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Eighteen: Death? Yours or mine?
Mother of Dragons
Daenerys stares down at her prisoner from her throne unwavering. Her body is settled in a hard earned pretense of a relaxed state and she keeps her face devoid of all emotion. She just stares. She stares as he fidgets and squirms and looks anywhere but her.
She doesn't delude herself into thinking he's afraid of her in this moment. He stared down the flames of an actual dragon, pushed his comrade out of the way of those same flames from that same dragon, at a great risk to himself.
No, he's not afraid.
But not immune to her presence either.
I make him uncomfortable, at least. Dany thinks only somewhat smugly, mostly perplexed.
He glances at her quickly, only to look to one of her bloodriders, all of them are now sporting armor and other garments and trinkets they picked off the fallen enemy soldiers.
It's with that thought that Dany notices what the man is wearing . . . Grubby, well worn leather. No armor or anything else that would identify who he was aligned with. He fought on the side of the Lannisters, and yet he's not dressed like one, nor even like a Tarly.
He's a sell sword . . .
Her eyes narrow as she really looks at him, not just stares at him, but tries to really see him.
The only time I've ever seen a sell sword go above and beyond to keep someone other than himself alive was Daario Naharis. But with Daario, he thought himself in love with me, he shared my bed, he had the favor of the Dragon Queen. He had a lot to lose if he lost me. And when he did lose me, he made it clear what was being taken from him, what was most important to him.
"Who comes after you? Who follows Daenerys Stormborn, the Mother of Dragons?"
It doesn't bother me his feelings for me were all tied up in the glory of mounting me and not loving me, as he had claimed. Although I think he really did think he was in love with me, just as I thought I had cared for him as well. I knew what kind of man he was, I knew who I was allowing into my bed. He was my concubine and I his conquest and I can't find it in myself to be mad at either of us for it.
But what reason could this man have for being so dedicated to the Kingslayer? Doubtful they're lovers, that's for sure.
Dany glances down at her feet where a saddle bag of gold lays. Her Kos, Niko, had presented it to her as he did the prisoner and said he'd found it on the battle field.
The only thing Sell Swords care about universally is gold, but is there really any amount grand enough to pay for his life? To pay for him to risk his life against a dragon? It's not as if he can take it with him to the grave.
When he'd been behind the oversized crossbow that was one thing, that was for the glory of slaying a dragon, no other way you'd face off against one in Daenerys opinion, unless your ego led you. But when he came within inches of the flame all to save the Kingslayers life . . . that's another thing entirely.
Dany breaks the silence, losing the game in the process but it doesn't bother her too much.
"What is your name?"
His eyes drift to her but he keeps his head cocked to the side where he'd been focused on one of her riders with his new longsword clutched to his hip. That is until his eyes twitch to the gold at her feet.
"Ser Bronn of the fucking Blackwater . . . Your grace." He bows mockingly, his shackles rattling.
"Ser Bronn of the fucking Blackwater," Dany repeats slowly, recognizing the name immediately, her mood darkening as she does.
"You're Tyrions sell sword."
This is the man that practically left her Hand for dead at his trial.
"I was. Not anymore."
"Now you're the Kingslayers?"
"I wouldn't say that."
"No? You'd jump through flames for just anyone?"
Bronn opens his mouth to reply but thinks better of whatever he had to say and smirks.
"I did work for that one handed cunt, but seeing as he's rottin' in a cell right about now, and can't pay me anymore, means I'm a free agent." He winks to her.
"So you'd be looking for work then?"
"Seems I would."
"How much would it cost me to hire you?"
He glances at the gold at her feet again. "Depends on the job."
He looks to her with confused, bloodshot eyes.
"How much would it cost me to hire you as food. My dragon, Drogon, you've been acquainted already, is very hungry. And very angry at you."
He looks around to the men surrounding them as if to see if any of them gets the joke.
"What good would anything you got to give me be if I was dead," he asks as if he's speaking to someone completely daft.
"Why would you risk yourself the way you did to save a man you'd abandon soon after," Dany challenges in turn.
He tongues the inside of his bottom lip and looks to her with shifty eyes.
"I protect my investments as best I can. Can't protect that sister fucker anymore, which leaves me open to new possibilities."
Part of Dany thinks he's somewhat telling the truth. She wouldn't consider herself impervious to lies, some liars are better than others, but after having experienced magic induced visions, being led to one dream of hers after another and not falling for the ruse, it does teach one how to see past a lot. Discern what words are human infliction and what is the truth.
"Bronn," her Hand calls out in a sing song, striding into the great room with his own guards, "still an unrelenting businessman as usual, I see."
Bronn smiles softly, shifting his head as Tyrion walks past him and to his Queens side.
"Oh, you know me, I like to be on the winning side."
Of course you do.
Queen and Hand give eachother a long meaningful look made up of a thousand, thousand words in just a moments time.
"You're a bit late, but I could see how being on the wrong side of Dragons can change a mans mind." Tyrion turns to face his old friend, their small moment exhausting but unfinished.
"It was just the one dragon, but aye it does promote some reflection."
Bronns eyes fill with a great deal of affection for the Lannister.
Dany eyes the back of Tyrions head, his unkempt hair and dust stained clothes telling her he didn't even bother to freshen up before seeing to the matter at hand.
Dany mentally sighs. I didn't think we'd have to cross this bridge so soon. When I put that Hand of the Queen pin on him I knew there was going to be a time when he'd have to choose. But now he'll have to do it twice.
"Too bad you're not going to live long enough for it to matter." Dany croons with false sympathy.
A ripple runs through Tyrion as he tenses up, but doesn't make any other movements.
"Your grace, I know this man, he — he could be of some use."
Dany cocks her head. "Oh?"
She catches sight of his searching eye, the clever Dwarf having some trouble coming up with something to say.
"Yes . . . Well, he's quite skilled in battle —"
"I have tens of thousands of Dothraki at my back, I'm not sure one skilled sell sword will tip the balance."
"Yes, true, but he's also very brave! You saw it. He —"
"—Shot my child," Dany seethes.
"And I allied with the woman that poisoned my niece."
To that, Dany knows she has no argument.
Tyrion is a clever man indeed, and in just a short time has grown to know me well. He knows the fact that this man was fearless enough to peak my interests. Tough men are a dime a dozen. Brazen, fearless men like him are a bit more rare.
In this aspect he reminds her a great deal of Daario. She's just not sure how she feels about it.
"I was aiming for you," Bronn calls out mockingly, "if that makes you feel any batter, your grace."
Dany hears Tyrion swear under his breath as she rises but Bronns not finished yet.
"Looks like someone else stuck ya with one, instead. Is that a fever I see in your eyes?"
He's an idiot to be sure, but she could maybe use a man like that with what she has in mind. But not as he is. He'll not be swayed by affection for her as the people of Meereen were. No, he doesn't care who sits on the throne. But he does care about Tyrion. No other reason Dany can see, why he'd risk himself they way he did for the Kingslayer, Tyrions beloved brother.
But he'd betrayed Tyrion once.
He can't be left completely without fear. I learned a hard lesson on that battlefield, I and my children are not as indestructible as I'd thought, which made me Look weak to him. He needs to be taught different.
Dany consciously stops herself from grabbing at her elbow as the sling pulls uncomfortably and smirks at the joker before her.
"Not a fever, no," she says softly, stepping down and turning to one of the braziers and stares into the fire.
"I must congratulate you, Ser Bronn, you may have missed your mark, but you did have me for a second there."
She turns from the fire and speaks out in Dothraki.
"Niko, would you please roll up my sleeve."
Her rider glares at the sell sword before turning and coming up to her. With more gentleness than she though possible for the man, he softly rolls up the sleeve of her good arm. When she looks into his eyes, she sees a familiar heat, a heat she's seen in many mens eyes directed at her, but only felt in her own a time or two.
It's then she remembers the Dothraki usually find the nearest woman to take after a battle, by any means. But besides herself and Missandei, there's no women to be found.
The look does stir something in her, but she looks back to the fire. Niko is not the man she wants to see looking at her like that, especially now she has to worry about thousands of sexually frustrated men that are going to be at each other's throats.
If they can't fuck, they'll fight and Dothraki fights are to the death.
When her sleeve is securely folded to her elbow she looks back to Bronn.
"It's a lucky thing for me the blood of the dragon is stronger than your arrow."
Never looking from his eyes, she sticks her hand in the fire and gropes around for a coal. When she does find one she doesn't retract her hand immediately, the heat too pleasant on her skin.
Every time she feels the initial lick of the flames it feels as if she's where she's supposed to be. As soon as she encounters the heat, her untouched skin feels like it's made of ice, screaming out to be melted.
To Bronns credit, he shows no emotion to what he's seeing than the widening of his eyes. Most people would gasp or stumble back. Or kneel. But he just looks on shocked.
Not good enough.
She removes her hand, the coal held delicately in her finger tips so that it doesn't lose its flame, and walks towards him. The flame resting on the coal has her full attention, the beauty of it so pure of heart and clean of error. It's simple. It's powerful. It's hers.
As she gazes into it, walking carefully but fluidly with all the grace of a queen, she tries to think of something clever to say. Someway to tie a wise word into the situation, to weave her voice and the hunger of the flame together.
And she comes up empty.
She looks to the sell sword and smothers a smile.
His eyes are glued to the flames as hers were. And they're terrified.
Looks like I don't have to say a word.
Dany subtly shifts the coal back and forth, working up a faster pace gradually until she's waving it to and fro right in front of his face, his eyes moving with it in perfect sync.
What in the world?
She wanted him to see what she's capable of, that she is a dragon, one in the same with the magnificent creature he failed to slay.
She didn't mean to . . . Hypnotize him.
She drops the coal to the floor between them and he jerks to awareness stepping away from her and staring at her with wide, incredulous eyes.
"What was that! How did you do that?" He grounds out, breathing heavy.
Dany gasps. He had a vision, he saw something in the flame!
"What did you see?" Dany steps forward urgently as Bronn stumbles further away from her.
"How did you do that?!" He yells, spittle flying from his small chapped lips.
Dany rushes to him and grabs his chin, her heated flesh sinking into his cheeks.
"Tell me what you saw!"
Bronn cries out throatily and rips his face from her hand, his chin and cheeks marred with her harsh, red hand print.
Dany is the one to stumble back now. She hadn't meant to touch him, but doesn't feel too bad about it. She's no idea what to do with the man, but he still injured her child. As for now he's still her enemy, and he'll be given every ounce thought she's always given her enemies.
He looks to her with wild eyes clutching his face with his shackled hands. There's no burnt flesh smell so she knows the burns aren't too bad, they won't even scar, but they'll hurt like hell.
"What. Did. You. See."
He shakes his head.
Then he passes out, his head hitting the stone floor with a sickening sound.
"Bronn!" Tyrion cries out and rushes to his friend, kneeling beside him.
"What did you do to him?"
Dany just mindlessly shakes her head as Bronn had his, until she gets a grip on herself and commands her blood riders to put him in a cell.
Turning away from her Hand she contemplates what he could have meant.
He didn't say his death, or hers or any one specific death. He just said 'death'.
Death. All encompassing death.
She doesn't want to admit it to herself, but it's no coincidence he looked into a flame and saw a vision as if he were one of The Lord of Lights chosen.
Jon Snow and the cave paintings of demonicly luminescent blue eyes flash through her mind.
AN: Fun fact when I first thought of this scene, it was waaaaaaay different, Bronn wasn't going to originally have a vision. Literally it wasn't as I was writing it that it just came out that way, so please let me know if you guys enjoyed that he saw something or if he should have just been taught a lesson and anything else you thought about the chapter! Thanks so much for reading please review!