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The Christmas That Was Promised—Chapter Three

Chapter One: here
Chapter Two: here


Jonsa politicians’ kids modern AU, set at Christmas.

Selected by Senator Ned Stark as the nation’s model foster kid, Jon grew up between two worlds. But then the news breaks: Jon isn’t an orphan after all. He’s the son of President Rhaegar Targaryen. Not just that—he’s the product of a secret affair that has the whole world talking.

The president goes on damage control, inviting Jon to his mansion for Christmas dinner. Jon is sick of being used as a publicity stunt by powerful men. All he wants to do is disappear from the public eye forever—but maybe he can use the Targaryen influence to help fix things for foster youth in Washington, once and for all.

And maybe dinner won’t be so bad. After all… Sansa will be there.

Note: This chapter is a bit longer this time! Hopefully I’ll be finishing the Christmas part of this fic soon and moving on to Valentine’s Day… Because when you have a holiday-themed fic that takes you forever to write, you just move to the next holiday, right?! Besides, the 15 Days of Valentines Event starts today! :)


The Targaryens had outdone themselves. From the moment he set foot inside the gated property, Jon couldn’t help but stare. Out of the corner of his dazed eyes, he dully noted that Sansa seemed to be in the same state. The stately front yard—more like the size of a city park to Jon—was twinkling with tiny colored bulbs. Thousands of uranium-green lights twisted around the manicured trees like ivy. The walkway was lined with bold, Targaryen-red lights. Blue bulbs ringed the babbling stone fountain that Jon and Sansa passed as they made their way through the garden. Jon’s eyes ached as he peered over the side of the fountain as the passed, where a light projected against the water made it look as violet as a Targaryen’s eyes. The sprawling, elegant mansion itself was almost unremarkable compared to the almost-untamed blaze of the garden, but it was tastefully decorated in strings of sparkling gold lights.

“Festive,” Sansa finally said, “isn’t it?”

“That’s one word for it.” Jon was already trying to calculate how much their electricity bill cost. But then he remembered that Rhaegar Targaryen had been CEO and president of one of the largest energy companies in the world before he became, well, the president. Rhaegar’s younger brother Viserys was running the company in his absence. Jon would be surprised if the Targaryens didn’t get free electricity. Just another example of Washington royalty.

“Ready?” Sansa’s word was a whispered puff of breath in the air. Jon could feel her eyes on him and he was unsure if it was a good thing she was so concerned about him. For all that he wanted from her—and god, there was a lot—pity was not on the list.

Jon opened his mouth to reply when the left of the double doors swung open. Rhaegar Targaryen stood there, alone.

Jon tried to conceal his sharp intake of breath. He’d known this was coming, but he wasn’t ready for it.

Rhaegar Targaryen.

It’s not like Jon had never seen him. No, just the opposite, in fact. He’d seen him everywhere: giving the State of the Union on TV. At charity events where Jon was the guest of the Starks. Even a handful of times at Jon’s high school, surrounded by the presidential entourage. If that telegenic politician was the only man he was meeting tonight, Jon might have been able to prepare himself.

But he wasn’t just that man anymore. He was Jon’s… father. The man who had allowed Jon to go into the foster system when his mother died in childbirth, just because he was too ashamed to own up to his secret affair and take care of his own son. The man who was only inviting him into his home now that the press had broken the story. Rhaegar had invited Jon not as his son, but as his damage control.

It was impossible to look at him, but impossible to look away. Jon allowed himself to shut his eyes tight for one second, but when he did, he saw the hands of a child clasped in prayer atop a threadbare blanket. He’d prayed for his parents to find him for years, and never more so than on Christmas. His eyes opened again, finding the angular face of his birth father less painful than the memory of his bedside prayers. At least Jon didn’t bear much resemblance to him.

But if he didn’t look like his father, he must have looked like his mother. In all these years that Jon had been in Rhaegar’s presence, had the man ever thought that maybe the dressed-up foster kid could be… his own son?

Sansa’s grip on his arm tightened and Jon’s head started to clear. He was glad to have her there, like an anchor.

The golden-haired, violet-eyed man gave Jon a warm smile. The president was famed for his charisma, but Jon wasn’t falling for it. “Hello, Jon. Hello, Sansa.” He gestured them into the house. In the foyer, Rhaegar held his hand out to Jon. They shook, rather stiffly, Jon thought, and he couldn’t help but take pleasure in the fact that Rhaegar flinched at his touch. Whether it was from the cold of Jon’s hand or something else, he didn’t know. When they released hands, Jon found himself wishing that his first contact with his own flesh and blood had felt somehow different. But he was also relieved that it had not.

“Sansa, Dany tells me you’ve been having the best time in college,” said Rhaegar with a smile. “She’s in the lounge and can’t wait to see you.”

Sansa’s face lit up. “Yes, it’s been ages! I can’t wait, either.”

“Go right ahead.” Rhaegar nodded.

Rhaegar wanted to speak alone. Jon didn’t realize how tense his arm was until Sansa squeezed it. “Oh, I will, in just a moment. But it would be so rude for me to make my introductions without Jon. I’m his guest tonight, after all, not Dany’s.”

Rhaegar stared at her for a moment. “Of course.” He gestured forward a maid standing at the back of the room. “Please, take their coats.”

The maid came forward and took Sansa’s coat and purse, but Jon removed his own coat and hung it in the coat room, only a few steps away. The Starks had their own retinue of staff, but he’d never liked it.

Rhaegar cleared his throat, watching Jon intently. “Jon, I…” He trailed off, then said, “Well, please follow me to the lounge.”

As Jon followed his biological father through the mansion, he thought this was what torture might feel like. He would have rather done a thousand terrible things than be here, in this seat of extreme luxury, surrounded by paintings worth more to this twisted society than his own life. He counted the things he’d rather have done to him—get shot full of arrows, maybe, or stabbed repeatedly, even buried in a sea of bodies—than be told he was a part of this.

But with Sansa beside him, things didn’t seem quite as bleak.

The lounge was bigger than Jon’s whole dorm floor. Seated on a sprawling red couch on one side of the room was Daenerys, Rhaegar’s much younger sister who had gone to school with Jon and Sansa. Even though she was a little more than a year older than Sansa, they’d been in some of the same classes and had grown to be best friends.

“Sansa!” Dany jumped up and ran toward her friend, hugging her. “And Jon,” she said, pulling away and looking at him. In high school, Jon, like many of his classmates, had had a crush on Dany. Now, he couldn’t look at her without seeing her older brother Rhaegar. “It’s so good to see you again,” she said, her voice slightly gentler.

“Hey, bro,” came a bored-sounding male voice. It was Aegon, still seated in a big, black leather chair, staring down at his phone. “Sorry for being a douche in high school. Didn’t know we were related then.”

Jon tried not to glance toward Sansa. He knew they’d dated and that he’d cheated on her with who knows how many girls. But she appeared unfazed.

If Jon were to be honest, Aegon was not the worst of the privileged kids he’d gone to school with. Sure, he was a spoiled, annoying bro who had been best friends with Joffrey Baratheon since birth. But he was also friends with Robb, and he wasn’t completely stupid, even if his ego told him he was the smartest kid in school.

“Nice hair,” Jon said in response. For whatever reason, Aegon’s hair was a startling blue color.

“Drinks,” Rhaegar murmured to himself. “I should get the drinks started.” He turned and rushed out the door of the lounge, leaving the four of them alone.

“So,” Aegon said, rising from his chair and sauntering over to them. “I guess Dad told you why we’re such a small group tonight.” When Jon didn’t reply, he raised his eyebrows. “He didn’t mention it? My mom and Rhaenys went out. Flew to the Caribbean or something. Didn’t want to have dinner with—”

“Egg,” Dany snapped.

Aegon smiled tightly at Jon. Maybe he was the worst, after all.

But what he said made sense. Why would Elia and Rhaenys want to spend Christmas dinner with Rhaegar’s once-secret son? Jon’s stomach felt tight. According to all the news articles that Jon had pretended to not care about, Rhaegar was the only one in the family who had known that he had an illegitimate son. He’d kept it a secret from the rest of the family. Jon could understand why Elia didn’t want to be around her husband’s little secret, especially only days after the story broke. It was surprising, really, that Aegon was here instead of supporting his mother.

“Sansa,” Aegon said, leaning in close to give her a hug. After they pulled apart, Aegon’s hand lingered on her waist. Jon bristled, trying but unable to look away. “God, Sansa, college is really agreeing with you.” He lifted her hand to his lips. “I wish you hadn’t decided to go to school so far away. Northern University? Really? That’s in Michigan or something?”

Minnesota, Jon thought darkly.

Sansa laughed as she pulled her hand away from him. “I needed to get away from politics for awhile. Besides, at NU, I can visit Winterfell any time I want.” Ned had been a senator for ten years now, but Jon knew that Sansa still missed the family estate where she’d been raised. As a child, he’d dreamed of it: a snowy palace far, far away from all of the things he hated about Washington.

“You and Dany, trying to get away from all of us.” Aegon glanced at Jon. “And are you trying to escape, too?”

If he meant this conversation, or Aegon’s too-warm looks at Sansa, or the whole Targaryen house, then yes. Yes, he was.

“Jon is in the Peace and Conflict Studies program at KLU,” Sansa said when Jon didn’t respond.

“You’re at Kings Landing, too?” Aegon asked, clapping a hand on Jon’s shoulder. “I had no idea. I’m majoring in Business there. Gotta learn the family trade, right?”

Of course he was. Everyone always talked about it. Aegon had taken a year off, so he would graduate with Jon’s class at the end of this year. Reporters sometimes followed Aegon to class. Jon dreaded his next term—would he be followed, too? “The family trade,” Jon said, glancing around at the daylight-lit room. “Hopefully the curriculum includes a class on cutting coal dependence.”

Sansa’s breath caught in her throat and Dany’s smile curved up as Aegon’s face reddened. “Don’t worry,” she said, looking amused. “We don’t have the ‘burn-it-all’ mindset of the older Targaryens. Meraxes Energy is investing in geothermal and solar energy.”

“Yes, that’s true,” came Rhaegar’s voice as the man walked back into the lounge, small glass of dark Scotch in hand. “And Aegon has two family trades he can choose from, isn’t that right?” He clapped his free hand on Aegon’s shoulder and the boy seemed to stiffen. “Business or politics.” He smiled at Sansa, as if unable to look at Jon. “You know, he’s applying to both business and law schools for next year.”

“Decisions, decisions,” Aegon said, eyeing the glass in his father’s hand. “Maybe the lovely lady Sansa can help me choose. Northern University seems to have some attractive options.”

Rhaegar laughed, and Jon hated him for it. Jon, of course, understood that Sansa was not his. He knew she had a history with everyone here. But something about the way she’d said she was his guest, not Dany’s, made him feel… god, he didn’t know.

He did know that he wanted to wipe Aegon’s smirk off his face every time his eyes lighted on Sansa.

“The kitchen told me that dinner is ready,” Rhaegar said.

Dany linked arms with Sansa and they followed Rhaegar out of the lounge. Jon followed, silently, beside Aegon. “Hey,” the blue-haired boy said just before they were about to go through the door into the long, marble hallway that apparently led to the dining room. Jon stopped in his tracks and faced him. “Are you and Sansa…?”

“No,” Jon said immediately. His voice sounded sullen even to him.

“Oh.” Aegon looked back to the entrance of the room and Sansa’s retreating figure. “Good.”

Jon couldn’t help himself. He felt the anger rising up in him like bile. He stepped closer to Aegon and shot him what he hoped was his best withering glare. “Leave her alone,” he said.

Aegon’s silver eyebrows rose. “Interesting,” he said with a grin. “Very interesting.”

“What?” Jon snapped.

“It’s a bold move, bro. Can I call you that now?” Aegon said, without pausing for an answer. “A few days as a Targaryen and you’re already making a move on a senator’s daughter. And Sansa Stark, no less. I didn’t think you had it in you. I’m actually pretty impressed.”

Jon turned away and started marching after the others, afraid that if he didn’t leave, he’d end up extracting some of Aegon’s pearly white teeth. “That’s not what this is at all.”

“If it’s not about Sansa, then why do you have such a problem with me?”

Jon glowered at the marble floor as he walked down the hallway.

“I’m talking to you,” Aegon demanded.

“This may surprise you, but I don’t obey you,” Jon muttered over his shoulder. And he marched down the hallway to get a drink. Or four.

4

“This is Aldous Huxley, a man haunted by a vision of hell on earth. Mr. Huxley wrote a Brave New World, a novel that predicted that some day the entire world would live under a frightful dictatorship. Today Mr. Huxley says that his fictional world of horror is probably just around the corner for all of us.”
 - Mike Wallace in 1958 on Aldous Huxley

In this remarkable animated interview by @blankonblank​, Huxley foretells a future when telegenic presidential hopefuls use television to rise to power, technology takes over, drugs grab hold, and frightful dictatorships rule us all. 

THE SIGNS AS DELPHINE CORMIER THINGS
  • Aries: Breaking into your ex-bang's office with the bae
  • Taurus: Mismatching bra and panties
  • Gemini: Inviting a creepy old dude to crash your date
  • Cancer: "Then I love all of you"
  • Leo: Telegenic
  • Virgo: Sitting in your skyline office, drinking a glass of whiskey that costs more than most people make in a month
  • Libra: Gettin' with the finest girl u can find
  • Scoprio: Strutting down the hall in high heeled boots like you turn girls gay for a living
  • Sagittarius: Getting shot in a parking garage
  • Capricorn: Ambiguously moral stem cell treatments
  • Aquarius: Smoking pot in your girlfriend's lab
  • Pisces: The conversation with Shay in 3x10
Happy Birthday, Meg!

Happy belated Birthday, Meg~!

Because she is pure sunshine and deserves all the happiness in the world, I wrote her a little sum’sum. We both enjoy MasterChef and cooking shows in general and I wanted to try out some different techniques to describe the senses other than sight so… yeah. This one’s for you, Meg! As for the rest of you, go wish her a happy birthday. She’s going to know she’s loved, dammit. If it’s the last thing I ever do, she will know!

Percabeth MasterChef AU

~

Alright, Annabeth, she told herself. Just breathe.

She leveled her shoulders, adjusted the hem of her blouse, and stepped into the arena. Calling it an arena might not do it justice. It wasn’t the typical ‘gladiators fighting to the death’ kind after all. It was the set of MasterChef, the televised competition for amateur, at-home cooks. For the top title and a quarter of a million dollars, blood would be spilt here in more ways than one.

The repurposed airplane hangar was packed, buzzing with energy, one Annabeth could literally feel in her chest as she walked to her station, carrying her basket of ingredients. The contestants who were scheduled to arrive earlier in the day were already cooking, preparing their signature dishes for the judges to try.

Cameras zoomed in on stews bubbling, knives slicing, blenders grinding, while producers with headsets and clipboards hovered nearby, making sure each opportunity was snagged for the perfect shot.

It really was a whole different world actually being there rather than seeing it on TV. She still felt like a voyeur, someone who shouldn’t be there, someone who was intruding. For years, Annabeth had been watching the show, only able to imagine what it would smell or taste like for herself. But she was here. She was finally here.

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Thess vs Every Heart a Doorway

Every time I’ve talk about how important representation is in media, it’s always been with wistfulness. I knew, deep down, that it would never be for me. People of colour and most of the LGTBQ spectrum would be recognised and properly represented one day, but everyone forgets the A, or think it stands for Ally. Asexuality is, by its very nature, not sexy. I’ve been around enough to know that people overwhelmingly want sexy. I guess I just figured that even if I would never see myself in media, anywhere … why should other people have to suffer? Because it is a kind of suffering; we only know ourselves by mirrors. Media is our biggest mirror, from a societal point of view, and when we don’t see ourselves in it, we know ourselves unwelcome, and unwanted, and wrong. I was resigned to that. I didn’t see why so many other people had to be. I’ll fight for what I want because I know I’m not alone, not even remotely, in wanting it.

I just never thought I’d ever get it. Why would I? Straight people think there’s something medically wrong with me and all those like me. Gay people … a lot of the times they either think we’re somehow damaging to the queer community or straight-up think that asexuals is intrinsically homophobic. (I still don’t understand that; a woman who’s not interested in having sex with men isn’t intrinsically against men and women having sex, so why would someone not interested in having sex with anybody be intrinsically against anyone having sex with anyone else, just so long as they’re not pressured into participating? Anyway.) Very few people really accept us. We’re not particularly telegenic in our activities. How could I possibly expect any brief flickering moment where someone like me showed up in the media mirror?

…Then I picked up and started reading Every Heart a Doorway, by @seananmcguire (who I am tagging on this because I hope she reads it, I really do).

It’s not even just a character who’s ace. It’s essentially the main character - the predominant narrative perspective character. Mostly it doesn’t come up; her sexuality doesn’t affect most of her behaviour or actions in any way at all, which is how it should be, so kudos. But when it does … I see myself. I hear myself, my reactions to everyone I’ve loved, when she talks about her ideal for a relationship.

I see myself in the media mirror and know myself not broken. Just once.

I still haven’t entirely stopped crying yet. Not a huge amount - just a little leaky around the eyes in wonder and gratitude. Someone - not just someone but my favourite author - wrote a place for me in the mirror. My own mother thinks my orientation is invalid and refuses to discuss it, I’ve been ripped up one side and down the other because my desire for ace headcanons to get at least a little tiny bit of attention is deemed homophobic, people don’t want to hear that we even exist … but someone whose stories speak to me … well, now a creation of hers is speaking for me, too. 

Thank you, @seananmcguire. Thank you so very, very much.


Summary:  A Hook/Emma angel/demon AU. They hide in plain sight, the servants of heaven and hell. The angels and the demons, who can save your soul or damn it. They stand on opposite sides, they are the bringers of light and the agents of darkness, they are enemies in an eternal war, but what happens when an angel and a demon are inexplicably drawn to each other?

Read this chapter on ff.net or on AO3

                                             Part Eighteen

Going to court was nothing like the way it was portrayed in the movies and on TV. Glossy dramas set in hushed courtrooms full of dark wood panelling where telegenic lawyers in designer suits and perfectly styled hair gave stirring arguments to an attentive jury, spontaneous confessions on the witness stand or the sudden discovery of last-minute evidence that exonerated the tearful defendant while the room erupted into chaos and the judge banged the gavel and called fruitlessly for order, press conferences held on the courtroom steps under blindfolded statues of Justice with her scales held aloft while the guilty were punished and the innocent walked free as the music swelled and the credits rolled.

The reality was a rather ordinary office building with no tall columns or grand porticos, where bored cops chatted and drank coffee in the fluorescent-lit halls while they waited to be called into traffic court, husbands and wives hashed out divorce settlements and argued over child custody agreements in the mediation rooms and overworked, underpaid lawyers who hadn’t landed the plum jobs at white-shoe firms hustled to file endless reams of paperwork for DUIs and landlord-tenant disputes, the six-figure student loan balances they had little hope of ever paying off hanging over their heads like the sword of Damocles instead of Justice’s impartial scales.

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But Ovesen adds that Skam’s real appeal goes beyond its current leads, no matter how telegenic and lovable they are. “The show is very willing to tackle ignorance among Norwegian teens – you see a lot of it and you also see the part where they get educated,” she says.

“And it educates the audience as well – for example there’s a lot of prejudice in this country when it comes to Muslims and I love that the show tackles that in the episodes [through the character of Sana, a smart, sharp Muslim girl]. It’s a very real issue and I hope featuring it helps educate Norwegian teens.

[TED Talks are] selling telegenic high-IQ performers to make the very wealthy paying members of the audience feel like they’re peers to intellectuals. A v profitable venture.
—  Kai Peter Chang, Facebook comment