A/N: I'm completely blown away by the response this little fic of mine has received. Hope you all enjoy this latest addition!
"The Sons of the Harpy," Dany breathed, staring down at the horrible golden mask that Ser Barristan held in his hand.
The Sons of the Harpy were a group of insurgents that had rebelled against Daenerys not long after she became the ruler of Meereen. They had started out their revolution with petty vandalism, but quickly graduated to more serious offenses such as murder. It was unfortunate that the first life they took had been one of her Unsullied soldiers whom had been found with his throat slit in a nearby brothel. Unfortunate, but she also knew it was deliberate. The Sons of the Harpy were desperate to send a message, and had finally succeeded in receiving her attention. No matter how many things Daenerys currently had on her mind, the murder of one of her own would not go unpunished.
"Yes, Your Grace," Ser Barristan replied, setting the mask down on the table in front of the queen and her council. "They left it on the body."
"They've never killed before."
"It was only a matter of time, Your Grace. Conquerers always meet with resistance."
"I didn't conquer them, their own people did." Careful to make that distinction, Dany held Ser Barristan's gaze with her own.
"They do not see us as people, Your Grace," Mossador, one of the very Meereenese people of whom she spoke announced in his native tongue.
"Then they will have to learn to see things differently, Mossador." Dany insisted, her voice easily switching to Valyrian, then back once more to the common tongue as she addressed her council. "This man did not risk his life fighting for his freedom so cowards in masks could take it away, and I did not take residence in this pyramid so I could watch the city below decline into chaos."
Clearly troubled, she moved past Missandei and turned to Grey Worm. "What was the name of the man you lost?"
"White Rat, Your Grace." Grey Worm responded quietly.
"I want him buried, with honor. Publicly, in the Temple of the Graces." She ordered.
"The Sons of the Harpy will hear that message," Ser Barristan warned.
"Make them very angry," Mossador insisted.
"Good. Angry snakes lash out. Makes chopping off their heads that much easier." Dany replied easily before taking another step towards Grey Worm and Ser Barristan. "Find the men who did this and bring them to me."
Wasting no time, Grey Worm crossed the room and exited through her chamber door, obediently tending to his queen's orders.
"Your Grace," Ser Barristan bowed his head before hurrying after the leader of the Unsullied.
With a strained sigh escaping through pursed lips, Dany took a seat at her council table and placed her head in her hands. Though she was still considered a girl by most people's standards and therefore vastly underestimated, she had seen much more than people three times her age since taking Astapor, Yunkai and now Meereen. Nevertheless, it still grieved her when even just one of her men was murdered out of spite. That was one less man to live freely for himself; one less man to fight in her army when she returned home.
"How am I suppose to take back Westeros if I can't even control an inferior group of rebels in one city?"
While she had mostly been thinking aloud to herself, Dany shifted in her seat to find that Missandei had not yet followed the others out of the room.
Bowing her head, the young woman began to busy her hands by clearing the table. "It is like Ser Barristan said, Your Grace. All rulers must meet with resistance."
Touching her hand to the gilded horns that topped the mask, Dany resisted the intense urge to shudder as she stared into its lifeless eyes. She had learned enough about the history of Meereen to know that the harpy, the figure they modeled their group after, was based on the traditional heraldic symbol that the slave-masters in the Ghiscari cities of Slaver's Bay had idolized for centuries. This was no coincidence. Whomever hid behind these traitorous masks were obviously outraged that she'd helped free the slaves of Meereen, and who other than the slave-masters should take such offense to her actions?
Disturbed by this sudden realization, Dany looked to Missandei, quickly realizing that she had been so consumed with her own thoughts that she had not heard her translator.
"I know that you have much to think about, but there's still Ser Jaime to consider."
"I'd nearly forgotten," Dany admitted.
"Have you decided what you'll do with him?"
While Daenerys had indeed become distracted by the attack of the Sons of the Harpy, her thoughts quickly came rushing back to Jaime Lannister and the decision she needed to make. What was she to do with her father's killer? Should she have him executed and made an example of, or let him keep his life so that he could serve her? While she had already formed a strong team of advisors that she admired greatly, an aching gap had been left with Ser Jorah's dismissal, and though she knew there was no replacing Jorah Mormont, she longed for the possibility. Almost as much as she longed to learn more of her past.
After another moment spent in thought, Dany leaned forward and began to give Missandei her instructions.
"I have. This is what I want you to do."
Hours had passed since Jaime had met with Daenerys in the throne room. Exactly how many, he couldn't be sure. Down in the dark dungeons there was no way of knowing the exact passing of time. He had, however, received three meals since returning to his cell, which led him to believe that it was nearing the end of another day. The food the Dragon Queen's servants had served him had certainly been an improvement from the stale bread and bitter tasting water he'd received during his first week spent beneath the Pyramid of Meereen. Regardless, Jaime had not traveled halfway across the world simply to experience Daenerys Targaryen's idea of fine dining. He'd heard tales of men whom had driven themselves mad while imprisoned because the idea of the world going on without them was too much to bear. It never seemed a possibility before, but the more time Jaime spent below, the more the thought became entirely plausible.
"For fuck's sake, if you're going to kill me, bloody well get it over with!" He yelled at the stone ceiling above.
How many godsdamned hours would this little queen make him wait? He'd been honest; told her everything that she wanted to know, and still she kept him waiting. The Mad King had enjoyed murdering his enemies with fire, Jaime had witnessed that first hand, but apparently his daughter preferred a much more subtle approach to torture. Truthfully, after wasting away for days, he was beginning to consider the far quicker death presented by fire.
"Ser Jaime?" A soft voice called to him from behind.
Suddenly looking up from where he sat, as if his wondering if his vulgar prayers had finally been answered, Jaime hesitated, then shrugged when he saw the young woman called Missandei standing outside his cell door.
"Well, considering I'm the only one of Queen Daenerys's prisoners down here — that is, unless they've all died of boredom — I'd say yes, that's a safe assumption."
The queen's translator glanced down at her hands. She was obviously a timid girl, perhaps made even more so by his presence. If he hadn't grown so frustrated in the past day he'd spent waiting to hear what the queen's decision would be, he may have been kinder to the girl. As it was, his voice remained hardened with anger and sarcasm.
"My apologies for your wait, Ser. I am here on Queen Daenerys's orders to escort you to your chambers."
Cocking an eyebrow, Jaime leaned his head back against the wall behind him as he eyed the young woman suspiciously "Is that right?"
"You will be removed from the dungeons and have the opportunity to bathe and change into fresh clothes. In addition, all of your personal effects will be returned to you. That is, of course, apart from your weapons."
"Bathed, clothed, my things returned to me . . . Well, I'm assuming that means I won't be walking to my death then?"
"Yes, I'd say that's a safe assumption." Missandei replied smartly, the barest hint of a smile tugging at the edge of her lips as she repeated Jaime's earlier statement with much more confidence than she'd ever shown before.
Jaime grinned, pleased by the girl's cheek. Perhaps he had underestimated her after all. "By all means, my lady, lead the way."
With a swift nod of her chin, Missandei took a step back to allow an Unsullied soldier forward to unlock his cell. Once the door opened, Jaime stood on stiff legs to find that another soldier stood just beside Missandei. Growing up, Jaime had heard stories of the Unsullied; elite warrior-eunuchs bred and trained in the city of Astapor. He'd always heard that the Unsullied were not men because they held no desires, felt no pain, and feared nothing.
Raising his eyes to the soldier that stood before him, staring with unreadable eyes, Jaime faltered, but then quickly found his words. "Ah, a royal escort . . . I'm honored."
The first place Missandei led Jaime was to a large bathing chamber. It was there that she left him alone to wash away the weeks he'd spent in the dungeons below. Once clean, Jaime moved onto the sharp instruments they'd allowed him for grooming purposes. Cutting away weeks worth of filthy, matted beard, he then used the edge of a blade to shave away the hair covering his cheek bones, leaving a mere stubble in its place.
Finally proclaiming himself finished, Jaime watched as Missandei and the Unsullied soldiers re-entered the room, glancing over his shoulder to make sure that the shears provided were left in their proper place. Raising his hands as if to further prove his innocence, Jaime reached his hands down to the hem of the tunic that had been provided for him.
"I could undress again, if you'd prefer to search me." He offered.
"That won't be necessary," Missandei replied, a deep blush rising in her cheeks.
Pleased by her reaction, Jaime hid a smirk in his cheek as he followed the queen's translator further down the long row of corridors. After passing what seemed to be hundreds of rooms, they came to a stop outside of a large wood paneled door in an area of the pyramid that couldn't have been further away from the dungeons.
"These are your chambers," Missandei announced, pushing open the door in front of them.
Stepping forth into the great room that was now apparently his, Jaime had all of three seconds to appreciate its grandeur before his eyes caught sight of his little brother sitting at a table set off to the side, cradling a full glass of wine in his tiny hands.
"Thank you, Missandei." Tyrion smiled to the young woman, clearly seizing every opportunity he could to attempt to make up for Jaime's assumed rudeness. Jaime had been rude to the girl, of course, but the fact that his brother made such assumptions based on absolutely no solid evidence annoyed him to no end.
"I was getting to that," Jaime stated defensively before bowing his head toward the girl. "Thank you, Missandei."
Mirroring Jaime's gesture with a bow of her own, Missandei offered both Lannister men a small smile before taking her leave.
"Well, I must admit, you certainly smell better than when we last met." Tyrion began.
"That would be the perfumed bath salts. It's lovely living like a queen." Jaime sighed dramatically.
Moving throughout his spacious new chambers, Jaime began to take full advantage of his newfound freedom. To his left there was a large bed, and on it laid his golden hand. Remaining where he was, Jaime hesitated briefly, then stepped forward to pick it up. As much as he'd always cursed the wretched thing, he quickly began to realize how incredibly insecure he felt without it.
"Speaking of the queen, when you meet with her Jaime, you need to — well, just don't be so . . . "
". . . you."
Chuckling at his little brother's advice, Jaime slid his golden hand back into place over his right stump then began to work the buckles with his left hand. Once satisfied, he joined Tyrion at the table and poured himself a glass of wine. While he had never enjoyed the taste nearly as much as his brother and sister, he was happy to partake in every bit of luxury that he could after spending so much time as the Dragon Queen's prisoner.
"She didn't have to pardon you, Jaime. I'm not even technically sure she is pardoning you, but the odds are far more in your favor than they ever were before."
"I'm not going to kiss her arse like the rest of you fools. The girl obviously needs someone to be honest with her. Why else would she have taken me up on my offer?"
"Again, we don't know what she has planned for you."
"Well, I wouldn't have very well gotten my own bloody suite if she was going to kill me, now would I?"
"Alas, it would be wise of you to tread carefully." Tyrion admonished, irritation rising in his voice.
Considering Tyrion words, Jaime took a large swallow of wine. While he remained confident on the outside, beneath it all he had no idea what Daenerys had planned for him. Thus far she had been fairly unpredictable, which was indeed a change from her father. Aerys had been mad, certainly, but Jaime had spent enough time with him to grow almost accustomed to his cruelty. However, not knowing what the Mad King's daughter was capable of was equally, if not more terrifying.
"This queen isn't Cersei, Jaime. You can't very well spread her legs and fuck her into oblivion every time you do something stupid." Tyrion warned.
"That's for Daenerys to decide, isn't it?" Jaime quipped.
"Don't be an idiot," Tyrion growled.
Before any further words could be said between the two brothers, a sudden knock sounded at Jaime's chamber doors. Within a few seconds, Missandei reappeared, directing her attention to the Kingslayer.
"Queen Daenerys has requested your presence."
"Has she now? Well, far be it for me to keep the queen waiting."
Looking back to Tyrion as he followed the queen's translator out the door, Jaime caught his eye with a slight grin as his brother continued to scowl at him disapprovingly.
After leaving his chambers and Tyrion behind, Jaime followed Missandei through the throne room and continued further down from the top of the great pyramid. By now they surely had to have been reaching the end as they descended story after story. Behind them, the two Unsullied soldiers from earlier walked close by with their weapons clutched tightly to their sides, but rather than feeling uneasy by the attention, Jaime couldn't help but feel flattered. Even after he'd lost his own sword hand; the hand that was responsible for taking hundreds of lives — the life of the father of the queen they served — these men had been advised not to underestimate him. Unfortunately, just as soon as Jaime began to feel a surge of confidence, it came to an abrupt end as he exited the Pyramid of Meereen; a sudden bout of queasiness hitting him when he saw that they'd arrived at their destination.
Nodding towards the large boulder that had been pushed aside, Jaime hesitated. "What the fuck is that?"
"That is where the queen has requested to meet you."
Clenching his jaw, Jaime glanced over at the Unsullied once more before returning his attention to Missandei. Neither soldier spoke a word, and yet he could not help but feel their eyes laughing at him. He'd only been her prisoner for a little over a week, and already Jaime was quickly growing tired of the Targaryen girl's little games. But even so, he would not let her think that he was intimidated by denying her request.
"Yes, I can see that . . . but why?"
"Queen Daenerys is merciful, as you well know, but she doesn't like to be kept waiting." Extending her arm forward, Missandei kept her eyes on Jaime as she ignored his question in what was quite possibly the most polite way he'd ever been ignored.
Something we have in common, Jaime thought bitterly.
With one last look in Missandei's direction, Jaime strode forward. Fuck it. Fuck the little dragon bitch for toying with him. Fuck the girl's deceptive translator. Fuck them all to hell. Behind him, the Unsullied soldiers marched forward as he made his way through the opening. Before him, a long row of stairs had been carved from stone. Taking them one at a time, Jaime gradually made his way to the lower level of the catacombs, but came to a sudden stop when he heard the sound of the boulder being moved back into place over the opening.
"What in seven fucking hells . . . " He muttered.
Jaime's steps stilled as the tomb's opening closed, leaving almost no light to see by. He was sealed in, and quickly beginning to feel even more claustrophobic than he had in his much smaller cell located in the dungeons. Narrowing his eyes, Jaime took another step forward as he walked closer towards what appeared to be a flame remaining stagnant about thirty paces away.
"Stop." A strong female voice commanded him before he could move any further.
"Hello?" Jaime called out, but received no response. Gritting his teeth, he squeezed his left fist to his side, but his steps did indeed falter as the smell of burnt flesh greeted his nostrils. Of all the scents he was familiar with, that was unfortunately one that he could distinguish very well.
"Why have you brought me here, my queen?" His voice was edged with sarcasm as he recalled how Ser Barristan Selmy had demanded that he use that title to address Daenerys by in the future. "Am I to be trading one cell for another? If so, I'd like to kindly reject your generous offer and instead request that you kill me."
"You're in no position to make any sort of requests, kindly or otherwise." Dany replied sharply.
Jaime had come to know that voice well, even after only a brief meeting where few words had been exchanged. He'd had nothing but that voice to keep him company as he sat alone in the dungeons for the past day and a half, replaying their meeting over and over again. While he could imagine that it had once been soft and meek, it now exuded power and confidence.
"Funny, I thought the 'Breaker of Chains' had outlawed slavery."
"You're not a slave."
"What am I then?"
"That's for me to decide."
Before he could think to argue with the girl any further, however, a sudden flame burst forth from the depths of the tomb. Jumping out of the way to avoid it, Jaime tucked his head under his arm, rolling a few feet on his side before looking up to find two of the most dangerous creatures he'd ever seen approaching him.
"This is Rhaegal and Viserion," Daenerys introduced Jaime to her dragons as she stood between them, acting as though this were an entirely normal occurrence.
She's fucking mad, Jaime seethed.
"I wanted you to know what you're up against. If your offer turns out to be some sort of scheme for you to gain information and scurry back to your sister—"
"It's not." He insisted.
"Well, that's very good to hear." She continued without breaking stride. "Nonetheless, if you ever think to betray me or make me regret my decision of allowing you to keep your life, I'll have them burn you alive."
"If you're already plotting my death, why even give me the chance to disappoint you?" He shouted angrily from where he laid hunched on the floor. His temper and his frustration were on the rise, and with it, his tactlessness.
"I have more important things to occupy my time with than plotting your death, but it never hurts to be prepared."
Jaime hesitated then begrudgingly muttered. "Fair enough."
"Good. Now, come." Gesturing towards the entrance, Dany raised the skirts of her cream colored gown as she moved past him. "That is, of course, unless you'd rather stay and keep my dragons company?"
Glancing back to the dragons as if seeking their permission, Jaime hesitated as he noticed the beasts had turned away to begin feasting on the corpse of whatever they'd just set flames to. Standing, he quickly scampered after Daenerys as she made her way to the exit, feeling ever the fool and hating himself more by the second for doing her bidding just like every other man on her council did. Just like he promised himself he wouldn't.
A/N: Ahhh, the whole "burn you alive" threat. It never gets old, does it? So, without spoiling anything, HOW AMAZING DID YOU GUYS THINK GoT 7x04 was? I'm still shook, not gonna lie. Let me know your thoughts! (Also let me know your thoughts about this chapter because yanno, that would be cool! ;D)