A/N: Sorry if this is rough; writing while one is sick is not fun, and a man feels awful...

*braces for hate*

Well, here goes nothing. Lets see what happens.

I'm not even sure anyone remembers this story these...sigh...

You can thank the marvel that is House of the Dragon for this update. That fantastic trailer is the only-and I do mean ONLY!-reason I'm even attempting to dip a toe back into Game of Thrones. That ending burned me and my team so badly that not only did a good of them quit, but it put us off writing as a whole.

I spent a year trying to get the gang back together as it were, to no avail.

So yeah, writing this by myself now, while working two jobs, no days off, with 4-8 hours to write a day, if I'm LUCKY. No days off for Neon! Nope! But I can promise you this; this story won't end the way Game of Thrones did. No, nay, never! I won't do the fans dirty like that...and I hope the new show won't either.

Alright, then I think I've kept you waiting long enough. Lets skip the questions this time.

Sorry once again for vanishing. And now we're leaping ahead. Prepare!

As ever, I own no quotes references or themes. Not a wit or one!

"Ours is the Fury. Fire and Blood. Growing Strong.

My, my, so many oaths. So many words.

That's all the are in the end. WORDS."

Make what you will of them.

~?

Approaching the Wall (Fragment)

Naruto rather liked the cold.

But really, there could be too much of a good thing.

Perhaps he was a bit biased in that regard; having experienced the blistering heat of Dorne and King's Landing firsthand, he found that he actually preferred cooler climates by far. After all, one could only take off so many layers before you were down to your breeches and little else. In the chill of the night one could simply bundle up with as they could find.

Hailing from the Stormlands might've made him more predisposed to winter than most, but after several days of hard riding, he wasn't much a fan of it.

And make no mistake, Winter was coming.

Although he knew the North well enough form his boyhood days to navigate the terrain -and Robb certainly seemed to know his way about!- the same could not be said for the soldiers they'd brought. Even now the larger part of their forces were faltering, weary from such a long journey. Part of him almost pitied them

The rest wanted them to stop dragging their feet and reach the bloody Wall already!

Atop his saddle the miles bled together, blurring by in a river of brown and white as he rode ever onward. The crisp chill stung at his cheeks, breath a plume of warmth in the frosty air. Even now the cold tried to creep in under his fur cloak and jerkin, seeping into the light metal of his armor like death's caress.

For all that the road was surprisingly well kept for him and his entourage alike; soon enough the flat snowy ground became rolling hills; and those in turn gave way to a steady ascent; one that led them ever upward, higher and higher towards the creeping chill of the true north. His vision had led him here, to what he knew not, only that they must be here;

That, and they weren't going to make it to the Wall before nightfall.

For all the grumbling of the men and the tireless pace he'd set, it just wasn't possible. He forced them to press on a ways more still, until the last of the light finally threatened to slip away altogether. Even then he could see it looming in the distance, a great barrier of ice and magic that safeguarded the world. But not forever. Nothing lasted forever. The Wall might endure for years yet...or not. He had no way of knowing, no way to quiet the silent dread in the put of his stomach.

Why did he have a bad feeling about this...?

Someone touched his arm, snapping him back to reality. He looked back and found Margaery's soulful eyes gazing into his own. She'd taken to the cold quite well. She looked downright regal in her fur-trimmed coat; her pale cheeks a deep and rosy red.

"They can't go any further today, beloved." her voice was a dulcet caress against his ears. "Let them rest."

For a wild moment he actually considered forging on anyway. They were so close...!

An aggravated whinny caught his ear just in time; he heard the heavy beat of wings soon thereafter, causing the horses to panic. Viserion swooped down from the heavens and alighted clumsily on broken ground only a scarce few yards awa, nearly bowling several men over with the downdraft from his wings. The mighty beast trilled once, and he soon saw the reason for his awkward landing. A dead deer lay caught in its claws. Rhaegal dove in with one of his own and together, the two brothers feasts.

"Beloved?"

"Hmm?" Naruto blinked his own dark thoughts away when Margaery spoke up again. "No, I'm fine." He muttered, palming his face. "Just thinking. And freezing my balls right off."

His gaze swept back to the dragons, noting Drogon's absence. Dany was probably off riding him. The creatures seemed to be faring better now that they'd gotten away from the Twins. Gods above, they really were getting big these days. Already large enough to ride, and he'd be an absolute monster at this rate... that wasn't even taking his brothers into account.

Now if only they could prevent them from flying out of control again.

Margaery must've seen the shadow pass across his face; because she reached out and tugged him closer.

"It wasn't your fault."

It was kind of Margaery to say that. Perhaps even too kind. Naruto knew the words were meant to comfort him; to make him feel better, fill the gaping pit of grief and guilt that filled his soul. They were intended to heal, not hurt. He knew that. He understood that. Really, he did. Even now with the Riverlands long behind them he could still smell them. The scent of burning flesh seemed to chase him like a shadow, a dread specter haunting his very soul.

"Isn't it?" The words tore out of him with a growl.

"It is not." she matched her mount with his, keeping him from riding off. "You did not plan what happened back at the Twins. It was not your intent to kill that many. Thus, it is not your fault-

He rounded on her with wild eyes.

"It is!" She stopped well short at his snarl, but didn't flinch, even in the face of his fury. "I planned for Walder Frey and his treachery. I planned for Tywin's ambush. How did I not plan for three hungry dragons? Dragons that were on our side!"

She quirked a brow. "Do you feel better now?"

.

..

...

As a matter of fact?

"Yes, actually. " Naruto blinked, realizing he'd spent what little wroth he had left. "I'm sorry." he took a deep breath to steady himself, blinked once, and sighed. "I didn't mean to lash out at you like that. I was just-

"Venting, I know." the Rose gave his arm a pat as they dismounted. "Quite alright. You've had an awful lot on your mind as of late."

He wanted to believe those words; that she meant them. Unfortunately she'd proven herself damnably difficult. This was what made her dangerous. Margaery was good and playing the doting wife when it suited her, the loving spouse to all who watched. But beneath that lay a cutting wit. It made her oh-so-difficult to read at times.

She drew him in and kissed him sweetly, drawing bemused laughter from their men.

The laughter died as Drogon swept down, landing heavily upon the ground.

"Blast it all." Daenerys all but slid off his back. "Its too damn cold up here."

Daenerys had only begun riding him recently during their journey North; the great black beast and his brothers seemed a little larger every day. Unfortunately, even the dragons seemed small before the towering fury now burning in her bight eyes. She took one look at Margaery, her hands on his face, her close proximity to him, and all but stalked over.

"Sank your claws into him again, have you?"

Margaery preened. "I haven't the foggiest idea what you mean."

Naruto pinched the bridge of his nose.

"Can the Mother of Dragons not ride a horse?" Margaery sniped. "I was under the impression you feared neither man nor beast, nor cold."

Daenerys scowled.

Their brief bout of peace hadn't lasted long; they had been like this ever since they'd gone south. He supposed this was a long time in coming. But did they have to do it here? Now? With the soldiers watching?

"Really, I don't see what you contribute at all." Margaery was saying as he came back to himself. "I have the wealth and might of Highgarden behind me. What do you contribute to the cause?"

"I have three dragons. And someday, we'll have more."

Drogon bared his teeth at her.

Margaery tried to rally. "Maybe someday, but not today-

"Enough." Naruto's voice was like black ice, cold and deadly. "Margaery, see to the men."

She swept off with a huff.

Naruto watched her go with a sigh.

What he wouldn't give for a drink about now...


(.0.0.0.)


Daenerys slipped into his tent later that night.

Naruto felt the cold beneath his furs long befor. Her body tucked in against his. He sucked in a sharp breath through his teeth.

"You're freezing!"

"I am." she reached for his trousers, pulled them down and climbed atop him. "Help me warm up, won't you?"

Her body was soft and inviting, read for him in every way. She kissed him fiercely, all but crushing herself against him. Soon enough he found himself responded to her. Her hips ground against his as she quickened her pace. Both palms came down, allowing her to arch her back and goodnessherbreastsreallywerequitelovelywhenshedidthat...

Before long they fell into a familiar rhythm, one that ended all too quickly. He slumped down, spent, and she fell across his chest, sprawling herself atop him.

They lay like that for a long moment, simply bask in one another's presence.

...don't doubt yourself." her voice shattered the stillness at last. "You're doing your best."

"Does it get easier?"

She patted his chest. "I wish I could say it did.

When they first met she wouldn't have made the effort. That she did so now spoke well; both of her and he feelings for him. Daenerys was so much easier to read that Margaery. If she was cross with someone, she did not hide it. If she was upset, she made no secret of her displeasure. That alone soothed his spirit.

He leaned back. "The people are terrified...

"Good." she lifted her chin. Let them be; let them fret and fumble. Why should we care what they have to say?"

"Dany."

His second wife huffed.

The Freys had surrendered of course; that was never in doubt. With their treachery revealed, their army decimated, and their people laid to waste, it would be a miracle if they managed to hold onto the Twins. They would never lay claim to the riverlands now. Someone would likely root them out of there in the coming days. He wouldn't be surprised if Tully were the one to do it.

Say what you would about the Blackfish, but he was a right thorough bastard.

Despite his best efforts, Naruto found his thoughts flitting back to the massacre. He could still see it in his mind's eye; the bodies, the blood, the burns. Not just the men but the women, and the children too.

It was an overwhelming victory for the Crown, and her dragons had made it so. But at great cost.

Daenerys wasn't to blame for this. If anything he should've expected it. So much bloodshed in such a confined space was bound to drive any animal mad. Even a dragon. This couldn't happen again. Someone would have to mind her children at all times, for they could not be locked away. Speaking of away...

"Where's Margaery?"

Daenerys frowned, not much liking the subject. "She's with the men, seeing to their needs."

"Fostering good will, more like." Naruto heaved a sigh. "She's sneaky like that."

She huffed. "Don't be taken in by her. The rose has thorns."

"And you have teeth."

Her lips curled downward. "Are you saying I cannot be diplomatic, dear husband?"

"No, no, no," Naruto waved a hand. "Not at all." truly, he did enjoy her wit. "Perish the thought."

On a whim he reached out and cupped her cheek. Daenerys leaned into his palm with a sigh, reached up and curled her fingers around his.

"We shall get through this." she said. "Together."

He wanted to believe. "What do you think the Watchers on the Wall will say when they see us."

"Hmm." That drew a smile from Daenerys. She traced a finger across his scarred chest. "I imagine they'll be quite surprised...


(.0.0.0.)


There.

On the horizon.

Allister Thorne saw the dragons.

Saw the girl riding the largest of them.

Something deep inside his black heart crumbled and the laughter began.

A/N: Ladies and gentlemn, we have reached the Wall!

So in the Immortal Words of Atlas...

...Review, Would You Kindly?

No preview this time...

...fine just two.

(Preview)

"JON!"

A certain Snow grunted as Arya slammed into his chest.


"Look at 'em. Buncha prissy lords and ladies...

Thorne cuffed the man across the mouth. "Show some respect!"


"I'm just a bastard, Your Grace."

Those keen violet eyes regarded Jon for a long moment.

"No," Daenerys said at last, shaking her head in quiet denial, "I don't think you are."


"You work for me now."

Locke narrowly caught the purse.

It was full to bursting, so much so that the mere act of holding it nearly sent the coins spilling onto the chill ground below. Seven hells. There was more money in this bag than he'd seen in his entire life. Lord Bolton hadn't paid him half as much. And the Dwarf merely smiled at him. It was not a pleasant smile. He had the same look about him as those dragons; and in that moment, Locke knew. If he spoke falsely, if he lied, if he tried to fool the Little Lion, he'd have his head on a spike before daybreak. It was not the gold that bought his allegiance, it was that look. That smile. Fuck killing Jon Snow or finding Bran Stark, he'd be lucky to get out of Castle Black in one piece with Mother of Dragons watch his very move.

"Why me?" he croaked at last.

"A little bird told me you're good at what you do." came the ready answer. "We both came from nothing; neither of us are afraid to get our hands dirty. So you're going to help me find the Stark boys. But there will be no reaving. No raping. If you lay a hand on them, the hand comes off. Followed shortly thereafter by your head. Understand?"

Behind him Drogon roared and the world shook.

Well. That simplified things, didn't it? He wasn't fucking with no dragon. Not even for Roose.

...aye, m'lord." the hunter knelt. "Your will be done."


Daenerys shot out of her chair. "You're...him. Aemon Targaryen."

"I am indeed." came the dry answering croak. "And who are you? You sound-

Her hands gently closed around his wrinkled fingers. "My name...is Daenerys. Daenerys Targaryen."

He wheezed out a startled laugh. "Oh. Oh, my. I had heard, but to think you would be here. And so we meet at last. How unexpected."

The old Maester would weep long and hard on that cold, bitter night; yes, he wept for quite some time indeed, in the arms of a long-lost princess.

R&R! =D