“Harmony, give that to me right now”, said Sansa sharply as she bent down to retrieve her slipper from the direwolf’s mouth. She examined it for signs of damage, taking heed of the puncture marks clustered around the toe, and made a mental note to remind the maids that all her footwear must be stored safely in the wardrobe until further notice.
“I had forgotten about their horrible teething stage”, she muttered as she slipped out of her dressing gown and crawled into bed.
Jon grabbed the pup by the scruff of the neck and pried open her jaws. He ran his fingers lightly over her gum line until he found the needle sharp culprits.
“She has a few poking through”, he concluded as he lowered her back to the floor and slapped her backside to shoo her away towards the hearth where she curled up reluctantly in front of the fire. “I can send her back to the kennel until all her teeth have descended”.
“That won’t necessary”, replied Sansa as she burrowed beneath the covers. “We’ll manage in the meantime”.
Jon lowered his head over hers and slowly kissed her lips. She moaned as his lips traveled lower, deftly unlacing the ribbons on her new nightrail, never missing a beat. As his lips closed over a nipple, his tongue swirling around it to create jolts of pleasure between her thighs, she could hear the soft whimpering of the pup nearby. She stiffened in response to the sound.
“What’s wrong?” asked Jon as he raised his head. “Do your breasts ache? Is your moonblood due?”
She raised herself up on her elbows and glanced at the little direwolf.
“I…I just can’t relax. It feels like one of the children is in the room with us”, she said.
Jon sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. He pulled on his shirt, ran his fingers through his hair and rose from the bed. Within three strides he was by the fireplace and hoisting the direwolf into his arms.
He wrenched open the heavy door and spoke a few curt words to one of the sentries posted in the corridor before dumping the pup into the man’s arms and then slamming the door shut.
“Where is he taking her?” asked Sansa anxiously.
“To the nursery”, Jon replied as he removed his shirt. “She’ll be happier there with her siblings. She can spend her nights with you when I am not”.
The name she had bestowed upon her direwolf came to her during the midday meal. Torrhen had proudly announced that he had named his dark grey pet, Fang, while Lyra lisped that her fluffy white direwolf would hereby be known as Snowball. The naming of the direwolves for Alysane and Edwyn was left up to Bran and Rickon as the twins were clearly too young and non-verbal to have an opinion.
The bickering began when Bran suggested to Rickon that he choose a name for Edwyn’s wolf that was more imaginative than the prosaic Shaggydog. Sansa swore she could almost see hackles rise on the back of Rickon’s neck as he took umbrage with his brother’s comment.
“Well at least it’s appropriate…it describes Shaggydog perfectly whereas how the fuck is Summer a suitable name for such a fearsome creature?” he retorted.
“Rickon…language”, said Sansa sharply as she reprimanded him.
Sansa had always disliked discord, especially during mealtimes. She even found lively debates difficult to endure as they frequently dissolved into shouting matches which resulted in the antagonists being banished from the table.
When her brothers continued to snipe at each other she slammed a hand on the table and rose to her feet. Everyone stopped eating and stared at her. She rarely displayed anger openly so this was novel to everyone present.
“Could we please have a little peace and…harmony just this once?” she fumed. “We’re family so let’s call off the dogs of war and find a solution for an issue of such minor consequence”.
She sat down with a huff and observed her family trading thinly veiled smiles before silently resuming their meal.
The clatter of spoons scraping the bowls was interrupted by a comment from Sansa’s own lips.
“They’re twins”, she said.
“What?” asked Bran.
“Alysane and Edwyn are twins”, she replied. “So perhaps you could choose the names from a list of famous twins in history”.
“As long as you don’t choose Jaime and Cersei”, said Jon quietly before shoveling a spoonful of food into his mouth.
Bran and Rickon looked at each other before bursting out laughing.
“Rickon and I could spend some time in the library this afternoon going through the books. I’m sure we can find a suitable set of names to agree upon”, said Bran.
The older members of the royal family gathered in the godswood the next evening just after dusk. The full moon hung in the sky, shiny as a newly minted coin.
A shallow pit had been dug next to the black pool of water with the eggs resting on the ground next to it. Jon uttered a few words to summon Rhaegal and then everyone waited quietly for the dragon to come.
After a few minutes of silence, Arya shuffled restlessly before finally speaking up.
“If I’m perfectly honest this is all a bit disappointing”, said Arya as she glanced around.
“What did you expect exactly?” asked Sansa coolly.
Arya folded her arms.
“Well…first of all, I believed that you and Jon would be dressed in your finest clothes of red and black”, she replied.
She then turned to Sam who stood by looking sheepish and somewhat shambling.
“And I expected him to be resplendent in the scarlet robes, swinging a thurible of burning incense and muttering incantations in High Valerian”, she continued.
She raised her arms and glanced around her family with exasperation in her eyes.
“Where is your sense of occasion people?” she asked. “All I see are a few lit torches shoved into the ground, a handful of glum relatives and sentries who probably wish they were back in the great hall supping ale”.
“Arya…hush”, said Jon as he interrupted her tirade. The wind was picking up and threatening to blow out the torches. Rhaegal was approaching.
“Finally”, grumbled Arya as she leaned against the weirwood tree.
Rickon covered his ears as the dragon screeches announced its arrival.
“I’m not staying”, he mumbled as he turned towards the castle. “Let me know what happens”.
We’ll know soon enough, thought Sansa, patting his shoulder as he passed by.
The dragon skidded to a halt inches from the assembled family members and then delicately picked its way closer to the eggs. It bent down and sniffed at them, snorting oily smoke in the process. Jon’s face was neutral as he stroked the dragon’s neck and patted its flank.
Rhaegal let out a guttural roar as it raised its head to the sky. Sansa could hear wolves howling in the distance as if calling in response. She watched a cloud drift past the moon while listening to scratching noises coming from below.
The eggs clunked as they rolled into the pit. Rhaegal raised one its claws and pushed the mounds of dirt over the pit, filling in the hole at a rapid pace. Then it circled the around the hole warily, keeping its beady eyes fixed on the prize, its tail rising and falling rhythmically.
“Everybody…please move back slowly and carefully”, said Jon as he began to take a few steps backwards.
Sansa grabbed the back of Bran’s chair and pulled him to a safer distance, never once letting her eyes stray from the creature glowering before her.
Rhaegal shimmered in the moonlight as its scaly skin took on a warm, iridescent glow. Then it reared up on is hind legs and puffed up so big that it seemed to double in size before letting loose a long blast of fire at the pile of dirt that lit up the trees and the sky beyond.
Flames licked at the surrounding grass but the sentries stood ready with buckets of water to douse the small fires before they could spread. All that was left was the hissing of steam as the last of the fires had been snuffed out.
The dragon emitted a low rumble as Jon approached the former pit and knelt down. He watched the loose earth intently for a minute before lowering an ear to the ground. Everyone seemed to collectively hold their breath as Jon listened for signs of life.
“Anything?” asked Sansa finally.
Jon raised his head and shook it. Then he scrambled to his feet, brushing away the dirt from his hands and knees.
“Well, at least it wasn’t a costly failure”, he said philosophically.
Sansa brushed back his curls and leaned in to give him a comforting hug.
“Wait”, cried Arya.
Rhaegal snorted and swiveled its head in her direction. Arya shrank back but continued to point at the dirt filled pit. A small hole had appeared and was rapidly growing in girth as dirt collapsed into its center. Then a small scaly limb popped out of the hole and began clawing frantically at the surface.
Jon dropped to his knees once more and grunted as he began pushing aside the dirt to make way for the small creature emerging from the soil.
Rhaegal raised its head and let out a thunderous roar as Jon lifted the baby dragon from the pit. Then another scrawny limb scrabbled at the surface in an effort to climb its way out.
Everyone watched in slack jawed awe as they witnessed the birth of two baby dragons from the cold northern soil.
Rhaegal paced restlessly until Jon placed the tiny winged creatures on its back. Despite the gloom of the night, in the fading torchlight Sansa could see that one dragon was a brilliant shade of red with glints of gold while the other glowed blue and silver.
The young dragons hissed and cried, clinging to the larger dragon’s back as Rhaegal readied to take flight. After taking a few paces backwards, the dragon crouched and flapped its emerald wings before rising into the sky with its young charges.
After the screeches echoed off the trees and the dragons faded into the night, Arya slid down the trunk of the tree until she rested on its roots. Then she raised her face to the sky, letting the moonlight bathe it in its eerie bluish light.
“Now that was a spectacle worth waiting for”, she murmured softly.
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