Pairing: Stannis/Jon (platonic)
Warnings: AU/future fic
Summary: The Others are defeated, but King Stannis demands one more thing from Jon Snow before he returns South.
Author's note: I was asked to write some Stannis/Jon last night, this is the cleaned up version of what happened. It's sorely lacking any context, and it's also very short – I'm aware that Jon would probably have argued for longer than he does here. Anyway, all you need to know is that the war is over, Stannis has won and is about to return to King's Landing, but for some reason he's at the Wall right now. Maybe because he had to finish kicking the Others' arse. The title is a little allusion to one of my favourite Stannis lines, "Then we will make new lords."
Standing on the Wall always felt like standing on top of the world, and now that the war was over it made him feel almost triumphant. Jon cast a hesitant look at the king – the only king Westeros had now – standing next to him, staring down at the endless expanse of snow and obviously lost in thought. He did not know what else King Stannis could possibly want from him, not anymore. The Others were defeated – what use did the man who had seven kingdoms to rule have for the Lord Commander of the Night's Watch? Jon waited quietly, studying the king's stern face, the clenched set of his jaw, the way his eyes were narrowed against the sting of the wind. Half an eternity seemed to pass before Stannis finally turned to face him.
"Lord Snow," he said stiffly, acknowledging his presence for the first time since Jon had joined him.
"Your squire said you wished to see me, Your Grace."
"I need you to return with me to King's Landing." Need, he said, not want. Jon was not sure if he had ever heard Stannis speak about what he wanted.
"King's Landing, Your Grace?" Jon could not even imagine what Stannis was talking about. It made no sense, his place was here, at the Wall.
"I will have need of a new Kingsguard." Stannis sounded irritated, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"The Kingsguard? What do I ...?" Realisation dawned only slowly, tinged with disbelief. "You want me on your Kingsguard?" Stannis did not reply, but the muscles in his jaw twitched. Jon's slowness seemed to vex him. "But ... I swore vows, Your Grace. I cannot desert the Wall."
Stannis made an impatient gesture with his gloved hand. "There is a precedent, under the Targaryens, of a knight who was released from his vows here to join the Kingsguard. The oath is similar enough. No wife, no children, no titles, no lands, service to the realm – you would not be breaking any of those vows."
"But ..." Jon's mind reeled. Bran had always talked about becoming a knight of the Kingsguard, but Jon had not even dared to dream of it. He knew that bastards had no place by the king's side. The Kingsguard was for the sons of great lords, for heroes and noble knights who wielded Valyrian steel that had been handed down from father to son for generations. The Kingsguard was for men like Ser Arthur Dayne or Ser Barristan Selmy, not for the likes of him. "But I'm not even a knight."
Stannis' frown deepened. "You are not?" He grimaced a little, grinding his teeth again. The king always seemed irritated by other people's shortcomings, as if they were personal slights meant to make his life more difficult. "I forgot. On your knees, then."
Jon stared. Stannis' hand went to the sword at his side - a simple sword, not the one the red woman had once given him. He unsheathed it when Jon failed to react. Jon was confused; he could not have angered Stannis that much.
"You will kneel." The words were a quiet command, the certainty in Stannis' voice almost threatening. Jon met those blue, hard eyes, the eyes of a king who would not be defied. His knees buckled, and he felt them hit the floor before he had even thought about it. The wind was almost deafening up here, but Stannis' voice was strangely quiet, as if he felt uncomfortable about the words.
In the name of the Warrior I charge you to be brave. In the name of the Father I charge you to be just. In the name of the Mother ... There was more, but Jon barely heard it, he was too numb from the shock. Sometimes, as a little boy, he had imagined getting knighted - but it had certainly never been on the Wall, at the hands of a king, of this king who would not take no for an answer. The words barely seemed to matter, only the touch of the blade on his shoulders, right, left, right again. Jon looked up at Stannis, still barely comprehending what had just happened.
"Rise, Ser Jon." Stannis' voice was as harsh as always, not welcoming, not friendly; more than anything he seemed annoyed by the delay. But when Jon reeled a little, Stannis' hand grabbed his arm and pulled him up, and even through layers of clothing and armour the touch of those iron fingers seemed to burn on Jon's skin. Stannis' hand was gone as quickly as it had touched him, and for a moment the king would not meet his eyes.
"The Night's Watch will have enough time to choose a new Lord Commander before we go South."
"I have not even agreed yet, Your Grace," Jon objected, finally finding his voice again. Leaving the Wall ... he had always dreamt of seeing more of Westeros, being a knight, being something other than a shameful secret that had to be hidden away, but the Wall had become his home. His family. His duty.
"But you will, Ser." Stannis' voice was sharp as he snapped the title. "A lesser man can continue your work here. You will be of more use by my side, and you will keep serving and protecting the realm of men – you will simply do so elsewhere."
Stannis did not wait for an answer, he merely turned and left. Ser Jon. It sounded all wrong in his ears. But the king did not seem to give him a choice, and Jon could not think of anything that would make him change his mind. Stannis Baratheon had claimed all of Westeros and subjected it to his will, and now he had claimed Jon as well. Jon did not think that he could defy him, but now that the war was over, he realised that he didn't have to anymore.