Duelling with a Glass Sword
"Marriage?" Sirius Black snaps, prowling up and down the hallway of Grimmauld Place with an attempt of a scowl on his face.
Rhaegar Targaryen, the Prince of Dragonstone reborn, watches him go with emotionless eyes, even though he already knows what he wishes to hear.
He needs to marry Harry, not out of misplaced sensibilities given that he has already had his way with her -though perhaps it is correct to say they had their way with each other?- but because he cannot live without her. Not unless he wishes to deal with a permanent ache in his chest at the least.
Two days have passed since the so aptly named 'Battle of Hogwarts', which both he and Harry had spent hiding in the Come and Go Room, recovering from their ordeal. Sleeping. They had done nothing but sleep, eat and relax for the first time in months, and it had been truly delightful. Harry fits perfectly into his arms, short enough to tuck her head beneath his chin, slim enough for him to wrap his arms right around her waist and shelter her from all that would further harm her.
It's a taste of absolute perfection and he's determined to cling to that feeling for as long as he can, to orchestra all that he can to see it last forever. She's wonderful, growing from a scrawny, scrappy little thing to this beautiful, capable woman that he cannot picture absent from his life.
Elia had been duty; not lovers or passionate with one another, but tentative friends fulfilling their roles within the kingdom to ensure peace between the lands. They had come together with no real love, but had developed a steady affection for one another throughout their time together.
But, Harry is not Lyanna either.
The lady wolf of the North had been a whirlwind, passionate and free in her every move. He had thrown himself head first into the fantasy of taking a second wife for love, of living out his days with the woman who made his blood boil at their every interaction.
With Harry though, it is more of a complete relationship than he'd had with either of the two women that had once been the centre of his life.
Whereas Elia was a gentle softness, Harry is a steady rock of comfort, unmoving by his side and standing upon equal ground beside him in every challenge they've faced so far.
Where his interactions with Lyanna had his blood boiling, his every waking moment in this world with Harry has his blood simmering, regardless of her physical presence or not.
Whereas he can see Lyanna and Elia in his past, he can picture only Harry stood beside him as he returns to King's Landing, as he sits upon the Iron Throne it is only she he can imagine by his side.
Elia was an affectionate friend, Lyanna a passionate dreamer, but everything he needs; it's all Harry.
She is everything.
Elia had been a companion, Lyanna a passionate joining that burnt out too quickly. It would have never lasted; the She Wolf had no patience for the trials of a Southern Lady, never mind that of a princess. While that had appealed to him, the concept of escapism with the winter lady, his sense of duty would have snuffed the flame on its own, given time. A short but intense affair.
A part of him shall always love Lyanna.
But it is like a beloved book, the story over and while he shall always look upon its tale with fond memories, it does not hold him enthralled.
No, it is the novel he now writes, with Harry as its heroine and love interest, that he falls deeper and deeper into. It is not a tale he wishes to escape until it is complete, until the happy ever after marks the pages.
It is a book he fully intends to finish.
Rhaegar has always been about his duty to the kingdom. He dares not wonder what would have become of him had Harry opted to remain in Britian, had she asked him to remain. Because his entire life here has been spent working towards a return, searching for a way back to Westeros.
Right now, if he considers Harry asking him to remain here -healthy and happy and peacefully with her- he's not certain he could deny her.
"Are you even listening?"
Sirius' voice draws him back to the present conversation and Rhaegar recalls that he is trying to talk the elder male into allowing him the honour of marrying the closest thing he has to a daughter. Given how much Sirius Black loves Harry, it's clear she's his daughter in all but blood and name, which is why having the man's approval, not just of the wedding but of Rhaegar being the man entrusted with Harry's wellbeing, is so important.
"My apologies. I was just justifying to myself why your approval is necessary, not just for Harry, but for myself as well."
"Enlighten me, what's your brilliant, Ravenclaw mind come up with," Sirius snarks, head tilting to a side and challenging smirk upon his face.
He's being goaded, Rhaegar realises.
Harry's pretty face, her brilliant smile in the photograph that hangs upon the wall is enough for him to push forwards regardless.
"Because you are the closest thing to family Harry has, the only family she will acknowledge. And should I be lucky enough to marry her, then you will also become family to me. Harry loves you tremendously, so I will not rest until I have your approval."
Perhaps that is laying it on a little thick, but Rhaegar's words are sincere.
The other man seems to know it too, for his face crumples in irritation and what Rahegar hopes to be begrudging fondness.
"Also," he begins tentatively, well aware this could be the thing that tips Sirius Black over the edge, that gives him the incentive to snatch up his goddaughter and flee the country, to hide from Rhaegar forever, "I believe I should tell you of my true origins."
As expected, Sirius does not take it well.
Rhaegar books into the Leaky Cauldron for the night and hopes the man will be more amiable come morning.
The water is scalding hot upon his thighs, a comforting curl of warmth that embraces his lower ribcage as he declines back. Waves of white degrade into molten silver as his hair soaks up the liquid, and Rhaegar allows his eyes to flutter close, exhaling.
The scented bathing products -bath bombs, an exceptionally entertaining name for a curious little commodity- come from the muggle side of London and he is honestly glad for it.
A wizarding bath bomb would have no doubt done a little more damage than simply dye the water purple as it released its lavender scent.
Flexing his toes in the large bath, Rhaegar allows for a satisfying sigh to pass between his lips even as his mind spins.
It has been three days since he confessed the truth to Sirius Black, his hopefully soon to be good-father.
As such, it's been three days since he last saw the man, though the numerous empty bottles upon the kitchen table are a distinct indication of his continued existence. Unless the man has managed to drink himself into a stupor, which given that he appears to have switched his water out for wine, would not be outside the realm of possibilities.
Rhaegar hopes not.
Even if he were not connected to Harry as her godfather, Rhaegar can say with absolute certainty he would still get along with the man, would still favour his company over others. For while he is loud and childish, he is also loyal to a fault, had given up wealth and privilege to be by the side of the one he called brother. Had he trained as a knight, Rhaegar would have welcomed him into the Kingsguard in a heartbeat.
As it currently stands, he has extended the invitation for Sirius to join himself and Harry as they venture back to Westeros.
Sinking deeper into the water, until the surface laps at the meeting of his torso and arms, Rhaegar forcibly turns his mind away from the current status of Westeros in order to focus on a more pressing matter. How he is to return to his homeland.
While he has a tentative plan drawn up, the skeleton of a ritual divined to return him to his homelands, it is not one he has been given the chance to flesh out yet. Certainly, it is a task that he shall centre himself to in the coming weeks, and he can only hope he obtains his answer whole he is still young and full of life.
A gentle knock on the door teases Rhaegar's eyes open, and he glances up to find Harry leaning against the frame, fiery mane of red curls spilling over one tanned shoulder. Her colouring is quite something, certainly magic must be involved to ensure her skin ended up that tanned against the flame that tops her head. He's never seen a redhead unaccompanied by pale skin, just as he has never before witnessed eyes so very green.
"Mind if I join you?" She asks, tilting her head to a side questioningly even as she locks the door, already well aware that he cannot deny her a single thing. Not now, not when he has seen her lay so still within Hagrid's arms, skin an unnatural pallor as the giant's tears soaked into the thick cotton of her shirt.
He takes the time to watch the show Harry so blatantly offers. There is nothing intensely sexy about it, no swaying hips, no slow removals of fabric.
It's just Harry, shrugging off the cotton shirt that she sleeps in, an old worn one flinched from his draws when his back was turned no doubt. She wears it far better than he ever could though, Rhaegar thinks. The fabric, when donned, falls to mid thigh, just enough to tease despite the fact he has witnessed all that Harry has to offer him.
Material hits the floor and one tanned leg straddles the side of the bath, toes dipping into the water that has since cooled to a more manageable temperature.
This is another thing that Rahegar has steadily grown used to, though it will in the odd instance strike him as strange and exotic. The rituals for beauty in this world are quite different from his own.
Braids are out here and though accessories do prevail, the vast majority of hair is worn down and free. Any hair aside from that upon the head -while not quite frowned upon- is undesirable for women, even the eyebrows have to be 'shaped'. Rhaegar admits, Harry's brows do form a nice arch, highlighting the gorgeous green of her eyes, and allow for better expression to cross her dainty features.
Running the pads of his fingers up the slim curve of tanned muscle before him, Rhaegar allows his hand to slowly slide back down until his thumb is tracing gentle circles into the bone of Harry's ankle. The lack of hair on the legs is a strangely enjoyable concept too, creating a delicious friction whenever their limbs entangle with one another.
"Permission to come aboard?" Harry jests, lips curving up at the corners and Rhaegar acceptingly shuffles over to allow her the room.
The water welcomes Harry as well as Rhaegar himself, embracing all of the skin she offers. Her legs stretch over his own, their ribs pressed together as his arm comes around her back to settle a hand upon the swell of her hip. She takes a moment to dip her head back into the water, time which Rhaegar spends admiring the enticing column of her neck.
This was something he never got to do with Elia or Lyanna. To just be, just exist alongside someone else. There was always an agenda, always a reason to sit beside someone, a need to discuss duties to the realm or weave dreams of romantic escapism. There was no sitting to just enjoy one another's company, just because he wished to.
Harry sits with her head upon his shoulder, wet curls of red fanning out across the pale expanse of his skin as she sits in his lap. Her hands are still cold, not yet adjusted to the heat of the water and it creates a startling contrast as her fingers linger across his abdominals.
"Comfortable?" Questions Rhaegar as he gently shifts his leg about under her, toes wiggling in an attempt to get the feeling back.
Harry hums, a lazy, low sound that almost fails to be heard from between her sealed lips.
There's nothing sexual about the way they sit so close in the bath, and it's so very different from what would be expected in Westeros. In a land that simplifies marriage as another method for political gain, Rhaegar can think of scant few couples that would take the time to relax in one another's company like Harry and he do.
While Elia was a friend, this would have been far too uncomfortable for her, and Lyanna had been all about the passion, she'd have been unable to remain calm for this long.
Sometimes, he wonders if she was more in love with the idea of their romance, rather than the actual thing.
Sometimes, he wonders if that was what he himself favoured too.
That is how he knows what he has with Harry is real, how he can sit here with her wrapped in his arms and know that even if this moment does not end in sex, he will still be satisfied. Because he does not question if this feeling has come about from an ideal, he just knows it's real.
The same way he knows the sun rises in the east, that the sky is blue, that Harry's skin carries the enrapturing scent of warmth and health and home.
He just knows that what he has with Harry is right.
Languidly, the hand on his chest slowly begins to rise, coming to rest upon his shoulder as the small thumb attached mirrors the circles his own draw into Harry's hip.
Tilting his head towards the woman, Rhaegar catches the kiss she'd been about to bestrew to his jawline with his lips instead, and his interest in activities other than just sitting and relaxing start to grow.
There's another thing he didn't quite experience with Elia or Lyanna, Harry's kisses are neither understandably hesitant, nor passionately swift.
No, Harry moves as if she has all the time in the world, as if she'd rather be nowhere but right here. She knows they have the time to take things slow, and she uses that time, peppering kisses along his jawline, down his neck to suck at a tender spot just above his collarbone.
Hand tightening momentarily upon her hip, Rhaegar slides his grip down to the curve of Harry's thigh and guides it until she straddles him, legs caging his own in as she sits atop his lap. Her fingers are caught in his hair, and Rhaegar complies when she angles his head to a side, lips sliding together once again.
Harry rocks her hips forwards, their naked sexes brushing against one another, and they both let out a startled laugh when she nearly slips to a side at the movement.
Rhaegar forgets about teasing one breast with his free hand, instead steadying Harry by resting it atop her other hip as she finds a position that won't have them sliding around on the slippery basin of the bath.
Her eyes dance when she looks back at him after a quick inspection of the tub, amusement clear despite the desire that darkens those irises.
Clasping at his shoulder with one hand, Harry reached between them for his cock, giving a playfully gentle stroke, and even as Rhaegar gasps his own hand finds the folds of flesh wet with more than just water.
They tease for a moment, breaths mingling together as Harry's hips rock closer and closer.
Soon enough, she is sinking down upon him until they're as close as two people can get, foreheads pressed together and chests rising and falling in a state of disharmony, skin slick with water and sweat.
Harry's heat is gloriously tight around him, a wonderful contrast to the feather light grip she has on his shoulders that only increases when she begins to move.
One hand on her hip and the other wrapped around her back, Rhaegar moves in synchrony with the red head in his lap, pressing kisses to her torso until she gives a delighted laugh. Harry looks enchanting, vibrant wet curls framing her face and shoulders, cheeks flushed even against that tan, and she smells just as intoxicating.
A groan escapes his lips and she eagerly swallows it with her own mouth, little panting exhales the only cool thing against his skin. He's not going to last much longer, and upon realising this Rhaegar releases his grip on Harry's hip in order to better use his fingers to tease her the rest of the way to orgasm.
Book resting upon Harry's shins, Rhaegar slowly strokes at the stretch of leg closest to him, eyes fully upon the tome his redhead had pulled out from her family vault. Every last word of said writing focused upon the concept of dimensional travel.
Harry's laid across the sofa, legs in his lap and her wand dancing through the air. Tiny little lights flicker around overhead, twisting and twirling into different constellations, forming and dissolving in quick succession. She watches her magic work with a lazy fixation, wand absentmindedly dancing alongside the little galaxy now in the room.
Things are peaceful, the kind that would leave Rhaegar questioning if his return to Westeros is what he truly wants. It would last a mere moment though before the thought is crushed under memories of his homeland, and a duty weighing more than Atlas' burden.
That is another thing to consider, did he wish to take books of this world, it's mythology, history and ideas with him? The philosophy is something he finds truly delightful to read, certainly thought provoking. Man's state and reason for existence, it is not something he thought to question before.
His train of thought is broken as Sirius stumbles out of the fireplace, hastily brushing the soot from his jacket as he does so. He looks a tad shocked, and there's a bruise shaped suspiciously like a fist around his left eye socket.
Harry must see it too because she shoots to her feet, throwing his exceptionally interesting book away in the process, and Rhaegar takes a moment to bemoan its temporary loss.
Showing just how distracted she is by Sirius' roughed-up appearance, Harry only absentmindedly returns the book she accidentally launched, the slight lingering touch of her fingers the only apology.
"What happened?" Harry asks with obvious worry in her eyes, tilting her godfather's head to a side and grimacing at the darkening flesh.
Oh that is quite the splendid bruise.
Now quite aware that he wouldn't be getting any more of this book read, at least until this problem is solved, Rhaegar gets to his feet and makes his way over.
The words that spill out of the elder male's mouth have Rhaegar pausing before he can even close half the distance between himself and Harry.
"Excuse me?" Harry tentatively asks, skin above her nose puckering together as her eyebrows twitch, lips remaining parted as she finishes speaking. Rhaegar would quite like to hear that sentence again too.
"I told Remus we were leaving and he punched me."
That, that is what he thought he'd heard the first time.
Embarrassingly enough Rhaegar's voice cracks as he speaks, and they both notice. While Harry is polite enough to ignore his blatant surprise with a slight smile upon her lips, Sirius breaks into a mad grin. Or as wild an expression as one can get with a rapidly swelling eye.
It is only with a sharp nudge of the elbow from Harry that he does not deluged the room with teasing remarks and instead expands upon his previous statement.
"I went and told Remus we're leaving for your honeland, told him that this place has too many bad memories for us, that we want a fresh start."
The silent ringing of absolute truth that Sirius speaks with has Rhaegar almost wishing he has a little less self control, just so that he can shuffle to release the anxiety those words bring him. He could very well be leading the two of them to what would be their early deaths.
But he also knows from a single glance at their faces whenever the topic arises in conversation that they would never allow him to leave without them.
"Also told Moony not to worry and that even though I'm taking the Black blood money with me, I'm going to see the Lupin family will never have to worry financially again."
That, that is probably the reason for the punch.
Remus Lupin is a good man, one that would never begrudge Sirius or Harry the chance to start over in a new land. It would sting at his pride to take money from his friend though.
Somehow, Rhaegar doubts Sirius will give the man much of a choice but to accept.
"So you're coming with us?" Harry asks, joy evident on her face.
"Yep. I'll even agree to this marriage rubbish, under one condition."
"Name your task and I shall meet it," Rhaegar states seriously, even though a jolt of something warm and familiar surge through his innards. Hope? Excitement? Anticipation certainly.
This is Sirius agreeing to allow him Harry, even though they do not need his permission. This world is so drastically different from his own, and all those mannerisms and ideals from Westeros still live on within his soul.
Even if Harry does not care if Sirius will give his approval -he likes you anyway, she says- Rhaegar does.
He wants this man to accept him as family.
Not as a replacement father figure, no. While if he had been born the son of Sirius he would undoubtedly been loved, Rhaegar would have grown up wild, sense of responsibility absent.
So for all that his childhood, the both of them, were unhappy things, it has shaped him into the man he is now. A man perhaps worthy of Harry, a man determined to reclaim his kingdom and fix all of the damage done to it, both in his absence and during his father's reign.
"I don't care if it's a small wedding, but it happens here, in England."
That, that is something Rhaegar can agree to without the slightest hint of hesitation.
He has no desire to marry Harry in Westeros when he could do so here; weddings in England are far more dignified. For example, the bedding ceremony does not exist here, and it is completely up to the bride and groom when the consummate.
Not that such a thing matters to both himself and Harry.
If his mother truly is looking down upon him as Harry claims, Rhaegar hopes she will forgive him.
"I have no problem with this; Harry?"
He knows that right there, by asking Harry's opinion, he has truly won over Sirius Black.
It's in the way the man's barely tensed shoulders slump ever so slightly, the slackening of the skin around his eyes and the begrudging smile.
Green eyes watching them with an exquisitely fond expression, Harry gives a pleased sigh and brushes down her loose fitting jumper.
"I better go find a white dress then."
In all honesty, Harry has never actually thought she would get to this stage.
Stood at the alter, Sirius both grim and swelling with pride beside her. Out in the audience, she spots Professor McGonagall already dabbing at her eyes, Flitwick right beside her.
Her wedding is to be quick and small, just how she has always pictured it. Surrounded by those closest to her, not a droning long service that would leave her bored to tears, but with just enough personal touch to make it something really special.
Rhaegar had been quite insistent upon what they would say for their vows, and Harry isn't too bothered about the words as she is the meaning.
That she will soon have someone that is irreplaceably hers.
Of course, Sirius is her god-father, but she has plans to find him a girl at some point, she won't be the only woman in his life. From here on out, the only females Rhaegar will give as much attention to as herself, will be any daughters they have together.
The sheer concept of having someone tied to her in such a way, so blatantly family, has Harry's heart hammering in her chest, a thunderous beat that threatening to drown all sound out of her mind.
Rhaegar is already hers, as she is already his, this just makes it official.
There's a low sniffle from the pews, Mrs Weaslsy no doubt. Harry hadn't even thought not to invite the woman, though she had put her foot down when the redhead matriarch tried to muscle in on the wedding planning. That had been something between herself, Rhaegar and the ever helpful Kreacher.
Not too far from where Harry stands are Hermione, Luna and Ginny. They each look radiant in their chosen dresses, Hermione's a pastel pink, Ginny's a almost Gryffindor red and Luna in a blue worthy of Ravenclaw, though she has added her own little flair with a variety of dozen carvings that hang from her hair.
Harry herself is dressed in white, though her jewellery give hints to the delicate green and gold colouring that Rhaegar bestowed her with upon the gift of her ballet shoes and house words all those years ago.
Rhaegar himself looks magnificent in the Targaryen red and black dress robes, stood tall and proud, though there is a softness in his gaze as he steals glances at her.
The words flow over Harry as she stands there in a daze, still quite detached from all of this.
For a girl who grew up with nothing, barely standing beneath the oppressive, crushing weight of the Dursleys, Harry has always dreamed of a family but never quite been able to picture it.
Rhaegar but two feet from her side, the image now comes with startling clarity; it has every time she has thought on it for the past year.
She's only seventeen, Rhaegar a month off of turning nineteen, and they're so young.
But Harry can see it.
Children, for there will be more than one, but the number fluctuates with every daydream. Sometimes two, sometimes nine, or anywhere in between. There are daughters, there are sons, they have red hair, silver hair, green eyes and purple eyes, their skin a sliding range from pale to tan.
The only thing that remains the same with each babe she imagines is the sheer amount of love Harry wishes to pour into them.
With complete certainty, she knows that this is what she wants.
It seems like both forever and a mere second before they are turning to each other, Rhaegar cupping her cheek with one palm-his hand is sweaty with nerves- and his lovely indigo eyes focused solely upon her.
"With this kiss," he breaths, eyes half lidden and the sun striking down upon the crown of his head, "I pledge my love."
And it's soft and tender, like something straight out of a fairytale but with the victorious taste of reality all at the same time.
As they part slightly, Harry whispers the same words in return, and never has she spoken a sentence that she meant with every inch of her heart than the very one that leaves her throat right then.
There's cheers and clapping from around them, but Harry can not bring herself to look away from those dark eyes, cannot focus past the cold skin that brushes against her own. There will be far more for her to face than just Rhaegar's beautiful visage after this day, so Harry intends to make the most of it.
Today is that fairytale moment, tomorrow reality will read its ugly, distracting head.
She will enjoy it while she can.
When they share their first dance, Harry is hard pressed to remember anyone else is in the room.
Sirius steals her away mere moments after that, a look of dejected thunder upon his face as he crisply informs her he's booked them a posh hotel in London for the weekend, muggle and very fancy. The look on his face a clear indicator that he knows exactly what they will be getting up to, and that he will be denying himself the thought of anything that happens in the next three days.
Rhaegar offers his heartfelt thanks, and Harry spends the rest of the night in his arms.
The next morning, with the sheets smelling of sex and the taste of breakfast's fresh fruit upon their tongues, Harry receives a copy of the Daily Prophet from a smugly amused Tonks, the cover of which focuses on nothing but the 'wedding of the century'.
Sirius will no doubt be having words with the Daily Prophet and their undercover reporters.
Finding it too cold to go outside, Rhaegar has opted for the long stretch of sofa before the open fire, both book and shirt absent from his person. The orange flames light the side of his chest, casting shadows across the muscles that reside there as he reclines.
Harry dithers for a second, tugging at the hem of her cotton pyjama top -a giftset from Hermione a year prior- before she makes her way over and lays herself stomach down across his chest.
Lazily, Rhaegar cracks one eye open to look at her, even as his forearms comes to rest on the small of her back in a loose hug.
"I like this shirt," Rhaegar says, eyes dipping down to look at the words 'looking for trouble' sprawled across the front, "it fits you to a tee."
Harry snorts, burying her head into Rhaegar's shoulder as he tightens his hold, enjoying the warmth of the fire as it seeps through her skin.
"Mmm, what is it they say over in Westeros? My Lord Husband, is it?"
Rhaegar hums in confirmation, nose nuzzling into her hair for a moment as his fingers draw lazy circles upon her back.
"Correct, my Lady Wife."
And oh, that is most definitely a title she can grow used to.
"I like that, my dear husband," drawls Harry, stressing the 'my' in such a way that she feels Rhaegar's chest rumble with chuckles beneath her.
"Perhaps we should go shopping today?" Harry asks as they lay still for ten minutes, "get clothes so that we can fit in when we arrive at Westeros?"
"Mayhap in an hour's time, I do believe for the moment I am quite content with just cuddling."
And yeah, Harry's more than happy to put shopping off in favour of cuddles.
Stood in Madam Malkin's as the woman takes her measurements, Harry does her damn best not to smirk over as Rhaegar, but it is so incredibly hard.
Because finally, finally, she has found something Rhaegar is not good at.
Rhaegar Targaryen cannot draw.
It comes as such a shock when her other half refuses to put pencil to paper that all Harry could do was stare at him in amused surprised.
Of course, Rhaegar conjures samples of the kind of styles he wishes to see Madam Malkin produce, but they're not sketches.
Because Rhaegar cannot draw.
Oh, Harry's not Vincent Van Gough reborn, not by a long stretch, but she's always been able to manage a resemblance when sketching something. That Rhaegar won't even try, well, it implies it's bad.
"-predominantly dragons and owls in the embroidery, though given Harry's connection with the thestrals, a Phoenix and a basilisk would be welcome too. No lions if you please, we do not wish to be associated with the family represented by lions where we are going-" Rhaegar's voice is a hypnotising thing, pulling all of Harry's attention as she stands there in her muggle underwear -something wizards barely bother with, blatant stupidity for how can they not want bras that lift and flatter?- before the mirror.
The tape measure flutters around her, coiling around her waist for a moment and then descending down the side of her leg.
"And any, undergarments?" Madam Malkin hesitates over the word, pureblood witch to the end as she eyes Harry's blatantly muggle unmentionables.
"I rather favour the muggle designs," Rhaegar admits, brazenly gazing upon her near bare form with dark eyes.
Harry barely clocks Madam Malkin's discomfort, too busy shamelessly returning Rhaegar's gaze. Perhaps they'd left the hotel room too early after all.
It is only with a non too delicate cough that the shopowner recaptured Harry's attention.
"Will that be all, Miss Po- oh, erm, or is it Mrs Targaryen now?"
Well, someone has clearly been reading the Daily Prophet.
"She is indeed my Dragon Princess now," Rhaegar confirms, and Harry wonders just how many references to his true origins Rhaegar actually slips into conversation. She doesn't want to touch on the fact that if Rhaegar wins back his homeland he will be King, and what exactly that means for her as a result.
She won't touch the idea with a ten foot staff.
"Of course. Your orders will be ready tomorrow, Mr and Mrs Targaryen."
The November sun is bright upon her skin, but none the warmer for it. Harry cocks head back in the street, ignoring the hustle and bustle as the muggle world passes on around them.
Beside her, Rhaegar stands with bags upon his arms, filled to the brim with clothes that neither of them truly fancy leaving behind. Harry herself has one particular expanding bag, charmed lightweight and undetectable.
She doesn't plan on breathing a word to Rhaegar of what she's bought, not for a while at least. Given that she is to be moving to Westeros, a land that Rhaegar claims to be stuck in something akin to the Middle Ages, Harry has appropriately stocked up.
Stashed in her bag, are all the subtly coloured items one could ever need for raising young children from infant-hood. Baby bottles, baby grows and medicine specifically for babies, parenting help books, the list goes on.
She doesn't plan on having children too soon, but she's well aware that she won't be able to get her hands on this kind of stuff where they're going.
So it makes sense to prepare in advance. Because Harry's only definite plan, aside from spending the rest of her days with Rhaegar, is to start a family of her own. She'll be ready for it.
"Ready to head back?" Rhaegar asks quietly, one hand reaching for hers as they walk into a quiet alley.
"Yeah, I'm ready," replies Harry, and they're quick to disapperate away.
It's a week since their wedding, and Rhaegar believes he has finally figured it out. Professional ritual creators are just going over what he has thrown together and bound by secrecy, but Harry knows her Dragon Prince, knows the abilities of his mind and his persistence.
This ritual of Rhaegar's will work, so it is most certainly not time to be experiencing cold feet.
Does she really want to leave all that she has ever known, to travel to a world that seems even more backwards than that of the Wizarding World? All of her friends, with only Sirius and Rhaegar beside her? With only their magic, swords and dragons as protection against anything and everything that this 'Westeros' can throw at her?
Such a leap into uncertainty is only just really hitting her now, sitting in one of the many parlours Grimmauld Place has to offer, Rhaegar just across the room and obsessively scribbling into one of his many notebooks. All around him are muggle a books regarding agriculture and its developments throughout the years.
Harry's well aware that the former Ravenclaw has an expanded trunk solely dedicated to his collection of books, steadily bought over the years of selling off Rhaella's shed skin and the remains of the basilisk, the profits of which they'd split as Rhaegar had been the one to strip it down. Harry had been the one to kill it though.
She has a collection of tomes in her own multi-compartment trunk, times from the Potter vault and cookbooks, fairytales and schoolbooks. The difference in their preferred literature is obvious.
It's another thing that worries her; Harry's well aware she's not Rhaegar's intellectual equal, and she knows she doesn't have to be. She's smart enough, and there's never really been an awkward air between them since they first became friends.
Doesn't mean that she doesn't worry about boring him though.
There's still insecurities that lurk beneath the surface, planted by the Drusleys -she's worthless and they made her aware of it but she's actually not- and she has to keep reminding herself that it's not true.
That the whole Wizarding World wanted her, that Sirius genuinely wants her, that Rhaegar truly wants to keep her. A ring would not rest upon her finger if that were not the case.
The pages don't crinkle beneath Rhaegar's fingers as he flips to a fresh one, but the soft swish of displaced air still calls Harry's attention anyway, and she wonders not for the first time if this is what she really wants.
After the magical world, muggle England holds no opportunities for her, devoured of the wonder, she doesn't have any qualifications over there and she will never fit back in. It goes unsaid that she never fit in to begin with.
On the opposing hand, Magical England is just as lacking; there's too many expectations for her -to become and Auror, to pop out 'perfect children' with her 'perfect husband' and lead a 'perfect life'. All Ministry approved of course.
While it runs better beneath the newly elected Minister Moody's thumb, Harry has no desire to watch the Purebloods slowly take it over again, to find herself too old to stop it when the conclusion is reached.
The Wizarding World will never change until the people do. Harry's not going to hold her breath.
Looking at it like that, Harry's only real option if she wants a chance to be completely happy is to start over in a new world. A fresh page, clean slate, a second chance.
Sure it will not be without its challenges, she thinks, looking fondly over at Rhaegar as he feverishly scribbles more words down.
But it has the potential to be worth it.
Harry sits in her -their, it's theirs now- bedroom, the sprawling Potter family tree all drawn up before her. It all starts hundreds and hundreds of years ago, and Harry has worked up into the Peverell branch too. It's a mighty thing, all on this scroll, and it all comes down to one little branch.
Fleamont and Euphemia Potter, James and Lily Potter, and finally Rhaegar and Hariel Targaryen.
It's just the two of them, sitting at the bottom of the paper, and Hariel traces her fingers over their names, the tiny little head sketches she's managed of the two of them.
There's one more day until the professionals estimate they will know if Rhaegar's ritual will work or not, and he is once again working deep in his journals, all notes for the betterment of his kingdom and people.
Harry both loves and hates him for it.
Loves that he wants to help these people, people whom he does not know personally but feels responsible for.
Hates that she cannot occupy all of his time.
Harry would never ask that of him though; Rhaegar understood when she had to take her stand against Voldemort this year, he understood she had a task to complete. She can therefore understand that he has a duty to his kingdom.
It doesn't mean that she has to wholeheartedly like it.
"Harry, come out here!" Rhaegar call from downstairs has Harry shooting up to her feet, dashing down the stairs but careful that she does not trip down the polished wood.
Rhaegar's voice had echoed through the hall; was he in the courtyard?
She bursts through the door just in time for Rhaegar to wave his wand, removing the small shield he held over them and allow the chilly November rain to sprinkle down on their heads. Already it is soaking into the wooden fabric of her jumper, and Harry states uncomprehending towards the ex-Ravenclaw.
"I've spent far too much time in my books, forgive me?" He asks, holding both hands out in an invitation for, well, something.
Cautiously, Harry steps forwards, flicking a damp curl back from her forehead as she slips her hands into Rhaegar's.
Instantly, the silver haired male draws her in, spinning her around until they're back to chest as he sways them.
"What are you doing?" Harry asks quietly, even though that familiar warmth -lovelovelove- builds up once again in her chest.
There's a silence between them, filled only with the gentle echo thousands of raindrops create, before Rhaegar speaks.
"I'm dancing with you, in the rain."
This, this is why she's going with Rhaegar, Harry remembers.
Because she loves him, because even if he gets lost in his books or his thoughts sometimes, whenever he drags his head out he always thinks of her first.
Oh this is quite lovely.
Harry twirls in Rhaegar's arms, already feeling the chill but quite unwilling to return to the dry indoors, and steps closer to him as they simple sway back and forth.
"I love you."
And perhaps it is the first time she has actually said that sentence aloud, said it so blatantly.
But she damn well means eact one of those three words.
Cold nose pressing against her own, Rhaegar breathes in and out, air ghosting across her still lips as he says, "and I you."
The moment is one Harry will regard as perfection for many years, how they dance and then scuttle inside for some Kreacher severed hot chocolate.
It is the one peaceful moment.
Then they have confirmation; the ritual will work.
This is it.
"Leaving?" Hermione Granger repeats numbly.
Sitting back on the ratty old couch that he'd bought from the first muggle he'd spotted selling one, Sirius Black watches his goddaughter's -practically his daughter, she's his in all but blood and name- reaction, just in case he needs to swoop in and save her from the entire conversation.
Harry's red brows -she looks so much like Lily, she's the spitting image just with Potter curls- pucker above her nose, lips tightening ever so slightly but neither Ron or Hermione catch it.
Rhaegar does though, from the way he mirrors her expression. Urgh, from the way he mirrors his wife's expression.
Dear Merlin, will James ever forgive him for letting Harry marry so damn early, earlier than even Lily and James did themselves?
But really, the silver haired brat isn't too bad, he's got a sense of duty and loyalty at the least. It could be worse, Sirius reason, Harry could have been interested in someone like Malfoy.
Trying not to shudder at the idea, Sirius inspects his shoes, the trace of crumbs that rest upon his lap from dinner, tries to focus on anything that would make him appear as if he isn't riveted on the conversation currently happening right before his face.
Given by the slow -almost glacial pace when considering who is writing- movement of quill on paper, it's clear Rhaegar is listening in too.
"Hermione, I defeated Voldemort, I proved it wasn't a fluke that I took him down as a baby and now they're all going to want something from me. They already do; endorse this, become an Auror to stop that, become a politician and fix this; I've had thirty six letters asking me to forget the fact I've just got married and to solve the problems that other people cannot be bothered to deal with."
Ah yes, Sirius remembers these letters, he remembers burning them with great joy in the fireplace, Kreacher cackling as he fed another one into the flames.
Proof of just how poor the situation is, given that he found himself bonding with his demented house elf over destroying the greedy, insincere cries for help.
Godric damn it, Harry's already saved this country once, what more do they want?!
"No buts. There's nothing you can do to change my mind, so please just accept that."
There's an obvious quiet for several seconds, before the bushy haired girl relents.
"Just... Just be happy, okay?"
"I'll try my best."
It feels surreal.
Settled on the sofa, Harry in his lap, Rhaegar stares at the chalk symbols on the floor, running through them in his mind again to check that they are correct.
There's something heavy settling in his stomach, something cold and stubborn in its anticipation, so very different from the comforting warmth of Harry in his arms. Her usually wild curls are pulled back into a tight plait, descending down her skull before trailing over her shoulder. No doubt if she were not dressed, it'd sit between the valley of her breasts.
Resting his head upon the other shoulder, Rhaegar presses a kiss to Harry's cheek, once, twice, and then thrice.
She still smells the same, of warmth and some kind of underlying sweetness. It has him wondering that, upon their arrival in Westeros, will her scent remain the same? He doubts it, though he also doubts that Harry could ever exclude an unpleasant odour. He looks forwards to seeing how she'll flourish under this new environment.
The heady taste of hot chocolate sits heavy in the air, steam coiling up from the mug Harry cups in her hands.
Coco beans are not something anyone had known what to do with back home, imported from Essos upon their 'first discovery' by Westeros explorers. They had been branded disgusting and nothing more had ever been done with them.
Yet another advantage to this life, Rhaegar knows what can be done with such an ingredient -just like he knows how to make water safe and how to identify penecilin- and he intends to take that knowledge back with him to be put to use.
Now that he has sampled both its taste and it's emotional benefits, Rhaegar has no intention of giving chocolate up.
He knows for certain Harry has a multitude of recipes to transform coco beans into something delicious, just as she's taking recipe books that tell her how to make 'basic' things such as pasta.
There's far more culinary delights here, especially given how far this world stretches. There's so many cultures, so many different foods and styles and dress, so many tales to be heard. Were he not bound by his duty, then perhaps Rhaegar would have taken the time to explore the world he now finds himself in.
As it stands though, he does have a job to do, self-appointed one or not. He owes it to his people, given that he was so inactive before, relied too much on a prophecy that might very well have been self fulfilling had he actually got off his rear and made a difference. He'd put too much trust in the written words, had refused to potentially move against the prophecy and consequently doomed his kingdom to a war. He'd-
"You are worrying."
Harry has twisted about on his lap during his deep thoughts, legs on either side of his torso and hands cupping his face.
The empty mug sits on the coffee table, though the scent still persists.
"I am," Rhaegar admits, closing his eyes to enjoy the heat Harry's warm hands carry. It seeps into his skin, a comfort that could usually only be associated with summer.
"There was so much to do when I left, I fear how much damage I shall have to correct upon my return."
What goes unsaid is that there is every chance the rebellion succeeded, that an usurper now sits on the throne and will see every Targaryen claimant dead before Rhaegar can even call the loyalists to his banner.
"Mmm, you'll manage," Harry murmurs, pressing her lips to his forehead, smiling brightly as she pulls back. Her thumbs brush against his cheekbones and Rhaegar places one hand upon her hip, the other covering one of Harry's own hands.
"You're the smartest person I know. You'll figure it out. And if worse comes to worse, we'll fly away and build a house in the middle of nowhere."
Rhaegar laughs a little at that, shaking his head.
"You deserve the world, Harry."
"But I only want you," and she pecks at his lips with a little kiss as she says this, coco on her breath and love in her eyes.
How strange it is, to know a woman unconcerned with the politics between families. Even Lyanna, for all that she was trying to escape them, had been pushed into his arms as a result of the games between families.
Harry has come to him through no influence other than her own feelings, and that is something he truly appreciates.
"We leave tomorrow then," Harry murmurs, twisting at an angle until she can rest her head upon his shoulder, short little breaths brushing up against the side of his neck. It's a tickling sensation, and Rhaegar allows his fingers to dance up Harry's sides in return, until she squirms and readjusts herself, cold nose pressing to his collarbone instead.
"I believe Sirius is just organising his affects, and then we are ready to set off."
Harry snickers, a soft throaty thing that she attempts to muffle with the fabric of his shirt.
"You mean he's leaving so much of the Black gold for Remus and running off with everything else."
"Is there anything left after what he presented us with as a wedding gift?" Rhaegar quietly asks, his eyes lingering over the trunk that contained the gift in question.
Concealed within and with a multitude of comfort spells upon them, lay three dragon eggs, all illegally obtained by one Sirius Black. It will be a very great boon indeed, returning to Westeros with a grand total of five potential dragons, two at the very least. Enough to win support for his claim to the throne, Rhaegar believes.
He has no idea of the state Westeros currently resides in, only that his noble queen mother is dead, and she would not be dead had Areys himself not fallen, whether from his own sickness or a blade, it did not matter.
Rhaegar is an orphan in every sense of the word now, which means it is either Aegon who sits upon the throne, or Viserys in the event of his youngest child's death as a babe.
And that alone is only in the case of a Targaryen victory in the war.
If the usurper have proven victorious, and if he alone is the last Targaryen left-
Rhaegar pulls in a gentle, shaky breath pushing down the panic that threatens to surge up within his veins.
He has to look at this objectively, removed and without emotion.
There is one goal, and that is to sit upon the throne and heal the scars his father inflicted upon the kingdom.
There are compromises he cannot, will not make; any move that leads to Harry's death is first and foremost. Unacceptable. He'd sooner perish himself than allow her to do so, but that means he needs an heir, and fast. Yet, he refuses to pressure Harry into such a thing; it might not be common here but in Westeros many a woman dies bringing their children into the world.
He does not want to needlessly sacrifice people, he needs the goodwill of the small folk like he once did. Sirius' death is also unacceptable a loss, and he will do his upmost to avoid such an instance. The only thing that would see to Sirius' death was if such an action spared Harry's life, and he knows the dark haired man would be in complete agreement with him.
He needs to reclaim Dragonstones first, regardless of if a Targaryen or an usurper sits on the Iron Throne. It will be easier to acquire than Kings Landing, especially given the firepower that both Rhaella and Regulus lend to him.
It all depends upon where the ritual portal will drop them. There are only two key points that it could happen upon, but quite frankly each come with their own problems.
The place of his birth, or the place of his death.
Summerhall, with its haunting cinders and lingering smoke. Perhaps it would be poetic for the dragons to return to the world there, but regardless Rhaegar feels it will strengthen the melancholy within him that he has only just begun to beat back.
Upon the other hand, there is the Trident.
Who knows what state it sits in right now; there could be travellers that would witness their arrival, a dragon is not a thing one could truthfully hide, Rhaegar could not see any man capable of keeping such a secret, even if he paid him with several sacks of coin. There would be too many enemies of the Targaryens, both old and new, who would pay more than he dared.
Rhaegar is determined not to lose such an advantage.
"So, you draw this ritual out on the ground," Harry asks, drawing him back to the present with her words. One hand plays with his hair, while the other rests upon his chest, fingernails absentmindedly drawing a pattern through the thin fabric that clothes him.
"And then what?"
"It has to be drawn outside, on a much greater scale than what is shown here. This is just the prototype. Then, we all stand within the markings, both Rhaella and Regulus need to be present too, and it will take us there."
He doesn't speak of his uncertainty regarding their arrival, not wishing to worry her.
Harry barely knows what she is getting into, and while his mind says it is best to warn her, his heart is scared. Scared she will turn tale, even though she never has before.
He could not bear to see her walk away from him. Oh, he would live, and he would reclaim his throne if she did.
But it would be an empty motion, for he cannot picture an after without Harry Potter beside him. No, Harry Targaryen, for that is who she is now.
"Tonks is pregnant, you know?" Says Harry as her eyelashes slip low to dust against her cheeks.
The moonlight is starting to cascade in through the window; just how long have they been here now? It is strange how easily time passes him by when he sits talking with Harry.
"I was unaware," Rhaegar confesses, considering the bubbly Auror for a moment.
"They were going to name me godmother before I confessed I was leaving," Harry whispers, and it is a weight that sits heavy between them, a stark reminder.
She is giving up everything to follow him into Westeros, a place that, in comparison to this world, might as well be the uncharted wilderness. She's giving up a comfortable, easy life where people already adore her to venture into the murky politics that surround his own world. All the danger it is fraught with, it almost terrifies him into asking her to remain.
But no, he will not devote himself to a sole thing ever again, not like he once did with the prophecy. He refuses to live solely for the kingdom, and he knows that it is perhaps not the best life that Harry can lead. But if he is selfish, and if luck shines down upon them, it could potentially be the happiest life they both live.
As he realises this, Rhaegar buries his head further into her hair, arms tightening around her waist as Harry strokes at his back, almost as if she can sense that he needs comforting.
The guilt churns around in his stomach, and he takes another breath to push it down. Harry's hair smells of whatever citrus product she's used to clean it, a sharp crisp scent that reminds him of summer.
"Never leave me?" Rhaegar breathes and Harry shakes her head beneath his.
"You'll never get rid of me, Rhaegar. I'm pretty sure not even Death'll take me away given my track record. You're stuck with me."
That is a comforting point indeed.
Rhaegar takes the time to pepper Harry's face with kisses, until she's breathless with laughter and he snatches her up in his arms.
There's something free in her and Rhaegar draws strength from that. She could do anything at all and yet chooses to shackle herself to him.
Rhaegar's not a good enough man to even think about breaking that chain.
"What are you doing?" Harry asks around her laughter, snuggling into his chest and she's a soft weight in his grip.
"Taking my wife to bed," replies Rhaegar, still smiling as Harry bestrews every part of neck and chest she can reach with kisses that only grow clumsier as Rhaegar begins climbing the stairs.
"Hoping to get lucky tonight are we?"
It takes a bit of fancy footwork to ease their bedroom door open, but Rhaegar manages.
"I am lucky every night, whether we are simply sleeping or up to activities that your godfather would happily strangle me for. As long as you're in my bed."
And with that Rhaegar slips Harry beneath the covers, following after her a mere moment later.
"Good, because I hate to disappoint you but I'm tired."
Harry's top is the first thing to go, other articles of clothing following until they're both just laid there, naked as the day they were born. He has no problem in the slightest with Harry's preference to sleep naked, it usually leads to exceptionally pleasant morning after all.
"We are a team, aren't we, Rhaegar?"
Rhaegar gathers the woman up in his arms, closing up the minute space that separated them.
"Of course, Harry."
He fails to go to sleep straight away, and it continues to elude him even as Harry slumbers away in his arms.
Perhaps it is the guilt keeping him awake, knowing what he is about to pull Harry and her godfather into a world that will not hesitate to eat them alive.
Perhaps it is the uncertainty, that he himself has no idea what state of affairs they will be stepping into, that he does not know whom he can count among his allies and whom will happily stab him in the back.
He hopes Arthur lives, even if there is to be a large age gap between them now. He misses his best friend dearly. He wonders what the man would make of Harry, wonders if he'd like her.
Certainly his mother does, if Harry's account is anything to go by.
Sometimes, he looks to the ring upon Harry's finger, the Deathly Hallow that is capable of pulling spirits back into the land of the living.
But he has no wish to do so, not after the hollowing warning of the tale it comes with.
Especially as it pains the spirits to remain in their world. He would have his answers, but he had no desire to cause his mother pain, nor does he wish to set eyes upon his father again. He can already guess the man is disgusted with his choice of a wife, as disgusted as he would be thrilled over the dragons he now commands.
No, Rhaegar refuses to call the Mad King for answers.
With everyone else, it is a panic inducing question of if they are dead.
Should he call Elia and see her, to know she is without doubt dead would crush his heart with a heavy blow. Harry holds all of his affections now, he's well aware that even if Elia or Lyanna live he will not be able to return to them.
He's a different person now, grown from experiences they will never be able to share with him.
To them, he has been dead near two decades, should they live, they will have picked up their lives and carried on.
Perhaps he should look into a new identity, and awful the idea is, he has no shortage of dead siblings that he could proclaim to be.
If he truly wants to be the rightful heir to the throne though, he has to open up a history he'd wanted closed, has to revisit the memories of his eldest son, Rhaenys' twin that didn't live through the night.
Awful as the idea is, he is not the right age to be Rhaegar Targaryen, the Crown Prince.
He will, however, be able to pass off as that firstborn son.
A little lie, that he'd read the political climate and sent his son to safety; it'd be believable given how well learned and precautions he'd been in his previous life. He'd have to write a letter of authenticity as himself, mix the right kind of wax so that those looking upon the letter would know it to not be a case of good forgery.
And a name, he will need to name the babe who's breathing body he only got to hold for a mere moment before he died. Something close to his own, so there is little to no chance of making mistakes.
"Rhaegaron," Rhaegar breathes into Harry's neck, the name settling in his mind. Yes, that will do.
Mind once again and ease, Rhaegar curls tighter around Harry as the acceptance finally hits him.
They're really doing this.
And he's ready.
A traveller stares up at the sky in wonder, watching the clouds swirl around one another in a pattern that he has never once seen outside of a river stream carrying leaves. It is much unlike the sky to behave in such a way, he has never seen nor heard of such a display.
As if the sight is not fanciful enough, a thin red speck goes streaking across the sky, crimson trail blazing right behind it and the traveller thinks he saw it once before, back when he was only a boy, around the same time the Targaryen's had welcomed a new prince into the world.
That is the traveller's last thought as something eldritch and powerful slams into his chest, knocking him unconscious in that moment.
He fails to glimpse the light show that takes place within the charred husk of Summerhall.
Lying upon a very familiar chest, Harry's lets out a low groan, one that is echoed by two males and two dragons.
Why she had expected the journey to be smooth when they were being transported by magic, Harry doesn't have the slightest clue, but she shan't be making the same mistake again.
She attempts to battle down the nausea but it's just not possible, and a mere moment later Harry swiftly rolls off of Rhaegar, emptying the contents of her stomach into the muddy puddle by her fingers. It must have rained recently, for the earth is wet and the scent of dew heavy on the wind, though the odour of rotten, burnt wood persists beneath it.
Her abdominals clench, fluctuating as she wastes her breakfast, bringing up a good portion of her stomach bile as she does so.
It continues for a few minutes, to the point where Harry manages to gain a headache at the continuous torture her body insists upon putting her through.
One strong hand rubs at her back in comforting circles as the other wipes a thin cloth across her sweaty brow, and when it is finally all over, Harry glances back at Rhaegar with gratitude in her eyes.
"Thanks," she chokes out, accepting the thin handkerchief and wiping the corners of her mouth. Thank the lord for self cleaning charms, she thinks as the stained material fades back into its usually pristine state.
"I'm not surprised you were throwing up, pup," groans Sirius from where he too is laid out on the grass, head pillowed upon Regulus' tail, "that was the worst form of magical travel yet."
"And perhaps the last, outside of potential apperation," Rhaegar chips in, taking a gentle hold of her wrist in order to pull her up.
Harry stands on shaky legs, vertigo threatening to send her spiralling off once again, but she manages to push it down at the last moment.
Magical travel has always disagreed within her, though this is the first time she as ever physically been sick. Still, the first time she ever used a Portkey had been a close call. Hell, the only reason she'd probably been able to push it down was because she didn't want to embarrass herself in front of the attractive Cedric.
The thought of the friendly Hufflepuff is still an open wound though, so Harry pushes it away to focus on the present.
"Are you alright?" Rhaegar asks, cupping her cheek as if she hasn't just been emptying her guts before him, and Harry falls that little bit more in love with him for it. This is what she has always wanted, someone who would take her for everything that she is, dislike of magical travel and all the other faults she has.
"I'm good," Harry admits and now that she is upright she takes a moment to observe their surroundings.
It's green, is her first thought, far greener than anything she'd have expected to see after leaving London. While there is a lot of open space around Hogwarts, Harry has never actually been to a place this devoured of human life, not unless you count the Horcrux Hunt, but then she was truly unable to appreciate the quiet of nature. Every scuffle, every movement was an enemy wizard there to capture them; her paranoia had been on overdrive.
Here though beneath the shade of the nearby mountain, nature has clearly reclaimed the land from human use despite the signs of previous occupation. There's the scattered remains of some form of settlement, charred logs of wood that appear halfway through rotting and though the rain has made a valiant attempt, scorch marks still persist upon the crumbling stonework.
Whatever this building was before a fire claimed it, it had been a grand piece of architecture, Harry muses.
"This is Summerhall, the place of my birth" Rhaegar shares, tone lachrymose, "a fire claimed it that very day and a great many Targaryen's met their ends in the flames."
How exceptionally sad, to think that such a joyous occasion should be tainted with so much lingering death. And death does linger here, sitting heavy in the clearing within which Summerhall sits.
"Can your story get any more depressing, kiddo?" Sirius slings his arm over Rhaegar's shoulders, which is a bit of a struggle given how Rhaegar is two or so inches taller.
The attempt at comfort works though, for her silver haired husband sinks into Sirius' hug, eyes fluttering shut for a mere second. For all of her godfather's aggressive bustle, he gets along with Rhaegar remarkably well.
"So, what's the first order of business?"
Rhaegar inhales, the motion filling his chest, as if attempting to draw strength from his surroundings. It must work, for when he exhales, Sirius releases the grip he had upon his shoulder and steps back, awaiting the plan of action alongside Harry.
"We need to gather intelligence, understand the current situation of the kingdom. I brought along wash-out hair dye to disguise my distinctive hair, but we should otherwise be okay to head to the nearest settlement and figure out the current events."
Harry distractedly nods, mind more focused upon the idea of Rhaegar with hair dye.
What colour has Rhaegar picked, she wonders. For certainly, she cannot picture him a carrot-top, the very idea almost sends her into a spiral of giggles.
As if sensing her thoughts Rhaegar turns to her with a raised eyebrow, having finished rummaging through one of his trunks for the aforementioned dye, the melancholy this place as inspired within him receding back.
"While I have no idea what crosses your mind currently, Harry, I would appreciate it if you did not laugh."
Rhaegar's hair is blue.
Harry tries not to laugh, because it's not actually blue but a black so dark it only appears to shimmer blue beneath the sun, but by Merlin is she struggling not giggle. It draws the violet back from his indigo eyes, leaving them instead an exceptionally dark shade of blue, if one does not look too closely.
Sirius has failed to keep his composure like her though, unable to help himself but to break into great guffaws of amusement.
As such, he has been regulated to remain with the dragons and trunks, least they return and find themselves devoured of all their stuff, or in the more likely scenario, Rhaella and Regulus well fed from greedy thieves.
Not that such a thing would be good, Rhaegar whispers, for there is every chance that the consumption of humans would give the dragons heartburn.
He does look so strange though, to see the man who's hair has always burned a brilliant white gold within the light of day darkened to a shade as black as sin. Harry risks another glance from the corner of her eye, but Rhaegar catches her gaze with a frown on his face.
"Harry-" he begins with a sigh but the redhead is quick to cut him off.
"I know, it's just, weird. I'll stop staring when we actually get there," she promises, shuffling that little bit closer as they approach the settlement in question.
Rhaegar has apperated them the vast majority of the way, but the usually easy magic has taken more out of him than expected. Not quite sure if it is a result of their dimensional travel, or a fluctuation with how their magic works in this new world, both have agreed for Harry to apperate them back.
Still, Harry worries, even though Rhaegar has since proven himself reasonably apt with a bow, shooting down the second rabbit they'd come across. He'd actually found a deer first, but Harry had instinctively flinched when he notched the first arrow, quite unable to help herself. After all, the stag and deer had been her parents' sigil. They plan to sell it at the market within Blackhaven, though neither of them are truly opposed to giving it to a family who would actually need it.
The fortress of Blackhaven is not as grand a sight as Hogwarts once was, but it is reasonably intimidating, what with its form of black basalt walls rising up from the mountainside.
Harry steps a little closer into Rhaegar's side as they approach, a drawbridge down to allow passage across the dry moat that encircled the castle.
They pass through without a problem, though Harry is surprised to note several eyes linger upon her. She aborts the almost subconscious motion to brush down her dress, to nervously fiddle with her clothes.
The garment she wears now is neither too fancy, nor too plain. Rhaegar had seen to it that, while the vast majority of her clothing would belong among the upper class in this world, she did have a dress or two that would see to it she wasn't mugged on sight. Her wedding ring -another custom that Rhaegar had been quite bemused by- sits upon a thin chain of silver, hidden by the high neckline of the gown. There are cleverly hidden slits in the skirt of the dress, which allow for maximum movement should she find herself needing to run.
She need not wear Gryffindor's Sword upon a belt, for the blade will comes should she call for it.
As such, it's quite a puzzle to her why every fifth man they pass turns to watch her go, and it isn't until Rhaegar gives a husky laugh that she gets her answer.
"You are quite beautiful, Harry, it is not a feature they are well accustomed to outside of the rare Ladies that pass by through rabble. The colour of your hair alone draws attention."
"Should I have dyed my hair too then?"
"No. While hair as red as yours is quite the rarity indeed, it is dissociated with anything of note. Targaryen blond however would attract needless attention, and not of the good kind either."
Harry nods, eyes narrowing at the next man that looks her way with hunger in his eyes. Certainly it is not a stare she wishes to receive from anyone other than Rhaegar.
"Please do call me Rhee here, Harry," he whispers, adjusting his grip on the rabbit as he steers her towards what passes as a marketplace.
He had of course warned her of the distinct difference between towns in England, and towns in Westeros, but this is certainly something else.
Harry feels as if she's stepped at least five hundred years into the past.
The smell is the worst, it affects even Rhaegar from the delicate wrinkling of his nose. The scent of faeces and unwashed bodies is worse the further in they get, prevailing above all others to the point Harry feels with her delicate stomach that she is dangerously close to being sick once again.
It is only Rhaegar's tight grip upon her arm, protective in the way he curls it closer to his ribs, that keeps her moving forwards.
She barely listens to Rhaegar haggle with the butcher, only long enough to note the distinct difference between their speech patterns.
Compared to the butcher, it is painfully clear that Rhaegar is far more educated than the man he speaks to. It is so strange to consider this is a world where not every child can attend schooling, where not every adult can read and write. It is one of the things she will push for should Rhaegar manage to retake his crown.
The smell hits her once again, and Harry forcibly stops herself from pinching her nose, because such a gesture would be rude. It is a very near thing indeed though, costing her a bitten lip to divert her attention away from the stench.
Public bathhouses too, the Romans had been onto something after all.
"My apologies," Rhaegar implores, leading her away with new coins clinking about in his pocket.
Harry forgets all of her worries in that moment and focuses solely upon Rhaegar's face, because there is a set to it that states he has received bad news. For Rhaegar only ever wears such a poker face when he is quite distressed; it sets Harry on edge.
On instinct, she pulls him down a side alley, careful not to step in any of the suspicious puddles that litter the ground.
The second they are out of sight, Harry apperates them back to Summerhall with a sharp twist of her heels.
Their arrival is announced by a crack, the two dragons startling slightly before they realize just who has invaded upon their time.
The instant their feet are upon the earth, Rhaegar takes off, stalking into the ruins of his birthplace without so much as a backwards glance and Harry understands he has to be alone right now.
From the way he acts, it is clear that there is little to no good news, and she braces herself for the tumble of thoughts that threaten to swamp her.
Instead, she moves to the recently set up wizarding tent, sticking her head inside to find Sirius already napping upon the couch. He looks peaceful, and Harry sees no need to disturb him, so instead she pulls herself back and away from the tent to instead make her way towards the two dragons.
Regulus looks up at her approach, red eyes blinking open as he tilts his head to a side.
Whereas Rhaella barely gives her the time of day unless Rhaegar is beside her, Regulus is always welcoming of her presence, to the point where Rhaegar whole-heartedly believes he will allow her to ride him. She hopes so; to ride atop a dragon, to move in complete synchrony alongside this black dragon would be a wonder indeed.
"Hello there, Reggie," Harry breathes, holding a hand out mere feet before Regulus' head and smiling when he makes up the little bit of distance himself. She scratches at the hard scales that cover his face, a face that is now larger than her torso and growing more and more every day. Each puff of air that leaves from his nostrils is scorching hot, breezing past the hem of the dress and creating the slightest of rustles in the heavy fabric.
"Are the two of you hungry yet? I'm sure Rhaegar wouldn't mind if I fed the two of you. Animals that is, not like sacrificing a human to you or anything," Harry is quick to tack on, even as the great big beast just stares at her with intelligent eyes.
Looking to the other trunk Sirius has left out of the tent, Harry leaves Regulus' side to pull open the lid, lifting two shrunken cows from inside before she resizes them.
It is a bloody affair, watching two dragons eat, but Harry stays anyway. The scent of cooked cow perseveres in the open air, and the witch finds herself quite touched when Regulus rips out a chunk of cow leg with his teeth to offer it to her. She's not particularly hungry, but given that this is quite clearly a bonding moment, Harry sits besides the black dragon and rips at the meat with her teeth, even as the heated bone threatens to burn her palms.
She manages to eat half of the massive serving before she can stomach no more, though Regulus is happy to devour the rest.
The sun dips low in the west, setting the ruins of Summerhall ablaze in a glow of orange light.
It is to this scene that Rhaegar reappears, dropping down beside Harry in a move that is so infelicitous that she immediately snaps to attention.
Her heart clenches something fierce, for there are tear stains marking Rhaegar's cheeks, glistening in the setting sun.
Pulling him into an embrace, Harry plants her chin upon his shoulders, hands doing their best to sooth all of Rhaegar's sadness from his form but it almost feels as if she will never be enough for that task.
Instead, she just allows every emotion she feels for him -all the love, the adoration, the affection and the tenderness- to flow out of her in the hopes it will offer some form of comfort as he shakes within her arms.
Never before has she seen Rhaegar this distraught, and it pulls at everything within her chest to know that, right in this moment, she cannot help him. It is an emotional crisis that only Rhaegar can pull through, and though she doubt it will break him, she does not wish to see her best friend and lover fall into depression.
Never before has she felt so helpless.
At least with the war back home she had been able to stand up, to fight.
This is not something she can aid Rhaegar in though, and the thought of that physically pains her almost as much as the feel of him breaking apart in her arms does.
Regulus whines low in the back of his throat, curling tight around them until dragon scales press upon all of Harry's sides not occupied by Rhaegar.
It is a great deal of time later, when the sun has long since set, that she learns why Rhaegar has shed his tears.
The near complete destruction of House Targaryen at the hands of Robert and his allies, as she listens with growing horror to the story he has lifted from the butcher's head via a skilled bout of Legilimency.
Of Elia and Lyanna, both dead though one far more violently, and violated than the other.
Of Rhaenys and Aegon's deaths -Merlin, they were just children, babies really- and of his mother's demise while bringing one more sibling of Rhaegar's into the world.
All that remains of House Targaryen, outside of Rhaegar that is, are his two siblings, both of whom have been forced to flee Westeros in fear of their lives.
The butcher had only heard of their continued existence a year and a half ago -a year and six turns is how Rhaegar says it- from a passing knight.
They could both be dead by now.
"I'll kill them," Rhaegar promises into her shoulder, and she has never before heard such malice in his iron tone, "House Lannister and their hired hands, every single person that had a direct hand in the murder of my family, I will kill them. They shall not even be given the mercy of being put to the sword. They will burn in dragonfire."
It is a vow that sits heavy in the night's air, and Harry cannot fault him for it, not after the tale she has just heard.
She saw to it that Pettigrew faced justice for his hand in killing her family, she ensured Voldemort died, not just for her family but for all those he had destroyed, for all those he would have continued to hurt had she not stopped him.
No, if anything, she will ensure this is a promise she will see kept.
He wakes curled around his wife in the comforting heat that can only come from a dragon. Durable black scales surround their forms, Regulus coiled tight around them but not to the point of claustrophobia.
Rhaegar breathes in, burying his face into Harry's mass of red hair as the sweeping sadness once again hits him.
Summerhall, for all that he haunted it in his first youth, brings nothing but sadness to him, whether in events or news. While a part of him had expected to find Elia and Lyanna dead, to have confirmation his a barb to the heart he wishes wasn't true.
He did not wish for them to continue living for his own sake, for their relationships could never have been the same, but because he loves them as people. They deserved to live, not he who was so inactive and put so much stock within a prophecy told so long ago.
Had neither of them gotten involved with him, they would still live now.
His arms stiffen, pulling Hariel closer until her back is pressed flush against his chest, until the one woman he loves more than anything is secure in his hold.
His little princess, his little Rhaenys is dead. Aegon is gone, both beyond where he can follow. He hopes and prays that whatever lays within the afterlife, his children are being looked after, are able to experience a happiness they never truly got to in life. That his mother, that Elia and Lyanna, are happy wherever they are.
He refuses to lose another that he loves.
Pressing a kiss to the nape of Harry's neck, Rhaegar forcibly recalls his arms from where they hold her, for as much as he would like to remain hidden behind Regulus' bulk and ignore the world beyond, it's just not a feasible plan of action.
So instead, he extracts himself from the tangle he has laid in with Harry, worming out from between the thick muscle that makes up Regulus' tail, not daring to try fighting over the bulk of his body.
The world is wet beyond the shelter the black dragon has offered, the evidence of rainfall all around him in the puddles that lie upon the ground to the droplets that still drip free from the shrubbery leaves.
Sirius is already up and about, clearly having emerged from the tent that both Harry and he had ignored, with the intention of waking them up with the promise of breakfast in both hands.
"Okay clothes are on, that's good." Sirius' obliviously teasing tone is just what Rhaegar needs, and the knots of tension in his shoulders bleed free as he greets the man in return.
"I've sorted breakfast out today kid, I'm guessing it wasn't good news given how growly Blackie here got."
Regulus snarls at the nickname, though he looks quite bemused when Sirius growls right back.
"No, I-I'm afraid it wasn't," Rhaegar affirms, startling when Sirius pulls him into a tight hug.
"I know it feels like the world's falling apart around you, kid. But there's still pieces left, it's not all gone. Whatever's gone wrong here, you've got Harry and me and these bloody dragons. You've still got something."
And Rhaegar is reminded that, for all his childish antics and good-natured ribbing, Sirius Black has seen his whole world fall apart once before. He has lost a man he held as close as a brother, lost a woman he considered a sister, has been intimately betrayed by a man he considered his best friend. He has suffered for more than a decade and had the whole world pitted against him.
If Sirius Black is capable of picking himself up and attempting to continue on with his life, than Rhaegar can and must do the same.
"You're right of course," Rhaegar agrees, though the words are thickly shaped on his tongue, bitter and as hard to swallow as the worst kind of potions.
Sirius' words do inspire a drive to continue onwards, meaning almost as much as his promise the previous night.
Though it is speculated who murdered Elia and his sweet children, there is no official declaration. He needs more information, which means he needs a reliable source.
At this moment in time though, no House will officially declare itself towards House Targaryen, not while the Usurper Robert Baratheon sits upon the Iron Throne.
No, there is only one House that he can trust to lust for justice.
No doubt with the murder of their princess and blatant lack of repentance from Robert and his allies, Dorne's relations to the throne will be frosty at best. Should he present the Prince of Dorne with the letter wrote in his own hand, proclaiming himself Rhaegar Targaryen's firstborn son, twin to Rhaenys, then he will most likely be welcomed.
He cannot see them supporting Robert Baratheon over himself, especially when he reveals he counts dragons among his military power.
It will have to be carefully calculated; he cannot have the other Lords learning of his existence so soon; they will war with Dorne immediately if they openly declare their support.
No, a fair part of this will be played from the shadows, movements in the dark unseen until the opening blow has already been struck, strong and true.
It will need to be devastating, it must divide the kingdoms because even with two dragons and one of the great kingdoms of Westeros behind him, it would be far too difficult to fight off the other six kingdoms and their forces at once.
Head spinning with saplings upon saplings of plans beginning to germinate and sprout, Rhaegar turns his attention to breakfast and the recently awakened form of his Lady Wife.
She does not look well rested, rubbing in a languish manner at her neck, a movement that is usually only prompted when experiencing a stiffness in the muscles. Rhaegar feels a squirm of guilt within his stomach, for Harry would have been laid comfortably within bed last night had he not seen to it that all her attention was upon him.
She quietly accepts her breakfast from Sirius, pecking him upon the cheek in greeting before she sits close enough to him that their arms brush with every movement.
"Feeling better?" She asks quietly, worried green eyes trailing over his entire form as if she would be able to spot the agony leaking out of him. But no, he has it contained now, will not trouble Harry any longer with such a thing.
He will have his day of mourning soon enough. A day to honour all of those he has lost, but until then he will focus upon the here and now.
"Yes, thank you." He looks down at his empty plate, the lingering traces of bean juice smeared in the upper quarter as he taps at the rim with the edge of his fork.
Bacon appears on his plate mere minutes later, Harry shaking her head in disgust as grumbling that she is quite full. Despite her words, she sends the bacon a longing glance that implies she would have deeply liked to have eaten it, but Rhaegar can remember the sensation of being so absolutely full one cannot eat another morsel.
Back when he had been exceptionally young, living in the Red Keep and unaware of the meaning of gluttony.
Ever since, he has strove to not overindulge, to just eat what he needs. It is not fair upon his body, nor is it particularly fair upon those that his scraps would be otherwise sent to.
He had it arranged all those years ago that anything left upon the banquet table would go to the poor in Flea Bottom, to those that were in dire need of it.
He wonders how Robert runs his kingdom, he wonders who wins and who has lost, thinks about who suffers right now.
Not that it truly matters, for Rhaegar will be taking the throne from the man who ensured the death of his family, one way or another. He will take back what is his, and the debts he is owed will be paid, in fire and blood.
Rhaegar finished off Harry's excess bacon, watching Sirius idly throw his unwanted sausages into Rhaella and Regulus' mouths. It would appear the magical travel has ruined all of their appetites, for Rhaegar has only eaten because he knows he needs to.
The slight reverberation of impact echoing along the ground heralds Rhaella's approach, her large head coming to rest beside him, neck half curled around his body as she offers her own brand of comfort.
Rhaegar can remember reading upon dragons, both in this world and in Harry's. He can recall how the books had all called them dangerous, capricious in nature, and perhaps had Rhaegar not raised Rhaella from an egg, she would be so. Perhaps this body's magic plays a part as well, for he doubts Regulus, whom he came across as a hatchling, would be so docile otherwise.
That is not to say tha they cannot be vicious when left to their own devices, but when with Rhaegar, they show no signs of aggressive behaviour.
At least, nothing threatening, usually Rhaella only vocalizes a warning growl towards Sirius and Harry if they startle her. She seems begrudgingly accepting of Harry's presence nowadays, even more so than before they left for Westeros.
"What are we going to do now then?" Harry asks quietly, one hand resting on his, massaging slow circles into the back of his palm with her fingers. It's a familiar gesture, one originally started by Harry that they now trade back and forth.
Rhaegar focused completely on the sensations for a few moments, allowing his mind to still it's whirling thoughts, allowing the clearest, most advantageous plan to present itself before him.
When he stops over thinking things, the best course of action becomes clear, even if it is not the easiest upon him. Then again, the easiest course of action would probably be laying waste to an island population with the dragons and setting up a home there, living out the rest of their years as hermits.
He will not be satisfied with such a thing though, and for all that Harry is ready for a quiet life right now, he can feel the thrum of tension now that she has something to fight for. He did not chose her words without careful consideration, and though they will only go down as a footnote in history should Rhaegar take back the crown, he will ensure they are not forgotten.
'Bold Nerve, We Dare'.
No, their opening move here is clear.
"We must head to Dorne," Rhaegar states, running a hand through his hair until it tangles upon his half done braids, "they are the only clear allies we have at our disposal right now, and even then, I shall have to present myself to the Prince of Dorne as Rhaegaron Targaryen."
"Posing as your own son, right?" Sirius clarifies, features scrunching in concentration.
Rhaegar nods, recalling the year he had lifted from the butcher's mind. 297AC. It would appear that time does not run linear between their two world, for while he has lived near nineteen years now, Westeros has seen only seventeen.
Thankfully, it is not so big of a gap that it makes all of his pre-planned letters useless. He will just have to proclaim himself two years younger than what he actually is, which in itself is no hardship.
"Correct. This makes me the nephew of the Prince of Dorne, should nothing have happened to him. While the butcher had last heard that Doran remains the head of House Martell, he is not the most reliable of sources. I can say with complete certainty though, that if he is hesitant to stand beside me and my cause, Oberyn Martell will without doubt support me."
"Oberyn Martell is…" Harry trails off, looking hopelessly lost and Rhaegar makes a mental note to have her study the current Lords and Ladies alongside himself, it would not do for her to be caught flatfooted.
"Oberyn is Elia's younger brother, they were inseparable as children."
He cannot picture Oberyn accepting Elia's death when those at fault have not paid for the crimes. A part of him objects to stringing the man along, to making him believe he is Elia's son, but there is nothing else for it right now. It is the most effective plan, and it is one he will stand beside.
"If there is one man I can count upon to lust for vengeance because of Elia's death, it is Oberyn. This makes him our greatest potential ally at the moment."
Harry nods, eyes following Rhaegar's free hand as he runs it up and down the underside of Rhaella's jaw, scratching at the hard scales there.
"And the dragons? I'm going to guess and say you don't want to play that card so early."
"You'd be correct to say so. There are a handful of islands among the Stepstones that are too small to warrant real human settlements, but are large enough to house Rhaella and Regulus for some time. Of course, we shall have to ward it to the high heavens and make regular visits to ensure they are well-fed and happy, but it should serve well to hide them."
Pulling Harry into his side, Rhaegar frees his fingers of hers in order to rest the hand upon her hip, his head upon hers.
This was another mistake he made during his previous life. While he had shared plans with Arthur, he had never sat with the man and held a discussion upon them. He had been both naïve and blinded to outsider help, believing he understood the prophecy best and was thus the only one that could steer them in the right directions.
The fact that he had sat by the rudder and had not laid a hand upon it, had failed to actual guide them given his inactivity in the face of the prophecy, is shameful to look back up.
"Sorry to break up this lovefest," Sirius snaps, waving his hands about in the air in a clear indication that he has absolutely no problems with dissolving their 'lovefest', "but if you want to keep the bloody big beasties a secret, then how the hell are you gonna fly them to wherever this 'Stepstones' place is?"
That is an unfortunately excellent question. Rhaegar cocks his head back, staring up at the rolling grey clouds to shroud the sky, and he already has his answer.
"We will have to wait until nightfall of course. A night with either no light from the moon, or one that sees it hidden so thickly behind a blanket of clouds that it will not be able to illuminate Rhaella and Regulus as the take off."
Moving in the shadows is something he is unaccustomed to, having once been a prince meant that there had never been a location of limits to him, that he had little need to hide his travels when surrounded by knights. Even when fighting against Voldemort during the second Wizarding World War, he had little fear of being seen. After all, even if they see him, what is their confirmation of his location in the face of dragonfire?
But dragons are creatures of destruction and fire, two key elements that are in no way linked to stealth outside of being possible after-effects. This alone will require careful planning.
"So, who will I be riding with then?" Sirius queries, rocking back on his heels and eyeing the two dragons with unconcealed curiosity.
Rhaegar flicks a glance to Regulus, noting that the black dragon has shifted closer over the time they have spent planning, right up until the point where his muzzle would be within Harry's lap if he shifted a few feet closer.
Interested in what will happen, Rhaegar gets to his feet, leaving Harry upon the ground, and the second he has moved, Regulus' head is resting within Harry's lap, nose pressed his against her stomach and snorting hot air into her shirt.
"I do believe you will be riding with me, Sirius, seeing as Regulus appears quite content with Harry and I only trust Rhaella not to attempt to eat you as a passenger."
Dragons are notoriously picky with their riders, he's lucky that Rhaella lets him carry a passenger with him at all.
"I think I'll take Harry's Firebolt for a spin instead," Sirius grumbles, eyeballing the older dragon and frowning when the suspicious look is returned tenfold. Yes, upon review that is probably for the best.
Harry makes no objections, far too focused on the rather larger dragon head upon her lap.
Regulus' skull is now of an equal size, or perhaps just a bit larger than Rhaegar's torso, so between that and his long neck, he easily covers all of Harry's legs with that portion of his body as he so blatantly plays for attention. Attention Harry is more than happy to give him, running her hands along his scaly brow with admiration alight in her eyes, fingertips working at the edging of those dark scales.
Rhaegar watches, wondering if the woman he loves so dearly now understands just why he is so obsessively fascinated with dragons. Given the way her hands move almost reverently along Regulus' form, as if memorizing every plane of his head, every curve of his skull, Rhaegar's beginning to think so.
Dragons have always bonded well with those of Valyrian descent, but that isn't to say that cannot bond to those not of Valyrian blood either. It has just never been done before, not in all of recorded history at least.
Watching Harry's fingers whisper over Regulus' form though, Rhaegar thinks that perhaps history will be made in more ways than one between them. They will reclaim his throne, Harry will be the first dragonrider not of Valyrian blood, and they will better Westeros together.
"A moonless night then?" Sirius asks, staring up at the dark sky that hangs above them, a threatening rumble of thunder echoing across the sky.
"A moonless night," Rhaegar agrees, Rhaella's breath hot against the back of his hand.
It feels like progress.
For two weeks they end up camping out in the ruins of Summerhall, waiting for the perfect cover with which to fly away.
Observing the clouds that pass overhead slowly becomes a favoured pastime of Harry's; laid back in the soft grass, head pillowed upon her arms and legs crossed at the ankles. The supple leather trousers that Rhaegar had envisioned are exceptionally comfortable, dark in colour as Harry is expecting her period any day soon.
No wait, what is it called here? Oh, having her blood, that's right.
Though if she really wants to get poetic about it, then she could go with 'moonblood', 'flowering' or even 'the red flower is blooming' if she wishes to make a big deal of it.
This world is so damn strange.
Shaking her head, Harry returns to her thoughts, counting the days since her last period.
They'd had no set pattern since Dumbledore's death; Hermione had been the same. The bushy-haired girl had gone on about significant stress delaying periods and thus throwing the whole cycle out of sync -in truth, she'd lost Harry here as she'd gotten more and more descriptive regarding the hormones who's names sounded more like bastardized spells than anything else- leaving the two of them with no idea when the bloody mess would strike.
Of course, the lack of sufficient food on the Horcrux hunt had significantly lowered Harry's body fat, she who never usually got enough to eat throughout the vast majority of a childhood and had thus been the last to start her bleeds out of all the girls in their dorm.
Before she had left, Hermione had demanded she eat a well rounded diet, as that would be one of the keys to regulating her cycle once again.
Really, Harry just can't wait until she gets back to that; not being able to wear her fabulous white leather trousers for fear of a telling red patch is infuriating. Her period could be expected any time between now and the new year, almost a whole month. No wait, a whole turn.
Turn of the moon, by Merlin these people were behind the times.
Rubbing at her forehead, Harry blows a strand of curly red hair back from her face, eyes drifting from the storm clouds that gather in the sky towards Rhaegar and Sirius. The former is steadily walking the latter through swordplay.
While Sirius had been taught as a child -as all good pureblood heirs are, the man had bitterly informed her- he's horribly out of practice, even if the trained motions are slowly coming back to him.
Harry watches the two of them move with warmth curling in her heart. She does love it when the two of them get along, when Sirius forgets he likes being amusedly irritated at Rhaegar for marrying her they interact so well together.
A weigh presses down on Harry's thighs and she startles, twisting her head down to her leg to finds Regulus' head once again resting within her lap.
Big red eyes stare up at her, as if daring her to attempting moving him, only Harry's not that stupid.
The younger black dragon appears to have a softer heart than his fellow fire-breather, pressing close to Harry and always happy to accept her scratching hand. His long black tail swishes about in the dirt, sending leaves sprawling and the long grass dancing as it passes.
It's peaceful, a lull of stillness between action, and Harry has ever so enjoyed it. Lying out on a night beneath the stars, covered with a blanket and held close to the dragons and their magnificent body heat, it's been wonderful.
Though there have been a few nights where they've been awakened by a downpour of rain before either dragon could managed to cover them with a wing in time. Still, it'd been wonderful.
Looking up at the sky now though, the moon a thin slice barely present, disappearing behind thick stormclouds that already dominate almost all the night, she knows they will not get a better chance than right now.
As if reading her mind, Rhaegar has made his way over, holding one of the saddles he'd had crafted by the goblins. They'd thought him mad when he'd asked for dragon saddles charmed to grow as the dragons did, but had complied anyway.
"Help me saddle them up?" Rhaegar asks, even as Harry's eyes linger on the leather in his hands. The cushioned seat looks soft, but her gaze is more attracted to the stitching, or more specifically, the words that the stitching forms.
'Bold Nerve, We Dare'.
"You always planned on me riding one, didn't you?" Harry says instead of offering a confirmation, getting to her feet anyway.
Rhaegar smiles, hair wild half tumbling out of its braids from the dance of swords he's been performing with Sirius.
"I had hope."
It is as close to a yes as she will get, so Harry sucks it up, rolling her eyes and accepting half the saddle. Regulus whines at the loss of his pillow, though he stays helpfully still, lifting his body from the ground at the right moments so they can rope the leather beneath.
The saddle looks amusingly small upon Regulus' body, and Rhaegar assures her that the dragon will only continue to grow throughout his life, so she cannot expect the sight to change anytime soon. If anything, it will only grow more humorous as time passes.
Rhaella cannot be destined to be as large as Regulus, for as young as he is, the black dragon is already well on his way to surpassing her in length now. Just seven or so more feet and they shall be the same length.
If he continues to grow at this rate, Harry fears whatever island they make their temporary base upon will soon be outgrown.
Take off is a startling thing indeed.
Unlike the Firebolt where she is in complete control, here she is strapped into a saddle through a series of clever stirrups that her booted feet fit into, hands tangled in reins that stretch not towards Regulus' mouth as they would a horse, but to leather gauntlets that wrap around the black dragon's shoulders.
Running a hand along Regulus' flank -or rather all that she can reach- Harry sucks in a breath and pulls the reins back and down.
Regulus understands her instantly, and the redhead has but a moment to brace herself as powerful wings give a few ferocious beats, before they are soaring up into the sky.
Harry gasps, the heat from Regulus' body fighting the chill that heights such as this usually bring, her absolute adoration for leaving the ground in any way shape or form overtaking her.
They pass through clouds, the moisture clinging to her clothes while evaporating the second it touching Regulus' scales, wisps of steam stretching out behind them.
Harry lets out a scream of absolute joy, throwing her hands up into the air and wishing with all her might that they could have risked Regulus being able to echo her laughter. Yet, they need to move with stealth, and given an exceptionally loud dragon's roar would shatter that, they had been forced to silence the two fire-breathers before they hit the air.
A bit below her, she can see Sirius flying along on the Firebolt, a trail of interconnecting, light-weight trunks following after him.
He too appears to be enjoying his flight, and she bets it's a smoother ride than the constant beating of Regulus' wings. She pushes down the motion sickness that threatens to overcome her though, storing it away in the same place she kept the nausea that flying on Buckbeak and the Thestrals inspired.
No, now this is true freedom, she can see why Rhaegar's ancestors flew upon the backs of dragons. It lights a fire inside her chest to know she rides something so powerful, inspires the feeling that she is perhaps a goddess, looking down upon the mortal realm with the strength to wipe them from existence if she so desires.
She is not Voldemort, nor will she ever be though.
Harry understands that in war death is a necessity, but that does not mean she lusts after it.
Instead, she leans into Regulus' mass, allowing him to keep to Rhaella's trail on his own.
Up here is where true freedom lives.
They land upon one of the smaller formations that make up the series of islands known as the Stepstones.
Rhaella and Rhaegar had led them down, spiralling in a gentle slope, hidden by the thick fog that the sea had kicked up. It's a stroke of luck, the kind that Harry is unaccustomed to having come her way, and she accepts it with barely veiled suspicion.
Sirius lands last of all, the trunks following after him in a smooth glide, easing to the when the forwards momentum disappears.
Atop Regulus, Harry looks around the stretch of grassland that makes up this island, noting that there are a fair few wild hogs roaming the lands. In the very least, that will keep the dragons fed for perhaps a day or two. Do dragons eat fish? That will be much easier to supply them with that a constant source of pigs and cows.
Harry eases herself out of the saddle, edging down Regulus' side and pats him on the ribs when he offers her his wing as a makeshift slide. It makes her dismount much smoother, though nowhere near as graceful as Rhaegar's, who drops from Rhaella's side with all the grace of a wildcat.
Exhaustion weighs Heavy upon Harry's eyelids as she gazes up at the dark night's sky, Regulus lingering by her side.
"It's almost witching hour," Sirius muses as he makes his way over, handing her Firebolt back with a smile, "which means bedtime for little witches and wizards."
Harry snorts but given how tired she feels, she cannot find it in herself to argue.
The idea cements itself when Rhaegar nods, pulling a blanket free from the nearest trunk and nestling down against Regulus' side with his eyes slipping shut. The only reason she knows he's not asleep right away is because he adds his own weight to Sirius' opinion.
"We can always put up the wards tomorrow. One night's rest will not hurt."
And really, that's good enough for Harry.
It's hazy, she's barely lucid; forms and shapes have no meaning, fizzling in and out of existence like spellfire in the night. It's the kind of display that would see her heart pounding furiously beneath her skin, but her heartbeat's thunderous croon is absent.
There's an owl, a crimson thing beside a dragon of white gold and they are both so very small.
The shimmering fluctuations surround them, and Harry can barely make out what is happening before they take shape, and hundreds of snakes surge towards the two.
A cry catches in Harry's throat, not quite able to escape, but the snakes do not strike.
Instead, they linger around the two, slithering under and over one another and never once stopping, a tireless mass movement.
Piercing dark eyes meet her gaze and Harry only has a moment to recognise the red snake as a viper before the brilliant colours are snuffed out like a candle in the night.
He insists upon heading to the Water Gardens alone.
It makes the most sense if he could go and clear the way, for Harry and Sirius to remain behind and make sure the island is truly secure.
Right now, Rhaella and Regulus are their greatest weapon, their insurance against being struck down, so it makes sense to see them protected.
Even though Sirius kicked up no fuss about being bound to that island for a little longer, Rhaegar knows the man is only refraining from complaining because he sees what the Targaryen is doing. That he is keeping Harry safe and secure just that little bit longer, until it is completely unavoidable.
And while that will have bought him good will with the last remaining Black, he wasn't the only one to see what Rhegar was doing.
Harry hadn't complained, per say, but the cold look she had given him just before he apperated away informs him he would most certainly not be welcomed into her embrace anytime soon.
Harry would never kick him from their bed, citing that life is too short for them to really fall out like that, he would still be allowed to hold her close as they sleep.
But there is no way she will be in the mood for lovemaking unless he romances his way back into her good books. That will take a bit of effort, but Rhaegar is feeling up to the challenge.
The sun burns hot on his dyed hair, leaving the Targaryen prince with a new respect for those with naturally dark hair. He has no idea how they deal with the heat of summer burning upon their thick hair, for it had been but a short walk and already he wishes to duck into the shade.
The cloak thrown over his shoulders covers his somewhat regal clothing beneath as he passes between the people walking among the Water Gardens, dark eyes roving over all of the faces.
He never visited the Water Gardens in his previous life, only Sunspear. It is a pleasant setting however, a promise of happiness that floats in the air, the pools of water offering an enticingly gorgeous refreshment from the sun.
Rhaegar steels himself against just running his hand in the water, because that is not what he is here to do, no matter the temptation.
Maybe if Doran accepts him as Rhaegaron, then perhaps he and Harry may float about in the clear waters, enjoying the summer breeze. It is very strange indeed to experience summer at this time of the year; it seems almost as if he has acclimatized to living in England. Living with a near surety of how long winters will last, the seasons flipping back and forth every six turns like clockwork, it had been strange indeed.
But he misses it.
Perhaps it had been a mistake coming here, but he refuses to think more on it for there is no going back.
Instead, Rhaegar turns his attention to locating a guard or servant that will see to his needs.
It takes him a few minutes, but he manages to find a woman who clearly works in the kitchens, if the flour that stains her plain dress is any indication.
Rhaegar tails her with a commendable ease, slipping between a group of four young girls eagerly going to play, just managing to catch the woman's arm.
She swings around in surprise, though there is more caution in her eyes tha fear. Rape is not common in Dorne, for all that they are free in their sexual games; they at least have that right.
"Please, My Lady, a moment of your time?"
"I-I am no lady," the woman stutters, though she relaxes the arm he has an ever so gentle hold of, a flash of teeth as she nervously tugs at her lower lip.
It is enough for Rhaegar and he releases her wrist, glancing down before flickering his gaze up to look upon her from beneath his eyelashes.
He is not ignorant of his appearance, even with hair dyed dark, he knows his face is beautiful. Harry goes out of her way to inform him every so often, as if he could forget once he is done looking in a mirror.
A hot flush spreads across the woman's face that has nothing to do with the Dornish heat, her eyes startlingly wide in the face of his apology.
"I carry a letter for the Prince of Dorne, it is imperative he receives it as soon as possible," Rhaegar pulls the neatly folded envelope free, careful to keep his fingers covering his personal crest, "it needs to be handled with the upmost secrecy."
"Why trust it to me?"
Here Rhaegar pauses for a moment, looking over the letter once again before he offers the woman his best sheepish smile.
"You have a trustworthy face," Rhaegar lies, planting a nervous smile upon his lips even as he looks over his shoulder, as if to assure himself they are not being watched out of anything other than a curious passing glance.
"Please? Lives of children could be at stake if word gets out." A little white lie, but enough to spur the woman into action.
She gives a determined nod, not even glancing to the crest of the letter before she determinedly twists on her heels and disappears into one of the nearby buildings.
He is lucky indeed to have found out the Prince of Dorne resides here, it saves him the trip of having to head back to Sunspear to search for him there.
Rhaegar shrugs his cloak off of his form, letting out a pleased sigh as a gentle breeze fans his body. The heavy fabric is folded over his forearm and he swears to not wear such a cloak this far south again. He dreads to think how difficult it would be to fight in full armour here.
Though Rhaella and Regulus would probably enjoy the heat and sand.
It is quite picturesque here, with the gentle lapping of the sea waves echoing in the air, the sound of children enjoying themselves in the pool, it's a pleasing peace. Certainly not the kind that sets you on edge and leaves you waiting for the inevitable push over the cliffside.
Regardless, that is indeed how Rhaegar feels, sitting there and knowing that at any moment right now Doran Martell will be reading his written words upon magically aged parchment.
Self doubt swamps through him.
Does he still write with the same tone as he once did? Did he get the scented seal right that was a signature of Rhaegar Targaryen, Prince of Dragonstone? What if he made a simple mistake, overlooked one important detail, and as a result has seen to it that Dorne will never stand by his side?
With a scowl, Rhaegar prises off his boots, feet dipping into the pool water as he runs a hand through his hair.
He's stressed already, it would seem.
Inspecting his sleeveless tunic that rests over a simple shirt, Rhaegar reassures himself that the embroidery dragon carefully stitched into his tunic remains unseen. He has no idea how the woman managed it, but Madam Malkin ensured the dragon motif would be invisible under the bright sunshine, and would only appear, though faded, beneath the shadow of an indoor hall.
"Now what is a pretty man like you doing all alone?"
Rhaegar looks up at the sensual voice, blinking slowly to take in the woman that stands a mere two feet beside him, inquisitive eyes gleaming bright. Her hair is thick and luscious, flowing down her shoulders and only seems to highlight her curvaceous form.
"Waiting," Rhaegar replies, offering the woman his hand as she slips off her shoes. She is evidentially a Martell, it is apparent in her appearance, but how close she falls to the main branch, Rhaegar is unsure, still frustratingly out of date regarding the current Lords, Ladies and their heirs.
"I can think of several pleasurable ways to pass the time," she whispers, words amorous as she seats herself, leaning in close enough that should he wish, Rhaegar would be treated to a wonderful view of her breasts.
"As can I, though I would much rather have my wife."
His wife who is still indeed quite mad at him.
Rhaegar sighs fondly at the thought, lips tilting up a little at the sides despite himself. Flowers would have to be the first step on winning his way back into her good graces, he will have to pick some up on the way home.
"You are in love," the woman muses, tilting her head to a side and observing him with a thoughtful expression upon her face.
"I am," Rhaegar confirms, for he is not afraid in the slightest to admit it. "No other will compare to her. That is not to say you are plain, My Lady, just that my eyes see none but her."
There is a still silence between the two of them for a moment, and then the woman laughs. It is a warm sound, tantalizing and raw; Rhaegar wonders if he has ever seen another woman exclude such intense sexual confidence.
"You are in quite deep I see. If you ever need someone to reel you out of that hole," she raises a suggestive eyebrow, wicked lips curving as she finishes her offer.
Rhaegar nods, amused, though he is pulled back into reality when two guards approach him, having obviously just been pointed in his direction by the woman from earlier.
"Prince Doran will see you. Now."
It is not a request, and Rhaegar slides to his feet with ease, one hand cradling his cloak close as the other gathers up his boots.
"Areo, I will-"
"Not this time, Little Princess," the grey haired guard tells her, and Rhaegar spares a look to the woman who is apparently a Princess of Dorne.
"Your father will see him alone."
With that, Rhaegar is led off.
Doran Martell has to only glance upon the letter before he is ordering everyone to leave his presence.
He sets the parchment -old parchment, yellowing with age, for it has been near two decades- down upon his desk, threading weathered hands together to cradle his head upon them.
From there, he just stares, stares at the calligraphy, quite unable to absorb the words. He recognises that writing, the distinctive flick at the beginning of the capitalised 'M', recognises the sharp tall loops that form the double 'l's. It is not a font he believed he would ever witness again, certainly not in a letter address to him.
Well, in all technicality, the letter is addressed to the Lord of House Martell, Prince of Dorne.
A clear reason fails to prevent itself before him, as to why he is currently looking upon a letter wrote in the late Rhaegar Targaryen's hand. Even the seal is the same.
At first he had ignored everything past the dragon symbol, assuming that Viserys has finally found a way to contact him with the utmost secrecy. He had seen the dragon, and he had assumed. Now though-
He reaches for the envelope, lifting the seal to his nose an inhaling.
The steady scent of spiced citrus, Rhaegar's preferred method of informing the recipient that the message is authentic, burns at the back of his throat. A scent like scorching fire, Doran thinks, almost hysterical.
It seems like days have passed as he sits there staring at that letter, but he forces himself to actually absorb the content.
As his eyes flicker across the written word, they grown hungrier, sudden sharp hope blooming painfully in his chest, and Doran wonders if this is what it is like to take a blade to the heart. To have it wedged between his ribs and pressed tight.
For he dares not assume, dares not to dream, but if what this letter says is true-
He needs to see the boy, needs to look upon his face himself to be sure. He needs confirmation that a part of Elia lives on.
A quick call has the servants running, Areo pulling in the kitchen worker whom had delivered the letter.
"The boy who brought the letter," Doran states, forcibly slowing his voice, bleeding all of the painfully eager rush from his tone, "did he leave?"
"N-no my prince, he was still outside when I left."
"Areo, fetch him for me. I will see him, alone. Nobody else."
"My prince-" he knows that the Captain of the Guard is going to say, but he refuses to hear it. No assassin would dare to use the Targaryen sigil, and the letter- the letter is authentic. If he truly is whom the letter proclaims him to be- an assassin would not run the risk of being caught with that symbol in Robert Baratheon's kingdom.
"Alone," Doran stresses and the man bows, hastily herding the confused woman from the room.
Doran leans back upon his chair, fingers rubbing into his skull as he looks upon the letter once more. It is flawless, he knows his deceased brother-in-law's handwriting as well as his own. He has poured over the letters both Elia and Rhaegar had ever sent for years. He has some proof of this, half of a secret told to him but proclaiming the male twin dead.
He is aware Rhaegar was smart, intelligent in a way few are ever gifted. He would have made a fine King one day. To plan this far in advance though...
No matter, he will know the truth from the lies the moment he lays eyes upon the boy.
A tense silence permits within Doran's room, the kind the makes him wish pacing is a viable option.
It seems like a lifetime, and yet a mere second before the door opens and a youth walks in.
The colour is wrong, Elia's hair never darkened past a a rich brown in the winters; it's the first thing he noted. Certainly it was not the inky strands that this pretender wears upon his head.
And yet, the second the door closes and confirms they are alone, the boy -man, he's a man really- presents a waterskin and gestures to his hair.
"May I?" He asks, and the voice, it is so similar, familiar in a way that sends the chills of winter down Doran's spine.
He gives a sharp short nod, knowing in his bones that this is the moment of truth.
Years later it is this exact moment that will be marked down as a key point; the events taking place within this room are going to change the field of the game of thrones.
He can almost see the rules crumbling, falling apart with every inky droplet that falls from the boy's hair.
Steadily, the water strips back the disguise, midnight blue giving way to a silver that gleams as bright as the moon even in the burning torchlight. Dark eyes, indigo eyes, flicker up to gauge his reaction and Doran can do nothing but stare.
So many plans fall apart before him in this moment, and yet, he cannot help but to feel a surge of warming happiness at the sight before him.
The boy is the spitting image of his father, there is little to no Elia in there at all. Perhaps there are two or three extra inches upon this boy than there was Rhaegar Targaryen, but the face is cut from the same cloth.
The expression of hesitation is not something that Doran had ever seen his goodbrother wear, but the features before him portray it perfectly.
Never before has he wished so strongly that he can stand, if only for a moment, so that he can welcome the man before him.
"Nephew," and the word feels heavy upon his tongue as those haunting eyes flicker to meet his gaze once again, "my nephew. Elia's son, Elia's firstborn... Your name, what is it?"
He already knows, the letter has explained it all, but he wishes to hear the boy say it.
It is both Rhaegar Targaryen and a complete stranger that stares back at him, before he offers a semi formal half-bow, one hand held across his chest.
"Rhaegaron Targaryen, son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Elia Martell."
And the names are said with a distant sort of fondness, a sadness that leaks into his visage.
Nephew, Doran thinks, watching the boy straighten his posture, standing as tall and proud as his father once had. His nephew.
For all the plans that will now have to be reshaped, for all the schemes that are branded useless before this boy, there is no other surprise that could ever be as warmly welcomed as this.
He has Rhaegaron pull his cloak on, to once again hide that distinctive hair, just until the servants return with food and drink. Rhaegaron abstains from alcohol just as Rhaegar did during the discussion of important matters, instead favouring the orange-mango juice that had been brought on a whim.
He sits opposite him now, only a desk between them as he slowly straightens out his father's letter.
Most certainly Rhaegaron is his father's son. For all that little Rhaenys was Dornish in her appearance, Targaryen blood flows strong and true in Rhaegaron, the dragonsblood evident in every sharp curve of his face.
"You present yourself to me nephew after all of this time, and while I am pleased to learn of your survival, it is clear your presence here could only be for one thing."
The Iron Throne hangs heavy in the conversation, a looming beast that neither of them openly acknowledge.
"I shall not lie to you, Prince Doran, while I wish to take back my throne, to avenger my mother and father and my siblings, my first priority is ensuring the safety of my wife. As such, that is all I dare to ask of you before we venture further into our talks. I am aware it would put you and yours at great risk, but I have no others whom I could turn to. It is a very dangerous thing, to be a Targaryen in the Usurper's kingdom."
Doran sits back, staring at the man-grown who sips at his drink silently.
All of the facts precisely align themselves within his mind, and Doran runs through each and every one of them.
Fact one, Rhaegaron Targaryen, as the only surviving child of Rhaegar Targaryen, currently has the strongest claim to the throne. A throne he clearly has interest in retaking, and thus it can be deduced he is feeling out how likely Dorne's assistance in aiding him is.
Fact two, Rhaegaron Targaryen has a wife. What goes unspoken is that Rhaegaron Targaryen loves his wife, loves her enough to put her safety before the Iron Throne, before his birthright. There will be no second woman, as with Aegon the conqueror, or even his own father Rhaegar.
Fact Three, Rhaegaron Targaryen feels secure enough in himself to not only inform Doran of his existence, but to gamble on making an appearance in person, unguarded and seemingly equipped with a lone sword at his hip. This implies he is holding back something, for he would not have approached without any weight behind him, the boy's too prideful for that.
It's evident in the way he holds himself, tall and strong, that he has his pride and he wears it well. Not foolishly as a shield from the blades that would strike him, no.
Rhaegaron wears pride as if it a white cloak of the Kingsguard, as if it is a heavily embroidered tunic of a Lord. Worn as a crown, that sets him apart from the people while making himself responsible for their wellbeing.
Rhaegaron Targaryen holds himself as a ruler.
It is those three facts that assures Doran it is best to recalculate every plan he has strive towards these many years past.
"I would meet your princess and intended queen, Nephew, and as long as you wear your hair black and do not openly display yourself as Targaryen, then a home you shall always find in Dorne."
Rhaegaron blinks, and though his face is not emotionless, Doran fails to read it.
"I- My thanks, Prince Doran."
"Uncle," he corrects plucking at a square of cheese as he does so, "we will surely be familiar with one another by the time we are done with our discussions. I have my information you will no doubt wish to hear. Another day though. Today we shall settle your Lady Wife and yourself in, if not as proudly as I would like, then we shall at least do so safely."
It is then that Doran is treated to a smile, warm and brimming with gratitude, a smile that could only have come from Elia for he cannot picture such a gesture of open relief and joy upon Rhaegar Targaryen's face.
"Of course, Uncle. House Targaryen acknowledges their debt to House Martell. I swear we shall see such a thing repaid."
Then the cloak hood is up and the boy is gone.
Doran can only lean back in his chair, ignoring the pains in his legs, and allow his mind to spin.
Rhaegar returns just after the sun reaches its pinnacle point in the high centre of the sky, smile bright and brilliantly coloured flowers in hand.
Harry's not expecting that in the least, and ends up with doe-wide eyes when her husband drops to one knee before her and offers up the little bouquet. Flowers of varying shades of yellow, orange and red sway in the gentle island breeze, looking ever so lovely to the point where Harry can do nothing other than to be charmed by the man before her.
She politely ignores Sirius impressed whistle and his commented, "smooth."
Instead, she focuses on the fact Rhaegar is well aware of how much he's irritated her and is already working to make it up to her.
After fiascos such as the Parselmouth incident and the Fourth Champion hullabaloo, Harry extremely appreciates a man who can admit he's done wrong, even if it is with the best of intentions, and starts to make it up to her immediately.
Accepting the lovely looking arrangement, Harry draws her wand, the flowers tangling over one another until they form a wreath that she can wear upon her head. No sense in wasting the effort Rhaegar has gone to in order to surprise her, she thinks, planting the ring upon her head.
If it just so happens to remind her of the little flower crown Rhaegar had given her when asking her to the Yule Ball, well then that's that. She doesn't know if Rhaegar's aware she still has that crown, that she'd embarrassedly asked Hermione to charm it unbreakable, impervious to harm. But it holds so many memories, it was the start of something for her, a physical representation of a fundamental point in her life. It was the start of what led her here, and she has plans for it to become a treasured relic.
"How'd it go then?"
That's not to say she's going to forgive him right away, leaving her on this island while he goes out and risks his life needs more of an apology than flowers.
Rhaegar smiles, running his hand down Rhaella's muzzle, the dragon clearly well aware her rider plans on leaving for some time and she is not happy in the slightest.
"Prince Doran Martell has accepted the fact I am 'Rhaegaron Targaryen', his nephew. Though we have yet to make any real promises regarding my claim to the throne, he has agreed to shelter the three of us, under the condition I keep my heritage under wraps and wear my hair black."
Here Rhaegar grimaces slightly, and Harry's well aware that he pulls such a face because he will need to cover his hair with something more permanent than washout dye. Only for the time being, but what is important here is that Rhaegar's hair is going to be as dark as Sirius' for some time.
"Poor kiddo," Sirius muses, elbowing Rhaegar in the side and nearly pushing the younger male over.
Harry hides her smile behind her hand, fingers toying with a stray red curl as she watches her husband regain his footing, sending a scratching glance at both the uneven ground and Sirius in the process.
"We shall apperate to Sunspear, hire a caravan to cart out luggage to the Water Gardens; it will be suspicious should we not."
It is a good thing then that the money the goblins exchanged with them for their gold is charmed to change and meld in with the local currency.
"Well, lead the way, oh fearless prince."
There is an awful lot of sand here, and it is so exceptionally weird to know that it is December and yet be so damningly warm.
Harry sits at the front of the caravan, Rhaegar beside her and the both of them watch in amusement as Sirius pats at the mane of his mount.
The elder male had been over the moon to finally get the chance to try riding upon a horse, something Orion Black had always insisted was 'a plebeian muggle activity' and why don't you ride a Hippogriff instead, Sirius?
Of course, this had only pushed Sirius into wanting to ride a muggle horse more than any other animal, and though it is over two years later dice he spawned that desire, Sirius has seized his chance.
"Give him a few hours upon horseback and the man will deeply regret it," Rhaegar whispers in her ear, fingernails tapping at the back of her hand as his digits intertwine with hers.
"Yes, he'll soon find it quite uncomfortable," Rhaegar promises, breath hot against her cheek as he speaks, the sensation both arousing and exceedingly uncomfortable in this heat.
Harry is English, she's from a land that sees snow every damn year, this is not a climate she is used to at all. She remembers struggling through hot summers as a young child, though that might actually be due to how much housework the Dursleys assigned to her.
Wiping the sweat from her brow, Harry chugs down another mouthful from the waterskin, licking the stray droplets from the edge of her lips with her tongue.
Rhaegar tracks the flash of pink that swipes at the residue liquid, eyes dark as he accepts the waterskin. The heavy gaze sends a sensual flush through her insides and Harry clenches her fist to steel herself from jumping Rhaegar then and there.
Forget being moody with him right now, as soon as they're alone, she's going to ride him raw.
Completely unaware of her devious plans for him later that night, Rhaegar throws one arm around her, keeping their fingers interlinked so that Harry's own arm crosses her lap, still drawing meaningless patterns into the back of his hand.
She doesn't know what they're heading into, but she does trust Rhaegar, with her heart, soul and life. Entrusting her future to him remains the next logical step, something she had been halfway to doing when she had accepted him as her husband.
She's married a good man, who will do his best to look after her.
And as such, she will look after him in return.
So here's chapter two of this monstrous thingymabob. We've arrived in Game of Thrones and Rhaegar's not only got an idea of what is going on, but he's slowly creating a gameplan of his own.
- Late October, Voldemort is defeated (Harry moves a lot quicker in this AU)
- 25th November, Rhaegar, Harry and Sirius arrive in Westeros at Summerhall.
- 10th December, Rhaegar meets Doran.
I feel as if I should have a fair bit more to say regarding this, but all I can really say is I finally got Pokemon Go (as it just came out in England) and that I managed a 2:1 on my University degree, as I found out yesterday, so today is a day for celebration.
Also for future reference, I picture Rhaegar to look something like Emil Andersson, just with white gold hair.