Requested by @head-of-hearts and @klarostark !
I finally get to write about the baby Targs again (!!). Baby Targs are literally my favorite things ever. Trying out a new pov!
Rhaenyra hadn’t particularly wanted a younger sister.
She already had one younger sibling and that was enough; she loved Daeron, of course, but he was a handful. He was loud and just constantly…there. He always wanted to play with her and always followed her around the Red Keep; when he didn’t think she was paying enough attention to him he would steal her books or try to take her play sword, which usually ended up with both of them getting in a shouting match.
But then one day Mother and Father had sat her and Daeron both down in their solar and said that they were expecting another baby. Daeron had been overjoyed and she’d tried her best to smile and act excited, even though she wasn’t. She liked their family as it was; a boy and a girl and two parents. She didn’t like big changes-and another child was a big change.
And then…six months later they’d stopped talking about it. Rhaenyra hadn’t been there when it happened; she’d been training with the Master at Arms in the training room when her mother had screamed. She and Daeron had been ushered into the nursery and they’d stayed there, scared, for the entire afternoon. They hadn’t fought, hadn’t talked, had barely even breathed while footsteps came and went outside the door. After a while Daeron had started to cry and she’d comforted him almost absentmindedly, remembering another time her mother had screamed like that because someone had stabbed Father and he’d nearly bled out all over their dinner table.
By the time Jon came for them later that night, when the sun was nothing more than a golden ball of fire in the sky, they were both crying. He’d knelt next to them on the soft black rug and hugged them both close, and told them that their sibling had died (although Daeron asked how he or she could have died when she’d never been born in the first place).
He was a boy, in her mother’s mind; they named him Edric and mourned him the way they would have mourned any other family member. It was strange, mourning someone she had never met before; it took a long time before Rhaenyra cried over his passing, before she really understood what she had lost. But there was something about it that did make her sad; a loss of potential, baby clothes that were hastily put in old trunks and shoved back into dark closest, something that should have been there but wasn’t.
Her mother cried more often, and when Rhaenyra had bad dreams and Daenerys came to comfort her the Valyrian songs she sang were tinged with sadness.
Then there was another pregnancy and once again they got excited. It felt like a new start-Father wouldn’t stop talking about how they would have a little brother or sister to play with, a rider for the light blue dragon Cyannis. Eventually Rhaenyra decided that she wouldn’t mind all that much either way, whether she had a little brother or a little sister.
Although she kind of hoped she would get a little sister. Her aunt Sansa had recently had a daughter named Margaery and she was the sweetest thing; all of the cousins doted on her and she followed Rhaenyra around whenever she was at Winterfell and liked to play with her blonde hair.
The baby was born too early. The Queen went into labor and once again Rhaenyra, Daeron, and their cousin Lyanna found themselves in the nursery-but even though their Father smiled and told them everything was going well whenever he left their mother’s side to check on them his voice shook and he had whispered conversations in the hallway with Aunt Sansa and Aunt Arya in low voices that sounded distinctly worried.
Lyanna gripped her hand so tightly it hurt, and Rhaenyra had squeezed back just as hard as if their grip was the only thing that could keep them anchored.
Aemon was born with jet black hair and light blue eyes and Rhaenyra’s heart melted the first time she saw him. She was the oldest, nearly four; she was able to hold him first and she fell in love with him instantly-from the first moment he looked up at her, his mouth opening and closing in soft cooing noises. But his skin was all red and he coughed and hacked until she worried he would cough up something important, and when her parents exchanged glances they were filled with pain.
They stayed by Aemon’s side all that day and the next and the next. He was very sick; maesters came in and out, but they could do little and less for him. She learned not to get her hopes up, learned to love Aemon fiercely while she had him and not think about what could happen to him if they weren’t careful. She fell asleep on Arya’s lap, her hand holding her baby brother’s. It was so small compared to her own, so pale.
When she woke up, her little brother was gone.
Two days later, there was a funeral in the godswood. She didn’t attend; even his name made her cry, for almost two years afterward. Aunt Sansa and Margaery stayed in the Red Keep with her; she cried and cried until she eventually cried herself to sleep.
The next time she opened her eyes she was in her own bed and her Father was hugging her tightly. It will be okay. We’ll get through this.
He didn’t answer; he just buried his head in her downy hair and held her as sobs shuddered through her body.
They waited a year and tried again and this time Rhaenyra was determined that she wouldn’t get attached. That promise lasted for the entire pregnancy; she refused to talk about baby names, she refused to pick out clothing-dresses for a girl, doublets and breeches for a boy, all impossibly small-and she refused to think even to herself whether she wanted a boy or a girl.
She wanted a living sibling. She could care less what gender it was.
Finally the day arrived and her mother went into labor. Rhaenyra assumed that they’d be stuck in the nursery again but her aunt Arya took her down to the training room and they trained until she was too worn out even to worry. Then Arya told her stories, about growing up in Winterfell and the House of Black and White and how her parents had been (and still were) so in love that it made everyone ill. But in a good way.
And then when they went back upstairs, still panting and covered in sweat…Elaena was waiting for her. She wouldn’t stop crying and she smacked Rhaenyra’s hand away the first time she touched her, but Rhaenyra didn’t care because she was perfectly healthy and beautiful. From that moment on she just wanted to protect her from the world, from whatever had taken Edric, Aemon, and her older sister Valaena (she hadn’t been born either).
Time went on and she and Elaena were either thick as thieves or could barely speak two words to each other with fighting. Her younger sister annoyed her; they were nothing alike. Where Rhaenyra was shy and cautious Elaena was brash and impulsive and wasn’t afraid to let anyone know it. But Rhaenyra still loved her, especially as she grew-because she was alive. She hadn’t torn a hole in their family that could never be fixed. There were three rosebushes outside the Holdfast, not four.
Yes, sometimes Rhaenyra couldn’t stand her younger sister-even when they got older. But she never wished, even for a second, even in jest, that Elaena had never been born.
Change could be good, sometimes. And, as it turned out, Elaena was just what their family needed.
I need some family/fluff stuff after last night’s episode. I mean, there’s a little angst but it’s not awful.
Always taking requests!