Jon is cold and scared and lonely, far away from his home and family. Daenerys is close and warm, beautiful and willing. The truth is she's conquered him with fire and blood and now she expects him to love her. If that's what she wants, all he can give her is a lie, but pretending is easier than he could have imagined, perhaps because it helps him forget.
After, she speaks of fate and magic, of destiny and prophecy, of marriage and alliance. He thinks of duty and family, of his guilt and the unspeakable feelings he can't even allow his mind to wander to, and he accepts.
She tries to be fair, reminding him that her dragons are the only children she'll ever have, burdening his conscience even more. Yet if he doesn't even have the luxury to dwell on his own desires, why should he care about her feelings?
He's a man who once dreamed of holding a son of his own blood in his arms, but his people have put their trust in him, so he'll be a father to them first. Daenerys is a woman with dreams of her own, but to him she can't be more than a means to an end. He can't love her the way he once loved Ygritte and if she's a true Queen, she'll understand that, but for now it's safer to live the lie.
He marries her in a dilapidated Sept on the shore of a small stream, repeating empty words. He wonders whether a vow is still a vow if it's spoken in the sight of gods he doesn't believe in.
The Northern Lords don't take well to the news of Jon's marriage. Sansa tries to ignore her heart dropping into the depths of her belly and swallows back the bile rising in her throat. She speaks up for him, no doubt in her mind about her loyalty to him. She defends his decision as necessary for the alliance he sought to make, but internally she curses him to the seventh hell for being a thrice-damned fool.
At night she lies alone in her cold bed and weeps for herself, for being a stupid girl with stupid dreams who never learns. Cersei Lannister once told her that a woman's best weapon is between her legs. It seems Daenerys Targaryen has mastered that lesson as well.
When the truth about Jon's parents comes out, everything threatens to fall apart again, even with the White Walkers on their doorstep. The lords declare her Queen in the North, forsaking their fealty to Jon over his second 'betrayal'.
A solution is proposed and Sansa wants to scream and rage, but she doesn't. Jon does. "I'm already married to you," he objects. "She's my sister!"
Daenerys just smiles and shrugs. "Aegon the Conqueror had two wives as well, the both of them his sisters."
Aegon married Rhaenys for love and Visenya for duty. Sansa has no illusions about which of the two she is in this story.
She marries Jon in Winterfell's Godswood and it's bittersweet. "I'm sorry," he whispers to her. "You deserve better than this. Than me..."
Perhaps she does. Perhaps she deserves more than a man who was still her brother a fortnight ago, but she hasn't thought of him like that for a while now. She missed him terribly while he was away and once she'd laid eyes on him when he returned, it only took a couple of moments to realize why the news of his marriage had hurt her so much.
Perhaps she deserves more than a man who loves another woman, but it's him she wants, so she'll take whatever part of him she can have. She's grown used to pretending, how hard can it be?
Despite the cold hard winds, his lips are warm and soft on hers when they seal their vows with a kiss. She keeps her eyes closed and it almost feels real.
It's a small wedding feast, but Jon still wishes he could drink himself into oblivion. He can't forget himself however, not with these two queens -both his wives now- sitting by his side. Neither of them can ever know the truth.
He can't look at Daenerys the way she wants him to with Sansa sitting so close to him. He can't look at Sansa without fear of betraying his true feelings. So he keeps his eyes on his tankard of ale, waiting for this ordeal to be over.
He ignores the man who shouts that he has no right to be brooding when he's the lucky bastard who has the two most beautiful women in the Seven Kingdoms all to himself. He almost doesn’t hear the answering cry that he must be impatient to get on with the consummation.
It's when this comment incites the crowd to call for the bedding that he realizes he's the most sober person in the Great Hall. If they weren't this far into their cups, they wouldn't be so eager to have him bed a woman he's called sister his entire life.
Sansa's shoulders have gone rigid and her knuckles are white against the cup she's clutching tightly. He chances a glance at Daenerys, but she's talking animatedly with Lord Tyrion, pretending she hasn't noticed.
When he is pushed through the door of her chambers, Sansa is already waiting for him, only clad in her thin shift. In the soft glow of the candles and the fire he can see all of her curves and even the pink of her nipples through the flimsy fabric.
Her eyes travel over his naked chest, but she quickly averts them. She reaches for the hem of her shift and he moves forward without thinking.
He wraps his hands around her wrists, stopping her in her tracks.
She meets his eyes, her own blue ones filled with uncertainty.
He swallows the lump in his throat. "We don't have to do this."
"Yes, we do." There's defiance in her eyes now.
How can he go on with this without giving away that this moment has filled his dreams ever since the day he was declared King in the North?
He never imagined it would happen. They'd marry to mend what was broken. He'd go off to fight beyond the Wall, most likely never return and Sansa would be free to marry whoever she liked.
He needs to remind himself it's not real. She's only doing this out of a sense of duty. Can he even pretend that's all this is to him as well?
Perhaps he can. Perhaps it will be enough. So he nods. "Shall I help you get ready?"
Confusion is written all over her face and there's a brief flash of panic. "Ready?"
He releases a wrist to rub the back of his neck. "Err... You know, wet, so we can..."
"Oh." The blush creeping up her face makes her look even more lovely. "Perhaps you could kiss me again?" she asks in a small voice.
He shouldn't agree to such torture, but he's a weak fool who will take whatever he can get, so he nods again.