The Company of Wolves

Obligatory Disclaimer: I do not own Game of Thrones/ASOIAF. They are the property of HBO and George R. R. Martin, respectively.

1. Promise Me

Ned Stark is not a man that keeps secrets.

It is the Tower of Joy, during Robert's rebellion. His sister, Lyanna, lies in the birthing bed.

He despises them. Secrets breed treachery, lies, dishonor, and deception.

She is pale, and trembling. Dying.

However, there is one secret that he has been forced to carry for over sixteen years.

Her eyes are blazing, bright and feverish and despite her failing strength, she holds one of his wrists in an iron grip as he cradles the squalling newborn infant in his arms. Her eyes are bright and fierce as she makes him promise that he will raise the boy as his own, keep him safe, and tell him nothing of his true parentage.

Every time he looks into Jon's face, he feels as if he has been haunted by her, he can see so much of her in him. He has the look of a Stark, and mercifully, none of the look of a Targaryen, and thus there is no evidence that he is the product of a forbidden union.

When he brings home the child, Catelyn's gaze is chilling to behold. He tells her that he has dishonored their marriage vows by taking another woman into his bed, and fathered a bastard. He tells her that the mother died in childbirth, and that he will raise the boy as one of their own, alongside their oldest son Robb. Catelyn accepts this, although she will never look on the boy with love or affection.

The lie pained him, but he could not speak the truth to his dear Cat, as much as he desperately wanted to.

Lya's final words forever echo in his memories: "Promise me, Ned..."

It is the one secret he will carry to his grave.

Something I wrote on a whim. Alas poor Ned, we hardly knew ye. I will update this in the future, somewhat sporadically as inspiration strikes, and I'll try to focus on all the Starks. Reviews are nice, but I won't be offended if you don't leave one. Cheers!