This was something I was highly familiar with from my days at Hogwarts and, to a lesser extent, here in this realm as well.
People liked to talk about things. Aunt Petunia certainly had. Anything she saw, she made sure to comment on. Oftentimes, it was something I did that she disapproved of. Other times, she commented on so-and-so three houses down not trimming his hedges or what’s-her-name cheating on her husband yet again.
She took a strange delight in doing so.
The whispering— people love to do that, too. I thought as I walked in the streets of Meereen, among my Dothraki, Unsullied, and the enemy forces. My subjects and my prisoners.
They thought that I could not hear their words, but their whispers were as clear as day.
“The great one!”
“Khal Harry… He’s intense!”
“They say he destroyed a monstrous being of fire and shadow like it was nothing…”
“You think he’ll ever turn his eyes to us?”
“Not so loud! The Blackscale can hear us.”
Were they afraid of me? I frowned as I watched the prisoners get processed by the soldiers. Was that something I wanted them to feel?
Had Dumbledore ruled in this way, as well, back when he first came into power?
He isn’t a ruler… Part of me objected. He’s just a Headmaster.
Hogwarts’ Headmaster, he was; but to say that he did not rule was stupid. He was ruler in all but name. Everyone deferred to the man, and hailed him as the most powerful wizard of his time.
He had titles upon titles and seemed to be an unstoppable force of nature to the public eye.
Kind of like how they look at you, now. That same part of me thought, a flash of sardonic amusement coursing through my body.
Perhaps that was it. Just like Dumbledore, the people either respected or feared me. I wasn’t sure I liked that. On one hand, it was nice to be acknowledged for my own actions, and not those of the legendary Boy-Who-Lived.
On the other hand, it was beginning to get somewhat uncomfortable to deal with this… What did I even call it? The word ‘attention’ didn’t seem to be enough to describe the bright spotlight being shined upon me.
I’d brushed it off before. It wasn’t exactly something I wanted to encourage in others. Reputation had never been something I cared about overmuch— besides when it concerned things which affected me personally.
Maybe it was better this way.
I was not so foolish to think that I no longer had detractors. This, my contests and the goodwill from the common people were probably what kept the naysayers off of my back.
“Khal Harry.” Two men, each one at least as old as Mr. Weasley, gave deep bows of greeting.
I nodded as a man fell in stride with me.
“Lord Potter.” He returned formally, though his tone was anything but. “Holding up well?”
Didn’t get enough rest, fought a battle, used up a ton of power— how do you think I feel? It’s been days and I’m still not fully recovered.
I plastered an unholy fusion of a smile and a grimace on my face. “As well as can be expected, given the circumstances. What about you? Hiding injuries again?”
The affronted look on the man’s face told me all I needed to know. “T’was a hard fight to be sure, but it did not last nearly as long as other battles I’ve been in. Few cuts and bruises, nothing serious.”
“Casualties? I’m sure enough time has passed to get a good enough tally.”
“Perhaps a handful of men.” Bronn gestured ahead. We stopped to watch the flurry of activity ahead.
Dead men and women were being moved on various wagons and hauled off to God knows where.
Judging by the fact that they had wagons for specific tribes— one for Dothraki, one for Unsullied, and so on— it was easy to assume that they were going to prepare the bodies for whatever funeral rites were appropriate to the people.
“All in all, a resounding victory.” Bronn cut through my budding thoughts. “And without the aid of our cavalry divisions.”
“When you say it like that…” A new voice interjected. We turned to see Naharis, who looked a little annoyed. “You make us sound useless.”
“Daario.” “Naharis.” Bronn and I greeted the man at the same time.
“Lord Potter. Lord General.” Naharis returned the greeting, an easy smile on his face. “I have been summoned by the Queen. I thought you’d like to accompany me.”
I’d probably have to, as a matter of course. I thought, a wry expression settling on my face. But it’s nice of him to at least make it seem like a request or a favor.
“Lead the way, then.”
And so, we changed directions.
“They’re saying you flew up into the air and promised divine vengeance upon any who did not kneel.” Daario said and turned to one of Meereen’s main thoroughfares.
This street would lead straight to one of the main squares. What was Daenerys doing here?
“That’d be one way of puttin’ it.” Bronn said, but did not elaborate.
“It was the best option.” I added in. “We either had the choice of springing their trap and losing thousands of our men while waiting for the cavalry divisions, or making them all surrender. Didn’t take much thinking. That’s not to say anything about your ability to lead or fight—”
“I’m not so easily slighted, Lord Potter.” Naharis cut me off, a little amused. “I won’t say I’m not disappointed, because I missed out on a damn good fight. But I’m not going to cry about it, either.”
I opened my mouth to say something, but closed it and accepted the man’s words. He seemed genuine.
“Not that it matters.” Erebus whispered to my mind. “You single handedly won the battle.”
Not so. I thought back.
“That’s what the people will think. That’s what your man Bronn thinks.” Was the sword’s reply.
“No one would dare go against you after a display like this.” Balthazar agreed. “While our men fought on the ground, heading into a trap, you took to the air and made the enemy kneel.”
“She should be just up ahead now.” Daario said, gesturing beyond the group of soldiers passing in front of us.
“Lord Potter.” Daenerys greeted me well ahead of my arrival.
Likely a messenger informed her before I got here. Convenient.
“Queen Daenerys.” I returned, giving her entourage a quick look. The usual guard was present, at her side: Mormont and Selmy. Grey Worm stood off to the side, ordering men left and right. Missandei stood by the eunuch leader, speaking with him.
“We have news of the army to the northeast.” Daenerys said without preamble. I tensed in response.
Shit, did they outmaneuver us or something?
“Bad news, I take it?” I was already running through the variables. With my strength still recovering, another battle so soon sounded like a death sentence— but, then again, our cavalry was fresh. We had strong walls to sit behind, and the fortifications were almost complete.
“Far from it, actually.” Daenerys’ smile morphed into a bit of a smirk. “Be at ease, Lord Potter. We are in no danger.”
“We’re always in danger.” I replied automatically, and she blinked.
“I suppose that’s not untrue.” She lost the smile, her eyes darkening with the statement. “Though, living by those words does not allow for any peace of mind.”
I nodded, conceding the point. “Apologies.”
“None needed.” Daenerys’ smile came back. “We’ve had reports of the northeastern army disbanding.”
“What?” I said out loud.
“Yes.” The Targaryen Queen nodded, gesturing at the sword at my hip. “It seems that news of the massive western army’s collapse has begun to spread.”
Erebus clattered in his sheath with pride.
“The army west was our greatest threat.” Barristan said, his eyes gleaming with old knowledge. “Armies raised by the great city of Volantis— foes not to be underestimated or crossed.”
And yet, Erebus still made them run with their tails between their legs. I thought. Their massive numbers were their undoing.
“It is likely that the army to the east— being sent by Qarth— turned tail and ran.” Mormont said, sending Daenerys a knowing gaze.
“The Qartheen always did measure their actions by how much prestige and profit their actions could gain them.” Daenerys agreed with an airy wave. “A fight against us would only bring them ruin, if they did not possess the support of Volantis and the other slave-cities.”
I took a breath, feeling myself relax. “This is great news, then.”
“Indeed. We shall hold a feast tonight.” Daenerys declared, gesturing at the Unsullied that Grey Worm was supervising. “A reward for our forces’ triumph.”
I hadn’t been able to tell what they had been up to when I got here, but now it seemed as clear as day: they were setting aside space for a gathering. Long tables were being brought over— some even being put together on the spot.
“Wouldn’t it be more prudent to sit on the news and focus on the reinforcement of Meereen’s walls?” Erebus whispered to me, but did not say anything out loud.
The answer to that was simple: it would take many days for the enemy from the east to get to Meereen, assuming they hadn’t disbanded, in the first place.
I turned to one of the many aides standing by. “Inform everyone. Bring the best food and drink we have available. I guess we’ll be feasting tonight.”
“Now, this I like.” Bronn grinned.
“Heh.” I smiled back, sending the man a knowing look. “Get a good number of the men on guard duty for the feast. Then, take the rest of the day off. I think you’ve earned it.”
“As my Lord commands.” Bronn turned and left, muttering about finding himself a woman.
I snorted, watching him go for a moment before turning back to the small group.
“One more thing.” Daenerys said as she walked closer to me. Her purple eyes belied the nervousness she was hiding with her body language. “I would be honored if you sat by my side, for the feast.”
“I—” I shut my mouth for a moment to absorb the request. Having enough spotlight on me by the people of Meereen was bad enough, but this?
I wanted to deny the request, but a response like that was bound to have bad consequences, diplomatically speaking.
Don’t kid yourself, Potter. The sly voice said. You definitely want to sit next to her.
“The honor is mine.” I decided on saying, fighting the rising blush.
“Very good.” Daenerys’ look softened, and she gave a jerky nod. “I look forward to it. The feast will take place in a few hours. I will send for you when it’s about to begin.”
“I look forward to it as well.” I found myself smiling, even as I made to leave. “Your Grace.”
“Heh.” Balthazar let his amusement be known once we were out of earshot.
“Shut it, you.” I huffed.
I spent an hour coordinating my soldiers with Daenerys’ for the feast before finally deciding to get ready for the festivities.
There wasn’t all that much to be done, I thought. One of the Dothraki following Daenerys had shared a story of an assassination attempt meant for her. It involved a poisoned bottle of wine sent by someone from the Seven Kingdoms. This was why they now had taste testers for everything.
One of Robert’s men was probably behind that. Either Baelish or Varys? No, it couldn’t have been Varys. I thought, remembering the fat king’s corpse, as well as Lord Ned’s. Has it really been that long? It feels only like yesterday.
Ned Stark had taken me into his home without issue. He’d been different from the other Lords. Truly honorable. He didn’t deserve to die like that.
I sighed and began to dress myself for the feast, wondering just how Jon and the others were doing. Robb had been in a bad way for a while, but he’d been well on the road to recovery by the time I’d left.
He’d also had the upper hand in the war. The ability to freely use the Twins had helped him immensely. It was ridiculous that old Walder had thought to bind the man in marriage, just to cross a bridge.
It was also worse that the old man thought he could ignore the call of his countrymen during their hour of greatest need.
Forget the stupid concept of obeying your liege lord. I thought as I buttoned up a fine, navy tunic over a pair of black pants— provided by one of Daenerys’ servants. They had a duty to the people being killed wholesale.
Little girls, murdered and worse. House Frey didn’t seem to care; it was more interested in profits and prestige. I grimaced and shook the disgusting thoughts away.
“Be safe, Robb. Jon.” I muttered to no one. “Hestia…”
I still had no idea where she was. I was so caught up in the events of the war that I barely had the time to even consider beginning to look for her.
Tomorrow. I promised myself. With the threat gone, I will be able to focus all of my attention on finding Hestia.
“She won’t begrudge you a night of feasting and resting.” Erebus whispered. “Even gods and devils need rest, from time to time.“
And how could I argue with that without sounding like some arrogant blowhard?
“Careful, Erebus.” I gave a crooked smile. “You’re sounding almost too self-satisfied.”
There was a knock at the door behind me. “My Lord?”
“Yes? Come in.”
The door opened, revealing the same boy who’d woken me up a few days ago for the battle. “Ah, it’s you. The Queen’s summoned me, I take it?”
“You remember— yes, my Lord!” The boy caught himself, looking around nervously.
I snorted. “Be at ease, kid. Is the feast still taking place at the square?”
“Yes, my Lord.” The boy nodded once.
“Thank you.” I smiled and reached for the pouch on my bed. I handed the lad a few golden coins. “Here you go.”
“M-my Lord?!” The boy’s eyes bugged out. “This is… I can’t accept this!”
I frowned. “You will. Now go.”
There was a long moment in which the boy’s face shifted between being afraid and mutinous. Eventually, the lad’s common sense won out. He gave a quick bow and left before I decided to take the money back.
“Strange kid.“ Balthazar said from his spot under the bed.
“Not so much, really.” I replied, taking Erebus from the top of the bed and placing him at my hip. “He reminds me a little of myself. Refusing to accept help from others, refusing charity. Even when things looked a little bad, I still had my pride.”
“Pride over currency will always be strange to me.” Erebus threw in. “The only real thing in this world is strength.”
I disagreed with that statement, but didn’t bother arguing with the ancient entity. Erebus’ viewpoints had always been archaic, even by wizarding standards. Seeing as he had been confined to Temen-Ni-Gru for thousands of years, it wasn’t all that surprising.
I checked myself over. A short-sleeved, navy tunic, black pants and black shoes. All were immaculate, comfortable and quite unbreakable— made sure of that, myself.
Never hurts to be prepared.
Balthazar’s head touched my hand and melted into it. Soon after, my right arm had regained its black, scaly appearance. “Ready.”
The trip to the main square was a short one, accentuated by the setting sun and the sound of music in the air.
The bards are on a roll, tonight.
The jolly tunes seemed to lift the spirits of the city in ways my magic could only dream of doing.
Dumbledore’s words ring true: music is beyond any magic we could have ever conceived.
A few people managed to notice me and began to whisper. I sent them a friendly wave and kept going.
The strong smell of freshly cooked meats hit my nose as I got closer to the main square. I felt my mouth water in anticipation.
A minute later, I reached one of the entrances to the square.
This line is massive.
“Only those invited by the Queen may join our festivities in the square!” One of the guards cried out, but the crowd was having none of it. They wanted to take part of the action.
They cried in protest, but didn’t really do much else.
I tensed up slightly as I approached the crowd from behind.
“Khal Harry!” One of the guards recognized me and gestured for me to come forward.
As one, the crowd turned towards me.
“Did he say Harry?”
“That’s the Khal who subdued the western and southern armies of the slave cities?”
“He’s kind of cute.”
I felt my eye twitch at that particular comment.
“He looks no older than my son.”
“So young, and yet so powerful!”
I ignored their words and moved forward. The crowd parted, the people within still whispering in excitement.
“Khal Harry.” One of the guards greeted as I approached. He eyed the sword at my waist. “I thought you were informed that you must come unarmed?”
One of them came closer, his intent very clear.
“It must have slipped my mind.” I smiled beatifically.
I’d been told that, of course, but it would have been a cold day in Hell before I allowed anyone to take my weapons.
“I’m afraid we must—” I walked past the man. “— hey! Let me go!”
He made to follow me, but from the sound of a struggle, I figured he was held back by someone else.
“Are you stupid?” One of the guards said. “Do you even know who you’re dealing with?”
I got out earshot quickly enough, not particularly interested in listening to a guard get scolded.
“His audacity proved to be a passing amusement, at least.” Erebus seemed inordinately pleased at the man being scolded by his peers.
I shrugged and moved into the square proper. From the look of it, hundreds of people were already seated at the long, massive tables.
Nobles and freedmen and women engaged in conversation as a band of bards amazed the crowd with their musical prowess, filling the air with almost seamless melodies.
“You made it!” A familiar voice said from behind me. “Lord Potter. Or is it Khal Harry?”
I turned with a smile. “Naharis. Either title is fine.”
The man was dressed to impress, in a fine, silken tunic, with not one, but two women at his side, each holding onto an arm and giggling.
I met their appraising look with calm, green eyes. “Ladies. I hope you’re enjoying your time here.”
“Oh, yes, milord!” One said. The other merely kept quiet, though the bed eyes she was sending me spoke for themselves.
I inhaled a little faster than normal. “Has the Queen arrived yet?”
“Ah, no.” Daario said, pulling the girls closer to him. “But it won’t be long, I gather.”
I stood with the man for a few moments longer, exchanging pleasantries and deftly avoiding and deflecting the women’s advances before taking my leave.
“Any more and that Naharis fellow might have gone for your throat.”Balthazar commented lightly as I walked among the dancing crowds.
“Surely you’re exaggerating?” I muttered. “He’s not a stupid man.”
“Well, a bit.”Balthazar admitted. “He might have punched you, or something. Stupid or not, pride makes you do strange things.”
“To err is human.” I quoted, and blinked. “Where’s that even from?”
“It’s from an old English poem.” Balthazar answered. “‘An Essay On Criticism’, I believe it was called.”
“A poet, huh…” I smiled at that. “Do you think you could recite it to me, sometime? It would be… nice to listen to something from home.”
“Sure.” Balthazar accepted easily enough. “It’d be nice to brush up on it, after all this time.”
“Thank you.” My voice dropped to a whisper, drowned out by the bustle of the dancing crowds and the bards’ music.
“Don’t mention it.” Balthazar said. “We have to remember, somehow.”
The shrill sound of glass being tapped by metal rang in the air until all motion ceased.
I turned to see the Queen’s court, minus Naharis, arriving on the scene and flanked by Unsullied.
“You are in the presence of Her Grace, Daenerys Stormborn, Queen of the Andals, the First Men and the Rhoynar, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons.” Missandei called out, smiling as the crowd cheered ‘Daenerys’ and ‘Mother’.
Standing besides the dark skinned beauty was Daenerys, clad in a silver dress, to match her hair. In the light of the sunset, she almost looked like she was glowing.
Beautiful. The thought came unbidden.
I tore my eyes away from the almost surreal sight and focused my attention on the three dragons circling overhead. Daenerys called out a few orders, watching as her Unsullied complied and hauled cow carcasses towards the corner of the square.
Once set up, Daenerys beckoned her children to come down and eat. Thanks to their recent training, the three dragons obeyed her directions and were soon feasting on the provided flesh.
I smiled at their interactions before focusing back on the Queen’s entourage. One more night, and I would start looking for my daughter, as well.
Missandei seemed to be searching the crowd until she caught my eye. With a smile, she beckoned me to come forward.
“And may I introduce.” She began, and I steeled myself when I got to her side as well. “Lord Harry Potter. The Blackscale. The Dragon of Lightning, Fire and Shadow.”
Did she come up with that one, herself? I thought as the crowd cheered again.
I turned my head to the side, green eyes meeting Daenerys’ knowing purple.
Ah, the Queen came up with that. I realized. Not a half-bad title. Fits me well enough.
Daenerys nodded towards the table, lifting an arm for me to take into my own.
I took it, feeling a tingle radiating over my entire body, electrifying in ways I seldom experienced.
She reacted much the same as I did, though she hid it quickly. “Come, we shall be seated at the front of the table.”
Her eyes took note of the sword at my waist and narrowed. “The guards did not try to stop you? We left them specific instructions.”
“Oh, they tried.” I gave an easy smile.
“…” Daenerys looked like she wanted to pinch the bridge of her nose.
“I just thought that Erebus ought to be here, considering he’s the one who stopped the army to the west.” I added in, losing the smile in favor of a more serious look. “Besides, even without weapons, it’s not like you and I cannot use magic.”
“Fair.” We reached the head of the table and, under everyone’s gaze, whispers and cheers, took our seats— Daenerys at the head of the table with me at her right side.
This is embarrassing.
I fixed a smile on my face and gave nods towards everyone— oh, and there was Bronn, with a girl on his lap, feeding him grapes.
I wished I was in his position, instead of this; it wasn’t necessarily the girl on his lap that I was hoping for, but the anonymity that he benefited from. Few, if any eyes were on him— those that were… Probably the beauty on his lap.
I snatched some bread from the table and took a tentative bite. The honey coating on the outside had been a little charred, but the inside of the bread was warm, spongy and delightful. In that moment of flavor, it was almost like I was in the Great Hall again, with Ron and Hermione badgering me to play some Wizard’s Chess, or finish my homework.
“That good?” Came the question from my left.
I grabbed another piece of bread and offered it to Daenerys. “Almost felt like home.”
That final word seemed to stir something within the woman beside me. She took the proffered food and took a bite as well.
I turned my attention back to my own food, watching as the organizers and chefs began to wheel in the main courses, saturating the atmosphere with the aroma of cooked meals.
Soon, the table was laden with meats, fruits and delicacies of all kinds. Roasted beef, pork and mutton. Platters of fowl stuffed with savory fruits and nuts. Fish drizzled in sauces. Countless cheeses, vegetables, sweets and waterfalls of wine flowed freely.
I finished the bread in my hands, and helped myself to some of the roasted beef. I took a bite and felt the cooked flesh almost melt in my mouth. The beef was well seasoned, juicy and seared brown on the outside— just the way I liked it.
“I want some!” Balthazar hissed from my hand, startling the queen at my side. She’d picked something light to begin with; poultry.
I laughed at her expression. “Do you mind? Balthazar seems a bit peckish.”
“Of course not!” Daenerys smiled, her mouth opening slightly as she watched Balthazar seemingly melt off of my arm. He circled around me, before slithering up the back of the chair and resting his head next to my shoulder.
“What do you want, Balthazar?”
“How about everything?“
I shook my head. “What do you want to start with?”
“Oh.” The demonic snake tilted its head. “That. Over there.“
“Gonna have to be more specific.”
“That massive bowl of eggs!“
One of the servers fetched the bowl and rushed to our position, placing the bowl at the foot of the chair beside me before rushing away.
I guess a massive snake is as frightening as a dragon. I mused. “Want me to take the shells off?”
Balthazar looked at me as if I was stupid.
“Oh, right.” I smiled, feeling a little sheepish. “Snake. Nevermind.”
Balthazar dove into the food without another word.
“He’s rather voracious.” Daenerys commented, watching the feasting demon viper with an intense expression. “He reminds me of my children.”
I stared at the three dragons in question, who were currently squabbling over the corpse of a cow. “Perhaps not as vicious.”
“My viciousness is beyond your understanding.” Balthazar automatically replied.
“You’re as dangerous as a cat.” Erebus fired back.
“I’m not sure whether that’s a compliment or an insult, actually.” Balthazar countered.
“He’s got a point, Erebus.” I said after another forkful of meat. “Cats can be quite vicious.”
Time under Mrs. Figg’s care taught me that, at least.
“Speaking from experience?” Daenerys asked, her purple eyes glittering in the torchlight.
“Unfortunately.” I replied. “There was this one time when I’d tried to pet one of my neighbor’s cats, and it scratched me— very close to my neck!”
“That must have been frightening for you.”
“It was.” I nodded, and the conversation fell into a pleasant silence, once again. We had a few more platefuls of food as we watched the others speak amongst themselves and listened to the bards singing tune after tune.
A few of the men decided to have a few drinking contests. Fairly mundane things, at least until Bronn and Naharis got into things. Throwing contests turned into knife contests, with the loser earning a good chunk of money.
“You have to admire their willingness to risk themselves for nothing more than bragging rights.” I chuckled.
“Would you like to go for a walk in the gardens?” Daenerys said out of the blue. “Just you and I.”
Just you and I, she says. I threw a pointed look at the two men behind her— Mormont and Selmy, clad in their armor and looking like they wanted to object to the woman’s wishes.
“I shall be safe in Lord Potter’s hands, and I will not leave the square.” Daenerys declared, though not unkindly. “You two have been standing guard this entire time. You must be hungry.”
“We’ve already eaten, Your Grace.” Ser Barristan’s reply was an old, practiced one. “There is no need to worry for our health.”
Ser Jorah nodded in agreement. “Aye.”
“Regardless.” Daenerys said, pushing off of her chair and fixing the two men with stern looks. “You will partake of the feast. Your Queen orders it.”
The two men looked to be struggling with themselves, but eventually Daenerys won the battle of wills.
“I… As you wish, Your Grace.” Mormont bowed his head. Selmy followed suit.
“Very good.” She graced them with a smile before turning to me. “Shall we?”
I grabbed a piece of bread and got to my feet as well. I stopped, staring down at Balthazar. “You good?”
“Keep the wine coming, boys— Wha, Harry? Oh yeah, I’m good. Get out’a here, stinky!”
Yeesh. Drunk Balthazar is mean.
A few minutes later, and we were partway through the gardens, the noise of the feasting people and the singing bards somewhat muted by the thick foliage around us.
The yellows and oranges of the torches gradually gave way to the browns and greens of the leaves around us, and the silver light shining down from the heavens. I glanced up at the moon, marveling at the great body of rock.
This view— how like the Earth it was, but…
I turned to see Daenerys. Bathing in the silver moonlight, she looked even more angelic than she had under the setting sun.
There’s no one like that back home.
We continued to walk in silence, until we reached a small clearing well out of the way of any known, beaten paths.
She must come here a lot. I realized.
“It’s quite beautiful here, don’t you agree?” She gestured around her before looking up at the moon, her silver hair and dress swaying in the breeze.
I stood next to her and gazed at the stars above. “It’s otherworldly.”
That seemed to bring her out of her reverie. “Otherworldly? I can’t say I’ve heard that word before.”
That’s because no such word exists here.
“Otherworldly. I see.” Daenerys repeated once, twice, her eyes still fixated on the velvety sky above. “Something of another world. You are a strange man, Harry Potter. Truly.”
“Is that bad?”
She turned to me and opened her mouth, before closing it. “I’m not sure.”
I blurted out a chuckle, and she smiled in response before sitting on the grassy earth.
“Your dress.” I took a step forward, but Daenerys waved it off, still smiling.
“I’ve lived as a Dothraki Khaleesi, once upon a time.” She answered as if it explained everything.
To be fair, it did.
My protest gave way to a shrug, and I sat down beside her. We stared at the sky, listened to the swaying branches and leaves, and felt the breeze caress our bodies. It was a sort of bliss very few people could appreciate.
“You are not truly descended from Valyrians, are you?” Daenerys broke the silence.
I turned to her, startled.
“Oh, please.” She preempted whatever I was going to say with a roll of the eyes. “I am not a fool. You possess the bearing of those of noble birth, but you do not consider anyone to be beneath you. You allow your vassals to address you any way they please; you allow them freedoms unseen in any of the slave or free cities— the same would apply to the Kingdoms of Westeros, I gather.”
I didn’t say anything, letting her run through her train of logic.
“You’re in possession of skills and magics I’ve never seen, heard, or read about, anywhere.” Daenerys added. “I’ve battled the Warlocks, and I’ve had dealings with… a maegi. You are not like them. You are, as you said, otherworldly.”
My lips felt dry as she turned her gaze to me. “You are not of this world, are you?”
How could she possibly have reached a conclusion like this? Not even Jon could figure it out, and he is my closest friend in this backwater shit heap of a world.
“‘Holding men and women to certain standards based on the circumstances of their birth has always been something I disagreed with.’” Daenerys smiled, and I realized with a start that these were the words I’d told her before engaging in battle with the southern army.
Did they have that much of an effect on her?
“I’m surprised you were able to figure it out.” I admitted, looking down. “No one else has.”
Her smile turned triumphant. “So, you are—?”
I nodded, watching her eyes light up with a hunger for knowledge. “You’re not scared?”
“Scared?” The very idea seemed to amuse her. “You’ve fought beside me on the battlefield. I don’t fear you, Harry.”
Daenerys scooted closer to me, leaning forward. “Quite the opposite, actually.”
“What do you—”
And then she kissed me, pressing her body up against mine and filling my world with silver.