Stannis Baratheon was not known for his patience. It was not a trait which the Baratheon family favoured. Time had only caused him to bitter further. His rightful seat had been taken from him in the time of peace. He had been given Dragonstone. It was a slight which he couldn't look past. He doubted he ever would be able to.
And then there came his wife; his dear Selyse. He had never loved the woman. He doubted he ever would love her. He did his duty as a husband, and she did her duty as a wife to him. She had produced him with children, two to be precise. Both of them girls. His first born daughter had been born early in their marriage, eighteen years ago. His second daughter came to him after multiple miscarriages from his wife.
Alas, he had been left with no heir. He had two girls; two girls who could never take over his duties.
He couldn't explain the disappointment he often felt.
"You cannot take her to that snake pit."
Stannis stood quietly in his chambers in Dragonstone, his gaze set out the window instead of on the woman who he called his wife. He said nothing for a few moments, choosing to keep quiet and compose himself. There were times when he often longed to yell at his wife. There were times when he wanted her to stop questioning him, but alas, that time never seemed to happen.
"She is my eldest daughter," Selyse spoke. "She does not belong in the capital. She belongs here. The Lord of Light shall keep her safe here."
"Damn you and your God," Stannis snapped, unable to stop himself. He had heard enough of his wife's new faith. She had kept on speaking of it until she was blue in the face. Stannis didn't know how much more he could handle.
"You know that I speak sense, my Lord," Selyse said. "She is not a girl who will survive at court."
"Her eighteenth name day has passed, Selyse," Stannis reminded his wife. "She is no longer a girl. You are fortunate I allowed you to keep her with you for so long. I could have had her shipped off to King's Landing as soon as she had turned into a woman."
Selyse said nothing more for a moment, knowing full well that her husband was right. Stannis had been lenient on her. She sometimes didn't know why he had been. She sometimes wondered if it was all an act with her husband. She only longed for her daughter to be kept safe, and she could only do that on Dragonstone.
"You still have Shireen," Stannis said, trying to offer her some comfort.
Selyse shook her head, her hand moving over her mouth as she did so.
"You know as well as I that she is not Sarah." Selyse snapped. "She...I..."
"She is our daughter as well," Stannis reminded her. "Why do you treat her as if she is not?"
"Because she is like she is," Selyse snapped. "She was not a boy, and then the greyscale took her. Sarah...she is our firstborn. She is-"
"-She is a girl too," Stannis spoke curtly. "Shireen cannot help what happened to her. You will do well to remember that."
"I do," Selyse said. "I remember it every day when I look at her...I kept on trying for children...after Sarah. All I wanted was for you to have your heir. I thought that I was lucky when I was in labour with Shireen...until I saw..."
Stannis said nothing, doing his best to understand what his wife had been through. He always did his best by her, as was his duty.
"Sarah saw me through all of the miscarriages," Selyse continued. "She helped to keep me strong, and now you wish to sell her off in King's Landing."
"I said nothing about selling her off," Stannis reminded his wife. "She is my daughter as much as she is yours. This day had to come, Selyse. Sarah is at an age where she can be married. There are suitors in King's Landing. I do not see them lining up here, do you?"
Selyse said nothing more, knowing that it was her daughter's duty to marry. It had been her duty to marry. House Florent had seen to that. It was only right that her daughter inherited the same responsibility which every woman faced.
"It seems that you have made the decision already," Selyse whispered, turning back to the fire, her gaze fixed on the burning wood. "You should go to her and tell her of your decision."
"Where is she?"
"In her chamber with Shireen."
Stannis did nothing more but turn on his heel and move away from his wife, wandering through the corridors of his castle until he came to his daughter's chambers. The darkness and the dampness of Dragonstone were all around him, even in his own home. Stannis wondered what his life would have been like if Storm's End had been his.
He moved his hand to knock on the wood, pausing as he heard laughter coming from within the room. He stood where he was for a second, listening as Sarah spoke to her. His eldest daughter was informing her sister of a story which he had heard Selyse read to them often. The story of the princess who was trapped at sea due to a storm. The ship she travelled in had begun to sink until a fine knight found them.
"Do you think I will ever find my knight?" Shireen's small voice asked from her elder sister.
Sarah laughed lightly. "Of course you will. Why would you even wonder such a thing?"
"I'm ugly, Sarah," Shireen said.
Stannis closed his eyes as he heard his youngest daughter say that. He said nothing, deciding to shake his head and move his hand to finally knock on the door. He didn't know what to feel when he heard his daughter speak in such a tone.
"Come in," Sarah called out.
Stannis pushed the door top open hastily, looking into the room hastily.
Shireen and Sarah quickly moved from the bed, standing tall in front of their father. Shireen made the first movement, rushing towards her father and wrapping her arms around his waist.
"Father, you're back!" Shireen squealed.
Sarah watched as her father remained stood where he was, unable to hold his daughter back. Sarah had learned that about her father a long time ago. She doubted he would ever be able to love them like she thought he should. Stannis cast his gaze up to look at his eldest daughter as Shireen stepped back from him.
Sarah caught her father's gaze and moved forwards towards him, leaning forwards and pecking him on his rough cheek.
"Father," she greeted him.
"Sarah, Shireen," he spoke to them.
"When did you return from King's Landing, father?" Shireen asked. "How is court? Is the King as large as they say he is?"
Sarah placed a hand on her sister's shoulder, urging for her to stop with the questions. Stannis said nothing for a moment as he looked to his youngest girl, the dead skin on her face doing nothing to frighten him anymore. A taut turn of his lips was enough to be classed as a smile. It was something which Stannis Baratheon rarely did.
"Court is fine, Shireen," Stannis informed her. "I am only home for a little while. I need to speak with your sister."
"Oh," Shireen said, looking slightly confused at her father's request.
Sarah glanced back to her father before bending down to speak to her sister on her level. She ran her hands over Shireen's shoulders, smiling at her as she spoke;
"You should go to your own chamber. I shall be there later to finish the story."
"Yes," Shireen nodded, "I would like that."
Sarah and Stannis both watched as the young girl rushed out from the room, closing the door softly behind her.
Stannis arched a brow as he placed his hands behind his back and began to wander through her room.
"You remember the story?" Stannis checked with his daughter. "I remember your mother telling the story to you when you were a babe."
Sarah shifted uncomfortably, pulling at the simple grey dress which she wore. She pulled the sleeves further down her arms until they covered her hands, pondering on what words to use to speak back to her father.
"It was my favourite," Sarah confirmed. "Shireen deserves to be read it by someone."
Stannis looked back to his daughter, noting how she had chosen her words carefully. He knew what she was implying. He was no fool when it came to the matter.
"You mean to say that your mother has not been taking care of her?" Stannis checked with her.
Sarah shrugged, shaking her head back and forth before taking a seat on the side of her double bed. She sunk into the quilt, her head bowed as Stannis observed her.
"Mother has not been the same since Shireen was born. I know that. She thinks of herself as a disappointment."
Stannis sighed loudly. "Your mother has been this way for a while, Sarah."
"It has worsened," Sarah dared to speak to her father. "She has abandoned the Old Gods. She worships this God of Light. I worry for her."
Stannis shook his head as he heard his daughter. She had no need to worry from now on. He looked down at her, wondering how she would fair at court. He had no doubt that she would be able to hold her own. She had favoured Stannis in characteristics, her stubbornness knowing no bounds on some matters. But, she had her father's sense of duty which sometimes clouded her judgement.
He had no concern over her mannerisms gaining her some foes, but he was more interested in finding her a suitor. Youth was on her side, he supposed that was one good thing. She had his dark blue eyes and black hair, yet she had been cursed with her mother's large ears and sharp nose.
Stannis supposed that if he had married her mother then there would be hope for someone to marry her.
"I shall speak with your mother," Stannis said, hoping that would be enough to appease her. "In the meantime, I have matters which I need to discuss with you."
Sarah remained quiet, waiting for her father to continue speaking. He nervously sat down on the bed beside her, doing his best to keep his distance from her. She sat up straight, well aware that something important was bound to happen if her father wanted to speak with her.
"You are no longer a young girl, Sarah," Stannis began, a slight edge to his voice. He didn't sound like his usual stern self. "You are a young woman, and you have a duty. A duty like your mother had."
Sarah said nothing for a moment, deciding to keep her gaze on her father for a few moments. Stannis looked back at her, searching her blue orbs for any sign of emotion. But he saw nothing.
"You wish for me to marry?" Sarah checked. Her tone was flat and low as she waited for Stannis to reply.
"I intend to take you with me to King's Landing," Stannis admitted. "I hope that court shall be a place for you to find a suitor. Robert is always telling me that no one suitable shall come to Dragonstone."
"I see," Sarah whispered. "Do you happen to have anyone in mind?"
"No," Stannis replied. "There has been no one who I have seen worthy as of yet. Perhaps the King will have someone in mind when we return."
"And when is that?"
Sarah felt her breathing hitch for a second, a moment of dread running through her. Stannis saw the low gulp escape her throat and he wondered whether or not he should say of comfort to her. Words seemed to fail him. He'd never comforted his daughter before.
"What of Shireen?"
"She shall stay here. Dragonstone is the safest place for her." Stannis declared, standing up and looking back down to Sarah.
"Will Shireen...will she ever..."
"Spit it out, Sarah."
"Will she ever be treated the same as me?" Sarah asked, doing as her father had commanded her to do. He said nothing as his daughter continued to fret, pushing her hair behind her ears as was her custom when she was nervous. "Shireen will be alone here, father. She is young and mother refuses to spend time with her."
"Shireen will have friends here," Stannis nodded. "I shall make sure of it if it appeases you. As for your mother...there is nothing I can do on that front. Shireen is safe here. Court is no place for a girl like her. I do not want her ridiculed for how she is."
"How can people ridicule her?" Sarah wondered. "She is how she is through no fault of her own-"
"-People are petty," Stannis interrupted, deciding to stand up. "You should get some rest this evening. We travel back to King's Landing at first light. Do not fret over Shireen."
"I find it hard to do anything but that," Sarah replied.
She stood up along with her father and glanced out the window of her room. The clouds were blackening in the sky above as Stannis solemnly watched his daughter.
"I assume your mother shall be here soon to say her farewells. She did not take the news of you leaving well. I doubt Shireen will be at ease with it all."
"No," Sarah limply agreed. "I assume she will not."
Stannis moved to the doorway, unsure of what he should say next to her. He should maybe assure her that everything would be fine in the end. He was her father. He had said no oath to her, but he had a duty to keep her safe. He had a duty to stand by her as a father should.
"Try not to worry," Stannis spoke. "King's Landing is not as scary as your mother would have you believe...and...everything shall be fine in the end."
Sarah's lips moved into a taut smile for her father as he turned and left her alone in her room. She took a sharp breath before sitting back on her bed, a moment of deflation coming over her as she did so.
Duty was all that had been instilled into her. Duty and justice. They were her father's two favourite things. He had taught her them from a young age. She'd seen it first hand on many of occasions. That was how she found it in her to move from her bed and begin to pack for a future which had no appeal to her.
A/N: So I have already done on Jaime/OC story, but I have decided to try and write another one. I do hope you enjoyed it so far, and I promise there is much more Jaime to come in the future. Do let me know what you think in the meantime!