When Dany lived in Dragonstone with Lord Stannis, he used to say she was far too chirpy — too happy, too smiling, nothing like the gloomy doomed princess she ought to be — for a Targaryen betrothed to a highborn Northern bastard just from the spite of the king.
Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, last of the dragons, — unless you counted the Beggar King exiled in Essos — since a very young age was set to marry Jon Snow of Winterfell, simply because the king ordered so, saying that it would be right for her treacherous House to end in ruin, sullied by bastard's blood he said, and yet being repayment to the crimes of her father. Robert Baratheon thought it poetical that she would be freezing in the North, lady to a castle in the Gift, serving their profits to the Wall with a bastard for a husband and surrounded by savage wildlings. In the South's court, there were whispers of how righteous it was for her to be handed over to a Stark bastard, that she was payment, retribution for all the grief her House made the Wardens of the North pass.
Lord Baratheon of Dragonstone, her guardian in all ways, spoke differently though.
In a cold night, in her rooms in Dragonstone as she listened to the sounds of the sea, of the waves crashing against the shores, warmed by the fireplace and drinking watered wine with her guardian by her side, she listened as he said, in his calm and stern voice, that she was alive today because of her so-called shameful betrothal.
Dany always thought he seemed admiring of her future good-father. His eyes went to a faraway place, misting over with memories of the past flashing before him as she watched on, entranced by his tale.
Stannis said he had arrived in Dragonstone to discover her mother still in labour as the worst storm to ever grace the Eastern shores of Westeros raged outside the castle, her brother had already fled with Ser Willem Darry. Stannis told her that her birth took hours and that he never left her mother's side, for he would not dishonour her. He told her he was the one who held her in his arms as her mother named her and took her last breath.
Stannis told her of how he arrived in King's Landing with Daenerys in his arms and how Lord Stark was preparing himself to leave, angered by his friend's acceptance of Elia Martell and her children's murder, that when he heard of Dany's survival and that she was in Stannis' care he didn't falter in helping, in making sure she would not be killed by the blind fool of a king.
The arrangement was made, the Pact of Ice and Fire was honored and a Targaryen princess would be given to the North, not in the way that was first agreed upon, but Eddard Stark was making sure she would survive and if surviving meant being married to a bastard and shunned by all kingdoms, Dany would take it.
Since those fateful days that followed the agreement of her betrothal to Jon Snow — they were to be wed quickly, as soon as her red flower bloomed, in the North, she would put her cloak on him in front of the Weirwood — Daenerys was groomed to be a Northern lady of the Gift. Stannis always told her he was sure they would be given the Queenscrown's seat, that Lord Stark was rebuilding it and that he was helping him as he was supposed to. Daenerys learned the stories of the far North, their myths and history, customs and dishes. She learned the Houses and their sigils and their lords, she studied their politics — Stannis always said she would be phenomenal in King's Landing if she was allowed to play the games of the court, that she was born to rule — and she excelled in everything she learned. Dany learned to fight and to dance, to hunt and to cook, to smile and to attack.
Dany would be a useful wife, unlike the sickly Lady Selyse who was always sitting somewhere, staring sternly at something without ever doing something of worth.
Though groomed to marry and to rule over a castle, Dany couldn't deny her fears. She feared her young future husband, she feared for a loveless marriage such as her Lord Guardian's or that Jon Snow would come to be a cruel young boy like Joffrey Baratheon. Dany had learnt the water dance of the Bravoosi, she had her Valyrian sword, a gift from Ser Davos and Lord Stannis upon her conclusion and mastering of the fencing art of the Free City of Braavos, but she still was struck with freezing fear from the very thought of marrying someone slightly resembling the Heir to the Iron Throne.
Even now, mounted on her Silver, her beautiful white steed, and marching towards Winterfell at the tender age of three and ten to marry a boy she never met, with her Lord Stannis and Ser Davos at her side, Dany couldn't help but shiver at the thought of the vile boy that one day would rule the Seven Kingdoms.
"Are you cold, my lady?" Ser Davos' warm voice washed over her, sure and playful as always, and she couldn't help but smile at him, turning her purple irises towards his form.
"Of course not, my lord," Dany's hold on her reins tightened as the sultry voice of Stannis' Red Priestess came from a small distance behind her, mocking the Onion Knight. "My lady is made of fire, the cold of these lands have no effect on her." She could feel Melisandre's heavy red stare at her back, and Dany turned around slowly, her lips forming a smile in response before turning back to the road ahead of them, her gaze sweeping around their retinue.
"As the Lady Melisandre says, I do not feel the cold as well as you seem to, my lord," She takes a deep breath, feeling her long braid sway with the slight rocking of her body. She liked how long her silver hair was, how it always swayed with her every move. "It's merely the thought of my future husband that haunts me. He's as much a mystery to me as your Lord of Light, Melisandre."
Dany looked back at the priestess, but the woman only smiled at her, eyes glinting with satisfaction and glee. Dany turned around again, this time meeting the inquiring gaze of the Onion Knight. She shook her head, smiling and looking towards the road again.
"Your marriage will be worthy of a lady of your station, Lady Daenerys," Ser Davos assured her. "I've heard even magisters from Essos have travelled all the way to Winterfell to see to your marriage, princes and princess of distant lands that we've met in our travels bearing gifts of incredible wealth and luxury."
Dany smiled softly, smoothing her Silver's pale mane before looking up at the clear skies above them. It was truly a beautiful day to travel on horseback.
"Yet, all I wish for is my husband to be kind," She smiled with mischief in her eyes, grinning at her favourite Knight. "Like you, Ser Davos. If so, I'll be the happiest woman on all lands, for a man with your humour would surely always keep me laughing."
He barked a laugh, and even lady Melisandre laughed quietly.
Winterfell was beautiful and haunting and Dany had never been so scared in her life.
The gates of the great castle were opening, Lord Stannis was at the front with Melisandre not far behind, Ser Davos was on horseback beside Dany. She gripped her reins tightly, gulping slightly before pulling the hood of her white fur cape more over her head, wishing she could be back at Dragonstone playing with sweet Shireen.
The castle was great, and their entourage slowly entered the courtyard and around them, she could see soldiers and Stark banners. Their retinue parted as Lord Stannis advanced forward, stopping and jumping out of his horse to meet a tall and broad-shouldered man richly dressed standing on the very front of the greeting party. They shook hands and Dany took calming breaths as she listened to their formal exchange.
"Lord Stannis, it has been a long time since we last saw each other," Lord Stark's voice was low, rough and grave, but inviting. He appeared to be a cold man, but Dany could see the kindness in his eyes as they swiftly swept over her guardian and over their party, stopping at her figure, hidden by white fur cape and hood. "I welcome you to the North and into Winterfell."
"It is a pleasure to be here and make good on our promise." Stannis' voice was as stern as always, cutting directly towards his objective. She felt a smirk tug on her lips at his forward attitude.
Lord Eddard thought it as amusing as she did, for he did not take offence, unlike his wife, the lady with Tully red hair, who Dany could see was clearly disapproving of Lord Stannis' uncourtly greeting, pursing her lips.
"May I present you my wife, Lady Catelyn." Eddard gestured towards the redhead, who curtsied for him.
"Let me present you, our children." She pointed at a tall, Tully haired boy with sharp blue eyes. "This is our heir and eldest, Robb of House Stark." Catelyn then pointed toward two girls, a Tully beauty and a Stark beauty, redheaded and dark-haired, one a dutiful highborn lady and the other a wild spirit that Dany thought wanted to be anywhere but there. She could see the mud stains on the smaller girl's fingers and dress, how her hair was windswept and her long face pouting and frowning at them all. Dany couldn't help but smile at her. "This is Lady Sansa, our eldest daughter, and Lady Arya, our youngest." Then Lady Stark pointed to the youngest boys, the youngest couldn't have more than three name-days, squirming uncontrollably on his tiny feet and dwarfed by his heavy clothes. "This is Brandon and last, our youngest, Rickon."
The courtyard was covered by silence as Lord Stannis looked at them with hard eyes, examining each of the Stark children with judging eyes. Dany understood perfectly what he was searching for.
She had not heard of one Jon Snow, who she would marry on the very next day.
Lord Stannis lifted his hand, turning his back on the Starks and calling her forward silently. She dismounted her steed with no help, gracefully, being careful with her riding dress and heavy cape as she walked towards them, lowering her hood and curtsying when she stood in front of the Warden of the North and his family.
"I present you, Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen." His voice was dry, eyes cutting through the crowd, which now watched her with awe and wariness, finally meeting Lord Stark's gaze with an inquiring of his own. "She is here to marry your bastard son, yet I haven't heard of a Snow amongst your children."
Dany looked at her guardian with amused eyes, finding joy in the shocked glances the Lady Stark exchanged with her husband. She had heard the woman was bitter with the union, that she didn't enjoy the presence of her husband's bastard. Stannis had told her Catelyn Stark thought the marriage unsightly, that she thought it was useless to promote a bastard the way Eddard Stark did when giving his bastard a noble wife and a castle to rule over. Dany didn't know what to think of her but knew she had to prepare herself because the woman could turn her life into hell. She was a dragon, but, still, she was alone within a pack of wolves.
"Of course," Lord Stark spoke then, turning towards the crowd and waving his hand, commanding someone to approach. From the line directly behind the Stark family came a boy. Daenerys was silently struck with his brooding beauty.
Dark of hair and clean shaved, he was dressed in darker colours than his noble-born family. He had a long face and was exquisitely handsome, with grey eyes as dark as the clouds of a storm. His long hair was beautiful, stopping a little bit after his strong jaw and in full ringlets, wild in its curls as his hair shined almost black in the sunlight. He looked solemn and guarded, eyes cold and taking everything in around him, his lips were pouty, full.
Jon Snow was handsome, even at such a young age.
Daenerys dearly hoped he could find her as handsome as she did him.
Oh, Dany knew she was beautiful. The most beautiful in the Seven Realms, many called her, but she couldn't find the confidence she had grown into when his eyes, cold and brooding, stared at her so deeply as he did now. Jon Snow of House Stark had a strong gaze.
He would grow to be quite the man, she couldn't help but think.
My man, she thought as she offered her hand in greeting, and he awkwardly bowed over her dainty palm, holding it in his large callused one.
And as he shyly gulped down, averting his eyes back to the ground, Dany knew he would never be like Joffrey.
They were escorted inside, Lady Catelyn leading her to her temporary chambers as Ser Davos and Lord Stannis walked with Lord Eddard to his solar, Jon Snow and Robb Stark following close behind them. The other children walked into the castle or remained in the courtyard, watching their guards and their horses being led to their temporary lodgings.
Dany sighed in relief when they entered the castle, immediately being enveloped into its warm embrace, remembering vaguely that the keep was heated by the hot springs flowing throughout all of it like blood flows through her body.
"Comforting, isn't it?" The Lady of the Castle spoke, voice filled with courtly pleasantries of the South. Dany was grateful for Melisandre's familiar presence, who followed her closely.
"Yes, Lady Stark." Dany smiled graciously, steps never wavering as she followed the older woman. "I've read about Winterfell so much, I feel as if I'm home." She looked at the woman by the corner of her eye, hoping against hope that the Lady wouldn't take offence by her words.
The Lady smiled grimly, eyes straying momently from their path to observe the young Targaryen's face. Dany felt a shiver run down her spine as the older woman's sharp blue eyes seemed to pierce through her.
"Then you must be much more prepared than I was when I first came North." Catelyn Stark smirked at her before turning her eyes ahead, turning sharply to their right. Daenerys followed swiftly, Melisandre by her side with her ever watchful red gaze and steady steps. She turned her violet eyes toward the small windows on the corridor, appreciating the small bits of scenery she could glimpse.
"My Lady Stark didn't enjoy the cultures of the North, then?" Dany pressed her full lips together in a nervous line, cursing Melisandre for her audacity. Didn't the priestess see how she would be in a delicate situation on the next days of her life, at least until her home in the Gift was ready for her and her soon-to-be husband's ruling? She would need to live with Catelyn Stark for years still, married to the favoured bastard son of her husband.
But the woman just kept walking, no visible anger at the priestess' words were noticeable in her stance nor in her refined face.
"No, I was not. I've never been too much of a scholar for other cultures, I've learnt of the North by need as all ladies must do." Dany could hear the lecture in her voice, and she didn't turn a deaf ear to her. Soon she would be this woman's vassal, this woman would soon be her liege.
Melisandre chuckled, shaking her head before turning sly eyes to Dany.
"Our young Lady Targaryen is nothing like yourself then, my lady." At this the woman stopped, turning curious eyes towards the Red Woman.
"I am sorry, but we were not introduced." Here, she looked at Dany with expectant eyes and she blushed at her carelessness.
"Lady Stark, I am very sorry. Forgive me. This is Melisandre of Asshai, Lord's Stannis priestess." Consort, paramour, Dany wanted to say. Melisandre nodded in greeting, red lips smiling slightly at the girl's reserve.
Melisandre was an odd one in Dany's life. She couldn't pinpoint, exactly, when the woman had entered Dragonstone's innermost court. A bit after the Greyjoy Rebellion or even before that? Dany couldn't say. But she was always by either Lord Stannis' side or following Dany like a shadow. Melisandre took care of her with devotion for years, always looking at her as if expecting something of her. Dany always felt scared by her and her lord of light, but, nonetheless, appreciated the woman's affections.
"It's truly a pleasure to meet you, my lady." Catelyn didn't nod back, looking at her with those sharp Tully eyes before acquiescing to the woman's greeting.
"Indeed it is." She smiled warmly, but Dany wasn't blind to the calculating gleam in her eyes. "There has never been so many Essosi in Winterfell as there will be in your wedding, Lady Targaryen."
Dany smiled, excitement bubbling in her chest at the thought of so many different people.
"I've heard of it," She spoke, not managing to contain the joy in her voice. She was always a curious girl, eager to learn whatever she could. At seven name-days, she swore she would be the first lady to become a maester. It was one the few stances that she had seen her lord guardian laugh. "I hope that I can speak with all of them. And, please, Lady Stark," Dany smiled shyly, turning her eyes toward the floor before meeting the lady's gaze. "You may call me Daenerys."
The lady nodded, a pleased look adorning her face.
"Lady Daenerys has always has been a brilliant girl," Melisandre smiled warmly at her, meeting her eyes. Dany could feel her pleasure at the proud look she displayed. "She has learnt so many languages and I bet she knows more of the Seven Kingdoms' history than any other."
Lady Catelyn blinked, surprised, before turning towards her with an elegantly arched brow. Dany blushed before nodding, a proud smile on her lips.
"I know High Valyrian the best of all, as my mother language. The Summer Tongue and Old Ghiscari I've learned as complements to my studies on ancient history, and, of course," She looked slyly at Melisandre, who answered with a smile. "Melisandre has taught me the language of Asshai." She lifted her chin, demonstrating her pride in her studies. "I wish to learn Dothraki, but I find the Old Tongue a much better idea and have started my studies on it." She frowned a bit, annoyed that she couldn't find suited teachers for either language, and she told Lady Stark so. Dany also knew the trade talk, but that was not something a lady should know, so she decided to keep that to herself.
The woman chuckled, looking at her with wonder, and Dany felt a weight being lifted off of her shoulders.
"A truly remarkable mind, lady Daenerys." Lady Catelyn nodded, turning around and returning to guide them towards their chambers. Melisandre would stay with her for the night, preparing her for the marriage tomorrow.
"I think you will be in good hands here, Daenerys," Melisandre spoke soothingly, brushing her long silver waves with endless patience. They were in front of her dressing table, the Red Woman standing behind her seated figure as Dany observed their reflection in the mirror in front of them. The chambers they were in was spacious, with two bed-chambers connected to a welcoming round room. One bedchamber for her and the other for Melisandre, so that she had the guiding hand of the priestess as she prepared to their coming welcoming feast, and then the marriage on the following day.
They had arrived in Winterfell at sun's peak, and Dany was immediately guided to her rooms for rest and to ready herself with the Red Woman while Ser Davos and her Lord guardian Stannis made business with the Warden of the North, his heir and Dany's betrothed. Now, at noon's end and the night's beginning, Dany stares at her face in the mirror, preparing for a feast paying homage to her shameful marriage, and she feels empty.
"Are you sure, Melisandre?" The older woman stops brushing her fair hair, raising her red eyes to meet hers on the mirror's reflection. She laid the brush on the dressing table, letting Dany's hair fall from her hands and pulling it around her, letting it fall on her chest before gripping her shoulders and laying her chin on the top of her head.
There is no sound in the room other than the hustle of their maids behind them, the candles that scattered around the room was casting a warm glow on their bodies, covered only by light shift clothes.
Dany's breath shook as she met her purple eyes in the reflection of the small and dirty mirror.
"You will endure." The priestess whispered, grip tightening. "You will prevail." She laid a silent kiss on her head, lips moving against the smooth texture of her hair. "And you will triumph."
Her words echoed through Dany's head as the image of her betrothed passed through her eyes, his shy gaze and his strong grip on her dainty hand scorched to her mind. They would rule together one day. They would rule over a small keep over frozen lands, scorned by the rest of the kingdom but still remembered by all.
Jon Snow would become Lord Jon Snow of House Targaryen, while she would be his beautiful wife, as fair as winter itself, last blood of the damned dynasty of House Targaryen reduced to a minor house in the far North, paying taxes not even to her liege lord but to the Wall that protected the Seven Realms from myths and legends.
She took a deep breath, lifting a hand to brush away the tears in her eyes and closing her eyes for a few minutes before opening them once more. Dany met her reflection, this time, with resolution and boldness.
If I look back, I am lost. If I stick to dreams and fears, I won't live.
She smiled, beaming at her reflection, before turning towards her friend. Melisandre drew back, looking down at her with that mysterious look of hers.
"Call for the maids." She smirked. "I have to dress to impress."
The welcoming feast was held in the castle's hall. The main table was elevated on a dais, watching over the whole of the hall, with both lords, their wives and counsellors seated. There were various tables, the closest to the main one was filled with highborn of both winter fell and the few Lord Stannis had allowed to travel along with them North. The music was enjoyable, with happy tunes funny lyrics, the food was fresh and rustic, and there were only sounds of laughter.
Of course, Dany only noticed all of that much later.
She had dressed in white and red, a long dress that flowed at her hips with the skirt decorated with the smallest of dragons. The bodice was tight and pure white, a daunting neckline that showed the valley of her breasts — not that there was much to see, she was still so young — that had a small chain holding it together, her shoulders were bare, connecting flimsily to the long sleeves. Her arms were protected by long white and sheer sleeves that parted at her elbow, again decorated with small red dragons flowing down her arms. Her hair was braided simply, in the way of the North. Out of her face and still flowing beautifully down her back.
She was to enter the hall on the arm of her betrothed.
Dany waited with Ser Davos and his wife Marya, a gentile woman who had come from Cape Wrath to accompany her husband North. She fiddled with the end of her sleeves, shuffling on her feet in nervousness. Steps could be heard behind them, and she took a deep breath of relief, turning around to meet the oncoming Stark children.
Dany let her eyes search for her bastard betrothed, finding him whispering furiously to both Robb and the Greyjoy hostage. Sansa was ahead of them, eyes glued to her form with Arya dragging her feet towards them. She felt Ser Davos' squeezing her shoulder in support, and she turned to smile thankfully to him. When she turned back, she was met Lady Sansa barely hidden stare of awe. She smiled uncertainly at her and turned her eyes towards Jon's, meeting his stare with one of her own.
They all exchanged pleasantries, she tried to ignore the Lady Sansa's stare and the Greyjoy's lustful gaze as she shyly approached her betrothed. He offered her his arm, looking deeply into her eyes and she could not have denied him even if she wanted.
She would go ahead of their small group, with Jon. Behind them would be Robb Stark and his eldest sister, followed by Arya Stark and Theon Greyjoy.
When they entered the hall, there were cheers and claps, she could see many people with all kinds of colourations. The hall was dark, but the guests themselves seemed to give it all the colour it needed. Still, it was difficult to focus on anything more than the feel of the boy at her side. His leather was strange on her skin, and his body radiated heat so comforting she thought she was dreaming. Daenerys could feel the strength in his arms, the calluses on his hands were rough against her smooth skin. She dreamed, for a second, of how it would be, a mock fight between them with him with his longsword and her with her smallsword. The North swordsmanship against her water dancing.
They would be in their castle courtyard, away from the judging eyes of Lady Stark and all of her court. They stand there, their master-at-arms not very far and surrounded by their court. She would be in leathers too, maybe even gifted by him, her stance ready as he charged at her and it wouldn't matter who'd win in the end, they would laugh and help each other stand, maybe kiss each other afterwards before heading back to the warmth of their castle.
Lady Selyse would with no doubt call her stupid, naive and delusional to think it so. But, Dany thought, as she looked up at this boy of hers and he met her gaze with his brooding — and yet so very soft — grey orbs, she could feel him steal her breath away, and maybe that dream of hers wasn't so far-fetched.
Violet eyes turned away from the deep depths of grey that stared at her with such focus, and she looked instead at the high table, where Lord Stannis and Lord Eddard sat side by side, both watching them with dark eyes. Her hand, held safely in Jon's, held tight to him as she swept her gaze through the room. Gently, he guided her towards their roundtable, closest to the high table where the lords were seated.
The all sat, Ser Davos and his wife by her right while Jon was at her left. At Jon's left was Robb, followed by Theon, Sansa, Arya and then Marya again. They would soon scatter around the room, searching for friends and making merry. But for now, they were to sit and talk as honoured guests and hosts. Dany wished that Shireen was there, though she was too young. Still, she couldn't see even Lady Melisandre.
Sighing, she let those thoughts drift away, focusing instead on the food displayed in the centre of their table. She could see cheese and some dark fruits, roasted meat that seemed succulent, gravy, pies and much more.
"What would like, my lady?" Jon's voice was grave and idly she noticed it was the first time she heard his voice. He was still plagued with the awkwardness of youth but was pleasing to hear. She looked up at him, smiling warmly at his soft attention.
"What would you recommend me, my lord?" Her voice was almost a murmur, shy and uncertain. Jon blinked at her, furrowing his brows and turning dark eyes to their overflowing table, trailing his beautiful orbs over each plate before setting onto a roasted chicken on the far side of the table, near Lady Arya. He smiled, eyes going warm and tender, before turning towards her, his gaze closing off and unsure, but trying as she was.
"Honeyed chicken is one of the best meals we can offer," She could see the question in his eyes, and she nodded. "Arya," The young girl was staring sullenly at her plate, a pout on her lips as her posture slouched forwards. Dany smiled. "Arya!"
The young She-Wolf huffed before turning her dour face towards Jon, annoyance clear in her voice as she asked, "What?" Dany hid a smile behind one hand at her petulance. Sansa stared at her sister reprovingly.
"Arya," She hissed, "Be nice."
"You're never been nice to Jon, don't think you can tell me to be nice to him. I like him better anyway," Sansa's whole face went as red as her hair before she turned away from Arya, hurt and shame making tears appear in the corner of her beautiful blue eyes. Robb snickered beside Jon, as did Theon. Ser Davos loved children and loved to watch their shenanigans while his lady tutted in reproach to their small fight. Dany watched, fascinated, as the siblings interacted. Jon shook his head at his sisters.
"Arya, could you please pass the chicken. And be kind to Sansa." He spoke sternly, but his eyes were gentle, though bashful when he tentatively looked at Sansa. Arya rolled her eyes but did as he asked.
Jon put the plate in front of them both and looked at Dany with inquiring eyes, She licked her lips, before asking for its wings. He smiled and cut the parts she asked for, and she held her empty plate for him to gently put the chicken there.
"Thank you," Her voice was soft but genuine. He nodded in response.
Ser Davos chuckled beside her and she turned to him with playfully narrowed eyes.
"What amuses you, Lord Seaworth?" She spoke more loudly, enough for the whole of their table to turn their attention to them. Ser Davos acted surprised, putting one hand on his chest and widening his eyes in harmless mockery.
"Me?" She chuckled, nodding. He chuckled also, sharing a look with his wife before looking between her and Jon. "You two that is." She could feel Jon Snow tensing beside her, and she furrowed her brows. "You already act married, and haven't exchanged nothing more than pleasantries." She pursed her lips, eyes showing her displeasure. He smiled in response.
Dany turned towards the bastard sitting beside her, seeing his pout and puzzled eyes, and she smiled thinking about how he was so gallant, helping and guiding her in the simplest of things.
She was sure this shameful marriage would turn out to be the best outcome to her House, for this boy would bring honour to her ancestors.
Dany was sure of it.
The feast was at its zenith, and all around them, there were screams of joy and laughter, song and wine and food passing everywhere. Lady Arya had gone missing, following some kitchen boys of her age. Lady Sansa had gone to her friends, Jeyne and Beth, Jon whispered to her shyly, further down the hall. Theon was flirting with women somewhere else and Robb was talking with his lord father and her Lord guardian. See Davos, bless him and his dear wife, were speaking quietly to each other seated by her and Jon's side.
And wasn't it surprising? Jon Snow, this boy of four and ten, didn't leave his stranger of a bride. Dany was sure that any other boy, his own trueborn brother even, would have left her to be with the more favourable company. It would only be logical, she thought, for him to search for friends or even lovers instead of remaining in the presence of strangers. But no, Jon Snow stayed with her, talking softly and kindly withher.
They first spoke of the food, he told her of the delicious chicken he had recommended and then they were trying anything and everything on the table. He counselled her on her adventure, showing each plate and explaining what little he knew of it, and in exchange, she spoke of her favourite Southern plates, the far too many seafoods she had endured and how she loved it so, even when she had to eat the same fish for weeks. He laughed at her expressions, at her jokes, and spoke his honest opinion. They then spoke of his siblings, and she of little Shireen and Ser Davos' sons, who she thought of as siblings all the same. They laughed together, quietly, at Ser Davos' expense when his wife jested at him and at their married life.
Jon soon came to know her love for history rather than simple songs.
"Sansa loves her songs, she dreams of going South, meeting the Prince, or a knight, and even marrying him." He spoke with a faraway gaze. His chin was resting on his hand, resting his arm on the table and sitting sideways so he could better speak to her. She had her hands on her lap holding her cup, sitting sideways as well, their eyes rarely strayed from each other. Dany liked to think it was because they were both studying and learning the other, and she liked what she has learned so far.
"What about Lady Arya?" She took a sip of her wine, feeling light-headed. She thought this was, maybe, her third cup. His eyes gazed at her laughingly, taking in her most likely flushed cheeks and drunken look with positivity. His voice was a low rumble, filled with laughter. She didn't mind. It was nice.
"Don't let her hear you calling her that."
"Lady." He brought his fingers up towards his mouth, hiding his pouty lips from her. Jon leaned towards her, his voice lowering as if telling a secret. "She hates being called it."
And then she barked a laugh, so loud the people around them turned to see her shaking form. Jon looked at her, his face turning red from embarrassment but his eyes danced with her joy. She took deep breaths, hiding her grin behind her hand before leaning conspiratorially to him.
"Me too." His eyes widened, leaning further towards her, so much she could feel his warm breath on her face. "When younger," She gulped, mirth bubbling in her chest and her mouth stretched wide in a smile, her eyes sparkled with happiness she was sure. "I'd tell everyone to call me Maester Dany." She giggled, and he smiled wide at her, shaking his head in fascination. "I've always liked to learn things, whatever they were and from whoever wanted to teach me." Dany sighed deeply, feeling warm and happy. She closed her eyes, enjoying the bliss she felt so deeply in her soul.
She could feel Jon Snow's stare, heavy and searching, honest and honourable in its intensity. She was truly blessed by whatever gods there were, to have this boy as her husband.
"I'm happy it's you." It was her whispered confession, and she opened her eyes to see him looking at her as if lost, not understanding. She wished to soothe him and, in her drunken haze, leaned into him. But a firm hand gripped her shoulder, stopping her advance. Ser Davos appeared standing behind her, his kind voice telling her that she had a wedding the next day, and needed her sleep.
She nodded, never straying her eyes from Jon Snow as she got up, swaying slightly, and left the party.
Her heart pounded in her chest because all she could remember was Jon Snow's calloused hand on her small shoulder stopping her from drunkenly kissing him, his soft eyes and thankful smile a beautiful contrast in his brooding face.
"I will love him." She stared into her guardian's severe eyes. They were standing at the godswood's entrance, she in her bride's ivory gown and House Targaryen's cape draped over her small shoulders. Stannis Baratheon had stopped their walk towards the ceremony, intending to warn her of the pain the marital life would bring. He warned her that everything could be much more than awful if she didn't find common ground with her husband.
Dany's chest was warm with affection, eyes brimming with unshed tears as she stared up at the man that was more of a father to her than the damned memories of a distant Mad King that had the same blood that ran through her veins.
His blue eyes were like the storm that named her, the night was at its beginning and she had passed the entire day preparing herself for it. With Lady Stark, Marya, Melisandre and the Stark girls and their handmaids. Dany herself never truly had a handmaid. Oddly, Lady Melisandre always took care of her, making sure she was ready for whatever event.
"How can you say that?" It was saddening how her guardian didn't understand this notion of happiness, of conjugal equals. But Ser Davos had taught her that love was possible, rare, rare still for highborn, but there. She would not stop herself from achieving it, she would not give up on it.
After the feast — after those blissful hours with her intended — she knew she would not give it all up. She would love him.
"Because he looks at me in the eyes, and he doesn't only tolerate me. He listens to me and I to him." She held tightly to her guardian's hands, scared but elated. "I know it. In my blood, I feel it." She took a deep breath. "We will be happy; this marriage will not be a scam and will not be a shame — not to me, not to him." She can see he doesn't believe her, that he thinks her nought but a naive child, but Dany knows.
Stannis sighs before turning towards their path, his lantern swinging softly at his movement.
"Whatever happens, you have Queenscrown." She gasped, her purple eyes wide at his confirmation. "The village and your future castle have been under construction for a few years now, common folk has started to travel up there, though," He stared at her. "Most are bastards, if not all, but they are willing to move North to a new holdfast. They hope to find favour with the new House Targaryen of the North who will hail a bastardly lord."
Dany would gladly accept them.
"You must be careful, Daenerys. Do you understand?" His stare was heavy, telling her more than words could ever do. Her eyes grew cold, her jaw setting tightly before she nodded sharply.
House Baratheon of Dragonstone would always favour her and hers.
Just as I will favour you and yours, she thought grimly.
Soon they walked towards the heart tree, the lamps forming a path that was the only thing guiding them in the darkness. Dany felt her tightly braided hair weighing down her head, and her dress hugged her tightly and heavily. After a few seconds, they saw the first row of guests, and she could see the red and white of the heart tree under the lamps' light. They passed through the foreigners, Southerners and Northerners alike until she was standing in front of the heart tree, facing both her future liege lord and husband.
It took her breath away and warmed her belly, the way he looked at her. His grey orbs weren't lustful or dismissive. They were warm and friendly and sympathetic. She might not be marrying her love, not now; but she surely was marrying a friend.
Eddard Stark's voiced boomed his ceremonial question, but her eyes were only to Jon. Sweet Jon who looked at her reassuringly, willing her to relax and she did.
"Who comes before the Old Gods this night?" Lord Stannis, standing before her, had protested at first, saying that she should marry with the ways of the Lord of Light. Funnily, Melisandre, who was often quite forceful in these matters, was silent, but she often was when it came to Dany. But Dany wanted to do this, wanted to marry with her husband's culture. She would become a Northern lady, and she should do it rightly.
"Daenerys Stormborn, of the House Targaryen, comes here to be wed. A woman grown, trueborn and noble. She comes to beg the blessing of the Gods. Who comes to claim her?" Her guardian's gruff voice called Jon's attention for he turned his eyes away from her, though she did not, continuing to observe this humble boy that would be hers as she would his.
Jon Snow licked his lips, furrowing his brow before stepping forward.
"Jon Snow of House Stark, a bastard who seeks her claim, not to claim her," Her heart pounded in her chest as the crowd behind her whispered, shocked at this daring. She felt tears in her eyes, grateful for him. "Lord of Queenscrown." She almost laughed at his almost afterthought, bashful, addition of his most likely recent lordship. "Who gives her?"
Her Lord Stannis took longer to answer now, and she knew, though she did not see his face, that he was glaring at the boy's daring to change the sacred words. Dany was just grateful that Jon did not seek to take the only thing that was hers; her own name.
"Stannis, Lord of House Baratheon of Dragonstone, who she is a ward to."
Dany turned toward the Silent Wolf, expecting his question and believing in her own answer much more than she did a single day back.
"Lady Daenerys, do you take this man?"
Their eyes met once again, one still very much a stranger to another, but she felt only gratefulness for this peaceful boy who she was sure would grow to be a great man, nothing like the nightmarish Joffrey or the dishonourable King Robert.
"I take this man."
A/N: I uploaded this on ao3 at first, but due to notification problems I've decided to post it here too. Amongst every other work I've done, this one is my favourite with my Coalesce crossover a close one behind. If you asking if I'm uploading any other updates in any of my other fics, I don't have any planned beyond this one. I'll upload weekly until or if it reaches the one already posted on ao3. I'd suggest searching for my Tumblr, Kazemari, to any other update or questions. There's a link in the description directing you to CoB content. Be free to send questions of any type regarding the story. The chapters here can see a bit different because I actually edit them again before posting, so typos are reduced.
Having this in mind, I'll copy and paste all of my notes from the chapters in ao3 here.
I'm writing this as a scapegoat for a lot of personal problems I'm now fighting against. I'm writing for fun, for this fandom I absolutely adore, and really cannot be giving a lot of updates. But this will be a peaceful place, where I can simply vent.
I know, Robert would never allow this, and that's a kind of out of the crazy bag idea, but I just wanted to write or read, something that would give both Dany and Jon a relationship since the very beginning. And which way better than an arranged marriage? So, I just had to change the story around it. I have this planned down until Winterfell's destruction. Well, please review and let me know your thoughts!