Summary: "her violet eyes were looking at him, big and wide, drinking his face in as if he had been water in a desert, and he could see nothing in them but love, pure unadulterated love laced in joy and what looked like relief. It all makes sense, they said, I was meant to find you, they said, I'm not alone any more, they screamed."Blood of my blood," she whispered" A character exploration around the truth of Jon Snow's parentage. Featured pairings: Dany / Jon, Grey Worm / Missandei, Brienne / Jaime, Brienne / Tormund, slight Tyrion / Sansa.
He was standing in the crypts of Winterfell when Sam started talking, the dancing flames of the lighten torches casting orange shadows on his serious face.
They had arrived a few minutes before, the castle of his childhood was even whiter with snow than he last remembered, and after hugging Arya tightly and giving Bran a tender brotherly kiss on the forehead, Sam had made his presence known. The happy reunion had been short lived, "we need to talk," his friend had said, following a short but fierce hug, face sombre, eyes piercing through him as if he was seeing him for the first time, "Bran and I have something important to tell you."
"Can it wait?" Jon had asked then, brows knitting, "there is a lot we need to discuss."
"No matter what it is that you need to discuss, Jon, you want to know this first, trust me."
He had turned toward Bran then, and his brother's face gave nothing away; gone was the little boy climbing the castle walls, filling the atmosphere with laughter and innocence when sparing with wooden swords and dull headed arrows, his features were unrecognisable, and it was not only the years that had changed them beyond recall, it was something else, something deeper and older, something frightening. Jon raised his eyebrows at him, and Bran answered the silent question with a nod of his head. The importance of the moment had weighed on his shoulders, the air heavy with a knowledge still unsaid.
"We should probably leave you to it," Dany had spoken softly, her voice a whisper, almost unheard against the cold wind, she had given a quick look to her Hand, seeking his silent agreement.
"No," Bran had spoken for the first time, voice strong and assured, "The Dragon Queen must hear this too, and perhaps Arya and Sansa shall be there as well".
Nobody had dared to contradict him, and so they had all followed his lead down to the crypts, Sam pushing his wheelchair in silence.
"Strange choice of place to discuss something important," Tyrion had said, chancing a remorseful glance at Ned Stark's statue looming solemnly over them all. "It doesn't look much like him."
Arya had snorted at that, "It's what I said the first time I came back here, but why should a Lannister care?"
She had spat the name like an insult, her wild gaze glued to Tyrion.
"If I could bring back your lord father in exchange of those who have wronged him, I would, he was a good man and while I'm not worth half of him – terrible pun fully intended, I am not your enemy"
"We do not have any time to settle old quarrels, we are not here for that," the calm voice of Bran had defused the tension at once, and soon all eyes turned back to him and Sam, both standing in front of Lady Lyanna's sepulchre.
"So?" Jon had asked them, eager to get on with it.
Sam took a deep breath and started talking: "When I was at the Citadel, I transcribed the diary of an old Septon. This man documented his entire life, even his bowel movements, the number of stairs he climbed... everything. It was one of the most boring assignments I had to do, but it did make me come across something interesting, even though I didn't realise just how important it was until I spoke to Lord Bran Stark. It was about a marriage annulment that he had issued for..."
"I don't understand why this is relevant to me," Jon had cut him, slightly irked.
"Jon, please, just listen, the important part is yet to come."
He had nodded at Sam, wordlessly allowing him to go on.
"He had issued an annulment for..." Sam paused, glancing quickly at Daenerys who's face remained unreadable, "Prince Rhaegar Targaryen."
"What?" Dany's voice was trembling, her breathing uneven, the mask she wore on her features falling apart as they contorted under the shock.
"Yes," Sam said, giving her a look of concern, but soon he turned his attention back toward Jon, "I don't know why he'd lie in his personal diary, and Bran confirmed it with his green seer ability. But that is not all, after the annulment of the union of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Princess Elia Martel, he wedded him in a secret ceremony in Dorne... to Lady Lyanna Stark."
A heavy silence befell them all, and Jon had looked around, trying to fight his way through confusion, but none of the faces surrounding him had seemed to understand more than he did. None except for Tyrion; he suddenly let out a loud gasp, looking at Lyanna's likeness and then at Jon, then back at Lyanna, and after a few seconds of this back and forth where his eyes grew progressively wider, the dwarf turned his attention toward his lord father once more, the statue standing a few feet to his right, "It was never Ned Stark's ways..." he whispered under his breath, now glancing at Bran who nodded at him in confirmation.
"What is it?" Dany asked him then, noticing their silent exchange.
"I don't understand," Jon had interjected, frustrated with his growing confusion, "what does any of this has to do with me?"
At that, it was Sansa's turn to gasp loudly before whispering something in Arya's ear, she clasped her sister's hand, squeezing it hard inside her fist; Arya squeezed back, knuckles turning white, her confusion had turned into shock, both of them were staring at him as if they had just met him after a lifetime of searching. They looked strangely alike with their faces wearing the same expression.
"Jon..." Sam had said, voice tender, as if he had been trying to sooth a child, "don't you see?"
It is then that Bran took the lead, voice monotonous, his eyes never leaving him: "Robert's rebellion was all a lie. I have seen it. I have seen Rhaegar wed Lyanna, I have seen them loving each other, picking each other willingly, taking each other as husband and wife. Their love started a war, but a lie finished it. It ended in Dorne, with our father looking for his sister, standing at the feet of a tower where Aunt Lyanna had been hidden for protection. Rhaegar had been killed, and when he found her, it was in a bed of blood..."
Daenerys' body was shaking next to him, and he could feel its heat radiating toward him.
"...she made him promise, it was the last thing that she did before she died. She made him promise that he would protect her baby boy at all cost. And so he did. He did, during all those years. All by himself, he never told anyone, not even our mother."
Jon's head started spinning, a cold sweat streaming down his spine.
"Your name is not Jon Snow, it has never been Jon Snow, you have never even been a bastard," Bran continued, face inscrutable, "and Ned Stark wasn't your father. Lady Lyanna Stark gave birth to you in Dorne, amidst the settling blood and dust of war. Your father was the Prince of Dragonstone, Rhaegar Targaryen. Your name is not Jon Snow.." Bran said again, "It's Prince Aegon of House Targaryen, sixth of your name and true born heir to the Iron Throne."
A stunned and thick silence had greeted the end of his speech, and Jon felt Daenerys' glance burning his side, hotter than dragonfire, as she tangled her small fingers with his. Aegon Targaryen, Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen... he felt himself tremble, tears burning his eyelids as his pupils found her face of stone, his mother, did she really look that way?... Ned Stark, Stark, Targaryen... he was not a Stark, Ned Stark, the man he admired the most and had loved so well, the man who's memory he had always tried to honour and live up to, was not his father... Lyanna was his mother, he had always wanted to know and now he wished he didn't... he was a Targaryen, the only thing he had ever remembered wanting fiercely was to be a Stark, now he longed to simply be a Snow once more. He glanced at Dany; her violet eyes were looking at him, big and wide, drinking his face in as if he had been water in a desert, and he could see nothing in them but love, pure unadulterated love laced in joy and what looked like relief. It all makes sense, they said, I was meant to find you, they said, I'm not alone any more, they screamed."Blood of my blood," she whispered, her voice echoing slightly against the stone walls, "my love." He could not share her awe.
Dropping Dany's hand, he turned around, lurched forward and vomited the content of his stomach on the cold tiles, leaving nothing in him but emptiness. Behind him, he could feel the others standing as still as the statues surrounding them, their stares digging at his back, as if he was a fragile and wild beast in danger of either fleeing or baring teeth in defence at any brusque motion. Perhaps they were right.
Aegon Targaryen. The name played in his mind as foreign as it would have been on a faceless stranger. He could not be, it wasn't possible. And so, for the first time that he could remember, he ran away.
In the courtyard the cold wind bit his face like knives slicing through skin, and the arisen walls of Winterfell, casting shadowy monsters over his frame, suddenly felt as austere and unwelcoming as King's Landing – where did he belong? Jon looked up at the sky, finding himself longing for the Wall, the companionship of his brothers of the Night's Watch where nobody cared for who anybody was "before", drinking ale with Edd and Pyp, laughing with Sam in front of a crackling fire at Castle Black, listening to the stories of old Maester Aemon and the teaching of Lord Commander Mormont; they were all reborn there, they were all granted a new start, immaculate of past mistakes or of secretly looming ghosts tainting any steps they'd chose to take. He longed for the Free Folk beyond the wall, for a king with no crown to wear nor throne to sit upon, a king who refused to kneel or be kneeled to; none of them would have cared for who he was or was not as long as he could prove himself valuable. They could be family without needing blood to hold them together - Arya, Sansa and Bran weren't his siblings any longer, he felt alone. He thought of Ygritte, "You know nothing Jon Snow", how right had she been... Inexplicably - or perhaps not - Dany's face as he made love to her on a boat sailing to Winterfell, appeared in his mind, he wished he could be back there, feeling her under him, moving inside of her, unknowing and in love. They could never be.
Jon tried to focus his eyes on the dark clouds, his breathing was catching in his throat, strangled by the sobs he tried to hold back. His vision was blurred; by tears or his spinning head, he wasn't sure. He heard his screeching before he saw him; above his head, the green scales of Rhaegal appeared, ever more clear as he flew lower and lower, and Jon locked his dark eyes in the amber ones of the ferocious beast, the beating of his wings only making the winds stronger, but Jon stood there, immobile, unwavering and waiting.
Rhaegal landed in front of him with a loud thud, making the snowed earth tremble under his feet, his snout so close to his face, Jon could feel the heat of his breath and see every details of his emerald skin as he clasped his jaw at him, he was as close as Drogon had been all those weeks ago when Dany had come back from war, how could he ever have thought dragons were anything but magnificent? The beast tilted his head, eyes blinking as if asking a question, and Jon stopped thinking. Impulsively he walked toward the animal – Daenerys' child, climbed on his wing and settled on his back. The dragon looked back at him quizzically ; under him, Jon could have sworn that he felt Rhaegal's heart beating in unison with his. "Blood of my blood, my love," the words echoed in his head like the chorus of a half forgotten song.
"Fly boy," Jon muttered simply, his gloved hands holding Rhaegal's spiked spine with all his might.
And so the dragon granted his request.
A woman yelled his name as two enormous wings sprayed on each side of him, almost instantly taking flight, it could have been Sansa, Arya or perhaps Dany, Jon could neither tell nor bring himself to care in that moment.
The last thing he heard before Winterfell disappeared behind his back, was the long and plaintive howl of Ghost fading in the distance.