Truth be told, when he'd encouraged Sansa to speak he'd not expected her to immediately bring up Cersei fucking Lannister of all people. But now that she'd asked, he knew he ought to tell the truth...or risk losing the little bird forever.
"Not much to say, really," he admitted sheepishly. "She was beautiful, and several years older than me to boot. I know now who she was, what she was, but back then I was just an ugly little squire who'd never had a pretty girl smile and talk to him like that. I won't deny that I was her dog more than I was Joffrey's, and why not? She knew that once she'd hooked me, she owned me. That's how Cersei was. I knew the truth of her long before we ever traveled to Winterfell, but it was you, little bird - who you are and what she did to you - that broke the fragile strings that held that attachment together." He didn't know what else he could say beyond that, and when he chanced a look at Sansa he saw her jaw working as she pondered the matter.
Sandor stopped walking and withdrew his arm from her grasp, placing his hands on her shoulders and turning her to face him. "Little bird..." he began, but then she turned her Tully blue eyes up to him and whatever he'd been about to say fled from his mind. Instead he drew her toward him and kissed her. It was the first time he'd ever done so, the first time he'd ever understood that if he did she would not push him away. Though her response was tentative at first, when he eased her mouth open with his tongue she fairly melted into him. Sandor held her body hard against his, feeling her supple curves through the thin fabric of her daytime gown, wondering how he could ever possibly stop holding her, stop kissing her...
Suddenly the little bird was squirming in his arms. She broke the kiss that he wouldn't have been able to end himself and glared up at him. "That is not fair," she said, punching his shoulder with her little fist. "You can't just kiss me and expect me to forget about...about all of this."
He pulled her close again, too close for her to hit him, so close that when he bent his face toward hers the tips of their noses nearly touched. "I'm not asking you to forget, little bird. I'm only asking you to understand. And I kissed you because I've been wanting to kiss you for quite some time now. Haven't stopped thinking about it since we were forced apart the other night."
Sansa's eyes seemed to soften at these words. "Me either," she whispered.
"Well, are you going to let me kiss you again, then?" Sandor chuckled.
"I suppose," Sansa acceded; but before he could claim her mouth with his she pulled her head back. "Sandor..."
"Yes, little bird," he sighed. Seven hells, just let me kiss you, let me kiss you and forget that we'll have to part soon.
"I...I thought it might be best to not...to not make this request...but now I think perhaps, as it's only temporary..."
"Out with it, little bird," Sandor encouraged, realizing that he sounded frustrated when he really felt something akin to excitement. He could not help but recall what Jaime had mentioned mere hours before...
"I would be delighted if you would return to Winterfell with me." The words spilled from Sansa's mouth as if she was afraid to speak them, afraid of what his answer may be. "I need only remain there until Rickon is of age, until I can be assured that he is mature enough to be a lord - the lord...and then..."
"And then what?" he teased, bending to brush his lips down the edge of her ear, under its lobe and along the edge of her jaw line, only stopping when his lips touched hers as he continued, "What could Winterfell possibly give me that I do not have at Clegane Keep?"If he'd thought to annoy her, he failed miserably. He could see the playful glint in the little bird's eyes as she replied, "A godswood. A heart tree. And me waiting there for you in a maiden's cloak with vows on my lips…if you'll have me."
"If I'll have you?" Sandor murmured, reaching up to tuck a loose lock of Sansa's auburn hair behind her ear. "Little bird, I thought you'd never ask."