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Day of Red Rain

Chapter Text

There are many stories of origins. Stories that can be either fabricated or truthful. What such a story to hear where peace and prosperity prospered after wars that began out of defiance involving noble men and women rising against the villains of the world. Such a feat. Such a story. This is where things began with Sansa.

Her father, Ned, had been given the privilege of working for the most prominent company the world has ever seen, Lannister, Inc. He journeyed to Lannis-Town with his family, more commonly known as The Golden City. Sansa was so happy to finally leave the ever-cold continent of the north. She was the most eager to set eyes upon the Golden City that was so popular.

She had read many news feeds revolving around the company and even went as far as to look up how the city was run. That was when she first saw her—the daughter of the man running the company, Cersei Lannister. Her poise and magnificence caught her attention. She had always dreamed of being a proud woman with riches and luxury as well as receiving love from the people in her circle as well as the people around her.

Still ever so awestruck, she continued to delve into the family’s history. She read may articles and watched many interviews that focused on how the Lannisters had come into wealth. “My father never sleeps, as he says business never does. He’s worked tirelessly to maintain our family’s name. He’s older now, and hopefully I will stand next in his place to carry the torch and light the way for the next generation. Beginning with my eldest son, Joffrey,” she spoke with such regal grace.

When the camera switched over to the golden haired boy, Sansa’s heart dropped and a heat aroused from within her chest and throughout her body. That was the first time she had ever laid eyes on the Lannister boy. The way he spoke was delicate and his face displayed many grimaces of charm and charisma. 

When at last they had arrived at the Gold City, the family awed with mouths agape and eyes alert. Arya could care less about the city. She wanted to go back home with her friends and play in the snow. Sansa, as usual, scorned Arya’s silly tomboyish notions.

The Stark family had arrived at the compound that was addressed to them. It was a tall, extravagant building that had a glass façade and golden railings that lead the stairs to the massive glass entrance. In front of the building itself was a grand fountain that had a golden lion on the top with water flowing majestically from the mouth.

Sansa took a small silver coin from her pocket with an obverse picture of a dire wolf. She closed her eyes and flicked it into the fountain.

“What was that for?” asked Arya.

“I just made a wish that I can one day become a part of Lannister, Inc.”

“And how do you plan to do that?” she sneered.

“What would you know. Just stick to your fighting lessons and your boring friends.”

“At least I have friends. True friends and not the fake ones who only wants to be around you because our family is popular.”

“My friends are real!”

“Really? I didn’t see any one of them wishing you well.”

“They were all probably just….busy.”

“Yeah, busy!”

Ned heard the commotion and silenced them. “Now girls, this is a great honour to us all. To be a member of the board is going to work wonders for everyone around the world.”

“But what about the Day of Red Rain? I’ve heard that it’s not safe in this city on that day.”

“That’s why I’ve accepted the proposal. I want to join the Lannisters to fight against a common cause and that is to stop the Day of Red Rain.”

Sansa intervened shortly after, “That’s right. The Lannisters have been working hard to end that miserable day. They said it was first established by Castamere, corp. and that they have been trying to get people to not participate in that kind of event.”

“If they’re so powerful, why can’t they prevent something from happening in their own city? Let alone have a higher ranking over everyone else. At least we people of the northern continent know how to get along with each other without money and power.”

“Arya!” Sansa cried out.

“What?! You know it’s true! They just may not be as powerful as you think!”

“They are very powerful,” Ned refuted, “They only need more power behind them to make sure that the people understand that working together can achieve common goals. When I accepted the invitation, I knew that our involvement would bring about better changes. And that’s why we’re here.”

As soon as they had entered into the building, they were met by a bald, stout, average height man wearing a brown cashmere sweater, “I imagine that you all must be so very exhausted from your travels,” he smiled.

“We are. My daughters and I would like to be shown to our rooms.”

“Very well then, Mr. Stark. Follow me. I’ll send out the staff to retrieve your belongings and have them exported to your rooms.”

Chapter Text

Upon entering into the masterpiece of a room, Sansa’s eye lit up with awe and bewilderment. Arya and Ned were pleased with the room; however, they were not as stupefied as Sansa. Sansa admired the grand windows that were shaded elegantly by crimson red curtains with white ties decorated with golden swashes. The bed looked fit for a king and queen. The carpet was as soft as pillows and cotton. The furnishings were white with golden swashes, the throw pillows having golden lions on a red background.

As Sansa looked around, Ned prepared to leave Arya and Sansa, “My room is the next one over. Should you need anything, let me know,” he spoke roughly. “Your things should be here soon.”

It had been before long that their things were brought up to them. As soon as Sansa and Arya began to unpack, they received a knock at the door. Sansa permitted whoever it was to come in. When the door opened, their father gingerly entered into the room, “We were summoned to Casterly Estate to formally meet with the family we’ll be working with.”

Sansa’s heart raced and jumped for joy. She just knew in her heart that she was finally going to meet the boy that she had seen many times on her screen.

“What are you getting so worked up about?” Arya scowled.

“I can’t believe that I’m finally going to meet him!” she spoke more so to herself than Arya.

“Meet who?”

“Joffrey Lannister!”

“You idiot! His last name is Baratheon. His father died some time ago. If you researched him that much, you should have at least learned his last name.”

“He doesn’t even look like a Baratheon to me. And besides, who cares about them? They’re brutes and belligerent. When Joffrey speaks, it’s as if the gods themselves orchestrated his vocals and the air that comes from his lungs.”

Arya raised brown and frowned, “You’ve finally gone mental. Not that you weren’t before.”

Ned, Arya, and Sansa had all changed into something ore presentable…at least Ned and Sansa. Ned wore the best suit he had. The blazer was dark grey, his waistcoat was silver, and his tie was white with a dire wolf decorating the spot located just beneath the knot. Sansa wore a light blue dress with semi-sleeves that was fitted to her figure. She wore flat silver shoes and her hair was braided in a single braid. Arya wore black pants with a grey and white striped shirt. Her shoes were black and white sports shoes. She did not care to dress formal. She wanted to show that she cared not about who it was she was meeting.

Ned wanted to protest against her choice of clothes, but decided not to since it was almost time for them to leave. The same stout man had the door of the golden limousine opened for them. They entered into the red interior of the automobile and sat on the plush, smooth velvet seats. Ned had an expression of anxiety, Arya wore an expression of discontent, and Sansa was ever so gleeful to be travelling in the golden city of Lannis-Town in a golden limousine prepared to meet the golden family.

Once arriving to their destination, they were brought in front of a massive gate that read in red letters “Casterly Estate” with two lions sitting atop the pillars that held the hinges of the gate. The gates were opened for the family and they were lead in by the family butler. Old and slow, but nevertheless somewhat dependable. He brought them through the great halls where tapestries of members of their family were hung to be seen by whomever visited their grounds. “Your guests have arrived, Madame Cersei,” his voice sounded of old, dry pages in an ancient book.

She was seated at a long table alongside her three children: Joffrey, Tommen, and Mercella. The moment Sansa caught sight of the boy, her chest tightened and her breath became uneasy. “Well now,” The blonde woman spoke, her voice gliding from her lips, “Ned Stark. I’ve heard so much about you from my late husband and your best friend, Robert. I have to say that you did miss the funeral.”

“My condolences, Madame. Things in the northern continent needed to be attended to and I could not afford to have any injustice in my country. The influence of the Day of Red Rain has slowly crept unto the precipice of my territory and it needed to be impeded immediately. So, forgive me for not showing up at his passing. I truly regret not being able to convey my final good-byes. I only wish to honour him by aiding you in passing the new precedence that governs the unholy event.”

“And you thought by accepting my invitation that you’d be supporting a good cause?”

“I did,” he affirmed.

Cersei laughed dryly in her throat, “My advisers were right then. Shame. I told that that I would wager a hundred gold coins if I were to lose the bet. And so I have. Regretfully. Come, take a seat.” She bade.

Joffrey caught Sansa’s stare and gave her a devilishly charming smile in return. He spoke once they had all been seated, “I’m Joffrey Baratheon, Sir Stark. While my mother is overseeing things now, soon I’ll be old enough to run the percentage of the company that my father has left behind. I have more shares than my mother, so the real decisions will be coming from me,” he spoke with dignity and scornful pride. “I get to say who and who cannot join the official board of the company my ancestors started. To better enlighten you, I suppose you can say that I have more power over all of you.”

Ned respected the boy’s speech and nodded in agreement. Joffrey looked at Sansa, meaning to impress her. Sansa was easily impressed, much to Aryas’s disgust.

Ned breathed the next few words, “Are there any other members on your board? Surely they would like to add in their say as to whether they agree to work with me in settling the issues at hand.”

“We have other members,” Cersei acknowledged, “They’ll arrive soon.”

As if on cue, the same man who had saw them into the hotel had come in alongside a short man with blonde hair and another man, taller, a medium build and with blonde hair. Sansa was familiar with the other two blonde men, “My beloved sister,” exclaimed the short man, “Sorry we’re late. I did have a wonderful excursion this afternoon. And I must say that I enjoy spending time at the Pink Maiden. The ballroom hosted better musicians this time. To add, the singers were much prettier with voices to match their pulchritudinous.”

Sansa could see Cersei scoffing him as she refused to meet his eyes as he spoke, “While I’m happy that you’ve enjoyed your time gallivanting…”

“Ah! Ned Stark!” The short man intervened without listening to his sister’s reply, “I’ve heard from my ailing sister that she didn’t expect you to be here on this day. Let me introduce myelf, I’m Tyrion Lannister.”

“My pleasure.”

“And who might these two lovely ladies be?”

“These are my daughters, Arya and Sansa.”

“Pleased to meet you my fair ladies. I trust that you’re enjoying the rules of the company that my sister has laid before you.”

The taller blonde man smiled, “She can indeed become very, petite when it comes to subjects revolving our father's company.”

“And you, too, are also a part of the board?” Ned wanted to know.

“I’m not. Much to my father’s disappointment. No, I tend to take a fancy to security. A position that my father deems to be utterly beneath our family’s status. Not that I care.”

“You should care,” Cersei griped, “You knew father was looking forward to handing you the company after he has left this world.”

“And he hasn’t. Therefore, I can do what I want for now. Besides, I’m no minor looking to be bequeathed with a dowry to support my existence.”

Joffrey, tiring of the commotion stood from his seat, “If you are all done now. I’m tired of sitting here. Let’s make the decision so I can leaved this bloody room. The Day of the Red Ran is arriving. I’d like to remind all of you that I wouldn’t want to miss the goings on to…prevent it.” He smiled.

“Very well,” Varys agreed. “It would be feasible to wait for all of the members to arrive, don’t you think?”

“Who cares if we have one missing member!” Joffrey complained. “I want this to be over with! I have better things to do that sit around here in a pin full of chattering chickens.”

Varys had nothing more to say. He sat in his wonted position, the third seat down from Cersei and across from the three Lannister children who sat entirely taciturn the whole time. Jaime stood beside his sister and Tyrion sat beside Varys, the second seat from Cersei.

Sansa could blatantly see that the first chair directly beside Cersei was undoubtedly reserved for someone else. The decision to allow Ned onto the board of Lannister, Inc. had commenced. Throughout the whole session, Sansa could not tear her eyes away from the boy.

When the decision was final, Ned was officially a part of the board. “There was another member, a friend of mine who I believed to be that member…John Arryn. What happened to him? I’ve read headlines that stated that he went missing and that he couldn’t be found.”

“Ah, yes,” Tyrion spoke, “It was known to us that Mr. Arryn suffered from constant delirium and it was rumoured that he had wandered off into the unknown. Though I cannot see how a man of his age was able to get lost being that he moved painstakingly slow. Many people suspect that he had been killed on the Day of the Red Rain since the last time it’s come. This story seems to be more plausible.”

“And you’ve found no solution to solve this problem as of yet?”

“As of yet, we have not. The people are more in number than our council here.”

“And speaking of here, why are you here. Father was supposed to be here with us, not you,” Cersei glared at her brother.

“About that. Father has his hands tied. He’s far too busy as of now and he sent me in his stead. Distantly, I can hear you screaming for joy.”

“If a distance of a thousand leagues is close enough for you to hear my joy, you’d have to be hearing what you want hear to hear something so far from the truth.”

Joffrey raised from his seat, “Now that we’ve come to a decision, I see no further reason to be residing here for the rest of my life. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes to leave.”

Sansa tapped her father’s shoulder, as did Arya, “Can we leave?”

Ned permitted them to. Joffrey extended his hand to Sansa, “Come, I’ll show you the demesne of Casterly Estate.”

Tommen and Mercella retired to another part of the mansion while Ned and the prominent family discussed further natures of the business.

Chapter Text

“It’s only a month before the Day of the Red Rains,” Joffrey started.

“You must be terrified on that day,” Sansa spoke softly.

“Don’t be daft! I’m not scared of anyone. Besides, we have a massive security. My uncle Jaime leads them. My mother is dramatic. She makes a big deal out of nothing.”

“Have you ever…got caught out in the violence when it occurs?”

Joffrey hesitated with a look of agitation, “Of course I haven’t.”

Arya smiled, “So how do you know that you’re not afraid if you haven’t been in a crowd of murderers? Have you even defended yourself!”

“Arya!”

Joffrey silenced Sansa, “And how do you know what I’ve done?”

“You just said so yourself that you’ve never been around when the violence breaks out. If you’re always on the inside of your house, protected by everyone, how do you know that you’re not afraid?”

“You little bitch! You don’t know anything. I might just have one of my guards butcher you on that day. And I can’t wait until it comes! It’ll be the only time that I allow my mother to enhance the massacre!” he gave Arya a sharp push.

Sansa wanted to do something, but she didn’t know what to do. She wanted to help her sister, but she didn’t want to look bad in front of her crush. At the same time, she felt an evil from inside the boy. Sadly, her naivety prevented her from taking hold of the truth.

Arya, not taking the push too lightly, slugged the boy in the face. “Don’t you ever put your hands on me again! I'll make you sorry!”

“Arya, what are you doing?”

“Defending myself since you won’t help me!”

“That’s It!” Joffrey bellowed furiously. Joffrey attempted to put his hands around her throat.

“Please, stop it, both of you! Just stop!”

Arya kneed Joffrey in the gut, rendering him to his knees. Again, she slugged him in the face. Once Joffrey was on his back, she took advantage and began to swiftly hit whatever spot he left unguarded.

Sansa tried to pull Arya off of him, but she was in turn pushed by Arya. She stumbled backward and lost her footing. Joffrey whimpered out loud enough for his guards to hear. At once, they came rushing to the spot where the teens were grappling. With ease, they pulled the girl from the sniveling boy.

The conversation held between the Cersei and Ned had be perturbed by the pandemonium following the entrance of the guards, a vehement Arya, a displaced Sansa, and a feverish Joffrey. Jaime, Tyrion, and Varys had left some time before.

“What’s going on?” Ned demanded to know.

“She called me a coward and started to fight me!”

“You’re a liar! He’s lying!”

 “What happened?” Ned demanded.

“Your son is vile!” Arya directed to Cersei. “He doesn’t respect ladies and he’s a liar!”

“She started it! I did nothing!”

Cersei turned her attention to Ned, “If we’re going to work together to put a stop to the violence, you’re going to have to prove to me that you’ll work on the violence your daughter displays.”

“If there’s anyone who is violent, it’s your son!”

“Forgive me, Madame. Arya is not usually so work up. I’ll have a talk with her immediately. Come,” he bade.

Arya stormed out of the Estate, Ned following close behind while Sansa sluggishly trailed behind them.

Once they were back in their rooms, Ned sat Arya down, “I don’t what happened, but you have to behave yourself.”

“I’ll never get along with a creep like Joffrey!”

“You’ll have to work to find a common ground. It is important that we stay here to find out how to stop the bad things here from travelling to our home town.”

“I want to call Jon! I wish he wasn;t in the military right now!”

“Very well,” Ned nodded, "Give your brother a call and make it quick."

Arya left Ned alone with Sansa. “She almost ruined everything! I told her to stop her shenanigans and she wouldn’t listen to me! She almost made you lose your position!” she whined hysterically.

Ned grabbed Sansa gently by the shoulders, “While we were talking, Cersei and I, she told me that she was looking forward to her son marrying into the right family. She was considering you for a daughter-in-law.”

While Sansa was happy at the thought, Joffrey's behavior toward her that day had implanted a seed of doubt. “I don’t think he likes me. I think I annoy him.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Today, when I was speaking with him, he spoke so harsh. Like I’ve never heard before. In his interviews, he sounds more pleasant. He didn’t sound that way to me just then. It sounded like he didn’t want me around anymore.”

“He might have been shy. Some boys come off more rough than they should.”

“I don’t believe that. I could hear it in his voice. He doesn’t like me.”

“Just give him a chance. He may come around. They always do—boys.”

Sansa had more hope, but not enough to match the same hope that she had before becoming acquainted with him. When Ned left the room, Sansa washed herself up and laid down on the soft covers. She fell asleep soon after.

Chapter Text

The next day, Arya stayed behind at the hotel while Ned and Sansa went to Gold Tooth Mall. It was a rather funny name for a mall. “Why do they call this place Gold Tooth Mall?” Sansa asked.

“A story that many don’t know, but would like to know,” spoke a deep and ragged voice that caught both the attention of Ned and Sansa.

They found themselves facing a dark-haired man with each side of his temple spurring grey hair. He wore a black trench coat fastened closed with four silver buckles over an olive green turtle neck. His pants were black as were his boots.

“I’m afraid that I don’t have your acquaintance,” Ned pardoned.

“Fear no longer. I’m very familiar with your family, Ned Stark of the North. Particularly with your wife, Catelyn. Of course, her name was still Tully then.”

“She’s never spoken of you before.”

“I’m not surprised,” he smiled as he looked at Ned. “Call me Petyr.”

Ned awaited a surname to follow. “Do they only call you Petyr? Have you no family name?”

“What’s the use of a family name when you have no family?” he continued to grin.

Sansa took note of the way he smiled. It was something about him that made her uneasy. Nevertheless, she was curious to know about the name of the mall, “So why do they call this place the Gold Tooth Mall?”

“What a story it is. This place originally began as a small market, owned by a man whose name is lost. Legend has it that the owner was remarkably selfish. So much that he even stole from his brothers and sisters and sold whatever he thought was appealing to commoners. Eventually, greed got the better of him. He began to neglect himself in pursuit of more things to sell. The consequences that followed his self-dereliction lead him to grow a massive beard, an unpleasant body aroma, a thinned frame from near starvation as he refused to pay too much for food, and his teeth to rot. All of his employees soon left him to work for himself as he had refused them pay.

After a while, people relented to buy from him after talk of his growing reputation of being a thief, a swindler, a miser, and a cheat. One day, after much hardship had befallen him, he was desperate for business to flow to his market. He wanted to keep filling his pockets. His ambitions lead him to set ablaze the merchandise of a fellow marketer and steal what was not scathed by the fire. The man who owned the incinerated market, Orvius Hunt, was enraged when the winds carried the message of the perpetrator. He eventually found his way to the dilapidated market belonging to the wretch and beat him bloody.

Since he no longer had a market to return to, he took possession of the thief's market and ran it as his own, hanging up one of the rotted teeth that he had beaten out of the man as a physical reminder to passerby’s that the market was no longer ran by the man who had cheated them before. The tooth he decided to hang was as yellow as gold, thus giving this establishment its name. The Gold Tooth mall. You’d think that the man who was beaten near to death would demand royalties for the store being named after his unkempt skeletal body part. That day, he was wise enough to escape with his life. Never to be seen again.”

Though Ned listened half-heartedly, Sansa listened with intensity. “That’s a barbaric story.”

“A true story,” he corrected. “The event itself was barbaric. It’s as I’ve said, no one really knows how this place got its name. But you know now,” he smiled.

Sansa did not feel any warmth from him when he smiled. Ned spoke thereafter, “If you’re done?”

Petyr did not wish to look away from Sansa, yet he found the strength to do so, “Actually, I’ve come to answer a question of yours.”

“What question?”

“You’d like to know what happened to your friend, John Arryn.”

Ned’s attention was caught at last, “What do you know of the matter?”

“Me? I don’t know anything. But I can help you learn what happened?”

Sansa was sideswiped by what he had just said. She was caught in a moment of perplexity at his words. Ned, bypassing what he had just said, pressured him to tell, “What can you tell me?”

Petyr laughed in his throat, “It will do you good to get acquainted with the family before the Day of Red Rain, which is to arrive soon.” Those were his last words before he turned away from them and left them to themselves once more.

Ned began to rush after the man—Sansa trekking quickly behind him. Ned saw a flash of grey disappear behind a corner not four seconds away. When he meandered the same corner soon after, he saw no more of the man. Sansa was baffled at this also.

The next day, Ned had officially begun on the board of Lannister, Inc. It was proven that the Day of Red Rain was not the only concern of the company. They still had to keep tracks with exports, imports, negotiations between other parts of the country and so on. That day, Ned learned nothing about anything related to that day or anything about how John might have died. The only thing that he learned was that the city prospered off of the backs of the Lannisters and that they had a connection to nearly every business there was.

For days, he helped to make decisions. Over time, Petyr began to coach him on certain aspects of the company. Petyr then began to change his demeanour. He became more dejected and stern. The look in his eyes hardened and his lips were almost always pinched in a pensive manner. After getting Ned acquainted with the business, he guided Ned to a different side of the city where it wasn’t so golden. 

As the car moved at a moderate speed, Ned saw as trash collected on the sides of the street, paint peeling off of building doors, unfinished buildings that had been sitting for years; people wandering the street with no decent clothes, tins filling the sidewalks for a night fire, and stray dogs, cats, and rats littering nearly every corner of the streets. Petyr and Ned got out of the black vehicle and took a few small steps away from the automobile. “Why are you bringing me here?”

“You want the truth my friend, here it is. It’s lying right before your eyes.”

Ned looked and saw nothing but disgust and an uninhabitable environment. “How is there truth to any of this?”

“Think about how much it may cost to sustain all of this. The people. Money rules so long as it is abundant. So what do you do when that abundance is swiftly depleting?”

Ned was slow to catch on. What Petyr said made no sense to him. “Why don’t you just tell me what happened to John?”

“It’s not that easy?”

“Of course it is,” he begged to differ, “All you have to do is tell me what happened.”

“And all you have to do is find out for yourself. It will do you some good to get the wheels in your head turning.”

Ned grabbed him by the collar of his black trench jacket and slung him against the car, “I haven’t been here that long, but it’s getting around to me that you aren’t a man to be trusted!”

“And you shouldn’t trust me!” He grunted as he tried to pry Ned’s hands from his coat.

“I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, or what business you’re running, but I want no part in it!”

“You made yourself a part in it when you agreed to join the board. And like all board members are contracted to do, you can’t disclose any of its precious information and strategies to the public. That’s where John went wrong!”

“What did he try to disclose? What did he know?”

Petyr laughed, “I’m amazed that you haven’t come to an answer.”

This time, Ned adroitly moved his grip from the man’s coat to his throat. “You’re leading me in circles. Part of me wonder if you enjoy watching me gravel for answers. You’re a snake Baelish. I hear them call you Littlefinger. An insulting name for a man I had to admit. But you deserve it!”

Just as Petyr’s face began to turn blue, Ned released his grip. Petyr doubled over, sucking in air like a fish out of water. He fixed his jacket and regained his decorum. Ned threw opened the door to the black car and got inside. “Take me back to my daughters.”

Petyr wanted to retaliate against him, but he knew it would not be a wise move. He threw aside the animosity he was shown and proceeded to execute Ned’s command.

Chapter Text

When Ned got back to his hotel room, he sat down on a red armchair and began to think about what Petyr was trying to tell him.

At once, there was a quick hard knock at his door. Ned quickly abandoned the seat and threw open the door. To his surprise, he saw a balloon floating in front of him. The text on the balloon had in a party font, “Happy Day of Red Rain.” It was peculiar to Ned because that day wasn’t until a few more days and a fortnight away. When he lifted the balloon by the string, he felt weight at the bottom. The weight was actually an envelope with mismatched fonts with different colours; it was words formed out of magazine clippings. The Envelope read, “Secret 520”.

Ned brought the envelope inside and opened it quickly. The letter he pulled out had the scent of a woman. At first, he thought someone was playing a joke on him. When he opened the letter, he found that there was a key and a small, dense anchor stuck to the page. There were more clippings of letters that read, “You know where to go.”

For hours, it took Ned to understand what the letter meant. It was until almost the break of dawn when he figured it out. He quickly tore the key from the parchment and made his way to the 5th floor of the hotel. The directory showed where he would find room 520. When he got there, he tried the key. It was a success. He pushed the door opened and slipped inside of the cold room. The room was not as luxurious as the one that he and his daughters shared. “If John was a part of the board, why didn’t he have the same kind of room?” He turned on the lights and went rummaging through the place. He found nothing. When he opened the closet, he found a black box that was latched with a padlock.

Ned raised a brow. He picked up the box and turned it over. Unexpectedly, he found a note underneath. He took the note and it had four colours written in a goofy alignment accompanied by another clue and another number:

         Red

   Orange

Turquois

        Pink

Look to the end. 922. Throw away once solved.

The number was the same as his daughter’s hotel room. He swiftly balled up the paper and stuffed it into his pocket. He took the black case and scurried back to the top floor. His eyes were burning from lack of sleep. He would not rest as he was desperate to find out what was really going on.

Before he went to room 922, he entered into his own room to fetch the spare key for the suite. Though nothing was making sense as he went along, he continued to attempt to solve the mysterious disappearance of his friend.

After he had entered the room, he sauntered quietly inside, now baffled at what his next step was. Again, he felt misled. He took the paper from his pocket and looked at it again. He went back over the part that didn’t make sense to him before—the colours and the way they were aligned. The sentence, look to the end was also baffling. “Look to the end of what!”

Sansa and Arya stirred in their sleep, reminding Ned that he must keep quiet. Ned Looked at the words and hoped that it actually meant something. Again, he sat down, trying to find out what was going on. In the midst of him doing so, he fell asleep.

He was soon aroused by Sansa’s voice, “Dad? What are you doing here?”

Ned wasn’t entirely awake but he understood what was being said to him. Becoming coherent again, he lifted himself to sit straighter. The sun had already come out and the clock chimed 9 a.m.

Arya looked at his hand, “What do you have there?”

Before Ned could retract the paper, Arya reached out and grabbed it. “Colours? Look to the end? Does it mean a rainbow?”

Sansa snatched the paper from Arya, “Look to the end. Turquois isn’t a part of the rainbow.”

“What does it matter? A rainbow has more than one colour.”

“I know it does, but Turquois isn’t one of them!”

“Of course you’d know that silly logic.”

Sansa rolled her eyeys. Ned tried to retrieve the paper from his daughters, “Sansa, that paper is really important.”

“Colour? Important?” she doubted.

“You don’t understand.”

Sansa disregarded her father and continued to read the letter, “Look to the end.” She repeated pensively as she scanned the parchment. “Desk?”

“What?” Ned was confused. “Why would you say that?”

“It says look to the end. The words were formulated articulately so I just looked at the end of each word. The end-letters form the word desk.”

Ned grabbed the paper from her and saw that she was right. Ned lifted from his seat and darted to the desk. He opened one drawer, found nothing, and then the next. In plain sight, there was a small key that looked like it fit the padlock on the box.

Ned took the key and inserted it into the lock. The lock snapped opened. “What’s in the box?” Arya asked.

“You girls run along and dress yourselves accordingly. I have something that I must look into.”

Ned regressed to his room and began to look through the box. It was filled with papers that were filed under John’s name. As he went through them, he began to finally patch up what was going on. When he had reached an epiphany, he got a knock at the door. He rushed to the door to open it. “You don’t want to be late for work, do you?” asked Varys.

“No. No I don’t. I’ll be ready.”

Chapter Text

Ned had arrived to meet Petyr in front of the building on the outside, “Judging by the dismantled appearance, you’ve had quite a journey figuring things out.”

“Why did you send me on a wild goose chase just for a box when you could have just given it to me?”

“And let Cersei know through the camera systems that I was delivering an inconspicuous box to you and then you suddenly find out everything that’s happened? That’s quite a miracle don’t you think? One miracle that won’t end well. I was never there. I have people working in my stead.”

“Other than the women at your whore houses? And why couldn’t you just have left the key next to the box?”

“You’d be surprise at how many secrets are spilled in the bedroom. And I had to get you out of the room somehow. You wouldn’t have wanted to get caught reading sensitive information in a room that was not your own.”

“Why did John Aryyn not have a suite?”

“He did. The same as yours.”

“But the box…”

“…was in a modest room;” he smiled, “I know. With your arrival, making sure that everything that belonged to John Arryn was eradicated was a must. The Lannisters work hard to sell the most expensive rooms. In such saying, they pay little attention to meeker rooms. It had to be inconspicuous. Besides, from the look of your face, I’d say that you hadn’t had much sleep. Just how long did it take you to figure out those clues?”

“A while. A waste of time. Sansa helped with the last clue.”

“Sansa?” he showed stupefaction. “And how long did it take her to solve it?”

“A few seconds, why?” He detested the way Sansa’s name came from his mouth.

Petyr hesitated before he spoke, “I was hoping that the clues weren’t too elaborate for you. Now I know who to leave the clues with from here on out.”

Once again, Ned gripped Petyr by his trench and pushed him into the wall. Some of the staff who were going back and forth were startled at the sudden aggression of Ned. They were not in Ned’s peripheral state of mind. “I don’t want you near Sansa. If I ever find out that you’ve ventured within two feet of her, I’ll break your neck!” He released him. “I’m going to need the police on my side.”

Petyr was tiring of being on the other end of his outbursts. Even still, he remained loyal out of respect for his childhood friend, Catelyn. Petyr could only hope that Ned didn’t do anything stupid with what he had learned. Of course, he knew that was exactly what he was going to do.

 

Before the start of the daily conference, Ned confronted Cersei while she stood in Joffrey’s office with him sitting at the head. “I know what happened! I know what you did to John.”

“And tell us, what did we do?” Cersei goaded.

“You’re not working to prevent the Day of Red Rain. Castamere, corp. wasn’t the first one to put this day into existence. It was you and your family.”

“And how did you figure so?”

“All the time that I’ve worked here, you stated that you were doing everything that you could to prevent the event. But every year, you get richer. It started ever since the beginning of it all. You’re profiting off of it. You’re engaged in blood money.”

“And what are you going to do about it?!” Joffrey protested. Cersei awaited an answer from Ned.

“I’m going to go to the public and let them know what’s been going on. That you are no friends of theirs. You are no friends of my family.”

“Very well, go to the public.” Cersei stated calmly.

“Are you mad!” Joffrey yelled, “You’re going to let him ruin us! Ruin me!” Joffrey exclaimed.

Ned proceeded to leave the room. When he did, Cersei made a swift call, “This is a security matter. Ned Stark has indulged into classified information and is in pursuit of revealing our trade secrets. I want him taken alive.”

“How did he find out!” Joffrey raged.

Cersei had a hunch. She was not entirely sure if she was right, but she had a feeling. As Ned made his way back to the hotel, he could see that it was flanked by three police cars with yellow and red flashing lights. The cars, nonetheless, were empty. His heart raced. Just when he reached the anteroom of the hotel, he heard his daughters crying and pleading to the police, “We didn’t do anything!”

“What is the meaning of this?!” Ned caught their attention.

Arya used this advantage to bite the hand of the gold and white uniformed cop and slip from his grip. She fled the scene with the police chasing after her. The policeman who had Sansa proceeded to carry her out to the car while another one pointed a gun on Ned, “Dad, do something!” Sansa called out.

Ned raised his hands in surrender. When the police went to apprehend him, Ned wrestled the gun out of his hand, sending off a few stray shots. The gun eventually fell from both of them. Ned grabbed the man on each side of his face and head butted him until the man blacked out from the impact. When Cersei and Joffrey arrived inside of the building, Ned went to grabbed the gun. Just as he pointed it them, he felt a hard piece of metal at the back of his head, “That wouldn’t be wise, Ned.” He heard his voice.

“You slithering snake,” Ned whispered.

“I told you not to trust me.”

Cersei’s hunch was cleared. She figured that Ned must have gotten the information from someone else. Since they now had Ned in their reach, the idea of who it might have been was no longer important to her.

Arya managed to outrun the police. Luckily for her, she was small enough to fit through the laundry shoot in one of the halls. Once she slipped through the small door, the police arrived too late to know where she went. They unwittingly passed right by the shoot and thought nothing of it.

Chapter Text

Ned was brought to a counsel hearing. Petyr and Varys both advised Cersei not to have Ned permanently silenced, but to send him to jail instead. “It would be in your best interest since the North will want justice for him.”

“And what am I to do with his daughters?”

“Arya was apprehended but she managed to get away from the police,” Varys informed.

Cersei was furious, but not too furious. “At least we have one of his daughters. If the North sees it unfair to sentence a traitor to jail, they’ll have to ask themselves how they plan to seek vengeance without putting the little dove’s life at risk. Fetch her for me.” It was not too long after that Sansa was seated before Cersei, “I can’t tell you how fortuitous it is to still have you in our company,” Cersei began.

“If you will, Madame, my father did nothing to get apprehended.”

“You’d like to think that, I know. But your father has signed a contract that he must abide by in order to work for my family’s company. He failed his part of the bargain and now must be punished. In order to lighten his sentence, you’ll tell your family that your father broke the rules and that there is no qualm between us.”

Sansa didn’t know what to do. “But…Madame, what shall I say?”

“It’s up to you. All you have to do it give it to them easy.”

Petyr spoke next, “You could, Madame, have her marry your son to show no ill-will toward your family. That it was just a law broken and nothing more. Doing anything extreme will only make the people question your sanctions. As if you’re trying to hide something.”

Cersei listened carefully, “Very well. You must send your family word of this. But Ned must never utter a word of anything remotely related to Lannis-Town. And you must marry Joffrey.”

“I’ll make sure of it,” Sansa spoke feebly.

Sansa was escorted back to her hotel room. She sat down and turned on the television. It was breaking news everywhere that Ned had been arrested, that her family had put out a speech demanding Ned’s release, and that Arya was missing. It was all too much to process. To top it all off, she was not too sure about Joffrey.

Nearly two weeks later, the hearing for Ned’s sentencing has been established. Catelyn and Robb had come down to The Golden City to personally hear the public hearing regarding Ned. Sansa was delighted to see her family. Only except she was not allowed to speak to them.

 Joffrey, being in command of the board, was the one expected to give the sentence. Sansa was standing with the Lannisters and the counsel awaiting Joffrey’s final judgement. Sansa found it weird that owners of a company had a right to choose a sentencing. She had always thought it was up to the legal forces to handle that. She had begun to realised that the south was nothing like the north.

“As you all know,” Joffrey began, “My father and grandfather has worked very hard to keep our business afloat. With the help of my grandfather, mother, and her advisors, we have been able to survive and thrive. One way to thrive is for us to maintain our trade secret! I’ve decided, that Ned…will not be sentenced! He will be released from our custody.”

Everyone on the counsel was baffled at his decision…everyone except Petyr. Sansa and her family were delighted to know that Ned would be getting released.

During the conclusion of the speech, Petyr stole away from the rest of his party to go and find Catelyn.

It had been years since he had seen her, but he had to convey to her what was really going on. He waited until Catelyn had been escorted to her car. As Catelyn made herself comfortable, Petyr entered into the limousine also. “Petyr!” she exclaimed in disgust.

“It’s been years, I know. But you must listen to me Catelyn. This is important.”

“What can you possibly have to say to me, Petyr?”

“Whatever news you saw…”

“It’s your fault why Ned is in this trouble! You were supposed to be my friend. My brother!”

“And I can be, just listen to me…”

“I have nothing to say to you! You’ve wrecked my family! I’m finally going to get my husband back and we’re leaving this gods forsaken city! I never want to see or hear from you again!”

“Listen to me, Cat!”

“I’m done listening to you! You're the worst thing that could have happened to me and I wish I would have let you die all those years ago! Ned told me how you had been misleading him and beguiling him with your schemes but I assured him that we grew up together and that you would never betray me!”

“Schemes that are necessary and vital to survival!”

“Rats survive, Baelish! My husband is no rat! Unlike you who are the biggest and the peskiest!”

“You have to understand that you won’t be getting your husband back!”

Catelyn quickly went into her purse and pulled out a switch blade, “I will call for my son to rip you from my presence and strangle you until your eyes no longer have light in them!”

Speaking to Catelyn was impossible for him. “Arya is missing. Sansa is still surrounded by the Lannisters. For your daughters’ sake, leave the city, now,” he spoke in a lower crescendo.

“And leave them behind?”

Petyr wanted to say yes, but he didn’t know how to say it without it sounding as if it was something that he wanted out of spite. “You have to leave.”

“Get out! Get out now or I’ll drive this knife through your gut myself!”

Petyr did as she said and let her alone. He blew a breath of exasperation once he was on the outside.

Later on that night, Sansa prepared to put herself to bed. Just when she was snug under the covers, she heard loud knocks at her door. She aggravatingly got out of the bed to open the door for her nightly visitor. “Baelish?”

“Petyr.” He corrected, “There’s no time.” He said as he quickly entered into the room. He took her by the hand and sat her on the couch. “Listen to me, Sansa, under whatever circumstances, do not attempt to leave the city with your family.”

Sansa furrowed her brows, “Why would I not go with my family?”

“It’s a trap, Sansa. Haven’t you wondered why Joffrey dismissed the sentence so abruptly?”

“Because he’s supposed to be marrying me to show good will. Arresting my father would complicate things.”

Baelish shook his head, “I suppose the recent kerfuffle has made you forget what tomorrow is.”

Sansa took a minute to recall upcoming events in that city. “The Day of Red Rain,” she recalled with a grim expression.

Baelish nodded his head slowly with an expression laced with suspense. “And do you know what happens on that day?”

“But my family would be gone before it begins.”

“How far would you go to protect and preserve everything that your family holds dear?”

“Far.” Sansa wondered why he was asking her such obvious questions.

“If you go out there, Sansa, you’re going to get hurt. Possibly killed.”

“This isn’t making any sense.”

“Your father told me that you solved the last clue within seconds. It lets me know that you’re very bright. That you have potential. Right now, you have to wake up from that dream of going home in peace. It’s not going to happen.”

Sansa, upset, raised from the couch, “You’re saying these things as if you want bad things to happen to me!”

“That's not the case. Trust me, I only want what’s best. You staying here would be what’s best for you right now. I’m only preparing you for what’s to come. Believe me, the last thing you would want to feel is your hopes getting shattered after such a glorious moment. This is not a glorious moment. It’s a dire one. A detrimental moment. Possibly fatal. Don’t leave, Sansa. Stay.”

“What am I going to say if I choose to stay here?”

“Say that you’ve fallen for Joffrey.”

“He doesn’t like me,” her voice became more serious.

“He doesn’t know that you know it and that’s a good thing.”

The look that Sansa received from him was genuine. Much more genuine than from the last time she had looked into his grey-green irises. “I don’t want to stay here.”

“I know. Trust me, I know.” He repeated. There was something deep inside of him that wanted to take her into his arms. Alas, his time with her had run out. “I must take my leave. Don’t go with your family. No matter how tempting, don’t leave this room. Demand that you stay here.” With those words, he left her behind, alone and now frightened.

Chapter Text

The next morning, The Day of Red Rain, the Lannisters had dropped Ned off at the front of the Lannister building late in the afternoon where Robb and Cat were waiting. There were many reporters surrounding him, asking him numerous of questions.

Ned, weak from weeks of incarceration, did his best to move pass them. His family eventually moved the crowd aside to help him break free of the paparazzi. With their aid, he was able to make it inside of the car. Ned was disappointed that Arya had not been found; on the contrary, he was happy to know that Sansa would be released as well.

Meanwhile, Sansa paced the room with heavy thoughts and a heavy heart. She was thinking about what Petyr had told her before. It had been weighing so heavy on her that she could not force herself to sleep. While she was thinking, she wondered if Petyr had attempted to help her family leave if he knew what was to happen.

Again, there was a knock at the door. Sansa answered it cautiously. To her relief it was only Varys, “The limousine to escort you to your family has arrived.” Varys took not and noticed that she was still in her night clothes. “Excuse me if I may seem rude by these remarks, but I thought you might have been happy to finally be leaving this place. Of course you must do so before the sun sets.”

“I’m..n…g..g.” She murmured as she twiddled her fingers nervously.

“I beg your pardon. I didn’t quite get that.”

“I’m not going.”

“Why ever not?”

“Cersei promised that I would marry her son. I’ve always wanted something like this my whole life and I finally got it. I want to stay here so that I may continue to be close to him,” she did her best to work on a smile.

Varys looked rather disappointed. “I do hope you’re not making a grave mistake.” He politely closed the door with a soft click.

“I hope I’m not making a grave mistake,” she spoke inaudibly to herself.

Ned and Catelyn might have been waiting on Sansa for hours. “Where is she?” Catelyn wondered.

Just then, Varys arrived to where they were. Ned and Catelyn were expecting to see Sansa emerge from the car. When she didn’t, they grew concerned. “Where is our daughter?” Catelyn demanded to know.

“My apologies. It appears that Sansa has taken quite a liking to Joffrey. She has her heart set on marrying the boy.”

Ned was baffled, “She told me that he did not like her. Why would she choose to stay here when she can be protected by her family?”

“No idea, Mr. Stark. Sometimes girls can be easily persuaded, say by a clever and guiling snake who knows what he’s doing. Take my advice, Eddard. It is growing later into the day and you must take your leave for this day will be perilous indeed.”

“We won’t leave until Sansa is with us!”

“Do as you might, but you probably won’t leave here alive if you try to go back for her. The city is huge and traffic around this time can be hectic if you’re not early enough to evacuate like wisest people do. As of now, the traffic is looking fair. Any later and you may get stuck in the city. If that happens, you’d have to abandon your car and proceed on foot. Not that it will guarantee you safe passage from the dangers that are to arise soon enough. If you will, I must take my leave before I, too, am left in an unwanted situation. I do wish you the best of luck.”

Ned and Catelyn looked at each other with concern. “As long as she stays inside where it’s safe, we can come back for her another day.” Catelyn reasoned. Ned agreed.

As they journeyed toward the Roaring Airport, the city’s delinquents had fooled around with the limousine carrying Ned and Catelyn. Luckily, they were able to make it to their destination where they met with Robb. Together, they entered the airport only to find that the plane back to the North had been cancelled due to repair issues. They soon found that they had to journey by way of car to the next airport which was Crag Flights. The sun was starting to set, the countdown to the start of the event was set at 4 hours and 30 minutes.

The limousine took them onto the highway in order to get them where they needed to go. To their dismay, the road had already begun to fill up with other cars. People were desperate to get out of the city. From a distance, as they looked out of the window, they witnessed a mass of uncorrelated crowds diminish until there was hardly anyone else left out in the open. The sight was chilling.

The traffic had less than a moderate flow. Soon, the flow slowed and slowed until traffic was at a standstill. It had been two hours that they had been caught into traffic. Catelyn, Ned, and Robb was questioning their next move. “It’s only two hours before the beginning of the Red Rain,” Robb spoke, “Mum, we’ll have to leave and start walking.”

“And leave ourselves vulnerable?” Catelyn argued.

“We have no other choice, mother. Father, you understand don’t you?”

“I do,” he agreed. “He’s right. We haven’t moved for thirty minutes. Time is winding down and people are leaving their cars.”

Catelyn, with an unsettling urge in her gut, accepted the words of her husband and son. The three of them exited from the car. From the wind alone, they could tell that danger was lurking. The eerie feeling that they got from the empty streets brought them no comfort. “Where do we go from here? Crag Flights isn’t anywhere near.” Catelyn complained.

“We’ll have to find some place to stay the night.”

“And where do we go?” Catelyn spoke, beginning to become frustrated.

“I’ll ask the driver.” Ned walked up to the driver’s door and knocked on the window. He expected for either the door to open or for the window to be let down. Neither happened. He knocked again. Still, no response. He opened the door and found that there was no driver. He laid a hand on the seat to detect any sign of recent warmth. The seat was as cold as the air circulating around them. All that was left was a letter on the dashboard.

Catelyn and Robb saw the grave look that crept across Ned’s face, “What’s wrong?” They asked in unison.

“The driver. He’s gone. And I found this note.”

“What does it say?" Catelyn’s heart began to race.

“And now the rains weep o’er the streets with no one left to hear.”

That was not a good sign. “We have to get out of here!” Catelyn, Robb, and Ned began to run as fast as could away from the Golden City. They knew not where to go. The only thing they could try to do was find refuge with some idle denizens.

The nearest residential properties that was nearest to them was Flea Bottom Square. Ned recognised it from the last time Petyr had brought him there. “We’ll see if we can find someone who would let us in.”

Chapter Text

Elsewhere, Sansa paced nervously in front of the television as she watched the Lion News Network Broadcast. She listened to the nervous sounding reporters as they spoke professional still through the microphone, “As of right now, you can hear in the background people preparing for this very gruesome day. This is the day that was set forth ever since the day that Castamere, corp. fell destitute with the family all annihilated in their homes. The sounds of motorbikes, crowds roaring, and some gunshots.

Around this time is where everything in the city is perfectly still including traffic. Most people abandon their cars to seek refuge away from the oncoming dangers. Those who are not so lucky to find refuge are stuck in the middle of chaos until the morning…if they make it to the morning.”

Sansa’s stomach never contained so many butterflies. She wanted to sit still, but she couldn’t. She wanted to move around, but then she didn’t. She wanted to cry, but she wanted to remain optimistic. Thinking about what Petyr had told her left her thinking dismal thoughts that she wished to be rid of.

When the news cast was over, a separate screen overtook the one before and displayed the countdown in big white numbers. The clock was at 1 hour and 45 minutes. That only made her even more depressed.

Just as the fear had begun to set in, the door to her hotel was brutally kicked in. The loud bang sent her blood rushing and her reflexes to kick in. She attempted to run from the men who were all dressed in red and gold uniform. It was the same uniform worn by the guards at Casterly Estate.

“Sansa Stark,” spoken by the taller man with a light, gruff, yet hostile tone, “You’re hereby branded as property of Lannister, Inc. Any resistance and you will be surely killed.”

Sansa, now crying, only stood in the crevice of the room, surrounded with no place to run to. The men took her unapologetically by the arms and quickly walked her to the elevator. The elevator apparently had a secret button as a hidden panel revealed another button with the letters “UT”.

It took a while for the elevator to open. When it did, it opened from the back. “Move it!” The taller man pushed, his big brown eyes flared with hostility.

They were in some kind of secret tunnel. Thinking back to the letters, Sansa realised that “UT” stood for underground tunnel. It was long, dully lit, and made completely of light grey concrete. A little way down, there were golf cart-like vehicles waiting for them. Sansa wanted to know where she was going. She had chosen to do the right thing which was to remain silent.

The ride was fairly long probably because the carts were not designed to go as fast as a regular car. Nevertheless, they had made it to their destination. There was another elevator with a white interior. The men opened yet another secret panel and pressed at button with the letters, “AR”. She couldn’t begin to guess what those letters stood for. The ride was a quick one. When the door opened, she recognised the place immediately.

“Just in time,” Cersei walked elegantly down a grand case of white marble stairs coated with a red carpet outline with gold. “We’ve a surprise for you, little dove.”

Joffrey, with an evil smirk on his face cut right to the point, “You don’t have to worry about your family missing the wedding. They’ll be here in body. Not so sure about their spirits though.”

Sansa did not receive a good feeling about it. Just then, only two of the members of Lannister, Inc. had entered into the room; Varys and Petyr stood opposite of Cersei and Joffrey. Cersei gave the command once they were present, “Meryn, bring in our guests.”

Sansa shrieked once she saw her mother, brother, and father gagged and tied up. “Please, don’t hurt them!”

“You’re a stupid little old thing aren’t you?” Joffrey insulted. “We’re not going to hurt them! We’re going to kill them!”

Cersei intervened, “To be more precise, we’re going to have them killed. We don’t want blood getting on our hands and clothes. The stains will never come out. It’s amazing what peasants would do for a pouch of gold. They were found knocking on the doors of the poor looking for shelter. A Lannister always pays his debts. I’ve paid mine.”

“Please! I’ll do anything you want. Whatever you say, I swear it!”

“There’s nothing for you to surrender to seeing’s that you’ll do what we ask of you regardless,” Cersei lectured.

Ned, Catelyn and Robb did their best to fight back. Pycell, the old butler, rolled in a flat television that displayed the countdown. Ilyn, a man with a rough and a ghastly appearance, rolled in a table that contained machetes, knives, a mace, and an axe. The weapons alone made Sansa Shriek in terror.

Petyr and Varys both were unnerved at the sight. Alas, they could do nothing but stand there and watch. Petyr managed to catch Catelyn’s eyes. Her stare at him might have killed him if it was a weapon. Petyr dared only to stare back at her with a look of I did try to warn you.

Through the tick tensions, anxiety arose from the Stark family as the last remaining seconds wounded down. Ilyn and Pycell left the room and other men came along in their place. Cersei had the gag removed from Catelyn’s mouth, “Any last words?” Cersei spoke loud enough to cover Sansa’s squeals and pleas.

“Lother! Olyvar! You’re supposed to be my father’s most trusted allies!”

“More like his basket case,” spoke Lothar Frey.

“We’re sick of receiving scraps from your family. We were promised and given more property if we attended this year’s Red Rain celebration. Against you of course.”

20 seconds remaining

“When the rest of my family hears of this, you won’t live to see the next Red Rain!”

“After you.”

Ten seconds left

The barriers around the house began to close and lock off every area of every exit. The house was brightly lit, the crystal that hung from a grand chandelier above the stairway extended the beautiful candlelight-coloured lights as well as gave off iridescent glows that bounced off of the marble pillars situated at each side of the staircase.

It was an elegant setting; it’s beauty was not recognised as death was approaching. The clock wound down to zero. From the outside, megaphones filled the empty street with music:

And who are you, that land lord said

That I must stoop so low

Only a cat of a different coat

That’s all the truth I know

A coat of gold, A coat of red

A lion still has claws

And mine are long, and sharp oh, lord

As long and sharp as yours.

Just before the next part, Lothar and Olyvar each picked up a blade. Sansa continued to cry for mercy and fight out of the grip of Meryn Trant.

And so he spoke, and so he spoke, The lord of Castamere

And now the rains weep o’er his hall

With no one there to hear.

Yes, now the rains weep o’er his hall

And not a soul…to hear.

Once the song ended, Lothar and Olyvar both jabbed long slender blades into the bodies of Catelyn and Robb. Lother drove the dagger from the back of Catlyn’s neck until it protruded from her forehead. Olyvar stabbed Robb in the chest, Ilyn, returning after covering himself in protective clothing, chose the axe from the table. He stood from behind Ned who was looking into his daughter’s eyes. In one sweep, his head was now on the floor, eyes still open. Petyr and Vays held their heads down, attempting to maintain their composure. Joffrey applauded the scene as Sansa screamed her lungs out before passing out.

Chapter Text

Blood from all three corpses spilled onto the marble floor. A large puddle gathered in front of the stairway, bright red from absorbing the light from up above.

“Take her and put her in her new room.” Joffrey slighted. “I want their heads mounted on my father’s trophy wall. That ought to teach them not to go messing around in other people’s affairs.”

Meryn Trant carried her up to the room that Cersei had prepared especially for her. The room was bland. There were no pictures, no fancy curtains and no television. There was only a bed, a study, a small circular oak dining table accompanied by a chair, and a single wardrobe.

Throughout the evening, and throughout the night, crime had commenced outside of the doors of Casterly Estate. As usual, a hoard of people attempted to ram the gates at the Estate of Casterly. Few were shot down as a warning to others to leave the property. Sansa, who had awakened from her fainting spell, opened her swollen and burning eyes. The sight that she had witness flashed back to her. She jumped from the bed and ran to the door. She found that it was locked. She tried the windows. They were sealed. Where am I? How can I get out of here? This has to be a dream. A really bad dream.  She thought to herself.

She picked up the chair from the dining table and hit it against the metal bars just behind the glass that was behind the steel barrier. Even if she could have broken through the bars, she could not have broken through the steel that prevented damages and break-ins. Again, she used to chair to try to get out, only for a leg to splinter and break. She released the chair and dropped to her knees. She could hear it. The screaming, the shooting, the killing, the battering, all of it. It was a relentless reminder of what had happened just a few moments before. She curled up in a corner and buried her head in her knees. She cried and cried. Her heart was aching and her mind was all over the place.

She could not understand what was going on. Why would the Lannisters be a part of the Red Rain event if they were working to stop it? If they were against what the family of Castamere had set forth. She wondered what her family did to be killed the way they were. All she knew was that she wanted to see her family’s murderers die. Beginning with Joffrey. Her thoughts then took her to Petyr. He was the one who told her what to expect.

She began to weigh the events of what could have happened. What if she was out there with her family? It would have been as he said. Getting her hopes up only for her world to be crashing from underneath her. But it didn’t happen that way. She was prepared. She figured that she might have been in a worst state had she fell hard from her high place of hopes. She was happy, but not happy that she made the decision to stay. She regretted not spending one more moment with them even if it meant death for them all. She didn’t know whether to thank the man with the crooked smile, or to hate him for convincing her to let such moments pass her by, never to be visited again. She didn’t know if she should feel thankful or rueful that she was still alive. She felt guilty being alive while the bodies of her family was slowly losing warmth that indicated life. At that moment, she hated everything and everyone, including herself.

Her momentary feeling of isolation and solitude came to an end when the door to the room was unlocked and opened. Again, it was Meryn Trant who had entered along with two other guards. Without word, they took her into their custody once more. She was brought down to the basement of the mansion. It wasn’t as elegant as the rest of the house, but it was still clean and made of brown stone. There he was, smiling like the monster he was. “I’m glad to see you awake now.”

“That’s more than what I can say for you,” Sansa retorted.

Joffrey didn’t like her tone. He stepped slowly to her and struck her across the face. “The next remark from you and I’ll have Meryn beat you until you can’t breathe!”

Joffrey proceeded further into the basement where he brought her to a room. Sansa’s eyes opened wide with grief. She screamed to the top of voice as she saw her father’s head on a table beneath his body, hanging from a ceiling hook that also impaled the backs of her mother and brother.

“I was going to have his skull polished and hung to start my own trophy collection. I only wish I had that bitch sister of yours. I would have worked wonders with her body. I would have had her turned into a wax doll with your brother’s head between her legs.”

Sansa, filled with rage and insult, wanted to snatch the gun from the holster that was tied around Meryn Trant. If she would have killed Joffrey that night, she couldn’t be convicted for it because it was legal. Her better judgement then kicked in. Even if she was to take the gun and successfully kill him, there were two other guards present who might have shot her before she could shoot Joffrey. She bit her tongue but her eyes screamed insulting words at him.

“What? You don’t like to notion?” Joffrey mocked. “Sad. It would have made for a wonderful wedding present. My mother says that it can’t happen, but you will be mine for me to do whatever I want. But before that happens, I have to wait until she schedules an appointment with doctor Qyburn. No bastard in the Lannister family she says.”

Sansa didn’t know what to do from there. All she could do was surrender if it meant her life. She said nothing in retaliation. She lowered her head in defeat, tightening her fists until her nails pierced her palms.

“Go on, take her away. I’ll get back with her in a few days.”

Sansa was taken back to her room. The sight that she had seen made her cry evermore. She felt so helpless. So stupid. The exhaustion she carried soon overtook her. She sat on the floor beside the bed for while, hurt and heartbroken. Before she knew it, she was asleep.

When she opened her eyes, she found herself lying on the floor beside the bed. She didn’t bother to think about it. She did notice however that the steel barrier had been removed and sunshine was pouring in from behind the barred window. All at once, she felt like a caged bird. Only allowed to view the goings on from behind a window. She could see The Golden city from where she was. She rued the day she and her family had set eyes on that place. What more, she missed squabbling with her sister as annoying as it was. Every memory of them, good or bad, was precious to her now.

Chapter Text

Sansa was brought from her thoughts when her door opened. She whirled around to see Petyr entering the room. She was angry with him, but she felt grateful toward him. What she should say was an ineffability.

“I’ve come to give my condolences for your family.”

“Why didn’t you help them?” she asked with a cracked voice.

“And what could I have done?”

“You could have told them that the Lannisters were supporting the Day of Red Rain all along.”

“I did. In a way.”

“What does that mean?” she spoke through clenched teeth.

“It means that I can only do so much to protect those who doesn’t wish to be protected.”

Sansa was confused. “And what did you do to protect them? You did nothing.”

Petyr’s indifferent expression had changed into a softer one. She could tell in an instant that he had somehow swapped personalities. He proceeded to speak, “Look around you. This house, this city, the company. All of it is owned by one family. This one family has eyes everywhere, watching. Say the wrong thing, make the wrong move, become discovered…and you die. Be it on the Day of Red Rain or any other ordinary day. But you know that, don’t you?”

“Know what?”

“You could have thrown out any insult you wanted to at the Lannisters. At Joffrey. You chose to hold your tongue. Wise. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and you might have joined your parents in the anteroom. Tell me, what could you have done?”

Sansa pondered for a moment, “Are you good or bad?”

“Good or bad?” Petyr snickered. His expression of indifference had returned. “There are many stories of origins. Stories that can be either fabricated or truthful. What such a story to hear where peace and prosperity prospered after wars that began out of defiance involving noble men and women rising against the villains of the world. Such a feat. Such a story…A lie. There is no such thing as heroes or villains, only what one must do to survive. But in the name of your family, for your mother, I can get you home. You’ll just have to do as I say.”

“And what if I don’t want to?”

Petyr was quizzical about her defiant yet interesting demeanour, “And you have another choice?”

Sansa was at a loss for words. “I’ll just have to do as they say and I won’t be hurt.”

“You’re as bad an optimist as you are a liar,” his tone was slick, “To survive here, you can’t rely on optimism alone. And you’re going to have to lie a lot better than you’re doing now. The lion smells bravery as well as fear. Fear is what saves you…bravery gets you killed. Show fear in your words; show bravery in your optimism. Show nothing in your intelligence.”

“What does that even mean?”

“You’ll soon find out. I’ve been sent to handle business outside of town. I won’t be back here for a while.”

Sansa wanted to tell him to wait. It was the first real conversation she had had during her time of peril. She did not want him to go. When he closed the door behind himself, he locked it.

In the mean time, Cersei had a hard time trying to place an appointment for Sansa. The hospital was full, the death toll in the city was high, stores were pillaged though the damages to the town were not as severe as the bodies that were loitering the streets.

It took weeks for the mess to be cleaned, for bodies to be identified and laid to rest, stores to be restocked, and bullet shells to be collected from the street. Not to mention, people who were returning to town caused traffic to build and become congested.

Cersei and Joffrey were hardly ever at home due to this sudden change. It was a change they were used to, but every year, it became harder and harder. Especially after the death of Robert and Tywin’s absence. Many of their competitors dared to enter into the city to lean their secrets. Including their next greatest rival after Castamere, corp.; High Garden, Inc.

It had taken nearly two months for things to get back to normal. In that time, Sansa occasionally thought about Petyr, wondering when he would return. During that time at Casterly Estate, she continued to endure being humiliated, shamed, beaten, abused, tormented, and misused by everyone who had entered into the estate.

Varys had left the city to join Tyrion who was in Harren City with his father. They had more important matters to face.

Since there was no TV, Sansa could not learn what was happening in the outside world. The most she could do was give herself hope. Every time she alluded to do so, she thought about what Petyr was trying to tell her. Then a notion about him came to her about him. He behaved like two different people and she remembered her father telling her and Arya that people called him Littlefinger. It was Littlefinger, she figured, she was talking to then. Everything about him changed when he spoke on certain subjects. His eyes, face, body posture, and more. He was his own twin; Littlefinger being the dreaded one while Petyr was the compassionate one.

Later on when the hospital was low on patients once more, Sansa was taken to her appointment to Qyburn who had taken a fortnight to rest after the cataclysm that had taken place. Her appointment was that of an implantation of an intrauterine device. Cersei was adamant of keeping Sansa as a pleasure slave as much as she was keeping her as a daughter-in-law.  She was not too keen on having grandchildren by a girl she deemed feeble, daft, and unfit. To add, it made her feel better that Sansa would be further reduced from the once amiable girl she was.

Sansa was left sore for a few days after the implantation. She cried until she had no more tears to produce. At that point in time, she was tired of crying. She wanted to do something about her captivity. She could only hear his voice in her head, telling her that he would help her. But he wasn’t around. Not Until recent.

Sansa had been given the permission to walkabout the mansion, however it was guarded by many men. To ease the budget, Cersei had Petyr to arrange a security instalment to add more security cameras to the ones they had possessed already. It was necessary that time since they had a captive, something that didn’t need constant guarding before.

Chapter Text

When Petyr arrived, he arrived with the company of the Lannister’s competitor family, the Tyrells. Cersei was reluctant to welcome them. However, her father let her know that acquiring their shares from High Garden, Inc. would help to ensure a slow but successful overtake. The only way for her to increase the shares was to get Joffrey to marry the oldest daughter, Margaery to secure assets. Tywin made it clear that the Tyrells would not ask for any prenuptial agreements under the impression that they would win the gamble of acquiring Lannister, Inc. for themselves.

Whilst Cersei and Tywin, who had just arrived in The Golden City, were speaking on the new terms, Petyr paid Sansa a visit in the study on the opposite side of the mansion before the cameras were set. “I can imagine how relieved you are that Joffrey is engaged to someone else. Do you remember what I told you about having neither optimism or fear mixed with intelligence?”

“I do.”

“Now is the time to become intelligent, to forget optimism and use your head. Joffrey may be engaged to someone else, but he’s not forgotten about you. He can take his frustrations out on you whenever he pleases.”

“Please Baelish, tell me what can I do to get out of here?”

“Just wait. Have patience. His mother would want him to remain pure when he marries. That will give you extra time. I’ve been given the opportunity to become part of the board of John Arryn’s old company entrusted with his wife and your aunt, Lysa Arryn.”

“I’ve heard of her. Mother spoke about her often, but I’ve never met her. How are you going to help me by joining the board of their company? I thought you were supposed to be helping me get out of here.”

Petyr placed his hands on each of her shoulders. His eyes were filled with lust, his voice was as lecherous as his stare, “You’re going to have to be ready when time comes. Ready to run once the word is spoken. For now, you’ll have to use the time you have here wisely.”

Sansa could feel a pull coming from him. A pull in which she was gravitating. She thought she was losing her mind. At the same time, she was happy that she wasn’t losing her mind from grief or worry. She was tempted to trek new grounds that would give her new thoughts and something to think about. Just as the thoughts formed, everything went out of her head when he began to move his face toward hers.

Impulsively, she allowed him access to connect his mouth with hers. The mint from his breath was especially strong. So strong it seemed she was the one who had chewed mint. The feeling was warm, and it gave her a tingling feeling reaching far below her stomach. Sansa couldn’t bring herself to fight the urge to leave her hands at her side. Inadvertently, she rested her hands on his forearms.

For a slight moment did their lips part and re-join again soon after. Sansa’s heart fluttered furiously out of nervousness as well as out of a bit of attraction on her part. To bury those feelings she believed to be arising out of nowhere, she gingerly pulled away from him and turned her back to him. “It would be dangerous if someone were to walk in,” she gave an explanation for her choice of action.

“There’s no need to explain. I’ve overstayed my limit and must take my leave.”

Deep down, Sansa wanted to say something. She made herself refuse to say anything. The moment he was gone was the moment she regretted not asking him to stay a little while longer. She had been so lonely despite that she was in a house filled with people…no…monsters. She sat down on the pearl-coloured couch and took in the moment she did have with Petyr. She could tell it was Petyr then. She could still feel the warmth from his lips in the back of her mind. She craved for that feeling again. It was the first time in a long time that her heart raced out of passionate anxiety and not a threatening one.

Cersei, Tywin, and the rest of the counsel—excluding Petyr who was sent to Vale Valley—got together to speak about the engagement. Cersei showed immediately that she was not fond of Margaery. Nor did she take to kindly to Olenna Tyrell, her grandmother. “Just so you know, I don’t expect to pay for the majority of the wedding. If you want to earn a place within our administration you’re going to have to show that you are fair dealers.”

“You’ll find in time that my family has the authority to enforce however much we desire.”

Tywin hushed Cersei before she could say more, “We will do our fair part with assembling and organising the agreements to ensure that we fulfill our due diligence in the matter.”

“You are very wise indeed, Sir Tywin. I don’t know what kind of a wretch you have as a daughter. The lonely candle beside my nightstand outshines whatever light she has if she has one. Certainly it’s not enough to outshine a busted firefly.”

While Tywin was insulted, he held his composure. “I do not make light of insults. Twisting the tail of the lion has proven to be the gravest mistake that one can ever make no matter how dormant or docile the lion may be. It would be in your best interest to ensure your due diligence and stunt your growth for the meantime.”

“You can’t stop a rose from growing. And if a lion is stirred by the rose, it would be wise to keep your distance because a rose has many thorns. But that it beside the point. We’ve come to lay down the foundation of who is responsible for what and how we are to get it done.”

Margaery was next to speak, “I can’t wait to see how this is going to turn out. I have always wanted a lavish wedding with the most handsome man in all of the land.”

Tywin later excused himself once an agreement was reached. He demanded a word with Cersei thereafter. All who was left was Margaery and her grandmother.

Chapter Text

Sansa, with the intent of going out into the gated demesne was spotted by Olenna, “You! Come here child.”

Sansa did as she was told, “Yes?”

“I was aware that the Lannisters had another visitor, only except they didn’t mention you.”

“How long have you been here?” Margaery asked politely.

Sansa twiddled her fingers, “Almost four months now.”

“You’re Sansa Stark," said a shrewd Olenna, "I remember reading about your family in the papers. I heard that they were unaware of the date of the Day of Red Rain and managed to get caught in the riot.”

Sansa was insulted at this. Clearly, her radiant colour expressed more than that of anger. Sansa tried to keep herself from crying. “Yes, they were killed on the Day of Red Rain.” Sansa looked eagerly behind herself to make sure no one was watching.

“Are you happy here? You look rather pale for a girl, or it is a northern trait?”

“I don’t think it’s due to the weather, she looks terrified,” Margaery announced sympathetically.

“And what may be troubling you my dear?”

Sansa looked around to make sure no one could hear her. “I’m, I’m happy here. Really,” she squeezed from her throat.

Margaery and Olenna could look into her eyes and tell that she was filled with terror. “Come, sit down,” Olenna ordered.  “Whatever it is you have to say, you can tell us. We won’t breathe a word to anyone else.”

Sansa was reluctant to say anything. She sat there, squeezing her hands. “She’s trembling Grandmother.”

“That I can see. Come on, tell us girl. Why are you so afraid?”

Sansa, feeling so confused, wanted to assure herself that they would not tell. She could not, however, make herself believe them. “You’re about to marry Joffrey and you’ll be on their side.”

“I don’t trust that haughty, pea-headed boy any more than you don’t trust us.”

“We’d like to know what we are getting ourselves into and what to expect. We’re choosing not to sign a prenuptial agreement with them and it would do us some good to understand how to work around them.”

Sansa, feeling a bit more confidence in them, began to speak, “My parents and my brother died on the Day of Red Rain. But they weren’t caught out in the streets. They were killed in the very spot just before the grand stairway in the anteroom. Right in front of me.”

Margaery and Olenna looked at each other. “Apparently, the Lannisters aren’t indeed against the Day of Red Rain.”

Sansa felt as if she had granted them access to a reason to have her executed. Margaery could see the instant regret on her face, “You don’t have to worry about us spoiling your confidence. We won’t breathe a word to anyone like I’ve said. Besides, it wouldn’t exactly benefit us. At least we now know what to expect.”

“Say, I’ve just had the most splendid idea. My grandson, Loras, is actually unmarried. We were looking for an eligible young woman amiable enough to fill the position.”

“Loras?” Sansa questioned.

“He’s my brother. He’s very agreeable with a moderate temper. You’d like him. He’s to inherit the business after our father. I’ve chosen to do other things with my life.”

Sansa couldn’t think about how her brother looked. She was too preoccupied with thinking about the kiss she had shared with Petyr not too long before.

Margaery went into her dress pocket and pulled out her phone. “There,” she handed it over to Sansa. “Isn’t he handsome?”

Sansa couldn’t deny his charm; however, she felt as if she would be following the same road she did when she pulled up a picture of Joffrey, thought the he was handsome, and he turned out to be a monster. Sansa was at a crossroad. She was entirely filled with speculation. “Yes, he’s very handsome,” she said while handing to phone back to Margaery.

Sansa jumped when she heard a nearby door opening and footsteps approaching. She was relieved to know that it was only one of the security men continuing his work throughout the house. It reminded her that she was not in a tabernacle of safety. “I must be along,” she told them. She hastened out of the formal dining area and out into the gardens where she could get some sun.

Sansa walked about the grand lawn, viewing the topiary masterpiece of the bushes and trees. She was soon joined to her grievance by Joffrey. “Those cameras, you see” he pointed, “are being placed in every corner to make sure you don’t do anything to try to escape.”

“I’m not trying to escape,” she spoke with a vexed voice.

“Sure you are. And why wouldn’t we believe so? Everyone wants to escape and tell the public what goes on behind our doors. But one day, after all of the peasants are gone and the rich remains, we won’t have to worry about people trying to pry their claws into my business.”

Just as Joffrey ended, a man who was atop of the ladder installing a camera, fell sideways while on the top rung, broke a neighbouring camera, and landed into the bushes just a few centimetres away from Joffrey. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

“You big, fat, drunk buffoon!” He yelled.

“I’m sorry.” The man apologised again.

“He didn’t mean it. It was an accident!”

“And who are you to say it was an accident?!”

“It was, sir. I didn’t mean it.”

“You could have taken my head off! And you broke a camera! I ought to have my guards throw you in jail for conspiracy!”

“You can’t do that!” Sansa exclaimed.

“What in bloody hell do you mean that I can’t?! I can do whatever I want to do, this is my house! I run everything!”

“What I meant is…you can’t have him put away. Clearly he knows how to fix it and it. You said so yourself that once the peasants are gone, you can do whatever you want. But you won’t have peasants if you keep giving them your money. You’ll have to give more money to lesser people who install cameras. If you keep him, you won’t have to pay any more to them.”

Joffrey listened haughtily. “Alright…fine. It would be a waste. Get up ye drunkard, and fix those cameras. I refuse to pay too much to your kind for your lousy service!”

The man was ever grateful to Sansa. He lifted his ladder and continued to work on installing the security. Sansa was only happy that she managed to persuade Joffrey and keep him from acting like a wild animal with no discipline.

Chapter Text

It was a whole fortnight before Olenna and Tywin had contracts drawn and preparations made. All they had left to do was to arrange the wedding so that everything came together perfectly. Before long, Petyr returned to Lannis-Town to deliver news about his findings in Vale Valley. “It’s been four months since the death of Ned, Catelyn, and Robb Stark.”

“Yes, go on.” Tywin urged. Cersei listened.

“The northern continent isn’t exactly content on believing that the Stark family was only in the wrong place at the wrong time. They know that investigators in the south are not obligated to do anything about crime that takes place legally on the Day of Red Rain. I’ve found out from Lysa and her board that the northern companies are sending down their own team of investigators to investigate their murders.”

Tywin was clearly unnerved at this. Cersei was enraged, “They have no right in my city!”

“Technically they do, Madame Cersei. Ned, Robb and Catelyn belonged to the north so the police in that district have a judicial right to investigate any anomalies that happens to their citizens.”

“He’s right. We’ll have to put a stop to this immediately!” Tywin affirmed.

“It would push back all of our plans for the wedding,” Cersei spoke through clenched teeth.

“You will stop planning for the meantime and find a way to throw off this investigation. I want whatever evidence to be eradicated and dealt with professionally. I’ll leave that up to Bolton Enterprises.”

“And why not me? You don’t think that I can do a better job?” Cersei protested.

“It’s your doing why we’re in this mess in the first place!”

“We were originally going to sentence Ned with a light sentence if he agreed to take the plea bargain.”

“Yet you let your inexperienced son call all of the shots and run you amuck. If you can’t handle your own child and put your own intelligence to use, then I have no use for you. The public merely takes kindly to your face and have more trust in you because you’re a woman. It’ll be better if you adhere to what you do best and that is to look good for Lannister, Inc.!”

While Cersei was offended by her father, she bit her tongue out of respect. “What are you going to have them do?”

“I’ll leave it to them! You just be sure to dissuade the public from the investigation by promoting Lannister services of business and accounting. And Baelish, see to it that Lysa Arynn knows whose side she’s on. I want the remaining assets of that company brought into the fold before the year has ended.”

“My pleasure, sir.” Baelish bowed slightly and quickly before he turned and gallantly walked away.

As soon as he had gone, Tywin continued to speak with Cersei, “I have done my utmost to try to keep Tyrion out of our family affairs. Although he has the least shares on this board, he’s not inept. He’s beginning to suspect our hand in the Day of Red Rain and if that happens, he can use that to overturn us. We have to acquire more businesses and the districts that they influence so that I may be able to bring in more legal forces under our power. Until then, you need to keep your hands clean and your nose out of the investigation. If Tyrion gets a whiff of fear from you regarding what may be discovered, you will be jeopardising the entire company!”

Cersei again remained silent and accepted her father’s demand. “What do I do about Joffrey?”

“You’ll keep him busy with the Tyrell girl. Chaperone them, Send them on dates. Anything to keep him occupied and cooped in the dog house with a tighter leash! That will be all. I have other business to attend to.” He too then took his leave.

It took no time for news to circulate from the north to the south. Paparazzi swarmed Cersei, “Cersei is it true that there will be an investigation?”

“Are these investigations nothing more than rumours?”

“Tell us what’s next for Lannister, Inc.!”

“People are wondering what happened to the Starks on the night of the Day of Red Rain, what do you have to say about this?”

“Do you find it peculiar that people are speculating that something happened to four very powerful people in The Golden city?”

All of the inquisitions thrown at Cersei were easily dismissed. Except for only one question.

“Is it true that Sansa Stark will marry Joffrey sometime soon?”

Cersei allowed the microphone to be brought to her lips, “The Stark daughter has agreed to marry my son to show that there are good terms with our families after their tragic departure. Unfortunately, my son’s heart has been captured by another woman. Sansa insists on remaining in The Golden City to show that there is no ill-will between our families and that whatever happened that night is not as everyone would like for it to be.”

After she spoke that once, more and more people were just as eager than before to get more answers out of her. The gold uniformed security, the one her brother was in charge of, moved the paparazzi aside to make way for Cersei to enter into the glass façade building.

On the inside, the head of Bolton Enterprise—having come in through the underground tunnel—was seated at the end of the long rectangular table along with a pale, dark haired representative. Varys, Petyr, and Tywin were also present.

They began to discuss what was going on with the investigation coming from the North. “What have you designed to  discourage the investigation?” Tywin asked the balding man at the end.

“There has been some trouble with Stark, co., as you know they have always been our biggest competitors since the start of our family businesses. The boy who was left to watch over everything, Theon Greyjoy, has massed the idea of a hostile overtake on behest of his declining family business.”

“So we’ve heard,” Varys replied, meaning to slight Baelish.

“Sir Tywin if you will allow my bastard son and I to recuperate what is left of the company, we should surely overturn the company to you.”

“I suspect this is a matter of a quid pro quo.” Tywin wanted him to confirm.

“It is. If you would move the Stark headquarters from the North, it will leave my company the only one available in the north that can match what the Starks can do.”

“And you would receive a return of investment on a massive scale, am I correct?” Baelish inquired.

“Indeed.”

Baelish sized the man up. He looked at his representative and could tell that they were not the kind to settle for less or for being in second place. He put the thought in the back of his mind and allowed it to formulate.

“Very well then,” Tywin agreed. “You see to it that this investigation is flanked and I will remove the Stark headquarters only if you are successful. Baelish, have you found anything else from Vale Valley?”

“I have. Lysa has received her sister’s shares from Tully and Sons as well as her late father’s. She has allowed the shares to slip thorugh her fingers an into her brother’s hands, Edmure Tully. He isn’t exactly a wise business man and we should see the foundation of the business slowly fall apart. Slowly because Brynden, the black marketer, has more experience. His nephew and he don’t exactly have a warm relationship. That would work in our favour since the Day of Red Rain influence is spreading at a fast rate. The Tullies will no longer be in business to sell arms and protection. That would leave people to go to the nearest establishments; the franchises owned by Lannister, Inc.”

“Excellent! Now that we have a clear idea on how to handle these cataclysmic circumstances, we need only to execute them through the right people. I suggest you all get started and make these ideas a reality.”

Baelish was more receptive of the idea than anyone else. They all left the table to carry out the plans and to ensure that they worked.

Chapter Text

Sansa was at the mansion, alone save for the employees who worked there. Joffrey was with Margaery and Tommen and Marcella were with their friends. Although she was alone, she felt eyes on her all of the time. There was no other pace she could go without the camera being on her except for in the bathrooms and her own locked down bedroom. The door to Sansa’s bedroom was opened by one of the maids. She was new. She had red hair and a welcoming smile, “I thought you might be hungry by now so I brought you something.”

“Wow!” Sansa eyed the humongous sandwich, “Do you expect me to eat all of it?”

“No. But you might want to be careful while you eat. I’ll leave you to yourself.” With that, the red-haired woman left the room.

Sansa still couldn’t believe at how big the sandwich was. She lifted the bread, wanting to see what the sandwich was made of. In the midst of her lifting up pieces of cheese and lettuce, she came across a piece of plastic. She pulled on the plastic from the edge and pulled out a flat phone that was sealed within a plastic wrap. Through the transparent material, she could see a small piece of paper just beneath the phone. It had a number on it followed by instructions instructing for the paper to be burned.

She quickly opened the bag and got the phone out. She pressed the “on” button and it displayed a picture of a mockingbird before going to the main screen. Sansa got up and locked the door before putting a chair in front of the knob. She then ran to the bed with the phone in her hands and took up the piece of paper.

On the back, it had a time of when to call: 7:55. It was 7:56 at the moment. She quickly dialled the number and waited for it to ring. To her surprise, it only rang one incomplete ring, “I’m sure that you are in your room with the door locked and barricaded,” said a familiar voice on the other line.

“I am.” She was more than happy to hear his voice after so long.

“Good. You don’t know what’s going on, so I’m going to tell you. The companies in the north aren’t buying the story that your family died in the midst of the bloody event as the Lannisters so claim. Also, it is going to be expected of you to make a public speech that you personally bear no ill-will toward the Lannisters to further dissuade the public. You would be wise to give them what they want.”

“Why? They’ve already taken a lot from me.”

“Yes, I know. But not everything. They’re keeping you here for a reason.”

“What can they possibly need me for?”

“You’re the eldest child after your brother who is now dead. In so many words, you are the head of Stark, co. and the Lannisers want the privilege of building their company through the most recommended building and fortification company there is.”

“Joffrey is about to Marry Margaery Tyrell.”

“Of course.”

“So who do they expect me to marry to get those shares because I refuse to let them take control of my family’s legacy and hard work! If I die, they won't get what they want”

“Lower your voice, keep calm. And just so you know, Joffrey is not the only Lannister man beside Tywin who is on the board. This game has just gotten serious. Tonight, it was proven. Theon Greyjoy has attempted to overtake the company but he failed. There are going to be more people after your shares. You have the most shares than any of your remaining brothers and sisters. There is going to be a broadcast tonight, you might want to look at it to see just how ugly things are becoming. Look behind your headboard and you will receive your next gift. Consider the phone as a tool to aid you in your competence and as an early gift for your eighteenth name day. After that day, you will be just as valuable as you will come of age to access your assets.”

“Who else is after me?”

“That, I cannot disclose with you at the moment. But you will be sure to keep the phone off at all times and that you will call me at the designated time. I won’t return any of your calls.”

“Why?” Sansa was confused.

“You won’t hear them anyway, would you?”

It made sense to her then. “Why won’t you tell me who else is after my family’s assets?”

“It’s better not to know for now. Soon.”

“How soon?”

The only answer she received was a dial tone. Sansa felt him impertinent. She was more vexed at his action than she was angry. Other than that, she was sure to hearken for footsteps echoing on the marble floor just outside her door. To be safe, she slid the phone under her pillow before looking behind the headboard. She managed to catch a glimpse of …something. She lifted from the bed and moved it slightly to reach her slender arm behind the board. It was a cord hanging from the back…no…earphones. Another note: one ear piece at a time. Sansa didn’t have to think too much to understand what the note meant.

Quickly, she connected to cord to her phone, placed one earbud into her left ear, and began to search for recent news. It was a broadcast that was being re-shown from the north.

“…Shortly after the failed attempted to acquire Stark, co., the sons of Ned Stark were declared missing. It is now being said that the two Stark boys are in fact dead.

Sansa was not deaf, yet the last sentence that was spoken caused Sansa’s senses to fail. She went numb, the room began to spin, and her head felt light. She let the phone fall from her hands and onto the bed. Her chest tightened and her blood ran cold before running hot. It was hard for her to breathe. Before she knew it, tears began to fall down her cheeks.

Just when she heard footsteps, she brushed aside the grief she was feeling as best as she could and hid her phone beneath the covers. Her heart jittered unevenly as she waited for someone to enter the room. When the footsteps faded, she felt relieved albeit her chest was still tight. She took the phone and hid it underneath the mattress in a pocket of the railing where it would not get cracked and broken. She placed the headphones back behind the headboard before burning the piece of paper over a candle and tucking herself in. Her world just kept falling apart. She was tired of being stuck in that room. She was tired of her family being killed off, and she was tired of being taken advantage of. She just wanted it all to come to an end. The thoughts put her off her food; she no longer had a taste for anything other than vengeance.

Chapter Text

Over time, men who worked for Bolton Enterprises managed to exhume the graves of Ned, Catelyn, and Robb before investigators were able to. They ensured that no trace of Lannister DNA or fabric was nowhere on the body. They achieved this through the means of biometric systems. With Ned, although most of his body was corroded, the cut on his neck was visibly a clean one. they improved the clean cut on his neck to make it look like he was beheaded by unprofessional butchers. However, they could not cut too much because there would be no sign of last minute blood clotting to seal the wound.

It was a messy job working beside the maggots and centipedes that had made their way through the casket. Once their work was finished, they reburied the caskets, packing down the dirt with every few inches to hide the evidence of disturbed earth. The earth was meticulously covered with grass patches that was still woven with dark dirt which was too carefully compressed into the ground. Later, they wet the ground so that each dirt particle could mingle within each other, removing tiny air pockets beneath the ground. Loche oversaw everything and reported back to Roose of their success.

By the time northern investigators exhumed and investigated, they found no evidence indicating that they were killed at the hands of the Lannisters. Meanwhile, Sansa was dressed to look presentable: A royal blue evening jacket with her family crest pinned on the left of her chest over a white shirt, silver leggings, and royal blue and black 4 inch stilettoes. Her hair was braided and wrapped into a bun in the back of her head whilst another braid lead across the horizon of her temple. She was escorted out to the Lannister’s Limousine where she rode with Cersei and Joffrey.

“You’re to make sure you smile, little dove. If you even so much as flinch or miss a breath, this city will break out into a riot even in the absence of legal crime. Just so you know, you’d be the first to feel the wrath of the people since you’re a foreigner in this city. You’ll probably be beaten, raped, maybe even killed for attempting to make the city look bad and destroy the opportunities that many come here to find.”

“I’d like to stick around when that happens,” Joffrey added.

Sansa’s skin crawled as she spoke. Her words made her nervous and brought her to the realisation that she was alone in that city with no one on her side. She at least hoped that Baelish was truly on her side and that he would soon bail her from her hell. For the most part, she gave herself courage and rehearsed what she was going to say in her head.

The limousine had finally come to a stop in front of the Lannister building. A concierge let the family out of the car with Cersei being the first to exit. She was followed by Joffrey who was followed by Sansa. The moment she emerged, the cameras flocked to her. She did her best to look happy. All those lights flashing in her face made her feel distant, surreal, frightened, and lost. At first, she was like a deer caught in headlights. Her eyes darted back and forth from side to side in a swift fashion, laden with uncertainty . The fear of panicking caused her to panic even more…until she saw him, smiling and urging her to do so as well. She didn’t know if she smiled because she was happy to see him—which she denied immediately because she could tell it was Littlefinger—or because he encouraged her to do so. Either way, her seeing him gave her confidence and the panic she was feeling quickly diminished. Littlefinger used his eyes to tell her to get walking or else she would be questioned heavily. She couldn’t believe that she had gotten all of that with just a flicker of his grey-green eyes.

She straightened herself, taking easy steps forward, finding her balance. Momentarily, she would look around at the people around her but not exactly looking at them. Her eyes would then find a way back to him. With every look she gave him, she became more confident. When she attempted to steal another glance from him for the fourth time, he had disappeared. By the time that happened, she was already regrouping with Cersei and Joffrey.

Cersei, Joffrey, and Sansa took their seats in the very front row in front of the podium that was located just before the stairway that lead to the entrance of the building. There several other speeches by different people promoting their business and telling about the goings on. Olenna, Margaery, Mace, and Loras were also there. Cersei gave off menacing glares every time she heard sentimental anecdotes of how other people got their business off the ground.

Sansa had gotten uncomfortable sitting for such a long period of time. The events listed in that setting showed that she was to speak soon after Cersei. Butterflies plagued her stomach. “If you would please,” she told Cersei, “I have to make a visit to the ladies room.”

“Are you planning an escape? Or are you just nervous, little dove?”

“I just have to use the restroom.”

“Do you really think that I will let you go alone?”

“It wouldn’t be smart to try to run away. Not when everyone is expecting me to speak,” she reasoned.

Cersei, with a shrewd grimace, permitted her to go. Sansa nervously lifted from her seat and walked swiftly toward the exit of the building that was located on the side at the bottom of the stairs. She followed the guide signs that lead her to the restroom. Even with her temporary freedom, she felt trapped. If she had tried to do anything, she would end up sparking the kind of riot that Cersei had mentioned to her. She stared at herself in the mirror. No amount of make-up she was wearing could conceal the look of hate and misery that showed on her face. She was beginning to look like a stranger to herself. Even worse, she began to feel like a stranger. She did her best to keep from crying as tears would smudge her make-up.

She ran cold water from the sink and wet a few paper towels. She took the damp towels and used it to dab parts of her face that did not have make-up such as her forehead and chin. For more relief, she laid the towel on the back of her neck. She assured herself that she could succeed in getting through the speech. She knew she would have to detach herself from her feelings. To pretend that they were still alive…no…that they were not her family. If she was to choose the former, it would recreate their deaths in her head and she would feel the pain of losing them all over again.

Once she had told herself over and over again that they were not her family, that she was just speaking on their behalf, that she was the person on the outside looking in, she felt more confident in herself.

When she walked steadily out of the bathroom, she was surprised to find Littlefinger there just a few inches in front of her. “Baelish?” she acknowledged.

“Petyr.” He encouraged her to call him.

“What if someone sees you here with me?”

“I’ve been to many events like this. You have a handful of celebrities that most die to touch. Can you imagine how many people are out there right now who has the use the restroom, but is fighting with the idea of relieving themselves or stealing that fateful touch that can so easily be an opportunity missed? These halls remain empty until the event.”

What he said made sense as his words sometimes did. “So why are you here now?”

“You’d do your best to remember to repeat facts that we have already gone over.”

“That my father came to work, he reneged on the contact to which the Lannisters pardoned; my mother and brother heard of the situation and they were all caught…because...because they forgot,” she began to choke as her eyes watered.

“How many times have you practised this speech out loud?”

“I didn’t. Only in my head.”

“A fool move.”

“What?” Sansa couldn't believe how apathetic he was.

“You can bring yourself to think all sorts of things. Saying them out loud will always prove to be difficult because this…abstract thought must come out to form real words. Words formulated in such a way that you never thought you would find yourself saying them in a particular sequence.”

Sansa swallowed hard. “I’m supposed to go on soon. I’ve no time to practise this out loud.”

“While I can’t tell you how many times it’s going to take to get used to saying the words, one time can sometimes be sufficient. It works as a foundation for the same words to follow.”

“What if I can’t pretend? What if I mess up? I’ll be digging my own grave.”

At that moment, Littlefinger turned into Petyr. He placed his palms on each side of her face with his thumbs behind her ears, “You have to be strong like you never were. Remember, a lion smells fear. It’s time for you to be intelligent. Optimism will only work as a distraction. You’ll be too focused on trying to achieve that image in your head exactly the way you see it. Do it that way, you’re sure to falter.”

Sansa could feel the breath from his nose, hot on her face. Her heart began to beat feverishly, her face had turned completely red, and her breathing was unsteady. “If I’m not optimistic…” she fought to regulate her breathing rate, “I won’t be for sure of myself.”

“And that is why we call it surprising ourselves. When we’re too optimistic, we find that we let ourselves down when our actions don’t perfectly align with the image that we’ve created in our minds,” he spoke softly. Bringing his face a little closer, Sansa gasped louder than what she wanted. A lightning fast grin appeared and disappeared from his face at her reaction. He turned his head to the side as he brought her face to his. Sansa knew it wasn’t the best thing to do, but she needed some kind of comfort.

Sansa parted her lips wide enough to give access to a deeper kiss than what they shared the last time. Seemingly having no control of herself, she threw her arms around him and kissed him just as deeply. That one kiss turned in a flurry of kisses as their mouth met and detached time and time again. Sansa was caught off guard when she felt Petyr’s tongue enter her mouth. She wanted to jerk backward but she wanted to take in whatever embrace she could get which was very rare to come by in her life. The hairs from his chin prickled the bottom of hers. Each time she felt them, it was a reminder that she was kissing a man and not a boy her age. She cared not. Whatever guilty feeling that might have been there was put out of her mind.

The pair breathed heavy in their own privacy. After a long minute they slowly broke from each other’s embrace. “You’re to go on soon. Don’t expect too much of yourself, and don’t expect too little.

Chapter Text

Sansa and Petyr parted ways. As she made her way back to her seat, she cogitated heavily on what she just did. She knew that she was unravelling, but not so much to the point that she was starved of some kind of affection. While his feel was very affectionate, his actions and his demeanour proved otherwise. Should I trust him? She scolded herself for falling prey to his advanced without a clear understanding of him. He was so complex, very lucrative in what he did, and professionally sneaky.

She was impervious to what was going on around her. She knew that Cersei was speaking now, however her words did not register to her. She was wondering how to feel about Petyr, she could still feel his tongue on hers. The feeling left behind phantom feels of what was there before. It was the sound of her name being called that made her aware of her surroundings once more.

She looked up to catch Cersei’s eye, “I sure she has much to say regarding her family.”

As the crowd turned their attention to her, she felt her body go limp. She inhaled deeply, making herself imagine that there was no one in the world only than herself. She was, after all, in a boat by herself. She lifted from her seat and took her place in front of the podium, “Good evening,” she began cordially, she was not aware that she was holding her breath for most of the time. When she exhaled, she spoke the rehearsed speech that was in her head, “As some of you may know, I’m the daughter of Ned and Catleyn Stark. I’ve heard rumours going around that my parents were not involved in the events of the Day of Red Rain.” Sansa mentally and emotionally braced herself to get to the hard part, “My father was working with the Lannisters when he breached their contract. He was supposed to withhold trade secrets but he planned to give away the Lannister’s secret to success. It is only expected that such behaviour be punished accordingly and Joffrey was understanding enough to let him go to give him another chance.” She hated herself for making the statement come from her lips. Her heart was screaming on the inside while the outside—sad over grief—remained poise. “The day my father was released was the day before the annual brutality. My family were so happy and overjoyed that they forgot that the next day was a southern holiday,” her throat began to tighten, “I told them that I would stay behind to get to know the Lannister family better and that they should go. At that time, they realised at the last minute what that day was. Unfortunately, it was too late,” she then began to cry freely.

Cersei, to make herself look good in front of the cameras, wrapped her arms around Sansa and walked her away from the podium. The moment Cersei’s hand came into contact with Sansa’s body, Sansa could feel a burning sensation of rage that would engage her to do things that she never would have dreamed of doing.

The people of the crowd clapped for her. Sansa’s speech made instant headlines that quelled the people and brought clarity to others. “That was a very wonderful speech,” Cersei spoke snide. “You’ve just spared a lot of people harm tonight.”

Sure, she spared everyone harm…everyone except herself. Once they were out of view of the camera, Sansa shrugged away from Cersei and walked back near her chair. She felt such shame. She felt that she had done her family a disservice.

As news reporters and people of the like took pictures and asked more questions, Jaime saw to it that the trio made it back to the limousine in peace. Sansa felt the mere mockery emanating from both Joffrey and Cersei as they sat and watched her cry. She didn’t want them to see her cry anymore.

“You actually did better than what I thought,” Joffrey remarked snidely. “I thought putting you up there might have been my ruination. I’ll have to credit my mother and grandfather for having so much faith in you. I can’t say that I had any.”

It was easy to ignore Joffrey when her thoughts went to Petyr. He was right yet again. She didn’t think about what she had to say, she just said it. She had no high or low expectations and she did not feel disappointed in herself for being able to look convincing. It bought her more time. Time? Cameras? How was petyr going to get her out of there with so many people watching? With so many people around? With so many questions that are being asked? The city was big and getting her out of there would be a feat to behold.

A few days after the speech, the north settled down again. As Sansa sat on the bed in the room that was near a cage, the same red-headed woman came in with another platter of food. This time it was a meat pie stuffed with vegetables and gravy. “Your meal my dear girl.”

“You work for Baelish, don’t you?”

She looked surprised at first but then smiled again, “Why do you ask that?”

“You were the one who gave me the sandwich with the phone inside.”

“I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.” She played it off.

Sansa got up from the bed and locked the door. “Before you left you told me to be careful eating it. I also know that you’re new here.”

“There are lots of new employees all over town every year after the Day of Red Rains.”

“But you work for Baelish. I know you do. So do me a favour and stop lying to me! I’m tired of everyone always lying to my face or telling me to do things that I don’t want to do. Please, I need to know who I can trust!”

“And you trust Baelish?”

Sansa was taken aback at her inquiry. “What?”

“You said that you wanted to know who you can trust. Do you trust Baelish?”

“Not wholeheartedly,” she admitted.

“I don't trust him at all. And just between you and I, I do work for him.”

“You don’t sound too warm toward him.”

“How could I? Sure he pays well, but he can be cruel, cold, he’s always dishonest, and he does nothing but manipulate people. I’ve been trying to find a way to get away from him for the longest.” She confessed.

Sansa couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Did he ever tell you what he planned to do with me?” she was curious, her heart beating, hoping it was nothing bad.

“He only told me to keep an eye out for you. To make sure you are okay.”

“That doesn’t seem cruel to me.”

“Baelish is selfish. He only wants whatever or whoever can get him what he wants. He doesn’t care about anyone else. After he’s done using them, he tosses them away like garbage. He seems very interested in you, though. Not in a sexual sort of way, rather in a way that he wants something from you. I take it that you’re extremely valuable. Obviously you have something that he wants that he’s trying to get.”

“What does he want?”

“Who knows?”

“If you don’t trust him, why are you working for him? Why not leave?”

“Because he has just as many connections as the Lannisters. He owns many places as well as many crooks who are willing to carry out his dirty work.”

This new light of information that was brought to Sansa’s attention caused her to become even more wary of him. What didn’t make sense was why he was helping her if he wanted to hurt her like everyone else. And he hadn’t hurt her. Emotionally, he was guiding her. He had been the one who kept from losing her sanity. Although she knew she had to accept reality for what it was, she could not bring herself to fathom losing the only support she really had. Her thoughts were so loud in her head that she could not hear the rest of what the woman had said.

“I have to leave now. If I stay too long, the camera footage can give the wrong impression." Once she was gone from the room, Sansa felt alone once more. Now her foundation of trust within Petyr was shaken.

Chapter Text

She looked at the digital clock on the bedside and it read 7:54 just before it turned to 7:55. Her fingers itched. She wanted to call him. What she had just learned, however, discouraged her from doing so. Feeling so depleted and lifeless after that speech, she needed to hear his voice. She placed the chair underneath the door knob once more before she went under the mattress and took out her phone. She didn’t know the number mentally, but the history of the number was still there. She tapped it and the number dialled automatically. Again, she did not have to wait for a full ring, “Things are settling down now. The investigations have been pulled. No more speculation is haunting the north.”

“How much longer do I have to endure this?”

“Just hang fast. Patience is the key to everything.”

“I’m running out of patience! I’m tired of feeling backed into a corner!”

“You’ll be out of there soon. There’s just a few things that I have to take care of. Don’t worry about the treatment you’re facing. The Lannisters are going to be so busy they won’t have time to worry about you.”

“How do you know?”

“Trust me.”

The words sent chills down her spine. She was amazed at how she could feel warm toward him one minute and then cold the next. “How do I know I can trust you?”

Petyr hesitated before he could say anything, “And why do you think you can’t?” he asked suspiciously.

“You work with the Lannisters.”

“I do.”

“How do I know that you’re going to live up to your word?”

“You’ve gotten this far. Unless you feel that I’m misleading you somehow.”

Sansa didn’t know what to say. She was only trying to figure him out. Something that proved to be very difficult to do. “Fine,” she surrendered, “I’ll wait.”

She waited for a reply but got yet another dial tone. Sansa wanted to break the phone. She knew she would be cheating herself if she did.

 

Now that everything had settled back down, Cersei and Olenna went back to making plans for the wedding. They were pushed at least two months back, much to Cersei’s dismay. Tywin needed for Joffrey and Margaery to marry as soon as possible since they lost a lot of money paying for the investigation to be thrown off—throwing a rift in the budget. To make up for Baelish’s absence, he appointed Tyrion with the job to manage everything. “And why can’t Cersei preside over this very important matter?” Tyrion asked as he sat at the long table.

“You know very well why Cersei is not in charge.”

“Is it because of a wedding?”

“I know that you mean me your sarcasm. Never mind your attitude at the moment, you will do as you are told. You will not go to the Pink Maiden Ballroom and spend money on tomfoolery activities. You will spend your time here at Lannister, Inc. and make sure that everything is accounted for.”

“Whatever happened to Baelish? He was in charge of the treasury and accounting.”

“That he was. But he has his hands full with Lysa Arryn who doesn’t seem to be all together in the head. She has already lost her shares to her brother, Edmure. Baelish has the task of making sure that Tulley and Sons falter. And you’ll have your hands full also. At least one finger full.”

“What does that mean?” Tyrion spoke with a tone of agitation.

“It means that you will be wed just after Joffrey.” Tywin spoke as apathetic as he could.

“Wed? To whom?”

“Sansa Stark.”

“Sansa Stark?! Clearly you must be joking.”

“You’ve known me your whole life and I am certain you understand that I do not joke during the time of a family crisis.”

“What crisis? There are no crises.”

Tywin lifted from his seat and walked swiftly to the window. He opened the blinds and motioned for Tyrion to come over. Tyrion, being too short, grabbed a chair and placed it underneath the sill. He looked down at the bottom toward the street and saw a crowd of poorer people with signs, protesting. “What’s the meaning of this?”

“The people of the city are protesting our company.”

“Gee, I supposed it wouldn’t have anything to do with the Day of Red Rain, would it, father?” Tyrion asked suspiciously. He already knew the answer.

Tywin was annoyed at his gesture. “We’ll have to pay even more to fund another event. The people are gravitating to High Garden, Inc. due to their charitable events hosted here in our city. They question our involvement of the subject and now we must fund weddings, promotions, and events.”

“And that’s a problem?”

“It’s expensive!”

“And we don’t have enough money?”

Tywin could not give away the fact that most of their funds go toward the police department and the main security of the city. “We do, but charitable events do not promise a return on investment.”

“Very well then, forget about a marriage for me…”

“Your marriage to Sansa Stark is vital. She has most of the shares of her company in the absence of her other family members and it thus puts her as head of the company! She’ll soon be eighteen and when that day comes, everything will be released to her. It is the law!”

“I don’t want to marry Sansa!” he protested.

“You don’t have a choice.”

“I’m not child, father! I can do whatever I want.”

“Not with my assets you won’t. Refuse this and I will see that you are stripped of everything that is in the name of Lannister! I will freeze all of your accounts, remove you from the board, and have your name removed from my will! How will you fund your time at the whore houses then?!”

Tyrion was upset at this. “Why do you always make my decisions?”

“I didn’t decide for you to go whoring around. Nor did I decide for you to be born an embarrassment! Apparently I don’t have much say over you at all other than the name that came from ancestors!”

“This is unfair…”

You will marry that girl! And you will bring Stark, co. under our control! That is my ultimatum!”

Tyrion, refusing to hear more, stormed out of the office and slammed the door behind himself. Tywin only sat down and breathed. “Can’t believe I have three disappointments for children.”

Chapter Text

Tyrion, depressed and angry, needed to calm himself. There was not better way to do that than to visit one of his favourite clubs owned by Littlefinger. Upon opening the door, his nostrils was filled with the smell of fine liquors, delectable finger foods, and occasionally cigarettes and cheap bear. The floor was a deep purple patterned with mockingbirds decorating it; the wall was white with erotic pictures hanging, plants in almost every corner to add to the lavish appearance, and a built in aquarium in a wall just on the side of the black and silver bar counter. The moment he stepped in, he was served by the red-head with his usual drink, “Back for more?” she asked with a smile that contained sunshine and lust.

“Ah, Ros, yes.”

“What’s that matter? You look depleted.”

“I am.”

“I suppose I can fix that for you,” she smiled as she revealed her cleavage.

“When was the last time Baelish was in town?”

“Do you mean since the speech?”

“Right.”

“I can’t say. He doesn’t usually come around. As a matter of fact, I haven’t seen too much of him myself.”

“How can I reach him? I’ve tried his pager but apparently he’s disconnected himself.”

“Well…”

Just as she began to speak, a hoard of men wearing masks and black clothes came inside and began shooting warning shots. Everyone in the establishment ducked or took cover behind a table or so. “What in gods' hell?” Tyrion cursed.

“No one move!” Shouted the taller and beefy man. “If you want to leave with your lives, don’t fucking move!”

Other men and women from behind him circled the bar where Tyrion was stooping. He was so short that they didn’t notice him underneath the bar. The other people who had swarmed the counter demanded Ros open the register. “Move it! Try anything and I’ll fucking decorated this place with a new brand of paint!”

Ros, shaking, did as she was told. Littlefinger was so clever that he had registers designed with a panic button inside of it. All Ros had to do was press it without looking suspicious. Ros began to put money in the bag that was held out before her. She did her best to move fast yet slow at the same time. that way, she could give an ample amount of time for reinforcement. She knew she wouldn't have to wait long because Petyr chose places that were near stations--very wise on his part.

Just then, the police showed up unbelievably fast. The sirens made the thieves drop the bag and retreat to their guns that appeared to be hand-made rather than store bought. Those relics let Tyrion know right away that they were the Hill Squad Gang, known for making weapons on their own. The leader, noticing Tyrion Lannister, ordered for him to be taken.

Tyrion’s eyes opened wide as they tried to reach for him. All the beefy man had to do was snatch a female employee by the hair and hold the gun to her face, “If you don’t want her blood on your hands, don’t try to have me fucked!”

“Fine. Fine. I’ll come.” He surrendered.

“Get in the bag!” he ordered.

“Get in the bag?!" he was astounded at the man's command,  "Just because I’m short doesn’t make me a doll you can just carry around in a sack. I would much rather prefer a rope, a gag, and…” The man shot yet another shot making Tyrion wince. “I’ll just go ahead and get in the bag.”

Tyrion complied. Just as the police stormed in, the gang showed where they had the dwarf. The police stood down. “We want 50 million for the half man! And we want guns!” he demanded. “He’s not coming back alive if you don’t pay! You have three days! at the city's entrance! 5 o' clock!”

With Tyrion in captivity, the gang made off with him. News of this reached Tywin effortlessly. “They want 50 million, do they?”

Cersei bit her bottom lip, “Why won’t you just let them keep him? He’s not exactly important.”

“Have you lost your mind?! People are wanting more security and every year they get bolder and bolder! Tyrion has more importance in this family than you no matter how many shares you have!”

“50 million father? That will only further deplete us,” she worried.

“You will have that ransom paid and you will do it now!”

“What’s the pay off?”

“His marriage to the head of Stark, co.; Sansa Stark. You don’t have enough time left with me to waste. Get to it!”

Cersei picked herself up and left immediately. The next morning, police showed up with the money and guns in exchange for Tyrion who was at the entrance, bound and gagged. The exchange was made and Tyrion was released. The Gang was clearly satisfied as they shouted and hollered victoriously and revved their motor bikes before speeding off.

"So," Tyrion began, "Where to next? the Bathroom I would hope," he said as he sniffed himself.

Chapter Text

Tyrion was brought back to Casterly Estate where Jaime was worried, “Just how did you manage to get caught in the middle of all that?”

“Don’t ask me, I was but a regular customer.” Just as they entered into the main dining hall where they had most of their meetings, Tywin stood from his seat. “You’re looking handsome today, father.”

“Spare me! You’ve embarrassed me once more. We’re supposed to be the manufacturers of security and your capture made us the joke of our own district! The lions who can protect others but not their own cubs! A very unreliable slogan!”

Joffrey, who was there with Margaery added his take, “The next time you jeopardise my company, I’ll see to it that you’re thrown off the board. I would have thrown you off a long time ago. Now everyone thinks that we’re incapable of protecting them when we can’t even protect our own family.”

Cersei joined in, “And now we must work even harder to produce a newer product of security and ads to promote it. It’s going to cost much more than your ransom.”

“Why are you all jumping down my throat as if I’m the one who asked for this?” Tyrion asked. “I’ve spent a day and a night with hardened men and women. So hard that I couldn’t tell of it was a man or a woman who wanted to fuck me simply because they’ve never fucked a dwarf. Can you imagine the horror and confusion?”

“Who cares about your stupid night with them?!” Joffrey argued, “I would have left you there even longer if meant my entertainment! Perhaps I’ll sell you to the one who wanted to fuck you. Maybe it could make up for my losses, you little troll!”

Sansa, who was in the next room over, could hear everything that was being said. Though she didn’t have any real compassion for Tyrion, she could imagine how he must have felt being degraded like he was.

The days were dark for the Lannisters. They were being nipped in the pockets from every which way. Olenna was able to use this to her advantage by dangling extra funds in their faces. Cersei was too proud to accept, but Tywin made her do so anyway. With those extra funds were they able to plan the wedding as well as produce another system of security. Finally, after months of labour and heavy thinking and planning, things were finally making a positive turn. During that time, Sansa found that she was to marry Tyrion. When she told Petyr about this, his voice sounded to her that he already knew about it before it was released to the public. Sansa felt worst every time the wedding between she and Tyrion would be brought up. Tyrion felt bad about making her feel bad about him. Ros was the only other person Sansa could talk to and not worry about switching personalities. Ros was always kind and always readable. She was the closest thing to normal in her life.

However, Ros and Sansa weren’t the only new pair of friends. Ros and Varys had discussed a few things about both Tyrion and Petyr in the midst of everything. “I do feel that Tyrion has the best potential for running the company. He’s truly what this city needs.”

“I’m sure. Just tell me what you need for me to do to help you help him overturn the Lannisters.”

“Just how much does Baelish trust you?”

“Enough, I can say.”

“Has he mentioned to you anything about the connection between the Lannisters and the Day of Red Rain?”

“No. Is there a connection?”

“I can assure you that there is indeed.”

“How? I thought that it was the government that over saw that. The Lannisters are only business people.”

“Very wealthy business people. Wealthy enough to buy the police to make it seem as if it is a governmental matter per se.”

Ros held her mouth agape, “Why wouldn’t Littlefinger tell me that?”

“Littlefinger profits off of the day just as much as the Lannisters. And with Sansa in his custody, well…”

“He’ll have her family’s assets all to himself.”

“You are wise. And I’ve heard that Littlefinger isn’t exactly keen on keeping the ones he’d misused around very long.”

“That’s why I’m trying to break free of him. I have no one else to turn to.”

“Don’t worry too much my dear, I’ll give you whatever protection you need. All you have to do is tell me what he’s been up to.”

“He’s been away at Vale Valley for a while now. Sansa tells me that he hasn’t been answering his phone and that she hasn’t seen him. You can tell that she’s had a lot of faith in him.”

“And he let her down? Typical, wouldn’t you agree?”

“I won’t let him hurt her.”

“I’m sure you won’t.”

“She’s been asking me if there was some way I could help her escape. It killed me to tell her that I couldn’t.”

“We all wish for the power to protect the ones we love. The best thing for Sansa to do is marry Tyrion and merge together their companies. That would probably be enough power for them to finally end the day where most don’t make it to the morning.”

“I can only hope.”

Sansa played in her creamed chicken soup. All she wanted to do was fall dead right there. Petyr told her in their last conversation a few weeks ago that she had to have fight in her. She was running out of that quicker than she had fathomed. She sighed a sigh of doubt and hopelessness.

Margaery and Joffrey’s wedding was coming soon. Tywin didn’t care if it was on the Day of Red Rains or not, he was desperate to make up for the losses in their company. Sansa looked at the news from her phone with one earbud in her ear. The Lannisters had been so busy just as Petyr said that they had no time to harass her. That gave her plenty of time to catch up with the news.

As we expected, prices on weapons, food, and barricades have gone up in preparation for this year’s Red Rain. Last year’s event was memorable as the northern continent lost three valuable members to one of the most valuable establishments in the north. This takes me to more goings on in the north with Tully and Sons. Edmure Tully, the new CEO of Tully and Sons has gambled poorly with crucial decisions. His uncle, Brynden Tully, famous for his reputation of his involvement with the black market, has told the press that his nephew was impermeable to his teachings that lead to the production of unreliable arsenal. Some reports even say that the weapons that malfunctioned, such as chainsaws and guns, ended up taking the lives of those who have tried to use them. It is said that we will be expected to see a massive recall followed by bankruptcy in the organization and possibly destitution.

Back in Vale Valley, it has seen a positive turnaround with the inclusion of Petyr Baelish on the board.

Sansa listened more attentively now.

He has managed to increase sales as well as produce better products than in the history of Vale valley. The current owner and widow to the long departed John Arryn, Lysa Arryn, has made the decision to make him COO of the company; a move that everyone is applauding. It is said that ever since his position change the Lannisters has faced several financial challenges. Many have made the link that Baelish was the glue that was holding the company together rather than the golden family. He has already received several proposals from other struggling companies who are also struggling with financial difficulties. Who knows? He could go down in history of one of the greatest accountants the world has ever known.

More news from the northern continent, after a miserable attempt of a hostile overtake on Stark, co. by the Greyjoy family, the remaining board members decided to elect both Roose and his son Ramsay to the board in the place of Sansa Stark who has worked so hard to show a steady relationship between her family and the Lannisters. Now many are wondering, is Sansa Stark planning on signing over her shares to the Boltons before she marries Tryion Lannister, or does she have something entirely different planned?

News in side of The Golden City….

Sansa turned the phone off, processing everything in her head. Things about Baelish, the Boltons, and her mother’s family. She lied down on her side and held her aching head. The only good news that she got out of that was that the Lannisters had financial problems. But she knew better. As long as there was High Garden, Inc., they wouldn’t fall too short.

Chapter Text

It took weeks to make the final preparations for the wedding. That meant caterers, musicians, clothes, and other things. Sansa saw the hustle and bustle that was going on inside the house. Tables were being prepared, furniture was being rearranged, more security people came to check and install the new and improved security system, and gardeners had come along to trim the grass and a few leaves off of the topiary artwork. Olenna and Loras directed most of everything.

Sansa tried on her clothes for the next day, the day her family died. She had a grass green sleeve-less dress that stopped her mid shins and was decorated with rhine stones in the centre in the shape of a belt. The dress was fitted to her figure. While it was a pretty dress, she didn’t feel pretty. She knew she would have to marry Tyrion soon after. She only wished that time could slow down. Perhaps even stop for a moment. She remembered there was a time where she couldn’t wait for things to happen. More oft now, there were more things that she didn’t want to happen.

Varys was elsewhere, waiting for Ros to come to him for more information. To his dismay, she never showed up. He thought her too afraid to come around. As he came to that conclusion, he left their rendezvous spot behind the Lannister building to return to the mansion.

As time wound down, the day of the wedding finally came. Cersei and the rest of her family wasn’t too worried. They had always survived that horrible day. The only discomfort about it was that it was a marriage ceremony that was being held. Sansa found it was disturbing for someone to marry on a day where a lot of people died for no reason at all. The only reason being that they were out and they were an eligible target.

Meryn and Jaime were both needed to make sure the place was completely secured. It was early in the day, seven hours before the start of the event. The marriage ceremony was taking place out in the garden of Casterly Estate. Sansa sat next to Tyrion who sat next to his father who sat next to Cersei. Olenna was on the opposite row sitting next to Loras. The music started for the signalling of the bride. Margaery wore a beautiful white dress with transparent sleeves, flowers decorating her mid torso, and the train perhaps four feet long.

Sansa smiled to show no animosity toward the bride. She did, however, have much scorn for her groom. Mace escorted Margaery as she slowly made her way to Joffrey as he smiled sadistically and orgulous. Every few moments, Sansa would think about what happened to her family on that particular day. Every now and then, she would lower her head and think about what she had done to land in the place she was now. ‘It’s my fault’, she would tell herself. It was her fault for everything. It was her fault for being so weak. Even weak to Petyr. She had placed a lot of her trust in him and she wondered if she had been waiting all that time for some fantasy rescue. She felt childish for doing so.

Once Margaery reached the stage and she and Joffrey exchanged their vows, everyone cheered for them and gave congratulations. Not feeling the need to hurry so soon, everyone walked about the demesne and enjoyed the scenery. In the meantime, there were still guards wandering about, observing every corner. Periodically, they would hear motorcycles and people shouting rowdily. It appeared to Sansa that she was the only one unnerved at this. No one else seemed to care. She felt envious of them just then. There was once a time when she could take every day for granted.  She watched as they talked, laughed, and joked amongst each other on the day when she lost her parents.

Suddenly, she recollected the day when she had tossed the coin into the Lannister fountain in front of the hotel. She wished to be a part of Lannister, Inc. and the golden family. Had she the ability to travel back in time, she would have slapped some sense into herself. The thoughts were insignificant as there was nothing she could do about her past. All she could do was look to the future, if she had one.

The heels she wore began to hurt her feet. To ease her pain, she replaced them with the same flats she wore when she first came to the mansion. “Those are some ugly old things,” Olenna spoke from behind.

“I’ve had these for a while now,” she admitted.

“Of course you have. It only makes me wonder if my gift to you would prove useful. When you told me about the death of parents on this day, I thought it might be rude to celebrate my granddaughter’s gaining while you acknowledge the day of the things you’ve lost.” Olenna handed her a gift that was wrapped in silver wrapping paper.

Sansa opened them to find beautiful white slippers with a diamond heart in the centre of the fluff that decorated the horizontal line at the mouth of the shoe. “Thank you.”

“Try them on. See if you can wear them. I wasn’t for sure of your foot size.”

Sansa did as she was told. The shoe had that new feeling of comfort. "Thank you, It fits perfectly."

"Go on then, enjoy yourself," Olenna concluded before joining everyone else.

It was the second gift that Sansa had received since her time at Casterly Estate. The first being the phone from Petyr.

As it grew later in the evening, the party moved from the outside to the inside of the mansion. Jaime took guard on the inside whilst Meryn stood guard on the outside. Everyone gathered at the table where business was usually discussed. It was laden with food, drinks, and desserts. Even with all of the lavish dishes set before her, Sansa could not eat. She dreaded that day with all of her heart.

Pycell was asked to deliver the television, which he did. It was an instant reminder to Sansa that she must do what she was told for if she refused, they could get away with killing her that day. Petyr told her that she had nothing to worry about since the Lannisters needed her and that she was worth way more alive than dead.

“May I have everyone’s attention?” Joffrey assessed everyone’s focus. “On this day, the Day of Red Rain, Lannister, Inc. and High Garden, Inc. have come together for a common cause. To stop the violence. May it be a reminder to everyone that a union of peace has replaced the bloody day.” As he spoke about stopping the Day of Red Rain, he eyed Sansa with sheer spite.

His actions were easily apprehensible by Sansa. Margaery and Olenna knew better from Sansa. Nevertheless, Margaery added her piece, “And on this day, may happy years follow, and may we produce a beautiful family.”

"And more money!" Olenna added.

Everyone cheered as well as laughed. Tyrion only cheered mockingly. Just when everyone had settled down, Pycell turned on the screen to allow for everyone to see what was happening. As the news cast went on, the murdered Stark family had been the focus of the headlines many times. Sansa bit her tongue and held her ground. She dared not to look at the television. Cersei saw her discomforted and grinned. The family also watched the new Ad that had been released, checking for flaws or gaining new ideas from it. It was soon followed by the rest of the night's news.

Just when the last bit of news was shown, the countdown had begun at 4 hours. The prominent families talked about future plans, future partnerships, and potential business partners. The staff from the house passed back and forth cleaning the tables, removing idle decorations, and sweeping the floors. Since it was later, the guests had no other choice but to remain at the mansion until dawn.

At last, a few seconds left on the countdown. The house began to seal itself off and the Rains of Castamere began to play as it usually did. Sansa’s stomach writhed and squirmed ill-at-eased.

And who are you, that land lord said

That I must stoop so low

Only a cat of a different coat

That’s all the truth I know

A coat of gold, A coat of red

A lion still has claws

And mine are long, and sharp oh, lord

As long and sharp as yours.

And so he spoke, and so he spoke, The lord of Castamere

And now the rains weep o’er his hall

With no one there to hear.

Yes, now the rains weep o’er his hall

And not a soul…to hear.

And then…

 

Chapter Text

“What’s going on? What’s happening?”

“I can’t see.”

“What just happened?”

Everything went dark. The power had been lost. The steel panels that covered the windows denied any light from getting through to aid helpless eyes.

All of a sudden, “Ahhh! ugh!” a shriek of someone being wounded could be heard. Cersei, recognising the ailing yelp, called her son. “Joffrey! Joffrey!” she screamed. Joffrey inhaled and exhaled loudly. Everyone could hear. No one knew exactly where to go. Everyone was bumping into each other, unsure of who was next to them. Anxiety growing as they were now in the unknown. Cersei did her best to push through the large crowd to find Joffrey in the relentless darkness. Sansa, afraid of what was going on, felt someone put their hand around her mouth and pull her near to them, “We have to leave now!”

While her mouth was still covered, she felt something being placed over her eyes and around her head. She was able to see now, only everything had a green and grey hue. They were night vision goggles.

She could see clearly that Joffrey was standing wearily with his intestines hanging from his torso. A most gruesome sight. He began to panter louder and louder. She then saw Cersei finally make her way over to him. Cersei screamed as she felt her son fall and a wetness on his jacket that smelled of blood. Everyone responded to her cries. Some accidentally fell over on her trying to get to her. This only made her angrier, “Get off! Get off of me. Watch where you're going you clumsy fools!”

“Cersei where are you?”

“What’s going on?”

“What happened?”

“Is everything okay?”

While the questions were flooding and everyone moving toward the centre of the room, Sansa and whoever it was walked quietly backward until they reached the door. Swiftly and quietly they ran through the mansion, relying on the goggles. The soft slippers she had received from Olenna made this feat possible. Sansa’s heart raced. She could taste freedom. It was so close. The fear of being caught only made anxiety rush through her body which in turn increased her speed.

They ran out of the anteroom and through the front door which was now open due to the failed power. On the outside, now aided by the moonlight, Sansa could see that it was the same security man who had fallen too close to Joffrey. “It’s you. What’s your name?”

“Dontos. We have to move.”

After removing the goggles, Sansa heard gunshots and more gunshots nearby at the gate that made her flinch. The gate had, too, lost its power. The guards had to all come together to push back the assailants. Some of them dying in the process. Dontos brought Sansa around the back and through the demesne on the other side. In the corner of the gate on the left side, there were four loose bars that could be pulled up like a gateway. The man let Sansa through first and then he followed.

The pair of them ran riskily through the streets filled with violence. Sansa could hear screaming, shouting, and shooting. It was one thing hearing it from behind the window. It was another actually being out in the open. The streets were dark. The power was out. All they had was the moonlight.

Dontos lead them down a neighbouring street that also had mansions. Out of the shadows, from behind the trees, he emerged. “Baelish!” Sansa ran to him at once. Her heart dropped and picked back up so many times so fast. She couldn't believe that he actually came through for her.

Baelish threw his arms around her and held her briefly. “I trust you made it out with no one noticing,” Baelish directed at Dontos.

“I did Sir Baelish. About the money.”

“Of course." Baelish went into his grey jacket and pulled out a silencer. He pulled the trigger faster than Dontos could say ‘wait’. It was a clean shot to the head.

Sansa shrieked in terror. She felt that she didn’t know Petyr at all in that instant. “Why? Why?!” she pleaded for an answer.

“Haven’t you learned from the last time?” he spoke over distant gunshots. “It was the poor who turned in your family. It would be the poor who will turn you in over a briefcase full of currency.”

“But he was helping me!” she differed while Baelish pulled her along.

“I told him I would pay 10,000 to help you. Do you know what he told me? That he wanted 50 instead. He wouldn’t have been here had I given him any less. He did it solely for the money. Given an opportunity, he would have sold you out for even more.”

Baelish ran Sansa through the streets as she came to a regrettable understanding. They soon met up with men in uniform wearing a picture of a blue circle with a white bird in the centre. They had clear shields, helmets, walky-talkies, and automatic weapons. “Baelish.” One of them acknowledged.

“We have get moving! We have 25 minutes before the power is turned back on.”

Sansa and Baelish were encircled within the men. They ran at a fast pace. “Where are we going!?” Sansa asked whilst running.

“Out of here!”

“To where!?”

“Another time! Just keep running!”

Sansa realised that the power was not only lost at the mansion. The entire city was shut down. Nothing was working. No street lights, no traffic lights, nothing. Out of the blue, the street they were on filled up with a large maniacal crowd. They had guns, torches, and flame throwers. They shot crazily at the uniformed men. Sansa, Baelish, and the rest of them ducked behind the bullet-proof shields. Sansa could feel Baelish squeezing her arm, pressing her body to himself in a protective manner. The men shot back, killing the perps off at a fast rate. Sansa witnessed more horrors of lives being taken.

Once the purging individuals with the gun were taken out, to save bullets, the men fought with long clubs and bats as well as with the shields. People were battered and broken. While this was going on, Petyr took his grey trench and covered Sansa’s head with it. “It wouldn’t be too clever to leave witnesses of a young prestigious woman with red hair.” He spoke in a high tone so that Sansa could hear him over the screaming.

After their path was cleared, they continued to run as fast as they could, Baelish kept his arms around her as the wind beat upon their faces. Soon, they heard gunshots coming from rooftops. The men with the shields covered their heads. “We have to move faster!” Baelish instructed. Sansa clinched to his arm like a scared child…and she was craven. Each time she heard bullets brace the shields, her blood ran cold. She only prayed that no bullet touched her before she could get out of The Golden City.

As they ran passed more streets, they saw people being set ablaze alive, people getting stabbed, women getting raped, buildings get set on fire, people and animals hanging off of balconies on fire or not, and more. Each time someone tried to get near them, the men with the blue and white family crest would take aim and fire.

At last, they came down an obscure alley way. In the alley was a dark grey van, waiting. Quickly, the fortification of men dispersed, opened the double doors in the back to allow Sansa, Baelish, and everyone else in, and got inside the car also. Sansa kept his jacket over her head as she took a seat next to him. The back door windows were closed off with bullet proof plates. The van took off with no hesitation.

Sansa, still quivering from the outside dangers, was relieved to be outside of the mansion. Baelish looked at his watch, “We have about ten minutes.”

The van was driven at over 120 miles an hour. Sansa had never been in a car that drove at that kind of speed. They were moving so fast it made her nervous. The speed brought them to a closed down and condemned building faster than a car moving at a normal rate. It wasn’t the tallest of buildings, but still tall. Before they were released from the back, the men in the front got out and few more gunshots were heard. When everything was clear, they opened the back door for Baelish and Sansa. Again, they were encircled. Sansa could see the bodies of the people who were just shot down. Blood spilled out into the street.

Baelish gripped Sansa by both of her shoulders and moved her in front of himself, protecting her from the back if he needed to. He urged her forward into the building. The men used flashlights to guide their way. They took the stairway and climbed as fast as possible. Heavy footstep beat upon the concrete stairs. They exited on the rooftop where the helicopter was being prepared for lift-off. Only two of the eight armed men went with Sansa and Baelish while the rest of them took to the van.

The loud sound from the propeller filled Sansa’s ears. Baelish spoke loud enough in her ear for her to hear him only, “Sorry about the delay! It took a while before I could get my hands on this without anyone finding out!”

“How could anyone not notice you with a helicopter?!” she wondered.

“Easy. You earn the trust of the board, handle funds well, and pay for things that won’t show up in the accounting inventory! I had to pay for it with invisible funds! It cost me 50 million dollars!”

Sansa looked outside of the helicopter door as they went higher and higher. The dragonfly-like contraption carried them further and further away from the city. Baelish looked at his watch, “And the power should be on…right about…now.” Just as he said, everything powered back on. The city lit back up like lights on a Christmas tree. He closed the door on the helicopter and muffled out the propellers. “So,” he began in is wonted tone, “What did you learn from your time here?”

Sansa looked at him deep in the eyes before she answered, “That everything that glitters isn’t gold.”

Baelish chuckled at her remark. “A very crude lesson indeed. You can stop holding your breath now.”

Sansa exhaled deeply. How did he know she was holding her breath when she didn’t even know it? It did not matter, she could finally breathe. She relaxed into the cushion and closed her eyes. She kept his jacket around her head and just breathed, taking in his scent of cologne that was embedded in the fabric.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Text

It was warm, comfortable, and soothing: almost like floating on air. Then again, she was in mid-air after all. She had awakened to a sideways view inside of the dark helicopter. She was leaned over to the side on something firm yet soft. “We’re just about there,” he spoke low and calm.

“Where are we going?" she spoke sleepily as she aroused from his shoulder.

“First we have to land, and then you’ll be taken to your aunt and cousin.”

“But I’ve never met them before. I don’t know why mother never allowed us to see her.”

“Your aunt can be…let’s say…quite detached. Lysa prefers to be estranged from her family. Peculiar, I know.”

“Why would she not want to get to know her own nieces and nephews?”

“A lot can arise from sibling rivalry,” he spoke simply.

“A rivalry? What happened?”

“Nothing that Lysa had fabricate in her mind. Many of her closer friends say that she a John were perfectly matched despite their monumental difference in age. Both of them can be insanely abysmal in their own way. It either made them agreeable toward each other or the opposite. Most often the latter.”

“I guess that’s why mother only mentioned her a few times.”

“Perhaps.”

“How long have we been flying?” Sansa followed with this question immediately.

“A little over four hours.”

“I suppose that means that the Red Rain is still happening in Lannis-Town.”

“You’re right. Unfortunately, the influence of Lannis-Town’s law as crossed over borders. So don’t be surprised if you still hear violence when we land in the Valley.”

Sansa then remembered what she had saw before she was excursed from the mansion. She could only imagine the scene in the mansion when the electricity returned.

 

 

Earlier in Lannis-Town, once the power had been turned back on, everyone shrieked in terror as they saw that blood had gotten all over their shoes. Tywin, Jaime, and Tyrion all gaped, wide-eyes filled with astonishment. Cersei wept over her son as she watched him dying. His hand, shaking and covered in blood, froze in place when he took his last breath. No one knew what to say. All they could do was listen to Cersei’s bereft screams and pleas.

When Cersei looked up, she expected to see Sansa’s face, overjoyed at the sight. However, she did not see the girl. She thought nothing of it and proceeded to grieve over her son.

“I want the entire ground searched! I want every man and woman questioned before anyone leaves at dawn!” Tywin addressed with sheer authority.

Gunshots from just in front of the yard could be heard as everyone worked to tear their sight away from the now dead Joffrey Baratheon. As they dispersed, Tywin took down a curtain while Jaime helped to lift Cersei up. Tyrion still stood, amazed at the sight. “I don’t suppose anyone here has any idea about what just happened,” He spoke soft and easily.

“It was too dark to see anything,” Tywin reasoned, “This wasn’t a thing that happened in the spur of the moment. Someone here knew what they were doing and when they were going to do it.”

Cersei retaliated at Tywin’s words, “My son did nothing to no one. Who else would want to hurt him?!”

Tyrion had a thought, but didn’t allow himself to go there. Jaime had a thought, but didn’t allow himself to go there. Tywin had a thought, but thought it too farfetched. Cersei had a thought, the same as everyone else and she ran with it, “Where’s Sansa?” she asked through her teeth. “Did anyone see her leave this room just now?”

They all looked at each other. Jaime walked out into the hall and asked the baffled and shaken crowd, “Can anyone of you tell me if Sansa is in the crowd with you all?”

Everyone looked around. Tiny voices could be heard aimlessly calling out Sansa’s name is a quizzical sense. The people turned here and there, moving about like busy ants, searching for the girl.

Cersei, mad and filled with anger, walked out into the anteroom where her guests were. Her lips trembled, her brows furious, her eyes burning, her vocals, preparing for a loud shriek, “SANSA!!!!” she screamed. There was no reply. Only the dead silence that the guests were now engulfed.

Tywin and Tyrion covered Joffrey’s body with the curtain. “You don’t really think Sansa could have done this, do you?”

“Because a person appears to be innocent doesn’t mean that they are,” Tywin assured. “However, I can’t fully conjure the thought that Sansa was strong enough to rip through his torso that made his guts pour out.”

“My point exactly.”

“So then…where is she?” he looked at Tyrion with the expression of expectation.

“You don’t suspect that I have the answer,” Tyrion wanted to be sure. “I’m a Dwarf and a Dwarf in the dark doesn’t exactly promise me from being trampled by a large crowd. And I was indeed trampled. I’ll need a trip to the spa.”

“You’ll forget about a day at the spa and focus on what has just transpired.”

“Do you forget? Today is a holiday. Even if we were to be served the perpetrator on a silver platter, there is nothing we can do about it because it happened legally! Putting on an investigation would contradict the principles of this day, unless you have precedence on what happens on this day. Or do you?” he asked suspiciously.

Tywin gave him a menacing glare, “Find me whoever did this!”

“You don’t deny it?” Tyrion asked almost in a whisper. He smiled with unbelievable stupefaction. “You know, I had always known and have always been afraid to ask. Is this why you won’t allow me my fair share in the company? In the estate? Lest I discover your dirty tricks and scandals to stay ahead of everyone else?”

“This subject of our tête-à-tête is a matter of discretion. It will remain between the two of us, and you shall not repeat another word.”

“Innocent people are dying!” Tyrion yelled,

Tywin, fear of someone listening to closely, grabbed Tyrion by the back of his collar and took him to the study on the other side of the mansion away from everyone else, “How do you think you’re able to go out, splurge on tawdry women, and drink to your heart’s content? Had this company not have fallen into my hands, your grandfather would have surely run into the ground! You’d be handling faecal matter instead of fiscal ones. The coins that you have taken for granted for years is because of my work, my strategy, and my back!”

“And blood from the people!” Tyrion argued back.

“I knew you’d be against it. I’ve done my part in making sure you remained a part of the board because you are still part of this family!”

“But I want no part in this! Think what will happen when we are found to be directly responsible for this. You have the people fooled now with thinking this is originated from an anarchical government and the treacherous Reynes of Castamere! And now here we are, at the end of a wedding, the beginning of a funeral, and stuck in the middle of scrutiny. What’s the plan?” he asked with sarcasm.

“The immediate plan as of now begins this very moment with you keeping quiet! Even if we are to be found out, there is no way for you to dissociate from all this so long as you bear my last name. Don’t like it, allow me to disown you this very minute.”

“Except you can’t do that because you still expect me to be wed to your ticket to gaining Stark, co.! A golden goose for a golden lion makes all the more gold for the golden family of the golden city where golden opportunities are found in every golden corner,” He toyed. Tywin knew he could not refute him. He only stepped aside and allowed Tyrion to exit as he pleased. Tywin and Tyrion both were infuriated.

Chapter Text

The helicopter landed on a flat, grey concrete gridiron that was atop of a mountain abundant in green foliage. The slowing propellers blew the leaves of the trees that surrounded the platform rapidly as did the wind signalling oncoming rain. As the propellers began to slow, the men who were operating the chopper opened the door for both Sansa and Baelish. “It’s colder here than in the south and it storms very often,” Petyr told, “Clearly the vegetation works as tangible proof. If you wanted to start a garden here, you’d be able to with little to no effort. The sun doesn’t shine too hot and the winds regulate the temperature.”

Baelish helped to put his grey trench on Sansa’s shivering body as the green dress she wore was made for warmer temperatures. “How far is my aunt’s house from here?’

“Far enough.”

Sansa could hear very distant shots fired. She could tell that it wasn’t too close nor too far. “Tell me we don’t have to risk going through a battlefield again.”

“You don’t have to worry about that here. We have a safer passage to take. It’s off-road so we’ll be fine.”

He extended his hand to her and she obligingly filled his palm with her own. They walked toward the right corner of the gridiron through a thin passageway of the thin-trunked, yet tall trees.

Baelish released Sansa’s hand for a moment to walked over to a boulder. The boulder was real, but had a few false parts. He moved a specific jagged edge to flick a switch. At once, the pathway was lit by soft garden lights. The darkness from the sky, the green from the trees, and the natural stone steps made for a very romantic scene. Again, Petyr took Sansa’s hand in his and continued down the path.

It was a long stairway down. Sansa inhaled the smell of rain that passed her nose. “Is it going to rain tonight?”

“It’s already raining,” Baelish informed.

“I don’t feel anything.”

“We’re under the shade of the trees. It always rains twice after one time when you’re beneath the trees. The rain that comes from the skies, and the rain that trickles off of the leaves.”

By the time they reached the end, the rain had stopped. Just then, Sansa heard raindrops falling behind her onto the path where they had just come from. She looked at Baelish who looked at her with a smile. She couldn’t help but smile herself.

The garden lights continued all the way to an unpaved road where a jeep was waiting. Sansa and Baelish rode in the backseat while the men who had been operating the helicopter took the passenger and driver seat. The lights from the path automatically turned off. The unpaved and uneven road brought about undulation in the darkened car. Sansa was only happy to be out of the mansion, out of the city, and exploring new grounds.

After a few minutes of travel, Sansa began to speak again, “I’ve never really been in a place full of trees. I’ve spent most of my life in cities and heavily populated places.”

“I assure you that the air is cleaner, the aura is serene, and the scenery is tranquil. There are many things you can do here to clear your head, to regather your focus.”

“Is that how you get clear ideas?” she inquired.

“Not usually,” he chuckled, “But it is ideal.”

After a spell, the jeep had come to a stop. “Are we there yet?”

“We are,” he confirmed simply.

Sansa was relieved. This time, Baelish and Sansa were to only ones to leave the car. The men drove off in the jeep, leaving Sansa and Baelish alone. They walked up a paved path that was outlined with pink and purple flowers that curved around a circular sandstone wall. The wall had more lights on them that had the same soft glow as the garden lights. It reflected the brownstone remarkably. Sansa loved the scene. As they meandered the circular infrastructure, Sansa asked another question, “You don’t think she’s asleep do you?”

“She never sleeps on this night. Neither does her son.”

“Isn’t it because they’re terrified?’

“I wouldn’t go as far as to say that.”

Just when they ascended the last few steps, Sansa was bequeathed the sight a gorgeous glass mansion with a white stone frame. The lights that were placed in the ground surrounded by white gravel illuminated against the white stone walls, bringing it to life in the dead of night. She was undeniably flabbergasted. She soon gathered her senses. The last time she had become infatuated with such luxury she paid the price for it. She took the sight in with a grain of salt and braced herself for whatever was to come. If there was anything else more to come. Something she hoped would not come to pass.

Petyr walked up to the door and simply opened it, much to Sansa’s confusion. “Why would the door be left unlatched?”

“The people in the Valley boast on their hidden passageways and slow way of life as means of deterrents of idle delinquents, loiterers, and random people,” He opened the door and allowed Sansa to go in before him. He closed the door and latched it before he continued after turning on the lights, “They are correct. Most people want to live a fast life, where everything is easy. Where one can engage in a kind of work that needs not the requirements of personal records and others of the sort. That’s why so many people venture to the south and bypass the country. No one cares about provincial living. Thus the people here believe that this is enough to keep stray individuals away. I wouldn’t be too careful. Things change and so, too, can people.”

“It’s so dark in here. Is anyone home?” she asked as she removed his jacket from her arms.

“Certainly. Come.”

Sansa and Baelish walked quietly on the smooth black floor and into a hall. At the end of the hall was an opaque frosted glass door with a white frame. He opened it and Sansa followed. As they walked down the flight of stairs, Sansa could hear the joyful laughter of a child. She looked back to Baelish for some assurance and she could see that his soft face had grown into his hardened grimace. His eyes no longer had wonderment in them, but treachery. She knew at once that Petyr had for some reason transitioned in Littlefinger.

At the foot of the stairs was a small floor area just before the threshold. Just when the door had opened, the squeaks the hinges made signalled their presence. The boy, who was looking at the massive screen mounted to the wall, whirled around and shouted with felicity, “Uncle Petyr!” he jotted to him and squeezed him tightly.

His mother, who had been watching the television also, wore a huge smile on her face. Sansa’s personification and expectations of how her aunt might have looked was replaced with actual fact of how she looked. She too had come over to Petyr, “I have to admit that I didn’t expect you to be back so soon.”

Sansa witnessed her manner toward Petyr. She also took note of her supposedly cousin calling Petyr his uncle. She wondered if there was something she was missing. Something that she wasn’t told.

As she thought this Petyr interacted with the pair, “It’s so nice to see you again Robyn. And Lysa,” he spoke cautiously. “I did my utmost to ensure that we left no trace behind.”

Lysa now walked to Sansa, “You look just like your mother.” She spoke as she held her arms out to hold her. It was awkward to Sansa. She knew the woman was family, but she was still a stranger. “I’ve heard many things about you. That you are bright and intelligent. I promise you will love it here.”

“I’m sure I will aunt Lysa. You have a very beautiful home.”

“I’m happy that you like it. You will find it more comforting here than in the south. You needn’t worry about being locked in a room. You can go wherever you please whenever you feel like it.”

Baelish looked at his watch before speaking, “My time here has run short. I’m I afraid I’ll have to cut our reunion short.”

“You’re leaving?” Sansa exclaimed in a concerned tone.

“I am. I only stay a house down from here. I won’t be far.”

Sansa looked disappointed. Lysa saw this and intervened, “Come Robyn, get to know your cousin.”

Robyn more than obliged, “I saw you on the news. You were crying. I cried to when I lost my father. But you can watch the T.V with me. It’ll make you feel better.”

Sansa, having a hard time tearing herself away from Baelish despite the fact that he was Littlefinger at the time, forced herself to go. Lysa looked at Petyr in the eyes to which he only returned her look with an empty stare. She went to hug him but his reflexes kicked in fast enough to miss her embrace. “I’m unclean,” he used as an excuse. “It’ll be best that I bathe.”

“Who cares. I thought I’d lose you to the crowd. You know it’s getting crazier out there now.”

“I know. Besides…” he said as he witnessed Sansa’s face twist and turn at the television that captured the violence of what was happening in real time, “You’d be attentive enough to make sure Sansa sees no more violence. She’s seen enough for one night. I shall speak with you again in the morning.” He nodded once farewell.

Lysa, vexed that she didn’t get what she was looking forward to, recomposed herself. “What do you think of our security cameras, Sansa?”

Sansa hoped her aunt really didn’t expect her to answer her question. “Um…” she stuttered. “Well…It's…”

“Never mind that. You must be tired child.”

“I am. I would really love a shower.”

“Of course. Robyn, show your cousin to her room.”

Robyn reluctantly did as he was told. As he led the way, Sansa raised a brow. The fact that they were able to stomach watching people get killed sent chills down her spine and flew huge red warning signs.

Once they left the room. Lysa sat on the couch and began to fidget. She rubbed over herself and then began to scratch. She sighed in disgust at many things.

Sansa ran the water as hot as she could take. She let the water run down her hair and face. For some odd reason, she had a huge empty feeling in her chest. It was as if someone had stripped her of her vital organs. She hoped deep down that it wasn’t because she felt deprived of Petyr’s presence. Consciously, she had to accept the fact that it was the sole reason she felt the way she was feeling. She enjoyed it when he told her stories and the origins of things. It reminded her of the day when she had first met him. Then she recalled that she was with her father then. Her family was still alive. At once, she began to cry. She only felt better after she saw that image in her head of Joffrey holding his guts. It brought her comfort? She was no monster. She knew that. So why did she feel such comfort in that? Vengeance. That was her only answer. She promised herself that she would only feel that way toward Joffrey and no one else.

She stepped out of the shower, exhausted. She used a towel that was hanging on a silver bar to wrap around herself. Luckily, the bathroom was connected to the bedroom where she was staying. There was a boy in the house and she wouldn’t have wanted to caught indecent.

Sansa loved her room. It wasn’t bland like the one she had at Casterly Estate. She was even delighted to know that she had her own hearth. The windows were so big and clear that they nearly covered the entire wall. They were held in place with white metallic supports. She couldn’t see very much outside since it was so dark still.

The floor was a periwinkle colour and very soft, whatever wall was there, it was an even lighter periwinkle. The blanket was a floral green and the sheets and pillow were white. The wardrobe in the room was white also with pink, purple, and red flowers decorating the frame of the doors. The wardrobe had only one white dress—a night gown to be more precise.

She slipped it on. The silky fabric felt really good and really light on her body. She had no underclothing so she had to bear sleeping with only the gown.

Chapter Text

Here again, the streets were being emptied of the bodies from the night before. This time, the death rate included some of the rich. Due to the failed power, the defences on the houses made it easy for criminals to get through. Tywin was blistering now. Sansa was gone, money was wasted on a wedding and now they were planning a funeral, Tyrion had everything figured out, Cersei was as thick as ever, and the Tyrells constantly reminded him that his family needed hers. Tywin made it clear that Tommen and Margaery would wed in a basic ceremony.

Tywin, Varys, Cersei, Tyrion, and Olenna was sitting at the long table inside of Lannister, Inc., watching the news.

Last night was reported as one of the most unpredictable nights in Lannis-Town history. Many wealthy families were found butchered in their homes including the head of Lannister, Inc. Joffrey Baratheon. Jewellery and money was stolen, and the rich are complaining. They chant for justice alas they won’t be getting the justice they seek as these massacres occurred legally.

Without wanting to hear further news, Tywin turned the television off. He rubbed his head in a vexing manner. Everyone just watched. “Get both Baelish and Roose down here immediately.” It was all he could say before he got up and left the office.

Everyone could feel the tension brewing in the room. Olenna didn’t trust them, Tyrion was concerned with his attachment to the organization, Varys was concerned about the company’s well-being for Tyrion, and Cersei was thinking about murder. A thick tension indeed. So thick that it need to be cut with the sharpest knife that had ever existed.

“So what do we do now?” Tyrion asked.

“The most you can do for now is hope for a miracle,” Olenna responded before she too left the room. She walked out into the hall to find Tywin looking out of one of the grand windows. “Your company is suffering,” she spoke indefinitely.

“I trust that you don’t take me for a fool.”

“Oh no, of course not. I also know that you are not so foolish to let this company go under.”

“If you have some type of proposal cut to the point and let me hear it.”

“Allow our companies to merge. That way you won’t have to worry about feeling the losses that are to come. Your name is all over the security systems in this town. Who do you think will feel the wrath of the most turnovers? No one will want to buy the new product you’ve just released. That’s nothing but more coinage down the drain.”

“I’ll give it a month to see where our earnings lie.”

“You’ve also lost a lot of employees in that disaster. And you’ve lost one of your most reliable personal guards, Meryn Trant. You’ve got a lot of repercussions to face. Possibly bankruptcy.”

All of everything that Tywin was hoping for backfired in the worst way. Nothing fell through and he was losing more and more valuable people and resources. He knew that the damage would only exacerbate if he didn’t seal the wound before it bled out. “Very well.” He agreed. “Don’t think for a minute that by our merging that you will have control over the more important decisions.”

“We’ll see,” she spoke audaciously.

 

 

 

Have the Lannisters been rendered helpless? What is to happen in the future? Other news have it that Tully and Sons has endured the anticipated recall on weapons. Even more lives have been taken due to faulty weapons. We have witnessed once great business slowly fall from grace. Will they have a chance of becoming like Vale Valley and make a positive turnaround. Stay tuned for more news.

 

The television was turned off. Soon, the phone rang, “What?” Baelish leaned against his black bar in front of the bland kitchen.

“We have a problem,” Cersei sounded on the other line.

“So I’ve heard,” Baelish answered.

“My father is in grave need of your service.”

“My service is here at the Vale.”

“We’ll promise anything to you. Anything that you would like.”

“Are you looking to brokering a deal?” he smiled a slick smile, deciphering their desperation.

“Whatever you want other than money, just name it and it will be yours.”

“I’ll have to think about it.” He concluded.

“Just think about it along the way. I expect to see you here tomorrow.” She ended the call.

Chapter Text

Sansa had reflecting dreams of running through the streets of Lannis-Town. The adrenaline she felt crept up on her in her sleep. As she reminisced in her sleep, her memory constantly went back to when Petyr was pressing her into him. It was a warm and comforting feel…and other feelings. Other feelings that lead to inadvertent dreams. When she had awakened, she aroused slowly, feeling disgusted about herself. When she moved her legs she felt something wet rub against her upper thighs. Her heart began to race as she understood what had just happened. She stood up from the bed and checked the sheets. Even as she moved, she could feel the slippery liquid. She felt embarrassed even though no one else knew what had been going on in her head to cause her to lubricate like that. To her relief, the sheets were still dry.

“I can’t believe I let myself think about that,” she whispered to herself.  After calming down from her nightly erotic spell, her eyes opened in astonishment as she was able to see from the windows the greenery that covered the mountain top and a huge lake that was in the front of it. The sight beckoned her from the bed never mind her earlier fuss. The view alone brought her peace and serenity. Especially to know that she had survived yet another day of the Red Rain turmoil.

Her thoughts automatically went back to Petyr. Just thinking about him again made her want to find something else to think about. She dismissed any thought about him and went to wash herself up. After she had cleaned herself, she stepped back into the bedroom. They blue sky was swiftly turning grey. Even at this fact her mind still found a way to divert back to him. Her train of thought was thankfully broken when Lysa had entered into the room. She had come in with a few tall white paper bags, “Petyr had these clothes sent to you. He said you would need some new ones after your time in Casterly Estate.”

How ironic, she thought. Nonetheless, Sansa was delighted to see the new threads once Lysa dumped the bags on the bed. “I picked out your undergarments to save you the humility.”

“Thank you,” she smiled. “When did he get them?”

“Just before he left to fetch you. I knew you had had a long night, so I decided to wait until you awakened this morning.”

Sansa felt no hostility from her aunt. She began to ease her guard and give herself a chance to become acquainted with her. “How often does Petyr come here?” she pondered innocently.

“Not very often. Though I do send for him repeatedly.”

“Last night,” Sansa pondered as she spoke, “Your son, Robyn, he called Petyr uncle. Is he married?”

Lysa raised a brow as she smiled. “Why do you ask?”

“I’m only curious because no one ever tells me anything.”

“You wanted to know if Petyr was married?” her eyes twitched.

“Well,” Sansa attempted not to sound forceful with her questions, “I just thought that he might be married to someone else in the family.”

“Someone else? Is there someone else?” She grimaced with suspicion.

“You’re the first of my mother’s family that I’ve met. I only wanted to know if there might have been another aunt that I may have that I don’t know about.”

“You just want to know if he’s single,” she spoke as a fact rather than an interrogative statement.

“What?”

“You’re only trying to find out if he’s single. I know you are.” Her face changed from a pleasant one to one that was growing colder by the second. “You want him for yourself.”

“No, that’s not what I meant…”

“Is it? You want to make sure that there is no other woman!” she accused.

“That’s not is, I just…”

“I’m the only woman in his life! There is no other woman!”

Sansa slowly retracted away from the insane woman. “I understand.”

“I’m going to make you understand! Petyr has no room for others in his life! He never has. How did he make room for you?!” she spoke as she walked swiftly and creepily toward Sansa. “How did you squeeze yourself into his life?!”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sansa exclaimed more serious now.

Lysa grabbed her unforgivingly by the shoulders and squeezed as tight as she could. Her nails almost digging into her bare skin. “Did you offer him something? Did you offer a night with him?! Several nights with him?!”

“No!”

“Don’t lie to me! I’ll know if you’re lying! Tell me the truth! Did you seduce him!”

“No, I didn’t!”

“I can look at you and tell that you have. You’re infatuated with him! I saw it in your eyes last night! The way you looked at him!”

“I was only nervous of being left behind with strangers!”

“You want him!”

“No I don’t! I don’t love him! He talks about you all the time! I think he has feelings for you!”

“And what did he say?!”

“He said that you were beautiful. That you were beautiful, and smart, and brave, and caring! He’s too old for me. Old enough to be my father! I only view him as a father!” she saved herself.

With the flick of the switch, Lysa was back to her warm self. She released her grip and embraced Sansa. “Calm down now. Calm down.” When she released her, she started to twitch and feel herself. “I know how it feels to be married to a man that’s far too old for you. My husband was too old for me and he didn’t make me feel the way I feel about Petyr. Petyr and I have always been good for each other. Did he tell you about our past relationship?”

“No, he didn’t. I haven’t eaten anything since yesterday,” Sansa changed the subject so that she wouldn’t have to hear any more of what Lysa was going to say.

Lysa smiled brightly as if nothing had happened, “There’s food down stairs. Go ahead and dress nicely. Robyn wants to go to Petyr’s this afternoon, you should go with him.”

“And what about you?" Sansa inquired, hoping she could get away from her for a few seconds.

“I have work,” she scoffed. “They are never without my presence. They require so much time from me that it’s impossible to spend time with Petyr. I must get going now. When you’re dressed, feel free to eat as much as you like.”

When Lysa had left from the room, Sansa whispered to herself in exasperation, “I can’t go through this again.”

Chapter Text

When she felt comfortable enough, she chose black jean leggings, a free flowing beige blouse, and brown flats.

Lysa had left before Sansa made it down the stairs. She found Robyn sitting at a white round table staring at the television as he ate his waffles, “I was just watching a review of the bad men getting punished,” He started when he saw her, “Do you wanna watch?”

“No, thank you.” Sansa couldn’t understand what sort of enjoyment he got out of watching people getting butchered in the middle of the street.

From the kitchen, the medium-sized maid with dark brown hair who had cooked the food came out into the dining room where Sansa and Robyn were, “It’s time for you to go now Robyn,” she spoke as she removed her apron and grey uniform shirt to reveal a tank top.

“But I don’t want to go to practise.”

“You know Robyn that you must exercise your body so that you can become stronger than what you are.”

“Fine.”

Sansa watched as the maid walked him out to the front door where there was a man with dark brown hair and a starched suit waiting for him. He then led Robyn down the stairs where Sansa had come from when she had first arrived. The maid must have been off of her shift for she too had gone elsewhere not in uniform.

Now alone, Sansa breathed. The house was huge and quiet. The sun was out but is was not as bright. There was no one she could talk to, nothing to do. After a few minutes of boredom, Sansa took her single braid loose and let her hair, now curly from the braid, to fall over her face. She reminisced the days where her mother would do her hair and they would just talk to each other about effeminate subjects. She had always loved to talk about the day when she would marry. Never did her mother tell her how harsh the world really was. She had not a clue. She grew up believing that everyone who was clean and poised were good and everyone who was dirty and poor-postured was bad. That perception seemed to her to be misplaced; that it was the other way around. She wasn’t too sure about Baelish. He was neither. So she had no idea where that put him.

“There’s no point in having it if you’re not going to use it.”

Sansa jerked at the first syllable that came from his mouth and turned to face him, “Baelish.” He was wearing a light grey button-down collar shirt with the cuffs rolled up to his elbows, white pants, and white shoes.

He extended to her the phone he had gotten for her when she was in Casterly Estate. “You might be in some need of some company. Luckily, I have a friend for you.”

Sansa gingerly accepted the phone from him. “So…” she started soft and calm, “Where is this friend?”

Baelish smiled and began to walk toward the door, “You won’t be getting anywhere just standing.” He alluded to her. Sansa began to follow him out the door.

They walked down the street without saying a word. It was no more than a three-minute walk before they came to a small, brick-front house that contained no more than three rooms. Sansa was discombobulated. She for a fact knew that Petyr had to have had more than what he led on. Surely with the figures that he earned he should own a bigger house. She decided not to think on it too hard. It was just one of those times when she never understood his motives and why he did what he does.

Baelish opened the door for her. The carpet was a soft white colour. The wall was empty and the house had no bit of decoration to make the house appear to look lived-in. The stairs were just a little to the right with a smooth oak wooden rail upon white dowels. upon entering into the house, he removed his shoes and beckonned for Sansa to do the same.

Sansa, nervous, wondered what was going to happen next. She didn’t understand why he couldn’t have brought “the friend” over to Lysa’s house. Sansa had heavy thoughts on her mind as she climbed the stairs after Baelish. Sure enough, she heard a cat meow. She figured that he might have had a cat that she could play with, “You have a cat?” she asked, surprised since it did not seem to be in his character to own a cat.

“I don’t.” he answered assuredly.

Again, Sansa heard the meow followed by many other meows, “But I hear it. It’s a cat.”

“I don’t have a cat. They’re my least favourite animals. I have a family to thank for that.”

In the instant they reached the top of the stairs, Sansa heard tiny barks of a puppy, and then an alarm, “I hear a cat, a dog, and an alarm. Does somebody or something live here with you?”

Baelish, stopping at the door at the end of the hall, answered her question in the same humble manner, “I do.” He pushed the door opened and allowed Sansa to enter first. The sound of a frog croaking caught her attention next. She followed the sound to the cage of a bird. Her eyes widened in wonderment. “That…can’t possibly be…the bird.”

The bird, poking around the cage, continued to make sounds. It tweeted a few times and then made another sound of the buzzer of a clock and the ring tone of a phone. She couldn’t help but saunter to the bird to make perfectly sure that it was making the noises and nothing else. Baelish watched her with intensity, “Intelligent, isn’t it?”

“It really sounds like a phone ringing.”

“And you’d surely fall for it, wouldn’t you? It’s a mockingbird.”

“A mockingbird? I’ve heard of them, but I never knew why they called them a mocking bird.” To Sansa’s surprise and sheer horror, the bird began to laugh like a child. A child that sounded to be a boy.

“That would be an imitation of Robyn. He laughed many times in the bird’s presence. It caught on and now he’s singing young Robyn’s song.”

Sansa couldn’t make herself cease from displaying a look of both impression and alarm. “It sounds just like…like…a human child.” She whispered. “Does it have a name?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“It’s caged. There’s no sense in giving a caged bird a name. It’s best to leave it nameless until it has once again flown from the cage freely. Only then can it leave with its name, whatever that may be.”

“You’re going to set it free?” she asked in a humble tone.

“I will.”

“When?”

“After it learns everything that it needs. It’s not exactly done learning songs. The more songs it knows, the easier it is for it to hide in plain sight. No one knows it’s a bird that barks like a dog, purrs like a cat, and croaks like a frog. It could have made noises as loud as possible…letting the world know that it’s there through its songs. All the while you hear the beautiful sounds of nature and devices, you’re actually ignorant to the fact that you were just serenaded by a bird."

Sansa took in what he was saying to heart. She knew that there was always meaning behind his words. What made his statement even more believable was when the bird began to imitate the sound of crickets at night. “Why do you like the mockingbird so much?”

“As I said, they’re intelligent.”

“My father used to tell me that people only like things that reflected themselves. Does the mocking bird reflect off of you?”

Petyr admired her insight more than anything else. “And if it is, how would you draw the connection?”

“You said that the bird was intelligent.” She paused.

Baelish waited before replying, “Surely that’s not the only thing.”

“Well, you said that no one would be able to tell if they were listening to a mockingbird. Cersei and Tywin didn’t expect for you to take me away from them, but you did and you work for them.” Sansa’s eyes darted about aimlessly, putting the pieces together in her head. “You were there in plain sight…and no one knew what you had planned.”

All Baelish could do was smile. “It’ll make great company while I’m away.”

“You’re leaving?!” Sansa exclaimed, disappointed.

“I am.”

“Now?!”

“Right now.”

“To where?”

“Back to my favourite audience,” he smiled.

“Who am I supposed to talk to?”

“Lysa will be back later on. Robyn has a few more days before he's sent back to camp for misshapen and disabled children. In the meantime, you can take him with you. Just be sure that he doesn’t die before I can set him free. Until then, teach it some more sounds. I expect that I’ll hear a new tune upon my return. There’s a key in your bedroom if you ever need to seek refuge here.”

Without another word, Baelish left the room, quietly ventured down the stairs and headed out of the door. Sansa remained in the same spot next to the cage. The bird stayed quiet as it pranced around the cage. Just how many ways did the mocking bird reflect off of his personality, she wondered. Did he ever use his mocking ability on her? Was he someone she had to steer clear of in case he was currently hiding in plain sight? She became unnerved, more aware.

Chapter Text

Later on that night, after Lysa had come home and Robyn was in bed, Lysa and Sansa shared a nightly tête-à-tête in the kitchen as Lysa washed the dishes while Sansa rinsed and dried. “Robyn have always loved that bird. It annoys me at times, but when I think of Petyr, those chirps become the sweetest thing I have ever heard. It’s amazing how love can change a persons’ mind about something.” She rambled.

Sansa wasn’t fully listening. She was too busy wondering what kind of business Petyr…no…Littlefinger was going to handle. He wasn’t Petyr when he left, so obviously he was up to something that could get someone hurt. She could only hope that it was someone who wanted to hurt other people. She sighed as she continued to dry. Her senses to hear turned back on after she concluded her thoughts. She could now hear her aunt in full.

“So why did Petyr give you his bird?”

Sansa, lest Lysa have another fit, chose her words carefully, “He told me that Mockingbirds were intelligent and that I should learn from it.”

Lysa chuckled dryly, “Petyr has always had a sense of hunour. Ever since he was a child. That’s when I knew I would love him for the rest of my life.”

“Did you ever tell him how you felt?”

“I did more than that,” she smiled blissfully. “But it was so long ago. Petyr has been so tied up into everyone else’s lives that he doesn’t have time for me. Sometimes I believe things wouldn’t have ended up that way had it not been for my father and your uncle Brandon.”

“Your father? My uncle Brandon? What happened?” she was curious now.

“It was a long time ago. Petyr was a smart boy, never did anything to anyone. Always stayed to himself when he first came to live with my family. He was an orphan, you see. My father brought him home with him one night and he stayed there ever since. He was seven, almost eight.”

Sansa smiled. She could only imagine what he looked like as a child. “So what happened?”

“Petyr fancied your mother. Your mother did not return his feelings. She loved your uncle. Out of respect, Petyr didn’t try to intervene until one night when he saw Brandon with another woman. He demanded that Brandon be loyal to your mother. Can you imagine how a tall muscular man, 22 years of age, would react to a small boy no older then fourteen?”

“He didn’t take him serious.” Sansa figured.

“Precisely. Your uncle Brandon laughed at him and just walked away from him. Petyr went after him, warning that he would tell the family about his infidelities. Brandon didn’t care, he continued to laugh. I watched my sister approach while they were arguing. Petyr wanted her to know that Brandon would never treat her right. She didn’t care to hear what Petyr had to say. And then Brandon began to tease Petyr. He called him a beggar, a mistake that neither of his parents wanted. Petyr picked up a rock from the ground and threw it at him. That might have been the worst mistake of his life for your uncle beat Petyr until he could hardly walk. He had to hold onto the side of the house just to keep his balance. Brandon wanted to put more fear into him when he saw that Petyr refused to cower to him. So he pushed an old and heavy, broken rail toward his direction just to scare him. Petyr was so weak that he couldn’t move fast enough to get out of the way.

My father heard of this and Petyr was rushed to an underground hospital. The kind where people illegally commence in doctoral procedures. I’ve never seen so much blood in my wake. Brandon was never punished for his actions. Petyr assumed all the blame for everything. And even as he lied there on his death bed, he waited to see my sister’s face. Your mother never even came to see him once.”

Sansa could clearly see the envy on her face. “What happened next?” And why wasn't he admitted in another hospital?

“I’ve never told anyone, not even to Peyr. Swear you won’t say a word.”

“I swear.”

“When Petyr was still critical, the doctors wanted to be sure that there was no further impairment from the beating that he had taken from Brandon. They ran him through a scan and found strange things going on in his head.”

“Strange?” Sansa asked, eager to know.

“They say that your brain reacts to activities and emotions. They said that the activity in his brain was rapidly shifting from front to back. From left to right. Never had they seen anything like it. Even though they were run off the black market, they were insightful enough to check him afterward.

He was heavily induced with Morpheme so he didn’t understand what was going on. They would ask him questions and he would answer the same question differently each time the activity in his head shifted.”

“Like what?”

“They asked him his name and he told them. When they asked him again after things in his head had changed, he said that he didn’t have a name. Then they asked him his age. The first, he replied that he was fourteen. When the activity shifted again, he told them that he was but a year old. The most amazing part was that he was telling the truth both times.”

“That’s impossible.”

“That was why they wanted to keep him as a part of their study.”

Sansa’s skin began to crawl, “What was going on with him?”

“Well, the doctors—if you could call them that—continued to work with him on more questions while he was drugged. They asked him what it was that made him hurt. The first, he replied a broken heart. The next, he replied that he refused to let anything hurt him and that nothing did.”

“And he was telling the truth?”

“He was. But here’s the interesting part. It always depended who was in the room with him. When he was with the doctors alone, he would tell them the actual truth. But when I was in the room with him, he would tell them false truths. He was diagnosed with circumstantial disorder about dissociation with his personality. He later ran away after he was partially healed.”

Sansa’s eyes were left wide opened. “What is dissociation…whatever you said?”

“I don’t know. Before I could get an explanation of it, my father had found out about my visits to him and stopped me. And then the market was found out and closed down.”

“And you never researched it?”

“And paint Petyr in a miserable light? Are you insane?”

Sansa dismissed her aunt. Her thoughts started up again when she thought that it might have had something to do with him behaving like two different people. How else could he be telling the truth both times if he was the same person? She had an unquenchable hunch that she had to address.

Sansa retired to her room later on, thankful that Petyr had given her phone back. She immediately researched the Disorder that Lysa spoke of. The light from the screen illuminated her face as she sat in the darkened room cross-legged in the centre of the bed. As she read, her blood ran cold. “Oh my lord,” she gaped with her hand covering her mouth. What caught her attention was a passage that read:

“Dissociative identity disorder, or DID, usually stems from an unwanted past or personality. In most cases, the past is too much to handle, thus causing a person to “dissociate” themselves from who they used to be and becoming a different person so that they won’t have to face the horrors of the memories that are locked away in a separate part of their minds. Dissociative identity acts as a defence mechanism to protect the psyche from insanity, stress, and depression. This change in personality can make a person appear as an entirely different person in body and/or in mind; drawing on all of the strengths of the persons and leaving the weaknesses behind.”

From her talk with Lysa, it didn’t make since for Petyr to dissociate himself from himself due to a broken heart. People endured broken hearts all the time and have always found a way to repair it. There was something else missing. Something that she was eager to find out. What could have been that bad? How she was going to ask him questions without him getting suspicious was beyond her. “Just as long as he doesn’t know what’s wrong with him I should be fine. I hope.”

Sansa continued to read. She found some optimism when she read the next passage that answered the question, “Is there a cure for DID?"

There is no medication that can rid a person of a different identity while there are suppressants that can postpone or subdue the other personality. The only way that DID can be cured is if the person suffering comes to terms with their memories, face them, accept them, and realise that they no longer need an alternate character to shield them. Of course this process is easier said than done. Sometimes that past can be too painful to approach and even more personalities can come about simply to prevent access to those memories.

After reading it, Sansa began to feel sorry for Petyr. At the same time, it gave her clarity that he was indeed two people. He might have not known his alternate self’s name, but she knew it for a fact. His name was Littlefinger and she couldn’t stand him.

Chapter Text

Early the next morning in The Golden City at Linnister, Inc., Varys had walked into the conference room before any of the other board members. Or at least he thought he did. “My old friend,” he smiled his wonted crooked smile.

“I would say that I am surprised to meet you again my old friend. Sad, I found that I didn’t miss you like I thought I might. Feeling relieved from your trip to Vale Valley?”

“While I suppose that you might have gotten some relief, I remembered that you were too butchered in your pants to have accomplished…such a task. Maybe this is a way of fate telling us that only one of us can get what we want so long as we have the balls to do it. But you lack that courage, do you not? That only leaves one of us.”

Varys Stood in contempt, “You’re right that only one of us will get what it is that we want. But we know that you won’t be the one to win the race.”

“Don’t be silly my friend,” Baelish smiled as he walked over to Varys and placed a hand on his shoulder, “How can you possibly get what you want, when you can’t even get anything…or off on anyone? Shine your head and make your wish long-overdue.”

Varys eyes Baelish with spite. Nothing else was between them until the other board members had arrived. “I trust that you’ve been keeping up with the broadcast, Baelish,” Tywin sounded before he took his seat at the head of the conference table.

“I have,” he answered respectfully.

“Good. Then you know the odd goings on in Lannister, Inc.”

“I’ve heard that you’ve lost money to a ransom. I also know that your grandson’s wedding didn’t go according to plan. I can imagine the figures it took you to arrange a wedding, a funeral, and investigators.”

“And due to the outage in the city a few days ago?”

“The people aren’t relying on your resources to keep them safe. You’ll lose your advantage by not only the deaths of the more amiable clients, but also the lack of trust thereof.”

“And how have things been in Vale Valley?”

“Excellent. Everything is superb and intact.”

“We’ll need your expertise in financial dealings. What do you suggest we do to turn this situation around?”

Cersei spoke before Baelish did, “I don’t think there is anything that anyone can do. We’ve already five deaths on our hand, we need no more.”

“Actually,” Baelish continued, “I have a suggestion that doesn’t involve death…or at least legally speaking.”

“What is that you suggest?” Asked Cersei, dubious of his proposal.

“You have to make sure that you pay security well. Of course, they’re going to have to allocate their earnings to facilities and other secure properties. My proposal is that you free the prisoners come time the Red Rain celebration. I also suggest that you raise taxes.”

Varys spoke next, “While that may sound like the best thing to do, the Day of Red Rain isn’t until a many of celestial days from now.”

“What can we do in the now?” Tywin asked.

“You’re already doing it, sir Tywin. Maintain a steady relationship with the Tyrells.”

Cersei cringed at the sound of the surname, “Those Tyrells cannot be trusted.”

“Do you now know their intentions?” Tywin asked.

“Of course I do,” Baelish answered with the same tone, “Let them believe that they are winning. And once you’re back on your feet, show them that they were never in the game to begin with.”

Varys doubted that plan, “And how do you suppose we do that?”

“Change your wedding plans for Tommen and Margaery and have her marry Tyrion instead.”

Tywin and Cersei looked at each other. Varys looked at Baelish with confusion, mouth partially agape, “What difference does it make? Both men are descendant of the Lannister bloodline.”

“Believe me. This move could kill two birds with one stone.”

“And what is the second stone?” Tywin urged him to answer.

“The second stone should appear just after they are wed. My suggestion is that you allow things to come into fruition after the match is made. The only exception…do not inform Tyrion of this match. Not until the day of the wedding.”

“Very well then. I trust you Baelish. You’ve had my family’s interest at your heart for this long, I do not doubt you.”

“Is there anything more?”

“There is one other matter. Choose. Whatever it is that you wish to be bequeathed unto you, you may have it.”

“I was thinking that it would be a good idea to own some shares in Stark, Co. once it is over taken completely by the Boltons.”

“But there’s still Sansa Stark,” Varys added.

“Sansa Stark is missing. It’s very easy to declare her as good as dead,” Baelish retorted unfavourably to Varys.

“We can’t have that news circulating in our town,” Tywin pointed out, “We already have four northerners dead with the excuse of them getting caught in the mischief of this holiday. Sansa Stark ironically, very feasible to be purposefully, disappeared on that day. We cannot afford any more Starks or northerners dying in our city on that day in the same fashion. Put off any rumour that she is dead and declare her as missing.”

“But then you would be missing two Stark girls,” Varys reminded. “Arya Stark also went missing just a few weeks short of the event.”

Tywin rubbed his head in anguish and frustration, “Say that she returned North with her family or what have you. Just get things back on track!”

“Very well, I’ll have to return to Vale Valley immediately. Lysa is just about prone to anything I suggest to her. You’ll find that it will work in your favour in the long-run.”

“Go on then, you’re dismissed.”

Baelish wasted no time in abandoning his seat to leave the room. Cersei watched him as he made his quick departure, “Can you trust him, father?”

“He’s done a lot better than you and your brothers combined. The moment he left was the moment everything went awry. Or don’t you remember watching the recent broadcasts? I should have made him part of the board when he first offered. I only wish I could correct that mistake. It would have been of the many corrections that I wish I could make,” he eyed her in an unpleasant manner.

Just before Baelish left, he stopped by his club—the one where Tyrion was captured—to wait for another someone.

“This is quite an establishment,” spoke a pernickety voice.

“Yes it is.”

“And what proposal do you have for me? I should warn you that I don’t work for free.”

“Neither do I, my friend. And that is why I have saved the best reward there is for you.”

“Oh? And what is that reward?”

Baelish only smiled that crooked smile of his, his eyes hard and unmoved.

 

Chapter Text

The next day in Vale Valley, Sansa poised herself in front of the mockingbird. She had been whistling the same tune all morning for the bird. She admired how fast it was able to pick up on her whistle. This time, she pressed a few dials on her phone in the same pattern. To her amusement as well as amazement, the mockingbird made the exact sound of the phone in the same sequence. She giggled at its achievement. She realised that the bird must have grown accustomed to her giggles as it began to make the same sound she did when she giggled. “You’d have to be really obsessed with sounds for you to learn so quickly.” She continued to watch the active bird inside of the cage. At once, Sansa felt a sense of understanding. “You must hate being in there,” she began quietly. “I hated my cage too. I wanted to get out and just do what I wanted whenever I wanted. It was so lonely there. I look forward to your release. I know how I felt when I was.”

As she spoke to the bird, she came to another understanding, “I know I said that my father told me that people take a liking to others that are just like them. Maybe I am like you to some degree. I had to keep singing the songs of others just to make them happy. I also had a cage just like you. I don’t know about intelligence, but I can gain that, right?”

The bird whistled, chirped, barked, and screeched many sounds. Sansa looked sad almost. Feeling its pain. A part of her wanted to hurt Baelish for putting the bird there. At the same time, she knew that he was going to set it free eventually. And then it dawned on her, “Why would he capture you just to let you go? I remember him speaking about learning sounds, but what’s the point of caging you if you already have the ability to mimic other animals? What’s his purpose for doing this?”

And there it was, she was thinking about him again. He was always on the corner of her mind. It mattered not what she was occupied with at the time, she always had him on her mind. There seemed to be no mental escape from him. She blew a breath of boredom.

Sansa had come down stairs to get herself a cup of drink. After she had taken her last sip, the door opened. It was Lysa, returning from seeing Robyn off to camp. “Sansa.” She greeted, rubbing her self rapidly again, this time more unnerved.

“Hello, aunt Lysa.” Sansa had grown used to her aunt’s awkward behaviour. “Is there anything you need for me to do?”

“Petyr is to be here soon! I want to look my best!”

The mention of his name made her heart jump. “I might want to give him his mockingbird back.”

“Yes, you might. I can’t gather sleep when that thing is chirping all the time. Its irking. I must go upstairs now and dress myself!” Lysa hastened down the hall and up the stairs.

Sansa took a seat at the table and just held the empty cup. She didn’t know how she was going to react when she saw his face after the dream she had the other night. She figured it would be best to just bring his bird and leave it for him to get it without him seeing her. When she made up her mind to do so, she left her seat to go upstairs. As she passed the door, she saw that Lysa had dropped a card or some sort. She picked it up and it looked to be a farewell card from her son. It reminded her of times when she used to make her own mother cards when she was sick or was about to leave. Sansa felt that the card had a lot of meaning to Lysa. She instead went upstairs to return her the card.

Quietly, she walked through the hall as not to alarm Lysa. She softly tapped on the door and received no response. “Aunt Lysa?” she called. Sansa opened the door and didn’t see her in her bedroom. She ventured in cautiously to set the card on her dresser. Her attention was soon caught by another picture that was on Lysa’s light grey nightstand. It was a picture of a young boy set in a black and white frame. She knew it wasn’t Robyn. As she looked closer, she recognised the boy immediately, “Baelish.” She gazed at the picture studiously. As she looked at him, smiling, she saw that he was not happy at all. Though an old picture, she could see the water in his eyes. She could see the tension on his face. She thought to herself, why would Lysa keep a sad picture like this? All at once, she wondered what he might have been sad about.

Sansa jumped when she heard a thud followed by frustrated scoffing come from the bathroom. “Aunt Lysa?" she called, concerned. Sansa sat the picture back down and gingerly sauntered to the door. Her gait was unsure, nevertheless, she wanted to know if her aunt was okay. She quietly pushed opened the door and called her aunt’s name softly, “Aunt Lysa?”

Sansa’s heart jumped as Lysa, startled, stared at her with demonic eyes. Her stare was enough to take Sansa’s mind off of the needle that she had in her arm and the bottle of heroine she had on the counter. “Get out! GET OUT!!!” Lysa screamed.

Sansa, shaken from what she had just saw, stumbled backward and almost lost her footing. Lysa, throwing the needle aside, saw to it that Sansa was dealt with. Sansa was not looking forward to be on the other end of her fury, so she swiftly ran out of the room. She didn’t get too far when Lysa caught her by the hair and yanked it, “What did you see?! What did you see?!”

“I saw nothing, I promise!”

“You’re going to tell Petyr!” she pulled her hair by the root.

“No, I’m not!” she squealed in pain.

Lysa pushed Sansa harshly against the wall near the top of the stairs, “You Are! I know you are! I’d rather kill you myself and pay the price for it before I let you tell Peyr anything!”

“I won’t tell him!”

“I’ll make sure that you don’t you little whore!” Lysa gave Sansa a hard shove before Sansa could finish defending herself.

Everything was disproportionate. Colours were a blur and pain was received as Sansa tumbled down the stairs with loud thuds filling the air. Sansa landed on her stomach with her face in the floor. After a few seconds, she groaned. She slowly moved her left fist and legs to position it for support for her to attempt to stand. Lysa, crazed out of her mind and out of breath, began to walk down the steps. She soon stopped once she saw Petyr gradually walk in front of the steps. He didn’t even look at Lysa.

“Petyr?” Lysa called, her chest heavy.

Petyr was deep in disbelief. So deep that he didn’t even hear Lysa speaking. He knelt down and lifted Sansa up from underneath her arms. Sansa was nearly unconscious. Blood was coming from her lips, nose, and forehead. She struggled to speak. She was too weak to comprehend anything.

Petyr was beyond furious. He closed his eyes as he curled his lips in anger. He could feel an adrenaline overcome him. He took a moment to breath and loosen up before he looked at Lysa. Through a tighten throat, trying to sound as sensitive as possible, he spoke, “How did she fall?”

“She wants to tear us apart, Petyr! She’s a whore! She doesn’t deserve our protection!” she sobbed.

Petyr saw blood coming down Lysa’s arm where her vein was. “You’re not well right now,” he spoke falsely sensitive, “We were meant to be with each other. But you have to promise me that you’ll get help. I swear that after that, we’ll get married. Sansa will be sent off. You wouldn’t have to worry about her.”

Lysa smiled. She loved the sound of it. “Petyr,” she spoke lovingly. Her smile soon faded, “But I don’t want to go back. I hate that place.”

“It’s the only way we can be together. If you’re not well, people will think that I took advantage of you. They can take me away from you forever,” he guiled.

Lysa, convinced by his words, agreed.

“I’ll have you admitted as soon as today. The faster you go, the faster we’ll be in each other’s arms. Happy.”

Sansa’s easy movements soon stopped. Baelish knew that she had succumbed to the shock that her body had endured. Though Lysa could not see, Petyr was softly stroking Sansa’s ribs with his thumb. Deep down, Petyr wanted to kill Lysa right there, but he knew it would not be the smartest thing to do. “Let me take her to her room. If no one knows what happened here, no one will blame you.”

“How fast are you going to get rid of her?”

“As soon as tonight. I promise.”

Lysa agreed. After they had diffused the tension, Petyr carried Sansa up the stairs to her room. Lysa followed, making sure that he shared not one intimate moment with the unconscious girl. Once Petyr had her on the bed, he reluctantly left her side to go to keep Lysa tranquil. Petyr let Lysa fawn over him. He was too angry to really say anything though his face was completely calm and carefree.

Once he had scheduled her appointment over the phone, he sent for one of his personal assistants, Olyvar, to escort her no later than the evening. “Promise you’ll visit me every day.” Lysa asked Petyr as Olyvar opened the door to a silver car for her.

“I’ll do what I can. I have much work to do.”

“Just as long as you visit me, okay?’

“Fine.”

Lysa pressed her lips firmly on Petyr’s and wrapped her arms around his neck. “I will get better. And when I do, I’ll wear the most beautiful dress that has ever been made.”

Petyr nodded. Lysa didn’t tear her eyes away from him. The only thing that broke her gaze was the door when Olyvar shut it. The blonde then turned to look at Baelish with a smile, “I’ve been feeling bored lately. Is there more work you have for me?”

Petyr nodded, “I’ll send you a message. Right now I want her out of my sight.”

“So I can see. Don’t worry, I’ll get her there.” He fixed his blazer before getting into the driver’s seat.

Petyr watched them as they drove away. Once they were out of sight, he lowered his head, turned his face to the side, and expectorated Lysa’s kiss. He stood there in the driveway, alone. All sorts of thoughts were running through his head. He closed his eyes and rolled them from underneath. He knew that he was going to be heavily bombarded with a lot of things. One of those things were explaining where Lysa was since she wanted to keep her habit a secret. He also only had a few more days to go before she did exactly what it was he wanted her to do. He knew he would have to postpone, “Fuck!” he whispered harshly before regressing back to the house.

Chapter Text

Sansa opened her eyes wearily. She instantly felt pain in her back and in her arms. She let out little coos of pain as she turned to her side. When she had full consciousness, she sat up quickly. Her sharp movement gave her an immediate headache. She looked out of the grand window and saw dark clouds in the sky, preparing for a storm. In the reflection, she saw Petyr come into her room. Although she had a headache, his presence made her forget that she had one when she snapped her gaze to him.

“Do you want to tell me how you ended up getting pushed down the stairs?” He asked as he held a dark blue cup of some hot beverage in his hand.

“How did you know I was pushed and that I didn’t fall?”

“Lysa is an interesting character.”

“I don’t think interesting is the word.”

Petyr chuckled at her response, “Perhaps.” He said as he placed the cup beside her bed. He sat down on the edge, his back facing her. “If you knew Lysa, you’d know that you have to take care of what you say because any little word or phrase can trigger an episode about her.”

“I didn’t say anything,” she spoke adamantly and firm.

“Something had to set her off.”

Sansa didn’t know if she should say anything being that Lysa warned her not to tell Petyr. “I didn’t say anything. I just…I just saw something that I shouldn’t have.”

“And what did you see?” he asked.

Sansa stayed quiet and alert. “If she hears me…”

“She won’t,” he interrupted, “She’s not here. Whatever you say, she won’t know. Besides, I know almost everything about Lysa. Even things that I don’t want to know.”

“Where is she?”

“Far enough not to hear what you have to say.”

Sansa pondered for a while before answering his previous question, “When aunt Lysa got home, she dropped a card from Robyn. She was so happy that you were returning that she must have let it fall from her without noticing. I thought she might have wanted it so I brought it to her room. When I walked in…I saw…” As Sansa chronologically went over what she had done to get that ordeal started, she recalled the picture of Petyr when he was a boy.

“What did you see?” Baelish asked, snapping her out of her momentary reverie.

“I heard something fall in her bathroom. I was going to leave the card where she could find it, but I wanted to make sure that she didn’t get hurt. And…when I opened the door…I saw…”

Petyr already knew the answer, “You saw her using a needle.”

Sansa was surprised. He wasn’t lying when he said he knew everything about Lysa. “But Lysa told me not to tell you. If you already knew, why would she…” Sansa couldn’t even finish.

“Do you remember me telling you that Lysa and John Arynn was very much alike?”

“Yes.”

“They were both delusional in their own way. Lysa didn’t like being married to her husband, so she sought a different kind of comfort. She was so acquainted with black markets through her family that she could get a supply of drugs with no one on the board ever finding out. Unfortunately, Lysa can become extremely unstable.”

“And you thought leaving me with her was a good idea?!” Sansa exclaimed, vexed at his knowledge about Lysa’s spells.

“Where else could I take you? Most of your family is either dead or missing. Everything that your family owned is in the possession of another. And I don’t exactly trust anyone. If anyone was to find out that you were in my company all the time we’d both be surely executed.”

“Both of us?”

“The Lannisters wants the public to believe in their lies. One word from you and you can shut them down.”

“So why can’t I do it now?”

“Because you’re not in the position to protect yourself. In order for you to rid yourself of an infection, you must first eradicate the core. Working on other parts will only solve a few of your problems for a short time. And then the infection spreads again, but only worse.”

“Are you saying that we have to destroy the Lannisters?”

Petyr turned around to look at Sansa in the eye, “I’m saying that you can’t do things without first thinking them through. The best way to get rid of your enemies is knowing their strengths and weaknesses as well as knowing your strength and weaknesses. Usually our strengths are our weaknesses.”

“How?”

Petyr didn’t answer her question. He reached for the cup after it had cooled and handed it to her, “There’s enough herbs in here to help you feel better.”

Sansa accepted the cup, “Did you make this?”

“I did.”

Sansa took a sip. It was actually better than what she had expected. “How did you learn to make it?”

“When you’re on your own in the world, you have no other choice but to look after yourself. I’ve found myself in more trouble than anyone you know. A lot of herbs and a lot of patience…it’s helped me get through plenty.”

Sansa again thought about the picture she saw. Then she thought about what she had learned about his personalities. She thought she should take her chances, “What was one of the worst things that could have possibly happened to you?”

Petyr’s eyes had changed. He grinned and laid a hand on her shoulder, “Drink. And sleep. You’ll feel better.” He aroused from the bed and walked toward the door.

“Could you at least tell me where aunt Lysa is?”

Baelish paused in the jamb of the door, “She won’t be here for a while. Robyn is at camp. He will be absent for a time. You’d be here, alone. With no one to disturb you.”

“And what about you?”

“I’m going home.”

“You’re really just going to leave me here?”

“The choice is yours, Sansa.” He proceeded to leave out of the room.

“Will you stay?” she asked him just before he disappeared into the hall. She received no response. Sansa sat there, discombobulated. Her headache was a cruel reminder that she had been hurt from her scuffle with Lysa. She drank more tea before she set it down. She lied her throbbing body on the mattress and closed her eyes and drifted asleep. Soon enough, it happened again.

Chapter Text

Tyrion and Tywin met each other in the garden of the Golden Tooth mall. Tyrion, arriving a bit tardy, greeted is father subtly, “When you summon me in peculiar places, it means that you have yet another proposal for me. What it is this time, I don’t know.”

“We’ve spoken to Baelish no long ago and he made a suggestion that just may help our company get back to where it was.”

“And what might that be?”

“He suggests that taxes be raised.”

“Taxes? Is it not bad enough that the people are struggling with affording protection? Opportunities are sought here by many and we’d be running them off. What do you suppose we do then?”

“There’s one thing that you have to understand about our opportunities and people,” he spoke strict, “Certain crimes are severely punished, and certain jobs are only given to the most qualified. Here, anyone can do whatever he or she pleases just so long as they do their due diligence in helping to make sure those opportunities can continue to flow.”

“And how are you going to tell them that?”

“That is precisely why I sent for you. You are going to make the statement.”

Tyrion’s eyes opened wide. “You don’t expect for me to tell people that the powers that be is going to raise their taxes?!”

“I do. And you will.”

“There’s nothing you can hold over my head to make me do this.”

“I believe there is.”

“And what might that be?” Tyrion dared.

Tywin smiled a devious smile. “I’ve always considered you an embarrassment. Nevertheless, you have more wit than any of my children, and I will consider leaving all of Casterly in your name. Of course, it would have to be there still in order for you to inherit.”

Tyrion was suspicious. “You’d never give me Casterly Estate. What is so important about raising taxes anyway?”

“You’ve always wanted to inherit handsomely. To be frank, you are by far the most capable of keeping the business from going under. I only hope that you keep the purity of the existence and not stain it with all of the wretches and careless characters.”

“You want the taxes raised? Let me do as I please.”

Tywin was becoming frustrated. “If you refuse, I’ll make sure you are not to receive one silver dragon. Do this, and I will see to it that you gain an even broader share of the board. Stop worrying about how the public may view you. We must all do as we must to keep afloat. And you know as much as I do that your life revolves around the finer things. Without them…I suppose you’ll become a member of the Hill Squad Gang.”

“While it may give me an opportunity to finally cut down that tree that has been laughing at me, I’m not so sure the people will respond well to this.”

“No worries. High Garden has the talent to quell the masses. With their charitable nature, the people won’t mind the extra taxes. Lannister, Inc. is sure to make a full rebound.”

“Very well. Just as long as it doesn’t make me look to be selling the people short. I have enough short-jokes directed at me; can’t afford anymore.”

“Then it’s settled.”

“And you’re going to uphold your word?”

Tywin hesitated before he answered, “I will.”

“Good.”

Just as Tyrion left Tywin to himself, Tywin went into his pocket and grabbed his phone to make a call. “Just what is your full plan Baelish?” He spoke without acknowledgement, “Why must Tyrion be in the dark all this time? What can Lannister, Inc. benefit from such a coup? I’ve already promised my ancestral home to an unfit, philandering being and I want to know what the results of this is to be.”

Baelish explained everything to Tywin over the phone. Tywin’s stoic expression slowly morphed into a sinister smile. Baelish was standing in front of a large window, staring at the light shining in the dark. “Give it time, give it a chance. And if everything works out the way we want, you no longer have to fear losing the meaning behind your name,” he concluded. He hung up the phone and sat down in front of a study.

Chapter Text

Sansa had awakened to find her head wrapped in bandages. Her nose and lips were clean and medicated with a healing cream. The house was quiet. She heard not a peep of no one. Her shame of having naughty thoughts in her sleep was not as bad as the last time since she had to face no one. After all, Baelish walked away from her when she had asked him to stay. She got out of bed with a mild limp, her ankle sore still from her fall. Her eagerness to get cleaned gave her the strength that she needed. She was grateful that she had not injured her neck in the fall. As soon as she had finished her time in the lavatory, she heard what sounded to be voices. On that sounded very familiar.

There was a massive pile of paper work that he had to fill and review. The responsibility that he had on his hand was immense. As he looked over the papers, Sansa silently walked into the room. Petyr looked up, happy yet quizzical to see her enter. She spoke sheepishly when she saw him sitting there, “I thought I heard something. I thought I was alone.”

“It was your suggestion that I stay. And so I have.”

Sansa’s heart beat out of flattery as well as discombobulation, “I was expecting to find myself with no one else.”

Petyr smiled a half smile, “Come,” he beckoned.

She did as he said and sauntered slowly to him. “Yes?” she asked once she was standing directly in front of the desk.

"How are you feeling?"

"A little sore still. The pain is subsiding a little. I'm happy to say that I wasn't too badly hurt."

Baelish was happy to hear the good news. He reached down on the side of himself and pulled out a thick beige book. “Read this. It’s very insightful.”

Sansa raised a brow, “You want me to read this whole thing?”

“I do. You’ll learn vast things.”

“Like what?”

“You’re now the head of your father’s company, Stark, co. People are going to be coming for you to surrender what claim you have. And that is the largest claim that no one else holds. Not even the new board members…the Boltons.”

“What will this teach me? Why can’t I just let the company go?”

“It’s part of your family. The Day of Red rains will never cease so long as people like the Boltons and Lannisters are in charge.”

Sansa waited a moment before she said more, “I never understood why you work for the Lannisters and you don’t like them?”

“To get to a bigger truth, we must first tell lies.”

Sansa was just as confused as ever, “How does that make any sense?”

“Read. Open your mind to new things. You’ll learn.”

Sansa wanted to sigh exasperation and roll her eyes. Instead she accepted the book and turned to walk out of the room.

“And one more thing,” he called to her before she left the room, “I’ll test your knowledge to ascertain that you have indeed learned something.”

 

 

Tyrion did as his father commanded and announced to the city, “Due to our recent problems, the Gold Council of the city has suggested a raise in taxes.”

“BOOOOOOOooooooo! Booooooooo!” the crow shouted whilst holding their thumbs down in the air. “Fuck the Gold Council!”

“We’ve all be doomed because of a pet dwarf!”

“Stupid half of man!”

Tyrion didn’t like the flack that he had received, “Now this was not a decision of mine,” Why didn’t I just walk away? My dignity is worth all of Casterly Estate, He thought to himself. Simply because I wanted to see the disgust on my sister’s face. “Very well, my family will speak with the council to see if we can only raise them by only a little,” he tried to compensate. "No worries, High Garden, Inc has agreed to assist you all in your time of need."

Tyion walked away from the podium and straight inside of the building where his father was. “I trust that things went well.”

“They all think that it was my decision and that it is my fault why things are not working. I thought this would happen, and it did!”

“Look at the bright side. We’ll be able to show them that their welfare is taken into consideration.”

“With the Day of Red Rains, I hardly see how we have taken their well-being into consideration! Once the people find out—and they will find out—that our family is responsible for all this they will have our heads! And as you so nicely pointed to in our last conversation, they will have my head also simply because I’m associated with you. It’s the only reason why I’m helping to keep up this charade until I find a way to dissociate myself.”

“And how do you plan to do that when you so cordially advert that a Lannister always pays his debts? Everyone else is growing richer with our coins. We’re in debt because of your debt to shenanigans and that puts us at a disadvantage.”

“And even if the world was to know about my scandalous personality, they will hate me almost as much as they hate the ones who initiated the Day of Red Rain. Very predictable. It is as I said. I’m only helping you for now because all of my protection is owned by you.”

“Precisely.”

Chapter Text

Tyrion was growing weary of his conversation with his father going nowhere at all. He went out to do what he did best. He went to Littlefinger’s bar. Things hadn’t been the same since Ros left. She was then replaced by a dark, curly haired woman with a broad face and a lithe figure. Tyrion was taken by her immediately.

“And what do you want? Other than my body?” She asked, Tyrion still gaping. “Well!” she shrieked in a high pitch. “Aren’t you going to answer?!”

“I…Uh…no…YES!” he exclaimed louder than what he intended. “My apologies. Yes, yes, I would like something. Sure. Anything. Whatever you have. I’ll have whatever you’re having. What are you having, may I ask? If I may ask?!” he rambled.

“You talk too much.”

“Do I? Well then, allow me to become disengaged. Would you like that better?” he raised both his brows in a flirtatious way.

She smiled, “You’re silly.”

“I love that accent! Where are you from?”

“Port Volantis.”

“Of course! And your name?”

“What do you think my name is?” She decided to play back.

“It can only be as lovely as your face. Please, I cannot begin to guess which god is responsible for creating such a lovely creature such as yourself. Perhaps you have no name. You have no name…because no name is beautiful enough to be worn by you.”

She giggled and swayed her body, “It’s Shae.”

“Shae. How lovely. Who would have ever thought?!”

“What shall I get you?”

“Since you suggest something other than your body,” he cleared his throat, “How about a number? A place? Time?”

“What are you asking me?” She sounded aggravated.

“I’m asking for a day with you.”

“I thought I just said that I wasn’t offering myself.”

“No, no, no, my dear lady, you misunderstand. What I mean is a day to get to know you. I’d like to know more about you,” he spoke rough yet gentle. “What do you say?”

She stood there, making up her mind. “Fine. You don’t seem like a bad creature after all.” She smiled. She grabbed a pen and a waitress pad. She happily scribbled down some numbers and handed him that paper.

“You’ll be hearing from me real soon.”

“How soon?”

“Maybe, a few seconds once I have left the bar.”

She laughed. “You are so funny!”

“I like to be.”

Shae unwillingly left her new companion to go and fill another order. Tyrion had his eyes on her the whole time. He was taken by her so strong that he didn’t notice someone sitting directly behind him.

“I see that you’re interested in her.” Spoke the voice.

Tyrion turned around to find Loche sitting next to him, “And it’s a pleasure to meet your acquaintance. How are things going with your new job at Stark, Co.?”

“I don’t care enough to say.”

“What are you doing way down here?”

“Escaping the cold. The last time I’ve come down, I found that I like the weather here. It’s much more forgiving than the ice that bites.”

“Fair enough.”

Loche watched Tyrion as he consumed Shae with his eyes. “There are actually better things than just gawking at women all the time.”

“And what can get better than this?”

“I’m not going to tell you. I’m going to show you.”

Somehow, Loche managed to use Tyrion’s curiosity to get the better of him. He took Tyrion to a spot in Flea Bottom Square where he visits often. “A gun range?! What’s so enthusiastic about this?!”

“You should give it a try.” He said so in giving Tyrion a gun. “All you have to do is see if you can hit the target.”

“Are you insane? Who am I supposed to use this on?”

“The last Red Rain celebration wasn’t exactly promising to the rich. We all saw that first hand. It would do you some good to know how to defend yourself when you find yourself surrounded by an angry purge mob who will want nothing more than to blow your head off after that last speech you gave.”

Tyrion was impressed. “Very wise. Okay then, how do you work this?”

“Easy. Just grip the gun tightly, and pull the trigger.”

“Another question.”

“What?”

“Did I get the small gun simply because I’m small?” he eyed him.

“You’re very sensitive about your height I see. No I didn’t give you the small gun because you’re small. I gave it to you so you wouldn't send yourself flying backward.”

“How hard could it be? Grip a gun and pull the trigger. I think I’ll try a bigger one.”

“I suggest you master the smaller one.”

Tyrion held his hand out for Loche’s gun. Loche handed it over to him. Tyrion looked at him deeply in his eyes, glaring that he was able to stand his ground. Tyrion did as he was instructed. He gripped the gun and took aim. To his surprise, the gun had more power then he believed. It ended up pushing him back until he fell on the ground. He missed the target completely. He got up and dusted himself off. He saved face by pretending that nothing happened.  “I’ll just master the smaller one for now.”

"Very wise, my friend. Very wise."

Chapter Text

It had been a few months…the Tyrells were still secretly looking for Sansa, Tywin continued to keep the secret of Tyrion marrying Margaery, the Boltons scrambled for loyalty within Stark, co., and Littlefinger mentored Sansa unfavourably. That whole time, he showed not a shred of affection. He had been so distant. The only sentimental moment they shared in that time span was when he released the mockingbird from the cage. A conversation she could clearly recall. They were standing on a precipice just a few minutes down from Baelish’s house and next to the grand lake. They both watched as the mockingbird fluttered frantically, consuming the blue sky with no hesitation. Sansa could see that the bird was hungry for freedom.

“Why cage it if you were going to release it?”

“When we find ourselves surrounded in a predicament, we have no choice but to learn from it. And one we do, we have a new appreciation of the freedom we seek accompanied by new tools,” he tapped the side of his temple just below his grey strands. And the freedom is so new. You never know what you are to encounter. Learning in the cage can be just as effective as sitting and waiting…waiting for a dream. Waiting for nothing. Waiting for misery and death.”

 

 

It was storming again and Sansa was bored. She had finished the book and recalled the times she dreaded reading the passages. Though she dreaded the work, and resented Baelish for not relenting, she had to admit that she did indeed learn many things from it. As she gathered herself from a prone position on her bed, she witnessed the light flicker, threatening to go out. To her relief, it didn’t. She continued her trek to Baelish’s room; that was the spare room that Lysa had.

As she walked through the hall, she pondered if she should ask Baelish about the photo that was on the nightstand. She dismissed the thought the moment she came to the door; she was certain that he would only evade her inquiry yet again. She knocked lightly, he permitted her to enter, and she presented the book to him. “I’ve finished reading it.”

“Excellent,” he spoke while his attention was still on the paperwork.

“What are you doing?”

“Moving assets, giving permissions, filling out forms, buying departments, deleting departments, creating relationships, terminating relationships, and putting the use all the resources that I have in my keep.”

“Why is it taking you so long?”

Baelish smiled and then looked at her, “I don’t know how familiar you are with your uncles, Edmure and Brynden. Brynden has come to me asking for help. Something that Edmure forbade. We’ve arranged a meeting, here, in a few days. I’m overlooking their status and possibilities to survive.”

“And can they?”

Baelish didn’t answer her question, “Take your final test. And then…” he said so in handing her a slimmer book, yet still filled with pages, “…read this next?”

This time, Sansa slovenly took the book from his grip, almost snatching it, and walked away in a huff. Baelish only laughed at her response.

Over the course of the days, Sansa studied and completed tests. She hated it. She would much rather be somewhere else than stuck in the mansion with Littlefinger acting as her teacher. She missed it more when he behaved like a friend. Like Petyr. She was wearing a white summer dress that flowed loosely, reading with the book positioned at the end of the bed, and her lying prone, propped on her elbows. While she was reading, she was surprised to find that Baelish had come into her room, “Bealish?”

“Petyr.” He reminded. He was wearing a fitted cardigan top long-sleeve sweater; black. He wore jeans that were a deep shade of blue and black boots. He slowly walked into the room, taking the chair from the study. He turned the chair to face Sansa who was questioning his motive. Baelish sat down to face Sansa. He slumped forward as he rested his arms on his knees, “The best way to learn it to apply your new knowledge.”

Sansa could only look at him in the eyes. Her eyes were neutral, but filled with wonderment and anxiousness. “Am I to do something?”

“You are.”

Sansa waited for an answer. She already knew he was not going to answer and that she would have to ask, “What is it that I am to do?”

“You are to sit in on the conversation today.”

“Me? Sit in?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

Baelish smiled and got up from the chair. He then moved next to her on the bed. Sansa sat herself up to a sitting position. Baelish maintained his eye contact with hers, “I want you to hear the terminology. Interpret them. Determine if a lie should be in the place of the truth.”

Sansa didn’t know what he expected of her. She felt as if she was being pressured, only subtly. “Why can’t I have a say in this? I don’t want to hear a bunch of talk about someone else’s affair.”

“These affairs concern you more than you think. You have no allies, no physical capital, and nowhere to go at the moment.”

“But I’m here. I’m safe. I don’t have to fear anyone.”

“What we bury deep within our minds…will one day resurface. And when that happens, how will it be dealt with?” His eyes drooped and a pull emitted from him, “You’ll see. Just trust.”

Sansa could feel herself entrapped in his attractive gravitational field. To her dismay, he only kissed her lightly on the lips. She was expecting more. It was getting easier for her to accept that she might have harboured feelings for him; nevertheless, her wary of his presence was still intact. This reason alone is why she decided to keep her feeling concealed for just a while longer even if she participated in the lust that was demonstrated on both of their parts.

Later on in the day, Edmure and Brynden arrived. They were let in by the same maid who looked after Robyn at times. They followed her to the dining are that was surrounded with large windows. Edmure was expecting to see Lysa. He was displeased when he saw Baelish sitting at the head of the table. He grimaced with discomfort and scolded his uncle, “You told me that we were to meet with Lysa. That she could help us!”

“Do you think I would be so daft as to tell you that we were here to meet with Baelish? Your pride is what will get us in trouble, impudent fool!”

Edmure ignored his uncle’s words and continued over to the table. They were soon joined by Sansa. Both men’s eyes widened in astonishment, “Sansa?”

“Sansa stark?”

“Sansa,” Petyr called to her next, “These are your uncles. Your uncle, Edmure, and your grand uncle, Brynden.”

“My mother spoke so much about you,” she began, sort of timid. “She told me that you were her most favourite person in the world next to my father and her children,” she directed at Brynden.

“May she rest in the next world over.” He turned his attention to Baelish, “She was reported missing. Why haven’t you come out with her whereabouts?”

“There are many predators lurking about. Think about how much safety she will have with men gravelling to get to the shares that she owns. Even though she is in the state of being missing, isn’t it better that she’s missing with someone she knows than the ones who wants her for nothing more as an acquisition?”

Brynden smiled. His smiled turned into a giggle. His giggle turned into a laugh. “You’ve always been a clever boy, Petyr. Always! It’s amazing how those who were destined for nothing made something out of themselves whereas those who were destined for something…turned out to be worth absolutely nothing,” he hinted at Edmure.

Edmure sat in contempt, “Have we come to talk about nonsense or a solution to the company?!”

“I’ve looked over your reports. Judging by the people who work for you, they hold you as an inept CEO who lacks the gift of understanding, leadership, and other personifications that embodies one who is capable of doing great things,” he spoke casually.

“And how do I know that these are not your words? To spite me?”

“I’ve read the reports. You’ve lost more than just money. You’ve lost your support. And soon, your name will too be lost. Tully and Sons will no longer exist, and neither will your legacy.”

Brynden spoke next, “What do you suppose we do?”

“I propose that you allow me to acquire your business and merge it with Vale Valley.”

“You’re fool enough to believe that I would let a slithering worm, who is lower than the dirt we walk on, takeover my family’s company?”

Brynden was not surprised by his attitude. Baelish smiled, almost laughed. Sansa questioned his reaction. She thought him offended only to find that the insult tickled him.

The meeting dragged on, Sansa listened to everything that was being said. Eventually, Edmure reluctantly caved and signed over the company to Baelish. He stormed out of the house as soon as he had done so. Brynden thanked Baelish for his assistance, “I ought to let him mistakenly take a tumble from one of the cliffs.”

“As long as it is a move that will work in your favour.”

Both men laughed. “Sansa,” he spoke as he gripped her shoulders, “You look just like your mother. You’re very beautiful.”

Sansa smiled, “It was so nice to meet you, uncle Brynden.

He gave her a hug and wished her luck before he departed. Baelish and Sansa were alone again.

Chapter Text

Petyr started to walk off to the side, Sansa followed. He was following a narrow path through a thicket of trees. “How much were you able to understand?”

“Little. But enough I shall say.”

“Good.”

“I still don’t see how this has anything to do with me.”

“They are your family. Possibly the only ones who will have your back should any sort of trouble arise.”

“What sort of trouble?”

“The deal that was struck, it works for your safety more than anything else. That is what you want?”

“Is it?”

“Have you figured it out yet?”

Sansa thought. She thought long and hard as she paced alongside Baelish. “I am the head of Stark co. People are going to come after me. You’ve acquired Tully and sons…and…” her head was beginning to spin as she attempted to guess right. “…and…” and then it hit her, “It will take away opportunities from anyone else who tries to take Stark co.!”

“And if someone else was too acquire Tully and Sons or they expire from the board?”

“Then…we wouldn’t have the advantage of taking on a board who is more powerful. Because the Tullies are a part of my family, no one would see it as ill-gotten by me. They wouldn't think of me as a tyrant. What I mean is…in so many words, I do have somewhat of a claim in it.”

Baelish was proud. The pride in his face made her blush. She went completely red. She didn’t know when it had happened, but a part of her loved it when she was able to please him.

The path led them straight out to the lake. The sun reflected in it like light on sapphires. The edge of the lake was outlined with beautiful flower bushes and moss covered rocks. As they strolled, Sansa thought about what Edmure had called him. She spoke suddenly after a while of silence, “I’ve never seen someone so happy to be called dirt or a worm,” she began. “How can you tolerate it? How can you feel so happy about it when it’s two of the lowest things a person can be?”

Baelish stopped for a moment and just looked at her. His face, hard albeit soft, looked at her with grinning eyes. He tore his stare from her and looked to the lake. “The lake is beautiful, isn’t it?”

Sansa raised a brow, “You didn’t answer my question.”

“Quid Pro Quo.” He spoke quickly and smoothly.

“Yes it’s beautiful.”

“And It’s clean, is it not?”

“Yes,” she wondered what he was getting at.

“Do me a favour and walk across the lake to the other side.”

“What?!” She exclaimed, now finding that he had lost his mind…or at least one of them.

“Walk across the lake,” he reiterated.

“That’s impossible, I can only swim.”

“Without getting wet?”

“Of course I’d get wet!”

Baelish walked closer to her, close enough for her to feel his warmth. “So what do you do? How do you walk across without getting wet?”

“You’d have to use a boat,” she reasoned.

“But you’d have to walk. Walk with your own legs with no support from nothing else. It’s just you and your feet. What do you do?”

Sansa was becoming confused. “So what do I do?’

“Where are you standing now?” he grinned only half way.

“On the ground.”

“Beside the lake.” He finished. “That beautiful, clear, clean attraction. It beckons anyone to come near. To feel, to wonder…and then you step in. You have no control over what the water does. It’s there and it surrounds you…engulfs you. So you swim to keep yourself afloat. Nevertheless, the water still attracts no matter how many times it takes for you to paddle and kick. Eventually, you’d find that you’ve swam a little too far away from shore. You realise that you have no more energy to keep afloat…the water becomes a threat. You paddle and you paddle, wasting your breath…time…energy, fighting to get back. Back to the muddy banks of shore where the dirt of the land guarantees support without you asking. But before you get there, you feel yourself going under, apprehensive that you’ve abandoned the worthless earth for that which never made promises. You only wish that you had that one patch of dirt, even for second to guarantee your survival. And then you drown. The last image in your head being that strip of land that had no comparison to the beauty of the water. That beauty…it's meaningless when it has now turned into a killer. Filling you, engulfing you, smothering you…pressuring. You’d never have to worry feeling that way when you’re on dry land. You can have it your way all the time. The moral of this story…know what you need and not what you want. People need me…I don’t want them or what they have.”

Sansa was amazed at his metaphor. She parted her lips to speak her next words, “So I’d need an isle of dirt so that I can cross this lake.”

He smiled brightly this time. “Remember. Always know your importance, no matter what position you’re in. People see dirt and scoff, but I know how important I am. So I don’t mind being dirt.”

“And neither do I.” she smiled. “So what about a worm?” she asked in a gleeful tone, anxious to know his thoughts on a worm. clearly she was enjoying the company she longed from him.

“Hunger kills.”

“I suppose this has something to do with what you think about worms.”

“Tell me, why would I think a worm is important?”

Sansa couldn’t begin to guess, “I don’t know. I’ve never really cared about them.”

“But they care enough about you to make the soils rich…make it tender. They clean the earth by taking worthless waste and turning it into something that everyone needs and wants. You can look at it as a win-win. Without worms…”

“People will starve because no food would grow…and the world would be malodourous because nothing is there to clean after nature.” Though she was happy that she made Baelish proud, she was more proud of herself for finally being able to finish off of Baelish’s complex theories. “I’ve heard of silk worms and I know that they make the most expensive thread there is. So I suppose I wouldn’t mind being responsible for making such a luxurious fabric.”

The moment was still. Nothing else existed. They both stood there, staring. Baelish placed a hand behind her head and—for the first time—one hand on her lower back. Sansa felt the nerves in her body unravel as he made contact with her. Her breathing was again unsteady and her heart was racing. He tilted his head to the side, she closed her eyes, waiting for that warmth that came from his lips. Instead of beginning subtly, both engaged into a deep kiss like the one they shared before. The only difference this time was an existing pull that was stronger the last time. She could feel it from his nose. The wind was hot, the kiss affected more areas of her body. Areas that she was ashamed of feeling. Baelish pulled her closer to him, pressing her to his chest and hips; she wrapped her arms around his neck and rivalled his grip. And soon, her breathing began to get the better of her. She drowned in the passion; their tongues met vigorously yet ardently. As if mentally synchronised, both disrupted the kiss, abruptly snatching away from each other. Both had an expression as if they had just broken a spell that had them bewitched. Sansa felt weak as well as she did ashamed. During that moment, she imagined things going further than a passionate kiss. She couldn’t bear to look at Baelish after then. She was the first to walk away, leaving Baelish standing there, forcing his attention to the lake.

Chapter Text

Margaery and Tommen spent ample amounts of time together. Cersei would have been seething about them being together had it not been for Baelish recommending that Margaery marry Tyrion instead. Olenna walked out onto the balcony where Cersei was watching the young people walk about the demesne of Casterly Estate.

“It would be a pity to throw such a simple wedding for a wonderful couple.”

“I wouldn’t dare become so happy about the arrangement. It’s only a matter of time before you attempt to use my son to give you what you want.”

“And it’s only a matter of time before your father uses his grandson to get what he wants. You’re not nearly as smart enough to put a plan into motion. I doubt if any of your plans have yet to get off of the ground in the platform of your mind.”

Cersei was insulted. For the sake of her father, she held her tongue. That habit was one that she was willing to break. Cersei smirked, “An idea is only just in play, soon to become reality. You’ll find out soon enough.”

Olenna watched Cersei leave in a sadistic manner. Olenna brushed off her attitude and continued to watch the two interact. Cersei’s mild suggestion gave her reason to speculate that Tywin had something else up his sleeve and Cersei was just dumb enough to hint at it. She resorted to go into her handbag and grab her phone. “I need to speak with you immediately.”

“What is the occasion?”

“I want you to tell me what Tywin is up to!” she demanded.

Baelish looked out of the window of the guest room and gazed at the view of the valley. “And you think I know?”

“You once worked for them. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were still working with them behind the curtains!”

“I assure you…”

“I assure you that I am no fool, Baelish! I want you to tell me how I can handle them and protect my family’s image in the process.”

“Very well. But you mustn’t breathe a word to anyone about this.”

“You have my word.”

“Tywin plans to end the engagement between Tommen and Margaery and instead marry Margaery and Tyrion.”

“Tyrion?! What for? They are both part of the same family.”

“Correct. But Tyrion would work as a spy. He has a far better understanding that Tommen who is but a naïve boy with little to no knowledge about the bigger picture that is set forth.”

“And what should I do about this?”

“Tyrion is very resistant to his father’s demand. I would imagine that Tywin would go over and beyond to get Tyrion to comply with his demands. Say, give him Casterly Estate. But this would work in both of your favour. Tyrion is the key to everything. Getting rid of him would benefit both you and Tywin which will furthermore benefit you.”

“Lannis-Town has already had so many mystery deaths. Another one and the lot of us will be faced with unrelenting scrutiny.”

“Trust me, there is a way. So let me ask you this...”

“Yes, go on.”

“Who was the one who gave you the hint?”

“The only dumb Lannister to ever walk the face of the realm.”

Baelish smiled, “So we both know who is to blame for sensitive information getting out.”

“As long as you know not to cross me, you’ll never have to worry about me breathing a word of our alliance.”

Petyr hung up the phone as he watched clouds accumulate and turn dark, shrouding the moon, readying for yet another storm. He dug his fingers through his air. Just before he could do a thorough finger drag, his phone rang again. He recognised the number and dismissed the call. He then received another call from the Vale Valley company. “Yes?”

“Petyr Baelish,” called the egotistical voice of Yohn Royce from the other end. “Have you gotten those reports ready for reviews as of yet?”

“I do.”

“And when will they be sent in?”

“Just as soon as I take care of other business.”

“And what business is that?”

“I have good news. Tully and Sons have agreed to merge with the company. If we work hard enough, we can turn their sales around under the name of the Vale and produce even more revenue and obtain more property. The reviews are positive indeed. We shall be seeing more promising fortune in the future.”

“Very well. I’ll be seeing you here in the next week to explain this to the board.” He ended the call.

Chapter Text

Baelish turned his ringer off. The days seemed to going by fast. He knew he would have to continue to move without stopping if he was to stay ahead of everyone. He sat his phone faced down, unable to see the next incoming call from Roose Bolton. He stood near the desk, gathered paperwork and sorted them into their own discrete piles.

Soon, lightning came pouring in through the glass. Thunder reverberated throughout the walls. The lights flickered and he remained undeterred. The lights then went out for a spell and then returned to power. The brief loss of power vexed him. To keep from being distracted, he went into the basement of the mansion to grab a few candles. That way, he could continue to read without disturbance.

He blew an inside breath of exasperation when Sansa walked into the room, “I finished the chapter,” she spoke as soon as she had come in.

“And you understood it?”

“For the most part. Listen, Baelish…I don’t know if I can do this. Maybe taking on a business is not for me. Why can I not just give my assets to my uncles or my cousin?”

“Because they don’t have your intelligence. You don’t see it, but I do.”

Sansa was furious on the inside though she did not show it. She detained from folding her arms out of frustration. Even as she did so, Baelish could see clearly how frustrated she was. “Look,” she began again, “I know that I can get better protection if I can take control over my family’s business. But how can I trust you? How do I know you won’t do to me what you’ve done to the Lannisters? How do I know who to trust? Who can’t I trust?”

“Listen to me,” he said so in grasping her shoulders, “there are risks that need to be taken. If ignored, opportunity will have passed you by...”

“...never to return again. I know. I get it. But this trust game is getting harder. At first it was so easy to just go along with everything just to not get hurt. I’m not so sure if I'm strong enough to go along with this anymore.”

“So said the mockingbird. Or was it the dove…trapped in the cage? You’re still in the cage. You’re not out. I’m not out. No one is out. There is no out…unless we make our own exit.”

The thunder and lightning only augmented his formidable voice. “And how do we get out? Kill and betray everyone?” Sansa challenged.

“Only those who deserve it. This world in which we live…all of it...based on a lie. The lie about the Reynes. The lie about the man who founded this order—Aegon—and the lie that the rich are powerful. Haven’t you figured through your lessons how the rich become powerful?”

Sansa only stood there. In that instant, she saw his face soften. He was no longer Littlefinger. “I don’t know,” she admitted.

“When there are no worms and no dirt to stand on, what happens?”

“The rich can’t stand. And they can’t walk. And they can’t survive.”

“And who knows how to survive better than the worms that live underneath the soil? Without the foundation, there can be no one to stand on that platform. Take away the foundation, and there will be nothing left to stand on. You’ve a better understanding of what it’s like to be stepped on. To be treated like the dirt and the worm. You have a choice. To utilise your gift, or deem yourself to be worthless like everyone else.” He laid his hand on the side of her face while the other remained resting on her shoulder.

“And you’re saying that I will have a better chance with relating to the people?”

“The Lannisters can’t relate. The Tyrells can’t relate. Your uncle, Edmure…well, you’ve seen it for yourself. You’d have a stronger foundation due to your deeper understanding.”

“And what do you want out of all this?”

Petyr drew his face close to her, “Everything.” He whispered in her ear. He moved his lips to her neck and kissed her gently. Sansa, feeling the urge to resist, was overcome with the feelings that he sent throughout her skin. She was so consumed that even the thunder was tuned out. He moved from the side of her neck and worked his way to the front. She couldn’t help but place her arms around him. The attraction that she had felt for him when they were beside the lake took no time to resurface. She breathed heavily, large gusts of wind escaping her mouth and nose. She took in every feel.

Sansa was conscious, however unaware, that she was being walked backward. Petyr pushed against her until he managed to back her into one of the frames that held the glass in place. The next bolt of lightning managed to terminate all of the lights, leaving only the candles to provide light. Every now and again, flashes of light from the lightning would pour through the windows.

Although Petyr had Sansa against the wall, she could still feel him pushing against her. Her trembling limbs went numb. She lowered her head to invite a kiss from him. They were breathing so heavy now. Sansa felt a brief chill when Petyr removed her pants and under garments. Before she knew it, she was helping to undo his shirt.

He then picked her up and wrapped her legs around his waist and pressed against her harder. His kisses became swift and rapid. Sansa felt as if she was on fire on the inside. At that moment, she just wanted to extinguish the flames. She gave no thought as to how she was to achieve it. The support behind her back was removed as Petyr moved her away from the support to lie her down onto the bed that was only a few inches away.

Though he was her height, he was much heavier than she expected. After a while, more clothing was removed. The thunder rolled on, bringing in the heavy winds. The sound was completely cancelled once she felt her skin being penetrated. It burned, and it stung. She moaned and groaned loudly, cooing his name. It was the first time she had ever spoke his name, Petyr, without him asking. Her hands shook. Petyr began with a slow and steady pace. He gradually increased his speed. His strokes became harder. His breathing was rapid. Sansa’s hands were balled into a fist against his back, now covered in sweat. Petyr pulled her by one of the arms to remove her hand from his back. He lied her hand down on the pillow above her head before he dug his fingers through her clenched fist, allowing her to interlace her fingers with his and grip his hand for support. Sansa squeezed his hand as hard as she could.

She could hear him and feel him in her ear, breathing. She could feel his jaw digging into her neck. The longer he stroked, the more accustomed to the feeling she had become. Her hair had become drenched in sweat; not only hers, but the sweat that dripped from Petyr as well. As they neared the finish, she was overcome with an ineffable wave of relief. The candles continued to flickered in the night, the storm continued and soon ceased toward dawn.

Chapter Text

The ground was still wet from the downpour of the previous night. The sun shone brightly as the skies were relieved of the water that was held in the sky; however, the sky was not the only thing to experience relief that night. The ray of the sun washed the room in sunlight. It was unusual, but Sansa was sleeping so heavy that she snored. Her hair was a mess on top of her head as she lied prone on the bed with her back and legs exposed as the sheet covered the rest of her body.

She stirred in her sleep until she opened her eyes. She blinked her eyes a few times. The skin around her eyes were tight. She recalled that they were dried tears. The more memory came to her, the heavier her chest had gotten. She gasped before she lifted her figure. She soon bit her bottom lip as she turned and dragged her hip upward. She was aching something terrible. She gingerly pressed her legs together to put some pressure on the pain. She covered her mouth with both of her hands. She was washed over with a wave of remorse. She couldn’t believe what had just happened.

As she looked around, she saw the melted wax from the candles stuck in dripping formation; Baelish was not in the room with her. Before he could come back to see her, she made her pain-filled body move fast enough to gather her clothes. What made her feel even worst was the lubrication trickling down her leg. She scurried into the bathroom, horrified of running into him in the hall. Once she was inside, she jumped into the shower and cleaned herself up. As the pressure from the water hit her body, she wrapped her arms around herself in a protective manner. Before long she began to nibble on her nails. She didn’t know what it was that she had gotten herself into to. She had to accept that whatever happened, happened and that there was no taking anything back. All at once, she felt stripped of a piece of her.

She breathed heavily, heart beating nervously. What happened that night was not to be compared with how she felt when she was only dreaming about it. She turned the shower off and stepped out. She wrapped the towel around herself and refused to view her reflection through the fogged glass. She was too mortified to see how her reflexion would appear. After she dressed herself, she stepped out of the bathroom with caution. Still, she heard or saw no sign of him. She was relieved. She crept out into the hall and back to her room. She changed her clothes afterward. When she gathered enough courage to look in the mirror, she saw how timid and culpable she was.

She exhaled heavy breath shortly before sitting herself down at the edge of the bed. She began to wonder if Baelish had gone for the day. And if he had, why hadn’t he told her? She walked out of the room and back to his. Her intention was to obtain the book that she had brought with her before they had engaged in their erotic activity. When she caught sight of the bed, her face turned as red as the blood on the sheets. She hastily took the book and regressed back to her room. After her anxiety had cooled, she heard her stomach growling with a vengeance. Though she was craven enough to run into him, she took her chances to satisfy her hunger.

 

 

He walked down the white tiled floor of the facility. He had files in his hands, swinging with the movement of his arms. He came to do business and to get things done. He stopped in front a thick wooden door, pine coloured. A nurse accompanied him with the door, “Visiting hours end soon. You might want to make it quick.”

“I intend to,” he spoke before he entered the room.

There she was, dressed in all white with her dark brown hair placed in a ponytail, sitting on the bed facing the closed blinds on the window. She hearkened footsteps on the glossy floor and turned to see who it was. Her smiled reached both of her eyes, “Petyr. You came.”

“I told you before. I’ve been rather busy. I managed to find the time to come see you this evening.”

Lysa didn’t care about what he said. She came over to him and wrapped her arms around him, placing a huge kiss on his lips. Baelish did not return her affections genuinely. “Can you believe that I am to be here for so long? Half of a year?”

“That seems to be the normal required time.”

“Not for me. I’ve been through this before. Because of my rebound they say that I may stay here just as long.”

“I suggest that you continue with the program. It looks to be faring you well.”

Lysa looked into his stern face. She tilted her head to the side and looked at him profoundly, “You look different somehow.”

“The look of success! The vale has made exhilarating progress in your absence. You’d be please to know that your brother, Edmure, has agreed to merge your father’s company with your husband’s.”

“Have you sent her away?” She asked, changing the subject abruptly.

“Who?”

“That wretch! My niece!”

“I have,” he spoke blandly—absent of any emotion.

“And where did you send her?”

“She’s too old for any sort of provisional care. She is to be nineteen soon.”

“Who cares?!” she spoke in disgust. “I only want to know where you sent her.”

Petyr already had a well-prepared alibi, “I sent her to the heart of flea bottom square where she should find her own way.”

“Good! That way the Lannisters can have their way with her. I only wish I could have. She would have ruined us Petyr!”

Petyr didn’t like her attitude towards Sansa. He feigned a cheerful grimace for the sake of the moment. “Yes, she would have. Who can trust someone so…vindictive?”

“Can’t you stay with me just a little pass visiting hours?”

“It wouldn’t be in either of our best interests.”

“Then what will?”

“This.” He said so in presenting to her the envelope with files in them. “I need for you to sign a few things.”

Lysa grabbed the papers and pen from his hand and signed the papers rapidly. “There now, could you stay with me please?”

Baelish agreed. He sat down on the bed while she sat beside him. He allowed her to cosy up to him without protest yet not without disgust. She spoke to him about anything. Despite the nurses coming to remind them that visiting hours were over, he remained there, reluctantly by her side. By the time the nurse came again, Petyr was ready to leave. He wasted no time in leaving to return to the Valley.

Chapter Text

Tyrion found it rather enjoyable to challenge himself in hitting a target. He and Loche were not alone this time, they were accompanied by Tyrion’s new acquaintance. “I never wanted to use a gun, but my mother taught me that I had to have some form of protection to make sure I survive.”

“So what did your mother do?”

“Guess.”

“I have to guess again? Very well.”

Loche interrupted, “How about you stay focused on the task at hand and guess later?”

“The target isn’t alive and it is not going anywhere. Quite frankly we have time for fun.”

“Isn’t this fun?”

“While it is, I’ll have even more fun by engaging in mind games with my new friend here.”

Shae agreed. “He’s so funny when he has to guess.”

“Very funny indeed,” Loche spoke sardonically. He left them two to be alone with each other. His journey eventually brought him to Lannister, Inc. where he met with the current CEO.

“Have you any news?” Tywin asked.

“I do. Tyrion has a new friend.”

“And who is this friend?”

“Apparently she’s from one of Baelish’s clubs.”

“Another whore is it? Seeing that I have no choice being that I have already agreed to hand him the estate, I cannot recant my offer. Just be sure to keep in mind not to let him spend any more of my fortune on harlots.”

“I will, sir Tywin.”

“And about Roose.”

“Yes?”

“What he has been up to these days?”

“The same. He’s managed to create a small partnership with some huge families of the north. Progress is slow. He wishes that he had someone like Baelish working in his stead.”

Tywin grinned. “Good. As long as he works for me, Baelish works for him. I’m sure you are well aware of the entre plan that is to be put into motion.”

“Fully aware.”

“Then you know the good that can come from it. Lannister, Inc. will return to grace and Stark, Co. will be moved here, and Bolton Enterprises will prosper from having the full advantage of the northern continent.”

“I remember.”

“Just as long as you are clear on the objective, be sure to make no mistake. We cannot afford any more mistakes.”

“Understood.”

“See to it that Tyrion remains quiet.”

“And if he talks?”

“By all means. But note that I do not want any harm to come to him if he is innocent.”

“Very well understood.”

“Carry on.”

Just when Loche left the room, Cersei entered. “Father, a moment of your time.”

“Come, sit.” He granted. Cersei did as he commanded, “What troubles you?”

“It’s Tommen. I’m afraid that his time with Margaery has caused him to develop real feelings for her. I know that skank doesn’t have it in her heart to love my son as he loves her. He doesn’t know that Margaery has been promised to Tyrion. It would break his heart.”

“Some sacrifices need to be made. Tommen is young enough to find another interest.”

“But he is your grandson. Have you any regard of how he may feel?”

“Do not question whether I take anything into regard. I have three failures and I still regard you no matter how foolish you all can be. Tommen is a kind boy and I would want nothing more than to see him happy. Neither of us will be so fortuitous to follow feelings that won’t have a promising outcome. For now, you’ll have to be strong for Tommen. I don’t deny that he will be hurt in the process. He will hurt for a time, but he will reap those benefits forever.”

“I just wish there was a way to tell him without him becoming so upset.”

“Don’t speak a word of anything. Tommen’s change in attitude will be questioned.”

“But father…”

“I’ve said what I needed to say and that will be all. Leave your affections in a box and use your mind. Those who always follow their hearts find themselves walking toward the edge of a cliff.”

Cersei received the message and resorted to her wonted activities. Cersei wanted The Tyrells to pay dearly. She hated them with every fibre of her being. She wanted nothing more than to be rid of them once and for all.

Chapter Text

Sansa stood outside at the lake. She hadn’t seen Baelish that whole yesterday. She had begun to feel used.

“A coincidental moment of serendipity,” he spoke. “I expected to be alone here.”

Sansa’s heart skipped a beat when she heard his voice. She became flushed. Still, she mustered courage to speak casually, “I was only looking to clear my mind.”

“Aren’t we all?” he stood next to her, shoulder-to-shoulder, “I saw your aunt not too long ago.”

“You never told me where she was.”

“A clinical centre.”

“How long will she be there?”

“A while.”

It was an awkward silence for a minute. “Tell me about the Reynes.”

“The Reynes?”

“You mentioned that the Lannisters lied about them. I want to know how the Day of Red Rain began.” Sansa wanted to hear anything that would take her mind off of the previous intimate moment they shared.

Petyr had not a trace of a smile. He glared out into the lake before he spoke, “The Reynes were known to rival the Lannisters in position and in wealth. It was made clear by the Reynes that they wouldn’t tolerate being subjected to the Lannister dominance and rule over the western and southern district. With the help of the Tarbecks, another family of prominence with the help of the eldest Reyne woman, they were able to amass more districts and property. The Lannisters had only little influence over the western government. Tywin wasn’t satisfied with his father’s way of doing things, so he initiated the death of the Reynes. But first, he had to propose a deal to them. A deal to which they did not accepted.”

“And what was that deal?”

“That they would forfeit all of their lands and estate in exchange for their lives. The Reynes knew that Tywin would put his family in an unfavourable light so they did nothing. Under the name of Castamere, corp., did they propose the Day of Red Rain. Before the Reynes could work to exonerate their name, they were slaughtered in their homes. A subsequent event of the consequences brought on by the bloody day. When it was all said and done, the Lannisters claimed that they attempted to put a stop to the day. No one knows as of yet the role that the Lannisters had played. In the end, Tywin claimed full control of the government and established relationships through subliminal fear and suppression. And from then on, the Day of Red Rain was known as the holiday that was began by the Reynes with the intent of murdering their way to power. Everyone celebrates the Lannisters and recognise their good will to try to put a stop to the holiday. The missing link is the lack of knowledge of the people. They believe the Lannisters have no connection nor influence over the government. What they know is that Tywin and his family are doing their best to persuade the day away.”

Sansa was taken aback by that story. She didn’t notice, but her mouth was agape the whole time he explained. “I knew that the Lannisters were behind everything. I just couldn’t figure out how people couldn’t see it.”

“And you lived with them. You come from an honourable continent. It makes your words all the more believable. But if you choose to speak at the wrong time, you’d be making yourself vulnerable to the Lannisters. Say something now, and you’d only unleash the lion. They’d work even harder to drive fear into the people. And with you out of the picture, the world would have no hopeful person to look forward to. The game is only going to get harder. There are going to be choices that would be difficult to make. But remember, there is no such thing as heroes or villains. There is no black or white. There is no yes or no. There is no compromise with anything. When you play the game, you either going to be fighting for the rich or the poor—there is no middle class.”

“And who do you fight for?”

Baelish dryly snickered at her inquiry. He simply turned and walked away, leaving Sansa there to think even more.

Sansa scolded herself for falling prey to a man of whom she did not fully understand. For all she knew, she could have slept with the enemy. She could only pray that he was on her side. She pondered and came to a slight conclusion that he might have been on her side. If he wasn’t, why was he protecting her? Why did he save her from Lannis-Town? Why did he place a distance barrier between she and her aunt? So many questions and no definite answer. A few moments later, she turned to leave from the lake herself.

Upon entering into the mansion, Sansa caught sight of the maid carrying down a bundle of sheets. Sansa was too mortified to catch her eye. She bashfully lowered her head and scampered out of the anteroom and up the stairs. She went straight to her room and picked up the book that she was supposed to be reading. Time and time again, her mind would wonder off to the previous night. She then wondered if she would have enough strength to deny his advances to prevent lying with him again.

Chapter Text

Shae and Tyrion were walking along the Gold Bridge, marvelling at the size of the town. Shae wore a white summer dress decorated with different colour butterflies and white sandals, “I have always wanted to come to a big city. I’ve heard people in Port Volantis talk about them. I used to wonder how could a person not get lost between so many buildings.” Said Shae.

“Yes, I see. That’s why such a big city needs so many signs and directories. And there is one question that I would like to know.”

“Yes?”

“How did you end up working for Littlefinger?”

“I’ve never seen him before. I have heard of him, and I do know that I am working in one of his clubs, but I only sought work there.”

“So you’re not one of his spies or anything?” Tyrion asked suspiciously albeit playful.

“I spy for no one. I only take care of myself.”

“And you don’t have room for me?”

“I will.”

“For your own good, never trust anything that Littlefinger says. He’s a man with many ambitions. Ambitions that are unknown which does make him quite dangerous.”

“How does that make him dangerous? Who cares what his ambitions are?”

“Mmm, you’d better believe that he is dangerous indeed. He plays games that one can only dare to guess. Sometimes an unknowing victim may be caught in the crossfire of Littlefinger’s plans.”

“If you don’t know what his ambitions are, how are you sure that he is the reasons for people getting caught in a crossfire?”

“Sometimes I can just smell his hands all over a situation. Lately I haven’t been quite able to catch on to his game, though I’d hate to admit it. I used to be able to take a pretty good guess at what he wanted. Now, I’m not so sure. Which is why I have to be extra careful.”

“So where is he now?”

“Vale Valley.”

“But that’s a bit far from here. How can he hurt you from all the way out there?”

“You have a point. He doesn’t exactly have a massive following behind him. Few, to be frank. But not nearly enough to create as much damage. Nonetheless, I would not under estimate him. That is one of the worst things you can do when dealing with him.”

“So why not just send someone after him and cut his throat in his sleep? Everyone has to sleep.”

“Here’s the thing, no one has actually ever reported that he was somewhere sleeping. I don’t think him human to do that much.”

“Well then send a girl to his tent and make her pleasure out his secrets.”

“Littlefinger has never even been seen with a woman. Nor with anyone else for that matter. It’s one of the greatest phenomenon in the realm. Seriously, what man could own multiple clubs and still not be tempted to at least bed one of the women who would so willingly oblige…” Tyrion realised that his remark had upset Shae.

“And how many whores have you bedded?” She folded her arms.

“I guess I shouldn’t have said that.”

“You go to his other clubs, don’t you!?”

“Ever since I met you, there has been no one else!”

“I don’t believe you!”

“I swear on my life that I only have eyes for you,” he genuinely pleaded to her. “You’ll have to trust me. There is hardly anyone in this town who you can trust.”

“I trust myself!” she spoke adamantly. “And I trust you.”

“Good.” The duo engaged in a kiss. Of course, Shae had to bend forward to meet her lover’s face. “You won’t be staying in those wretched town-houses any longer. You will reside at the Lannister Inn. But you mustn’t be seen associating with me.”

“Why not?!” she fussed.

“My father isn’t too keen on seeing me with other people who is not of our status.”

“And so now I’m poor.”

“That’s not what I meant,” he debunked her accusation gently.

“Then what do you mean? That I am not good enough?”

“What I mean to say is my father can be very crafty.”

“So can I.”

“But that’s not the point.”

“Then what is?”

“The point is that I am trying to keep you safe. Who knows what else my father has planned for me? For all I know, he could have a plan to eradicate every one of my friends who don’t live up to his standards. It makes him look like a fool in the public eye in his opinion.”

“Then why don’t you just leave your family?”

“Because I feel that I am the glue holding them together. With Littlefinger gone, someone has to wipe my family’s ass.”

“I thought you said you couldn’t trust Littlefinger.”

“As much as I would hate to admit it, and believe me I do hate it, Littlefinger has a rare talent of making people happy even while serving himself. I’ve been around him long enough to notice that he doesn’t do things if there is nothing he can gain from it.”

“Let someone else from your family wipe their own ass. Just leave them!”

“I can’t, I’m sorry. If I don’t help them, my name will be under just as much fire as theirs. I’m already the smartest though my sister would like to think that she is. Unfortunately, she is so absorbed with her intelligence that she has no brain left to see that the public already knows how daft she can be at times. What’s better, a person who knows they are smart and say nothing, or an idiot in charge claiming to be smart?”

“I don’t care to answer that,” she said with a stern facial expression as she folded her arms and pouted, “I don’t care about your family. I only care about you.”

“Then you’ll understand that I cannot leave. At least not now.”

Shae didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

“Yes, well, this is becoming quite the boring conversation. But let’s not dwell on this any longer. How about lunch? The Lannister Inn has the best raisin muffins.”

“I don’t like raisins.”

“Very well, choose whatever you like.” He extended his hand to her.

Shae smiled and took his hand. They both sauntered slowly off of the bridge and back to town.

Chapter Text

Cersei watched in contempt as she watched Olenna and Margaery falsely dote on Tommen as they sat at the table.

“And when you two marry, you’ll share more moments than just idle prancing about the gardens. Oh, you will make a fine apprentice. You have all of the qualities needed to be so. That young face of yours would make for a perfect face of Highgarden after it’s merged with your grandfather’s company.”

Cersei cut in before anyone else could speak, “My father does well as the CEO, but you forget that he is only a placeholder for Tommen now that Joffrey is gone. Perhaps you’d show a little bit more respect to the actual CEO of the company and allow him to make his own decisions and how happy he will supposedly be.”

Olenna and Margaery were offended at her tone toward them. Tommen, seeing the growing tensions, intervened, “I’m perfectly happy with Margaery, mother. I can’t wait until we marry. And it’s fine that grandfather is the CEO now. I don’t think that I’m quite yet ready to lead Lannister, Inc.”

Margaery smiled as she delicately gripped his arm playfully with both of her hands, “I’m sure you are. You never know how much you know until you actually execute your knowledge. When my mother died when I was a girl, I thought that I would never be ready to let in a mother figure. Of course, as you can see, my grandmother has been the matriarch of my life in my mother’s place. I’m sure you would make for a wonderful CEO in your grandfather’s.”

Tommen smiled, “I like the sound of that.”

Olenna glared at Cersei who was now sitting in disdain, “I’m happy that one Lannister-born child agrees with us. I don’t know where young Tommen receives his wits, though I heavily doubt that it’s a trait from his maternal side.”

“You can insult me all you want,”

“And I will. Who else do you have to turn to in these great times of need?” she snickered. "We're the centre of all of your basic resources like food and clothing."

Tommen remained taciturn even though he didn’t agree with Olenna’s behaviour toward his mother. Cersei, on the other hand, burned with an internal rage. She looked at Tommen with wishful thinking. The joy she would have if she were to tell Olenna that they would not be getting over on she and her father through a boy who was not very well competent nor prepared for his upcoming role. And she would love nothing more than to see that smirk drop from Margaery’s face when she was to find out her marriage plans to Tyrion. It was a joyous moment she would have to be patient for, though patience was not exactly her strength. She continued to drink from the glass goblet as she continued to watch the Tyrells feign favour for her son.

The gathering was joined by none other than Tywin himself. Cersei was the first to speak in his presence, “The plans are going well, father. We should be expecting a ceremony in a matter of weeks.”

“Wonderful,” he spoke with no hint of excitement, “And was Tyrion fitted for his wardrobe?”

“We haven’t actually been able to contact him for a few days.”

“And why not?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Then contact the security agent and have them pull every road camera and locate Tyrion. His absence and foolishness is no option in this situation. I demand that he put all of his activities to the side and step forth to be part of this company.”

“You say that as if he has a bigger share other than the insignificant portion he owns now.” Cersei speculated.

Tywin gave Cersei a stone look. Cersei read his message clearly. She was disgruntled, she bit her bottom lips as her heart seethed, “You gave him more shares, didn’t you?”

“Are you questioning my actions?”

“I would only like to know how he managed to get shares that are unavailable at this time.”

“Easy enough, I stripped you of some of your shares and bestowed them to Tyrion.”

Cersei knocked over the glass goblet, Tommen was in shock at his mother’s lack of decorum, “I refuse to take orders from him! There is nothing you can make me do to take orders from that murderous monster!”

“OH THERE ISN’T, IS THERE?!” He yelled, placing respect back into Cersei’s actions, “This is my company! I will control it however I wish! Tyrion has more importance in every which way and that is more importance than you can ever have! You don’t like it? You can find yourself working in Littlefinger’s whorehouses with not a pinch of inheritance. You are still under my roof and I get to decide how things get done! Leaving crucial information with you is sure to be misinterpreted and used for your own abusive amusement. Not so clever though I suspect that you wish you were.”

Cersei was now mortified. What was worst in that moment was her being demeaned in front of her most hated enemies. She obnoxiously and abruptly excused herself from the table. Her shoes could be heard striking the polished tiled floors as she marched toward the stairs. Tywin, more calm than ever, poured himself a small glass of wine, “In this world, Tommen, you’ll have to make tough decisions. Don’t think that I liked raising my voice for one minute. I find those sort of outbursts to be ill-advised, unprofessional, yet necessary. You’re a soft boy, you’ll have to find your roar. It is vital in your survival.”

“He won’t have to worry about surviving with us,” Olenna added, “We’ll make sure he survives so long as there is cooperation on both of our parts.”

“Agreed.” He said before he sipped from his cup.

 

Cersei went to her room, decorated in red and gold, and paced spitefully back and forth whilst folding her arms. She ceased her aimless walking and began to make a phone call. “Get me security.”

Chapter Text

Sansa sat on the edge of her bed staring out of the window. It was sunny still, however she didn’t have the urge to go out. She soon recollected feeling dirty when she watched the maid bring down the sheets from the guest room. It made her stomach knot and her face go red. To save the rest of the face she had, she looked to evade Petyr. Her plan proved to be folly when she received two knocks from her door. Her heart raced. She just knew it was him, “Come in,” she permitted. She dared not to turn around once the door was opened.

He said not a word until after he had walked near to her. “I wanted to give you something for your name day.”

Sansa dared to look at him in the face. It was the first time she was able to make herself do so. “What is it?”

“The means of getting whatever you want.”

Sansa looked to his hand and saw him offering her a great bulk of money. “What am I supposed to do with all that?”

“Whatever you want.”

Sansa raised a brow, “Is this a test?”

“I assure you that it is not.”

Sansa opened her palm and waited for him to set his gift for her there. When he did, she sighed, “And if this does turn out to be one of your tests I’m going to pass it.”

He admired her confidence, “If there was such an objective to pass, I’m sure you’d be able to.” He began to caress her red locks. Sansa felt a stinging urge that she mentally tried to dismiss. “I have people working for me to take you where you want to go. But note, you cannot afford to go out as yourself.”

“How do you know I won’t run away?”

“You have too many enemies out there. And if you’re caught by the wrong person, you might become trade in the purging games.”

“Purging games?”

“People who don’t wish to face the dangers of the outside world, so instead they build a simulation where they can have both the advantage and the pleasure to kill.”

Sansa’s face twisted, “How cruel.”

“Very cruel indeed, but reality.”

“And you’re going to let me venture out there alone?”

“No,” he disagreed before sitting next to her, his fingers still interlaced with her hair, “You will be accompanied by the men who accompanied us on the way here. You’d have the appropriate fortification, but you won’t need as much as long as you go out under a different identity.”

“What identity is that?”

He smiled on one side, “Your hair is the most noticeable thing about you. I’d recommend that you wear an accessory that covers it.”

“Why can’t I just dye it?”

“You can use the old fashion technique if you so choose. I’d have to warn you that your hair would turn as green as the grass in the Valley should you use chemical.”

“And a name? What name am I supposed to choose? How do I even know if I won’t choose a name that every here is familiar with?”

“I have the perfect name for you. You’ll have your freedom so long as you remember to call yourself by your alias, Alayne.”

“Alayne?”

“Use it. You’ll need it. You’ll also need your own eyes to witness how the people interact around you. Your lessons would be all for nought if you can’t interpret them correctly. Drawing the right conclusions is essential.” Once he had concluded, he tilted his head to the side and kissed her gently on the lips. It wasn’t as deep as Sansa would have like it do be; nonetheless, she showed no contempt or disappointment. Petyr left the room casually while Sansa eyed the bulk of currency given to her. She wondered what she should do with her gift.

 

 

Cersei and Tywin both reported early to Lannister, Inc. Varys had soon come in with reports about Tyrion. “You will be pleased to know that we were able to locate Tyrion Lannister,” he said so in handing over the picture files, “Apparently he has been enjoying rather odd and new recreational activities outside of Littlefinger’s clubs like the gun range.”

Cersei and Tywin observed the pictures given to them. Cersei was quick to capitalise, “And you want him to run our company, father? He’s been hanging out with wretches. Especially Bolton delinquents like Loche!”

Tywin ignored her, “And why has Tyrion oddly found a fancy for guns and going to gun ranges?”

“Odds are that after the last event of the Day of Red Rain, Tyrion must want to give himself security rather than strictly rely on protection afforded by you, Sir Tywin. It does make sense when you think about it,” He reasoned gently.

“While that makes sense, it makes no sense for him to go about fooling around!” Tywin raged.

Cersei continued to look through the file and became interested with one, “Who’s this?” she asked swiftly.

Tywin received the picture from her and he and Varys both looked it over, “I must be honest and say that I have no idea.”

“Of course you know, Varys. You know almost every living body in this vicinity,” Tywin figured.

“She must be new. She does look foreign. I’ll see what I can gather about her.”

“No need.” Tywin informed. He figured she was the one Loche had informed him about. “Tyrion has proven to have too much freedom. Whoever she is, I will not let her be the reason why he does not attend this wedding!” Tywin raged.

Cersei and Tywin were both uncomfortable. Cersei began after a long silence loomed in the room, “You don’t really think that he would be devoted to a whore? He never has.”

“If I know my son better, I would say that he would never bring a whore with him on excursions. I want to know where he has taken her and what his plans are. I would trust you to get him to talk, but you’d only put him on the defensive and we’d never know.”

“And what do you suppose to do about it?”

Tywin turned to Varys, “Send Loche for me. I want to know who she is and what interest level Tyrion has in her. I thought Tyrion would have changed hands by now.”

“I will. Until then, Sir Tywin.” Varys soon left the room.

 

Meanwhile, Tommen and Margaery had pleasant talks with each other near the Gold Tooth Mall. Those pleasant conversations soon turned into uncertainty, “I’ve never seen my mother behave that way. I’ve always known her to have some spite for my uncle, but she had never let her feelings toward him show so visibly.”

“Is that what’s been bothering you?”

“It has. Ever since, I just can’t help but think that there is something wrong.”

“Is there something else?”

Tommen didn’t want to say it, but his chest could no longer retain the information, “I don’t think my mother likes you or your grandmother very much.”

Margaery thought for sure that Tommen had not noticed, “Oh? And what makes you say that?”

“She’s always so…tensed whenever one of you comes around. I don’t know what it is, but I feel as if there is something wrong with the relationship between our family.”

“Perhaps your mother is just very protective of you, considering what happed with your brother. Maybe she’s trying to protect you even if it means protecting you from your future wife,” she giggled.

“I don’t need protection,” he spoke meekly. “I can’t be treated like a small child who needs protection from his mother. If I am to acquire this company, I’m going to have to find a way to be my own man—a man like my father once was.”

“I’m sure you will, Tommen. I have faith in you. But how exactly, if I may be so curious to ask, are you going to release yourself from under her control? She seems to make all of your decisions. She even seems to tell you how to feel at times. It only makes me wonder how long you will remain a boy. It could be for the rest of your life. Maybe she can even dissuade you from marrying me.”

Tommen gripped both of her hands, “I will never let that happen. Our time together has been some of the happiest moments of my life. Other than my sister, wherever she is, I finally have someone around who understands me. Joffrey never did. He only teased me and taunted me. Even threatened me at times. He did it to make me do things that he wanted me to do,” he spoke solemnly.

“How cruel.”

“But I’m not going to keep being ordered around. I’m a growing man and I must become one.”

“Yes, you must. But I wouldn’t want you to feel the wrath of your mother.”

“I would rather feel a thousand claws scrape against my skin before I release you.”

Tommen, timidly and bashfully, leaned forward and gave Margaery a kiss on the lips. It was brief as well as light, but it sparked enough nerves in his body that made his heart pound. Margaery smiled once both of their eyes had opened again, “Consider this your first step of undermining your mother,” she smiled brightly. Her smile was contagious as Tommen smiled also. They continued to walked about the grounds and make nice conversations.

 

Chapter Text

Sansa wore a dark brown wig. She didn’t feel like going through that hassle of making old fashion dye—it was the easiest and the quickest solution she had. Sansa had chosen to spend her gift at a nearby mall. It wasn’t as big or as fancy as the Gold Tooth Mall, but it still had the things that she desired. Though she was under a lot of stress at the time, she vaguely recalled how she had looked with make-up on. It was the first time she had ever wore make-up, and it was the most miserable time of her life. She thought that she would give it another try since she was in a better state of mind and in a better setting. She also bought more clothes and other miscellaneous things.

Once she had been delivered back to the glass mansion, she found that she was there alone. Where Baelish could have gone next, she did not know. She didn’t know whether or not to be grateful that she was alone. Not allowing the question to daunt on her, she proceeded with taking her new things to her room. The chair that sat at the study was moved to the mirror in her wardrobe. Sansa wanted the advantage of matching the colours with her clothes without too much trouble. She began to fool around with the make-up: from lipstick, to eye-liner, to gloss. She liked what she saw that time. She thought herself vain for thinking it, but she admitted to herself that she was absolutely beautiful with exotic colouring. Each time she stroked or brushed an enhancing hue to her face, she could not help but think about her family—particularly her mother. She could hear her mother—almost feel her—speaking to her from behind and stroking her hair, “You will grow to be one of the most beautiful ladies in the land. May you capture the heart of your true love,” Catelyn would say.

“I know you always tell me that I’ll know, but how would I know if I’m right about him?” Sansa would always ask.

“There would be something special about him. Something that you love that you are sure that you can never find in anyone else. He will make you feel like a queen, like the gods themselves.”

Sansa would smile, “I just hope that he’s charming…and very handsome.”

They would laugh and giggle. That was the time when Sansa was beginning to grow into her own. She had always imagined her mother being right there in the room with her when she had first learned to apply make-up or to help her to pick out clothing that was befitting for her age. When her mother’s voice faded away from her reverie, Sansa’s face soon became flushed. All at once, she began to weep inconsolably. Her silent cries and long, heart-breaking exhales then turned into wails. She had become so weak all of a sudden that she could no longer sit in the chair. She sniffed, cried out loud, and held herself as she lied on the floor in a foetal position. She didn’t realise it, but she had never been given enough peace to grieve her family like she should have—until then. Alas, it was not the only reason why she cried. She cried because she was confused. She did not have her mother there with her to guide her into how she should perceive Petyr Baelish. “I don’t know what to do!” she screamed. “I don’t know what to do! I needed you here,” she squeaked out. All she could do was let it all out at that moment. She sobbed until she could sob no longer. Her woes subsequently put her to sleep. She lied there, face wet, eyes swollen, brows knitted, and lips slightly ajar, surrounded by her accessories.

 

Petyr was standing in front of the glass façade mansion having just gotten back from running a few errands for the Vale and for himself. He was on the phone with his secret business partner, Roose Bolton, “My sources are very reliable,” he assured, “I have been keeping a watchful eye on Sansa Stark and I hear that she might be attempting to find her sister, Arya.”

“No one knows for sure if Arya is still alive,” he spoke sharply, “If we don’t know it, how could Sansa possibly?”

“It’s sheer hope, nothing more. The girl is of a dim wit. I’ve seen it for myself.”

“Only fools go looking for something that doesn’t exist. That makes me wonder, Baelish, if you are a fool looking for something that doesn’t exist. You play many dangerous games and expect not to be caught. Whatever safe haven you may have fabricated in your mind won’t be your go-to retreat should I find you are selling me short in this deal.”

“You will be given everything in full price.”

“I need that Stark girl. I’m actually surprised that you haven’t given her to me upon making our deal.”

“We both know that certain things are not given for free. At least, not without a fair exchange.”

“And so why not handing over Sansa Stark before I carry out the next move not considered fair trade?”

Baelish knew then that Roose was trying to pick apart his personality. Not falling for his oral trap, Baelish slicked his way out of the question, “This is a risky world. You take risks, I take them, the Lannisters take them. Only now am I gambling.”

“And you’re not so sure that things will turn out the way you want them?”

Baelish knew that the events he had lined up would turn out the exact way he wanted them to. Of course, he would be foolish to allow Roose to know just how much he knew. “I don’t know. It’s why this game involves heavy gamblers.”

“I’ll be expecting my payment.”

“And you’ll get it.” Baelish ended the conversation as well as the call. Littlefinger stood pensive for a while, gathering the next few set of thoughts for the future. There were many ideas swimming in his head, but only one would provide him the outcome he was attempting to reach.

Littlefinger retired to the inside of the mansion. Upon entering into the anteroom, his phone had begun to ring. He sauntered dreadfully over to the receiver on the living room wall and read the caller I.D. He knew for sure that it was Lysa trying to reach him. He dismissed the call and soon deleted the message and the history of the number from the phone. That way, it would lessen suspicion should anyone from Vale Valley have any reason to suspect him of anything—which they constantly did. Once again did his phone ring. This time, he answered, “Yes?”

“I’ve been watching the growth of High Garden, Inc. and it doesn’t seem the favour is ours,” Tywin spoke.

“It going to be a rough time, believe me. Your people are still smitten by the charitable hospitality shown by the Tyrells. Not to mention, they enjoy the benefits of Lannis-Town with the opportunities given to them without judgement. I would say bend the rules of the town by just a few acceptances.”

“Your plans are not working fast enough for me, Baelish. With each passing day, the loyalty of the people of Lannis-Town shifts more in favour to the Tyrells. I was hoping to see some changes by now. I’ve trying to remain optimistic about the turn of events, however, Tyrion isn’t complying and I have recently found out about his improper affairs with women who work under you.”

“What woman?” Baelish asked.

“I’ve been told that her name was Shae and that she is a foreigner here.”

“I know of many foreigners, Sir Tywin. Specifically, not by the name of Shae. I’ll be keeping a watch on her just to be sure that the plans are not interfered with.”

“You’ll need to move faster. I am running out of patience with my miserable and overgrown weeds for guests.”

“There’s nothing to worry about. Lannister, Inc. will not go to the hands of the Tyrells.”

“Be sure of it.” He ended the call quickly.

Littlefinger placed the phone back into his pocket and went to carry on with his work. To be sure that he was alone in the mansion, he checked Sansa’s room to make sure that she was still out and about. To his surprise, he found her curled into a foetal position on the floor. The area around her was messy with bags, gift tissues, and other miscellaneous objects. He quietly paced over to her figure and lifted her form from the floor. He gingerly lied her down on the bed as not to perturb her sleep. Once he had succeeded with his intensions, he stood there for a moment, watching her as she slept. He brought his fingers to her face and lightly caressed her hair from her cheeks. He breathed in deeply and exhaled slowly and silently. He soon left the room and returned to the guest room.

Chapter Text

A few days later, Tyrion was summoned by his father into the main hall of the Lannister Inn. “If you want to remind me of the wedding, I have told you that I am well aware of the date set,” Tyrion began just after he sat down at the tan-coloured marble table.

“You know that the wedding is soon?”

“Yes, I’m sure of it.”

“Then you’d know that the date has been moved up.”

“Oh?" he inquired, "Just tell me and I will be sure to arrive.”

“It’s tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?!”

Tywin nodded, “I trust that you have every piece of your tux.”

“Why so soon?”

“The Tyrells are eager to get this marriage under way.”

“And you’re so eager to just give them leverage over the company? I don’t mean to insult, but I have a hard time believing that you would just rush into a deal knowing that the deal is no good. Tommen is my beloved nephew true enough, but the boy is not really cut out for this kind of business. The gods only know how his tender heart is at stake in the midst of cunning and plots that it takes to keep your kind of business afloat. Then again, he just might be tender-hearted enough to end the Day of Red Rain. I mean when he becomes the new CEO, it might be his top priority.”

“Only except he is one of the many who does not our involvement in this day,” Tywin reminded him.

“Whether he knows or not, he would be given the power from you to stop this.”

“Except the Lannisters have control over the government, not the Baratheons. His name alone will run the company and the town, not the powers that be.”

“Shrewd. Very shrewd,” he hesitantly complimented, “Something tells me that you have all of this figured out. So, who do you think will run the government after you’ve departed from this world? If not Tommen, I know Cersei wouldn’t be able to tell government affairs from the rumours spread by paparazzi. Can you imagine Cersei withstanding a comment made up by someone who doesn’t exist? An entire city attacked all due to an imaginary source. She’d be chasing her tail forever with everyone else paying the price.”

“While you are correct in summarising your sister, I cannot help but think that you await my departure very soon. And just to inform you, we have a grand speech to give this afternoon.”

“What speech?”

“Dress yourself accordingly. It will be a public speech. You’d be sure to look your best.” Tywin raised from his seat and left Tyrion sitting by himself. Tyrion rolled his eyes before getting on an elevator to go meet up with Shae.

 

“So how did it go?” she spoke excitedly.

“It went very well. And I found that I won’t have the time to spend with you like we planned.”

“Why do you say that?” she asked, visibly upset.

“I have a speech tonight. Just stay until it’s over.”

“Why can’t you just say no?”

“You have to understand, I’m in it for the people. If I don’t stay and attempt to end this mess my family has created, I’m afraid that we won’t have a life together. We would constantly be on the run away from those who would want to kill me…you because of our involvement.”

“We’ll just fight them back.”

“Then it would truly be us against the world.”

“At least we will be together.”

Tyrion caressed her arms and laid his head on her abdomen. “I want us to be together alive. Not buried next to each other if my father allows it.”

“So just run away. I’ve heard that lots of people go missing in this city.”

“That’s because the missing people usually turn up dead.”

“Fine, we’ll go somewhere where no one knows our name,” she pleaded.

“There is hardly a place who doesn’t know a Lannister. We are quite popular you know. People has seen my face many times before and I am quite certain that there is no place for us to go.”

Shae didn’t want to accept his logic. She folded her arms and pulled away from Tyrion. “So what do you want me to do next? Hide in your closet for the rest of my life?!” she seethed.

“Of course not.”

“You won’t let me go anywhere anymore!”

“And I do it for your safety.”

“Maybe you’re just ashamed of me!”

“I would never be ashamed of you.”

“Then why not stand up to your father and tell him of our relationship?”

“You have to understand, Shae. My father looks for any weakness on me. He attacks my desires so that he can control me. I don’t want him to control me through you.”

“And you think that I am weak?!”

“Of course I don’t think that you’re weak.”

“Then how could you say that I would allow him to control you?!”

“I didn’t mean it that way…look…listen,” he was running out of ways to explain his position.

“I’m tired of listening to your excuses! Everyday it’s always something about your family!”

“They are very dangerous people.”

“You think I don’t know that! YOU’VE SAID IT A MILLION TIMES!”

“Try to keep it down. I just want to be careful and I want nothing more than for you to be safe.” He worked to sooth her. He was exhilarated to finally succeed.

Chapter Text

When Sansa came to, her head began to throb and her focus was distorted. Even through her discombobulation, she noticed that she had been moved from the floor to the bed. She knew deep in her heart that it was Baelish who had done so. She got out of bed and walked out of the bedroom. She heard soft noises coming from the guest room and went in that direction. She could have blamed her fogginess as being the reason why she was urged to go to his room; however, she wanted to see his face for her own comfort.

When she got to the guest room, the door was completely opened. Baelish was sitting at the study, watching the television. He cast his look to the side where he saw Sansa standing in the doorway, “There’s going to be an announcement tonight.”

“An announcement?”

“Apparently Tywin has something to convey to the masses.”

“Do you know what he’s going to address?” Sansa half-heartedly figured since he had deep connections with the Lannisters.

Baelish disregarded her inquiry, “Come.”

Sansa entered into the room and stood in front of the desk. She turned her attention to the television and watched as the people prepared to hear the news from Lannister, Inc.

A few moments later, Tyrion joined his father, his sister, Tommen, and the Tyrells in front of the building where they usually gave their public speeches. Shae stood in the crowd lingering to the side. Tywin stood before the crowd and camera men. The citizens of Lannis-Town stood eagerly by, awaiting Tywin to begin speaking. Tywin held up his palm to settle everyone down before he began. He stood up straight with a regal posture, his eyes were as hard as his face, “The Lannisters and the Tyrells have come together for the benefit of the people in this city. We are hoping that with our combined forces that we will be able to persuade the powers that be from permitting the Day of Red Rain. As you all already know, my grandson, Tommen, has agreed to marry Margaery, the granddaughter of Olenna Tyrell. Something that you don’t know is about to be announced this very second. Those plans have been changed.”

Everyone gasped in suspense. Tyrion had become alert, pondering in the midst of his confusion. He looked to his sister and saw her smiling pretentiously at her father before looking to him. Margaery and Tommen were also very confused. Olenna was clearly upset but only that she had to hide it from her granddaughter. She recalled that Tyrion was the key to everything. With Tyrion gone, MArgaery would be free of him and she would have accumulated what she needed from the Lannisters. She only hoped that Margaery would not find out about her knowledge. Obviously enough, Tommen was distraught. Tyrion didn’t like the looks of it. He turned his attention back to his father who had yet to announce the new plans.

Tywin, with only a hint of a smile on his face, continued, “Nevertheless, our plan to join the families still remain, only with different parties. No, Tommen with not marry Margaery. That privilege will be given to my son, Tyrion Lannister.”

Tyrion’s eyes opened wide enough for his entire irises to be seen. Immediately the camera men and women ran to where Tyrion was; they started to ask him a thousand questions.

“Did you know you were going to marry Margaery?”

“How do you think your nephew will feel?”

“Do you love Margaery?”

“How do you plan to spend your lives together?”

Tyrion was not concerned with the flashing lights beaming and flashing around him, nor was he concerned with the volatile stares he received from his sister. His attention went directly to Shae who gave back a menacing stare before running off back into the inn. Tyrion felt guilt for something that he did not do.

As Baelish watched the television, he could see that the cameras inadvertently included Shae in the shot in the left-most side of the camera. Sansa looked at him with concern, “Don’t you think that Tyrion ought to have known about the proposal?” Sansa questioned after seeing the confusion displayed upon Tyrion’s face.

“Tywin doesn’t exactly hold a torch for Tyrion,” he lectured, “Tyrion wants nothing more than to make his own choices.”

“So why doesn’t he?”

“Tyrion is a Lannister. He’s forever bound to that name. If he tries to remove himself, he knows better than anyone else that his father would have no qualms about denying him what is rightly his to inherit.”

“Inherit or not, he’ll be able to make his own decisions?”

“And how many people do you know of who would want to see nothing else with the exception of a dead Lannister? Tyrion is different, true.”

Sansa looked solemn, “But he still carries the name.”

Baelish nodded. “And a name is all that matters.”

Sansa agreed. She turned her attention back to the screen and continued to watch the new reports pour in. From a male reporter, she received more news about her family…both maternal and paternal.

“It seems lately that desperation has eaten through the prominent families in the north and east. Edmure Tully has shown to be more than eager to hold on to what’s left of his crumbling family’s holdings as he has even agreed to marry Roslyn Frey of the Frey family. But he hasn’t been the only one who seems desperate to stay afloat for the short run. Roose Bolton having no more than half a say in the Stark Corporation has also resulted into marrying a Frey to increase authority and bargaining power. What does this mean for the families? How long do they believe this act of matrimony will give them the air they need to keep from suffocating?”

Sansa hadn’t been paying attention to the man in the room. With a quick reaction, she shuddered from his touch on her shoulders, “These are desperate times now,” he began, his voice vivid in her ear. Sansa could feel her heart racing and her breath threatening to give away how she was feeling internally. He continued to speak as his fingers cascaded delicately across her abdomen, “It’s mandatory that you know where you stand, and how you can make the right moves to put you where you’d want to be. One move…one false move is all it takes to end things. Fatally at the worst.”

Sansa did her best to allow his words to register in her mind. Even as he spoke in that sinister tone of Littlefinger, she struggled to relieve her consciousness from his touch. All at once, the warmth on her stomach came to an end. He had retracted himself before leaving her to herself once more. Sansa couldn’t understand what was going on through his mind. Not too long before, he was eager to steal kisses and embraces. The next, he was leading her on and then leaving her cold. The only thing she could think that he was doing at the time was teasing her. Perhaps he wanted her to beg for him. She refused the thought. And even if she was right, she had made it up in her mind that she would not be the one to gravel. She would make him gravel. If it was her, she would only prove herself to be weak under him. She wanted guidance, not to be controlled. She wanted to make that clear. Of course with Littlefinger, she learned that actions spoke louder than words. Her course of action was not yet clear.

Chapter Text

Tyrion had swiftly left his party to re-join with Shae in their secret hotel room. “Honestly Shae, I didn’t know that things would turn out this way!” he tried to explain.

“How could you not know when you live with them! Everyone else knew it!”

“I…didn’t…know.”

“And when were you going to tell me? After you get me out of the city so you can be alone with your new fiancé?”

“That’s not what I had planned. None of this was foreseen! I don’t fully know why my father would change the arrangements made between my nephew and the Tyrell girl.”

“And what makes your nephew different from you? You’re both from the same family!”

“I know, But Tommen doesn’t have my…” he stopped abruptly and clenched his fist and pinched together his facial features.

“What?” Shae watched as he grimaced with a new understanding.

“I know why my father did this. I know why,” he laughed sarcastically, “Why didn’t I see it before?”

“See what? What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about the differences between my nephew and I. He is a gentle boy and has no experience. I, however, am much more clever and experienced in the dealings of the company. The Tyrells wish to merge our companies together with the hopes of receiving the most shares out of Lannister, Inc. With Tommen being married to Margaery, he could easily be hoodwinked into giving away most of our shares.” Tyrion let himself fall onto a chair. His head fell into his hands.

“How about this,” she spoke as she stooped beside him and placed a hand on his back, “Just tell the Tyrells that you don’t want to marry and perhaps they won’t.”

“My father did a wonderful job of making sure that the announcement was made just a day before the wedding. Now that the public knows it, they will be expecting a wedding between Margaery and me.”

“Then tell the public that it was not your decision!”

“If the people of Lannis-Town suspect a weakness in our family bond through me, we will become the buffet of everyone who has a vendetta against us. We’d be vulnerable. Haven’t you ever heard the saying ‘together we stand, divided we’re conquered’?”

“No.”

“It means that people can use me against my family to create corruption. If we’re corrupted in the eyes of those before us after I could have my name scrubbed from this cursed family, I wouldn’t care. So long as I am under the gun, I have no other choice but to keep these dirty deeds hidden.”

Shae remained impermeable to what was being said, “I think you’re just making more excuses.”

“These are not excuses Shae!” He reasoned. “Look, I think it would be best that you leave now. I wouldn’t put it pass my father of knowing about you and me already. I think I might have made a mistake in bringing you here. If he thinks of you as a problem in this arrangement…”

“If he thinks I am a problem he has another thing coming!” she spoke feistily.

“It’s not that simple.”

“It is that simple!”

Tyrion was running out of patience with her inability to understand where he was coming from, “Listen to me,” he spoke with a more serious grimace, “My father is not the average man whom anyone can simply go around and taunt. Haven’t you ever heard about the story of the Reynes?”

“No. I haven’t been in the south that long,” she spoke as she rolled her eyes and sauntered angrily away from him.

“Well I’m telling you now that my father executed an entire family. Not one of their relatives are alive today because they thought that by simply undermining him and his father that they could rise in their rank over us. That didn’t happen because my father put an end to them…permanently. I don’t want that to happen to you. You have to understand…”

“I’ do understand. You’re trying to scare me into leaving. It’s too bad that you didn’t get to know me good enough because I don’t cower easily.”

“I’m not asking you to be afraid, I’m asking you to be smart!”

“And so I’m dumb now? I’m just another one of your dumb whores that you picked up from Littlefinger’s joints!”

“That’s not what I’m conveying to you. If you would just give me a second to make you understand how dangerous this situation is.”

“I’ve had enough of listening to you. What’s the use of trying to be with someone when they don’t believe in you?!”

“I do believe in you, Shae. I don’t doubt you for a second.”

“So why are you trying to get rid of me?! You won’t listen to anything I have to say.”

Because Shae was making everything so difficult and more complicated than what it was, he had to be rougher on her to make her leave, “Apparently you won’t listen to what I have to say.” He inhaled deeply and closed his eyes, “I now believe that you and I are done from this point.”

Shae, hurt by this, unfolded her arms and stopped pouting, “What are you saying?” she spoke through a tight throat.

“I’m saying that I was a fool to think that a common whore could understand prestigious matters. I was a fool for making a whore think that she is my equal. I now understand why my father does not approve of women like you!” On the inside, Tyrion’s heart was breaking. He fought the urge to cry and to say how sorry his was. He knew nonetheless that it was the only chance he had to get her out of the city to safety.

“Why are you talking to me like that?!” she whimpered.

“Because that’s just the way things are. There is no such thing as whores who can understand real talk other than in the bedroom.”

Filled with rage and hurt, Shae struck him across the face before fleeing the room. Tyrion fell to his knees once he was alone. He sobbed like a child missing its mother. He mentally assured himself repeatedly that he was doing the right thing.

Chapter Text

The very next day, Tyrion and Margaery had a public ceremony for all to see. Sansa watched through the television from her room of how miserable Tyrion looked under his smile. She understood all too well what he was enduring. All she could do was sigh for him. She took her eyes from the television for a moment to focus on the new material giver to her by her mentor. Sansa had come to the conclusion that his mentor personality was just a little bit shy off of platonic. She didn’t want to admit it, but she hated it.

With her head hurting from both the news and the book, she took a moment to herself to relieve her mind. She changed her yellow pyjama top with a black long-sleeve and her matching pyjama pants with a short grey skirt that stopped on her mid thighs. Her feet remained bare. She placed herself in front of her mirror and gave another shot of making herself over. She tried the mascara against her lashes and noticed how it brought the features of both her hair and eyes to life. She fell hard instantly for the look. She then tried several different shades of lipstick and found that she liked the cherry and crimson colours. She pretended to be a lady at the head of her company. While in the midst of the reverie, she felt a sharp change in her desires. Why can’t I just be happy here? She thought.  I don’t have anything to worry about. If I don’t show any desire to get my home back, maybe I could just live out my life as someone else. As Alayne Stone. She pondered for a moment. Her face dropped, filled now with melancholy. Partially aware that she was brushing her hair to the side, she sighed again only louder than the first. Tired of feeling nothing but pity for herself, she removed herself from the chair, dropped her brush onto the floor, and walked with a slow gait to the grand windows of her room. She wrapped her arms around herself and just wondered. With aunt Lysa gone, I don’t really have anyone else to fear. There’s Cersei of course, but since when did Littlefinger need my help in making sure she falls? He’s doing that all on his own.

With those thoughts going in her head, she wanted to find out if there was a way to get out of what it was Littefinger was lecturing her for. True enough she wanted to inherit her family’s company to save their legacy; nonetheless, she was not passionate about the company nor was she in such a hurry to fight with another family that detested her family.

With a quick and serious pace, she pushed open the door to the guest room and found him working on more files and data, “I don’t want to do it.” She began blatantly.

Petyr, unalarmed at her blatant entry and brash demand, moved his eyes slowly from the paper to her face. He saw Sansa standing before him with her arms folded and her face stoic. Petyr spoke in a distant crescendo, “I didn’t quite catch your command.”

“I said I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to try to take back my family’s company.”

Petyr knitted his brows together, “You’ve lost your family. The company is all you have left of them.”

“They’re still with me. In my heart and they will forever be.”

“What’s changed your mind?” he asked in an aloof tone as he continued to scan the papers.

“I figured that I would be better off here. I don’t have to worry about anyone making me do things that I don’t want to do. And I won’t have to worry about having more near-deaths experiences. I don’t like the Boltons, and I don’t like the idea of them running my family’s company, but…”

“So don’t let them,” he spoke simply.

“You didn’t let me finish.”

“If you don’t like something, Sansa, you don’t make yourself tolerate the bare minimum. If I know something for sure, it’s selling yourself short. There’s no way I can show you that your decision may come back to haunt you in the future. Believe me, you have a chance now that you many never get again. At least not in this lifetime.”

“A chance for more death?”

“No,” he said so in abandoning his study, “You have to understand me that losing your family’s accomplishments means no future for you. You’d have a difficult time with finding stability and you’d have nothing or no one to fall back to.”

Sansa raised a brow, “Is that entirely true?” She questioned where he as a supporter fit into her life—only if he realised the question was directed at him.

Petyr walked closer to her, “There’s nothing compared to the decisions you can make at will. Relying solely on those around you…you’d feel helpless. Needy even. You’d have no real say. You have no authenticity in the makings of another family. Not unless you’ve put in hard years of labour and submission. By that time, I’d suspect that you’d be used to the regimen that is required of you to be an obedient servant of the house on which you so depend. Why waste so many years of your life trying to find out where you fit in? Years of wondering how long it would take for you to earn the respect of others. Especially after such a move that relinquishes you from the responsibilities left by your family unto you. You’d begin to grey from the weight of the world, questioning you and your decisions when you didn’t even make an effort to save your own.” His eyes at once had that lecherous stare. His eyes devoured her figure from head to shoulders. Sansa could feel his stare as if he was looking through her to the bone. He stroked her face gently with both of his hands on each side of her face, “You’ve very beautiful. It would be a shame to see your years wasted over time that you can never get back.”

His words made Sansa reconsider—she was tired of being needy. His embrace made her reconsider—she wanted to show will to rebuff him, but her sense to do so refused to surface. She was breathing his air, she could feel his minty warm breath over her nose and lips. Her eyes acted on their own when they drooped gradually closed. Petyr tilted his head to side and took her mouth into his. Sansa reimbursed his movements with her own by placing her hands on his shoulders. At that moment, she felt needier than ever. She wanted him to quiet that craving that she had been cursed with since the first night they had shared together.

With each passing second, the kiss deepened and the grips on each other had become tighter with a tiny hint of restrained aggression. Sansa could feel that same pull—that same thirst. Not only could she feel it coming from herself, she could feel it coming from him also. Petyr broke the kiss. Again, Sansa didn’t want to show how dissatisfied she was. To her surprise, he took her by the arm and turned her back to face him. He wrapped his arms around her torso and pressed her back into his sternum. He buried his face into her neck as his teeth glided against her skin. Sansa was breathing heavy now. Her heart was racing, her body was aching, and she was mesmerised completely.

For a second the embrace ended only long enough for her shirt to be removed from her. This time, she could feel his arms even warmer against her bare stomach. She caressed his arms with both of her hands as she willingly welcomed further advances. She knew she should have told him to stop. She realised that her wants were no longer a want. It was a need. She needed that embrace. She needed to feel some sort of comfort and safety. Psychologically convinced, she thought no more about a soft rejection. She turned around while still in his arms and wrapped her arms around his neck. For a moment, she could feel a slight retreat from Petyr. The moment was short lived. The proof was when he removed her skirt and undergarments. In turn, she removed his shirt and pressed herself against him. Their subtle movement eventually brought them to the bed where Petyr sat down and Sansa straddled him, their lips never leaving each other. For a while, they had remained as so before Petyr laid her onto her back before pinning her down with the weight of his body. He caressed the side of her ribs. Her bones met with each of his fingertips. His fingers made it up her cervical vertebrae and to her hair. He took one handful of her tresses into a fist while his left arm rested under her back. Sansa could feel her heart in the back of her throat as she prepared for what was to come next.

With the first hard stroke, she moaned loudly laced with whimpering. Again, a gust of wind was forced from her. Her legs tightened around his waist and she clenched the blanket that was underneath her. The next few strokes from Petyr caused her to give up on the blanket for support and to instead hold onto Petyr instead.

It was the same as the last time, only this time she could feel more passion from him. Over time, when Petyr had assumed a quickened rhythm, Sansa was able to take in every feel, every movement, and every breath. Even through her panting and moaning, she could still hear his breath in her ears matching every breathed that she had both inhaled and expelled. For a minute, Sansa had released her tense muscles. In that moment, she found that she was able to let in more feelings of ecstasy than she could have when she was tense. Subsequently, she only whimpered louder laden with pleasure more than she did moan from the pain. Even so, tears still managed to form from her eyes.

It felt like the longest afternoon of her life. Both Petyr and Sansa’s hair and bodies were drenched with sweat just before they had reached their climax. After the last stroke, nothing but their heavy breathing could be heard reverberating throughout the room. Their hearts were beating so loud that they could hear their own hearts pounding with no sign of slowing down. Petyr showed to have a bit of strength left whilst Sansa had already begun to drift off to sleep. She felt all the warmth surrounding her leaving the moment Petyr got from atop of her. Her reflexes showed to be impressive when she swiftly grabbed his shoulder, “I want…” she paused to take in more air, “I want you to be here when I wake up.” She whispered drowsily. It didn’t take long afterward for her to succumb to sleep.

Chapter Text

Tyrion and Margaery were pitiful at the reception that was held in Casterly Estate. Tommen tried his best to hide his tears. Olenna seethed at the union whilst Cersei teased her, “They make quite the match. A stout caterpillar for your gorgeous butterfly.”

Olenna, for the first time in her life, had nothing to say. The blood through her veins ran hot. Tywin, feeling triumphant, raised a toast, “Let us now welcome a new member to the family, Margaery Tyrell, or shall I say Lannister. We’ve been looking forward to bring together our families and may this union last longer than when the young Tyrell first became a Baratheon.”

Margaery didn’t try to show that she was delighted and neither did Tyrion. Tommen abruptly left his seat derelict as he regressed to his side of the mansion. Cersei felt for him. She was torn between comforting her son and watching three of her most hated people in the world suffer. She figured that Tommen was her child and there was always time to comfort him compared to the once in a lifetime humiliation from Tyrion, Margaery, and Olenna all in one setting.

“Do you realise that your grandson is in peril because of this decision?” Olenna confronted.

“He’s young. He will find love again.”

“You’ve just torn apart two people who cared deeply about each other. And when the public hears about this atrocity…”

“They would praise my decision. This city wants to be released from the oppression of the Day of Red Rain.”

“If I will have a word with you alone, Sir Tywin!” she spoke his name with disgust.

“Very well,” he permitted.

Both Tywin and Olenna left the room leaving only Tyrion, Cersei, and Margaery. “I would have to bid you two congratulations.”

“Spare me,” Margaery spoke sardonically warm.

Cersei was loving the moment so much that she was not offended at Margaery’s tone. “Well, brother, at least you now have a real woman at your side instead of the peasant whores and a young murderous bitch as your wife.”

“And it’s such a shame that no one else of our blood has a cock to offer. I think I might be able to find one for you. But of course you do prefer blondes so not anyone will do, am I right?”

His comment, however, brought about a great unsettlement in her demeanour. “You’d be wise not to speak to me like that!”

“So, tell me,” he spoke in rare form, “how many of your shares did it take for father to give me a greater role in all of this?”

Cersei wondered how he found out about that. Margaery wanted to know what was going on, “What do you mean? You are a part of your family’s board at the highest position are you not?”

“This is none of your affairs!” Cersei urged through clenched teeth.

“If you think about it, my dear sister, she is as much as a part of this family as I. And she is, too, your sister…in a way. If you ask me, she has every right to know what is going on in this misshapen and twisted family if you can call our gathering a family.”

Margaery felt a victory there, “He’s right,” she smiled mischievously. “Now, what was is that you said were not my affairs…sister?”

Feeling no need to sit and waste more time, she ragingly moved her chair from underneath her so hard that the chair fell onto the floor. Cersei stomped loudly away, humiliated once again. Both Tyrion and Margaery blew an exasperated breath. “So what now?” asked Tyrion.

“I don’t know. I don’t even know what to tell to Tommen.”

“Neither do I.”

“So…you had no idea that this was going to happen either, did you?”

“No way of knowing. I thought for sure that I was faithfully attending another’s wedding, not my own. I feel like a bamboozled buffoon.”

“Is there a way where we can secretly annul our marriage with no one knowing?”

“Our families are the most popular in the south. Anything we do with people whom are not us is going to be spread around like a virus. It’s precisely why we have majority of relatives on our counsel and not that many outsiders.”

“That makes sense.”

“And now...what should we do?”

“I don’t know. But I’m still sleeping in my bedroom.”

“Fair enough. I will drink my heart out tonight and I will pass out and wake up when the next Day of Red Rain comes around and kill myself legally. That way I wouldn’t be dubbed as a maniacal rodent atop of all the other short jokes I’ve endured.”

“What’s the use of killing yourself?”

“It could pay off. At least for my family. I’m the white sheep of the family and they are all golden. So very gold and full of life while mine is slowly going nowhere from here.”

“Well look on the bright side, at least you can torment your sister…I meant our sister,” she laughed. Tyrion laughed dryly at the joke. In the back of his mind, he felt that he wasn’t going to enjoy it very much since their unanticipated reunion cost him the woman that he loved.

Cersei went to Tommen’s room to find him standing against the wall silently pouring his heart out. Cersei laid a comforting hand on his back—a touch in which he denied by shrugging from her, “How long have you known?”

“Tommen, listen to me. Everything that I do is for your wellbeing.”

“I love her, mother. All I wanted was to be with her.”

“And you honestly believe that she loves you? She’s more trouble than you could ask for, her and her grandmother.”

“They’ve never done anything to hurt me or our family.”

“Not yet. But they will. Trust me, my little cub, that everyone will try to rip our family apart.”

“And I think that you’re all doing a wonderful job on your own.” Tommen spoke softly as he cleared the tears from his face.

“It’s not what you expect. We’re all just trying to figure out what move will help in in the long-run. Getting blindsided by a wretch and her company…”

“I wasn’t blindsided, mother. I truly love Margaery and I know she loves me too.”

Cersei could have refuted his assumption all evening, but she held back from adding pressure to his already wavering spirit. “Your grandfather is right. You’re young. You will find love again.”

“I don’t think I will ever love anyone else as much as I love her.”

The words were like poison to Cersei. She allowed him room to feel the way he felt though it was surely at her dismay. She dropped her head with a solemn expression. “I will leave you to yourself to revitalise.” She silently glided out of his room closing the door behind her.

Cersei felt much contempt for the Tyrells. She felt that if Margaery and Olenna had not lied to him about how they felt toward him, he wouldn’t have been feeling the way he was feeling at that time. She also felt that she was at some fault of her own for allowing them to get so emotionally far with him.

Chapter Text

Later that night, Tywin made a phone call. “Everything you said would happen has happened. I must convey to you a job well done.”

“Entering into the next phase is to have the shares from the Tyrells to intermingle with yours.”

“That won’t be so easy.”

“I understand. It’s going to take some time for sure. There is nothing the Tyrells can do about it now because breaking ties with the Lannisters won’t look so good in the eyes of the people if they feel that the Tyrells are reneging by not offering all of their resources to help end the Day of Red Rain. Remaining in that marriage is the best thing for them to do. There are no other alternatives.”

“And now all I have to do is find a way to locate Sansa Stark and to have her hand over whatever stock she has left.”

“An impossible feat. No one has seen Sansa Stark in nearly half a year now.”

“And if we find a body?”

“It wouldn’t do much good. The North already suspects the south of misdeeds and hostility on behalf of their citizens. If either the north or the south find a miscellaneous body of a woman under either circumstances, the north is going to want proof of identity. They are no longer letting the south have their way with murder even if it is legal. After all, the violence has become widespread. It has reached into further territories in the north ever since the hostile takeover by the Boltons. The deaths have been double here than the last few years. You’d be careful as to mentioning the Stark girl’s name.”

“Well spoken. I’d be sure to keep that in mind. For now, I will focus on Tyrion. He has the resources and the wit to be an insider for me against the Tyrells. And for your loyalty, I will give you a percentage in the Stark Company as soon as Roose finishes requesting the shares of the previous board of the company.”

“I’m honoured.”

“We are now almost complete. We now have dominion over the south and the west and soon the entire north and east.”

“I won’t let your down. Soon, every company will bear witness the might of the family with the crest of the lion. I swear to all the gods. I swear it to you. And I swear it on my very life,” he spoke as solid as stone.

“I’ve heard nothing more loyal than your words, Baelish. I’ll leave everything else up to you.”

“Now worries. I’d rather die than let you down.” With his words, he ended the call. He smiled to the side of his face. He soon felt movements from behind himself as he sat on the edge of the bed dressed in a white shirt and black pants. His irises went to the right side of his eyes before he turned his head to the side to where he was looking.

Sansa was just coming awake. When she opened her eyes, she caught sight of Baelish whose face was turned to the side. Sansa couldn’t believe he was still there. She was expecting him to be gone by then. She closed her eyes again to feign sleep.

Baelish lifted from the bed, “I have somewhere to be. It won’t take long.”

Sansa felt it was of no use to continue pretending since he showed that he already knew she was awake, “And how long will it be that I’m stuck in silence with myself?” she spoke sarcastic yet tiredly.

Baelish remained silent for a time. Just after he placed on a leather jacket with a high collar, he answered her question, “A moment of silence is better than the silence of insignificance in this world. No one would be willing to be a voice for you unless you make one for yourself. You have the voice now. Don’t lose it.” And just like that, he was gone again.

 

Sansa just lied there, thinking about what he said. She hated to admit when he was right because it only meant that she would have to continue to work to take her company back from a hated family. Not only that, but it meant that she would be facing more peril in the future. She could only hope that the future wouldn’t be so dire that it cost her her life. Aside from the new thoughts of the consequences, she wondered how she could ever fall for a man who was always on the move and never in one place. She felt that she knew him some, but not enough. It made her feel even more foolish that she had again suckered herself to copulating with him another time.

In the end, she wasn’t so hard on herself. He was pretty much the only one she had to rely on at the time and he didn’t turn her away. She also felt that there was possibly no reason to not feel something for him. He was everything that she needed. He provided the aspects of everything that was missing in her life. He had the protection of a father, the wisdom of an uncle, the expectations of a teacher, and the embrace of a lover. How he played so many roles in her life so effortlessly was a phenomenon that she could not begin to explicate.

Sansa waited a while before she rolled off of her side into a sitting position. Again, her hips were sore. The soreness made her recall of how passionate that time was. She couldn’t help but smile. At the same time, she hoped again for the millionth time that she was making the right decisions. What she had to mentally prepare herself for was if Baelish was acting toward her the same way he was acting toward the Lannisters. The reality of it made her heart sink and skip a beat. She felt a wave wishful thinking against the worst. She later got out of bed, covering herself with the sheets, and went to the bathroom. After walking in, she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. The tears that had come from her eyes made the mascara she wore drip down the side of her temples like black tears. She paid it no never mind as she was going to clean her face in the shower. As the water hit against her, she had a thought that she hadn’t before. Of all of moments they shared with each other, Petyr had never told her once that he loved her. Ever. It made her question if he actually did. She wanted to cry, but held off when she realised that she had never told him either. Is this only a conditional thing? She asked herself. She pondered if he was holding back for the same reasons she was. After all, when she showed her willingness to submit to his advances, he relented for only a split second. Why did he do that? She inquired once more.

Chapter Text

The next day, Tyrion accompanied Loche at the gun range. Tyrion might have shot ten rounds from the same gun in a short manner of time. “I thought you might have wanted to upgrade from that old thing.”

“I don’t care about upgrading when I’ve been degraded of everything that I hold dear.”

“I wouldn’t say that. You’ve always wanted your father to give you more shares in the company and now you’ve got them.”

“But I don’t have Shae. I don’t have my name clear. As a matter of fact, I may never be able to clear it. Not after yesterday.”

“Listen to me Tyrion,” he spoke sympathetically—a rare thing. He couldn’t get his word across with Tyrion shooting the loud contraption. Loche grabbed his aiming arm to let him know to stop for a while. He continued after Tyrion furiously and nonchalantly dropped the gun. Loche proceeded, “You have the opportunity of a lifetime to take over your family business. You’re married to one of the most prominent girls in the continent.”

“But I don’t love her.”

“Who give a fuck about love? I sure don’t.”

“Everyone has to have some bit of love in their lives. That includes snakes in the woods.”

“Your problem is that you’re too soft and it’s clouding your judgement. Stop thinking about the girl who got away and focus on the girls you can get along the way. Sure you’re short, but no woman pays attention to features when you’ve got other amiable qualities to make up for it.”

“And what do I have to make up for it? The very same currency I am trying to escape? I’d only be digging a bigger hole for myself if I’m shown to be enjoying the cursed riches of the Lannisters.”

“Alright then, just work to keep your name in the clear, take as much money as you can, and run away from your life.”

“If I do that so soon, the people are going to wonder where the miniature groom went off to and how my actions can create conflict. There’s enough of that going on.”

“How can your absence create conflict?”

“Because everyone was hoping for a union between our families. I will be condemning myself as not giving a shit about the people and their needs and wants.”

“Alright then, fuck the people. Just leave.”

“I’ve told enough people to fuck off. I don’t quite have that many friends. Real ones to be frank.”

“Then get some elsewhere. Find your girl and get the hell out of the continent. People talk, but they can’t do anything about it.”

“I’m sure they can’t.”

Thinking about it for a while, Loche had an epiphany, “You’ve been criticised your whole life and you now have an opportunity to look good for a change. Even viewed as the hero who brought together the greatest dynasties.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You know very well what it means. It means that you’re seeking approval.”

“I’m not seeking approval from anyone.”

“Yeah, well, you sure are trying your hardest to find a way to sever ties without leaving a bad taste in the mouths of the people watching you. Face it, the people love you now. They’re not calling you half-man or pint size or a goblin for that matter.”

“I’m just like anyone else. I want security when I leave. If I want to be killed sooner, I’d point the gun to myself.”

“Well that’s why you’re learning this. To provide protection for yourself. You’re a much better shot now than you were when we started.”

“But what’s little me against thousands of them? Either way, I’m doomed.”

“True. That much is very true.”

“I suppose I’ll have a miserable marriage on my hands.”

Loche nodded in agreement.

 

Elsewhere when the sun began to go down, Baelish met with Olyvar at the entrance of the eastern border over the Bloody Bridge. “You told me that you wanted something to do.”

“I do, sir Baelish.”

“And I have an opening for you. You’d be sure not to let me down.”

“I won’t.”

“With my new incoming shares of the Stark stock, I’ll be able to make a few repairs. Of course, that won’t be possible without a trustworthy apprentice.”

“Whatever you ask.”

“Good.” he smiled with the personality of Littlefinger.

After Sansa had taken a shower, she ventured to the kitchen where she fixed herself a plate of two sandwiches, some chips, and a few pickles. She brought her food to her room and ate ravenously. All that was left was half of a sandwich, a pickle, and crumbs left behind from the chips. Afterward, she lied down for a spell. The sun had gone completely down and the house was very silent.

It hadn’t been too long when Baelish had returned. When he did, he went directly to Sansa’s room. Sansa didn’t even bother to close her door. She saw him as he meandered the jamb of her door. “There’s been a massive shift of new needs and wants since Tyrion’s marriage to Margaery.”

“New wants? From who?”

“The Lannisters have what they want. Now it’s time for the Tyrells to want something. I expect to be called upon sooner than later.”

Sansa furrowed her brows, “You’re leaving again?”

“While I’m not sure how long my services will be requested, I don't trust leaving you here alone. I’ll arrange for you to reside with your uncle Edmure for a time.”

“I don’t want to go to the Riverlands.” She blatantly denied.

“There’s would be nowhere else better. Here I can’t keep an eye on you.”

“So what, I’m not going to stay with my uncle. It’s bad enough I had to see for myself the kind of woman his sister is.”

“Your mother was also his sister. She turned out to be as sane as the accepted member of society.”

“I saw the way he acted when he came with my uncle Brynden. I know that people tend to take their frustrations out on you simply because of association. I don’t feel like being demeaned by my own blood for my company with you.”

“And what would you have me do?”

Sansa knew it was a daring command, but she went for it anyway, “Just take me with you.”

Baelish raised a brow, “You’d go back to the place where you’re wanted?”

“I don’t have to be seen by anyone.”

“There are cameras everywhere in Lannis-Town.”

“Do they have any cameras in your establishments?”

“I’m one of their elite deal brokers formerly treasurer. I can ask for my own privacy and no more for anyone else.”

Sansa read his face, “There is a way you can get me in there without anyone noticing. Have it however you want, but I’m not going where I’ll be given the cold shoulder. So it’s a win-win.”

“The city is dangerous. Even more so since the last time you’ve stayed there.”

“Then no one has to know I’m there.”

Baelish took her say into consideration. He didn’t like the idea but Sansa wasn’t relenting. He leaned against the wall to allow the idea to really set in his head. Sansa did not stir. She wanted to look like she meant what she said. Baelish exhaled a vexing breath, “This could be a suicide mission for the both of us if we don’t play it smart.”

“And I would have committed suicide if my uncle does anything spiteful.”

“And you know he’s spiteful for a fact?”

“I could see it when he was forced to make a deal with you. I saw it when he was shown to try to make a deal with the same family that murdered his own! If my mother knew they were no good, why would he deal with them?! I know it was a desperate move to prove my uncle wrong about you!”

Baelish was beyond impressed with her ability to read between the lines. He even grinned slightly. “And how could your stay there be used to spite me?”

“He’s desperate. He could blackmail me into giving him my shares so long as my identity is at stake and so long as you look to be the better choice for Tully and Sons. I’d much rather be with someone who isn’t desperate right now.”

“And you don’t think I’m desperate for something?” he challenged.

Sansa struggled to hold her gaze on his. “I know you wouldn’t have gotten me this far just to put me in harm’s way.”

Baelish couldn’t deny that she was right. Although he knew her motive was to avoid going off with strangers despite them being her family, she gave him something to think about. “Fine. But you’ll have to be ready to leave.”

“Fine.” She agreed.

Chapter Text

Just as Baelish suspected, he was called upon by the Tyrells the very next morning. Sansa, with her hair dyed black, wearing a beige blouse white leggings, white flats, and make-up, accompanied Baelish on the plane they took that delivered them to the Roaring Airport. “Keep your head down, look inconspicuous, and try not to look timid,” he lectured as they walked down the light yellow terminal.

“I got it,” she spoke as she opened up a small white case with a miniature mirror and contact lenses. She places the lenses into her eyes that made her eyes appear to be brown.

“Lannis-Town is known for having miscellaneous women working in odd places. You shouldn’t be questioned at all.”

“And if I am?”

“Relax. Don’t panic. Don’t look guilty. Say that you’re looking for work at the Titan’s Grace.”

“And you own that?”

“I do.”

Sansa’s mind wandered off to how many women he dealt with on a daily basis and how often he had opportunities to do whatever with them. Her change in demeanour was one that baffled Petyr. All he could do was raise a brow and shrug off her change in attitude. “What should I do when I get there?” she asked.

“Olyvar is here on business for me. So he should be available by the time you arrive.”

On the outside, Baelish and Sansa had to distance themselves to look like different passengers. Sansa took a taxi while Baelish was escorted into a gold van with a lion depicted on the two front doors.

When Sansa arrived at the Titan’s Grace, she expected the place to be old and worn down. When she pushed open the doors, the air was cool and refreshing aside from the disturbing smell of cigars and fine liquors. It was very clean on the inside. What caught her attention was the aquarium.

“I take it that you’re Alayne,” spoke a blonde bow with short hair and pale skin.

“I am.”

“I’m Olyvar, at your service. Right this way,” he led her to a room that was through a long hall and down the stairs. “I’ll be keeping an eye out on you for Baelish while you’re here. Some of the girls here are informed about you but they don’t know your real name.”

“You know my name?” Sansa sked, surprised.

“I do. But no worries, I won’t tell a soul.”

“How deep does your loyalty go for Littlefinger?”

“Fairly deep. I owe Baelish my life actually.”

“And you chose to work for him?”

“I did. At first, he was suspicious of me, but I proved my worth later on.”

“What did he do for you to owe him your life?”

“It was many years ago back when I was but a young one. I was on the brink of starvation that drove me to stealing a handful of bread rolls. I was going to be punished for thievery and then this strange man comes up to the baker and pays for me. Then he goes to tell the man that starvation is one of the worst punishments there was and that I was already suffering. When the baker left to resume his tendering, he looks at me and puts his hand on my shoulder, and then he told me that I had the choice of being a beggar and a thief all my life or to do something about it.

I don’t think he expected me to ask him for work, which I did almost immediately. He told me then that I had earned the record of being a thief and then he didn’t like them. I told him that I would do anything for him just as long as he promised to give me what I needed so that I wouldn’t have to steal. He later called me on my shrewd bargain and hired me. He said had it not been for my intelligence at such a young age, he wouldn’t have hired me because I would have proved to be of no use and a waste of an investment.”

“You call that saving your life? What if you weren’t intelligent?” Sansa doubted.

“That’s the thing. He told me that I would be able to come to him for things. Working with him took loyalty and it was the thieving part he was concerned with. Either way, I wouldn’t have had to starve. But he made sure that I knew that I couldn’t rely on him forever and that I had to make a living for myself. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Baelish isn’t the type to let others get too close to him.”

“I’ve noticed.”

Olyvar looked at his watch, “I promised to get you in safely, and now I must go.”

“Could you wait for a minute?”

“I have only a few seconds,” he smiled.

“Are there any…lovers of Baelish that I should know about?”

“Why do you say that?”

“I’ve experienced from my aunt that the presence of another woman is threatening. She’s threatened me before and I don’t want to go through that again.”

“For as long as I have been knowing Baelish, he has never had any interest in the women around him. In fact, the women who worked with him years before me reported no such thing and they talk about every man they’ve been with relentlessly. It actually made me wonder if he was in fact a queer how he was able to tolerate that much exposure and not be tempted. I found out the hard way that he wasn’t that type,” he giggled. “Don’t worry. You have no jealous women here to worry about.” He concluded. When he left, Sansa released the breath that she had no idea she was holding. She felt relieved. She also felt warmer toward Baelish.

She took a minute to view the room. It had a light grey paint, no windows, and mood-changing light, rough carpeting, a black couch, and a wall-mounted silver television. The carpet had pictures of mockingbirds as the pattern. She sat herself down in the partially empty room. “In this world, security is top priority. Not a bed, or a shower, or even a kitchen.” Over all, she couldn't believe she was back in Lannis-Town. It made her get nostalgic because it was the place where her family had lost their lives. She sunk down into the couch and began to imagine how things would have went differently.

Chapter Text

Baelish met with Olenna in the secret underground tunnel under Casterly Estate, “Tywin and his offspring expect that I will just quit after they’ve humiliated my granddaughter by marrying him to their imp beast. If only I could laugh at them because the shoe is actually on the other foot.”

“Tyrion is not like them…”

“I don’t care if he is or if he isn’t. Margaery deserves better than to look like the ringmaster married to one of her freaks on display. I just need this to be over with so she can regain her humility. But I fear that this marriage won't be enough.”

“How can I be of service to you?”

“I want for the Baratheon girl, Marcella, to wed my grandson, Loras.”

“The Lannisters won’t take too kindly to that,” he reasoned.

“I don’t care what they think. Loras is an attractive young man who has the talent of sweeping the girls from their feet.”

“As attractive as he may be described, you don’t want to result to desperation that appears that you would be willing to forcibly make a girl elope with a stranger.”

“Not if she falls madly in love with him.”

“Lady Olenna, Marcella has been with her uncle for a time since her father’s passing and it has been said amongst the family that shortly after her uncle’s death, she was escorted to Dorne since her arrival would have been on the Day of Red Rain. After, no one has seen or heard from her. This was hidden from the public since it would further shame them of being unable to protect their own.”

“And you have no way of finding her with your talents of knowing everyone’s secret?”

“A job for the master of secrets have no place in Dorne nor with the people if they are not Dornish themselves. They are a very proud people.”

“Well then what can you do?”

“You can always remove your problems. Tywin was the one who orchestrated the pair. Why not simply remove him from the picture come the Day of Red Rain and have Margaery and Tyrion annul their marriage and rematch the union between Tommen and your granddaughter.”

Olenna liked the sound of that, but she thought even further, “We are supposed to be against that bloody day. If we are shown to participate in it, no one will take our word seriously. Honestly, I thought you might have had a better plan for us to get Tyrion and Margaery out of this engagement without making us look like we were the ones who married in for shares and then murder.”

“It doesn’t have to necessarily be someone from the Tyrell establishment.”

“Then who? Illyn Payne? I do recall that he was strangled by some vocal device the very same night Sansa disappeared. No one really knew who he was so no one even dared to report his death.”

“Yet he was the one who helped us is our time of need. Illyn was constantly mocked by the Lannisters. They knew he couldn’t speak for himself so they hired him. Made him do their bidding with no question. And when the time came for him to work against the people who mocked his disability to speak, he wasted no time with a definite decision. He killed Joffrey Baratheon without a second thought.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that you would need an insider who hates the Lannisters. Someone with a small reputation.”

“And who might that person be?”

“You’ll know. Trust me.”

“And when can I expect so see some results? I'm sick of playing these charades of being the idiot who didn't know what the Lannisters were up to.”

“It may take a while, but you will get your answer. That’s only if nothing interferes with the plans.”

“I like that sound of that.”

“There is one other thing that I must entrust to you.”

“And what is that?”

“Sansa Stark has been shown hostility on behalf of her maternal family. She has next to no support in getting back her home.”

“And you would want me to support her? And what makes you think that I have any hope for her success? I’ll have better luck putting my money on a sick dog with the hopes of getting better. I do feel sorry for the poor girl, but Sansa is not fit for the world of business.”

“She can learn.”

“And how much would you like to bet?”

Baelish hid his smirk, “I’ll bet shares of High Garden, Inc. for the shares of Vale Valley.”

Olenna liked the sound of that. “You’ve got yourself a deal. I’ll expect to collect once this whole thing blows over.”

“And you know you’ll win?”

“I’ve heard that you weren’t very good at making bets. And Sansa…Sansa is too needy for a girl.”

“Alas.”

Olenna laughed in her throat, “I’ll be on my way. I want Tywin to be in the ground before this year is gone.”

“I’ll do what I can.”

When Olenna turned her back to him to leave the tunnel, Littlefinger smiled deviously before he, too, took his leave.

 

Later, Baelish met with Cersei in the garden of the Gold Tooth Mall. “I don’t know how much longer I can take the Tyrells tormenting me and my son.”

“The Tyrells will soon be a thing of the past.”

“I want to do something now. I wanted to take my vengeance on the Day of Red Rain but I don’t think I can wait much longer.”

“Patience is a virtue.”

“Patience is for people who let things get too far before nipping the source of the problem before it blooms and grows thorns around the roses. Someone has to prune those High Garden bitches down to size.”

“Let’s not get so hasty.”

“My father may be able to put up with them, but I can’t. As for my toad brother, he has more shares now than I do. My father already treats me like the weakest link of this family and Jaime is not here right now to support me.”

“Yes. I’ve heard that your brother went to find his niece. I wish him all the luck there is.”

“I’ve lost my shares, my influence, my children to death, whores, and predators; I’ve lost the place of the face of Lannister, Inc. to that pig-faced witch. I can’t lose anything else. I have to gain something! Now, before I lose my mind.”

“Things are going to change for the best. You are a lion, and a lion will always triumph.”

“You’re right. I think it’s about time to put my foot down somewhere.”

“But not too soon. Let’s see how everything works out.”

Chapter Text

Tommen found himself surrounded by the cameras as he worked to make it inside of Lannister, Inc.

“How does it feel losing your love to your uncle?”

“Are you upset about the decision?”

“What does this mean for your relationship with your uncle?”

“Have you considered someone else?”

“On a scale from one to ten, how hurt are you by the decision?”

“Do you have any hard feelings toward your grandfather?”

“Do you think that Tyrion had a secret thing for your ex-fiancé? He’s been known to get around.”

The questions did nothing more than upset Tommen even more. When he made his way to the inside, thanks to security, he paced miserably to the elevators to take him to the top floor.”

Varys and Tyrion were in the main room alone, speaking to each other, “You can take this opportunity to take Lannister, Inc. and turn it into something that the people have to look forward to.”

“Please, don’t give me that speech. Loche tried to tell me the same thing.”

“Shooting at the range isn’t going to solve your problems.”

“And neither is trying to take over my family’s business. Besides, the company has my family name but the Baratheons run it.”

“For now.”

“I only know now why my father allowed for Robert to be the face of the company. It was so he could blame most of the city’s problems on his idiocy when the city was first being shaped under the Lannister rule. And now he’s lost use for the Baratheon name and is trying to find a way to make the Lannisters a face for it again now that the smoke is clearing.”

“How right you are. But it has to be you to turn this company in another direction.”

“We have enough enemies, Varys. Me and myself anyway. Have you forgotten that I was the reason why the people stopped buying our security? I was kidnapped and if I can be of no safety to myself, how can I promise safety to others? My marriage to Margaery only tells them that I am willing to join the cause to end the Day of Red Rain. That’s all. That’s all the credibility that I have. Of course that credibility will be destroyed if I come out and say that it was my family all along and I knew it for years and decided to say something about it now.”

“I know it seems an impossible thing to do, but these people are afraid. The first sign of protection would do them good.”

“Then help me distance myself from my family without making me look like I am betraying a false cause and the will of the people to merge with High Garden, Inc.”

“I’m afraid I cannot do that.”

“Then you can’t help me.”

“You would have to find a way, Tyrion. You have the wits.”

“And I have the exhaustion of a horse beaten for ten leagues.”

“The time will come when you will liberate the people from the Lannisters.”

“So how do you know it will be me?”

“You’ve been among the people. You know how they feel and what they want. You also have the compassion to take over.”

“But I don’t want my family’s business. Not after I’ve discovered how tainted its history is. Even now I couldn’t blame a victim of the Lannisters wanting revenge, just as long as I’m not involved.”

“But Tyrion…” Varys broke off the moment Tommen entered into the room.

He and Tyrion caught each other’s glance for a split second before Tommen snatched away his gaze. He sat down trying his best to remain respectful of his dear uncle. He did think to himself that it wasn’t his uncle’s fault.

“Tommen,” Tyrion called softly, “I just want to tell you that Margaery and I have nothing going on between us. We still have separate rooms and no intent of making anything out of this marriage. If I can, I will find a way to bypass this marriage so that you two can be together.”

Tommen felt slightly better. He dared to look at his uncle with soft eyes, “I know, uncle.”

“No hard feelings?”

Tommen smiled, “No hard feelings.”

Tyrion smiled also, “Good,” he whispered as he nodded slow and smoothly, “Good.”

Tommen’s smile was diminished the moment his mother and grandfather entered the room. Cersei still felt remorse for Tommen while Tywin figured that he’d get over it. They carried on with their usual business with the exception of finding a place for Margaery on the board.

Chapter Text

Sansa--now lying on the bed that had been a part of the couch--was constantly disturbed by loud music and erotic sounds going on throughout the night. The walls did a good job with muffling the sounds to gibberish, but not good enough to keep the sounds completely out. The only thing she found likeable about the club was the food she had eaten there. Other than that, she had to deal with her uncomfortable surroundings and look to the bright side of it all. She knew she would be safer there than she would have been with her desperate uncle. Soon enough, sleep found her.

The next morning, Baelish was requested by Tywin Lannister at the company, “You wanted to see me, Sir Tywin?”

“I did. Have a seat.”

Baelish did as he was told. “Have I left anything amiss?”

“No. I just wanted to tell you personally that the taxes raised on the city did upset many of the people. In time, that anger died down and we have seen a positive increase in our surplus. Security pay has been trimmed only by a little and I’ve even shut down several other outside districts.”

“I take it that you now have better control over your jurisdiction.”

“I do. If I am to be an honest man, I have to admit that I do miss you as treasurer and still wonder if I made the right decision to send you off to become a part of Vale Valley.”

“You’ve made no mistake. Lysa’s reasoning has been altered by heavy drugs so much that she wasn’t willing to review the papers that I had her sign.”

“Papers?”

“Live documents to show where she willingly appointed me as the sole CEO, and if anything should happen her, I would preside over everything so long as Robyn Arryn has his fair share of inheritance. As of now, she has signed over complete ownership of the mansion.”

“That means…”

“It means that I own the mansion in writing now. I’ve been financing it through the times Vale Valley was suffering so I have a history with it.”

“So then, how do you know something is going to happen to Lysa Arryn so soon?”

“Lysa has proven to be a danger to herself. She already has previous records with the rehabilitation centre and they are not fabricated.”

“True.”

“Should I become accepted as the new CEO, you will have the largest portion of the company.”

Tywin smiled a great smile. “I suppose I did make the right decision. Very good, Baelish. You’re the only one around me who seems to be getting things done. If only you were a Lannister.”

“Please, you flatter me very much.”

“I should offer another reward out of sheer fair dealings. Is there anything you would like?”

“I’ve been having some trouble out of the Hill Squad Gang in the Valley. Perhaps some arsenal, particularly high explosives, would do me good to get them out of the area for good. Their influence is spreading beyond our control. Every day, there are new members. Specifically rebels of the Red Rain.”

“Done! Tell me what you need and I will draw up the order.”

It had been a week before Tywin had delivered on his word and verified Baelish’s request. He had received very powerful explosives to do with as he pleased to rid the Valley of the gang.

For a whole week and some days, Sansa did not see or hear from Baelish. For company, she had loads of interaction  with the girls in the bar only when they were not at their busiest. Amazingly enough, none of them were able to tell who she was. The disguise worked like a charm. When they would ask her questions such as where she was from, she would make up a story and tell them. She enjoyed that part the most. If anything, she loved to pretend. It made her efforts of hiding her identity that much easier. She couldn't remember what it was like to actually talk to other girls. Being there opened her eyes to the feminine touch she was missing. That was the only thing that Petyr did not have.

Later on that day, Olyvar had returned after, like Baelish, being absent for a week. “I hope you enjoyed your stay here. It looks like you will be leaving now.”

Sansa didn't want to show it, but she was actually sad that she had to leave. The week was long enough for her to relish being around her own sex for hours on end. During that time, they had taught her how to properly apply make-up as well as other feminine things. They were much more spirited than the girls up north. She bit her bottom lips before she spoke, "I did enjoy myself, thank you. But I can;t stay here forever."

Olyvar snickered. “So tell me, what plans does Baelish have for you?”

“Don’t know,” she spoke as she packed her things, “But I do know that I have no choice but to get my home back. He knows how to help me and I’m going to take all the help I can get. I don’t have anyone on my side right now except for him.”

“How are you liking your company with him? Usually women here tire of his company because he always has another idea for them.”

“I don’t trust Littlefinger,” she admitted, “But I trust there is something he can do to help me,” she spoke casually.

“I’ve heard that many times.”

When she finished her packing, she took her suitcase handle in hand and bade him farewell. The women cleaning up the bar smiled and waved to her, “I hope to see you again sometime, Alayne.”

“I enjoyed you too. I have to go now,” she smiled. Sansa climbed into the taxi that was waiting for her in front of the club. The driver put her things in the car while she took her seat on the inside. The cab brought her back to the Roaring airport just in time before her flight left. When she took her place on the plane, she reluctantly looked around to see if Baelish was anywhere on the plane also. The gold wall and the red seat made her ill-at-ease about being on the plane by herself. Although it had been a minute before she saw the Lannister’s signature colour, she was tired of seeing it already.

When the plane announced that it was ready for take-off, Sansa gave up on the idea that Baelish would be boarding the plane with her. Her mind was changed soon after she was joined by the one she was expecting. “Why did this take so long?” she asked without acknowledging him first.

“It’s like I said, new wants and new needs.” He whispered.

“And you’re just the worm to result to. Is there anyone else here who can do what you do?” she whispered back.

“I wouldn’t want to encounter such a character.”

“But you are that kind of character.”

“I am. But I wouldn’t want to deal with someone like me.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

Baelish looked at her in her false brown eyes, “It doesn’t make any sense now, but it will.”

Sansa gave up on trying to understand him. She turned her attention to the window of the plane. She thought about asking him what he had in store for the Lannisters, but she knew he would never answer her question. It made her think again about why he hated the Lannisters so much. So much that he was working that hard to go against them. She didn't know it, but her actions were done with much more femininity than before. It was the result of being at the Titan's Grace club.

Early the next morning, they had finally arrived back at the mansion. Sansa went upstairs immediately whereas Baelish did not. Sansa undressed from the evening clothes she was wearing. She yawned as she prepared to slip into her nightclothes. She didn’t feel like showering and made the decision to take one later that day. She unfolded her pyjama shirt to place it over her head and onto her arms. Without warning, her skin came into contact with something it wasn’t expecting. She jerked around and saw Baelish standing directly before her. She didn’t have time to react as she was engulfed in his embrace in one fell swoop. The touch from his hands on her naked ribs sent feelings throughout her body. He undid her brassiere before he adroitly moved his hands down her waist to remove her underwear.

She dug her fingers through his salt and pepper-coloured hair to deepen their already vigorous kiss. Again, she prepared to filled by him again. Sansa was soon finding out the not every time was the same as the last. This time, he stroked her with more passion and with more force. The force he put into his hips brought out louder screams from her. She felt like a rag doll from the way he gripped her hair and positioned her body in odd positions that was best fit for him. She heard him drawing hard breaths, even moaning from time-to-time, she felt his muscles active in his back, and she felt his teeth on her neck. He lasted for a long time. Longer than Sansa had thought possible for a man his age. Since she was already sleepy before, the vibrations and undulating lulled her to sleep the moment he ceased.

Sansa slept easy that night. There were no dreams, no inner thoughts in her sleep, it was just nothing. When she opened her eyes, light from the sun poured in. She thought it was her, but she could have sworn she felt light strokes on her shoulder. She moved her head to look to find Petyr still lying next to her. When he became of aware of her arousal, he brought his face to hers and kissed her gently on the lips. The hair from his moustache sent a prickling sensation to her skin. When he left from her side, she smiled peacefully.

Over the passing weeks, Sansa and Petyr had at least engaged in erotic intimacy once every few days. Eventually, their activities became regular—almost mundane—after Petyr had fulfilled most of his roles. All the while, Sansa learned how to be in control of the process with little to none of Petyr’s guidance.

Chapter Text

The public could see how distant Tommen had become from both his mother and grandfather. He had not come out into the public eye for nearly a month. The only time he did come out was when he had found out that that his sister had been discovered to have been dead for over a year. The news broke Cersei’s heart.

Jaime spoke to Cersei on how it all happened, “Dorne was thought to have been the safest place for her. We only found out through recent that Elaria Sand and her daughters were against Oberyn when he worked to keep the Red Rain ceremony from his continent. They murdered him shortly before they murdered Marcella. They hid it all, but they were caught. They’re going to pay with their lives for what they’ve done.”

“I want to see them burn alive for what they’ve done!” she wept. “I was hoping that she has at least run off with a poor boy,” she squeaked out. “I’d handle that before news like this. Who’s idea was it to send her to Dorne?”

“Tyrion thought it was….”

“Tyrion,” she whispered murderously. “He wanted this to happen to her.”

“Now Cersei, we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. I thought it was a good idea also. None of us could have known why she didn’t turn up. Rich girls do it all the time, they find a boy who is less than their rank, they run off for a few years, return with a few children, and expect for their new family to be welcomed by their parents. It’s sad that Marcella didn’t have this kind of outcome. My guesses were that she might have not have wanted to come home because of all the violence here.”

“I don’t want to wait for the Day of Red Rain, I want to see the sands burn in hell before me.” Again, she sobbed loudly, “Why her?”

“Unfortunately, Marcella witnessed them kill Oberyn and she knew why.”

“How did you find all of this out?”

“I took long to return because I wouldn’t give up on looking for answers. The Sands sisters were difficult to apprehend, but when we threatened one of them with a slow death, she squealed. She told everything. Her testimony immediately incriminated all of the Sands.”

“I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” Cersei walked out of the anteroom and went to the other side of the mansion in the library. She took a seat on the pear white couch and continued to grieve.

Tommen, who had heard it all, returned to his room to grieve also. First he had lost Margaery, and now he had lost his sister. His declining relationship with his mother and Grandfather was also a burden for him to bear. Already, he was experiencing signs of depression. Sadly, he didn’t know where or how to direct how he was feeling. The most he could do was continue to shut himself off without eating, drinking, or having a decent night’s sleep.

A ceremony was held in honour of her memory. It was all over the news, tabloids, papers, and more. The next few days, a hearing was put into place by the Lannister court district. Elaria Sand and her daughters were sentenced to death execution style. The sentence was carried the very next day. Even so, Cersei still had unrest. She began to drink and drink herself drunk nearly every night. It reminded her of Robert’s personality but she didn’t care. In her drunken state she relived in her mind the day he died and laughed at each mental replay. She was on the brink of losing her sanity.

As Cersei began to become sloppier by the day, Tommen and Margaery had become involved in several trysts. One night, she stole away in his bedroom and comforted him through his woes. Tommen, ever so vulnerable, resulting to sleeping his pain away with Margaery. Tyrion knew of their involvement and did not care one bit. He was too focused on his own losses—this included his niece, Marcella.

After the recent ceremony, the people again began to question the Lannister’s ability to protect the population. With Tyrion owning most of the shares now, his decisions proved to be just as crucial. The weight of it all caused him to drink even heavier. So heavy that he would be found passed out in the elevator of Lannister, Inc. or elsewhere. Tywin was upset at his behaviour and constantly antagonised him.

Olenna felt like she was losing again. Marcella would have been the perfect rebound for her family. Unfortunately, her death put a fork in her plans. All she had to really rely on was Tywin’s death, whenever that would have been. She only hoped that she would survive him being that they were both in their late years.

Chapter Text

Edmure Tully has officially been let go from Tully and Sons. Brynden, the black marketer, has stepped in his place as the new CEO and introduced the proposal of Tully and Sons merging with Vale Valley negotiated through COO Petyr Baelish.

The Golden Family has been feeling heat again right after they had a positive turnaround. Not to mention, are the scandals between Tommen and Margaery true? Many are wondering if Tyrion has developed some type of feeling for Margaery. If he has, could this result into a love-triangle?

High Garden had put forth more resources for the people needed to survive this year’s upcoming Day of Red Rain. Can Vale Valley and Tully and Sons merge fast enough to disperse more weapons to those whom are in great need of them? Will they be able to top Lannister-style arsenal? We’ll have to find out.

More news from the north, in Sansa Stark’s absence, Roose has official changed the entire company board and replaced them with his own men. His son, Ramsey, has now obtained the place of his COO. Time is running out for the Stark family. If they show no sort of intervention with the company, they are by default no longer the owners of Stark, co. It would be a forfeit by default. May have already reached a decision that Sansa Stark really is dead and rumour has it that she might have been a victim in the last Day of Red Rain—the same one where Joffrey Baratheon was also killed. There has been no news on Arya Stark either. The Lannisters swear that they were not involved with either Stark girl and no one else has come forth to protest otherwise. Can this be true? Are they deceased? It would not be too shocking since Marcella Baratheon was found to have been dead for over a year and her death concealed.

Sansa turned the television off. She had heard nothing good that whole time. It was awkward listening to news about herself because she knew she was alive and more than well. Petyr wasn’t there at that time. He had gone to visit Robyn who was still at camp. It was a visit that would only take a day. Even so, she didn’t like being in that mansion alone. Then it hit her. “This is my aunt’s mansion.” She recalled. The thought about her and Petyr having affairs in a house that belonged to her aunt had become unsettling. She was so used to the idea of only her and Petyr being there that she had forgotten that he did not live there but only remained there because she had asked him to.

Her stomach developed butterflies. She would have gone out to the lake to clear her head if it wasn’t raining. She was undeniably bored. The most she could do was read or either solve brainteasers that she enjoyed since she was a child. As time continued to pass, she grew tired of the riddles and began to count how far it was until the next Day or Red Rain. The event made her think about her time in The Golden City. She could vividly remember when her and Baelish’s relationship was not even set. He was just another body working for the Lannisters. Thoughts lead to another and she came to that same question she asked herself over and over again, “Why does he hate the Lannisters so much? Why does he even have a split personality? IF I were to guess he has at least…” she used her fingers to count while she named them in her head, “I’d say…three personalities and five roles. A father, a teacher, a crook, an uncle, and…” Sansa didn’t even bother to say lover. “Littlefinger is my teacher and uncle; Baelish is probably the fatherly type; and Petyr…” she sighed softly, “…I supposed he’s the boyfriend I never asked for.” Her mind wondered to his age. It was odd enough to even consider him as much when they had a 19-year age gap. Then she thought it wasn’t so bad because he didn’t give out—if anything, she had given up many times. He performed as if he was her own age. She could appreciate that.

What she really wanted to know was how long that bubble that contained them was going to last before someone came along and popped it? It seemed to her that every time she found some kind of happiness, it was always taken away from her. Just when she thought she could let her guard down, circumstances proved her wrong all the time. It was probably why she was not surprised that she would not admit whole heartedly her feelings toward Baelish. They had spent considerable time together, but he was still opaque. “I wonder what he’s hiding.” She whispered. “Obviously, I’m not the only one who has a guard up.”

After hours of holding a conversation and reasoning with herself, she turned on the television. It was breaking news. Disturbing news.

 

One day earlier, Tyrion and Margaery were surrounded by the paparazzi with each of them being in different locations; Tyrion was on his way to Casterly Estate whilst Margaery was just leaving the Gold Tooth Mall. Beginning with Margaery, they questioned as they surrounded her, “It’s been confirmed that you and Tommen were spotted near the Gold Bridge snogging and embracing. What do you have to say about that?”

“Are you aware that the public has deemed you to be unfaithful?”

“How does your husband feel about this?”

“Many are wondering if he may be too small to make you happy.”

“Is there anything you would like to say to refute these allegations?”

“Are the pictures real or fake?”

“Are you and Tommen having a secret love affair?”

Margaery ignored them all. She pushed her way through them to get into a car to escort her back to the mansion.

As Tyrion worked his way through them, they all stooped down and hunched forward to get a good shot of Tyrion as he paced roughly.

“Tyrion, how do you feel after Margaery’s infidelities?”

“Does this mean a divorce for you?”

“You are now being mocked because you can’t secure the people because you can’t secure your marriage. This is the third security issue that you have brought upon the Lannister family. How do you feel about this?”

“How do you feel knowing it was your nephew who cheated with your wife?”

“The Public has seen you and Margaery together many times. Are you in love with Margaery? How do you feel knowing your nephew is still in love with her?”

“Are you upset about their involvement?”

Tyrion wanted to answer some questions, but he knew they would only become twice as giddy if he were to answer only one. He dismissed the question and carried on to the gates to the estate. Tyrion saw his father and sister standing before the grand stairway in confrontation position, “I don’t want to hear it. Any of it!” Tyrion exclaimed.

Cersei spoke to Tyrion’s back once he had carelessly passed them to continue to the rest of the house. “You were supposed to be good at handling whores. Why not this one?”

“Because your son loves her!”

“And what if he didn’t? Would you still give her a good time in the bedroom?”

“Even if Tommen didn’t love her, I still wouldn’t have touched her!”

Tywin intervened in the conversation that had then been moved to the table in the dining area. “Still have feeling for a foreign whore do you?”

“She’s not a whore?”

“Is she?”

“She only came here for work!” Tyrion defended.

“You cannot justify the tendency of a philanderer. What you can justify is that Margaery and Tommen have no such relationship.”

“You know as well as I do that they are involved!”

Cersei hated the sound of that, “Don’t say that in my presence.”

“Even as partially bright as you are, you know that Margaery has struck gold in your son’s bed!”

“That’s enough!” Cersei screamed.

“Quite right,” Tywin spoke next.

“I can’t wait for the day when I find a way to distance myself from you and I will tell everybody everything about the shit that the Lannisters has put out for ages. I don’t care how I get out of the marriage, I will.”

“And you won’t!”

“Says who?” Tyrion demanded to know.

“Says me. I know exactly where your whore is. I also have people surrounding her. With a single word, she will be gone from this world and she will die knowing that your loyalties remain with only one woman who is Margaery Tyrell of High Garden, Inc.”

Tywin’s words bit hard. Every day, Tyrion found less and less willpower. He knew that Shae might have gotten out of the city too late. He soon rued his decision to just run away despite the dangers that would follow him. Tyrion could only drop his head. “I won’t be in this marriage long. Believe me, I will find a way to reach my freedom.”

“Only if you were taller,” Cersei taunted.

Tryion had nothing further to say. He carried on out of the mansion through a place where he only knew in order to bypass that crowd that was relentless in finding answers to their many questions. Tyrion hung out all day and night at miscellaneous places.

Chapter Text

When Tyrion met up with Loche, Loche looked him over from top to bottom, “You look like shit.”

“I feel like shit,” he confirmed.

“Put them hand-in-hand I guess that does make you shit.”

“Thank you for noticing.” Just after he spoke, he began to regurgitate onto the floor of the range.

“Too much to drink?”

“I’m not dead yet so I haven’t had enough," he retorted while wiping his mouth. "It’s like a nightmare I can never wake from.”

“You should have left when you had the chance. It would have been better for you to be looked at as a traitor in the people’s eyes than to try to adhere to fucked up expectations.”

“So true.”

“You should get home. You don’t look well.”

“Has anyone ever told you that you sound extremely creepy when you’re concerned?”

“I’m not concerned. You’re just annoying me. There are better things in life than to just sit and drink yourself dumb.”

“Oh if I annoy you so, why not just return to the north unless you were fired by the Boltons,” he snapped.

“I was.”

Tyrion raised his brows, “Oh. Well then, find another job that includes more than just shooting blanks at targets.”

Loche breathed a sharp breath through his nose, “I have a job. The only thing left for me to do is do my job while you do yours.”

“And what job is that? Getting tormented by everyone around me? I’m really good at that. I should be looking forward for a promotion.”

“Fine then. Stay here a while.” Loche grabbed his dark green leather jacket and left Tyrion drunk and to himself.

When it was dark, Tyrion, sloppy and with the stench of liquor in his hand and on his body, stumbled inside of a taxi to take him home. He threw the gates opened and left it that way. Before entering into the house, he vomited yet again. He let his empty bottle smashed to pieces on the ground. He heard negotiating and plans coming from the dining room where they usually held their meetings. He shrugged them off because he didn’t want to hear anything they had to say.

Olenna was arguing with Cersei over the affair between Tommen and Margaery. Tywin and Jaime intervened when they needed to. Jaime stood in between both women who threatened to jump on each other if not prevented from doing so. Out of respect, Margaery nor Tommen was not there. “None of this would have happened if you had done a better job of keeping your granddaughter on a leash and her legs closed!”

“If you had trained your boy to be stronger in the mind, he wouldn’t have been so weak to submit to activities that could ruin his name!”

“He hasn’t ruined anything!”

“I just forget that you were too thick-headed to know anything. This affair has struck you in the pockets for the last time and now it is affecting mine!”

“You’ve never been faithful from the day you stepped onto our property! You wanted Lannister, Inc. for yourselves but we won’t let you have it!”

“Do you have proof!”

“I have all the proof I need you shrivelled prune!”

“So says the lioness with who no longer roars beauty!”

Cersei was about to throw her goblet at Olenna when Jaime intervened.

“ENOUGH OF THIS!” Tywin exclaimed. “We are all in a crisis. Fortunately, it is one we can dig ourselves out of in a timely fashion. All we need is cooperation.”

BOOM!

The party raced up the stairs to find out where the sound had come from. Another gunshot was heard. Glass shattered on the floor. Every ducked down. Proceeding with caution, they advanced to where the shooting was coming from. Shocked and lost for words, they saw Tyrion standing over Margaery’s body with a gun. Blood from the now dead girl spewed on the marble floor in the hall.

Tyrion’s eyes were wide opened. Olenna, being the last to show up, pushed them aside. Her face turned as pale as the snow when she saw the corpse of her granddaughter. Hey eyes fogged with tears and she wearily made her way to her body that was lying in between the hall and her room. Olenna placed her hand on her chest where she was shot.

Tommen, arriving soon afterward, rushed down the hall to her room. Cersei tried to keep him from looking but he pushed passed her anyway. One look at her body sent so much shock to him that he passed out. Cersei went to comfort him.

Tyrion, still holding the gun after inspecting it, looked at his family. Jaime had a look of ‘this doesn’t look so good’ while Tywin’s expression was an ineffability. Through the exchanged looks, Olenna cried out loud and Cersei attended to Tommen.

Chapter Text

Tyrion through his drunken state had become aware of what might have been going on through the minds of everyone staring at him, “If you believe this is my doing, you are wrong!” he worked to exonerate himself.

“I want him arrested!” Olenna called out through her woes.

“I had nothing to do with this!” Tyrion yelled.

“You were the only one in the room before we came,” Tywin told him.

“I was on my way to my own room when I heard the shot. I’m drunk, I admit it, but I got here as fast as I could to see if I could catch who did this.”

Cersei spoke next, “Save what you have to say in court because I want you out of this house. You can’t be trusted. For all I know you could come after my son.”

“That is preposterous!” Tyrion yelled.

“Know this Tyrion, there is no way for us to come to the conclusion that you were innocent unless we deal with it in the court. It was the blood of the Tyrells that died, and it is blood of a Tyrell that wants you arrested.”

“But father,” Jaime spoke, “Tyrion isn’t a murder. He doesn’t even know how to use a gun.”

“You’ve been gone for a long time Jaime. Tyrion has had much experience at the gun range.”

Jaime’s eyes opened wide. He looked to Tyrion who was now looking at him. Jaime didn’t know what else to say. All he knew was that everything at that moment pointed against Tyrion. Tywin went into his pocket and called for the security around the house. After he made the call, he spoke to himself out loud, “Apparently having thin security in absence of the Day of Red Rain is not such a good idea after all. It’s a shame that we lost some of our best men the previous year.” Tywin walked away from the sight and went off elsewhere.

Tyrion did not like the idea of getting arrested. “You can’t just send me off for something I didn’t do!”

“Don’t try to resist, Tyrion, “Jaime spoke softly to him.

“Are you protecting him?!” Cersei questioned with confusion, “Haven’t you forgotten that socializing with the guilty make you guilty also?”

“Something else might have happened,” Jaime tried to reason.

Olenna did not feel like hearing the bickering among the three Lannisters, “Will you all just get out! Leave me!”

Jaime gave Tyrion one more look before he helped to scoop up Tommen’s unconscious body. “Don’t try to resist Tyrion. If you show that you’re willing to be questioned, you might just take some of the heat off of you.”

Tyrion’s heart was racing, but he knew that Jaime was right. Cersei knew it also, which was why she purposely brushed her shoulder spitefully against Jaime who was now carrying Tommen. Jaime felt sorrow for Tyrion and Tyrion felt as if his foundation had been pried from underneath him.

The guards—on Tywin’s command—apprehended Tyrion. Tyrion did his best to show no resistance. He knew in his heart of hearts that he was not the culprit. Just when Tyrion was in custody, Margaery’s body was removed from the house and was being prepared to be transported back to her home town. Olenna packed her things solemnly as she planned to go back with her granddaughter.

Tommen was filled with sorrow. He cried ever so hard—his mother blamed Tyrion for the cause of her son’s woes. Cersei also hoped that Tyrion would falter in his trials since it meant getting back her shares. Tywin felt that Tyrion was a lost cause anyway. Also, he was delighted to know that if Tyrion was found guilty, he would have no other choice but to strip him of the shares that he had gotten, and the shares from Margaery since their marriage was non-prenuptial and she was now deceased. He had gained more that he had lost. He sat at the head of the table at Casterly Estate in the early morning—right after the sun had come up. He sat alone, and toasted himself before he drank. He sat down comfortably, “The weeds are being eradicated,” he spoke to himself.

All morning, reports poured from everywhere. Tyrion was highlighted as a criminal. People drew conclusions that he wanted his family to fail and that he plotted against the city. Tyrion had no choice but to endure the yelling of questions that came from every which direction. He was used to having the cameras flashed in his face, but not to the extent to where the cameras flashed directly in his eyes. People nearly trampled over him trying to get a word. The police broke up the crowd and delivered Tyrion inside of jail that was in the centre of the city. He was placed in a temporary cell until his hearing. While on the inside, he felt all hope leaving him. His heart was heavy and he had no support other than Jaime who seemed to be the only one who believed that he was not guilty.

 

At the same time on the Bloody Bridge, Baelish stood there…waiting for the second party to arrive. He had told Sansa that he would be meeting with Robyn that day. A half-truth. He stood with his hands in the pocket of his grey trench as the wind blew the smell of morning in the air. It was quite cold and the light grey stones of the bridge was wet with dew. At last, after minutes of waiting, the second party arrived.

“You said you have something to tell me in person?” spoke the man.

“I do. But first, I have to tell you congratulations. Only, the Tyrell girl wasn’t supposed to die. I only wanted her grazed so that she and he grandmother could reconsider their alliance with the Lannisters and work with me to expose them. With her murder, I can expect that her grandmother is not going to forgive this. It's a bridge burned permanently.”

“She saw me. I didn’t mean for her to, but she did. I had no other choice.”

“I was told that you were great with stealth. It’s why I proposed that you be the one to do it.”

“Listen, I don’t take orders from you. I take them from Roose.”

“Who hired you under my impression.”

“Is that all you wanted me for?”

“I did. There’s no sense in having the wrong people hear. The bridge…it’s very long in length. Half a mile. Would you like to know why they call this the bloody bridge?” he began.

“No. I didn’t come here for a fucking bedtime story.”

“So be it.”

“And I should be on my way. Forgive me for the mess.” He turned away as a means to break the conversation.

Baelish smiled and went his own way, “There is one thing you should have taken in mind, Loche.” Baelish called.

Loche turned around agitatedly to receive the message. Upon doing so, a loud bang rang through the everlasting green lands. Loche was shot in the chest. He gripped his cavity and coughed blood. “They call this the bloody bridge because in old times, when you wanted to run away from your enemies, this was not idealistic. There’s no way around this bride to escape your fate. And the fall is more than 600 feet deep. And when people fall…” he aimed higher at the man who was gasping for air, “people forget about them.” He pulled the trigger again, sending Loche’s now lifeless body over the edge.

Baelish put the safety lock back on the gun before placing it in his pocket. Before long, he made another call, “Loche was successful. He’s sure to make it out of Lannis-Town alive.”

“So I saw. I expect I will be receiving my reward?”

“Let me handle that. I can’t guarantee when I will be able to deliver.”

“And I can’t guarantee that I will unveil your shady business if I don’t see my payment.”

“Of course.” Baelish hung up the phone. More thoughts were swimming in his head.

Right when Baelish left the bloody bridge, his phone rang again. “What?” he answered.

An angry and cracked voice sounded on the other end, “Things weren’t supposed to go this way, Littlefinger!”

“I do apologise for your loss. It should have been Tywin, not Margaery.”

“I’ll never forgive myself for listening to you. You put my granddaughter into this mess!”

“We both thought that Tywin would have been removed by now. If I should tell you, I will. I had someone from the north working to take Tywin down. I heard that he had spent considerable amounts of time with Tyrion. It’s possible that he might have figured that helping Tyrion was better than taking orders. Who could blame him? The Lannisters are very rich. Very powerful. Making them even more powerful would have only made him all the more powerful. Loche was fixated on crime; however, they were crimes that were committed within his alliance. Now that I think about it, he might have felt compelled that helping the Lannisters would allow him to continue unfavourable things that aren’t allowed in the north. I don’t know if I’m right. That is the only motive I could think that he had to do what he did.”

“You should do a better job of recruiting loyal people!”

“I misjudged his northern background where loyalty is a must. I thought perhaps he wouldn’t have been tempted by the southern culture. This was a mistake.”

“One I will never make again. I’m done dealing with you Baelish!” she yelled before she hung up.

Baelish hung up his phone also. “Lame-minded high-born,” he smiled, “You make this too easy. You should have signed a prenuptial agreement.” He carried on to pay a visit to Robyn at camp.

Chapter Text

Sansa couldn’t believe what she had saw on the television. It seemed only yesterday that she and Margaery were conversing with each other. Even more shockingly, Tyrion was implemented in the murder. She listened to what the evening news reported.

They say that Tyrion was found in the room where Margaery lied dead with the gun in his hand. There is going to be an expeditious investigation demanded by Olenna, her son, Mace—father of Margaery Tyrell, and her grandson, Loras—brother to the late Margaery Tyrell. The people are rioting in the streets, breaking car and house windows and raiding small stores. They feel that the Lannisters can no longer help them when there is so much conundrum taking place inside of the mansion of Casterly Estate. We have all been waiting to get word back from Cersei and Tywin.

Furthermore, the young lion, Tommen, has yet again to disappear from the world. He has not come out of his home nor has he made an appearance elsewhere. Tyrion is in custody and hasn’t spoken against anything that has happened. The only word we heard from the entire family was from Jaime Lannitser who is hoping that his brother is not guilty of the crime committed. One would have to ask, if not Tyrion, then who? Who could have slipped passed the Lannister threshold without them knowing? To stack evidence against Tyrion, he has been seen to have been at the gun range several times. Could this have been his motive this whole time? We’ll have to wait and see.

After Sansa heard the news, her mind immediately went back to the time when she first escaped Lannis-Town. At once, she had her own speculations. The only one she knew of to be close enough to the Lannisters to make that happen was none other than Petyr Baelish. Her gut was tingling. If he was behind it, she didn’t know how she would have been able to process it. It was the very same situation she feared happening not long ago. Whose side was he on? She soon began to become uncomfortable in her own skin.

The television continued to sound the news and she continued to watch, horrified and spooked. She bit her thumb’s nail and quivered ever-so slightly. There was tension in her shoulders and she could not make herself relax. She tensed even more when she heard footsteps on the carpet and then unto the hard kitchen floor. She tore her face from the screen to look at the man she guessed had a role in all of it. Her face did not hide where she had shifted her blame. Clearly, it was a stare that Petyr himself understood.

He came closer and stood beside her and watched the television also. He did this in spite of her cold stare at him. Sansa stiffened, folded her arms, and cleared her throat, “Who else could have gotten that close to the Lannister estate to make that happen?”

“The Tyrells bit off more than they could chew. Tywin was eager to have them erased from his view. I can imagine how happy he is now that the Tyrells are gone leaving a piece of them behind.”

“What piece?”

“The same would have been done with you had you still been there.”

Sansa’s blood ran cold and then hot. “I know," she answered in a low crescendo.

“From experience, can you guess why Margaery died?”

Sansa thought for a second, “Because when your spouse dies, everything they have goes to the partner. And I’m guessing that the Lannisters have shares from High Garden now and that there’s nothing that the Tyrells can do about it. What about Tyrion?”

“Tyrion, I’ve heard, has been wishing to remove himself from his family. He’d be wise to take this turn of events and make it into his advantage.”

“How? The people are furious at him.”

“I know. But it’s a good thing that they are furious at him. They’ve already begun to separate him from his family. Right now, the Lannisters are being viewed in a neutral light while Tyrion is being viewed negatively. And when the tables turn, well…” he broke off.

“You know who did it, don’t you?” she looked at him with a stern expression although he was still facing the television.

“Tyrion has been dissociated from the Lannisters. He would be looked at as the source of their problems. As a conspirator at the most. It would make the people of Lannis-Town trust the Lannisters even more now.”

“How do you know?”

“Everything’s that’s happen with them has always been linked to Tyrion. With him out of the way, it leaves room for the Lannisters to show that they can do better without him.”

“If you are really working against the Lannisters, why did they gain more strength from this rather than getting weaker?”

“Do you remember when I told you that a strength is a weakness?”

“Yes.”

“They think they’re strong without Tyrion.”

“By that you mean that they’re…weak without him,” she raised her brow. When Baelish smiled, she became more stumped than ever. “So why are you doing this? What do you get out of all this?”

Again, Baelish answered with his wonted reply, “Everything,” he spoke when he looked at her at last.

Sansa kept her brow raised. His answer sounded distant and so unclear. “I suppose this ‘everything’ is worth dying for?”

“I’d do anything to get what I want.”

“Even risks?”

“Risks are a part of living. And yes, even risks.”

Something about his demeanour swiftly turned ominous. It was a feeling that she had once gotten from him when she saw him shoot Dontos. When Baelish raised his hand to her cheek, Sansa turned away from him. “I need to get cleaned up. It’s late and I’m tired.” She walked swiftly away from him. For all the time since she had been there, it was the first time she was able to turn him down. It wasn’t due to loss of feelings—the kerfuffle of events put her off of any good feelings. In the back of her mind, she knew Baelish had little or something to do with it.

Chapter Text

For a fortnight, Sansa showed no interest in Petyr. She spent most of her time on the outside of the mansion among the lake or somewhere else. She told herself that she was falling for a dream. She wanted to believe that there was good in him. Enough to humanise him. She feared that he might have been a cold-blooded individual who didn’t care about anyone else. Other times she felt that Baelish could be warm and caring if he tried hard enough. She was able to give him the benefit of the doubt considering his fractured psyche. If he had something to do with Margaery’s death, she would blame that much on littlefinger. Overall, even if his different personalities influenced his decisions, she wanted to know if it would be safe to be around him.

All the while Sansa was feeling this way, Petyr had been becoming more and more acquainted with the board of Vale Valley, even managing to propose more efficient ideas that Yohn Royce himself could not deny. His prominence grew. When the decision had come for them to decide who would do the company better, all but Royce declared for Baelish. Before long, Baelish presented to them the papers that Lysa had signed, indicating him as the new CEO. With the finalisation, Petyr had officially become The Head of Vale Valley. Since that decision, the partnership between Vale Valley and Tully & Sons made remarkable progress.

After the positive progress, Baelish received the call that he was waiting for. “I know what you’re about to ask and I was going to tell you. But my hands were a little bit tied as you can see.”

“Something had better have happened to that Stark girl to make me think twice about your dealings.”

“I trust that you recall me telling you that the girl was of a dim wit.”

“I do.”

“As it turned out, Sansa was being held in secrecy in the Riverlands. Who I thought to have been Sansa Stark actually turned out to be a girl named Alayne Stone pretending to be the Stark girl. After I merged our companies, I gained more insight. Edmure was so afraid of losing the company that he was willing to forge a Sansa Stark and have her forge false shares to him to make it seem as if she wanted for him to run Stark, co. instead. When I gave him the ultimatum to tell me what happened to his niece or to be exposed, he told me that Sansa Stark had not been very compliant and that she attempted to run away when he caught and accidentally killed her with an overdose of sedatives. He told me he burned her body to hide evidence so that he wouldn’t be discovered and questioned.”

“Tell me, Baelish. Don’t you find it strange that a stranger can forge Sansa’s signature?”

“Sansa left from the northern continent at a young age. She has no signature to forge. If Edmure was able to go through with his plans before I discovered it, the signature of the false Sansa Stark would have been the very first legitimate signature under her name in truth.”

“What a shame. And I was so looking forward to obtaining the company to have more legitimacy sooner rather than later. Note, if she was still alive, she could have reclaimed her company before her time on contract expired.”

“There’s no need to worry about that now.”

“I suppose I can take her death as payment. Either way, I’ll be the sole owner of the business. That is considering when Tywin will meet his end.”

“It’s going to happen.”

“There is one other thing. Loche has yet to report back to me. He should have been back ages ago.”

“Loche was supposed to return directly to the northern continent to evade capture. That was your order to him, was it not?”

“Yes, it was.”

“He has spent considerable time in the south where loyalty is fickle. You don’t think…that…”

“As much as I’m afraid to admit, it is quite possible. Loche was good at mind games. That’s why I liked him so much as an undercover agent for me.”

“I’m sure he’ll turn up soon,” Baelish’s voice sounded worried while his grin said otherwise. He ended the call there. He lied the phone face down on the desk before again taking to his tasks beforehand.

He had been hard at work over the paperwork it took to combine the company’s assets and to figure out how to move the money around between the two entities. Sansa witnessed how hard at work he was and couldn’t help but be drawn to him again. It was something about his persistence that both annoyed and attracted her. She also admired the amount of room he had given her to even her thoughts without pressuring her or chiming in and trying to persuade her. It was enough to even make her respect him in some ways.

Thought it had been a while, she ventured into her aunt’s room. She picked up the picture of Petyr that she had saw before. Again, she wondered why there were tears in his eyes. She thought that maybe there was a connection between that moment of his life with the way he was at present. She placed the picture back down on the stand, hoping that one day he would tell her for himself what he was feeling.

Later on that night, while Baelish was working on creating more contracts and signing contracts, Sansa entered into the guest room silently. He paused what he was doing to look at her. He needed not to speak for Sansa to understand his question. She knew from his stare that he was asking her what she might have wanted or needed. She didn’t say anything. The only thing she did was walk casually and slightly confident to him. Petyr didn’t know her intension until after he felt her knees touch his as he sat in his chair. Still, both remained as quiet as the night. Not many seconds had passed by before Sansa spread her knees apart to straddle him. She put both her hands behind his head and placed her mouth on his. There was no resistance from Baelish whatsoever. The kiss was slow, the caresses were slow, yet their hearts beat fast. Their movements were almost teases. Sansa moved her hips and rocked against him. There was no denying that he was in the mood.

Petyr applied pressure to her lower back to augment his pleasure-thrilled nerves. Sansa’s hands moved from the back of his and unto his shoulders as she crossed her arms over his cervical vertebrae. She pressed harder added with his pressed as she continued to rock against him. The pace they had begun accelerated gradually. Baelish undid his belt and fly. The fact that Sansa wore nothing under her skirt that time made for easy access.

They had been deprived of each other for so long that they gripped each other with a hunger…a thirst. Sansa gasped loudly when she was taken by him. One of her hands left his shoulder to grip the back of the office chair while her other arm moved down to his back for support. Although she was met with some pain, she continued to grind on him. Petyr rested his neck against the top of the chair and allowed for Sansa to bury her chin in his neck. It did not take long for Sansa to set a moderate rhythm. Not long after, the first few beads of sweat aroused from their skin.  Sweat rolled down Petyr’s temple. He felt even more pleasure when Sansa gripped and tugged his hair. Sansa was an amateur for sure, however Baelish was impressed albeit surprised by how she was able to work him as hard. Especially in a chair. Needless to say, he devoured every minute of it.

Chapter Text

It had been two months and Tyrion’s trial had now come. Before then while he was still in his miserably blue-green coloured cell, he been given many physicals and miscellaneous tests were run on him. Now out in the open and into the light, he was escorted into the high-ceiling circular room of the court with Pillars appearing with gold trimmings decorating the circumference. Cersei and Tywin stood opposite of Mace and Loras. Olenna was not present for she was too grief-stricken to have come.

Jaime was one of the guards there to keep everything in order. As soon as Tyrion’s face appeared before the crowd, the people booed and cursed at him. The judge, small in size, average stature, grey hair, and bushy eyebrows, hit a golden, sparrow-shaped gavel against the desk to beg silence. “Now then,” he started, “we have the accusers standing before the accused?”

“We do.” Jaime replied.

He looked over and down from the high, marble podium to look at Tyrion. Tyrion was a mess. His clothes were unkempt, he had grown small fuzz around his chin, and his posture was one that was uncaring. “Good,” spoke the man. “And this case is in regards to the death of Margaery Tyrell. Have you anyone to represent you, Tyrion Lannister?”

“Unfortunately.” He spoke low but audible.

“Okay then. You’ve been accused of murder of your late wife. Do you refute this?”

“Will all my life, I do.”

“I object,” Cersei called. “My brother has been careless with his words. He told my father and I both that he would have done anything to get out of his marriage. When we walked into the room, he was there holding a gun.”

“I was inspecting it!” Tyrion shouted.

“Fine," said the judge, "During your time in custody, evidence was collected against you. From the analysis received, they all point directly against you.”

“How is that possible? I don’t even know who it was. And if it was me, I would have been a little smarter than kill someone in my own home.”

“Judge,” Loras called, “My grandmother told me that Tyrion Lannister was highly intoxicated when they found him. I heard about the things going on between Tyrion and Tommen and he might have wanted to get rid of my sister because of jealousy!”

“Jealousy!?” Tyrion was astounded to hear.

“And you all agree?” asked the judge.

Tywin nodded, “Aye. Tyrion was intoxicated. After he was apprehended the tests showed where he had high level of substances than the average intake.”

“And do you believe Tyrion might have been disoriented and thought he had seen someone else?”

“His wife was having an affair with his nephew, my son,” Cersei answered, “and he couldn’t stand it. I’m sure you all know of his reputation with the women in this city.”

“Will you listen to yourselves? I never loved her. You all forced me to marry her!”

Tywin spoke next, “You know very well that we did it for a cause. But of course you put your wants before the people of this city because you don’t care about anyone but yourself.”

The crowd cheered Tywin’s words and immediately shifted their enthusiasm from praise to degradation the moment Tyrion began speaking, “Why couldn’t you have just left the arrangement the way it was before? None of this would have happened!”

Cersei frowned while she spoke, “Please spare us. It wouldn’t have been long before you found a way to sink your claws into her as you do with every female that walks in your path.”

The people cheered her on. Jaime could see that no one in that room was on Tyrion’s side. The evidence, however, put him in a dire situation. First, they presented pictures of him at the gun range with the same gun recovered at the scene. Next, lab results came back to show that he did have gun powder burned into his skin that night and was freshly there. Next, his timing of arrival at the mansion put him in the hot seat of the investigation. The mentioning of his levels of sobriety made things continue to go downhill for him.

Proof that he was with another woman before Margaery and the ironic disappearance after Margaery came across as if he had left the other woman for Margaery. This gave more motive to the action that he was accused of taking. Even worst, the investigators said that the angle from which Margaery was shot indicated that it was a man of small stature that shot her. Had the man been taller, the bullet recovered from Margaery would have had at least a 180-degree angle. Being that it wasn’t the case, all of the evidence stacked against him. In the midst of the accusations, Tyrion realised then that it was Loche who had set him up.

After hearing all of the evidence and testimonies, the judge silenced everyone to give his say, “I can’t say that this is looking too good for you, Tyrion. Everything here says that you were the one who committed this crime.”

Tyrion was so mad that his face was red. He was near to tears but held them back. Jaime could bear to hear the trial no longer and excused himself. Tywin saw how upset he was. He only sat there, watching Jaime exit the building.

The trial carried on for days and the resting period was even longer. Tommen did not attend either session. Finally, after nearly two weeks of review, the judge had reached a final decision that everyone awaited to hear. Jaime told Tyrion before the verdict that he convinced his father to lighten his sentence from a fatal one. Thus being warned, Tyrion awaited his newly arranged sentence. “Tyrion Lannister has not only been accused of murder, but also of conspiring against his family’s company, and the citizens of Lannis-Town. This court hear-by sentences Tyrion to fifty years behind bars.”

Even though it was not death, the years were still long. Tyrion was so shocked and angry that he could have killed. When he saw the smile that came across his father’s face, he knew it was what his father wanted. He knew that his father knew that he was not the one who had committed that murder. Alas, it was far too late for Tyrion to do something about it. He was cuffed and taken away to be incarcerated for a very long time.

Jaime was upset over the decision, “How could you allow them to give Tyrion so many years? Especially since it can’t be proven that it was him.”

“The evidence clearly says so.”

“I know Tyrion. He doesn’t harm innocent people, father!”

“The Tyrells were far from innocent. They wanted to take over our company! I have to say that I am not too proud that the Tyrell girl is dead. But they chose their fate when they dared to mess with the Lannisters.”

“Did you order her killed?!”

“No. I didn’t.” he spoke plain.

“I just don’t understand. Who would want to kill the Tyrell girl?!”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they had enemies.”

“Enemies that were able to get in right through our front door? Sure. That makes a lot of sense. That makes me look like a horrible guard.”

“You will no longer be a guard. Not after you promised that you would give anything to lighten his sentence, which I was planning to do to begin with.”

Jaime frown with suspicion, “You set me up,” he whispered.

“There’s no need in arguing about it now. A deal is a deal. When should I expect for you to make do on your promise?”

Jaime was so upset, he was speechless. Without another word, he left the room.

Chapter Text

Petyr was standing in front of the lake below the greying clouds when he received a message on his phone. It was a notification letting him know that Robyn Aryn was to be returning home once camp was over for that year. After he had read it, he placed the phone back into his pocket. Sparing a few more moments to himself, he thought long and hard. The expression on his face was an ineffability. In the end, he assured himself of…something. Just then, his phone rang. It was the facility contacting him regarding Lysa. “What?” he answered.

“Am I speaking with Petyr Baelish?” asked the soft, polite voice of a woman on the other end.

“You are.”

“I just wanted to let you know that Lysa Arryn is going to be released fairly soon. She should be ready for you to retrieve her in approximately four days.”

“Fine. Will that be all?”

“I would like to tell you that she has improved very much.”

“You can’t improve something that was never there in the first place,” he lectured in a subtle tone, “I’ll be there to receive her soon.” He hung up the phone without waiting to hear another word. He continued in his pensive state. Once his thinking time was up, he left the lake to return to the mansion.

Sansa was sitting on the edge of the bed reading some old tales. From everything that she had been through, she gained a different perspective on stories such as happy endings with a flawless hero or heroine. It was all just too good to be true. From her experience, she learned from Petyr that there was no definite hero or villain. With her own added logic, she figured that everyone would be left with a scar that would haunt them for the rest of their lives. She only wished that the world was not so unjust.

Just then, Petyr had come into her room. “Your aunt will be ready to leave the facility soon. It would be wise to begin gathering your things and transferring them to my second home.”

“Your…second home?” Sansa was confused.

“Did I forget to tell you? This mansion…it belongs to me.”

Sansa was completely and utterly shocked albeit very much relieved. “I thought it was my aunt’s.”

“This place was going into foreclosure because of Lysa’a inability to manage funds well. Not to mention when Vale Valley was on the brink of recession, Lysa used much of her personal funds to ensure the survival of the company. I bought this property once it was relieved from her name. Lysa authorised the procedure. It has been in my name for a while now.”

Sansa could not hide the flabbergast expression she displayed. “So…this whole time…this was your house?”

“Not to worry. If Lysa were to find out about your presence here, I can most definitely take out a charge against her for trespassing. But I wouldn’t want to waste time engaging in litigations. We don’t need that sort of publication as of now. Not when everything is falling into place.”

“How long do I have before my aunt returns?”

“Four days from now. Before then, I’ll have to escort your cousin, Robyn, from camp.”

Sansa smiled—on the inside, she was going to miss when it was just she and Petyr. Though she had no problem with Robyn, she was not too keen on meeting face-to-face with her aunt again. Instead of saying more, Sansa diligently raised from the bed and began to pack her things. “To be frank, I’m actually tired of hiding.” She spoke as she grabbed a suitcase and began packing.”

“You’ll only be out of sight for a short time. After all, Stark, Co., can’t remain in the wrong hands for long.”

“Do you have a plan on how I can get it back?”

“I do. It should be soon.”

“How soon?”

“The Boltons suspect you to be dead. They’ll let their guard down. And if everything works out the way we want them to, you’d be able to make it into the board anonymously. Legally, you still have more shares than all of the Bolton men put together. Right now, they are waiting for the opportunity to claim not only the business in name, but the properties and estates that comes along with it.”

“Is that why they needed me so much?”

“I thought you would have figured from your studies.”

Sansa pondered as she continued filling her suitcase with her things, “So, how do I claim back Stark, co.? Everyone already suspects me to be dead? Do I just go and claim what I have?”

“It’s not that simple.”

“What would happen if I do?”

“You’d still be in enemy territory. Since everyone already expects you to be deceased, no one would suspect for you to have died a second time if the Boltons chose to do away with you.”

“So what do I have to do?”

“You’d have to make them need you. But they can’t know that you’re the anonymous name on the Board. That way, you’d gain even more power against them being that Roose would have to distribute shares to those a part of his establishment. That includes you.”

Sansa stopped from packing to turn and look at him, standing across from her. Before she began speaking, she noticed that distant look he always gave off when he had another idea. She then iterated, “How do I make them need me?”

“In order for them to achieve what they want, you’d have to give them a means to do it. But only a mean that you and you alone can offer. They want your shares, but they won’t get it so long as you disagree.”

“It’s like you said, won’t they just kill me and take them?”

“No. The reasons is because they want complete control as soon as possible and your contract has another half of a year on it. If they can get those shares sooner than later, they will. If they can bypass the legal liquidation or acquisitions of your shares, that is the path they will take.”

“You’re still not telling me what exactly it is I’m supposed to do.”

“Make a deal. And then give them what they want.”

Sansa was confused. “Why would I just give them what they want?”

Petyr hesitated before he said more, “Please, continue packing.” He soon left the room.

Sansa stood there, flabbergasted and discombobulated with one brow raised and her mouth agape. She blew a breath of exasperation and proceeded with her task. It was obvious through her actions that she was furious. Once more, Petyr entered her room, “I have something for you.”

“What is it?”

“These are forms. Sign them, and you’ll be able to get your company back.”

“That’s all?” Sansa asked dryly with suspicion.

“Yes.”

“How can I trust you?” She spoke nearly in a whisper.

“You can.”

Sansa took the papers form him and scanned them. “I don’t understand the language.”

“It’s old Westerosi language. Of course, you’d have to continue with your studies. You were only learning the basics—how things work. And now, you need to learn the language.”

“Do you mean learn before I sign these or after?”

“Realistically, we don’t have time on our sides.”

“If I sign these and I find out that I’ve been hoodwinked, I’ll never forgive you,” she dared.

Baelish nodded his head, “Fair enough.”

Sansa stared at him for a while, waiting for him to flinch or break a guilty sweat. She gave up upon recalling that he didn’t feel guilt so easily. She huffed a quick breath before placing the paper on the nightstand and then signing her name. She handed the paper back to him. He scanned it over to ascertain her permission. “This is your first ever recorded signature. After this is processed, no one will be able to forge it.”

Sansa was relieved by that much. Still, it brought her no comfort that she had signed something that she did not fully understand. She ruefully watched as Petyr folded the paper before placing it into his pocket. “So what happens now?” she asked.

“Lay low for a while. It won’t be long. Until then, invent a new signature for your new alias, Cyrell Rivers.”

“Why not Alayne?”

“Because Alayne Stone would be more useful in the Valley while Rivers can be useful elsewhere.”

Sansa wondered in the back of her mind if she was supposed to adapt a persona like Petyr—the way he moved from one personality to the other. She wanted to ask him, but she was not ready to let him know that Lysa had informed her of his mental disorder. Not to mention she was not yet ready to guess what his reaction would be if she asked him about his scar. So for the most part, she kept her mouth sealed and pondered what kind of personality she should adapt to go with her new and temporary name. In the midst of her thoughts, Petyr again left her to herself. She sat on the edge of the bed and thought long and hard. She recalled some people from her childhood who were of low birth—Jeyne Poole to be exact. She figured that mimicking her old friend’s mannerisms would help her to develop the persona of someone who was born in a lower class family.

Once she had made up her mind to do so, she continued to pack her things. It took her a while before she was able to get everything out. “I’m doing all this just to go down the road,” she laughed to herself. She looked to the window and saw the last bit of daylight slipping from the skies. She breathed a hopeless breath. She was so tired of having to be someone else other than herself most of the time. To her, it seemed as if there were so few places where she could feel herself. What was worst was that her home was one of the many places where she would not be safe. She felt that it was unfair; however, experiencing the trauma she did taught her that everything about life was not always going to be perfect.

Chapter Text

Tyrion waddled around in circles in his prison cell. It was dark save for a thin window that permitted only a thin stream of sunlight. He was still in disbelief of how many years he was to serve. Even more, he was concerned about Shae. He figured that she might have saw him on the news. The most daunting thought he had, however, was that he feared that she would tire of waiting for him and choose to settle with someone else. Alas, he did not wish to hold her back from happiness. There was nothing much he could do for her whilst he was imprisoned.

As the sun went down and the air grew thin, Tyrion lied his small body on the hard mattress that was positioned on the floor. He could feel a sting in his eyes as if he was about to cry. But it was not a sorrowful cry. It was a cry that indicated bottled hatred. He hated how his father intended on him being sentenced for so long. He also understood that his father would have never given him their family inheritance. He had sworn to him that he would receive everything though Tyrion knew he was reluctant about it. Him being sentenced for murder was the perfect excuse for Tywin to have to not include him in his final will and testament. It made Tyrion wonder if it was Tywin who had ordered for Loche to set him up and for him to kill Margaery. It was a win-win for Tywin. The more Tyrion made sense of it, the more he felt a burning rage stirring inside of him.

Before long, he hearkened the door of his cell being tampered with. Surely someone was coming in to either deliver gruel or make him do some kind of Prison work. When the door came open, he was astounded to see Jaime slipping through the slightly opened door. “Jaime?” Tyrion spoke as he jumped up from the mattress.

“Quiet now, you don’t want the guards to hear us.”

“How did you slip pass security?”

“I’m a security guard myself. Not to mention I am a Lannister, or have you forgotten?”

“Or course I haven’t. What are you doing here?”

“I’ve come to deliver a message.”

“What kind of message? Why couldn’t you have sent a letter? You’d get into trouble if father knew you were here.”

“Well I’m not exactly a little boy getting into trouble for stealing cookies from a jar. I can be here if I want. I’m my own man. I don’t need father’s permission to come see my little brother?”

“So why are you sneaking around?” Tyrion asked quickly.

Jaime’s eyes wandered the ceiling before answering, “Because I have to tell you something very important.”

“Go on, tell me.”

Jaime eased quietly into the room and carefully pushed the door enough to make it appear as if it was not opened. “I have a plan to get you out of here.”

“You do?!” Tyrion sounded relieved.

“I do. But first, you have to swear not to look anxious.”

“I think I know how I have to behave in times of crises.”

“Good. Of course you do. Well then…” he cleared his throat as silently as he could, “There’s going to be a building not far from here that is going to be wrecked in a few days. The city is going to have a new building in its place. Of course you know that construction produces a lot of noise. So much noise that people won’t be able to tell that there will be a tunnel being drilled from the site to your cell.”

Tyrion’s eyes were wide, “When did you plan all of this?”

“I had help.”

“From whom?”

“I can’t tell you that now. I don’t know exactly how long it would take to complete the drilling, but the tunnel should come out under your mattress. Just try not to be sleeping while we’re drilling.”

“So what times will you be drilling so that I can know?

“Between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. You should probably be busting out of here in the next two to three months.”

Tyrion pinched his lips and perked them upward, “Wonderful,” he spoke emotionally overjoyed. “Just wonderful.”

“Try to stay out of trouble with the other prisoners. I don’t want you dying before we come to rescue you.”

Jaime was just starting out of the door when Tyrion stopped him, “Oh, and Jaime…if you see Shae, tell her…tell her that I’m sorry.”

Jaime recalled the woman being spoken about in court and agreed, “It would be best that you do that yourself. I’m sure she will be happy to see you again,” he smiled just before leaving.

He left Tyrion feeling hopeful again. The only thing that he was not looking forward to was the wait. He had no idea what he was to do for that long.

Chapter Text

Cersei, just as sarcastic as ever, planned to retire to her quarters but detoured to her son’s room instead. She stopped in front of the closed door and thought for a second. She raised her hand into a fist with little to no thought before she began to softly tap against the door. “Tommen. It’s your mother.” She heard no response. “Do you mind if I speak with you?” Still she received no answer. She twisted the knob to his door gingerly and slowly pushed his door open. Once the door was wide enough for her to his room, she spotted him sitting motionless on the side of his full sized bed—his gold covers reflecting the light from his room.

Cersei approached him in her grace and continued to watch him sit motionless, “You haven’t spoken a word since the end of the trial,” she began. “Tell me, my little cub, what are thinking?”

Tommen continued to remain inanimate and taciturn. Cersei was never the one who had enough patience. She sat down beside and began to stroke his back, “Is there something on your mind? Do you wish to relieve yourself of your burden?” Still Tommen said nothing. She inhaled and exhaled loudly, “Is there anything you wish for me to do for you?”

He still sat in silence, not moving an inch. A few seconds after Cersei put forth her last inquiry, he spoke through a soft yet cracked and dejected voice, “I wish I could relieve myself of a burden. But it’s like everything is getting worst with each passing day.”

“What do you mean?”

Without looking at her, he continued to speak in a solemn tone, “First Marcella was found to be dead, then everyone was suspecting Margaery and my uncle to be together, then Margaery dies, and now my uncle has been found guilty.”

“Your uncle has always endured in the darkest nature of humanity…”

He whirled his head to the side to look at her at last, “Why do you think he did it?”

Cersei was taken by surprise at his question, “Tyrion’s a criminal…”

“I’ve never seen it! He’s always been good to both me and Marcella. He would never do anything to hurt us!”

“Perhaps you don’t know your uncle as well as you thought,” Cersei tried to reason.

“I know he’s never take away someone that I love! I still don’t believe that it was him. Someone must have set him up or something.”

“You have such wishful thinking Tommen,” Cersei spoke cold, however tender to her son.

“I know deep down in my heart that uncle Tyrion did not kill Margaery. He would never just take away someone’s life for no reason!”

“Have you forgotten that your uncle was an untamed chauvinist who preferred whatever doe he saw?”

“He told me—from his own mouth—he told me that he was not interested in Margaery. I saw how genuine he was. He knew about Margaery and myself and he never once scolded either of us. Why would he even dare to take her away from me?” he soon started to cry.

Cersei put her arms around her son and caressed him, “You’ll soon come to learn that the world is not painted as it seems. Sometimes green won’t be green and sometimes gold won’t be gold. Your uncle might have worn the gold colouring of our family, but he was no golden lion. No, he was a green thorn ready to rip us apart. You can’t always believe what you are told. You’ll soon come to understand that.”

Tommen abruptly pulled away from her grip. He stood up slowly and walked away from the bed and to the window on the opposite side. Cersei displayed a look of agitation as well as worry. Tommen leaned against the wall where the window was and spoke again, “Uncle Tyrion might not have been a golden lion, but I know for sure that his heart was made of gold. There’s nothing you can say about him that will make me think otherwise,” he spoke softly albeit assuredly. “I don’t think I will be able to take any more deaths in our family.”

“You needn’t worry. No one else is going to lose their lives. I know that you don’t wish for me to slander your beloved uncle, but with Tyrion gone, things will get better for us.” Cersei stood and walked to the door, “If you feel that you need someone to talk to, I’ll be in my room.” She hesitated for a moment, hoping he would accept her offer. When she received not another word from him, she proceeded through the jamb and closed the door behind herself.

Chapter Text

Then next morning, Tywin sat at the head of the company with Cersei and Varys being the only two present. They were soon joined by Kevan and his son, Lancel Lannister who seemed more stoic than usual. Tywin observed everyone in the room before he began to speak, “First I would like to start by announcing that Cersei has been awarded the shares that were given to Tyrion along with the shares she has lost. With Baelish gone and Tyrion expelled from the board, I’m going to need someone to stand in their places.

Now, to get to the seriousness of this meeting, I have spoken with Roose Bolton. Sansa and Arya Stark’s time on contract will be expiring. As soon as that has happened, the Boltons will sign over the company and its estates over to the Lannisters and they will be free to gain a monopoly of the north with no competition. Until then, we would have to repair the damages and regain the coinage that was lost due to litigations, a funeral, the press, security, forensic teams, and compensation to the Tyrells. All of it accumulates to over 2 million gold lions. But that’s not the worst of it. With the recent rage spread across the town in an uproar over our security, we have to afford the damages that was left behind by the people of Lannis-Town. And finally, our sales have dropped drastically and we would have to work even harder to produce a new and more trusting security—not that there was anything wrong with our security systems before. Unfortunately, people link circumstances with the obvious cause such as poor security being the cause with the effect being Margaery’s death. That alone would cost nearly 4 million gold lions. We will have to repair and rectify these damages before we lose control of this city.”

Kevan was the next to speak, “Have you forgotten about security costs that need to be paid to the town’s incarceration centres?”

“I have not. Baelish has already told me what to do about that.”

Kevan shook his head woefully, “Petry Baelish was a genius when it came to money. I don’t think that I would be able to fill his shoes. It seems as if all of this carnage came to this city ever since he left. It was this way before he came and now things have gotten worst since then. Is there no way for you to bring him back?”

“I cannot. He’s already been appointed as the new CEO of Vale Valley and he’s working on bringing new opportunities to Lannis-Town from that point. I cannot perturb his work for times like these. We can, however, seek advice from him.”

“I wish he had never left in the first place. We probably would have been able to save on millions of damage.”

“Now’s not the time for delving into the world of ‘ifs’ and ‘wishes’, Kevan. We’ll have to fix what we can—and what we cannot, we can leave that up to Baelish.”

Cersei seemed to completely dismiss the last part of her father’s speech. She was consumed with the thought of her victory over Tyrion. Not only did she regain her shares, but she also accumulated what he had. She smirked a very sardonic grin.

Aside from Cersei’s victorious reverie, Tywin continued to speak with Kevan, “And how are things fairing with your son?”

Lancel had his head raised high in a superior manner whilst his father wore the look of disappointment on his face, “I thought that by bringing my son here that he can understand the full spectrum on how the city is run. That it is not based off of crime.”

“I beg to differ, father,” Lancel spoke. “Lannis-Town is run entirely by criminals and I refuse any part in it. I’m seeking to put an end to the wretchedness of this town.”

Tywin listened without bias, “How do you supposed to do this when nearly everyone here are opportunists, taking advantage of the lenient penalty system? Other houses further up north are far more brutal with punishment with worse repercussions than here in the south. Why not consider taking your beliefs upstate and leave it to us to fix these new arising problems.”

“I admire your well-spoken speech, uncle. But there is far too much violence in this city. Soon, it would not take the Day of Red Rain to entice the people to engage in violent activities.”

“You sound very confident in your knowledge. Tell me, where is your source of information. Where is your basis for comparison?”

“I have my sources. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to share them with anyone who disregards this simple truth.”

Tywin wish to express no indignation. Instead, he continued to hold his composure. “Very well then, Lancel. I was hoping that you would help to fill in these vacant gaps left within our board. Just as you have said, I cannot share information of this company with those who disregard the meaning of Lannister, Inc. You may be excused.”

Lancel proudly raised from his seat and ventured gallantly toward the door while Kevan held his head down in shame and Tywin held a displeased looked. Once Lancel had left the room, Kevan began speaking, “I have no idea what’s happened to him. He told me that he was willing to forfeit his name and start anew. He even told me that I was carrying a tainted name. He seemed to become a different person overnight.”

“And you have no clue as to where this all began?”

“No idea. Not even the slightest. But please, don’t be hard on the boy. I’m sure he’ll come to his senses.”

“I expect him to come to his senses in due time. We need more Lannisters on this board. We have only one Baratheon and Three current Lannisters. While I’m not sure how long we’ll have to fair until Both Roose and Baelish conjoin the companies of Stark and Vale Valley with Lannister, Inc., I have enough faith that things will turn out for the better.”

Varys spoke soon after Tywin had concluded, “Speaking of things turning around for the best, I believe I have found a way to bring in new business. Except, it would require some time and my absence for a time.”

“Do whatever is necessary, Varys. I’ll give you up to two months. You may leave immediately.”

“I thank you for this opportunity. I will not let you down.” Varys excused himself politely from the meeting.

Tywin and Kevan continued to speak about his joining the board with the shares left behind by Margaery Tyrell while Cersei stayed in attendance remaining quiet and smug.

Chapter Text

Sansa had all of her things packed and ready to go early the next morning. Her suitcases, however remained in her room whilst she chose to see Petyr off before she missed him. She wore a semi-sleeve plum purple shirt with black leggings and black flats. Her red hair complimented her colours. “How long will you be gone this time?” Sansa asked as she stood stern in the jamb of the front door with her arms folded.

“It should be less than a day.” He responded as he fixed the collar of his white button-down shirt. As he did this, his concierge—Olyvar—patiently waited near him.

“Is Aunt Lysa to return when you do, or a different day?”

Petyr could hear the annoyance in her voice and chuckled before he answered, “Your aunt will return soon. But there’s no reason to be timid.”

“I’m not timid,” Sansa made her statement clear, “I just don’t intend to encounter her again. There’s no telling what she might do to me the next time.”

“You’ll be fine. No one would suspect you of being here in the Valley. Not even your aunt. I told that I had sent you off to Flea Bottom Square. I suppose she would think you dead right about now.”

Sansa seemed to release some tension. “You wouldn’t happen to have a bird that I can speak to, would you?”

“Afraid not,” he spoke as he finished the last of his adjustments. “I must away now. Just be sure to take care and relent from wandering eyes that might happen to catch them like moths to fire.”

“I will.”

Petyr came closer to Sansa and kissed her passionately. “If there’s any trouble at all, you’ll be sure to contact me. But only sparingly.”

Sansa nodded her head. Once they both reached an understanding, Petyr bowed slightly before turning and walking toward the silver car alongside Olyvar. Sansa continued to stand in the doorway, watching as they car grew smaller in the distance and then faded from her sight altogether. Even after a few seconds that they had gone, Sansa continued to stare into oblivion, wondering what she was to do while Petyr was away.

Eventually she broke from her train of thought and removed herself from the doorway. Her feet took her upstairs to her room where she took hold of one of her rolling suitcases. For a moment, she thought she heard someone on the stairs. “Petyr?” she called low and unsure. She stood there in silence, heard nothing, and continued to gather her things. Finally, she heard footsteps easing into her room. The thought that was running in her head was that Petyr might have come back for some reason. Her blood then ran ice cold once she turned to see who it was that was with her all that time. “Aunt Lysa?” the young woman's eyes widened in terror, shock, and confusion.

Lysa, stood there with a more menacing face than ever before, "You weren't expecting me," she spoke as she twitched in a maniacal manner, "It's funny because I wasn't expecting you either," she spoke in a twisted whisper, clearly becoming unhinged by the second. "Not to worry. I'm going to fix this myself. Once and for all. Today. RIght now."

Chapter Text

Sansa gripped her suitcase tightly. Lysa continued to speak, “Petyr told me he sent you away. I thought that I might surprise him. Can you imagine what it was like for me to see my future intended in the arms of a whore? Smashing a little careless whore!” as she ranted, she went into her pocket and pulled out a thin syringe filled with something clear. “I was here the night before and I heard you with my own two ears! I have spare keys you know. I was waiting for Petyr to retrieve my Robin so that I could deal with you myself.”

Sansa was mortified albeit on edge. Before long, epinephrine began to rapidly circulate her body. Her limbs began to shake brought on by her fight of flight response. After a minute, Lysa began to laugh like a delirious lunatic. “I’ve made up my mind!” she yelled then, “I know how to rid you of our lives. But you won’t be able to seduce me like you’ve done with Petyr!” she said as she fondled with the plastic protective cap of the syringe.

“I never seduced him!” Sansa responded with ferocity. “He was the first to act!”

“Liar! Petyr was going to get rid of you! He didn’t know what I knew. I knew that you were a whore! A stupid, pathetic, lying whore!” she wailed. “It’s time that pay for what you’ve done to Petyr!” She then started to charge when Sansa managed to use all of her strength to thrust her belongings at her aunt who was clearly enraged. Sansa used this distraction to slip pass her aunt and bolt through the bedroom door. Sansa nearly jumped down the stairs trying to get away from Lysa. Unfortunately, her jump caused her to land onto her left ankle to hard, sending a cramp and a rush of hot blood through her joint. She clenched her eyes in pain but refused to let that be the reason why she would become victim to Lysa again.

Sansa raised herself and proceeded to run. “Damn it!” Sansa cursed when she found it was too painful to run on her foot. Just when she managed to make it halfway to the front door, she felt Lysa grab her from behind her hair, “I’ll make sure you have a slow death!”

“Let me go!” Sansa demanded as she writhed furiously in her aunt’s grip.

“I want to see your face when you know you’re going to die!” Lysa used all of her strength to run Sansa into the wall where she hit the girl’s head against the stiff sheetrock material. Sansa fell to the floor but refused to stay down. Sansa quickly pulled herself up. Lysa grabbed her again by the root of her hair stemming close to her forehead. Sansa clinched her hands into a fist and barred it against her aunt’s abdomen. She managed to force a pain-filled gust of air from Lysa. She did this again and again until Lysa let her go after the fourth blow. Lysa tumbled backwards leaving her within reaching distance of Sansa. Sansa use that close distance to slug the delusional woman in the nose. Finally, Lysa fell down with Sansa tumbling slightly forward after using so much force. She maintained her balance with her right leg and continued to limp toward her intended destination.

Lysa, more crazed than ever with a bleeding nose, jumped onto Sansa’s back. Her weight brought Sansa all the way down to the floor. As she anchored Sansa down with her body, she went into her pocket and again drew the needle from her garments. Sansa pushed with all of her might until Lysa rolled from on top of her. She ended up dropping the needle in the process.

Quickly, Lysa threw her arm around Sansa’s neck until she pulled her into a chokehold. Both were lying on the hard floor while Sansa struggled for breath. Lysa continued to keep her grip as she went for the syringe a few inches away from her finger tips. The floor was slippery enough for her to drag Sansa as she pulled her by the throat. Sansa dug her fingernails into her aunt’s arm. Lysa was grimacing in pain as Sansa clawed at her arm. She didn’t give up on the Syringe, however. It made her even more determined to get it. Just when she got hold of it, Sansa fought through her grip enough for her to manage to bite her Aunt’s arm. Lysa yelled and released Sansa. When she let go, Sansa coughed and grasped for air as she slowly raised to cat pose. Her focus was cut off due to the lack of oxygen to her brain. Lysa pulled the needle’s cap off, exposing the needle thin silver sharp end. She violently took hold of Sansa’s arm and aimed the needle at her shoulder. “This is going to the end of you!” he yelled out of breath.

The mere sight of the needle gave Sansa the strength that she needed to snatch away. Still weak and dizzy, she began to crawl away. Lysa grabbed her by the arm, anchored Sansa down with her body once again and aimed the needle. Sansa used her right hand to keep Lysa from sticking the needle into her body. The two women huffed and grunted as one tried to overpower the other. They strained and strained until Sansa worked the needle from her aunt’s grip. The moment the needle slipped, Lysa slapped Sansa across the face as hard as she could. Sansa grabbed Lysa’s face and tried to move her off. Lysa laid her hands on Sansa’s in an attempt to pry her niece’s hands off.

With the intention of survival, Sansa started to gauge her aunt’s eyes. Lysa yelled in pain as she felt the pressure of Sansa’s thumb in her left eye. She lifted from Sansa to evade being blinded. Sansa thought about leaving again, but knew that LYsa would continue after her if she didn’t; do something about her. It was a time where she had to choose: kill or be killed. Once Lysa had her back to Sansa, Sansa returned the favour of putting her aunt into a chokehold. When Lysa struggled, she accidentally kicked the Syringe across the floor and near the coffee table. Lysa was stronger than Sansa had expected. Lysa ended up gripping the hair that cascaded over her shoulder and pulling it as tight as she could. She pulled so hard that she managed to rip a lock of hair straight from her head. Sansa screamed in pain as the sting exploded into agony. Lysa slipped from Sansa’s arm to retrieve the syringe. Sansa, refusing to give up, fought through the pain. When Lysa got hold of the needle, she quickly got up and turned around only to see Sansa charging. Sansa speared Lysa and the impact from both women landing on the coffee table, shattering the glass centre. The sound of the breaking glass filled the air with a burst of noise and dainty volume of small pieces randomly falling onto the floor.

Afterward, both women were exhausted and hurt. But the fight was not yet over. Once the women slovenly made their way from the metal frame of the table, both took a minute to catch their breath. At once, Lysa began to search for the syringe. The shattered glass from the table worked as a camouflage making it hard to detect the needle on sight. Sansa knew what Lysa’s intention were and she too looked for the syringe with the hopes of finding it before her aunt. Both were competing to be the first to locate it. The favour ended up Sansa’s as she managed to find and obtain the needle.

The moment she did was the moment she and Lysa engaged into another scuffled over the needle. “Give it here! It’s mine!”

“Over my dead body!”

“I intend on that happening! I want you dead! I want you to be forgotten! I’ve managed to be rid of my father and my sister and you’re going to be next! I’ll make sure of it!”

The women seemed to be dancing as they jerked and pulled each other’s hand, fight for the needle yet careful not to touch the jagged end. Lysa pulled and Sansa pulled at the best of their abilities. Abruptly and tactfully, Lysa released Sansa which in turn made Sansa’s pull turn against her. Sansa ended up falling to the floor and landing on the back of her head. The blow nearly knocked the lights out of her. She was conscious, but unable to move. Lysa slithered swiftly to where Sansa was, took the needle and maliciously stuck the needle into her arm. “This needle is filled with enough sedatives to put you out for days if you don’t die first. But if you don’t, it would be all the better.”

It didn’t take long for the medicine to take effect. Nevertheless, Sansa was already dizzy from her incident that she couldn’t tell if the injection was making her dizzy or not. The last thing she felt was her body being dragged. Suddenly, she heard screams and gunshots ringing through her head. She felt as if she was running though her legs felt numb. She was sure that she saw bursts of flames and many headlights on motorcycles. She then realized that she was witnessing the purge. The last thing she heard resounding in her head was Petyr's voice echoing repeatedly, “You can stop holding your breath now.” And then everything went blank.

Chapter Text

Petyr sat in the back with Robyn, now taller than he was before, speaking endlessly, “I still don’t understand why I have to learn about the law when I can just have people executed. That would keep bad people from doing bad things. But the Cerwins said that I should give people a fair chance. I don’t believe them though, uncle Petyr, because if I do, that would only mean they would keep doing bad things. Mother said that I should learn not to let anyone bad get away with anything.”

Petry listened half-heartedly. The look on his face was an unsettling one. There was just something not right and his sixth sense was like a relentless alarm going off. Still, he didn’t worry too much about it. He continued to listen to the loquacious boy speaking about his time at camp. Olyvar had a smile on his face as he witnessed his mentor being talked to death and enduring it. He thought to himself that Petyr Baelish was gifted with a talent of high tolerance for the most annoying things.

Once they parked below the rounded stairs, Petyr held his hand up on a yielding position, “Don’t get out just yet.” He spoke in an eerie tone.

“Is something wrong, Baelish?” Olyvar asked.

“I don’t know. Just…wait here.” Petyr slipped out of the car and began to pace quickly up the stairs. By the time he meandered the last corner, he saw that the door was left wide opened. As walked the pavement leading to the entrance, he spotted small spots of dried blood a few inches a parts from one another. When he walked on the inside, he saw a huge mess on the inside. Glass was everywhere, there was a small dent in the wall near the staircase, and a needle covered in a thin layer of blood. But that wasn’t what put him on edge. He walked gingerly over to the spot that held long red-coloured strands of hair. The Syringe told him who it was since Lysa was the only one who used that particular brand of needles. Needles that only came from the black market. It had no measurement markings and they bore no brand name. He picked up the hair and just observed it for a while.

“What happened here, uncle Petyr?” Robyn asked with concern as he looked at his surroundings.

Petyr was too busy contemplating on what happened to hear what Robyn had asked. HE went into his pocket and reviewed his messages. He hadn’t bothered to check voicemails that week—particularly ones from the rehabilitation centre. Once he played the message, he regretted not listening to it sooner. The voicemail was recorded the day before and one of the clerks mentioned that Lysa might have left the premises without permission. It was record right after he was told that Lysa was ready to return. With his mind gone blank, he stopped the record and let his hand hang with the phone working as a weight.

A moment later, he picked himself up and walked back out of the door. The blood that was on the concrete that Lysa must have won that battle and had taken Sansa…somewhere. “What’s the matter?” Olyvar asked.

“I need you to get back into the car.” Petyr instructed, his face held firmly.

“Wait!” Robyn called out, “Where are you going?!”

“Just stay here!”

“Btu there were bad people here. They might come back!”

“Just keep the doors locked and you’ll be fine!” Petyr spoke as he quickly made his way down the stairs again. Usually Olyvar was the one driving Baelish around. But Petyr was so alarmed that he overtook Olyvar on the way to the driver’s side of the vehicle. Olyvar proceeded to the passenger’s side and buckled himself after Petyr had sped off.

“My guess is that someone has taken our little dove.”

“They have.”

“Do you have a clue?”

“I know exactly who it was.”

“I suppose you have an idea of where she was taken then?”

“Not for sure. But it’s the best guess that I have.”

“And where is that?”

Petyr hesitated for a moment before he spoke, “The trading site.”

Chapter Text

Later that evening, Lysa was nearing her destination as she drove quickly in a light blue car. From time-to-time, she would glance in the rear view mirror to glare at Sansa’s unconscious body lying on the back seat and then back to the road. It was a very long and uncharted road. The golden beams from the sun made the road appear to be made of dark brown sand. The road would eventually take them to the impoverished town of Gull City. Once she got closer and closer to the city, she increased her speed. She needn’t worry about the road patrol because it was a barely known road.

She finally made it to her destination by the time the sun began to set. She parked her car in an empty parking lot in an abandoned parking tier. She got out of the car and went to the trunk where she pulled out a thick blanket. She covered Sansa’s entire body before she closed the door and quickly sauntered to a thought-to-be-broken elevator. The lights were not working and the lights on the summoning buttons were also absent. A few seconds, the elevator dinged and the rusty doors opened. With haste, she entered and closed the doors. The doors screeched closed. On the inside was a secret panel—much like the Lannister’s elevator. She pressed a big black button that brought her to a level that was not listed on the old floor list. While on her ride, she placed her hand on her bleeding back where some glass had cut into her skin some time earlier. She didn’t even bother to change her shirt when she left from the Valley.

When the doors opened, it let her out to an underground organisation. There were men holding guns and force-leading people who were nasty and covered with blood. Women were crying, men were moaning, and their captors were yelling and screaming at them to keep quiet and to follow behind. Lysa walked passed them without care. As she walked further down the underground square, she came across an auctioning spot. There was a thin, blonde man with a broad face at the podium calling out prices, “Here are two very healthy men, have yet to be scathed. They should make for a wonderful purge! Bidding starts at 1,000 silvers! Do I hear a 1,000?! 1,000 going. Do I get a bigger bid from 1,000?! Two men for a 1,000! Anyone!” he spoke incredulously fast.

“1,500 silvers!” cried out one man.

From that point, the numbers kept going up. Finally, the man sold the two men at 15,000 silver pieces.”

A big beefy man handled the terrified men as he escorted them to their buyer. While the blonde man at the podium prepared for another bunch, Lysa waltzed up to him and gained his attention, “I have a most prized item that I would like to have sold off.”

“And what prize would that be? Clearly you understand that we only bid over Purge victims.”

“I do. This victim would be worth the price.”

“So where is this prized victim?”

“Up there, in my car. I cannot retrieve her myself. I’m going to need some help, mister…?”

“Hugh. You can call me Hugh.”

“Very well, Hugh, I am going to need help in retrieving her.”

“Excuse me, but how exactly is this girl worth more than any other girl that we’ve sold.”

Lysa pulled the man close enough to speak in his ear, “I’m sure you are familiar with Sansa Stark?”

His eyes opened wide. “Sansa Stark!”

“Quiet now. I can’t exactly have her name resounding over here. If she is found to be alive and trace her here, I’m sure to get into trouble.”

“Fair enough.” He agreed. When the big beefy man returned to the stand, Hugh pulled the man over, “Please follow this lovely woman and escort her lot down for me.”

The man followed orders and Lysa led him to where Sansa was. With ease, he lifted Sansa’s unconscious body and carried her down the same way they had come. One their way down, Sansa was slowly coming too. Everything was blurry and her head was spinning. She felt herself being carried but it never registered to her what was happening. All at once, sound began to make its way into her ears. It started low and then high.

The big beefy man sat Sansa onto her knees and Hugh looked her over. He lifted her by the chin and looked into her disoriented eyes. He checked the side of her face and inspected her skin, “She’s definitely the Stark girl. Smooth skin like the rich save for the markings. I’m afraid that these cuts and bruises may damage any chances of selling her at a high price.”

“No worries. They’ll heal and she would most definitely make for a perfect victim of all sorts of purging.”

“True.” He agreed. “Fine, what’s the starting price?”

“I would say 50,000 silvers.”

“Very well. It is a fair price for a girl worth this much. I’ll make it worth your while.”

“Remember, you cannot mention that this is Sansa stark.”

As they spoke to each other, Sansa’s disoriented eyes began to set more and more. Language starting to have more meaning. The only things she could understand was her aunt mentioning her name and the bellowing of a crowd shouting for the next bid. Soon afterward, she saw her aunt leave. She was then held up from behind and was made to stand on her feet. There again, she could hear speech but recognised so little words that made little to no sense at all. As she cogitated the picture of the crowd in her head, she became more alert and anxiety began to build. She could then hear Petyr’s voice in her head ‘If you’re caught by the wrong person, you might become trade in the purging games’. The little voice came as a warning. Still, she was not fully conscious to piece together what her sub-conscience knew already.

Soon, the numbers grew from 50,000 silvers. Most of the high bidders were older men. Sansa was finally auctioned off to man with long, dark brown hair and a muscular stature. Although she was still incoherent, they tied her hands behind her back and she was escorted to the man. He and a few others claimed their prize and took her away. The sight delighted Lysa. Sansa was finally off to meet a tortuous end.

As the man carried Sansa over his shoulders, one of the smaller men who accompanied him asked, “Why did we pay so much silver for her?”

“Because she’ll make us a ton.”

“How do you know?”

“Tell me, what man would pay double our amount just to fuck Sansa Stark?”

“This is Sansa Stark? Why didn’t you say so?”

“Because, you idiot, this is the black market and Sansa Stark’s name floating through here will bring undivided attention. We’d be sold out to the law if someone was to tell them where Sansa was and who it was that bought her.”

The man did his best to keep up with what the taller man saying. He could only understand little logic and just went along with what was said to him. They left from a different exit which let out to an old lighthouse near the docks. Once they were out in the open, they covered her in a black blanket and held her as if she was a cadaver. They carried her to an unmarked ship and stored her with the rest of the live cargo at the bottom of the deck they had bought earlier that day. It was partially filled with people afraid for their lives. The men resealed the door and bolted it, leaving the people in the dark. As she was covered and lied on the floor surrounded by other people’s feet, she blacked out once more.

Chapter Text

It carried later into the night as Petyr continued to speed on the unmarked road, “Why would Lysa take Sansa to the black market when she could just kill the girl?”

“Because Lysa is already under enough scrutiny revolving around her untimely absences due to her unknown drug habits. If she’s linked to Sansa’s murder, she’ll lose everything that she has left.”

“And what is that since you basically took everything over?”

“Her reputation and the possible shutdown of the market if it is to be discovered through her.”

Olyvar raised both of his brows, astounded at Petyr’s reply. “Wow,” he spoke in a stupefied tone.

“Not to mention she’d gain a lot of coins just for selling someone well worth it. Not only is Sansa a Stark and a business owner, she is also a rare case because her status has been unknown for nearly a year.”

“Wouldn’t people recognise Sansa Stark?”

“Some may. Others may not. If she went to the trade in Gull City, no one would even care to know who Sansa is because most people there are like vultures and look for anyone or anything to sell into the purging games. Not to mention that the city is so impoverished that only half of the town can afford electricity. That would mean less news feed for most. If anyone there is to know who Sansa is, they would be someone of high status.”

“That makes sense.”

“It makes perfect sense in the matter that Lysa would not be ratted on after she’s seen with a girl no one there hardly knows. It’s the most flawless manoeuvre that I know she would take.”

“Though not flawless enough to evade your keen abilities.”

“Let’s just hope that I’m right.”

“I think you know that you’re right. I think you may be right. How long before we get there?”

“At moderate speed, it usually takes half of a day. I’m going double the usual speed.”

“Minus that we had to stop for fuel, I’d say an hour from now.”

“Perhaps,” Petyr sighed out with his face just as serious as ever. “Once we get there, I’ll drop you off at the city’s Centre and I want you to find Lysa.”

“Where will you go?”

“To check with the auctioneer, Hugh.”

“You know him?”

“I do. I used to do business in Gull City before I was transferred to Lannis-Town. Hugh was running errands for Jon Arryn at the time. Hugh also had friends who had informed Lysa of the black market of Gull City.”

“Does Lysa know Hugh?”

“Perhaps not. Lysa has never auctioned anyone. She usually seeks out illegal substances and medical attention. Something that is out of Hugh’s precedence. There are different sections of the black market and each has a specific attraction.”

“Such as one for drugs, one for medicines and botched surgeries, and one for auctioning?”

“Precisely. The one for drugs is located about five miles back. The one for auctioning lies further ahead.”

“So how would Lysa know where to go to find the auctioning section?”

“When you’re intertwined with the black market, you’ll make it your business to know where to go even if you don’t need or want to go there.”

“And the purpose of that is?”

“Is to fulfil your wishes as quickly as possible rather than have to hold your composure and wait for directions. It’s an impulse thing.”

“Do you suppose we’ll make it there in time?”

“Lysa has been hours ahead of us. There’s no telling what could have occurred. I can only hope for a very long line until it’s Lysa’s turn.”

“Is it likely?”

“To be frank, it isn’t.”

Olyvar observed Baelish for a while before he spoke again, “You’re not even going to try to give yourself any hope of the best?”

“Hope is a distraction. Hope can sometimes be a lie to yourself. If you’re too optimistic about something, you’ll take your focus off of reality. When reality sets in, it’ll hit hard if you haven’t accepted it before. It tends to absorb mental energy you could have used to devise another plan. You’ll be sure to remember that, Olyvar.”

“You never cease to amaze me, teacher.”

“My advice to you is to keep learning. Even without my tutelage.”

“You got it,” he smiled halfway but only for a brief moment before his face fell back into seriousness.

Chapter Text

Just as they had planned, Olyvar went to scout out the city whilst Petyr went to investigate the market. The entrance that he used, however, was different. He went through a pothole in the ground near the docks. He moved quickly and quietly in the darkened narrow space of stone that was lit with only the light from his phone. After a few moments, he came across a secret door that he was very familiar with. He gave the wall a push until it came open. The opening lead to another hall, but much wider. It was dimly lit with a poor white light. Petyr practically ran through the hall until he came to yet another hidden wall. When he pushed it open, it led out to a very short flight of stairs. At the top was another pothole. He moved it and it brought him to an alley of the secret market square. He covered the pothole again and proceeded to venture inconspicuously from the alley. As he jogged on, he heard the noises of people getting louder and louder until the noises turned into more of a roar of roaring crowds.

At the front of the horde was Hugh, finishing up the last bit of auctioning. Petyr’s face twisted in disgust as he witnessed people being auctioned off for the illegal purging games. Deep down, he could not imagine Sansa being up there like everyone else. While the crowd was busy shouting out prices, Petyr managed to swipe a long, dark brown trench from a rail that was used to keep the crowd organised. He quickly placed the coat onto his torso and walked through the screaming and shouting hyperactive crowd. He got close enough to see the line of people waiting alongside the people they had kidnapped. He had a double take when he saw a few children crying. There was a solemn look on his face. Alas, there was nothing he could do about it. If he was seen there, people might have prevented him from leaving. He ridded himself of those circumstances and continued to look around to see if Sansa might have recently been purchased and was waiting to be taken. Unfortunately, he didn’t see any glimpse of red hair anywhere. Before he confirmed his thoughts entirely, he decided to wait until Hugh ran his last few runs. He stood at the back of the crowd with his head hung low so that no one would notice him.

After about thirty minutes, Hugh gave his ending speech, “Thank you all for your time and money! Time to go back to your homes and hope that you were not followed,” he joked. “Be sure to leave as carefully as you had come and I will see you again at the next auction a week from now. The Day of Red Rain is among us. Almost two months away now. And I bid you all a good night.”

Petyr watched the crowd disperse and the remaining victims being taken by the person who had bought them. He knew their fates. No one had ever escaped the purging games. He then turned his attention back to Hugh as he gathered his waist coat, preparing to leave the podium.

Hugh finished fastening his coat and then placed his billiard hat onto his head. With exhaustion, he walked gingerly down the stairs from the stage. From there, he sauntered slovenly to an elevator that was reserved only for the people who were in charge of the black market events. He was always the last to finish business there so he had no problem with others accompanying him on his ride back to his car. As he waited for the elevator, he whistled a tune and gleefully jittered his body to the melody. He wasn’t even aware that someone was standing directly behind him. When the doors opened, Hugh got ready to step through the doors when he felt someone pushing him inside from the back. The side of his face hit the wall of the elevator and then the doors closed. “If you feel that you’ve been cheated, I apologise. But I will have you know that this sort of dispute is out of my expertise!” the unsuspecting man pleaded.

“So that you’d know, I have been cheated. If you refuse me the information that I need, I will most definitely hold you accountable,” spoke a cold, harsh voice.

“Just tell me what’s happened and I can get help.” Hugh then felt his body being forced around. When he caught sight of his assaulter, his nerves were put at ease. “Petyr Baelish?”

“Aye.”

“Fancy meeting you here. It’s been a while since we’ve spoken. Is that because you’ve taken a higher position in the Valley?” he displayed a crooked smile as he hoped to brighten the brooding look on Petyr’s face.

“Enough with idle talk, I have a question to ask you,” Petyr pulled out a thick knife from his pocket and pointed it at the man’s now terrified and nervous face, “You’d be sure to be careful not lie to me.”

“Never. What do you want to know?” the man spoke through a panicked and rapid breath.

“Lysa Arynn…was she here tonight?”

“She was, yes. She was wearing tan pants and a silver blouse that was covered with blood.”

“Whose?”

“I don’t know. Hers I believe. She was definitely rubbing her back like she was in pain. Now that I think about it, I think her nose was broken.”

“Did she come alone?”

“She brought a person with her to be sold off.”

Petyr’s face was filled with rage and his expression made the man cringe ever more. “Was this person Sansa Stark by any chance?” He already knew the answer, he just wanted it confirmed out loud.

“It was. She told me not to tell anyone for fear that someone might report her if they heard that Sansa Stark was in her company.”

“Who bought her?!” he grunted.

“I don’t know.”

“Describe him to me!”

“I don’t think that would do you much good.”

“I think it might,” he pressed the blade onto Hugh’s neck, “There are only so few people who could have bought Sansa at such a high price and I do bet that the price was high.”

“You’re right. She was sold for 300,000 silvers to a man about 6’ in height; he was masculine and he had dark brown, wavy-like hair. He has a broad and hard face, blue eyes, and a heavy beard.”

Petyr thought and he thought until he was struck with an idea. “You’ve done me a great deal of service. I will be expecting 300,000 silvers from you.”

“What?!”

“I never agreed to this. So I want a fucking refund. Or would you rather risk the blade entering into your flesh and ending your life?”

“Yes, sure, whatever you want. 300,000 silvers are yours. Just…don’t kill me please. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. Really I am.”

            “I want you to do something for me. I want you to forget that you ever saw me.”

“Sure thing. Sure thing. I will forget most definitely.”

“I’ll be keeping an eye on you for a time. I have a tendency to not trust anyone.”

“I completely understand, sir.”

“Enjoy your ride back home. I’m not through with you yet.”

“I will. Thank you.”

Petyr placed the knife back into his pocket and opened the door to the elevator that was still on the floor from where they had first got on. Hugh was left trembling as he watched Baelish quickly exit and disappear around the corner. As soon as he was alone again, he let out a huge sigh of relief.

Chapter Text

Once Petyr was back on surface, he ran back to the car. Before he got the door open, he saw Olyvar returning and asked immediately, “What did you find?”

“I don’t think she’s here. Do you think she went back to the Valley?”

“She can’t go back in her condition.”

“What condition?”

“Hugh told me that she was bleeding from her back and nose. She might have gotten wounded by the glass from the table.”

“And that means…?”

“It means that she’s going to need to get her wounds looked at. She won’t do it at a public hospital otherwise she would be questioned as to how she received such serious wounds and from whom.”

“You think she may go to a black market medical facility?”

“That’s exactly where I think she might have gone.”

“Judging by the fact that you’ve managed to find out Lysa was here, that would mean that she did sell Sansa.”

“She did.”

“To whom?”

“I don’t know,” he spoke as he placed the seat belt around himself, “But the features he described can be related to people of the north. You don’t get too many rich bodybuilders in the south. Especially in these parts where most are scrawny from starvation.”

“The man is northern?”

“It would be the best place to start.” Petyr started the car and put the gear into drive. However, he did not release the breaks just yet. He hesitated a moment. “We’re going to need something faster.”

“Oh, you know I saw a few motorcycles in an abandoned lot a short distance from here.”

“You know how to ride one?”

“Try me. And I just so happen to know how to start motorcycles with lock picks.”

“You have lock picks?”

“I’m never without them. After all, you did meet me as a thief.”

Petyr drove them to the place where Olyvar had directed. The motorcycles were sitting in an abandoned parking lot, but Petyr informed Olyvar that the building across the street, as vacant as it looked, was actually a whorehouse. That made more sense to Olyvar as to why the motorcycles were there in the first place.

As quickly as he could, Olyvar picked the ignition of the motorcycle and got it started, “You might want to hold tight,” he spoke as Baelish got on behind him.

“Do get one bit of excitement out of this and you’ll pay for it dearly,” Baelish threatened.

“Believe me, I remember what happened the last time I thought you were a queer.”

“It’s very wise that you remember.”

Olyvar chuckled and revved the motor before taking off. As they had hoped, the motorcycle cut through the cold air like a bullet and sped them along their way. “How long do you think it would take to reach the medical section?” Olyvar yelled over the rushing winds and the motor of the bike.

“It should be in the next 25 minutes.”

“That sounds good enough.”

 

 

Lysa was sitting on the edge of a bed with dark grey sheets. The room she was in was small cubicle of a room with one small black table, brown carpet, a cupboard mounted to the wall, and poor yellow lighting. She allowed for the illegal male nurse to examine her back, “How does your back feel?”

“Like there’s glass stuck in it. It hurts whenever I move a muscle.”

“Does it hurt when I press?” he said so in pressing lightly.

“Sss. Yes, it does. Very much.”

“If this is the case, you might as well have glass still stuck in your back.”

“Oh! Do please get it out. I have somewhere to be.”

“Okay then, I’m going to give you a local anaesthetic so you won’t feel any pain. And I shall get started really soon,” he spoke soft and smooth.

“Good. The sooner the better.”

Lysa was instructed to lie on her stomach. He placed on gloves and a fascial mask before he gave her a shot of the anaesthetics in her back to ease the pain. While the medicine was taking affect, he started cleaning a scalpel, a needle, and rubber tweezers with alcohol. Once the tools were cleaned, he started working on Lysa’s back. The operation took at least thirty minutes. He managed to pry seven small shards of glass from her back in different areas.

“Okay now, you’re all done. Now all I have to do is give you some medicine for your pain. If you run out, just get some over-the-counter medicine and double up on the pills so that you can get the same mg as a prescribed pill.”

“No worries. I plan to reward myself later with a dose of my own medicine.”

“Just lie here for a minute and I’ll get you a few tablets.”

Once Lysa was to herself, she closed her eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. At the same time, her mind wandered off to the night when she heard Petyr and Sansa in the heat of passion. She hated the memory of it and wished for it to go away, “Sansa is going to pay for this with her life,” she mumbled to herself., “Hopefully, I’ll be there to watch.”

A few minutes had gone by when the doctor came back, “Are you ready for your medicine?”

Lysa’s eyes shot open as she recognised the voice. She quickly raised from her prone position, “Pe….,” she chocked off as Petyr’s gloved hand struck like a hidden snake and gripped her neck.

Baelish removed the fascial mask from his mouth and gave her a murderous look, “You’ve ruined my life for the last time, Lysa.”

“Pe…Petyr…I did this…for us,” she squeezed out.

“For us?” Petyr feigned confusion. “No,” he spoke as his face went back cold, “you did this for yourself. Did you really think that I was going to send Sansa away?” he chuckled dryly, “I’ve never loved you, Lysa. All you’ve done was take away from me. You were supposed to send your sister reinforcements the time she came to Lannis-Town for Ned. You refused. She died. I was once lying on a bed like this one some time ago. Did that stop you from just taking a part of me? I don’t think so,” he squeezed tighter and tighter, “And now you’ve taken something else from me. This time, I’m determined not to let you rule over the outcome. So I’m going to rectify a problem that I should have long ago. But no worries, I’m not going to strangle you to death.”

When Petyr released his grip, Lysa drew in loud gasps of air. “She’ll never show you affection Petyr.” She ranted as she struggled for air, “She’ll never do for you like I’ve done for you.”

“Perhaps not. But I’m not going to give you the satisfaction of sabotaging my plans.” He went into his pocket and drew yet another artefact, “Does this look familiar?” he said so in holding up the needle that was found on the floor of his house. Lysa’s eyes grew wide as Petyr started to pull air into the empty syringe, “Of course this looks familiar. It’s the same syringe you used on Sansa.”

Lysa saw the blank look in his eyes and cowered, “Petyr, wait!” she shot out her hands.

Petyr used one arm to pin her to the bed onto her sore back. “A few words before your near departure, I want you to know that I’m going to find Sansa and I’m going to bring her back to safety. I care about her that much.”

Lysa tried to pry Petyr’s hand from her sternum. The anger that Petyr felt empowered his limbs even more. He stuck the air-filled needle into the vein in her neck, “You’re going to die in a black marketed hospital. No one is going to want to get into trouble once they find that Lysa Arynn has been killed in one of their departments. It could shut them down for good. For the sake of themselves, they aren’t going to report seeing your lifeless body.” His words sent terror through her and it showed through her eyes. In one quick push, Baelish injected the air into her veins and watched as the life slowly left Lysa’s eyes. “A poor and pitiful creature,” he spoke softly, “You’re better off dead.”

Baelish left the Syringe on the floor of the small space. He walked out of the room still not feeling satisfied. Olyvar was waiting just outside. “Was she taken care of?”

“Believe it.”

“You’re just going to leave her body?”

“Look around you, Olyvar. This entire place indulges in illegal activities. Can you see someone around here alerting the police of a dead body?”

Olyvar cogitated Baelish’s words, “You have a point. Still as sharp as always.” The two quickly left the department and disappeared into the night.

When the doctor returned with the medicine to give to Lysa, he saw her lying on her back. His heart dropped with fear when he realised she was dead—her eyes were wide open and black. She drew no breath and she lied there—motionless. To keep anyone from noticing a cadaver in his department, he rapidly took her body from the bed, dragged her corpse to an unused pipeline, and dumped her body where botched and deceased patients were incinerated to hide evidence. He then proceeded to go about his life as if nothing had happened.

Chapter Text

Early the next morning, Sansa had awakened with a striking head ache. While she was becoming more coherent, she heard sniffling and moaning—not to mention she felt vibrations. Upon opening her eyes and allowing reason, she realised that she was being kidnapped. The sudden shock made her react. At once, her hands felt like glue as she attempted to jerk them forward. She found that her hands were bound together. “What going on! Why am I here? Who are you people?” No one bothered to answer, they were too depressed and scared to say anything. “Where are we?”

“Hey, shut up back there!” shouted one man from the front of the van that cut off the view from the people in the back.

Sansa grew more nervous by the second. This time, she whispered, “Where are they taking us?”

Still, there was nothing but silence. Until one man spoke up, “We’re going to the purging grounds. We were taken, sold, and bought as sheep ready for slaughter.”

His words only made the mood even more depressing and woeful for the others in the van. “Who is taking us?”

“We don’t know. No one would care to look for us anyway.”

“How do you know?”

“We’re nothing but poor people who managed to get caught for money. We don’t get paid of course. That’s not the way it works. But I think you may have someone looking for you. After all, you were sold at a very high price. 300,000 silvers I believe. That’s a lot for just one girl.”

Sansa was devastated by his words yet intrigued, “You mean, you don’t know who I am?”

“Nope. Never seen you before in my life. Are you someone of importance?”

Sansa paused before she replied, “No. I’m not anyone at all.”

“Just a little helpful tip for you, don’t try to escape. They’ll only kill you faster.”

“What’s the point if I’m sold for death anyway? I’d rather die out in the open rather than in someone’s sadistic game.”

“You’ve got spirit. I would have expected most girls as pretty as yourself to start crying.”

“It’s not the first time I’ve been held against my will. It’s not the first time I’ve been in a situation where I didn’t understand what was going on around me. And it’s certainly not the first time I’ve been in the middle of a purge.”

“Aren’t you in the least bit afraid of dying?”

“I am afraid,” she admitted, “Truly, I am.”

“Obviously you have hope for something. What are you hoping for?”

Sansa had Petyr on her mind, but she didn’t say anything about him, “I don’t know. Maybe just for something.” For the first time in her life, she felt that the situation that she was facing was beyond Petyr.

Then a moment happened that made everyone’s blood turn cold. The van stopped and the vibrations that signalled the car’s engine had soon stopped. Sansa, too, was frightened. Her worst fear was that Petyr didn’t know where to find her or that he was not going to get to her in time.

 

The double doors in the back of the van was opened abruptly, letting in very chilly air. Sansa knew then that they were somewhere in the northern atmosphere due to the weather feeling that way at the time of the year. The men who had opened the doors didn’t even bother to hide their faces or their guns. Sansa knew why. What was to point of hiding from people who wouldn’t live long enough to report seeing them? The more Sansa thought about the macabre thoughts, the more she felt nauseous.

She and the others were told to get out of the van and line up side by side, shoulder to shoulder in front of a red-brick façade with a single dark green door. They counted everyone—the number was twenty-five. Alas, that was before another van of the same type showed up with more captives—twenty-six, making it a total of 51 people. Once they were counted for, one of the men opened the door and the other used his gun to force people inside. Sansa was being shoved by people who didn’t wish to lose their lives just then.

As they journeyed further down the white interior corridor, they encountered more men who were lined at the front. They started to separate the crowd. The old man that Sansa had become acquainted with was taken into a separate direction than she was. Once they were sorted, they were led into a room that looked as if it was backstage. Sansa looked around herself and noticed that she was surrounded by murmuring and whimpering younger women. Her heart dropped and the terror on her face grew. Again and again, she panted and whispered the same words, “oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.” She had an epiphany of what Baelish had told her once before when she was in Lannis-Town. He told her that optimism was a distraction. Only now did she fully realise what he was talking about.

Though she didn’t want to, she had to accept the reality that she was in. She had to think of the worst even though she hated it. At the same time, she began to wonder what she should do if she was right about her predicament. After a few minutes of standing around, nervous and trembling, the women suddenly heard clapping and a cheering nearby. The crowd sounded like a happy crowd. Sansa didn’t know what was going on and neither did the women behind her. Soon, they heard someone speaking on a microphone and introducing themselves. Followed after a minute of talking, more men with guns—at least five of them—began grabbing each girl one-by-one. Sansa witnessed each woman shrieking and pleading for her life. She felt her eyes welling. Each time the number of women lowered, the more nervous she became. She nearly soiled herself because she was starting to lose control of her nerves.

Now down to two. It was she and another woman who was crying hysterically. Eventually, she was brutally taken out to the stage against her will. Now standing alone, Sansa’s legs shook more than she wanted them to. The tears that she had been fighting finally found their way to the surface. Her face had turned completely red, her heartbeat was frantic, and her hands had gone pure cold. She sobbed lowly. Deep in her consciousness, she was hoping to see Petyr’s face. She needed to. Alas, he just wasn’t there. A few minutes later, two men had come back to retrieve her. Sansa did her best to fight out of their grips, but her bound hands only made it difficult for her to get away. Both men grabbed her by each of her arms to keep her from moving about so wildly. They walked her up to a curtain and then they walked through it and onto the stage.

Chapter Text

When Sansa saw the crowd, she realised that she had seen some of the faces before. Some were the faces of people who were once welcomed in her home before she had left for Lannis-Town. Upon seeing her face, less than half of the crowd paused in silence. They looked at each other and started whispering. Sansa’s stomach had become upset. Never did she think that people from where she was would indulge into events like that. The sight sickened her and made her angry. She wondered when the people of her home started to change.

The men who had brought her out forcefully sat her onto her knees. The woman speaking at the podium was fairly tall, thin, with long sand-brown hair and a cheeky smile. She didn’t look northern at all. Not even Westerosi. The woman received a card from the muscular, long dark-wavy brown haired man with a beard who was her captor. She soon recognised him as Smalljon Umber, a member of the family with which her family had been doing business with for many years. This confused her. She wanted to say something, but she was in uncharted waters. This was a situation where she didn’t know if she should express herself or remain inexpressive.

When the foreign woman at the podium began to speak, Sansa held her composure though the blood in her veins continued to run hot, tears flow freely down her cheeks, and the butterflies in her stomach continued to fly feverishly. “We have a very special product for the highest bidder. As I can tell you all can see, some of you may recognise this young woman. Whomever she is, I suppose she is worth the purge.”

“I’ll start the bidding at 300,000 silvers,” cried out Olyvar Frey to which his brother, Lothar agreed.

Sansa felt sick to her stomach as she recognised the men from when they had helped to murder her family. She figured that the Freys must have earned their pay for helping the Lannisters since they could splurge their money on illegal activities such as the purging games.

The woman accepted the start of the bid and it went on from there. As Sansa watched this, she figured that the few who did not seem to know her placed a bid simply because they wanted another victim. She didn’t know how things were going to turn out. In her heart of hearts, she was afraid. She felt that her time was approaching really fast. She could only wonder how she was going to die. She knew not how the purging games fully operated, but what she had witnessed so far told her that her ending was not a good one. Unfortunately, and unlike every stereotypical fairy tale, Sansa ended up being sold to the Freys who had bought her at 700,000 silvers. Her stomach sank as she knew what they were capable of. She knew that they were merciless and that they had shown their disdain for her family. Because she looked so much like her mother, she was sure that they would most definitely project her mother upon her once they slaughtered her.

Once she was bought, SmallJon Umber took her up from her knees and gagged her. Sansa tried to fight her way out of his grip despite the fact that she knew it was no good. She figured that even though she was captured and that her life was coming to an end, she wasn’t going to lie down and succumb to the inevitable. She wanted to at least go down knowing she did her best to fight back.

Soon, Sansa was thrown into the back of the truck with others of whom she had been travelling with before alongside some fresher faces. Everyone who was tied and gagged sobbed and exhibited anxiety and fear—including Sansa.

In Lannis-Town, construction was under way. The plan that Jaime had spoken of to Tyrion was on the verge of coming into fruition. Tyrion could only walk back and forth and count to himself thought he really had no idea why he was counting. He then soon began to talk to himself aimlessly. All in all, he was only ready to leave his dreary confinement and make his own way in the world without his family’s dollar. He figured that he was portrayed as the villain of the city thus giving his father no more leverage over him. He felt grateful for that much. The only con about the situation is that no one liked his family and thus, some would bear some sort of grudge toward him. How he would evade others with ill-gotten feelings over him was a question of thought that bore no solution. Everyone knew his face and his voice. He decided that he would play it by ear since he had solved most of his problems that way. Until his freedom, he continued to find things to do to occupy his time.

Meanwhile, Tywin and the rest of his board members continued to raise money using Margaery’s shares as a foundation. It was during this time where Mace and Loras had made a connection with Lancel Lannnister. Lancel told them that the things that were going on in the city was not as everyone expected it to be. He alluded to them that the Lannisters had the power that they had for a reason. It was this explanation that made Loras and Mace want to investigate to find the true nature of Margaery’s death. When Olenna got word of what they were planning to do, she affirmed that the Lannisters were the string pullers behind the Day of Red Rain but warned them to be very discrete when searching for evidence that would prove that the Lannisters ultimately want to re-enact the deadly holiday for as long as possible. They agreed to be careful and they tread with caution with Lancel being their inside man.

Chapter Text

It was in the middle of the day now and Petyr and Olyvar had been situated in an old hotel on two different computers looking through wealthy northern mens’ profiles for hours. The words that were spoken by Hugh that described the man stick like glue in Petyr’s mind. Olyvar continued to go off of what Petyr had reiterated from Hugh. “So how will we know if we find the man? Nearly all of the northern men look this way.”

“We’re looking for someone in particular who can afford to waste money on underground illegal diversions. I have to admit that not many northerners are affluent in the sense of splurging into activities that are otherwise out of the league of penniless merchants and pilferers.”

“How many rich northern men so you know of, Baelish? Besides the Starks I mean?”

“Whomever can make it to the television, the papers, and the radio in regards to wealth, I would have to say that I know quite a few.” As Baelish spoke, he ended up coming across a picture of a man with said features. He was from the north—born and raised—and he and his family were incredulously wealthy with northern reports that his family had strenuous ties with the Starks. “I believe I might have found our buyer.”

Olyvar acquitted his computer to look at the screen of Petyr’s. “Small Jon Umber?”

“That’s right. He and his family were the Starks’s source of extra income. They are in charge of northern taxes as well as partners with Stark, co. Or at least they were.”

“Were? What does that mean?”

“It means that they have ended their ties with the Starks in order to make a new deal with the Boltons. Apparently, the relationship with the Starks had come to an end when Ned went down south to help acquit the Red Rain Massacre. Perhaps the Umbers felt that the Starks were leaving them with a heavy burden to take care of when fighting against the day. It’s even documented here that there was a dispute over the decision for Ned to go south as the Umbers predicted that they would struggle and lose everything. Ever since, they had acquired debt and have lost respect from their citizens due to their inability to function without the Starks’ presence. It's fathomable that this might have brought about a grudge on behalf of the Umbers. However, Roose has since helped them climb out of their debt when attempting to amalgamate their said assets with the remaining Stark assets. If this is our man, he can gain a lump sum of money by reselling to the purging games. It can help to recover some debt and bring forth assets to the Boltons.” When Petyr explained the last bit, his face dropped and he then became very serious. His look was so grave that it alarmed Olyvar.

“You look unsettled about something.”

“I am,” he admitted dryly. “I know where this can go,” he spoke as he dreadfully rubbed his fingers through his hair.

“So what do we do now?”

Petyr just looked at him briefly before turning away, “I’m not quite sure if we have enough time. We cannot be spotted in the North without reason and I have no more business with Roose and his team. The most I can do is try to act before being discovered.”

“How do we do that?”

“As much as I’d like to retrieve Sansa personally, I’d have to have someone do it in my stead,” he spoke with disappointment. “Luckily I have friends in the north.”

“How would you find out where Umber has taken her?”

“I still have unfinished business with Hugh,” Baelish spoke without his signature sly smile. His face was as plain as an empty canvas. He gave Hugh a called and demanded that he send him a map that highlighted all of the underground markets and purging centres in the North. Hugh did as he was told. In a short matter of time, Hugh sent an outline of underground places that did business with purging prey. Petyr made a copy of the map before overturning it to Olyvar. “I leave this in your care to pass it off to another.”

“Understood.”

“I shall be returning to the Valley before arousal of suspicion.”

“I shall see to it that I do my job well and fast.” With that, he bade farewell and from that point, he and Baelish went their own ways.

Over the course of the next three days—as Sansa was being transported to the mid-lands by car—Baelish returned hastily to the Valley. As he attended his day as CEO of Vale Valley, he put on a face that was of a calm and collected grimace as if he had no idea of what had happened if anything had happened at all. Profoundly, he bore an undeniable and restless feeling of anxiety as he was—for the first time in his life—unsure of the outcome that was soon to follow. In two days, he had yet to receive anything from Olyvar. That was until later on that night.

When Baelish was in his study working on miscellaneous tasks, his cell phone rang and vibrated just beside his left forearm. “What have you found?”

“I have found that she has been purchased by the Freys,” spoke Olyvar on the other end. “I’m ashamed to admit that I have lost track of them as there was much traffic among people being bought, sold, and transferred.”

“So you lost them amidst human commodities?” he replied as to not sound as vexed as he actually was.

“I did.”

Baelish blew a very exasperated breath. “Have you any news on where she might have gone? Anywhere near the Frey headquarters?”

“That was the first thing that has come to mind, Baelish. I am in route of venturing to the mid-lands in hopes of finding some clues there.”

“Make haste. I can only be too sure that most people of that area has a full knowledge of who Sansa Stark is and what she is worth.”

“I presume you have no hopes of the people there wanting to aid her? Not even her uncle Brynden? I know that he is very well known in the black market.”

“While that might be so, Brynden has been too preoccupied with his dull nephew and trying to aid in running their dissolving business. Besides…Brynden was forced to forfeit all connections to those who were involved in the black market when his brother died. His legacy however does remain.

While that lies in the truth, Sansa has no serendipity of encountering her uncle. The Freys has been dealing in ill trade. There could be a possibility of them wanting her to act as a challenge to Edmure and Brynden being that if anything was to happen to Edmure, Sansa would inherit on her mother’s behalf.”

“I dread for Sansa Stark.”

“Don’t dread. It’s a distraction. Recall that I said that it was a possibility and not actuality. For now, there is nothing to dread until we know what’s to happen as a certainty.”

“Understood.” Olyvar ended the call.

The most Baelish could do was return to his office work before the deadline. In the back of his mind, he only hoped that Sansa would be used as a tool for inheritance in exchange for her freedom. But he knew better than anyone that the world was not that kind…especially toward young women like Sansa.