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It had been hours, the fires continued to roar, summer wine was passed around as men filled their flagons, and their boisterous laughs filled the great hall of Winterfell. The smell of roasted meats and fresh baked breads filled the pleasant atmosphere. Musical ballads and tunes filled the hall, chatter of men; women, and children, men clanged their flagons in cheer.
Dany sat on the bench with Sansa and her friends, Arya sat across from her with Myrcella and Tommen. They sat a table below the Lord and Lady of Winterfell and the king and queen. Sansa and her friends murmured and giggled amongst themselves; Dany could scarcely hear the mention of Prince Joffrey, Ser Jamie, along the names of the handsome knights that had arrived.
Dany searched the great hall for a sign of him, she found him, and in the far back he sat amongst the squires. She watched as he poured himself a summer wine and drank with the youth around him, she saw him break into a smile or two as he spoke with the squires. At least he appeared to enjoy himself. She would watch him steal food from the table, slip it between his legs, see a flurry of white rise and fall under the table; it was Ghost.
Dany looked away as Sansa rose from beside her, a smile beamed on her lips as she whispered to her, "The queen wants to speak with me."
Dany offered her a wondrous smile, "How could she not, you're beautiful, Sansa."
"Thank you, Dany." Sansa flushed as she walked down the aisle towards the queen, she was everything they said she was, her and her twin, beautiful and golden.
"Are you alright?" Arya asked her eyes were wide and curious.
"I'm fine," Dany reassured her with a smile. "Make sure you finish your plate, Arya."
The little wolf rolled her eyes, "You sound like my mother."
"How will you grow up strong and tall if you do not eat?" Dany chided, leaned forward to hold the brown-haired girl's eyes. "If you wish to become a warrior one day, you need your nutrients, do you not?"
Arya sighed, "Yes, you're right."
"Good, now eat up little pup."
"Dany!" Arya scowled indignantly, Dany only laughed. Sansa returned to her side, she was simply glowing with praise from the queen.
Cersei detested the north, and its people. Watched as her fat husband danced with the maids, groped them, allowed them to kiss his greasy face and lips. She paid little mind to Lady Stark as she excused herself as to scold her youngest daughter, who had flung her food at her sister in retaliation. The Lannister lioness's eyes settled upon the Targaryen girl, she was a sight so lovely, it repulsed the queen. She had taken great pleasure as her husband had humiliated the Mad King's daughter before all the people of Winterfell. Yet, here she sat, the little dragon commanded sights of admiration for her beauty and lust for her body. It angered the Lannister woman to no ends. She demanded attention, and it was often she who men and women stared at with worship in their eyes, not a girl who was barely a woman.
Her lips tightened when she saw the little dragon laugh with the Stark girls, her hands fisted against the wooden table. A hand reached out to brush against hers so subtly. She frowned; look to see her twin watch her with an amused smile.
"Now, now, sweet sister," Jaime began with a smirk. "She's only a child, why do you allow her to rile you so?"
Cersei scoffed, "What do you think my kind husband plans to do to the Targaryen girl?" She hissed with mockery. "Nothing, absolutely nothing, and it's all because of his misguided affections and respect for Ned Stark."
"Well, then there is nothing that can be done if the king commands it."
Cersei looked at her twin, "Go teach that dragonspawn place."
"How do you suppose I do that without taking her head?" Jaime mused with a smug smirk, his hand rested against his blade at his hip. Cersei smiled, took her flagon of wine, drank and watched her brother intimidate the little dragon.
Jon had watched her from afar; there was no laughter in her eyes, though she continued to smile as Sansa continued to speak excitedly with her. He knew how she felt, the sharp shame at being degraded, harsher than any slap. Lady Stark had made sure he never forgot that feeling.
"Is this direwolf yours?" A familiar voice mused with affection; Jon looked up in time to have his dark curls ruffled like a small child.
"Uncle Benjen," Jon greeted with a small smile. "His name is Ghost." The white direwolf held the young Stark's eyes for a moment before he nuzzled against Jon's raised hand and settled on the floor once more at his master's feet.
"A quiet wolf," Benjen observed with approving nod. "Have you been training him?"
"Yes," Jon ruffled Ghost's thick white mane, the direwolf crooned softly, barely audible to the ears. "He's intelligent, never makes a sound."
Benjen chuckled, "Then he has earned his name." He sat down beside his nephew, took his flagon, took a long gulp, handed it back to him. "Why are you not sitting with your brothers and sisters?"
Jon's smile faltered, he averted his gaze to his direwolf, and the albino creature sensed his master's distress and rested his muzzle against his hand. "Lady Stark did not wish to insult the royal family with the presence of a bastard amongst them."
Benjen sighed and nodded with a sympathetic smile, padded his nephew on the shoulder. "You're a good lad, Jon." He assured him. "I better go rescue your father from his guests; he does not appear to be festive tonight."
Jon only nodded and watched him go.
Dany looked around, saw the king was so drunk and mesmerized by the large breasts of the maid in front of him, she saw this as her chance for escape. She stood, excused herself to Sansa who merely nodded and continued to giggle along with her friends. As Dany walked down the aisle, she was stopped by the appearance of Jaime Lannister.
"Daenerys Targaryen, I don't think we have had the pleasure of being formally introduced." His smile was cruel, the gleam in his eyes crueler.
"Jaime Lannister," Daenerys mused with an impassive expression. "They call you the Lion of House Lannister to your face, and whisper kingslayer, oathbreaker, behind your back, don't they?"
His smile with cold, "Yes, they do call me that, not always behind my back though." He nodded towards his sword at his hip. "You see this blade, I used it to stab your father in the back as he tried to run from me, then I slit his throat to make sure he stayed dead. I would hate to use it to remove your pretty little head from your body." Dany remained defiant, Jaime leaned forward to whisper in her ear. "I'm sure it will not come to that, not with honorable Ned Stark protecting you." Dany was shaken by his icy words. Jaime stood tall and golden as he was. "It was a pleasure, Daenerys Targaryen." She said nothing, couldn't say anything. Jaime continued down the aisle. Dany made a quick exit from the great hall, missed the smug smirk on the queen's face as she sipped her wine.
She had made it into an empty hall lit with torches where she was able to catch her breath. Her heart steadied, tears formed in her eyes, but they were quickly forgotten, her expression hardened. One day, she would seek her revenge on those who had wronged her.
"Daenerys," A voice called to her in the darkness, it was Ned Stark. "What are you doing out here in the cold?"
She offered him a smile, "I needed some air."
"May we speak?"
Dany paused, she'd preferred to be alone at the moment, but who was she to refuse a request from Ned Stark after he'd done so much for her. "Of course," She beamed falsely.
"Good, come with me." They walked in silence until they reached an empty room, he sat her down, sighed heavily, uncertain himself where to begin. "I saw you speaking with Ser Jaime Lannister, what did he say to you?" Dany faltered. "Be honest."
Dany looked down, "He showed me the sword he used to kill my father."
Ned sighed again, "He should not have done that, and I apologize."
"You have nothing to apologize for, Lord Stark." Dany reassured him immediately. "I can only be thankful for the lengths you have gone to protect me. I will always be grateful for your kindness." It was political answer.
"Sweet girl," Ned began. "Do you know the truth behind your name, Targaryen?"
Dany shook her head, "Only what my brother Viserys told me, and stories I've heard. I know the Mad King earned his name."
"He did," Ned nodded somberly. "Our families share a difficult past, the Mad King had my father and eldest brother killed, your brother kidnapped my sister, and she died birthing a stillborn son. I do not blame you for the wrongdoings of your father, Daenerys. You were only a babe. Robert, he cannot understand that. He loved my sister, they were betrothed, when she was kidnapped, he never forgave your brother Rhaegar, or your family for his loss."
"I heard a different story of my brother and your sister," Dany murmured more to herself. "Viserys told me they loved each other."
Ned nodded slowly, "Perhaps they did, and many people died for it. Your brother was an honorable man."
Dany looked at him impassively, "And he still died."
"Yes, slain at the hands of Robert."
Dany frowned for a moment, "Had my brother never kidnapped your sister, my father never killed your family, would the noble houses of Westeros still try to overthrow my father?"
"I will not lie to you," Ned sighed. "They eventually would have, King Aerys had gone mad with power."
"I see," Dany glanced down at her hands. "Do you fear I will go mad like my father?"
"No," Lord Stark answered her quickly.
"Was my father always mad?"
"No, for a time he was a decent king," Ned continued more gently. "You hail from Valyria, and from there your people married brother to a sister to keep the bloodline pure as they say. It was this inbreeding that led to your father's madness."
"And my brother," Dany murmured. "Viserys is our father's son, just so."
"Rhaegar was not, and neither are you." Ned reassured her. "You have the compassion your father lacked."
"I also have a dragon's temper." Dany reminded him.
Ned chuckled, "I have yet to see it." Dany smiled in return for a moment.
"What will happen to me after King Robert is to return south?" There was a fear in her eyes she tried to hide. "Will I have to accompany him and leave Winterfell?"
"Do you wish to go south?"
"No, I don't."
Ned only nodded, "We will see when the time comes, but no matter what happens I will always protect you."
Dany felt tears burn at the edges of her eyes at his declaration, Ned reached out to draw her near and embrace her, his arms filled with warmth she had not expected from the withdrawn warden of the north, it only made her weep more.
Jon stood outside, sobered up quickly from the winter air. Ghost sat at his side, unruffled by the cold. Jon had drunk too much, the noises, smells, and heat stifled him in the great hall, he had not missed the pleased expression and Catelyn's face as he made his departure. She never missed a chance to make him remember he was unwanted.
"Boy," A voice called to him, he ignored it. "Boy, it called again." He turned to see the half-man, the imp, the queen's younger brother were his titles.
"I'm not a boy," Jon scowled at him.
The blonde haired Lannister held up his hands in defense, "My apologizes, and I'm not a dwarf, my father will be most pleased to hear so. How old are you?"
"So you are a boy." The youngest Lannister smirked. "My name is Tyrion Lannister."
"I know who you are," Jon sighed; he wished to be left alone. "You're the queen's brother."
Tyrion smiled with mockery, "My greatest achievement yet."
"What do you want?"
"I was just curious of your companion, is he really a wolf?"
"A direwolf," Jon explained, happy for a change of subject. "His name is Ghost."
"Very intriguing, may I have a closer look?" Tyrion reached out a hand, Ghost's lips curled back revealing glistening white teeth in a silent snarl.
"Ghost, be kind." Jon murmured, stroked the wolf's thick mane, Ghost settled immediately.
"Impressive," Tyrion's smile grew, he reached out a hand shyly, then more confidently stroked the wolf's mane, a small curve of Ghost's lip was enough to tell the Lannister that was enough petting. "Very impressive animal."
"Why are you out here?" Jon questioned him.
Tyrion waved him off, "Must all you Stark men be suspicious of outsiders. I merely drank too much, and winter air does well to sober up a man. Don't you agree?" His smiled knowingly.
"I'm not a Stark."
Tyrion raised a curious brow, "I could have sworn you were Ned Stark's bastard son. Maybe I did drink too much tonight?" He mused humorously. Jon stiffened. "Have I offended you? You are his bastard, are you not?"
"Eddard Stark is my father," Jon admitted.
Tyrion studied him for a moment, nodded thoughtfully, "You are most definitely his son. You have more of the north in you then your siblings, do you know that? You are a Stark through and through." If the comment lightened him, Jon did not show it. Tyrion smirked, "Yes, you truly are a Stark. Let me give you some counsel bastard. Never forget who you are, the world surely will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you."
Jon rounded on him, "What do you know about being a bastard?"
"A great deal more than you think," Tyrion answered him coolly. "All dwarves are bastards in their father's eyes. Now, if you will pardon me, I believe I need to take a piss."
Jon watched him leave. Ghost nudged his hand, offered his master comfort. Jon turned to leave, "Come Ghost."
"Leaving so soon?" A voice called to him, he turned to see Dany, a thick white cloak wrapped around her.
"Dany," His voice was thick. "How long have you been there?"
She came to his side, reached out to take his arm in her hands and hold it to her breast. Her voice soft, "Long enough, will you come with me?" She gave his arm a gentle tug, he allowed her to lead him through the empty halls, and everyone was still back at the great hall. They arrived to her room, she entered, pulled him in with her, Ghost followed and she shut the door. She removed her cloak; her body gave a small shiver. She was only in a shift gown.
"Dany are you mad?" Jon was furious with her. "You could have frozen out there!"
"I was already freezing in the dress I wore in the great hall, I'm always freezing." Dany sighed, she turned to his, began to take off his chemise and cloak, he didn't stop her. Only when he was bare chested and his trousers did she move the furs from her bed, sat down and tugged him down beside her. "Will you keep me warm tonight?"
Jon was reluctant, "I can't, Dany, you know that."
"Why?" She challenged him.
He sighed, "You don't understand, you will never understand."
"Then make me understand. Is it because you're a bastard, am I not a bastard as well then? I have no family, my father died before I was born and my birth killed my mother. How am I different from you?"
"Because you are Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, you will never be a bastard." His words were warm as he spoke to her. Dany scowled at him. "It means the world to me how highly you think of me, but it ends here."
"No, it ends when I let it end."
"You belong to me, Jon Snow." She moved over him, straddled his waist, her legs trapped him beneath her, her eyes were enough to leave him at her mercy. She rolled her hips, Jon groaned. She took his hand, led it to between her legs, and pressed it against her maidenhood. Her voice was sultry, her words darker with desire. "The choice is yours what you will choose to do with me, but it will only ever be you who I come to wet and willingly, never forget that." She pressed her lips against his in a sweet kiss, as she ground her hips into his.
Jon turned them over quickly; his eyes were dark with desire, pierced through her. "Why do you continue to tempt me? Breaking what little resolve I have remaining each time."
Dany smiled sweetly, "Because I can."
"Tell me to stop, or I may not be able to."
Dany was defiant, "No."
"I want you," She spoke warmly, heatedly. "Why can you not understand that?"
Jon sighed heavily, pressed his forehead against hers. He kissed her forehead, her eyelids, and the corner of her jaw, just shy of her lips. "If I am to have you, it will not be tonight, not like this, not after I've drunk so much. I want to remember it all."
Dany leaned up and pressed a kiss to his lips, "I will always want you, Jon Snow. In my bed, by my side, everywhere I go."
Jon felt a surge of emotion at her words; he captured her lips in a searing kiss. "Rest now, Dany, it has been a long night."
"Stay with me?"
Jon smiled, "I can't just let you stay cold now can I?"
Dany smiled in return. "No, I suppose you can't." He pulled the furs over their bodies; she settled in his arms, she pressed a kiss to his throat as she rested her crown under his chin, her ear against his heartbeat, legs intertwined with his, his arms strong around her. Ghost settled at their feet, loyally watching over his master. "Sleep well, Jon."