It was all white, pure and bright. Rhaegar blinked slowly, trying to adjust his eyes. Then the light faded, and Rhaegar found himself standing on a bank. There were tents and flags were waving above them. There were many colors, red, grey, blue, and so on.
Rhaegar had been subconsciously walking towards the red tent, and when he came to his senses, he stopped.
How did I get here? Where is this place?
Rhaegar could recall vague memories from a few minutes before.
'You…you raped her! You carried her off and raped her!'
The sounds of steel kissing, then more yells.
'I hate you!'
A face full of rage and fury, a war hammer smashing into his chest…
But this wasn't what he expected in the afterlife.
Lyanna, sweet Lyanna, whatever's happening to her right now?
He was about to find out very soon.
The blood was gone, Ned was gone, and what disturbed her most of all was that her son, Rhaegar's son, Jon was gone too.
The rose was still clasped in her hands, giving her comfort as she wandered among the grassy plains, making her way to the tents not far away. The grey one seemed to be beckoning at her.
Then she spotted a familiar figure silhouetted against the red tent, and her breath caught.
Handsome and brooding as ever, Rhaegar was playing his harp, silver hair glinting beautifully under the sun.
The music ceased abruptly, as Rhaegar looked up in surprise. A tear fell. 'Lyanna, why did you get here so soon? This is the afterlife. Did Robert kill you?'
'I…no. I died for the most beautiful thing ever.'
Rhaegar's brow furrowed. Lyanna then remembered that she hadn't told him about the child. 'Rhaegar, Jon's the most beautiful babe ever! You would have been proud of him! Come, I'll show you.'
Rhaegar took Lyanna's hand, still lost in her rambles. Then they stepped into the mist, and when it cleared, they were present as ghosts in Westeros.
Lyanna turned her head this way and that, finally spotting the little bundle in her brother's arms that she loved so. 'There. Our son. Jon Targaryen.'
'Jon.' Rhaegar repeated. A smile crept across his face. 'I like it.'
Ned was cradling the bundle carefully, as if scared that it might break any moment. 'Jon.' He breathed, looking at the awake but quiet babe. 'Jon Snow.'
The boar rushing at him, pain, and he knew no more.
A bloodied letter, his own hand striving to sign his name on it.
The milk of the poppy, Dreamwine, death.
Robert was back in his warrior form, which he was thankful for, since he didn't want to spend the afterlife lugging around a big belly that shouldn't have been there in the first place.
Then he heard it.
Sweet, musical laughter, like the tinkling of silver bells.
Robert broke into a run, and then came abruptly to a stop as he saw the scene in front of him.
Lyanna was hand in hand with Rhaegar Targaryen, laughing at a joke he told her. Rhaegar stopped her laughter by leaning down to…kiss her. Kiss his Lyanna. And Lyanna never resisted. She returned the kiss passionately.
Robert felt like breaking down. He had told himself many times that Lyanna would have chosen him instead of that rapist, but now he was forced to accept the truth.
'Robert?' The couple finally noticed him, breaking apart immediately.
'Uh, hi, I'm going away right now so I don't strangle him.' Robert was always tongue-tied around Lyanna, even now.
Lyanna laughed and tossed her hair. 'You can't strangle him anyway. He's the proud father of the best warrior in Westeros.'
'Lyanna, Jon isn't even close yet. He won't get the chance either. He's at the Wall, remember?'
Lyanna didn't seem fazed. 'Skill does not need to be determined by tournaments, love.'
Robert hated it. He hated the way her eyes sparkled when she looked at Rhaegar. He hated the way she called him 'love'. He hated the fact that they even had a son together.
He should have killed that son when he'd got the chance. But where was the boy? Who was the boy?
Just then Rhaegar said, 'Lyanna, time for our visit to our son.'
Lyanna brightened up immediately. 'Let's go!'
Robert trailed after them, mind still trying to process what he had learned in the past few minutes.
Then the mist enveloped the three of them, and they were back in Westeros.
'The Wall?' Robert asked no one in particular. 'Of all the places, the Wall for a son of the Dragon Prince?'
'It is where the son of the Dragon Prince would be the safest.' Lyanna shot back.
Someone called from across the yard. 'Jon, are you going to eat your dinner or not?'
A boy with dark hair and solemn Stark features came out from the stables. 'Coming, Pip, just a moment.'
Pip grumbled a little about stubborn Starks and the cold, and then went inside again.
Jon didn't mind him. Instead, he found a secluded place among the trees with three ghosts walking after him.
'Jon.' Lyanna breathed. 'You've got so tall.'
Jon smiled, as if he heard the words. Then it struck Robert. Jon is Lyanna's son. Jon was protected from him with the surname Snow. Jon Snow is Ned's supposed bastard.
Anger rose in him. His lover betrayed him, but his best friend too? Ned would have many questions to answer to when he comes into the afterlife.
Rhaegar was speaking too. 'I know that mayhap you cannot hear me, but I hope you know that your parents never ever left you intentionally.'
Jon tilted his head, running his hand across the bark of the tree which his mother was leaning against. Lyanna smiled happily at the contact, even though his hand went through her body.
'I will always be proud of you, Jon. I love you.'
Jon grinned happily, pure joy in his eyes. 'Thanks, mom. Even if I'm just hearing voices in my head. And dad too.'
Rhaegar smiled. 'I love you too, son.'
'I love you.' Lyanna echoed.
It made Robert feel excluded from the happy family, even though only one of them is alive. Grumbling, he stalked away.
Ned would be in so much trouble when Robert gets his hands on him.
What would become of Sansa and Arya? I hope Robb won't do anything rash. Bran and Rickon best stay at Winterfell. After all, there must always be a Stark at Winterfell. Jon would be safe at the Wall, since they can't get him there. Catelyn would be under Robb's protection. God, I hope that they would be safe.
Ned worried and worried. He didn't even notice that it was time until the sword glinted in the sunlight and swung down to meet his neck.
And then he was dead.
Ned never expected it to be so simple.
He found himself appearing soaked through in a pond. Nearby was a few tents, and the one at the most behind was beckoning to him. Ned struggled to climb out of the pond, failing miserably since his leg was still in a cast in the afterlife.
'Anyone, help?' Ned called uncertainly.
'Brother dear, how in Westeros did you end up in there?' Lyanna appeared from nowhere, laughing. Rhaegar did not laugh with her, but pulled Ned out from the pond. Robert was scowling behind them. Ned gulped. He must have found out.
'Brother.' Rhaegar acknowledged. Lyanna simply grinned. Robert dragged Ned away, making him stumble a little. Rhaegar and Lyanna looked at each other, and then let them be. After all, violence cannot be used here unless it is for sparring.
'Why,' Robert blazed with fury. 'Why did you hide Jon Targaryen from me?'
'I promised Lyanna that I would keep him safe.' Ned said lamely.
Robert dropped to the ground. 'All this time…I thought she loved me. I thought…'
Ned could only pat him on the back, leaning down awkwardly thanks to that stupid cast.
'Jon can hear them speak. They tell each other "I love you." I feel so alone, Ned. I'm getting excluded.'
'Then what are friends for, then, Your Grace?'
Robert smiled. 'Guess that I'm getting too emotional. A drinking contest?'
Ned groaned while Robert smirked.
Robb tried to duck, but the arrow moved swiftly. Hitting its mark, the arrow lodged itself there, in Robb's chest.
Breaths were coming harder and harder. Robb supposed that it must have punctured a lung. He coughed, making the pain even worse, and noticed dimly that it was blood. Falling to the ground, Robb could see snatches of his mother being struck by an axe. He would have screamed if he could, going back to be the scared little child he once was.
The blood was stopping him from breathing. The once life-giving blood had turned into a murderer. Robb choked, trying desperately to breath despite the pain. Black spots were already appearing in his vision.
Then his world turned completely black.
Robb found himself spluttering, face dunked in a pond. At least he hadn't appeared in the pond.
Pushing himself up, Robb noted his surroundings. The grey tent was calling out to him.
Creepy. Robb thought.
Come to me come to me come to me.
Robb shook his head, trying to get rid of that annoying sound, but couldn't. Then someone crashed into him, squeezing the breath out of him and blocking out the sound completely.
'You look so much like your mother! Ned's been telling us all about you! But how did you get here so soon?'
'Aunt…Aunt Lyanna?' Robb stared at the woman who looked no older than he himself.
'Don't call me that, it makes me seem old.' She said, grinning. Robb found himself thinking of Jon when he saw that grin.
Jon. Robb hoped someone escaped to tell Jon that he has the North now. He definitely did not want the North to fall into the hands of Tyrion Lannister.
'Son.' Father had appeared out of nowhere, and Robb felt like a child again. A child who doesn't have the fate of the North resting on him. A child who could be happy and carefree without a thought of the world.
'Father!' Robb hugged him tightly, not missing the warm smile on Aunt Lyanna's face.
Then the Dragon Prince appeared out of nowhere, smiling at Robb. Robb instantly knew that they were going to be great friends. Then Rhaegar hooked his arm with Aunt Lyanna's.
What's the meaning of this?
Father noticed the direction of Robb's gaze and said, 'I would leave them to explain things to you.'
'Why do we have to explain that every single time someone new gets here?' Lyanna asked, irritation clearly showing.
Rhaegar just smiled, and dragged Robb into the mist he hadn't noticed earlier.
Robb couldn't see anything but the swirling mist.
'Don't panic.' Aunt Lyanna said from somewhere behind him. 'We're just showing you some memories that will explain everything.'
Lyanna was staring at Rhaegar, mesmerized by his singing. It was not long after his singing made her cry, touched by the sorrow of it all.
Lyanna was holding hands with Rhaegar almost shyly in the godswood, a priest anointing them in marriage.
Lyanna was screaming in a bed of blood, and Robb turned away embarrassed when he saw that she was in childbirth.
Lyanna was dead, and father was holding a baby in his arms.
Father was riding home to Winterfell, bringing the baby with him.
Mother's eyes hardened at the sight of the baby and father told her the name: Jon Snow.
Robb was thrown out of the memories with a gasp.
'Jon…Jon…' Robb couldn't find the courage to confirm the conclusion he had just reached.
'Jon Targaryen is the son of your Aunt Lyanna and Prince Rhaegar.' Father summed it all up for Robb.
Robb can't believe it. He simply couldn't. Jon Targaryen? The name sounded queer, unfamiliar, and highborn to his ears. Jon Snow sounded more familiar, brotherly, and closer.
'Jon…' Robb looked into the mist, seeing a familiar image of a boy with Stark features grinning and waving at him.
And he decided. '…Snow.'
Jon couldn't feel anything. Just the pain and the cold.
Starks are supposed to be immune to the cold. Then again, I'm not a true Stark.
Then he found himself standing in a grassy plain, the wind blowing his black hair so that it whipped around his face. Jon scanned his surroundings, a strange calm feeling enveloping him at the sight of the red tent and the grey tent.
He strolled towards the tents, spotting a pond. He caught sight of his reflection in it.
Ponds might not reflect color very well, but Jon was certain that his reflection had violet eyes instead of their actual dark grey. He gasped, reeling backwards only to be caught by a pair of hands. Familiar, warm hands from his childhood.
Ned smiled at Jon. 'So you've found out a part of it. Remember which house had such violet eyes?'
'House Targaryen.' Even dead, Jon still remembered this particular piece of information. Father had stressed it many times when he was young, obviously hoping for Jon to make a connection.
My eyes always had a little tinge of violet in them!
Only now did Jon make the connection.
'Son.' Even with no colored pictures, Jon still could recognize his father's sister. But wait, what did she call him?
'Son.' Rhaegar Targaryen approached from behind, making Jon jump. Trying to make sense of it all, Jon's head swiveled towards his 'father'.
'Father, what's going on?'
Ned smiled wryly. 'Long or short explanation?'
'Lyanna married Rhaegar, they had a son, Lyanna died in childbirth, and I promised to look after her son. I took him back to Winterfell and named him Jon Snow. And this is the afterlife.'
Jon simply gaped at him. Then a sudden thought struck him. 'If this is the afterlife, where's Robb?'
'Always looking for his playmate, I see.' Ned grinned, a rare one. His face looked less lined here. 'In that grey tent.'
Robb was staring sullenly into the fire, and Jon's voice made him jump. Turning, his mouth split into a wide grin.
'Jon!' He sprang up, hugging Jon.
'Robb.' Jon returned, smiling.
'Want to spar?' Robb asked. 'I'd like to see if you'd gotten rusty.'
'Sure. Or is it you that got rusty?'
Robb elbowed Jon, right in the place where the first dagger had been stabbed. Jon sucked in a breath, wondering why it could still hurt in the afterlife. Robb noticed, though.
'Are you okay?' he asked, fingers fumbling at the buttons of Jon's shirt. Jon tried to stop him, but the pain was growing and his hand just dropped away halfway up. 'Oh gods.'
Vision clouding, Jon heard Robb screaming for father, and felt blood dripping down his body. Then the warmth and heat was gone, and the cold returned. The hard floor he was lying on morphed into cold, wet, snow.
He was alive.
The pain was slowly diminishing, as if the wound was healing on its own. Jon clawed his way to a nearby wall, where he managed to stand on his wobbly legs. Staggering towards the building, Jon saw Ghost appear.
'Ghost.' He breathed.
He looked at Ghost, and all of a sudden he was looking at himself from Ghost.
The violet eyes were still there.
'Guess that's not a hallucination after all.' He murmured, letting Ghost be his support as he made his way towards the brothers who betrayed him.
Somewhere in the vast afterlife, a family was gazing down at Jon Snow with unmistakable pride.
And all that remained of Jon Snow in the afterlife was a puddle of blood that strangely won't disappear.
And finished! Not my longest yet, but close. Thanks for reading and reviewing!