Word Count: 4,000+ / 11,000+
Summary: Kurt Baratheon is the heir to the Seven Kingdoms, but after spending ten years as a ward to the Starks in Winterfell, going back to King's Landing is the last thing he wants to do. At least, he gets to bring his best-friend-turned-lover with him. Blaine's presence will hopefully make the dreary life of a prince more bearable, especially when treason strikes. Game of Thrones!AU.
Author's Note: So, this is becoming a thing. I don't know how often I will be able to update, but I will try my best to make it semi-regular. Now, let's get a few things out of the way:
- This is an AU, not a crossover. I kept the names of the major Houses to situate the story within the GoT world, but secondary characters kept their own names for the sake of clarity;
- I said it in the prologue and I'll say it again: you do not need to know what GoT is to appreciate this. I am not referencing the canon overtly so it could be a nice little medieval AU. Knowing GoT just adds another level. It's kind of like fic-ception;
- There will be a character death in a coming chapter. If this is something that has the potential to upset you, you might want to think twice before getting into this story. I promise it won't be gratuitous and I will put up a warning;
- It might get violent. This is a sorta-medieval AU. There might be blood. Again, I will warn;
- While I stay away from the original plot of GoT in this story, I need you all to know that I am still only at the second novel of the series and if you spoil me in any way, my vengeance will be cruel and unexpected;
- I will tag this as "fic: our ungodly hour" on Tumblr if you wish to track it for updates.
The Red Keep was more impressive than anything Blaine could have ever imagined. Towering over the rest of the city on top of its hill, it dwarfed Winterfell, making it look like a vulgar peasant shed, and suddenly Blaine felt underdressed in his plain travelling garb.
Kurt was looking up as well, but instead of the worry Blaine felt like coiling snakes in his belly, he was smiling softly, his eyes bright and happy.
“I’m coming home,” he said, turning his gaze to Blaine. He kicked his horse into a trot and Blaine hurried after him, checking over his shoulder that Snow was following while the rest of the escort let out groan of frustration.
It had been a recurring event during their journey to have Kurt disregarding the orders to stay grouped and to run ahead, Blaine following and only succeeding in making him stop when they had lost sight of the others. He never found out whether Kurt was in a hurry to get to King’s Landing or if he needed time on his own, but he never told Blaine to leave him alone and it gave them moments alone to touch and speak freely. The scenery was not always ideal and Blaine would never forget that one time a grass-snake crawled up his leg as they were kissing next to a spring, but he found he lived for those few moments while they were on the road.
With the memories of those stolen kisses in private he had with Kurt over the past month, the promise of private chambers and featherbeds was the highlight of Blaine’s life as he crossed the King’s Gate behind Kurt. He marvelled at the change in attitude of the guards as soon as they saw the crowned stag embroidered on Kurt’s green velvet doublet. Kurt had taken to wear clothes that were sent to him by his father for his arrival in King’s Landing after they passed the Trident, and for the first time since those first few days ten years ago he looked like a prince.
The ride up the winding streets of the city was fascinating and Blaine spent it looking left and right of the streets bursting with activity, feeling a tingle of excitement as the crowds moved up against the walls to let them through. The sightings of the sigil on Kurt’s clothings raised whispers in their wake, the sound like that of the wind rustling the leaves of the trees in the godswood. Blaine felt homesick at the memory, but it was gone not long after as he observed the way Kurt carried himself, shoulders squared and head held high. Blaine straightened his back and tried to mimic Kurt’s posture, feeling foolish when Kurt smirked at him.
Stable boys rushed forward to tend to their horses as soon as they entered the Red Keep, but Blaine barely noticed them. He was unable to stop gaping at everything that surrounded him, the castle even more impressive up close.
“Shut your mouth or else you will end up swallowing flies, m’lord,” Kurt teased in a sing-song voice, nudging Blaine after he crossed the yard to stand by his side.
“Your house is making mine look very insignificant, Your Grace,” he replied and grinned when Kurt let out a laugh, the sound kindling the flame that always burned in Blaine’s heart for Kurt.
“Yours had its charms. It was quaint.”
Blaine elbowed Kurt and he laughed again, elbowing Blaine back. He looked like he was about to say something else when he noticed the way the stable boys were trying hard not to appear like they were looking at him. Kurt seemed to remember at once who he was and he straightened up and pushed back his shoulders before addressing them.
“Have my belongings brought up to my bedchambers. Make sure that Lord Stark is given the best available chambers of Maegor’s Holdfast. He shall be treated as a guest of the highest importance. If it raises any objections, please take it to me or my father.” Kurt raised his eyebrow and then added, as an afterthought, “The King.”
“As it pleases Your Grace.”
“Come, m’lord,” Kurt said, nodding for Blaine to follow him. “I believe I am expected in the Throne Room.”
“Well actually, Kurt, your father asked for me to escort you to his chambers. He wishes to speak to you alone.”
Blaine had not noticed the man who spoke as they dismounted their horses, but now that he had he wondered how that could have been. He was richly dressed in deep purples and grays and a golden hand was pinned to his doublet. The Hand of the King.
Was he supposed to bow to the man? If Blaine was from a nobler family than he, did the title of Hand put the man higher in the hierarchy and thus Blaine was required to show him the appropriate respects, or did his birth keep him above? He never had to worry about this back in Winterfell. Everyone that visited was lower than him, except for Kurt, and, well, Kurt was Kurt.
“Blaine,” Kurt said ceremoniously, putting his hand on Blaine’s shoulder, “let me introduce you to Lord William Schuester, the Hand of the King. Lord Schuester, this is Lord Blaine Stark, from Winterfell.”
“My lord,” Lord Schuester said politely and Blaine returned it, awkwardly bowing his head down for good measure. The Hand eyed Snow, who was sitting by Blaine’s feet, and he shifted his weight on his feet.
“You can take me to my father, now.” Kurt’s voice was colder than Blaine had ever heard it and he glanced at him quickly, only to find his face hard and expressionless.
“At once, Kurt.” He shifted his gaze to Blaine and cleared his throat. “Perhaps Lord Stark wishes to be escorted to his bedchambers? We had them prepared for him in--”
“I already requested that Lord Stark be put in Maegor’s Holdfast,” Kurt cut sharply. “Please make sure the proper arrangements are made.”
Lord Schuester chuckled and shook his head, smiling fondly at Kurt. When he spoke, it was with benevolence and Blaine felt a wave of sympathy for the man. He was only doing his job, after all, and trying to make Kurt’s return as seamless as possible. “It has been a long time since you last set foot here, Kurt. The Holdfast is for the royal family only, but I can’t blame you for forgetting. Surely you meant--”
“I meant exactly what I said, my lord. Lord Stark will reside in Maegor’s Holdfast. This is my final order. I will find the way to my father’s chambers on my own, it has been a long travel and this conversation is only delaying the rest I sorely need.”
Lord Schuester bowed and headed back to the castle. Kurt followed a few paces behind and Blaine fell in at his side, keeping silent until they were out of earshot from everyone.
“I have a feeling you do not like this man,” he said cautiously. He knew Kurt’s tempers too well.
“Have you heard how he calls me Kurt as if we were friends? I could never tolerate this man, even as a child. He’s a lowborn, the son of some landed knight who made a name for himself in a war my grandfather waged, and he believes he can walk around the Red Keep and govern the kingdom because of a golden pin on his breast. And you bowed to him? It was subtle, but he noticed it. What were you thinking, Blaine? He should be grovelling at your feet instead of treating you like your some peasant I took a fancy in and brought home with me. You do not bow for anyone but my father, understood? You are higher born than everyone here and they will show you the appropriate courtesies or I will make them.”
“Yes, I’m sorry. I didn’t know what to do.”
“Now you do.”
Guards marched out of the way as Kurt stormed down hallways and across a dry moat lined with iron spikes at the bottom. He pushed opened a door, sending it banging against the opposite wall and that seemed to calm him down because he started up the winding staircase at a normal pace. Snow hesitated at the entrance and Blaine had to coax him inside. It took long enough to force him to run up the stairs to catch up with Kurt.
“How did he come to be the Hand?” Blaine asked when he finally reached him. He could hear his heart thumping in his chest as he tried to catch his breath.
Rolling his eyes, Kurt snorted. “He was a ward at Highgarden with my father. They grew up together and I imagine my father trusted him enough to name him Hand after my grandfather died. We’re almost there.”
They stopped outside of a door and Kurt took in a deep breath, brushing his clothes and carding his fingers through his hair nervously. His anger had turned into anxiety and he seemed to be thrumming with nervous energy.
“You look great,” Blaine said softly, stepping closer.
“But do I look regal? I don’t want to walk in there looking like a--” He stopped and bit his lip, a blush coming up on his cheeks.
“Like a wolf prince?”
The rumours, quicker than they, travelled and reached the Twins before their party stopped there for a few days. The Freys had heard of Kurt’s imminent return to King’s Landing and Blaine heard the household calling Kurt the “wolf prince” behind his back more than once. He had told Kurt about it, which made him flush with anger, whispering his anger to Blaine in the dark of his bedchambers and explaining how degrading it was in the south to be associated with wolves. It alluded to the falsely held beliefs that northerners were unrefined and wild, and it was a terrible perception to have of the next King for noble and peasant alike, especially as a descendent of the Tyrells and the Baratheons, two of the most powerful Houses of the south. Blaine had nodded and pretended like it did not feel as though Kurt was saying that being from the north was a thing that could be held against him here in the capital, where he was going to live for the rest of his life.
“Like I travelled for the past month,” Kurt finished with a sigh.
“It will be alright, Kurt. He might be the King, but he’s your father.”
Kurt nodded resolutely and then knocked on the door. The reply was muffled by the thick wood, telling them that he was busy and to come back later. “It’s Kurt,” he said and Blaine squeezed his hand briefly.
The door swung open and then the King of Westeros was standing in front of them. Blaine felt the urge to bend the knee, his deeply ingrained manners kicking in and taking over his brain as his mind reeled at the thought that this was actually the King standing in front of him. It had been easy to forget that Kurt was a prince the moment he tripped over his own feet and fell face first in the mud four days after he arrived to Winterfell, but as he looked at the two Baratheons and noticed the similarities, he was faced with the realization that Kurt was the heir to the kingdom.
Said heir was currently being smothered in a fierce hug and Blaine looked down at Snow to busy himself while he waited, meeting the wolf’s golden eyes and shrugging when he found what looked a lot like a question in them.
Father and son eventually let go of each other and they were ushered into the room.
“Who’s your guest?” the King asked, but he continued before Kurt could reply. “No, do not tell me. Dark curly hair, pale skin, those eyes--” Blaine flushed under the scrutinizing look. “You must be the Starks’ firstborn? It was very honorable of your father to send you along with my son for safety, but it was unnecessary.” Turning to Kurt, he shook his head. “I imagined he’d be older. And is that a wolf?”
“Snowf--” Blaine glared at Kurt, silently daring him to use Snow’s full name. Kurt chuckled under his breath. “Snow is a direwolf, Father. And you are wrong. Blaine is the second Stark son. He came along because he wished to--” Kurt stalled and glanced at Blaine for help.
They had not discussed the matter much after the night Kurt convinced him that taking the Black was a terrible idea. He knew he wanted to follow him to King’s Landing, but he had no idea what he would do. There were many possibilities offered to him and his name would open every door, but none felt right. Except perhaps--
“To take an oath of fealty to the prince, Your Grace,” Blaine spoke, bowing when the King looked at him like he was noticing him for the first time.
“Blaine, was it?” Blaine nodded, keeping his head down. “Straighten up, boy, or your bones will stay stuck that way. So, you wish to become my son’s sworn sword?”
“Ku--The Prince will need a personal guard to ensure his safety and I believe growing up together has proven him that I am worthy of his trust. It would be an honour to protect the prince, Your Grace.”
“Does he always speak like that?” The King asked Kurt, who stifled a laugh by biting his lip as he shook his head. “You are right, Blaine. I started looking for knights for Kurt’s safeguard. You are not a knight.”
“No, Your Grace, but I do not think the lack of title will impair my ability to protect the prince.”
The King chuckled and clapped Blaine on the shoulder. “I am only jesting. You will take your oath tonight during the feast. Now, ask someone to escort you to your chambers, I wish to spend some time with my son.”
“Speaking of his chambers,” Kurt said, glancing furtively at Blaine. “I requested that he be put in Maegor’s Holdfast.”
The King shrugged and shook his hand dismissively, which brought a smug smile to Kurt’s face. Blaine made his way to the door, Snow on his heels.
“If you need anything, Stark, you only have to ask. The Red Keep is at your service.”
“Thank you, Your Grace.”
Blaine stopped with his hand on the doorknob when Kurt spoke. “I will come and get you for the feast, Blaine.”
The warm water sloshed around the large marble tub as Blaine shifted, sinking lower and relishing the way his muscles relaxed and tension left his body. He barely registered that there was a knock on the door or that it opened, only becoming aware that Kurt had walked in when his hands, which he obviously dipped into the water to warm them, touched his shoulders. Blaine groaned as Kurt began massaging them, pressing his thumbs into the knots he encountered.
“You should join me,” Blaine said in a low voice. He let his head fall forward so Kurt could knead at the back of his neck, where the muscles were stiff from riding for days.
Kurt’s lips pressed wetly on the nape of his neck and he shook his head before pulling away. “I already washed before I came here. I did not expect to find you quite so naked,” he whispered into Blaine’s ear, one arm coming up to wrap around Blaine’s shoulders and the other moving down the front of his body, Kurt’s fingers stroking a path down passed the surface of the water to rest against Blaine’s belly. “How do you like your chambers?”
The chambers were bigger than Blaine’s back at Winterfell and richly furnished. The bed was a massive thing made of golden wood, the four posts elegantly carved with the sigil of the royal House. The beddings were of a rich dark blue with white embroideries in the shape of moon crescents and eagles. House Arryn, Blaine realized, and it fitted with the rest of the room, everything finely carved and delicately-built in light colours. The sun was setting, dimming the room, but Blaine had a feeling it would be awash with sunlight on the next day.
“Everything is gorgeous,” Blaine replied, craning his neck to press a kiss to Kurt’s chin.
“My great-grandparents used this room when they visited from the Eyrie.” Kurt got up and wiped his arms with one of the plush towels a handmaid had left for Blaine’s use. He crossed the room and sat on the bed, grinning when Snow pushed at his hand with his muzzle until Kurt started petting him. “But I will ask that it be redecorated to the Stark colours. You should finish getting ready, the feast will start soon.”
“How was it with your father?” Blaine asked as he got dressed. He smirked when he saw Kurt’s eyes glued to him, his lips slightly parted.
He had not expected the heavy sigh that Kurt let out, nor the sad look on his face. “It was alright. We had not seen each other in ten years, I could not expect things to be as they were.”
Kurt shrugged and looked at Snow, smiling at the wolf when it nibbled on his hand. He carded his fingers through the thick pale gray fur. “No. It will be fine. We need some time to get reacquainted, but if I succeeded in making your father fond of me, I should be able to do the same with my own. Ready?”
The size of the Great Hall astounded Blaine when they entered, but he did not have time to let it sink in as every guest got up and grew silent at the announce of Kurt’s name. He felt every eye on him as they crossed the long room and he tried to carry himself taller, failing miserably under the weight of the gazes. A seat had been saved for him on the dais, to Kurt’s right, and they shared a smile as they stood behind their chairs. The attention of the hall shifted to the entrance, where the King had appeared. He joined them rapidly and clapped Kurt on the shoulder before taking the seat to his left. As he sat down, everyone did the same, and the servants brought in the first serving.
Half of what was on Blaine’s plate was completely unknown to him, which he admitted to Kurt in a whisper.
“This is a melon,” Kurt said around a laugh when Blaine held up something orange cut in the shape of a square.
“And it’s edible?”
“It’s delicious.” Kurt stole it from Blaine’s hand and popped it into his mouth, laughing again when Blaine gasped in mock-offence.
Despite the unknown things which Blaine tasted reluctantly, the food was good and the wine even better, their cups were refilled before he could even see the bottom. Before long, Blaine felt sleepy and so full he might not have to eat for a few days. Kurt was animatedly discussing with his father, his hands flying around as he explained something Blaine was too lazy to try to understand. He was happy to only sit and watch him, smiling as Kurt’s cheeks flushed from the wine and the enthusiasm he was putting into his story.
“I hear you are taking an oath of fealty later tonight.”
Blaine blinked himself back to the present and turned to where Lord Schuester was looking at him expectantly.
“Oh, yes,” he answered plainly. The Hand nodded thoughtfully before taking a sip of wine and Blaine mirrored him, still not quite sure of what were the expected courtesies. Kurt’s radical ‘you bow to no one’ was sure to offend everyone he met.
“The King had considered someone else for the prince’s personal guard. A valiant young knight, maybe you were told about him?” Blaine shook his head and reached for a roll just so he would have something to do. “Nevertheless, I am sure you will make a decent guard, if what they say about the Starks is true.” Blaine opened his mouth to speak, but the man continued. “Have you considered taking your knighthood oaths, as well?
“I cannot be a knight. The oaths are taken under the Faith of the Seven, aren’t they? I keep the old gods.”
“Oh, that’s right, I forgot. We don’t meet a lot of northerners in King’s Landing. Is the snow a concern for you, or have you learned to live with it?” he ask candidly.
Blaine gave him a tight smile and shoved the roll into his mouth, glancing at Kurt in hopes he would notice what was going on and would save him. It was the King who noticed and he winked at Blaine.
“William, I hope you are not giving Stark too much of a hard time?” he called and Lord Schuester shook his head, a meek smile appearing on his lips.
“My lord,” Kurt chided. He put his hand on Blaine’s arm and dug his fingers in his flesh for a second. “Do not scare him before he has taken his oath and cannot run away without committing treason.”
“Speaking of oaths, perhaps this should be done before everyone has had too much wine to remember,” the King spoke and then got up. Blaine marvelled at how the hall immediately grew quiet. “As you all know, we are gathered here to welcome back Kurt, my only son and heir. He has brought with him from Winterfell a lord who wishes to swear to his protection, and we will all serve as witness of this oath. Let it be said in a cheery atmosphere, surrounded by good friends and a good meal, in the hopes that the prince’s life may be filled with nothing but that.”
Kurt smiled as his father sat down and then got up, pulling Blaine along. “Your brought your sword?” he whispered as they walked around the table to stand in front of it, where they might be seen by everyone. Blaine nodded. “You remember the words? We should have rehearsed. I rehearsed my titles while I was taking a bath. Did you? You need to list them, don’t forget.”
“I remember the words, Kurt, don’t worry.”
They stopped when they were standing in front of where the King sat, the nobility to their left and more knights and lords than Blaine had ever seen to their right. Taking a deep breath, he unsheathed his sword and bent the knee in front of Kurt, laying it at his feet.
“I, Blaine of House Stark, son of the Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, am yours, my lord. I will shield you and keep your counsel. I will give my life for yours, if need be. I swear it by the old gods and the new,” Blaine swore, his voice carrying loud and clear through the silent hall.
“I, Kurt of House Baratheon, first of his name, heir and prince of the Andals, the Rhoynar, the First Men, and the Seven Kingdoms, and future Protector of the Realm, vow that you shall always have a place by my hearth and meat and mead at my table, and pledge to ask no service of you that might bring you into dishonour. I swear it by the old gods and the new. Arise.”
Blaine sheathed his sword and stood, meeting Kurt’s eyes and holding his gaze. This was the closest to weddings vows they would ever be allowed to take. He could tell Kurt felt the same way as him and he swallowed thickly as Kurt finally looked away to smile at his father.
That night, as he lay awake in the unfamiliar bed, felt let himself feel homesick. He missed the quiet nights and he wondered how he would sleep with the constant rattle of the guards marching outside his window. He missed the way the temperature would drop after dark, allowing him to snuggle under heavy covers or warm his hands by the fire. He was uncomfortably warm as he lay on top of the covers and the air was humid with the heat of the day, sticking his smallclothes to his body. Mostly, though, he missed how he could slip into Kurt’s room and let the sound of his breathing lull him to sleep. He did not dare do it in case he fell asleep and they found him there in the morning. They would surely send him back to Winterfell, or worse, ban him to the Wall for inappropriate behaviour towards the prince.
A wave of loneliness washed over him and he curled up on his side, hugging a pillow to his chest. At the same time, the door to his chambers opened slowly and Kurt quietly slipped in, climbing into bed and clinging to Blaine tightly without saying a word. Blaine turned in his arms and buried his face against his chest, breathing him in deeply.
He left at the break of dawn with a kiss to Blaine’s cheek and a whispered ‘I love you.’