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.
The sun was high in the sky as Kurt sped through the hallways of the Red Keep. It beat down on the stone walls and reflected off the metal of the guards’ armours, blinding and harsh and filling the senses until it seemed the only thing left in the world was the sun and the heat. It made Kurt’s head dizzy and the cotton of his tunic stick to the skin of his back, sweat running down his temples and the ridge of his spine.
The heat wave was unrelenting, it had been turning life in King’s Landing into a nightmare for nearly three weeks, and Kurt would pay in blood for just one night spend without tossing and turning on his humid sheets while praying for a breeze that refused to come.
To make everything worse, the heat was making Blaine insufferable. It turned his usually cheerful character into a gloomy shadow of the man Kurt loved. The constant heat was tugging at their nerves and their time was spent between arguing over trivial matters because they barely slept and arguing some more when they overheated themselves by having sex and could not endure even being naked without feeling too warm and irritable.
That was when they had time for each other, which rarely happened any more. He was required to sit on the royal council, which met nearly daily for hours to discuss the state of the culture of grapes in Evenfall or the population of mountain goats at the Eyrie, which made Kurt consider jumping out the window several times every hour. He compensated by drinking too much wine, which only raised his body temperature and made him even more moody.
While he was wasting his youth in favour of watching a debate on the usefulness of a second set of tapestries for the great hall, Blaine was being rigorously trained by the master-at-arms. The man had judged Blaine’s sword-wielding abilities were unsatisfactory for the prince’s personal guard and had made it his mission to mold Blaine into a proper fighter (his exact words had been “my mother could take you down, Stark,” and Blaine did not take it personally until he was told the mother in question was eighty years old and a cripple). He always ended his days with stiff muscles and his moral destroyed, which did not help their arguing problems.
His mind already filled with dark clouds, Kurt entered the council room and frowned when the conversations stopped. They usually never bothered to acknowledge his arrival, barely even made a fuss for his father’s entrance, so the silence made Kurt groan inwardly.
“Your Grace,” Lord Ryerson greeted him, bowing his head and smiling meekly when Kurt stared at him blankly. The Dagger, they called him, the “royal informer” and the only man capable of sending cold chills down Kurt’s spine. He was dressed in his usual garish pink cape and daintily sipping from a cup. “You are looking particularly--” his eyes travelled up and down Kurt’s body. Kurt crossed his arms over his chest and leaned back on his heels. “--well-rested, today.”
Giving him a tight-lipped smile, Kurt took his place by the king’s right and reached for the pitcher of water, pouring himself a glass, the tepid water doing nothing to lift his mood.
“The King cannot be here today, so we will proceed now that the Prince has arrived,” Lord Schuester announced and everyone straightened in their seats. Everyone except Kurt. He only slumped lower and listlessly picked a grape from the bowl of fruit resting on the table. “Lady Sylvester, I believe you have news from the Greyjoys regarding the gold they owe us--”
Kurt’s eyes closed against his will and he felt his entire body becoming numb as sleep took over him, the heat and the lack of air in the room lulling him to sleep as much as the account of the Dagger’s informers on the state of the city whorehouses. He could hear the sound of swords hitting swords in the distance and he imagined he was watching Blaine. Kurt thought of the way he would discard his clothes so his chest was bare and golden in the morning light, shining from the sheen of sweat caused by the physical exertion and the harsh sun, and how all Kurt would want to do is drag him to his chambers and--
Kurt’s eyes snapped open when Lord Schuester gently tapped his shoulder. “I’m sorry I dozed off,” he said in a rush, straightening in his seat and feeling a blush creeping up his cheeks as they looked at him. “What did I miss?”
“What is your opinion of Quinn Lannister?” Lady Sylvester asked roughly, taking a sip from her glass of wine in one rough motion before roughly setting it down and glaring at Kurt. She even managed to make looking at someone seem rough.
Kurt gulped. “I know she exists.”
Lady Sylvester exchanged a glance with Lord Schuester and nodded. “That will do. You are to marry her.”
Kurt cannot say he did not see it coming. “Why her?” When frowns appeared around the table, he corrected his words. “What will an alliance with the Lannisters bring to the Kingdom?”
“An alliance with the Lannisters, for one,” the Dagger said coldly. “Enough gold to cover our debt and we’re securing the entire West and all their banners, which is a considerable number of men rallying to us.”
Flawless logic. Kurt had nothing to counter, except things he could not talk about. They had him cornered and they knew it. Or perhaps they did not, because perhaps there was no malicious intent in their action, only the well-being of the kingdom. Kurt did not care, in that moment, he felt betrayed and cheated and all he wanted was to get out of the increasingly claustrophobic room before he did a mistake and blurted out a confession that would put Blaine's life in danger.
He was not blind, nor stupid; he knew that no harm would come to him if it ever became known that he and Blaine--that they--did things. He was the prince, the heir, the cherished son of the kingdom, and he probably could kill someone in broad daylight and get away with it.
Blaine, on the other hand, had not made himself popular in the higher ranks of the city. Commoners and the household staff loved him, handmaids gushed and giggled every time he smiled at them and he had managed to become best friends with the kitchen staff so that he was always bringing Kurt sweets, but the people that really mattered were more reluctant to trust him. There were a few ladies, Lady Sugar and Lady Rachel, who had grown fond of him, but overall, cold stares followed him everywhere he went.
He was a stranger, a man of the North, surrounded by centuries-old tales of wargs and children of the forest, of the Others and the smell of cold deep in the night that nurses told children to be weary of. Kurt knew that if it were discovered that the prince was turning down a marriage for the Stark beastling, he would lose Blaine and even his father would not be able to save him.
The constant talking and the rumours were the worse part of his new life. Whispers and hushed voices followed him everywhere he went, he could feel eyes on him as he walked through the Red Keep - his home, he could not even be left alone in his home - but he had to keep his head high. Pretend like he did not notice, even if all he wanted was to hide in his bedchambers or steal away in the middle of the night to ride back to Winterfell where he would truly feel welcomed.
And wasn't it ironic that Winterfell, the most unwelcoming place in the kingdom this side of the Wall was the one place where he felt he could be himself? Where he could be Kurt instead of His Grace, where decisions he made did not have an impact on the entire nation, where he could love Blaine freely and fully without having to fear that someone might hear them or walk in because they still had the privilege of privacy and secrecy.
And gods, did he love Blaine. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, the saying went, but they forgot to mention that confinement in a highly guarded place where intimacy was a foreign concept did the same. Despite their constant bickering, the few stolen moments he had with Blaine were what helped him pull through, the difference between being apathetic during his daily princely obligations and going on a murderous rampage because he was so bored he could cry. He loved Blaine and Blaine loved him, and that knowledge warmed him up from the inside, softening his edges and making everything seem just that much brighter.
"Your Grace?" Lord Ryerson was looking at Kurt expectantly. It almost felt like Kurt had a choice.
"Very well. When will I get to meet my betrothed?" Cold, controlled voice. Everything so they have no idea how painful it was just to say that single word. Betrothed. Funny how a single word had the potential to create a gap between him and Blaine, ruining everything. He felt sick just thinking about it.
"A raven will be sent to Casterly Rock this day so the Lannisters can prepare for their journey. I would expect her to be here in a fortnight, unless she listened to us and began preparing while she waited for our letter."
How long have you known you were going to sell me for lands and men? Kurt burned to ask, but he bit his tongue and kept his face neutral. The answer would not please him. He had a fortnight to mourn his freedom. A fortnight to try to find a way to preserve what he had with Blaine. A fortnight before he became the kind of husband that cheats on his wife. His wife.
"Am I required for other issues? Otherwise, I would like to be excused," he said in the most polite voice he could muster with a knot in his throat and a feeling like all the blood had left his head.
"You may go," Lord Schuester said.
He was halfway out of the room when Lady Sylvester called his name, foregoing the proper respects and snapping 'Kurt!' in a harsh voice.
"Yes, m'lady?" he asked, turning on his heels and giving her a smile he hoped appeared sweet. It felt like a grimace.
"Lady Lannister is a good girl. You are lucky. Try to act the part."
It took him everything to leave the room without breaking into a run. He did not set out to go anywhere specific, but his feet carried him to his father’s quarters unconsciously. He stood outside the door, promptly stopped from going any further by the guards on either side of it.
“His Grace is busy,” the one to the right said. “We’re not to let anyone in.”
“I’m not anyone,” Kurt said coldly. “Let me through.”
They exchanged a look and the one on the left shrugged before pushing the door opened. “Your Grace,” he said meekly as he held the door for Kurt.
He felt their eyes on him as he stepped into the chambers. The door shut behind him as he took in the surroundings, trying to see where his father might be. He could hear voices coming from his solar, the sounds of a cheerful conversation becoming clearer as he made his way to it.
Stepping through the threshold, Kurt saw his father sharing a meal with a boy around his age. Even seated, he seemed tall and imposing, and the effect would have been intimidating had a boyish grin not been stamped on his face. He sat with his shoulders hunched, but his posture straightened when he saw Kurt.
“Your Grace,” he said politely, bowing his head.
“Kurt?” Burt asked. His smile, already broad from whatever the boy had been telling him, brightened when he looked at his son. “Have you met Finn, yet?” Kurt shook his head, walking further into the room, but ignoring the empty chair he was probably expected to sit on.
“What is he doing here?” Kurt heard himself say in a voice he wished had come out more powerful. If he had hoped to feel better after the news of his betrothal by coming to see his father, he had been wrong. Had he not told Kurt he could not break his fast with him that very morning? Was it to be with that boy? Kurt’s stomach knotted.
“He’s my squire.” Burt finally seemed to notice Kurt’s cold attitude, a crease appearing on his forehead as his eyes surveyed Kurt’s. “Is the council meeting already over?”
“I left before the end. Why are you sharing a meal with your squire?” There surely were better, subtler ways to ask his father why he was spending time with a guy who was the living embodiment of everything Kurt was expected to be, but he could not find them at the moment. His palms were clammy and he wiped them on his trousers, swallowing thickly.
“Are you upset about something, Kurt? Because if so, you should just tell me. I don’t have time to play games.”
“I--” and then the words came out on their own, tumbling from his lips before Kurt could stop them. “I came to thank you for the sensible choice you have made for my betrothal. I am glad I was worth such a strong alliance. I am sure Lady Lannister will make a formidable wife, even if I have never met her before.”
Barely above a whisper, Finn whistled. “Lady Quinn Lannister, gods.”
Burt ignored him, turning his attention to Kurt. All traces of amusement were gone from his face. “I’m sorry you found out this way, Kurt. I wanted to tell you myself.”
“I would have appreciated, yes,” Kurt snapped. He had to square his shoulders again, he kept slipping back into a hunched posture.
“Can we discuss this another time?” Burt asked and Kurt frowned, making his father sigh. “I don’t have time for this now, Kurt, I’m sorry.”
“No, it’s fine, I understand--”
“No, you’re fuming,” his father cut him, smiling fondly. It only fueled Kurt’s anger. “I know you, even if you think I don’t. I promise we’ll talk about this soon.”
Kurt swallowed his disbelieving retort, casting his eyes down. He doubted his father knew him as well as he thought he did. “You could have at least warned me that I would have to get married.”
“You knew you’d have to, don’t be like that.”
“Like what?” He was causing a scene and he could not care less. Perhaps Finn would understand and leave them alone, although at the moment he seemed to enjoy the spectacle, his eyes travelling between father and son.
“Like you feel betrayed. Look, even royalty must do things that are unpleasant. I know you’d rather marry Stark than--”
“I beg your pardon?” Kurt gasped. His knees weakened and he gripped the back of the chair he was standing behind, his knuckles turning white. Finn choked on his sip of wine and tried to muffle his coughs in the crook of his elbow, turning beet red, but never tearing his eyes from the argument. Perhaps his father knew him better than he thought, after all.
He had always suspected his father knew what was going on between Blaine and him, he was not a fool and did not take his father for one. That is father would bring it up in front of his squire felt like an even bigger betrayal than being all but sold in exchange for lands. His throat tightened and his eyes filled with tears. He was not going to cry in front of that boy, he was not.
“Don’t interrupt me,” Burt’s voice boomed, cutting short any replies. “I meant that you’d rather marry a man than a complete stranger. We are going to talk about this later, Kurt.”
“Fine,” he said in the strongest voice he could manage through the knot in his throat before stalking out, the sound of his father’s tired sigh accompanying him.
Blaine found him in the sept, kneeled in front of the Mother. Snow’s tail waggled to have found Kurt and he padded towards him, nuzzling his cheek until Kurt reached up to scratch between his ears. Blaine knelt besides Kurt, bumping their shoulders together.
"No one knew where you were. I wouldn't have found you without Snow," Blaine said in a whisper. He looked at the candle, burned halfway with the wax running down its sides and pooling at the base, overflowing. "How long have you been here?"
Kurt gave a shrug. "I needed time to think." His eyes travelled up to the idol and he swallowed audibly. "I know we're supposed to pray to the Seven, but I--" he trailed off when Blaine put his hand over his.
"I am sure she hears your prayers." Blaine stroked his thumb over Kurt's joined fingers. "What happened?"
Kurt did not often seek refuge in a sept. Something terrible must have happened. Blaine braced himself for the news, his stomach twisting. He wished he could hold Kurt close, but there were not truly alone. A single misinterpreted - or rightly interpreted, rather - touch would make their lives miserable.
"Not here," Kurt said and got up clumsily, his legs stiff from kneeling for too long. Blaine helped him up. "Meet me in my chambers. Take your time."
Blaine joined him an hour later, carrying a tray covered with fresh fruits and heavy cream. "Those were just brought in. I arranged for the best ones to be put aside for you." Kurt smiled tightly at Blaine, but did not move from his seat by the window.
He had spent the hour worrying himself sick, pacing through the Red Keep and trying to clear his mind so he could be of help to Kurt, no matter what had happened. When his nerves had gotten the best of him and he felt like he could have been sick at any moment, he had made his way to the kitchens, bribing Brittany with smiles and promises of jewels and lands and anything she could ever wish for to be allowed in to prepare a plate for Kurt.
"Take a seat," Kurt said in a calm voice. It erased the smile from Blaine's face, a crease of worry replacing it. Kurt took his hand in his when he sat across from him at the small round table and stroked his thumb over his knuckles a few times, watching the repetitive movement in silence.
He pressed a kiss to Blaine's knuckles and kept his hand to his face. "I have to get married."
"I know, we discussed it before coming here." Blaine smiled and reached for a strawberry just so he had something to do. His stomach felt like someone had poured lead in it.
Kurt shook his head, pressing his nose into the back of Blaine's hand and closing his eyes. "I am betrothed." The hand he was clutching like a lifeline twitched, but Blaine did not pull it away. "They made an arrangement with the Lannisters. There is nothing I can do."
"Nor should you." Blaine was staring outside the window at the Blackwater Rush in the distance when Kurt looked up. From afar, the boats sailing the murky waters looked like toys. "It will be fine."
"I feel like I am going to die." Kurt pressed Blaine’s hand to his cheek and Blaine turned it over, cupping his jaw and stroking his thumb over Kurt’s cheek bone.
“It will be fine. You are going to be a fabulous king, one day, and have the most gorgeous babes in all of the realm. And I will be right here with you, through all this.”
With a wavery smile, Kurt wrapped his fingers around Blaine’s arm, leaning into his touch. Blaine wanted to kiss Kurt until the unshed tears filling his eyes disappeared, wanted to hold him close and rock him until a smile reappeared on his lips, but he dared not. Not in broad daylight, when anyone could walk into the room.
Kurt’s smile widened when he saw Blaine looking at him. It was not by much, it did not reach his eyes, but Blaine counted that as a small victory. “What?”
“Nothing,” Blaine replied, trying to make his voice as light as possible.
“No, tell me.” He leaned back in his chair and let go of Blaine’s hand, taking a grape from the plate and eyeing it without much conviction.
“I was only wondering if you would know how to--you know, how to procreate with your lady wife.”
The laughter bubbled out of Kurt, loud and unrestrained for a few seconds before he composed himself and hid his mouth with his hand, eyes crinkled and sparkling. It was gone just as it had come, a sigh like the weight of the world was on his shoulders leaving Kurt.
“It is good to see you smile. You haven’t in a long time. Ever since we came here.”
“There are not many reasons to,” Kurt said darkly, casting his gaze outside the window. “My father--” he swallowed, pushed up his chin, “has a particular relationship with his squire.”
“Particular like us, or...?”
“Blaine.” Kurt lifted his eyebrow, staring at Blaine silently for a couple of seconds to let it sink in. “No, I just--It is like we are both two different people from when I left and we’re not meant to get along.”
“But you are. Give it time, Kurt. We have been back for two months, you were gone for ten years. You love each other and this will fix everything.”
The words hung heavy between them, carrying meaning they were not willing to consider in that moment. Things were about to change, Blaine would be a fool to deny it. He could only do his best to keep a smile on Kurt’s face and be there for him, even if it soon would mean opening his bed for him and smelling someone else on his skin, only to see him leave before dawn. He could do this.
End note: You may have noticed that I am writing them as very over-the-top and cheesy with their love. It's intentional. Assuming that Game of Thrones happens during what would roughly be our Middle Ages, I am giving them a courtly love, which was characterized by passion (from the Latin passio and the original meaning this word was given, that is, suffering) and secrecy. It was also extra-marital and happening between members of the nobility. Think Tristan and Iseult.
I am a bundle of fun at parties.
Also, end of the semester and all, so I can't guarantee when the next update will be.