It was cold.
No, freezing described it better. Harry shivered and rubbed his tanned arms as goosebumps sprouted all over his bare skin as an icy gust of wind whipped at his face. The sun was blazing furiously through the open window, even as greenish-blue ice crept over his five-star hotel, seeping into the walls and carpet.
"I'll have to skip town after this," Harry muttered to Meciel, who throbbed within his mind in agreement.
He stared back at the shining hues of light forming in the centre of his room. A vertical slit suspended in the air, almost transparent, was the source of the low temperatures and painfully-cold breeze. It hovered there for a second, before rapidly expanding and shimmering to reveal a portal to an ice wasteland. Harry smelled Winter Power, a stench of decaying plants and new-formed frost, as a figure emerged from the portal to the Nevernever.
Maeve, the Winter Lady, youngest of the Unseelie Queens and the mother of Harry's child, smiled coolly at the Denarian as she entered his high-priced hotel room. Her pale, radiant features looked as if they could have been carved from the very ice she wielded as she absently ran a hand through her hair, dyed dreadlocks in a mixture of deep lavender, pale blues and greens and pure white.
"Harry," Maeve said, caressing the word on her tongue and smiling wickedly.
Harry shivered, and not because of the cold, and forced himself not to stare at the white shirt that stretched across her bust, or the ripped leather pants that showed off more of Maeve's thigh then Harry found comfortable.
It wasn't that he was averse to her looks, it was just that he didn't know what it would cost for him to move on her. Last time, she had demanded his firstborn as payment, not even concerned that she would be the one who would have to carry it. This time, who knows what she would ask.
"Maeve," Harry responded curtly.
Amaris, by his side, moved forward. She was clad in her simple white dress and her dark hair flowed freely behind her small back. Her green eyes, a mixture between Maeve's strange canted, feline green eyes and Harry's won, were emotionless. The eight year old came to stand by her mother, her head bowed in unconscious servitude to the Winter Lady.
"As you can tell, she's still alive," Harry said dryly. He folded his arms over his bare chest and stared at Maeve challengingly. "Do you have any problems with my treatment of her yet?"
"No," Maeve responded softly. She stroked her daughter's head like one would pet a dog. Amaris froze and remained still as her mother idly played with her hair. "I have no problems with that at all."
"Okay then," Harry said awkwardly, glancing away from Maeve and Amaris. He cleared his throat and looked back. "Well, I didn't come to Hawaii to freeze my balls off, so I'm heading back out to the beach."
"Fine," Maeve said, a strange, inhuman smile playing on her lip. Her eyes ran up and down Harry' body and she licked her lip. "But there are other ways to ward of the cold." She leaned forward tantalisingly, her eyes meeting Harry's. "And I know all of them," she whispered softly.
"Could you try not to act like a complete whore in front of my daughter?" Harry asked in exasperation.
Meciel's presence flooded his mind, shielding him from the invasive glamours and mind-twisting spells that appealed to his baser urges. Harry turned to go and paused at the doorway.
"Don't bother putting spells on the room or anything," he said. "I'm not coming back. Amaris?"
"Yes, Father?" Amaris spoke up quietly.
"Just…" Harry trailed off and scratched his head. "Ah, whatever. Later, kid."
"Goodbye, Father," Amaris said quietly.
Maeve watched the interaction between father and daughter with glittering eyes as Harry shut the door behind him and left. Mother and daughter stood silently, oblivious to the squeals and laughter of those outside the resort.
"Did my plan work?" Maeve asked Amaris, who nodded dutifully.
"Yes, Mother, I believe so," the half-fae responded quietly.
"So he cares for you?" Maeve pressed.
"He might love me," Amaris answered, making Maeve smile in delight and stroke her daughter's head once more.
"Good work," praised Maeve, her strange smile still present on her face. "Unfortunately, your work has been for naught. The Host of Meciel is quickly proving to be unsuited for my plans, so I have begun to make other plans."
She turned and strode back into the portal to the Nevernever, her daughter following obediently behind her. Amaris' skin tingled as she passed through the expertly-made portal and into the barren wasteland of ice and snow.
A dark figure awaited them, clad in the robes of a wand-wizard.
"Amaris," Maeve purred. "Meet the one who will give me what I want."
The figure stared down at Amaris with gleaming eyes and the little girl unconscious shuddered.
A/N: This is the final chapter of The Denarian Knight. Keep an eye out for the Denarian Lord, which will be out before you know it. The usual thanks to DarkLordPotter, including Jon, Nuhuh, Taure, Oz, Warlocke, Dakatim and the countless other's who took the time to help me refine each chapter through spell-checks, finding plot-holes and sometimes just going 'you really stuffed up here- fix it!'. I suppose I should put in a few disclaimers, like how I don't own Harry Potter or the Dresden Files and how this is a non-profit piece of fan work that has, if anything, benefited the original authors since I'm always getting reviews along the lines of 'your story made me go and buy the set of the Dresden Files- Thank you!' However, I do own all the funny lines that Harry says.
Well, some of them, anyway.