Jon Snow adopted heir of Robert Bartheon (2024)

All were silent, as King Robert stared down his former heir, a rage in his eyes like nothing before.

"Father-" began Joffrey, his voice breaking in fear of the rage in his eyes "Father-"

"You are no son of mine."

Those words, said so quietly, said so fiercely, set off a whirlwind of chatter amongst all those who had dared come and see.

"You are no son of mine," said Robert again "For no son of mine would have dared raise his hand against his sister. No son of mine would have dared send footpads and murderers against his own blood, to murder my eldest daughter."

The chatter continued, as the nobility present struggled to understand.

"Father-"

"But then, you're not my son at all, are you? Bastard."

And now that chatter had turned into full blown shouting.

"Bastard?" said Joffrey piteously, almost confused at the very word. Looking around he saw you standing off to the side, and his anger returned to him "It's a lie, father! A damn dirty lie from Arryn and his little monster! They're trying to usurp me, get rid of me and Myrcella and Tommen. Father-"

"Did they lie about Clayton Archay?" said Robert, as the man in question was brought out in chains "Or Duncan Dannett?"

Both men dutifully gave their recitations of the truth, and Joffrey's face paled even further.

"Father-"
"Do not call me that," said the king with a great roar, silencing the people assembled "You have no right."

As Robert struggled to restrain himself, the Dana Wells stepped forward from his left hand side.

"To all of the Faithful," said the new High Septa "We announce that we have annulled the marriage between good king Robert Baratheon, and his former wife, Lady Cersei Lannister of Casterly Rock. we annull their marriage, on grounds of adultery, fornication, high treason on multiple accounts, and the birth of bastards out of wedlock, through incestous means with her brother, Ser Jaime Lannister. Their children-"

"No!"

"Their children are hence forth declared bastards of the realm, and owing to the region of their birth, are to be known as Joffrey Waters, Myrcella Waters and Tommen Waters. Owing to their dual heritage from House Lannister, they are owed not the respect of royalty, and are hence forth stricken from the royal line of succession."

With her piece said, the High Septa stepped away, returning to Robert's left side.

"No!" shouted Joffrey, dazed and almost maddened "No! Father, this is some conspiracy, some conspiracy of him!"

He shouted this last as he pointed to you with his one remaining hand, chained to his other arm and torso as it was.

"Him, father! He's always hated me, always tried to harm me! These are all lies! Lies!"

"And by what desire would he have to lie so? Harm you, or harm me so, bastard?"

"Because he's your son!"

...

What.

"I must profess... I didn't see that coming."

"Because he's your son!" shouted Joffrey into the stunned silence, letting loose years of fear onto all who would listen "Your bastard son, by that horrible wolf bitch Lyanna Stark! Your oldest living son, and I knew it. I knew it, as did mother, as did both uncle Jaime and Tyrion-"

What. Tyrion, you absolute-

"It's why Mya died, because all of your bastards needed to be dealt with!" he shouted, sweating fiercely out of sheer impotent rage as he stared at Rober "Because you couldn't keep it in your pants, because you couldn't honour your vows like any good man ought! Bastard after bastard after bastard! What was I supposed to think? What were Myrcella and Tommen supposed to think, except that we weren't enough? That we weren't good enough, because you loved some dead northern whor*!"

"Remove him from the court!" shouted Jon Arryn desperately "Gag him and see him under heavy guard! Now!"

"Nothing I did was ever good enough for you! Nothing!"

--

The court had been cleared after that, every man and woman present sent out of the great hall of the manse, though kept within it's walls, a bustling, rustling noise outside the walls of the great house itself.

Inside, stood only two men, two men who were neither Kingsguard nor guards.

You had made to leave at first, dumb-founded and stunned by the level of Joffrey's delusion.

It had made sense, in a sick sort of way. Robert's favouring of you, Ned hiding you away as a bastard, your prodigious strength... it even served to explain away your advanced visage, older by a good deal than your actual age, the effects of Arlan's very being within you.

All of that had rushed through your head, all that and more...

And yet you had not had time to process it, not before Sers Balon Swann and Lucas Blackwood come upon you, that the king had desired your private presence.

Demanded, more likely.

Near half dragged along due to your stupor, you were taken to the king, who had secluded himself in his private quarters, mulling a great bottle of Ambrose brandy, his head turned away from you.

As you stood there, he dismissed his Kingsguard, asking them to leave you both alone. Ser Balon attempted to make note of your still holding Blackfyre, but the king waved him off, sending both his sworn swords out of the room.

As they did so, you waited, waited for the king to say something, anything.

His words were long in coming.

"Joffrey's thoughts were interesting," he said quietly, more to himself than you "But they were only thoughts. If I had had the chance to have bedded Lyanna before her disappearance, before ... he took her, then I would have cherished that memory for the rest of my life. Perhaps it would have been enough, to stop me from becoming the ruin of a man I am now. The ruin of a king I am now. Cuckolded, with all my heirs bastards or false. But if there's one thing I can say to have never done, one great feat never had... it's that. So understand then, that I know with the surest of sureties, that you are not my son. That you never could be my son."

His eyes are red, you notice.

As if he's been crying.

"But there is another, who's son you could have been. A son yet born to Lyanna Stark, at that."

Oh, no.

"Your Grace-"

"Tell me Jon," he says bluntly "Did she love him, that harp-stringing fool? Did she truly love Rhaegar Targaryen?"

--

Your mind shuts down, and you look to a higher power.

"Arlan-"

"Don't look at me. I'm still processing how the lion's get thought you could possibly share a father."

"Arlan-"

"Still. Processing."

Well... f*ck that higher power.

"Your Grace-"

"Did she love him?"

He says it so softly, you're half unsure if he said it at all.

"I..."

"Perhaps the truth wouldn't be amiss here?"

"..."

"Well?"

"I... no, my king. She didn't love him."

And just like that, a burden had lifted from his shoulders.

Robert sighed deeply, looking to the brandy in his hand.

"Drink?"

"Yes," you say hoarsely "Please."

He nods to you, and opens it, grabbing a glass from a nearby table. As you watch, with your heart pounding, he carefully fills it by two thirds, before handing it to you. You accept it without hesitation, and before him, drain it dry, ignoring the burning sensation in your throat. Finished, you hand it back to him.

"More. I'll need more."

--

"... and after that, I rode to Redfort. Which was when Mya died. And you know the gist of things from there."

"Mya," he said with a gruff cough "Gods. I hadn't seen her since she was a babe. When the war was over, I'd wanted to bring her to King's Landing. Cersei threatened her, said a child could go missing very quickly in such a big city. I should have known it then, that she was so false. Mya..."

"Your Grace," you say as gently as you dare "... what now?"

"What now?" he echoed dully "I supposed that's the question isn't it? The love of my life, run off with the crown prince for a night or two of drunken merriment. I'd have forgiven her that, understood that. I was no honest man myself, and I'd had a bastard already in Mya. It would have been her right, no matter how I might have felt then. But how it went... I was of two minds for the longest time, you know."

"Your Grace?"

"A part of me thought she'd been kidnapped," said Robert with a sigh "That Rhaegar, Arthur and all of them had stolen her from me. They were the monsters, I the hero, and she the maiden fair. I've held onto that, most days I've been king. That hate, that loathing, burning hatred for Rhaegar. And then came the other days. The fewer days, when I was down in my cups, when I loathed every man and woman and child around me. When I thought to myself... what if she had loved him? What if she'd run away with him, away from me? Those days I loathed her, and loathed myself besides. I would wonder, that if I had been a better man... would she not have gone?"

You remained silent.

"It hurts to know the truth," said the king to you, his voice as soft as anything "Hurts and will hurt for a time to come, I reckon. But gods... to finally know. And Rhaegar..."

Here his voice turned rougher, louder than before.

"I dreamt every night since the Trident of killing him. My hammer through armour, his rubies scattering across the ford. I've killed him ten thousand times in my dreams, Jon. Ten thousand and counting."

"For the longest time," you said, perhaps as much to yourself as to Robert "I think I wanted to understand. When Dayne came to me at Riverrun, and sworn me his sword, pleaded repentance, called me his King... it filled me up with this sense of purpose, this righteous glory. It was something that was mine, and after Blackfyre, and after Ser Brynden.."

"You were a fool," says Robert bluntly "And were Dayne still alive today, I'd have spat on you and broken him in two."

You only nod at that.

"But I can understand trying to fill a void," he said, pouring you another glass of brandy, your fifth so far "I spent sixteen years whoring trying to replace your mother, and I bankrupted the Seven Kingdoms doing it. It rankles me so to hear your path with Dayne, but I understand it. And I suppose thank you as well, for not sending the mad fool after me."

"I should have known better."

"You should have. You didn't. You learned from it, and you'll learn from it. More than I ever did from my mistakes, anyway."

"Hm."

The two of you were silent for a while after that, until you dared speak up, still mulling your glass of brandy.

"Your Grace... what happens now. What Joffrey said, that'll be in the minds and lips of half the Seven Kingdoms in a month, if not sooner. Even if you deny it-"

"Who says I'll deny it?" he says, giving a shrug of his great shoulders as he closed the brandy bottle shut "Or that I ought to? And perhaps I ought to go further than that."

"Your Grace-"

"You are Rhaegar's son," he said with pointed finger and lowered growl "And that is something that I will never forget, nor forgive of Rhaegar. That things he did to your mother were unspeakable by your own account, and to know his mad whims came to fruition in some form will haunt me till my dying day."

Here now, his voice softened again.

"But you are Lyanna's son as well, and perhaps more hers than Rhaegar's. You might have his fine features, but you have her eyes, her hair, her wolf's blood in you. Rhaegar loved songs and ballads, and fancied himself made to be a hero because he read a damn book. Piss on him, and the man who wrote that book. Your mother could ride a horse better than any man I knew, and she had heart enough to care for others beyond her kin and company. That is what I choose to see Jon. That is what I do see, when I look upon you."

"You honour-"

"I'm not finished. I've done few good things in my life since the Trident, few enough that I could count them on one hand with fingers left over. I left Mya in peace in the Vale, away from the cruelties of Cersei. I left Ned to Winterfell, though it tore at me to see him leave me. And I knighted you and ennobled you. Gods, boy. I've seen you grow these past few years, with the pride a father bears for a son. I've seen you go from squire to knight to lord to champion. I've seen you kill monsters made men, and challenge fools given arms. You've given blood for my rule time and time again, and you spent years seeking vengeance for my daughter."

You say nothing.

"Gods," he said, his voice choking as he said it "I wish you were my own. You would have wanted for nothing. You'd have had a father's love from the day you were born till the day I died. If I hadn't quarrelled with Ned, if he had trusted me... if I hadn't been such a fool. You'd have been my son. Jon Baratheon, First of His Name. King of the First Men, the Andals and the Rhoynar. Prince of Dragonstone and in time, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. Mya living, you as my son, Lyanna as my queen... no man could have asked for more."

"I had a father's love," you say dully "Bits and pieces of it, anyway. Some from my uncle, some from Brynden. Some even from Arthur Dayne, as sad as that might sound. Mayhaps even a little from you and Jon Arryn, in your own ways. It wasn't perfect... but it was enough. It did the job."

"Perhaps it did. But I can change that now," he said, his voice returning with strength "At least in part. I'll do as Aegon the Unworthy did, and legitimize all my bastard-born heirs, the ones I know of at least. Mya first of all, even in death. She'll be Mya Baratheon, Princess of Dragonstone. I'll have her name etched and forced into every history book from Oldtown to Castle Black. And then there's Edric, this boy I fathered on this pretty little Florent girl that night of Stannis's wedding. In his own bed... Gods, the wrong I did my own brother."

"I am sure he will make a fine prince," you say at last, trusting yourself to say that much "Jon Arryn can see to that."

"He will make a fine prince," agreed Robert, as he looked you straight in the eye "And so will you."

You're so close to breaking down.

"Your Grace-"

"You've said it yourself," said Robert heatedly "Half the realm will think you my bastards in hours, or if not then in days or weeks. And as my foster-father would hasten to say, your claim will haunt my family, as Rhaegar's siblings do. But I don't care about any of that. You are Lyanna's blood, the last beautiful thing she gave this world before she left it, before she left it a darker one. Do you think I wouldn't give you this? That I wouldn't stand before gods and men, and lie through my teeth to make it so? Do you think I wouldn't spit in Rhaegar Targaryen's pretty little face, and give you my name?"

"I'm not a Targaryen," you say with a great weariness "Any more than I am a Stark. I'm a Stormcrown. The first of that name in Westeros."

"And I your second, little brother. You do not want for kin."

"Then keep it!" he said with fierceness "Keep it as Daemon Blackfyre took his family sword for surname, or take up Baratheon. I do not care for which you choose, as long as the world knows you as my own. A son and heir, the one I should have had. The one I will make now, if you but take my hand, and see me as father. I would name you a prince, Jon."

He says that last again.

"I would name you a prince."

A Prince That Was Promised...

Jon Snow adopted heir of Robert Bartheon (2024)
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