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They were fighting again. Gods, she didn’t even know why. All right, she knew why, what she didn’t know was precisely what she’d said to start the fight a fortnight ago when he grew too stubborn. Probably about something stupid and petty; probably something terrible and unforgivable. This sort of thing didn’t happen often enough for Sansa to know how to navigate it. Being in conflict, true conflict, with Jon always made her edgy and irritable, restless beyond reason. Their arguments were usually more like debates, and yes, they did bicker often, but never like this. Whatever she had said to him in the heat of the moment must have been wretched, but in true, she couldn’t remember what words had flown out of her mouth.

The white raven announcing Winter’s arrival had come from the Citadel four moon’s turns ago. Thankfully they had stored enough foodstuffs, and the shelter was once again well-stocked with firewood and furs, with cots and supplies for those risking travel. The last Winter had come a year after their third child was born and lasted only a few turns, as quickly and benignly as the Long Night. There was no reason for this one to last longer, but still, Winter was brutal. The snow drifts grew so high that a man could be devoured whole by them. This made getting supplies to surrounding towns and villages complicated, of course, and the whole process was stressful and draining on everyone. There were reports of a whole village lost to deep snows three day’s ride north, rumored that there were no survivors. Naturally, Jon was keen on riding out to assess the losses, but five year old Lyanna had just taken ill, her fever spiking high.

Sansa was tired. She was angry. She didn’t know what she was saying. Bringing a whole kingdom, let alone three children, through another Winter weighed heavily on her heart and soul. Many would die, that was inevitable. But the thought that her children would live when so many others would not, simply because of wealth and resources, brought her guilt beyond reason.

So instead of finding her husband and sorting everything out, she sat quietly with Lyanna as she slept with only Winter for company. The direwolf had yet to leave the princess’ bed, stretched out protectively alongside her. Sansa was content to hum Lyanna’s favorite songs, all the while constructing the prayer wheel her mother had taught her to make for her sick children. It was difficult work and it did not stir pleasant memories, but at the very least it gave her something to focus on. Sam had been in and out checking on Lyanna’s progress throughout the day. He was going to change up his treatment if her fever did not break soon. Sansa wrapped the ribbon round and round the wheel, thinking on her lady mother instead of truly praying. She was so intent in her work that she did not notice the door creak open. She did, however, notice the warm kiss to her cheek, the fingers threading through the thin hairs at the nape of her neck.

“How is she?” Jon whispered, crouching down to be at eye level with her. Sansa cut a glance at him, inhaling steadily. She was still aggravated with him, but at the same time her stoniness was melting away by his paternal drives. Lyanna was Jon’s pride and joy, his love and fixation. Certainly he was devoted to all three children and spent a good deal of time talking about Ned’s training and education, but he had a special softness for his firstborn, something not even Sansa could intrude on.

“Much the same,” she answered, striving to soften her clipped tone. “Sam says we will have to pack her with snow if the fever does not break soon.” Her heart skipped a beat at his regretful sigh. Snow packs were dangerous, especially with children. The fever would break, yes, but the body had to be reheated quickly after. It was a delicate process which required a skilled sick nurse. Sansa had helped perform the task several times, but never with children.

“Cat has been weeping. She thinks her sister is half in her grave.”

Sansa shook her head in annoyance, “Silly thing. I already told her it was fever.” Catarya was their youngest at two years, with an inordinate amount of energy, not only for games, but for theatrics and melodrama. She felt things very strongly and had no qualms about expressing those feelings, no matter who was listening. She grew angry when teased, wept when animals died, exclaimed over sweets, and pouted all day if she did not have her way. Jon laughed at this, often saying she took after her mother at that age. But one look between Sansa and Arya had the sisters in agreement; Catarya was very much Arya Stark’s niece.

“Sam told me you bled,” he confessed quietly. Oh Seven hells, she groaned inwardly. With a heavy sigh, Sansa put aside the prayer wheel and went to Lyanna’s bedside. She checked her temperature again, adjusted her nightrail to make her more comfortable, and removed the cool cloth which rested on her head. Sam had been very resistant to using any drastic measures to cool off her little body, saying that fevers were a healthy way for children to fight off illness. He relented to the cloth after a day, and she seemed to rest much easier for it. Sansa brushed back her daughter’s fiery coils and pressed a long kiss to her brow, murmuring her love against her clammy skin. She dampened the cloth and placed it back on her forehead, patting firmly to keep it in place. Then she turned and reached for Jon’s hand, taking for granted that he would give it over, and led him down the corridor to their solar. Vaguely, she heard Brienne call to Lucan of their movement. There was a flash of gray in front of her daughter’s doorway signaling that she was well-guarded.

Sansa dragged him into the room, shutting and barring the door behind them. Instead of facing him immediately, launching into explanations, she went to stand at the window. She wrapped her arms around her middle and tried to take deep, cleansing breaths.

“You should have told me,” Jon said from where she left him. Angry, accusing, tired. This was precisely why she had decided against telling him in the first place. Leave it to Sam to thwart her. Not that the maester was particularly well known for keeping secrets, but he wouldn’t have known in the first place if Gilly hadn’t panicked at the amount of blood she’d assumed was moon blood. Apparently that heavy of a flow wasn’t common even in Summer. So, she shrugged.

“I did not wish to upset you.”

“Upset me?” Jon demanded incredulously. “Sansa you lost a babe—”

“I know what happened, Jon. I was there,” she snapped back at him. Immediately she cringed. None of this was his fault, it wasn’t fair of her to be churlish with him. “Winter is hard on a body. When a woman is with child she needs extra nourishment, and I simply couldn’t take it. That is all it is.” She felt his hand at her elbow and shied away, instantly hating herself for the reaction.

“If that is true, then why will you not look at me?” he asked quietly. He was closer now, inches away from her back, so close that her spine tingled for it. She could feel his breath on her neck, knew that she only need lean back to press against him. But she did not.

“I was thinking of Elia Martell.”

“I dare not hope they were happy thoughts.”

“They were not.” She wrung her hands, not quite knowing how to express her feelings in this situation. How could she explain the anxious rumblings of her mind? That the gushing blood from her core had violently reminded her of her marriage to Harry? Then, she had assumed the extra moon blood was normal and healthy. She had assumed that meant neither Harry’s nor Petyr’s seed was strong enough to take hold in her body. Now she had her doubts. The scariest part was that she could not even begin to remember how many times it had happened. And yes, she had already done her duty as Jon’s wife and queen, providing him with three healthy heirs. But so had Elia.

“Sansa, I cannot calm your fears if I do not know what they are. Please don’t shut me out like this. It will surely kill me.” The sheer misery in his voice was enough to have Sansa turning around in his arms, unconsciously seeking his warmth even as she provided her own comfort to him. She remembered distinctly that icing someone out, ignoring them entirely, was a family trait. The Stark children had been notorious for giving their friends and siblings the cold shoulder when angry, a habit they learned from Robb. All of them had tried so hard to be just like Robb, their perfect knight. Jon was equally guilty of such behaviors, but he was also the only one who could coax the others out of their icy shell of fury.

Robb was rarely, if ever, angry with Jon, but Sansa distinctly remembered one time when they were very young. She couldn’t recall what they argued about, perhaps a toy or one of their competitions, it didn’t matter. Robb had been deeply offended by whatever Jon said or did and refused to speak to him for a fortnight. Sansa found Jon crying in the sept, because so few people ever went there. It was Sansa who scolded Robb into making amends. Sansa had never seen Jon cry, no matter what happened, and it had disturbed her greatly. That was just after he had recovered from his pox, not long after they feared he would die. She had prayed and prayed and prayed because she knew that if Jon died, her father and siblings would be so very sad, and she never wanted any of them to be sad. It hardly mattered what she thought of Jon, bastard brother or not. Robb’s callousness so soon after had infuriated little Sansa. And here she was behaving just as poorly as a child. She looked up into that dear, worn face of his, seeing his distress as plain as day. Sometimes Jon was so quiet and so even that she forgot how deeply he felt things.

“I did not mean to,” she murmured, taking his hands in hers, “I swear it.”

“Then let me help,” he pleaded, “Let me help you.” He gently knocked his forehead against hers, and Sansa could feel him trembling. She squeezed his hands and Jon squeezed right back.

“Harry never truly cared that I did not conceive. To his mind, if his wife was a bastard, then his heir could be a bastard, and he already had three when we wed.” She felt his gruff rumbling, but decided not to bother scolding him. Harry never acted as anything other than himself; that at least, was to his credit.

“But…Petyr…” Sansa trailed off. “He would get so angry.” She shut her eyes tight and bit her lip to stop its quivering.  “He wasn’t the sort to get violent, but he had a nasty temper. And he always knew what to say to hurt me. Always.”

“You don’t have to tell me. You don’t have to say anything.” Her eyes fluttered open to meet his, already watching her, and she gave him a small, sad smile.

“Yes, I do. Because if I keep secrets like this from you, then he wins. Every time I let him hurt us, hurt you, he wins.”

“He is dead, Sansa.” She put a hand to his face, hoping to soothe the anger blooming there. “I swung the sword myself, you watched his body burn. He cannot hurt us.”

“He can if I let him,” Sansa whispered wretchedly. “And I admit, I do let him sometimes. Sometimes his voice drowns out all the others in my head. If he had lived to see us wed, he would have done everything in his power to destroy you, and he would have used me to do it. That was how he played the game.”

“Sansa, please just—”

“He would tell me stories about them. About Rhaegar and Elia. I don’t know how true they were, but he told me them for a reason. He would tell me how weak and ill she was. That she nearly died giving birth to Aegon. He told me there was a rumor that Rhaegar wanted to kill her by getting her with child because he had already planned on taking Lyanna.” She saw Jon wince and felt sick for it. Unfortunately, there was no way to know what kind of man Rhaegar Targaryen had been. No way to know how he’d truly treated his first wife. No way to know what had transpired between him and Jon’s mother. To know would have been a comfort, but all they had were more questions.

“He swore that if I did not conceive, he would do the same to me. That he would make it look like I had died in childbirth, with one of his own bastards. That he would present the child to Harry as if it were his own.” She swallowed, remembering how strangely he had behaved during that rant. How unstable, how mad he had seemed. “He promised me that I was just as disposable as Elia, except that there was no one left to start a war for me. That no one would remember Alayne Hardyng had ever existed.”

There were tears in his eyes. True pain on her behalf. Perhaps a little on his own, too. After all, Petyr had used his blood father to torment her. Even now, there was no one to contradict him. Knowing that your own father, whose blood ran through your veins, could be capable of such evil, even potentially, was no easy thing.

“Do you truly believe I would set you aside?” his voice splintered on the question. So hurt and reluctantly asked.

“No,” she answered firmly, though even she could hear the tears in her speech. Evidently, while his tears could be ignored, her own were unacceptable. His arms came tightly around her, a hand curving at the back of her head to cradle her against his shoulder. Sansa let herself be held and coddled, knowing it was pointless to resist his care when he was worked up as he was.

“It’s only that there are times when I am absolutely terrified of disappointing you.”

“Not possible.”

“Jon—”

“Not. Possible,” he repeated with harsh emphasis into the thick of her hair. “You have already given me more than I ever dreamed of having. Even if you had been barren, you would have been more than enough. I would have been sad, I would have been disappointed, of course, but you have always been the most important thing. Not the bloody titles or the fucking crown, not Daenerys or anyone else. Just you.”

“You shouldn’t say things like that,” she mumbled into his shirt.

“I’ll say as I please, thank you very much. Fuck Baelish. Fuck Rhaegar. Fuck everything. I would never leave you alone or set you aside. If Dany had even so much as suggested it, I would have taken you North of the Wall where she couldn’t find us. Fuck them. Fuck the North. She would have been welcome to it.”

Sansa’s brow puckered as he spoke, “Not precisely as honorable as Father would have liked.” That was all very easy to say after the fact, after he already had three healthy children.

“Fuck his honor,” he bit back, squeezing her more tightly against him.  And that actually made her laugh, his graceless pronouncement far more soothing and comforting than any pretty speech Gilly and Sam had come up with. His vulgarity was far more reassuring than any honeyed promises of fidelity and forever. That Jon would speak ill of Ned Stark, the man he’d held up as the pinnacle of all that was good and right in the world, was volumes more heartening than any thematic promise to search the Seven hells for Petyr Baelish to torment him until the end of time (since he’d already made that promise years ago). There were still days when their father stood between them, when Jon was obviously preoccupied with puzzling out what Ned Stark would have done instead of what Jon Snow could do. That his loyalties had evolved was nothing short of a miracle. Jon pulled back, cupping her face in his hands.

“I would have been happy raising litters of direwolves with you. I would have happily forced Arya to pick some poor lord to torment for eternity and name her children our heirs. I would have happily relinquished everything, crown, land, titles, to Daenerys if it meant keeping you. Duty and responsibilities be damned. Am I glad we can forgo the hassle of it?” She laughed brightly at him, making him smile warmly, “Absolutely,” he continued with fervid emphasis. “Hiding out from Drogon and Arya beyond the Wall would have been a horrid bitch.”

Jon,” she chastised with no small amount of exasperation. Honestly, between him and Arya there was absolutely no hope for little Ned. Or Lyanna, if she continued to follow her father around like a shadow.

“I am completely serious, Sansa. We might have found a cave or two, but mostly everything is forest and open tundra. Or mountains. We might have lasted a fortnight before Drogon burnt the whole of it to ash,” he told her very solemnly.  Sansa fought off a smile, tried very hard to looking like she was sneering or scoffing. It wasn’t working.

“You’re such an idiot,” she grumbled when he waggled his eyebrows at her.

“But I’m you’re idiot,” he reminded her in turn. Sansa leaned into his hand and placed a kiss on his palm. Whatever tension she’d been holding onto in the fortnight since she’d bled suddenly released. She felt lighter and calmer than she had been since long before Winter began. Avoiding Jon and keeping secrets was such an obscene waste of her time. She could hardly comprehend what she had been thinking to do so.

“From this day until my last day,” she said with feigned soberness. Jon barely suppressed a snort. “Are you laughing at me, Jon Snow?” she demanded imperiously. He withdrew his hands, holding them up in surrender.

“Absolutely not, your grace.”

“Because if you were, you would have to be punished.”

Jon’s eyes darkened considerably, desire taking over his features. That was something Sansa would never been able to fully comprehend. No matter how often they were together, no matter how angry or tired or sullen he became his need for her never wavered. Even when he was infuriated with her, Jon pulled her closer instead of pushing away. It was ridiculous. It was even more ridiculous that she found herself doing the same, the past fortnight being the exception rather than the rule. And gods, she’d missed him. He slept right next to her every night and still she had missed him. Sam had insisted she give herself at least a fortnight to recover, but she hadn’t wanted to explain. She picked fights, she turned away, and she regretted every second of it. She was allowing her losses to dictate her actions, allowing her past pain to dictate her future. It was puerile and senseless, and she had a lot to make up for.

“How long until you’re healed?” he asked breathily, eyes locked on her.

She licked her lips, “Yesterday.”

He ducked to kiss her neck, hands grabbing at her soft curves greedily. Sansa knew if she let him continue, this would go like it usually did: his mouth on her for an absurd amount of time before she shoved him off and begged him to fuck her already. So she guided him, stumbling and working the laces of his breeches, toward their bedchamber.  She felt him reaching for her arse, reaching to pick her up, but she batted his hands away, wriggling to make it more difficult.

“Sansa, Others fucking take me—” he growled out in frustration. He got this way whenever he had to relinquish control to her, grouchy and impatient. Sansa thought it was absolutely hilarious. Which is precisely why she liked tying him up so much. That was always an option, but after two weeks of stonewalling him, she wasn’t optimistic that she could get him to agree. Nope, she would have to catch him off guard. When he kicked the door shut behind them, she spun them so he was walking backwards and danced out of his reach when he went for her waist. He straightened, eyes narrowing.

“You are playing a dangerous game, your grace.”  

“I don’t think you know what game I am playing, consort,” she shot back, sticking her tongue out. His eyes widened and nostrils flared like a bull’s at the jape. Sansa was the only one who called him that, and only ever in this context. Fuel to the flame, essentially. He lifted his brows in challenge, throwing down the gauntlet for her to pick up. Licking her lips, she launched herself at him, and he caught her around the waist as she jumped and locked her legs around him. He spun them so that she fell first onto the bed, but she was sneaky and did what he so often did in the training yard. She used his weight and momentum against him and rolled him onto his back, sitting on his stomach and crowing her triumph.

“Ha! I win! Nah-ah-ah,” she swatted the hand he was creeping toward her. “Keep them to yourself or I shall fetch the rope.” His hips bucked so that she had to brace herself up with her hands on his chest. “Behave,” she hissed, swiveling her hips. His hands snaked up to her thighs, fingers clenching tightly.

“Better move it along then, your grace, you have about thirty seconds before I stop behaving,” he promised gruffly. Sansa snickered, bending to kiss him long and deep, teasingly.

“Shirt off,” she mumbled into his lips. He sat up, bringing her with him, pulling her bottom lip between his and nipping playfully. But she squirmed off his lap, sliding down into the vee of his legs so she could get at his breeches. He flung his shirt aside and flopped back to lift his hips to help her. She made quick work of his boots, breeches, and smallclothes. Jon quirked a brow, obviously impressed but confused. He moved to start on her gown, but she swatted him away again with a shake of her head.

He was already hard, his cock tipping back to his stomach. Making sure not to break eye contact, she licked her hand and reached down to stroke the length of him, her thumb smoothing over the head. His hips bucked and he growled out her name in warning, eyes flashing and face reddening. Sansa smirked as she lowered herself down, eye level with his crotch.

When she had first worked up the nerve to do this, she had gone right in, licking thick stripes up his length and taking him in her mouth. But now was her time to play, to drive him to lunacy as he so often did to her. She pressed light, airy kisses to his bollocks, taking each in her mouth in turn as she smoothed her hands up his thighs to his hips. She kissed a path along the sensitive skin at the base, dipping her tongue down to tease. She heard him hiss and giggled.

“Won’t last long if you—” he cut off with a groan as she continued to work that sensitive spot with the tip of her tongue.

Sansa lifted her eyes up to see that he was already watching her, eyes burning a hole into her.  She raked her nails lightly down over his skin, already beginning to sweat from the exertion of keeping still. She brought her hands to the head, thumb running over the tip to smear down the beads of pre-cum. His teeth were gritted together, jaw clenched. That wouldn’t do. She licked her lips suggestively and moved to tongue at the thick vein on the underside of him, intermittently nipping it lightly with her teeth.

Fuck!” he bit out reluctantly, hands fisting into the furs at his sides, remaining absolutely still and yet thrumming with energy.

“Good boy,” she crooned, rolling his still damp balls in her hands. Then she dipped down to take him in her mouth. She pulled her lips over her teeth and relaxed her throat to take as much of him as she could. She bobbed, bringing her hands to work his base as she set a rhythm. She loved doing this, she loved the taste of him. Well, she had learned to love it. Imagine her surprise when one afternoon when she was hearing petitions and all she could think about was getting her mouth on him. She’d salivated at the thought. Embarrassing. Keeping up her pace, she worked him relentlessly, smirking as he grunted and gasped, struggling to stay still for her.

Sansa,” he rasped, “Sansa, I’m—”

Underneath her mouth and hands, she felt him tighten. Normally, at this point he would haul her up and fuck her into the mattress, patience utterly exhausted. But this was one of those few occasions where she wasn’t going to relinquish an ounce of control. She re-doubled her efforts, deftly stroking and twisting in time to her bobs, swirling her tongue around his head as she came up. Feeling the spasm, she braced herself for his release, swallowing down and sucking him dry. He came with a strained shout, trying to keep quiet, but undone all the same. As he went limp, she released him with a wet pop.

Before she could get her bearings, Jon was hauling her up like a sack of flour and hungrily devouring her mouth. She hummed happily, accepting his fervor and meeting it languidly. He kissed her desperately, hands buried in her hair, tugging lightly as they drifted down her spine to her arse and thighs to spread her legs over him. He gripped her tightly and flipped them, forcing a sharp gasp from her. Under him, Sansa was still fully dressed and it was completely ridiculous. He kissed her hard and long before moving down to her neck and collarbone. Her skin was hot and tight, and having the heavy fabric against it was damn near unbearable. While he kissed and teased, Jon was nimbly undoing the laces of her bodice, less complicated on this gown due to its overall simplicity. Thank the old gods and the new.

There was some wrangling and rolling, and far too much giggling, but they managed to divest her of her gown, shift, and smallclothes. Somewhere along the way, she’d kicked off her slippers, though she absolutely did not remember doing it. He worked her to her peak with his hand, the burned one actually, because she loved the smooth-rough strangeness of it. He went slowly and kissed her throughout, rumbling filthy compliments and encouragement. He brought her close to the edge and then pulled back to keep her on a steady plateau of perfect, only to rile her back up to desperate. She was flushed and hot and clawing at him, begging for him to let her come. Thrashing and whimpering, she tried to urge him on, to get more friction where she wanted it, until he latched his mouth on her teat, sending scorching heat down her spine, and picked up the pace. Sansa shattered, her whole body clenching and jerking while he fell to his side and stroked her through it.

“Gods, I hate you,” she groused, throwing a leg over his hip and shoving her face into the crook of his neck. Jon’s only response was to laugh and kiss her softly, rubbing their noses together. “Idiot,” she breathed. Although she immediately regretted it because his hands danced up along the sides of her tummy, tickling her ruthlessly. Of course she tried to retaliate, but he was just so much stronger and managed to get her arms over her head with one hand while he tortured her with the other.

“Uncle!” she shrieked hysterically, “Uncle! I yield!”

“Ha ha, I win,” he japed with a leer, echoing her earlier taunt.

“Arse,” she grumbled breathlessly as she tried to catch her breath. Her whole body ached, but it was a good ache, a happy ache. It only got better when Jon slid into her, erect once more, and made love to her slowly, hands clasping hers, their gazes locked on each other. He gave her hard, measured strokes, and pressed kisses to her lips every time he buried himself in her.

“No more secrets,” he panted out.

“No,” she agreed, tightening to stop a squeal, “No more.”

“We’ll have more babes.”

She wrapped her hands around the back of his neck, bringing his head down to kiss him thoroughly as she clenched down on him. She twisted her hips, bucking against him. And Jon quickly lost his rhythm, Sansa clenched as he dragged out over and over. They groaned into each other’s mouths as he came, spilling into her.

“A dozen more,” she agreed softly.

*

When they finally cooled off and got their breath back, they got up to wash and get dressed. As much as Sansa wanted to stay in bed with her husband for the rest of the day, her mama brain wouldn’t simply stop nagging her. She wanted to check in on Ned and Cat, and to get back to Lyanna’s bedside. Her two youngest, three and two respectively, were with Gilly, Darra, the youngest Tarly, Rickon, Little Sam, and Mance playing in the nursery. Their babes ran to hug their legs and Rickon ambled over to show them a heart tree he had whittled from actual branches of Winterfell’s heart tree. It was actually very, very good. He’d become quite talented at it, surpassing even Davos’ incredible skill.

The Tarly boys begged Jon for a training session, claiming that they had been practicing and he would be mightily impressed. Gilly looked skeptical, but Jon agreed easily, so long as they behaved for their mother. Darra sweetly asked after Lyanna, as the two girls were thicker than thieves and they’d all but dragged her from Lyanna’s sick chambers the day before. Sansa noted with some amusement that the girl sounded irritated still. Her concern, however, only prompted Catarya to weep. Sansa soothed both of them with some difficulty, but since Darra was convinced that her father was the best maester in all the world, she was satisfied that he thought Lyanna would be better soon.

They were able to sneak out of the nursery when Sansa’s handmaidens came sweeping in with trays of sweets and tea for Gilly. Little Sam, Rickon, and Mance made a break for it, swiping some cakes before sprinting down the corridor to go find adventures. They hated the way the ladies fussed over and teased them. Gilly, thoroughly exasperated, shouted after them to behave themselves and keep clean, but their only response was to howl, setting Shaggy on their tail. Jon laughed and laughed, regaling Sansa with several stories of him, Robb, and Theon at that age as they walked back to Lyanna’s sick chambers.

When they entered, Lucan smiled and returned to his post, and they found Sam at her bedside. The little princess was sitting up, flushed and glassy eyed, but alert and awake. Sam informed the fever had broken, though she would need rest and broth for a few days. Sansa was so relieved that she nearly sobbed, and then she flew to her daughter, pulling her into a tight embrace on her lap. She cooed and told her how much she’d been missed, how worried everyone had been. Lyanna accepted her mother’s attentions placidly, though she did send her father a rather beleaguered look that had him chuckling. Instead of asking after Darra or asking when she and Winter could go out and play again, as was expected, she looked between her parents, her big gray eyes suspicious.

“No more fighting?” Lyanna asked groggily, which made Sam cough to cover his laughter, earning him a glare from Jon. Their daughter was a little too perceptive at five years for their peace of mind. Nothing with her was ever easy.

“No more fighting,” Sansa crooned, stroking her hair. She leveled a pointed look at Jon, eyes twinkling with mischief. “Right, Papa?”

Jon barked out a laugh, shaking his head in defeat, “Right, Mama,” he agreed. Lyanna smiled contentedly and reached for her father. Jon swung her up easily, arms tight around her when she nuzzled into his shoulder and sighed happily.

“Can we go riding now?” she asked sleepily.

“Not until you’re recovered.”

But Lyanna barreled through, “Can we get lemon ice and take Winter to the wood,” The direwolf barked at the sound of her name, “And run in the creek and practice shooting and—and—an—mmppphhhff?” Jon had covered her little mouth with his hand, hoping it would quiet her. It didn’t. She kept making requests, even as her father scowled and shook his head at her laughing mother.

No,” he said pointedly, looking down at her with an implacable expression.

“But—!”

But,” Jon interrupted, “We can start with the lemon ice.” She gave him a toothy grin in response, and then howled, weakly, like a little wolf, as she had taken to doing whenever she got her way. Winter followed her cue, in full support. But the whole thing must have worn the little princess out because she cut off with a yawn and dropped her head back to Jon’s shoulder, almost instantly fall back to sleep.

“Perhaps another nap first?” he japed to Sansa in a whisper. She pulled a face, shaking in laughter, and held her arms out for the girl. Jon deposited her, planting a kiss to both of their brows, and went to send someone for the ice. He left them as Sansa began to quietly sing Jenny’s Song.