It was early, that time in the morning right before the sun rises and wakes all of Winterfell. I loved to watch the woods from the broken tower, right as the sun rises, seeing the light stretch out over the trees and warming up the endless land of snow.
"I thought I'd find you here"
This time I didn't jump at the sound of his voice. Once he found out this was my hiding spot he came here often, finding in it the same comfort I did.
"You're up early" I replied, keeping my eyes on the impending sunrise.
"Same goes for you" he answers in that soft, gentle voice of his.
"You know I like to watch the sunrise," I say with a smile, feeling him walk up next to me, his very presence warming up my frozen body.
"I do, that's why I came up here," He says softly as if he spoke too loud the sun wouldn't rise.
"What's wrong?" I ask, finally allowing myself to face him. He looked handsome as always, his black curly hair and sharp jaw and those eyes. His beautiful hazel eyes that never ceased to bring me comfort when I needed it. But right now those eyes betrayed a look of worry.
"I want to go to the wall," he admits with a shaky breath. I can feel my chest seize up at the very thought. The wall was a dangerous place, full of thieves and hard men. It wasn't a good place for him.
"Why?" I ask, although I already knew the answer. He didn't dare look in my eyes, knowing he would take the notion back the instant he did.
"I don't belong here, I'll always be Ned Stark's bastard. At least there that doesn't matter" he says, continuing to gaze out, the sun beginning to rise and light up the tops of the trees.
"It doesn't matter here, at least not to me," I tell him as he turns to look at me.
"I know" he smiles.
"When do you plan on going?" I ask with a deep sigh.
"When the time's right, maybe when uncle Benjen comes next" he mumbles, turning to look back out towards the sky.
"I'll miss you...when you go," I tell him nervously.
"I'll miss you too, but it won't be for a while," he says, trying to be reassuring, the cold winter air starts to blow. I shiver on instinct and cross my arms over my chest, trying to hold onto my escaping warmth.
"Cold?" he asks, eyeing me with a teasing smile.
"Always" I answer with a small laugh. All these years and I still couldn't get used to the cold.
"Well come here then," he tells me holding out his arms. I gladly walk closer to him, letting his right arm wrap around me and pull me into his warm body.
"How is it you are always so warm?" I ask with a shudder, trying to let my frigid body relax.
"Don't know, probably for the same reason you're always so cold" he teases giving my small frame a comforting squeeze. I smile, watching as the sun finally makes its way up above the trees.
"We should go" he whispers to me.
"Just a few more minutes" I whisper back, wanting to remember this moment with him.
After a while, we make our way down the broken tower and head to the stables to begin our chores. Thankfully it was always warm in the stables.
"Why don't you go learn sewing with the other ladies?" he asks during his shoveling, while I brushed the horses.
"I'm not really a lady now am I?" I mumble back, continuing to brush the chestnut's mane.
"You're Ned Stark's adopted daughter, I'd say that makes you lady enough" he huffs.
"But I'm not a Stark, I'm not even from the North. You know that Jon..." I tell him with an uneasy breath at the mention of my secret.
"Aye, I do. But it shouldn't matter"
"But it does Jon, if anyone else were to ever find out...it would endanger the family, your family" I reason, giving him a threatening glance.
"Then why did you tell me?" He asks, leaning on his shovel, watching me with curious eyes.
"Because we're friends" I answer simply, but we both know it wasn't that simple. But how could I tell him that it was because I loved him, and trusted him with everything?
"You're friends with Robb and Arya, you didn't tell them" He counters, giving me a crooked grin.
"You know what I mean Jon....we're similar you and I...and I trust you....with things" I mumble, not quite sure how to gets the words to my tongue. He smiles at me, a blush starting to show on both our faces.
"You trust me then?" He asks, slowly going back to continue his shoveling.
"I always have" I admit, the blush on my cheeks deepening. I hear him stop and I stop as well, daring to look up into his chocolate eyes and see him approach me.
"I trust you too" He mumbles awkwardly, his cheeks turned bright red. I smile and bite my bottom lip, trying to get my blushing to stop.
"Is there something you wish to tell me?" I ask boldly, finding the courage to look up into his eyes. He freezes, I can sense the nervousness, him not knowing what to say, and me, afraid to listen to whatever it might be.
"I...I" He stutters, trying to find the words. The words I've been desperate to hear, the words that have been whispered between us since we were little.
"There you are!"
Me and Jon both jump away from each other, causing the horse to neigh in annoyance. I can feel the blush burning my cheeks as we both turn to face Theon.
"Did I interrupt something? Were you and Jon finally going to do it?" Theon teases, smirking at the two of us.
"W-what? No" I mumble, trying to calm myself down.
"Sure you weren't," Theon says with a snarky wink.
"Alright, leave them alone," Robb says, walking into the stables to stand alongside Theon. I gave Robb a thankful smile, he was always there when I needed him most.
"Fine" Theon grumbles and walks out of the stables. Robb looks between the two of us, a knowing smile gracing his lips.
"Jon, Bran is about to start archery practice, I thought he could use some support," Robb says, using that future lord voice of his.
"Of course," Jon says and quickly walks out of the stables.
"You shouldn't torment him," Robb tells me as I go back to work, his arms crossed in a lazy manner.
"I don't torment him," I argue as Robb walks over to me.
"Of course you do. He likes you, just seeing you in the dining hall is torture for him" Robb says with an easy smile.
"Of course he likes me, we're friends, have been since we were little," I tell him, trying to brush off the idea.
"You know what I mean Emelya, he's growing fond of you" Robb teases, staring at me as I slowly continue to brush the horse.
"Are you saying I'm leading him on?" I ask.
"No, because I know you feel the same way. I see how you look at him, it's the same look he gives you"
"So what? Do we get married? The Bastard and the Orphan? No, he deserves better" I mumble sadly, trying not to think about Jon running away to the Night's Watch, running away from me.
"Better? Emelya you're as good as it gets. You're loving and kind, titles and land don't matter to Jon, you know that" Robb reasons. I stay silent. Robb only sighs and turns to walk away sadly. As if this hurt him.
"I'm just saying you should take him before someone else does," He says as he walks out of the stables and a few feet away towards where Bran waits with a bow in his hands.
"Maybe he isn't mine to take" I mumble to the horse with a heavy sigh.
After I finished brushing down the horse, I pull on my fur coat over my ragged shirt and riding pants and quietly sneak out of the stables and past the walls of Winterfell, towards the wolves woods.
"How could he ever want a Targaryen girl?" I ask myself as I trek through the thicket. My family murdered members of his family once upon a time. I was a fugitive, with no name but Snow, the same as his. But this was different somehow. If I were actually just a bastard this would be so much easier, if my hair wasn't silvery white, if I was a true northerner, we would stand a chance.
I walk for what feels like hours, getting lost in my thoughts, when I stumble upon whimpering. I freeze in my tracks as I come to the small stream. Across the way was a dire wolf, with an antler sticking out of its side.
I quickly made my way across the stream and approached the dying creature, seeing a litter of pups by her side. I knelt down beside her and she locked eyes with mine, emitting a small cry of pain before her eyes shut forever.
"Look! It's a dire wolf!" I hear little Bran say from a little ways away. I quickly look up and see Ned, with Bran, Robb, Theon, and Jon in his tow.
"Emelya, what are you doing out here?" Ned asks, surprise in his tone instead of disapproval.
"I was out for a walk when I heard her" I answer, looking down at the pups.
"We should put them out of their misery" Ned mumbles, Theon instantly goes for his knife.
"No!" Me and Bran both shout, as I step in front of the pups protectively.
"Look, my lord, there are five pups...one for each of your children. It's a sign, they were meant to have them" Jon says stepping towards me, picking one up and placing it in Bran's awaiting arms. The pup instantly snuggled into Bran's chest, mouth open searching for food.
"Alright, but you'll train them yourselves, feed them yourselves and if they die, you'll bury them yourselves," Ned says gruffly, walking off as Robb and Theon gather up the other four pups, but once they were carried away I could still hear whimpering.
"Jon...look" I mumbled, grabbing his arm and pointing down into a bush where two more pups were huddled next to one another, both white, white as the snow.
"Looks like their runts, guess there were enough for you two" Theon teases as Jon picks up one by the scruff. I gently pick up the other and cradle it in my arms.
"Come on, you can ride with me," Jon says offering me his free hand, helping me walk up the trail. I ride on the back of Jon's horse, inspecting my 'runt' of a dire wolf pup, finding out it was female. I peeked over Jon's shoulder and quickly glance his over. Neither of them seemed to be injured, but they were oddly very similar.
"They must have been twins," I tell him, looking back down at the little pup sleeping soundlessly in my arms.
"That's a bit odd, a dire wolf having seven pups is odd enough but for there to be twins? That's practically unheard of" Jon mumbles, glancing down at the small pup in his lap curiously.
"It was also unheard of for there to be Dire wolves south of the wall, and here we are," I tell him with a smile, stroking the pup's soft fur.
"I guess you're right, maybe it's a sign" Jon laughs.
"You may not believe in signs Jon Snow but I do," I tell him affirmatively.
"I know you do, and I expect I'm going to hear all your theories on what this sign could mean" He teases.
"You know me too well" I laugh as we approach the gates of Winterfell. We ride to the center square and Jon gets off the horse first, allowing me to hand him his pup, once he grabs it he offers me a hand down. I take his hand and allow him to help me back to my feet, the little pup in my arms fast asleep.
"You're sixteen, you should be able to get off a bloody horse by yourself" Theon teases as he rides past. I only roll my eyes.
"Thanks, Jon," I tell him with an easy smile, turning to walk to the kitchens.
"Now where do you think you're going? You rode here with me, help me put the horses away" Jon calls, making me stop in my tracks. I turn back to face him.
"Winter needs to eat first," I tell him, turning back to go to the kitchens.
"Winter? Really?" Jon teases glancing at the pup warily.
"Yes, so she'll know what's home" I answer walking back over to him.
"That's nice," He says giving me an odd look, making me feel uncomfortable.
"Here, give me yours and I'll make sure it gets fed as well," I tell him holding out my hand to take the wolf pup.
"It's a he....and his name's Ghost" Jon answers, handing me his pup by the scruff of its neck.
"Ghost? That's a rather handsome name" I say taking the pup in my arm and laying him by Winter. They seem to move closer to one another in my arms, using each other for warmth and I smile down at them.
"Right well, I best put the horses away" Jon mumbles clearing his throat as he walks off.
"We'll be in the kitchens!" I call turning and walking back into the kitchens.
"Hello, Emelya," One of the cooks says with a warm greeting.
"Hello, do we have any goat's milk?" I asked tilting my head to the pups in my arms.
"Oh, precious things. Yes, we should have some in the back" She says with a smile and walks towards the kitchen's pantry. I walk around and grab two bowls off the shelf, moving towards the fire and setting them on the floor in front of it.
"Ah, here we are, it's fresh from this morning," She tells me with a smile, pouring some from the goat's milk into each bowl.
"Thank you," I tell her with a smile and gently set the pups down in front of the bowls. Each of them eagerly lapping up the milk. I smile as I watch them drink, both looking so similar yet so different. Ghost drank eagerly and fast, Winter, however, was a bit slower, savoring it as if it were her last meal.
"Glad to see they didn't starve," Jon says from behind us.
"Twins are they?" The cook asks crossing her arms in front of her.
"We think so, they seem to be anyway, look at them" I mumble watching as Ghost finished his bowl first and then crawled his way over to Winter, laying himself down right next to her.
"Or they're just very attached to one another" Jon suggests, glancing down at them.
"Either way they're close" I mumble back, smiling as I watched them snuggle up next to one another once Winter finished.
They seemed to circle around one another, getting closer and closer with each lap before they were finally content and laid down, their heads on one another's backends.
"Should we leave em there?" Jon asks glancing at me as the pups close their eyes.
"Well, they're warm and safe. I don't see why not" I said glancing back at him. He nods.
"I'll come to check on them later," He says as we start to exit the kitchens.
"Not to worry, I'll keep an eye on the precious angels," the cook says with a smile as she ushers us out of the kitchen. Jon and I walk out back into the courtyard.
"Did you get the horses all put away?" I ask pausing, considering if I should go back to the stables or not.
"I did, which means we could sneak off to the woods" He whispers to me with an eager smile. I turn towards him and grin.
"I'll meet you out there" I mumble back and head off to my room to grab my sword. I kept my boots laced up along with my riding pants as I headed back down the stairs. Jon had been training me in sword fighting for two years now, I had my own sparring sword, which I kept in my room.
I started braiding my hair up into a bun in front of my looking glass, quickly grabbing my sparring sword and sneakily making my way down from my room into the woods. I make my way to Jon's and I's special spot, seeing him there already waiting for me.
"Ready?" He asks twirling his sword in his hands before standing in a defensive position, sword up and ready. I grin and quickly lunge forward with my sword and the battle begins. I was better than that 14-year-old girl I once was when he first started teaching me after I begged him to.
He was going harder on me than ever before, our swords clashing with the wind. We were an equal match, neither one of us able to get the upper hand. Then we started moving, through the woods and landscape and I started to move to the upper ground. As I stood above him on the hillside, I jumped onto him, something he wasn't expecting.
He grunted as we both tumbled down the hill until I ended up on top of him, my legs straddling his waist, a triumphant smile on my lips.
"I win" I smile. He grins and flips us over, so he was pinning me down, both our swords tossed away, forgotten. We were both panting, his warm breath fanning my face, his dark eyes staring into mine. I could feel the blush rise to my cheeks as I noticed how close we were to one another. I could see his blush too as he had the same thought. But neither of us dared to move, opting to stay in place and look into one another's eyes, studying them.
"Please Jon" I whispered, glancing at his lips, begging him to do something. And that's when he did. He moved his lips closer to mine, until they connected, causing a fire to ignite within me. The taste of his cool lips was the only thing keeping me grounded. His hand moved to the back of my head, gripping my hair with his gloved fingers. Only when we started running out of breath did we stop. Even then he only moved away an inch or two.
"You have no idea how long I've been wanting to do that" Jon whispered, cupping my cheeks with his hands and resting his forehead on mine.
"And you have no idea how long I've been waiting for you to" I breathed, only for him to connect his lips with mine once more. It was fiery and passionate like we would devour one another if given the chance. But we broke away once more.
"We....we should get back" I whispered in a light voice, my head feeling fuzzing, a smile gracing my lips. He smiled back and got off of me, helping me to my feet.
"I'd like to do that again" He announces with a sudden air of confidence, grinning at me.
"Me too" I smile back as he walks over to me. I close my eyes, thinking he'll kiss me again, but he only places a hand on the back of my head and brings my forehead to his lips, leaving a soft, gentle kiss.
"Later, I promise" he whispers, moving back to pick up his sparring sword, leaving me standing there breathless because Jon Snow always keeps his word.