For the asoiaf kink meme prompt: During the Greyjoy Rebellion, Ned kept having visions of Cat during their wedding in the sept in Riverrun. He kept remembering the way the colors from the stained glass windows reflected off of her, particularly her hair. When he returns he decides to give her stained glass windows for her sept so he can relive that memory every day.
Featuring Adorable Husband!Ned, and Catelyn being mean to the heart tree. I hope the OP doesn't mind that I made it from Cat's POV rather than Ned's.
Catelyn can count on one hand the times that her husband has entered a sept for a purpose other than finding her, and she does not require even one finger to count the number of time that she has seen him eager to do so.
For all that Ned ordered construction on the lovely little seven sided building early in their marriage, that his new wife might have somewhere to worship her own gods in her own way, the Seven are nothing to him, and there is no reason that they should be.
And so, when she wakes to find him waiting for her, is rushed into the first dress he can find and led out to the sept, she is mystified.
She thinks briefly that perhaps he wishes to give thanks for the safety of his wife and infant son - Bran's birth was difficult, and she knows that she was in greater danger than anyone would tell her - but surely he would turn to his old gods for that.
(And if she does not understand how those watchful eyes carved into the heart tree, with their unsettling tears of blood red sap, could be terribly conducive to giving thanks...well, she does not need to. He is no longer a stranger to her, but she suspects that he will always seem a little strange. It is only one more thing to love about him.)
By the time they reach the doors of the sept, and he stands to the side, waiting expectantly for her to enter, she is near bursting with curiosity, and hesitates only a moment before pushing the door open.
She is greeted not by the spill of pale, cool northern sunshine through the main window, but by a wash of colour through a pane of coloured glass, spinning and dancing over the floor, illuminating the grey stone faces of the Seven with a myriad of hues. Astonished, she gasps, and does not notice that he has come up close behind her until his hands find her shoulders.
“It arrived from White Harbour while you were ill. I had intended to tell you of it, but I thought that you might not wish to be bothered by such things until you had recovered.”
Disbelieving, she shoots him a look.
“You thought that I would not wish to be bothered by a beautiful, thoughtful gift from my beloved husband?”
He ducks his head with a sheepish shrug.
“It was also suggested to me that you might enjoy the surprise.”
“Oh?” She hides a smile. “Suggested by whom?”
“Robb was most excited when it arrived, and has been asking everyday if you are well enough to see it yet, ordering everyone who will listen not to tell you and spoil the surprise.”
“What good, kind-hearted men I have!” she laughs, and reaches up to kiss him, a brief brush of the lips.
“You like it, then?” he asks against the top of her head.
“Of course I do,” she assures him, pulling back and cupping his cheek. “It is one of the most beautiful gifts I have ever received.”
He relaxes noticeably against her.
“I must confess, it was not entirely unselfish.”
“You must know that you needn't buy your way into my bed with pretty things, my lord,” she says with a teasing grin. Immediately, she stiffens, horrified with herself for speaking such things in a sept, of all places, but his low chuckle calms her.
“I am glad to hear it. If every one was so long in the making as this one. I think I might go mad with the waiting. It was shortly after I returned from the Iron Islands that I first wrote White Harbour about finding a skilled glazier. Lord Manderly put me in touch with a man very quickly, but when he wrote back enquiring about designs and colours, I was at something of a loss.” She feels him smile against her cheek. “When we made the trip to Riverrun with the children, I spent far more time in the sept than I ever have before, staring at the windows, that I might have some helpful detail to provide when we returned home.”
Curious, she looks up at the window, and exclaims in surprise as the resemblance to the windows in the sept of her girlhood home fully strikes her. Of course, the design is scaled down to suit the lovely simplicity of the small sept, but the similarities are unmistakable.
Overcome with the knowledge that he has gone to such effort and care to bring a piece of the home she still misses into the home that she has come to love, she murmurs his name around the knot gathering in her throat.
“As I have said, it was not entirely unselfish,” he confesses again, his hand finding her hair. “I thought of you often while I was on the Iron Islands.”
“And I of you, my lord,” she says softly.
His smile, warm and soft, acquires a hint of something hungry, and she knows that he must be recalling those nights, shortly after his return, when he had her demonstrate precisely where her thoughts, lonely and anxious and aching for him, had led her. He pulls back to take her hands.
“I dreamed of you, too, more nights than not. I dreamed of you as you were in my arms the night before our departure, and I dreamed of you as you must look, swelling with our child. And often, I dreamed of you the morning we were wed. When you came to me that morning, I thought I had never seen anything so lovely as the way the sunlight through the windows bathed you in colour, and the way that this--” He toys gently with a lock of her hair. “--put even the most vivid of colours to shame. It is still the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, and when we were parted, and I could do nothing but dream of you, I knew that I had to see it again, every day.”
Laughing softly despite a pang at the knowledge that the pretty young girl Ned had married that day is many years gone, she moves to stand beneath the window.
“And?” she prompts, turning. “Is it as fine a sight as you remember?”
“Far finer,” he replies immediately as he approaches and pulls her into his arms. “For you are no longer a beautiful stranger, but the woman I love.”