HELLO ALL! We have returned. I, Roweena and my co-writer, MissMac, appologize for the wait, but we've both been very busy with our personal lives and other projects that we couldn't find the chance to write about Macon Bacon and Sansa :(

But we've come back with a new chappie! Please give us reviews and loves, ;)


Chapter Three

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The weeks passed, and day after day after day, Lady Dahlia Trant suffered through the unbearable silence of her apartments, knowing, wishing and despising the fact, that there should be the whimpers and coos of a baby filling the rooms with joy and stress alike. Her son tried to help, to comfort her as best he could, but she still hurt. Being run though with a barbed sword soaked in the venom of a sand viper would be less painful than this horrid silence, this feeling of being incomplete.

Her son could see it, and she was shamed for it. He could see that his mother wandered about the castle like a ghost, detached from everything but her only child, empty from the loss the gods suffered her with. He could see, he could see her pain, her longing and her heart died a little every time she saw his eyes grow sad at finding her so unmoved by his attempts to lighten her.

She prayed he never thought he was not enough, that he did not give her joy or pride, because he did. He always had. She could not stand to lose him too, her sweet boy who was not so sweet.

On the days when her lord husband felt a bit kinder towards her, he could walk past her and give her a look of sympathy, rather than one of anger, or touch her hand or shoulder without roughness. Lord Godfrey had been well into his cups the past few weeks, more often than ever. He would return to the apartments every few days, sometimes drunk, sometimes just angry, crawling in beside her, and Dahlia found she could not sleep until he snored, when his burning eyes no longer on her back.

Dahlia and her son were both happier when he was gone. Sometimes the lady wondered if he was ever happy—truly happy and laughing and smiling—when he was away from her, or if he was just as angry outside these walls, as he was within them. She could understand it. The loss had taken a part of him as well, and had worsted his already bad temper.

By the time a fortnight had passed since Eddard Stark arrived in the Keep, Lady Dahlia was recovered enough to go walking through the castle, feeling the sunlight and hearing the birds squawk. People would pass her by, too afraid to meet her eye, but whisper about her in sympathy and condemnation alike, pitying her for another loss, and judging her guilty for offending her husband and the gods by keeping Macon. The Others take them all, she thought venomously. I am not so bitter a woman as to shun my own child.

The Hand's tourney was starting at midday and the Knight of the Flowers would be participating in the mêlée, so Macon would be tending to him. She would attend if only just to see her son, but the idea of enduring the heat and the company of so many arrogant strangers was wholly unappealing. Her son didn't mind, only saying he would tell her about it when he returned. She felt guilty, but did not change her answer. The idea of attending made her want to weep.

And so Lady Dahlia drifted about her rooms, running her fingers against the soft cushions on the chairs and ghosting them over the open flame of the candles. The painless heat of the action was fascinating for the briefest of moments, and she wondered what the Mad King's fascination with fire was.

It was too bloody quiet, alone in the apartment. She should have one of those talking birds with the pretty feathers to keep her company. She was sure they sold them in the markets. Perhaps she could ask her lord husband for one if he was not too angry when next she saw him.

Just as she settled into one of the chairs with the intent on sketching another drawing of the flowery vines outside the balcony, a loud knock beat against the door. "Lady Penrose! Your King would have an audience with you!" that voice was not one she heard addressing her for quite some time, and for quite some time, she had thought he was done with her, his interest long since dried up. Whatever could he want now? She was almost afraid to know, but having Macon had made her brave—starting when he was still small in her belly. Keeping him and defying her father had been the hardest and best choice she'd ever made.

Shaking her silly musings off, Lady Dahlia rose dutifully, opening the door wide and stepping aside for Robert to come through. She was a woman of duty and propriety, despite her son's bastard title.

"Your Grace," she uttered through her shock, curtseying as deeply as she dared. She was not a young woman any longer, and her knees often gave her trouble if she bowed too low.

"Dahlia you're the one woman who shouldn't have to address me like a king, or bow. Not after...everything." she could see it in his eyes. The shame she had never thought he felt. It startled her. Robert Baratheon had always been a boisterous brute, one who never saw the need to apologize, for how could anything he did possibly be wrong. She'd loved him once for that, for his bravery and confidence.

Once, and no longer. She remembered how he'd cast her aside, in favour of that foul Lannister. But she also remembered how he'd welcomed her and their son at court. Without flinching, without shame, and how he'd given their son attention and affection.

"You're the king, of course I must."

"You're the mother of my son, and then you are a subject."

"And is your Queen liable to the same privilege of speaking to you as a man rather than a monarch?" The king said nothing, and Dahlia was pleased. "Why have you come here Robert? If my husband should see you, he will not be pleased."

"You still draw?" he eyed the paper and charcoal sitting on the table behind her. "That's...uh, a very impressive sketch." He complimented, although it sounded half a question.

"Yes, Robert. I've always enjoyed it, you know. Time has only made me enjoy it more. And thank you." She replied, her hands clenching together at her belly. "Please answer my question now that I've answered yours."

"We have not spoken in nearly two years." He didn't say anything about the fact that Godfrey would give her bruises and part of her was disappointed. When they were little, still children, she and her brothers had gone to visit the Baratheon boys at Storm's End. She'd loved Robert straight off, so tall and strong for a boy, and her heart was lost completely when her elder brother, Fenroy, struck her with a stick, and Robert had bruised his cheek as reward. Things had changed, she thought. They were not the same people, or in the same mindset as they were in when they were young. This Robert would no sooner defend a lady than she would fall for another man by sight alone.

"Well that tends to happen. We have separate lives, and yours is quite cumbersome, I am told."

"We share a child. He is my son as well, Dahlia. You are his mother. I should see you as often as I see Macon." While he'd not seen Dahlia in so long, he'd seen Macon nearly every day. Her husband didn't like it when she spoke with Robert and neither did the queen, it seemed. When she'd stopped attending court, Robert never called for her—the pleasures of his own life keeping him occupied. He still had not spoken as to why he called on her now, but she did not care to know.

"You could have if you'd made me your queen and wife." She hadn't meant to sound bitter; she had long since realized marrying Robert Baratheon would bring her no great joy. But it would have been safe, her son would have been king, and she could have had Cersei Lannister's head for daring to threaten her son. She shook her head, her greying brown hair falling from the braid hanging down her back. "Macon is my son. I raised him myself."

Robert's face grew hard, his eyes as cutting as the blade of a knife. If she was still the same young girl who loved him faithfully, she would have flinched and begged for forgiveness. "I saw that he was cared for, that he had everything he needed! I am the boy's father!"

"I don't want to argue, Your Grace." She said as she looked away. Her voice was heavy with emotion, thick with the tears she once swore never to shed for him again.

"Oh, back to 'your grace' now?" he spat cruelly, but when she looked up at him with those tired blue eyes that had once been so bright and laughing in her youth, the fire in Robert's belly calmed a bit.

"You've seen me. Is that all you wanted, Robert? Or would you have my husband's fears of you having me once again, come true? Have you come to bend me over the table? Maybe prove you could make me another son?"

"Don't be a fool."

"Then what more could you want?"

Truly, Robert did not know what he wanted with this woman. She was everything Cersei was not, and perhaps that's why he came, to bask in the presence of a woman who was not his wife, and who was not a whore.

He wanted to see her. He'd heard of her latest loss, and had wanted to see her state with his own eyes. Dahlia was the mother of his son, his favorite. If Robert could love anyone, he would love Dahlia. But his love had died when Lyanna had, and so all he felt for Dahlia was a soft tender spot in his heart, more than what he'd ever had for his queen, his wife of seventeen years. "Macon is well? Still acting as Loras Tyrell's squire?"

Sighing, she realized she wouldn't get a straight answer from him. He'd come for some reason he didn't want to say, and she didn't care enough to push."Yes." She answered tonelessly. Then she smiled."The other day Macon knocked some silly Westerling boy off his horse, and brought home a sack of silvers he won in the bet." It was a small, almost tremulous smile, but a smile nonetheless. Robert's lips quirked a little and then fell as swiftly as it came.

"Dahlia, I'd've made you my queen if I could. But it was the only way..."

"Don't concern yourself with me, Your Grace." She cut him off hastily. She did not wish to ponder what life might have been if Robert had not been so consumed by vengeance and married Cersei if only to have the means to exact his goal. Now that he had, so many years later, she believed Robert had nothing left to do now that it was all said and done. "I am content with being Lady Trant. Being queen would have aged me, and the weight of a crown would have bent my pretty neck." Just like that little bitch you call your queen, who gave you a horrid monster who will be king when you die. "I am happy that you acknowledged our son, truly. A boy needs his father."

Robert said nothing. He was good with fury, he knew how to react to anger and blood and pain. He knew laughter and lust and biting wit. He did not know how to respond to a good woman's pretty lies.

As if he knew of his father's discomfort, the door suddenly opened with a creak and Macon appeared, his black hair dishevelled and his tunic and riding pants dirtied from another day of work in the yard and stable. He knew the boy was likely to have gotten into a hell of a row with one of the other stable hands, but looking at him, Robert never knew. There was not a bruise on his skin, nor any blood leaking out of him because he never allowed anyone to disarm him. A touch of pride entered his eyes.

Macon looked between his mother and father, confused as this was the last thing he'd expected. He had not seen the two of them talk face to face in years and seeing this now, made excitement grow inside him. Since he was small, he'd wondered what it would have been like, to come home to a mother who loved him, and a father who was proud of him. He wondered what it would have been like to be a prince, to have people look at him and nod in respect, rather than scoff at the bastard boy who seemed to think he was better than them. He'd stopped imagining all that a long time ago, even when his mother said he could rise far above his lot. His mother had too much faith in him, he thought.

Abruptly, Robert's demeanor changed at his favorite's arrival, his solemn eyes turning bright with joy and merriment, his cheeks reddening. "Well, boy, are you a rat or a son that greets his Lady Mother?" Robert's voice rang loud in Macon's ears but without hesitation the younger man entered the room. His mother had a sparkle in her eyes as they darted from the King to her son and back once more. It made her happy to see her son with his father, especially since they were so alike. It gave her hope. Cersei Lannister's son may yet be king, but Macon was loved by Robert and love was a powerful thing.

"Mother, you are looking well." She looked happier. His words pulled a scoff from the King, and Macon nearly panicked. Was his greeting not befitting? Did his voice sound weak? If there was a man that could halt Macon, it was Robert and not because he was the King.

"Well? She looks as ripe as the day I plucked her!" An awkward silence filled their air, the room seeming to grow warmer to Macon. He had spent years listening to his father's crudeness, but never had it been directed at his mother. He thought he should be offended, enticed to defend his mother, but his father had said it. The king had said it. Was he even allowed to protest?

Macon caught his mother's eye, seeing a sparkle ignite in her eyes, faint but still there. The boy relaxed, knowing that Dahlia had taken no offense. Crude or not, the woman had been given a compliment from her first love and the king. Gods knew it was quite some time since Godfrey had given her one.

She looked so much happier than she had in the last few weeks, and for the moment, he did not worry for her, did not worry that she would break apart. When his mother was happy, it felt as if nothing else could be wrong and anything that was wrong was manageable. Macon bit his lip. If father and his mother were together, mother would be happy all the time. The king could give her more compliments, make her smile.

But it was not the compliment that gave Dahlia joy. It was seeing that Robert's affection still ran deep and true in their son.

Her soft voice broke through the silence."Thank you, Your Grace."

"Mmm" he grunted as he walked towards Macon. "You will fight today?"

"No, father. I am tending to Ser Loras, and won't have time to fight."

The king scoffed. "The Flower knight can tie his own bloody harness to his own bloody mare for one bloody day. Fight! Your father commands it!"

Macon could not help but smile. "Yes, father."

"Good."

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After the King's declaration that Macon would fight in the Tourney, the boy could not stop the thrum of excitement from coursing through his veins. There wasn't any time to waste, the tourney only hours away. Each moment was spent in preparation, no buckle or strap left unchecked and no piece of armor left unpolished. It was borrowed armour—no House sigil colored the breast plate, and he would wear no favours from a lady, but it didn't matter. Going colourless would make him stand out.

To Macon it was no longer a competition; he'd never entered a tourney before—he'd only ever watched from the sides, waiting for the knight he attended to limp from the field so he may loosen their armour, or see to his horse.

Now he had a chance for the first time in his life to show the people who'd refused to offer any acknowledgement that wasn't a glare or a harsh word.

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King Robert sat on the dais with his three royal children, drinking his wine and staring out at the field with renewed interest. His tart of a wife had not even attended the tourney, and he was happier for it. He wished to see his bastard fight, to see if he were as spry and strong as he had been in his youth. When the bloody breastplate fit properly, he grimaced.

To his right, Robert heard a bored sigh and at once, the king knew the culprit. Robert rolled his eyes at his son. Joffrey never fought in tourney, and never would if his mother had anything to do with it. And by the way she coddled the boy, Joffrey would never find the desire to fight—not when he had his mother to hide behind.

Maybe seeing his natural born brother fight and win would inspire the blond haired twat next to him to be a man. Grunting doubtfully, the king took another drink.

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When the time came, and he made his way from the table where men made their bets, a hush settled in the stands as the herald announced the next men in the mêlée. Macon gripped his borrowed sword firmly, excitement bubbling inside him. He wished his mother had come from their apartments to watch, but she had still declined the invitation.

"Elomir Jast, of the western House Jast," the herald announced grandly as he read off the scroll in front of him. The crowd clapped politely. The herald lifted his hand to the right, and the people in the stands followed with their eyes. Across the yard from him, Macon spied a rather tall man, dressed in fine armour, his helm in one hand, his sword clenched in the other. Macon could smirk. That was no way to hold a sword, especially when you meant to use it. Holding it like that, there was no room to move.

"Uh, Macon Waters," it was clear the herald didn't know how to announce him. From where he stood, he could hear outraged murmurs in the stands. "...natural born son of Lady Dahlia Trant." Macon rolled his eyes, pushing his hair from his face and pulling the borrowed helm over his head. The herald lifted his hand once more, this time in his direction, and he suddenly felt the stares of three hundred people burning into him.

From the dais, Robert gave a hearty laugh and clapped merrily, wine sloshing out from his cup. To appease their king, his subjects clapped, although it was a lot more scattered and hesitant than Lordling Jasts' welcome.

After a moment, Macon stepped forward, watching as Elomir Jast did the same. After a moment of taking the proper stance before a spar, a trumpet bellowed and the melee began.

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That's all for now folks! We'll get chapter 4 up as soon as possible.

Roweena's stories update: broken through the wall...finished chapter...editing in progress...send help...*garbled noise*

MissMac's stories update: *MissMac strokes evil cat* soon. Soon.

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