A/N: Long time no see. Sorry, it's been a minute since the last post. But, uh, we're still here and it's not like we're ever gonna quit. To those of you who read this four-year-old fic, we got here, new or old readers, thank you.

Chapter 59: Kin

The place of the demise of House Targaryen.

Truly it was poetic in a way - where the final act of the end of their true power, where the dragons had been wiped out over a series of decades from the Shepherd's Riot to the miserable existence of the final beast to hatch from an egg, would be their supposed resurrection. Littlefinger was not a poet, but his clever mind could appreciate it. Daenerys Targaryen would by the machinations of Jon Stark enter the Dragonpit as a foreign Queen and pretender and emerge from it as the official heir to the Iron Throne.

Quite a masterful deal that Jon Stark had brokered, leveraging his personal relationship with both parties in order to secure an agreement both could live with. Stannis would reign as he always intended, Daenerys would have time to introduce herself to the Realm while settling accounts in the east before being crowned and a child who would be a quarter Baratheon, Martell, Stark, and Targaryen would eventually be crowned - a glorious or frightening combination depending on whom one asked.

Masterful, one for the histories that the Citadel would inevitably transcribe in the coming decades and centuries… if it ever happened.

Petyr Baelish smiled to himself, awaiting the King and Queen to exit the wheelhouse as he waited with his arms folded over his front. Such a shame that something so artful would never truly see the light of day, but such was the way of the world. Only one or two rungs to go, and he wouldn't let such mere things as admiration get in the way of his rise.

For he was but a landed knight by birth. Only chaos would allow him to rise beyond such a station to greater things.

Chaos was his friend, his lover, even.

In a way, Littlefinger was more intimate with chaos than he could ever be with any woman. Even Catelyn - or Sansa.

The smile widened. Good timing, for the King and Queen, emerged at that moment. "Your Graces," he said, bowing. "All is ready for the parlay."

"The place is cleaned up, correct?" Stannis gruffly interrogated, the only hints of affection in his life reserved for Jon Stark, Queen Tyene, and his daughter. "Last I remember, it was a sand-covered dump."

"Rest assured, my King. I oversaw its cleanup personally." Personally, he spent his time in his brothel while others ensured the sand was carted away and the place decorated as much as could be possible given that it was a ruin. Luckily there were plenty of redheads to take the place of his talented Ros - soon, he could indulge in the real thing, but Baelish was anything if not patient. "Our banners as well as the Dragon Queen's."

He snorted. "She's on her way?"

"Lord Stark and Lord Tarly personally escorted her. They are waiting inside now."

A scowl. "I should've arrived first."

"My fault, husband," Tyene purred, stroking his hand. Ever the seductress and manipulator. "Blame the fact I cannot walk as swiftly as I used to."

Stannis' face softened as he shifted his hand, stroking her stomach. "Never apologize, love." That did the trick, his irritation calmed as the King stiffly but without assistance marched into the ruined Dragonpit behind his guards. Tyene offered Baelish an… inquisitive look, to which he followed with a placid smile. She was not buying it.

No, she cannot possibly know. He was too meticulous. Baelish banished away his nerves as he followed.

As stated, the Dragon Queen's retinue was present in its entirety. Seated upon the raised dias with plenty of guards surrounding them the Queen herself was in the center. She was as beautiful as the rumors, her hair glinting in the sun and luscious lips pressed in a firm expression - oh, would she have fetched the highest prices if she worked in the brothel, but alas Baelish wasn't so lucky. Another only slightly less beautiful woman, the dark-skinned Missandei of Naath, sat next to Daenerys. As lowborn as the Queen was highborn, but the mass of other advisors were… known personally to Baelish. Jorah Mormont, the victor of the Lannisport joust. His old verbal sparring partner Varys, the last of the Tyrells Ser Garlan, Barristan the bold himself, and…

Baelish met Tyrion Lannister's gaze for but a split-second, but from the Imp's expression he knew that all was set. Mayhaps not the way Tyrion intended, but his actions were appreciated nonetheless.

Given what had happened at the last parlay, guards ringed both royals tightly - the Kingsguard for Stannis, and the savage Dothraki and Unsullied bodyguards plus Ser Jorah for Daenerys. When all were seated, Jon Stark cleared his throat. "Everyone, welcome today to this gathering, which shall hopefully bring peace."

Ser Davos Seaworth stood up on Stannis' behalf. "Behold, Stannis of House Baratheon, the First of His Name. The Prince Who was Promised. King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men. Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm!"

Across the dais, Lady Missandei mirrored Ser Davos. "You stand before Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt. Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men. Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea. Protector of the Realm, Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms. Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons." A dueling of strength through titles.

Baelish cleared his throat. "Alright, now that both your Grace, the Queen of Meereen, and his Grace, King of the…"

His statement was interrupted as a loud roar shook the dragonpit. Stannis jumped in his seat a bit, his hand clutching Tyene's hand while many others of the King's party - and even some in the Dragon Queen's party - flinched or fell to the ground, trying to crouch behind their seats even if it wouldn't matter worth a damn if the dragon actually targeted them. One of those was Baelish, a moment that… was profoundly embarrassing.

To his credit, he stood back up as the dragons appeared over the Dragonpit. First the smaller, sleek one. Smaller in a relative sense, the beast being massive. Barely a second after came the green one, larger, then the black one, the largest of all. They all shot by and began circling the Dragonpit, not making any hostile movement but menacing just by their presence.

While the King seemed in awe of them - behind his frosty exterior, but Littlefinger could see it - Baelish noticed the anger among many in the King's retinue. "I must protest, your Grace," he said in an indignant yet still diplomatic tone. "One condition of this parlay was that those beasts would be far away from King's Landing." His eyes flickered to Jon Stark, who winced. "Lord Stark assured us of your agreement to this condition."

"Queen Daenerys?" Jon asked her, more familiar than was the norm.

Daenerys, for her part, merely smiled softly. Innocently. "My apologies - my dragons are used to freely roaming Dragonstone and Meereen."

"Well then get rid of them."

A shrug. "I'll try. They don't always listen to me." Delicate brows furrowing, the Dragon Queen looked up at her dragons. There was a moment of concentrated staring before three hoots rang out in quick succession. The beasts flapped their wings and soon they were out of sight. Flying towards the northeast. "Seems they are in an agreeable mood."

"A good omen, of course," Jon piped up, smiling. "Now, let us proceed."

"This deal is simple if I recall correctly," Lord Tarly said with quite a hint of bitterness. "Queen Daenerys bends the knee and is named heir."

"That is not the arrangement and you know it, my Lord," Lady Missandei replied.

Randyll snorted. "And who are you to speak to me? Some freedwoman?"

Daenerys scowled. "Lady Missandei is my advisor and mistress of protocol, so you would be wise to treat her with respect."

"I am…"

Stannis raised his hand to silence Tarly. "Be quiet, my Lord." Randyll obeyed, though still scowled. "I am not asking you to bend the knee, Queen Daenerys…"

"In my capacity as your heir, or as a foreign Queen?"

"Both." He squeezed Tyene's hand, something Baelish noticed him doing often when stressed. How touching, he figured sarcastically. Stannis, of all people to go soft. "What was it, Lord Stark? That you told me?"

Jon nodded. "This pact would seal before all not just a treaty of peace and alliance between King Stannis of House Baratheon and Queen Daenerys of House Targaryen, but as a seal of adoption. In effect, Queen Daenerys would become the adopted daughter of King Stannis, sealed in union with a marriage between herself and one of his bannermen."

"Being yourself, I suppose?" Randyll asked with no small sarcasm.

"Enough, Tarly," Tyene hissed. "My husband trusts none but Lord Stark to engage in this action."

"None," repeated Stannis, who then looked poignantly at Daenerys.

Her face was placid but her eyes burned as she glanced at Jon Stark. "I have no objections, nor to anything else on this treaty." She folded her hands in her lap. "I shall stay in Westeros for the next two years, in which I will marry, assist in the rebuilding after such a great war, and aid my adopted father the King in administering the Seven Kingdoms. After which, I will journey back to Meereen and stay there until time to assume the crown."

"Provided you produce an heir to wed my secondborn child," Stannis interjected.

Daenerys was silent for a moment. "Yes."

Stannis nodded. "I have no objection to the treaty."

"And now we proceed to the official union of this sacred treaty," Jon Stark continued, raising his arms so that each hand bid each monarch to rise. "Stannis Baratheon and Daenerys Targaryen, sealing the pact together as father and adopted daughter. As King of the Seven Kingdoms and Crown Princess of Westeros, for the glory of all and peace between all."

"Long may they reign." The delegates all spoke at once, if a delay from the Essosi in Daenerys' entourage, if only for want of translation. Truly proving how foreign the Dragon Queen's support was after the fall of Olenna Tyrell. It amused Baelish.

For their part, the monarchs made no move to rise. Silence prevailed in the dragonpit, not even a cricket or a gust of wind breaking the din. Stannis gripped the arm of his seat, on edge, while Daenerys kept her hands in her lap and stared at the King in stony silence…

Until she rose. Ever graceful with not a hair out of place, she walked to the near center of the dais close to Jon Stark, her lover. Eyes expectantly on Stannis, daring him to do the same.

A dare he did finally take. Broken out of his scowl by Queen Tyene, squeezing his hand, Stannis squeezed it back and rose himself. Baelish didn't bother watching him walk slowly towards Jon Stark and the Dragon Queen. Instead, his eyes flickered to the walls of the dragonpit. Searching for something, his heart beating in anticipation…

Until he found it. A slight glint in the sun betrayed the location of his crowning achievement.

Petyr Baelish hid the small smile underneath his whisper-thin mustache. Only a few more rungs… only a few more.

Their eyes met. Jon offered the largest smile that he could - very small, only Daenerys likely able to tell his gesture was reassuring - alongside a soft expression. He hoped she would calm her hard facade, but it didn't work. Her tension, her suspicion was not directed at him but at Stannis… and the deal.

He sighed to himself as Dany drew close, quicker than Stannis. She was blessed by youth, after all. "Please Dany," he murmured softly. "Give a chance for peace."

An ever so slight deflation. "I will try." Her voice was just as quiet as his. "But I cannot speak for your Stag." He nodded. It was fair.

Proceeding slowly, a few seconds passed following her last words for the King to make it - his wound had healed surprisingly well after his marriage to Tyene, but that didn't mean his leg wasn't stiff. "Your Graces," Jon began, gesturing to them. "May your mutual affection be the start of peace between the last contenders to the throne left." The final participant in the War of the Five Kings joined with the rightful Targaryen heir. Each with their own strong claim to legitimacy. Truly the two strongest and best to rule.

Stannis opened his arms wide. "Daenerys Targaryen," he began, his voice amiable and gracious - as much as Stannis was capable of, anyway, "This is the first time I can say, it is pleasant to see you."

"Sadly, I cannot say the same," Dany replied.

"Well, you should feel differently," Stannis said. "After this day, your rule will be confirmed… just a later time."

"I've made this decision to spare lives," Daenerys replied, somewhat snarkily.

"Which is honorable. I will admit," Stannis said. "I fully expected you to rain fire from the skies."

Daenerys gave a smile, one more fierce than friendly. Jon knew it well, though he had come acquainted with her other sort of smile much more in the moons to follow. "I considered it." If Stannis felt insulted or angered, he didn't show it. "But what would it accomplish? What purpose is it to rule if you only rule over ash and bones?"

Stannis nodded. "A question too often unasked by those that seek power. It brings me… relief to hear it on your tongue, even if I hadn't expected it."

Such a mix of words of cooperation and thinly veiled mistrust was starting to aggravate Jon. "Enough of this." He lowered his voice so that only his love and his surrogate father could hear. "You entrusted me and accepted me as your envoy because mutually, I bore connection to the both of you." Daenerys' eyes softened if only at him, filled with love. The same mirrored from Stannis, an expression he remembered his own father giving him. "I trust the both of you to ensure this peace as you trusted me to broker it, but it is time that you trust each other."

Blinking, Daenerys' loving gaze morphed into… wariness as she regarded Stannis. Understandable given the circumstances of her life. As for Stannis… his wariness was much less concealed, if only due to his usual stoniness.

He sighed. "Need I remind the two of you that you're cousins by blood?" Jon then raised his voice, allowing all to hear. "Let hostility be dropped, hatred be dissolved, and a bond of peace and family be formed together in sight before all." He raised up his hands again, placing each on the shoulder of his love and his surrogate father. Nudging gently, bidding them to approach each other.

Taking a deep breath, Stannis did so. Daenerys eyed Jon once before nodding and meeting Stannis halfway. "Kin," she murmured.

"Kin," Stannis repeated, extending out his hand, which Daenerys clasped. "Daughter." While there was still tension and awkwardness, for once Dany offered a proper smile and accepted the embrace from Stannis. Per protocol as dictated in the treaty, officially binding them as adopted father and adopted daughter, but also a gesture of reconciliation and familial unity.

Sighing in relief, Jon allowed himself to close his eyes. Finally, there would be peace. Finally, he would be at peace, the two sides of his soul bound together just as he had striven for.

The sun was starting to lower in the sky with mid-afternoon, angled to the south given the winter months. The top of the Dragonpit had just begun to block its direct rays, so when a glint hit Jon's eyes he noticed it. Blinking, he followed it not to the sun… but to the west. A flash of something near the top, and he just made out a muffled thwack. And a whoosh.

He put things together in an instant. "No!" he cried - not knowing who it was intended to kill, the man he saw as a father figure or the woman he loved more than anything, Jon shoved them both to the ground. Dany yelped as she smacked flat on her arse upon the wooden dias… only to scream as a burning pain erupted on his right arm.

The arrow had torn through the skin. Superficial, but painful. Jon pitched back a bit but immediately reached up to put pressure on the wound. The barbed arrow had smacked into the wooden deck behind him.

There was a hung silence over the entire Dragonpit, but it lasted only a few seconds before the tension manifested itself. Swords were drawn, spears leveled, and noncombatants like Queen Tyene and Lady Missandei were surrounded by armored warriors. "Your Grace!" shouted Ser Barristan, who rushed to Daenerys and helped her to her feet.

She ignored Barristan, eyes on Jon. "Jo… Lord Stark!"

"I'm fine…" Jon mumbled. "I'm fine, just a flesh wound." Fuck, it hurt.

"Find who did that!" Stannis bellowed. "Find who did that and bring him to me!"

"The perpetrator is there, your Grace," Randyll growled. "Standing right before you." He pointed at Daenerys, eyes steely. "And Lord Stark wasn't the target, you were."

"Lies!" Lord Tyrion glared at Tarly. "It was Daenerys that was the target! Betraying the treaty."

Gritting his teeth, Jon heard Baelish speak, his gaze shifting to Stannis' Hand. "The arrow was aimed for our King, I saw where it was. Lord Stark knows as well." Gods, Jon thought hard about it, but the burning pain in his arm blocked his mind…

Just as all descended into chaos.

"Jon! Get away from the dragonspawn!" ordered Stannis. "She tried to kill you!"

"You tried to kill him, you swine!" Daenerys screamed, a distant dragon roar echoing from far off. "Jon, get away from him!" Guards ran up on both sides, the situation deteriorating. Tyene was hauled away, while more men spilled in through the two entrances to the Dragonpit. Heavily-armored men-at-arms gathered around Stannis' council while Unsullied did the same for Daenerys'. "Please, Jon."

"The Targaryens are not to be trusted! Don't fall for them!"

This was it. He couldn't stand in the middle any longer. Remembering his promise, Jon made his choice. Quickly, he went to Daenerys, his love immediately embracing him and inspecting his wound.

Moving in front of the both of them, Barristan drew his sword, gleaming against the sun. He stepped up, running his fingers down the blade. His surroundings began to run rampant. Chaos filled the air. From the Baratheon side, Randyll Tarly pushed his way through, with a snarky grimace. He too brandished his sword.

Jon took Dany in his arms behind Ser Barristan. Stannis' eyes remained on him as his guardsmen put their hands on him, pulling him back. They were wide, the hint of tears welling within them at feeling the betrayal, almost slack-jawed. Gripping Daenerys protectively, Jon nevertheless met the gaze, apology shining through.

Stannis averted his gaze at that moment, a vise on Jon's heart. He had failed.

The developing situation wouldn't halt because of his failure, though. Baratheon soldiers gathered next to Randyll, while a troop of Unsullied marched forward. Deploying a ragged shield wall around Barristan as the Dothraki stayed close to Daenerys and Jon.

"I could kill you with my eyes closed, Tarly," Barry said.

Randyll growled. "Your mind is addled and lost. Unsurprised based on your time spent in the wilderness with the Dragon Bitch."

It was getting out of hand. "Stop!" Jon cried, one last chance to prevent bloodshed - besides his own. "Seven hells stop!"

"Traitor!" someone shouted from Stannis' side.

"You tried to kill him!" Missandei shouted back, her normally peaceful features aroused to anger. "He sought peace and you ambushed him!"

"You ambushed him, foreign whore!"




The insults flew, made all the more threatening with the leveled weapons. "Dany… give the order to stand down…"

She looked at him, fear in her eyes as she held his arm. Blood trickling between her fingers. "They tried to kill you."

Her sentiment, filled with love and worry of him, was admirable but Jon couldn't let this happen. "Your Grace!" he called to Stannis, catching his attention. "Peace is still at hand. I know you did not order this attack, nor did Queen Daenerys. Lower your arms and the Queen's men will do the same - I give my word as a son of Eddard Stark and one trusted by both of you!"

If Stannis would waver, it would never be known. "Traitor!" A random bannerman leaped out of the line and charged at Daenerys. Like a well-oiled cog, an Unsullied thrust his spear out, skewering the man in the chest. Spearhead punching through the armor and felling the man as the Unsullied drew back into the line.

Jon let out a defeated breath.

All bets were now off as a skirmish began, the core bodyguards sticking close to their charges while the rest of the men raced at each other. Crossbows began to pepper the Unsullied shields with bolts, while men that got within spear range were dispatched quickly. Two swordsmen ran at Missandei, but Ser Barristan defended that portion of the line and they were dead quicker than they could run.

"Advance!" Jorah yelled in Valyrian, the Unsullied contracting into a more proper shield wall and beginning to march forward. The Baratheons tried to hold their own against the aggression of the Unsullied. Barristan and Randyll exchanged sword swings, their duel beginning. Randyll swung somewhat randomly, filled with intensity. Yet, Barristan parried each strike. Further fueling Randyll's desire to kill him.

"Jon!? JON!?" Stannis wailed, his eyes insanely wide. Jon knew his mind struggled to wrap around the idea of being abandoned for Daenerys.

Jon stared back at Stannis. They locked eyes, but he said nothing. Stannis watched him retreat backward, arms wrapped around Dany. It took two Baratheons to keep him from running after Jon.

It was then that the Stag King visibly broke. Stannis roared. "KILL THEM! The Throne is mine! This betrayal will NOT stand!" They kept pulling the King until he was out of sight. But even over the sounds of battle, they heard his booming voice still wailing.

Somewhat obviously, after hearing the order from their King, many Baratheon bowmen filled the area. Randyll shoved Barristan back, and yelled, "Now! Loose!" Many of those arrow tips pointed in the direction of Barristan and the Unsullied around him. Barristan had little time to protect himself. But before he could react, two Unsullied stepped astride him, shields up. All the other Unsullied mirrored but for themselves.

The arrows let loose, hit many, but killed none because of the Unsullied's defense. Most clapped against the shields, while blood spilled from glancing wounds to the shoulders and arms. Barristan emerged mere seconds later, snapping an arrow from his thigh. If the wound affected him, it was impossible to tell.

"Advance!" Barristan surged back forward at Randyll. The Unsullied pushed the archers, cutting them down. The Lord of Hornhill was completely taken off-guard. With Barristan on the offensive, Randyll barely managed to block his blows.

The two aged swordsmen almost looked twenty years younger.

Another squadron of bowmen climbed up the upper area of the Dragonpit, out of Unsullied spear reach. With the high ground, their targets below would be in severe danger. Barristan noticed his time may be running out. Given his position, these arrows could easily kill him. With one quick glance behind him, he could see Jon and Daenerys completely covered in a defensive position by Unsullied shields, the Dothraki bloodriders hustling them out alongside her council.

He heard Daenerys call out to him, "Barristan!" Clearly, she didn't want to leave without him.

But he had to finish this fight with Randyll Tarly, and quickly. Those archers would begin raining arrows in mere moments. Barristan roared as loud as his old lungs could muster, swinging down from overhead. Randyll brought his blade up to block. However, the force Barristan came down with was too much for him. After the block, he was left wide open. Ser Selmy took advantage, using his fastest attack. A powerful stab through the neck, Randyll was unable to do anything about it.

Lord Tarly fumbled his blade to the ground, eyes locked onto the blade jammed through his neck and out the other side. Barristan whipped his blade out from the right. Randyll's body fell away, blood pumping from the neck.

"Retreat!" Barristan yelled. He begins to run back toward Jon and Daenerys, the Unsullied next to him. The arrow lodged in his thigh finally caught up to him. But the archers on the upper level had them all bunched up now. The arrows came quickly, and they really had no defense this time. In the blink of an eye, their group became filled with arrows.

Falling to his knees, Barristan attempted to use his sword to leverage himself back up. He'd gotten hit with two arrows in his back and one in his left arm. He knew he was finished. No feasible way he makes it across to Daenerys without dying to more arrows.

"GO! Now!" He yelled, waving his hand away at them. The archers loosed more arrows. But much to his surprise, the few Unsullied that survived the first volley surrounded Barristan. Their shields and bodies kept Barry alive, yet again. His eyes observed all the dead bodies around him. One Unsullied still lived, though not for long, he stared Barry in the eyes, blood spilling out the mouth.

Jon had managed to pull Daenerys away. Though she held her arms out to Barristan, still calling out for him. The old Barristan the Bold huffed, shaking his head at Daenerys. He watched her until she was gone. Closing his eyes, he expected a smooth transition from eyes shut to death. However, it didn't come immediately. However, when he opened his eyes again, he was surrounded by Baratheons. One of them kicked his sword away, which caused him to fall on his face. Considering he was leaning on it for support.

A few moments later, he heard the familiar ranting and raving of Stannis. The Stag returned to the Dragonpit, hand wrapped tightly around his sword hilt, veins bursting. All the guards cleared out for him, especially around Randyll.

"Damn it," Stannis cursed, seeing Randyll's body. Dickon Tarly knelt by his father's corpse, eyes flicking back and forth between the body and severed head. "Barristan felled him?" The son nodded. "Where is he? Is he dead?"

Dickon said, pointing behind, "Over there."

Barristan's cheek felt the vibration of Stannis' boots sliding to a halt next to him. "Lift him up," Stannis said. They pulled Barristan to his knees. "You've taken a few shots here, Selmy. Are you still here?"

"Unfortunately…" Barry said, blood dripping from his lip.

Stannis knelt down to eye level with Barry. "I respect you, Barristan Selmy. You served Robert well. He was right to spare you. But you're finished now." He rose back up to his feet. "You killed Randyll, one of my most loyal servants. For that, you must die."

Barristan gurgled, eyes flicking skyward, wishing he might've seen the dragons flying overhead, one more time. "Long live… the true Queen… Dae—"

His voice was intercepted by Stannis' blade piercing through his chest. The last of the air in his lungs escaped out of his mouth. His body fell to the side, lifeless, as the blade was pulled back out.

"What godsdamn fucking mess," Stannis cursed.

"What now, my King?" A nearby guard said.

"Now? We prepare for battle." He turned away, so no one could see the tears in his eyes. "Jon…" Stannis murmured. "Why?"

A/N: Big things are happening. The parlay has fallen apart. RIP Barry. Next, the biggest battle yet.

Again, thanks for reading. Tell your friends. See you again down the road, hopefully not several months from now.