Childish laughter echoed around the Godswood, as you and Bran ran through the freshly fallen snow. Even now, the snow continued to fall, and you couldn’t tear your eyes away from them.
You had never seen snow before. So, how could you not be fascinated by it?
It had been barely a week since you and your father had arrived in Winterfell, and already you had fallen in love with cold North. You knew Father had come to discuss some form of trade agreement with the Starks, and had only brought you along on your Mother’s insistence after you had ‘accidentally’ set fire to her prized silk dresses from King’s Landing.
Apparently, it was meant to teach you some discipline.
Oh how wrong she was.
Especially when, to everyone’s surprise, you befriended Lord Stark’s second youngest son, Brandon Stark. It didn’t exactly take much. After all, how could you say no when someone asks if you want to climb up the castle walls with them?
You can still remember your Father’s pale face, Lord Stark’s laughter and Lady Stark’s shouts for you both to come down this instant.
But that didn’t stop you both from climbing straight back up there after the adults had gone out of sight.
“Take that (Y/N)!”
You squealed and ducked behind a tree, as a snowball when flying past your head, just barely missing you.
“Missed me, Bran!” You shouted back, hardly able to contain your giggles as you heard Bran move closer to your position.
As the crunching noise of the snow got louder and louder, you grinned to yourself and jumped out ready to throw a snowball straight into the little Wolf’s face. Only to find there was no one there.
Confused, you glanced around the clearing then screamed as a heavy weight crashed into your back, sending you face first into the snowy ground.
Lifting your head out of the snow, you turned your head round and glared at the chackling boy that still had you pinned to the ground. “Bran! That was not fair!”
“Yes it was. You’re just jealous because you didn’t think of it first. So I’m the King of Winter!” He stated, proudly sticking his chest out.
“Oh, is that so?” You saw Bran’s confident expression falter slightly as he saw the mischievous glint in your eye. With all the speed of a Wild Cat, you flipped both of your positions around, pinning his arms and knees to the floor with your own.
You smirked, “The King has fallen. Now, it’s the Queen of Winter’s turn to reign!”
Bran blinked, still shocked by the sudden change only for a bright smile to pull at his lips and make you smile in turn. It didn’t take long for you both to dissolve into a pile of giggles as you let yourself fall back onto the soft snow next to him.
“Maybe we could rule Winter together?” He asked. You looked to him and found that he was already looking at you. “As the King and Queen of Winter, nothing could stop us from ruling over this land of endless snow.”
You pretended to ponder the statement for a second, before you took his hand in yours and gripped it tight.
“You’re right. Together there’s nothing we can’t do!”
Bran’s smile, if possible, somehow got even brighter. He gently pulled his hand from yours and offered you his pinkie-finger instead, “I, Bran Stark, King of the Ice and Snow, vow to stay by the Queen’s side from now until the end of time.”
You instantly locked your pinkie with his, unable to contain how happy you were to make this vow – no matter how childish it seemed – with your best, and only, friend. “I, (Y/N) (L/N), Queen of the Snow and Ice, vow to rule with the King – side by side – and stay with him until the end of time.”
With a shake of your fingers, the vow was made. And while you refused to admit it then, that vow had meant more to you than any riches, titles or even a million snowflakes ever could.
~ 0 ~
Of course you couldn’t stay in Winterfell forever.
Granted, that didn’t stop you from kicking and screaming as your Father carried you away to his horse. You’d remembered how Bran had to be held back by his brother, Robb. You even remembered how for a brief moment, it looked like a tear was rolling down his cheek.
Thus, with all the strength you could muster, you shouted about how you would write to him every day and that you would never, ever forget your vow.
~ 0 ~
What followed, the next few years, was a seemingly never-ending conversation that was spread over a string of weekly letters between the both of you. Your Mother never hid her disapproval of such a correspondence from you or your Father, you didn’t let it bother you and thankfully, your Father didn’t seem to mind it either. You wouldn’t know what you would of done if he hadn’t, as nothing could ever replace the joy you felt every time your Father knocked on your door, saying he had a letter addressed to the ‘Queen of Winter’.
Even though you had just finished reading his latest letter, you were already penning your reply. You told him all about how your new horse, Drax and his fascination with chewing your sister’s hair. You when into extensive detail on how yesterday you had found a bow and an arrow left out near the target range, and with your master stealth skills had snuck them back to your room, without anyone seeing you. You were hoping to get some secret practice in later. And you asked him how excited he must be feeling to have King Robert Baratheon visit his home.
With a rather clumsy press of the wooden marker, your sealed the envelope with your House Sigil and rushed to find the Maester. Eager to send the letter off as soon as possible, so that Bran’s reply would get to you even quicker.
Except, it never came.
~ 0 ~
While you never did get Bran’s reply, you still continued to send him letters.
At first, they were just filled with questions. How are you? What is happening? Why have you not replied?
When you didn’t receive a response still, you just began describing your day. Leaving no detail, whether big or small, out. You told him how your secret archery practice had gotten better. You could now hit the target, instead of just firing over it. You told him about the rides you would go on with Drax, and how you had found a small clearing that had very quickly become the spot you escaped to whenever your Mother grew so furious with you, her face turned redder than the leaves on Weirwood trees.
But what you didn’t tell him, or what you wanted to tell him, was how hurt you were when he didn’t reply. Or about how you spent many sleepless nights, crying at the memories of your climbing adventures and snowball fights together. But most of all, you wanted to tell him how you wished you could just pack a bag and ride back to Winterfell. So that you could both be together, just as you’d both vowed on that snowy day.
You stopped sending him letters the moment you heard that he had been burned alive by Theon Greyjoy.
~ 0 ~
As he sat there, gazing at the pile of letters addressed to the ‘King of Winter’, Bran felt the cold bite of Winter nip at his cheeks. Tiny flakes of snow cascaded to the ground, just as it had that day many years ago. He gently brushed his fingers over the dried ink, lightly circling around the signature of the girl once known to him as the ‘Queen of Winter’.
Upon his return to Winterfell, he had discovered the letters practically swamping the desk in his room. He hadn’t even realised he had read them all until there wasn’t another one left to pick up.
She had obviously meant a great deal to Bran. He could tell that much from the many long, heartfelt letters left unsent at the back of a drawer. He could even see it when he visited the times the two had spent in the past. A few had even brought a small smile to his face, however brief it had been.
She seemed like a brave and lively soul. Clearly, not one to simply settle for being the wife of some Lord or Knight.
He watched her write each and every letter. Baffled at her stubbornness to continue writing them, even when she did not receive one in return.
He watched her cry in anguish the moment she hear news that Theon Greyjoy had “burned” him alive.
He watched her repeatedly deny it to herself and everyone around her, claiming that he was not dead. That he was still out there, waiting to come back and take Winterfell when the time is right.
He watched them call her insane, disregarding her words as the babbles of a woman in grief.
He watched her pack a travel bag, and leave her home on her horse Drax in a fit of anger and determination.
He watched her journey, as she travelled for miles and miles, trying to get North of the Wall. Where she claimed he had called to her in a dream.
It was a fruitless journey. Anyone could see that. She had run out of food. She had run out of water. And it only grew colder and colder, the further she went. Yet, she kept going.
Until she couldn’t move anymore.
He had even shed a tear when he watched her freeze to death just outside of the Wall. Looking for him.
There were a few times when he thought he could feel some of Bran’s feelings for this girl, niggling at the back of his mind. But he could never focus on one thing for too long. He had not been able to do so for a long time now.
He did not remember what it felt like to be Bran anymore.
And while this girl had giving him a glimpse, a reminder of who he once was, it wasn’t enough.
(Y/N) (L/N), Queen of Winter, was just a girl lost in memories now.