an AU where Aerys II pulls an Aerys I and refuses to sleep with 12 year old Rhaella after they are forced to wed. He is a Good Big Brother and will get the marriage annulled when he can. Rhaella needs someone who actually loves and looks after her.
“Simpering little Rhaella? Father, you can’t.”
Rhaella listens with her ear pressed against the door, her heart pounding. Mother and Father had always doted on Aerys; she’d never heard them get in an argument before. Though, of course, she’d never heard this marriage proclamation before either.
“Aerys, you must. It is foretold. What is your qualm? Marrying brother to sister is tradition in our family.”
“In the last century, it’s only been you. Besides, Rhaella’s twelve, Father, I won’t marry a child. Just look at her, with all her dolls, and her stupid knights, and her weakness. I won’t marry…that.”
“You will,” says Father, using the voice he rarely uses but which always scares her. “I am your father, and I am to be your king. If I decree it, it is so.”
“But you’re not the king yet,” Aerys protests. “Grandfather is. What does he say about all this?”
She can’t see him, but she can imagine Father’s face going hard. “Your grandfather has washed his hands of his children. He cares not.”
No, Rhaella thinks in horror. No, not Grandfather. He can’t!
He and Grandmother have been so good to her, had shown that love was important, too, not just alliances. They’d let Uncle Duncan and Aunt Jenny follow their hearts, and Uncle Daeron, and even Mother and Father. Why would he not let Rhaella do the same? Not that anyone has her heart, not yet, but one day they might! She can’t imagine being married to Aerys. He’s her brother, and he pulls her hair and calls her names and even if he were nice, she doesn’t want to be married now. She doesn’t want to have a husband and she doesn’t want to have children, not when she’s half a child herself. Aerys is right about that, at least.
“Then Grandfather is weaker-willed than I thought. But it doesn’t matter. I don’t care what you say, I’m not marrying her.”
“You will,” Father repeats. “Some things are bigger than you. This is one of them.”
She runs to her room in tears.
A hand over her mouth wakes her in the middle of the night, and her eyes fly open in fear. “Hush, damn you.” Aerys’s long hair is pulled back, a hood over his head.
“What are you doing?” she whispers back.
“Leaving,” he says. “Father’s got it in his head to marry us, and I’d rather die than be wed to you.”
“Where will you go?”
“Somewhere. Anywhere. What’s it to you?”
“Nothing,” she says. “Are you sure? Father will send men after you.”
“Let him,” Aerys shrugs. “When someone asks, you’re to say I wanted time to myself and will be gone hunting for three days. I’ve done it before. By the time they realize I’ve not done so, I’ll be long gone.”
The gravity of what he’s doing is slowly dawning on her, and she’s sure there’ll be repercussions even if she doesn’t yet know what they are, perhaps even repercussions on her, but if Aerys is gone, then they can’t be married no matter how much Mother and Father rage.
She nods, and then darts her hand out to touch his. “Be careful, brother.”
He hurries out of her room, a silver shadow. She wonders if it had been a dream, the next morning, except then a servant bursts into her room and asks if she knows where the prince is. He’s done it! she thinks to herself, victorious. He really did it.
“Oh, he said something about going hunting,” she says. Her voice is steady, the lie easy. “He’ll be back in a few days.”
The servant believes her, and when she’s alone in her room once more, she smiles.