“I never said he was a saint,” Viserys protests in a rush, talking quickly to outrun his brother’s new-found anger. If he ignores it, talks around it, leaves it behind, Rhaegar will forget. He’s always been good at forgetting. “I know he’s not, I know—…” The sentence hangs open. Viserys mouths air, lost. He doesn’t know how to say what he knows; he’s been taught all his life to pretend it doesn’t exist. Keep your eyes down, stay quiet, stay small. He thinks of the bruises on his mother’s arms and feels sick.
“He’s hard to get along with,” Viserys says finally, setting each word out carefully. He’s sure Rhaegar can see through them; his stare is pleading. “But he’s our father.” He hazards a smile. The more he repeats old lines to himself, the stronger they feel, the more assured of them he sounds. “He’s a great man.”
He is. Aerys Targaryen, no matter what his detractors hiss, is a great man. Commanding, powerful. Men go quiet when he enters a room; Viserys desperately wants to share that effect. If he can’t have power or love, he’ll gladly take fear.
He wets his lips. “All of this is just…” His smile trembles. “A misunderstanding. I’ll apologize. If— if that’s what you want. Better than last time.”
He finds rage all consuming of him, like wearing the Targaryen mantle and in turn letting the mantle wear him. Wrapping his bones in sinew that is foreign and familiar too, at one time there was that fire in him that grew with hate and rebellion and a passiveness that watched as his father grew in the same way. (A watch that ended when it came to Viserys.)
Shrouds of pity flit in and out; watching his (only, younger, horribly misunderstood and horribly mistreated) brother try twist like a snake out of his grasp - move around what blocks him and do it in silence and silhouettes of what is really there (a poison filled fang, perhaps.)
He’s a great man, the lie is almost deafening, like a scream that cuts through pauses. Rhaegar flounders for words - a great man, apologizing. He stays silent for a moment, watching, like he used to.
“No,” he manages out, his voice sounds tired to even himself and it isn’t shocking to him. “Leave.”
“You’re done here - you’re done…” his tone raises. “You’re done destroying this fucking family. Leave.”
Of course he would deny the anger; she wonders, if the tables were turned, would she do the same? Keep the rage inside, clawing at her soul until there was little left? Would she let it change who she was, make her forget all that was in her life until she saw nothing but herself? Cersei nods, knowing it would not be wise to press him; he would only lie, and lie again. He was good at that. He had told her he loved her (and so had she, many times) and once she had even believed him.
“Twenty years,” she repeats, shaking her head. Joffrey is almost nineteen, and she truly doesn’t know where her life has gone, or why it has gone by so fast. She barely remembers being twenty, but the again when she was twenty she was with him, so maybe it’s better to forget. What use could that be, now of all times? “When you say it, it sounds like a lifetime.”
Rhaegar doesn’t trust her. Or maybe he just doesn’t trust his brother, but still he asks her to take a step back. And Cersei knows she can’t, her stake lay in Viserys Targaryen and, as much as she likes to keep that to herself, in the man sitting beside her. “I don’t want to corrupt him,” she says, her hand flying up to his chin and forcing his head to the side, forcing him to look at her and really see her instead of barely glancing in her general direction. “I have done a lot of things, but I won’t add your brother to the dead weight on my shoulders.” She smiles at that, squeeze the skin beneath her fingernails and drops her arm at her side again.
“He seems to have taken a liking to me,” she continues, tilting her head to the side and shaking her head as if she can’t even explain to herself why Viserys Targaryen would be swayed by a Lannister, the worst of the lions perhaps. “Your brother trusts me, and he barely even knows me. You knew me for years, and still I see you flinching because of what my brother and father have done to your family.” It should have come out as a spiteful accusation, but instead it is a serene acceptance. She can’t blame him. A name is not just a name, not for them.
“I am not trying to harm you, Rhaegar,” she adds, rolling her eyes with a deep sigh. It’s like fighting a wall of bricks, in the end. It’s proof he needs. “I-” Viserys’s call just an hour before comes to mind. “I can prove it to you.”
“Of course you can,” he sais with dead weight and dead tones behind his voice, sarcasm there perhaps though unarmoured - there isn’t anything sure in him anymore, anything trusting or anything - maybe - at all. Perhaps it’s over dramatic (he takes after his father in some ways), or perhaps he is right and his delusions of death are true.
Perhaps he’s living in some circle of hell, doomed to take the consequences of his mistakes and atone for them. Martyr himself for the Targaryen cause - a name he never dared to wear (perhaps he did not want to).
“What is it you lot like to tout? A Lannister can always explain a suspicious encounter?” Rhaegar smiles at her, at the sun flitting from the glass pane across the room to the gold in her hair.
“Or maybe ‘a Lannister always has an excuse’?” He’s reaching, attempting to be meaner, more admirable - more forcible, respectable, liked, feared, more his father. More a Targaryen should be, in the face of a slight (or what can be a slight, he thinks - he had never pretended to know Cersei, even engaged to her, sleeping with her, sitting at breakfast barely awake - with her - he had known her name and barely underneath her skin).
He would be lying if she weren’t a sight, though. She always was, in a way Elia was different and Rhaegar thinks maybe it’s unfair to compare the two women - unfair to judge Cersei against Elia whom he- (Loved? Betrayed? He isn’t quit sure. He’s never sure.)
To think about Elia when he’s in a room with someone else - to think about her when he can’t face his daughter. To call Cersei some ray of sunlight with her gold, against Elia whom he always knew was the sun itself.
He leans in, a quiet movement, and doesn’t trust her.
He kisses her anyway.
Rhaneys does not know her father’s favorite color or how he takes his coffee, his favorite band or song, his favorite football team. She doesn’t know how her parents met or fell in love or how he proposed or why they set a December wedding date. She can’t wonder what Rhaegar doesn’t know about her, that would cut too close to her heart, leaving an open, pulsating wound in its wake. Her father had kept them in America, left to the care of guardians, visits frequent in the first few years before tapering off.
“Why shouldn’t I worry about it?” She looked around the kitchen, as if appliances could field the question, “And I don’t think a blood test would answer it. She died of a heart condition, not a blood one. A finger prick can’t tell if the heart is weak.” It sounds more right than a simple blood test and the urge of necessity is behind her words.
It’s a weak excuse, in any case, and she’s surprised he even offered one. Silence was her father’s shield, words too laced with emotions or pain to use. Her father looks at the floor, at his feet, at anything but her when he talks. It stings like a slap. Maybe she is too painful to hold close and embrace, maybe her father would be happier if she had never returned to London, had remained in America alone and half-forgotten, a deadened weight clinking into place on her chest as she softly asks, “Why won’t you look at me?”
He considers her plea in his mind, hearing Elia’s voice in the same tone with the same hurt inquisition. Rhaegar isn’t sure what to tell her in this moment - you remind me of your dead mother, whom I couldn’t look at either.
She was too fragile, and Rhaenys is too similar but she’s strong instead. He doesn’t have to sit alone in his office, festering in the clinging smells of whiskey and cigarettes praying to a god he isn’t sure he believes in that she’ll live.
Rhaenys is strong as Elia was strong in will and spirit and whatever else Oberyn said at the funeral, promising the rest of the family she was in a better place. Rhaegar stayed silent save for pleasantries (even then they were brief and short tempered and showed, perhaps, he is still a Targaryen underneath). He knew Elia was a power of will, but nobody else needed to. People whom had never met her didn’t deserve to know. People coming for Rhaegar - for Aerys, but not for Elia or any Martell.
He doesn’t look at her, still though. Standing there trying to make him face her - he’s a coward where she isn’t (like her mother, unsurprisingly).
“Rhaenys,” he says hoarsely and pinches the bridge of his nose. “I - we shouldn’t have to discuss this. You were a healthy child, you’re a healthy adult. Heart conditions don’t just…” he throws his hands up, “arise out of thin air.”
He isn’t sure if that’s the truth or not - heart conditions could (for all Rhaegar knew) start in the blink of an eye and kill in the bat of a lash. He’d prefer she’d let it go, not look into the records where red print surely is slapped on - Targaryen heir proxy-murdered his wife.
“Is there anything else you need?” Avoid, avoid and evade and don’t look her in the eye.
This photo of Daniel Craig in the 90s is the worst thing in the whole world.
The original Lestat de Lioncourt.
title: we sit in ashes
pairing: b&g rhaegar/viserys yep
warnings: tw: abuse, brotherly handjobs
notes: FOR YOU GRAY!!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIKE A MILLION WEEKS LATE I’M SORRY I’M TERRIBLE!!! ALSO YOU ASKED FOR HAPPY RHAEGAR/VISERYS MAN THAT SHIT DOESN’T COME EASY
EHEHE COMEi hope u like itttt muah muah xx
He struggles to follow his brother’s fractured answers. No, yes, I don’t think so. Each leads him one direction, then the other, and he trails them until he’s dizzy.
“Why—” Without thinking he tries to sit up. He tries to draw up his arms, to edge onto his elbows, but his wrists are pinned down. What started as a casual movement becomes a jerk; he lifts his head enough to see the brown cuffs around his wrists and his eyes go round. “Why am I— why am I tied down…? Rhaegar—…”
Something in his veins keeps him heavy, muffles the panic coursing up his throat, trembling in his stomach. There’s a needle in his arm. Needle, he seizes on suddenly. Someone stuck me with a—
The courtroom rushes back. He can’t make sense of his own memories; they’re muddled, exaggerated as scenes from a dream. He remembers shrinking. Goosepimples prickle his skin, and Viserys eases back against the pillow with wide-eyed caution, as if afraid sudden movement might rush the officers back into his room.
“I,” he starts, and he can’t look at his brother when he says it, “I saw things.” Again, a hideous part of him whispers. “Something was wrong.”
“Precaution,” Rhaegar says softly. “So you don’t hurt yourself.” Or others, he doesn’t mention to him; omitting answer after answer, trying feebly to protect his brother (the brother he should hate, whom he should get up and walk away from.
The brother who’d caused him more trouble than Rhaegar could handle in his own home. A brother he should leave laying there, were he someone else. He watches Viserys lay in the bed, strapped down and drugged again, his eyes red and skin swallowed. Rhaegar wonders, only briefly and maybe from a lack of sleep, if this is the person Viserys really is when the guise of Aerys is ripped off.)
“You were high,” he says more flatly than he should have, more lightly. “They,” he gestures to the door, “said toxicology found PCP in you.”
He stares at the leather straps around his brothers wrists, the way they pull against his skin and the metal both when he tries to sit up.
He feels badly for Viserys, and looks at the doorway for brief moment, surveying it for the patrolling nurses, before undoing the strap closest to himself. “Why,” he leans back into the uncomfortable chair again and takes a deep breath.
Like a bandaid.
“Why did you… take it?”
Only a few months ago they’d stood on the front lawn together. I wouldn’t have made you leave, Rhaegar had said, and Viserys hadn’t believed him. Now, when he’s ordering him gone, Viserys can’t believe it either. He stares; he suddenly feels very small.
His first defense - defiance - lifts his chin, though he’s sure Rhaegar can see the nervous bob of his throat. “You don’t mean that. You know she’s being ridiculous.” The couch groans when he shifts positions, his legs aching. He swallows. “And in any case, why wouldn’t I want to be like him?” His eyes search Rhaegar’s for commiseration; he desperately needs a sign that his brother will maintain the same fiction he does. “You can’t believe what the press say. They’re jealous.”
His second defense: hatred, as jealousy, becomes laughable. Of course they dislike you, he’s told himself in the mirror a thousand times, they want to be you. Who wouldn’t trade places with him, Viserys Targaryen, son of the (great) former Prime Minister? The fiction is well-worn; its holes nearly show through in places, and he can’t look at it too closely.
Viserys forces a tight, sympathetic smile. “You can tell her you’ve shouted at me and it’s— it’s done. That’s all you need to do.”
“I don’t need the press to tell me what Aerys is like.” He spits and is surprised by the unrelenting venom there. “I don’t need you to pretend he’s a fucking saint, either, Viserys.” This horrible lie Aerys has created and read to his children every night, while the night lights were dim and their mother was cowering or dead.
His heart doesn’t feel heavy, looking at his brother now. Like looking at his father again and again and yelling at him over and over. Watching a spiral come to pass with Viserys; she isn’t dead, drop it, don’t be weak.
Don’t ask questions.
Don’t speak unless spoken to.
Don’t talk back to me, boy.
He makes a fist and the nails bite into his palm, cutting there and he squeezes tighter to keep from hitting something, breaking into a rage like only a Targaryen could (like a Targaryen should, he remembers.)
“Ridiculous,” the word tastes rotten in his mouth, like he’s agreed with Viserys and he isn’t angry and he doesn’t want him gone. “Are you - what,” He flounders for words; for something to say other than to swear and pick him up and throw him out.
“Don’t be fucking ridiculous,” he throws it back and sneers. His brother is his father and as far as Rhaegar is concerned it’s easier to encourage a fire - let it snuff itself out, rather than exert the effort to douse it only to fail. They’re each other and yelling at one feels like yelling at the other.
“No,” he frowns and crosses his arms. “No. You have to leave.”
Rhaegar Targaryen, MP Saffron Walden