They say the Ice Queen’s beauty is only rivalled by the Targaryen Queen. Her hair is long, red as flame. Her skin is fair as the snow she was raised in. Her eyes blue as the ocean. They say she is tall, graceful, and when she moves it’s like all fades away. They say that her beauty is that etched of the Northern cold, but her fury is as sharp as the Dragonglass that was used to kill the Others. Sharp, and cold, in the North.
She had one sister, the first female Northern War general in the North. They say that she’s as sharp as a Valyrian blade and vicious as a wolf. It’s said that a pack of wolves follow her into battle, howling for the North to rise again.
And her younger, Wildling brother, would never be King. He was far too wild, far too vicious, and far too broken. But they say he fights like a Wildling, and that he rides his Direwolf into battle, like the Young Wolf had.
The Northern Queen, the War General, and the Wildling Brother. Those are the stories they whisper of the Starks.
Jon doesn’t know how they could be true. But then again, it had been so long since he’d seen his siblings (no, cousins now) that he doesn’t know if his memories are real.
But he remembers the sweetness of Sansa, constantly tumbling between wanting to be his sister and making her mother happy. (And he remembers, quite bitterly, how that ended.) And he remembers little Rickon, wild and fun, sweet and wanting so badly to be like Bran and Jon.
And he remembers Arya, too. He remembers her wildness and her daring personality. He remembers how it felt to hold her, how happy she had been to just be accepted. He remembers her grey eyes and dark hair, fair complexion and her hard edges with softness underneath. Insecure, softness beneath.
He wonders how the world managed to turn them all into stories. But then again, here he was. A crow who loved a Wildling and fathered a red haired son with one. The crow who fought against his honor. A crow who couldn’t decide who to fight for. He tried to warn them, and they killed him for it. A crow who was killed and rose again, but not as a Other.
A crow who was waiting for his sister, (no-his Queens) word to give the Free Folk passage through to the Gift.
He wouldn’t hold his breath. But he had little Ed by his side, so he prayed to the Gods he wasn’t sure he believed in anyways.
Arya rode to him. And when he laid his eyes on her he nearly fell from his horse.
She was beautiful, with long hair, a long face, pretty eyes and full lips. But so much more than that: she looked and acted every inch a warrior. Soot marked her face, bringing stark attention to her eyes. She dressed comfortably, but smart. And her cloak was pieced together with Stark colors and a single symbol: the Wolf of the Northern Army.
Tormund, beside him whistled, but a wolf stepped forward, a Direwolf. Nymeria.
“Fucking hell, that’s your sister?”
“Cousin,” Arya says sharply, slipping from her horse. “How many women, children, and old do you have?” She looks around, assessing hard and he feels disappointment set into him.
“Five thousand,” he says, and Ed appears, in awe of her. He steps towards her and she levels a look at him. “And two and a half thousand men and women able to fight.” She nods, but the boy keeps moving around her, until he finally moves through what he assumes is awe.
“You’re a Queen?” He asks, and around him, the Free Folk laugh. He feels the tension set into him. She smirks, though.
“No.” She says leaning down to look into his eyes. She turns back to Jon, and she pierces him with a sharp stare, before turning back at him. “A general. My sister is the Queen. She’s far more beautiful than I.”
Ed is four, with long, curly fire red hair and a round face. But he looks like Jon, his red hair is all Ygritte, but only that. Arya reaches for him and lifts him. She fits him on her hip, carefully and turns to Jon.
“The Queen has fought and bought your favor through the Wall. The Free Folk will be given the Last Hearth, under stipulation.”
The Free Folk bristle and shift in confusion.
“What stipulation?” Tormund asks.
She tilts her head. “You do not steal women. You do not murder. The Last Hearth is stocked well with everything you will need. Food, clothes, armor, weapons. We ask only, until we can sit down and discuss an official treaty, that you do not murder or steal women.” Ed picks at her cloak, and she mostly ignores him, but lets him play in awe of her.
“That’s our culture,” Tormund argues. She raises a dark, daring brow.
“And ours is to keep you North of the wall. We’re all making adjustments.” There’s a fury in the people, but they’re tired. Very, very tired.
“Why the Last Hearth? That belongs to the Umbers.”
Arya raises her brow. “You’ve not heard, then?” He frowns. “They turned against the Starks. Gave the Boltons Rickon. So when Sansa killed Ramsay Snow, Shaggydog tore apart the last of the Umbers. The Last Hearth has been abandoned since Sansa seized the Crown.”
The men and women around him are unsure of Westeros Politics, but Jon steps forward.
“Sansa killed?” Arya smiles a cruel smile.
“Oh Jon Snow, you’ve missed so much.”
When they’re alone, she hugs him, tighter than she used too. She clutches onto him like she’ll lose him. But when she pulls away, she punches him.
“You’re still my brother, you brooding twat!” She snaps. “I don’t care you have a Dragon for a Father, you and I will always be brother and sister.” She’s angry, furious, and full of an ice storm.
“Then why cousin?” He asks, a bit stupidly as he rubs his face. She had a good swing, too.
“Because,” Arya says, sighing. “Sansa says it’s best we treat you as cousin. The Northern Lords are wary of your arrival. Especially with the Free Folk. But fortunately, with word from both you and the Wall of the Others, it’s given them the push to accept this arrangement. But they can’t fuck this up, Jon.”
He nods, sighing “I know. Tormund is speaking to the Elders and they’re trying to push for control. It’s different for the Free Folk, they’ve always been Free.”
“Yeah, well this is South of the Wall Jon. We face war with the Lannisters while the Dragon Queen rages war with them. And we have a war to the North. We can’t have a civil war, Jon. We won’t survive it.” She tells him urgently, and he smiles.
“You’ve changed, Arya.” She pulls away and nods.
“We all have.” She tells him, and then moves over to look at Ed as he sleeps.
“What was she like?” She asks him quietly.
Jon hesitates, remembering her face. Remembering her bitterness as she’d died. Things between them had always been complicated, but his time as a Wildling had tainted him. He was too Wild to bow now, but still too loyal not too. “She was Wildling to the bone. A spearwife. And she died.” Arya turns to see his solemness, and nods.
“He’ll be taken care of. No matter what. Sansa’s already made sure of that.” She promises him. He watches his son as he shifts in bed, still unaware of all the darkness he could face.
After all, he’s a Targaryen and a Stark bastard, just like him.
Sometimes he still dreams of Bran. He knows it’s Bran, the three-eyed raven watches him in these dreams. Sometimes he appears as a boy nearing a man. He’d been the one to tell him.
And it had all fallen into place, in understanding.
“Tell them I love them.” Bran asks him. Jon nods.
Sansa is beautiful, more beautiful than any woman he’s ever laid eyes on. Tormund beside him, even looks a bit shocked. She’s tall, his height. Her hair is deeper than Eds, but long and falls in beautiful waves. Her eyes remind him of her mother’s, but there’s a warmth there that does not. She does look like her mother: but she’s so much more beautiful.
She sits in the Throne of the Last Hearth. The town was nearly dead, with very few inhabitants. She looks very much the Queen she was, as she sits there with warm furs wrapped around her. Two wolves at her side, one black one speckled with white and the other white speckled with grey.
She stands, and so do the wolves.
“Please,” she says smoothly. “There is a stew ready to be served and ale. The Journey through the storm must not have been easy. Warm yourselves here. I am Sansa Stark.” She doesn’t say she’s a Queen, and he’s glad. Though she wears an Iron crown, she does not force herself onto the Free Folk any other way.
They are weary of her, though, and Sansa watches Jon with apprehension and a guard he’s not sure he likes. Sansa, when he was younger, had two expressions. Anger and happiness: but this mask was delicately created and used.
Arya shoved Jon forward, hand in Eds.
And Jon moved forward, and he bows in respect.
“Your Grace.” Ed, sweet little Ed, copies his father.
“Your Grace,” Sansa lets out a small laugh.
“Please, both of you stand.” They did, awkwardly, for Jon, as Sansa steps forward and presses a kiss to his cheek. She kneeled down and pressed a kiss to Eds forehead.
This isn’t the Ice Queen they talk of in the North.
Rickon is more Wildling than anything. But he’s smart, in his own way. In a survivor’s way. When he sees Jon, he runs at him, throws his arms around his neck.
“You look like father.”
It hurts Jon, but not in a bad way. “And you look like Robb.”
Rickon and Ed get along well, but Ed follows Sansa and Arya around. Arya finds it amusing, but Sansa takes him under her wing in a way that makes him feel strange.
She brushes his hair, bathes him, reads to him.
Tormund always looks at him knowing, but Jon doesn’t.
Sansa is kind to all, but rigid when it comes to protecting the North. Sometimes, in the Council he’s been invited too, he sees glimpses of the Ice Queen.
“Your Grace, children should not be punished for their father’s actions.”
“Then they’ll be raised as bastards. The name Frey is dead.” Her voice echoes across the room and Lord Manderly nods, because he lost a son too.
“Yes, your Grace.” And the meeting concludes sharply, and Jon sees a burning white storm growing in her.
She spends the rest of her day sewing.
He finds Sansa with Ed on the throne of Winterfell. He’s resting against her chest as she sings to him. A sad song, of the Night King. But the boy sings the pieces he knows, and she brushes her hand against his hair gently as she does so.
That’s when Jon knows.
It’s a dance, he realizes after nearly a month. Arya smirks and Rickon pushes, leading him down a path he isn’t sure of.
“Just steal her,” Tormund says, rolling his eyes.
“I love her,” Ed tells him honestly.
And Sansa’s eyes become more expectant, they linger on him longer and Jon’s not quite sure he can push it off any longer.
When he appears in her room, she sets down the needle and cloth she’d been working on and raises an expectant brow at him.
He hesitates before he comes to sit next to her.
“I don’t see you as a sister, anymore, Sansa.”
She turns to him, with a careful look. She’s always guarded with men, he knows. And he’s learned enough about Ramsay to know it’s warranted. Jon wishes that he had given the chance to beat the life out of him, cave his face in with his fists, but he hadn’t.
Sansa had done a well enough job, he things. Cut off his cock, and then stabbed him in the throat.
But not without scars.
Ed had seen them. He’d run crying, about how someone had hurt his Sansa. Jon had seen red, and Arya had glared at him for it.
“Leave her alone, she doesn’t want to talk about it.” She hadn’t moved out of his way either, in fact, she’d punched him.
He didn’t blame her either. He was too reckless then.
“Nor I,” she says smoothly. Sure, and practiced.
Jon nods, taking a deep breath.
“I’m not ready for marriage yet, Jon. Or to share a bed with another man. I still…” Her voice fades and Jon shakes his head vehemently.
“We can go slow.”
“There’s a war coming, Jon.” She chastises him.
“I’ve died once, risen again,” he says honestly. “I’ll do it again, if it means making you happy.”
Her mask breaks, and she gives him a smile that’s both heart breaking and real.
She’s not the Ice Queen they say she is. And she is. Arya’s not the General they say she is, but she is. And Rickon, well, Rickon is the Wildling brother they say he is.
Jon will be remembered as the man who died and rose. A child of the North and South. A crow that betrayed his vows and fathered a child. A crow that was killed by his men when he came back to save them. A crow who rose. A crow who brought the Wildlings past the wall.
They remember them as the Kingdom who’d brought peace with the Targaryens and Greyjoys, who had fought the Others and drove them back. Who brought peace between the Free Folk and Northerners.
They remember the longest peace in History that fell after that. Ninety years without a war.
They remember Ed Stark, who married and gave up his name for the Southern Queen, daughter of the breaker of chains. They remember Bran the Rebuilder, the first son of Sansa Stark and her crow husband. They remember Robb Stark as a picture of his namesake.
They remember Torrhen Stark, the best smith in all of the North.
And they remember the Wildling twins, Pycelle and Cat, who led the exploration of beyond the Wall after the Great War.
am i the only one who’s still not over Lover Dearest i mean what the heck is Astoria gonna do to me what does Josh Ramsay think he’s doing my heart is not a chew toy for you and your executive producer to play around with
Belle’s prowess in the kitchen was masterful. She hadn’t studied under any academy, but goodness knows there were enough cookbooks and instructional video to fill the time she had been on Earth, because she knew that two things were universal. Food and Music.
She loved both, with a passion for each equal to that of the other. She wanted to be able to cook for people, but that job was difficult without proper funding and no fancy schools on a resume. All she wanted to do was make people happy. But for now, she just had to settle on working in a little cafe. Not preparing the food, but serving it instead.
(Ok, I know I don’t have Gordon Ramsey as my muse, but I just came up with a perfect headcanon for him, so @gordon-j-ramsay… I think you’ll like this one. There have been a few occasions in Hell’s Kitchen where he actually rhymes about the person he eliminates that night. I can definitely tell that he’s good at that because he would do it for his three daughters, Holly, Megan, and Matilda, and maybe even his son, Jack, especially when they were younger.)