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The Brightest Sun

Chapter Text

She woke to the soft feeling of a new featherbed, the stuffing made as if meant just for her.

It took her but a moment to recall her last and she jerked awake, hands reaching out wildly. Rhaenys was sleeping next to her, the little girl stirring as Elia scooped her up into her arms. Her heart was hammering, and only at the sight of Aegon sleeping in a crib next to the bed did she feel some of her tension dissipate.

She had thought them dead; burying her face in Rhaenys’s curls tears pricked at the corner of her eyes as she imagined the fate they might have had, the fate that might still await them.

They were in an unknown room, certainly nowhere in the Red Keep that she could recall. The bed was made of a dark wood – ebony most like – with deep grey hangings that had been drawn back. The walls were painted a grey colour, and the furniture was a pale blue, one she found reminded her of the sky in Dorne.

Gently laying Rhaenys down, Elia made her way to Aegon. He was sleeping; her precious little boy slept as if he were in her arms, and she smoothed the wisps of silvery hair before making her way to the window. They were facing a forest, the woods stretched out endlessly as far as the eye could see.

She had not been undressed, her clothes from that night still with her – Aegon and Rhaenys wearing their bedclothes as well.

A small mercy, she thought.

Gripping the edge, Elia felt herself shudder, tears filling her eyes at what nearly happened. They had been left alone; her husband off with a woman child for the better part of a year while she had recovered from the birth of Aegon. Her children left at the mercy of her goodfather. Elia had never felt as hopeless as she had when the screams began and the realization that she and her children would suffer for Rhaegar’s actions.

Oh Rhaegar, she thought. Was your prophecy worth it?

A sharp knock on her door jolted her from her reverie, and she was met with the sight of an unfamiliar man entering the room. He was not quite as tall as Rhaegar had been but he had a certain presence to him, something that drew the eye and forced you to acknowledge him. He stood with the stance of a warrior – eerily akin to Oberyn – black hair tousled and sharp green eyes.

“You’re awake,” he said. His accent was unlike anything she had ever heard; it sounded a bit like that of the Stormlanders, but with a hint of the Crownlands and something entirely different.

“You are?” she asked eyes assessing him. She moved closer to her children, body taut with tension though he did not move from the door.

“I should be asking you that, considering you somehow found your way past my wards.”

Blinking in surprise, Elia considered what he had told her. He did not know who she was – surprising for someone of Westeros, so she would have to rule that out. He did not look or sound like an Essosi, though the faintly tanned skin may suggest Braavos.

“I am Princess Elia Nymeros Martell of Dorne,” she said warily.

“And I’m the bloody King of England,” he muttered.

“You do not believe me,” she noted, a frown on her face.

“Would you believe yourself?”

Chin raised, Elia felt her back stiffen in anger. “I’ve no need to lie about my title but if I had I would think to hide it.”

“Huh, never figured a princess would make it to my house. Harry Potter, Your Highness,” he quipped sarcastically; sketching the most atrocious bow she had ever seen from someone with the noble bearing his features suggested.

“How did you get here?” His face had hardened, cold green eyes piercing hers.

“I do not recall,” she murmured, hesitating at the sudden change. He was no longer the sarcastic lord, instead turning into a battle-hardened warrior who could kill her as he pleased.

“You managed to get through centuries old wards on a whim?” He asked disbelievingly.

“I do not know these wards you speak of but I assure you, my lord, I did not enter your home willingly,” she snapped coldly. “There was an attack on our keep, the city sacked. One moment Rhaenys had entered the nursery, a man chasing after her. The next I recall is waking here.”

Lord Potter’s eyes had strayed toward the bed where Rhaenys slept unaware, eyes softening with unknown emotion.

“It’s just the three of you?” he asked softly.

“Yes, just we three,” she replied coolly. He seemed to come to some sort of decision, eyes lingering on Aegon in his crib.

“Get some rest princess,” he said quietly, “you and your children may stay here.”

 

Chapter Text

Harry had awoken bright and early, his habit from years with the Dursleys being reinforced by war and a toddler running around the house. He had warned Teddy of their guests, making sure the five-year-old knew to keep his hair one colour, though Harry kept a glamour on him in case.

They were in one of the cosier sitting rooms of Potter Hall several days after their arrival, one of the few devoid of portraits to scare his guests.

Not entirely muggle, he thought, certain of the spells he had cast. Having spent the last year in a self-imposed exile, Harry had learned to be very careful with his wards and the safety of his son. Three unknown people entering unseen had sent him into a fit – even if two of those people were children – and Harry had spent the entire night checking for any wands or weapons on the woman. She had come up clear on his scans, and once he deposited her into a bedroom with her children he had immediately turned his attention to his wards, eager to find out how they had gotten through.

It was baffling; there was nothing to suggest that they had created a hole somewhere, yet they mysteriously found their way inside.

He watched as her gaze rested on her children – three year old Rhaenys and eighteen month old Aegon she had told him – as they played with Teddy. Well, it was more Teddy and Rhaenys enthusiastically keeping the little child entertained, the boy upset that he couldn’t show his new friends his talents. Her children seemed to get along well with Teddy; a little bit of wariness at first from them, until they bonded over his son’s stuffed dragon.

Harry had had to exercise his wandless magic to make sure Teddy didn’t let the bloody thing accidentally fly.

Elia Nymeros Martell, he thought. She carried herself like royalty that was for certain. Brown skin with dark near-black eyes, there was a hint of steel beneath her fragile exterior that Harry had first seen when they met.

“Princess,” he began, seeing her eyes cut to him. Twitching his hand, Harry placed a slight muffling ward over the children. “Where exactly is Dorne?”

She stared blankly at him, and Harry fought the urge to squirm beneath her gaze.

“In the south of Westeros,” she said slowly, as if she were speaking to a particularly thick person.

Head tilted to the side, he stared at her with a small frown tugging on his lips. “You’re not from around here are you?” he asked rhetorically.

Her accent should have given her away, but Harry himself was not well travelled or well versed in the myriad of accents that were found around the world.

“You’re in England. Near Gloucester to be more precise, though I think that doesn’t mean much to you,” he said.

“England?” She tried, the word entirely unfamiliar to her.

He had a sinking feeling in his stomach; fate had always enjoyed ruining his life, it would be fitting that he had someone who was from an entirely different universe land on his doorstep.

A royal family to boot, he thought grimly, guessing her children most likely held the same rank.

Running a hand through his hair, Harry glanced down at the playing children. “I know you most likely want to go home, but you are welcome to stay until we find a way to return you to Westeros,” he told her quietly.

“Your help is appreciated,” she stiffly answered, a flash of wariness in her eyes. “Though I cannot imagine how you would accomplish such a thing.”

“It’ll take time,” he allowed, knowing that for all his hard work on wards, he was not skilled enough to create a ritual for dimension travel.

“Time?” she repeated, brow arched in disbelief.

“A little more than that, sure,” Harry said easily. “I’ll need to know what I’m working with. What does Westeros look like, what year was it when you left, what season, do you have any influencing magic or species, that sort of thing.”

He had hoped she would ignore the hurriedly mumbled ending but she was sharper than he thought. “Magic?” Elia Martell had a look of disbelief and discomfort on her face.

She doesn’t know, he thought with a sinking feeling. He put on a painful grin, hoping to cover his discomfort with the topic. “We’d need some sort of magic and luck to find a way to your homeland,” he said with his father’s most annoying tone.

She did not believe him, he could tell, but thankfully royal princesses were too polite to say so to their host’s face.

“Westeros,” she said thoughtfully. “It is known to the rest of the world as such, but those of the continent refer to it as the Seven Kingdoms.”

“Seven Kingdoms?” he said with a quirk to his brow.

“Nine, more like, though there were hundreds of petty kingdoms at one point,” she lectured him, and Harry found it oddly reminiscent of his grandmother.

“Right, and I guess you belong to the royal family of one of these kingdoms?”

She searched his face, and a slow smile grew on her own. “I am a Princess of Dorne by birth. Rhaenys and Aegon are the Princess and Crown Prince of the Seven Kingdoms.”

Ahh, complete royalty, he thought. Bollocks.

 

Chapter Text

Harry Potter was a conundrum.

He lived in solitude with his son, no wife or other family members in this home, and it was clear to see how much he adored the child. Even Aegon and Rhaenys enjoyed their host. He laughed freely with the children; she had watched one evening as he had told them a story, Aegon perched on her lap, as Rhaenys and his son Teddy sat close to him on the ground uncaring at how it looked for a lord to be doing so.

When it was just the two of them he was politely distant, a hint of ice in his gaze when they discussed Westeros, and Elia was always reminded of the fact that this man most likely was a skilled killer.

Potter Hall was a beautiful home, overly large for only two people, though Elia had not seen any servants to tell if any others were here. Nor could she complain; she had grown up in Sunspear and knew the opulence of the Great Houses.

And there was no doubting he was from an ancient and proud line; rich tapestries decorated the walls forming scenes of battle and peace and splendour, the same features staring back at her from portraits of family members going back hundreds of years. There had been a family tree in another room – a blue wall with pale silver-grey spidery lines spelling names – where she had found his son showing Rhaenys his relations, though oddly there was no name next to Harry’s to show Edward’s mother.

A natural son, she guessed. Teddy certainly took after his father – other than his heart-shaped face he was Lord Potter writ small.

“Lord Edward,” she called. The little boy had a funny look on his face, though for the life of her she could not understand why.

“I’m not a lord,” he told her, green eyes sparkling in amusement. “That’s papa. Just call me Teddy.”

“It is what we call all nobles in Westeros, unless you are a knight,” Elia said, a slight smile on her face as Rhaenys nodded in agreement.

“Then you’re a Ser!” her daughter chirped.

Teddy’s face scrunched in thought, his hair suddenly turning a bright blue. Elia felt herself take a sharp breath, blinking furiously to see if her eyes were playing tricks on her.

Teddy stood there excitedly rambling with Rhaenys over knights, not caring or possibly unaware of the fact that his hair had changed colours.

“Oh, you’ve done it now Teddy,” a laughing voice chimed in, and she spun to see an older Harry Potter laughing in a portrait.

Mother have mercy where have I found myself, she thought bewildered, hand lightly shaking as she sat on the settee. A child with changing hair and a talking portrait; she had clearly lost her wits.

Rhaenys had jerked in shock, though she was now moving forward in curious excitement.

“Gran’s gonna tan your hide,” Teddy sang, a grin on his face.

“Not if your dad doesn’t get to you first,” the man retorted, a hand pulling at his hair as his hazel eyes crinkled in amusement.

Teddy seemed to realize what the man was speaking of, for he suddenly blanched in horror, pulling a lock of hair forward and groaning in dismay when he saw the colour.

“I don’t suppose you could ignore all this,” the man said to her.

“No, I don’t think I can,” Elia replied faintly. Clearing her throat she asked, “Who are you?”

The man straightened before dropping into a fluid bow, “James Potter at your service, Your Highness.”

“Your Grace,” Rhaenys corrected imperiously.

James Potter’s smile grew wider as he bowed to Rhaenys, “Forgive me, Your Grace. I should remember how to address a princess.”

“Grandad,” Teddy said suddenly, “Where’s papa?”

“In his study,” James replied. “Apologies princess, I’m sure my son wished to tell you about all of this himself.”

Magic, she thought, recalling Harry’s hurried words the other day.

“I’m not so certain,” Elia told him wryly. If she thought too hard on it she might break down in shock.

Calm yourself, she told herself sternly. If dragons could roam the Seven Kingdoms than why be surprised at such magic?

Teddy was shifting nervously, and Elia mustered a smile for the poor child. “Do not fret, Teddy. I’m sure your father won’t take umbrage at your actions,” she told him soothingly.

“No, he won’t,” James piped up. “Accidents like this always happen. Harry himself turned the cat purple when he was a tyke, Lily couldn’t change it back for some time.”

“Lord Potter is your son?” She suddenly asked. The man looked relatively young, capable of having a son at his age, unless these portraits were painted differently.

They must, considering they move and speak, she thought.

“Yes, my only child,” he said, a slight smile tinged with pride and sadness.

An only child, though her host was surprisingly good with children for one who had presumably not spent so much time around them.

“James Potter,” a voice scolded, and Elia was amused to see the man with the laughing eyes cower slightly in sheepish acknowledgement.

The woman who entered the frame – and really this was going to take some getting used to – had flowing vibrant red hair, a pale heart-shaped face and her son’s blazing green eyes.

“Lily-flower,” James said with a bright smile, “might I introduce our guests.”

Teddy had seemingly forgotten his hair in the wake of his grandmother’s appearance, hair flashing to match her colour.

“Hi gran!” the boy chirped, and the woman sent a warm smile at him and Rhaenys.

“You must be Elia,” she said, “and Rhaenys I presume? Welcome to Potter Hall princesses, I am Lily Potter.”

“Well met, my lady,” Elia replied, a slight smile on her face. Harry Potter’s parents were such lively people; both warm and with infectious smiles that forced you to return their enthusiasm, and Elia wondered what had happened to their son to leave him so grim.

He has the look of a soldier, she thought darkly, and war leaves no person untouched.

 

Chapter Text

His grandparents had alerted him to the incident in the tapestry room immediately after it occurred.

He wasn’t too surprised; Teddy was a magically active five-year-old, and his father had been keeping an eye on the child.

He was waiting for Elia in the lady’s sitting room, preferring to hold the conversation here in the comfort of the blue and cream-coloured room instead of his study after his grandmother’s scolding. “One does not expect royalty to come to them Harry James! Especially not for something such as this!”

His father had laughed at his misfortune, though thankfully grandfather Fleamont had been willing to educate his unfortunate grandson on the courtesies expected of him. Why the Potters had a special room for breaking difficult news he did not know, but they had one and there were certain etiquettes expected when hosting royalty.

Elia walked in calmly, a polite look on her face as she saw him standing near the window.

“Princess,” he said with a bow, and Harry suppressed the small smile as he saw the look on her face at his atrocious bow. Andromeda had knocked high society manners into him, but Harry had always been a rebel at heart.

“Lord Potter,” she greeted him with a nod, voice remarkably calm.

Gesturing for her to sit, Harry took the armchair opposite the couch as he called for an elf. “Winky,” he said, watching as the small elf popped in silently.

He had been watching Elia’s face and was impressed; aside from the slight widening of her eyes, the princess had not reacted to the elf.

“How can Winky be helpings Master Harry Potter sir?” she squeaked.

Winky had gotten used to referring to him as Dobby once had, and Harry did not have the heart to correct her.

“Winky, can you bring us some tea please?” he asked, looking at Elia. “Is there a particular type you prefer?”

Arching a brow she said, “I’m not certain whether there are any similarities in tea.”

Well thought out Potter, he groused to himself.

“Earl Grey, and a few scones,” he told her. Winky was off before he could turn to his guest, grey uniform flashing as she disappeared. A moment later, a tea set appeared on the low table and Harry busied himself with it.

They were silent for several moments, tea in hand as he thought on how to broach the subject.

Gryffindors charge in, he told himself, setting his cup down as he squared his shoulders.

“I’ve been told you met the portrait of my parents,” he stated, eyeing the woman curiously.

“I have. Lovely people,” she said, “though I’m surprised to see such lively paintings.”

His lips twitched in amusement; lively was one way to describe the Potter portraits.

“You are a mage,” Elia stated, as if they were speaking of magic and not something that was partly illegal.

“I am what is more commonly referred to as a wizard, as is Teddy. As was every Potter before me for centuries,” he told her. She did not look too surprised, most likely having pieced together that bit, or a victim of Teddy’s enthusiastic retelling of family histories, he though wryly.

“Your son is a shapeshifter,” she said, tea forgotten as her gaze pinned him to his chair. Elia Martell exuded maternal warmth when near the children, but Harry had already fallen prey to her sharp tongue once and had the feeling he was in hot water with her once more.

“A metamorphmagus,” he corrected. “Not entirely a shapeshifter, but he can change his features to resemble others.” Best to leave out the bit about morphing into animal snouts until she saw it for herself.

One good thing to come from this was that his son no longer had to hide his abilities, and Harry was positive dinner the next few nights would be filled with the children’s laughter as Teddy changed into his favourite morphs.

“Is the entire world filled with wizards?” Elia asked curiously.

“Not entirely,” he told her. “There are those who cannot perform magic, though we do have our own separate society.”

“Is that who you are avoiding?” she suddenly asked, and Harry felt himself stiffen in discomfort and growing anger.

She must have read his face for she apologized a moment later. “Forgive me, it is not my place to ask such things.”

Lip curling in disdain, Harry thought of the world he had been born into. “The Wizarding World is a…difficult place,” he allowed, biting his cheek to keep his foul commentary to himself. There was a portrait hanging on the wall behind her, and though it was unoccupied Harry was certain they were listening in, the bloody busybodies.

“There are a multitude of families, different hierarchies based on birth,” he explained.

“You are of noble birth.”

“I am,” he nodded, remembering the surprise when he had learned of his titles. It had been an unfortunate sore point between him and his friends, and Harry only made an appearance when it was mandatory. Poor Neville had been voting his seat for him. “Lord Potter-Black to the Wizard’s Council.”

“A world of magic,” she murmured, eyes unseeing as her mind wandered to thoughts he did not know.

She seemed slightly discomforted with the thought, and Harry’s curiosity was getting the better of him. “Does your world not have magic?”

“It does,” she told him, “though mayhaps not as prominently as yours. If the tales of the Age of Heroes are to be believed than it once was a prominent part of life. Not in the last century have we seen something so magical in Westeros, and all attempts to bring about a return ended disastrously.”

“Is that what started the war?” he asked boldly.

Elia froze momentarily, eyes clearing before she pinned him with an intense gaze. It burned him, and he had quite clearly overstepped, but for once Harry remained silent.

A city sacked, an attack on a family with a touch of magic; Harry would bet his firebolt that there had been some magical element to their war, something bigger than just a throne.

“A prophecy,” she said with a slightly bitter tinge to her voice.

Harry grimaced, a sour look on his face as he thought on that.

 

Chapter Text

 

“We need to go shopping,” Harry had declared the day before, completely catching her off guard.

She had been with the children in the library that day; Lord Potter had given her a brief tour of his home before Teddy had enthusiastically rushed them to the library. The library was two stories high and nearly half as large as the Queen’s Ballroom of the Red Keep, ash-coloured wood mixed with pale blue walls.

They spent most of their time the past week in there, Harry bringing in whatever work he had to do that did not require his solar and Elia browsing the many tomes House Potter had collected over the years.

Oberyn would enjoy this, she thought with a twinge of sadness. Her tempestuous brother would have enjoyed such open and unrestricted access to knowledge.

“Shopping,” she repeated in surprise.

He was shifting in discomfort, face lightly flushed as he hurriedly said, “I can’t keep transfiguring outfits for you…well, technically I could, but that’s not the point. You’ll need some clothes for yourself and the children, and other…things.”

The portrait on the wall hacked a cough that barely disguised their laughter, and Harry Potter threw the lady a vicious glare as she smiled unrepentantly at him.

“Really grandson, you’ll have to do better than that,” she chided, purple eyes glinting in amusement.

Elia watched amused, as he seemed to struggle with his words, ever mindful of the children in his presence. Finally, he hissed something at the woman too low for her to catch before his ancestor threw her head back in laughter.

“Yes, well, ignore Iolanthe,” he told her, green gaze pointedly staring at Elia instead of the still laughing portrait. “We can head out tomorrow after breakfast. Best to get it over with.”

She had barely nodded her agreement when he sprinted from the room, the cackling of Iolanthe Potter ringing in her ears.

That was how Elia found herself walking into a seamstress’s storefront, the cobbled and narrow roads reminding her somewhat of the Shadow City. There was no port in Diagon Alley as they were inland, but the buildings looked to be recovering from a war.

Harry had appeared in the dining room of Potter Hall with pale silver-gold hair and purple eyes to match Aegon, Teddy turning his hair the same colour with her black eyes, and Elia’s heart had stopped at the sight, even as he explained his unwillingness to expose Aegon to more magic all at once.

Rhaenys had been delighted at the sight, assuming they were playing a game once he had shown her he could return to his features. He was uncomfortable traveling as himself in public, that much she had gleaned from the words of the portraits and his lack of visitors, and she had swallowed her unease at the sight of a near copy of Rhaegar but for some changes. If she looked closely, she could pinpoint the features of her grim host and settled at the thought.

“Are you alright?” Harry asked, a concerned look on his face.

“I am well,” she told him quickly. “Just slightly winded from the travel.” Not quite true, but she had not fabricated a complete lie, considering the bizarre manner wizards travelled.

Harry had merely nodded, a soft huff of laughter leaving him, as he ushered them inside the store. She pointedly ignored the sight of her son in his arms, the resemblance bringing images of her husband to mind.

Steeling herself, Elia shook off all thoughts of Rhaegar Targaryen. She was Elia Nymeros Martell, Princess of Dorne, and no dragon would make her bow, bend, or break.

Harry had already spoken to the seamstress, three women converging on him and the children as they set Rhaenys and Teddy on a stool to be fitted.

Aegon remained in Harry’s arms, the small boy gazing at the bright coloured fabrics that lined the wall as the seamstress made her way to Elia.

“What can I get for you today?” she asked in a drawling voice. Her hair was a chestnut mass tied up in an elaborate do that would not be out of place at court, blue eyes cool and assessing. Her face was slightly lined, and Elia guessed her to be around her mother’s age. “Your husband has mentioned that you will need a complete wardrobe.”

“I, yes, I will,” she stumbled slightly, taken aback at her words. Gaze wandering to the three children and Harry, she could see where the assumption could be incorrectly made.

“The Dragon must have three heads!” a voice echoed in her head, a memory best forgotten, and Elia ruthlessly ignored it as she turned back to the seamstress, gaze cool and the mask of a royal princess firmly in place.

“Yes, a complete wardrobe,” she told the woman, noting the number of things they would have to gather.

She barely paid attention to the time; Harry had at some point taken the children outside for food and brought her tea as they discussed the assortment of dresses and robes she would need. The lady, Madam Twilfitt she had introduced herself as, had been delighted at the thought of creating the dresses Elia had described to her, a bit of home making its way into her wardrobe.

The first stumble came as they finished and Harry attempted to settle the bill. They had required a signature for a bank draft alongside his seal, and Elia saw the women’s eyes widen at what was written.

“Lord P—”

“I trust that this will not find itself known outside these walls?” he asked, brow arched imperiously.

The younger women had flushed, a slightly awed look on the face of the youngest, until Madam Twilfitt had swiftly intervened.

“That will be all ladies,” she told them sharply, waiting until the girls had disappeared to the back.

“An elf will come for the rest of the order in a week’s time,” Harry told Madam Twilfitt, and the woman had simply agreed.

“A pleasure doing business with you,” she stated, eyes glancing quickly between them in calculation before she regained her aloof expression.

They had left immediately after that; the interaction left Elia pondering the enigma that was Harry Potter. He had been so obviously recognized, and she could very well imagine exactly why he wished to avoid the public.

It was not until they had settled the children for bed that Elia approached Harry in his solar, the Potter busy at work with sheafs of parchment laid out on his desk. This room was done completely in tones of gold and silver, the furniture all coloured black. Harry had motioned for her to take the available seat, and she wasted no time mincing words.

“Lord Potter-Black, I thank you for everything,” she told him, steeling herself. You are a Martell of Dorne, she reminded herself.

“It was my pleasure princess,” he told her, green eyes dark.

“In future, my lord, I would appreciate if you did not wear that appearance,” she said firmly, gaze unwavering from his own.

His head tilted to the side, a curious look on his face before he agreed easily, “Of course, no need to bring back ghosts.”

There was a knowing glint in Harry Potter’s eyes, and Elia had been thankful he did not push.

There would be time enough to discuss Rhaegar Targaryen, but she was glad she would not see his look-alike interacting with her children.

 

Chapter Text

 

They had settled into a comfortable routine. Already, the Martells had been here for a month, the time flying as they attempted to adjust to their new surroundings.

Teddy had been thrilled, and Harry felt a twinge of guilt when he thought of the isolation his son was mostly kept in. Rhaenys and Aegon were good for him, the two accompanying him as he finally had children to play with consistently.

There had been a moment when he thought their growing closeness would harm them, that Teddy would soon have to say goodbye to his new friends as they returned to their world, but the runes were proving difficult to organize – much less learn – and so he had bit his tongue and allowed it to play out.

“You’ve been staring at that letter for the past half hour Herakles,” Aunt Dorea’s voice drawled.

Sighing, he glanced briefly at her portrait as he asked, “Must you always call me by the full name?”

Looking at Dorea was slightly painful for both him and her, though it had been two years since Andromeda’s death, and nearly ten since Sirius. The elder Black shared many of the same features as her nieces and nephews, and with the adoption Harry’s hair had darkened and turned into a wild mass of curls, his face sharper and resembling Dorea’s lost son more and more.

“Yes,” she sniffed. “It’s much better than Harry. Had they named you Henry than perhaps I might have relented, but Herakles is a good name.”

He rolled his eyes at her familiar argument, able to mimic her word for word, and he saw Dorea’s grey eyes narrow. “At least Andromeda gave you a good name.”

A sad smile pulled at his lips as he recalled the middle Black sister. They had argued over names before the adoption process, but Harry had been unwilling to drop his father’s name, and so Herakles James Potter-Black had been their chosen compromise. Much better than her original wish for Denebola.

He had introduced himself as Harry Potter to Elia Martell and was the same person in spite of the changes, but it was odd hearing the name Herakles from someone other than Andromeda.

“The letter?” Aunt Dorea prompted, and Harry glowered at the parchment in his hands, corners crumpled from where he had gripped it.

To Harry James, Lord Potter it read. An attempt at appealing to a Harry they thought they knew.

“An invitation,” he told her, green eyes dark with disdain. “For a party in honour of some ministry worker. They would like Harry Potter to be there.”

“But not the Lord Black,” she finished. Dorea’s eyes darkened in angry disdain even as they had faced the same song and dance since Andromeda had cemented Sirius’s decision to leave everything to Harry.

Harry Potter was the orphaned child of war heroes, was a hero himself; the Gryffindor golden boy, the boy-who-lived to become a poster for the light side and denounce all things dark. He was a symbol to the people who had fought in the war on either side. A shining example they had thought, of what it meant to go against the system they lived through.

As much as he wished to tear it all down at times, Harry wasn’t a complete idiot. The hat had wanted him in Slytherin for a reason, and Andromeda had honed the instincts he had allowed to flounder.

The letter had come with a personal note attached. Even if he had not spoken to her for some time, Harry could never quite forget Hermione’s scrawl.

He had barely spared it a glance, already knowing what it would say.

Herakles Potter-Black was not their friend; their Harry would never have taken on such titles and embraced pureblood society and their traditions.

Never mind that he could barely stand some of the people who carried similar titles.

Harry had yearned to know of his family, had carved out a family for himself and wanted to honour the traditions of his ancestors so long as they did not go against what morals he had managed to scrounge together in his upbringing.

“They can all go bugger themselves for all I care,” he told her, scowling at the parchment.

It was a testament to how little she thought of the letters that Dorea for once did not scold him over his language.

Sighing, he threw the parchment to the side, standing to leave the study. The others were most likely in the family room upstairs, and waving to Dorea he made his way through the winding halls to find them.

They were sat around Teddy, an apprehensive look on Elia’s face as she saw what the boy held in his hands.

Rhaenys was wearing a pair of trousers, something Elia had told him women in Westeros were rarely found wearing, but Harry had ordered a number of them for her wardrobe alongside the dresses her mother had made.

Coming closer, Harry saw the shaft of his toy broom, and a fond chuckle left him as his mood instantly lifted.

“Teddy, maybe we should leave the flying for another time yeah?”

“But Papa,” he whined, hair curling into a bright green mess, “they wanna go flying too!”

“Want to,” he corrected, ignoring the unimpressed look the five-year-old sent him.

“Is it safe?” Elia asked lowly, a sceptical tone note in her voice.

“It’s been child-proofed,” he reassured her. “I’m surprised you believe a broom can fly.”

“We walked into a fire to travel, a broom is relatively normal compared to that,” she replied flatly, and Harry laughed softly at the reminder.

“Perhaps another time,” he told the children, swooping in to grab the broom. “And definitely not inside this room.”

The three let out disappointed groans, little Aegon toddling forward with wide purple eyes that Harry determinedly ignored lest he give in. Five years with Teddy and he had not become fully immune to the power of pleading eyes from a child.

“Want to fly like a dragon, like Balerion,” Rhaenys pouted.

“Dagin!” Aegon cheered, and Harry ruffled the boy’s silver hair as he placed the broom in the corner.

“What’s their obsession with dragons? Did they have them in Westeros?” he asked Elia, watching as she scooped Aegon into her arms and sat on the loveseat, orange dress splayed around her.

“Their family once flew dragons,” she told him. “Every Targaryen for over a hundred years has bonded with a dragon hatchling, and none have seen a dragon for a hundred years after.”

Dragonriders, he thought amusedly. Maybe a trip for another time, when the children were slightly older and could handle the sight.

“I once rode a dragon,” he told them, Rhaenys and Teddy’s eyes widening in awe. He had not told his son that story, or the one of his racing the Horntail.

Elia’s brow rose, and Harry sent a mock hurt look. “Do I not look like a dragonrider princess?”

She smiled, an odd look in her eyes as she murmured something he could not hear over the barrage of questions the children had suddenly asked.

Laughing, he grabbed Teddy in one arm, Rhaenys scrambling onto the couch in anticipation as he sat next to her, plying the children with an edited version of his escapades with dragons.

 

Chapter Text

 

Rhaenys’s first time flying had Elia worried, much as she said she trusted Harry’s words, but she had joyed at seeing her daughter so carefree. King’s Landing had been a den of snakes waiting to remove what little childhood she had.

Harry had been present, the cooling weather outside and constant rain over the past fortnight had kept them inside, and he had commandeered the ballroom for that day. There were no portraits hanging about, and James Potter had been so terribly disappointed at not seeing the children fly he had gone to wallow elsewhere, Lily merely rolling her eyes at his dramatics.

Rhaenys’s purple eyes had been aglow with delight as she whipped around the room. Harry stood near with his wand in hand in case of an accident, though he had reassured her that the likelihood of that happening was very slim.

Still, he had apparently used cushioning charms on the floor and walls in case they fell.

She had been so preoccupied with Rhaenys’s sheer glee at flying, the little girl rambling as she shared her joy, that Aegon had managed to walk over to the broom and get on.

It had been Teddy’s shout that alerted them, and Elia’s heart had very nearly stopped at the sight of Aegon flying. Harry still had his wand in hand, but there had been an odd smile on his face, and as Rhaenys and Teddy chased after the laughing boy, their cheers encouraging him, Elia whirled on her host.

“You saw him get on,” she hissed, eyes flashing in anger.

“Princess?” he asked, confusion on his face but for the glint in his eyes.

“You let Aegon fly that broom,” she said coldly, and the infuriating man merely smiled at her.

“He’s a natural. They both are,” he said, head tilting to the children, the three laughing in delight. “I don’t think I’d be able to keep him away from it after he saw Rhaenys fly.”

She saw red, and it was through sheer force that she kept from striking him. Images flashed through her mind of Aegon, face unrecognizable from his head having been smashed, and she felt nauseated fury at the thought.

“I’ll not tolerate your carelessness near my children,” she seethed.

Elia had nearly died bringing her son into the world, had nearly lost both children to the Sack of King’s Landing, and she was in no mood to allow a careless wizard to harm her children.

His face changed, the small smile disappearing as his features hardened into a cold mask. It reminded her of the night they first met, this man she had thought a skilled killer, yet she refused to back down.

“Careless,” he said lowly, green eyes darkened in anger. “Is that what you think?”

“What other word would you use to describe your actions? Irresponsible? Malicious?” she pressed, a vicious delight passing through her as she saw his anger grow.

The air was crackling with energy; something primal swirling in the depths of his eyes before he suddenly closed them as he breathed in deeply. When next he opened them, Harry’s green eyes were blank and she could not tell what he was thinking, though she could feel his anger as something heavy lingered in the room.

The children had come closer at some point, an apprehensive look on their faces as Teddy warily approached his father.

“Papa?” he questioned.

“Just an adult conversation, Teddy,” Harry said to his son, a false smile on his lips. His eyes were still cold, and Elia stepped back to grab Aegon before ushering Rhaenys from the room.

Dinner that evening had been an awkward affair, and lunch the next day had nearly been unbearable, though thankfully he had proved capable of masking his emotions from the children. The three youngest were relieved at the seeming lack of tension, happily recounting their flying experiences as they ate, and Harry had continued to be a constant presence as he worked on whatever it was a magical lord was responsible for.

It was him she was upset with, not Harry, not truly. He had been unlucky enough to have to bear the unfortunate brunt of her anger, but Elia had kept her emotions under lock for nearly two years, had been a skilled mummer for just as long that they had festered.

Seeing Harry willingly resemble Rhaegar had been the first crack in her mask, and she had thought she had gotten it all under control in the last moon turn.

It took two days before they spoke to each other beyond passing greetings.

He had come to the library after the children had been put to bed, face slightly thawed as he sat on the couch with her. There was space enough for someone to sit between them, but the sudden closeness had surprised her. She was tucked in a corner beyond the shelves, a hearth in front of the couch and a small table placed near her. There was a frame on the wall, the portrait of Lemelle Potter she had been told, but the lady was currently elsewhere.

“I’m sorry,” he said after a moment, voice soft with remorse. “You were right, I was being careless. Aegon is your son and you have the right to determine what activities are appropriate for him.”

She had turned when she heard the apology, eyes boring into his as she saw the sincerity in his gaze. The room was warm, the heat from the hearth engulfing them as she turned her gaze back to the fire.

They sat in their corner of the library in silence for some time before she surprised them both by speaking.

“Rhaegar was careless. Gods, he could be so careless. I don’t think even he was aware of how his actions came across. Or perhaps he knew but did not care. I don’t know. I’m not certain I truly knew him, not anymore.”

She felt Harry’s green gaze on her, and perhaps it was the heat or the lack of judgement she felt coming from him, but Elia found herself wanting to speak of things she had kept bottled for so long.

“He was the crown prince, and I the princess chosen to become his bride so his father may spite his oldest friend. Rhaenys had been a difficult birth, but Rhaegar needed an heir even if it would kill me, and so we had Aegon, who very nearly did. It wasn’t enough, of course. Two children, and a younger brother who could have inherited the crown but he was always so obsessed with his prophecy.

‘The Dragon must have three heads, Elia!’ he would tell me,” she said with slight bitterness. “It had been Harrenhal that saw the end of it all. That cursed castle should have been torn down centuries ago. Harrenhal where he had crowned Lyanna Stark his Queen of Love and Beauty in front of practically the entire realm. He rode right past me, insulting my entire family and the girls own. Gods, and she was four and ten at the time.

But no, poor Elia was mistaken. Rhaegar only meant to acknowledge her valour. Lyanna Stark had ridden as a mystery knight, you see, and he couldn’t very well not allow that to go unrecognized, never mind that his father wished to see the knight dead.

But he smiled and said the right things, and I allowed him his slight, though I had not forgotten it. Aegon was born the next year and I spent moons bedridden and near death. The maester had told him we should not have any more children, that another birth could kill me. I was relieved, truly. Westeros places such an importance on providing heirs, but I couldn’t bear the thought of my children motherless, another woman with an eye on the throne in place as their stepmother.”

She swallowed heavily, throat tight as she remembered those harrowing moons. The snide remarks, the pitying gazes, the questions regarding her fitness to be queen. Elia had very nearly had enough, had wanted to rage at the courtiers but she was a Princess of Dorne and she would not allow their words to strike her.

“He barely held him, our son. His Promised Prince, the one he swore would save the world from a darkness only he was preparing for. Aegon had been three moons old before Rhaegar left. The next I heard of him was from Lyanna Stark’s brother swearing revenge on him for kidnapping his sister.

His father was a madman, a king who despised my people and yet Rhaegar had run off to gods know where with a woman child while her father and brother burned. He knew what his father was capable of, knew that the realm had seen the truth of Aerys yet he still had gone, had stayed away for nearly a year as war raged, as lords and smallfolk burned to satisfy the king. People were dying in battle, Westeros had torn itself apart in civil war and still he remained gone. Only when his father sent for him did he return.”

She laughed wetly, recalling the moment she had seen him again. Rhaenys had been delighted that her father had returned, Aegon had stared in confusion at the man who looked so like him, yet all Elia could see was a man in the throes of madness. A year of absence and all he had to say for himself was that it was for the good of all.

“The Dragon has three heads, Elia! Aegon, Rhaenys, and Visenya, I need Visenya!” The words echoed in her head and she let out another chuckle.

“They say he loved her, this girl of five and ten. They say he loved her and took her for his own, but all I saw was a man obsessed with chasing a prophecy, with finding fire and ice. Perhaps he loved her; perhaps he confused lust with love or convinced both her and himself that he was in love with her. But Rhaegar had been careless, had run off and then got himself killed in battle, and we nearly paid the price for it.”

Vaguely, she felt the couch shift as Harry sat on the low table in front of her, his hands reaching out to grip hers.

“He was wrong,” Harry said to her, green eyes fierce and blazing with anger. “He was bloody wrong and stupid and completely irresponsible and a total prick. I’m sorry, I’m so bloody sorry, and I’ll never do anything like that again.”

She laughed slightly, blinking back tears as she shook her head and attempted to correct him.

She didn’t get the chance to speak as she felt his arms come around her, his chin on her shoulder as he murmured apologies and reassurances. “He’s a prick, a complete idiot. You’re safe, Elia. Aegon and Rhaenys are safe. No one can hurt you here,” he murmured in her ear.

It was in his arms, surrounded by the warmth of the fire and the smell of treacle and parchment that she gave in to the tangle of emotions that had been building for two years. She cried out her grief, her rage, and her sadness. She mourned for Rhaella and Viserys and her unborn babe, of whom she had no news, she mourned the chance to see her family, to reassure them of her health, she mourned the countless people who had died. She even mourned for Rhaegar, the man she had once been fond of and thought they could have a comfortable future together.

Harry held her close the entire time, murmuring reassurances as his magic flared around them.

 

Chapter Text

 

Halloween had always been a terrible time for him, and the last years had only cemented his dislike of the holiday.

For the children’s sake, Harry had dressed them up in ridiculous outfits as they hunted for candy. Rhaenys had wanted to be a kitten to match Balerion, the little girl pleased as punch when she had seen the whiskers. Aegon had simply repeated his favourite word, dragon, and the giggling baby had roared adorably as Sir Teddy the Knight tickled him.

“What is that?” she asked, catching the flash from the bulb.

He had brought his camera out, snapping photos of the children as they danced about the house in their outfits searching for candy, and one memorable moment of Elia snorting in laughter as the three ended up tangled on the floor courtesy of Balerion the Cat.

“Camera,” he said, before remembering they wouldn’t know what that was. “It takes pictures, like mini-portraits.”

“Do these talk as well?”

Snorting, he shook his head. “No, no talking though they do move. Say cheese!”

Teddy had looked up with a toothy grin and bellowed cheese, and Harry felt himself shake in a rib-aching laugh as he saw the look on Elia’s face at those words.

“You wizards are such odd people,” she murmured in exasperation, eyes lit in amusement.

She had seemed freer these last two weeks; there was still a sense of heaviness lining her shoulders, things left unsaid or the homesickness he had been waiting to see, but she had been more relaxed. Far better than she had been in the days immediately following their talk in the library. He knew what it was like – how could he not with Teddy in his care – and Harry was determined to never let her go back to that fear for her children.

For once, their roles were reversed; Harry was brooding beneath the pleasant smile and Elia the more relaxed of the two.

The dreams had returned, flashes of green light and his mothers scream, mixed in as they were with Andromeda’s final moments. Even Sirius made an appearance, and Harry had barely slept, his nerves fried and magic coiled in anticipation.

“…ter-Black!”

He blinked, gaze wandering to Elia who stood closer than she had before, a look of concern on her face.

“I’m sorry, I was lost in thought,” he said with a slight smile that did nothing to convince her.

She moved even closer, and Harry held his breath in surprise. Elia had never seemed comfortable in close quarters, and Harry had kept a polite distance. She had been even more distant after the library, a touch of embarrassment on her face for two days as he had wisely not remarked on what had occurred. The hug had been expected, and in the aftermath had made things slightly awkward between them.

“I’m fine, really,” he insisted lowly.

“Of course, my lord, but perhaps it is past time for the children to sleep,” she said, tilting her head in their direction even as her eyes flashed with concern.

He felt his lips unwillingly twitch into a smile as he saw the three children on the couch, Aegon dozing lightly between a tired Rhaenys and Teddy.

“I’ll take Rhaenys if that’s alright with you?” he asked her. Elia nodded in agreement, and Harry scooped the little princess into his arms, Teddy stumbling to his feet and gripping his free hand as Aegon was lifted into his mother’s arms.

He hovered awkwardly by the door to their rooms; he had given Elia a suite of rooms that connected to rooms for both Aegon and Rhaenys, but she had been reluctant to let them leave her sight.

Stop dawdling Potter, you’re just putting Rhaenys to bed, he scolded himself. He knew enough of Westeros to know it wasn’t the done thing, and a voice that sounded suspiciously like his grandmother’s was chiding him for his behaviour.

Bugger it all, he thought, striding forward into the rooms and swiftly depositing Rhaenys on the bed. The little girl curled into a ball, looking remarkably like her kitten, and Harry smiled at the sight.

“Goodnight,” he said softly, turning to leave and grab Teddy.

“Papa, are we lighting a candle for grandmamma?” Teddy asked sleepily, the little boy yawning as Harry swept him into his arms.

“In a moment,” he whispered, pressing a kiss into Teddy’s ink black curls.

Teddy dug his face into the crook of his neck, and Harry made his way to the upper solarium.

It had been Andromeda’s favourite part of Potter Hall, a reminder of better memories from her childhood, and Harry had kept it the way she had designed it.

Every piece of furniture was black or blue or grey, sprinkles of white amongst them with black framing for the massive windows. A Potter several centuries ago had charmed the windows of this room to always show the stars, and Harry knew from past conversations that Aunt Dorea had adored this room as well. Blacks and their stars, he thought fondly.

There was a fire pit in the centre of the cluster of chairs, runes inscribed to allow it to double as a ritual pit when necessary.

Placing Teddy on the ground he whispered, “Go get the candles, I’ll set up the pit.”

The little boy bounded off to the shelves in the corner, where Harry had stored their Samhain wicks, as he called his magic forth to light the fire and placed the nuts and apples in it.

Teddy brought the basket of candles forward, Harry grabbing the two larger ones as the boy placed the smaller ones in their places. There was one for each of his parents; the two of birth and the mother of his heart, a final candle for his godfather. Teddy had them for Dora and Remus as well, and the larger two were placed for their Houses.

“Can I try to do it?” Teddy asked, shifting eagerly as his eyes changed from green to grey.

“Do you remember how to grab hold of it?” he asked, watching as the boy nodded before closing his eyes. Harry felt the tell-tale stirring of Teddy’s magic, stronger and more deliberate than before, and he added his own to guide the boy to the flames.

The flames grew brighter, the candles bursting into flame, and Harry saw his son’s cheery smile at getting it right.

They sat there for an hour as the flames danced in the night, Harry telling Teddy stories of his days as a baby in the care of Andromeda and him, surrounded by the warmth of family and flames.

He found Elia in the ground floor sitting room as he came in from checking the wards, a bottle of wine and two glasses placed on the table in front of her.

“If you’re trying to get me drunk you’ll need something stronger than that princess,” he jested. The joke fell flat as she merely smiled sadly at him, a dark look in her eyes.

“I thought I’d return the favour,” she told him.

“And someone warned you we’d need alcohol,” he stated dryly.

“Something like that,” Elia said, a slight quirk to her lips.

He picked up the bottle, and the sight of the label put a soft smile on his face. “My father bought this as a gag gift,” he told her as he poured them a cup. “He was a prankster; a horror as a child but he had mellowed as he got older. His uncle swore this was a terrible brand of drink, and he was convinced enough to buy it for my mother. Imagine his surprise when she enjoyed it.”

He chuckled, recalling Uncle Charlus’s laughter when he first told him the story. “He thought she was faking it, until he realized he had been had. James Potter pranked by his family, they never let him live it down.”

“They sound like lovely people,” she said.

“I never knew them, growing up. My parents were killed on Halloween just after my first birthday,” he said quietly. “Halloween’s after that have just been a bit of a headache.”

They sat quietly, glass of wine in hand as Harry’s mind drifted. Elia didn’t push for more, and he was thankful for that.

He’d come to terms with James and Lily Potter’s death; perhaps there would be a time when he could speak of the other things that haunted him, of his need to constantly check the wards.

That wasn’t tonight. Tonight he just sat in comfortable silence and sipped his wine, letting the presence of another adult ground him.

 

Chapter Text

 

She had been in the library when she made the discovery.

For a moon, Elia had been mindful of her host. Harry was rarely so sullen, and a part of Elia ached at the thought of this man growing up an orphan. It made sense, why he so obviously cherished his child. Many lords in Westeros had seen their children as pieces in the game, but Harry adored his son beyond the boy being his heir.

The portraits had quietly explained the importance of that night in their traditions, had explained why the glimpse she had seen of Harry and Teddy in the room of stars was so important to them.

It was in the library that she had discovered the truth of Lord Potter-Black.

Harry and Teddy had stepped out for the day, some manner of business calling them into the broader world. He had been concerned but Elia had waved him off, insisting that she would be fine with his absence. Rhaenys was learning her letters, the Potter portraits practically duelling each other for the right to teach the young princess to her delight, and Aegon had been preoccupied with the stuffed dragon Harry had charmed to fly, chasing after it exuberantly.

Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century the cover read. It had been a massive tome, and Lady Lemelle had told her it covered the past hundred years, up to the past three years before she had arrived in England. The lady had softly urged her to read the last ten chapters of the book, and Elia had found herself engrossed in the most recent history of the Wizarding World.

She had not expected Harry to play such an obvious role in their wars, though there was a sense of importance to him. Something magnetizing that made you believe there was more to him than you saw.

This war had taken much from him, and it had cemented the first thought she had of him. Harry was a warrior – a skilled killer if the book was to be believed – and had been forced to fight for the better part of his life.

“…the death of Sirius Black in the Department of Mysteries revealed the existence of a prophecy, Harry Potter was hailed as the Chosen One, prophesized to defeat the Dark Lord. In the…”

Prophecy, she thought, her mind whirling with the memory of Harry when she had mentioned such to him.

He had grimaced with the air of one intimately familiar with the notion and caring not one whit for the whims of fate.

“He is the Prince That Was Promised,” the voice echoed in her mind as she absentmindedly continued to read the rest.

It was on the final pages describing the events of 1998 that she saw a note that surprised her.

Harry Potter was formally adopted as Herakles Potter-Black and took up his seats on the Wizengamot during the opening of the Winter Session. Lord Potter-Black also announced the adoption of his son Edward Remus Regulus Potter-Black – formerly his godson Edward Remus Lupin – and formalized the boy’s status as Heir Potter-Black.

Adopted. She had thought Teddy his natural son, legitimized as his heir for the nonce but it seems Lord Potter-Black had instead taken in his godchild, whatever that term meant.

“Mama, mama!” Aegon beamed. “Look, dagin rawr!”

Smiling fondly at her son, Elia placed the book on the side table as she made her way to him.

“Is that a dragon, my love?” she asked, reaching out to tickle him beneath his chin.

He giggled, his carefree laughter a balm to her soul. Her precious boy, heir to the Iron Throne and unknowing of the death of his Father; it allowed him to live in innocence for the time. It was nearly enough to have Elia request that Harry not search for a way to return them to return to Westeros, but the selfish part of her wanted to see home again.

Westeros could be in a disaster; Elia did not know who ruled the country, did not know of the state of alliances, was unaware of where the rebels were – though she was almost certain Aerys had not survived if they had made it to her chambers. A part of her thrilled at the thought – her goodfather was no great loss to the world. Only Viserys would mourn him, and the boy was young and unknowing of the true nature of his Father.

“Mama, I’m finished,” Rhaenys told her as she waved a parchment in her hand. Her fingers were ink-stained, and Elia smiled ruefully at the thought of having to wash it out.

Her letters were slightly crooked, though surprisingly well formed for her age, and Elia gave her a warm smile and pressed a light kiss to her hair.

“Come, Lord Potter-Black and his son should return soon. We’ll have to freshen up for dinner.”

They had barely dressed, Elia wearing a light gown of red and orange with Rhaenys in a matching gown of blue, before she saw the little girl tousle Aegon’s silver-gold hair as Elia buttoned his shirt.

Rhaenys grinned, grabbing hold of Aegon’s toy dragon as she called, “Can’t catch me, Egg!” The little girl tore off toward their rooms, Aegon chasing after her as he called out in dismay.

Shaking her head, Elia followed them to the hall, withholding her surprise as Harry turned a corner and grabbed Aegon in his hands. He tossed her son in the air, catching the laughing boy in his arms as he cheered, “Again Papa!”

Elia felt her breath catch at the title, seeing Rhaenys pause as she and Teddy chased the dragon from the corner of her eyes. Harry did not hesitate, tossing Aegon once more before he placed the little boy on his hip, holding firmly on to him as he squirmed in laughter. He was wearing a collared white shirt with black trousers, and Aegon gripped the buttons in hand as he laughed.

Teddy called his father that; referred to Harry as such so affectionately that it was little wonder her son picked up on it. Aegon did not know his own father, had barely felt Rhaegar hold him before he was running off after his prophecy. Harry had been the most constant male presence for the past three moons, willingly interacting with the small boy as he would his own son.

She watched as Harry said something lowly to Aegon, Rhaenys’s purple eyes narrowed as she stared at their host. He let Aegon down, the little boy running to catch up to Teddy, and Elia saw Rhaenys slink off after them.

“I didn’t…” he began, turning to face her.

“I know,” she said quietly, cutting him off. There was something sad in his green eyes, something he tried to keep hidden beneath the lightness. “I was watching,” she added with a slight smile.

“I meant no offense,” he said softly, green eyes staring earnestly at her as he ran a hand through his hair. His curls had been somewhat tamed, but Harry had managed to upend it to a gravity-defying state.

“There was none,” she said, moving forward to walk beside him. She hid an amused smile as he stuck his elbow out, taking the offered arm as she remembered hearing of his grandmother’s admonishments.

“Aegon did not know his father. It is only natural that he would latch on to you as such,” she told him lightly. There was a flash of something hidden in his eyes, and Elia boldly stated, “You’ve already had one child not of your seed call you father.”

She felt his arm stiffen beneath hers though he continued to lead them to the dining room. She could hear the children laughing as Teddy carefully led Aegon down the steps.

“You’ve been speaking to the portraits,” he said lowly, a curious note in his voice.

“It was mentioned in a book,” she corrected, and a dark look flashed in his eyes. His mouth twisted as he stared blankly at the children, eyes following Teddy as they stopped on the steps.

“His parents named me his godfather, and I was to care for him should anything ever happen to them. They died in the war and I adopted Teddy as my son in blood,” Harry told her quietly.

“That is a noble endeavour,” she said, looking at the young child who had been orphaned even younger than Harry. She saw a young Harry looking back at her, and Elia could not tell if it was because of his shapeshifting abilities or the blood adoption she had read about.

He shook his head, eyes dark in remembrance. “It was more selfish on my part,” he told her. They continued to the dining room in silence, and their dinner progressed with happy chatter from the two boys. Rhaenys was more withdrawn, quietly responding to Teddy’s questions, though she spent most of the hour staring oddly at Harry.

It was as the children ran to the sitting room that she noticed he had a glass of wine in his hand.

It was odd; beyond that Halloween night, Elia had very rarely seen him drink more than a cup at dinner, and even then he took small sips.

“I can’t have children,” he suddenly said, green eyes raw with untold emotion as he spoke. “There was an…accident, during the war. It left me unable to have children. I had no real family growing up – my godfather had been unable to raise me. I swore I would be better for Teddy’s sake, and after months with him and Andromeda, when she suggested I adopt her grandson – my godson – as my child and name him heir, I leapt at the chance.”

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting a child of your own, Lord Potter-Black,” she told him firmly, sitting in the open seat to his right. “Even less so when you were already intending to raise that child as yours.”

“I wasn’t his father,” he said to her, his emotions leaking into his voice. This was the most open Elia had seen him in some time, far more than he had been that Halloween night. Perhaps that was why she reached forward to grip his hand, giving it a gentle squeeze as her black orbs bore into his.

“You are; in all the ways that matter you were his father. It matters not that there was no blood between you, there is now. Blood did not change your relationship with your adoptive mother, nor does it dictate how you treat Edward.”

He stared intently at her, as if she would offer some absolution from whatever guilt he held, and she had the sinking feeling that someone had made their unwelcome thoughts on the situation known.

"I haven't told anyone that," he muttered lowly.

"I would be the last to judge you on your inability to sire children, my lord. It still does not change the facts," she stated quietly.

"Harry," he said softly. "There's no need to call me Lord Potter-Black."

She gave his hands a final squeeze before she left him alone with his thoughts.

It was as she stood over a sleeping Aegon that she thought on Harry Potter’s words. Rhaenys had fallen asleep quickly, and Elia was waiting for the inevitable outburst. Her daughter had known Rhaegar, remembered her father fondly and would not take well to this sudden change.

Blood didn’t entirely dictate relationships – of that she was certain – and Elia found herself glad that Aegon had Harry Potter in his life. Rhaegar was dead, and her son deserved the love of a father figure in his life. If Harry were half the parent to Aegon that he was to Teddy, she would be glad of the outcome.

 

Chapter Text

 

Rhaenys had cornered him after two days of silent glowering.

He had been in his study going through the latest missives from Neville when the door had opened. Glancing up, Harry had been bemused at the sight of the little princess, face pinched and eyes narrowed as she stared at Harry.

“Princess,” he greeted with a wary smile. “Please, take a seat.”

She scrambled onto the chair in front of his desk, little legs swinging as she fidgeted before straightening, and Harry busied himself with arranging the parchments so as not to show his smile.

“What can I do for you?”

“Lord Potter-Black,” she said slowly so as not to stumble over the names, eyebrows scrunched together as she nodded in determination. She pierced him with her purple eyes in a stare as intense as her mother’s. “I’ll not call you papa.”

“I don’t expect you to,” he told her gently.

Rhaenys ducked her head down shyly as she asked, “Do you want to be Aegon’s papa?”

Leaning forward in his seat, Harry waited until she looked at him, seemingly having regained her determined pose. “Do you not want me to?”

“You’ll play with him,” she demanded, straightening once more.

“I will,” Harry responded, feeling a tingle of magic. He stared curiously at the little girl as she continued to make her demands. Could they? He wondered.

“You’ll teach him? Love him like Teddy?”

“If you wish it, Princess Rhaenys,” he told her.

Harry watched as the little girl took a deep breath, almost whispering her final request as he felt the pressure of his magic increasing.

“You’ll protect him, always?”

Harry felt his heart break at the tinge of sadness in her voice even as Rhaenys stared unflinchingly at him. He stood suddenly, making his way around the table so as to kneel next to her.

Tentatively, he reached out to hold her hand, his magic surging at the contact. Dimly, he was aware of the portraits watching over them, but Harry focused his gaze on the child holding his hand.

He could imagine why she felt this way, had pieced together enough of their story to know what happened that night, and not for the first time did Harry curse Rhaegar Targaryen.

“So long as you are both in my care, Princess, I will do all I can to protect you,” he swore, feeling the magic take hold as the oath settled.

Her eyes widened slightly, and Harry thought she could feel the oath settle on her end as she gave him a radiant smile.

“Shouldn’t you be in your lessons?” he said lightly, squeezing her hands as he stood.

The girl shook her head, “Don’t wanna read today.”

“Want to,” he corrected, laughing at the face she pulled. She reminded him of Teddy when he was in one of his moods, and Harry was mindful of the delicate state she would be in after these past two days.

“Come,” he beckoned, ignoring his work as he led Rhaenys to the cluster of armchairs surrounding a coffee table.

He sat on the couch, patting the space next to him as he summoned a book.

“Babbity Rabbity?” Rhaenys sounded out, seemingly incredulous at the title.

“It’s a good story,” Harry defended, opening the book and handing it to her.

“Don’t want to read,” she muttered, and Harry suppressed a grin as he waved his wand over the book.

The rabbit suddenly came to life, a ghostly echo waiting for the story to begin.

Rhaenys stared wide-eyed at the illusion, hand reaching out to touch the wisps formed by his magic, much as Teddy had done when he was her age – as he still did more often than not.

“Now, now, Princess. The rabbit needs you to read to tell him what comes next,” Harry teased, laughing as Rhaenys scrambled to read the story, purple eyes wide with wonder as she flitted between reading and watching the words come to life in front of her.

They spent the time before dinner like that, switching to another story once she had finished, a portrait warning Elia that her daughter was taking lessons with him for the day.

Only once she had left did the portraits on the wall speak, clamouring over each other to have their voices heard.

“You have sworn a solemn oath, Herakles,” Aunt Dorea told him, grey eyes glittering with unseen emotion. “Magically binding in it’s entirety.”

“I’ve no intention of breaking it Aunt,” Harry replied, watching as her lips curved into a fond smile.

“No, I suspect you don’t,” she murmured.

 

Chapter Text

 

The first clump of snow came flying above her head, Elia barely managing to duck beneath it.

They had woken to a blanket of snow covering the grounds, and the children had cheered at the sight. Gloucester had become progressively colder, and with them almost at the New Year it had been expected for some time.

She had been slightly baffled at the sight; winters in Dorne had not seen any snow so far south, merely a chill in the wind, but the world she found herself in constantly cycled through the seasons in an almost uniform pattern.

Harry had enthusiastically bundled the children in winter cloaks, stuffing them to the brim with warming charms that radiated a comfortable heat as he led them outside.

The past few days had been spent in the Wizengamot, his face lined with stress and anger whenever he returned from mandatory sessions. Teddy had told her his father spent a few times performing his duties, and seeing the weight he returned with she could see why he disliked them. If the outright staring did not bother him, than the difficulties of his position as well as his fame hampered him.

“Come on Papa!” Teddy shouted, hurling a handful of snow at Harry. Rhaenys stood next to Teddy giggling in delight as she scooped up snow and chased after Aegon, her son laughing as he threw himself behind Harry’s legs.

Rhaenys shrieked in laughter as Harry threw his arms around her, piling snow around the girl as Aegon made his way behind their makeshift fortress.

“Mama, look. Snow!” Aegon called, giggling as he attempted to throw the snow at Teddy. It fell flat, the older boy being too far, before Rhaenys suddenly yelled, “Charge!”

Elia found herself laughing at the surprise on Harry’s face as the children swarmed him, tackling him into the snow as even Aegon joined the pile.

He managed to shake them off, a flick of his hand building a solid wall of snow as he called, “Prepare yourselves!”

Laughing, he made his way to where Elia stood, raising another wall of snow as he began packing snow into balls.

“Enjoying yourself?” she asked, an amused lilt to her tone.

“I’ve been ambushed,” he laughed, green eyes sparkling in merriment. “I might just end up losing to them.”

She glanced over the wall at the children, unable to see them but knowing they were most likely packing snow as he was.

“How long do you reckon until they get tired?” he asked, shifting closer as he peered over the wall. A snowball came flying at them, and Harry laughed as he easily ducked beneath it, the clump of snow hitting her in the arm.

The cold was beginning to get to her as Elia felt herself shiver slightly, and the sudden draft of warmth let her know Harry had noticed.

“I’m fine,” she told him, waving off his concern. “Don’t use me as an excuse to lose against the children Harry.”

He looked offended at the thought, eyes flashing in challenge as she smirked in amusement.

“It’s getting dark out anyhow,” he murmured, green eyes glinting. “I suppose it’s time to finish this.”

They were bombarded with handfuls of snow, Teddy obviously using his magic to help fling it harder and faster. She felt the hand on hers, yanking her down so she was sat beneath the wall next to him.

“I imagine you don’t want a face full of snow Princess,” he teased, though she had the last laugh as he stuck his head out only to be hit with two successive snowballs.

She could hear the children crowing in success, their laughter mixing with hers as she watched Harry splutter at the mouthful of snow.

“Ahh!” he shouted, standing with his arms flung out as if to sweep toward them. His eyes glinted with mischief as he waved a hand, snow swirling as it made its way to the children. Elia could hear their shrieks as they were caught up in the small storm.

“Last one to the house is the snow monster!” Harry called, herding them forward with the snow.

“No Papa,” Aegon laughed, running as fast as his legs could carry him in the snow. He stumbled into Teddy, the older boy grabbing hold of his hand as they chased after a giggling Rhaenys.

They followed the children into the house, the fire in the sitting room roaring as the elves brought their dinner to them. Within the hour they were falling asleep on the couch, a soft snore leaving Teddy as he snuggled alongside Aegon, Rhaenys leaning her head on his shoulder.

At some point, Elia had felt her eyes grow heavy, the cup of warm cider in her hand slipping from her grip as she felt an uncomfortable heat burn through her.


She woke in the darkness of an unfamiliar room, no sign of Aegon and Rhaenys, nor Harry and Teddy.

The room was done in varying shades of red, and Elia noticed the frame in the corner beside a tapestry that held the Potter crest, relaxing at the sight.

Someone had changed her clothes, placing her in a pair of soft wool pants and an overlarge shirt. She remembered their outing in the snow, sitting down with a cup of cider, but that was the last thing she recalled.

The door to the room opened, a visibly relieved Harry striding through to sit on the chair next to the bed.

“How are you feeling?” he asked anxiously, fidgeting in his chair as his eyes swept over her, cataloguing any change.

He had clearly rushed here from his room, dressed as he was in what she assumed were his bedclothes, with his hair a riot of curls. There were dark circles under his eyes, and Elia wondered what had happened to make him look so wretched.

“Rhaenys? Aegon?” she asked instead.

“They’re fine,” he told her with a slight smile. “Worried, but fine in every other sense.”

“And Teddy?” she asked apprehensively.

“He’s fine,” Harry replied, smile growing, “keeping your children busy.”

“Why…” she trailed off, staring at him in confusion as he rolled his eyes at her.

“Have you always gotten sick so easily?” he asked quietly, green eyes piercing hers.

Oh, she thought.

“My health has always been delicate,” she said matter-of-factly.

It had always been a part of her life; the sky was blue, the Martells ruled Dorne, and Elia was born frail of health. She had thought he picked up on that when she mentioned her difficulties with birth, but he must not have made the connection.

“You were unconscious for nearly three weeks,” he said slowly, staring at her in disbelief. “Elia, it’s already the new year.”

She had missed three weeks. A surprising amount of time to spend unconscious, but Elia rushed to reassure him. “Lord Potter-Black…Harry. I will be fine, truly.”

He scoffed, arms crossed as he leaned back in his chair. “So the healer agrees.”

Her face must have shown her surprise for he suddenly quirked an unamused grin. “I don’t know much about healing spells Princess, though the lady swears she has done all she can. Your fever broke after two days, and the rest of the time was spent doing whatever was necessary to see your overall health improved.”

“I beg your pardon?”

She could not have heard him correctly, though he had a gentle smile on his face as he repeated the words. The last thing she had expected was some sort of magical remedy to her health issues, had long ago resigned herself to her frail health and had sharpened her mind.

“It’ll take some time to kick in, a few months worth of potions to get you in the state you should have been in,” he told her.

Whatever he planned on saying was cut off as she grabbed hold of his hand, squeezing it in gratitude.

“Thank you.”

Smiling, he held her hand for a moment longer. “Don’t thank me yet,” he said lightly. “You haven’t had to deal with a parental Harry.”

“I think I can manage,” she murmured softly.

 

Chapter Text

 

He watched in amusement as Elia wrangled a stubborn Rhaenys into sitting for her lessons. For once Teddy was seated beside the younger girl, his son unamused at having to take lessons instead of playing outside in the snow.

They had been more careful since Elia’s incident, Harry taking the children out by himself as he nagged the Dornish Princess into staying put inside. She had thrown him several scathing looks in response, Harry merely smiling angelically to her irritation.

Her health had been steadily improving, a bit more colour to her though they were still on tenterhooks. Elia seemed unable to believe there had been something that could cure her of her proverbial frailty, and Harry was tense with anxious energy in hopes that it went well.

Something had to go well. The runes he was learning were slow-going, the process requiring him to learn Old Welsh runes alongside the Greek alphabet, and he once more cursed himself for taking the easy route at Hogwarts.

“Is there not some matter that requires your attention?” she said sharply, glowering at him as a smug smile touched his lips.

“Nope,” he replied.

“I’m fairly certain I saw some missive from your government on your desk,” she pressed, brows raised.

“A draft of a bill,” he waved off. “They’ll be debating in a months time, I don’t have to worry about it just yet.”

“Is that what you call your laws?”

He hummed, staring down at the stack of parchment with a slight grimace. “This is more of a proposal to change the funding structure of the Ministry.”

Budget amendments were the bane of his existence. For all that Harry groused about politics, the ruling class of Magical Britain was particularly vicious when it came to their money and fought over every knut.

“Do you not have a treasurer?” she asked, a curious tilt to her head. “Or someone else to handle the monetary aspect?”

He was shaking his head even before she finished the sentence. “There’s not one person in charge. You try getting a bunch of Lords and Ladies to agree to a single person having complete control over the finances and we’d most likely find ourselves in another war.”

Elia was no longer keeping watch over the children, Aegon in hand as Rhaenys and Teddy sat patiently as Iolanthe regaled them with some tale. The portrait of his many greats grandmother was particularly talented at getting them to keep writing as she entertained them, and Harry cocked his head to the side as he regarded the Dornish Princess making her way to his table.

“Do they do things differently in Westeros?” he asked as she sat across from him, Aegon squirming to be released.

Harry pulled out his wand, transfiguring a random paper into an animated toy soldier to his delight.

“Each kingdom has its own ways of ruling,” she told him as she smiled fondly down at her son. Egg was nearly two and far more active than when Harry had first met them, forcing him to reactivate all the wards he had used when Teddy was his age. It was all they could do to keep the little boy from getting into the oddest places.

“The King also has his own small council, mainly consisting of Lords that currently hold his favour.”

“I suppose favouritism is the same in any world,” he muttered. “Only lords?”

She rolled her eyes, causing his lips to twitch in amusement at the uncharacteristic reaction. “Except for Dorne, the other kingdoms have male preference inheritance laws, though they do place the daughters of the lord or heir above any siblings or cousins.”

“Dorne does things differently, I gather?”

“Naturally,” she drawled. “Inheritance goes to the eldest, regardless of sex. My brother Doran was the Prince of Dorne, and his daughter Arianne will rule Dorne after him.”

“And they leave things to a single person? What happens if they were skimming money?”

“Aerys preferred to leave things to his council, though it all required his approval,” she corrected. “He was far more involved than I expected, I’ll grant him that much, and the consequences for theft were...not something one wished to endure. But the council answered to the King – or if he was unavailable to his Hand.”

“His Hand?” he said slowly, brow raised at the bizarre title, though he could imagine where it came from.

“The King shits and the Hand wipes it all clean – or so the saying goes,” she said with a sunny smile, pulling a snort from him.

“Really, Princess, such crass language,” he teased mockingly.

“How utterly uncouth of me,” she deadpanned, an expression of haughty disdain on her face.

Egg’s loudly parroted, “Shits, mama!” sent him into fits of raucous laughter as she remembered the little ears around them.

She threw her sharpest look at him as her hands smoothed the hair on Aegon’s head, staring pointedly at him until he managed to get a hold of himself.

“Are you quite finished?” she said imperiously, and Harry fought to suppress his mirth, pointedly ignoring the little prince playing with his toys lest he find himself laughing again.

“So,” he prompted, “the King, Hand, and a Lord Treasurer.”

“Master of Coin,” she corrected. “As well as Masters of Laws, Ships, and Whispers and the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard.”

“You have your own MI6?” he blurted, flushing in embarrassment at the puzzled look on her face. “Spys, Master of Whispers, that thing.”

A sour look was on her face as she recalled something vaguely unpleasant. “Yes, a spy of sorts.”

Changing gears, he quickly tallied the positions. “Only seven?” he asked, slightly aghast at the thought.

“And any number of advisors depending on the King’s generosity. How many people sit on your council?” she asked.

“There are levels to it, though the Wizengamot has some hundred and fifty seats for the old families.”

“How in the gods name do you get all of those people to agree on something?” she asked in disbelief.

“You don’t,” he said dryly, looking down at the budget proposal once more. It would be hell to go through, and it was quite unfortunately one of the sessions Harry would have to attend in person. “The Wizengamot has over a hundred lords and ladies from either matriarchal or patriarchal lines, each with their own politics and magical allegiances. Add in the twenty seats given to the Ministry’s upper management, who have to defend their budget to the Wizengamot, and you’ve got a mess in court whenever it’s in session. It’s mostly each faction politicking to gain allies for whatever bill they want passed.”

“I can imagine,” she said faintly, though Elia looked more terribly amused than anything else.

“What’s so funny?” he asked.

“Oh, nothing. Just imagining the Lords of the Wizengamot playing the role of court lady.”

He stared at her blankly, taking a moment to understand what she had said as she laughed softly at the thought.

Court lady…Princess of the Seven Kingdoms, he thought, kicking himself for not realizing it sooner.

“Say, Elia,” he interjected, pinning her with bright eyes as a shit-eating grin grew on his face. She looked slightly wary, her amusement dampened by the expression that she must have realized meant trouble.

“What do you say to attending a Wizengamot session?” Before she could say anything he hurriedly added, “Aegon is supposed to be a king, and Rhaenys as his sister will have some role in the future of the kingdoms. What better way to teach them governance than to show them how it’s done?”

“Harry,” she protested, “the Magical world is different from ours.”

“Well, yes it is,” he conceded. “But there are some similarities. They’ll have to deal with differing personalities and learn how to manoeuver politics. And what better person to teach them!”

“Is this your way of avoiding the hard work?” she teased, though there was a serious look in her eyes.

“Not at all,” he said smoothly, affecting innocence. He wasn’t exactly lying – he would do most of the work – but an extra set of eyes wouldn’t hurt. Especially not one he assumed would be as familiar with politics as Elia Martell.

“I will consider it,” she finally said, and Harry had to bite back the grin of triumph.

 

Chapter Text

 

These magicals certainly like to build grand things, Elia thought in amusement.

The entry of the Ministry of Magic was built entirely of dark marble; marble floors, marble hearths – even the walls were made of marble. In the centre was a statue depicting different magical creatures gazing in adoration at a wizard and witch.

“An interesting statue,” she murmured lowly, feeling the stares on her back. Elia straightened, head held high as she walked arm in arm with Harry to the level designated for the courts.

They had spent the past moon going over the function of the Wizengamot, the specifics of the amendment that would be debated, and discussing the many people who made up Magical Britain’s ruling council. He had warned her that there would be talk when people saw her, questions regarding her connection to Harry.

Let them talk, she had told him. Elia had spent the past two years as the subject of court gossip; a group of magicals wondering just who their hero had brought with him was nothing compared to scornful, grasping courtiers.

“A mockery, but they insisted on going back to how things were,” he replied. His face was blank, but Elia could see the disdain in his eyes.

There was no guard to check wands he had told her beforehand, not after the war had shown the dangers to someone in a position like that, and the Lords and Ladies of the Wizengamot were required to show their family rings to enter the chambers. As Harry’s guest, she would be required to show some identification, and he had prepared a ring to signify her position as a familial ally.

It was as they entered the lowest levels, turning a corner to walk the path to the council chambers that she felt the eyes of the wizarding nobility.

“Let the games begin,” Harry murmured, and Elia felt the twitch of a faint smile as they began to make their rounds.

The Minister for Magic had been one of the first to make his way to them, an old acquaintance of Harry’s she had been told.

“Lord Potter-Black,” the man said in a deep timber. He wore robes of a deep plum, the same as the ministerial council members, though he wore them much better than his colleagues. He was clean-shaven, head gleaming beneath the light as his dark eyes settled on her.

“Minister Shacklebolt,” Harry said, a polite nod of his head. “I hope all is well.”

“Indeed, the usual business. How is young Teddy?”

"Well," was all Harry said, eyes cooling as he stared at his former ally. Kingsley Shacklebolt looked unaffected as he smiled at them.

“This is the Lady Elia Martell,” Harry introduced easily. “She is an old family friend.”

There was a flash of uncertainty in his eyes as he greeted Elia, though she did not look too deeply into it as they stopped their walk into the chambers.

“Well met Minister,” she said, hand outstretched in greeting.

“Lady Martell,” he greeted, eyes widening the slightest bit as he caught sight of the ring. “ A pleasure to meet you. If you’ll excuse me. It was a pleasure to see you again Lord Potter-Black.”

He had walked off to greet others, and Elia and Harry made their way through the brightly lit chamber as others whispered quietly or exchanged polite greetings with Harry.

“How long until that bit of information makes the rounds?” he asked her, smiling as a wizard with blond hair waved them over.

“A few minutes? How fast does wizard gossip travel?” she asked.

Quite fast, it turned out.

The man with the blond hair was Harry’s old schoolmate, Lord Neville Longbottom if she recalled the green and brown heraldry correctly. He looked relatively stern, though there was a kindness in his brown eyes that reassured her.

“Harry,” Neville greeted, clasping hands with his friend. “You can’t come in quietly can you?”

Laughing, he responded, “I think someone might faint if I just popped up.”

Neville grinned, turning to her in greeting, eyes flicking over the ring as his smile grew. “Lady Martell, I presume? It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Brow raised in slight surprise, Elia smiled in return. “Well met Lord Longbottom. Harry has mentioned you fondly,” she told him.

“Only good things I hope,” he said, a mock stern look pointed at Harry.

“Naturally, Nev. You wound me,” Harry replied. His smile slipped at the serious expression on Neville’s face as the blond lord glanced over Harry’s shoulder.

Turning to face her companion, Elia glanced out of the corner of her eye, seeing a woman in black robes make her way over, several others milling around the room. Every so often, their gaze would drift to the three of them, eyes lingering on Harry before drifting to her hand.

“MacDougal is running the session today,” Neville was murmuring to Harry, voice low in spite of the conversations floating around them. “Marchbanks and Ogden are leaning to his side, and Smith has been working the floor to get them to vote against this amendment.”

“He’s held a few parties hasn’t he?” Harry asked, eyes flitting to Elia.

“Hmm, and Nott has attended one of them,” Neville replied. “Zacharias was there for that one as well.”

“Of course he was,” Harry muttered.

Theodore Nott and Zacharias Smith. Old school mates of Harry’s, she recalled from their discussions.

“Nephew,” a cool voice said, causing Harry’s arm to tense slightly beneath hers.

Turning, they saw the woman that had been making her way to them earlier. She had pale blond hair with cool grey eyes, her sharp features slightly reminiscent of the portrait of Dorea and Caelum Potter. Her black robes were lined with green and silver piping, grey stitching throughout to note her birth family.

“Aunt Narcissa,” Harry greeted, a slight smile on his lips as he brushed them against her cheek.

 

“Our relationship is a bit…complicated,” Harry said, ignoring the snort from Caelum Potter.

“Complicated?” she asked, brow raised in disbelief.

“She might have lied to save my life once,” Harry said, as if that was something light to be ignored. “But we fought on opposite sides of the war so…” he shrugged as if that explained it all.

Oddly enough, it did lend some credence to why they might have a complicated history; but none of that spoke to why they continued to do so today.

“Narcissa is Andromeda’s younger sister,” Caelum drawled, lips quirked in a smirk as his grey eyes gleamed in amusement. “Harry here is the reason they reconnected, but his having inherited the Black title and giving his votes to someone other than her son has caused some consternation.”

Harry rolled his eyes at that, muttering obscenities about his cousin. Draco Malfoy, if she remembered the family tree he had shown her.

“I wouldn’t trust Draco to vote as I would, though he is far better than I expected.”

"Do you not like your aunt?" she asked him, head tilted in curiosity.

"I like her just fine," he replied, mouth twisted in a wry grin. "That's the bloody problem."

"Language, Harry!" came the sharp voice of Euphemia Potter, the older woman staring woefully at her errant grandson as Caelum laughed himself hoarse.

 

Narcissa tipped a polite nod at Neville at his murmured “Lady Malfoy,” before sweeping her cool eyes over Elia. She scrutinized the blond as the woman did the same, grey eyes cataloguing everything from Elia’s hair to the colour of her robes and the dress she wore beneath them.

The other lords and ladies were shamelessly watching, and to their utter astonishment, Narcissa smiled almost pleasantly as she greeted Elia.

“Lady Elia,” she said, voice slightly warmer and pitched to carry with minimal effort. “A pleasure to see you again, my dear. How is the family?”

Stifling a laugh at the baffled looks on the faces around them, Elia took the offered greeting as Narcissa leaned close. “Smile, dear. They’ll be speaking of this for ages,” she murmured, eyes gleaming in slight amusement.

Hushed whispers broke out around them, the mingling nobles glancing every so often at the trio as Lord Longbottom made his way to his seat with a clap on Harry’s shoulder and a polite bow to the two ladies.

“Herakles, I do believe we ladies need to take our seats,” Lady Malfoy told him as the rest of the crowd began to find their seats.

“Of course Aunt,” Harry replied smoothly, watching with darkening eyes as she stepped away to give them a moment.

He leaned in close, voice too low to be overheard as he murmured, “Don’t let her scare you.”

“I’ve handled madmen and people plotting my downfall, Harry. Another noble lady will be a breeze,” she responded in kind, dark eyes flashing in challenge.

His lips quirked into a mirthless smile, and Elia squeezed his forearm in farewell before making her way to the seats reserved for guests of the seated Lords and Ladies, Narcissa Malfoy falling into step with her.

 

Chapter Text

 

Unbothered by the stares, Harry sat in the seat reserved for him, the crests for the Houses of Potter and Black etched lovingly into the leather.

Glancing quickly to the seats meant for guests, he spotted Elia in conversation with his aunt, stifling the grin that wanted to come on his face.

To be a fly on that bench, he thought in amusement.

Doubtless they would get along; Narcissa had proven to have a sharp tongue and dry wit, something he had noticed in Elia as well. That they had been raised to navigate the political intrigue that came with their birth would probably help them bond, though she could not tell his aunt she was in reality a foreign princess from another dimension.

Knowing Narcissa, she might take her at her word. Stranger things have happened when he was involved.

“Oy ye, oy ye. Calling to session this meeting of the Council of Lords and Ladies of the Wizengamot of Magical Britain, on this day, the fourth of February in the year two thousand four. Are all members present?” the Chief Warlock asked. They had nominated one of Dumbledore’s contemporaries, an Alfred Golding, and the balding old man was near as infuriating as Dumbledore had been. Thankfully, this one did not twinkle his eyes at you, nor was he as adept at legilimancy as his predecessor.

“All members are present, Chief Warlock,” called Percy Weasley. He had managed to keep hold of his spot in the Ministry, though Percy worked instead as the Court Scribe for Wizengamot sessions – a better position for his prodigious memory.

“Lord MacDougal, if you will,” Chief Golding offered, sitting as the aging Scotsman made his way to the floor.

“MacDougal’s certainly doing what he can to push his bill,” a voice muttered close to him, and Harry leaned closer to better hear Ernie MacMillan.

“He’s got Marchbanks and Ogden in the bag,” Harry murmured in response, watching the man go on with his impassioned plea for restructuring.

“Hmm, and Runcorn as well,” Ernie responded, hand covering his lips.

Harry raised a brow at that; Albert Runcorn had managed to avoid conviction as a Snatcher, despite having used his position in the Ministry to arrest hundreds of halfbloods and their muggleborn spouses. That he would so openly side with MacDougal did not bode well for them.

“The money gets restructured to flow mainly in the Auror office,” Ernie told him. Harry had read the draft budget cover-to-cover – had even enlisted Elia’s help to comb through it for any loopholes.

“The Justices,” Harry noted, seeing Ernie grimace in agreement.

That Runcorn managed to avoid Azkaban was shameful; that the Ministry allowed him to continue in his role as a prosecutor in the DMLE was a scandal that had not been rectified.

“Nott’s position is looking more appealing,” Harry muttered in disdain, Ernie nodding in agreement.

“This Lady Martell is a friend of yours?” he asked as his brown eyes focused on the two women.

“Something like that,” Harry responded, grateful Ernie would not pry into personal matters.

“Ten galleons says their tongues will wag for a month,” Ernie offered with a light grin, and Harry nodded his agreement of the bet.

“…Money well spent, I say. We have managed to catch many of the criminals that had run rampant through the country under the reign of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,” MacDougal droned, tipping his head at Harry, who steadfastly ignored the stares as he glanced at the two ladies. They were paying rapt attention to the old Scot, and the eyes of the reporters allowed into the sessions danced between Harry and Elia.

“MacDougal’s grandson died in the war, didn’t he?” Harry asked Ernie, unable to recall the man’s reasoning for the bill. They had all lost people in the war, so it was most like to be that.

“His great-nephew,” Ernie corrected. “Robert MacDougal III, he was supposed to marry Lord MacDougal’s granddaughter Isobel and tie the claims together.”

Grimacing, Harry watched the older lord continue his spiel.

On any other day, the restructuring might have appealed to him. But Runcorn was a factor, a beneficiary of MacDougal’s bill, as well as the vast increase in money for the Aurors when it was frankly unnecessary.

Ten years ago they could have used this money, he thought bitterly. Amelia Bones would have made good use of it, of that he was certain. But the current Head of the DMLE was a rumoured Death Eater sympathizer – perhaps even more if the whispers were to be believed – and the stance of the Ministry to focus on stabilizing peace after the war left a bitter taste in his mouth.

MacDougal had finally completed his long-winded speech, and Harry politely applauded alongside the others as the Chief Warlock called for opening arguments.

“Lord MacDougal,” Lady Bulstrode began, “how is the Ministry prepared to recoup the funds that were appropriated for the rebuilding of Diagon Alley?”

Calls of agreement came as Lord Spinks shouted, “Diagon still reeks of war! They’ve not done a good job of it what with all the money we poured into that project. Thousands each!”

“Diagon has been repaired to the best of our abilities,” Lord Brown interjected to jeers from his opposition.

“Pah! No need to think on what you deem acceptable,” Lady Fawley huffed, and Harry had to bite back his exasperated laughter at the glares both sent each other.

Fourty-three years, and you would expect them to forgive each other, but magicals had long lives and even longer memories.

“Think she might spike his wine,” he murmured to Ernie, seeing his brown eyes crinkle in amusement.

“That would certainly liven things up,” Ernie laughed lightly, before schooling his features as he raised his wand.

“Heir MacMillan,” Chief Golding called.

“Chief Warlock,” Ernie said smoothly as he leaned forward in acknowledgement.

The puffed-up pureblood from his schooldays was gone, replaced with a confident heir; Ernie had lived through the war and come out of it more sure of himself and of where he stood in regards to the world. Harry had not expected a friendship to build between the two of them, but he was glad for his steadfastness as they both braved the Wizengamot together with Neville in the early years.

“Lord MacDougal, if you could clarify the section regarding the Office of International Cooperation. Are we to believe that there is no intention to increase the budget for that department?”

Harry watched as Nott leaned forward in his seat, eyes fastened on MacDougal, who pinned Ernie with a cold stare.

“The Department of International Magical Cooperation will receive their necessary funds, Heir MacMillan,” MacDougal responded curtly. “Our current state is indeed to strengthen Magical Britain from within before we form alliances abroad.”

“And just how do you expect to do so when our trade contracts could suffer for lack of Ministerial involvement?” Draco drawled, grey eyes impassive. “We stand to lose millions of galleons should they be allowed to flounder.”

“Our current trade agreements should suffice,” Lord MacDougal answered.

“Our current agreements were written under the previous administration,” Harry added lightly. “Surely they need to be rewritten considering our changing needs?”

He looked instead at Kingsley, green eyes sweeping over his face before he returned his gaze to Lord MacDougal. From his periphery, Harry could see Nott lean back in his seat.

“We are currently faced with a backlog of trials, Lord Potter-Black. Our first priority should be to complete these in full accordance with the law.”

Questions arose from the left, and Harry watched as the sitting Lords and Ladies argued back and forth over the bill. More money was promised to the DoMLE, a paltry amount to International Magical Cooperation, and more funds for Magical Maintenance and unspecified departments.

And in the midst of it all, the Department of Mysteries is given no mention, he thought grimly.

“I don’t like this,” Ernie muttered, watching as Lord Zeller withheld a curse as he argued with Lord Matthias Davies. Every lord and lady had had their say, each meticulously combing through the wording of the proposed budget in an attempt to gain approval or push for clarification on just where the Ministry wanted to use their money.

“Nor do I,” Harry replied lowly. “It won’t pass, not when Ogden so clearly benefits from it while others have to scramble to make returns. Look at them.”

They sat for several hours as they bickered over the possibility of trade losses and the unasked question of the DoM, only a small break between to allow them to grab refreshments and relieve themselves. To his misfortune, Harry had to mingle with the other lords and ladies as the guests spoke amongst themselves.

“Lord Potter-Black,” a strong voice said, causing a slight smile to come to his face.

“Lady Marchbanks,” Harry responded, brushing a light kiss over the hand she extended, a wide grin on his face. “It is ever a pleasure to see you.”

“You Potters have always excelled at flattery,” the woman retorted, and Harry smiled in genuine fondness at the old woman. Half his height with iron-grey hair and steel blue eyes, Griselda Marchbanks had outlived all of her contemporaries and insisted she was merely waiting until one of her great-nephews grew the spine to take on the court.

“I see you’ve brought a lady with you,” she continued, gimlet eyes watching to catch any hints on his expression.

“A family friend,” Harry replied.

She huffed, hand tightening slightly on her cane as she watched Elia mingle with the other guests.

“Family friend,” she harrumphed quietly, “not like I’ve not heard that before. Do keep your head, dear. Though I suppose if she manages to rouse you from your home that is something to be lauded.”

He refrained from rolling his eyes; Old Griselda had been a friend of his grandmother Euphemia, the two having grown up together and shared a dorm at Hogwarts, and she had been the first to tell him exactly how Fleamont had managed to win over her friend while Harry had written his NEWTs.

Thankfully, she didn’t comment on his blatant lie – the woman knew enough about Magical Britain to know who was allied with who – and merely tipped her head at the watching crowd.

“Well, good enough I suppose,” she told him, raising her voice with a devious glint in her eyes. “I expect to see both you and Lady Elia Saturday next for dinner. It’s Emry’s birthday and we’ll be hosting a small gathering.”

“We wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Harry told her, cringing slightly at having to deal with what the woman considered a small gathering.

Lady Griselda merely smiled, a hint of smug satisfaction in the curl of her lips at the whispers as Harry escorted her to her seat.

“You planned for that,” he accused, voice low to keep from being heard.

“My dear, when you’ve lived as long as I have you take enjoyment where you can,” she laughed.

 

Chapter Text

 

They had sat amongst some of the wives of the sitting lords and a few husbands as well, to Elia’s surprise.

It was one thing for Harry to tell her that they had matriarchal lines, quite another to see it. It was different from Westeros; Elia had certainly imagined the Wizarding World to be more similar to the rest of Westeros but they were a mix between Dorne and the other kingdoms.

“The sitting lord is the Chief Warlock, Alfred Golding,” Narcissa Malfoy murmured lightly as the session began. “To the left is Lord MacDougal. He runs this session in a bid to gain approval for his budget.”

“Does he work for the Ministry?” she asked, eyes focused on the balding lord. His hair was grey, voice low and deceptively soothing as he droned on about his bill.

Narcissa was looking at her in curiosity, a light smirk pulling at her lips as she glanced at the ring on Elia’s hand. “His son was an Auror.”

Their city watch, she recalled, remembering Harry’s explanation.

“Of course,” Elia murmured, gaze flicking to Harry. He was seated next to a young man with hair the colour of the sunset – red and gold with streaks of brown in it – the two young lords murmuring quietly to each other.

She could feel the eyes on her, the watching magicals curious about the woman who had accompanied their saviour. Another day at court, she thought wryly.

The divisions in the Wizard’s Court were not as obvious as it was in King’s Landing; there were no obvious factions, none of the outright polarization she would have expected following a war. Not even a hint of those outright currying favour with the Man-Who-Conquered – and Elia had laughed herself hoarse when she realized the title the Magical World had given Harry – though part of that could be attributed to his rare presence in public.

An oddity for a lord, particularly one such as Harry who had expected duties that he almost outright ignored, but it was not her place to comment.

With no marked divisions, Elia could see that there were more than a few showing displeasure at the lack of generated income the bill promised. Even more she guessed were unhappy with the thought of law enforcement given the means to do their jobs.

Lord MacDougal’s pressing remark on the end of the war caused the room to pivot their attention to Harry, the dark-haired man stoic in the face of praise. Not all those sitting in council had looks of gratitude – perfunctory or sincere – and Elia stared at a particular woman in robes with green and black stitching who’s face had tightened in momentary displeasure.

She shifted in her seat, allowing Elia a glimpse of an elaborate black crest bracketed by green winged serpents. House Wilkes, she guessed, running through the list of family crests Harry had shown her. Lady Emmeline Wilkes, born a Roper and holding the seat for her infant nephew.

It was at the break that Elia had her first test of Wizarding Society. The ladies had positively swarmed Narcissa, each moving to greet her as if they were old friends, eyes flicking to Elia and waiting for an introduction.

An elder gentlemen was seated next to Elia, one she was amused to discover was a shameless gossip.

“Old Lady Augusta is expected to host a gathering,” he was telling the woman next to him.

“Pfft. Augusta has not held a gathering in some time, nor will she,” the woman rebutted, hand smoothing the crease of her robes.

Not unless they wished to announce something, Elia thought. Harry had made mention of Neville’s grandmother; a battle-axe, they referred to her as, and Augusta Longbottom did nothing without considerable thought – especially not when it concerned House Longbottom’s social standing.

“Lady Elia,” Narcissa murmured, pulling her attention to the younger woman stood next to her. She was a few inches shorter than Elia herself, with dark gold hair and pale blue eyes.

Behind her stood another woman with similar looks, her piercing eyes glancing every so often at whom Elia assumed was her sister.

“Might I introduce Lady Astoria Greengrass,” Narcissa said, a faint smile touching her lips.

Mindful of the watching eyes, Elia politely greeted the younger woman. “Well met, Lady Astoria.”

“And you, Lady Martell,” she replied. Unlike the woman next to her, Astoria Greengrass had a fairly open disposition, though there was a spark of cunning intelligence in her bright eyes as her gaze flicked to the ring on her finger. “It is always so nice to see friends of Lord Potter-Black.”

Quirking her lips into a faint smile she replied, “Indeed. My congratulations on your betrothal, Harry speaks fondly of his cousin.”

Astoria’s smile widened a touch; gaze drifting to a cluster of lords where Elia knew the platinum head of Draco Malfoy was visible. The picture she had first seen of Harry’s cousin had brought to mind unpleasant thoughts of one who could have grey eyes and pale hair, but the blond was less a reflection of Valyria than she had imagined.

Narcissa tipped her head at Elia, a flash of amusement in her grey eyes as she practically felt the increased interest of those surrounding them.

Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter as fond cousins, they would whisper in astonishment. Would wonders never cease?

The three ladies made their way to a small table, glasses of tea and water available.

“Have you begun planning the wedding?” Elia asked.

“Only recently,” she responded. “I expect it won’t take too long, though we are hoping for an autumn ceremony.”

“Autumn?” Elia questioned.

“A lovely time to host a wedding,” Narcissa replied. “The Manor gardens look splendid at that time.”

“You will attend, of course,” Astoria said, leaning forward conspiratorially.

Six to eight moons was a long time; Elia was unsure if Harry would find a way for them to return by then, but she knew it had been giving him trouble.

Not like to happen within the year, she thought uncertainly. But that was not why she had asked.

“Of course,” Elia answered smoothly.

“You must come for tea sometime this weekend,” Narcissa added, a satisfied gleam in her eyes.

“Saturday?” Elia offered. “I’ll need to confirm a few things first.”

“Oh, splendid,” Astoria beamed. “Daphne will be thrilled.”

It was as she excused herself from Harry’s aunt to enter the woman’s room that she met the Daphne in question. Astoria’s sister had much of the same features as her sister, but where the younger woman had an openness to her that unknowingly lulled others into comfort, Daphne was a touch sharper.

“Potter has brought himself a guest,” she heard a woman say scornfully. “At least this one looks the part, though I’ve not heard the name Martell before. I suppose we should be glad he seems well shot of Granger or Weasley.”

“It sounds old enough,” another responded lightly. “I did not think you one to care so much over Potter, Pans, or his relationships.”

The first woman, Pans, scoffed in disdain. “I care less for what he does than the rest of these simpering idiots. Especially not now he is to be your sister’s cousin by marriage.”

A Greengrass, and another woman with an unfriendly history with Harry, Elia thought. Making her way to wash her hands, she chose the sink a few feet from the gossiping women, their eyes turning sharply to her.

Drying her hands, Elia locked eyes with Daphne’s reflection before she turned to them, a warm smile on her face. “Heiress Greengrass,” she said, causing the tiniest flash of surprise in the blonde’s face.

“Lady Martell, I presume,” she responded, gaze flicking to her friend next to her. “This is Heiress Parkinson.”

“A pleasure, I’m sure,” Elia said.

The woman sent a cool smile, her brown eyes unfriendly as Elia made her way to her seat.

There was little left of the session – closing remarks and a promise to continue in three days time.

Astoria had left to greet Draco before she left with her sister, and Elia had to stifle her laughter as the old man next to her muttered, “Any longer and even I might have birthed a child.”

“Speaks fondly of his cousin, does he?” Narcissa said softly as they walked to the man in question.

“From what I’ve noticed,” Elia murmured, causing the older woman’s brow to raise in interest.

“Herakles,” Narcissa called, pulling Harry’s attention to them.

“Aunt Narcissa, Elia,” he replied.

“I expect you for our usual lunch,” Narcissa said, an expectant look on her face.

“I wouldn’t dare forget,” he quipped, smiling in amusement.

She smiled at her nephew, an unreadable look on her face before excusing herself to meet with her son.

“How was it?” he asked her anxiously.

“It seems I’ve found myself with an appointment for tea on Saturday,” she said lowly as they weaved their way through the room.

“Tea? You can say no if you wish,” he told her. There was a hint of worry on his face that Elia ignored.

“Do you suspect your aunt of attempting to poison me?” she asked curiously.

“Well, no. Not outwardly at least,” he muttered, causing a huff of laughter from her.

“I was raised to trade words with noble ladies Harry,” she reminded him. “Though you’ve certainly garnered the dislike of some.”

There was a flash of bright light, forcing Elia to turn her gaze from Harry to the man holding the camera.

“Lord Potter-Black,” said another man stood next to him, a floating quill hovering over the parchment he held. “Any thoughts on the Wizengamot session?”

“Not at the moment,” Harry responded coolly. “There is time yet for us to discuss the budget, and I expect certain things will be clarified in due course.”

Before the man could add more comments, his eyes flashing to where Elia’s hand rested on Harry’s arm, Harry was pushing past them beyond the floo.

“Fancy a late lunch before we head home?” he asked, and at her nod gave a quick warning. “It’ll be a touch unpleasant.”

His arm tightened on hers, and at a slight twist Elia felt her world constrict. She felt as if she were in a tube, her body twisting to fit in it as all breath left her.

It felt as long as an hour though it could not have been more than a minute before they rematerialized in a tiled entryway.

Sucking in a sharp breath, Elia clutched onto Harry’s arm as she attempted to gather her bearing.

“What in the gods name was that?” she asked breathlessly.

“Apparition,” he told her sheepishly, hand rubbing at the back of his head. “I’m sorry, I should have given you more warning.”

“You most certainly should have,” she hissed.

They were in a building somewhere, though Elia could not tell whether they were close to home or the Ministry.

“We’ve got reservations at The Merman’s Court,” he said, a hand on her back to guide her further in. It was not busy, the vivid blue room they stepped into holding only three others, all of whom craned their necks to glance at Harry.

“The Merman’s Court?” she asked, wondering at the name she knew the Manderlys to call their Great Hall.

“A restaurant opened several decades ago. House Black has had a standing reservation since it’s inception,” he murmured as a red-haired man dressed in black robes with sea-green piping and cravat walked over to them.

“Lord Potter-Black, my lady,” he said with a nasally voice. “Welcome to The Merman’s Court. If you will follow me?”

They were led through the hall to another room, this one far more private and a table set for two. There was a bay window, the view showing the sea at sunset, and Elia felt a sudden longing for home.

Once they had been served – a plate of herb-roasted salmon for her with a side of spices and a chicken fillet for Harry with a bottle of wine – they turned the conversation back to the Wizengamot.

“There were a number of unhappy faces,” she noted, recalling the various lords and ladies. “Not everyone is for Lord MacDougal’s amendments, though a great number of them are.”

Harry nodded his agreement, “It would have worked well five years ago, but MacDougal is beating at a dead horse. The only reason it is continuing to a second reading is because of the war.”

“And where do you stand on it?” she asked, knowing Harry’s vote could swing things to either side.

“I’m not sure,” he admitted. “I would have been for his proposal, but the things we are hearing…there are a number of unpleasant rumours that raise certain questions.”

“Harry,” she said, putting her fork down and pinning him with a serious gaze. Harry copied her movements, giving her his undivided attention. “I cannot presume to know enough of your economy to guess at the issues, but if Lord MacDougal is proposing the Ministry ignores its trade contracts – and they take his stance on it – there will be naught but infighting amongst society.”

“Not outright ignore, though he would rather use those from the old regime,” he replied with a bitter twist to his mouth.

“Which seems to be enough of a problem for the other lords,” she told him. “People have gone to war for lesser insults, and you might not want a war so soon after but there will be some sort of fallout should they give in.”

He sighed, returning to his food with a pensive look before he grimaced suddenly. “I suppose I’ll have to make an appearance at these bloody dinners.”

“A token effort at most,” she stated flatly.

“Also,” he said, suddenly awkward as he stilled in his seat. “Lady Marchbanks expects the both of us at her estate next Saturday. Her great-nephew is celebrating his sixty-first birthday.”

“The both of us?” she asked in surprise, seeing him shrug his shoulders. “Don’t do that,” she reprimanded absentmindedly, thinking on the old woman. “She was your grandmother’s friend, was she not?”

“She was,” he replied, a note of fond amusement in his tone as he returned to his food.

“What have you done to Heiress Parkinson?” Elia asked suddenly, causing him to jerk his head in surprise.

He laughed sharply, a sardonic smile on his face as his green eyes darkened. “I refused to die quietly and Pansy has never quite forgiven me for that.”

 

Chapter Text

 

Harry was in Cassiopeia Black’s old workroom at the Black Chateau two days after the meeting finagling with a particularly tricky rune sequence as the woman in question hurled ‘encouraging’ insults at him.

“I can see how you and Aunt Dorea are related,” Harry shouted, ignoring her overly loud mutter of butterfingers.

“Finesse! You are lacking in finesse, Herakles!” she called back. “This is an absolute travesty!”

Had she been alive, Cassiopeia would have most likely thrown him from the room and drawn the necessary runes herself but alas, he was left with a cranky portrait.

“Dorea would be far more lenient,” she told him, grey eyes critically scanning the runes he had drawn so far.

“That’s because she likes me,” Harry retorted.

“Please, there’s no need to chase compliments child. I like you well enough,” she sniffed.

He ignored the urge to roll his eyes, focusing instead on powering the runes. It was going well and Harry nearly whooped in excitement until he felt a tingle of magic, strong and building. Eyes wide, he hastily threw up a shield as the runes gave off a shockwave of energy that pushed heavily against his shield, though Harry managed to avoid being forced backward a few steps.

“A splendid job nephew,” Cassiopeia said dryly, eyes staring in disbelief at the smoking hole at the edge of the circle. “What in the name of Morgana have you done?”

“Might have accidentally smudged something,” he mumbled, face dusted red in embarrassment.

“Your mind has been wandering for the past few hours. Care to explain what troubles you?”

The request was more of an order, and Harry thought on it as he cleared the room. He had been going at it for hours, pushing through the beginnings of Old Welsh script with Cassiopeia as quickly as he could, but Harry had reached his limit for the day.

“The Wizengamot,” he replied. “They’ve a new bill on the table.”

“I suppose those old codgers have decided to throw money at the DMLE and little else,” she said, brow raised in question.

“How did yo—”

“They did the same in forty-six. And again in eighty-one, though that did not go so well when Bartemius’s son proved a Death Eater,” she told him. “People don’t like to give their Aurors money when the head proves unsuitable.”

“The current head is unsuitable,” Harry retorted.

“Yes, well. When have they ever been up to par?” Cassiopeia countered.

Before he could comment on Madam Bones’s tenure, Cassiopeia moved the conversation to where he suspected she wanted to lead it to all along.

“How is your displaced princess?” she asked, face a mask of innocence.

“Is gossip the only thing you portraits do?” he asked archly.

“Nonsense,” she sniffed. “We’ve been known to settle old grudges from time to time.”

He rolled his eyes; the Blacks believed that settling grudges was best done with magic and a great many of them had been peeved to discover that portraits did not possess the same capabilities – until a Black had pointed out the close proximity of fencing swords within each portrait.

“Try not to string Walburga up will you? Kreacher will hound me to repair her portrait again,” he added sourly.

“I make no promises,” she grinned, a wicked glint in her eye. “Perhaps Cygnus – the poor dear could use some livening up.”

Harry laughed at the image his mind conjured of what Cassiopeia might consider ‘livening up’. Cygnus Black III had spent a full year swinging between puffed up pride that it would be his blood continuing the Black line and consternation over it being through his unruly middle child.

Andromeda had smiled winningly at her father’s portrait, introducing him to his adopted grandson – who had been a half blood and the defeater of the Dark Lord – and his metamorphmagus great-grandson who’s birth father had been a werewolf. Cygnus had disappeared from his portrait at the Black ancestral manor for two months, until he had decided to ignore the unpleasant bits of his descendant’s family trees.

“He’ll never return,” Harry laughed.

“He will. Else he will be stuck with the portrait of Great-Aunt Elladora – and no soul wishes to suffer that,” Cassiopeia retorted.

Kreacher popped in just as Harry removes the last bits of ash and dust, and thick newspaper roll in his arms.

“Mail for Master Herakles,” the old elf croaked.

He had cleaned up; still old and slightly stooped with droopy ears, Kreacher stood tall and proud, a fresh tunic-vest with the Black crest stitched in full display.

“Oh my,” Cassiopeia murmured, leaning to the side to see the paper. “At least it’s flattering.”

Dreading the thought, Harry hurried to relieve Kreacher of his burden, cursing internally at the meddlesome reporters of the Daily Prophet.

 

Harry Potter Makes His Wizengamot Return, Unknown Woman Spotted with Potter-Black Ring

 

Swearing loudly, Harry skimmed through the article, unconsciously leaning toward Cassiopeia’s portrait so she could see the words written.

“That must be the nicest thing they’ve written about you,” she told him.

“The nicest…’Lord Potter-Black has again deigned to present himself at the Wizengamot chambers, a woman of unknown origin on his arm as he presented her fondly to his closest allies’…are you kidding me?”

“You can always murder the reporter,” she japed.

“Murder isn’t an option,” Harry retorted, hands gripping the paper tightly.

“If it’s not an option then you are clearly doing something wrong,” Cassiopeia shot back. “What did you expect when you gave her that ring?”

“What?” he said blankly.

“The ring, Herakles,” she pressed, “It was bound to start rumours.”

“A ring to show a claimed ally?” he asked in disbelief.

To his consternation, Cassiopeia suddenly began to laugh; deep guffaws like he had never heard from the woman causing her shoulders to shake. “Come Herakles, we must tell the others.”

“Aunt Cassiopeia,” he spoke through gritted teeth, “What do you mean?”

It took her the better part of a minute to gather herself, though her eyes shined with overwhelming glee as she stared at him. “Quite the scandal, my dear, very well done. You are correct; the ring is given to claim a person’s position as an ally – particularly for those who are offered the protection of the family. For an unmarried lord or lady to present such a ring to someone with whom marriage was a prospect, especially an unknown person such as your princess, would speak of a close relationship.”

Harry stared at her, mind working through the implications of his well-meant gesture. “You mean to tell me that there are people who assume she is…”

“The future Lady Potter-Black, yes,” she smirked.

“Bloody, buggering…shit!”

“Oh what did you expect?” she asked in a huff. “Herakles, you have not been tied to another woman since your very public split with those friends of yours,” she said in slight disdain. “Even your friendship with Lady Bones was seen as just that – a friendship borne of war.”

Fucking hell, he thought, running a hand through his unruly curls.

“That can’t be the only thing they took the ring for,” Harry tried.

“No, there were other options,” she conceded. “But when it comes to you society has been practically salivating at the thought of your marriage prospects. Why would they not assume the beautiful woman on your arm is romantically linked to you?”

“That’s bloody stupid,” he muttered.

She was right, he knew; the Wizarding World had fervently followed the non-existent scandal of his ending relations with the Weasleys, had speculated for years over whether he would marry and name another child his heir. Harry had spent years ignoring those kinds of suggestions and had ended his longest friendships over them.

Elia is going to kill me, he groaned.


He entered his family home as if he were guilty of a monstrous crime – pointedly ignoring the voice in his head that blamed him for thinking the wizarding public would not draw hasty conclusions – and slunk into the library.

The kids were sleeping by now, and Harry walked further in to see Elia tucked into the wingback chair in her corner, the Dornish Princess chatting amicably with Lemelle as her bronze skin shone from the soft light of the fire.

“…witches will use the tea as an excuse to brag and ask pointed questions.”

“A normal day in the life of a princess,” Elia jested. “Perhaps we need a court fool.”

“Are you taking applications?” he teased half-heartedly, pulling soft laughter from her.

“You’re early,” she noted, straightening at the look on his face.

He shook his head in slight frustration as he sat on the loveseat, “The runes weren’t working out as well as I hoped.”

Elia smiled encouragingly, “I’m certain you’ll find a way.”

He grimaced in reply, taking a deep breath as he pulled the magazine forward.

It’s now or never, he reminded himself, unfolding it so Elia could see the blazing headline and the moving photo beneath. As far as pictures went, this was not a terrible one.

It was almost, dare he say, nice.

The photographer had caught them as they turned a corner, a wry grin on as face as Elia smirked up at him, a joke passing between them that he couldn’t clearly remember – likely something to do with his aunt.

To his horror, she flipped to the writing and started reading bits of the magazine out loud. “Lord Potter-Black looked utterly ravishing…hair in a wild mess of curlsisolation has rendered him a most hand…well, they certainly adore you.”

“Look further, you will most certainly find something waxing poetically over his green, green eyes,” Lemelle laughed, blue orbs sparkling in amusement.

“Ah, here…green eyes shining with untold emotionheavily smouldering gaze…”

Lemelle was fanning herself, a wicked smirk on her face as she commented, “Is that what children these days are reading? That sounds almost as raunchy as poor Minister Spavin’s hidden letters to his wife.”

His lips twisted in disgust at the thought, turning his attention back to Elia. Her face was unreadable, eyes skimming the article before they snapped back to him. Releasing a breath, he offered the copy of The Daily Prophet Kreacher had given him, the same photo emblazoned on the front page.

Harry knew when she had realized his blunder as her body stiffening in what he hoped was surprise; her eyes darted quickly to the ring resting on her hand, the gold band had small black diamonds surrounding a flat grey stone, the enlarged P and B etched precisely in the silvery-blue of his birth house.

“I didn’t mean for it to come off like that,” he blurted out, shifting nervously in his seat.

“Come off in what way?” she asked. Her tone gave nothing away, and Harry could not tell anything from her expression.

“The ring is a sign of an alliance, but they’re all gossip hungry vultures who assumed that I’d shack up with the first woman they saw me with,” he rambled anxiously, “Not that I wouldn’t cause you know you’re you but I wouldn’t do that to you after everything, and I’d like to think we’re friends by now and yeah – I’m just going to shut my mouth now.”

His face was flushed horribly as the portrait of his great-great-great-grandmother shook with laughter.

Stupid, stupid Harry, he berated himself.

He had always been terribly awkward around women; his split with Ginny and the aftermath of the war had put Harry on guard most of the time, leaving him to exchanging polite greetings, and Teddy being his heir had only strengthened those notions.

But this was Elia; the Princess-turned-friend who helps him with politics and lets her son call him Papa even though he was a crown prince, who Harry had sworn – even if only to himself – to protect alongside her adorable children.

Not for anything would he lose what he was coming to see as a cherished friendship, nor would he allow the Wizarding World to interfere when they weren’t wanted.

“You overthink things,” she told him, placing the photo on the coffee table next to her discarded mug. “Let them talk.”

“Elia, the entirety of Britain reads these papers,” he informed her.

“That is inconvenient,” she agreed. “But they were going to gossip anyhow. From the moment they saw me at that meeting. Or why else would your aunt ask for tea?”

“They think you’re…” he cut himself off, unwilling to bring the thought to life.

“…plotting to marry you and steal your riches? I imagine a number of people would assume such without knowing the nature of our friendship.”

He conceded the point, but he worried still over how it would be taken. “The ring?” he asked anxiously.

“Would you like me to return it?” she questioned curiously, head tilted to the side as her black eyes stared intently at him.

“No,” he said quietly. “I mean to honour the intention behind it.”

She smiled softly in reply, gaze softening as she stared once more at the photo.

 

Chapter Text

 

The portraits of the Potter ladies had insisted Elia use the bedroom upstairs to prepare for the Marchbanks gathering, laughing amongst themselves at the thought of a small party. Euphemia had merely smiled in amusement before calling an elf to bring jewels for Elia to wear.

No matter how she protested, the ladies refused to even hear of it; she was a guest, they said, she simply could not refuse to allow them to lend her jewels when she came to England with naught but the clothes on her back.

To her chagrin, Harry had only smiled at his grandmother’s portrait in fond exasperation, muttering under his breath about meddlesome ladies before steering her to the rooms belonging to the lady of the house.

It was there in front of an ornate mirror that she currently stood, wearing a gown of deep red as she fiddled with the jewels Libby had brought, the ancient elf holding the box as if it were a priceless artefact; glancing at diamonds the colour of blood, Elia could see why she held it so preciously.

“Oh my, you certainly will knock them off their feet!” a voice called, causing a slight shriek of surprise to escape her as she jerked backward.

Whirling around in surprise, Elia saw that she was alone, not one of the ladies occupying the lone portrait to have spoken to her.

“Over here my dear,” the voice said once more, forcing her to stare in astonishment at the mirror at the same time Harry came bursting through a door, wand in hand as his eyes scanned the room.

Staring at her in bewilderment, it took a moment before Elia saw his lips twitch in amusement.

“It’s not funny,” she said, turning back to the mirror with a wary gaze.

“No, it really is,” he responded, shuffling closer. “I forgot the mirror in your room doesn’t talk.”

“Do all mirrors in the Wizarding World do that?” she asked.

“Most,” he replied, “though they’ve all got differing…personalities.”

“Are you going to help the lady with her jewels?” the mirror butt in. If animated objects could give a look, she was sure this one would be glaring sternly at the two of them.

Huffing in amusement, Elia watched as Harry picked up the necklace, gesturing for her to lift her hair. “This is far too much,” she murmured.

“It’s my gran’s fault,” he told her. “She’s only had the one son, so having someone to ply her jewels with and let the mirror poke fun at has been something she missed out on.”

“And the talking mirror?” she asked sardonically.

Laughing, Harry quipped, “A part of the house, I’m afraid.”

She rolled her eyes, ignoring the mirrors scolding as she watched his reflection. You would think setting a clasp were a life-saving endeavour with how concentrated he looked.

“Can you not use your magic to help you?”

“Not on these pieces,” Harry murmured, his breath fanning against the back of her neck as his fingers fiddled with the clasp. “They’ve been charmed to the nines to resist any magical interference.”

“Why is that?”

“Cursed jewellery is a hell of an issue to deal with,” he said cheerfully, a dark smirk on his face as he stepped back.

“Red is certainly your colour,” the mirror quipped.

Elia felt a slight nervous flutter in her stomach, ignoring the feeling as she gazed at her reflection. Harry stood behind her, his shirt vest unbuttoned and tie hanging from around his neck.

“Shouldn’t you finish getting ready?” she said lightly, picking up the earrings as she spoke.

“I am ready,” he responded, pointedly ignoring the incredulous stare she sent him. “You’ll be fine. They’re nothing like Aunt Narcissa.”

“As I said before, Harry, I can handle noble ladies well enough.” It was the other bits she was unsure of. She might have been nonchalant in the face of his worry over the article, but Elia had dealt once before with pointed whispers over her personal relationships; she did not know exactly how far Magical Britain was willing to take these conversations. His aunt had done nothing but watch Elia converse with her soon to be gooddaughter at tea, her grey eyes scrutinizing every word that left her mouth with the occasional comment.

Words are wind, she reminded herself. They could speculate all they wanted, but Elia had oddly enough found a friend in Harry and made Potter Hall her home, something she was loathe to ruin on the words of rumourmongers.

Harry had managed to finish dressing, summoning his robes and a small box as the mirror chided him on his careless handling of fine clothing.

“Ready?” he asked, stepping closer to her, hand extended.

“How are we getting there?” Elia asked with a dark glower as she looped her arm in his. Wizards and their methods of travel, she thought in dismay. There was no one particular aspect of magical travel that she enjoyed.

“Apparition,” Harry said ruefully.

Tugging her closer, she saw Harry send a cheeky wink at the portrait before her vision was surrounded by darkness.


“I sorely despise you,” she muttered under her breath, smiling as yet another person came to greet Harry, their faces lit in joy at seeing him again. They were all well older than them, though they did not look it.

“No you don’t,” he murmured, steering them toward Emry Marchbanks.

She refrained from rolling her eyes, well aware of the number of people watching them. The Marchbanks family had held this gala at a winter lodge west of Potter Hall, warm oak wood flooring contrasting with the odd splashes of colour, a massive window taking up the entirety of one wall.

“Come to a Wizengamot meeting with me Elia,” she muttered sardonically. “Aegon can use it as preparation, Elia.”

She would have been better off ignoring his request and staying well away from the majority of magicals. From their moment of entry, Elia had greeted no less than thirty people, each cheerfully come to say hello to their suddenly social saviour.

“I did warn you,” he responded lowly, a light grin on his face as they walked the last bit to their hosts.

“Ah, there he is,” the older man said, “Where is that tyke of yours?”

“Teddy’s a bit too young to party around you,” Harry joked, moving forward to accept a close handshake from him. His brown hair was peppered with grey, beard cut close as his grey-green eyes crinkled in amusement.

“And him a bit too old to continue as it is,” the shorter woman retorted.

Griselda Marchbanks, Elia thought, stifling her amusement as Harry greeted the woman fondly.

“Emry, Griselda, I don’t think I’ve introduced you,” he said, stepping next to Elia with a genuine smile aimed at the pair. “This is the Lady Elia Martell.”

Lord Emry placed a light kiss on her knuckles, the man’s warm gaze flashing quickly to the man next to her as he said, “I suppose we have you to thank for bringing this one out so often.”

“A happy coincidence,” she replied lightly.

“Quite,” Griselda said, blue eyes staring oddly at Elia. Abruptly, the woman turned to Harry and said, “Do excuse us. I’m afraid we ladies have mingling of our own to do.”

Elia ignored the oddly identical looks of worry the two men had, giving Harry’s arm a faint squeeze before she walked off, Griselda Marchbanks leading her toward a gaggle of ladies.

“Griselda!” one of them greeted, her black robes pristine, hair pulled into a severe bun. Her eyes were the colour of jade, widening the slightest bit at first, and even as Griselda pulled the woman into conversation, Elia noticed she would glance coolly at her from time to time.

“She thinks you mean to displace Teddy,” a woman’s voice murmured.

Turning, Elia saw a woman near her age, one of the Ladies on the Wizengamot if she recalled correctly, hair the colour of lightly reddened gold with clear blue eyes staring at her in scrutiny, a contrast to the deep blue dress she wore. There was a light smattering of freckles on the bridge of her nose, her sharp features and colouring bringing to mind the Tullys.

“Any who have met Teddy would never seek to displace him,” Elia replied, grabbing a glass of wine from the floating tray.

The woman smiled slightly in response, a rueful thing that let Elia know she had been correct to assume she had met Harry’s son.

“Susan Bones,” she introduced, a more friendly expression on her face.

“Elia Martell,” Elia replied.

“McGonagall’s always had a bit of a soft spot for Harry,” Susan said, eyes skimming the other ladies surrounding them. “Teddy is much of the same.”

“An understatement, I’m sure,” Elia said. Even Harry ignored the obvious protectiveness of the older women he had become close to. A side effect of a sour relationship, she guessed.

He had not mentioned what happened between him and his friends, and Elia had not pushed for answers beyond what she had pieced together. Whatever it was had put these particular women firmly in protective mode when it came to him.

“In any case, I’m glad to see him out and about, even if he would not miss this,” Susan commented.

“With a past like his who could blame him,” Elia said lightly. “Though he has shown greater interest in certain matters.”

“A recent change,” Susan replied, staring curiously at Elia. “One most attribute to your presence in his life.”

“They give him too little credit,” Elia countered.

“Perhaps,” she conceded, an odd note in her tone.

Elia glanced quickly at Griselda, seeing the woman speaking with two other older ladies. Every so often, one of them would glance at Elia and Susan, purse their lips and continue with their conversation. Behind Elia stood several others, she knew; could feel their stares as they eagerly awaited any information they could gather.

Harry Potter is more trouble than he knows, she thought.

“They mean well,” Susan told her.

“I’m sure they want to make certain he’s not invited a scheming woman intent on relieving him of his galleons and planting her children into his life,” Elia said drily.

Susan let out a strangled noise at the scandalized gasp from the two women directly behind them, hastily clearing her throat even as Elia offered her kerchief.

She excused herself from the younger woman, tipping a polite nod to the old crones gossiping in their corner before she made her rounds.

“Enjoying yourself?” Harry asked, his arm held out and a light smirk on his face as he glanced at the direction she had come from.

“I’d consider it a success,” she sniffed imperiously, prompting laughter from the green-eyed man.

 

Chapter Text

The Ministry’s budget had tanked, the Department of International Magical Cooperation managing to prove how harmful it would be to their economy, and in their haze of celebration it had taken Harry an embarrassingly long while to realize that something was bothering Elia.

He had eased back on his Wizengamot duties, attending the monthly sessions with Elia and leaving most other matters to Neville. Glad to see the back of those months of politicking, Harry had thrown himself into making certain the children were enjoying themselves.

Teddy’s sixth birthday was in a few days, and with them not knowing where Aegon and Rhaenys’s birthdays fell on their calendar, Harry might have gone a touch overboard in buying gifts. The days leading up to his son’s birth were always a mix of joy and melancholy, and Harry wanted to push aside the gloom he knew would hit him full force in a few short weeks.

Now though, now he was worried over what could be bothering the normally unflappable woman.

He found her in the study near her rooms, a room she had commandeered once they began working together on the Wizengamot. There were other bits of parchment dedicated to Westeros; drawings of alliances and the potential state of the country, small notes for any improvements Elia could think of.

Aegon would be king, and she was determined her son be the greatest king the Seven Kingdoms had seen.

He leaned against the door, watching as she bent over a parchment, hand moving to scrawl notes from the thick tome open on her desk. Occasionally, she would exchange words with one of the portraits on the wall, their voices too low for him to make out what was being said, though he was glad they got on well.

He knocked lightly on the door, waiting for her to acknowledge him before he entered. She glanced up, something dark flashing in her eyes as she waved him in.

Worry clawed at him, and he said lightly, “You’ve been avoiding me.”

“I’ve been busy,” she said, turning back to her book.

Raising a brow in surprise, Harry sauntered over to the chair across from her, leaning against the table as he stared at her in surprise.

“Elia,” he said lowly, hesitating before he sat in the chair.

She did not look up for some time, and the longer he waited the more Harry realized that whatever was bothering her involved him.

“Have I done something to offend you?”

“Why do you think that?” she asked instead.

Pursing his lips, he held back a glare. On any other day he would have welcomed any banter, but he was more worried than open to a verbal spar.

“You’ve gone out of your way to avoid me,” he stated dryly. “A remarkable feat considering we share a house and eat at the same table.”

“As I said, I have been busy these past few weeks,” she said curtly.

“Will you look at me?” Harry asked, his irritation growing as she glowered darkly at him before returning to her books.

“Is there anything I can help you with? I have more work to do,” she said in a clipped voice, and Harry felt a flare of anger at her words.

“Is that what this is about?” he demanded.

At his words, she finally closed her book; face blank as her eyes pierced his with a cool stare.

“The budget issue has been resolved,” he said irritatedly.

“Far be it from me to detail your duties to you, my lord,” she quipped sarcastically.

“My duties?”

“Yes, Lord Potter-Black, your duties,” she stressed, and Harry withheld a flinch at hearing his title from her. It had been months since she had stopped calling him that, and the return did not bode well for him.

“I’ve done what I am expected to do,” Harry said lowly, eyes darkening in anger.

“The bare minimum, certainly,” Elia scoffed, a disdainful twist of her lips. He had not imagined the disappointment that flashed through her eyes, and Harry keenly felt the sting. “Imagine my surprise at hearing countless others congratulate me for managing to pull you from your isolation.”

Jaw tightening he gritted, “I prefer my privacy.”

“I am aware. But there is a difference between privacy and the complete avoidance you’ve managed to perfect.”

“I don’t care,” he insisted stubbornly, turning away from her. From the corner of his eye, Harry noticed that the portrait was not empty, though he could not be bothered to see which of his relations were paying close attention to this conversation.

“That’s your problem, Harry,” she said sharply. “You have a title and responsibilities, and yet you treat them as if it were the greatest burden. Why should I help you? The last thing I want is for Aegon to adopt that attitude regarding his future responsibilities.”

He flinched at her words, turning back to glower darkly at Elia. She matched him with a fierce stare of her own, though her anger was mingled with sharp disappointment.

“I’ve done all that was expected of me,” he growled. “Every bloody thing they wanted, and sitting through these meetings and having to play at politics when things don’t change is pointless.”

“How do you expect them to change when you ignore your role?” she scoffed, and Harry let his anger carry him.

“BECAUSE I BLOODY WELL DIED SO THEY COULD CHANGE THINGS!” he snapped, a slight crack telling him his magic had run wild. Her eyes widened in surprise, and Harry hastily stepped back, pulling his magic under control as he avoided her stare.

Before Elia could do more than open her mouth, Harry pivoted to the exit, walking swiftly from the room.

He managed to hold on until he reached the duelling room in the basement, a shout leaving him as he released a wave of raw magic at the first dummy.

“Reparo,” he said, before twirling his wand once more. “SECTUMSEMPRA!”

It cleaved into three pieces, each flying in different directions, and Harry spent the next hour or so flinging spells at the dummies to repair and destroy them in short order.

Green flashed in his vision, his breath coming in short gasps before he threw one last curse, bits of wood and ash flying around as the wards strained to control the surge of magic.

Dropping to the floor, Harry buried his face in his knees, eyes screwed shut as memories assaulted him.

It was some time before he felt a pair of hands on his own, and he blinked in surprise as he felt Elia shift in front of him.

“You shouldn’t be here,” he croaked, voice hoarse from shouting.

“Where else would I be?” she said, hand tightening on his.

They sat in silence for a few moments, the only sound being Harry’s ragged breaths as Elia swiped her thumb in circles across the back of his hand.

“The accident you spoke of,” he heard her say lowly, a slight hitch in her voice. “The one in the war…”

He chuckled darkly, a slightly pathetic sound in his ears. “Turns out facing a magical death is not something to do if you want kids.”

“Harry,” she began, though he cut in before she could say more.

“I went willingly,” he told her, hearing her breath catch as her hands tightened on his. “It was the only way. That’s what the memories said. Congratulations Harry,” he added bitterly.

“Seventeen years of life being groomed to die at the right moment, and I went willingly at the end of it. Else what was the point? What did my parents die for? It wasn’t them he was after; they weren’t born as the seventh month dies. Not Sirius, who went to literal hell-on-earth after they died, who died protecting his stupid godson.

No, no. Either must die at the hands of the other, that’s what it said. So I did it; I wanted my friends to live, I wanted the war to end. I wanted to die. I was tired of it all, so I went into the forest and I stood still and let him kill me. I couldn’t even do that properly.”

“Harry,” she said sharply, hands gripping his face as he lifted his head to look at her.

“I don’t want your pity,” he muttered, seeing the slight sheen of tears in her eyes,

“I’ve never pitied you,” she told him, black eyes serious though he saw a glint of sadness.

“Narcissa lied,” Elia said, and he nodded slightly.

“Draco was still in the castle, and she was tired of the war,” he replied, blinking furiously as the memories assaulted him.

To his surprise, Elia leaned her forehead on his, “And then?”

He blinked back tears, closing his eyes as he felt the weight of her resting against him. If he focused, he could remember every detail of that night.

“They saw it happen – his Death Eaters. Everyone else thought it was a rumour, but the ones that were there and had escaped knew what they had seen. One of them…” he swallowed harshly against the lump in his throat.

“One of them killed Andromeda,” Elia whispered softly, and Harry could only nod in agreement.

“It took four of them to take her down. They didn’t think they’d be able to kill me, but the rest of my family was fair game. They forgot they were dealing with a Black,” he told her with a watery chuckle.

Harry had returned to find a dying Andromeda, the bodies of four Death Eaters surrounding her as she bled out in his arms. Three years they had spent planning their attack, and Harry had lost the last parent he had in the blink of an eye.

“I hated them,” he continued, voice thick with tears. “All of them, from the bloody courts that let them get away in the first place, to the Aurors who seemed to do everything but their jobs. It’s why I stopped.”

She tightened her hold on him, and Harry felt the tears fall as Elia murmured soothing reassurances.

He didn’t know how long they sat there like that, but Harry found himself with an armful of Elia, his face buried in her shoulder.

“Thank you,” he murmured, shifting slightly in embarrassment.

“There’s no need to thank me,” she said softly, eyes focused on his. “Though perhaps a better method of letting things out in future. I imagine all this anger and yelling is not good for either of us.”

He managed a weak grin, moving to stand and help her up. “Any ideas?”

“Not as of yet,” she replied, staring at him in slight concern.

“I’ll be fine,” he told her.

“Harry, what I said earl…”

“You were right,” he admitted, even as she shook her head.

“Harry…”

He cut her off by pulling her into a swift hug, his face pressed against her head as he murmured his thanks once more before making his way to his room, leaving a slightly stunned Elia behind in the duelling chamber.


In the early hours of the morning, Harry found himself walking into Andromeda's solarium. He made his way to the exposed brick wall, scraping his finger against the rock to allow his blood to flow. At first touch, the brick fell open, the illusion revealing the small hiding place within the walls. He had spelled every inch of this room, in addition to the wards placed here by countless Potters before him for several centuries.

There, nestled next to a long wand with three ridges was a plain stone, smooth and unassuming.

Lifting it from its spot, Harry held the small rock in hand, hesitating slightly at the thought of what he wanted to do. He'd not used the stone once, had no portrait as he did of the others, and he firmed his resolve. Twisting the stone thrice, Harry closed his eyes as a slight breeze filled the room, imprinting the ghostly feeling of a hand running through his hair to his memory.

"Herakles."

"Hi Mum," he whispered.

 

Chapter Text

 

They had managed to settle into something of a routine these last months.

Elia spent most of her days with her children and Teddy, wrestling her daughter into lessons that the princess did not want to sit still for, or going through the Potter library as she and Harry discussed the goings-on of the Wizengamot.

He had taken her words to heart, dutifully attending the sessions and joying at the utter chaos his active presence caused.

Of course, his enjoyment aside, they had not yet found a reason for her to avoid the Malfoy wedding and the complications their going would cause.

“Oi, Rhae my turn!” Teddy shouted, muffled giggles following his call.

Poking her head into the sitting room, Elia held back a sigh of exasperation at seeing them play with their game cards. The children were seated near the open door that led to a small garden and patio, their cards thankfully kept away from the furniture and the portraits hanging overhead.

“How many times have we told you not to play without one of us here?”

“Granddad is keeping watch,” Teddy replied, laughing as the card exploded in Rhaenys’s face. To their astonishment, the flames grew in size as a giggling Rhaenys blew them toward the other cards. The entire deck exploded in a shower of sparks, and Elia stared in horrified relief, as none of the children seemed harmed.

Swiftly, she moved forward to ensure that they were well, smoothing a hand over Aegon’s dusty hair as she checked the three of them for any scorch marks.

“Teddy,” came James’s strangled voice. “No magic with the games, remember.”

“That wasn’t me granddad,” Teddy replied, a growing smile on his face.

Elia stared at Teddy, confusion on her face until he pointed to her daughter. “Rhae’s the one making the cards go boom.”

Oh, she thought.

Rhaenys had a smug smile on her face, before lighting the sparks into a small flame. “Look mama! I can do the same thing,” she cheered.

“I see,” Elia replied, forcing a smile onto her face, reaching out to stop Aegon from putting his hand into the fire. “Perhaps we should wait to show Harry that trick.”

James Potter’s face looked as she felt, though he managed to clear his expression before lightly chiding the children about using their magic unsupervised.

“Anyone want to go flying?” James asked loudly, staring at Elia with a pleading expression that was mimicked by the children.

“Flying!” Aegon cheered, and Elia withheld a snort at the wide-eyed look the boy had picked up.

“I suppose the weather is good enough,” she said reluctantly, laughing at their cheers before Teddy bolted off to bring their brooms.

To her horror, Harry had bought toy brooms for her children, loudly insisting that they would not deprive such wonderful flyers of the opportunity, James nodding fervently in agreement behind him.

As the children raced outside, Elia asked, “How bad is it?”

“It’s not a bad thing,” James answered uneasily, shifting at the look of disbelief she shot him. “No, really. It isn’t here.”

“Here as in Potter Hall?” Elia asked sardonically.

“Well…yes,” James admitted.

She rolled her eyes; as amusing as he was, James often downplayed the severity of events.

Elia slowly made her way outside, mind churning with possibilities as she absently thanked Winky for the tea. I need something stronger than this, she thought.

Aegon was flying in low circles as Rhaenys and Teddy raced across the garden, and it had taken a few months before Elia was comfortable enough with the thought of him flying on his own. Seeing her son’s face light up, Elia knew Harry was behind her before his shadow fell across the table.

“I hear we’ve an unexpected development,” he said idly, taking hold of his own cup of tea.

“Rhaenys has magic,” Elia stated, tracking her daughter as she flew closre to Aegon. “But you already knew that.”

Flicking her eyes at him, she saw Harry incline his head in a slight nod, his eyes never leaving Rhaenys.

“You all have magic,” he stated quietly, “though I did not know to what extent.”

“Would you have said anything?”

“I was planning on bringing it up but things have been a little chaotic lately,” he admitted with a sheepish grin.

“Uncle Charlus has asked to speak with us later,” he told her after some time, and Elia blinked in surprise.

Charlus Potter had been one of the many portraits she had met during her time at Potter Hall, but the man was often quiet unless in the company of his wife or son. He had been one of the first casualties of the first war, from what she gathered. That he wanted to speak to them did not bode too well.

“What was it your uncle did?” Elia asked.

“He was an Unspeakable,” Harry replied, a slightly sour twist to his mouth. “Probably be appalled at what his department has turned into.”

“How bad is it? If your Unspeakable uncle wishes to speak about Rhaenys’s magic…” she trailed off.

“The Dragon has three heads! He is the Prince that was promised!” echoed in her mind, and Elia cursed the Targaryens for their obsession with prophecies and magic that had left Westeros a husk, that placed her children in danger.

“Slightly dangerous,” Harry replied. “Though nothing we can’t handle.”

“Nothing we…Harry, if this puts them in danger—”

“Nothing will happen to them,” he cut in, green eyes blazing as he stared intently at her. “I promise.”

“What is it?” she whispered. Magic was not something she was familiar with, and the reactions of the Potter men brought nothing but worry to her.

“I’m not sure,” he replied lowly, though there was a hesitant look in his eyes. “If my guess is true, it’s more on the rare side.”

“Your guess?” she questioned, but he was already shaking his head.

“I’d rather not voice it in case I’m wrong,” he answered.


It turned out Harry’s guess hadn’t been wrong, and the Potter lord had stilled at having his thoughts confirmed.

They had spent the rest of the day with the children, languishing about the grounds of Potter Hall as Harry every so often ran his wand over her babes.

Once they had been put to bed, he had ushered her into a room the likes of which Elia had never seen before. They had walked into his solar, next to a tapestry depicting Potter Hall in what Elia assumed were it’s earlier days. The wall had been smooth, and she watched as Harry cut his hand before placing the bloody palm flat on the surface.

“Do you trust me?” he asked unnecessarily, and Elia replied with a firm “Yes.”

Following his directions, Elia had cut her palm lightly and let the blood fall and mix with his in a hidden groove that depicted a winged animal, it’s bones protruding and visible even in stone.

The hall they entered was old; ancient, not like the rest of Potter Hall, and along the walls were tapestries depicting men wielding weapons, arcs of magic flying between them, and in one was a simply tree, names embroidered too small for her to make out as they passed.

“Potter Hall was built over the ruins of another home,” Harry explained, lightly touching her elbow so she turned left at the split.

“This is more than ruins, it practically is another home,” she stated lowly. The walls were much different from Potter Hall; where the house held a number of rooms done in various colours, this hall was a deep, shining black, veins of purple and silver splitting the walls.

“It is. Almost a thousand years ago, the family that owned this home was wiped out, but for one son. He went on to have sons, and his sons had only daughters. The eldest was Iolanthe,” he told her.

“Io…your grandmother,” she replied in shock.

“That one, yes,” Harry said, a serious expression on his face. “Iolanthe’s father hid the remains of his ancestral home from public memory before moving his family a village over.”

The hall suddenly widened into a cavernous entry hall, lamps sparking to life as Elia noticed two wide doors. Etched on the floor in a silvered-purple was the winged animal from before, it’s wings spread wide as if to fly.

“Come on,” Harry muttered, heading to the door on the right.

The room he brought them to was a large meeting hall of some sort. There was a long table made of dark mahogany, large enough to seat at least thirty people. The floor was still the black stone of the halls, but the walls were slashed with intricate runes of silver.

Between the runes were gilded portraits, each of them filled with a past Potter.

“Harry,” the portrait of Charlus called as they took their seats. “Princess, it seems we have found the likely answer.”

They all wore slightly foreboding looks on their faces, but for a single man with an almost gleeful expression on his face.

Another man hissed lowly, and Elia watched as the portrait next to him nodded in agreement.

“Remember when you read that bit about my being a snake speaker?” Harry muttered lowly.

“I presume it runs in the family,” she whispered sardonically.

His only reply was a slight grimace, eyes narrowed at the speaker, before Charlus cleared his throat.

“We have reason to believe that your children are elementals,” he stated bluntly, causing a sharp exhale to leave Harry.

“You are certain?” Harry asked, eye never leaving Charlus.

“Persephone, if you would,” he spoke to the portrait directly across from Elia.

The woman had the same dark hair as Harry, as unruly as the other portraits though hers looked more like deliberately wild curls, with vivid blue eyes. “Your Grace, the history of elementals in the magical world is long and boring, but I shall fill you in with the most important aspects.

Before most of the families that exist today could call on familial magics, before Merlin and the Founders, magic was far wilder and hierarchical. The current form of it is less chaotic than what existed in my grandfather’s time.

Long ago, magicals were split into those who could harness the powers of the earth and those who could not. All forms of magic used it, however some were more attuned to it. Those people we considered elementals, for they could bend the elements to their wills, calling powerful storms, moving the earth, and even creating an inferno.”

“You think Rhaenys is—”

“Not just your daughter,” another cut in. This one was painted not much older than Elia, though the others all gave him deference when he spoke. “Ignotus Peverell, Your Grace,” he introduced with a slight bow.

“Earlier, when I was using my wand near the children,” Harry said. “I found Aegon had the same signature as Rhaenys…a similar signature to the magic you have.”

“Me?” Elia asked in disbelief.

They all looked serious, even as Harry leaned forward in his seat and took hold of her hand.

“When you first came to Potter Hall I checked to see if you had any magic,” he told her, green eyes dark and serious. “You all showed signs of it, though I could not tell exactly how large your cores were.”

“A common issue with elementals,” Charlus interjected. “Even we never knew from countless studies.”

“What does this mean for us? You’ve already spoken of the history, but how will this affect my children?”

They exchanged a glance before looking pointedly at the man who had hissed earlier. He spoke lowly, an unknown accent in his voice as he hissed at the portraits. To her surprise, Harry’s hold tightened slightly as he snapped a retort back at the portrait.

“Harry,” she said quietly.

“Ignore him. Pontus has never had anything meaningful to add,” he sneered at the portrait.

“Herakles,” Charlus said sharply.

“The ritual to return them to Westeros is nowhere near ready, so you can ignore that suggestion,” Harry retorted. “Nor would I allow untrained elementals to roam freely. We’re done here.”

Startled, Elia tugged firmly on Harry’s hand as he made to exit the room, dragging his attention back to her. “Much as I appreciate your care Harry, I would like to know exactly what was said concerning my children.”

He pursed his lips, shooting a glower at the portrait of whom she assumed was Pontus, before Ignotus’s voice chimed in. “Pontus has a point Harry, much as you dislike it. Princess,” he said, turning his golden eyes to Elia. “Your children and yourself represent a class of magician oft considered dangerous in our world. You will need to learn to harness your powers, however it might prove chaotic and slightly dangerous for all involved.”

“Dangerous how?” she asked, ignoring their continued insistence on her possession of magical powers.

“Elemental magic rarely follows rules, it's more along the lines of wild and ancient powers. One or two elementals in Potter Hall can be covered, but having three of varying power levels living under the same roof as one who has recently harnessed and hidden their familial powers is asking for trouble,” Charlus said darkly.

Another…she turned to Harry in slight shock, even as he grimaced at the words exchanged.

“It’s why you most likely found yourself in Potter Hall,” Harry said quietly. “The Peverells have had elementals in their line, even as they wielded the same magic as the rest of the Wizarding World. Combined with the parallel dimension this house exists in…” he trailed off, a dark look in hard green eyes.

“If you’ll excuse us, my lords,” she stated, tightly gripping Harry’s arm. “It seems we have much to speak on.”

The Potter and Peverell portraits quickly shuffled out of the room after giving Elia bows of acknowledgement, though she had eyes only for Harry.

“Explain,” she ordered once they were out of the room.

“Pontus is being a git, we can ignore him,” Harry stated fiercely.

“Not that,” Elia snapped, “though I would like to know what exactly he said.”

“He wants you out,” Harry admitted with a scowl. “Pontus is fearful that some horror should befall the family, but he’s speaking from his own experiences in his time.”

“And the Unspeakables?” Elia asked sharply, recalling Charlus's words.

“There were rumours of elementals in Grindelwald’s wars; the Unspeakables have fervently searched for any since then.”

“How did you escape their notice?” she asked curiously.

“I told you I died,” Harry began, a heavy sigh escaping him. “One of the…surprises of surviving was the emergence of familial gifts. The elemental bit was one of them; I'm not a complete elemental on the same level as yourselves, but it's given me access to more chaotic magic. I spent months holed up in Potter Hall learning to control it and avoiding everyone but Andromeda and Teddy.”

“Which ele—” she stopped short at the sudden lifting of items into the air, a swift breeze of air flying across her hair before she saw Harry lift himself into the air.

“Turns out there’s a reason all Potter’s are fantastic at flying,” Harry said lightly, eyes watching her in concern.

“Rhaenys and Aegon?” she asked curiously.

“Most likely fire, though I think they have a touch of control over air with their flying skills,” he responded.

She took her seat once more; silently thinking on the information the Potters had given her as Harry watched. Finally, Elia locked eyes with Harry before asking, “What can we do?”

“Train them,” he shrugged, grinning slightly at her admonishment of that habit. “They’ll need to know how to control it or risk losing control.”

“None of the Targaryens before them showed such powers,” Elia remembered. Or if they had, they had kept it a closely guarded secret. But no, Summerhall might not have happened had they been able to.

“There’s any number of reasons that could have happened. It could have come from your side, also skips generations sometimes, some probably had it but couldn’t recognize the ability, or the magic of the world wasn’t enough to allow them to learn.”

“My family has neve—” Nymeria, she thought.

“Who?” Harry asked, startling her, as she hadn’t known she’d spoken aloud.

“An ancestor of mine from hundreds of years ago,” Elia told him. “Perhaps longer. Nymeria was a Rhoynish Princess, and her people fled to Dorne where they sought refuge and intermarried with the existing houses. The Rhoynish,” she said slowly, black eyes locked onto his, “were said to be water mages.”

“That would do it,” Harry murmured in reply. “I suppose we have our work cut out for us, teaching two young children not to burn everything in sight.”

Seven save us, Elia thought in slight dismay.

 

Chapter Text

 

Rhaenys

 

Yule 2004

 

Training three children in magic had become something of a problem for the adults, but Rhae and Teddy had found interesting ways to escape their more boring lessons.

Every day, from shortly after lunch to just before tea, Rhaenys and Teddy found themselves seated in the library going through lessons with their mother and father. Lucky Egg was not yet three, so he didn’t have to sit lessons with the rest of them.

Of course, for Rhae, getting out of lessons was as easy as accidentally lighting her papers on fire. But her mother found new and creative ways to make sure the lessons were retaken, and Harry was of no help.

Rhaenys was growing bored of being in the old Black home, silently bemoaning Harry’s need to find something immediately. He had told her he needed it to help Mama plan her lessons; an object that was supposed to help her remember the lessons she had learned in Dorne, and Rhae had agreed to go with him. If only she had known how boring it would be, she might have stayed at home instead.

Dimly, Rhaenys heard the echo of light footsteps from downstairs. Glancing back at the old study, she crept forward slowly, darting down the stairs to see who had entered.

They were in the downstairs family room, the walls painted black with green furniture, and as she came upon the woman standing near the Black armoire holding silver, she froze at the sight of grey eyes suddenly locked on hers, a wand held in the woman’s hand.

“Are you lost?” the woman asked in a soft voice, tucking her wand away as she moved slightly closer. She had pale gold hair, almost the same colour as Egg’s when it was wet, and sharp features she had seen somewhere.

“No,” Rhaenys replied slowly. “What are you doing here?”

“This is my family home,” the woman told her, eyes carefully watching Rhaenys. “You look very much like someone I know.”

“I look like my mama,” Rhaenys told her. “Are you Harry’s aunt?”

The woman smiled widely, moving to sit on the green sofa. She patted the seat next to her, silently asking Rhaenys to come closer. “Yes, you do look like Elia.”

“What’s your name?” Rhaenys asked. Mama had spoken of Harry’s aunt a few times, and she liked the woman. She almost looked like Grandmother Rhaella, but she was not as sad.

“Narcissa,” she told her. “And you, little one?”

“Rhaenys.”

Sudden swearing disrupted them, and Rhaenys jerked her head to the door to see Harry standing there.

“You said a bad word,” Rhaenys chirped.

Blinking, Harry replied, “I did not.”

“Did too,” Rhaenys told him. “Mama’s not gonna be happy with you!”

“Going to,” Harry corrected, and Rhaenys pouted at the man even as he moved further into the room.

“I won’t tell her,” Rhaenys said innocently.

Harry’s eyes narrowed in suspicion, flicking quickly to Narcissa before returning to stare at Rhaenys. “And why is that?”

“Cause I get to go flying, right Harry?” she blinked innocently at him, and Rhaenys saw the small twitch of his lips he was trying to hide.

“We’ll see,” he answered, looking past her.

“Herakles,” Narcissa greeted, a slight smile playing on her lips. “I was just about to come to the manor to find you.”

“Aunt Narcissa,” Harry replied, placing a light peck on her cheek. “What are you doing here?”

“I needed a few items,” she waved off, shifting slightly in her seat. “But I wanted to tell you the good news in person.”

“Oh?” Harry asked, lifting Rhaenys to make room on the couch.

“Yes. Draco and Astoria are expecting a child,” she told him, a slight smile on her face.

Because she was leaning against Harry, Rhaenys felt the slight stiffening of his arm before he relaxed, arm curled around Rhaenys.

“Many felicitations, Aunt,” he said warmly.

To her utter boredom, Rhaenys had to sit still as Harry and Narcissa spoke for a few more minutes, though she perked up when her mother was mentioned.

“I do think Elia and I have a tea scheduled in the new year,” Narcissa replied, standing up to leave. “It was lovely to meet you, Rhaenys.”

“Goodbye,” she waved, watching the pale blue robes swish as the woman walked off.

You can tell your mother why my aunt will be visiting,” Harry muttered as Rhaenys grinned at him.

Flying indoors! Teddy and Egg will be so jealous, she thought.


Summer 2005:

 

“Slowly,” Harry warned, his hands held out as if to stop her should anything go wrong. His wand was held loosely in his right hand, the holster peeking out from beneath his grey sleeves, but she knew Harry did not need to use a wand as often as he did.

“I know,” Rhaenys huffed, scowling at the small flame in front of her. Mama had warned Harry to keep the flames cool, but Rhaenys was ready to change them into something slightly hotter.

They were seated outside, near a large stone pit Harry used to roast marshmallows and chocolate when they had managed to keep from destroying something in the house. Aegon was watching from a cushioned seat behind her, as she stood closer to the flame. Teddy had convinced Mama to help him make a surprise cake to give to his little cousin Scorpius, and Rhaenys and Aegon were supposed to keep outside until it was ready.

“Feel your magic,” he instructed. “Call it forth and imagine the flames growing bigger.”

Closing her eyes, Rhaenys began the breathing exercise Harry had taught her and Teddy. Feeling the slight tingle she pulled, imagining the flames to grow bigger. Opening her eyes, Rhaenys grinned at the sight of a large bonfire.

“Well done,” Harry said, bending to inspect the flames. “It’s hotter than usual.”

“Rhae!” Aegon shouted, startling the little girl.

To her frustration, the flames leapt out of control, flaring brightly as it grew in size. Harry would never let her move on until she learned to control it, and she waited for the man to take control. Silently watching as Harry doused the flame, Rhaenys’s eyes widened at the sight of the older man.

Oh no, she thought, muffling a snort.

Snickering, Egg asked innocently, “What happened to your hair Papa?”

“My ha—”

Cringing slightly, Rhaenys watched as Harry felt the top of his head, mouth tugging downward when he felt the missing chunk of hair. “I thought the fire was cool,” she mumbled.

“It still burns,” Harry answered, a slight look of disbelief as he pulled on the hair surrounding the spot.

His usual messy curls were still there, but instead of a full head of curls there was a missing patch at the top, making it look as if someone had taken a chunk of his hair.

“Right,” he said, scooping Aegon into his arms as he ushered Rhaenys into the house. “How about we keep the lessons private until you’ve got some control.”

“I do have control!” Rhaenys argued.

“And I’m missing a chunk of hair,” he replied dryly.

They were making their way to the dining room when Rhaenys heard the snort of laughter from the portrait on the wall.

“Hi Grandpa,” Rhae chirped, smiling at the hazel-eyed wizard, his eyes twinkling in amusement.

“Rhae,” James grinned. “Excellent work princess. I’ve never seen Harry’s hair look so wonderful.”

“Thank you,” Rhaenys replied primly, and James Potter began to laugh earnestly.

Harry swept into the dining room and plopped Egg into a chair, calling “Elia, your daughter burned my hair!”

"It's not my fault p-Harry got too close," Rhaenys said hotly.

Her mother poked her head into the room, a familiar smirk on her face as she teased Harry. Rhaenys wasn't paying attention to anything they said, staring instead at Harry in surprise.

I almost called him Papa, she thought.

Teddy's father had never insisted she call him anything other than his name, and Rhae knew the man treated her the same as he did Egg and Teddy. He had kept his promise to her - loving her brother and her as if they were his own children - and Rhaenys knew how close she had almost come to calling him father.

Teddy was staring at her oddly, and Rhae ignored her annoying brother/friend as she made her way into the kitchen for a snack.

 


 

Teddy

 

Yule 2005:

 

Darting quickly down the stairs, Teddy barely managed to hang on before he ended up stumbling down the last few steps.

“Aegon,” Elia said, swooping closer with her hands on her hip. “What have I told you about running down the stairs?”

“Sorry Mama,” Teddy muttered, fidgeting in place even as he widened his purple eyes. Egg was so much shorter than he was, and Teddy would be glad to return to his natural form as soon as his little brother managed to find the cookies.

“Come along, sweetling,” Elia sighed, brushing a hand through his pale hair. “Let’s go make some more snacks, hmm?”

Panicking slightly, Teddy blurted out, “Can we go flying?”

“Neither of you are allowed to fly,” she reminded him.

“Fine,” Teddy grumbled. “A story then.”

“What do you say?” she teased, lightly flicking him on the nose.

“Please?”

“Oh, very well. What story shall it be?” she asked him, directing him to the family room near the kitchen. Craning his neck, Teddy saw no sign of Aegon, and he knew Rhaenys was supposed to be keeping Papa busy.

“Something about Uncle Oberyn,” Teddy asked, curling up next to her on the large sofa. The fire was crackling, the flames keeping them warm despite warming charms. Elia no longer became sick so easily, something he knew they were all glad for, but she enjoyed the warmth of the flames, the heat reminding her of her homeland.

“Oberyn,” she laughed slightly, hands running through Teddy’s hair. At times, if Teddy closed his eyes he could pretend that Elia was his mother. His Papa never said anything, but Grandmama had been dead since Teddy was Egg’s age, and there had never been anyone else close to the two Potter-Black’s. The princess cared for him as much as she did Egg and Rhae, never treating Teddy as if he were anything other than her son, and he knew Papa did the same with his siblings.

“Once, when I was younger. My mother wanted to find me a husband,” she began.

“Why?” Teddy asked.

“I am of Dorne, a Martell princess,” she explained. “It was expected of me to do so.”

“What does that have to do with Uncle Oberyn?”

“I am getting there,” she chided lightly, and Teddy pressed against her in apology, allowing Elia to press a light kiss to his forehead.

“We were with the Hightowers. Of all my suitors, Baelor was one of the better ones. But one night, he accidently passed gas at the dinner table.”

Snorting, Teddy broke into a fit of giggles, as he said, “No!”

“He did. It happens at times,” Elia laughed.

“Nuh-uh,” Teddy replied. “Papa says that’s not a nice thing to do.”

“No, it isn’t,” she agreed. “Anyhow, Oberyn called him Baelor Breakwind, the wretched boy. I was never able to look at him the same ever since.”

Teddy was giggling, but he stopped short at the look on her face. There was a twinkle in her eye, a small curve to her lips that spelled trouble.

Elia leaned forward, placing a light kiss on his head as she murmured, “You and Aegon are grounded, my dear.”

“Teddy’s in the library,” he replied, praying she would not notice.

“Is that why your hair turned green? Or I saw Aegon shuffling out of the kitchen with something in his arms,” she added loudly.

Cringing slightly, Teddy heard the muffled footsteps of his younger brother, the boy’s purple eyes widened in innocence. Heaving a sigh, Teddy shifted back to his natural form, stretching his legs in relief even as Egg returned the batch of cookies to Elia.

“Winky makes the best cookies,” Egg muttered, scuffing his foot on the floor.

“Don’t do that,” Elia told him, glancing in amusement between the two boys. “And I suppose Rhaenys is a distraction for Harry.”

“No,” they denied, neither boy looking each other in the eye lest they give her away.

“Hmm, I suppose such loyalty should be rewarded,” Elia stated.

Teddy groaned in exasperation at the sudden nod Egg gave, watching their mother laugh loudly even as he was given a cookie.


Summer 2006:

 

“Teddy,” Gran’s voice cut in. “What’s bothering you, love? You’ve been staring at the same spot on the tapestry for the last few minutes.”

Lily Potter’s bright green eyes locked onto his identical ones, a warm, encouraging smile on her face as Teddy mustered the courage to put his thoughts into words.

“It’s Papa,” he told her, fidgeting slightly though his eyes returned to the empty spot next to Papa’s name. The Potter tapestry did not show his mother’s name, as they had never married nor did they have Teddy together, but Teddy knew which name he wished to see next to his father’s.

They were in the old tapestry room, the walls lined with portraits even as the names were etched into the wall.

“What of him?” Nana cut in. Euphemia’s dark eyes held a knowing look, though Teddy couldn’t see how she could possibly know what he was thinking about.

“Does Papa not want to have a family?” Teddy blurted out, eyes lowered in embarrassment.

He had known for years that he was adopted; Papa had wanted him to know of his birth father, but all Teddy knew was Harry. Remus Lupin had been his father and he was proud of that fact, but Teddy was a Potter-Black now, and as bad as it might sound he would not change that fact for anything in the world. But his papa had never married, never had more children, and every time Teddy brought it up, he waved it off, saying he had Teddy, and now Egg and Rhae to be a family.

But Egg and Rhae might leave us one day, and Mum with them, he thought sadly.

“He has a family, Teddy,” Gran said gently. “He has you, and Aegon, Rhaenys and Elia as well. Harry does not want for family, my dear. Nor does he see you as not being enough.”

“But they might leave,” he said in frustration.

To his bafflement, Nana Euphemia and Aunt Dorea started laughing, a shared look between the two that Teddy could not understand.

“My dear, you might be a bit too young to understand why,” Aunt Dorea told him. “But it’ll take something immense to remove Aegon, Rhaenys and their mother from your lives.”

Our mother, he wanted to correct her. He had had a mother, but Nymphadora Tonks had died when Teddy was still a baby. He didn’t think she or Grandmama would be too upset that he saw Elia as a mother. Sometime in the past few months, Teddy had gone from calling her Elia to accidently referring to her as mum; the princess had only smiled at him, pressing a kiss to Teddy’s forehead as she murmured, “I would be honoured to be your mother, Teddy.”

“Leave it to us,” Nana told him, a secretive smile on her face. “Nothing quite like dancing to bring people together.”

Staring in confusion, Teddy shook his head as he left the plotting to the ladies.

Three days later, he saw the fruit of their words. Papa had been badgered into giving Teddy dancing lessons, Aunt Dorea loudly proclaiming her horror at his waiting until Teddy was seven to begin teaching the boy. Mum had agreed with the idea, seeing it as a chance to teach Rhaenys the beginnings of dance in Westerosi customs.

Lucky Aegon managed to sit these lessons out until next year, when the boy turned five and they deemed him ready to join them.

“What are you staring at?” Rhae asked, poking him in the side.

They were sitting on the floor of the ballroom, the old radio playing a waltz as they watched Harry and Elia twirl across the room. They were supposed to be watching them to see how the dance flowed, but Teddy thought his parents had more fun dancing together and forgot they were supposed to be teaching. He said something to her, causing her to throw her head back in laughter even as they continued to dance.

“Would you be upset,” Teddy began hesitantly, warily eyeing Rhaenys, “if Papa became your father?”

Of the three of them, Rhaenys had been the only one not to call Harry anything other than his name. Papa had not said anything about it, but Teddy thought there were times when Rhae looked like she almost said the words.

“No,” she told him, purple eyes scrutinizing the couple. “Mama looks happy. And…”

“And?” Teddy prompted, throwing an arm around Rhaenys’s shoulders. Teddy had sworn to never tell anyone about Rhae’s night terrors; every once in a while, the little girl would wake up with nightmares from the night before they came to Potter Hall, and Teddy had promised his sister he would keep quiet. He was fairly certain their parents knew, but if they had spoken to his sister about it he did not know.

“He’s been my father since I came here,” Rhae mumbled, leaning slightly against Teddy’s arm.

Smiling, Teddy remembered the countless times Harry had involved Egg and Rhae into any activity, from the first moment they came to Potter Hall. “Papa looks happier too.”

“Do you think they know?”

Snorting, Teddy watched the dancing couple once more. Three years they had been living together, and neither of the two had said anything related to being a family.

“They’re adults Rhae,” he reminded her with the wisdom of a seven year old. “They like to make things difficult.”

 


 

Aegon

 

Yule 2006:

 

“Do we have to go to this party?” Teddy grumbled, even as he smoothed his hair.

“Would you like to tell Aunt Narcissa why you will not be attending her Yule gathering?” Papa asked. “Hold still, Egg.”

Egg stopped his fidgeting, allowing Papa to fix the bow tie he was wearing. They all wore robes of black; a dark red vest and black tie for their father while theirs were done in reverse.

“Well, don’t you all look very handsome,” Mama said, causing Egg to turn to face her and Rhaenys. She wore a gown of Martell red, slashes of orange lightly visible in the deep red jewellery she wore while Rhae wore a gown of black.

“You look pretty, Mama,” Egg told her, preening at the sweet smile his mother sent him.

“Thank you, sweetling,” she said.

Egg watched as Papa stood, greeting Mama with quiet words that had her hiding a smile. Teddy and Rhae were watching them intently, and Egg saw his siblings roll their eyes at the two.

“Shouldn’t we be leaving?” Teddy asked loudly.

“Yes, yes you’re right,” Papa said, an odd look on his face.

They were ushered to the ground floor floo, and Egg held tightly to his papa as they arrived at Malfoy Manor.

It was technically Rhaenys’s fault they were here; Aunt Cissa spent some of her days visiting Potter Hall to take tea with Mama because she met Rhae, and Egg had been introduced to the woman. Mama hadn’t been able to keep them hidden at home after that, and slowly the children started visiting the magical world.

“Herakles,” Egg heard, and he blinked before smiling brightly. Bounding over, Aegon threw all manners out the window as he greeted the woman.

“’lo Aunt Cissa,” Egg chirped, grinning at her.

“Aegon,” she smiled before greeting his parents.

“Hi uncle,” Egg smirked.

“Aegon,” Draco answered with a smile, even as Astoria gave the boy a warm smile.

Papa’s cousin was odd; he was always so stiff and formal, except when Scorpius was close. Papa said it was because they did not like each other for years, but Uncle Draco was more relaxed than he had been five years ago.

The children were ushered inside, and Egg barely took notice of the sudden hush in the room.

“Come here Egg,” Teddy said, tugging him closer.

“What?” Egg asked, slight annoyance in his voice.

Aunt Cissa had some of the best cakes, and Egg wanted to go over to the dessert table before the adults had a chance.

“There aren’t any cakes,” Rhae smirked. “Aunt Cissa hid them because of you.”

Scowling, Egg glanced around the room but he couldn’t make out any tables of food. Locking eyes with Aunt Cissa, he scowled deeply at the light smirk the woman wore.

“Not my fault I like the cakes,” he grumbled.

These parties were very boring, and Egg could see why his papa did not like attending them. At some point, he had fallen behind his siblings, mingling in the crowd as he tried to make out his parents.

“…cannot believe he is taking on two other children,” a woman near him said.

Egg squeezed his way closer, pushing through the crowd as he attempted to get closer to Rhae.

“Give it some time,” another voice said. “Lord Potter-Black needs a wife, he’ll tire of the woman soon enough.”

“And if he should not?”

“Yes, he adores those children,” another woman said.

Egg froze, hearing his father being spoken of by these people. Papa doesn’t need a wife, he thought angrily.

“They aren’t his. How long can a man care for children not hi—”

Shrieks broke out as a gust of wind spilled water from the floating decorations all over the ladies. Egg bolted, catching up to Rhae and Teddy as they made their way closer to the front of the crowd.

“What did you do?” Rhae muttered.

“Aegon,” Papa’s voice cut in smoothly.

The little boy froze, eyes wide in surprised innocence as he turned to look at his father. Mama was off with Aunt Cissa, and Egg watched as his father crouched down to fix his tie, a slightly warm feeling coming over him.

“You had water on you,” Papa said. His green eyes were twinkling, and Egg relaxed at the knowledge that he wasn’t in trouble.

“They were talking rudely about Mama,” he pointed out, jaw locked in stubbornness.

Papa stilled, before sighing and giving Egg’s shoulder a light squeeze.

“Next time, make sure you’re not close enough to get splashed,” his father murmured.

Egg grinned in surprise, grabbing hold of Rhae and Teddy before they dashed off.


Summer 2007:

 

Egg sighed in frustration, glaring at the numbers in front of him. Math was a terrible subject to learn when he could be outside playing. Counting the number of Targaryen kings before him was even worse when most had the same name.

“Why do they all have my name?” he questioned, staring at the family tree his mother had drawn.

“It’s a family name,” she told him.

“But there’s over twenty Aegon’s,” he groaned.

“No need to be so melodramatic,” Mama chided lightly. “There aren’t nearly that many of them. Besides, you’ll be the sixth Aegon to take the throne.”

What if I don’t want it? He thought.

He did not voice his worries, even though Egg knew he was being silly. Mama had always told him he could speak to her about anything, but Westeros was home for her. It was something he knew Papa was working on, so Egg said nothing against it.

But this is home, he thought sadly.

“Can they come with us?” he asked lightly, eyes focused on his papers.

“Aegon,” Mama sighed, and he cringed at the sound. He hadn’t wanted to hurt his mother, not with this.

Grandpa James swore they would always be a family – had laughed at the thought of anyone taking his father and brother from him. Westeros was different; Harry and Teddy had lives here, had other family. Maybe they wouldn’t want to come with them.

“They have lived here their whole lives, sweetling,” Mama told him. “Come.”

He sat stubbornly for a moment, but the sight of his mother’s raised brow had Egg moving to the sofa to curl up next to his mother.

“What brought this on?” she asked quietly.

He hesitated; the last thing Aegon wanted to do was tell his mother he didn’t want to go back to Westeros. He did – but only if his Papa and Teddy could come with them.

“What if I’m a bad king?” he asked instead.

“You won’t be,” she said confidently.

“But what if I am?” Egg pressed. “It’s too much.”

“Oh darling,” Mama sighed, pressing a soft kiss to his head. “You have years still to learn what is expected of you. I doubt you will be anything short of great.”

Egg pressed his head against his mother’s shoulder, unable to voice the rest of his fears.

“As for Harry and Teddy,” she said lightly, her hand rubbing circles in his arm. “There is still much to be done before the ritual is ready.”

“Do you think they would want to?” he asked quietly.

“I think,” Mama said slowly, arms tightening around Egg, “Harry and Teddy love you both too much to not consider it.”

They love you too, he knew. Egg had watched Rhae and Teddy and knew they badly wanted what he did as well.

“There’s time yet for that question,” she finished. “We’ve many years ahead of us before we have to find out.”

There was something odd in his mother’s tone, but Egg ignored it in favour of basking in his mother’s warmth. He knew what he would be praying for besides a dragon; he wanted his family together at home, whether that was here at Potter Hall or somewhere in Westeros.

 

Chapter Text

 

As a reward for their good behaviour – though, truthfully Harry had been planning this for some time – they took the kids to visit the Romanian Dragon Reserve.

There was a reserve far closer to home, but the Welsh reserve only hosted the slightly more docile Welsh Greens, keeping them away from the diverse and more aggressive ones. Elia had nearly drowned him when he told her – an accident, she claimed, as Harry had picked their time attempting to learn how to harness water. The look of satisfaction she insisted came from her magical progress had left Harry wary of any potential incidents.

“Papa, are we there yet?” Aegon asked, for what had to be the third time in the last hour. They had walked across a small plain field when their portkey arrived, the sight of rolling hills there destination.

“Nearly,” Harry told him. “Just a few more minutes until we get to the top of the hill.”

Of course, the kids had decided to rush forward at his words, and Harry rolled his eyes as he and Elia trudged after them.

A silencing ward to keep people from coming too close kept the sounds of dragons quiet, and at the sudden stop the children came to Harry knew they had seen the reserve.

“Papa,” Aegon whispered in awe. “Are those…”

“Dragons,” Harry grinned, grabbing hold of Elia’s hand as he saw the slight widening of her eyes.

“You know they will be begging to take a dragon home with them,” Elia murmured, leaning lightly against his arm.

“I’m sure we can handle that,” Harry said confidently, willing the small flush away.

Roars filled the air as they crossed the sound barrier, and Harry laughed as he grabbed hold of Aegon before he could run off. Next to him, Elia was keeping a tight hold of Rhaenys, the seven-year-old princess itching to explore the reserve as much as her brother.

Teddy’s hair flashed a series of colours, the little boy mimicking the flames of the dragons, and Harry gave him a light nudge to get moving.

“Oi! Welcome to the Romanian Dragon Reserve,” a blond-haired man greeted them. He was tall and stocky, an easy smile on his face as his blue eyes lit up at the obvious delight the children showed. “Name’s Adam, I’ll be your guide for this trip. This all of you?”

“It is,” Harry answered, gaze flicking over the few dragons he could see.

“Alright, we’ll get right on it then. You’ve signed your waivers, so we can head deeper into the pens.”

Adam turned to walk them through the path to visit the dragons. “We’ll start with the Antipolodeans. We’ve got a couple Opaleyes here, fantastic to see when the sun shines on their scales. The Vipertooth is next; just got a mating pair over from Peru, and their eggs are due to hatch soon.”

“Can we see the eggs?” Rhaenys asked, leaning forward in excitement.

“Can do, kiddo,” Adam laughed. “We’ll see as many of the eggs as we can, though most have hatched by now. Next we’ll see the two Fireball species we have. Fantastically small, but they’re some of the fastest out there. We’ll make a visit to an old Ridgeback friend for your da.”

“Norberta is still here?” Harry asked in surprise. He’d not seen the small dragon since first year, but he knew Hagrid kept in touch with the reserve.

“Oh aye, she’s got hatchlings of her own now. Then it’s off to the Horntail and Ironbelly, though those two ha…”

“Norberta?” Elia questioned.

“Hagrid won a dragon and named her Norbert, though it turned out to be a female dragon.”

“I did not think they had specific genders here,” Elia said, eyes flicking to where the children were badgering Adam with questions. The guide was taking it all in stride, laughing as he told them tales of his work and stories about the dragons.

“The ones you knew of were different?” he asked lowly, wary of unwelcome ears even as far into the Romanian wilderness as they were.

“Two-legged, with a fluidity in gender,” she replied.

Harry felt his lips curve into a fond smile as he watched her go on about what she had learned of the dragons; it was rare that she took to lecturing him on the differences between their worlds, but Harry was finding it harder and harder to turn his gaze away from Elia as she spoke.

Of course, things had to fall apart not long after.

He had stalled a little bit, watching as Teddy laughingly translated the words of the Vipertooth for another dragon keeper. It was not exactly the same as Parsel, but the differences were minor, and Harry had to bite his lip to keep from spoiling the terrible job the boy was purposefully doing. They were almost at the Ironbelly when chaos broke out.

In the midst of it all were a smiling Aegon and Rhaenys, the two damn near gleeful despite the small animals curled up in their arms and the dozens of dragon keepers staring in horrified awe.

“Look, Dad,” Rhaenys said, skipping forward in excitement. Harry felt his heart stutter slightly, unknowing of whether it was her form of address or the exceptionally dangerous dragon curled up on her shoulder that caused it.

“Rhae,” he said, mouth dry as he blinked owlishly. Clearing his throat, Harry closed his eyes and counted to ten.

No need to panic, Potter. You’ve handled much worse, he reminded himself.

“You look as if you might faint,” Elia murmured, her hand lightly pressed against his cheek. He didn’t know when she had come closer, but as he opened his eyes Harry felt his breath catch at how close she stood.

“And you don’t,” he retorted, seeing the eerily calm look on her face.

“I was there,” she replied dryly, and he saw a dark look flash quickly through her black eyes. “I also expected something like this, though far more disastrous.”

“Papa,” Aegon cut in, sheer glee noticeable in his tone.

“I need a drink for this,” he told her. Elia laughed in agreement, stepping back to look sternly at their troublesome children.

There was a Horntail nesting comfortably on Rhaenys’s shoulder, the small hatchlings dark scales blending in with her hair. Next to Rhaenys, Aegon held a pale Ironbelly, it’s grey scales glinting silver in the light.

Teddy stood next to his siblings, eyes wide as he attempted to speak to the dragons.

“Aegon, Rhaenys,” Elia said sharply, eyes stern as she glanced at the two dragons. “You can’t keep them.”

“He followed me,” Aegon defended, hand stroking the little dragon. To their astonishment, the bloody thing practically purred in contentment, and Harry saw the dragon keepers inching closer in wonder.

“She hatched for me,” Rhaenys chirped, her smile wide as she untangled the Horntail from her hair.

She, he thought with mild panic. Of course Rhae had to bond with the most vicious dragon out there.

“I-I…Lord Potter-Black,” a man stammered, grey eyes flitting between the dragons and the small family. “Per-perhaps a private conversation?”

Glowering at the dragons, Harry asked their guide if he could keep an eye on them.

“Course,” Adam answered, wonder in his tone. “They don’t breathe flame yet, so we should be good. And they can’t talk yet,” the guide told Teddy, and Harry saw his boy’s eyes light up in delight.

Oh God, he’s going to try to teach them parsel.

Had it not been for Elia’s arm holding tightly to his, Harry wasn’t sure whether he would have obliviated the others in a panic or done something more.

They were ushered into a small office, nothing he expected from the head of the reserve, but it was the closest thing they had at the moment.

“I think it might be impossible to separate the children and the dragons,” the man stated immediately, forcing Harry to breathe deeply lest he swear up a storm.

“Why do you think that is?” he asked calmly. Elia pressed harder against his arm, and Harry tried to run through his occlumency exercises.

“The nesting mother’s are notoriously territorial over their eggs and hatchlings, as I’m sure you recall,” the man told him nervously. He had sweat plastering his dark hair to his forehead, despite the cooler temperatures outside. “The Ironbelly let her little one follow your son, and the nesting Horntail was practically sleeping as your daughter touched the egg. I’ve never seen them so calm. They practically bonded.”

“It is illegal to keep dragons,” Elia cut in, stopping his rambling. “As I am sure you are aware. Nor can we keep travelling to Romania to allow them to be close.”

Harry felt his brow twitch, but he held his tongue as she pressed lightly against his arm.

“Whatever the reason,” she added lightly, “You will have to find a way to separate them.”

“Sep-separate them?” the man said in a horrified tone. “My lady, to do so would harm my workers and the dragons. I cannot do as you ask.”

“Then how are we to resolve this?” Harry asked smoothly. He pinned the shorter man with angry green eyes, waiting for a satisfactory answer out of this mess.

“T-the ICW, Lord Potter-Black,” he answered. “There are special exemptions for people who have bonded with dragons.”

“People don’t bond with dragons,” Elia said sharply, black eyes glittering.

“No, they don’t,” he agreed nervously, mumbling “not anymore.”

“These exemptions,” Harry pressed, ignoring the slight tingle of unease at the man’s words. A coincidence.

“We grant you class five licenses, so long as you agree not to breed the dragons. To be kept in your records and ours.”

“You understand that we will require a contract,” Harry said casually, “for safeties sake, of course.”

His eyes were cold and hard, practically daring the man to disagree. To his credit, the head keeper had a relatively good head on his shoulders, swiftly agreeing to sign a contract to keep their agreements silent from all but those involved. Owen Temperton, the head keeper, had also agreed to have his workers sign a secrecy contract.

It would take them the better part of two days to figure out how to transport the dragons. The contracts had been signed within hours, their legal team on hand to comb through the wording even as Harry and Elia did the same.

Their original portkey was a no-go for their dragons, and Harry booked a private portkey from the reserve to bring them back to England that would send them straight into Potter Hall.

Valiantly ignoring the cackling of his ancestors – little wonder, considering they enjoyed the sheer chaos the terrible trio caused – Harry immediately set to work strengthening a portion of the grounds as a pen for the dragons roam in.

They would grow quickly, he remembered, and he did not want to have to deal with a burnt family home in addition to dragons.

He walked in to a fierce discussion between the three children regarding names.

“…can’t name her Noctis,” Teddy said scandalized.

“What’s wrong with that? She’s all black,” Rhaenys argued.

“I’m going to name mine Hercules,” Aegon boasted.

“You’re not naming the dragon Hercules,” Harry said with an exasperated sigh, seeing the shaking shoulders of Aunt Dorea in the portrait. “Or Draco.”

“Why not? Aunt Dorea said Hercules fought a dragon. And I can’t name him Herakles, Papa,” the boy said with such certainty.

“Pick another name,” Harry told him, shaking his head as Teddy and Rhaenys continued to argue. “No help from you, then,” he said, poking Elia lightly in her side as he fell into the empty spot next to her.

“Only if you want a dragon named after you,” she teased, laughing at the look he sent her.

“Herakles is a terrible name for a dragon,” he murmured, hand wrapping around hers.

Elia leaned her head against his shoulder, and Harry took a deep breath, simply basking in the scene of home and family.

“I’m glad it was not quite as exciting as I thought it would be,” she said quietly, eyes fastened on the two dragons as they warily eyed each other.

It had been a surprise to realize that they were relatively docile at the moment, but Harry was waiting for the other shoe to drop when they hit dragon puberty.

Dragons and children going through changes, someone send help, he groaned at the thought, before startling at the idea of being able to see Egg and Rhae through their teenage years.

“What did you expect?” he asked, shoving those thoughts away.

“Fire and blood, and a price I was unwilling to pay,” she answered after some time. “Another Summerhall.”

“Which we won’t let happen,” he soothed, thumb running circles on her hand.

He did not notice the looks the portraits were sending Elia and him, nor did he catch the conspiratorial exchange between his grandmother and great-aunt.

 

Chapter Text

 

The day dawned bright, the sky blistering with radiant sunlight and clear skies even as those going about the day felt anything but wonderful.

Potter Hall had been unusually somber; Harry and Teddy were expected at the anniversary gala held in honour of those who had lost their lives, and Elia was attending alongside her children.

Ignoring the whispers that broke out when they entered the Great Hall at Hogwarts, Elia tucked an errant curl into place on Teddy’s head as she murmured, “Will you be fine?”

“Peachy,” Harry muttered, a small smile on his face. “Just a few hours to deal with them before we can go home.”

Oddly, for all that Harry had despised public appearances when she first met him, this was one of the few he had no qualms with. The anniversary of Voldemort’s defeat was often used as a day to lavish praise on him, but he had always used it to remind the rest of the world of the incredible sacrifice that had been made in those dark days.

The group he had been referring to was obvious, and Elia could feel the lingering glances sent by those he had once been so close to.

They sat in the front row, Minister Shacklebolt greeting Elia and the children.

“Teddy,” he said. “You’ve gotten so big.”

“Thank you, sir,” Teddy replied, moving forward to take his seat. Aegon and Rhaenys claimed the chairs on either side of him, a slight scowl on their faces as they saw the number of people eagerly watching their brother.

“Behave,” Elia murmured as she took her seat, leaning so that they could hear her. “We don’t need another accident.”

At her pointed look, Aegon turned slightly sheepish. Elia hid her fond smile, turning instead to those seated near them.

There was a family of redheads, with varying shades of colour mixed in as their eyes flittered between where she sat and where Harry stood with his old professor.

Narcissa was keeping to the back of the hall, she knew; much as the woman had done in keeping Harry alive, her prior actions had not truly been forgotten. Nor did she seem keen on entering the spotlight.

A slight hush fell over the room as Minerva McGonagall took to the podium. The old battleaxe swept her stern glare across the hall, eyes softening at the sight of Teddy. They had come to an odd truce, content to ignore any problems so long as did not harm Teddy. Thankfully, the older woman had softened to her sometime in the past two years, and Elia was silently grateful she would not have to deal with a woman as learned in magic as she was.

“…allow me to welcome Herakles Potter-Black.”

“Thank you,” Harry said, waiting for the light applause to die down.

“Seventy years ago, a young wizard received a letter from this very school. He had come to Hogwarts brimming with potential, eager to learn as much of magic as he could. Young Tom was expected to become the future minister, an unspeakable, go to the ICW; the very world was at his fingertips. But he chose instead to bring destruction to the world.

Tom would go on to gather followers, seducing them with promises of glory and power. And in the midst of it all stood a number of people who refused to bow down to what he truly was. He did not want to restore the Wizarding World to glory. He did not intend to share his power with anyone else, for he believed that he deserved it all. Thousands of people died in a seven-year span, in hopes to see an end to the terror he had plunged them into. It would take a couple desperate to protect their child to see his end, but the world hadn’t known that it wasn’t the end.

In 1994, the first casualty of the second war came in the form of Bertha Jorkins, whose only crime had been her concern for a fellow worker. The second…the second would be Cedric Diggory, a young man with a bright future ahead of him. Cedric’s only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And on it went. Innocent people harmed as Tom Riddle attempted to grasp power. Thousands killed, magical and non-magical, in his attempt to mould the world to his vision. That is why we are gathered here today. To honour those who lost their lives for simply being there; for daring to exist; for fighting to restore order to a world that had fallen to a madman.

Today, we honour those who once were amongst us, old and young, who deserved to live fulfilling lives without fear. Those who had made the difficult decision, at times, to do what was necessary to end a threat to us all. Those amongst us who stood strong in the face of disaster, and who live our lives every day – befriending those we might once have scorned, loving freely when it might not have been tolerated – to honour the ones who died so we could do so. Thank you.”

There was thunderous applause as Harry took the empty seat next to her, and Elia slid her hand into his, feeling Harry’s grip tighten slightly as his fingers curled around hers.


It was as she was exiting the hall to use the restroom that she came across Hermione Granger. The woman was seemingly lying in wait, brown hair softly curled as her brown eyes bore into Elia.

“Mrs. Weasley,” she greeted as Hermione fell into step with her.

“I’ve never heard the name Martell before,” Hermione stated.

“A shame, I'm sure,” Elia said dryly.

The woman bristled slightly, and Elia quickly shook her head when she caught Narcissa’s eye. The Malfoy matriarch merely narrowed her eyes before nodding in agreement, though Elia assumed she would be close.

“I heard Teddy call you mum,” she said bluntly.

Oh wonderful, Elia thought. It was always so refreshing to meet someone who did not engage in the dance of words that she had been brought up in.

“You’re not his mother,” she continued.

“Not by birth, yes,” Elia said calmly, entering the restroom. She ignored Hermione as she fixed her robes, smoothing an unseen crinkle.

“Not ever,” she snapped.

Elia stilled in surprise at the audacity of her, locking eyes with the young woman through the mirror.

“Mrs. Weasley,” she started slowly, eyes impassive. “I do not see how my relationship with Teddy concerns you.”

“He has a mother,” she bit out, mouth snapping shut in stubbornness.

“And a father,” Elia drawled, turning to face her.

Hermione Granger was a pretty woman, with delicate features, but Elia knew she was also one to stick to her ideals fairly tightly. Unfortunately for her, she picked a topic Elia was more than willing to argue.

“Harry is very much Teddy’s father, and though he had a mother, I happen to be the one he considers such.”

“Yes, until he decides it's time for you to leave,” she retorted, stunning Elia with her words. “Lord Potter-Black has very different standards now.”

“Is that what you take issue with?” Elia countered, angry at her willingness to say such. “That Herakles took control of his inheritance? That he no longer relies solely on your advice? That he decided the best thing for himself and his godson would be to adopt the child fully?”

“He stole his identity,” Hermione scoffed. “And he lost himself in the process, cavorting with those Blacks. Remus and Tonks did not die so their son could be considered someone else's.”

“They died so their son could live a full life with the godfather they chose,” Elia snapped. “Just as Lily and James Potter died so their son may live.” Elia felt her anger recede, staring at the younger woman with pity. “No, he found his family. That you would begrudge him that because of whom he chose is a failing on your part, Mrs. Weasley. He was not a child to be scolded for making decisions regarding his life – decisions his parents wholeheartedly supported – nor does he have to tell you every thought that crosses his mind.”

There was something like resentful uncertainty flashing in Hermione Granger’s brown eyes, but Elia was unwilling to wait a moment longer. She had said her piece, and Elia made her way to the empty grounds, a slight chill in the air.

Not his mother, she thought darkly.

But…the woman hadn’t lied. Much as Elia adored Teddy, she was not his mother; would only be considered such until it was time for them to return to Westeros.

Closing her eyes, she thought of the last years of her life.

Potter Hall was comfortable; it was warmth and safety and the missing feel of home. Much as she had been homesick those early days, the thought of leaving Teddy behind tore her heart in two. And Harry…

Harry Potter was a singularly infuriating man; able to worm his way beneath the walls Elia had erected to protect herself as if they were made of cotton. At some point, between his adoration of her children and the easy friendship they had built, between the late nights in the library and their days playing the game with the Wizengamot, Elia had been unable to imagine the future without the green-eyed man. She had steadily fallen in love with him, even when she knew it was the last thing she had needed.

The gods have cursed me to find love when it is impossible, she thought ruefully.

She had not loved Rhaegar, nor had he loved her. Theirs had been a comfortable partnership, before it had burned into ash.

That Harry felt something for her was not in question; Elia had seen the way he looked at her, saw the hesitant adoration in his gaze, as they both knew it could not possibly last. She would be forced to pick between returning, or staying and building a life here with the family she had forged.

 

Chapter Text

 

It was mornings like this that Harry cursed the continued presence of the dragons.

Sharp claws dug into the thin sheets, and Harry opened his eyes to glare blearily at the damned thing lying heavily on his chest.

“Auriga,” he hissed. “Get off me.”

The black Horntail chirped, “Off. Off.”

It had come as quite the horrid surprise when he realized that Teddy was entirely serious about teaching the dragons Parsel.

“Egg and Rhae have dragons, but I’ll be the one to translate, Papa,” he had said proudly. “Adam thinks we can do it.”

Unsurprisingly, the little things took to parselmouth as easily as they did to walking. It had been touch and go for some time, but Harry had been ordered by his eldest to speak only in Parsel to the dragons, and they were slowly learning the language. Teddy had been exceedingly pleased at the thought of communicating with the dragons; Harry and Elia had exchanged relieved glances at the knowledge that at least he would be able to speak to them if they got out of hand. They were still babies, even though they weighed a fair amount by now, and exuberantly followed  after their respect riders.

Auriga reached as high as his hip when on her haunches, able to fly low to the ground and had started breathing fire well over a month ago. Iacomus was larger, the grey scales glinting silver in the right lighting, and had stubbornly learned to breathe fire soon after Auriga though he was grasping the parselmouth faster. That Egg had named his dragon after his father had left the man boasting for all to hear, exceedingly pleased with the thought.

“Rhae!” he called, hearing the pitter-patter of her footsteps as she ran down the hall.

The dark-haired princess flew into his room, leaping easily onto his bed as Auriga’s talons clenched tightly to the sheet.

“What have your mother and I told you about the dragons?” he asked.

“But Dad, Auri just wanted to say happy birthday,” she said with exasperation, and Harry felt his heart melt a little. The little girl had only begun to call him that the day they found the dragons, and Harry was well aware she knew exactly what effect that had on him.

Sly little girl, he thought fondly.

“My birthday was yesterday,” he pointed out, poking her in the side as she squirmed into place next to her companion. He couldn’t outright call the dragons a pet; they were far too intelligent to be considered such, nor did it feel right when the bond clearly went both ways.

Rhaenys sat cross-legged next to him, her expression determined, and Harry was reminded of the little girl who had demanded an oath from him all those years ago.

“Dad, do you not like Mama?”

Blinking, Harry stared up at the little girl in astonishment. Rhae’s purple eyes were steely, though he could see a slight spark of hesitance and mischief. Gesturing to Auriga, Harry waited until she had moved the dragon before pushing himself up against the headboard.

“What brought this on?” he stalled.

“You’re not going to ignore my question, Dad,” she told him.

“You’ve been talking to the portraits,” he stated wryly.

He should have known they would have a hand in this. His grandmother had been making increasingly odd statements the past few months, and Aunt Dorea had taken every opportunity to tease him. Even his mother had gotten in on the fun, casually mentioning how much she adored Elia.

Of course they would, he thought.

Elia was Elia; she was the same woman she had been from the day Harry had met her, wary over the unknown man so close to her children. They had eventually grown closer, and every day Harry counted himself lucky to have her in his life – much as she was unwilling to simply stand by as he did what he wanted.

They had fought countless times, had argued over inane things and more serious issues. He’d seen her at her best and her worst, just as she’d seen him, and still Harry would not change it for the world.

“It’s not that hard. Do you love her?”

“Yes,” he answered. It had happened so gradually, that between one heartbeat and the next, Harry knew he had fallen completely for her – and he couldn’t force himself to be upset at the realization.

“Oh,” she said, a flash of relief in her eyes. “Good. That’s good.”

“You were guessing,” he accused, a sheepish look coming over Rhaenys’s face at his words.

“Was not,” she insisted. “I knew you loved Mama, just like she loves you. So why are you waiting?”

Sighing, Harry lightly picked at the thread on his sheet. “It’s not as easy as you think, Rhae,” he said quietly.

She gave him a look that said she thought he was being particularly dense, and Harry nearly laughed at the accompanying eye roll.

“Honestly,” he told her. “There are things to consider. Important things.”

“Why must adults make everything so difficult, Auriga?” she asked rhetorically, staring at the black dragon as she attempted to fly around the room.

“You’ll be returning to Westeros,” he pointed out, ignoring the ache at that thought.

“Not if you tell Mama how you feel,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Oh?” he drawled, brow raised as he stared at the little princess. “Tell me then, Your Grace. How are you so certain?”

“Because I am,” she stated.

“Fine, then,” he agreed. “Let’s say I believe you. How do you expect me to do so?”

“You have to be a dragon,” she said solemnly, and had it not been for the serious look on her face Harry might have laughed.

“A dragon,” he said sceptically, ignoring Auriga’s hissed echo.

“Yes, Dad. A dragon,” she huffed. “I was reading a book in the library. Dragons don’t shy away when picking mates an—”

“Where in the world did you hear that?”

“I read it,” she sniffed. “Julius’s portrait showed me.”

“Julius is a trickster. Nobody listens to his portrait,” Harry retorted. The man was forever grinning, plotting another prank, and Harry had not been so surprised to realize it had been Julius who had taught a young and impressionable James Potter the joys of pranking.

“The point is, Dad,” Rhaenys stressed. “You have to be a dragon and tell Mama how you feel.”

Sighing, Harry leaned back against the headboard as he faced the ceiling.

Relationship advice from a seven-year-old, he thought humorously. What has the world come to?

“Maybe they have it right in Westeros, Auri,” the little girl huffed, purple eyes glaring at him.

“In a few years, you won’t be saying that,” he quipped.

In a few years – he might not see them by then. Aunt Cassiopeia insisted he was nearly there, going over several more rune sequences before she thought he would be able to move on to understanding how to create a ritual like that. A few years, and they might no longer be at Potter Hall with him and Teddy.

You knew this was coming Potter, he reminded himself.

Cursing his feelings in his head, Harry reached an arm out to wrap around Rhae as the little girl moved to sit next to him.

“I want you and Mama to be happy,” she said quietly.

“We are happy,” he told her, pressing a kiss to her hair.

“The wedding is today,” she said. “I’m sure Mama will look extra nice.”

“Are you done?” he asked sardonically.

Rhaenys sat up, staring intently at him with determined purple eyes. “Be a dragon, Dad. Gryffindors charge in, remember,” she added with an impish smile.

Laughing, Harry mussed her hair even as she swatted his hand away. “If you end up anywhere other than Slytherin, I’ll eat my hat.”

Shooing her out of the room, Harry stood to get ready for Neville’s wedding. He would be standing next to his friend, and the last thing he needed was to be late for that.

“Dragon,” Auriga chirped, her claws curled around the bedpost.

“Oh, get out of here,” Harry hissed, lifting Auriga to let her out of the room. “I don’t need you on my case as well.”

Stood in front of the mirror in the washroom, Harry cursed the meddling portraits that had sent Rhaenys after him.

He could admit – if only to himself – that he was afraid of ruining the amicable relationship they had. Feared that taking a step in that direction would make things awkward between them, even if he knew Elia felt something for him.

He closed his eyes in annoyance, leaning his head against the sink as the cool breeze from the splashes of water hit his face.

Were his godfather or mum still alive, he was certain they would be pushing him to do something, damn the noble hero act.

Fuck it, he thought.

 

Chapter Text

2006: Lily

 

They had watched them for the past three years – sometimes quietly, most often with a bit of input – waiting to see what would become of the two.

Not for nothing were they left to impart wisdom on generations of Potters, be it in matters of their house or magic. But this was the first time they had taken up the mantle of matchmakers.

At least, the first time any of the portraits could recall having to interfere so obviously.

Harry had only had eyes for the Dornish Princess even before he had given her the ring. They all knew the look in his eyes, familiar as it was to them from their own husbands, and saw their boy unknowingly fall as deeply in love as those who came before him.

“Really, what is the point of pushing them together if we don’t get to see any of it,” huffed Iolanthe.

“Mother!” came the scandalized voice of her daughter-in-law.

“Oh, hush you. Where do you think it was all leading to?”

“Not something we should be watching,” Elizabeth hissed, bright spots high on her cheek.

“Dear girl, I am not so uncouth as you think,” Iolanthe sniffed, a devious glint in her eyes. “I merely want to know whether the boy will act on his feelings or not.”

“We don’t even know if she feels the same way,” protested Helene.

“Ach! Aren’t you French people supposed to be experts of romance?” sniped Ursula. “Anyone with eyes can see how she feels for him.”

Rolling her eyes at the familiar arguments that broke out, Lily wrinkled her nose as her mother-in-law winked.

“Six hundred years, and you think they would tire of that same argument,” Euphemia chuckled softly.

“I’m afraid they’ll air their dirty laundry soon enough,” Lily said. When she had married James, the last thing she expected was to be introduced to the multitude of portraits that were housed in Potter Hall. Her first meeting with them had gone well until two of the portraits had broken out into an argument, the cousins letting them all know exactly what had happened in their time.

“You worry for him,” Euphemia stated.

“He’s my only child,” she bit back. She grimaced in apology a moment later, but Euphemia waved her off.

“Harry has a good head on his shoulders,” her mother-in-law grinned. “And she has proven more than willing to give him a swift kick when needed.”

Lily hummed in agreement, eyes wandering to the ballroom doors. She could hear the music they danced to, and for once found herself agreeing with James over the need for at least a single frame in that blasted room.

There had been a moment, after Andromeda’s death, that she had feared for her baby boy. Andy had been the last parent he had known; the only person tied to him alone who had loved him for being Harry. Alone with Teddy and mourning yet another soul, Lily had watched in slight fear as he kept himself hidden from the world, as the only person to pull a genuine smile to his face was his son.

Perhaps it was selfish of her, but seeing the love in his eyes as Elia and her children carved a space in his heart made her wish they never had reason to separate. Let Westeros remain an impossible dream if it meant the two of them found some measure of happiness together.

Lily had given the world her son; the least they could do was allow him this one joy.

 


 

Present Day: Dorea

 

Dorea sat patiently in the frame hanging over Euphemia’s old rooms, waiting for their princess to come out from within the wardrobe.

Once, when she had first made an appearance as a newlywed, it had been in here that Euphemia gifted her with Potter heirlooms, helping the younger woman ready herself to face a crowd of scrutinizing aristocrats.

“You are a Potter now,” Euphemia had said. “One of us, hang what the lot of them wish had happened instead. You are a Black still; let them stew in their anger, for they cannot take that away from you.”

She had gone downstairs that evening with her head held high, eyes focused on the dark blue of her husband. Charlus had stared at her in stunned admiration, eyes filled with love, and Dorea had known she had made the right decision.

That Fleamont had threatened to lodge a blood feud should Arcturus remove her from the family had only endeared Charlus’s cousin to her.

She had been painted with those same jewels, a set of black diamond earrings with a matching necklace, and Dorea glanced at the box that held it.

A smile curved her lips as their visiting princess entered the room, her eyes flicking to Dorea’s as she made her way to the mirror.

“I suppose you were right,” Elia said, admiring the gown.

“Of course I was,” Dorea sniffed, a slight smile on her face at seeing the flash of amusement from the younger woman. “You will certainly leave him breathless.”

At her words, Dorea saw Elia stiffen, eyes wary as she flicked them to hers.

I do so hate having to be direct, she thought in dismay.

They had been hinting at the obvious outcome for so long that they were now at wits end with these two. Never had she seen a more stubborn pairing, and Dorea wished for a moment that she could trade places with Euphemia.

Herakles was so easily ruffled when it came to his feelings for the woman before her, and the young man would need little prompting after the little princess’ intervention. She would have to be delicate with Elia, knowing the woman was the more likely to resist of the two of them, and still manage to avoid the dance of words that she had been raised with.

“Do sit down dear,” Dorea said, “you look as if you might faint.”

Ignoring the dark look Elia sent her, Dorea waited until the princess had sat, spine straight and face unreadable. It had been some time since the woman was so closed off, but needs must, and Dorea pressed forward.

“Will you argue if I decide to present you with a gift?”

She could see the flash of surprise in black eyes, and Dorea withheld a smile of triumph.

“Did you know, Charlus and I were never meant to marry,” she told her, grey eyes soft in reminiscence. “None of my family had ever conceived that we would ever be more than classmates. I was to marry another heir to some house allied with ours, staunch in their support of the pureblood cause, but Charlus had firmly found a way around it.”

Elia remained quiet, but Dorea knew the woman was curious. It was not often that she spoke of her past.

“He showed up at my home with a box of jewels declaring his intent for my hand. My brother was apoplectic; a few centuries had passed since the last Potter-Black marriage, and that it was ruining his plans for glory to our line. Euphemia gave them to me, all those years ago. I’d like you to wear them today.”

Thankfully, Euphemia’s insistence on Elia wearing the family jewels had worked to soften her to the prospect. Still, Dorea knew the woman understood the implication behind the gesture.

 


 

Present Day: Euphemia

 

At the sight of Harry running a hand through his hair in nervousness, his bowtie hanging loosely, Euphemia felt a pang of sadness. He looked just like James; worrying over nothing when it was so obvious the boy was in love and was loved in return, and for a moment she thought to call her son so he might console his.

“I don’t think I should do this,” he said, green eyes worriedly locked onto hers.

There goes that plan, she thought, pleasantly surprised that Rhaenys had managed to get through to him. She would have to do something special for her adopted great-granddaughter.

“For all that you are more your mother’s son in temperament, you are very much James’s boy in certain matters,” she told him fondly.

“Really, Gran,” he scoffed. “Dad chased after Mum for years…”

“And still he panicked before every date,” she stated dryly. “He nearly worked himself into a frenzy just before he proposed and the day of the wedding.”

“I’m n-not…” he stammered, a flush on his cheeks.

Euphemia felt a fond smile curve her lips. “Harry, darling. Breathe.”

She waited until he had managed to calm himself, though there was still a hint of nervousness in his eyes.

“You love her.”

“More than I thought possible,” he stated, a soft look in his eyes.

“Then let me tell you the same thing your grandfather and I told James before he proposed; if you are certain of your feelings for her – sure that they are not simply a passing fancy – then go and make certain she knows as well. It’s one thing to find love, darling, and quite another to deprive yourself of it due to fears of not being enough. That is her choice to make; and personally, I don’t think she would refuse you.”

He sat silently for a moment, and Euphemia waited until he had sorted his thoughts.

“What if they return to Westeros?”

“Would you let her return having never spoken of your feelings?” Euphemia retorted. “You do yourselves a disservice, Harry. Life is too short to deny yourself happiness.”

She watched him fidget the slightest bit, brows furrowed as he thought on her words.

Finally, Euphemia watched as a determined look crossed his features - one she had seen on three generations of Potter men.

”I need to get something,” he murmured, jumping to his feet.

”She’s already received them,” she told him, smiling at the look of fond exasperation on his face.

She had done what was expected of her; the rest was for them to decide.

 

Chapter Text

Elia was keenly aware of the fact that Harry’s eyes had barely left her. Something she knew the others at the wedding were increasingly becoming aware of.

Oh, he played his role perfectly, stood beside Neville in pressed grey dress robes, handing over the rings he held as a witness to their handfasting. Yet, every so often, his eyes would flick to where she sat next to Griselda.

“Well,” the woman muttered, hands tightening on her cane. “It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a Potter stare after a woman like that.”

Admirably, Elia managed not to flush at the insinuations the old crone was making. “We’re at a wedding,” Elia hissed lowly, smile fixed on her face.

“Not the right one, I should think. How you managed to hold him off for so long is nothing short of miraculous, but I fear that dress will have ruined all your efforts.”

Swallowing her retort, she ignored the satisfied smirk Griselda sent her. This was the last time she listened to Dorea’s portrait. Wear yellow, she had said. The colour looks so lovely during the summer.

Madam Twilfitt had been delighted at making another gown for Elia – even more so when she realized it would be worn to the Longbottom-Abbot wedding – and she had designed it to mimic the styles that had been popular in Dorne before her marriage. A loose skirt with a small slit, a deep neckline that was stitched close together, the arms left bare.

The only jewellery Elia wore were the ones Dorea had gifted her and gold arm bangles, the only thing she had with her of home. It had been her mother’s, thin with the visage of a snake wrapped around a curling spear.

Grudgingly, she acknowledged that the older Potter knew good fashion, but Elia knew of the other outcome the woman had been angling for.

She certainly will be delighted to hear it worked so well, she thought.

The ceremony had gone off without a hitch; even the normally stern Augusta Longbottom had softened at the sight of her grandson marrying the woman he loved.

Neville and Hannah were beaming, lost in each other’s gaze as the attendants stood to begin the reception.

Feeling the eyes turning to her, she knew Harry was weaving his way closer. ”Don’t you have duties to attend to?” she lightly asked.

“And leave my date unattended?” he questioned, a husky note in his tone.

Glancing at his face, Elia swallowed at the sight of darkening green eyes. Cursing Griselda in her head – and Dorea for good measure – she ignored the slight flutter in her stomach.

“A terrible position to be put in,” she stated.

“Utterly unacceptable,” he agreed, steering them away from the chattering women to a table close to the front. Thankfully, Hannah and Neville had a small head table for the two of them, and the rest of the bridal party sat with their respective families. That Narcissa had offered to watch the children meant they did not have to worry about potential disaster from those three.

They sat next to Griselda, Elia pointedly ignoring the looks the woman sent the pair of them, and were surrounded by a few of Neville’s relatives.

“Stop glowering at them,” she told him, a plate of seared chicken popping into place before her.

“I’m not glowering,” Harry muttered. Fighting the urge to roll her eyes, Elia saw his old dorm mate flush as she caught him sending a wink at Harry.

“You’re the best man, and you have a speech to give soon,” she reminded him.

At her words, she saw the flash of delight in his eyes. Poor Neville was going to regret picking Harry to give that particular speech, she knew.

She listened idly as the Longbottoms shared old memories of Neville’s courtship, Griselda chiming in on the various Longbottom weddings she had attended, before Harry stood to give his speech. Shuffling to the front of the hall, she saw him smirk lightly as he raised his wand to his throat.

“Ladies and Gentlewizards,” he said. “Thank you, on behalf of the Abbot and Longbottom families for joining us today. As his best man – something I’m sure he’ll wish he had not done – I am required to give a small speech on dear old Nev. Instead, I’ll talk quickly about the day Neville realized he was going to marry Hannah.”

“Oh God,” Neville groaned, sparking laughter from the audience.

“Yes, Neville. That day,” Harry told him, green eyes glittering with joy. “See, Nev here had worried for something like a year over the proposal. Agonized over it as he talked our ears off over when he would do it and where. Then Ernie decided it was time to get a drink.”

Laughing, Neville pressed a kiss to Hannah’s cheek, muttering something too low to carry across the room.

“Neville is a terrific drinker. Really and truly fantastic, that he ended up telling the lot of us just why he was going to marry Hannah. He was going to because he wanted to; because even when he spent countless hours agonizing over a number of things, not once had he doubted his feelings for her. He went on about the many things he loved about her; how she had the habit of rearranging his plants, how she had the strength to shoulder any number of burdens and allowed him to ease hers, how a single moment spent in her presence made him feel as if he were the happiest man alive.”

His eyes caught hers, and Elia felt her breath hitch at his words. “That if he had to choose between a moment spent with her, or an eternity having never known her, he would cherish the short time they had together.”

Harry’s eyes flicked back to Neville and Hannah, a soft smile on his face as his friend gave him a nod. “Of course, then he ran out and decided he knew the perfect ring to give her. But here we are, watching the beginning of a new journey in their lives. Neville is one of the greatest people I have had the pleasure of knowing; very rarely will you meet someone as strong, brave, or compassionate as him, and I am immensely glad to see that you have found a perfect complement in Hannah.

I wish you both the very best in this new journey of yours, in hopes that Hannah promises to name any kids.”

Laughter rang out as catcalls from their old friends pierced the air. Neville had stood to give Harry a tight hug, the two men slapping each other on the back before Harry pressed a quick kiss to Hannah’s knuckles.

Susan Bones’ speech passed her in a daze, Elia’s mind on the green-eyed wizard sharing a dance with the maid of honour.

“Now, dear,” Griselda said, shaking her out of her thoughts. “Before your friend returns.”

“Griselda,” she cut in, though the woman waved her off.

“My dear, I’ve seen countless people marry over the years. Far too many times have I witnessed people fall in love. It is quite obvious to some of us that what the two of you have is special. Much as the rest of the world likes to assume you’ve already shacked up, I know better.”

“It’s complicated,” Elia retorted.

“Then make it uncomplicated,” Griselda countered. “What is it that you want? You and I both know that man is in love with you, just as much as you are with him. I’m not getting any younger, you know, and I’ll be damned if I don’t see the end of this.”

Rolling her eyes at her final words, Elia left her with a polite smile.


“You’re staring,” she told him as they walked along the corridor leading to her rooms.

“I am,” he agreed, surprising Elia into stopping. Harry’s eyes were darker than usual, the love evident in his gaze, and she had to swallow against the sudden lump in her throat. “Have I told you, that you looked absolutely beautiful today?”

“Once or twice,” she answered softly. He was holding her hand, and Elia closed her eyes as he placed a soft kiss on her knuckle. “Harry…”

“Would it be terribly selfish of me to admit how I feel about you?” Harry asked quietly. He cradled her cheek in his palm, and Elia pressed lightly against his hand, black eyes locked onto his.

“I want this,” he murmured. “I want to wake up and know I don’t have to pretend that we are just friends, that I don’t look a fool imagining himself in love with someone greater than he. I want you, Elia; your wit, and compassion, and the way you manage to brighten the world with your presence. Far more than anything I’ve ever wanted, I want to be selfish just this once, if you’ll have me.”

Green eyes stared deeply into hers, love and hope and a hint of vulnerability swirling in their depths.

What is it that you want?

She knew the answer to that question; had, perhaps, known the answer for much longer than she was willing to admit.

What are you running from?

Elia had expected a marriage like the one she had gotten. Not everyone in Westeros married for love, and she had known a comfortable marriage would have been the best she could hope for.

Yet here she stood, being offered everything she had never thought possible. She would return to Westeros one day, perhaps further into the future, and Elia was finding it difficult to come up with excuses as to why she should ignore her feelings.

“Did you mean it?” she asked, knowing he would understand.

“Every word,” he vowed. “As temporary as it might be, I would rather a single moment with you than to have never spoken in fear.”

The gods have fashioned us for love, she recalled her septon saying at Doran’s wedding. It had been a lavish affair, and they had droned on about the blessings of love.

Elia had been raised to do her duty. As liberal as Dorne could be in certain regards, her life had been dedicated to the duty of a Princess of Dorne. Just this once, she wanted to be selfish and grasp the love he so freely offered.

“It’s not terrible to want, Harry,” she whispered.

There was a split second of hesitance before Elia felt warm lips pressed against hers. His arm wrapped around her waist, holding her closer as she clutched at his robes.

“I love you,” he murmured against her lips, his hand sliding into her hair, fingers buried in her curls. “I lost my heart to you, Elia Martell, and I don’t quite know what to do with myself.”

Swiftly, she kissed him once more, revelling in the obvious care Harry took with her. She was drowning in a torrent of emotion – hers, his, and a touch of magic sparking between them – and Elia held tightly to him as if they would weather any storm together.

“We live,” she told him softly. “We live each day as if it is the last we have to love each other.”

There would be time enough to worry of the future; tonight was theirs.

 

Chapter Text

 

Months later and Harry still could not believe this wasn’t a dream.

Each night when he went to sleep, a part of him feared he had dreamed the entire thing up; that he was still hopelessly in love and unable to explain in fear of ruining things.

As his hands tightened slightly around her waist, feeling Elia bury her face in the crook of his neck, he silently thanked his interfering family members once more.

Not that he would ever tell them in person. No need to inflate their egos.

“You’re staring,” she murmured, voice thick with sleep and something else that shot straight through him.

“Can you blame me?” he retorted, carding a hand through her hair as he felt her smile against his neck. A feathery light kiss was placed on his jaw, and Harry felt desire rush through him.

“How much longer do you think we have?” he asked, shifting so that he hovered over her, his arms holding him up.

She tilted her head up, and Harry lost himself in the feel of warm, feeling her smile against his mouth.

“Three seconds,” she murmured.

“Wha…” Elia kissed him once more, swallowing his words before he heard the sudden roar followed by the hissing voice of Teddy shouting at the dragons.

“We can’t ignore them, can we?” he groaned, head falling against her shoulder as she laughed.

“Not unless you want the house burned down,” she told him.

Groaning once more, he fell onto his side, idly watching as she made her way to the connecting door that led to her bathroom.

“I suppose it’s time to get up,” he muttered to himself, heaving a sigh as he walked on bare feet to the door of his bedroom.

The sounds of the children was much louder in the sitting room attached to his rooms, and Harry closed his eyes in slight disbelief at the sight that greeted him beyond the doors.

Auriga had managed to scale the walls, her talons clinging to a brass light fixture that he had reinforced with magic as she hissed at Iacomus.

The larger Ironbelly was hovering in the air, small sprouts of flame leaving his mouth as the two dragons argued.

“…which of you gave them the meat?” he asked, eyes glued to the three staring innocently at him.

“Not me,” they all protested in unison.

She ate my kill,” Iacomus hissed, screeching at Auriga once more.

Jealous lout,” Auriga hissed, and Harry stared in disbelief at Teddy.

“I didn’t teach them that,” the boy defended. “That was the portrait’s fault.”

Which portrait?”

“Julius,” Teddy answered quickly, and Harry groaned once more at the thought of having such rowdy beings in his house.

Outside, both of you,” he hissed, a stern look on his face as he herded both children and dragon away from their rooms.

The dragons had grown too large to walk around the manor easily, thankfully, but the children had always found creative ways to let them inside the halls. Waving a hand, Harry stared pointedly at the two before he pointed to the enlarged window he had opened, waiting until they grumbled and finally flew outside to the small area he knew the elves placed their food.

They had charmed a portion of the grounds to stay warm, the dragons given free reign to a certain extent as they managed to blend in with the winter weather.

“Can we go flying on—”

“No!” Harry said firmly, ushering the children downstairs.

“I’m big enough!” Aegon insisted, wide purple eyes staring pleadingly at Harry.

“Iacomus is not big enough,” he said dryly. “Nor is Auriga,” he added, seeing Rhaenys open her mouth to intervene.

They stared sadly at him, and Harry had to remind himself not to give in.

“How about we make pancakes?”


He was lounging in his seat, slightly disappointed he couldn’t leave this meeting to Elia. Had it been up to him, he would have placed her permanently as his proxy, but the last thing he wanted was to hear the lecture that was sure to follow.

A good thing he was beginning to enjoy his duties somewhat.

There were a number of eyes on him, and Harry smirked nonchalantly at the continued surprise he saw whenever he turned up to Wizengamot meetings. Things were not running as smoothly as he hoped, but they were a lot better than Harry had thought they would be, his name helping him carry some changes forward.

”Little cousin,” came the drawling voice of Draco, the blond enjoying the reminder that he was a month older. He plopped into the seat next to him, the chair meant for Wizengamot heirs.

”Dragon,” he snarked, smiling winningly at the sight of flashing grey eyes.

”A wonderful photo,” Draco smirked. “I’m glad to see you’ve learned to work the press to your advantage.”

Harry blinked slightly, not knowing what he was speaking of and feeling a growing sense of dread at the thought.

Draco’s smirk widened, an infuriating glint in his eyes as he crowed, “You don’t know.”

Before he could demand to know what was going on, Ernie plopped back into his seat as he whistled, “Way to go Potter.”

”He doesn’t know,” Draco said.

Ernie blinked once, twice, before a shit-eating grin grew on his face. “You’re telling me you didn’t plan that?”

”Plan what?” He asked irritated.

Draco unfurled the paper that had been held in the crook of his arm, grinning at the wide-eyed expression Harry failed to hide quick enough.

There, on the cover of The Daily Prophet, was a photo of him and Elia, the two of them stood wrapped in each other’s arms on a balcony. The photo was from the last month, at the small get together held for Emry’s birthday. He remembered sneaking away to the balcony for a stolen moment, unaware that someone had followed them.

”Two lovebirds hiding away for a slight reprieve, unable to keep away from each other,” Draco mocked. “Far kinder than I expected; they’ve bought into this star-crossed lovers-at-first-sight thing you’ve got going on. Mother sends her congratulations.”

Bloody hell, he thought, groaning internally at the thought of what might come from this.

”Is that why...”

”-everyone is looking at you as if you’ve unlocked the key to time travel, yes” Ernie grinned. “They usually enjoy writing speculation about your private life.”

”She’s won them over,” Draco said. “Really cousin, if you don’t marry the woman I’ll be sorely disappointed in your skills with the fairer sex.”

”Shove off Malfoy,” he scowled, eyes lingering on the photo.

They were usually slightly more formal at parties, those closest to them aware that things had changed between Harry and Elia, but he’d given in to an urge that night, glad that she had reciprocated.

Thankfully, the photo only showed a flattering view, one that could have been from any photo they might have taken themselves and handed in. Whoever their photographer was, they’d clearly waited for a good shot.

He sat through the ribbing his cousin and friends gave him, ignoring the delighted smirk Griselda wore as he hightailed it home.

To his surprise - though, why he was still surprised he did not know - Elia had not been worried at seeing a private moment made public.

”It’s not indecent,” she told him, “nor am I truly surprised. They’ve followed your life for years, Harry. I expected something like this. Besides,” she added, “I’ve been raised to expect extra scrutiny from the masses.”

”Imagine if Westeros had journalists,” he murmured.

Her eyes widened in mock horror, and Harry laughed at the face she made.



He heard their thundering footsteps before he saw them, Teddy in front and flying into his arms, his excited babbling slightly difficult to decipher.

“Whoa Teddy, slow down kiddo,” he laughed, seeing his son pull back to look at him with sparkling green eyes, his hair cycling through various colours.

“I got my letter!” Teddy cheered, hand holding tightly to a familiar piece of parchment as he waved it in front of him. Aegon and Rhaenys were bouncing around them, ecstatically cheering along with Teddy.

“Fantastic,” he said with a grin, though a part of him was less enthused than his son.

“Can we go to Diagon today?” he asked, eyes wide in plea.

Today, he thought, mind running through the things he had to get done.

“You don’t like crowds,” Teddy pointed out, his siblings nodding alongside him, purple eyes wide.

“Touché,” he said with a wry grin.

“So we’re going?” Rhaenys asked.

“Go get dressed,” he told them, snorting as they ran off to badger Elia.

He walked through Diagon in a bit of a daze, hand held in Elia’s as they made their way from the bank to the apothecary to Ollivander, nostalgia and grief swirling amongst the pride he felt in his son as he watched Teddy chatter excitedly with Aegon and Rhaenys, the three of them picking out his school supplies.

There should have been more people here; others who had far more right to seeing Teddy off to school, who should be bursting with pride at the young boy.

He felt Elia squeeze his hand, a slight tug pulling him into the library as soon as they returned to Potter Hall.

“Don’t do that,” she said, settling in his lap as soon as he sat on the couch. Her hands cradled his face, forcing him to look into her eyes. “You’re overthinking.”

“I didn’t think it would be this hard,” he admitted.

“He’s your son, Harry,” she stated softly. “However he came to be with you, he’s your son, and you’ve spent his entire life protecting Teddy. It’s natural to be afraid to let go.”

He leaned his forehead against hers, eyes closed as he took a deep breath.

“You are more than enough for him,” she whispered. “He’s an incredibly lucky child to have you as his father, and I know Teddy wouldn’t change that for anything.”

He didn’t know what he had done to have this incredible woman in his life, but Harry was glad that she wanted to be with him as much as he did, amazed that he didn’t have to voice his fears for her to know just what bothered him.

“Thank you.”


It would be a few weeks before Harry worked up the courage to give Teddy his final gift.

He left for Hogwarts tomorrow, the trunk packed and promises to write letters to Egg and Rhae daily were wrangled from him.

He took Teddy upstairs into his office, his son seated across from him looking so very like he did, though Harry noted bits of Teddy that had been made to mimic Elia.

“It’s tradition,” he began, clearing his throat roughly. “A tradition in our family that certain gifts are handed out before we start at Hogwarts.”

Teddy straightened in his seat, the boy leaning forward slightly as his brow furrowed. Harry smiled at the sight, knowing Teddy was running through the many stories he had been told.

There was a small box on the table, and Harry slid it across to Teddy and waited as the boy opened it.

Nestled inside was a small ring, the constellation Leo etched into it with the focal point being the star Regulus.

”Gran wanted you to take the name Denebola,” Teddy said, hands gingerly placing the ring on his little finger.

”Because they were in the same constellation,” Harry smiled, green eyes focused on the slightly wistful grin on his son’s face. “She’d be bursting with pride.”

”I know,” Teddy said quietly.

”There are two more,” he continued, holding the soft wrapping in hand. “You remember the story of the Three Brothers.”

”They met Death,” Teddy answered, brows furrowed as he recalled the various versions each Potter had told him. “And he gave them each a gift; a wand, a stone and his own invisibility cloak.”

Teddy’s eyes widened slightly, and Harry smiled at the understanding he saw in his eyes.

”Every Potter, from the moment Iolanthe married Hardwin, has passed the cloak down generation by generation, from father to son or mother to daughter, but always to the eldest.”

He unwrapped the cloak, gesturing for Teddy to stand and come closer. Of all the things he kept in the house, Harry had kept this particular item under lock and key, unwilling to risk Teddy disappearing beneath the cloak as a baby.

When he stood before him, Harry tugged the cloak around his shoulders, the parchment at the corner slipping into Teddy’s hand as he saw his torso disappear.

”They can’t be here with you,” he told him, seeing the boy’s eyes focused on the map, Teddy fishing for his wand so he could activate it. “This way you get a piece of them with you.”

He had an armful of his eldest, Teddy’s face buried in his shoulder as he held tightly onto him.

”Thanks, Papa,” he whispered, clutching onto his cloak and map. “Don’t you need the cloak?”

”I’ll make do,” Harry told him, knowing it wasn’t something he needed with him and feeling better at the thought of Teddy having it as a fail safe.

Softly, he nudged the boy, gathering the packaging as he led Teddy outside. “You should pack those away before you forget them.”

His son bounded to his rooms, and Harry smiled at the thought of what came next. He wasn’t ready for it, not entirely prepared to let him go, but Teddy was no longer the little baby that had clung to his father, unwilling to be parted from him.

It was less than an hour later that heard a knock on his door, his eyes flitting to where Elia stood, making her way to open it. There was a small smile playing at her lips, and Harry saw the grin she wore as the door opened to reveal the children, all three dressed in their pyjamas.

”Can we sleep here tonight?” Teddy asked, scuffing his foot on the floor as he ducked his head down.

”Of course,” Elia said, ushering the children into the room.

They hurried in, Aegon leaping on the bed as he shouted, “I’m not in the middle!”

”You’re the baby Egg,” Rhaenys said, before blinking in surprise as Teddy ran to the corner, her brothers staring at her in smugness.

”Your turn,” Teddy told her.

You’re the one going off to Hogwarts,” she scowled.

”Exactly,” he said. “And I want the corner.”

Grumbling, Rhaenys made her way to the bed scowling fiercely at the boys. He shared an amused look with Elia before he muttered, “I’m taking Teddy’s side. You can wake up with Aegon’s foot on your head.”

”He only does that to you,” she retorted, laughing as she kissed him.

They broke apart at the long-suffering sigh the children released, seeing identical looks on their faces.

”Scoot over,” he said to Teddy, throwing himself on his side of the bed and curling an arm around them, his fingers linking with Elia’s as she did the same next to Aegon.

He pressed a kiss to Teddy’s curls, watching quietly as his family stayed close for the last night until Teddy’s return.

 

Chapter Text

 

She’d woken to the feel of Aegon shifting restlessly, the younger boy fidgeting in equal parts excitement and sadness at the thought of what was coming.

“Egg, if you poke me one more time I’m going to kick you,” hissed Rhaenys, a spark of fire playing at her fingertips.

“Not poking you on purpose,” Aegon muttered, shifting and bumping his elbow into his sister.

Elia felt her hand quickly grasping Rhaenys’s, a small bit of water dousing the flame as she shot her daughter a warning look. The sheepish look and murmured apology was enough to get Rhae to sit up, and Elia met amused green eyes as the two siblings left the room, their light bickering heard as they shuffled to their bedrooms to get ready.

“Alright kiddo?” Harry murmured, eyes drifting to where Teddy still lay in bed, the boy’s arm sling over his face.

“I’m fine,” he muttered.

“It’s alright to feel sad about leaving, Teddy,” Harry soothed, a hand smoothing a loose curl over his forehead.

“Were you?” Teddy asked, arm shifting so that he could look at Elia, the green irises changing to mimic her dark orbs. It was startling, at times, the way Teddy fluidly shifted between their looks, small parts of Elia making itself known in his features. Warmth filled her every time, knowing it was his way of showing his love, something that became more obvious as the days passed.

“Very,” she told him, scooting closer to hug him to her. She felt Teddy bury his head in the crook of her neck, and Elia placed a soft kiss on his head. “A good thing we have letters and holidays, hmm? You’ll be home before you know it,” she whispered.

They lay there for a few moments until the roars of the dragons seemed to breathe excitement into him.

“Thanks Mum,” he said, pressing lightly against her before he was clambering over his father, a soft groan leaving Harry as Teddy gave him a swift hug before running out of the room.

A soft chuckle left her, Harry’s arm wrapping around her waist as he pulled her flush against him. Her head settled against his chest, and she could hear the strong thrum of his heartbeat.

“He’ll be fine,” she told him. “You’ve raised him well.”

“We,” he corrected, arm tightening slightly before he released a sad sigh. “I didn’t want him to deal with the burden of being my son,” he murmured, “not at Hogwarts.”

“It’s not a burden,” she replied, tilting her head back to look at his face. “Teddy certainly doesn’t see it as that, nor would he ever. He’ll be fine.”

A small grin twitched at his lips as he said,” Are you trying to convince me or yourself?”

She poked his side, ignoring the twin roars outside as he leaned forward to steal a kiss. Elia felt herself arch into him, a hand reaching to cup his jaw.

There were moments like this, when they had a number of things waiting for their attention that were ignored for a brief minute, that Elia felt how deeply they had lodged themselves into her heart. Teddy was not a child of her body, but he had become hers in every way that counted, and she was filled with the anxious joy of a mother watching her son embark on a new adventure. They pulled apart, bodies still tangled together as she felt his hand twitch, the ghostly whisper of the time forcing them to get moving.

Having one child off to Hogwarts was saddening enough for them, and as they entered King’s Cross Elia was faced with two despondent children, each competing over who was more upset over Teddy leaving.

“You’ve got your wand?” She asked when Harry left to place his trunk aboard the train, ignoring the countless eyes that drifted to the small corner they stood at. They had debated using a notice-me-not, but Harry had spent long enough hiding behind his wards that he wanted Teddy to not feel as if they still needed it.

“Right here,” he confirmed, tapping the pocket of his trousers.

Rolling her eyes, Rhaenys pulled a package out from her robes, turning to hand it to Teddy. “Egg and I got you this.”

“So you don’t blast your butt off,” Aegon added, a cheeky smile on his face.

“Not gonna blast my butt off,” he muttered, a small pleased smile on his face, and Elia shot an exasperated look at Harry as he came to a stop beside her.

“It’s a real concern,” he defended, and Aegon nodded seriously in agreement.

They had gifted him a dark leather holster, Rhaenys reaching forward to help him strap it onto his forearm before Teddy slid the twelve inch English Oak and Phoenix feather wand in place.

“Thanks,” he said, before with a slightly mischievous grin he elongated his arms, wrapping them around the two before he held them close.

He buried his face in their heads, a streak of silver flashing in his hair. She couldn’t hear what he murmured to them, but Elia saw Aegon nodding, his arm tightening around his brother even as Rhaenys released a huff of laughter.

The whistling sound of the train rang loudly, a five minute warning for them to board.

Teddy released his siblings, pressing forward to wrap his arms tightly around her.

“You’ll do wonderfully,” she murmured. “I expect letters often, sweetling, else I’ll think you’ve forgotten me.”

“Never,” he vowed, eyes black and hair shifting into Rhoynish curls. “I love you, Mum.”

“I love you too,” Elia responded, squeezing him lightly before nudging him over to Harry.

He threw himself in his father’s arms, Harry murmuring soft words into Teddy’s hair before he stepped back, hands reaching to adjust his robes.

“Try not to get in too much trouble, yeah?”

“Bar’s at the floor for that, Papa,” he replied cheekily, eyes glinting in slight humour. He stepped closer to the train, ruffling Aegon and Rhaenys’s hair before darting on board as the shouts began to close the doors.

“Bye!” He yelled from his window, hand waving rapidly as the doors closed and the hiss of the engine was heard. “I’ll send a letter tonight.”

“Send a rock cake!” Aegon cried, grinning at the sound of Teddy’s laughter floating through the window. They waited until the train began to speed up, Teddy’s arm no longer visible as the express took pulled out of the station.


They had taken the children out to eat, their minds occupied with their missing third, before an exhausted Aegon asked, “Can I take Iacomus for a ride now? I’m sad, Papa, and flying makes me happy.”

“Iacomus is not going flying with you yet,” Harry answered firmly.

“Come,” she told them, ushering the children upstairs as Harry went to check on the dragons. “Time to get ready for bed.”

They did not protest, the two giving her swift hugs before trudging upstairs.

“Bet he’ll be a Gryffindor,” Aegon said to his sister.

“Fat chance,” Rhaenys scoffed faintly. “Teddy’s going to Ravenclaw.”

“I’m going to be a Gryffindor,” Aegon boasted, voice drifting as he walked further away.

She had stiffened at their words, forcing herself to keep moving to the sitting room before sinking into the couch, her hands reaching for the needle that was kept on the table, absentmindedly embroidering the handkerchief she had left there.

Elia had known, being with Harry as she had, that there would come a time when she was forced to make a decision. Loving Harry and being loved by him was like living a continuous stolen moment, the world trying but unable to intrude on the life they had built together. It was addicting knowing that she, even as princess and mother and loved by a man who was both lord and father, was Elia here first and foremost, was herself and not what the world expected of her. That Aegon and Rhaenys were not forced to be what others expected them to be; that they had been a boy and girl living as if they were in the Water Gardens and sheltered from the childhood the Red Keep would have given them.

He’s the Prince that was Promised, her mind taunted.

She had a life here that she had not expected in her marriage; someone she loved and who loved her in return, equal parts lover and partner and something that surpassed the expectations many in Westeros had of a husband and wife. Her children were safe, she had gained another child when she had not expected such, and more and more, Elia was realizing that her reasons for returning did not hold up in the face of all she had now.

The couch dipped, the warmth of Harry’s body encompassing her as he wrapped his arms around her.

“You’re brooding,” he said, green eyes staring at her in concern as he saw the needle in her hand. “Are you alright?”

“I don’t want you to finish the ritual,” she answered, surprising them both.

“Yo-you don’t?” He asked, surprise and confusion evident in his voice.

She left the comfort of his arms and returned the thread to the table, shifting so that she faced him even as his hands reached forward to grasp hers. His brows had climbed his head in surprise, and Elia was certain she was doing what was best for them all.

“They’re happier here. Aegon doesn’t have to face the burden of being king after a war his grandfather and father sparked, and Rhaenys is free to live her life without the possibility of being forced to marry her brother,” she told him, hands tightening slightly on his. “I’m happier here. Far more than I thought was possible. What would we have in Westeros?”

“Your family,” he answered softly, his words bringing a pang to Elia’s heart. She loved her brothers, knew Doran and Oberyn were most likely going mad the longer they couldn’t find her. If they even know I’m not dead, she thought. She missed them, as she missed her niece and baby nephew. Oberyn could have children of his own now, for all she knew, but Elia knew returning to Dorne would bring trouble to her and her children, to her family and people.

“They’ll want to fight for a throne that could be lost to them,” she said, “and I’m not sure I want the ugly chair.”

“You don’t have to choose now,” he said fiercely, green eyes darkening with a number of emotions as he saw the sadness thinking of Dorne brought her. “England, Westeros; you could go anywhere, pick any of them at any time, and I will go with you. If that means we stay here then we stay, and if it means returning to Westeros then we go and I’ll curse anyone who tries to harm our children, throne or no throne, whet—”

She cut him off, yanking him forward into a searing kiss that was eagerly reciprocated. She didn’t know what she had done to have someone like him in her life, much as Harry told her how lucky he was, and she thanked the Seven for him.

“I love you,” he murmured, mouth trailing a line of fire down her neck. “I love you with everything I am,” he continued, mouth returning to hers as he whispered against her lips. “For however long you’ll have me, I go wherever you go.”

For however long you’ll have me, rang through her ears, her senses overwhelmed with Harry.

“Marry me,” she murmured, feeling him freeze at her words. Her eyes were tracing his features, their faces so close she could see the slightly freckled dot on the corner of his cheekbone that was never noticed, his lashes tickling her face as he opened his eyes.

They were blown to black, only a thin slip of green showing as she saw them swimming with love and want and a sprinkle of joy and hope. The green was gradually returning, but still Elia saw only the same emotions in them, her heart oddly calm despite the life-changing words she had voiced.

It had been just over a year now, since that night when their lives had become further entangled. Perhaps it might be too soon, but they had spent years dancing around each other and she did not want to return to a life where limited days together were a possibility.

“If you would have me, then I would have you for the rest of my days,” she said softly, voice even and low so as to not break the ambiance. There were portraits most likely listening in, the dragons outside and their children upstairs, but she saw nothing beyond Harry, his eyes focused intensely on hers. Elia felt her breath catch at the sheer want in his eyes, knowing without having to ask for an answer.

“Yule?” He asked, a slight upturn of his lips lighting his features.

“Only if we use copious amounts of warming charms,” she answered, a smile growing on her face.

“As my princess commands,” he said before pulling her into a toe curling kiss, her leg slung over his as she straddled his lap.

She was brimming with happiness, heart fit to burst at the joy she was experiencing. Things weren’t perfect, but they were far better than Elia expected, and she thanked the Seven for throwing her into Potter Hall.

 

Chapter Text

 

He felt the numerous eyes on his, the whispers that had rang out through the hall when he entered for a delayed session.

There were but hours left before he officially tied his life to hers, and Harry was anxious to get the last bits of this meeting over with so he could put together the last things he needed.

A photo of them had been taken at the insistence of his aunt, the woman catching them in a tender moment before sending it off to a friend she had at the Prophet.

“Best to get these things over with, Herakles,” she’d told him, brow arched as she browbeat him on the subject. “They will talk all they want, will speculate and gossip the moment they see her out and about with a ring on that finger. At least this way, we control the story.”

She had been right, he could grudgingly admit, the papers writing a favourable report on their engagement. There had been talk from everyone, words of congratulation and scorn slipping throughout, but Harry had been glad those closest to him were happy for them. That Griselda had shouted in joy had been a surprise, the woman looking exceedingly pleased at being able to witness the development, “before I died of boredom and old age,” she had cackled. Still now, he saw from the corner of his eye the looks she sent, interchanging between a smirk at him and a scowl for the Chief Warlock for keeping them here on Yule of all days.

Finally, the meeting was called to an end, everyone eagerly shuffling out of the room to return to their homes. He clapped Neville on the shoulder as he passed, having said temporary goodbyes to Ernie as he accepted the congratulations from his fellows.

He had seen a memory of Elia’s first wedding, knowing the number of people that had been present for the occasion. They had decided against an over large wedding, limiting it to the people they were close to and the allies they had made at the Wizengamot. A larger number than he had wanted - though he had wanted to keep it at just their family and closest friends - but he was more excited for the last part, reserved only for the five of them.

With a slight crack, Harry reappeared in the foyer of Black Manor, the greetings of the portraits ringing in his ears as he made his way to the room upstairs. They were drunk on a high, the thought of an elemental who was a princess joining their line stoking the ambitions they held.

He entered his room, seeing his sons lounging on his bed.

“Where’s your sister?”

“With Aunt Cissa,” Teddy answered. “They’re getting ready at Potter Hall, remember?”

The Potter portraits had kicked up a fuss, insisting Elia get ready at Potter Hall where they could take part. Harry had rolled his eyes at their fussing, even as Elia agreed with them, feeling more comfortable there.

“We got kicked out,” Aegon told him, sitting up to look at him. “Is it time to get ready?”

“You boys start,” he told them. “I expect you to be fully dressed, or almost there when I get out of the shower.”

They scrambled from his room at those words, knowing that he wouldn’t take too long this time. By the time he made it out, hair damp even as he tried to dry it with magic, Harry was slightly surprised to see them wearing most of their clothes.

Their ties were left undone, the material hanging around their necks as Teddy morphed his hair to mimic Elia’s; thick Rhoynish curls that were as unruly as any Potter hair, his skin tanned to bronze, just a touch lighter than Rhaenys’s. Aegon’s silver-gold hair had been cut short, a handful of Sleakeazy’s in hand as he attempted to curl it at the direction of the mirror.

“Come here Egg,” he laughed, grabbing the gel and running his hand through the boy’s fine hair. There were slight curls on his head now, keeping the hair from falling straight to his ears, and Harry wipes the gel off their hands before sending them out as he dressed.

The sky was beginning to darken as he finished buttoning his shirt, closing the silver clasp on his vest. He called the boys in, blinking in surprise as his aunt entered instead.

“Aunt Narcissa,” he greeted, pressing a light kiss to her cheek as she came closer. She was wearing pale blue robes, a few shades lighter than the ones he wore, and there was a slightly off look on her face, more open than it usually was.

“I’m sorry she couldn’t be here to see this,” she said, hands reaching forward to tie his bow tie. Harry swallowed harshly, having thought the same thing earlier.

“As am I,” he said softly.

“She would be proud of you. Prouder than I am, no doubt, considering that you were her son,” she continued. Her grey eyes were soft, hands on his shoulder as she pressed a kiss to his cheek. “You’ve built a family for yourself, Herakles. One she would be happy to have seen, and a wife she would have adored. Take care of them, love them, and live the life Andy wanted you to live; that James and Lily and Sirius wanted you to live.”

He pulled her into a tight hug, blinking back tears as he chuckled, “You’re trying to make me cry on my wedding day.”

“All thoughts of tears will leave you soon enough,” she smirked, pulling back to look at him.

There was a light knock on the door, Aegon rushing in to greet Narcissa as Teddy came in after him, Scorpius holding onto his hand.

“Uncle Draco said the guests are coming soon,” Teddy told them, letting Scorpius roam free in the room.

They had finished getting ready, and Harry put on the over robe as he took one final glance at the mirror, his eyes meeting his aunt’s. “Time to get this show going,” he muttered.

They were met downstairs by Draco and Neville, the two lightly chatting before Harry reached them, Scorpius clinging to his father.

“Well, at least you clean up nice,” Draco said, eyes sweeping over his robes. “You’re wearing your family colours.”

“It’s a Martell tradition,” he fibbed, rolling his eyes at the snark.

“Not yet married and already wedding your traditions,” Draco smirked, a flash of amused delight in his mercury eyes. “The cloaks are upstairs.”

“Thank you,” Harry said with slight relief. That particular task would have been difficult for him to complete, hiding it as he was, but Draco had gleefully claimed it was a gift for his uncultured cousin.

There was a flare of the floo, depositing the Marchbanks family, and Harry settled in to greet everyone. Draco left him, Neville heading outside to point out seats as he stood in the entryway, a son on either side of him.

It took half an hour for him to greet them all, stopping to chat quietly with McGonagall who had a handkerchief ready, before Aunt Narcissa left to get Elia and Astoria.

He felt a sharp tingle of anticipation run through him as he walked to the front, fairy lights hanging in the air amidst floating candles to illuminate the walk. There was light snow on the ground, though Harry had spent a week warding the area to keep it warm and cleared of snow, reserving the natural weather for the lake in the backdrop.

“Nervous?” Neville asked lowly, his friend stood beside him as Harry had done the year before.

“The slightest bit,” he answered truthfully. He’d hoped to breeze through the ceremony on a high, and in spite of his joy Harry was too anxious to truly settle.

“How the tables have turned,” Neville muttered, smirking in amusement before jerking his head to the entrance.

“Eyes forward young man,” Griselda murmured. The woman had surprised him with the offer to officiate the wedding; he hadn’t known she could do so, and she had scoffed and told him he was lucky she was doing it instead of some other Ministry official.

There was music playing, a soft tune he knew Elia had picked, but all thought of his surroundings left him when Astoria moved and she was standing at the end.

She walked alone, a small bouquet in hand. He did not hear anything, only the rushing sound of his heartbeat as she walked closer, certain he looked a fool and uncaring if he did.

The dress was not exactly white, an off white more likely that cut across her arms and bared her shoulders, with intricate beading throughout, the gems glinting softly in the light. She had done those herself for the most part, weaving a story into the dress to Madam Twilfitt’s surprised consternation.

He had to take a breath as she came closer, Neville’s light hiss bringing him to his senses before he was promptly lost once more when she took hold of his outstretched hand. Her hair had been curled and pinned to her head, neck bared but for the necklace she wore, and Harry flicked his eyes to see love-filled black orbs staring at him in slight amusement. He squeezed her hand lightly, feeling her swipe her thumb across his wrist, and Harry could not for the life of him focus on the words Griselda was saying.

It was only at the slight sound of shuffling behind him, Neville’s hand placing the handfasting band in Griselda’s that he tuned in. The band was a light blue with streaks of black and grey. Stitched in the silver of his house colours were small suns and spears, a joining of the two in every way. He felt her hold tighten, and Harry saw the tremulous smile on her face a they clasped arms, the band wrapping around them as her eyes lingered on the stitched Martell sigil.

Griselda led them through the vows, Harry repeating as she prompted him, hand sliding the ring on her finger as he vowed to love and cherish and protect the woman in front of him, no matter what they faced. He felt the tingle of magic as Elia said her vows, making his own private vow to follow her to the ends of the earth, or to Westeros if need be, as the partner she had chosen as she placed his band on his finger.

“...with this kiss, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may seal the bond.”

Gently, he swept her into his arms and placed a kiss, feeling the heady rush of the magic and fighting to not give in and disappear with her right then.

“I love you,” he murmured, feeling her smile against his lips as she replied in kind.

Griselda cleared her throat, and Harry took a step back, locking arms with her as they made their way inside the small garden, their children trailing after them.

The reception had been Elia and Narcissa’s child, the two women plotting to use the walled garden of Black Manor for the occasion. There were more flowers than he knew what to do with, fountains of flowing water and round tables circling an empty space in the centre for them to dance to.

He just had to sit through Neville’s speech.

The blond in question was smirking as he stood from his seat, making his way toward them as he prepared to tell the world his thoughts.

“You look worried,” Elia said, a hint of amusement in her voice.

“I have no idea what the hell he might say.”

Clearing his throat, Neville shot one last smirk at Harry before he said, “I’m sure some of you remember the first time you met Elia, and if you did not then you certainly tried to recall it when Harry here used his best man speech to make his move.”

Groaning lightly, Harry muttered, “I was feeling inspired at the time.”

“Naturally, I had to rib him for that the next time we saw each other,” Neville continued once the laughter had died down. “Imagine my surprise at learning it worked, and the man was practically skipping as he met me. I tell you, I’ve never seen Harry radiate so much joy, and I was there when he realized he was in love. Of course, we probably all saw it coming the moment he started going out. It takes a special person to get someone to reconsider sitting in the Wizengamot once more, and I tell you now I called it when we first met.”

He hadn’t been that obvious, he knew, but Neville was smiling as if this was the end to a grand joke only he saw. He held Elia’s hand in his, thumb moving in small circles as they listened to Neville speak.

“Harry, I’ve known you since you were eleven and scrawny. More than anything, I am happy to see you so happy, and happy to see that I was right about just who made you so happy. I wish you both a long life filled with love, and the continued prosperity of this family you’ve built together. To Lord and Lady Potter-Black!”

He stood to grab Neville in a loose hug as the audience echoed his cheer, stepping back as he placed a kiss to Elia’s knuckle.

“This one might fight me if I kiss you on the cheek,” he joked.

Harry sniffed at the chuckling pair before Neville left. He wrapped an arm around Elia’s waist, ducking his head down to murmur, “I believe it’s time for our first dance.”

“Lead the way, husband,” she whispered, eyes dark and knowing at the effect her words had on him.

Harry led her to the centre of the dance floor, bowing before he took hold of her hand, smiling at the slight surprise she showed.

“It’s our wedding day,” he told her. “I think it merits appropriate manners.”

He forgot the people around them, imagining for a moment that they were dancing in the ballroom at Potter Hall at night, just the two of them while the children slept and they did not have any duties to tend to.

“How are you feeling?” He asked, twirling her before pulling her firmly against his chest, smiling at the look she sent him.

“Happy,” she said, a soft smile on her face.

He heard the soft clearing of a throat, and looking down they were met with the twin stares of Teddy and Rhaenys.

“Our turn,” Rhaenys said, tugging lightly on his hand as Teddy stepped forward to take hold of Elia’s.

Laughing, Harry let her go, sketching an exaggerated bow to Rhaenys before he began to spin her around the room.

“You look happy, Dad,” Rhae told him, purple eyes bright.

“I am,” he said, grinning at the slightly smug smile she wore. “You were right.”

“I know,” she told him, grinning in delight.

He took her for another turn as Aegon danced with Elia before they swapped partners.

The night passed in that way, Harry chatting with his guests as his gaze wandered to his wife, a goofy smile on his face whenever it hit him that they were married.

“Right,” Neville said, clapping his hands together as the guests began to leave. “I’m going to head out, lest I find out just why you wanted my talents when I’ve yet to see it used.”

“No need to worry, Longbottom,” Harry said with an eye roll. “Get your head out of the gutter.”

Neville shrugged, moving forward to say goodbye to Elia and the children.

It took them some time to get rid of everyone, and Harry moved to cut in just as Elia was sending the kids to bed.

“Actually,” he said, taking hold of her hand. “There’s one more thing we need to do.”

“One more thing?”

“A surprise,” he said, smiling in anticipation.

She raised her brow, a curious look on her face even as he led her to the small gazebo off to the side.

It had been the reason he chose this Black property for the wedding; the gazebo was closed, stained glass acting as windows and reflecting off the dark marble flooring. The children had run ahead of them, and as they walked in he felt her still in surprise.

He had charmed the windows, turning the glass into reflections from the stained glass he’d seen in her memory of the Sept of Baelor. Teddy stood near them, the orange and red Martell cloak held in his hands as Aegon and Rhaenys stood near the front between the images of the Father and Mother, a cloak done in the colours of Houses Potter and Black with their combined crests on the bench next to them, the handfasting band held in Rhaenys’s hands and a crown in Aegon’s.

“Harry...” she trailed off, eyes brimming with tears.

He reached forward to cup her cheek as he whispered, “Don’t cry.”

“This is...it’s...”

He swiped his thumb beneath her left eye, a teardrop on his finger. “I know we agreed to stay here, even if I’m working on the ritual so you can see your family. But you’ve given up so much, Elia, that I wanted to give you at least this. We might not be in Westeros, but we can have a bit of your home here today.”

She kissed him, tears falling down her face as they clung to each other.

“I love you, you utterly infuriating, thoughtful man,” she murmured.

“I’m glad,” he said, “else I’d be a wreck at the moment.”

She chuckled softly against his mouth, and Harry pulled back so he could wipe the tears from her face.

“Are we ready?” Teddy asked, eyes flitting between them.

Harry looked at his wife - his wife - and felt his heart burst with love and joy.

Elia kneeled slightly, letting Teddy place the cloak on her shoulders. Aegon hurried forward, a crown of ivy and fir in his hands, red tulips twisting throughout, and Harry made his way to Rhaenys as his sons busied themselves with their mother.

She held the handfasting band in hand, and as Elia made her way to the front, the crown of red flowers resting carefully on her head bringing to mind the image of the strong princess he had fallen in love with, Rhaenys nudged him. He took hold of the Martell cloak, removing it and handing over to Aegon, the little boy folding it carefully as Teddy gave him the Potter-Black cloak. He threw it across her shoulders, stealing a kiss even as he closed the silver-wrought sun clasp. Rhaenys cleared her throat, shooting him an irritated look as she wrapped the ribbon around their joined hands.

“Look upon each other and say the words,” she told them, and Harry felt himself soar at the bright smile Elia sent him.

“Father, Smith, Warrior. Mother, Maiden, Crone, Stranger,” they said together.

“I am hers,” he said softly.

“And he is mine.”

“From this day, until the end of my days,” they finished.

“Let it be known that Elia and Harry are one heart, one flesh, and one soul,” Rhaenys continued, surprising him. “Cursed be the one who seeks to tear them asunder.”

Elia shot Rhaenys a slight look, the girl shrugging nonchalantly at her mother, before dark eyes pinned him with a look of love. “With this kiss I pledge my love, and take you as my lord and husband.”

He’d had issues with the wording, until Aunt Dorea had nearly had a conniption explaining that they meant something different to the two of them, and Harry promised to always treat her as the partner she was, and not in the sense the words had originally been meant.

“With this kiss I pledge my love, and take you for my lady and wife,” he said, sweeping her into his arms as he kissed her, her hands on his shoulder in surprise. The cloak was soft, the material hanging over his arms before falling away where he held her leg.

“I think Aunt Narcissa is waiting for the three of you,” he told the children.

They grumbled slightly, smiling and waving as they made their way to the hairbrush in the corner, the blue glow growing before the portkey took them.

He smiled at her, walking out of the gazebo with Elia in his arms.

“Where are you taking me?” She asked, head lying against his shoulder, the red flowers tickling his neck.

“That’s a surprise,” he told her, twisting with a small crack.

 

Chapter Text

 

She was in Verdic Alley with Astoria, the two women chatting over tea as Elia attempted to ignore the feeling of eyes on her. Astoria had the healthy glow of pregnancy, her second child due sometime in the spring. She and Draco had been trying for a second child for years, wanting to give Scorpius a sibling, but this had been the first time she’d passed the three-month mark.

“Have you thought on names?” She asked, idly stirring her cup.

“Something celestial,” Astoria told her. “We’ve another four months before we have to settle on a name, but for a girl I was thinking Carina.”

“It’s a lovely name,” Elia told her, smiling at the thought of a little girl toddling after Astoria. She knew enough about Draco to know he would be utterly smitten with a daughter, the man completely enamoured with his wife and son.

That Draco continued the traditions of his mother’s family only highlighted how highly he valued the women in his life.

“He wanted to name a son Castor,” Astoria added, smiling in amusement. “Narcissa talked him out of that.”

Of course she would, she smiled, knowing the woman wanted something different and unconnected to the Blacks she had personally known.

“Any plans for your anniversary?”

“None that I am aware of,” Elia said ruefully. “He’s keeping mum on the subject.”

That almost a year had passed surprised her sometimes; at times, it felt as if they had been together for such a short time, others it felt as if Elia had spent untold years living in Potter Hall.

Her eyes lingered on the yellow gold engagement ring, the oval-shaped diamond glinting as it caught the light. Her wedding band was of a similar make, though in place of a gem there were words inscribed in Parsel. She hadn’t known what they said, but he’d found a book of runes amongst the jewels kept in the Potter vault, his great-uncle insisting they use that on the underside of the bands, and Harry had continued the script into the top of her ring, what looked like squiggles interlocking beautifully.

With the fullness of my soul, I vow myself to you.

She wore rings more often since coming to this world; her engagement and wedding rings, the ring signifying her position as Lady Potter-Black, and the joint gift the children had given her before the wedding, a gold signet ring with the Martell crest etched in ruby.

“Are you well?” Astoria asked, her brows furrowed in concern. “You’ve barely eaten anything.”

“I’m fine,” she answered, hiding the uneasy feeling that swept through her.

She had felt as if there was someone watching them, keeping an oddly insistent eye on the two women, and she had half a mind to ask Harry or Draco if they had an elf following them.

“You’re holding your stomach,” Astoria noted.

“An unfortunate part of our monthly’s,” Elia murmured, seeing the sympathetic grimace on Astoria’s features. “In any case, you’re the one with a child playing quidditch in your stomach.”

“Far more actively than Scorpius did,” she grumbled. “He was more docile, a sweet baby both in and out of the womb.”

Elia laughed, ignoring the slight ache in her stomach as she teased Astoria of all that awaited her, eyes sweeping across the room but unable to see anyone or no longer feel the prickling stare.


It wasn’t until she returned home after her evening with Astoria, the kids tucked into bed and Harry tinkering with the runes he was learning in his workroom that Elia realized what was happening.

She’d gone through two pregnancies with little time between them, but she had seen her goodmother go through a miscarriage to know that was what she was experiencing. She left her dressing room at the sight of blood, Euphemia’s calls going unanswered as she hurried to her bathroom. She had thought her moonblood was coming a touch earlier, ignoring the cramps she had been feeling as routine and not a sign something she ever thought to experience after her wedding.

Elia ignored the knocking at the door, focusing on cleaning up as much as she could. Harry burst into the bathroom, his eyes going wide at the sight before he dropped to his knees before her, his hand moving to turn on the bath. He was waiting for her when she finished, and Elia was too drained to make the short trek to their room, feeling Harry gather her in his arms.

“How are you feeling?” He asked, settling into the space next to her as his arms wrapped around her.

Untethered, she thought. “I’m not sure,” she murmured, taking a shuddering breath before she buried her face in the crook of his neck, feeling Harry’s arms tug her closer.

She’d not known until now how very much she wanted this child. Objectively, she had known she and Harry would not be having children together; it was impossible, as far as they both knew, and they had Aegon, Rhaenys and Teddy. Another child had not crossed her mind, but this possibility had filled her with want and grief.

She fell asleep like that, countless emotions swirling through her as her husband held tightly to her, a steady rock despite the feelings she knew this would bring him. She’d woken a few times throughout the night, swallowing the sleeping draught on the table before she succumbed to the pull of darkness.

She woke later than usual, the sun past the midway point as she stirred, shifting in Harry’s arms. He was still wearing his bedclothes, his torso bare as he ran a hand down her back.

“Hey you,” he said softly, green eyes concerned.

“Hey yourself,” she replied.

“I spoke to a healer while you were sleeping,” he whispered, eyes tinged with slight grief and worry.

Elia felt herself stiffen, her hand cupping his jaw as she pulled him into a short kiss. “This is not your fault,” she told him, knowing he would hold himself responsible, the silly man. “It’s no one’s fault.”

He wore a sad smile as he muttered, “It is. The healer thinks we were too hasty in declaring me sterile. It’s more of an improbable chance than outright impossible, and bound to result in more miscarriages if we don’t use a contraceptive.”

No, she thought. She knew where he was leading, and Elia was unsure if she wanted to give up so quickly. More than the grief of the loss was the hope that perhaps one day there would be another child bouncing around the house; a little boy or girl that looked like a mix of her and Harry, an improbable surprise.

“Harry,” she started, already seeing him shake his head.

“There’s no point,” he insisted. “Nothing beyond the grief of losing another baby, Elia. I don’t want that for us.”

“And if I did?” She challenged, pulling back to look at his eyes, seeing the slight anger growing behind the sadness. “If I wanted to try?”

“And suffer untold miscarriages?” He snapped. “Do you know what that could do to you? What it would do to me if I had to see you suffer because of me?”

“We don’t know that,” she retorted, hand splayed against his neck as she felt the quick thrum of his heart. “The healers have already been wrong.”

“A minor difference,” he snarked, “and not something I’m willing to risk. This isn’t Westeros Elia, where you feel as if you have to provide children for your husband. I’ve already been given three children I never thought to have. I don’t need more.”

He let go of her, rolling over to sit at the edge of the bed as she forced herself to sit up, watching as his muscles tensed in anger.

“And if I want to take the chance? It’ll be me going through the miscarriage if it happens, Harry,” she told him, seeing a shirt fly into his hand.

“Good thing it takes two of us to make a baby,” he retorted, shrugging on his shirt. “I told the kids I’d bring them back as soon as you were awake and feeling better,” he muttered, leaving the room in a foul mood.

Elia leaned against the pillows, scowling at the short argument they had. He wouldn’t change his mind easily, Harry. It was something she had learned early on, the inexplicable guilt he felt at events outside of his control that caused his loved ones to suffer, even when it was through no fault of his. Simply being tied to the person caused him to fall into a spiral.

She absentmindedly filled the glass on her cabinet with water, mind focused on the possibility that had shown itself.

It was so very difficult, ignoring it now that she knew they could potentially have a child of their own; a sibling for Aegon, Rhaenys and Teddy, a pregnancy she could possibly enjoy without worry of death in the birthing bed hanging over her, a child when Harry thought it impossible.

Sighing, she put on a smile as the door banged open, Aegon and Rhaenys clambering onto the bed as they asked after her, Harry nowhere to be seen.


They stayed in an odd impasse well into the new year.

To the rest of the world, things remained as they always had, the two of them good at playing mummer in public. At home, things turned frosty at different times. Teddy had returned for the Yule and Easter hols, gaze lingering on the two of them as he frowned in discontent. They carried on as usual, able to ignore the issue for long stretches of time, but there had been a definite cooling of their ardour, no longer as easily affectionate as they had been in that first year.

She was currently walking through Diagon, Teddy holding her arm in his as they shopped for a gift for his newest cousin. Astoria had given birth to a little girl, a carbon copy of her brother at birth but that she had her mother’s heart-shaped face. Little Carina has stolen the hearts of those who met her, Draco smitten with his daughter as Narcissa doted over the first Malfoy daughter in three generations.

“Is everything alright, Mum?” Teddy asked lowly, eyes flicking around for watching strangers.

“Edward,” she said lightly, a slight warning note in her tone as she felt the familiar prickling sensation. It was there whenever she came out in public, the odd feeling that she was being watched, and Elia at times wondered if this was what Aerys felt in his fits of paranoia.

Teddy glanced around them before he pulled out his wand, muttering two spells lowly, though she knew from the slight shimmer that one of them was a notice-me-not charm.

“You’re not supposed to use magic outside of school,” she said disapprovingly.

“We’re in the alley. They can’t tell who did it,” he said, waving off her words. “Are you sure everything’s fine? You and Dad haven’t been the same since I left for school.”

“We’re fine,” she reassured him, seeing the concern in his dark eyes. “Couples have minor disagreements all the time.”

“This doesn’t look minor,” he retorted, “and I’ve never seen you and Papa fight.”

“Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen,” she said dryly, knowing they had managed to keep the children in the dark about their many disagreements. “It’s a normal part of life, sweetling. Neither of us is perfect, nor does any couple keep that early wedded bliss.”

Teddy’s brows furrowed in concern and slight disbelief, his eyes watching her carefully as she picked out a gift for Carina.

“If you’re sure,” he muttered, dropping the silencing charm as well.

She ran her hand through his curls, pressing a faint kiss to his forehead. He had grown taller at school, coming up to her shoulder. Soon he would tower over her, as would Aegon.

They made a quick stop at Madam Malkin’s, ordering school robes with some room for growth before heading home with their purchases.

Harry was in the sitting room when they arrived, a game of exploding snap open as he mock scolded Aegon for blowing up the cards too soon, and Elia folded into the space next to him, her head resting on his shoulder as she felt him drop a kiss on her head.

“Everything alright?” He murmured, green eyes soft as she turned to look at him. He caught her in a kiss, a light smirk playing on his lips as he felt her body arching into his, the infuriating man.

“I’ll be fine,” she said lowly, head falling to his shoulder as they turned back to the game, Teddy throwing himself into the space between Aegon and Rhaenys as he reshuffled the deck.

She watched her family, seeing the children laughing as Teddy ducked to avoid a face full of ash, magic dancing in the air as the ashes gathered around them, bits of it falling into their hair.

“You look rattled,” Harry said quietly, his concern obvious.

It was in moments like this when Elia forgot why she was upset, seeing his eyes crinkle in concern, knowing he worried enough for the both of them.

“Just ignoring the feeling of eyes on us in Diagon,” she admitted, smiling tiredly at him. “I’d almost forgotten how popular you were.”

He scoffed, wrapping an arm around her waist as he teased, “They love you far more than they ever did me.”

She laughed lightly, knowing his words to be true and tried to ignore the unsettled feeling in her stomach.

 

Chapter Text

 

He stared in complete surprise, unsure why he even bothered to imagine that life would be something less exciting with the terrible trio on hand. Even with Teddy off at Hogwarts, Aegon and Rhaenys found enough ways to get up to all sorts of trouble.

Case in point: the dragons that were currently hovering over the two sheepishly grinning children.

“Remind me again,” he said, a note of irritation creeping into his voice, “just why you thought it would be a wonderful idea to go flying at this time?”

“We’re less likely to be seen?” Egg shrugged, hissing at the stinging kick Rhae sent him.

Harry’s green eyes bore into hers, a headache growing as he knew that Rhaenys had had little trouble convincing her brother.

Hatchlings must learn to fly,” Auriga hissed, her golden eyes focused on his.

What is a dragon without a rider?” Iacomus added, and Harry wanted to bang his head into the nearest post at the realization that Teddy had taught the damn dragons, intelligent as they were, how to argue their way.

He pursed his lips, eyes narrowed at the no longer smiling duo. The dragons were more than large enough to go flying on, the two of them three years old and as tall as Potter Hall. He had been dismayed to learn that wild dragons often continued to grow until their death - at an excrutiatingly slow rate once they reached middling age for dragons, some fifty years after their hatching - and the Horntail and Ironbelly he had met in his teen years were not the best example of their species' full height.

“You’ll have extra chores all week,” he told them, mentally groaning at the sight of the delight in their eyes. “We start training tomorrow, and you have to take care of them yourselves. Am I clear?”

“Yes, Dad,” they chorused, wrapping their arms around him in a tight hug before bounding back to their rooms.

He was left with the two dragons, their scales glinting in the moonlight. He was a touch surprised he had managed to keep them off the dragons for so long, but with Teddy at school he knew it would only be a matter of time before they began insisting on riding them, only a year left before Rhaenys was at Hogwarts.

You might want to rest up,” he told them, sighing as they snorted and took off, the gust of air ruffling his hair.

Grumbling, Harry trudged back upstairs to his room, ignoring the snickering portraits as they placed their bets. He slid into bed, feeling Elia stir in her sleep, his wife turning to face him as she curled into his side.

“Which of them did it?” She asked sleepily.

“Both,” he answered dryly, a soft huff of laughter escaping him. “They start learning tomorrow.”

“Fantastic,” she murmured, and Harry watched as she quickly fell back asleep.

Things had not been so easy between them, the birth of Carina Malfoy only solidifying her want to have another child. She’d not said anything, wanting to avoid another argument and cooling period between them, but Harry knew what the look on her face meant.

He struggled with the thought sometimes, aching to go through with it but unwilling to see Elia suffer needlessly. Those times, he cursed himself for not using a contraceptive from the beginning, cursed the fact that she had fallen pregnant and his inability to easily have children, and cursed Tom Riddle for what he had cost him.

“It’s not as easy as you make it seem,” he murmured, eyes tracing her features. He could easily imagine what a child of theirs would look like - Teddy’s morphing habits helping him picture it clearly - and he felt a pang at the thought of what could be.


They were awake bright and early, their rooms clean and breakfast finished. Aegon had even sat for his lessons with no fuss, the boy paying close attention and asking questions without seeking a distraction as Rhaenys worked quietly next to him.

“If all it took was promising them flying lessons for him to sit still I would have done it a year ago,” Elia quipped, amused at the focus he showed. Aegon was a bright kid, but he was also restless and filled with pent-up energy, the greatest cause of any fire-related incidents in the house.

“You and me both,” he said, watching in slight surprise as they went through the day without a single incident.

When the sun had dipped beyond its highest point, Harry ushered the children outside, summoning his broom. He had a newer model, but he’d outridden a Horntail on his firebolt and trusted that he would be able to keep up.

“Right,” he said, hand on his broom as the two children stood in front of their respective familiars. “Can you feel their emotions?”

Aegon’s brow furrowed slightly even as Rhaenys nodded, her hand on Auriga’s snout as a look passed between the two.

“I can feel him,” Aegon confirmed, voice brimming with excitement. “He’s eager to go flying.”

As are you, he thought.

“Get on then, and be mindful of the bond. They can influence you if you let it, which can only lead to bad things.”

Elia had told them stories of the Targaryen dragons, including the ones that had eaten humans or crushed eggs. The dragons were more than mindless beasts, and she had stressed that point to them, making sure they knew just what they were getting themselves into.

He waited until they clambered on, Aegon and Rhaenys seated comfortably on their mounts, and for a brief moment Harry saw the two of them, older and wiser with a crown on Aegon’s head as they flew above an army.

You’re going mad, Potter, he chided himself, shaking his head to rid himself of the image.

Get ready to fly,” he hissed at the dragons.

Auriga snorted as she hissed, “We know what to do, Harry.”

Rhaenys closed her eyes briefly before she opened them, the purple orbs glowing with power as she grinned, Auriga taking off without a spoken command. Iacomus followed after her, a whoop of joy leaving Aegon as they flew higher.

Feeling eyes on him, he sent a wry smile at Elia as he said, “I don’t think they need much help on that end.”

She shook her head, eyes tracking the two children in the air as Harry took off on his broom.

He felt all his worries melt away as they always did when he was in the air, the sky greeting him as if he were an old friend. He pulled closer to the two children, seeing that their eyes still held that glint of power before he nudged his head to the lake.

“Race you to the other side,” he shouted, grinning as he took off. The firebolt was still fast, Harry flattening himself on his broom as he soared through the air.

At the feel of powerful air currents, he turned his head to see a grinning Rhaenys shoot forward, Aegon on her tail as the two chased after each other, their dragons dipping and spinning flawlessly in the air.

They’re naturals, he thought, recalling the first time he had seen them fly.

Harry touched down along the opposite shore, waiting a few moments before they flew down.

“That was bl-fantastic Papa,” Aegon cheered, eyes filled with glee.

Next to him, Rhaenys’s eyes held the same look, though Harry noticed they still held that edge of power.

“You can do it again,” he told them to their delight. “Every day, in fact, until you get the bond under control.”

“Bond?” Rhaenys asked.

“You can feel Auriga can’t you?” He asked, waiting for the nod. “That’s a good and bad thing. Good because it lets you communicate easier. Bad because you can let the bond overpower you, and the last thing you need is to fall to your dragon.”

They sobered at his words, realizing what it was that he left unsaid. Targaryens had gone mad from years of inbreeding, but a part of Harry knew it was even more dangerous to have an uncontrolled bond at play. Atlantis had been rumoured to be the result of a elemental-familiar bond gone wrong, a cautionary tale for young magicals bonding with their familiars.

“We’ll run through occlumency exercises,” he told them with a grimace.

“Occlumency,” Aegon sounded out. “There’s a book in the library.”

“It’s easier to learn with an instructor,” he grudgingly admitted. “But I expect you both to go through the book first.”

He waited for them to agree before he lounged along the shore, wand out in case of emergency as the two gleefully hopped back on their familiars, the sounds of their laughter reaching his ears as he watched them fly as if the sky was theirs and the air bent to their whim.


“Again,” he pressed, ignoring the slight look of frustration on Rhaenys’s face.

The occlumency lessons had been going relatively well for two children as wilful as they were. It was hard getting them to calm their restless minds, but they’d found some tactic that worked for them, drawing on their mother’s element to calm them.

Until they realized that upset children made for upset dragons.

He had seen the slight glow of power in their eyes whenever the dragons were within arms reach, had insisted on the occlumency to help control their growing powers. They had underestimated how powerful the bond truly was, but seeing Auriga rear her head when Rhaenys had slipped while playing, flames building in her mouth as she sought the danger to her rider had been enough to hammer home just what they were dealing with.

Had Teddy not been near to calm her, he had no idea just what could have happened. As it was, they had less than a month before he expected her Hogwarts letter to arrive; less than a year to get a better handle on their bond so as to not have an angry dragon landing in the middle of the Transfiguration courtyard.

“Come on Rhae,” he cajoled, knowing he had pushed her hard. “One more time. Call Auriga to you and then send her back.”

Rhaenys closed her eyes, taking a deep breath as she focused on the tendril of magic that tied her to Auriga. He heard the roar, smiling as the large Horntail swooped down behind her, the dragon fondly nuzzling her rider. He gave them a moment, seeing Rhaenys pat her snout as she murmured something too low for him to hear.

They weren’t parselmouths, but the bond allowed Aegon and Rhaenys to communicate with them in ways that went beyond the verbal.

Auriga stood on her hind legs, wings stretched before she took off with two powerful flaps, soaring overhead as Rhaenys carefully watched, the dragon returning to the corner of the grounds she had made hers, lounging amongst the charmed stones.

“Good job,” he praised, slinging his arm around her shoulders, the two making the trek back to the house.

“That was exhausting,” she complained, leaning against him as they walked.

“It’ll get easier soon,” he soothed, knowing how frustrating it could be. “You’ve already made good progress. Take the rest of the day off, I’ll tell your mum.”

Rhae sauntered off, relieved at not having to do anything else for the rest of the day as Harry wandered toward the library. Elia wasn’t there when he looked, and he wracked his brain to figure out where they could have gone.

“She’s out for tea,” Aunt Dorea drawled, grey eyes flicking to the portrait in the corner, his grandmother sitting in a chair next to Lemelle, Iolanthe occupying the final portrait. Behind them stood their husbands, the faces of his relatives unimpressed but for the slight tinge of sympathy in his grandfather’s eyes.

“Sit, Herakles,” Euphemia said, face impassive, and Harry swallowed nervously at the uncharacteristic use of his adopted name.

What have I done now? He wondered, sitting as he faced them - the first Potters, his grandparents, grandfather’s great-grandparents and his great-aunt and uncle, their faces showing that he was in for quite the treat.

“Now,” Lemelle began, her hand tightening on the arm of her chair. “I know you’ve not many experiences with this wonderful world we live in, Harry dear, but must you be so obtuse?”

He blinked, seeing the serious expression on her face. “I beg your pardon?”

“It’s been a year since Elia miscarried,” Iolanthe said gently, purple eyes soft in understanding

“We’re not discussing that,” he said, spine stiffening in indignation.

“Why ever not?” Uncle Charlus drawled, blue eyes hard. “We’ve been forced to watch as the two of you continue to clash on that particular subject. I do believe it’s time you had outside advice nephew.”

He bit his tongue, not wanting to lash out in anger even as he clenched his jaw in irritation.

“Do you not want children?” Caspian asked perplexed.

“I have children,” he ground out, feeling the muscle in his jaw twitch.

“But do you not want another?” Caspian pressed, moss green eyes narrowed in focus.

“Not at the expense of unnecessary suffering for my wife,” he snapped, eyes glowing in anger as he tamped down on his magic, reigning in his temper. He was beyond lashing out magically at the slightest impulse - no longer that child who couldn't control himself when provoked - but there were times when it reared its head, begging to be let loose.

To his frustration, Hardwin chuckled lightly at his words. “My boy, did you think you were the only one to face problems such as this?”

“How do you think your father was conceived?” Euphemia asked, her face softening slightly.

Harry blinked, staring uncomprehendingly at her for a few moments before he spluttered, “What? I thought he was a surprise...” he trailed off, mind racing at what he thought he knew.

“A ruse, to let the rest of the world think that,” Fleamont told him gently. "Certain rituals were banned in the last century, Harry."

“You are the first to live through two killing curses,” Iolanthe said, “but magical complications for infertility are not as rare as you think darling.”

“They’re not?”

“Why do you think we magicals celebrate certain holidays ardently?” Aunt Dorea questioned, brow raised imperiously.

He sat quietly for a few moments, mind working through the implications of their words. Without noticing, the others left the portraits until only his grandfather was left, the man staring at Harry with sympathetic understanding.

“It’s not easy, what happened and knowing what comes from it,” Fleamont said quietly.

“This isn’t a guarantee,” Harry replied softly.

“No, it’s not,” Fleamont agreed. “Your Gran and I spent years trying to have a child, and every loss was like a gut punch. You have to ask yourself, are you willing to continue this cold war between the two of you?”

He closed his eyes, exhaling deeply as he thought on the past year. Things had cooled for the most part, even if they did not let it warp their relationship. But Harry knew it was a strain they would have to address - the sooner the better, before things turned sour between them.

“You’re not the only one afraid Harry,” Fleamont told him gently. “Elia will be the one going through the experience in full; even if you feel helpless at the situation, it’ll be something you have to learn to deal with together.”

His head fell into his hands, fingers clutching slightly at his hair as he absorbed the words. They had spoken of it, in one of the rare moments when discussing it didn’t lead to an immediate argument, and Harry knew the only reason they had managed a shaky peace was because they could understand where the other was coming from.

His grandfather left him there, Harry brooding over the many possibilities that lay before him.


Rhaenys’s eleventh birthday heralded a Hogwarts letter, and Harry watched as a grumbling Aegon pored over the letter alongside her, the little girl beaming in happiness. Teddy had sent a letter of his own pre-emptively congratulating his sister on the letter he insisted was going to come, a drawing of Rhaenys on Auriga, her dark curls flying in the wind accompanying it.

“You’ll need a wand,” he mused, a slight tinge of worry coursing through him as he thought about how they would mask their abilities.

“I’ve never used a wand,” Rhaenys said in surprise.

He exchanged a wary look with Elia, knowing but unsure of how to describe the danger their abilities might put them in.

“There aren’t many people that have the same control, sweetling,” Elia said, leaning forward in her seat. “Everyone at Hogwarts uses a wand, and you’ll be learning more than how to control your element.”

Purple eyes narrowed slightly as Rhaenys glanced between them. She was too smart for her own good, and Harry understood the slightest bit how Dumbledore might have felt when he first asked about the prophecy.

“Can we go flying?” Aegon cut in, eyes dark as he shared a quick look with his sister.

“Only for an hour,” he warned, watching them run out of the room, twin roars letting him know they had called the dragons closer.

“We’ll have to tell them soon,” he murmured.

“Yule,” Elia said absently, eyes tracking them through the window. “Once Teddy comes home for the holidays.”

“Actually,” he murmured, hand grasping hers nervously as he waited for her to look at him. “I’ve been thinking.”

He felt Elia stiffen, dark eyes blank as she stared impassively at him. He hated himself in this moment for putting that expression on her face, and Harry tamped down on his nerves as he scooted closer.

“Yule is as good a time to try for a baby,” he said, ignoring the urge to run a hand through his hair.

“Are you saying this because you want a child or because the portraits talked you into it?” She asked, voice measured.

His hand tightened the slightest bit, leaning closer to her and hoping she saw his sincerity. “I want a child with you. I was scared, and unwilling to watch you go through a continuous cycle of loss, but I’m tired of letting fear rule me. The portraits might have just helped me realize that last bit,” he added sheepishly, waiting with bated breath for her answer.

At the sight of softening eyes, Harry surged forward, capturing her lips in a soft kiss. “I’m sorry I was being such an ass.”

“Has anyone told you that you burden yourself unnecessarily?”

“You might have made mention of it a few times,” he muttered, pleased at the small spark in her eyes.

He held her close, unbearably relieved at removing this one big obstacle. Things were by no means certain and it could not work as he hoped, but Harry was willing to squash whatever fear he held.

“You’re fine with just one, right?” He asked, uncertain of where they might find themselves.

She laughed at his words, “Not willing to raise a quidditch team?”

“I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to be enjoying a house empty of kids in the next two years,” he told her, hand idly rubbing circles on her arm.

“Why Yule?” Elia asked, her head tilted in curiosity.

“The solstices are better for certain rituals - unless we wait for Beltane. Besides, I’ve a ruined anniversary to make up for,” he said, a wicked smirk on his face as he kissed her once more.

 

Chapter Text

 

Harry’s hand was rubbing slow circles on her back, and Elia was torn between glowering at him to stop and quickly excusing themselves from tea. There was a knowing glint in his eyes as a light smirk tugged at his lips, and Elia cursed him as she listened to Narcissa speak of the plans to expand the gardens.

Pregnancy had brought a number of changes to their lives, chief among them a more amorous relationship and a husband who very much delighted in that fact.

She shifted in her seat under the pretence of pouring another cup of tea, contemplating whether it would be worth it to dig her heel in his foot.

“As you two are quite clearly interested in other activities,” Narcissa drawled, grey eyes watching as her words brought a stop to her movements, “perhaps you can tell me what is on your minds.”

“What are talking about, Aunt?” Harry asked innocently. “I’d like to know what you plan to do to the gardens next.”

“You’re far more interested in your wife, Herakles, and I do not need the specifics of your marriage. I can see enough to venture a guess as to what was running through your head,” she added dryly, bringing a sharp flush to Harry’s face.

Elia leaned back in her seat to watch as his aunt teased Harry, enjoying the flustered expression on his face.

Her hand rested lightly against the gentle swell of her stomach. She was just over three moons gone – the pregnancy easily hidden behind the robes the Wizarding World preferred to wear. As someone who often wore dresses underneath or in place of, Elia had taken them out herself, covering the growing baby bump.

Narcissa’s eyes were sharply focused on the placement of Elia’s hand, a sudden quiet falling between them.

“Herakles,” she said, eyes flicking to his before she returned her stare to Elia.

There was a gentle smile on Elia’s face, her happiness radiating through her as she locked eyes with Narcissa. “It’s still early days,” Elia told her. “But the healer is confident everything should go well.”

She did not expect the well of tears in Narcissa’s eyes, the usually unflappable Malfoy Matriarch showing a rare level of emotion that was reserved for her immediate family.

Narcissa leaned forward, her hands grasping each of theirs as she sent a radiant smile at them. “Congratulations, both of you.”

Elia felt slight tears gather in her eyes, blinking them away as she watched Harry stand, a soft kiss and hug for his aunt before he mumbled something about finding the restroom.

“I did not think it was possible,” Narcissa admitted, eyes soft as she moved into the chair next to Elia. “Andromeda used to say Teddy was his salvation after they discovered it.”

“Nor did we,” Elia replied. “It was only at the three month point that we believed it could happen.”

Narcissa’s eyes sparkled in delight as she murmured, “A solstice baby.” Her words brought a slight flush to Elia’s face, remembering the night vividly.

Elia smiled again, leaning into Narcissa as the woman wrapped her arms around her. “I’m glad, darling, truly.”

It was odd how natural the transition between them occurred. At some point, they had gone from friendly interactions to a deeper relationship. She was no longer a mere friend – hadn’t been for years now – but more closely resembling a mother, Elia the daughter she never had.

“Have you thought on names?” Narcissa asked.

“Something celestial,” Elia answered, lips curving into a fond smile at the softening of her face.


They were curled together on Rhaenys’s bed as close as Elia’s stomach would allow, the mother and daughter spending their last night together amongst the drawings and posters plastered on her walls.

“Are you sure you don’t know what you’re having?” Rhaenys asked, purple eyes glinting in muted delight as the babe kicked at her palm.

“A quidditch player,” Elia grumbled, running a hand across her stomach as if it would help settle the babe.

Her insides had taken quite the hit, this child as active as she imagined Oberyn had been in her mother’s womb.

“If it’s a boy, you’ll name him Cepheus right?” Rhaenys asked.

“If it’s a boy,” Elia agreed, though a part of her felt it wasn’t. Call it intuition, but she imagined a little girl with thick Rhoynish curls instead. “We agreed to wait until the babe was born, sweetling.”

She waited, head resting next to Rhaenys’s as her daughter wrestled with her emotions. Despite her joy at a new sibling, Rhaenys had spent the past weeks walking around in an odd daze, her eyes troubled as she struggled with unknown thoughts. Elia had spent several nights soothing her as she curled between her and Harry, her nightmares returning. She would be off to Hogwarts in the morning, no longer so close to her mother, and Elia felt the oddness of parting with her daughter, a slight fear that crashed through her before she calmed herself.

They were no longer in Westeros; no longer at the Red Keep under siege, no swords making their way to take them however they deigned. She had watched her daughter live a life Elia might not have been able to guarantee in King’s Landing, and Hogwarts was merely the next stage of Rhaenys’s life.

“Were you scared when you left Dorne?” Rhaenys asked softly, hands picking at Elia’s dressing gown.

“I was,” Elia told her, carding her hand through Rhaenys’s hair. “It’s not easy, leaving one’s home. I was homesick that first year, even when I knew what was expected of me.”

Even after, she didn’t say.

She quietly lay next to her, soothing Rhaenys as she waited for her daughter to speak of what truly bothered her. Rhaenys was not Teddy, leaving a home that she had known meant safety and having to deal with the weight of being the son of war heroes.

“Mama,” she whispered, her head nuzzling closer. “Did my father leave us?”

Elia forced her hands to continue moving, resisting the urge to still at Rhaenys’s words knowing she should have expected them soon.

“What brought this on?” Elia questioned, dark eyes flitting to her daughter’s face. Rhaenys had closed her eyes; her brows pinched and the rest of her face blank as she attempted to hide behind her occlumency.

“I want to know before I go to Hogwarts,” she told her, voice strong and unbending. “You never talk about him and…”

“And?”

“He’s never there,” Rhaenys whispered, face crumpled the slightest bit. “In the dreams, he’s never there when they come, when…when I ask him to come.”

Elia felt her heart crack at hearing the note of despair in Rhaenys’s voice.

What could she say to that? Rhaegar had left, absconding with the daughter of a Lord Paramount and leaving them to deal with the fallout of his actions. Had he returned immediately, the answer might have come easier to her, but she had not seen him for months before he had ridden into King’s Landing, a prince gathering his army while his children remained in the grip of his mad father.

“Do you hate him?” Rhaenys asked her, purple eyes staring at Elia’s dark orbs. There was very little of Rhaegar present in her; but for the eyes and the slope of her nose, Rhaenys was very much a Martell.

I did, she thought. I do, she knew.

“It is easier to forgive the dead,” Elia answered. “Even more when you do not live in the shadow of their actions.”

She felt the wet drop of tears, pulling Rhaenys closer as she whispered, “I hate him.”

They spent the night together like that, Elia’s arms wrapped around her daughter as she cried one last time for the father she would never again see.


Had she been in less pain, Elia might have found it in herself to be more amused at the situation, watching her usually calm husband shift between nervous panic and unabashed joy.

Her labour pains had started two nights ago, and it wasn’t until this morning that she was certain the baby was ready to come out.

If there was one thing she would say about the Wizarding World, it was that she was profoundly glad they didn’t force her to start pushing until they were certain her body was ready.

Harry had been in a slight panic, fretting over the pain and flooing the healer. They had checked her over before telling them there was still time. Having gone through two labours, they asked her to floo them when she was certain she was ready.

She clamped down in pain, her hand gripping Harry’s as the healer and medi-witch bustled around the bed. When offered the option for a home birth, Elia had leapt at the chance, not wanting to stay in the sterile hospital rooms when she could remain in the comfort of Potter Hall.

Harry had insisted on staying, sitting half behind her as she leaned back against him, a small towel in his other hand that he used to wipe the sweat off her brow. He didn’t show any pain, even when she knew her grip hurt him, soft words leaving his lips.

It was strange; despite living in the Wizarding World for nearly a decade, there were some things Elia had taken too long to get used to. Her husband in the birthing room had been one such thing she had recoiled at slightly, though being with him now removed the oddity of the situation.

“You’re doing wonderfully,” he murmured, pressing a kiss to the side of her head as the healer hunkered down in front of her, urging Elia to push.

A part of her rebelled at the thought, her body remembering what came after Rhaenys and Aegon’s births; but things were different now – she was different, was healthier and not left to the tender mercies of people with their own agendas – and so she shoved the slight apprehension away.

A wave of pain crashed through her, a scream torn from her throat as she pushed and pushed, hearing the slight crack of glass as the cup next to the bed shattered, water falling to the floor.

She didn’t know how much water there was, but she guessed from the tingle of magic across her back – the feel of it so very distinctly Harry’s – that he was working to limit it. A rather unfortunate side effect of nurturing her powers was it’s pesky habit of rearing it’s head at odd times, and a delirious chuckle left her, mind imaging the look on her former goodfather’s face had this happened with any of the other births.

It felt like an eternity, felt as if it happened between the span of several heartbeats, before finally, the healer urged her to push one more time, the babe’s head crowning.

Her screams were joined with the squalling cries of a babe, the child slipping out as Elia felt the release of pressure, falling against Harry’s chest.

“A girl,” the healer told them, the two of them cleaning the babe as she felt Harry press a kiss to her cheek.

A girl, she thought, heart expanding with love for the small child being brought over to them. Another daughter, she thought, unbidden.

The healer busied herself with cleaning Elia as the medi-witch placed their daughter in her arms, Harry’s hand coming underneath to help support her.

She was so very tiny; little fists moving as she fussed the slightest bit, turning in her swaddling clothes. She had a head full of hair; thick and black that curled haphazardly, a mix of both her parents. Her eyes were closed, lashes falling against skin the same bronze hue as Elia’s own, and she was certain she would see bright green eyes.

“Shhh,” she crooned, feeling the tears in her eyes as she held her closer. “You’re fine, sweetling. We have you.”

She felt Harry’s chin on her shoulder, leaning her head against his as he murmured, “She’s perfect.”

His voice was shaky and thick with awe and tears, and Elia knew they fell freely down his face.

“She looks like Rhaenys,” Elia murmured, recalling the short glimpse she’d had of her firstborn shortly after her birth, before the pain had put her in a weeklong sleep.

“She looks like you,” he said, a finger running across the side of her tiny face before he held her hand. Maia’s nose twitched the slightest bit, her hand curling around Harry’s finger as she yawned.

They sat together quietly, watching their daughter sleep in their arms before she felt him shift to arrange the pillows behind her. He stood to escort the healer and medi-witch out, stopping to press a firm kiss on her lips.

“Thank you,” he breathed, green eyes glowing with joy and love. He kissed her once more before he left her alone with their daughter and the very many feelings she brought with her.

Beneath the joy and love was overwhelming relief. There had been a few times, throughout the course of her pregnancy, that Elia had grappled with the feelings it brought, knowing she would have what others had sworn was an impossibility. Greater than that was the relief of having a child not bound to destiny or fate; one free from the machinations of gods or princes, free from a life meant only to mimic those that came before her.

“You are mine,” she whispered, leaning her forehead against Maia’s, her hands curled against Elia’s face as she breathed her in, silently contemplating the marvel that was her newest babe.

Harry returned, an excited Aegon fidgeting next to him before the boy broke free, her son halting as he neared the bed.

“Is that the baby?” he asked, shifting to get a better look. “Papa said it’s a girl.”

“Come here, sweetling,” she told him, patting the empty space next to her.

Aegon crawled onto the bed, sinking into Elia’s side as he stared enraptured at his sister. His purple eyes were wide, cataloguing every part of her. “She looks like you,” he told her. “But squished.”

Harry barked a laugh, green eyes dancing as Elia replied in amusement, “You looked like that. Just as small.”

“Can I hold her?” he asked, eyes cautious as he sat up, folding his arms beneath her body as he half cradled her, a tanned finger running across her hair. “What’s her name?”

“Maia,” Harry answered, a soft smile on his face as he looked at what was gathered of their family. “Maia Andromeda Potter-Black.”

“Maia,” Aegon tested, nodding firmly in approval. “I like it,” he told them, a touch smug at being the first of her siblings to hold her.

Maia stirred in her sleep, blinking her eyes open to stare at a delighted Aegon, green, green eyes peering innocently at the purple orbs staring intensely at her.

Elia felt a tingle of magic, her own stirring in recognition as Aegon watched his sister, an unknown promise passing between them as Maia fell back asleep.

Aegon smiled at them, a full grin so characteristic of her son that Elia once more felt love swell for this family of hers.

 

Chapter Text

 

He ignored the countless eyes that were focused on him, turning his green orbs to the hat singing on the stool as he attempted to mimic his parents. His father didn’t like going out much, but his mum had always worn a composed face, a slight smile on her face whenever she was at a party, and it was her face Teddy recalled.

He was equal parts excited and terrified, worried he might be the first ever sent home unsorted and chiding himself as he knew that had never happened.

Teddy clapped absentmindedly, eyes catching those of the Headmistress as the names began.

He clapped for each student, cataloguing those with ties to former Death Eaters and the ones he knew were either muggleborn or related to an Order member.

“Potter-Black, Edward,” he heard, and Teddy hid his grimace with a deep breath, feet carrying him to the stool as low whispers broke out.

“That’s him,” he heard someone say, “Harry Potter’s son.”

“Bloody hell, looks just like his Da.”

“Ten galleons he ends up a Gryffindor.”

His vision was blocked, a strip of fabric covering his eyes as he heard soft chortling in his head.

“Potter-Black, hmm? Quite the curious surprise there,” the hat rumbled, voice hoarse. “Difficult, quite difficult. Just like your fathers you are.”

“My fathers?” Teddy asked quizzically.

“Hmmm,” the hat said, muttering to himself. “They were difficult to sort as well, though Lupin was the easier one.”

“Oh.”

“Oh indeed,” the hat agreed, before he barked out a sudden laugh. “Intelligent, you’d do well in Ravenclaw. What’s this? Dragons? Quite resourceful and ambitious; Salazar would fight a duel to have you in his house. A parselmouth as well? You could do well in Slytherin.”

Teddy kept quiet, letting the hat work itself into a decision as he ignored the mutter regarding preferences. His birth parent’s had been a Gryffindor and a Hufflepuff, his papa a Gryffindor and his grandmamma a Slytherin. Teddy didn’t care which house he ended up in, so long as he had one.

“Not Hufflepuff, no. You’re loyal, definitely loyal to those siblings of yours, hard-working too. But not much for trusting others, not after what you saw your father go through. Perhaps Gryffindor?

Certainly a bold child, teaching dragons to speak. I see courage in you, young one, and a stout heart.”

He resisted the urge to swing his legs, worried at how long it had gone on for.

“You’ve lived quite the interesting life, I must say. Curious, so very curious as to how the world works, how magic works.”

The hat laughed, slightly delighted as he came to a decision. “You could have gone to either house, child, even if Salazar would be disappointed. But you are far too curious for your own good, and RAVENCLAW will serve you well.”

Teddy stepped off the stool as Professor Flitwick took the hat, a pleasant smile on his face as he tipped his head to the table just to their left, his tie and emblem changing to match the Ravenclaw colours.


Dear Mum and Dad, Egg and Rhae,

I’m a Ravenclaw! I guess Rhae wins that bet.

Hogwarts is great! There’s a small library in the Ravenclaw common room, nothing like the one we have at home, but swear one of the books was written by Rowena Ravenclaw herself.

We start classes tomorrow. I’ll send another letter soon. I miss you all.

Love,

Teddy


Dear Mum and Dad,

Classes are going well. Flying class was a breeze, and Professor Flitwick is bouncing at the thought of quidditch trials next year. The Hogwarts library is massive; I can’t believe how many books they have! The older Ravenclaws say we can get passes to the restricted section as early as third year.

I’m doing fine. I haven’t had to morph to avoid people but there might have been a small accident with a slug and an upper year.

Love,

Teddy


Dear Egg and Rhae,  

Haven’t found the Chamber of Secrets yet, but if Papa let’s anything slip let me know. I’m pretty sure it’s underground somewhere, but I can’t wander around the dungeons just yet.

I met Hagrid! Broke my tooth on a rock cake so be careful with it Egg. That spell worked on the first go Rhae. I wish we had pictures so you could see it, but slug bogies are totally disgusting.

I’ve gotta run to Potions. I’ll send a letter soon.

Love,

Teddy


There were few times Teddy was quickly reminded that he was the son of the Man-Who-Conquered.

He’d not taken his dad’s titles seriously, knowing him only as Papa, the man who made silly faces to entertain him, who took him flying, let him stay up late reading and taught him most of what he knew alongside his siblings.

For the students at Hogwarts, Harry Potter was a larger-than-life figure that they either viewed with awe or disdain.

He ducked behind a suit of armour, seeing the spell crash harmlessly against the wall.

“Oi, mutt. Don’t worry. We won’t take too long,” a voice taunted.

His jaw tightened at the words, eyes narrowed as he saw the two boys looming over him.

Therin Rowle, he thought, recognizing the blond from the few times he accompanied his father on business. The other boy was unknown to him but his eager participation pointed to the son of a lesser Death Eater. Or a sympathizer.

Teddy straightened, spine stiff as he refused to cower in front of them. “Can I help you?”

“Just wondering how they let you into Hogwarts,” Rowle said, wand in hand as he glanced at Teddy with cruel blue eyes.

“Sullying Hogwarts and the Black line with the blood of dirt and a mutt, as well as traitor blood,” the other boy sneered.

“You know,” Teddy drawled, doing his best impersonation of Aunt Narcissa when she was unimpressed, his wand dropping into his hand. “I know you’ve got shit for brains, Rowle, but I didn’t think you were stupid enough to attack the son of a Wizengamot lord out in the open.”

Anger flashed in Rowle’s eyes as he spat, “You filthy mudbl—”

“What’s going on here?”

Teddy flicked his eyes over Rowle’s shoulder, seeing the Head Boy standing there with his wand in hand and a steely look in his hazel eyes.

Joseph Brown’s cousin had been in his dad’s year, a fellow Gryffindor who had been attacked by Fenrir Greyback during the war. Despite being a Slytherin pureblood, Brown barely tolerated half of his housemates.

He especially disliked Rowle, Teddy knew from the whispers, and the way he looked at the other boy only confirmed it.

“We were just catching up,” the unknown boy said.

“Is that so, Dallard?” he sneered. “I’m sure the two of you are fairly close with Heir Potter-Black.”

Dallard had a light scowl on his face, though Teddy saw uncertainty flash in his blue eyes as he glanced at Rowle.

“We’ll see you around, Heir Potter-Black,” Rowle said with a sardonic bow.

Joseph Brown waited until they left, mouth thin as he glanced at Teddy. “Have they bothered you often?” he asked, walking down the corridor next to Teddy as he made to escort him upstairs.

“I’m fine,” Teddy said. “This was the first chat we had.”

Joseph frowned. “Let me know if they try anything. Some people forget this isn’t the Carrow’s Hogwarts.”

“Sure,” Teddy said, silently promising it wouldn’t come to that. They forgot they were Slytherins, and Teddy was a parselmouth with a cloak and a map.


Edward Remus Regulus Potter-Black,  

I know your Professors have no way to prove it was you but I am well aware of just what your father has given you.

Good on you for standing up for yourself, though worms are a bit disgusting kiddo. I’m sure he’ll think twice after waking up to a box of that.

At least try to stay out of trouble for the rest of term (but I’ll understand if you must do something). It’s not easy refusing to be called names but I’m glad you’ve avoided putting him in the hospital wing.

Don’t forget you’re a metamorphmagus!

We will be discussing this in detail when you return for the holidays.

Love,

Mum and Dad


Dear Mum and Dad,

To be fair, I didn’t ask for it to happen. He insulted the family, and honour demanded I answer the insult. I promise I won’t go looking for trouble.

Also, congratulations! I can’t believe you’re finally getting married but I’m happy, and I know Egg and Rhae are happy as well. Does this mean I get to come home early for Yule? Professor McGonagall sends her love. I’m pretty sure I saw tears in her eyes.

I miss you all.

Love,

Teddy


Dear Teddy,  

That was wicked! Phineas swears nobody knows it was you.

Mum says you’re grounded, but we heard them talking. You’re fine. Ignotus said he wanted us to read a book of bonds in the library. I’m sending you the bit we found. Can we do it?

Say yes!

Love,

Egg and Rhae


Dear Egg and Rhae,  

I’d ask for a picture of Auriga and Iacomus, but I’m pretty sure Dad said we’re not allowed. Have they grown? How tall are they now?

I’m practising new words to teach them, even if they’re learning really fast.

Classes are great; DADA is my favourite so far, but Potions is a close second, even if half the ingredients look odd. I sent a small bit of colour-changing potion. Let me know if it works on them!

I read the paper. It could work, but we have to find the ingredients without letting them know.

Love,

Teddy


Dear Teddy,  

The potion didn’t work. Iacomus was upset that we gave it to him. He’s not happy with Egg right now.

Auriga’s as tall as the house! Iacomus is a bit taller, but they don’t fit inside anymore. They mostly sleep near the lake, where Dad charmed the rocks warm.

We’re happy you’re coming home. That way you can tell us everything that happened. Ignotus said there’s a small store in the lab at home. Or we can ask the Black portraits. They’ll help.

Love,

Egg and Rhae


Dear Mum and Dad, Egg and Rhae,  

Being back is different for second year, but I’m glad I don’t have to wait for a prefect to lead us upstairs.

Professor Flitwick gave us packages for our extra classes next year, and he expects a meeting with us to talk about each of them. There’s so many to choose from, but I promise I’ll stick to two, three at the most. Quidditch trials are next week. I forgot to pack my broom! Can you send it please?

I’ll send a letter soon. I miss you all.

Love,

Teddy


Dear Teddy,  

I’m happy you’re close to finding out where the Chamber is! I hope you figure it out before I get there.

At least before I get there. What’s it like being on the Quidditch team?

Mum’s been sick for the last week so you might want to send her a letter. She says she’s fine but she looks sad, and Dad doesn’t look too happy either.

We went riding the other day. It was fantastic. You have to draw it when you can!

Bloody amazing! I can’t wait to show you when you get back.

Don’t tell Mum and Dad or we’ll all be grounded. We found the last ingredient! Aunt Cassie’s portrait told us where it was.

Did you know the Black’s have augury skulls in their labs?

We miss you.

Love,

Egg and Rhae


Dear Teddy,  

I’m fine, sweetling. There was no need to worry you over nothing. It was a slight stomach bug, nothing to be concerned over.

How are your classes going? Has Professor Flitwick said anything over your course choices? Do be careful when you play Quidditch. I’m sure the last thing you want is a visit to the hospital wing for something avoidable.

We’re all well, beyond the usual scrapes Aegon and Rhaenys find themselves in. I’m sure they’ve mentioned it in their letters to you.

I’ll see you in a few weeks time.

Love,

Mum


He knocked lightly on the door, waiting until he heard Professor Flitwick call for him to enter.

His Head of House’s office was filled with scrolls and books, each tucked neatly into the shelves that lined his walls. Most were books on Charms; papers he had written or former students sent him. There was the smaller collection on DADA, and a slightly larger one on Runes and Arithmancy.

An upper year had told Teddy they could borrow the books once they reached their NEWT years, and he was itching to have a look at them.

“Mr Potter-Black. Please, have a seat,” Professor Flitwick said, rolling the parchment he had been scribbling on.

Teddy fell into the chair in front of the desk, his bag lying on the floor against his leg as he waited.

“Now, then. As you are now in your second term, this is when I typically discuss course options with you. You’ve done very well in all of your classes, top of the year for DADA and Charms, so I can’t see myself having any issue with your extracurriculars. Have you thought on what you would like to take?”

“Ancient Studies for sure,” Teddy told him, remembering the many nights he had spent holed up in the library at Potter Hall, reading through the books his ancestors had left behind, or listening to the stories the portraits told them or the ones his mother had of Westeros.

“A small class, that one. Do you understand what it entails?” Professor Flitwick asked.

“It’s…sort of like history,” Teddy frowned, shaking his head. “No, not really. It’s more like ancient history, but with a focus on ancient magic.”

“Yes and no,” Professor Flitwick smiled. “Ancient Studies is the study of the ancient magical world – exploring the different ways we have practiced magic throughout civilizations, the different advancements we have made, and a focus on certain systems of magic. Students who take it are encouraged to take Ancient Runes as well, as you’ll be working with it.”

“Oh,” he said. “Runes was my second choice but…”

Flitwick’s dark eyes stared encouragingly at him, and Teddy said, “I wanted to take Arithmancy as well.”

“Hmm. Typically, students take Arithmancy with Runes, so it is expected. Three courses might be more work than you expect, especially considering your position on the quidditch team. Do you have any idea what it is you wish to do?”

“Not really,” Teddy admitted. “Dad mentioned we have career counselling in fifth year.”

“We do,” Flitwick agreed, “but I find that it’s best to prepare students for these things when they pick their electives. A number have found they have to take certain classes later on because they chose on a whim.”

“I’m not sure yet, but I know I want to take those three,” Teddy said firmly. “I can handle the load.”

“As it stands, there are a number of options with the classes you have chosen,” Flitwick told him. “Take some time to think it over. You have until the end of the year to register for classes, though we do accept last minute changes no later than the first week back.”

“Thanks, Professor,” Teddy said with a small grin.


Teddy frowned as the train pulled away from the station.

He’d said his goodbyes to everyone at home, and his father had dropped him off at the station alone.

He was attempting to draw his siblings in the sketchbook they had gifted him for his birthday, his name etched into the leather and spelled to keep wandering hands away so he could freely draw the dragons and their riders, but his mind kept wandering to his parents.

Things were infinitely better than they had been during the Yule hols, the underlying tension not so obvious that he knew they were putting on a front. But there had still been something there; something left unsaid that left an uneasy feeling in his stomach.

For as long as his parents had known each other, he could count on one hand the number of times he had seen them argue, and even then they usually resolved it by the end of the day.

That something was so obviously wrong was clear from the fact that they hadn’t made up quickly. That they hadn’t cleared the air months later raised all sorts of alarms in his head.

He sighed, leaning against the window as the door to his compartment opened and his roommate walked in.

Eric Williams was a half-blood war child with a wicked sharp tongue, something that usually got him in trouble whenever someone mentioned his family.

“How was the hols, Teddy?” he asked, falling into the seat across from him, a worn book in hand.

“Busy,” he answered; green eyes flicking to Eric’s bright blue ones before returning to his drawing. “Yours?”

“Loud,” Eric huffed. “My parents decided to spend it as a family, and spent more time arguing over stuffing. Parents,” he shrugged.

Parents, Teddy thought, listening as his friend recounted the yearly argument his parents seemed to hold, fervently hoping that whatever happened between his own was resolved soon.


He walked underneath the cloak, footsteps muffled as he weaved around the snogging pair of prefects in the corner, tiptoeing down the steps to the second floor.

Tomorrow was a Hogsmeade visit, and Teddy was determined to find the Chamber before he went back for a second trip to the little village.

Papa had told him a few stories of the Room of Requirement - something he was distressed to realize was no longer a well-kept secret, the whole of Hogwarts hearing of the hideout for Dumbledore's Army - and Teddy needed a place to safely go through his many spells and projects. That Rhaenys would be coming to Hogwarts next year was extra motivation, knowing his sister would badger him into finding it.

He heard the soft yowl of a cat, Mrs. Norris's nose sniffing at the air, and Teddy cursed under his breath before he shifted on his feet, ducking into the bathroom behind him. The cat followed, scratching at the door before Mr. Filch nudged it open.

"Come, my sweet," he said. "Where are these blasted children?"

Mrs. Norris stalked forward, and Teddy held his breath, slowly stepping backward until he felt himself press against the tap.

"What do you want?" a high-pitched voice screeched. It was the ghost of a young girl, eyes obscured behind large glasses.

Moaning Myrtle, he thought, having heard of her from the girls in his year.

Filch's lip curled in disdain as he stared at the ghost, her eyes narrowed as her ponytail swung about her shoulders, dislike evident in her face.

"Not seen any brats, have you?" he asked gruffly.

"Not in my bathroom. Take your cat and leave," she sneered.

Filch sneered back at her, turning to leave the room as he grumbled about disrespectful ghosts.

Myrtle blew a raspberry at him before she flew into the toilet, screaming as the water sloshed out and flooded the area.

Filch cursed, growling as he ran to get his supplies, and Teddy grabbed onto the tap, lifting himself on to the sink to avoid the water.

It was as he was shifting that he felt it, hands curled against an odd groove in the handle.

A grin split his face, staring at the carving of a snake on the tap of the girl's bathroom as he saw a few more like it.

Bingo, he thought.

There wouldn't be time tonight, but he knew enough now to come back and explore another day.

He would have to do something nice for Mrs. Norris. Maybe get her catnip, or a new toy.


“Oi, Teddy,” Egg grinned as he swooped low overhead; the snow melting the slightest bit from the heat Iacomus gave off. “What are you smiling about?”

Mum and Dad are as happy as they were after the wedding, he thought, not willing to tell Egg that. His brother was always grinning, and though Teddy knew he was a smart kid, he didn’t want him cottoning on to the fact that something had been wrong in the first place.

“Rhae eating all of your dessert after she beats you,” Teddy told him, laughing as their sister darted past, Auriga hissing in joy as Egg shouted and tried to catch up.

Teddy had offered to babysit while his parents went out for their anniversary, and that had turned into this game of aerial tag they had going on, Auriga and Iacomus sweeping low to hover close to him as he tried to read through his Ancient Studies assignment.

Little speaker,” Auriga hissed, the black dragon coming to land in front of him. Despite the cool winter weather, Teddy and his siblings wore light coats when near the dragons, their bodies radiating heat.

Is it time for you to go hunting?” Teddy asked, eyes glancing at the sky. They had been outside for a few hours now, the three of them coming out just after they ate lunch.

Auriga leaned forward, her snout close to Teddy as he received the dragon equivalent of a fond peck. He placed his hand on her nose, fingers tingling from the warmth as Rhae dropped off to stand next to him.

He felt the soft bump of her snout against his chest before Auriga pulled back a few steps, Iacomus taking the lead as they flew further into the grounds.

“Last one to the house gives up dessert!” Egg hollered, cackling as he sprinted away from them.

“Oh, you wish Egg,” Rhae shouted, legs carrying her away as she chased after him.

Teddy ran to catch up, laughing as he stretched his legs and saw the faces they made when he passed them.

He shortened his stride too soon, turning to tease them when he found himself at the bottom of the pile, their limbs tangled as they fell to the ground in front of the doors.

“Guess we all keep our desserts,” Teddy said, poking Rhae when he heard her snort before they dissolved into a fit of giggles.

It’s nice to be home, he thought.

“Did you figure it out?” Rhae asked. “Mum and Dad aren’t home to stop us.”

“Easter hols,” he told her. “They’ll probably go out another time, and we can do it then. I’ll work on the potion at school.”


Dear Teddy,  

Thanks for the chocolate! I’m pretty sure Mum took most of the first batch, but Dad just keeps laughing when we bring it up.

I think they know you snuck out to Honeydukes. Sorry!

Egg’s a bad lookout. We’ll have to keep that in mind.

I’m not that bad. Did you make the potion?

Love,

Egg and Rhae


They were sitting in the solarium, the three of them in a small circle as Teddy finished adding the potion to the chalice.

“Ready?” Egg asked, shifting in excitement as he held the ritual knife.

“We’re ready,” Rhae said, a sharp exhale leaving her as they realized what they were about to do.

They would probably be grounded a few weeks for doing this while Mum and Dad were visiting Aunt Narcissa, maybe more depending on how their parents took the news. Teddy was hoping the pregnancy would help them accept it easily.

Teddy reached for the knife, nicking his finger and dropping a bit of blood in the potion. He saw the slight glow as his blood touched the potion, nodding in satisfaction as he handed the knife to Rhaenys. She did the same, handing it over to Egg to complete it.

There were three smaller cups, and Teddy poured the potion into them before he handed it to his siblings.

“Bottoms up,” he muttered, grimacing slightly at the taste. There was a slight tingle of magic making the hair on his arm stand up, and Teddy grinned at the thought that it worked.

“Did you feel that?” Egg asked as he rubbed his arm.

“Let’s go check,” Rhae said, scrambling to her feet as they made their way to the tapestry room.

The blue wall that held the names of every Potter had changed after the wedding to show the name Elia Martell stitched in silvery-grey next to their father, two solid lines connecting them. Where once Teddy’s name was listed below Harry’s, a single thread holding them together, it had changed to mimic another unfinished thread, the magic beginning to show the new addition to the family as it dropped down from the lines connecting their parents.

He grinned openly at what was between his name and that of their as yet unborn sibling; there, in same silvery-grey thread were the names Rhaenys and Aegon, all of them connected to their parents.

“I didn’t think it would do that,” Rhae muttered, staring at the lines that had formed.

“All magic is formed by intent,” Papa’s voice said dryly. “And you three very clearly intended to be one family.”

They froze, not knowing when they had returned home and cringing at the possible reaction to what they had done.

Teddy turned slowly, seeing his father standing there with a quirked brow. Their mum was there too, passing Harry as she came to peer at the tapestry.

“I can explain,” they said at the same time, the three of them exchanging looks as they waited to see what would happen.

“That you made a blood adoption potion?”

“Well, yes,” Teddy admitted. There was a slight glint in his father’s eyes, and seeing the small, amused smile his mum wore, Teddy turned accusing eyes at his dad. “You knew.”

“You were looking for restricted ingredients in our inventory,” Papa grinned. "And this is a potion that is regulated. Just had to make sure it wouldn't hurt you three."

“You didn’t stop us,” Rhae said, a confused look on her face. “Why didn’t you stop us?”

“Did you want us to?” Papa asked.

He turned back to the tapestry, seeing their mum standing with a hand on the swell of her belly, dark eyes tracing the stitching that defined their family relations.

“Does that mean we aren’t in trouble for this?” Egg asked, and Teddy stifled a groan even as their parents laughed.

 

Chapter Text

 

She caught sight of the castle towering over them, it’s foundations built on a hill, and Rhaenys felt her breath hitch at the sight.

Hogwarts was beautiful; the towering castle something out of a story as lights glinted in the windows, the moon bathing them in pale light.

Her hands tightened on the mirror in her pocket, resisting the urge to use it and describe what it was she saw, understanding what her dad meant when he said you had to see it.

He had pulled her aside this morning before they left, her mother hustling a despondent Aegon into getting ready as Rhaenys nervously shifted in the sitting room, trunk packed and waiting near the floo.

“My godfather gave this to me, when I was just older than Teddy,” he had told her, unwrapping the package in his hand to reveal a small mirror. It was the size of her hand, longer than it was wide with delicate framing.

Rhaenys had stared in confusion before he smiled, pulling out an identical mirror. “Rhaenys,” he said, and she had watched in astonishment as the mirror rippled before showing Harry’s face.

“In case you need to talk,” he’d said, and Rhaenys had thrown herself into his arms, relieved that home was only a short call away.

They were led into the castle by a hulking giant of a man with greying hair – Hagrid, she recalled from her dad’s stories – where a tiny professor welcomed them to Hogwarts.

Her eyes drifted into the crowd, the quick flash of silver drawing her attention to where Teddy sat at the Ravenclaw table. There was a smile on his face as his friends whispered amongst each other, winking as he answered a question.

It wasn’t until she sat beneath the hat that Rhaenys realized she was less nervous than she expected.

“Ha!” the hat said, laughing in her head. “Well, well. There’s no question about where you are headed.”

“What?” she asked, perplexed at the hat’s immediate confidence.

“An elemental hiding in plain sight,” he muttered, causing her stomach to clench in surprise. “Ah, worry not. I’ve sorted hundreds of minor elementals, though none as powerful as you. And the dragons! Bold child, but you yearn to step out of your name and you’ve the cunning to make it happen. Better be, SLYTHERIN!”

The table on the far right began to clap, some of the Ravenclaws joining in politely as Teddy glowered at an older boy sitting closer to the middle, his blue eyes staring coolly at her.

Rowle, she remembered, having met him at one of Aunt Narcissa’s parties. Oh joy.


Dear Mum, Dad and Egg,  

I’m in Slytherin! Pretty sure Dad guessed that years ago.

It’s been nice seeing the common room, though my favourite part has to be the view of the lake. Pretty sure I saw the Giant Squid.

I’ve got to get to bed. They have an early start tomorrow laying down house rules. I miss you all.

Love,

Rhae


The common room was covered in green and silver, the furniture black as the lamps glowed brightly.

Her favourite part of it so far was the large window along the back wall that looked out into the Black Lake, flashes of light making it’s way past.

The first years were lined up in the middle of the common room, the rest of Slytherin house arrayed around them as the upper years stood at the front, eyes watching for any sign of weakness.

There was a girl in the centre – Isla Higgins – the current leader of the upper years, the rest of them practically deferring to her. Rhaenys might have liked her had it not been for her close relationship with Therin Rowle.

The older boy stood next to Isla, lounging arrogantly as his blue eyes focused on Rhaenys, face blank but for the spark of dislike in his eyes.

“Welcome to Slytherin house,” Higgins said, gesturing to the room at large. “This is the greatest and proudest of the houses, and we take that reputation seriously here. Outside those walls, you represent Slytherin and you do not embarrass us.”

She stared sharply at them, eyes lingering on Rhae as the girl wondered just what Teddy had done to have them stare at Rhae as if she were a problem waiting to make itself known.

“I exist,” had been his answer when he had gone through what she was to expect at Hogwarts. Teddy had spent a week highlighting the major players in Slytherin house, knowing where she was likely to be sorted, and pointing them out at the annual ball the Ministry held.

Rowle’s family were not shy in hiding their dislike of Lord Potter-Black, and Rhae had been prepared by Teddy to face any repercussions for being Harry’s daughter, the rest of the world having an inkling as to how close he was to his wife’s children.

“If you start a fight you are expected to finish it. If you bite off more than you can chew, then you deal with the consequences in house. Am I understood?”

The first years murmured their agreement, waiting until Isla dismissed them. Two pairs of eyes followed after Rhaenys and she straightened her spine.

I’m a princess by birth, she thought. They don’t scare me.

There were worse monsters out there than a pair of seventh years that depended on magic to gain the upper hand, and Rhae had spent years trained by the man who had defeated their precious dark lord.


Dear Egg,  

I haven’t found the Chamber yet, but Hogwarts is interesting. Takes a little getting used to with the wand.

How’s Maia? Are you keeping busy?

You’re not getting up to too much trouble are you?

Ignore Teddy. He’s pouting because you met Maia first.

I am not pouting. Give her our love.

Take Auriga up for a fly please. She’s bound to get a bit lonely with just you and Iacomus.

Miss you little brother.

Love,

Rhae and Teddy


Dear Rhae and Teddy,

I’m fine. Papa’s been taking me out so Mum and Maia can rest. She won’t understand if I give her your love, Teddy. All she does is sleep.

Auriga won’t let me take her flying, but she goes up with Iacomus and I. Papa spends enough time chatting with them.

I heard them say a few words! It sounded like when Maia talks.

You didn't forget you have the mirror right? I miss you guys.

Love,

Egg


“Psst! Rhae,” came the hissed whisper, Rhaenys trailing behind her year mates as she stared at a spot to her left.

A disembodied hand reached out, yanking Rhaenys under the invisibility cloak as Teddy hustled her forward, steering her back up the steps.

“What are you doing?” she hissed, noting that he had shortened to her height, the better for the cloak to fit with them both.

“I want to show you something,” he said, leading her along the second floor corridor.

“In the girls bathroom?” she questioned, slightly amused that Teddy would venture inside. “Is there something I need to tell Mum and Dad?”

“No,” he snapped, face flushed under the pale lighting.

Hogwarts had been in session for a month, and it had taken Rhae an embarrassingly long time to recognize that Teddy had a crush on one of his year mates.

“Why the bathroom?” she asked, leaning against the nearest sink.

Teddy smirked, wicked glee in his eyes as he hissed a slightly unintelligible word. She yelped, scrambling toward him as the sink began to shift outward and sunk into the ground. There was a gaping hole in the floor, wide enough for three people side by side, and Rhaenys alternated between staring at the floor and the smug look on her brother’s face.

Teddy grinned suddenly, running forward and leaping into it, a whoop of glee escaping him.

“Are you out of your mind?” she hissed, stepping closer to peer into the darkness.

“Come down!” Teddy’s voice echoed. “It’s fine, I promise.”

She scowled into the darkness, sighing as she thought about what she was about to do. She trusted Teddy, and it was only her love for her brother that convinced her to jump.

It was a slide, winding downward as Rhae plummeted feet first into the darkness. Teddy was waiting at the end to catch her, and Rhaenys flew into his arms, causing him to stumble slightly.

At the sound of crunching feet, she looked down to see the bones of rats, nose wrinkled in disgust.

“Haven’t got around to cleaning this bit yet,” Teddy said sheepishly.

There was rubble to their side that had been cleared, a path winding to a door that had snake fixtures. Teddy hissed once more, the words beginning to sound familiar.

The snakes circled the round door; the sound of locks opening filled the air before it swung open with a hiss.

Rhaenys felt her eyes widen at the sight of the cavernous room, snake statues lining the walkway and the caricature of a man with a giant beard along the back wall.

“Is this…” she trailed off, head turning this way and that as she attempted to see as much of it as she could.

“Welcome to the Chamber of Secrets, Princess,” Teddy said with an exaggerated bow.


They were met at the train station by their parents, Rhaenys sinking into her mother’s hug as the trunks were shrunk and they flooed home.

“How was school?” her mum asked, hand absentmindedly brushing the soot from Rhaenys’s shoulders while they walked to the sitting room.

“Busy,” Rhae answered, smiling impishly at the look her mother sent her as Dad muffled a snort.

“Rhae!”

She barely had time to prepare before Egg was flying into her arms, sending Rhaenys toppling into Teddy as the younger boy wrapped his arms around her. They fell into a heap on the hallway floor, Teddy cushioning her fall as she landed on his back.

“Egg,” Teddy groaned. “All this because you missed Rhae. Really little brother,” Teddy teased lightly, “I’d think you didn’t miss me at all.”

“I’ve seen you leave every year,” Egg retorted, grinning as he stretched to wrap his arms around them both.

“Will you let me get up?” Rhae hissed, squirming as that seemed to encourage Egg to tighten his grip.

“Aegon,” Mum said, amusement obvious in her tone.

“Had I known you would remain a pile on the ground, perhaps I would have waited for you to find your way here,” Aunt Narcissa drawled, grey eyes dancing in the light as she stared down at them.

There was a baby in her arms, and Rhaenys felt Teddy stiffen next to her as they stared at the child.

She looks like me, Rhae thought in slight surprise. Her mother had told her so when they spoke, but babies changed all the time.

Maia was reaching out for their mum, hand outstretched and a gummy smile on her face as she was pulled into Elia’s arms.

“So, not only does she look like you,” Teddy teased. “She’s just as attached to Mum a—”

Rhaenys cut him off with a sharp poke, ignoring the grinning boy as she took her father’s outstretched hand.

Aegon scrambled to his feet, dusting his clothes as he made faces at Maia, the little girl giggling as her hair flashed silver.

Oh, she thought, noticing the colour return to it’s original black.

“She’s a metamorphmagus,” Teddy said in surprise.

“Get’s it from your Gran,” Dad told them, a wry grin on his face as he saw the flash of glee on their faces. Having a little metamorphmagus in the house was bound to cause all sorts of trouble, and Rhae was slightly disappointed Maia wasn’t older.

“She can’t hold her morphs,” she noted, realizing Maia’s hair hadn’t shifted when in Aunt Narcissa’s arms.

Dad shrugged, a look on his face that suggested he didn’t know how these things worked.

“Rhaenys. Teddy,” Aunt Narcissa greeted, sweeping forward to pull them into a hug. “How was school?”

“Educational,” Rhaenys told her, an innocent smile plastered on their faces.

“That’s all we can ask for,” Aunt Narcissa told them airily, a conspiratorial smile aimed at them before she said her goodbyes.

“Come,” Dad said, steering them into the sitting room. “You can properly meet your sister.”

Rhaenys and Teddy sat on their mother’s left side, Maia seated in her arms as the child looked at them with bright green eyes.

“Maia,” Mum said, hand lightly gripping Maia’s chunky fist. “Say hello, sweetling.”

Maia babbled at them, drool escaping her mouth as she grinned in delight, green eyes bright.

“Can I hold her?” Rhae asked, shifting closer as her mother promptly placed Maia on her lap, her hand supporting her back.

Maia stared innocently at Rhae, eyes momentarily flashing purple so that she looked like a miniature copy of Rhaenys.

“I’m her favourite,” Egg boasted, drawing Teddy into a small argument as the two boys argued over which of them Maia would love the most.

“They’re being silly,” she told the little girl. “I’ll obviously be your favourite. We sisters have to stick together.”

Maia babbled in agreement, and Rhae grinned at her parents, extremely glad to be home.


She had been itching to leave the common room, unable to stand the constant dance of barbed words when they were so boring.

Really, she grumbled internally, anyone could do better.

All Rowle did was strut around the common room, glowering at anyone he thought inferior to him – which was everyone – and having his cronies sing his praises. Even when he was terrible on a broom and the reason they lost the match against Hufflepuff.

Unfortunately for Rhaenys, the library was crowded with upper years frantically preparing for assignments as the professors drowned them in OWL and NEWT prep, the room of requirement was like to be in use and not worth the trek from the dungeons, and she still needed Teddy to get into the Chamber – though she was working hard to correct the last bit.

To her relief, she spotted her brother in the entrance hall, robes soaked as he came in from a round of quidditch practice.

“Teddy,” she called, speeding to catch up to him.

“Rhae,” he waved off his teammates, moving closer to meet her halfway. “What’s up?”

“Can I borrow your broom?” she asked, eyes wide as she stared at him.

She could see Teddy struggle with what to say, knowing there would be no supervision on the pitch and it would be dark soon.

“I’ll be fine,” she pressed. “We always go flying alone at home.”

“Against the rules,” he reminded her, a light smirk on his face as she scowled.

“I’m done all my assignments,” she told him, needling Teddy as she watched him falter the slightest bit. “Slughorn thinks it’s a fine idea.”

“Slughorn thinks everything is a fine idea,” he muttered in mock disdain.

Rhaenys widened her eyes once more, stifling the urge to grin as she saw Teddy give in.

“One hour,” he warned her.

“You’re the best brother,” she told him, quickly wrapping him in a hug before she took hold of the broom.

Teddy’s fourteenth birthday gift had been a brand new broom, the new z-class of the Firebolt series – faster, sleeker, and with better manoeuvring. Dad had a similar broom, though his was built for the speed needed by seekers.

“How touching,” Rowle drawled, a sneer of disgust on his face. “Think your sister can hold her own in the air?”

“At least I know which way is up,” Rhae retorted, seeing Rowle’s face darken in anger.

“Got a problem Rowle?” Teddy asked coolly, eyes flashing.

“It’s cute is what it is,” Rowle sneered. “Little girl thinking she can handle the sky.”

“Ten galleons says she does it better than you,” Eric Williams cut in. Teddy’s friend had a taunting smirk on his face as he said, “What’s wrong, Rowle? Not willing to test your mettle against a little girl?”

She sent him a sharp look, one he ignored as he continued to taunt the older Slytherin.

“You’re on, Williams,” Rowle spat. “Come on, then. Let’s get this over with so I can spend my time with real fliers.”

Rowle sauntered off toward the pitch, his group of cronies next to him as Dallard loudly took bets on how badly he would beat Rhaenys.

“Please tell me you didn’t just set her up for embarrassment?” Renee Vance asked.

“Teddy’s spent years telling me how good his siblings are at flying,” Eric told her, slinging an arm across Rhaenys’s shoulders. “When have you known him to be wrong?”

Teddy flushed the slightest bit as Renee looked at him, quickly hiding it with a morph, and Rhaenys promised to tease her brother mercilessly as they walked to the pitch.

“You will kick his ass, right?” Eric asked lowly. There was a slightly pleading look on his face, and Rhaenys smirked at the thought of overconfident Eric Williams worried over a race.

“What’s in it for me if I do?”

“I’ll grab you whatever you want from Hogsmeade next trip,” Eric bargained.

“I have a brother to do that,” Rhae snorted, laughing at the wounded look on his face.

“Oi, Ted,” Eric called, disrupting Teddy’s conversation with Renee. “Your sister runs a tough bargain.”

“She’ll talk you into something you aren’t prepared for if you’re not careful,” Teddy laughed.

The short walk to the pitch with the Ravenclaws had seen more people join their group. The entire Ravenclaw and Slytherin quidditch teams were there, a few scattered Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs, and Hagrid. Someone had managed to put up a slight obstacle course, rings floating high in the air at different intervals.

She made her way to the edge of the pitch, Teddy following beside her as they met up with Dallard and Rowle, Felix Gibbons off to the side.

“Gibbons will keep score,” Rowle said with a sneer at them.

“Hastings as well,” Teddy insisted, one of his teammates making his way forward.

“Suit yourself,” Rowle growled, eyes flicking to Rhaenys. “Three laps around the pitch. You pass through each ring and weave around the hoops. Try not to get burnt.”

Rowle smirked nastily at her, moving into position as he swung his leg over his broom.

Eric clapped her shoulder, winking as he told her, “I’ve got ten galleons on you kid.”

Teddy walked the few steps to the starting position with her, his voice low, “I know it might be tempting, but try not to burn him.”

“I wouldn’t dare,” Rhae replied with her most innocent smile.

Snorting, Teddy lightly ruffled her hair before heading back to his friends.

“Right then,” Hagrid boomed, his old dog Fang at his side. “Clean race fer the both o’ ya, yuh hear?”

They nodded, ignoring Hagrid’s mutters as Felix Gibbons and Gregg Hastings raised their wands, the tips sparking before they shot flares into the sky.

Rhaenys kicked off, feeling the rush of wind and the freeing sensation that came with flying. Laughing joyfully, she leaned forward, shooting forward as they weaved through the rings, the heat of the fire comforting as she rolled into a turn.

Rowle was ahead, smirking back at Rhaenys as they reached the end of their first lap.

Laugh it up, she thought, zooming past Teddy and hearing Eric William’s faint yells as she came up on the goal posts, curling smoothly into the final sprint of the second lap.

She pressed forward, feeling the broom vibrate as she began to gain on him. The seventh year was bulkier than most seekers, and as she passed she flashed a smug smile in his face, turning through three rings as she swung into the final sprint.

As the last rings came into view, Rhae noticed them moving up and down, the course made difficult as a commotion began down below. She sailed through them as if they were non-existent, quickly touching down amongst cheering students.

Eric grabbed her in a hug, swinging her in a circle even as Rhaenys kicked him to let her down.

She felt the prickly stare on the back of her neck, eyes catching the dark look Rowle sent her. She smiled, seeing him scowl and clench his fists as his eyes flicked to Teddy next to her.

Serves you right you bloody git, she thought, laughing as Teddy sent him a cheery wave.


“I can’t believe you beat him!” Egg crowed, indigo eyes sparkling in humour as he grinned at Rhaenys.

“You can’t believe it?” she asked, affecting hurt even as her brother rolled his eyes.

“I can,” he amended. “I can’t believe you did it so publicly.”

“He chose to agree,” Rhaenys shrugged, knowing it had been a sting to his pride.

“Papa thinks it’s the greatest thing ever,” Egg told her, leaning forward as if Rhaenys were seated in front of him.

“Of course he does,” she thought fondly. Harry Potter had put them on a broom as soon as he could, and Rhaenys knew the man enjoyed seeing a bully shown up by a talented flier.

“Flying as the sun went down,” her mother’s voice cut in, Egg perking up in his bed as he shuffled around. “I suppose I should be glad you’re not injured.”

“Not a scratch,” Rhaenys assured her, seeing Maia come into view. “Hi Maia!”

“Ma!” the little girl cheered. “Egg!”

“Ha! Told you I’d be her favourite,” Egg said, smug satisfaction oozing from his tone.

“Because your name sounds like food,” Rhae retorted, smirking at the flush on his face.

She made faces at Maia, delighting in the little girl’s laugh as Egg tried to defend himself.


The common room was louder than usual, the house celebrating the win against Gryffindor that cost them the Quidditch Cup as they passed bottles of butterbeer around, the upper years lounging in their corner with firewhiskey they had managed to sneak in.

Slughorn had demanded retirement and the man was never the most attentive Head of House when he had been willing to stay, letting the upper years do as they pleased so long as it didn’t spill over into the rest of the school.

“Three passes around the bloody pitch and he still managed not to get the snitch in hand until Vaisey smacked a bludger in the Hufflepuff seeker’s hand,” Derrick Fawley snorted, butterbeer dangling from his hands as he lamented the failure of their seeker.

“Let him hear you and you’ll be dirt in the ground,” Harmen Shafiq warned, eyes flicking to where the quidditch team sat together.

“He is terrible,” Fawley insisted, brown eyes swivelling to Rhaenys. “You agree with me, don’t you Targaryen? He’s a bloody terri—”

“—Rhaenys embarrassed him on the pitch, of course she agrees with you,” Josephine Davies retorted.

The common room door slid open, the students quieting as Professor Slughorn walked into the room, his eyes scanning them as he smiled jovially.

“Ah, there you are,” he said, making his way to the small gathering of first years.

“Professor,” they greeted, polite smiles fixed on their faces as he eagerly greeted them all.

“Hello, hello,” he said. “Ms. Targaryen, I believe you had an appointment with Professor Flitwick?”

An appoi—Rhaenys blinked, eyes narrowed the slightest bit at their ‘professor’ before she nodded in faked realization.

“Yes, of course,” she said. “I forgot I asked a few questions about my last essay.”

Josephine rolled her eyes, muttering about working too hard even as Rhae aimed a slight kick at her shin.

“Come along, dear girl,” he said. “You can use the floo in my office.”

She smiled, gathering her things as she followed after him.

Rhaenys waited until they were making their way into the secret passage before she hit his arm. “Professor Slughorn?”

“Who else has access to the common room?” Teddy shrugged. “He won’t know what happened. Imagine if I had to play McGonagall?”

Rhaenys shuddered at the thought, knowing he would be dragged to the Headmistresses office by the ear if word ever reached her, their parents called in to deal with the unruly metamorphmagus.

Why anyone thinks Teddy an innocent saint is beyond me, she thought. Her brother had learned at Grandpa James’s knee, causing all manner of mischief from when he had been born according to Dad, his birth parents a former Marauder and a mischievous metamorph. That he was older than Egg and her had done nothing to curb his habits, the two of them joining in his mischief.

“Next time you want access to the common room you can just impersonate me,” she told him, pouting as he snorted, fumbling with the door to the Chamber.

“Fat chance, Rhae,” he teased. “You’ll have to find another way to go about your dastardly plans.”

“Not nearly as bad as you think,” she muttered.

“You spent years learning from Mum and Aunt Narcissa,” he said dryly. “I know more than I need to.”

They had cleaned the Chamber a bit more, Teddy using the time they spent here teaching her all manner of charms as he could. That Rhaenys could let some of her elemental abilities out was a bonus to their study sessions.

“Has he bothered you?” Teddy asked in concern.

“No,” she shook her head. “He’s kept his distance for now.”

Teddy’s jaw tightened, eyes flashing to the dark orbs of their mother before he nodded tightly.

“Come on then,” he said, falling into a duelling stance. “Try and disarm me.”

He ducked, glowering at her from the floor, as he hissed, “Not with your bloody fire.”

“Oops,” she grinned, dragon heartstring wand falling into her palm as she felt their magic crackle in the air.


They sat together on the grass near the lake, Maia in her lap as she kept a tight hold on the squirming little girl.

“Stay still Maia,” she huffed, shifting to accommodate her.

“Papa warded the lake once she started walking,” Egg told her. “Maia can’t get in alone.”

“Oh,” she said, releasing the little girl so she could wander around. Maia had practically skipped over the crawling face, running around as soon as she could. Auriga was lounging in front of them, Iacomus next to her and Maia toddled over to them, her small hand raised to lightly grip what she could reach.

She’d nearly had a panic attack the first time Maia had gone near the dragons; worried they would be too rough with her and unknowing of how they might react to her presence. Perhaps it was a side effect of their bond, or maybe the dragons instinctively knew Maia was not to be harmed, but they had been gentle with her, entertaining the little girl and holding still as she played with them.

Or that she’s a parselmouth, Rhae thought with a grin, hearing the hisses escape her mouth.

Their mother had taken it in stride that Maia often spent time speaking to the dragons, limiting how long she do so lest “she forget how to speak to the rest of us.”

“Are you going to tell me what’s bothering you or do I have to guess?” Rhaenys asked, watching the troubled look on Aegon’s face.

“Doesn’t it bother you? What he did? What almost happened to us?”

Oh Egg, she thought, throwing her arm around her younger brother. He had spent the entire year asking tough questions, she knew, and his lessons when younger had given him enough to come to a conclusion.

Aegon remained stiff, not leaning into Rhae as he might have on a usual day, his eyes focused on the blades of grass he was pulling apart.

“He’s dead and we’re not,” Rhae told him. “And we’re not planning to return to Westeros anytime soon. Not beyond Dorne at least.”

“He’s not entirely dead,” Egg scoffed. “I look just like him. How do you think Mum f—”

“No you don’t,” Rhae denied, rolling her eyes at the look of disbelief her brother shot her. “Not really. You have the same hair and eyes, but your skin is darker, and you look a bit different."

He wasn’t Rhaegar writ small, not like how Maia and Rhaenys so closely resembled each other, and Egg had more than enough of their mother in him to differentiate between them.

“I’m glad we’re not going back,” he told her. “I don’t know what I would do if I had to be king after that.”

“We wouldn’t let you go it alone,” she said, knocking her hand lightly against his. “Besides,” she teased, a light smirk on her face. “Let’s see how the meant-to-be-mighty King of the Seven Kingdoms handles a magical school.”

Egg snorted, a smile lighting his features. “I promise not to overwhelm your house with my greatness, princess,” he drawled, face drawn in an accurate impersonation of Uncle Draco that sent her into fits of laughter.

 

Chapter Text

 

He winced slightly, easing the tight grip Maia had on his hair. She looked upset, pouting fiercely even as he curled an arm around her.

“What’s wrong, little love?” he asked, smiling as she continued to pout. It was more adorable than anything else, and Harry pressed a kiss to her soft curls.

He had lamented at the sight of them, seeing the wild hair that was undoubtedly a Potter inheritance. The Potter women had laughed, those born into the family sympathizing with Maia and offering tips on how to ensure it didn’t end up looking like the hair their male relations sported.

It had been many years since there had last been a baby in the house – Aegon just past a year when they had first come – and Harry and Elia were relearning the many ways a baby could get up to no good, a magical baby at that.

Maia’s accidental magic had kicked in sometime during her sixth month, summoning the small toy that had been charmed to relieve her aching gums.

“Mama,” she said, reaching for Elia.

Despite the nursery, there were some nights Maia spent in their room, and Harry scooped her in his arms as he sat up in bed, moving away from his sleeping wife.

“Mama’s tired,” he muttered, knowing Elia had spent most of the week by Maia’s bed, the little girl colicky.

“Mama,” she insisted, hand outstretched toward her mother.

“Mama needs her rest,” he smiled, pressing a kiss to her cheek as he ran a hand down her back, attempting to lull her to sleep.

Maia continued to pout, brightening the slightest bit as he conjured small coloured bubbles. It was the dead of the night, the rest of the family sleeping after the excitement of the past week, the ritual complete and a prefect badge arriving along with the Hogwarts letters for Teddy and Rhaenys.

He had hit a breakthrough months earlier, able to open a small portal between the ritual room in Black Manor and the Peverell home drifting in it’s own parallel universe. All he had left to do was calculate the time differences, adjusting the ritual to account for the shorter calendar used in Westeros and make certain the two time streams were as closely aligned as possible.

Easy enough, he had guessed, once more lamenting his poor choices in school.

It would take several more months combing through their timelines with Elia before he felt confident enough to attempt the changes, certain that they would work and helped by the small bit of felix felicis he had taken before completing it, thankful it hadn’t dragged him on an adventure.

Maia’s babbling forced him to raise a one-way silencing ward, singing an old lullaby in quiet tones as she giggled, her toothy smile and bright green eyes melting his heart. He was a goner, wrapped around her finger as he had been her sister and brothers.

She fell asleep against his shoulder, and Harry adjusted his grip, letting her head rest in the crook of his neck as he continued to hum, waiting until he was certain she was fast asleep.

They had decided to wait before attempting the ritual. Maia was not yet a year, younger than Aegon had been when he’d crossed dimensions, and the risks of arriving unconscious in Westeros were greater with a small babe.

Three years, Elia had decided, was the minimum age Maia had to be before they attempted to cross, refusing to go alone in case of separation.

Westeros would be a different place from when she last saw it; darker, perhaps more dangerous – certainly for their children – and grasping at any potential player in the game of thrones, she had told him. They would spend these next years preparing to face her family, to offer some aid to the country, and face the possibility that the family she loved could no longer be there.


All coherent thought had been pushed from his mind, Harry gleefully giving in to the attentions of his wife.

Having the kids off to Hogwarts, while bittersweet, meant more time alone but for the small child running around the house. Maia had worn herself out some hours ago, the little girl napping as her parents reacquainted themselves.

“Don’t you have somewhere to be?” Elia asked, nails scratching wonderfully against his scalp.

“Hmm?” He was distracted, idly rubbing circles on her side as they remained tangled. He felt boneless and temporarily sated, unwilling to leave when he had her all to himself.

She was smirking, dark eyes twinkling at the effect she had on him, and Harry pushed himself up to catch her lips, drowning himself in the feel of her.

“Much as I would love to continue,” she murmured, “You have a meeting to get to.”

He groaned against her mouth. Hang the bloody meeting. There are more wonderful ways to spend my time, he thought, before he sighed. Duty called, and Harry had become a dutiful tosser.

“I’ve got an hour before I have to be there,” he remembered, grinning at the short laugh his words garnered.

He made it to the meeting just before they were seated in their private room, hair freshly dried with magic and glamour in place, ignoring the look Neville sent him.

“Harry,” Ernie greeted.

“Lord Potter-Black,” a guest said, voice low and raspy.

“Lady Wilkes,” Harry said in masked surprise, blinking as the woman sat amongst them as if they had not spent years at each other’s throats in the Wizengamot.

There were four others besides Harry, Ernie, Draco and Neville.

Emmeline Wilkes sat proudly, as if this were not a business transaction with people she despised, Everett Gibbons to her left and Calliope Spinks to his left. Next to Lady Wilkes sat Gerald Runcorn, the DMLE prosecutor’s youngest cousin and a clerk in the Office of International Cooperation.

Runcorn had the same mud brown hair and powerful stature as his cousin, eyes a pale blue that were staring warily at them.

“Now that we are all gathered,” Wilkes said, a pointed look in her cold brown eyes, “perhaps we can begin with the first course.”

Harry withheld the curl of disdain, eyes flitting between his cousin and friends as he made idle talk with Lady Spinks, their talk surrounding her newest family member. Spinks was one of the more milder purebloods, proud of her heritage but unwilling to bow or scrape before either faction in the war.

It was as they were wrapping up their main course, a small note appearing under the plate that Harry palmed and placed in his sleeve after glancing quickly at the words that they got down to business.

“We have reason to believe things in the Britain will soon become…difficult,” Lady Spinks said.

Difficult enough that you masked this talk as a business proposition, he thought darkly.

Very few things worried these purebloods, their inherent belief in their greatness remaining intact even after the havoc Voldemort had caused.

“How difficult?” Ernie asked, straightening in his seat even as his brown eyes flashed in scepticism.

“As difficult as the years before the birth of any of your parents,” Gibbons drawled, blue-grey eyes dark as he swirled his glass of wine. “Before the last Grindelwald war.”

Their eyes shifted to Gerald Runcorn, the man shifting slightly in his seat as he spoke softly. “There are…rumours floating around that someone was recently found in Bavaria. Someone of great interest to the Unspeakables.”

Someone of great…a spy?

The Department of Mysteries had never forgiven themselves for the mistake that was Augustus Rookwood, and Harry had heard the whispers that considered the man lucky to be placed in Azkaban.

“Another Rookwood would be of concern to us all,” Neville agreed.

Gerald Runcorn’s face twisted, eyes flashing too quickly for Harry to decipher what he saw. “Were it another spy I would not discuss it.”

“What do you know of the DoM?” Wilkes asked, eyes scrutinizing them. “One of your cousins served as an Unspeakable, Lord Potter-Black.”

“The portraits hold to the same oaths,” Harry told her, watching the woman smile thinly.

“Of course,” she said dryly.

“There are fault lines that govern the world, sides chosen for as long as we have had magic and drawn together as nations,” Gibbons spoke. “Before we had family magic, when the world was filled with wild magic and people who could do unspeakable things with it, people that were coveted and feared.”

A tendril of dread curled in his stomach as Harry forced his face to remain blank.

“Elementals,” Draco said, a disturbed note in his voice. “The Unspeakables found an elemental.”

“The Germans found an elemental,” Runcorn corrected in a slight whisper. “The Unspeakables have worked to keep Britain away from the wars of the continent,” he said, Harry stifling the scoff he wanted to release.

The Unspeakables had sat out the war, feigning their work as researchers and letting Voldemort wreak havoc on the populace.

“Anyone who remembers their history remembers what happened the last time the continent had an elemental fall into those hands.”

“Grindelwald’s hands,” Harry refuted. “Not the German authorities, but those of a dark lord that escaped the ICW more times than I care to count.”

“One and the same in the eyes of the Department of Mysteries,” Spinks countered. “You may have fought in the most recent war, but you do not recall what it was like in those days. Britain is on the verge of something greater, something that we are not ready to tackle.”

“What do you expect us to do?” Ernie asked. “The DoM answers to the Minister—”

“Who is no friend of ours,” Wilkes cut in, eyes fastened to Harry. “Shacklebolt remains holed up in his office and we’ve had to work with Roper, who despises everyone who sits on the Wizengamot. Including you, Lord Potter-Black.”

“There are a number of people who despise me, if you recall,” Harry said coolly.

“The next budget,” Runcorn cut in. “The Minister will move to increase funding for Magical Cooperation and the Unspeakables.”

They shared a glance, disturbed at how quickly things were beginning to move.

“I’m sure we can manage to stop that budget,” Draco drawled.

Lady Wilkes smiled coolly, eyes flicking over them before she rose to leave. Harry was on his feet, bowing sardonically as the woman and her compatriots walked out.

“Well fuck,” Neville muttered, hand running down his face. “This is just what we need.”

“An international incident waiting to happen,” Draco added.

“We have what…just over a year?” Ernie asked. “The budget doesn’t get approved until two thousand fifteen.”

“Fuck,” Draco muttered, swearing as he thought on the work that waited them. Convincing people to vote out a budget was hard enough; doing so when the budget would likely be marketed to improve the pockets of the purebloods sitting in the court would make it an impossible nightmare.

“I have to head out,” Neville said, eyes glancing at his watch. “Make sure my students aren’t causing havoc before I drown my worries.”

“Are you not leaving?” Draco asked as the others made their way out.

“Go on without me,” Harry waved him off. “Just something I need to think on.”

There was a sceptical look on his cousin’s face before he nodded, the door barely shut behind him before Harry was on his feet, wand moving as he threw wards at the door.

“You can come out now,” he called, wand still in hand as he felt his magic gather in anticipation. It had been years since he’d truly fought – nothing like the small skirmishes he had when practicing with Elia – and Harry felt the heady feeling before battle.

“You can lower your wand,” a familiar voice said, before Harry tightened his grip at the sight of red hair.

“Percy?” he asked, slightly astonished.

“Lord Potter-Black,” Percy nodded, a grim look on his face that made him look more dour than usual. “I don’t have much time to talk.”

Harry gestured to the chair across from him, warily eyeing Percy as he sat down.

They had never gotten on after his fifth year, Percy considering him a deliberate troublemaker and Harry thinking the man a pretentious prick, but they had crossed paths a few times in the Wizengamot or at the balls held by Wizengamot members.

“There has been talk of your family in the Ministry,” Percy stated bluntly, his words raising Harry’s ire.

“My family?” he asked lowly, green eyes hard.

His lips pursed, brows pinched as he stared uncomfortably at Harry for several moments. “I don’t like you,” he told him, voice quiet and assured. “I’ve not liked you for years, but I know what it means to stand by as despicable things happen. I swore I would never do so again, which is why I am here.”

Harry felt his hand clench tightly against his wand as he asked in a disarmingly soft voice, “And who would be doing these despicable things?”

“I cannot say their name while oath bound,” Percy admitted. “But you have already agreed to work against such acts just now. All I know is they have decided you were a subject of interest after the...incident in the war, and continue to watch your family even now.”

His lips tightened in displeasure, the tendril of dread fighting to grow into panic as he nodded tightly at Percy.


The urge to destroy something was strong, his magic thrumming in tandem with his fear and rage as it sought an outlet, but Harry had mastered control years ago.

Instead, he had come home and spent his time with Elia and Maia, shoving the thoughts that ran wild to the back of his mind until he could sit with his wife and discuss what the hell they were going to do.

“Papa, dagin!” Maia crowed, her green eyes glued to the window as the shadow of Auriga and Iacomus fell over them. There had thankfully been no incidents with the two dragons and Harry had been unsurprised to see the glee Maia showed at the sight of them.

“Yes, Maia. A dragon,” he said, tossing her in the air as he roared, the giggling girl clapping her hands as he led her high above him to the couch.

Maia slipped free of his grasp, toddling over to stand near the window to watch the dragons as Harry wrapped his arms around his wife, letting her presence calm him.

“Something’s bothering you,” Elia stated.

He quietly told her what he had learned from Gerald Runcorn and Percy Weasley, feeling her hand tighten in his.

“That’s who was following us,” she murmured, and Harry felt sick at the thought of how long they had been watching them. Watching her, his mind added darkly, knowing that others would know his family was the easiest way to get to him.

“We have just over a year until the budget review,” he reminded her.

“It won’t work,” Elia said with a shake of her head, eyes focused on Maia. “We’ve seen how very closely they value their vaults. Any move to limit their funding will backfire.”

She was right, he knew, even if he hated the thought of the others allowing the Ministry to do something so monumentally stupid.

“I can’t talk to Shacklebolt,” Harry murmured. “Not without raising questions we’d rather avoid.”

“Maia will be two,” Elia said softly, eyes turning to face him. “Still young but…”

But able to make the journey was left unsaid.

He railed at having to make a decision to haul his family across dimensions. Westeros was meant to be a short stop - a visit to family - but the Wizarding World refused to leave him alone and Harry would never again leave his family vulnerable to them.

His heart had raced upon hearing the words, and he knew there might not be another choice. He was not the boy who had taken everything they had thrown at him, unable to protect himself.

He would kill whomever he had to if it meant protecting them, and Harry knew Elia would do the same.

He understood, now, what his father had meant. In the absence of an exit, they had prepared for the worst-case scenario in order to give him a chance at survival. There were potions to brew, books to pack, his emergency funds prepared and expanded.

Harry had years to prepare for the best chance of their survival and he was not going to squander it.

 

Chapter Text

 

“Targaryen, Aegon.”

He jerked in surprise, calmly moving forward as if his mind had not been focused elsewhere. Egg sat on the stool, eyes catching Rhae and Teddy before the hat covered his view of the hall.

“Oh dear,” the hat muttered. “Another of you.”

“Is that a problem?” he asked, grinning internally at the almost sad note in the hat’s tone.

“Two elementals and whatever your brother is with his tangled parentage,” the hat sniped. “I don’t see how that should be a problem, do you?”

“Aren’t you supposed to just sort me?” Egg retorted, stomach clenching in slight worry at his words.

It was one of the few dangers of living here, he knew. His parents had sat them down years ago, before Maia had been born, and explained just why Egg and Rhae had to be careful at Hogwarts, why even Teddy should be careful.

“By all means, Your Highness,” the hat countered, sarcasm dripping from his tone. “Or is it Your Grace? First time I’ve sorted deposed royalty, at any rate.”

“When have you ever sorted royalty?”

“Lady Morgana was a fine student,” the hat sniffed, shifting on Egg’s head. “Now, let’s see. What to do with you?”

“Slytherin,” Egg requested slyly.

“Not a chance in hell,” the hat barked. “I’d like the school to remain standing young man, and you do not have the same temperament for Slytherin as your sister does.”

“I’m ambitious,” Egg pouted. “And cunning.”

“And yet it would remain a disaster,” the hat stated dryly. “You are certainly loyal, though not very trusting the lot of you, not a bad mind either when you’re willing to sit still long enough, plenty of courage yes, yes. You’ll certainly need your strength for what’s to come. You’re almost as irritating as your father, young dragon.”

“My father?”

“Better be, GRYFFINDOR! Do try not to burn the castle down,” the hat murmured.

“I make no promises,” Egg grinned, handing the hat to Professor Flitwick as his robes changed to show the Gryffindor crest, his tie red and gold as Egg took a seat amongst the grinning lions.

He looked across the hall, seeing Teddy wink at the falsely scowling Rhaenys. Hogwarts wasn’t Potter Hall, but it was not so lonely with his siblings close by.


Dear Mum and Dad, and Maia,  

I’m in Gryffindor! Ha, I don’t know what you did to the hat Dad but he threw me to the lions.

The common room is really, really, REALLY red. Almost like someone splattered paint all over. But it’s nice and cosy, even when sharing a dorm with four other boys. Uncle Neville was there at the high table. Pretty sure he won a bet on my sorting but I could be wrong.

I’ll write again soon. I miss you all. Tell Maia hello for me.

Love,

Egg


He had underestimated just what it meant to be sorted in Gryffindor.

Egg had grown up on stories of his father and uncles’ times at Hogwarts, hearing stories of which house was the best from them. Teddy had fit right in as a Ravenclaw, none of the students bothering him too much in house though he dealt with the odd person who wanted to get close to Harry Potter’s son.

Rhae was a Slytherin, and none of the other houses interacted much with them, even if half of them were fond of her or were waiting for Rhaenys to curse them.

Egg was the Gryffindor; the child who had been sorted into their father’s old house, even if he did not look like him or bear his name as Teddy did. Egg was close to the man and his son in everything but blood, and in Gryffindor their adoration of him was a touch more reverent than the other houses.

“What’s he like?”

“Normal,” Egg said, piling his breakfast on his plate.

“He’s Harry Potter,” a mousy-haired boy said. “There’s no way he’s normal.”

“No, he flies without magic and can lift castles with nothing more than a twitch of his finger,” Egg deadpanned, spooning porridge in his mouth.

Some of them whispered in awe, but the boy in front of him smirked at Egg, grey eyes dancing with humour.

The owl post arrived, and he was slightly surprised to see an owl diving toward him. The letter had his name in the elegant script of his mother, and Egg knew he would see his father’s scrawl inside.

Blinking, he looked up and saw several pairs of eyes watching the letter in his hand.

“Do you mind?” he asked, tucking the letter into his robes as he continued to eat his breakfast.

Uncle Neville was walking down the table, handing out the schedules to the students as they ate. The express had left on a weekday, and there was almost a full week of classes waiting for them before they could enjoy their first weekend at Hogwarts.

“First years,” Uncle Neville said, giving them each a copy of identical schedules but for the names on the top.

Professor Longbottom, he corrected himself, seeing Herbology listed as his first class. Professor Sprout was still at Hogwarts, teaching those taking OWL year herbology and above, he knew from Teddy, and Uncle Neville split his time between Hogwarts and the Wizengamot.

“I expect you all to be on time,” he warned them, causing a flurry as the first year Gryffindors began to eat quickly, groaning at the thought of having to hurry across to the greenhouses.


Egg stifled his yelp at feeling someone grab him, his elbow poking into their stomach as he tried to squirm free., magic gathering but unable to do anything against the familiar feel of the other person.

“I told you this was a bad idea,” Teddy hissed, slightly pained from having the breath knocked out of him.

He stilled, whirling around to see he was standing almost nose-to-nose with his siblings.

“What in the name of the gods are you two doing?”

“Would you rather we waltz into your common room?” Rhaenys asked blithely. “I’m sure Teddy can imitate any of the Gryffindors but having a Slytherin at the door might be a bit much after we just trounced you.”

“And so you thought dragging me into an alcove was the best thing to do?” he asked sardonically, glowering at the two of them.

“I suppose you can go back if you want,” Teddy said.

“Not up for an adventure this one,” Rhae hummed, smirking at him.

Egg sighed, eyes darting between his brother and sister as he tried to figure out what they wanted.

“Where are we going?” Egg asked, dread growing at the sight of twin smirks of glee on their faces.

“The Chamber,” Teddy answered.

All worry fled his mind as Egg perked up, mouth stretched into a wide grin as he said, “Why didn’t you start with that?”

Rhaenys rolled her eyes as Teddy shrunk in height, the cloak falling over them as they slowly shuffled along the corridor.

“There’s got to be a better way than squeezing under this cloak,” Egg muttered, elbows tucked lest he accidentally hit Rhaenys.

“Disillusion yourself at your own risk,” Teddy murmured. “Cloak’s the only way we’ll not get caught.”

They came into the girl’s bathroom, and Egg stopped at the threshold long enough for Rhaenys to yank him inside.

“Don’t be so shy, Egg,” she told him.

“Is this a prank?” he hissed. “What in the wo—”

The words died in his mouth as he watched the sink expand, a gaping hole in the floor where once there had been none.

“Bloody hell,” he breathed, excitement flowing through him. “Is that?”

“Jump in and find out,” Teddy grinned.

“After you,” he retorted, blinking in slight surprise as his brother jumped in with a wave.

“Well?” Rhaenys asked. “I’ve got to close it behind us.”

Egg grinned before he hopped in, a whoop of glee leaving him as he hurtled down the slide. He came flying out, twisting in the air as he managed to land deftly on his feet.

“That was fun,” he grinned, watching his sister slide out shortly after him.

Teddy had returned to his usual height, towering over the two of them as they walked to the door.

The Chamber was everything he had expected, and entirely different. The snake statues sat majestically along the walkway, candles flaring to life as they entered.

The corpse of the basilisk was no longer there, but in it’s place was a duelling platform, larger and wider than the one they had at home.

Teddy walked to the mouth of the statue, hissing lowly as the mouth opened, stones grinding against each other as they peered into the gaping darkness.

“Lumos,” he muttered, feeling the Holly and dragon heartstring wand light up, slowly wandering inside in case his siblings had something up their sleeves.

Rhae and Teddy lit the rest of the room, light glowing softly as he gaped around him.

They were in a large room, a holding area of some sort, with soft flooring meant to provide comfort. To his left was an open wall, the inside showing a workroom of some sort.

“Are those books from Salazar Slytherin’s personal stock?” Egg gawked.

“No,” Teddy replied mournfully. “There’s nothing of his left. These are from the Room of Requirement.”

“You can take books out from there?” he blinked, reconsidering what he knew of the room.

“If you know what to ask,” Rhaenys told him.

Egg nodded, absentmindedly staring at the bubbling cauldrons and the piles of parchment scattered around the desk.

“What’s the plan?”

“How would you like some duelling practice?” Teddy asked, smirking at him as his eyes flashed black.

Egg grinned, twirling his wand in hand as his eyes glowed faintly. “When do we start?”


Bloody hell, he thought, mind whirling as he imagined the fallout from this.

Part of the perks of having a family such as his was the ability to use magic at home, and Egg’s reflexes had been honed by hours of training with his father. Having Rhae Teddy as siblings meant having someone try and sneak up on you at all hours, forcing him to be quick.

Lionel Belby was crumpled on the ground, the older boy unable to duck beneath the spell that had flown across the hall. His friend was leaning against the wall, out of breath and staring dazedly at him.

“Are you alright?” Egg asked, squatting down as he gently touched his arm.

“What the bloody hell was that?”

“I lost control of the spell. First time trying it in a duel,” Egg said hurriedly, feeling the back of Lionel’s head and coming away with sticky hands, a slight red tint to them. “He’s bleeding.”

“What abo—”

Egg didn’t hear the rest of his sentence, feeling the build up of magic and whirling in shock, the boy on the other end thrown violently into the wall as his magic reacted.

“Shit,” he whispered, cringing as he looked around him. There were footsteps coming closer, and Egg cringed at the sight of Uncle Neville, a sharp frown on his face as he stared at the students on the floor.

“A-Mr. Targaryen,” he said, not the uncle but the no-nonsense professor. “What has happened here?” He quickly jabbed his wand, a patronus forming as he muttered something quietly, the bear darting off.

“A duel gone wrong, sir,” Egg answered, relief flooding through him as Teddy came sprinting into the hall. His brother’s green eyes widened, his prefect badge gleaming as his eyes flashed purple.

Egg’s face remained blank, shaking his head minutely at Teddy as the metamorph shifted to grey eyes; lips tightening at the blink Egg sent him, confirming his worries.

“I was wondering what happened when you didn’t show up,” Teddy said, drawing Uncle Neville’s attention. “Alright Egg?”

“Wrong place wrong time,” he grimaced, seeing the understanding on Teddy’s face.

Professor Longbottom’s message heralded two more professors, their eyes widening as they saw the students.

“Follow me, Mr Targaryen,” Professor Longbottom said, conjuring a stretcher for Belby as he floated him onto it. The other professors did the same, levitating the three Slytherins and the lone Hufflepuff. Teddy came closer, offering his hand to Lionel’s friend as he lightly squeezed Egg’s shoulder.

He felt a bump against his shoulder, and Egg sighed quietly as he saw the concerned look in Rhae’s purple eyes.

“Everything all right?” she muttered, trailing behind the professors.

“I hope so,” Egg grimaced.

They were brought to the Hospital Wing, Madam Pomfrey directing them to beds as Egg was told to wait close to the door, his siblings comforting him as the other Heads of Houses came in to check on their students, McGonagall following after them.

“What happened?” Teddy asked, eyes glancing at the dazed friend of Lionel Belby.

“I took a shortcut and walked right into a duel,” Egg told them. “I might have lost control a bit.”

“What’s a bit?” Rhaenys asked sharply, eyes narrowed.

“No fire,” he muttered lowly, seeing the tenseness disappear.

They stood together quietly, Egg stifling the urge to fidget as the professors spoke quietly to the only one awake.                              

“Mr. Targaryen,” the Headmistress said, calling Egg forward as she stood next to the Heads. Her lips were drawn in a tight line as she looked at him, and Egg forced himself to relax, back straight and head held high as he looked back at her.

I’ve done nothing wrong, he reassured himself.

“Mr. Harper has told us his recollection of events, such that they are. What were you doing in that corridor?”

“I took a shortcut,” Egg replied. “Saturdays are usually spent catching up with my siblings, and I was on my way to meet them.”

McGonagall’s eyes flicked to the two stood on either side of him; it was an open secret amongst the professor’s that they met up in the kitchens, none of them knowing they also used the Chamber on occasion.

“And which spell did you use? Mr. Belby was well out of range before you arrived,” she told him.

Egg grimaced slightly, acknowledging the point. “A disarming spell,” he answered. “They were aiming at me, and I didn’t fancy getting cursed. It didn’t work as expected.”

A necessary lie for the moment; Egg’s spell had worked well enough, disarming one of the students, but his second spell had caused the other to move, his spell flying wide as he crumpled under the Hufflepuff’s onslaught.

“Duelling is forbidden in the halls,” McGonagall reminded him, a stern look on her face. “Twenty points from Gryffindor. You may leave.”

Egg nodded, looking back at Lionel Belby before he allowed Teddy to tug him outside.


Aegon wasn’t the only one to notice the tense atmosphere at home when they returned for the summer, and he had shared concerned looks with his older siblings, even as Maia ran into his arms.

“Egg!” she called, putting a delighted grin on his face at the pouting faces of the elder two as Maia’s hair shifted into the pale silver-gold colour of his, her eyes switching between green and purple.

“Told you I’m her favourite,” Egg taunted, smirking at the grumbling Rhaenys even as Maia shouted their names, squirming free to wrap her arms around their necks and her hair cycled through the different colours Teddy showed.

“Bedtime, little love,” Papa told her, swooping down to take Maia. “You’ve seen them, now say goodnight.”

“No bed,” Maia pouted, shaking her head as she stared at their father, green eyes upset. “No sleep, Papa.”

Egg felt his lips twitch into a grin, seeing the same expression on his siblings’ faces as they watched Maia try her best to get out of her bedtime.

“Sweetling,” Mum said, cooing softly at the girl as she continued to pout.

“Want to hear a story, Maia?” Teddy asked, eyes gleaming as the little girl brightened at the idea.

Their parents took her upstairs, some secret passing between them as Egg, Rhae and Teddy sat in the sitting room.

“Is everything fine?” Teddy asked the portrait of Grandpa James.

He grimaced slightly before reassuring them, “Between your parents, yes. Just…something’s come up.”

“Mildly irritating something or potential disaster?” Rhaenys questioned, brow furrowed as her eyes scrutinized the portraits.

“More than irritating,” Grandpa James muttered. “Just…wait until your parents get back. They’ll explain everything.”

It was less their parents being obviously tense than it was the worry on the portrait’s faces that caused Egg to worry, feeling tendrils of dread curl in his stomach as he glanced at the worried green and purple eyes.

They played a game of exploding snap half-heartedly, the usual delight of causing the cards to explode in Teddy’s face absent as his mind whirled with possibilities.

It was on the third round of their game before their parents returned, Maia sleeping upstairs and a solemn look on their faces that put Egg on edge, waiting for them to sit on the loveseat before he bombarded them with questions.

“How was school?” Papa asked, green eyes focused on Egg.

“Fine,” Teddy answered instead. “What’s wrong?”

Papa had a slight frown on his face, sharing a long look with their mother before they came to an unspoken agreement.

“You remember the lesson you were given on the history of Elementals? There’s been a slight…development in the last few months,” Papa told them.

The odd feeling intensified, and Egg swallowed at what his mind conjured. He’d thought his parents had been tense at Yule, but Egg had dismissed it once he saw how sickeningly in love they were as their anniversary passed.

“Someone knows,” Rhaenys said quietly.

“No,” Mum said, shaking her head. “Nobody knows, but there’s been rumours floating around of certain parties’ interest in our family.”

“Why us?” Egg asked, kicking himself as the realization came at the sight of the bitter tinge on his father’s face. Papa’s hand clenched the slightest bit, relaxing only at their mother’s touch.

“It seems I’ve made a few people nervous,” he answered.

“I know we’ve made ourselves at home here,” Mum said, “but in the event things turn sour, Westeros might possibly become more than a short visit.”

Egg sat quietly as his siblings asked questions, vaguely hearing them discuss some preparations with their parents.

He’d become comfortable in England, seeing Potter Hall as home and knowing he wouldn’t have to be more than his parents wanted him to be. He wasn’t Aegon, Sixth of His Name here; just Egg, brother to Maia, Rhae and Teddy.

He was slightly surprised to hear the knock on his door once they’d been told to sleep, hearing the lock click as Teddy opened it. He was followed by Rhaenys; the two of them joining him on the bed so that Egg lay between them. The last time they had done this had been when Teddy had gone off to Hogwarts, all those years ago, and Egg felt his sister roll over to face him, on of her hands holding his.

“I’m not sure I want to go,” Egg admitted, knowing Rhaenys would understand.

“Neither am I,” Rhae answered. “But we knew we’d go back someday.”

“For a visit, yes,” Egg huffed. “This is different. More permanent.”

“There’s not much of an option,” Rhaenys sighed.

“If we go to Westeros, there’ll be war, and people trying to kill us Rhae,” he told her.

“There would be war either way,” Teddy quietly interjected. “We go to Westeros there’s a possible war. We stay here, and we’ll be dragged into a large scale magical war.”

“Where did you hear that?” Rhaenys asked, sitting up to look at Teddy.

“I asked Uncle Charlus’s portrait,” Teddy replied. “Before we came upstairs. He said it’s bigger than we thought, and I don’t know about you but I’d rather take my chances against sword wielding assholes over magical ones.”

Rhae snorted at his words, even as Egg’s stomach plummeted as old fears rose.

“What’s wrong, Egg?” Teddy asked, eyes flashing in concern.

He was being silly; even with their lives in England, Papa had married their Mum knowing what he was getting into. But Teddy has friends and cousins here, a dark voice whispered.

“You’re coming,” Egg stated, seeing his brother’s face soften.

“You’re not getting rid of me so easily, little brother,” Teddy said. “We're family, and family sticks together. Besides, who else is going to keep Rhae out of trouble, Your Grace?”

“Says the boy who gets into more trouble than the both of us,” Rhae snorted.

Teddy flopped onto his back, laughing at her words. They lay quietly, the three of them contemplating the sudden shift their lives might take.

“I don’t want to be king,” he told them. “Not if it puts us in danger.”

“Not being king might put you in greater danger Egg,” Teddy responded. “You don’t want to be a deposed prince.”

“Can you imagine what Mum and Dad might do if someone tried to harm us?” Rhae asked, voice muffled against Egg’s shoulder.

He smiled at the thought; there’d been no real reason for his parents to use their skills beyond their daily activities, but Egg had seen his father wield magic as if it were nothing and his mother deftly handle the stiff-lipped nobles.

He fell asleep, an older sibling on either side of him, comforted with the knowledge that come what may, he wouldn’t gave to go it alone.


Dear Mum and Dad,  

I made it onto the Gryffindor Quidditch team! Seeker, too! Teddy finds the entire thing funny, but that’s only because he’s facing both of us now.

Classes are going well. We started duelling in DADA. Don’t worry. I’ll keep control.

I miss you both. Say hello to Maia for me.

Love,

Egg


Dear Mum and Dad,

I’m fine! It was a spell gone wrong in the duelling club, but other than having to regrow my hair Professor Birch says everything is fine.  

Teddy thinks my being bald means I truly live up to my name. A funny guy, that one.

Also, hair-growth potion is very disgusting.

I miss you both.

Love,

Egg


“Shouldn’t you lot be going to sleep?” Papa asked them.

“It’s match day tomorrow,” Egg told him.

“Exactly,” Papa said. “It’s bad enough flying tired, it’s also your first game, Aegon.”

“You’ll be cheering for Gryffindor?” Egg asked.

“Slytherin,” Rhaenys insisted.

“I thought there was no favouritism, Dad,” Teddy teased.

“Which is why I’ll be rooting for Hufflepuff all year long,” Papa told them, laughing at the stricken looks on their faces.

“Where’s your house loyalty?” Egg pouted.

“Forget houses, what about us?” Rhae questioned.

“There’s three of you in different houses,” Papa laughed. “Hufflepuff leads the way to harmony.”

Egg snorted, hearing his mother snort on the other end of the mirror as she teased Papa for his inability to decide.

“What about you, Mum?” Teddy asked.

“Whichever one of you manages not to get hit by a bludger,” she answered, seeing their faces fall in mock sadness at that almost impossible challenge.


“Mr. Targaryen,” he heard Uncle Neville’s voice.

Egg froze on the stairwell, trying to recall why he would be in trouble.

“Professor Longbottom,” Egg said, grinning at the older man.

“You’re late for our meeting,” he told him, and Egg cursed as he remembered.

“I was out practicing, sir,” Egg said in apology. He fell into step beside him, walking up the stairs to the office on the fifth floor. Even as a Herbology professor, Uncle Neville’s office was placed closer to the Gryffindor common room.

“Determined to beat your sister,” Uncle Neville said with a wry grin on his face.

“Something like that,” Egg told him.

Rhaenys had cinched a spot as the Slytherin seeker, and the loss to his sister had caused Aegon’s competitive streak to come out. That they were both seekers only made it worse, and Papa had teased them both as he flaunted his five-minute record.

He was ushered into Uncle Neville’s office, seeing the variety of plants that were placed around the room. Egg ducked hastily, avoiding the Venus Snaptrap as it tried to grab him, taking the seat across from him.

“Now,” Uncle Neville began. “It’s almost time for you to select your courses. Any thoughts?”

Egg blinked, shaking his head as he considered the question. He’d expected them to be well on their way to Westeros by now; Maia was two, and the budget his parents had voted against had been passed in the Wizengamot. The ritual was ready, but they’d not made any move to leave just yet, slowly converting the gold in the vaults to unmarked gold bars.

“Vaguely,” Egg admitted. “I’d like to take Runes. Probably Arithmancy as well.”

“Any thoughts on a third?” Uncle Neville asked.

Egg shook his head, knowing he might not be here for long. “Rhaenys and Teddy can stick to three classes on top of quidditch. I’d like to enjoy my sleep,” Egg jested, pulling a laugh from Uncle Neville as he scribbled something on a piece of parchment. “Was that all?”

“Unless there was something else you wished to speak to me of?”

“Nope,” Egg grinned. “Thanks Uncle.”


He shifted slightly in his seat, forcing himself to still as he looked through the papers.

He had spent the past few hours in the pensieve, watching memories of court from his mother’s time as Princess of the Seven Kingdoms.

Princess Regent now, he thought. Egg still had four years before he was of age in Westeros, and should he take the throne before then – should they find themselves in Westeros before then – his mother would act as his regent, even if it wasn’t the done thing.

They can shove their prejudi—

“Young man, why do I feel as if you were about to think something highly inappropriate?”

Egg blinked innocently at Euphemia’s portrait, knowing she didn’t believe him from her narrowed eyes.

“Just thinking on what would happen if Mum were the regent,” Egg insisted. “Really, Nan.”

Aunt Dorea snorted in disbelief, and Egg resisted the urge to laugh at the look she sent him as she said, “And I’m Bloody Mary’s daughter.”

“You certainly fit the bill,” Iolanthe quipped, throwing her head back in laughter at Aunt Dorea’s disgruntled look. “Those fossils at court won’t take a woman as regent well.”

Aunt Dorea hummed in agreement, “Men with power let it all go to their heads. Worse still with no magic to level the playing field.”

“Not many are willing to tell a wand-wielding woman where her ‘place’ is,” Iolanthe added, a dark smile on her face.

“Take a break, Aegon,” Nan told him. “You’ve been at it for hours.”

“Can’t,” Egg refused. “I’ve got to be ready just in case.”

Grandma Lily’s portrait had told Egg she had hoped for the best during the first war with Voldemort, but in their situation it had been best to think of the absolute worst scenario and prepare for that.

Considering she managed to blow a dark lord to bits, Egg decided to take her advice to heart.

The absolute worst situation he could think of in Westeros was his being crowned king and separated from the rest of his family. Egg would fight to make sure that didn’t happen, but in case it did he prepared to rule on his own even as he fervently prayed his mother would be there to help him navigate the court.

“Very well,” Iolanthe said. “If you insist on not taking a break to go flying, at least let us join in on the fun.”

“We’re grounded from flying,” he reminded her, subconsciously reaching out to the bond he had with Iacomus. The Ironbelly was flying above the lake, dipping down to catch some fish, Egg knew.

“Perhaps you should have kept Maia away from the dragons,” Nan said lightly.

“She’s a parselmouth. You try to keep her from talking them into taking her up,” Egg countered, remembering the look on his parent’s faces when they found Maia seated on Iacomus’s back. The grey dragon was hovering the slightest bit over the ground, to the little girl’s delight, and Papa had spent nearly an hour switching between berating the dragons for listening to her and lecturing the nearly three-year-old troublemaker.

“Now,” Nan cut in. “Which memories were you watching?”

“The Rebellion,” Egg grimaced, recalling the tense moment when his mother had arrived in King’s Landing, Egg and Rhae in hand as the Mad King ordered them to stay. There were some memories of that time his mother refused to let him watch, but Egg had seen enough to know how mad his paternal grandfather had been.

“Walk us through the alliances, Aegon,” Aunt Dorea said, pulling him out of his dark thoughts as he explained what he noticed, both in court and from conversations his mother had, the three women offering their input.

 

Chapter Text

 

Late 2013

 

It wasn’t until she had sat her son down for tea and began rambling inanely on various topics that Narcissa realized something was very wrong. He was well past the years when he would keep things to himself, but Draco still had a strong streak of independence when he thought things were best kept quiet.

Only at mention of the Ministry did she see any reaction from him, the slightest expression that he had not mastered fully in the face of someone who knew him as well as his mother. She had feared things between him and Astoria had soured, and while relieved to know there was nothing wrong between them, the idea of the Ministry causing some sort of chaos left a bad taste in her mouth.

He found her three days later, Carina in his arms as he handed the little girl her toy broom. Herakles had been ecstatic at the thought of giving the child a broom, and Draco had proven unable – unwilling – to refuse his daughter.

Her grey eyes followed the little girl flying in low circles around the room before he caught her attention.

“The Ministry has found an elemental in Germany, and they plan to allow the Unspeakables to get their hands on them.”

A sudden sense of dread overcame her as she stared blankly at Draco for a moment before her mind caught on.

“An elemental?” she asked lowly, eyes focused on his. There was the slightest bit of anxiousness present, a small tick he was normally able to hide.

He grimaced, acknowledging the unspoken words.

“Who knows?”

“Harry, Ernie and Neville,” he listed. “Wilkes brought this to us.”

“Of course she did,” Narcissa murmured. “Emmeline Wilkes is old enough to remember what happened the last time an elemental had surfaced.”

“They plan to slip it into the next budget review as part of Magical Cooperation’s increase,” he told her.

Smart of them, she grudgingly acknowledged. But then, the Ministry wouldn’t dare pursue this unless they knew it would face little opposition.

“It seems we have our work cut out for us,” Narcissa replied, plotting on what would have to be done.


The second sign that things were very wrong was the letter sitting on her desk, lying innocently on the front page of the Daily Prophet.

Yule had recently passed, and the Prophet was blazoned with a photo of Herakles and Elia, little Maia held lovingly in her father’s arms as the children surrounded them. It was taken at the Longbottom party, Harry taking Maia along and letting her rest in one of the bedrooms in the family wing as the Prophet crowed over the first look at the youngest Potter-Black.

Herakles making frequent appearances at gatherings all those years ago had tipped Narcissa off to the importance of the woman who would become his wife. That they were planning to host a ball of their own was enough to set alarm bells ringing in her head, and Narcissa resolved to get to the bottom of it before her tea date with Elia.

Herakles wouldn’t give anything away, she knew. The man was particular about keeping his worries quiet. Elia might, but Narcissa hated asking even from someone she loved as a daughter.

It was for that reason that she found herself in Black Manor, swallowing her distaste at having to ask her father for assistance.

Cygnus Black III had spent enough time wallowing in self-pity upon realizing Andromeda’s actions, swinging between pride and rage. She had thought it curious that he was willing to ignore his upset upon news of Herakles and Elia’s relationship, crowing in joy at their marriage and practically dripping with smug satisfaction upon the birth of Maia.

Even now, with the anniversary having been days past, the Black portraits were in a relatively good mood, their spirits high as they whispered amongst themselves in hopeful anticipation of another solstice baby. A son, they wanted. One to carry the Black name as his elder brother carried the Potter name – never mind that Teddy was more a Black than Maia or any other children that came after.

“Narcissa!” her great-grandmother called joyously. “Have you come to join in on the celebrations?”

“Something like that,” she smiled. “I need to retrieve a few items from the library.”

“Nonsense,” the woman replied. “You’ve not decided to continue rifling through those belongings have you? Herakles’ son will inherit the lot. Perhaps a joining of yours and Andromeda’s lines in future will restore everything to the way it should be.”

“Not if the mutt inherits,” Walburga muttered in disdain. “The son of that princess I can accept, but the son of a werewolf in control of the noblest line in the world? I knew Sirius was a disappointment, and that sister of yours has gone the same way. Why we—”

She didn’t hear the rest of the words – though she vaguely noticed someone busy themselves with grabbing hold of Walburga and cutting off her foul tantrum – her mind resting on the second bit of her spiel.

Son of that princess, she thought, mind whirling at the implications.

She had known, instinctively, that there was more to Elia than meets the eye. Something the woman was unwilling to discuss, though she had divulged her families status as ancient nobles. Of her first husband she knew little and less – only that he somewhat resembled Aegon and the children had inherited his purple eyes.

Her feet carried her to her father’s portrait, his grey eyes staring coolly at her as Narcissa stared back unflinchingly, seeing the haughty smirk curve his lips.

“You never asked,” he said, cutting her off before she could speak. “Never thought to consider we might know more.”

“It was of little concern,” she replied coolly.

He snorted in contempt. “Andromeda’s adopted son takes control of the family, and his wife’s parentage is of little concern.” He smiled mockingly, knowing how very much she disliked asking and preening at the little power he held over her.

“I must say,” he continued, smug smirk firmly in place as he glanced at her. “In no way did I imagine your sister to redeem herself so thoroughly, but it seems the House of Black is now once more on the cusp of greatness.”

Her lips tightened in muted fury, eyes blank as she smiled sardonically at her father before she turned to leave.

We should have burned his portrait, she thought darkly, regretting that familial ties had kept her sentimental in that respect.


 

2014

 

“Aunt Narcissa,” Herakles said, sitting on the couch in the gold room she had taken as her personal sitting room years ago as if he had all the time in the world. “I’ve come to grovel and beg your forgiveness.”

She felt the slightest flash of irritation at the slightly sarcastic tone, peering closely at Herakles.

There was the slightest glint in his eyes, something primal and angry that she had not seen since Andromeda’s death, and Narcissa pushed aside her irritation as she leaned closer.

“Herakles,” she said firmly, forcing his green eyes to her face. She felt slight dread at the sight of his eyes, remembering what happened the last time he had held such a look in them.

“You know Elia is a princess,” he stated. “By birth, not just from her marriage.”

"Imagine my surprise at having Aunt Walburga of all people throw that in my face," she said darkly.

He smiled in apology, a faint look of chagrin on his face. "We meant to say something, but it didn't seem important without mentioning other things."

“Other things. That’s what is bothering you,” she replied, filing away the information for later.

There was a bitter smile on his face as he shook his head. “It’s all connected,” he told her quietly.

“You’re planning a party,” she said curiously. “I didn’t take you for much of a host, Herakles, and yet here you are willingly accepting people into your home.”

He acknowledged her words with a slight shrug. “I’d like to see this budget die before it takes off, and when your wife was raised a princess you learn the plotting that goes behind these things.”

She could have rolled her eyes, knowing Andromeda had spoken of such to him but that he had ignored it, preferring to stay away from the magicals that made up the Wizengamot.

“Why does this budget worry you? So much so that you are going out of your way to do what you can to defeat it?” she asked casually, eyes carefully watching his.

Harry’s lips twisted in distaste, eyes darkening further as he said, “I don’t like people snooping around my family.”

Her stomach tightened at the things he left unspoken, eyes flashing as his lips remained curved in a bitter smile.

It was only in the comfort of his home that he would speak so freely, and sitting before Herakles and Elia as they explained the dangerous predicament they found themselves in, Narcissa planned and plotted.

“I cannot believe you didn’t mention Aegon was born a Crown Prince,” she muttered, grey eyes staring darkly at the pair.

“I never expected to return,” Elia replied softly. “Not for more than a short visit.”

“My dear,” Narcissa said, hand reaching out to grip Elia’s. “They would never have allowed you to leave with your son. Not when he holds the best claim and is young enough to be moulded into a king they want. Nor will they allow you to sit idly by in Westeros.”

“A good thing they’ll have to cross through us to get to him,” Harry muttered darkly, eyes flashing in challenge.

She nodded in acknowledgement, knowing Herakles would not let anything hold him back from protecting his family.

“Now, Aegon is behind in a few matters, though his political education has not suffered,” Narcissa told them, knowing the boy had visited the Wizengamot with his father and had spent enough time with her and Elia to learn the dance of words the nobility thrived on. “I believe we should not delay his sword training.”

They blinked in unison, sharing a glance before her nephew looked at her in open surprise. “Where in the world do you know how to get a hold of a sword master?” he demanded.

“Really, Herakles,” she huffed. “When you’re a pureblood there are any number of things you might need to know.”

“When you’re a Black,” he muttered lowly.

Narcissa’s lips stretched into a smirk, head tilting in agreement as they continued to plot the restoration of Aegon’s crown.


She was not the only one watching the dancing couple, the eyes of the room riveted on the two as they ignored everything around them.

Black Manor had been thoroughly cleaned in preparation for the Potter-Black ball, the event coinciding with the equinox and reflecting the standards of two Noble and Most Ancient Houses. Elia has outdone herself, she thought in pride.

The princess had taken centre stage, dressed in a gown of deep sapphire, diamonds sparkling in her ears and across her neck as she spun in her husband’s arms, a contrast to the grey robes he wore.

They had spent hours mingling amongst the other lords and ladies, laughing and jesting with them as they lightly touched on the topic, the night focused entirely on the power play underpinning the invitation.

It was bold of them, cunning as well, to so openly reveal a part of themselves without expressly stating their aims.

The nobles could take from it what they wanted, but none would forget the show of power and wealth for the rest of their lives, nor would they ignore the look on Harry’s face as he danced with Elia and the matching smile on hers.

Meddle at your own risk, she thought, raising her glass when she caught her nephew’s eye.


Aegon Targaryen was twelve and expected to be a king someday. The boy was energetic, witty, and far more capable than he believed.

Narcissa watched him as he ducked, following the motions of the instructor he had been given as he faced off against his brother. There had been a slight change in him; since discovering the possibility of his return, there had been a seriousness to the boy that she was unused to seeing. Something unusual in Aegon’s normally smiling face.

He’s growing, she thought, a touch of sadness at the realization that Aegon could no longer be the boy who ran through her home in search of sweets. He’d reminded her of Draco at that age – just as Rhaenys brought memories of a better time – but fate decreed he grow quickly.

Master Fenton ended their lessons, the man speaking lowly to his students before he made his way out of Black Manor. Potter Hall was reserved for family and close friends, and the Black wards remained among some of the best.

“This is the last of the belongings,” Elia murmured, eyes flicking over the parchment she had been using to mark their inventory. The Potter vaults would be cleared in their entirety, only a few things remaining to keep the vaults active and the stocks afloat.

They had stunned Narcissa – to Herakles’ glee – when they mentioned the plans for the Houses. Draco would hold both titles in their absence, the couple hoping for a return that seemed unlikely. Harry had given over a phial of his blood, warded so thoroughly she was afraid to know what would happen if it was opened before the specified time, insisting that the titles be absorbed in full by one of Draco’s descendants, the properties falling under their complete control but for Potter Hall.

Her son had gaped at his cousin, the blond unable to believe that Harry would be handing over that much power to someone he had once been unable to stand.

“Are you sure we cannot persuade you to join us?” Elia asked lowly, eyes drifting to where her sons played with their youngest sister, Rhaenys coordinating Maia’s chaos.

Narcissa smiled as she disagreed. “I cannot leave Lucius, and Draco is loathe to part Astoria from her family,” she told her, seeing the sympathetic smile on her daughters face. He would have loved her, this elemental princess, but Lucius remained in Azkaban for a few years more and Elia would be lost to her then.

She blinked back the sour thoughts, turning to the parchment instead. “I’m sure we can part with most of the gold,” she said, changing the topic to the rest of their preparations. “Some of the jewels are cursed, and likely to harm someone in Westeros without a cursebreaker.”

Elia hummed in agreement, marking the parchment as they discussed what could and could not be taken with them.

 


 

2015

 

The vote had gone as expected, the majority of the Wizengamot voting in favour of expanding their options for trade.

There had been a few raised eyebrows at seeing who had campaigned and voted against, recognizing the unlikelihood that Wilkes and her bloc would ever vote similarly to the Longbottom-MacMillan-Malfoy-Potter-Black vote, but it had happened and they now waited with baited breath for the fallout to occur. That they managed to delay the vote for several months had been enough of a feat, but their efforts had crumbled in the face of gold.

They spent Yule together as a family, the atmosphere slightly festive despite the undercurrent of tension and the unacknowledged parting that would soon be upon them.

For their sakes – Carina, Maia, and Scorpius – the terrible trio kept themselves in relatively good cheer, unwilling to dampen the day with their worries. They played with the children, their faces morphing – quite literally in Teddy’s case to her amusement – in feigned disgust at their parents whenever the couple shared a kiss.

“Get a room,” Teddy muttered, wrinkling his nose as his father grinned at him.

“This is our house,” Harry began, and Narcissa saw Elia poke him to keep the rest of that sentence from little ears.

“I’ve lost my appetite, cousin,” Draco said, placing his scone on the plate as he shifted closer to Astoria.

“Come along, children,” Narcissa interjected, glowering slightly at their parents. “We can get the rest of the desserts.”

“Cake!” Carina cheered, running forward, Maia hot on her heels as they made for the kitchen.

She levitated the tray of cake from the table, staring sternly at the bright blue eyes of her granddaughter as Maia morphed to resemble her cousin, their now-identical eyes widened in plea for a piece.

“Not a word,” she said to the grinning boys, sending the cake and the younger three back to their parents, Winky on hand to keep an eye on them.

“I wasn’t going to say anything,” Aegon smiled.

Liar, she thought fondly, her smile disappearing as she saw Rhaenys picking at her cake.

She glanced at the two boys, silently willing them to leave. Narcissa watched in fond exasperation as they instead leaned against the kitchen counter, staying close to their sister and unwilling to leave her.

“I would like a word with Rhaenys,” she told them. “Womenly matters.”

Aegon and Teddy wrinkled their noses, glancing at Rhaenys before they refused.

“Pretty sure that’s not what’s bothering her,” Teddy muttered.

“You’re seventeen, Teddy,” Rhaenys snorted. “Old enough to stop cringing at the thought.”

Teddy muttered something unintelligibly under his breath, pulling a short laugh from Aegon.

“You know, Rhae,” Teddy said, his face thoughtful as he glanced at Narcissa. “If anyone could understand it might be Aunt Cissa.”

“If I could understand what?” she drawled, watching as the trio shared a quick look, seemingly coming to an agreement.

“Dealing with shitty family legacies,” Teddy said, hissing as Aegon poked him sharply with his elbow. “What? There isn’t a nicer way to say it, Egg.”

Narcissa stilled slightly, grimacing in understanding. She knew enough of what had occurred between Elia and her first husband, and the stories she had heard of her father-in-law had made her glad for Abraxas Malfoy, loathsome as he was.

“It’s not shameful,” she began, glaring at the three as they snorted in unison. “It’s not shameful,” she pressed, daring them to interrupt her once more, “to take pride in the name and the good that it’s done even as you contend with the darkest parts of your family.”

Rhaenys’s purple eyes were darker than usual, a frown creasing her brow as she asked, “How do you get over it?”

“Not easily,” she tells her, recalling Sirius’s departure and hatred, Andromeda’s leaving and never returning, even when her heart beat steadily with all that made her a Black. “Despite the legacy, you are the next to shape it. It rests on your shoulder now, not on people who no longer live to mould the world in their image.”

 

Chapter Text

 

The cart pulled to a sudden stop, causing her to jerk forward the slightest bit no matter how long she had been using it.

Riptooth hopped off, the clangs in his hand sending the dragon skirting backward as they approached. Elia spared a moment to rub the blind dragon’s snout, seeing a pale version of Iacomus in his place, before walking to the door.

The Potter vault required blood for identification, and she felt the tingle as the magic of the ring and the vault interacted, a slight stinging sensation that quickly faded as the door hissed open.

“I require an hour,” she told the goblin, ignoring the slight sneer on his face as he turned back to his cart.

She entered alone, seeing the effects of their preparations on the vault itself. There were few piles of gold near the front, the rest having been converted to bars and placed in expanded trunks.

It was the jewellery she was here for today, the gems and the books being the last things that needed to be removed from the Potter vault.

Much like the Blacks, the Potters had kept any goblin-made items in their home, preventing accusations of theft on their part.

They had been packed away, and Elia shuffled through the remaining jewels, Maia and Teddy’s inheritance – Aegon and Rhaenys as well, he had insisted – packaging them carefully as she worked. They were sure to garner envy, and this trunk would be warded almost as well as the one carrying their gold.

She took care with the books, most of them of the slightly darker variety or written in the handwriting of a former Potter; a thousand years of family history stored in the binds of well over a hundred journals, chronicling the rise of Hogwarts and the events that saw the family rise to prominence. The Potter portraits were the only things left to pack, the Peverells explaining how they had placed portraits in their parallel dimension. She had been relieved, glad that this one aspect of her new family would not remain lost to them.

In the quiet moments of their preparations, Elia felt the sadness at what they were doing; what they were forced into doing. Harry had been the only Potter for so long, and the return of his family to prominence had been marred by this latest complication.

The things people do for power, she thought.

“I don’t care, you know,” his voice said, forcing her to turn in surprise. He was leaning against a suit of armour, green eyes focused on her with a gentle look in them. “I could hear you brooding from the Black vault.”

“I was not brooding,” she denied, seeing the twitch of his lips and the raised brow.

There was a bag in his hand, the shrunken trunks within holding the last of the items they would remove from the Black vault. She walked over, adding the last of the trunks to the bag as his hand cupped her chin, earnest green eyes staring into hers.

“I meant it,” he murmured softly.

“That you don’t care about losing your home?” she asked rhetorically. Really, she’d have to make time before they left for a short visit to those Dursleys. Perhaps Narcissa would even join her.

“Have I lost you?” he questioned, sending a flutter through her at the unspoken words.

“Never,” she replied quietly. “To the end of my days, Harry.”

She sunk into the kiss, knowing they would face whatever came together. A house is not a home, he’d told her once, in the quiet of the night, and Elia knew this love was the anchor that held them together.

“Come, husband,” she murmured, eyes glinting as she looked at him. “Beltane isn’t a day for sad thoughts.”

A startled laugh left her as he swiftly gathered her in his arms, grinning in delight as he said, “No, I’m sure I can think of happier thoughts.”


The loud roar from the dragons was heard well before the mirror call came. Harry had sprinted outside to calm them, worried one of the children had gotten upset and the dragons were reacting to their loss of control. Elia reached for the mirror as she watched Harry hissing at Iacomus, arms raised in a soothing manner as Auriga shifted angrily. Rhaenys’s worried face filled the mirror – an odd sight, considering they had spoken to the children after returning from the small ceremony to commemorate the end of the war – loud shouts in the background as Elia vaguely saw people running to and fro.

“Rhaenys, wh—”

“Egg’s missing,” Rhaenys interrupted, the words sending Elia reeling. Her heart stopped, fear and panic and a touch of rage swirling through her at the thought of her son – her Aegon whom she had nearly lost once before – missing in a place they had assumed would be safe.

She forced the panic down, pushing through the emotions as she saw the fear clearly written on her daughters face. “Where are you?”

“The hospital wing. There was a fire, something went wrong near the pitch, a-and I don’t know. Teddy’s here too – he’s fine, just a little hurt – but we can’t find Egg.”

“We’ll be there soon,” she told Rhaenys, seeing her nod before she closed the connection. “Winky,” she called, the elf popping in immediately. “We have to go to Hogwarts.”

“Winky be taking Little Mistress Maia to Malfoy Manor,” Winky said, popping away to Maia’s room.

“Something’s wrong with Aegon,” Harry told her, cloaks flying into his hand as he wrapped his arm around her, spinning with a thunderous crack.

They reappeared in the midst of chaos in the Hogwarts Infirmary, their sudden presence causing a temporary lull in the conversations of those closest to them.

Elia veered away from the matron, moving straight to the curly head next to door, seeing the flashing badge before Teddy’s face came into view.

“Mum,” he said in worried relief, eyes glancing over her shoulder to see Harry right behind her. There was a large bandage on Teddy’s shoulder, the smell of smoke clinging to his clothes as he brushed off her worry.

Rhaenys spun in surprise, eyes widening no doubt at their quick appearance.

“What happened?” she asked, gaze bouncing between the two.

“A fire,” Teddy answered, eyes flashing in worry. “Near the quidditch pitch. Egg was with a friend last I knew. He borrowed the map, so I can’t use it to find him.”

"You're arm," Harry said.

"I'm fine. A small burn is all," he replied, brushing off their worry.

Her stomach clenched in fear as one of the professors walked over, a grim look in his grey eyes.

“Lord and Lady Potter-Black,” he said, voice as dark as his expression. “I am Professor Birch.”

“What the hell started a fire bad enough to have children missing?” Harry demanded as his green eyes darkened in fear and fury.

“It’s fiendfyre,” he said quietly, causing a sharp breath to leave Harry as he stared in horror at his friend.

“Fiendfyre,” he said flatly. “Our son is missing and there’s fiendfyre loose on Hogwarts grounds.”

Professor Birch grimaced in sympathy, grey eyes dark and hesitant as he glanced at them.

“What is it?” Elia asked tightly.

“I understand it might not soothe your worries, but the Ministry sent Aurors to help with the fire once it spread to the forest,” he told them, “and an Unspeakable team to help them. I’m certain they are doing their best to find Mr. Targaryen and the other students missing.”

A cold feeling passed through her then, her worry for Aegon intensifying. A missing son was terrible enough; a missing son with elemental-coveting Unspeakables on the loose was something out of her worst nightmare, and Elia turned to her other children.

“Pack your bags,” she told them quietly, wary of potential listeners. “Get Aegon’s things from his dorm and head home immediately.”

“Mum,” Rhaenys began, eyes wide in surprise. “We can’t leave. They’ve locked the wards and apparition is imp—supposed to be impossible right now.”

“Now, Rhaenys,” Elia insisted. “Floo Narcissa. Tell her Maia needs to come home.”

Teddy tugged lightly on Rhaenys’s arm, Elia’s dark eyes looking at her from his face as he nodded. “We’ll see the three of you at home.”

She gave them a tight smile, waiting until they left for their dorms. She felt Harry’s hand at the small of her back.

“The forest,” she said lowly, leaning into his hold as they apparated once more, the hospital wing abuzz with what should have been impossible.


The Forbidden Forest was dark, foreboding, and lived up to the description of its name.

The smell of smoke and rot was strong, the fire blazing somewhere off to her left as ash filled the air, and Elia choked back the memories of her last encounter with fire and the rotting bodies.

“Point me Aegon,” came the mutter, and she watched with baited breath as Harry’s wand spun in hand, stopping at a point to her left. To the fire.

They moved swiftly, avoiding the tangling roots and the sounds of the many creatures she had been told inhabited the forest, skittering away in fear for their lives.

Shouts reached them, the noises coming from the Aurors battling the flames as well as the roar of the flames. There was a serpent – tall and large and glorious in its fiery manner – flames hissing as it carved a destructive path through the forest.

A wall of water rose to greet the fire, steam flowing outward as they were slowly being overwhelmed.

I should help them, she thought, fir wand raised to disguise her actions, but her mind turned to Aegon, turned to the Unspeakables who could have found her son before she did.

The wall thickened, the water rising in an attempt to smother the flames as his holly wand danced in the air, a quick glance at her before he nudged his head deeper into the forest. "I'll be right behind you," he promised, pushing more power into his spell. It was beginning to die down, magic crackling in the air as the flames were attacked from all sides, forcing it to slowly dwindle in size.

“Point me,” she whispered, following the light tug as she moved away from Harry, a small prayer on her lips in hopes that they all made it out of here safely.

Don’t think like that, she chided herself, weaving around aurors as she reached the edge of the forest.

The quidditch pitch was charred, the stands a smoking ruin as smoke filled the air and the fiendfyre continued to batter the land, Hogwarts glowing eerily in the light of the fire.

“Aegon!” she called, moving deeper inside, ignoring the cloying scent of ash and smoke and death. “Aegon!”

Mother have mercy, do not take my son from me, she prayed, calling his name as she moved further along the ruins of the quidditch pitch.

It was perhaps an hour later that Elia saw the odd shape of the fire, a dome-like structure raised and being battered by fiery demons.

“Aegon!” she called, her magic rising as a tide of water splashed against the fire, steam forming as Elia refused to let up.

The dome shifted, the fire growing in size as it folded outward, a dragon forming in the flames to attack the rest as she made out the shifting bodies hidden behind the wall of fire.

She breathed a sigh of relief, hurrying forward as she saw the ash-marked face of her son, a look of intense concentration on his face as focused on smothering the flames.

There were three students with him; two were unconscious, their breaths raspy and uneven as the third leaned over them, wand moving frantically in an attempt to wake them.

Elia grabbed the boy’s wrist, stopping him even as the heat of the flame moved away. His clothes were tattered, holes showing where the flames had gotten to him. She threw her cloak over him, hearing the shouts from the Aurors as they took control of the flame, stretchers moving forward as the boys were levitated onto it.

She had Aegon in her arms as soon as the others were taken, face pressed against his as she held tightly to him. Aegon’s hair was missing, the soft golden locks gone and his clothes barely held together before she felt Harry wrap his arms and cloak around the both of them.

“I couldn’t leave them,” Aegon rambled. “I-I don’t know what happened. One minute we were playing quidditch, and the next thing I know…someone’s pulling their wand out and starting a duel. And the fire…gods, it was so big. They would have died.”

Aegon pulled his face back, purple eyes staring earnestly at them as he said, “I couldn’t leave them to burn, Mum.”

“You did the right thing,” she told him, holding firmly onto his face.

Purple eyes darted to Harry’s, and Elia saw his eyes widen and flash with fear, his voice shaky as he whispered, “Papa.”

All colour left her as she glanced over at her husband, eyes darting past his shoulder to see grey robes moving quickly to the castle.

“Harry,” she said, dread evident in her tone.

Relieved green eyes filled with worry as he saw the look on her face, his eyes glancing back and widening at the sight.

His arms tightened around them as he muttered, “We have to go.”

 

Chapter Text

 

They had barely reappeared in Potter Hall before he was moving, wand twisting in the air as he summoned their belongings.

Potter Hall was bustling with activity, the children’s belongings gathered in the sitting room as the portraits spoke loudly, Aunt Narcissa handing Teddy the sleeping Maia at the sight of Elia, the woman swiftly making her way over as trunks fell at their feet.

Vaguely, beneath the din of the dragon’s roars, he heard the relieved shouts from Rhaenys and Teddy at the sight of their brother, whole and hale and seemingly none the worse for his experience.

“Harry,” his father called, voice shouting over the barrage of questions from the other portraits.

“What happened?” Rhaenys demanded.

“You’re fine, aren’t you?” Teddy asked, Maia half asleep in his arms as he shifted to keep her from waking. “You aren’t hurt?”

“They saw me,” Aegon said, voice tinged with fear, and Harry once more cursed the bloody damned Department of Mystery and the Ministry for good measure.

His words brought a heavy silence, the air thick with tension as his siblings traded worried glances.

“Egg,” Rhaenys began, voice unsure as the fear in his voice made itself known.

“There was an Unspeakable,” Aegon told them, causing Teddy to suck in a sharp breath as he turned to face Harry.

“We leave tonight,” Harry said, face resolute as he looked at his family. He was no longer taking any chances – had lingered long enough as it is.

“The portraits,” Teddy said, trailing off as his eyes drifted to where Harry’s father had a gentle smile on his face.

“There’s not enough time to take us with you,” he told Teddy, hazel eyes bright.

“Herakles,” Aunt Narcissa said, a saddened look on her face that he couldn’t ignore as he saw her grip tighten on Elia’s.

“Go home, Aunt Cissa,” he said softly. “They’ll come calling on anyone close to us.”

There would be no time for proper goodbyes, something they all realized as a sombre mood settled across them.

He focused on the trunks gathered in the room, giving his aunt and wife a quiet moment to say their farewells as he tallied them. There were sixteen trunks, all of them heavily expanded to take as much as they could, plus the three Rhaenys and Teddy had brought home from Hogwarts. Four trunks for each of them to carry, bar one for the person holding Maia.

Elia had –thankfully – marked the trunks, and Harry took hold of four trunks, each containing books, gold, jewellery and clothing, shrinking them before placing them in his pockets. He repeated the process, making sure each of the kids had a trunk of gold with them in addition to their school trunks and the rest of their things, settling Elia’s trunks close together before he saw golden hair fill his vision.

“Herak—”

Harry cut her off, wrapping his arms around the last of his mother’s family, feeling her arms encircle him as she buried her face in his shoulder.

“You’ll be careful,” he said, unwilling to think of what could happen to them.

“They’ll have a hard time getting through me,” she answered, a hint of dark promise present in her tone.

“Are you…” he trailed off, feeling her arms tighten around him and knowing the answer to his question. He blinked back the tears, voice low as he murmured, “I’m sorry it came to this.”

She pulled back, familiar grey eyes staring sorrowfully at his face. “You are a Black as much as you are a Potter, Herakles,” she told him, voice tinged with grief. “Take care of your family in this new world.”

“I will,” he promised, hugging her once more as said goodbye to the woman who had taken to being his aunt far more than the one who had raised him. "I love you."

He let her go as he heard her whispered reply, making his way to Elia’s side. “I’ll get the dragons ready and meet the rest of you outside,” he told her, seeing the nod as he quickly squeezed her hand.

Auriga and Iacomus were shifting uneasily when he reached them, seeing their wings stretched as the hissed lowly.

Where is Egg?” Iacomus demanded. Aegon had likely soothed Iacomus through their bond, but the dragons became anxious when they couldn’t see their companions, and Harry forced himself to soothe them.

Inside,” he answered gently, seeing the flare of fury in his quicksilver eyes recede slightly. “We leave now.”

Auriga and Iacomus bent forward, knowing what Harry wanted, and he pulled the collars forward, hooking them gently to their necks as they began to glow slightly. The ritual room in the Peverell home would have been the best place to conduct the ritual, but the dragons were too large to fit inside, and so they would have to make do with the large clearing he was hastily preparing.

The wand, he thought, swearing as he quickly spun on his heel, reappearing in the solarium. He nicked his hand, letting the blood flow as the bricks fell apart to reveal the Elder Wand and Resurrection Stone. He pocketed the stone, his blood catching on the grooves of the wand as he apparated back to the small clearing, his holly wand ignored as he carved the runes into the floor with Death’s wand.

A low hiss left Auriga, golden eyes swivelling over his shoulder as she glared blankly at the dark forest surrounding them.

What’s wrong?” he asked, hand brushing her snout as he took a deep breath, stretching his magic to see what it was that bothered them. A cold pit grew in his stomach, and Harry forced himself to still, knowing their time was even more limited.

It was only one person so far, their magic irritating him as it poked at his wards, trying to see a way past centuries-old protections, but the rest would follow soon after.

Say nothing of this to the others,” Harry warned them, eyes glowing with suppressed magic. It was crackling just underneath his skin, the thought of a possible fight causing his magic to surge in anticipation as he finished drawing the runes.

He touched the tip of his wand to the runes on their collar, activating them and watching as Auriga and Iacomus disappeared from view for a moment, magic flaring brightly as the runes on the ground glowed faintly in unison.

The wards were buzzing, his magic tingling as he felt the additional help the intruder had, their magic probing for holes to get through.

They were coming outside, their belongings stored in their pockets as they moved swiftly into position, Teddy holding Maia in his arms as he glanced oddly at his father.

The feel of intrusive magic was stronger, his own crying out for blood as the wand he held thrummed in eagerness. It was dangerous, having Death’s wand near and so eager for blood, and Harry handed the stone and wand to Teddy, knowing the boy had the invisibility cloak as well and glad it would not fall into their hands.

“Harry,” Elia said, cottoning on to what he was planning, dark eyes pleading with him to not do it as she moved closer. “We still have time.”

“Not enough,” he said, glancing at his children with a small sad smile. It dawned on them, and Harry shook his head before they could protest. “If they get through the wards we go nowhere, and I’d rather not test that.”

“Papa,” Aegon said, anguish clear in his face and voice.

“I’ll see you all soon,” he told them, turning to Elia.

How did I get so lucky? He wondered, his hand cupping her cheek as he pulled her into a fierce kiss, pouring all his emotions, all his love and hopes and fear into it.

“So long as there is breath in my body, I will find my way to you,” he murmured, ignoring the sharp feel of magic colliding against the wards. “I’ve no intention of not living a long life with you, Elia.”

She took a shuddering breath, opening her eyes and Harry felt his heart ache with love and pride and sorrow. He hated that this was necessary – that he would not be going with them immediately – but Harry knew they would be fine. More than fine, he thought.

There was a hint of steely determination in her dark eyes, this Princess of Dorne embodying her family’s motto. Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken, he thought, knowing she would see them through this.

“I expect to see you in Dorne, husband,” Elia told him.

He smiled, pressing his lips to hers once more before he promised, “As my princess commands.”

He took a step back, knowing they were pressed for time. It would take some thirty minutes, and Harry knew he could find ways to make sure the ritual was uninterrupted.

He glanced at them, seeing Rhaenys begin to activate the runes alongside Teddy, his family tucked protectively beneath the wings of Auriga and Iacomus, and Harry committed this last memory of them to his mind.

I’ll see them soon, he vowed, holly wand falling into his palm as he made his way to the ward line.


He had let them wear themselves out for a few minutes, knowing the wards were still holding strong underneath their assault.

From what he could tell, there were a dozen of them, grey cloaks blending in with the darkness as they battered at the protections countless generations of Potters had reinforced.

Eleven, now, he thought darkly, seeing the first Unspeakable fall as his spell connected.

He was no longer the boy who had fought to disarm, unwilling to let them walk away with a mild headache. They wanted to harm his family, and Harry would remind them of what happened to those who harmed the family of a Potter and a Black.

He ducked beneath the curse sent his way, chunks of earth lifting to form a shield as he sent a piercing hex at the Unspeakable closest to him. It was only at the sound of pitiful moaning, a bone-crushing curse hitting a third square in the ribs that they turned to him in a small group, the others working to lower the wards.

At the sight of raised wands, Harry felt a feral grin grow on his face as his magic surged forward in glee, no longer tightly held.

He danced around the spells flying his way, a joyous laugh leaving him as he sent his own curses, bits of rock and dirt flying as he sent them into the group of Unspeakables.

Perhaps I’ve gone mad, he thought faintly, uncaring of the potential dangers lurking in his blood.

He felt the sharp sting of a cutting curse on his arm, ignoring the slight pain as he responded with a shout of “SECTUMSEMPRA!”

Blood sprayed on the floor as the fifth Unspeakable went down, gurgles heard as one of his friends made to help him.

The remaining three shared an uncertain glance, eyes disguised by the cowl they wore as they decided between fighting against him or protecting the ones attempting to destroy the wards.

One of them twirled his wand, a light flaring as Harry recognized the signal for what it was.

No amount of assistance can help you now, he thought darkly, a sharp job of his wand relieving one of them of the bones in their legs, not entirely avoiding the curse that split his arm open.

He felt the growing buildup of magic, smiling at the feeling, as he knew it meant the ritual had worked.

There were cracks in the air, the arrival of an Auror squad that lost one of their own to an organ-liquefying curse Harry managed to avoid.

“WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?” their captain yelled, wand raised as his team moved between the Unspeakables and Harry.

“Lord Potter-Black,” he said, his eyes wide as he stared at Harry. There was blood on his robes, his eyes glowing faintly with power that crackled in the air around him as a dark look came on his face.

“I’d like to know why the fuck they thought it a good idea to intrude on my property,” Harry snapped.

 

Chapter Text

 

Unknown Time

Rhaenys

 

She woke on a bed of sand, the grains falling through her fingers as Rhaenys struggled to sit up, the breath knocked out of her. Egg was lying on the floor next to her, Maia squirming in his arms as Teddy groaned in pain.

“Mama!” Maia called, the little girl crying as she searched for their mother, her knee digging into Egg’s side as she scrambled off him.

“Come here Maia,” she said, grabbing hold of her before Maia could start screaming her displeasure. “It’s okay. You’re fine.”

“Rhae, where’s Papa?”

Rhae closed her eyes, heart aching in pain for her sister – for them all – as she thought of where their father might be, what he might be dealing with.

“He’ll be here soon,” she answered firmly. She walked in small circles, seeing Egg continue to lie on the floor even as Iacomus’s hulking body nudged him, their mother standing closest to Auriga.

He had to be fine; Herakles Potter-Black was not the type to renege on his word, and Rhae had to believe that he would find them – no matter what lay in his path – that he wouldn’t remain trapped in the Wizarding World. Maia would not be left calling for a father that would not return.

“Where are we?” Teddy asked, eyes darting around their surroundings.

The sea was spread out in front of them, waves crashing softly against the sand as a cool breeze drifted across the water. Rhae tightened her hold on Maia, moving closer to Auriga’s warmth as she tucked her sister beneath her cloak.

“The Water Gardens,” Mum told them, an odd note in her tone as her eyes stared at something far off into the distance.

It was there, visible underneath the pale light of the moon that Rhae could make out the hint of a castle of some sort, pale walls glowing softly in the night.

“What now?” Rhae asked, turning to her mother.

There was no hint of fear or grief in Elia Martell’s face, nothing but the barest hint of sadness and wistfulness, and even that was covered by the steely determination in her dark eyes.

“We find a way inside,” Mum answered, a contemplative look on her face as she looked at them. Teddy was already moving, face shifting to look more like their mother’s when she shook her head.

“Keep your natural form, Teddy,” she said, and Rhae felt her brother’s hesitation.

Teddy’s face returned to the sharper image of their father’s, hair sitting in unruly curls and his skin lightening until it mimicked the lightly bronzed hue he and Aegon usually sported in the summer.

“Is it safe to go?” Rhae asked, glancing once more at the castle – palace, she corrected herself – seeing the openness to it. She could probably have Auriga bring them closer, the dragon’s scales blending in with the night, but Rhae felt uncomfortable at the thought of leaving them so exposed.

“The Water Gardens represents all of Dorne,” Mum answered softly, “and Dorne is ever loyal to her children.”

“We'll fly closer,” Rhaenys said, moving to hand Maia over to Teddy as Auriga prepared herself. Egg and Teddy would fly behind with Iacomus before sending the dragon into hiding in the mountains that lay to the west, and Auriga would join them once she had taken the three closer.

She climbed on top of Auriga, feeling the small thrill that she got each time she prepared to fly, Teddy handing her Maia as he helped their mother climb up, scrambling on behind Egg as Iacomus spread his wings.

Fly, Auriga, she thought, feeling the Horntail respond as she carried them away.


They pulled to a stop closer to the palace, their mother pointing out a place large enough for them. The sun was almost rising, a faint hint of light on the horizon, and Rhae climbed of Auriga with the others before sending her away, dark wings flapping gently as Iacomus followed her higher up into the sky where they could be mistaken for birds.

“You’ll have to walk the rest of the way,” Mum told Teddy, her hand on his shoulder as he nodded firmly. “Once you are inside the palace, look for the castellan. Doran might have another, but many of the servants will have been from my time at the Water Gardens.”

“What if we’re not in the right time?” Teddy asked, lifting Maia into his arms.

“I trust your father did the ritual correctly,” Mum answered.

She’d not thought of that possibility, and Rhae felt her stomach clench at the thought of possibly returning to Westeros when it was embroiled in war.

 


 

Teddy

 

He shifted nervously, swallowing his fear as he held Maia in his arms. The little girl wanted to explore their surroundings, but Teddy had strict instructions that he was meant to carry out now that the sun was high enough.

If his uncles were present it would be easier, but most likely it would be a Martell castellan or servant that had known his mother when she was a young girl and would recognize her in Maia.

They walked to the gates, a pair of guards standing ramrod straight with tall spears in hand. They glanced at them, and Teddy shifted before he motioned to Maia. Before he could speak, they opened the gates, ushering him inside with a short, “Find the castellan and inform him of your arrival.”

Teddy nodded, murmuring his thanks as he entered, aware of the various eyes on him. There were guards placed at every corner, an odd placement considering the light atmosphere here. The Water Gardens was an apt name; smoothly paved roads lined the path to the large palace, walls separating the different sections, and Teddy weaved his way through the walking gardens and one of the small pools, seeing children of an age with Maia playing joyously.

“I want to swim, Teddy,” Maia pouted, watching the others splash about.

“Not yet, Maia,” he told her. “Soon, once Mum comes inside.”

Maia stared at him with identical green eyes before she nodded, seemingly agreeing to his words.

If only I believed it, he thought wryly, though hopefully their new surroundings would force Maia to heed his words.

He came across the palace proper, wide arches leading to the outer patio and the great doors that lay beyond. There was a short line of people entering the palace, parents with their children as they brought them to foster.

He shuffled forward, holding Maia closer as he saw the man waiting at the door to the palace.

“Apologies, my lord,” a woman said, her hand settling on Teddy’s shoulder as she steadied herself.

Teddy turned to apologize before he froze, eyes widening in surprise at the purple orbs locked onto Maia’s face.

He had seen enough of his mother’s memories to know who she was, and her intent stare at Maia – her eyes flashing with recognition and hopeful sadness and something else, darker – was enough to convince him he was right.

Very few Dornish had seen Rhae as a baby, but Ashara Dayne had been his mother’s companion and if anyone could recognize Maia’s features, it would be her.

“Apologies, my lady,” Teddy said, flushing slightly.

“Is this your first time at the Gardens?” she asked, eyes glancing between Teddy and Maia as she picked out the features they shared in common.

“Yes. My mother wished for me to bring my sister,” he told her.

She smiled slightly, face devoid of anything he could see to gauge her thoughts before she gestured to the palace. “Your mother? Is she not with you?”

“No,” he said firmly, eyes warily staring around him. His mother trusted these people, was certain Dorne would never turn hostile to them, but Teddy was still a bit leery after their harrowing escape.

Lady Ashara led him inside the palace, the wide hall adorned with tapestries and candle fixtures. The inside reflected the sandy exterior, and Teddy could see why his mother spoke so fondly of the place.

“Unfortunate that,” she said, leading him up a set of stairs. “No matter, we shall have you settled in a room before someone comes to confirm your sister’s presence.”

“I’m sorry,” he said, halting slightly. “Who are you?”

Her smile grew, a twinkle in her purple eyes as she gave a fluid curtsy, “Lady Ashara Dayne.”

“A pleasure, my lady,” he said, placing Maia on the ground so he could bow, hand outstretched for hers and placing a soft kiss on her knuckled. “I am Edward.”

“Who is this little one?”

She was smiling at Maia, the little girl curtsying proudly as she introduced herself. “Maia Andromeda Potter-Black.”

Teddy stifled the urge to roll his eyes, smiling indulgently as he saw his sister beaming at their mother’s old friend.

She led them to a large room, unlike anything he had expected in the palace, and Teddy relaxed slightly. He had done it; he’d found someone friendly who would make sure the right people knew. Hopefully, he thought.


They were summoned some hours after they had arrived.

A servant had brought a platter of food to them, and Teddy had made sure to taste everything before he handed it to Maia, ignoring the irritated stare she sent him. He’d kept watch, exhausted as Maia slept, his eyes bouncing between the view of the pools and the door, waiting to hear from the guards no doubt posted outside.

Lady Ashara brought them to another room, this one opulent and clearly meant for the likes of the Martell family. There was a guard, tall and hulking, his hands on the shaft of his axe as he stood in place behind an older man seated on a wheelchair, a large blanket covering his legs.

He didn’t see any other guards; just the two men, Lady Ashara and another woman, of an age with his parents who’s eyes remained fixated on Maia’s face.

The man in the wheelchair wore an orange doublet, the spear and sun of House Martell etched into the breast, and Teddy felt his breath catch at seeing familiar dark eyes.

“Prince Doran, might I introduce Lord Edward and his sister, Lady Maia Andromeda Potter-Black.”

He was staring at Maia, slowly watching the little girl take a curious step and Teddy gripped her hand tightly, unwilling to let go.

“We shall not harm your sister,” he said, dark eyes glancing at Teddy. “In Dorne, we do not harm children.”

He must have read something in Teddy’s face because he raised a hand, his guard taking a step back.

He let Maia go, his sister wavering for a moment before her curiosity won out. She stepped closer to Prince Doran, moving closer to him as she asked, “Are you okay?”

He blinked, glancing curiously at Teddy as he hastily explained her meaning before smiling. “I am well. You remind me very much of my niece, Rhaenys.”

“That’s my sister’s name,” Maia told him, “and you have the same name as Mama’s brother.”

Teddy watched with baited breath as Doran Martell reached a hand to Maia, the little girl climbing onto his lap as he placed a soft kiss on her forehead.

“Your mother…” Lady Ashara trailed off, hope in her eyes as she watched Doran wipe a tear from his eyes.

“Alive,” he told them.

 


 

Aegon

 

He leaned against the tree, thankful it provided some shade as he watched his mother pace anxiously, glancing every so often at the palace.

They sat covered by the bushes, a small grove of trees about a third of a league away from the palace walls providing more cover as he picked at a blood orange.

Maia and Teddy had been gone for hours, the sun beginning it’s descent after battering them for hours. Egg was a jumbled mess of emotions; worry for his siblings and father the most prominent.

I’ll never forgive myself if something happens to them, he thought, burning the peeled skin in a whoosh of flame.

“Careful, unless you want to burn the tree down as well,” Rhae joked, dropping down to sit next to him.

Egg flinched, hands clenched tightly to the charred remains of the blood orange as he turned to glance at the palace once more.

“Egg,” Rhae said softly, her hand grabbing hold of his. “Aegon. It’s not your fault.”

“They saw me Rhae,” he said lowly, self-loathing evident in his tone. “They saw me; not you, not Mum, not even Papa with his, but me. Why wouldn’t it be my fault?”

His father was missing, no longer with them as he had been for as long as Egg could remember. Papa had been a constant in his life, and that they were now in Westeros while their father dealt with whatever the Wizarding World threw at him was entirely his fault.

“Did you start the fire?” she snapped lowly, not wanting to grab their mother’s attention. They had their wands, but the feel of a silencing ward, as sluggish as their magic felt, would get her attention quickly.

“I didn’t have to—”

“Save someone’s life?” she asked sarcastically. Rhae’s eyes were glowing slightly, her emotions no doubt spilling over to Auriga, and Egg sighed, turning away to give her a moment to calm herself.

“I could have stopped the fire immediately,” he rebutted.

“No, you couldn’t,” Rhae countered. “I felt the fire afterwards, Egg. Fiendfyre is dangerous for a reason.”

“But—”

“There was nothing else you could have done,” she said, hand gripping his face tightly as purple orbs stared intently into his. “Nothing but what you did – which was the right thing, Egg.”

He pursed his lips, feeling furious tears prick at his eyes, his gaze dropping to the floor. “What if he doesn’t make it?”

“Don’t think like that,” Rhae told him. “When have you ever known Dad to break a promise?”

“There’s a first time for everything,” he muttered.

“Not this,” Rhae said firmly, and Egg couldn’t tell if she truly believed her words or was trying to convince herself as much as she was him. “He’d battle through armies to stay with us.”

He would, Egg knew, and he had to have faith in his father, else Egg was unsure whether he could truly do this – whether they could all remain in Westeros, unknowing if he would be joining them.


He fell asleep on Rhae’s shoulder, dozing lightly as she covered his head with a scarf when he heard the hoof beats, the sounds of men in armour making itself known.

Egg felt Rhae stiffen, hand drifting to her wand as they glanced at their mother. She did not look outwardly worried, though Egg saw the slight clenching of her fist as she straightened, eyes carefully watching the approaching riders.

There was a small wheelhouse in the retinue; it’s dark wood blending in with the dark hair of the horses as a guard stepped forward to open it. A woman walked out – tall and willowy with the same dark hair and purple eyes as Egg had seen in his mother’s memories – and he watched his mother’s shoulders relax at the sight of her.

“Elia,” she whispered, eyes pooling with tears, as she made her way forward, her arms wrapping around his mother’s frame as she returned the hug.

Egg turned to face Rhaenys, feeling as if he were intruding on a private moment.

His mother stepped back, their hands still clasped as she introduced them. “Ashara, I’m certain you remember the children.”

Lady Ashara smiled at the sight of them, the guards’ eyes widening as they hastily bowed, murmurs of “Your Grace,” leaving them.

Egg forced a smile on his face, feeling the weight of his future settle heavily on his shoulders.

 

Chapter Text

 

She had felt somewhat odd, being discreetly escorted into the Water Gardens in the dead of the night – as if she were once more a young girl playing with her friends – yet all sense of amused nostalgia fled at the sight that greeted her.

Doran – for who else could it possibly be – sat in a wheeled chair, face lined with relief as tears pooled in his dark eyes. He was no longer the young man who had turned the other way when Elia had mustered the energy to find herself in some mischief; who had brought books and scrolls, sitting patiently in his spare time with the young girl as she learned her letters and then learned the ways of their court.

He was the Prince of Dorne, leader to his people, and Elia felt her heart break as she eyed him in his chair.

He looked older, so very much aged beneath the strain of his position, the lines of his face prominent. He covered his legs with a blanket, some past injury he refused to show – Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken, she thought with sad reminiscence – but the smile he wore remained the same.

Vaguely, she noticed the others leave the room, only herself and Doran remaining, and she moved closer to him, kneeling beside the chair as she gripped his outstretched hand.

“I had feared you lost to us,” he said softly, leaning forward in wonder as he smiled. “Never have I been so glad to be mistaken.”

“Would that you could tell your younger self that,” Elia chuckled, tears spilling as she pressed her forehead to his shoulder.

“Perhaps I would have fainted from shock,” he jested softly, arm wrapping around her shoulder as he pressed his cheek to her head.

“I’ve missed you, Doran.”

“And I you, sister,” he said, placing a soft kiss on her forehead.

“Oberyn?” she asked, half expecting her boisterous younger brother to come crashing through the doors, arms extended as he attempted to swing Elia about in a hug,

“On business in the Prince’s Pass, though I will have him recalled immediately,” Doran told her. “He shall be so very glad to see you.”

Elia shook her head, aching to see Oberyn once more but knowing it would be best if he were not rushed. “Let him finish his business first. I would rather we not have too many curious eyes turned to Dorne.”

Doran smiled, a hint of teasing in his tone as he said, “Still so very concerned over keeping Dorne’s secrets safe from unwanted eyes.”

She had chosen to remain in the Wizarding World, years ago when the thought of losing what she had had been too much to bear, and though she did not regret choosing her children, a part of Elia began to heal, heart lighter at the thought of being reunited with her brothers once more.

They would speak at length in the morning, she knew, once they were rested and had the presence of mind to discuss certain matters.

For now, Elia remained in her brother’s arms, so very glad to see him alive.


They had found themselves in her bed, Maia’s face buried in the crook of Aegon’s neck as Elia woke to find herself surrounded by her children. It had been years since they had last done this – well before Maia’s birth, she remembered – and her heart ached at the missing member of their family.

He’ll be fine, she reminded herself, seeing Aegon’s face relaxed in his sleep.

He’d thought himself clever and able to hide his worries, but she had seen through his mask immediately, knowing how her son brooded over his actions.

He would remain like that until he saw for himself that his father was safe, and Elia prayed it would not be long until they were reunited.

“Mum?” Rhae whispered, voice groggy with sleep.

“Rhaenys,” she replied, feeling her daughter press her face against Elia’s arm.

“Are you well?”

“I’m fine, sweetling,” she told her, shifting in place to see purple eyes peering intently at her.

Their shuffling woke Aegon, his fidgeting forcing Maia awake as she rolled on top of Teddy, poking at his cheek for him to wake and entertain her.

Grumbling, Teddy lifted Maia and dumped her on the bed, returning to his rooms to ready himself for the day as Aegon and Rhaenys did the same. Elia herself took hold of Maia, helping the little girl as a pair of maids brought water for a bath. Maia’s green eyes lit up in delight, and Elia smiled at seeing the joy her daughter took from a bath.

They were meant to break their fast with Doran, the small family making their way to the private dining room Elia had seen her mother use in her time at the Water Gardens.

“I miss the shower,” Aegon muttered, shifting as he straightened the doublet he had borrowed.

“Why are you complaining?” Rhaenys scowled. “You don’t have any hair to wash.”

“Now, now children,” Teddy tutted, smirking in amusement at Aegon’s mock offended look, “no need to fight. Rhae, you’ll burn your hair like that.”

“No, I won’t,” she retorted. “I’m still feeling sluggish with my…you know,” she told him, lowering her voice as they neared the doors.

“Which is exactly why you’ll burn it off,” Teddy shot back, falling silent as the guards let them inside, bowing as they passed.

Doran had changed little about the room, keeping it as their mother had with the tapestries lining the walls, the only difference being the small trinkets that littered the room, small bits from his travels making their presence known.

She took the seat to his right opposite Ashara, pressing a short kiss to his cheek in greeting as the others sat, Rhaenys and Teddy settling next to Ashara opposite her, Maia and Aegon.

He had seen them briefly last night, but Elia could see her brother soaking up this image of his nephew and niece, whole and healthy.

Servants brought platters of food in, breads and light pastes and oils, a small plate of cheese, fruits arrayed around them as a pitcher of water and wine was placed before them.

They spoke lightly as they ate; Doran’s brows raised the slightest bit as the children immediately dug in, Maia’s delighted chatter filling the room as she realized the “kind man” she had met was her Uncle Doran. Ashara was quieter than she had ever been – they had all changed after the war – even as she remained alert, no doubt listening intently to whatever the children said. A fond smile curved her lips, remembering the few times Ashara had used other’s perceptions of her beauty to her advantage, learning things she might not have otherwise.

Arriving in Westeros had taken much of their energy, and beyond Teddy’s morphing abilities, they had used the last bit of their magical reserves ensuring the glamour on Maia would remain secure lest she accidentally shift to resemble the others.

There was a slight shift in the atmosphere as she placed her fork on the plate, seeing the contemplative look Doran wore as he glanced at the children.

“I did not expect there to be more than the three of you,” he said lightly, smiling at Maia. “Certainly not another babe.”

“Nor did I,” she admitted, smoothing her youngest child’s unruly curls. “I am glad to have been proven wrong.”

“The father,” Doran said, eyes flitting between Maia and Teddy as he noted the similar eyes.

Her lips twisted, unsure of how to describe her life in the Wizarding World for the past near decade and a half.

“My husband,” she finally said, seeing the surprise on their faces.

She was fiddling with her wedding ring, eyes drifting to the ring on her right hand. She had assumed it would disappear during her journey, but Elia still wore the band that marked her as Lady Potter-Black, no matter the world she lived in.

“I woke someplace else,” she told them, forestalling the questions she knew would begin. Her eyes drifted across the room, even as Doran told her he had ensured they had absolute secrecy for this. “In the home of someone I had never met and a land I had never known existed. Harry took us in, providing safety while finding a way to return us to Westeros.”

She didn’t tell them she almost did not return, bar the planned journey to reassure them and make known her decision to remain in England.

Doran’s brows furrowed a touch, his surprise breaking through the placid mask she knew he had perfected. “Another land?” he questioned, eyes drifting to where Aegon suddenly stiffened, hand clenched around his fork.

Elia shook her head, eyes pleading with Doran to leave it. He frowned, lips tugging down before he agreed. For now; she knew they could not put it off for long.

“There was a raven,” Ashara told her. “Unmarked and unremarkable but for the message it held.”

Unmarked and unremarkable, she thought darkly, knowing only one such person able to have done so from King’s Landing.

“You were missing when Tywin Lannister sacked King’s Landing,” Doran added, hand gripping his glass of wine. “The Mad King had been killed by his guard, but the Usurper had no idea as to where you had disappeared.”

A vicious sense of joy filled her at the thought. Aerys had been a disastrous madman, haunting the halls of the keep and tormenting all who came across him. That it had been Ser Jaime to kill him did not surprise her as much as it should have. He had been so very young, and King’s Landing had stripped away what innocence remained in him. Elia grieved for the young, idealistic knight who had thought all his dreams were made once the cloak had been placed across his shoulders, only to realize he served a monster.

“Teddy,” she murmured, feeling Maia fidgeting next to her. “Perhaps you can take Maia to the pools.”

“There is a more private area they can use,” Doran said, signalling for Areo. The Norvoshi priest gestured for a guard to escort them, the man dropping into a bow at the sight of Aegon and Rhaenys, and Elia nodded encouragingly for them to follow after him.


The door had barely closed before she turned to Doran, intent on learning as much as she could while the children were away.

“Robert Baratheon is king,” she stated, seeing the slight grimace that crossed Ashara’s face.

“Not much of a king,” she muttered, “but he’s managed to keep hold of his crown.”

She pursed her lips, thinking of what it meant for them that he sat the throne. “Rhaella? Viserys and the babe?”

“They live, though the queen did not survive past Daenerys’s first year,” Doran told her.

Her heart ached for her goodmother; Rhaella had been good and kind, far more dutiful a wife than Aerys had deserved, and the thought of her unable to enjoy a life free from his harm pierced through her. That little Viserys, always so quick to apologize when his mother showed her displeasure over his parroting the king’s words, would lose everyone but his sister was another pain she could not imagine.

“Dorne has remained isolated,” Doran continued. “The Usurper is convinced we are harbouring the remains of House Targaryen, and we’ve spent the past two and ten years…dissuading them from waging war. Princess Daenerys and Prince Viserys have fled to Essos under the care of their kingsguard.”

She sucked in a sharp breath, mind focused on the final part. Two and ten years, she thought. 295 AC; not 296 as they had planned.

“Dorne will hold, as it has against the dragons. No marriage will ever bind us to the Usurper and his ilk,” Doran assured her, incorrectly guessing what it was that bothered her.

She would have to warn the children – especially Aegon and Rhaenys – of the slight difference in their expected ages. And Harry; they had performed the ritual in haste, and she was now unsure of how much time he would have to do so on his own in his situation, nor whether he would realize when he had sent them. She swallowed her despair at the thought, unbidden and unwelcome, of never seeing him again, a victim to their hasty departure.

“The Reach surrendered, though they’ve managed to cause enough problems for them,” Ashara added darkly. “Lord Lannister, to prove his loyalty to the Usurper’s cause broke the siege at Storm’s End. We’ve witnessed what counts for Lannister justice, and he won a battle and a crown for his daughter.”

“A crown,” she echoed, faintly nauseated at the thought of Tywin Lannister’s proximity to the throne.

“They married, more than a year after the Sack of King’s Landing,” Ashara replied. “The Reach refused to bend the knee quietly, and Lord Tarly managed to sack Nightsong and set up defences along the Marches.”

“We sit in a dangerous position, sister,” Doran said softly, eyes focused on hers. “The Usurper has three heirs and the backing of the North, the Vale, the Westerlands and the Stormlands. The Riverlands is bitterly divided, though most have managed to quietly remain in their homes in fear of the surrounding kingdoms. Similarly, the Crownlords are far more embittered against the new king, and small pockets of resistance have appeared in the Vale and the Stormlands.”

A dark look passed between her brother and friend, and Elia feared the realm had suffered greatly in the years of her absence.

There was more he was not telling her; Doran might believe himself immune from Varys's little birds, but Elia was aware of when certain things were being withheld. She hoped it was caution over the Spider's whispers, praying for her exhaustion to abate so that they may discuss it at length in secrecy. She'd not let her children be dragged into something she had no understanding of - not even if her brother asked it of her.

 

Chapter Text

 

May 3rd

 

He sat there calmly, magic singing beneath his skin as he regained control over it, not needed and yet not fully hidden, feeling his friend shift slightly in his seat.

Harry saw it in their eyes; they had moved too quickly, given their hand away too early in the game, and he was eager to see it through to the end. Uncle Charlus had cautioned him, knowing the lengths the Unspeakables would go to, but Harry was quite done playing their game.

The Minister’s assistant kept glancing at him, eyes dropping to his papers whenever he noticed Harry’s green gaze. It had been well over an hour since he had come to the Ministry, the Auror captain – and Harry had been pleasantly surprised to realize it was Nigel Wolpert– insisting he hear Harry’s side of the story, and the case had been pushed to the upper levels almost immediately.

“Try not to blow things over too badly,” Neville muttered. “Nigel’s already sticking his neck out.”

“I wouldn’t do that to him,” Harry replied, mouth twisting in distaste as he thought on his experiences with the Auror corps. That little Nigel, the boy who had flown ten feet backward each time he attempted to disarm someone in their DA meetings, was now an Auror Captain was slightly surprising, but Harry remembered the boy had been one of the first to believe him about Voldemort and eager to do his part in the war.

The door opened as Nigel popped his head out, gesturing for Harry and Neville to join him.

Showtime, he thought, straightening his robes and checking to see his wand remained in the holster.

Kingsley’s office was large, spacious, with the Minister’s desk angled at the back next to the view of the Atrium. There was a small seating area closer to the front, but they were directed to the seats in front of the desk, the shadowed figure of an Unspeakable stood at the Minister’s shoulder as the Director of the DMLE leaned against the wall, dark eyes scrutinizing them. He was older than Kingsley, Harry guessed – not knowing Hinds well enough to tell whether his brown hair was balding due to stress or age – and one of the Aurors who had helped retake the Ministry.

“Lord Potter-Black, Lord Longbottom,” Kingsley greeted, slight surprise flashing through his eyes at the sight of Neville.

“Minister,” Neville answered, shaking Shacklebolt’s hand firmly. “I hope things are well?”

He gestured for them to sit as Director Hinds ordered Nigel out, face grim as he answered Neville’s question. “Not the best, at the moment,” he admitted. “I had expected you would be at Hogwarts dealing with the aftermath of the fire, Lord Longbottom.”

“I was,” Neville said truthfully, “however I made it to Potter Hall in time to see the aftereffects of the attack as I was checking on the well-being of my students. Maia is my goddaughter, so imagine my surprise at learning her home had been attacked.”

“It was an unfortunate situation, but not one I would consider an attack,” Kingsley denied.

“And what, Minister,” Harry drawled, “Would you consider a dozen Unspeakables attempting to break through the wards of an ancestral home?”

“We were merely there to ascertain the safety of your family, Lord Potter-Black,” the Unspeakable chimed in, voice neutral and masked beneath the cowl. “Fiendfyre burns are a rather dangerous thing to deal with and must be handled carefully.”

Harry’s eyes flashed in angry disdain, feeling Neville’s sharp warning glance.

“As it stands,” Director Hinds cut in, his voice deep and booming. “We have a dead Auror, four fatally wounded Unspeakables, and three more who might not see active duty for the next month.”

“My condolences on the loss of your Auror, Director, but you all seem to be operating under the impression that I care much for the injuries your Unspeakables are suffering,” Harry said bluntly, eyes dark and angry as he stared at the lone grey cloak in the room.

“A dangerous sentiment to have, Lord Potter-Black,” the Unspeakable spat.

“One I am well within my rights to hold,” Harry retorted. He leaned forward the slightest bit, green eyes pinned on Kingsley’s as he said lowly, “An Unspeakable stepping out of their bounds and attacking the home of a Wizengamot Lord is not going to sit well with the rest of that body, Minister. That you attacked my home hours after we had spoken of honouring the lives lost in the Battle for Hogwarts speaks poorly on your administration. I expect you’ll hear numerous complaints along those lines.”

He had him for now, but Harry also knew this wasn’t the end of it. Whether Kingsley was fully involved or a piece to be moved and hampered by legislation regarding the Unspeakables he did not care to know, only reassuring himself that this would be the last they had him in such a situation.

“There will of course be an investigation into the proceedings, Lord Potter-Black,” Director Hinds interjected.

“Indeed,” Shack answered, baritone voice even as he gazed steadily at Harry. “I’m certain the Wizengamot could do with the reassurance that this was an anomaly.”

Harry smiled coolly; mind racing as he thought on the small window he had. “I’ll be glad to hear what you uncover, Minister.”


Neville cornered him in the evening, eyes scrutinizing Harry as he ignored the fact that the House had been stripped of everything personal.

Well, almost everything, he thought, having yet to deal with the portraits.

“Aegon is an elemental,” he stated bluntly, and had Harry not been expecting this conversation, he would have choked on his drink.

He tilted his head, watching as Neville swore and poured himself a drink, downing it in one go.

“Rhaenys?” he asked, groaning lightly at his nod. “Maia?”

“Not sure yet, perhaps some minor abilities,” Harry answered.

“From you or from Elia?” Neville asked, raising his hand to wave him off. “Don’t answer that, I don’t want to know.”

“How did you know?” Harry asked curiously.

“I thought I was going mad, that time I saw him throw a group of students across the hall. It was less magic and more wind,” Neville told him, eyes unfocused as his mind replayed some memory. “I spent most of last night convincing Mr Jiggs that he was suffering from hallucination caused by smoke inhalation and magical exhaustion, and that he had not seen Aegon stop the fire from burning them with his bare hands.”

Harry swore lightly, having overlooked the students that had been present. He had been more worried over finding Aegon and Elia that he'd not given a thought to the students he had saved beyond pride in his son.

“Where are they? Elia and the children,” Neville clarified, eyes glancing around the room. “And the bloody dragons, for that matter. Should have given it away when I saw them.”

“Her family’s home,” Harry replied. “Safe from the Unspeakables.”

“Somewhere the Unspeakables can’t find them?” Neville asked, snorting as he shook his head. “You’d have to leave the fucking universe for that.”

Something in his face must have given him away, because Neville downed his drink before pouring himself another. “I don’t want to fucking know, Harry. Merlin save me, but why can you not do things the normal way?”

“Normal is overrated,” Harry smiled, seeing Neville mutter about idiotic friends as he clenched his fist.

“I leave tonight,” Harry told him. “Soon as I gather these portraits.”

“You can’t leave tonight,” Neville said. “You think the Ministry doesn’t have Unspeakables crawling all over this place? They aren’t poking at your wards, sure, but they’ve definitely got eyes on you.”

“And I care because?” Harry asked, brows furrowed as he glowered at Neville. “My family is gone, Neville, and I’d like to get to them as soon as I can, hang what the bloody Ministry wants.”

“What about the family you’re leaving behind?”

Harry pursed his lips in annoyance, knowing the Ministry would come down hard on them should he disappear right now and hating when Neville made absolute sense.

“Bugger off, Longbottom,” Harry muttered. “Come on, then. You can help me write this damned proxy form.”

“I’m not signing it,” Neville said immediately.

“I don’t need you to sign it. Just hang on to it and hand it over to Draco at the first public opportunity once I’ve left. It’ll be sealed and you can deny knowing anything.”

“I hope you know what you’re doing, Harry,” Neville said quietly. “Wherever you are going, it won’t be safe for you to return. I hope you haven’t traded one danger for another.”

Harry’s mouth twisted in a grimace, hoping the same thing.


May 11th

 

Harry sat ramrod straight, ignoring the hushed whispers of his fellows as he idly drummed his fingers against the arm of his chair. The Prophet had thoroughly enjoyed themselves this past week, bouncing between rumour-mongering on the cause of the Hogwarts fire, scathing editorials on the free reign the Unspeakables seemed to enjoy and several pointed reminders of what had been lost in their – admittedly touching –piece for the anniversary.

 

Man-Who-Conquered Defends Himself Against Unprovoked Ministry Attack

 

He’d had a good laugh at the title and the accompanying photos, the front cover blazoned with two images of Harry – the conquering hero and the family man. Even if they despised him, the Wizengamot could not ignore such a brazen attack, nor did they look like they were willing to.

He hated the thought of twiddling his fingers and doing nothing, but they had all advised him not to skip out on the first meeting the Wizengamot would hold, and so Harry swallowed his pride and rage and spent most of the past days in the Peverell ritual room, carefully scrawling the runes into the floor as he tried to recall the exact sequence he had used.

He had finished last night, freezing at the sight of the slightly unfamiliar sequence before he had relaxed. They had left in such a rush, and Harry had nearly forgotten that they were on different time streams. It would take a few hours to make the adjustments so he would land at the same time they did, and Harry was cautiously hopeful that he would find himself in the same place as them. He didn’t want to think of what would happen should he find himself in another time, should he not see his family again. That way lies madness, he thought darkly.

The portraits had insisted on helping, even as Harry prepared their frames for travel. He had packaged the oldest ones first, glad to hear little of Pontus’s complaints as he shoved him in the trunk, and all that was left were the portraits of his closest family members, and the furious Cassiopeia Black, the woman insisting she would not be left behind while Harry used the ritual she had helped him prepare.

It was a lost battle with her, and Harry enjoyed Aunt Cassie’s company too much to leave her portrait behind.

“Oy ye, oy ye. Calling to session this meeting of the Council of Lords and Ladies of the Wizengamot of Magical Britain, on this day, the seventh of May in the year two thousand sixteen. Are all members present?” Golding had retired, and Eustace Dunnings had taken over the post. The man was a staunch Ministry supporter, and near universally hated across all factions whenever the Ministry overstepped their bounds.

“All members are present, Chief Warlock,” called Humphrey Warshing, his brown hair gelled to sit neatly on his head. Percy had left the Scribe’s office, sitting instead in a departmental capacity as the Deputy Head of International Magical Cooperation, and Harry noted that the man had not once looked his way.

“Very well,” Chief Dunnings said. “Minister, if you would?”

Kingsley Shacklebolt took to the floor, the plum robes sitting well on his shoulders as he glanced around the room. His eyes locked with Harry’s for a moment before he continued his appraisal of the rest of the room. Many a Minister had found themselves doing battle with the Wizengamot, and Harry did not envy him the position of explaining the particulars of the Hogwarts fire to this room of people with family members in that very castle.

“Earlier this week,” he began, switching into the mode of practiced Auror and orator, ready to present his case to the sitting nobles. “The Ministry received a distress call from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. We responded promptly, several Auror squadrons making haste to the castle. They found fiendfyre ravaging the grounds, the Quidditch pitch destroyed and the forest burning. A team of Unspeakables was sent to assist them, and with their aid and those of the Professors of Hogwarts, we were able to contain the fire and it’s damage.”

“Who started this fire?” Lord Snyde asked curiously.

“A sixth-year. As they are currently underage, we are unable to name them until their trial, Lord Snyde, however the Ministry is currently building its case.”

“Do we know why the student started the fire? And who taught them how to use fiendfyre?” Lady Fawley cut in.

“A duel gone wrong,” Kingsley answered. “Tensions were running high from what we understand. As to the person who taught them, we are unable to answer at the moment, yet it is something we are considering.”

“What does Potter-Black have to do with this?” Nott drawled, dark blue eyes pinned on Kingsley. He had caught the Minister off-guard, Harry saw, but everyone’s eyes were focused on him, and Harry leaned back in his seat, interested in the answer.

“There is no connection between the fire and Lord Potter-Black,” Kingsley answered.

“How convenient, then. The very day a fire breaks out at Hogwarts, there’s an attack on the Potter ancestral home by the Ministry. If even the Man-Who-Conquered isn’t safe, Minister, then we must assume there was some connection.”

I owe Draco several bottles of whiskey for this, he thought. Nott looked so very disdainful of both the Minister and Harry himself, even as he backed Kingsley into a corner, and Harry knew it was less to do with helping Harry than it was whatever matter of self-interest Draco had pitched to him beyond giving the Unspeakables more power.

“We are currently investigating the matter,” Kingsley said delicately. “The DMLE is working to uncover just why the DoM was present at the Potter-Black home and ensure there was no overstep in their power.”

“No overstep,” Draco sneered. “Showing up in the dark with wands drawn goes beyond a mere overstep.”

“Again, Lord Malfoy,” he responded tightly. “We are looking into the matter and will have an answer by the next session.”

Three days, he thought. Not long, but Harry was well-prepared and able to leave tomorrow if he wished. No doubt the Unspeakables would be leery of him leaving Britain, but a walk around Diagon could remedy those worries for the time being.

Tomorrow, he decided. He had said his goodbyes already, and Harry was eager to reunite with his family.


May 12th

 

His mother walked him through the fidelius, highlighting everything he would need to make sure the spell held.

“Are you sure that’s who you want to use as your secret keeper?” she asked once more, face drawn in surprise as she stared at him.

“Nobody would think to ask,” Harry said firmly. “They always underestimate how loyal elves are, and Kreacher has more than proven his loyalty.”

“Kreacher is a loyal elf,” Kreacher muttered, glowering slightly at his mother’s portrait.

“Of course, Kreacher,” she smiled in apology, though the old elf didn’t take it.

Winky would be going with him to Westeros, along with a male elf named Tweak, firmly declaring that they would help “Dobby’s friend Master Harry Potter.”

“Ready Kreacher?” Harry asked, waiting until he heard his agreement.

There was a flash of light, his magic building as Harry poured his energy into the spell, wand twisting as he muttered the words. Slowly, very slowly, his surroundings began to blur and disappear, and Harry focused on Kreacher lest he give in to the instinctual panic.

You’ve not been afraid of the dark in years, Potter, he reminded himself firmly, continuing to chant as he pointed his wand at Kreacher. There was a drop of sweat on his brow, feeling the strain of placing a fidelius on a house as large and with as extensive a ward system as…he couldn’t recall the name.

“Kreacher,” he said, voice showing his slight exhaustion.

“Potter Hall is located in the hills of Gloucestershire,” Kreacher intoned, and Harry felt relief at being able to see his home once more.

“Kreacher, I order you not to give that secret to anyone not a Potter,” Harry said firmly, knowing the elf would obey. Kreacher's dark eyes shined slightly, a hint of pride and loss visible as he once more said goodbye to one he was fond of. Harry was no Regulus Black, but they had made their peace years ago, and he would not deny the elf the opportunity to remain with his beloved Master Regulus in death as he had in life.

“Kreacher lives to serve the House of Black,” he replied, bowing deeply before he popped off to Malfoy Manor. Aunt Narcissa had agreed to his help, unwilling to let Kreacher remain on his own once more with the portrait of Walburga Black.

He heard Tweak and Winky pop into the room, the two elves helping him place the last of the portraits in the trunks before they headed to the ritual room.

“Whatever happens, don’t be seen. I’d like us all to make it through this,” Harry told them, seeing their eager nods.

He took a deep breath, wand raised as he began to activate the runes.


Unknown Location and Time

 

He was lying uncomfortably on hard floor, the stone digging into his cheek as he felt the binds on his hand.

What in Merlin’s name have I gotten myself into? He thought, cursing the rather unfortunate luck that seemed to follow him at the most inopportune moments.

There were people speaking, voices muffled by the walls as he heard the scuffing of boots on the ground. Opening his eyes, Harry groaned as he found himself staring at a brick wall, the red stone darkened to brown in some parts.

I hope that’s age and not blood.

The door behind him cracked open, chatters making their way inside, and Harry felt momentary relief at the sounds of their voices. It wasn’t the exact same, but there was a hint of Elia’s accent in their words, a touch of familiarity letting him believe he had at least made it to Dorne.

Thank Merlin for small mercies, he thought, relieved that he had landed in the same region. He closed his eyes, the last image he had of them coming to mind. Those ten days had felt like a lifetime, and Harry was eager for their reunion.

“Wake him,” a cold voice ordered. Rough hands grabbed him, and Harry resisted the urge to throw them across the room as they shoved him against the wall, his magic near completely exhausted from the fidelius and the journey.

They sat him up, hazel eyes widening upon realizing he was awake, but the bucket of cold water had already splashed him, leaving Harry shivering slightly as he felt it slide down his back. The two men wore leather, chainmail crossing their bodies as they gripped the swords at their sides. Both had their helms on, and Harry could see the barest hint of hair – one blond, the other a sandy colour.

“You live,” the man behind them said, and the two guards stepped back quickly, posted on either side of him. The speaker was tall and broad, older than Harry by a good decade – maybe more – with blond hair and cold sky blue eyes.

“Fortunately,” Harry muttered, flexing his hands and hiding his wince at the tightness of the bindings.

“Who sent you?” the man asked, eyes not leaving Harry’s face. “Blackhaven? The Usurper himself? Has the Spider found a willing spy?”

Spy? Why would I…oh, he thought. “None of them,” he snapped, green eyes flashing. “I’m not exactly from around here.”

The man nodded at one of the guards and he stepped forward, mailed fist swinging to smack Harry on the back of his neck, the sharp sting not angering him as much as the tight hold the guard had on his neck, fingers twisting into his curls.

“No,” the man agreed casually, as if he were used to having people manhandled in his presence. “You don’t have the sound of Dorne in you, though perhaps your mother was of this land. A Stormlander.”

“No,” Harry replied, biting his tongue to keep his words quiet.

"No?" the man drawled. "You mean to convince me that you are not an enemy of Dorne. Sylas, show our guest why it is not good to lie about one's allegiances."

He didn't know which of the guards it was, but Harry felt his mouth fill with blood as he bit his cheek, his lip splitting open and certain he had knocked a tooth loose.

There was a short knock on the door before it opened, a young man, probably of an age with Egg, walking in to stand next to the older man.

“Lord Anders,” he greeted, dark eyes drifting curiously to the bleeding Harry. “My uncle is an hour’s ride away.”

The man, Lord Anders, pursed his lips slightly as he nodded at the boy. “No doubt Prince Oberyn wishes to see the newest attempt to infiltrate Dorne for himself. The Prince does so love his poisons,” he told Harry, mouth twisting into an cruel look.

Elia’s nephew, he thought, green eyes staring at the younger boy he was certain was Prince Quentyn. He was a year older than Aegon, born in the year between Rhaenys and Aegon’s births – the year things began to go downhill. He was still in the final awkward stages of childhood; not tall, yet growing such that his limbs had not quite adjusted to the stocky build he was sure to have, a square jaw lined with stubble, his face pulled into a frown as he stared at Harry with brown eyes.

“I’ll be sure to stay awake for that,” Harry said, seeing the flash of disdain in the older man’s eyes as he spat a gob of blood at his feet. One of the guards whacked him on the back of his head once more, and Harry had to remind himself that he couldn’t go around killing his wife’s people.

Lord Anders left, Prince Quentyn hesitating at the door before he turned back to Harry. "Leave us," he told them. "He's bound and without a weapon," Quentyn added, seeing the hesitant looks.

The guards looked uneasy, glancing down at Harry, before they left at the look from their prince.

“Didn’t think they would listen to you,” Harry said casually, leaning against the stone. He hissed lightly as he felt the sting from the cut, his tooth moving as he prodded it with his tongue. “You’re, what, fifteen now?”

“Four and ten,” Quentyn corrected. He tilted his head curiously at Harry. “You recognized me.”

He smiled sardonically. “You are a Prince of Dorne,” he told the boy, seeing him flush lightly at his words. Harry softened at the sight, seeing something of his sons in him and decided to indulge the boy. “There aren’t many boys who would call Prince Oberyn uncle.”

Quentyn’s countenance darkened at his words, eyes flashing in sadness as he retorted, “Only two of the three that were meant to, though if the gods are good we three shall have the chance to do so together.”

Oh good, he thought. They haven’t given them up for dead.

“Wait a minute,” Harry said, catching onto his earlier words. “Did you say you were four and ten?”

Quentyn nodded, wary at Harry’s sudden question as Harry himself fought his panic. Aegon would be thirteen in this world, he thought, not the fourteen he actually is. Bloody, buggering hell Potter. Where have you sent them?

 

Chapter Text

 

Two weeks. A fortnight.

That’s how long it had taken Teddy to feel his magic return to him. They were a week past that now, yet all Elia could feel was the slightest tinge of magic around them. It was different, being in Dorne after being surrounded by the magic of Potter Hall for so long, and yet she could feel something in the air. Not nearly as potent as it had been in England, but it was there.

Doran had yet to return from Sunspear, handing all administrative matters to cousin Manfrey until they were ready to come to a decision – something she was loath to do without knowing just where Harry was.

He’ll be fine, she reminded herself, absentmindedly stroking her wedding band as the door behind her opened.

Light footsteps made their way across the marble floor, Elia sitting as a shadow loomed over her, watching with a small smile as Maia splashed about the pool, shrieking in laughter as Rhaenys lifted her above her head.

“Are you planning to take a seat?” she asked, eyes tracking her daughters. They had commandeered this small section of the Water Gardens, the once private rooms of Daenerys Martell and the attached pools, a privacy ward set in place courtesy of Teddy. He was the only one of them with full access to his magic, Aegon and Rhaenys still requiring more time to recover what control they had over their abilities. Even if she did not have such easy access to her magic, she was relieved to know that Teddy still held that advantage.

“You look well,” Larra stated, sitting in the open chair next to Elia.

“Far better than when we last spoke,” Elia replied wryly, glancing at her friend. No longer were they the young maidens fluttering about court, eager to leave a mark as Myriah once had. Larra had aged handsomely, her hair still a thick brown that tumbled across her shoulder, brown eyes as sharp as ever as she grimaced in acknowledgement.

“We didn’t know what came next,” Larra said quietly, eyes far off as she recalled events unknown. “Doran had been frantic when the raven came, and Oberyn very nearly rushed off to King’s Landing on his own.”

“A fool’s errand,” Elia replied, a fond note in her voice. “But Oberyn has ever been a fool when it comes to those he loves.”

“He was the best of us,” Larra said. “Even now, he rushes to protect all of Dorne where Doran physically cannot.”

“Don’t,” Elia said sharply, stopping her before she could continue. “You’ve no fault in all this, Larra.”

“I knew,” Larra retorted. “We all knew just how mad he was, the danger we were leaving you in.”

“And as your princess, I ordered you home,” Elia reminded her.

Larra’s lips tightened slightly, eyes dark with sorrow and old wounds. “I could have ignored the order.”

“And die needlessly?” Elia retorted.

“You could have died,” Larra reminded her.

“Thank the Seven that I did not,” she said.

Elia reached across the small table, gripping Larra’s hand tightly as her dark eyes bore into her friend’s orbs.

“Jynessa was far too young to lose her mother, Larra. I do not regret sending you home then, nor would I have done differently had we faced the rebellion years later.”

“Of course not,” Larra scoffed, a slight twist to her lips. “Never let it be said that a Princess of Dorne would let one of her people be held hostage in her place.”

She smiled at the old jest, seeing the faintest spark in Larra’s brown eyes.

“I hear you have a son now,” Elia said lightly, leaning back in her seat after giving her hand a final squeeze.

“Perros,” she told her, a small smile on her face as her gaze tracked Elia’s children. “He’s two and ten, squiring with Ryon Allyrion. I imagine your son will squire with Oberyn. He’s not taken another squire.”

In hopes of one day teaching Aegon, she knew, feeling a pang at what her brother had put himself through.

“No,” Elia murmured, glancing at Larra. “Not until I know what we face.”

There was a flash of something unfamiliar in Larra’s eyes; gaze drifting around them as she casually leaned closer to Elia.

“Speak freely,” Elia murmured. “We’ve no need to fear little birds for now.”

Larra raised a brow in surprise, her lips quirked in thought as the sounds of her children playing filled the air. They had been tense the past weeks, uneasy at the thought of their missing father, and it gladdened her to see them so relaxed.

“Doran will not return for a few more days,” Larra said. “A raven came from Wyl a sennight past, bringing word of a small skirmish along the border of the Boneway.”

Her brows furrowed, recalling the Stormland Houses that lay closest to the Boneway. “I did not think Lord Dondarrion so brave,” she said.

“He’s not,” Larra replied dryly. “The current lord is Beric Dondarrion, five and twenty and as yet untested in command. Lord Stannis has a rotating set of men guarding his borders. Men from as far north as Haystack Hall guard the Marches alongside the Marcher lords.”

“Both sides?” Elia asked in surprise. “The Tyrells bent the knee.”

“He’s not forgiven them for the siege,” Larra told her, sneering lightly at the thought of Mace Tyrell’s band of knights. “Nor is he fool enough to turn his back on Tarly, even if their wives are cousins.”

“Tarly is loyal to his liege,” Elia responded, remembering the dour man from her early travels.

“He was,” Larra agreed. “But the Reach won’t forgive the Lannisters for their treason, and the Usurper has wed his cause to them. They hold his heir hostage.”

Elia grimaced in sympathy, imagining any of her children being held hostage. At least they had me, she thought darkly, remembering Aerys’s insistence on keeping them at King’s Landing.

“Lord Tyrell will have war in his lands if he seeks closer ties to the throne,” Larra said. “And war if he joins a restoration.”

“The rest?” Elia questioned, ignoring the possibility. There would be no restoration without danger, but placing her family in danger for the sake of that accursed throne was not something she was eager to do.

“The North has nearly closed The Neck,” Larra told her, causing her to raise her brows in surprise. She’d not expected that of the Starks, especially not when Lord Eddard had fostered with Robert Baratheon. “They send men when necessary to help their king, but Lord Eddard has tired of war.”

There was a slight hesitance in Larra’s tone, her brown eyes darkened in remembered rage as her gaze drifted to where Aegon was cheerfully shoving Teddy headfirst into Rhaenys, the two falling into the pool as their younger siblings laughed uproariously.

“Do you remember, when we made our way to King’s Landing for the wedding,” Larra said, eyes troubled. “There was that old guard tower in the Pass we stayed in.”

“One last joyous night in Dorne,” Elia smiled, recalling the insistence of her companions for a rest stop, several bottles of Dornish Red being produced as they built a bonfire. “We had to stop in Vulture’s Roost to clean off the remnants of the sand.”

Larra hesitated, mouth tugged downward in a frown before she said, “Doran sent men to man the Pass, using the tower as a base. It was deserted when they found it, for the most part. They had left in a hurry and managed to take most of their belongings with them but for a kerchief stitched with a winter rose.”

She felt a flash of cold anger, her hands tightening the slightest bit before she forced herself to unclench them.

“He brought her to Dorne,” she said softly, voice even and measured.

“For a time,” Larra muttered darkly, shifting so she could easily grip Elia’s hand.

“I don’t know why, but I did not expect that level of callousness from him,” Elia said, shaking her head at her own idiocy.


She was walking into the throne room, Aegon held in her arms as Rhaenys stood close to her, lightly gripping onto her gown as her cat fluttered about her legs.

The courtiers were whispering lowly amongst themselves, voices pitched low so as not to garner the king’s attention.

Elia glanced at the throne, seeing Aerys sitting forward, eyes gleaming as he stared cruelly at her. Rhaella was off to the side, stood just behind Uncle Lewyn as her face remained stoic, a short glance at Elia telling her all she needed to know.

“Your Grace,” she said, sinking into a curtsy once she reached the front. Aegon remained in her arms, even as Rhaenys curtsied lightly to her grandfather, her exuberant girl for once quiet.

The tension could be cut with a sword, the rest of the hall holding their breaths as Aerys left them bowing before him for a full minute before he impatiently bid them to stand.

“Is that the boy?”

Her arms tightened the slightest bit, unwilling to allow Aegon to part from her before she nodded, face stoic in the wake of the King’s open madness.

“It is,” she said demurely. “We’ve named him Aegon.”

“Aegon,” he muttered, gesturing for her to come forward. The five Kingsguard left to him stood arrayed in front of the throne, Ser Gerold falling into place as they entered, and Elia made her way forward to the foot of the throne to present Aegon to his grandfather.

Aerys stood, hand catching on the spikes of the swords as he descended a few steps, peering closely at Aegon as his purple eyes catalogued each bit of him.

“Looks like a proper Targaryen this one,” he said, snorting as he turned his gaze to Rhaenys once more. “No other sister for him?”

Elia resisted the urge to scowl, face placid as she remained quiet. Uncle Lewyn was the only one she trusted to do anything for her on account of their shared blood, but she had seen the aftermath of Aerys’s attentions too many times to think the rest of the Kingsguard would do anything to help her, heir to the throne in her arms or no.

“Pity,” Aerys said mockingly, waving her back. “Is that not why I chose you?”

It was tempting; the urge to remind the king of his own lack of siblings beyond Rhaella, but Elia bit her tongue and resisted, listening as the king derided her worth as his gooddaughter.

“…and now,” he spat, leaning forward once more with gleaming purple eyes. “Tell me, gooddaughter, where is my son?”

Her lips tightened, seeing the cruel light in Aerys’s eyes as he joyed in her embarrassment. The courtiers tittered, seeing the king’s enjoyment and basking in this momentary relief from the burnings.

“No,” he laughed. “Not with you. Not when you can’t give him what he needs. No, no. Rhaegar has gone off with that wolf girl, hasn’t he? Cavorting with those traitors and plotting is he? Or does he fancy himself Aegon come again?”

“I’m sure he’ll return as soon as he hears from you, Your Grace,” she said coolly, dark orbs locked onto his.

Aerys smiled cruelly, nails scraping against the throne. “Yes, perhaps he will. Perhaps they’ve managed to find themselves a hostage. Jonothor,” he barked.

The knight stepped forward to face his king, bowing before he murmured, “Your Grace.”

“Escort my gooddaughter and grandchildren to their apartments,” Aerys said, eyes locked on hers. “I’ll not have these treasonous lords scheming to murder more of this House.”


She woke in a rush, breathing sharply as she forced those memories away. Aerys Targaryen was long dead and unable to harm her anymore, nor her children. Yet Larra’s words had pulled forth the memories of those dark days far more than sharing her memories with her family had, her sleep the last two nights plagued with things best left forgotten.

She found her children bent over a large parchment at the dining table, their chairs tucked close together, Aegon’s shining head between the dark hairs of his older siblings.

“Where is Maia?” she asked, seeing them jolt at her presence.

Elia raised a brow, seeing three sheepish looks aimed her way even as they shifted to block the parchment from her view.

“Sleeping,” Teddy answered.

“Hmm. I suppose that gives the three of you enough time to get up to your usual trouble,” she drawled, hearing their immediate protests.

“No?” she asked, moving forward even as they shuffled closer together. “I suppose you can’t possibly be plotting something with a map of Dorne in front of you.”

“Just getting a lay of the land,” Aegon said quickly.

Of course you are, she thought, moving forward to see what they were up to.

It was Dorne and it’s Marches, little pinpoints along the border with the Reach and the Stormlands as well as the general location of the castles.

“Blackhaven is not so far south,” she told them, “And Wyl is a little further from Yronwood in reality.”

The map was fairly well done, but for some small differences in distance, and Elia noted odd markings near Ghost Hill.

“What’s this?”

They shared a long look, communicating through the slightest shifts in Teddy’s features.

“Auriga and Iacomus,” Aegon answered.

Auriga and Iacomus, she thought, sighing as she pinched the bridge of her nose. “Please tell me you’ve not been telling them to fly.”

“Not openly,” Rhaenys replied. “Only at night, and when there are clouds.”

“And how did you manage to draw this map?” she asked, sighing once more as she saw their faces. The bond, she knew.

“We can’t keep hiding forever Mum,” Rhaenys said softly, eyes hard as she gazed around them. “The Water Gardens are nice and all, but we’ve been cooped up in these rooms for nearly a month.”

“I don’t plan to hide forever,” Elia told them. "Only until we know what we are dealing with."

“Well, they’ll not let us take a kip in Dorne before deciding to do something about it,” Teddy added, leaning back against the table as he lightly kicked Aegon. “He looks like an Egg, bald as he is, but I’m sure he misses having hair.”

Aegon rolled his eyes, muttering under his breath as Rhaenys hid her smile.

“And you’ve been doing what, exactly?”

“Just looking at things,” Aegon said, ducking to avoid Teddy hand, a scowl on his face. “We know which Great House is in charge of the lands closest to us, but no idea of anything beyond their lords. No children or numbers or anything.”

“Tomorrow,” she told him, glancing once more at the hand-drawn map. “I’ll speak to Doran once he returns. For now, go and wash up. Maia should be waking sometime soon.”

Aegon shoved Teddy off his seat, laughing as he sprinted to the door.

It happened too quickly for her to stop it, but Elia wouldn’t forget the flash of a blade as Aegon nearly stumbled into a surprised Doran, nor could she ignore the dangling form of Areo as Teddy reacted without thinking.

“Teddy,” Rhaenys hissed, eyes wide as she stared at the Norvoshi held upside down by the ankle. “Teddy, let him go.”

“He nearly had his blade to Egg’s neck,” Teddy retorted, wand in hand as he flicked his gaze to the stunned form of Aegon. "Alright, Egg?"

“Egg’s fine,” Rhaenys snapped, Aegon nodding his agreement as he scrambled backward. “Put the bloody man down.”

“Edward,” Elia said, his shoulders tightening the slightest bit. “Teddy, sweetling. Put him down.”

“I’m not afraid to put you back up there if you try that again,” Teddy scowled, waving his wand and gently – thank the Mother for small mercies – placing Areo on his feet.

“Elia.” Doran’s voice had a strangled quality to it, and had the situation not been so dire Elia might have laughed at seeing her unflappable brother so rattled.

“You’ll need wine, brother,” she told him, gesturing for him to come closer as she took Aegon’s vacant seat.

Areo was visibly nervous, his grip tight on the shaft of his axe as he stared at the glowering Teddy.

“Maia should be waking soon,” she said lightly, seeing Rhaenys tug on Teddy’s arm. He refused to move, frowning as he glanced between Areo and her, and Elia sent him a warning look. “Edward.”

Teddy pursed his lips, glancing at her before he allowed Rhaenys to drag him to their rooms.

The door closed behind them, leaving Elia alone with her brother and his guard, the two men incapable of starting the necessary conversation.

“I did tell you things were not as they seem,” she said lightly, seeing the slight spark of fear in his eyes. “He’s not dangerous.”

“Not dangerous,” Doran said disbelievingly. “Elia, he held Areo with nothing but a stick!”

“A wand,” she corrected, sipping at her wine as she thought on how to break the news to him. “When I said I found myself in another land, I meant it quite literally.”

“I expected somewhere in Essos,” he retorted. “Perhaps unknown lands west of here. Not somewhere with people that are practically shadowbinders.”

“They aren’t shadowbinders,” she told him. “Mages, better known as wizards. Yes,” she said, seeing Doran open his mouth to interrupt. “I’m aware of how that sounds. Teddy is a wizard, as is my husband. No, I’ve not lost my wits, brother. I spent over a decade with these people. I’m very aware of what they are capable of.”

“Capable of throwing people around,” Areo muttered, far too rattled to keep his thoughts quiet.

“Teddy is not usually so short tempered,” she said quietly. “He’s…a touch protective over his siblings.”

“A touch?” Doran drawled, managing to get a hold of himself.

She smiled at the expression on his face, knowing there was much he did not yet know.

What will you do, brother, when you meet Auriga and Iacomus?

“When do I meet this elusive husband of yours?” he asked, downing his glass of wine.

“Soon, I should hope,” she said, praying that her words were true.

“Oberyn returns in a sennight,” Doran told her. “Will he make it before then?”

“I’m not sure,” she murmured. It could have been weeks between the time she left and now, and Harry either planning to make the journey or stranded in England.

“You’ve told me nothing of him, beyond…this,” he said, gesturing around them as if it explained all the magic.

“His name is Harry, short for Herakles, the Lord Potter-Black in his lands,” she told him, ignoring the raised brow at Harry’s title. “And truly, brother; this, as you call magic, can be a wondrous thing.”

“How so?” he asked dryly.

“I daresay it can help alleviate the pain you insist on hiding,” Elia said, a shrewd look on her face as she glanced at his covered legs. She’d not seen Doran without a thin blanket of some sort to cover what she had later realized was a painful swelling of his legs.

“Alleviate how?” he asked, disbelief in his voice as he watched her rise from her seat.

“Come, Doran. I’ve the need to go through my belongings,” she said, taking hold of his wheelchair to push him to the small sitting area connected to her rooms, Areo’s hulking figure looming over them as he followed after her.

What belongings?”

“Did you think I returned empty-handed and unprepared?” she chided.

 

Chapter Text

 

They are fine, he told himself, breathing deeply as he fought back the tide of despair. They’ll be fine. They’ll be safe. Elia is…Elia…

He squeezed his eyes tighter, cursing the Unspeakables once more, cursing himself for not paying attention to what he had been doing. He was in a foreign world – his wife’s homeland, sure – with no wife and no children, and no idea of where he might have sent them.

Quentyn had left him, slightly worried over the panicked prisoner, but Harry had been unable to care too much. He did not know how long he waited – only that the sun had begun to go down, the air beginning to cool as the colours of the sunset filtered in through the windows.

The door to his room opened, the footsteps sauntering forward as Harry took a shuddering breath to calm himself. He was overreacting; Elia was the expert on Westeros and he was more than confident that she would see them through this. He just had to make sure he got out of this cell alive.

“Who’s destroyed his face?” a drawling voice asked, and he cracked his eyes open, seeing a man stood over him. He was tall and slim, around his age with thick black hair in a widow’s peak. It was the eyes though, the eyes convinced Harry he was speaking to Oberyn, and he blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

“Have you seen her?”

Surprise flashed in his eyes, and Harry saw Oberyn glance at his companions before he returned a smirk at Harry.

“Don’t tell me you’ve run off with another soldier’s woman?” he laughed. “I should have expected a Stormlander would rush off with his cock in the middle of battle. Look at the man they call king.”

His guards chuckled, smirking in amusement as Oberyn moved closer, crouching so that he was level with Harry. His eyes were cataloguing the blood and bruises, attempting to make out familiar features.

“Or was it a whore? Your king is so very fond of them, I imagine you were hoping to compete” Oberyn sneered.

“You know,” Harry drawled, a fit of irritated madness passing through him. “I’d have thought you outgrew being a wretch, but I guess you’re still the same man who called her suitor Breakwind.”

Ahh fuck, he thought, wheezing as Oberyn’s hand tightened on his neck. His eyes were filled with rage as he slammed Harry back against the wall, cold steel pressed firmly below his jaw.

“Where did you hear that?” he hissed, cutting Harry with the point of his knife. “WHO TOLD YOU THAT?”

Fucking hell Potter. Way to go, he thought, blinking as his vision swam. Magical exhaustion was exhausting – even more when he was being slammed into walls by a known poisoner. Most poisons did nothing to him, but Harry had no way of telling exactly how capable he was of withstanding whatever it is Oberyn might have coated his knife with.

He felt the pressure of the knife recede, blinking as he saw frustrated anger from Oberyn, the sharp sting of a slap bringing him round as he saw double.

“What the fuck is on that knife?” he slurred, blinking furiously as he attempted to stay awake.

“Take him,” Oberyn spat, gesturing sharply for his guards as Harry shook his head, hissing softly as a spot of pain bloomed in his head. “He goes to Sunspear with us.”

He blinked quickly; giving in to the weight and closing his eyes as he felt a pair of hands grab him.


He was quickly becoming familiar with waking up in unknown places, but even so, this was definitely different.

He was lying across the body of a horse, a guardsman grabbing his arm to drop him roughly on the ground. Harry blinked rapidly, eyes stinging from the light of the sun.

They were near a river, the water moving gently as bits of sand blew in the wind. Someone had wrapped a cloth around his head, protecting his face from the elements, and one of the guards yanked it down, letting Harry face the full brunt of the sun.

Oberyn stood before him, dark eyes staring intensely at Harry as his guard spoke lowly to him.

He couldn’t make out much; a wall of some sort, the ruined edge of a former building was before him, and the Dornish Mountains rose above him.

Flapping in the air were banners showing the Martell sun and spear, two others flying beneath it; a black-and-red tartan hand on a background of yellow and a purple ouroboros on a black field.

There was a young man stood next to Oberyn. He was around Teddy’s age, tall and slim with close-cropped black hair and a scar curling from his knuckle into his sleeve. He couldn’t make out the colour of his eyes, but there was something familiar about the sharp angles of his face – a niggling feeling that said he knew the man before him.

He did not leave as the guard did, and Harry vaguely recalled seeing him next to Oberyn earlier as well.

“Why would a Stormlander know such information?” Oberyn questioned. He was remarkably restrained, handing him a skin of water that he greedily gulped after a slight hesitation, though his eyes gave away how dearly he would like to kill Harry.

He can’t poison me, he thought, soothing his dry throat.

“I’m not from the Stormlands,” Harry answered, warily eyeing the young man next to Oberyn as his hand tightened on the grip of his sword.

“You’re not from Essos,” Oberyn replied. “I do not recognize Essos in your words.”

“He has a bit of the Crownlands in him,” the man said, a frown on his face. “Not entirely, but it’s there.”

“I’m not from Westeros,” he told them, watching as they exchanged a glance. “Nor Essos. Nowhere you would know, really.”

“Than how,” Oberyn hissed, coming closer to Harry, “would you know that particular detail?”

“She told me,” he said, seeing Oberyn’s eyes widen at the admission.

“He’s not lying,” the man cut in, a familiar expression on his face as his brows furrowed in thought. “Or he is an exceptional mummer.”

Harry felt his breath catch at the sight, eyes widening as he leaned forward to squint at him. He’d not needed glasses in years – the adoption and rigorous healing regiment Andromeda had put him on fixing much of the harm living with the Dursleys had done – but he stood too far for Harry to make out the exact colour of his eyes.

“Viserys,” he breathed, seeing both men stiffen in surprise. “You’re in Dorne?”

“How do you know who I am?” Viserys asked, hand tightening on the hilt of his sword as he moved to crouch before Harry. His eyes were searching Harry’s face, a pale lilac storming with anger and curiosity and a touch of fear. “Who are you?”

“You look a bit like Egg,” he told him, his words causing a number of emotions to flash across his face. At the spark of hope buried deep in his eyes, Harry felt his heart go out to him. He did not know what happened to the boy’s mother and unborn sibling, but Viserys had lost the majority of his family in close succession at a young age.

“We cha-coloured his hair dark once, as a joke, and you reminded me of him just now,” Harry added.

“He’s alive?” Viserys asked, wavering between hope and disbelief as he grabbed Harry’s collar. “Rhaenys?”

“They’re fine,” he soothed, seeing the relief blossom as he spoke. “They’re both fine and in Dorne, as is Elia,” he added hastily, seeing Oberyn open his mouth.

In Dorne,” Oberyn repeated, standing abruptly and staring darkly at Harry. “Lies,” he hissed. “Doran would have sent word for me to return."

“They are in Dorne,” Harry insisted. “They should have landed near Sunspear or the Water Gardens before I arrived.”

Oberyn stood abruptly, staring at Harry darkly. “You could be lying.”

“How would I know who he was?” Harry retorted, seeing Viserys’s eyes harden at the possibility.

“You might have met my family before,” Viserys whispered. “During the Rebellion.”

“And why would you be found in the Boneway if my sister is meant to be in Sunspear?” Oberyn continued. “If you travelled with her why are you separated by leagues?”

“After the Rebellion,” Harry insisted, seeing murder in their eyes. “Listen, you gave Rhaenys a cat, Balerion,” Harry told Oberyn, seeing him freeze at the words. “A black tomcat, hates everyone it comes into contact with except her.”

“Any servant at the keep or courtier could know that,” Oberyn countered.

Fuck, he thought, scrambling to find something only Oberyn would know.

“Baelor Hightower. That’s the one you called Baelor Breakwind,” Harry said, recalling the words that landed him in this predicament.

“You could have learned of it elsewhere,” Oberyn denied.

“And the trip to see your mother’s friend? The baby everyone called a Demon Monkey?” he asked, remembering the story of the rest of that trip. “They offered the baby to your sister and your mother took it as an insult.”

“Who are you?” Oberyn asked sharply, eyes suspicious as Harry’s words confirmed he was telling the truth. “Why would you know of this?”

“Her husband,” he said simply, seeing their eyes widen in disbelief.


They left him bound near the horses, the full brother-in-law experience he expected from Oberyn as they made camp for the night. He had ridden behind one of the Martell guards, a rope tying them together as Oberyn rode hard for Sunspear, stopping only to rest for a few hours before they continued their journey.

There had been one stop at a castle along the way, a reverse of the banner one of Oberyn’s men carried flapping in the air – bastard colours, he learned – as they exchanged horses.

They were in an abandoned holdfast now, closer to Sunspear and learning whether they had made it safely.

Oberyn was swinging between hope that he was telling the truth and an almost malicious hope that he could simply gut Harry.

Fair, he thought. I did marry his missing sister.

A good thing they weren’t planning to return to England, else Harry might have found himself with a knife buried in his guts for daring to take his beloved sister away from him.

Speak of the devil.

Oberyn dropped into a crouch before him, knife flashing as he grabbed Harry’s hands. He tensed, cursing the lingering magical exhaustion that left him unable to do more than wiggle his fingers. He could feel his magic slowly returning – enough that he could probably hold a lumos – but he had left England with dangerously depleted reserves and very little nutrition since.

Thankfully, Oberyn merely cut the binds, knife remaining on hand as Harry rubbed at his chafed wrists.

“Planning to kill me?” he asked dryly, seeing him continue to grip the knife.

“Should your words be untrue, you will wish I left you in the desert,” Oberyn replied darkly.

Harry nodded, accepting the skewer he gave him alongside the wine skin. He glanced around, seeing the others had made camp further along the ruins, leaving Harry and Oberyn well away from any listening ears.

“Where are we?” he asked curiously.

“Shandystone. Three days if we ride hard,” Oberyn answered, sitting on a small stone that had detached from the wall. “It was abandoned some hundred years past, once the well had dried.”

“Makes sense,” Harry muttered. “Your friend seems to be avoiding me.”

Viserys had stayed far away from Harry during their days of travel, always finding some excuse to be elsewhere. He was often in the company of the other of Oberyn’s former squires, Daemon Sand, the two riding ahead of their group with a pair of guards.

“He has plenty reason to,” Oberyn stated.

“And you don’t?” Harry quipped, smiling slightly at the look on his face. “Go on then, ask away.”

“Why did you marry her?”

Harry blinked, not expecting that to be the first question from him of all people.

“Why do most people get married?” he retorted, shifting backward as he saw Oberyn’s hold tighten on the knife. “At least, most people not in Westeros.”

“My nephew and niece? Have they filtered into your designs for my si—”

“If you are suggesting,” Harry spat coldly, eyes glowing in fury as he glared at him, “that I might have harmed either Aegon or Rhaenys in any way, I’d stop if I were you.”

“And I am to believe that you are incapable of doing such?” Oberyn drawled. “Three and ten years I’ve not heard a whisper of my sister, and yet here you sit, telling me things only she might have known.”

“Whatever you think—”

“I think you are the closest I have gotten to hearing word of my sister in all these years,” Oberyn said. “I know not who you are or where you came from, but if Elia is not where you said, or if I see anything to suggest that she had not chosen to remain with you—”

“I die a most painful death. I remember,” Harry cut in.

Oberyn leaned forward, staring at Harry as he said darkly, “The gods have spared Rhaegar Targaryen my wrath, but I would happily dispose of another unworthy suitor.”

He returned to his men, leaving Harry scowling at the comparison.


Sunspear had risen high in the air, miles before they had entered.

Harry had watched as the guards greeted Oberyn fondly, their small riding passing through a gate that led directly to what he was told was the Old Palace. Domes covered the top of several towers, the sandy walls glowing under the light of the sun as chatter filled the air from the bazaar running along the outer walls.

He had been given his own horse, between two guards to keep him from running and his hands unbound. The last thing they wanted was people paying attention to a supposed prisoner, and Harry had tried to see as much of Sunspear as he could as they led him closer to his wife’s ancestral home.

He wasn’t taken to the Palace proper; instead, they hustled Harry off his horse and escorted him to the tall tower he had noted from a distance. Oberyn had left and was speaking quietly to a woman as they entered the tower before him, the man’s dark eyes glancing back at Harry before he continued his conversation.

Viserys was gone, off to do whatever it was a prince hiding in plain sight and avoiding his goodsister’s husband did as Ser Daemon led Harry into the tower.

“Prince Oberyn, you are…”

“Two days,” he said, turning away to look at Harry. “Two days, then we shall know your fate.”

“I look forward to finding out,” he said, resisting the urge to bow cheekily at him. He was going to spend the next two days an anxious mess, he knew, pacing as he wondered whether he had sent them to the right time and place or if Harry was bound to lose his head without ever knowing where his family was.

Oberyn smirked darkly, nodding sharply at the guards before he left.

Harry looked at the woman, seeing something like recognition cross her face as the guards pushed him upstairs, leading him to a room.

It was comfortable enough, certainly not what he expected for a prisoner. There was a bed, large enough for two with a small desk next to it. There was a small rug for comfort, and the room was not the drab grey he had expected of a ‘prison’ but instead drowned in soft browns. The window was relatively small, but Harry could see the entirety of the city from here, making out the small group riding hard out of the gates.

“The Spear Tower is oft-times used to house highborn prisoners,” the woman told him, voice tinged with the familiar sounds of Dorne.

He turned to look at her, seeing dark hair and brown eyes. One of Elia’s former ladies, he knew, her face familiar from the memories he had seen.

“Lady Larra,” he guessed, sure of her identity. “Larra Blackmont.”

“Lord Potter-Black,” she responded, lips quirked at the stunned look on his face. “You look very much like your son.”

He sucked in a sharp breath, hand gripping the top of the chair they had placed in the room.

“They’re here?” he asked, eyes searching her face for any hint of a lie. “You’ve seen them.”

“I have,” she admitted, glancing at where a pair of guards awaited her. “Two days, my lord, and you shall see to their safety yourself.”

She turned to leave, and Harry called out as she made to close the door.

“Thank you,” he said, gratitude lacing his voice.

He would spend these next days itching to leave, but he could rest easier knowing they had landed safely and amongst family.

Larra Blackmont did not respond, hesitating only slightly before she closed the door and the latch fell into place.

He fell back on the bed; breathing a sigh of relief as he recalled the last time he had seen them. Four torturous weeks since that damned night, and Harry was now within reach of his family.

Soon, he thought, allowing his exhaustion to pull him into sleep.

 

Chapter Text

 

“Elia,” Doran said, surprise evident in his tone.

She’d given in to the urge to laugh, seeing the look on his face as she rummaged through her trunks, searching for the one that held the brewed potions. She and Harry had spent the better part of a year brewing them, Narcissa and Astoria helping as they placed a number of everyday - and some emergency use - potions under stasis. Linfred’s portrait had been most helpful, the elder Potter directing them to his journals and the additions made by various Potters as Fleamont and Euphemia added their input.

“It works, then?” She questioned. She had worried the lack of magic might prove harmful, but blood rang true and Doran was able to safely take them.

“I’ve not felt like this in years,” he told her, wonder on his face.

Seeing the relief in his features had been painful, and it was for that reason Elia sat at the table a week later, a tome of healing potions opened before her as the children looked through their belongings. Having the portraits on hand would have been better, nearly half the Potters being experts on potions, but it looked as if they would have to make do without until Harry found them.

The sound of footsteps pulled her attention, and Elia smiled at seeing the stack of books Teddy was floating in front of him.

“Is that all?”

“No,” he said, shaking his head as he placed the books on the table. “There’s a pile of them in the trunk, but these are the only ones I could think of off the top of my head. I don’t think there’s a potion specifically for gout.”

“Probably not,” she said, turning to look at the first book in the pile. Magical Regrowth, it read, and she raised a brow at seeing the different titles within. “Skele-Grow.”

“Never taken it, thank Merlin. Dad swears it tastes disgusting,” he told her, shadows crossing his eyes before he perked up. “Think Uncle Doran would let me vanish his bones?”

“Not anytime soon,” she retorted, shaking her head at the small smirk on his face. “Stop torturing your uncle.”

“S’not my fault he's scared,” Teddy muttered.

“What’s not your fault?” Aegon asked, sidling next to Teddy as he grabbed the book closest to him. “Uncle Doran freezing whenever he sees your wand? Have you forgotten the bit about dangling his very skilled sworn sword by the ankle?”

“See if I keep you from anymore accidents,” Teddy sniffed. “You’ll have to find another knight to protect you now.”

“You’re not a knight,” Aegon quipped, squirming as Teddy put him in a headlock.

“Blasphemy, little brother,” he teased, laughing as Aegon broke free. “I guess I’ll be Rhae’s protector.”

“I hope you’re ready to take her place then,” Aegon snorted. "Wouldn't want a Kingsguard who so willingly harms his king."

“Boys,” she cut in sharply, hearing their chorus of “Sorry, Mum.”

She sighed, seeing the quick glance they shared. “Are you planning to dance around whatever it is for another week or have you finally decided to ask?”

Teddy sent a pointed look at Aegon, lifting a shoulder as he took a seat at the table.

“We’ve been here for over five weeks now,” Aegon said, pacing as he gathered his thoughts.

She knew where this conversation was headed, and she felt a twinge of regret at taking so long to get there. Hearing of Rhaegar absconding in Dorne of all places had thrown her off balance, and Elia had thrown herself into finding an answer to Doran’s ailment.

“Find your sister,” she told Aegon.

Teddy waited until Aegon had left before he turned concerned green eyes on her. “Are you sure? We can wait until…” he trailed off, a dark look on his face.

“We’ve waited for weeks,” she said, taking hold of his hand. “He’ll be fine, Teddy, but Aegon is not a child. Not for long, and we are in a completely different situation than we were in England.”

He squeezed her hand, nodding firmly as if she were the one in need of reassurance. “If Egg goes too far let me know.”

“You’re not hexing your brother,” she said wryly, seeing the look in his eyes. “The last thing we need is an accidental fire.”

He grimaced in acknowledgement, leaning back against his seat as the others made their way inside.

Maia ran ahead of them, dodging Teddy’s arms as she scrambled onto her lap, her hair shifting from the pale silver-gold to it’s original black curls, eyes flashing black as she grinned at her.

“Having fun, sweetling?” she asked, pressing a soft kiss to her forehead.

“Mama,” Maia began, eyes green and wide. Elia hid her smile of amusement, seeing the others openly smirk at the little girl’s attempts. “Can I go flying?”

“Flying where?”

“With Iacomus,” Maia said, pouting when she heard Teddy snort.

“Not this time, little sun,” she told her, seeing Maia turn the full force of her pout on her. “No flying with Auriga or Iacomus for months.”

“Come here Maia,” Teddy said, grinning as she continued to pout at him. He summoned her miniature quidditch set, waving his wand to set it up in the seat between his and Rhaenys.

All of her children were obsessed with flying, no matter their parentage, and Elia watched as Maia looked torn for a moment before she gave in to Teddy’s peace offering.

He waved his wand, the soft pressure of magic whooshing past her as she felt a silencing ward snap into place.

“Do you have the map?” she asked, waiting as Teddy summoned the parchment to them, spreading it our along the table.

They had drawn this two years past, she remembered, the memory of the Chamber of the Painted Table inspiring them into having their own visual of Westeros, and it had taken the three of them the entire summer to draw it as close to detail as they could.

“We are in Dorne, and for the nonce we are completely isolated from the rest of the kingdoms,” she told them, hand gesturing to the point labelled King’s Landing. “Robert Baratheon holds the crown and has two sons to succeed him; the Stormlands belongs to his brother, Lord Stannis. Dragonstone…Dragonstone was given to Renly Baratheon.”

She saw Rhaenys’s jaw twitch, knowing what must have happened to place him there. Aegon’s brows were furrowed, the hair growing back in as he glanced at where Teddy placed conjured stags on the map.

“Robert’s queen is a Lannister, which places them quite firmly in his camp, and the Riverlands – while divided – are married to the Arryns and Starks and Robert’s cause.”

“They’ve surrounded the South,” Rhaenys murmured, leaning forward to look closely at the map. “Dorne only has the Reach, and everything north of there is either in the hands of the Usurper or contested.”

“Dorne doesn’t have the Reach,” she admitted, seeing the flash of surprise on their faces. “Lord Tyrell has bent the knee.”

“His bannermen let him?” Teddy asked incredulously.

“Like Rhae said, they’re surrounded,” Aegon pointed out.

“His House only holds the Reach because of yours,” Teddy countered. “They’ve not declared for your uncle either.”

“Viserys is in Essos.”

At those words, Rhaenys stilled, hand clenching slightly as Teddy glanced at her in concern.

“Alone?”

“With some of the Kingsguard,” Elia reassured her. “A sister as well. Rhaella named her Daenerys.”

“She didn’t make it,” Rhaenys said flatly, emotions stubbornly hidden behind her occlumency.

“She passed about a year after the Rebellion ended,” she clarified.

Elia smiled sadly; for all that Aerys had been a wretch, Rhaella had adored her only granddaughter, taking joy in Rhaenys’s presence in those dark days, and her little girl had loved the woman in return.

“He can’t be safe in Essos,” Aegon muttered. “Neither of them.”

“Not when there’s a throne they can claim,” Teddy agreed. “Else they would have let one of you take it instead of putting someone else on it.”

“They would never have allowed that,” Rhaenys added. “Not once Lord Stark and his heir burned.”

They grimaced in unison, thankfully not having a full visual of that day. If she closed her eyes, Elia could vividly recall the stench of burning flesh and the terror that perhaps it would be them to fall under Aerys’s gaze next, the man seemingly convinced Rhaegar and Dorne had betrayed him, no matter the ten thousand spears that had fought and died at the Trident.

“We can’t hide,” Aegon murmured, his chin resting in the palm of his hand as he frowned at the map, a storm brewing behind his eyes. “And if we show ourselves no doubt there will be an army at our doorstep.”

Elia frowned, glancing down at the map as her mind worked through the various alliances. The Ironborn were keeping quiet; there were the odd reavings as they took advantage of the chaos of the Rebellion, but they had been firmly kept in place by the Lannister fleet and the threat of a united realm.

She hated to steal the rest of their childhood from them, but the game of thrones waited for no one and would kill them if they were unprepared. Aegon was fourteen - three and ten to the rest of Westeros - and nearly old enough to rule in his own right.

The crown or death, she thought darkly, knowing to consign them to the crown might still bring about their deaths, but it was the best chance they had – bar being forced to hide – and Elia would much rather plan a restoration than be dragged unwilling into the game. She glanced at Maia, knowing their actions would place her youngest in a dangerous situation as their sister.

“Keep Auriga and Iacomus to the mountains,” she told them. “We don’t need whispers of dragons flying above the Sea of Dorne bringing attention to us. For now, we wait and prepare.”

They would have to continue their lessons while Elia made contact with the rest of her ladies and those who were likely feeding Doran information. Daenerys and Viserys would have to be found; Rhaella was dead, and Elia wouldn’t let the last pieces of her fall to harm for something they couldn’t control.

As well as find out what happened to the last of the Kingsguard, she thought, unsure whether they had remained where Rhaegar left them or had fled to defend the last of the Targaryens.


The sound of doors slamming in the distance woke her, pulling her from the short sleep she had fallen into as she put Maia down for the night. She eased out of bed, tucking the covers around her daughter as she made her way to the hall.

Aegon and Teddy were in the hallway, Rhaenys poking her head out warily.

“Keep an eye on your sister,” she murmured, seeing Aegon nod and take off into the room as Teddy ducked back into his.

“Mum?”

“Stay here,” she told them. “We don’t know who it is.”

“Nor do you,” Rhaenys said, eyes hard as she glanced at the far end of the hall. Their rooms were placed next to each other, Teddy and Aegon across the hall from Rhaenys and Maia, Elia’s rooms the furthest from the entry.

“The guards won’t harm me.”

“Yes, well. Just in case,” Teddy said, popping out into the hall with a familiar cloak in hand. He shrunk to her height, throwing the cloak over them as he walked, forcing Elia to keep up.

“Edward,” she hissed.

“Better safe than sorry Mum,” he whispered unapologetically, wand held aloft.

The sound of voices grew louder as they crept past the door to their section of the palace, and Elia inhaled sharply in recognition as they came to the doors of Doran’s private rooms.

It had been fourteen years since she had last heard his voice, but she could never forget the cadence of Oberyn’s drawl, nor the heated passion in his tone.

“Go back Teddy. I’ll be fine,” she said, ducking from beneath the cloak and opening it, feeling the flutter of the cloak as she entered.

He spun to face the door, freezing in stunned surprise as the others with him broke out into murmurs, some of them hastily bowing.

He’s aged, she thought, seeing a man hardened by the past decade and not the spitfire she’d left behind. There were faint lines on his face, a few additional scars lining his arms, and she wondered on all she had missed.

She didn’t know which of them moved first, but in the blink of an eye she was in his arms, blinking back tears.

“All this time,” he whispered, voice thick with tears. “I knew you couldn’t be dead.”

She tightened her arms around him, feeling tears on her shoulder as he cried in relieved joy.

“I’m home, Oby,” she whispered, taking a shuddering breath.

It was expected that seeing him again would send her emotions in a spiral, but Elia had underestimated how very deeply she missed him.

They settled on the couch once it was just the three of them, Oberyn gripping her hand as if she would disappear if he let go, and Elia leaned into his side, her heart easing at seeing him alive and well.

“I expected you would be here days ago,” she said, remembering that he had gone to the Pass over a month ago.

“There was a small attack in the Boneway,” he said, glancing at Doran. “A few men from Blackhaven and Nightsong came across Lord Yronwood’s men. But enough about that; where have you been? When the raven came—” his voice cracked, swallowing harshly as his eyes told her everything he had feared.

“We’re fine,” she reminded him. “It’s a long story.”

Doran glanced at her, curiosity in his eyes as he waited to hear the full details. He only had the bits and pieces; the existence of Maia and Teddy, the small show of magic and the use of the potions to convince him that she had ended up someplace so very different.

“For one, I ended up in a very different land,” she said delicately, seeing his eyes narrow. How could she explain magic when her own felt so lethargic? Aegon and Rhaenys had bounced back much quicker, able to conjure some flames and use their wand for the most basic of spells for now. Perhaps a small show of it, but Oberyn would need to see it in full, as Doran had, and even that was better than explaining what it was Aegon and Rhaenys could do.

Perhaps they would take their powers better, she mused. The benefits of their Valyrian ancestry, shrouded in fire and blood, was far easier to understand than what the rest of her children could do.

Not to mention Harry, she thought.

“A different land,” Oberyn said quizzically.

“England. Somewhere far enough that it required years to plan a return,” she added.

He had stilled at the admission of her marriage, glossing over the years she had spent living in Potter Hall as his brows furrowed in thought and his jaw clenched.

“What is it?” she asked, stopping her story before she could tell him of Maia upon seeing the look on his face.

“Nothing,” he denied, and Elia leaned back to stare him down, lips twitching slightly as he caved under her gaze.

“A husband?” he questioned, eyes flashing in dislike.

“Is that so terrible?”

“No man is worthy of you,” he said lowly; gaze distant as he no doubt thought on her previous suitors.

“He's a lord in his own right,” Doran pointed out. “Twice over, in fact.”

“A prince before that, and look where it got us,” Oberyn retorted.

“They are not the same,” she said sharply, unwilling to let them entertain the thought. “I think you would get along with Harry.”

Oberyn pursed his lips, nearly pouting as he shared a glance with Doran.

“Does he treat you well?”

“Like a treasure,” she said softly, squeezing his hand at the resigned look on his face.

“I suppose I can give him a chance,” he grumbled.

“You are eight and thirty Oberyn. Did you think I would remain in Sunspear forever?”

“I had hoped so after the last one,” he muttered, sighing in reluctant acceptance.

She rolled her eyes at the dramatics; some things never changed, it seemed, and Oberyn’s open dislike of any man who sought her hand had remained strong all these years.

How would he fare when faced with Harry? She mused, knowing it was difficult to dislike him once you got to know the man behind the title.

“Tell me, little brother,” she teased lightly, dragging her mind away from the dark mood that inevitably came when she thought on her husband’s continued absence. “Has someone managed to entice the Red Viper of Dorne into marriage?”

Doran snorted, eyes showing his open amusement as Oberyn told her of the many nieces she now had.


They sat together at the dining table the next morning, Aegon and Rhaenys stiffly greeting their uncle before they thawed to him. He’d spent much of the morning telling tall tales of his adventures in Essos, and Elia had watched as the two of them asked enough questions to distract him from questioning what they had been doing these past years.

Maia’s chatter drifted down the hall, hearing her wheedle a promise from a sleepy Teddy before they entered the room.

She felt Oberyn stiffen, eyes wide as he stared at the two of them.

Teddy dropped a kiss to her cheek, mumbling a greeting as he took the open seat next to Rhaenys, Maia crawling into her sister’s lap as he piled food on their plates.

“Say hello, Maia,” Rhaenys said, the little girl glancing curiously at Oberyn.

“Hello,” she chirped, turning to the plate in front of her.

“Hello,” Oberyn awkwardly echoed, brows climbing into his hair as he glanced between Maia and Teddy. “You have another child.”

“Two of them,” she corrected. “Edward and Maia.”

“’lo,” Teddy mumbled around a mouthful of food, and Elia did not have to look to know Rhaenys had kicked him beneath the table. “What? I’m tired,” he defended.

“And why are you tired, Edward?” Rhaenys drawled, a smirk playing at her lips as he glowered darkly at her.

“They have the same eyes,” Oberyn murmured, watching as the Aegon was roped into their conversation.

“Their father’s,” she told him.

They’d not been paying attention to Maia, the three siblings bickering lightly as she tried to grab their attention, and Elia closed her eyes and counted to ten as the room was rendered silent, the only sounds being Oberyn choking lightly on his drink.

“Maia,” she sighed, seeing the little girl turn wide green eyes on her.

“They were too loud,” she said indignantly, and Elia stared disapprovingly at her.

“Silencing spells are not nice, sister,” Teddy grumbled, waving his hand to release the others.

“Elia.”

“Oberyn.”

"Spells?" he questioned shakily.

"Magic," she answered. She’d hoped to ease him into it, but this was a far better way to discover magic than what had happened to Areo.

“Maia,” Aegon chided, her youngest turning an unrepentant stare on her brother.

“Egg, you have to listen,” she insisted, and Elia turned a warning glare on her son as he opened his mouth.

“Ask, next time,” he muttered, purple eyes flicking to the clearly rattled Oberyn before he frowned. “You haven’t told him.”

“I was getting to that,” Elia said, glancing at her brother as he stared incredulously at Teddy.

“Would you like a demonstration?” Teddy asked dryly, a spark of mischief in his eyes.

“No,” she quickly said at the same time as Rhaenys reminded Teddy that they couldn’t very well hang their uncle from the rafters.

“Elia,” Oberyn said, clearing his throat as he glanced between the children. “Can they all do that?”

“Yep!” Rhaenys told him, an impish grin on her face as a small flame flickered in her hand.

“Your husband?” he asked, an odd note in his voice.

“Where do you think we get it from?” Teddy said, and Elia saw Oberyn swallow nervously.

 

Chapter Text

 

It had been so long since the last time he had been locked inside a room that Harry forgot how mind-numbingly slow time seemed to move.

He had slept fitfully, baking in the heat of Dorne as he ached to leave. The guards had left him locked inside, a servant bringing him plates of food as he waited to hear of Oberyn’s return. He’d given up counting sometime after they had brought him breakfast, knowing only that he was still so very far from his family.

Is it only one more day? He wondered, wishing he knew where the Water Gardens were and that he wasn’t so exhausted before he stilled, cursing his forgetfulness.

“Winky,” he called lowly, wary of any listening guards.

He felt the shift in the air before she materialized, eyes wide as she took in the sight of him. Quickly, he pressed a finger to his lips, gesturing at the door before she snapped her fingers.

“Master Harry Potter sir is being free to talk now,” she told him.

“Are you well? How’s Tweak?” he asked, scanning her for any visible signs of distress.

“Winky and Tweak is being fine Master Harry Potter sir,” she said, an almost admonishing note in her tone. Still bitter over the order to keep hidden, he thought. “Winky is keeping Master’s trunks safe.”

“Good,” he said, relieved that at least they were doing well. “That’s good. Can you tell where they are?”

She went quiet, likely focusing on whatever thread of magic connected elves to their families before she shook her head.

“Winky can tell they is being close, Master Harry Potter sir, but I is needing them to call me,” she said sorrowfully. “Does Master Harry wish to leave?”

“Not yet,” he murmured, glancing outside. It was still early, before noon he guessed, a servant having come earlier to take his plates and informing him that they would be bringing water for a bath.

“Master Harry Potter sir wishes to remain here?” she asked, aghast at the thought of him staying cooped up. She was too polite to say anything more – too used to the Crouches – and for a moment Harry missed Kreacher, certain the crabby old elf would have had words with him by now.

“No, Winky. I’ve no plans to stay long. Head north,” he told her, trying to recall where the Water Gardens lay relative to Sunspear. “Keep hidden and follow the shore north. You should find a palace, and if what I’ve heard is true Elia and the children should be there.”

“Winky will go and find them,” she said firmly. “And Master Harry be leaving this room.”

“When you find them,” he agreed. “Be careful not to be seen.”

Winky left with a barely heard crack, and Harry grabbed hold of his knee in feigned pain when the guard poked their head in suspiciously.

He was so very close, and Harry grinned at the thought of only having to wait a few more hours before he saw his family again.


They had brought lukewarm water alongside his lunch, and Harry had eagerly washed off the dirt from days in the desert before attacking his meal. It was appreciated, the constant source of food boosting his reserves, and Harry had grinned at the sight of a relatively large ball of light floating in the palm of his hand.

Another week, he thought, knowing his reserves would bounce back quicker now that he had passed that critical first stage.

He was picking at the orange they’d given him, tossing the peel aside when the door to his cell opened.

They froze, staring at one another for a moment before Viserys closed the door, a quiet order to the guards bringing the noise of clinking armour as they moved away.

He leaned against the wall, legs outstretched on the bed as he gestured to the lone chair.

Viserys sat stiffly, jaw clenched as he stared uncertainly at Harry. There was a part of him that recognized the discomfort he was experiencing, raising two boys who were not much younger than Viserys, but a deeper part of Harry saw a kindred spirit.

“I’d wondered when you would show up,” he said, idly picking away at the orange.

“Why would you think to expect me?” Viserys frowned, purple eyes darkening as he glanced away.

“People like you and I can’t hold off for very long before we seek answers,” Harry said.

“We’re nothing alike,” Viserys denied, and Harry felt his lips twist.

“No? At least they seem to be treating you well,” he said, glancing around his room. “Certainly not a highborn prisoner if you are moving around so freely.”

“A squire,” Viserys snapped, nostrils flaring as anger crossed his expression. “Not a thrice-damned hostage!”

He’d touched a nerve, watching as the boy struggled to rein in his temper. He was close to Oberyn, fond of the older man; a paternal saviour, perhaps – another Sirius Black – and Harry had done himself no favours insinuating elsewise. He raised his hands in a placating gesture, seeing suspicion in his eyes as he took a deep breath to calm himself.

“Apologies, Pr…What do I call you?” he asked.

“Baelor,” Viserys said quietly. “It’s what they all know me as.”

“King Baelor?” he questioned, unable to resist.

Viserys glared fiercely, eyes flashing with anger and loathing and something he recognized from those dark days of the war.

“That’s not my crown,” he spat.

And you look as if you never want to see it, Harry thought. What had they done to this boy to make him look like that? The look in his eyes brought to mind the day he had destroyed Dumbledore’s office in a fit of grief. His mother no longer lives, he knew, the grief lurking in those purple eyes pointing to untold pain, and he wondered how often Viserys had been reminded of what he lost for it to leave a visible mark.

“No,” Harry agreed, “though perhaps you wish it were.”

Viserys stiffened, hands tightly clenching the arms of the chair until Harry could see his veins.

“It might have been easier,” he continued, pushing forward despite the dark look in the young man’s purple eyes. “Had you been the heir, then perhaps someone might have crowned you during the war and raised armies in your name, and things would not have seemed so bleak.”

“You know nothing,” he said, voice tight with emotion. “Nothing of what it means to—”

“To watch your world fall apart and know it was because someone wanted you dead?” Harry interjected, voice quiet as purple eyes locked desperately on his.

He softened, seeing the despair in his eyes and reminded of how very young he was. Viserys was not Harry; he’d known his family and lost it all young enough that he would always wonder what might have been, not like him, hardening himself to the fact that he would meet people only to lose them so quickly.

He felt a twinge of guilt at bringing such a sensitive topic to light, but looking at Viserys was almost like looking in the mirror – at fifteen, at twenty-one – and Harry would do him a kindness that had so rarely been extended to him.

“It’s not your fault,” he told him quietly. “Had you been the heir, had Egg remained with you, had the war not happened; these things are not in your control, just as you cannot control the fact that it was your blood that endangered all of you.”

Harry watched quietly as he stood abruptly, fleeing the room as if the hounds of hell were hot on his feet.

They would likely not see each other unless the young man came searching for his niece and nephew, but Harry hoped his words would sink through the dark thoughts swimming in his head far quicker than it had for him.


“Thank you,” he murmured, seeing the young man jerk his head in acknowledgement before he left, the tray in his hands carrying the remnants of his dinner.

Harry knew it would take at least two hours before the servants brought a late night snack, the sun beginning to dip beneath the horizon. Say what you would about Dorne, but they at least kept their valued prisoners well fed, he thought. There were guards standing at his door, one on either side, though Harry guessed they were most likely preparing to switch.

Harry softly called for Winky, watching as she materialized with barely a sound.

“Have you found them?” he asked as soon as she placed a silencing charm on the door.

“Winky has, Master Harry Potter sir,” she squeaked, shifting in anticipation. “They is being in the palace Master Harry told Winky.”

He felt the last of his tension dissipate, glad that Winky had confirmed what Larra Blackmont had told him.

“My wand, Winky,” he said, seeing her pull out and expand a trunk.

Elves can’t carry wands, he thought, grimacing as he remembered why Winky would be averse to carrying his wand with her.

“Check if the coast is clear, Winky. I’d rather avoid overenthusiastic guards with swords,” he told her.

“Winky is seeing if it is safe for Master Harry sir to go,” she said, leaving with an inaudible pop.

He dropped into the compartment she had opened, scaling down the ladder as he looked around at the massive hall he found himself in. It was similar to the lower family rooms at Potter Hall; portraits were fitted to the walls between the oak shelves filled with family journals and unbound scrolls, and Harry heard the shouts as soon as he came into view.

“Harry!” his father exclaimed, relief evident in his tone. “Thought things had taken a turn for the worse, mate.”

“You all made it, then?” he asked, sweeping his eyes across the hall to see the portraits crowded with various Potters and the lone frame holding Aunt Cassie.

“How long has it been?” Aunt Dorea asked.

“Where are Elia and the children?” his grandmother asked in concern.

Seeing the other’s open their mouths, Harry raised his hand, waiting until they quieted as he made his way to the small shelf beneath his grandfather’s portrait. His wand remained in its holster, the holly wood shining as Harry strapped the dragonhide holster to his forearm, grinning when he felt the surge of magic as he held the wand in the palm of his hand.

He wouldn’t be able to run rings around Teddy using wandless magic for the next week, but he could feel his magic respond strongly to the loyal phoenix wand and he flicked his wrist, water spraying from the tip in a controlled dance.

“They’re safe at the Water Gardens. It’s been…four weeks? Pretty sure I was unconscious for a bit,” he mused.

“Something like that,” his father agreed. “We’ve tried to keep count.”

“What’s that on your neck?” his grandfather asked abruptly, eyes squinting as he peered closely at Harry.

They had given him a change of clothes with the bath, black trousers and a brown tunic with an open collar, showing off his neck and the top of his chest.

“I might have had an unpleasant run in,” Harry grimaced, cursing the fact that he had left all the potions with the others. The bruises had faded for the most part, only a slight yellow-green tinge showing on his neck that he couldn’t hide with bruise balm, and Harry explained his journey and the odd situation he had found himself in, leaving out the fact that he was currently imprisoned in Sunspear.

“You haven’t killed them for that?” Aunt Cassie asked incredulously.

“Fairly certain it would be difficult to explain to Elia. ‘Hi, darling. Don’t be upset, only I’ve killed your brother’,” he retorted.

“You're a Black. She'd get over it,” she sniffed, and Harry wasn’t the only Potter to roll his eyes, though he noted the amused look cousin Caelum sent her.

“You haven’t tried to apparate, have you?” his mother asked, a stern look in her green eyes that softened as he shook his head.

“Didn’t want to risk being splinched. Winky’s going to be spr-popping me over,” he said, blinking innocently as her eyes narrowed at the near slip. “Speaking of which, I do need to leave.”

He left them after promising to let Elia and the children know the portraits had safely made the journey, clambering out of the trunk to see Winky waiting. It had taken him longer than he expected, and the sky had darkened to black, the stars twinkling vividly.

“Is Master Harry Potter sir being ready?” Winky asked, snapping her fingers to close and shrink the trunk.

He looked around the room, seeing nothing of his left behind. Oberyn would return tomorrow, maybe even the day after, but Harry was tired of waiting and couldn’t be bothered to care for the chaos his disappearance would bring.

“Let’s go,” he said, grabbing hold of her outstretched hand.

Elf apparition was disorienting, unused to it as he was, and Harry took a moment to steady himself as he landed in a darkened bedroom. It was larger than the room he had been housed in, an armoire pressed against the wall close to a desk.

Light filtered through the curtains, and Harry felt a smile grow on his face at the sight of Maia curled in bed, hand clutching the red dragon plushie Draco had gifted her. He sat on the edge of the bed, pressing a soft kiss to her hair as she stirred, green eyes blinking open.

“Papa?” she questioned, voice thick with sleep before her mind registered what she was saying. “Papa!”

“Hello little love,” he grinned, scooping her into his arms as Maia threw hers around his neck. He pressed another kiss to her head, smiling as she pestered him with questions.

The door banged open, a spell flying his way that Harry barely deflected, a shield rippling into existence as his wand fell into his palm as he stood, turning to protect Maia.

“Do you always come into a room wands blazing?” he chided, slightly amused at the gaping expression on his eldest son’s face.

“Only when you trip the wards,” Teddy said, recovering after a beat.

Aegon appeared behind Teddy, eyes widening as he gave a shout of relief, and Harry found himself with an armful of his son, his disgruntled sister’s leg squished between them.

“Hey, kiddo,” he smiled, arm tightening around him as he felt Aegon take a shuddering breath. “I’m fine, Aegon.”

“I’m sorry,” Aegon mumbled, face buried in his shoulder, and Harry shook his head, pulling back to grip his chin.

“Don’t be,” he said firmly. “You did the right thing, Egg. Never apologize for that.”

He felt the tension leave him, Aegon’s shoulders sagging in relief that his father did not blame him for their prolonged separation, and Harry tugged his son closer.

“Silly dragon,” Harry murmured. “I’ve never blamed you for a moment.”

Aegon stepped away, hastily wiping at his eyes as Rhaenys and Teddy moved to take his place.

“Hi Dad,” Rhaenys whispered, pressing a swift kiss to his cheek as Teddy wrapped his arm around him.

“Rhae. Teddy. Been keeping out of trouble?” he teased.

“We’ve been behaving,” she said, a grin on her face.

“Angelically,” Teddy added, a matching smile on his face. Harry laughed, knowing very well that their definition of angelic was different from most, and he tightened his hold on them, glad to see that they were doing well.

“Teddy, you’re squishing me,” Maia grumbled, lightly shoving at her brother.

“You’re supposed to be asleep,” he retorted, shifting to give her room, and Harry felt his lips twitch at the unamused glare she gave him.

“How about we go back to sleep, hmm?”

“Not tired,” she said stubbornly, a yawn ruining the effect, and Harry chuckled as he put her down. "Papa, you're gonna stay?"

"Until you fall asleep," he promised.

He stretched out beside her, leaning against the headboard as Maia curled into his side. Rhaenys had claimed the desk chair as Teddy leaned against the desk and Aegon sat at the foot of the bed.

“Where’s your mum?” he asked them, arm wrapped around his youngest.

“With Uncle Doran and Uncle Oberyn,” Rhaenys answered.

He tilted his guess, weighing his options; he could go to them now or wait until Elia returned to her room.

“She usually turns in for the night sometime soon,” Aegon added.

I can wait a little longer, he thought, not wanting to have to deal with the in-laws at the same time he saw his wife again.

“What have you lot been up to this past month?”

They exchanged a glance, staring uncertainly at him.

“Papa, it’s been over five weeks,” Teddy said slowly, a concerned look on his face.

“Ah,” he said, mind racing. “Must have timed the ritual wrong.”

“Is that why there’s a bruise on your neck?” Rhaenys asked, brow arched as she scrutinized his face. “What were you doing all this time?”

“A number of things,” he said, glancing down to see Maia on the verge of sleep. “Get some rest. We’ll speak more tomorrow.”

“Your room’s at the end of the hall,” Aegon told him, standing to give him a hug. “Night Papa.”

“G’night,” he murmured.

Rhaenys came forward next, with a whispered “it’s good to have you back, Dad.”

“I promised, didn’t I?” he reminded her, dropping a kiss to her forehead.

Teddy gave him a bruising hug, head resting on his shoulder for a moment, and Harry held tightly to his eldest, glad beyond reason to see him again.


He must have dozed off, blinking his eyes slightly as he shifted.

“Tempus,” he muttered, rolling his eyes as he realized he did not know when he had landed in Maia’s room.

Harry eased her off of him, tucking the sheets around her before he made his way out.

There were doors at either end of the corridor, and Harry moved to open the door closest to Maia’s room, guessing that the layout of the hall was somewhat similar to that of Black Manor.

The room was large and airy, a sitting area with a settee and two wingback chairs surrounding a low table, the room done in warm hues, the Martell sun and spear hanging from a tapestry on the wall.

There was an open door along the far wall, and Harry felt a tendril of anxiousness curl through him as he entered the room.

“Can’t sleep?” she asked.

She was across the room at the desk, back to him as her hands undid with the pins in her hair. Whatever witty remark he was thinking fled his mind as he drank in the sight before him.

“Sweetling, what’s wron…” she trailed off, hands stilling as she faced him. She looked as he felt, his heart racing as he slowly came closer until there was a foot between them.

It was silly; despite seeing his children there was a part of him that feared this was all a figment of his imagination – a tauntingly real dream borne of his time in the desert and the blood coursing through his veins.

“Elia,” he breathed, holding still as he saw her stand. “Tell me this is real.”

“I was about to ask the same,” she replied softly, dark eyes fixed on his.

Her hand reached for him, and Harry surged forward, lips pressed firmly against hers as she melted against him. He had enough presence of mind to flick his wand to lock and silence the door, thankful his magic was cooperating for the moment before they were lost in a tangle of limbs, falling into bed as whispered declarations of love escaped them.

“You took your time,” she murmured some time later, head pillowed on his chest as he caught his breath.

“I had a few reminders to hand out,” he answered, fingers running along her spine.

He felt her shift, leaning on her elbow as she stared down at him, and Harry was deliciously distracted by the picture she made, unable to resist stealing another kiss.

“What happened to your neck?” she asked.

“I might have upset a snake,” he whispered. She froze momentarily, relaxing as he pulled her into his arms, and Harry felt a fleeting moment of pity for his goodbrother.

“I love you,” he murmured against her lips, arm wrapped around her to keep her steady, and Harry felt her smile as she answered in kind.

She kissed him then, a hand buried in his hair, and all thoughts of Oberyn Martell fled his mind as he drowned himself in the joy and relief her presence brought him.

 

Chapter Text

 

She had known his hair had been coloured to better hide him, but even with the warning Harry had given her, seeing Viserys alive and in Dorne had nearly knocked the breath out of her.

He almost looks like his father, she thought, as she imagined Aerys might have looked had he not fallen to madness and let himself go. Not an exact copy, but enough that it made her pause. That was where the resemblance ended; for all that Aerys had held a cruel glint in his eyes when he looked at the world, Viserys’ eyes were haunted by the shadows of his life.

“Princess Elia,” he said lowly, eyes flashing uncertainly as he bowed in greeting.

“Prince Viserys,” she greeted, irritated at the shock that passed through her brother’s face as she cut off his attempt to introduce his former squire.

There was a curious look in Viserys’ eyes, and Elia saw the precise moment he realized how she might have known beyond that cursory first glance. He hesitated, swallowing uncertainly before he steeled himself, the action so reminiscent of Rhaella that Elia had to turn from him.

Doran sat calmly in his wheelchair, the same thin blanket covering his legs even as he spent the past week feeling relief from the aches of his condition. There was nothing to show his surprise at her knowledge – not a hint – and Elia felt her lips tug downward as she studied him.

“Is the colour not hiding his identity?” Oberyn asked, a touch exasperated.

“No, Ser Baelor is well hidden to the rest of the world,” she answered coolly, gaze turning to him. Oberyn’s dark eyes widened in surprise before they narrowed, an almost defiant expression crossing his face as he clenched his jaw, gaze darting away as Elia remained unyielding.

“How is your sister?”

“Well,” he answered, glancing between Elia and her brothers. She gave him a pointed look, seeing only wary curiosity in his until he relented. “Dany is with the others here. I should see to her before I return to Sunspear.”

He left before she could respond; not looking back as he scurried away to wherever it was Daenerys was hidden, eager to put some distance between them.

It would take time, she knew; Viserys was not the young child she had known, no longer a prince of the realm. There had been regret in his lilac eyes mixed in with the uncertainty and wariness – though what regrets the child held she could only guess – and Elia would give him the time he needed to come to terms with their new reality and what might have been.

All this time, she thought, gaze turning to the three others left in the room. Areo stood as he always did, axe gripped tightly as he kept watch for any threats to Doran.

“Elia…”

“Sit, brother. I would have words,” she said, waiting until he did as told.

“Sunspear is currently under lockdown,” Oberyn told her, a peevish look to him. “Your husband has decided it prudent to leave undetected.”

“For good reason,” she countered. “Perhaps you might not have known at first if he was telling the truth, Oberyn—”

“I did not,” he insisted.

“And yet you made no mention of him once we met,” she continued sharply. “Nor did you rectify that mistake upon meeting the children. My children have magic, brother, as does their father. Are you surprised he has not seen fit to remain locked in the tower you threw him in after the welcome he received?”

“He’d not done anything the entire journey,” Oberyn pointed out stubbornly.

Because he could not, she thought. Had his magic been accessible to him, there were no lengths he would not have gone to discover their whereabouts.

“How was I to know? The Seven have smiled on him Elia, for if the Stormlords had found him there would not be anything left for you to mourn.”

“Just as your arms around his neck were to ensure that you received the answers you wanted?” she said drolly.

There was old anger in his eyes, and Elia worried Oberyn’s temper would be the death of him.

“Essos?” she asked Doran, brow raised as she stared down at him. It rankled, that after all those years teaching her to play the game Doran would see fit to lie so boldly to her face.

“A necessity,” he answered calmly.

“An assurance,” she retorted, “and perhaps a betrothal to seal it?”

He did not deny her words, and her heart cracked at the implications. Had you so readily written us off? Doran was nothing if not pragmatic, perhaps to the point of being overly cautious, and he would think of contingencies. That it meant he had not thought to see her again – had planned for their death – hurt, and the last parts of the Elia of the rebellion died a swift death.

“Aegon is to be king,” Doran said, “as was always meant to be.”

“You expect my agreement when you’ve not seen fit to involve me in your planning?” she asked, slightly amused at his audacity.

He blinked, not comprehending her words. “Elia, your son—”

“—is my son, yes, and I’ll not see him thrust into a restoration without knowing what lays ahead.”

“Elia,” Oberyn attempted to soothe, glancing between the two of them.

“No, Oberyn. Perhaps my years away have warped what memory you hold of me, brother. Both of you,” she amended, turning dark eyes to stare sharply at Doran. “I am not one to be coddled and soothed as those around me manoeuvre my family as if pieces on a board, nor am I the frail princess to be pitied as the Rebellion has no doubt painted me as. I am a Princess of Dorne, a Princess Regent to my son. Make of it what you will, but the blood of Nymeria has never shied away in the face of danger to our family.”

“No,” Doran said softly, eyes assessing. “For we are Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.”

The lingering tension in the air would remain until Doran had made his move, and Elia firmed her resolve. Once, she had remained in the dark of events that had placed her children in insurmountable danger. No longer, and it was time the others realized that for themselves.

She made to return to her rooms, eager to be with her reunited family before facing what remained of Rhaella.

“Your husband?” Doran asked, forcing her to pause. “What are his thoughts on this?”

Is he dangerous was the unasked question, and Elia turned slightly so that she saw him from the corner of her eyes.

“Harry is fiercely protective of those he loves,” she said softly, hoping he would heed her words.


Their first, official meeting had gone about as well as Elia expected.

The children had been there, watching as Harry was properly introduced to both her brothers and their retinue. Larra had been surprised at seeing him with her, an almost resigned expression on her face as she glanced between Harry and Oberyn, seeing the falsely pleasant greetings they exchanged.

For the love he bore her, he wouldn’t do anything harmful to her brothers, and Elia knew it would take little for Harry to overcome that limit. She’d not felt the presence of his magic once while he met her brothers; any other would write it off as his recovering from magical exhaustion, but Elia knew how difficult it was for him to hide the lingering aura that made others wary around him, that would have forced Doran to restructure whatever plots he had cooked up instead of being pleasantly charmed.

That he was doing so now meant he wanted them to think him relatively harmless, and she could only pray there would be no need for them to personally learn just how very dangerous he could be.

“I promised to behave for now,” he said, wrapping his arm around her as they watched Maia splash about in the pool, her sons cowering under torrent of water she pelted them with.

“I know. Thank you,” she told him, knowing he had been tempted to do more than just apparate out of the Spear Tower.

“Do we have cause to worry?”

“Not yet,” she admitted. “Doran is cautious, and he will not want war to be brought to Dorne for no reason.”

She felt him shift, able to tell what he was thinking, and she linked their fingers together over her middle, squeezing gently. It was still too early for her to be confident, nearly six weeks from the last time they had been together, and the sudden upending of their lives had driven her to distraction so that she had not thought much on it. Elia wondered how it would change things if her suspicions were confirmed.

“Prince Maron built the Water Gardens,” she said, remembering the story she had been told as a girl. “It was a gift for his bride, Princess Daenerys, to help her feel welcome in Dorne. Lords and Ladies across Dorne sent their children to foster here, and one day, Princess Daenerys felt pity for the son of a servant and let him cool in the pools. Since then, the Water Gardens have been the one place where status holds no bearing, and all of Dorne’s children foster and play together.”

“It sounds too wonderful to be touched by war,” he murmured.

“It is,” she agreed. She would be doing her people a disservice if they brought war here. They would have to move, she thought, knowing Sunspear would be open to them and preferring elsewhere. The portraits were tired of being cooped up, and Sunspear was not a place she wanted to see them hung.

A little girl’s nervous chatter floated through the air along with her footsteps, puncturing the sound of Maia’s play as she ran circles around Aegon and Teddy. They turned to see Viserys holding firmly to a little girl’s hand.

Daenerys. The little princess was painfully shy, her wide purple eyes darting between them as she clutched tighter to her brother, pale silver-gold hair pulled into a braid. Viserys was staring intently at them, eyes dark as he saw the picture they made, yet Elia ignored him for the moment, focusing her attention on the little one before her.

She was an adorable little girl – would grow into a beautiful woman – and she ached to know that Rhaella would be unable to see this.

“Princess,” Harry greeted warmly, stepping away from her to give an exaggerated bow to Daenerys.

She giggled slightly, curling into Viserys for a moment before she remembered her courtesies. “Well met Lord Potter-Black.”

He smiled gently at her, glancing at Viserys before he gave his apologies and excused himself.

Elia caught his eye, thankful that he was willing to ease Viserys’ discomfort for the time.

“Papa,” Maia was saying, craning her neck to glance at the three of them as Harry he scooped her into his arms. “She has the same hair as Egg.”

His reply was cut off, a silencing ward springing into place as they were left in an awkward silence. There was a lingering tension in the air as Visery stared after him, eyes far off and expression closed when he saw Aegon, jerking to attention when Elia gestured to the seats behind her.

“Dany wished to meet you,” he told her, shifting before he remembered himself.

And you cannot deny her anything, she thought fondly, seeing the look he sent her. Daenerys had her brother’s devotion and Elia was glad to see that Viserys was gentle with the younger girl.

“Well met, Daenerys,” Elia smiled, seeing the muted excitement in her gaze. Her purple eyes continued to drift to the pools where all but Rhaenys were playing even as she returned the greeting, and Elia watched in amusement as Viserys failed to steel himself to the look in her eyes.

“She also wishes to meet Aegon and Rhaenys,” he said lowly, wariness in his gaze, and she knew, had he been more comfortable, he would have held the same exasperated tone Teddy had with the rest of his siblings when he knew he would give in to their wishes.

“By all means,” Elia said, turning to smile at Daenerys. “They’re a bit loud, but welcoming all the same.”

Daenerys fidgeted, glancing at the hesitant Viserys with bated breath as he seemed to struggle to decide, eyes darting between Elia and Harry before he gave her a nod of encouragement. It seemed it was all she needed, for she relaxed and slowly made her way to them.

Elia saw his eyes return to Harry, watching stiffly as Daenerys spoke briefly with him before he called the others to him.

“Did you imagine I would deny her request?” she asked curiously, seeing him tense at the question.

“Why would you allow the Mad King’s children near yours?” he countered, a bitter look he failed to hide flashing quickly.

“The queen’s children,” she corrected gently. “How long have you been in Dorne?”

“Six years,” he answered, glancing oddly at her as he saw her hands clench slightly before she smoothed it.

Four years they had spent abroad under the care of others, and for all that she was upset with her brothers, she knew they were not cruel enough to hold the children to account for their father’s actions. She raged internally at the thought of someone throwing Aerys in their face at any possible opportunity.

“Your Kingsguard?” she asked, wondering what had happened to the remains of Aerys’ men.

Viserys scoffed, lips twisting into a moue of disdain before his face closed off, eyes hardening as he glanced at the door behind her. Elia could afford to ignore the urge to know who was to blame for the dark look in his eyes and the almost angry expression whenever he deigned to look in Aegon’s direction, fearing he would withdraw entirely should she push for answers.

“She’s inside, if you wish to see her,” Elia told him, changing the topic as he continued to glance at the door. “I imagine it would be better without an audience.”

“Vissy! Let’s play dragons and princess!” The memory came to her, recollections of her daughter’s closeness with her youngest uncle floating to her mind as she waited for him to come to a decision.

He left her, only glancing at Daenerys to assure himself of her safety before passing through the door.

It was unexpected, knowing he trusted them enough to leave his sister in their care when there seemed to be no trust left for him to give. It would take time; Viserys had found comfort in Dorne and their return had peeled away at his defences, exposing the shadows that haunted him.

For all their sakes, she hoped he found some measure of peace when he spoke with Rhaenys.


The scroll came in the hands of a messenger, unmarked and unremarkable, hiding the identity of whoever it was that reported Doran’s actions as he stood surrounded by the three siblings, Harry and Doran’s retainers.

Dark eyes glanced at it, feeling a tendril of magic as Harry no doubt checked to see if it was simply a scroll, and Elia waited to see what Doran would do. He’d not sought her out the past three days, and Elia had been more than content with spending that time with her family, seeing Rhaenys lighten after her conversation with Viserys. She had not told them what they spoke of, promising that he would return eventually as Daenerys became a more prominent fixture in their lives.

He held it in hand, scrutinizing the messenger – a young man from the Reach, it would seem, hazel eyes not showing any nervousness as he held up under the intense scrutiny – before passing it to Areo, the Norvoshi handing it to Elia.

It was addressed to her, the words inside bringing to mind the last memory she held of Varys, and Elia pursed her lips as she felt the first stirrings of the game.

“Ser Garret, is it?” she asked, seeing no sigil on his clothes to mark his House.

“It is, Your Grace,” he answered.

“When can we expect our visitors?”

“At the turn of the year,” he replied, brown eyes scanning the expressions of those around him.

Four moons, she thought. Long enough to have plans in place.

“Tell your lord we are in agreement,” Elia told him.

She waited until he was escorted out – no doubt handing a message to a little bird – before she spoke. “Have you come to a decision, brother?”

There was a glint of pride in Doran’s eyes when she looked at him, inclining his head before he gave her the answer she sought.

“Dorne stands with its children always, Princess Regent.”

Her lips curved into a satisfied smirk. “We’ve four moons to prepare all of Dorne and our friends from the Reach for our return.”

 

Chapter Text

 

He dodged the piercing hex, batting away a bone-breaker as he watched Teddy narrowly avoid a knockback jinx.

They had been going at it for the past hour; sweat plastering his hair to his forehead as they fought, Aegon and Rhaenys no doubt grinning at seeing their brother duel with no restrictions.

It had taken him just under a week to realize what it was Teddy was up to – what he planned for the coming war – and Harry had spent three days warding a section of their rooms into a somewhat passable duelling chamber. There was no fear of their spells accidentally destroying parts of the palace, and he and Teddy had been free to throw everything but the most damaging of spells at each other for the past week.

He took a cutting curse to the shoulder, a glancing blow that split skin before he smirked, sending a barrage of spells that had his son twisting before he flicked his wand, hoisting Teddy in the air by the ankle.

He managed two spells before Harry took pity and stunned him, catching him as he fell and letting him rest gently on the floor.

“Think you can leave him like that for a few hours?” Rhaenys asked, a mischievous gleam in her eyes.

“You can torment him tonight,” Harry told her, amused at the thought of the two of them resuming their challenge. Rhae had managed to surprise him enough times to leave Teddy wary, but the metamorph was better and currently in the lead.

He waved his wand, seeing Teddy’s eyes shoot open as he groaned.

“I nearly had you,” he muttered, hand running through his curly hair. Once Elia’s brothers had learned of magic, Teddy had returned to his favoured appearance, skin darkening slightly as his hair curled more, small bits of Elia making themselves known in his features. They had gaped when they first saw him at breakfast, glancing between Elia and Teddy before muttering in astonishment. There had been a gleam of curiosity in Oberyn’s eyes, the man asking Teddy a number of questions between their lessons.

“Of course you did,” Harry agreed sagely, “far better than the last time. You’ve gotten quicker.”

There was a pleased expression on his face, and Harry waited for him to get to his feet.

“Does this mean we can start wandless?” he asked.

“Three days,” Harry replied. “Give yourself time to recover from all the duelling. Wandless magic is not nearly as easy as you think, even more when you try to use it for close combat.”

Aegon sent Teddy a sharp look, uneasy with the thought but knowing he would not be able to talk him down. He’d spent far too many years watching over his younger siblings, he and Rhaenys partners in crime and in their protection of Aegon, and it had been unsurprising to learn Teddy planned to keep to Aegon’s side.

He could see the benefits of it; Teddy’s abilities would let him go where others could not, able to see things without giving himself away, and Aegon would be better with him at his side.

If only for those reasons – and because he knew, permission or no, Teddy would find a way – Harry had insisted on these lessons, determined to give them an edge.

“Tomorrow for the both of you,” he told them.

“I feel fine,” Rhaenys muttered, a spark of flaming flaring into existence.

“But it’s not as easy as it was,” he finished with a knowing look in his eyes.

Rhaenys pursed her lips before she nodded reluctantly in agreement, Aegon doing the same. It was slightly worrying, knowing that they were still limited magically – and Elia near completely limited – and he wanted to get to the root of it.

“Go on then. I’m sure you’ve all got other lessons to get to.”

They trudged off together to the abandoned pool area Oberyn had commandeered, blunted weapons on hand as he ran them through their paces for the past week. They had come to an odd truce, each of them invested in seeing their shared family make it through the war, and if Oberyn happened to tense in his vicinity after witnessing Harry run Teddy through the ringer, than he could keep his amusement hidden.

He had returned to their room, just finished cleaning the dirt off him and vanishing the water from the bath, tunic in hand when he found himself pulled into Elia’s arms.

“Maia?” he asked between kisses, walking backward. They fell into the armchair in their room; the two seats separate from the sitting area connected to their bedroom.

“Running around with Dorea and Loreza,” she murmured. “Tweak is watching over them.”

“Oh,” he said.

Ellaria Sand had returned to the Water Gardens, all but her eldest daughter with her, and Maia had been delighted at the sight of cousins who were of an age with her.

“Not that I’m not happy with where this is headed,” he gasped, pulling back slightly before he gave in to the haze of delight, “but what brought this on?”

The smirk on her face softened to a smile, her hand on his as she laid it flat against her stomach. “We might end up with that quidditch team.”

It took a moment for him to register her meaning, stilling in surprise as he stared at her.

“Elia…what…are you certain?” he asked, sitting up straight. She shifted slightly, moving to sit comfortably tucked into his arms, and Harry felt her link their fingers together.

“I spoke with the maester this morning. He thinks I’m nearly two moons gone,” she told him. Seeing him open his mouth she continued, “There was also a potion in our stock.”

Aunt Narcissa, he guessed, certain the woman had brewed that one. Or even Astoria.

“We haven’t…there was no ritual,” he said.

“Beltane,” she answered dryly. “Dorea has delightedly reminded me that it is the one day we’ve no need for any...and it might be the reason I’ve had more difficulty than usual with magic. Dimension travel in the early stages of pregnancy is not advised.”

Of course, he thought. The day after had been a mess, and Harry had forgotten in the chaos of the fire and their departure.

“Harry?” He swallowed her words with a kiss, letting his joy overwhelm the slight fear. They weren’t in England any longer; Harry had to believe she would be fine with only a maester and midwife on hand. She’s delivered two healthy children in Westeros, he reminded himself, leaning his forehead against hers.

This changed things, and he had to tamp down on his urge to insist they wait to restore Aegon’s throne. Things were already moving, lords gathering discreetly as Dorne prepared to hold a summit of sorts, and he wouldn’t undermine her capabilities by insisting a pregnant woman remain on the side-lines.

“What’s running through your mind?”

“I’m wondering if we could put that crown on Aegon’s head in time for the birth,” he joked, sighing as he recalled the time it took for the original conquest. Even with three dragons and a sorcerer queen, it had taken the first Targaryen rulers the better part of two years, and they were faced with a potentially more hostile realm.

“We’ll need to move elsewhere,” she murmured, eyes far off.

“You don’t want to remain here?” He’d assumed learning she was with child would hold her to her family, but perhaps he had underestimated things.

“War will come, and I would rather avoid the trappings of it as long as I can. Besides,” she added, dark eyes locked on his. “Can you truly say you are comfortable with Varys having someone here, and no wards beyond those we’ve placed in the rooms.”

He pursed his lips, sighing as he acknowledged her point. Harry had spent too long surrounded by wards built to protect them that it chafed to know that same protection was unavailable to them.

“We would be surrounded by unfamiliar people with no wards in the Red Keep,” he pointed out.

“The Red Keep was built by earlier Targaryens whose entire life is shrouded in magic,” she countered.

He closed his eyes, mind whirling with plans as he thought on what he would need to form some sort of functioning ward system. Harry would never deny her; far beyond the strategic benefits of having a place to safely plot their restoration, he knew part of her missed the comfort of Potter Hall, and Harry would do what he could to carve out some semblance of safety here as well.

“Where were you thinking?” he asked curiously, knowing Elia would not have brought it up without a plan – even half-formed – in mind.

“How much magic do you think it takes to break a continent apart?”


A considerable amount, it turned out.

The Children of the Forest had not simply broken the continent as her words suggested, and as Harry stared at the map he was amazed.

“They shattered everything,” Teddy murmured in awe, realizing how much work would have gone into doing so.

“Pirates? That could very well work as a distraction,” Oberyn was musing, a thoughtful look on his face as Viserys sat quietly next to him. The older Targaryen prince had returned, checking on his sister before Oberyn pulled him into the meeting. He was still stiff around them, but Harry had witnessed a sharp intelligence in his eyes as he glanced over the map.

“We’ve no ships,” Ashara agreed. “Only the dozen we’ve built since the rebellion, and the Reach has not dared to send wood to us for years. Purchasing ships would be too costly.”

“Wars require gold, and unfortunately Tywin Lannister sits on a mountain of it,” Oberyn frowned.

He listened with half an ear, already having heard what Elia’s plan was, and Aegon and Rhaenys paid close attention to what was being discussed. Harry himself simply plotted, seeing the various isles the Children had created in their fury.

“Is it possible they destroyed a ley line?” Teddy asked lowly, eyes scrutinizing the map. Teddy had adored his ancient studies course, and finding out he could bring some of that knowledge to bear was almost too much excitement for him.

“Maybe,” he murmured, running his eyes over the various isles. To shatter something so fully required more than their own magic; Westeros did not hold nearly as much magic as Harry had known, and he feared Teddy might be right.

How devastating would it have been, to so brazenly unleash that much magic into the world; ley lines very rarely ran straight across a continent, and Harry wondered where this had once connected to, and what it meant to have cleaved it.

It would work, if they could find an island that worked for their plans. Magic that concentrated did not easily dissipate – no matter how many thousands of years had passed.

“You’ll find ships from the Three Daughters fighting over the land,” Doran warned. “We can’t fight a protracted war on two fronts.”

“Not two fronts,” Elia told him. “Westeros will not involve themselves in the Stepstones unless there was benefit to them, and the Daughters can be persuaded to turn a blind eye.”

“You underestimate Tywin Lannister,” Doran said, a dark look on his face. “Any threat to his legacy is one he would see extinct. The Stepstones is too close to Dorne for his comfort. He might feel we are planning a restoration.”

“We are,” Aegon said dryly, “but we won’t be flying Targaryen banners while we do so.”

The others turned to look at their boy king, and Harry glanced at his children when he felt their eyes on him.

“The Potter-Black crests are yours to use,” he said, reminding them that his blood also ran through their veins.

The crests on their own were immaculate, etched into his Wizengamot seats side by side and into the tapestries lining the halls of each ancestral home, but upon his adoption Harry had combined them to form his own personal crest.

He had kept the Black ravens at the base of his crest, the backdrop being the blue Potter occamy, wings outstretched and a crossed wand and sword across the body to match the silvery-grey base.

“A good thing we’ve the needed time to have it stitched,” Rhaenys said. “The question is where?”

“Bloodstone,” Visery interjected quietly.

He had remained silent the entire meeting, carefully noting what it was the others were saying that it was surprising he was willing to speak at all.

“Most pirates use the Grey Gallows, and Bloodstone will differentiate us from minor pirates,” he said, moving a dragon figuring atop the isle he spoke of.

“It’s too close to Estermont,” Doran pointed out, though his eyes showed none of his caution as he studied the map. He might have liked the older man, but as it was he set Harry’s teeth on edge – would until he better understood Doran and did not see another when he looked at him.

“A boon,” Viserys countered. “Lord Estermont has little ships to his name, and Bloodstone allows the loyal Crownlords to find us on route to Lys.”

“We would have to subdue the Stormlands were we to have a chance at taking the throne,” Larra added. “If the Reach joins us, it would leave the Kingsroad as their only chance at assistance, and King’s Landing can ill afford having their backs turned to loyalists in the Crownlands and Riverlands. Not when Tywin Lannister turns his army to the Ocean Road.”

It was slightly scary how astute she was, and Harry was glad Larra’s considerable army would support Aegon’s claim.

“Are we in agreement?” Aegon asked, straightening as he glanced around the room. He had been slightly upset that his uncle had so obviously avoided being alone with him, but none of that showed. His son standing with the confidence he would expect from his cousin.

“We’ve just over three moons until we meet with the other Lords and Ladies,” Elia stated. “Bloodstone can be put forward once they know what they are dealing with.”

He locked eyes with her; Bloodstone would perhaps be the first test of the alliances she would bring together, the first test for them all, and Harry idly wondered how long it would take before the dragons decided they were tired of hiding in the mountains.


The gods were laughing somewhere in morbid amusement as Harry and Oberyn found themselves united in their mutual dislike at the presence of the man knelt before Aegon.

He had been training Teddy; the past week spent slowly helping his son become familiar with the different feel of wandless magic. Aegon and Rhaenys had been sparring, Oberyn pointing out any mistakes as Harry helped Teddy learn how to call his magic to him quickly without the help of a wand.

“It’ll take years to learn properly,” he warned him.

“It didn’t take you nearly as long,” Teddy retorted, frustration etched in his face.

“Different circumstances,” Harry replied flatly, and he shook his head as Teddy flushed in apology. “Don’t. Had it not happened, it likely would have taken just as long; chaotic magic is not something easily dealt with. Nor do you need to have complete mastery as of yet. Wandless magic can be the difference between an arrow landing it’s mark or a sword buried in your guts, Teddy. You’ll need to master redirection first.”

Teddy had nodded, determined to be able to do that as soon as he could, and Harry had slowly thrown a volley of spells and objects at him, waiting to see whether he could hold his own.

It was as Teddy began to get the hang of it, redirecting a ball to fall harmlessly to his left and batting a spell away that they were interrupted, Daenerys skidding to a halt as she watched wide-eyed.

“Well done,” he said, pride evident in his voice.

Teddy was preening, throwing a cheeky smile at Daenerys before he frowned. “What’s wrong, Dany?”

“Prince Doran says you’re needed in his receiving room,” she told them, eyes darting to stare warily at Oberyn.

Harry frowned, seeing the dark look on his brother-in-law’s face. “Were we expecting guests?” he muttered as they made their way, the children walking behind them.

“No,” Oberyn answered lowly. “I like it not.”

He’d liked it even less when they saw why they had been called. The man before them wore solid plate armour, a shining grey that showed no sign of his former status as Kingsguard, the white cloak missing from his shoulder.

Upon sighting Aegon, he drew his sword, kneeling with the point facing the floor and narrowly managing to avoid being thrown backward courtesy of the tense magical before him. It was only Rhaenys’ hand on Teddy’s wrist that kept him at bay, and Harry made his way to Elia’s side, the closed off expression on her face letting him know how unexpected and unwelcome this visit was.

There was no one to keep Oberyn in check, Viserys standing stiffly as he stared at his father’s sworn sword – at Rhaegar’s man – hands clenched and his scar stark against his pale skin.

“I thought I told you to never return to Dorne,” Oberyn hissed, sounding like his moniker.

Of Arthur Dayne he knew little beyond what Elia had told him and what he’d gleaned from the memories of the Rebellion he had witnessed, but the man had a brass pair, he’d give him that much.

Not everyone was willing to baldly ignore Oberyn when he was furious.

“I swore to return to Dorne only with my king,” Ser Arthur answered, eyes focused on Aegon. “I believe that fulfilled your conditions.”

“You’ve not found your king,” Viserys said coldly. “Years in Essos and yet it was another who saw to Aegon’s return.”

Purple eyes flicked to his, the knight zooming in on the closeness between him and Elia, and Harry smiled, feeling his magic flare slightly before settling, seeing him subconsciously shift in place.

Arthur Dayne was Aerys’ most dangerous knight – had loyally followed his prince into the wilderness for more than a year – and Harry would put the fear of his gods in him before he let the man think he could waltz in and mould Aegon into another Rhaegar.

That Oberyn and Viserys seemed to be in agreement with him firmed his resolve, knowing there was only one thing they could agree on.

“Where have you spent these last years, Ser?” Aegon asked, indigo eyes boring into the Kingsguard.

“Searching for you, Your Grace, so that I may resume my duties,” Ser Arthur answered.

“Not with the queen?” Rhaenys asked idly, gaze flicking to Viserys, and Harry saw cold anger in his eyes that hinted at a rocky history.

“The Lord Commander ordered me to find our king,” he replied.

“And where is Ser Gerold?” Elia asked, voice even in spite of the anger he was certain coursed through her.

“My mother asked a question, Ser,” Aegon warned him, fury flashing across his features at the knight’s impertinence.

“The Lord Commander had most likely been killed shortly after we parted ways,” he responded, hiding any sadness he might have felt at the thought.

“Why would the Lord Commander remain with Lyanna Stark?” Aegon questioned, the entire room holding their breath as they watched the knight.

He still holds Rhaegar’s secrets above everything, Harry thought, and for the first time saw a flash of emotion in Ser Arthur’s eyes as he struggled between his loyalty to his dead prince and his king before him.

“Will you ignore your king, Ser?” Aegon pressed, staring darkly at him.

“Ser Gerold was the knight left to see to the safety of Prince Rhaegar’s daughter.”

Harry swore internally, feeling Elia stiffen as her suspicions were confirmed. The Targaryens present were in varying levels of shock, their purple eyes darkening as they were faced with an unwanted truth.