Title: The Eldest Stark

Author: pristineungift

Rating: G

Warnings: None.

Summary: Tyrion Stark is the eldest of the Stark children. He is also a dwarf, and loved both too well and not enough. Written for the Family Remix challenge on throneland - write a character born in a different house than the one they're in canonically.

The Eldest Stark

Bundled in furs, Tyrion Stark sat on a bench in the courtyard of Winterfell where his younger brothers trained with bow and swords. He clutched a book awkwardly in his gloved hands. While his brothers Jon and Robb learned to be warriors, Tyrion read of governing and economics.

When he was younger, he had often been jealous. Their lives were so glamorous in comparison to his. They would be knights, ride to battle, while he was tied to Winterfell, grubbing through books.

A warm little hand touched Tyrion on his shoulder, and then his little sister Arya slid into his lap.

"You're getting too big," he smiled at her, pressing a kiss to her cheek. "Soon I will have to sit in your lap."

She wrinkled her nose at him, and grabbed at his book, flipping through the pages. "Why do you read so much, Tyrion? It's awfully boring. Almost as boring as Sansa and her needlepoint."

Frowning, Tyrion took his book back, laying it on the bench next to them. "You know why I read so much, Arya. I'm Father's heir, but I will never stand taller than his sword, let alone be able to lift it. I must prove myself to him in other ways."

Arya kissed his cheek, her nose cold against his skin. "Father doesn't care that you aren't tall like Robb and Jon," she said artlessly. It was one of the reasons Tyrion loved his little sister so. She never danced around the fact that he was a dwarf, and he felt much more human because of it.

"Hmm," Tyrion said, tired of the discussion. Changing the subject, he asked, "Have you run off from your lessons again? Mother will turn you over her knee if you keep doing that."

"No," Arya said, her eyes trained on Robb and Jon, who were practicing with wooden swords. "Mother sent me to come find you when she realized you weren't in the library. You know she doesn't like you being outside."

"Mother worries too much," Tyrion answered, though he felt a twinge of guilt. Ever since his birth, Catelyn Stark had showered her dwarven son with love and care. Tyrion often felt she was trying to make up for his stature, as if it were her fault somehow. When he had been younger, it was nice, for Mother to always be there, calling him handsome, helping him reach things.

But as he got older it felt more and more like a smothering lie.

"You don't want to go back yet," he said to his sister, making it a statement rather than a question.

"Neither do you," Arya retorted, then broke into a whoop as Jon got the better of Robb.

"I won't tell Mother you found me if you don't," Tyrion began, only to stop short.

Catelyn Stark stood framed in the archway leading to the courtyard, rapidly approaching them.

"Run, little sister," Tyrion whispered. "Winter is Coming!"