WARNING: This story could contain absolutely any number of triggering and difficult subjects. If you're assuming something is off-limits, you are incorrect to do so. If there's something you feel you cannot handle coming across without specific forewarning, do not read the story.

• Lucerys has always been a girl in this AU, I didn't change her name because Targaryen naming conventions don't handle gender in any clear and consistent way, so it seems that a girl might also be given the name Lucerys by the rules of canon.
• I'm pulling from a mix of book and show canon, so at the start of this story, everyone is a little younger than they are in the show.
•This chapter is a prologue that takes place around Laena's funeral and Laenor's "death."


LUCERYS

Lucerys is only small when her world changes for the first time. In a matter of days that pass more like hours, she learns that when change comes, it arrives with little patience.

It's a strange thing to be surrounded by grief. Lucerys isn't quite sure what to do or say, she did not know her Lady Aunt well and amongst her mourners, she feels like an interloper. Baela and Rhaena have been kind to her, but both seem to be trapped in some inescapable fog and Lucerys knows not what might appease their sorrows. Some part of her yearns to speak to them, to understand them. It's been little time since she and her brother learned of Ser Harwin's death and it still seems impossible that they'll never see him again.

She misses his warm smile and the way he used to throw her over his shoulders and make her laugh when she was too tired to carry on walking. Ser Harwin felt more like family than he did a knight, and she can tell that her brother is angry they cannot grieve him as such. If this is what it feels like to lose a sworn sword, Lucerys cannot imagine what it must be to lose a mother, and she wouldn't want to hurt her cousins any further by equating their miseries. Lucerys knows she is lucky because she still has her father, but he carries their same sorrow within him now his sister is gone and it makes her want to weep for him. He always feels terribly when she cries and she does her best never to let her tears fall where he might see them.

Lucerys spends her time at Driftmark wishing for some distraction from the melancholy that hangs over them and suspects it's a desire she's not alone in, but when the distraction comes, none of them find the relief in it that they hoped for.

Aemond Targaryen is a miserable boy.

He's the type who bruises and breaks whoever he touches, screams and shouts and lashes out if he's not pleased, as though it's the only way he might still find it worthwhile to speak. He's quick to temper and any time Lucerys has ever sought to see the humanity in him, he's ruined it with taunts and teases she doesn't quite understand. No need, she knows his tone well enough. Aemond is a bitter boy who would rather make an enemy of all who surround him than ever learn to laugh with them, and Lucerys has grown tired of fearing him over countless lessons and endless feasts. Until now, the only satisfaction she's found in his poor character has been in knowing he's the only one left among them with no dragon to bond. Until now—

Aemond Targaryen is the type of boy who steals a dragon from a girl in mourning, and though the maesters say she will bear his bruises for weeks to come, what she's taken, he will be without for the rest of his days. The way Jacaerys crows, she knows she ought to feel vindicated, but her uncle flies west on dragonback and Lucerys is left having lost fathers in blood and name both, barred from returning to the home she's known all of her young life, with Aemond Targaryen's name a curse on her lips.

AEMOND

Aemond is young when he learns the lesson adults around him repeat ad nauseam, as though there was ever a hope of missing it; life is not fair.

Were life fair, Aemond would have a dragon, just the same as any other child of Targaryen blood. Each day he fails to bond with one, his father's reassurances that one will come in time grow less sincere. Aemond watches as his smile weakens and hears the concern that slips into his voice as though it were spoken plain for all to hear. He's left to feel more like a burden than boy of any importance in his father's eyes. Some misshapen, malformed thing, a Targaryen without a dragon. An aberration.

Were life fair, Helaena would be his betrothed, not Aegon's, and the ladies and lords at courts would see her for what she is, not the mad thing they condemn her to be with their whispers and poorly disguised stares. Aegon would still come to their sister's defense in the same way he used to, rather than slinking away full of shame as he does now, as if she's a burden to be borne and not the sister they're meant to love. It makes Aemond want to scream in his face, and he cannot understand how a boy so ungrateful as his brother could ever be deserving of all the blessings that come with the life of a firstborn son. Were life fair, Aemond would be the eldest son and his father a man of tradition.

Were life fair, Aemond thinks for the thousandth time, each more bitter than the last, his mother would not live in the shadow of a dead woman and her daughter.

But of course, life is not fair, and Aemond will not be the only one to bear the burden of this truth.

Rhaenyra and her bastard children flaunt their shamelessness in court whenever they appear and his father's willful ignorance ruins Aemond's respect for him. However much his whore daughter has made a fool of him, he makes a worse one of himself every time he tells Jacaerys he has his father's nose or Lucerys her father's eyes. Truth lingers in both statements, but not as he means it. It's a farce, and a poor one at that. One that makes the throne appear weak and Aemond can only imagine how much weaker it will grow when the whore queen herself sits atop it.

He tires of it all. Of feeling burdensome and overshadowed, of being expected to revere a man so clearly unfit for the power he wields, waiting to see someone worse take his place. Of being expected to dance around truths they all know too well to pretend otherwise, and eventually, he stops. Aemond stops pretending. He allows his temper to flare when he feels it, he speaks truth as he sees it, he plays their games on his own terms, and he's better for it.

Lucerys Velaryon nearly ruins it all.

Aemond Targaryen is no longer just a second son and a footnote in his father's story, he's the boy who claimed the mightiest dragon still living, and yet—yet, when he catches sight of himself in still waters and polished silver, he sees himself as she does and it fills him with loathing.


A/N: I swore I wouldn't play in this sandbox again, but these two have a gorilla grip on my brain, so here I am. I have no idea how long this will be or what my update schedule will look like, so we all get to suffer together ✨