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Every Day of the Week

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Uncle Edmure and his new bride, Roslin Frey, are dancing in the middle of the largest ballroom at the Twins when Jon realizes he hasn’t seen Jaime Lannister in at least an hour.

Sansa, in a dove gray evening gown with a martini in her hand, comes up beside Jon and, leaning her head close to his, says, “I think you weren’t explicit enough about the nature of your invitation, Jon.”

Even though Jon knows, immediately, what Sansa is referring to, he still stubbornly responds, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The music changes to an upbeat pop song with a baseline heavy enough that Jon swears the liquid in Sansa’s glass vibrates. A crowd of guests join Edmure and Roslin on the dance floor and, within a moment, Jon can’t see them anymore.

Even with the volume of the music, Jon can still hear Sansa giggling into his ear. “Jaime’s over there,” Sansa gestures with her glass to the bar in the far corner of the room. The lights are dim, but Jaime is tall and no one else has so much golden hair, so Jon spots him easily.

“He’s just getting a drink,” Jon clings to the sliver of hope Sansa is trying to steal from him, “I’m sure he’ll be back.”

“He’s trying to get into Brienne’s pants,” Sansa continues, “which means your date is stealing  my date.”

Jon looks again, and Brienne is next to Jaime, leaning against the wall looking uncomfortable. She’s easy to spot, too, because she’s even taller than Jaime. It looks like Sansa is right again.

“Brienne’s not really your date,” Jon hears the spite in his voice, “You just wanted to use your plus one.”

Sansa pats him on the shoulder, “And Jaime isn’t really yours.” She finishes her martini and hands it to a passing server before taking Jon’s hand. “Dance with me, and don’t think about it too hard.”

Dancing isn’t Jon’s thing, but making Sansa happy is, so he lets her drag him through three pop songs and into a slow dance. They turn, lazily in a circle, and Jon tries to look anywhere but at Jaime. 

The Starks and the Lannisters have a family feud that goes back an age, but Jaime doesn’t talk to anyone except his younger brother. Catelyn and Jaime were friends in college, and Jaime has been a feature at Stark family gatherings for as long as Jon can recall.

“Now he’s trying to get Brienne to dance,” Sansa whispers into his ear, “Brienne has no idea what to do with the attention. She’s blushing like the sun. I wonder if he’ll get her to sleep with him--”

“I don’t want to know this,” Jon pleads, but no one ever gives him a break.

“Jon, how did you ask him?”

“I texted him and said my uncle was getting married and asked if he wanted to go.”

Sansa pulls him off the dance floor and holds out her hand, “Show me.”

“No.”

Show me.”

Jon digs his phone out of his pocket and hands it to Sansa. She knows the passcode, a colossal mistake on his part, and easily finds his text thread with Jaime. He doesn’t text Jaime often, so scrolling back to Jon’s invitation only takes a minute.

“Gods, Jon, you literally wrote ‘There’s an open bar at Uncle Edmure’s wedding. Wanna go?’ And he just responded with a thumbs up emoji.”

“Yeah,” Jon scowls, “I asked, and he said yes.”

“You asked him like he’s one of your bros. Does Jaime know you wanna bang him?”

“No!”

“You’ve had a crush on Jaime for a decade. I remember you, at fifteen, knocking on my bedroom door at three in the morning, going ‘ I think I like boys.’” She lowers her voice in a parody of his. “You were so melodramatic.”

“I never sounded like that,” Jon protests. He hadn’t been close with Sansa before then, but in the crisis of his youth, she seemed like the best person to confide in. Jaime was the first man Jon ever felt attracted to, and the feelings lingered in the back of his mind ever since.

“Jon,” Sansa shakes her head sadly, “Have you never asked someone out?”

“Yes.”

“Successfully?” Sansa eyebrows threaten to fly off her face, “What made you decide to act now about Jaime?”

“It was an impulse.”

A server carrying champagne comes by, and Sansa snags two glasses, passing one to Jon. Across the room, Jaime is urging Brienne to dance with him by tugging on her hands; Brienne has a tiny smile on her face. 

Sansa takes a sip of her champagne and shakes her head, “That, Jon, is an opportunity lost to your poor planning.”


Ygritte is Jon’s first serious relationship.

They meet at a bar in Wintertown when Jon is home visiting Bran and Rickon over the break between semesters when he’s a senior in college.

Jon calls Ned Stark father, even though it isn’t true; his relationship with Catelyn is tense, even after two decades. Bran and Rickon aren’t enough of a buffer, so Jon seeks the solace found in a pint of ale at a bar within walking distance of his home. Jon isn’t even sure he wants the drink, but he does want the alone time, and that’s something he won’t find at home.

He’s three sips in when a bar fight ensues.

“Fuck off!” 

The yelling party is a stocky man with no neck who looks, to Jon, like the type who catcalls women on the street. He’s towering over a woman with red hair, who doesn’t look like she’s going to back down. 

“I’ll fuck off when you apologize for grabbing my arse,” the woman yells back.

“I wouldn’t touch your scrawny ass if you were the only woman here.”

Jon pretends not to notice, but it gets progressively more difficult as the volume of their argument escalates. Eventually, he hears the crack that distinctly sounds like someone’s fist hitting a nose. Worried for the woman, he glances to see the man clutching his bleeding nose and cursing loudly.

“That’ll show you!” 

“You fucking bitch, I’ll--”

There’s another sound--a sizable person crashing to the ground in pain. It’s unthinkable, not to step in, so Jon stands from his stool and steps between them, “Is there a problem here?”

“There was,” the woman says, “but I fixed it.”

The man is slumped on the ground in pain, still clutching his broken nose. 

“You did...something.”

She smacks the bar with the palm of her hand, “Gimme whisky, neat. And none of that watered down shit you serve Southerners.” The glass appears on the bar, and she knocks it back. Then, she holds out her hand and Jon shakes it, “I’m Ygritte.”

“Jon Snow.”

When Ygritte grins, Jon notices her teeth are slightly crooked. Her hands are small, but her grip is shockingly strong. She wouldn’t have needed Jon’s help at all in a bar fight. Her most distinguishing feature is her mop of fire-orange hair that surrounds her head like a burning cloud.

“Did you think I needed saved?”

Jon shakes his head, “No, I was just being nosy.”

“Good,” she replies, “In the North, we protect ourselves and don’t need pretty Southern boys to do it for us.”

“...I was born at Winterfell.”

“That’s the South to me.”

Jon’s not in the habit of going home with people from bars, but when Ygritte kisses him in the parking lot, he thinks I should just go with it. Theon told him once that he had a stick lodged up his ass, followed up with some sophomoric insult like but I bet you’d like that. Even Robb agreed, albeit much more tactfully, that Jon took dating a touch too seriously.

Ygritte isn’t what Jon would call beautiful--she’s cute, and the fact that she can knock a man to the ground in a bar is surprisingly arousing. She’s inventive, and insistent, and by morning Jon doesn’t regret his choice.

She’s also very, very fond of saying, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

They date for a year and a half before the distance between them takes its toll. Jon travels to Winterfell more in the span of eighteen months than he has since he left for college in King’s Landing. Ygritte visits him, too, but hates the weather and the people.

Ygritte is the first, though, to make Jon realize that he’ll never bring anyone to visit his family twice. She comes to King’s Landing at midsummer; it’s hot and sticky and Jon hates it but is entirely used to it. Jon introduces Ygritte to Arya, and Sansa and thinks it’s going well until she breaks up with him on the morning her flight leaves.

“I love you,” Ygritte opens with, and Jon is wary immediately, “but I hate King’s Landing.”

“I intend to stay here.” It's not an ultimatum; it’s just the truth. School is here. Sansa and Arya are here. Sam and Gilly are here.

Ygritte smiles, but it’s sad, “I know you do.”

Jon wants to protest, but he knows she’s right. There’s no future between us. He was happy to spend time with her, but would they still be visiting each other once every two months in five years?

“I don’t like it when you’re right.”

Ygritte kisses him, slowly because it’s the last. When it’s through, she pats Jon on the cheek and says, “You still know nothing, Jon Snow.”

What Ygritte doesn’t know is that she's the start of two things in Jon's life--a dating trend and several bets.


The year or so after Jon’s break-up with Ygritte is a bit of a disaster in the romance department.

For most of it, Jon does nothing, which is fine. He’s not Theon Greyjoy; he’s not going to fuck his way through King’s Landing in a hollow bid to make himself feel better. But as ten months pass, Sansa starts to prod him about it. Jon regrets, again, giving her the passcode for his phone. She installs three dating apps and sets up his profiles. 

At least she has the courtesy to show him before she publishes them. 

"Why did you choose that photo?" 

Said photo is a selfie Jon took with Ghost after they went jogging. He's making a rather silly face, but Ghost looks adorable.

"Because you look approachable," Sansa says, matter-of-fact, "and women like dogs."

"Who says I'm looking for a woman?"

Sansa scoffs, "Fine. People like dogs. You always get hit on at the dog park."

"I do not," Jon protests, "It's only that Ghost is huge."

"And it has nothing to do with his brooding, sexy owner?"

"Sansa."

Jon doesn’t mind being flattered, but he’d rather hear it from someone other than his little sister.

She giggles, "I put down men and women."

Jon scrolls through the profile. "You listed my interests as 'craft beer, dogs, and tabletop gaming.'"

"Are those incorrect?"

"No, but I sound like a damned hipster."

“I’m trying to help you,” Sansa snatches his phone back, “Be grateful or I’ll be more honest and add ‘brooding in silence’ to the list.”


Sansa isn’t wrong--Jon does go on dates. It’s just that none of them are good dates.

As it turns out, meeting people through a dating app is filled with pitfalls. Some of the people are so ridiculous that Jon takes to scratching them down in a notebook he keeps on his nightstand. He sits on his bed and uses Ghost as a lapdesk; he’s very heavy and doesn’t care one whit.

Jon tries to go on one date a week, and after three months of that he’s filled up a sizable section of the notebook.

He goes on a date with a man who has to be Jaime’s age who looks like he’s never laughed a day in his life. His age doesn’t bother Jon, but the sternness of his entire disposition does. The man asks him odd, probing questions. He also seems to be perpetually grinding his teeth. It’s the most uncomfortable hour of Jon’s life, and he texts Sansa to bail him out.

Then, there’s a man who insists on being called Iron Emmett. Jon thinks he’s handsome enough, but the nickname is odd. Emmett spends the entire dinner talking about his live action roleplaying guild, and Jon finds his fanaticism for it a bit overwhelming. He texts Arya about it, and she responds this is how we all feel about your nerdy games.

There’s an ever-present danger of letting Arya into his apartment. While Sansa looks at him and just knows things, Arya is nosy. Jon goes into the kitchen to get a snack and returns to his room to find Arya reading his notebook with her head resting on Ghost.

“Don’t just open people’s drawers,” Jon scolds, but it’s too late for that.

“You’re my brother.”

“And that means I’ve no right to privacy?”

“There's one for every day of the week, Jon!” Arya flips to the next page in the notebook, “Did you bang all these people? Are you Theon?”

“No!” Jon blurts; then, he immediately follows with, “...Not that it’s any of your business.”

She flips to the next page, “What even is your taste, Jon? Do you go out with anyone who messages you?” 

“Sansa told me to be open-minded.” He’d been trying to find people he wouldn’t encounter in his day-to-day life. It was working, but all the approach was really accomplishing was making Jon feel pickier than he thought he was.

“Did Sansa tell you to have zero standards?”

“No, but she implied I was--how did she put it, judgy.”

Arya’s laugh is more cackle, “I could use this data in my stats class, Jon. You’ve quite the sample size. We can start predicting patterns.”

Jon sighs, “Please don’t.”


The Stark siblings have a group chat that Jon thought was perfectly banal and pleasant until recently, when they all started using it to bet and make guesses on his dating life.

[Sansa]

Man or woman this time?

[Arya]

last 3 were dudes.

[Bran]

Girl, then. Jon dates in fugues. Haven’t you noticed?

[Arya]

good point

[Robb]

Y are u bullying Jon?

[Sansa]

It’s not bullying. It’s coaching.

[Bran]

20 dragons says the next one is terrible.

[Robb]

u say that like any of them r good.

[Arya]

i miss ygritte. she was badass.


Bran wins that bet, and the rest of them use the group chat to send him his winnings, just so Jon knows.

Jon fetches the notebook and writes went on a date with a Lord of Light cultist. Started out normal enough until she claimed she could seduce me with magic. Said “the night is dark and full of terrors” no less than a dozen times before dessert.

“Are you torturing yourself?” Sam asks him one night when Jon returns home.

“Apparently.” 

“You’re joking, right?”

Jon shakes his head, “Sam, I wish I was. Her profile seemed totally normal.”

“...Until the freaky cult stuff?”

“Right until then, yeah.”

It’s a shame, too, because she was beautiful, even though her flame-red hair just reminded him of Ygritte.

No women for a while, and maybe no apps.


After two seasons of marathon-style dating, Jon decides to meet people the normal way--by going outside. He hasn’t tried it yet, but he’s trying to be optimistic. Predictably, Tormund and he meet through Ghost.

The first words out of Tormund’s mouth are, “Is that a fuckin’ direwolf?”

“Y-yes,” Jon is taken aback.

“He’s huge!”

Jon may be taken aback, but Ghost is pressing his head into Tormund’s hand and wagging his tail. Ghost likes many more people they meet than Jon does.

“He’s the runt,” Jon explains, “You should see the one my brother Robb has.”

“Where does a Southerner like you get a direwolf?”

“I was born in Winterfell.”

Tormund stands up and holds out his hand to Jon, “I’m Tormund Giantsbane.”

What a name; he must be from the very far North. Only descendants of the Freefolk who lived beyond the ruins of the Wall had names like that. Tormund moves his entire arm when he shakes Jon’s hand.

“I’m Jon Snow.”

He gives a booming laugh, “That is a Northern name!”

Tormund gives Jon his phone number, and Jon honestly isn’t sure what he means by it until Thursday night when Tormund calls him and invites him out. There’s ambiguity there, too, because they eat chicken wings and drink beer at a sport’s bar, and it definitely doesn’t feel like a date.

At least until Tormund, seemingly unaffected after what must be his fifth beer, puts his hand on Jon’s knee under the booth and says, “You’re pretty ; I could show you one hell of a time.”


In some ways, Tormund does show Jon one hell of a time. 

Tormund likes sports, and bar crawls, and completely mows over Jon’s introversion. He’s loud, boisterous, and frequently mortifying in public. He’s also the first person Jon’s slept with since Ygritte, and that’s very, very different.

In the back of Jon’s mind, there’s a nagging feeling that he’s never quite comfortable with Tormund. He tells himself, though, it’s fun sometimes, and he should give Tormund a chance.

They date for three months before Jon decides to invite Tormund to his weekly gathering with his siblings. 

Some weeks, Sam accompanies him and brings Gilly. Arya usually brings her boyfriend Gendry, who Jon still eyes with extreme skepticism. Other weeks, Brienne will come with Jaime. Jon enjoys and hates those weeks because looking at Jaime, even though he and Brienne have been together for years, incites a childish embarrassment in Jon.

“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about,” Sansa told Jon, once, “Jaime wouldn’t notice your crush unless you tried to jump him, and even then, he might think you’re kidding.”

Of course, everyone is there the night Jon decides to bring Tormund.

“Jon says you met through Ghost?” Sansa hands Tormund a bottle of beer. 

Tormund opens the bottle by smacking it against the counter; Jon swears he downs half of it before answering, “Sure did. Who’d miss a big dog like this?”

“Ghost is small for a direwolf,” Arya chimes in, “He was the smallest of the entire litter.”

Tormund lets out a booming laugh, “I know about the size of a direwolf, girl, I was talking about Jon meeting me.”

Arya straight up groans, and Jon pretty much wants to slide under the table and dissolve into the floorboards. 

“Tormund--” Jon tries to steer the conversation away from where he knows Tormund is taking it. 

“What? I’m just being honest,” Tormund leans into Jon and leers at him, “Do your siblings think Jon Snow doesn’t fuck?”

Arya and Bran start laughing. Sansa, in a tone as calm as if she was talking about the weather, looks at Tormund and says, “I’d never presume something so foolish.”

By the end of the evening, Tormund flirts with Brienne and nearly gets into a round of fisticuffs with Jaime. Eventually, Jaime pulls Jon aside and gestures to where Tormund is regaling Sam, Gilly, and Jon’s siblings about a time when he allegedly fucked a bear.

“Jon, I’m not your father.” 

Thank the old gods and the new. Jon doesn’t want to think of Jaime, who’s still so handsome that he can barely look him in the eye, as anything remotely fatherly. Too long alone in Jaime’s company, and Jon is a boy of fifteen again, complete with blushing and awkward babbling.

“You could be,” Jon jokes, “Lyanna never told Father, did she?”

“Lyanna was lovely, but wild,” Jaime replies, “Anyway, what the hell are you doing with that idiot?”

“I’m trying to be open-minded,” Jon replies, “He’s...interesting.”

Jaime smacks him, hard, between the shoulder blades, “Take it from an old man--you can be too open-minded, so much so that your brains fall out and splatter on the sidewalk.”

Later, Jon, nervous but firm, breaks up with Tormund in the street outside Sansa and Arya’s apartment. When Tormund walks away, Arya yells from the window above, “Good work, Jon; I just won one hell of a lump sum.”


The Stark sibling group chat is quite active in the weeks following Jon’s split from Tormund.

[Rob]

so i didn’t miss much by not meeting him?

[Arya]

not unless u wanted details about jon’s sex life

[Bran]

Trust me, you don’t.

[Sansa]

Jon should aim higher.

[Jon]

you know i’m reading this right?

[Arya]

duh sansa was talking to you. don’t date douchebags

[Sansa]

50 gold dragons that the next three dates are women.


Sansa comes close to winning the bet because the next two are women.

The first, Sansa orchestrates herself--a girl from her graduate program who’s studying Old Valyrian literature. 

“I think you might get along,” Sansa tells him, “She’s a bit intense, but she warms up once you get to know her.”

Jon sighs, but figures Sansa, at this point, has a better idea what will work for him than he does. After all, she and Arya never gave him his notebook back. They’ve probably distilled his dating foibles into some sort of algorithm by now.

“Tell me when and where, and I’ll meet her.”

Sansa picks a place with good happy hour specials. It’s smart--it’s not dinner, so if it’s terrible, Jon can finish his drink and make a quick exit. 

“She looks like she should study Old Valyrian lit,” Sansa told him when Jon asked how he’d recognize her. The descriptor works because as soon as she enters the restaurant, Jon sees her silver hair and violet eyes and knows who she is immediately.

“You must be Jon Snow,” she tells him, holding out her hand.

“I am,” Jon replies, shaking her offered hand. “Sansa told me you’d be easy to recognize.”

“It’s a defining family trait,” she holds up a lock of her hair. “Daenerys Targaryen. My friends call me Dany.”

They order drinks--a beer for Jon, and a martini for Daenerys. The conversation flows pleasantly enough, and Jon can’t deny that she is beautiful. Her violet eyes are lively, and her smile carries just enough mystery that Jon is certain she has no trouble finding partners.

It makes him wonder why me?

Stunning though she may be, Jon realizes after a half hour that he isn’t attracted to her. Jon doesn’t dislike her, but he’s been on so many dates at this point that he knows the lack of spark immediately.

Daenerys also keeps bringing up Sansa.

“Does your sister have a boyfriend?”

“Sansa?” Jon answers, confused by the question, “I--I don’t think so? She hasn’t mentioned anyone.”

“Good,” Daenerys answers too quickly, “I-I mean--what’s her type?”

“Honestly,” Jon starts, “I’m not sure. She keeps setting me up with dates, but I know little of her own preferences.”

She scowls, her silver-white eyebrows gathering above her nose, “Oh.”

There’s the smallest blush on Daenerys’s pale skin, high on the apples of her cheeks. She also won’t make eye contact with Jon. He’d never claim to be the people reader Sansa is, but even he can’t miss these signs.

“I’ve never known my sister to date a woman,” Jon says, and quickly continues when disappointment flickers across Daenerys’s features, “But Sansa won’t scorn or mock you for asking.”

“We’re not even that close,” she sighs, “I’ve only had one class with her, and she thought I’d be good for you.”

Jon smiles, “Did you accept hoping I had insight?”

Daenerys nods, “Silly, right?”

Not at all. “I’ll tell you this,” Jon takes a swig of his beer and leans in a bit, “When I was fifteen, I came to Sansa’s room at two in the morning in a panic because I had feelings for a guy. She was twelve, but even then, she hugged me and let me ramble at her for an hour.”

“I thought she seemed like that.”

“Sansa teases as good as anyone, but she’s there when you need her.” Jon smiles, “Even this, misguided as it may be, is her trying to help. She thinks I’m lonely.”

“Are you?”

Jon laughs, but it’s self-deprecating, “Absolutely.”

“She seemed close with you, so I accepted.”

“Would you like me to tell her it didn’t work out between us?”

“Please.”


The next woman Jon meets is someone he already knows. 

He runs into Val at a coffee shop. She’s the sister-in-law of his old boss, Mance Rayder. Mance was a game warden at a national forest north of the Wall, where Jon worked until he went to college and every summer when he returned home from school. He hasn’t seen her in over half a decade, but she’s as picturesque and comely as Jon remembers. 

Val was always elegant, even in hiking boots and a hoodie.

Now, though, she’s wearing heels and her long, golden hair is in a braid that’s pulled over her shoulder. Seeing her in a sundress and denim jacket makes her look like an entirely different person.

“Jon Snow,” she says to him, a hand curled around the cup holding her iced coffee, “How have you been faring?”

“Well enough,” Jon answers, “What brings you to King’s Landing?”

“Work,” she replies, “It’s so damned hot; I don’t know how you live here.”

“You grow accustomed to it.” Jon hadn’t really, but he’d rather roast half the year than be alone in Winterfell with only Ned, Catelyn, and Rickon for company. 

Val and he sit at a table near the window in the afternoon sunlight and catch up. Val’s sister, Dalla, and Mance have two more children since Jon last saw them. 

“What are you doing now?”

“Dog trainer,” Jon shrugs. In reality, Ghost was almost preternaturally intelligent and loyal. Direwolves are special, and even as the runt of the litter, Ghost is no exception. He makes for wonderful advertising. “If you can keep a direwolf in line, anything else looks easy.”

“The two of you seemed inseparable,” Val leans in closer, “It was endearing.”

She’s smiling, chin resting on her hand. The last time Jon saw Val, he had a crush on Jaime and hadn’t met Ygritte yet. He was a virgin the last time he saw Val. Jon’s grown bolder after all his horrible dates, but he knows he’s probably blushing nonetheless.

“Do you wanna go to dinner? Catch up?”

She smiles even wider, “I think I do.”

Val is only in town for two weeks, but they’re a good two weeks--so good that Jon almost asks her to stay. 

He doesn’t because Val would absolutely say no. 

There’s nothing he could offer Val that would keep her with him. Jon has a little bit of pride left, and he won’t ask for something he knows he can’t get. She checks out of her hotel early and stays with Sam and him. Their apartment is wholly mediocre, but Jon grows used to Val drinking coffee from a chipped mug at his table and stealing his shirts.

The sex is good, too. Really good.

Val has an assertiveness to her that Jon likes--it might be a trend in people he chooses. She has her own way, and Jon respects that. While she’s with him, though, she gives Jon something he wants--companionship. Someone to wake up with, to make an extra cup of coffee for, and to kiss before he leaves for work.

“You’re much different than the boy who stared at me during the summers,” Val tells him two mornings before she’s set to fly home. “You’re a man grown now.”

“I had to grow up sometime,” Jon replies, “Come meet my siblings before you leave?”

It’s a bit of a self-sabotage. Jon knows the minute he introduces Val to his family, it will herald the end of their relationship, even if the evening goes well, which it does. Jon likes Val, so it’s like ripping off a bandaid--do it fast and get it over with.

she’s too hot 4 u, Arya texts him when they’re all hanging out; Jon doesn’t disagree.

It’s not like Tormund--there’s nothing about the evening that makes Jon realize the relationship is a dumpster fire that needs put out. Val gets along with everyone, but it’s an illusion of permanence, and seeing her in the setting makes Jon realize it won’t last.  

“It’s been fun, Jon,” Val tells him when her rideshare comes to take her to the airport the next morning, “But we shouldn’t do it again.”


Robb proposes to Jeyne Westerling, and even though he’s with her family in the Westerlands when he does so, everyone gets together to celebrate. Arya starts a video call on her phone and they all scream their congratulations as Arya spins the front-facing camera around the room.

“You can do so much better, Jeyne,” Arya tells her.

“Robb should worship the ground you walk on,” Sansa agrees.

Jon and Robb are only months apart in age and were always the closest growing up. He’s only met Jeyne a handful of times, but she seems sweet and amenable, exactly the type of woman Robb would like. 

Arya spins the camera to him, and Jon waves, “When’s the date?”

They both pause for long enough that Jon wonders if the video feed froze. “...In two months, at Riverrun.”

Bran looks up from his phone, where he’s surely texting Meera Reed, and says, “...That’s fast.”

“We’re just very in love!” Robb says quickly, “We’ll call you later. Night!”

They both wave, and the screen goes black.

Arya stares at the screen for a second before looking to the rest of them, “Robb knocked her up. That’s gotta be it.”

Sansa and Bran look skeptical, but Jon’s known Robb for over two-and-a-half decades, and Arya is probably right.


Not long after, Robb texts him and says u will be my best man, right?

Jon replies I'd kill you for asking anyone else.

Robb’s impending nuptials intensify the feeling of loneliness Val left him with. He misses her in his bed, but he also misses Ygritte, and sometimes even Tormund crosses his mind. Some of his frustration is definitely sexual, but it goes beyond that. 

Sometimes, Jon worries that he wants someone so badly that they could be anyone.

Sansa starts dating Daenerys. Even Bran, visiting for summer break, seems to be constantly texting Meera Reed. Jon assumes she returned to Greywater Watch to visit her own family for the summer. That just leaves Rickon, who is all of fourteen years old, and not someone Jon is going to use to make himself feel better.

"Kids these days," Sansa rolls her eyes, "His phone is glued to his hand."

Daenerys comes to their next gathering, and she approaches Jon and says, “Thanks. You were right.”

A couple weeks pass, and Arya texts him and asks do u have a date 4 robbs wedding?

Jon, like the total fool that he is, types of course.


The lie makes Jon panic.

I could just admit it. Arya would howl with laughter, but she might keep it to herself once she stopped. There was nothing wrong with going to Robb’s wedding alone. Better to go alone than with a date who doesn’t realize--

It’s been years, but the memory about Jaime still makes him cringe. 

Jon drops his keys into the bowl by the front door and toes off his sneakers. Ghost comes to greet him, and Jon scratches him behind the ears. Sam looks at him for a long, silent moment and says, “What’d you do now?”

“I resent the implication that I do things.”

“And yet.”

“Arya asked me if I have a date for Robb’s wedding, and I lied and said I did.”

Sam taps his chin, clearly engineering a plan, “I could be your date!”

“Sam,” Jon throws his hands in the air, “They know you, and they know Gilly. Hell, you’re probably invited.”

“Ah,” Sam deflates a bit, “Good point. Do you really think I’m invited?”

“Yes.”

“...You could pay someone to be your date.”

Jon wishes, truly, that the idea had zero merit. “What should I do? Run an ad? The bastard of the Stark family needs a date?” 

“No,” Sam takes his phone out of his pocket and starts typing, “There’s like...services for that, aren’t there?”

“Like...prostitutes?”

“No. Like...this,” he turns his phone so Jon can see it. “It’s just for dates, like to one-up an ex or something. Or, in your case, to not look lame and single.”

“...Thanks.”

“Not that you’re lame,” Sam amends, “You see lots more action than I do.”

Jon doesn’t even know how to respond to that.


To help his self-esteem, Jon frames it like a business transaction.

When a wealthy woman from Rhaenys's Hill can’t get her poodle to sit and stay, she calls a trainer. Jon has that skill, and the woman pays a hefty sum of gold dragons for it. People pay money all the time for tasks they can’t accomplish on their own.

This is just the same.

There’s a bit of pride to it, too--Jon doesn’t want to admit he lied to Arya, and he doesn’t want Sansa to win the bet. Orchestrating a date to Robb’s wedding seems like the simplest option. He has a month, and for believability, the wedding probably shouldn’t be the first time his siblings meet the person.

Both Arya and Sansa will be able to smell the ruse if Jon isn’t careful.

Sam texts Jon the number, and he calls and makes an appointment for a totally benign time on a weekday afternoon. The office looks utterly nondescript--beige walls, durable carpet, and uncomfortable chairs. Jon imagined something like a strip club, and the reality is more akin to an office where one might buy car insurance.

The woman he meets is dressed in business casual, a blouse and pinstripe dress pants. She could absolutely sell insurance. Jon tells her the situation, and she jots down specifics onto a notepad.

“We can absolutely find someone to cover this, Mr. Snow. Give me a few days, and I’ll be in touch to set up a preliminary meeting.”


This preliminary meeting, such that it is, takes place at a coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon. It’s crowded and noisy, and all Jon can think is discreet.

Discreet is good because Jon’s mortification levels are off the charts.

Jon hadn’t been terribly specific about what he was looking for in his date--a guy, close to his age, so Sansa loses the bet. Someone normal looking that his siblings would believe he’d date. Jon is ordinary, and his siblings will be suspicious if his date is too outlandish.

He gets a text when he enters the coffee shop. I’m wearing a red baseball cap and sitting in the corner.

The person is easy to spot; he’s staring down at his phone when Jon approaches the table. The bill of the hat obscures most of the man’s features, with the exception of a mess of raven black curls pulled into a low ponytail.

Unsure of how to introduce himself, Jon clears his throat dramatically and hopes that does the trick. The man looks up.

...And Jon is pretty sure his heart stops, and his mortal soul transcends to a higher plane of existence. He’s sat across tables from dozens of people over the last year, some of whom were very attractive, but the man looking up at him might be the most beautiful person Jon’s ever seen. He’s grinning when he holds out his hand. The smile reaches his dark eyes, and the hand holding Jon’s is so smooth that he immediately wants to find out how the rest of him feels.

By the old gods and the new, I’d go home with him right now, even though it’s three in the afternoon, and I don’t even know his name.

“Jon Snow?”

“Yes?”

The man laughs, low and sweet, and Jon’s heart does a move that resembles something he saw a formation of planes do in an airshow when he was a child. 

“Well, I found the right person at least,” the hand retreats, and Jon wants to snatch it back. He doesn’t, of course, but sits in the empty chair across the table instead.

“That hat helped,” Jon replies lamely.

He takes it off, and doesn’t even seem to have hat-hair, just curls that must take hours to get right, and would feel really good to bury his fingers in. If Jon wears a baseball cap, it’s an all-day commitment. “I hate hats, but it’s useful for being spotted”

“You look nicer without it,” Jon blurts, “I mean--”

“I know what you mean,” he replies, “I’m Satin Flowers.”

He has to be kidding. He’s still smiling, and there’s not a hint of deceit that Jon can parse. The name also fits perfectly; someone so beautiful should have a ridiculous name like that.

“You’re thinking it’s a fake name.”

“It crossed my mind.”

Satin laughs again, “I swear by the Seven that it’s not. Although, there’s better proof than my word or invoking the gods.” He digs his wallet out of his jean pocket and shows it to Jon.

Who has bedroom eyes at the DMV? Jon winces every time he shows his identification to anyone. Beyond the photo, the name on the card reads Satin Flowers. He’s two years older than Jon. 

He can imagine saying Satin’s name under the cover of darkness, whispering it in his ear as they--Jon shakes his head emphatically to stop the line of thought, “That’s proof enough for me.” 

Satin rests his chin on his hands and leans in, “I read the notes, but tell me more. What kind of date do you need?”

“Well,” Jon starts, and tells Satin the entire story.


They’re not going to believe this.

Jon spends the first hour of the next pizza and video game night in a mild panic. Satin is much, much too attractive to be his date, and everyone is going to notice immediately. He texted Arya two days before and said I’m bringing someone this week. We just met, and it’s not serious, so please don’t be weird.

Arya responds with k and a winking emoji that probably means she’s lying.

Granted, Jon lied, too, and after one lie, that next one comes out easier.

“Sansa’s salty because you made her lose a bet,” Arya tells Satin after he introduces himself to all of them.

Jon might have left that part out of his original explanation. Satin raises both his eyebrows and goes, “Oh?”

“She bet the next person Jon dated would be a woman,'' Arya continues.

Satin laughs, and the warmth in it turns Jon’s stomach into knots, “Well, I am decidedly not that.”

“How’d you two meet?” Sansa asks a bit later; Jon can’t tell if the question is laced with skepticism. 

“A coffee shop,” Satin replies.“It was a bit forward of me, but he looked so broody I couldn’t resist talking to him.”

Jaime, who Jon can’t decide if he wants to see at this very moment, starts cackling, “See, Jon. I told you someone would fall for the brooding eventually. You just had to find the right person and keep your standards high.”

Brienne smacks him on the arm gently, “Jaime, don’t be rude.”

“It’s not rude,” Jaime protests, “It’s praise.”

Satin glances at Jon, shy and flirtatious; he swears Satin is affecting a blush. Jon’s own is very, very real. “I’m just glad Jon said yes.”

Jon thinks Satin deserves some kind of fucking award because by the end of the evening Jon is half-convinced they really are dating. When Satin speaks, his tone is warm and affectionate. They crowd on the couch after dinner, and Satin leans into him and rests his hand on Jon’s knee. He taps his fingers in a rhythm on Jon’s jeans, and it feels so natural that even though they’re in Sansa and Arya’s living room, Jon wishes everyone else would vanish so he could kiss Satin.

He won’t, of course, because Satin is just a very, very good actor.

I’m going to die long before Robb’s wedding.


Much, much later into the night, Jon flops on his bed in a way Sam would describe as “dramatic and petulant.” He’s happy his door is closed, and Sam is not there to tease him. Ghost is not nearly as judgmental. It’s not long before his phone chimes; with no small amount of reluctance, he types in the passcode.

...Of course, it’s one of his siblings.

[Arya]

so how much did u pay him?

[Robb]

who paid who for what now?

[Sansa]

Jon brought his new date tonight. You’ll meet him at the wedding.

[Bran]

His name is pretty ridiculous. Who names their kid Satin?

[Sansa]

He’s beautiful, though. I taught you well.

Jon types a response three times and backspaces each of them. Jon watched Satin lie the entire evening in both words and actions. Each lie was as close to the truth as Satin could possibly get. The bigger the lie, the harder the cover up. If Jon wants the ruse to work, he needs to follow that lead.

[Arya]

we see u typing jon

[Jon]

I didn’t pay him anything.

[Sansa]

I don’t mind losing my bet for that.

[Arya]

i told u the next one would be a dude. val burned him haaaaard.

[Jon]

I’m glad you like him and didn’t scare him away.

[Robb]

i wasn’t there, but i’m sure none of us have ever scared someone’s SO away

Jon tosses his phone to the side. They may not scare them off, but bringing one around them is the kiss of death.


Just for believability, Jon brings Satin around the next time they all get together. 

Being out is better; the noise and the crowd mean Satin doesn’t flirt too much or get too close. They go axe throwing, an activity Jon thinks is ridiculous to pay for. If he wanted to wield an axe, he’d go north and visit Mance Rayder at his hunting lodge. Mance used to make him chop firewood until his hands blistered. Sometimes, Jon would get pissed off and throw the axe at the wall.

He’s still pretty good at hitting the target, honestly.

Satin, well, isn’t.

Half the time, the axe bounces off the target and lands in the lane. Satin laughs, but Jon thinks he feels waves of frustration coming off him. 

“Help your boyfriend,” Arya prods Jon hard in the side, “He’s pouting worse than you do.”

Jon picks up the axe from the ground and holds it up. Satin watches him, “It’s the angle,” he explains, “you’re spinning it too much.” 

He throws the axe; it doesn’t hit the bullseye, but he does score points. 

Satin furrows his brow, “I feel like...that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

“Let me,” Jon says, picking the axe back up and passing it to Satin. He takes it, and Jon curls his hand around Satin’s on the handle. His skin is just as smooth as Jon remembers. The instruction necessitates stepping closer until his front is nearly flush with Satin’s back. 

He smells so good, but he’ll definitely notice if I bury my face in his hair. Jon noticed this last time, when they sat on Sansa’s couch. Whatever Satin wears doesn’t have the masculine, musky smell that Jon associates with cologne. It’s slightly floral, but not exactly feminine, and it suits him perfectly. 

“Let me help,” Jon raises their arms in unison, holding the axe in the right position, “Keep it there when you step forward and throw.”

He steps back. Satin keeps the form Jon instructed and, while he doesn’t hit close enough to score, the axe does land in the target. Satin lets out a whoop and turns to Jon. He’s smiling when he says, “I’m the least athletic person in Westeros. Thank you.”

Then, Satin goes up on his toes and touches Jon’s cheek with his hand before leaning in to kiss the other near the edge of Jon’s beard. He retreats before Jon has time to process anything beyond how it’s rude as hell that his lips are so soft.

Arya has time to snap a picture, which she texts him later, followed by a string of kissing emoji.


“We’ve never met the same person twice,” Sansa whispers to Jon when they part ways at the end of the evening, “You look happy; I’m glad I lost the bet.”

Satin takes his hand. Jon savors the contact he assumes will end once they round a corner out of sight of the others. They walk half a block, and Satin doesn’t release his hand.

“Satin, can I ask you a personal question?”

“You can, but I might not answer.”

Coy, but fair enough. 

“Do you enjoy your job?”

“People buy me gifts,” Satin raises the hand Jon isn’t holding and flashes his watch, “Stuff I’d never be able to afford. I get to go places, too, and drink and eat for free.” 

Jon isn’t sure any of that sounds terribly fulfilling, “And that stuff is...good?”

“It’s fun, sometimes, to imagine being a different person. It’s like acting, only I really, really have to be convincing. I like coming up with backstories for how I met people.”

What happens when you need something real? Jon wants to ask what Satin imagines for how they met, what daydreams of their backstory lead to that look Satin gives him.

“Your brother’s wedding is in two weeks?” Satin asks after a moment.

Jon nods, “In Riverrun.”

He laughs, “A destination wedding, but not much of one.”

They’re still holding hands, and Jon hates to talk shop, but it has to be done. In fact, Jon should’ve asked this before they even began. “Satin, how much is the weekend?”

“Overnight trips are...a lot,” Satin stops walking and turns to look at him. “They’re also when people ask for...extras.”

Oh. “Like...extras?”

Exactly. I don’t do extras anymore.” Satin smirks, “Well, not unless I want to, anyway.” 

Jon is trying to work his head around whether that counts as prostitution. He’s pretty sure it does. “I don’t need extras.” I want them, but I don’t need them. 

Satin’s smile dims, and Jon doesn’t understand why. Then, he says, “Let me do you a favor, Jon Snow. Pay for my flight, my room, and my food, and it'll be between us, off the books.”

“I--I couldn’t possibly--

“You know how when you buy nine frozen yogurt and get the tenth one free?”

“Like a...dating punch card?”

Just like that.”

Jon doesn’t think he’s paid nearly enough to get a freebie.


Jon returns Robb’s wedding invitation with the names Jon Snow and Satin Flowers written on it. His name is dull and ordinary--there’s a million men named Jon, and all Snow means is that he has no father to claim him. As a child, he used to imagine Ned and Catelyn adopting him in earnest, of seeing Jon Stark written on school report cards. Catelyn tolerated him, but she’d never allow that.

Flowers suits Satin, but Jon wonders if he hates his name the way Jon sometimes does.

He stares at their names, side-by-side, for an embarrassingly long time before closing the envelope. Why don’t I just draw a fucking heart around it? He used to make fun of Sansa for doing that in her notebooks; she’d happily return the favor now. 


Jon writes his best man speech on the plane from King's Landing. He also briefs Satin on his family. Ned and Catelyn know, theoretically, that he’s bisexual, but he’s never actually brought another man to a function. Ironic that the first person I introduce them to isn’t even real.

“Will they make a scene?” Satin asks, “Not that I can’t handle a scene.”

“Let’s hope not.”

Catelyn’s reception is lukewarm, but it has little to do with Satin. Ned hugs him so tightly that Jon thinks he might have a bruised rib. Jon hasn’t been home in several months, but he doesn’t want to tell his father that it’s too much with only Rickon there to keep him company.

“It’s good to see you, Jon,” Ned holds him at arm’s length and looks at him.

“You, too,” Jon replies, “I brought a date.”

“And we’re all damned shocked!” Arya yells from across the waiting area of the restaurant. 

Blessedly, both Ned and Catelyn greet Satin with a kindness that seems genuine. Not that Jon is really surprised by now, but Satin is fucking flawless. By the time they reach the main course of the rehearsal dinner, he’s charmed Jeyne Westerling’s entire family, including Jeyne’s younger sister Eleyna.

“Watch out,” Sansa whispers between them when she returns to the table, “You might find young Eleyna trying to break into your hotel room to sleep between you.”

Satin outright giggles at that, “Jon will protect me from her advances.”

She pats Jon’s shoulder, “He’s a strapping, strong man, to be sure.”

The entire ruse has Jon nervous. He drinks way more wine at the rehearsal dinner than he intends to, which doesn’t help. It’s a red wine imported from Dorne that he finds quite palatable and could never afford on his own. He keeps expecting someone to ask Satin a question he can’t answer, but it never happens. 

A professional. 

The more Satin speaks, the more false history he builds between them, and Jon sort of hates how good he is at it. How can I resent him for his job? 

If Jon drinks any more, he’ll get loquacious and risk ruining the yarn Satin’s been weaving, so he stops at his sullen phase of inebriation. Robb once told him it wasn’t that different from his day-to-day disposition.

The wine does affect his hand eye coordination because when they bring dessert, Jon absolutely misses his mouth with a bite of cake and ends up with cream cheese frosting on his face. He goes for his napkin, but Satin beats him to it. With a swipe of a finger across Jon’s cheek, Satin scoops up the icing and sticks his finger in his mouth to lick it clean.

Sweetling,” he teases, “You’re supposed to eat the cake, not wear it.”

Drunkenly, Jon thinks that the erection the whole scene gives him is going to flip over the fucking table.

That’d be one way to get Robb’s wedding off to a memorable start. 


Satin drops his duffle bag on the floor and starts laughing, “Of course there’s only one bed.”

After sweetling, Jon let the server bring him coffee laced with some cordial. Then, maybe a second one? He doesn’t regret them, but he’s definitely lilting to one side by the time they enter their room.

“Because we’re dating,” Jon loudly states the obvious lie, “so of course we’d sleep in the same bed.”

“I can take the couch,” Satin offers, “I’m shorter.”

Jon isn’t exactly tall, but Satin is half-a-head shorter; Jon kind of likes it, not that it matters. He’s also too drunk to process any kind of logistics, so he gestures vaguely to the bed. “It’s a king; we could have a party in this bed. If only Ghost were here, he could share, too.”

Ghost was probably terrorizing the other dogs at the boarding kennel where Jon left him. Normally, Sam would watch him, but he was flying in tomorrow morning.

“I wanna meet Ghost.”

“When we get back.” As though there’s a when we get back.

“Okay.”

His tie feels like a noose, but his hands feel like he’s wearing ten layers of mittens. The combination is not a productive one. Jon struggles with the knot in vain until Satin stills his hands. He’s smiling, just a bit; Jon doesn’t know if the smile is real or what it means.

“You’re going to strangle yourself, and I’m not really into that.” Satin undoes the knot and pulls the tie out from under Jon’s collar. He unbuttons the top two buttons of Jon’s shirt for good measure.

“I think I’m too drunk to protect you from Eleyna. She’ll come through the door and ravish you, and I--”

Would rather do that myself. Does Satin even like men? Gods, he might not.

Satin rustles around in Jon’s suitcase and hands him a pair of sweatpants and his toothbrush. “Change,” he commands as he ushers Jon to the bathroom, “Drink three glasses of water and brush your teeth.” 

“You’re mothering me,” Jon says as Satin closes the door.

Jon manages both tasks, plus taking a piss, without crash landing on the tile. When he exits, Satin takes the bathroom and Jon falls, face first, onto the bed. Satin pulled the covers down, which is a lovely gesture. Tomorrow will be filled with a sizable amount of regret.

When Satin sits on the other side of the bed, Jon turns his head to look in Satin’s direction, “Is this a normal evening out for you?”

Satin laughs, “Sometimes.”

“Babysitting,” Jon moans, “Robb and Jeyne seem really happy. Arya thinks Jeyne is pregnant, hence the short engagement.”

Hmmm,” Satin pauses, “Mrs. Stark doesn’t seem...fond of you.”

“Father left for work while she was pregnant with Robb, missed his birth, and then returned with baby me. My mother was his sister, Lyanna, but she died having me.”

“Mrs. Stark resents you?”

Jon nods and closes his eyes. “ Snow,” he can hear his own bitterness, amplified by drink, “I’ll always be apart from them. Robb and I were in the same grade in school. Everyone knew that I was just their orphaned, bastard cousin.”

“Your siblings love you.”

“And I love them. Even though my mother was a Stark, I’ll never share their name. I used to wonder what I could do to be a good enough son.”

“It’s just a name.” Satin crawls across the expanse of the bed to sit next to Jon. “I’d love to have a family, even if I didn’t share their name.”

Jon glances up; Satin pulled his hair out of the tie that held it back, and it curls around his collarbones in dark ringlets. Why is he wearing a shirt that exposes his collarbones like that? So rude, all the time.  

More than that, though--Satin looks forlorn.

“Are you alone?”

Satin nods, “My mother died when I was a teenager.”

“Flowers?”

“Just like Snow,” Satin stretches out on the bed and uses his hands to hold himself up. “I get to pretend a lot, though, so it’s fine.”

How is that fine? And here Jon is, making Satin pretend even more, all to stop from trapping himself in a lie or letting Sansa win some nominal sum. What a fool I am. Even to look at Satin with desire, to objectify him as he plays a false narrative about his role in Jon’s life.

Jon feels cruel, but Satin is still smiling at him.

He moves his head the scant inches needed to press his forehead against Satin’s thigh. “Don’t pretend. You’re my friend. We can just tell them dating didn’t work out, but you’re still welcome.”

“I’d love that,” Satin answers in a whisper.

Jon doesn’t look up, but he’s certain he feels Satin’s graceful fingers carding through his hair as he falls asleep.


Jon has one hell of a pounding headache.

He also has Satin Flowers clinging to him like a limpet--an arm and a leg thrown haphazardly over him. Satin’s head is tucked against his shoulder and puffs of warm breath tickle Jon’s neck each time he exhales. He still smells faintly like the sweet scent of his cologne. 

Aside from sharing his bed with Ghost, the last person who slept this close to Jon was Ygritte. Just like Satin, she would curl up against him, head on his shoulder, until they were so close it felt like they were one.

In a bed this big, how did Satin get so close? 

Whether intentional or accidental, Jon decides to ignore the pounding in his head in favor of savoring how nice Satin feels against him. Painkiller could wait a moment, but when Satin wakes up, the illusion will shatter. 

Eventually, Satin’s breathing changes, and he raises his head to look down at Jon. He has an impressive case of bedhead and looks as disoriented as Jon feels. Apparently, his driver’s license isn’t the only place where Satin has bedroom eyes--at least in this moment they seem appropriate, even if they’re making Jon’s heart do a dance.

“I swear I didn’t start like this,” Satin sounds sheepish. “Although, I don’t necessarily mind.”

“Me either.”

Satin chuckles, “I knew you were the cuddly type, Jon Snow.”

“I--you did?” Jon thinks to deny it, but isn’t sure what the point would be.

“It’s just a vibe you give off,” he explains, “You’re sweet.”

I’m not. A sweet person wouldn’t be thinking about all those extras Satin said he doesn’t do unless he wants to. He wouldn’t be trying to figure out why Satin came with him for free. I offered him friendship, Jon repeats over and over. A friend wouldn’t be think about Satin touching him, or what it would be like to have Satin straddle him and--

I’d let him do anything he wanted.

“You think too highly of me,” Jon says weakly.

"I'm sure I don't."

They stare at one another, unmoving, and Jon prays, to old gods, new ones, to whomever will listen for Satin to kiss him. He doesn't, though; he just watches Jon with an expression he can’t quite parse. A strange, probably illogical part of his brain wonders if the ruse goes that deep. 

How good is Satin at pretending?

“Satin,” Jon swallows nervously, “Is this--are you interested in men?”

“A hundred percent exclusively.”

“That’s...good to hear.”


Coffee, a plate of pancakes and sausage, and pain reliever do wonders for Jon’s disposition. Even better is the fact that room service brings them while he showers.

Jon stares at his phone while he eats, running through the best man speech he wrote on the plane. The tone was weird in the first draft--it didn’t convey that fact that he was truly, genuinely happy for Robb. Robb is his brother; his closest and oldest friend. It’s never been Robb’s fault that Jon felt a schism he couldn’t bridge between him and the rest of the Starks.

The new version sounds much better.

Jon hasn’t been to a traditional Southern wedding since Uncle Edmure got married. They gather in Riverrun’s sept before a septon. Jon looks around at the statues of the Seven, so different from the old gods he grew up with in the North. 

“Jeyne’s family wanted something very traditional,” Sansa whispers to him, “Cloaks and everything.”

“They don’t know Jeyne’s--”

Sansa shakes her head, “We don’t even know that, if you get my drift.”

“It can’t be a secret forever; all it takes is some simple math.”

“But the wedding will be over.”

And the child won’t be a bastard.

Robb places his cloak, a direwolf running over a field of white, over Jeyne’s shoulders and leans down to kiss her. The sigil of our house. No, their house. Should Jon ever marry, he has no cloak to place over anyone’s shoulders. Not that most people bother with the older traditions. The last wedding he went to took place in a park in King’s Landing, and the officiant was a judge, not a septon.

Nevertheless, Jon couldn’t do it this way, even if he desired it.

Arya, to his left, jabs him in the side. “Don’t mope, Jon. You look like someone shit in your breakfast.”


Jon feels terribly awkward holding a microphone in front of over a hundred people, but everyone claps at the end of his best man speech. He tells a story of Robb and he as children, standing on opposite ends of Winterfell’s towers, yelling at one another and trying to sound commanding like Father did.

A strong man needs a strong voice.

The story is silly, and filled with the logic of children, so everyone loves it. Jon doesn’t say that Robb can be like their father, but he can never be.

Satin sits at the table closest to the head table with Bran, Arya, their dates, and Rickon. Jon worries about him for all of three minutes until he remembers that Satin is amazing at talking to people.

After dinner, people move to the dance floor. The music is upbeat and techno; Jon taps his foot under the table, but doesn’t feel compelled to get up. Robb spins Jeyne around to the beat, and Jon smiles at the sight. Hopefully no one notices she’s not drinking. After the champagne toast, he moves to whiskey. It burns, and he prefers it with a mixer, but it slows him down.

Watching is fine for now. Jaime gets Brienne to dance, much easier than all those years ago at Edmure’s wedding. She looks reluctant, but like she’s having fun. Sansa takes Daenerys’s hands and spins her in a circle.

Then, there’s Satin. Of course Satin Flowers likes to dance. He dances with Sansa and two other girls Jon doesn’t recognize. He also appears to be trying to dodge Eleyna Westerling again, who honestly looks like she wants to drag him to a dark corner and have her way with him.

Satin comes to him in between songs and leans over the table. His dark gray suit fits him perfectly, and Jon can't fathom how his hair looks so perfectly tousled, yet in place. He was there as Satin got ready, and he didn't seem to spend that much more time in the bathroom than Jon.

"Does Jon Snow not dance?"

He's prettier than the bride. He's so pretty it makes Jon's vocabulary evaporate in his mouth. 

"...Only if Sansa asks."

Satin leans in closer, hands flat on the table. He’s close enough that all Jon would have to do is lean forward in his chair to kiss him. “Your sister is a fine dance partner, but she’s not my date.”

“I’m...bad at it.”

He glances out to the dance floor, "I don't think skill matters. Everyone is just flailing to the music."

Jon looks past him to the dance floor again; Satin is right--no one out there looks like they'll be winning any contests tonight. And the drunker they get, the less anyone else will notice how bad they are. It feels like half of the Riverlands is on the dance floor. Satin grabs Jon’s hand and pulls him along into the crowd as another song starts up. 

Satin’s right, it’s not really dancing.

He runs into Arya, who yells, “Satin, you got Jon to dance?”

“I did!”

“It’s party Jon!” She punches him in the arm, “Maybe he’ll even smile.”

“I resent that,” he calls back, but Sansa loops her arm through Arya’s and drags her away.

He lets Satin lead him around by the hand and tries to ignore the handful of people he tertiarily knows shouting “Is that Jon Snow dancing?” They make it through four songs before Satin tires and stumbles. Jon catches him by the arms and pulls them together. How much has Satin been drinking? The night before he had one glass of wine, maybe two. Satin slips his arms around Jon’s neck and leans into him. Instinctually, Jon returns the gesture and laces his fingers together at Satin’s back.

We could dance like this, if the song was slower.

Then, Eleyna Westerling manifests out of thin air and approaches them. A panicked look crosses Satin’s face. “Kiss me,” his whispers, “Or she won’t--”

“Satin, there you are,” she says, “I missed you, we should go--”

Jon doesn’t need to be told twice, he presses his lips to Satin’s. A quick glance before he shuts his eyes reveals Eleyna, slack jawed. She makes an indignant noise and puts her hands on her hips.

“She is thirsty for you,” Jon says when she stomps off.

“Did you not see her eye fucking me all through dinner last night?”

“I did. I just didn’t expect her to be so aggressive. What did you tell her?” 

Sheepish, and maybe with a hint of a blush, Satin replies, “That I was very into my date, who is a man.

A lie I wish was true. Instead, Jon asks, “You wanna sit? She might not bother you again if we’re not dancing.”

Satin shakes his head, “No, I can sit anytime, but there’s only so much of this.”

“Dancing?” There’s a hundred nightclubs in King’s Landing; Jon’s never been to any of them, but Sansa could compile a list.

“No,” Satin rolls those ridiculous brown eyes of his, “You. You’re only mine for the weekend.” 

Satin seems to realize exactly what he’s said, and Jon’s about to respond when the DJ stops the music because it’s time for Jeyne to toss her bouquet.


Arya catches the flowers, and everyone looks at Gendry, who panics so much that he nearly drops his cocktail. Jon would laugh if there wasn’t an entire room of revelers between him and the fact that Satin ran out of the hall as soon as Jon let him go. 

Suddenly, the best man’s company seems to be very coveted. Robb, quite drunk by now, flings his arm over Jon’s shoulder and, nearly in tears, says “Jeyne is so beautiful, Jon. She’s my wife, and our baby is going to be the cutest--”

Well, that confirms it. Jon, to save Robb from himself, puts his hand over his brother’s mouth and gets saliva on it for his trouble. He wipes it on his pants, but it doesn’t really help. “Robb, you’re gonna regret yelling that while Jeyne’s parents are in the room.”

“Oh-- you’re right,” Robb stage-whispers, “It’s a secret.”

“So keep it one,” Jon knows he sounds stern, but Robb won’t remember.

Theon, who Jon would usually very much like to avoid, sweeps in, “C’mon Robb, even with all the booze you’ve had, you’re not lubed up enough for Jon’s tight ass.” He puts an arm around Robb and steers him away, “I’ll keep him from eating shit; go look for your pretty boy date.”

For maybe the first time in twenty-seven years, Jon tells Theon Greyjoy, “Thanks,” and means it.

At least a half hour has passed since Jon last saw Satin. He could’ve taken a rideshare back to the airport in that amount of time. Jon gets waylaid by half a dozen people who want to make smalltalk as he winds his way through the crowd. 

He finds Satin not thirty feet from the entrance, leaning against the railing and looking out at the Red Fork. The night is clear, and the half-crescent moon reflects off the water. He has a drink, some amber liquid with an ice ball floating in it.

It’s humid, and Jon swears his hair starts frizzing immediately--not Satin’s, though. From behind, the curls look just the same. Unsure of what to say, Jon leans on the railing next to Satin and looks out at the dark water. A boat, covered in lights, moves downriver.

‘“I’m sorry,” Satin says after a moment.

“Why?”

“I crossed a line, right? You didn’t ask for extras.”

“I’d never ask for extras,” Jon replies, still looking out at the water. “Even if I wanted them. Paying for a date is bad enough. I’d never --this is all my fault for lying.”

“I don’t understand why you needed me,” Satin doesn’t make eye contact, either. 

Now, Jon does look just to see if Satin is bullshitting him, “I’ve been on so many dates since my last relationship ended, and they were all awful. Sansa made me use this app--anyway, I don’t know how to meet normal people.”

Satin laughs, “Me either. I haven’t been on a real date in over a year.”

Disbelieving, Jon replies, “But you’re--” Beautiful. That’s too much, maybe. “...Fun to be around.”

So lame.

“I’m like a Saturday night.” Jon furrows his brow, so Satin continues, “Fun. An escape. On Monday morning, you have to go back to work. Then, you want something real.”

That is soul-crushingly sad; it’s so tragic Jon can’t find the words to convey it.

Jon replies, stubborn, “You’re real.”

“Jon, you don’t know me.”

“Then tell me; what do I need to know to know Satin Flowers.”

“I used to do extras all the time because I needed money for food,” Satin raises his voice, “I let old men parade me around like a pet and then fuck me because I wanted to keep my cell phone active. I dropped out of college after two semesters. I learned how to be good at this without the extras, but it wasn’t always like that.”

“Alright.”

“And I have this stupid name. I love my mother, but what the fuck was she thinking? Don’t give a child a name they couldn’t be elected as a politician with. What can Satin Flowers do with this name but this? What happens when I’m old?”

“Your name suits you.”

Satin turns and stomps away, “I know it does.”

Shit. I didn’t mean it like that. “Wait, Satin, please--”

He stops a few paces away and faces Jon, “I’m sorry. This isn’t what you paid for.”

“I didn’t pay.”

“Fine. This isn’t what you want as your freebie after filling out your punch card. No one wants a dramatic, existential sidepiece.”

I don’t want a sidepiece at all.

“When I was a kid, I thought I had the most boring name a bastard could have. What could Jon Snow do? No one would remember someone with a name that plain.” 

Satin shakes his head, “It suits you; it’s comforting and dependable.”

As a boy, he used to play with Robb and imagine being a knight from an old story. As an adult, the qualities Satin sees are ones Jon knows to value.

“Gods, don’t laugh at me,” Jon feels embarrassment creeping on him, “but your name is beautiful.”

“Oh.”

“I didn’t think baseborn names could sound so --I thought they couldn’t tell the story that a true family name could.” That I was nothing if I wasn’t a Stark. How long did he spend searching for his worthiness of that name?

“That’s not true,” Satin takes a step closer; the breeze shifts and catches the scent of his cologne again. “You have a name that could carry someone through an awful weekday--like the shittiest Monday ever, but it’s okay because Jon Snow’s at home.”

“You, too,” Jon puts his hand on Satin’s shoulder--a friendly gesture if need be, “I’d be happy to know you every day of the week. You could be like...a Thursday.”

“A Thursday,” Satin repeats, “The shitty day before Friday; it’s totally useless unless you’re looking forward to something.”

“And I would,” Jon answers, “be looking forward to something.”

Satin smiles, more genuine and more fragile than any Jon has seen from him. He looks down at his designer watch, “There’s like...an hour left of this reception, and I’m sure you can’t bounce early, but after--”

“It might be rude, as the best man.” He’s smiling, too, “but after.”

Satin nods; then, he takes Jon’s hand and leads him back into the ballroom.


The last hour is filled with a nervous excitement that Jon can’t quite keep buried. The minute they get back to their hotel room, he’s going to tackle Satin to the bed. Or maybe the reverse? Jon isn’t a picky man; Satin can have him any way he can think of. 

The best part is that Satin knows.

Sure, they haven’t explicitly said anything yet, but it doesn’t matter. The tension simmering between them, the coy expression on Satin’s face when their eyes meet, the hand on his knee under the table, all of it drips with the promise of more.

Jon’s never been made to wait with the knowledge of what’s to come. 

Does Satin feel it the same way?

His expression reveals his intent, but Jon can’t tell if the hour is passing as slowly for Satin. If Jon asks, every dirty thought is going to overflow from his mind and spill out of his mouth. They don't dance anymore; if they dance, he’s going to pull Satin into his arms, kiss him, and make a scene. He’s going to Theon Greyjoy it. And since he’s not Theon, he’s not shameless enough to own something like grinding against someone on the dance floor.

The dance floor is emptier, now, and someone would definitely notice. Instead, Jon gets two glasses of water, and sits beside Satin.

“How responsible,” Satin whispers, lips almost touching Jon’s ear; it sends a shiver down his spine. “Hydrating is important.”

“I don’t want a hangover.”

Satin laughs and rests his temple against Jon’s shoulder and sips at the water through the paper straw. “Are you this responsible in all arenas, Jon Snow?”

“Boringly so, I’ve been told.” He glances to Theon, across the room, who is predictably rubbing his crotch against some Westerling cousin’s backside. “Theon often tells me I’m, and I quote, ‘such a tightass that no one could ever fuck me.”

“And does Theon over there get laid frequently?” 

"Somehow. I’ve never understood his appeal.”

Satin laughs and lowers his voice to a whisper again, “Does dependable Jon Snow carry condoms?”

“...Yes.” It creates an utterly predictable reaction--all of Jon’s blood rushes south. “I thought--I don’t know what I thought.”

“You thought you wanted someone,” Satin leans in and kisses him, “You’ll have a better time tonight than Theon’s girl.”


By the time they make their way to the elevator, Jon is about ready to Theon Greyjoy it. If Theon can dry hump a girl on the dance floor, why can't Jon kiss Satin in a hallway?

The elevator is blessedly empty, so Jon does exactly that as soon as the door closes. Satin fumbles for the button for their floor. Both prior kisses were little more than chaste pecks; this kiss is the exact opposite of that. It takes only a moment for Satin to seek entry to Jon's mouth with his tongue. He grabs the lapels of Jon's suit jacket and molds their bodies together. 

It occurs to Jon that Satin probably has much more experience in kissing, and probably everything, than he does. Nevertheless, Jon aims to give as good as he's getting; he braces a hand on the metal wall panel next to Satin's head and uses some of his weight to press Satin closer to the wall. The move ends with sliding a knee between Satin's legs. When Satin gasps, Jon nips at his lower lip.

Satin's dark eyes are wide, and his cheeks and lips are flushed from kisses. Gods, he looks so good. Satin's grip on his jacket tightens, and Jon kisses him again, briefly, before pressing his lips to the smooth skin of Satin's cheek and moving outward. His beard scrapes over Satin's jaw, and he lets out a tiny exhale when Jon kisses his neck. They can't fuck in the elevator, but Jon does lament when the door dings and opens.

"It's rude of you to look like that, you know.”

Maybe you're the rude one," Satin counters, "Wearing that suit and making me imagine what's under it all evening."

Jon doesn't get it--he's plain as the day is long, but he wants nothing else in this moment but Satin's attention, so he doesn't argue.

The hallway feels very, very long.

Satin manifests a key card from his pocket and opens the door to their room. Then, he hangs the 'do not disturb' sign on the door handle and bolts it shut behind them.

For some reason, the gesture makes Jon burst out laughing. "An overt overture, if there ever was one."

"I don't want you to get the wrong idea," Satin takes his phone out of his pocket and taps at it for a moment; Jon's own phone vibrates in the breast pocket of his jacket. 

Jon takes it out and scowls at the screen, "You sent me money?" 

"It's not the whole amount," Satin explains, "but it's what I made."

Oh.

"Satin," Jon shakes his head, "Don't you need the money? I know I need my paychecks."

"I do," he replies, "but not as much as I need this to not be attached to my job.”

“But--”

“Please, Jon.”

Jon nods. He’ll use the money on Satin--something nice and genuine, like dinner and a movie. Maybe two or three expensive dinners and movies.

“Thank you,” Satin glances away, “I wish we met normally.”

“Hey,” Jon reaches out and touches Satin’s cheek, hoping it will bring his focus back. “If you wanna blame someone for the weird way we met, pick me.”

Satin turns his head and kisses Jon’s palm. “No blame.”

A step forward and Jon is able to take Satin in his arms again, and there’s no elevators or thirsty wedding guests to interrupt them. Only a bolted door and a long, long time until morning. Much like the night before, Jon’s tie is uncomfortably tight. Satin is smiling softly when undoes the knot. He doesn’t stop at dropping the tie on the small desk nearby; Satin’s continues the journey, working at buttons until he reaches the impasse of Jon’s vest.

Jon sheds his jacket and tosses it on the desk, too. “It’s a rental.” He’d rather not wreck it. 

Satin glances up from where his hands have stilled. When their gazes meet, Jon nods. The task is something he could do himself, but Satin disrobing him generates a low simmer of desire. Jon likes it when Satin undoes the buttons on his vest and the rest of his shirt before pushing the fabric aside and running a hand up his chest. His hands are cool and soft

That is until Satin adds his other hand to the arsenal and brushes the pads of his thumbs over Jon's nipples in tandem. The effect is staggering --his cock, already half-hard, finishes the task. Satin moves his thumbs back and forth, a gentle caress, and Jon thinks his legs are going to give out. Satin leaves, but it's to push Jon's clothes off his shoulders. He undoes Jon's cufflinks and places them on the desk. The shirt and vest drape on the back of the chair. 

"I knew you were hiding something good under all those clothes," Satin gives an appreciative hmmmm. "This will drive me crazy every time I see you now." He kisses Jon's cheek before blazing a southward trail. When he reaches Jon's nipples, he runs his tongue over each of them and smirks up at Jon when he lets out an embarrassingly obscene noise. 

Satin kneels and reaches for the clasp of Jon's belt, unthreading it, "Want me to spank you?"

"I-- what?" 

Jon panics, for a second, that Satin is deeply into some niche kink. Sexual incompatibility is a real thing. Tormund was like that--it was fine, but there was always something. 

"I'm kidding, Jon. I mean, if you asked, I would."

"No, thank you."

"Good. My intent was to suck your cock."

Oh gods. Does he need to respond? Does an embarrassing moan count? "P-please." 

Satin laughs harder; a button or two and the zipper give up the ghost. Then, his cock is in Satin's hands, and Jon is absolutely going to die long before Satin's mouth gets anywhere near him. 

"You can fuck me," he whispers as he plants a kiss on the head of Jon's cock. "Grab my hair, come in my mouth. I'll take any of it."

Yes to all those things.

A dark chuckle leaves Satin; then Jon is utterly at his mercy. It's not the first time someone has done this, but it might as well be. Satin uses his tongue, keeps the pressure and the pace just right. Jon dares to look down, and Satin taking him all the way into his mouth, cheeks hollowed out, is what makes Jon grab his hair. Jon has the presence of mind not to grab too tightly. Satin moans around his cock when Jon buries his fingers in the dark curls.

Soft.  

Jon wants to drown in it, or wrap himself up in it. The language doesn’t matter--only that Satin is everywhere, and Jon is going to do, dramatically and shamelessly, all the things Satin said he could do. And he’s still wearing his fucking suit. It's designer, too, and was probably a gift, but he doesn't want to dwell on that. Satin looks amazing in that suit, and Jon has rented tuxedo pants halfway to his ankles. The indignity.

Then, abruptly, Jon isn’t going to because Satin ceases the contact, and Jon feels like he’s been kicked out into the hallway.

Satin stands and brushes his hands on the legs of his pants, completely nonplussed. If Jon is going to feel like he’s standing on the edge of a precipice looking in some tempting abyss, Satin should join him.

“You...quit.”

“I…” A pause. “I want that, later. I think.”

Somehow, even with the pronouns, Jon knows exactly what Satin means. He hadn’t even considered doing the fucking. He can count on his fingers the number of times he’s done the fucking. Tormund entertained the notion, but it wasn’t--it was that sense of discomfort again.

“I’ll try.”

“Not your thing?” 

Jon shakes his head, “No, I just haven’t done it much.”

“I knew it,” Satin sounds smug, “I thought so from the moment we met.”

How? Do I look like a bottom? He means to ask, but Satin is kissing him, and the question can wait. Satin is kissing him, and Jon is trying to get to the bed, but his pants and shoes are a tripping hazard, and they collapse together in a pile of limbs. Satin nearly knees him in the crotch, which would definitely be a mood dampener. Then, in a gesture Jon finds oddly touching, Satin unbuckles his shoes and removes his pants.

Jon’s usually a little nervous, a little uncomfortable. Instead, he’s frustrated at the fact that Satin is still fully clothed. He’s maybe a bit amused by it, too. Satin is above him, hands braced on either side of Jon’s head and one knee between his thighs. 

But, despite all that, Jon is comfortable-- really comfortable.

“You distracted me all evening,” Jon says, low, “but that suit needs to go.”

“Have your way with it; it’s not a rental.”

“No, it’s too nice,” Jon reaches between them and undoes Satin’s tie.

Jon tosses the tie onto the bed. Satin pushes himself up to give Jon space to do the rest. He sheds the jacket and shirt as Jon reaches for his pants. 

When Satin is clad in only his underwear, he smiles, quite placidly, and says, “Wanna use the tie as a blindfold?” 

“Satin.”

“Or you could tie me up?”

“Later, maybe.” Jon didn’t necessarily mean to say that aloud, even as a joke; now the image is stuck in his mind, but he doesn’t try to banish it.

Satin’s laugh, warm and a little coy, makes a warm affection bubble up in him, “First, I’ll do what you like.”

He likes lots of things. There’s places he doesn’t want to go, lines he doesn’t want to cross, but mostly Jon wants what his partner wants. Satin stands and pulls down his underwear, and Jon’s sexual frustration increases tenfold--to be left hanging, then be treated to the sight of that. Looking at Satin in clothes makes Jon feel like someone stuffed cotton down his throat. 

Naked, Satin is...well…

Almost more than I can handle.

Jon tries to look everywhere simultaneously. Satin’s frame is slight, and lithe, and graceful. Naked, he’s everything Jon finds so captivating every time he looks, only more. The narrow tapering of his waist, all the ridiculously soft skin that Jon wants to kiss. He stares at the way Satin’s hair hits his collarbones before his eyes find their final goal--Satin’s cock.

“I want you to fuck me.” He meant it to be a thought, but he hears his voice, a little breathless. 

Then Satin is laughing, “Did dependable Jon Snow bring lube, too?”

“I--no.” Why didn’t I think of that?

“Well, between the two of us, we have everything we need.” Satin finds the string of condom packets in Jon’s bag, and lube from his own. Was he thinking about this, too? Or does he just carry it around?   “On your stomach, Jon.”

Bossy. He should've known that, though. Jon likes it, and he should’ve known that, too. He gets to his knees and grips the rails on the headboard. Satin is silent for long enough that Jon turns, "What?"

"That's...good," Satin's cheeks are flushed, "I just like looking at you."

"I need you to do more than look." Jon is a bit desperate for the contact, but he also can't handle the intensity of Satin's expression.

"I will.”

Then, Satin is everywhere all at once--whispering into Jon’s ear, pressing his nose into his hair, kisses along his spine, and finally, finally, sliding one slick-coated finger into him. There’s a tense second, but then Jon relaxes into the contact. Every touch from Satin, since the first time he rested his hand on Jon’s knee, has been building up to Satin sliding a finger in and out of him.

“You can tell Theon something for me at brunch tomorrow,” Satin rests his cheek against Jon’s back; his hair tickles, and he must be watching his fingers. “If you can get to brunch.”

“W-what should I tell him?”

“That Jon Snow is tight,” Satin slides a second finger into him, “but with a little work, he’s totally fuckable.”

“I’m not telling Theon that,” Jon gasps and pushes back against the fingers pushing into him. Every nerve ending feels like it’s on fire, and Satin’s fucking hands would feel criminally good opening him up. “You tell him.”

“You want me to say that?” Satin’s voice has a sultry tone Jon could never manage. “In front of all your siblings and the ultra-conservative Westerlings? That you grabbed the headboard while I fucked you?”

Cruel, because Satin hasn’t even done that yet.

“L-let’s keep that between us, maybe.”

Satin laughs and takes his fingers out of Jon; the transition is vacant and unpleasant. “Fine, sweetling; I’ll do as you wish.”

Jon has nothing for pet names, but Satin can whisper sweetling into his ear whenever he likes. Satin lines the head of his cock up with Jon's entrance; he trails a hand down Jon’s side, as though he’s worthy of such a gentle gesture. 

“Go on.”

“Tell me if anything’s bad.”

Jon knows from the minute Satin pushes into him that it probably never could be bad. He lets out a hiss of pleasure when Satin fully seats himself. And, just like Satin said he would, after the first thrust, Jon curls his fingers around the headboard. For all that gentleness, the pleasure nearly makes Jon’s knees buckle. Tormund liked to fuck him from behind, sometimes, and even if it felt good, it didn’t feel intimate. When Jon’s legs start to quake from the pleasure, Satin notices and stuffs two of the decorative pillows under him. 

“That good?” 

Why does he sound surprised?

Jon nods, forehead pressed a pillow now, “Y-yeah.”

Satin molds his body over Jon’s, pressing his chest against Jon’s back and wraps one hand around Jon’s grip on the headboard. The change in angle makes Jon’s see stars--a depth rarely reached. Jon’s never come from just this, but maybe, maybe Satin could make it happen. Satin, pressed against him and inside him.

“You feel so good,” Satin whispers, hot in his ear, “It’s so different--”

Jon is nearly out of his mind with pleasure, and he grips the bed so tightly his hands are going to feel like after playing on a swing set as a kid. Jon gasps as Satin’s thrusts reach their apex. Satin comes, a handful of thrusts later, pressing kisses into Jon’s hair.

Then, Satin collapses onto Jon’s back, and both of them land in a thunk on the bed. Satin’s weight is pleasant; although Jon tries to not make it obvious that he wants to thrust into the bed lines to get the release he’s craving. Satin’s done enough, truly, but Jon wants to spare the housekeeping staff.

“...Was it good?”

Satin’s words stand out to him--something about them. Even during, he seemed a bit… “H-have you never done this before?’

He freezes, still buried to the hilt, and Jon feels Satin’s forehead press between his shoulder blades, damp with sweat, “C-can you tell?”

“Only when you spoke,” Jon admits, “You seemed a bit...awed.”

“...Yeah.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I wanted to, and you wanted me to,” Satin whispers, “You didn’t come, did you?”

“Not yet,” Jon tries not to sound needy, or breathless, and fails pretty spectacularly.

Satin definitely notices because his tone is diffident, “I’ll get better. Can we trade?”

Jon nods, and Satin retreats, flopping on the bed. When he turns over, Jon gets his first good look at Satin--his pale skin is flushed with exertion, and he’s giving Jon a look he’s certain he’s never seen directed at him. Jon feels wanted, and it’s so intense he almost can’t process it. Satin removed the condom at some point before Jon turned over, and he’s holding the bottle of lube in his hand. Assuming Satin means to pass it to him, Jon holds out his hand, but Satin shakes his head.

“I’ll do it,” he sounds a touch out of it, “Just watch, and don’t touch yourself.”

When Satin leans back against the pillows, spreads his legs and inserts a lube-coated finger into himself, Jon is going to die at the sight. Won’t that make one hell of an obituary. Satin works at himself slowly, just one finger to the knuckle, and Jon watches, transfixed, as Satin’s cock hardens under his own ministrations. Satin’s breathing comes in rough pants, and when he adds a second finger, Jon’s hand is inches away from his own cock when Satin stops him.

“D-don’t. That’s for me.”

Jon groans in frustration, half-tempted to disobey. If he so much looks at his cock, he’s going to explode and ruin what Satin’s asking for. He knows the feeling of those long fingers making him open, pliant, ready. Satin adds a third finger and throws his head back, exposing the pale column of his neck.

When Jon can’t bear it, he lets out a very choked version of Satin's name. Satin nods, and Jon might as well teleport across the bed and the condom onto him. Satin is ready--knees bent for a good angle, and Jon slides into him in one smooth motion. He waits, afraid he's going to come with a single stroke. 

Satin does the opposite, putting his arms around Jon’s neck and pulling him into a torrent of messy kisses that mostly miss their target. Jon returns them, admiring the hitch in Satin’s breathing as he rasps his beard over the sensitive skin of his throat. There’s no resistance as he slides in and out of Satin, only smooth heat driving him to the brink. Unsurprisingly, Jon barely lasts a dozen strokes. He lets out a guttural groan as he comes, and Satin clenches around his cock. Satin tightens the grip of his legs around Jon’s back and whispers his name over and over into Jon’s ear.

Jon doesn’t miss Satin’s disgruntled huff when he pulls out, but both of them are utterly spent. He isn’t sure what Satin wants in regards to contact, so he lays beside him after disposing of the condom. 

Gods, I’m exhausted.

Satin looks abandoned and a little dazed. Jon pushes hair back from his face, dampened curls sticking to his fingers, “Are you okay?”

His touch and his voice bring Satin back to himself, and he blinks at Jon a few times before speaking, “Please don’t leave.”

“I’m not.”

“Hold me, then.”

Jon is happy to oblige. “Under the blankets; who knows what we’ve gotten onto his comforter or what was already here before us.”

Satin clearly won’t get up, so Jon stands, a bit tenuously, and pulls down as much as he can of the blankets. When Jon gets under them, Satin, quite theatrically, throws as much of the comforter as he can aside and joins him.

“Do you think they wash it every time?” Satin asks.

Absolutely not,” Jon answers, “If you want to be held, come here.”

Satin drapes himself over Jon resting his chin to his sternum and looking up at him. Jon pulls the blanket up until Satin’s head is nearly buried in the sheets. Then, he rests a hand between Satin’s shoulder blades, tracing an aimless pattern. He feels like a wrung out washcloth.

“This is nice,” Satin mumbles, “like last night, but more naked.”

“It is,” Jon agrees, reaching to flip the lamp switch on the wall and plunging the room into darkness. “ Ugh, I can’t keep my eyes open.”

“‘Night, Jon.” He sounds half-asleep now and shifts so his cheek is pressed against Jon’s chest.

Jon’s last thought, before sleep claims him, is I could get used to this.


The feeling is still there in the morning when Jon wakes. Satin, sprawled even more atop him, breathes softly against his neck, and he doesn’t want the plane ride back to King’s Landing to truncate that. He thinks of weekends with Ygritte, of serving Val coffee from the same mug every morning for a week and imagining things could stay like that. Satin could have that--a coffee mug in Jon’s cabinet, a seat at his shabby kitchen table. Fuck. I’m getting ahead of myself. Satin looks so peaceful, it’s hard to not to, though. 

When Satin does wake, he stretches against Jon in a way that creates contact between them that Jon is very interested in.

“Morning,” Satin turns to look at him, mirroring his position from the night before. “Sleep good?”

“Yeah,” his voice comes out as a croak, and he wishes for a glass of water. “Less hangover, better company.”

“The same company,” Satin amends, “just missing some key bits.”

“....Like clothes.”

“And unresolved sexual tension.”

Resolved makes it seem like it’s done and gone, but that’s definitely not the case. There’s no resolving this--now that Jon knows, he only wants Satin more. The memory burns through him, encouraged by every point of contact between them under the blankets. There’s so many things we didn’t get to last night.  

Satin kisses him where his brows are definitely drawn together, then on the lips. His mouth tastes like stale alcohol, so that can’t be great, but Satin is smiling softly afterwards. Jon doesn’t care, either--Satin could taste like he drank bogwater, and Jon would absolutely want to kiss him.

“Last night was,” Jon starts and flounders at an appropriate adjective, “...good. Like really good.”

“Good?” Satin repeats, incredulous.

“Fine,” Jon blurts, “Sexual compatibility is a real thing, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so…”

“...Compatible?”

Jon wanted to say something better, something seductive or alluring. “Yeah.”

“We need a bath,” Satin wrinkles his nose; he’s sporting an impressive case of bed hair.  “More efficient if we go together, right?”


Going together is not, in fact, more efficient.

In fact, it’s much, much less so--a truth Jon suspected, but decided it was in his best interest not to mention. He knows efficiency is damned to the seven hells when Satin, naked as his nameday, grabs the lube and condoms off the nightstand and escorts them into the bathroom. 

Jon doesn’t gawp as Satin makes the journey--doesn’t look at his ass or anything of the sort. There’s nothing but clean, chaste thoughts in his head.

“This tub is huge!” Satin calls out. When Jon peers his head around the door, Satin continues, “I was so tired yesterday, I didn’t even really see it.”

He eyes the supplies, and then looks back to Satin, “Isn’t the point to get clean?”

Satin laughs, “Eventually, yeah. The fun is the journey, not the endpoint, Jon.”

“I--” Jon shakes his head, “Sure.”

And the journey, Jon can’t even deny it, is fun. Satin dumps in a generous amount of bath soap and sits on the seat at the edge of the tub while it fills with hot water. Jon, clearly back in full-force, climbs into the tub and kneels before Satin.

“Jon?”

“Something we didn’t get to last night,” Jon encircles Satin’s cock with a soapy hand.

“Oh,” Satin shakes his head, face reddening, “You don’t have to--”

“I don’t have to do anything, but I’d like to.”

Jon can tell that Satin’s never been doted on with any genuine intent. His favor has been bought in trinkets and performative acts, but that’s not the same as affection. Jon is nothing special, but he can show Satin that.

“I’d like that, then,” Satin’s answer is shy.

Satin is half-hard already when Jon takes him into his mouth; it takes little effort on Jon’s part to finish the task. Like when Jon fucked him, Satin is almost absurdly responsive. He grabs Jon’s hair with his soapy hands, curses rather colorfully, and barely stops himself from canting his hips forward so Jon can take him deeper. Jon likes it--the firm weight of Satin’s cock, the little clues he’s learning mean Satin is coming undone. Jon works slowly, enjoying Satin’s low moans when he goes deep.

“J-Jon, I’m gonna--”

Please do, he thinks, that’s the whole point. Saying that isn’t feasible, so Jon takes one of Satin’s hands from his hair and laces their fingers together. Satin looks down at him, their eyes meet for a second, and that seems to do the trick.

After, Satin rests his head against the glass wall between the tub and the shower and shuts his eyes. Somehow, he has the wherewithal to turn the tap off before it overflows. 

“I would’ve flooded the bathroom,’ Jon admits.

“Don’t wanna pay for the damages.” He pauses and takes a deep breath, “Can you...like last night again?”

Jon’s halfway submerged, but if he rises, Satin will see the effect pleasuring him created. The response is cheeky in a way he never is, but he looks up at Satin and says, “Wanna go for a ride?”

Satin, wide-eyed, looks down at Jon and says, breathless, “Gods, yes.”


“Thank the Seven this is a fucking buffet.”

Naturally, Theon is the first person Jon sees when they enter the restaurant. He’s holding a plate with a stack of pancakes that’s about to topple over in one hand and a blood mary in the other. Sansa, Arya, and a host of other people, including Robb and Jeyne, wave at him from the row of tables that have been pushed together for their party. 

“I can’t tell if you had a rough night, an amazing night, or both.” Arya’s wearing a pair of large, dark sunglasses.

“An amazing one,” Satin answers before Jon can. After he speaks, he curls his hand around Jon’s arm and leans into him a bit. His hair isn’t quite dry, and the moisture seeps through Jon’s shirt. “Jon is super attentive.”

Theon, now at the table with his pancakes, “Did Jon finally find someone willing to loosen him up enough?”

Sansa and Robb say “Theon!” in the same tone simultaneously.

Arya reaches up and hands her sunglasses out to Jon, squinting in the sunlight but clearly capable of self-sacrifice. “In case you wanna go into witness protection after that.”

Jon shakes his head, “Honestly, Arya, fuck Theon. Let him have his puerile chuckle at my expense.” 

Less than an hour ago, Satin sat astride him on the bathtub ledge, soapy hands on Jon’s shoulders while they fucked, rolling his hips in a fluid rhythm Jon couldn’t replicate on his best day. He definitely left a bite mark on Satin’s shoulder when he came. Satin, laughing, asked Jon who he was keeping quiet for; he didn’t have a good answer for that.

He let Satin wash his hair, after, which was a rather poignant combination of erotic and innocent that’s going to linger wth him for a while. 

Theon’s night, even if he had a damned orgy, can’t beat that. 

The last time he took a bath with someone, he was probably four, and it was definitely Robb. Their father tried to wash their hair with tear-free children’s shampoo, and they were more interested in playing out some make believe naval battle.

No, this morning had nothing in common with that.

Sweetling,” Satin tugs on his arm, “Let’s get breakfast.”

The stupid petname makes Jon’s face go up in flames. Theon’s patronizing awwww from across the table doesn’t help. Satin pulls him to the buffet line. Jon feels much better once he’s seated with a plate of waffles and bacon. Satin eats oatmeal and sips a glass of fresh grapefruit juice imported from Dorne.

“It’s too early, and too bright, for any of this,” Arya rubs her temples.

“Only because someone drank too much,” Sansa counters. Jon thinks she looks particularly chipper, but she’s always been magic like that.

Robb sits next to Jeyne, who’s picking at a plate of fruit while he fusses over her. They’ll be good parents.


They’re sitting at their gate at the airport, and the weight of tomorrow being Monday finally crashes on him. He managed to push the feeling down all through brunch and the early afternoon, but hugging everyone in farewell made it hard to pretend. Being herded through airport security didn’t help.

His phone buzzes, and Jon pulls it out of his pocket with a sigh.

[Arya]

u were actually fun this weekend

[Sansa]

Jon’s reached peak, and I’ve passed on all my skills.

[Bran]

Does this mean no more bets?

[Arya]

bran u bum get a job

Jon silences his phone and stuffs it back into his pocket. He doesn’t even want to imagine what that conversation will be like when he gets off the plane.

Satin is leaning into Jon as much as the thin metal armrest separating their chairs allows. He’s looking through his phone at pictures from the night before, lingering on a selfie he’d harangued Jon into taking. It’s the type Sansa would choose for a profile picture, and Jon would wonder why. It’s not terribly flattering, but he does look like he’s having fun. 

The expression on Satin’s face is the same as when he looks at Jon. It makes him happy, but there’s an ache behind it.

“Hey,” Jon says, and Satin turns to look, “When you look at me like that...what are you imagining?”

He tilts his head, ”Imagining?”

“I know you make up stories to...fill in the gaps.” When you’re pretending. Jon lowers his voice, "You looked at me like that the first night you met everyone.” 

“I only imagined what I wanted to be true.”

“Which is?”

“That we met in a coffee shop, like normal,” Satin glances away. “I thought you were stupidly handsome.”

Jon hates these chairs and their sole purpose to keep people from sleeping on them. He can't get to Satin without jabbing himself in the ribs. Jon angles his body to face Satin and lets his hands land on his shoulders. Satin and his ridiculous, expressive eyes. He looks a bit uncertain, like Jon is going to stomp down his version of the events. Satin’s eyes fall shut, and Jon lingers on the way his eyelashes dust his cheeks.

“I’m not handsome, you know."

“Agreed to disagree,” Satin opens his eyes and smiles softly. “I hoped you wouldn’t reject me, but I was pretty nervous.”

“You told my sisters that,” Jon says, “Why were you nervous? It was technically a...work thing, for you."

“The moment you sat down, I wanted it to be real, but it seemed silly to hope.”

“Why?”

“Jon,” Satin shakes his head, “Really?”

"Really."

"Because the weekend is over. I didn't think anyone would actually, really want to date me."

Fuck the weekend," Jon says it a bit too loud. “I mean, it was great, top-shelf, but I want the rest of the days of the week."

"Me too."

Who cares how we met? "I tried every damned dating app Sansa signed me up for. I let other people choose where I looked, and I let the idea that everyone else had someone psych me out."

Satin's smile is wry, now, and he whispers, "You let it make you pay for a date."

"I let it trap me in a lie."

“That, too,” he replies, “It’s the purest reason I’ve seen for buying a date. Usually it’s like...revenge, or posturing, or to hide something.”

“No, just pride.” Which might be worse. He ducks his head a bit, and Satin leans forward to make eye contact.

“If…” he takes a deep breath, “If it’s real, I have two requests.”

“Anything.”

“I wanna meet Ghost.”

Just that? Jon shakes his head in disbelief, “I have to go pick him up after we land in King’s Landing. Come with me.”

Satin nearly sparkles and kisses Jon full on the mouth.

“You can hang out after, stay the night, if you want.” Satin looks like he’s going to climb over the armrest and into Jon’s lap. “What’s the other request?”

“It’s about the day we met; there’s one detail I want omitted when people ask.”

Well, it’s obvious which one. “The transactional nature isn’t flattering to me, either.”

“What?” Satin scowls in confusion and tilts his head to one side, “No, Jon--it’s that awful red baseball cap. When we recount our meet-cute, I’m not wearing that.”