The Starks of Winterfell
He was having those dreams again, if you could call it that.
Since his tenth birthday, Bran had been able to dream through Winterfell's heart tree as well as the few weirwoods left in Westeros. It was a strange thing to experience. He hadn't realized that he was dreaming of the past during his first year of visions until he had dreamt through the heart tree at the Wall and witnessed his uncle Benjen saying his vows to the Night's Watch.
This night, he had not seen this vision before. Bran was dreaming through the weirwood in Winterfell. There he saw a pretty, young woman and a handsome, young man speaking beneath the heart tree. He knew this was the past, but his sister Arya looked so much similar to the woman, and he looked similar to the young man.
"Do you love him?" asked the man.
"No," the woman said bluntly.
"Then why marry him? Is father forcing you into this?"
"No," she said, shaking her head. "This is my own choice."
"I do not understand. You had rebelled this since you were a child. Why now?"
The woman stared up at the heart tree, her face masking her sadness, but Bran could see it in her eyes. "They say he is a good man."
"There is a difference between the rumors you hear and seeing it for yourself," the man answered coolly.
The scene had disappeared, and Bran woke up, left to contemplate what he had just seen.
At breakfast that morning, Maester Luwin had given her a letter sealed with the symbol of House Tyrell.
Sansa knew that she should have read it in her bedchamber, but she couldn't contain her excitement and immediately ripped the letter open. Robb looked up from his bowl and asked, "I presume that Lord Willas has written to you again?"
Sansa looked up at her older brother. She couldn't hide her smile as she told him to be quiet. She turned back to her letter. Willas Tyrell was her fiancée. It was her dream to be the wife of a lord, so she was ecstatic when her father and Lord Mace Tyrell made the match. Willas was once a cripple because of an accident during his first tourney, but the work of many maesters were able to help him to walk again. He was both strong and wise, and he treated Sansa well. With Sansa now at eight and ten, her wedding day was approaching in a few moons.
"What does he write?" asked Robb.
"That he misses me," said Sansa, blushing. "He says that Margaery is growing restless with the wedding preparations, and she is eager to see Arya and me again."
The Tyrells were very courteous to the Starks. Margaery Tyrell was especially fond of Sansa and visited Winterfell often. Arya initially disliked her because she thought Margaery was flippant and shallow, but Margaery killed that impression when she took a genuine interest in Arya's interests. She asked questions, watched Arya shoot arrows and spar with her brothers, and went riding with her. On a visit to Winterfell, Margaery surprised Arya with a Dornish sand steed, one similar to Lyanna's. Arya never badmouthed her again and always looked forward to her visits.
"You shall be married soon, Sansa," said Robb. "Willas is a good man."
"Yes, he is." Sansa glanced at Robb's wife, Jeyne Westerling, who was further down the table. She was trying to get her three year old son William to eat something. "I pray that Willas and I will be as happy as you and Jeyne and mother and father are."
"Though the match was arranged, I'm sure that you will be very happy."
"I will. I love him after all."
In the North, the cold bites and nips at bare skin.
The Starks hardly noticed, especially the two that were riding in the early morning. Two Dornish sand steeds, one pale with a black mane and tail and the other pale with a golden mane and tail, whipped through the snow towards the castle of Winterfell.
They were evenly matched until the steed with the black mane began to outstrip the other. The sound of hooves slammed against the ground in unison and slowed when inside the courtyard.
"Aunt Lyanna," growled Arya as she dismounted from her sand steed, "you won again!"
Lyanna gracefully slid off of her own steed and pinched her niece's cheek. "It is years of experience that made me the rider that I am today," she answered with a wink. "You won't be able to beat that, darling niece." She stroked the black mane of her horse and led it to the stables.
Arya scowled and lead her steed to the stables and quietly added, "I will win in a race against you some day."
"Lady Arya!" yelled a voice.
Arya groaned as she turned to see Septa Mordane walking up to the stables, her face furious. "Might I suggest that you clean up and change out of your filthy clothes? You are late for your needlework." With that, she turned around and went back inside the castle, pulling her furs closer.
Arya looked down at her breeches and tunic and her cloak soaked by snow and dirtied by mud. She was tempted to jump into a puddle of mud and roll around in it so that she would have to take a long bath and delay her needlework. It was always the same if she went. She'd be scolded for not making her stiches straight and neat. What was the point? "She's taken care of me for sixteen years, and she still cannot understand that I despise sewing," she said.
Lyanna chuckled and said, "You will never be able to outrun me if you focus on your stitching instead of riding."
Her niece groaned, dragging her feet back to the castle.
"Any news from Jon?" asked Arya.
"Not for a while. I imagine that he will be home soon though," said Lyanna.
"I hope so too." She smiled.
Jon Stark was Lyanna's only son.
Though she had despised the concept of marriage, she allowed her father to marry her to one of the sons of Lymond Lychester of House Lychester of the Riverlands when she was fourteen. Pregnant, Lyanna attended the Tourney at Harrenhal where she was crowned the Queen of Love and Beauty by Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. It caused quite a scandal throughout Westeros since Rhaegar was married to Princess Elia of Dorne and Lyanna was married herself. Shortly afterwards, Lyanna was kidnapped by Rhaegar and locked up in the Tower of Joy.
It was a widely known fact that Robert Baratheon was madly in love with Lyanna at the time, even though he was married to Lady Ashara of House Dayne at Starfall. Robert claimed that his reason for the War of the Usurper was to protect Lyanna's honor as a wife and mother-to-be. Battles were fought and Rhaegar Targaryen was killed along with his family and Rhaegar's father, the Mad King Aerys II. Among the casualties was Lyanna's husband.
Lyanna was rescued from the Tower of Joy, close to giving birth. With Robert installed as the new King of the Seven Kingdoms, a weak Lyanna was taken to King's Landing where she gave birth to a son. She named him Jon and raised him in King's Landing for a few years as she got her strength back. During that time of Jon's childhood, Jon befriended Robert's oldest son, Gendry, who was just a year younger.
Lyanna took Jon back to Winterfell when he was six, and Jon and Gendry kept contact ever since. They sent ravens to each other, and Jon often accompanied his mother when she went to back to visit King's Landing. Now at the age of two and twenty, Jon frequently travelled between King's Landing, the Riverlands, and Winterfell without his mother.
"Aunt Lyanna, won't you please try to get me out of needlework today?" Arya pleaded. She wanted to give her aunt the puppy eyes that Sansa would give their parents and their brothers, but the last time Arya had tried it, Bran laughed so hard that he almost fell off chair.
"I would, but I have been doing that for you since you were a child."
"Then do it again."
"Perhaps you should stick it through today, lest you make your mother angry," said Lyanna. "In any case, I have been forced to sit through it. You shall have to pay your due as well."
She could only chuckle as her niece let out a frustrated sigh.
Arya could hear the whizzing of arrows outside.
Rickon's practicing, she thought to herself.
She was stuck inside with her sister, Septa Mordane, and the other ladies. Needlework was always so boring, and Seven Hells, did she hate it. She wanted to be outside; watching her youngest brother shooting arrows and then upstaging Bran when he would try to teach Rickon. It was known that Arya was a markswoman when she was the same age as her baby brother. She was the only one who received her Aunt Lyanna's tutelage, and Uncle Brandon had said before that Lyanna was the best at what her brothers were supposed to excel at.
Arya glanced at Sansa's direwolf, Lady. She was sitting calmly next to her master. Then she glanced at Nymeria beside her. Her direwolf was lying on the ground, her eyes looking around the room.
She must be as bored as I am.
She heard another arrow take off, but it was followed shortly with Robb and Bran's laughter. She was getting restless, her legs itching to get up and run outside. In her frustration, she stabbed her embroidery with more force that necessary, pricking her finger with the needle. She watched the cloth soak up her blood before setting it aside.
She hurriedly got up and was almost out the door when she remembered her manners. "Excuse me, but I've pricked my finger," she said. She made a quick curtsey and ran out of the room with Nymeria before Septa Mordane could reprimand her.
Arya gathered up her dress and ran outside to the training yard. She grabbed a bow and arrow along the way. She was right. It was Rickon practicing as Bran and Robb watched nearby. Her grandfather nor her father and mother were there, but her aunt was. She quickly strung her bow and shot the arrow. It narrowly missed Bran's ear and cheek as it hit the bull's eye. Her brothers turned around to see here.
"See, that's how it's done, Rickon!" she yelled, joining them. "Now you give it a try!"
Arya was starting to give Rickon advice when Rodrik Cassel called, "Lady Lyanna."
Lyanna turned to see Winterfell's Master-at-Arms approaching her. "Yes, Ser Rodrik?"
"A raven from King's Landing. From your son."
She took the parchment from him and unraveled it. Her eyes scanned it over before she gathered up her dress and sprinted out of the training yard. She could not find her father in the castle, but when she went to the Godswood, she found her brother Eddard and his wife there.
"Brother, we have news from King's Landing," she said as she approached them. "From Jon."
Ned raised an eyebrow. "What sort of news from your son?"
"He says that the King rides for Winterfell with his wife, his children, and all the rest of them."
"Such a large party," said Catelyn, surprised. "What on earth could the King want here at Winterfell? It is not time for Sansa to be wed."
"I'm not sure. Jon does not say. But they will be here in a month. Brandon and Jon will be part of the party riding along with them," said Lyanna.
Brandon Stark was the once the rightful heir to House Stark. He was engaged to Catelyn in his younger days, but after Robert had won his rebellion and Lyanna was saved, Brandon joined the Kingsguard to repay Robert with his life. With Brandon in the Kingsguard and Benjen at the Wall, Lord Rickard Stark named Ned as his heir.
"We shall see what Robert wants in Winterfell," said Ned, "but for now, we must prepare for his arrival."
Written for someone on tumblr who wished for this AU fic in which:
-Lyanna is alive.
-She didn't marry Robert.
-He accepted this fact and moved on.
-Gendry was born in Robert's marriage as well as Mya, Edric, and Barra.
-Gendry is the heir to Storm's End.
-Catelyn and Ned are married somehow.
-Lyanna and Arya are best friends who talk about archery, riding, and swords.
-Sansa has a happy ending.
-All of the Starks are alive such as Benjen, Brandon, and Rickard.
-Jon Snow knows his parents.
-Jon is Lyanna's son.
-Jon and Gendry are friends.
-Gendry and Arya get together.
All points have been fulfilled to the best of my ability and imagination. My biggest obstacle was to try to have everyone have a part. Just, ugh. Starks and Baratheons are very troublesome. And I know I mention the Lannisters, but it would have murdered me to really integrate them into the story. I just...I wanted everyone to be hunky dory. So they can take a back seat.
Check out my tumblr (aetherene) to see pictures of my dreamcast for the characters as well as their ages at the time this story takes place.
Chapter 1: Stark family
Chapter 2: Baratheon family
Chapter 3: Arya and Gendry