“I don’t want to see anyone, right now.” Jon’s voice insisted from behind the door.
“Not even me?” I asked lightly.
“You know I can open that door whenever I want, right?” I said in amusement. “If not by using my skills, then by pure force. I am stronger than you, after all.”
More silence. Maybe I had to sweeten the deal.
“Don’t you want to hear what happened between me and the Mountain that Rides during the melee, Jon?”
Some silence, and then— Click!
The door opened, revealing Jon with his Brooding Face Patch 2.3™. Or, is it Patch 2.24? Hard to tell between the two, after all.
“You fought the Mountain?” Jon said incredulously, his face morphing into that of astonishment before quickly switching back to brooding again.
I stifled an eye roll. “Can I come in, then?”
“…Sure. Sure.” Jon stepped aside to let me in, closing the door behind him.
I pulled out my wand and slapped every privacy spell and intruder repellent charm I knew of, before pocketing it and clasping arms with who I considered to be my closest friend, at this point.
Months of bonding over training and travels does that to men— you can’t help but trust the people you suffer with daily, because they know how it feels.
But it went beyond the general feel of camaraderie I had with Jory and the rest of the Stark household guard.
Jon and I were prophecy bound. We lived pretty crappy lives— sure, we were fed and clothed. There was a roof over our head, but there was a stigma against the both of us. The neighborhood I grew up in had always believed I was a bad egg and treated me as such.
Jon, with his bastard status, was treated much the same way, though never around Ned or his siblings— or cousins, I reminded myself.
The room we stood in was empty.
“What did you do in here, all day?” I stared out of the window, which overlooked King’s Landing, showing a sky tinged with yellows, oranges and reds, the sign of a sunset.
“Just paced around, mostly.” Jon replied. “Stared out the window a few times. Needed to think about things.”
I nodded in understanding.
“I see.” I said simply. “Have you eaten, at all?”
He stared at me for a few seconds.
“Guess not.” I sighed and pulled my wand out again, conjuring a basic table and two chairs for us to sit on. Afterwards, I fished for a few things in my pocket, placing them on the table.
Jon gazed at them in confusion— not astonishment, as he had gotten used to seeing me defy the laws of physics on a regular basis. “What are those?”
“Two loaves of bread and a jug full of wine.” I said, tracing an almost complete circle of icy blue light at the aforementioned items and incanting: “Engorgio!”
Immediately, the shrunken items shivered and bounced around, growing and growing until they reached a size I was comfortable with.
Did I know that I could make endless food with this spell? Yes, I did, but I was richer than the entire Seven Kingdoms; why waste my time on engorging every piece of food I owned to increase my food supply, when I could simply buy some more?
It’s not like it was hurting my finances in any way.
“I’ll never get used to these things you do.” Jon said with a shake of his head, though he grabbed a loaf and munched it down quickly, anyway.
“Careful, you might get the—”
Jon hiccupped as he swallowed another mouthful down.
“—Hiccups.” I finished lamely. “Never mind. You’ve went and done it.”
I pulled out a couple of shrunken mugs, and used the Engorgement Charm again, before filling them with wine and handing one to Jon.
“Go ahead. Drink up.” I ordered.
He gave me the most petulant look, before hiccupping again and taking a long swig, deciding that getting rid of the hiccups was more important than his embarrassment.
“So, what happened?” Jon asked after a while.
“Well, I made an excuse for your absence.” I said, giving him a nod. “I’m sure that telling them that you were having some kind of identity crisis wouldn’t have helped your broodi— I mean deep, important thinking.”
Jon gave a grateful, if somewhat irritated smile, and nodded for me to continue.
“You lost a bet.” I said. “That’s what I told Jory before the melee began. Honestly, I was not impressed, at all. I was too fast for any of them— the only damage I sustained was from my rolls on the ground. Obviously, you get scratched if your skin is dragged around on the floor while you roll.”
“I would imagine.” Jon said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if you started easily defeating opponents who would have given you trouble in the past. I’m not sure what level of speed you’ll attain, but I’m sure you’ve noticed how much stronger you are, now.” I said, eyeing my fellow teen for a moment.
“Yes.” Jon admitted. “I am physically twice as strong and fast as I was before.”
“I thought as much.” I said. “My powers aren’t simply over the elements, they also synchronize with your body, powering it beyond its limits. You have twice your old strength, while still retaining the agility, flexibility and speed your lean build allows you.”
At the sound of his build, Jon’s facial expression turned grim.
“I know, I know.” I said quickly, grabbing his attention before the idea of running away went through his mind. “It’s frankly shit, but you can’t run away from this, Jon. I tried running from my destiny, looking for the great adventure once. It didn’t end well.”
I had shared my true story with Jon— another reason why I considered him my closest friend in this world. While everyone else knew me as the strong warrior with a black scaled right arm from the Eastern Continent, Jon knew me as I was: Harry Potter from Earth.
He had a lot of trouble wrapping his head around different universes and all that, but he understood the general concept of it all.
“I know.” Jon said, a little weakly. “But I—”
“—Jon.” I interrupted, grabbing him by the shoulders and staring into his startled eyes. “Snow, Stark, Targaryen. Who cares? You know who you are. I know who you are. Your family knows who you are. Your bloodline doesn’t matter— unless you want to be King, or something? Jon Targaryen, First of His Name, King of the—”
“NO!” Jon almost yelled out, before taking a breath to calm down. “No. Kingship isn’t for me.”
“Heh.” I grinned suddenly. “You’d become as fat as Robert, the stupid tub of lard.”
Jon rolled his eyes, and I stifled a smile, happy to get him comfortable and talking again.
“So yeah, the melee started.” I said. “No one lasted long against me. I hit ’em a couple of times— without even using my sword— and they dropped like sacks of potatoes. I suppose, in all fairness, this was a melee and not a coordinated army.”
“You would likely have much more trouble fighting against an army.” Jon said, and I tapped my wand on my head, turning invisible.
“Unless you do that.” Jon added as I shimmered back into existence. “I’m sure you could obliterate entire regiments if you so chose.”
“Why waste the energy when I could simply escape?” I asked.
“Bit craven, isn’t it?” Jon asked in response.
“Heh. I guess.” I said, shrugging without much care. “War isn’t about niceties and honor. You know how war works?”
When Jon didn’t answer, I continued. “The victor decides what the history is in the books. We’ve both heard the story of the battle between the King and the former Prince.” Jon winced slightly at the mention of his late father, but I kept going. “They said he bashed his armor so hard the rubies fell out into the river. Do you really think that happened?”
Jon shook his head mutely.
“You know the Children of the Forest exist.” I said. “Such is the religion of the Old Gods. You can’t believe in them without believing in the Children.”
“Where are you going with this?” Jon asked.
“Well, the followers of the Seven Who Are One came to Westeros and destroyed that religion in all areas except the North.” I said clearly. “And, think about it. What’s the general view on Northerners, here?”
Jon took a moment. “They think we’re savages.”
“Exactly.” I nodded. “Guess who perpetuates these rumors?”
“You can’t mean— the Septons?” Jon rubbed the bridge of his nose.
“Yes. Septons speak to the people all the time; they preach about their Seven and ‘help’ the smallfolk with all of their issues. A few comments of the heathens in the North here, and there, and the people start subscribing to their school of thought.” I explained. “It doesn’t even matter if it’s true, or not. If you say something long enough, it will catch onto people’s minds. The war between the First Men and the Andals, no one cares about any of that any more.”
“Anyway!” I clapped. “Back to the story. I was surrounded by Lannister men who tried to have me assassinated. After I dealt with them—”
“—What?!” Jon sputtered his wine out.
“Dude… that was good wine.” I scolded. “So wasteful. Tsk, tsk.”
“They attempted to kill you?” Jon repeated.
“Yes, that’s what assassination is, Jon.” I said, rolling my eyes. “You have mastered the Westerosi tongue well. Have a drink.”
At Jon’s deadpan stare, I continued the story.
“Yes, I’m not sure why they were trying to kill me.” I said. “Probably Joffrey’s doing. The Queen’s too subtle to do something like that. She would go for something involving subterfuge. Honestly, this seemed more like the doing of Joffrey. He probably paid some of the Lannister men with specific instructions to kill me during the melee and make it look like an accident.”
Jon nodded, relaxing when he noticed my tone of voice hadn’t wavered a bit.
Truly, the entire ordeal bored me.
“But yes, the assassination attempt was foiled.” I recapped, before moving on with the story. “Thoros of Myr helped me break their line up, and then I fought in the melee some more, until I decided to fight the Mountain.”
I stopped for a moment to take a sip of the wine, enjoying its rich, slightly fruity taste, before continuing. “He was strong— much stronger than what his build suggested. He was all muscle, all honed to tear through his opposition. He never bothered dodging or parrying; the epitome of a berserker.”
“—But his greatest strength was also his greatest weakness.” I said, swirling the liquid in my mug. “He was furious, but reckless. Strong, but slow. His attacks were predictable, and easy to dodge. I have no doubt you could have beaten him very easily.”
“Me? Defeat the Mountain That Rides?” Jon asked incredulously.
“Rode.” I corrected, finger up in the air.
“What?” Jon asked, frowning in confusion.
“Rode.” I repeated.
“What?” Jon repeated as well, his frown deepening. “I don’t understand.”
“Oh!” He said a second later. “Past tense. He’s dead, then?”
“Took you long enough.” I said, though not unkindly. “Yes, he’s dead. I decided to stop playing with him, and taunted him enough so that he launched a downward slash on me. I blocked it with my scaled arm and hit him back.”
A few seconds passed.
“And?” Jon asked a little impatiently.
“He died.” I said.
“He died from a punch?” Jon asked. “Did you punch him in the throat to choke him?”
“No. I punched him in the chin and that liquefied his brain.” I said.
Jon stared at me for a few seconds, before shaking his head in resignation.
“I pushed my power inside of him and his body couldn’t take it.” I allowed.
“That makes more sense. Much more sense.”
“I know, but confusing you was a little amusing, you have to admit.” I smiled.
“What happened after?” Jon said, trying to get on with the story.
“Everybody cheered.” I said. “I guess they wanted him dead as much as I did.”
“Not surprising.” Jon gave a nod of agreement. “He’s the main offender in the Sack of King’s Landing and the killing of the Royal Family. Fath— Uncle..”
“You can still call him Father, you idiot.” I chastised. “He’s acted the part, hasn’t he?”
Jon gave a stiff nod. “Father.” He rolled the word around in his head, as if it was the first time he was ever using it. “Father wanted Gregor Clegane and Amory Lorch to be executed or sent to the Wall for their crimes, but the King Robert let them go since they secured the throne by killing… my Targaryen half siblings.”
A few moments passed until Jon broke the heavy silence that had gathered around us. “Father was right to claim me as his own bastard, wasn’t he?”
“Yes. You would have been put to death, otherwise.” I replied unflinchingly and uncompromisingly. “I can’t think of any other way he could have ensured your survival. He loves you— you might not be his son, but he loves you as a son, just the same.”
Jon nodded a few times, looking to me so I could finish the story.
“Even though Jory said he wanted to win the money, after witnessing my battle against the Mountain, they all simply laid down their arms and proclaimed me the winner.” I said.
Jon snorted at the change of subject. “Must have been quite a sight, everyone cheering and chanting your name.”
I smiled lightly, pulling out a small pouch and throwing it to Jon. “Here.”
“What’s that?” Jon asked, untying the string and checking the inside of it— fitting his entire hand in the pouch. “Bigger on the inside? All I can feel are coins.”
“Yes.” I smiled. “The winnings from the melee. Twenty thousand gold dragons, was it?”
Jon’s eyes went wide, and he tried to give it back to me.
“I can’t accept this, Harry.” Jon said strongly.
“You can.” I disagreed. “I wasn’t going to join the melee since you said you wanted to join it. You can easily beat any one of those guys; of that, I have no doubt.”
“But, I didn’t compete.” Jon argued.
“Yes, that whole Targaryen revelation.” I said, rolling my eyes. “You brooded, it was all very dramatic.”
Jon palmed his face. “I’m never going to convince you, am I?”
“Nope.” I said cheerfully. “Think of this as your emergency money pouch. I’ve already enchanted it to be considered worthless to anyone but the two of us.”
“Amazing.” Jon said, forgetting about the current argument— he probably knew it was pointless to argue with me. “Do you think I could ever be able to learn the rest of your magic?”
I considered his words, before pulling out my wand and handing it to him. He looked at it confusedly, and then back at me.
“What am I supposed to do with this?” He asked.
“Give it a wave!” I said excitedly, startling and bewildering him.
Heh. So that’s how Ollivander got his kicks, eh?
Jon waved the wand.
“Was something supposed to happen?” He asked, waving it again, and again.
“If you had my magic, my wand would have shot out some sparks.” I informed Jon, snatching back the holly wand and gazing at him curiously.
Strange that he didn’t have enough magic to interact with my wand. Was the energy source I used for my Lightning different than that I used for wand spells?
It sounded farfetched, I thought to myself with a shake of the head.
“It seems your magic has overtaken my own, and reformed it to adapt to your own body’s needs. I can’t think of any other reason that you wouldn’t get even the smallest response out of my wand.” I said, going for the simpler explanation.
“I could have told you that.” Aegon’s voice came from behind us, before hovering around Jon, making him uncomfortable. “How fare you, descendant of mine?”
“Stop calling me that.” Jon said.
“How fare you, then, Jon?”
“I’m all right.” Jon replied, satisfied.
“Have you taken the time to consider my words?” Aegon asked, settling himself on ghostly chair with us.
“I do not wish for Targaryen restoration.” Jon said, after a moment. He gave me a look. “Kingship would not suit me. I am a fighter, not a King.”
“I understand.” Aegon said. “I was a fighter, as well. I practiced with the sword every day, after training with my dear Balerion. Even after my Conquest of the Seven Kingdoms, I did not wish to deal with the day to day affairs of the Realms. All that mattered to me was the preparations to be made against the threats beyond the Wall.”
“You were drawn to it?” Jon asked.
“Oh, yes.” Aegon confirmed. “The Targaryens were one of the Dragonlords of Old Valyria, a civilization of magic. Though I did not know many spells, I was very sensitive to the magics of the world around me. When I visited the Wall, I felt a presence; a presence so strong and dark I was overcome with debilitating fear. So, I began to prepare. Alas, I failed before I could even figure out their motives. The true enemy is stronger than ever, and there are only three Targaryens left in the world— you included.”
“I’m not a— never mind.” Jon gave up trying to correct him.
“You cannot deny who you are, Jon.” Aegon said almost softly.
“I know that.” Jon said a little strongly, before sighing. “I know that, but my loyalty is to my family, the only family I’ve known; House Stark. These other Targaryens in Essos, I don’t know who they are. I don’t know what they believe. I don’t know if they’re trustworthy.”
“Understandable.” Aegon nodded, smiling slightly. “You remind me of myself.”
“I do?” Jon asked in surprise.
“Indeed.” Aegon confirmed. “Just like you, I was a quiet boy; my words, measured and controlled. I had very few true friends. The people simply wished to gain favor with the last Dragonlords. The same went for other Lords. It was difficult to trust others, to bare my soul to them.”
“You’re right, my descendant.” Aegon continued. “Your Aunt Daenerys and Uncle Viserys might be gripped by the same madness which gripped their father, Aerys. Then again, they might simply be attempting to regain their rightful place as rulers of the Seven Kingdoms, which I united.”
“Magic is on the rise again.” Aegon said. “And with them, the Great Enemy in the far north, as well as dragons, and the like.”
“What are the chances that—”
“You are right.” Aegon admitted, knowing where Jon was going with this. “The chance of Daenerys or Viserys finding the egg of a dragon— all the while knowing how to hatch it— is slim to none. But, I know how to hatch them, and I know the location of an egg.”
He waited a few seconds before speaking again. “An egg I kept from my children; instead, I chose to keep its location hidden, taking the secret to the grave with me.”
“You hid it?” Jon repeated.
“That was hundreds of years ago.” I chimed in. “Dragon eggs can last that long? That goes against all laws of nature.”
“Dragons are creatures of magic, Blackscale.” Aegon spoke. “Only magic can awaken them. My house’s words, ‘Fire and Blood’, are the requirements to hatch the eggs.”
“Human sacrifice by incineration?” I asked.
“I refuse.” Jon said immediately.
“Jon.” The ancient specter tried.
“No!” Jon shook his head. “I will not sacrifice another human being for the sake of power.”
“How does it work, exactly?” I asked curiously, ignoring Jon’s appalled stare. “Maybe I can revise it so it does not need a human sacrifice.”
“The blood cannot be avoided.” Aegon said resolutely. “Life begets life, and if you are not willing to shed lifeblood onto an egg, it will not hatch.”
I nodded and wryly said. “That’s fine, blood magic tends to require blood. What about the fire?”
“The strongest magic known.” Aegon said. “It channels the power of the sacrifice and cleanse it as it enters the egg.”
“I see.” I said. “So, how did dragons hatch other dragons? I’m sure they wouldn’t be able to prepare sacrifices of fire and blood.”
“A well thought out point.” Aegon allowed. “In truth, I do not know.”
“Perhaps a simple infusion of magical power is what is needed, as well as an open flame.” I smiled, remembering Hagrid’s way of hatching it. “That should provide it with both life and fire.”
“…It’s possible.” Aegon said, before looking at Jon, who seemed mollified by my revised plan. “Would you accept my gift now, Jon?”
Jon looked down for a few moments, before nodding and looking to the both of us shortly, but meaningfully. “I will.”
And so Aegon told us.
It was a good thing he did, because if we had waited just one more day, we would never have known.
“Say, who was the egg’s parent?” I asked curiously as he informed us of the egg’s location— on the Isle of Faces, held by some green wizards or whatever.