As stealthy as a shadowcat you prowl along the top of the wall that encased and protected your home of Winterfell. You wore the gray direwolf sigil proudly as you danced about the top, overlooking your small kingdom. Your little brother Bran wasn’t too far away, still making his way up. Grinning you peer over the edge to watch him. He looks up at you and grins that sweet smile that you love. It was comical how your younger brother was the one who taught you all the ins and outs of climbing. You were nowhere near as good as Bran, but better than Arya and your other siblings. A cool breeze greets you with a kiss to your emblazoned cheeks and brushes your hair out of your face. In no time Bran hurls himself over and stands next to you. You always sighed at the sight of your home laid out in front of you.
“You’re probably used to this sight, huh?” you smile at Bran, still trying to catch your breath from the climb. Feeling far older than your seventeen years after climbing up the side of the wall. Yet you wouldn’t put it past Bran to have already climbed all the watchtowers of Winterfell over a hundred times.
“Not really.” Bran replies with an equally enchanted gaze. If Robb were to die, gods forbid, all of Winterfell would belong to Bran. On a sour note you thought of your bastard brother Jon. He would never obtain a lordship or any title beside bastard. Perhaps going to the Night’s Watch was the best option for him after all. Title nor blood status mattered when you donned the black garb of the brothers. You knew when that day came that you would miss him dearly. He was still your brother after all no matter what. He had Stark blood just as much as you did. You really wished your mother didn’t treat him so cruelly. It wasn’t his fault that your father had an indiscretion during the first year of their marriage. You and your other siblings (excluding Sansa) loved him nonetheless. You always grew furious when you heard your younger sister speak badly of him. Reminding her that a prim and proper lady of the court didn’t speak like a gossiping tavern wench (although you knew that they often did); to which Sansa would blush and apologize.
You felt Bran’s small hand grab your’s, his little fingers lacing between your own. Squeezing his hand in return you crane your neck to find the training yard. “We should get back down. Looks like the boys are starting their practice.”
“I think you and Arya should be allowed to join.” Bran pipes up as the two of you begin your descent. Remember that time you managed to unarm Robb before Septa Mordane caught you? That was so cool!”
“Mother was not happy the least bit. A lady’s place is doing needle work and singing sweet songs and whatnot.” Snorting you climb over the edge and venture down after Bran.
“Then you and Arya aren’t the least bit ladylike!” Laughing, Bran was nearly close to the ground as you struggled still to find perfect footing.
“Hey! I can be a lady too! I can slit a man’s throat while sewing a gown. Just watch me.” Claiming indignantly. The two of you laugh the rest of the way back. On the field the boys were already practicing their swordplay with Ser Rodrik advising over them. Patting Bran on the head you push him forward. He bounces over to join the others as you sit back and watch. Little Bran seemed so out of place among the others.
Your twin brother Robb chances a glance up and smiles when he spots you.
“Shouldn’t you be practicing your stitches and songs my lady?”
Rolling your eyes you whack him upside the head making him laugh. “Go back to your sticks little boy.”
“Don’t be mad at me. It’s not my fault you weren’t born a man.”
“Yeah yeah. Whatever.” Smiling you let him sit next to you. Jon was helping Bran with something that you couldn’t quite see from your seat. When he looked up at you he’s quick to avert his gaze back to Bran; almost too quick. It makes you frown. As much as you loved your half-brother he held no love for you. As children you got along well enough. You can’t remember when things had changed. He’d downright ignore you most days. You tried not to take it too personally, but it was hard to take it any other way.
“Hey, you maintained eye contact with him for a good two seconds! That’s a record.” Robb jeers beside you having witnessed the whole awkward exchange.
Pursing your lips you turn to your brother. “Why doesn’t he like me?”
His face softens as he touches your arm. “He does (y/n).”
“He doesn’t even look at me, Robb. Theon pays more attention to me and he’s not even my brother. Am I too ugly of a sister?”
“You’re not ugly. The only reason Theon gives you the time of day is because he secretly wants to get under your skirt. As disgusting as that is. You think he’d be turned off because you’re my twin. It’s really disturbing when I think about it, which is why I try not to.” Robb shudders.
Again you smack his head, but he’s brought out a smile from you. He returns it with an identical one.
“(y/n)!” Came the shrieking call of your septa.
“Aw crap that’s right. Gotta go.”
You leave Robb laughing as you flee for your life. Bounding back to the castle you make a run for your room until you’re stopped by your mother, Lady Catelyn Stark.
“Young lady, where do you think you’re off to?” She crosses her arms in that intimidating way that all mothers seem to possess.
Shaking her head she redirects you. “You need to be a role model for your sisters. It was bad enough when it was just you sneaking away from your lessons every now and then, but now you have Arya doing the same thing. Both Maester Luwin and Septa Mordane have nothing but praises for you when you do show up.”
“I’m seventeen now mother. There’s nothing else for me to learn from the good septa and Maester Luwin. They’ve done a good job in teaching me all those years. I no longer require their tutelage.” You try and explain. That’s another reason why you wanted to learn how to fight with a sword: you had been growing bored as of late with your lessons. You wanted something new and exciting to engage yourself in.
Lady Catelyn heaves a heavy sigh, still giving you a pointed look that borders on exasperation. You give her a nervous smile, hoping to appease her. Tully eyes close, defeated against your Stark features. “Alright. As long as you talk to Arya and convince her to go to her lessons.”
“I will try although she may not even listen to me.” Grinning you give your lady mother a quick peck on the cheek. Instead of going to your room as you had previously planned you decide to visit the library. You’d spend the rest of your day there, hidden among the knowledge of those long dead.
The sky was already dark when someone thought to send for you in the library. You’d lit a few candles so you could keep reading when Bran showed up.
“Septa Mordane says you must wash up for supper.”
Nodding you follow Bran back to the castle where you put on a new gown. When you go back out into the hall you run into Arya and Jon Snow.
“(y/n)! You left me alone with Sansa and Jeyne and Septa Mordane!” Arya pouts and goes from Jon’s side to you. “If I had known you were ditching I would’ve found someplace to hide too!”
A bit proudly you tell her that you didn’t have to go anymore.
“When you’re my age you can ask mom to stop going too. But for now you’re just going to have to put up with it.”
Her face screws up in a scowl until her dark eyes that were much like your own lit up with an idea. You hated when she got that look. You’re about to ask her what was going through her devious mind when she pranced away, an evil grin gracing her face. Leaving you and Jon completely alone in the small spaced hall. He seems just as much at a loss for words than you are. Then again, Jon never did say much around you anyway. Hands clenching then relaxing he looks around a bit nervously.
“Jon. . .”
He muttered something about supper before turning on his heels, intent to flee as quickly as he could.
“Now you wait just a minute Jon Snow!” You yell out, catching him by surprise and possibly scaring him. Everyone in Winterfell knew better than to irk your temper. It often lay dormant, but when it was released the gods new or old couldn’t help anyone.
Nearly pouncing on him, Jon stumbles backward. “Why do you treat me so coldly? Have I not treated you just like my own flesh and blood brother? When Sansa speaks ill of you, am I not the one to come to your defense?” Your cheeks flared with your anger as it refused to die down anytime soon. “Yet I get your scorn in return. Well I’ve just had about enough of it. Let the Others take you.” You place your hands on his chest and push him back with all your might. He can only stare at you with enormous eyes following after you as you haughtily made your way to the Great Hall. Not bothering to glance back at your bastard brother. You sat down with a huff next to your twin.
“Uh oh. Who woke the Snarling She-Wolf?” he asks genuinely concerned. Setting down his drink he turns in his seat. Despite having shared a womb with him, the two of you looked nothing alike. Robb had the fair complexion of a Tully, your mother’s family, while you possessed features of a Stark. Your father always told you how you reminded him of his sister, your aunt, Lyanna. You yourself couldn’t see the resemblance when you ventured down to the crypts to look upon her facade carved into stone.
Drinking a bit of water offered to you by a serving girl, you toss it back; hoping it would extinguish the fire that blazed in your chest. “That damned Jon Snow.”
“Scorned you again? You shouldn’t be so hard on him.”
Balking at Robb you slam your cup down. “I’ve been nothing but nice to him since we were children! Yet he deems it appropriate to down right ignore me.” Taking a deep breath through your nose, you close your eyes to calm yourself. “I just don’t understand what I did wrong.”
“You did nothing wrong sweet sister.”
Robb shakes his head. “The feelings of a man are very complicated.”
If your eyes hadn’t been closed you would’ve rolled them at your brother. “Enlighten me then, dear brother.”
“Ah ah. It’s not for another man to divulge.” A playful smile on his lips, he bumps his shoulder against your’s. “Besides, dinner has just been served.”
“That you are right.”
“Aren’t I always?”
“No.” Smiling coyly you grab your utensils and dig in. You keep your gaze cool and void when Jon walks into the hall. Ducking his head when he makes eye contact with you he chooses to sit next to Theon. There was plenty to keep your mind off and away from him as you chose to listen to your father who was speaking to his countrymen. Lord Eddard Stark was what every man should strive to be like. He was tough, but not cruel. Great in battle but not war hungry. Above all he was righteous. Sansa might believe a true man was one of those knights who fought in tourneys and won maiden’s favors. You knew better. There was no truer lor than Eddard Stark. You had hope that your Robb would turn out the same. To be the next great lord of the north.
After the meal you go back to your room. You’d probably read before you went to bed. You stretch along your bed, your book falling closed in the process, when you hear a knock at the door. No one visited you at this hour except for your younger siblings and that was with hope that you would tell them a story, one that Old Nan hadn’t told them yet. Even then normally your siblings had no sense of privacy and would just barge in.
“Who is it?”
There’s a pause, a heartbeat as you wait for a name. Almost reluctantly, a shy voice speaks up. “Jon.”
Definitely wasn’t expecting him. . .
Hesitantly you get up and open your door partially. As always when in your presence, his gaze is kept low to the ground, but this time he forces his dark eyes to look up at you. You saw something close to fear in those deep pools. You hated that timid look he always gave you, like you would spit in his face.
“Hey there stranger.” Crossing your arms in front of your chest you eye him. “Come to apologize?”
“Actually yes.” Jon looks around the corridor, asking if he could come in. You nod and allow him into your room. You can’t remember the last time Jon had stepped foot into your personal quarters. “(y/n), I’m sorry if I’ve made you sad. That’s the last thing I wanted to ever do.”
“Then tell me why you’ve treated me like I’m the bastard. What did I do wrong?”
“Nothing. It’s me. . .” Jon trails off trying to carefully choose his words. “(y/n)- I can’t tell you why I’ve been acting the way I have or you might treat me differently.” He sits tentatively on your bed.
You kneel down in front of him and hold his hands. “Jon. . . Please.”
He shakes his head. Voice softer, you plead again. “I’m. . . I’m in love with you (y/n). . .”
You blink, uncertain of what you’d just heard. “In love?”
Jon averts his gaze, his complexion taking on a sickly sheen as he tries to pull his hands out of your grasp.
“But I’m your-”
“I know!” Realizing that his voice had risen, Jon bites his lip. “I know your my sister. Gods do I know that. That’s why I’ve been trying to put some distance between us. I can’t have these feelings for you. They would surely kick me out if they knew. May the Others take me. (y/n), I’m so sorry. When I go to the Wall you can just forget about me.”
What could you possibly say? Jon was your half brother but still your blood. The gods old and new condemned relationships between brother and sister yet you couldn’t help but remember the Targaryens. They made it tradition to wed brother and sister to each other. You weren’t Targaryens though. You were Starks. You couldn’t very well tell him that it was okay because these feelings he had for you were far from okay.
You could only stare at him, mouth gaping partially as you watch him fidget nervously.
Abruptly, Jon stands up and heads to your door. “I’m so sorry (y/n).”
You should’ve been disgusted with him. Should’ve felt some sort of revulsion at the thought of your brother having romantic feelings for you. Yet the more you ran his words through your head, the more confused you grew. Why didn’t you feel grossed out? That was the only natural response to a confession like that.
You go to Robb’s room and gingerly crawl into bed with him.
“(y/n)?” Groggily he lifts his head up, his dark auburn hair wild from sleep.
“I’m conflicted Robb.”
“What’re you talking about?” He groans and tosses onto his side. It was clear you weren’t going to let him sleep. He knew how you played this game. Only after you said whatever was bothering you would you fall asleep.
“I think I like someone I’m not supposed to.” You lay on your back and stare up at the ceiling. “The gods would damn us both. I never thought of him that way until. . . Until he told me.”
“Please tell me it’s not Theon. Anyone but Theon (y/n).”
“It’s not Theon.” You manage to smile in the dark but refuse to tell Robb who it was. Thankfully he doesn’t pry about the identity of your sudden crush. “What should I do Robb? I can’t love him. I just can’t. But now I can’t see him any other way. It’s like I’m seeing things clearer for the first time.”
He’s quiet but when you dare to look at him his soft eyes are already on you. “Why is it bad to like this person?”
Curling up in Robb’s bed, you pull the covers over your head. “It’s frowned upon. Mother and father would flip. It just would never work out.”
“Knowing all of this you can still say that you like this person?”
There’s a pause before he speaks up again. “Can it ever be wrong to love someone?”
“In this case, yes.”
You feel him caress your hair in a soothing manner. Closing your eyes you concentrate on the comforting contact. “(y/n). . .”
Before you could hear what your brother was about to say, you drift off into sleep.
You woke to Robb sleeping peacefully beside you. His head had abandoned his own pillow and was now threatening to take over your’s as his big head pushed against your own. With great effort you untangle yourself from your twin’s limbs and stumble out of bed. Casting Robb one last glance you return to your own room to get dressed, surprising Septa Mordane and your other maids that you were up already. Heart beating rapidly you follow them down the stairs to break your fast. Jon stops chewing on his hunk of bread when he catches you entering the Great Hall. Arya and Bran are seated on either side of him, happily chatting away; completely unaware of the awkward glance exchanged between their two elder siblings. Passing by your parents you give them both chaste kisses on the cheek before settling down next to Theon and Sansa.
“Good morning (y/n).” Your father’s ward grins at you. You always mistrusted that oily grin of his. “Pray tell where that twin of your’s is.”
“Probably still sleeping. Kind of woke him up last night.”
“Oh? What for?”
A serving girl stops in front of you to give you your break fast. “Boys.” You yourself wanted to go back to bed and sleep a little longer. You hadn’t slept well in Robb’s bed. He always had the nasty habit of snuggling you to death while you slept.
Theon’s eyebrow cocks up suggestively. “You have a fancy for someone? I wonder who it could be. Aren’t many young men around these parts. You can come clean and just tell me (y/n). No need to hide your love for me any longer.”
Next to you Sansa scrunches up her nose. “If you are in love with him, I disown you as my sister.”
You pick at your breakfast all the while trying not to look over at Jon. A few minutes later and Robb finally appears with tousled hair. Still sore about you waking him up last night he shoots you a half-hearted glare.
Since you no longer had to attend lessons with your septa you planned to seek Ser Rodrik Cassel. But before that there was something you had to take care of. You took him by complete surprise when you hastily latched onto his arm and dragged him away without so much as an explanation. When you made it to an abandoned watch tower only then did you let go.
Jon catches his breath and glances at you warily.
“I can’t forget about you Jon.” You finally admit. “Especially not after last night. I might be selfish in saying this, but I don’t want you to go to join the Black either.”
“You know it’s for the best.” He tries to counter but his passion fizzles when he sees your face steadily growing red; not from anger either.
“Do you want to go to the Wall because of how you feel about me?”
Jon shakes his head and looks at you solemnly. “I have no place here (y/n). I’m a bastard. A bastard who harbors feelings for his sister.” He adds the last part in a whisper. “The Wall is the only place I can belong. Why would you still want me around anyway? After what I told you. . .”
Biting your lip you look down at your hands, feeling your eyes burn slightly. “Because I’m selfish. I want you to stay here in Winterfell, with me. I’m not going to lie, I’ve never felt any romantic stuff for you. Not until last night at least. I should be grossed out, but I’m not. When I think about you leaving me behind to join the Black Brothers. . . It’s unbearable. You’ve always been near me, ever since we were little. Even when you ignored me at least you were here. At least I could see you. You’d be leagues away if you were to take the black. Jon, I love you.”
You hear him sharply inhale. “(y/n)-”
“I know.” Interrupting him you feel tears swell up in your eyes. One blink and they’d be dripping down your cheeks. “May the gods forgive me. I love you Jon. I love you.” You repeat those three words with each tear that cascades down your face. You felt terribly bad for giving into these forbidden feelings. Nothing good would ever prosper from a love like this. A love you hadn’t even known you wanted. When you were a child you were in love with stories about knights and their fair maidens, much like Sansa. Yet when you grew older you became jaded to love, knowing you would never marry for it; only at your father’s request.
You had no full understanding of these new found feelings that had emerged. All you knew was that you couldn’t bear Jon ignoring you any longer; nor could you begin to think of him going to the Wall with your Uncle Benjen. You wanted him to stay here with you forever. Such childish notions were better suited for Sansa though.
Shame filled you, knowing that Jon could see your tears. You hated crying in front of people. It revealed just how vulnerable you were.
You remember Robb telling you that men’s feelings were complicated. You decided so were women’s. Humans overall were complicated creatures.
Not aware of when exactly you had wound up in Jon’s arms, your alerted to his close presence when you feel his chest shudder. You held onto him, digging your fingers into his back. Feeling his lips press against the crown of your head made you cry even more. You lean up on your toes and hold his face in your hands. Gray eyes as dark as storm clouds met you with red rims. There was no way you could go back to just being siblings. Noses nuzzling against one another, lips so close that a single twitch would have them meet. You were the one to bravely close that gap; your kiss shy and tentative. Jon closed his eyes, his hands going to grab you by the hips; deepening the kiss and changing it to one of hunger and need. Everyone of his emotions flooded through his lips, each telling you of how long he had harbored this forbidden love. It made you feel giddy, blissfully happy to be feeling so loved.
Growing more bold your timid virgin kiss became more heated.
However both of you required air to breathe. Reluctantly you parted, breathing heavily and exchanging a half-lidded gaze. You find his blush incredibly cute as he tries to hide it behind his hand. A smile peeked past his fingers though, even more endearing than his blush. Both of you suddenly grew shy, red faced maidens. Then the real world set in; Winterfell came back and you remembered who you were.
Dawning on Jon as well, somberness settled in him. He limply held your hand. “I didn’t think this would happen.”
“Kind of messes things up, doesn’t it?” You sadly agree. Nothing would ever come from this. Maybe if the two of you eloped, left Westeros. No one in the Free Cities would know your name. You knew you could never break your family’s heart like that or be parted from Robb. “Are you going to ignore me again?”
“No. I won’t do that again.” he assures you. “Although it’s going to be difficult not to kiss you.”
You laugh coaxing a gentle smile from Jon. “We can always steal away. Be careful about it. We can-”
“Make it work until I leave for the Wall.”
Frowning you pull away from him partially.
“(y/n), you know I have to go.”
You shake your head. “You don’t have to. Jon, no one is making you. Father-”
Jon tries to hold you again but you dodge his arms. “He may have allowed me to be raised among his own true born children, but he can offer me nothing else. A bastard hardly thrives in this world. And imagine what he would do to his bastard son if he were to find out about us. Your lady mother already hates me, she would demand my head if she discovered that I love you far more than a brother should love his blood kin.”
Despite wanting to hold onto your denial you knew he spoke the truth. You’d known it all along. A bit bitterly you turn your back on him. “So we enjoy it while it lasts. Then you go off to be a Black Brother, leaving me alone here. You’ll become just a memory. One for me to look back on when father marries me off to someone I don’t love.” That’s the way your world worked. No one cared about how you felt. When the time came, your father would marry you off to the highest bidder.
A hand on your shoulder, you take in a deep breath. “Look at me (y/n).”
“I’m sorry.” You whisper. You try and keep your emotions in check. Robb didn’t call you the Snarling She-Wolf for nothing. “I know what must be done. The truth is just upsetting.”
Gingerly, Jon’s fingers brush a stray lock of hair away from your face. “I know it is (y/n).” He kisses your forehead, letting his lips linger. “We’ll work through this.”
What must be done in the future could wait. You’d enjoy the time you had with your Jon Snow.