Well, this is definitely a change of pace! I have to say I've never even considered writing a gender-bent fic before. But I'm glad I did; this has been a real eye-opener. It was an absolute pain to get written, I will admit, but fun at the same time. I really enjoyed considering how the dynamic between the Targaryen siblings would change if Viserys had been born a girl. This fic is by no means perfect, but I did my best and I've kept its recipient waiting for far too long. On that note, many thanks to the endlessly-patient ObeliskX, for not giving up on me, and for sending me little nudges from time to time to keep me on track. This one's for you, my friend!
The sky that night was clear and unobscured by clouds, moonlight filtering down to bathe the still-crowded streets in cold silver light. Visenya sat hunched in the large window, unable to appreciate the beauty that lay before and beneath her, but unwilling to turn around, unwilling to even acknowledge the small, pallid figure huddled under a nest of blankets atop the only bed in the room. Not that that part mattered, really. She wouldn't sleep. She rarely did while they were running. As soon as she dared close her eyes the shouting would begin, any doors that protected them both would splinter and she would have to grab Dareon, sleeping or not, and run.
The running was growing harder these days. For both of them. Dareon was smaller than her, younger, much, much weaker, and that made him a liability. He couldn't run as quickly as her, couldn't quite quieten his terrified whimpers when silence was the only thing guaranteed to keep them alive. More often than not, she found herself cursing him bitterly, her mind's voice raised to a vindictive snarl, her lips only just stayed from shaping the words that had filled her head since the moment he came into the world.
I was firstborn. I'd be heir to the Throne were it not for you. And some king you'd be! The last hope of a faded dynasty rested upon that boy's frail shoulders, and the weight seemed likely to crush him.
It was hopelessly unfair. Visenya knew she was the ruler Westeros needed, the true last hope of the Targaryens. She'd read the books, she knew the histories, knew her legacy. Whilst the lessons of ladyhood were being forced upon her, she taught herself Warcraft, politics. The books were all there in the library. She taught herself their histories, reading them through until they became as familiar as a story, the words practically written into her blood. She knew, when the time came, what she would have to do to claim back what was hers. People would have to die; those who stood against her would have to be eliminated. She knew, and accepted it without fear or remorse. That responsibility had been hers all her life, until that mewling, pitiful thing came into the world and snatched it from her.
There had been hope for her, for a time. Dareon was a sickly, fragile baby: the birth that had killed their mother had also taken a heavy toll on him. For weeks afterwards, every breath seemed like to be his last. Standing beside his cradle in the dark of the night, Visenya had selfishly, heartlessly prayed for it to happen. Watched that delicate little chest rising, falling, rising again with tiny, pathetic yet dauntless breaths, and waited for it to still. Her hand had even strayed to a cushion, her fingers clawing into the soft fabric, imagining pushing it down on that pallid, peaky face, watching the struggle, then the stillness. Nobody would suspect her, weak as he was. They would assume that nature had taken its course.
She'd gone as far as lifting the cushion, holding it tight to her chest, steeling herself. Then Dareon's eyes, jewel-bright even then, had fluttered open. She'd expected him to start crying, in that aggravatingly-thin infant's wail that filled most of his conscious hours, but he had not. Instead, he smiled. His first smile. For her, and only for her.
Seized by a fit of strange, terrified grief, Visenya had thrown the cushion into the corner of the room, and instead moved a hand to gently caress that tiny face. Tears scalded her eyes. She hated her brother - hated him for taking what was rightfully hers. But, as a hot little hand closed around one of her fingers, she realised that she loved him, too. Somehow, she loved him.
That feeling has faded in recent years. Dareon is a disappointment, nothing more. Afraid of everything, still as weak and fragile as he had been as a babe.
If he takes the Throne, Westeros will fall. We will fall.
They cannot allow that to happen.
Visenya climbed down from the windowsill, and crossed the room to stand beside the bed. Her brother slept more deeply now, the restless delirium that gripped him earlier had quietened. His cheeks were two flaming patches of colour in an ashen face. His silvery lashes were still spiked together with tears. Periodically, he shivered. Visenya sighed pitilessly.
Pathetic. Utterly pathetic.
It would be easy, so, so easy, to just leave him here, to climb from the window and flee, silent as a cat. The fever might kill him anyway, where was the sense in waiting to be caught? Dareon would not be able to run, not this time. He wasn't strong enough. If they had to run again, he would be caught, and likely killed.
Perhaps that wasn't such a hardship. Without him, she would be free, free at last to fulfil the destiny that his birth had cheated her out of.
Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. The flickering spark that reignited a lost dynasty. The thoughts were so heady, so inspiring, that she felt drunk on them for a moment. She could almost see flames rising in front of her eyes, red-gold dragonfire…
Leave him. Leave him now, and claim what is yours!
A cry disturbed her train of thought, and she sighed, turning back to the bed in time to see Dareon open his eyes once more. Another chance, lost.
"…V'senya?" His voice was cracked, feeble, terrified. The sound grated on her jagged nerves. "Sister?"
"Hush," she said briskly, sitting on the bed and laying a hand against his still-burning cheek. The urge to cover his mouth and nose with it, to hold on until he finally stopped struggling, overwhelmed her momentarily, but something in the look he was giving her quelled it.
"Where are we?" He doesn't remember… That thought chilled her blood strangely. Gods, he must be sicker than I realised. Why did she care, what did it matter?
"That does not matter," she told him, trying hard to keep her voice as level as she could. "We're safe for now." She saw her brother relax at that, as if he'd been waiting for that reassurance all along.
"You'll… protect us, won't you, sister?" Gods…his eyes. So trusting, in spite of everything. In spite of every harsh word she had ever spoken, every time she had lashed out at him in frustration, he trusted her completely.
"I will," she whispered. How could I think of leaving you? "Sleep now, and gather your strength. We may need to move on in the morning." He nodded without question, and smiled faintly. For her.
She hated her brother, truly. Hated him for taking so much away from her.
But she loved him too, and it would take more than mere hatred to shatter that bond.
There! I hope that was worth the wait! :) Feedback of any kind would be gratefully accepted, since this fic was definitely not within my usual scope. And, if anyone else has a fic request for me (not just for ASoIaF - check my fandoms list on my profile) drop me a line and I'll see what I can do.