“More important to us than offerings, my child, is prayer. Devotees focus so much on what to give us, while forgetting that the basic relationship between us is based in communication. Talk to us. We’re listening.”
It was only last week that I attended Ariana’s concert myself and the first thing I thought of when I heard the news were all the parents. All the hundreds of parents that stood outside the venue waiting for their sons and daughters, waiting for them to walk through the doors so they could take them home. I can only imagine their confusion, panic and pain in those moments, knowing that something might have happened to your child. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, the injured and their families. To the parents who will never get to see their children walk through those doors. To Ariana and her family and her team. To everyone in that building because, even though you might not be physically injured, no one could imagine the impact this must have had on you. I’m hoping you can stay strong in spite of this horrible, horrible incident.
Jonsa politicians’ kids modern AU, set at Christmas.
Selected by Senator Ned Stark as the nation’s model foster kid, Jon grew up between two worlds. But then the news breaks: Jon isn’t an orphan after all. He’s the son of President Rhaegar Targaryen. Not just that—he’s the product of a secret affair that has the whole world talking.
The president goes on damage control, inviting Jon to his mansion for Christmas dinner. Jon is sick of being used as a publicity stunt by powerful men. All he wants to do is disappear from the public eye forever—but maybe he can use the Targaryen influence to help fix things for foster youth in Washington, once and for all.
And maybe dinner won’t be so bad. After all… Sansa will be there.
Note: This chapter is a bit longer this time! Hopefully I’ll be finishing the Christmas part of this fic soon and moving on to Valentine’s Day… Because when you have a holiday-themed fic that takes you forever to write, you just move to the next holiday, right?! Besides, the 15 Days of Valentines Event starts today! :)
The Targaryens had outdone themselves. From the moment he set foot inside the gated property, Jon couldn’t help but stare. Out of the corner of his dazed eyes, he dully noted that Sansa seemed to be in the same state. The stately front yard—more like the size of a city park to Jon—was twinkling with tiny colored bulbs. Thousands of uranium-green lights twisted around the manicured trees like ivy. The walkway was lined with bold, Targaryen-red lights. Blue bulbs ringed the babbling stone fountain that Jon and Sansa passed as they made their way through the garden. Jon’s eyes ached as he peered over the side of the fountain as the passed, where a light projected against the water made it look as violet as a Targaryen’s eyes. The sprawling, elegant mansion itself was almost unremarkable compared to the almost-untamed blaze of the garden, but it was tastefully decorated in strings of sparkling gold lights.
“Festive,” Sansa finally said, “isn’t it?”
“That’s one word for it.” Jon was already trying to calculate how much their electricity bill cost. But then he remembered that Rhaegar Targaryen had been CEO and president of one of the largest energy companies in the world before he became, well, the president. Rhaegar’s younger brother Viserys was running the company in his absence. Jon would be surprised if the Targaryens didn’t get free electricity. Just another example of Washington royalty.
“Ready?” Sansa’s word was a whispered puff of breath in the air. Jon could feel her eyes on him and he was unsure if it was a good thing she was so concerned about him. For all that he wanted from her—and god, there was a lot—pity was not on the list.
Jon opened his mouth to reply when the left of the double doors swung open. Rhaegar Targaryen stood there, alone.
Jon tried to conceal his sharp intake of breath. He’d known this was coming, but he wasn’t ready for it.
It’s not like Jon had never seen him. No, just the opposite, in fact. He’d seen him everywhere: giving the State of the Union on TV. At charity events where Jon was the guest of the Starks. Even a handful of times at Jon’s high school, surrounded by the presidential entourage. If that telegenic politician was the only man he was meeting tonight, Jon might have been able to prepare himself.
But he wasn’t just that man anymore. He was Jon’s… father. The man who had allowed Jon to go into the foster system when his mother died in childbirth, just because he was too ashamed to own up to his secret affair and take care of his own son. The man who was only inviting him into his home now that the press had broken the story. Rhaegar had invited Jon not as his son, but as his damage control.
It was impossible to look at him, but impossible to look away. Jon allowed himself to shut his eyes tight for one second, but when he did, he saw the hands of a child clasped in prayer atop a threadbare blanket. He’d prayed for his parents to find him for years, and never more so than on Christmas. His eyes opened again, finding the angular face of his birth father less painful than the memory of his bedside prayers. At least Jon didn’t bear much resemblance to him.
But if he didn’t look like his father, he must have looked like his mother. In all these years that Jon had been in Rhaegar’s presence, had the man ever thought that maybe the dressed-up foster kid could be… his own son?
Sansa’s grip on his arm tightened and Jon’s head started to clear. He was glad to have her there, like an anchor.
The golden-haired, violet-eyed man gave Jon a warm smile. The president was famed for his charisma, but Jon wasn’t falling for it. “Hello, Jon. Hello, Sansa.” He gestured them into the house. In the foyer, Rhaegar held his hand out to Jon. They shook, rather stiffly, Jon thought, and he couldn’t help but take pleasure in the fact that Rhaegar flinched at his touch. Whether it was from the cold of Jon’s hand or something else, he didn’t know. When they released hands, Jon found himself wishing that his first contact with his own flesh and blood had felt somehow different. But he was also relieved that it had not.
“Sansa, Dany tells me you’ve been having the best time in college,” said Rhaegar with a smile. “She’s in the lounge and can’t wait to see you.”
Sansa’s face lit up. “Yes, it’s been ages! I can’t wait, either.”
“Go right ahead.” Rhaegar nodded.
Rhaegar wanted to speak alone. Jon didn’t realize how tense his arm was until Sansa squeezed it. “Oh, I will, in just a moment. But it would be so rude for me to make my introductions without Jon. I’m his guest tonight, after all, not Dany’s.”
Rhaegar stared at her for a moment. “Of course.” He gestured forward a maid standing at the back of the room. “Please, take their coats.”
The maid came forward and took Sansa’s coat and purse, but Jon removed his own coat and hung it in the coat room, only a few steps away. The Starks had their own retinue of staff, but he’d never liked it.
Rhaegar cleared his throat, watching Jon intently. “Jon, I…” He trailed off, then said, “Well, please follow me to the lounge.”
As Jon followed his biological father through the mansion, he thought this was what torture might feel like. He would have rather done a thousand terrible things than be here, in this seat of extreme luxury, surrounded by paintings worth more to this twisted society than his own life. He counted the things he’d rather have done to him—get shot full of arrows, maybe, or stabbed repeatedly, even buried in a sea of bodies—than be told he was a part of this.
But with Sansa beside him, things didn’t seem quite as bleak.
The lounge was bigger than Jon’s whole dorm floor. Seated on a sprawling red couch on one side of the room was Daenerys, Rhaegar’s much younger sister who had gone to school with Jon and Sansa. Even though she was a little more than a year older than Sansa, they’d been in some of the same classes and had grown to be best friends.
“Sansa!” Dany jumped up and ran toward her friend, hugging her. “And Jon,” she said, pulling away and looking at him. In high school, Jon, like many of his classmates, had had a crush on Dany. Now, he couldn’t look at her without seeing her older brother Rhaegar. “It’s so good to see you again,” she said, her voice slightly gentler.
“Hey, bro,” came a bored-sounding male voice. It was Aegon, still seated in a big, black leather chair, staring down at his phone. “Sorry for being a douche in high school. Didn’t know we were related then.”
Jon tried not to glance toward Sansa. He knew they’d dated and that he’d cheated on her with who knows how many girls. But she appeared unfazed.
If Jon were to be honest, Aegon was not the worst of the privileged kids he’d gone to school with. Sure, he was a spoiled, annoying bro who had been best friends with Joffrey Baratheon since birth. But he was also friends with Robb, and he wasn’t completely stupid, even if his ego told him he was the smartest kid in school.
“Nice hair,” Jon said in response. For whatever reason, Aegon’s hair was a startling blue color.
“Drinks,” Rhaegar murmured to himself. “I should get the drinks started.” He turned and rushed out the door of the lounge, leaving the four of them alone.
“So,” Aegon said, rising from his chair and sauntering over to them. “I guess Dad told you why we’re such a small group tonight.” When Jon didn’t reply, he raised his eyebrows. “He didn’t mention it? My mom and Rhaenys went out. Flew to the Caribbean or something. Didn’t want to have dinner with—”
“Egg,” Dany snapped.
Aegon smiled tightly at Jon. Maybe he was the worst, after all.
But what he said made sense. Why would Elia and Rhaenys want to spend Christmas dinner with Rhaegar’s once-secret son? Jon’s stomach felt tight. According to all the news articles that Jon had pretended to not care about, Rhaegar was the only one in the family who had known that he had an illegitimate son. He’d kept it a secret from the rest of the family. Jon could understand why Elia didn’t want to be around her husband’s little secret, especially only days after the story broke. It was surprising, really, that Aegon was here instead of supporting his mother.
“Sansa,” Aegon said, leaning in close to give her a hug. After they pulled apart, Aegon’s hand lingered on her waist. Jon bristled, trying but unable to look away. “God, Sansa, college is really agreeing with you.” He lifted her hand to his lips. “I wish you hadn’t decided to go to school so far away. Northern University? Really? That’s in Michigan or something?”
Minnesota, Jon thought darkly.
Sansa laughed as she pulled her hand away from him. “I needed to get away from politics for awhile. Besides, at NU, I can visit Winterfell any time I want.” Ned had been a senator for ten years now, but Jon knew that Sansa still missed the family estate where she’d been raised. As a child, he’d dreamed of it: a snowy palace far, far away from all of the things he hated about Washington.
“You and Dany, trying to get away from all of us.” Aegon glanced at Jon. “And are you trying to escape, too?”
If he meant this conversation, or Aegon’s too-warm looks at Sansa, or the whole Targaryen house, then yes. Yes, he was.
“Jon is in the Peace and Conflict Studies program at KLU,” Sansa said when Jon didn’t respond.
“You’re at Kings Landing, too?” Aegon asked, clapping a hand on Jon’s shoulder. “I had no idea. I’m majoring in Business there. Gotta learn the family trade, right?”
Of course he was. Everyone always talked about it. Aegon had taken a year off, so he would graduate with Jon’s class at the end of this year. Reporters sometimes followed Aegon to class. Jon dreaded his next term—would he be followed, too? “The family trade,” Jon said, glancing around at the daylight-lit room. “Hopefully the curriculum includes a class on cutting coal dependence.”
Sansa’s breath caught in her throat and Dany’s smile curved up as Aegon’s face reddened. “Don’t worry,” she said, looking amused. “We don’t have the ‘burn-it-all’ mindset of the older Targaryens. Meraxes Energy is investing in geothermal and solar energy.”
“Yes, that’s true,” came Rhaegar’s voice as the man walked back into the lounge, small glass of dark Scotch in hand. “And Aegon has two family trades he can choose from, isn’t that right?” He clapped his free hand on Aegon’s shoulder and the boy seemed to stiffen. “Business or politics.” He smiled at Sansa, as if unable to look at Jon. “You know, he’s applying to both business and law schools for next year.”
“Decisions, decisions,” Aegon said, eyeing the glass in his father’s hand. “Maybe the lovely lady Sansa can help me choose. Northern University seems to have some attractive options.”
Rhaegar laughed, and Jon hated him for it. Jon, of course, understood that Sansa was not his. He knew she had a history with everyone here. But something about the way she’d said she was his guest, not Dany’s, made him feel… god, he didn’t know.
He did know that he wanted to wipe Aegon’s smirk off his face every time his eyes lighted on Sansa.
“The kitchen told me that dinner is ready,” Rhaegar said.
Dany linked arms with Sansa and they followed Rhaegar out of the lounge. Jon followed, silently, beside Aegon. “Hey,” the blue-haired boy said just before they were about to go through the door into the long, marble hallway that apparently led to the dining room. Jon stopped in his tracks and faced him. “Are you and Sansa…?”
“No,” Jon said immediately. His voice sounded sullen even to him.
“Oh.” Aegon looked back to the entrance of the room and Sansa’s retreating figure. “Good.”
Jon couldn’t help himself. He felt the anger rising up in him like bile. He stepped closer to Aegon and shot him what he hoped was his best withering glare. “Leave her alone,” he said.
Aegon’s silver eyebrows rose. “Interesting,” he said with a grin. “Very interesting.”
“What?” Jon snapped.
“It’s a bold move, bro. Can I call you that now?” Aegon said, without pausing for an answer. “A few days as a Targaryen and you’re already making a move on a senator’s daughter. And Sansa Stark, no less. I didn’t think you had it in you. I’m actually pretty impressed.”
Jon turned away and started marching after the others, afraid that if he didn’t leave, he’d end up extracting some of Aegon’s pearly white teeth. “That’s not what this is at all.”
“If it’s not about Sansa, then why do you have such a problem with me?”
Jon glowered at the marble floor as he walked down the hallway.
“I’m talking to you,” Aegon demanded.
“This may surprise you, but I don’t obey you,” Jon muttered over his shoulder. And he marched down the hallway to get a drink. Or four.
Can you? Can you wipe out that much red?
daughter? Sao Paulo? The hospital fire?
Barton told me everything. Your ledger is dripping, it’s gushing red,
and you think saving a man no more virtuous than yourself will change
anything? This is the basest sentimentality. This is a child at
prayer… PATHETIC! You lie and kill in the service of liars and
killers. You pretend to be separate, to have your own code. Something
that makes up for the horrors. But they are a part of you, and they will
never go away…
By the time Jeff was two years old he was talking. He called himself ‘Jeffy’ and held fingers up to indicate his age. He could also say ‘potty’, ‘Up pease’, and ‘TV’, and within a few more months had memorised his first prayer. The words of the prayer were. ‘Now lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. God bless everyone. Make Jeffy a good boy. Amen.’ - The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer, Brian Masters
The spiritually awkward.
Prays only during a crisis, usually pretty short “HeLp ME PlEASE.” Wants to have a better spiritual life but generally feels spiritually awkward. Tries. Tried. Is trying.
Makes prayer lists. Lists things to thank God for, lists all prayer requests that they can remember, lists all the sins they can remember and asks forgiveness. Did you forget to list all your pets and family members?
LORD JESUS, FATHER GOD, LORD. Is good about making up prayers on the spot, every other word contains “Lord God” and they always end it with “in Jesus name amen.” Probably volunteers to say grace.
Sounds like a southern lawyer. Emphasis on pronunciation “GAWD”. Might talk about hell fire. If not always making a point. Wears a suit. Cares but aggressively wants you to repent.
Uses pre-written prayers only. Looks for prayers online they feel connected to. Has list of novenas. Has a tangled rosary in their pocket. Saint medals, 12 on one necklace.
Has a long list of spiritual buddies they pray with. Gots best friends in heaven. Intercession professional. Icons, icons everywhere.
The Mama Mary devotee.
Mamas biggest fan. Has adorable photos or images of baby Jesus and Mama. Loves Mama. Loves baby Jesus. Prays the rosary.
Stares at images of Mama, Jesus, the saints. Does a lot of prayer thinking. Offers up sufferings a lot. Prefers adoration. Lights candles.
Has prayer journals, prayer journal pens, knows calligraphy and C.S. Lewis quotes. Dried flowers in their bible.
The sorrowful sinner.
Confesses sins. All the sins. All the time. Apologizes to Jesus quite often. Feels connected to the divine mercy image/prayer/chaplet.
The angry flower child.
Prayers for patience to put up with people. No, not opportunity for patience, actual patience. Jesus take the wheel or they will run someone over. Is sassy. Puts flowers in their hair and loves Jesus.
The Scriptural devotee.
Reads the bible. Memorized all important scripture. Very intimidating. Has or is working on a theology degree. Knows Hebrew. Knows English root words.
Knows Latin. Sings chant. Attends TLM. Prays for priests and others, other Catholics, the world, everyone. Sometimes forgets to pray for themselves.
The canon lawyer.
Prays the rosary. The divine office. Knows the CCC by heart. Feels disconnected emotionally sometimes but has good prayer habits.