title: last night I dreamt I'd forgotten my name
summary: It starts with letter's from the Vale and the sound of a dynasty dying.
dedication: Sara, who asked for Usagi/Mamoru for her 21st and gets Jon/Sansa instead. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAILOR MOON BE FABULOUS FOREVER.
last night I dreamt I'd forgotten my name
The first letter comes in the dark of night, when cold steam rises off the Wall like the breath of a giant swimming up to the stars. It's a night for ghosts and forgotten things, Jon thinks, staring out at the wilderness thousands of feet below him. His eyes chase shapes in the shadows and the fog makes him see things that only visit him in his dreams now.
For three nights past, Robb has watched him from a bloody throne with eyes that entreat from beyond the grave.
I can't, Jon tries to tell him. I'm Lord Commander now and the Watch takes no part.
But there is a girl out there called Arya Stark who is married to the bastard of Bolton, and the North is falling to wreck and ruin while he turns the other way and puts his hands over his ears to shut out the sound of a dynasty dying.
But just because you don't hear the tree falling, doesn't mean it hasn't been torn up from the roots and the Starks are almost extinct.
He prowls the Wall at night instead of succumbing to the dreams, and there is exhaustion in him that goes deeper than his bones, which moves like quicksilver between the gaps in his priorities and wrenches his soul open wide. Stannis had offered him Winterfell and he hadn't taken it.
"I'm not a Stark," he murmurs, hand reaching for a brother forever out of reach both in his nightmares and his waking hours. Robb was the King, the Lord's heir…he cannot pick up where he left off, like a hero from out of one of Sansa's songs.
He is so caught up in the memories of his siblings faces that he does not, at first glance, see the raven swoop down from the immutable jaws of the sky to perch on his shoulder.
"Snow," it caws, shaking the leg with the note attached and it's – it's not that strange really, that it came to him rather than the rookery like all the other birds do – but a chill that has nothing to do with the cold runs down his back, tick, tack, toe over his bones.
Jon carefully unties the small scrap of parchment, taking care not to tear it. When he unfurls it though, the hand of a ghost swims before his eyes, elegant and frightened.
Jon, she writes, brother…
He could cry, then, for the relief that spills out and over from his guarded heart.
"Sansa," he murmurs, clasping the parchment close to his chest. Not his favourite sister, but a sister all the same and there's still one Stark out there that the wide world hasn't killed yet.
The knives bite deep into him, piercing the dark spaces between his organs and he remembers Jaime Lannister saying once, as long ago as if it was another life, that men were nothing more than meat and water and oh, how his own river is pouring out now in rivulets of red on the snow.
Jon flees the body betraying him and lands somewhere else, soul pushing out out out and lands in wolf-skin, fangs bared and paws gliding over the ground as he runs from the scent of men.
He dreams, sometimes, in those forever moments when he's caught between his comatose body and Ghost's silent, prowling skin somewhere in the North. He dreams of the Heart Tree at Winterfell, Bran's face staring out of the wide wood and lips moving with silent words, of dragon's soaring through the night sky screaming fire and blood. Sometimes there's a girl who looks like Arya who stares at him with hands covered in blood, a crown of blue winter roses askew on her dark hair. Jon tries to reach her, but she is always on the horizon, always separated from him as if she stands behind a veil.
Mother, he doesn't say. Lyanna, he doesn't call her. She's only ever there for a moment and then she's gone, scattered on the wind like so many leaves.
Mostly, it is Sansa who appears before him, wide-eyed and pale, purple snakes hissing in her long auburn hair.
"Jon," she says, as the tower rises up and imprisons her in the sky, and poised in the windows of the Eyrie she looks ready to fly or die.
She doesn't say help me, or I'm scared, or you're not the right brother. Instead she folds bird wings around her arms and holds them aloft.
"The dragons are coming, Sansa."
"So are the wolves," she tells him and smiles bright and sharp, steel beneath silk. Her voice echoes down with the rising winds. Even in his dream, she is lovely as she dives, wings unfurled and catching on the air and she snaps him up with claws that don't exist. The whole world spreads out below them, and they can see far away even beyond the narrow sea, to Braavos and Mereen, all the far-away places he's never been.
"I'm dreaming this."
Sansa looks at him with deep, blue eyes. "I think we both are," she murmurs.
Satin keeps him alive in the cold hollows beneath the Wall, far from the prying eyes of his brothers.
Ex-brother's, he reminds himself as he opens his eyes for the first time in a month.
"You're awake," his squire whispers, setting down a bowl of honeyed wine hastily.
"Barely," Jon says, or tries to. He feels as helpless as a newborn babe, weak and almost dead of hunger.
His head is still full of Sansa's face, older and more beautiful than h recalls, and the sound of dragon's roaring.
"My Lord," Satin hesitates, helps him up when he sees Jon's refusal to rest. "It's – It's your sister."
"Arya?" he asks, thinking of Mance Rayder and the rescue party he meant to join. His heart is a mix of hope and dread. "Is it – Did Ramsay Snow…?"
"No. I mean – I don't know. Not that sister. Your other sister."
His heart leaps inside his chest, panicked and elated. "Sansa?"
"They're calling her the Queen in the North, now, milord. She's got the force of the Vale and the Riverlands behind her."
Satin holds out another two letters, crumpled and obviously snatched before the new Commander can see them. Jon reads them feeling sick to his bones. The image of Robb – murdered for a crown and a marriage slight – flickers before his eyes and he thinks of his sister, so delicate and ladylike, enamoured with a monster in the guise of a prince, helpless, a puppet to the Northern Lords –
"Where is she?" Jon demands, pushing himself unsteadily to his feet because he cannot read any more without screaming. His duty was to the Wall, but his brothers have killed him and for that, he considers his oaths fulfilled. His head swims and his chest pounds, but he will not turn the other way anymore.
I cannot lose anyone else, I can't, I can't –
"Riding North, milord," Satin tells him, gulping at the expression on Jon's face. He can only imagine what he looks like, half-dead and poised for battle.
He still has Lord Commander Mormont's sword; he unsheathes it with his burnt hand and turns to his former squire.
"Lead me to a horse," he commands grimly.
Once he was told that love was the death of honour. It seems the reverse is also true; the death of his honour has freed him for love.
Robb watches him leave with sad blue eyes, a bloody ghost he will always regret.
The gods have tested him before, but Jon thinks of all that he is lost, all that he might yet save and rides out into the night, leaving Watch and Wall behind.
Home, he thinks, urging his horse faster and faster towards the ruins of his father's hall. We're going home.
It's the easiest decision Jon has ever made.
notes: wow this has turned into a monster, sorry. also first time writing Jon and I'm shitting myself because omg the pressure to get him right.
notes2: once upon a time sara and I talked about ASOIAF and now we are obssessed.
notes3: also I just freaked out because I can't remember how far sara is with the books and SHIT.