A SIMPLE FAVOR
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters belong to their respective owners. J K Rowling, GRRM and HBO.
"Can I ride your horse, Harry?"
"Arya...' Harry sighed. " What did I tell you about thinking about your statements?"
They were on their way to Moat Cailin where Lord Stark planned to meet the King's party and escort them to Winterfell. Lord Stark with his heir Robb, Jon and a guard of twenty northmen headed by Winterfell's Master at arms, Jorry Cassel. Lady Stark and the younger of the Stark kids had stayed behind as well as Sansa. Arya though, Harry didn't know of the agreement she had come up with her father but here she was.
"What is wrong with what I just said?" The girl huffed.
"Well, some people would think you are asking for sex."
"Why would anyone want to have sex with a horse?" Arya asked with a frown and on Harry's right, Jon chocked on his saliva but was ignored by the two.
"Well, they often have their reasons." Harry answered with a shrug. "Though I wasn't talking about the horse, I was talking about me."
Arya threw him a disgusted look and looked resolutely in front of her. After a moment or two, she looked back at him with a penetrating look not too dissimilar from her father's narmal look. Her penetrating look turned into a cute frown before she looked forward again, her pale cheeks having a dust of pink.
"What would be so bad about that?" She mumbled though Harry and Jon heard her. Harry raised an eyebrow, his lips twitching in amusement
Jon for his part almost fell from his horse and it took him a moment to get it back under control.
"Something wrong, Squidward?" Harry asked when Reiner stopped and turned to look at the boy.
"No I am alright." Jon answered glancing at the other party that was a bit in front. "Can we talk about something else, like the fact that Arya is here in the first place. Or Harry for that matter."
"There he goes and ruins the moment " Harry sighed. "Anyways, I am the swornshield to Lord Stark" s daughters and here we are."
"I am not a girl."
"Are you sure?" Harry squinted at him while Arya giggled. "You are prettier than some girls I know."
While Arya laughed, the boy just stared at him solemnly apparently not appreciating the humor in Harry's statements.
"Well, Arya is here, so here I am." Harry finally answered Jon's inquiry.
"But you have never sworn anything to either Arya or Sansa." Jon stated. "Why does everyone keep calling you their swornshield?"
"Lord Stark knows that my sole purpose is protecting you so swearing wasn't necessary and vows will just be shackels I don't want on me." Harry answered seriously. "I came all the way from my home to protect and prepare you. So there're more than mere vows and words that tie us together."
The two kids were quiet as they pondered Harry's words. In the distance, he could see Lord Stark's party entering through the Northern gate of The Moat.
"Prepare us for what?"
Harry spun Reiner around and gave the both of them a pinning stare.
"There will be a moment when the fate of the world will be on you pretty heads." Harry told them grimly. "I am here to make sure that you will be ready when that time comes."
Jon watched as Harry spun his great horse around and trotted to catch up with the rear of Lord Stark's party. He had grown accustomed to the man called Harry Potter and his quips. He had gotten rather good in knowing when the wizard was being serious or not, something that had taken him sometime given his...eccentricities as Harry himself called them.
Right now, there was no doubt in Jon's mind that Harry Potter wasn't joking. He could almost feel like some kind of weight was already settling on his shoulders right this instant and he couldn't suppress the shiver that ran down his spine.
"What is he talking about?" Arya asked pulling him from his thoughts.
"I am not sure, little sister." Jon answered as he messed up her hair. "Harry can be annoyingly confusing when he wants to."
"I think he just likes being mysterious." Arya said and dug her heels into the small horse's side spurning into into a trott. She laughed loudly as she threw over her shoulder. "Race you to the gates, Jon."
Cursing, an unfortunate habit he had picked from Harry over the past three months...er moons, Jon dug into his horse and followed his most favorite person in the world. He could have easily caught up with her but as if sensing his thoughts, the horse he was ridding always stayed a pace or two behind Arya's who was laughing in delight, her hair flying in the wind.
Unbidden, his lips stretched into a wide grin while he enjoyed the feel of wind in his face and hair. The feeling of freedom was liberating and if you ignored the bouncing, one could almost imagine they were flying a dragon. That thought snapped him out of his trance and he slowed down just as a shiver passed through him a couple of yards away from the gates of the fortress. He imagined that he had crossed what Harry had called wards that helped to keep attention away from the Moat.
Harry had been sure that Jon would be able to feel them and suspected that Arya would as well but going by her grin as she enthusiastically told Robb of their race, it was safe to assume that she hadn't, or maybe she had been too engrossed by her win to pay attention.
Passing through the huge gates which were even bigger than Wnterfell's, Jon marvelled at the huge curtain wall which had been built in two moons. It was thicker and higher even. Jon turned his eyes to the others and except for Arya and Lord Stark, no one seemed yo be giving the curtain walls or even the four pristine and formidable towers inside the wall.
Magic can be wiered sometimes.
Jon spied Arya disappearing into one of the towers but he was probably the only one. The girl was that good.
"Hey Jon." Robb called as he came towards him. "I heard you were beaten by Arya in a race."
"I had no chance." Jon admitted with a smile. "I only knew it had been a race all along when she declared herself winner."
Robb laughed loudly and Jon's heart warmed. Robb deserved all the happiness in the world and Jon was happy that he contributed to it.
"So when do you think the King's party will get here?" Robb asked and Jon shook his head.
"Oh they are just on the other side of The Neck." Harry spoke from behind them startling both bots.
"Why do you keep doing that?" Robb complained clutching at his heart.
"You get used to it after sometime." Harry assured the Stark heir enthusiastically but Jon didn't agree. He had not gotten used to it yet he probably spent the most time with the wizard except for Arya.
"I don't think I will."
"Because you are stupid." Arya said and both boys jumped again.
"Seven hells will you stop that!" Robb glared at the one and ten year old girl who simply shrugged. "Where had you disappeared to anyway."
"I was visiting the greenhouses." Arya told them. "Each one is three times bigger than the ones at Winterfell though they have nothing."
"It's because the seeds have just been planted, Arya." Harry told her.
"What is a greenhouse?" Robb asked and his siblings blinked at him. Spending so much time with Harry had been changing Jon and Arya's speech given that he seemed to speak almost three times more than the two of them combined. The two therefore unconsciously picked up a number of words that the wizard uses yet they mean something else in the common tounge.
"A glass garden." Harry answered.
"There are glass gardens at Moat Cailin?" Jon couldn't blame Robb for his disbelief. He had been having his doubts as well until Harry had brought him with Arya to see for themselves.
"Yep." Harry answered proudly. "Ten of them to be precise, the North will not be suffering for food once we begin harvesting. And in the event they ask for independence, well I am sure they will more than be able yo sustain themselves as far as food is concerned."
Jon was of the same mind. Over the months, he had learned that Harry didn't to things in half and he was a man who didn't seem yo understand the meaning of the word impossible. He hadn't been aware that he was contemplating North independence from the South.
"What are you talking about?" Robb asked with a frown but Harry just shook his head.
"Nothing to bother yourself with, Lord Robb." Harry said as he laid a hand at the Stark heir's shoulder. "I believe the king will be passing through the gates any moment now, you should prepare to offer your courtesys."
"Will you kneel before the king, Harry?" Arya asked and Jon was interested in hearing his answer as well.
"He is the King." Harry said giving Arya that look which always made Jon feel like he was the most stupid person in Westeros. "Why would there be any question about that?"
While Arya blushed from being on the receiving end of the look, Robb was actually nodding.
"Arya had a point, Harry." Robb said seriously. "You barely respect anyone."
"I respect your father." Harry said defensively. "And Lady Stark."
Jon suppressed a snort though Arya had no such inhibitions.
"You don't respect mother, Harry. Everyone in the North knows that." Arya told him.
"Lady Stark and I have not come to an understanding but I do respect her." Harry told them seriously. "I don't respect someone just because their station demands it, while I usually give people the benefit of doubt, one has to earn my respect before I give it to them. Lord Stark and many of the lords in the North have earned it and if the King impresses me, then I will respect him."
Jon was sure that Harry was trying to tell him and Arya something under all the unexpected seriousness. Harry had a habit of turning situations into lessons for the two of them sometimes even without trying.
"Robb, Jon, Arya." Lord Stark called to them. "Come on and prepare to meet the king."
Jaime watched the dreary swamp of the Neck as he rode a couple of paces away from the King. He was already hating the North and they hadn't even been to the North proper.
Cersei had been getting more irritable the longer the journey took and dare he admit he was happy not to ride beside her litter for the moment. Ridding beside the oaf called King wasn't exactly what one would call an improvement but Jaime had learned yo appreciate what he had been given ever since the mad King forcefully made him a kingsguard.
Robert had been drinking nonstop ever since the party passed the Twins and everyone travelling with the king was aware of how nervous he was about coming North. The whole realm knows about the disagreement between the foster brothers at the end of the rebellion. Jaime remembered how Robert had hurried to call the banners the moment news of the Ironborn attacking the North in the hope of pleasing Eddard Stark.
It is believed that the two had made up at the end of the Greyjoy rebellion and come to an understanding but no one actually knew what had happened. However, what Jaime knew was that the King had a tendency of losing his temper with anyone who spoke against the North or worse Eddard Stark. Jaime was interested in seeing how the partnership would be affected now that their foster father was not on speaking terms with Robert.
That had been one interesting episode to watch. Kingslanding was a place of drama but there were few noteworthy moments and Jaime had most definitely enjoyed watching the events that led to Jon Arryn's resignation. The old man had been convinced that Cersei had been the one responsible for his wife's death though Jaime knew she wasn't.
While she had been convinced that the former Hand suspected about their affair as well as their children and had been planning to do something about it, she had not made her move yet. Personally, Jaime suspected Littlefinger had something to do with it but he wasn't sure since he couldn't think of any reason why he would kill the woman. Then again, who knew how the mind of that slimy fellow worked. All in all, one problem had been done with and the man had become too old for Kingslanding anyway.
Let us see how the quiet wolf does for himself when he gets there.
"What have you been up to Ned." Robert grumbled to himself pulling Jaime from his thoughts.
The Warden of the North had clearly been busy. The last time Jaime had been in the North, he remembered the Most being some ruin that was barely habitable. The curtain wall was a few storms away from collapsing completely and the gates were barely standing.
How in the name of the seven had no one heard about this.
The curtain wall around The Most had been replaced by another that was higher and thicker than the old one. Behind the kneeling group of Northmen were three huge towers though it looked like no one lived there except for the one furthest that showed some signs of life though there was no one there.
"What the hell is going on here, Ned?" The king demanded the moment he got off his horse. Despite his apparent weight, King Robert at least didn't need a stool to get on and off his horse.
"We had whispers of war in the South, your Grace." Ned Stark answered dutifully. "So we are simply getting prepared in the event it does happen and bleed over to the North."
Jaime saw one of the Stark guards roll his eyes and he felt his own lips twitching slightly in amusement.
"War!" Robert bellowed. "What do you mean war? And how have I not heard of this?"
"I believe your Master of whispers would answer that question better." It looked like the dour man had learned a few things in controlling a conversation.
"The useless cockless bastard." Robert spat. "All useless the lot of them, you should be down there ruling with me Ned, I wouldn't have been sarrounded by all the useless scum."
"I've been guarding the North for you, Your Grace." Lord Stark answered with a bowed head.
"You're doing nothing up here and its about time you became useful to me and help me keep the damn thing that you and the old man gave me." Robert replied. "Take me to Winterfell, Ned. We have a lot to discuss."
"What about your the queen_"
"The queen can damn well find her way to Winterfell." Robert said as he hauled himself back to his horse.
Jaime looked at what he assumed were Lord Stark's eldest children as they exchanged a glance before both turned to to the guard who had rolled hia eyes earlier. The young man, the youngest among the group shrugged at them before he stood up and whispered something at the little girl.
Jaime had to take a double take when she saw the girl look at what he knew was Ned's bastard. Had they been nearly of the same age, they would have been mistaken for twins. Just like Ned and that girl who was taken by Rhaegar had been. The thought of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar woke something in the back of his mind as he looked between the girl and Ned Stark's bastard but he couldn't really put his finger on it.
Jaime followed the girl and the young guard with his gaze and barely stopped himself from gasping when he saw the biggest horse he had ever come across. The guard effortlessly lifted the little girl and placed her in the horse's saddle before climbing and settling himself behind her.
"What the fuck is that?" Sandor Clegane swore from Jaime's left prompting him to look at him.
"That is a horse, dog." Jaime replied. "And what are you doing here, shouldn't you be trotting next to Joffrey like the good dog you are."
"The queen asks for you." Clegane growled.
"Go and ask the bitch yourself."
Jaime spun his horse around and glared at the man's scarred face.
"You forget yourself, Dog and who exactly you are talking to."
All he got was a grunt as the fool rode away from him following the King and the Starks. He considered following him and teaching a thing or two but decided to get back and find Cersei. His sister had not been thrilled with this journey, more than him even and that was saying something. It probably had something to do with the fact that everyone knew that the King had come here to make Stark his new Hand yet she had wanted their father to be.
Crossing the gates that led to the causeway, he felt a shiver run down his spine and he had to suppress the urge to urge his horse into a run and flee back to Kings landing.
What the fuck?
Jon could barely hear anything that was happening in the great hall from where he was standing in Winterfell's crypts.
You don't belong here.
For some reason, Lord Stark had finally decided to tell him about his mother. He had tried to picture here numerous times, sometimes as a highborn lady, so beautiful that the honorable Eddard Stark had forgotten about his vows. Other times he reluctantly thought of her as some random whore that Robert had made his foster brother bed in the heat of the celebrations.
You are not one of us.
His dreams of the accusing eyes of the late Starks he had been having as long as he remembers had been right after all. Jon Snow was not a wolf. He was a freaking dragon of all things. Everything he thought he knew was all a lie.
You know nothing, Jon Snow.
Harry had been proven right once again. Jon Snow knew nothing and he was a walking breathing lie. A lie that could as easily cause a war as his parents had. A lie that could lead to the deaths of the Starks if the King got any wind of it.
Lord Stark, his uncle had assured him that he was family and part of the pack. A pack looks out for everyone who is part of the pack. But could Lord Stark stand by him if the rest of his family was threatened?
That was a question he wasn't sure he wanted an answer for.
AN: Hi guys, sorry for the long delay. This was my take on multiple POVs so please be gentle.
Before anyone complains about Arya knowing about sex, she is 11 and very sure she knows what sex is even if she may not understand it completely.
I don't know how close Jaime was to Rheagar. So please ignore cannon for now and just enjoy the story.
Oh and I am writing the story for my enjoyment. You don't like where things are going, feel free to read another.