“your letters got sadder. your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all lovers betray.”
She should have burned them all when she had the chance.
Viserys had been right all along. Daenerys should have never trusted any Lannisters, Baratheons, or Starks. The usurper and his dogs were dead, but treachery had been passed down to their spawn. She had not wanted to judge children for the sins of their fathers- after all, she herself was nothing like the Mad King.
The past was past. If I look back, I am lost.
She’d forgiven them, tried to trust them, and how had they rewarded her good faith? With lies, conspiracy, and betrayal.
The word rushed to Dany’s lips. Dracarys. Lions, stags, wolves- such lowly beasts were no match for a dragon. A single whispered word, a burst of flame, and her enemies would be vanquished. Daenerys could bask in the lovely heat of their blazing pyre.
But there were no dragons. Not anymore.
Daenerys looked at Jon Snow, who was not looking at her. He was gazing out toward the horizon.
In the hard-won spring, Dragonstone was cloaked in mist. The incessant gloom reminded Dany of the war. Not of her early victories under the warm eastern sun, but of the battle waged in the north. The Night King was always preceded by an eerie blue brume, and Daenerys found herself instinctively scanning the sea and sky for the approaching dead. All the bodies which littered her past.
Viserys. Drogo. Rhaego. Irri. The hundred and sixty-three crucified children. Ser Barristan. Hizdahr zo Loraq. Jorah. Grey Worm. The little girl, the farmer’s daughter, back in Meereen. The one who had been unfortunate enough to cross Drogon’s shadow. Daenerys could not remember her name, now.
If I look back, I am lost.
For a moment, as Daenerys stared at the silver sky, she could pretend her children were still living. That Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion had only flown out of sight for a moment, that they were hiding just beyond the shield of clouds, that they would soon return to her. But the fantasy grew more painful with every second that passed, so she once again returned her gaze to Jon. She wondered if he, too, looked for ghosts in the mists.
Or perhaps the haze reminded him of home. Grey and white were the Stark colors, after all.
Jon made no secret of his longing to return north. He claimed to have chosen to come to Dragonstone after their victory against the White Walkers, but Dany suspected he had been cast out of Winterfell. After Jon refused the title of Warden of the North, his former liege lords insisted that Daenerys pass the title on to Sansa Stark. It was well known that the Wardeness had little love for her former bastard brother, and she must have banished Jon. What else could explain why he spent hours wandering the cliffs of Dragonstone, staring at the sea? Why else would he rebuff Daenerys’ attempts to rekindle their bond? Why else would he pore over every missive from the north as if he could decipher some hidden code, despite his cousin never once addressing him?
No, despite keeping his reasons for leaving ambiguous, Jon Snow did not try to conceal his desire to go home. He was Ned Stark’s son, after all. Incapable of artifice. Honest to the bone.
Dany’s march on King’s Landing was not quite the triumphant homecoming she’d always imagined, the one Viserys had always described. The small folk had not lined the streets, waving Targaryen colors and throwing flowers at her while her dragons circled overhead. She had never even gotten to sit in the Iron Throne.
After the Night King and his armies were defeated, Daenerys immediately turned what remained of her forces south, toward the capitol. But by the time they’d arrived, all that was left of King’s Landing was rubble and ash. Cersei Lannister had lit the caches of wildfire under the city and burned everything. Dany supposed the false queen’s incinerated bones still lay somewhere in what had once been the throne room of the Red Keep.
“Your Grace. Your Grace.”
So she made Dragonstone her seat of power instead. Tyrion had argued that this would disconnect her from the rest of Westeros, but Daenerys ignored him. The island had been a Targaryen stronghold for centuries, and she’d hoped her family’s legacy might make the place feel like some kind of home. But when she lay in bed at night, alone, staring at the canopy, Dany still found herself longing for the house with the red door she’d lived in when she was a girl.
“Daenerys! Are you listening to what I’m saying?”
The sound of Tyrion talking- he was always talking- jarred Daenerys out of her reverie. She straightened her back, and returned her attention to the matter at hand. A small council meeting was no place to show weakness.
They were gathered around the painted table, she and her advisors. Daenerys sat at the head of the table, near the expanse of wood which represented the land beyond the Wall. They’d have to alter the table, she thought to herself, since the Wall no longer stood. Tyrion sat to her right, near the miniature of Casterly Rock, and Varys to her left, floating in the imaginary Blackwater Bay. Jon was all the way across the continent, drumming his fingers impatiently on the Dornish desert.
“Your Grace, we were discussing the recent unrest in the Crownlands,” Varys said. “The chaos has begun to spread south, into the Stormlands as well. Thousands were displaced after the violence in King’s Landing, as you know, and the Dothraki have been plundering from the refugees.”
Daenerys shook her head. “My khalasar have been strictly forbidden from following their old ways. They are loyal to their khaleesi. Your little birds must be lying to you, Varys.”
“We didn’t receive the reports from spies. Dozens of smallfolk have come to petition at Dragonstone, pleading for your help. You need to take action to restore order in the region,” Tyrion said. “Have you considered my suggestion about allocating responsibility? Legitimize Gendry Waters, install him as lord of Storm’s End-”
“I will not reward the blood of the usurper with lands and a title.”
Jon cleared his throat and said, “He proved himself loyal and capable during the war, Your Grace.”
Jon seldom spoke during small council meetings, but he had a point. Gendry Waters had fought valiantly against the Others. He was a true warrior, and he wielded that war hammer of his with savage grace. He was so tall and strapping, blue of eye and black of hair, the spitting image of his father. Everyone had remarked upon it. Watching him fight, Daenerys had finally known what it must have looked like that day on the Trident when Robert Baratheon murdered her brother. When he murdered Jon’s father. “I’ll consider it,” Dany lied. “What else do we have to discuss?”
“The food shortages,” Tyrion began to say, but Daenerys cut him off with a heavy sigh.
“Not this again.”
“It’s still a pressing issue, your Grace. The Reach has planted new crops to replace what was…lost… but it’ll be months before the harvest is ready. Until then, there are countless hungry mouths to feed. Fortunately, Dorne, at least, can provide for itself, and serve as a trading partner, and the Vale and the North gathered a significant surplus of grain before the war-”
“Sansa was always very concerned with practical details,” Jon said. “And I heard she’s begun reconstruction of glass gardens in the north as well.”
Daenerys could not imagine anything more tedious than talk of grain storage or constructing glass gardens. “Tyrion, I’m sure you’re over exaggerating. After all, your cup of wine never seems to run dry, does it?”
“Hunger caused the small folk to riot against my nephew,” Tyrion said.
“I am not Joffrey Baratheon,” Daenerys said with a hint of fire in her voice.
Varys interjected, “I think we should return to the subject of the Wardeness of the North, if it please your Grace.”
It did not please her. “What is there to talk about? Sansa Stark seems to be running the north competently enough.”
“A little too competently, your Grace. My little birds report that she is well-loved by both the small folk and her bannermen. People have been muttering about seceding and crowning her Queen in the North. I’ve even heard that some address her by the title of your Grace instead of my lady.”
“That’s ridiculous. Jon bent the knee.”
“Aye, I swore allegiance,” Jon said. “But the northern lords chose me as their king, just as they chose Robb Stark before me, just as they could choose to crown Sansa.”
Daenerys seethed. None of those ungrateful, impudent lords would still be drawing breath today if it weren’t for her. Her dragons’ blood had painted the northern snow black and red. She did not sacrifice her children’s lives just for half of the land which was rightfully hers to be ruled by Sansa Stark. “Perhaps if I send my armies north, they’ll be reminded of their vows.”
“Your Grace, that would not be wise,” Varys was quick to say. “No southern ruler has ever held the north very long through force alone. And forgive me for saying this, but your armies are not what they were when you first landed on the shores of Westeros.”
“Besides, Torrhen Stark only knelt under the threat of dragonfire,” Jon murmured.
Dany glared at the former king in the north- he seemed to be enjoying this talk of treason. It was the most animated he’d been in months. “Whose side are you on?” she demanded.
“We’re all on the same side,” Tyrion said, slamming his cup onto the painted table and dousing the Westerlands in wine. “Sansa Stark is not queen- yet. The north has not declared itself independent- yet. There’s still time for diplomacy. When Varys first told me of these rumors, I sent a raven to Winterfell and proposed a diplomatic summit.”
“Yes. Have Sansa Stark come to Dragonstone, as well as any other traitors.” Daenerys would show that stupid little girl how a true queen dealt with disloyalty.
“I tried. She did not accept the invitation She said that when her brother- sorry, cousin answered a summons to Dragonstone, that you seized his weapons, did not allow him to go back to his ship, and held him captive for several months.”
Jon did not refute this. Tyrion went on. “She instead suggests that the two of you meet at Harrenhal. It’s been vacant since the war ended, and it’s approximately equidistant between Winterfell and Dragonstone. She says she is eager to improve relations between the north and the south.”
Tyrion handed Daenerys a raven’s scroll. The message was unmistakably penned by Sansa Stark- she had such neat, constrained handwriting. Dany thought it matched the insipid thoughts of her neat, constrained mind.
During the brief time when she had stayed at Wintefell, Dany rarely crossed paths with Sansa Stark. The woman was useless in times of war- she couldn’t shoot a bow and arrow or swing a sword. She instead concerned herself with more domestic tasks- leading prayer in the godswood, stitching wounds in the sickbay, or darning socks at the head of some sewing circle. Daenerys found such scenes to be tedious, and truthfully had only had one proper conversation alone with the lady. Not three days after she arrived in Winterfell after the war, Sansa Stark invited Dany for a private meal, just the two of them. The food had been paltry- coarse brown bread and bitter tea, the likes of which Daenerys had never tasted before. She’d finished the mug out of politeness, supposing that it was the best the north had to offer in such lean times. But as unsatisfying as the food was, the conversation was even worse. Sansa was asked plenty of questions about Daenerys’ time in Slaver’s Bay- but Dany supposed anyone would be fascinated by such thrilling tales. When she’d inquired about Sansa’s own experiences, she’d been disappointed to hear that her life was nothing more than a series of unsuccessful betrothals and marriages. Sansa Stark had only ever done exactly what she was told to do.
“All right. We’ll meet at Harrenhal and put Lady Stark in her proper place,” Dany decided. When she then concluded the small council meeting, Varys slipped back into the shadows, and Jon strode off somewhere. Daenerys intended to follow him, but Tyrion caught her first.
“Your Grace, we never truly came to any conclusions about the food shortages,” he said. He joined her at the edge of the room, staring out at Westeros on the horizon and the world beyond it.
“You’re my Hand. Shouldn’t you be presenting me with solutions instead of endless problems?” Dany snapped.
“Ruling a kingdom is a series of endless problems, Your Grace.”
She sighed. “Do you ever wonder what’s west of Westeros, Tyrion?”
“No. I’ve had enough of traveling, quite honestly.”
“Is this it? Just a series of endless problems? Sometimes I wish I could climb on Drogon’s back and find some new city, some new land to make mine.”
“You won already, Your Grace,” Tyrion said mournfully. “Enjoy your victory. There are no lands left to conquer. And there are no more dragons.”
Conversing with Sansa Stark was like chipping away at a thick sheet of ice. It took hours to make even the slightest bit of progress, and you would wonder what deep mysteries must lie beneath. Finally, after endless struggling, you break through and discover that all this time, the ice concealed only a shallow puddle, and all the work was for nothing.
That first night at Harrenhal, Tyrion arranged for a minor feast. The food was sumptuous, the wine flowed freely, and entertainers regaled them with songs and stories. Daenerys’ retinue sat on one side of the long time- herself in the center, flanked by Tyrion, Varys, and Jon, with Dothraki and Unsullied standing nearby, backs to the walls. Sansa Stark sat across from Daenerys. Daenerys recognized the faces of the northern soldiers who accompanied her, but only knew the name of Lady Brienne.
Dany had hoped the convivial atmosphere of the feast might disarm Lady Stark. But the Lady Stark remained inscrutable. She spoke politely, smiled politely, sipped her wine politely, applauded politely at the end of every song. It was infuriating.
“I thought your translator might be here. Her name was Missandei, correct?” she remarked at one point.
“Missandei is no longer in Westeros,” Daenerys said evenly. “She returned to her homeland. In Naath.”
“Oh, you must miss her,” Sansa consoled. “But I do hope she found happiness there. I know she took the death of Grey Worm quite hard.”
“Yes, well, we all suffered losses,” Dany said.
The singer struck up a new melody, something slow and melancholy. This seemed to draw Lady Stark’s attention; she gazed at him with the oddest expression. Daenerys leaned toward her conspiratorially. “He’s comely enough. Would you invite him into your bed, Lady Stark?”
“That would hardly be proper,” Sansa replied, her courteous mask slipping back into place so smoothly it was hard to believe it had ever lapsed. Dany scoffed internally; if Sansa found the mere idea of taking a lover to be shocking, she’d never be able to stomach everything which Daenerys had lived through. The delicate Lady Stark would probably faint at a Dothraki wedding.
“I remember that you always did have a fondness for court singers, back in King’s Landing,” Tyrion reminisced.
“Yes, I did. This song- about Queen Naerys and the Dragonknight- was one of my favorites. I thought it terribly romantic back then. Now I think it’s terribly sad.”
“True love is often tragic,” Tyrion mused.
Daenerys asked, “Have you been considering marriage, Lady Stark? You’ve a title and lands. Surely you have some suitors vying for your hand.”
“Well, this is my first opportunity to choose my own husband,” Sansa said. “I find that I rather enjoy the sensation, and don’t wish to rush into marriage just yet.”
“Make sure you don’t dally too long,” Daenerys replied. “You have a responsibility to carry on the Stark line while you’re still of childbearing age.”
“Of course, Your Grace.”
There was a sudden screech of wood scraping against stone as Jon abruptly stood and excused himself from the feast. Never the most effusive of men, he’d barely said a word since they arrived at Harrenhal. Daenerys was certain she knew why, just as she could tell what had upset him so. She rose from the table and followed him into the hall outside.
“Jon,” she said. “You can’t allow her to affect you like this.”
He stopped, turned to look at her. “Allow who to affect me?”
“Lady Sansa, of course.” The source of his pain was obvious; he’d been in the blackest of moods ever since they’d reunited. “I know she was cruel to you when you were children, and I know you quarreled before you left Winterfell. But she’s insignificant, Jon. You and I- we’re special. The blood of Old Valyria runs in our veins, we saved Westeros. What does her opinion matter to the hero of the dawn?”
Jon laughed in that rueful way of his, and Daenerys could tell he’d understood the wisdom of her words. Still, honor demanded he defend his cousin, and he gave the most perfunctory of answers: “Sansa’s not insignificant.”
“Perhaps that was the wrong word to use.” Daenerys smiled, slowly stepped forward. This goodwill between her and Jon was a single candle, wavering in the wind. Too sudden a movement would snuff it out. She murmured, “Did the talk of heirs upset you?”
“What- no, Your Grace. Not at all.”
“Call me Daenerys,” she said gently. “The way you used to. Ever since the war ended, you’ve been so distant, but I know why. The loss of a child can be just as difficult for the father as it is for the mother.”
The north had taken Daenerys’ children. All of her children, even the one that had not been born yet. After she and Jon succumbed to their passion, her womb quickened, and Dany rejoiced, believing the curse to finally be broken. The news of Jon’s parentage had initially felt like a blow, but then she realized that it all made sense. Only someone who shared her blood could end the blood magic which corrupted her womb. Only a Targaryen was fit to be the father of her successor. There were three dragons, and there needed to be three dragon riders.
Maybe it was her refusal to stop riding Drogon, or maybe it was the stress of the war. But seemingly the moment she stepped on northern soil, things started to go wrong. Jon reacted to the revelations about his birth with disgust instead of joy, and only three days passed before Daenerys woke up to blood between her thighs and a cold and empty bed.
But that was done. If I look back, I am lost.
Now, again, Jon was turning away from her. Dany reached out, held him tight, pressed herself against his chest. “You don’t have to hide your true feelings from me, Jon. I had it arranged so that we can share a bedchamber. We can’t conceive another heir unless we try again. We don’t have to go on like this.”
Jon forcibly removed himself from her grip. “Your Grace, you are my aunt. What we did- it was wrong, and it won’t happen again.”
“We’re Targaryens,” she said. She wasn’t begging, queens didn’t beg. “We’re the last Targaryens. Westeros is ours, but we need someone to continue our legacy after we’re gone.”
Jon took another step back. Once again, it felt like thousands of miles spanned between them. “I’m a Snow, Your Grace. I’ll find my own bed.”
“Enough meaningless courtesies,” Daenerys began. “Let us speak honestly. We’re here for one reason, and one reason only- to put to rest the rumors of northern rebellion.”
“Very well,” Lady Stark replied.
Like the previous night, they were seated on opposite sides of the same table. It was a warm evening, the kind that stirred the blood. Daenerys wished she was flying high above all of this; from the sky, Sansa and Tyrion and Jon would be no bigger than motes of dust. She wished she was on her silver, galloping through the grasses across the Narrow Sea. She wished she was anywhere but here, in this ruined castle, staring down Lady Stark. Sansa seemed impervious to both cold and heat- while Daenerys had donned one of her skin-baring Essosi gowns, Sansa was dressed modestly, covered from wrists to collarbone in embroidered silk.
Sansa said, “I can assure you that the rumors are entirely unfounded, your Grace. The north is weary of war, and we are grateful for your assistance during the battle against the White Walkers.”
“Assistance? You would have all perished if I hadn’t saved you.”
“If Jon hadn’t warned of the threat in the first place, you would have perished as well. The north and south mutually aided each other. One is not in debt to the other.”
Daenerys parted her lips to protest, but Tyrion interrupted. “Of course. We were stronger when we worked together. We will continue to be stronger when we work together.”
“Stronger together,” Daenerys repeated. “The strongest unions, of course, are those of marriage.”
“What do you mean, your Grace?” Sansa asked.
Daenerys had spent the entire journey from Dragonstone to Harrenhal, all of her sleepless nights, silently rehearsing her proposal. She felt a strange exhilaration actually saying the words aloud. “You and Lord Tyrion never formally annulled your marriage, did you? You were wed in a southern sept and never consummated, of course. But if you exchanged vows in front of a heart tree and produced some heirs, well… You’d have very clever children, I’m sure.”
Lady Stark did not so much as twitch, just continued appraising Daenerys with her cool blue stare. Dany had never noticed until now just how much her gaze resembled that of the Night King.
The others, however, were not so restrained. Tyrion immediately protested, “Your Grace, you can’t be serious,” while Jon stood up, one hand flying to the hilt of Longclaw, and thundered, “No, I won’t allow it!”
“It’s not a question of what you’ll allow,” Daenerys retorted. She’d never seen Jon look so wild, outside the heat of battle- he seemed as if he couldn’t decide between running Tyrion through with his sword, or throwing his cousin over his shoulder and carrying her off to safety. Dany had no idea why he was so upset over the fate of someone who clearly didn’t care for him at all.
“Jon, sit down. You’re making a fool of yourself,” Sansa said evenly. He reluctantly obeyed, but his murderous expression didn’t fade.
“Your Grace, why did you not consult me about this?” Tyrion hissed. “Lady Sansa and I were forced to wed, and we made the best of a terrible situation- but I think we both consider that part of our lives to be over.”
Daenerys said, “You have to admit it’s a good alliance. Sansa, you would become the lady of Casterly Rock, wife to the Hand of the Queen. You would be one of the most powerful people in the Seven Kingdoms.” And her heirs would be Lannisters, and the north would no longer have anyone to rally behind. It was perfect.
“I’m content being the most powerful person in the north,” Sansa countered.
“I am the queen. I am the most powerful person in the north, regardless of whether or not I step foot in that forsaken place. I’m the most powerful person in Westeros, and if I say you’ll marry Tyrion, you’ll marry Tyrion, whether my bloodriders have to drag you to the godswood or not.”
At that, Jon swore, “I will kill anyone who lays a hand on-”
“Jon, let me handle this,” Sansa said. She then addressed Daenerys: “Your Grace, you’ve been forced into an unwanted marriage. You can understand my pain.”
“At first my marriage was unwanted, but eventually, love blossomed between us.”
“The last time I was wed to someone against my will, love did not blossom between us,” Sansa scorned. “I ended up feeding my husband to his own hounds. I would hate for the same fate to befall Lord Lannister. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I won’t sit here and be insulted any longer.” She stood and swept out of the room, followed first by her lady knight, then by-
“Jon!” Daenerys called. “Where do you think you’re going?”
But he didn’t reply, didn’t spare her a backwards glance.
Tyrion got out of chair, walked over to a side table and poured himself a generous glass of wine. He drained it with one swallow, then poured himself another. “How could you do that?” he fumed.
“I was presenting a solution to our problems. I know the concept is foreign to you.”
“You call that a solution? You just insulted one of our most powerful allies!”
“Powerful?” Daenerys scoffed. “That was pure conceit from Lady Stark.”
“She has a claim to the north, the Riverlands, and the Vale- three of your seven kingdoms. Three armies which would fight for her. If she chooses to secede, there’s not much you can do to stop her.”
“Of course we can stop her-”
“No, we can’t. I know the reality of war can seem abstract when you’re flying a dragon and incinerating thousands with a single word, but there are no more dragons. Your armies have been decimated. You need to think pragmatically.”
Tyrion had never spoken like this to her before- no one had spoken to her like this in years. “I am the Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons, the Princess that was Promised!”
The little man drained yet another cup of wine. “My father once said that any king who needs to declare I am the king is no true king at all. Khaleesi? Your blood riders are pillaging your own subjects. Breaker of chains? Meereen and Astapor fell right back into the slavers’ hands the moment you left. Princess that was promised? The war against the dead is done! Mother of dragons? The dragons are dead, Your Grace.” With that, Tyrion walked away, leaving Daenerys alone. She suddenly felt no different from the girl who flinched when Viserys raised his voice at her.
She returned to her chamber and waited for Jon. He would come to her. He had bent the knee, called her his queen, mourned their child, chosen to stay with her after the war was done. He would see that he’d made a mistake, following Sansa, and seek her forgiveness. Dany would make him beg, just a little, to ensure he truly repented, but eventually they would reconcile, and fall into bed, and all would be well again.
But he did not come.
It took Daenerys some time to inquire about where he had slept the night before. She was not used to dealing directly with chamber maids who were privy to that kind of knowledge. And Harrenhal was a massive place, full of tricks and dead ends. Dany thought herself lost, until eventually, after much wandering, she came across the right chamber.
She could hear a voice as she approached- Lady Stark was speaking. Daenerys slowed her pace so that her footsteps were silent. She did not want them to hear her coming- she wanted to catch them unawares. It was hardly very queenly to spy and eavesdrop, but Daenerys found herself sidling toward the door, which was open just a crack. She hesitantly opened it a few inches more, and waited with bated breath. No one inside seemed to notice the change, so she drew closer, and peered inside the chamber.
Her first thought was that perhaps Jon truly was a Targaryen after all.
Why else would he have his cousin pinned to the wall, clutching her tight he was sure to leave bruises, face buried in her neck as he rutted between her legs? His movements were so ferocious, his hold on her so desperate that Dany was reminded of the familiar myth: a Targaryen prince stole a Stark girl against her will. But that had been a lie. Rhaegar and Lyanna loved each other.
And Sansa Stark was no longer so proper now. One of her pale hands was twined in Jon’s dark hair, and the other clutched at his back. They had not even taken the time to remove their clothes- they must have been so needy for each other that they could not bear to wait. Her legs were wrapped around Jon’s waist, pulling him closer, driving him further inside her. Daenerys could see a few inches of her bare thigh between the fall of her skirts and the tops of her stockings. The flesh was ruined with scars. It almost resembled chain mail.
Was this the first time? If not, when had it begun- before or after the war? Or was it before even then- were they like Lannisters? Even before they discovered the truth about Jon’s parentage, had they fucked in the secret corners of Winterfell, met in the crypts and the godswood at night, shared their father’s bed?
It was like Jon’s startling outburst during the meeting earlier, that same rage which Dany now recognized as possessiveness, as jealousy, as lust. Sansa Stark unleashed something in him that Dany had never inspired. Whenever he had come to Dany’s bed, he was always in such control of himself. He was quiet like his wolf, never making a sound. Daenerys had attributed his restraint to his status as a bastard, his awe at making love to a queen, his northern heritage. Starks are cold-blooded, she’d thought.
She’d been wrong.
Sansa Stark was crooning in Jon’s ear, her breath hitching in time with his movements. “And you’ll come back to Winterfell, and we’ll wed in the godswood-”
“Yes,” Jon panted.
“I’ll be yours and you’ll be mine-”
“You’ll take my name. Our children will be Starks, they’ll call you a Stark-”
Jon cut her off with a kiss, thrusting faster and deeper until he faltered and collapsed against her. Sansa bestowed a kiss on his brow, right where a crown might lie, and ran a hand through his hair. Daenerys heard him whisper, breathless, “I love you.”
Dany felt like she was rooted to the spot- she wanted to stride forward, tear them apart, kill them with her bare hands, but she could not move. All she could do was watch in horror as the prophecy echoed in her mind: Three treasons you will know… Once for blood and one for gold and once for love… It occurred to her that this agony, this inability to escape the pain, must be what it felt like to be burned alive. The heat was everywhere and endless, licking at her and scorching until she was nothing but ash in the wind.
Sansa Stark shifted so that she was looking straight over Jon’s shoulder. She saw Daenerys, hiding in the shadows, watching them. Dany knew that look in the Stark girl’s blue eyes, she recognized that look. She’d seen it before.
If I look back, I am lost.
Daenerys was back in the courtyard of Winterfell. She and Jon had just ridden side by side through her kingdom, and she was about to be greeted by her subjects. A gentle snow was falling. Winter was here. Her children were alive and singing in the sky. Jon’s child was growing in her womb.
She had finally everything she wanted. Of course the world had nothing left to do but take it all away.
Jon, the moment he laid eyes on his cousin after months of separation, months when he’d scarcely mentioned her name to Dany, stepped forward into Sansa’s outstretched arms. He would have walked through fire, he would have cut down the Night King with a single slash if that was what it took to embrace her. Daenerys waited for them to pull apart, waited, waited, waited. But it was like she no longer existed to Jon, it was like nothing except Sansa existed to him.
But the Stark girl took notice of Daenerys. She nuzzled her cheek into Jon’s neck, a wolfish gesture which claimed what was hers. Her blue eyes found Dany, and-
She should have burned them all when she had the chance.