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A Distance Between Us

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It had been two years.

Two years since her brother, King Rhaegar I, betrothed her to his son, the Crown Prince. Two years of a marriage filled with nothing but misery, loneliness and contempt.

It was the King’s fortieth name day and the Royal Family were holding a grand feast in the Great Hall of the Red Keep in his honour. Nearly a thousand lords, ladies, courtiers and their retinue were in attendance.

Crown Princess Daenerys was seated at the High Table where the rest of the Royal Family were. Her small silver crown glittered atop her carefully coiffed silver hair. Her long sleeved, yellow-gold brocade gown was trimmed with jewels and gems, accentuating her soft lilac eyes. The rouge on her lips and cheeks brightened up her otherwise pale features and she fiddled absentmindedly with one of the rings on her fingers. Teardrops of diamond adorned her ears and a necklace made of dragonbone and crystals hung from around her neck. 

Behind her, atop a tall dais, loomed the Iron Throne. Its thousand swords reflecting the lights of the numerous candles and braziers that provide the illumination for the large ballroom.

A group of minstrels performed uplifting tunes of gaiety as various lords and ladies danced, mingled and gossiped around the centre of the room under the watchful eye of the Kingsguard.

At the centre of the High Table were her brother and his wife, Queen Lyanna.

The King’s heavy golden crown was embellished with large rubies and diamonds glistened atop his silver-blonde hair. He was dressed in rich scarlet velvet with deep purple embroidery mimicking the indigo sheen of his eyes. His long cape was a darker shade of red that spilled over his seat, its fur-trimmed ends gathering on the stone floor.

But his Queen seated beside him preferred a more subdued woolen gown of dark azure with a soft light gray fur wrap around her shoulders. Her silver crown was smaller as well with fewer gemstones. Her dark brown tresses were kept in a simple braid over one shoulder tied with dark blue ribbons.

To the left of the King were three empty seats which had always been reserved for his first wife Elia and her children, Prince Aegon and Princess Rhaenys.

Prince Aegon passed away five years ago when his frail body lost its battle with a blood disease that the Maesters could find no cure for. His mother followed after him, succumbing to her grief and heartache only a year after her son’s death. In their honour and memory, Rhaegar always kept the two seats beside him unoccupied.

The Royal Princess, meanwhile, had been embroiled in quite the royal scandal after her brother’s death. She had gone off and married a bastard knight in her mother’s home at Sunspear. Some thought it an act of spite and rebellion after the King had accepted a marriage proposal from the Sealord of Braavos for his daughter. Distraught and aggravated, Princess Rhaenys hid away in Dorne using her father’s gold and resources to build orphanages and refuges for slaves fleeing from Essos.

Dany remembered Rhaegar and Lyanna’s heated argument a few months before in regards to whether extending an invitation to Rhaenys would have appropriate given her controversial behaviour in Dorne.

Lyanna knew that Jae adored Rhaenys and that preventing Rhaenys from attending such an event would further widen the estrangement between father and son. But Rhaegar was insistent.

No true daughter of mine would act in such a manner, whoring herself off to the first Dornish bastard she encounters!

If only Rhaegar knew that Ser Daemon Sand was not the first bastard that Rhaenys had taken into her bed, neither was he the only one.

“Mama!”

Her deep musings were interrupted as she heard the distinct voice of her son who was squirming in the arms of his nursemaid, Tanea.

 “My love!” Dany called out as she extended her arms towards him, taking him from his nursemaid and into her lap. He had just turned two years a few months ago yet she prayed to the gods constantly that he not grow an inch more so he could continue to be her little babe. 

“Look, Mama! Dragon!” Daeron gurgled as he showed his mother an iron coin clutched tightly in the palm of his small hand, a three-headed dragon etched at the centre.

Dany’s eyebrows lifted with amusement and curiosity as she inspected the coin in his hand. She planted a soft kiss on his temple, brushing back his dark brown hair, “Where did you get this, sweetling?”

“Papa give dragon!” He answered with a smile, his violet eyes gleaming with innocent joy.

Her smile quickly faded as she looked up at Tanea, her eyes widened, “The Crown Prince has arrived?”

The nursemaid nodded, “Aye, Princess. The Crown Prince wanted to see his son before meeting the Royal Princess and her husband at the gates.”

Gods have mercy…

It had been almost a year since she had last seen her husband after he was sent by the King to Braavos on a diplomatic mission to soothe growing tensions with the Braavosi magisters and keyholders after the Royal Princess Rhaenys refused the betrothal to the Braavosi Sea Lord.

Jae’s letters to her were few and far in between. Aside from inquiring as to the welfare of his son, he did not relay any details about his venture aside from the constant promises to be home as soon as he could. Rumors abounded the Kingdoms as to the unnaturally prolonged absence of the Prince. Though Daenerys was never one to listen to idle chatter, the murmurs of the Crown Prince being seen in the company of Braavosi courtesans did not escape her notice.

“Take him, Tanea. I will be by his room later to wish him good night. Go now.” Daenerys quickly commanded, passing her squirming son back to his nursemaid. Daeron started to wail as he was taken from his mother, his tantrum starting to escalate as he called out for her. Dany’s heart twinged as she listened to her son’s cries fade as he disappeared from her sight.

“Did you have to send him off so soon, Daenerys? I would have liked to hold my grandson for a moment.” The Queen said softly, looking in the direction of Daeron’s loud bawls.

Dany gave her a brief forced smile, “It is nearly past his bedtime, Your Grace, and he is still far too young to attend such extravagant occasions.”

Lyanna hummed, her eyes turning back to the centre of the room, “I kept Jae with me wherever I went despite Rhaegar’s protests. He even fell asleep in my arms during my first nameday feast here when he was still a babe. My grandson needs his mother, not a nursemaid.”

Dany had to bite her tongue to keep from retorting. Her good-mother, who also happened to be her good-sister as well, was never one to mince words or shy away from expressing exactly what she thought. But now was not the time to engage in a debate over appropriate parenting.

Dany flicked her pale lilac eyes towards her brother, the King. Rhaegar caught her gaze but before she could say a word, they heard the doors to the Great Hall open.

“The Crown Prince, Jaehaerys!”

Heads turned and voices hushed as the crowd slowly parted. The musicians paused in mid-song as well, and a silence came over the Great Hall. Standing at the centre of the doorway was her husband dressed in all of the royal finery befitting a Crown Prince. His black and red satin tunic was embroidered with gold thread, his long black fur trimmed cape was pinned to his shoulder by a large three-headed dragon pin, draping loosely across his breast and over one shoulder, the long end trailing behind him. Hanging on the side of his waist was his ruby-hilted longsword. Dark breeches and polished black boots completed his look.

The Crown Prince had always been a more than comely looking man. His dark grey eyes and his shoulder length brown hair that hung free on his shoulders was in direct contrast to his father and wife’s exotic Valyrian features. His Stark coloring made him look hardier and out of place in the lavish halls of King’s Landing. But in every other way, Dany could see Rhaegar in him. In the brief moments she saw him smile or laugh, he looked every bit like her brother. However, those moments were indeed rare and she was mostly subjected to his more brusque demeanor.

Jae was absent his crown yet again, but at least he looked the part of a Prince this time around instead of traipsing around in leathers like a common hedge knight like he usually did, Dany thought as she regarded her husband on the other end of the room. As she beheld her husband, Dany found no joy in seeing him, only deep concern for what he was about to do.

Although he was announced, the Crown Prince remained at the top of the small steps.

Dany felt her breath catch in her throat.

Turning to look behind him, Jaehaerys declared loudly, “The Royal Princess Rhaenys, and her lord husband, Ser Daemon Sand.”

There was an almost instantaneous gasp from the crowd and Dany turned her head to look at her brother, whose hands were tightly gripping the sidearms of his chair. His dark purple eyes were filled with dark rage as he watched his son walk down the steps.

From behind Jaehaerys came his half-sister, clad in an extravagant Dornish-styled silk gown. Instead of her typical tiara, she had a gold circlet around her head, gold and silver bangles decorated her wrists and her long, dark curls hung freely over her shoulders. Beside her walked the Bastard of Godsgrace, also clad in Dornish-styled robes that hung open at the front, revealing his muscled chest and abdomen.

The Queen, however, had a subtle smirk on her face as she watched her son stride across the Great Hall towards them.

There was a murmur of hushed whispers as the Crown Prince passed followed by the Royal Princess and her new husband.

Jaehaerys paused when he reached the High Table, standing before the King, he bowed his head slightly, “Your Grace.”

Then he went around the table to give his Queen mother a peck on the cheek.

“Hello, Mother.” He greeted with a smile.

“It’s good to see you’ve returned safe and sound, my son. You’ve been greatly missed.” Lyanna stated, patting his cheek.

“Have I?” Jae asked, his eyes looking up to meet Dany’s.

Dany kept her head held high as Jae walked towards her, then picking up her right hand from her chair’s side, he dropped a quick kiss on the back of her hand before releasing it.

“Wife.”

Dany swallowed hard as she lay her hand back down, “Husband.”

Jae did not spare her a second glance as he went back around the table and returned to his sister’s side.

Rhaenys and her husband bowed before the King and Queen.

“Happy Nameday, Father. I pray the gods grant you peace and a long life.” Rhaenys greeted sweetly as she then slid her hand underneath her husband’s arm.

“Long life and prosperity to you, my King.” Ser Daemon Sand said cordially, “We bring you a gift, Your Grace. My wife has told me that you’ve developed a predilection for Dornish olives and grapes. We have brought as much as our horses could carry.”

Gesturing behind him, several servants walked into the Great Hall carrying in platters of red and green grapes as well as large bowls of glistening olives and laid them at the High Table.

“My, how kind and thoughtful of you both.” The Queen remarked, reaching out to take an olive from a bowl, “Do you not think so, my love?”

But Rhaegar gave no answer as his jaw tightened and the frown on his brow deepened.

Rhaenys took the opportunity to walk around the table, coming up to her father to plant a small kiss on his cheek. Yet Rhaegar remained as stiff as a statue, his dark purple eyes focused solely on the Crown Prince.

“My good-brother,” Jae stated, breaking the gaze he held with his father, “It seems you are without a seat. No matter. You were not expected. That was my fault entirely for not sending word ahead of your arrival. But please, take mine.”

Jaehaerys walked around the other side of the table, bypassing Dany as he lifted the chair beside her and brought it over to the other side of the table.

“Come, sister, take a seat. You, as well, Ser Daemon. This is a feast, after all, and I’m sure you are both famished from your long travels.”

Jae patted the back of the seat that he had just dropped down.

Rhaenys and her husband proceeded to take their seats. All eyes in the room observing the drama unfolding before them.

Dany felt a bitter taste in her mouth as her stomach turned with anxiety.

Jae… you bloody fool…

“What of you, my Prince, shall you not sit and dine with us?” Ser Daemon questioned.

Jaehaerys huffed, “Worry not, Ser Daemon, I was never partial to sitting on chairs too audacious and uncomfortable for my arse.”

Dany could see the King bristle at the blatant quip by his son.

Then, noticing the awkward silence that lingered in the room, the Queen turned to the minstrels, “Shall we not have more music and dancing? Play “The Moondancer and the Sparrow”, I quite enjoy that one.”

The lifting sounds of the lute, pipe and tabor resumed and the Queen stood from her seat, “Ser Daemon, perhaps you would like to join me for a dance?”

The Dornish knight gave his wife a quick glance and when he received the Royal Princess’ nod of approval, he pushed back his seat and walked over to the Queen, “It would be my greatest pleasure, Your Grace.”

Taking his offered hand, the Queen rose from her seat and proceeded to walk with Ser Daemon towards the centre of the Hall. The feast returned to its regular liveliness as the music amplified and wine cups were refilled.

Jae, in the meantime, had his arms crossed as he leaned against the table, engaging in a rapt conversation with his half-sister.

Daenerys fought the urge to scream.

Her hands tightly balled into fists as she looked away from her husband and back to the revelers before her.

She heard the King rise from his seat, and Dany felt a lump in her throat. She felt the uneasy feeling in her stomach escalate as her brother drew near to her, bending over to whisper into her ear.

“You need to speak with that insolent husband of yours, Daenerys. I will not stand for this.” Rhaegar hissed as he held on to her arm.

Dany kept her gaze ahead of her, “He is your son, Rhaegar and your heir. Words may reach him better from your lips than mine.”

“Take that tone with me again, sister, and I will have you thrown out to the streets. Perhaps then my son would be better able to heed words from his wife since he prefers the company in the squalors to his own bedchambers.”

It was then that Dany turned to look up at her brother. Fierce indigo eyes meeting her pale lilac ones.

The King stepped back from her, turning on his heel as he sought out the Lord Commander of his Kingsguard.

Dany swallowed hard, feeling her rage tremble within her. As she took a breath, she felt the heated gaze of a pair of eyes upon her and she looked to see her husband’s steel grey eyes staring at her from the other side of the table.

As her eyes locked on his, it evoked within her a memory from a different feast of years past.


 

(3 years ago)

Princess Daenerys gave a forced smile to the members of the court as she was announced and walked into the Great Hall. A simple circlet graced her head, her silver curls tumbling down her back. Dressed in a simple pale pink gown, she walked up to where her brother, the King awaited her, seated on the great Iron Throne.

“It is with great pleasure and honour, that I announce the engagement of my sister, Princess Daenerys Targaryen, to my son, the Crown Prince, Jaehaerys.”

The Crown Prince stood at the foot of the throne dressed in black leather and coarse furs, his gray eyes somber and cold as he took her hand in his.

They both stood and faced the great crowd that applauded them. Yet despite the joy and excitement that surrounded them, she only felt her heart sink further as a hollow emptiness grew within her.

She bit her lip to bite back the tears as her betrothed quickly released her hand and turned away.

Jaehaerys and her were never close. In fact, she barely got to see him in their years growing up despite the fact that they were both of the same age.

Her father had sent her to Summerhall when she was five to be tutored in the ways of a Royal Princess. She learned to speak, write and read in High Valyrian. how to ride horses, as well as play the harp and the vielle. King Aerys ensured she was also well taught in the ways of politics, geography, history and arithmetic.

After her father’s death, her brother Rhaegar had her brought back to the Red Keep with the rest of her family. Yet when she returned, she only saw Jae on select occasions. Queen Lyanna had a fondness for taking her son on long tours across the country to better acquaint him with the people, oftentimes spending months away from the Capitol. At the time, Rhaegar focused all of his attention on his other son, the former Crown Prince Aegon, who had always been a sickly boy since birth, and had waved away Lyanna’s irregular proclivities with the commoners, much to his later chagrin.

Back at the Capitol, Daenerys had grown much closer with Prince Aegon. They spent many lovely mornings in the Royal Gardens of King’s Landing. He enjoyed looking out over the Blackwater, imagining himself to be a pirate that would sail the fourteen seas twice over. It broke her heart terribly when the Prince's illness finally took him and, it broke her heart further to see how Prince Aegon’s death deeply affected her brother and Queen Elia.

Now that Jaehaerys had become the new heir-apparent, and with Daenerys’ own eighteenth Name Day quickly approaching, Rhaegar had made the decision to betroth them both to each other in order to continue the line.

Now here she was, the Crown Princess, destined to be the next Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Yet some days she wished she was back in Summerhall singing at the top of her lungs as she ran through the lemon tree grove in the gardens. She even wished that it was Prince Aegon she was sitting next to at her engagement feast, he was always sweet and kind to her. He would have made a good husband if he had not been already promised to Rhaenys before his death.

“You’re not eating. Does the veal not appeal to you?” A voice asked breaking her thoughts.

She blinked as she looked to her right. Jaehaerys was leaning back on his chair with a bored expression.

Dany gave him a small smile, “It’s...It’s been a trying day. I fear I’ve lost my appetite, my Prince.”

He scoffed as he sat up and picked up his goblet of wine, “Please. No need of that. You can call me Jae. You are my aunt after all, and my future wife.”

Although a little taken aback as his abrasive response, she continued, “Of course. Jae.”

Mimicking her betrothed, she took a sip from her own cup, wetting her lips with the taste of red Arbor.

Realizing she should start getting to know him a little better, she sat up a little straighter and leaned towards him, “I hear that you and the Queen were at the Wall. It must have been quite a sight.”

“It was.” came his simple answer.

Dany felt the chill in his response, “I am sorry if I somehow offended you in some way.”

“Offended?” He asked as he glanced over at her, his grey eyes glinting with silent rage, “Is that how you would describe being summoned here like a dog and then being forced to marry someone not of your choosing?”

She heard a slight Northern brogue in his voice, perhaps owing to the constant visits he and his mother often took to Winterfell.

“Is that how you truly feel about our engagement?” She felt her lower lip start to tremble.

“I’m surprised you don’t feel the same way after being treated in such a manner by your own brother.” Jae remarked bitterly as he finished the wine in his cup.

“He is the King.” Dany pointed out.

Her betrothed huffed, “A King who thinks only of himself and pays no mind to anyone else, not even his own people.”

She could feel her face growing hot from his impudent comments, “If you must know, I was not at all ecstatic about this union, either. Were I to have had a choice in the matter..”

“You do have a choice.” Jae stated firmly as he laid his cup back on the table with a loud smack.

A few people turned their eyes to them, startled at the abrupt sound. Dany turned her head to see the King’s eyes on them as well.

She struggled to keep her composure as she turned back and gave Jae a shaky, tight-lipped smile, “I do not. My duty is to my King and to the realm. As is yours.”

To her surprise, Jae pushed back his chair and grabbed her by the hand. He jerked her up so she stood, her chair falling behind her eliciting a gasp from those around them.

“Wait!” Dany cried out as he pulled her past the tall pillars and up the small staircase into one of the outer rooms adjoining the Great Hall. He led her down the long hallway and pulled her into an empty room, shutting the door behind him.

“What--What do you think you’re doing?” Dany asked, but her breath catches in her throat as Jae pushes her back against the door.

His hand pins her against the wooden frame, and he brings his face so close to hers she could feel hot breath on her cheek.

“You listen to me and you listen to me well, Daenerys.” Jae said under his breath, placing one hand against the door over her shoulder, “Once we say our vows before the High Septon, you will no longer be Daenerys Targaryen, sister to the King, you will be my wife. The Crown Princess. The next Queen.”

He pressed his body against hers and she felt her face grow warm at the sensation of his weight on hers. His dark grey eyes peered intensely at her, tendrils of his dark hair falling over them.

“As my wife, your duty and your loyalty will be to me and me alone. You will bear and raise my children, keep my secrets and you will never, ever betray my trust. You will be mine. You will answer only to me. Is that understood?”

His grip tightened around her wrist as he seethed, “I said, is that understood, Daenerys?”

She nodded quickly and her reply came in a short gasp, “Yes.”

He gave a quick nod of satisfaction and released his hold on her but he remained pressed against her.

“Daenerys.”

Her name was a whisper on his lips before he captured her own with them.

But it wasn’t a kiss of passion or one of a bashful suitor. It was powerful, insistent... commanding. As if he was eliciting an assurance from her, marking their agreement with something worth more than mere words.

Her hands clutched on to his tunic as she opened her mouth to him. But just as she did so, he pulled his head back breaking the kiss.

Her breaths came in quick gasps as her eyes opened.

Jae stepped back from her, taking deep breaths of his own. But while her lilac eyes were muddled in perplexity and trepidation, his own eyes were clear and certain.

He gazed at her for one more beat until he moved to pull her aside so he could open the door.

Dany was left shaking before turning to look as his figure walked out the door and back down the hallway.


 

Daenerys was brought back to the present as the music ended and the sound of applause rung out in the Great Hall.

She recalled the words Jaehaerys had spoken to her all those years ago and the brief kiss they had shared to seal that promise. She had such hopes back then, such dreams... now all lost to the winds of time. The only joy she found was in the birth of their son.

Realizing that she had promised to see Daeron before he was tucked into bed, Dany slowly pushed back from her chair and rose.

Her husband was now surrounded by a few ladies of the court, no doubt regaling them with his exploits across the Narrow Sea. She could hear their peals of laughter flitter through the air as a new song started to play.

Gathering the skirts of her gown, she made her way around the table towards the archway that would take her to Maegor’s Holdfast. But just as she was about to leave, she felt a gentle hand on her shoulder.

Dany turned in surprise but then her look of bewilderment quickly melted into a smile of relief and recognition.

“My Princess.”

Dany laughed as she regarded him, “Lord Velaryon! Or should I say, Lord Admiral?”

“Please, Dany. When have we ever addressed each other with such formality?”

Dany grinned as she extended her hand towards him, “It’s so good to see you, Aurane. It’s been too long.”

Aurane Velaryon took her hand into his and pressed a soft kiss on her knuckles. His long silver-blonde hair was tied back with a simple ribbon. His green and gold armour looked well-polished as the silver seahorse emblazoned on his chest plate reflected the orange glow of the braziers.

Though he was a few years older than she was, Dany had developed a secret fondness for the heir to the Driftmark during their younger years when he had spent a lot of his training and formation at King’s Landing. She had always tried to sneak a peek of him sparring in the outer courtyard, impressed with his handling of the sword and spear.

They had shared a few private moments together, but nothing substantial ever arose between them except for one night when she had dared to kiss him on the cheek before running back to her chambers, blushing furiously.

There was even a time when Dany had hoped that Rhaegar would betroth her to him, knowing his family were one of their most prominent allies in the Kingdoms. But, as with everything else, it was nothing but another unfulfilled dream.

“I could think of no one better to be the new Master of Ships.” Dany said warmly.

“Yes,” Aurane answered, his grey-green eyes twinkling as he smiled at her, “It was an honour when I received the news from the King himself.”

“Perhaps you can call on me some time and you can tell me all about it.” Dany suggested with an apologetic tone, “Forgive me if I seem rather abrupt, but I must go see my son.”

Yet Aurane had not yet let go of her hand. Instead, he pressed it even more firmly in his grasp.

Dany felt her throat constrict and her heartbeat quicken as she recognized the meaning in his gaze, which darkened as he pulled her back behind the pillar in order to block the line of sight of many prying eyes.

“Please, Aurane.” Dany interrupted as she tried to wrest her hand back from him.

“It’s no secret that you’ve been unhappy, Dany. Particularly tonight with the Crown Prince’s return and the charade he has brought before the court... there is no excuse for the disgrace he’s done to you.”

Dany closed her eyes, fighting back the tears that threatened to rise behind them.

“You don’t understand...”

“But I do understand.” He insisted as he drew her closer to him, “I understand more than anyone else. Have you forgotten all those nights we shared together on the battlements where we spent hours counting the stars in the night sky?”

“No, of course not.” Dany answered, her chest aching from his words, “I remember those nights as if they had just happened but moments ago.”

“Your eyes used to brighten up with so much joy and now only dark hopelessness clouds them. It is not right to have such beauty and vitality extinguished by such a man.” His hand came up to her cheek.

“Aurane...”

“Rhaegar is sending me to the Summer Isles to oversee the new trade routes with the Islanders. You can come with me.” He whispered.

She shook her head, “Let me go. If the Crown Prince knew of your intentions, he would--”

“Fuck the Prince.” Aurane seethed under his breath, “He has never loved you, Daenerys. A man who does would not have the gall to treat you in such a manner, to leave his wife and babe while he devotes his time to strangers across the sea.”

The Lord Admiral took a deep breath, before he looked back at her, “But I love you, Dany. I do, I always have. I was a fool to not have taken you with me when I had the chance. Though I was just a green boy then with no rank, fortune or station. But now I have ships and armies at my command. Just say yes, and I can take you anywhere in the world that you want to go.”

Dany swallowed hard. He made it sound so easy, so simple. Did he forget who she was? Did he forget where they were? If he had only made this proposition five years ago, she would have gone without hesitation. But things were different now, and she was no longer a love-sick naïve girl with hopes and dreams of such a life.

A tear finally escaped the corner of her eye as she pulled away from him, “You forget your place, Lord Admiral. I am the Crown Princess and my son will one day be King. You can’t expect me to leave him without a mother... nor can you expect me to betray the trust of my husband.”

“But, Daenerys--"

Dany took a few steps back, her hands fisting the silk of her gown, “I am sorry, Aurane. But I cannot and I will not forsake my marriage vows nor my duty to the Throne.”

He frowned deeply as she evaded his touch, “Dany…”

“Is everything alright here, Princess?”

Ser Barristan Selmy’s deep baritone voice asked from behind her. Dany almost sighed with relief as she felt the presence of the her brother’s Kingsguard behind her.

“Yes, Ser Barristan.” Dany answered without looking to him, her lilac eyes still holding the Lord Admiral’s gaze.

Aurane cleared his throat, dropping his eyes from hers as he accepted her response. He gave her a short bow, “I take my leave and bid you good night, my Princess. I wish you good fortune for all your days.”

“And I you, Lord Admiral. I pray the Seven guard you well on your journey and bring you to your destination safely.” Her voice resolute but she prayed he could see the unshed tears in her eyes and know the true meaning behind her words.

As he walked past her, Dany shut her eyes and breathed deeply.

“Princess?” Ser Barristan asked, the sound of his armor clinking as he walked closer to her.

“I need to see my son, Ser Barristan. Will you accompany me to his quarters? I would feel much safer with you at my side.” Dany said as she turned to face the old knight, giving him a soft smile.

“You need not have asked, Princess, I am your sworn shield after all.” Came his response.

Dany nodded as she picked up the skirts of her dress once more. She gave one last look into the Great Hall.

Once again, her husband’s eyes met her own. There was a darker fury in them now as he glared at her from across the room.

Instead of fear, Dany felt a surge of her own ire creep up inside her heart and lifting her head, she tightened her lips and turned to leave the Great Hall, Ser Barristan following closely after her.



 

The candles burned low in her chambers as Dany sat at her dressing table, her handmaidens removing the jewelry off of her hands, wrists and neck while also unbinding her silver hair from the various pins and ribbons that kept it in place. One of the young girls had just finished tying off the long ribbons at the back of her cream silk nightgown. The wide neckline causing the sheer garment to hang off one of her shoulders, revealing the Princess’ ivory skin. The cuffed sleeves wrapped loosely at her wrists.

Just then, she heard the sound of her bedroom doors opening, looking up into the mirror, she saw her husband standing at the doorway. He had changed out of his royal garments and was clad in a simpler linen tunic with a belt tied around his waist and leather arm bands on his wrists.

Her handmaidens quickly straightened up and curtsied low before the Crown Prince.

“Leave us.” Jaehaerys commanded softly though his eyes looked straight at Dany through the mirror’s reflection.

The three young girls looked hesitantly at her, but Dany gave them a small nod of reassurance. Her handmaidens paid their respects to her before they quietly left the room, one of them shutting the doors behind the Prince.

Dany said nothing as she gazed at her husband. It was at this moment that she could better appraise her husband’s changed appearance. He seemed much leaner than she remembered and his skin bore the aftereffects of one too many days under the hot Braavosi sun. The front ends of his dark hair were tied back, accentuating the features of his chiseled face.

Dany picked up her ivory hand brush and started to run it down her waist-length silver tresses. An easy distraction to keep herself from seemingly gawking at her own husband.

“Did you truly miss me, wife?” The question was devoid of warmth and his mouth was a grim line across his face.

Dany felt her lips twitch slightly at the question, but she gave him a feigned smile, “Of course.”

“You did not seem too happy to see me when I entered the Great Hall. You also left the feast rather prematurely.” He remarked as he walked further into her bedchambers.

“It wasn’t as if you were particularly over the moon with joy to see me either.” She responded simply as she continued to brush her hair, “I left because I needed to see our son to bed. He sleeps easier when I sing to him.”

“Are you certain that is the only reason?” He asked, his voice was calm yet tainted with a coldness that made her pause.

Dany set her hairbrush down slowly as she turned to face him, “Yes. What other reason would there be?”

“You think me a fool, Daenerys?” Jaehaerys hands were fists at his sides as he spoke.

“I do. But not for the reasons you think.” Dany stood from her seat, a fierceness rising in her tone, “Were you proud of that spectacle you caused tonight? Bringing Rhaenys and Ser Daemon to the King’s own nameday feast? What madness possessed you to do such a thing?”

The frown deepened on his brow as he walked closer to her, “She is his own daughter, and my sister. What right did he have to keep her from her own home?”

“He is the King, Jae! He has every right!” She retorted, “It was Rhaenys who brought all this upon herself. You know this better than I do, do you not? From what I hear, Rhaenys was content to live the rest of her days in Sunspear. She hasn’t considered King’s Landing home since... since...”

Since Aegon died...

Dany couldn’t bring herself to say it. Sighing with frustration, she moved past her husband, wrapping her arms around herself.

“Rhaenys was right.” Jae murmured, as he walked towards a side table that had a pitcher of wine and a few goblets.

“About what?” Dany asked.

“About you. About Father. All of you Targaryens. Thinking the entire world revolves around you, believing you’re chosen by the gods.” Jae said bitterly as he tipped the goblet into his mouth.

“You are a Targaryen as well, Jaehaerys. Lyanna Stark may be your mother, but you are my brother’s son and the blood of the dragon runs in you just as it runs in me.” Dany said as she faced him once again.

“Shall we be like the dragons of tales and legends then? Hoard gold, burn everything in our path? Take what we want regardless of who stands in the way?” He asked looking behind his shoulder.

“You and I both know that we are nothing like that.” She responded heatedly.

“I beg to differ.” Jae stated bluntly, “My sister and I have been fortunate enough to see more of this world with our own eyes. What Rhaenys has done for the orphans and bastards of Dorne has well-exceeded anything that my Father has done for the Seven Kingdoms. Targaryen benevolence is a myth unless it serves his interest and nothing more.”

Dany felt her blood boil with rage as she glared at him, “How dare you say such a thing about our family, about your father, the King? Have you no shame?”

Jae slammed the goblet on the table, “You are in no position to speak to me of shame, woman! Not after openly flaunting yourself with that sea serpent, Aurane Velaryon!”

Understanding dawned on her as she drew close to her husband, “Is that what this is all about? Your jealousy towards Aurane Velaryon?”

Jae's stormy grey eyes darkened as he looked down on her, “It isn’t jealousy that concerns me, only your flagrant lack of self-respect and dignity.”

Dany seethed, “Says the man who had no qualms in abandoning his own wife and child for nearly a year across the Narrow Sea!”

“For all your disdainful judgment of my loyalty to my father, how quickly you forget that I was in Braavos at the King’s command!”

“The King’s command was for you to negotiate peace treaties with the Braavosi.” Dany pointed out bitterly, “Hardly a venture requiring more than two moons at the most. Yet you saw it fit to linger for far longer, and yet you’ve never bothered to tell me why!”

As she turned away from him, Jae grabbed her by the arm, “It seems it was wise of me not to since I find you’ve been keeping your bed warm while your husband was away doing his royal duty?”

Dany huffed with disbelief at his accusations. Resisting the urge to slap him, she instead channeled her spite through her voice as she glowered at him, “Do you want to know the truth about Aurane? Then let me tell you. He told me he loves me, Jae. He loves me. He wanted to take me with him to the Summer Isles. Away from King’s Landing, away from you! He could see how much of myself I’ve lost since our marriage and for a moment... I almost considered saying yes.”

Her hands groped the front of his tunic as she continued, “But I didn’t. I told him that I would not forsake my duty to the Crown. I would never leave my son.... and I would never leave you.”

His hands immediately caught both her wrists, gripping them so tight she gasped in pain as he said in a low, sinister voice, “Did you tell him this before or after he fucked you?”

Dany shook her head with anger, “I have never taken Aurane Velaryon or any other man into our bed! You can choose to believe it or not. The fact that you could even think such a vile and disgusting thing says more about you then it does me.”

"Are you so certain of that?” He asked as he tightened his hold on her.

“I have been nothing but faithful, loyal, and true as your wife and as the mother to our son.” She answered vehemently through gritted teeth as she strained in his grasp, “I sat on councils that you should have been a part of, attended tourneys and feasts that required your presence more than mine, looked after the needs of the people who would one day call you King.”

"Do you expect me to thank you for doing your duty? When you can’t even keep to the promises you made me before we were wed. Do you think I did not take notice of my father whispering into your ear as you throw yourself at other men in my presence?” Came the savage whisper.

“I have kept my promises and more! If there is an oathbreaker between us, it is you not I!” She answered back, the words spilling out of her mouth before she could stop herself, “You promised to return for Daeron’s second nameday, but it came and went without you. All because you were occupied doing your duty, were you not? Only it never occurred to me that diplomatic negotiations would involve consorting with Braavosi whores! Were the magisters not enticing enough for you? Perhaps if they were, you might have been home sooner.”

Her words hung in the air as a tense silence grew between them.

Jae’s gaze was sharp and piercing as a wild growl emerged from his lips. His hand quickly wrapped around her pale throat, slamming her against the stone pillar in her bedchamber.

She groaned slightly from the pain that shot up her back but she was determined to remain resolute as she held his arm with both her hands.

"Are you going to hurt me now, Jae?" She challenged, daring him with her words.

"No..."

Her heartbeat began to quicken, but for some reason she felt no fear. Instead something else started to stir within her as her amethyst eyes bore into her husband’s dark grey ones.

She felt his grip on her throat tighten. But just when she thought he was on the verge of strangling her, he instead pressed a harsh kiss on her lips.

The action brought a strange sensation of revulsion and wrath within her as she pushed him back roughly.

SMACK!

Her slap came hard and swift, landing on his right cheek. Jae’s dark hair covered half his face as he slowly turned his vicious gaze towards his wife. A red shine appeared where she had hit him.

Dany’s breathing came in deep heaves, her palm stinging from its sharp contact with his skin.

She had never hit him or cursed at him this way before... she had never done anything to him before that went beyond what was required or expected of her. But this was also the first time that he had been just as physical with her. She had managed to hold herself off for as long as she could, but it seemed her hand had a mind of its own.

There was a dark, hate-filled tension between them as they scowled deeply at each other. Both were abhorred and yet strangely intrigued by their sudden and heightened reactions.

He drew closer to her, unbuckling and tossing his belt aside as he backed her up against the pillar once more. Holding both her wrists with one hand, he lifted them above her head.

He bent his head down, breathing in her scent before he captured her lips once again, his tongue brutishly seeking entrance into her mouth. As he leaned into her, she felt his hardness pressing on her stomach.

The fact that their heated and callous exchange had aroused him caused her to detest him even more, but her face burned with shame as she felt a discomforting stirring between her own thighs.

The surge of heat in her loins as well as her own rising fury caused her to finally grant her husband the access he desired. Immediately taking advantage of her open mouth, he wasted no time in sucking roughly at her tongue as his free hand gathered her silk shift and spread her legs apart so he stood in between them. His kisses muffling her moans as his hand then moved to frantically unlace his breeches.

Dany cursed silently at herself for not only allowing him to take advantage of her this way but also because her body responded so eagerly to him.

She felt a desperate ache to be filled, it had been so long since he had last coupled with her, but their lovemaking had never been anything more than an obligatory act that was quickly over and done.

But this night... this night as her husband’s teeth sunk into her shoulder, she could almost forget that this was the same man that she married. That thought alone was enough to awaken something that had lain dormant inside her for all her life as she screamed.

Just then she felt his fingers slide into her already slick folds and he whispered into her ear over her loud gasps, “How does it feel, wife? To doubt the one you married? Did you think of another when you touched yourself at night? Or perhaps, did you imagine me pleasuring another woman this way?”

As he taunted her, his fingers pumped furiously into her sopping cunt. Her loud cries were a combination of frustration, rage and ecstasy.

“You...disgusting....pig!” Dany cried, though her body betrayed her every word as she felt herself clench tightly around his probing fingers.

Finally, he pulled his hand from her nether regions in order to free his cock from his breeches.

"Tell me to stop and I will." He said in a husky voice.

The words were on her lips but the truth prevented her from speaking them. 

Looking straight into her eyes, Jae sheathed his full length inside her and a high-pitched moan escaped her wet lips. She felt her tightness envelop him completely. Her head was thrown back against the pillar as he pulled back and drove back into her once again. 

He lifted her up and her legs instinctively wrapped around his waist as he thrusted his full weight into her one more time. Tears stung her eyes as a jumble of emotions flowed through her.

Jae’s cock was hard, thick and it opened her wide, filling her completely. His hands tightly held her arse as he continued his relentless charge.

Dany grunted hard as she pulled her hands free from his grasp so she could grab his face and gave him a hard kiss of her own, biting down hard on his bottom lip.

With a loud wolf-like growl, Jae moved her from the pillar and shoved her atop her dressing table, knocking off the various items that were on it. The clash and clatter of broken glass, boxes and other trinkets resounded around them as his hands grabbed the front of her silk nightgown and ripped it open. Her full, rounded breasts were laid bare and Jae wasted no time in taking an erect nipple into his mouth.

Dany mewled in pain as he nipped and sucked, first one breast then the other. There was no softness or care to his ministrations as she grasped and pulled at his hair while he bit into her soft flesh, leaving glaring red marks on her skin.

She squirmed and yelped as his teeth grazed the skin under her taut areolas.

As she pushed him off with a knee to his chest, Jae took this moment to flip Dany over, pushing her atop the wooden surface of the table, her hands bracing against the mirror, her ripped nightgown barely clinging to her body. Pushing the silk garment above her waist to reveal her drenched, pulsing pink folds and her smooth round bottom.

Dany’s head fell against her arm as her husband’s hands spread her thick cheeks. Before she could groan in impatience, he rammed his erect member, already damp with her fluids, back into her gaping hole.

The wooden dressing table shook and thrummed with each powerful, frantic thrust. The increasing pitch of her sighs and moans blended in with the sound of his skin slapping against hers.

A hand grabbed a fistful of her tangled silver hair, forcibly pulling her head up so as to find herself staring into her own reflection. Her amethyst eyes were glazed over and wet with tears while her pink lips were raw and swollen from his merciless kisses. She could barely recognize herself. Was this truly the Crown Princess, Daenerys Targaryen laying on her stomach on her own dressing table watching as her husband took her from behind like a common whore?

“Look at yourself, Daenerys.” He breathed as he tugged on her hair, “Is this what you want? To be fucked like a common whore?”

It was as if he had voiced her very thoughts. But the shame and depravity of what she was witnessing only increased her concupiscence as she found herself anticipating every vigorous stroke. She could feel her peak coming in close and fast and she knew that he was aware of it as well as he slammed into her with more ferocity.

“Yes...” The word a soundless gasp as it escaped from her.

His other hand moved from her hip to her shoulder as he pushed her down, “Say it!”

“Yes!....Yes!... Ahh...Ahh....Yes!”

 Her lewd shrieks echoed loudly as did the creaking of the table as she closed her eyes, her mouth hanging open as a trickle of drool escaped the side of her lip.

Then the sharp wave of euphoria crashed into her senses, a blinding flare bursting behind her eyes as she exhaled with a strangled sigh, her brows creased as her climax emptied her mind.

Her eyes fluttered open, heavy and intoxicated. The sweet, musky scent of her fluids tainted the air around them. His cock was still stiff and throbbing within her though his movements had stilled.

His hand was still wrapped around her hair as he bent down to whisper in her ear once more.

“Are you satisfied, wife?” He asked.

The mocking tone relit the flame within her as her breathing started to quicken.

“Satisfied?” She repeated in a low murmur, “No. Never. Not once in all these years.”

His cock slipped out of her and her fluids trickled down her inner thigh. He turned her around to face him and grabbed her jaw.

Kesā sagon jorepagon syt nyke gō se bantis iksis toliot.” Jae whispered as he tilted her face up to his.

Her pale lilac eyes widened. She had never heard him speak High Valyrian before though she knew that he must have had lessons as a child, same as she. His time in Essos may have honed his use of it as well. Yet, hearing the Valyrian tongue spoken with such clarity and force evoked a primal urge within her that did not abate.

Gaomagon ziry. Nyke hae naejot ūndegon ao sylugon.” She responded with equal acerbity.

When he kissed her again, she no longer put up any resistance but instead matched his intensity with her own. Her fingers pulled at his tunic and in a moment, they broke up apart briefly as he hastily cast aside his garments and stripped her of her tattered nightgown. Within moments, their flushed and sweltering bodies pressed against each other, unencumbered and bare.

With one fisted around her hair and the other wrapped around her waist, Jae quickly guided her towards her bed.

She couldn’t understand how she could loathe his touch and yet feel equally desperate for it. She could barely control the wanton cries that she made. She felt a sudden, urgent desire to cause him pain, to make him taste a little of her vengeful nature.

Panting feverishly, she managed to push him down on to the bed, straddling him as she ran her fingernails down his muscled back, leaving long red streaks. He hissed with pain against her lips and Dany took this moment to move her mouth down to the side of his neck which she then proceeded to bite down with force.

Jae snarled as he pulled on her hair, yanking her head away, the stain of his blood on her bottom lip, “You vicious, pretentious bitch...”

In response, she lifted herself on to his still erect cock, his girth filling her once more as she threw her head back with a groan.

The taste of iron on her tongue, the feel of her husband’s cock pulsing inside her, the thrill of the pain, the pleasure and the unbridled wildness that overwhelmed her nearly pushed her to the brink once more.

His hands dug into hips before moving to the soft smooth flesh of her round arse as she rode him hard and fast. His teeth returned to ravage her breasts as her breathless whimpers echoed throughout the room.

As her fingers clung to his hair, she could feel the fire rise up quickly within her once again and she felt herself tightening as her movements turned even more erratic and urgent.

She heard an impatient growl and felt her body turn, Dany found herself on her back, the soft mattress bearing her bruised body while her husband held her thighs apart, driving deeper and deeper into her.

Ivestragon bona iksā ñuhon! Mērī ñuhon! Jorepagon syt nyke! Jaelan naejot rȳbagon ziry!” His voice was insistent, barbaric... as desperate as her own. The Valyrian words were like a chant that kept her enthralled in its spell.

She did not wish to heed him, but she needed it. Gods know she needed this, more than life, more than love, more than anything she thought she needed before tonight.

She needed the release...the escape... the pounding flesh that both filled and emptied her.

She needed to be free, if only for a moment, from the unending, stifling demands of a life that pulled and pushed at her.

Princess...Sister…Wife...Mother...Future Queen...

She needed to drown out the unending cacophony of a thousand voices that called to her, demanding every inch of her, clamoring for attention.

Lords...Ladies...Septons...Maesters...Knights...

Daeron...Rhaegar...Aurane...

Jae...

The thought of her husband only made the need grow even more uncontrollable.

His cold eyes… the grim turn of his lips… the strength of his hands as he held her down…

For over two years she had borne his contempt and indifference. His capricious words, his patronizing stares, his disdain and his insolence. Everything that she had borne and suffered in silence, everything that she kept buried within her, all the cold, empty nights and the dull, vapid days, she wanted to unleash it all... and she wanted to feel every second of it.

“I’m yours.”

The words escaped her without even realizing it.

Yes. Let me be his. Let him be mine.

Finally. Wholly. Unconditional. Without question or doubt.

Let me be his.

If this is to be my fate…my duty…

Let me be his.

He moved her legs onto his shoulders as he bent down, thrusting wildly.

“Say it again!”

Tears streamed from her eyes as she held on to his neck, blood from the wound she had caused smearing her palm.

“I’m yours! I’m yours, Jae! Ever…only…yours!”

It seemed to happen slowly, and yet all at once.

A deafening ring that seemed to mute everything around her as she closed her eyes and surrendered to the rushing torrents of ecstasy that flooded her senses.

As she melted into the void, she could feel his seed filling her while he buried his face against her neck. He was still trembling as his cock continued to spasm inside of her.

Their heavy breathing melding into one as the strong scent of their coupling covered their flushed bodies damp with sweat.

Dany was unaware of how much time had actually passed before she felt her husband remove himself from her. Much to her surprise, she felt her heart drop as he did so.

Was he going to leave again like he always does? She thought morosely, as she readied her heart for the disappointment.

Her eyes were still closed but she could already see him searching the room for his discarded clothes, hastily tugging them on before he—

Suddenly, she felt his arms curl around her legs and her back as he lifted her easily.

Her eyes slowly opened as Dany gazed up at him in bewilderment at this unexpected action. Jae's face was expressionless while he lay his wife’s head gently down on the pillows. Then he moved down beside her pulling her close to him, his breath on her neck.

Dany's mind was a blur. A blissful fog rendering her incapable of rational thought or action. Her limbs weak and her body a mix of aches and pleasurable thrums.

She had questions… so many questions… questions that sought a thousand more answers.

But they could wait.

A heavy sleep beckoned to her and wrapped in her husband’s embrace, she drifted off into the peaceful throes of slumber.

One last thought, one last whisper, one last moment of sanity...

Jae...



 

Dany’s eyes fluttered open as she stirred in her sleep. She found herself entangled in soft linen sheets as she shifted in her bed. She felt a warm body right next to her and as she turned her head upwards, she found Jae’s dark grey eyes staring down at her. His head leaning against his hand as his elbow was propped up on the pillows.

Dany knotted her eyebrows in curiosity. She had never seen him gazing down at her with such intensity before, as if he was looking at her for the first time.

“What are you doing?” She asked in a soft voice.

“Thinking.”

“About what?”

He took a slow breath before he answered, “About us... about you.”

Dany adjusted herself so her body completely turned to face him, “What do you mean?”

Jae gave a soft hum, “Perhaps I was mistaken in what I had assumed about you. It’s clear that I have not been as attentive a husband as I should have been. Nor have I been as good a father.”

She felt her chest tighten as she listened to him. It wasn’t a complete apology, yet it seemed better than the usual monotone responses he usually gave.

“You did what you needed to do. I can’t fault you for that.” She responded as she looked away.

“I needed to be here, with our son... and with you.” His voice was firm, betraying no hint of affection, yet she knew he meant it.

Dany took pause, wondering at the words that pervaded her own mind. Then she lifted her eyes to him again.

“Will you tell me the truth then? About what happened in Braavos?” Her voice was tentative yet her eyes were resolute, “I won’t judge you for it, whatever it is that you’ve done, but I have a right to know.”

Then she felt it. That familiar iciness that formed the barrier that stood between them.

He dropped his head and lay back on the bed, staring at the ceiling without giving her a response.

Now it was her turn to sit up to look down on him as she rested her arm on the bed.

“You asked me to be yours. To be loyal only to you, to keep your secrets. I can’t keep them if you won’t share them with me.” Dany stated fiercely.

He huffed with wry amusement, "Your boldness intrigues me, wife. Is this what you are truly like once I've woken the dragon?"

Woken the dragon...

Dany's brows furrowed again. She had only heard one person in her entire life say those words, someone she had not seen in many years.

She noticed a change in Jae's expression as he finally caught himself after the slip.

"Is it Viserys? Have you found him?" Dany questioned, staring hard at her husband.

"This does not concern you." He responded flippantly.

Dany gritted her teeth, her long silver hair, grazing his chest as she leaned towards him, "He's my brother, Jae, of course it concerns me."

“There is much you don’t know Dany. I doubt you'll ever be ready to know about any of it." Jae said as he shook his head, "About me, about our family and the world itself.”

Hearing him use her informal name should have softened her heart but it only spurred her on as she placed a hand on his chest and moved closer to him.

“Then tell me!” She urged, “I am not just some naïve little princess locked up in a crystal tower. I won’t break when I learn the world is a much crueler place than it seems. I know the horrors our family has been capable of. I know I can help you or at least I can try if you let me... you just have to trust me. Why is that so hard?”

When he remained silent once more, tensing his jaw as he turned from her. Dany sighed with exasperation and lay on the bed.

She swallowed hard and shook her head slowly, her eyes directed at the canopy of her bed, wondering why after everything that had happened between them, there still remained an unbreakable barrier that kept them on opposite sides.

After a moment, Dany decided to break the silence.

“There has always been a distance between us, Jae. I’m not sure how it came to be and I am as helpless in finding out how to overcome it. I know this marriage was not of your choosing, and you know it was not of mine. It was conducted with as much flair and sensitivity as a business transaction, nothing more.”

A memory came to her mind and she closed her eyes, fighting back tears that threatened to rise, “Our first night together. I remember it well. You shared my bed long enough to spill your seed into me and then you left. I know that I was the furthest thing from your thoughts that night. I know about your Northern girl and how it must have broken your heart to leave her when my brother summoned you to the Capitol for our betrothal.”

She heard a hitch in his breathing, “Who told you this?”

“Your mother.” She answered.

“She had no right to tell you that.” The bitterness returned to his voice and Dany pressed her lips together.

“I do not say this because I wish to pry further into a life that you are adamant to keep hidden away from me. All I wanted was to get to know my husband better. You were unhappy... but so was I. I had hoped that there would be something I could do to change that.”

After a few moments, Jae shifted beside her and he leaned over her once more. He pulled her body close to his and he rested his forehead atop hers.

“You gave me a son.” He stated, as he leaned back.

Dany felt a tear escape the side of her eye as she opened them and gazed back at him, holding his bearded cheek with her hand, “I can do more than give you sons. I am your wife, Jaehaerys and one day, I will be your Queen. You cannot fight the world on your own and you certainly can’t rule Seven Kingdoms if you keep shutting me out. Have I not done enough to prove to you that I am worthy of your trust... of your love?”

Jae’s chest rose and fall with his breathing and he placed a hand over hers, his expression softening, “I know what you have done for me, Dany and I am grateful for it. Truly.”

“Then let me in. Trust me.” She said fervently, “This distance between us, let us close it.”

Relenting, Jae finally nodded slowly, “We can try.”

Realizing that this was probably as far as she could get this night, Dany turned her head away from him, and moved to lie on her side.

“Yes. We can try.”