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On The Knees of My Heart

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The first time she has the dream, it leaves her panting and aching, but not unsettled.

It is, after all, to be expected. She has not been with a man in such a long time now, has had no time for such things or even for such thoughts. And of all the men who surround her, day and night, Jon Snow is the comeliest and the nearest to her own age. It's only natural that if she is to dream of any of her men in that way, it is him.

So that first time, there in the warm silence of her tent, she does not think overly much on it. She merely drops a hand between her thighs, and presses, circles. It doesn't take long; the dream is already fading, but her body remembers, and after only a few moments, she's shuddering and sagging back against the furs, replete. The next day as she crosses the camp, she sees him from a distance, and while there's a faint pulse between her legs, it's more a phantom memory from the night before than actual desire.

Even later that evening, as he stands in her tent with all her other advisors going over the next day's movements, she does not watch his hands and remember what they'd done to her in her dream. Instead, she only idly wonders how horrified her solemn general would be if he knew she'd frigged herself to the thought of him the night before.

Then Ser Barristan asks her a question, and all thoughts of Jon Snow are forgotten.

***
Daenerys knows what some men call her. Not just "Stormborn" or "Mother of Dragons" (Burner of Cities, The Mad King's Daughter, they call her that, too, no matter how hard she tries not to hear), but the most beautiful woman in the known world. She is used to men gawping at her, to gazes that linger too long, to mouths that go slightly slack.

Jon Snow does not look at her like that. Even during that long night, when she'd arrived at the Wall on the back of Drogon, his expression hadn't held the slightest bit of awe, let alone lust. Instead, he had simply looked...relieved. And now, when they meet in her tent or ride out through the camp together, his eyes never stray to her lips or her breasts. In the year they have been fighting side by side, he has only ever called her "Your Grace."

She calls him "Lord Snow," as do all of their men. Never mind that he is not a lord at all. True, he'd briefly been the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, but that was a duty that had ended with his death at the hands of his so-called brothers. The man who had arisen at the Red Woman's touch no longer owed his loyalty to the Wall. Yet for all that, he still wears black, and gods know, he had defended the Wall against the Others as bravely as any man of the Night's Watch.

Some of her men call him Azor Ahai, the Prince Who Was Promised. But then just as many say that no, Daenerys is the prince the prophecies refer to, so who is to say?

She only mentions it to him once, the night after their army wins a minor skirmish against Aegon's in the Riverlands. Victory and wine make her more heedless than she would usually be, and sitting across a fire from Jon Snow, she hears herself say, "Have you ever thought that we are both Azor Ahai? That perhaps we were meant to-,"

Be, her tongue nearly says, but she is able to catch herself. "Work together to defeat the Others, and the Lannisters and this...this mummer's dragon calling himself Aegon Targaryen?"

Jon watches her with dark, unreadable eyes, the firelight playing on his face. Daenerys feels as though something within her is loosening, unknotting itself, and it's such a strange and unwelcome feeling that she drops her gaze first. There is no room for this, no room to be a woman when she needs to be a queen.

Finally, he says, "I have never given much weight to prophecies, Your Grace."

That night, when the dream comes again, Daenerys wakes sweating and pulsing and wanting, and while the touch of her own hand brings her relief, she lies awake for quite some time afterward.

 

***

He is a different man when he smiles.

Daenerys lies on the floor of her tent, sweating and shaking, and clutching Jon's hand as the maester kneels at her side.

"The wound is not as dire as it looks, Your Grace, but it will have to be closed," the maester says, and Dany could swear he looks more wretched than she feels. Still, she grits her teeth and nods.

"Do it."

The maester's eyes flick to Jon Snow. "Some dreamwine or milk of the poppy-,"

She shakes her head. "No. The wound is not mortal and only requires stitching. We cannot waste supplies."

Jon's grip on her hand tightens. "Not mortal, but bloody awful nonetheless. It will take ages to close. At least-,"

"No," she says again, struggling to sit up. The gash in her side burns worse than any flame she has ever felt, bringing tears to her eyes, but in the end, it is a cut, nothing more.

"Daenerys," Jon says, and while it registers that this is the first time he has ever used her name, it does not truly register. Not now.

"I am not a child," she says sharply, and Jon's eyes meet her own.

"I am aware of that."

Even through all the pain, she feels that gaze, and something low in her belly thrums in response. You are a queen, she reminds herself. Not a green girl.

Jon looks back at the maester. "You heard the queen, Sam. Start and get it over with."

The maester gulps, but for all of that, his hands are steady as he threads the needle. She closes her eyes, taking deep breaths through her nose, and while she winces at the first sting, she keeps her lips pressed tightly together.

"I'm not sure if you're being stubborn or brave." Jon's voice is low in her ear, his hand warm in hers.

"Perhaps both," she replies, and to her surprise, he chuckles.

"Perhaps."

The fire at her side rages now, and she can feel sweat beading her forehead. Clutching his hand tighter, she tries to keep the tension out of her voice as she says, "Ser Barristan always says I'm the most stubborn woman he's ever met. He says it's meant to be a compliment, but I am not so sure."

Jon huffs out another laugh, and Daenerys thinks she can feel his breath on her skin. "You are not the most stubborn woman I have ever met, Your Grace, but I must admit, you're close."

It's the pain, she thinks, that makes her ask, "Your Wildling bride?"

His hand spasms in hers, and when Daenerys opens her eyes, Jon Snow is looking at her with surprise. "My what?"

The maester pauses in his stitching, and Jon shoots him an irritated glance. "Get on with it."

Dany shivers when the maester resumes, but she holds Jon's gaze. "The men talk," she tells him as pain ripples through her. "They say that you lived with the Wildlings, that you-," she breaks off, hissing through her teeth before continuing- "you wed one of them."

Jon does not reply for a long while, and Daenerys is afraid she's offended him. And then, "She was not my wife. Not in any ways that would be recognized south of the Wall."

"But you loved her." The words are out before she can stop them, and again, the maester's hand falters at her side.

But Jon Snow's gaze never wavers. "I did. I didn't intend to or want to. But I did."

The needle is moving over her ribs now, and she is afraid that if she opens her lips, she will cry out, so she only nods and wonders if he can see in her eyes that she understands. That she knows.

And then he smiles at her, the scars around his eye wrinkling, his teeth startlingly white in the dim glow of the brazier. "But I was not thinking of her. I was thinking of my sister."

Needle pierces flesh again, and Dany is suddenly glad for the pain. It keeps her from focusing on that smile.

Those lips.

"Tell me of her," she croaks, and he does. The smile grows, spreads to his eyes, and listening to him, Dany thinks she can see this skinny girl whose hair is always a mess, whose face is always dirty, but who is strong and quick and clever. The more he talks, the easier it is to forget the pain, and soon, Daenerys finds herself smiling back.

Just as suddenly, she realizes that the warmth spreading through her veins, the sudden tightness in her chest, may not only be desire after all.

One to bed, one to dread, one to love.

Her head is swimming, and she cannot remember the last time she ate or slept. Enemies from every side, Lannisters, the false Aegon, dead men still pressing from the North.

She cannot feel these things, not now. Not for him, this man with hot eyes and scarred hands and sweet smile.

Before the maester finishes closing her wound, Daenerys loses consciousness. She doesn't have the dream that night, nor for many nights there after. In fact, the gash in her side is little more than an irritating itch by the time it comes again.

But this night, the dream is different. Before, it had just been his hands and mouth on her body, the simple act of coupling, nothing more, nothing less.

Now he cups her face in those hands, smiles that surprisingly gentle smile. He kisses her cheeks, and when he lowers his mouth to hers, his lips are salty. I'm crying, she thinks. Why am I crying?

"Dany," he murmurs against her neck, and she shivers.

"It's you," she tells him, and then her hands are pushing the heavy black cloak from his shoulders. "It's you, I know it is."

In the dream, his eyes seems impossibly dark, burning with want and need and, yes, love. Her gown seems to dissolve, and when he bears her back down to the bed, she is naked. The ridges on his scarred palm rub against her nipples, her stomach, between her legs until she is pushing against him, sweating and begging.

"Lovely girl," he whispers, and she wants to insist that she's not a girl, that she's his queen, but then his mouth is on her and she can't, she can't....

When she wakes that night, it doesn't matter how cleverly her fingers work. She shakes and shivers, surging against her own hand, but it's not enough.

Nowhere near enough.

 

***

When she sends for him, he comes. Never mind that he has been in the field all day. Never mind that he is streaked with sweat and blood and dirt and probably so weary he can barely stand.

She may be Queen, but most men would have begged for a brief reprieve and a chance to make themselves presentable for her. But Jon Snow comes directly to her tent still clad in his armor.

His voice is hoarse when he asks, "You sent for me, Your Grace?"

Ser Barristan stands at the entrance of the tent, and Daenerys nods at him. "Leave us, please."

The old man's face barely flickers, but Dany knows that, his esteem for Jon aside, he does not like this. He has seen her make a fool of herself for desire once before, and she wishes she could find some way to tell him that this is very different, that Jon Snow is no Daario Naharis. It is not the girl in her that has chosen him. It is the woman. The queen.

No matter how he feels, Ser Barristan serves her faithfully, and he merely give a stiff nod before leaving.

In his absence, the tent suddenly feels much smaller. Dany is aware of the brazier at her back, nearly as hot as the fire that seems to be pulsing through her blood as she looks at Jon. It may still be the after effects of the battle, but he is breathing harder, and when he rests his hands on the pommel of his sword, she can see that they are trembling slightly.

"Why do you fight for me?" she asks, her voice low and husky.

Her question catches him off guard, she can tell, but he recovers quickly. "Who else should I fight for, Your Grace? The people who killed my father? A boy who cannot prove he is who he claims to be? The dead?"

She steps closer, and for the very first time, Jon Snow's gaze drops to her mouth. Fighting the urge to lick her lips, Daenerys continues, saying, "You could fight for yourself. If you are Rhaegar's son-,"

"I am Ned Stark's son," he says, flexing the fingers of one hand.

"Men would follow you for that as well," she insists. "They do. It's only your presence at my side that keeps the North loyal to me, Jon."

It's the first time she's used his name, and again, she gets the sense that she has surprised him. She likes the feeling.

"So I ask you again, why follow me when you could lead in your own right?"

They are closer now. Daenerys is not sure which of them moved, but it's as if the space between them is shrinking, tightening.

"I have no desire for a throne," Jon tells her, and she can see in his face that it's the truth. "You came to the Wall with your dragons when the rest of the world turned its back to us."

She would only need to lean in a few inches and they would be touching. Outside, there are men, and horses, and a war to be won, but in this tent, Dany feels as though she and Jon are the only people left in all of Westeros, perhaps in all the world.

"So you follow me out of loyalty?" she murmurs. Jon's eyes are on her mouth again, and this time, she does let the tip of her tongue dart out and wet her lips. His gaze follows the movement, and were he any other man, she would already be in his arms.

But Jon Snow takes a step back. "Yes," he replies stiffly. "Will that be all, Your Grace?"

"It will not," she says, lifting her chin. There's a flicker of...something in his eyes. Perhaps anger or annoyance, but Daenerys thinks it is more than that.

"If you truly fight for me because you recognize me as your queen, then you should swear fealty."

Her words seems to hang in the air between them, and for a moment, Daenerys wishes she could call them back.

And then she sees it. The heat in her blood is reflected there in his eyes, and though Dany tries very hard not to show it, her knees begin to shake.

He unbuckles his sword belt, tossing it to the floor. The sound of it landing is unnaturally loud even over the pounding of her heart, the distant roaring in her ears.

When Jon Snow kneels at her feet, Dany makes herself stand very still, chin lifted high. Everything in her yearns to fist a hand in his hair, drag his mouth to hers, so she clasps her hands in front of her, tight enough to turn her knuckles white.

He lifts his gaze to her, and his eyes are black, pupils wide. Daenerys finally understands that she could have invited Jon to her bed long before this and he would've come. He would have resisted and he would've argued, but in the end, he would have come, wanting it every bit as much as she did.

This night, she's dressed in simple Dothraki clothes, a painted vest and loose trousers, leaving her belly bare. When his breath gusts over her skin, it is all she can do not to shiver.

Watching her, Jon murmurs, "What is it that you would have me say?"

Now Dany does reach out, laying one hand on his hair. It's damp under her fingers and even softer than she'd imagined. "That you're mine," she hears herself say in a voice almost totally unfamiliar to her.

The corner of his mouth lifts, almost a smile. "As if you did not already know that," he says, and then his hands are on her hips, pulling her hard, and Daenerys drops to her knees as well and kisses him. There's no finesse in it, no teasing or seduction. Both of them are too needy for that.

His mouth is as hot as his gaze had been, and he tastes like salt and wine and so good that she never wants to stop. When Jon's tongue pushes into her mouth, she welcomes it, a bolt of heat shooting through her when he moans. Daenerys has known love and she's known desire, but she's not sure the two have ever entwined quite like this. They've never squeezed her chest and set her blood alight.

Jon's hands reach between them, tugging at the laces of her vest, and when he shoves it off her shoulders, she remembers the dream, the way her clothing had seem to simply vanish. She almost asks Jon if he ever dreamed about her that way, but as his hands cup her breasts, fingers skirting over the tips, she knows that he has. His hands move too surely over her flesh for him never to have envisioned this moment.

He dips his head, captures a nipple in his mouth, and Dany lets her head drop back. Her hair brushes her waist, silky and cool, a contrast to the almost unbearable heat of his tongue.

Her sleeping furs are only a little ways away, in the corner of the tent, but getting to them would mean disengaging from Jon, and she is not sure she could bear that, even for a few heartbeats. Still, she wants this to happen there, in the place where she's dreamed about him and touched herself. Her hands are trembling as she pushes at his shoulders, and when he releases her instantly, his expression wary, Daenerys has the strangest impulse to laugh. Or cry.

Even now, he would leave if she told him to. In fact, she thinks perhaps there's a part of him expecting to be ordered out, no matter that she was just half naked and panting underneath his mouth. The thought fills her with so much tenderness that she finds she can't rise to her feet, not just yet. Not until she's kissed him and kissed him and unfastened the cloak from his shoulders. Not until he understands that she will never ask him to leave her. Not after tonight.

Finally, she twists a hand in the front of his jerkin, pulling him to his feet with her as she rises and never once taking her lips from his.

She maintains the kiss even as she wiggles out of her trousers, kicking them aside and then standing on top of his insteps to get closer, twining her arms around his neck.

He finally pulls back with a deep breath, his hands cupping her face. "Gods," he hisses through his teeth as she moves even closer, pressing nibbling kisses against his jaw. "Daenerys...,"

"The furs," she murmurs into the skin of his neck, and he moves toward the corner, his hands dropping to her backside. She gives a slight start at the cold of them, and then remembers that he's still wearing his gloves. She is completely naked and wrapped around him as though she were a vine and he a tree, and yet the only article of clothing he's missing is his damned cloak.

"You Northmen wear too many clothes," she tells him as they kiss and stumble their way across the tent.

He chuckles, fingers tracing a shivery path up her spine. "A problem you Dothraki do not seem to share."

They've reached the furs, and she begins to tug his jerkin over his head. "Is that how you see me? As a Dothraki?"

Jon doesn't answer right away, and Daenerys drops her fingers to the placket of his breeches. "Or am I the Mother of Dragons?"

Still no answer.

Dany dips a finger beneath his waistband, brushing against the soft arrow of hair she finds there. "The Mad King's Daughter?"

She is teasing, but Jon seems to take her question very seriously. He covers her hand with his own, stopping any further explorations, and ducks his head to meet her eyes. "I see you as Daenerys," he says softly, and something within her threatens to shatter into a million pieces.

This time when he kisses her, it's slower, gentler, and Daenerys does not so much sink to the furs as melt down into them. In the firelight, his skin is golden, marred in places by silvery white ridges of scar. Kneeling over him, she runs her fingers- and then her tongue- over each one, until his breath comes faster and his hands, when they reach for her, tremble.

Her dreams had been vivid, but they had come nowhere near reality. Her dreams had not told her how his touch could be both gentle and demanding all at the same time, or how just the simplest brush of his fingertips against her cunt would make her wetter than she'd ever been. Nor had they included the low, pleased sound that rumbles up from his chest when she take him, hard and hot into hand. And she could never remember him saying her name quite so reverently in the dreams as he does when she replaces her hand with her mouth.

Jon fists his hands in her hair as she sucks at him, running her tongue over the tip of his cock until her name sounds like the sweetest vulgarity imaginable.

She means to keep her mouth on him until he spends, wanting very much to feel this man lose control under her touch. But before he can finish, Jon grabs her upper arms, hauling her way from him and rolling her to her back. Before she can even catch her breath, his mouth is there, between her legs, and no. No, the dreams had not come anywhere close to the truth.

When his tongue parts her folds and moves in one slow stroke up right to the center of her, Daenerys clutches the furs, his hair, anything that will keep her tethered to the ground. Her back bows up as he licks again and again, and the sounds that are coming from her throat are not any she recognizes.

Men have done this to her before, but she doesn't remember it feeling this...good is not even the word for it. Devastating, perhaps. Unbearable, but in the most delicious way.

She can feel her legs begin to shake as everything inside her tightens and coils, but she is not ready, not yet.

Tugging on his hair, she pulls his face from her cunt, moaning at his disappointed hum against her flesh. "Not like this," she pants, cupping his cheek and bringing his face to hers. His lips are swollen and wet, and when she runs her tongue over them, they both shiver. "Not the first time."

Jon looks down at her, and this is another thing the dream had not prepared her for: the mix of lust and love and need in his dark eyes, the soft, almost boyish way he smiles at her. Lifting her head, Dany presses her lips to his, almost chastely this time.

She doesn't say it aloud as she had in the dream, but she thinks it all the same.

It's you. I know it's you.

Hooking a leg over his hip, she cants her own hips up, and Jon slides into her easily. He releases a shuddering breath, dropping his forehead to hers, and Dany is surprised to feel the sting of tears. Then he is moving, and oh, gods, it has been a long time, and how she's missed this.

She clutches his back, loving the way muscle moves under skin, wanting him closer, closer than any two people can ever get.

But she can try.

When she rolls her hips and drops her hands to his shoulders, Jon seems to know what she wants. He rolls to his back easily, pulling her atop him. All that time, fighting side by side, spending nearly every day together, and he never looked at her, not really.

Now, his eyes seem to be making up for lost time, raking over her body as though he could never get enough of looking at her. And when she moves her hand to the spot where their bodies are joined, sifting through the fine silvery hair there to touch herself, his gaze locks onto the spot, hot enough to singe her.

"I dreamt of you," she tells him, her voice hoarse as her fingers move and his thrusts grow more erratic. "Like this. And when I woke...,"

She does not finish the sentence, merely lets her fingers circle faster and watches as his eyes get somehow even darker.

"Daenerys," he says again, and she thinks she could never get tired of hearing him say her name. And then his fingers join hers, and suddenly it's his name, spilling from her lips over and over again as she seizes around him, pleasure splintering through her until she can't say any words at all.

As though from a distance, she hears his cry of release and feel him surge, hot and thick, inside her.

When she slumps against his chest, Daenerys is not sure if the thundering heartbeat she hears is his or hers. His hands move up and down her spine, soothing her as the last of the aftershocks race through her body, and Daenerys tries to remember the last time she felt this safe. This right.

Finally, she slides off of him, curling against his side. Her cheek rests over a scar, and she runs her finger over another, thinking of how much they've both endured. How many ways they should've lost each other before they'd even met.

He speaks first, his voice a low rumble under her ear. "This can remain a secret if that's what you wish."

Lifting her head, Daenerys stares down at him. Again, the opportunity to deny him. To push him away.

"Not much chance of that, I think," she tells him, reaching up to brush his hair form his face. He is so young. Sometimes she forgets that. "These walls are only made of canvas, and neither of us were particularly...quiet."

It must be a trick of the firelight, but she could swear the faintest blush stains his cheeks. "Even so," he replies before pressing a kiss against her palm.

"No, Jon Snow." Daenerys lowers his lips to his, kisses him, and hopes he feels the promise there. "I chose you."

I love you, she just as easily could've said. She thinks she might say it, but then Jon is kissing her again and rolling her beneath him, and she decides to wait.

They have time.