Tyrion Lannister hesitated only for a few minute before knocking on the door and letting out a sigh when there was no response. Tyrion knew that showing up at the doorstep of the girl who hated him was a bad decision but he could not hold back his urge to see her, even if it was for the last time. As he turned away from the door, his disappointment more apparent than he would admit, the sound of the door creaking open reached his ears. He looked behind and sighed; seeing Sansa looking down on him with a look of bewilderment in her eyes.
"Don't look at me like you did not expect to see me. You are still my wife."
Tyrion pushed past her and settled himself down on the chair facing the hearth in the room. He looked around for a pitcher of wine but found none, all the while avoiding contact with the beautiful woman who sat down on the chair opposite him.
"You look awful."
"Likewise, Sansa. What happened to your hair?"
"It was one of the necessities to survive with Baelish."
Tyrion finally met the striking blue eyes of Sansa. Her face was as young and beautiful, as he could remember, but her eyes now held deeper sorrows and Tyrion could not help but feel that her eyes were judging him, securitizing him and to some extent, blaming him for not keeping his promise of protecting her.
"Since time is a pressing matter, I shall be curt. Lord Stark would not approve of our wedding under any circumstances and you and I are both aware that no love shall be lost when this poisoned relationship set under the need of power comes to an end. I shall release you from this prison. And above all, know, wife or not, I never wanted to abandon you at Jofferey's Wedding. All the hardship that you had to endure after my capture is upon me and for that, My Lady, I beg your forgiveness."
Tyrion could feel himself shudder as he was pinned by a piercing stare. Sansa's eyes were unwavering as they looked at him.
"My Lady, I know that, as long as I stay here, there shall be unavoidable confrontations. But I assure you, that I shall not cause you further pain or incur more hatred from you. Goodbye, Sansa."
Tyrion bowed and started his walk to the door but was stopped by the sound of laughter resembling flowing water. He knew that laugh; he had heard them several times while he was in King's Landing. As he turned to look at Sansa, he was surprised to see her on her knees in front of him. She slowly brought her arms around Tyrion and engulfed him in an embrace, the laughter now reduced to silent cries.
"My Lady, what is the meaning of this?"
Tyrion felt her warmth leave him as she stared at him and tried to control her tears.
"My Lord, I heard of the adventures you have been on, the hardships you braced and the grave dangers you have faced. You were convicted of the murder of a King but you returned to Westeros nevertheless. Our marriage might have been a mere political alliance but I shall not walk out of it."
"Sansa, don't spout nonsense. You are still young and beautiful. You have no reason to be tied to me."
"While I was in the Eyrie, I lied to save Petyr Baelish. There was no other way for me to survive except at the mercy of that wicked man. Every night I dreamed of Winterfell, of my family and of the love I had known in my life. But when dawn broke, all of those dreams turned into a nightmare. So I learnt how to be strong and manipulative. And with time, my memories of Winterfell started to blur. I would often get angry at my family and at you for leaving me; but in all honesty, I was angrier at myself. In those days, I realised the hatred you must have felt, the anger you must have controlled for being treated like a monster by your own family but you held it in. You even gave it your all to save the ones who labelled you as a monster. Your perseverance taught me patience so I shall not leave your side because you did not leave mine. I might be stronger but I wish to gain more strength with you being my teacher."
Tyrion blinked repeatedly to register Sansa's words. In his entire life, everyone had treated him as a monster but Sansa stood before him, ready to walk beside him and treat him the way he deserved, treat him as a human.
"If that's your wish, My Lady, I shall oblige. I will be your teacher and wait patiently by your side. Tell me when you want to leave, I will let you go."
Tyrion walked up to the door and held it open. Before leaving his wife's quarters, he hesitated and turned to face her.
"Thank you, Sansa, for coming back."
Tyrion knew that Jon would never agree to their arrangement, but as he made his way towards Jon's quarters, a slight smile played across his features, one which was hard to dissipate.
Jon looked at his visitor, scruffier than ever but with a smile etched across his face.
"What is it, Lord Lannister?"
"Everyone has to stop calling me Lord; especially you. We share a bond, Jon. You know that with you being a bastard and me being a monster. Don't you think?"
Jon took a glass of wine and offered it to Tyrion; the man's good mood turning out to be infectious.
"So, Tyrion, for what do I owe the pleasure of your company?"
"Jon, I haven't even taken a sip of wine. Don't dismiss me this easily. But since you are a Lord now I am sure many matters need your heed so I shall not beat around the bush. Sansa and I have decided to keep our marriage intact."
Jon gulped down his wine massively fast causing him to choke. In those few seconds, he could not register what Tyrion had spoken and when it dawned on him, John eyes flared.
"Don't you dare! I know that the under the circumstances you protected her but I am here now so don't even think about laying your filthy hand on her when I am alive."
"Why do you think my hands are filthy, Jon? Just because I am not of average stature? You should understand better than anyone what family means and whether you like it or not, Sansa is now my only family. And she was the one who suggested that our marriage should not break."
"Nonsense! My sister would never agree to this. It was you, wasn't it? What have you done?"
Jon saw Tyrion's eyes betray emotions of hurt at his words but before he could reply, Daenerys entered the room and called out his name. Both Jon and Tyrion screamed 'what' at the same time catching Daenerys by surprise.
"I can fathom the reason on which you two are lunging for each other's throats but now does not seem to be the that time. Jon, one of our messengers from the Wall needs to have a word with you. He says it's important."
Jon felt his anger subside due to the presence of Daenerys and he left without another word with his wife following close behind. She caught up to his fast pace and placed her hand in his; his pace slowly matching up to hers.
"You have something to say, Danny?"
Daenerys stopped in her tracks and Jon turned behind with a questioning glance. Still holding his hand, she slowly embraced Jon, her small head resting on his chest.
"Jon, your sister has been through many things which can change even the strongest hearts. But through it all, we should never doubt her judgement. She needs your trust unconditionally."
Jon did not say anything. Instead, he put his arms around Danny and placed a tender kiss on her forehead. He held on to her a few more seconds before breaking away from her warmth and continuing his walk towards the Great Hall. They walked in silence for the rest of the way before entering the dimly lit Hall where a man in complete black was awaiting their arrival.
"What is the urgency?"
"Lord Stark, the new Lord Commander wants your presence at the Wall."
"What is this regarding?"
"We sent a scout team beyond the Wall a few weeks ago. One of them made it home four days ago shivering in fear and dread. He said that things were stirring beyond the Wall. A huge army of pale creatures are headed our way and only he had survived to convey the message."
"And the Lord Commander wants me to ride to the Wall upon this?"
"The air is changing at the Wall, Lord Stark. We haven't experienced a day of sunlight and the cold grows bitter every day. The Watch atop the Wall reports seeing ghosts in the woods and beyond. We do not know what we might face."
Jon looked at Daenerys who stood beside him motionless. Her eyes were in a distant time so Jon placed a soft hand on her elbow to bring her back to the present.
"My Lady, what do you think?"
Jon looked at Danny who took a few minutes to gather her thoughts.
"I believe that Lord Baratheon can handle these matters. We should not delay our trip to the Frays any longer."
"As you say, My Lady."
Jon dismissed the informant and commanded him to rest while he made a decision. When the messenger left, Jon turned to face his wife.
"Danny, are you okay?"
"I am fine. I think that my overactive schedule is catching up to me. I shall be in our room. Tend to your matters and return."
Jon looked at the receding figure of his wife and knew that something was troubling her. As he made his way to Stannis Baratheon's quarters to discuss on the matter at hand, he got a feeling that his wife was hiding something from him.
Three weeks later:
Daenerys looked at her husband as his eyes betrayed no emotion upon looking towards Walder Frey's residence. These were the moments which made her believe that Jon carried the blood of a King, his eyes fierce and calculative as they scanned their surroundings.
Jon had decided to visit the Frey's without her but Daenerys had put her foot down in this matter. And that's how, two weeks after dispatching Stannis Baratheon to the Wall, Daenerys and Jon now stood on the courtyard of the Frey's residence.
Daenerys dismounted her horse after Jon closely followed by Tyrion in the courtyard of the mansion. An aging man wobbled up to them with a thin smile playing across his features and bowed down to them.
"What can I do for the Lord of Winterfell?"
"Lord Frey, I have come to bring your vile actions to justice."
The smile across the old man did not fade. Daenerys watched as Lord Frey clapped his hand twice and a dozen mercenaries came into light with their swords unsheathed. Jon slowly hid Daneryes behind him and unsheathed his sword. Tyrion, Ser Baristan and their group of Unsullied repeated the same and pointed it to the mercenaries. Daenerys watched as Jon methodically attacked every mercenary that approached towards Daneryes and himself.
Jon's sword cut through the mercenaries in a rhythmic pattern till their small party was standing in a pool of blood. He never moved an inch from where Daenerys stood, taking on the ones who approached them but the number of mercenaries did not reduce as tens moved into light from the shadows. The bottom of Daenerys' gown was stained in blood and she looked around as Jon and the others were growing tired by the numbers. She called out to Drogon but knew that it was of no use because her Dragons were at the Wall. Daenerys scanned the surroundings and could see Walder Frey hiding in the shadows of the door leading up to the insides. He had sent out all of his mercenaries to the battle which was raging on leaving himself unprotected. Daenerys picked up one of the smaller sowrds of the fallen and started walking up to the old man, a bloodlust in her eyes. She could see that he was squirming due to her advances and trying his best to signal some of the fighting men to come protect him.
She reached the doorstep and saw the old man retreat into his house but Daenerys was faster. She pointed the sword tip towards his throat and applied enough pressure to puncture a hole.
"If you want to live, tell them to lower their weapons."
Daenerys could hear the grunts and the noises slowly dissipate with several people calling out her name, in particular Jon but she did not flinch. She looked at Frey who slowly smiled at her, his smile betraying the fear swimming in his eyes.
"You are no killer, My Lady. I have heard of you, the Mother of Dragons; one of noble blood who married a bastard. You have let your blood fall to ruins. I am not scared of you because you won't kill me. I will not die at the hands of a bastard and his pitiful wife."
Daenerys applied more pressure inching the sword deeper and sliding making a small cut on his throat. Her hand was starting to ache because of the sword's weight and she knew that she could not hold on any longer. She instructed Walder to walk out of the shadows and brought him in front of the battle scene keeping the sword poised at his throat. She looked towards Jon and others, each surrounded by mercenaries.
"Lower your weapons or your precious master here gets pinned."
"Don't lower them, fools. She is no killer. Cut that bastard down."
At this, Daenerys plunged the sword with all her strength into Frey's gut from the side causing him to scream in pain and spurt out blood on all fours. She took his head by the hair and placed the sword at his exposed and slightly bleeding throat.
"I would have killed you but your death belongs at the hands of my husband. But we can play this game the whole day where I will cut you slowly but not let you die if you don't let my companions go."
Walder Frey lifted up his hand in a feeble attempt to signal the mercenaries to back off. Her Unsullied rounded them up and slaughtered them as Jon walked up to Daenerys, tired and bloody, and placed his sword at Frey's throat giving Daenerys' hand a relief. Daenerys quickly threw the sword away and joined Jon's side; who looked at Walder Frey with hate and malice, his unruly hair swaying in the wind as fire burned through his eyes.
"Walder Frey, you murdered my family. You took away my family, the ones I loved. You broke an ancient rule which should never be broken. And for that, I sentence you to death by beheading."
Daenerys watched as her husband swiftly brought his sword down on Walder Frey without hesitation. The old man's head rolled onto the pavement and Jon wiped the blood off his sword and sheathed it.
Jon walked towards his wife and loosened her grip on the sword she was still holding. He threw the sword among the dead pooled at his feet and placed held Daenerys' shoulder. His touch caused her to break her stare towards Walder Frey's headless body and she turned her head to look at him.
"You will never do that again, do you understand?"
"If it comes down to saving you, I will do it any time."
"Danny, no you won't."
"Daenerys, you chose me. You stubbornness made me believe in love again so you shall be responsible for me till the end because without you, I won't survive. We are family."
Jon placed a small kiss on her forehead and embraced her. He was tired and bruised but seeing his wife walk fearlessly into the lion's nest had taken years off him. Their quiet time was disturbed by Tyrion who looked weary, a few more cuts donning him.
"Jon, you should see this."
"What is it?"
Jon held onto Daenerys' hand and followed closely behind Tyrion who led them to the Frey's kitchen. The kitchen was bustling with many girls who Jon assumed were Frey's daughters, each looking more scared than the other. Jon watched as Ser Baristan approached him with a very prominent limp.
"My Lord, what shall we do with the girls?"
"Tell them to return to their respective rooms. Place guards outside it."
"As you say, My Lord."
"What is the urgent matter, Lord Lannister?"
"Still angry over Sansa's decision to uphold our marriage, I see. Jon, it's been beyond a fortnight now."
"If this is what you want to talk of at this hour, I shall take my leave."
"It's something else, Jon. While I was scavenging the kitchen for supplies, I came across this."
Jon followed Tyrion as Daenerys stayed behind helping Ser Baristan to guide the girls. His brother-in-law led him towards the other end of the kitchen where the fire wood was stored. A woman bowed low before him.
"Tell him what you told me."
The woman looked hesitant at first scanning Jon head to toe and her eyes coming to rest at his sword. Jon reassured her that he won't do anything to her.
"Are you Jon Snow, Eddard Stark's bastard?"
"Be careful of what you say."
"It is okay, Lord Lannister. I am Jon Stark, Lord of Winterfell."
"But your brother had told me that you were a part of the Night's Watch. A Crow."
"My brother? Robb?"
"Bran, how do you know Bran?"
"Like I know him."
Jon watched in confusion as the woman shifted her position slightly to reveal a stack of fire wood. Behind the stack, Jon could see the head of what appeared to be a child, no older than six. The child slowly came out of hiding on all fours and lifted his head. Jon faltered a few steps back as he looked at a child with bright blue eyes and brown unruly hair, one which resembled his Lady Mother.
"How..how is this possible?"
Jon looked towards the woman before him for answers.
"Theon Greyjoy burned two farm boys instead of Rickon and Bran. Both the young Starks survive, My Lord."
Jon slowly approached Rickon whose eyes did not recognise Jon. Rickon was just a child when Jon had left home but as Jon sat on his knees before Rickon, the youngest Stark smiled at him and quickly put his arms around him. Jon heard Tyrion fill in Daenerys about Rickon behind him and felt his wife's presence behind him. Jon lifted Rickon up in his arms much to the protest of the young lad to put him down but right then, Jon didn't care.
"Rickon, this is Daenerys, my wife."
Jon could see that the young boy had trouble in processing Daenerys' name so in the end he called her something along the lines of Dan. Jon saw Daenerys' laugh as she completely enjoyed talking to Rickon. Soon Rickon had fidgeted with all of the jewellery his wife wore and chose walking with her instead of him.
"Sir, we are almost there."
Aegon walked towards the hull of the ship looking out towards the horizon. He could see faint traces of a rocky coastline. They were nearing the Stormlands, the air becoming colder. Aegon was soon joined by Arya dressed in a rich blood red gown, her hair tied in an intricate bun and her face laden with make-up.
"We are here, love."
He placed her hand in his to the pleasing eyes of his crew who were in awe of his new bride. Arya squeezed his hand causing him to flinch a little but Aegon held on. If they were going to convince the Queen Regent that they were man and wife, Aegon had to learn how to handle the pain.
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