It had been two hours since his men, those loyal to Houses Stark and Arryn, had proclaimed him king. Their voices had run out thick with emotion and devotion, each and every one of them professing their loyalty and lives to him, in honor of his lord father.
The King in the North.
They'd named him, and even though there was no crown to be had, Robb had been able to feel the weight of it on his head.
And his shoulders.
They all expected him to take down Tywin Lannister with his own blade, to put an end to the Lannister's hold on everyone and everything. So far, he'd been successful. His own lady mother had held the queen's dwarf brother for a time. And now they had Cersei's beloved brother prisoner as well.
But despite the power that that gave him, Robb couldn't help but wonder…
What if I lose?
What if my blade, or my hands, fails me?
They were terrible doubts, cowardly thoughts that niggled away at the back of his mind. For the most part, Robb was able to keep them at bay with thoughts of rescuing Arya and Sansa or how to proceed next. But when Robb was alone, with no one but Grey Wind for company, they came rushing towards him like a flock of angry crows.
His tent was more comfortable than most of the soldier's, but the ground beneath him was still hard. In an attempt to get more comfortable, Robb rolled onto his side and pulled his furs more tightly about his body. At the movement, Grey Wind lifted his head and peered at Robb. After sniffing at the air, the wolf climbed to his feet and padded across the tent. Seeming to sense Robb's chill, the wolf laid down next to him, adding his furry warmth to the blankets.
Silently, Robb reached out and placed his hand on the animal's back. The steady rise and fall of his furry body was like a calming balm to Robb's frayed nerves. He'd excused himself, saying he was tired an hour ago, but he'd yet to find sleep. And even though the main uproar had died out long ago, Robb could still hear his men chanting and celebrating in the camp. But now Robb desired nothing more than silence, the company of his wolf, and sleep.
With Grey Wind nearby, Robb felt himself begin to calm down. Then slowly, after what felt like years, Robb felt his breath deepen and slow.
As sleep began to wash over him, Robb whispered to Grey Wind, "What happens if I fail…."
Blood, shockingly hot against his freezing skin, poured out of Robb's many wounds. His legs burned from being hacked at, and the gaping wound in his belly oozed and throbbed with every shuddering gasp he took.
Tywin Lannister had cut him down.
And soon, every man in his army would be dead.
Because of him.
Lying on the ground, feeling his life pour out of him, Robb tried to look around. From what he could see, the battle was still ragging. Men were driving the hilts of their swords into one another while others, who looked like barbarians, swung axes and maces with abandon. Horses screamed as arrows flew past them, and their riders fought to avoid being thrown to the ground and trampled. And in the midst of all this, no one seemed to notice that he, Robb Stark, their king, had been cut down.
He wanted to cry out for his lady mother, for her love and comfort as he died. But the pain was too great, and he could barely do more than whimper. And even if he could speak, Robb knew that he wouldn't call out to her. She'd dealt with enough - Bran and at the death of her lord husband. She didn't need to bear witness to this, her eldest son's passing, as well.
Instead, he would die alone, just another nameless face in a sea of nameless men.
Robb's heart thudded painfully and shuddered. It was the end, and he knew it. How many more breaths would his defeated lungs allow him to draw?
Drawing in one more painful gasp, Robb's thoughts went to Grey Wind. Where was his dire wolf? Was he a heap of dead flesh and fur by now? Or was he fighting as fiercely as ever? Robb prayed to the gods it was the latter. But as everything around him began to blur and melt away, he wished that the wolf was with him for his last breath. He did not want to die alone.
Another horse rushed past him, and the pain in his stomach and legs seemed to flare. Closing his eyes against the pain, Robb fought for one more lungful of air. He wasn't ready to meet the god of death. Not yet.
As he struggled for any last shred of consciousness, a blinding light appeared before Robb. It burned fiercely, and he could feel the heat of it warming his face. Never had he felt anything so hot, not in the warm walls of Winterfell or even in front of a camp fire. The ball of white light, which was growing and expanding, seemed to be fueled by the heat of a thousand suns.
He thought that if it were to grow much larger, the power of it would surely burn up anyone nearby. But despite the fact that it was now taller than Hodor, no one seemed to notice it or feel the glorious heat. They all continued to fight, swinging their swords and axes, like nothing was happening.
Again, Robb wanted to call out. But this time he didn't want his mother. He wanted anyone that would listen, whether they be friend or foe. However, when he tried to gasp, to gain enough breath to speak, Robb realized something…
He should be dead already.
In fact, he had to be dead by now.
There was no way he could still be alive.
As that thought frantically raced through Robb's mind, he struggled to feel his heartbeat. He focused all of his thoughts and feeling on his chest, desperate to feel something. But there was nothing. No painful thudding or even a weak fluttering. His chest was completely silent. But somehow, he was still conscious.
The ball of heat continued to grow, burning even hotter as it did. And despite his fear and terror of his silent heart, Robb's eyes were drawn to the light like a beacon. It was impossible for him to look away. There was something welcoming, almost soothing about it. When an outline of a person began to form in the fire, Robb thought to himself, "Is this the god of death?"
In the midst of the burning light, the being began to solidify. As first, Robb could only make out a vague outline. But soon enough there were bare feet and hips, slender arms and rounded breasts. A wispy dress seemed to appear around her body, draping her as gently as a lover's caress. And when she stepped out of the burning sphere, a fall of white blonde hair seemed to trail behind her as if it was made from the same fire as the light.
She was beautiful.
Pale as winter snow and as soft as Grey Wind's fur.
As she walked away from the flames she'd been born out of, she continued to burn. A soft glow of heat radiated from her body, almost as if she were made of fire. And as she moved towards him, Robb thought back to the stories Old Nan had told him when he was a child. He couldn't remember her ever describing the god of death as beautiful, or as woman.
So this being, with her fair eyes fixed so intently on him as she walked through the battle, couldn't be the god of death.
Again, Robb struggled to find his voice. But unlike before, he found that he could now speak. It was like his death had given him the ability back. "Are you the god of death?" His voice was weak and hoarse, but he knew she'd heard him.
The woman smiled at him softly, almost sadly. "No, I am not."
Robb had known the answer before she'd said it. However, he was still confused. "Then wha-"
"Shhhh…." She hushed him softly and knelt beside him. The battle raged around them, but just as the soldiers hadn't noticed her, she didn't seem to have noticed them. It was like she'd appeared to him and him alone.
Further proof that he was already gone.
But even though Robb understood that he'd died, he couldn't quite believe it. After all, he could still see and hear everything around him. Plus, he could feel the cold air and the wind as people rushed past him. All of that made it seem impossible that he wasn't still alive, even if his heart was no longer beating.
If he wasn't alive though, what washe?
The woman settled into the ground next to him, her knees pressing into his legs and the toes of her feet curling under her. And for some reason, the fact that he could see and feel her when no one else could made Robb wonder if they were both ghosts.
However, when she reached out and placed a hand, so warm it burned, against his cheek, Robb knew that that couldn't be right either. Ghosts, if old Nan was to be believed, couldn't feel.
Which he definitely could.
Turning his cheek into her palm, Robb reveled in the searing heat of her touch. It was so warm, so alive. And despite the fact that she'd hushed him before, Robb couldn't stop himself from speaking. "Am… Am I dead?"
This time, she didn't quiet him. Instead, she stroked a burning path over his cheek before saying, "Yes." The word came out as a soft whisper full of sadness and heartache.
If his heart could have beat, he knew that it would have broken through his chest. It was verbal confirmation of his worst fear. "But then…." Robb's voice trailed off as he fought for something to say.
The blonde woman, however, would not let him finish this time. "Shhhhh…."
Her gentle tone was soft and caring, almost full of love. And Robb found himself comforted by it. He no longer wished to speak, to ask terrible questions with impossible answers. All he wanted was to feel her touch and the kindness in her voice as it washed over him. He knew that he would be content to stay in the moment, with war raging eternally around him, so long as she stayed by him.
Robb was prepared to ask her to stay, the question on the tip of his tongue when he felt her lips press into his forehead. At first, he thought it was just a kiss, one more thing for him to get lost in. But after a few seconds, her lips began to burn hotter than her hand.
So hot that Robb could barely stop himself from crying out.
Just when he thought he could stand it no longer, he felt the cut on his forehead begin to mend itself.
When she finally pulled away, Robb reached up and felt that his forehead was completely healed. Robb looked up at her, his eyes searching her face as his fingers frantically felt around for the cut that had been there. He wanted to say something, no matter how pointless. But there was nothing he could say.
The woman, with her kind eyes and billowing white hair, smiled at him. But after a moment, the smile faded. "This will hurt far worse than the scrape on your forehead."
Her voice was confident and strong and Robb found himself caught up in it. It wasn't until her small hand slipped under his armor that to press against his stomach that her words registered. "Wha…." The words died in his throat and turned into a guttural moan that rent the air. Her fingers were like branding irons as they pressed into his flesh.
Unaware of what he was doing, Robb's body pitched forward. His forehead met with the woman's shoulder and rather than pull away, he left it there. Desperate for some way to brace himself against the pain, Robb grabbed her upper arms and dug his fingers so painfully that he thought she'd begin bleeding.
She didn't though.
Instead, she raised her free hand and pressed it into the back of his head, twisting her fingers through his unkempt curls. As she continued to mend his wound, she held him to her, almost as if trying to protect him.
The pain continued to grow and intensify, and just when he could no longer stand it, Robb felt a dull thud in his chest. It was quickly followed by another and another.
It was beating again.
As it continued to beat, Robb noticed something that he hadn't heard before. A high pitched screech filled the air along with the steady beating of what sounded like wings. But he could think of no creature with wings large enough to make that noise. Except…
But dragons hadn't been seen in over a thousand years. So it just wasn't possible that that was what he was hearing.
Robb wanted to look, to see what was really making the noise. But the woman, his savior, was pulling her hand away from his stomach.
"No." Robb grabbed hold of her wrist. It was so small that his fingers wrapped all the way around it and he could feel her bones in his grasp. He couldn't believe that such power had come from this small being. "Please. Who are you?" Robb loosened his grip on her wrist.
She pulled back just enough so that she could whisper in his ear. "I am Daenerys Targaryen. Also called Daenerys Stormborn." Her fingers twisted in his hair. "Mother of dragons."
As her words echoed through his head, Robb's eyes went to the fiery ball she'd come from. It was still burning white hot, but now he could make out a faint rustling in the flames, a rustling that looked very much like the outline of large wings.
Robb's gaze moved back to Daenerys' beautiful face. She was still watching him, her expression the picture of calm. "But how?"
"It does not matter now." The hand still buried in his hair slid to Robb's cheek. "All that matters right now is that you are alive."
Robb's brain swirled around, trying to make some sense out what was going in. He had died, felt his own heart stop beating. Then he'd felt it restart with a simple touch. And now, this being, this Daenerys, was telling him that dragons roamed the land again and that she was their mother. It was simply too much to comprehend at once. "But…."
Again, she silenced him. But instead of hushing him, as she had done before, Daenerys pressed her lips against his. The kiss was feather light, just a gentle brush of skin against skin. And even though she barely lingered, her kiss burned as hot as her touch. So hot that Robb felt as if she branded herself on his lips.
When Daenerys pulled away, her bottom lip was dotted with Robb's blood. The stark contrast of the scarlet against her pale skin caused his heart to thud painfully.
"You must wake up now, Robb Stark." She started to stand. "Go to your men, never lead them astray." Daenerys turned to leave, but Robb caught her hand.
"But I am awake." Robb's voice was full of confusion. He was in the middle of a battle. What did she mean?
"No, you are not." Gently, but insistently, she pulled her hand from his grasp. And without looking back, she stepped back into the ball of flames she'd come from.
For the first time since he'd fallen, Robb pushed himself off the ground. A flying arrow sped past his face, but that didn't matter. He needed to get to Daenerys, to ask what she meant and to find out who she was.
Ignoring everything around him, Robb ran towards the ball of flames. It was shrinking rapidly, and he knew that it would be gone soon.
He was mere steps away from it when he felt a razor sharp blade cut through his healed abdomen. His murderer had taken him from behind and was chuckling in Robb's ear. When the man spoke, his voice was low and gravelly, and Robb didn't recognize it. "Wake up, Stark."
The shock of the blow and the words ripped Robb out of his dreams. He was tangled up in his furs, and he was sweating profusely. Grey Wind was standing over Robb, looking at him quizzically. His intelligent eyes seemed to be asking Robb what was wrong.
"A dream." Robb sighed and reached out for his wolf. "Just a dream." He pulled the animal closer, digging his fingers into the soft fur. Grey Wind moved willingly, sitting before Robb and sniffing his sweat stained face. "I mustn't fail." He spoke to the wolf as if it could understand. "She won't be there if I do." He thought of Daenerys, Mother of Dragons. Her face was so clear in his mind, like it had been burned there.
Grey Wind poked his cold nose at Robb's wet cheek, and Robb's eyes flickered to the fire pit in the middle of the tent.
It was cold.
There wasn't even a wisp of dying flame coming from it.
Robb's gaze was locked on it as he wondered why he felt like he was on fire when clearly, he should be freezing.
- This was written for monkey_in_red. I really hope you like it. I tried to work in the things you mentioned. And… I know I mentioned one or two characters you don't like. But they needed to be mentioned, given the scenario. Please don't hate me. :P
- Reviews are love.