Daenerys Targaryen woke to the feeling of 30 pounds being applied to her stomach. She did not, however, open her eyes. And then she heard giggling.
“Mama, are you going to sleep allllll day?” a little voice asked. Finally she opened her eyes – only to be staring into a much smaller version of her own eyes. She smiled.
“Why, my little dragon? Is there something important happening today?” she teased her daughter as she sat up in bed. The little girl was jostled by this action but was quickly rearranged to be sitting in her mother’s lap. Her small face contorted into a pout.
“Mama! It’s my birthday! Did you forget? Will Drogon forget too?” the girl asked, peering at her mother very seriously. She laughed and planted kisses on her forehead and nose.
“How could I forget the day my very favorite person was born? Drogon hasn’t forgotten either. We take this day very seriously,” she said, giving a nod and picking up her daughter as she rose from the bed.
“Best get dressed if you’re expecting any dragon rides today,” she said, sitting the girl down. The girl bounced out of the room to dress in appropriate riding apparel. Dany walked out onto her balcony, eyes roaming past the lemon grove in the courtyard below to the nearby beach. There Drogon sat, staring back at her. She grinned. She could feel his excitement for the day even as he basked in the sunshine on the sand. She quickly headed back inside and dressed.
She found her little girl sitting in the kitchen downstairs. Her hair was still down in golden curls – had her hair been darker, she would have looked very reminiscent of Jon Snow himself. Daenerys sighed and moved to help her with her braids.
“Mama, can we put bells in my braids? I’m four today, and I’m going to ride a dragon. Maybe Drogon would like to hear the bells in my hair like the Khal Drogo you named him after.” She looked so hopeful that she could not deny her little dragon. She nodded and began to weave the tiny bells into her daughter’s braids. It had been years since she had worn any in her hair – the sounds only reminded her of that fateful day long ago in Kings Landing. But she would not ruin her daughter’s birthday and so the bells would stay. They were her stories of the man Drogon was named after that had inspired the desire in the first place.
“Missandei Targaryen, braided and belled at only four years old. What do you say to a dragon ride?” she asked as she headed out the door, through the lemon grove. She heard little girl squeals following her. As they arrived at the beach, Missandei approached the dragon and stood directly in front of him. Daenerys could feel that he was amused by her daughter, as he often was.
“Drogon, if it pleases you, I’d like to fly now,” she said in earnest. Unlike her mother, Missandei could not feel what Drogon was thinking, but she was aware of his general mood. A dragon can always sense another dragon, after all. Drogon cocked his head at her and Dany gave a nod. Gracefully, the giant dragon bent down to let the little girl climb onto his back. She followed suit. Once she was sure her daughter was secure, Drogon took to the skies. The wind blew on her face and she smiled. There was something about being in the air that could really make one feel true joy. She heard squealing and looked down at her little girl. Her eyes were wide and full of wonder, her smile as bright as Dany had ever seen.
It could have been minutes or hours later that Drogon touched back down on the beach. Flying had a way of making you lose track of time. Carefully, she helped her daughter down from the dragon’s back.
“Dei, I’m going to get the rest of your birthday present, if you’d like to stay here with Drogon,” she raised an eyebrow at the girl. Dei smiled and sat on the beach next to Drogon; his winged curled protectively around her.
In the house, she grabbed the two things she’d come for. One was a treat fit for a birthday girl and the other a gift she had been holding on to for many moons. She quickly returned to the beach where her children were resting – one a little girl and one a giant dragon. For a moment, she paused and allowed herself to imagine a larger family gathered here. She could picture not one but three dragons roaming the sky, Jorah spinning wild tales about far away lands to amuse Dei, Missandei (the great woman she had named her daughter after) splashing in the water humming a little tune, and Grey Worm looking on making sure they were protected and happy, engaging with them when Dei’s energy would no longer allow him to hide his joy away. In her picture, she could even feel Jon Snow by her side, looking at their daughter with a smile on his face. And then, just like that the picture was gone. She shook her head to let the dreams disappear and bring her back to the present. Her family may be smaller than she had hoped, but she was forever grateful to have them at all.
Dei turned to her mother, curious as to the birthday surprises that had yet to come. After all, she had only asked to ride Drogon for her birthday. Daenerys grinned in anticipation.
“Lemon cakes,” she said exuberantly, holding the treats out to the little girl. Dei brightened, for lemon cakes were her absolute favorite, and took a couple. She looked to Drogon, as if asking if he wanted one. Dany could feel his amusement at this – for Drogon would much prefer a cow to lemon cakes if it was his birthday.
“One more surprise, my little dragon,” she whispered, almost reverently. In her other hand, sat a purple dragon egg (or a dragon stone as the merchant she bought it from claimed). At this presentation, Drogon lifted his head to get a better look.
“Wow,” breathed Dei. Besides Daenerys, there was nobody else alive in the world that had seen a dragon egg hatched. The little girl cradled the egg in her small hands.
“How do we hatch it, Mama?” she asked in wonder. Dany had never told her daughter the exact story of how she had become the Mother of Dragons. That was a story for when she was older. Besides, that would not be necessary this time. She had known from the moment she laid eyes on the egg that inside was a majestic dragon waiting to be freed. She could feel the magic, just as she could feel Drogon.
She was certain that not all Targaryens had such strong connections to dragons – not even in the days when dragons had been plentiful. She had collected many books on the past, specifically of the Targaryens and Old Valyria, over the last four years. She also knew from experience that she had not been able to truly feel the emotions of Viserion or Rhaegal the way she could Drogon. She had been their mother and she had loved them dearly, but she had not been their rider.
Her greatest hope was that Missandei would one day develop a connection like the one that she shared with Drogon. Even if that did not happen, she did not wish Drogon to be the last of his kind. A dragon alone in the world was a terrible thing. Perhaps she was not all sane – for most mothers (even Targaryen ones) would not have done what she did next. But she had never been like everyone else. And fire couldn’t hurt a dragon anyway.
“Dracarys,” she said, looking at Drogon. And he opened his mouth and breathed, just like his mother asked. Somewhere farther down the beach there were faint sounds of screaming, but that did not matter to Daenerys Targaryen. Because, in Drogon’s flames, a tiny purple dragon was coming to life, a little girl with purple eyes was giggling, and the Mother of Dragons was once again proving magic was real.