Chapter 1: Night
At least now it won’t be Joffrey, she thought. He said he’d put his seed in me and make me have his sons. But not now.
She had always imagined it to be overwhelmingly romantic. From the very first calls of ‘To bed! To bed!’ she would have been whisked from her wedding feast, and surrounded on all sides by fathers, sons, and grandsons. She would blush at the jeers and catcalls, and endure the bawdy remarks with every ounce of grace that a young lady such as herself could manage, and then she would be set down in front of her new husband, naked as a new born babe. She would be nervous of course, for she knew it would hurt, but eager nevertheless, for her new husband would be courageous and handsome, and strong. It could have been the Knight of the Flowers, she thought. And he would take me in his arms, and call me his lady love, and kiss the breath out of my lungs, and it would all be so magical. Just like a song.
‘I’ll have that song. Florian and Jonquil, you said.’ She felt the cold of steel at her throat. ‘Sing, Little Bird. Sing for your life.’
She had sung. She had promised him Florian and Jonquil, but no sooner had she opened her mouth to comply than the words flew out of her mind, as birds fly with the summer breeze. She could only think of one other song. The Mother’s Hymn. Just sing it, and maybe he’ll leave. She could feel his weight on top of her, pressing down, nearly crushing her. The stench of blood curdled the air, nearly choking her as she drew a ragged breath to fill her lungs, and began to sing.
When she felt his hand trailing up her leg, pushing up her skirts as it went, she felt sick. He’s going to rape me. Utter panic ripped through her chest, and she squeaked, ‘Please, you’re hurting me. Please Ser, let me go.’ When she realised what she’d said, her eyes went wide. He hates being called Ser. Oh, Mother have mercy, please don’t be angry. She’d seen the Hound angry, that day Princess Myrcella had sailed for Dorne, when the mob had nearly dragged her from her horse. The Hound had slashed his sword so fast it was a blur, and that peasant man was left with nothing but a bleeding stump for an arm. He was my protector then. But now, he could slit my throat and I could not do a thing to stop him.
But despite her terror, his earlier words rang in her ears. ‘No one would hurt you again, or I’d kill them.’ As much as he scared her, his words dared her to hope. It had been so long since Winterfell, so long since she’d felt safe, and loved, and cherished. If she went with him, would he take her home? Would he hurt her? Was this some kind of test, devised by Cersei, or Joffrey, or even the Imp, to test her loyalties? What if I were to go with him, and he marched me straight to the Queen? Then Ser Ilyn would have my head for sure.
A sharp tug on her head elicited a tiny gasp from her lips. The Hound had his huge hand in her hair, his fingers twisted through the strands and pulled tight into an iron fist. ‘Little Bird’, he whispered. She squirmed when his head fell heavily on to her shoulder, first thinking that he had passed out on top of her, until she felt his mouth grazing along her throat, wet and sticky fingers grabbing at the soft skin of her thighs. The thought of Joffrey came to her mind again. She imagined that it were his fat, wormy lips on her skin, that it were his eyes blazing with malice, and felt sick. Maybe it’s better this way. Joffrey won’t want me if I’ve already been spoiled by his dog. She knew that Septa Mordane would be horrified at her thoughts. Such activities were only regarded proper and decent when they took place between man and wife, in their marriage bed, Sansa always used to believe. But the time for that has passed now.
The sound of ripping cloth jarred her from her thoughts, and brought her eyes back to him. He was kneeling above her now, his hands still fumbling about under her skirts, tearing at the fabric, his terrible face illuminated with a greenish glow from the battle outside. She felt tears leak out of the corner of her eyes. It’s not going to be like I imagined it at all. Again, the Hound fell upon her, his mouth this time latching onto her chest, sliding down from the base of her throat to the lace of her bodice. Her breath suddenly caught in her throat. Dare I? Without pausing to think too much, lest she lose her nerve, Sansa brought her hands to his face, and gently tugged his mouth to hers.
It wasn’t so much a kiss, more a mashing of two sets of lips, one soft and tender pressed hard against one cruel and unyielding. She wasn’t sure what to do, whether to move her lips or open her mouth, or just stay still. Please, please, please, Gods. She wasn’t sure to whom she was praying, or even what she wanted, but when she felt his tongue slip into her mouth, she breathed a sigh of relief.
This is really going to happen. I am going to give him my maidenhead. Despite her earlier feelings of panic, Sansa felt eerily calm. The faces of Joffrey and the Queen swam in her mind, and she was struck with an overwhelming desire to defy them, to spoil and dishonour herself, and dishonour them by doing so.
A moment passed before she realised her hands were still on his face. She could feel his hard skin beneath hers, rough and jagged, as she lightly smoothed her fingertips down his cheeks, as she always imagined she would do to her husband on their wedding night. She felt him flinch away from her for a split second.
‘Let me touch you.’ It’ll be easier that way, more like a song.
Lowering his mouth to hers again, he stole another kiss, his tongue sliding against hers, teeth nipping at her lip. Sansa felt her cheeks warming, and was certain she was blushing from her the hair on her head to the tips of her toes. It was not a chaste kiss. He kisses as though he were a man dying. She supposed he was, since he had already abandoned the battle and intended to leave Kings Landing. If the Lannisters’ caught him he would be as good as dead. She wasn’t even sure that he would be able to get out of the city gates. The thought of him leaving Kings Landing forever left her strangely distressed. He terrified her, yet she truly believed that he would never let any harm come to her. How would she be able to survive here with the Hound gone?
His hands were still roaming over her body, squeezing her breasts and stroking her hair. Suddenly, as though he had decided he was far too dressed for the occasion, he started to unclasp his armour, letting bits and pieces fall onto the bed and the floor with a metal clang. She leaned up to help him, tugging off his breastplate. Soon enough, her bodice too was undone and she lay open and half naked before him, though squirming and uncomfortable. When she went to cover her small breasts with her arms, she heard him bark a laugh.
‘It’s nothing I haven’t seen before Little Bird, remember?’ he rasped.
Of course. That day Joffrey had the Kingsguard rip her gown before half the court. The Hound had been there, and Sansa felt embarrassment flood through her veins when she realised he must have seen her then. How could he remind me of that now? Hesitantly, she moved her arms down to her side to lie awkwardly, while his eyes roamed over her body.
‘Fuck, girl. You’re perfect.’
It wasn’t exactly the whispered declaration of love everlasting that she’d always imagined. Can I really be doing the right thing? She had truly thought she was doing the right thing when she confessed to Cersei her father’s plans to send them back to Winterfell, but that had ended in unimaginable tragedy. Her father was dead, and Arya was gone, and she was all alone. Joffrey is right, I am stupid. Stupid Sansa making stupid decisions. What if this was just another one? Would this only lead her down another path full of regret and heartbreak? Doubt was swelling within her; she wanted to slow down, to stop and think. But when he bent his head to her chest to lick the side of one rounded teat, her hands came up of their own accord to cradle his head. Kissing, licking, his teeth gently grazed her nipple, and Sansa gave a gasp. It made her blush madly to think that she was in such an intimate embrace with a man; made her skin prickle with a hot intensity that rushed from her chest deep down into her belly. Then his hands were fumbling under her skirts again, up and up and up, pushing her legs apart.
‘Please don’t…’ she said haltingly. She didn’t quite know what she wanted to say. ‘Please be gentle, Ser,’ she finished. ‘Don’t hurt me.’
He looked at her then, and she could see his eyes flash. She half expected him to answer with his favourite retort; she could hear it in her mind, as clear as day, ‘I’m no fucking Ser, Little Bird.’ But he didn’t. Instead, she felt his fingers slide up to the apex of her thighs, and ply her open. When his thumb rubbed, slow and hard, on a small nub of flesh there, a jolt of electricity shot through her, and she felt her entire body quiver. He pressed down hard again, and this time she was unable to suppress a long, shuddering sigh. Her breath came faster and harder as he continued to caress her, his face so close to hers, making it impossible to look away. In the darkness, she could see his mouth twitch every time she gave another whimper. This feels so strange, Sansa thought, but good. She was unsure as to whether or not she wanted him to stop. This must be what the songs are about.
She could feel the hardness of him lying against her, all muscle and sinew, and she felt something else rising within her. Was it eagerness? She still wasn’t sure if this was what she really wanted. She knew it wasn’t right, that it wasn’t proper, but then she thought again of Joffrey and the Queen, and her uncertainty was assuaged. But it had to happen now, otherwise she’d lose all courage. The words spilled from her lips before she could stop them.
‘Yes. Now, quickly.’
It happened quicker than she’d expected. One moment his hands were on her, in her, and the next they were reaching inside his breeches. When he leaned back over her, he nudged her legs further apart, and she felt something hard press against the top of her thighs.
‘This is going to hurt, girl.’
She took a deep breath, and he pushed into her. He felt enormous, and she had to stop herself from crying out in pain. You are a Stark of Winterfell, she told herself. You are a wolf. She gritted her teeth and hissed, trying to accustom herself to the incredible intrusion into her body. She felt completely stretched, like she would split in two any moment. Tears ran from the corners of her eyes, and she fisted her hands in the bed sheets, clenching them so tightly that she thought her fingers would break. I never thought it would hurt so much. Blinking her tears away, she glanced again at the man above her. He seemed huge. At court, whenever he would walk her back to her chambers he would tower over her, leaving her feeling tiny in comparison. Now, with their hips joined, his head was way above hers, and she was left staring into his chest. She hoped he wouldn’t collapse on top of her. He is likely to smother me if he does. Still in pain, she squirmed and gave a whimper. Glancing down at her, he leant down to capture her lips once more. He was gentle this time, and tender, and when he pulled away she thought she heard him whisper, ‘I’m sorry.’
They lay entirely still together for a few moments, their heavy breath entwining in the space between their open mouths, before he began to move. The pain was still acute between her legs, and she wanted nothing more than to push him away, but she had understood that when the time came to lose her maidenhead, pain was to be expected. The Hound was moving slowly, sliding in and out of her, again and again and again. It felt so odd, Sansa reflected, that a man capable of such violence could be so gentle. Eventually, he seemed unable to continue to restrain himself, and the rhythm sped up, his movements becoming jerky and erratic. Sansa lay there through it all, thighs wide apart, her slim legs sliding against his hips. In the darkness, she could almost pretend he was someone else, an imaginary husband maybe, or even the Knight of the Flowers. She closed her eyes and tried to picture his handsome, smiling face. She remembered the tourney, when he had jousted against the Mountain, and imagined his hair blowing in the wind, the sunlight shining from his armour. Only then, the shine grew dull and turned to grey, and his body shot upwards as he grew taller, bigger, stronger, fiercer. His comely face transformed, burned on one side, and she heard his raspy voice, ‘Look at me, Little Bird.’
Her eyes flew open. There was no mistaking him for anyone else now. With a sudden jolt, Sansa realised that she wasn’t sure that she wanted to. After all, he did save me from the mob. He can be so cruel, but he’s never hurt me. He was brave, and gentle, and strong. Just like in the songs, she thought with satisfaction. Without thinking, she pulled his face down to hers once again, to plant a chaste kiss on his lips. He was still sliding in and out of her, and although her pain had lessened considerably, his groans were louder and more frequent. Then without warning, he gave a low moan and pulled out of her, and Sansa felt liquid spurting across her thighs.
Relief swept over her, like a wave of water crashing to the shore. It was done; she was spoilt. And by him. She felt a queer feeling in her tummy, twisting around her intestines. I have given my maidenhead to the Hound. A moment later, he rolled off her and lay beside her on the bed, breathing deeply. She glanced at him, unsure of what to do. She felt like she wanted to press herself against him and lay her head on his chest, like she had always imagined on her wedding night. But he would only laugh at her, that grating laugh of steel on stone that scared her so much. Instead, she hesitantly slipped her hand into his.
At least Joffrey won’t want me now, thank the Gods. ‘Thank you Ser,’ she whispered. After all, she was a lady, and ladies must not forget their courtesies.
Chapter 2: Day
He was gone when she awoke.
He had stayed for a little while, before heaving himself from the bed and ripping off his white cloak, striding towards the door. Sansa wrapped herself up in it and fell asleep, only to be roused by her maids, and the bright, early morning sunlight streaming through the windows.
If it weren’t for all the blood, it could have been a dream. Sansa felt panic swell in her chest, the realisation hitting soon after. My moon’s blood. She had completely forgotten about it last night, but now there was a great red mess in the sheets and all over her legs, so much more than usual. When the maids glanced at the sheets from the bed, she could see the looks on their faces too. They know. They know something isn’t right.
They brought up a tub for a bath, and stripped her naked, staring all the while. What are they staring at? Looking down at her herself, she could see the beginnings of a bruise blooming on her left hip and, even worse, red marks all over her breasts. His mouth. Fear rose within her, and she clambered into the bath and submerged herself under the water in an effort to hide the marks from their prying eyes. One of the maids began to scrub her skin, and from the corner of her eye, Sansa watched as the other ripped the sheet from the bed, and slipped from the room.
When she was dressed and ready, her maid reappeared. ‘The Queen wishes to see you my lady.’
She had been expecting it. The walk from her room to the queen’s solar seemed impossibly long, perhaps because she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was walking to her doom. Why does she want to see me? Does she know? Steeling herself, she made a decision. If she doesn’t already know, I will tell her. It would take courage, something that she’d never really thought she had a lot of. She dreaded what the queen would say, and what she would think of her. But wasn’t that exactly why she had gone through with it in the first place? She must know. Otherwise I’ll still be married to Joffrey, and it all will have been for nothing.
The queen was breaking her fast when she entered. Bright sunlight was streaming in through the windows, making the room impossibly hot and stuffy. Sansa could feel it as soon as she walked through the door, as though the very air itself was bearing down upon her with a heavy, soundless insistence. I feel as though I cannot breathe.
‘Sit down, child.’ The queen looked her usual, lovely self this morning, despite the amount of wine that she’d drunk the night before. Sansa sat, and the queen fixed her with a glare. ‘Do you have anything to tell me Sansa?’ Her voice was soft, her emerald eyes hard.
Immediately, her courage abandoned her. She had not expected Cersei to be so direct, to ask her outright. She opened her mouth, and a lie flew from between her lips before she stop it. ‘No, your Grace.’
‘Are you quite certain? Think very carefully now.’
‘Yes, your Grace.’ Another lie.
The queen’s eyes softened, and she paused for a moment before she continued. ‘I am only worried about you sweetling. Your maid says that you have bruises and bite marks on your breasts. Almost as though you’ve been savaged by a wolf.’ She gave an amused little laugh.
Not a wolf, Sansa thought, though she didn’t dare say it aloud.
The queen stood from her chair, slowly walking around to stand behind her. ‘I hope for your sake it was a wolf,’ she murmured softly. ‘Because if I find you have been spreading those legs for some other fool when you are betrothed to my son, there is nothing and no-one here that will help you.’
Sansa stayed silent, her lips pressed tight together. Cersei’s threat echoed in her ears, and she felt terror overwhelm her. You are a fool, she told herself. You have shamed her son, and now she will have your head. Did you expect anything less?
She could feel the queen’s eyes boring holes into her back, and then a voice close to her ear. ‘Tell me who he was,’ the queen whispered, leaning closer. ‘Tell me who it was you opened your legs for, and perhaps I will spare you.’
Her eyes lowered to the ground, Sansa remained silent, not trusting herself to speak. She knows. Just stay quiet.
After a few moments, the queen strode back to her chair and sat down. Sansa remained resolutely silent. ‘Very well,’ she said. ‘There is nothing else to say. You were a virgin, and now you are a whore.’ Her voice was flat and calm, but Sansa could sense the fury behind it. ‘Get out.’
Relieved that it was over so quickly, Sansa rose from the chair, and started to walk out. Should I tell her? She already knows it happened. He is gone and they’ll never find him, what will it matter? Without turning back, she stopped just before the door, and took a deep breath.
‘It is true what they say,’ she said quietly. ‘Joffrey’s dog is never far from his master’s heels.’
She reached for the door, and slipped outside into the cool stone passageway, hearing it shut gently behind her. Standing still, she leaned back against the wood, and basked in the moment. She did not know what would happen now, or where this road would take her. All I know is that it has to be better than where I was headed before. It just has to be.
Suddenly and without warning, came a shriek of rage from inside the solar. She heard a smash, and the door behind her vibrated slightly, as though something heavy had just been thrown at it. The queen’s own words from the night before rang in her ears, ‘Tears are not a woman’s only weapon. You’ve got another one between your legs and you’d best learn how to use it.’
Sansa thought of the Hound, and smiled.