“Jon, come to bed…it’s very late”, Sansa beckoned.
“This will only take a few more minutes”, replied Jon, his head lowered and the quill scratching furiously.
Sansa reached down and gently plucked the quill from his hand.
“That’s what you said an hour ago”, she said drily as she set it in the inkwell. “This can wait until morning”.
She held out a hand to him. He rose reluctantly and let her lead him to bed.
Sansa knew that Jon was not sleeping well. There was many a night when she awoke to find him gone. Sometimes she found him in his solar or outside conversing with the men on watch. Other nights she would find him in the nursery, dozing on the cot with Torrhen curled up in his arms.
She had insisted that they spend every night together before he had to return to the far north. The first night he disappeared she thought that maybe he had returned to his own bedchamber after finding hers too warm. Sansa refused to spend their nights together in his room because she found it too cold and spartan. Sam had japed that Jon modeled his bedchamber after his room in Castle Black.
She instructed him to sit on the edge of the bed and then reached for the oil containing a mixture of herbs that Sam had concocted. She placed a few droplets on her fingertips and then gently rubbed the oil on to Jon’s temples in a circular motion.
Jon took a few tentative sniffs.
“Well, it smells pleasant enough…what is it for?” he asked.
Sansa stroked the sides of his face and chin.
“Sam says it will help relax you so you can sleep better”, she replied as she finished with a flourish. Then she pushed him back on to the pillows before climbing over him.
She settled next to him on to the mattress and placed his hand on her belly.
“Now, talk to your daughter”, she ordered him.
He gave her a concerned look.
“Pardon?” he queried.
“Sam says that babes in the womb can hear voices if the speaker is close enough. So, speak to your daughter, Jon…tell her you’re her father and how much you love her. Tell her that you want to give her the world and more. I know you’re worried that you may die out there… that your son will forget all memories of you and that your daughter will have none at all. So this is your chance to pour your heart out”.
Jon gave her a hesitant look while she looked on encouragingly and then lowered his head so that it rested just below her breasts. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
And then he spoke to his unborn child.
He introduced himself and told her that he hoped she would be as intelligent and intuitive as her beautiful mother. And that she will never have to worry as she already has an extended family that will be fiercely protective of her.
He spoke passionately and at length while Sansa played with his hair and kissed the top of his head. And when he had unburdened himself, he lifted himself off her and rested by her side, exhausted and drained. Sansa placed an arm across his chest and made soothing noises. Within minutes he lay sound asleep.
By morning, Sansa was relieved to find Jon still sleeping beside her. A small victory, she thought triumphantly.
The day she dreaded came all too soon. The raven arrived with a message that the supply train had reached Eastwatch and had been met by a retinue of Daenerys’ army. They now awaited Lord Snow to join them in guiding them north to the encampment.
So Jon made his goodbyes once again.
”Will you reconsider Lord Manderly’s offer?” he asked as he strapped on the saddlebags.
Sansa shook her head.
“No, but I will send a letter of thanks. This child will be born in Winterfell, like her brother before her”, she replied adamantly.
Jon leaned in to kiss her once more. Torrhen whimpered and held out his arms to his father while Sansa made soothing noises and bounced him on her hip. Jon gave him a quick kiss on the top of his head and chucked him under the chin.
“Your perseverance has paid off”, said Sansa approvingly. “I believe he misses you already”.
Although, she thought, it might be better if he didn’t for how can there be feelings of grief and loss when there are no memories to begin with?
Sansa fussed with the clasp on Jon’s cloak until he reached up to take her hand.
“You know I can’t guarantee my return before your confinement”, he said softly.
“I know”, she replied huskily.
“Will you pray for me even though the sept is gone?” he said with a smile playing on his lips.
She raised an eyebrow.
“It was just a building, Jon”, she retorted mildly, “I can pray anywhere I choose. Besides, the heart tree still stands”.
“So…in a pinch the old gods will do?” he chuckled.
Sansa looked at him seriously.
“Jon, I will pray to any god that can truly help us in our hour of need”, she admitted.
“Well”, he sighed as he mounted the dragon, “as long as the gods don’t require a human sacrifice then I guess it really doesn’t matter whom you worship”.
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