Change one name, one character, and the house of cards come tumbling down. When James Potter is wiped from the equation, Haraella Targaryen takes Harry's place. Battle weary, alone, riding upon a pregnant Ironbelly during a lightning storm, Haraella crashes into the foreign land of her mysterious father. The dragon always has three heads.
Haraella Targaryen, or plain ol' Harry as she was widely known as amongst their people, was a… Unique individual. Given her close friendship with his younger brother Ron Weasley, Charlie thought he knew just enough about the girl to at least have some standing in stating that fact. After all, through Ron, he had seen the scrawny abused eleven-year-old flourish into a sixteen-year-old war heroin that their world, or kind, had never seen before. A heroin, who, in Charlie's eyes, a lot of them did not deserve.
Like all people, she had her bad points. From what he had personally observed, she could be downright verbally biting when she wanted to be, savage with her words, cutting to the bone of your soul with a single sentence. She was quick to temper, and what a temper it was when it blew. Violent, transcendental and blistering, like a volcano erupting during a snow storm, all lava hot retribution mixed with glacial cunning. She was also quicker to action then she was to think or plan, more often than not, plunging herself head first into life threatening danger.
That being said, the dark parts of her personality shrank in the light of her good elements. Those words that could slit your throat could also bolster you, give inspiration to the downtrodden, rally a revolution or righteous rebellion. Her temper was normally aimed at those who deserved it, a fiery shield projected out to guard those in need, be it the house elves or the whole of the wizarding world. And while she was quick to action, that action was normally in the same vein as throwing her own body in front of yours to take the killing blow.
Yes. Harry was a complex person indeed, but to say Charlie was interested in any of those facts, especially at this given moment, would be a bit of a stretch. He was only interested in one thing about Harry then. Just one. Haraella was brilliant when it came to dragons. Hence why he was waiting for her arrival, after a quick flu call to the teenager telling her his plight, sitting in a rustic pub on the outskirts of the Romanian conservation he worked in, a mug of lukewarm bitter ale sloshing around his glass.
For most of the tales of Harry's escapades with the scaly beasts, he had not been present, but he had heard of them. Oh, how he had heard of them. Hagrid's illegal Norwegian ridgeback, who had taken to Harry like a griffin to air. When the little beast had been seized from Hagrid due to its breeds outlawed black market selling, even with trainers with years upon years of experience, the small critter had put up a fight when they had tried to take it. A fight that had ended when Haraella had stepped in and only then. Of course, it could have been argued that Haraella had been at its birth, and instead of imprinting on Hagrid like their breeds dictated, it had glimpsed her first and had thought she was its mother. That incident Charlie could sweep under the rug and still feel comfortable.
But then there was the tale of the tri-wizarding tournament. A tale, which, if Charlie had not been present himself at the time to watch out for the dragon's health, he would not have believed. Haraella, as was her luck, had of course drawn the most vicious of the dragon batch, the Hungarian Horntail. Charlie thought Harry would be shook around a bit, perhaps a bit singed, and then a sleeping spell would be placed upon the dragon to get her away from it. Horntails were notoriously bad tempered, territorial and anti-social. Even trainers like himself stayed away, far away, from that breed. So, to see Harry swan in, barely five-foot-three, more interested in the dragon than the egg in which she was supposed to be after, and actually walk up to the giant creature and brazenly place a hand upon its snout, a hand it had nuzzled into, well, yes… It had shocked the absolute magic out of him. Never mind that Harry had ditched the egg in favour of cutting the dragon free to go for a joy ride around the castle… Charlie was surprised none of the teachers had died from prostration. He damn well nearly did. She scored no points that round, but her face as she landed back in the arena, windswept and red from the cold air, beaming from ear to ear, made Charlie think she didn't mind too much.
Then, as if that wasn't enough, there was the Ukrainian Ironbelly that had been used to guard the Gringotts vaults. Now, Ironbelly's made Horntails look like kneazles, and the one used to guard the vaults had been through a life of abuse, fear training and unmitigated cruelty to fuel its aggression and possessive tendencies so it would do the job the goblins wanted it to do. A job it had done without fault until Harry had strolled into their bank during the war. According to Hermione, Harry had refused to leave it behind, somehow wrangled them all upon it and had flew it and them to freedom, destroying two thirds of the bank on the way out.
Harry, against everyone's knowledge, had kept the big brute hidden until the end of the war, afraid Voldemort would use it or turn it against them in the battle, or to simply protect it, she was never clear on her reasoning for hiding the dragon. When Voldemort was nothing but ashes in the wind, Harry had called in a debt from Charlie, simply asking for him to take the Ironbelly to Romania for a year or two, and by the end, she would come and get it. For what Harry had done for them all, his family especially, he had not dared to turn her down. In fact, he hadn't even thought to do so from the very beginning. Hiding a dragon for a few moon cycles was the least he could offer her. And so, exactly one year later, we come to Charlie sitting in the pub, drowning his sorrows, waiting for Haraella to arrive.
She showed up close to dusk, like a phantom the wind had blown in through the rickety door. She wasn't hard to find, she never was. She was dressed ready for a trip into the dense dragon conservation. Thick, leather trousers clung to thighs, a simple maroon linen tunic peeping out from the blackened body brace made from Thestral hide with boots to match. The gloves she wore were new, shiny, tight, like a second skin painted on. So much so, that Charlie idly wandered if she could feel the oak the pub used in its decorating through them.
Nonetheless, it was not her clothes that made her stand out, it never was. The shock of the pure, unfiltered snow-white hair was always the first to be spotted. Even if, as she had now, braided it away from her face, forcing the curling locks into a loose bun at the top back of her head. Before he had ever seen Haraella, he had always believed the Malfoys to be platinum blonde, but next to her, their hair looked like sunburnt straw.
The next thing that always grabbed the appraiser's attention would be her eyes. Charlie had heard his mother say Harry had her own mother's eyes countless times, but even he had doubts that such a vibrancy could be replicated twice. Perhaps it was her colourless hair that made them stand out so much, perhaps it was the pale skin, or the blush ghosting along her cheeks and nose, but that green glowed. It shone like a cat's eye, peeping out from the shadows, settling you with the unnerving feeling that you were being watched in the darkness by a predator just waiting to leap for your neck, maw open wide, fangs ready and keen. Of course, the scar was always next, the lightning bolt sitting proudly on her forehead, almost regal in the way she carried it, never hiding it behind her hair like she used to before and during the war. Now it almost seemed to be a sign of survival, victory, honour.
Before Charlie knew it, lost in his own mind, she had spotted him with slanted eyes, sidling up to his corner booth, the candle light from his table bathing her in soft yellows and oranges. Charlie gave her a smile.
"You know, in this lighting, I almost took you for a Malfoy."
She returned the gesture as he slid across his booth, flushed lips pulling back on glinting teeth, allowing her in from the side, sitting opposite him. She didn't bother to remove her gloves, only to flag down a waitress for a tankard of beer. Funny enough, the waitress tried to flirt with her, leaning over to show a generous amount of cleavage, which Harry obliviously ignored.
"You wouldn't be the first. I'm pretty sure the only reason Narcissa lied to Riddle's face was because she thought I was some distant cousin."
Her voice had changed since he had last spoke to her, not accounting for the previous flu call. Her voice had always been deep, too guttural and harsh for such a small, young girl. It had been comical in a way, like an adult was speaking through the mouth of a toddler. Yet, she had grown into that voice now. It fit her sharp features, the hooded, secretive eyes and the smile always pulling at the corners of her lips. The shadows of dimples pressing into her cheeks. It almost seemed to say that she knew something you didn't, and she found that fact hilarious. Infinitely so.
Yet, Charlie let her words soak into the air, stagnate around them. Not much was known about Haraella's father, not much at all. Well, not much Charlie had been told at least. He had not gone to Hogwarts, he wasn't recorded on any ministry registrar and no other family members had ever stepped forward to help Harry. Harry, herself, was determined not to bring him up often, but she neither did that to her mother, or about anything much unless you dragged it from her on pain of death.
Was he a Malfoy? It would explain the secrecy. A Malfoy bastard would have caused a scandal, especially contending with Lily Evans being a muggleborn, along with the first wizarding war being well into full swing by the time of Harry's conception. Still, that did not explain her last name, given to her through her mother's marriage to the mystery man, nor her distinctive Malfoy but not Malfoy looks. Next to her, the Malfoys were two-bit copies, transfiguration gone wrong.
The waitress tumbled back over with Harry's beer, in which she completely ignored as she delved a hand into her messenger bag, plucked free her wallet and gave the money to the woman, who she didn't make eye contact with, too focused on looking at him with those eyes that saw too damn much.
"No. Hermione thought the same. It wouldn't be the first time a cousin got disgraced from a pureblood family and chose to change their name and begin again. Targaryen has the pompous ring the Malfoy name does, but no… He wasn't."
The waitress left with a huff at being ignored, a huff that fell on deaf ears. Just as Harry was going to shut her wallet, she seemed to think better of it as she flicked it back open, slid out a folded photo from a little pocket inside and slid it across the table towards Charlie. Charlie didn't hesitate to pick it up and unfold the old, aging photo.
"Is that him?"
The photo had obviously been spelled to be kept preserved, as when it was unfolded, no crease was left in sight. The image that greeted him was a happy one. Lily Evans in all her fiery beauty and passion stood at the side of a great oak tree, only it's trunk visible, cradling a young Harry at her hip. Even back then, at such a tender age where most babes were bald, Harry had a mop of spiralling silver white curls. She did, in fact, have her mother's eyes. Her upturned nose and blush too.
However, the man besides them, just on the other side of Harry, sandwiching the babe between the loving parents was a stranger to Charlie. His hair was long, straight, held back by a throng of leather. His hair was just as blindingly white as Harry's, but his violet eyes were deep and studious, kind even. Very kind. Harry had his pouty lips, feline dimples and sharp cheekbones. She really was the perfect mixture of her parents, taking the best from the gene pools offered.
"Aye. His name was Daeron Targaryen."
He had heard his father mention that name before, Daeron, when he dabbled too much in his fire whiskey once in a blue moon. As soon as the name was spoken, as if cursed, his mother would soundly shut his father right back up and take him from the room. Charlie had not thought much of it, normally the name was brought up in conjunction with the first order of the phoenix, the word muggle and something mumbled that Charlie had never caught. His mother having lost her brothers then, likely wanted his father not to reminisce about ghosts. Time for bed, you need to sleep of all this whiskey. That was what his mother would always say. But now, facing Harry, Charlie wandered if it had anything to do with whiskey or his uncles at all and not Harry's mysterious beginnings.
"He was part of the first-generation order of the phoenix, wasn't he? But isn't he a squib?"
He handed the photo back and Harry didn't even spare it a glance as she folded it back up, crammed it into her wallet and dumped the thing back into her bag.
"Yes… No… I'm not too sure to be honest. I don't know much about my father or his side of the family. I think he was a muggle. Who knows? Bit too late to ask anyone, most people who knew him are dead and the others… Well, they aren't saying jack shit."
She cut him a sharp look, final, poignant. Obviously, Arthur Weasley had let slip around Harry about his knowledge and when Harry had likely pushed for more information, either his father or mother had shut the conversation down. But why? Charlie didn't know. Harry likely didn't either, and so, questioning that further would be pointless. Instead, he turned to the blatant root of the situation. After all, Lily had family too.
"Didn't your aunt or uncle ever tell you?"
Charlie winced as soon as he had said it. Ron was quick to say stupid things, upsetting things that he already knew the answer to, but simply forgot in a moment of confusion. He had gotten that from his brother, Charlie, who had in turn, gotten it from their mother Molly. Not having a filter between brain and mouth is what Hermione called it. Charlie called it the brain shits.
It was no secret how Harry's aunt and uncle treated her. The cupboard, the verbal degradation, the times she showed up to the burrow with broken bones and bruised skin in the shapes of adult hands. His parents had wanted to take her from there, adopt her, but Dumbledore had barred them at all roads, practically making everything but the odd visit to them impossible. Now they knew why. Dumbledore had wanted a child soldier beaten, lonely and broken enough to sacrifice themselves for the few scraps of love they had been offered in their affection starved life. Aye, his family, and Harry he hazard a guess now that her rose tinted glasses had been taken off, were not the best fans of the old man who had played with too many lives.
Harry snapped him back to the real world with a noncommittal shrug of her delicate shoulders.
"My mother met him when her and her sister were already estranged. From what I understand of it all, she found him injured in some woods, half dead, muttering about a rat, a hawk and a pig. Dumbledore took a shine to him while he was healing and apparently, he was brilliant at coming up with battle strategies, ones the order often implemented. According to Sirius, it was his plans that had Voldemort on the ropes by the end of the first wizarding war. During that time, him and my mum got closer, married, had me."
Her gaze trailed away from his, down to the flickering candle melted onto their circular table. The smile that lit up her face as she travelled down memory lane was brighter and more beautiful then the sun setting outside.
"Sirius used to say I had his strategic mind but lacked his patience to implement it well. Evidently, according to Remus, I picked up my love for dragons from him too. Mum wanted to name me Harriet, you see, but aella is… Was, a family tradition for girls on his side, so they mixed the two. It worked out well enough, Haraella is a type of Orchid, so it fit well with my mother's family tradition of naming girls after plants. He was close to them, Sirius, James, Remus and Peter. It's why James was their on the night of-"
The smile dropped jarringly, like a glass plate being thrown upon pavement. The war, the loss, the death of their loved ones, were still a sore spot, especially to Harry who, Charlie thought, still often blamed herself for all the pain and demise. James Potter's needless death at Godric Hallow likely bore down heavy on her shoulders, despite her only being an infant at the time. Too much self-blame for too young shoulders. If he thought she wouldn't smack his hand away, he would have reached for her then. Instead, she shut off, leant away, folding her arms over her chest, barricading herself off, voice clipped and tone short and icy.
"Well, James was visiting, and they'd just named him and Sirius as my godfathers. Voldemort didn't like being outsmarted by a muggle who was married to a muggleborn, and so chose them as the great offenders that would birth his nemesis from that merlin damned prophecy. The rest, well, that's history."
Charlie felt like a dog with a bone, he just couldn't let go of the subject. It wasn't often Harry opened up, and when she did, he felt the urge to gain as much as he possibly could before she fully clammed those walls she built around herself cleanly and irrevocably shut.
"Aren't you curious? You could have aunts, uncles, cousins out there. Didn't your aunt and uncle or Remus and Sirius ever tell you anything more?"
Harry's jaw clenched and in her incandescent eyes, he saw the gate she had opened a slither, begin to clamp shut.
"Sirius… By the time he got out of Azkaban, his mind was never fully there. He slipped mentally, called me Daeron a few times, rambled about the 'good old days' but never gave me anything concrete. Uncle Vernon and aunt Petunia, well, I'd get more luck getting blood from stone then getting anything about my parents from them. Remus only told me he came from a land far, far, far from here. He promised to tell me more after the war… But, well, he's dead now, isn't he?"
Charlie grimaced. He would never know what it was like to not know his family, to not know where he came from, to have the only people who knew his parents, his other family, to be dead or completely unwilling to speak on the matter. He wandered if she felt lost, if in her shoes, he wouldn't be plagued by the what ifs and could haves. Still, up until a year ago, her plate had been pretty damn full and he challenged the thought that questioning anything much more but how she was going to survive the war had passed her mind.
"Shit, sorry Haraella. I didn't think-"
This time her shrug was grating and jerky. An effortless convulsion of up and down. Singular. Like a full stop.
"It's fine. It is what it is."
And the gate had closed. She quickly rubbed tiredly at her eyes, before she leaned back in, balancing her elbows on the table as she rounded on him. It was only then that he noticed the dark circles under her eyes, the weary blown pupil. How long had she not been sleeping for? Too long by the hue of purple shadowing her lashes. Her lack of sleep was likely why she had opened up as much as she had that night, and Charlie felt sort of dirty for taking advantage of that. Still, he would speak to Ron, see if they couldn't keep a better eye out for Harry on their end.
"Now, did you summon me here to interrogate me over my muddled ancestry or is there something you actually need?"
Now it was his turn to rub at his eyes before he downed the rest of his ale, wiping away the foam moustache with the back of his hand.
"Right, yeah, shit. Sorry, my mind isn't with me tonight."
Perhaps he needed a good night's sleep too. But, here they were, at the crux of the true problem. Dragons. He recoiled slightly, lips thinning. Harry was not going to take what he was about to say lightly, nor peacefully. Sleep, for both of them, would have to wait.
"The Ironbelly you sent over after the war-"
She cut him off without missing a beat, voice stern and unforgiving like steel, salty rust creeping in at the edges.
"Vaenora. Her name's Vaenora."
He blinked once, twice, three times. Only Haraella would name a bloody Ukrainian Ironbelly. The one breed that even conservations turned down due to their nature. The one breed completely outlawed by nearly all wizarding nations. The one breed, that of course, was as volatile as Harry herself. Yet, that was not the issue here, so he shook his head, ginger locks fluttering as he tried to clear his mind.
She had asked him for a favour of hiding the Ironbelly… Vaenora here, despite this being one of the conservations where they were barred from, and he had done so, without question. But things had gone wrong, so horribly wrong. Vincent's, a colleague of his, face flashed before his eyes. Or, more aptly, what was left of the charred remains once they had recovered his body.
"Right… Vaenora, she's causing problems."
She frowned darkly, her hands coming together to clench tightly.
She drew the word out slowly, as if it wasn't a question but a warning to him about how he proceeded in this interaction. Charlie swallowed deeply. It was already done. He needed to tell her, he owed her that much. However, he tiptoed to the problem verbally, like testing a hot spring with his toe to see if the water would scorch him or not.
"She's killed a lot of our dragons, took a cave nest from a family of Falcon crests and she's not letting anyone or anything within a ten-mile radius of the place."
Harry scoffed and pulled away from the table, gracefully reclining into the old leather bench of their booth. Her bottomless stare fluttered away like a butterfly, spreading out to dance amongst the small patrons of the run-down pub they were in.
"Then leave her be. She needs her space-"
"She killed a conservationist yesterday. You know what happens to dragons that do that."
Execution. Death. Murder. Call it what you will, but it all meant the same. It hadn't helped the matter that Vaenora was unregistered here, illegally smuggled in, and that the death… Vincent, had been the owner's son. All factors added only ended the equation with a dragon's head free from its body. Harry's gaze snapped back to his like a rubber band, the look inside her irises prickling at his skin, stinging. Without so much as touching or looking at her drink the entire conversation, she stood from the table.
"Take me to her."
Charlie rubbed at his temples in soothing circles, but it did nothing to take the bite out of her words, her tone, this situation or the consequences of what would happen if it was found out he was the one to smuggle the Ironbelly in, not only that, but took another person to it after one death had already taken place.
"Haraella, I don't think that's a good idea. They've placed the area in quarantine-"
She was having none of it as she turned away from him, pushing out from the booth and table, speaking to him from over her shoulder.
"I'm going whether you come or not."
Then she was striding from the room and a haggard Charlie had no option but to ditch his well-earned drink to catch up with her.
Two Hours Later.
Even in the inky, musty cave, the Albino Ukrainian Ironbelly shone in the darkness like the northern star, leading sailors home. Or, more fitting, led poor trainers, dragons and conservationists to their deaths. Even though it was still young in terms of it's breed, still in teenage-hood in comparison to the human life span, the beast was huge and still growing. It's defensive back spines brushed the top of the cave, it's folded wings could knock down buildings if it flew too close and from the tip of it's muzzle to the small bone hammer at the end of its tail, would take a full minute to walk the length of… And it still had twenty years more growth in it.
To be fair to Harry, she had done a good job with the dragon. She visited often, before the incident with the conservationist had happened where she had been kept away with ministry work, and her involvement with the dragon could be spotted. When Charlie had first saw the poor thing, it was malnourished, ribs prominent, wings partially transparent, not a good health sign in a dragon. Its skin had been ghostly white, dirty looking, from the lack of sunlight and its eyes had a thin milky film over them, hinting at blindness. Even to Charlie, the poor thing was too far gone to do much more than to make it comfortable for its oncoming death. He had never been more wrong. Now, those bones were covered by thick, ropey muscle, it's stomach was no longer concaved, but protruded healthily, perhaps a little too healthily. Its wings became meaty once more, and its skin was no longer that dusty grey-white, but a brilliant silver, just on the cusp of Albinism.
Through the long, arduous trek to the outer laying cave in the conservation, Charlie had been sure the beast would have swooped in at any given moment, razed them with dragon's breath, sliced them with it's serrated claws or plucked them from the earth to devour in the sky. It had done so with everything else that had gotten too close.
But, then again, anything else was not Haraella Targaryen, and she, with confidence Charlie had seen lacking in all other dragon handlers, himself included, had marched pointedly through the conservation, right to the caves entrance and had entered without so much of a second thought of her health or possible death. When dealing with beasts that ran on instinct, who were legendarily vicious, a douse of appreciative fear and caution did well in their line of work. Harry didn't have a smidgen of either and he questioned if that was her secret to getting so close to dragons, to handling them so well. Maybe they could smell the fear crisping on their skin, and Harry's confidence made her seem bigger and badder than the dragon thought they could handle.
Still, he wondered why it had not attacked. Perhaps it was full, perhaps it had gotten injured and died, perhaps it was sleeping too deeply. However, as he saw it's yellow and orange eyes staring out, straight at them, as its nostrils flared with quaking breathes, he knew it had smelled them coming from miles off. Furthermore, it was only Harry's presence that had stopped the onslaught it would have bequeathed a lone Charlie. It stood as much as it could in the cave and slithered forward like a giant snake. Charlie instinctually skidded backwards. Harry, However, met it step for step at the entrance of the cave.
She clashed with it's muzzle as it nudged her, gentle, long fingered hand coming up to stroke at the larger, jagged scales lining its slit mouth. In return the beast nudged her again, head tilting as the lip curled back as it displayed its sword like teeth, needle thin and arm long.
"I know girl… I know. I shouldn't have left for so long."
A ground trembling rumble echoed from its cavernous chest in answer as Harry brushed along to it's face, leaning in to nuzzle her own cheek against the start of it's neck, right before the spines began to protrude. Charlie knew she wasn't speaking to him, and her soft, dulcet voice, tinged with worry and melancholy made him feel like a leacher intruding on an exceptionally private moment. However, he just couldn't turn away. No one had ever gotten so close to an Ironbelly before. No one.
"I had to. I was building us a home down on the Mongolian plains. Big, open spaces. All the goats you could eat. Blue skies and rolling field of green and yellow… You'd like that, wouldn't you? Just you, me and the open plain skies."
Somehow, someway, it seemed to understand what she was saying as it rumbled once more, softer this time, almost like a feline purr as it wiggled out of the entrance of the cave, curling its body protectively around Harry. Harry's language cut off into something shiny, slick, like scales. Parseltongue Charlie would guess, though he had never heard the language spoken before. The beast liked it more than Charlie did, more than the human tongue as it trilled, and its great wings shivered in delight, neck spines flaring and presenting.
All Charlie could do was watch, transfixed upon such a contrary picture, as Harry stroked and spoke her way to the monstrous dragon's belly, leaning fully against it, ear pressed to scales, hands flat on the rounded surface, muttering to the dragon in that damned language that made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. Every time the great sky worm breathed, it's belly extended, rocking Harry back and forth. On the seventh breath, Harry beamed a grin almost as bright as the dragon scales she was clinging to, almost as shiny as her white hair. Finally, as if remembering he was there, she cut her gaze to him, smile never faltering.
Charlie, however, did mentally fumble.
Ironbelly's were not easy to mate, the female normally killed off the father after the job was done, and any suitors that didn't take their fancy. They were also one of only two breeds who birthed live young… Live, ravenous young that would flood to the skies in an attempt to feast, the colossal mother leading the way in a month-long frenzy of destruction. The gestation period for Ironbelly's was a bit shady, having hardly ever been observed, but Charlie was sure it fell somewhere between two and three years. Two years of territorial, possessive and ruthless behaviour from the pregnant dragon. Breeding Ironbelly's was strictly outlawed, their litters were too big, too hungry and too viscous to cultivate.
Harry didn't seem to care about any of these factors as she slinked back up to the dragon's head, running a hand underneath its jaw to pat and stroke there. Once again, the beast that had razed the area around them, burned his friend to a charred crisp and slaughtered most other dragons that crossed its path leaned into Harry's hold like a house cat.
"She's pregnant. That's why she's being more territorial. Why she's taken the cave. She wants a dark, secluded place to birth in and this cave is perfect for that. So, call off the hangmen. It wasn't her fault. They trespassed-"
Charlie lost it. The Ironbelly's strange behaviour around Harry, Harry's excitement of the news, the death of his colleague, the lack of sleep. He couldn't handle much more.
"You know that it's too late for that! She's killed a man! Not only that, she's already killed a fifth of the dragons in this sanctuary. Breeding of her type is outlawed, they normally get sterilised. This conservation is not a playground for-"
Harry pulled away from the dragon, face cast in savage shadow as she strolled towards him. Out of the over hang entrance of the cave and in the small field before it, the Dragon had enough room to stand tall, which it did, still curling around Harry defensively, barring down upon him with imperious eyes. His heart skipped a beat at the image the pair created.
"So, you're going to kill her? She's a dragon, not a human! You can't put your morals and sense of justice upon her or her kind. You can't do this, she's pregnant. Ironbelly's are endangered already, this birth could mean-"
"It's too late Harry! The head handler has already signed the papers and put his foot down. The sentencing team and executioner will be out here come sunrise. Do you not think I've not had the same argument with him, even before I knew she was pregnant? He won't move."
Harry became marble, all hard edges and carven featured as she milled around what he had said. Then he blinked and the spell was broken. Silently, the Dragon unfurled, pressed its belly close to the ground and used its extended tail to act like a step to its neck. Harry stood upon it and was lifted to it's back, settling between two of the front spinal rods. She shot him an unwavering look as she bent at the waist to grab at the neck spines like they were reigns.
"Then she will."
She spoke in Parseltongue, in what sounded like one elongated word with a harsh hiss at the end. The dragon shot up to a stand, hind legs digging into the floor, claws gauging lines in the soft ground, just as it's front arms began to lift from the ground, spreading so wide Charlie had to duck, he finally caught up to what Harry meant.
"Harry… What are you-… Harry, no! You can't just-"
"I can and I will. She's not just a dragon Charlie! She's…"
She was going to run with the bloody thing! What was she thinking? Dragon's were not pets. If it got hungry enough, despite their weird connection, Charlie didn't doubt it wouldn't eat her. Nonetheless, any stupor Charlie was feeling at this sudden turn of events bled into pity mixed with profound empathy that ached in his sternum. Her face had become drawn, lips tight and pressed together, eyes wide and clear, as if she knew this was the ending all along. They both knew what would happen if she took flight. She would have broken Ministry law, the stealing of a dragon, an animal that counted as a weapon of mass destruction, would lead her to a jail cell if she was caught and the dragon dead. She had no excuse of war to blame this time, and the Wizengamot were always out for her throat. By doing this, she was giving them the perfect excuse to come at her in full force.
"Do you know why I'm good with dragons? It's not because I'm a Parselmouth, it's because I can feel them. Feel them. Inside, right in my chest, in my mind, in my heart. Beat for beat, we have the same pulse. I understand them, I can sense them, see through their eyes and they can see through mine. Me and Vaenora are not two different beings, not really. She's me and I'm her."
She straightened out, the frenzied look in her eye died to a cinder, she took a deep breath and Charlie saw the determination and resolve solidify over her skin, as if she had been dipped in cast iron. Nothing he would say would change her mind, he knew that now. Yet, he needed to know why she would throw everything away, a life in Britain, for a broken dragon of all things. She seemingly read his mind.
"Vaenora is alone, she's hurt, she's scared, she always has been… Just like me. It's why I couldn't leave her behind at Gringotts, why I risked the war to steal a dragon, because when I look into her eyes I only see myself reflected back and I can't let you or the conservation do this. Not to her. I won't let the her die for the sake of 'betterment' for others like the wizarding world let me. She's my dragon. Mine. And like hell will I let anybody hurt her or her children."
It was because she saw herself, the her in the cusp of a war not of her own making. In a poetic sort of way, she was trying to give the dragon a life she had never been given, by cutting it free when others would kill or chain it. She was doing what had never been done for her. Perhaps, if she succeeded, even with the odds stacked against them, she would have freed herself too. Charlie couldn't bring himself to argue with her any longer, not when knowing her motivation, but he could still try reasoning with her. The fact of the matter was it wasn't safe to fly or ride, not tonight.
"Harry, don't! There's a storm due and-"
But it was too late, his warning was muted by Haraella's hissing tongue and the ear-shattering thump and thrum of the dragon's wings flapping and beating. The trees around them careened and croaked, the grass pressed flat and Charlie himself skidded back from the force of the wind the dragon's flight had created. He raised his arm to guard his face from the dirt kicked up into the air, peeping below his forearm to spot Harry and the dragon rise higher and higher before they shot into the sky. The dense clouds that were rolling into the night, drowning and swallowing the moon and stars devoured them whole as they dipped into them. His arm flopped to his side like a wet noodle.
There, up in the black sky, the first round of lightning flashed terribly, painting the sky in electric hues of blues and soft purples. The light was just enough to give Charlie one last ominous glance at Haraella's and the Dragons silhouettes, mid-flight, dancing through the sky before the dark gloom consumed them once more.
A.N: I know, I have so many other stories to be getting to, but this plot bunny has been hounding my mind for months. Months! And it was driving me insane. Don't worry, I won't be ignoring my other stories, but this one has just been begging to be wrote up and I couldn't ignore it any longer. (For good or for worse, it' here now XD). Plus, I've been a bit unwell lately and writing this up is slowly letting me slide back into things, so please, if you're waiting for an update, please be patient.
QUICK NOTES ON THIS CHAPTER AND THE STORY:
1. The name Vanora means white wave, which I thought was a pretty good fit for the Ironbelly.
2. Daeron Targaryen is an actual Targaryen from the books and show. He was the mad king Aerys's youngest brother. He was originally betrothed to Olenna Tyrell, but the betrothal was broken. There's different stories about that, one is Daeron broke it off for unknown reasons, the other was he was actually closer to Ser Jeremy Norridge and 'preffered' his company and Olenna herself says she cut the betrothal off because she couldn't stand the thought of marrying a Targaryen. So, while that is hazy, he's death isn't. In the books, he died squashing a rebellion lead by people only known as the rat, the hawk and the pig. Of course, in this fic… He didn't exactly die on that battlefield.
3. I wanted to challenge myself a little with this fic. As I'm an avid Fem!Harry fanfic writer, I find myself falling into a crux of repetition. I wanted to break that with this fic. So, while the whole story centres on Harry, I'm actually going to try not to touch her P.O.V. So… This should be interesting! XD Let's see if I can pull this off, shall we?
4. Daenerys is not going to have the dragon eggs in this fic… Wait! Hold up! Don't click away just yet XD. In no way, shape, or form am I going to be down playing her character. She's one of my favourites and I couldn't do that to my Khaleesi! However, this is just the path that I think fits best with this fic, and so, I'm exploring it a little. If this doesn't sound like your cup of tea, I don't blame you, but give it a little chance first. I may just surprise you!
5. I'm taking heavy inspiration from BOOK VISERYS, not the show version. If you haven't read the books, there is quite a big difference between the two. XD
Well, that's it for now. This is only the prologue, so expect more in-depth chapters to come. If you could, please leave a review. I want to see if this plot bunny has actually taken me somewhere other than a big, cold ditch of 'what the fuck is this?!' XD. Until next time, stay beautiful! ~AlwaysEatTheRude21