Doreah does not sit in on her queen’s strategy meetings, most times. She isn’t needed, and she doesn’t imagine she’s much wanted, having nothing to contribute but perhaps her skill at pouring wine (of course, Dany refutes this if it’s mentioned, but Doreah still doesn’t know how to believe it’s not just flattery, most compliments still feel that way to her and it will take years, probably, to condition herself otherwise). Instead, she waits.
Mostly she sits with the dragons, her chin in her hands as she stares and wonders for the hundredth time how the child who dreamt of these beasts from stories now keeps watch over three of them, sees them fly and feels the heat under their scales. Sometimes she busies herself in the tents, straightening up and bustling about. Sometimes she goes for walks, though she does not know what more to say to the others in camp than “hello.”
Save what they told Missandei, there has never been any announcement, any declaration that she does in fact belong to Daenerys, willingly belong, happily belong, belong as much as Daenerys belongs to her, but she knows that everyone in camp knows at least enough to treat her as such. She does not know what they see exactly, and she suspects they see her as little more than the queen’s choice courtesan, but it still affords her their respect; she knows the Unsullied would not lust after her regardless, but it’s somehow refreshing to be surrounded by legions of men, none of whom turn a lecherous eye her way.
Tonight, though, she waits. By some miracle, all three dragons are asleep at once – Viserion’s wing over his eyes to shield him from the outside world, Rhaegal curled up tight as he could be – and so she doesn’t have even their antics to distract her. Her thoughts drift, she lights a candle, she pours herself some too-warm water to drink and strips out of most of her clothes, aiming to feel a little bit of coolness from the gentle breeze coming through the tent.
She must fall asleep, because the next thing she’s aware of is Daenerys nudging her gently.
“Are you done for the night?” Doreah asks, sitting up and rubbing her eyes.
“For the night,” Dany agrees. “There’s nothing more we’ll get done now.”
She holds a hand out to Doreah, and Doreah accepts, letting herself be pulled up and led to their trunks. They undress each other, Doreah working at the hooks and laces of Daenerys’ blue dress and carefully laying it aside before letting Daenerys divest her of what remains of her own clothing; they both pause to trace fingertips and lips over each other’s skin more than once, like they can’t help but do sometimes.
Once they’re naked, they fall against their pillows, and though she’s still drowsier than she would admit, Doreah asks. “Did you have a productive evening?” She does like knowing and anyway, it seems polite.
“Enough so,” Dany murmurs, in that way that usually means less than I’d have hoped.
Doreah nods, leans to kiss Dany’s forehead. She knows better than to ask further – it would all just fly over her head anyway, most like, she doesn’t understand strategy or the like. Instead, she traces fingertips over the contours of Dany’s face, across her cheekbones and temples and over her lips and up the bridge of her nose as if she’s memorizing the details. She stops, though, when she reaches the scar between her queen’s eyebrows: she’s noticed it before, of course, the slight little line in her skin, but she’s never thought to mention it. But, maybe for the first time, Daenerys is noticing Doreah noticing it.
“I was seven,” she murmurs, locking eyes with Doreah and nodding as if to say she’s not made upset by talking about it. “We – Viserys and I – were at the top of the stairs, talking about something that I don’t even remember. He seemed upset, and the next thing I knew, I was sprawled on the floor below, dizzy and bleeding and with my dress torn.”
Doreah can hear the words between the words, and if Viserys wasn’t already dead, she’d be tempted to kill him herself. Not just for this, but for the invisible wounds he left on his sister, the ones she’s had to work to heal from. (To say nothing of those he left on everyone else, including herself.)
“He chastised me, of course,” Daenerys continues. “How could I ever be so clumsy? Lucky for me I hadn't hurt myself more seriously, that it wasn’t a scar to ruin my face or damage my chances.” She laughs bitterly. “That’s how he said it. Even then he must have seen me as a possible bartering chip.”
“I’m sorry, love,” Doreah whispers, leaning to press another kiss to the spot in question. “Nobody should ever have to feel like that.” It’s said with the tone of one who’s done more times than she can count.
“No,” Daenerys agrees. Before she can stop herself, she traces her fingertips over Doreah’s lips, lingering on the scar down the left side that she memorized just as long ago.
“That’s from when I was young, too,” Doreah murmurs. “All of the children playing in the street, my face getting in the way of a stick being used as a sword. My mother was furious, but she’d already planned out my future, and a little thing like this is nothing to men who pay.” She shivers involuntarily and Dany wraps arms around her. “It’s not ugly, not like some.”
Dany frowns. She knows exactly what that other is that’s being discussed.
“This scar was just from carelessness,” Doreah adds. “Not… not ugly intent, either. That man –” She takes a deep breath. There’s only one that man. “He meant it to test me, he liked hearing me beg for mercy, but he meant to brand me, too. Mark me as his property, keep me in my place.”
“You don’t…” You don’t need to say this if you don’t want.
“I know,” Doreah replies softly. “But I want to. I need to.” She waits for her queen’s understanding nod before she continues. “I let him talk me into feeling that nobody else wanted me and just when I’d been convinced, he showed me that he didn’t either, not me, he just had an idea of what I was supposed to be in his plan.”
“Reah,” Dany breathes out.
“All my life, I’ve been told what I am and what I’m worth,” Doreah adds. It doesn’t even sound sad anymore, just like she’s reciting facts. “I think this is one of the reasons I love you so. You’re the first person I’ve ever known who’s actually wanted me to decide that for myself.”
“Of course I do,” Daenerys exclaims.
“Of course you do,” Doreah echoes. “You want it for me, you want it for Missandei and Kovarro and Grey Worm and for all of your people. You had the chance to write your own story, and you would give it to others. It’s beautiful.”
“It’s what’s right,” Dany murmurs. “It should not even be a question.”
“But men have made it so,” Doreah points out. “And yet you insist on trying to correct it.”
“Of course,” Dany repeats. Nothing has ever been more obvious to her (or almost nothing, at any rate).