Work Header

Ashes and Smoke

Chapter Text

Harry is very much so lost.

The city of Pentos is beautiful, raised on the edge of a glimmering sea and built of desert stone; a steady tier upon tier of sensible buildings rising up from the shore line, forming a sturdy backbone while white marble masterpieces owned by the Magisters ring the city, blending with the azure waves and golden sandstone to create a living jewel of commerce. It is a wonderful place, full of light and laughter. But it is not home.

She was born Henrietta Roselyn Potter, and at not even two years of age, she was made an orphan. By the time she left her mother’s family and took the scarlet train to Hogwarts, Henrietta had become Henry, and then Henry became Harry. 

Learning the truth of her parent’s deaths had both brought her relief – they weren’t drunken slobs – and still broken her heart, because why did it have to be her family? Facing her parent’s murderer at the tender age of eleven had been harrowing, and she’d almost not returned to Hogwarts the next year.

At twelve, she had trusted the echo of a boy, a memory given form as he secretly stole the life-force of another young girl. A few occasional meetings with the dark-haired older boy who had been so kind and so gentle when others shunned her for that awful night when serpent-tongue slipped from her lips and her classmates had believed her to be the Heir of Slytherin, and Harry had been smitten, had given him her trust.

Down in the Chamber of Secrets he offered her the world and broke her heart into a thousand pieces, because the price would have been Ginny Weasley’s life. She slew the Basilisk – such a beautiful creature, driven mad by a thousand years alone in the darkness – and drove one of its fangs through the diary that anchored Tom’s soul.

She cried for him, once she had been safely behind the curtains of her four-poster bed, and she had promised that she would never trust beautiful men again.

She spent the year that she was thirteen suffering the presence of the soul-sucking demons. The only good that had come from it was the truth of who had betrayed her family and re-uniting with her godfather Sirius. That, and Prongs. The silver patronus had been so much like a ghost, for a moment she could almost pretend that her father was there with her in spirit.  

At fourteen, she’d been bound into a contract of life and death. She’d been terrified. She outflew a dragon – fierce and brave, the she-lizard breathed fire, and threatened death to any who would come near her offspring – Harry had respected and admired the Horntail, had hoped that one day she could imitate its ferociousness when it come to her own children.

She’d swum below the surface of an inky black lake and retrieved (much to her embarrassment) Seamus Finnegan, the boy with the sweet Irish lilt to his voice, who she’d gone to the Yule ball with.

She managed to find her way through an impossible maze, and then she’d raced her fellow Champion to the cup.

“We’ll take it together.” They had agreed, and then the Triwizard cup had pulled them away from Hogwarts, and they fell through a hole in time and space.

And they had landed in Pentos.

It’s been a year since they opened their eyes to see a new sky and sun.

She looks up to the sky, spinning in a frantic circle for a moment, trying to find something, anything, that might help her find her way back to the small area that they’ve claimed as theirs before the sun sets and her brother panics – he always insists that she should be home before dark.

She’s never had a brother before.

Cedric’s gut reaction to the foreign world had been to tuck her into his side, his free hand clutching his wand tightly. Gryffindor’s might be chivalrous, but Hufflepuff’s are loyal beyond belief – and Cedric is a Hufflepuff to the core, had immediately declared her to be his younger sister and frightened off anybody who had looked at her too keenly.

She’s never had a brother before, but she finds that she quite likes it.

When he isn’t being an overbearing prat.

Harry sighs and slumps against a small stone wall, bracing her hands against the warm stone so she can pull herself up onto the top.

“Who are you?” A voice demands, and Harry turns her head to see a boy, barely two years older than her, standing in the street. He’s pretty, in a very classic way – silver hair and amethyst eyes. Harry blinks, turning her head at an angle as she watches him, his eyes are haughty and expectant.

“Does it matter?” She asks, honestly curious. He looks taken aback, but then he draws himself up.

“I asked you a question, impertinent girl!”

Harry laughs at him, kicking her legs restlessly like a child.

“But why should I answer it?”

"I am the Dragon!" he cries, his face red with anger. The flame-haired girl ignores him, studying her fingernails intently in the warm twilight.

"You look like a man to me." Harry says softly, luminous green eyes flicking to his face. The boy stares at her in shock as she pushes off of the wall she was perched upon. "I rather think I prefer you that way."

Then she is gone, and he is left alone in an empty street, not quite sure what to do next.

Her brother is in a strange mood tonight. Daenerys watches him in silence, watches him turn the fruit over in his hands, rolling the soft food between his palms with an almost puzzled look on his face. The feeling in the room has the same air to it that precedes a storm, and she can’t decide if it will pass over, or break and rain down over the manse.

A servant wearing a bronze collar – because while the laws of Pentos forbid slavery, they never really did follow the Braavosi way of thought – sets down a plate of fine yellow lemon cakes dusted with sugar on the table between the two Taragryen’s and then backs away slowly, warily, watching the silver prince for any indication of rage. 

Finally, after a long and terse supper, Viserys pushes back his chair, the legs screeching against the stone floor. Daenerys fights to keep her expression neutral, and it’s only after her brother disappears through the arched doorway that she allows her body to sag. It’s only then that she collects up a plate of breads and cheeses and grapes, picks up a large goblet of heavily-watered wine and retreats to her own room where she can eat in peace once the knots in her stomach ease.

“What time do you call this?” Cedric half-bellows, his hands on his hips as he stares down at the shorter witch. Harry winks mischievously at him, setting a bag of sweet peaches onto the table that sits inside the wizarding tent that Cedric had tucked away inside a pocket before the tournament.

[“Who carries a tent around in their pocket?” Harry had yelped as Cedric flourished his wand, setting up the canvas structure with ease, and then spelled the area so people would walk right past it, granting them a safe-haven in the unknown city.

“Dad always said I should be prepared for anything.” The Hufflepuff had grinned happily.

“Boy scout,” Harry scowled, not willing to admit that she was beyond grateful for Amos Diggory’s particular brand of insanity.]

“My watch died.” The redhead says, pouting up at him with big green eyes. Cedric snorts.

“That was in February,” He reminds her, raising an eyebrow and refusing to fall for her charms.

“I got lost?” She offers, fishing out a bronzed fruit and taking a bite. Cedric sighs, sits down across from her and takes his own fruit from the bag. Neither of them are very good with cooking, Cedric had never learnt, and Harry… Harry can burn water. Harry can do worse than burn water. The twisted blackened mess that had been her last attempt at dinner had given him nightmares for a week.

They eat in silence, enjoying the sweetness of their dinner and the warm sea-breeze that wafts in through the open tent flap. Sunset in Pentos is one of the most beautiful things Harry has ever seen.

“So, did you make any new friends today?” The Hufflepuff asks, wiping his hands on a dishrag.

“Does that weirdo who called himself a dragon count?” She asks, ignoring the damp cloth he offers, choosing instead to lick the sticky-sweet juice from her fingers.

“What weirdo?” Cedric asks, eyes narrowing. “I told you to stay away from boys.”

Harry rolls her eyes. The older wizard is such a mother hen.

Viserys is not sure what to think. The girl had been born of fire – hair like dragon’s breath, eyes like wildfire and her brow marked with the skyfire that pierces the clouds when the dry air crackles with the gods’ anger. She is born of fire, and she does not fear him.

‘You look like a man to me.’

The memory of her voice taunts him, threatening to stir his angry, to wake the dragon. Why wasn’t she afraid? He had all but proclaimed who he was – everybody knows that the Targaryen’s are the last of the dragons. Why did she look at him as if she had no idea who he was?

‘Does it matter?’ Her voice echoes in his mind.

She’s different. And that infuriates him. Of course it matters. He is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, the inheritance that the Usurper and his dogs stole from him.

Harry loves the feel of the sun on her face, it’s loving warmth seeps through her skin and gives her energy to face the coming days.

When she fell through time and space, to Pentos, she had only two things – three, if you count her wand – to her name. In her pocket was her father’s invisibility cloak, which has proven most useful, and the Marauder’s Map, which she’s shared with Cedric and they’ve spent many a night in the past year poring over it, watching the names of the people they love traverse the Castle grounds.

And now, she finds herself waking every morning with the sun on her face, slants of light peering in through the open tent flap, finds herself learning new spells from her adoptive brother. She’d never known Cedric was so skilled potions (or so annoyingly prepared) before they’d arrived – apparently, he’d been on of Snape’s best students. With no ministry restrictions, they are able to use magic as they please, something Harry takes full advantage of.

She roams the streets barefoot, her wild red hair left loose to cascade over shoulders clad in turquoise and cream cotton (when the thick curls aren’t being tangled up by the wind), and her eyes bright with curiosity. Here in Pentos, people do not stare at the lightning scar which runs parallel to her hairline, shaping down across her right temple and eyelid like the frozen image of a storm; eyes fix on it, but with curiosity, not ill disguised awe. Here, she is just Harry, just yet another young woman hurrying about on the streets.

Pentos is a beautiful place to live, every moment hums vibrantly and Harry loves it. Although, admittedly, she had a hard time adjusting to the liberal views on sex and indecency.

Poor Cedric had turned pink and covered her eyes when they first discovered one of the silk streets – she’s pretty sure he’d never seen a naked woman before, even if all the Hogwarts gossip totally had him doing the diddy with Cho Chang. Privately, Harry is relieved to have seen the women of the silk streets, because she finds her own confidence has boosted now that she knows that it’s perfectly normal for her belly to curve, for her thighs to not be skinny sticks, for her developing breasts to hang as they do

For all that she has lost, she has gained equally in her freedom, and Harry finds that she does not regret the path her life has turned down.

Cedric peers at the worn pages of the potions tome, squinting in the bright sunlight in an attempt to read the third line clearly.

‘Add four measures of crushed snake fangs to the cauldron.’

He sighs, measuring out the powdered fangs and carefully adjusting the heat for the count of ten before flourishing his wand.

Goats are hard to come by in Pentos, but there is a potion that can grow bezoars in other animals, and there may well be a need for bezoars in the coming days – considering how often trouble finds Harry. Four scrapes with death in four years? She’s jeopardy friendly, that’s for sure. Until then, however, the rich little princelings of Pentos will quite happily pay him to cure their boils.

He’s just setting the cauldron aside to stew for three quarters of an hour, spelling an alarm to warn him, when his brat of a little sister comes crashing into the tent.

“What in the seven hells?” He yelps, scrambling to rescue his ingredients from an upset.

“Sorry,” She cries, trying to regain her balance. “Sorry!”

A set of glass phials, balanced precariously on a stack of books, topples to the floor, shattering against the packed dirt and Cedric sighs.

“Reparo,” He mutters, flicking his wand, and then bending to pick up the reassembled glassware. Harry smiles sheepishly at him from behind a curtain of wild curls that shine like fire.

“Sorry,” she mumbles a third time, and Cedric rubs at his temples tiredly.

“What on earth was so important that you almost upset my work?” He asks, praying for patience. His precious little sister shifts about.

“Nothing…” The innocent expression is not suited to Harry’s face, not at all.

“Harry.” Cedric grumbles, eyeing her sternly.

“Cedric.” Harry teases. The Hufflepuff glowers at her, and Harry sighs.

“Okay, so I might have, ah, liberated something from a merchant.”

“Harry.” He scolds, exasperated with the younger witch.

“Okay,” She admits, raising her hands, “but in my defense, it obviously didn’t belong to him, I mean it totally clashed with his outfit.”

“That’s hardly a good reason Harry.” He exhales heavily through the nose, his mouth set firmly in a frown. Harry sighs, and removes the yellow canvas bag from her shoulder, upending its contents onto the table.

It isn’t hard to see why Harry might think her plunder was stolen property.

It’s a tiara. A very pretty, shiny tiara.

Fashioned from silver into the shape of a curled dragon, the bulk of the winged lizard designed to rest atop the crown of the head, with the tail (impossibly long) stretching around the back of the head to meet the body, a finely cut fire opal rests between the creature’s forelegs. Of course, it’s tarnished, clearly too long since it’s been properly cleaned, but the question still remains.

What on earth was a Merchant in Pentos doing with something that belongs atop the head of royalty?