“Harlan Stark. Heir to Winterfell. Will you be jousting?”
“No. I shall leave that to the southron knights,” Harry spoke, glancing at his two brothers. Their father had taken leave, had gone to talk with Lord Hoster Tully. Howland Reed was sitting at their table, along with a few of the sons of Lord Walter Whent. The tourney at Harrenhal had come at a good time, with Ned having come back from a recent visit to the Vale, and their sister arriving tomorrow, the whole Stark family would be here.
“I hear you’re a good jouster though,” Howland said. “The best of the Northern alphas.”
“He’s good,” Benjen added, looking at Ned for backup. “Mayhaps he’s been training alone at Moat Cailin but whatever he’s doing, it’s served our brother well.”
“The best of the Northern alphas? There’s a lot of alphas to make that number,” Harry retorted, grimacing a little and tugging his fur cloak tighter across his shoulders. He had been going to Moat Cailin but not for the reasons his family thought he was. He had chosen to keep the real reason to himself, as he didn’t exactly want to draw the notice of the royal family. “And what of our quiet wolf, huh? What were you doing in the Vale just this past moon? See a lady?”
Ned’s cheeks reddened as he glared at Harry, who smiled a little. “No. Lord Jon Arryn does not have a daughter or omega son, as you well know.”
“Ah well.” Harry quieted, settling further into his seat at the table in the great hall at Harrenhal. He could see many lords and ladies in the hall, many riverland lords, some westerland lords and some from the stormlands. Lord Walter Whent had indeed set out to host the biggest tourney this year and had sent out invitations to everyone. The crumbling towers of Harrenhal hadn’t dissuaded anyone and Harry could feel the old keep creak and groan with ghosts.
He had kept his ability to see ghosts even as he was reborn as the eldest Stark, the eldest alpha child and heir of Winterfell. Being the Master of Death had benefits but it also had disadvantages, namely ghosts being able to see him as well, if he made eye contact with them. Every keep and castle he had visited since being reborn had its own share of ghosts but none as malevolent as this one.
“I wonder where the king is,” Harry murmured, turning to look at the teen next to him. Harry was ten and 9 while Ned was ten and 8 and Lyanna and Benjen even younger. “There was a great big fuss about him coming to this tourney.”
“You weren’t there when he arrived,” Benjen said, his nose wrinkling in disgust. Benjen was a beta and thus didn’t have the strong senses of an alpha or omega and yet… “He stunk.”
Harry’s eyes narrowed. “Stunk?”
Harry and Ned exchanged glances, with Ned raising an eyebrow. Harry’s second brother was another alpha. The Quiet Wolf. Harry had yet to receive a nickname, to his delight. He was tired of nicknames but he supposed... If anyone knew of what he was doing at Moat Cailin, the country's spotlight would be on him. His father’s bannermen had regardless become aware of his comings and goings to and from Winterfell.
“He looked mad,” Howland replied, staring at Harry in idle interest. Howland was the only one who knew of what Harry was truly doing at Moat Cailin, for Harry had asked the Lord of Greywater Watch for permission to use the abandoned keep. “Like the mad Targaryens of history.”
“Mad?” Harry echoed, sparing a look at the platform at the front of the hall. Lord Walter Whent sat to one side of the table on the platform but the seats in the middle of it were set aside for the King and the Crown Prince. “Like King Maegor Targaryen or Queen Rhaenyra? Didn’t the smallfolk call her ‘King Maegor with tits’?”
“You should see him for yourself. His alpha scent…” Howland trailed off.
“What about the prince’s? Didn’t he present earlier this year?” Benjen asked.
“He did. As a beta,” Ser Edmure Tully said as he turned around at the table next to theirs. “There they are.”
Harry turned to the front of the hall, watching as two knights of the kingsguard walked in first. He vaguely recognized Ser Arthur Dayne and Ser Barristan Selmy before focusing on King Aerys the Second. And Howland was right. King Aerys’ alpha scent was off, wild and uncontained, unchecked. Aerys’ purple eyes were wide, as if he was in an alpha rut right now, but Harry wasn’t able to smell anything like an alpha rut.
Aerys’ long silver hair was matted and his beard looked to be beyond help. His nails were long, uncut, and his skin was pale. Harry had heard from his father that the king hadn’t left the Red Keep since the debacle at Duskendale and this… The king looked mad certainly though he was most definitely not the scariest thing that Harry had ever seen. But Howland had been right. The king did stink.
The prince entered right after the king and was… Prince Rhaegar Targaryen definitely deserved the name, The Silver Prince. Rhaegar looked a prince, looked even more a king than the king did. Rhaegar’s hair was well groomed, the silvery strands reaching down to his upper back. The red cloak around his shoulders billowed in the slight evening wind that came in through the open doors and windows. His purple eyes looked out over the crowd, observing the hall.
Rhaegar followed his father into the hall, looking out at everyone that was in attendance. It was crowded, every table taken by lords and ladies, by noble born knights and their squires. Everyone from golden haired Lannisters to dark brown haired Northerners had attended. Nearly everywhere he looked, he saw an alpha lord paired with their omega consort or lady.
He was glad of the concoction that Lord Varys had procured for him, the suppressant that would keep him for this tourney. For his father had not wanted anyone to know that the heir to the throne was an omega, was a male omega, even rarer than a female omega. In most locations, male omegas were not given much in the way of protections and rights. But hopefully, when Rhaegar took the throne, he would be able to change that. Granted, if he didn’t find an alpha that would be his consort, his father would disinherit him, would exile him.
His father sat down next to Lord Whent and gestured for Rhaegar to follow with his harp. He had brought it in the hopes of providing music for the lords and ladies of the kingdom. The ladies had always enjoyed his music and some had even teared up. He wasn’t fond of the attention that his music gathered but he did enjoy making music and writing. It distracted him from the tyrant his father had become, distracted him from the overbearing alpha Aerys had become.
His father had tried once or twice in the past year to mate with him, to induce a heat and breed him. Ser Arthur had pulled the king off both times and had had two kingsguard knights stationed with Rhaegar at all times. Of course, his mother wasn’t much help. Rhaella’s eyes had been closed to Aerys’ behavior for years now.
He walked over to his harp, the instrument already in place for the evening entertainment and sat down in the chair provided. The strings were tuned and ready for him to play.
Harry blinked, silence flowing through the hall as Prince Rhaegar finished playing. Then everyone started to clap, with a few ladies, regardless of orientation, started to cry. He saw at least two male omegas crying as well and Harry could feel a few tears pooling in his own eyes. He hadn’t heard such beautiful music in a long time.
The next morning, the tourney started. The morning dawned with a crisp scent to the air, a Northern chill blowing through the tourney arena. Rhaegar had woken up early so as to take a walk around the grounds alone, not wanting to talk politics. The sun hadn’t risen yet but there was a slight glow on the horizon, almost beckoning towards him. Rhaegar stepped out of Harrenhal’s keep, seeing Ser Lewyn and Ser Arthur walk alongside him.
He took the path that would lead him out of the castle, stepping through the gate with an easy nod to the guardsmen flanking it. The tents surrounding the castle were many and varied, with the banners of the Vale, the Stormlands, the Crownlands, the Riverlands and some of the North. Colorful banners were strewn all over the castle walls, making the dreary grey stone new and not ruined.
“Did you take your potion this morning?” Ser Lewyn questioned, as they walked on the outskirts of the camp. Fog hovered over the tents and hid their walk as it curled around them. Rhaegar could even see the Isle of Faces from their position, the small island in the middle of the lake that had seen many rumors.
“I did,” Rhaegar answered finally. “I will have to thank Lord Varys for giving me some.”
“Have any luck finding an alpha?” Ser Arthur asked, his blue eyes narrowed in concern for his best friend. Most members of the kingsguard were either betas or alphas. Omegas couldn’t join the kingsguard, as everyone thought that omegas would be too distracted to guard the royal family.
“No. I don’t know if any such alpha exists,” Rhaegar offered quietly, as they stopped upon a hill overlooking the camps and castle. “Every alpha wants to be lord or lady of a keep or castle. They want to rule if they’re the firstborn. Marrying our siblings has been the best way to do it but I have none and I’m not sure if I want to continue marrying in the old traditions.”
“Do you want us to look for someone?” Ser Lewyn asked, peering at Rhaegar before looking out over their surroundings. “With this tourney, it would be easy enough.”
“I am also here to ask if any lords and ladies would back my claim for the throne,” Rhaegar spoke, sighing and looking over at the castle. “My father has grown too mad.”
“Are you to speak with--”
Arthur and Lewyn both dropped their hands to their blades at the man who appeared from the trees behind them. The man stopped where he stood, his grey eyes wide before narrowing a little. Rhaegar took in the man’s appearance, noted the really dark brown hair, dark enough for it to be black, and watched the man take in a deep breath before bowing.
“Your Grace. I’m sorry I interrupted you. Forgive me.”
“You’re of House Stark?”
“Yes, Your Grace. Harlan Stark, at your service.”
“Heir to Winterfell.”
Harlan nodded, standing back up and peering at Rhaegar. “If you want me to go, just--”
“I’ve a mind to talk with you and your father,” Rhaegar interrupted, taking in a deep breath too and noting the alpha scent that surrounded the man. It was cold, grey but… old too. Enticing even through the suppressant. “Walk with me?”
Harlan raised an eyebrow but dipped his head in a nod. “Of course. Whatever I can help with, I will.”
Harry stared at Prince Rhaegar, seeing the weary, haunted eyes of a young man. He fell into line with the prince and they walked in silence for a few minutes. He didn’t mind the presence of the two knights of the kingsguard behind them, as they shadowed the prince. The sun rose around them and Harry enjoyed watching it rise and enjoyed watching the sun make Rhaegar’s hair glow.
As far as he knew, Rhaegar was a beta so why… It had felt like he had been instantly drawn to the man from happening upon them a few minutes ago.
“I loved your music last night,” Harry offered quietly. “It was beautiful.”
“Thank you. You have two brothers.”
“Yes, and a sister,” Harry added, grinning a little. “And you have a brother?”
“Viserys. Yes. Would you be amenable to hearing me out?” Rhaegar asked, as they stopped again in a small clearing, trees surrounding them.
“I already said yes, Your Grace. What’s amiss?”
Rhaegar studied him then nodded. “I would like to take the throne.”
Harry blinked, remembering what they had heard of the aftermath of the Defiance at Duskendale. The king had ordered the entire family killed and since seeing the king yesterday, had made a lot of people disgusted. That was along with the burnings. Mad King Aerys had burned people to death, burned people who disagreed with him. “You would need to take the throne by force.”
“My father…” Rhaegar trailed off, his voice breaking a little. “He was good once. Now… He is holding something I hold dear.”
Harry stared, taking a step closer to the prince, wanting to reach out and touch, to reassure. The alpha wanting to make sure this man wasn’t hurting. “Your Grace?”
“I have a secret,” Rhaegar spoke, looking into the other young man’s eyes and feeling like he could trust Harlan. There was something about him, something unusual, ancient. “If I rebel, take the throne, before my father dies, he will…”
Harlan stared at him, took a step closer. “You’re not a beta, are you? And you’re not an alpha. I saw you bare your neck to me just for a second when you saw me.”
Rhaegar’s eyes widened then he peered down at the hill beneath them. Warm, gloved fingers gently gripped his jaw, tipped his chin up. His heart sped up at the touch of the alpha in front of him.
“You’re beautiful,” Harlan whispered. “Is that what your father is holding against you?”
“Omegas can’t rule or hold land.”
“And you have that prophecy. That’s… I understand that.”
Rhaegar stared at Harlan, hearing the new tone in his voice. “What do you mean?”
“If you want to take the throne, your father is going to contest that. Most princes take over when their father is dead.”
Harlan removed his hand, took a step back, leaving Rhaegar wanting. He wanted to step back into the man’s space, wanted to feel his warmth again. Wanted to bare his neck to him, wanted to be claimed.
“I think I have something to help you with… all this,” Harlan finally spoke, studying him then shrugging. “But you can’t get angry. I didn’t show them off precisely because I didn’t want to draw your family’s attention.”
Rhaegar blinked, watched as Harlan stepped back again and whistled. Loudly. Loudly enough that Rhaegar had doubts that it was just Harry whistling.
“What was that for?” Rhaegar questioned, peering at Harry in confusion.
“Three of my friends followed me here,” Harry said idly. “Or I suppose, they traveled to the Vale and stopped there. Of course, I couldn’t bring dragons to a tourney but I don’t think I could have stopped them if I had tried. They think I’m their mother or something. And me, a Stark. Who would have guessed, you know?”
Rhaegar stared and stared some more, blinked. “Dragons.”
Rhaegar was about to say he didn’t believe him, didn’t even dare have hope that someone had hatched dragons. Someone not a Targaryen or Velaryon but then he heard loud thumps. The sun disappeared under a shadow only for a second before returning and then…
His eyes widened at the sight that met him. Three full grown dragons, flying towards them, towards their clearing. One let out a roar and the trees around them shook with the force of it.
“I think it has something to do with my magic,” Harlan explained softly. “I know that. But I have no dragon blood in me.”
The three dragons set down in the clearing, making it seem small in comparison to the great big creatures in front of him. One was all black, a deep black abyss. Another was red, a deep red like the blood that flowed through their veins. The third was an icy white, reminding Rhaegar of the last winter’s mild ice storms.
Rhaegar stared, blinked, pinched himself. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw Arthur and Lewyn. Their eyes were wide too, awe and disbelief fighting for prominence on their faces.
The dragons all flanked Harlan, with the dark red one nuzzling into the Stark heir’s back. Harlan laughed, laid a hand on the dragon’s scales.
“The pretty lady behind me is Freya,” Harlan said, after a few minutes of silence only broken by the white dragon roaring. “Frostfyre is the white one and the black one, Balerion.”
“You…” Rhaegar trailed off, his voice shaky. “Would you be my alpha?”
Harlan laughed quietly under his breath, his grey eyes intent on him. “Why don’t we court one another, Your Grace? I will willingly go with you to help you take the throne but I will have to work it out with my brother, Eddard. He will have to be the heir to Winterfell instead.”
Rhaegar nodded, speechless with awe.
“A Stark and a Targaryen in King’s Landing.”
“Ice and Fire,” Rhaegar spoke faintly, finally drawing his gaze away from the dragons to the man in front of him. He took a few steps to close the distance between them and Harlan seemed to sense his intention, opened his arms. Rhaegar stepped into them, warm arms going around him, and melted into the embrace.
A hand coaxed his chin up and Harlan touched his lips to his, pressing into him, surrounding him. “You will have to leave off the suppressants. I would like to be able to taste my mate.”
Rhaegar shivered at the promise in those words and opened his mouth, letting Harlan in.
“Call me Harry.”
“Harry then.” Rhaegar melted, feeling Harry’s arms wrap around him. “What was that about magic?”
“That is a long story,” Harry replied, grinning. “Story for another time perhaps, as we have a tourney to attend.”
“Which dragon is yours?” Rhaegar asked, as the both of them walked back to the tourney grounds. The dragons followed behind them, each of their footsteps causing little quakes in the ground. They could both hear the sounds of awakening knights getting ready for the day of tilts, the sound of horses whinnying and of steel sliding against sharpening stones rang out.
Arthur and Lewyn walked behind Rhaegar but in front of the dragons, both knights frequently glancing behind them to the creatures out of legend.
“Frostfyre is usually the one I ride,” Harry answered, his lips twitching up into a small grin. The sun was almost done rising on the horizon as they walked, making the castle of Harrenhal lighten up. The morning fog had mostly dissipated while the two had talked, leaving the riverlands around them clear. “The other two like me, on account of my hatching them, but they don’t let me ride them.”
Balerion roared out at his words, gaining on the two of them within seconds. The sound drew attention, with multiple men and women running towards them. Rhaegar stopped to allow the dragon to pass, his eyes still wide as he gazed at the beast. The dragon had claws attached to its’ wings, only having the wings and two hind limbs. It made Rhaegar want to look at his books again, seeing which drawings were closer to the truth.
The dragons all looked about a year old, certainly old enough to bear a rider. Balerion, however, did not pass Rhaegar, only stopping right in front of Rhaegar. He froze, his heart racing and sweat pouring down his back, as the dragon lowered its’ neck towards him. Balerion blinked his great black eyes and Rhaegar could feel the heat emanating from the dragon. He tentatively reached out a hand, slow and cautious, and Balerion closed the distance, letting Rhaegar touch his scales and hide.
Everything else fell away and it was just him and Balerion, a living dragon and a Targaryen. Fire made flesh. Balerion nudged further into his palm, his warm scales heating Rhaegar so much that the cloak around his shoulders was too much. He slowly lowered his head down to touch his forehead to Balerion’s muzzle, hearing the dragon breath underneath him.
Something touched his mind, alien and yet… warm, powerful. “What…”
“Balerion’s making you his rider. He’s establishing your bond.” Harry’s voice drew him back and a gloved hand touched his upper back, curling around his shoulder a little. “Stay. It’s just the magic of dragons. I can explain in detail later.”
Rhaegar hesitated but stayed put, his forehead touching Balerion’s scales.
“Dragons! They’re back!”
“House Targaryen will rise again!”
Harry turned from Rhaegar, seeing the crowd that had gathered around them. Frostfyre had walked up to his side, smoke coming out of his jaws, ready to defend Harry if necessary. Freya was off to the side, standing by Arthur and Lewyn. He could see his brothers and sister, their eyes wide. Ned and Benjen’s mouths were open and Lyanna was wide-eyed too. Harry could see Lord Howland Reed, back in the back of the crowd. The short crannogman dipped his head in a nod, his lips twitching up in a small grin, before walking off.
King Aerys had approached as Balerion and Rhaegar got acquainted with each other, the remaining knights of the kingsguard trailing behind. Harry knew of most of them but having not gone south before, he did not recognize any of them.
Ser Barristan Selmy. Ser Oswell Whent. Ser Jonothor Darry. Ser Gerold Hightower, the Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. Harry vaguely remembered that the kingsguard knights were looking for another knight to join them but he didn’t… think they had found one yet. The kingsguard were all betas, able to withstand an alpha’s orders and an omega’s distress.
The king looked crazed, his purple eyes wide with greed, as he watched the dragons. Freya in particular caught his interest, as the she-dragon was apart from her brothers. Harry watched as the king walked through the crowd, which automatically parted for him, and up to Freya, the red dragon.
“Your Grace… I would not approach her,” Harry spoke, taking a step towards the king. He saw Ser Gerold drop his hand to his blade, the other knights doing the same. They were probably alert due to the sight of dragons, not due to him. Though, he didn’t even know what they could do if Freya decided that the king was not her rider. Harry had seen them take down elk and even a lizard-lion. It had been incredible to watch the three dragons take down something to eat.
Harry wasn’t even a knight as most of the North did not practice the Faith. The Old Gods had every house except the Manderlys, which Harry was fond of. He knew that the barrow knights of the barrowlands were more or less close to the knights of the south but he only knew of one in person. Ser Mark Ryswell was a beta and from House Ryswell, with a gentle heart and soft of speech. “Let her approach you. If she wants.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. I am King Aerys Targaryen. I am a dragon in human form,” Aerys said, his voice raised and shaky. He approached easily, no hesitation in his walk and a wide, crazed smile on his face. His arms went wide, seeming to greet the dragons in front of him.
Freya hissed low in her throat, her big claws making ditches in the dirt underneath her. Harry flinched, hearing Rhaegar finally pull away from Balerion, and step alongside him. Smoke spewed from Freya’s mouth and then she beat her wings against the ground and lifted up into the air, right as Aerys was within a foot of her. The king screamed out as Freya left, flying up into the air.
“Bring her back!” Aerys screamed, gesturing with his arms at the dragon.
“I am the blood of the dragon! All dragons should bow to me!” Aerys ordered, glaring at Rhaegar. The king’s purple eyes glinted with madness and Harry winced at the look. The look that Aerys was giving Rhaegar was one of possession, one of utter and complete confidence that his son belonged to him.
“I can not make Freya do anything,” Harry said, crossing his arms. “Your Grace. It is best to leave her be, leave her to make up her mind.”
He heard Freya fly above them and he reached out with his magic, marking her with a monitoring charm, just in case the king tried to do anything. The elder wand warmed in his pocket and his other wand, one that he had made a few years ago, sparked. The wand that was made of weirwood bark and one or two feathers of a white raven.
“Father, the lords and ladies are waiting for the tourney to start,” Rhaegar offered, dipping his head in the direction of the tourney grounds. “We should proceed there.”
Aerys scowled, staring at Rhaegar and the black dragon next to him. Balerion had moved so that he was almost standing over Rhaegar, appearing to shield him.
“This matter isn’t settled,” Aerys relented, dropping his arms back to his sides. “The she-dragon will bend her neck to me.”
Harry watched as the king turned and began to walk in the opposite direction, leading the knights of the kingsguard that had come with him along. The men and women that grouped here were now all staring off after the king, with some of the ladies and omega males staring at Rhaegar in want.
“I see what you mean,” Harry finally spoke, when there was no attention on the two of them anymore. Ser Arthur and Lewyn stayed with them, their stances alert. “Has he always been like that?”
“It… He wasn’t always like that,” Rhaegar answered, sighing and crossing his arms. “My mother spoke of how he was but it has become like Aerys always wants to mate with me.”
Harry grimaced, seeing some smoke come out of Frostfyre’s mouth. A spark of white flame left and Harry pushed the dragon’s head away, trying to appear calm. They had bonded when the white dragon had started to fly and now, the beast could sense Harry’s emotions. Frostfyre narrowed his white eyes at him then huffed out a rumble, low and amused. “I suppose the queen isn’t doing well either, in that regard.”
“The queen is an omega? Or a beta?”
“Mother’s a beta. And my father is an alpha, obviously.”
Harry dipped his head in a nod, turning to look at Rhaegar. “I will need some time to talk with my father and siblings. Do you need anything right now?”
“No, certainly not. I will meet you at the entrance to the tourney fields in an hour then,” Rhaegar remarked, his purple eyes lit up with muted happiness. “I can feel him.”
Harry grinned, knowing what it was like to be able to feel a dragon’s emotions. “Balerion?”
Rhaegar nodded, turning to look at the great black dragon next to him. “He wants to protect me.”
“That’s what dragons do for their riders,” Harry explained, rolling his eyes as a memory came. “Frostfyre wanted to protect me when I ran into a lizard-lion once. I insisted that I could protect myself.”
Rhaegar’s eyes widened. “A lizard-lion? I haven’t asked you how you kept them hidden from the world.”
“I gained permission from Lord Reed to use the unoccupied Moat Cailin,” Harry said, shrugging. “And I used some magic to spell them. Now, I suppose they don’t need to be kept hidden. They’re old enough that they can fly and protect themselves.”
“Moat Cailin? The former stronghold of the First Men?”
“Hmm. The same. You haven’t been north of Harrenhal, have you?”
Rhaegar shook his head, brushed some of his hair out of his eyes. Harry wondered what it would feel like under his fingertips but they were not in private now. “Mayhaps when the tourney is over, you could introduce me to Winterfell.”
“I’d like that,” Harry said, looking around at the people walking past them. Everyone was staring at the two of them , though even more were looking at the dragons. Some with fear in their eyes while others had wonder and awe. The dragons weren’t their full size and it would take some years for them to reach what Balerion the first had grown to but they were still big. About the size of a one story house, mayhaps two or three horses on top of one another. Or two elephants. “I will see you in an hour then?”
Rhaegar blinked but nodded, feeling Balerion’s joy at having found his rider come through their newly built bond. It was like a hum of emotion, an almost tangible thing that connected him to the dragon. He could feel the slight hunger that the dragon felt, the protective urge towards Rhaegar himself. “Yes.”
Harry grinned a little before turning and walking off, towards where the northerners were camped. Frostfyre followed him, his tail dragging on the dirt. Freya was still up in the air, roaring occasionally.
Are there any pairings you want to see in particular? Let me know!
“Why didn’t you tell us about the dragons?” Lord Rickard questioned, his grey eyes wide as Harry walked over to the northern tents and to the Stark ones in particular. The great white beast followed him, walking a little awkwardly on the ground. The red one was still in the air, circling the tents before flying off. The black beast had followed Prince Rhaegar, nudging the heir to the Iron Throne occasionally. “The Targaryens are not like to take this well. And they have no omega with which to bond you with.”
Harry raised an eyebrow but nodded. He didn’t think that Rhaegar would want his true status known right now, perhaps with time and maybe a coronation, it would come out. “The rumors that Queen Alysanne’s dragon laid eggs at home were true, father. I found three and the white one hatched for me while the other two followed shortly afterward.”
“You were talking with the prince,” Ned said, his eyes wide and voice quiet.
“What did he want?” Lyanna questioned, stepping over to her brother’s side. “Not anything bad, I hope?”
“I’m still curious about how the dragons hatched,” Benjen added, stepping into their circle. “You say you found them near the hotsprings?”
“Aye, I did. Lord Howland agreed to host them in the unoccupied Moat Cailin,” Harry replied, shrugging. “Howland’s become a good friend to me through that.”
Ned blinked and glanced towards Howland Reed’s tent, looked to Lyanna. “You said a few Frey squires beat him.”
Lyanna nodded and gestured towards the lone tent for Howland. “He wasn’t too badly injured, Ned. Not enough to need a maester. He is one of father’s bannermen.”
“One of yours too,” Benjen said, looking at Harry. “Or will be eventually.”
Harry turned to look at their father, who had walked off to talk with Lord Hoster Tully, and then sighed. “I suppose. Ned, before you go after Howland, might we have a word later tonight?”
“What about? And… I’m not going after Howland…” Ned trailed off at Harry, Ben and Lyanna’s disbelieving looks. “The man’s one of our bannermen. He might need aid.”
“It’s about… House Stark and its heir,” Harry offered, feeling Frostfyre’s curiosity in his mind. The dragon had learned a year ago about the human’s ways but hadn’t been entirely sure what to make of the way of the world.
Dragons have it so much easier. We do not care who inherits land or titles. That is a human thing. A weird human thing.
Harry snorted, watching as Frostfyre turned to leave, hunger in his mind. The bond between them was so deep at this point that it allowed for mind speech. He figured it would take a few months for the bond between Rhaegar and Balerion to reach that point. A gust of wind signaled that Frostfyre had leapt up off the ground. He heard sharp intakes of breath all around them as everyone in the northern camp watched as the dragon flew away, entranced by the sight.
“Sure. Let me go make sure our father’s bannermen is alright,” Ned agreed.
“Let me know if you need me to assist,” Harry murmured, low enough that he hoped that no one else would hear them.
Ned dipped his head in a nod and turned to go, dropping his hand to the blade at his waist idly. Lyanna followed, her long, dark hair spread out behind her. She was the lone omega child of Winterfell and Harry had heard Rickard speak of potential marriage alliances for her. Robert Baratheon had been in the list, last Harry had heard. He grimaced at the thought, knowing of Ned’s friend.
Robert had fostered in the Vale with Ned at the same time though with one difference. Robert had become a squire to Lord Jon Arryn while Ned had not since Ned kept to the old gods. Robert was in attendance for this tourney and had arrived with Ned in tow. Harry rather thought that Robert was… one of those alphas who didn’t much care for the omegas he bedded; he just wanted sex.
Robert had already fathered a bastard in the Vale, at least one that Harry knew of. Ned had already told him of Mya Stone, the babe that Robert had fathered.
Lyanna didn’t want someone like that though and all four of them knew that. Their father on the other hand did not. Rickard had much too much southern ambitions to let Lyanna lose on her own.
Rhaegar still couldn’t believe his eyes as the great black beast walked next to him, as they both ventured to where he and his father were being housed. Arthur and Lewyn walked next to him, Arthur’s eyes still wide.
“Harlan Stark is a Stark,” Arthur whispered disbelievingly, watching as the second Balerion peered down at them as they stopped at the entrance to the castle of Harrenhal. “A Stark. They have no dragonblood and it’s not like they had dragonseeds in the time before the Dance.”
“He said he didn’t know,” Rhaegar remarked, locking eyes with the black beast. Balerion the Second had red-rimmed wings, large things that could carry the dragon up into the air. “The white one, Frostfyre, hatched for him and then these two followed.”
Emotions that were not his own filled his mind, amongst them joy and then… hunger. It was rather a large hunger, hunger for deer, elk and other huge mammals. Rhaegar stared into Balerion’s eyes and held out a hand, his heart skipping a beat as the dragon lowered its head down to sit against his hand. Heat radiated from the beast and he wondered when Balerion would let him ride on his back.
“Mayhaps the Starks have their own power,” Lewyn commented, his dark eyes narrowed in thought. “The Rhoynar did before the Valyrians conquered them.”
“Water magic. I know of it,” Rhaegar said, glancing up to the castle window where his father was staying. “The tourney is starting in an hour. I should go fetch my father.”
“Are you going to tell him you found an alpha?” Arthur questioned, lowering his voice as Lord Yohn Royce walked by. The trumpets blew past the castle’s walls, signaling to all that the tourney was about to start.
Rhaegar sighed and shook his head. “My father the king wants me for himself.”
“No Targaryen has ever wed father to son.”
“He says his queen hasn’t given him enough children,” Rhaegar muttered quietly. “Mayhaps the presence of the dragons will change his mind.”
Arthur’s eyes narrowed. Dawn was strapped to his back, the long greatsword sparkling in the mid morning sun. “Harlan Stark agreed to be your alpha. When are you two meeting again?”
“At the fields in an hour. Ser Jaime is getting raised to the kingsguard in an hour, isn’t he?”
“Yes. Lord Tywin did not like that decision however,” Lewyn spoke, rolling his eyes. “It makes Cersei heir to Casterly Rock, being the next alpha child.”
Rhaegar thought of the first time he had met Cersei, daughter of Joanna and Tywin Lannister. He had not liked her at all, her overbearing, possessive attitude turning him off. The seven forbid that match happening. Rhaegar had profusely thanked the gods for his father telling Tywin no to the match, regardless of Rhaegar being an omega. He shuddered at the thought of having Cersei as an alpha wife. He much preferred the thought of the quiet northerner who had brought dragons back into the world.
Balerion rumbled deep in his throat, apparently feeling his emotions and agreeing with them. His wings shook against his flank and Rhaegar watched as his wing-claws dug into the dirt.
“You are competing in the tourney, right?” Lewyn asked, as crowds began to come out from tents and the castle itself. Rhaegar nodded to Lord Whent and his family as they passed, everyone’s eyes widening at the dragon beside him. “You had best get ready.”
He could see the great white beast far to the north of the castle, towards where the northerners were camped. Frostfyre took off into the sky and flew off, joined by the third dragon, the red one called Freya.
“Lewyn, are any of your family here?” Rhaegar asked idly, turning to look to the south, where many of the southern lords were camped. He could see Vale banners, riverland banners, stormlands banners but no westerland banners. Lord Mace Tyrell was already here, with a few lords from the Reach.
“My great-nephew had a horse accident last week,” Lewyn remarked, worry in his voice. “And with his illness… He is only 36 but he is fragile.”
“Do you need to go to Sunspear?” Rhaegar stroked Balerion’s thick hide, feeling the muscles flex underneath his hand. “Doran is his name, isn’t it?.”
“I do not believe I am needed. Elia is there as well as a cousin or two,” Lewyn offered. “I will go if the worst happens. Princess Elia is a very intelligent young woman. Kind and gentle.”
“She was the one who you were surprised to hear about, when she presented,” Rhaegar said, remembering the raven that bore that letter a few years ago. Every lord and lady was required to send word to the king of their children’s presentation. It was a rather old custom but it let the king and queen better know about potential betrothals.
“Yes, my great-niece is an alpha. She was very fragile and weak when she was born but now… She’s bloomed,” Lewyn said, his eyes lit with fond memories.
Oberyn stopped and stared out over the tourney fields from his spot in the corner, sitting near the king and prince. As soon as the prince had walked in to the tourney grounds, everyone had gone silent. The big beast that had walked in with Rhaegar was one from legend, from before the Dance. A dragon. A great, big, black dragon. It was followed by an icy white dragon, the second beast trotting past the black dragon and heading towards where the Starks were sitting.
Oberyn watched, his eyes wide, as the heir to Winterfell stood up and met the icy white dragon head on, a soft grin on his lips.
Every lord and lady, every person in the tourney grounds were silent with awe, struck by the image. Even the two jousters on the field were silent, the son of Lord Whent and a knight of House Frey. The two horses whinnied in fright, trembling with it.
The scent of fire filled the air as yet another dragon flew above the tourney field, this one a dark blood red one. Oberyn grinned in excitement as he and everyone else watched as it let lose a cloud of red flame, the fire lighting up the field even more. The dragons were back. And everyone began to talk at once, filling the field with chatter. Some of it was excited while others were wary. Oberyn heard at least a few people next to him who were wary that the king had become a dragon rider.
King Aerys and his kingsguard walked onto the field, where they were met by Ser Jaime Lannister. A beta, if Oberyn wasn’t mistaken, and beautiful, with golden hair and bright green eyes. He was to be joining the kingsguard this morning. All seven members of the current kingsguard walked over to stand in a semicircle, surrounding Jaime as the young lion knelt before the king.
“I saw it this morning,” a lord of the reach said, not raising his voice over the chatter but not being quiet either. “None of three dragons let King Aerys near him.”
Oberyn raised an eyebrow and turned to the reachman. “How had Dorne not known about this?”
“No one knew,” Lord Mace Tyrell offered, glancing at him. “This is new.”
“Prince Rhaegar has become a dragonrider and the Stark heir is one,” Lady Ashara Dayne spoke, as she came to sit next to him. “The Starks have no dragonblood in them though.”
“They do not, as far as I know,” Oberyn answered, shrugging. “It’s a shame that the young lion is joining the kingsguard. I would have liked a romp in bed with that one. He looks spectacular kneeling like that.”
Ashara snorted and they watched as the seven white knights all drew their swords. The scream of a dragon drew everyone’s attention to the red dragon in the air as it swooped down, making a graceful landing right before the kingsguard. The black dragon…
“That’s Balerion, I heard. And Freya, the red one,” Ashara murmured at Oberyn’s questioning look. “Frostfyre is the white one. That’s Harlan’s dragon.”
Oberyn watched as Freya walked over to where Ser Jaime was kneeling, her large, red wing-claws digging into the well groomed dirt of the field. Jaime stiffened and Oberyn could see the man’s shoulders curl inward as the dragon, for all appearances, seemed to sniff him.
“What is the meaning of this?!!” King Aerys yelled, his face turning red with anger. He threw his arms out towards the dragon. “You are mine!”
Oberyn and Ashara and everyone else watched as Harlan Stark, the heir to Winterfell, ran down the stands and ran right over to the red dragon’s side. Frostfyre, aptly named for the icy white color of his hide, followed, smoke filling out from the dragon’s mouth.
Freya lowered her massive head and pushed Ser Jaime down to the ground. Jaime let out a quiet yelp as he landed on the ground, his back finding dirt.
Harlan Stark ran over to stand between Jaime and Freya, holding out a hand towards the dragon. “Freya, what’s the problem?”
Oberyn could see Aerys’ eyes widen in anger and stood up himself, walking down to the field and joining the knights. His uncle, Lewyn, dipped his head in a nod at his approach and he nodded back.
Harlan had locked eyes with the dragon, apparently able to understand something of the dragon’s body language.
“She says…” Harlan trailed off, with a pointed glance at Ser Jaime. Oberyn walked over to stand next to his uncle, eying Jaime as his heart skipped a beat. Jaime had sweat rolling down his forehead, his golden hair wild from being pushed about by a dragon. “Ser Jaime, you are hiding something.”
“He’s not Freya’s rider!” King Aerys shouted, pushing his way through the knights. Ser Jonothor Darry pulled the king to a stop at the last minute, whispering something into his ear.
“No, Ser Jaime is not her rider,” Harlan agreed, shaking his head at a thought. “Freya, go join Frostfyre.”
Balerion behind them let out a loud bellow and Freya trotted off, her tail trailing on the ground like she was a young child who had just gotten scolded. Oberyn’s lips twitched up into a small grin and strode over to Jaime, holding out a hand to him. Jaime raised an eyebrow from where he was, on the ground, and reached up to take Oberyn’s hand. Jaime’s hand was warm though not overly so. Oberyn’s heart began to race at the smell that came from the younger man, enticing and intoxicating.
Jaime stared at him as Oberyn helped him up, his green eyes narrowed.
“He’s an omega,” Harlan spoke, glancing over to Ser Gerold and Barristan.
“Omegas can’t join the kingsguard,” Ser Gerold said, his eyes narrowed as everyone’s eyes were on them.
“What is the meaning of this? What is your father playing at?” King Aerys questioned, his eyes wide with madness. “Is he making a bid for-”
“Father, why don’t you walk with me back into the castle,” Rhaegar said, dipping his head in apology to the watching lords and ladies. “Ser Jaime, you cannot join the kingsguard as a omega. I apologize.”
“I…” Jaime trailed off, with Rhaegar noticing Oberyn stepping closer to the younger man. “I am not an omega. The dragon doesn’t know what its trying to say.”
“The dragons can sense lies,” Harry offered quietly. “Prince Oberyn, Ser Jaime, why don’t we talk of this off the field? The tourney can start without us for the time being.”
Rhaegar caught Harry winking at him as he turned to go off the field, his cheeks reddening a little and his body heating up. He wasn’t due for a heat for another week but finding his mate, his alpha, and bonding with a dragon had made his body run wild. But he did look forward to knowing Harry better and mayhaps knowing the North better in having a Northerner as a husband.
Balerion roared from where he was, off to the side of the field, and took off into the air with one big thrust of his wings. Rhaegar watched in awe as the beast flew, feeling Balerion’s emotions as if they were one being. The joy of flight and of finding his rider…
Aerys looked at him and then turned and walked off, yelling to the small group of lords in the booth next to the royal family’s. The tourney started around them and Rhaegar watched as the kingsguard fell back to flank the king, with Arthur staying by his side. Harlan Stark, Jaime Lannister and Oberyn Martell all walked off the tourney field, the two alphas and omega. Rhaegar was at least a tiny bit jealous but he knew Harry wouldn't stray. It was a point of honor for the northerners, at least for the Starks.
“Ser Jaime… the dragons don’t lie,” Harry said as he walked with Jaime Lannister and Oberyn Martell to the side of the field. He wondered where Lord Tywin Lannister was, having not seen him at all since he and his family had arrived. Though they had arrived just the night before and mayhaps the Lannisters had arrived earlier. And something must have happened. “You’re an omega.”
Why would this human try to hide who he is? Dragons do not hide who they are.
Harry glanced up to see Frostfyre, the white beast walking over to them with his tail curled around his body and his wing-claws making deep ditches in the tourney grounds. “You’re ruining the tourney field, Frostfyre.”
An amused rumble came from Frostfyre’s throat as his silver eyes narrowed. Humans and your tourneys. Your prince might need attention after this. His sire… has a look to him that I dislike.
Harry nodded, noting that Frostfyre had referred to Aerys as a sire.
“The Young Lion. I was saying it was a shame you were joining the kingsguard,” Oberyn remarked, drawing Harry’s attention away from his dragon. “And to learn that you are not…”
Jaime’s cheeks reddened, looking between the two men. His skin went pale as Frostfyre leaned down, his long neck stretching down to be able to look at Jaime on eye level. “I would rather not speak to the reason.”
“What happened between your father and the king?” Harry questioned, glancing at Oberyn to see if he had the answer.
“Lord Tywin quit being Hand of the King,” Oberyn explained, eying Jaime thoroughly. “Ser Jaime, you don’t have a partner for your next heat, do you?”
Lady Ashara Dayne interrupted whatever Jaime had been about to say, the beta woman frowning at Oberyn. She came to stand next to Jaime, holding out a hand to him. “Ser Jaime, would you mind accompanying me to my seat? We could get away from both alphas.”
Harry snorted, dipping his head in a nod to Ashara. “Lady Ashara.”
“Harlan Stark. Prince Oberyn.”
Jaime gave Ashara his arm and the two walked over to the stands and up to where the Dornish woman had sat.
“The heir to Winterfell, a dragonrider. It is all over the camp now,” Oberyn commented, turning to look at Harry and raising an eyebrow. There was heat in his eyes and Harry grinned, knowing of Oberyn’s reputation.
“I’m already taken, Prince Oberyn,” Harry said, crossing his arms and shooing Frostfyre away when the dragon got too close. The dragon’s heat radiated from the beast, curling around Harry and by his awed expression, Oberyn could feel it too. “Or about to be anyway.”
Oberyn’s eyes narrowed, a slight intent grin on his face. “And who is the omega to be? Or is it to be a beta? Or perhaps another alpha? In Dorne, we do not care for such differences in our partners.”
The current tourney between a squire of House Frey and a knight ended, with the win going to the knight. The crowds erupted into cheers, loud and competitive.
“My father is going to try to arrange a betrothal this week,” Harry finally answered, trying to be noncommittal enough to not attract attention. Though he knew that wouldn’t stop most people from being curious as to why he wasn’t bonded yet. He was the heir to a great house after all and all of nine and ten years old. Most people had already wed by now.
“You already have someone in mind then. You said you were already taken.”
“Aye, I do.”
Oberyn grinned. “I am already curious.”
“I’m not telling you. You said that Lord Tywin quit. When did that happen?” Harry questioned, changing the subject as two more challengers readied themselves and their horses. He peered up at the box that held the royal family, or at least the king and prince. Queen Rhaella had apparently stayed in King’s Landing and he hoped she was alright. He hadn’t known King Aerys that long now but he knew the king was… difficult.
“It happened when the king announced that he would be welcoming Ser Jaime into the kingsguard. It was during the welcoming feast on the first night. Lord Tywin was not amused at learning that his heir would be joining the kingsguard.”
Harry nodded. “His heir… Thanks for the information, Prince Oberyn.”
“My invitation is always open to you. Bedding a wolf would be fun.”
Harry snorted and walked away but not before adding something. “You’re more interested in the young lion, Oberyn. Not me.”
Oberyn’s eyes lit with amusement then he turned to go back to sit with Lady Ashara and the other Dornish nobles that had found their way here. Harry strode back towards where his brothers and sister were, seeing Howland Reed next to Ned. He grinned and watched as Frostfyre took off into the sky, chasing after Freya.
“Ned, I see you found Howland,” Harry remarked, dipping his head to the crannogman. “I hope the Frey squires didn’t do you much harm.”
“I am grateful for the assistance, my lord,” Howland murmured as Harry walked over to sit with Ned and Ben. He did not see Lyanna but he had an inkling as to where she was and he wasn’t about to stop her from doing it. Howland was black and blue in every visible piece of skin and the Frey men deserved to be punished. Their father was back at the northern camps, talking with some minor northern lords, taking this opportunity to do business. And Lyanna was free to join the tourney in disguise, anyway.
“The Frey men should be punished,” Ned said, raising his voice to be heard of the din of the tourney. “You are the heir of Greywater Watch, not a lowborn man.”
“Eddard, I am a crannogman,” Howland replied, turning to look at all four Starks. “We are lowborn in comparison to a member of House Frey, regardless of their being called upstarts.”
“You’re far different than the Freys,” Ned retorted, his grey eyes narrowed. “The crannogmen have been loyal to the Starks for as long as they’ve been our bannermen.”
The current tilt finished and the two competitors rode off the field, replaced by a member of House Haigh and an unknown knight, one who had a shield with a smiling weirwood tree on it. Harry grinned and watched as his sister rode against a knight from the riverlands. She won on the second tilt, having unhorsed the first man who had probably beaten up Howland.
She was covered from head to toe in armor, hiding her identity and with a small rune painted on her chest plate to spell and cover up her omega scent from Harry. Howland’s lips twitched up into a small grin as the Knight of the Laughing Tree dipped her lance in victory and then prepared to ride against her next opponent.
Everyone cheered as Lyanna Stark rode, not knowing who she was, and Harry could see the king’s angered expression, his eyes heated with disgust. Balerion had flown down to land on the box that held the royal family, his wings wide enough to cover the whole platform. Frostfyre and Freya were flying together in the air, circling around the whole of the tourney field and doing acrobatics in the air.
She rode against a knight of House Blount afterwards, defeating that man, and then finally was riding against a knight of House Frey. Harry, Ben and Ned all watched as Lyanna unhorse the knight of House Frey in one tilt, pushing the knight up and off his horse.
Frostfyre roared out at the same time as Harry started to clap and whistle, watching as the Knight of the Laughing Tree rode off the field.
The rest of the tourney went off without any problems, with Prince Rhaegar competing to the raucous applause of everyone on the field. Harry winked at the prince as he made a championship ride around the field after he had defeated Ser Barristan Selmy and he could smell more than a little heat arousal from him, even through the last of that suppressant.
He expected Rhaegar to crown Lady Ashara Dayne or even say that he crowned his mother in her absence. Everyone was holding their breaths, not knowing who the prince would choose. It was the last day of the tourney, with the final and ending feast after the last tilt.
Rhaegar made one last round around the field, a crown of blue winter roses at the edge of his lance, and stopped his horse before the box that held Harry and his siblings. Prince Rhaegar Targaryen raised his lance and slowly, in the silence that followed, lowered the crown of winter roses right into Harry’s lap.
No sounds were heard in the minutes following Rhaegar’s actions. Frostfyre and Balerion both roared out, breaking the tense silence and clouds of black and white flame blew over the tourney field. The white and black flames intertwined in the air and then everyone started talking at once.
“I can’t believe Prince Rhaegar would do something like that!” Rickard yelled, standing up and glaring towards where Rhaegar had ridden his horse. After the tourney, Rickard had ordered his children to where the Stark tents were, in order to have more privacy to discuss the prince’s actions. “I have made a betrothal--”
“Father, I think Prince Rhaegar Targaryen can do whatever he wants,” Harry remarked, raising an eyebrow at his father. Ned, Lyanna and Benjen were all staring at him with wide eyes and the at the flower crown in his hands. They were blue winter roses, the roses that grew in Winterfell’s glass gardens and they smelled like winter, like home. “He crowned me, father. What does that mean to you?”
Rickard Stark stared at him, his grey eyes narrowed in thought. “He wants to wed you. You are an alpha however and the heir to Winterfell. He is a beta. You cannot give him children.”
Balerion roared and leapt into the air, following Frostfyre, as they raced through the clouds in the sky. Harry grinned at the sight and then turned back to his father. He had looked over to where Rhaegar was talking to his father and winced at the king’s expression. King Aerys had not looked happy but he had looked more crazed, his wide purple eyes following the dragons in the sky.
If Rhaegar was defending his right to choose a mate now, to his father, mayhaps that meant he was alright with his secret getting out. To the other great houses of Westeros, the crown prince was a beta and wedding an alpha would not make sense. If though, Rhaegar chose to tell everyone this way, to tell everyone that he was an omega, it would make this… chaos less of an issue.
“Father, I do not want to marry whomever you chose for me,” Harry added. “Please tell me you can call of that betrothal contract. I would like to be the prince’s consort.”
“It would be unheard of,” Rickard said. “For a crown prince to wed an alpha. It is usually the alpha on the throne. There has never been an alpha consort in Targaryen history.”
“That we know of. Any number of Targaryen princes could have been alphas, had they lived to present,” Harry retorted, glancing to Benjen to see what he thought. Ben had always been the one to go to for history knowledge and his youngest brother’s eyes were narrowed in thought.
“It is true,” Ben said, shrugging. “During the Dance, there were many Targaryen men who never presented because they were murdered. Prince Lucerys Velaryon or Joffrey Velaryon come to mind in that respect.”
“Prince Rhaegar is a beta,” Rickard exclaimed.
“Father, Rhaegar is the crown prince. If the gods are good, he will ascend to the throne. It is not unheard of to have princes or princesses who hide their real second nature. Besides, the Targaryens are like their dragons. They answer to neither gods nor men.”
Rickard looked at Harry, Ned, Ben and Lyanna. “You are saying that you think Prince Rhaegar Targaryen is not a beta and not an alpha.”
“He wanted it to be kept secret, father. But he did choose me as his alpha. As Consort, I would be able to mate with him and he would be able to have children. Your grandchild could sit the throne.”
Rickard Stark blinked. “To have one of my sons be consort to a Targaryen prince. It is an advantageous betrothal. Far better than a Tully omega.”
“Who were you considering?”
“He hasn’t even presented yet,” Ben muttered, his eyes widening as Rickard glared at him. “What? Edmure is young, father.”
“And what of you, Ned?” Rickard turned to his middle son, the Quiet Wolf. “What of you and your crannogman? The omega?”
Harry sighed in relief and caught Lyanna’s eyes, winked at her. It seemed that their father had entirely missed or hadn’t recognized her in the tilts. Lyanna grinned back and turned to look at Ned.
“I… don’t know. I… just met him two nights ago, father.”
“Oooh, Ned’s turning red!” Lyanna exclaimed, elbowing Ned’s side.
“I will settle for at least one of my children wedding a southerner, Ned. If you are to wed Howland Reed, I will allow this.”
“Ned…” Harry trailed off, drawing Rickard and Ned’s attention. “If I am to go south with Rhaegar and wed him, you will be heir to Winterfell.”
Ned blinked, his eyes widening so much that Harry thought they would fall out of his head. “Me? Heir to Winterfell? But Harry…”
“I am destined for the south,” Harry remarked, shrugging and catching Ned’s eyes. “I will do my best to make sure no one threatens the North while I am down there.”
Rickard blinked, a slow grin forming on his face. “The Pact of Ice and Fire has finally come to fruition then. I am glad of this.”
Harry nodded, still looking at Ned. He remembered hearing about the Pact of Ice and Fire from their maester Walys. In return for the North’s help against Aegon the Second, a Targaryen princess would wed into House Stark. No Targaryen princess had ever wed into their house but now…
Your mate smells weird.
Harry startled, rocking back on the heels of his feet at the deep words. Frostfyre’s voice almost sounded British, like the accent in his old homeworld, and made him almost wistful. But then he realized he had siblings who loved him, parents who didn’t beat and starve him and no one out for his blood. Though… He rolled his eyes. Being the consort of the prince and future king would probably make him enemies.
How does he smell? And where are you?
Frostfyre took a few minutes to reply and Harry could hear wingbeats even from their tent. A great big thump reverberated through the ground and air and Harry could hear startled yelps and shouts from the tents around them. A big muzzle slipped underneath the tent fabric across from him and he snorted at the sight. Frostfyre slid further into the tent, stopping as he saw Harry.
Rickard, Ned, Ben and Lyanna all froze at the sight of the white dragon’s head and then Lyanna started to laugh. Rickard’s hand dropped to the sword at his waist and Harry threw out an arm to stop their father from doing anything hasty. Frostfyre’s head was all that was in the tent but they could see the big bulk of the creature through the tent walls.
You humans and your need for cover from the wild. Rhaegar smells of heat and stress.
Harry’s eyes narrowed. If the two of them had been younger or not adults, they would have been separated until their wedding. He had received permission from his father but he wasn’t quite sure about the king though with his bringing dragons back… King Aerys would probably agree to just about anything from him. And with what Frostfyre was saying…
Rhaegar was going into heat and was probably starting to burn inside. Maester Walys had said something about omegas but no one knew much about what Targaryens experienced during heats. Some said it was more intense for them while others said the Targaryens were just like any old folk.
Harry had more than made up his mind about taking Rhaegar for a mate and the chances were that they would wed in the Great Sept of Baelor in King’s Landing when the time came. He wondered what the Grand Maester would think of wedding in the godswood in King’s Landing too, wondered what everyone would think if the consort of the prince kept to the old gods instead of the Faith.
Or perhaps they could wed in the godswood in Winterfell. Rhaegar had said he was interested in seeing Winterfell after the tourney. They could have a secret ceremony, just the two of them and his family, and then wed in the sept in King’s Landing without anyone knowing. Harry smiled at the thought, imagining Rhaegar in a Stark cloak walking around Winterfell and then nodded to his father and stepped out of the tent, shooing Frostfyre out.
Rhaegar paced back and forth in the courtyard of Harrenhal, feeling sweat drip down his forehead and back. He cursed under his breath in Valyrian as he turned around, his heart beating rapidly. His father had given permission to wed Harlan Stark, had said yes, but there had been something in Aerys’ eyes that Rhaegar had not liked. His father had not taken his eyes off Balerion or Frostfyre or Freya since they had been revealed to everyone.
Aerys was back in the great hall of Harrenhal right now, yelling at nobody in particular about how he was a dragon himself. Every knight of the kingsguard except Arthur was with the king right now and Rhaegar himself was overseeing the servants packing up their belongings. With everything that had happened, his finding a mate and an alpha and seeing dragons come back had pushed his body to the limits. It would not be long until he had his first heat and hopefully, it would be with his marriage.
The quiet rumble of a deep throat brought his attention to the big, black dragon next to him. Balerion the second was not as big as his ancestor, probably wasn’t even half his size but he still looked formidable. Balerion rumbled again and smoke came from his mouth as he opened his jaws. The alien mind that Rhaegar had first felt when he had touched Balerion came to him, a light caress that felt like worry.
“Rhaegar? Are you alright?”
He turned to look at Arthur, who was watching him from a few feet away. Rhaegar grinned as Arthur visibly hesitated about taking a step towards the fire breathing dragon. “He won’t hurt you, Arthur. If you were to pose a threat, I believe he would take action but you do not.”
“You look upset, your Grace. And warm,” Arthur added at the last minute. “Are you…”
“Going into heat? Eventually yes. For right now, I want to get back to King’s Landing,” Rhaegar said. “I would like to talk with my mother about arranging the wedding.”
Rhaegar turned towards the voice, the accent giving away Harry as the man walked towards them from the gate. The Northern accent was deeper than the south, a little hint of a growl coming through and Rhaegar thought of Cregan Stark and Torrhen Stark then. The Starks had rarely come south and only for war, for the Dance of the Dragons and finding common cause with House Lannister to fight the ironborn. No Stark had ever been a political one except for Cregan Stark, who had been Hand of the King to Aegon the Third for a day.
Harlan Stark was once again wearing a Stark cloak, with fur lining the cloak. It looked like a warm cloak, one that curled around the man, like Harry had done when they had first met.
“Isn’t it a bit soon for that?” Harry questioned, raising an eyebrow.
“Yes. I don’t want anyone else for my consort. I want you.”
Harry’s grey eyes narrowed then warmed and Rhaegar could easily see the heat in them. Harry closed the distance between them and Frostfyre flew over the castle walls and circled above them before dropping down to land.
“I shall join you in traveling south then. My father said yes,” Harry said, stopping right up in front of Rhaegar and looking him over. Rhaegar could feel the heat that exploded through his body at the look that the alpha was giving him, the pure look of want and claiming. “My siblings would probably want to go with us, if that is alright.”
“Eddard, Lyanna and Benjen Stark?” Arthur echoed, sparing a glance to Frostfyre, who walked over to Harry’s side. The two dragons bracketed Harry and Rhaegar, with the third flying above the castle.
“Lyanna and Ben, definitely. I don’t know about Ned,” Harry explained, reaching out to Rhaegar, holding his hands out. Rhaegar immediately placed his hands in Harry’s, feeling greedy enough for an alpha’s touch and near sighing when Harry entwined their fingers. “Ned will be your Warden of the North when you ascend to the throne.”
“The Quiet Wolf. You will be with me then?”
“Aye. I look forward to standing by your side,” Harry whispered, lightly pulling Rhaegar in close enough to lean his forehead against Rhaegar’s. “I look forward to wedding you and seeing you with child. I look forward to advising you and I look forward to claiming you. I have only known you for a few days but I believe you will be the best king Westeros has seen in a hundred years.”
Rhaegar’s heart skipped a beat or two at Harry’s words. “I… hope to be a good king, one day.”
Harry’s eyes narrowed and yelling filled the air as King Aerys stepped out of the great hall. “Your father… is not sane or healthy.”
“He was better,” Rhaegar whispered as Harry pulled away a little but still held onto his hands. “The mess at Duskendale made him worse but he still--”
“You need to take the throne,” Harry spoke, glancing behind them to where King Aerys was and then back to Rhaegar. “I have known men like Aerys. He will not end well, either at the flame of a dragon or by his own doing or both.”
“You are threat--”
“I am not threatening the king. The king threatens himself.”
Rhaegar turned to look at his father, taking Harry’s words to mind. Aerys stared at Frostfyre and Balerion, his purple eyes wide and crazed still.
“He is the blood of the dragons.”
“That does not mean he is above reproach,” Harry murmured, dipping his head in a slight nod towards Aerys. “He ordered the deaths of House Darklyn and extinguished that house forever. Look at him. That is a not a king. Just a middle aged man who looks far older than his years because he thinks everyone is out to get him. When I first saw you, I thought you were the king because you look it.”
Rhaegar sighed and Harry reached out, sliding his hand up to Rhaegar’s shoulder and squeezing in reassurance. “I’m with you, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. I am not with your father.”