Tyrion Lannister stood on the edge of the ship, his hands gripping the wooden, slightly splintered railing. He found himself feeling fortunate, somehow, that his small stature allowed him to fit in this small enclave, hidden in one of the sharp corners of the ship. It was here that he did his best thinking – perched on the edge of the ship, gripping the railing as he watched the dark waters below. The seafoam mesmerized him. He often found himself picking out shapes and ever-changing patterns. They'd only been on the seas for a few days, yet he had found himself with a routine that frequently led him back to this spot.

He was nervous. More nervous than he'd dare admit to his Queen or even Varys. Each passing of the oars brought him closer to King's Landing. Closer to Cersei - the Mad Queen - and likely, closer to his death. He wasn't really scared of death anymore, he thought, staring into his wine cup. All he could hope for now was he'd survive long enough to see Daenerys Stormborn take the Iron Throne. And if he couldn't, he'd die trying. That was good enough for him.

Tyrion turned and jumped down to the deck where he leaned his back against the railing and watched those on the ship move about. He had the honor of being on the ship carrying the Queen, along with Missandei, Grey Worm, and Varys. Being the Hand of the Queen has its benefits, he thought, raising his wine to his lips. His body warmed suddenly and for a moment he thought to fool himself into thinking it was the wine. In reality, his body surged with warmth and energy every time he remembered the day the Queen named him Hand.

"Such confidence," he said aloud. Had anyone ever shown such a level of confidence in him before? Had anyone ever dared trust in his capabilities the way Daenerys Stormborn had? He couldn't say he deserved it. Though he would spend his life, however short it may be, trying to live up to her expectations.

His fingers danced over the pin resting upon his chest. He had traced it many times. It wasn't the first time he'd donned such a symbol, but somehow, this time it felt like it meant something.

"I don't believe I could count the number of times I've seen you stroking that pin while staring off into the distance, my Hand."

Daenerys's voice shook Tyrion from his daydream. His cup jumped in his hands, wine spilling onto his chest and dripping down his front. The warmth he had felt suddenly turned to embers of embarrassment.

"My Queen," Tyrion said as he looked up into her face. The sun shone behind her, momentarily blinding him. "You mustn't do yourself such a disservice. Surely you can count higher than that."

The Queen snickered and took his place in the enclave, staring out over the water. While her petite body fit well, her height did not allow her to be hidden the way Tyrion often enjoyed.

"It doesn't even feel as though we're moving, Tyrion. It's as though the ships have stopped and time with it. Days pass as weeks or months rather than minutes and hours. Your sister sits on the throne – MY throne – and calls herself Queen."

Tyrion leaned against the railing beside her, his back toward the sea. The irony, he thought. To him, the days passed at lightning speed. A fact he did not relish.

"I await the day I rise to find you have climbed upon Drogon and flown off to burn my sister to the ground."

"I admit I've considered it," Daenerys said. "But what of the rest of them? I will not burn them all the way your sister has. The way my father wanted. Your brother, Jamie -"

"My brother, Jamie, indeed."

Silence followed. Tyrion finished what was left of his wine and stared up at the mast over their head. Would he ever again fly his own sigil? Would he ever again want to?

A breeze picked up the Queen's dress, blowing the delicate fabric across his legs. Tyrion laughed, raising a hand to touch the hem of the fabric.

"A joke, my Lord?"

"Not so much a joke, my Queen. Quite the opposite in fact." Daenerys looked down as Tyrion captured the hem between his fingers, staring at it intently. "You are the fiercest woman I've ever known. You command dragons with a simple thought. You command armies with a glance. You will soon rule the Seven Kingdoms and the world, yet your dress is made of the most delicate fabric known. It drifts on the wind as though we were not sailing toward war and death."

"My dress," Daenerys began, "is not meant to be armor, Lord Tyrion. A dress is simply a dress. Do you think me less capable of destroying your sister and reclaiming my throne while wearing silk?"

Tyrion opened his mouth in protest, but the Queen raised a hand to stop him. Her amused expression did nothing to abate the embers in his stomach.

"Would you prefer I wear full body armor, carry a shield and sword? Would that make me safer than three dragons, an army, and a loyal Hand could do?"

Tyrion closed his mouth. It wasn't as though armor was a bad idea…

"It matters not what I wear. Nor what you, Grey Worm, or anyone else who fights for me wears. I should fly into battle naked on Drogon's back and it would make no difference. I will have my throne and you shall be at my side when I take it."

"Of course, my Queen." Tyrion said, instinctively raising his empty cup to his lips. "I only meant that your silks and delicate dresses could give the misimpression that you are not a warrior."

"Then I shall have to correct that misimpression with fire and blood."

Tyrion inclined his head slightly, his lips upturned in a smile hidden by his facial hair. The image of his Queen flying naked into battle, dragon fire paving her way, had stayed with him. He had seen many naked women in his life, yet the thought of Daenerys Stormborn's ivory skin contrasted with the deep onyx of Drogon's scales gave him a chill. There was a time he would have paid several pounds of gold to have seen it. Now, he felt guilty and ashamed to even think of her in such a way.

"On that note, I seemed to have spilled more wine than I thought and am in desperate need of refilling. If I may take my leave, Your Grace."

Daenerys turned away from the sea finally and found her Hand staring at the sea at her back. His cheeks were slightly flushed, she could see under his scar and scruff. He would not meet her eyes and still held the hem of her dress absentmindedly at his side, his thumb and forefinger rubbing the material gently. Dany had to remind herself that there were still many layers to Lord Tyrion she had not yet peeled away. His loyalty knew no bounds, yet she often found him lost in thought which he would not share with her.

"You may, Lord Tyrion, but were you planning to take my dress with you when you go?"

Tyrion looked down at his hand so quickly his neck threatened to break from the force. He released her dress, throwing it as though it offended him, and turned, bowing slightly.

"Apologies, Your Grace. I have not quite yet learned how to keep my hand from roaming."

"Let's hope I will not have the same problem with my Hand."

XXXX

Tyrion lay in his quarters, hands under his head, staring into the darkness surrounding him. He didn't sleep much since they'd set sail. He pretended to try, but really only spent his nights thinking, imagining, and planning. He thought a lot about Jamie. His brother, the Kingslayer, had always been the only family he'd had that he'd actually felt something resembling pride for. Not to say there wasn't plenty of reason to dislike, distrust, and disavow his brother, but he'd been the only one to ever treat Tyrion as though he were more than just a burdensome imp.

Jamie had sacrificed his honor and reputation to kill Aerys Targaryen, the Mad King. Being a member of the King's Guard meant protecting the King, not killing him. Being the leader of that guard and then murdering your King, even if he was mad and dangerous to all, was treason. Jamie Lannister had been labeled a traitor to the throne and only the Lannister money had saved him in the end. Money, and Cersei's marriage to the new King. Jamie sacrificed everything to protect the realm from the Mad King and now Cersei, their sister and Jamie's one and only love, had become the Mad Queen. Tyrion could only imagine Jamie's tortured heart.

He could also only imagine all the ways in which Cersei would have him killed. The flayed man may have been the sigil of the Bolton house, but it was Tyrion himself whom he saw Cersei flaying in his brief moments of unconsciousness. It was Tyrion himself whom he saw Cersei hunting, burning alive, cutting into pieces. He didn't fear death; not really. He expected it. His mind was just preparing itself by imagining all the ways in which she might do it. Because he knew she would. If there was one thing he could count on, it was his death by his sister's hand.

He rose from his blankets and set his lamp ablaze. It was not a bright light, but just enough to cast the room in a gentle glow. He sat at the desk beside his bed and stared at the plans spread across them. He'd brought them to his room after the Small Council meeting to review. It wasn't so much a plan but an idea of "maybe this will happen" with a list of contingencies, houses loyal to Jon Snow and Sansa Stark, and a map of King's Landing and the neighboring areas.

"Jon Snow," Tyrion said to himself. Who would have thought the Stark bastard would have risen to be King in the North? A smile played across Tyrion's lips. He remembered his short time with Jon Snow during the journey to the Wall. He was much younger then and the world had already sought out to remind him he was just a bastard born in the south. Tyrion felt a certain kinship toward him.

A knock sounded from his door, gentle and short. He already knew it to be Missandei.

"Enter." Tyrion said, running his fingers over the map.

The door opened and Missandei stepped in, followed by Grey Worm. He was always there, wherever Missandei was, which was normally with the Queen.

"The Queen has requested your presence, my Lord."

Missandei stood near the door, Grey Worm at her side, his gaze as hard as ever. Tyrion had grown quite fond of Missandei. She was bright and cheerful most days, but she also spoke her mind when she felt it was warranted. He rather enjoyed arguing with her some days. He also enjoyed the impact their arguing had on Grey Worm, who was always quick to side against Tyrion. As though Tyrion couldn't see through that. You didn't need balls to have a heart and it was clear Missandei had stolen Grey Worm's.

"Has she?" He said, moving away from the desk. "Excellent. I was in need of refilling my cup anyway. Grey Worm can save me the trouble."

He tossed his cup to Grey Worm, who caught it easily and scowled.

"Am I a cup bearer?"

"You are many things, Grey Worm. Among them, the most honored Cup Bearer of the Queen's Hand. Hold your head high! I'll even see if I can find a cup bearer pin to fix to your chest!"

Grey Worm's lip curled slightly but he stepped aside as Tyrion exited the room ahead of them. Missendei's smirk was slight but Tyrion saw it nonetheless.

He entered Daenerys's chambers and found her standing near her desk, eyes tracing the sigil seal Tyrion had had made for her. He did not fail to notice the way the lamp cast his Queen in a silhouette. He wondered, briefly, how many more times he would be fortunate enough to see this level of beauty before his eyes were plucked from his skull by his sister.

"My Hand," Daenerys said, not turning from her spot.

"My Queen," he said in reply, feeling the warmth in his body spread as it did every time she called him as such.

"How is it, Lord Tyrion, that I can feel when you're awake? It's as though the air is alive and when you sleep, it feels heavier somehow."

"Let us be thankful I do not sleep often then, Your Grace."

Daenerys turned away from the desk and faced Tyrion. He nearly stumbled back and would have had his feet not felt like lead. Her hair fell around her face and across her shoulders and breasts. Her braids had been let loose and hair unbound from its ties. Tyrion saw the brush in her hand and imagined her doing something as mundane as brushing her own hair in the soft glow illuminating the room. He was struck mute.

"That will be all, Missandei, Grey Worm."

"Your Grace," they said in unison and left the room.

Daenerys moved across the room and joined Tyrion where he still stood near the sitting area. She sat down and put her brush aside.

"I'm in need of council, Tyrion Lannister."

Tyrion found his footing and moved forward, sitting down beside her. He reached for his wine cup and groaned inwardly when he realized Grey Worm had taken it with him – unfilled.

"How many I be of service, Your Grace?"

"Our plan after we arrive in King's Landing and I have taken the Iron Throne sees me calling upon Jon Snow to ask for his allegiance."

"Yes," Tyrion said, imagining Daenerys on the throne with Jon Snow standing beside her. It made sense to him. The Spider's intel said Jon Snow had become the most beloved member of the Stark family, living or dead. This said a lot, Tyrion thought, about Jon given he wasn't a true Stark. A bastard born in the south had somehow managed to win the loyalty of the North. Sansa Stark being at his side surely had helped, but it was still no small feat, Tyrion thought, to win the North with an Army of wildlings no less.

Daenerys cleared her throat and turned toward Tyrion.

"I have decided that I will send you to Winterfell instead. You will meet with Jon Snow and Sansa Stark, with whom, as I understand from Varys, you have a history. You will discuss terms with the siblings. You will be diplomatic and charming. You will stop any dissent before it may begin and then you will wait in Winterfell until called upon."

Tyrion felt as though a dagger had been plunged into his stomach.

"I will do no such thing," he said, rising to his feet, putting them eye-to-eye. "No one, not even the Spider, knows King's Landing and the Lannister twins better than I do. You will need me there to reason with Jamie, to deal with Cersei. You will need –"

"I will need you alive."

"And you shall have me alive! Do you really think I have come all this way, suffered through my sadistic nephew's reign, my sister's plots, my father's betrayal, just so I could run away with my tail between my legs to hide from them now? I will do no such thing."

"You will do as your Queen commands."

Tyrion opened his mouth to respond, but no words came. She was his Queen. The only word that mattered was hers. He could not disobey a direct order, yet how could he leave from her side at the most important time? How could he leave from her side at any time? He could not. He would not.

"My Queen," he said, falling to his knees in front of her. He took her hand in both of his, looking directly in her eyes for the first time since they set sail. "I beg of you, do not ask this of me. My place is here, by your side, facing it with you. Protecting you. I can see through the lies, the tricks. I've been the victim of them all my life; I know what to expect. I cannot advise you if I am sent away from you. How can a Hand know when to move if it's cut from the wrist that gives it life?"

"Life?" The Queen said, her brows drawn together as if the concept was foreign and ludicrous. "What life, Tyrion? What life is there if you are killed? What purpose does a wrist have without its hand? What purpose would I have if you died for me? "

Tyrion would have laughed if he'd been able to breathe. The idea that Daenerys Stormborn would have no purpose if – no, when – he died was unfathomable.

"Purpose, my Queen? You will rule. You will restore peace. You will do the things which you promised and take your rightful place on the –"

"Yes, yes, I would do all of that and more, Tyrion Lannister. I would rule and I would continue breathing. I would rise each day and I would rest each night. But how would I live, Tyrion, knowing I could have saved you, could have kept you safe, and allowed you to walk into a trap?"

"Daenerys Stormborn!" Tyrion did laugh this time. "Your life, believe it or not, is worth much more than my own. My purpose all along, I have discovered, was only to get you to this point. I will see you take the throne and then my own life be damned."

His heart softened, causing his eyes to shine and his features to relax. Here was his Queen, clearly not thinking straight, attempting to put his life before that of the realm; before that of the peaceful reign she would bring with her. It only made him admire her more and the embers in his stomach fanned to life. He squeezed her hands, causing her to lean closer to his face as he stared up at her. Her eyes searched his and he could see her sincerity. She pled with him silently until he patted the top of her hand and smiled.

"The place of the Hand is at his Queen's side. As it were, the place of Tyrion Lannister is at the side of Daenerys Stormborn, queen or peasant, it makes no difference. You may command me to leave you, Daenerys, but I will disobey that command with my dying breath if the gods decide."

He leaned in closer, a smirk upon his lips.

"It would be a death worth dying."

XXXX

The air was no longer warm. Tyrion could see his breath and the breath of the Iron Born on the neighboring ship. The warmth of Meereen and Vaes Dothrak was long forgotten. Daenerys no longer wore her silk dresses; rather, she had donned a combination of Dothraki riding pants and a wool dress embroidered with dragons around the neck. The cold didn't seem to bother the Queen as it did the others, but she had made a point not to look as though she wasn't suffering as much as those around her.

"A week at most, Your Grace." Varys stood beside Tyrion looking out at the frigid waters with the Queen. Tyrion watched his reflection in the dark wine of the cup, vaguely illuminated by the setting sun. The clouds had been kind today and allowed them glimpses of the sun.

Tyrion heard shouts being raised on the ships furthest from them and spun, climbing up on the side of the ship. He strained as far as he could to get a look and felt Grey Worm at his side instantly.

On the horizon, a fleet of ships flecked the waters, inching closer to them.

"Drop anchors! Now!"

Tyrion was shouting direction before he even realized what he was saying. Within seconds, the entire fleet had dropped anchors. At least now they would have a few more moments to develop a plan.

Yara Greyjoy leaned over the side of her ship, Theon Greyjoy at her side.

"They bare the sigil of the Iron Islands! Euron has caught up with us!"

Tyrion knew what the Queen would say even before he looked at her. She had pledged her loyalty to Yara and Theon just has they had done the same to her. That meant they had her protection. She would not offer them up to this crazed uncle who apparently had his own ideas of how Daenerys should rule.

"Prepare the armies. We will not run and we will not hand them over. Give them the chance to surrender and let's try to keep the ships in tact. My dragons are far, but not far enough that I can't bring them in time. I shall try to talk with this Lord of the Iron Islands first."

It took seconds for Grey Worm to begin communicating with the other ships. Within minutes each ship was alive with warriors ready to follow the commands of their Queen.

"My Hand," Daenerys said, and placed a hand on Tyrion's shoulder. "I may need your wisdom and pithy observations."

It did not take long for their ship to meet the messenger ship from the Iron fleet. Daenerys, Tyrion, Grey Worm, Varys, and Missandei stood at the helm of the ship as a handful of Iron Borns stood at the helm of their ship. Tyrion took inventory of the Iron Fleet. Each ship had as many men as it could fit on the deck. He gave up trying to count all the ships and focused instead of the archers perched in the masts, bows at the ready.

"Archers," Tyrion whispered to the Queen as she stepped forward.

"I am Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons, Queen of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm."

A man stepped forward from the group opposite them and Tyrion knew instantly it was Euron Greyjoy. The crown on his head proved that almost as much as his arrogant grin did.

"And that's my ship you're standing on, Mother of Dragons. Tell me, where are my niece and nephew hiding, exactly? I should rather like to see them again. I've worried for their wellbeing so."

Tyrion felt Varys shift uneasily next to him. He knew why; this Greyjoy exercised too much confidence for a man acknowledging the Mother of Dragons.

"You have a choice, a rather simple one, really. Send your armada home. Flee to your Islands until I'm ready to deal with you, and trust me, I will come for you. Or watch your men burn around you; feel your skin melt from your bones and your organs liquefy. Of course, I'm prepared to accept your surrender, in which case I will allow the Iron Borns to return home under the reign of the rightful Queen, Yara Greyjoy."

Laughter filled the air. Not just from Euron, but all of the Iron Borns. Tyrion signaled for the anchor to be raised and their ship to be turned around. There would be no peaceful surrender here.

"I don't believe I can accept your terms, Your Grace."

An arrow flew. Tyrion saw it sail through the air faster than his lips could cast a warning. More came behind it, raining down upon them. Grey Worm was there instantly, shielding the Queen from the arrows while Varys took Missandei below deck. Tyrion vaguely registered the fact that he'd never seen Varys move so quickly before. The next thing Tyrion saw was the blood staining his Queen's dress, flowing freely where an arrow stuck out of her thigh.

He was there, behind Grey Worm's shield as they moved toward the back of the ship. His eyes met his Queen's eyes and while he saw pain there, he saw something else. Her eyes raised to the sky and Drogon swooped, enveloping Euron and his ship in fire. It took mere seconds for the rain of arrows to cease and screams to fill the air.

"We must pull the arrow." Tyrion said, more to himself than anyone. He pulled Grey Worm's belt free, casting aside his fighting knives as he secured the belt above Daenerys's wound, pulling with all his might until it was tight enough to stop the flow of blood. He glanced at Daenerys's face, but looked away quickly. He pulled the arrow from her thigh and she cried out briefly before stifling her pain.

"Wrap it," Tyrion said to Grey Worm who had already begun doing so. Tyrion stumbled back, his hands stained with the blood of his Queen. He felt himself grow faint at the sight of her blood on his hands. As though he could have felt any more inadequate than he already did, Tyrion found himself on the floor suddenly, his vision swimming and his breathing shallow. He heard Daenerys scream his name as her hand reached for him, grasping air instead.

XXXX

Pain shook Tyrion violently as he stretched in his sleep, forcing him awake. He gasped for air as he woke, reaching for something to grip. A hand took his, gripping it tightly in the darkness.

"Don't move. Don't even think of it."

"Your Grace." Tyrion said, feebly.

"You took an arrow in the side and another grazed your neck. Your neck is fine; only a scar will remain. But the arrow to your side caused a fair amount of damage on account of - "

"On account of my stature. Yes, I know."

"You fool, Tyrion Lannister. You carry no shield. You carry no sword. Yet you shield me with your body. You get yourself shot and then you tend to my wounds, you fool."

Tyrion felt genuinely confused. He hadn't shielded his Queen. He hadn't done a damn thing but stand there, rooted to the spot, watching the lifeblood flow from her.

"I didn't shield you," he said slowly. "I wish I had. That was Grey Worm. It was his shield protecting us."

"Yes," Daenerys said slowly, "but it was you who moved in front of me when you saw the Archers. It was you who pulled me down and covered your body with mine before Grey Worm's shield was there."

Tyrion struggled to sit up, pain shooting down his side instantly. Gods how he wanted a drink.

"Don't move, I said. Your Queen has given a command, Tyrion Lannister."

"But I didn't do what you're saying. How can you say such a thing?"

Tyrion's bed dipped as Daenerys sat down on the edge, moving from her seat beside his bed. Her hands still gripped his and the light from his lamp danced across her face. Her eyes were swollen and her hair disheveled as though she had been running her hands through it absentmindedly. She stared down at him, her eyes tracing his features and the embers in his stomach reignited. She removed one hand, still holding his hand with the other, and placed it on his cheek. Her touch was so gentle it made his heart ache. When had he last been touched by a woman in such an affectionate way?

"You damn fool." She whispered again before resting her forehead against his. Eyes closed, they stayed that way for a moment or two until Tyrion could no longer stand to have her so close.

"Your thigh, Your Grace," he said, pulling his head back slightly.

"It's fine. Aches, but no real damage was done. I suspect we'll have matching scars."

"Yes, well I rather think scars tend to improve my features. Gives me an edge dwarfs aren't typically known for, don't you think?"

"Thank you," Daenerys whispered and kissed his forehead before sitting back on the bed again. Tyrion could only nod. He did not remember making his legs move. He could not remember stepping in front of her in the first place, much less pulling her down when the arrows flew. All he could remember was the sound of laughter in the air, followed by the distinct scent of dragon fire.

Tyrion laid his head back on the pillow, staring straight. He felt the heavy pull of sleep begin to take him back under and, for once, he was inclined to let it. As he drifted into darkness, he felt the bed shift beside him and a gentle weight lay upon his chest, an arm crossing his waist.

XXXX

Tyrion sensed the glow of the lit lamps on his face before he actually opened his eyes to greet it. His body ached. There wasn't a part of him that felt comfortable, he realized, and lamented waking up at all. The weight on his chest, while not uncomfortable, had kept him from being able to shift his tired bones throughout the night. Yet, as he opened his eyes and looked down at the curls fanned across his chest, he could not lament his pain. Daenerys lay beside him, her head on his chest, arm across his waist, and leg draped over his. While not as obvious, their height difference did not escape Tyrion. The Queen's leg was bent at the knee and rested on his shin. Still, somehow, he felt her equal in that moment.

He raised his right hand, allowing his fingertips to graze her curls. Her hair was soft and thicker than he imagined. He gingerly wrapped a lock around his fingers, pondering the ramifications of the scene should someone enter unannounced. Still, he could not bring himself to wake her. Just a few more moments, he thought. That was all he needed.

Daenerys shifted in her sleep, her arm and leg somehow pulling Tyrion even closer. A stab of pain shot through his body as she moved him, her hand resting over the wound on his side. With his face buried in her hair, Tyrion found himself bringing his free arm around the Queen, his hand resting on her arm. Careful not to wake her, Tyrion closed his eyes and breathed in the scent of her.

How easy it would be, he thought, to fall for her. The imp in love with his Queen. Maybe I am the fool she says I am. I would be if I allowed myself to think of her in such a manner.

Tyrion knew he was dangerously close to allowing his admiration and affection for his Queen to develop into something more than the loyalty of a Hand to his Queen. His mind flashed briefly on the ill-fated moments in his life when he allowed himself to feel actual love for a woman and the irrevocable damage that had followed. It would only destroy what was left of him, harboring an unrequited love for this woman. He would soon be developing a plan for her to expand her political power through marriage. A chuckle escaped his lips as he imagined a love struck imp standing beside the Mother of Dragons, watching her marry for power.

"A joke, My Lord?"

Daenerys's head turned until her chin rested on his chest, looking up at him.

"Yes, I suppose so." He said, staring down at her. She smiled gently and then turned her head again, laying it back down. His hand still rested on her arm and her hair was wrapped around his fingers. "Apologies, Your Grace. My hands seem to have wandered again."

"I might've been offended had they not."

Tyrion felt a smirk spread across his lips. She was more brazen than he'd given her credit for.

"Are you comfortable? Am I hurting you?"

Daenerys's words were barely a whisper and she pulled her hand from his side, resting it on her leg instead.

"You do not cause me pain, Your Grace. Though I am in need of a new position."

Daenerys pulled back slightly, laying her head on the pillow rather than Tyrion's chest, her arms and legs removed from his body. He struggled some, but managed to turn on his good side so he was facing her. Appreciative of the fact that she did not try to assist him and allowed him to act as though he wasn't feeble in so many ways, he smiled at her.

They lay facing each other, heads cushioned, bodies pressed together in the small bed. Tyrion became increasingly aware of the inappropriateness of the situation he found himself in.

"If someone walked in," he began.

"I would send them out again," she finished.

"Still."

"Do you think it concerns me? Do you think it would somehow sully my reputation or endanger my reign if I were to be found in your embrace?"

Tyrion looked down at the position of their bodies. The Queen had her arms brought in to her chest, nestled under her chin. For once, she looked her age rather than the maturity life had forced her to take on so young. Though he often acted without fully thinking, Tyrion could not claim it at this moment. He was fully aware of his moments as he raised his arm and rested his hand on the Queen's side.

"It was hardly an embrace, after all."

Daenerys's eyes danced with amusement and… was it satisfaction he saw there?

XXXX

The Small Council gathered around Tyrion's bed several hours later. He had been allowed up to refresh himself and eat some bread, but had then been ordered back to bed by the Queen – without his wine cup. She had left him while he ate, retiring to her chambers to bathe and change the bandage on her leg. When she returned, she was accompanied by Missandei and took her place back on the edge of his bed. She was still there when the rest of the council entered.

Tyrion watched Varys as he entered, his eyes moving between Tyrion and the Queen. Though his expression gave nothing away, Tyrion knew his thoughts well; he'd thought them himself.

Grey Worm followed behind Varys and took his usual spot at Missandei's side. His eye did not even follow the same trajectory as Varys, which Tyrion found interesting.

"We need to develop a plan for resuming our journey," Daenerys began. "I'd like to give Lord Tyrion another day of rest and then raise the anchors and continue to Westeros."

"The Iron Fleet?" Tyrion asked, looking at Grey Worm.

"Split," he said. "Some rejoined the Greyjoy siblings and pledged their loyalty to them, others returned to the Iron Islands to be dealt with later. We have absorbed the new ships into our fleet under the command of Yara Greyjoy."

Tyrion nodded and looked to Varys.

"Any news?"

"The Iron Borns had limited news themselves, but say Cersei still sits upon the throne. Rumors abound, but seem to support the notion that Sansa Stark has made it her singular mission to kill Cersei herself. Whether she plans to take the Iron Throne or simply wants vengeance, we cannot be sure. It stands to reason she has the support of Jon Snow, despite his preference to prepare for the battle winter brings. The last the Iron Borns knew, there had been no movement by the Stark siblings."

"And Jamie?"

Varys inclined his head sadly, respectfully. "No word, My Lord."

"Very well," Tyrion said, looking to his Queen. "One day. No more. Tomorrow we raise the anchors. If Sansa Stark plans to go against my sister, she'll need our help to do it. There's likely no one my sister would find more joy in murdering than Sansa Stark. Other than me, of course. I'm still her number one."

"Yes," Daenerys said, her eyes holding his. "I imagine your former wife would be grateful for support."

Tyrion raised an eyebrow, searching his Queen's expression.

"Another thing," Varys said, interrupting Tyrion's puzzled thoughts. "The Iron Fleet had a few items of importance on board. Primarily food and supplies, but also – "

"Music," Missandei interrupted, happily. "Many instruments, Your Grace."

"The thought," Varys said, retaking the conversation, "is they might prove useful for reinvigorating your army, Your Grace. The Unsullied are not used to such things, but the Iron Born and Dothraki are accustomed to celebrations and the Dothraki especially grow anxious. Perhaps we should give them a night of celebration on the sea before we resume the journey."

"Very well," Daenerys said, rising from Tyrion's bed. "I'll leave the plans to you, Missandei, Varys. Confer with Yara Greyjoy and the Dothraki."

Without a second glance, The Queen left the room, leaving Tyrion to his thoughts.

XXXX

Sunset came and Daenerys's fleet passed rations of fresh food from ship to ship. The Dothraki slaughtered half of the remaining livestock so fresh meat could be had by all. With the extra rations from the Iron fleet, they had plenty of food to see them through the rest of the journey. Music filled the air and Tyrion watched Grey Worm watch Missandei dance on the deck of their ship. It was something to behold: Grey Worm's love for a woman he'd never have as a man should have a woman. Tyrion recalled his many trysts with whores and women who smiled at him while reaching for his coin purse. He'd never been smiled at the way Missandei smiled at Grey Worm. Not truly. Shae may have loved him once, but he hadn't lived up to her standards enough to keep her loyal. Grey Worm, on the other hand, was constantly reminding Missandei that he would keep her safe and happy. The pain knowing that could never be enough undoubtedly haunted Grey Worm.

His wine cup had already been refilled twice, yet Tyrion still did not feel comfortably numb. The warmth provided by the wine helped combat the brisk air, but did nothing to help combat the ache in his side. Or his heart.

He had not seen Daenerys since the small council meeting hours before. She had not yet joined the celebration and Tyrion had not been brave enough to seek her out. Something had passed between them in the night. They hadn't spoken of it, of course. He hadn't dared ask his Queen why she had slept in his bed. Surely she would rebuff his question and remind him that a Queen is responsible for her Hand as she is her armies and people.

Just as he began to refill his cup, Daenerys ascended the steps onto the deck and strolled toward Missandei, watching her dance. Her dress, he noted, was not equipped to combat the cold air this time. White with gold embroidered in a pattern resembling dragon scales, sleeveless with a plunging neck and flowing chiffon drifting on the breeze with her each step. She looked like a goddess rather than a Queen.

Missandei took Daenerys's hands and pulled her toward her, causing the Queen to laugh and spin with her. Varys and Grey Worm stood nearby clapping with the music and grinning at the sight. Tyrion swallowed the last of his wine and cradled his cup in his hands, leaning forward in his seat as he watched. On one turn, Daenerys's eyes found Tyrion and she held them, spinning with Missandei, laughter etched across her face. He watched as Missandei spun her with one hand and each time she rotated, her eyes found his again.

It was too much, he decided and rose suddenly. Too dangerous, he thought, to watch her like this. He began to descend the stairs, going back to his chambers, when he heard the Queen call out for him.

"Lord Tyrion! The Queen would like a dance."

Tyrion froze, images flashing through his mind. How could he dance with his Queen? A half-man who barely reaches her stomach? A disfigured imp! Dancing with this goddess queen? All he could see was the awkwardness of her trying to figure out where to put her hands, having to swoop to reach him properly, his face leveled with her chest rather than her eyes.

Slowly he turned and faced Daenerys, whose expectant eyes challenged him. The spark he found in those eyes unnerved him.

"A thousand regrets, Your Grace, but my injury requires attention and I don't believe it would permit such activities. Besides, I rather think your soldiers would gain more enjoyment from seeing Your Majesty dance with the beautiful translator than the less stunning half-man."

Before she could respond, Tyrion gave a short bow and disappeared into the depths of the ship. He made it all the way into his room and had refilled his cup before the door opened and the Queen entered.

"You should not ignore a Queen's commands with such shamelessness, Tyrion Lannister."

"Forgive me, Your Grace. I meant no offense."

"You have offended regardless."

She took the cup from his hand and slammed it down on the desk before setting her sights on him. Her expression was fierce and the embers in his stomach set his every nerve aflame. Her hair fell across her shoulders, her Dothraki inspired braids crossing one another on top of her soft curls. He briefly remembered running his fingers through those curls and felt his cheeks flush.

"I meant no offense, Your Grace. My wound – "

"Was dressed a mere hour ago. Your aches dulled by the four cups of wine you've had this evening. You moved well enough down those stairs after all."

She stared at him and he stared back, without excuse or explanation. He only inclined his head slightly, acknowledging her words. She crossed the room suddenly, standing in front of him so he was forced to take a step back to see her face.

"You will dance with me, Tyrion."

Tyrion sighed, feeling his body surge with anger and embarrassment.

"Will I, Your Grace? Tell me, where should I put my hands since I can't reach to spin you properly? Where shall I fix my gaze since I think staring at your breasts might be ill advised?"

Laughter erupted over their heads and he heard Varys cheer on Grey Worm. He could only imagine the scene but felt a surge of jealousy when he did.

"It's funny, isn't it, My Queen? The Unsullied are mutilated so young to ensure they never find distraction with the opposite sex. Somehow Grey Worm has managed to win Missandei's heart despite his castration."

"I don't find it funny at all. I find it rather hopeful."

"Hope," he snickered as he picked up the wine and drank straight from the bottle. "Hope is for fools, Daenerys Stormborn. What hope have they? Hmm? He will never be able to touch her the way she deserves. He will never sire children with her. What can he do? Keep her safe and provide her with a few laughs if we're all lucky? Watch her from afar, admire her beauty, desire her, and yet be unable to fulfill those desires? Shall he commit himself to a life time by her side watching her love and be loved by another? How is that hope?"

Daenerys knocked the bottle of wine from his hand and set her gaze upon him in a way that would have shut him up had he had anything more to say.

"And she would die by his side, loving no other. Finding comfort only in his arms and his words. She would call herself his and he would be hers, his physical state be damned. Do you think it matters so how it looks to everyone else? Do you think she concerns herself with what others may whisper in the passing night, knowing his limitations and her sacrifice? Do you think anything matters more to her than the way he makes her feel? The way he protects her and seems to always put her first above the gods, his house, or his desires? Do you think she is so shallow that she would not cast aside all others to retain him?"

Tyrion stared up at her, his chest rising and falling with the force of his emotions. His blood burned with anger, passion, and desire. His mind screamed how she was wrong! Naïve child! He wanted to say.

"If he cannot see what stands in front of him, perhaps he is a fool after all."

The Queen cast him one more glance and left his room as quickly as she had entered it, leaving him confused, angry, heartbroken and in love.

XXXX

"Enter," Daenerys called from inside her chambers. Tyrion steadied himself before pushing the door open. He entered, eyes downcast, and closed the door behind him. He leaned against it, gathering himself before finally raising his eyes. Daenerys sat in a chair in the far corner of her room. She watched him for a moment before returning her gaze to the book in her lap.

He crossed the room and stopped in front of her. He studied her for a moment, noting that she was reading the history of the houses of Westeros, currently stopped on the pages dedicated to House Lannister. Slowly he lowered himself to his knee in front of her, his side aching as he did. He kept his eyes cast to the floor.

"You've made a grave mistake, Your Grace, naming me Hand of the Queen. For how can a fool be Hand?"

Daenerys closed the book and looked at him, saying nothing as he kept his eyes focused on the floor.

"How can a fool be trusted, respected, and loved by one such as yourself? How," he said, finally looking up at her, "can I allow myself to love you the way I do when you are who you are? Do I set myself up to be crushed once more? I fear it would be the last time. How do I dance with you in front of your armies, your advisors, your people, let alone stand at your side as anything more than the great honor you've already bestowed upon me? I am not worthy, Your Grace. The things I've done… Where I come from. I'm literally half the man Daario Naharis is and he was cast aside, from your own admission, without evoking any sort of feeling within you at all."

"You are not Daario Naharis, Tyrion Lannister. Need I remind you?"

"No, my Queen. I assure you, I need no reminder of who I am and where I come from."

"I think you do need a reminder. You are," she said, leaning forward, "The Gift. And a gift you have been. The only one I need; Varys is the Spider, no matter what you say, and I will never trust him. Missandei is loyal to a fault, but there will come a time when she will find her own place. Grey Worm will follow her. You are the only one I can count on to always be at my side. To give me honesty when I need it but don't want it; to plan and find clever ways to protect me. You make me laugh and comfort me even when you do not intend to with your odd straightforwardness. And you are not the disfigured imp you see yourself as."

Daenerys placed her hand on the side of his face, staring down at him.

"It is you I long to be near. You whom I worry about above all others. You whom I wish to sleep beside at night."

Tyrion could not breathe under the weight of her gaze and her words. It was not that he didn't believe her, for he could see the sincerity in her eyes. It was that he didn't understand why. He would always be her advisor and he would never leave her side. That should have been good enough, yet here she was asking to be near him in a way he never expected to be near a woman again.

"Stand," she said, pulling him to his feet.

He stood in front of her, eye-to-eye and heart-to-heart.

"You will dance with me, Tyrion Lannister."

Her expression broke into a sly grin and she rose, taking his hand. The music from the fleet could still be heard through the walls of the ship, though much fainter than before. Tyrion followed her to the middle of the room and stood facing her awkwardly. He did not know what to do, where to put his hands, or where to look. He had never danced this way before and he had surely never done it sober.

"Look at me," she whispered. He looked up and she raised her arms above her head, laying her hands over one another. She moved her hips from side to side slowly, watching him as she did. She turned slowly, keeping her arms raised above her head. When she faced him again, he reached out, placing his hands on her hips. Daenerys's expression lit up slightly and she seemed to flush, though Tyrion couldn't be sure.

He moved with her, slowly moving his body to imitate her movements, turning when she turned, swaying when she swayed, his hands always returning to her hips. His blood pounded in his ears, warming his body and easing the knot in his stomach.

Slowly, Daenerys lowered her arms and reached for his hand. He took and it she stepped back slowly, her arm outstretched. She came forward once more and he nodded, replicating the spin Missandei had done. He watched as the Queen spun slowly, her hair dancing with her every movement. He caught her easily when she came back, his hands landing on her hips once more. She stopped moving and looked down at him.

"It appears you would know how to dance after all, Lord Tyrion. Did you wife teach you?"

This time Tyrion could not have imagined the distinct tone of jealousy in her voice. He smirked up at her, allowing his hand to caress her side gently.

"Sansa Stark was my wife in title only. There was no physicality, let alone love."

"Mm."

Tyrion chuckled and took a step back, his legs hitting a discarded crate. He glanced at it and then looked at Daenerys before stepping onto it. Still holding her hand, he pulled her closer until their bodies were pressed together and they stood eye-to-eye. Daenerys put her hand on his shoulder and Tyrion rested his hands comfortably on her waist.

"There was a time," he said, "when standing so close to a woman was meaningless. Only a segue into stripping her body naked. Now, I can barely breathe to look at you and feel my heart might escape my chest from the force of its pounding."

"I've never danced with a man before," she whispered. "I've been loved, admired, respected, and feared by men. But I've never danced with one before."

They swayed together, gently moving their bodies from side to side, yet never separating; never allowing any distance between them.

"I don't know what this is," Tyrion said, finally. "Am I to be your advisor? Your friend? Your lover?"

Daenerys smiled and looked away, seeming to ponder his words. When she looked at him once more, her eyes were filled with hope and determination.

"You are to be my King."

XXXX

Tyrion awoke in the Queen's bed in the morning. He couldn't remember falling asleep. The last thing he remembered was lying with Daenerys in bed, stories pouring out of them in the darkness. She told him about her brother, Khal Drogo, her lost child, and her fears upon landing in Westeros. He told her about his mother, Shae, and his fears being publicly romantic with one another. Of course, she argued; it was all she ever did. But he painted an image for her that was hard to deny.

"Say you land in Westeros, kill my sister, imprison my brother, take the Iron Throne, and declare yourself Queen and Protector of the Realm. Now, say you do all of this while calling the Lannister Imp your King. Do you expect the people of Westeros, House Tyrell and Martell, to support your claim? Do you expect them to allow a Lannister, from the very House they have sought to destroy, to sit beside you? It's one thing to be Hand of the Queen; that's all very well and good – I've done that before and I've done it well. But to ask your newly conquered people to call me King… Rebellion and anger, my Queen, that's what you'd find."

"Am I to be held captive? Am I expected to hide my feelings? To marry another for political gain, betraying my own heart?"

"You are to protect your people by whatever means necessary. You are to bring peace to the realm and prepare for winter. Jon Snow would be – "

"King in the North and that's all he'll be. I'm not even sure he'll be that quite yet. If you're about to suggest – "

"It would be," Tyrion said gently, "the wisest decision you'd make."

By the end of the conversation, Daenerys had only agreed to keep their newborn relationship secret for the time being. Tyrion was still unsure and convinced he would be murdered by Cersei soon anyway. What was the point is stirring the pot when Daenerys Stormborn would never actually wed him anyway?

He rolled onto his good side, facing his Queen. She still wore her dress from the celebrations the night before, though she had taken down her braids. She was stunning. Breathtaking seemed too weak a word. She hadn't just stolen his breath; she'd stolen his apathy. Suddenly, he found himself lamenting his inevitable death.

Embolden by their confessions to one another the night before, Tyrion raised his hand, stroking the side of her face with the back of his hand. His eyes settled on her lips and he sighed, wondering what she'd taste like, though he still couldn't actually imagine kissing her.

A few moments passed before Daenerys placed her hand over Tyrion's and opened her eyes.

"Good morning," she whispered and squeezed his hand.

"Good morning," he replied before kissing the back of her hand. Daenerys smiled and looked away shyly, which brought more joy to Tyrion than he would have thought possible.

"Did you sleep well?" She asked.

"I did. We should rise though. It's time to raise the anchors."

"Yes, I suppose if we must."

Daenerys started to lift herself from the bed, but Tyrion stopped her, squeezing her hand gently.

"I'll give the command, Your Grace. You rest."

"Will you rejoin me?"

"Yes, I suppose if I must," he said coyly, earning a smile from Daenerys.

"You must," she said.

Tyrion nodded and kissed the back of her hand once more before releasing it. He removed the covers and sat up, groaning at the tenderness of his wound. He glanced at the Queen and found her watching him, eyes laced with concern. He chuckled and shook his head.

"You worry too much," he said and leaned over to kiss her forehead, a thoughtless act which his body seemed to have decided upon free of input from his brain. Daenerys stretched at the same time he leaned over her and his lips met the side of her mouth rather than her forehead.

They both froze, Tyrion from shock and Daenerys from anticipation. Tyrion drew away slowly, his wide eyes meeting that of the Queen's. She stared at him and he glanced fleetingly at her lips before looking at her eyes once more. Her hand gripped his slightly, perhaps unconsciously, and Tyrion leaned in again, his lips meeting hers.

His lips melded against hers and he felt fire rage in his blood. He released her hand and moved his hand to her neck, cradling her against him. Her lips moved slowly, parting enough to accept his kiss and breathe in his breath. Her free hand gripped his arm and she closed her eyes. Somewhere in Tyrion's mind, he registered the fact that he was kissing his Queen. In a far louder part, he thought of the times he'd resisted before and how wasted those moments were.

He pulled her bottom lip into his mouth, releasing it quickly as he deepened the kiss. A moan escaped her lips, the sound echoing in his head and driving him forward. She gripped his arm tighter as he grazed his tongue over her lip, requesting access to her mouth, which she granted almost immediately. His tongue met hers and this time it was Tyrion who groaned into her mouth.

Daenerys drew her leg up, wrapping it around Tyrion and pulling him closer until they were flush against one another, yet still their bodies demanded to be closer. Her hand moved from his arm to his hair, tangling there and holding him against her.

She tasted sweeter than his favorite wine with a hint of vanilla that nearly unraveled him. He drew away suddenly, gasping for air. They stared at one another, chests rising and falling with deep, uneven breaths. Her lips were swollen and her cheeks flushed bright pink. Her eyes were slightly hooded and her hand still gripped his hair tightly, almost painfully. Suddenly, her lips found his again and he kissed her desperately, feeling her breathe life back into his long dead heart.

Mere feet away, Varys cleared his throat. Dany and Tyrion broke the kiss and Tyrion flung himself from the bed, his side screaming as he tore his stitches open with the movement. He stood beside the bed, still panting, and looked from Varys to the Queen. She lay still, her hair disheveled, lips swollen and raw, breasts threatening to spill from her dress.

"I did knock," Varys said. "Several times in fact. The fleet is prepared to draw the anchors if you're ready to give such an order, Your Grace."

Varys raised an eyebrow at Tyrion who stood in shock, one hand covering his mouth and the other clutching his side.

"Consider it given, Lord Varys," Daenerys said, rising slowly from the bed. "And speak of what you've seen here to no one."

"Of course, Your Grace." He bowed and left the room swiftly, leaving Tyrion staring after him.

XXXX

The next several days were spent discussing contingency plans for the arrival in Westeros with the Small Council, quizzing Daenerys about the Houses and Lords of Westeros, and deciding who would journey to Winterfell to meet with Jon Snow. Ultimately, it was decided that Varys would travel to meet with the King in the North; after all, the soldiers from the Iron Islands said it was the Knights of the Vale, lead by Petyr Baelish that had intervened in the Battle of the Bastards. Perhaps Varys could get a better read on the situation than any of them.

The nights were spent in the Queen's quarters. Some nights, very little was said at all. Some nights, words filled the room well into the morning. Tyrion bared his soul to Daenerys and she bestowed the same respect on him. Each morning they awoke wrapped around one another and Tyrion found himself wondering if he'd ever lain beside a woman he had not slept with. Perhaps his sister at some point before she had grown old enough to understand her level of hatred for him. The closest, he supposed, was Sansa Stark, though they had never had the level of intimacy he shared with Daenerys Stormborn.

Varys found many opportunities to throw knowing looks at Tyrion. While the others thought nothing of a stray touch upon the arm here and there or a glance that lingered a little too long, Varys seemed to notice everything. Still, he had not yet dared to speak of it, not even to Tyrion.

The morning of their last day upon the sea, Tyrion lie awake with Daenerys's head on his chest, his hand tracing circles on her bare shoulder. In his heart, he believed this would be the last day he'd greet the morning a living man, let alone a free man. He did not underestimate the power of his Queen, but he also knew better than to think Cersei would die before he did.

"I know your thoughts well, Tyrion Lannister, and I'll ask you to banish them from your mind."

Daenerys looked up at him, her chin resting on his chest. He smiled gently and nodded, though his thoughts remained the same.

"And still he thinks," she whispered, sitting up slowly.

"And still he thinks," Tyrion repeated.

"When we're lying in bed tonight, the Iron Throne won and your sister dead, I'll remind you of this moment when you did not trust your Queen."

"If we find ourselves in bed tonight, I assure you, you won't be doing much speaking at all, Your Grace."

He grinned at her, earning a flush of her cheeks and sharp exhale. Her eyes flickered briefly to his lips and then to the patch of bare chest beneath his shirt. Tyrion had already admired her bare shoulders and plunging neckline during the night. He was more aware of her body than he was of his own, for better or worse.

Daenerys leaned forward, planting a chaste kiss upon Tyrion's lips. When she pulled back, her eyes searched his.

"If you truly believe this to be our last morning together, why did you not touch me last night? Or the night before? Or any of the nights I've draped my body across yours and opened myself to you?"

Tyrion had asked himself the same question the night before when he'd stopped himself from sliding the silk straps his Queen's shoulders. He still hadn't come up with an answer.

"I can assure you, it's not for lack of wanting," Tyrion said, moving a hand under his head.

Daenerys moved suddenly, her lips finding his once more, though this time she took his face in her hands. Tyrion's eyes flew open as he felt the Queen slide her body onto his, straddling his waist. He began to protest, but she deepened the kiss, stealing his words as she drew his tongue into her mouth. He groaned instead, his hand moving instantly to her hips and sliding up her body to her shoulders.

She sat up, her eyes locked with his, and raised her arms, pulling her dress over her head. Tyrion felt all the remaining blood in his body rush to his groin. His eyes drank her in, memorizing the smooth, pale glow of her skin, the way her ribs jutted out slightly below her breasts, emphasizing her small frame. The way her nipples hardened and seemed to beg him for acknowledgment. A mole here, a freckle there, a small scar on her otherwise perfect skin. He sat up, his hands sliding down her back, around her sides to her stomach and back up again over her breasts. Dany arched into his hands, her eyes fluttering closed.

They were kissing then, her body pressed against his, her hands pulling at his clothes as he pressed himself into her, causing her to grind her hips downward. Tyrion felt himself grow overwhelmed, any control he may have had before she removed her dress melting away. He moved one hand to her back, rolling them until he was on top of her. He removed the rest of his clothes, holding her expectant gaze as he did.

When he finished, his lips found hers once more and he breathed her in. She moaned into his mouth and ran her fingers down his back, her nails leaving a faint trail on his skin. He moved his lips from hers, trailing down her jaw to her neck, tasting her as he went. When he finally reached her breasts, he glanced up at her before sucking a nipple into his mouth. She arched her back completely off the bed, her eyes closed tightly. She squirmed under him, the friction causing him to groan and rock against her. He continued his descent until he reached the apex of her thighs. Within moments, her hand flew to his head, gripping his hair and pressing him against her.

Would be a worthwhile way to die, he thought, relishing her moans. He wasn't sure how much longer he could listen to her before he'd fall apart, himself. She quivered under him, her thighs shaking as he gripped them. She seemed to melt into him, somehow.

She pulled at his hair, guiding him up her body until she found his lips. He kissed her slowly, deeply, and then sat back, aligning himself between her legs. She watched him, her chest rising and falling, sweat gleaning from her bosom, and he thanked whatever gods may be that he'd suffered his fate and found his way to her.

When he slid into her, he nearly came undone. The sensation and sight of her was almost too much when coupled with her moans. His name fell from her lips and Tyrion felt the crushing weight of doubt lift from his chest. He held onto her waist, rocking in and out of her, his speed increasing with each thrust. He nearly laughed out loud when his mind, completely unbidden, flashed on a memory of his brother Jamie catching him with a whore. He'd taken one look at Tyrion's nakedness and had raised an eyebrow, commenting, "I thought dwarfs were half the size of a normal man? How'd you escape that curse?"

Dany opened her eyes, watching him watch her. It was, he thought, the most beautiful sight in the world and somehow it was his to behold. She moved suddenly, rolling them so she was once more straddling his waist.

"My King," she said, moving her hips against him slowly. He groaned and laid his head back, allowing himself to enjoy the sensation of her body moving on his, her hands moving over his chest. Her breasts bounced with each movement, her curls thrown over her shoulder out of the way.

Tyrion felt her pace change and her breath quicken. Her moans grew louder as did the sound of her skin meeting his.

"Come for me, my Queen."

His own voice, he heard, was course and strained. He could not last much longer himself. Daenerys looked down at him, her eyes meeting his as her climax hit and she tightened around him, squeezing him with a pressure he'd never felt before.

Hearing his name fall from her lips proved to be his undoing. He arched into her, holding her hips down upon him and felt his body surge, his seed spilling into her.

When she laid back down on his chest, too winded to speak and him too happy to dare to, Tyrion had only one thought in his head.

I will not die today.