stares at trees

concept playlists

had to jump on this trend

you’re hanging out with the cutest girl in the whole wide world, driving around in a pink cadillac convertable, ignoring the male gaze, and eating cherry popsicles on a warm summer day. you think you finally know what joy feels like

having a picnic on a hill filled with wildflowers, you feel the sudden urge to cry from both an underlying sadness and an overwhelming appreciation for the beauty of queen anne’s lace and daisies

you’re parked at the beach at 3:30 in the morning on a warm summer night, and you feel weirdly nostalgic for a time you weren’t alive for 

you’re driving in a car filled with friends with the windows rolled down, and though it’s never possible to fully leave your sadness behind, in that moment, everyone is smiling and everyone is happy, and there seems to be blue and yellow glow over everything

you walk deep into the woods and flop onto your back into a snowbank, staring up at the bare trees and falling snowflakes as the sky gets dark, feeling as if you could lie there forever

you’re riding the subway late at night, listening to an old ipod classic. the car is dimly lit, it’s empty, and it seems as if the train will never stop, but you’re not going anywhere in particular

anonymous asked:

Maybe draw some dear evan hansen comfort hugs,,,, like between evan and connor or evan and connors sister (i cant remember her name helo)or like,,,,,,,,, any one i just need som comfort hugs

connor isnt used to hugs so he gives people his hoodie as A Hug™

(<- that hoodie hug idea is from @askconvan / @nellos12 follow them :O)

“She was my first crush as a kid. We were in the same class together, and she sat by the window, so I’d always pretend that I was staring at the tree outside. But I never had the courage to talk to her. I was extremely shy. Then over the summer I went to her twelfth birthday party at a water park. She walked up to me with her entourage of friends, and said: ‘I liked you all year. But you never talked to me. And now I’m going to another school and you’re never going to see me again!’ I was so scared that I couldn’t talk. That moment was such a small thing for her– she doesn’t even remember it. But I was completely traumatized.”

(Buenos Aires, Argentina)

I did some outdoors sketching during a brief glimmer of sunshine, but the on-flowing mysteries past the broad river-bend were barred by a beaked guardian.

2

Misha Collins awed by a Costa Rican jungle; Gishwhes 2015 Winner’s Trip

Photos taken and edited by me. Please do not repost or remove caption. Message me if you’re still looking for a competitive team/want to win Gishwhes.

A voice told him where to go, and he went.

Maybe there was a time when the word of a disembodied voice would not have been enough. He doesn’t remember it. He doesn’t remember a lot of things. He remembers a lot of things. He remembers the wrong things.

He is slow. Maybe he wasn’t always slow, but he is slow now. There is no straight line between points. He considers every tree and every flower. He picks apples and catches lizards. He stares at the sky, and chases the stars.

He doesn’t speak much. He’s told he never did. He wonders if it was then what it is now, the way the words taste wrong and never fit on his tongue. Hylian and Hylian and Hylian but it never sounds right to the points of his ears. His first language is foreign and his accent is nowhere. He doesn’t sound like a hero. He doesn’t know what he sounds like, but he knows he doesn’t like it. It grates the way any wrong thing grates. He says nothing, and no one seems to mind.

He catches beetles, and stops to take pictures of fish.

In the burnt husk of a home, he finds a rusted shield. It didn’t do them much good, whoever they had been. He finds them all over, these floors without ceilings, these roofs without walls. He wonders, always: have I been here before? Did I know them, once? This house on the mountain, this cabin in the woods, would they have recognized me? Was this a name that fit on my tongue?

He learns to bake a cake, breaks rock salt and rubies from veins of ore in the earth.

He moves the sails of a raft with a Korok leaf, and he thinks: this should be easier. He wills the wind to move, but there is nothing. He looks out at the ocean and thinks: what might we find there? His raft is dead wood. He is alone.

He catches fairies in his hands, pink light and warmth and a faint ringing in his skin. They never complain. They never speak. He opens his hands to let them go, and they are the wrong color. The Great Fairy laughs, and it’s so much prettier than it used to be. Than it never was. He rolls glass bottles in his hands, but he doesn’t take them with him.

There is something restful in this. He can’t explain it, even if he had words to try. In his long slumber something inside him came unmoored, and he knows things he must not. He is tired. He knows this most of all. There is work to be done. There has always been work to be done.

He lights a fire, roasts a fish, picks at the flaky meat while it’s still hot enough to burn his fingertips.

He thinks of a sister he never had. He thinks of a grandmother he never had. Did he know his grandmother? In the Lost Woods he stares at the Deku Tree, and knows this is not home. There is a green-haired girl on the backs of his eyelids, and she sounds like three notes repeating.

He finds an ocarina made of wood, and runs his fingers over the holes. Three notes, repeating. He plays them, and nothing happens. He checks the shape of the moon and his reflection in the water. He plays three notes, different this time. There is nothing but an ache.

It sounds more like his voice than his voice ever did, and that hurts worse than silence.

He tries to remember Mipha. He wants to remember her most of all. They were friends, he is told. Close, he is told. He has nothing but fragments and a shirt that fits too well. When he tries to remember, he sees blue scales instead of red.

Zelda is Zelda is Zelda. She is the reference point around which the world turns. She is always Zelda, even when she isn’t. Her face is always her face. He is grateful and resentful in turns. There are so many people he would remember, if he could. Instead there is Zelda.

Ganon is not Ganon is not Ganon. He doesn’t know if Ganon has a face. He’s had so many faces. Was this ever a man, this manifestation of malice? He remembers eyes of gold, he remembers snouts. He recognizes the smell of him in burnt cloves and blood.

Fear is red lights and a blue glow. He knows these things were hope, once. He can’t remember it. He can’t remember seeing six metal legs and believing they would save him. Did he always know that it was helpless? It feels like he should have known.

The words are different, but the meaning is the same. He is procrastinating. If he needed an excuse, he would call it training. He would say they need every advantage. He would say they will only have one chance. No one asks for excuses. He says nothing.

Zelda has waited a hundred years. She waits, still.

She remembers a boy who never rushed her. She remembers, the way he does not, his silent patience while she found herself. While she took too long to find herself. She will wait for him to find himself, even if he takes too long. They may doom the world with their patience, but does the world not owe them this? There are so many worlds, and so few of them are kind. What could this world have been, if it had been kind? What might she have saved if it had not demanded saving?

She did not save the world. She will not save the world. She saved a single point of kindness who did not ask it from her. She will not ask it from him, but he may save her all the same. He is courageous. He is kind. Please, be careful.

He catches Koroks in durian trees, and chases dragons through canyons.

He jumps off a cliff to land in a stable, and no one there sees the hero he should be. He is no one, he is nothing. He is halfway to a beast, but they’re grateful for his help, when he offers it. He always offers it. He doesn’t know how not to.

His hands are calloused. Sometimes they bleed. He ties up his hair every morning, and does not stop. Swords fit so neatly in his hand. Sometimes he uses them to light fires or carve birds. It’s just easier. A sword is all he knows. He’s trying to be more. This might be beyond him.

Sometimes he growls when he’s angry. Sometimes he rips things apart with his teeth. Sometimes dogs follow him, but sometimes they whine. The shadows aren’t always unfriendly, and he feels them like fingers in his hair. There are eyes like fire in the mirrors at night, but he can only see them in the corners of his eyes.

The first time the Gerudo catch him, it was because he tried to scale their walls. Why did he think that would work? Urbosa would laugh if she knew.

He catches horses, but they’re never the right one. The hooves are wrong, the gait is wrong. They are never a part of him, an extension of his own legs. He rides across fields and they hesitate the way she never did. He whistles three notes, sometimes, but it never works.

He finds it, eventually. The place the voice told him about. Walls without a roof. Has he been here before? Surely he has. It’s night when he arrives. His footsteps make no sound. This is how he navigates the world, now, quiet as the sky. It’s easier this way. He kneels down to catch the latch on the chest, and when it opens, he cannot breathe.

He stares at it for a long time.

The moon is only the moon. His skin is still his own. Eventually, he breathes again.

He almost laughs.

He slides the mask onto his face.

In their fifth year the Marauders etched their own little family tree on the wall next to their window in their dormitory. They had their four names lined up side by side with little arrows connecting them. Then when they went home for the summer, each of them etched the family tree into their bedroom walls. (Sirius especially had fun with this.) They were all connected, all five of the trees so that if someone made a change to one of them, it would automatically make a change to all of them.
By the time they were in their seventh year, they had added a few other people to the tree including Marlene and Lily. On their last day at Hogwarts, the sixth of them stared at their little family tree for a couple of minutes before James suddenly added one more person on top of all their names. “She’s one of us whether she wants to or not.” They all laughed and then covered their mark by moving a desk in front of it. After that they said their final goodbyes and walked excitedly out of the school.
When Lily and James got married Sirius and Remus’ first order of business was to bind the two of their names on the family tree together making an infinity sign glow whenever anyone passed by one of the trees. Then Harry was born and his name was automatically added to the tree.
When Lily and James died, their names faded on the tree but the bind that Remus and Sirius placed seemed to glow even brighter at times.
Once he learned what had happened to his best friends Remus stood in front of the family tree he had etched on the wall in front of his desk at home, his wand pointed directly at Sirius’ name, ready to burn it off permanently. Except he couldn’t do it. He would return everyday to try to bring himself to burn Sirius’ name off and everyday he would fail. Eventually he just stopped going to his bedroom when he visited.
Sirius would sit in his cell and with a stick he found on the floor, he would engrave his family tree into the wall, purposefully avoiding Peter.
When Remus become a professor his first order of business is to visit his old dorm and look for the family tree. To him, it seems as though James, Lily, Peter and Marlene’s names were glowing ever so brightly. He avoided looking at Sirius’ name.
When he discovered that Sirius is innocent, his first thought was to breathe a sigh of relief because he didn’t burn his friend’s name off the tree.
One year later Sirius was stuck in Grimmauld Place. He went to his room and looked at the back of the door where his family tree was drawn. He had made the effort of drawing little figures he thought represented each of them. For him and James were their animagus forms. For Lily, he drew a doe. Marlene had a lion. And for some reason he drew Remus a donkey.
On October the 31st Remus popped by Grimmauld Place and Sirius immediately dragged him to his room. He told Remus to pull out his wand and together, the two of them burned off Peter’s name. Permanently.
When Sirius died his name didn’t fade off the family tree. It looked even brighter than usual.
When Tonks married Remus, her name appeared on the tree. He showed her the one in Sirius’ room and then proceeded to sob because out of the six of them, he had never expected to be the last one standing.
After the battle of Hogwarts, the only living name was that of Harry Potter. Except he never knew about the trees. And so they lay in all of their hidden locations, undiscovered by anyone.
Years later Minerva McGonagall was going through every dorm room ensuring everything was perfect. She didn’t doubt the house elves work at all. It was only because she had missed being able to roam freely around the halls and so she took the chance while no one was yet there. She entered the boys dormitory and looked around. There was something that wasn’t quite right about the room.
Minerva McGonagall wasn’t a young woman but she remembered everything as if it had happened yesterday. And what she remembered was that there was no desk under the window. It would hardly be noticed by anyone, had they not known what the layout of the dorms were all those years ago. She swiftly moved the desk back in its proper place and was about to leave to the Slytherin common room when something caught her eye. She walked to the window and looked at the strange engravings in the wall underneath.
The names Moony, Padfoot, Prongs, Evans, Marley, Harry and Nymph were marked in the stone. There was another name beside Prongs, but it had been burnt beyond recognition.
Minerva McGonagall collapsed on one of the four poster beds and took a deep breath, containing her emotions. She was successful in doing so and was about to leave when once again, something caught her eye.
On top of the three names and the burnt one read one more name.
Old Minnie McG.
And then she broke down. Because after all this time, after everything that she had gone through, she would always remember those three boys who defied everything society said, who didn’t allow anyone else to dictate how they would live their lives, who gave up their lives so the world could be a better place.

autistic bfs

lance, an autistic who accidentally stares at people a lot: (staring at keith and not realizing it)

keith, an autistic that gets Super Uncomfortable when people look at him for Too Long but knows that lance doesn’t mean to: um… uhh… umm….. uhmmmmm.

keith: ….!!! (kisses lance’s cheek) :)

lance: (blinks) :0!!! (blushes, then hides his face in his hands) babe!!!

keith: love u :)

lance: love u too!!!

Dear Evan Hansen,
  • Today is going to be a good day, and here’s why,
  • Because today, not matter what else, um, today at least you’re you - no hiding, no lying, just you - and that’s- that’s enough. Maybe someday, everything that happened, maybe it will all feel like a distant memory. Maybe someday, no one will even remember The Connor Project, or me.
  • But maybe someday, some other kid will be standing here, staring out at the trees, feeling so alone, wondering if maybe the world might look different from all the way up there. Better.
  • And maybe he’ll start climbing one branch at a time and he’ll keep going - even when it feels like he can’t find another foothold - even when it feels… hopeless. Like every thing is telling him to let go, this time. Maybe this time, he won’t let go.
  • He’ll hold on. He’ll hold on, and he’ll keep going, keep going till he sees the sun.
  • All I see is sky, for forever.
middle earth gothic

there are rolling hills of grass in the shire and doors where lives once stood. you hear murmuring on the wind. they say it is the water of the brandywine but you know better. a girl sings a song and the bones of flowers rattle beneath her feet as she hangs wash to a clothesline.

when you find rivendell, it is quiet. the bruinen has cracked its way through the rocks, and moss covers the stacks of books. a bookcase rattles and screams when you come close to it. you put the parchment back. you put the syllabus back. a daughter makes her choice, and chooses rushing tides over the stillness of time. you hunt for a mother’s bone. there are none, there are none, there are none.

moria is a hollow cave and a hollow darkness and a hollow tunnel. there are dead ones wherever you look. a tomb screams of old friends and lost relatives. we cannot get out scrawled in spit tears and blood. when the ancient flame comes, you know your hands will let go and you will not be able to stop the screaming of wind through your bones.

when you enter lothlorien, the trees crackle and whisper and sigh. a witch lives here you hear them say. you do not find a way out, and the trees blindfold you to find the way: you are lost, but you catch glimpses of dead dreams in a pool of hissing water.

fangorn is a forest made of sinew and muscle and bone. the trees throb with poetry that lasts centuries. there is the body of an orc trapped in vines, and it smiles at you with sharp teeth rotting. you understand, for a moment, that death is nothing but the beginning, and then the darkness falls again. you smell water and wood and life. when the trees stare back at you, you do not think you feel safe. 

rohan gallops through time like bristling horses. a white lady looms, pale, behind shut windows as snakes creep over her uncle’s body like worms feasting upon dead flesh. her hands are marked with red, her eyes are empty pools. in all her dreams she drowns.

the white city looms like a stack of old bones. there are charred robes at the bottom of the valley where a grieving father once jumped to his death. at night the dead come walking, their eyes hollow, their hands clutching the heads of those they lost. there is the carcass of a fell beast on the planes before the city of kings and the children play with her bones.

the grey havens smell of saltwater and burning ships. the goodbyes here are final, and bitter, and made by the dead. the ghosts are quiet, for once. to the west, the sun sinks and kisses the sea. you think you hear laughter: you know it is only the wind.

Summary: Sansa is sent as an emissary instead of Jon to meet with the Dragon Queen [Season 7 Spoilers - some of the dialogue is word for word from the script]

Dedicated to the lovely @qinaliel for the prompt!! 


“Then send an emissary!”

Jon paused, turned towards her and sighed. In the few short months since they’d been reunited, Sansa had come to learn his sigh’s and this one said that she had won. He was finally beginning to listen to her.

“Sansa,” he said slowly, coming to stand before her. They had been arguing in his solar for most of the afternoon. “Who will I send? You?”

Without hesitation, she nodded. “Yes.” She didn’t want to leave Winterfell, not after everything they’d done to get it back, but for Jon? For their home? She would face down Cersei if she had to. What was a Dragon Queen to that woman?

Immediately, Jon shook his head, stepping closer, until she could feel the heat radiating from his body. “No. No. I will not send you. She is a queen, only a king can get through to her.”

“You are more needed here than I am,” Sansa said. She reached for his wrist, circling her fingers delicately around it. “Jon, let me do this for you. I know women like her. And I am not merely anybody you’re sending. I am the Lady of Winterfell. She will listen to me.”

He twisted his hand from her grasp only to retrieve it back in his own. “I can’t protect you in the south.”

“No one can protect me anywhere,” she reminded him. “I will have Brienne with me. And Podrick. I will not be alone.”

Jon furrowed his brows. They both knew there was sense in her words, but she could see the struggle, the conflict warring in his mind. He was so noble, always so honourable, and it made her heart ache for him, fear and love mingling like the warmth of her breath fogging in the cold winter air.

He turned away from her, dropping down in his chair. Jon rubbed his face. “How can I plan a war when all I’ll be doing is worrying about you?”

Sansa let out a soft breath, a half-hearted laugh, as she came to kneel before him. “If it is any comfort to you, at least I will be far away from Littlefinger.”

His head snapped up at that and a small rueful smile broke over his face. “You heard then?”

“There is not much that happens in Winterfell that I don’t hear, Jon Snow,” Sansa grinned. “Although if you must wring Littlefinger’s neck, try not to do it in full view of the guards. You know they like to talk.”

He laughed. “I appreciate your counsel, my lady.”

Sansa made to stand up, but this time, Jon wrapped his hand around her wrist, the hard callouses grazing over her soft skin. It made her heartbeat spike unbiddenly. “You will be careful, won’t you? You will go, say our peace and come home?”

“I don’t want to be away from Winterfell more than I need to,” Sansa answered him, keeping his gaze, so he knew the words she didn’t wish to say out loud, that it was him she didn’t want to part with most.

Jon nodded once and let go. “Get some sleep, Sansa.”

That night, she tossed and turned, dreams of Winterfell lit on fire, blazing orange and red against the blinding white of winter. She dreamed of dragons screeching overhead as her people screamed for mercy, for reprieve from this slaughter, and then, just as she could feel the flames licking her own skin, she heard the keening howl of a wolf, as big as a mountain.

Jon, she whispered, reaching for him. Jon

Sansa woke with a start, sweat matting her hair to her forehead. She was warm, so much warmer than she had been in the night, but when she turned, she found the reason for the heat. Ghost lifted his head, blinked at her, something like concern shining in his eyes. She carded her fingers through his fur and pressed a soft kiss to his head. “You came to save me, didn’t you, boy?” His tongue lolled out from his mouth and Sansa laughed. “My hero.”

It was the day she would leave Winterfell. Sansa never thought that she would have to again after winning it back from Ramsay, but soon when the winds burned like fire and the sun refused to shine, her people, her Jon, would have to pick up their swords and fight, and Sansa needed to ensure they survived the Long Night. If this Dragon Queen could be reasoned with, then she would go and speak to her. Never mind that a Targaryen could never be trusted; never mind that this woman had stolen into their lands with a foreign army and three dragons. Sansa could understand the necessity of her alliance – although the feeling of trepidation did not ease, not when she broke fast sitting beside Jon as he watched her carefully and not when she sat with her maids to pack her belongings.

“I thought I would find you here.”

She didn’t turn, only wrapped her arms tighter around her body. He came up behind her. She could hear the crunching of his boots on the soft powdered ground.

“You don’t have to go.”

Sansa made a noise and he sighed in response.

“I wish you didn’t have to go,” he amended instead, his voice low, barely audible above the whistling wind. “Some days I think…” Jon paused and gave a soft chuckle. “I think, what if we had just run? Gone south and never looked back.”

“This is our home,” she murmured to him.

“Aye, and I will fight with my last breath for it,” he said firmly. “But maybe it keeps me sane to imagine what our lives would be like if we had run.”

Sansa turned then, eyes sweeping over his face. “And?”

“We would have a house,” Jon answered immediately. “Maybe by the sea.” He averted his gaze, staring up at the heart tree. “We’d be safe.”

She reached for his hand. “I’ll come home.”

“Promise me,” he said softly, squeezing her back.

“I promise, Jon.”

But promises were meant to be broken and Sansa would soon realise that the Dragon Queen would not be so easy to persuade.

“You stand in the presence of Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, rightful heir to the Iron Throne, rightful Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, The Unburnt, The Breaker of Chains,” the woman spoke.

Sansa refrained from grimacing. She had met another once who liked to shout his titles at anyone who would listen and he had been a monster. She desperately hoped this Daenerys was different.

“This is Sansa Stark of House Stark, eldest daughter of Eddard and Catelyn Stark, blood of the First Men, Lady of Winterfell and Sister to the King in the North, Jon Snow,” Brienne immediately replied, standing tall and proud, Podrick a step behind her.

“Forgive me. I never did receive a formal education, but I could have sworn the last King in the North was Torren Stark who bent the knee to my ancestor Aegon Targaryen in exchange for his life and the lives of the northmen. Torren Stark swore fealty to House Targaryen in perpetuity. But do I have my facts wrong?” Daenerys asked, poison hidden in her polite words, but Sansa had lived with lions. A dragon did not scare her.

“No, your grace,” Sansa answered, keeping her tone equally as polite. “You are well-versed in your history, but mayhaps you have forgotten that House Targaryen was overthrown during Robert’s Rebellion when your brother kidnapped my aunt and your father had my uncle and grandfather burned alive.” She paused to let this sink in. “House Stark has not been loyal to a Targaryen in many years.”

Daenerys’ lips twitched as her brows furrowed infinitesimally. “My father was an evil man. On behalf of House Targaryen I ask your forgiveness for the crimes he committed against your family. And I ask you not to judge a daughter by the sins of her father. Our two houses were allies for centuries. Those were the best centuries the kingdom’s ever known. Centuries of peace and prosperity with the Targaryens sitting on the Iron Throne and a Stark serving as Warden of the North. I am the last Targaryen, Sansa Stark. Honour the pledge your ancestor made to mine. Bend the knee and I will name your king Warden of the North. Together we will save this country from those who would destroy it.”

She couldn’t help think that peace was the farthest thing this woman wanted. A Targaryen’s house words were not ‘fire and blood’ for nothing, but she could hear Jon’s voice in her mind, reminding her of how important it was to ally with the Dragon Queen.

“I cannot judge you for your father’s crimes any more than you can hold me to my ancestor’s vows,” Sansa told her. “The North will not bend the knee, your grace.”

“Then why are you here?” Daenerys demanded, the politeness fading from her tone.

“Because we need each other,” she said easily. “To survive, House Stark and House Targaryen must form an alliance.”

The Dragon Queen turned, smirking at Tyrion. When Daenerys finally returned her gaze back onto Sansa, she caught her former husband’s apologetic glance. So it would seem even the Hand of the Queen was aware of her arrogance, but it was hardly surprising to Sansa. Those with power tended to believe they deserved it. The only king or queen Sansa had ever met who wished for less power was the one she had left behind, the one of whom she missed so achingly she would turn around right this moment and swim back to him if the survival of her people didn’t rest in her hands. With an inward sigh, Sansa steeled herself as the Dragon Queen spoke once more.

“Did you see three dragons flying overhead when you arrived?”

“I did.”

“And did you see the Dothraki, all of whom have sworn to kill for me?”

“Yes, your grace.” She fought the urge to roll her eyes.

“But still, I need your help?” Daenerys asked, looking amused and patronising, but Sansa had learned to weather all manners of insult, those personal and evasive, and those from arrogant rulers.

“Yes,” Sansa answered simply. “My…” she paused for a fraction of a second, “king has seen unspeakable horrors beyond the Wall and there is an army marching towards us at this very moment. If we do not band together, there will not be a kingdom for anyone to rule.”

“And what is this army you speak of?”

She sighed. It was impossible to imagine the kind of army that Jon spoke so fearfully of and yet she knew his words to be true. It didn’t, however, make convincing Daenerys Stormborn any easier. “The Army of the Dead.” Sansa straightened her shoulders. “I know how it may sound, but my king is no liar. If he says they are coming then it is true.”

“I have no reason to believe in a man who wishes to oppose me –”

“Jon does not wish to oppose you,” Sansa interjected. “He does not wish to sit on the Iron Throne, not now, not ever. Your grace, you are not grasping the severity of the situation. Cersei is a formidable foe, but the Dead will kill us all if we don’t work together.”

Daenerys let out a scoff. “You will have me place my trust in a man I have never met?”

“Do you trust your Hand?” Sansa asked, looking to Tyrion. “Because he will tell you that neither Jon nor I have any reason to lie to you. Nothing good comes from a Stark leaving the North, but I am here because it is necessary.”

Tyrion sighed. “Your grace, I trust Lady Sansa and I trust Jon Snow. They are honourable people.”

There’s a long pause that fills the room, so tangible Sansa could feel it crowding her, pushing up against the cloak she still wore. Daenerys stood up and began to descend down the stairs, eyes unwaveringly locked onto Sansa’s, but she refused to be intimidated by a woman not much older than her.

“I was born at Dragonstone. Not that I can remember it. We fled before Robert’s assassins could find us. Robert was your father’s best friend, no? I wonder if your father knew his best friend sent assassins to murder a baby girl in her crib. Not that it matters now of course. I spent my life in foreign lands. So many men have tried to kill me. I don’t remember all of their names. I have been sold like a brood mare. I have been chained and betrayed, raped and defiled,” she said, the emotions making her voice rise. It was the first time since they had arrived that Sansa saw something more than just pure arrogance. She saw defiance and strength, but if Daenerys thought she was the only woman to have ever been violated, she was mistaken. Cersei was defiant and she was strong, but she was as bad as the men who underestimated her, if not worse. Sansa won’t be swayed so easily by sad stories; she’s had her fair share.

“Do you know what kept me standing through all those years in exile?” The Dragon Queen paused, only a few feet away from Sansa now. “Faith. Not in any gods. Not in myths and legends. In myself. In Daenerys Targaryen. The world hadn’t seen a dragon in centuries until my children were born. The Dothraki hadn’t crossed the sea. Any sea. They did for me. I was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms. And I will.”

Brienne shifted behind her, but Sansa was not here to trade trauma for trauma. Her pain was her own and no one else’s, not even Jon knew the full extent of what she had gone through. She didn’t need to sink so low for this alliance, but she did need to get through to Daenerys somehow.

“The world is not a kind place for any woman,” Sansa said slowly, evenly, while observing the queen for a reaction. “For many men, we are no more than a womb for their seed to grow and that is if we’re lucky. But this war cares not if you are a man or a woman, Daenerys Stormborn. It will devour us all if we don’t act.”

“My lady,” Tyrion spoke up, his eyes were soft, kind and pleading. “I understand your brother may believe that he saw something beyond the Wall –”

“He did,” she reaffirmed.

“Yes, but you cannot expect us to halt hostilities and join him in fighting in the North,” he continued. “If Jon bends the knee, swears fealty to Daenerys, then we can defeat Cersei and take up arms together in your war.” Tyrion moved forward. “Sansa, you know what my sister is capable of. You know you will never be safe while she’s on the throne.”

“With respect, my lord,” Sansa said through gritted teeth. “I do not need reminding of what Cersei is capable of. As you said, I know far too well, but I also know when there is a far greater threat and that is the one in the North. You may believe me or you may not, but the Long Night is coming. Winter is here.”

“Then bend the knee,” Daenerys demanded once more. “Do it now and we can cease with this squabbling.”

“The North has suffered too long under southron rulers. We will not bend the knee,” she said confidently. “Jon will not bend the knee. The people have put their trust in his hands and he will lead them for as long as he can.”

“That’s fair. It’s also fair to point out that I’m the rightful queen of the Seven Kingdoms. By declaring himself King of the northern most kingdom, House Stark is in open rebellion,” she concluded, eyes narrowed.

That night, she dreamed of fire, bright and orange, flickering up the walls of Winterfell as screams pierced through the air. She could feel the heat on her skin and she wanted it to stop. She tried to remove her cloak but the heat persisted. Sansa opened her mouth to scream, to beg for mercy, for anything that could stop the pain running through her, but her voice would not work.

The thundering flap of wings had Sansa peering up into the ashen sky. There amidst the clouds, she saw two of the most fearsome creatures circling her home. Fire rained from their mouths, turning stone walls to pebbles and people to nothing more than dust. When Sansa could feel the skin peeling away from her bones, she felt it, looming great and big over her, its shadow turning day into night. Sansa moved, whirling around to face it, and immediately, she was struck, jaw gaping open, as she stared into the grey eyes of a pure white dragon. It looked back, sentient like it knew her, and flapped its large wings. The gust of air cooled the fire away and soothed the pain running through her body.

Sansa dropped to the ground and wrapped her arms around her legs. “Just kill me,” she whispered. “Kill me.” It bent its neck towards her like it was bowing, eyes cast down. Confused, Sansa shouted at it, angry and hysterical, “what do you want from me!”

Before it could respond, Sansa woke with a start, her chest pounding loudly in her ears, and the overwhelming feeling that washed through her was that she missed Jon. It was not the first time since arriving at Dragonstone that she thought this, but now knowing that Daenerys was holding them prisoner on this godsforsaken island, she missed him all the more. The thought of never seeing him again made her ache down to her very bones. She had to find a way back to him; she refused to let that moment at the gate be their last moment together.

“I should be going,” Jon said, touching a hand to her cheek. “It is not too late to change your mind.”

Sansa leaned into his touch, uncaring that Brienne, Podrick and Ser Davos were only a few feet away. “We cannot have this argument again, Jon. You’re king. The people need you here.”

“You would do just as well leading them,” he countered, thumb stroking the curve of her cheekbone. “I may be king, but you’re their lady. They love you. They trust you just as well as they trust me.”

“It’s better this way,” Sansa said with a small smile. “Smarter.”

Jon sighed. “I will not convince you otherwise, will I?”

“Have you ever?”

“No,” he said, chuckling softly. He kept his gaze on her, lingering, and drawing out the silence before he finally spoke again. “Be safe.” Without another word, Jon leaned forward to kiss her gently on the forehead, so familiar yet so different, as when he parted, he dropped his forehead to hers, allowing their breaths to swirl in between them. “I’ll miss you, Sansa.”

Tears pricked at the back of her eyes. She ran her hands up his chest to grip onto his furs. “I’ll miss you too.”

Sansa wiped at her eyes with the back of her hand as she stared out unseeingly towards the horizon. The wind blew gently, tossing her hair away from her face and neck, leaving a cool breeze to ease the heat of the south. The sound of footsteps announced his arrival.

“I came out here to brood over my failure to predict the Greyjoy attack, but I can hardly do that in the presence of my lady wife,” Tyrion said, that teasing lilt to his voice.

“I have been a prisoner many times, Lord Tyrion,” Sansa said coolly. “I have been kept against my will at the hands of your family, forced to swear my loyalty to the people who murdered my father, brother and mother. I have been kept and sold by Littlefinger to the Boltons where I was imprisoned in my own home.” Her chest rose up and down rapidly. “But I will not be a prisoner to your queen. Jon is my king and I will make it home to him.”

“Lady Sansa, you are not a prisoner. You are free to roam the beaches and –”

“Do not trifle with me, my lord,” Sansa turned to look at him. “Or have you forgotten how long I spent under your sister’s tutelage?” She pursed her lips tightly. “Your queen does not believe me. It is fair. I hardly believed Jon when he first told me and every rational thought in my mind is saying to look to Cersei. She is our biggest threat, but you don’t know Jon the way I do. Not as he is now.” She returned her gaze to the sea, imagining the man in question and what he must be doing in this moment. “He is a great king, a greater man than you and I ever thought possible in these hellish times, and if he says the Dead are coming, I suggest you heed his warning and act accordingly.”

“My lady, it is not a question of belief,” Tyrion said. “Daenerys could have sailed for Westeros long ago but she didn’t. Instead she stayed where she was and saved many people from horrible fates, some of whom are on this island with us right now. While you’re our guest here you might consider asking them what they think of the Mad King’s daughter. She protects people from monsters, just as you do. That’s why she came here. And she’s not about to head north to fight an enemy she’s never seen on a word of a man she doesn’t know after a single meeting. That’s not a reasonable thing to ask.”

Sansa smiled, though it was derived of humour. “You will forgive me if my faith in rulers who believe themselves entitled to a throne is lacking, Lord Tyrion. But I appreciate your advice and will consider your counsel with great thought. May I suggest you listen to mine as well?”

Feeling all at once exhausted and weary of this conversation, Sansa moved past her former husband and went in search of a quill and parchment. If she could not see Jon, she could write him. He’d need to know that Sansa wouldn’t be coming home for awhile yet, and that as long as she was alive, she’d find a way, not just to return to him but to convince the Dragon Queen to help one way or another. He had tasked her with an important mission and Sansa would not fail him.