Ages in the flashback:

Lord Eddard Stark-26

Lady Catelyn Tully Stark-25

Robb Stark-11

Jon Snow-10

It can't be true. It just isn't right.

Jon swung his sword furiously, hacking off a dummy's head.

The Young Wolf is dead, Jon. I thought that you should know.

He moved on to another dummy, tears burning in his eyes.

But remember that you have taken the black, and he is no longer your brother. Your brothers are us, the men of the Night's Watch.

Robb is his brother. And no vows can change that. How can the Bear suggest otherwise?

Take care, Snow.

Jon had taken care of himself all right. He was still alive.

And you, Stark.

But Robb wasn't. It was ironic, really. The bastard survives instead of the trueborn son.

He could still remember Robb's antics when they were little.

You and I can die at the same time! Then we will be buried together and can find each other more easily!

Jon had half a mind to do that now, but he had a promise to keep.

I promise that I won't die until you do, little sister.

But Arya was probably dead too. But he had to know for sure. Jon clung to that last shred of hope. She can't be. Not after Robb.

You will always be my brother, Snow. Lady mother or not.

Jon suddenly felt weak. A second ago he had been filled with furious rage, anger that Robb had died. Now all that strength had gone out of him all of a sudden. He flung himself out into the cold winds.

You're going to get better, Jon. Come on, a broken arm won't stop a Stark!

Jon somehow got to a secluded place which was covered in snow. Snow. He was a Snow, but Robb always considered him as a Stark.

Don't cry, Jon. It's going to be all right. Father knows the truth, he just does it to appease mother.

Jon needed Robb's comfort more than ever now, but Robb isn't here. Robb was hundreds of miles away, with his body being taunted by the Freys.

Don't do that, Jon. You know that I will also start crying if you cry.

A tear fell. Jon buried his head in his arms.

Jon did nothing wrong, mother. How can you stand to make him cry?

Now Robb was the one making him cry. The silent tears flowed, fast and furious.

Lady Catelyn had accused Jon of stealing things from her. Father looked grimly at Jon.

'Is it true?'

Jon was confused. 'What?'

'Did you steal anything from my lady wife?'

'No! Why would I do that? Because I'm a bastard?'

'Precisely.' Lady Catelyn said.

'Jon, you are to be confined to your chamber until we get the truth.'

It's so unfair! Jon wanted to shout, but father dismissed him. Two guards dragged him to his chamber, where Jon lay on his bed, thinking about the unfairness of the whole thing.

Robb came in about one hour later. 'You should've seen the lights, Jon! They are just so pretty! Father says that we only get to see them once in many years, I can show them to you now, Jon, they haven't disappeared yet-what's wrong?'

'Your mother.'

'What did she do?'

'She made father confine me here for a week! And I didn't steal anything!' Jon burst out. All of a sudden he wanted to cry. He didn't choose this. He didn't want to be a bastard.

Robb hugged Jon. 'Don't cry, Jon. It's going to be all right. Father knows the truth, he just does it to appease mother. You will always be my brother, Snow, lady mother or not.'

Jon sniffled.

'Don't do that, Jon, you know that I will start crying too if you cry.'

The two brothers snuggled together, the pretty lights forgotten.

A month later, Jon was walking down the corridor in cheerful spirits. He had just beaten Theon at sword fighting, and couldn't wait to tell Robb.

'Jon did nothing wrong, mother. How can you stand to make him cry?'

Curious, Jon crept around the bend in the corridor. Lady Catelyn was talking with Robb, making him gulp, knowing that he himself was the subject of their conversation.

'That is none of your business, Robb. Stay out of it. This is between me and your father.'

'Then why drag Jon into it?'

'Jon is the reason this conflict ever happened. Now go to your lessons.'

Mormont sighed. Young Snow just had to go and try to freeze himself to death. Now he had a high fever running, he might as well see his brother sooner than intended.

Jon tossed in his sleep, muttering indiscernible words. Mormont only caught, 'Not your fault...please…you promised…'

Mormont hadn't known that the boy would take the news so hard. Mormont never knew that the connection between a bastard and a trueborn son could go that deep.

Jon's direwolf was curled up at the foot of the bed, looking dejected. Except for the occasional nuzzling, Ghost was perfectly still. Mormont wondered whether the wolf was too mourning its lost brother.

Sighing, he wiped away the tear tracks on Jon's face and told Sam to fetch his books and letters.

This was going to be a long night.

Jon dragged his feet to the next recruit, asking him the usual questions.

Family. Weapon. Reason.

He knew that Mormont disapproved of the dark shadows under his eyes, but he couldn't help it. Every time he tried to sleep, something would crack and he would spend the whole night crying.

He finished questioning and moved on. Weary eyes scanned the line.

Six more to go.

By the time he reached the third last one, his mind no longer processed the answers.

However, at the last one, he froze.

Haggard, pale, sunken. Thin, weary, empty.

But it was still Robb.

'How-' he choked out.

Jon didn't hear the answer-he was wrapped in a familiar hug, and he soaked in all of the familiar warmth and the strength of his brother's arms.

'Jon.' Robb breathed. 'What happened to you?'

'Fever and lack of sleep. Nothing compared to you, Stark.'


'Dinner, and a bath. Then sleep. You look like you're ready to drop.'

Robb couldn't help but smile.

Robb scrutinized Jon, who looked radiant and filled with strength, completely different from the day before. Even the Old Bear looked surprised.

'Well,' he said. 'What could have brought this change on you, young Snow? I recall you almost freezing yourself to death, then starving yourself, then refusing sleep. Could it have anything to do with the recruits, that one in particular?' he jerked a thumb in Robb's direction.

Jon flashed a smile at Robb, before answering, 'Yes.'

Robb was having none of it. 'What do you mean, freezing yourself to death? Starving yourself? Refusing sleep? I told you to take care of yourself, Snow. It doesn't mean that you can do all that just because…'

'…I thought you were dead.' Jon finished quietly. 'I said, "And you, Stark," too. Have you forgotten that?'

Robb winced. He hadn't. That had kept him alive for the past few weeks, riding in a filthy caravan, being treated as nothing more than a criminal. That, and healing from the arrow wounds.

Mormont cleared his throat loudly. 'Well, Snow, back to your duties. And you, make your decision whether you want to be a man of the Night's Watch or reclaim your position.'

Jon stalked away, and Mormont leaned closed and whispered to Robb, 'Please make the right choice, Your Grace. And don't get killed, or Snow would kill himself.'

Robb never knew that Jon could do that. For him.

'I won't get killed.'

Another promise.