Of Bastards, Brothers and Mended Things (Game Of Thrones)

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The wall stretched up lazily to the sky. It stood perfect, glimmering blue, white and purple as the sun peered behind it. After a few moments of ogling at their new home the recruits had pretty much had enough of the ice wall. "That's some chunk of ice..." Rowen mumbled sarcastically. "I wonder if it could ever melt." Then he chuckled to himself. The wall was massive, and standing underneath it Rowen felt small for the first time. There was something about the massive block of ice that crushed Rowen's ego like a grape.

The next thing Rowen noticed was the weather. It was cold. Perhaps the Starks would be right about winter. But after you've been preaching for years, you're bound to be right. "It's gunna get real chilly on the wall, eh Jon?" Rowen commented casually with a toss of his hair. "Snuggle up close puppy." He added, just above a whisper, then chucked hysterically.

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While Arya found the ride back a lot quicker, Robb Stark dreaded the return home. He wished that they did not have to face Lady Stark but as they approached the gates of Winterfell, Robb locked eyes with his mother. "Hello mother." Robb said, holding his head tall. "How are you?" Catlyn nodded sharply. Her face was often stark-cold. Robb and Arya returned their horses to the stables. By the time Robb had turned around, Arya was bounding around and almost out of sight. "Arya!" Robb moaned, and jogged after her. "I wouldn't act so guilt if I actually was innocent." Robb hissed once he had caught up with Arya.

He pulled the massive door open, and he let Arya step into the castle before himself. "Lovely to see you again, Robb." Theon smiled from the top of the stairs in front of Robb. "How was the hunting?" He asked with a chuckle.

Robb sighed, and shoved passed Theon Greyjoy. "Not as good as I hoped." He whispered, and continued to make his way up the cold stone stairs.
 
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EveryDayIrony

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Jon was pulled from his fearful admiration of the wall by Rowen’s rather stupid statements, but the bastard heard himself laughing despite that. “I don’t see it melting anytime soon Rowen. Though your hot head might be more capable than we suspected.” He smirked around the joke and nudged his horse forward. He glanced back in time to hear another remark from his companion, and this one brought a swift and sudden blush to his cheeks and a fluttering in his chest he wasn’t entirely comfortable with. He looked in another direction, deciding he wasn’t capable of responding wisely to such a statement.

The riding didn’t get any easier as the day rode on as rocky forest gave way to treacherously slick ice and snow eight or ten feet deep. One of the other riders’ mounts fell and broke its leg and the poor beast had to be put down. A heavyset recruit plummeted straight through the hard top snow and had to be pulled out of the hole he’d made by three other men. “I hope this chaos isn’t a reflection of the rest of our lives.” His own statement made his lips twitch…he and Rowen would be here and together until one of them dropped dead. It was a dizzying thought.

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Arya looked at Theon warily as they passed him, something in her flaring up warnings. She shrugged out of her snow covered cloak as they walked, dropping it onto a table as they passed by. Bran and Rickton dashed out of the main hall, angry tears staining Rickton’s little face as he struggled to catch his older brother. Arya’s arm shot out and it seemed Bran suddenly lost his footing. Rickton giggled and swiped at his eyes, sadness lost to the simplicity of childhood. Bran cast Arya a dirty look, and within seconds they were on the floor of the hall, wrestling and scratching and laughing somehow among all of it.

Rickton tugged Robb’s tunic, and sweetly extended his arms upwards to be picked up. Ned rounded the corner at that moment and couldn’t help the smile that stole his hard features. “Robb, how was the hunt?” His expression was perfectly level, but his dark eyes churned with wisdom.
 
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Rowen chuckled to himself and moved his horse to slowly march beside Jon's. He watched as the men foolish enough to look up rather than to the ground slipped on the slick ice and crashed to their bottoms. Rowen could not help but laugh as the men made utter fools of them selves. "Jon, I'm almost certain that tripping on ice will the the least of our worries. Well... Unless you slip off the wall I guess." He warned, and stole another glance at the mighty ice wall.

"Did you really think that The Wall was going to be glorious?" Rowen asked, lowering his voice so the others would not hear them speak. "I would have turned back with your family. You had a choice, Lord Snow. It wasn't this or the chopping block. But... It's not my place to speak. I only thought I should give my opinion." Rowen concluded and leaned back in his saddle. "Watch your step!" He cried to Jon as the horse slammed a hoof down on slippery ice.

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Robb smiled so sweetly and picked up Rickton. He spun the young boy around, and held Rickton in his arms as he turned to face his father. "Ah... Well, with Arya and I, I suppose the hunting was as good as it could be." Robb said politely, shuddering under the cold gaze of Eddard Stark. Robb felt as though his father could read each and every one of his thoughts and expressions. Robb began to chew his lip, then stopped himself. He would look guilty that way.

Robb smiled and placed Rickton on the ground. The youngest Stark was growing heavy, and Robb Stark felt exhausted. "I suppose all was well while Arya and I were gone. Little Bran didn't tear down all of Winterfell without Arya I see." He chuckled and fiddled with Rickton's curly auburn hair.
 
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EveryDayIrony

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“I don’t know if glory is the right word…for me at least I feel this is only place I can find some honor under my own name-!” The sound of crunching ice filled the bastard’s ears, and it was all he could do not to jump from his horse then and there. He jerked the reins, pulling his mount back from the now widening hole as quickly and possible. But, true to Catlyn’s wishes, the ornery mare laid her ears down and reared, effectively slipping and pinning Jon beneath her, and successfully sending a spider web of cracks across the ice.
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Jon swallowed down panic and reached out to grab his mare’s bridle, hoping to keep her getting up and falling again and plummeting straight into watery grave. He cursed himself softly and glanced up at Rowen. “I need you to get her off of me before we do anything else. Gently though, or she’ll put us straight through the ice.” He tried to hide the fear in his voice, but growing up in Winterfell had shown him too many times just how dangerous a situation like this could be and yet he didn't even think not to trust Rowen. “I’m going to gut this old bitch.” He murmured to himself, struggling not to notice the whispering of the ice beneath him.
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Rickton pouted upon being put down, and showed his displeasure by laying a swift kick in Bran’s side while his older siblings continued to wrestle. Bran yowled in displeasure and leapt off of Arya, taking chase after the already fleeing Rickton. Arya, of course, stood to defend their youngest sibling and bolted after Bran. Ned watched the scene with a cool smile, saving his words until his youngest children disappeared around a corner. He looked back to his son, face taking on a calm, almost sympathetic expression.
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“I figured it would go that way though I’m glad you got some rabbits out of the ride…the bigger prey is unlikely to go down so easily.” He bowed his head clapped a hand on Robb’s shoulder. “You look exhausted, go find some hot food in the kitchens and I’ll have a bath run for you.” He offered him a smile and walked past his son.
 
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Rowen swung down from his horse, and carefully stepped over towards Jon and the fallen horse. He carefully watched each footfall, hoping it would not crack the ice. Slowly he shifted over to the fallen horse, and tossed his black hair away from his face. "It's probably easiest to kill the beast." Rowen mumbled, but never went through with the act. After all, it was not really his place and the horse was not injured. Rowen cocked his head to the side, and decided that he should try and slide the beast over the ice.

So, Rowen did just that. He shoved the wailing beast. The horse kicked and squealed until Jon was free and then he stepped back. The horse was able to work its way to its hooves. He sighed and placed his hands on his hips with a smirk. Then, he swore and Rowen's eyes widened as he heard a loud crack and the ice below his feet gave way. It only took a few seconds for Rowen to become submerged in the icy water.

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Robb Stark nodded slowly. "Yes Father." He said, glancing back at Arya, Rickton, and Bran. Their smiles were so innocent and they chuckled so sweetly it reminded Robb of summer. The Stark heir smiled faintly, but his heart felt heavy. I could never be a good enough brother, he thought, Jon was far better at that.
 
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Jon breathed a sigh of relief as his mount trotted over to Rowen’s horse’s side, as though the whole ordeal had never happened. He turned to thank his friend, only to watch in horror as the ice swallowed him. “Rowen!” His cry sounded desperate in his own ears as he crawled over the ice, careful not to put himself in right after him. He peered into the icy water and found he could not see the raven haired bastard. He bit into his lip as he clumsily drew his sword, scabbard and belt and all. Thrusting his blade into the water, he frantically began to brush the snow from the ice so he could see through the thick frozen water. “Rowen! Grab the sword!” He shouted when he finally spotted a dark mass that could have been his companion. He reached into the freezing water to his shoulder and moved the sheathed blade towards what he prayed to be his companion. His heart thud in his chest as the seconds crept by like hours. “Damnit Rowen, come on!” He cried, ignoring everything but slender form of his sword beneath the ice.
 
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Everything was cold. Cold water squeezed Rowen's lungs, pushing him below the water... holding him there. The black haired bastard pushed at the ice above, hoping it would give. But nothing happened. Rowen's lungs grew tighter and his throat clenched, and he grew desperate. He felt his head grow dizzy and he squinted, forcing himself to stay conscious. That was when his hand grabbed a hold of Jon's sword. Seconds later Rowen gasped air, and coughed out water at the same time. Jon hoisted him out, and onto the ice. All Rowen could this was how lucky he was. The bastard sprawled out onto the ice, heaving up the last of the water in his lungs. He felt the adrenaline drain from his face and limbs, and Rowen began to shiver. Slowly he curled into a ball and licked his blue lips. "T-t-that's f-f-fucking c-c-c-cold." He shivered.
 
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Jon breathed a sigh of relief as he tugged his friend through the hole in the ice. He lay the man flat, panting as his own rush faded from his blood. He rested for only a moment before standing up. He pulled Rowen half up and drug him away from the treacherous ice, and onto solid rock. “I’m here Rowen.” he murmured and immediately began to strip his companion of his clothes, lest he freeze in the frigid cold. Jon glanced up in time to see the superior brother ride up and inspect first the horses, then the two recruits. He made a noise of approval and gestured at the still marching recruits. “You two seem capable, make camp in that cave and keep him warm Snow. Meet us in the wall when his clothes are dry.” Jon offered the older man a hasty nod and turned his attention back to his friend. “Hope your hair doesn’t freeze.” He joked as he helped the now naked bastard into the aforementioned cave.

He went through the motions of starting a fire first, dragging Rowen as close as he could to the flame without burning his skin. He laid the other bastard’s clothes flat on the warming rock floor and then finally turned his attention back to him. His eyes flicked over the pale, muscular body of his fellow, back up to his face and then back over him again. He swallowed thickly and shrugged out of his warm fur cloak wrapping around his friend. “Here, turn your back to the fire so your hair will dry. If you get to cold, I’ll lay beside you.” he murmured as he laid Rowen’s long hair flat just like he had his clothes. Like a dutiful wife, he then got a stew going with the supplies he had left.
 
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Rowen angrily stuck out his lower lip and stared at his shadow, dancing in the warm light of the fire. While he wanted to just keep his wet clothes on, and tough it out until the wall, Rowen knew better than that. He sighed and hugged Jon's cloak closer to himself, letting his bright yellow eyes close and relax. "I didn't n-n-need your help." He muttered through clattering teeth. "This was all your f-f-f-fault anyways." Rowen brushed a few rouge hairs away from his face and suddenly whipped his hair back and forth, like a dog, sending ice cold water everywhere. The raven haired man frowned, then grinned, thinking of another way to torment the Stark bastard. "T-t-t-thank you anyways. W-w-would you like a token of g-g-g-gratitude, my knight. L-l-l-like maybe a kiss?" He chuckled, still shivering.
 
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Jon frowned to himself as he stirred the stew, casting a troubled glance at Rowen’s back now and then. “I’m sorry my horse slipped…thank you for helping me Rowen.” He murmured, hoping he would shut up and go to sleep. He was tempted to smack him when he shook his head and Ghost seemed distressed by the movement as well, and got up to explore the snowy terrain outside of the cave. “You’ve scared off my wolf.” he joked, only to have his chuckle cut off by the small gasp Rowen brought from his lips. Jon covered his blushing face with a hand and made a small noise of frustration. For a moment, he’d considered saying yes and crawling over to his friend’s side. Instead he picked up the now hot cooking pot and moved it beside Rowen’s feet. “You would never let me live that down.” he murmured, loud enough for Rowen to hear but low enough to hide the quivering in his voice. He glanced to Rowen’s face as he spooned some of the mixture into a goblet and crawled beside him. “Drink some of this, we’ve got to stop your quivering." He reached behind Rowen’s back and sat him up, supporting him with his broad shoulder.
 
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Rowen smiled faintly and with shivering hands he took the cup and touched the searing hot liquid to his lips. "T-t-too damn hot." He muttered, but frowned childishly as he realized the point was to drink it hot. The bastard sighed and poured the entire contents of the goblet down his throat. "Gah!" He wailed. "So damn hot! I t-think I burnt my fucking tongue." Rowen placed the goblet on the ground indignantly and folded his arms over his bare chest. "Tastes like piss and cow shit." He added lowly, but overall not caring his Jon heard or not. He looked back at his clothes drying on the ground and sighed forlornly. Things never dried in the North. You fall into a river, and your clothes are wet for weeks. Despite the fact Rowen's hair was still wet, he turned to face the fire and watched as the flames rose and fell as if they were breathing. "Do you suppose we'll catch up with everyone else? They didn't go for long after I fell in the water. If we leave about an hour earlier than they do, we should be able to catch them."
 
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Jon watched the other man with an amused smirk as he sipped his own soup. Perhaps Rowen’s body was still too cold to know the soup was no where not hot enough to get such a dramatic reaction. “I’m sorry my cooking skills aren’t up to par, but if you’ll remember correctly it was your turn to cook tonight.” He teased. He reached over to touch Rowen’s clothes and was pleased to see they were not soaking. He was a bit surprised to hear the worried tone in the other’s voice. He moved closer to Rowen. “We’re on horseback, we could get to the wall and back three times before they could even get out of bed.” He assured him. Swallowing a nervous gulp, he moved his cloak aside enough to get a look at Rowen’s ribs. “Hmm. Looks like your little swim did well for the bruising.” His eyes flicked over Rowen’s form once more, and Jon was alarmed to find his lingering on the dark hair between the bastard’s hips. He threw the cloak back over him. “We’ll be fine.” He murmured and took Rowen’s hand next to inspect the stab wound.
 
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Rowen laughed loudly and nodded slowly, letting Jon's warm hands take his own cold and wounded one. There was a slight jerk in the movement, and Rowen hissed. His fingers tightened around Jon's but the grip was weak. "I'm fine." Rowen said, then tried to squeeze harder to prove his point, although it didn't do much. "By morning it'll be as good as new." Rowen withdrew his hand and tucked it close to his chest. "I'm not a damsel in distress. I can handle things myself. Got it?" He suddenly snapped. The bastard rested his chin on his knees and stared at the fire. His face was flushed a light pink. Keep your cool Rowen, he thought to himself. There's nothing special about that damn Stark. He's a pansy.
 
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Jon frowned at the other man, taken aback by his sudden frustration. “Forgive me. I didn’t mean to insult you Rowen.” the statement was tense and perhaps not entirely truthful. He moved away from him and took another goblet of soup for himself. Sipping at it, he watched Rowen’s movements, watched those hawkish eyes catch the firelight, watched his angular face shift, watched his pale, bare shoulders move with each breath. Despite the frigid weather, Jon felt a bead of sweat run down the side of his face. He swallowed down a lump in his throat, but there was a lump elsewhere that could not be so easily dismissed. Jon shifted, praying to the old gods that Rowen did not have wandering eyes. He shifted, and felt a sudden urge to touch his companion again, to run his hands over Rowen’s strong arms, perhaps throw back the cloak and see how sharp his hip bones were…Jon’s throat went dry as he sat there, thoughts he’d never had about anyone except perhaps…no he wouldn’t think of that.
 
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Rowen continued to stare at the fire through squinted eyes. He faintly heard the rustling beside him as Jon shifted awkwardly. "Is there something wrong? You're squirming like a wet maiden." Rowen snapped, keeping his eyes pinned on the fire. The bastard glanced to the side briefly, only catching a quick glance at Jon's face. "If ya need to get something outta you, you can shut up, talk about it, or go for a walk. Got it?" Rowen said quickly. Outside Rowen retained a calm, yet harsh expression but inside his thoughts were spinning. He keeps staring at you, don't you find it a bit weird? He asked himself. Naww, it's got nothing to do with you. He's probably just impatient or bored. Rowen let out a little frustrated sigh and gently shook his head, trying to derail his train of thought.
 
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EveryDayIrony

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Jon stared down at his feet, put off by Rowen’s harsh comments. In Jon’s less than confident mind, Rowen knew exactly what was going through his head and was angry about it. Why else would be so snide? Oh but what a poor choice of words…The Stark bastard hid his face in his hands. He would not look at Rowen’s lovely face and he would not watch his body and he would not think of how flawless his skin was….Damnit his thoughts were as treacherous as his eyes! “Rowen you’re a devil.” He groaned into his hands. He got to his feet and walked to the edge of the cave, hoping the cool air would calm his raging…dare he call it lust? “Rowen…have you ever…been with another man?” His voice was barely above a whisper, but the tiny cave made his question as call.
 
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"I told you I don't like the back-story thing." Rowen replied shortly, and fell silent. There was a pause as Rowen glanced back at Jon and saw he looked almost... disappointed. So, Rowen sighed. Perhaps it was time to tell Jon the truth. "I told you about how I killed the woman I loved. But that isn't true. I was.. her husband's 'other man'. When she figured out she got angry and she tried to kill me. I killed her first, and her husband saw. So I killed him." Rowen confessed shortly. "It was also the reason I ran from home. Does that answer your question?" Rowen tossed his hair and moved to his now almost dry clothes and pulled on his breaches. "You tell anyone and I'll kill you. That ain't an exaggeration." Rowen's face was flush. He refused to turn back around so he took extra time buttoning up his shirt.
 
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Jon listened with concerned attentiveness, the pulsing lust quieting to a dull ache once more. He nodded to Rowen quietly, unsure of what to say for the moment. He gathered up their things since Rowen was apparently ready to go. “Keep my cloak. Yours isn’t dry and I’m used to this weather.” He walked out to load up the horses, a little sad to leave the situation behind. With everything put away, he mounted up and waited on his friend. “Rowen…thank you for telling me that.” He stated as they got the horses going, Ghost darting in between the mounts. “I know this isn’t my place to say, but I’m sorry it ended that way for you.” He looked to Rowen’s face as he spoke, not wanting to seem like he didn’t mean it.
 
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For a moment, it looked as if Rowen was smiling. He pulled the cloak around his shoulders and casually pet his horses mane. "Well you shouldn't be, 'cause I'm not." Rowen turned to strap the last of his minimal belongings to the back of his horse. As he did so, he continue to speak. "What happened in the past brought me here. If it weren't for that, I wouldn't..." Suddenly Rowen paused. He looked embarrassed, but the emotion faded from is face quickly and his face turned stern. "I wouldn't have met you... Yet again it also means I got stabbed by your brother and fell into a freezing cold river." Rowen laughed and climbed onto his horse. "I'm a bit conflicted."
 
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Jon tried to contain the grin that broke over his face but there was simply not stopping it. “Good to hear Rowen.” With that, he kicked his horse and raced ahead of the other man. Within an hour they’d caught the rest of the recruits, and within three the battered group was within the cold clutches of the Wall. Jon looked around with narrowed eyes. “Well Rowen, we’ve made it.” He whispered. The Brothers got to giving speeches, there was a meal and then the assessment began. Jon found it hard to believe that sparring would put them into groups, but the next thing he knew he and Rowen were facing separate opponents, and then both he and his friend were victorious and assigned to the same row of bunks. It was already the frigid night by the time they settled down, and Jon felt as though he was going to drop dead. He could only imagine how Rowen felt, being injured and nearly dying earlier in the day. He placed his things in the small chest at the end of the bed and flopped down. He was a bit distressed and somewhat excited by the fact that he and Rowen’s bunks were not only inches from each other, but that they were stuck at the end of the row, in the corner. “Together again, eh?” He joked quietly, watching the other recruits drop down into the bunks.