Three Months After the Battle for the Dawn
The ship had not traveled as fast as it had to get from Dragonstone to White Harbor, to his displeasure. He had stood at the bow of the ship, begging each day for good winds to take them as fast as possible through the stormy waves, rocking the ship violently for hours on end. Winter was upon the continent and they had endured several harsh storms, almost losing a few ships in the process.
A raven arrived from Dragonstone, from Varys to be specific, telling of the ambush by Euron’s fleet. The death of Rhaegal and of Missandei. The failed peace talks and hostage negotiation. They had sailed fast and hard to get there to prepare for the final battle against Cersei, but it had been in vain. He had known something had happened, preparing for the journey to White Harbor and doubled over in pain. It felt like his heart was being ripped from his chest, something snapping in his mind and he’d been bowled over with his sight going black.
He hadn’t known what to make of it, but when he got the raven, he knew. It had been the severing of his connection to Rhaegal. The feisty green dragon had plummeted to the seas, buried forever in a watery grave just beyond the only home his mother had ever known. Jon felt numb at the knowledge. Two of her children were gone. She’d watched them both die, shot from the sky that should have been their domain. Then she’d watched her best friend, the sweet woman he hadn’t had a chance to truly get to know, but who she spoke of with great affection…he felt sick at knowing that that was what she’d seen.
They were gone. Jorah, her best friend, and two of her sons. Him.
He tried not to think of it. Tried not to consider him part of those deaths. They were over, whatever they had had…as glorious and wonderful as it had been and as much as he yearned to return to those days where they refused to leave her rooms on the ship, but they couldn’t. They couldn’t because she was his aunt and he was her nephew and he had told his sisters about his heritage and he would be a threat to her rule.
The dinghy made its way through the choppy water slowly and he could see the bald Master of Whisperers waiting on the shore. He did not like Varys. Did not trust him or want him anywhere near her, but she claimed to trust him and accept his council. Jon jumped from the boat and trudged through the surf to him, feeling the chill begin to set in as he exited the water. “How is she?” he demanded.
Varys huddled his hands in his sleeves for warmth as they walked up the beach to the massive stone castle. “She hasn’t seen anyone since we arrived. She hasn’t left her chambers. Hasn’t accepted any food.”
The thought turned his stomach. “She shouldn’t be alone.”
“You’re worried for her.” The Spider seemed surprised. He almost chuckled. “I admire your empathy.”
“Aren’t you worried for her?”
“I’m worried for all of us.” He paused. “They say every time a Targaryen is born the gods toss a coin and the world holds is breath.”
Somewhere he had heard that phrase before and couldn’t remember. It meant nothing to him. “Not much for riddles where I’m from.”
“We both know what she is about to do.” Do we, Jon wondered, although he did know. She was going to rain fire and blood down upon Cersei Lannister and bury King’s Landing in ash. He couldn’t say he blamed her. He didn’t like it, but it was war and Cersei had beaten her at every turn.
Either way it didn’t matter what he thought. He stopped, turning to face Varys. He couldn’t read the Spider and nor did he really want to at that moment. He wanted to see her and see how she was doing. “That is not our decision to make. She is our queen.”
That did not stop the Spider. “Men decide where power resides, whether or not they know it.”
A fire erupted somewhere in his belly but he tamped it down. He had had enough. “What do you want?”
Varys’s voice went hushed. “All I have ever wanted is the right ruler on the Iron Throne.” A sick feeling began to spiral out through him. He could hear her words. The warning and the fear. Could see his siblings staring at him and hear them swearing beneath the heart tree. No, he thought. No, no, no. “I still don’t know how her coin has landed.” No, Jon screamed inwardly. “But I’m quite certain about yours.”
There it was. Varys knew. If Varys knew, Tyrion knew. If Tyrion knew…gods. He clenched his jaw, furrowed his brow, and looked to the ship. He knew. Arya would never have broken an oath, but Sansa…Sansa would want to see her gone and him on the Iron Throne. He turned back to Varys. “I don’t want it.” It was futile. No one seemed to listen to him when he said that. He didn’t want to be King in the North either, but they gave him that title. For once he wanted to make his own choices. “I never have.”
Varys ignored him. “I’ve known more kings and queens than any man living. I know what they say to crowds and see what they do in the shadows. I have furthered their designs, however horrible but what I tell you now is true. You will rule wisely and well while she—“
He had heard enough. Voice rough and warning, he stared straight into Varys’s cold eyes. “She is my queen.” Ending the conversation, he turned away and began to walk up the beach to the path that would take him to the castle. The entire way he felt like someone was watching him. They probably were. It was probably Tyrion. He wasn’t sure what to make it anything anymore.
The first thing he did when he got to the chambers where he stayed on Dragonstone was splash cold water on his face and then change his boots from the wet ones he’d walked up in. He needed to think before he went to see her. He didn’t want her to be alone though. That was the worst thing for her. He should know. He’d been somewhat alone when he had realized he’d been betrayed by his brothers. Stabbed and killed. He closed his eyes. Gods.
He made a slow trek to the room of the Painted Table, where he knew she would likely be. She told him on the boat that she liked the room because of its history and what it meant for her family. It was where Aegon the Conqueror plotted and planned his campaign to unite the kingdoms. The open wall to the sea spoke to her and reminded her of living in Essos for most of her life and allowed her the ability to be free. To know that it was hers, all hers.
He knocked and entered, finding her leaning against one of the columns. It had been near three months since he’d seen her, since they had set out from Winterfell with two dragons, her Unsullied, and what remained of her Dothraki. Three months since he’d made it to White Harbor and sent the northern armies on their way. The northern armies had crossed the Trident long before he had arrived and he knew they were camped beyond the walls of King’s Landing, waiting for the signal. They were tired of fighting but they would fight.
He could not believe the woman standing before him was the one he had seen leaving Winterfell, victorious against the Army of the Dead and keen on finally taking what was hers. This woman was sad and sickly, her skin a waxy gray color and her eyes rimmed in red and black bruises. The lustrous silver hair often twisted and turned in so many complex braids he could barely follow them was hanging dull and tangled to her back, a few simple braids woven through.
Missandei used to braid her hair, he thought, his heart clenching for the loss of that poor woman. He took a step into the room. “Your Grace,” he whispered. He wasn’t sure if he could call her Dany any longer.
“You betrayed me.”
He closed his eyes. That was how she saw it. Of course she saw it as a betrayal. He nodded. “Aye,” he whispered. He deserved whatever punishment she would set forth on him. He had betrayed his queen, told his siblings and one of them betrayed him. He looked at the stone floor, a layer of dust over it. “They told me you have been unwell. You haven’t seen anyone.”
“I think someone is poisoning me.” She turned to look at him and he could barely see her eyes in the darkness, but could see a slight shine in them. She tugged the massive shawl, almost a fur, around her body. He frowned; she ran hot and normally did not go for such things. She peered over at him and took a step out of the shadows and into the warm glow from the fire in the hearth.
Varys no doubt, he thought, although maybe that was too much. Varys wouldn’t murder her to get him on the throne, would he? Jon did not want to think of it. He took a step towards her, but her hand shot out, stilling his movement. He stopped. He would not make a move without her, he thought, trying to gauge what was happening. This was his fault, he thought. He should not have told Sansa. She was right. He would never be able to forgive himself.
She kept her hand held out and her dull gaze looked over to him. There was a hatred burning there he had never seen before. He felt sick. She hated him. She was telling him she loved him, kissing him, and he was pushing her away. Now she could barely stand to look at him. “Your Grace,” he whispered, taking another step.
An ugly laugh left her twisted lips. She glared at him with that steel stare. “Your Grace?” she mocked. She took another step. “I thought I was Dany to you. I seem to remember how you would say my name.” Another step towards him and she lifted her head up, breathing, her voice raspy. “Oh Dany, remember how you would say it when your cock was inside of me?” She snorted. He closed his eyes tight, not wanting to think of it. She was angry with him. She had every right to be. “Speaking of your cock in me,” she said, her head angling to look at him. He frowned. What was that supposed to mean? She squinted. “I have something to share with you that you are going to be disgusted by and to be frank, I don’t care.”
What was she talking about? “What…” he trailed off, but she lifted her finger again and he closed his mouth.
She licked her lips and her eyes continued to stare into his. So cold and angry. “You remember how I said it was fine if you came inside of me, because I was barren and empty and would never have children?” She laughed and his stomach flipped, a tingling feeling of horror beginning to creep up his spine. The shawl around her slipped from her shoulders and she let it drop to a puddle at her feet.
Without the shawl he could see the coat she wore, unbuttoned below her breasts and the sides of it flaring out to reveal a protruding stomach. He felt something lurch in his throat. Oh gods. His mouth fell open and he wasn’t sure what was happening, but he found himself on his knees in front of her and her fingers tangling into his hair. He screwed his eyes shut and his arms around her waist, a dry sob heaving from his chest.
Her nails dug into his scalp, angry and stilling his movement as he made to tilt his head up. “You hate it,” she whispered. She kept him on his knees and moved her hands to his shoulders. She spit out. “You want it dead.”
The idea of his child…not wanting his child… “Gods no,” he whispered. He wrenched his head up, fighting her attempts to keep him from looking at her. He was on his knees, begging her. “Please Dany…I don’t…no…not at all.”
“You don’t want me,” she continued, as if she hadn’t heard him. Her voice hollow. Her gaze staring out at something in the shadows. “I have no love here. Only fear.”
“I love you.” It wasn’t how he wanted to say it to her. He wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to say it to her, but he did. He pushed to his feet and tried to take her face into his hands, but she turned her head and he only brushed her cheek. “Dany, I love you. You are my queen.”
“Is that all I am to you?” She pushed her face towards his and her hand rose up to grip at the back of his neck. The way her lips brushed his almost broke him, but he closed his eyes and did not move. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. She tried again and he remained still. She dropped to her feet and nodded. “Then let it be fear.” She turned away and looked into the fire. “I wish things could go back to how they were. Where this child would have you happy and loving it. Not viewing it as an abomination.”
“No child could be an abomination,” he whispered.
She snorted again. “You’re disgusted by it. I can’t even look at you right now.”
“No!” she screamed. She grabbed a glass from the table and flung it into the fire, where it cracked and almost exploded from the heat. She glared at him and picked up her shawl, wrapping it around her again. “Get out.”
He couldn’t just leave her here. How was she eating or drinking if she thought she was being poisoned? He tried to reach for her, but she made a sound that resembled her dragon’s growl and he backed away. He was disgusted, but not in her. Not in their child. In himself. He turned away and exited the room, leaving her as she had requested. He closed the door and came face to face with Tyrion.
The little man looked up at him, his face a mask. Jon waited a beat. “You know,” he whispered. He continued before Tyrion could open his mouth. “You told Varys and Sansa told you.”
The man nodded. “Yes.”
“That was not her secret to share. Not yours to share.” He felt rage start to bubble inside of him. Rage at this entire situation. Rage at Ned for keeping it secret. Rage at Rhaegar and Lyanna for running off together and starting this whole thing. Rage at his sister and Tyrion and Varys and all the machinations everyone had to play with each other. He tried to keep his voice even but the volume rose slightly with each word. “You should have told her. Not gone running to Varys. You never should have continued with it.”
It was like he said nothing. For the second time, one of the so-called advisors ignored him and spoke what they felt. “She is losing her grip, Jon. Too much death in so short a time. I thought she would fly straight to King’s Landing and burn it to the ground, but she’s waited. She will not see anyone but Grey Worm and a couple of her Dothraki. Not even me for longer than a moment or so.”
It was because she hadn’t told him, he realized, cocking his head slightly. He knit his brows together, wondering. He lifted his chin slightly. “She isn’t seeing anyone. See to it she gets food. Have only an Unsullied put it together and bring it. Leave her be.”
“And King’s Landing?”
“When she commands it.” He left Tyrion to wonder about that and went to his chambers. He shut the door with a click and closed his eyes, falling back against it. A child. Seven hells there was a child. A tiny voice in his mind said it was a bastard. He’d fulfilled his greatest fear. Bringing a bastard into the world. Bastard on a queen, of all things. But you’re also a king, the same voice said. She’s your aunt, another said. Starks have married within the family, one of the other voices tittered. They all had different sounds and he opened his eyes and wondered for a moment if he was actually going mad himself.
You are a Targaryen, one of the voice snickered. It would be just like your family.
There was a scroll on the desk in the corner of his rooms that wasn’t there earlier. It must have just arrived. He strode towards it and tore the seal with Winterfell’s wolf. He hoped it was from Arya or maybe Sam or Bran, but he knew it wasn’t. He stared momentarily at Sansa’s neat script writing. He had to read it several times. It was simply one line across the parchment.
You are the king the North needs. The king the Seven Kingdoms needs.
No apology for breaking a sacred oath. He could hear her voice, the coldness in it and the same know-it-all attitude she had had since she was a child, clinging to Catelyn’s skirts and calling him a bastard. She had apologized to him at Castle Black for being an ass to him when he was a child, but did she mean it? It seemed nothing he ever wanted mattered to anyone.
He threw the scroll in the fire. He leaned on the stone above the hearth and stared into the flames. They danced and crackled merrily, but he felt nothing but a gnawing pain and anguish. And rage. So much rage. He closed his eyes, his fists balling on the stone. He waited a second and then let out a scream that came from somewhere deep inside of him. Somewhere dark and angry. He punched at the wall, not feeling when he heard a crack somewhere in his hand. He grabbed one of the chairs and flung it against the wall, where it splintered and rained shards of wood onto the floor.
Then the desk and the door from the armoire, torn clean off its hinges and to the fire. He fell to his knees and screamed and screamed, not caring who heard him.
And when the rage finally died, he fell onto the floor in a ball and cried.
Weeks passed and he couldn’t get her to see him.
Couldn’t look at Varys or Tyrion. Couldn’t respond to Sansa’s ravens, which came every couple of days, asking when the northern armies would advance into King’s Landing. He went out to the beaches and ignored Davos, who had journeyed from Storm’s End, wondering why they were holding on their attack plans. He could not even tell Davos.
He tried to get in to see her, but the Dothraki and Unsullied refused.
Sometimes he would go to the caves where they mined the dragonglass and he would scream so loud and hard he could not speak for hours afterward. He had not answered anyone when his hands were bloodied and bruised and swollen. Davos seemed to know and said nothing.
It wasn’t until he had been at the rock for all of a month when Grey Worm found him brooding on one of the ramparts, staring straight at the mainland and wondering what he should do with the armies next. He looked sideways at her loyal commander. “Come,” Grey Worm ordered, his spear tilted slightly towards him.
It was not a request, so he followed the Unsullied leader to the castle and into the room of the Painted Table. She sat at the fire again, still bundled in her shawls and furs. He was distressed at how thin her face looked, the sallowness in her skin. She said something to Grey Worm in Valyrian. The commander nodded and turned, but not with one final glare.
He stepped towards her. She gestured for him to sit in a chair near her. He did so and waited. She pulled on the shawls and revealed her belly to him. It was larger than it had been. He looked at it and then to her again. She was studying him, but he could not read her expression. “How…how far do you believe you are?” he whispered.
“Probably the boat,” she answered. He calculated. That was about seven months now, he judged. Had it been that long? She folded her hands beneath her belly. “I know Tyrion and Varys wonder what I am doing all this time. To be honest with you I do not know, but I do not plan to have them know until there is nothing they can do about it.” She stared at him for another moment. “I want you to know that when this child is born, I will attack King’s Landing and I will what is mine. What is my child’s.”
My child. Not our child.
He nodded. “I understand.”
“You will have no role in this child’s life,” she continued. He closed his eyes hard at that but she said nothing. “I do not acknowledge bastardy. It is a concept that has always been a mystery to me and there is no reason for my child to suffer when its father is a coward and a traitor to its mother’s love.”
There was no reason to fight her anymore. He nodded. “I understand.”
“I loved you more than anyone.” He lifted his head and his heart broke, seeing her tears. They trickled down her cheeks like tiny streams, glowing in the firelight. “I loved you Jon Snow, so much. I would have married you if you asked me, I would have done everything I could to give you some semblance of a family even if I could not bear children for you.” She smoothed her hand over her belly as she spoke. “But then you told me about your true birth and I still loved you…you were the one who changed it, not me. Did you know Aegon ruled with his sisters? Did you know Jaeherys ruled with his? They were kings and queens in their own right and we could have done that. I don’t know why you think it would have been anything else…but you did.”
“I didn’t want to be king,” he whispered.
“And would it have mattered then if you just stayed silent? At least until everything was over? You could have told Sansa later but you didn’t. You told her and I told you she wouldn’t keep it quiet.” She glared at him again. Her fingers dug into her stomach and her knuckles turned white. He saw a muscle tick in her jaw and the tendons on her neck begin to cord. “All my life I thought I was nothing. A child in a man’s world. The throne was not mine, it was my brother’s and I was but a pawn to help him achieve it. Until I realized that it was mine. It was always meant to be mine. I birthed dragons and I survived fire. I led the Dothraki and the Unsullied follow me. I broke chains and ruled cities.” She shook her head again, whispering. “But I don’t have a cock, so Westeros does not want me.”
He shook his head hard. “That isn’t what it is about.”
“You’re a naïve little fool Jon Snow.” She looked into the fire and smirked. “I lost everything that mattered to me. You came here and you asked for help and said I would rule over the dead if I did not go to Winterfell to stop the Long Night.” She turned her head again and the hatred she put on him almost curled his toes. He felt so much shame from her look. “I loved you and I followed you and I lost everything. I lost my love, my children, and now I probably will lose my throne.”
Dany no, he silently begged, dropping to his knees before her. He took her hands, frowning at how cold they were, and squeezed them tight. He peered up at her and begged. “I needed to think, I needed time. I love you Daenerys. I love you and I want to be with you.” I don’t even care anymore, he thought. I don’t care about the relation or anything. I want you and just you. I want our baby he wanted to scream.
She flung his hands back at him and stood, balling her fists at her side. “It doesn’t matter!” she screamed. “I told you that! I told you it doesn’t matter what you want and you did not listen to me. You told them anyway.” She spun away from him and went to a bottle of wine that had been sitting on one of the tables against the wall, taking a pull from it. She wiped the back of her hand over her lips and then had another drink. She set it down and turned back around. Tears fell down her face and she sobbed, her shoulders hunching as she cradled her belly. “This was not how I wanted things or how I thought they would ever go, which was my mistake.” She gripped her stomach tight. “I have this child. That is all I ever wanted and when I give birth I will go and take the kingdoms.”
“And what will they say then?” he finally asked. He challenged her, if she was going to be so stubborn, then he could be stubborn too. “When you are queen and you have a child and no husband or father present? What will they say then?”
“What is the opinion of sheep to a dragon?” He frowned. Another riddle. She smiled, her eyes glassy and vacant. “Ash.” She laughed, slightly manic. “I told you Jon, it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters to me anymore. You have the cock and that’s why Varys wants you instead of me. It is why Tyrion wants you instead of me. Fuck, it is why your sister wanted you instead of me! She can manipulate you. She thinks I’m the one manipulating you because she only can see people who want power and will do anything for it.” She snorted. “Love means nothing to her anymore.”
All he could do was try to reach for her, but she swatted his hand away. “Leave me be,” she ordered. She turned back around, waving her hand idly towards the door. “I can’t deal with your self loathing right now. Go complain to a tree or someone who gives a shit. I’m tired.”
Jon wanted to shake her. He wanted to grab her shoulders and shake sense into her and then kiss her until she couldn’t breathe. He fought the urge to do something more than nod and turn away, which he did anyways. He walked out of the room and went to his, which he had not allowed anyone to enter. He picked up a piece of the chair he’d broken weeks before and hurled it against the wall, watching it shatter. He went to the open window and stared out at the sea. Drogon screeched and flew off in the distance.
He turned back around and took the latest scroll from Sansa, throwing it to the fire, before he slumped down against the wall and closed his eyes.
More weeks passed.
She had to be almost done with her pregnancy, he thought, but said nothing when he tried to visit with her in her chambers. Every time she left, which was rarely, she bundled in heavy clothing and shawls. He tried to determine if Tyrion or Varys knew. They fluttered about him like birds, trying to get him to tell them what he had seen her in rooms or convince him that it was time for him to step forth.
Varys had the gall to show him scrolls from some of the families. “They were loyal to your father, they will follow you and support your claim,” he said.
“My father was Eddard Stark,” he only ever replied and threw the scrolls to the fire.
The riddle she’d posited to him echoed him with every single step he took through the castle. What is the opinion of sheep to a dragon? Ash.
Sometimes he went out to the beach and wished for Drogon to burn him. Everything made sense to him, knowing what he knew now. Why Drogon allowed him to touch him the first time he was on Dragonstone. Why Rhaegal let him ride. The connection in his mind with the green dragon. The way he could sense their emotions and feelings. Command him in battle. Everything made sense now.
Seven hells, maybe that was why she could get with child. He was a Targaryen. Perhaps this was just part of it. She could only have a child with one of her blood.
He avoided Davos as much as possible, knowing that if he went to the old sea captain he would collapse. It was exhausting. Everything fatigued him and he knew that soon he would need to make a decision. She was his queen and she had said nothing about the armies returning to the North, but soon they would need to do something. Either attack or leave, but they could not stay camped in the Crownlands forever.
There was a child to think about, but Jon could not even really think about the child. She would not let him see her. Sometimes he saw Dothraki women coming and going from her chambers. He hoped they were taking good care of her. He always watched the Unsullied in the kitchens, bringing her food that had not been touched. He thought of Varys, still lurking about and trying to ascertain what was happening behind the closed doors.
And then it happened.
Jon was walking to the room of the Painted Table, in one of his futile attempts to try to see her, when the doors burst open and some of her bloodriders rushed out of the room, pushing him aside. He pressed to the wall, staring in horror as Grey Worm carried her out and down the hall, away from the council room and to her chambers at the end of the corridor. “What is going on?” he demanded, pushing at one of the Dothraki who tried to stop him. He might not be armed, but he would kill if one of them stopped him.
There were some screaming in Valyrian and Dothraki and he could not follow what was happening. Tyrion and Varys appeared, almost out of nowhere, their faces ashen. Tyrion attempted to run after them, screaming. “She is with child!?”
That was right, they didn’t know, or if they did, they hadn’t said. “Yes!” he screamed back and pushed at Tyrion, not caring if he knocked him over. “Yes she’s with child and something is wrong!”
He pushed into the room, watching in horror as the Dothraki women pushed up her skirts and ripped at her small clothes. “Oh gods,” Tyrion whispered from beside him. Blood was pumping out of her and onto the bed. Her skin had gone gray and her eyes rolled back into her head. Blood came from her nose and trickled down the corner of her mouth. The dwarf looked up at him, petrified. “She’s dying.”
No she isn’t, no she isn’t, Jon thought, repeating it in his head like a mantra. He beat and kicked at the Dothraki that tried to stop him, falling against her on the bed and cradling her lolling head into his arms. “Dany, Dany please, do you hear me?” He patted at her cheek and the Dothraki women clucked about, tearing up linens and bringing big bowls of water forth.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw Varys, the normally unflappable Spider looking terrified. He turned to look at him, meeting his gaze, which the Spider immediately averted. “What did you do?” he roared.
“I didn’t know,” the Spider whispered.
That was all Jon needed. He let out a scream. It came from somewhere, he didn’t know where, and he saw nothing but blackness. He felt people grab him, arms tight on his and he fell backwards, continuing to scream. He somehow came back to himself and yelled in continued fear and horror as the blood did not stop. The Dothraki midwives had removed a child from her and he could not even focus on the tiny thing, its arms and legs moving slowly and maybe he heard a tiny mewl from it.
All he could focus on was Dany, whose eyes had fluttered open and closed, and her hand fumbling weakly at her side. He grabbed at it and drew her knuckles to his lips, kissing roughly. He stroked his free hand over her hair, damp with sweat. “Jon,” she breathed. He could hardly hear her.
“I’m here,” he all but sobbed. He pressed his forehead against hers and squeezed her hand, the grip weak and slackening in his. “Gods Dany, please, please stay with me. Don’t leave me.”
“Blood is…” Grey Worm touched his fingertips together, frowning as he stared at the blood from Dany staining them. He looked up and met Jon’s gaze. “Strange.”
Blood coated his hands from gripping at Dany’s and he could feel it on his lips from where he kissed her cheek. He touched at the blood coating her stomach and rubbed it between this fingers. It was strange. It was thin and slippery, more than it should have been. Bright red and so much of it…so much coming from everywhere, he thought. He lifted his fingers to his nose and sniffed. It was sweet. Sickly sweet.
“Poison,” Grey Worm confirmed.
Poison. Someone poisoned her. Someone poisoned his child. He did not process it, focusing on Dany, trying to get her eyes, growing dimmer by the passing second, to focus on him. “Dany I love you,” he whispered, over and over again. “Please, stay with me. We have a child.”
He saw one of the midwives lift up a second child from her womb. Twins. He laughed and kissed her hard, but she felt brittle beneath him. “Did you hear that love? We have twins.” He looked over at Tyrion, who continued to stare in shock at the scene. “What did you give her?” he screamed. He sobbed, hot tears on his face as he turned back to Dany, trying to kiss her back to him. “What did they do you Dany? Why?”
Her eyes flickered again. The violet was dull and the light slowly dying in them. “Jon,” she mouthed. The corner of her lip seemed to pull upward. “You’re here.”
“I love you,” he said against her. He kissed her, ignoring the metallic taste of her blood on his lips. “I love you more than anything. Marry me. Be my wife…I’m so sorry Dany. I’m so sorry for everything…I didn’t realize…” He babbled like a drunk fool over her, kissing her when he could, not even breathing as he whispered pleas to her. Bargained with the gods to keep her with him.
Her fingers loosened in his hand again. Her eyes were almost shut and her mouth moved slowly. He pressed his ear to them and hardly could hear her. “Should…stay…water…”
A few years ago he had heard another woman say something similar as she died in his arms. She died because of him too. They should have stayed at the caves. We’ll go back there, he’d told her. She knew more than him what a lie that was. He couldn’t lie to another woman in his arms again. He closed his eyes and sobbed, rocking her to his chest. “Dany,” he said. He could not stop saying her name.
Even when her eyes closed, the light gone, and her hand slack in his. He no longer could feel her heartbeat or feel her soft breath. Everyone turned to the window, a horrid, blood curling scream echoing through the stone. A son who lost his mother.
And the sound that came from him was something akin to the same.
A dragon that lost his mate.
A wolf that lost their pack.
They tried to take her from him, but he couldn’t let her go. He had left her when she needed him the most. He had shunned her when she wanted him the most. He could not do so now. So he sat with her and he rocked her in his arms and he murmured to her how they would go to that waterfall and he would marry her under a hearttree and he would pledge to the gods under the stars and the moon that he would serve her for life. His queen. His lover. His wife. His Dany.
All the things that seemed to matter didn’t any longer.
At some point, when the sun had disappeared beyond the horizon, and the screams of Drogon had faded to soft cries, he released her and tucked her into the bed, brushing her hair from her face and pressing a kiss to her temple. “I’ll be back my love,” he promised and squeezed her hand.
He left the room and walked down the corridors. He found Varys and Tyrion in the council chamber, both of them in front of the fire, numb and silent. Grey Worm and one of her bloodriders who had taken command after Qhono’s death, a strong and silent man he knew was called Raqho, in step behind him. At the sound of his entry, the two men looked up and their mouths fell open in horror.
Blood was smeared on his face and his hands were stained red. It covered his tunic and no doubt was in his hair. He stared at the two men who had pledged themselves to her. They knew nothing of honor, he thought idly. He blinked and then smiled. “Your Queen has delivered twins,” he announced. Another smile. “I do not know if they will last the night.” He smiled broader and felt something inside of him snap.
Was it his sanity? His reality? His heart? He did not care. The smile had both advisors frowning in worry. He laughed. “Your Queen is dead.” The smile immediately disappeared. His voice went hollow. He stared at them for a moment. “Seize them.”
The protests of the two men meant nothing to him. They echoed in the hall as he grabbed a torch from one of the sconces on the corridor wall and led the small party from the hall where Aegon planned his conquest and where she sought refuge to the beach, where he had said goodbye to her on more than one occasion and where he had hoped maybe one day to bring her to and make love to her on when summer had arrived.
That would not happen. It would never happen.
A series of Unsullied had arrived with more torches and the bloodriders gripped Varys and Tyrion, their feet barely touching the sand. He reached the water’s edge and turned. He felt the presence in the darkness behind him and was glad for it. He searched in his mind and was not sure what he was searching for, but he knew when he found it.
He connected. It did not take long. There was no one else who had the connection now. He could feel the anger and the anguish. The memories of a little boy loving his mother. He didn’t think they could see, but they would soon enough.
He handed the torch in his hand to Davos, who appeared at his side, concerned and confused. “What is going on Jon,” he whispered.
Jon smiled at his former Hand of the King. “You will see soon enough.” He looked at both of her advisors. He spoke calmly. He felt calmer than he had in years. “You both are here to stand trial for treason.”
“Jon, what are you doing?” Tyrion hissed.
“Silence,” he ordered. He scanned his unhinged eyes from one to the other. Varys first, he decided. “Lord Varys. You came to me when I arrived here from the North and said men chose where power resides. Well you were right. I am a man and I hold the power.” He scanned to Tyrion. “And you both have betrayed your queen.” He glanced at Varys again. “And you set to kill her.”
Tyrion gasped and struggled at the Dothraki who had him easily held. “Kill her!? Jon, what are you talking about, no one has tried to kill…” He trailed off and stopped moving. He turned his head and looked at Varys, who was staring straight ahead. “No…Lord Varys…”
The rings on Varys’s fingers glinted in the pale moonlight and the flickering torches. Jon nodded towards them and one of the Dothraki moved, pulling them off his fingers. “I’m sure we will find proof in these,” he said.
Varys took a deep breath and slowly released it. He glanced at Tyrion. “I am sorry, my friend.”
“It is I who am sorry,” Tyrion said quietly. He looked back at Jon. “I did not know she was with child. I am so sorry…I…I should have known and I am sorry.”
“She did not trust either of you to know. She barely trusted me.” Jon could not focus on that right now. He had an execution to perform. He looked at Varys. “You have committed treason against your queen. You sought to kill her. You succeeded. I sentence you to die.”
Davos let out a sound of distress beside him. He leaned forward. “Jon…you don’t have Longclaw with you…”
“I don’t need it.”
It was then they all seemed to feel the presence that lurked behind him. Tyrion began to stammer. “Jon, don’t do this. This isn’t you. You’re in grief and believe me, I understand…”
“On the contrary Lord Tyrion,” he interrupted. He smiled again. Jon felt like he was finally thinking clearly. Like he’d been in a daze for most of his life and finally understood what he was supposed to do. He glanced at Varys, who had not uttered a sound after hearing his fate. “You claimed that you were certain about what side my coin landed.” He frowned, almost thinking out loud. “The thing about coin tosses, Lord Varys…what if they never stop? What if the gods throw it in the air and it just spins forever? Greatness and madness, one over the other for eternity? What if that is what Targaryens really are?” He blinked owlishly at the Spider. “Perhaps then my coin has not landed yet. It is simply spinning.”
The Imp continued to speak, trying to stop him. He waved off the restraints on Tyrion. He did not think Tyrion had anything to do with this, but he needed to remain fearful in case he tried again. He looked at Varys again. “Do you have any last words?”
The man who claimed he had seen kings and queens come and go, had done all their dirty deeds and fulfilled all their base desires for power, and had claimed to know all and see all, like a god among men, merely dropped his chin slightly and stared straight at Jon. “I understand why you are doing this and I wish it did not have to be so.”
Very well. He felt the movement behind him and heard the slight surprise from Davos and Tyrion, while the Unsullied did not move, as was their training. He could feel Drogon’s heart beat behind him, slow and steady, and hear the fire begin to bubble in the back of the dragon’s throat. He had never said the word itself, as Rhaegal had only shot fire in battle and had done it without command. He knew it though and had heard her say it before. She’d told him so in her cabin on the ship, dragging her finger over his heart and scars and whispering random Valyrian words, because she knew he loved to hear it.
The cloth was cool in his hands as he wrung it out in the basin beside the table. He leaned over her still face and carefully wiped at the blood from her nose. He dragged the edge of the cloth over and down, erasing the ugly stains from her porcelain skin. It was now as white as the moon in snowfall, he thought. He dipped the cloth back in the water and carefully moved it over her slim neck.
The basin ran almost black by the time he was done and he’d gone through several sheets of linen cleaning her up. She was lying so still she might have been sleeping, he thought, stroking his fingers over her silver hair, which he’d brushed out and braided, resting it over her shoulder. He had found a pretty red silk dress in her trunks and dressed her in it. He placed a black cloak around her and found an old silver three-headed dragon brooch, threading it through the collar and attaching it to her shoulder.
There was a pyre already set on the beach. He would burn her, the way they did in the North, but only recently to keep people from returning. He was somewhat grateful there was not a red priestess in residence like when he had died, he was not sure he could bear it if they tried and it did not work. Targaryens burned in death, he remembered, from Maester Luwin’s stories.
Daenerys Targaryen was the Unburnt, though. He wondered if she would burn in death.
He heard the door open behind him as he lightly brushed a strand of hair from her forehead. “Yes,” he whispered, wondering who it was.
“Son…I am so sorry.”
Davos, he thought idly, knowing that Davos liked to refer to him as ‘son.’ I have no father, he thought. My father died to a hammer to the chest on the Trident. My father died on the steps of the Sept of Baelor from a knife to the neck. The first woman I ever loved I betrayed and died in my arms. The last woman I will ever love did the same.
Maybe I am the cursed one, he thought, pressing his hand over her somewhat flat belly. He had not thought to ask about the twins. He was not sure he could bear hearing more bad news. He would verify their health when he finished putting their mother to rest. Davos spoke again, undeterred by the silence. “I came to tell you that you have a son and a daughter. They are very small but have good cries. I don’t speak Dothraki but from what I could tell…if they survive the night, they may have a chance. They’re fighters.”
Of course they are fighters. Their mother is a dragon, he thought. He nodded idly and kept stroking her hair. He did this when she was sleeping. She would wake up to it and tell him how nice it felt. He smiled softly. “Maybe I will see you one day,” he whispered. He knew he wouldn’t. There was nothing. Just blackness. He knew more than anyone, for he had died and seen it.
That was probably what distressed him the most. She deserved to be with her family and her sons. She deserved to be in a beautiful place with waterfalls and stars and moonlight. Instead she was in darkness. He closed his eyes against tears. He would not cry. She would not want it. He leaned down and brushed his warm lips to her cold ones. “I love you,” he breathed.
Davos stepped aside as he carefully placed one arm under her knees and another around her shoulders. Her head rested gently on his shoulder. He carried her out of the chambers and down through the castle. All of her bloodriders and her Unsullied lined the steps. They had followed her from when she was just a girl. They would follow her to her death. He heard Davos in step behind him. Knew Tyrion was not far away.
He brought her to the pyre and rested her gently on the platform. My Dany, he thought. He wanted to take everything back. He would live with the regret for the rest of his life. He would die with it in his heart. We should have never left the waterfall, he thought, giving her one more kiss.
Grey Worm approached, handing him the torch. He did not have anything to say, because everyone here already knew how great she was. He only wished the rest of the world could understand what they had lost. Jon stepped towards the pyre, moving to light it, when he paused, Drogon screeching in mourning as he swooped down towards them.
“Drogon,” he whispered, but the dragon did not listen and simply beat his wings, churning up sand and wiping out the torches. The moonlight was the only light and Jon watched in fascination as her son gently scooped her into his talons, her body bowing like a string and her arms falling out to her sides. Drogon cried again and took to the skies.
Jon stared at the great shadow, until it was nothing. He continued to stare, his mind blank. Davos stood next to him. “Where did he take her?” he whispered.
Essos…maybe. Valyria…who knew. “It doesn’t matter,” he replied. Her son would see to it that she was rested properly.
A heavy hand with shortened fingers dropped to his shoulder. “You need to go see your children, Jon.”
He shook his head, still staring into the black night. “No.” He turned around and began to walk back towards the castle, a plan forming in his mind. “No I need to get her kingdom back.”