Nakia and Daenerys led the way into the palace, Jon and T’Challa following behind. Daenerys was struck by the beauty of the palace at first glance, but then by the detailed carvings of Kings and Queens from the past, warriors and animals as they went deeper inside. Once in the throne room, Daenerys gasped at the large windows that showed the city below. Her amazement was a hard thing to keep contained, and the quick intake of breath was something that she couldn’t control as she took in the view of the river falling into the rich jungles. Just above the trees, she could see Savannah fading into the horizon.
She heard a squeal of delight behind her and turned to see her daughter rushing forward to take in the view as well. “It’s so beautiful,” she exclaimed.
“We thank you, Princess,” Nakia said with a soft smile and an even sweeter voice.
Daenerys felt Jon’s hand brush the small of her back as he came to stand behind her. Something about the city below seemed to shine in the bright sunlight. “Everything is so green,” Daenerys said softly. “Beyond my expectations.”
T’Challa gave her a bright smile. “I heard you have done a lot of traveling, Your Grace. It pleases me to hear we have exceeded what I assume to be lofty expectations.”
Daenerys turned to look at him and gave him a nod. “The bright bays of Mereen, the dark stone of Dragonstone, the great grass sea of the Dothraki, the snows of Winterfell... all have a certain charm about them, and exotic as they are, they seem more conventional compared to this.” She looked back at the jungle and even the bright blue of the river. “I find this to be breathtaking.”
Nakia linked her arm through Daenerys’s, taking her away from the window and to a chair to sit down. “What about Westeros? You mentioned snow.”
Jon and T’Challa joined them and Daenerys gave her husband a loving smile. “My husband was raised in the North of the country. They are a hardy and loyal people. It seems each region is different. Deserts in Dorne, the Reach is where our main food supply comes from, the River Lands are, of course, full of rivers and swamplands. The Eyrie is a mountainous area. The farther you move North, the colder it grows, the air changes,” She then smiled at Nakia. “Until a short time before the war, Tormund lived beyond The Wall.”
“I still miss the smell of the clean air,” Tormund responded.
Aemon and Shuri took a seat near Daenerys. She nearly laughed as she watched Rhaella insert herself between the two, beginning to bombard Shuri with questions.
Their attention was turned to the door as another person joined them. She was a beautiful young woman, with wide eyes, dark skin, and dark hair. She looked like a younger version of Nakia, and Daenerys assumed this was their missing daughter. They all stood as she moved to stand in front of her mother. “You’re late,” Nakia said sternly, but Daenerys recognized the sound of disappointment in the other woman’s voice. She could see with the way Desta lowered her head in apology that the young girl realized she was in trouble.
“Apologies. I lost track of the time while in the infirmary. One of the local women had two beautiful babies this morning,” she explained, clearly hoping that it would blunt her mother’s anger.
Nakia turned to Daenerys and gave her a smile. “Queen Daenerys and King Jon, this is our daughter, Princess Desta. She has set her sights on becoming a healer and it takes over her entire world, even when things are... pressing .”
Daenerys smiled as the Princess bowed to both Jon and Daenerys. Desta turned to the other members of their company to greet them as well, and Daenerys noticed the wide-eyed look on her son’s face as he stared at the newly arrived princess. She smiled at Jon, who raised his eyebrows in tacit agreement -- their usually loquacious son was struck mute, and that was as telling as his poleaxed expression.
“Princess Desta, this is our son, Prince Aemon, and our daughter, Princess Rhaella,” Jon introduced, fighting a knowing grin from forming on his face.
Desta didn’t take her eyes off the fair-haired young man, equally caught off guard by him, it seemed. “Princess,” Aemon finally said with a bow of his head and then kissed the back of her hand when she raised it.
Daenerys sneaked a look at Nakia, who seemed amused.
“Shuri, why don’t you take Princess Rhaella to your workroom? We have much to talk about that will likely bore the young princess,” T’Challa prodded.
Shuri nodded and stood. “Good. It’s getting too thick in here, anyway,” she said as she bowed her head and left the room with Rhaella at her side, nearly bouncing as they walked down the hall.
Aemon offered Desta the seat beside him which she took and the two continued to stare at one another. Nakia rolled her eyes at Desta and Armon’s obvious crush. She then stood summoned one of the servants to pour them drinks. “I think you’ll like this, Your Grace. Millet whiskey,” she gestured for everyone in the room to be given a glass. Daenerys sipped at it, finding it better than the guava wine from earlier, but still not to her liking. She knew it would be bad form to refuse it, though, and instead sipped at it. Nakia took their attention away from the young ones with her next question, “Tales of dragons have always fascinated me...but I have never heard the tale of the wayward princess who brought them back to life.”
Jon immediately locked eyes with Daenerys-- they had discussed how to best explain where her children had come from. Jon was a man who truly believed that honesty was the best way to go through life. She agreed, to an extent. “They were given to me as eggs at a feast for my first wedding. They were believed to be petrified and nothing more than something pretty.”
“But they hatched?” The princess questioned. “How is it that eggs, believed to be nothing but stone, suddenly bore dragons?”
Daenerys shared a look with Jorah, the only one in the room with her on that fateful day all those years ago. “When my husband died, I put them on his funeral pyre and they hatched from it.”
Nakia frowned. “The fire hatched them?”
She shook her head. “That does appear to be what happened but I have another theory that is far too dark for some so young,” she said as she glanced at Aemon and Desta.
T’Challa nodded. “We can speak of this more at another time. Until then, I believe you and your King might enjoy some of the local fauna.”
“We look forward to seeing even more of your lands. You make quite the first impression,” Jon replied.
T’challa gave them all a pleasant smile and leaned back in his chair a little, obviously feeling more comfortable with them, but still looked every bit as dignified as the king he was. “Your sister tells us you are quite the warrior, King Snow.”
Jon squirmed beneath the attention. She was well aware of his stance on fighting, that he thought he was good at it, he didn’t like it. She noticed Okoye raise her eyebrows, interest piqued in their conversation, though. “It was a bloody business, learning to hone my skills. Too many battles, too many wars, and too many lives lost.”
“Okoye is the best we have in Wakanda, but she came to a draw with your sister.” T’Challa smiled playfully at his general. “I wonder if she could actually be defeated.”
Jon folded his hands in his lap and rubbed his fingers together. It was what he did when he was uncomfortable or even anxious. “I don’t fight for sport.”
“You no longer fight in wars, either,” Okoye challenged. “Is it possible that your ego couldn’t handle being bested by a woman?”
Daenerys was ready to intercede on Jon’s behalf, but he smiled. “I’m married, my Lady. I’m bested by a woman every day.”
They all laughed and even Okoye had to smile at that. “I would like to see what sort of male warriors Westeros has produced. As you are their king, perhaps you might humor me.”
Daenerys observed the conflicted look on his face, but he seemed to come to the conclusion that protesting further would be rude, so he conceded. “Perhaps.”
“You say where and when, Your Grace, and I will show you the best of Wakanda’s defenses.” T’challa looked to Daenerys. “And what about you, Your Grace? Are you trained in combat?”
She gave him a small smile. “The only weapons I’ve ever had are my mind and my dragons, Your Grace. Later, when I sailed to Westeros, I acquired the King in the North, a Wildling, and a Hound as additional protection,” she said as she looked on each of them with affection. “I was fortunate enough to be in the air for most of the battles.”
“Your dragons are big enough to ride?” Nakia questioned, her wide eyes shining brightly in the fading light of day. It made her even more radiant.
“For several people to ride at once, but they have to agree to that. After we have our negotiations tomorrow, I will be happy to bring them for you to see. Somewhere with a lot of room for them to land and where they won’t be tempted to eat your livestock.”
T’Challa nodded. “Very well, Your Grace. But tonight, you will be treated to the lively hospitality of Wakanda and its people with a true feast.” He stood and the others all followed. “My Queen and I will show you to your rooms. They overlook one of the Savannahs.”
T’challa held his arm out to Daenerys and she took it with a smile and Jon did the same for Nakia. Daenerys glanced over her shoulder to see Aemon do the same for Desta, and she was amused to see her son blush under the scrutiny of the beautiful, young princess.
Daenerys leaned against the balcony and smiled to feel Jon’s arms wrap around her waist and his lips at her neck. She turned and slid her hands over the silk of the dashiki he was wearing. It had been laid out for the feast that evening. It was black like the one he had arrived in, but the threaded detail was crimson instead of silver. The gown for her was the opposite color pattern, crimson with dark black thread.
“What did you think of them?” Jon questioned, pulling back from her a bit to see her face.
“I like them. Their people appear to like them, as well.”
Jon nodded. “It seems to me, my queen, that our son is rather taken with their daughter.”
She chuckled and moved out of his arms, reaching up to make sure her hair stayed in place beneath the wrap. “That boy has never been at a loss for words before, but one look from her and he’s struck mute.”
“And what about her ? Quick to explain herself but suddenly quiet and unable to take her eyes off Aemon once she saw him?”
Daenerys smiled. “He’s as handsome as his father. I can’t blame her.”
Jon rolled his eyes. “Negotiations will be interesting tomorrow,” he said, changing the subject. “They didn’t even ask about the horses.”
“That’s because they don’t yet know the usefulness of them.”
“It’s all about the dragons. Just as you suspected, though.”
She moved back to him on the balcony and she watched as the sun began to dip below the horizon. Fires and the glow from the purple firebugs from the caves earlier began to illuminate the city and Daenerys was once again struck by its beauty. “I do know one thing, Jon.”
“We have a lot of work to do on King’s Landing before they can visit,” she said as she tucked her hand into his.
He chuckled and shook his head. “You don’t think they would be impressed by the large holes in the roof of the throne room or the scorch marks where the dragon pit once stood?”
She looked at him and reached up to brush her fingers over the scowl lines around his eyes. “This is not the night to worry of such things. The king and queen are bringing us to a feast.”
Jon smiled and gave her a slight nod before a knock sounded at their door and Aemon stuck his head in. “They’re ready for us.”
T'challa explained that each color of light represented a tribe of the Wakandan people. Green, blue, purple, red, and yellow circled around the room as they were escorted to the main table. T’challa settled Daenerys beside Nakia and he took the seat on the other side, Jon on the other side of the Wakandan Queen. Arya, Aemon, Desta and the rest were settled along the far ends of the table. Okoye made sure she was seated near Arya as the two women had become quick allies upon her first visit.
The scent of smoked meat and fresh fruits filled the air. There was a large selection of both, some of which she could identify and some she could not. Ripe mangos and brightly colored strawberries decorated a platter of what appeared to be more of the roasted goat they had been presented with earlier. Another platter offered crisply sliced apples and lush oranges surrounding smoked boar. A bird of some kind sat amongst an array of fruits she did not know but longed to taste each one.
“Your Grace, you have two more children? What are their names?” T’Challa asked as they were being served plates of food.
Daenerys thought about her children they had left behind at King’s Landing and her heart ached. Young Robb, with his desire to impress everyone around him and Lyanna’s sweet shyness that led her to only trust a few people but to be overcome with joy when she saw them. She couldn’t help the sad smile that formed on her lips as she spoke of them, “We have another boy and girl. Robb and Lyanna. They were simply too young to make the journey.”
Nakia smiled and gave a nod. “I’m sure we will be able to find an excuse for another visit.”
Daenerys nodded, casting a glance at Aemon and how he was hanging on every word Desta said to him. Her boy was smitten.
Once all of the platters had been settled onto the table, Daenerys was overtaken by the spectacle of it all. She had been on the receiving end of feasts before, but Wakanda seemed to take everything she thought she knew and spin it on its head to make it more ostentatious. She knew, from speaking with T’Challa and Nakia that it wasn’t boasting, but it was the tradition of the people to be so welcoming. The king gestured to the platters before them and began to explain what she was seeing and would be tasting, “You have before you, Your Grace...”
Daenerys interrupted the king and smiled at him politely. “Please call me Daenerys. And I’m sure Jon will insist upon you calling him Jon.”
“Then I ask you call me T’Challa, Daenerys.”
She nodded. “As you were saying about the food?”
Daenerys found that not only was there more cured goat but boar and giraffe, which Daenerys found to be bitter. The fruits were exemplary, however. It was all she could do not to groan out loud the second she put the first bite of fresh mango into her mouth. Nakia had only smiled at her and passed a piece over to Jon. He wasn’t as adventurous when it came to food as she was, and he usually didn’t eat just to savor food. His life at the Wall had taught him to eat quickly. But she watched him bite into it and his eyes closed in pleasure.
She’d had the barrels of Arbor Gold brought up for the celebration and T’Challa suggested it be served to accompany their dinner. “It’s sweeter than the Guava wine we tasted earlier today,” she warned.
Nakia sipped at it first, then went in for another. She nodded to T’Challa, “I know one thing I want in trade with your country,” she said and drank down the rest. She held out her glass for more and Daenerys obliged.
“Daenerys,” T’Challa began, “tomorrow we will meet for discussion of trade and how our civilizations can help one another, but you know why it is we really sought you out.”
She nodded and looked up at him in understanding. “Arya told me about the ore you found. That it takes more than simply fire to break it down.”
He nodded. “We believe that this will help improve the way of life for our people. And whatever we discover, we will share with you. But your dragons will be most critical.”
She took another sip of her wine and smiled up at him. “We’re here to seek help in making our war-torn country better as well. So many people have suffered through too many wars. We need ways of making their lives better. From what I’ve seen of your city so far, you appear to have the advancements we need.”
His lips quirked up in a half smile. “Then it seems, Daenerys, we are of one mind about our future discussions.”
Once the food was cleared away, so were the tables, leaving the royals open to enjoy the celebration. King T’Challa stood and everyone grew silent. “My dear people, tonight we show the king and queen of Westeros the rich culture of our people. Let them take with them the beauty of our traditions and our people,” he declared, taking up his seat once more. The lights along the ceiling began to die down, men and women standing near the top of the pillars sprinkling some sort of dust into the brazier to dim the fire, and Daenerys turned her attention back to the group with awe as the colorful braziers being held by each group grew brighter.
Along the perimeter of the room, drums began beating, their rhythmic pounding seeming to pulse through the people in front of them. Through the stones on the floor, red fire flowed through the grout, illuminating the room with red light. Two men flipped along the stone in front of them. The grunt of the red tribe could be heard over the beating of the drums, but only seemed to accentuate the sound.
But then the light changed to a purple and two men stepped forward, fell to their knees. They brought the purple braziers in their hands to their mouths and spit flame into the air. Three more followed in succession. Daenerys glanced down the line to see Rhaella and Aemon leaning forward in their seats. Then yellow flame circled the area and six women moved forward, spinning in rapid circles, all done on their toes. They then started to sway like wheat in the wind, arms long and graceful over their heads before spinning from the center of the room. Blue flame sent more acrobats, what looked to be a father and daughter duo. He held her above his head, balanced on one arm as she practically bowed her body in half. Daenerys felt immeasurable relief when the girl was safely on the ground and fought the urge to clap.
The last was the green tribe. A group of women, dressed much like Nakia and Desta entered the floor. Movement from her right caught Daenerys’s eye, and she watched as Desta leaped over the flame and was handed two hollowed out circles of ivory. The drumbeat changed as she took front and center, those behind her copying her movements, which were graceful and reminded her of the way the water moved; one moment, tranquil and languid, the next firm jabs of her arms and distinctive snaps of her hips. Nakia leaned over to Daenerys. “This is my tribe,” she said proudly.
As the young girl led the dance, she noticed that Aemon was leaning forward in his seat, his left arm propped on his knee, his mouth hanging open. Jon obviously noticed too, and turned to give her a smirk. My dear sweet boy is completely enamored .
When she finished, she came back to the group, took Shuri’s hand, then Aemon’s and pulled them both to the middle of the room. All the tribes joined together at that point, and Daenerys laughed as Desta showed Aemon what to do, moving his arms and shaking his hips as they spun in a circle. She thought if the young princess had asked him to walk over hot coals he would be only too happy to remove his shoes.
The drumming stopped and everyone at the high table stood and clapped, Tormund giving a great whoop of approval. The people scattered around the room, some continued to dance as the drums began thumping again. Daenerys watched as T’Challa stood and bid Jon to follow him to meet some of the leaders of the tribes as Nakia leaned toward her and filled their glasses with more wine. She watched as a drink was shoved into Jon’s hand and he drank it. Instead of the disgusted look she expected, he seemed pleased with whatever it was and downed the rest of it.
“Your son appears to be quite taken with my daughter,” Nakia said with a smile as she took a sip of her seemingly new favorite beverage.
Daenerys nodded and watched as Aemon leaned closer to whisper to Desta that caused her to laugh and his goofy grin widened even as he blushed. She chuckled to herself. “I’ve never seen that expression on his face.”
Aemon was not a guarded boy, by nature, unlike his stoic father, but he seemed even more free with himself than was usual for him. With that thought, she looked back at Jon to find him with a different cup in his hand, and he had the pommel of Longclaw in his hand and was showing it to T’Challa. She knew the loss of the sword given to him by Jeor Mormont was tremendous. She remembered all too well watching the blade shatter as it cut through the Night King. Jon still carried around the pommel as superstition and sentimentalism.
“How is it that you came to meet your king?” Nakia asked her, breaking her from her spell.
She shook her head. “It seems like a lifetime ago. I had just sailed to Westeros and was told that I needed to summon the King in the North, Jon. My Hand, my most trusted advisor, Tyrion, knew Jon… he had traveled to the Wall with him. He agreed that we needed to meet.” She sipped her wine and it was filled again before she could ask. “Our families had a history, but not a good one. I remember when he walked into my throne room, I was stunned. I expected someone who looked more like Tormund,” she said, nodding to the Wildling who was now standing with Jon with a drink in each hand and a shit-eating grin on his ruddy face.
“Relieved?” Nakia asked with a laugh.
She nodded and took a deep breath. “I told him to bend the knee, he refused, so we butted heads.”
Nakia nodded in understanding. “And someone decided that marriage was the best way for an alliance?”
Daenerys shook her head, chuckling. “No. Jon stayed on the island because he needed the ore we had there, and he was still trying to convince me that there was a more important threat.” At this, she looked at her husband who was avidly listening to a toothless chieftain spin a wild tale, T’Challa translating as he didn’t know the common tongue. Her heart fluttered just looking at him, her smile involuntary. Even after all this time, the graying hair at his temples, the lines and crow's feet around his eyes, new scars, she still found him as handsome as ever. “We fell in love with one another.”
She realized she was staring at Jon and turned back to her companion with a shy smile. Nakia gave her an understanding smile. “And that love endures.”
Daenerys gave her a slight nod then looked back at Shuri who was coaxing Arya, Aemon, and Rhaella into joining them in their dance. Rhaella was all too eager, Arya stepped away claiming another drink was needed, and Aemon stared after Desta as she was escorted away by some of her friends. It was during his distraction that Shuri took his hand and he joined in the dancing. Nakia couldn’t help but chuckle.
Daenerys chuckled. “He’s doing a poor job of hiding it, isn’t he?”
They watched Desta show Aemon how to move his arms to the dance, an easy smile on her face but then grew concerned. Nakia looked away and back to her, “What is he like, one mother to another?”
“Aemon has never met a stranger. As sour as Jon can be, he is the opposite. He’s stubborn, intelligent...he will be a wonderful king of Westeros because he cares about the people. All lives matter to him.” She paused and examined her son-- his easy smile, his laughter as Shuri showed him the proper way to move his feet to the rapid drums. She remembered how he was born into the world as they marched on King’s Landing. Aemon had his been in his first battle before he was ever born. “He’s seen what war does to a country and its people and understands diplomacy better than I think Jon and I do at times.” She took a deep breath, trying to fight off the tears thinking of how her son seemed to go from a pink babe in her arms to a charismatic and handsome man in the blink of an eye. “When we were lacking hope, Aemon was our push to keep going.”
Dany studied Nakia as the woman considered her words. The woman was beautiful and there was wisdom in her dark eyes. Her daughter looked just like her, carried herself with the same regal quality. “I know about stubborn children,” Nakia nodded to the crowd and Dany turned her eyes to see Desta staring at Aemon, seemingly paying little mind to her knot of friends. “My daughter wants to be a healer. It takes the focus of everything in her life. We encourage it, of course, because anyone as kind as she is could do a lot of good in this world.” She looked over at Daenerys and smiled at her. “I’ve never seen anything pull her focus so quickly as your son, however.”
Daenerys smiled and held up her glass. “A toast to the future generation and their stubbornness. May it not test our patience to the very limit but serve the world well.”
Nakia touched her glass to Daenerys’s. “Well said.”
Missandei was helping to unravel Daenerys’s hair as she had found her own fingers most unhelpful. Jon had seen Aemon and Rhaella to bed after he’d made sure that a very drunk and disheveled Tormund was in his room. The last thing they needed was for the Wildling to cause an international incident while they slept.
“That’s it, Your Grace. Would you like a bath in the morning? I can come in and do your hair after.”
She nodded. “I’ll probably need one to get rid of the headache I’m sure to have. I believe you might be the only person capable of taming my hair beneath the wrap.”
Missandei shared a laugh with her, then walked to the door just as Jon was coming in. “Good night, Your Grace,” she said before she closed the door behind her.
Daenerys watched Jon pull the dashiki over his head and settle it on the trunk at the foot of their bed. He kicked off his boots and then his attention turned to her. His lips quirked up in a predatory half smile, then began walking to her. She took his offered hand and stood, letting him wrap her in his arms and his mouth found hers. She could feel him tugging on the fabric, obviously trying to figure out how to remove it. “Don’t you dare rip this,” she warned.
He began backing her toward the bed, his hands roaming over her body even as his lips moved along her throat. “Then take it off,” he demanded. She tugged it over her head and giggled as he tickled his fingers along her side. “I’ll admit I’m drunk,” he said as he sat down on the edge and pulled her on top of him. “You might have to do all the work.”
She laughed and leaned in to kiss his smiling mouth. Her breath caught as his mouth found her nipple and scraped his teeth lightly over it. “I’m drunk, too. All that wine,” she said as she ground down against the bulge pushing against his trousers. “And why didn’t you take off your pants?” She couldn’t help but grumble as his hands and mouth distracted her from getting to his cock. She felt a sense of triumph as the laces finally gave way and she could wrap her hand around his length. His response was to bite along her collarbone.
She pulled the tie from his hair with her free hand and held his mouth to her as she wiggled on top of him for a better position. She huffed in frustration. “You really are going to make me do all the work, aren’t you?”
He chuckled as he grabbed her arse with both hands and shifted her further into his lap. “I’m just here for the ride.”
When she took his cock in hand again, his chuckle turned into a groan. She wiggled around until she was positioned on top of him how she liked, then slid the tip of his cock through her folds, brushing against her clit, her own body shivering in response. He gripped her hips firmly as she seated him inside her, slowly lowering herself onto him. She watched the strain in the muscles of his neck as he pressed his head back into to bed. She loved nothing more than to see her usually stoic husband lose his usually well-kept composure.
She undulated her hips against his own, setting a slow pace, her body welcoming him as it always did. His hands moved languidly over her skin causing her heart to race within her chest. Even after all these years, her husband still set her nerves alight .
She braced her hands on his chest, picking up the pace, - tumbling faster and faster toward the edge. Jon cupped her breasts, his thumbs and fingers working to tweak her nipples that had her head dropping back and a low moan escaped her lips.
She reached between them, her fingers working over her nub and her body bowed as her release screamed through her blood, curling her toes as her legs and arms shook to hold her up. She was barely cognizant of Jon finding his release not long after. He pulled her down against him, holding her close as they both caught their breath. She rested her head on his shoulder, tracing her fingers over the scars on his chest, drunk on wine and the euphoria that came from being in her husband’s arms.
She would relish in it for a while longer, she decided, reluctant to move away or let him go. “Dany?” Jon whispered against her hair. The nickname had long ago lost the vile rancor that it once held. When he whispered it like he did, she could almost forget anyone else had ever called her by that name but him.
“Yes?” she replied.
“Are you nervous about tomorrow?”
She sighed and nodded. “It would be a lie to say no… but they seem to be reasonable people,” she said as she finally moved off him to lay at Jon’s side. He rid himself completely of his trousers and pulled the light silk sheet up around them. “Get some sleep, my love. It is sure to be a long day.”
He rolled to his side and draped an arm over her waist as she pressed her face against his neck. She could breathe in his scent forever-- snow, leather, and fire or smoke. She brushed her fingers over his jaw, smiling at how he seemed to already be asleep. She closed her eyes and let sleep take her.