Sorry for the delay! More angst ahead because Jon Snow knows nothing (it's a good thing that Daenerys likes a challenge).
Before his new queen had requested an audience with him, Jon had been doing what he did best; brooding. Brooding passed the time, he found, and it wasn't as if he didn't have various topics to choose from.
The Night King.
The general death and (almost) destruction of his family.
Plenty of things to keep him busy.
Unfortunately, as much as he wanted to jump on a horse and sit in front of a weirwood tree for the foreseeable, he was stuck on a boat with the Mother of Dragons, which not so long ago, he would have been pretty fucking happy about.
Now, less so.
His thoughts wouldn't stay in one place. Part of him was telling him it was okay to take a lover because he was no longer a Crow, no longer bound by oaths and vows. Part of him was telling him he'd made the worst mistake possible by bedding the woman he'd needed as his ally, because if push came to shove, the loss of her armies was going to be a devastating blow. Part of him couldn't get over the fact that she'd willingly accepted his advances (and had on more than one occasion taken control of the situation in a way that made his head spin), only to dismiss him the instant the night was over.
He didn't understand women at all.
His stomach rumbled, adding insult to injury. Despite keeping a brave face at the breakfast table, Jon had eaten little of the fish on offer (partly out of dislike, partly to punish himself for whatever mistake he'd made), and he hadn't thought to hide edible rations in his own belongings, leaving him hungry, as well as miserable.
How far was White Harbor again?
The wait for Daenerys to make an appearance at breakfast had been excruciating. For that brief, blissful moment after Tyrion had made it known that he was aware of the queen's company, up until she'd dismissed him from her room, Jon had felt considerably positive about things. Lying definitely wasn't his forte, his father had made sure of that (which is why he had often wondered where Arya got that particular talent from), and though he didn't know Tyrion as well as he would have liked, he'd surmised that he wasn't the type of person to hide important information from. Jon had understood that announcing it to the rest of them might be a little uncomfortable, especially since he was still technically the newcomer, but the 'meet my new lover' speech would be worth it, considering who his new lover was.
You really do know nothing, Jon Snow.
A knock on his door snapped him out of his thoughts before he could begin to add the death of Ygritte to his list of things to feel bad about. He'd expected Davos, or even Tyrion, but he found himself taken aback at the sight of Daenerys.
"Your Grace." He stepped aside to let her in, and cast a quick look across his quarters to make sure it was tidy enough for her presence.
"I came to see how you're faring after breakfast." There was the smallest of smiles on her lips, he noted, but Jon couldn't find it in him to smile back.
"It was edible, and it was sustenance. You come to find that in times of hardship, it doesn't matter what you're eating, so long as you can survive long enough to your next meal."
"Ever the ominous one." She took a step towards his bed, as if silently requesting him to take a seat, but he remained standing. "I came to…" Her gaze hardened, her jaw tight. "I came to apologise, Jon, for my earlier actions."
In that moment, he knew there were two ways the scene in front of him could play out. He didn't need to know her well to sense that apologies came rarely, to know that she was taking a big personal sacrifice in admitting she'd acted in the wrong manner. This would be the part when he'd take off a glove, place a finger to her lips, and tell her that she had nothing to be sorry for. She'd look at him with those large, enchanting eyes, he'd allow himself to smile, and then the world would stop around them as their bodies came together in a mix of love and passion.
Except he was going to take route two. His heart wanted one thing, had got its wish the night before, but it was time to think with his head again. He had to remember his place, his mission. He had to remember that no matter how he felt, Daenerys didn't want him in the same way he wanted her.
"We both acted on impulse," he finally said, doing his best to keep his face free of emotion. "I've let myself become too familiar with you, and I should be the one apologising. You're my Queen, and I overstepped the mark."
There was a flash of surprise on her features, he noted, though he didn't let himself dwell on what that meant. He'd seen and done a lot of things in his time, had even bested death, so staying strong in front of this woman would be easy in comparison.
"Sit down." Her voice commanded respect. He'd seen the effects it had on those around her, had even felt the effects on himself, but this is where some of the problem resided; he was still his own man. He'd declared her as his queen, there was no going back from that (and he didn't want to, awkward post-sex feelings aside), but he could still make his own decisions. Instead of immediately doing as she said, he gritted his teeth, remaining where he stood. She let out a small sigh, and the harshness from her voice seemed to soften. "Sit down. Please."
He nodded, and sunk onto his bed, perched on the edge in case he felt the need to stand in outrage. In turn, Daenerys sat beside him. Her hand seemed to hover in the air for an elongated minute, as if she were contemplating placing it on his knee, but it soon found a resting place in her lap.
"I'm used to getting my own way," she stated, so matter of fact, no apology to follow. "That may give the impression that I'm a spoilt child, but this is because I've worked to make my goals a reality." Her eyes seemed to burn into his, and as much as he wanted to look away, he couldn't. "How much do you know of me, of where I came from?"
Jon furrowed his brow. "Admittedly, Your Grace, not enough. Targaryens have a bit of a mixed reception in the North, and the news that drifted to the Wall over the years was often exaggerated." He shook his head with a sad laugh. "I remember one of the stories that claimed you were part dragon yourself. There was talk that you had scales covering you from head to tail, and that all of your clothes had to be altered when you started growing wings."
Daenerys looked over her shoulder as she patted herself with a hand. "I haven't noticed any yet, but I'm sure stranger things have happened." She smiled a little. "My only living brother, Viserys, he was my last of kin, and as such he had a large part in raising me. He was of the mindset that he would be on the Iron Throne someday, and that he could use me to get there. When I was young, I felt powerless to his demands, so I went along with them. What else could I do? There was no one else to look out for me, and no matter how cruel and bitter he may have been, he was still the only family I had left, and I loved him, despite his many, many flaws."
"I'm sorry." It was Jon's turn to feel like he needed to touch her, his hand desperate to find hers, but he didn't. He instead shifted a little on the bed, closing the distance between them, if only slightly.
"Don't worry, I'm not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me. Our past makes us who we are now, and I don't take that for granted." She absentmindedly touched one of the braids in her hair, as if to recount its origins. "When I married Khal Drogo, it was a different situation, but a similar experience. He used me for his own needs, and at the start, I accepted my fate. Time made me stronger, experiences made me stronger, and after a while, I made things happen without relying on anyone telling me what I could and couldn't do. I've grown used to getting my own way." She tilted her head, eyes focused on the view of the water from the small window in Jon's room. "I was told that the Dothraki would not travel across any body of water, and yet here we are. I was brought up on stories of the extinction of dragons, and yet here we are. I started as a girl with nothing…" She turned back to look at him, eyes searching his. "And yet here we are."
"Here you are."
She paused, and all Jon could hear was the drumming of blood in his ears. "I was caught off guard this morning. As a Queen, a Khaleesi, I've become accustomed to being in control of most situations, and I don't take kindly to having that control relinquished. I know this may sound cold of me, but you have to understand; I'm used to having the power. When Lord Tyrion made it clear that he was aware of our situation, it left me feeling… vulnerable." She shuddered, drawing her cloak in tighter around her body, and Jon could see it in her, that young, helpless girl that she used to be, the girl under her brother's thumb, even if the moment passed in an instant. "You and me, this is no one's business but our own."
"Because you're ashamed?"
Her cheeks flushed in time with his. "No. Because nothing is my own anymore. I have accepted that being their queen means sharing myself unconditionally, giving them everything I have, but it doesn't leave me room to keep some of it back for myself. I'm still trying to process… this, us, and it feels as if that's been taken away from me before I've had chance to understand what's going on."
He nodded once. "Was it a mistake?"
The question hung in the air for longer than Jon was happy with. The room felt stuffy, unbearably so, and the longer she remained silent, the more he could feel himself pulling away. Her story, her actions, they made sense, but they didn't help soften the blow, and he felt sick to his stomach for acting the way he had.
He'd let his heart get the better of him again.
As a boy, he'd never given much thought to love. He'd always dreamed of joining the Night's Watch, of making his father proud, while Robb dreamed of slaying enemies and owning a castle. When Sansa would ask if he'd grow up to marry a beautiful lady, his older brother would scoff and retch, claiming girls to be repulsive.
"I'd rather marry Old Nan."
And yet as adolescence hit, Jon had seen the change in him. Robb would almost strut like a fancy bird when young women were around, beaming when they giggled and swooned, and some nights before bed, he would do nothing but talk about his latest crush of the month, regaling Jon with over exaggerated stories of their beauty.
As tragic as it was, Jon had taken comfort in the fact that Robb had died a married man, that he'd finally found a woman to give his heart to. He'd been happy, he'd had a reason to live, and it had eased his pain in the dark hours of the morning when he couldn't think of anything other than his brother's face.
Ygritte had been an accident. He'd broken his vows for the betterment of the Watch, he'd told himself that a hundred times over, but he had no excuses for having fallen in love. It had happened unexpectedly, had ended just as so, and as he'd held her in his arms, watching the life drain from her body, he'd known then that he wasn't his brother; he wasn't going to have a happily ever after (if it could even be called that).
That was why this situation stung even more. He'd fallen in love for the second time, having convinced himself that it would never happen again, and he'd made things ten times worse by acting on it. Unrequited love, he could have handled that from afar, but knowing how she tasted, the softness of her skin, what noise she made when he brought her to the edge… He would never be able to forget that. Eventually he would have to watch her sit on the Throne, another man by her side, those memories burned into his soul forever, because what did she have to gain from Ned Stark's bastard?
"It wasn't a mistake." Her response seemed to take an eternity, but it did nothing to make Jon feel any better. "I don't regret what happened, neither am I ashamed of it. It's just that, in hindsight, I wish I'd handled the situation differently." She finally stood. Smoothing down her clothes, she clasped her hands together and nodded. "Today, we all have a free pass. Tomorrow we will begin planning our strategy for when we arrive in the North." She began walking towards the door, and as her fingers met the handle, she turned back to look at him, though Jon was intently watching his boots. "Come to my quarters tonight, when everyone has gone to bed. I'll show you then that last night wasn't a mistake."
And then she was gone. Jon fell back onto his bed, let out the deepest of sighs, and cursed himself for the blood that instantly ran south at the idea of spending another night with the blonde.
The day passed uneventfully. Davos disturbed him mid-afternoon to offer bland biscuits and a card game he'd learnt in Flea Bottom, and dinner consisted of a mixture of greens that had already began to wilt. Jon had taken a kind of guilty pleasure in watching Daenerys force the food down, because for all her bravado, he found her reactions easy to read; she wasn't enjoying the limited cuisine. Still, he smiled when she smiled at him, he laughed at Tyrion's amusing stories, and he acted surprised when Missandei admitted that she was missing a certain member of the Unsullied. The mismatched individuals shared a drink or two until candles needed to be lit, and one by one, they dispersed to their beds in preparation for a day of tedious planning ahead of them. Jon didn't hang around this time. As Davos bid the Queen a good night, he too did the same, noting the hidden invitation on her lips as she wished him the sweetest of dreams.
He'd already made his mind up. As much as he wanted her, and as much as he was in love with her, it would be easier on both of them if he remembered why he was there in the first place. Repeating this in his head until he was sick of his inner voice, he retired to his own space, locking the door before sinking into his bed, alone.