Title: Nurture (1/1)
Fandom: A Song of Ice and Fire
Pairing: Jon Snow/Sansa Stark
Disclaimer: I don’t own A Song of Ice and Fire. A Song of Ice and Fire is the property of George R.R. Martin and Bantam Books, and are not my intellectual property. There is no financial gain made from this nor will any be sought. This is for entertainment purposes only.
Summary: Jon's reaction to Sansa's first pregnancy breaks her heart. Her response begins to heal his.
The day Maester Samwell confirmed what Sansa and her ladies-in-waiting had already been suspecting for some weeks, Jon stopped coming to her bed.
It was common but unspoken knowledge that the Queen in the North and her devoted Lord Snow were lovers, likely to do with the sort of relaxed ease they had fallen into a relationship. Their comfortable, comforting rapport transformed simply and naturally into something more, sharing warmth and blankets before they transitioned to sharing their bodies. The fact that Jon's true parentage was not acknowledged publicly, that most of Westeros still believed them to be half-siblings, should have hampered things. Howland Reed's revelation of Jon's heritage was kept to a small circle of confidence, so not to draw the ire of the Dragon Queen in the east to the fragile North.
Jon's ceding the heirship awarded to him in Robb's will to Sansa met little protest when he refused to stray from her side afterward. Thrice-married and hence widowed- Tyrion, said to have died overseas, Harry, felled by a mercenary's sword (though she had suspected Littlefinger's hand)- Petyr, the victim of a blade through his neck during the bedding on his wedding night)- it was only young, ambitious braggarts who dared to bring their marital suits before their Queen. She refused each and every one of them.
Yes, Sansa and Jon were whispered of. But those whispers surprisingly lacked malice or malign, lacked comparisons to Lannisters. Instead the people whispered of Queen Naerys and Aemon the Dragonknight. For with the fourth year of this winter and the possibility of another Long Night looming over them, a Stark in Winterfell was what mattered. Despite her Tully looks, Sansa was very much her father's daughter. Despite his Targaryen paternity, Jon was every inch the image of a Stark. Stark blood was Stark blood, and the child quickening in Sansa's womb was Stark twice over.
Her pregnancy was announced in the Great Hall that night to a joyful sort of fanfare. Honeycakes had been prepared in the kitchen, fresh meat rare for the long winter appearing as platters of seasoned mutton were brought to the tables, and ale and wine flowed freely among the guard and bannermen as they toasted repeatedly to the health of the unborn Prince or Princess. Despite her best efforts, Sansa only managed to catch her lover's eye once all evening, and even then, what she saw wasn't her Jon. It was Lord Snow who sat there that night, with his hard-as-flint eyes and face as immovable as stone.
Their relationship underwent a dramatic shift afterward. Jon not only stayed absent from her bed, but the casual, affectionate touches she had unconsciously began to rely on from day-to-day ceased all together. Sansa found herself missing him desperately- his touch, his smile, his kiss.
Knowing him as well as she did, it didn't take her long before she realized he wasn't intentionally being cruel. Not only was such a thing not truly in his nature, but his frequent, furtive glances cast in her direction when he thought she wasn't looking were equal parts full of fear and wonder. Confused and frustrated as she was, she did not push him. It was in her sixth month that her faith was finally rewarded and she received her answers.
She was seated one evening in her solar going over matters of household with the others who helped keep Winterfell and the surrounding Winter Town running smoothly and safely. Jon, as Winterfell's master-at-arms and castellan; Sam, as maester; Ben Overton, the steward; Tate, the captain of the guard, and Maryse, the head housekeeper whose authority over the castle's staff and day-to-day function was second only to Sansa's.
She had been listening to Ben's account over the recent inventory of the food stores when a sharp, sudden kick from the child inside her startled her. There was a chorus of concern from those around her she was quick to reassure, and the meeting dissolved into Maryse entertaining her with her pregnancies with her five children, Sam hovering much like a mother hen, and Tate quipping about how a strong kick was a sure sign of a strong seed.
Maryse huffed and countered it was the mother's strength a good kick reflected, not the sire's. Gruff old Ben chided them both and cut off their impending squabble, stating that Her Grace's babe was a Stark, and it was only right for the child's wolf's blood to be stirring up. He then began to usher out Sansa's overattentive audience and she gave him a grateful smile as an unexpected tiredness began to fall over her.
She leaned back in her chair with a sigh, one hand resting over the swell of her stomach as she turned her attention to the room's only other remaining occupant. Jon was standing nearby, leaning against the heavy, scarred desk that had been the only thing salvaged from their father's time in the chambers. He met her gaze levelly, again wearing that mixed expression that so frustrated her.
She sighed again, rubbing circles over the place their child gave another, softer kick. “I've been feeling him kick for a few weeks now. This is the first time they've been strong enough for any other to feel.”
Strong enough for both Maryse and Sam to feel as she permitted them to. As she finished speaking, a very distinctive emotion passed over Jon's face for the first time in months.
Despite that, he still remained silent, acknowledging her words with a curt nod. Feeling defeated and confused to the point of tears, Sansa tried one last time to reach him. “Jon,” she whispered softly, wearily, “Do you want to feel him move?”
Jon couldn't have looked more surprised if she'd suddenly told him Ghost had started speaking the Common Tongue. His eyes widened, his jaw went slack, and he stood there in a stupor for several moments before he seemed to collect himself. “I...truly?”
Her brow furrowing with puzzlement, she nodded, and Jon slowly, cautiously began to approach her. He watched her carefully, as if he expected her to deny him any moment, and he jerkily dropped down to kneel beside her. He raised a hand (her feeling of dread grew as she realized it was trembling) and when he hesitated a moment too long, she caught his hand in hers and pressed it to her stomach.
The pure joy and awe he showed as the babe kicked against his palm took her breath away, and her own eyes welled as she saw his glisten. “I never....” he breathed hoarsely, “I never thought...”
“Jon,” she cupped his cheek, turning his face until his tear-soaked eyes met hers, “What did you think?”
He swallowed hard. “I didn't think I could have a part of this. Be a part of this. I've never been able to before.” Before her mind could begin to race with possibilities of other women and children that might have come before her, he hesitantly elaborated a small but important point. “Lady Catelyn...”
“Oh, Jon.” Her eyes closed painfully, as she searched her memories of the times when her lady mother had been carrying Bran and Rickon, when Catelyn had brought her and Robb into her lap and let them press their hands and ears to her belly, telling them all about the new brother or sister they were soon to have. Her heart sank as she realized Jon had never been part of those memories.
She took his head between her hands, locked their eyes, and solemnly, resolutely assured him she wanted him with her, with their child, in every way possible, with no conditions, no time limit. She wanted him always.
She kissed him and gently coaxed him to respond, to follow her to her bed, to undress and burrow under the blankets and furs to lay with her.
He took the moment to study her. His expression was one of befuddled wonder as he took in the sight of her, taking in the changes her body had underwent. Her hips were wider, her breasts fuller, her belly now bearing the rounded swell where she sheltered and nurtured their child. Sansa was always beautiful to him, but now, he had never seen her so breathtaking.
A follower of the old gods, he was only vaguely familiar with the ornate effigies of the Faith, but sacrilegious as it may be, it was Sansa's beauty that could drive him to worship at an altar. He would shape the stone and marble with his own hands if she allowed him, to kneel before her with a reverence that couldn't possibly hope to encompass the sheer enormity of the gift she had given him. Her love and acceptance. A child of his own who would bear the name Stark.
She ran a hand down his cheek and he pressed a kiss to her collarbone before he pulled away, sliding down to her hip level. She watched as he hovered over her abdomen, his face still full of tenderness and amazement. “You said 'he',” he queried softly.
“I'm carrying low, just like my mother did with Bran and Rickon. We're to have a son. I'm certain of it.”
Jon smiled gently, not even the reminder of Catelyn or the memory of their brothers enough to dim his delight. He lowered his head, resting his cheek against her stomach. He closed his eyes and just lay there- listening, breathing, feeling. My son.
Sansa smiled and stroked his hair, letting him have his moment.
She didn't know when they fell asleep, but a fire had been built in the brazier when she woke, providing the room's only illumination as she blinked her eyes open. She could feel the heat of Jon's body, the unmistakable sound of his voice quietly murmuring.
“Jon?” she sleepily questioned, propping herself up on her elbow to gain a view of his face.
He looked up at her, placing a finger against his lips, curved with a contentment she didn't think she had ever seen on his face before. “Hush. It's not polite to eavesdrop.”
Sansa arched an eyebrow. “Eavesdrop?”
“Aye. This is a conversation between father and son. Womanfolk aren't allowed.”
Sansa snorted, swatting his arm. Jon chuckled, leaning up to press his lips to hers. They kissed, slow and deep, and Sansa shivered with delight as she felt Jon's warm, heavy hand caress her hip, gliding upward to dip between her legs.
They broke away for breath, and she tangled her fingers in his curls as he trailed his lips down to her neck. “Is it safe for the babe?” he muttered against her skin and her eyes flew open, honestly stupefied as she realized she had no idea.
She sighed with disappointment. “I'll go to Sam in the morning,” and even as she said the words, she couldn't help herself from rocking up against the muscled thigh that had ended up pressed against her center. He stilled, though his interest was obvious from the state of his smallclothes.
They looked at each other silently. Then Jon was tugging the furs over her to replace his body heat before hopping out of the bed and pulling his discarded shirt over his rumpled head of curls. He didn't bother with the laces or even his breeches before he was trotting out of the room, promising to come back with an answer.
He returned less than a quarter of a candlemark later, looking sheepish but no less interested in resuming their activities. He informed her that his bursting into his friend's rooms in his disheveled state at such a late hour had left Sam flustered, and then blushing and stuttering after Jon's question was asked.
It wasn't the discomposed maester that relieved Jon's concerns, Sansa's lover told her, but Gilly, who had come from the bedchamber with only the fur around her shoulders disguising her nudity, her and Sam's son Tom nursing at her breast.
The wildling girl was a true product of her communal upbringing, unabashed as she assured Jon that Sam had deemed it safe to be together through her pregnancies (if Jon and Sansa would be a source of scandal, those two would be the center of another. A Maester with an acknowledged lover and children? Unheard of- until Sam defied decorum and had Little Sam, Rose, Aemon and Tom to show for it).
Throughout his recounting, Sansa had tried valiantly to hold back her reaction, but by the end, she was unable to escape collapsing into a fit of giggles. Jon mock-scowled at her with a particular glint in his eyes, diving onto the bed and delving beneath the blankets as her laughter stopped, and different, but just as pleasant, sounds filled the room.
Three moons later, little Arrana Stark surprised them all and came into the world to join her twin brother, Willam. The sound of Jon whispering apologies to his daughter for the things she had heard that he'd meant for her brother's ears was too much for Sansa to help herself. As pained and exhausted as she was, she could only do one thing.
She could only joyfully laugh.
literary devices of the insane mind
...the cuddly kind of lunatic...
- Nurture (1/1)