Title: the hour of the wolf
Word Count: 2,033
Rating: M (it's a porn battle after all!)
Prompt: A Song of Ice and Fire, Catelyn Stark/Ned Stark, wolf, fur, snow
She awakens alone to the moonlight filtering in the high, narrow windows and dancing upon the empty place in bed beside her. Around her, the world is silent, eerily so, as though even the wind is holding its breath, and Catelyn shivers, suddenly certain she knows where Ned has gone. His old gods were closest to the world at this time, he had told her once, the hour of the wolf, and the Starks of past as well, and sometimes – not often, but sometimes – she will awaken to find that he has gone to the godswood to seek them.
Normally, she leaves him to his gods, for they are strangers to her still, after all these years, but as the hour stretches on, worry and a sense of disquiet drives her from her bed. It is far too early to call for a maid to help her dress, and so she pulls on the thick lined boots that lace nearly to her knees and wraps her cape tightly around her nightgown, drawing the hood over her hair. Before leaving her chambers she grabs one of the furs off the bed for extra warmth, huddling beneath its weight like a child.
Outside, a light summer snow drifts lazily, silently to the ground. The crunching sound her boots make on the ground is nearly deafening as she makes her way to the godswood. She has always been wary of the place, and she is even more so in this dark hour, where the only sounds accompanying her are her own trembled breathing and footsteps, and far away in the distance, the howling of a lone wolf lost from its pack.
The moonlight shining upon the snow illuminates her way even as the trees cast long, unfamiliar shadows across her path, turning the godswood stranger still. But she finds her way nonetheless to the heart tree, where she finds her husband as she had expected, kneeling before the red face carved within, head bowed so that all she can see is his dark hair and the exposed nape of his neck.
She hesitates, unwilling to disturb him at his prayers, but the night is so quiet that her footsteps alone alert him to her presence. He raises his head, and his face is cast in shadows that distort his features, changing him into someone – something – unrecognizable, and Catelyn shivers once more, pulling the fur closer around her. “Catelyn,” he greets, his voice soft and yet echoing, and he stands. “What are you doing here?”
Even as he approaches, his eyes are dark and unreadable in the night, and she wonders if he is angry or glad to see her out here. “It is cold, my lord,” she replies in barely more than a whisper. “And the hour is so late. Won’t you come back to bed?”
He stops before her and she peers up into his face, trying to draw his features into the light, scrutinizing, but his eyes are black and deep as the pool beside the tree. She startles when he cups her jaw, wiping fallen snowflakes from her skin. “You’re so warm,” she says, shocked as she presses her cool cheek into his touch. She turns her lips to touch his wrist, feeling his pulse beat wildly there beneath his hot skin, and dimly, at the back of her mind, she wonders about the wolf’s blood her husband would oft mention and attribute to his brother and sister, about the Starks of old, the men of myths and what they were made of.
“And you are cold,” he answers, his voice near quizzical, as though it were a puzzling thing. “Come here.”
Ned’s body is solid as he gathers her against him, unnaturally warm in the snow even for a northerner born with winter in his veins. She cannot feel the heat of of his hands beneath the thick layers that separate them, but she can feel the way they trace restlessly on her back, so unlike her stoic, solid husband, normally as calm and unmoving as a stone.
“Are you ill, my love?” she asks in concern, putting a hand to the column of his neck, where she can practically feel the rush of blood, the hard thrum of his heartbeat. Perhaps, she thinks, it is sickness that puts such fire in his blood, such fervor to his motions. But his lips quirk up into a hint of a smile and his eyes glint fiercely, so that for a moment she almost does not recognize her own sweet Ned in this stranger’s face. Instinctively she takes a step back, and his hands slip from her back to her arms, sliding beneath the fur and her cloak to rest upon her bare skin.
In the distance, she hears the wolf howl once more, and this time, he is answered in turn – a long, soulful harmony.
“I am well, Cat,” Ned assures her, gently pulling her closer once more. His lips ghost against her temple, so warm and dry, and she tips her head into the brush of them. “There is nothing to fear,” he adds, a breath against her hair, and she does not know if he speaks of the howling wolves in the distance, his health or his odd behavior, and yet she finds reassurance in his words all the same.
“Come here,” he urges a second time, his voice rough, and as his heavy arm slips around her waist beneath her cloak, Catelyn thinks there is not much closer she could be. She tips her face up to him and she can see his breath cloud between them, small puffs that brush her lips in the brief moment before he closes the distance and claims her mouth. His lips burn and she moans softly when he kisses her neck, his tongue darting out to lick the melting flakes of snow off her skin. The sound is still too loud, in the silent night with the weirwood watching her in judgment – naming her stranger, intruder - and she feels Ned smile against the curve of her neck, as though he is reading her mind. She wonders if his gods are truly closer than ever, at this hour, as he believed.
“The Kings of Winter once wedded and bedded before the heart tree,” he murmurs against her shoulder, and her eyes flutter closed at the press of his cock against her belly, hard and ready, and she cannot help but push back, lifting onto her tiptoes to bring her hips to his. Her lips part with a gasp and he takes the moment to kiss her again, to nip on her bottom lip.
Wild as the hour, as the glare of the moon and the watch of the trees, may make him, he is still her Ned beneath the rush of heated blood. Even as his teeth scrape against her neck and he helps her to the ground, he makes sure the fur is spread beneath her and Catelyn thanks whatever instinct had led her to grab it before leaving her bedchamber. She can feel the chill of the snow even through the fur and her cloak, the soft yielding of the ground, but they keep her dry, and the cold is much more bearable with Ned’s solid warmth pressed against her, his lips trailing a line down her throat even as he tugs her cloak tighter around her to protect against the snowflakes that land on her face and in her hair, spread like a fan over the fur.
He slips his hands beneath her cloak and nightgown, and she gasps as he strokes the bare skin of her thighs, above the edge of her high boots, tracing patterns along the soft, sensitive skin at the edge of her smallclothes with his callused fingers. When she reaches for him, tries to put her hands on his body, she encounters clothing on every place she lands, and she muffles a moan of frustration against his lips.
He keeps a mind to practicality even in his fervor; he pulls her smallclothes down her legs but does not undress her further, and he unlaces his breeches and edges them down just enough to pull out his cock. She pants his name when he slides his hand between her legs to explore the flesh there, a hand tangling in the hair at the back of his head, pulling him back to her mouth, wincing as their teeth click in their haste.
He sits back on his knees to watch her as he slides two fingers inside her, and Catelyn scrunches her face and her breath hitches. His thumb settles on her nub, rolling in tantalizing circles, and she lets out a whimper, her hand wrapping around his wrist because it isn’t enough, isn’t nearly enough to make her come. “You look beautiful,” Ned tells her, his free hand reaching out to smooth her hair, and she can’t help but moan when he pulls back his hand from her sex, bringing his fingers to his lips to taste the lingering wetness there; the sight of that alone is nearly enough to push her to the edge, coupled with the thought of his talented mouth between her legs, his tongue exploring her and bringing her apart.
But instead he loops her knee over his elbow, his big hand gripping her thigh for leverage, and slides inside her with a throaty moan. Even his cock feels warmer than normal inside her, or perhaps the ground is merely too cold beneath her, and she shivers from the contrast. He draws her closer at that, pushing her knee further up her chest as he does so, and she cries out as he sinks in deeper, her arms wrapping around his shoulders. Her cries start out as wordless vocalizations as he thrusts into her, his lips landing on whatever bit of skin or hair or clothing he can find, but soon she is panting his name, a plea for release, NedNedNed…
Ned lets out a sound not unlike a growl against her throat as he increases his pace, and instinctively, she lifts her hips to meet him. It is rougher than usual, more erratic, his fingers digging into her leg as he pushes it still further up against her chest, his breath hot as he pants against her ear. “Touch me,” she whispers in his ear, as though it were a secret she could keep from his gods, and obediently he plunges a hand back beneath her nightgown to where they are joined, stroking over her until she comes hard, with a surprised gasp at the intensity of it. She wraps her arms and legs around his body, cradling him close to her as he gives two more sharp thrusts before spilling, his seed hot inside her and then nearly immediately cool against her thighs.
He seems more settled after, nuzzling against her neck and stroking her hair with lazy fingers for a long moment before helping her back up. He sweeps his cloak around her, big and heavy, before gathering up the wet fur, and offering his arm, ready to retire as she had suggested. His skin feels cooler to the touch, and as they leave the godswood, Catelyn can see the first rays of the sun peeking over the horizon, though Winterfell still lay silent.
When she awakens hours later in her bed, Ned sleeps heavily and tranquilly beside her, and for a moment she wonders if it had all been a strange dream. But the fur lies in a heap on the floor next to her boots, and her hair is still wet from the snow so that her pillow is damp to the touch. Her back, along with the muscles of her thighs and the core of her ache, but it is a satisfying ache, and she shifts to put her head on his chest.
Against her cheek, his heart beats steadily, calmly, familiarly, with no hint of earlier wildness, the wolf’s blood that flows in his veins as surely as it did his brother and sister once again as dormant as he always claims it to be.