Chapter 1: Ned
He has always been Ned. Never Eddard, not even to his own flesh and blood. Eddard is demanding, a lordly name. Ned was never meant to be the lord of Winterfell. No, that was his elder brother, who died by the hands of the Mad King. Not Ned.
When Ice finally settled, not one person was surprised at her form. Robert Baratheon jokes that this means Ned should truly have been his brother and Ned knows that some of the lords in the South whisper about a Warden whose daemon is a prey animal. In the North, too, there are stirrings among the flayed men but no one puts forth any argument or claim. The last Stark to have a direwolf as a daemon died before his grandparents were ever born.
Some of the other lords might look upon Ice and think she represents his weakness. That she proves that Ned Stark never truly was meant to be Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North. But Ned knows better.
The caribou protect their own. They follow the cycle of life; winter to summer to winter again, steadfast, surviving. Prey animals they may be but their hooves and horns are sharp enough to gore any predator that comes their way. When the white winds blow the herd protects each other much like a wolf and its pack.
No. No one is surprised by Ned Stark's daemon, least of all Ned himself.
But he does believe he might just be the only one who truly understands what she represents.
Name: Eddard Stark
Chapter 2: Arya
It's to Arya Stark's great delight that her daemon settles well before her older sister's does. Finally, something she accomplished faster, better, than her snooty elder sister whose daemon was still unsettled at age 15.
At 11, Arya is the only one in her grade to have a settled daemon and she adores the attention he receives. Finally something her sister cannot take away from her.
Her dancing master chuckles at the revelation of Balerion's true form. Perhaps all the months she spent catching cats has truly rubbed off on her. Those who know Arya Underfoot are also not surprised by the wily and sly feline that follows her every moves as she slips in and out of places she shouldn't be and watches from her vantage point behind the stair landing at the discussions the adults have that she's not allowed to join yet.
It's a rainy day when her sister and mother go to see Doctor Leuwin--just to make sure nothing is wrong. Her sister's daemon transforms from a dragonfly to a little bird perched on her shoulder and Arya scowls at the sight.
Later that night, Balerion and her speak.
"Maybe you should talk to her," the cat says, swishing his black, plumy tail. "It must be hard for her to go through this."
"Why would I want to talk to her?" Arya exclaims. "I've finally got something that she hasn't. I spent my entire life in her shadow. She can handle some time in mine."
Balerion licks a paw and then rubs it over an ear. "You're only 11," he says. "Not a long time to spend in someone's shadow."
Arya scoffs. "It's enough. Besides, I thought you were supposed to agree with me." With great dramatic flourish, Arya throws herself down on her bed.
"Perhaps a part of you agrees with me," the cat offers but Arya only rolls her eyes. She won't let Sansa and her problems ruin this for her, she won't.
Name: Arya Stark
Species: Black cat
Chapter 3: Theon
He'd never say so, not to anyone's face at least, but Theon Greyjoy is terrified of having an aquatic daemon. Sure, Kyra likes to take the form of a dolphin sometimes when they're at the beach and he's fine with that. But to be chained to the water forever? He is a Greyjoy, this is supposed to want that. To have an aquatic daemon is the biggest honor an Ironborn could have.
But he does not want to be like his father, cruel as the shark that always trails his ship. Nor does he want to be like his sister whom will never step on land, not while her daemon is a barracuda.
It's not that he dislikes being on the open water. In fact, he loves it. It calls to him, the salt spray and mist, the melodic crashing of the waves to the shore. He could spend hours just sitting there, taking it all in.
No, it's not that he would be trapped on the ocean that makes Theon pray to whichever god is listening late at night that Kyra doesn't settle as a water-bound daemon. It's the fact that he has too many ties to the people on land to ever be able to leave them.
Because Theon would never say so, but the Starks are the only family he's ever had.
Name: Theon Greyjoy
Name: Balon Greyjoy
Species: Great White Shark
Name: Asha "Yara" Greyjoy
Chapter 4: Tywin
It is to Tywin's great disgust that the only one of his children to have a lion daemon is the dwarf, Tyrion. He can forgive Cersei her baboon, she was always a lost cause. But even Jaime, his golden son, is not a lion in the end. When his daemon settles at the tender age of 13 it's form is that of a golden retriever, ever faithful.
For his true heir to have a common dog is a disgrace and something that Aerys never lets him forget. He simmers in anger even at the mere thought of his son, his golden boy, a faithful dog of the Kingsguard. When this happens, Janna is like to push hard against his legs and give him a look of pure annoyance. The lionness believes he is too caught up in these things and he knows she's right. She is part of him, after all.
But still, when that abomination waddles around the Red Keep and Casterly Rock like he owns the place, drinking and whoring his way into an early grave (Tywin wishes he would just die already), it's with a lion by his side.
He knows just because a lion is a symbol of their family it doesn't guarantee a family member's daemon to be a lion but there is some perverse type of mockery about Tyrion's daemon.
It would be easy to write him off as a bastard, brought up by Aerys's lust for Joanna, and therefore a lost cause, not a real part of his family, just something he has to deal with because he couldn't prove Tyrion wasn't off his seed. It would be just like Aerys's spawn to twist the world to their preference, to mock him with the lion daemon. All of that would be much, much easier than looking the truth of the matter in the face.
One day, while going about trying to save the Kingdom his daughter and nephew near-ruined, Janna speaks to him. This isn't rare, she often gives her input to point out what Tywin might be missed when it comes to matters of the state. But this time...
"You can't keep punishing him and pushing him into a corner," she says with a big yawn. "One day he will do what all trapped animals do."
"And what is that?" Tywin asks dryly.
Moons later, Tywin Lannister is shot to death by a crossbow while on the privy by his dwarf son. He doesn't even have time to acknowledge that Janna was right before he dies. But he has enough time to regret. And does he regret.
It overcomes him just like the darkness of death.
Name: Tywin Lannister
Name: Tyrion Lannister
Name: Cersei Baratheon
Name: Jaime Lannister
Species: Golden Retriever
Chapter 5: Sansa
Sansa Stark is 15 years old and still her daemon is unsettled. This isn't completely abnormal, she is told, when her mom takes her to see the doctor. Doctor Lewin is a kindly old man with a warm smile, his owl daemon perched on his shoulder, who tries to assuage her worries. There have been cases of people's daemon's not settling until they're 21, after all. But Sansa hears what he's not saying. Those people are incredibly rare.
Those people have something wrong with them.
She has something wrong with her.
She knows it, even as Lady chirps to her with reassurances. But Sansa isn't dumb. She knows that daemons aren't supposed to be the same sex as their other half, yet Lady is also female. She knows that at her age it should be harder for Lady to change but she does so so frequently and often that Sansa sometimes doesn't even notice her new form until she realizes she has no idea where Lady is.
That's also wrong. Daemons aren't supposed to be able to go farther than three meters from their other half.
It pains her, it truly does. She's tried so hard to be the perfect daughter, to make her family proud. She's painfully aware that she stands out in her family. She's not a tomboy like Arya or rough and adventurous like any of her brothers. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and tries to emulate her mother the best she can. They are still technically nobility after all, even if there has been no Iron Throne in centuries and Parliament and the Prime Minister are the ones who are in charge of the country. But still, maybe if she can bury herself in her family's noble roots and become just like her lady mother, maybe she will find her place.
She throws herself into the feminine arts, finding something she knows she can accomplish well. The glares from her sister hurt her. Sansa Stark is not stupid. She knows Arya resents her, thinks herself as the family outcast.
If only the two of them knew how similar they were to each other. But Sansa can't bring herself to talk about it to her little sister. She doesn't think it will do any good, after all.
It's a bright day outside when her mother and father ask her to speak with them in her father's office. She's nervous, stroking Lady whom is now a cat she holds in her arms. The office is big with a high ceiling and walls of bookcases. Everything in Winterfell is big. Which, considering her father's daemon, she supposes is a good thing. As a contrast, her mother's kingfisher looks positively microscoptic in the large room.
"Yes?" Sansa asks, as she nervously sits down. Lady jumps from her arms and turns into a hummingbird, wings whirring a thousand times per second.
"We've been thinking," her father says, "that perhaps you need a change of scenery, a place where you can grow more than you can here."
Sansa frowns. Grow more? She has everything she needs at Winterfell. She goes to the school in Wintertown where she's managed to make a few friends despite her odd daemon. She's done her best to follow in her mother's footsteps and learn how to manage such a large estate.
Her mother takes over, folding her hands in her lap. "We think that perhaps some time in King's Landing may be beneficial to you. There's this wonderful boarding school--I actually went there when I was your age--and there will be so many more opportunities for you there than there is here. You'll meet a lot more people and you can tailor your curriculum however you'd like."
"You're sending me away," Sansa says dumbly. "Why? What have I done wrong? I swear, I can fix it. I can be better."
"Oh, sweetling, you've done nothing wrong." Her mother tries to soothe her but at this point it's taking every bone in Sansa's body not to burst into tears. "We just want you to have the best."
"You're not sending Robb there." Sansa accuses, "Or Arya. Or Bran. Don't they deserve the best, too?"
"You're ashamed of us," Lady says, now a mink on her shoulder with ears folded back in anger.
Her parents and their daemons spend the rest of the hour trying to console her, talking about how wonderful the boarding school is and all the activities she can do. They reassure her that they love her and aren't ashamed, that they see the potential for her to do well in King's Landing, that they're so so proud of her.
Sansa Stark is many things. Quiet. Aloof. Prideful. Fifteen years old with a daemon that won't settle and is the same sex as her. She's an accomplished seamstress, able to bring her own creations to life in a way that makes the Septa smile and Arya scowl.
Sansa Stark is many things. But she isn't stupid.
Name: Sansa Stark
Name: Eddard Stark
Name: Cately Tully Stark
From the moment Bran is born, his daemon never changes. Unlike all their other children whose daemons have been cats and dogs and dragonflies, birds and rabbits and ferrets, Ned and Catelyn's fourth child's daemon never changes from the raven that she appeared as from birth.
Bran and Summer are a sight to be seen. Together one climbs and one flies to the top of the tallest towers of Winterfell castle and they give collective heart attacks to anyone who sees the young boy and his raven so far from the ground. "We were always meant to fly," Summer says whenever anyone asks why he would pull such stupid stunts.
Bran readily agrees with her. "I have dreams of it, flying," he says. "One day I will, for real."
The Maester has talked to him countless times about it. "Boys can't fly," he says and there are countless demonstrations of what exactly would happen should Bran lose his grip while climbing. But Bran rolls his eyes, knowing that his mother is behind Maester Lewin's ever word. The Maester isn't wrong, though. Not about most people. They would fall and break. But not Bran. Bran will fly.
When the King and his retinue come to Winterfell, Bran gets the best spot high up over the battlements. There are so many people that he doesn't think Winterfell could possibly fit them all. From his bird's eye view he can see the King riding with his boar daemon by his side, the giant wheelhouse were the Queen and her younger children are kept, and even a glimpse of blond hair that must be the Kingslayer and his faithful dog.
The feast to welcome them is less exciting. He sits next to Tommen whose daemon prefers to take the form of a kitten. "Pounce used to take the form of a fawn more often," Tommen sighs at one point, "But Joffrey kept threatening to make her into stew."
Bran shivers in revulsion at the very idea of it. Just touching someone else's daemon was a great crime that could lead to one's hand getting cut off. But killing one? Even the Prince surely could not get away with that. "I don't like how he looks," Summer says and Bran finds himself agreeing with her yet again. There is something cruel in the golden prince's gaze.
He is also thoroughly disappointed that he doesn't get the chance to see the Kingslayer fight in the yard. He's heard so many stories of the Kingsguard and their prowess in battle. Bran will be one when he gets older, he swears it. Perhaps he could convince the famous Jaime Lannister to take him as a squire--if he could find him.
But he can't so Bran does the next best thing. He and Summer go climbing on the broken tower, one of his most favorite haunts. But as he climbs he hears weird noises, some type of grunting, and Summer squawks nervously as the two of them peer into the window seeing the Queen and her brother.....wrestling? That has to be it.
"He saw us! Jaime!!" The Queen says and her baboon daemon bears its teeth at him. They're razor sharp and longer than Bran would've ever imagined.
"I know, I know," Jaime says before asking him his age.
"I'm--I'm ten," he says and Jaime sighs.
"The things I do for love."
With a sharp shove, Bran is suddenly out in free air and for one moment lingers weightless in the sky. Then the ground rushes up to meet him.
Bran no longer believes he can fly.
Name: Bran Stark
I mentioned that some of these will be modern AUs and some of them won't. This particular chapter is not a modern AU but things like the character's daemons still stay the same. So Arya still has Balerion the black cat, Ned's Ice is a caribou, Sansa's daemon is yet to be settled, etc.
"Are you sure this is the right thing?" Brynden says as Catelyn watches her daughter board the plane to King's Landing. The kingfisher sits on her shoulder, his ruffled feathers gleaming.
She's so brave, her daughter. She wants to cry. Catelyn knows. Catelyn always knows. But instead her Sansa manages a weak smile and waves before boarding the plane, her daemon a little white bird perched on her shoulder. It tears at her heart for her daughter to be that far away from her, from their family. But it was the right thing, she was sure of it.
She'd discussed it as much as she could with Ned, who admittedly had little time to care or worry about their daughter's unsettled daemon due to his campaign for Warden, once an honorary title for the Lord of Winterfell, now a political position Ned fought tooth and nail for. It wasn't that he didn't care, she knew he did. It was just that he had no clue what to do. Without Ice giving gentle advice, she doubts Ned would be able to get through as many social interactions as he normally does in peace.
But she'd also spoken to her sister who raved about the wonderful enriched education King's Landing was giving her darling boy, Robin, and she'd sought the council of her old friend Petyr Baelish who was a professor and administrator at the very boarding school Sansa would be enrolled in. Petyr, bless him, promised to watch out for her daughter and keep her under his wing. She even managed to have a somewhat bearable conversation with Cersei Lannister about the topic.
Cersei, with her distaste of the north, had asked her when the common sense to send Sansa south finally dawned on her. "A girl like her shouldn't be hidden in the North forever," she said. "Besides, Joff really took a liking to her when Robert visited Ned during that campaign event."
So, while Catelyn worries, because she always will, she knows this is the right thing.
So why does Brynden question her so? He's been chattering in her ear since the decision was made all the way up to the point where she waved her daughter goodbye and promised to call and skype as often as she wanted.
"You carry my heart, Brynden," Catelyn says to her daemon. "And my heart wants my daughter close. But I need to do what's best for her."
"Is it truly best for her, though?" he asks as they walk through the crowded airport. There's the smell of coffee and cinnamon in the air from the food court mixed in with the stench of sweat and hastily applied deodorant from all the people rushing. Always rushing, it seems. These moments make her heart ache for her country home of Riverrun, far from the grind and bustle of the cities of Maidenpool, Oldtown, and King's Landing. When Cat was young she would sit near the riverbank for hours watching as Brynden took the form of her house and swam in the clear water.
But the rush will be good for Sansa. It will get her out of the shell that Catelyn has noticed beginning to build around her eldest daughter ever since Arya's daemon settled last year.
"Family, duty, honor," Catelyn replied to her other half. "I have to do what's best for my family."
Brynden makes a sound that means he's accepted her words even if he doesn't agree with them. Catelyn is right. She has to be right. Sansa was born to be a southern lady, a genteel woman like how she herself was raised to be. She would do well in the south and thrive far away from the cold north. Her other children needed her to guide them, to teach them. Arya's daemon may have settled but she is far from grown or mature and Robb is turning into a man faster than Catelyn ever thought possible. Bran finally seems to be pulling himself out of the depression he's been in since the accident, and Rickon is going to start third grade. Even her nephew, Jon, is making a choice between military service and college and she must be there to guide him in absence of his mother. Sansa has always been able to handle herself, her gentle daughter. But the others have wolfs blood in them and it shows.
Family, Duty, Honor. This is what's best. This will be good. How could any of it possibly go wrong?
Name: Catelyn Tully Stark
So in this bit we get to see a little more of the Sansa storyline from Catelyn's perspective. Part of what I wanted to do was focus on the doubt and vulnerability a lot of these characters have, especially the Starks. I think that in canon Catelyn and Ned Stark tried to be the best parents they could but they woefully underprepared their children for the world they lived in. In a similar vein, I think they're trying to do the right thing here but that doubt is there for a reason. Good intentions, roads to hell, all that jazz.
I thought this would be helpful so this is the ages of the Stark children as of now
Sansa: 15, nearly 16
You guys probably will have questions about Jon but they'll be answered hopefully in the next chapter.
Please let me know what you think! This is my first time ever doing such a fanfic like this!
Ghost is the name of Jon's daemon and also the state of Jon's existence. He haunts Winterfell manor, looking like the mother who died birthing him and even though he lives and breathes sometimes Jon wonders if he's dead too.
Because Uncle Ned can hardly look at him, sometimes, and when he does it's with great pain in his grey eyes. Jon's eyes are grey too. He, like his mother, has a long face, dark hair, and grey Stark eyes. Some like to say he looks a bit like his father too, in the melancholy of his features, but they don't say it anywhere near him or his family. No one likes to be reminded of Rhaegar Targaryen if they can help it.
But Jon is the living, breathing reminder of what he did, of what happened to Lyanna, and though he knows his family loves his he sometimes can't help but think they would be better off without him. No matter how many times his cousins form around him, no matter the kind words of his aunt, or the approving gaze of his uncle, he can't seem to shake the feeling that he doesn't belong. That he's a mere specter in Winterfell's wide halls.
He is ten years old when he first hears the entire story of his mother and father. Wild Lyanna Stark, just a child, really, at sixteen, running away with a much older, married man. Not just any married man; a prince. Though the monarchy of Westeros is mainly symbolic these days Rhaegar Targaryen was still very much a Prince and his wife, the Princess Elia, is a Princess twice over.
He's too little to remember the smear campaign that followed his birth; the one that calls Lyanna Stark a whore and wild Northron slut. Nor does he remember the fallout of the old Westerosi Royal Family. How King Aerys Targaryen went insane and attacked the Princess Elia and her children. The three of them were only saved by Jaime Lannister, a member of the Kingsguard who ended up shooting his King in the back of the head like a wild dog being put down. His life too, is irrevocably changed by Jon's existence. If Jon hadn't existed, Jaime Lannister would not be disgraced, a man who some see as a hero and many more see as a villain.
He doesn't remember the very public, very dirty divorce between Rhaegar and Elia. In truth, he's actually never met his father and he's not sure he wants to. Sure, Rhaegar sends Jon a large check every year, more than enough to pay for his upkeep and have thousands left over, but Jon would rather nothing in exchange for Rhaegar to pretend that he is, just like his daemon, a ghost.
At a party he meets Elia's daughter Rhaenys. Her hair is long and red-brown, her dark Dornish eyes glimmering with amusement. She bites and sucks on a lip ring absentmindedly as Rhys, her clouded leopard twitches his tail as he observes everyone else as if they're unaware of a joke he knows.
"You look pale as your daemon, brother," Rhaenys calls to him and Jon winces. He was hoping he would blend in, that she wouldn't notice him. But of course, the one time he wishes he was invisible is the one time he's actually spotted.
By his side, Ghost huffs. She isn't sure whether to be offended yet but her eyes narrow at Rhys. The two of them could be twins--if daemons could be twins--if Ghost wasn't completely white, her red eyes harsh against her fur. But she's just as strong as him and her hackles barely raise when he and his human walk toward them.
"What," Rhaenys calls as she crosses the room of partygoers to meet him. "Cat got your tongue?" She laughs at her own joke.
"I--I--" What the fuck is he supposed to say to this girl? What do you say to someone whose parents messy, public divorce is your fault? Why is she even talking to him?
"Wow," she says, grabbing a beer from one of the many coolers dotting the room. "You're really dad's kid. Got his way with words and everything." She then laughs at the look on Jon's face.
Jon is fairly certain that he much more resembles his daemon's eyes than her fur now. "I'm honestly not sure what to say," he manages to get out. "Why are you talking to me?" Why is she talking to him? The specter of Lyanna Stark, of her parents misery, of the years-long drama that stands right in front of her. That is what he is. Why can she see him? Why would she?
"Say hi, dumbass."
"Hi, dumbass," Jon repeats boldly before he can truly contemplate what he's saying. The words make Rhaenys laugh louder and her daemon even spares a chuckle, nudging against his like they're old friends.
"See, I think we're going to get along really well, Jon. Really well."
That night is the first night Jon meets with his half-sister. But it is far from the last.
Name: Jon Snow
Species: Albino Clouded Leopard
Name: Rhaenys Targaryen
Species: Clouded Leopard
I wanted to give Jon a friend
Sansa Stark isn't stupid. She's not sure how many times she repeats that phrase to herself a day or how many times Lady whispers it in her ear during the night as she sleeps in her new dorm room. But though the rest of the world seems to think that she can't tell what they're thinking, or saying, or what truly lay behind their eyes, she knows the truth. She whispers it to herself in the showers she takes early in the morning before her new roommate, Margaery, wakes up. She thinks it to herself with every look she receives from the calculating students of King's Landing's most prestigious boarding school.
It's not that she's failing her classes or flunking her tests. No, everyone is aware Sansa Stark is booksmart--well, other than maths, that is. It' the other types of smarts they judge her for. She's an outsider here, a Northerner, and in many ways so, so different. No one had prepared her for the cliques and the dinners and the parties that these students seem to gravitate to and attend like they have their own little high society. She feels positively frumpy the first time she goes to one in one of her conservative Northern dresses.
Which is when Margaery takes her by the arm and declares they must go shopping as soon as they can. The costs don't matter, her daemon hisses as his other half pulls out a shiny, black credit card; as Sansa's eyes go wide at the growing pile of very expensive, very stylish clothes that Margaery has piled in her arms. She fits in a little more after than, feels the need to repeat that she is not stupid less, because while she is still an underestimated Northern girl, she's at least shown she can hold her own, being Margaery's friend.
Margaery is an...interesting girl and Sansa studies her like she studies her textbooks. She watches the way she does her hair, how her daemon, Daemon (how weird is that name?), twines around her arm like an accessory unto itself. One time Sansa even tells Lady to try to mimic Daemon and Lady turns into a beautiful red, yellow, and black banded milk snake. She swears Daemon winks at Lady when he sees this and Margaery seems extra pleased that day.
She keeps her head down as much as possible when she's not being dragged around by her new friend, who begins to speak to her of boys--Joffrey Baratheon and Ramsay Bolton are so handsome, aren't they? She asks and Sansa nods her head in agreement because it's true, they are. She notes the way they stare at her though, when they think no one is watching.
She notes the way her mother's friend Petyr Baelish, a member of the school board and her drama professor, has a smile that never quiet reaches his hungry, grey-green eyes. She notes the way his fox daemon looks at Lady when she's a canary on her shoulder.
During her phone calls home, which happen less and less as the months go by, she never mentions that his touch lingers a bit too long on her shoulders or that his offers to help with her classwork tend to include invites to his private apartments. No, she's not sure her mother will believe her if she does say something. And besides, her mother has enough to worry about. Jon and Rhaenys have decided to take a roadtrip across the entire country before they begin basic training in the fall and Robb's gone and got some poor girl pregnant. Gods know what Arya's been up to. No. Her mother has enough to handle without her concerns.
Sansa can handle herself.
Despite what people think, Sansa Stark is not stupid.
She knows Margaery's daemon is a coral snake, not a milk snake.
Name: Sansa Stark
Name: Margaery Tyrell
Species: Eastern Coral Snake
Name: Petyr Baelish
Species: Silver fox
for those who don't get the ending re: the snakes
coral snakes are incredibly venomous and some other species of snakes mimic the red, yellow, black patterns of the coral snake for protective purposes. I figured if a nonvenomous snake disguises itself as venomous when it suits them, then in this world, a venomous one could do similar...
His girlfriend Jeyne has been in the bathroom for around fifteen minutes before he hears the resounding "Oh shit," echo through the small apartment. The unmistakeable voice of Jeyne's daemon rings loud and clear as Robb vaults himself off the couch and into the small, shared bathroom with a gusto that his daemon, a greyhound aptly named Grey Wind, could be jealous of.
Jeyne is on the floor next to the toilet, her head pressed against the cool porcelain. Or at least Robb thinks it's porcelain. It's probably some type of knock off. He shakes himself mentally. That's not the point. The point is Jeyne and her head pressed against the toilet and her daemon thumping his foot in agitation next to her. The hare is glaring at him like he's accidentally put salt instead of baking powder in the bread mix (which only happened once thank you very much) and Robb rushes over to his girlfriend's side immediately.
"What's wrong?" he asks, noting she's gripping some object in her hands so tightly her knuckles have turned a deathly white. "Jeyne, baby, what's wrong?"
"She's pregnant, you dumbass!" Again, Jeyne's daemon speaks.
There's a moment of silence as the whole thing slowly sinks into Robb's head. In the time it takes for him to register just in fact what his girlfriend's daemon said, Jeyne has composed herself and brings her head up from the toilet.
"Don't be rude, Flores," she scolds in that voice of hers that is quiet and unassuming but still makes Robb nearly shit his pants every time he hears it. Jeyne is always unfailingly polite. Her daemon, on the other hand, is less so.
Jeyne was raised to be a proper lady by her mother. The Westerlings are very distant and minor nobility, not even really noteworthy, unlike the Starks, but Jeyne's mother is more obsessed with the title than Robb's family will ever be. Jeyne has been in etiquette and courtesy classes since she was three, Robb knows, and on the few unfortunate occasions where he's had to deal with her mother she spent the entire time chiding on his girlfriend.
Robb really hates that bitch of a woman. Her stupid monkey-thing daemon is no better. And despite his rudeness (especially about him) Robb is happy that Jeyne has a less than ladylike outlet in Flores.
"You're pregnant?" Robb says, quite like, as Flores says, a dumbass.
Jeyne gives a stiff little nod and shows him the object in her hands--a pregnancy test with two very clear pink lines.
Robb wracks his brain. Jeyne was on birth control and Robb always wore a condom but obviously something had happened if she was---oh fuck, he thinks. "We didn't use a condom that time," he says. "Two months ago when Theon threw that party and Rhaenys got us totally smashed." In truth, Rhaenys had gotten nearly everyone totally smashed. The princess was a party girl right down to her very soul (which Robb very much believed was going to interfere with her plan to be in the military) and she considered it a failure of a party if at least 90% of the guests hadn't consumed their weight in alcohol.
"What are we going to do?" Jeyne asks, her face crumpled up like she's in pain. Robb cradles it in her hands, smoothing out the worry lines on her forehead. Gods, he can't stand to see her in pain. Grey Wind nudges her with her nose, a silent but every comforting presence. "My mother is going to kill me."
"Your mother," Robb says, "Isn't going to touch you." There's a bit of growl in his voice but that's only because he once saw, way in the beginning of their relationship, Jeyne come back from a weekend with her mother with a bruise coloring her entire cheek. No one's going to hurt his girlfriend. No one.
"We would never let anyone hurt you," Grey Wind assures.
Flores humphs. "You also said you'd never knock her up."
Before Robb can say anything Jeyne shoots a look at her daemon. "We were both drunk. It wasn't his fault."
If hares could roll their eyes Robb swears that Flores would be rolling his.
"What are we going to do?" Jeyne says again and Robb kisses her forehead.
"I don't know. Whatever it is, though, I'll support you. You know that, right?" he speaks softly to her as she wipes the tears from her eyes.
"I don't think I can--I don't think I can kill it," she whispers, "I mean, I know it's medically it's not really a baby yet or anything, I've been to one of Ygritte's pro-choice rallies, but still, the idea, I--" she doesn't finish her sentence and looks down.
"We don't have to," Robb says. "If you don't want to, we don't have to."
"Can we really have a baby? Raise a baby?" Jeyne asks. "Do you really with me when I'm all fat and leaking with a screaming infant?"
"It'd be an honor to be with you if you were a three-eyed alien with purple tenticles from the planet Zoolag," he counters. "I'm not going to leave you. You want to raise this baby, we're gonna raise this baby. We're gonna raise this baby so good. We're gonna raise the fuck out of that baby. We're gonna kick raising this baby's ass."
A smile breaks on Jeyne's face at his less than grammatically correct sentence and she lets out a small giggle. Robb smiles back at her.
He's not like his siblings. He's not as serious as Sansa or as fiery as Arya. He's not brainy like Bran or wild like Rickon.
But he is crazy about Jeyne. He always will be.
Name: Robb Stark
Daemon: Grey Wind
Species: Italian Greyhound
Name: Jeyne Westerling
Species: Antelope hare
this one is written in a bit of a different style and i'm not sure how I feel about it but I think it rings pretty true for Robb.
Theon ages out of the foster system with Kyra still unsettled. He's not particularly worried about it--the social worker who manages his case said that it's common for daemons of those in the foster system to take a longer time to settle. So he has an excuse as to why Kyra is still changing unlike some others.
The Starks make it incredibly clear that Theon may have aged out of the system but he's still considered family as long as he wishes to be. Ned Stark takes him aside and asks him his plans for the future. This is when he finds out that they've been not just saving up money so their children and nephew can go to college, but for him as well. Theon has never been a particularly good student but he is good with his hands and decides to enroll in the King's Landing Technical College and take mechanic courses. If all goes well, he could get his license in a year.
The money the Starks saved up for him could cover his tuition ten times over easily so they gladly pay it and help Theon find a good place to live in King's Landing when he starts courses. As he is about to board his flight he's pulled aside by Catelyn who hands him some wrapped baked goods and tells him to look after Sansa.
Of course, he promises to do so. As much as possible, anyway. Ever since Sansa Stark was sent away to that prestigious boarding school in King's Landing it was almost like she never existed at all. Everyone is too busy, too consumed with their own things, to think about her often and it doesn't help that she never calls or writes. Oh, she used to, he remembers the conversations where everyone is shouting over speakerphone very fondly but as the years have gone by she's become more distant. This year she didn't even come home from summer break.
Theon knows how it feels, to be different, and he promises to seek out his foster sibling as soon as he can.
When they meet again it's in the apartment she shares with her old dorm-mate Margaery. She's lounging on a couch, a beer in hand even though she's definitely not drinking age yet, and Theon is struck by how different she looks from the last time she saw him. Her fiery hair has been cut short and she sports a piercing on her eyebrow, with another three in one ear. There's a tattoo peaking out from her razor-sharp collarbone and he notes just how much the bones stick out from her wrists. On the other side of her face, though carefully hidden with makeup, Theon can make out a fading bruise as well. One that definitely didn't come from a piercing needle.
When Theon asks Sansa what her mom thinks of her new look Sansa just smiles bitterly before replying. "My mom hasn't seen me in over a year and doesn't use social media. I don't think she even cares." From beside her, Lady bares her teeth. The daemon that used to take the shape of dragonflies and little birds is now a large cat. Some type of wild one that he doesn't know the name of. He notes that she still changes rapidly as ever, except for her forms are now big cats, snakes, and larger birds, he swears he even sees the shadow of a wolf once.
"How's school?" he asks and she shrugs again.
"School is school. I'm the star of the drama department," she says these words in an acerbic tone and a toothy smile. "Granted, that probably has less to do with my talent and more to do with the drama professor." She doesn't elaborate further as she takes another pull of her beer. "You're starting at King's Landing Tech, right?"
Theon nods. "Mechanics," Kyra adds helpfully. She's been in the form of a large kestrel, perched on the back of the sofa where Theon sits. Her presence, the only thing even remotely familiar about the current situation, calms him.
"Hmm," Sansa muses. "Ramsay's taking that course, I think. He's a year ahead of me and Marg. Apparently the instructor's a decent guy, named Davos or Daves or something."
"Who's Ramsay?" Theon asks though the question itself makes his gut churn unpleasantly. Something inside of him knows he won't like the answer.
"Ramsay's a...friend. We started hanging out when Joff dumped me for Marg, the bitch." She crosses her legs and can't help but notice the bite marks that show on her upper thighs. The skirt she's wearing is so short he's pretty sure Catelyn would have kittens if she knew.
"A friend that bites you?" Theon asks. "Did you give you that bruise too?"
Sansa sets down her beer, eyes hard. "I think you should go now, Theon." Lady stands up, shifting into a coyote, growling.
Theon puts his hands up. "Okay. See you around, Sansa."
"See you around, Theon."
They do see each other around. At parties and between classes. He watches as Ramsay pulls her into alleyways and under staircases and they do--well, whatever it is they do. It's not like Theon's a voyeur. He goes to see the production she mentioned run by her drama professor and despite what Sansa says about why she's in the lead role he definitely thinks that she really can act. But he also sees the predatory looks Professor Baelish gives her during the afterparty and notices how his hands hover just a little too long in certain spots. Sansa grits her teeth and ignores it, sipping on sparkling water while the rest of them gorge themselves on the expensive food Baelish has brought.
Worry builds in his chest and becomes worse every time he sees her. She's skinnier, sharper, more fragile every time and she refuses to even speak to her mother on the phone. Theon tries himself to tell the Starks what's going on in King's Landing but he notices that every time he expresses his worry it's waved away as something a lot less serious than it really is. It's then that he understands Sansa's sharp smile and her acidic remarks whenever she talks about her family and he can't blame her. Theon knows what it's like to be ignored too, to forgotten about, and so he doesn't push her to talk to them. He's lucky she still wants to associate with him.
He goes to his classes in the day and by night he paces his room, unable to sleep, as Kyra follows him step for step.
There's pressure that's been building for a while now and he fears that once it explodes it will take everything he cares about with it.
And as luck would have it, the pressure does explode around two months later when after the dress rehearsal for another play Sansa is starring in and Theon has been invited to, Petyr Baelish finally makes his move.
Name: Theon Greyjoy
Name: Sansa Stark
More shit going down in the Sansa/Theon storyline. What's going to happen? Keep tuning in to find out.
Chapter 12: Arya II
Not much has changed for Arya in the past few years. Sure, she's finally left junior high for high school where she for once isn't the only one with a settled daemon. She makes friends easily in her shop class, particularly with Hot Pie and Gendry once she proves that she actually knows what she's doing. Her father has enrolled her in fencing lessons, finally, after years of begging, and her mother still hovers but has mainly gotten off her back.
She's still Arya Underfoot, though, and that's fine with her as she takes to her perch on the landing over the dining room where the adults talk and listens to them, Balerion in her lap. Even after all this time they still don't suspect a thing. The landing is where she found out about Jon meeting his half-sister Rhaenys and about the custody war fought between their family and Theon's uncle Euron. It's where she found out Bran would never walk again after his accident falling from one of the old towers of their manor and where Robb told their parents in halting, spluttering words that he and Jeyne were pregnant and going to keep the baby and he planned on proposing to her. Now the landing is where she hears about the events unfolding in King's Landing.
The facts come slowly at first and she almost decides to leave when she finds out they're discussing Sansa. Sansa being gone for the past three years has been, what Arya thinks, a blessing. She never got along with her sister and it was obvious that she would never be able to outshine perfect, pretty Sansa. But Balerion is curious and she can't just leave him there so she stays, listening.
Arya may be only fourteen but she's hardly naive so when she hears her mother mention in a broken voice about 'how could Petyr do this to her girl?' and the fact that Sansa doesn't want to file charges, she knows exactly what her mother is talking about. In bits and pieces she hears more.
He needed a hundred stitches.
The first direwolf daemon any human has had in centuries.
She's so thin, too thin, her bones jut out of her paper-like skin and oh gods what happened to her face, her hair?
When did she start taking birth control? Why is there molly and meth in her bloodwork?
What happened to their little girl?
When Sansa comes home Arya can barely recognize her. She's all sharp edges and acidic smiles, baring her teeth like a growling wolf. Half of her head is shaved and there's a piercing in her eyebrow, her nose, in her ears. Gone are the modest but stylish clothes from the more reputable, ladylike stores; they're replaced by clothes that are ripped and stained and chained and tied. And her eyes, Sansa's eyes are like that of an animal's, always darting around, never resting. Never.
When Catelyn tries to hug her daughter or touch her shoulder Sansa leans away, shrugs her off, glares at her with an intensity that Arya has never seen before. The direwolf at her feet--Lady, could that creature possibly be the gentle, kind daemon that was always in the form of dragonflies and little birds--snarls until Catelyn backs up out of fear. Daemons rarely ever attack humans but obviously Lady is the exception because in that moment Arya realizes why Petyr Baelish needed a hundred stitches.
Arya has no clue what to do about the stranger that is her sister and so she does what she does best, she hides and she listens, and she finds out the answers that her parents are too afraid to tell her. As if she's still some child in need of protecting.
So she listens to the screaming matches between Sansa and her mother. All of them filled with what happened where did we go wrong mixed with you never cared you just abandoned me and we love you so much rebuttled with you barely ever talked to me you're so busy with everyone else
i don't need you
you're not my family
you left me to rot because i wasn't perfect
am i good enough for you now
i have a settled daemon are you happy
it only took a few rapes from your best friend
go fuck yourself
Then the doors slam and the tension in the house simmers because Sansa isn't allowed to move out for her own safety and also by court order because she's sick and needs help and her parents still have custody of her and so the house becomes a warzone.
Arya spends as much time as she can away from the manor and the darkness that has now covered it. Sansa barely speaks to her, barely looks at her after the first time when she tells Arya I'm sure you're so happy now that you've gotten what you've always wanted and it's not true because Arya never wanted Sansa to be hurt she just wanted her to be gone. She winces when she thinks that and Balerion asks her if that's even any better than wanting her sister to hurt but it's not like she wanted this to happen. She doesn't hate Sansa. She was jealous. It was normal to want her perfect sister gone.
She doesn't allow herself to feel guilty because guilt won't solve anything or help anyone and so she throws herself in her after school activities, her shop work where she builds a giant doghouse (direwolf house?) for Lady because she and Sansa spend as long as they can in the Godswood and she doesn't want them to get cold. She even works up the nerve to ask if Gendry wants to hang out outside of school and the stupid bull actually says yes.
Winter break rolls around sooner than expected and Theon also comes home to visit and Arya nearly falls out of the tree she's been watching his arrival in as another giant direwolf daemon climbs out of the car with him. For the first time since she's come back Sansa's face breaks out into a true smile as she runs to Theon and clutches him tightly, Theon clutching her back too like his life depends on it.
Side by side next to them are Kyra and Lady, the first two direwolf daemons in centuries.
Name: Arya Stark
Species: Black cat
Name: Sansa Stark
Name: Theon Greyjoy
She's called Asha. Or Yara. Depending on how they know her. It's only her blood kin (other than her baby brother) who call her Asha. As soon as she was old enough to get the fuck out of the proverbial house she changed her name and swore she'd never go back for anything. Balon wasn't so bad. Yes, he was a violent drunk who loved to use his belt but at least he didn't molest them like Uncle Euron or tell them they were damned like Uncle Aeron.
She remembered nights in her father's ship where she lay awake in her hammock, wondering if she'd be visited tonight and by who. Urri would be in a tensed up ball beside her, usually in some form of serpent. It was always either serpents or sea creatures. Her little brother used to sleep in the hammock beside her, Kyra curled up in the form of a field mouse. Sometimes Euron went to him instead of her and Yara hates the relief that overcomes her when that happens.
She hears her brother's sobs and is helpless because she doesn't want it to be her instead. She knows she can't do anything to fight against her Uncle. Euron's sea snake hisses menacingly as if to prove the case. She's never heard of daemons killing humans but the look in that thing's eyes makes her believe they can and they do. Yara can't stop Euron from hurting them and she can't stop her father from drinking or Aeron from his tirades. Not by herself.
So she does the one thing that every Ironborn child is told never to do. She calls social services.
Ironborn are supposed to be able to take the abuse, the pain, whatever is thrown at them. They're better than Greenlanders and their rules and their inferior land bound daemons. They endure blood, sweat, and tears and keep to their own kind. They're supposed to, anyway.
But Yara can't stop hearing the cries of her brother during the night as she grows older and Euron's attention turns to Theon's more youthful body. So she calls social fucking services as soon as they dock again.
There's a giant fight as Yara and Theon are ripped away from the only family they know. But in the end there's little her family can do as they are moved further inland. The rest of the Greyjoys are bound to the water, like their daemons. They can only watch and curse as the children are taken away. Balon mentions calling his lawyer but Yara knows that he cares more about his next drink than his own children.
At sixteen, Yara is old enough to request legal emancipation and is granted it with very little push back from social services. She's unable to get Theon in her care though and he goes into the foster system. Eventually, she loses touch.
She loses touch because Urri finally settles and like the rest of the Greyjoys, she is now bound to the water. It's their curse, she's decided. No one in the history of their family has ever had a land-bound daemon and no one ever will.
At least that's what she used to think.
When she sees her brother again it's years later. He's an adult (Gods has he grown) and confident and there's a girl maybe a few years younger by his side. Both she and Theon have a number of tattoos and a couple of piercings in between them but they look healthy and happy and smiling. Yara's usually not that fucking sentimental or spiritual but she can see the sharp edges the two of them have, having been ripped apart and sewn together, healed by each other, marks on their very souls.
She also sees the two gigantic direwolf daemons and thanks the Drowned God that Theon has escaped their family's curse.
Name: Asha/Yara Greyjoy
Name: Balon Greyjoy
Species: Great White Shark
Name: Euron Greyjoy
Species: Coral Reef Snake
Name: Aeron Greyjoy
Name: Theon Greyjoy
Name: Sansa Stark
A little insight into Theon's past and his and Sansa's future in this chapter. Yes, I do ship theonsa and because I'm definitely someone who plays favorites you're probably going to see a lot of their stories. But you can definitely request I do other characters. They can be part of larger stories in this series of semi-connected one shots or just on their own. Let me know!
Rhaenys loves her family, truly, but she's the first to admit there a giant clusterfuck.
Her mother and Rhaegar, her father (or sperm donor, as Rhys calls him), don't talk. At all. Ever. She loves her baby brother Aegon to death but he's way too close to Rhaegar for her to be comfortable. Despite being named after her father, (something she's sure her mother regrets), her father wants very little to do with her. Unlike Aegon, she doesn't have the traditional Targaryen features. And more importantly, she doesn't have a dick. Aegon does, however, which means that despite their birth order and the fact that their parents have been divorced almost since he was born, that he's the heir to the entire fucking Kingdom.
Not that the King really does anything other than leech tax dollars and maybe kiss a baby or two. Fuck, Rhaegar chasing babies was the problem in the first place. For Rhaenys cannot blame young Lyanna Stark for what happened even if she wanted too. The girl was sixteen, Rhaegar was well in his late twenties, married, and with two children. When the Crown Prince and future King say 'jump', you ask 'how high'. That's something her grandfather taught her, lunatic that he was.
Rhaenys loves her family, especially the Dornish side, but she wishes they weren't so fucking complicated.
It's at one of the many house parties she attends that she first sees him. Or, more accurately, Rhys sees him and points him out. The clouded leopard catches sight of an all-too-familiar looking daemon. Just like him but with the color drained out and eyes red as blood.
Rhaegar was disappointed when Rhys settled into his leopard form. Doubtlessly he was hoping for something more ostentatiously Targaryen. As if her daemon is going to end up as a fucking dragon. It's the peak of hypocrisy considering Rhaegar's daemon is a songbird.
Rhaenys has learned it's better to treat anything her father says as nonsense songs.
But still, the daemon calls out to her and Rhys like only blood can and she finds herself going over to the sullen boy brooding in the corner before she can even think to stop herself. Jon--his name was Jon, she remembered, looked exactly like a Stark but she could see their shared father in the shape of his nose and jaw and, of course, the perpetual frowning, brooding expression on his face. But other than that, he's exactly like her - not Targaryen looking at all.
It feels good to have another, unfavored, sibling.
The first time she takes Jon to Dorne she's sure he's going to jump out of his skin and book it all the way back to the north as soon as they cross the border. Dorne still has some sovereignty left. Their Princes and Princesses actually did work. Her family made ruling Dorne a group effort and she was certain Jon was terrified they'd order him dead on the spot. Ghost, his silent daemon, obviously said nothing but she noticed her tail twitching with anxiety. She'd seen Rhys do the same exact thing before.
Seeing his stunned face when Elia accepts him with open arms is enough to make her want to cry. Because of course Elia accepts him, of course she doesn't blame him or his mother for crimes not of their own doing, of course this innocent, motherless and fatherless boy is going to tug at her heartstrings. And of course Jon is not going to expect or believe any of it.
He can be so stupid at times. So fucking stupid.
But she understands. She's been there. She's been the ghost lingering in the hallways trying to catch glimpses of a father that never had time for her even before her brother was born. She's been the subject of stares and scrutiny and she's been pushed aside and not recognized for her achievements all because of the nature of her birth. So how can she not take her little brother under her wing? How can she not love him?
Family is a tricky thing. Especially her's. But there's never been a doubt to any of her Dornish kin that Jon was a part of it.
Name: Rhaenys Targaryen-Martell
Species: Clouded Leopard
Name: Jon Snow
Species: Albino Clouded Leopard
Hey guys. Sorry it's taken me so long to update. I was really busy moving house (well, apartment) and still am not totally unpacked or anything. I'm also sick so I've been super stressed and in general not been able to write. I did promise I'd focus more on the Jon plotline so here you are!