For a split second, Jon almost didn't recognize the fact that a blade had just been plunged into his heart.

It was only when his eyes shot towards his chest did he feel the burning pain that accompanied it. He staggered back, trying to put space between him and his assaulters, the traitorous mutineers that he had thought his brothers -

Only to take another silent dagger to the torso.

Followed by another.

And another.

And another.

And on and on it went, and where Jon found that he was soon kneeling where he had been standing moments before.

"For the Watch," they said, and Jon wanted to scream at them. Could they not see that all he had done, negotiating with the Free Folk and letting them through the Wall, he had done not only for the Watch, but for all the realms of the living?

Mayhaps, it did not matter, anymore. The realm of the living was one he would not be able to claim as home for much longer.

The thrust of blades halted soon after he fell to his knees, and for a moment, Jon's delirious and pain-ridden mind thought that the mutineers had come to the realization that what they were doing was a mistake, and had halted their assault in some vain hope of his survival. That fleeting thought went out the window when the crowd of Black Brothers parted, letting through…


There was silence for a moment, and Jon looked up towards the lad he had taken as his steward, the same boy who'd fought besides him in Castle Black, and the same one who had killed Ygritte.

He might have felt rage and betrayal at the cold look on Olly's face, but now he was simply to tired to do so.


And then the final knife was shoved into his bloodied chest, and his heart ceased to beat.

He didn't feel it, oddly. He only felt the cold.

The Nine-Hundred-and-Ninety-Eighth Lord Commander of the Night's Watch fell back, dead.

The Thirteenth Lord Commander of the Night's Watch first saw her whilst patrolling atop the Wall.

It had been nary a glimpse out of the corner of his eye at first, so fleeting that he almost thought it imagined. The second time was when first time he realized that, indeed, there was someone below staring at him, watching him.

He only beheld her for several moments before she disappeared in a northern gust of icy wind, but that was more than enough to ignite his curiosity.

From then on, he timed his patrols to perfectly match the appearances, always making sure to be in the same place as before, and slowly, the fruits of his labor began to pay off. The otherworldly woman stayed in sight for longer and longer, her gaze ever-steadfast in its vigil watching him, as he watched her.

Some might have called it witchcraft, what happened after, but slowly, and surely, the Lord Commander came to love the woman he viewed from afar.

And then, one day, she had made to turn away and disappear back into the Haunted Forest, as she did upon the end of her visitations, only…

She hesitated.

Then she turned, looked to him again, and beckoned .

He had stood frozen in disbelief at first, before hastily abandoning his post and making for the lift. All the way down, he worried that she might again escape his sight, for the time spent being lowered from the Wall felt far too long to the Stark Lord Commander, thought he would soon realize that his fear had been for naught.

Ignoring the concerned looks his Black Brothers gave him when he gave the order to open the gate and not to follow, the Thirteenth Lord Commander mounted his pale steed and sett off at a gallop through the gate, and out into the Lands of Always Winter.

Once again, he feared that he had failed in his ẗ̸̠́a̶̯͂s̷̜͑k̵̼̾d̵͔̄u̸̖͋ţ̴̋y̶͖̒w̷̰̍i̸̼͐s̴͉h̸̯̚n̴͍͝e̷̘͠e̸̲̾d̸͔̔want to find her, only for it to be alleviated when she appeared at the edge of the Haunted Forest. Even from his position several yards away, he could see her lips twisting into a seductive smile.

Come , she beckoned again, Chase me. And she disappeared into the woods behind her.

The Lord Commander spurred his horse and did as she bade him.

The chase, which was little more than a mummers farce, something both knew and enjoyed, eventually took the Lord Commander to a small clearing in the middle of the foreboding forest, though he had no fear.

For there, waiting, as naked as a newborn babe, was the one he had sought.

Dismounting, the Lord Commander slowly made his way towards her, all the while undressing himself. Oddly enough, the cold did not bother him, but, then again, why would it? She was cold, and beautiful beyond compare, and if she was cold, he would not hide from it.

And, when he finally reached her, he fulfilled his duty, the pact that had been made centuries ago.

Underneath the Northern Lights, Night's King made love to his Corpse Queen.

Later, as they lay in the afterglow of their coupling, the Lord Commander's Queen cupped his cheek in her soft, cold hands. Mine, she had said. By right of the Pact, you are mine. A Stark husband for an Other bride.

As if the words had sparked something in his mind, ancestral memories ignited within the mind of the Night's King, of an agreement so old that the stones they had been scribed upon had been chiseled to sand and the minds of the men that recalled it turned to mush, and the Lord Commander only pulled her closer to him.

I am yours, he had whispered, In this life and the next.

They had ridden back for the Wall, after that, the Lord Commander's Night Queen wrapped in his own black cloak, as she had no clothing of her own. Upon arriving at the ice construct, the Black Gate spoke not the customary words, but seemed to speak to the Queen in a tongue of ice and snow, one that the Night's King would learn from her early in their rule.

Their return to the Nightfort was met with hostility, at first, but when the Lord Commander explained to his Brothers all he had learned, they reluctantly welcomed his Queen. In time, however, they came to love her as a mother, and a sister, and though some spoke of dark magic and sorcery, the few who knew the Night's Queen spoke only of her prosperous rule.

And prosperous it was. The Night's Watch became powerful in a way it never had been before, as they offered the lives of deserters, criminals, and old folk who would be naught but burdens in Winter to the Old Gods and the cold gods of their Queen. And, indeed, the Night's Queen ruled alongside her King from their Nightfort, and all was well.

Until it was not.

For the Lord Commander's own brother, ignorant of the Pact or unwilling to see it through, had grown frightened of the power he now wielded, and sought to cast him down from the his throne. And so he marched on the Night's Watch, aided from the other side of the Wall by King Joramun of the Free Folk, and together the two armies assaulted the Nightfort.

Ill prepared to fend off such a host, and, in truth, unwilling to fight his brother, the Lord Commander dueled, and lost, to the King of Winter just below the walls of his keep.

And for his loss, he died.

In his death throes, the Lord Commander looked up to his mate who stood atop the battlements of the Nightfort, a cruel reversal of how they had met. The Lord Commander found himself fading, air burning in his lungs because he could not breathe-

-and then he could.

The Nine-Hundred-and-Ninety-Eighth gasped as he came back to life, air flooding his lungs once again. For a moment, Jon panicked, and rightfully so. He was supposed to be dead, how was he-

Then he registered the cold, soft hand cradling his cheek, and he relaxed.

Ignoring the frightened looks of the other men in the room, Satine, Tormund, and Edd, Jon turned over towards the arm, and the Lord Commander's once-grey eyes met the gaze of his love's dark ones.

The Night's Queen smiled.

"Mine," she whispered in her tongue, and Jon, cupping her hand in his, replied.


The further north they rode, and the closer to Castle Black they got, Sansa felt more at peace. She didn't even feel the cold, which she found slightly odd- just by looking at Brienne and Podrick shivering in their cloaks she could tell it was unbearably cold.

It was strange, but calming. Almost as if the North was beckoning her, calling her towards the last of her family.

The calming presence fled her when, upon arriving at Castle Black, they set their eyes upon several living Night's Watchmen impaled on pikes just outside the gates to the keep. Some were screaming, others writhing in some futile attempt to alleviate the pain. The lucky ones were the ones who had succumbed to the pain and had fallen unconscious.

Brienne had wanted to turn around and ride as fast as possible away from it. "This is a cursed place, my lady. What kind of man would subject another to such a fate? This Jon Snow cannot be trusted upon to keep you safe if he orders such torture as this!"

But, Sansa had declined on the offer, strangely accepting of the atrocious act. "My brother is the Lord Commander currently, Brienne. If he did this, then it was for good reason."

"My lady-"

"Enough, Brienne. I have nothing to fear of him. Jon will protect me."

And yet, fear reigned supreme. Not from Sansa herself, but from the Black Brothers who garrisoned Castle Black. They opened the gate for them with no issue, and granted them entry, but all averted their eyes from her specifically. It was only when one of the Black Brothers introduced himself as Edd Tollett were they granted an explanation.

"Name's Edd," the man started, "and to explain the odd looks, the Lord Commander threatened to kill any man who looked at you wrong, Lady Sansa, and that is no threat to be taken lightly. He want's no repeat of Danny Flint, 'specially involving you."

Focusing her gaze on him, Sansa could see that Edd feared as well, just like the others. What could possibly frighten him so? Jon? Surely not…

"Where is my brother, Ser Edd?" Sansa asked, and the mentioned Night's Watchman froze momentarily, before sighing, and turning towards the main keep.

"This way, my lady."

Somewhat apprehensive, Sansa, Brienne, and Podrick followed the Black Brother into Castle Black proper, before being led upwards to the Lord Commander's solar. Upon reaching the door to said room, Edd turned back to them, and nodded. "He's in here." Rapping his knuckles against the hardwood, Edd knocked on the door almost reluctant. When the reply "Come in," was heard, he opened the door and stood aside. "Lord Commander, your sister has arrived."

Sansa had barely tread foot into the room before she was swept up in the embrace vaguely familiar arms, and behind her, she heard Brienne prepare to unsheathe her sword. She discreetly waved her hand behind her back, signaling that she was fine, and Brienne reluctantly backed down, and stepped out of the room.

By then, however, her concentration had faltered, because oh gods, It's him, I'm fine, I'm safe-


Upon hearing the familiar (but deeper) baritones of Jon's Northern burr, Sansa pulled back slightly to behold her brother. The two were silent as they beheld each other, and Sansa noted that his eyes, which had been Stark-grey once, now seemed a tad bit brighter, though she had no time to further examine that thought before Jon drew back slightly.

"You've… gotten taller." Jon broke the silence first, and Sansa's lips curled slightly upwards. "You're a tad bit smaller than I remember." It was true; the last she had seen her half-brother, Jon had been close to her height. It seemed like it would stay that way, for Jon now stood half a head taller than her.

Jon chuckled at that, before tightening their embrace. "It's good to see you, sister. We've much to talk about." Their smiles faded into frowns, and Sansa nodded, because they did.

It was then that she noticed the women sitting on the Lord Commander's bed, staring at her from beneath a dark cloak, ice-blue pupils leering out of dark eyes-

It was all Sansa could to hold back a scream when she realized the woman's skin was blue .

She remembered Old Nan's stories well enough.

Stumbling back slightly, she took two steps away from the bed, gaining Jon's confused notice. Standing stock-still, Sansa attempted to ask him what that was and why it was sitting on his bed, only managing it on the second try.

"J-Jon, who is- what is that?"

To her surprise (and apprehension) both Jon and the very-much-not-human woman shared a look that spoke volumes, before Jon turned and pulled up two chairs, one for him and for Sansa. He sat down, and was silent for a moment, before turning back to her.

"Sit down, sister. There is much I must tell you."

It was only then that Sansa realized her brother's eyes were bright blue.

Oddly enough, it didn't bother her.

Placing herself in the offered seat, she took a fortifying breath, closing her eyes for a moment, before opening them and gazing unflinchingly into Jon's blue eyes.

"Then tell me."

He did.