Work Header

and autumn comes when you're not yet done

Chapter Text

He wakes with a gasp, panic still flowing in his veins. Men saying the same three words over and over - "For the Watch". Why didn't they realize it was for the Watch? That everything he's done was for their survival? The panic ebbs for just a second, briefly overtaken by anger, but then he remembers something else.

He remembers trying to go for his blade only for his fingers clumsy, stiff fingers brushing against his leathers instead of Longclaw. He realizes too late that he had left the blade in his chambers, too eager to question the wildling who might've seen his uncle.

He can still feel the cold of the blades and the bite of winter as he sunk down in the snow, still hear the wet sound of it tearing through his flesh, still taste his own blood in his mouth. He thinks there might've been tears or regret but things got quite muddy towards the end. It's only now that he can really think of Ghost, wonders what fate his companion would meet? His only blissful thought is he'll finally get to see Arya again...

Except he hadn't realized it would hurt in the after life. He wasn't sure what he expected after he died but it sure as hell wasn't pain or a... a veil on his face? Why was there a veil on his face? His whole body aches as he tries to sit up, but he feels - rather than see - a pair of slim calloused hands push him back down.

"Go back to sleep, you're not healed yet." A voice so familiar yet not, but it still brings tears to his eyes. He wants to get back up to see if it her, but he starts to feel sleep and he wonders if he's been bewitched.

The next time he wakes, there's a man at his side removing the veil from his face, from his whole body actually. Jon can feel a soft prodding here and there before he awkwardly coughs to get his attention. The smile the greets him is almost blinding.

"So, you're finally awake."

Jon isn't sure if he meant it as a statement or as a question so he kept quiet, his eyes never leaving the man.

"Not in the mood to chat I see, just like the other one." He seems to mutter that last part to himself though. He looks at Jon with curiously golden eyes. "I am Apollo, and I have spent the last few days healing you. You can't help us if you're not in good shape."

Jon opens his mouth ready to thank this queer maester for healing him and ask what sort of help he needed, when a girl's laughter interrupts him. He sits up, no longer in pain to face a girl who looks wildly like Ygritte. It made his heart ache to be reminded of her, but thankfully the girl's hair was a brighter red than Ygritte's closer to Apollo's own hair.

"Give credit where credit is due, brother." She smiled at Jon, hers more gentle. "We used a shroud of healing, they are made from the fleece of the Golden Ram. It takes longer than ambrosia but you were never conscious enough to take it without the threat of choking on it. We might be Gods but we can't stop a body's natural reaction to getting things poured down their throats while unconscious.

"And your - I mean Hades said it would be cruel to hit you with arrows - even if they are healing arrows - after you've been stabbed to death."

Jon's brow furrowed in confusion, it was as if they were speaking in tongues with what they claimed they had done. His head jerked up as he realized what she said.

"I died?" Jon asked horrified, he had know that he'd died but to hear it was unsettling. Artemis was about to speak, when he spoke again. This time he was angry, practically burning holes in his own lap as he stared down at his hands. "And you brought me back? I wanted to stay dead! I would have had my family back, I would have seen Father, Robb and - and - and Arya. I couldn't even help myself, let alone my family, so what made you think I would be a good choice?"

The twins looked away from Jon's crumbling form, to stare at each other surprised. Most mortals would be glad to be alive again, to taste the the power of the Gods. The silent conversation they had over Jon's head ended with Artemis smirking as Apollo begrudgingly agreed to respect Hades wishes. They would keep quiet for now.

"We didn't choose you. They did." She pointed past Jon where a pair of figures laid beneath another set of healing shrouds. "Hades, god of death and his wife Persephone, goddess of spring time. They are our uncle and aunt...well she is also our half sister but things like this always get messy among the gods. Please don't ask though," Artemis quickly said before Jon could even think it, waving her hand as if she could make him forget. "Let's just say that the more women our father Zeus beds, the more confusing it gets. But as I was saying, they chose their replacements until they've healed up from the incident."

"What exactly is the incident, you may ask?" Apollo continued for his sister, no longer willing to be sidelined. "Demeter, another relative and Persephone's mother, tried to undo the magic that - in her opinion - forced her daughter to stay in the underworld for part of the year. It didn't go well. Demeter escaped unscathed but the same can't be said for Zeus, Hades and Persephone.

"We've been trying to find a way to wake them up, hence the shrouds to sustain their bodies. Before you ask, Zeus is in another. He hasn't woken either. We need people to take over their powers, to do their jobs until then." Apollo explained, trying to remember how Athena explained this to Zeus' replacement. "It is your choice whether to take on their name as well as their duties, if you don't feel comfortable that's fine. They chose you to help with their job, not to take their identities. Did Persephone speak with you of your duties?"

Jon tried to remember if anything like that happened but the only thing he thinks could have been her was a sweet scent as he fell into the darkness. He shook his head, clearing his thoughts. "But why me? I don't know anything about flowers?"

"...we think we might know why but our promise to the current Hades keeps us from sharing it. But you will know, sooner or later you will know." Artemis said, tilting her head this way and that as if to say it is what it is. She shifted her weight, itching to leave. She never spent long in Olympus, preferring to be with her huntresses on the mortal plane. "For now, you'll be staying here in Olympus and learning to use your powers with some of Demeter's handmaids. If you have need of either of us, just ask them to send a message."

With that they both left him alone, his only company being the two resting figures. Or so he thought until he looked to his side and a slumped figure flickered into existence on the chair next to him. He nearly jumped, but instead he took that moment to observe the girl.

She was skinny, but one would never call her waifish. There was power in her lithe limbs, yet there was a fragility to her folded form. Pale as the moon, clothed in dark colored cottons which more befitting of a fisherman's daughter than a god. He could not see her face, for it was hidden by an oversized war helm. All he could see were strands of dark hair and a long neck. He was reaching for her when he heard the sharp intake of breath and she was gone.