A Love Requited
As Queen Lyanna Baratheon lie awake in her bed, listening to Robert's soft breathing, she contemplated where her life has taken her.
The Gods have not made it easy for me to get where I am. I had to suffer the fear and helplessness of imprisonment in the dammed tower; every day I was in there I was afraid would be my last. Afraid he would order his cronies to slit my throat, and I would be dead and forgotten. But I was not forgotten; my brother Eddard and my husband Robert fought ceaselessly to save my life.
I had to suffer the pain and sorrow of losing my Father and my Brother. They were both unjustly murdered by a mad monster of incest, their only crime being the demand that the Crown Prince answer for his crimes. His crimes against me. But Aerys and his evil son Rhaegar both paid for their crimes in blood. Rickard and Brandon Stark were avenged, and I have found peace knowing that they are in a better place.
And then there is the Dark One in the shaded corner of the room, always lurking beneath the shadows ready to haunt my dreams or send me into a sobbing panic. I refer of course to the pain, the trauma, and the shame of being raped. The Tourney of Harrenhal was a where all the smiles died, where he drugged my wine and took me to that hellish dungeon he called "The Tower of Joy". Every day for almost a year Rhaegar forced himself upon me, usually after drugging me but a few times he took me while I was still conscious and I became afraid for my life. But I went away inside myself, I knew that no matter how much he dirtied me Rhaegar could not break my spirit if I did not let him. Then The Gods answered my prayers; Rhaegar was killed and I got to see my brother again. I still had battles to fight though; demons to slay within my mind. But Robert, Eddard, and Benjan all made it clear that they loved me and that what the monster did to me in the tower could never change that. I survived.
Lyanna turned to her side and saw the flowers on her nightstand. The ones her son Richard had picked for her from the Godswood of the Red Keep. This made Lyanna reflect on what happened to her after her harrowing survival.
My life was more than suffering; the Gods have seen fit to give me a decade and a half of happiness.
I got to experience the laughter and joy of friendship. The loss of Brandon and Father made me understand just how valuable my remaining brothers Eddard and Benjan are to me; I have maintained correspondence with them, being able to hear their gentle voices even from as far away as Winterfell and Castle Black. In addition to friendships forged by familial bonds, I also made new friends. Though Stannis is only my Good-Brother, we are as close as if we were true siblings; I even managed to mend the rift between him and my husband, ending the bad blood that for years persisted between Robert and Stannis. Another person who forgave Robert because of my influence is Elia, whom I consider a true friend. Even Barristan Semly, who for years I condemned as a Targaryen Collaborator, has become a steadfast ally after I learned to forgive him for his service to King Aerys. The rest of Robert's Kingsguard has been naught but loyal and kind, and I have been fortunate to know them as well. I even get along well with my husband's sworn sword Sandor Clegane; I'm about three years away from convincing him to find someone to marry. Yes, I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by people I can trust.
I got to learn the pure bliss of parenthood. Watching my son Richard Baratheon (I was speechless when Robert declared his intent to name his firstborn son after my father) grow up has been a blessing greater than anything I could have possibly asked for. At fifteen years, Richard has proved himself of having all the makings of a King; he is strong without being unkind, brave without being reckless, and just without being merciless. I have never met a man as kind and generous as Richard.
And all the while I got to marry Robert Baratheon. Words can not describe how great a boon he has been to me. It is because of his support that my life became worth living again.
Indeed, Lyanna was able to do a great many things as Queen. While she suffered, Lyanna did not let that suffering define her. Through her will to live, she was able to become more than Lyanna the Rape Victim. She became Lyanna the huntress, Lyanna the falconer, Lyanna the philanthropist, Lyanna the justice bringer, Lyanna the feud mender, Lyanna the sword wielder, Lyanna the loving wife, Lyanna the adoring mother, and many other things.
In those quiet moments, Lyanna smiled in satisfaction as she looked at her husband and knew exactly where she wanted to be.
Robert, I love you. I love you as much as you must love me. I love you for telling me that I will always be beautiful to you, for staying faithful to me and proving baseless my doubts. I love you for avenging my father and my brother, for sharing with me the hurt you felt for your own parents and for giving me the chance to mend your bond with Stannis. I love you for giving me Richard, and when we go to Winterfell I promise Eddard and I will tell you the truth about Jon Snow because I know you will not hold the sins of his sire against him. Robert Baratheon, I love every thing about you.
For the rest of my life, there is only one place that I want to be:
By Your Side.