humans are terrifying, and i wrote a story about it
humans look absurdly like predators to the first species we meet. so much so that the standard practice becomes to cover ourselves almost head to toe to avoid terrifying every diplomat we come across. our eyes remain uncovered, but pretty much everything else stays hidden. my story follows a scout group, mix of thrak’yans (a photosythesising species) and humans, when they encounter a predator and are forced to flee. Thrak’yans look vaguely humanoid, but are incredibly thin and fragile - they’re essentially sentient trees. they have pale green skin and what look like long, flowing robes but are actually huge stretches of leaf that they can use to gain more energy from the sun. on their planet, Son’uu, their main predators were hunted into extinction long ago (a prerequisite for their civilisation), but they still have instinctive fear of anything with teeth or fur.
Jess had been training to work on this research vessel for years - learning the language, studying the culture, and prepping for zero-gravity inter-shuttle trips. There was no-one at the Galactic Port readier than she was to leave Earth that day.
Thrak’yans were a skittish race, to say the least. She’d been briefed on all the protocols; as the only human on the vessel, she was to always wear her coverings, reveal her face only in her quarters, speak softly, and move slowly. Giving humans a reputation as the “intergalactic warrior death species” wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate, considering they were the only known sentient predator species in the contacted universe, but it wouldn’t be helpful to their ambitions to enter the senate as a budding quadrant trading power, either.
Jasper Hale imagine requested by anon. “hi! could you do a jasper fic where the cullens all leave for a hunting trip to lo-key give jaz and y/n some alone time in the house? like theyve been dating for months and jasper and y/n make love for the first time and shes super nervous because shes a virgin and its super tender and sweet? thanks!” Hope you like it!
Your parents were under the assumption that you and your boyfriend’s twin sister were spending the weekend in her adopted parents’ home while the Cullen boys went camping on Mt. Rainier; as innocent a gathering as could be expected. In their eyes, there was absolutely nothing to be worried about; their daughter was spending time with a respectable family, under the watchful eye of the doctor’s lovely wife Esme, surrounded by her charming boyfriend’s female sibling… only the camping trip wasn’t as exclusive as you had let on, and you would instead be spending time at the Cullen residence with Jasper. He had come to escort you to his home, dressed to the nines in the best hiking gear money could buy, shaking your father’s hand with a polite smile before leading you into the passenger seat of the silver Volvo he had borrowed from his brother. It may have been suggested that his brother’s car was a safer option than his motorcycle, and with the understanding that you preferred your father didn’t collapse into cardiac arrest, Jasper had agreed to sacrifice his preferred mode of transportation for the unassuming vehicle you now found yourself within. Jasper slid effortlessly into the driver’s seat, bidding your parents goodnight before settling in beside you, sealing the normalcy of the world away with the hushed suction of a closing door. It wasn’t long before the delectable scent of him flooded your airspace, perfuming your world with hints of lavender and sandalwood, intoxicating you with the sheer beauty of his presence. His eyes remained glued on the rear-view mirror as he backed out of your driveway, exhibiting proper driving technique while in your parents’ line of sight, proceeding down your street for at least a minute before his hand found yours between the seats, the chill of his skin soothing the worry from your brow. The entirety of his family was as far north as Canada on a hunting trip. You and Jasper would be completely alone.
“Hey, relax, darlin’. It’s just me,” he whispered, his butterscotch eyes finding yours within the dimly-lit cabin of the Volvo, his features illuminated by the neon of the dashboard instruments. He had no need to look at the road; his peripheral vision was just as attentive as his eyes were on you, and his reflexes quicker than anything that could possibly present as an obstacle in front of your vehicle. His thumb traced circles against the backside of your hand, massaging the stress from your body, if not your mind. Sure, it was just him. He couldn’t have stated the sole reason behind the surges of anxiety that flooded your body any simpler than that; it was just him, and just you, alone together for an entire weekend. It was a major advance in your relationship, and he was a poster child for collected calm, as if tonight were no different than any other. You ducked your head, squeezing his hand lightly, marveling momentarily at the give of his alabaster skin… so hard, yet so soft. You wondered, briefly, how the rest of him might feel… You straightened your thoughts, tidying the corners of your mind until every last straying image was safely swept into order, thanking your lucky stars that Jasper wasn’t the family’s mind reader. Jasper didn’t ask what had you so wrought with tension; you had a good idea he knew, but was far too polite to voice his suspicions, a perfect Southern gentleman to the very end. Instead, his mind flooded through the stagnant air and into yours, warming your limbs in waves as a feather-light cloak of ease hushed over your body, his eyes fighting to coax yours out of hiding before he settled for merely gazing in your direction. “I love you,” he promised, his whisper low and aflame with the heat of his truth, the tenor of his voice ringing with honesty as his eyes burnt twin holes in your temple. You lifted your gaze to his, losing yourself briefly in the honey of his stare, his smile eliciting your own as he turned the steering wheel, his grip so certain, so sure, his eyes only leaving yours for a moment. When the hypnosis of his eyes was broken, you redirected your eyes to stare aimlessly out the window, watching the cedars pass in blurred patches of emerald darkened and diluted by the ink of the night.
“I’m okay, Jasper. You don’t have to… calm me down,” you chuckled, your laugh almost foreign to your own ears, speaking to the reflection of his eyes mirrored in the glare the utilities projected onto the glass of the window. “I’m good, really. Thank you, though, for offering. You’re a sweetheart.” Jasper’s brow lifted in disbelief, hearing the confident lie roll from between your lips on the back of a wave of compromising emotion, your unease as plain to him as your voice was clear. You rolled your eyes, smirking as you tightened your hold on his hand. “Alright, I’m a little upset that Rose won’t be joining us. You’ve caught me.” Jasper let loose a quiet laugh, his lips thin as he fought the urge to bend to your humour, his mind still obviously distracted by your physical discomfort. Even if he were unable to taste the tone of your emotions, he would have heard the stammer of your heart as it frantically sought an escape route through the spaces between your ribs. He shook his head a fraction, as if to align his thoughts, his palm spreading over your knee, gently smoothing over your denim with a more human breed of comfort, leaving your reasoning to stand alone, no prodding or inquiries involved. You watched the forest flash by, your heart thrumming in your chest like the wings of a hummingbird, your pulse skyrocketing as Jasper pulled into the extended driveway leading to the Cullen household. He sighed to hear so obvious a sign of distress, his lips pressed into a fine line when you turned to address the sound, his eyes concerned as he analyzed the winding path through the thick of the forest. You were silent when the car pulled up before the intimidating house, your hands clasped in your lap as Jasper removed the keys from the ignition, quieting the engine and enhancing the leaden stillness that surrounded the two of you. He exhaled deeply, turning in his seat until he was facing you straight-on, his hands reaching for yours, the smooth marble of his skin sparking against you, adrenaline coursing through your veins like venom.
“Y/n, would you please let me help you?” he asked, his voice pleading and sincere, you met his eye, smiling halfheartedly, your cheeks burning with the flow of blood that rushed to warm your face. His brow knotted with helpless worry, his eyes bright with the extent of his agitation to see you so restless. “At least tell me why you’re so nervous?” he pleaded, his palm covering your own, sending thrills roiling through to settle in the pit of your stomach, your body warm beneath his comparably frigid touch. You shrugged, searching for words polite enough, innocent enough, harmless enough that you wouldn’t end up offending or causing any confusion. Jasper’s hand extending toward your face, cradling your cheek in the silken palm of his hand, his thumb working over your cheekbone, brushing just beneath your eye. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. You can tell me anything, darlin’, it’s part of the package. Trust me, there’s nothing you could say that would drive me away, nothing you could say that’d… wound me. I’m virtually indestructible, remember?” you giggled then, surprised at the tremor in your voice, your eyes watering just slightly, your cheeks burning brighter as you became aware of the sensation. Jasper’s hand remained on your cheek, his fingers coaxing an answer from your lips, or perhaps your mind, his eyes anxiously awaiting your reply. You felt the air rush from your lungs, your brain resolving to spill your fear at his feet before your body could revert to your more primal instincts and reject your intention.
“I’m just…” you paused briefly, your heart seizing in your chest, prompting Jasper to respond with a much-needed surge of calm. You cleared your throat then, your eyes finding his in the dark. “Thanks. I’m just… I know what this is about.” Your words hung in the air, speaking volumes while saying so little. Jasper’s jaw clenched visibly, catching the intention behind your blanketed statement, his hand moving downward to rest against your neck, your pulse racing beneath his palm, his skin tantalizing yours. He didn’t make any move to speak, or to leave the vehicle, awaiting further explanation despite his clear understanding. “I mean, I guess it’s just… we’re alone, Jasper. Truly alone, and I…” your voice trailed off, your eyes melting into his, the tides of borrowed calm lapping at your feet as Jasper lent you the ease to continue. “I’ve never done this before.” Realization flickered behind his eyes for the briefest moment before quickly, professionally, he returned to his previous standing, his features open and curious. “I’m just nervous, is all.” Jasper grinned sympathetically, his eyes dancing on yours.
“Terrified, it feels like.” You lowered your gaze, embarrassed, only to find Jasper’s index finger at your chin, lifting you back to meet his eyes, his features soft and gentle. “We’re not going to do anything you aren’t prepared to do, you have my word as a gentleman. It’s enough for me just to spend time with you, no time constraints, no prying eyes, no interruptions. I’m in this for you, Y/n, and nothing else. I love you. If you want to go slow, we’ll go slow. We can crawl forward, for all I care, so long as we’re together. I am perfectly content with whatever you choose to do.” You smiled, thankful, leaning toward him to close the space between you, your lips pressing against his. He returned the tender affection you offered to him, his lips molding to fit yours perfectly, his hand winding through your hair, holding you as delicately as if you were made of glass, separating only when the car’s headlights clicked off from lack of movement. “You ready? To head inside, I mean?” You giggled, nodding your confirmation to his double-edged inquiry, your heart leaping in your chest when he disappeared from his seat, your door opening swiftly at your side. Within a single breath, he had lifted you from the seat, holding you in his arms like a newlywed bride, kicking the door closed before walking as easily as if he were unburdened towards your house, abandoning your overnight bag in the backseat. You laughed aloud at his pageantry, his eyes rolling at your reaction. “It seemed appropriate, Miss, to walk you over the threshold. I’m attempting romance; don’t go injuring my ego.” He continued forward, smirking when you mumbled pointedly about his claim of indestructibility. He strode over the polished floorboards, pressing a kiss to your hairline when you clung to his shoulders after he set you on the couch. You wrapped your arms around his neck, refusing to release your grip as he moved to stand, your heart racing as he playfully fell on top of you, bent by your iron strength. His lips pressed against your throat, his honey hair sweeping against your cheek as he wrestled with your human weakness, contorting until you were cradled in his arms, his eyes glowing warmly behind the thick fringe of his eyelashes. He paused, then, noticing for the first time the subtle shift in your emotions. “What…?” he began, your lips pressing to the corner of his mouth.
“I’m…” you began, your voice feeble and weak, your fingers threading through the golden strands of his hair, his eyelids fluttering at your touch, searching yours for answers you had yet to properly advocate. You returned his open stare, your hands trembling as they cupped his cheeks, your thumbs stammering over his cheekbones. “Jasper…” His breathing was shallower, quicker, his lips parting as he prepared to speak.
“I thought you were…” you inhaled the scent of him, so much stronger now that you were all but pressed against each other, watching him come to his conclusions. “You said you were nervous? You’re still nervous, I can… I can feel it, but…” his voice trailed off, his head shaking once between your hands. “Y/n,” he breathed, your name an oath on his lips. “Do you want this?” Your cheeks burned under his stare, your heart thrumming with a strength you hadn’t imagined possible, your head nodding when you found your voice had failed you. Jasper swallowed then, his voice producing a soft, sensuous tone, blossoming into the silence instead of interrupting it. “You’re sure?” You nodded once more, pressing your lips to his as you finally spoke your reply.
“Yes.” He moved against you as you had never known him to move, his tongue darting over your lip with a slow, sugared patience, his arms wrapping securely beneath you before he moved to stand, hoisting you once more into his arms, his lips never parting from yours. His body was marble-hard beneath your hands as he ghosted up the stairway, moving with inhuman speed to the sanctity of his bedroom. He laid you atop his sheets, resting your head against his pillows, moving to hover over you in the same movement, his weight suspended above you. He tucked a stray strand of your hair behind your ear, his fingertip lingering on your jaw, his eyes lavishing you as if you were the most precious stone, or perhaps an idol forgotten by all but him. He waited for your approval, his eyes watching yours, a delightfully warm sense of calm licking at the soles of your feet when your nerves tightened in your stomach. “There’s no need. I’m okay.” He arched his brow, his influence retracting as you stroked his cheek, your touch tender as you worshiped his flesh. “I love you, Jasper.” His eyes burned from within, his lips repeating your vow as he descended on your lips.
“I love you.” He melted against you, his every muscle, every inch of his skin pressing against your body, his fingers working the fabric from your waist, parting from his kiss to remove your garment completely. You shied away from his gaze for the span of a minute, opening once again when he had removed his own shirt, his hands tentatively caressing the skin at the bottom of your rib cage. “So beautiful…” he whispered, his lips lowering to press slow, honeyed kiss to your abdomen. Your hands instinctively tangled in his hair as his hands worked the button of your jeans, undoing your pants and working them from your legs, leaving you bare before him in your undergarments. His hands found your hips, then, lifting you from the sheets until you were pressed against his chest. Your fingertips trailed curiously down the center of his chest, reaching lower and lower until you discovered the waistline of his jeans. His breath caught with your own when, surprising the both of you, your hand wandered further south, brushing timidly against the bulge his pants concealed. His eyes met yours then, blurred by the relative darkness, boring holes into your very soul. He was still in your arms, moving only when you did, your hand shifting along the coarse denim as you traveled upward to unbutton his pants. His chest expanded beautifully, his lips crashing against yours, moving swiftly to the line of your jaw, marking you with fervent kisses. You worked the button loose, and Jasper was standing by the bed, kicking his pants off entirely before crawling above you, his hand ghosting over the cup of your bra. You thrilled at the contact, arching your back to make the process of unhooking the garment easier. You wriggled free of your straps, watching Jasper’s eyes devour the sight of your uncovered chest, his hands moving with a patient slowness to cup your breast in the palm of his hand. Your breath rushed from your lungs, Jasper’s eyes flitting to your face, your lips parted in bliss. He smiled, then, before his fingers were working beneath the waistband of your underwear, slipping the fabric down your legs until it no longer clung to your body. He pulled you once more into a kneeling position, his eyes hungry on yours.
Your heart hammered in your chest, your nerves alight with naked electricity as Jasper knelt before you, removing the last piece of clothing that masked the full glory of his chiseled body, his eyes never leaving your face as he worked himself free of his underwear, his erection uncovered, the both of you bare before each other. You inched toward him instinctively, his body reacting in a similar fashion, his hands closing around your waist as he dissolved the distance between you. His palms stroked your hips as his lips found yours, his passion translating fluidly from his mouth to yours, his hands clinging to your back as he settled you back against the pillows, his body arching over yours. Your hands moved to tangle once more in his hair, stopping suddenly in their path as Jasper’s hand caught your wrist, his eyes on yours as he kissed the tips of your fingers. You pressed on, your hands at the nape of his neck, his eyelids closed in bliss as your lips found the muscle of his shoulder, a small sound of pleasure escaping from between his lips. He hovered over you, straightening moments later, his hands parting your legs with gentle precision. He nestled himself between your thighs, his eyes never once leaving your burning face, his hands massaging the creases of your hips. You nodded, almost desperately, reaching to pull his body back over yours as he prodded against your entrance. Your mouth opened at the carnal contact, your cheeks warm with the fire of your blood as Jasper eased himself inside of you, his eyes burning with a heat you didn’t know him capable of as he shifted his hips, working himself deep within you. He moved slowly then, until he stilled, his lips at your ear, pressing a kiss to your cheek before speaking your name. Your fingers clung to his back, urging him forward.
He obliged, thrusting deep within you, his movements subtle and captivating, his every shudder sending you gasping for breath where none existed. He rolled his hips, his lips on your neck, your hands grasping for a holding on his shoulders. He moved slowly, patiently, enjoying and allowing you to enjoy every sensitive inch of him inside you, his hand moving to grasp your hip as he thrust within you. He rolled sideways, lifting you with his movement until you rested on top of him, his arms propelling him to a seated position, his hands deftly re-positioning your legs until they wrapped more securely around his waist. His eyes, heavy-lidded, were locked on yours like a magnet as he lifted your hips and lowered you onto him, your breath rushing from your lungs, carrying his name on a low moan. He smiled, pressing his joy to your collarbone as be repeated the movement, your voice producing sound without formulating words. Jasper’s movements became faster, though never rushed or hurried, his hands grasping your hips with a tender security, his breathing laboured as your body began to tremble. Your mind was clouded, the pulses of his hips meeting your own sending deafening waves of pleasure through your body, concentrated at the meeting of your bodies. Your mouth was open over a wordless cry as you clung to all you could, holding his gaze with the will of one desperate for salvation, your breathless whisper of his name the last conscious sound you made before you collapsed against his chest, your body humming with ecstasy. He shuddered beneath you, thrusting through his high, his hands smoothing over the curve of your spine before he stilled within you, his head tipping backwards. You lifted your face from his shoulder, resting your forehead against his, catching your breath together, your fingers tracing the lines of his cheekbones. He smiled, breathless with love, his hands cradling your cheeks to bring your lips to his, punctuating the night with the sweetness of a kiss.
He held you as you both collapsed to the sheets, your legs tangled blissfully, your cheek resting on the firm muscle of his chest. He reached blindly for his bed sheets, covering what he could of your body before resting fully against the pillows. You traced the lines of his chest, your heart calming as your breath regained stability. Jasper’s fingers toyed absentmindedly with strands of your hair, his quiet breathing lulling you to sleep,
your bodies melted together as evidence of your devotion, safe in the comfort of his loving arms.
A material with internal irregularities scatters an incident light beam in all directions. Credit: TU Wien
Researchers have developed what has been termed a new form of ‘cloaking technology’.
A team at TU Wien University, Austria, has stated that when a completely opaque material is irradiated from above with a specific wave pattern, it allows light waves from the left to pass through the material without any obstruction.
Andre Brandstötter, one of the authors of the study, said, ‘We did not want to reroute the light waves, nor did we want to restore them with additional displays. Our goal was to guide the original light wave through the object, as if the object was not there at all.
‘This sounds strange, but with certain materials and using our special wave technology, it is indeed possible.’ The results, say researchers, could create new possibilities for active camouflage.
According to Professor Konstantinos Makris at the University of Crete, Greece, who also worked on the study, it is crucial to ‘pump energy into the material in a spatially tailored way such that light is amplified in exactly the right places’. For this, the team had to project a beam with the right pattern onto the material from above.
If the pattern matches the inner irregularities of the material that scatter the light, the projection can effectively switch off the scattering. Then, a second beam of light travelling through the material can pass without any obstruction or scattering.
‘Every object we want to make transparent has to be irradiated with its own specific pattern – depending on the microscopic details of the scattering process inside,’ explained Professor Stefan Rotter at TU Wien. ‘The method we developed now allows us to calculate the right pattern for any arbitrary scattering medium.’
Researchers now plan to conduct experiments with sound waves.
It would have been the slowest day of
your life had it not been for the pit in your stomach that accompanied a
nagging sensation that something was wrong. All you wanted to do was shut the
shop and run back, but there was a wedding order for the evening, and thanks to
that, there were a shit ton of flowers in the back yard. Jessie, your
assistant, had mysteriously disappeared on you too.
You paced up and down along the length
of the shop, the fragrance of the flowers doing nothing to calm you down today.
In a moment of retrospect you couldn’t help but wonder what your dad would have
said if he had lived to see the daughter he had raised as a hunter, work a
vanilla job like a florist. Maybe he wouldn’t have minded, maybe he would have.
You could never really be sure about him. You’d never really known what went on
in his head.
(Sorry for sending you another tangled blurb) could you do the line "did I ever tell you that I have a thing for brunettes" with Remus?
I think you’ll find my current emotions/insecurities laced through this…it was unintentional.
Your smile drooped into a frown as you noticed Remus chatting with a girl from Beauxbatons. She was pristine. Her hair was done up in a perfectly messy bun, blond hair shining in the winter light. Her cloak clung to her in a flattering way, illuminating her picturesque curves. You couldn’t help but compare yourself to her.
Her hand was placed on his bicep in a clearly flirty way and it disappointed you to see that Remus was not pulling away in the slightest. He seemed engrossed in her words, hanging onto each and every one of them.
“He’s just being polite, you know?” came a familiar voice from beside you.
“What?” you asked Sirius, his long hair fluttering in the breeze.
“He’s not into her,” he clarified.
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Come on, (Y/N)! I’m not blind; I know you like him,” he chuckled.
“I do not!” you growled, annoyed by how easily Sirius had seen past your feigned indifference.
He simply raised his eyebrows, a shit-eating grin growing on his lips.
“Fine,” you admitted, “maybe I do, but it doesn’t matter. Remus would never notice me like that. Not when he’s got her hanging onto his arm.” You gave one last look at the blossoming couple, before muttering, “I’ll see you later.”
The Yule Ball sprang upon you suddenly, and though you really didn’t want to go, Lily and Marlene were certainly pushy.
“You look fantastic, (Y/N)!” chirped Marlene as you finished up your look.
“Thanks,” you mumbled, still a bit unsure about the fast approaching dance. The three of you were going without dates and though you loved being with your friends, you weren’t sure a ball was really your style.
By the time you made it to the Great Hall, the party had already begin. Boys and girls from each school were mingling and bopping along to the music. Out of the corner of your eye you spotted Remus, the now familiar girl, lingering around him.
As you began to head back up to your dorm, a gruff voice asked, “May I have this dance?”
A tall boy from Durmstrang stood behind you, his eyes surprisingly warm in contrast to his voice.
“Um, sure,” you answered, slightly puzzled.
Guiding you to the dance floor, the boy introduced himself, “I’m Anton.”
“(Y/N),” you smiled.
“You look very beautiful,” he commented as he spun you around, his accent thick.
“Thank you,” you chuckled nervously. It wasn’t often you received that kind of compliment. Marlene and Lily? Sure. But you? Not likely.
By your third dance, you were becoming quite comfortable with Anton. You and he had a fair bit in common and made quick friends. You had already promised to keep in touch once the tournament finished.
From the corner of your eye, you saw Remus’ form approaching you, his jaw locked.
Tapping Anton’s shoulder, he huffed, “May I cut in?”
Anton raised his brows at you, making sure you had no objections. When you nodded signaling it was okay, Anton kissed your hand before heading off toward the refreshments.
Remus’ hands were suddenly on your waist as he whisked you around the dance floor.
“I didn’t realize you came with a date tonight,” he commented.
“I didn’t realize you cared,” you snapped back, unsure of where the sudden confidence had come from.
Hurt flashed through his eyes as he pulled back slightly, a hand rubbing his neck nervously, “Can we take a walk or something?”
You gave a short nod and followed him past the many dancing bodies and out into an empty corridor.
“Look, (Y/N),” he started, his eyes darting nervously, in an uncharacteristically Remus way.
“Don’t you have a date to get back to you?” you snarked.
Confusion passed over his face, “A date?”
“The girl from Beauxbatons.”
“We aren’t - she’s not -” Remus stumbled.
“Right, well I’m going to go find Anton,” you turned on your heel, suddenly intent on having a nice night even without Remus.
“I like you,” he announced, his hand wrapping around your wrist gently in an attempt to stop you from leaving.
“You like me?” you repeated.
He nodded, eyes glued to the ground, “As more than a friend.”
“I like you too,” you paused, “but the Beauxbaton?”
“She’s been trying to help me. Ask you out, I mean. I’m not - you know - good with girls. And then when I saw you with that guy, I just - I couldn’t wait any longer. I had to tell you,” he admitted sheepishly.
You subconsciously took a step toward him.
“Yeah,” he breathed, closing the gap and slowly bringing his lips to yours, a hand cupping your cheek.
The kiss you had been pining after for so long was everything you had dreamed of: soft and sweet and 100% Remus.
Pulling away mere centimeters, Remus smiled, “Did I ever tell you I have a thing for brunettes?”
Careful when dealing with shadow fairies. They might not look like much, but they are vicious little things. They form from the sentient shadows of neon lights and cloak themselves in the colours of halogen bulbs.
They feed on bits of light, using starlight or reflected rays of the early morning sun as a heart. After all, shadow can only exist if there is a light to cast said shadow.
Shadow fairies are mostly nocturnal, but not because they need the dark. They just enjoy the fear we humans have of it.
She has reasons for it, good ones-there are meetings almost every day now, Jon seems to get back later and later from his raids, and the baby has trouble through the night. She likes to stay up and wait until he returns, sometimes scraped and banged up from his fights, sometimes with far fewer men than he’d left with. It gives her some semblance of control. When she’s awake, she can’t lose him.
In fact she can barely sleep sometimes unless she’s next to him, safe in the circle of his arms, his breath ruffling the hair on the back of her neck. She clings to the nights and shies away from the morning because each day is new, uncertain, and dangerous.
Brandon Stark seems to think she’s Azor Ahai. She didn’t know much about the old prophecies-she’s never really believed in any kind of destiny she couldn’t prove-but she’s read enough stories about heroes to know that it required sacrifice. She can’t imagine that she’ll walk out of this unscathed. But she’s already lost so much-her soldiers, her allies, Viserion, even Dragonstone which had finally started to feel like a home. She can’t lose anything else.
She waits for Jon now, looking out the window at the slowly cascading snow, holding their child on her lap. Rhaelle is a good baby most of the time; she sleeps happily cuddled into her mother’s arms. Dany brushes a strand of hair out of her eyes-already a shock of blonde, like her own. A true Targaryen. She sets her gently back in her cradle; the baby stirs once and then settles back into sleep.
The horses materialize out of the gusting snow, one by one. They’re all tired and their riders half fall to the ground as the servants rush to help them off. She runs to meet them in the entrance hall, throwing herself into Jon’s arms without caring who’s looking. He smells of pine leaves and the sharp stink of fire. “What happened? How did it go?”
He pulls her closer, burying his face in the top of her head. His voice is low and defeated; she almost doesn’t hear it. “Moletown is destroyed.”
Another loss then. These days it seems they’ve had more losses than victories.
Rhaegal is injured on the next raid. She’s not there so she doesn’t see it firsthand, but she feels his pain almost as a physical thing. She’s already there when he comes back, helped along by Drogon. A spear of ice sticks out of his wing, like the one that killed his brother.
When they take it out, there’s still a massive hole in his wing. She makes him stay at Winterfell and heal, visiting him three times a day to bring him fresh meat.
That raid is also a defeat.
Tyrion tears up their old battle plans, decides they need a new strategy. Tormund leads a group of wildlings in a surprise attack; only four of them survive. Bran says the Night King may be a greenseer, the same way he is-that would explain why no matter what they do the enemy always seems to be one step ahead.
That night she has the first dream, of a castle far to the north. It’s carved entirely out of ice, smooth as glass and cold to the touch, alone in a harsh and unforgiving landscape. She dreams of wandering long quiet hallways, alone except for the rush of wind in her ears.
She’s still cold when she wakes up, even though a fire burns merrily in the fireplace and they’re sleeping under three separate furs. She doesn’t tell Jon; she doesn’t need to worry him anymore than he already is.
He barely eats now and when he sleeps it’s hard to rouse him. He still smiles whenever he sees her but his eyes are tired and sad.
She doesn’t know who will kill him first-the Night King or himself.
She does what she can to ease his burdens-she makes sure all of the plans are in order, helps the sick, dispatches soldiers, and even leads a few raids of her own from atop Drogon’s back. But there’s only so much she can do.
The dreams come every night, always of the same castle.
She wishes sometimes that her husband was selfish and not quite so noble and self sacrificing. She wishes she didn’t have to share him with the rest of the world and he could stop preparing to die at any moment, kissing her like it might be the last time he ever does. But that’s not who he is. He’s not one to sit back while others are in danger and neither does she.
One night he has a nightmare and wakes up covered in sweat.
“What is it?” She moves closer to him instinctively, touching the side of his face. Her fingers come away wet.
He doesn’t say anything for a moment. He tries to compose himself, breathing harshly. “Just a dream.”
She knows that’s not all of it but she kisses him anyway. “Just a dream. You’re safe here.” For now.
No. She shrugs off the fear. She’ll do whatever it takes to save him and their children.
No matter what happens, she won’t lose him.
Eventually he falls asleep again, but she lies awake for the rest of the night afraid that if she goes to sleep she’ll lose him. He gives and gives and gives with no regard for himself, with no thought for how much it would destroy the people he loves should he die.
The arrow is a surprise. She doesn’t even see it until it embeds itself in her side and there’s a sharp, stabbing pain below her rib cage.
She must have screamed; how else does she end up in the snow with everyone surrounding her? Drogon makes short work of the rest of the wights and then Jon is picking her up and putting her back on his back, giving the dragon instructions to take her back to Winterfell in broken Valyrian. Someone-Tormund, she thinks-has the suggestion to tie her to the dragon’s back, just in case she falls off.
Jon’s face is the last thing she sees before the darkness overtakes her. It’s shattered.
The next week or so is a mess of half realized dreams and snippets of reality that she’s barely conscious of. She’s in a clean white bed, people whisper above her bedside-and she’s walking, out of Winterfell’s front doors, across icy fields and dark plains, but she’s only wearing a light cloak and she doesn’t feel the cold.
Is this what it feels like to die?
Awareness comes slowly, in bits and pieces. Once she surfaces to see Arya sitting by her bedside, swinging her sword in increasingly complicated patterns and muttering under her breath. Another time Sansa tries to feed her a thick broth that spills down the front of her nightdress. She tries to sit up but the pain sends her spasming back into unconsciousness.
Sometimes Jon’s voice wends through her consciousness, encouraging her to come back, that they need her. She uses it like an anchor, pulling herself out of the darkness of her mind, pulling her away from the castle.
When she opens her eyes and sees him for the first time since the accident he hugs her so hard she can’t breathe. “I thought I’d lost you,” he whispers, and she hears the way his voice trembles. It makes her feel guilty for hurting him.
“How long was I asleep?”
She struggles to sit up because that’s far too long, surely something terrible must have happened in that time. “Where is the Night King’s army?”
“Dany, don’t tear your stitches-”
“Where are they, Jon?”
He sighs, eyes closing and shoulders slumping. “They’re nearly halfway to Winterfell.”
She starts sleepwalking.
At first it’s little things; she’ll wake up on the chaise lounge on the other side of the room with no memory of how she got there. And then she finds herself in other rooms, always asleep in front of a window looking out at the moonlit night.
One night she almost walks right out of the castle, until two guards catch her and wake her up.
By this point Jon is beside himself with worry because they know that whatever’s happening isn’t supposed to be. So one night she takes him aside and tells him about the dreams, how sometimes her breath fogs in the air when she wakes up even though a fire roars high in the grate.
“They’re calling to me, Jon. They want me.” Just giving voice to it makes her heart rate speed up because try as she might to be calm and collected she’s not. She’s so frightened because she has no idea how she can fix things, how things will end in anything other than disaster unless she does the unthinkable.
“They won’t get you.” He holds her tightly, as if by sheer force of will he can keep her beside him. “I won’t let them.” His voice trembles with what’s either fear or love, she can’t tell. Maybe both. “We’ll fight as hard as we can.”
“It won’t be enough.”
“We don’t have another choice.”
She doesn’t even want to bring it up but she knows she has to; it hangs in the air between them like the spectre of death. “But if we could trade-”
“No.” His voice brokers no room for argument. “I won’t do that.”
“It’s not you they want.”
He holds her tighter as if that can save them. “There’s another way. There has to be.”
They both know that there isn’t.
She would recognize her child’s cry anywhere.
It jolts her out of another nightmare and she runs to the window, almost tripping over the rug in her hurry. Jon is right behind her-
-and they both watch as the ice dragon flies over Winterfell. No.
But Viserion-if he can still be called that anymore-is gone, already soaring back over the forest and fading into the distance. She feels a hole open in her stomach, losing him yet again. He still looks so hurt, with holes in his wings and frozen blood still painting his scales. He’s not hers anymore.
She doesn’t cry; she just stays there until dawn, staring into space, while Jon stays by her side and does what he can to keep things from falling apart.
She’s under constant watch from her Guard now. For her own protection.
She doesn’t know how long they can save her.
One night she goes to see Bran Stark, and he confirms her worst fears-if she goes with them, fire and ice, then they’ll retreat North of the Wall again. There won’t be a battle. There won’t be a slaughter. Jon and Rhaelle will live in peace.
They’ll kill Viserion. For real, this time. So he can be at peace.
Hasn’t she always said she’d do anything for her people? So why is it that now she knows what she has to do she can’t force herself to do it? Why can’t she think of leaving Jon, of betraying him even as she saves his life?
She doesn’t leave her room because she’s always so cold. She huddles under her covers or in front of the fire. Sometimes someone will sit with her because she hates being alone with the stress and the pressure not to do anything at all.
She always likes it when Arya talks to her. Arya seems to be the only one who’s not too panicked to do anything else.
“So Jon wasn’t lying, was he?” Arya says the first time that she sees her, looking into the flames, covered into as many skins as she can stomach. “They’re calling you.”
Dany nods. “I don’t know how much longer I can hold out…” She doesn’t feel like she needs to hide things around Arya, hide how intense the call can sometimes be, hide how selfish she feels every moment she sits inside.
It feels like a sweet relief, even as it ties her stomach in knots. “But Jon-”
“He’ll be upset…but he’ll come around. He loves you-and he knows that your duty is to your people.”Arya’s voice has softened, as if she knows how hard this is, what an impossible choice it is to make. “You have to do what you think is right. Don’t wait for him. Don’t wait for any of us.”
“I don’t want to lose him-or any of you. If there’s a massacre…if people die, their blood is on my hands.” And she doesn’t want to be responsible for the deaths of any more innocents.
“I won’t tell you what to do. We’re Northerners. We’re used to fighting.”
“But this is a fight you can’t win.”
“There’s no dishonor in a death for a cause you believe in. If this isn’t important…what is?”
“But aren’t you afraid of death?”
Arya shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t think so. Everything else is up to chance…but death isn’t. It’s final. Whatever you think happens afterwards, death is an ending. A release.”
“…You’ll look after him, won’t you?”
Jon takes the news as well as she expected him to. Which is to say he doesn’t.
“And why not?”
“There’s no need to. We’ll fight-”
“How many will die? Thousands. Millions, maybe. And all that death…all that suffering could be avoided. I’m tired of having their blood on my hands, on my heart. What is one life for the sake of many?”
“Don’t say that.” There’s a note of warning in his voice now, like he’s so angry he’s just barely keeping it together. “Never say that.”
“I know you would do anything for the sake of our people. So would I. And I have to do this, Jon. I have to make this sacrifice, so at least they have a chance. So their children won’t grow up orphans.”
“But ours will.”
She raises an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
He won’t look at her. “You can’t honestly think that I would let you face them alone, do you?”
She feels sick now. “Jon, you can’t.”
“The decision isn’t yours to make, just like it’s not mine to make yours. If I can’t persuade you to stay, then I will follow you to whatever comes next.”
She’s filled with love for him-this reckless, stupid man who she would do anything for and would do anything for her. “Rhaelle needs you.”
“Rhaelle will be surrounded by people who care about her-Sansa, Arya, Gendry, Tyrion…she’ll know what her parents did. She’ll know what they died for. She doesn’t need me. You do.”
“But the throne-”
“Damn the throne.” The intensity in his voice surprises her. “Damn it all. I’ve never wanted it. You know that.”
Tyrion’s words echo back to her. “But if we both die, who’s left to rule the kingdoms in our stead? How do we protect what we’ve worked so hard to build?” He doesn’t say anything. “I know you never wanted the throne…but you have to take it. There’s no one else who can.”
She takes a step closer to him, hoping that he knows that she hates this just as much as she does. “You told me that I was your queen. You told me you swore me your alliance, your love, from this day until the end of your days. I need you to do this for me, Jon. I command you to stay. I command you to raise Rhaelle and watch her grow. I command you to be the king that the Seven Kingdoms need.”
His face is so blank it hurts to look at. “If you do this, I’ll never forgive you.” He walks away like it hurts him to look at her.
She sags against the wall, the only thing holding her up. It takes all the control she has not to start sobbing.
For the next few days she avoids him. She knows what she has to do, and she suspects that he knows it too.
Instead she packs. Arya gives her a knapsack made of a light, supple leather-it melds to her back as if it was made for it and it allows her to move freely. She packs a few extra outfits, a couple of furs, the direwolf pin that Jon gave her on the night they married. And she brings a knife, small and sharp and able to hang in easy reach at her belt.
What should she pack if she’s going to her death?
The dreams are more intense now; sometimes she still wakes up freezing and has to lie in front of the fireplace for hours before the cold leaves her bones. It never seems to leave her soul.
And then, finally, she’s ready. She tells Tyrion what she means to do first; he doesn’t take it well but she thinks that in some way he understands why she has to do it.
She takes a final walk around the castle that’s started to feel like home-through the crypts, the ramparts and alcoves where she and Jon sometimes kissed passionately when they were alone, the courtyard where he taught her to spar. It’s filled with people now-what meagre forces they’ve managed to muster, who will be destroyed by the wights the second they arrive.
She’s in the godswood, praying to Jon’s gods for strength, when he finds her.
He steals to her side, silent as a shadow, and embraces her. He holds her so tightly that she can barely breathe and she hugs him back just as hard, trying to memorize everything about him-how his stubble tickles the top of her head, how his heart beats strong and steady. “I’m sorry,” he whispers. “I’m so sorry.”
“I’m sorry too.”
They don’t say anything else. There are no other explanations, no apologies. There’s not time for them. They’ve already said everything they need to say, before every battle that felt like the last one.
Instead they stand in the godswood as a new snow falls around them, like the snow that fell when they were married-but all of the happiness she felt that night is gone, replaced by a cold hollowness that she feels she’ll never fill.
But she reminds herself that she’s doing it for him, for all of them.
But mostly for him and Rhaelle.
She slips out of the castle late that night, long after he’s asleep. Maybe it’s cowardly, not saying goodbye to him one last time. But she thinks that if she did that she wouldn’t leave at all. She’d stay by his side and wait for the dawn-and there will be no more dawns for her. Not now.
She stops by Rhaelle’s room and kisses her sweet, sweet baby on the forehead, gives her a stuffed dragon hand sewn by Sansa. She said her goodbyes to the Lady of Winterfell earlier.
Arya shows her out into the night and embraces her briefly, fiercely, before she can go find the dragons. “Thank you for returning him to us,” she whispers.
“Keep him safe for me. Keep them all safe.”
Drogon goes unbidden, flying north like an arrow. She wants to look back at Winterfell once before she goes but she doesn’t, even when the tears blur her eyes. If I look back then I am lost. “I’m sorry,” she whispers, her voice taken away by the wind. “I’m so sorry.”
She’s not afraid of dying. But she’s afraid of what comes next, afraid she’ll never see any of them again. She’s so afraid.
But this is what queens do. This is her sacrifice. She’s gone too far to turn back now.
Drogon returns riderless, keening, late the next morning. And something inside Jon’s heart shatters.
There’s a story the children tell now, about a queen with hair like winter who went to the far north and never returned. She rules over a palace of ice and snow now, and she can’t leave until the last of magic is gone from the world.
Her king rules beside her. It’s said that he ruled the iron throne at one point, until his daughter was old enough to rule in his stead and he returned to his true love. Now they rule together, in a castle by a sea of ice, finally together.
So you’re all like ‘Sophia, where did this come from?’ So there were a couple of prompts that I got-one on Dany being Azor Ahai and reminiscing on sacrificing from an anon and another from @hales2007 on Dany not planning on losing any more children and on the legend of the Night King and Queen from the ASOIAF books. And then it just kind of formed into this idea.
Sorry it kind of got out of hand. But are we honestly surprised anymore?
I was commissioned to make a white cloak journeyer like the little red cloaks I made back in 2013. (The lost wanderer is looking a little bedraggled next to this new white cloak…) It’s a lot of fun to make these little dolls and I’m happy that I got the chance to make a white cloak with the full designs.
I’m still considering opening up commissions for these, but it might have to wait until later this year when I complete some personal projects. Keep an eye out.