Chapter 1: Prologue
White. That's the first thing her eyes registered of the place around her. Everything was white and nebulous, the surroundings still not completely formed into matter.
The more she looked however and the more she realized there was something extremely familiar about the place she was in. It looked like King's Cross station. A very clean, deserted station but King's Cross all the same.
Other revelations came after. For starters, she was lying down on some cold, smooth surface and she was naked. When the thought entered her mind she wondered where her clothes had disappeared to and immediately after she felt the fabric envelope her form. The t-shirt and jeans she had been wearing before ending up here were once again covering her skin. She felt relieved at that but still confused. What was this place?
She got up from the ground and stood on her feet, noticing immediately the strange form of something under a bench, wriggling and squirming and moaning. It looked like a deformed, overgrown baby, with scorched red skin and bloody red eyes. It looked pitiful and Harry felt something break in her at the scene. She came closer, wanting to touch it, comfort it somehow but before she could do that a voice from behind her stopped her.
"You can't help him."
Harry turned around in an instant, alert and scared. There was a man in front of her where before there had been only mist. He looked familiar somewhat, though Harry couldn't say she had ever seen him before. His piercing grey eyes stared at her with cold detachment. He looked elegant and bored at the same time, almost liked he was irritated to be there.
"So, you're the famous Harry Potter." He said with a slight sneer, his teeth flashing white from behind red lips. "I suppose I was expecting something more…more."
Harry crossed her arms over her chest, feeling defensive. "Who are you?"
The man smirked, a hand passing through his straight, dark hair in an unconscious gesture. "I guess you can call me…R.A.B."
Harry widened her eyes at that. "You're Regulus Black. Sirius's brother." Now she understood why the man looked familiar. She could clearly see the resemblance with Sirius, though this man looked younger and more…aristocratic somehow.
Regulus seemed to ignore her words and said instead, "Do you know why you're here?"
Harry squinted her eyes, trying to remember what she was doing before coming here and then, like a thunderbolt that pierced the sky, she remembered. The forbidden forest. Voldemort. The Avada Kedavra hitting her chest. "I died, didn't I?"
"In a way." Regulus replied cryptically. At Harry's raised eyebrow, he explained further. "The connection between your body and your soul has been broken, so you are technically dead."
Harry could feel a 'but' coming and a sense of dread filled her lungs. "Technically…" She said instead, encouraging him to continue.
"You see, your peculiar situation as a human horcrux – not to mention the ritual the Dark Lord used to return to life – bound the two of you so close together that as long as he stays alive, you won't be able to die either."
"But we destroyed the horcruxes. All of them. Isn't that enough?"
"Unfortunately, he was able to save one horcrux. His snake, Nagini. As long as his snake lives, he will live as well and so will you…in a manner of speaking."
"Does this mean that everything we did, me, Dumbledore, Ron, Hermione, Snape? It was all for nothing?"
"Not for nothing, no. The snake will be killed soon, and so will Voldemort. However, you were supposed to be his last one to be destroyed. But since you weren't, even if Voldemort is killed, his soul will stay 'alive' just as yours is now. He won't be able to fully come back to the land of the living – returning instead to his wraith form, the one he was in before acquiring a body once again – but neither will you. You will both remain in a limbo, for all eternity, unable to move on. Your limbo is the surroundings you see in front of you." He gestured with his hands to the strange King's Cross surrounding them.
"And there's nothing we can do? Voldemort will still be able to do a lot of damage, even in his wraith form."
Regulus looked at her with a familiar disdain. "Tell me, Harry Potter, do you not care about the fact that you'll spend the rest of eternity in a limbo through no fault of yours? Is Voldemort's fate the only thing you can concentrate on?"
Harry grimaced. "It's not like I'm happy about it. But the more important concern is that Voldemort will still be alive somehow and that every person that sacrificed themselves to kill him, will have died for nothing."
"You included." Regulus pointed out, somewhat sarcastically.
Harry rolled her eyes. "Yes, me included. Does this conversation have a point or are you simply here to tell me how bad I screwed up by dying when I wasn't supposed to?"
Regulus grinned, the first, positive emotion Harry had ever seen on his face. "Finally a little fire. I was worried this martyr act you have going on is all there was to you."
"It's not an act!" Harry protested indignantly.
"Oh, I know. That's even worse."
"So…your point?" Harry asked, impatient and offended at the same time.
"My point is that…yes, there is a way for you to escape this situation and for Death to claim Lord Voldemort's soul in full like He was supposed to 17 years ago."
"Death? As in…Death, Death?"
Regulus snorted. "Who do you think sent me here? I'm just a messenger."
"So, the Tale of the Three Brothers…is true? Like, Death actually gave them the Hallows?"
"It's true. And that's partly the reason why you're here. You became the Master of Death, even if for a short time. You were also the first person who was actually worthy of these objects. For this reason, and this reason alone, you will be given another chance."
"What kind of chance?" Harry asked warily. "Didn't you just say that I can't come back to the land of the living?"
"Yes, you can't come back to your old life. However, Death is willing to give you a new life, in another world."
"Another world?" This conversation was getting weirder and weirder by the minute.
"Yes. Another Earth and another continent called Westeros." Regulus said 'Westeros' like Harry was supposed to know what it was.
"Huh, huh. Okay…where's the catch?"
"The catch is that you won't have an easy life. But I'm sure you're used to it by now."
Harry grimaced again, finding Regulus's strange sense of humor irritating.
"However, to make things easier for you and because Death is feeling generous, you won't be alone. Someone else will come with you."
"Who?" Harry asked, now curious.
Regulus smirked. "My brother, of course."
Harry struggled to take another breath at that, her eyes filling with tears. "Sirius?"
Regulus nodded. "Like yours, the circumstances of his death are rather peculiar. He didn't die because of a curse, instead he died because his body crossed the Veil. That means that while his soul came here, like yours, his body remained trapped inside the Veil of Death, in a sort of stasis. While with you, it's Voldemort himself that anchors you to the land of the living, for my brother is the Veil itself."
"So, Sirius remained all these years, since he died, trapped in this limbo?"
"Not this representation exactly but…yes."
"So, he'll be free now? If he comes with me?"
"He will be. Both of you will lead a new life and once that life is over, like every other mortal, you will die. This will also severe the connection between you and Voldemort and allow Voldemort's soul to move on."
"Okay, then. I accept."
"Good. I have to warn you, however, you and Sirius will not appear at the same point in time. Both of you will remember your old lives and Sirius will be informed that you'll join him where he's going, though much later. In fact, 22 years will pass from the moment he'll first be reborn in Westeros and you will."
"It's more or less the same age difference I have with him here so I suppose it makes sense."
"Death will interfere a little to change some events to help your circumstances somewhat, though I have to warn you, you won't be able to use magic the way you are used to. That doesn't mean, however, that you won't have magic where you are going. It will just take a different form. Like I said, Westeros is not an easy place to live in. Death will aide you as well as he can but after that, you and Sirius will be on your own."
"Yeah, what else is new?" Harry asked sarcastically.
"You should be more grateful Harry Potter, not many get such a chance."
Harry felt immediately bad at that, especially because she was in front of a person who died so young and only because he was trying to do the right thing. "No, I'm sorry. You're right. I am grateful."
"Good. Are you ready then?"
"Is there something else I should need to know first?"
"Yes." Regulus smirked again. "Remember what was written in your parents' tomb?"
"'The Last Enemy that shall be destroyed is Death'?" Harry asked, confused.
"Yes, that's it. I'm afraid such a saying will become literal."
Regulus didn't answer, grasping his hand in hers instead. "Good luck, Harry Potter."
Harry felt her bones and muscles strain under her skin, pain cursing through her veins. She arched her back and screamed and then…then there was only blackness.
Chapter 2: Interlude
Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen was born in Dragonstone in the year 282 AC, thirteen years ago now, during the worst storm in living memory.
Her older brother Rhaegar had died, slayed at the Trident by Robert Baratheon, the then Lord of the Stormlands and now self-proclaimed King of the Seven Kingdoms, while her niece and nephew Aegon and Rhaenys together with their mother Elia Martell had been butchered by men sent by the Lannisters.
Her father Aerys – the Mad King as everyone called him – had died as well, killed by one of the members of his Kingsguard. And her mother, Queen Rhaella, had died giving birth to her.
In a little more than one year, of the great House Targaryen only two other members remained beside herself: her brother Viserys and her uncle, her parents' brother Sirys, who had become a sworn member of the Kingsguard at only sixteen years old, only three years before the War of the Usurper started. Before dying, but after her son Rhaegar's death, Rhaella crowned Viserys King and Daenerys was made his only heir.
So, it was that the three last remaining members of House Targaryen, together with Ser Willem Darry and other loyal members of the Kingsguard, fled from Dragonstone to Essos. It was during the voyage, though, that another tragedy struck the family. A storm broke out and little Viserys, only six years old, drowned.
Daenerys and her retinue reached Braavos and a house with a red door and a lemon tree outside and for a few years she called that place home. But the assassins sent by the Usurper were never far behind. One night, when Daenerys was only five name days, they were attacked. Ser Willem Darry and the other loyal guards were killed, together with most of the servants while those that survived fled.
Daenerys was left with only her uncle to protect her, and little more than the clothes on her back. She was a queen, but only in name, with no crown except her mother's – the crown they were later forced to sold – no kingdom and now, not even a home.
Together with her loyal uncle, they traveled from city to city, forced to rely on the kindness of strangers who often wanted to use them for their own gains, or sometimes, when things were really bad, they would be forced to beg and sleep on the streets like common street urchins. Sirys would sometimes offered his sword to nobles and rich merchants as a way to get enough money to take care of her.
Despite all this, though her education was not a formal one, Sirys made sure that she learned all that she needed, about Westerosi customs, history and legends but also war strategy, mathematics and economics. She was taught languages like High Valyrian and bastard Valyrian, Ghiscari and even Dothraki. All that she needed to be a good ruler.
And he made sure she was taught from a young age on how to fight with different weapons. Not only would he teach her himself but he made sure to find others willing to teach her different styles of combat.
Though Sirys tried to teach her how to use the longsword, the characteristic weapon of the Westerosi knights, she wasn't particularly well-versed in it because it was just too heavy for her, restricting her movements too much for her comfort. Instead she preferred using short swords, similar to the one the Unsullied used, but one for each hand. They allowed her a much larger scope of movements, being much lighter than the longsword and because she could use both hands at the same time. Add to that the fact that she was agile and quick on her feet and she really was deadly with them.
She was also very good with a bow. She used a smaller bow than the one the soldiers in Westeros used. In fact, she used a bow in the style of the Dothraki, being capable of shooting arrows while mounted on a horse. In fact, Sirys often joked that she was half-horse herself.
She was also handy with a dagger and in hand to hand combat.*
Her uncle had made sure she would never be helpless. He had said that, though he hoped he would always be there to protect her if he could help it, he wanted to make sure she knew how to protect herself as well so that no one would be able to hurt her like what had happened to her niece and nephew or poor Elia Martell.
Sometimes she could pretend to forget that they were constantly hunted by the Usurper's assassins, in the quiet moments with Sirys. That they were never safe. That they would never be able to stay in one place for too long. But the danger was always there, a constant shadow chasing them.
Daenerys knew what people called her, mockingly, when they thought she wouldn't listen. The Beggar Queen. She didn't care though. Her life might not be easy or comfortable, but she was grateful for the presence of Sirys at her side. Sirys was her protector. He was like a father to her. In fact, he was her father in all the ways that mattered. It didn't matter what his name was, Sirys Targaryen or Sirius Black. He had always been the only family she had ever known and that hadn't changed.
Daenerys knew what it was like, growing up without no one to care for her and she would never trade this life she had now to the one she had left behind. That life had been treacherous, offering her the illusion of protection and happiness and family and then taking it all away before taking her life as well in the end. This life, though she had lost everyone else and everything else, gave her Sirius back and maybe that was enough, for now.
She had been Harry Potter once. The Girl-Who-Lived, the Chosen One, the sacrificial lamb. She had been selfless to the point of suicide. She had been brought up with one purpose only, to die to save the world. But she was Daenerys Targaryen now. She had a responsibility to her House and her dead family. She won't allow for House Targaryen to be remembered for the actions of her mad father and her reckless brother. She won't allow for her House to die in disgrace and fade into obscurity. She would restore the honour of her House and take back the Iron Throne. It was her duty. She was the last Targaryen, except for her uncle, and it was her responsibility to make sure her House won't end with her in exile and a Usurper and his heirs on the Throne her family had built.
She had been a Potter once, but she hadn't known what it meant, not really. And then Sirius had made her the Black heir but she hadn't known what being a Black meant either.
But she knew what House Targaryen had been. Three centuries the Targaryens had ruled over Westeros. Aegon Targaryen, her ancestor, together with his sister-wives Visenya and Rhaenys and their three dragons, had reunited the Seven Kingdoms into one single kingdom. They had built King's Landing and the Iron Throne.
For their own mistakes, her family had lost all that they had built. But she was still here and she was going to take it all back, with Fire and Blood.
*You know the character Artemisia from the movie '300: Rise of an Empire'? Dany's fighting style will be very inspired by her.