Take My Hand (I Won't Let Go)
Run away with me. Let's leave a home that doesn't appreciate cripples, bastards and broken things. There's so many wonders in the world left to see and I want to find them with you. Run away with me, Lyarra Snow. (When Tyrion Lannister meets a shivering, frostbitten girl with milkglass eyes, he knows he's found home.) fem!Jon, blind!Jon, Comfort Fic
Tywin Lannister was in his cups.
Tyrion didn't know why but he knew the reason must have been dire indeed. His father rarely allowed himself such a lapse of control. A lapse for the Lord of Casterly Rock though was an opportunity for his dwarf son. He wondered which benefit he could squirrel away from his father this time. More books? A greater allowance? Perhaps even permission to travel!
The Imp cleared his throat as he approached his father's desk. Near immediately, hard orbs of jade stared him down. Even piss drunk, the white-whiskered lion was formidable. "Father?"
Tywin snorted. "Imp? Begone with you! You are no son of mine."
Tyrion was undeterred by the refusal. A lack of any regard from the man who sired him was not uncommon, though that didn't detract from the pain. Each slur thrown was a minor cut to his skin but a thousand and one cuts had Tyrion Lannister suffered.
"I would like to speak with you, Father. I have a request to make."
"Oh? Is the library of my House inferior to your taste?" Tywin hissed, referencing a common request from him. There was an atypical slur to the man's words, a stench of spirits clinging to his fine tunic. "Shouldn't be surprised by that, should I? Your lily-livered brother hadn't thought highly of it either."
'Lily-livered brother? That is an odd way to describe Jaime.' His brother was not famed for his extensive readings nor his Father known for insulting the golden son. "A few more books would only add to the grandeur of House Lannister's library."
"Aye but what would you care of House Lannister, Imp?" Tywin reached for his bottle and poured more into his glass, shaking it to let the last few drops through. The younger lion could spot another two empty bottles littering the floor. "You are a bane in my home."
"Yes, Father. Of course, Father," Tyrion answered dully. He considered whether to make the retreat now but knew he would need written permission to have the Maester order more books. Otherwise Lord Tywin would claim he had never given such permission and withhold his allowance.
"Don't call me Father,"' Tywin ordered, taking a deep gulp of Arbor Gold. "It insults me each time you utter it, hearing the word from the cursed spawn that stole my Johanna."
"Yes, F- Lord Lannister." Tyrion clenched his fists but said nothing. Any witty retort that he could have devised dried on his tongue like droplets of rain in Dorne, at the mention of his mother.
"He mocks me every night, in my dreams for the liberties he took," Tywin lamented, "But that I could kill you without incurring the name of kinslayer."
"Who mocks you?" Tyrion asked, curious despite himself. He knows that he should hurriedly receive his permission and leave but the chance to ferret out his father's secrets is too tempting.
"Aerys," the old lion grunted. "The madman who stole away my son and left me to claim his scorned, disfigured and broken seed."'
Tyrion's brow furrowed in confusion. Stole away? As with the Kingsguard? "Father?"
"I told you not to call me that!" Tyrion nearly jumped back as his father's voice rose to thundering heights. "I am not your father! I sired one son and one alone!"
"I- Yes. Yes, of course." Tyrion's eyes flickered over the table for a spare piece of parchment and an ink well. He sidled closer, his blue eye focused on his father while the green one looked at the desk. "If you could sign something for me...?"
But now it seemed that as Tywin Lannister began speaking, he lost the will to stop. One hand, calloused and scarred from however many years deciding the fate of men in field and court, flashed out to grab him. A whimper left the dwarf's throat as his wrist was caught in a vice grip, his smaller body easily pulled up to Tywin's glassy stare.
"You killed your mother, boy," Tywin whispered lowly. His son immediately stiffened in his grasp. "You were cursed from the moment Johanna begot you. From the moment she caught Aerys' eye and he forced her to lay with him. She came to me crying, dress torn and skin blue from where that monster had choked her throat. Do you understand that, Imp? Do you understand that you were conceived when your madman of a father raped my wife?"
Tyrion started trembling, shaking his head over and over again as the words spilled forth.
"When I learned she was pregnant, I begged her to drink tansy tea," Tywin continued, face a rictus of anger and grief, "But Johanna resisted me. She told me that there was a chance it could be mine own child. She told me that a babe didn't deserve the sins of his father, that Jaime and Cersei would love another brother or sister, that she already loved you. But I knew you would be a demon and when you were born, tearing your mother in two as you came into this world, I knew I was right. Johanna could never see it. She loved you. She loved you even as she drowned in the blood you'd brought."
By now, tears were making silent trails down the dwarf's face. He had stopped struggling, merely looking at his father with a plainly horrified gaze.
"You were your father's son from the very beginning," Tywin informed him, releasing his hand but appearing satisfied when the Imp stayed rooted to the spot. "The little hair you had was pale silver, your eye violet. Eventually one darkened and the other turned blue but I looked at your too-large head and weak arms and legs and knew that Aerys had put a monster into my home. A monster just like him."
Tywin leaned back and regarded the dwarf coldly. "I should have thrown you into the sea when I first saw you but I did not. It was Johanna's dying wish that I keep you and I refused to become a kinslayer on your behalf. But make no mistake, Imp. I hate you. I hate everything you are and everything you have done to me. I will never see you as mine own son and I will die before anyone would grant you lordship of Casterly Rock. I wish you dead and every time that Baratheon fool snarls about dragonspawn, it takes all I am not to admit your blood to all and sundry so that he may take your head for me."
Then, leaning close until the cloying scent of wine on his breath was near choking, Tywin said, "In my dreams, there lay two corpses at my son's feet."
Finally, Lord Tywin of House Lannister slumped back, apparently finished with that strange burst of rage that had him confess this secret. He left behind Tyrion, still reeling from the words thrown at him, tears casting pale rivers on his cheeks. Unable to speak or to act, unknowing of who he could turn to for comfort, the dwarf spun on his heel and fled. Had anyone cared to view the sight, it would have been to a child-sized man with misshapen eyes, stubby legs, gold and brown hair and a bowed head rushing out the door.
'You need to go north to Winterfell. You'll find someone special there. You want to visit the Wall. It's one of the sixteen wonders of the world. You need to go north to Winterfell. You'll find someone special there. You want to visit the Wall. It's one of the sixteen wonders of the world…"
Brynden Rivers repeated the words over and over again. He hoped desperately that the message would cling to his kin's grief-addled mind despite the distance between them. He felt his own shame in orchestrating that revelation, knowing well that Tywin Lannister's poisoned tongue would not keep from lashing out at his bane but accepting it as a necessary evil. When these damned Children of the Forest had kidnapped him from his position and bound his life force to these roots, essentially keeping him chained to his visions, they cut his connection to his family. Brynden could still see his brother's descendants through the trees and occasionally by his dreams but his words never reached their ear. He had the powers of a minor god in human flesh but he was helpless to the threats that killed off his kin one by one.
Brynden Rivers was a bitter, wizened and cynical old man, he could acknowledge that. He had a deep hatred for many things. He hated this suffocating prison that stole the moon and stars from him and often made him think that he had been buried alive. He hated his captors, smug little demons that they were, stealing him in the dead of night to solve a problem they themselves created. The Children should never have broken Bran the Builder's pact; Bryden would have gleefully watched their entire species wiped out by the Others had Westeros not also been at risk. He hated Brandon Stark, even though he had never met the little brat, as he suspected his future student of driving Aerys' mad. Not that his descendant hadn't been succumbing to madness eventually but the wholesale burning of King's Landing wouldn't have occurred if the brat knew how to pass on a simple message. Bryden was also fairly confident that Jaime Lannister would have had time to save his many times grandniece and grandnephew had he not been shellshocked with Aerys' murder. He hated seeing his family die and most of all, he hated, absolutely hated, being helpless.
And the Three-Eyed Crow was helpless. Despite knowing all that was, all that is and all that will ever be, Brynden Rivers was bound to his fate. He was bound to pass on his skills to a wolf that looked more like a trout while seeing two of his last, most decent kinsman suffer. Visenya Targaryen was one of the purest, most noble souls he had ever seen in his House and she would be forced to sacrifice over and over again, while being kept hidden from her own true blood and potential. Kindness didn't come as easily to Tyrion Hill but his own compassion was perhaps more admirable. Raised in a lion's den of avarice and malice, it was to his credit that Tyrion tried so hard to be a good man.
Mayhaps they had received some kindness from their respective mother's Houses but it was not nearly enough for Brynden. Visenya had Uncles who loved her and that feisty wolf-girl but she deserved not her Aunt's nor her female cousin's censure. She certainly didn't deserve to be forcefully married off to a monster like Ramsay Bolton in an attempt to legitimize House Bolton's hold on the North. Tyrion had distant affection from an aunt and the love of a brother but one was insufficient and the other weak-willed to his sister. Everyone else in his immediate family was either disinclined to protect him or actively derided the dwarf. He also didn't deserve to die a painful death by his half-sister's hand, after using his cleverness to save the family that spited him at every turn.
No, as far as Bryden was concerned, the blood of dragons shouldn't be spilled for the sake of wolves or lions. Red or black be their scales, dragons do not yield.
Not that his opinions mattered much when he was chained as he was. Brynden had resorted himself to watching those two march obliviously to their eventual suffering when a miracle occurred. His prayers to the Old Gods, the only ones worth worshipping in his opinion, had been answered. Lyarra Snow had been struck with another strain of pox, even stronger that the one she had suffered as a babe!
It seemed a cruel event to celebrate but the Three-Eyed Crow had found an opportunity. There was magic of Old Valyria and the First Men brimming in Visenya's blood, power that could only be drawn out through personal loss. The Children had intended to arrange an incident for Brandon Stark to utilize his own greenseer gifts and left an opening in his contract, sworn by the True Tongue, to contact the wolf when his gifts arose. It was limited to one wolf alone to ensure that he didn't contact anyone else afterward. A wise precaution as otherwise one of Brandon's siblings would have been alerted to drag the little brat back home before Brynden got stuck with him.
Nonetheless the conditions had been fulfilled. Visenya was a wolf. She had suffered a great loss. Her gifts were awoken and Brynden was more than happy to slip into her dreams as the contract required. It had to be done on the sly for no doubt those pointy-toothed demons would try and stop him if they knew. His own powers were too powerful to escape their notice but none knew of Visenya's awakening and he was a genius mage. It was not above his abilities to warg (gently) into her subconscious, temporarily adopt her powers and set his plans into motion.
Brynden Rivers would give Visenya and Tyrion what those Starks and Lannisters never had: the freedom to take their own paths. He would allow them to escape the fates determined for them, grow outside of the expectations burdened on their shoulders. He would help them learn that they were more than products of sin, that they were dragons and that even had the world turned from them, they could rely on one another. And they would. Visenya would give Tyrion the unconditional love he needed and Tyrion would offer Visenya a chance to fly proud and free. They would be more than the Gods intended for them and should they choose to flee their responsibilities altogether? Well Brynden Rivers had a simple answer for that.
Let Westeros suffer. House Targaryen had paid more than their fair share of fire and blood for them.
Tyrion Lan- no, it was Hill now, wasn't it?- had woken up with red-rimmed eyes, a pounding headache and a sore back from sleeping curled up. There hadn't been a single wine bottle around him, which made the Imp look around in confusion until his memories returned. Oh yes, that's why he felt like shit. He had just learned that his true father was a pyromaniac madman that his (half) brother had stabbed in the back for wanting to burn a city alive. Not to mention that he was the product of rape, who had killed his own loving mother when he was born.
Also Tywin Lannister hated him but that was nothing new.
Tyrion looked at his hands, too small for a man grown, softened from the blade that he had never learned and the reins that he had never held and felt like a little boy once more. All he wanted was to track down his big brother and have Jaime jape over his ink-stained fingers before making him a blueberry ice. Then he remembered that Jaime was in King's Landing and had killed the last dragon king and probably didn't know he was a dragon, else he would have despised him like all the rest.
'What am I to do then?' Tyrion's eyes wandered around his room. Every shelf and chest and wardrobe overflowed with books of his own, one even tucked under his bedsheet. There were books on dragons there, he knew. He had wanted so desperately to see a dragon one day but Jaime had told him that they were all dead and gone. 'Ha! Shows what you know, Brother! You had a dragon right in front of you and you didn't even know.'
A black dragon though, not a red-scaled one. Tyrion had often thought that all imps were bastards in their father's eye but he really was a bastard now. Unexpectedly, he found himself laughing at the idea. Now he had something to share with his nephews above them all riding the same-sized pony!
When the laughter died down, the dwarf's insides still felt giddy. A wild, almost mad, grin crossed his face as he spun around and around. Eventually he toppled to the ground and then his head felt dizzy and nauseous too. 'What am I to do now?'
Tyrion was well-inured to the effects of drink. He knew his Fa- Lord Tywin wouldn't recall the secrets that he had revealed. Should he simply stay silent and pretend not to have heard him then?
"I don't want to," the dwarf muttered petulantly. He looked up at the constellations that had been painted over his walls. There was once a time when he had dreamed of being a sailor and adventurer like his Uncle Gerion and had paid men to paint the stars for him to study each night. He would have been an excellent navigator. He knew all of them by heart: the Crone's Lantern, the Moonmaid, the King's Crown, the Ice Dragon…
Hmm, that niggled at something in his head. Ice Dragon? It's eye pointed north, didn't it? Uncle Gerion? He had given Tyrion a book by Lomas Longstrider on the sixteen wonders of the world. Most were in Essos but there was one close by in the North. A wall of ice one hundred leagues long and seven hundred feet high built by Bran the Builder. Bran was the founder of House Stark and Tyrion had a sudden urge to visit Winterfell, another one of the man's creations. He had the sudden belief that he would find something rare and wonderous there.
Tyrion was not one to base his actions on mere whim, he was not Jaime or Cersei after all but Casterly Rock repelled him now. He had no claim to this grand old fortress, even if he was the son of Johanna Lannister. He wanted to leave. He wanted to see the Wall. He wanted to visit Winterfell and receive a nameday gift without having aged another year.
His course decided, the Imp of Casterly Rock, Tywin's Bane and newfound Bastard of the Mad King jumped up. Mayhaps it was because his head was still fuzzy but everything felt like a distant dream as his limbs moved. He snuck down to the supply room and stole two saddlebags. One was filled with grain for his pony, with a small lunch and two pairs of clothes somehow shoved in. The other had gold. All of the coins that he had in his own chest and, when that filled the bag only a third of the way in, everything else gold that he could get his hands on. Tyrion looted cutlery, table statues, jewelry, fine combs and even the bag of gold found in Uncle Kevan's room. Also the two Longstrider books.
'All fear Tyrion, Lord Reaper of the Rock and Ironborn Raider Without a Ship,' Tyrion giggled. Gods, did his head feel fuzzy right now.
When he was done, he wrote out a quick note and left it within Uncle Kevan's solar.
Leaving. Tell Jaime I love him. Tyrion
Ordering the stablemaster to ready his pony who, in a fit of pique, he had named Belarion, Tyrion left the gates of Casterly Rock. He didn't look back.
On the course of his fortnight long journey north, Tyrion Lannister would be surprised by how easy it was. Despite being a child-sized rider on a slow pony saddled with gold and wearing nobleman's clothes, he was never once harassed or even glanced at twice. Admittedly he had taken a precaution or two, like muffling the gold with folded parchment and embroidered handkerchiefs but people's eyes seemed to almost glaze over him. This had to be the safest journey he had ever taken. It was almost as if a god of some sort was looking after him.
Leagues away, Brynden Rivers sneezed. "Damn winter chills," he grumbled, blaming it on his demon captors.
I love writing from Brynden Rivers POV! Like most old men, he's very set in his views, which is the traditional Targaryen mindset of dragons first, then the rest of the rabble. He also has quite a few opinions that he's happy to share without anyone asking and a nostalgic memory for the 'good old days' when the Seven Kingdoms feared the Targaryen's as they should.
Not sure if this will eventually spiral into a romance between Tyrion and Lyarra. I wanted to write one of those but I think really close, interdependent kinship is what they need, with plenty of unconditional love to ease the way. This will be very AU by the way; I intend to have them hop around Essos for a bit before settling in Braavos and building a home there! I'll be making up a lot of settings throughout the story. Don't worry, they'll eventually return to Westeros. While Brynden doesn't mind seeing an entire continent burn, Lyarra and Tyrion are too heroic not to do something. Not that Tyrion won't ensure profit comes their way…
To clarify, Lyarra is 13 and Tyrion is 24. I muddled with their ages a bit to bring the gap down. Canon starts after Lyarra's 17th nameday.