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a hand of gold is always cold

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Niall isn't the best blacksmith in the world, but he's a damn good bookkeeper. Before he came along Gendry was up to his neck in steel and papers, and if it weren't for Niall, Gendry may have gone bankrupt by now. Even the greatest blacksmith in all of Westeros isn't safe from the threat of going out of business. Not that any of that matters now. Ser Davos came for Gendry, Gendry wouldn't leave without Niall, and now they're sitting on the beach loading up the tiniest boat Niall has ever seen waiting for someone he really doesn't want to meet, and to make matters worse, they're being questioned by a pair of Goldcloaks.

"I'd hurry to your favorite establishment," Ser Davos says, "or you'll cut a hole into that chainmail." There's a pause, but then the three men laugh, and the Goldcloaks walk away, still chewing on some of that fermented crab. Niall and Gendry exchange a look of disbelief, and he knows they're both thinking that was too easy. This is, of course, where things go wrong.

A small figure clad in black appears on the cliff, hurrying down the steps when he sees the knights. He rushes past them, not quite meeting their gaze, but they recognize him nonetheless.

"Oi, dwarf!" one of the men calls, walking right back to them. Niall sees Tyrion Lannister grimace, but he doesn't turn or stop or even slow down.

"I really wouldn't try any more until the first bite hits you," Ser Davos says, holding a hand out. The men ignore him, following Lord Tyrion.

"That dwarf," one of them says. "Where'd you get that scar?" the other asks, hand on his sword.

Without looking up from where he's untying the boat, Lord Tyrion says, "Fishhook; some men you just can't teach." He points at Niall, and even though it's a lie meant to help them get away Niall can't help but sneer.

"We was looking for a dwarf with a scar like that a while back," one of the knights says. Lord Tyrion smiles politely, shaking his head, as Ser Davos pulls a purse from his belt and shakes it, the jingling of the coins louder even than the sounds of the waves behind them.

"Perhaps there's some sort of arrangement," he says, holding it out. The knights smirk, turning to him.

"Arrangement?" asks one. "You going to arrange to pay us more than Queen Cersei-" he grunts, falling, as Gendry swings his hammer and his him right in the face. The other knight barely has time to put a hand on his sword before Gendry's knocking him down too, and the fight is over before it's even begun. Niall and Lord Tyrion both flinch as the second knight hits the ground with a thud, but Gendry barely looks bothered.

Frowning a bit, Ser Davos waves a hand. "This is Gendry. And his friend, Niall."

Lordy Tyrion nods firmly. "They'll do."

And then they're pushing the boat into the water and climbing in, gone almost as quick as they came.


They don't speak much on the boat, other than the one time Lord Tyrion attempts to make conversation by asking where they're from. Gendry very readily explains his royal heritage, to which Lord Tyrion only looks mildly surprised, but when Gendry nudges Niall to get him to speak, he just shakes his head. The boat is silent save for the sound of the water lapping against the boat. Shaking his head, Niall runs a hand through his hair.

"Would be a Waters, I guess, only my father doesn't know about me, I don't think," he explains quietly. He can't bear to look Lord Tyrion in the eye, not knowing what he does. "My mum worked in a brothel, but she died a few years back. Lived in Flea Bottom my whole life, but I haven't been in one place too long. Wanted to be a Maester, but then I found Gendry, and I figured he needed my help more than the Citadel does. Would have gone bankrupt if I hadn't shown up." He grins at Gendry, small, who scoffs and rolls his eyes.

"So you know who your father is, then?" Lord Tyrion asks. "Even if he doesn't know about you?"

Niall looks at him, staring straight into his eyes when he says, "I know exactly who he is."

They don't talk after that.


When they finally make it to Dragonstone, Ser Davos and Gendry quickly unload the boat, taking it up to the castle. Niall and Lord Tyrion don't move so quickly. Niall gathers the rest of his and Gendry's stuff, but Lord Tyrion stands there, watching him closely. He clears his throat, obviously uncomfortable. Irritated, Niall looks over at him, brows raised, hands resting on the boat.

"I...didn't know I had a son," Tyrion says, raising his chin slightly. Niall scoffs, watching Gendry's retreating figure.

"If we're being honest, m'lord, you've probably got as many bastards as King Robert did," he answers. "Gods know you've fucked your way through all the Kingdoms more than enough times."

Tyrion squints, head tilting curiously. "I don't think my son should be speaking to me in that manner, you know."

Hefting up his bag, Niall shrugs. "Before just now you didn't even know I existed. Why don't we just go back to that, eh?" He walks off, heading to the castle, but Lord Tyrion catches up to him quickly enough.

"Niall, please," he says, walking in front of Niall, effectively bringing both of them to a stop. "It's not my fault I didn't know about you." He sighs when he sees Niall's expression, waving a hand. "Okay, so it is my fault, but. Do you know how many of the whores from those brothels actually tried to tell me I was the father of their sons? I met each and every one of them, and I know for a fact that none of them were mine because-"

"Because they didn't have the beautiful golden hair of the Lannisters?" Niall sneers. "Or was it the crystal blue eyes that they were missing? No, I bet you just didn't think they were yours because they were normal sized."

Lord Tyrion flinches, expression full of grief. "Your mother should have told me about you," he says, hands held out. "If she had, I would have brought you into-"

"Where?" Niall interrupts. "Court? The castle? If Robert Baratheon himself never acknowledged his bastards, what makes you think they would let you? Everyone in all of bloody Westeros knew your father hated you; he would never have let you bring a bastard into your home."

Lord Tyrion stares up at him, visibly distraught. He looks almost like a particularly distraught basset hound, in Niall's opinion.

Sighing, Niall runs a hand through his hair. "Look, there's hardly even any way to prove my mum was telling the truth about you," he says. "Let's just. Put this behind us. We've got bigger problems than the two of us arguing over something that can't be changed."

Almost comically, Lord Tyrion's expression changes to one that suggests he may have come up with an interesting idea. "I could ask Her Grace to legitimize you, you know," he says quickly. Niall frowns. "You're the last Lannister heir; not even my siblings' children could inherit Casterly Rock or the wealth of the Lannisters because they were bastards, too, all of them. If I ask Queen Daenerys to legitimize you, you would be a lord. The lord; you'd have Casterly Rock and everything that comes with it all to yourself."

Niall frowns, staring down at his father. The idea of himself sitting at a high table, surrounded by servants following his every command, is almost laughable. In fact, it actually is quite laughable, so that's what he does. He laughs, quietly, right in Lord Tyrion's face.

"Have I said something to amuse you?" he asks, confused.

Shaking his head, Niall runs a hand through his hair. "I don't need a castle, m'lord. I just. I've just been so angry with you all these years, and now that I'm finally standing in front of you, telling you who I am, it's like. It's almost as if it never really mattered. All the anger I've had is just gone, even though I don't necessarily want it to be."

Lord Tyrion smiles softly, like he understand. "Yes, I do quite know how that feels," he says. "Maybe we should get to know each other before I start offering you everything I don't have, yes?" He waves a hand, turning. "Come. I have someone I think you should meet."

Niall follows, grateful that they've come to some sort of truce. As much as he loved to be angry with his father in his childhood, it'll do him no good now, what with a war ahead of them coming from two ends. With his luck, he'll get stuck with a White Walker on one side and a Lannister soldier on the other once this thing comes to a head.

They walk in silence, keeping pace along the winding stone pathway until Lord Tyrion looks up at Niall, a twinkle in his eye.

"Are you sure you don't want a castle?" he asks. "After Her Grace has taken the throne I do believe we'll have quite a few at our disposal."

Niall's laughter rings out, echoing on the mountains around them. "No, m'lord, but keep it up and I might just have to ask for a sword made of Lannister gold."

Lord Tyrion smirks, tilting his head sarcastically. "Well, you're a grown man and I've only just met you; a golden sword is the least I could do."