Please note that the following paragraph is directed at a very small but annoying percent of my readers. The rest of you are gems, and I love you. But here we go. It has to be said.
I just want to say a giant FUCK YOU to anyone who has mentioned how I've abandoned this story. Honestly, it is destructive, shaming comments like "RIP you've abandoned it" and "What a waste of time for readers" that make everybody who writes on this site WANT to abandon their stories. If you can't appreciate a fic as something that someone ELSE has written, for themselves, for others to enjoy at the author's own pace, then you can take your snide comments and toxicity elsewhere. It's not welcome here. If one more person gets on here and whines about shit like this, I will officially quit FanFiction. And you will know who is to blame.
A guest reviewer cracked me up the other day. They simply said "There is an excessive amount of nostril flaring in this story". Lol, you have called my attention to it, and I will attempt to be more cognizant of my characters' nostrils in the future. The strain of all this flaring might be too much. Wouldn't want any nose injuries. Thank you for your observation, haha.
Also, I am aware that I have Mary Sue'd Jon. I know he's too good to be true in this story. But did I make any promises with this fic? Nooo. No, I didn't. I distinctly remember warning y'all that this fic is by me, FOR ME, and I told you it would be trash. So I won't apologize for his annoying characterization. Thanks for pointing it out, because if it was unintentional and I wasn't aware of it I'd be mortified and go back to edit things. But turns out I am absolutely aware of how frustratingly perfect I've made him in my story, and I just don't care.
Also, I know that a lot of you are disappointed with season 8. I am disappointed, too. Take heart though, I hear a rumor that they'll be making ASOIAF movies after GRRM finishes the books. Which, you know, could be years from now, but hope springs eternal and all that.
Just a warning: this chapter sucks. Writer's block has been an ever-present frenemy these past few months, so I'm sorry. Still, it can hardly be worse than the last three episodes of the show, so I don't feel too bad about it.
It was two days later when the rest of Daenerys' entourage arrived in Winterfell. She was pleased when Arya gave her a quick hug and a peck on the cheek—likely as much affection as the assassin would ever show anyone. She was also pleased to see Grey Worm and Missandei together, and they both gave her respectful bows before she clasped their hands in hers and welcomed them to the North.
Viserion did not land to greet her, but he flew low overhead and purred, which was the only acknowledgement she would receive from him in front of so many people.
She watched her husband-to-be out of the corner of her eye as he conversed lowly with Yara, admiring the gleam of his damp curls and how his cloak accentuated the breadth of his shoulders. She took in his earnest eyes and the sincere quirk of his lips and the gentle hand he put on Yara's bony shoulder, and was once again hit with the realization that she was extraordinarily lucky.
Tyrion had been right. There weren't any men as good and honorable as Jon Snow—or as frustratingly handsome whilst being so.
Later in the day, after a few meetings with the war council and Sansa's handpicked group of wedding planners (Daenerys was impressed by the sheer amount of work that her future goodsister was putting into it), she and Jon and Sansa once again took to the square as a group of wildlings arrived, laden with weapons and furs and wild game. Most of them set up camp outside the walls, but they waltzed into the city casually and without any airs, nodding respectfully to Daenerys and Sansa and treating Jon with the familiarity of a sibling. Tormund came out to see his friends and family, and ruffled the hair of two little girls who looked to be about eleven and seven. They were obviously sisters.
Daenerys then watched in rapture as the same two girls ran to Jon, giggling as he caught one in each arm and lifted them off their feet.
"Uncle Jon!" the older one greeted with a smile. "Willa and I came to see you get married!" She then turned sharp, clear blue eyes on Daenerys, one arm locked around Jon's neck. "Is that her? The southern queen?" she asked, using her free arm to point. Her little sister, Willa, turned in Jon's arms to stare at Daenerys as well.
Jon made a disapproving noise in his throat. "It's not polite to point, Johnna. Especially at a queen. This is Queen Daenerys, of House Targaryen. And yes, we're to be married tomorrow."
Johnna looked appropriately chastised, and Willa turned shy blue eyes away from Daenerys to press her face back into Jon's shoulder. "Sorry," the older one said to Daenerys, looking sheepish. "You're really pretty."
Daenerys gave the girl a gentle smile, charmed. She felt something burgeon within her heart to see Jon with his arms full of children; and an equal amount of desire flooded through her veins. "Thank you," she said to Johnna. "But I'm not half as beautiful as you and your sister are. What lovely hair!" she exclaimed, gesturing to Willa's bright orange hair and Johnna's silky chestnut locks.
Johnna blushed, and Willa peeked at Daenerys before hiding her freckled face in Jon's cloak once again. "Thank you," Johnna mumbled.
Just then Tormund came up, and grabbed each girl by the backs of their coats, lifting them out of Jon's embrace. "Come on, you vermin," he said fondly. "King Crow has things to do. You'll get to see him again when he's not so busy."
Johnna scowled and muttered at "Uncle Tormund" under her breath, but scampered off with her sister in tow with one last hurried "goodbye" to Daenerys and her betrothed.
"The free folk brought their own dinner," Tormund said to Jon gruffly. "I'll be in Rosa's tent if you need me for anything," he finished, gesturing to a pretty dark-eyed wildling that waved and winked at Jon from across the courtyard as she shepherded Johnna and Willa and two other children through the gates. Then without ceremony, the giant redhead turned and lumbered off.
Jon shook his head amusedly. He noticed her questioning stare. "Johnna and Willa's mother was turned at Hardhome," he said quietly, his eyes solemn. "Tormund and a few other free folk have taken them in."
Daenerys frowned. "That's awful," she said quietly. "I'm sorry."
"Karsi was a good sort," he said, his voice turning gruff with emotion. "Smart, loyal." He smiled. "Raised two sweet girls."
Daenerys grinned. "Johnna seems like a bit of a troublemaker."
Jon nodded, absently brushing his fingers against the back of her arm. "More than a bit."
Her heart stumbled, and she grabbed his elbow. "Would you mind if we spoke in private for a moment?" she asked abruptly, feeling her body flush with heat.
This was ridiculous. She was attracted to him, and he had proven to be attracted to her, and they were getting married on the morrow.
He looked puzzled. "Of course," he said smoothly. He gestured to a seamstress' shop, and asked the woman (whom he referred to as Mistress Grant) if they could borrow the back room to speak in private. The old woman bowed her head and showed them through, and Daenerys shut the door behind her before she leaned up onto her tiptoes and pressed her lips to his.
He froze in shock, his arms tensing under her fingers. Then he groaned deep in his throat, and Daenerys' lust was magnified tenfold when he grasped the back of her neck and slanted his mouth over hers in a sensual kiss that left her reeling. She gasped into his mouth, and then his tongue brushed hers, and his free hand pressed insistently into her lower back, and she felt an immense, all-encompassing desire that she had never known in her life.
The man could kiss. His lips were soft and insistent, and her brain went fuzzy, struggling to function through the hazy pleasure that flushed through her body like dragon fire. Her hands shook, her fingers sliding beneath his cloak to touch what she could of his body. He wore no armor, no hard leather or metal—only fur and fabric.
Jon ravaged her mouth like a man starved. Gone was the reserved, respectful-to-the-point-of-absurd man she had proposed to last month. In his place was the man she had seen only glimpses of: when he'd tossed the limp body of a would-be-assassin to the floor, when he'd fought his little sister in the training yard, when his eyes had flashed with hatred as he'd spoken of Ramsay Bolton. Brutal places make for brutal people, she remembered him saying. And as his hands went to the backs of her thighs and he lifted her effortlessly onto a table laden with bolts of cloth, she was reminded of it.
Daenerys let out a startled gasp when she felt the hard length of him press against the junction of her thighs. Gods, it had been so long since she'd felt a man like this—
The short blowing of a horn tore them apart. He stood in the cradle of her thighs, one hand on her back and the other behind her knee, his eyes filled with equal parts regret and desire.
"I wish I could say I was sorry," he said hoarsely as the horn blew a second time. "That this was wrong and inappropriate, considering we've yet to be married." He let out a tortured sigh. "But I've wanted you since the moment I saw you."
Her heart pounded. She leaned up, and pressed her lips to his in a chaste kiss. "I don't want you to be sorry," she murmured against his lips. She groaned in frustration when he lifted her up, pressing her core against the bulge in his trousers one last time before he let her slide to the floor. "I just want you."
Her fingertips went to his chest when he leaned down to brush his lips over her cheekbone. His hands left her backside to cradle her waist. "Tomorrow night," he murmured, his voice rough, "you can have me any way you like." He sighed, and then pulled back from her, catching her hands in his own. "But now we need to go greet whomever is currently riding up to the gates."
She struggled not to pout. "As is our duty," she said wearily.
He smiled at her, and kissed her one last time, and then they left the privacy of Mistress Grant's back room and strode out into the courtyard once more. The seamstress gave Daenerys a knowing smile, and bowed her head respectfully.
Daenerys felt her stomach lurch when she saw a small retinue of black-cloaked men on horses approach. Men from the Night's Watch. But one of their number wore brown, and she instantly recognized him by the way he sat his horse. She would be able to pick Ser Jorah out of a crowd even if she were half-blind.
She had forgotten about him. He'd been wounded beyond the Wall, and it had taken Jon's mention of him to remind her. She had been so preoccupied with Jon Snow that the man who was most loyal to her had slipped her mind completely.
Guilt flooded her. But when Ser Jorah dismounted—and not without effort due to his wounds—he immediately dropped to one knee in front of her.
"My Queen," he said, head bowed.
"Oh for goodness sake, rise, Ser Jorah," she said impatiently. She leaned down and grasped his elbow, urging him to his feet. "You've been wounded. The sentiment is appreciated, but no one expects you to kneel when you've got a great big hole in your side."
"These past three months have allowed me to heal," he said gallantly, though still he grimaced in obvious discomfort. "Though I would rather have done so at your side."
She smiled at him. "I would rather you'd done so as well, but I doubt the journey back to Dragonstone would have been kind to you. I'm glad to see you've healed well, though I'd appreciate it if you'd continue to be kind to yourself until you can at least ride a horse without looking as though you're about to keel over." He looked properly chagrined. She cleared her throat. "I assume you've heard the news?"
Jorah nodded, and glanced over at Jon, who was clasped in a hug with one of the men in black. "I hear congratulations are in order," he said. She could see the hurt in his eyes. She could also see the hope. "No one could be more worthy of you, Your Grace," Jorah said lowly. "You've chosen well, as you do in all things."
"He…makes me happy," she said softly. "And he didn't balk when I told him I couldn't conceive."
"A rare man," Ser Jorah said, squinting up into the sun as three dragons flew high overhead, roaring with the joy that came with absolute freedom. "One I am happy to see you marry."
Daenerys swallowed. "All my family are gone, Jorah," she said quietly, laying her hand on his arm. "My father and brothers aren't here to give me away. I'd very much like it if you would stand in for them."
He smiled at her. Again, she could see that mixture of happiness and hurt in his azure gaze. "I would be honored, Your Grace."
"Good," she replied. "Now, I want you to go to Sansa over there, and request that she have someone show you to your quarters. And I want you to rest some before the War Council later this afternoon." He opened his mouth to protest, and she cut him off. "That's an order, Ser Jorah."
He bowed his head in acquiescence. "As my queen commands."
She watched him walk away, towards where Sansa was standing conversing with Tyrion at the mouth of the keep. If only I could have loved him as he loves me, she thought sadly. It wasn't fair for such a noble, handsome man to suffer the bonds of unrequited love.
She turned back to Jon, where he was turning the bearded man he'd been embracing towards her. "Edd, this is my betrothed, Queen Daenerys of House Targaryen. Your Grace," he said to her, "this is Eddison Tollett, Lord Commander of the Night's Watch."
After Edd bowed, she clasped his hand graciously in her own. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Lord Commander," she said. "I've heard a great many things about you. You have Jon Snow's trust, and therefore you have mine. Anything you need of me, only ask."
"Thank you, Your Grace," he said cordially, his voice and manner rough but friendly. "And the same goes to you. If Jon thinks you're worth following, that's enough to show the rest of us you're worth following." He clapped Jon on the shoulder, and Daenerys was charmed. "We'd follow this lad to the ends of the earth."
"I don't doubt it," Daenerys said. She held out an arm, and tucked her hand into the crook of Edd's elbow when he drew alongside her. Jon and the rest of the men followed them back towards the castle. "He speaks of you like family," she said. "I'm glad to have you here for the wedding. And I know Jon is beyond pleased."
"Happy to be here, Your Grace," Edd replied. "I'll be honest, I was afraid he was being pressured into it," he said, glancing at her nervously. "But then I got his raven, and now seeing him here with you…" He cleared his throat. "I've seen Snow smile more times in the last five minutes as I've seen him smile in the entire time I've known him."
She smiled. "So I've been told," she said, thinking of something similar Sansa had said not an hour ago. She patted his arm. "I imagine you're peaked after such a long journey. Would you and your men lunch with me? I'd like to hear more about life at the Wall. I need to know what Jon and I will need to change. And whether or not the Wall will be strictly necessary, after we defeat the Night King."
Edd looked surprised, as if the notion had never occurred to him. "I'd…never really thought about it," he said. His eyes lit up. "I never considered I'd have a life beyond my Night's Watch vows."
"Well," she said, "let's see how things turn out. It may be we can utilize it for another purpose. Let's talk about it, shall we?" She craned her neck around. "Jon? Have you anything to say?"
Jon, who'd been listening for a few minutes, nodded. "Definitely worth a discussion."
"I'm sure we can come to an arrangement of some sort," she said. She extracted herself from Edd, and came to walk alongside her soon-to-be-husband, craning her head up to whisper into his ear. "After all, you did say 'any way you like.'"
Jon choked. Laughing, she led them into the Great Hall for some lunch.
"You don't have to fret so, Sansa. She's going to look beautiful no matter what you do or don't do. You could douse her in horse manure, and she'd still be perfect."
"I don't want her to be beautiful," Sansa sniffed, fussing with Daenerys' silvery-blonde hair and glaring at her younger sister. "I want her to be radiant. I want her to look more gorgeous than she ever has before, and for Jon's jaw to drop when he sees her."
Arya took at bite of her apple, raising an eyebrow as Daenerys flushed under the praise. "Whatever," the younger Stark said, sitting on Daenerys' bed and watching the proceedings with obvious boredom. Still, she hadn't left yet, so Daenerys assumed the assassin wanted to be here. After all, Arya Stark was the last person on earth that would do something she didn't want to do, or be someplace she didn't want to be. "You should keep it simple. We are in the North, after all. Simple is best."
Sansa rolled her eyes. "I'm not going to put it up in some ridiculous southern style. She's not Cersei, and I don't want her to look like it. But it needs to be better than just a simple braid."
Missandei was smiling, lacing up one of her queen's boots.
Arya looked pensive. "I saw something in Braavos, once," she said slowly. Daenerys felt Sansa's hand freeze on her hair. Arya didn't talk much about her experiences in Braavos. "A different kind of braid. I heard it referred to as a 'fishtail.' May I?"
"A fishtail braid?" Sansa said, disdain coloring her tone. "What an ugly name."
Still, she stepped aside as Arya came up behind Daenerys. Comb in hand, the younger sister began to weave the queen's wavy locks back into an intricate braid. Her fingers were clumsy and ill suited to the task, and she quickly made a noise of disgust and gave up.
"You get the idea?" Arya said impatiently, picking up the half-eaten apple she'd discarded and taking a bite, juice dribbling down her chin.
Sansa raised a condescending eyebrow at her sister, but studied the unfinished hairstyle with interest.
Missandei cleared her throat. "For what it's worth, I think it's pretty. Ugly name or not."
Daenerys gave Sansa and Arya an encouraging smile. "Give it a try," she said softly. "We've still got hours before the ceremony. If we don't like it, we can redo it."
"Are you nervous?" asked Arya, cocking her head.
"To marry your brother?" Daenerys asked. She shook her head. "No," she said. "No, I'm not—not really." She swallowed, and met the flat grey eyes of the girl that had sailed across the ocean to become a Faceless Man. "I love him," she said, admitting to Jon's sisters what she hadn't told him yet.
Arya gave a rare smile, her eyes sparkling with joy and mischief. "And he's pretty."
Sansa gave a scandalized laugh. Daenerys winked at them both. "There is that."
Like I said, this was trash, and I'm sorry. The wedding and bedding is next though. I can't promise when it'll be. Probably two or three months. Could be sooner, could be later. The only promise I can make is that I won't abandon it. I've made that promise before, and I'll make it again. I'll never abandon a story. Taking a year to update doesn't mean it is abandoned. So just practice some patience. Or go find another GOT story to tide you over. Or go write your own GOT story to tide you over. Now, there's a thought!
Love you guys. Most of you, anyway. Remember, it is okay to ask for updates, or to ask when I might update, or to leave a sad face and say, "I wish you would update." But any meanness or nasty sarcasm needs to stay out of it. If you think it is a waste of time to wait for updates, then go read a story that says, "Complete." Or go buy a book at Barnes and Noble. Ta da! See, I just fixed your problem for you. But it is a waste of time to say that my story is a waste of time, because you just spent a few minutes of your life writing a comment that is more likely to get an author to stop writing altogether than it is to prompt an update.
Thanks for reading! Leave a review if you feel so inclined.