As her eyes take in the room, she feels an arm tighten around her waist to pull her closer to a hard chest. Looking down, she sees a pale arm with dark hair and she knows whose bed she’s in.
As she tries to piece together how she ended up in Jon’s bed, the night before comes crashing back and what she had hoped was just an awful night terror, is actually her reality.
The Wall has been broken. The dead are marching in Westeros. And the Night King has brought back Viserion.
She shrinks back into Jon and presses her face against the pillow, wishing she could hide from this horrible truth but knowing she can’t.
It’s as she told Jon last night, she’s lost many loved ones throughout her life. What she didn’t share was how this loss hurts so much more. Shame engulfs her as she recalls how confident she was when she went to rescue Jon and the others. She’d never even suspected that one of her dragons could be brought down so easily. She knew it was risky but not like that.
How are they going to defeat the dead now? How are they going to bring Viserion down? The questions swirl in her mind and threaten to drown her when she hears a gruff voice.
“It’ll be alright,” he murmurs groggily.
She flips around and finds grey eyes looking at her with more alertness than she’d been prepared for, although they’re still clouded with tiredness.
“Don’t lie to me, Jon Snow. Not now,” she whispers sadly as her eyes roam over his face before focusing back on his eyes.
His brow pinches together and he rubs her back as he says, “We’ll find a way, Daenerys. We have to.”
She bites her bottom lip as her mind searches for something that could help, but she comes up short. Seeing her expression, he pulls her flush against his chest, pressing his lips to her forehead as he takes a deep breath.
“You still have two of your dragons. I know you’ve been working with them. You have the small advantage of being able to practice more with them in the air now. You can prepare,” he murmurs against the crown of her head.
“I can’t keep track of both of them if Viserion is in the sky. It’s too much,” she says desperately.
He’s quiet at that.
She suddenly leans back and looks at him with wide eyes as an idea comes to her mind.
“You,” she breathes, “you must ride Rhaegal.”
He looks at her in bewilderment and shakes his head.
“No. I can’t do that. We can find another way,” he replies in a rushed voice, a panicked look enters his eyes and he unconsciously leans away from her.
“Why not?,” she asks, her face showing the hurt his reaction caused. Did he truly not want to have anything to do with his Targaryen side? Did he think she was mad to suggest such a thing? Why did his response sound so vehement in her ears? Seeing her expression, he blinks in confusion before realization hits him. He gives her an apologetic look and pulls her close to him again.
“I’m a man of North, Daenerys. What do you think the other Northern lords will do if I suddenly start riding a dragon? The path we’re treading on is narrow enough already. I don’t want to give them more reason to turn against House Stark and you,” he explains quietly.
Her chin juts out at his reasoning and she feels her eyes begin to blaze. Stubbornly, she replies, “You are half Targaryen, Jon. You have the blood of the dragon in you just as much as you have wolf blood. You cannot deny one side of yourself and the potential it carries simply to appease weak minded men.”
He takes in her fierce expression and he purses his lips a little in thought. His eyes become distant as he thinks over her words before his focus returns to her.
“We don’t know if I’ll even be able to get close to him, Daenerys,” he says as he rubs her back again in an attempt to soothe her.
“We won’t know until you approach him,” she says as it begins to come together.
He’s quiet again for a long time before he sits up and drags his hand down his face as he thinks.
“Just because I’m a Targaryen doesn’t mean I’m a dragon rider. Everyone knows how many people have died trying to ride them in the past. You should know this better than I do,” he says with a sigh. She sits up as well and turns his head towards her to make him look at her. She can’t deny the truth of his words, but she knows this is different.
“Jon, you don’t understand. Drogon let you touch him. He doesn’t let anyone touch him except for me. If Drogon didn’t bite your hand off, then Rhaegal won’t be a problem. While he’s never been the sweetest, he’s not nearly as fierce as his brother. Their fire is as much yours as it is mine. Don’t you see, Jon? Don’t you see?,” she asks emphatically, her eyes begging him to understand.
He stares at her for a long time, taking in the truth of her words. When she sees a hint of concession in them, she pushes on.
“Just try,” she whispers, making sure her eyes are big and have a pleading look in them she knows men can’t refuse.
“But I’ve not heard of a dragon immediately accepting a rider,” he says hesitantly.
“Just because it wasn’t documented, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” she replies.
“Still…,” he says as he scratches his cheek in thought.
“Jon, we have no time,” she says, a slight desperation ringing in her voice as she continues. “Yes, the dragon riders of old used magical horns to bind their dragons to them. Yes, Drogon took longer for me to bring to heel, but when he came to me in the fighting pits, we bonded. Perhaps they know when it is necessary or if the rider is in dire need of them. I don’t know. But I do know my children and I know what I saw on the cliffs of Dragonstone.”
He stares at her and she can see the acceptance of her words.
“I’ll be right next to you the whole time. If it doesn’t work, if I see the slightest sign that he looks agitated, we’ll stop. And I’ll… I’ll try to make due with attempting to keep control over the both of them,” she finishes, wincing slightly at how unconvinced she is with that option. All she thinks of when picturing that scenario is complete and utter chaos…Rhaegal somehow falling from the sky. The image makes her want to curl in a ball.
No, Rhaegal needs someone on him. She’s not felt this sure since she walked into Drogo’s pyre.
After a long pause, she drops her eyes and adds in an even softer voice, “Please, Jon. I… I don’t want to do this alone.”
And it’s true. If she can have him with her in the sky, she will do anything to make that happen, even if that means she needs to be a little manipulative. She can’t bear the thought of having to face off with Viserion by herself. She’s not sure she’s strong enough for that. And if she can’t deal the killing blow, Jon will have to be be the one to do it. It’d be safer to plan for that anyways.
When he still doesn’t say anything, she scrambles for something else, her eyes quickly darting from side to side as she searches through her mind and it immediately lands on what she thought last night.
“I received a letter from Lady Teora Toland of Dorne,” she says as she looks up at him. His grey eyes fill with curiosity as to how this could possibly apply to their current conversation and he dips his chin, silently telling her to continue.
“In it, she warned me. She told me of how she dreamt of dragons,” she says carefully, watching how one brow lifts in intrigue.
Taking a deep breath, she says, “She told me that the dragons were dancing in her dream. And that everywhere the dragons danced, people died. She may only be a young girl, but so was I when I had my first dragon dream.”
Now both eyebrows rise high as he looks at her.
“I can’t do this alone, Jon. You know there’s too much at stake,” she whispers, keeping her gaze open for him to read them.
His eyes suddenly narrow at her, knowing she’s playing on his sympathies. “Are you… trying to manipulate me?”
“I’m trying to make you see that you have to do what your brother said and rise. Wolves are strong, yes. But dragons are stronger. And you…,” she pauses to lift her hand to rest it on his cheek, making him look her in the eye as she continues. “You are both. You are the strongest. Stronger than the lions, the wolves, the krakens ….”
She watches him for a long time before she quietly says, “Stronger than me.”
His eyes widen and he stares at her in slight shock before he shakes his head in disagreement.
“That’s not possible, Daenerys,” he murmurs.
Tilting her head slightly, she gives him the barest hint of a smile even though it doesn’t reach her eyes. But her expression quickly turns serious as she considers her words.
“You could be if you just unleashed that fire crackling inside of you. You could rule this whole world if you so desired,” she tells him honestly.
He just gapes at her and she meets his stare unflinchingly.
“You’re wrong,” he says after a moment. She narrows her eyes at him, not knowing if he really has such little faith in himself or if he just doesn’t want to see it. Well, too bad for him if it’s the latter. She will make him.
“I’m not. And deep down, you know it,” she says imperiously as she gives him a hard look.
Finally, he closes his eyes and lets out a long sigh before he opens them again.
“Very well, my queen. We can certainly try,” he says softly as he gives her a small crooked smile. She can see the fear in then but it’s nothing compared to the determination that starts to shine through the longer he mulls over the idea.
She gives him a sad smile and leans towards him to lightly kiss his cheek. She then burrows back down into the blankets and looks up at him with a satisfied expression. Jon follows her lead and as soon as he’s lying down, she clings tightly to him. She breathes in the woodsy scent on his skin and closes her eyes in an attempt to push back the growing terror.
“I know you’ll be able to ride him,” she says softly.
“How so?,” he murmurs as he pulls her tighter against him.
”I just do” she whispers, deciding not to tell him of her own dream. While he may be accepting of her dragon dreams, she’s not even sure if the dream she had of the dark haired man on Rhaegal was one or if it was just her worrying that Jon would betray her. Pressing her face into the crook of his neck, she lets the steady rhythm of his heart lull her.
Instead of responding, he only hums and rests his cheek on top her head.
“We still have time to rest a little while longer. Go back to sleep,” he murmurs.
She does so without hesitation, letting the darkness of sleep take her under with the smell and warmth of him surrounding her.
When they wake up again to get dressed for the day, Jon studies her.
“We’ll need to tell the lords what happened beyond the Wall,” he says with a grim expression.
Swallowing hard, she gives a single nod and waits to speak until she knows her voice won’t shake.
“I don’t… I can’t be the one to tell them,” she replies, momentarily dropping her eyes before meeting his. She sees understanding and sympathy swirling like grey mist in his eyes and he nods.
“Alright,” he says soothingly as he gently tucks a silver lock of her hair behind her ear before resting it on her cheek.
“But let’s keep the Rhaegal idea to ourselves for now, alright? If it works, we can tell them since it’ll be hard to explain to the Southern lords why a Northern bastard can ride a dragon,” he says with a small, rueful half smile.
Seeing the sense in that, she slowly nods. She’d rather inform all of the Southern lords of Jon’s heritage once the Reach and Dorne armies arrive. She briefly ponders whether any of the Westerland houses will answer Ser Jaime’s summons, but she doesn’t want to put too much hope in that.
I need to inform my advisors before though,” she tells him as she fastens her dragon pin on her dark plum dress, fastening the draped cloth over her shoulder in the style she has come to favor.
He nods in agreement and says, “As do I. We can tell them as soon as we finish breaking our fast.”
“My lords and ladies,” Jon says with a grim tone as he looks around the room, “war is upon us. The Wall has fallen.”
Gasps of disbelief fill the room as everyone looks around in horror.
“How can that be?,” Ser Brynden asks above the whispers. All look to Jon as they wait for his answer.
He glances at her and she gives a barely perceptible nod, steeling herself for their reactions as she looks back to the lords and ladies.
“What I did not tell you all is that when a group of us went beyond the Wall to retrieve a wight for Cersei Lannister, we found ourselves surrounded by the Others and the dead,” he tells them.
“Gendry Waters ran back to Eastwatch to send a letter to Queen Daenerys as the rest of us remained surrounded for days. If nothing else to let her know what became of us.” Everyone looks between the two of them before landing back on Jon as he continues.
“She could have left us to die and we were all prepared for that outcome. We were only five men. But she didn’t. She refused to leave us there when she knew she could do something to help. So she brought all of her dragons, risking her own life in doing so, and saved us from imminent death. But it wasn’t without great cost to her,” he says, pausing to take a deep breath.
“I know you have all probably been wondering where the third dragon is,” he tells them, pausing once more before saying, “He was taken down by the Night King.”
Everyone is now gaping at her, the expressions on their faces a mix between pity, sadness, and wonder. But once more, Jon calls their attention back to him by clearing his throat.
“The Night King has resurrected the dragon that was known as Viserion and used him to breach the Wall,” he says.
She clenches her hands into fists so tightly under the table that she’s sure the nails have pierced the skin. Her heart feels like it’s going to beat out of her chest as she awaits the lords to blame her for the doom that has been brought upon them. Their reactions are identical to the ones from last night. They gasp and look at each other with horror. She pushes down the panic and the need to run away from here, instead lifting her chin defiantly as she watches them closely.
They talk amongst themselves for a long time before Lord Tytos asks, “What of the Night’s Watch?”
“Those from Castle Black and the Shadow Tower are riding to Winterfell as we speak. The survivors from Eastwatch sail south now to avoid the army,” Jon answers immediately.
“Has the South been made aware?,” Aurane Waters asks.
Nodding Jon replies, “Ravens have been sent to the Citadel.”
“What do want us to do, my lord?,” Lady Lyanna asks, looking between Dany and Jon.
“We continue to prepare as we have. Although we now need to adjust our over strategy. We can’t make the final battle plans until the Dornish and Reach armies have arrived and we know how many soldiers we have to work with,” Jon says. His reasoning is met with many nods of agreement from the seasoned warriors.
“And the dragon?,” Lord Harrold Hardyng asks. The other lords begin to murmur and their eyes glance towards her before quickly darting away. The action causes her hands to fist to the point where she can’t feel the blood in them and her attention snaps to the brown haired man.
“I will take care of Viserion, my lord,” she replies forcefully to the Vale lord.
“But how?,” one of the Northern lords asks. Her eyes slide towards him and she can tell he immediately regrets voicing his question.
“I still have two dragons left. I’m sure they will be of some use. And before anyone asks, I will be keeping them away from any of the Others that remain on the ground,” Dany says to the Northerner, her eyes as hard as gems and her voice is as sharp as a blade. Everyone except her advisors shrinks back at the biting tone and she reminds herself to stay calm as she focuses her attention on the far wall.
Jon continues discussing certain points with them but she can’t focus on what he says.
Only when Jon finally dismisses the lords and the hall empties does she finally relax the slightest bit. But she still keeps her eyes trained forward, unable to meet anyone’s eyes. Her need to run somewhere still has her tight in its hold, but she shoves it back with everything she has in her. The only problem is that she now can’t move at all. Her advisors all stare at her with uncertainty, but she nods her head in silent dismissal.
“Your Grace?,” Jorah asks hesitantly, his keen eyes noting the way her fists won’t unclench.
“I will be fine, Ser Jorah. I need only a moment,” she murmurs in a strained voice. She meets his eyes and she feels guilty at the look of concern in them. He’s been her oldest friend and advisor, and regardless of his past betrayal, he’s always been there for her. She knows he hates feeling so helpless and unable to assure her in some way. She tries to smile at him, but she knows it’s more of a grimace. He hesitates a moment and she says, “Please wait for me outside.”
He looks her over before he gives a slow nod and makes his way out the door. She closes her eyes as she remains in her seat, trying to calm her racing heart. Her head spins with thoughts of what to do about Viserion. She has no idea how to stop him. Will dragonglass be strong enough to penetrate his tough hide? What if it’s not? What if-
Her thoughts shatter when she feels a calloused hand gently take her own and slowly pull her fingers out of the tight ball she made it into. A thumb traces over the dark red half moon marks on her palm and the action causes her to take in a sharp, shuddering breath. She finally turns her wide eyes to the one holding her hand and sees Jon watching her. She didn’t even hear him come back inside.
He takes in the frightened look in her eyes and the way they shine with tears that she refuses to let fall. Her full lips are parted slightly as she sucks air into her lungs.
“We’ll find a way,” he murmurs, never taking his eyes off of her.
“Will we?,” she asks quietly as she roams over the planes of his face. She hates sounding so weak, but she needs someone else to be strong for her. Because right now, she simply cannot be the person who remains the backbone of the group and carries the others while they fall apart. This one time, she needs the Northern man in front of her to lift her up from this dark pit she’s found herself in.
“Aye. We will, my queen,” he responds, brushing his thumb along the bones of her knuckles in a soothing motion.
“How?,” she whispers. She doesn’t actually need an answer, she just can’t think of anything else to say to him. But she knows that anything he tells her will undoubtedly sate her for the time being.
He sighs before giving her a small crooked smile and saying, “You get to see me make a Northern fool out of myself once more.”
“I didn’t realize you had stopped,” she quips softly, unable to hold back her witty remark even though her face remains blank.
His smile drops and she feels panic hit her for a moment.
“You’re probably right,” he tells her with an equally unreadable expression. “But this time, you’ll get the opportunity to laugh if you so choose.”
The light, teasing words coming out of his mouth are so juxtaposed with his solemn look that she doesn’t know what to make of it. The tiniest smile flits across her face and his eyes soften as he to catches the movement, feeling better that he’s able to distract her the tiniest bit.
“Why do I get to laugh at you?,” she asks softly as she looks up at him.
“Because you get to see if you’ll be able to teach me how to ride a dragon. I’m quite sure that will be a laughable experience,” he informs her.
“And when will that be?,” she asks curiously.
“Now if you would like,” he replies with a small tilt of his head.
She smiles gratefully at him and stands. The moment she does, he takes a step back to give her room while opening his arms slightly in silent invitation. In a swift movement, she goes into his embrace and buries her face in his chest, her arms locking around his waist. He presses his lips on her hair and breathes in the exotic smell of her oils.
“I would like that very much. But we’ll see if he takes to you first,” she mumbles into his leather plated chest before she steps away from him.
She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath to collect herself. When she opens them, she finds him waiting patiently for her. Nodding her head to show him she’s fine, he extends his arm for her to take.
As they make their way out the doors, they find their advisors waiting for them.
“We are going to see the dragons,” she informs them as she lifts her chin slightly. They all nod and move aside to let them pass without complaint.
He looks at the dragon before him and wonders just how insane he truly is. Maybe it's a drop of Targaryen madness. Although if that's the case, then that combined with the way many have told him he knows nothing, means he's royally fucked.
His mind returns to the task at hand and his eyes travel over the giant head of this creature. Not as big as Drogon, but only by a small amount.
Eyes the color of melted bronze meet his gaze and look from him to Daenerys.
"So I'm assuming he understands Valryian better than common tongue," he says and briefly turns his head to look at Daenerys.
She is standing a step behind him, playing with the fur she can reach at Ghost's shoulder while she watches him with a small, amused smile on her face. It's the first real smile he's seen in a fortnight and even though it’s really just a twitch of her lips, it causes the breath in him to stutter slightly.
He will take any smile from her, even if it is at his expense.
"For now he does," she says quietly. "That is what they've grown up listening to. He can understand Common tongue enough but I think it would be safest if orders were spoken in Valyrian."
He has to agree with that. It's too risky trying to teach him commands in Common tongue when their time to face the Night King is fast approaching.
"Well," he sighs, "I guess you'll get to hear me butcher your mother tongue."
She hums in a noncommittal answer and he sees a mischievous glint in her eyes.
"In regards to tongues, I personally have many other things I'd like you to do with mine."
He's so shocked by that he can't even form a response. His face flushes as heat courses through his entire body. This woman is so mercurial, he never knows what to expect. Except he knows it will almost always leave him breathless.
He's about to answer that and tell her just what he'd do to her tongue when she continues on.
"But that's besides the point. As long as you can get the basics, you should be fine. Luckily, both Missandei and myself can help you. Pronunciation isn't too difficult once you hear it enough."
He has to force himself to listen to her words and nods in assent.
"Would you like me to stand next to you or a step behind?," she asks.
"I guess I'll see how he takes to me alone," he says, even though he phrases it as though it is a question.
She nods and says in a stern voice, “Just remember how you were with Drogon. Focus on the fact that while he is bigger and deadlier, you are one of his kind. He can smell it on you. And just like any animal, dragons only bow down to those stronger than they are. And as I said, you could be the strongest of us all if you so choose.”
He blinks at how much sense that actually makes and nods.
“You must command him to accept his place beneath you. You will not allow anything less,” she says before her eyes drift down to the coiled whip at his side that she ordered one of her Dothraki to give her.
“If you need the whip, use it. It won’t hurt him and it may make him understand better,” she tells him as her eyes move to the green dragon.
“But I doubt you will,” she finishes as she rests her amethyst eyes on him again before she gestures for him to go ahead.
Steadying his nerves with a deep breath, he reminds himself what Daenerys said and that if Drogon let Jon touch him then Rhaegal shouldn't have any problem. But he wasn't as nervous as he is now about being accepted as he was about how much is riding on this bond to work.
He looks at Rhaegal's bronze eyes and lifts his hand up again. He silently watches as the dragon tilts his head a bit to side and take a deep breath. The gesture reminds him so much of Ghost when he was pup that he lets out a small, startled laugh to see this creature that could easily swallow him whole look at him in such a way.
This only causes Rhaegal to tilt his head even more to the side and Jon can't stop smiling. It immediately eases the tension out of him but he lets the smile fall as he focuses on Daenerys’s instructions of authority. Once he feels certain, puts his hand on Rhaegal's snout as though he's done it hundreds of times before.
He watches as the dragon's pupils dilate the same as Drogon did, but his go even more. To the point where the black almost consumes the bronze. And Jon knows that his own pupils have blown in response.
It's an odd sensation. He's always had Ghost in his mind but it suddenly feels like he's now whole. His body warms in a way that makes him feel as though he'd just eaten a filling meal and has tucked himself under the furs of bed. It lulls him and he realizes that Rhaegal is humming as well. His eyes glassy and unfocused.
He hears Daenerys approach and watches as Rhaegal's focus shifts to her. He begins to emit a chirping noise that continues to get louder until she's right beside Jon. Jon watches as she too sets her hand on his face and murmurs to him.
"Are you going to be good?," she asks softly to which the green dragon rumbles deep in his chest.
“Do you like Jon?,” she asks as she studies her child, watching for any signs of hesitation. But the dragon simply chirps as his eyes go back and forth between the two.
“He is yours now. As much as any dragon can belong to man. From what you've told me of your bond with Ghost, it is much the same. He won’t always listen, but I believe he understands the importance of this situation,” she tells him quietly.
She tilts her head to the side and says, “It’s curious that the dragon you are to ride is the one named after your father.”
She pauses and looks inquiringly at him "Is that alright?"
He's so unprepared for that question that he turns to fully face her, dropping his hand from Rhaegal's face. The dragon looks between Jon and his mother before stepping back and joining Drogon in the air.
"Of course it's alright," he says. "I may not want the Targaryen name because I will always be Jon but that doesn't mean I want nothing to do with that part of my family." He keeps his eyes on hers so she can she he means it.
She looks relieved and nods her head. "I'm glad," she says to him. "Maybe Rhaegal won't be so alone now that he has you. It will help with the loss of Viserion."
He nods in understanding then gives her a devilish smirk and wraps his arm around her waist to bring her closer to him and brings his lips inches from hers to whisper, "Besides, it’s like you said, who wouldn't embrace a family that has such beautiful women and gets their own dragon? I believe I will be the most envied man in the world to be able to say he knows the hearts of two dragons."
She laughs outright at that and pushes him away. "You are incorrigible! Who are you and what did you do with my solemn, brooding wolf king?"
He can't erase the smirk from his lips and shrugs in response. "Oh, I'm still brooding but there will be enough time for that."
She shakes her head in response then her eyes flick to the side before landing back on him and giving him a smirk of her own.
"I think you will be the most feared man as well. For not only do you have the hearts of dragons, but also the wolves. That is a most deadly combination."
He looks to where her gaze went and sees Ghost and his sisters watching silently.
He can't help the smile that lights his face and motions for them to come forward. Ghost is off his feet and in front of him. It's another odd sight to add to his list to see a wolf as big as a horse wiggle his body like a puppy and pant happily in front of him.
"Ghost, I'd never forget you," he tells him as he reaches for his direwolf's face. But Ghost diverts from his hand and begins licking his face as he tries to get as close to Jon as possible. "Ghost! You're too big for that, boy! Down!" The direwolf stops and steps back. He looks to Daenerys and approaches her, giving her a much more gentle lick before heading back to the girls.
Jon watches as Ghost sticks his nose in Arya's hair, making her squeal before turning to Sansa and lowering his head so she can give him a pet on the head. Then he silently trots his way deeper into the woods and leaves them there.
Jon turns back to his sisters. "Have you been here the whole time," he asks suddenly realizing why Daenerys had smirked at him. He feels his cheeks get warm when they both give him their own devilish smirks as answer.
Forget the Others and the dead. His sisters and queen will most certainly be the death of him.
"Yes," Arya answers as they approach him, "You really do have the blood of the dragon it seems."
"But Her Grace is right. You also have the blood of the wolf. As we've discussed already,” Sansa says pointedly at Jon. She speaks with such conviction that it still jolts him to remember how different they've become since they were children. Arya nods her head in silent agreement as she also gives a look.
“I know. I learned not to go against you two,” he says in acquiescence.
Arya scoffs and rolls her eyes at him before looking at Daenerys curiously.
Catching her stare, Daenerys smirks at Arya and asks, “Yes, Lady Arya?”
"I'm not a Lady. As I've already told you," she says as she sends a challenging look to the silver queen.
"Ah," Daenerys says lightly. Jon sees the gleam in her eyes and knows what that means- Arya is about to meet her match.
"But you are not No One any longer, are you?,” she asks with a tilt of her head.
Arya's eyes widen a fraction before her face immediately goes blank. It shouldn't be surprising that she not only knows about the order, but that Arya was one of them. The Spider's little birds really do fly just about anywhere. Jon and Sansa watch this interaction with fascination.
Daenerys raises an eyebrow as she waits for Arya to respond. Arya, not wanting to verbally confirm or deny Daenerys' observation, lifts hers in return and simply says, "Valar morgulis."
"But we are not men," Daenerys responds. Then nods her head in acquiescence. "But we must serve as well."
Arya's eyes shine with such curiosity towards this enigmatic woman and Jon can see that his silver queen has just found a new admirer.
"As long as you do not feel the need to give me The Gift," Daenerys continues with a smile, "I think we will get along just fine."
Arya can't help the impish smirk on her face and replies, "Perhaps we may. But if you are the Unburnt, I think it would be quite the challenge."
Sansa steps up then and claps her hands with a small smile on her, the Lady of Winterfell coming back out.
"Shall we see if there is any mulled wine available in the kitchens?,” she asks them.
They all nod in agreement before Daenerys looks at Jon and says, "We can start going over the commands you'll need and how to say them. I will ask Missandei to join as well. Mainly because I know she so enjoys teaching proper pronunciation. Then we can come back out tomorrow and ride."
When he nods in agreement, she turns to head back towards the keep with Sansa at her side, the two women conversing lightly as they walk.
"Oh, I must see this," Arya says ruefully to Jon. He just sighs and ruffles her hair. She pushes his hand away and gives him an unamused look then she bounds up to the other women.
Jon walks at a more leisurely pace behind the three women quietly chatting ahead of him. They all mean so much to him and for him to see them this way brings him such joy that he vows he will protect them with everything he has if this is the world he can have should they win.
"You're not sitting where you need to, Jon! Move up!" Arya yells at him from her spot on the ground the following day.
She, Sansa, Bran, Tyrion, Sam, Jorah, and Missandei, are all gathered at the edge of clearing to watch them while the others are practicing in the yard before their evening meal.
"Why don't you come up here and figure out where to best sit so as not to get a dragon spike in your 'special place', Arya? Then you can tell me how to ride a dragon!" He yells back at her, extremely annoyed that not only does he have a small audience, but they're actually trying to tell him what to do.
He's been sitting and shifting on Rhaegal's back for the past several minutes, unable to find the correct riding seat. Instead of his heavy cloak, he had decided to wear his Free Folk garb in order to sit on the dragon without getting tangled up. He’s very glad for that now as he sees he’d never have been able to sit properly with the cloak.
Gods bless the dragon, for he has remained perfectly still the entire time while his rider makes an arse of himself. At least the climb up to Rhaegal’s back was fairly easy.
Tyrion laughs outright at that while Sansa and Missandei cover their mouths with their hands to try and hide their amusement. Sam chuckles lightly and shakes his head. And Bran simply smiles serenely and watches silently.
He sees Arya's face redden a bit but she keeps a calm expression as she replies to him. "I'm not his rider."
"Jon," Daenerys softly calls to him from the back of Drogon. He turns his attention on her and sees the sympathy in her gaze. "Don't worry about where to sit. There is no exact spot. The only important thing is that you're secure in it and have a good grip on the larger spines." She demonstrates her hold and position on Drogon as she continues further. "He is very much like a sword. An extension of yourself. And if you are not comfortable in your grip, then he cannot be wielded to his fullest potential."
Now this he can understand. He looks down at Rhaegal's back and sees the spine spikes that look the most equidistant right above his shoulder blades. Once he grabs those, he can easily shift and find a comfortable spot.
He nods at Daenerys to show that he's ready even though his heart is in his throat.
He reminds himself that if he can climb the Wall, then by the Gods he can ride this dragon. Save him, did he really just make that comparison?
He takes a deep breath and watches as Drogon effortlessly leaps off the ground and into the air. He marvels again at the sight before him and knows he will never tire of seeing it.
He feels Rhaegal shift restlessly under him and looks at the back of the dragon's head to find the green dragon looking up towards his mother and brother.
"Sōvēs," he whispers. Rhaegal begins shifting and Jon can feel the muscles in his back begin to bunch as he pushes himself off the ground. Then they're in the air.
Jon has never felt anything so wonderful in his life. It's an experience that will never be able to be compared to and he's the one who gets to do it.
He looks down and sees all of Winterfell. The soldiers practicing in the yard, the wolfswood, all of it. He can't take his eyes off as it gets smaller and smaller and then, they're in the clouds.
Even though the air is brutally cold as it hits his face, the heat from Rhaegal's body underneath him makes it more bearable.
All he knows in that moment is the liberation he feels that has taken over his mind and body. All he hears is the thunder clap of Rhaegal's wings. All he smells is the crisp winter air that is so much cleaner up here. All he sees is the swirling grey clouds filled with snow until he catches a shadow darting in and out.
His eyes lock onto Drogon as he and Daenerys dip and dive in graceful arcs around Rhaegal. A playfulness present that he never knew dragons could have. Drogon screeches at Rhaegal while Daenerys laughs from his back. Rhaegal answers and the chase begins.
They rise and fall in the sky like waves on the water, until they finally drop out of the clouds and he can see the land below. His eyes widen as he takes in the breathtakingly beautiful scene before him.
The white snow lays quietly over the land as far as the eye can see. The smoke from the houses rises in streams to the sky while the light from inside gives them a warm, cozy feeling.
They begin to circle back around to the wolfswood and slowly make their descent.They land with large booms that echo until the snow catches the sound and it's quiet again.They find that the others have unsurprisingly already gone back inside due to the frigid weather, so it is only the two them.
Once dismounted, he regains his balance and shakes feeling back into his legs. As he does, Daenerys rushes over to him with a childlike glee he's never seen before.
"Well?," she asks him, almost bouncing on her toes as she waits for his answer. She is beyond happy that she can finally share this experience with someone. She really isn't alone anymore.
He pretends to contemplate his answer and her excitement slowly fade. Worry taking its place. "It was... the most fantastic experience," he responds with a huge grin that momentarily disarms her. Never has she seen a sight so breathtaking. His whole face lights up like the sun breaking from the clouds. It warms her soul and she can do nothing but smile just as wide back at him.
He scoops her up in his arms and swings her around, laughing the whole time.
He then sets her down and grabs her face with his hands, giving her a kiss on her lips. When he pulls away, his voice full of wonder. "It was beyond anything I've ever known."
"I couldn’t agree more," she tells him. She then loops her arm through his and settles both hands on his forearm. "Shall we go see what food remains before we retire for the evening?" He nods his head and places his free over hers and they make their way back to the castle for the second time that day. Both thinking over how this was one of the best days either has ever had. How for a day, that they got to be just Jon and Daenerys. Not lord and queen, not the leaders of the living, just two people with no impending doom hanging over their heads, enjoying the time they have together.
And that is very good day, indeed.