Chapter 6 – Jon
"Arya?" He regarded her with deep shock, concern and a tinge of fear. "But… Cersei… what?" He looked from the girl in front of him up to Daenerys and Missandei. The queen's advisor looked as serene as ever, apart from widened eyes. The queen herself looked confused, but otherwise unfazed. Instead, Daenerys slowly rose from her rock-carved throne and moved a few paces forward.
"Cersei is dead." It wasn't a question. Arya nodded. Daenerys turned back to Jon, who was rooted to the spot, with a small smirk. "You never told me your little sister joined the Faceless Men!"
Jon gaped at Arya. "You did what?"
Arya meanwhile, looked to the dragon queen with a newfound respect. "How could you tell?"
"You literally just removed a face, just like they do," she broke off for a minute. "Are you still with them?"
"No." Arya looked curious.
"I lived in Braavos for a short time when I was younger, Arya," Daenerys told her. "I don't remember much about it. Me and my brother were hiding from the Usurper's hired knives. All I remember was that we lived in a nice house with a red door, and there was a lemon tree outside my window. And the Faceless Men."
"Did they ever say anything, or do anything to you?" Arya asked.
"Never. I was always so confused by them. Sometimes I would see one walking around outside. Anyone who saw him would run away in fear. But they never harmed me, or anyone I knew." The queen took another couple of steps forward so that she was in line with Jon. "I know very little about the real Arya Stark, only that you were your brother's favourite. Lord Varys once told me that you fled Kings Landing around the time that your father was imprisoned."
"I didn't leave then," Arya replied. "Lord Varys, the Spider – he's here?" Arya's real face now held an expression of disgust.
"He serves me, now," Daenerys explained to her. "Now tell me. What happened? How did you survive with no one knowing where you were for so long? How did you come to kill Cersei Lannister so quickly and quietly?" She paused and looked sideways at Jon. "I'm sure your brother will want to know too." She smiled. "When he finds his voice."
But Jon was now grinning. Yes, there was something sinister about the fierce little wolf. But there was no denying it was her. The grey eyes, the very unladylike demeanour. And she kept Needle!
In two quick strides, Jon stood in front of her. Unlike all those years ago, Arya dropped her sword straight away, as well as kicking off a pair of what looked like heeled shoes, for what Jon could only assume was for her disguise, before leaping into his arms for the first time since he had said farewell before leaving for the Wall.
When he finally put her down, Arya had tears gleaming in her eyes.
"I missed you," Arya said quietly. "I tried to come to the Wall ages ago, but I couldn't."
"I missed you too," Jon replied, still slightly in shock, but elated all the same. "I thought you were dead. Rickon is dead, Bran is for all I know, we know what happened to Robb and your mother. I thought it was only Sansa and me left." Jon looked behind him at Daenerys, who looked bemused as she watched the little reunion. "Sorry," he said.
"Don't be," the queen replied softly. "But we all need to chat. Perhaps we should take this somewhere else?" Jon nodded and he led Arya to the Chamber of the Painted Table, which was conveniently just next door.
"I'm thrilled that you kept Needle," Jon told her, smiling as the three of them sat down. "I thought Father or Septa Mordane would have confiscated it at the first opportunity. I figure you've learnt to use it pretty well…"
"I learnt many things in many places," Arya replied evasively. "But you're right. Maybe we can spar sometime."
Jon nodded, before looking more serious. "What happened to you?" he asked her gently, leaning forward to muss up her hair like he did when she was little. "How did you get here?"
"It's a long story," his little sister responded quietly, looking from him to Daenerys, and back again. "I imagine yours is too."
"Yes," Jon countered heavily. "And not a particularly pleasant one."
"Nor mine," Daenerys said.
"Mine neither," Arya said. She paused, looking between the two of them again. "But, our stories are not over yet."
"This must seem like a strange question," Daenerys pushed hesitantly after a little while, "but Cersei is dead, isn't she?"
"Yes," Arya replied, and Jon saw a slight macabre gleam in her eye. "As I said, the Iron Throne is yours." Daenerys looked at her in surprise.
"You would just give it to me," she said quietly, looking at Arya in disbelief. "The thing I have wanted since I was old enough to want anything. The thing I have fought for all these years…" she trailed off and Jon saw tears in her violet eyes. "You would just give it to me, without finding out anything about me? What I'm like? Without making sure I was a better candidate?"
Arya shrugged in response. "I don't really care who sits on that chair made of swords. So long as it's not Cersei. Myrcella and Tommen are both dead, that's probably why she took the Iron Throne in the first place. So long as the king or queen there is someone who won't hurt us, or the North. Someone who will help us when we need it. You're the right person for the job, as far as I'm concerned. And Jon must trust you, and you him, or else he wouldn't have been there with you when you met with the person you thought was Cersei Lannister." Arya broke off for a minute to glance at Jon, before focusing all of her attention on the Dragon Queen again, and speaking with a softer, yet eerier voice. "And I trust Jon, more than anyone. He's the most honourable person, after Father. You're the rightful queen of the Seven Kingdoms, yes, but I swear to you, if you hurt Jon, my face will be the last you'll ever see."
"Arya," Jon said quietly, shaking his head and resisting the urge to smile. "Your loyalty means a lot, but you can't just name and then threaten Queen Daenerys in the same breath."
His little sister shrugged again.
"Luckily for all of us I have no intention of hurting your brother," Daenerys said, smiling softly at Arya, who nodded in satisfaction, before sitting back in her chair. The room was quiet for a moment, Jon presumed as Daenerys processed the rest of what Arya had just said to her. His little sister, meanwhile, looked back at him with an expression of soft admiration.
"Is it true that you're King in the North?" she asked him.
"I was named so, after we retook Winterfell from the Boltons," Jon replied, frowning slightly. He did not really want to go into the details just yet, especially not with Daenerys there who still wanted him to submit to her. Probably even more so now that she is actually queen he realised.
"So yes, then," Arya countered. "How did that happen? You're in the Nights Watch."
"Not anymore. It's a long story…" He broke off and smirked as he threw her words back at her.
Arya raised her eyebrows challengingly. "I'll tell if you do."
"Maybe another time." He felt uncomfortable again as all the attention was on him.
Arya shrugged, unfazed. "How's Ghost?"
"Alright," Jon replied, before adopting a softer tone again. "Sansa told me about Lady and Nymeria, and what happened on the Kingsroad. I'm sorry." He glanced at Daenerys. "My sisters' wolves," he added by way of explanation.
"It looks like you'll be needing more suitable accommodation, my lady," Daenerys said, changing the subject as the room when quiet again, after a long glance at Jon's solemn face.
"Don't worry about it," Arya replied. "A chamber's a chamber. It'd be nice not having a load of guards right outside though." She paused. "And please don't call me a lady."
Daenerys smiled. "Alright." She paused as well. "Is there anything you want to know from me?" she asked the little Stark girl, which seemed to surprise her as much as it did Jon.
"Can I train with the Dothraki sometime?" Arya asked. "I've never used an arakh before. Or fought on horseback. Also, where's Gendry?"
"…Of course, I can arrange for it," Daenerys said, after a quick glance at Jon. Almost as if she's asking for my permission Jon thought. But why? She's in charge here. And in any case, I could never refuse Arya anything. Especially after so long…
"Gendry is likely to be with Ser Davos," the queen continued. "Somewhere in the castle, most likely."
"Ser Davos is my Hand," Jon added, as Arya looked confused.
"I could find someone to take you to them, if you want," Daenerys offered. "I'll need to meet with my council soon and tell them about Cersei's death. You might well be needed, and you are of course welcome to join us, but I will delay such a meeting for as long as I can."
"I think I can find my way, thanks," Arya responded politely. She stood up and managed a very wobbly and stiff curtsey. "It's so great to be here, Your Grace."
"It's good to see you," Daenerys replied.
Arya went over to hug Jon tightly, before leaving without another word.
Jon couldn't believe his luck. Arya alive. He had thought more about her than any of his other half-siblings during his time at the Wall, and had worried day and night about her, especially after their father's death. He had long assumed, with much regret, that the fierce little girl was dead too. But no. His stomach turned as he realised she really wasn't the same little girl anymore. She had killed Cersei Lannister, and pretended to be her and had them fooled for quite an impressive amount of time. There was far more to Arya Stark than met the eye now, and Jon was determined to find out everything, even if he had to tell her everything that had happened to him in the process, for a fair exchange.
Jon was broken out of his musing suddenly, and in a way he never thought would happen. A soon as Arya's footsteps had faded away, Daenerys had burst into tears. Jon was alarmed. He had never seen the dragon queen like this before. She was always so regal, so focused, and so very rarely gave anything away. Yet here she was. Before Jon could even think, he had crossed the room in four strides and pulled his arms around her in a gentle embrace. Daenerys leaned into him, arms slowly wrapping around his neck, pushing her tear-stained face into his shoulder as she cried. No words were spoken for a few minutes; Jon just rubbed gentle circles into her back and looked on in concern.
Daenerys pulled away first, eyes red-rimmed.
"I'm sorry," she started, her voice scratchy from crying.
"Don't be," Jon replied quietly. He led her over to the other side of the room and sat by the ledge of the cavern like room, facing out to sea. Daenerys sat next to him. They were quiet for a minute. Jon didn't say anything. He just wanted her to know that he was there, ready and willing to listen to whatever she wanted to let him in on.
"I feel like all I've done around you lately is cry," she said quietly, flushing.
"I don't mind," Jon told her, putting an arm around her shoulder. "I am honoured that you are comfortable around me enough to show your true emotions."
"I just can't believe this is actually happening," she said. "So quickly, and with barely any conflict. Here I am, ready for battle with dragons and Unsullied and Dothraki, and yet there's nothing to do now for the throne other than get to the capital and walk up the steps." She paused, and looked up at him with those iridescent purple eyes. "I'm actually going to be the Queen of Westeros. I can't believe it."
"You deserve it."
She regarded him seriously. "Do I? So far all I've done for this country is destroy several food wagons, that would have been valuable in the winter, killed a few innocent soldiers and terrified people."
"And how much more do you think Cersei would have done, to keep herself on the Iron Throne?" Jon asked her. "She would easily have destroyed the entirety of Westeros if she could have been queen of the ashes. She was desperate for power, but didn't care about the responsibilities that came along with it, nor the consequences of her actions. You do. I've seen it. So don't ever doubt yourself."
They sat there for a few minutes, looking out over the sea. The waft of salty air and the coastal breeze was pleasant, but cold.
"I was never going to be queen of the ashes," Daenerys said quietly. "I know what my father did. I know the Mad King earned his name and I know he had an obsession with fire, especially as a weapon. Sometimes I fear I am like him. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if he had three dragons."
"You're not like him," Jon told her with sincerity.
"And you do have three dragons."
"Dragons that seem to like you."
"They must be mad."
And Daenerys laughed, genuinely.
A/N: Hey everyone! Thank you for reading! This chapter came a lot easier, thankfully. Please leave a review and tell me what you think. I wanted to make Daenerys an important part of this chapter: obviously Jon likes her by this point and I kind of want to build on a friendship between her and Arya. I wanted Jon to be both excited to see Arya and also slightly unnerved by what she has done. Let me know if you think I got this right or not!
In my original draft, I did only plan for there to be six chapters, centralised around Arya revealing herself. This has been done now, but I realise that I could easily go on to write more Jonerys and (not so much but possibly) Gendrya, as well as Daenerys ruling Westeros and eventually the Long Night. Tell me in a review if you want me to continue and I will.
Thanks again for reading, let me know what you think. x
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