Beric tries hard not to smile, instead he gives an inaudible sigh and stretches his mouth before speaking. Calm down, Sir. Pauses. It was bound to happen, we should have seen it coming, S- Prime Minister… we can not have control over the entire United Kingdom under these circumstances, not yet. He lowers his tone with a firmness behind it, but we will.

He pauses and looks at his phone, ‘Maege Mormont spoke directly with her daughter according to Cersei. The Mormonts, the Karstarks, the Boltons and every Scottish family in power authorised this, what were you expecting, Stannis? For everyone to follow every single order you give when they are all founded in martial law and oppression?’ I will have an entire division of MI5 dedicated to find out exactly what happened and I will present you with results as soon as possible. Pauses. The order surely came from Scotland.

'Calm down sir,' Beric says, and Stannis expels a heavy breath in an attempt to rein in the last of his outburst. It’s not that difficult to understand, he bites out, harshly, it grits his teeth and grates his voice even rougher. A little cooperation would’ve been—he lets out a huff. His fist tightens around the phone. 

Fine, see to it. I want answers. Then, quickly amends: If you’re short on people, just say the word. MI6 can spare a few. But don’t, emphasizes here. Clearly. Don’t touch the Stadium and Bailey investigations. They’re top priority. 

Restrains a sigh, passes a hand over his cheek. Stark claimed he was for change yet he—breaks off, catches himself. Keep me posted. Click. 

Who authorized Glasgow? Thunderous over the din of noise in No10. Who the bloody hell do they think they are?


[He’s called this number a dozen times before, but punching the numbers in tonight is like he’s calling a completely different person. But in reality, the only thing that’s changed is the title. Men fall and rise; such is the ebb and flow of life.] Good evening, Prime Minister. [He’s smiling through the phone, and there’s an amused hint to it. Of course, there’s really nothing funny about the circumstances that led to this.] I’m not sure if is bad form to congratulate on your new position, but I will say that I think [he doesn’t say hope; even though that is more reflective of the truth, not out of lack of faith in Stannis, but in the fragility of the situation - terrorists, just what this country needed on top of everything else] you are the leadership that this country needs right now. I am, as I have been before, at your disposal.

He’d just gotten off the phone with Selyse not a few minutes past and already his phone was ringing. One call after the other. This Undersecretary, that Undersecretary, journalists, MPs (independent, Tory, Labour, Lib-Dem, a cross-section of them). He puts his phone on mute and told himself he’d slide back into the current in a few minutes. He sits down, in his office in MOD, and realizes with a pang that this is the last day he’ll ever sit in his chair—and that he has so many things to pack. His phone vibrates an nth time; he checks the LED; Varys. He frowns, worried that there might be another emergency for the Director of MI5 to be calling him. Quickly he picks up his phone.


Varys, he greets shortly. What is— he grunts when he realizes that Varys only called for congratulatory purposes. He falls back in his chair. News travels fast, doesn’t it, he muses, not without heat. 

'I am, as I have ever been before…' Stannis doubts that, but he doubts everything that Varys says. If he has the luxury, he'll reshuffle the cabinet. He'll even replace the Directors of the Intelligence Agencies. But as it stands, he only serves as caretaker in the meantime. And there's no room for politics, or convenience.

He can’t help but ask: Did you say the same to my brother after each election?


[The sound of the telephone ringing startles Selyse. She wasn’t fast asleep, with all that’s happened the days before it seems impossible. But still, phone calls in the middle of the night don’t usually bring good news] No, it’s okay. I wasn’t exactly sleeping, more like tossing around. [pause] Stannis, is there something wrong? [she listens to his words carefully, still trying to digest the information but with happiness] Really? That’s wonderful! I’m… really glad for you.

'Wonderful?' Far from it, he answers gruffly, then shakes his head at his own crisp tone. It wasn’t Selyse’s fault. She doesn’t know—what it had taken to get Stannis where he is. If she celebrates, then she does so in ignorance. ‘And all the better for it,’ Stannis thinks snidely. It’s hardly ‘wonderful’, he mutters, low, but not inaudible enough that she wouldn’t pick up on his lack of enthusiasm. We’ll move to No10—this weekend. Bring only what you need. And… Voice softening: Tell Shireen, would you?

In his office at MOD, pacing as he waits for the call to connect. He stops when it does. Selyse. Hurriedly, uncomfortable with the apology but feels the need for it anyway: Sorry to wake you up. Clears his throat. Back to business. There’ll be—Sighs. There’s been some development. With Robert’s death… Swallows, thumbs the tiredness from his eyes. I’ll be Prime Minister tomorrow. Glance at the clock on the wall. Later today, rather.

'What's your father doing here?' he asks Matthos as he comes in with that morning's influx of files. When no answer was forthcoming, he pulls out his phone and calls Davos. I was told that you’d just checked in. Closes a folder, sets it aside, grabs another one from the tall pile in his inbox. Of the status report upsets I’m prepared to read this morning, this is the most surprising.


[She waits and ignores the advice to get some water] A mob. [She doesn’t need him to tell her it’s gruesome, her head supplies enough mental images to make her gag. Her heart is racing and she feels light headed. Closing her eyes for a moment, she takes a deep breath] I don’t suppose…I don’t suppose you can come back early? [Her voice is small now, afraid almost and her hands are shaking because if the mobs could hurt Uncle Robert and Joffrey, what would they do to her father? She starts to panic] Daddy… [Her head starts giving her images of a dead Stannis and she starts to cry] You can’t die. Everyone is dying, why is everyone dying? 

I can’t, he says, almost placating. I have to… deal with things here. She starts to cry and he doesn’t know what to do. It had been easier, settling her cries in the middle of the night in the handful of times he’d had to wake up to the baby monitor, shrill and noisy. That didn’t take much; babies cry when they’re hungry, or their diapers are wet, and one can easily remedy both with a warm bottle or a fresh change. Things that make her cry now—they’re not so easy to chase away. He’d tried to keep her safe, but there’s no easing truth, and tragedy. It needed time, and a steady resolve, of which he had plenty. His daughter, on the other hand… it pains him that she’s still so young, but not too young to be spared of grief, and certainly not old enough to know how to deal with it. He would shelter her if he could, but he knows that she’ll need to grow, and learn, and to do both is to experience enough pain to harden her skin. Don’t—his throat tightens, his voice thickens, with uncertainty, he liked to think, rather than anything else. Shireen. All of sixteen, he thinks snidely, not nearly ‘big’ enough. But she would have to be. Shireen, he says again, hoping that the sharpness in his voice snaps her out of it. Be strong. I know you can be. Heavy breath. I’ll be home soon. He should reassure her, that ‘it will be alright,’ but there’s no surety. And he wouldn’t lie to his own daughter. I’m not going to die, he says instead, the only promise he’s absolutely confident in. There’s work to be done.  He lingers on the line for a moment. I’ll see you later. Click.


[She doesn’t understand why her father is getting so worked up about whatever he has to tell her. It can’t be as bad as Tommen breaking the news about Uncle Renly or the Olympic Stadium burning down. She opens her mouth to crack a joke when he finally tells her the news. The phone slips from her grasp and she’s frozen for a moment before the sound of her name being called causes her to turn her attention back to the phone] I feel like throwing up. Oh my God…But Joff…And Uncle Robert? Joffrey? [She doesn’t like her cousin but it’s painful to even think of him dead] What happened? [Shocked as she is, she wants to know. It’s the first time her father has called her to tell her something this big. She has to be mature for this] I can handle the truth.

'I feel like throwing up she says,' and he frowns in concern. He hasn't realized that he'd stood a bit straighter, tense, compelled to go to her before his brain registers somewhat slowly that Shireen is not nearby. Get something to drink, he says, sterner than he intended. When she’s regained her bearings—as he assumes she has, when she continues talking—he calms somewhat, but the frown remains. He hesitates before he answers. The details are a bit gruesome, that he’s discomfited that he’d have to tell her. ‘I can handle the truth,’ she says, and he wants to believe that she does. Even if he’s somewhat reluctant, he tells her anyway. Even if she can’t handle it, she deserves to know. They were overwhelmed by a mob. It’s… Gruesome, he grimaces, remembering the footage on BBC. 

Shireen, he says quickly, Don’t leave the house. He resumes, softer but no less insistent, Please.


[She rolls her eyes though she can’t find it in herself to be annoyed] I’m under medication, it does things to my sleeping pattern. [Lodging the phone between her shoulder and her ear, she navigates back to her room] No…What’s wrong? [Her voice loses all signs of sleep and she’s more alert now

Muttered curse. There’s been—Curses louder now, not even attempting to cover the phone as he does. He didn’t have any difficulty telling Stark, or Cressen, but it unsettles him to give his daughter such news. Something happened and—oh, bloody hell. Pauses, through clenched teeth grits out, as slowly and as cautiously as he can manage (which isn’t saying much, as he’s used to briskness), your uncle’s been—he’s—Clears throat, musters a gruffer, sterner tone, He’s dead. He and your—he and Joffrey are dead, Shireen. I’m—'sorry', then almost cringes as he realizes that he truly is, when he couldn't even muster the same words to Stark minutes earlier. He's sorry that Shireen has to hear it. He waits for Shireen's response, anxious. Shireen?


[She’s grinning at herself in the mirror after brushing her teeth, having just woken up. Her phone vibrates on the sink and she squints at the ‘Da’ blinking on her screen before grabbing it quickly, fumbling around to press answer] Daddy! I just woke up, why are you calling? What happened? [She frowns] Are you alright?

He blinks. You just woke up? It’s almost noon, for God’s sake. Shakes his head. Never mind. Has—hesitates, has your mother talked to you?