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the truth of a dream

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"What proof do we have other than this-- this boys words?" scoffs a woman that will survive for far longer than most have ever wanted her to. Bran thinks his sister would be glad to be here in his place if only so she could kill her. Part of him thinks he should do it for her, but the rational part of his mind prevails. She is needed yet.

"Even if this is not a dream, how do we know this is not a ploy to destroy us all and that these words are false?"

His father rises, looking at the Queen with contempt even as his mother scowls in barely restrained fury from beside him, "you are accusing my son of treason, when Winter is coming, and we have no time for the games played in the South. I trust his words, my faith is placed in that of my blood, and if his words tell us that it comes sooner than anticipated and that it brings struggles with it we could never have imagined, the North will prepare for it."

Cersei Baratheon, Lannister if they are all honest, attempts to speak again, no doubt to twist his words and all, but the King slams a fist on the table, "enough, woman. We will speak again when we are all awake and if we all remember, it must be true. And if that is the case, we will prepare for the biggest war the world has ever seen and we will win."

The King almost stands, now, and Bran understands which parts of him it is that his father had bowed his head for. Robert Baratheon may not be a fit King for peace, but he knows War.

"Show us again," the Imp, Tyrion he reminds himself and wonders when his sister had enough time to color all his views and thoughts as much as she has, demands.

Bran almost smiles, and this time he does not show them the dead attacking the Free Folk, nor does he show them when Jon attempted to bring the dead to the Queen in the South as proof, when the dragon fell. This time he shows them a weirwood tree, his own crippled body resting against it, and his sister fighting to give him time.

His mother covers her mouth, but it does not hide her many feelings of worry for their sake, and it couldn't begin to describe the grim mine on their fathers face as Arya stabs an Other with the dagger that had once been aimed at his throat, saving them for a little while longer as all the dead around it turn into dust. There is a strange look on the face of the King, but Bran ignores it like he hopes the Queen will if she sees it. They cannot afford for the Queen to attempt to destroy them before the dead come out of jealousy of a child that would never look at the King with anything but distant respect at the most.

Arya staggers over to his body and breathes a sigh of relief at finding him still breathing and with no wounds and he wanders over to her, gently touching her cheek and whispering her name.

Her head rises to look right at him, despite the fact that he knows she cannot see him.

"Bran," her voice is soft, but loud enough that he knows those watching with him will hear it. Her faith in him is impossibly large and he wishes they had more time. "He will come here, soon. One of the Others had a follower that wasn't his, I know not if it belonged to the one that came after. He might come soon and I don't know how long I will be able to give you then. I can only give you proof of how to fight them."

"It will be enough," he tells her, knowing that she will hear it. That all the time they've spent practicing this has ensured she will hear all the important parts if nothing else.

"This will be the last I can give you before you must all wake up," he turns his head to look at the guests in his dream, not quite willing to leave Arya alone in this fight, the last survivor of the North. Perhaps even of Westeros, if those left in the South has fled to Essos as commanded when the North first got overwhelmed.

He does not count, for he is already dead in all the ways that matter but the one where he loves his sister too much.

Arya rises from the ground, hearing something he himself has not, and hurried footsteps of a person and a large creature brings to them another sister and a wolf. His sister laughs, wild and free and filled with delight, as the wolf, the big and familiar direwolf, escorts their sister into her embrace as the oldest of them trembles with fear and relief at the same time.

"Sansa," Bran breathes, his relief echoed in Arya at seeing her still one of the living. They have not lost her yet.

Arya, however, grins brightly, a plan forming in her expression.

It worries Bran a little, but he cannot do anything about it but trust in Arya who questions Sansa about their trip to them, how they found them and where they came from. What information Sansa knows, she shares, and they learn that the dead have marched mostly past them, and that the dragon leading them has turned back. It is how Sansa came to believe they still lived, there would be no others strong enough left if not them.

"Good," Arya declares, decision clearly made. "Bran won't need to wake. You're going to take him from here, Sansa. You and Nymeria have seen the ways, so you're going to bring him to what is left of the Wall and maybe further. Find another weirwood tree where he can safely wake up when he's ready."

It is clear that their parents struggle to not object, knowing that Arya will either not hear it or not mind it as they wish she would, but Sansa takes care of it for them.

"What about you?" Sansa sounds almost like she's begging. "Won't you come with us? I can't protect him like you can, I'm not strong and you'll die if we leave you here!"

"Someone's got to distract the Night King, might as well be the one that can buy you the time needed. And Bran still needs time to convince the past."

"What--" Sansa doesn't know what they've planned, what they are doing here, so it is understandable when she sighs in frustration and confusion, unable to figure out what it means.

"He went back, sister, and brought them all here. We've got to protect his connection until they're ready to be sent back," something must have gotten pieced together in her head for now Sansa seems to understand, and Bran smiles this time, even as unused to it as he is.

Arya reaches out for Nymeria who comes to her, and there is awe in Tyrion Lannister more so than the rest of them. Bran hopes that awe will help him search for the truth when he lets them go, hopes it will remind him of tales from the North and that he will search for them. The Imp is a man that can turn the minds of those unwilling to believe, he has seen it many times.

When Sansa has climbed onto Nymeria, they lift Bran up together, leaving him in front of Sansa to ensure he will not fall off even if he wakes before they find another weirwood tree. The oldest of them does not tear her gaze away from Arya until she can no longer see her, until they can no longer see Sansa, Nymeria and Brans body.

Bran does not follow them, knowing that he will be given better proof staying here with Arya and waiting for the Night King on his dragon.

And he has promised that he will be there at the end of it all, that he will be with her when they die, and though it was not out loud where she could hear it, it still counts.