Disclaimer: BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemies. ASOIAF belongs to George RR Martin. I own nothing and am making no money from this
AN: This is all spawned when I got the image of Buffy rescuing Ned in Kings Landing. Un-betaed...
Spoilers: The end of season 5 for Buffy and all of season/book 1 ASOIAF
Lies crossed her lips more easily than any truth these days. Even though before she had lied to protect her identity she had never been very good at it.
She lied to Lord Arryn the day she woke in Kings Landing. She told him that she didn't remember anything before waking up.
She lied in the days and weeks following as she learned her way around this new world.
She lied to everyone she met. Played the helpless and forgotten maiden that no one missed.
She never forgot though.
She made sure to remember her mother, her sister, her friends and her watcher.
She lied when she told them it was ok to call her Pardia a name which meant lost.
The only truth that she could be sure of and so the only lie she didn't tell was to herself.
Her name was Buffy Summers and she was all alone in this new world.
She had woken in this new world to see elderly Lord Jon Arryn leaning over her. He had been returning to Kings Landing when his party had been caught in a storm the night before, the men had been rounding up the horses when one of them had come across her unconscious body.
They had treated her few injuries and taken her with them. According to Lord Arryn she had slept for three days after being found and not wanting to besmirch her honour (she had struggled to hold in the giggle when he said that to her) had left her care to his Lady wife.
She accepted their pity and their help because in this strange new world she had nothing but the kindness of this family to help her survive. The only skill she had that was considered useful for a Lady was her ability to do hair and even that was limited as she needed to learn the complex styles that these women did their hair up in.
As much as she couldn't stand the woman it was her ability to do hair that got her into Lysa Arryn's good graces. It was the morning's in the Lady's chambers that taught her how the realm worked, who was powerful and who wasn't.
It had shocked her at first to find that this pinch-faced woman had married her husband for a political alliance. It was nothing more than an arrangement to ensure Hoster Tully's support in what was known as Robert's Rebellion. She could almost taste the anger this woman held for her father and sister.
Her father for selling her to an old man and her sister for getting everything Lysa ever wanted.
She could tell that there was more to it than that which Lysa ranted about on those mornings, there was a deeply held secret that fuelled Lysa's anger.
She knew all about secrets.
As time passed she learned the world around her worked. Who was important, who was not, who was dangerous and whom she could trust.
There were many important and dangerous people in Kings Landing and none she felt she could trust with the truth.
She learned to blend in, and be un-important.
She learned secrets.
As good as Varys and Petyr Baelish's spies were none of them noticed her. She was still the slayer and could hear, see and sneak better than any of the others.
It was how she learned that Lysa was in love with Petyr Baelish, the King had more bastards that any other man she knew of, the Queen was fucking her brother and cuckolding the King, Renly was gay, Stannis an arsehole and Jon the only truly good and kind man she had found so far.
She learned much and said nothing.
Through all of this she trained, she managed to secret a training sword into her chambers and through the long nights when she couldn't sleep she practiced, kata after kata. Everything she could remember she practiced with this bastard version of a long sword. She perfected the movements and made sure that everything Giles had ever taught her remained fresh and concrete. Unlike when she had fought Angel at 17 the sword was no longer a tool but an extension of her body.
She gained a reputation around the Red Keep for being able to do styles with hair that no others had seen before, along with the ability to keep her mouth shut.
It was how she started earning enough coin to be somewhat independent. She still stayed in the tower of the Hand with the Arryn's, Lord Arryn felt a sense of responsibility to the girl and Lysa enjoyed being the envy of the other high Ladies having the most sought after hair stylist in Kings Landing at her beck and call.
When she could afford it the first thing she did was commission a sword of her own. Once it was finished the sword was hidden in her chambers and only brought out once she was sure the rest of the household was asleep.
Just as she was starting to feel as though she belonged and could make a life for herself in Westeros Lord Arryn became sick. She knew the cause; she also knew who had procured the rare and costly poison from Lys and who had put it into his goblet.
Helplessness was a feeling she hated but was getting used to.
There was no one who would believe any of what she said, none who would take the word of this lost girl over that of the Master of Coin and Lady Arryn.
Petyr Baelish and Lysa Arryn would pay, she knew not how or when only that it would happen.
She mourned the man who had taken her into his home and protected her for no other reason than he could.
She continued to watch as Lysa Arryn packed up her household and the King packed up the court.
She hid in the shadows as Lysa fled back to the Vale - her time would come.
When the Queen requested she accompany them to The North she agreed, only because of the coin offered and the chance to meet Lord Stark who all agreed was more honourable and honest than any other man.
Before they left she slipped back to the blacksmith who made the sword and commissioned a helm and mail. Not to protect her body, but to protect her identity should the time come.
The trip was long and arduous, never in her 23 years had she traveled in this manner but she was strong and after 5 years guarding the mouth of hell she could survive anything.
Most called the North a frozen wilderness. For a girl born and raised in southern California it was most certainly outside of anything she had ever experienced before but there was strength and beauty to the land and the people. As long as she could get warm and stay that way she could almost imagine staying here. She had heard rumours of a Noble Woman called the She-Bear, a woman who fought, wore breeches and refused to marry. Maybe one day she would be able to find her way to Bear Island and be accepted for more than just her ability to do hair.
She remembered high school; fighting with everything she had to be nothing more than a normal girl. She had wanted no part of fighting, of being different. She had wanted to shop, talk about boys and do home work. She wanted to go to college, fall in love and get married but it was never to be. At 21 she had thrown herself off a tower and had thrown away any hope of that dream coming true. She didn't regret that night and if she had to do it again she would die a thousands deaths for Dawn to live.
Some days she wonders if her desire to fit in and be normal was stripped away as she fell through the portal.
Now as the barren landscape passed her by she no longer wished to conform for the sake of acceptance. She wanted acceptance despite not being like all the other ladies.
As she rode into Winterfell the simple beauty surrounding her awed her. The walls were ancient, strong and… warm? Leaning back against a wall of the great keep she allowed the warmth of the building itself to flow through her and seep into her frozen body. With a sigh of relief she slumped into the heated stones and with great effort managed to stop herself from groaning out loud in pleasure.
After a few days in Winterfell the cold no longer bothered her as much and the longer she spent there the more she considered just staying. There was nothing but vengeance and secrets for her in Kings Landing, despite being the exact opposite of everything she had known Winterfell felt like it could be a home one day and if the way Lord Starks Master-at-arms looked at her when he thought no one was watching then perhaps some semblance of normalcy was not fully out of her grasp.
Just as she had in Kings Landing she slipped into the background, watching and listening from the shadows. None of those who traveled with the court paid her any mind. She overheard Lady Stark ask of her identity and almost laughed when a lady had advised "just a girl who is very good at doing hair and keeping silent." If that is all people thought of her then she could live with that. It made it easier to wander freely among the court.
It seemed that all the rumours of Lord Stark were true, he was kind, honest and honourable and while the time for open action was not yet here she could start to lay the foundation and be ready to drag the dirtiest secrets she had into the open.
She waited until she saw him amongst a large crowd before pushing through the men and with deft fingers slipped a piece of parchment into his vest. It was not overly informative but it put the man on alert.
No matter the history or alliance trust no one. All men and woman have a price.
The day Bran Stark fell from the tower haunts her, she remembers seeing the boy and his direwolf running through the courtyard towards the Broken Tower, she had thought nothing of it as the boy and his wolf ran and climbed everywhere. She had never seen anyone without the ability of a slayer climb as he had, he knew every step, nook and rock and the likelihood of him falling was small.
She suspected that the Kingslayer and the Queen had gone in that direction but had thought nothing of it as she knew exactly what they would be doing while alone and it sickened her so she avoided them whenever they were together. She may have been able to help the boy if she had followed.
But she hadn't been there. Of the many things that she had given up on since being called at the age of 15 it was idea that bad things didn't happen to good people.
Good people still got hurt, they suffered and mourned. There was struggle and pain and death and there was nothing she could do to stop it. She had learned to find the beauty among it all. The laughter of a child, the beauty of sunrise, the joy of discovery and accomplishment, being with someone you loved. She missed that the most, sitting in the kitchen eating breakfast with her mother, the feel of Dawn heavy against her in sleep, Xander hugging her so hard she felt invincible, Willow's infallible belief that she could do anything and Giles steady presence never faltering.
She doesn't remember what it is like to be held safe in someone’s arms.
The return to Kings Landing is laced with tension, she is helpless to save Lady and Nymeria and she wonders if she should have been more blunt when warning Lord Stark of the cesspit he was walking into. Should she have warned him of Joffrey's cruelty that the boy wore like a cloak of honour?
It can't be helped though and until she gains his trust she can offer him nothing of value but her word. As a woman with no family name to protect her and no history to speak of, her word is worthless. Although there may be a modicum of trust from Lord Stark as he allows her to keep her quarters in the tower of the Hand and he has no issue with her spending time with Arya and Sansa. She wonders if he is too trusting.
She continues her previous patterns of earning coin for doing the hair of wealthy ladies and seeing all but saying nothing.
Her mail and helm is completed and they are spirited into her quarters, hidden with the sword and her nightly training sessions continue. She is unhappy with the way the helm obscures her peripheral vision but it cannot be helped unless she can find another way of hiding her face in battle. The mail is light and surprisingly flexible and she finds her body quickly adapts to the change.
Just as quickly though Lord Stark is learning the same secrets as Lord Arryn. She worries that he will go the same way as beneath the frozen and stony exterior she has learned that he is a kind and gentle man. She can see the influence that Lord Arryn had on him.
He starts to invite her to dine with him and his daughters and engage her in conversation just as Lord Arryn had and at first she worries that he is looking for a bedmate. Most men she has met here have no issue with engaging in casual sex with either a mistress or a whore and when she bluntly tell him that she is "no man's bed warmer" he chuckles and states he has no need for any woman other than his lady wife.
She begins to like him at that point and it is several weeks before he tells her the truth of his interest in her.
She knew before he did that his wife was in Kings Landing, hiding with Petyr Baelish and decides it is time to take a chance and reveal some of what she knows.
Leaning close enough so that only he may hear her words she speaks of some of what she has seen and heard in her time in Kings Landing.
She tells him of an overheard conversation between Lord Baelish and Lady Arryn. The mention of tears of Lys and her suspicion that Baelish is playing his own game that she has not managed to work out yet.
She does not yet tell him her true name.
With a sad look he thanks her for trusting him and gives her something in return.
"You remind me of my sister. Willful, strong, courageous and honourable"
She knows the story of Lyanna Stark, and she knows there is no higher complement Lord Stark can offer her except maybe to be compared to his wife she tells him so and adds on that if he went as far as to compare her to his wife then the next time she saw Catelyn Stark she would offer to castrate him. This amuses Lord Stark and when it is just to two of them he starts to call her "little sister".
She doesn't tell him of her preparations just yet. Despite the growing trust she is not ready to reveal all to him.
If life in Kings Landing has taught her anything it is that anything and everything can be used as a weapon against you.
Catelyn Stark comes and goes leaving her husband quiet and thoughtful. He confides in her what Lord Baelish had said to them and the subtle accusations made against the Lannisters. She is relieved when he confirms that his wife knows they were being lied to and is no longer planning to visit Lady Arryn in the Vale, instead returning to Winterfell directly.
She can't stop him from discovering the truth about Jamie and Cersei Lannister and confirms what she knows. As he storms off the confront Cersei with his knowledge she and Jory (who has become a friend in the last months) smuggle Arya and Sansa out of the Red Keep. By the time the Lannister men come looking for the household of the Hand, the North men and women are scattered throughout Kings Landing with instructions to make their way back to Winterfell, as they are able.
Even she has packed all of her meagre belongings and left there, taking rooms in Flea Bottom.
The next time she sees Lord Stark King Robert is dead, and her friend is kneeling on the steps of the Great Sept confessing to a treason he did not commit. The Lannisters had claimed they had his daughters and offered him a deal. Confess or watch Sansa and Arya die.
When faced with such a choice a man will confess to anything.
She knows that Jory has already reached Storms End with the Stark girls and the three of them may already be on a ship bound for the North. She does not know their passage beyond this as what she does not know she cannot tell.
If all goes to plan within minutes most standing on the platform will be dead and Lord Stark will be taken out of the city in the ensuing chaos.
The angle is perfect; there is no wind and nothing to obscure her line of sight. Pulling the long bow from its place slung across her shoulder she looks down at the arrows resting against the wall in front of her. These arrows are special, long, and strong and with barbed heads that cannot be removed without causing more damage. Each is meant for a specific person and are justice for a specific crime.
Along the shaft in painstakingly written black letters are their crimes.
Liar, Murderer, Rapist
Evil bastard child of incest
She remembers an argument from long ago, she had told Faith that they were built to kill demons not people but standing here watching King Joffrey looking down at this good man who had treated her with kindness and respect she knows that there is nothing good in Joffrey, he is cruel and heartless. A sociopath is what Maggie Walsh would have called him.
She has a better word for it.
Evil… and she is the slayer of evil things.
Kneeling before people who are less than him is the second man she respected in this forsaken place, she could not save Lord Arryn but she can save Lord Stark.
Reaching down she picks up the first arrow and nocks it. As the confession is ending she releases the taut string and the arrow flies true and fast it's barbed head embedding itself into Joffrey's chest. Before it strikes home she has picked up the second and mere seconds after Joffrey falls so does Petyr Baelish.
Cersei screams both from the shock of seeing her son killed and the feel the third arrow hitting her body.
By the time Lord Stark is pulled into the safety of the crowd Jamie Lannister has joined his twin and The Hound is no more.
She uses normal arrows to take down Ilyn Payne and the other Lannister men standing guard.
Her job is done and while her 17-year-old self was still screaming that it is not her place to pass judgment on these people, the woman who has lived, died and survived knows that there is no mystical guidebook or all knowing council to tell her what to do, the rules of Sunnydale don't apply here.
Pulling her hood up tightly she disappears into the screaming crowd and meets up with the men she paid handsomely to pull Lord Stark to safety and within minutes they are out of the Sept and riding out of the City. If everything else goes as planned they will be in Parchments before anyone thinks to look for them South of Kings Landing.
It seems luck is with them as they are not pursued south.
Travel is slow and painful for Lord Stark. The leg the horse fell on has not healed well and she has no skill in healing.
She is good at killing.
They don't quickly fall back into the conversations that had started to become comfortable in Kings Landing. They are watchful and mistrustful of their surroundings and do not wish to be heard speaking of things that would get them caught. She finds that she is ok with these silences, before landing (or she suspects the Powers that Be dropped her) in Westeros a silence like these were would be oppressive and she would talk for the sake of making noise. Maybe it comes from being forced into the background or maybe she has just grown up.
Eventually they begin to feel a modicum of safety and by the time they board a ship in Parchments they have fallen into the old patterns from Kings Landing.
She calls him big brother for the first time as the ship they are in bypasses Blackwater Bay.
One night as they are sitting on the deck watching the stars he asks her for something she is not sure she is brave enough to give.
"I have entrusted my life to you, would you trust me with yours in return?"
Turning her head she watches his profile for a moment. Her story is so fantastical that she cannot tell him the whole thing, but there are some things she can tell without him believing her mad.
"I remember my real name…" she admits quietly, with a whisper that he can barely hear she speaks her name for the first time.
It seems this whispered statement breaks something inside her and before she can call them back the words are pouring out but even then she lies. Names and places are omitted, she describes people and how they made her feel. Tells him that when she closes her eyes she can see their faces and hear their voices but who they really are escapes her grasp like the memory of a dream. She tells him that she remembers no names only faces and feelings.
For the first time in two years she cries.
They don't speak of her past again, and upon arrival in White Harbor they meet with Lord Manderly who happily provides them with a hot meal and a warm bed.
She is incredibly grateful for both and for Lord Stark calling her little sister in the fat man's hearing as this immediately cuts off any thought that there may be anything more than friendship between them. She laughs and informs him that her offer to Lady Stark still stands.
They chuckle at the private joke and the shocked looks of the men surrounding him and as she follows a maid to her assigned chamber Lord Stark is explaining exactly what she would offer to Lady Stark should he ever proposition her.
She is unsure if the men are more shocked at her familiarity with Lord Stark or that she had cracked his stony demeanour and elicited a laugh from him.
They are well rested from their voyage and only stay in White Harbour the one night.
Early the next morning with horses on loan they set out for Winterfell. Amazingly they find Veyon Poole there with his daughter Jeyne and several others of the household in Kings Landing that had made it this far North.
They are also told that Jory had gone through Moat Cailin a sennight before with Sansa and Arya. She is glad for Lord Stark, underneath everything she knew he worried for his daughters, he loved his family was willing to die for them, this was something she understood even if she couldn't share it with him.
Their group now consisting of 15 traveled quickly, they believed there was no need for stealth in the North.
Perhaps they shouldn't have been so careless as they were set upon by brigands four days after leaving White Harbor. The fight was short and brutal, she knew that they were lucky they all survived but on the other hand she had revealed more than she wished to. Lord Stark had known she could handle a bow but she had not needed to fight anyone in his sight. So when she snaps the neck of a man twice her size and throws a dagger accurately enough to miss Lord Stark by a whisper and embed itself in his opponent’s eye all the surrounding men are equally shocked.
"I am a woman with no family to defend me. I have learnt the value of defending myself." she states simply and refuses to speak anymore on the subject.
She knows Lord Stark believes she would speak more freely if it were just the two of them.
By the time they reach Winterfell he has given up on trying to get her to tell him where she learned to fight.
There is a light summer snow falling when they enter through the Kings Gate but that doesn't stop the entire household from being there to greet their returning Lord.
Standing proudly in front is Lady Stark and their children - including Bran in his wheeled chair. She watches as he kisses his wife’s hand and clutches his children close to him. She swallows deeply as she realises that there is no one to miss her or greet her.
She is here because she has no other place to go.
She is startled out of this painful realisation when she hears a quiet "My Lady" from her side.
Looking down she sees Jory Cassel standing by her horse looking up at her and she knows that she was wrong. She was missed.
Dismounting from the horse she lets him take her hand and kiss it and as he straightens she throws caution and propriety to the wind and herself into his arms relishing the feel of his strong and gentle arms surrounding her. It has been so long since someone had simply held her that she almost cries.
She's not sure how long they stand there before a deep cough causes them to jump apart. Looking over at the Stark family she sees a gamut of reactions from a scandalised Lady Stark and Sansa to Robb's amusement and Lord Stark's worry.
She wonders if he is more worried about her or Jory.
Everyone appears to recover quickly and they are ushered into the great keep where a feast is being hastily put together. All of the others she has traveled with quickly disappear into their own quarters leaving her wondering if they have forgotten she doesn't truly belong here yet. This thought is fleeting as Sansa grabs her hand and drags her up to a room in the guest quarters. It is sparsely furnished but comfortable and warm, she watches in barely concealed amusement as the girl flitters around the room talking about how they can change the tapestries or have more furs brought in if she wants.
She thanks the girl and asks if there is any way for her to take a bath.
She is surprised but eternally grateful when after her bath Lady Stark appears at her door with a clean dress, shift and small clothes. After trying to claim it's not necessary she lets the Lady of Winterfell dress her and quickly pin the dress to be fitted and in the manner of women everywhere they cannot remain silent. The talk remains inconsequential and yet at the same time comfortable.
She now knows why Lysa is so jealous of her sister and she can't help think that Catelyn is the better woman, in comparing the two women she sees that Catelyn has made her life happy whereas she suspects Lysa never even tried. There is a calm honesty about this woman that comforts her in a way Lysa Arryn never could. Lysa Arryn would have simply ordered a maid to organise clothing for her instead of putting in the time and effort Lady Stark had personally. To Lysa she was a commodity to be used but she thinks that Catelyn Stark may become a friend.
She settles into life in Winterfell easier than in Kings Landing, and if she thinks about it easier than she settled into Sunnydale. Her days are spent either in with the girls learning to sew and mediating as Sansa and Arya fight or in the training yards with Jory and the boys.
Word quickly comes from the South that Stannis Baratheon has taken the Iron Throne and cast Cersei's two surviving children out of the Baratheon family. Apparently Cersei had confessed her infidelity and the paternity of her children to a High Lord and it was considered enough for the man to take the Throne for himself.
What would happen to the Waters children was still undecided.
After hearing of how she fought on the road Jory had nagged her until she gave in and sparred with him. It didn't take long before she had him disarmed and on the ground with both of their wooden swords at his throat. As she stands over him smirking a clapping from above causes her to look up and she sees Lord Stark watching them from the covered bridge and she knows that he put Jory up to this to see her fight. This doesn't bother her as she knows that she is safe and valued in Winterfell. She knows that they won't force her to be something she is not and as long as there is a Stark in Winterfell she will have a home.
She finds that it has in fact become home, and around the time that she found out there was another Stark due in 6 months or so she notices Jory looking at her in a different way. There was an intensity in his gaze that she hadn't seen before and while it bothers her that he won't talk to her about it she starts to return his gazes. Somewhere since that first day when she arrived with King Roberts court Jory has become more than a friend. He is a comfort, a joy and she finds herself seeking his company just to spend time with him.
It is nothing like her time with Angel or Riley. It is slow and quiet, sneaking up on her so that one day she realises how much she cares for this man and how it is growing into more.
Then one day he drags her into the Godswood and before the Heart tree asks her if he could ask Lord Stark for permission to marry her.
"So you’re not asking me to marry you. You’re asking me if you can ask Lord Stark if you can ask me to marry you?"
She thought she would stop breathing for a moment. Somewhere deep down she had known that after being called she would never live long enough to marry, but here she was at the ripe old age of 24 standing in front of a man who looked at her as though she was the most amazing thing in the world being sort of proposed to.
She knows what she wants her answer to be but she also knows that she couldn't marry him when he didn't know the whole truth about her.
So she tells Jory everything. For hours they sit there in the Godswood as she pours her whole life story out to him and trusts him with more than any before him. She has no proof and is petrified that he will run to Lord Stark claiming her mad and demanding she be locked up, but he doesn't.
When she reaches the end her voice is hoarse and her face streaked with tears. He reaches up and cups her cheeks forcing her eyes to meet his. With a gentle smile he repeats his earlier request.
"If I asked Lord Stark for permission to marry you would you be agreeable?
She nods once before wrapping her arms around his neck and holding onto him with everything she has.
Neither of them notices the silent form of Lord Stark watching and listening from the trees.
When Jory approaches Lord Stark the next day they spend hours in the Lords Solar, Jory never tells her exactly what is said only that Lord Stark had given his permission along with the threat of feeding him to the children’s direwolves should he ever hurt her.
She is both touched and amused by Lord Stark’s protectiveness towards her. She imagines it is much the way he feel's about her standing offer to castrate him on his wife's behalf.
For all she is looking forward to marrying Jory is seems that the person most excited by the upcoming wedding is Sansa. All the 13 year old can talk about is the dress and the feast.
It seems to be a concept accepted across the multi-verse that a young woman is to look like a princess on her wedding day.
Neither she nor Jory want a big fuss made. They simply want to get married and start a life together, they allow the fuss because they know it is making people they love happy. She is suspicious when the day of the wedding is pushed back, conceivably to allow more of the Northern Lords time to make the journey to Winterfell to join the festivities.
Two days before the wedding Lord Stark asks them to meet in his solar. He starts with an apology and then goes on to explain that when Jory asked for her hand he realised that although she had essentially become family the marriage would not be accepted by most as she didn't have the name of a legitimate house. While House Cassel was not a high or powerful house they were still considered Noble and a Noble could not marry a base born woman and remain respected.
A rare smile crossed Lord Starks face when he presented them with permission from King Stannis to adopt her into House Stark.
"Everything has a price. What is this costing you?" as grateful as she is for his doing this she is too world weary to accept this without questioning such a boon from the King, that and she wouldn't allow Lord Stark to become indebted to King Stannis for her sake.
She would rather live as Jory's mistress.
She is relieved to learn that the only cost to the North will be to foster Tommen Lannister in Winterfell until he has reached his majority and both the boys Grandfather and Uncle have passed. Tywin had requested the boy be legitimised as a Lannister and named his heir, the King had agreed if the boy was fostered in a House of the Crowns choice.
Poor Myrcella had not even been thought of and the girl was still known as a Waters and considered of no use to anyone.
She fleetingly wondered if there was anything she could do for the girl but despite her new status she has been in Westeros long enough to know that there is nothing that can be done and can only hope the girl makes a good life for herself.
The wedding proceeds as planned two days later and she is treated to her first true Northern feast. Unlike the night of their arrival in Winterfell most of the Lords of the North have attended to witness the marriage of Jory Cassel, an event that most thought they would never see. A confirmed bachelor until meeting her most said.
After many cups of wine the greatJon admits that he had thought for a long time Jory preferred men. Given that the Lord of Last Hearth was not subtle when sober his proclamation was heard throughout the entire hall.
Jory blushed and she laughed before pulling her new husband back to the dance floor.
Lady Stark had told her about the bedding and what it entailed, including the story of her own bedding where Jory ripped her dress.
She had expected to be mortified but found it wasn't as bad as she had feared. As embarrassing as it was to be stripped and dumped naked into bed with her new husband they have all had enough wine that the edge is taken off. She is grateful that though drunk none of the Lords of the north put their hands in places where she would have to break them.
6 months after they marry she is sitting with Lady Stark and 3-month-old Dena when the older woman asks bluntly when they are going to tell people she is expecting.
She is stunned by the woman’s statement - she's not pregnant… is she? It must show in her face because Lady Stark laughs and says.
"You stopped breaking your fast with us near two moons ago after turning green at the table for over a week straight and your chest is near bursting out of your dress. I've carried 6 babes of my own and seen countless women here in Winterfell go through this countless times. I know the signs of a woman with a babe in her belly."
She had thought about this before the wedding as she knew that there was no true way of preventing pregnancy without resorting to abstinence or Moon tea, as she was about to get married abstinence was not an option, neither was moon tea as it could just as easily abort a baby as prevent it and she couldn't do that so she put the idea to the back of her mind. Perhaps it was naive of her to believe that if she didn't think about getting pregnant it wouldn't happen. Lady Starks words bought it all to the forefront along with deeply held fears.
"What do I know about being a mother?" She whispers, tears pooling in her eyes.
Lady Stark reaches out, grasps her hand tightly and tells her that she will learn the same way all women do, as they go.
Their son is born a little over a year after their wedding, she finds as she settles into the role of motherhood that Lady Stark was right. She quickly learns how to care for her son but more importantly she doesn't need to learn to love him she just does.
Martyn is followed by another boy and two girls in the years follow.
She finds one day that her mothers face has become blurry in her memory, she no longer remembers what Giles sounded like and the feel of holding Dawn safely in her arms has been lost. She had known all along as she made a life for herself in Westeros that her first family would fade, it doesn't hurt as much as she originally feared the loss of these precious memories would.
She let's them go, sends them on with a prayer to whoever may be listening that they found peace and love as she had.
The threat beyond the Wall had been building for many years and when the call comes for any who can bear arms she has seen more years in Westeros than on earth.
Her children are grown, married and have children of their own so she and Jory leave with the men of Winterfell lead by Robb Stark to fight for the realm of men.
As she stands with the men, watching the Others army gather at the foot of the Wall and she knows how this must end.
There is no retirement for a Slayer and while she may have had a 20-year rest she accepts that it is her duty. Ned Stark had taught her the true meaning of honour while his wife had shown her that duty should not be shied away from.
I have no speech, no name. I live in the action of death. The blood cry, the penetrating wound. I am destruction, absolute, alone.*
She turns to her husband as long forgotten words surge back to her memory.
I love you!
She disappears from his side, knowing that if he is by her side when she faces the Ice King he will die.
Her eyesight is as sharp as ever and she can see her target.
And like the ghost of a past she is no longer sure was ever real, a voice whispers in her mind.
"Warrior of the people…"
She charges the Others killing all in her path and when she reaches the Ice King there is no hesitation when she drives the obsidian sword through his chest. Pulling it out she quickly decapitates the corpse before it can melt.
After all this time she can still save the world.
The cold starts at her hands and seeps up, freezing her from the inside out. She knows this is the end but she doesn't mind.
Her life here in Westeros has been full and good and better than any she would have had in Sunnydale.
She has no regrets.
Turning her head she sees the Ice King dead and his soldiers dying around her. Her job here is done.
She closes her eyes and lets the cold take her.
When they open again she is still cold and it is dark. As she lifts her hands they meet something wooden directly over her.
Buffy Summers cries out as her hands beat on the lid of her still buried coffin.
*BtVS S4 Ep 22 Restless.