squeezing the long fingers she holds, "and when the dementors get too close, I hear my dad telling my mom to run. I hear my mum begging for my life. Not hers, but mine." It goes unsaid that this is the only time she can remember hearing her parents voices, hearing well cemented proof that they loved her more than anything in the world.
"We are quite unlucky, are we not?" Rhaegar questions, letting out a sigh and then, after a moment of hesitation, Harry pulls him into a hug.
Rhaegar's always kept a respectful distance with their interactions, never more than a kiss upon the knuckles if you discount the time he carried her from the Chamber, or whenever they are sparring with their swords. So while it's clear he's not particularly comfortable with the touch, he does accept it, even resting his chin upon her head for a moment, arms around her waist.
"Am I to assume I have detention for the next few days?"
"I don't know, but I'm sure we'll find out."
And when Harry rises to go back to the castle, Rhaegar follows.
Rhaegar did get detention. With Professor Lupin. Who also gave Harry a detention for going into the Forbidden Forest, good intentions or not.
She'd have been upset over this, had the new Defence Professor not taken this time to start teaching the both of them the Patronus Charm, used to repel dementors. Both Rhaegar and herself struggle to find a sufficiently happy memory, and time starts to pass, as it's wont to.
Sirius Black attacks the Gryffindor Portrait, Harry loses a Quidditch match because of the blasted dementors.
The twins give her an incredibly map, and she gets an even more impressive broom -the Firebolt!- for Christmas. Hermione gets it confiscated for potential hexes, and Harry is rather upset with her over that.
By the time it comes back, her temper has cooled, her Patronus is starting to look more like a blob than mist, and spring is well and truly upon the castle.
The Patronus is slow going, on Harry seems to be spending more and more of her nights in the company of both Professor Lupin and Rhaegar. The former tells her of her parents, warming tales that wrap Harry in the ghostly afterimage of just how very much in love they were.
At the same time, she is intimately aware of the fact Rhaegar's parents were not in as loving a relationship. He never says anything, just listens to the stories of her parents with a thoughtful frown on his face, though he even cracks a tiny smile at some of her father's antics.
Sometimes, he walks out of those lessons wistful, almost as if he's wondering how things would have been had his parents been in love.
Something heavy clenching tight in Harry's chest whenever she considers Rhaegar's situation, how the goblins have declared him the only Targaryen. He had family, siblings and a mother he clearly loved very much. Harry's lost her parents, her chance for siblings, but she'd also never really gotten a chance to know them. She misses the idea of them, not the actual people.
Out of the two of them, it is quite possibly Rhaegar who has it worse.
Harry will affirm this opinion when she meets her godfather, who actually does care.
She also wishes she took one of Rhaegar's lessons more to heart -"Never let an enemy flee Harry. The only enemies you want are those that stand before you or those that lie in the ground. Never let them flee, because they will be back when you least want them."- because Pettigrew gets away and Harry is left with a godfather on the run from the law.
Gryffindor wins the Quidditch cup as Harry catches the snitch atop her Firebolt. Celebrations happen, multiple parties are thrown.
The Twins bring in illegal alcohol, Percy ignored it for just this one night, and Oliver Wood bestowed an 'in the moment' victory kiss upon Harry in the confusion.
It's a wild night all around.
A day before Hogwarts is due to break up from the summer, Harry gets a note through the mail, the contents of which are only revealed through the use of a certain passphrase.
Sneaking out to Hogsmeade is easy now that she has both the map and her cloak, though she does feel a bit bad for ditching Hermione and Ron for the day.
Still, this may be the only time she gets to see Sirius for a long while, she'll be making the most of it.
She finds a big black dog hiding in the shadows at Hogsmeade, and it leads her up into the wilderness, where a cave is shrouded from sight by a rather large hill. Harry drops the picnic basket as Padfoot becomes Sirius, sitting himself down and enthusiastically accepting the sandwiches made by the house-elves.
It's quiet for a moment, and Harry just takes the time to bask in the warmth of a parental figure who genuinely cares for her. She's not blind to his faults, Sirius is hot-headed, he acts first and thinks second, but he does it all out of love for her. He broke out of the inescapable prison to make sure she was safe from the threat Pettigrew presented, putting his life on the line to do so.
Harry cannot remember James Potter, but if his love was anything like Sirius', then she was truly blessed.
"So, I met Ron and Hermione, but what about that other kid?"
Harry blinks, looking up at Sirius, whom is gnawing on one of the turkey legs Hogwarts' help had provided. Picking up her own sandwich, Harry tries to think back on anyone else she could have been seen with, but nothing is really springing out at her.
As if reading her mind, Sirius snorts, rolling his eyes before he expands, "the pretty one."
"That's Rhaegar, he's a Ravenclaw a year above me."
"You're too young for a boyfriend."
Harry blinks, and then she laughs, shaking her head and running a hand through her curls.
Her and Rhaegar, going out? What a strange thought. He's her friend, wise and quiet, bookish and good with a blade. He looks out for her, but she's not as close to him as she is to Hermione and Ron.
Maybe someday, but not right now.
"Rhaegar's everyone's crush," Harry explains, because it's true.
Now that he's a fourth year, everyone in school knows him. All the girls fifth year and below, and even a handful of the boys, have a slight crush on him. Everyone looks more than once as he passes by, because he's just that attractive.
It's an accepted fact at Hogwarts, and Harry's long past the point of believing she has to compete with him. Because it just won't work.
She cannot even begin to think of what someone more attractive than Rhaegar will look like.
"But he's just my friend," Harry finishes, watching Sirius nod his head with a grin.
"Just a friend is good. Better than what your dad managed with your mum at first. She wouldn't even give him the time of day until their last year at Hogwarts really."
That's really strange to think about. All anyone ever goes on about is how so very in love Harry's parents were. It's strange to think that it didn't start out as love at first sight.
"Any suitors I get will have to pass your test anyway," Harry insists, waving her hand about between them and Sirius chuckles around his meat.
"You'll never get married then. No sane person would face down this Azkaban Escapee."
"I guess I'll just have to find someone who's crazy for me then."
Sirius barks out a laugh, nodding his head and giving this round to her.
"Talking seriously now though, Pup. You ever need anything, you send me a message, and I'll be there right away, got that. I'll do anything for you."
Sirius' pale, distraught face when the dementors came for him; it's not something Harry will ever forget.
"I know, Sirius, I know."
Dreams, strange ones, seem to set the tone for this summer.
The Dursleys are easier to get along with now, the threat of Sirius hanging heavy over their head. Aunt Petunia had taken a moment to interrogate her about her 'unnaturally good looking friend'. In fact, it had taken Harry several hours to underline that Rhaegar was not using magic to enchant his appearance at all; he was really just that beautiful. Every time Rhaegar comes to the door, the curtains flicker as Aunt Petunia stares out at the two of them, and Harry wonders what her aunt is thinking of as she sees them walk off.
She wonders if she's a vision of the past, with her mother's red hair and green eyes. She's inherited James Potter's tanned skin and riot of curls, but in colouring she's all Lily.
Dudley, when he sees them, stares. She can see the moment Rhaegar recognises him as her cousin, because his eyes dart back and forth, as if trying to pick out the features they share. Thankfully, that number is blessedly small.
Dudley gapes, as do his friends, though Harry ignores them, much more focused on what sword manoeuvres she's going to be trying out today.
Now that she knows Pettigrew is out there, that Voldemort has one dedicated -scared- follower at his disposal, she needs to be ready for when he comes back for her. And he will come back for her. She's a symbol of his downfall, an icon of the Wizarding world.
To really cement his return, to gander the fear of the population again, she needs to die.
But Harry really, really likes living.
"It's the Quidditch World Cup soon," Harry starts, watching as Rhaegar twists on his heels to perform a flashy manoeuvre with his sword, 'Whitefyre'. He's finally gone and gotten the blade engraved with the name, which flares lilac under the burning sunlight. It is a perfect representation of the one that wields it so flawlessly.
"Will you be going?" Rhaegar asks, footwork on point as he runs through the dance he's trying to teach her.
"Ron's family got tickets and invited me and Hermione-"
"Hermione and I," Rhaegar corrects absent-mindedly, blowing a stray bang back from his face as he slides to a stop.
Getting to her feet and rolling her eyes in exasperation, Harry adjusts her grip on Gryffindor's Sword, admiring the blade that always comes when she calls for it.
"Well anyway, he invited us as the plus ones, so to speak... Are you going?"
Rhaegar hums in the back of his throat, adjusting the level at which she holds her arm and Harry takes a moment to admire the muscles of his forearm working. Quidditch is good for the body, sure, and there are a lot of boys at school who play. But swinging a sword around is a little more hard work, and Rhaegar's body proves that.
Hey, they might be friends, but Harry's certainly allowed to appreciate his aesthetic appeal. Which there is a lot of.
"I'd rather see a joust," Rhaegar states, gently kicking at her feet until she's in the correct position, "now remember, you're good with a sword, but you're also female. Your skills lie in your speed and flexibility, not your strength. Play to that, and with your unexpected skill you should win against the common swordsman."
Harry grins, running through the set again, arms burning with the weight of her sword. But it's a good burn, a fierce burn that says she's improving.
"She's well, thank you for asking."
Rhaegar stabs Whitefyre into the soft earth, sitting himself down and pouring half his water bottle over his head.
"Hagrid meets me at Diagon every Sunday so that I may go and see her. We're it not for the fact Hogwarts charter does not allow students in summer for warding issues, I would be up there every day."
Dropping into a lazy crouch beside Rhaegar, Harry takes a swig of her own water, and then splutters in surprise when Rhaegar upends the last of his carton over her. There's a momentary pause as they stare at one another, a teasing smile that's ever so rare gracing Rhaegar's lips.
"You looked a little peeked," he offers, and Harry leaps forwards. She knows she doesn't have a chance against him in an actual wrestling contest, but Rhaegar's a good enough sport to let her have a few moments of triumph before he pins her.
"You won't win hand to hand," he explains once he's got her arms being her back, "even if you fight dirty. You'll only get one good hit, so make it count."
Peeling herself back off the ground when her swords-master lets her up, Harry runs a hand through her hair and sighs.
"What's got you in such a good mood then?"
"I just... It's easy to find peace here. Sometimes- sometimes I don't want to go back home."
Surprised, Harry blinks up at the older teen, a hand presented before her. Harry grasps it in her own, allowing Rhaegar to pull her up to her feet.
"You're not from England?"
Rhaegar has always spoken with an accent, but it'd been very underlined, barely there. Kind of like a county accent.
"No," Rhaegar confirms, looking up at the sky and Harry hastily releases his hand, "perhaps I shall tell you someday, Harry."
The next smile indicates that the conversation is over, and Harry accepts that as she gets to her feet. It's been three years, but this is progress.
"Okay, run me through those moves again?"
The fiasco at the World Cup is awful.
She sends Sirius a letter as soon as she can, insisting that she's okay, and that everyone is fine, that she's staying in the safety of the Burrow for the remainder of the summer.
Rhaegar catches the Knight Bus every two days to come and put her through her paces, and Mrs Weasley keeps the rest of the clan from bothering them. Though every session afterwards has a family meal that Rhaegar is always dragged along to. He always looks startled to be there, watching the interactions of the large family with a guarded face, though his eyes hold a deep longing. There's a kindred spirit in that boy, though he's fast leaving the title of 'boy' behind. Harry's noticed it, Ginny and Hermione have noticed it, but worst of all, Mrs Weasley's noticed it too.
That's the day Harry gets the Wands and the Cauldrons Talk.
A talk that both Hermione and Ginny get pulled right into. It's uncomfortable for everyone involved.
To Rhaegar, who is fleeing out the backdoor, she mouths 'traitor' to which he gives a look that heavily implies 'every man for themselves'.
It's another good summer, despite the little dash of terror and awkwardness peppering it.
Fourth year starts off with the announcement of the Triwizard Tournament, something that has even Rhaegar looking up in a show of interest. Not to say that his posture isn't always perfection, but the lines of his shoulders -when did they start getting that broad?- tighten slightly. He concedes to the age limit though with a slight nod of his head, and Harry lets out a breath at that particular announcement.
For once, she might actually get a peaceful year.
Lessons progress, and Harry near forgets about the tournament, only the reminder that there is no Quidditch practice this year keeps her from ignoring its existence.
She still sends up a brief pray of thanks to whatever is listening up there, for them having been wise enough to not bringg the Triwizard Tournament down upon them while Wood was still in school. That would have been a disaster of momentous proportions. The kiss he graced her with still burns in her memory, though it's probably nothing more than a smoky after image in his mind.
It's had its effects though; now Harry looks at boys and sees them as more than her classmates. She can appreciate how tall and strong the Weasley twins look, how lovely Cedric Diggory's boyish charm is, even the sharp features of -ew- Malfoy. This, Harry thinks as she reflects back on Mrs Weasley's 'talk', is puberty at its finest.
She'd started her bleeds last year, the latest of all the girls in their dormitory. Harry knew it was because of her less than stellar record for food pre-Hogwarts, but the point is, they had come.
This is made even clearly when Durmstrang's enter the Great Hall in a flashy show of red robes, fur cloaks and flaring testosterone. Even Hermione, who's always been absorbed in her books, watches them with keen, sharp eyes.
The Beauxbatons students come next, and Harry actually finds a person who is potentially -as absurd as the idea seems- more attractive than Rhaegar.
Hell, if Harry didn't solely look at boys in that way, she'd probably consider the silvery blonde more appealing than her favourite Ravenclaw.
It's only when Hermione scoffs under her breath about Veela allure that Harry realises why the French woman is so enchanting. It figures then one person potentially more attractive than Rhaegar has such a feature encoded into her magical genes.
The Veela takes a moment to look at Rhaegar, eyes round with shock, and for a mere second, Rhaegar's eyes glaze over as every other boys have done. It's over in the blink of an eye though, because he clenches his fist and shakes his head, snapping himself from the trance.
Harry tries to ignore the steady relief that sits in her chest, because it doesn't mean anything at all.
A day before the first task finds Harry sitting sitting with Rhaella, one of the very few welcoming persons in Hogwarts right now. How shameful, that she's been driven into the warm welcome of a dangerous beast over her fellow students. Ron doesn't believe her, Hermione is torn between them -and doesn't that just sting with the bitter taste of betrayal?- and the Hufflepuffs have joined Slytherin in hating her very existence.
Looking up, Harry gives Rhaegar a steady nod of greeting, nestling back into Rhaella's bulk. Over the years, the dragon has come to accept her presence, and while she'll probably never seek her out, she does welcome Harry's presence when the Gryffindor shows her face.
"Can you spare a moment?" Rhaegar asks, ever the polite prefect, it's just that this year they've made it official with the badge. He's been her most obvious support, though not the most vocal. Removing points from everyone wearing those badges, casually adjusting his grip on Whitefyre whenever a Hufflepuff or Slytherin started mocking her; he's stood by her as the kind of friend she's always needed.
"The first task tomorrow," Rhaegar begins once he's settled himself beside her, back to Rhaella's warm scales, "is dragons. I don't know the specifics, but they required my assistance last night in an attempt to settle them, which worked well enough. Word of my gift is still strong in that particular community," Rhaegar whispers, and Harry shuffles closer until she's pressed against his side. There's a momentary pause as Rhaegar adjusts to the contact before, to Harry's surprise, he lays an arm over her shoulders.
"Is this okay?" Rhaegar's cold from the stretch of distance between Hogwarts and Rhaella's nest in the Forbidden Forest, and it's a delicious contrast to the dragon's heat.
Harry lets out a sigh, resting her head on Rhaegar's shoulder and just taking a moment to enjoy the rarely found peace.
"This is good."
It isn't until Harry gets back up to Gryffindor Tower that she realises something is in her pocket.
A very small glass vial, filled with a deep red liquid and a note. Reading it, Harry blanches.
Rhaegar has carefully slipped her some of his blood, far away from prying eyes that could accuse her of cheating by being pre-informed. Heavily underlined is that Rhaegar wants his blood back as soon as the challenge was over, and Harry agrees. Hermione has only ever touched slightly on blood magic in her studies, but she'd recoiled from the topic so fast it was a surprise she'd not gotten whiplash.
It is a huge show of trust, Rhaegar offering her this little amount, and Harry will not let him down.
Also included within his note is the hint that both Drumstrang and Beauxbatons know of the task, and that only Cedric Diggory is clueless.
And well, Harry didn't want to be in this stupid tournament anyway; letting her fellow Hogwarts champion know what's going to happen will not up their chances of winning.
She out-flys the dragon on her Firebolt with a graceful ease. The fire breather is hesitant, perhaps able to sense Rhaegar's blood upon her, as he'd hoped would happen.
What matters is that she manages it, and she manages it with grace and style.
What matters, is that she gets the highest score out of all the champions, and she feels so damn proud of herself. She knows Sirius, when he hears the news, will be leaping for joy, ecstatic on whatever tropical island he's set himself up on.
Hermione throws herself forwards to hug her, and Ron offers her an apology. But while Harry will forgive them, she won't forget. That old saying of once bitten twice shy applies, and she knows who exactly she can go to with her problems first.
Despite being an incredibly private person, Rhaegar had reached out to her when she needed help, and Harry has full intentions to repay that debt one day.
So while Gryffindor throw a party in her honour, one even her naysayers join in on, Harry sneaks free of the castle and spends the night under the stars, sword dancing against Rhaegar's as Rhaella watches over them.
Three days later, Harry is sitting sitting up to table, about to start breakfast, when there is a strong, but polite cough behind her.
Harry straightens, turning around to face Rhaegar as he stands before her, hands behind his back and face quite serious.
Curious, she gets to her feet, at which point Rhaegar reveals what he holds behind his back is a crown of flowers painstakingly woven together with one another, delicate shades of white, light golds and greens.
"Hariel Potter, I would name you my queen of love and beauty, will you do me the honour of attending the Yule Ball with me?"
Lips parted, all Harry can do is nod dumbly, accepting the crown and the customary kiss Rhaegar places upon her knuckles as always before he goes back to the Ravenclaw table.
She doesn't even have a clue what this 'Yule Ball' is, though she does recall Rhaegar speaking of the 'Queen of love and beauty' before. Something of a family tradition, whoever won a tournament would be given a crown of flowers to present to a woman. Sometimes it is the winner's mother or sister, other times their betrothed. It is, uncommon, for men to be close friends with women in Rhaegar's homeland, a fact the Ravenclaw had once shared, and Harry wonders if there are any hidden implications regarding her new accessory.
The flowers never die.
For weeks, all any of the students can talk about is Rhaegar Targaryen, and his rather bold approach in acquiring a date to the Yule Ball.
Minerva McGonagall watches as girls shoot what they believe to be covert glances towards Hariel Potter, who doesn't even notice them in the slightest.
As the very first person to introduce Rhaegar Targaryen to the Wizarding World, Minerva has been watching him through the his years at Hogwarts. The Ravenclaw Prefect has flourished better than any student ever before him. Unnaturally talented in any area he chooses to focus upon, the boy is already predicted to obliterate previous OWL achievement records, and there's been more than one verbal throw down in the staff room over the boy's options for NEWTs. He's become something of a prince to all of Hogwarts; good looking, kind if a bit reserved, and she'd caught him more than once helping out star struck first years. Truly, Harry could have done no better.
Watching the two of them enter the Great Hall, Mr Targaryen even manages to pull attention despite the presence of the Veela girl.
He's dressed in striking black robes, a three-headed red dragon curled up on his left side in red. Even his shoulder length hair is styled sharper and more pristine than usual, braids more intricate than usual pulling the upper half back from his face and leaving the rest to frame his cheekbones.
Beside him, Harry looks radiant, if a little nervous. Some kind of potion has finally tamed the Potter hair -much like Hermione Granger's own frizzy mane has- into sleek straightness, decorated with thin braids that keep it back from her face much like her date's. Her dress is a deep green edged with a delicate white gold, and it matches the flower crown she wears once again.
It's not like watching James and Lily, for while Harry is the spitting image of Lily, she doesn't act the same. There's something different in her personality, from neither James nor Lily, and Minerva shudders to think just how the Dursleys nurtured such a cautious hesitance into little Hariel Potter.
These two aren't in love either, while love seemed to bloom from every action of James and Lily once they'd gotten together.
But there is a certain warm affection between them, friends just on the edge of potentially falling into something more. Really, Minerva is holding her breath for such a thing, because Harry deserves so much from life, and out of everyone, she thinks that it will be Mr Targaryen who would treat her as she deserves.
Two ahead of them in the line of Champions, Hermione Granger looks lovely on the arm of Viktor Krum, truly beautiful beneath all that bushy hair.
Her two little lioness' look magnificent, and Minerva feels her pride bloom in her chest.
"I think we'll be teaching redheaded Targaryens next," Minerva muses with a wide smile, watching two of her favourite students sweep across the dance floor.
Beside her, Filius coos in agreement -it's no secret that he's vastly proud of the Fifth year Ravenclaw- while Severus remains blank faced. Minerva doesn't care what he thinks; awful as it is she'd been rooting for James in the battle for Lily's heart. To see their daughter now potentially falling for what is quite possibly the best young man to ever walk Hogwarts' halls, it's wonderful.
They make quite the pair as they dance, she thinks, and Harry's ballet lessons show in the grace of her movements. Mr Targaryen has clearly been trained in dance as well, for he leads Harry effortlessly around the room, not a step out of place as they glide across the dance floor.
"I do hope so," Filius admits with a grin as the song starts its final crescendo, "they're very good for each other."
Severus make a noise in the back of his throat before he can truly cut it off, and Minerva sends him her sternest glance. It isn't right for him to dislike Harry simply for being James' daughter, and the man should be far prouder of Mr Targaryen as a student, given that the boy excelled at potions as much as he did every other subject.
The music stopped, and Mr Targaryen bows to Harry, before heading up to the stage, where a harp sits off to the right and Minerva instantly knows what is about to happen.
The Ravenclaw has never played again since that Christmas three years ago, at least nowhere that the rest of them could hear. Minerva is well aware the teenager still plays in mornings, accompanying Harry for her dance practices, because the wards she's long since set up on the room let her know when it's in use.
"You 'ave a 'arpist among your student body?" Madam Maxime questions quietly with only the slightest hint of doubt in her voice, to which Minerva only nods her head. There is no point in proclaiming Mr Targaryen's talent with the harp, she will see soon enough.
All those that had been present at the Christmas of '91 clap in excitement when Albus announces Mr Targaryen has agreed to play, if only for one song.
"After all, Mr Targaryen is an exemplary young man, and I do believe Miss Potter will be quite upset if we keep him playing all night."
There's a scattering of laughs, a few eyes turning to Harry where she sits at the Champions table once again.
Any attempts to keep looking at Harry though is ruined when the Ravenclaw starts to play.
If possible, it's an even more emotional a melody than previously, and not even halfway through Minerva can feel tears making their way down her cheeks. It speaks of lost love between the delicate notes, of leaving love behind, of mending and accepting the loss. Of preparing for the eventually of falling for another in the future.
It ends on a tentatively hopeful note, and the trance seems to break over the silver haired teen, for he blinks and looks up from his fingers to gauge the reaction of the room.
Albus is the first to start clapping after wiping a tear from his eye, and Minerva follows quickly after. The vast majority of the room seem quite stunned, and it isn't until Harry has her date in her grasp once again that the applause finally reaches a thunderous volume.
"Ze boy was magnifique."
Minerva nods her head, watching as the harpist and the champion once again begin dancing across the floor.
"Mr Targaryen is certainly one of our most talented students, that is for sure."
The second task does not go as well as the first. Rhaegar is what is taken from her, held at the bottom of the lake. Her rescue is going well until then, she saves Fleur's sister first, as the part Veela has managed to get herself injured. Fighting off the Merpeople who seem pretty adamant on only allowing her to rescue one person is difficult, but she manages, and Harry gets both herself and Rhaegar to the surface.
That's where it all goes wrong.
Rhaella apparently does not appreciate her human being held beneath the lake, because she burst from the forest with a roar of fury, scooping the two of them up out of the water and then refusing to let them leave her sight for three days.
The newspapers have a field day, recounting Rhaegar's tale from three years ago and how he's the only person to have ever bonded with a dragon, pulling up all kinds of facts on the species that Rhaegar already knew but is all news to Harry.
She gets the lowest score of the champions that day, because while she rescued Fleur's little sister, she never actually completed her own rescue.
But Harry doesn't care, she never wanted to take part in this stupid tournament anyway.
Harry tells Rhaegar about Sirius. Not because she had some kind of epiphany, it's more he's there when she gets the letter, the one that informs her Sirius is hiding out at that cave once again. Really, Harry thinks, she cannot find any excuse to not tell Rhaegar, so she drags him along with her.
Of course, Rhaegar and Sirius both have a moment where they stare silently at one another, even after Harry has put the picnic basket down to watch them. An understanding has to have been reached though, because Sirius gives a somewhat friendly smile and then proceeds to rip his way through the offering of food. They sit and they discuss Harry's strange dreams, the implications of the tournament, and Rhaegar sits and waits, listening patiently.
As they're walking away back to Hogwarts, Harry loops her arm though Rhaegar's letting him tuck it against his ribs.
"He cares very much for you," Rhaegar murmurs, to which Harry nods, warmth tucked away beneath her ribs at the acknowledgement.
"He's living off rats for me, the least I can do is find a way to clear his name."
"When the ruling body is corrupt, nothing short of a radical change will see such just action take place. If you want to see that happen, Harry, you cannot remain impassive about the governmental situation."
Considering Rhaegar's words, the way the Minster of Magic has handled things in the past -'We have to be seen doing something!'- Harry gave a slight nod of her head, because her companion is right.
The Third task ends in tragedy.
Cedric Diggory lies dead by Voldemort's condemnation, slain by Pettigrew's wand. The Dark Lord has risen again, and Harry's nerves feel as if they've been fried. When they track down who they thought to be Professor Moody, Dumbledore holds him at wand point.
The second he has transformed, Rhaegar moves, slicing clean through the wand-hand of the imposter, Whitefyre a flash of brilliant steel in the dark of the room. The man curses, and Rhaegar stands before her, tall and firm and ready, and Harry feels something fierce grow in her chest, even as her legs cave.
She's barely aware as the Ravenclaw carries her to the infirmary.
Ron and Hermione both visit her, and the mood remains solemn. Harry's still in shock, and every time she closes her eyes, she can see the green flash as it hits Cedric, his sightless eyes staring out into nothing. She can hear his ghost, asking her to bring his body back to his father.
A great part of her mourns, mourns for the loss of Cedric Diggory, a promising student and wizard, dead all because of Voldemort.
It takes a few days, but another fire rises in her, burning bright and its determination.
She will see Cedric avenged, she will end Voldemort. She's done it before, and she'll do it again, only this time, she'll make it permanent.
It is in this state that Rhaegar finds her, knees pulled up to her chest and sitting sitting in the centre of the bed. He's holding a plate of treacle tart, face curiously blank as he approaches.
Taking up the seat that Hermione had occupied an hour previously, the Ravenclaw presents her with the dessert, Harry giving a quiet thanks in return. For a few minutes, they sit there and say nothing, simply eating the food Rhaegar has brought forwards.
"Senseless death… Harry, if as you say this madman has risen again, you can count me as one of your allies. I can only bring my abilities and Rhaella to the table, but I like to think we could do a fair bit of damage if necessary."
And just like that, all the peaceful, almost carefree summers become something of the past.
Sword practice continues.
There's muscle to Harry's arms now, sleek and strong and powerful. It's good for flips whenever she's practicing her freestyle dancing, but works just as well to block a blow from Rhaegar. They're getting faster in their practices now, and Harry's not getting knocked down as often. She's still never won a match against Rhaegar, she doubts she ever will. But she promises herself she'll never give up. She'll keep aspiring to beat him, because that's what pushes her forwards.
They sit upon the swings in the park, Rhaegar's long legs stretched out before him as he rocks gently back and forth upon his heels, the creek of the chain swing background noise. He's been bringing her as much news as he can, but with a secret keeping charm in place, there's only so much he can tell, even if her Ravenclaw has a very talented mind that excels at finding loopholes.
"So Hermione and Ron are there now?" Harry questions, hands tightening around the metal links until they leave imprints upon the flesh of her palms.
Rhaegar doesn't make a noise of confirmation, just simply nods his head before bringing it to rest upon his fist, elbow upon one knee. The look, that pose of thought, suits him well, though she's never really found any pose that fails to highlight one of his many good features.
"And they're coming to pick me up when exactly?"
Here Rhaegar smiles, running a hand through his loose hair as he does so, though he doesn't meet her eyes.
"Three days is the plan, though both Sirius and I are pushing for an earlier retrieval. It is the only time he does not give me a look that implies I will rob him blind of anything not spelled down if given the chance."
Harry laughs, shaking her head in amusement. She's gotten the gist of it, that Sirius is of the opinion that Rhaegar's romantically interested in her, and he's puffed up his chest like an overprotective mother hen.
"Ignore him, Sirius is a drama queen."
Rhaegar smirks at that, looking up at the sky, Whitefyre gripped loosely between his pale fingers.
"Why have you been pulled into this Anti-Whatshisface group anyway?"
Rhaegar has warned her of speaking Voldemort's name aloud when she's not hidden behind wards. He's long since read up on tactics of the First War, and one of those included a taboo upon the Dark Lords name. For only his enemies were brave enough to speak it, and thus, Voldemort knew for certain whomever had spoken it was something to strike down.
"I assume for my abilities with dragons. Someone who can tame them- well, dragons make very good weapons of war, as you can probably guess."
They sit in silence for a few more minutes, Harry's muscles whimpering from their latest workout as her brain spins with the possibilities of finally seeing Sirius again.
"Are you ready to head home, Harry?"
Harry thinks of Sirius, who's waiting for her, and she knows the answer to that question, even though it's not in the context Rhaegar asks.
Rhaegar's Patronus, she finds out, is unsurprisingly enough a dragon.
Harry's still in shock about dementors, damn dementors, being in Little Whinging, but she too managed a Patronus. Prongs dances alongside Rhaegar's dragon, which is perhaps twice the size of her stag. Their wispy forms are a sight to behold, darting around, back and forth.
Not three minutes later, they get a letter each. Rhaegar is on a warning, Harry's declares she's expelled.
Within the space of five minutes, more letters arrive, one from Mr Weasley demanding she stay put, and then another from the government stating she was to be given a trial.
Harry stares at the shredded paper that now sits at her feet, something that feel like fire burning up in her lungs, boiling in her stomach. She furious, nails biting into the skin of her palms until red droplets drip onto the cold asphalt.
"A corrupt ruling body at its finest," Rhaegar states, his own eyes upon the remains of the letter before he gathers himself.
"Nothing for it. I'm taking you back, it doesn't matter what the rest say, they can hardly turn you away on the doorstep."
Rhaegar reaches to take hold of her hand, then seems to remember himself, for instead he just offers her his own to take.
Harry doesn't even have to think about it, wrapping her fingers in his so that they may walk to the Dursleys house to collect her luggage.
Just as Rhaegar had assumed, they don't turn her away on the doorstep. Instead, she's asked a few questions, the answers to which only she could ever know, and then Sirius is there, welcoming in her with open arms. It's a warm hug, exactly what she needed, and Harry soaks it up like a sponge.
Then, she is once again treated to the absolute pleasure that is Rhaegar ripping into the 'adults'.
"-no guard, so the two of us were left on our own to deal with this threat! What is the point of keeping Harry in a place where she is not only evidentially unhappy, but quite clearly unsafe? It's an excellent example of a tactic that is not to be used, unless I'm missing some important information that makes it critical for Harry to remain in a place that seems to suck the very life from her? Never mind the absolute idiocy that comes with trusting the cur that shrunk guard duty today! I should hope he doesn't dare to show his face, or he will find out just how sharp Whitefyre's bite is!"
Rhaegar's voice cracks through the room like a whip, with the power of a dragon's roar and the hypnotic quality of a veela's allure.
Both she and Sirius watch with their mouths open and eyes wide as the Ravenclaw paces like a caged beast, dark eyes glistening as purple fire in the dim lighting. Mrs Weasley seems just as shocked, her lips parting and sealing several times before she seems to decide she quite agrees with Rhaegar and nods sternly.
For a moment, the Ravenclaw just stands there before all the adults, tall and proud with his broad shoulders squared and chin tilted up to meet them head on.
"Quite frankly, there is very little I would trust any of you with given your exemplary track record of ensuring Harry's safety throughout the years. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll be retiring for the night, given that I will be teaching again in morning."
Rhaegar swept out of the room like a force of nature, face set as still as stone, and Harry cannot help but admire him for it.
Already she could see the members of the Order of the Phoenix swelling beneath his on slaughter of words, readying to prove him wrong, and Harry wonders how any other person could possibly inspire the people as well as what Rhaegar has just done.
Sirius gives them the yard to practice their swordplay in, citing that they can put their moves to the test by beating back the greenery.
And truly, it does need beating back.
Rhaegar cuts through the swath of vines and leaves quite well until one unexpectedly tricky limb trips him up. Harry nearly fails to rescue him, given that she's laughing so hard as the boy is pulled along the courtyard and back to the bushes.
It is one of the good days.
Now that they are living together in close quarters however, Harry is quick to learn that Rhaegar's melancholy has not left him, that some days he locks himself away within his own mind, sitting in the library and reading books with a fever she's never quite seen another person wear before.
She's not the only one to notice it; Hermione looks upon him with worry on her face, and even Sirius seems a bit concerned for all he proclaims to only ever put up with the Targaryen.
On those days, Harry simply picks up a book of her own to read, even if it is not her favourite past time, and she sits by him, offering company of the non invasive kind. Rhaegar catches on to what she's doing after two days, and he offers her a thankful smile on the third day.
It is only as Harry's court day in approaching, that she realizes Rhaegar is reading up on books regarding Wizarding Law and that warm feeling that's been rising in her chest for a while spills and overflows.
"Rhaegar Targaryen, Sixth Year Ravenclaw Prefect and acting witness."
Rhaegar stands beside the chair she sits in, distastefully eying the chains that lie dormant by the armrests.
Harry's very much aware of the iron that rests there, just as she is very much aware of Whitefyre hanging upon Rhaegar's belt, aware that she can call the Sword of Gryffindor's the second she needs it.
The hideous pink thing that sits beside Fudge eyes Rhaegar in a way Harry doesn't like at all, in a way that make her want to take Rhaegar's hand and pull him behind her, even though she knows her slight height and slim figure will not hide him from her gaze.
"Witness?" The pink creature giggles, and she can see Rhaegar stiffen from the corner of her eye.
"Correct. According to your own bylaws, set down on the summers eve of June 7th 1832, Harry is entitled to bring forwards a witness to the governing body to strengthen her case. I'll willingly provide a pensive memory of the event in question, even though already you are voiding your own laws by trialling a minor. While the Lord and Ladies of the body present may find it acceptable to allow the Ministry this leeway, are any of you really paying any attention to what they are slipping past you? I hope you're all aware that the taxes implemented last year as a temporary provision for security regarding the Quidditch World Cup have yet to be dropped, regardless of the events passing? If that was excess security, I'd hate to see how our regular forces for protecting the citizens would have fared that night."
Rhaegar pauses, looking between the mass of people that sit high above them, all starting to puff up at the fact the wool has been pulled over their eyes, wool Rhaegar is currently burning with every fiery statement.
Harry watches in awe as Rhaegar effortlessly removes the problem of her trial, and instead twists this around to an attack upon the Ministry and the Minster himself. Who in actuality is looking quite worried.
"Are you aware that of those arrested during the First War, over half of them did not stand trial? By not affording those incriminated a trial, the Ministry has set a presidency for dealing with those it detains. Imagine if you were framed, and then unable to clear your name because your tyranny of a governing body has already decided upon your guilt by barely looking over the facts?"
"Well," Arthur says, blinking and still a bit in shock, "well." It's all he can think to say in the aftermath of what just happened. He'd known Rhaegar to be well-read, but that, he hadn't been expecting that.
Standing beside him in the shadows on the courtroom, Dumbledore only nods in agreement, though Arthur can sense the pleasure and pride all but radiating off of the man. "Why did you even bring him in, Dumbledore? Not that he hasn't been any help, but he's sixteen, and Molly…" Arthur trails off, because the rest of his words do not need to be voiced aloud.
"I had tentatively brought Mr Targaryen into the fold under the agreement that he would not be able to become a full member of the Order of the Phoenix until his seventeenth birthday. Given his talents with dragons, it was agreed that it would best to have him on side and aware of Voldemort and all the repercussions that would come with a victory for the Dark Lord, so that he did not find himself being used by our adversary. This, this is a delightful happenstance that has certainly turned things in our favour. Miss Skeeter will without a doubt be tearing into the Ministry's credibility in tomorrow's news."
It goes without saying that if such a thing were to happen, then perhaps more people will begin to believe in Harry's declaration of Voldemort's revival.
And as they say, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
"Please see to it that Harry and Mr Targaryen make it back to Grimmauld, Arthur."
Fifth year starts off with the potential to be the worst schooling year yet. The Pink Creature, as it turns out, is their latest Defence Professor, and Harry has absolutely zero hope of learning much of anything in that class. Because apparently, anyone and everyone is quite capable of performing a spell the first time they ever attempt it, and it is blasphemy to say otherwise.
Which is how Harry ends up in Hogshead, holding a secret meeting for those who don't believe a word that comes out of Umbridge's deceitful mouth. Hermione stands to her left, steadfast and determination burning in her eyes. Rhaegar on her right, solemn and resolute, sharp eyes taking note of every person that has shown their face here.
"This isn't about sticking it to the professors, it's not that we're trying to be clever or bold or rebels," Harry says, looking at each face that stares back up at her, "it's that we want to pass our Defence OWL. It's that, no matter if you believe in what I say or not, the past few years at Hogwarts should have taught you that knowing how to defend yourself is important. Because we're not going to be children forever, we're not going to be able to hide behind Hogwarts' wards forever. I think that it's important, and I'm giving you all the opportunity to learn alongside me, so that we're not caught unaware. So if you're with me, than put your name down on the paper Hermione's got. If not, then good luck to you."
By the end of the meeting everyone signs the paper.
By the dawn of the next morning, meeting in groups of more than three is forbidden.
It doesn't stop them.
Standing in the Come and Go Room, Harry admires the room's versatility as Rhaegar goes about testing its limits. They figure out they can stop the room opening to anyone uninvited, that they can open up secret passages from within to collect students.
If she and Rhaegar never tell anyone the room's actual location, they can just organise pickups from ever changing locations, thus adding another level of security to their operation. In that same vein of thought, they can drop their fellows off in their common rooms, eliminating the chance of getting caught out of bounds, out of hours.
It's all coming together perfectly, and by the start of the first session, things are going great as Harry walks everyone through the pros and cons of the disarming charm, silencing the naysayers as she proclaims it saved her life against Voldemort that summer.
When it comes to picking a name, there's a lot of indecision. Until Rhaegar jokingly suggests 'Protectors of the Realm'. He wasn't speaking seriously, of that she's sure, but Harry takes a shine to it and it sticks.
So Protectors of the Realm, or 'POR' for short, they become.
Harry's a bubbling cauldron of rage when Umbridge's attempts to take her Firebolt, and Harry only just manages to send it off to Sirius before the woman can take it. She ends up in detention again, but it's oh so worth it to know one of her most beloved possessions is safe.
When Rhaegar sees her hand, his face settles like a low hanging storm.
He spends the rest of the day in the Come and Go Room, Whitefyre -another thing Umbridge has attempted to take, and would have had the goblins not almost started another rebellion/war in return- slicing through pink dummies like a hot knife through butter, like a cutting curse through flesh. He's rolling thunder and fierce anger all hidden behind a still façade of calm, and every time those dark indigo eyes land of her hand they seem to burn hotter.
It's mere days before they break up for Christmas, a holiday Harry is off home for, for the first time in her life. Sirius will be waiting for her at home, to greet her with a warm hug and greet Rhaegar with a playful scowl and snappy one-liner. It's mere days before she can leave Hogwarts and not have to worry about the Pink Toad for a while.
"I am well aware it is the last thing you wish to hear, Harry, but you must stop rising to her bait. This is not a war to be won with bold, open declarations. At the moment, it is played in the shadows, and to stand in the light and attempt to point to those that hide is akin to proclaiming the existence of a monster under the bed." Rhaegar's eyes soften as he looks upon her, laying his sword down and falling back onto a giant cushion the room calls into existence for him. "But, she's blinding them-" "I know. I know it's frustrating. Sometimes, you have to play their game, sometimes you have to plot and plan and make your own plans, keep them out of the spotlight until it's the right time to make a move. You cannot brashly move forwards… But you cannot hesitate either. Delaying, lying to yourself, can bring about something much worse," Rhaegar murmurs, eyes downcast as he considers his own words, frowning heavily as he does so.
It hits her then, and Harry cannot keep it from herself any more, cannot keep it unacknowledged between them any longer.
She steps forwards as Rhaegar rises to meet her, and it is she that steps up on her tiptoes and presses their lips together. It is she who brings her hands up to his shoulders.
But it is his hand that graces her cheek, that tilts her head ever so slightly to a side, and it is his lips and brush ever so softly against her own. Chaste and innocent, sparks don't fly like in the books, but something warm in Harry's heart at the short, sweet contact.
They pull away together, but stay close, Rhaegar's face pained as he looks down at her But Harry doesn't feel worried.
This is what it means to be a Gryffindor, to through herself out there, even if there's every chance she might fall on her face, that the whole thing might blow up and leave her scorched and burned.
But she has to try, because this is Rhaegar, her bookish and private friend who's always stood unmoving beside her when she needs him the most, and who's taught her outright how to defend herself and yet shown her she can speak up when it's needed.
So as Rhaegar's thumb strokes against her cheek, Harry meets his gaze with steady eyes.
"I think I need to tell you something, Harry."
It all comes out in a flow of words, a story, quite like how Rhaegar plays the harp. Tragic and wrought with pain, the kind of tale that belong in fiction, not in history. Harry walks away from Rhaegar when he finishes, because she needs time to adjust her views, to adjust to this new information.
And he understands this, Harry makes sure of this as she squeezes his hand before she leaves.
Rhaegar remembers his past life.
A past life in which he might have died young, but he had a family, children.
It hurts, to know he has kept something so big from her, but she can also see why he did such a thing.
Hermione and Ron bug her about the silence between them on the way home, and Rhaegar admits to it being his fault, even if that is not the truth.
It is Harry who is struggling to accept things, though in her heart of hearts she knows this really doesn't change anything. It's just a big reveal, information she'd not expected about her friend. This doesn't change who Rhaegar is, how he's always treated her. No, there's something else that worries her.
Rhaegar is trying to find a way back to his homeland.
The reason behind his relentless devouring of knowledge, the reason he's picking up as much knowledge as he can is to help his home world when he returns.
Harry cannot imagine her life without Rhaegar, she doesn't want to. He has become her closest friend in the wake of Hermione and Ron's almost betrayal the year prior, a unwavering presence in her life.
To know that could potentially be ripped away is heart wrenching.
She tries to enjoy Christmas, and sometimes Sirius and his enthusiasm get her to the point where she actually forgets what she's sad about for a few hours. She visits Mr Weasley who's recovering in hospital, doing rather well and rather impressed with the muggle methods helping him along.
Christmas comes and goes, and Harry wears the delicate locket that Rhaegar gifts her with around her neck; it rests higher than the dragon scale ribbon she never takes off, almost visible beneath the collar of her shirt.
In the end, there was only ever one way she could deal with this windfall of information, and that is to accept it.
On the train back to Hogwarts, Harry sits beside Rhaegar with their hands intertwined, and when he sends her the silent question with his lovely eyes, Harry simply shrugs and states she will deal with that dilemma when the time comes.
A breakout from Azkaban, with real criminals running free happens, and it's pinned on Sirius.
That day, it is Harry that cuts through a swath of dummies in the Come and Go Room, Rhaegar not even daring to critique her form given the mood she's in. Harry's aware out of the two of them she's far more hot tempered, she revels in it.
Snape's Occlumency lessons do little to pander to her temper, it only makes her angrier. Through sheer willpower alone she's managed to keep him away from Rhaegar's secret, even going so far as to throw up what she hears every time the dementors near. Both of them had been exhausted after that session, but so far, Harry has kept the Ravenclaw's secret. She intends to keep it that way.
OWLs near for Harry, and upon the final NEWT exam, something magical happens.
Weasley Wizarding Wheezes happens.
It's a show of showering sparkles, thunderous bangs and glitzy decorations.
Three days after the spectacle the swamp still remain outside of Umbridge's office. Flitwick has attempted to remove it, but everyone is aware he's not tried very hard to do so. Hell Rhaegar could probably remove it himself, but no one is really inclined to offer the Pink Toad any help. Even the Slytherins who she attempts to cater to are getting sick of her.
It's a blessing when one day she steps into the Forbidden Forest chasing after a trouble maker and is never seen again.
Rhaegar's rather certain that Rhaella didn't eat her -she's got a delicate palate for a dragon apparently- so what happened to her is anyone's guess.
When the dream comes, Harry doesn't hesitate to gather the closest of POR together, and they head off to the Department of Mysteries. Sirius is all she has left, her only family, and she will do anything, give anything to save him.
Out of everyone, it is only she, Luna and Rhaegar that can see the Thestrals, but they complete their job.
They arrive at the Ministry of Magic and descend into the bowels of the place, making their way through the maze with haste in their steps.
It's a trap though, and they all eventually end up duelling against Death Eaters around what she later learns is called the Veil of Death, an ominous name indeed. The Order arrive, saving them all from getting killed instantly, and things start to look good.
Harry has beaten back Lucius Malfoy and she's brimming with confidence. But the Bellatrix Lestrange fires a spell towards Sirius, who cannot dodge left into another spell, or right into the sinister curtain. Harry screams, reaches for her godfather.
And then Rhaegar is there, catching the spell on the edge of Whitefyre and sending it crashing into one of the Death Eaters, who crumples to the ground like a puppet with his strings cut.
Rhaegar advances, and Harry covers for him with spellfire, Sirius joining in the second he recovers from his shock.
Rhaegar manages to take Bellatrix's wand-hand before he's distracted by another Death Eater, and Harry gives chase in his stead.
Because this woman was willing to take away the last person Harry can claim as family. And for that, she has to die.
Of course, then Voldemort happens.
Having destroyed Dumbledore's office in a fit of accidental magic that she personally feels is totally justified, Harry retreats to the Come and Go Room unsurprised to find Rhaegar waiting for her.
He's already been patched up by Madam Pomfrey, and out of the lot of them he probably got off with the lightest injuries. Just a nasty cutting charm to the shoulder he'd gotten while covering her mad dash for Bellatrix Lestrange.
When she walks into the room, he's inspecting it in the mirror, and Harry is far too drained to take the time to admire Rhaegar's shirtless form. That alone should be a clear indicator that something is wrong.
It's a nasty scar, deep and red, though she assumes the latter will disappear with time. The second Rhaegar notices she's in the room, he hastily pulls his shirt back on, sensibilities left over from his other life, and suddenly lots of his little ticks make sense.
Perhaps it is for that reason alone that all she has learnt passes back through her lips without any conscious thought on Harry's part.
Rhaegar is patient, he sits and listens to everything she says without a single interruption. It is only when she is done that he offers Harry his own thoughts on the matter.
"Harry, I once listened to a prophecy and became blinded to anything that did not fit within my understanding of it. Because of that inattentiveness, because of my reliance upon that prophecy and due hesitance to do what needed to be done, it has quite possibly cost my family their lives. If you wish to stand by those words, than do so with a few feet of distance between the two of you, for surely it will attempt to kick you down as soon as it gets the chance."
Harry nods, and when Rhaegar opens his arms, she steps into his warm embrace readily, trying to ignore the tears that leak from her eyes as she does so.
Life gets harder, but it still goes on.
This summer is different than the rest.
For starters she has, something, going on with Rhaegar. He tells her every day he meets up with her -at seventeen, he's now capable of apparition, and doesn't have to keep paying the fare on the Knight Bus, which adds up over time- of all that is going on, all that he is capable of sharing.
He talks of how he wakes every morning and tracks down Sirius in order to ask for his blessing on their courtship, and Harry giggles behind her hand when she hears the latest flavour of Sirius' denial. Rhaegar refuses to do much more than press a chaste kiss to her lips, which even that is a rare gift to be treasured, until he has permission.
It's cute in a way, but Harry cannot help but look upon Rhaegar and note the strength sword fighting has brought his body, cannot help but to note how much taller than her he is. It is not love, not yet, but there is certainly a burning affection held between the two of them, and Harry sometimes thinks that maybe one day, maybe one day it will be.
Summer stretches on and ends far too quickly, all at once.
Dumbledore appears halfway through, whisking her away from the Dursleys to the sanctuary that is Sirius' home. The only thing he asks of her is her aid in acquiring a new member of staff, which Harry does without hesitation.
Slughorn seems eccentric, but that is nothing new in the wizarding world, not to her. Harry's not as good with her words as Rhaegar is, but she is capable enough of getting her point across, of rousing interest in the very least. She speaks to the ex-professor of her own Hogwarts experience, of Rhaella's birth in her first year, of the Basilisk in her second year. She speaks of the Triwizard Tournament, as much as she can bare to, and how both herself and Rhaegar ran a covert operation the schooling year that has just passed. Harry speaks of Hermione intelligence, of the Weasley twins business savvy ways, of Rhaegar's sheer brilliance.
She can see, that the more she talks of her absolute love for Hogwarts, the more Slughorn remembers why he taught there, why the castle inspires such love in all that grace its halls.
He's already declaring he'll come back before Dumbledore even returns to the room, and Harry looks forwards to another schooling year.
She gets her OWL results not long after, and to her supreme surprise, she's done exceptionally well. Not Hermione level, -she's not even going to talk about Rhaegar level, that's trying to reach the moon on a pogo stick- but she's got O's in everything that matters. Even potions, though the latter is only due to Rhaegar's stubborn tutoring.
She hopes Snape is looking forwards to seeing her again, because she's going to stick it to him, given that she achieved the grade needed for NEWT level study.
Hermione's almost in tears, overjoyed that they've all done so well, and Rhaegar places a warm kiss to her cheek in congratulations.
Sirius actually snarls at the gesture, though the glimmer in his eyes suggests he doesn't mean it. Harry knows her godfather actually quite likes the Ravenclaw, and that it's all for sure. Because Sirius owes Rhaegar a Life Debt, a debt Rhaegar could have cashed in by requesting that Sirius give him approval for dating her. But he hasn't, and that has only raised his standing in the ex-convict's eyes.
His status as a free-man is still in the works; the Ministry is in turmoil, a change of Ministry after Fudge was given a vote of no confidence, and rightly so. Harry's tell all interview to the Daily Prophet, despite the way in which they vilified her the previous year, has also cleared the way for her godfather. Even if she kept Snape's name out of it, as a curtsey to Dumbledore if nothing else.
He's a free-man in all but name, though still not daring to go outside without a disguise until everything is official. Harry loves it, loves seeing his grey eyes light up with joy, a new lease of life in every bouncing step he takes. She watches him dart around Grimmauld Place, charming the walls from dull and dingy to bright and inviting colours, watches as he takes great enjoyment out of every little thing.
It's fantastic, a warm balm in the madness that is Voldemort's return, and Harry clings to it with all the strength in her body.
She and Rhaegar go and get their robes together. She's had a special order logged with Madam Malkin for several weeks now; seeing as her feet have stopped growing, Harry had felt safe in commissioning several pairs of specialist footwear, boots or deceptive looking pumps that held ballet soles. She figures it will give her the edge she needs in her spars against Rhaegar, is she can move with her usual grace and spin and twist away from his strikes. The Ravenclaw doesn't know her plan yet, assumes them simple footwear, and she plans to keep it that way.
Of course, as they enter the establishment, Harry sees that the two remaining Malfoys not currently incarcerated within Azkaban are inside. Malfoy doesn't meet her eyes, though his mother holds no such problem. Her cold grey eyes filter over Harry and Rhaegar, zoning in on their intertwining hands with lips pressed tight.
Harry sees no reason to exchange words with them, notwithstanding the short nod of greeting she offers just to be polite. She will not be pushed to act like a self-righteous hero in public, no matter what everyone assumes her to be now. She scowls at the proclamations of 'Chosen One', Rhaegar's words on prophecy hanging in her head like a lead weight.
Not because of a prophecy, but by her own merits will Voldemort fall by her hand, that she has promised herself. She'll stop him somehow, because he needs to be stopped.
Not because someone has foretold it.
If she happens to be the one to end him, then great. If it's just her pushing him back until someone can slip in and kill him off, then that works too. Harry's not too picky, as long as the Dark Lord is dealt with, she doesn't care how it all ends.
Harry looks down at the invitation with curious eyes, noting that both Rhaegar and Neville held one of their own each, having been given them not ten minutes into the train ride. Pursing her lips, Harry glances over to Luna, who hold the Quibbler upside done before her wide blue eyes.
"Will you be okay without us, Luna?"
"Oh, I'll be quite alright, Harry, the Waferrtoles will keep me company. Your Dragon Prince leaves them wherever he goes." Well, that's a new one.
Sharing a glance with Rhaegar, who returns a curious stare to Luna a mere moment later, Harry gives up in trying to understand the smaller Ravenclaw.
"If you say so, Luna. You know where to find us if you need us."
The little blonde bobs her head in agreement, humming a disjointed tune as she glances at the window, and it takes Harry a moment to realize she is reading the reflection of the Quibbler. Which, okay?
Taking Rhaegar's arm as it is offered, Harry allows the older teen to walk her to the compartment in question, while taking a moment to consider the absence of his prefect badge. Harry knew he'd turned down the role as Head Boy in favour of continuing to run POR with her as an optional club, but she'd been unaware he had also turned down the role as prefect.
Not that she will say anything on it. Harry's well aware that if Rhaegar turned down the position, it is not just to help her, but to help the student body as a whole. Her, dare she think it, boyfriend has taken to aiding the student body in way he considers most efficient, and if Rhaegar believes he will be able to aid the war effort more by helping lead POR, that so be it.
Slughorn greets them warmly, and Harry quickly finds herself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of extravagance stuffed into this one little compartment. There's correct cutlery for each dish, leaving her feeling a bit lost and copying Rhaegar in an attempt to make sure she uses the right ones.
The man himself seems completely at home in this environment, and Harry's starting to believe that his statement of being a Lord's son in his previous life isn't the whole truth. Now that she considers it, truly thinks about all the times she's considered him somewhat regal, something of a leader, she cannot help but wonder.
That thought is pushed aside however, when Slughorn starts talking to each of them about their own accomplishments. No doubt she will be saved for last, and Harry pushes down the annoyance that flares at such an idea, remembering Rhaegar's words of 'playing the game'. She's starting to understand what he meant all those years ago; perhaps someday she will be able to dance to politics as well as Rhaegar's harp.
"Ah, Mr Rhaegar Targaryen? Do you mind if I call you Rhaegar?"
"Not at all, Professor, if that is what you would prefer."
"Yes yes, I must say, I've been a bit out of touch with Wizarding England for a while, travelling you see, but when I met our lovely Harry over the summer and she mentioned your name, I just had to look you up. Is it true you have a dragon for a familiar?"
One could practically see Rhaegar's eyes lighten up a bit at the prospect of discussing his favourite subject; Rhaella.
"Yes, I've been lucky enough to have Rhaella grace my life with her presence. She's fully grown now; Professor Dumbledore was benignant enough to allow her to remain on Hogwarts land until I have the means to provide for her."
"Excellent, truly a marvel. Now don't think I didn't miss you arriving with Miss Potter on your arm, now what is the story behind that, may I ask?"
It went on in a similar vein for several hours, and it's a relief to get to Hogwarts, even more so than usual. Slughorn seems fascinated by the fact she and Rhaegar are together, -Ginny whispering under her breath that they were surely going to be Hogwarts' new powercouple- and that interest only seemed to grow when he learnt the two of them had started a school club for defence practice, allowed given Harry's prowess at it and Rhaegar's awe-inspiring OWL grades.
Before parting for their separate house tables Rhaegar had stroked her cheek and whispered that there was no way they were going to wriggle out of any more meetings, and Harry had begrudgingly seen his point. While she might hate social functions such as that, they were clearly a necessary evil if she wished to keep ahead in this war.
The declaration that Slughorn is actually a potions teacher has Harry swearing under her breath, even as Ron lets out a wail of denial, because surely Defence is going to suck this year.
Only, it is Harry's best subject. If there is one thing Snape cannot show her up in this year, it will be this. There is simply no way he can mark her down when her abilities are so well known. Still, she shares a dejected look with her fellow red-head as Hermione rolls her eyes at them.
All it all, it seems to be shaping up to another year at Hogwarts, with its projected ups and downs.
Protectors of the Realm starts up again on, now held on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. Harry and Rhaegar still keep the entrance to the Come and Go Room a secret, informing everyone that wishes to join they are to meet by the tapestry of the phoenix on the fourth floor, where they open a temporary secret passage to permit everyone entry.
The sheer number of hopefuls stalls Harry, to the point where she has to regulate Hermione and Ron to teachers of the lower years, while she and Rhaegar handle the upper years. If she just so happens to be attempting to push Hermione and Ron together, to get them to admit to their feelings to one another, then what of it?
Rhaegar watches her attempts with curious amusement flashing in his eyes, and Harry politely pretends it's nonexistent.
Lavender -bless her oblivious soul- kind of ruins that plan though, so Harry is forced back to the drawing board as Hermione grows jealous and Ron swells up with stubborn pride.
Dumbledore's lesson comes and goes, and Harry experiences the same shock of people that arrived at POR when she holds Quidditch tryouts.
Rhaegar and Hermione sit in the stands, both absorbed in a book of their own, though they look up every so often to check on them. Harry appreciates this, and maybe she even shows off a bit on her broom now that she knows Rhaegar is watching, but is she does then there is no one willing to call her out on it.
McLaggen corners her and enquires if she is really dating 'that bookish Ravenclaw', to which Harry sternly juts out her chin and confirms it. While they hadn't really gone out of their way to keep it quiet last year, it is not like the two of them hid their affections for one another. Harry's not ashamed to say that the most handsome boy in all of Hogwarts holds her hand as if it is as delicately precious as a glass family heirloom, that he runs his fingers through her hair and plays her songs whenever he feels like it.
The Keeper hopeful retreats, and then loses his position to Ron, who seems ecstatic over this recent victory.
They attend another Slugclub meeting, this time with Hermione's presence after she caught the collectors attention with her innate intelligence and go-getter attitude. It's as boring as the first one, though Harry does her best to reach out to other students and entice them to join POR. If POR just so happens to be all about opposing Voldemort, then so be it.
The Gryffindor match comes, and Harry gives a delighted laugh at the support she sees.
Because while Luna may have created a great big lion hat for herself, she also took it a step further. Rhaella's fully grown head peers over the back of the stands, wearing a matching bonnet as Rhaegar stares in stupefied wonder. No doubt he'd have been necessary to put the monstrosity upon the dragon's head, but the very fact she seems quite content wearing it clearly shocks the Ravenclaw.
Gryffindor hammer Slytherin in the best way possible, and it feels as if nothing could drag Harry's spirits down now.
They attend Slughorn's Christmas party together, and Harry wonders over why Malfoy was sulking around outside of it. She doesn't spare him much thought though, head still spinning with whatever wisdom Dumbledore is trying to impart -and why he just cannot say it all outright- and the Christmas holidays that are rapidly approaching.
With the new Minister in office, Sirius has been declared a free man, something both he and Harry have full intentions of taking advantage of. They've booked a Christmas meal and a fancy restaurant in Diagon, under a false name so no one will know Harry's going to be there until she is, and she's invited quite a few people. The Weasleys, Hermione, Neville, Luna and Dumbledore himself, though the latter was done with security in mind.
After all, Voldemort would be hesitant to attack with both herself and Dumbledore there.
Or so they hope.
The whole meal runs smoothly, and Harry soon finds herself sitting in the yard of Grimmauld Place, snow melting in her hair and Rhaegar perched upon the bench beside his. His wand dances through the air, snow before their feet shifting into formations totally foreign to Harry, and she listens with acute interest.
"-and this is the Red Keep, where I grew up."
The snow twists into an intimidating intricate structure, sitting atop a little hill, and Harry takes a moment to acknowledge Rhaegar's claims of living there. For only someone who had lived and breathed their whole life in such a fortress would be able to recall every last detail as he has done in his reconstruction here.
"It is made from pale red stone, and though not the largest Keep in the land, it is perhaps the most important."
Harry sits there for hours, listening to Rhaegar talk of his homeland, the both of them covered in warming charms. Harry's head rests upon Rhaegar's shoulders long after the sun has dipped beneath the horizon and the enchanted lanterns lit themselves. Their breaths ghost in the air before them, colourless clouds of smoke that curl away into nonexistence. It is as they sit there that Rhaegar speaks again, and Harry listens.
"Before I was reborn here, I loved a woman called Lyanna Stark, fought a war for her. Falling in love with that woman was quick, it hit with the full force of winter."
The snow whirls around them, falling in fat flakes that melt on Harry's skin and leave water droplets sticking to her cheeks.
"I had eleven years, believing I was living a life to pay recompense for loving the wrong woman. But I see now there is no right and wrong, no black or white but shades of grey instead. Eleven years to come to terms with the fact Lyanna is no longer in my life, and eleven years to move on. From there, I was distracted by the marvels of magic, hoarded away what I could so that when I return to Westeros, I will be able to better it for the good of the populous. Then, then there is you."
Harry blinks, cilia clumping together under the effects of the weather. Rhaegar's indigo eyes look upon her from beneath the shelter of thick eyelashes, a tentative smile tugging at the edges of his lips.
"It is not love yet, but the potential is there. Lyanna was like a winter storm, but what I feel for you emulates that of a morning dawn, a steady warmth that increases until the whole world is basked within it."
And he presses his lips to hers, another warm, innocent kiss before drawing away, as if what he has just said is not the most romantic thing Harry has ever heard in her life.
Horcrux. The splitting of the soul and stashing it in an object in order to remain tethered to the mortal plane. That's what Dumbledore is teaching her. Harry feels sick with the implications, the certainty that Voldemort has made more than one -dear Merlin, let it have a maximum number, please- and the knowledge that it is up to her to get the number out of an evidentially uncooperative Slughorn.
Apperation lessons happen, and Harry is the third in her class to manage it. Admittedly, she leaves behind her left ear, but once it is reattached, and Harry tries again, she succeeds without injury.
Oh, and Ron gets poisoned, nearly dies if not for Harry's own quick thinking.
That, coupled with the Katie Bell incident, has Harry's nerves jittering; it's looking round about that time for Voldemort to have another crack on her life, and now the near death experiences seem to be narrowing down upon her with each one progressively.
She gets Slughorn's memory with a little help from the Felix Felicis that Hermione won back at the very start of term, and Harry actually kisses her cheek in thanks. Having never really been one for open displays of affection, it startles practically all that see it happen, though Rhaegar's only reaction is to raise an eyebrow.
Harry simply snatches him up by the hand and they go hide along with Rhaella for the rest of the day as Harry catches the Ravenclaw up on everything that has happened in the past week. It is a peaceful moment, a moment Harry will consider to be the final one of her childhood, if she could actually call the last few years by that term.
With Rhaegar's arms wrapped around her waist, sitting sitting in his lap and just watching the world go by, it's the kind of day she will always strive to have, that is for certain.
The cave that Dumbledore takes her to is a terrifying ordeal, one that has Harry wielding every fire spell she knows, a fair few given Rhaegar's secondary fascination centres around the red flames.
Dumbledore is weak beside her, carefully pulling the ring from his finger between his bouts of delirium and sanity, pressing it harshly into her palm with pleading eyes. Harry doesn't know what he means for her to do with it -it's certainly not a portkey, that's for sure- but she slides it on beside Rhaegar's ring anyway.
Harry is the one to apperate them back to the tower, her heart in her throat and the inferi still crawling towards her with their deaddead eyes.
That's when everything falls apart.
Death Eater race into the school, let in by Malfoy -she should have been paying more attention to him- and Dumbledore stuns her.
Harry rages internally, because everyone is in danger -Luna and Neville and Hermione and Ron and oh god Rhaegar is down there- and she can't do anything about it.
She has to witness the train wreck that is Draco Malfoy the Death Eater, and then she watches Snape kill Dumbledore -she knew it, she knew he was no good, has never been any good- and she knows Dumbledore is dead the second she can move again.
And move she does.
Harry shoots up, slamming a stunner into Malfoy -oh he's going to pay for letting the Death Eaters in, that's for sure- and then she goes for Snape.
Two years of duelling and defence practice, four years of swordplay are showcased as Harry powers forwards, exchanging spells with the traitorous bastard as everyone turns to watch.
Snape is still trying to flee, and he throws dark curse after dark curse at her, but Gryffindor's Sword answers her call, goblin steel slicing though the air and catching each spell that dances towards her. Had Rhaegar never trained her, then she'd never have managed this.
But the point is, she has had training, and as she advances on Snape, she knows he knows it too. Just as the traitorous bastard knows exactly what that blade will do if she so much as nicks him with is.
Perhaps that's why he flings a spell at their audience, and Harry feels her heart stop as she notes who catches the brunt of the dark cutting curse.
"Luna!" Rhaegar and Hermione are there, all the other Death Eaters retreating, and Harry turns blazing green eyes on the Potions Professor.
His eyes go round with surprise, especially when the green -green light that has flashed through every last one of her nightmares, green light that has haunted her for years- speeds towards him. He only just manages to dodge, another Death Eater summoning the bastard towards them and then disapparating away.
Dumbledore's tomb is a white thing, purer than the wizard that now rested within it.
Harry is well aware Dumbledore was not perfect, Rhaegar had made sure of that in her second year. She still mourns for him though.
He and Sirius stand beside her, the recovering Luna just a little behind them, both males looking down upon the white tomb with two different shades of dark eyes.
It is up to her now, to collect the Horcruxes and see to their destruction. The locket, the one that so much effort went into retrieving, is in actuality a fake. A waste of time.
Fresh tears brimmed to life in her eyes when Harry discovered this, right up until Rhaegar recognised the initials. They are, after all, the very ones that rest upon the door of the room Harry has been staying in for the past two years.
Sirius refuses to believe it though, so they set that aside until they return to Grimmauld Place.
Sirius goes on ahead, given that he needs to set the wards up nice and new, potentially renew the Fidelius if he can.
Harry stands beside Rhaegar at Dumbledore's grave as everyone slowly starts to leave, the white lilies that Harry has laid at the foot of the tomb the only flowers that those of Hogwarts had agreed upon.
No one has spoken of her killing curse, though Harry highly doubt anyone would have prosecuted her for it, especially given what happened. Right now, Snape is perhaps the most hated man in all of England, and Harry wouldn't have it any other way.
She wishes she hadn't missed.
Within her hand, she holds Dumbledore's wand, a wand that McGonagall presented to her with trembling fingers and teary eyes. She rolls the aged wood between the pads of her fingers, wondering just has many duels, how many miracles of magic this wand has seen.
"He left you a task," Rhaegar says, his cold fingers wrapped up in her other hand. Their palms press against one another, cool beneath the near-summer sun, and Harry can do nothing other than to nod.
Rhaegar sighs, angling her head back to stare up at the sky, the sun catching his hair until it burns a glorious white, making the tomb before them look bland in colour.
"Everything within me wishes to do nought but protect you, Harry. This is war though, and I fear we must be placed wherever we will be more effective in order to see victory. If it ends up so that my place in that is not beside you, then know with absolute certainty that I fight with every last breath to return to your side."
His gaze finally slide over to look at her, and for the first time since Dumbledore fell before her very eyes, Harry feels something that might one day bloom into hope swell in her chest.
There is no question about it, that this is the most strained summer of her life.
She spends a meagre three days with the Dursleys, enough to renew the wards until her seventeenth birthday, before she flees for Grimmauld Place. Sirius managed to get the Fidelius up and working again, with Remus acting as the new keeper.
Harry and Rhaegar sit up Regulus Arcturus Black's bed, Sirius pacing a moat around it as he paces back and forth.
They listen to Kreacher's tale with grim faces, and when it's all over and done with, Sirius storm from the room with a face like thunder, fury crackling from his form and leaving Harry in no rush to go after him. Instead, she turns to Kreacher, looking into the eyes of an elf who has lost his most important, most beloved master.
"Can you retrieve the locket, Kreacher? I can destroy it if you do."
The elf eyes her suspiciously, as if not daring to hope if she is telling the truth, but he finally nods, disappearing away.
It is four days later that he returns victorious. Four days when they destroy another part of Voldemort's soul, and Harry revels in the success.
Three down, three to go.
"It's the same as before, rushing into marriage-"
Molly cuts off, her eyes darting over to the kitchen window that looks out onto the yard, where Harry and Rhaegar are relaxing across a picnic blanket, scheming away. No doubt plotting and planning something.
It takes him a moment to realize what Molly's getting at, and when he does, Sirius barks a laugh out, harsh and yet oh so amused.
"Oh the boy wishes. He's a good kid though, won't ask her without my go ahead. Sometimes I'm almost tempted to say yes."
Molly nods, watching as the silver haired brat tucks a stray red curl behind Harry's ear, not smiling but with a certain longing lingering within the depths of his strangely coloured eyes. The same intensity that James looked at Lily with, and while Harry's not quite in the same state, she's not that far off. The colouring is all wrong, the texture of the red hair not right, but the emotions, the emotions are almost perfect.
It makes Sirius' heart ache.
"I know they're scared and want to live their lives to the full," Molly shares quietly, watching the two of them with soft eyes, eyes that let Sirius know she considers Harry as one of her own, "but life goes on after war. I just don't want them to make mistakes in the heat of the moment."
Sirius nods, but he's rather certain neither Harry or Rhaegar will consider the other a mistake.
Molly leaves, and then an hour later, both teens return indoors, where Harry sits Sirius down and begins to outline the plan.
At first, he's furious, burning with rage at the both of them.
Letting Harry go off on her own, on some mission of Dumbledore's with no backup but that of Ron and Hermione?
He doesn't even want to hear it.
That doesn't stop Harry from continuing though, and the more she talks, the more it makes sense, which infuriates him even more.
While Harry and her team work from behind the scenes to kill Voldemort off, Rhaegar has volunteered himself to be the full frontal force that keeps the Dark Arse's attention, a distraction.
And nothing says distraction like a fire breathing dragon.
The boy's familiar, Rhaella, is currently nestled down at the Burrow, held back from attempting to find Rhaegar by a series of intricate spells by Charlie Weasley and daily visits from her silver haired wizard. Certainly that alone would keep Voldemort busy, only-
"You're going to make yourself into a massive target," Sirius says gravely, already well aware that the boy is aware of this.
The former Ravenclaw glances at him from around Harry, the girl sitting between them, and he nods in acknowledgement.
There's no other words that need to be said now, Sirius is more than aware that the boy would put himself in the line of fire for Harry, just as she would for him. This is just the confirmation.
And the next time Rhaegar asks for Sirius' blessing with their courtship, he gives it.
He's still not going to let the little bugger marry her yet though.
Dressed to the nines at Fleur and Bill's wedding, Harry sticks close to Rhaegar, well aware that after tonight, they'll be parting ways to get on with their respective roles in this war.
Her Dragon Prince -as Luna so aptly put it- stands tall beside her, looking particularly regal in what she now knows to be the colours of House Targaryen. He's gone with a classily small symbol this time, the three headed dragon curled up over the left breast-pocket in a deep red against the black stretch of material that covers his torso.
Harry herself is in a deep green summer-dress, white gold edging giving subtle highlights to her figure as the setting sun catches the wedding party in it's warm glow.
"Weddings are certainly different here," Rhaegar muses, watching Bill and Fleur have their first dance, slow and sweet.
"I'm not quite sure I want to know how weddings go down in Westeros when you say things like that," Harry admits, lips curving up into a grin when Rhaegar flicks a glance her way.
His hand is presented to her not a moment after the song ends, and Harry happily accepts, allowing the silver haired man to accompany her onto the dance floor. Rhaegar's posture is perfect as he leads her around, and Harry follows like water flowing beneath the guiding hand of a stream, graceful and fluid in her ever movement.
It's a picture perfect moment, it's the kind of thing that belongs in her photo album, right beside her own parents dancing, and Harry that yes, she could do just this for the rest of her life.
Her and Rhaegar, dancing forever, surrounding by friends and those she considers family. She never wants anything to change from this very moment, this moment that has emotions bubbling up and around in her chest, this moment that has Rhaegar's royal purple eyes completely fixated upon her.
The Death Eaters ruin that too.
Harry, Hermione and Ron run, apperating away once with Rhaegar, who kisses her hard and fast before he returns to the Burrow to mount Rhaella against their enemies.
Harry has but a second to stare at the space where he stood mere moments ago, heart beating wildly in her chest as she's forced to accept this could be the last time she sees him in a very long time indeed.
She refuses to even consider it might be the last time ever.
Hermione has packed ahead, and the trio soon find themselves hiding in one of England's many forests, sheltered by a cosy, if somewhat claustrophobic wizarding tent.
When Ron and Hermione are both asleep, Harry lays awake in her bed, desperately wishing there was some way to find out about the rest of Voldemort's Horcruxes.
Over summer, she, Sirius and Rhaegar had already gone to check on the orphanage that once housed a young Tom Riddle, but it'd been converted into an office block, so muggle Voldemort wouldn't have even graced it with his presence, never mind allowed it to hold a Horcrux.
She's certain one of them is hiding at Hogwarts.
Hogwarts holds so many good memories for Harry, it was really the beginning of her life outside of being an orphaned nobody. She doesn't doubt that Tom feels the same way.
With the surety of that idea, Harry sets it to a side and considers the rest of the Horcruxes.
Firstly, one was entrusted to the Malfoys, another's location was suppose to die with a house-elf that unexpectedly survived, but the most important part of that, is that it is a Black family house-elf. There's a trend here, Voldemort's most trusted -as much as a monster like him can trust- and the fact they're big Pureblood family, renowned for being users of Dark Magic. The Malfoys, the Blacks, and-
Harry groans into her pillows, clenching her eyes shut at the realization.
And the Lestranges.
It's not in their manor; that thing burned the ground back in 79', which meant it had to be somewhere else.
There's always the chance that Voldemort put the Horcrux in another place of meaning to him, like the cave. But Harry thinks, as a Halfblood himself, Voldemort probably finds dark humour in making the oh-so-important purebloods guard a portion of his soul.
The realization strikes her like a sharp lightning bolt and Harry tries not to whimper at the thought. And what old family does not have a vault in Gringotts?
Merlin damn it.
At least she can guess the snake that often follows Voldemort is the final one.
After all, what Horcrux would ever be more protected than right by Voldemort's side?
Draco Malfoy is quite unhappy with his current lot in life.
How stupid he had been as a child, proclaiming the Dark Lord's imminent return to all for Slytherin to hear as a tiny little first year, how silly he'd been saying it would be the best thing that could happen.
Now that monster strides around his home as if he owes it.
His father flinches whenever red eyes land upon him, as if expecting a Crucio at any moment. All the Death Eaters do.
Only his mother, Narcissa Malfoy née Black carries on as if this is nothing out of the ordinary, walking through it all without so much as a speck of dust upon her thousand galleon robes. Of course, it takes all of her acting, all of her Black upbringing, to ensure she keeps pristine, and Draco accepts that perhaps he picked the wrong parent as a role model.
Too late for that now.
He'd offered to take the food down to the prisoners, to see if they had anything to say for themselves on the location of Hariel Potter.
House-elves are useless at extracting information after all. Ollivander -Draco doesn't have the slightest clue why the old man is down here. If he's prisoner for his wand making skills, should he at least not have been put to work- and Loony Lovegood glance over at him with dull eyes, the goblin snarling at him.
None of them have any information on Potter, of that Draco is sure. How could they, when they've been captivity for two months?
"Look Loony, I know you don't know anything, I know you don't know anything, but can't you get your father to talk? Give me something to pass on to him in exchange? So they don't start chopping your fingers off to send instead?"
Yes, 'they'. He doesn't really count himself as one of them, not anymore.
Lovegood blinks at him, distant eyes suddenly oh so focused and Draco forces himself not to flinch.
"Harry's Dragon Prince won't like that."
She doesn't say anything more, and Draco scowls, throw them the food and walks back up the stairs.
He knows all about Perfect Potter's Perfect 'Prince'.
The boy who tames dragons, who the Dark Lord had considered getting onside until he realized just how involved the nameless nobody is. The goblins had refused to say squat over why they'd gifted him a sword, named him a goblin friend and were so adamant in keeping his secrets.
The private, bookish Ravenclaw had never really dropped any hints back at Hogwarts either, not really seeking anyone out aside from Potter.
He sees Potter with her Ravenclaw in his mind now, sees the older male's pale hair and regal features, and he wonders that if he'd been a little less Malfoy and a little more Draco, would she have given him the time of day too?
That thought is brought to a halt when the mansion actually shuddered, groaning, and Draco can all but feel the Eastern Wing cave in.
The Dark Lord had left earlier that day, only a hastily hissed 'Grindelwald' given any kind of indication as to where he was going. Draco's not even going to touch on that.
But if they're under attack, that monster would be a great help.
Running up the last three stairs, Draco skids to a halt at the sight before him. Order members swarm into the building as a massively large dragon Draco recognises -the one that pulled Potter and her then-Prefect Ravenclaw from the lake- is decimating half the manor, as a smaller, darker one flies above and covers it's fellow with dragonfire.
Draco can already tell what's going to happen here; the manor is going to be destroyed. Dragons are destructive enough of their own; aimed and used as an effective weapon of war, his ancestral home stands no chance.
His mother rushes over to him, at the same time silver flashes at him. Draco only just managed to dodge what would have been a decapitating swing of a sword, eyes wide and heart in his throat.
Rhaegar Targaryen stands over him, and for a moment their eyes meet.
Then, the former Ravenclaw shakes his head, and descends into the basement. This is a rescue as well as an attack.
And Draco doesn't even register on his threat scale in the slightest, that much is evident.
Looking around at the destruction that rains down around him, Draco doesn't want to ever catch the Targaryen's attention again.
He's done with the Death Eaters and with the Dark Lord.
Two months of careful, oh so careful, planning to get into Gringotts. They're nearly ready, Harry just wants to check in on Xenophilius Lovegood after the symbol she saw him wearing during Bill and Fleur's wedding.
She doesn't expect to find Rhaegar there, covered in soot and with a few bleeding gashes but most certainly alive and post-rescue.
She's been following the 'Dragon Prince's Path of Destruction' on Potterwatch over the wireless, tactics that have earned him the title of 'Undesirable Number 2', just one below her on Voldemort's most wanted list.
So when their eyes meet for the first time in two months, Harry squeaks in surprise and almost trips over the Lovegood pumpkin patch.
Looking worse for wears, Luna stands beside Rhaegar, her father almost in tears as he hovers around her, clearly quite over the moon with her return.
Harry hadn't even known Luna was missing.
"Rhaegar," she breathes when he looks to her, and she's already running to him, boots slapping against the muddy earth, "Rhaegar!"
He meets her there, arms outstretched to catch her, swinging her up and around to bring down her momentum. She ignores Hermione and Ron and the Lovegood, instead catching Rhaegar's cheeks between her hands and pressing her lips firm against his.
Rhaegar sets her back on her feet before one of his hands is threading through her hair, the other cradling the small of her back and sensation zings through Harry's body when Rhaegar's tongue grazes her lips. She surrenders to his advance without hesitation, though Ron ruins everything a mere moment later with a loud cough.
Pulling back, Harry rests her forehead against Rhaegar's shoulder, his chin tucking her in further as it comes to rest in her hair.
"Missed you," Harry grumbles, and what do you know, absence does make the heart grow ever fonder. The light rumble in Rhaegar's chest that only she can hear lets her know he rather agrees.
"The Lovegood's only have one guest room, so if you two want to sleep on beds, then you'd probably be better off in the tent."
It isn't until Hermione winks at her that Harry gets it, and her eyes go a bit round in surprise even as she smiles back at the girl.
"Okay, will do." Thanks, Hermione.
If the brunette hears her silent gratitude, she gives no indication, instead slipping into the kitchen where the scent of cooked dinner hangs heavy in the air.
That the tent beds are all doubles was not really something Harry had acknowledged before today, but now that she stands there at the entrance, it's all she can think about.
Rhaegar's beside her, and now that he's taken off the dark pullover he'd been wearing, she can see there's actually a fair amount of blood on his side.
Scowling, she carefully strips him of his shirt, wincing when she actually gets a good look at the wound. It's old, certainly not one he gained today, but it's just as likely he pulled it during his heroic rescue of Luna and whatever prisoners the Death Eaters had gathered.
"You're not in Westeros anymore, we can deal with injuries like this pretty damn easy," Harry grumbles, reaching for the beaded bag that Hermione has helpfully left behind and pulling out the relevant potion.
Rhaegar is silent as she tends to his wound, indigo eyes dark as one hand dances on the bare skin of her upper arm.
Harry's very much aware that she's only dressed in one of Regulus Black's old Quidditch shirts, very much aware that wearing green does fantastic things for her appearance.
Half-lidded eyes glance up at her, smouldering, and Harry slowly drops her wand to the side, tilting her head to accept the gentle caress of Rhaegar's hand against her cheek.
"I do plan to return to Westeros," Rhaegar says quietly, and the air rushes from Harry's lungs. Flashes of the Wizarding World scorch before her eyes, all the of the good and the bad, and Harry realizes she'd reached a decision the second Dumbledore had fallen from the tower, the very day she accepted that the Wizarding World was as bad as the muggle one.
"Then take me with you."
"Sirius would never forgive me."
"I think Sirius would like a fresh start too," Harry realizes, and yes, she can see it.
They're both disenchanted with the wizarding world, they've both been let down and abused. She'll get her vengeance on Voldemort, for her family and because he has to be stopped; then she'll leave.
"I'll never get to make you my wife if he comes with us," Rhaegar says quietly, bittersweet humour, and Harry giggles under her breath, allowing Rhaegar to pull her into his lap until she sits upon his thighs, her own shins caging them in, knees to Rhaegar's hips.
"He likes you really."
"The marry me. Once this war is done, let me marry you. I'll treat you like a queen."
"I don't want to be a queen, and I don't want to marry a king. But I do want to marry Rhaegar Targaryen, the bookish, private Ravenclaw."
He smiles, and it's a breathtaking thing, so full of warmth and heart and this is it, Harry thinks.
This is love.
Their lips meet, and Harry finally allows her hands to start exploring Rhaegar's torso, built from all of the swordplay he's practiced over the years. Rhaegar's hand on her hip, the other stroking at her ribs, and he's polite and perfect as always, but Harry wants more.
Reaching for the hem of her shirt, Harry quickly pulls it over her head, Rhaegar catching her wrist before she can throw it away.
"You want to marry me. I want to marry you, and this isn't Westeros, Rhaegar. I want this."
His head tilts to a side, strong nose brushing against her jawline and Harry tires not to shiver as he gently releases her wrist and slowly slides his fingers down to wrap through her own.
"I don't think any girl in Westeros would have said that," he breathes, breath hot against her neck and Harry arches her back slightly, heart pounding beneath her chest, bare breasts brushing against his torso.
"Yeah well, good thing I'm not from there then, isn't it?"
She can feel his smile as he hides it away in her shoulder, hands still stroking up her ribs, though each retreat and advance brings those clever fingers ever closer to her breasts.
Harry's laid out on the sheets, hips rocking as Rhaegar's fingers strum her along as masterfully as he does his harp.
Sweat beads upon her forehead, legs trembling, and Harry really doesn't want to wait much longer.
When Rhaegar next draws his fingers free, Harry moves, gracefully twisting them until Rhaegar is laid before her now, his parted lips bewraying the surprise he feels as Harry gently takes his cock in her hand.
It's a tight fit, despite the fact he's taken the time to prepare her, but it's a good kind of burn, the burn of a good workout that leaves her feeling pleased and ready for the day.
Rhaegar's fingers dig into the flesh of her thighs as Harry just rests there for a moment, growing used to the new feeling. She gives an experimental rock of her hips, eyes blowing wide an an involuntary groan escaping his lips.
Never before has she seen Rhaegar undone like this, and it fuels her almost as much as the burn between her legs.
Harry rises and falls slowly, falling into the movement, entranced.
It's not until Rhaegar's hand moves, wrapping around her back as the other remains on her thigh, that she realizes her partner in this dance has sat up, their chest's rubbing together as they move.
It's sweaty and slick, and Harry's breath comes in sharp, short pants as their lips clash against one another's. Nails dig into Rhaegar's shoulder and his own grip tightens on her in response, but Harry cannot bring herself to care.
All she knows is she's getting close and close to something, something that promises to be wonderful, and she doesn't want to stop.
"Harry," Rhaegar moans, breath catching on her name and that's all she needs to fall over the edge.
She doesn't want to get up and get on with life.
But as the sunlight leaks in through the charmed 'windows' of the tent, Harry knows she has no other option.
Laid there, resting up Rhaegar's chest, she's struggling to find the reason why she wants to finish Voldemort off, instead of just running off with him to Westeros. Oh sure, they'd need to prepare equipment and provisions, but surely they could manage that easier than taking down Voldemort?
It's a fleeting fancy, but Harry entertains the idea for a few minutes anyway, lazily drawing circles on Rhaegar's chest with one finger. There's a vicious looking love bite resting upon his right collarbone that now, in the light of day, she feels both guilt and pleased to see.
A momentary pause to assess her own situation has her realizing that while everything from the waist down to the knees up aches, there's only a very muted throbbing on the side of her neck. Nothing some crafty spellwork won't fix.
"Good morning," Rhaegar whispers, voice hoarse with sleep, and Harry smiles in the expanse of pale skin that her face rests upon.
Yeah, this is a good morning.
They say their goodbyes swiftly, the war not allowing for anything more. The one night they've been able to steal is all they've been able to get.
Harry kisses Rhaegar, wishes him good luck and promises she'll stay alive. exchange, he offers his word that as long as there remains breath in his body, he'll return to her.
It's all very sweet, and very romantic, and Harry falls that bit more for him.
Hermione's smug grin as they apperate away lets her know she'll be getting a talk later on though.
Three weeks later, they break into Gringotts.
It doesn't go smoothly, Harry having to transfigure her two friends into small mice, which she pockets after spelling them asleep. She sneaks into Gringotts under the invisibility cloak, the Imperio sinfully helpful with getting the goblins to open doors. The Thief's Downfall end up with Hermione and Ron ripping her pockets apart as they return to normal size, and things remain rocky from there.
The cup itself is a problem to reach, but they manage, and they escape upon the back of a half-blind dragon.
It's thanks to Rhaegar that she knows just where to rest for the duration of the flight -she'll have to ask him about the reports of a second black dragon he's managed to gain when they next see each other- and they manage to leave without any major losses.
The hissy fit Voldemort throws in retaliation -breaking into Gringotts isn't exactly something she can keep quiet- is bad enough to knock her out for a few minutes.
As they find the Diadem in Hogwarts, Harry is grateful for her forethought of putting Ginny and Neville in charge of POR for the year, for telling them of the Room of Requirement. It makes it easy for them to slip into the castle, given their supply line with Dumbledore's brother.
It's as she's bringing Gryffindor's Sword down to bare upon the diadem that Harry realizes where this 'Elder Wand' that Voldemort searches for is.
If Grindelwald lost it to Dumbledore, and then Dumbledore left her his wand in his will- but it won't work for her, it was Snape that killed him.
Draco disarmed him first though, Harry recalls as she looks down at the wand.
And she stunned Draco.
Is it her's after all?
Staring at the stone, the ring that Dumbledore had pressed into her palms mere moments before his death, Harry bites her lip, secluded away from the rest of the student body.
She'd seen two dragons landing in the courtyard before the teachers had raised the wards, and she knows it's only a matter of time before Rhaegar finds her. If this is what it is; she needs answers.
Thumbing the stone once, twice and then thrice, Harry closes her eyes.
When she opens them, Dumbledore's stood there and his face is sad.
She's a Horcrux.
She's a Horcrux and she's going to die.
Rhaegar finds her as she's heading to the Great Hall.
"The snake, can I leave it to you? I have something else I need to do, before I confront Voldemort once and for all."
Her Dragon Prince nods, accepting Gryffindor's Sword as she presents it to him.
"I can do that."
"And… And if I don't make it, humour me," Harry snaps before the Targaryen can cut her off, "if I don't make it please take Sirius with you anyway. He'd have fun over there, this place would have too many bad memories for him."
It will have too many bad memories for them.
"You have my word," Rhaegar accepts, though his brows are slowly drawing together, and if she doesn't hurry this up he's going to figure it all out, "and if I fall, will you find what remains of my family and aid them?"
"If I survive, I promise."
Harry sets off to find Voldemort, shrouded beneath her cloak.
Betrayal and fury tastes like ash in her mouth -Dumbledore was always setting her up to die- and it pains her to think how Rhaegar will takes this when he realises what will happen.
For all her Gryffindor bravery, she's a coward when it really matters, not able to look the one she loves in the eye and tell him she's going to die.
The stone summons the shades of her parents, Lily Evans and her soft red hair, James Potter and his sparkling hazel eyes.
They stare at one another for a moment, the cloak no longer a barrier, they know she's there.
"Oh Harry, we're so very proud of you."
"My precious little girl," James' hand ghosts over her cheek, leaving a chill, and Harry is too cold to find the tears to cry.
"You're so very brave, my little Princess," Lily says around a hiccup, James' smile bittersweet as he stands beside her.
"You've found a lovely boy, we'd loved to have met him, even if your father would have spent his time hazing him."
The serious of the situation prevents James from scowling as Harry walks further into the forest.
"I love you two," Harry breathes, "thank you for giving me a chance at life."
And she throws off the cloak.
Voldemort's smile is a sharp, cruel thing, the Death Eaters around him laughing, Pettigrew cowering off to a side, Bellatrix with her false hand, gold to the silver of the rat's, laughing in her madness.
The Malfoys are conspicuously absent, and Harry wonders if they have fallen to the might of Rhaegar and Rhaella and the other dragon.
Then, she realises she doesn't quite care, doesn't want to spend her last moments thinking of the Malfoys, of all people.
Instead, she thinks of Ron's humour, of Hermione's wit, of Sirius' barks of laughter. She thinks of Rhaegar's loving smile as the green rushes upon her.
The surrounds are white when Harry opens her eyes.
She sits up, noticing half-heartedly that she is naked. If this is the 'next adventure' and Dumbledore describes it, Harry thinks it's a very boring.
She'd give anything to go back, back to Hermione and Ron, back to Sirius.
Back to Rhaegar.
"I must say, this isn't something I expected."
Harry pauses at the voice, feminine and soft but a heavy accent that is so familiar.
Twisting, Harry stares up at the woman before her, feeling her cheeks burn with embarrassed heat. She looks radiant, long hair of shining silver blonde, and soft lilac eyes. It doesn't take Harry much to work out just who stands before her, and she feels clothing finally settle over her as her embarrassment reaches new levels.
The woman is as lovely looking as her son, grace in her every movement as she takes a seat beside Harry and smiles.
"It is a very nice surprise indeed, to meet the woman who has stolen my son's heart so successfully."
"Ah, it's nice to meet you, Mrs-"
"No, sweet child. Please, just call me Rhaella, or mother. That is how you would have addressed me if I were gifted the chance to look after my Rhaegar again."
Harry smiles, and it is a sad thing, looking up from beneath her eyelashes at the beautiful woman that is Rhaegar's mother. She wears death well, Harry thinks.
A long, pale arm draws her into a hug, and Harry's made aware of just how much she lacks when compared against Rhaegar's family. His mother is tall, all bountiful womanly curves and stunning features.
"Do not doubt yourself, Harry. Our appearances may differ, but you wear an exotic brand of beauty that has drawn Rhaegar's eye. That I promise you. I wish I could regale you with tales of Rhaegar forever, but time is as ever short. You do not have to stay, sweet child. I will take the soul shard on, and you can return to my son. All I ask is that you look after him, that you love him with all of your heart, as I once did."
Lips press to her forehead, and Harry's tears are matched by the happy little streams that trickle down Rhaella's cheeks.
"I can go back?"
"Yes, yes you can. Tell Rhaegar I love him, I will always love him. And I am so very glad to meet you, Harry, and I can say I would have loved to have you as a daughter."
There is one more kiss to her brow, and Harry hiccups as the white world fades away.
When Harry wakes, she's cradled in Hagrid's massive arms. Neville has almost finished his empowering speech, and Harry feels pride swell in her chest for her fellow Gryffindor.
Peeking through her eyelashes, Harry stares at Rhaegar, who is silent besides Neville, emotionless. Whitefyre hangs from his belt, Gryffindor's Sword in his grip. Only now, the blade shines with a new engraving; 'Gallantheart'.
Rhaegar's eyes are focused solely on Voldemort, and Harry can see the burning hatred that hides behind that sea of indigo before they flicker over to her. Harry cannot jump up right now, she cannot leap into action until the opportune moment.
But, she can give Rhaegar a sign.
She lets her eyes open -praying no one will notice- and she offers him a cheeky wink. He shows absolutely no indication of having seen her, and yet she can almost sense the relief curling off him.
So when Voldemort finishes his big rant, when he pauses dramatically to see who will crumble, Harry rolls up and out of Hagrid's stunned arms, standing between Hogwarts and Voldemort, as always.
Wide red eyes meets her's and Harry offers a quick bow, pulling out the Elder Wand that he has been searching for, the wand that has been hidden in her pocket all this time.
She offers a showy bow, exhausted but still high off of her talk with Rhaella, and grins at her opponent.
"I thought you'd have learnt the last time, that curse just doesn't work for me."
And then they clash.
Voldemort falls, for while the Elder Wand seldom fails its owner, it will never fails its master.
Sitting in the courtyard, the aftermath of battle around her, Harry stares into the rising sun with tired eyes. Her arms feel weak, perhaps it is her brush with death catching up with her.
Everyone has left her well alone now that all the Death Eaters are beaten, now that there are no more enemies to fight. Hagrid had blathered on about seeing her hit with the curse, seeing her 'die', and they all seem to assume she needs some alone time.
Harry thinks back on her meeting with Rhaella, Rhaegar's mother, as she watches the woman's namesake lazily soar through the skies above her head.
The other dragon, black as night and not even half the size of Rhaella, trails after her, eager and happy in the dawning sunlight.
"I named him Regulus," Rhaegar says as he wearily seats himself beside her, legs hanging into the depression someone blasted into the floor. Their calves brush against one another's, Rhaegar's hand coming to rest over her own as Harry watches the dragons dance.
"After Sirius' brother?" She questions quietly, to which he nods.
They sit in silence a bit long, Harry's grip tight on Rhaegar's hand, as they stare at the rising sun. The silence is thick and heavy in the late October air, and Harry cannot take it any longer.
"I was a Horcrux. It was in my head."
The world is still for a moment, and then Rhaegar draws her into his side, so that her head can rest upon his shoulder.
"And to see Voldemort die, you sacrificed yourself."
Harry nods, Rhaegar's dust covered shirt absorbing the few tears that leave from the corner of her eyes.
"Words cannot express how very glad I am that you did not stay dead."
A watery laugh is the only response Harry can offer him for the moment, their hand's adjoined. Rhaegar smells of soot and smoke, but of the kind that comes from a warm heath. He smells like comfort and safety, his cheek resting upon her head feels like home.
"I met your mother."
Rhaegar straightens in surprise, Harry tilting her head back so she can get a better look at the delicious surprise upon his face.
"My mother? Truly?"
"Yeah. She asked me to tell you that she loves you, that she'll always love you. And for me to look after you when we go to Westeros, of course."
Rhaegar's smile is something beautiful, new and precious in the face of this peaceful time, in this new stretch of their lives, and Harry feels one of her own crinkling across her lips.
And there Rhaegar is, holding out a somewhat battered bouquet of wildflowers in his other hand that he'd clearly collected before sitting down beside her, and Harry feels tears -happy tears, joyous tears- spring to life in the corner of her eyes.
Drops chapter and flees for holiday.
Seriously though, this idea has been in my head for absolute ever it seems, and it would not just leave me alone. I don't know if I'll ever get around to writing what happens as Rhaegar and Harry arrive in GoT land or even how they get there, I mean I plan to, but if I can actually get it right is a different matter.
Regardless, here's Rhaegar the Wizard for you. (Please remember this is only Part 1, and thus, not all questions have been answered)
(There was only suppose to be 10,000 words, what happened?) I spent the past week writing all of this; the entire thing was wrote along to the Foo Fighters' 'Best of You', Fifth Harmony's 'That's My Girl' and Zac Efron's 'Ladies' Choice'. Just thought I should mention that.