THE SECOND TASK
Violet eyes met blue eyes that, normally, twinkled with impish mirth, but were currently solemn. "I'm sorry," Dany said quietly, but her anger underlying every syllable, "but I may have misheard you. You want me…to be a hostage for Harry to find during the Second Task, floating in an enchanted sleep at the bottom of the Black Lake."
"…Yes," Dumbledore said.
"…I would ask whose pox-addled brain came up with this ludicrous idea," Dany said, before shooting a look at the fatuous Bagman, who didn't seem to understand why Dany was angry, "but I have a fair idea."
"Now, now, don't be like that!" Bagman said cheerfully. "If the hour expires without the Champions retrieving their hostages, the Merpeople will do that for us!"
"And what gives you the right or the authority to do this?" Dany said, glaring at Bagman.
"…The heads of the schools act in loco parentis," Dumbledore said quietly. "Daenerys, I can swear an Unbreakable Vow that you will not come to any real harm. If that happens…then magic will judge me, and I will die."
Dany looked sharply at Dumbledore, before her face fell. Had this been Westeros, and her being Queen, she would have imprisoned Bagman for even suggesting such folly. But she wasn't Queen, this wasn't Westeros, and she knew Harry would help her. "…That won't be necessary, Professor. I trust you, but not this man. In any case, should harm come to me, it is not magic or myself you should worry about."
Dumbledore nodded solemnly. "Indeed. Daenerys, once you fall asleep, the next time you wake up, it will be on the surface of the Black Lake." His wand then traced a pattern, and Dany soon felt the darkness come over her, like a comforting blanket of oblivion…
It was all Jorah Mormont could do not to run that fatuous fool Bagman through, or indeed the other organisers. He'd only just heard about this foolishness from Dumbledore, and it took a lot of placating to calm the grizzled warrior down. For all the fact that he had been a spy for Varys and thus Robert Baratheon, he had grown to care for Dany, and her paramour Harry. He would protect them to his dying breath if need be, and having Dany act as a trophy for this perverse entertainment was something he would expect from one of the cities of Slavers' Bay, not in a supposedly civilised country like Britain, even if the wizards were behind the Muggles.
He could see Harry was furious. Anyone with half a brain (which sadly excluded a significant chunk of the audience present) could see that. And it hurt Jorah to see Harry like that. Jorah actually felt a pang of envy. He wished he had a bond of love like that. Instead, the woman he had loved, Lynesse Hightower, had not loved him back, just his monies, and once they ran out after his exile…she ran out on him, tearing his heart from his chest in her wake. But Harry and Dany…they shared a deep, deep bond. Harry would defend Dany to the death…and Jorah realised that Dany would do the same to Harry. That was the kind of Queen he would fight for. Dany was a Targaryen of the sort Aegon the Conqueror or Aegon V would have been proud of, noble, valiant, and protective of her subjects.
Khaleesi, he thought to himself. The Dothraki tongue was a harsh, guttural thing, but no tongue was without poetry or elegance, even if the Dothraki had little use for such things. But it was fitting for Daenerys. More and more, Jorah wondered whether or not she was Visenya, sister-wife of Aegon the Conqueror, reborn, and Harry was her mount, Vhagar. Probably not quite the warrior Visenya was, true, but still, she certainly had the fire. She deserved the title of Khaleesi. She would need to prove herself to others, but Dany, he knew, didn't need to prove herself to him.
Jorah remembered the truism about how, when a Targaryen was born, the gods flipped a coin, and they were destined for either greatness, or madness. This wasn't always the case, as some Targaryens had neither, and Dany was still young. But she had a dragon in Harry, she had an education, and access to the knowledge here that many a Maester would kill for…or kill to cover up.
And that was the thing. Harry and Dany were good for each other. In Dany, Harry had a cause to fight for, beyond vanquishing Voldemort. In Harry, Dany had someone who wouldn't judge her for her sex. And the two kept each other's psyches together after their harsh experiences.
And Earth had much that Westeros could learn from. Earth was not without its flaws by any means, but it had many advances that would do well, and while some would be hard to implement, others wouldn't. Simple hygiene, for example. The printing press. Certain medicines. Perhaps one day electricity, through solar and wind power, the latter perhaps being more useful during winter. And there were lessons in the history of Earth that Dany was trying to learn.
"They'll be fine," said Luna Lovegood. While there was something of a gulf between him and Dany lately, along with between him and Potter, even if it had become better after the new year, Luna had never stopped talking to him.
"Will they?" Jorah asked as Harry paced near the other Champions, with the blonde girl, Fleur, looking particularly anxious as well. "I wish I shared your confidence, Luna." She had insisted he call her that.
"Even without the abilities of a dragon, Harry has determination and magic, two of the most potent forces in any universe," Luna said. "And now that she's away from her brother, so too does Dany. They're the sort of people that the universe delights in toying with, and yet, they power through strife and trials. Jon Snow is also like this."
"…And you said the White Walkers are coming."
"Yes." Luna looked at him. "And few in Westeros would believe them to be real. That's the problem when history fades into myth and legend. You don't know what's real, and what is story. Even Wrackspurts can't account for that." She returned her gaze to the lake. "Time obscures many things. Like how the Doom came to Valyria, why Aegon decided to conquer Westeros, or what happened to the Children of the Forest. They still live, you know. I speak to them, sometimes, in my dreams. They know better than anyone else, even the Starks with their words, that winter is coming."
Jorah nodded grimly. While the girl spoke many absurdities, he had long since come to realise that absurd did not mean untrue. In hindsight, it was easy to see that Jon Snow could be Lyanna Stark's child with Rhaegar Targaryen. "Yes, winter is coming…but if the White Walkers, the Others, come with them, what can we do about them?"
"Oh, well, while I can't say that it's easy…I've asked Remus to buy up as much obsidian as possible."
"Dragonglass," Luna explained. "We're even paying the Goblins to work it into weapons, and enchant it so that it's harder than normal obsidian. My friend Leaf told me, the White Walkers have only two fatal weaknesses: Dragonglass, and Valyrian steel."
"One of the Children. She's nice. She's trying to make up for something really bad she did long ago, though," Luna said, looking morose.
…Just roll with it, Jorah thought. Out loud, he snarked, "Next, you'll be saying that the Boltons are misunderstood and only need a hug."
Luna scoffed. "Roose Bolton and his bastard son Ramsay Snow, misunderstood? The only misunderstanding anyone has is that they're at all loyal to the Starks. I'd sooner bend the knee to Tywin Lannister. And he had even the innocent members of my family murdered. I'm going to enjoy driving him crazy." Evil cackles emitted from her mouth. "Hmm…should I try the Barney method? Nah, I'll save that one for eroding the Mountain."
"…Barney method?" Jorah asked, dreading the answer.
"I'll be locking him into a room with a perpetual loop of a song about love sung by a cuddly purple dinosaur," Luna explained. "The TV will be unbreakable. I might even take bets on how long before he's either driven insane or kills himself."
"…A purple dinosaur?"
"Oh, it's a kid's program, but it's sooo asinine!" Luna said with a pout. Then, she frowned in thought. "Didn't you say that Tywin Lannister is said to shit gold? Maybe I should turn him into a goose that lays golden eggs…"
As Luna descended into pensive ramblings about animal Transfiguration and creating a Leprechaun gold charm within a goose's organs, Jorah knew, without any doubt, that he would do his utmost to keep on this girl's good side. Because as benign as she was to friends, she clearly had a scary amount of creativity when it came to dealing with enemies. Though that begged the question…what did she do to those who bullied her?
Marietta Edgecombe glared at Padma Patil, who sighed. "I did warn you, you know. She's got a wild imagination. That means she gets creative."
Edgecombe opened her mouth to retort, only for a loud donkey's braying to replace her voice.
"Be thankful it's only when you intend to speak ill of her," Padma said. "You shouldn't have taken her flute, you know. That was her mother's heirloom. Anyway, Pomfrey said the compulsion would go away in a few months."
"Look, Professor Flitwick said that he can't do anything," Padma said, knowing full well that Flitwick considered this karma, and that it could have been much worse. Apparently Luna really loved that flute, and Padma was really glad she didn't agree to help Edgecombe…
Harry sped through the water, grateful that he had practised using this form beforehand. He was angry at the organisers, especially Bagman, for doing something like this. He'd caught Dumbledore's eyes, though, and Dumbledore's look suggested that they weren't in any true danger.
Then again, Harry wouldn't trust Bagman to organise a piss-up in a brewery. Safety was doubtless something he had to look up in a dictionary, and Crouch was conspicuous by his absence, with Percy substituting for him like at the Yule Ball. And considering that Bagman and Crouch thought that facing a fucking dragon was appropriate for even NEWT-level students, Harry wasn't confident about Dany being safe, let alone the other hostages. He knew Hermione was one, given that she seemed to be mysteriously absent this morning like Dany.
However, there was one advantage to having the soul-bond, Harry realised. It gave him an unerring sense of where Dany was, not as precise as, say, a compass needle pointing north, but a feeling, an instinct, that drew him onwards through the cold, murky water. It was as if he was a homing pigeon.
Or maybe dragons had that instinct? Dany and Luna did say the Targaryens, and indeed the Valyrians of old, bonded with their mounts, and that was without the revelations Luna had about the Valyrians and the dragon shapeshifters. Maybe that helped. His sense of smell was heightening as a human, as were his other senses, he realised.
Whatever it was, he swam through the water like he flew through the air as a dragon. He was spurred by the fact that Dany may be in danger. And those who would do her harm would know that they had awoken the dragon. Not the petulant dragon of Viserys' selfish temper, but righteous wrath.
He soon came to the Merpeople's village, and found where the Merpeople were guarding the hostages. An enchanted sleep, he guessed. Dany, Cho, Hermione…and a young girl that, judging by her looks, was probably a relative of Fleur Delacour.
For a moment, he remained, debating with himself whether to remain to make sure that the others got here, or to get Dany and get the hell out of here. But he didn't like the way the Merpeople were looking at him or the hostages. In addition, before he shot off through the water, he noted that Krum had used what had to be a tricky but brilliant bit of Transfiguration to turn himself partly into a shark, while Cedric and Fleur used Bubble Head Charms, which could be popped, especially if they were attacked by Grindylows. So he decided to wait as a precaution.
He looked at Dany, watching her silvery blonde hair drift around her head like seaweed, shining in the murky water. So beautiful, he thought to himself. He thought it amazing that, despite centuries of incest amongst the Targaryens, she came out looking so perfect and beautiful, and that her mind was normal. Once out from beneath the shadow of her mad brother…she had bloomed. He had no doubt about that after meeting her in his dreams, even when he thought her imaginary…but to see the reality of it in action was another matter.
She wasn't Queen of Westeros yet, and she may never be. Jorah's talk of the game of thrones, of the jockeying for power, left Harry with little illusions about what they would be going back to when (he now knew that 'if' wasn't the problem, save for how to transport back there) they did. But Harry knew that she would make a good queen. Not because of her Targaryen bloodline: he thought the notion of a single family being particularly suited to rule laughable, the character and achievements of Queen Elizabeth II notwithstanding. No, it was because he had faith in Dany's character and ability to rule. She would need help from others, true, including Harry and Jorah. But while monarchs ruled singularly, they never ruled alone.
He noted Cedric and Krum taking away Cho and Hermione respectively, and frowned. Fleur was conspicuous by her absence. And he had a watch on him. He frowned. Time was running short, and Fleur wasn't here to pick up what was probably her sister.
Eventually, after freeing Dany, he went for the other girl. But when the Merpeople tried to stop him, he just gave them all a look with his dragon eyes. A look that just said, 'try and stop me: see what happens'. The Merpeople acceded, and Harry freed the girl, and began swimming up for the surface, hoping he'd get there before the Gillyweed transformation ran out.
As it happened, it ran out just as he reached the surface. Dany and Fleur's sister woke at the same time, the latter babbling fearfully in French, calling out for her sister. Dany shook her head, and then looked at Harry, smiling. "You came for me."
"Was there any doubt, Khaleesi?" Harry said. He hadn't used the term that much, but he decided to use it there.
"…No," she said. "Here, let me help."
Dany was a surprisingly good swimmer, even without Gillyweed. Apparently she had been taught how to by her brother and Ser Willem Darry, the man who was their guardian until his death. Between them, they helped Fleur's sister get to shore, escorted by a group of Merpeople.
Waiting anxiously along the shore was Fleur. "Gabrielle!" she called out in joy and relief. Harry helped Gabrielle and Dany out, and stood there on the shore of the Black Lake. The pair of them watched as the two sisters embraced, before Fleur thanked Harry profusely.
And to be frank, for Harry, nothing else mattered, not even the scores. Dumbledore may have made assurances about safety, but he couldn't trust that wholly. No, he'd helped Gabrielle out because he wanted to. And, of course, there was saving Dany. He'd helped Gabrielle and Fleur because it was the right thing to do. He helped Dany because they were bound together by ties of love and fate. She was his queen, and he was her dragon. And he refused to let anyone tear them apart…
CHAPTER 18 ANNOTATIONS:
So, the Second Task, at long last, albeit with some intriguing insights into the other characters. And I've actually got an interesting idea involving a certain Potterverse character, one that only just occurred to me while writing the end of this chapter. Namely, Rita Skeeter.
It's about this point that Rita begins her attack on Hermione, but given that Harry can become a dragon, Rita might be a bit wary of tickling this particular sleeping dragon. So, I'm wondering, whether I should have Rita Skeeter decide to approach Harry and Dany to join them in Westeros.
Now, I'm sure a lot of you will be saying, what the actual fuck, but hear me out. Many of you may be familiar with Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. My thought is, if Rita has overheard enough about Dany and her ambitions…what if she's going to be like Diethard Ried from Code Geass, an opportunistic journalist who wants to see history in the making? She's not going to be a hero, but she's going to be a protagonist.
This is, admittedly, only a notion so far, and there's no guarantee that I'll do it, which is why I want opinions on this.
Also, I'm considering doing another Game of Thrones crossover. Not with the Potterverse, but rather, with Naruto, specifically adapting mellra's Son of the Imp challenge, albeit with modifications. This isn't a definite thing by any means, but I feel confident enough in my ability to write fanfic for Game of Thrones now to give it, or something similar, a try.
Also, on a lighter note, I nearly had Cho berating Marietta, before I remembered that she was in the Black Lake for this Task. D'oh!
Review-answering time! rmarcano321: Which one of MY fanfics is my personal favourite? That's actually a tough one to answer, especially as favourite doesn't necessarily mean I find it easy to write. However, of all my fanfics, it'd probably be Separated at Birth, my crossover with Fate/Stay Night, or maybe my vampire Lunar Harmony crackfic On the Delights of Drinking Blood. Of all my completed fanfics, I think my Thor/Fate/Zero crossover Light the Blue Touch Paper and Run Like Hell is my particular favourite. But these are my favourites by very slender margins.
Macilnar: I can give you recommendations by PM if you want. If you want long and enjoyable fanfics, I recommend the Potterverse fics of Bobmin356 (ESPECIALLY Saying No) and the Evangelion and Mass Effect fics of Gregg Landsman (especially Nobody Dies and Mass Effect: Glorious Shotgun Princess), who is pretty much the person to blame for me writing fanfic in the first place.
lypharius: Sadly, I can't write according to a schedule, only according to inspiration.
aesir21: They'll be wed at Winterfell. And they will go back to Westeros shortly after the Third Task.
Guest (regarding Jon's parentage being discerned): I personally think Jon Arryn would have blabbed to Robert. Both may have been his wards, but Robert was his king. He didn't speak up, AFAIK, about what happened to the other Targaryen children. Jon may have been a good guardian to Robert and Ned, but I think he would have let politics rather than friendship dictate his actions.
Guest (with a wall of text review): No, time will not pass differently, not in this fanfic at least. I'll consider it for other crossovers I may or may not do. Typewriters and sewing machines are not what I considered, but it's a good point. Not so sure about an ice cream maker, though finding a way to make it magically could help. Indoor plumbing is a given. Ditto the microscope. Also, Cat's safe for now, and she's going to have to eat a lot of crow once she realises what she did.
No numbered annotations this time.