The door’s lock gave in with a satisfying click, earning Daenerys’s relief - despite her track record of picking locks exceeding success. This time was for a different cause, in a way.
The driver’s seat was a nice, worn-leather cushion as she slid into it. She took a breath, gathering herself, and looked at what her ignition tactic would have to be.
It was then that she realized watching films that included cars could not fill her lack of experience with them; she could count how many times she was permitted to go a far enough distance to use one, much less learn to drive. All ignitions looked like they worked the same. A screwdriver could take the place of a key in any of them, right?
Wrong, Daenerys learned, as she attempted to start the Camaro. Maybe she was twisting it the wrong way? But there was too much resistance for the opposite way to actually be the right one. Daenerys tried to start the car again, soft palms tight against the plastic handle of the cheap screwdriver she shoplifted. Viserys would know if anything was misplaced.
Daenerys noted that. If he were to know a screwdriver he only has the Butlers touch had been moved, he would acknowledge his sister - more so, his investment - being absent from the house she was not permitted to leave.
But that wasn’t a problem right now. It wouldn’t be a problem at all an hour after she got this stupid car started, dammit. Daenerys failed to start it one more time before defeating her head onto the steering wheel.
She reminded herself that if she were to go the easy way, steal one of her brother’s cars, he would put the pieces together quicker. And then he would have every state ranger looking for his little sister who was ‘tasting a bit of rebellion’, as he would cover it, and find her cruising down in his shiny new Corvette. She would be back where she started by the morning. Only worse conditions, punishments, limitations. Guarantees she did not want.
And so her next step was stealing someone else’s car. Obviously.
Stolen vehicles happened enough that it would seem like bad luck. And she would have an untracked license plate, unlike her brother’s. If only she had a driving license to go with it - but again, that was a worry for after getting the car started. Which was not happening.
Daenerys rolled her head side to side on the steering wheel, smoothing her ache out of her forehead through the red beanie as her body started forming a cold sweat. It may just be this car. She would just have to try another one. But odds are that she already raised suspicion, and the second to last thing she needed was to have a trail of witnesses watch her break into her goldie-locks picks of cars in this random off-urban neighborhood.
She pushed herself off the steering wheel and pushed her loose hair behind her ears. Daenerys wrapped her hand around the screwdriver’s handle and pulled, rebounding her arm against the seat as it left the ignition with the force of restricted weight. She inflicted her funny bone and let herself curse as the nerve trembled in her arm.
A knock sounded next to her ear, at the window - and with a yelp of surprise, Daenerys jumped out of her skin, causing a small honk of the horn to squeak. She cringed at the horn - the alarm it must’ve caused the surrounding houses - and then turned to the previous interruption.
And then it was brought to her that any alarm that was brought to the neighbors meant nothing. A man’s silhouette stood at her window, soft features highlighted from the street lights through the shadows of the other wise nightly hour.
The only reason she didn’t die of horror right there was because the man hadn’t smashed through the window and ripped her out of the car yet - something that would surely have already happened if this had anything to do with her being found by anyone associated with Viserys.
Daenerys turned her head quickly back forward, placing her eyes at the bottom of the steering wheel. She blindly rolled the window down, cool air flooding around her shoulders as the man gripped the roof and bent down to her level. She saw nothing but dark hair swinging into her peripheral as a strong scent of woodpine overtook her. She identified the small familiarity of it that set in the car before showed up; meaning this man was probably the owner of it. Great.
“You know, you could’ve just asked for the keys,” his said. She blinked at the friendliness of it. But it automatically put her more at ease with actually looking at him, now; and she turned to find dark features on lightly tanned skin, the shadows not lying in their play of his softness in eyes and nose and cheekbones and, as it seems, his mind as a whole. Daenerys’s mouth parted, speech escaping through the gape with no words attached.
Her arms instinctively dropped to her lap as he reached over her to put the keys into the ignition. When he saw the car wouldn’t start then, he made a quick observation.
“It may also help if you press the brake down when you attempt to start it.”
Oh. She never knew that. Looking down at the gas and brake, she also didn’t know which one was which.
The man looked at her when she made no move to press on the brake. He reached his outside arm down and did so himself, and the cars engine revved into life.
Daenerys’s heart stuttered as she felt the vibration of it beneath her. The feeling was unfamiliar, and this whole situation was...surreal.
He sat back onto his heels, once again being encompassed by darkness. Her eyes followed him before returning to the started car.
“Aren’t you going to take off? Hit reverse and step on it, zooming away as I run after you until the corner where I let you go in defeat?”
Daenerys looked over the lever in the middle, taking his vocabulary into consideration. Hit reverse? She didn’t see a button for it. Maybe the R labeled along the other letters had something to do with it, but the lever wouldn’t move when she pulled it.
She heard the man shift his footing against the pavement. She could feel him assess her.
“You have no idea how to drive, do you?” he was back in the open window. Daenerys took this time looking at him to take in his curls that escaped from a half bun at the back of his head. She shook her head, the stun of this situation tensing the motion into slow speeds.
She almost missed a tug of his lips that spelt disbelief himself. He opened the door. Daenerys flinched as he bent back over, the movement a little too similar to Viserys’s ‘playful’ attacks. He retreated a bit, easing his motions.
“Move down,” he said, simply. After a moment of staring in a bit of disbelief, she complied. He climbed into the car. “I’m going for a drive to clear my head. Company would be nice, and I’m not up for anyone in my family taking that role right now.”
Daenerys gazed at him with wide eyes. Was she going to get killed tonight? Is that how this happens? She couldn’t decide if she liked her relationship with the prospect of it. He met her focus on him.
“And then I’ll take you home. My name’s Jon. I’m not a murderer.”
Yes, because that felt reassuring.
“That’s what a murderer would say,” Daenerys found herself saying. Her voice was soft, and her bluntness surprised her. She wasn’t great at interaction since she didn’t get much of it. “And the name that they would pick.”
He looked back at her - his face held as much shock at the sound of her voice as she felt. But then that small smile tugged again. “Alright, then. I won’t take you home, but back to my basement to murder you. And my name is definitely spelt J-O-H-N like any fake name would be spelt, and not J-O-N.”
Despite slight repulsion, Daenerys found herself biting the inside of her cheek to hide a smile. She faced forward as the interior lights dimmed. There was one more moment that the man - Jon - remained focusing on her before putting the car in reverse and peeling onto the streets.
The ride was quiet. Of course it would be - what would complete strangers have to talk about? Ignoring the one obvious topic- why she was attempting to steal his car - but that was something she was not going to bring up herself.
It didn’t take long, but still longer than she thought, for him to bring it up.
“So, is breaking into cars to try and figure out how to turn them on a weird hobby, or something?”
“Is driving said-Failed-Car-Stealer home after you catch them a hospitality rule i never heard of?”
“Probably not,” he admitted, “But I’d assume the returning favor wouldn’t be snarky comments based on my decision that ended in your benefit. I can easily take a left and we’ll be at the police station before you can come up with an excuse.”
That quieted Daenerys up. She didn’t know where this personality was coming from - whether it be her tone or actually going forth with...leaving.
The next stretch of time after she shut back down became tense. It was odd how tense it became; it was what she imagined a couple’s fight would be followed with. The thought of it, along with Jon’s growing-to-be-even-more-flattering-each-time-she-looked-at-him’s features...it set an odd spark in her abdominal.
But she found Jon to be looking at her more than the latter. If the circumstance was different, she perhaps would tell him to keep his eyes on the road. But Daenerys knew nothing about cars or driving, anyway, and she didn’t want him to have another reason to be annoyed at her. Jon has only offered her things, and still, Daenerys felt like she’d asked for too much. What little more would a crash be?
He cleared his throat. “I didn’t mean to be so rude.”
Even though she was more surprised at him giving her a half apology for no reason, she seemed to fold smaller into herself. Why on earth did this man need to act this way? This kind?
“I’m not going to turn you in, Love.” she snapped her head up at the nickname. Although it was common enough in casual terms, her mind became white. “But I would like to know your name.”
Those two ideas fit themselves together amongst the blankness of Daenerys’s mind. That, and everything else…. -
God, she was so stupid. So stupid. Impulsive and ignorant and stupid and terrified .
She attempted to break into a vehicle to steal it. She got caught. The owner of the car is aimlessly driving around, asking for personal information and speaking of contacting the police. Oh god, the police . It would be bad enough that Viserys caught her outside, but in a police station? For trying to steal a car? Her plan and any future plans of leaving would be ruined. Her life would be even more over than it already was.
She remained silent for the time Jon gave her to answer. He sighed, landing a hand heavily on the wheel in dwindling patience. She didn’t blame him. But Daenerys has already done enough damage to…well, everything. Any worse and she probably would find herself in trouble.
“Fine, then. Home it is.” he waited for her address, or directions. Daenerys had no idea how to get home; and she never exactly looked at her house number. She recalled the street name she walked under during her escape walk, though, and told him quietly.
There were a few turns, accompanied with nothing but the ticking of the blinker and Daenerys’s congested breaths in the seasonal air. Her eyes remained focused on her wringing hands as she reasterted her paranoia; Viserys was drunk when she left. His friends were over again, so he locked her bedroom door. He had no idea that she was gone, much less even out of her own room. Her obedience to his rules had given Daenerys just enough trust with him that she would never act out. Just enough that even leaving tonight was a possibility. She knew she would be able to get this far next time. Now all she needed to do was prepare better. Right? It was the recurring question after every assumption.
Some time along the ride, she figured out how to roll the window just enough for some fresh air. As Jon slowed his car down at a four-way, sounds of a party came from Daenerys’s left. Jon turned to her.
“Left or right?”
She looked at the street sign, realizing it was her street they approached. The strained sounds of a party was her brother’s. Nausea rose up her burning throat at the thought of it; At her true failure, at the image of going back. She swallowed it down hard, the gulp pushing a button that broke her scalp and arms and hips into a state of hot sweats, despite the cool air chilling her nose and cheeks. Jon’s seat creaked as he leaned back in it, taking her sudden state into a sympathetic state. He curved his back, hesitantly touching her arm as he leaned over the console. It made Daenerys jump, snapping her head to him. The sudden movement caused a loosening tear fall from her eye, one that she didn’t know had formed.
“I, uh…” Jon searched her face as Daenerys focused on his dark eyes. Somehow, they reminded her to breathe. Jon took note of the discomfort his touch brought her and retreated it onto the center console. “I’m not ready to go back home, either. How about you tell me your name, and we can maybe drive around for a little bit. Vent if we need to.”
Daenerys understood his offer. Tell him her name, this little bit about herself, and they keep driving. Away from all of this. At least for a little while. But if she couldn’t trust him with that, even after all that he just did for her, it would be an empty deal. Nothing but two strangers in their own unfortunate paths, lines intersecting for a brief moment in the world’s strange timeline. A fleck amongst the stars, or a star of its own.
She knew nothing about this man, but she trusted him to do that for her. Make this fleck into a star.
“Dany,” she told him. Her full name would uncover too much of her life. This moment was one not many were able to come by; being able to decide exactly how a person will know you as. And although all of her secrets were right down the streets, she had the chance to hide them right here as she rolled up the window, closing the sounds of that life to the outside. Pretend they didn’t exist. And so to Jon, Daenerys Targaryen was just Dany. “My name is Dany.”
He gave into his smile’s tug this time, keeping his eyes on her as he pushed back into his seat and passed across her street. Dany set her eyes to the glow of her family’s mansion against the other houses who have shut their lights off for the night. It took three more blocks for the sight of it to completely disappear behind her.