Actions

Work Header

Under the Dragon's Gaze

Chapter Text

Viserys had always assumed that he would be married to his sister, when Daenerys came of age. It was the sort of thing Targaryen households had done for hundreds of years, and he had Daenerys understood each other well enough. When he was younger, he remembered that Rhaegar used to comment on how good he was with Daenerys.

But then the Old Dragon had told him that he'd be marrying that Stark girl, or Myrcella Lannister, to keep the peace in Westeros. And Viserys knew exactly who had whispered such ideas into the head of an old man set in his ways who would never consider giving two Houses which he hated such an honor.

He found Daenerys in her chambers in the Maidenvault, his dear baby sister looking innocent as a bird when she glanced up at his knock, her redheaded Stark bitch sitting in a chair beside her. Knitting, stupid girl, always knitting.

As if there weren't far important things to be doing with her time, like grovelling for the forgiveness of House Targaryen as she most certainly ought to be.

Viserys rolled his eyes. "I need to speak with you." He gave the Stark girl who looked too much like her dead aunt for her own good an imperious look. "Alone."

Daenerys lifted her chin with a touch of the defiance in her eyes there that Viserys had been seeing all too often, of late. "Anything you have to say to me can be said before the Lady Sansa. She is my confidante."

Viserys glowered at the wolf. She was hardly the material of a confidant. Her only redeeming quality was that she did not look a whit like Lyanna Stark had.

Not that Viserys remembered, but Rhaegar waxed poetic about her often enough.

"Get out, Stark," he snapped, and the redhead set down her needlework and fled.

At least after all of these years, the brat still knew her place, as she should. Viserys had taken enough years to ensure that, at the very least, no matter how much Daenerys tried to treat the brat like a sister.

A wolf had no place amongst dragons, and should never be given the opportunity to forget it.

Daenerys sighed, set aside her needlework, as well. "What is it, brother?"

He ground his teeth. "You've convinced Father to have me marry that Stark brat or one of the Lannister's children."

Daenerys shrugged, her eyes bright. "I've not. Who can say how Father makes his decisions, these days?"

Her brother stalked forward, grabbing Daenerys by the wrist and twisting it painfully until she cried out.

"I can," he snapped. "You've no right to influence a dragon's madness, Dany. It will only come back to hurt you, in the end."

She looked up, purple eyes filled with a fire that Viserys had only seen in his dreams, and he flinched back at the sight, cleared his throat to hide it.

He knew that mentioning their father's madness was not to be born amongst House Targaryen. And yet, he knew what he had seen, when he was younger and did not quite understand it. Their father was mad, but he could hardly judge a dragon.

Daenerys did not quite smile, but merely said quietly, "I didn't tell Father anything."

Viserys frowned at her, reached out to brush a hand against the underside of her breast beneath the Myrish lace she so loved to wear, so butter soft he wanted often to tear it off her and take her, regardless of where they might be or who might witness it.

Daenerys flinched this time, tried to pull away, but he reached out his other hand, gripping her arm in a vice as his hand continued to stroke at her breast, pulled her gown down her shoulders until it hung around her stomach, her breasts swinging free, and smirked at the blank expression on her face as he squeezed her pretty pink nipples into hardened nubs.

"You don't pull away," he said with a smirk, as she stood there and let him take what he wanted, as his cock began to press against his britches and her breasts grew heavy in his hands. He flicked at her nipple when it started to soften, smirked again.

She opened her mouth to respond, no doubt to spout some lie about how she knew he would hurt her if she did, and he laughed, gave one of her nipples a squeeze that had her sucking in a breath of air.

"You don't pull away because you know this is right, sweet sister," he said, one hand lifting to caress her cheek. "You know that this is how things should be." He pulled away from her, laughed. "Father will never marry me to your little wolf, and you oughtn't sacrifice her like that. It's hardly kind."

And then he turned and strode from the room, leaving his sweet sister with her gown pooling about her waist, and reflecting that, when she was his wife, it would be a regular occurrence.

He would leave her locked in their bedchambers with her gown ripped so prettily and covered in his seed, waiting until he returned to take her again, and then she would beg him for it and he would laugh and give it to her, as he always did. And maybe, if he was feeling particularly kind, he would let her keep her wolf pet.

She should be so fortunate.


 

Viserys lifted his head when he heard Rhaegar addressing him, not for any love for his brother, of course, but rather because it would be frowned upon if he did not.

They were, after all, in the dining hall, with their father and family and half a dozen courtiers whose names Viserys had never bothered to memorize, despite his studies.

Rhaegar was next in line for the throne, even if he had married a Dornish whore and sired a Northern bastard with that wolf and insisted on keeping It at court.

"Viserys," Rhaegar said, with a cool smile that let Viserys know his inattention had been noted. Not that he cared, of course. Rhaegar was barely a dragon, and thus Viserys did not feel the need to pretend he was otherwise.

"You are Jon's goodly uncle," Rhaegar continued, "He will need someone to host the feast in honor of his nameday."

Viserys nearly choked on his wine, ignored the flash of amusement in Daenerys' eyes as she took a dainty sip of her own.

"The feast?" he echoed, turning his gaze on the bastard as it sunk down on itself at the end of the table, beside Aegon, as if Its presence were equal to a prince of Westeros.

He'd almost forgotten that It was having a nameday, soon. It would be sixteen, he remembered, because It was of an age with Daenerys, for those two had always been attached at the hip despite Viserys' attempts to keep them apart over the years. Never mind that the bastard was illegitimate and the son of some slattern whore; he was a prince in all but name, according to Rhaegar. The third head of the dragon.

Viserys could remember the day Rhaegar had convinced their father to legitimize the boy before then known as Jon Waters, how he had pleaded with the Old Dragon until King Aerys had allowed it, saying that the boy was at least partly a dragon, after all.

Viserys would have rather It had been sent to the Wall where it belonged, but that was not to be.

And now Rhaegar was giving It a tourney for its sixteenth nameday, as though such a creature deserved the accolades of all of Westeros.

He didn't understand why the Bastard needed a tourney to celebrate his nameday; surely the acknowledging of Its existence alone was shame enough for their family, but Rhaegar was a fool in many ways, undeserving of the dragon blood flowing through his veins and which he had so foolishly passed on to a wolf, and he ruled most of Westeros in all but name, now.

Viserys knew that his brother was, however, anticipating the day when he would rule Westeros completely, and that, for any other son, it would not be so far off. The Old Dragon was far too old to still be living without the dragon blood in him, should have died years ago but had prevailed despite that all of this time.

When Viserys was younger, he would tell Daenerys that their father lived so long because he had absorbed the many souls he had thrown to the flames, just to watch the way she squirmed to hear it, but he was beginning to wonder if it was not the truth.

There were rumors, he had heard, of some Red Priestess, who had come when the Old Dragon had called for her and bade him drink from the blood of his enemies, and that was how the Old Dragon had managed to live so long.

Perhaps it was so, though it was not Viserys' place to judge a dragon who wished to be a dragon.

"Of course," he said, with a cold little smile, ignoring the smirk on Daenerys' face as she read behind to the anger in his eyes.

At least he did not have to look at It, when he made the promise to Rhaegar.

And his little sister would pay dearly for her meddling.


 

The tournament was just as much of a fucking bore as Viserys had imagined it would be. And to top that off, he was forced to give a speech for the Bastard's nameday, to simper and pretend he cared about Jon Fucking Waters.

He did not bow to his nephew, at the end of it, no matter what Rhaegar wished to claim about the Bastard being his trueborn son, no matter how many lectures he would get after the fact about how dearly House Targaryen needed to present a united front.

And then, Viserys sat down next to Dany where she sat below the raised dais at the top of the royal box, where their royal father occupied two seats by draping his legs over the second one, a sick grin on his face that had been there since Viserys had stood to give his speech.

The only thing that had slightly sated Viserys during said speech was the idle hope that, as Jon was participating in the tourney, he would find a lance through his heart, or, at the very least, fall off his horse.

Beside Viserys, Daenerys was smiling rather too widely.

Viserys followed her gaze, saw Jon climbing onto his horse and reaching for his lance from his squire.

He glared at Daenerys. "He'll be up against Jaime Lannister in the fourth round, if he makes it that far," Viserys told her, voice goading. "He'll never win."

Daenerys raised a brow, looking less than impressed by Viserys' assessment. "Perhaps he is made of more mettle than you know, Brother."

Viserys snorted. "Perhaps," he muttered idly, "But I doubt it. He's only a bastard, after all."

Daenerys' lips quirked, and she glanced down at where Rhaegar and Princess Elia sat in the pit, watching the proceedings with matching diplomatic smiles.

Below them, Rhaenys was smiling, for Ser Daemon Sand, bastard and pillow biter or not, was wearing her favor, while Aegon, who had elected not to fight in this tourney to keep the attention on his half-brother, far too noble a sentiment, looked rather bored.

"Would you care to say that a little louder, Brother?" Daenerys asked quietly, and Viserys wished ardently that their mother was still alive, for she had been a woman of grace and finesse, and would not have allowed Dany to become so spoiled as their father and Rhaegar had.

Viserys crossed his arms over his chest, for he wasn't a fool, and sent his attention back to the crowd gathered in the waiting seats to watch the tourney, projecting a bored veneer which he could only hope was successful, should Daenerys look his way again.

Though he rather doubted she would. She seemed to have eyes only for Jon, today.

When she was his wife, he would beat that out of her. She would never look at another man but him.

He watched as Jon unhorsed his opponent, some knight whom Viserys couldn't care less about, in his current state, and then turned on the crowd assembled before him, but his grin was only for Daenerys.

Viserys ground his teeth, turned his gaze to the other people sitting in the crowd. His eyes were drawn first to the Martells where they sat closest to the royal family, where Arianne and Trystane Martell, the envoys of their absent, ill father, sat guarded by half a dozen nearly naked young girls, all of them with matching scowls.

The Red Viper was not amongst them, and though Viserys had not expected him to be, for he had not come to King's Landing since Robert's Rebellion, the prince still felt a quiet surge of disappointment at not being able to meet the man once more.

They had met years ago, when Viserys was still a child and Dany still clung to his shirt wherever he went, when Elia Martell had wished to foster Viserys in Dorne in the hope that one day he would be betrothed to Arianne Martell.

Viserys' father had had much to say about that, when the decision was finally given to him, and none of his children, nor Rhaegar's children, had been permitted to travel to Dorne again. Rhaegar had always feared that, to bring up the idea to their father again, even if it was not in fostering, would only result in King Aerys demanding that his children never leave the safety of King's Landing again.

It was part of the reason why Viserys' own wedding had been put off for so long, he couldn't help but think.

He sighed, turned his attention back to the Lannisters, half a dozen houses in between them and the Martells, whom Tywin was still rumored to hate for Elia's marriage to Rhaegar, where they sat in a box almost as far from the royal family as the Starks. Tywin Lannister was also not in attendance, had vowed never to return to King's Landing as long as Aerys was king, and had never done so, but his daughter had come to this tourney, alongside her husband and cousin, Lancel Lannister, and their multitude of children.

Pretty as a picture, the lot of them, save for Cersei Lannister's pinched features. Viserys was disappointed that the rumored hideous third child of Lord Tywin, the wretched dwarf with two different colored eyes and hands larger than the upper half of his body was not present. He ought to get some enjoyment out of this wretched tournament.

And then to the Starks, where they sat in their dour grey dress, and he almost rolled his eyes, wondered if they would start muttering their House words soon, as well. It was their first time in King's Landing since the Rebellion, and yet Viserys could not find himself impressed by them, anymore than he was by Daenerys' little wolf.

That thought had him thinking of King's Landing own little wolf, and Viserys was rather surprised not to see her once more sitting happily alongside her morbid family.

Sansa Stark sat amongst other nobles who regularly stayed at court, attempting to win the king's favor and more often than not winning his ire, rather than with her newly reunited parents, and Viserys allowed himself a small smirk.

Though most of the nobles had left the disgraced Stark in a small bubble of isolation, Viserys couldn't help but note.

Normally she might sit with Daenerys, but today, most of the noble Houses were in attendance, and Daenerys would not have wanted to bring their attention to her sweet little wolf.

Though she would not have been so cruel as to separate the girl from her parents, sitting halfway across the field, Lord Stark looking dour as his lady wife's eyes remained fixated on her daughter.

So. The girl had begun to understand what a blight upon her the name of Stark was.

She looked almost bored with the proceedings, her hands encased in thread, though she was not knitting, was only watching the tourney through hooded eyes.

Seven, she looked almost as bored as he, and Viserys couldn't help but feel affronted, by that. This tourney was honoring her stupid cousin, after all. She ought to feel honored Viserys had even bothered to play host for it.

It had been enough work, and cost enough of the royal coffers, to pull off, after all.

And then, as he watched, and two other knights replaced Jon and some Mormont, and Daenerys clapped too loudly, Viserys believed, a lithe young figure moved to where Sansa was sitting, smiled at her prettily before taking the seat beside her. She looked vaguely familiar, but Viserys was frustrated that he couldn't place her.

The other nobles around Sansa tittered and muttered amongst themselves, but the young woman ignored them as if they did not exist, her fat lips opening in an almost obscene way as she chatted softly with Sansa.

Viserys watched them, watched the way green dust seemed to shiver off of the young woman's gown, how something she said made Sansa Stark laugh.

Viserys didn't think he had ever seen that depressing slip of a girl laugh, not even in Daenerys' presence, and he suddenly found himself dearly wishing he had heard the words that had done that trick himself.

And then he shook his head, because he didn't give a damn about Sansa Stark and never would, and glanced at his sister again, watched her entirely too smug expression as Jaime Lannister took up the lance against Ser Daemon Sand.

"You ought to admit that you were wrong, Viserys," Daenerys whispered to him, out of the corner of her lips, and Viserys scowled.

"Just because the Bastard won one fight doesn't mean he will ever be worthy of our name, Dany," Viserys murmured cruelly. A thought struck him, and he reached out, wrapping his hand around her knee and squeezing it through the fabric of her blood red gown. "Nor your hand."

Daenerys went very pale. "Our father has dictated that he will never marry me," she said quietly, not meeting his gaze, and Viserys felt something cold creep into his heart at the fear in her downcast eyes, at the stiffness of her jaw.

"That's right," he reminded her, voice cool as Ser Jaime knocked Ser Daemon Sand from his horse. "And you had best not forget it, little sister."

He squeezed her knee again before letting go. Daenerys shivered, glanced pointedly at their father, where he sat slumped in his chair, a half-empty glass of Dornish red in his hands and eyes shuttering closed.

The rest of the tourney was just as much of a bore as the beginning of it, Viserys couldn't help but think, though at least he could be sated in the knowledge that everyone else here was now as miserable as he.

And, when Jon went up against Loras Tyrell and Viserys realized suddenly why the green on the gown of the young woman sitting beside Sansa looked so familiar, Viserys was at least content in the knowledge that, if the Tyrell boy didn't beat him, he still had to face Ser Barristan Selmy or Ser Jaime Lannister, he found his eyes flitting to that Tyrell girl beside Sansa once more.

They were still talking, looking almost oblivious to the tourney and the events around them as the Tyrell girl reached out and brushed a bit of Sansa Stark's hair behind her ear.

Viserys' eyes narrowed; he couldn't think of what might possess a woman of a modest but wealthy House to befriend the Stark hostage, didn't know what her family must be thinking, to allow her to do so.

And that irked at him, even as he watched his tourney, the one he'd prepared for It, watched Daenerys struggle to temper her excitement each time Jon completed some feat or another.

And then she stood, before the end of the tourney, before Jon Waters had unhorsed Ser Loras Tyrell, the newest addition to the Kingsguard whose ceremony Viserys had forgotten to go to out of sheer irritation at being forced to plan this fucking tourney, and walked off the field, several ladies dressed all in green following her.

Viserys stared after her, fascinated by her blatant disregard of propriety, this strange girl who had deigned to sit by the Stark girl and then walked away before their bastard prince was obviously about to beat a member of the Kingsguard.

And then he smirked, and glanced at Dany, saw the quiet disapproval in her eyes before she promptly turned back to the tourney, standing and clapping with rather more enthusiasm than Viserys privately thought the situation warranted as Ser Loras fell to his knees.

And Daenerys' bloody favor still lay around Jon's neck, where she had bestowed it before the tourney started.

When Jaime Lannister unhorsed the lad and proclaimed Elia Martell the Queen of Love and Beauty, as was his due as a member of the Kingsguard, Viserys still hadn't washed the filth of seeing Daenerys' wide smile from his eyes.


 

The Tyrell girl remained at court, with her dottery grandmother, even after most of the noble families had returned home, strangely enough without major incident. Viserys had gotten some amusement out of watching Sansa Stark say her goodbyes to her parents, their stiff, awkward embraces and even more awkward words. He'd also particularly enjoyed watching Cersei Lannister slap her brother in full view of the court before she, too, left.

But this girl and her grandmother remained. Viserys hardly thought about it, beyond a vague wondering of why, for she should have no trouble finding a husband that she should need to remain at court to do so, until his bitch of a little sister spurned his advances once more.

He found her positively lusting after Jon during another one of the King's infamous days sitting in on the court, ordering someone to be burned and another flayed alive, all the while unknowing that Rhaegar never allowed such orders to be carried out by the Kingsguard anymore.

Not since the Rebellion.

And there was Daenerys, sitting at her father's feet, a far too pleased smile on her face, as if she thought the King cared for her anymore than any of his other children.

And then Viserys followed her gaze, and watched Jon Waters, for that was what he would always be, given their House's name by some edict of the King's long ago or not, standing up in the balcony, a dour expression on his face.

He did not have the true blood of a dragon. His was the morbid blood of a wolf, inherited from his wolf mother, and that reflected always in his face, Viserys thought idly, and then sent another glare Daenerys' way, for good measure.

And, when Viserys grew tired of glaring, his gaze found the Tyrell girl's once more, and he almost shivered at the expression in her eyes, when she looked at him.

Viserys quickly looked away. He had not been wed yet, but the last time he had taken some virgin maiden to his bed and Rhaegar had been forced to find her a husband, he had gotten into enough trouble.

Besides, they all paled in comparison to Dany.

After the King had retired for the day, just after noon, which was not quite strange anymore, not when there were rumors that the King kept a living dragon beneath the Keep or drank the blood of the Baratheons whenever he felt old, Viserys sought his sister out.

Of course, there were no more real dragons within the Keep that lived, only those dead carcasses below, in the catacombs.

He was gratified that he had managed to catch Daenerys' arm in public, in front of a half a dozen witnesses, where she could not slink away from him to catch up with Jon once more.

They could not have that.

"Where are you off to so quickly, sweet sister?" Viserys asked, tone lightly mocking, and Daenerys flinched at the words, looking terribly guilty, like that time she had given their house sigil to the wolf girl like the little bitch had any right to put her hands upon it.

He knew that Daenerys was worried, had been worried ever since the tourney, that Viserys would tell someone of her feelings for Jon. He did not yet know how far things had gone between the two of them, but Viserys caught enough of the wide, bright eyes that Jon sent his sister's way to know that the feelings were by no means one sided.

And that infuriated him enough to keep their filthy secret, for now. When he had learned how far that bastard had taken things with his sweet sister, when she begged Viserys for forgiveness on their wedding night, then he would punish her.

But not before. The game was not sweet enough, that way.

"Unhand me, Viserys," she whispered hoarsely, glancing around to see if they had attracted attention.

Viserys rolled his eyes, pulling her into the relative seclusion of an empty corridor just beyond the throne room, pushing her into the wall and enjoying the small spark of fear in her eyes as her back slammed against it.

Gods, he hated her.

"Tell me, Dany," Viserys mused, his tone almost conversational, "Where you think this will lead."

Daenerys shivered. "I don't think it will lead anywhere," she said, but he could always tell when she was lying, even if their poor father and Rhaegar never could.

He pinched her arm. "Oh, really? I hardly think Rhaegar came up with the idea to marry me off to some lesser maiden from nowhere." He cocked his head, an expression of mock bemusement entering his features. "Hmm, I wonder to whom sweet Dany would go, once I had been married off. There are only so many lords worthy of her, after all."

"Aegon is unwed," Daenerys gritted out, trying in vain to break his grip on her arms, where he held them down by her sides.

Viserys snorted. "If Aegon doesn't marry Rhaenys, it will be because our dear goodsister will want him to marry a Martell. Don't be foolish, Dany. It doesn't become you."

Daenerys swallowed, looked away, and Viserys saw in her in that moment every feeling she had never expressed aloud toward the bastard, and he hated her more than he ever had since she had killed their mother, coming out of the woman.

Take care of your sister, their mother had whispered to Viserys, nearly her dying words as he knelt before her in tears, not yet knowing that the battle was already won on their end, and how he hated that his sweet mother's last words to him had to be of that.

"Do you really think our father will ever let Jon marry you?" Viserys asked, annoyance creeping into his tone. "You remember what he said when he allowed the Bastard to take our family's name, as if he deserved anything more than to be cast out into the street when his bitch of a mother spread her legs for our bro-"

"Stop it," Daenerys snapped at him, and Viserys smirked at her.

"Sweet sister," he moved forward, cradling her cheek in his hand. "Have you fallen in love with him?"

Daenerys flinched, not quite able to meet her brother's eyes. Viserys would think, after so long watching the little wolf be beaten into the floor of the Red Keep, she would have learned to better hide her expressions.

Viserys' smirk widened. "You have," he murmured. "Why Dany, for shame."

His tone might have been teasing, but, for a moment, Viserys wanted nothing more than to slap her. And then turn around and find Jon, as well.

Instead of giving into the urge, Viserys gave his little sister another hard push against the wall, before turning on his heel and stalking away, reveling in the terrified gasps left in his wake.

He did not get far.

The Tyrell girl stood just beyond the dip in the hall, a small, half-smile curving her features, and Viserys stopped, pondered asking her just how much she had heard of that conversation.

And then he really looked at her, for the Tyrell girl wore a gown of shimmering green, the front of it completely sheer and the bosom dipping down almost below her breasts themselves, and Viserys paused, licked his lips.

Underneath that, she wore some white garment that barely covered her most private areas, and Viserys found himself quietly angry at the fabric.

"Your Grace," she murmured, curtseying lowly enough that Viserys got a far more detailed picture of her pert breasts, and he swallowed.

"My lady," he dipped his head to her politely, but did no more. And then, because he could not quite bring his feet to move suddenly, "How are you enjoying your time in King's Landing?"

She smiled brightly. It was a dazzling thing, and not at all like the smiles Daenerys had ever given him. She'd probably given them to Jon, a traitorous thought leaked into his mind, and Viserys bit back a scowl.

"I have found it...most stimulating, Your Grace," the girl murmured. "This is a place of true awe and splendor, the likes of which I have never found within the Reach. I am so fortunate that your father the King has extended his hospitality to one such as I, to remain here."

"What's your name?" Viserys asked, staring at her in fascination.

He had never felt arousement from a woman who was not Daenerys. Sure, he had slept with women who were not Daenerys, because he would have her saved until their wedding day, but he had always closed his eyes and pretended they had Daenerys' pretty silver hair and purple eyes when he came, and their beauty before that moment more than made up for it.

This one was a pretty girl, but she did not bear Daenerys' beauty, and was perhaps younger even than Dany was. Yet she held herself like a dragon, with all of the coquettish shyness of Daenerys, and the slant of her eyes was intriguing; Viserys found himself wanting her despite himself.

He wondered if this was what Rhaegar had thought, when he had first looked his eyes upon Lyanna Stark. The thought made him shudder, and yet still, he could not bring himself to look away.

"Margaery, Your Grace," she said, dipping down into a curtsey, and he smiled. Your Grace. As it should be.

"Of House Tyrell?" he asked, intrigued. He had not known that Mace Tyrell was in the capitol, though he distantly remembered hearing of some green knight being named to the Kingsguard for some honor or another, and the name was a distinct one.

She blinked up at him from under her eyelashes, smiling and nodding, as pretty as a picture. "Yes, Your Grace. My brother Loras was just recently named to the Kingsguard, and we have never been separated in our youth. I wished to support him in this before I return to Highgarden."

He raised a brow. "That is very kind of you."

She smiled. "I like to think he would do the same for me, Your Grace." And then she blinked. "Oh, I don't mean if I were named to the Kingsguard, only...if I were to be sent away to be married."

Viserys hadn't thought she had meant that. The idea was laughable, though he'd heard that some great Tarth woman had recently come to the capitol with an eye for that purpose, and been laughed away.

"If his devotion is anywhere near as close as yours, then I am certain he would have," he told her, and that got a bright smile behind bright eyes that reminded him of Daenerys' when she was plotting something.

He wondered what Margaery of House Tyrell was plotting.

"You should enjoy your time in the capitol, Lady Margaery," he told her, and privately thought that he would ensure she did so. Daenerys was in need of a few ladies beyond that Stark wolf corrupting her thoughts, after all, and he'd like to keep a pretty face nearby, since his damn brother seemed intent not to let him marry anyone who might give him cause to make a claim to the throne.

Perhaps she would even thank him, for letting her stay near her brother. Now, there was a thought. A young girl ought to be thankful to be near her brother.

Perhaps Margaery of House Tyrell could teach his sweet sister a thing or to about being thankful, Viserys thought, as he watched her sashay past him with perfect grace.

He thought he would like to see that.


 

Margaery was named to a position in Daenerys' ladies in waiting by the end of the week, though Viserys had gone through the Spider to see it done, rather than going straight to his brother over the matter.

He had seen the way Rhaegar had withdrawn from his wife since that affair with Lyanna Stark, had seen how he had seemed to withdraw from any woman's touch, the looks he sent Daenerys and Viserys whenever he thought Viserys wouldn't see.

Only his children had Rhaegar's absolute love, and this only because they fulfilled that godsbedamned prophecy of his.

He could not afford to give Rhaegar any ideas, and Varys was a third party who would not show a hint of bias when he made the suggestion.

And Varys had been more than happy to serve, happier than usual, perhaps, which had struck Viserys as a little less than odd at the time, but which he could not be bothered enough to give a fuck about, when he was getting his way.

The moment Margaery had received the happy news, he assumed, she came straight to him, for he had gotten her to believe that they were fast friends now, and when she arrived she told him what an honor it would be, to serve his beautiful sister, and that she would do everything she could to keep from disappointing his sister in her service.

She'd looked so pretty then, he hadn't been able to resist, and had swept forward, pulling her into a more secluded spot in the gardens, behind a small grove of trees, and kissing her breathless.

She had great, fat lips that almost didn't seem as though they should fit on her tiny, pale face, and he sucked at them until they were bruised and swollen underneath his ministrations.

But when she pulled back, she was smiling, and he wondered if Daenerys would one day learn to smile like that if he kissed her enough.

"I am very happy for you," he told her with an impish grin, and Margaery smiled as well.

"I know that I have you to thank for this honor," she told him quietly, eyes downcast, and he privately thought that she looked more and more like Daenerys by the day.

He smirked. "Oh?"

Daenerys had been less than pleased when Margaery had been announced as another of her ladies, and Viserys hadn't realized why until he saw the bright smile Margaery sent his way when the announcement was made.

Ah, well. Let his sister stew about it, for a while. The little bitch deserved it.

Margaery lifted her head, and Viserys thought for a moment that shyness did not become this girl.

"Yes, Your Grace," she said, worrying her lower lip.

"You know," Viserys said suddenly, thoughtfully, "As a lady in my sister's service, you ought to be more concerned about doing everything in your power to keep from disappointing me. Dany is, after all, still just a child."

Margaery's eyes lifted to meet his own for the first time since they'd met, and Viserys pretended he wasn't frightened by what he saw in those eyes.

"I would never want to disappoint you, Your Grace," she murmured, tone sultry as she leaned in so close he could smell the rosewater on her. For a moment, he thought it ought to be sulfur.

And then he kissed her again, pushing her back into the tree behind them, his hand dipping between her thighs the way they used to with Daenerys, before she realized what he wanted from her and threatened to tell Rhaegar if he ever touched her again.

Margaery was already wet, and Viserys snaked his hands through the light dusting of hair around her virgin cunt before pushing his fingers inside of her, enjoying the sound of her gasp at the foreign intrusion.

She was a maid, then. All the better. Viserys did not like soiled leftovers, and this girl might be pretty, but she was not pretty enough for that.

She lacked the moon-lit hair and purple eyes he found so alluring, for all that she was beautiful.

Daenerys hadn't had hair, the one time he had touched her like this, had been dry as a bone and had whimpered annoyingly when he had touched her, but Margaery was nothing like that, at least.

And when he touched her, she kissed him back with all of the passion that Viserys had ever expected from his little sister, had ever fantasized about on their wedding night.

She did not even seem to mind that they lay in a barely secluded area of trees in the Royal Gardens.

One day, Viserys decided as he pushed his index finger in and out of Margaery Tyrell, he would fuck Daenerys here.

And she would scream so prettily, then.

"Your Grace," Margaery gasped, pretty face wincing as his finger jabbed into her a bit too harshly, and Viserys sighed, pulled out of her with a veneer of an apologetic smile, patting her thigh where her gown had ridden up to her waist with his ministrations.

She was hot, flushed in a way that was from more than the afternoon heat, and Viserys suddenly wanted very much to fuck her.

She had practically offered herself to him, after all.

He reached down, worked frantically at the laces of his trousers until his cock sprang out, already hard and red and leaking, a fusion of Daenerys' happy face at the tourney and Margaery's gasping breaths in his ears flashing before him.

And then Margaery's hands reached out, stilling him.

He glanced up at her, expression hardening at what he saw there.

He reached out with one hand, the other still stroking his cock to life, pulling at her gown until the rest of her pretty cunt was exposed to him. The hair on it was too dark to be Dany's, but he could pretend, in this moment.

"Your Grace-" she started, but he shook his head.

"I want to fuck you," he muttered, batting her hands aside and aligning his cock with her wet cunt, placing one hand on the tree behind the girl to balance himself.

"Please, Your Grace," Margaery murmured, shrinking back from his touch the way Dany used to, before she realized that he didn't want that, "I am a virgin, and my maidenhood belongs to my husband, no one else."

He squeezed her buttock warningly, not liking her refusal of him at all. It reminded him far too much of Dany. "Not even to a prince?"

She frowned, though she certainly looked sad about it. Daenerys would have been crowing, and that thought made him want to fuck Margaery even more.

"Not even to a prince Your Grace, much as I would have you, here and now." She glanced around as she said it though, as if she could not quite believe that the words had come from her mouth.

Viserys sighed. "I suppose that is only wise. Though there are other things we might do."

She smiled up at him, her smile as waspish as Daenerys' was always so sweet, but then, she wouldn't be smiling at him now, after he had suggested such a thing.

"I was quite hoping there might be, Your Grace. I would like for nothing else." And then her lips twitched into a fuller smile. "Would you teach me?"

Viserys grinned. Daenerys had never asked to be taught, would die from her own stubborn pride before she did so, but he could pretend, in this moment.

Chapter Text

Margaery was a pleasant distraction from his sister, and from Rhaegar and whatever it was that Viserys had done this time, to give his brother such a look of disapproval, whenever he glanced Viserys' way.

That pleasant distraction ended the day he learned that his father was dying.

It had started out innocuously enough; the old king was often ill enough to find himself confined to his bed, often with an illness that the Grandmaester was incapable of curing, because it existed only in the king's mind.

But this one lasted longer than the usual fortnight, and that was when Viserys began to grow concerned.

He watched as their father clutched Daenerys' hand one evening, in the king's great bedchambers, Daenerys perched on the edge of a chair beside his bed, fa e pale and eyes rimmed red.

Daenerys had always been the king's favorite child, from the moment she returned from Dragonstone without their mother. Viserys wondered if this was, unconsciously, because Daenerys was too young to be aware of their father's greatest sins, even if the old man would not consider them such.

And because he doted on her, she loved him most ardently, her only parental figure, turning a blind eye whenever he delved into the deepest throes of his madness. Viserys found it extremely irritating, especially when she would not even give her brother the time of day, too busy salivating over Jon.

No, he had not forgotten what he had learned that day in the corridor, even with Lady Margaery as a distraction. And with every passing hour, he was glad the king had grown ill, for at least it meant his sweet sister spent less time with their hapless cousin.

"My little dragon..." the old king whispered hoarsely, staring at Daenerys with something that, if Viserys was not completely sure his madness made him no longer capable of it, almost looked like love.

Viserys pushed himself off of the far wall, moving forward incredulously, needing to get a better look, needing to know for sure.

"Papa," Daenerys whispered, tears clogging her voice, "Papa, you will get through this. It will be all right."

Their father looked at Daenerys as lucidly as Viserys thought he had ever looked at anyone in a long time, and then he laughed, lowly in his throat.

"The dragon always survives, my girl," he told her. "It needs only fire."

Daenerys nodded as if his words made perfect sense. "The fire of your fever will burn out soon, Father," she promised him, not once looking back at Viserys. "It will."

If anything, that only seemed to make their father more amused. "The fire must not go out, my sweet," he told her. "It must not."

Then the king reached out, pinching Daenerys' cheek, but not in the harsh way that Viserys ever pinched her.

Daenerys gave their father a small smile, bent forward to kiss his forehead. "Sleep, Papa. Everything will feel better when you wake."

He laughed. "Burn them all," he murmured, and Daenerys stiffened, biting back what Viserys could only imagine was a small sigh and standing to her feet, smoothing down her dress.

Viserys was vaguely surprised that the little Stark girl was not here to do that for her, with the way the redhead had almost attached herself to Daenerys since her arrival in King's Landing. But then, he supposed it would have hardly been appropriate to bring her here, when her family would have once been pleased to see the Old King die.

Viserys stiffened, glancing at his father.

He could not bring himself to grieve the old man, as Daenerys already was; Viserys had lost his father long ago, before he had ever known the man. The rotten corpse that lay upon that bed now belonged to the dragons who inhabited it.

Viserys watched as Daenerys fled out into the hall outside the King's bedchambers, passing Jaime Lannister and Ser Barristan Selmy where they guarded the King's room.

Viserys followed at a more sedate pace, nodding to the two Kingsguard as he went.

"Is the Princess well?" Ser Barristan asked in concern, and Viserys glanced at the other man, shrugged thin shoulders.

"She will be," he murmured. When she was his wife, she would be perfect. "It is...very hard."

He thought those had been the right words to say when Ser Barristan nodded in sympathy.

"The King is a strong man, Your Grace," he reminded Viserys, who nodded absently.

"He is a dragon. I will go to my sister, now."

Ser Jaime's eyes narrowed at him, but he did not comment, nor did he offer words of sympathy, as Ser Barristan had.

Viserys had a feeling the man would find them distasteful.

Ironic, really. Ser Jaime was the King's most trusted guard, born out of his remaining in King's Landing during the Rebellion while every other member of the Kingsguard was either fighting alongside Rhaegar or defending the Stark whore, nevermind that he had been as much of a hostage here as Elia and her children, and yet he showed not a shred of concern for the man.

Viserys shook his head, opting to ignore the man's look as he swept past the Kingsguard and went to find Daenerys.

It did not take him long to find her. She had gone back to her room in the Maidenvault, a name that always sent a small smirk to Viserys' features.

Their father, in the depths of his madness, had demanded that Daenerys' chambers be removed to the Maidenvault when she had her first bleeding, paranoid that his daughter would be taken advantage of anywhere else.

Viserys had laughed and told Daenerys all about Baelor the Blessed's sisters, and how they had never been allowed to emerge from that place until she had begun to cry.

When Viserys had her, perhaps he would keep her in the Maidenvault when he wasn't using her. Teach her some respect.

Her door had been left wide open, and Viserys let himself into the room, saw Daenerys sitting on the edge of her bed, face in her hands, softly crying.

He stood in the doorway for a moment, not certain if he wished to disturb her or if he should wait and admire the view.

He stepped forward, clearing his throat, and Daenerys glanced up at him, eyes rather wide and round cheeks, still holding the last fatty vestiges of childhood, filling with color.

"Viserys," she murmured, wiping at her cheeks. "I didn't expect to see you here."

Viserys' face softened. "Dany," he murmured, and she swallowed hard, looked away.

"He's dying, Vis," she whispered, her voice quiet and hoarse. From crying, Viserys thought idly.

He hummed lowly in his throat. She hadn't called him that since they were children, before Viserys understood what it meant, that one day Daenerys would be his wife.

"He's really dying," she murmured, sounding so broken, and if he were not still angry with her over her feelings for Jon, Viserys might have felt more capable of comforting her. He was once able to do so.

Once, when Sansa Stark nearly provoked the dragon inside Viserys by crying day in and day out about not being able to see her mother, as if a traitor's daughter ought to have that right, he remembered Daenerys asking where her mother was.

She had been young at the time, but old enough to know the truth. Seven knew Rhaegar wasn't gothering to bother with explaining such things to their sister, when he had his own children to raise, the Bastard raised above the other two as if they were the illegitimate ones, the embarrassments. But Elia had taken care of that, and so Viserys had taken are of Dany.

Dany hadn't yet understood what death meant, for, even if she was old enough, had heard enough of their father's threats of burning his enemies alive to at least have an idea, Dany had never experiences death herself. But Viserys had been sure to explain it to her then, holding her in his arms and watching her little chest heave with sobs, her face splotchy before she had buried it in the nape of his throat.

He had missed his mother too, thrust into the unfamiliar world of King's Landing with the understanding that he would never have her again, that he would only have Dany, because Rhaegar was too obsessed with his prophecies and their father barely knew Viserys' face on his good days.

But Viserys had been able to tell her, that day, as they sat in the nursery and she sobbed in his arms long after Sansa Stark had been taken away by the servants, that he would always be there for her, that others may come and go but that he would always protect her.

He marveled still in the way that Dany had leaned into his touch, had trusted him so implicitly, then.

She didn't do that, now. Whenever he might suggest it, she would glower at him as if she found him wanting in every way.

Now he wondered if she didn't go running off to Jon, instead, and the notion angered him.

"Dany..." he repeated again, unsure what else to say, but then Daenerys was surging to her feet, and he thought she might run past him and find some other niche to hide in.

She did not.

Instead, Daenerys took two steps and collapsed into Viserys' arms, whole body trembling with the exertion of holding in her tears, and Viserys froze for a moment, not able to remember the last time his little sister had turned to him for comfort.

And then he reached out, running his fingers gently through her moonlit tresses, pressing her more tightly against him and murmuring sweet nothings in her ear.

"It will be all right, Dany," he promised her. "The dragon is undefeatable, after all. No stag could destroy it, and no fever will, either."

Daenerys sniffed against his shoulder, pulled back, her face marred by red eyes and a red nose, lower lip trembling.

"Do you think so?" she asked, voice small and vulnerable as it was not around him unless he hurt her, first.

Viserys smiled, grasping her arms. "Of course, Dany. Our father is a strong man."

The madness had made him so, Viserys couldn't help but think.

Daenerys gave her brother a watery smile. "I hope so," she whispered, and something about her words, uttered in concerned hope for her father, sent an ominous chill down Viserys' spine.

He forced himself to smile, anyway.


 

The King let out a horrible, wracking cough, turning to purge his stomach of its bile once more into the chamber pot that had been laid below his bed for this purpose.

Viserys watched as his father tossed and turned his bed, old sores breaking open once more as the odor from his body, one that reeked of poison, even if the Grandmaester, almost as old as the King at this point, refused to acknowledge it as such.

A malady of the lungs, he claimed. A condition of the heart and lungs beginning to fail at the same time. Only to be expected, with the King's impressive age.

And well he mightn't label it poison, Viserys thought idly, glancing at his brother where he stood in the corner of the room, arms crossed and just enough sadness on his face. Elia Martell, sister of the Red Viper renowned for his poisons, standing primly beside him, their children behind them with matching somber faces.

Jon Targaryen was nowhere to be seen, to disrupt the pretty picture they all made.

Viserys could not remember the last time they had stood together in unity over anything. How ironic.

Of course the Grandmaester, for all of his fumbling and molestations of serving girls, was wise enough to understand when to let an old man die.

Daenerys, at least, did not seem to have understood what was truly going on, believing the old man's lying tongue when he claimed that their father was merely terribly ill. To be expected, during such a hot summer.

She knelt on the floor beside their father's bed, both hands clenched around his feeble, shaking right hand, her head buried in the sheets of the old king's bed.

To her credit, at least the girl was not crying and carrying on before anyone but Viserys, as a princess ought to.

Viserys glanced Rhaegar's way again, saw that the cold grief on his brother's face had given wa to something else at the sight of their little sister's pain. Of course it had. Daenerys had always been the favorite. Their father's favorite, Rhaegar's favorite.

Never Viserys.

Rhaegar was willing to include his cold hearted, disappointment of a wife in whatever he had planned, but would not even include his own brother, the far more obvious choice.

If anyone ought to be included in the decision to kill their father, it should have been Viserys over the Dornishwoman.

The King let out another noise of pain, one that turned into a low growl that Viserys almost expected to lead to fiery breath, and Viserys remembered the first time he had realized that the dragons had taken their father.

Remembered, when he and Daenerys had been brought back to King's Landing from Dragonstone where they had been in seclusion since the war had started, understanding what his father was for the first time.

And that understanding had come far too early, far too young for Daenerys to understand and carry the burden alongside Viserys.

He had lost his mother to Daenerys' birth, and then returned to discover that their father the King could hardly be bothered with the death of his wife, not when there were more Baratheons to burn alive.

Viserys remembered that day, when Elia Martell had sneaked Daenerys off to the nursery where her own children hid, as that dour-faced Stannis Baratheon watched his child brother Renly Baratheon, hardly older than Viserys at the time, burned alive, and then followed him, face full of resignation.

Thus had ended House Baratheon's line for good, and Viserys had been forced to watch, Rhaegar's hand heavy on his shoulder as their father cackled and told his sons that this was right, that they were dragons.

Viserys had known that his father belonged only to the dragons from then on, in a way that Viserys and Rhaegar and Daenerys, trueborn dragons all, never would understand.

Almost as if he knew Viserys' thoughts, the old king began to murmur, "Burn them..."

Viserys swallowed hard, watched as Daenerys' head jerked up where it lay on the bed sheets, her eyes wide and bloodshot.

"Father?" she whispered.

"Burn them," their father whispered again, his eyes filled with a manic light that, for a moment, Viserys almost thought resembled green fire. "Burn them..."

"Your Grace," the Grandmaester murmured, his old cheeks sagging further with the effort of bending over the King where he lay in his bed, "Do not try to speak."

Aerys batted at the Grandmaester. "Do not quiet the dragon!" he roared, thrashing at the sheets strategically placed to hold him down.

The Grandmaester shrank back, glanced at Rhaegar, and then said quietly, "Your Grace, some more tonic. It will help."

He held the small vial out, but Aerys refused to drink, pressing his mouth into a firm, white line and shaking his head, the motion almost frantic.

Viserys narrowed his eyes, glanced back at Rhaegar as the Grandmaester had, and saw, for a moment, the raw look of guilt on his brother's face.

And that was when he knew the truth for certain, with this hint that was even more than the solidarity between Elia and Viserys that he had witnessed of late.

And then Viserys stepped forward, giving the Grandmaester a look that had him scrambling out of the way as Viserys bent down and picked Daenerys up under the arms, pulled her away from their father's bedside.

Daenerys fought him for a moment, and then stilled in his arms, watched without blinking as the Grandmaester moved into the place where she had knelt and once again tried in vain to make the King drink, seemingly believing that they were helping her father.

The King thrashed, screamed that usurpers wished to kill the dragon, and then Rhaegar was moving forward, eyes meeting Viserys' as he went, snatching the poison from the Grandmaester's grip. He pushed the vial against the king's stubbornly shut lips, reached out with his other hand to pry their father's mouth open.

The King let out an inhuman scream that Viserys could not help but think sounded like what he had always imagined the caw of a dragon might, and Rhaegar took the opportunity to shove the contents of the vial down their father's lips.

Daenerys slumped in Viserys' hold, her head lolling back against his chest as she began to quietly sob. Viserys could not even bring herself to be angry by her lack of propriety, able only to watch in horrified fascination as poison trickled down his father's throat from his brother's hand.

"It will be all right, Dany," Viserys wished to whisper, but he could not force the words past his throat now, could only stare as the king's thrashing stilled and he settled more firmly beneath the sheets.

"The, uh, tonic should help him," Grandmaester Pycelle announced, unnecessarily loudly, Viserys couldn't help but think. "Calm him, for now."

Rhaegar nodded blandly. "Perhaps we should leave him to sleep," he murmured, as the king's chest began to rise and fall in a more rhythmic manner.

Elia nodded. "Of course. He needs his rest."

Viserys started to move, found that he couldn't, with the deadweight that Daenerys had suddenly become.

She would not budge, staring at their father with longing, wide eyes, and Viserys gave her a small shake.

"Dany, we should go," he murmured, for he knew that she was consumed by grief, but the little brat was smart. She might realize what had happened, if she was there to watch the poison do its work.

But, it seemed, that was inevitable.

"Burn them all..." Aerys Targaryen whispered out his last quietly on the bed, eyes glazing over with the cold death that had taken Viserys' mother, and Viserys let go of Dany, letting her fall to her knees with a quiet cry, and backed away, his own eyes wide.

He glanced worriedly back at Rhaegar, whose features were now set in stone once more.

The Grandmaester moved forward on hurried footsteps, checking the king's wrist for the blood of life, and then pushing back the lids of his eyes, staring at the glassy, dead orbs before letting those lids fall completely.

He turned back to Rhaegar, to Viserys and Elia.

"The King is dead," the Grandmaester said in a quiet, somber voice, before turning to Rhaegar. "Long live the King."

The dragon was not undefeatable, after all.

Viserys wasn't a fool. He turned and dropped to his knees before his new king at the same time that Aegon did, that Rhaenys turned to her father in a small curtsey.

"My king," Viserys murmured, and the words tasted bitter in his throat.

Elia did not move, expression unchanging and cold. Neither did Dany, where she had fallen to her knees on the floor, staring at their father's bed with a heartbroken expression.


 

"All hail King Rhaegar, First of His Name, King of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and of the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm!"

The room broke out into a cacophony of cheers, and Viserys grimaced, wondered how many of them would still be cheering if they knew that their new king had been a Kingslayer.

Oh, not that he deluded himself into believing that any of these sycophants had loved his father as they ought to have, mad dragon or not. But it was the idea which would so offend them to the core, which would have them calling for another bloody war.

The High Septon placed a golden crown of woven dragons upon Rhaegar's head, and the crowds of people in and outside of the Sept of Baelor seemed to cheer ever louder at the sight.

Beside Rhaegar, Elia too sat on a smaller throne that had been prepared for her, as wife of the king, her smile radiant as she looked out upon her people.

Oberyn Martell was standing in that crowd, Viserys thought. He had arrived in King's Landing for the first time in over seventeen years for this day, for the coronation of his sister's husband, when all of Westeros knew about his feelings about Rhaegar Targaryen.

Viserys could not remember the last time he had seen Elia smile for anyone save her children. And, perhaps, Jaime Lannister.

Viserys glanced around, saw Margaery Tyrell standing with her stooped grandmother in the crowd.

She looked right at him then, as if she could feel his stare, gave him a small smile. Viserys forced himself to smile back at her, moved a little closer to Daenerys where she stood behind him.

Daenerys glanced up at him, expression far too blank for Viserys' liking. She'd been like that since their father's death, since the ceremony to place their father's body in the crypts of the Sept.

But she was accepting his comfort, was looking at him like she used to when the were younger and she thought he was her world.

He gave her a small smile, and Daenerys smiled shyly back at him, before turning back to their brother where he sat on the Iron Throne.

Viserys thought about reaching for her hand, rejected the idea soon after. It was not the place, before so many people.

But, for the first time in some time-

"And as my first act as King, I proclaim that my legitimized son, Jon Targaryen, will be eligible for the throne, after my son Aegon and my daughter Rhaenys," Rhaegar told the crowd, a proud smile on his face.

Shocked silence met these words, and then hesitant clapping that slowly grew louder. Most of the people of King's Landing seemed to like the Bastard, even if Viserys could not understand why.

He ground his teeth, anger filling him. Rhaegar was a fool, elevating a bastard over his own brother and sister.

Viserys barely heard Rhaegar naming Aegon the new Lord of Dragonstone, taking over Rhaegar's own title now that he was king and no longer had need of it; he was too angry.

Beside him, Daenerys' eyes had gone round, like Margaery's did whenever Viserys fucked her with his fingers until she came around them. But she didn't look disgusted, as Viserys was sure he must have.

The bitch.

The rest of the ceremony went by quickly enough, their new King perhaps realizing the stir his naming of Jon as an heir to the throne had caused, and soon enough, Rhaegar stood, taking Elia's hand and walking from the throne room without another word.

As if he could just walk away after fucking Viserys and Daenerys over like that, after elevating a bastard above them.

The dragon was not undefeatable, Viserys thought, an echo of his thoughts when he had watched his father die.

The words seemed less disturbing, now, and more of a comfort than he wished to admit.

"Your Grace," Margaery was suddenly standing before him, Daenerys having disappeared in the interim, and he realized now that Margaery wore a light green gown, sheer once more with rather strategically placed black roses covering all of her that would have otherwise been considered objectional in public.

He wondered if the gown was strategic in other ways, as well.

He swallowed, allowing his eyes to rove down her form even under the disapproving stare of the old Queen of Thorns, where she stood beside her granddaughter, leaning rather heavily on her cane.

Viserys forced a smile, had a feeling she didn't believe it genuine at all. "Lady Margaery."

Her face fell. "If I might say so, Your Grace, that was a disgrace, just now."

Viserys eyed her, appreciated the words, but, "You may, but perhaps not here." He glanced around at the large crowd meaningfully.

Margaery was, thankfully enough, a smart girl, and seemed to understand his words instantly. She glanced at her grandmother, and then presented Viserys with a bright smile. "Of course. I anticipate that the Princess will not need me just now; perhaps we might spend some time in one another's company, until then?"

Viserys raised a brow, closed his eyes for a moment. The dragon is not undefeatable. Margaery threw her head back and gasped as he fucked her in his mind, as her face morphed with Daenerys' look of wide-eyed delight as Jon was named eligible for their birthright.

"I would like that," he told her, and then glanced at the fearsome Tyrell matron. "If that is acceptable to your grandmother."

No doubt, with her reputation, the old shrew already knew somewhat of their activities, but Viserys would not begrudge her the social niceties expected in public.

The Queen of Thorn's eyes narrowed in what Viserys thought almost resembled amusement. "Normally, I might suggest a chaperone," she said, in her throaty, cool tones, "but I am feeling a bit under the weather with all of this talk of bastards, and far too many flowers these days have been off too far to walk after. I shall have to trust the two of your discretion."

Margaery's lips twitched into a smirk. "We won't do anything you wouldn't approve of, Grandmother," she said, reaching out and patting the old woman's hand in what appeared to be a rather condescending manner.

Olenna Tyrell sniffed. "Indeed," she said, and then she was leaving the two of them alone, though not fast enough, Viserys thought, with idle irritation.

He took Margaery by the arm, reveling in how easily she went with him without protesting, pulling her along several corridors until they had made it to his chambers. Dany would have fought him off, would have pushed his hands away from her and told him that he was overreaching himself.

Perhaps the Tyrell girl wasn't enough for the dragon, either.

He took her back to his rooms, kissed her hard when she attempted to give him useless sympathies, fucked her mouth with his tongue when she murmured over the injustice of what had happened until she finally understood and shut the fuck up, as he wanted.

And later, when they lay tangled in his bed sheets after he had fucked her mercilessly with his fingers, she did not speak of it until he brought it up, the words weighing heavily on his chest until he spoke them aloud.

"He has betrayed me by doing this," Viserys whispered, unable to rail angrily as he wished to, shocked only into silence. That a bastard would be elevated above him...unthinkable.

"I am so sorry he did that to you, my love," Margaery whispered, pressing sweet kisses onto his chest. "It was very cruel not to warn you."

Viserys shoved her away. He didn't want her pity, after all. He wanted...

"I want to fuck you," Viserys said suddenly, and Margaery blinked up at him with those wide, doe eyes that seemed so innocent.

They always looked the most innocent when he made her scream.

"Your Grace-" she began, voice carefully hesitant. As well it might have been, before a prince. She bit her lip. "I have told you, my maidenhood belongs to my husband."

Viserys groaned. "Then we ought to find you one," he gritted out. "I grow tired of waiting for what is mine."

To his surprise, rather than acting affronted as Dany always did when Viserys claimed her maidenhood as his, one day, Margaery looked nothing but sympathetic.

"Of course, Your Grace. I have had...several offers, since you elevated me to a position amongst Princess Daenerys' ladies, but..."

"But none of them worthy of you," Viserys said, with a small sigh. None of them were worthy of what Viserys himself wished to touch.

Margaery batted her eyes at him. "I find that all pale in comparison before you, my love, but...yes. My father would settle for nothing but a great lord." Her eyes traveled over his naked form suggestively.

Viserys eyed her warily. "Indeed. I am a dragon, after all." He reached out, brushing her cheek. "What could any of the other Houses hope for, beside me?"

Margaery gave him an almost shy laugh, leaning her cheek into his touch. "You are right, my love. They have nothing in comparison with you."

Viserys nodded, clearing his throat as he sat up and turned his back on her, reaching for his boots. "If only my fool of a brother could understand such."

Margaery sat up, allowing the sheets to fall from her lithe form and reveal her glistening, naked skin. Viserys allowed himself another glance, a small smirk on his features.

"Give him time, my love," she murmured. "The death of your father King Aerys weighs heavily upon us all. Perhaps all he needs is time to come to his senses."

Viserys' brows furrowed. "Yes," he murmured idly, as he slipped an arm into the sleeve of his black shirt after picking it up from where it had fallen in a heap on the floor earlier. "Perhaps."

He doubted it, though.


 

Viserys could not believe the ease with which the noble houses took the information that Jon was to be elevated in the line of succession ahead of his legitimate relatives, whatever a sheet of paper had declared him after Rhaegar had spent weeks harping on their father the king for even that little blessing for his worthless bastard.

There had not been a single protest, he had learned from Lord Varys, where he sat upon the Small Council as the Master of Whispers, about the elevation of the boy. No one had uttered a hesitation about the king's first decision.

It seemed they feared what his reaction would be.

And Viserys might have held his tongue, might have bitten down the anger of a dragon for a little while longer, until he could ensure that his brother saw reason, if it were not for what Viserys saw, on his way to find Daenerys.

She had been...particularly fragile, of late, he thought, since the death of their father, and this would no doubt have her in pieces.

It was true, Viserys had avoided going to speak with her altogether for the first day after the coronation, too annoyed with her jubilance after hearing of the Bastard's elevation, but she had no doubt come down from that now.

Realized what it meant.

He let himself into her chambers, found her standing at her balcony, back to him, wearing a flowing pink dress and looking the picture of innocence as she stared out at the harbor, and Viserys allowed himself a small moment to watch her, imagined combing his fingers through her hair after a long day upon the throne that was rightfully his, and then filling her with his seed as she smiled at him the same way Margaery did.

Viserys took a step forward, and then paused, watched as the fucking bastard who lived to steal everything from him stepped into his place behind Daenerys where she leaned against the balcony, wrapping his arms around her and chuckling lowly when she squeaked in surprise.

"Jon," she murmured, spinning in his arms, and Viserys moved behind the half wall separating her bedchamber from the balcony, watched with roiling disgust as his sister smiled so widely at the Bastard.

"Dany," the Bastard murmured, the name Viserys had given the little whore, and Viserys felt something cold and angry slither up his throat as he watched the bastard trace Daenerys' neckline, the pads of his fingers so soft.

If anything, her smile grew. She never smiled at Viserys like that, anymore.

"You startled me," she said, just loudly enough for Viserys to hear. She never sounded so breathlessly happy when Viserys startled her, he couldn't help but think.

Jon snorted. "You were thinking so loudly, I don't think it would have been possible not to."

She gave their bastard cousin a tittering laugh. "I'm usually the one accusing you of that." She paused, bit her lip. "I think it might finally happen now, Jon."

"Dany-" Viserys could not see the Bastard's face, but he could imagine it well enough. Gloating.

"You know how the King my brother favors you. If you were to but ask him, to tell him that it would make you happy..." Daenerys trailed off, took Jon's hands in her own. "Would make us happy," she corrected herself.

Viserys suddenly understood her meaning, heard the words she hadn't yet said and Jon seemed too shy to, and saw a sudden, violent red. He stormed from her chambers, suddenly uncaring if the little bitch and the Bastard heard him, stormed with fists clenched until he found his way to the King's chambers.

Jaime Lannister stood outside of them, looking far too smug, for Viserys' liking.

"My prince," he murmured, not sounding at all sincere. He was the only fucking Kingsguard who could get away with that, and knew it.

Viserys lifted his chin. "I want to speak with my brother."

Jaime smirked. "The King is attending to important matters of state, Your Grace. You could..."

"This is important," Viserys gritted out, and Ser Jaime must have been startled by whatever he saw in Viserys' face, for he let out a small breath.

"I will tell the King you wish to speak with him," he said, but when he opened the door to the King's chambers, to Viserys' father's old chambers, Viserys swept past him with an angry murmur.

"Your Grace!" Ser Jaime called after him, and Rhaegar's head lifted from where it was bent over a dozen papers at their father's old desk, eyes flitting from Viserys to Jaime.

"Viserys, I am sure that Ser Jaime-"

"Your Grace, I tried to tell him that you were-"

"I must speak with you," Viserys gritted out, through clenched teeth. "If you do not send away your dog, then I will say what I need to here, before him."

Rhaegar glanced at Ser Jaime, whose hand was already raised to escort Viserys from the room, and his eyes hardened.

"I will handle this, Ser Jaime. You may go."

Ser Jaime looked somewhere between amused and annoyed, giving Viserys one final look that was definitely annoyed before sweeping from the room, his white cloak flying out behind him.

When the door had slammed behind him, Rhaegar turned to Viserys with a raised, imperious brow. "What is it, Viserys?"

And that was as long as Viserys could rein in his anger, seeing the superior look on his brtoher's face, after what he had done.

"When will I marry Dany?" Viserys demanded, and Rhaegar lifted his head, surprise filling his features. "She is a woman grown and flowered now, and her marriage has been put off for too long."

"Daenerys will go to Jon, to strengthen his claim to House Targaryen and his legitimacy," Rhaegar said, and Viserys felt the blood rushing from his face.

"What?" he demanded.

His brother gave him a long look. "You will marry into the Lannister family, to keep them close. I understand Myrcella Lannister is a beautiful girl."

"A child," Viserys said dismissively. Red hot rage shattered through him. He would not marry Myrcella Lannister.

Rhaegar shrugged. "They say she has a grace and beauty to rival her mother's."

Viserys felt his jaw clench, knew he should leave well enough alone, even if he didn't give a fuck about Cersei Lannister and how beautiful her daughter was, but "Daenerys is mine."

Rhaegar lifted a brow. "Is she?" he asked, tone idle as he flipped a bit of silver hair behind his ears. "Is that not only my decision to make, as her eldest brother and king?"

Viserys swallowed. "It has been the tradition of House Targaryen for hundreds of years, brother," he said through gritted teeth.

Rhaegar smirked. "Traditions change, Viserys," he said coolly. "As you well know, we are often the better for them, and we must keep the stability of the Realm. No. You will marry Myrcella Lannister, Aegon will marry Arianne Martell, and Dany will marry Jon."

"The stability of the Realm?" Viserys cried, not bothering to ask the more pertinent question; why Rhaegar did not marry Rhaenys to the bloody bastard and leave Daeners to whom she belonged. "You mean the safety of your bastard!"

Utter silence met his words, and Viserys knew he had gone too far, then, when Rhaegar looked up at him with cold eyes.

"That is enough, Viserys."

Viserys knew it was enough, and yet the dragon had been awakened, and would not heed reason because a man who was only half a dragon bade him not to.

"Did you kill our father for your bastard?" Viserys raged.

"Viserys!" Rhaegar snapped, looking affronted, the liar, and Viserys stared at him, hands clenching at his sides.

Rhaegar took a few deep breaths. "I think you should go and calm yourself, Brother," he said coolly. "You are clearly unwell."

Viserys closed his eyes, tempered the dragon. He would not apologize, but he dipped his head in what he hoped Rhaegar would believe was an apology.

"I will go, now," Viserys said quietly, and Rhaegar nodded, waved him away as he returned to his paperwork. Viserys could see that he would get nowhere with his brother, here.

Chapter Text

His sister loved taking warm baths, Viserys knew, at the end of a long day, and it was there that Viserys found her, just outside of her chambers in the Maidenvault.

Her servants scrambled away at the sight of him, knowing better than to stand between Viserys and his sister. Is the Stark bitch was there, she might have tried, but Viserys hadn't seen much of her lately. No doubt, she was off licking her wounds somewhere, after being forced to visit her parents for the first time in so long.

And so Daenerys was alone, and Viserys found himself creeping forward silently, not wanting to gain her attention just yet.

He watched her, lithe arms gently scrubbing her body with perfumes and soaps, completely unaware that she was being watched. She was half-submerged in the pool, warm bubbles reaching just to her waist and unfortunately covering everything below it in a sheen of white.

Gods, she was beautiful. If he weren't so angry with Rhaegar, Viserys might have been more than tempted to spin her around and take her here and now.

As it was, he doubted that Margaery Tyrell would prove enough of a temptation, tonight. Anger and lust was a hard thing for any but a dragon to sate.

Daenerys' hand took a round ball of soap beneath the water, and Viserys licked his lips, imagined the soft way she now scrubbed at her cunny. Imagined that the smell breath of air that erupted from her lips came from a reaction to his own touch, rather than hers.

Daenerys' moon white hair stuck in long tresses to her back, moving with her shoulder movements, and Viserys crouched down behind her, reaching out and running his fingers through that hair.

Daenerys froze, half-turned.

"Dany," he murmured, and watched as she jumped, spinning around in the warm pool and causing a small ripple to go out from her body. She let out a small cry when she realized that his fingers were wrapped in her wet, tangled hair, tugging it none too gently when she started to move away from him.

"Viserys," she murmured, wincing, "What are you doing here?"

Viserys smirked, rubbing his thumb and index finger over silver hair. "I just came to visit my little sister. I did not expect her to be doing anything...indecent, when I arrived."

Daenerys colored, attempted to pull away from him only to find that his grip on her hair would not allow her to do so without some pain. She sighed, leaning back towards him. "I was bathing, Viserys, that is all."

Viserys hummed noncommittally, gave her hair a punishing tug. "And I suppose you were just talking with Jon, earlier?"

Daenerys' nose scrunched up in a way Viserys had once found adorable. Now, he just found it irritating. "Am I no longer allowed to speak with my own nephew, Viserys?"

"He's hardly that," Viserys muttered dismissively, crouching down in front of the bath. "He's just a bastard."

Viserys enjoyed the way Daenerys flinched when he called Jon a bastard. Would have enjoyed it more if he didn't worry about what it meant.

Viserys took a bit more of her hair into his iron grip, pushed down hard on her shoulder with his other hand, forcing her to turn away from him once more.

Daenerys went, a small frown puckering her pretty pink lips, and Viserys let go of her shoulder, reached out for the soap bar she had abandoned in her surprise at seeing him. Began to rub in on the shoulder he had just been touching.

Daenerys' body stiffened for a moment, and then he watched as she forced herself to relax, waited as Viserys calmly rubbed the soap over her shoulders, down into the hollow of her throat.

"Viserys-"

"I just came from speaking to Rhaegar," Viserys said suddenly, and Daenerys' carefully controlled calm vanished.

She opened her mouth to say something, but not before Viserys moved the soap bar down to her left breast, rubbing it in small circles about her nipple.

She let out a small gasp that couldn't disguise her pleasure at the touch, and then whispered, "Viserys, please."

Viserys smirked, pushed the soap into her breast a little harder in warning, enjoyed the feeling of scraping it over her hardening nipple. "He told me something fascinating. We are to be married, Dany. You will finally be my wife, as it ought to be."

She did turned around then, heedless of his continued grip in her hair, the soap bar falling into the bath between them. "That's not true."

Viserys grinned. "Isn't it? Why don't we go and ask our death brother what he has to say about it?"

Daenerys squinted at him. And then she climbed out of the pool, stood naked and dripping before him on the stone floor.

Viserys allowed himself a small moment to appreciate the view he had waited far too long to see, and then stood to his feet as she moved away from him, toward one of the sheer white bath robes hanging up near the door.

Viserys moved forward in two great strides, grabbing his sister by the arm and spinning her around to face him.

Daenerys frowned at him, attempting to pull her wrist free for a few moments, before gritting out, "You're lying. When we go to Rhaegar, he will tell me as much."

Viserys smirked. "I am," he agreed, and saw the relief in her eyes at the words, and hated it. "But I think you already knew that."

Two high spots of red appeared on his sister's cheeks, and she refused to meet his gaze.

A spark of rage rushed through Viserys, and he grabbed his sister's right breast before she could pull away from him, glad of the fear that entered her eyes once more when he did so.

"What are you plotting, little sister?" Viserys demanded, squeezing her little breast until the point of pain, and Daenerys gasped, tried to pull away only to find that this made her situation worse.

"Vis-"

"Rhaegar might have thought to marry you to Jon on your own," Viserys continued, squeezing until her supple skin puckered and reddened beneath his touch, "But he dotes on you just as Father did. He would not have made this decision without asking how you felt about it."

Daenerys' thin pink lips set into a line. "He is the King. We cannot question his judgment," she said calmly.

Viserys rolled his eyes. "Tell me what you said to him. He has not trusted me since he took the fucking throne."

She swallowed. "Viserys, you're hurting me."

He glanced down at his fingers, where they squeezed around her breast, let them loosen and heard her small gasp of gratitude as her pale breast blossomed in red and pink, nipple and the skin around it hardened into a small cone. He hoped it bruised.

"You are my brother," Daenerys said quietly. "Of course I would say nothing against you."

But Viserys looked into her eyes, and saw that the little bitch was lying. If she were his wife, he'd have her lying tongue cut out. He might miss it in the bedchamber, but he could have Margaery use her pretty tongue while he fucked his sister. Gods knew that whore would be happy enough to do so.

And he would fuck Daenerys. He would have her, no matter how many pretty lies she told Rhaegar.

So, instead of that, he slapped her, watched as a pretty red handprint bloomed out across the side of her nose and her cheek.

She gasped, more at the pain then out of any surprise, he couldn't help but think, feeling slightly triumphant and wanting nothing more, in this moment, than to do it again.

When he raised his hand a second time, Daenerys' own grabbed it by the wrist, held it an iron grip that his little, bony sister could not have been capable of. Her fingers twitched. Viserys winced as the bones of his hand ground against the back of his wrists.

"Let me go, you stupid girl," he hissed at her, but Daenerys only gave him a calm, almost otherworldly smile.

"You will never touch me again," Daenerys said quietly.

"Dany, I said let me go!" he snapped.

She did not seem to hear him. "You will never raise your hand to me. I will be closer to the throne when I marry Jon than you will ever be, and you will be nothing but another dragon that will never have the throne, Viserys."

He gaped at her as she turned and stalked to the doorway, looking every bit the queen.

And then he stammered out, "But you will never have the throne, either, Sister," he snapped, because it was the only weapon he had left, and when she froze with her back still to him, Viserys grabbed her by the arm and swung her around to face him, pinching harder than he knew was necessary because he loved the look of pain that flashed across her face before it vanished altogether.

She lifted her chin, opened her mouth to say something that would no doubt be witty, but Viserys only smirked and interrupted her.

"You will be married to a bastard, and when Rhaegar dies and the meager protection he keeps for the boy is gone, I wonder who will tear him apart first, Aegon and the Martells, or me." His smile widened. "And when he's gone, you'll come crawling back to me for protection, sweet sister. Don't delude yourself into thinking otherwise."

Daenerys swallowed, a spark of fear entering her eyes before she tempered it low. And then, something in her expression changed, a hardness entering her eyes that Viserys had never seen there before.

He dropped her arm.

"I would rather die alongside Jon then live as your wife," Daenerys told him plainly, and then turned on her heel and strode from the room.

Viserys stared after her, eyes wide and lips parted blankly, her words ringing in his ears long after she was gone, the anger he should have felt, the stubborn determination, replaced only with numbness.

~

"You must hate working for my sister Dany," Viserys said one day, as he kept Margaery in his bed, one hand between her thighs while the other gently massaged the smooth lines of her stomach.

Margaery let out a tittering laugh. It was the first time he had heard it and realized how fake it sounded. "Why, Your Grace, what a thing to say. Your sister is a princess. And you were the one who elevated me to that position."

He snorted, pinching at the lips of her cunt until she gasped from something other than pleasure and squirmed beneath him. "An act you would be within your rights to hate me for."

Margaery turned on her side, neatly pushing his fingers from her cunt as her thighs closed, and smiled bemusedly at him.

"I could never hate you, my prince." She reached up, brushed at his hair, and he leaned into the touch. Into the lie. "Whatever fallout you and your sweet sister have had, I am sure you will find your way through it."

He groaned, flopping back onto the bed. "Perhaps. But Rhaegar and I won't."

Margaery stilled. "Have you had a falling out with the King?" she asked, question pointed, and he hated her a little more for being good at the game, when Dany had always been a blunt instrument.

Viserys closed his eyes. "With every passing hour, I find that Rhaegar is not the King I always hoped he would be. He has denied me..." he glanced at Margaery, suddenly wanted very much to fuck her, future husband be damned.

When he was king, he could order whomever he wanted to marry this girl, and still fuck her on the Iron Throne in front of a thousand courtiers.

"You should be king instead of Rhaegar," his pretty rose whispered against his skin, as if she had read his very thoughts, and Viserys smirked, tracing a line in her naked skin.

"I should," he agreed. "But I am the second son, not the first."

Margaery shrugged, nuzzling her head against his neck. "Many of the Great Houses did not approve of what happened during Robert's Rebellion, to Lady Lyanna, for all that they also do not approve of his legitimizing of her bastard," she whispered, and he let her thorns seep into his mind, because he wanted to hear them, as much as he hated to hear that wolf bitch referred to as a lady. "They have little love for Prince Rhaegar."

"He is King now," he corrected her.

She laughed. "He is king today," she told him, and Viserys snorted.

Margaery reached down between them, grasping Viserys' cock in her hands and stroking it softly, until he was groaning and thrusting into her hand, just as he had taught her to do not so long ago.

She was so very good at it. Perhaps, when he became King, she could teach Daenerys. The little witch was appalling at it, and she would need to learn it soon enough.

He shuddered at the thought of Margaery and Daenerys together, leaking into Margaery's willing hand, her strokes growing faster, shorter.

"House Tyrell would certainly rather bow the knee to a...strong and loved king, than to Prince Rhaegar," she whispered as he began to leak into her skilled hand. Too damn skilled, for his having only taught her weeks ago. "And if House Tyrell acted, others would follow. House Stark, I think, and House Martell, for even if they hold no love for us, they hold less for him."

"House Martell will only support Prince Aegon as a king," he told her, with some amusement. "Elia is theirs, after all."

She squeezed his balls behind his cock, and Viserys groaned.

"I think not," she told him. "They know that Elia has no love for Rhaegar since he left her bed, and while they would certainly rather a Martell King, they hate him enough that they might just support another, if their children were given...certain assurances."

He blinked at her. "What assurances?"

She smiled. "Marry Daenerys to Aegon, and Rhaenys to Doran Martell's son, Quentyn."

He stiffened at that thought, no longer close to spilling his seed. "Daenerys is mine."

Margaery bent her head, cheeks flushing. "Your Grace, I never meant anything otherwise. But you have made no promises to me, and I should not assumed..." she paused, glancing up at him under hooded eyes. "Only, it would be my family standing beside you with an army."

He waved a hand dismissively, a low laugh in his throat. "You are doing what you know to be the right course, Margaery, and the dragon thanks you for your loyalty, but a dragon cannot be tamed by aught but another dragon. You have kept my bed warm enough, though, and you will be rewarded with a good husband when I am king."

Her pretty mouth twisted into a small frown. "My lord-"

He decided that there were better things that her mouth could be doing, and grabbed a handful of her hair, dragging her lips down to his cock.

He supposed Dany might have bitten him, if he'd tried a move like that, but Margaery merely swallowed him whole as he'd taught her to do, never protesting, like a good little whore, and within moments, he was spilling his seed into her mouth and pretending her throat belonged to a dragon.

It was no matter, though. He would have his sister as soon as he was king.

And then he could break her pretty neck while she watched Jon Waters burned alive by the dragons.

Viserys' seed spilled far faster into Margaery's fat lips, the second time.

~

Lord Mace arrived in King’s Landing not long after Margaery had sent one of her most trusted ladies with a note to fetch him, puffed full of self-importance at the thought of placing the next king on the throne of Westeros. At first, hearing him brag about Highgarden's willingness to defend a dragon, Viserys had felt irritation, and then unease, before Margaery had assured him that her father could keep a secret, despite how he was perceived by the public.

With Highgarden's impressive army behind him, for the first time in Viserys' life, he had no doubts that the throne could be his.

Lord Mace was a milksop of a fool, but a few sweet words and the promise of a good husband for Margaery had convinced him to do everything Viserys needed of him.

They needed allies, of course, and while Viserys had considered going to an actual lord with an army, Margaery had suggested Littlefinger, citing how kind he had been to her family when they had first arrived in King's Landing.

Viserys had at first balked at the idea, for while he knew the man had been fiercely courting Lady Lysa Arryn, the widow of that traitor, he also knew that Lord Baelish owned nothing more than his brothels and the information he bartered amongst the noble houses.

Still, Margaery had insisted. She claimed that only with Lord Baelish's assistance might they win other houses, for House Tyrell had made few friends amongst the Martells, and were not well trusted by the Houses of the North.

And it was the Houses of the North that they would require assistance from the most, for these were the most likely to turn against Rhaegar after what had happened to Lady Lyanna.

As much as it sickened Viserys to be championing a cause that turned against Rhaegar for any reason that had to do with Lyanna Stark, he could use that for now.

When he was King, the Houses would know his true feelings on the matter, and those who refused to bend the knee would be punished severely for it.

No doubt the Martells would be furious that Aegon and Rhaenys had been passed over for the throne, but Viserys could not be bothered with that. They were only partly dragon, after all, and only a dragon could sit the Iron Throne.

They would understand, because they would have to, once they all bent the knee to a true dragon.

Viserys had found Littlefinger right where Margaery had claimed he would be, in a near-abandoned corridor with only the servants passing by, reprimanding a young woman whom Viserys thought he recognized as one of the whores from Littlefinger's brothels.

"Lord Baelish," Viserys murmured, waiting until the mousy man turned around and the little whore scurried off before speaking again. "A word, if you please?"

A small smile spread across Littlefinger's face, as he stepped closer.

"How may I serve you, Your Grace?" he sounded almost tired, and Viserys felt a flash of indignation rush through him. How dare the man treat Viserys as some lackey!

"Another woman, perhaps?" Littlefinger asked idly, for all of King's Landing knew of Viserys' love for the brothels that Littlefinger owned, for all that he loathed the man. When Rhaegar had made it clear that he would not have Viserys besmirching their family name by spending so much time there, Viserys had come to a comfortable arrangement with Littlefinger, to secret girls into his rooms in the palace, disguised as maids.

Of course, that had all become less of an arrangement, when Rhaegar took the throne. Along with the embarrassment that had been Viserys' downward placing in the succession, he had lost a significant portion of the allowance which came with being the son of a king.

Rhaegar might notice, if he ran out of it so quickly, and besides, Viserys had Margaery, now. She was as good as any whore most of the time, even if she stubbornly would not allow him to fuck her.

Viserys pursed his lips. "Perhaps, if we might speak in private?" he asked. "My chambers, even."

Littlefinger's eyes gleamed with interest. "I would be delighted to speak on any matter which concerns you, Your Grace."

All stage play, of course. Margaery had already arranged this meeting with Lord Baelish, since her family had become so close to his since her arrival here, and Lord Baelish at least had an idea of what Viserys wished to discuss with him.

But let anyone listening in believe it was only the procurement of whores. That was better than treason.

They made the journey to Viserys' rooms in silence, and Viserys latched the door behind himself, glanced at Baelish where he stood in the middle of Viserys' chambers as if he owned them.

He did not like this plan, of trusting a man known to be as supercilious as Littlefinger with the very fate of the realm. But, even when Margaery had made the suggestion, no doubt under the dictation of her own father, Viserys had known there were few better choices. Varys may have been loyal, but he was loyal to House Targaryen, not just to one of them.

"Some wine?" Viserys asked, hating playing at host but finding it necessary, for the moment, at least.

Littlefinger gave him a long look, and then took the glass that Viserys already held out to him. Stared at it for a long moment, an expression on his face that Viserys was rather annoyed he couldn't place, before taking a sip.

And then another.

"Lady Margaery has made you...cognizant of our plans?" Viserys asked, and Littlefinger narrowed his eyes, brows furrowing, almost as if he were confused by something, before his expression cleared.

"She has...made subtle hints," he said finally. "Enough that I might put together the plan for myself."

Viserys nodded. She had been discrete then, as he had bade her to be. "I wish to depose my brother, and take his place upon the Iron Throne. House Tyrell has pledged me their support." He narrowed his eyes at Lord Baelish. "Do I have yours? I understand that your influence is....considerably larger than you would have anyone believe."

Littlefinger gave him a small smirk. "A diplomatic way of putting it, Your Grace."

Viserys' eyes narrowed. "And?"

"Recent events have made me...almost as leery of our new king's rule as the last," Littlefinger said with a regretful sounding sigh, stirring his finger in his wine and bringing his finger to his lips. Viserys struggled not to grimace. "I would be...interested, in a change, if what you and I have to offer one another is beneficial enough to make that change."

Viserys nodded, pleased. "Good. Good. I promise you, Lord Baelish, when I am king and a true dragon sits upon the Iron Throne once more, you will have my...considerable gratitude."

Baelish smiled. "I am happy enough to be of service, Your Grace. But I must ask you, what has brought this on?" Lord Baelish asked.

Viserys sniffed. "My brother betrayed the dragons, Lord Baelish," he said quietly, and then, quieter still, "I believe he killed my father. A kinslayer and kingslayer should not be our next king, would you not agree?"

"There are many who would not, Your Grace," Littlefinger said carefully, taking this news of the cause of the king's death in stride. "Your father was a...cruel man."

Viserys tossed his hair behind his ears. "My brother has, in one simple week, killed my father, named his bastard eligible for the throne, and decided marriages for all of the dragons without consulting the Small Council." He affected a look of concern. "I grow worried that this is only the beginning."

"The beginning?" Baelish asked, eyebrows lifting.

Viserys nodded. "Or perhaps Lady Lyanna Stark was the beginning," he said gravely.

Baelish raised a brow at that. "Perhaps she was. I know there are many who blame the wanton cruelty of the war on your lord father, may he rest in peace, but they seem to forget that it was your brother who instigated it. Speaking of the Stark girl, however, what would you have done with her bastard? There are many who also...disapprove of his current position."

"Indeed." Viserys set down his wine. He had known there would be, even if they were too cowardly to open their mouths. "I would have him killed for daring to take what belongs to those who are the rightful heirs of our House."

"A sound notion, Your Grace," Baelish said, looking amused.

Viserys breathed out slowly through his nose. "So. Do I have your allegiance?"

"My assistance," Baelish answered blithely, setting down his own glass. "But I am afraid that, while my influence is, as you stated, wide, I will need more than just that to gather what you seek. The support of certain strategic houses who would not otherwise cast their lot in me, will come at a heavy price."

Viserys steepled his fingers together, a small smirk lifting his lips. "What did you have in mind?"

~

Margaery was better behaved, the next time he saw her, more like the dragon that had first attracted him to her.

He had actually come to Daenerys' chambers to see his sister, ore confident in his plan now that he had Lord Baelish's assistance and wanting to see the look of smugness in Daenerys' own eyes falter when she saw it.

Daenerys had been dressed, unfortunately, giggling on one of her sofas next to Sansa Stark and a few other of her ladies, Margaery seated the furthest from her lady, but glancing occasionally at Sansa Stark.

Viserys was surprised to see that Sansa Stark was staring back just as much, and didn't know what to make of that. Didn't know what to make of their relationship at all; why a girl of a noble, upstanding House would even pretend at being friends with the little wolf was beyond him.

Perhaps he would have to have a talk with her about it, at some point.

"Viserys," Daenerys said, the pretty smile on her face vanishing when she spotted her brother.

Once he would have found that just annoying. Now, though, after what she had said to him, the words still ringing in his ears like some sort of prophecy, Viserys struggled not to shudder.

Margaery glanced up at the moment Daenerys said his name, eyes going wide as she spotted him, and then she did something strange; she reached down to the table between the sofas littering the room, and picked up an apple, rather than standing and curtseying to her prince, as the other girls did.

Viserys frowned to see it, reminded himself that he was winning.

"Dany," Viserys said, careful to keep his tone light, "I don't suppose you heard about..." he paused, watched the way Margaery Tyrell's plump lips wrapped around the red apple she held, her legs parting slightly on the sofa, just enough to be unladylike, as she took a loud bite from the apple.

He swallowed.

"Yes, brother?" Daenerys asked, eyes narrowing, the same look she had given him the other day, when she had told him he would never touch her again. "You don't suppose I've heard...what?"

Viserys found his bearings. "Only that our dear niece Rhaenys is looking for you. Apparently, Prince Oberyn has brought her some rather impressive horses from Dorne, and he has one for you, as well."

Daenerys squealed, her anger with Viserys seemingly forgotten, jumping to her feet and rushing from the room, followed closely by the rest of her ladies, save for Sansa, who hesitated behind a little longer, glancing between where Margaery still sat on the couch, quietly moaning into her apple, and where Viserys stared at her.

"I believe you have somewhere to be, girl," Viserys snapped at her in annoyance, and Sansa glanced at him, a spark of fire in her eyes that he had not seen there for some time.

"As does Lady Margaery," she murmured evenly.

Viserys chuckled lowly. "Your fellow lady is safe with me. There is something I wish to...discuss with her."

Sansa glanced at Margaery, as if the other girl's word was more important that Viserys', he thought, eyes widening.

Margaery smiled prettily. "Go on, Sansa," she said lightly. "I'll be just fine."

Sansa still hesitated, and Viserys snarled, reaching out and grabbing her arm, bodily shoving the redhead toward the door.

When they were alone, Viserys rounded on Margaery, slapped her across the cheek, enjoying the way the skin beneath his hand reddened while the rest of her paled.

"My prince?" she stammered out in surprise, and Viserys regarded her with distaste.

"You will never make a fool of me in front of my sister again, do you understand?" he demanded, inching closer to her.

Margaery's eyes went wide. "Your Grace, I'm sorry, I didn't mean-"

He raised his hand. "No more lies, my sweet," he murmured. "Not when we are so close to victory."

Margaery's eyes flashed, and she glanced toward the door, which the Stark girl had shut behind her. How boring.

And then, his little rose smirked. "Yes, my love," she murmured, going down on her knees before Viserys. "So close."

He swallowed hard, watched as her deft fingers undid the silver clasps of his trousers, pushed them idly out of the way to free his cock.

Now it was Viserys glancing behind them, not particularly caring, as Margaery did, if he ruined this girl's reputation, but not wanting Daenerys to come back in.

Margaery's hot, wet mouth wrapped around his cock, and Viserys smiled, closed his eyes and thought of how, in a matter of months, if all went well, Daenerys would be doing this while he sat on the Iron Throne.

Viserys reached out, hand wrapping around Margaery's hair and tugging. She moaned around his cock.

"I'll find you some boring, mousy husband, when I am King," Viserys promised her. "Someone with a lot of lands and fancy titles to please your father, but someone who wouldn't dare question his king."

Margaery's teeth grazed against the underside of his cock, and Viserys whimpered, legs growing rather weak.

He dragged her off of his cock by her hair, relished the mussed, almost dazed expression on her face before he walked her backwards toward the sofa, pushed her down onto it.

She glanced up at him, eyes slanting in question as Viserys peeled off the rest of his trousers and reached for his black shirt, motioned for her to undress herself.

She did so with obvious relish, her plain green gown falling down to her waist, and Viserys pushed it down further, glanced at her as he pushed his cock against her stomach, watched precum leak off of it and onto her silky skin.

"And when you've married him, I'm going to finally fuck you," Viserys continued, eyes glinting at the very idea.

Beneath him, Margaery moaned, arched up as her fingers reached for his cock once more, dragged along the length of it in slow, gentle strokes.

Viserys closed his eyes. "We'll see what my dear sister has to think about that."

The dragging of her fingers abruptly paused, and Viserys opened his eyes, glanced down at Margaery and found he couldn't quite read her expression.

"You're very angry with her, aren't you?" she whispered, and Viserys hesitated for a moment, before deciding he might as well be honest. Margaery had been so honest a conquest with him, after all.

He nodded. "She doesn't know her place. She belongs to me, and yet...she doesn't know it. And she's become more and more infuriating by the day."

Margaery tutted sympathetically. "You could just have her killed, when you are king," she suggested, voice quiet. "For all of her treasons against you."

Viserys stared at the young woman underneath him for a beat, and then a beat longer. And then, the dragon roared inside of him, and, his right hand curled partly into a fist, he brought it slamming down on her cunny, relished the feel of soft skin bending underneath his touch, of the bones around womanhood bruising because of him.

Margaery gasped, this time arching upward in pain, and Viserys watched as tears filled her wide eyes, but didn't fall. He admired her for that. It was the sort of steel Daenerys had within her.

He grabbed her by the chin, forced her to look him in the eyes.

"Don't ever suggest that again, Lady Margaery," he warned her. "Or the dragon will know no bounds."

She nodded shakily. "Of-Of course, Your Grace," she whispered, voice hoarse.

~

"You've been summoned by the King in the throne room," Jaime Lannister said, and Viserys stared at him, face going as white as a sheet as he scrambled to hide the papers he had been looking at on his desk.

"What is this about?" he demanded, swallowing hard and composing himself. If Littlefinger had dared to turn on him...

But he was a dragon. No one would dare to believe a mockingbird over a dragon, and Littefinger had seemed to take his side in the matter with enthusiasm.

Ser Jaime did not present his usual attitude today. Viserys had noticed that he had been somewhat tempered, since his father had arrived in King's Landing, taking up the title of Hand of the King once more.

One would think the Kingsguard would be proud of that fact, but Jaime Lannister looked anything but. In fact, these days, he looked like a man going slowly to his execution.

Viserys swallowed, lifted his chin. "Answer me."

Ser Jaime raised a brow. "The King has something to ask you, Your Grace. Come with me willingly, and I won't drag you before the court in chains."

Viserys took a deep breath, gestured for Ser Jaime to lead the way.

The walk to the throne room was agonizing slow, regardless, and Viserys' mind spun. He knew this could be about what he had discussed with Littlefinger, in which case, he was sure it might lead to his death.

But then, why not arrest him first?

Unless this was about Daenerys. Unless the little girl whom he had seen grow a disturbing spine the other day had told Rhaegar about the many things he had done to her.

Viserys swallowed.

And so, with these things swirling around his head, Viserys blinked in surprise when he came into the throne room and saw, after the great crowd present and Rhaegar sitting on the Iron Throne, a grim expression on his face, Margaery Tyrell, standing in the witness box.

Viserys stared.

Ser Jaime took advantage of his surprise to push him down into the seat of the accused, and Viserys sat, giving the other man an annoyed look.

"Brother," Viserys drawled, "What is this meaning of this? Dragging me from my chambers, refusing to allow the Kingsguard to inform me of what this is all about?"

Rhaegar gave him a stern look. Viserys saw that his queen was sitting primly beside him, her face as grim as her husband's, though there was a spark of sadness in it. Daenerys, Rhaenys, and Aegon were also present, and Viserys felt his gut clench.

But it was Lord Tywin, standing before the steps up to the throne, who answered. "Prince Viserys, charges have been brought against you by the noble House Tyrell. Charges which, as a prince of the blood, you have the right to hear before your guilt or innocence is decided by the King and the Seven."

Viserys gaped at Lord Tywin, and then at Margaery. What the fuck sort of charges did she think she could bring against him, when he had dragged her down with him?

"Lady Margaery," Lord Tywin said. "You have accused Prince Viserys of treason. What is your evidence for these claims?"

Margaery swallowed, and Viserys noticed how she refused to look his way, spoke toward the throne rather than him, the fucking traitorous bitch.

Treason! Ha.

"He...Prince Viserys told me that if I spoke of his plots to anyone, he would take my maidenhead and ruin me before all of Westeros, for he was a prince and would one day be a king, and had the right to take whatever he pleased," Margaery continued, and Viserys stared at her, too shocked by the heinous lies pouring from her mouth to find a rebuttal.

That bitch. That fucking lying bitch. He had elevated her from a fucking maiden, destined to marry some fat old Reach lord to a lady in Daenerys' house, to his mistress.

"And would...one day be king?" Rhaegar repeated, incredulity and the low anger of a dragon in his voice.

Viserys shivered despite himself, glared at this hateful bitch. He did not understand what the girl thought she could accomplish, telling their story and dragging her family down with him.

And she would drag him down, he knew. He knew it the moment he looked up and met Rhaegar's cold eyes, the moment a sheen of mummer's tears slipped from Margaery Tyrell's cheeks.

Margaery continued, clearly warming to her subject, now. "But I could keep my silence no longer, Your Grace, for my fear for the Realm was far greater than the fear I felt for myself."

Utter silence met her words, and then King Rhaegar turned to face Mace Tyrell, the Fat Flower who thought to parade his daughter before the son of a King and get away with it.

When Viserys proved this all a heinous lie by traitors, he would see the man's fat entrails carved from his body and thrown before the Iron Throne, he would see that lying whore's lips sewn shut before he had her raped by every member of the Kingsguard, penetrated as she had always feared to be.

"Is this true, Lord Mace? Did my royal brother threaten your daughter?" Rhaeger sounded far too mournful about the fact, as if he gave a damn about his own brother. As if he had ever given a damn about anything but that damned prophecy he thought the Bastard somehow fulfilled.

Mace bobbed his head up and down, rosy cheeks pink with his supposed anger.

"He had my Margaery named amongst Princess Daenerys' ladies, that he might keep her close to him where he could threaten us with her, and demanded that House Tyrell supply soldiers to help him in his coup of the throne when the time came, lest he had my poor daughter's throat slit in the night." He gulped. "I did not know who to turn to for help."

Rhaegar let out a small sigh, and Viserys lunged forward, only to find himself held back by two Kingsguard, holding onto his arms with iron grips.

"Lies!" Viserys screamed, finding his voice at last. "Utter lies!"

Shocked gasps ran through the audience chamber, and all eyes turned to Rhaegar, who had gone rather pale. If Viserys were not so worried about the fact that his brother seemed to be listening to the Flowers' lies, he might have been satisfied by the sight.

Rhaegar's expression, however soon turned to one of tiredness as his eyes met Viserys'. "Do you have proof of these accusations against you being false, Viserys?" he asked.

Viserys opened his mouth to scream that of course he had proof, that these fucking flowers were lying through their teeth, but his own teeth clicked shut in the next moment.

Of course he did not have proof. The bitch had played her game well, insinuating herself into his company, finding a place amongst his sister's ladies, staying in King's Landing for what appeared to be no reason at all while the rest of her family returned home, save for that old crone of a bodyguard of hers.

Nothing Viserys could say would be foolproof.

"She accuses me of acting against you," Viserys rasped out. "You are my brother. I would never...This is just some plot by the Tyrells to...to frame me!"

"And what possible reason could the Tyrells have to frame you, Brother?" Rhaegar asked, voice almost gentle. Viserys didn't believe it for a moment. "They proved their loyalty to the Crown during Robert's Rebellion."

But Rhaegar had, unknowingly, given Viserys what he needed.

"Because the Tyrell girl wishes to marry above her station!" he cried. "She wishes to marry me, believed that she could achieve this even when I turned her down, and now this is her revenge for it."

Margaery let out a cry of shock at the words, and Mace Tyrell's whole body lifted, face twisting lividly as he spun on Viserys. For a moment, the Fat Flower almost looked terrifying.

"How dare you accuse my daughter, terrified for her life and chastity for weeks now because of you, of so wanton a thing!"

Margaery took advantage of the moment to flee, whole body shaking as tears slipped from her eyes, into the arms of Elia Martell, allowing the other woman to hold her as a mother would her daughter.

"Lord Mace!" Lord Tywin called then, expression blank as ever. "You will control yourself, when accusing a member of the royal family."

Lord Mace scraped and bowed. "Forgive me, Your Graces. I..." he touched a hand to his forehead. "The past weeks have been trying upon me. I...love my daughter dearly."

"No one accuses you of not loving your daughter," Rhaegar said quietly. "But I would know the truth of this matter. Is there any proof, that either of what you say is true?"

Viserys opened his mouth to say that of course there was proof, and was once again silenced by the realization that there was not. After all this time, he couldn't help but wonder if Margaery had been so stringent in her claims that Viserys could not have her maidenhood because she was really so concerned about staying chaste for her husband...or if she had been planning this all along.

His brows furrowed. He did not understand her game, then. He knew now the moment he had lost her; when he had told her that he would never marry her, would marry only Dany. Now, her family merely wished to cover up the embarrassment of her treason. But if she had been planning this before, what possible outcome could be so worth accusing a member of the royal family?

"I am afraid that what the Tyrells say is true, Your Grace," Littlefinger murmured, stepping forward from the scandalized crowd, his expression quite sad as he looked at Viserys.

"Prince Viserys approached me just days ago with a plot to take over the throne," he said, voice dipping into guilt. Viserys would have his throat ripped out for this, the lying cur.

"I turned him down, but I did not truly believe he had the means to do so, and so I did not report these things to Your Grace as I ought to have. However, when I realized that the prince's plans had merit, what with the hostage situation of the Lady Margaery, I of course came immediately to Lord Varys, and he to you."

Viserys sucked in a breath. Littlefinger had been the one to report this. Which meant that Rhaegar had already known of the charges against him, had already known of Littlefinger's say in it.

Fuck.

"I have here a letter, signed with Prince Viserys' seal," Littlefinger said, pulling out the damning parchment from the inner lining of his jerkin, "In it, he details his intentions to the noble Houses of the realm, explaining his wishes to depose his brother and seize the throne, with their support."

"Lies!" Viserys cried, straining against Jaime Lannister's grip on his shoulder. "A fabrication!"

He saw Daenerys, where she stood in a gown of red and black beside their brother's throne, a blankness on her face far worse than he had seen whenever he touched her. Not a shred of sympathy in her cold heart.

Thought of the way he had hurt Margaery the other day, fist twisting inside of her cunt when he had punished her for daring to suggest the murder of his sister. How ironic, now that he knew she was planning his own downfall, even then. Must have been.

"You will, of course, wish to examine the note, and ensure that it is Prince Viserys' own hand," Littlefinger said reasonably, perhaps understanding that his word meant nothing against that of a dragon.

Rhaegar dipped his head, and one of the members of the Kingsguard moved forward, taking the scroll from Littlefinger and bringing it before his King.

Rhaegar snatched it from the man's fingers, eyes gazing down the parchment slowly, before lifting to meet Viserys'.

Viserys closed his own, at the expression he saw in his brother's eyes.

Grandmaester Pycelle coughed then, stepping forward. "Ah...there is another matter, which might prove...what the Lady Margaery claims," he murmured, voice dottery and odd in the loud chamber.

Rhaegar waved a hand. "By all means, Grandmaester."

Viserys tried to jerk Jaime Lannister's hand off his shoulder, was unsuccessful.

The Grandmaester tottered forward, not looking Viserys in the eye as he moved to the witness stand. "Two days ago," the Grandmaester said, his expression as grim as ever but voice lighter, "I examined Lady Margaery Tyrell."

Two days ago. Two days ago, Viserys had-

He turned, glared at Margaery, found her staring directly at him, smirking even still, where she stood, ensconced in Elia Martell's arms.

"I am afraid that I examined the Lady Margaery, at her family's bidding, Your Grace," Grandmaester Pycelle coughed out, looking at Lord Tywin's strangely pleased expression before he continued. "And found that she was...injured, in a place that it would not be appropriate to show the court at large, by the mark of a ring. It was causing the Lady some pain, though she would tell me nothing of how she received it. But when I studied it more closely..." a long, wracking cough, and Viserys found himself holding his breath.

Audible gasps filled the throne room.

Lord Tywin's eyes narrowed as the Grandmaester continued coughing, turned suspiciously to Viserys before they returned to the Grandmaester. "And did you recognize the indentation of this ring?"

The Grandmaester's old head bobbed up and down. "It was the mark of the dragon - a ring that the Prince himself wears."

Viserys closed his eyes.

They were meant to be the three heads of the dragon, he, Viserys, and Dany, not some whore’s brat and the Martell woman’s children, and now Rhaegar would take the side of a lying maiden, rather than his own brother.

"Prince Viserys, you have been accused of sedition, of holding a maiden against her will in King's Landing, and of plotting against your brother. Do you have a plea to make before your brother the king?" Lord Tywin asked, and Viserys ground his teeth.

"These are fucking slanderous lies!" Viserys shouted, stomping his foot as he did so. "Everything they say - all of it to turn you against me!"

Rhaegar sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose with one hand and waving to the members of the Kingsguard with the other. "Lady Margaery, would you be willing to submit to a second examination, to validate this matter?”

Lady Margaery gave a timid little nod. “If that is what is necessary, my lord, then I will. I do not know how much of the...injury remains, but I would be willing to prove the truth of these accusations, knowing how strong they are. Though...I would plead that my lady grandmother be present, as she was for the first, to...preserve my modesty.”

Rhaegar nodded. “Of course. He turned cool eyes on Viserys. “Take him away."

Viserys glanced at Margaery, saw the little, triumphant smirk curling the edges of her lips, and saw red.

"You Highgarden Bitch!" he screamed at her, as the guards dragged him away, and his rose bitch flinched back as though he had struck her, stepping behind the protective stance of her brother, Ser Loras, and looking very small and guileless before the court.

He knew the truth, of course. He had known it all along, when he had first smelled the dragon on this bitch, and he should have thrown her from the ramparts, then.

"You lying cunt!" he snapped at her, struggling against the guards holding him. "You stupid whore! I'll have you burned for this! The dragons will-"

The armored fist of Jaime Lannister slammed into the back of his head, and Viserys went limp, still cursing that Highgarden Whore behind his rapidly blackening eyes.

Chapter Text

Margaery Tyrell had always known that she was destined for more than a life as the Lady of Highgarden, however valued a position that was. Her father's ambitions were legendary, though not quite as legendary as House Lannister's had once been, which meant that something would have to be done of them.

She knew the cautionary tale that had ended in, a woman who would have married a prince and taken a throne resigned to marrying a lesser cousin, the heir to Casterly Rock forced into the Kingsguard where he could not father children for House Lannister, and Margaery had learned from it.

She didn't want a throne. Prince Rhaegar had already torn Westeros apart with his lust for a woman who was not his wife, and she had no interest in starting another war, much as her lord father seemed to wish for one with every passing day of peace, sitting "bored and plump," as her grandmother said, in the Reach.

No, she would settle for being the princess of another Targaryen Prince, even if her grandmother thought he looked rather too much like a weasel and that Targaryens were more trouble than they were worth.

It was better than most of the alternatives, after all.

"He will want the youngest Targaryen, for a bride," her grandmother warned her over tea, weeks before Margaery was to travel to King’s Landing for her brother’s initiation into the Kingsguard, and for the tourney celebrating Jon Targaryen’s nameday.

They were sitting on the veranda overlooking the warm fields just outside of Highgarden, and Margaery found herself staring out at the view, both hands clasped around her cool cup. She barely heard the old woman's words.

If this plan went as she and her father wanted, there was a good chance that Margaery would not be returning to Highgarden for some time, and she wanted to remember every detail. She had heard that King's Landing was much cooler.

"That is how things work, in House Targaryen," Olenna said, and then grimaced as she took another sip of her own tea.

"More sugar, my lady?" the young man standing just off to the corner of their table, holding a small silver platter full of refreshments in hand, asked quietly. A cousin, or a distant nephew, Margaery thought. If her grandmother knew that she did not remember how they were related to this young man, she would have been even more livid than she was now.

Olenna prided herself on knowing everything that there was to know about everyone, after all, and Margaery was expected to do the same.

Her grandmother waved off the young man. "No, no. That's quite enough. Off with you, boy. Go and find someone else to bother. I'm sure young Loras is in need of...refreshment, what with his impending departure."

Margaery gave their servant a small smile and resisted the urge to roll her eyes at her grandmother's less than subtle words, especially as he turned beet red before scurrying away.

Olenna tutted. "Boys, these days. Back in my prime, they were never in such a hurry."

Margaery sighed, placing down her spoon and taking another sip of her tea. She could feel her grandmother's stare on her, swallowed the tea without so much as a grimace these days.

Margaery remembered when she had been twelve summers, her favorite thing to drink was sweet, cool honey tea. It had been her mother's favorite drink, as well, but it had not lasted long after Olenna's instruction of her granddaughter had begun, late into that summer.

Margaery sighed, resting her chin in her hand. "Elia Martell was not a Targaryen the last time I checked, Grandmother."

Her grandmother waved a dismissive hand at those words. "That was a fluke of a marriage for the Targaryens, my dear, and happened only because there were no sisters to marry Prince Rhaegar to. The Targaryen Prince will never marry you. You ought not to let your father's ambitions cloud your mind, and set your sights on someone more attainable. I hear Trystane Martell is quite the charmer."

Margaery rolled her eyes. "He is a second born son, and you know the Dornish have their strange ideas about women inheriting by age. Princess Arianne and Prince Qwentyn would stand between me and any real gain. Father will have me wearing Viserys' cloak by the end of the Summer or he will have the Iron Throne. He is quite determined."

Her grandmother looked amused. "And how is Mace Tyrell going to attain the Iron Throne? By rolling onto it with a belly full of mead and hoping no one realizes he is there?"

Margaery shrugged, trying not to laugh at the words and thus encourage her grandmother.

Olenna snorted, perfectly amused despite her granddaughter's lack of a reaction. "Well, in any case," she continued, "Your brother will at least gain something from this venture, and the Tyrells will be too busy embarrassing ourselves over that to be embarrassed with your father."

Loras’ bravery and power with a sword had been recognized by the Crown at their last tourney, the one for Prince Aegon's nameday, and he had been invited to join the Kingsguard by the King, no doubt under the influence of Prince Rhaegar, if the rumors that the Crown Prince already ruled through his father were true.

It was an honor, even if their father saw it as an insult, to lose his son, capable of making heirs as Jaime Lannister had once been, to the position of an “honorary bodyguard,” as she had heard her father muttering about it.

But Margaery knew that there was another reason why her brother was so proud, almost to the point of relief, to have been invited into the Kingsguard, and could not help but envy him, for his luck.

Margaery pursed her lips. "Even if I make no impression with the Prince at the upcoming tourney, there will be plenty of eligible lords to make my impression upon."

Olenna eyed her, set down her teacup and stared at Margaery in a way that made her uncomfortable as had not happened since she was a much younger child.

"Oh, I've no doubt that you will make an impression with the boy, my dear," Olenna said idly. "Unless he is blind and more interested in your brother." Her eyes roved over Margaery's form, assessing.

Margaery's mother Alerie's influence had slowly declined over her children as they grew older, and their grandmother gained more of an interest in them. Sometimes, Margaery missed her mother's sweet, innocent ways, the doe-eyed looks she would send her daughter so unlike the cool, assessment of Olenna Tyrell's hardened, squinting eyes.

She missed the feeling that she was a girl, and not a creature designed, stripped naked by every assessing look to ascertain whether or not she would make a favorable impression upon the next man she attempted to hook.

Not that this could be helped, of course.

"Do you think?" Margaery asked, smiling widely at her grandmother.

Olenna tutted again. "That is exactly what I fear, child." A sigh. "Very well. I will go with you to King's Landing on this damn foolish quest, and we will ensnare your prince. Seven know your father will be incapable of guiding you on his own."

Margaery forced her smile not to dim. It was one thing to want something, and quite another to realize that she could have it, as well.

"Will Father approve?" Margaery asked. "It's been years since you left Highgarden."

Olenna harrumphed. "I'm old," she told her granddaughter archly. "Not dead, foolish girl. But I fear that we will all be dead if I'm not there to oversee this crazed idea and ensure that it goes smoothly."

And that was the end of that, of course.


 

"You've never even met him," Elinor laughed, when Margaery revealed how much her father's ambitions meant to her one evening of their trip, while they took shelter in one of homes of a lord of the Reach, some lord and his bitchy wife who stared down her nose at the Tyrells in general and Margaery in particular, clothed in a gown of lace that the woman's son would not stop staring at.

Margaery shrugged. "So?"

Elinor was unpacking her nightgown, the travel gown she would wear tomorrow when they took the Kingsroad on the rest of their journey.

"How do you know you want him?" Elinor asked, glancing up at her with such a childish expression that Margaery felt the stirrings of what felt disturbingly like guilt.

Margaery turned away, flopping down into the little chair placed in front of a small dresser on which perched an elaborate mirror. She reached for the hairbrush sitting on the table, ran her fingers through tangled wet hair.

It had been raining horribly when they had arrived in this little hovel of a manor, which she supposed, in retrospect, might have been part of the reason Margaery had received so many stares.

Margaery shrugged. "I don't want him, any more than I want any other man," she murmured, and Elinor's eyes widened as she glanced behind them, fully aware that they were no longer in the safety of Highgarden where such words were permissible.

"Margaery..." her pillow friend whispered, scandalized.

Margaery smirked. "But I do want to be Princess Margaery," she continued. "I want to sit in King's Landing gaining the love of the smallfolk and know that I have made my House more powerful than any House in the Reach, or half of Westeros."

Elinor stared at her, packing forgotten.

And it was true, Margaery realized.

She wanted that more than any nameday gift, and she finally had the opportunity to have it.

Her brother Loras had been named to the Kingsguard for his extraordinary skill as a knight, and she would go to the capitol to support her darling brother, and she would seduce her way into Viserys Targaryen's bed, and into his cloak before the tourney being held to celebrate Prince Jon's nameday was over, unless she found herself a better option beforehand.

Elinor was a bit wide-eyed after Margaery told her this, but Margaery merely laughed at her expression and went back to brushing her own hair.

Elinor had been raised by parents who wished her to still believe in the songs, and when she had become Margaery's pillow friend, Margaery, raised by her thornish grandmother to have a distinct understanding of the world, and out of a distinct worry that Elinor would go through life disappointed, had endeavored to begin dissuading her from such thoughts.

She had not been entirely successful, over the years, but at least she had made an attempt, as Margaery had felt it her duty to do.

Elinor reached into Margaery's bags and withdrew another gown, squinting at it as she held it up to the dimming light of the candles lighting their chambers.

"I don't think I've seen this one before," she commented idly, wrinkling her nose a bit.

Margaery glanced at it in the mirror's reflection, took in the silver brocade decorating the neckline in little thorns, the colors of House Tyrell seeping out in bursts of green and gold where little wedges of fabric had not been cut out of the gown strategically altogether.

She smiled. "Oh, yes. Grandmother insisted that I needed a new wardrobe for the tourney."

Elinor hummed. "It's not as warm in King's Landing as it is in the Reach. Does she know that?"

Margaery bit back a laugh at the expression on Elinor's face. "I think she has some idea, yes. She has been there before, you know."

The smile on Elinor's face slipped a bit. "That was a long time ago," she pointed out, and Margaery simply shrugged.

"Still," she murmured, and watched as Elinor folded the dress and packed it away once more, before moving to the mirror and wresting the brush from Margaery's fingers.

"Let me do it," she murmured, and Margaery smiled.

Elinor frowned at her, as she pulled Margaery’s brush through a few more tangles. “You know,” the other girl said, conversationally, “If you become Prince Viserys’ wife, you’ll need to learn how to perfect your own hair.”

Margaery swatted at her shoulder. “I’ll have dozens of other ladies to do that for me, and then I won’t need you anymore.”

Elinor jerked the brush a bit more forcefully, and Margaery winced as she looked at her expression in the mirror.

Elinor bent down, brought her lips down to meet Margaery’s ear as she whispered, “And none of them will replace me, you know.”

Margaery laughed, pulled at her hair until she could yank it out of the brush’s sharp bristles.

“Well,” Margaery murmured, “at the very least one of them will know how to brush hair properly.”


 

"We welcome House Tyrell to King's Landing," Prince Rhaegar told her father regally, and Margaery watched as the man simpered and bowed. "It is always nice to have such devoted allies in King's Landing."

Her lord father smiled widely. “We were honored to be invited to the capitol for the tourney,” he announced, as if every great House had not been invited, and several hadn’t almost refused out of sheer disgust for the celebration of the bastard boy.

As if they hadn’t just sat through every other House which did arrive at the capitol for the tourney saying the same meaningless words.

Margaery’s feet were beginning to ache.

Prince Rhaegar didn’t seem to notice her father’s too enthusiastic response, however, not quite smiling at the words as he looked over the rest of the Tyrells. “And I see that young Ser Loras is amongst you,” he murmured.

Margaery watched as her brother stepped forward, still clothed in the green and gold cloak of a Tyrell, and dipped into a bow before the raised dais on which stood the Iron Throne.

And, seated in the Iron Throne, legs propped up on one of the arms like a small child, frail body curled in on itself, sat the King of Westeros.

Margaery had heard the stories, of course. Her brother Loras liked to tease her with them, the horrible tales of the Mad King who sat on the Iron Throne but didn’t rule it, knowing the stories disturbed her.

Tales of madness had always disturbed Margaery as a child, until her grandmother had uttered that saying about the gods flipping a coin on the madness of the Targaryens, and while Westeros had been thrown into chaos during the Baratheon Rebellion, it got along well enough now.

If half of the Targaryens were insane, she thought idly, it was very likely that she was about to insinuate herself into the bed of a madman.

She wondered why the thought didn’t scare her as much as it had when she was a child.

She scanned the other silver haired beauties surrounding the King’s throne, for they were all beautiful, even if some of them could stink of madness, trying to find the face of the young man she had travelled to King’s Landing to find.

It took her a moment, distinguishing between the face of the broad-shouldered Prince Aegon with small hints of Martell in him, and his uncle, the fair Prince Viserys. She did not know what either of them looked like in person, of course, even if her grandmother had insisted upon her at least seeing a portrait of this boy before she threw herself into bed with him.

Prince Viserys stood behind and to the left of the throne, next to his sister, Margaery assumed, the famously sweet tempered Princess Daenerys, actually holding her hand, Margaery noted, and tried to think of the last time she had held the hands of any of her brothers.

There was not much difference in age between Margaery and the Princess, after all.

Viserys was as fair as his sister. Not absurdly beautiful, like a siren in the waters surrounding King’s Landing in the way that Margaery had somehow imagined he would be, much as she liked to convince herself she no longer believed in the songs, or heavy with muscles in the way that Loras did not like his men.

There was a...lithe quality about him that Margaery found instantly attractive, for perhaps it meant she would not have to close her eyes and think of too many soft curves and sultry lips when she bedded him.

There were far greater hardships to bear, as her grandmother was fond of reminding her, and Margaery licked her lips, blinked when she looked up to meet the Prince’s violet eyes and found them staring directly back at her.

She looked away, affected a blush she had long since forgotten how to produce naturally, and remembered herself just as the old King began to chuckle.

The chuckle turned into full-blown, awkward laughter that permeated the great halls of the throne room, and Margaery shifted from one foot to the other, clasping her hands in front of her as, outside of the laughter, a silence fit for the dead filled the rest of the room.

Margaery’s eyes flitted to the Mad King of whom it was forbidden to use that appellation aloud, however many times her grandmother did heedlessly, watched as he reached up and readjusted the silver crown sitting atop his white hair.

Prince Rhaegar ignored the outburst. “Your service is appreciated by the Crown,” he murmured, and, with that, the Tyrells were being ushered back into the crowd despite her father’s profuse bowing at the words, at the honor that he suddenly seemed to believe was an honor.

Margaery sighed, gave her brother a little nod of approval as he stood to his feet and followed them, a look of concern crossing his features.

They moved back into the crowd, forgotten as another great House moved forward to say its dues to the King, and Margaery found herself studying the other members of House Targaryen out of sheer boredom.

Princess Rhaenys was as beautiful as her brother was handsome, and as comely as her mother the Princess Elia, though, where Elia stood graceful and sinewy beside her husband, Rhaenys stared out at the throne room with a haughty expression that did nothing to engender her to Margaery, arms crossed over her chest with an air of uncaring that Margaery almost envied.

She looked far more like a Martell than her brother, though her hair was closer to the silver of the Targaryens than the black of a Dornish woman, shaping down her back in a look that was almost like a bouquet.

Margaery had only heard of Jon Targaryen, snippets of conversations she wasn’t supposed to take an interest in as her father and the other lords of the Reach complained about the get of the Northern woman who was acknowledged in the capitol as a trueborn son.

Would every noble lord be expected to acknowledge his bastards, now, and thus humiliate their wives?

And then there were the girls, the ladies in Highgarden and the other Houses of the Reach, the gaggling whispers of girls younger than Margaery who whispered of the brooding son of the prince with his Northern looks.

Jon Targaryen was not like Margaery had imagined him. He was tall, broad shouldered and yet stooped, as if he did not wish to draw any unbidden attention to himself, where he stood just behind his half-brother and sister.

He did not have the purple eyes and silver hair of a Targaryen, though, and Margaery found that fascinating, for she had at least expected that as much.

Most kings would have taken that alone as reason enough of not to recognize him, and yet the Prince of Westeros had legitimized him, even if he had not given the bastard a claim to the throne, in deference to the sheer stubbornness of his own father.

If she did manage to take Prince Viserys’ cloak, she would see herself dead before she would see his bastard standing so close to any legitimate children, much as she may have pitied the young man standing before her now.

“House Stark,” Prince Rhaegar’s tone somehow managed to be both cold and warm, the essence of the formal tone of a King, and yet holding something else, as well, as the next House was called forward. “We welcome you to King’s Landing.”

The Starks were just as dour and grey as Margaery’s grandmother had once claimed them to be, but Margaery found herself watching as they stepped forward with an almost avid interest.

She had never seen snow before. She wondered if it somehow made these Northern people more susceptible to falling into open treason.

Lord Stark, a grim faced man with hair around his chin and wearing a heavy cloak that made Margaery sweat just to look at, dropped to one knee, leaning on a large sword as he did so and meeting the King’s eyes.

Margaery wondered if this was the first time the Lord of Winterfell had been in King’s Landing since the Rebellion, wondered if he had come to prove his loyalty or had come solely for the chance to look upon his sister’s son.

The King jerked as he met Eddard Stark’s gaze, leaned forward in his chair and pointed with one long, bony finger toward the Warden of the North.

“Traitors!” the King boomed, and Lady Catelyn Stark jerked where she stood a step behind her husband. “Traitors, rebels!”

Ser Jaime Lannister, the closest Kingsguard to where the King stood, clenched his fist around the sword already in his hand.

Margaery held her breath.

“Burn them!” the King shouted. “Burn them all! Starks, Martells, all of the traitors!”

Prince Rhaegar stepped toward the Iron Throne, placed a hand on his father’s shoulder that the older man was hard-pressed to remove, before turning and looking out at the assembled Houses with a resolve that made Margaery blink.

“The King is tired,” Prince Rhaegar murmured, concern bleeding into his voice so well that Margaery wondered if she would even be able to play the game here. "He will retire now."

And, just like a bunch of children, they were dismissed from the throne room, everyone steadfastly attempting to ignore the fevered shouts of the King as Grandmaester Pycelle stepped forward, at Prince Rhaegar’s bidding, to quiet the old man.

“You’re going to be guarding that?” Margaery whispered to Loras, who, taken in by the prospect of the Kingsguard for weeks now, had grown rather pale.


 

"Lady Olenna, Lady Margaery," a voice interrupted their afternoon tea, taken up as traditionally in the gardens of King's Landing as it had always been in Highgarden. It had soon become understood in King’s Landing, in these weeks leading up to the tourney, that the Tyrells had, for all intents and purposes, invaded the royal gardens.

For all of her grandmother's achievements, she was still in many ways such a creature of habit.

Margaery glanced up from where she had been staring into the leaves of her tea, pretending to listen to her grandmother's prattling words about the individual members of House Targaryen, met the cloudy eyes of Lord Petyr Baelish, staring into her own with an intensity she didn't much like.

Beside her, Olenna sniffed. "Ah, Lord Baelish. I was beginning to wonder what scent was diluting the roses in this part of the garden. How long have you been slinking about in our shadows?"

Lord Baelish raised a brow, glanced over his shoulder at the dozens of young Tyrell girls who had accompanied Ser Loras to the capitol, sewing away and giggling in small groups, while Margaery was consigned to sit with her dottery grandmother.

"I hardly think that I could sully so many beautiful flowers with merely my presence, my lady, but your regard is noted," he murmured, and Olenna pursed her lips.

"By the Seven, you are an unpleasant sort of man," Olenna murmured, sounding more intrigued than scandalized, and Lord Baelish sent her a smile that was not quite predatory in nature. Still, it made Margaery want to disappear behind her tea cup.

"I'd heard that you were a whoremonger and a common schemer, but you have eyes slanted more than anyone I've ever met."

Lord Baelish, to his credit, recovered rather quickly from the sling of insults directed his way. "And you have the tongue of a viper, as I've heard."

Olenna rolled her eyes. "I've nothing in common with that Dornish fiend," she rebuked, taking another sip of tea.

Lord Baelish looked amused. "Of course not, my lady." He turned to Margaery. "It is good to meet you, Lady Margaery. Tales of your beauty have been heard even in King's Landing."

Margaery smiled, dipped her head and affected a small blush, ignoring the wary look that had entered her grandmother's eyes. "You are too kind, my lord. I am sure that the lords of King's Landing have far more deserving ladies to set their eyes upon here, without thinking of me."

The words seemed to make Baelish pleased, Margaery thought, as she glanced up at him from under her lashes.

"Beautiful and wise," he murmured, and Olenna reached under the table then, in the guise of placing her hands into her lap, only for one gnarly hand to wrap around Margaery's wrist in a vice-like grip.

"Yes, she is. Wise enough to weather you, perhaps," Olenna murmured, and Lord Baelish looked chastened.

"I did not mean to imply anything untoward, my lady," he murmured, glancing over his shoulder before leaning forward. "I only meant that, well..." he gave Margaery another long look. "House Tyrell must have some aim, in bringing such a beautiful young flower to King's Landing."

Olenna sniffed, let go of Margaery's wrist. Didn't look at her. "She is of marriageable age. It's only proper."

"Indeed." Lord Baelish gestured to a chair. "May I sit?"

Olenna eyed him for a long moment, and Margaery didn't dare open her mouth. And then, with a negligent wave of her hand, the old woman murmured, "I suppose you had better, before that unpleasant little Master of Whispers sees you dawdling about here and accuses of treason."

Lord Baelish looked faintly alarmed as he took his seat. "I doubt he would do so. He too likes to keep to the shadows."

Olenna took a sip of her tea, and then called out to the musicians playing a quiet tune that Margaery had almost forgotten about in the corner of the gardens.

“By the Seven, I’ve heard enough tales of maidens fair,” she shouted, and Margaery flushed a little as the sound echoed through the gardens. “Go away now.” The Queen of Thorns eyed her other relatives, grandnieces and cousins whom she hardly ever took an interest in unless it was to berate. “And take these annoying little gossipers with you.”

The girls scrambled to their feet, and Margaery felt a stab of envy as she watched them go, watched the musicians pack up their instruments and leave not long after. She took another bite of a small plum cake sat out on the table in front of her, most of the food nibbled away at between her and her grandmother at this point.

The Queen of Thorns did not offer Lord Baelish food or refreshment, sneered at the young man who came forward to pour him some wine.

"Why are we afflicted with you presence today, Lord Baelish?" she asked, lifting a hand when he opened his mouth to speak. "I have noticed the way you watch us, always waiting for an opening in which to speak, and yet you've had many a chance to speak with my fool of a son."

Lord Baelish dipped his head. "It as you say, my lady. I would have words with you."

Olenna rolled her eyes. "Well, then? Is it treason you wish to discuss, or something else?"

Margaery jerked in her seat, and her grandmother sent her an annoyed look, even as Lord Baelish looked rather amused.

"No, nothing like treason. Simply your granddaughter's happy future, if you so like."

Olenna reached out and picked up one of the walnuts sitting on the table between her thumb and forefinger, banging it on the edge of the table until it cracked.

Lord Baelish did not flinch.

"And why would you have any interest in my granddaughter's future?" Olenna asked, giving the nut another good bang before it cracked open. She handed the shell to Margaery, who sighed and deposited it onto the ground.

Lord Baelish's smile was thin. "I have an interest in the stability of the realm, my lady, as most ought to think of more."

Olenna looked unimpressed. “The realm, the realm. I don’t have an interest in the realm, Lord Baelish, so you’ll have to try harder than that.”

“Do not the interests of the realm effect us all?” Lord Baelish asked.

Olenna snorted. “Perhaps they affect whoremongers and information collectors, Lord Baelish, but those of us with more to lose will turn with every tide.”

Lord Baelish glanced at Margaery again, nodded. “Then what are the interests of House Tyrell?”

Olenna reached for another walnut, handed it to Margaery, frowned when she simply held it in her hand. “Eat girl, it’s made of sterner stuff than tea.”

Margaery sighed, nodded dutifully as her grandmother turned back to Lord Baelish.

“I do not know why that is your concern, Lord Baelish.”

Lord Baelish nodded. “I’ve recently noticed that Lady Margaery is of an almost similar age with Prince Viserys.”

Olenna raised a brow. “Did my idiot of a son tell you this over tea, as well?” she shot back, and Lord Baelish’s lips quirked into a smile.

“No, but the Master of Whispers is not the only man with spies in the capitol. You ought to know that, my lady, if you wish to have a stake in this place.”

Olenna’s lips thinned. “I will keep that in mind.”

"I wonder if you might not consider...alternative arrangements," Lord Baelish continued, then. His eyes narrowed. “Prince Viserys seems quite...attached to his sister.”

Olenna leaned forward, looking bored. "And so? I cannot very well marry this one,” she jerked her thumb toward Margaery, “to Princess Arianne instead."

Margaery choked on her tea. Her grandmother sent her an unimpressed look, and Margaery wiped her mouth primly on her napkin.

Lord Baelish chuckled. "Of course not, of course not. But the King must agree to every marriage which takes place within the royal family.”

"Unfortunately, the Lord High Oaf of Highgarden has already made up his mind about whom he would like Margaery to wed, and will not be dissuaded in anything. The gods themselves must move aside for his stubborn, fat belly, not just kings," Olenna said, her tone dismissive, though Margaery caught the spark of interest in her eyes.

Lord Baelish chuckled. "I expected no less. But I think you might find yourself able to curry more favor with the Crown in this moment, if a marriage to Prince Viserys is what you truly seek. The Viper has struck again, I hear.”

“Hmm.” Olenna gave him a long look. “And I suppose the time of action is especially favorable for you.”

Lord Baelish merely dipped his head, once.

"Margaery, darling," Olenna said suddenly, and Margaery perked up from the sudden headache overcoming her, "Go and find someone to amuse yourself with for the rest of the afternoon. I'm finding this unpleasant little man's presence rather...stimulating."

Margaery sighed, standing to her feet and giving the old woman a little kiss on the cheek. "Of course, Grandmother," she murmured, and pretended she did not notice the way Lord Baelish's eyes followed her as she left. Pretended it did not make her want to shiver.

Chapter Text

Margaery did not get her chance to introduce herself to Prince Viserys before the tourney, but she made sure to watch him from afar, to whisper amongst young women who did not have the presence of mind to hold their tongues how very handsome she found the Prince.

Men did so like to have their egos stroked, after all, and such was an art Margaery had learned well, and she had no doubt he would hear of her compliments through some channel or another.

But she was not to be disheartened, by her inability to catch him before the tourney. She anticipated the tourney itself to be quite a bore, and when her grandmother told her to make herself useful either flirting with some of the lord situated around where House Tyrell sat, or to go away, she chose the latter, and found a seat beside Lady Sansa Stark.

Everyone knew the tragic tale of Sansa Stark, and Margaery knew that she would get quite a tongue lashing from her grandmother, about how she had finally invested herself in Margaery's plan only for Margaery to act in this way.

But Margaery was rather curious about the girl who had spent a lifetime away from her family, and didn't want to spend the afternoon bemoaning her failure to catch Prince Viserys' attention if she could help it.

It certainly helped that Sansa Stark was beautiful, and funny, and that Margaery hadn't met anyone like her since her lady mother had found her in bed with a cousin, Janna or Megga or something of the like, and banished the girl from Highgarden for the rest of Summer on some other pretense.

"May I sit with you?" she asked the girl as she found the young woman sitting on a lonely bench at the edge of the tourney. Margaery thought she heard the sharp hiss of an intake of breath from behind her, but ignored it.

Sansa Stark glanced up at her, eyes doe-like in their wideness, and Margaery tried to remind herself to breathe.

Eventually, the younger woman blinked. "I...Of course," she said, moving over on the bench, and Margaery flopped down onto the space next to her, sending Sansa a lopsided smile.

"I'm Margaery, of House Tyrell," she introduced herself, for she didn't remember seeing Sansa Stark in the throne room when they had been announced to the King. Perhaps the royal family hadn't wanted the reminder of her before all of the Great Houses, Margaery mused.

The other gave a noncommital hum, and Margaery forced her smile to widen, forced the conversation to continue. She wasn't bored yet, after all, even if Sansa Stark seemed to be. "And you must be Lady Sansa Stark."

Sansa flushed, glanced down at her hands, and Margaery found herself following the other girl's gaze almost instinctively. "Yes, though I hardly think I warrant the House name."

Margaery's face twisted in sympathy; in truth, her interest, rather than being flamed with the other girl's words, as she had hoped, were beginning to dim, much to her disappointment. It seemed that Sansa Stark was just like other girls, if prettier in Margaery's eyes at the moment, and a touch too self-pitying for Margaery's tastes, however justified that pity was.

"I am so sorry," Margaery said, picking at the hem of her gown. "I did not mean to cause you distress."

She tried to think of some way to exit herself from the conversation, after going to all of the trouble to make her way over here, wondered if Viserys Targaryen would like seeing Sansa Stark spurned by her, if that would gain his interest, but Margaery's legs seemed oddly reluctant to move themselves.

Sansa Stark waved a hand dismissively. Margaery found herself entranced by the way that thin, pale hand moved through the air, felt her throat drying at the sight of it.

"My parents are just over there," Sansa said abruptly, pointing them out, and Margaery found herself glancing over to the dour faces of the members of House Stark who had come to the capitol, and few enough among them.

Lord Eddard and his wife had not brought any of the rest of their children, though Margaery could hardly blame them, given how they were still missing the last child they had brought to King's Landing.

Lady Catelyn kept stealing what she no doubt thought were surreptitious glances in Sansa's direction, expression dimming the longer she looked at her eldest daughter, and Margaery supposed that it must be hard, to lose one's child for so long and not be able to cling to her in public without being worried about causing an incident with the King.

Margaery did not think her own mother would have survived such a separation from any of her children; at least not until they were of an age to marry strategically and further their family's ambitions.

She sighed at that thought, for her mother had not come to King's Landing with them on this trip, begging off with the claim that the vapors were bothering her too much, whatever that meant, and Margaery was always so good at coming up for excuses to silly things that she did not wish to do or attend.

Margaery's throat was very dry. She couldn't stop staring at the long, arched slope of Sansa's neck, and her mind's eye provided her with the tantalizing image of her own tongue, licking a small streak across it-

Margaery cleared her throat rather loudly. As much as she enjoyed personality, perhaps it wasn't important enough, in this case. It certainly wasn't important to her quest of obtaining a husband, after all.

"I spoke to them for the first time in years, today," Sansa Stark went on, and this time, the sympathy that Margaery expressed was genuine enough.

Margaery tutted softly. "It seems a shame, that the King has kept you from your family for so long. Do you wish me to leave you alone?"

Margaery wasn't sure whether she herself wanted that or not, waited with bated breath for Sansa's answer.

Sansa swallowed, hated how soft and broken her voice sounded when she responded to the other girl. "No."

And that was when Margaery felt the relief, sharp and poignant, and felt a bit less shameful in her obvious ogling of the younger girl.

She glanced away again, forced herself to turn her attentions back to the tourney, rather convinced that if Sansa Stark wished to speak, she would do so, even if Margaery was not certain what had brought her to this conclusion.

"I think that Ser Jaime Lannister might win the tourney," Margaery said, desperate after only a few moments for a topic to speak of, to hear that musical voice again. "He is by far one of the best knights I have ever seen, save for perhaps Ser Barristan Selmy."

Sansa glanced out at the tourney, watched as Ser Jaime Lannister climbed atop his horse and took his lance from the squire standing nearby, and Margaery had to admit that the knight, though certainly not to her interest at his age, was something to look at. She would have to write home to darling Alla about it, who had such a crush on the man that Margaery was often embarrassed on her behalf.

"Although I dare say my brother will be quite disheartened when it happens," Margaery continued, amused as she watched her brother huff and stomp his feet expectantly on the sidelines, that look on his face that he got when he was intent on proving himself to all and sundry.

Sansa turned to her, the first spark of interest since Margaery had sat down beside her, and Margaery sagged a bit. "Your brother?"

Margaery nodded. "Ser Loras Tyrell. He has just yesterday been named one of the Kingsguard. It was part of the reason I came to King's Landing, actually. To share in his moment of triumph, for it has always been his dearest wish to protect the King."

Sansa seemed to light up at the mention of her brother, and Margaery bit back another sigh.

"The Knight of Flowers is the most handsome and chivalrous knight I have ever encountered," she said, and Margaery smiled at her, unable to keep back the small revelation in her next words.

"I am sure he would be glad to hear you think so," she said. And then she giggled at the bemused expression on Sansa Stark's face. "I'm sorry, you must think me quite a silly girl. My brother is...how shall I put it? Quite vain."

Sansa Stark chuckled, even if Margaery didn't think she had quite gotten the humor, but Margaery did not dare tell someone in public of her brother's proclivities, however much she wanted to turn Sansa Stark's sudden avid attention elsewhere.

"But you should endeavor to find...less handsome knights to gaze upon," Margaery continued, waiting for the other shoe to drop, a bit relieved when Sansa Stark finally gaped at her. Not just the pretty face Margaery had thought then.

She had always liked redheads.

"Are you...?" Sansa blinked between Margaery and Loras again, looking flumoxed.

Margaery bit back a smile, turned back to the tourney. "But I certainly think Ser Jaime will win. He has the last few, hasn't he?"

Sansa shook her head. "Ser Barristan was the last."

Margaery nodded, watched the way Sansa Stark's throat bobbed as she spoke, the hollow of her throat dipping a little further with each word. "I imagine you must watch many tourneys."

Sansa swallowed, no longer looking at Margaery.

"We don't have as many in Highgarden," Margaery continued. "Loras was always bemoaning that, for there were not enough chances for him to practice."

Sansa nodded. "We have a tourney here every fortnight, it sometimes seems," she said, and Margaery found herself entranced by the way Sansa's lips puckered in distaste as she said those words.

"He looks unhappy," Margaery said, gesturing with a sweep of her hand toward where Prince Viserys sat pouting beside his sister as she watched Sansa Stark from the corner of her eye.

Sansa swallowed. "Ah...I suppose he is. It was out of his purse strings that the tourney was funded," she explained, "Well, not his, the Crown's, but he was tasked with planning the thing. I'm rather surprised he didn't plan for some terrible misfortunate to befall Jon."

Just Jon, not prince, not lord. Margaery remembered her grandmother joking about that, wondering what to call the bastard who was the son of a crown prince and had taken his name, but was not officially recognized in the line of succession. Then again, he was Sansa's cousin.

Margaery snorted. "Makes more sense now."

Sansa bit her lip, looked as if she were struggling not to laugh. "Not that he's ever happy unless he's with Dany...I mean," she looked genuinely worried then, and Margaery wished to wipe the expression off her face, a little startled by her lust in this moment. She was usually better at holding back her desires, though at least Sansa did not seem to notice them. "Princess Daenerys. They were very close as young children."

Margaery nodded, remembered that the prince and princess were kept in Dragonstone long after the old queen had died, their father paranoid in the belief that they were in danger long after King's Landing had been opened to trade and travel once more, the Princess Elia and her children there all along.

It had been Prince Rhaegar who eventually called his siblings back to King's Landing, along with their old guardian, about the same time Sansa Stark had been brought to King's Landing as a hostage from the North.

"What's he like?" Margaery found herself asking, much as she would rather speak of Sansa.

Sansa slanted a glance at her. "Prince Viserys?" she asked, and, at Margaery's nod, seemed to choose her next words carefully. "He is...charming, when he wishes to be," she seemed to settle on finally.

Margaery lifted a brow. "Just charming?" she asked.

Sansa shrugged. "He is very witty," she went on, "and very accomplished with matters of the law, and of history. He doesn't like fighting, that sort of thing is more Prince Aegon's interest than his own, but prefers to fight with words."

That was promising. Margaery leaned forward, enjoyed the way it allowed her to see some of the Lady Sansa's cleavage as she did so. "Tell me more."


 

"Seven, I wish we were back in Highgarden. It's so dreary here," Elinor said miserably from where she sat beside Margaery in their rooms in the Keep, where they had been invited to stay while they remained in King's Landing.

She was sewing, as Elinor had taken to doing lately with the sort of vengeance that made Margaery wonder whom she repeatedly stabbed with her needles. Margaery pulled her gown a little more tightly around her neck.

Margaery rolled her eyes. "No one else has left since the tourney ended, darling cousin," she told Elinor. "Not even the Starks, and I should think they would be most eager."

In truth, she had been hoping for some type of excitement since the tourney had ended and she could no longer watch her brother and the rest of the pretty knights fighting, but everyone was as perfect as could be since the staged fighting had ended, and the most interesting thing Margaery had done since was imagining all of the things she could do to Sansa Stark, if only the other girl were interested, for she had given no indication of it so far.

Margaery wondered if this was what it would be like, every day, if she did succeed in her mission here; one dreary day after the next, waiting for some scandal to sweep the Keep when the only scandalous activity was the route her thoughts had taken.

"Haven't you bedded this prince yet? We've been here two weeks already since the tourney ended. I'm so sick of King's Landing already," Elinor continued, stabbing her work again, and Margaery forced herself not to flinch, smiling widely instead because she knew it would irritate the other girl.

At least she didn't point out that, should her little plot succeed, they would be spending far more time in King's Landing.

"Do you think you know where Lady Sansa is, Elinor? I told her I should like to speak with her again today."

Elinor gave her a quelling look. "She is quite...up to your usual standards, my lady."

Margaery tossed her hair behind one shoulder. "Is she?" she asked coyly, glancing over her shoulder to see what lords and ladies were about, satisfied that they seemed quite alone. "I hadn't noticed."

Elinor snorted. "I thought we were here to ensnare a Prince, not the daughter of a traitorous House," she reminded gently, setting aside her sewing, and Margaery just smiled at her.

"I'm rather bored," she admitted. "Prince Viserys spends more time around Princess Daenerys than I would have liked, so much so that I would almost think he was more interested in men than myself, if it weren't for the way he looks at her, and I haven't found the chance to properly introduce myself to him. I will soon."

"But you have had the chance to have tea with Sansa Stark, as well as take her on a tour of gardens she knows far more about than you, take her to the Sept when we all know you're about as pious as a sailor, and go swimming in the harbor with her," Elinor reproached.

Margaery shrugged. "That was a good idea, wasn't it? I didn't think she was going to strip down to her smallclothes, but I can't say that I didn't enjoy it."

Elinor coughed until she was red in the face. "You didn't have to do the same thing," she told Margaery, but Margaery looked far from repentant.

"It was only fair," she told the other girl. "After all, she ought to see what she could be getting."

Elinor stabbed at her sewing again. Margaery laughed.

"It's only good fun, Elinor. You needn't look as if you're sucking on a lemon." She smiled slightly. "Did you know that's her favorite type of cake?"

Elinor rolled her eyes. "Just...try and fetch him soon, all right?" She groaned. "My father wants me back in the Reach before the next solstice. Apparently, there are a slew of young men who have come calling, now that you have gained such scandal in the court."

Margaery smiled, swatting at her. "You see? You ought to be thanking me."

Elinor groaned. "Just don't get us all killed, love."


 

A knock to the door startled Margaery out of the book she was reading, some ancient tome about the Dance of Dragons, and she set it aside with more than a little relief, for her most recent thought for ensnaring the prince had been to interest him with her knowledge of the Targaryens, but Margaery had never been cut out for long periods of study.

Not when it came to tomes, at least.

She glanced around, bemused when she saw that Elinor was nowhere in sight, and stepped over to the door, opening it and blinking in surprise at the person standing just outside.

"Lady Sansa!" Margaery smiled prettily at her. "I wasn't expecting you."

She had been expecting, well, rather hoping, that it would be Loras coming to speak with her, for she'd put him to the task of finding out anything of use about their dear Prince Viserys, now that he was finishing his training for the Kingsguard.

Still, she couldn't say she was terribly disappointed to have Sansa Stark on the other side of her door, instead.

Lady Sansa had been to her room several times since they had struck up a sort of friendship at the tourney, though Margaery had never been to hers, for it was in the Princess Daenerys' apartments, as one of her ladies.

"I, uh, I wonder if I might ask a favor of you," Lady Sansa said, looking everywhere but at her.

Margaery found her interest piqued immediately. "Oh? Not something terribly scandalous, I hope," she said, but rather hoped that the smirk on her face would let the other girl know otherwise.

She glanced around the open corridor. "Do come in, Lady Sansa. It wouldn't do to be standing out in the open hall with such scandalous needs."

Sansa Stark's cheeks flushed a bright pink, and Margaery swallowed thickly, thought that she would like to see that look on Sansa's face again, as soon as possible.

"Uh, no, no. It's..." she glanced aside again, biting her lip before stepping into Margaery's chambers, and Margaery closed the door behind her.

"Some tea?" Margaery prodded, gesturing to where her ladies had set out some iced tea for the afternoon on the low table near her bed, when it didn't seem as though Sansa would speak again.

Sansa swallowed. "No, thank you," she said, and they stood in stilted silence once more. Margaery found herself suddenly very interested in the details of her porcelain cup, as she bent down and poured herself a cup of tea, and wondered where in the seven hells Elinor had suddenly swanned off to.

She sat down in one of the two divans in the room, gestured for Sansa to take the other, and sipped at the cold tea as if it were the best wine she had ever tasted.

It was quite good, though. She'd never had anything quite like it, though she understood it was something well liked during the hot months in King's Landing.

"It's about my mother," Sansa said finally, and Margaery glanced up to see that Sansa was watching her lips. Margaery preened where she sat, sitting a little taller.

It was then that she noticed how badly Sansa looked, her cheeks flushed pink perhaps not because of Margaery, as she had vainly assumed, but out of embarrassment, dark circles under her eyes, and her gown bunched up around her lap as she fisted at it with both hands.

"Your mother?" Margaery repeated. "Is she well?"

Sansa nodded. "At least, I believe so." She sighed, running a hand through her auburn hair, and Margaery wondered what it would feel like to run her own fingers through it, to-

"Prince Rhaegar has allowed my plea for a personal audience with her tomorrow afternoon, provided that I have a member of the court of King's Landing faithful to the Crown present. I..." she glanced up, finally meeting Margaery's eyes, and Margaery started by what she saw there. "I couldn't ask Daenerys, and, I know we've only known each other a small while-"

"Sansa," Margaery interrupted her, reaching out and taking Sansa's hands in her own, and pretending she didn't have an ulterior motive for doing so. "I would love to, if that is what you wish."

Sansa brightened. "That's very kind of you, my lady."

Margaery forced herself to smile. "Of course. I am happy that the Crown Prince has allowed you this."

In truth, she thought, it was the least Prince could do, after keeping Sansa and her family apart for so long, rebellion in her blood or no. Even if it was to be done under the presence of a chaperone, though Margaery supposed that was only wise.

Sansa looked away, blinking rapidly. "Yes, well..." she bit her lip. "I only hope everything goes well."

Margaery blinked at her, cocking her head, for it occurred to her that Sansa hardly looked excited by the prospect of meeting her mother, even if it had been she who had asked to do so. "How do you mean?"

And then Sansa was sinking a little on her divan. "I...It's silly, never mind." She stood to her feet. "I should...I should go. Thank you, Lady Margaery."

Margaery stood to her feet, the tea cup forgotten as she moved, knowing that if she allowed Sansa to walk out that door the girl wouldn't be coming back. She took Sansa's hands in hers, attempted to meet the other girl's eyes and sighed when she could not.

"Lady Sansa," she said gently. "What is it?"

Sansa swallowed, and for a moment, Margaery thought she was going to cry. Then, "How do you talk to someone you hardly know, but who is also your mother?" she asked.

Margaery stared. "Oh, Sansa..." Then, "Come now, sit down." She led Sansa over to the divan once more.

Sansa was shaking as they sat on the bed, and Margaery eyed her in concern. "Is that what has you so concerned?"

Sansa chewed on her lower lip, and Margaery forced herself to focus on the other girl's worried eyes. "I just...It will be the first time we've ever really spoken since I was too young to remember now, and...I just want it to go well."

Margaery tutted. "Of course you do. She is your mother."

Sansa nodded. "I spent so long thinking of her one way in my mind, no matter what the Targaryens would taunt me about her, but now I'm finally going to speak with her, and I'm going to know what she's really like, and she's going to know what I am like..."

Margaery bent forward, kissing the other girl mostly in an effort to quiet her unthinkingly, when she realized that Sansa was working herself into a panic. It was the sort of thing she might have done with Elinor, with any number of her ladies back at home, in the safety of Highgarden where such things were not so frowned upon. Where she was the lady of the house, no matter her own mother's position.

When she pulled back, Sansa was gaping at her, and Margaery couldn't get the taste of lemons from her mouth. She blinked, realized that what she had just done could damn her in more ways than one, could damn her family, attempted to console herself with the knowledge that Sansa Stark was a traitor's daughter and no one would believe her word over the word of Margaery Tyrell.

Still. It was difficult to think those contingencies through at all, in her current state, looking at the flush filling Sansa's cheeks, at her slightly swollen lips.

Margaery flushed. "My apologies," she whisperd. "I shouldn't have done that. I didn't mean to startle you...I mean, Sansa, be yourself around your mother, don't try to be the perfect daughter. Your mother is going to see you and love you."

It only occurred to Margaery after she had uttered those words how foolish she had been for doing so, and she flushed further, finding herself suddenly unable to meet Sansa's eyes.

And then Sansa was surging forward, grabbing Margaery's wrist in hers so that she would look up, and then pulling her in for another kiss.

Margaery gasped into the kiss, startled, for she hadn't noticed a single moment when Sansa's interest in her seemed to equal Margaery's interest in Sansa, and yet she felt the same passion in Sansa's movements now as she felt in her own.

Margaery moved closer to her, wrapped her arms around Sansa's waist and pulled the younger girl flush against her, moaning into Sansa's mouth when the other girl opened it further for her.

The first, hesitant flick of Sansa's tongue against her own had Margaery gasping as she felt it spark its way down to her womanhood, and she pushed a little closer to Sansa unthinkingly, biting back the small whimper that wanted to come forth.

They both pulled back at the same time, stammering apologies on both ends, and Margaery discreetly crossing her legs as she hoped that the sweet lemon she tasted on her tongue never faded.

"I...I should go," Sansa stammered out, unsure. She stood to her feet, smoothing down her rather mused gown before running her fingers through her long hair. "I...Anyway, thank you."

Margaery squinted at her, attempting to suss out what it was the other girl was thanking her for again. Wondered how she was meant to react to what had just happened. Then, "Oh, yes, about your mother. Of course, Sansa. Where are we meeting tomorrow?"

Sansa blinked rather rapidly. "Ah, there is a solar not far from Princess Rhaenys' apartments that has quite a view of the royal gardens, and should be open then. Will you be able to find it?"

Margaery nodded, breathless, and then watched as Sansa all but fled her chambers.

In the next moment, Elinor appeared from Margaery's inner bedchamber, gaping at her.

"Well," she said, "I certainly wasn't expecting that."

Margaery reached up, pressing her fingers against her lips as she tasted Sansa there again, before Elinor's words sank in. She reached for one of the little embroidered pillows on the divan, and threw it in Elinor's direction.

Elinor ducked, laughing as she went. "I suppose I understand why you're dragging your feet with the Prince now, Margaery," she teased. "Though you may want to act a bit more quickly, before your father can think of no more reasons to remain in King's Landing."

Margaery sighed, tucking her chin into her hand. "I know," she murmured. "And I will. As soon as possible."

Elinor snorted. "Do you believe that any more than I?"

Margaery shot her a glare. "I've had several of the servants keeping an eye on him. Prince Viserys has had half a dozen of the ladies of noble houses in his bed in the days leading up to and since the tourney, and I don't want to just be another one of them."

Elinor raised a brow. "Isn't that why we're here?"

Margaery shook her head. "His bed, yes, but also his cloak. That sort of thing takes time, and he doesn't keep the girls who throw themselves at him. Pay attention, for gods' sake, Elinor."

She just would have to find a way to make herself as unforgettable to Prince Viserys as she was beginning to realize with dread Sansa was to her. She would have to find out more information from the servants, perhaps, which would mean bribing some more of them and hoping that they didn't have as large of mouths with anyone else.

"Come, Elinor," she said then. "Let's go for a walk through the Keep. There's a delightful girl who empties Prince Viserys' chambers just about now."


 

"Seven, Loras, your chambers smell like sex," Margaery told her brother as she held her lacy sleeve to her nose and choked a little on the air, shutting the door behind her.

Loras looked less than impressed as he lounged out on the bed, wearing half of his Kingsguard uniform and chomping on some figs from the Reach. “You could always vacate them, if they bother you so.”

Margaery raised a brow, glancing around. She still needed to write a letter to her brother Willas, as she’d promised she would this fortnight, before she met with Sansa in that little tea room, and Margaery almost considered turning around to do just that. “Your most recent conquest is not still here, is he?”

Loras blinked at her. “Of course not. I wouldn’t have let you in, otherwise.”

Margaery flopped down onto the corner of her brother’s bed. “You didn’t let me in,” she corrected him. “I let myself in.”

Her brother’s chambers were certainly comfortable, warm golden colors covering the walls, the bed larger than Margaery’s own. She supposed there must be some advantages, after all, to being a member of the Kingsguard to a Mad King.

Margaery stretched across the bed, stealing one of Loras’ figs and popping it into her mouth, laughing at the small glare he sent her way.

“Other than bringing your conquests back here,” Margaery said, tone rife with mock disapproval, “Your days are being spent well?”

Much as her brother could sometimes annoy her, his penchant for fucking anyone with a cock within eyesight one of the greatest of these, Margaery was concerned. She knew that the Mad King’s temper was stemmed now by Prince Rhaegar, that the Crown Prince had grown up quite a bit since the days of Robert’s Rebellion, acting as a sort of regent for their king. But still, she worried about her brother’s position here, almost as much as she worried about her own.

Loras, however, didn’t seem to share her concern. “Ser Barristan is one of the most brutal task masters I have ever encountered, for his age.”

Margaery laughed. “Worse than your sparring partners back in Highgarden?” she asked.

Loras nodded his head vigorously, took another bite of the fig he was eating. “Why are you befriending the Stark girl?”

Margaery stopped eating her current fig midway through, thought of the last time she had seen Sansa Stark, yesterday evening, and it even now approaching noon, and what they had done together.

“Befriending her?” Margaery repeated, stalling for time even though they both knew it.

Loras chewed on his next fig rather loudly. “I’ve heard as much from at least seven different nobles in as many days. If you wanted to become the scandal of King’s Landing, you’re well on your way there.”

Margaery rolled her eyes, finishing off her last letter before facing her brother fully. "As if I am the only one in this family capable of causing scandal."

Loras colored. "It's not my fault the men in King's Landing are so...willing. You know, there's this whore down at Littlefinger's establishment-"

"Littlefinger?"

He laughed. "Oh, come now, Margaery, surely you've heard the nickname they call Lord Baelish. They say it's because-"

Margaery cleared her throat loudly. "Loras," she snapped, and then looked around. "They say the walls of the Keep are paper thin, and it would be best not to go running our mouths until we have secured our position here."

Loras rolled his eyes. "'They' must not spend a lot of time around my walls, then," he said defiantly, and Margaery bit her lip to keep from laughing, lest he think she was encouraging him.

"So," Loras went on playfully, "You never really answered my question."

Margaery raised a brow. "And which was that one again?" Her brother stared at her until Margaery relented. "Lady Sansa." She shrugged. "I suppose because I think she's quite pretty, and interesting enough in this dreary place, and," she bit her lip, knowing what her brother's reaction would be to her next words before she even said them, "she seems quite sad, and I would like her not to be."

Loras stared at her for long enough that Margaery almost started fidgeting under his careful watch, before he sighed. "And here I was the one bringing shame on the family. Margaery, of all the girls-"

Margaery sighed. "I know-"

"Did you have to choose the one being kept as a prisoner in King's Landing because of her disgrace of a family to fall in love with?"

Margaery gaped at him. "I...I'm not in love with her," she stammered out. "By the Seven, Loras, I hardly know the girl. She's just...interesting."

"And you want to fuck her, and make her happy, and..."

Margaery moved across the bed from where she was sitting on the end of it in one fluid motion, throwing her hands over Loras' mouth and glaring at him. "Be quiet, brother," she snapped, and Loras at least had the grace to look chagrined once she had pulled her hands away.

“Apologies,” he muttered, hanging his head. “Just...be careful, Margaery.”

She laughed. “I could say the same thing of you, you know.”


 

Margaery didn't have the best of relationships with her mother, she knew. She suspected this was because she knew her mother to be, rather than simply kind and innocent, too foolish to play the game being a member of the Houses demanded one to play. And Alerie, for her part, seemed not to understand Margaery anymore Mace Tyrell understood his only daughter.

But she could not imagine being separated from the woman for years, and then, when they were finally able to reconnect, forced to do so under the watchful eye of someone she hardly knew more.

And the thought of being separated from any of her siblings for such a length of time, Loras or Willas especially, made Margaery's heart clench in sympathy as she watched Sansa turn and give her a nervous smile for the hundredth time.

"Oh, I...I almost forgot to ask," Sansa tutted nervously, and Margaery glanced up in surprise to see Sansa standing almost directly on top of her, where she sat in the corner of the solar. "Do you...would you care for some tea?"

Margaery smiled. "I'm quite content with my needles," she assured the other girl, and Sansa let out a little sigh, spinning away from Margaery and continuing her pacing of the room.

"I am sure it will be fine, Sansa," Margaery felt compelled to say, when a knock came to the door and Sansa looked rather green at the sound of it.

Sansa swallowed, giving Margaery a shaky nod before moving forward to open the door and smiling hesitantly at the woman standing beyond it.

Catelyn Stark stood on the other side of that door, expression softening when she saw Sansa, and she reached out as if to touch her daughter, before pulling back abruptly.

"My lady," Sansa said, voice rather timid, and she scrambled back, dipping into a curtsey and inviting Lady Stark further into the room.

Lady Stark looked her daughter over as if examining her for injuries. "Sansa," she murmured, before pausing, clearly at a loss for words, and glancing around the solar.

Catelyn Stark's eyes found Margaery, sitting where she was in the corner of the room, and narrowed knowingly.

"I don't suppose we can have some privacy?" she asked Sansa.

Sansa bit her lip and glanced back at Margaery in obvious concern. "I would like to have the Lady Margaery here with me. She is a dear friend," she murmured, and even though Margaery knew this was merely a flimsy excuse to spare her mother's feelings, she couldn't help but sit a little straighter for it.

Until she reminded herself that she shouldn't be feeling that way at all, that whatever she felt for Sansa was a silly, dangerous notion that neither of them could afford to think of again.

She was in King's Landing to woo a prince, not a traitor's daughter, Margaery told herself, stabbing her needle into her needlework a little harder, and making Sansa jump a little where she stood.

"I see." Catelyn seemed to understand what her daughter was saying anyway, and she let out a small sigh, waited until Sansa gestured to a seat and asked if she would like any tea.

Catelyn shook her head as she sat across from Sansa.

"I'm quite fine," she said, but Sansa took some anyway, and Margaery bit her lip in sympathy as the other girl's hands shook so badly her tea cup started to chatter against the saucer in the otherwise silent room, before turning her eyes diligently back on her needlework.

Catelyn at last seemed to take some pity on her daughter. "How are you here, my child?" she asked, glancing around the rooms with an unreadable expression.

Margaery went back to her sewing, pretending not to listen in on the conversation. Sansa had said only that someone had to be present, but Margaery wondered if Prince Rhaegar didn't plan on interrogating her afterward, to ensure that Sansa and her mother didn't spend the time plotting against the Crown.

She would be expected to pay attention to what they were saying, even if she did not listen to every word.

Margaery wished, suddenly and violently, that Sansa had asked someone else to do this. Someone who wasn't Margaery, someone she could know and trust better...

It was a sad state of affairs, that a girl she just barely knew was the only person in King's Landing whom Sansa Stark thought she could ask for something like this.

"I am quite well, Lady Mother," Sansa said as she shifted in her chair, took another nervous sip of tea despite the heat of the afternoon day.

Sansa's mother looked relieved. "I am glad," she said, her voice a little stiff as she glanced Margaery's way once more.

Another awkward silence fell over the two, then, "Your father sends his love. He understands that this little...tea could only be between the two of us, of course."

Margaery wondered if that had been a condition of Prince Rhaegar, or if Sansa simply hadn't asked to see her father, too frightened by how the Crown might react to such a request.

Sansa gulped her next bit of tea so loudly even Margaery heard it from across the room. "Send him my love," she murmured, voice suddenly vulnerable as it had only ever been in Margaery's chambers earlier, when they had-

"I will," Catelyn promised solemnly. "And these Tar-the King treats you well, I trust?"

Sansa bobbed her head. "Of course, Mother. I am quite content here." She seemed to realize the connotation her words had given, and backtracked quickly. "I mean, as content as could be expected. Princess Daenerys is quite kind to me, and it is a comfort to have Jon here."

Catelyn nodded, and Margaery glanced up to see the skin around her eyes was quite pinched. "I am glad for that. I do not wish you to suffer for the sins of others," she told her daughter gently, and Margaery winced a little at the raw emotion in the other woman's voice, hidden under a facade of propriety.

Sansa swallowed hard, set her tea cup and saucer down on the table serving as a barrier between herself and her mother.

"And...my siblings. I don't suppose they..."

Lady Catelyn's face twisted in sympathy. "Your older brother Robb stayed behind as Lord of Winterfell while we travelled to King's Landing," she explained. "But your father and I did not think it safe to bring your other siblings here, though they send their love."

Margaery winced at the words, no doubt not meant to harm, and saw the color drain from Sansa's face. While Margaery understood the practicality of leaving the rest of their children in Winterfell while going to meet a mad king who made no secret of his disdain for traitors, she could only see one way Sansa might take those words.

"Excuse me," Sansa said suddenly, getting to her feet with hurried movements, nearly toppling her glass where it sat precariously on the edge of the table. "I...I just remembered that the Princess wished to speak with me. I don't suppose we could...see one another again, at a better time."

Margaery raised a brow at the less than subtle excuse, watched as Sansa practically fled from the room, and then stood to her feet, putting her sewing away in the little sack she had brought for that purpose, before walking over to the sofa and curtseying to the Lady Catelyn.

Lady Catelyn was staring at the door Sansa had just fled out of, and did not seeom to notice her movement at all. Margaery hesitated.

"I am sure that the Princess will wish to speak to all of her ladies," she told the older woman, before moving nimbly toward the door.

Lady Catelyn rubbed at her temples, sighing deeply. "Lady Margaery," she said finally, and Margaery paused, turning around to face her.

"Lady Stark,” Margaery dipped into another curtsey, more out of pity than any true propriety.

Catelyn Stark assessed her coolly, before finally murmuring, “Are you close with my daughter?”

Margaery bit her lip, hand still on the latch of the door. She thought of the other day, of how she had kissed Sansa and it had tasted like nothing she had ever experienced before.

“We only just met at the tourney, my lady,” Margaery responded.

Catelyn nodded at this, though Margaery thought she saw something flash behind the woman’s eyes. “I see. I..."

Margaery felt a spike of pity for the woman. She had gotten the impression, during Sansa's short talk with her mother, that the woman was not so used to such vulnerability.

It must be a hard existence, to live in the cold North.

"House Tyrell is quite loyal to the Crown," Lady Catelyn said, and Margaery nodded, uncertain where she was going with this. "Why did you agree to this, today?"

Margaery forced herself to smile, wondered how many more times she was going to be asked that of late. "She seems a sweet girl," she explained. "And...I thought it only fair, that she have some sort of chance to speak with her family. I could not imagine..." she shook her head. "I should really go."

Lady Catelyn nodded. "Of course. But Lady Margaery, I wonder if there is one thing you might still do for me?"

Margaery hesitated, wary. "My lady?"

Lady Catelyn looked very tired. Margaery wondered what it must have felt like, to marry into a family that had comitted treason against the Crown, that would never be able to wipe the stain of that transgression away, despite the fact that they had done what any noble House might have done, in the same situation.

"I understand that the members of your House are not leaving King's Landing until after House Stark. I wonder...Would you keep an eye on her? I know that she has some friends in King's Landing, but..." Lady Catelyn shook her head. "If it would make you uncomfortable..."

"I will keep an eye on her," Margaery promised, the words leaving her mouth before she could stop them, not even sure she could keep such a vow. She had other, important things to be doing in King's Landing. Seducing a prince, for instance, and yet, Margaery found that such a promise was not the hardship she had been expecting.

Lady Catelyn had not demanded that she spy on Sansa, or do anything treasonous. Only keep an eye on her, when Margaery already could barely take her eyes off the other woman. And Margaery had taken pity on a mother so obviously uncomfortable with asking even for that.

Lady Catelyn nodded to her in thanks, though Margaery could not imagine why the thought of a Tyrell watching her daughter would bring the woman any peace, before moving on her way.

Margaery followed the older woman out of the solar, made it halfway down the opposite end of the hall than Lady Catelyn had gone through before a wrist snaked around hers and pulled her into an empty room.

Margaery spun, pulling her wrist out of the less than imposing grip, and stared at Sansa Stark, where she now stood in the middle of the room, chest heaving.

"Sansa," she murmured, pulling the younger girl into an embrace instinctively, when she saw how badly the other girl was shaking. “Are you all right?”

And then Sansa was pushing even closer to her, pressing her lips against Margaery’s and pressing them gently together. Margaery blanched a little, startled, reflected that she should pull away. She didn't, instead moving a little closer, reaching out to cup Sansa's chin as the other girl's mouth opened of its own accord.

The gentleness did not last long. Margaery could taste the desperation on Sansa's tongue as surely as she had tasted the lemon cakes of the previous day, and she melted into the sensation, even as her mind screamed at her that she should pull away, that she shouldn't be encouraging this.

It was Sansa who pulled away, first, and when she did, Margaery felt the loss rather keenly. And that feeling rather startled Margaery, who so prided herself on her ability to keep such careful control of herself.

When she had been quite old enough to garner her grandmother’s attention, Olenna Tyrell had imparted the importance of Margaery’s understanding that her body was nothing more than a tool. It did nothing without Margaery willing it so, and yet here she was, kissing a girl she hardly knew, though Margaery could admit that she had kissed girls she knew less than Sansa, back in Highgarden, and not understanding the desperate need she felt to continue doing so.

There was something about Sansa Stark that instilled a lust in Margaery she had never felt before, not for Elinor, nor for any of the other ladies she had taken into her bed, even if she and Sansa had yet to reach that point. Something about her that had Margaery thinking about her at the most inconvenient of times, such as when she meant to approach Prince Viserys and finally make the introduction that she so needed.

A part of her hated Sansa Stark for that, for the confusion she felt every time she saw the other girl, convinced in one moment that Sansa Stark was too melancholy a girl for Margaery’s interests, and in the next wanting nothing more than to attack her in broad daylight, no matter the danger of doing so.

Margaery wondered if, by the look of desperation on Sansa's face, she missed it for the sensation of touch it had provided alone. She imagined it would grow very lonely in a place like King's Landing, surrounded by so many who judged her.

Margaery wondered if she would feel the same, once she had wormed her way into Prince Viserys' bed and everyone knew how she had gotten his cloak. She flinched.

“I’m sorry,” Sansa rasped out at the sight of Margaery's flinch, flushing that pretty pink that Margaery had already begun to adore. “I...I shouldn’t have done that now anymore than what we did before.”

Margaery shook her head, pressing their foreheads together. “I know,” she whispered. “Of course not.”

Sansa pulled away, staring up at her, eyes wide and full of such emotion that Margaery could barely look at them, lower lip trembling.

Margaery bent down and pulled Sansa's lower lip in between her own, sucked at it gently as she felt the younger woman gasp and squirm a little at the sensation, before lifting on her toes to respond in kind.

When they both pulled away, flushed and hardly sated, Margaery wondered what it was about herself that so craved self-damnation.

"Sansa, I'm sure your mother didn't mean to imply..." Margaery started, and then stopped, because how was she meant to finish that sentence without the other girl finding some offense from it?

It was not, Margaery reflected, so very different from the mindset of what was expected of young girls once they had been married off. They were expected to take on their husband's family name, were expected to run their husband's home, and that sort of cut off from one's own family could be difficult, Margaery had heard.

Still, those women were allowed to return home, if they so pleased. Were not kept in a state of virtual imprisonment, however nice Sansa's gilded cage was, and were not taken away at so young an age.

Margaery had wondered if Sansa had ever been allowed to write to her mother and father, and while she could not imagine it so with the way Sansa had reacted just to meeting her mother, she reasoned that the Crown Prince must have allowed her some communication, however formal and censored.

Sansa interrupted her before Margaery had to continue the thought, running a shaky hand through her hair. "I'd rather not speak about that, if it's all the same to you." Her laugh trembled. "I..."

"Of course. If you need anything, or you'd like me to sit in with you again..." Margaery murmured, not knowing why she could not get her damnable tongue to stop speaking of late.

Sansa gave her a shy smile. "You've been a kind friend to me, Lady Margaery," she murmured, voice firm, more formal now, and Margaery felt something within her sink at the tone. "My thanks."

And then she turned on her heels and swept from the room, and Margaery reflected that this was usually her move, that it was usually she, besotting those around her. Leaving them after only a tease.

Margaery wiped at her lips with the back of her hand and muttered a quiet oath her grandmother would have smacked her to hear.


 

Margaery saw her chance with Prince Viserys during another one of the days when the old King held court atop his uncomfortable throne, ending the day even earlier than the day before, as she lingered behind and watched the awkward conversation he seemed to be having with his younger sister and forced herself to ask.

Margaery had chosen the gown she wore with the prince in mind, as she did all of her outfits in the hopes of catching his attention, for she understood how most men's minds worked and as she knew it would be less than appropriate, or subtle, to wear the Targaryen colors, as that seemed to be the only thing that caught the Prince's attention, Margaery had to improvise.

Her gown proudly displayed the colors of House Tyrell, a green, shimmering gown with an outer sheer covering with golden trim that she thought should do the job nicely. It was popular enough amongst the suitors who traveled to Highgarden in the past, no doubt for the sheer amount of breast it displayed.

Margaery glanced up toward the Iron Throne, saw Prince Rhaegar where he stood behind the old king, watching her. Margaery bit her lip and looked away first, still felt the Crown Prince's eyes on her while the old king presided over a less than amused court.

She could not get the words the Prince had said to her out of her mind, when she had been called to his study and interrogated on the conversation Sansa had asked her to sit in on. It had been two days after the Starks had already left King's Landing, and Margaery had wondered why the Crown Prince had bothered to wait that long. For appearance's sake, perhaps, but somehow, Margaery didn't think that would matter.

Then again, he was practically running the kingdom. Perhaps he simply hadn't put as much care into the matter as Sansa had insinuated.

"Lady Margaery," the Prince had greeted her when she had arrived at his study, and Margaery had swept into a curtsey while Elinor had been relegated to remaining out in the corridor, where Ser Barristan stood guarding the Prince's study. The door had been propped open just a crack for propriety's sake, and still Margaery had felt awkward and bare in the little room.

The Prince had not looked up when she first entered, bent over a piece of parchment with a stubborn frown on his face, scribbling away at something. It was a strange sight, Margaery reflected, to see the Prince who had once been so well known for the glory of his war during the Rebellion, bent over a scroll like a maester.

Like Willas, her mind offered treacherously, for she doubted Prince Rhaegar was anything similar to her dear Willas.

For one, her brother never would have left a lady standing on ceremony, even if he was a Crown Prince.

When he finally looked up, Prince Rhaegar seemed almost surprised to see her, as if he had forgotten that she was there. He set down his quill. "Lady Margaery," he repeated.

"Your Grace," she had murmured, knowing better than to meet the Prince's eyes, staring down at the wooden desk he sat behind.

"I wondered if I might have a word with you," the Prince went on, seeming to find her deference at least acceptable. He waved her into a seat, and Margaery sat down nimbly, reminded herself that if all went well, she would find herself married to his brother.

"I understand that it was you Lady Sansa asked to sit in on her meeting with her mother."

Margaery felt something cool in her gut, even if she knew she had nothing to be worried about. This was what the Crown Prince had wanted, after all, and Sansa and her mother had said nothing that might damn either of them.

No, that had only been Margaery, making promises she couldn't keep to a woman from a house of traitors. Promises of watching out for a girl she couldn't befriend.

Margaery nodded. "Yes, Your Grace," she murmured. "I sat in on their conversation, as she asked me to."

Lady Stark and her husband had already started the long trek back to Winterfell, and Margaery had been surprised to see them go, for, after the strange little interlude Margaery had with Sansa in that empty room, she had not been asked to sit in on another conversation with Sansa and her mother.

She wondered if Sansa had found someone else, or simply hadn't spoken alone with her mother again, and wasn't sure which thought disturbed her more.

Prince Rhaegar raised a brow. "And?"

Margaery licked suddenly dry lips, wondered why she was so nervous. "And...It was a short conversation, Your Grace. The Lady Sansa excused herself quite early into it." She hesitated. "They spoke really only pleasantries before she did so, and there was nothing untoward about it. I would have come to you immediately were that the case."

Sansa Stark may be a pretty face who had somehow turned Margaery's head, who even now had Margaery licking her lips and tasting lemons on them, but she vowed not to become more a fool toward the younger girl. There was only one way such a doomed relationship could end, after all, and Sansa had made it rather clear, when she pushed Margaery away and hadn't spoken to her since, that she had no interest in pursuing such a scandalous affair.

In any case, Margaery had heard that Prince Viserys was not at all fond of his little sister's closest companion.

Prince Rhaegar eyed her, his gaze more speculative than suspicious. "I understand from your father that he intends to return to Highgarden by the week's end," he informed her, and Margaery nodded, knowing a bit of defeat as she remembered her last conversation with her grandmother, that she had very little time to snag the Prince, to gain his invitation to remain here, before her family would be leaving.

She had every confidence that she might still manage it, after the way she had studied him this last fortnight, and yet Margaery was all too aware that it might not be enough, not without a full seduction, which she couldn't quite afford.

"That is true, Your Grace," Margaery agreed hesitantly, when she realized that the Crown Prince was still waiting for a response.

"I wonder, Lady Margaery, if you might not rather remain in King's Landing, to support your brother and to find yourself a suitable match here." The Prince smiled at her as he made the offer, and Margaery blinked in surprise, wondered what benefit it was to him if Margaery of House Tyrell remained in King's Landing after the other ladies had all returned home.

Margaery nodded. "I...would be honored for such an invitation, Your Grace," she blurted out before she could think of the ramifications of such an invitation.

Prince Rhaegar looked amused at her excitement. "I am sure that you would, Lady Margaery. Of course, for such an invitation to be extended to you and whichever members of your House you would see remain here, I would have a request to make of you."

Margaery smiled prettily, for this she understood. "It is my honor and duty to serve the Crown, Your Grace."

He nodded. "Indeed, it is. If only others understood that." He gave her a long look. "I have my concerns about young Sansa Stark. I understand that it is a...difficult situation, she has been placed in, forced to live in such a place and so far from her family at such a young age. It is not a position I would wish upon my own daughter."

Margaery waited, not daring to express an opinion about that.

"However, Lady Sansa has attracted the interest of Lord Petyr Baelish." He eyed Margaery. "I understand that you have made that man's acquaintance."

Margaery nodded, made sure to show her general disgust on her face with a light grimace. "Indeed, Your Grace."

Prince Rhaegar eyed her again, and she wished he would just come out and say whatever it was he wished to say.

"I am worried for the sort of influence Lord Baelish might have on young Sansa Stark. She is an impressionable young woman, and his...interests are often less than innocent."

Margaery forced herself to go a bit pale, thought of her promise to the Lady Catelyn to pull it off. "I understand, Your Grace. He seems quite...slippery."

The Prince chuckled. "I suppose he is. Therefore, Lady Margaery, I would like to make you an offer. For an extended invitation to remain in King's Landing, I would like your word that you will keep an eye on Lady Sansa, ensure that no harm befalls her because of influences like Lord Baelish's."

And Margaery had smiled prettily and agreed to do whatever she could to help the Crown, and such a sweet and young woman like Sansa, and wondered if Prince Rhaegar thought all young women her age were so easily susceptible to the worried tales of a father figure of a young and impressionable girl, so in need of help.

Margaery snorted at the memory now, for she would have promised anything to remain in King's Landing a while longer, for her family's sake, for her own. She was so running out of time that she had wasted on the Stark girl.

And she had squashed down the small feeling of guilt that had arisen at the thought of betraying Sansa Stark's confidences to the Crown Prince, if necessary. She doubted the reprecussions would have gone well for her, if she had dared to refuse the Crown Prince and had returned to Highgarden, at any rate, after he had made such an offer.

Besides, it meant that she now had something of an excuse to spend more time with the Lady Sansa.

Margaery blinked as the old king was led away by his son and several servants, saw Prince Viserys standing at the edge of a corridor leading from the throne room, engaged in what was clearly an intense conversation with his younger sister, and, by the strained look on Princess Daenerys' face, not one she favored.

Well, Margaery supposed, the Prince was hardly going to approach her himself. He had made that abundantly clear, of late. If she wanted this, if her family wanted this, Margaery was going to have to make the first move herself.

Margaery swept forward, skirts of her gown flying out behind her in her haste, but Margaery didn't have the time. Even if the Crown Prince had granted her more time in King's Landing for the secret task he had appointed her, she knew that everything to do with finding a match was only a matter of time.

The Prince was of marriageable age now, after all, and he had made his own pick for a wife clear enough.

"Your Grace," Margaery greeted as she came to a stop before the Prince, just after the Princess had vanished down the hall in a flurry of skirts and Prince Viserys was already making his way toward Margaery. She dipped down into a curtsey that she ensured showed him a generous amount of bosom.

He eyed her, didn't seem interested in the way the lords of the Reach always were by this gown. Ah, well. Perhaps there was something interesting to him, after all. Perhaps he had thoughts that did not only dwell on his cock.

That would be interesting enough.

"My lady," he dipped his head, barely a response, and Margaery felt a flutter of irritation. Still, he remained, and she supposed that was something. "How are you enjoying your time in King's Landing?"

Margaery forced herself to smile widely. "I have found it...most stimulating, Your Grace," she murmured, being sure to drag out the words, noticing the small spark of interest in his eyes for the first time. Perfect.

She had the time now to go as slowly as she suspected she would need to with Prince Viserys, and that thought spurred her on.

"This is a place of true awe and splendor, the likes of which I have never found within the Reach. I am so fortunate that your father the King has extended his hospitality to one such as I, to remain here."

Prince Rhaegar, but she understood that such formalities must be attended to.

"What's your name?" Viserys asked, head cocked as he eyed her gown with something more akin to fascination now, and Margaery bit back a smile.

"Margaery, Your Grace," she introduced herself, because this was it, finally. It may not seem much to him, only a name and a spark of interest, and yet Margaery knew from experience that it was all she would need, for now.

Men so liked to do the chasing, after all.

"Of House Tyrell?" Prince Viserys asked, raising one pale brow.

Margaery simpered, pretended delight at the fact that he could guess the name of her House.

"Yes, Your Grace. My brother Loras was just recently named to the Kingsguard, and we have never been separated in our youth. I wished to support him in this before I return to Highgarden."

Viserys looked pleasantly surprised by the revelation, and Margaery congratulated herself on the fact that she had chosen the right motive, that she had known after so many weeks of watching him from afar what would gain the Prince's interest. Of course it would be the mention of a sibling.

"That is very kind of you," he said, and Margaery gave him a little curtsey, bobbed her head in thanks.

"I like to think he would do the same for me, Your Grace." She blinked, wondered if the Prince preferred airheads who didn't remind him of his sister, or women with bite who did. "Oh, I don't mean if I were named to the Kingsguard, only...if I were to be sent away to be married."

Viserys nodded, not seeming to notice her gaffe in the least. Well, that was the answer to one question, then. "If his devotion is anywhere near as close as yours, then I am certain he would have."

Margaery smiled again, showing teeth this time. The object of her interest at least had manners and an appreciative gaze, even if it was not as appreciative as most. She could work with that.

"You should enjoy your time in the capitol, Lady Margaery," the Prince told her, clearly deciding to make his exit then.

Margaery smiled, noticed the way his eyes flashed to hers before moving away once more, curtseyed again as he dismissed himself from her company.

She had him, now. She only needed to keep him, somehow.

"I hope that I shall, Your Grace," she murmured at the Prince's back as he walked away, watched as he slithered off and wondered if he was going to find his sister once again.

She wasn't left to her musings for long, however, before Elinor was at her side, gaping between Margaery and the space where Prince Viserys had been. Margaery preened.

"My lady..." Elinor murmured, sounding slightly breathless.

Margaery smirked, twirling a finger through her long tresses. "Walk with me, Elinor," she murmured, and practically dragged her cousin down the hall. Only when Margaery was certain that there was no one to overhear them did she speak again, in a low whisper. "I did quite well, wouldn't you say? I should think I will have Prince Viserys around my finger by the end of the week, or we might as well go home."

Elinor whistled lowly. "You certainly did something there," she muttered, and Margaery glanced sideways at her lady, saw that Elinor's cheeks had flushed and she wasn't quite meeting Margaery's eyes.

"Are you jealous, Lady Elinor?" she teased coyly, ignoring the small flare of red reaching up her cousin's neck. "I didn't take you for the type."

Elinor rolled her eyes. "Only of where you learned how to do that," she said, and Margaery laughed.

"I suppose it is the privilege of being our matriarch's favorite relative," she teased, and Elinor snorted.

"The only reason she likes you so much," Elinor murmured, "is because you're the only girl child of her son, and you know it."

Margaery winked at her. "No, it's because I'm so clever. She told me so."

Elinor rolled her eyes. "I don't think I've ever heard Olenna Tyrell compliment anyone, even you, and I am your pillowfriend, so I think I would know."

Margaery linked their arms together. "Regardless, I'll have him soon enough, I hope. And don't worry, Elinor," she murmured, patting her pillowfriend's hand. "Where I rise, you will always rise with me."

Elinor sighed. "I suppose the matches here in King's Landing will be better than in Highgarden, anyway," she murmured.