(For madamdoesnothing using this prompt - OK, so this is a sequel to The Pack Survives, Seeing, and The Caged Wolf and I really need to come up with a name for this random chaptered fic, but whatever. Basically, all you need to know is that Arya was brought to King’s Landing after the Red Wedding, Catelyn lived and was forced to marry Tywin, and…yeah go read those fics. This is super freaking long and it’s kind of crappy because I’m so out of touch with my writing. Also the ending is whatever because I’m freaking tired. It’s 6 am. I’ve got a final in life 5 hours but I have to get up in 3. OOPS. What’s college mean anyways? And I know I said that I’d finish this tomorrow, BUT I WAS IN THE MOOD TO WRITE. So here you go, ten million years [or six months] later.)
N O T I N B L O O D B U T I N B O N D
Arya grimaced as her handmaiden put yet another pin in her hair. She’d lost count what felt like ages ago, pins upon pins in her long, dark brown hair, and even a few blue flowers as well. She hated it, of course, but kept her mouth shut. Today was supposed to be a special day. It would be the day that Lord Tywin announced her betrothal to… Oh, she didn’t know. Tywin had kept her informed on who her possible matches would be, but in the end, she had despondently told him that she did not want to know.
Another pin in her hair, this time pricking her scalp, and Arya jerked away, turning to glare heatedly at the handmaiden. “I think you’re finished.”
“But m’lady, your hair is not all–”
“No, I think it is.” Arya stood from her seat, took one look at her hair which looked more than finished to her, and then walked out of the room without so much as a dismissal. She knew it was rude and that the girl was only doing her job, but Arya was tired and frustrated and had spent her entire morning getting ready for an event she did not welcome. She didn’t care that the blue flowers in her hair matched perfectly with the blue gown she had been given or that she looked almost as nice as Sansa did on her bad days. All she wanted to do was run outside, ride her horse as fast as possible to loose her hair, play in the snow like a child though she was no longer one.
I am older than Robb ever was, she thought as she swept past the small council room that Lord Tywin used for the meetings.
Since she could not run off, she was fully planning on hiding in her mother’s bedchambers until the ceremony began. Surely Lady Catelyn would understand Arya’s pain. Her mother had been betrothed as well, and when her suitor had died, she had married a stranger, Arya’s own father. They were both dead now though, and her mother had been forced to marry a stranger yet again. That had been years though and while things were still strange and her mother still had bouts of sadness things were…warmer between husband and wife. There was even a baby now, a half-brother to Arya and this one not a bastard. Her mother would be able to give her the best advice and a nice hug.
Instead, Arya rounded the corner and bumped into something smaller than her, something that made a sound like, “Oomph!”
“Watch yourself! You could ruin my dress!” she snarled, despite not caring one lick about whether or not her dress was ruined. When she looked up at the offender (who was really the victim here), she was startled to find that it was not a handmaiden or a child but actually Tyrion Lannister, the Master of Coin and Lord Tywin’s second son. “Oh, I am sorry, my lord. I did not know it was you. Are you alright?”
“Not to worry, child,” Lord Tyrion sighed as he awkwardly stood up and brushed himself off, “worse things than a young girl have tried to kill me and failed. I’m quite alright.”
The nasty-looking scar on his face, complete with a bit of his nose missing, was proof enough of that, but Arya kept that to herself. It had scared her at first, seeing his face like that when she had first come to King’s Landing, but years had allowed her to grow used to it, to the point where she barely seemed to notice it at times no matter its size.
Tyrion eyed her. “Perhaps I should ask if you are alright, my lady. You look…distressed.”
“I’m just…excited, is all,” Arya replied, somewhat lamely.
What would Sansa do? was the reoccurring thought, more and more as her time in King’s Landing progressed. Sansa would know what to do; Sansa would know what to say. She had played all these people like a fiddle in the end. She had known all the right things to do when she had been betrothed and later married to Willas Tyrell. But thinking that did not help Arya one bit. She wasn’t Sansa. She was Arya Stark and Arya was no better at playing the game in King’s Landing than a dog was.
“Excited, yes, I’m sure,” Tyrion deadpanned. “Every girl dreams about the day she’s sold off like a cow.”
Arya scowled. “I’m not a cow.”
“Of course you’re not,” he said, a little smile on his face. “You’ve grown into a remarkably pretty young woman, most definitely not a cow. Boys will be lining up for you at the gate and fathers will greedily ask for you for their sons.”
Despite herself, despite everything in her, her face fell. “Only because I am a Stark and my step-father is the Hand of the King and a Lannister. I’m not much of a match for anyone’s son without my name.”
“You must look on the bright side, my lady.”
“And what’s that?”
“Why think of all the lovely children you’ll be forced to whelp!”
A smile broke out onto Arya’s face. It was an awful thing to think of – her worth only being her name and the amount of children she had – but the grand way in which Tyrion had said it, how he’d thrown his hands in the air and smiled almost gruesomely, brought the smile to her face. He had a fancy way of talking sometimes, almost as if he enjoyed irritating his father, but Arya loved it. Everything was transformed into a story by Tyrion Lannister and she loved listening to him talk, just as Sansa had loved hearing all the songs and stories about knights and maidens. But Lord Tyrion’s stories were dark and gritty and absolutely fascinating, nothing like the stories of her childhood. He never censored himself in front of her, except for when her mother and Lord Tywin were around, and then he would wink at her when neither were looking and whisper that he’d tell her more later.
“Fret not, Arya,” Tyrion told her. “I know you are worried – and you have every right to be – but rest assured my father will not force some terrible and idiotic lad on you. While he may care little for me, he does not want any harm to come to you. He is…fond of you.”
“Fond.” Arya snored at the thought.
“If he wasn’t, you would have already been married off by now instead of just now being betrothed,” Tyrion explained. When she gave him a puzzled yet curious look, he shrugged his shoulders. “There is a reason he has been holding off, keeping you here. It makes your mother happy and it makes you happy and gods be good he seems to actually like having you both happy.”
Arya chewed on her bottom lip and looked to the ground, thinking of all the times Tywin had said that she was not ready to be betrothed and that she needed more time. To do what, she’d never had a clue, perhaps mature or just grow up and get over herself. “I suppose…”
Tyrion pat her on the arm. “When all the hubbub is done, we’ll have a cup of wine to properly celebrate and drown out any sorrows you might have.”
Truth be told, she wanted the cup of wine now, to calm her nerves, but she knew that wouldn’t be the best thing to do. Her mother and Lord Tywin let her have a cup of wine every now and then, considering she was six and ten and quite old enough, but the only time she’d been drunk had been with Tyrion. She had been miserable and in an awful state after getting into an argument with her mother and Lord Tywin reprimanding her. Tyrion had shown up with a few sound words of advice and two skins of wine. By the end of the night, both of them had been drunk and laughing and made plans to go visit a whorehouse just to scandalize everyone.
They hadn’t done that yet. And perhaps they never would. That made her terribly sad again just thinking about it.
Catelyn x Tywin —> an AU in which Catelyn is kept alive and Tyrion doesn’t kill Tywin
The Winter’s Song (Part XXVI)
The disgruntled look on Cersei’s face would quite possibly sustain Catelyn for the rest of her life. No one told her of how the Queen Regent had reacted once she’d heard the news about Catelyn’s successful birthing, but Catelyn liked to imagine that it hadn’t been a happy one at all. Even now, a week later, Cersei refused to look at the babe and seemed fully intent on pretending he didn’t exist at all. Catelyn was fine with that; she preferred that Cersei stayed as far away from her child as possible. The Queen had harmed one of Catelyn’s children; she would not have the chance to lay a finger on this one. Catelyn would make certain of that.
“Can I hold him?” Tommen asked, glancing from his mother to Catelyn.
“No,” was all Cersei proclaimed, as much venom injected into that one syllable word as possible.
“Of course you can,” Catelyn told him sweetly, “but you must be careful.”
Tommen nodded his head enthusiastically. “Oh, I will.”
As Catelyn picked up Tyson from his cradle, Cersei said nothing. She merely folded her arms across her chest and glowered. This was the child that had possibly stolen Casterly Rock from her. It would have fallen to her had Tywin not had another heir, most like. Catelyn knew that complicated things and made life even more dangerous for her son. She wasn’t a fool to think otherwise. Cersei Lannister did not suffer competition lightly. Still, Catelyn acted like nothing bothered her as she gently placed Tyson in the young king’s arms.
“Make sure to support his head,” Catelyn instructed.
It was a sweet picture: the little blonde king cradling a baby boy in his arms. Tommen looked down in awe at the child; and Catelyn could see him mouthing words to the baby, probably things like, “hello,” and “how are you?” and “my name is Tommen.” All sweet, innocent things, just as he was, even if he had come from something not-so-innocent at all. Catelyn wondered, not for the first time, how such a boy could have come from two people. He reminded her of Edmure so much sometimes that it hurt.
“He’s so little,” Tommen whispered. “And he’s my uncle, even though he’s just a baby, just like Uncle Ser Jaime?”
Before Catelyn could say anything, Cersei stepped forward, placing a hand on her son’s shoulder. “Yes, just like Uncle Jaime.”
Catelyn did not even want to bother opening that door. She kept her mouth closed and her eyes on the boy king. There were some doors that were better left closed; and that was definitely one of them.
“I’ve never held a baby before,” Tommen added. “I was the baby of the family.”
Tommen just shook his head.
Catelyn felt a bit stunned. All of her children had held a baby, even Rickon, who had been allowed to hold the month-old babe of one of the handmaiden’s. Robb had held all of them and he had always been happy to do so. He’d been so proud to be a big brother, smiling wide and eyes shining whenever he saw his new sibling for the first time. She would always remember the look on his face when he’d first seen Sansa. He’d been four, small and curious as ever. Ned had let him inside their bedchambers and Robb had rushed to the bed only to tentatively crawl on top of it to be with her. “She looks like me,” he had said. And then, a serious look had come over him, one that should never cross a child’s his age, and he’d added, “I’ll be the best big brother ever. I promise. I won’t let anyone hurt her.”
Catelyn wondered if Robb had remembered that promise when he had made the decision to not trade the Kingslayer for Sansa and Arya, if the memory had burned him when he’d heard of how Sansa had been forced to marry Tyrion Lannister, as it had done her.
Catelyn x Tywin —> an AU in which Catelyn is kept alive and Tyrion doesn’t kill Tywin
The Winter’s Song (Part XXV)
The handmaidens prepared Catelyn as they waited for the arrival of Maester Varden and the midwife, setting her down comfortably in the birthing bed that had been brought for her. It was the same one Cersei Lannister had used; though no one had told her, she’d found out easily enough through some of Cersei’s snide comments at dinner. They laid pillows against her lower back to help her be at ease but that didn’t stop the pain. Predictably, the midwife showed up first, immediately showing the handmaidens who was boss. She was an older woman, probably in her sixties, but she knew what she was doing. Catelyn liked that about her. She didn’t want any fresh newcomer to the baby business.
Maester Varden showed up just as the contractions felt like they were too close. He wore an amiable smile on his face as he pushed up the sleeves of his robe. “Ready for the big day?” Cheerful, always cheerful.
Catelyn could not express to him how grateful she was that he alone seemed completely at ease and even happy about what was going on. She didn’t think she could have been able to handle Maester Pycelle’s graveness at a time like this, not when everyone else seemed to look at her as if she was going to drop dead. “As ready as I can be, I suppose.”
“It will be fine, my lady,” Varden reassured her, pressing his hand against her forehead. She was already starting to sweat from the effort. She knew that the time to push was coming, but a part of her wanted to hold back. With everyone else on edge, it made her nervous as well. What was it that Jaime had said? That the Lannisters were cursed to have no more children? Or at least none that were deformed or cursed themselves…
She thought of Tyrion Lannister, his stunted legs and arms, his large head, his mismatched eyes, and that lion’s grin that cut across his face whenever he said something witty. He had been smart, perhaps more than most men in Westeros, and look where it had gotten him. She could not have that for her child, not this one, not her only remaining one.
Sansa, where are you? And Arya, are you even alive? You are going to have a new sibling now, but will you ever know why?
After examining her carefully, nodding and muttering to himself, Varden sat down next to her, that same old smile on his face. “Everything seems to be going accordingly. I’d say you’re nearly fully dilated.”
“Feels like it,” Catelyn huffed, another hard contraction clenching inside of her. She looked around the room, noting the two handmaidens, the midwife, and Maester Varden. Something felt wrong. Something was…missing. “Where is Lord Tywin?”
(For anonymous using this prompt and is also sequel to The Pack Survives and Seeing, but is once again more focused on Arya and Tywin’s relationship than Catelyn and Tywin’s marriage. I did not mean to turn this into a chaptered fic, but seeing as how I have another Arya and Tywin + Catwin request in the mix, well, you’re all getting one. Yay/Yay?)
T H E C A G E D W O L F
“She won’t settle easily.”
“Of course not. She has spent nearly five years in King’s Landing and she is still as wild as the North.”
“Winter has always been in her bones.”
“The North? Winter? No, it’s more like fire is in her blood. I thought being here would tame her, but she grows wilder with each year. Did you hear what she did to that Frey boy? She broke his nose. He said one thing to her – and she bloodied and broke his nose.”
“In her defense, Starks tend to not like Freys on principle.”
“She is six and ten, Catelyn, not a child; she cannot act like this anymore, like some wild direwolf. Your older daughter went quite happily with her husband. I do not understand how this one is so…out of control. Is there a drop of her in you?”
Catelyn x Tywin —> an AU in which Catelyn is kept alive and Tyrion doesn’t kill Tywin
The Winter’s Song (Part XXIV)
Catelyn stared out the window, looking downtrodden and somewhat desperate, her fingers of one hand splayed against the stone beneath the glass, the other holding her swollen belly. Would that she could be out in the city right now, wandering the market, anything but in the Red Keep. Years ago, she had been able to tour the towns surrounding Winterfell whenever she wanted. She had loved the way that every city seemed to be teaming with children running around and laughing, despite the cold weather. In her youth at Riverrun, they had been somewhat secluded. Winterfell had always bustled with life since it was the center of the entire North. Even though the towns were far and wide apart, all of them were filled with life. In the Riverlands, it was much the same, perhaps even more so because of the warmer weather, but she had been separated from most of the people.
There was something so very proper about the South. Because she was a woman, she was kept from men; and because she was highborn, she was kept from everyone else. In the North, you had to know who you were surrounded by, because you might depend on them come winter should you run out of food or wood. The people came together in the North while they bickered and kept with their properness in the South. She missed that about the North, missed its people and the warm smiles they showed. She’d been so scared that they’d scorn a Southerner like her, but while they might have been wary, she had been welcomed with open arms and been taught how to survive in the North like a true Northerner.
It wasn’t like that in King’s Landing, not one bit. The people here fought and scowled and stole from one another without care. And even if they did none of that, they would stick up their noses and say the snottiest remarks.
“I’ve never seen anyone look so fondly at the city before,” a voice said behind her. “For a place that everyone wants to fight over, no one that actually lives here seems to like it.”
When Catelyn turned her head, she saw Jaime Lannister standing before her, out of his white armor. “The city isn’t so bad,” she said as she turned back to look out the window, “but the people in this castle are abhorrent.”
Jaime laughed, loud and unforgiving. “I’m not even sure I could call the people that grace these halls people. They’re more like desperate, little peasants hoping to get a treat before being pat on the head and sent back to whatever hole they crawled out of.”
“That’s cruel,” Catelyn told him, frowning at her reflection in the window. She thought something very similar to that, though she never said it out loud, but she saw the way people practically tripped over themselves while bowing quickly before Tywin or how they threw every compliment they could think of at his feet. She saw their wide smiles while they opened up their hands and how they would scowl once he turned away. The people of the court were paper thin and sometime she swore that she could literally see through them, as if they were nothing but wind.
“Ah, but you agree,” Jaime pointed out as he stood next to her. He gave her a careful look over. “I can see it in your face.”
“I’ve never been one for court games,” Catelyn admitted, glancing at him quickly.
“That’s the biggest difference between you and Cersei,” Jaime said. “She loves them.”
Catelyn bit her lip, trying to keep a snappy comment to herself. She did not care about how Jaime might feel if she insulted his sister in front of him, especially since she knew the…rumors concerning what went on between the two of them. Still, she didn’t want to get in the habit of speaking her mind about the Queen Regent. It didn’t do well to insult the woman when nothing came about it. Instead, it only seemed to stress her further. She rubbed her belly more, almost like a reflex.
They say that things just cannot grow
Beneath the winter snow
Or so I have been told
They say we’re buried far
Just like a distant star
I simply cannot hold
Catelyn x Tywin —> an AU in which Catelyn is kept alive and Tyrion doesn’t kill Tywin
The Winter’s Song (Part XXIII)
Gold. Cream. Red. Swirls of colors. Blurry colors.
No, they were walls, not just colors. No, not walls, ceiling – she was looking at the ceiling, painted gold and a cream color, red curtains in her view. She blinked, her vision coming in clearer, and she realized that she recognized the ceiling. And the curtains – her eyes went downcast and she saw the curtains hanging on the golden bedposts.
She was still in her bedroom in the Tower of the Hand.
“Tywin?” Her voice sounded like sandpaper to her own ears, her throat raw and dry.
“Cat, it’s me,” a male voice said, a face swimming into view. “It’s your brother.”
Edmure hovered above her, slipping a warm hand into hers and smoothing her hair down with his other hand. There was so much concern in his blue eyes. He had dark rings under his eyes, as if he hadn’t slept for days.
Catelyn smiled tiredly. “It seems as if our positions have been switched.”
“Well, I’m your brother,” Edmure replied, smiling despite himself in return. “It’s about time I took care of you instead of you always taking care of me. I have slacked on my duties terribly.”
“You’re my baby brother,” Catelyn told him. “I’m always going to take care of you.”
“I’m not a baby anymore though,” Edmure said with a laugh. When he stopped laughing, he just looked at her; and she could see the relief written all over his face. “Don’t scare me like that, okay? I…I don’t think I could handle losing you as well.”
Suddenly, the events of what she last remembered came rushing back to her and her heart started to race wildly. Her throat closed up and her lungs seemed to seize in her chest. Immediately she tried to sit up. Edmure tried to ease her back into lying down, but she pushed his hands away from her and she sat up, throwing the thick blanket away from her.
Tears welled up in her eyes. “My baby–”
(For anonymous using this prompt)
M A K E Y O U R B E D
Her sister trembled in her seat, staring hollow-eyed into the mirror at her own reflection, as Catelyn deftly wove her hair into a braid. She worked in silence, picking up a flower here and there and waving it into her sister’s pretty red hair. In a flash of immaturity, Catelyn couldn’t help but think that Lysa had nothing to be scared about, not like her. After all, Lysa was not the one marrying a man that was nearly twice her age. It was Catelyn that should have been the one staring blankly into a mirror while she was being comforted, but it was also Catelyn’s duty to do this for her little sister.
“You need not fear,” Catelyn told her gently, smoothing the younger girl’s hair down. “Eddard Stark will be a good husband to you; and you will be the Lady of Winterfell.”
Lysa whipped around, her eyes wide and bright. “I’m not scared for me. I’m scared for you!”
“Oh, Lysa…” Catelyn dropped her hands from her sister’s hair. Sighing heavily, she sat herself down on the stool next to Lysa and picked up the girls’ hands in her own. She felt so fragile, like a little girl. But then, she was only a little girl still, just ten and six. “You need not worry about me either. I will be fine; I will be safe–”
“It should have been me,” Lysa moaned, pulling her hands away and hiding her face with them, “or it should have been you. I don’t know what to think anymore. You were the one that was supposed to marry Brandon Stark, not me. So why am I the one marrying his brother in your stead now that Brandon has passed?”
Catelyn bit her lip, trying hard not to think about Lysa’s worries, but it was hard to do so when it was all she’d been thinking about for the past few days as well. She didn’t know what she was supposed to say to her sister. Could she possibly say that it had been her decision in the end? Could she say that she hadn’t really had a choice? Yes, it should have been Catelyn marrying Eddard since she had been the one betrothed to Brandon, but they would side with the Starks in this war no matter what. The marriage was mostly a formality and Lord Hoster Tully had another hand that he could give to the new young Lord of Winterfell. It had been another lord that they needed to secure, a much prouder and powerful lord; and Catelyn had known that despite Lysa’s youthful prettiness, she would not do.
“There is no use fretting over something that cannot be changed,” Catelyn finally decided on saying. It wasn’t comforting at all, but she was quite empty when it came to comforting words. The moment that she’d heard about this plan, she had known what her role would be. Lysa had been refused before, for the son, so she would certainly not do this time around.
If she was good at anything, her greatest skill and weakness was Catelyn’s ability to sacrifice herself for her family; and she had done just that, stepping up to the plate and making the decision for herself even before she had been asked. All she’d done was plead with her father to not tell Lysa the truth about it. Lysa hadn’t even known that she had been denied. It would break her heart to know this as well.
“But he’s…he’s frightening,” Lysa whimpered.
Catelyn leaned forward, pressing a kiss against her sister’s forehead. “Then it is a good thing that I do not scare easy.” She smiled, all ease and grace; and Lysa slowly returned the smile. “This is a time of war. Things can change in the blink of an eye. Men think that these times are for them, but women must bear the weight of the world as well and all blood war sheds. We must be strong, together, tonight.”
Lysa nodded her head and sniffled. “I can’t believe we’re getting married on the same night.”
“I know you wanted your own glorious wedding–”
“No, I’m happy– I’m relieved that you will be with me.”
“And I feel the same way in return.” Catelyn’s smile broadened, filled with more honesty and hope than she thought she could muster. She had dreamed about her wedding with Brandon since she was ten and four. It had always been a simple wedding ceremony, though she had known in her heart that Brandon would make it lavish and bright. He had always been like that. Now he was gone and war was breathing down their backs. They were in a corner and they’d needed help. She knew the price that women paid during times like these, sold off to the most powerful bidder, in hopes of tipping the scales. This time though, she had stepped on the scale herself.
A knock on the door startled both of them, but only Lysa jumped. They turned their attention to the door and a maid peered into the room timidly. “My ladies, I do not mean to disturb you, but–” She glanced back at someone outside the room, behind the door, and then looked back to them. “His lordship wishes to speak with you, my Lady Catelyn, before the procession.”