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From Fire to Ice

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Sansa was sitting in her study, letting out a heavy sigh as she finally finished up the last letter that required her response. Once she was done, she handed it over to the servant, then blew out the candles and made her way to her bed chamber. Hopefully sleep would come easy to her that night.

But of course it didn't. She lay in bed, pondering. Queenship suited her, everyone said, and she would like to believe that is true. But was it really?

The war was over. There is finally peace throughout the realm, the north had it's independence and she was named it's queen. Every time she thought about it, she realized that she had everything she wanted, everything she fought and suffered for, and yet.... there was a void.

Was it because her remaining siblings had all ventured into different directions? After many years of separation, their pack had finally been united again- only to be divided much sooner than she was prepared for. But how their lives had been changed, on occasion Sansa still found it hard to believe. Her younger brother bound to a life of physical restrictions, somehow learned to see everything and is now king of the six kingdoms; her who she thought to be bastard brother but in reality was the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, now degraded to serve the Night's Watch; and then her wild little sister, turned into a stealthy assassin that now is bravely exploring unknown lands west from the continent. And then she herself, once a naive little girl that wished for nothing but to be the wife of a handsome young king, now queen of the north and ruling it in her own right without husband by her side. The gods sure know how to play their tricks.

She twisted and turned, finding it hard to catch sleep.
While thinking of her siblings, the letter that her brother Bran had written earlier this week came to the surface of her mind once more, like it had been for the past hand-full of nights. In it he informed that the late queen Daenerys' wretched beast - may the gods have mercy on her twisted soul - has been spotted near the northern borders. Drogon, the enormous black creature that torched the capital of Westeros, including the majority of its population, may very well be soaring through the north by now, and it had been causing her sleepless nights. And understandably so, how will they defend themselves if he decides to strike? They have no scorpions nor wild fire in the north.

Several long hours later, sleep finally claimed her worried mind.

-----

Sansa woke up to a loud shriek the morning after, followed by a lot of commotion that came from the hall outside of her chamber. Armored men were running, she could tell that much- Her heart began to pound rapidly, so much it would cause discomfort to her chest.
"Brienne!" Sansa exclaimed as she slipped into the nearest fur robe- and the door quickly opened.
Brienne emerged with her hand on the hilt of her Valyrian steel sword and held startled look upon her face, as if she had just seen a ghost. Sansa grew even more concerned.
"He's here, your Grace."
At that, Sansa's eyes widened, knowing exactly who she was speaking off. Drogon...

-----

He sat outside the gate of Winterfell, screaming loudly. The men gathered up on the wall of the castle and pointed their secured bows at him, but it was clear that he was outside of the archers reach; although even if he wasn't, their arrows surely wouldn't leave a scratch- His scales are too thick for regular ammunition, Sansa knew. Cersei would never have demanded the creation of hundreds of Scorpions for Daenerys' dragons if it weren't.
Sansa looked down at the beast while he shrieked in what seemed like a cry of agony. She narrowed her eyes and took a closer look, and then she gasped. Is her vision deceiving her?
"What is it, your Grace?" Brienne asked. She grew nervous as she saw Sansa's mouth open in disbelief.

"Look..." Sansa uttered. "Do you see, Brienne? In front of him."

Brienne turned her head into the direction of Drogon then saw what the auburn-haired women was referring to. She spotted a tiny lifeless frame laying near him in the snow, hardly noticeable if it wasn't for crimson red sash that spread through the snow like a pool of blood.
"Is that...?" Brienne asked warily. "Impossible."
But the screams grew louder and more heart breaking every passing second.
"He means to tell us something." Sansa concluded after observing the beast and its mother for a while. "Perhaps he wants his mother to have a proper burial. Kings Landing fell weeks ago, what other reason could he have for carrying her corpse around all this time?"
"Forgive me, your Grace, but I highly doubt a dragon's is capable of-"
"I shall go." Sansa interrupted.
"Do you think that is wise, your Grace?" Brienne tried and had to resist the urge of holding Sansa by her arm; but she was already heading off. "Lady San- I mean your Grace, please! You are the queen!"

----

It took Sansa all her strength to not let fear overtake her when she approached Daenerys' mount. She underestimated his size, or perhaps she's just never gotten this close; He was truly gigantic, and even more terrifying. She trembled but refused to allow the anxiety to stop her.

The body seemed incredibly intact for having been carried around for weeks. Sansa had imagined a bruised and torn mess but it was far from it. The silver-haired girl looked no different from when she had seen her alive last time, if not a slight bit more pale and under-fed.
If Sansa didn't know better she could swear Drogon looked at her with hopeful expectation, at which she rose a puzzled brow.

As she came closer, he hesitantly took a step back. Slowly but certainly granting her full access to his mother. Eventually she stood in front of the body, and Sansa knelled.
There was a morbid kind of irony in this, Sansa suppressed a smirk; it turns out Daenerys finally had been given what she wanted, for Sansa - and the north with her - to bend the knee. Probably not how the late queen had anticipated for it to happen, but she knelled all the same.
Sansa stroked the pale woman's skin. It's so soft, Sansa thought, and then grimaced at herself for having such distasteful thoughts, let alone at a moment like this.
It took a little longer than a few seconds of staring upon her, but eventually Sansa reached out for her pulse and let two of her fingers rest upon it.
And that's when Sansa inhaled in horror.
"She's alive." Sansa muttered, hardly a whisper at first. Her eyes shot up to Drogon, who - against all odds - moved back closer to purr and nuzzle his mother's disposed figure.
"Seven hells." The north woman cursed. "What am I to do with this?"
She shook her head and clutched the snow underneath her hands, which melted swiftly from the heat her body had abruptly generated.
"She's alive!" She informed her guards who did everything but guard her in that moment.

----

Several weeks in confinement passed by, and Sansa wasn't sure if she was doing the right thing by looking after Daenerys' unconscious body. Her brother stabbed this woman for a reason, after all. According to the last raven he sent were he explained his actions, she was slowly slipping into madness, madness that needed dealing with. So with that said, keeping her alive may be the worst decision yet, but nevertheless Sansa could not find it in her heart to so acutely decide to end it without trial.

Not giving the late queen the opportunity to explain or defend herself, it just wasn't right.

She looked upon the girl in front of her and tidied the furs. She never quite liked her, no- that is an undeniable understatement, she hated her and her over-privileged ego. But she couldn't deny that she looked peaceful like this. Beautiful, even.

Someone knocked on the door then.
"Enter." Sansa answered, and Maester Wolkan made his appearance. He carried a bowl with medicine and other nutritions to keep the body strong and properly fed, like he has been the previous weeks.
"Milk of the Poppy mixed with water and small chunks of bread for the lady, your Grace." He answered.
"Thank you, Maester. You truly are a gift from the seven." Sansa replied and stood up to straighten her skirt. He courtly smiled at her and approached Daenerys.
"I shall leave you to it, then."

Sansa was about to exit the chamber but heard a clashing sound come from behind her.

"Maester?" Sansa turned around. Finding the contents of Maester Wolkan's medicine spilled on the wooden floor ahead of him, as well as the ceramic bowl he was carrying. It had been shattered into pieces. A slight irritation overtook Sansa's facial expression. That bowl was her mother's favorite.

As she looked at the mess on the ground and then back to the Maester, Sansa quickly noticed a shape behind him, it made her heart skip a beat.

It was Daenerys; sitting up on the bed were she was previously laying, now apparently no longer unconscious.

The dragon queen's purple eyes were penetrating her own blues. And her glare did not hold much appreciation at all. A mistake to say the least, but she would tolerate it..for now.

Sansa tilted her chin defiantly, trying hard to remind herself of courtly manners.

"Welcome back, your Grace."

Chapter Text

"Welcome back, your Grace."

Sansa had spoken to Daenerys, her tone not nearly as sympathetic.

The other queen did not reply. Though their eyes remained locked.

And Sansa could guess why that is- Right now the only concern on the short woman's mind must be what happened and how she got here, and probably more importantly who in their right mind has been responsible for her transfer. Anger and confusion was written all over her face.

Momentarily Sansa wondered if she had this exact same expression when she lit up the capital, but the thought quickly faded from her mind. It did not matter, anyway.

Daenerys made movements to get up, gently, so she could get on eye-level with the northern girl. Yet deep inside, she knew she never quite could.
Sansa followed her each and every movement, it was awkward to watch, painful even, to see how she struggled. Daenerys gritted her teeth and abruptly sat herself on the edge of the bed, rubbing her shins.

Clearly she underestimated how her muscles have weakened from not having been used for almost two months, for her body was not even near as strong in comparison to her will-power. A consequence well-deserved, Sansa thought, and her lips showed the slightest hint of a smirk.

"Why am I in Winterfell?" Daenerys asked then, with a raspy voice. Although Sansa hadn't told her the location of her current residence, she figured that her presence as well as the icey air filling the room must've given it away. But that's alright, it was no secret.
The dragon queen squared her shoulders and rotated her ankles that were dangling slightly above the cold wooden floor, to get rid of the stiffness. She waited for an explanation, but Sansa just glared at her without saying anything. Her face remained ever unreadable, and Daenerys began to feel uncomfortable under her intimidating watch, so she decided to speak again, but not before first clearing her throat.

"Answer your Queen, lady Stark." Daenerys then firmly told her, annoyance growing into her voice with each word spoken. It appears the late queen did not understand the situation she had found herself in.

"Your Grace." Sansa then corrected, and Daenerys narrowed her eyes. "Let me en-light you, my Lady. I am the queen in the north now. You do not give commands anymore."

"Queen in the..."
Against better judgment Daenerys stood up and stepped towards the taller woman - with little elegance - until she was only a few inches away from her, but Sansa did not flinch, nor comment on her stumbling movement.

"Must I remind you that the north is part of the seven kingdoms? Or did you perhaps forget that your brother-"

"My brother, Bran, is king of the six kingdoms." Sansa interrupted, then paused briefly to let that information sink into the other girl. "The north has been granted it's independence when we - the lords and ladies of the most powerful houses in Westeros - elected him king." Sansa continued, watching Daenerys tighten her jaws, fire flaring in her eyes.

Sansa reached up and degradingly began to stroke Daenerys' tempered cheek with her thumb, as if she were no more than a child.

"And you..."

You are nothing.

Sansa wanted to sneer at her so badly, but she refrained. Despite her overwhelming desire to verbally destroy and further humiliate the late queen, she was able to rationalize with herself prior- There was no need for petty insults. It isn't a queenly thing to do.

Daenerys planted her own hand on Sansa's, and removed it from her face.

"And you should get some rest." Sansa decided to settle with instead, ignoring the other girl's grip on her wrist. She freed herself and turned around, heading into the direction of the exit. She had lingered too long already.

"You dare turning your back towards me!?" Daenerys called out as if she hadn't heard any word of what Sansa just told her, putting Sansa to a halt mid-ways. Daenerys waited impatiently, but Sansa just stood there, for three seconds at most, and then proceeded her departure. Inevitably her ignorance and uncourtly behavior will have to be dealt with, but there is a time and place for that, and that time and place isn't now.

----

The next days to come, they did not speak. Sansa would tend to her 'guest' and help the Maester with whatever he needed helping with when it came to Daenerys, but she was sure to have it happen while the girl was asleep to avoid unnecessary quarreling, which was more often than not. She could slowly see the girl getting back her old self, her skin was getting some more color and she was reportedly consuming more nutritions during her waking hours. For some odd reason, Sansa felt relieved at the progression.

She had a chair placed near the other girls' bed that night, on which she would spend some time sewing. Occasionally she observed the sleeping girl, she couldn't help but notice how peaceful and divine and beautiful she looked.
But then she remembered the other side of her... how this girl had turned a city - accommodating half a million of citizen - into a living hell. It seemed unreal, for Sansa, and caused a shiver to run down her spine.

Daenerys eyes suddenly opened then, and she quickly noticed Sansa sitting on the chair next to her.

"Lady Sansa." She spoke softly, almost apologetically.

"Your Grace." Sansa confidently corrected, once more.

And once more, there was no reply from Daenerys. Only silence.

Now it was Sansa's turn to lose patience. Will this woman ever recognize her as the rightful queen? It bothered her. She hated it. She resented Daenerys, for more reasons than one; For both her regal pride and for what she did to the innocent people of Kings Landing upset her- She needed answers. How did the breaker of chains, the savior of the poor, come to burn a city to the ground? What drove her to so such a monstrous thing?

"I need to know..." Sansa all but uttered. "Why did you do it?"

Daenerys moved to lean up on her elbows, frowning her brows; hoping the auburn haired would be more descriptive, and she would be.

"Maybe if you would tell me, if you would explain it to me, I could find it in my heart to understand, or even relate, if the gods would allow it." Sansa continued, her composure no longer as cold and stoic as a few days ago.

"Are you not Daenerys Targaryen? The breaker of chains and protector of the realm? "

This is the real person behind the rock-solid mask, Daenerys realized, and seeing it as an opportunity to distract herself from the harsh truth. It would only last so long.

"I am." Daenerys then admitted. "What happened there- it should never have happened."

While it did not suffice, the answer was overwhelmingly surprising. Sansa would have expected her to say something along the lines of how they deserved the sky to fall down on them for betraying her, or not backing her rather.

"She broke me. Cersei. Her men first murdered Rhaegal... and then she had Missandei...." Daenerys paused to swallow thickly. A lump had formed inside her throat and her eyes began to water. The horrific scene of that afternoon still very fresh in her memory. Sansa observed her intently, now beginning to sympathize. Not only did she lose her child, she lost her best friend too.

"Missandei was good."

"She was indeed." Sansa agreed, Daenerys eying her with confusion. "I apologize. I did not know her as you did, of course, but from what I have seen of her, she was a kind person."

"Yes..."

"However..." Sansa continued, her voice hardening. "The loss of a friend, advisor and confidant, still does not give you the right to burn hundreds of thousands of people alive. Among them were good people, too. You are aware of that, are you not?"

Daenerys closed her eyes shut. There was no point in objecting or denying, Sansa spoke true and wise. She made a mistake and a terrible one at that- It was beyond repair. She will spend the rest of her life knowing she is responsible for the massacre of one of the largest cities in the realm, for however long her remaining life may last.

"I have yet to decide what to do with you." Sansa informed, still contemplating the options for a fitting punishment. "But I do know one thing."

"What is it?" Daenerys asked after collecting herself, genuinely curious.

"Your dragon must go."

Chapter Text

"Your dragon must go." Sansa stated, upon which Daenerys sucked in a breath, but not for the reason the other woman thought she did.

"Drogon is alive?" Deanerys' hand reached up to clutch the fabric of her night gown. Sansa wondered if she had heard her initial command at all, but she supposed this was a natural reaction. Nevertheless not a subject she wished to dwell upon so she would try to keep it short.

"Yes. He delivered you here, outside the walls of Winterfell." She informed then. "He is still there, waiting for you, most likely. I expect you understand why a dragon upon our doorstep is a problem for me?"

"Out of all places..." Daenerys whispered just loud enough for the auburn haired woman to hear her.

Out of all places he took her to Winterfell, the place she is despised the most and her children liked least. Why was that? She stared at the wall behind Sansa, her violet eyes filled with confusion, but then her head jerked back- confusion steadily turning into desperation.

"Whatever do you mean by 'he must go'?" Daenerys assumed the worst; Her skin paling and suddenly short on air. Sansa must want him dead, she speculated, especially after all the damage he has done...

The damage they had done...

"He has to be set free, far away from civilization." Sansa clarified, clasping her hands in front of her on her lap. "For the sake of the people, as well as his own."

"Zaldrīzes buzdari iksos daor."

"Pardon?"

"A dragon is not a slave." Daenerys translated for the fiery-haired woman, indicating that - free or not - he cannot be controlled- although for the one he has bound with he could more or less be managed. Regardless, dragons remain unreliable beasts.

"He will do and go as he pleases." She added, hoping the woman sitting next to her would change her mind.

If they went through with this plan, he may just follow his mother back to Winterfell or make his way to other highly populated cities and kill more innocents. They'd be taking a great risk.

"Indeed, my Lady. A dragon is not a slave, nor do they belong in the north. With that said, I will take my chances in achieving desired result by releasing him from captivity. Keeping him here is not an option." Sansa said, her eyes then lit up in challenge. "That still leaves me with one dragon in Winterfell, but I think I can handle that one."

A devious smirk decorated Sansa's face while Daenerys was trying to digest what she just heard. She shifted awkwardly and slightly sunk deeper underneath the furs.

"I am his mother." Daenerys told her what she already knew a few seconds later after she collected herself. "Could you explain why dividing him from me would possibly be beneficial?"

"Other than no one telling him to 'Dracarys' anyone any more..." Sansa spoke cynically and saw a sceptical, relatively offended look appear on the silver-haired woman's face. "Your creature outside of our walls doesn't seem like he has any intentions to put up a fight without you riding him, which makes him an easy target for those with ill intentions. Tell me, my Lady, do you want your child getting ripped apart by an angry mob? Because at this stage, it's just a matter of time before that's going to happen."

The fact that Sansa was concerned of Drogon's well-being intrigued Daenerys enough to give the proposal a second thought. The logic was notable... maybe this wasn't such a bad idea after all. At the very least, Drogon would live. Isn't that what's most important?

"Do you think my request unreasonable?"

Daenerys shook her head modestly. "No" she finally spoke out. "It is not unreasonable, I was only thinking. Apologies if my silence offended you."

Sansa nodded contently. Now they were getting somewhere.

"Accepted." She replied. "Valyria would have to suffice, being one of the few only suitable and abandoned places in the realm save for the stone men, unless you have any objections? If not, arrangements for the journey shall be made once you are strong enough."

"Very well..." Daenerys agreed, although not with much eagerness.

The door opened then, and Maester Wolkan entered with another bowl of substance as had become custom these past few weeks. Upon seeing him Sansa stood up and Daenerys grimaced.

"Pleasant evening your Grace, my Lady." He greeted.

When was the last time Daenerys had proper meal accompanied by a good Dornish red? She couldn't even remember.

"Maester." Sansa replied politely and readied herself to leave. Offering a final glance to the dragon queen.
"Let us pray your recovery will be swift, my Lady. Rest well."

"Sansa?"

"What is it?" Sansa replied cautiously, hoping to avoid a discussion similar to three moons ago.

"You say your brother is king now." Daenerys remarked. "If I may ask, what else happened out there these past two months?"

It was a question that could not be answered with one sentence, but Sansa was willing to shed some light, so she had Maester Wolkan hand her over his bowl and leave them after.

She sat down on the chair and began filling in the missing pieces, while carefully feeding her Maester Wolkan's medicine, which took unnecessarily much effort. The northern woman told her guest that Jon witnessed Drogon melting down the iron throne. That the Unsullied had sailed for Naath; that the Ironborn returned to their respective islands and the Dothraki were given some excess land in the reach in exchange for a peace treaty with the crown, which to both the women's surprise they had honoured so far.

It was a lot for Daenerys to take in. Her army had so easily forgotten about her- But then again, such is life. We may weep for a while when someone falls, but eventually we pick ourselves up again and go on, and that is exactly what they have done.

Those loyal to her thought she was stabbed to death, after all, so she could hardly blame them.

"And what of Jon?" His name tasted bitter in her mouth... she could only associate it with the stale taste of blood anymore, after his betrayal.

"At the wall, serving the Night's Watch."

"So he is free, then?" Daenerys asked, almost accused. Being sent to serve at the Night's Watch is hardly a punishment now that there were no more dangers lurking north of the wall, that and he is among friends. Her nephew should have been executed for what he did to her.

"He may not be king but he is free. Why is it that I did not get the justice I deserve?"

"The justice you deserve...?" Sansa asked keeping her mouth half agape as if she did not believe what she just head. "You're alive and well. Warm and comfortably laying in a bed and cared for. After... after..."

Sansa swallowed, objectingly dropping the spoon into the bowl she held with her other hand. Daenerys had a regretful look in her eyes. Mayhaps she should've chosen different words to voice her her disapproval.

"If there was justice in this world, you would've-"

You would've died by that stab. Sansa heard her own voice echo through her mind, but she did not speak. Why did she not speak? She could have. No- She should have.

She sighed and stood up shoving her chair back louder than intended. "Never mind. We are finished here. Get some rest, my Lady. I shall check on you upon first light."

"Sansa!" Daenerys tried.

But alas, Sansa did not turn this time.

Chapter Text

The morning after, Sansa woke up rather early. It was one of those rare days were she did not have to invest a substantial amount of time into her usual duties. The food provision records had all been written down the day before and there was only one Lord requesting an audience with her for a minor concern. The meeting lasted merely 5 minutes so she would have the remaining morning to herself, which she decided to spent on reflecting and contemplating her recent decisions- in the Godswood underneath the weirwood tree, where her father would usually go.

Mornings were Sansa's favourite time to appreciate the beauty of the north, when snow lay fresh and untouched, and the silence was so profoundly serene that she could hear her own heart beating.

But her peaceful solitude lasted not nearly as long as she hoped it would.

"Your Grace?" She heard a familiar voice speak, the clinging sound of boots consistently becoming louder from behind of her.

"Ser Brienne." Sansa said without turning around from where she sat, her voice slightly cracking.

"I have been looking for you. The Maester said you intended to visit Lady Targaryen this morning, but never did."

Lady Targaryen. Is that how they call her now? It sounded so foreign to Sansa.

"Ah, yes. I still mean to see her."

There was a moment of silence then, and the knight eyed her warily, observing the girl in front of her. Her eyes contained an unusual emptiness and her composure presented itself not nearly as regal as it normally did. Brienne hadn't seen Sansa like this since the day she rescued her and Theon from Ramsay's men.

"I mean not to prey, your Grace, but is there anything troubling you?"

The knight knew her well. Too well, Sansa hated to admit, but she could hardly get annoyed by her loyal savior's concern. She subtly rotated her head into her direction, but kept her emotionless gaze fixated on the snow covered ground before her.

"I... I don't know." Sansa told her, not even trying to hide there was something occupying her mind. "For the first time in years, I don't know what I'm doing."

"How so?" Brienne asked and moved to sit down next to her.

"Daenerys." The northern queen said. "What was I thinking when I took her in? Why couldn't I leave her to die?" Sansa shook her head and hugged her own knees.
"Is it not strange? I watched Little Finger bleed to death in front of me and I felt nothing. I saw my husband being devoured by his hounds and I felt nothing. When I received the news that Margaery had been blown up in the Sept of Baelor I felt nothing."

"Those were all people that used you as a pawn in their own game. There is no reason why you should have been saddened by their loss, your Grace." Brienne tried, in hope to lift her spirit.

"Yes, but I should have felt something. Yet, I didn't." A brief pause followed. "Why do I feel different about Daenerys? I was unable to let the cold claim her life. While, while...." Sansa couldn't get herself to finish her sentence.

"Daenerys has shown kindness to the north, she aided in the battle against the dead." Brienne remarked matter of factly. "And she is more vulnerable now than ever. Perhaps you feel as if you owe her for what she has done for the north?"

Sansa eyes narrowed, taking in that information. "But she has done unspeakable things, too."

"Indeed she has, your Grace. But that doesn't mean we should forget about the honourable deeds."

Sansa sighed, wiping a few snow flakes off her sleeve. If only it were that easy, if only Daenerys' unspeakable and honourable actions did not effect so many lives, this wouldn't have been nearly as complicated.

"If may, your Grace, what will happen to her now?" Brienne asked, which made Sansa snap out of her trail of thought. "You have decided what go do with her dragon, but what about Lady Targaryen herself?"

"As the queen in the north it is my duty to give her a fair trial." Sansa answered reluctantly, her eyes remaining hollow. "Her fate shall depend on the outcome."

Brienne nodded in agreement and stood up, then bid the queen goodbye and walked away, the sound of her clinging armor slowly disappearing in the distance.

Sansa allowed herself to indulge in a few more minutes of silence until she decided get back inside as well.

---

"I see you are making progress." The auburn haired women spoke as she walked in on Daenerys moving in circles, balancing herself on her balls of her feet carefully. Compared to when Sansa last saw her move, she had made exceptional improvement.

"Oh, Sansa!" Daenerys greeted, almost fondly "Yes I have, thanks to Maester Wolkan."

She's still refusing to address me properly, Sansa thought, the muscle nearby her temple twitching.

"Did you sleep well?" Daenerys asked, steadily continuing her movements and not noticing the frown that had formed on Sansa's delicate face at all. What kind of game is she playing? Sansa wondered, never having been granted any kind of personal interest from the other girl before.

"I... Yes. I did." She replied hesitantly, her eyes never leaving the other girl.

"I am glad to hear it."

As she practiced in front of Sansa like that, the northern queen couldn't help but notice the attractive features of Daenerys. Even in a flimsy gown of plain white, she had impeccable curves and beautiful slender legs. While the garb didn't do as much justice to her figure in comparison to the Targaryen attires she worn previously, it certainly left less to the imagination.

I can see it now, why Jon desired her, Sansa thought, and then shuddered.

"And what of you, my Lady?" Sansa asked, breaking the silence that had grown too lengthy.

"Sleep has yet to claim me, Sansa. I have been exercising all night for my recovery to be swift."

Sansa blinked, noon had long past and she hadn't slept yet?

"Did Maester Wolkan say that is wise?"

"We did not speak about it."

"I want you to sit down, now." Sansa told her firmly. Something ignited inside of her that she never even knew was there.
Daenerys, however, proceeded with her exercises, completely focused on her each and every movement and paying no heed to Sansa's order.

It was then when Sansa noticed how much strength it took her to do these practices. As she looked at Daenerys she saw how her knees were trembling from the pressure and that her toes had turned white, the latter likely from the northern weather.

"Daenerys." Sansa warned, unyielding. "I will not tell you a second time."

But still her command went ignored. Sansa, already short on patience due to not being formally addressed earlier, marched toward the other girl and yanked her with her by her wrist.

"Sans--" Daenerys yelped, losing her balance upon being pulled away.

It all happened so fast. In what seemed like a split second, Daenerys had found herself thrown upon the furs of the bed on her back with Sansa straddled her on top of her hips, each one of her hand pinned down next to her head.

Daenerys pupils grew dilated by the sudden act of dominance, she watched her, a mixture of longing, startling and submission. Her lips slightly parted as if she wanted to say something, but was unable to form a proper sentence.

Upon seeing the girl's expression, Sansa's eyes began to mirror Daenerys' and she immediately released the girl's wrist and pulled back, clearly confused by her own course of action. Daenerys however did not move, she remained in the position Sansa had put her in- laying on the bed with hands limp next to her head.

Disoriented, Sansa got up, shook her head in disbelief and stormed outside of the room. Faltering her each and every courtly statue that she thought she had mastered since childhood.

What in the seven hells has gotten into her?

Chapter Text

It wasn't until seven moons and not a single visit of Sansa later when Daenerys received word of her trial. The handmaiden that had recently been assigned to her, Kyra, brought the news as careful as she could, the both of them knowing that Daenerys had little ground to stand on.

"So two moons from now on..."

"Yes, my Lady."

Daenerys folded the parchment and put it on her night drawer. She had long accepted her fate, but appreciated Kyra's consideration nevertheless.

"What will happen to Drogon after I have been found guilty?" Daenerys asked with sincere curiosity and concern, hoping the release party wouldn't be canceled and her child slaughtered shortly after her execution.

"He shall be released, like her Grace promised." Kyra informed.

"Good." Daenerys smiled, but only briefly, having been given the answer she wanted. There was little left for her to wish for, only that Sansa would honor her word- that she would free her dragon once the sentence had been passed.

"Will Sans- your queen see me before the trial?"

"I dare not say, my Lady. I am but a handmaiden."

"Handmaiden or no not, be it as it may." Daenerys spoke and took the other girl's hand. "Let my gratitude be known. Thank you for your company and service, Kyra. You've made my final days most bearable."

"It was a pleasure, my Lady". Kyra offered mournful, evidently finding it difficult to say goodbye even though they hadn't known each other for a long time.

She then curtsied and left the chamber to continue her other chores.

---

"Are you certain?"

"Yes." Sansa replied stoically, facing a window. She had only read the charge report a moment ago and was still recovering from the content within.

"She has been accused of several crimes that warrants her a death sentence. Murder, genocide, the list goes on. Most of them which are true."

Brienne glanced at the floor fleetingly and then to Sansa again, whom - while although had her back turned towards her - sighed in defeat. Sansa then moved away from the window to the warmth of the hearth and threw the piece of parchment in it carelessly.

"What does the Lady Targaryen has to say about it?" Asked the loyal knight while the parchment turned to ashes.

A silence followed.

"I haven't seen her in a while." She northern queen eventually replied glaring side-ways Brienne, whom's brow raised suspiciously.

"Something happened." Sansa all but mumbled feeling her knight's eyes on her. She flexed her jaws. "I lost my self-control, and that is all I wish to say about it."

"Very well, your Grace. I shall leave you be then."

Knowing better than to press, Brienne exited Sansa's study.

----

Two days later, it was finally time. The long awaited trial was about to begin. Sansa was seated in the astonishing center chair - one that resembles something like a throne - of the long oak table that was placed at the end of the great hall. Her elbows above the table with fingers entwined in front of her chest as she held her head lifted high, imposing as ever. Next to her on either side, were two men situated. Daenerys didn't know them, but she assumed they must be high born to be offered a seat near the queen of the north.

Dressed in a gray garment that was just long enough to cover until her knees, Daenerys was marched into the great hall by two guards. Her hair was undone and the cuffs weighed heavy upon her wrists, the tight bindings causing discomfort to her skin.
Lacking her royal wardrobe and eastern handmaiden that previously weaved intricate braids into her silver locks, her general appearance was nothing like the queen she use to be. How she carried herself, however, was was a whole different story. She treaded confidently through the hall, upholding the same dignity and grace she possessed when she was still queen. It quickly came to Daenerys' attention that there were about two dozens other individuals present in the hall.

Could've been worse, she thought to herself, grateful it wasn't nearly as crowded as she originally anticipated, even though they muttered bold words in disdain.

Once Daenerys stood in front of Sansa and the two unknown men, the whispers died. Sansa rose from her chair, tall and fierce and elegant all at once. She wore a chain mail dress accompanied by a leather corset that hugged her figure at all the right places. The clasps near her shoulder were attached to a spectacular fur robe and upon her fiery hair rested a silver crown that was the embodiment of the Stark sigil.

Daenerys was well aware that Sansa's choice of attire was nothing more than a public display of the supremacy difference between the two queens rather than anything else. Being subjected to this humiliation, Daenerys felt inferior, but she would sooner die than let it intimidate her.

"Daenerys of House Targaryen." Sansa finally broke the silence, her voice echoing through the hall. "You stand accused of fornication, murder, incest and genocide."

Daenerys blinked twice in a row after hearing Sansa's declaration. To be accused of genocide and murder was something she had expected, but-

"How do you answer these charges?"

"Fornication and incest..?" Daenerys asked before she realized the words had left her mouth, still puzzled by said charges.

The man to Sansa's left rose to his feet, which Sansa took as a cue to sit back down.

"The whole entirety of the North knows that you and your nephew were lovers!"

"Forgive me, my Lord... ?"

"Reed. Howland Reed." He introduced.

"Lord Reed, with respect." Daenerys carried on, raising both her brows. "It is true that Jon and I have been intimately involved with each other, but that was before the discovery of his parentage."

"In light of the seven, it is still a crime!"

To Daenerys' disbelief, chants of 'Aye!' roared through the hall. She allowed her eyes to roam the lot surrounding her. They all looked as if they couldn't wait to see her head on a spike. Only Sansa remained coolly seated in her chair, but her glare was no less formidable.

"A crime that could have been avoided if it weren't for you." Daenerys testified and Lord Reed stumbled back by the unforeseen implication.

"Rumor has it, my Lord, that only two people knew about Jon's parentage. One being the late Lord Eddard Stark, and the other being...you, Howland Reed. Or do I have my facts wrong?" Daenerys continued irritable, balding her cuffed wrists.

"That is not a subject we should discuss during your trial, my Lady." Spoke the man right of Sansa, she herself remaining unmoved still.

"Were you not present at the Tower of Joy when my brother's wife, Lyanna Stark, gave birth to a baby boy?" Daenerys asked, ignoring the other man's question.

"Yes, but we promised Lady Lyanna to-" Tried Howland Reed but to no avail.

"To keep it a secret? So that the usurper Robert Baratheon would not come for him? If it weren't for you keeping secrets, Jon and I would not have lain together. If it weren't for that, I would not be standing trial for incest, right here, right now."

"You do not only stand trial for incest, my Lady." Grumbled the unknown man on the right again. "How do you answer to the charges of genocide and murder?"

"I will not deny that I have sentenced traitors to a death by dragon fire during my reign, neither will I deny the horror I have inflicted on the capital of the six kingdoms. Horrors that still haunt me, day and night." Daenerys spoke, her striking expression flawing for a moment at the reminder of what she has done. She quickly collected herself, however.

"But as it happens, the north is independent now." Daenerys continued, glaring at the Sansa whom sat stationed in the center between both the men standing. Perhaps her mind was deceiving her, but she could swear she saw Sansa's eyes widen. "Forgive me, for I do not know the new northern laws, but by Westerosi laws I cannot be held accountable for crimes committed in another country. En-light me, queen Sansa, are the northern laws any different?"

Apparently not. The crowd erupted in protest and definite disgust, but that may be the result of the tone she used against their queen. Regardless, in that moment Daenerys realized that she wasn't going to get a fair trial here. The consistent howling of objection gradually grew on Daenerys' nerves. Her eyes filled with resentment as she looked at the lot around her, mind moving into directions it shouldn't, which fueled her anger further- She had come north for these ungrateful, self-centered people; she had lost her child, the majority of her loyal soldiers and many close friends to protect their wretched land. She had fought for them and bled for them and this is how they show their gratitude, by calling for her head?! How dare they? It made her blood boil.

She should have sailed for Kings Landing rather than the north, then they'd all be dead!

"You are a disgrace, all of you!" She spat, unable to contain herself any longer, the shouting had caused her to reach her snapping point. They had awoken the dragon. "I aided you in the battle against the dead! I saved you and your miserable country, and this is how you repay me? I regret ever even wanting the north to fall under my rule, for it has nothing to offer but deary bitterness and desolation!"

Opposing to her sat Sansa with both her hands clutched to her seat's armchairs, knuckles white and nails digging into the wood. Her teeth bared and her heart pounding soundly underneath the leather breast plate. She was absolutely lived about the way the silver-haired woman stood there insulting the north and her people.

Daenerys eyes shot up to meet hers. Daenerys' intense violets boring into Sansa's steely, blue eyes; equally penetrating. It was difficult to say which of the two women was more infuriated with the other.

"I would rather carve my own heart out than allow those alive in this room because of me decide whether or not I should live or die!" Daenerys hissed.

"Therefore, I shall place my life in the hands of the gods." The silver-haired woman continued, upon which Sansa sucked in a vibrating breath.

"I demand trial by combat!"

Chapter Text

"I demand trial by combat!"

The revolt had already been bordering escalation, but those words were the last straw to push the triggered northmen present over the edge. They radically unsheathed their swords and were about to advance at the unarmed and cuffed Daenerys, whom surveyed them in anguish from the center of it all, until Sansa rose alarmingly from her seat.

"Remove her at once!" She exclaimed, signaling two guards that stood closest to Daenerys to take the girl away, back to the safety of her confinement. They paced forward rapidly and took her by the arms, withdrawing her from the threatening scene as quickly as possible.

----

"Are you out of your mind? Trial by combat? What were you thinking, Daenerys?"

Sulking, Daenerys lowered herself to the furs on the bed. Did the ice queen not hear the crimes her people had accused her of? Was she not there when her countrymen bared their blades with the purpose to slice her into pieces?

"The provocation was unnecessary." Sansa sighed, taking in the sight of the gloomy silver-haired girl before her whom still seemed overwhelmed by what had just happened. "Did you truly think I would have let them sentenced you to die?"

Was there a reason for Daenerys to think otherwise? Sansa hadn't come see her in over a week. She couldn't possibly know what she had planned in her defense, or if she had planned anything at all for that matter.
Daenerys rolled her eyes, her frustration becoming more evident by the second. With arms folded like an obstinate child, she mumbled something that Sansa couldn't quite catch.

"What was that?"

"Nothing."

"Daenerys."

"You just sat there..." Daenerys glared at her viciously, voicing what has been bothering her troubled mind. "You sat there and did nothing!"

"I am the queen." Sansa stated calmly with her head held high and hands behind her back, not faltering her poise one bit. "You more than anyone should understand I must do my duty without the interference of my own feelings, publicly anyway."

Daenerys just shrugged it off, uninterested to continue the conversation further. Sansa tilted her head casually, narrowing her eyes. She stood there for a while as if she was going to say something cunning, or degrading perhaps, but instead she gracefully swirled around to take seat upon a chair nearby the desk. Daenerys eyes shot back up to her, distraught that the northern woman decided to get situated in her chamber rather than leave. More than anything else, she wanted to be alone right now.

"Why are you even here?" She sighed displeased, impassively rubbing the bruises on her wrist that the tight cuffs had left.

"To check on you, of course." Sansa informed indifferently, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

"Whatever for?" Daenerys replied. "Why do you bother?"

"You're behaving like a child."

"No, Sansa. I mean it." Daenerys remarked, tone progressively becoming more serious. "I have been thinking about it the past weeks. I am your prisoner, am I not? Yet you've been going great lengths for me. Why is that?"

Though Sansa remained unmoved and unimpressed, she was soundlessly contemplating with herself whether or not she should disclose one of the reasons behind her visits, for she could understand Daenerys curiosity.

Oh, why-ever not?

"Because it is true what you said." Sansa confessed, elegantly shifting to fold her hands in front of her. "The north owes you a great debt because you helped us defeat the night king. As the queen, on behalf of the north, it is my solemn duty to pay you back."

Letting that logic sink into her, Daenerys nodded slowly.

She gazed into the fire of the hearth, seemingly lost in thoughts. Silence filled the room for what felt like an eternity, but was a minute at most, until Daenerys spoke up.

"It suits you, you know?"

Unsure how to take that comment, or where it came from for that matter, Sansa awaited patiently for the girl to further explain herself.

"Ruling. You're good at it." Daenerys then clarified, earning herself an unreadable glare from Sansa.

"Is that so?"

"Yes. When I look at you, I see everything I failed to be." Daenerys swallowed then, comparing the two of them, attempting to suppress a sad smile but to no avail.

"I was never a ruler. I mean- I was, but I was neither good at it nor fond of it, not really. Liberating, yes, but not ruling, never ruling... the pressure and responsibility..." Daenerys shook her head in dismay, frowning her brows.

It took a moment, but eventually Daenerys' eyes drifted from the hearth to Sansa, whom was still seated a little further in the back, observing her quietly. Daenerys suddenly realized that this was something she had never admitted to anyone before, not even to Jon, Missandei or Jorah. Her cheeks began flushing a bright shade of pink under her captor's intrigued watch.

What would Sansa think of her?

But her reaction wasn't even close to what Daenerys had anticipated. For a long while, Sansa proceeded to glance at her intently- fascinated, even. Essentially in a way that the northern queen saw something in her that she herself did not. And then, she smiled. It was a kind smile, not wicked or challenging or anything else Daenerys feared her revelation would stir.

"You're quite something, aren't you?" Sansa chuckled, but before Daenerys could reply, the northern woman spoke again. "Come here."

The shorter girl didn't know what was happening- she wanted to stay put, but her body moved anyway, unwillingly, and judging by the way the northern queen looked at her, Sansa could see her profound inner struggle.

Once in front of her, Sansa took Daenerys' hand and guided her to sit onto her lap side-ways, after which she progressed to gently run her fingers through her silver locks.
They sat like that for a little while, a unspoken but distinguished mutual understanding between them beginning to shape, until Sansa decided to speak up.

"Do you know what I think, Daenerys Targaryen?"

Daenerys merely shook her head, staring at the ground beneath her blankly.

"You never wanted the Iron Throne to begin with." Sansa insinuated, earning herself a puzzled look from the other girl. "Circumstances had you obtain a significant amount of power, but the only thing you truly wanted to do with it, was help others acquire what you could not for yourself."

"And what's that?"

"Salvation." Sansa testified plainly. "Liberating others from a place they did not desire to be at, which is quite ironic. Because from what I gather..." She paused. "Your ultimate salvation would be to have the burden of control taken away from you, instead of granted." Sansa suggested boldly. "Am I correct?"

Daenerys bit her lip and flinched uncomfortably on the northener's lap, whom loosely held her- she had never looked at it that way, but she would be lying if she claimed there was no a source of truth in what the ice queen said.

All of a sudden Daenerys remembered the morning of a little while ago, the one were Sansa had thrown her onto the bed, sat on top of her and restrained her wrists to the furs with her own strong but delicate hands. She felt so vulnerable then, and yet... entirely safe. Was it not a disgrace for a queen to relish in such humiliation?

A unfamiliar twitch in her core snapped her back to reality.

Sansa still looked at her intently with those deep cerulean eyes, eventually her lips curled up in a satisfying smile. In that moment, Daenerys knew she need not answer anymore.

"Very well." Sansa spoke after a little bit, ushering Daenerys back up to her feat and separating her from the warmth that had been generated between their bodies. "I've lingered for too long, haven't I?"

The northern women straightened her skirt and approached the exit.

"Tomorrow we shall discuss the proceedings of your trial. For now, get some rest, it has been an exhausting day." Sansa offered before turning around to take her leave.

"Sansa..." Daenerys spoke, taking two clumsy steps forward. Her arm slightly stretching, as if it wanted to reach out for her, but she stopped herself and let it go limb again before the northern woman caught sight of the gesture.

"What is it?" The ice queen asked, brow irking up in concern.

Stay.

Chapter Text

Stay.

Aware that it would be an inappropriate request to say the least, Daenerys decided to casually bid Sansa good night that evening instead. The auburn haired woman returned her a curt nod accompanied by a half-smile before she treaded off through the wooden door and closed it shut behind her.

Strolling back to her warm bed and covering herself underneath the softness of the furs, Daenerys wondered what had gotten into her tonight. The ice queen is her captor, why had she been confiding in her? Why did she expose her vulnerabilities? And how come it happened so... so naturally and effortlessly?

The questions however were not troubling enough to prevent sleep to claim her. Sansa was right, it had been an exhausting day. Before long, Daenerys doze of.

That night she dreamt of the magnificent great hall in the Red Keep- A crimson direwolf with sapphire eyes lay alert upon the Iron Throne, safe-guarding a large pearly stone that resembled something like a dragon egg. Nothing of significance happened in the dream, yet it would last all night.

----

As promised, the northern queen came to see her again that morning. She did not enter alone, however. Kyra, the hand-maiden, shuffled behind her with a plate of food and a carafe of what Daenerys assumed would be water.

"Breakfast, my Lady." Kyra smiled fondly at Daenerys, carefully setting the plate on the desk.

Mildly suspicious about the fact that Sansa had ridden of the distasteful porridge that she had been fed over the course of the past month, she cautiously furrowed her brows. Though she was soon to forget when she beheld the content of the dish; there were cakes and different kinds of northern fruits, it looked delicious.

"That is most kind, Kyra. Thank you." Daenerys replied, returning a smile of equal fondness, her eyes traced the gentle maid for a while as she moved around in the chamber, which did not seem to go unnoticed. Once Daenerys shifted to focus on Sansa, she quickly discovered that the queen's expression had darkened.

"Good morning, your Grace." Daenerys greeted then, innocently emerging from the furs. Sansa, however, remained quiet and unmoved were she stood.

The maid - growing aware of the festering tension - did not procrastinate to take her leave. She hastily slipped past Sansa and headed through the wooden door, leaving the two women alone.

"You seem quite taken by her." Sansa then spoke nonchalantly, now browsing through the parchments that she has brought along.

"Yes." Daenerys agreed, smirking in a way that seemed to border the mischievous. "She has been... kind to me."

"Has she?" Sansa remarked uninterested, then her piercing blue eyes shot back up from the documents to the other girl.

"I see you've brought documents." Daenerys abruptly changed the subject.

"Correct, you are to read them." The northern woman answered, unsure if she appreciated the sudden change of affair.

"They indicate the rules for the trial. And in regard of your champ-"

"I choose Drogon."

A short silence followed, which was broken when Sansa sighed and tossed the bundle of documents on the desk at the other side of Daenerys' breakfast.

"You cannot choose a dragon." Sansa said affronted, scarcely annoyed that Daenerys had rudely interrupted her, after first disregarding her presence for the sake of thanking a kitchen maid. "Nor can you choose any other beasts. Your champion must be a consenting human being."

It was worth a shot, Daenerys thought - not entirely picking up on the severity of Sansa's frustration - although she had more or less been expecting the answer she received. Luckily there were several alternative candidates she had in mind that would gladly travel north for her sake.

"Is there anyone else?" Sansa asked simply.

"Yes." Daenerys was quick to comply.

"And will you tell me who that is?"

"Does it matter?" Daenerys answered brashly as she filled a goblet with the refreshment of the carafe, meanwhile earning herself an intense glare from the ice queen whom was on the fence of losing her patience now.

There sure has been a colossal shift in candor compared to last night, Sansa concluded. But she decided not to comment on it. Not yet, anyway.

"No, I guess not." The northerner declared. "Well then, I'll summon Maester Wolkan momentarily. He will continue the necessary proceedings, as well as write the letter that is to be sent by raven to your mysterious champion."

Daenerys nodded in agreement, she then took a sip of her goblet and made her way to the desk were her breakfast was waiting for her. Leaning against the wood with her back-side, she grabbed an apricot from the plate and took a bite, its juice dripping down her chin.
Sansa just shook her head at the sight of Daenerys' presumably intentional unrefined behavior that briefly reminded her of Arya, and advanced to the corridor with her hands clasped behind her back.

Barely in front of the door, she halted; glancing over her shoulder one more time.

"Oh, and Daenerys." A brief pause. "You will dine with me tonight."

Astonished, Daenerys' head jerked into the direction were Sansa was previously stationed, only to find out that she had already disappeared into the hall way.

----

Once she had finished her breakfast, Maester Wolkan made his appearance.

"My Lady, good day." He addressed her ever kindly, carrying some writing accessories in his hands.

The older man steadily staggered to the desk were Sansa had earlier dropped the bundle of parchments and took seat upon the chair- the clinking sound of his chain reminded Daenerys of the cruel cuffs she was forced to wear during her trial. Not quite a pleasant memory.

Daenerys greeted him nevertheless and then paced to the other side of the room, were she stalled herself to gaze outside of the window, her arms folded.

Despite the brutal weather, Winterfell's courtyard always seemed so lively, children were playing tag and squires would regularly practice bow and sword fighting with each other. There was a market further down that she couldn't see from this angle but - from what she could remember when she still roamed freely - sold various kind of northern goods, ranging from fur and wool to edible delights that do not exist in the the east were she had grown up.

When was the last time she has been outside? She faintly wondered.

"As I am certain you're aware, my Lady, her Grace has sent me to discuss a few matters related to the trial." He interrupted her trail of thoughts.

"Yes, I am aware, good Maester. How may I be of assistance?"

Fast-forward, the discussion went relatively smoothly. The Measter would spent most of the time writing, and in between he would occasionally ask her a question she would rather not hear. For instance- in the event her champion would not be victorious, what would she want to eat the night before her execution? Did she have any possessions with her that she would want to be passed on to someone? She shrugged or shook her head for the most part, though when he asked her what her preferred method of execution would be, she tried to humor him with a death of being burned alive on the stake, but he didn't quite seem to appreciate her witticism.

"Last but not least, my Lady. I am to sent a raven to summon your champion." The Maester informed where-after he blew on the surface of the parchment in order to dry the ink. "May I know who it is addressed to?"

"Sent for Daario Naharis." Daenerys turned around, facing the man. "The Regent of Meereen, ruling in my absence."

After giving a curt nod, the Maester bundled up his belongings and stumbled back to the exit.

"Consider it done, my Lady."

Chapter Text

The day went by as per usual for Daenerys. She would spent it in her chamber, mainly by doing minor exercises, reading a few chapters from the novel of a northern author that she was beginning to appreciate and having a chat here and there with Kyra whenever she wasn't particularly ocuppied with her duties.

By the time the sun had set, there was a knock on the door.

"Come in." She invited, even though everyone very well knew her approval had no meaning in this fort- Daenerys supposed they knocked out of decency anyway, which was a welcoming gesture.

Two guards marched in, fully equipped in northern battle attire. Daenerys raised a brow, expecting at a time like this for her dinner to be served, rather than having to entertain two guards. It appears she was wrong.

"We have come to escort you to the queen." One of them spoke.

Daenerys eyes widened per instant- and then she remembered...

How could she forget that she would sup with Sansa tonight?

Swiftly jumping to her feet to grasp the silky maroon gown - selected by Sansa, according to Kyra - that layed neatly folded on the dresser she turned to face the guards again.

"Gentlemen, I fear I have yet to change into the appropriate dress that my handmaiden has delivered earlier. Would you be so kind to give me a moment?"

Looking at each other dubiously, the guards eventually agreed to leave the chamber in order to give Daenerys the necessary privacy.

Without idling any longer, she began to hoist herself into the alluring gown. Unfortunately, she soon learned that she might have underestimated it's design- it had to be laced from the lower back all the way to her neck, but currently with Kyra helping in the kitchens it left her having to complete the task alone, which turned out to consume more time than she had predicted.

Approximately thirty minutes later, Daenerys called the guards back in, whom then escorted away.

Striding through the corridors and led up several stairs, it came to Daenerys attention that she was not brought to the great hall. The paintings on the wall as well as the different and more polished tiles on the floor did not seem familiar to her.

"Am I not to dine with her Grace?" Daenerys inquired.

"You are, my Lady." One of her guards spoke.

"Then why are we not going to the great hall?"

"Queen Sansa prefers dining in her private quarters." The guard informed. "The great hall is strictly reserved for formal events."

Daenerys just huffed and followed along, until abruptly the guards halted in front of a large but magnificently adorned door, almost causing her to bump into one of them.

This must be it.

Before she had time to fully appreciate its artistry, the heavy door was opened and Daenerys discreetly ushered inside. Stepping forward, she allowed her eyes to roam the chamber- it appeared generous in size, though not as enormous as her quarters in Meereen. Furthermore, the chamber was richly decorated. The walls were painted burgundy red and the chandeliers - as well as most other ornaments within her sight - seemed to be made out of pure gold.

This certainly wasn't what she expected Sansa Stark's private quarters to be like. Cersei Lannister's perhaps, but not Sansa's.

"Daenerys Targaryen honors me with her presence." A familiar, formidable voice spoke, no less on the verge of sarcasm.

Awe-struck by the environment, Daenerys had completely discarded Sansa's presence - for the second time today - whom was seated in a cushioned chair near by the dining table, holding a goblet with red substance between her slender fingers, which what Daenerys assumed would be red wine.

"S... Sansa."

"I sent for you a long while ago." Her perfectly groomed eyebrow came up, examining the shorter girl - whom she noticed wore the exquisite dress she herself had selected for her - from head to toe. "What happened?"

"I... um..." Daenerys stuttered, nervously pulling her hands up in the sleeve of her pretty dress. What could she say? That she forgot that she would dine with her, the queen? Probably not her best option.

Sighing for not having received an answer yet, Sansa put down her goblet and motioned her towards her.

"Come here."

There it was again. The command that made Daenerys so very weak in her knees. Against her will, the shorter girl prodded forward until she stood before Sansa, whom glared up at her with her penetrating blue eyes that glinted with authority.

"Let's try this again." She said. "Why were you delayed?"

"Because I... I didn't prepare in time." Daenerys admitted quietly, where-after she pursed her lips.

"I see." The ice queen answered, extending her arm to pull both Daenerys' hands out of the sleeves she had buried them in and tidied the fabric around her wrist. "I will let it slip, but it will not happen again, is that understood?"

"Yes."

"Yes who?"

"Yes y..your Grace."

"Very good." Sansa complimented, smirking pleased. "Now, sit. Let us indulge in the food that has been prepared for us, shall we?"

Not before ensuring Daenerys was provided with a goblet of good Dornish Red, Sansa gestured one of her maids to signal the kitchen staff to bring in the food. The servants stepped in systematically and presented them with various wintry dishes- mashed potatoes with grilled chicken, served with slices of a peculiar orange vegetable that Daenerys had never seen before. Then a stove was offered containing a spiced liquid substance and chunks of what seemed like beef. Eventually another bowl with little green ovals, of which the shorter girl hoped would taste better than they appeared upon first glance.

Before long, the maids had resided again, and their conversation began.

"So..." Sansa initiated. "The Maester tells me you have selected your champion." She elegantly took a sip of her wine, observing her guest carefully. "Daario Naharis, is it not?"

"Yes, your Grace."

"Lord Tyrion once fleetingly informed me he used to be your... companion, before you sailed for Westeros." Sansa replied, voice more brisk than intended. Something instigated in her.

"Lord Tyrion was correct." Daenerys responded casually, taking a small bite of the surprisingly delightful grilled chicken and paying no heed to Sansa's infiltrating tone. The wine had steadily eased her nerves.

"You would condemn your lover?" Sansa asked boldly.

"No." Daenerys answered, having to suppress her eyes from rolling. "It's only condemning if he falls, is it not?"

Sansa sniffed and grinded her teeth, then moved to reposition herself in her chair.

"And I take it you think that he won't?"

"I don't think so." Daenerys remarked, which ensued a puzzled expression from the northern woman.

"I know it."

Sansa glared at her ferociously, fascinated as well as amused by the silver haired girl's continuous budge in defiance and cockiness. Consistently tabbing the arm-chair, she realized there was much to say about Daenerys, but not that she has been a boring addition to her court.

Who would have thought a wolf of the north would ever be captivated again by a dragon from the south, given their differences and familial history? Certainly not Sansa.

The dinner continued in the same fashion. They would discuss a hand-full of affairs, ranging from how Drogon has been behaving to how prominently fair and just Bran has been ruling the six kingdoms, as well as the progression Tyrion has made in terms of the restoration of Kings Landing. For the most part they were notably respectful towards each other's perspective, though - on occasion - Daenerys would heave a daring comment that incited something within Sansa, that made her want to assert her dominance- but remarkably she always managed collect herself before it came to that.

Faintly, Sansa wondered how it would be perceived if she didn't subdue her instincts...

The hour had grown late but it was only until Sansa realized that the jar of wine been emptied that she should probably bid Daenerys good night and have her escorted back to her chamber.

"Night has long fallen, my Lady." Sansa remarked as she gracefully emerged from her seat. "I shall summon the guards and instruct them to escort you back."

Daenerys nodded and also rose from her chair, however not nearly as flawlessly as Sansa. Watching Daenerys gradually emerge to her full height, Sansa quickly noticed a pink flush present upon the cheeks of Daenerys' softly structured face, as well as her evident struggle to contain her balance.

She's drunk...

Sansa's suspicions were confirmed when the shorter girl stumbled backward and nearly tripped over a leg of the chair- The northern woman did not hesitate to intervene, she seized her small frame and thereby preventing her from collapsing against the cold, solid tiles.

"Easy, easy." Sansa heeded, offering her owns strength to help her back up to her feet.

"Are you alright?"

"Yes... yes." Daenerys shook her face and blinked her eyes repeatedly in attempt to rid herself of the dizziness, though, in vain.

"Who would have thought..." The other woman spoke playfully. "Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons, fallen to a bottle of vintage."

Grumbling, the shorter girl pushed Sansa away, only to lose her balance all over again. Fortunately for her, this time she lurched with her behind against the dining table and was able keep herself standing by leaning to it. Frustrated with herself, she attempted to advance to the large decorated door at the end of Sansa's chambers, but Sansa snatched her back by hooking her arm around Daenerys waist- the latter's rear pressed into the warmth Sansa's front.

"I don't think so." The ice queen whispered in her ear, securing the girl in her hold.

"Let me go! I want to leave!" Daenerys squirmed, embarrassed by her own behavior as well as her distinctive lack of strength.

"Calm down, Daenerys."

"No! Get your hands off me!"

"Calm down!"

The shorter girl writhed and twisted, then somehow found room to plunge her elbow in Sansa's stomach. And although it didn't hurt as much as it would if Deanerys were to be sober and use her full strength, it was certainly felt.

"Let go!"

Triggered by the girl's feral performance, as well as aggravated by the sudden sting in her abdomen, Sansa lifted the struggling Daenerys from the ground, carried her to the bed and and threw down on her belly atop the furs.

"Striking a queen?! Are you completely out of your mind?!" Sansa hissed, pressing her down by her neck and positioning herself to sit on top of her bottom. She began tearing off the laces of the back of her corset, where-after she proceeded to dispose of the corset itself.

"Stop it! You can't do this! I am of royal birth!" Daenerys screeched, clawing at the furs and trying to wrestle herself from underneath of Sansa's heft, but to no avail. Sansa drove her knee into of the small of Daenerys' now bared back in order to keep her under restrain, and ripped down the silky skirt of the dress and her under garment, leaving the girl completely exposed, with only Sansa's leg covering a part of her nudity.

"You can't take advantage of me! You can't! Let me go!"

But then suddenly, Sansa was gone and within a matter of two seconds, her weight was replaced by the soft cotton of...

A night gown...?

"I'm not going to take advantage of you, you insolent fool!" Sansa exclaimed, eyes flaring with anger. "What do you take me for? A rapist? I am a queen!"

Daenerys, slowly squirming her way up and clutching the gown against her front in order to cover her flesh, looked at her with defeat.

"Sansa-"

"Get to bed." She sighed, hurt and disappointed. Then approached into the direction of the other side of the chamber. "I'll be sleeping in Arya's chambers tonight. We will discuss this incident tomorrow."

Chapter Text

Roused long before dawn, Daenerys had plenty of time to contemplate her actions of the evening prior. What was she thinking? Not only had she behaved brash and disrespectful general, she had also struck Sansa. Like an undisciplined child in need of some stern parental correction. She had struck someone- and not just anyone, a queen...

The wait in the morrow for the tall norther woman was dreadful, and Deanerys' consistent yearning to repent for her unacceptable performance even more so. For hours, she sat upon the center of the bed, her arms hugging her own knees in sheer misery, thinking about what she could have done differently.

Perhaps this is part of my punishment, Daenerys thought with remorse, a cold shiver running down her spine.

It wasn't until noon had near passed when she saw the distance between the crack of the door and the wall widen, followed by a tall and elegant figure stepping through. The moment Daenerys saw her, she anxiously rose to her feet.

"Sansa..."

"Sit down."

Per instant, Daenerys drifted back and sunk herself down to sit upon the furs of Sansa's spacious bed. Nervously, she fiddled with her hands and bowed her head in submission. Mere seconds later, the taller woman approached her, ever slowly, halting herself only inches away.

Eventually finding the courage to look up, Deanerys noticed that Sansa's eyes were blood-shed. The vision ignited yet another pang of guilt to rush through her being. In that moment, she wanted to say how sorry she was for hurting her, how she regrets the horrific things she insinuated, how terrible she feels about the way she behaved, but right now she knew better than to speak, so instead Daenerys bit her lip and shut her eyes, surrendering herself completely to whatever was to come.

"Ever since I took you in, I've only ever been good to you, haven't I? You may have been my captive, but I have never treated you poorly, have I?" Sansa initiated.

"No..."

In a no-nonsense manner, Sansa firmly grabbed the girl's chin and forced it up to meet her penetrating gaze.

"No, who?"

"N- no... your Grace." Daenerys muttered apologetically, fighting the urge to break free from the queen's compelling and authoritative glare. No crystal eyes have ever had more fire in them, Daenerys was certain.

Appeased enough with the answer, Sansa released Daenerys' chin and straightened her composure. Reminding herself of the reason why she had come here in the first place.

"The northern lord think me too lenient, too tolerant, for I have allowed you with privileges that other prisoners can only dream of." Sansa paused, folding her hands behind her back. "Even my advisors, they have repeatedly voiced their concern, and yet I have continued to compensate in your favor."

Daenerys swallowed, clutching the furs in her wrists and shifting uncomfortably.

"That ends today." Sansa spoke, unyielding, upon which she received a clueless look from the other girl. "From this day forth, you shall be punished accordingly. Challenge me by any means, and you will be met by appropriate consequences."

"You mean you'll kill me."

"No." Sansa stated, grimacing at the disturbing thought of losing Daenerys. "Punish accordingly."

"And whatever is that?-" Daenerys asked cautiously, earning herself a raised eyebrow from the ice queen. "-Your Grace? Restrained to the pillory? Starved in the dungeons? A public lashing?"

"You truly think me that cruel, don't you?" Sansa asked, tracing the girl from head to toe with her steely, daunting eyes.

"I do not know what to think of you!-" Daenerys exclaimed, emerging from the bed.

"Sit down!"

"-Or what to feel, Sansa!"

Suddenly severely conflicted and confused with her thoughts and everything she has felt recently- with everything she is feeling right now, Daenerys began pacing through the chamber while erratically running her hands through her silver locks, groaning in frustration through gritted teeth. Her entire stay at Winterfell has been an emotional roller coaster up to this point.

"Sit down at once!"

"I don't know anything anymore!" Daenerys shook her head, beginning to lose all her sense of reason. "I wish you would have just let me die that day, as was to be my fate!" Daenerys broke down pitifully, pouring out all her bottled up emotions. Tears streaming down from her delirious violet eyes. She advanced to the dining table that still held the remains of the supper from the night before, where-after she impulsively reached out for a knife and pressed the sharp edge against the sensitive flesh of her wrist.

"It's the truth, isn't it?" She sobbed.

"Daenerys, look at me!"

"I shouldn't be here any longer!" Daenerys continued to utter in desperation, followed by a chain of mournful mumbles about Jorah, Missandei, Jon, Rhaegal and Viserion, none of which were spoken loud enough for Sansa to fully hear. Her skin started to tear under the searing steel of the blade.

The taller woman had no clue what had so profoundly triggered the girl, but judging by the severity of the situation - which was on the verge of escalating - she had to act right away.

"I've lost everything!" Daenerys cried out. "Everythi-!"

Before she could drive the object into her wrist, Sansa took her chance to apprehended her, it went so swift- by the time Daenerys seized what had happened, she found herself dragged back to the bed and restrained across Sansa's lap; the knife magically disappeared from her grasp. Her night gown had come up and both of her wrist had been tightly pinned behind her back with one of Sansa's hands.

"What are you-?!"

Startled by the stinging pain of an acute smack upon her rear, Daenerys yelped, but before she could recover from it, Sansa slapped her again, this time on her other cheek and at least twice as hard as the strike before.

"I should've done this a long time ago." The northern queen declared relentlessly. Then proceeding to rain down her fierce hand blow after blow on Daenerys' bottom, progressively turning her flawless pale skin into a beautiful crimson red. The shorter girl whimpered and wiggled, trying to squirm her way out of her punishment, but to no avail- Sansa was too strong.

Daenerys, not certain how many strikes had been delivered - it could have been twenty or forty or even sixty - eventually creased to just let it happen and lay limp across the ice queen's lap in acceptance, sobbing uncontrollably. By this time under the impression she had gotten through to her, Sansa immediately stopped.

"Have you had enough?" She resorted to gently stroke her tender behind with the feathery touches of her finger tips.

Breathing tensely, and overwhelmed by what just happened, the Targaryen girl found herself unable to reply.

"Daenerys?" Sansa inquired grimly, shrewdly narrowing her eyes.

Again, there was no answer, and thus Sansa decided to deliver another sharp slap on Daenerys' burning bottom, resulting into a muffled cry from the other girl.

"Ow! Y...yes... yes your Grace."

"That's what I thought."

Before long, the skirt of Daenerys' night gown came down again and she was pulled back up to her feet, the shorter girl's bewildered eyes forced to gaze upon her captor's face, still trying to fathom what had just happened. There-after, Sansa took both of Daenerys' notably smaller hands in her own.

"You will never threaten your life like that again, am I making myself clear?" Sansa pressed, tightening her grip around the girl's hands.

"Yes... your Grace." Daenerys answered, face flushed and wet from her tears.

"Good." Sansa said more relieved than she intended, briefly fearing the other girl might detect a sign of affection in her voice. She then decided it mattered not and moved to pull her in for a tight hug- unawarely inhaling the sweet scent of Daenerys' hair.

After their long intimate hug, Sansa parted from her warmth in order to emerge to her full height again. Her queenly duties were waiting, after all. Resuming into the direction of the illuminating door with a sophisticated swirl, Sansa paused at the door to glance over her shoulder once more, taking in the sight of the still speechless girl. What would she be thinking?

Lingering longer than she could permit, Sansa sighed, but not so much out of regret. Quite the contrary- she faintly hoped that, some day, they may explore their...appetites under different circumstances. .

Under better circumstances.

Maybe some day...

Chapter Text

Before attending a meeting with Lord Forrester - as well as completing her other stately obligations that afternoon - Sansa made sure to first collect Kyra from the kitchens and instruct her to escort Daenerys back to her own chamber, and to, more importantly, not leave her side under any circumstances.

What she originally thought to be an acceptable way to intervene, had gradually transmitted into a deep-rooted uneasiness over the course of the day.

Once sun had set, Sansa found herself sitting in a warm bath staring ahead of herself mindlessly. By this time, it had dawned upon her that she has made a major mistake- Daenerys had a mental break-down and she did the one thing that she should have avoided at all costs. Instead of helping, instead of providing comfort, she hurt her even more.

How could she be so stupid?

Ascending into the chilly air, she wrapped herself up in a robe, where-after she summoned one of her servants and instructed her to sent for Daenerys. The servant, however, returned before long.

"She will not come willingly, your Grace. " The servant muttered apologetically, and Sansa nodded in somber understanding. "Should we order the guards to use force?"

"No." Sansa informed without hesitating, shaking her head in awareness that using force right now would have exactly the opposite effect. "You may leave her be. I will see her in the morrow."

The maid disappeared in the corridor and Sansa would remain retired in her room that night. Sleep, however, did not come for her until many hours later.

---------

"My Lady?"

"Your Grace." Daenerys addressed indifferently, she steadily held a book as she lied back on her bed leaning against a pillow, skimming through the writings. She didn't even do so much as look at the ice queen.

"May we speak alone?" Sansa asked out of decency.

Daenerys rolled her eyes before turning a page. It took a moment, but eventually she nodded into the direction of Kyra, whom stood at the other side of the chamber near the closet with an unreadable expression upon her face, folding the clean linen.

After the maid left and closed the door shut behind her, Sansa spoke up.

"I... owe you an apology."

"Do you?"

"Yes." Sansa ensured, voice raw. "What I did to you yesterday, it was a mistake. I shouldn't have."

"No, you shouldn't have." Daenerys was quick to agree, by now she decided to close the book in her hands and place it on the night stand. There-after she emerged from her bed and gazed at Sansa with a sour expression- a look the latter hadn't seen in quite a while. "I am a prisoner under your protection and you beat me like a child."

"I acted out of impulse." Sansa told her calmly, trying to explain the reason why she did what she did. "You were on the verge of taking your life. I had to do something to bring you back to your senses."

"Have you come here to apologize or to justify what you did?"

"I- no, to apologize."

Sighing, Daenerys thoughtfully stepped into the direction of the window at the other side of the chamber. Just underneath, she saw Podrick and Brienne sparring with one another upon a field of muddy snow. While observing them, she pondered what she would have done would the roles have been reversed. Indefinitely, she would have acted too, but she'd positively have chosen a more considerate approach.

However, she and Sansa aren't one and the same. And although that is no excuse, she was prepared to look at it from her perspective and understand why she thought that's what she needed. Would the situation have been different, she might even have. Just not during that particular incident...

"I know you see through me, Sansa." Daenerys eventually remarked politely, voice softened. "I know you've figured me out, in in a way. And, I dare even say that deep inside, I know you had good intentions. But despite all that, I am still of royal birth and deserve to be respected as such." A brief pause. "Swear to me, you will never lay your hands upon me during a moment of dire desperation again."

During a moment of dire desperation? Not quite certain how to take that, yet not willing to comment on it and risk her chance to reconcile, Sansa was swift to comply.

"I swear it, by the old gods and the new."

"Then, we shall let the past be past." Daenerys answered satisfied, twirling her small frame smoothly to face the northerner. "And the present be a gift."

---------

It had been two weeks since then, and in those two weeks their relationship had improved drastically. They were beginning to get a long, to develop a friendship of some sorts.

On occasion, Sansa wondered if there could be the slightest of possibilities that Daenerys was starting to appreciate her company, if there might be the tiniest of chances that she no longer resented her stay in Winterfell as much as she did in the beginning, but then she shrugged it off and told herself she was being delusional, that the logic behind Daenerys' recent cooperation and proper conduct was most likely because she wanted to stay out of trouble, or so Sansa thought, anyway.

Regardless, she unconsciously began confiding in her and more often than not, they ended the day supping together in Sansa's private quarters. Each time, they would discuss a wide variety of subjects.

Every now and then the northern queen would ask for Daenerys' advice on political matters. In time, she learned that she had underestimated the silver haired girl's intelligence and strategic capacities greatly, it was clear that she had more experience governing than anyone else within Sansa's direct environment. Intrigued as well as impressed by Daenerys' keen interest to facilitate, it was sometimes hard to believe her previous statement; that she never took pleasure in the act of ruling, nor that she wasn't good at it.

Could it be that she's simply not fond of ruling alone?

If only fate had it otherwise and they would've given each other the benefit of the doubt during early stages, they may have proven excellent allies, Sansa thought.

A servant came in carrying a wrapped piece of parchment while they were in the middle of debating the benefits a tax reduction during supper. Curtsying, she handed the parchment over to the northern woman, only to take her leave again quickly after.

Inspecting the sigil - which appeared to be a curved sword - Sansa's head reluctantly rotated into the direction of Daenerys, whom instantly stopped chewing her steak the moment she lied eyes on it.

"Daario..." Daenerys concluded.

Both of them had nearly forgotten about the trial.

Breaking the wax seal and then studying the letter, Sansa nodded reservedly.

"He writes that he is in Braavos in order to set sail for White Harbour." She informed, swallowing dryly after. "It takes approximately a week for a raven to travel from Braavos to Winterfell, with that said, he has probably already arrived in Westeros and is currently on his way here."

"So he is." Daenerys uttered, no louder than a whisper. Suddenly the taste of the supple steak became very unpleasant in her mouth, she reached out for her goblet of wine and flushed it down with one big gulp. "That means he'll be here in..."

"Two days time, at most." The fiery haired girl informed plainly, crumbling the parchment to a small ball and setting it a side.

"Two days time...." Daenerys then repeated. "Sansa?"

There has been something that the shorter girl has been meaning to ask, but she could never quite find the right time for it. Not that this was the right time, but she figured she'd ask anyway.

"What is it?" Sansa asked, resuming to take a modest bite from the steak.

"What will happen after?" Daenerys asked, with caution.

Stilling her movements, the northern queen glared at her- her lips slightly parted, but no sound came out just yet. Until it did.

"What, precisely, do you mean?"

"Once Daario wins."

"If he wins." Sansa corrected, though unable to conceal her concern. "We release Drogon and you'll be free to go."

"Truly?"

"Truly." Sansa repeated after Daenerys. "The better question is, where will you go?"

It was a valid inquiry and it took Daenerys a moment to inwardly contemplate her options. In reality, she didn't have many. Not many appealing ones, anyway. She could return to her ancestral seat at Dragon Stone, but it would be a lonely existence. Or perhaps she should consider Yunkai or Astapor - no, she has no friends there either.

Returning to Meereen with Daario would probably be her most realistic chance for a favorable life. With the Second Sons at her command, she still has some power yet.

"Mereen, I think."

"I see." Sansa said, not entirely surprised by the answer. Even still, the thought of Daenerys returning with her lover sparked a particular turmoil within her, a discomfort she couldn't quite wrap her head around.

A galant and handsome warrior, crossing half a world with the intention to valiantly risk his life in combat in order to save his beautiful queen from a terrible fate... surely they'd sing songs about them, Sansa thought. Songs she certainly would have loved to hear when she was younger, before they robbed her of her innocence.

Shuddering the thought from her mind, Sansa repositioned herself in her chair.

"As queen in the north...." Sansa spoke up after a long silence, triggering a questionable look from Daenerys. "I aim to be fair and just. You have behaved exceptionally well these past two weeks. Therefore, I believe it is only fitting that you deserve a reward, what say you?"

"A reward?" Daenerys asked, unable to suppress her brows from furrowing.

"Yes." Sansa said, a tender smile gracing her perfectly unblemished face. "Tomorrow, we shall go for a walk outside. And if you so much as desire it, I will allow you to visit your dragon. Under supervision, of course, but--"

Out of overwhelming happiness, the silver-haired girl had abruptly risen from her chair and thrown herself into Sansa's arms, embracing her in the warmest and most genuine way possible. Sansa eyes widened, bewildered by the unforeseen but certainly not unwelcoming affection. Eventually she reached up, resting one hand on the shorter girl's back while the other hand gently ran through her silver locks.

"Thank you, Sansa. Thank you." Daenerys whispered through strands of red hair.

Thank you.

Chapter Text

As promised, Sansa came to pick her up the morning after, appearing in a Tully blue dress accompanied by a broad leather belt clasped around the waist that beautifully accentuated the shape of her silhouette. Over top, she proudly carried a luxurious gray cloak of wolf fur, which made her look even more majestic and composed than she already does in her regular queenly attire.

"Good morning, my Lady." Sansa said, after two modest knocks upon the already opened door. "Shall we go?"

"Good morning, your Grace." Daenerys answered with a playful curtsy. "Lead the way."

Having been provided with a gorgeous red wool dress and white cloak of soft fur herself, Daenerys followed Sansa compliantly- they exited the castle and for the first time in what had been at least two months, she inhaled the heavenly scent of fresh air.

The wintry chill was something she dreaded most the last time she visited in the north, but in this moment all she had was avid appreciation.

Together, they measuredly advanced through the courtyard and there-after they stepped through the more civilized area of Winterfell. Striding smoothly through the recently produced snow, Daenerys felt eyes bore into her body from every angle. Her suspicions were confirmed when she looked around to take in her surrounding- all the northern citizen she saw within her range, observed her in great astonishment.

"They are all looking at me..." She informed quietly threading nearer to Sansa, close to latching to her arm. "Why is that? This isn't the first time they see me."

"Perhaps they just admire your foreign beauty, my Lady." The fiery haired woman remarked as serious as she could manage, but she soon flawed and chuckled upon witnessing Daenerys' comically produced frown at the most unexpected answer.

"Forgive me, my Lady, for I am just teasing you. Keep in mind, the northerners believed you were dead. There has been gossip from within the castle walls of course, but we tend to be a bit stubborn- Northerners do not believe rumors unless they have seen prove with their own eyes, and now they have."

Upon nodding in understanding, they steadily continued their paced walk. Now having reached the market, they studied and halted at different stands to express their appreciation of certain items that captured their attention. At one point Daenerys walked into the direction of a market stall that displayed an marvelous collection of silver-ware and she was quick to catch glimpse of a brooch in the shape of a dragon head.

"It looks like Drogon..." Daenerys picked up the ornament and inspected it closely, impressed by the detailed craft-work. "Don't you think, your Grace?"

"Indeed it does." Sansa agreed by the time she arrived next to her. Watching the girl look at it in awe, she reached within her silk purse with her slim gloved hand in order to grab a gold coin and passed it over to the stall owner.

"It's yours, my Lady." Sansa informed the shorter girl, after briefly smiling to the stall owner. She then moved to brush her hand behind the small of Daenerys' back in order to usher her to proceed their walk, but she didn't move.

"W- what? No, Sansa, I can't possibly accept it." Daenerys told her, then quickly set the brooch back to where the took it from. Once done, she turned around to leave the market stand, but Sansa grabbed her wrist just firmly enough to pull her back, their bodies only an inch away from pressing against one another.

"It's not polite to refuse a queen's gift, Daenerys." Sansa remarked with a mischievous smirk upon her face, then leaned in closer until her perfectly shaped lips nearly touched the strands of silver hair partly covering the shorter girl's ear. "Must I remind you the consequences of bad manners?"

The ice queen's warm breath against her cold skin - as well as her delightful threat - caused a shiver to creep up the short girl's spine and made her belly flutter with a strange kind of excitement. Blushing in mortification, Daenerys reached out to grab the dragon head brooch she had just put down and clutched it to her chest.

"N- no!" She affirmed, shaking her flushed head. "That won't be necessary! Thank you for the gift, your Grace."

"That's what I thought." Grinning contently, Sansa remarked.

Eventually they reached the end of the market and arrived at the gates of the wall. Sansa motioned the guards that stood atop of it to provide them with passage, upon which they did not hesitate.

----

"Drogon!" Daenerys paced toward rapidly, waking her child from from his early morning slumber. As soon as he heard her voice and lied eyes upon his mother's frame, he made a sound which Sansa could swear was a shriek of happiness, for so far a dragon was able of producing that. He rose to sit up and pushed his gigantic head against her tiny body, knocking her over in the snow. Daenerys giggled fondly as he nuzzled her with his big snout, before long, her violet eyes were beginning to fill with tears of joy. The sight warmed Sansa's heart.

"Oh, my sweet. I've missed you so much." Daenerys admitted tenderly, rubbing his nostrils with her delicate hands and savoring the moment.

After petting him for a good while, Daenerys stood up and dusted the snow off her dress, then swayed into the direction of Sansa.

"He... looks good." Daenerys pointed out mildly surprised, as if she expected to encounter him in a less favorable condition. "I take it he eats sufficiently?"

"So it appears." Sansa informed, then removed her glove elegantly in order to gently stroke the scales of his cheek with her slender hand. "According to the guards he has been going for occasional hunting trips, he certainly hasn't been starving."

Daenerys looked at her with wide-eyed wonder- Very few people she has met were brave enough to interact with her children, even her usually fearless Unsullied and Dothraki warriors that had been in her service for years, refused to get anywhere near them, unless they really had to.

Queen Sansa is certainly one of a kind.

"Has he been causing any trouble otherwise?" Daenerys inquired.

"No, we haven't received any alarming reports."

"I am glad."

They remained there for a little while longer, both of them caressing the jubilant dragon.

He really is no more than a large cat, Sansa thought as she heard him purr in satisfaction. It is almost a shame that he must go.

"Let's go back inside, my Lady." The ice queen eventually spoke up, noticing the frigid chill had gradually began to increase.

Nodding, Daenerys bid Drogon goodbye and they made their way back to the castle- Since Sansa still had multiple stately affairs pending, each of them went into the direction of their own chamber to spend the rest of the after-noon separately. They would see each other again during dinner.

----

"Moat Cailin hasn't been manned for centuries, your Grace."

"No, but it should be." Sansa answered. "As I mentioned during earlier council meetings, I intend to restore the north to it's full glory. Please, Lord Reed, send a team of construction workers to indicate the-"

"Your Grace!" In the middle of a council meeting with Brienne, Maester Wolkan and Howland Reed, a servant dashed inside the great hall without knocking, her steps echoing through the halls.

"What is it?" Sansa asked, slowly ascending from her seat, mildly annoyed by her maid's un-courtly behavior. She should know better than to rush in without first announcing her presence.

"My apologies for interrupting, your Grace, but a rider from Mereen has just arrived at the gates." The servant bowed, collecting her breath.

"He demands an audience with you."

He 'demands', now does he?

Chapter Text

"When I said I wanted to see the Queen, I meant Daenerys Stormborn of house Targaryen, the rightful queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Not... you, whoever you are." The tall, lean man in front of Sansa spoke irritated, displeased to be presented to the wrong woman.

"You stand in the presence of Sansa Stark, the queen in the north!" Brienne exclaimed, stepping forward with her hand on the hilt of her Valyrian steel blade. "You will respect her as such!"

"She's no queen of mine." Daario scoffed, looking at the fiery haired woman. "The only monarch I serve is queen Daenerys."

Sansa dug her nails in the oak wood of he seat's armchair as she glared at the Tyroshi warrior ferociously. Allowing her eyes to walk over him from head to toe, she soon concluded that he was nowhere near the person she had expected to have been selected by Daenerys to become her lover. His attire was dirty and his beard not properly groomed, his mannerisms unrefined and his mouth notably careless.

This guy is no more than a promoted sell-sword, highly unfit to be the companion of a queen, nor a regent for that matter. Sansa thought.

"You will see the Lady Daenerys momentarily, my Lord." Sansa informed him and then forced her lips into a coy smile. Formalities will not be disregarded on her part, no matter how tempting. "She is on her way to the great hall this very moment, you may sit."

"Thank you, but I'd rather stand."

"Suit yourself."

Upon gesturing her advisors to leave the hall, at the other side of the hall the doors were being opened. Moving her gaze past Daario, Sansa saw Daenerys enter, escorted by two guards.

Daario was quick to act- he paced towards his queen and fell down on his knee mere inches away from her.

He's still in love with her, Sansa thought, no- she knew.

"My queen, it has been too long." The Tyroshi warrior said, then took Daenerys' hand in his and kissed it devotedly. "I have come as requested- to fight on your behalf."

"Thank you, Daario. I knew I could count on you." The shorter girl remarked, soon after withdrawing her hand. Her eyes briefly flickered to Sansa and then back to the man in front of her again.

Although the two of them were a little further away, the northern queen could hear their conversation clearly. Unawarely, she grinded her teeth and twitched her wrists up- feeling the sudden need to crack her knuckles. Fortunately, she halted herself just in time, hoping Daenerys hadn't noticed.

"I shall leave you two be, then. You must have much to discuss." Sansa eventually spoke out, advancing into the direction of the door. Stilling herself next to the shorter girl, she glanced over her shoulder. "Deanerys, I still expect your presence during supper."

"Of course, your Grace." Daenerys answered respectfully, earning herself a questionable look from the man knelled down in front of her.

----

Sansa's day proceeded productively as per usual, she spent a decent amount of time answering letters- Among them was a rather concerning one from Tyrion Lannister in which he stated that he walked in on Bran while he was warging, and he hadn't woken up from it yet. Initially the news startled her, however perhaps there was no need to worry just yet- Considering how a raven takes about two weeks to travel from Kings Landing to Winterfell, circumstances may have changed by now, but she would send a raven back to ask for an update anyway.

Later that after-noon she had an audience with Lord Reed. They were to resume their earlier discussion in terms of the preparations of several reconstructions. The wall, for instance, had to be rebuilt. And while although the dead are gone and the estimated time for it to be restored completely could take well over a decade, Sansa couldn't take any risks. For all they know, the Wrights and White Walkers may magically reappear some day, and when that day comes - if it ever comes - she wouldn't want to be the one responsible for being neglectful.

Arrangements for the trial were to be made, too. Now that Daario is here, the northern lords expected it to be happen within a forth-night, thankfully Brienne offered to liberate Sansa from that particular chore so she could remain focused on the other affairs, which she was happy to oblige to.

At the end of the day, Sansa was bizarrely worn out. Once in her room she had changed into something a bit more comfortable and poured herself a generous goblet of Dornish Red. It had been a demanding day, but what she could not fathom is that - through-out all the stately obligations she had to tend to - the Tyroshi champion failed to leave the surface of her mind, or more so, the knowledge that him and Daenerys were together in her room, doing the Gods know what.

She had only met him briefly but she already loathed his attitude, his impertinence and over-confidence, so much that a part of her even hoped he would fall during the trial.

But unfortunately, his and Daenerys' fates are tied together. Would he fall, it means she'd have to face the cruel consequences of a death sentence. A bile of vomit produced in Sansa's throat at the disturbing thought. And it wasn't the first time.

Then slowly but certainly, she began to recognize a pattern.... and the terrifying realization came crashing in, like a strike of lightning.

Could it be that she's beginning to develop particular affections for the other girl? The possibility left her both disgusted and confused that she was capable to feel anything on such a primitive level for someone that's not a family member of hers. The last time she felt drawn to someone, she was a stupid little girl with stupid dreams. That, and it had always been men before, never a woman...

Why is it that she-?

"Sansa?"

The shorter girl walked in that very moment, peering curiously at the sight of Sansa rubbing her temples in steady circles, and even more surprised at her not wearing her usual queenly attire. There was no corset, or breastplate, or chain mail, or fur cloak, instead Sansa wore a ivory silk evening dress with a matching silk robe over-top of it. Watching her present herself this vulnerable, lead Daenerys to believe she may be ill.

"Are you alright?"

"Daenerys." She greeted, clearing her throat. She neutralized her expression and composure the instant she layed eyes upon her. "Yes, please, come in and take a seat."

And so she did. The shorter girl entered and sat down, pouring herself a goblet of wine as well. She looked at Sansa suspiciously, not quite convincing of her words.

"How was your day?" Sansa inquired once Daenerys sat situated, unsure if she even wanted to know the whereabouts because it'd likely involve Daario.

"Quite good." Daenerys answered, but denied herself the urge to peer into Sansa's intense crystal eyes. "He's well prepared for the trial, or so he says."

"I'm glad to hear it." Sansa said, except that she wasn't, the confirmation that they have spend the day together gnarled at Sansa. She clenched her jaws.

They both sat there, the crackling of the hearth filling the silence in the chamber for what seemed like an eternity. Eventually, the northern queen spoke up.

"He's still in love with you." She stated, but instantly regretted the words once they had left her mouth.

"Is he?" Daenerys answered uninterestedly, taking a gulp of her wine. After swallowing it, she spoke up again, now a spark present in her violet eyes. "Does that bother you?"

"It doesn't." A short pause followed, in which Sansa carefully rotated the goblet of wine within the palm of her hand, and then exhaled in defeat. "I don't know, Daenerys."

"Yes you do." Daenerys indicated brashly, raising one of her brows.

"Careful now." The ice queen warned, voice hardening.

"I can leave if you want me to, your Grace." Daenerys said, shrugging.

"No." Sansa informed, leaving no room for negotiation. "You will stay."

"Then en-light me. Why does it bother you?"

"Because I-" Sansa paused, she couldn't possibly tell her, could she? What would she think of her.

"Say it." Daenerys commanded, setting down her goblet and rising from her seat slowly. She moved to lean forward with her hands on the table, her face close Sansa's own, her delicious plump lips curved up in a seductive, intoxicating smirk, still subtly coated with the moisture of red substance. "I want to hear you say it."

She has known all along, The northern queen realized then. Daenerys has been aware of her affections, all along, even before she herself did. It struck Sansa like a blow, but she refused to admit it.

Rising to her feet as well - though not nearly as slowly as Daenerys - Sansa had to fight the sudden impulse to grab her by the hair and force her back down in her chair for her defiance, for her utter bold - although not false - implications, but her possessive gaze lingered on those lips.

Those impeccably perfect lips, begging to be savored and devoured by her own- Not by Daario, or Jon, no- By one else's but her own. How awfully greedy of her.

Mine.

"Do it, then." Daenerys challenged the ice queen as if she could read her mind; her hot breath tickled Sansa's cold skin, her bright violet eyes that were fixated on Sansa's lips just like how hers were on her own lips, then ceased to shoot back up and meet her intense cerulean orbs, glinting with unrequited want.

Alluringly, the shorter girl straightened herself and took a modest step back. She reached up to untie the laces near her v-neckline of her gown, of which just underneath, her inviting cleavage peeked out. Licking her lips, Sansa examined her with a feral kind of excitement, with hunger, longing, desire and so, so much more.

"Take me, Sansa." The shorter girl whispered as she gently slid the last strings that held her gown in place off her shoulder and thereby letting the fabric drop on the floor in one smooth movement, leaving it to pool around her feet, upon which she exposed the full beauty of her pale, naked flesh.

"I consent."

Her immaculate curves and her flawless skin. Sansa swallowed, unable to take her eyes of her exquisite figure.

I consent.

Chapter Text

Daenerys knew Sansa wanted to. She could see the yearning glinting in her steely eyes, in her familiar dilated pupils that had been visually undressing her more often than not these past few weeks.

Standing there, gazing at the northern queen in anticipation, she finally found her slowly moving to step forward in her direction while fiddling with the lace fabric of her fine robe's sleeve, eyes roaming over the shorter girl's bare body she so confidently exposed.

This is it, Daenerys thought and licked her lips.

Although what happened next, she never imagined would. How wrong she was.

"What in the Seven Hells has gotten into you?" Sansa asked disapprovingly, cocking an eyebrow at the reckless behavior. She then took off the ivory garment she wore over top of her night gown and wrapped it around Daenerys to cover her nude frame, earning herself a bewildered expression in the process, which was nowhere near a surprise to the northern woman- she'd imagine that the girl had never been rejected before.

Struck by seeing the unexpected response unravel in front of her, as well as by having her hopes shattered, it took Daenerys a while to find her voice and speak up.

"You're... denying me..?" Daenerys all but stuttered, shaking her head in disbelief as Sansa secured the silk rope of the garment around her waist.

"I asked you a question, Daenerys." Sansa spoke sternly, giving the rope a decent pull. "What has gotten into you?"

"I... I thought you...desired me." The shorter girl confessed, closing her eyes shut in embarrassment and biting her bottom lip. "Gods, I am such a fool."

Sansa's glare softened and she tilted her head, gently taking the girl's chin between her thumb and index finger.

"Regardless, that doesn't mean you should offer yourself to me."

"So it's true, then?" Daenerys looked at her with a glimmer of optimism in her now opened amethyst eyes. "You do desire me?"

"What matters it? I told you I'd never take advantage of you, didn't I?"

"It's not advantage if I consent." Daenerys remarked in attempt to reason with Sansa, brushing her hand away from her chin. "Tell me, Sansa. Why won't you have me?"

A while ago, Sansa would have wondered the same; Why didn't she just take Daenerys? As Queen in the North she could do as she wanted with her subjects, and she happened to resent this one's attitude very much at the time. Though, her beauty was never in question.

The deposed queen Daenerys Targaryen, that once demanded her - the Lady of Winterfell - to bend the knee, now finding herself in a situation with the tables turned. No one would stop her if she'd decide to humiliate and force Daenerys in submission. Briefly, Sansa thought about it. It would have been the perfect punishment that she - admittedly - would have considered quite an inviting course of action back then, but now... she was unable to find any appeal into it.

She grimaced moments later, disgusted with herself. What's wrong with her? How could she even think such a horrible thing? She wasn't Ramsay, or Joffrey or anyone else that abused their position of power to inflict pain and agony.

Her name is Sansa Stark, she reminded herself, eldest surviving child of Eddard Stark- she means to be her father's daughter and live up to the praise and honor he respectfully earned for their family.

Sansa then realized she had been quiet for too long, yet she continued to refrain from speaking. Something inside of her hoped Daenerys could figure it out on her own, that she didn't have to explicitly provide any motive. For was it not obvious?

But then she slowly but certainly apprehended, was it really?- Was there reason for Daenerys to be aware of the development of her feelings, when she has never let her walls down? Not entirely, anyway. The other girl likely believes that wanting someone for nothing but pleasure without any emotional connection involved, must have Sansa's preference, while it really isn't.

"Has it ever occurred to you that I might not be the person you think I am?" Sansa asked stoically, only aware what she said after the words had already left her mouth. She swallowed, but she might as well go on now.

"Whether you consent or not..." The taller woman continued, briefly clenching her jaws as she considered her next words carefully. "I take no joy in bedding someone that doesn't wish to lay with me." She eventually sighed once she finished the sentence, as if a huge burden just got taken of her shoulders.

"Sansa..."

"You're only offering yourself to me, because you are under the assumption it's what I want, is it not?" The northern queen interrupted. "Not because you want to."

Daenerys looked at her, attentively trying to find a trace of dishonesty in the delicate features of her face, or a sign of trickery, but there was none. There-after, Daenerys steadily began to detect the hurt and disappointment in the taller woman's stance. Reaching up, she layed her small hand upon Sansa's pale cheek.

"Oh, Sansa. That's not true..." Daenerys whispered, her hand then sliding down to play with a strand of auburn hair descending gracefully in front of her visible and finely shaped collar bone.

"I... I do want it. I..."

"Do you really?"

"Yes." Daenerys was quick to confirm. "You've been so good to me. You took me in and looked after me, while you could've left me to die. You... you know me, truly, I think. And I may be crossing the line by saying this, but I believe I know you, too."

Daenerys exhaled slowly, breath cracking.

"I.. I fear that I..."

I might be falling in love with you.

Her thoughts were left unspoken. What is happening? Daenerys suddenly felt dizzy and her heart began to race. She couldn't say it, she wanted to, but she couldn't.

She then remembered Jon and Drogo, she had loved them both, told them she did and expressed it in any way she was capable. And yet, one got murdered and the other tried to murder her. Her racing heart ached and she trembled in anguish for she could not take it were history to repeat itself.

"Daenerys?" Sansa asked warily, brows furrowing. "What's the matter?"

The shorter girl withdrew her hand in a flinch and went to turn around in attempt to hide her distressed state, clearly too late, because upon doing so - and nearly losing her balance in the process - Sansa extended her arm and took hold of her wrist. It was a firm and reassuring grip, but not hurtful.

However it wasn't enough to keep her standing. Daenerys felt her knees go weak and Sansa seized that opportunity to pull her back towards her, which hardly took any effort at all. Daenerys' back collided with Sansa's front and she was swift to embrace her shivering body in her arms, holding her to her feet.

"I'm sorry..." Daenerys whispered, feeling guilt wash over her and her eyes beginning to pool with tears. Even though she was upset with her physical reaction of the memory of Jon and Drogo, what bothered her even more is that it was never her intention to give Sansa the inaccurate impression she didn't desire her, not after everything she had done for her and for Drogon for that matter. "I'm so, so sorry."

"Sssh." Sansa cooed. "It's okay, you're okay. I got you."

"I would like to retire to my chamber now." Daenerys tried, despite knowing there was very little chance to be given approval.

"That may be, but you will not." Sansa informed, slightly amused that the girl still had enough backbone to request such a thing during her most vulnerable moments. "Let's get you to bed instead, shall we?"

Not giving the shorter girl a chance to argue, Sansa reached down with one arm and pressed it against the back of Daenerys' near limp knees in order to pick her up, she then moved to carry her to the bed bridal style. A little later, she layed Daenerys down on the furs, her silver hair smoothly flowing down the pillow.

"There we go." Sansa said, caressing up and down the shorter girl's jawline with the back of her middle and index fingers.

Gods, she is captivating. Has a woman ever been more beautiful? The northerner questioned, unable to stop herself from gazing over her fair skin, full pink lips and large, violet eyes that still contained undeniable yearning. It stirred the same heaving want in her that she had just ridden off earlier, but Sansa knew it would be best to ignore it.

"Thank you, Sansa. For everything."

"Don't mention it." The ice queen remarked with a sad smile, then ascended from the furs were she sat down beside the other girl. "Get some rest, we will see each other in the morrow. I'll ensure to have a kitchen maid deliver some food in case you'll get hungry, because you haven't supped yet."

"Wait, Sansa." Daenerys called out, quickly moving to sit up and take the taller woman's hand in her own before she could step out of her reach. She knew she would give her the room and retire to Arya's chambers, but she needed her here. Against better judgment, she wanted her here. "Don't go, please."

Glancing over her shoulder and taking in the vision of the girl looking up at her with puppy eyes, craving her attention, Sansa contemplated the proposal. Would it be wise? Probably not. Uncertainty was written all over her face, and she was sure Daenerys could see her hesitation.

"We don't have to... I mean, I don't expect us to..." Daenerys hummed, blushing crimson as if she could look into Sansa's mind. She then pursed her lips after hearing her own words, wondering how ridiculous she must've sounded.

"Very well, then." Sansa surprisingly complied, finding the performance rather endearing, upon which two amethyst orbs grew comically wide.

"You'll--?"

"Yes." Sansa said. "I'll stay."

Chapter Text

* One week later. *

Sleeping together had become a habit for them since that day, and although nothing of intimate nature happened- the two women found a much needed comfort and peace within each other's arms at end of the every evening. However, they always roused separately. Sansa would get up early to tend to her stately affairs, whereas Daenerys would wake an hour or so after the taller queen had already left, usually being woken by a servant delivering breakfast, or by a rare ray of sunlight breaking through the snow-packed northern clouds.

That morning, the northerner sat on the edge of the bed putting on her boots when she glanced at the fast asleep body behind her, looking calm as ever. As usual, her long, wavey silver locks sprawled out across the furs and the pale skin of her back. It continued to amaze Sansa how the shorter girl's strands didn't knot during the night, she would always encounter her like she had just combed her hair, a quality Sansa envied, for it took herself at least fifteen minutes to untangle her own fiery hair at dawn.

Securing the clasps of her boots, she fleetingly wondered what it would be like to wake up next to each other, at the same time. Would it be strange for either of them? She thought about it for a little longer- and she figured that perhaps she'd rather not find out, contend enough with how things have been between them lately.

Once more, Sansa smiled warmly at the vision of the sleeping beauty, she then reached out to pull the furs up high enough to cover the remaining exposed skin of Daenerys' shoulders and back, followed by a gentle kiss upon her head.

Having lingered too long, Sansa decided to ascend from the bed and exit the chamber. Heading off to her first appointment.

-----

The meeting with Brienne was not something she had been looking forward to, and it appears she had good reason to feel that way; According to the tall blonde knight, Sansa's increasing fondness for the Targaryen girl did not do much favor to the rumors within the castle walls, to Sansa's frustration.

"Ser Brienne, a part of your duty is to patrol the castle halls, is it not? And you also dine with guards and other servants in the kitchen on occasion, correct?" Sansa inquired.

"Yes, your Grace."

"Then, perhaps you could en-light me, why is it that the commoners were so eager to see me wed to the abusive Bolton bastard but eminently resent the presence of a deposed queen that is no longer in a position of power?" Sansa snapped, patience running thin. She put her quil down in order to avoid spilling any ink on the rather important document in front of her.

"Your Grace, I meant no off-"

"I know you did not, Ser Brienne, but let it be known that I care more about the north than anything else in the world. I will fight for it until my dying breath. However, selfish as it may be, I will not allow the northern inhabitants to deny me the slightest of fractions of personal happiness I currently possess, for so long it is yet to still last."

The last part of her sentence had more impact on her than she thought it would, for it painfully reminded her of Deanerys' trial, which was scheduled for tomorrow. Her mouth went dry and she abruptly felt sick in her stomach.

Sansa wished she could somehow bring herself to have only a small portion of the fate Daenerys had in the impertinent Tyroshi warrior, but it would appear the Gods denied her the luxury.

"Understood, your Grace. I will get the message across."

"Good." Sansa then spoke, breathing slowly to rid of the awfully sour feeling disturbing her lower abdomen. "Now, what news of Kings Landing?"

The queen's guard blinked and her mouth opened, only to close it again mere seconds later. Brienne's reluctance was enough for Sansa to know, it wasn't good. Her last living brother....

"He still hasn't woken, has he?"

"I fear not, your Grace." Brienne admitted sadly, the raven carrying the piece of parchment had only arrived last night. "Lord Tyrion regrets to inform you that...if King Brandon Stark doesn't wake within a forth night, he is obligated to assemble for another election. He writes that he hopes you understand."

Letting that information sink in, Sansa eventually nodded slowly in acknowledgement, with the adequate intention of hiding her true emotions, which she - fully aware - had gotten incredibly good at.

"Reasonable. My brother can not rule a kingdom in his current condition, let alone six." The northern queen stated, but caught Brienne's skeptical glare undoubtedly directed to her cold response, so therefore Sansa decided to add; "Tyrion only does what's best for the realm, as is his duty that my brother has charged him with."

Accepting her answer for what it is, Brienne bowed lightly and turned around to leave the Great Hall, but Sansa called out her name.

"Oh, and Brienne." She rose from her seat, instantly making the knight halt and facing her queen again. "Please inform the head of my household to instruct the hand-maidens to start packing some of my belongings."

"Your Grace?"

"After the trial, I shall ride South."

"Consider it done, your Grace."

-----

"You need not worry, my Queen. Whoever my opponent will be, I'll kill him and take you back safely to Meereen." Daario spoke confidently, sitting on the ground and leaning against the wall, expertly twirling one of his daggers between his fingers. "You have my word."

"I trust you." Daenerys mused, absentmindedly staring out of the window were millions snowflakes decreased from the sky.

Daario looked up at her then, returning his blade into the steel sheath attached to his belt.

"So, are you going to tell me what happened here?" He inquired, rising from the wood floor he slouched upon to stand behind her, rubbing her chilly shoulders with his warm, masculine hands.

Hands she had once desired all over her body.

"A lot happened." Daenerys admitted, wanting to flinch under his too familiar touch. "I've been here for quite a while, after all."

"I think you know what I mean, my queen." He said.

But the truth is that she really didn't. A lot happened, and therefore it could be anything. So she turned around to face him, her arms folding in front of her and looking at him with narrowed eyes, waiting for him to clarify himself. "Or you don't..." Daario told her then, a hint of surprise in his voice.

"No." Daenerys was quick to confirm. "What are you referring to, precisely?"

"That so-called Queen in the North, this... Sansa Stark." Daario nearly spat her name, loathing evidently present in his tone. He does not like her at all, Daenerys quickly concluded, but she would have him continue his sentence. "I have only been here for a week, but apparently that's long enough to hear what they say about you and her. Is it true?"

"What exactly do they say about us?" Daenerys asked- she would normally not be interested in hearing crude gossip spread in brothels, but this strangely got her attention.

"That she...." The man with the ruffly beard hesitated, shifting his weight between his legs.

"You may speak freely, Daario."

"That she has her claws in you." He paused, watching how the information would be received. "That she has claimed you to be her slave and... and confined you to her chambers for her to take you when she wants and how she wants."

"That's ridiculous." Daenerys snorted, briefly flawing in courtly manners. "Does it look like I am her slave? I am in my own chamber with you this very moment, am I not?"

"I don't know, my queen, you did address her as 'your Grace' when I first arrived." Daario shrugged but quickly regretted his choice of words as he saw Daenerys expression darken. She cared little for rumors amongst the common people, but being challenged and mocked by someone once been granted the honor to be her companion, that's something different entirely.

"A title that is rightfully hers, as Queen in the North." Daenerys chided in her defense.

Her declaration was followed by what would have been a long silence, if it weren't for her voice still echoing through the chamber several seconds later. Letting her words make their way into his brain, Daario frowned incredulously, seemingly unsure if he had heard her correctly, desperately hoping he did, for this was not the same Daenerys he knew from years ago. This was not the same Daenerys whom he parted from.

"What happened to you?" Daario impulsively grabbed her upper arms and shook her - a bit too vigorously - as in an attempt to wake her up. "Why do you respect the bitch of an ice queen that imprisoned you and usurped a part of your kingdom? Where's the fire gone that once ran so fiercely through your veins? You are Daenerys Targaryen, do you hear me? Mother of Dragons and the rightful ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, which includes this Gods forsaken North!"

"Get your hands off me." Daenerys demanded through gritted teeth, followed by a sharp gasp. "You're hurting me."

In an instant Daario withdrew his hands like they had been set on fire. He looked at the girl's small arms were his hands had just been retrieved from, looking red and sore. He had never been physically firm with her before, save for the bedroom. Hopefully it wouldn't bruise.

"Forgive me, my queen." He apologized regretfully, rubbing the marks on her arms in distress. "I don't know what gotten into me, I swear it."

"Clearly."

Daenerys conceded, pushing him away. Several seconds later, she sighed and her face softened- she realized she did owe him an explanation for her change of demeanor, it is the least she could do for the sacrifice he was about to make for her tomorrow and that he already had made in the past.

"That fire you speak of, it's still there." Daenerys assured for if he hadn't noticed yet, however with not as much determination as she hoped. "It is, it's just... She saved my life." She decided to settle with after swallowing thickly. A poor choice, but her choice all the same.

"Is that it? Now you submit to her and let her have what's rightfully yours, because she saved your life?"

"It's more complicated than that." Daenerys rolled her eyes in annoyance.

"Well, I am all ears." Daario shrugged.

"Alright then." Daenerys sighed, gazing out of the window once more. She waited momentarily, thinking how she could properly phrase this; Contemplating how to tell him without making it sound like she's rambling like a complete lunatic.

"The last time I was in Winterfell, to prepare for the battle of The Long Night, Sansa and I got off of the wrong foot. Her brother - who was been named 'King in the North' - had bent the knee to me in exchange for my support to defend the north against the army of the dead without consulting with Sansa first. Sansa ruled the north as regent during Jon's absence and she was also next in line to become queen would Jon not father children. I never considered that by swearing fealty to me, the King in the North also took Sansa's birthright from her."

Daenerys paused, realizing she was dwelling upon the subject.

"It is an understatement to say I thought her disrespectful and hostile when we first met, however, over the course of the past two months, we've... come to know each other better. I understand her now, what she had to go through to be where she's at, and all the horrors she had to endure. In a curious but bittersweet way, our journeys parallel one another. Similar to myself, Sansa is a survivor that suffered things you couldn't imagine. She knows what it's like to be a captive, to be sold like a brood mare, just as much as she knows what it's like to be assigned with the responsibility to take back her home from people that murdered her family, in which she succeeded. We are different, we may even be the completely opposite in some ways, yet we are one and the same. Her strength, her courage, her determination...." Daenerys caught herself trailing off, but then duly noted Daario's bewildered expression.

"You almost sounds like you admire her." He examined, doing his best not to sound too cynical.

"No more than I respect her." Daenerys admitted quietly. She wasn't done yet with her story- she hadn't quite gotten to the point yet were she'd explained her reason behind 'submitting' to Sansa, for the lack of a better word, but it was a welcoming distraction, and perhaps he didn't need to know every detail, did he?

"Sansa is... she's special." Daenerys remarked, upon which Daario scratched the back of his head, taking in a confession way too bland for his taste.

"So the rumors may not be accurate, but there's definitely something going on between the two of you." The lean man spoke as he observed her and the flush that was gradually settling onto Daenerys cheeks.

"I... I..." Daenerys stuttered, but wasn't able to form a proper sentence.

"Tell you what, you needn't worry." He said simply, taking her tensed hands in his. "I'll still fight for you to the death, if that's what you're afraid of. You're my queen, remember? My sword is yours, my life is yours. I am a man of my word." He paused. "And as it happens, I still love you."

"Daario..." The silver haired girl responded, close to a whisper.

Staring within each other's eyes and temporarily lost in the moment, they were suddenly snapped back to reality through the sound of a clearing throat- Both Daenerys' and Daario's head jerked to the door where it came from, in which Sansa stood stationed. Chin lifted and hands clasped behind her back, her possessive and vexed stale eyes penetrating into Daario's deep blues, nowhere near burning as much as her own.

If looks could kill, he'd certainly be dead by now.

Chapter Text

"If it isn't the ice queen of the north. Funny, we were speaking of you just now." The muscular male informed savagely.

Were you? The fiery haired woman initially wanted to inquire in pretending of not having heard the last part of their conversation, curious to see the narrative Daario would come up with. But then she concluded that she positively isn' in the mood to humor the Tyroshi warrior- not even with a cunning counter comment, so she decided to settle with a "Leave us." instead. Voice authoritative and confident.

Questionably, Daario tilted his head into Daenerys' direction as if he expected her to speak up on his behalf - which soon became evident she had no intentions to - and then his eyes then met Sansa's again, whom now smirked victoriously upon beholding the unspoken interaction of the two individuals in front of her.

Shaking his head at what should not have been a surprise to begin with, Daario snorted cynically, almost degradingly, until he advanced towards the exit of the chamber- his shoulder nearly (likely purposely) bumping against Sansa's, but she stood firm and unmoved by his ludicrous attempt of dominance.

Insolent clown, Sansa thought. He'll never match me.

Sansa - now locking eyes with the quiet Daenerys - elegantly swayed her way towards the other girl. By the time she stood in front of her, something abruptly seized Sansa's attention, her cerulean irises trailed down, snapping frantically left and right between the red fingerprint on Daenerys' upper arms, and then peering back up again to her face, her pose tensed and gawk growing distressingly afflicted.

"What's happened?" Sansa asked the silver haired girl, nodding into the direction of the red marks- gravely trying to maintain an abstract facial expression, but to no avail.

"Oh, it's nothing." Daenerys answered timidly, hugging her own arms in order to conceal the marks with her small hands.

"It's nothing?" Asked Sansa, raising an eyebrow. "Those marks weren't there before. Did your sell-sword do that to you? Let me see."

"He's a warrior, Sansa." Daenerys explained, cautiously stumbling back. "Sometimes he doesn't know his own strength. But it's really nothing."

Having her speculations confirmed, Sansa's glare darkened even further. She squeezed the clasped hands behind her back so incredibly hard that she could swear her nails dug little moons in her flesh deep enough to draw blood.

How dare he lay his hands on her Daenerys?

"I should have his head!" Sansa sneered as a muscle on her temple twitched.

"Sansa! It's okay." Daenerys tried in attempt to calm the taller woman. "It was an accident. And it doesn't hurt." The latter being a lie, because it had hurt.

That did not help at all- The fact that she defended him only aggravated the northern queen further, she took two steps closer upon which she intruded Daenerys' personal space.

"Wait for me in my chambers." Sansa demanded with strained jaws in total absolution, her hot breath reaching the dragon queen's cold skin.

"But-"

"Now."

----

It took at least an hour until Sansa finally strode through the large and richly decorated door that connected the corridor to her quarters.

Sitting on a chair and indulging in a lemon cake taken from the plate of edible goods that lay permanently - save for restocking - presented on the dining table, Daenerys glanced at Sansa indifferently. The taller woman seemed less livid than the shorter girl had encountered her last. She could use that to her advantage.

"You took a while." The dragon queen spoke after swallowing the contents in her mouth. "Well? Did you have him executed?"

"No." Sansa stated plainly, walking closer and taking seat upon the chair opposed to Daenerys. "Your companion and I merely had a much needed talk, that is all."

"What of?"

"Curious, aren't we?" The northern woman mused, pouring herself a goblet of wine from the carafe.

"Did you threaten him, Sansa?" Daenerys then asked not beating around the bush, but the other woman gave no reply. "You should not underestimate what Daario Naharis is capable of. He is the Regent of Meereen and the commander of the Second Sons, an army of two thousand men that will not hesitate to ride north if the need arises. Is that what you want?"

"He pledged his forces to you, did he not?"

"Yes, but-"

"Then I do not see the problem." Sansa spoke nonchalantly after taking a modest sip of the dark red substance. "That is, unless you intend to give the Second Sons your approval to wage war with the north. But you wouldn't do that, would you?"

"Maybe I will." Daenerys challenged daringly, however she knew that - in her current position - such a thing wasn't within her power; all her letters were first read and required permission to be sent out. Regardless, her brave response earned herself an irked eyebrow from the woman sitting at the other side.

"Is that so?" Sansa asked in that imposing tone of hers, the corners of her mouth curling up in a smug smirk. Because it was as Daenerys thought- both of them were aware that while Daenerys may be the sovereign of Daario and the Second Sons, ultimately and most certainly, Sansa controlled the girl's actions, whether she wanted to admit it or not.

The dragon queen swallowed, feigning innocence, not quite enjoying the course this conversation was heading into.

Thankfully Sansa decided to cut her some slack.

"Rest assured, sweet girl, I have no intentions of seeing him killed." The northern woman remarked, making the other girl sigh in relief. "...yet." She added, startle creeping into Daenerys' delicate facial features after the last word.

"He is still to prevail in a trial, after all. But we'll see about afterward."

"Sansa!" Daenerys rolled her eyes.

She was about to take another bite of the sugary delight she held, until she caught Sansa's eyes following her operation.

"How many of those have you had?" The northern queen inquired right before the shorter girl was about to savor the heavenly dough.

"What?"

"Lemon cakes." Sansa clarified. "How many?"

"Um, I- this is the second."

"Put it down." Sansa chided, tone determined enough to leave little room for the girl to argue.

It was quite the change of subject.

"Dinner will be brought momentarily. The next time, I expect you to refrain from satiating yourself with treats so soon before supper, is that clear?"

"Aren't you bossy?" Daenerys chuckled but settled down the cake nevertheless. However, she couldn't refrain from testing her limits and so she licked the sticky leftover crumbles and gravy from her fingers seductively.

Sansa's expanded pupils traced each of Daenerys' deliberate and captivating movement- the way the other girl put her fingers in her mouth and sucked them slowly one by one, withdrawing them coated with a thin layer of her saliva from between her lips enticed a peculiar throb amidst the ice queen's folds.

Fuck. Must she taunt me so? She had been dying to taste those delectable lips.

"Is everything alright, your Grace?" Daenerys teased as Sansa's eyes bore into her, her voice a perfect mixture of deviant and playful.

Sansa wasn't certain anymore, however what she was certain of, is that Daenerys had noticed her shifting from the undeniable craving that had stirred within her very core.

The ice queen scolded herself inwardly at flawing her dignified composure. Maybe she was just tired. It was an exhausting day, after all. First the unfortunate news of her brother, followed by a tiring meeting with Lord Reed, and then when she wanted to see Daenerys for some comfort and compassion, she walked in on her Tyroshi companion blatantly re-confessing his love for her.

Which reminded her of the following- the dreaded trial that was scheduled for tomorrow. Sansa shuddered at the disturbing realization.

She grounded her teeth, in conflict with herself. How is it possible for lust, jealousy and anxiety to rush through her being all at once?

Daenerys may be condemned tomorrow. She may die tomorrow if that unsophisticated fool of a sell-sword fails to outperform his opponent.

Was she really going to let that happen, without first having her?

Was she truly going to see her beautiful girl executed, before ever claiming her as her own?

Would she allow Daario to die a glorious and honorable death with the knowledge he had been with someone that Sansa considered her treasured property, while she herself had denied the both of them the pleasure of laying together?

No.

Never.

Permitting her possessive thoughts to get the best of her, Sansa rose to her feet and calculatedly treaded her way around the table to Daenerys. Now standing in front of her, she placed her index finger underneath the shorter girl's chin and gently lifted it, indicating that she wanted her to stand up, which she did, she followed her finger up without any redundancy.

Longing violet eyes blazed at her in dire anticipation, but for a moment Sansa hesitated. Was she actually going to do this? What if Daenerys didn't want her to?

She had reminded herself of her respectable heritage, again and again and again. And she would do it now, too;

I am not Ramsay, I am not Joffrey, I am not Little Finger. My name is Sansa Stark, and I am queen in the-

"I want you to do it." Daenerys interrupted her trail of thoughts then, voice more husky and vibrating than Sansa had ever heard it before, resulting into the northerner's eyes to widen in astonishment.

"Please, Sansa." She whined, her delicate hands clutching to the collar of the ice queen's dress in desperation. "I want you..."

"I... I want you so mu-"

And that was all it took for Sansa to let desire consume her entirely; To let her distinctive lust dominate all civilized decency left in her system.

Mine.

Allowing the indisputable thirst she had kept suppressed for far too long to finally break free, Sansa reached around Daenerys' waist with one hand and pulled the dragon queen's center against her own. Crashing her full lips upon hers and plunging her tongue into the other girl's mouth for them to emerge into a heated kiss, in which Daenerys hungrily and willingly participated.

She still tastes of lemon cakes, Sansa smiled wickedly in their kiss upon relishing the welcoming sweetness.

But it wasn't enough. So moments after, the northerner firmly pressed her left chain mail covered thigh in between Daenerys legs, thereby parting them and resulting for the silver haired girl to have her sex grind against the ribbed iron material of Sansa's dress, causing her bundle of nerves to be stimulated deliciously.

"Oh! Sansa..." Daenerys moaned in between their slick and passionate kiss, which encouraged Sansa to drag her hand down to Daenerys perfectly shaped rear in order to squeeze it roughly while lifting her thigh further- giving additional pressure against Deanerys pulsing clit. Soon after she moved her other hand, that was previously tilting the girl's chin, past Daenerys neck and grabbed a hand full of wavy silver hair, pulling it forcefully enough to stir another beautiful cry that reflected nothing but a mixture of pleasure and pain.

"You love this, don't you?" Sansa whispered in Daenerys ear through strands of silky bleached hair, where-after she bit the lobe of it in wanton.

"Fuck!" Daenerys whined.

"Answer me, Daenerys." Sansa hissed, giving the hair she held in her hand a firm tug, causing the girl to throw her head back further and fully expose the skin of her neck for Sansa to ravish. Her remaining silver locks cascading down her back gracefully, like a magnificent waterfall.

"Yes, I love it!" Daenerys breathed heavily, excitement surging through every inch of her being- her entrance steadily becoming lubricated by the friction against her sensitive nub. "Sansa please, more!"

Sansa groaned at the girl's reaction and drove her teeth in the tender flesh of Daenerys neck to suck, lick and kiss it violently and ferally, exactly like the wolf in rut claiming her prey in heat that she was. Her prey. Daenerys continued to ride against Sansa's thigh uncontrollably, and long before the fiery haired woman felt a puddle of warm substance being stained up her upper leg- Daenerys' juices had gone straight through the material of their dresses.

"So wet for me." Sansa purred hoarsely in between tormenting the girl's neck.

"You're mine and mine alone! Is that understood?"

"Oh Gods! I almost--" Daenerys cried out blissfully, completely consumed and entranced by pleasure. She's been dying for this moment. The dragon queen dug her nails into the material of Sansa's back- though the dress was too thick for her to do any damage at all.

"Hold it!" Sansa chided, the hand that was previously squeezing Daenerys ass now came down on it with a hard slap, stirring an excited gasp from the silver haired girl. "Hold it for me!"

"Y... yes Sansa!" Daenerys whimpered and bit her lip upon feeling the burning print intensify on her back-side, but it did not stop her from pushing her body against Sansa harder, her face buried deep within into her majestic strands of auburn hair.

"Yes who?" The northern queen heaved, she needed to hear her say it. The girl using her formal title ignited a foreign kind of sensation within her, causing her to soak her small-clothes shamelessly.

"Your Grace! Yes- Your Grace!" Daenerys cried out. "I'm going to cum!"

"Don't you dare!" Sansa warned, slapping her buttock again on the same spot. She knew the girl was edging an orgasm judging by the rapidly increasing stain of clear fluid that the girl's sex had discharged upon her thigh.

Sansa reached around Daenerys with both her hands, cupping Daenerys ass and lifting her up from the ground in order to clumsily carry her to the bed. Once she had lowered her into the furs, she began to tear off any fabric preventing the silver haired girl's body from exposure- leaving her pretty blue dress ripped and ruined upon the ground.

She won't be able to wear that one again.

Sansa - still fully dressed - knelled over-top of the trembling girl, in utter awe of the vision before her; Daenerys' was absolutely flawless, her large, amethyst eyes, her plump, full lips puffed from their hungry kisses, her heavenly sculptured jawline, her unblemished pale skin, her gorgeous lose locks flowing down the pillows, her firm and supple breasts topped with two inviting pink nipples that were just begging to be sucked and caressed.

And last but certainly not least, her beautiful patch of silver hair just underneath her pelvis, pleading to be explored.

"By the Gods, you are irresistible." The northern queen exhaled in profound admiration.

The shivering girl should be given her much deserved release, Sansa knew, for Daenerys had been so good and obedient for her lately. Therefore, without hesitating any longer, she brushed her fingertips across her sweaty body, starting at the inviting hills between her breasts, then gently moving down to her belly, past the soft patch of hair on top of her pelvis and even beyond that- until she had reached her swollen and throbbing clitoris.

Sansa caressed her sensitive bud with slow but firm strokes, upon which Daenerys cried in arousal and arched her back to press her bottom into the furs. Once the shorter girl's ribcage came up, Sansa took the opportunity to snake her free hand behind the small space of Daenerys' curved spine, where-after she leaned in closer, nibbling up her collar-bone to her neck. Eventually parting her lips from Daenerys skin, the two women momentarily gazed into each others eyes, until they quickly sealed their lips together again to engage into yet another passionate kiss.

This one was different- it was a soft and affectionate kiss. Still one of desire and lust, but most definitely also one of love.

"Sans...a" Daenerys huffed in Sansa's mouth, naturally spreading her legs in order to give Sansa access to enter her drenched slit. Noting the additional space, Sansa's hand traveled down but lingered temporarily to tease the wet folds of Daenerys' intimate entrance with two of her fingers, deriving an ecstatic cry from the shorter girl. She then advanced to press her fingers in between the slickness- curving them inside of her subtly to easily be able to stimulate her sweet spot, like Margaery had taught her.

"Oh, fuck...Sansa." The girl hitched, feeling the void within her entrance filled wholesomely as her fluids dripped down her thighs. Jolts of delight spurring in every nerve of her body.

Sansa pulsed her fingers in and out, making Daenerys' squirm and tighten her inside walls, bringing her closer and closer to her climax by the second. The sound of unclenched wetness had elicited Sansa's animalistic nature; prompting her to focus on biting the girl's neck again and thrusting her fingers faster, harder and deeper.

"Do it." Sansa growled moving to position her lips next to Daenerys' ear, panting through her strands of silver hair. "Cum for me, now!"

She did not have to say a second time.

"Sansa!" Daenerys screamed loudly, clawing to the furs while she dissolved into intense pleasure- waves of clear, warm substance gushing out of her entrance; Her built up tension finally being granted its longing release.

Watching Daenerys' body go limp, Sansa smiled at her triumphantly and contently, for her order was executed eagerly and without any delay at all. Exactly how she likes it.

Withdrawing her moist fingers from Daenerys' genitalia, Sansa rolled over and descended into the furs beside the exhausted girl.

Laying there next to each other serenely, they both rotated their head into the other's direction and smirked warmly and genuinely. In that moment they knew neither of them had any regrets.

Mere seconds later, Deanerys reverted her head back to the ceiling. The peaceful silence of their environment got disrupted with the familiar sound of servants prodding inside the chamber, followed by a delicious scent that could only be of supper.

"You know what, you're Grace?" The silver haired girl asked, still collecting her breath, her grin however remaining plastered upon her face.

"What is it?" Sansa asked curiously, completely ignoring presence of the kitchen staff.

"You're quite the hypocrite."

"Pardon?"

"Satiating yourself with such a sweet treat before dinner." Daenerys chuckled. "How dare you?"

Sansa burst out in the most unrestrained laughter she's experienced in years.

Well-played.

Chapter Text

* The morning after *

Being woken long before dawn due to the commotion outside in the court-yard underneath Sansa's bed chamber, Daenerys stood near the window and leaned against the brick wall next to it. She peered down through the stained glass, violet eyes staring at the unraveling scene absentmindedly with her arms folded.

The construction workers had already been laboring for hours in preparation for what she assumed would be the framework of her trial. They carried sturdy wooden fences and placed them in a circle. Near the border of it would be a tribune with altituded seats, its setup quite similar to the grand and glorious coliseum of Meereen, except remarkably smaller.

"Come back to bed."

Daenerys heard a husky but familiar voice speak from behind of her. Turning around into it's direction, she saw the previously asleep Sansa now laying awake between the furs, slightly propping herself up on her elbow, her long, unruly fiery locks collapsing down her chest over the white lace of her night gown. A ray of sun-light made its way through the northern sky and illuminated Sansa's fascinating steely eyes, making them even brighter and more beautiful than they already are.

How could I possibly refuse such a vision? Daenerys thought, smiling fondly at the other woman as she remembered the delightful intimacy they indulged in the night before.

Advancing towards her, Sansa was quick to pull up the soft pelt of the covers, inviting the smaller girl to snuggle against her underneath. Once gotten in and having settled herself between the warmth of Sansa's loving embrace as her little spoon, the ice queen repositioned a few strands of silver hair, then leaned in to place a gentle kiss upon the part of Daenerys' neck that now lied bare.

"All will be well." Sansa reassured through her kiss, her hand then slipping in between the space of Daenerys' waist and her arm in order to pull her back closer against her front affectionately. "You'll see."

She hoped Sansa would be right, but even if she wasn't, she at least would die with the thought that her final days were worth living for.

----

The trial would commence several hours later. This time - unlike during her previous trial - Daenerys was allowed to clothe into her rich and noble attire that remained kept in a storage from when she was last in Winterfell. She had decided on an exquisite charcoal fur dress with silver accents accompanied by a dark crimson sash draping down her shoulder, black and red; a perfect depiction of the Targaryen colors. The thick fabric of the scarf had been pinned slightly above her chest with the silver dragon brooch that Sansa had gifted her a while ago.

By the time she got fully dressed, two guards came in to collect her, where-after she was marched through the corridors, and then outside of the castle and into the courtyard, at a stand near the border of the arena. Daario stood positioned in it, clad in his usual light leather costume, curiously inspecting the different types of weaponry that lay presented upon a table in front of him.

Soon after, Daenerys allowed her eyes to roam over the surface behind Daario. The elevated seats surrounding the arena were occupied by northern inhabitants that all mocked and scorned the short girl upon her entrance, however she refused to let the audience's sneering effect her even one bit. She remained confident and well composed, not the slightest sign of fear or doubt could be found in her features.

Sansa - prominently seated on a chair in the center platform of the altitude seats, dressed in Tully blue with an intricate Stark crown resting upon her head - smirked at how regal and formidable Daenerys' looked. An unusual feeling spurred through her being, a strange kind of excitement that was completely new to her, however she was certain it was related to witnessing her dazzling girl standing proud and fierce in the presence of her citizen.

Where-as to her, behind closed doors...

Her lusciously inappropriate thoughts of the night before were interrupted when she noticed movements happening near the opposing stand of were Daenerys and Daario stood- The one that would display the necessities and offer preparation ground of the northern duelist. It seemed she was about to find out who their opponent was going to be.

Sansa gasped. Even from a moderate distance, she recognized the shape of the man instantly, and with the patch covering his eye there was no mistake- Gryff Whitehill, the fourth-born son of Ludd Whitehill and the rightful heir to Highpoint.

Sansa shuddered at the sight of the hideous and ever angry-looking man, entirely convinced that he only applied to become the northern champion in order for his house to rise back into royal favor after their unspeakable betrayal by siding with the Boltons during the Battle of the Bastards.

Little did he know. For such a crime she could never forgive him, in fact- it only provided her with one more reason to vouch for Daario to prevail. Two birds could be killed with one stone in this event, would the Gods see fit.

Murder the fool, Sansa quietly hoped. Have their despicable house go extinct for their monstrous crimes.

But most of all, save Daenerys from a terrible fate.

"In the sights of Gods and men, we gather to ascertain the guilt or innocence of this woman, Daenerys of house Targaryen." Maester Wolkan spoke from the center of the arena, snapping Sansa back to reality. Consumed by her thoughts, she didn't see him come out at all. "May the Mother grant her mercy, may the Father give her such justice as she deserves and may the Warrior guide the hand of the champion."

The crowd erupted in cheering after he finished speaking, he then looked at the duelists and gestured both of them to access the ring.

That's when it began. The heavily-armed Gryff Whitehill wasted no time to swing his long sword with incredible strength. Though due to his weighty attire and the size of the blade he held firmly gripped between his hands, it was no surprise for the audience when it turned out that he was tremendously slower than Daario. The northern Lord could hardly apprehend the Tyroshi warrior's agile flexibility. Multiple times in a row, he had already vanished from his spot, before Gryff could set his charge in motion.

Daario jumped left and right effortlessly to avoid his rival's advances. Gryff groaned and grunted after every missing blow, and Daario would only jape and ridicule the heir of Highpoint, rolling over the snow and twirling his Arakh skillfully. He was playing with him.

By the Gods, murder the bastard, Sansa thought despite the fact that she could clearly see the obvious difference in adequacy. But it mattered little, for so much as one minuscule error; one miscalculated step and it could be over for Daario.

It had happened before- although she wasn't there herself, Lord Tyrion once told her that Oberyn Martell's lengthily taunting of Ser Gregor Clegane during his trial of combat, is what ultimately caused his demise. He had his chance, more than a singular, yet he did not take it. Until Ser Gregor took it....

She genuinely hoped Daario wasn't the stupid fool she originally took him for and knew better than to make petty mistakes.

The ice queen continued to observe the scene anxiously. Her eyes then snapped to Daenerys', whom may have felt her glare bore into her because she stared back at her in dismay. She evidently wasn't the only one fearing for her life.

The worried look upon the silver haired beauty's face, only infuriated Sansa more.

Get on with it! Sansa thought, flexing her jaws and forcefully latching to the arms of her chair with her slender hands. It took all her strength to conceal her emotions.

As if he heard her thoughts, Daario finally shifted to make advances at the northerner. He rolled through between Gryff's legs after yet another failed strike and then thrusted his elbow into his back, knocking him over into the snow face-down. Not lingering longer than necessary anymore, Daario then dug the sole of his boot into the back of his opponent's neck, decreasing his head into the depth of the moist frost underneath him further.

The man squirmed under Daario's trap, his solid chain mail not offering him enough flexibility to re-adjust his position nor his hands so that he could push himself up. He moved frantically as the snow filled his mouth and nostrils with dilute snow. The erratic grasping for air, only clogged his lungs faster.

A good minute later, his movements had stilled entirely. The crowed had gone silent, and all the smiles died.

Daario had just murdered Gryff Whitehill, heir to Ludd Whitehill, with no more than his feet; without drawing even the littlest amount of blood, exactly how Deanerys would prefer it.

Recovering from the scene that just played out in front of him, Maester Wolkan's shook his bewildered head and blinked repeatedly to give himself a reality check. After doing so, he stood up from his seat near the border row and shuffled inside the arena. The clinking sound of his chain eliminating the unpleasant and nerve-wrecking silence in the air.

"T- The Gods have made their will known." He stuttered, clearly still perplexed by what had just happened. "Daenerys Targaryen, in the name of Queen Sansa of house Stark, First of her name, you're hereby found not guilty and dismissed of any charges pressed against you. You're free to go."

By the time the Maester was done speaking, Daenerys exhaled in relief and swallowed without restriction- allowing all the built-up stress and worry to be dissolved from her body entirely. At the other side of the arena, Sansa unawarely mirrored her reaction by doing the same.

He's done it.

He did as he pledged.

Daario prevailed.

Chapter Text

Sansa hadn't stayed any second longer at the trial than was required of her. Once the Maester had testified that the charges against Daenerys had been declared null and void, the northern queen made her way back to her study to finish up the necessary documents related to the trial. The old Lord of Highpoint, Ludd Whitehill, as well as his few remaining distant cousins had to be notified about their relative's most unfortunate decrease in service of the north.

Having grown acquainted with their treacherous family, it could not be permitted any delay- Sansa knew only too well that if she wouldn't act swiftly and assign a new heir, they would call their banner-men and revolt against one another until there was only one of them left to claim the fortress as their own after Lord Ludd's passing. Quarreling houses was the last thing she needed.

Browsing through the records of powerful noble families within the continent, she came to the terrifying realization that too many northern houses had gone extinct over the course of the past few years.

"Mormont, Karstark, Bolton, Umber... and now Whitehill." Sansa thought out-loud, naming the heraldic ancestry of the multiple strategic forts left abandoned. Perhaps, instead of merely Highpoint, she should take this opportunity to assign new Lords to occupy the remaining forsaken strongholds too, for it would certainly make governing easier with loyalists within their walls, may she ever need the support.

As she dipped the quill into the ink, a brief shadow at the other side of the chamber captured Sansa's attention. Gazing up from her crucial parchment, she discovered Daenerys standing between the passage that connected the ice queen's lavish and magnificent private quarters with the indoor corridors of the castle.

"Your Grace." The silver haired girl addressed with a curt nod.

"Good afternoon, my Lady." The fiery haired woman greeted, subtly rolling the quill between her thumb and index finger. "I believe congratulations are in order. You're a free woman now- Speaking of which, shouldn't you be collecting your belongs in preparation for your journey back to Meereen?"

Daenerys slowly treadled inside of the room then, the heels of her booted feet clicking upon each step.

"Perhaps." She answered simply, walking nearer. "But I thought I should accompany the Queen in the North. Is that alright?"

Eyeing her cautiously, Sansa let out a brittle sigh.

"Sweet girl, you do understand that you need not visit me in my chambers anymore if you don't want to, correct?" Sansa apprised attentively. "In truth, you don't need to do anything I previously required of you, within respectable and lawful boundaries, of course. You're a prisoner no longer but my noble guest that may roam were she pleases. Surely you've heard the Maester's verdict?"

"Loud and clear, your Grace." The shorter girl acknowledged, folding her hands behind her back. "That is precisely why I am here, with you. Not because I need to be, but because I want to be."

"Don't be silly." Sansa snorted, for why would she want such a thing? She was finally free of captivity, something she had been longing for, for months.

Soon after, the ice queen looked down at her parchment to continue her elegant writing. Neglectfully, she uttered; "Your valiant Tyroshi companion must be eagerly waiting for you so he can take you home. He has made it evident on multiple occasions that he genuinely detest the north, as have you."

Sansa instantly closed her eyes shut once she was done speaking. She wanted to slap herself for the begrudging way she phrased her sentence- that wasn't necessary.

"You truly don't like him, do you?" The late dragon queen asked, inquisitively cocking her pretty head. The unanticipated question prompting Sansa to curiously peer up again from her document.

"Pardon?"

"The way your expression darkens when we speak of him, and how you clench your jaws and your knuckles go white." Daenerys remarked recklessly, irking one of her brows. "It's quite obvious, your Grace."

Refusing to give in to the observation that was a little bit too accurate for her taste, the northerner simply scowled in silence and repositioned herself in her chair, then glanced at the other girl with her imposing eyes and jaws strained, which only confirmed Daenerys' bold statement.

"Just... do as you are told and prepare for your travels." The ice queen requested - though more so demanded - while collecting her calm propriety and royal decorum.

Noticing the enormous shift in tolerance and Sansa's distinct body language, Daenerys chuckled, walking closer- all the way to the desk and leaned forward.

"But her Grace has just informed me I no longer need to do anything she requires of me, that I may roam as I please. Is it not?"

Upon hearing those words, Sansa began tapping on her desk with her slender middle finger compulsively. The audacious Targaryen girl was doing it on purpose now- tantalizing her; provoking her and seeing how far she could go before breaching Sansa's patience. The seductively dauntless smirk decorating her unblemished pale face was sufficient evidence.

Seven Hells. Sansa's cursed inwardly, her hands were itching to grab Daenerys by those perfect silver locks and force her feisty violent orbs to look into her own authoritative ceruleans- to diminish that satisfied grin, to devour her curled up lips in a heated kiss. And to do so much more than that.

But she would not give in to it. She could not give in to it. And therefore with a painful amount of effort, she shrugged the outrageous thought of her mind.

"Don't test me, Daenerys." Sansa warned anyway, emerging from her seat and leaning forward on her desk using both her hands, their faces mere inches away from each other. "You may be a free woman now, but as long as you are in the north, I'm still your queen and am to be respected as such. Do I make myself clear?"

"Forgive me, Sansa. For I haven't come to taunt you." The silver haired girl informed, lightly pushing herself away from the desk she leaned on back to place her full weight upon her feet, after which she flattened the skirt of her opulent gown.

"Then why are you here?" Sansa asked warily.

"Because I wished to express my appreciation to your hospitality and care these past two months. I may have been your captive, but you've been courteous and kind to me."

"Well then- You're welcome, my Lady." Sansa commented, then paused briefly in struggling to vocalize her next words. "Your company has been... most pleasant, I must say. It is a shame it has to come to an end."

There was what would have been a long silence then if it weren't for the brisk wind roaring through the corridors and the chilly air that slid it's way into Sansa's study- causing the blazing hearth to furor resolutely. The sound of simmering wood on the background blended in strangely comfortably with the echoes of the frigid breeze.

"Must it, truly?" Daenerys questioned, may-haps too direct and careless. Regardless, it didn't stop her from extending her arm to fondle with a strand of auburn hair.

"Yes." Sansa told her with a raspy voice before swallowing stiffly, entirely ignoring the girl's familiarity while attempting to maintain a firm expression which she clearly had difficulties with to up-hold; though, the late Targaryen queen could swear she saw a shimmer of disappointment in her piercing steel glare.

But what mattered it? The northern woman had made her will known.

Stilling her movement first, Daenerys then withdrew her hand in order to let Sansa's flaring lock slip out of her palm and flow down in front of her leather corset.

"You don't belong in the north, and neither does your beast. You know it's true." Sansa tried to reason with her after her sudden disheartened retreat.

Where does she belong, then? If only she knew. The silver haired girl pursed her lips, then spun around to turn her backside towards the ice queen, her frame slumping as she exhaled gravely.

"Tell me, Sansa, what good is freedom, if it means that my presence is no longer desired near the one that possesses my fragile heart?" The shorter girl said as she walked into the direction of the flickering hearth.

W- what? Sansa wanted to ask, but no words came out.

"What value has liberty, if I am sent away by the one I've grown to care about so deeply?" Daenerys added, her each and every step traced by the taller woman's astonished gaze, whom otherwise stood completely paralyzed, still leaning against her desk. Did she even hear that right or are her ears deceiving her?

Eventually, after not being given an answer within what Daenerys considered an acceptable time frame, the late dragon queen decided to pull up her sleeves and hunch down. She reached inside the smoldering flames to rearrange a few churning logs, which instantly released Sansa from her disabled state and caused her to dash into the other girl's direction.

"No!" The northerner exclaimed, grabbing her by her shoulders in order to pull her away from the sizzling fire. Dragon blood or not, she'd rather not try her chances of seeing the Targaryen girl burned.

The girl then moved to stand back up to her feet, where-after she allowed Sansa to examine the unscathed skin of her small hand, whoms eyes widened upon witnessing her completely free of injuries. Moments later, she looked up at Daenerys' face. Her lilac orbs damp and her bottom lip quivering- and not because of the fire, because that clearly hadn't hurt.

"Daenerys..." Sansa whispered, remembering the girl's earlier proclamation. "You don't know what you're saying..."

"I do. You just don't want to hear it." Daenerys said, frustratingly retrieving her palms from the taller woman's weakened hold. "How come, Sansa? Is it so strange to hear someone confess their affections for you, to be told someone is capable of loving you?"

You don't! The northern woman wanted to growl. Because that's the reality of things. Every single person that had expressed their romantic feelings for her in the past, had lied to her and been cruel to her some way or another. Save for Lord Tyrion- but that also wasn't love, not the matrimonial kind it should have been, anyway.

"Sansa, please." Daenerys begged, interrupting her thoughts. "I wish to stay in the north with you, if you'll have me. We could be happy, you and I. You know we could."

Sansa stared at her hopelessly, the desperate sincerity of the other girl's words made her chest hurt.

"We... we might..." The ice queen found the courage to agree, against better judgement. The long suppressed words finally leaving her mouth, effectively startling herself more than it did Daenerys. "But you cannot stay, my sweet."

"Why-ever not?" The Targaryen girl asked. "You're the queen. You can have what you want."

"That may be so but I won't be here, for I am to ride south soon." Sansa spoke cautiously after a lengthily hesitation. "It's complicated. Surely you don't wish to remain in Winterfell during my absence?"

"Ride south...? To Kings Landing...?" Daenerys frowned suspiciously, ignoring the latter question. "Why?"

Knowing the information wouldn't be well received, Sansa took a moment to consider her next words carefully before speaking again...

"A new monarch is to be elected." She remarked indefinitely. "My brother has been in a warg coma for weeks, in his current condition he is not capable of governing the six kingdoms. Therefore, we must choose someone else."

"Oh, Sansa... I'm sorry." Offered the shorter girl initially after hearing the news about Bran, but upon letting the rest of the message sink into her and what that would mean, her face immediately paled.

"You're... going to stand as claimant..."

What should have been a question came out as a dubious accusation, one which Sansa had already foreseen coming given the fact that it was her father's throne that was being passed on to someone else- an inheritance Daenerys still considered rightfully hers. The ice queen wished she could assure the shorter girl that she hadn't thought about being electable, that she did not have any particular ambitions to rule the lands that her ancestors had for centuries. Because she didn't- not really, and yet denying it would feel nothing more than a blatant lie. Sansa had certainly fleetingly considered the preposterous opportunity. Not because of any specific aspiration, no- simply because such are the lengths her brilliant mind has been trained to apprehend. She was taught by no one else but Petyr Baelish, after all.

Don't fight in the north or in the south. Fight every battle, everywhere, always, in your mind. Everyone is your enemy; Everyone is your friend; Every possible series of events is happening all at once. Live that way and nothing will surprise you. Everything that happens will be something that you've seen before. That was one of his many wise lessons. She can still hear him say it with that intimidating voice of his, as if he was standing in front of her, right here and right now.

"Everyone summoned to the referendum shall be expected to cast a vote as well as stand available as candidate." Sansa broke the unsettling silence, indirectly answering Daenerys' question, upon which the shorter girl gasped in disbelief and defeat. "I know this is hard for you, but I intend for it to be me."

Had she just confessed her love to the person that means to acquire her father's throne? She felt acutely nauseous at what she genuinely believed purposeful and obscure scheming. Daenerys glanced at Sansa in a way that resembled nothing but profound and utter disappointment and disgust.

But that was not all that bothered Daenerys.

"What about the north?" The dragon queen eventually confronted with an infiltrating tone, essentially reminding the fiery haired woman of the past conversation were Sansa refused to let the north suffer under a foreign ruler, and as it happens that very same conversation had been the root of their compelling bitterness towards each other during their early stages of interaction. "Must I remind you, Sansa? It was taken from you and you took it back. What about the north in the event of you being chosen? With your visionary younger brother in comatose and your wild little sister exploring distant lands, there is no other Stark left to rule the north."

"Except that there is." Sansa mentioned without emotion, fully aware that what she was to say next would only add fuel to fire, but carried on anyway. "As you undoubtedly know, a queen has very few restrictions. Would the Gods see me fit to ascend to the southern throne, I shall pardon Jon from the Night's Watch for his failed murder attempt on you and he'll once again be named King in the North. Lyanna Stark's blood runs through his veins. He may named Targaryen but he is a Stark through and through. The northerners will accept Rickard Stark's grand-son as their sovereign. And if they don't, I shall give him the Stark name by royal decree. "

"What's wrong with you?!" Daenerys exclaimed, shaking her head in arduous confusion at how the tall woman had it all planned out already. "Jon doesn't want to be king! You're the Queen of the North! The Sansa Stark I know and have come to respect would never abandon her people!"

"You misunderstand, my Lady." The ice queen said ever coolly, pausing briefly. "I'm not giving up on the north. I am not abandoning it. The reason why I will stand claimant for the southern throne is for the sake of the north. Everything I do, each decision I make is for the benefit of the north. It needs a Stark successor after I'm gone. I cannot give them that. Jon can, and he will do his duty like he always has."

"What?! Yes you can, Sansa!" The shorter girl pressed - nearly begged - clutching to the fabric of Sansa's collar. "You could name your children Stark! Why wouldn't you?"

"Daenerys... I can't." Sansa sighed sadly, taking the girl's hands in hers in understanding of her concern. It was time to reveal the logic behind her motive. "This is the only way how I secure the north of a deserving and prosperous future, for I have decided I shall never wed again. I shall never bear children of my own."

At hearing Sansa's absolute allegation, Daenerys muscles abruptly went limp. Before she could grasp what happened and was able to collect her strength, her knees had already connected with the concrete icy tiles underneath her feet. She stared ahead of her hazily, as if someone seized her consciousness, as if all this was just a dream. Or rather, a horrific nightmare.

How can this be?