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You Win or You Die

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After the execution, a guard helped me get Sansa back to her room and as soon as he’d laid her on her bed I’d shooed him away with every bit of malice that I couldn’t show Joffrey or his mother.

After barring the door, I sat on Sansa’s bed and held her unconscious body in my arms as I wept, hard, gasping sobs that rattled my bones, left my throat sore, and my head pounding. Sansa didn’t wake.

I stayed there that night, as I didn’t want to leave Sansa by herself and I didn’t know when she’d wake.

I didn’t catch a glimpse of those blue eyes till morning was half over.

She slowly sat up in her bed and looked at me, her eyes asking the question that her mouth didn’t dare form. I nodded slowly in answer and I watched as she broke down into sobs of her own.

With speed like that of a worried mother I wrapped my arms around her and pressed her face to my shoulder to muffle the sounds. If someone heard her crying for her father then it could spell even more trouble for the both of us and I didn’t dare risk it, but I didn’t dare tell her to stop either.

“Why?” She asked, more begging than anything else, gripping me like I was the last thread that held together her sanity.

“Because he’s as mad as the King before his father and those who serve him are just as wicked” I answered, my tone low so only she could hear me.

“I want to go home…” She sobbed lowly, her nails digging into my dress-sleeve.

“I know. I do too. And I will make it happen. I swear to you, Sansa. I will get us home” I said, the determination burning in my eyes as my own grip grew tighter.

She was about to say something else when a knock came at the door followed by a gruff voice. “You are summoned to court by His Grace” they said before the sound of footsteps echoed away.

I sighed and looked down at Sansa. “Let’s get you dressed and looking presentable” I said as I helped her stand and went to her closet.

After getting her dressed and cleaning up her face, getting rid of as much redness as I could, I escorted her to the Throne Room.

I lost track of time as we stood at the balcony and listened to the people come and go. When I tuned back into what was happening I noticed a man sitting on the floor with a stringed instrument on his lap.

“The boar’s great tusks, they boded ill, for good King Roberts health” He sang, and I could already see this ending badly. “And the beast was every bit as fat as Robert was himself. But our brave King cried ‘Do your worst! I’ll have your ugly head! You’re nowhere near as murderous as the Lion in my bed!’” I fought the urge to both laugh and shake my head at the poor fool down there as he continued. “King Robert lost his battle and he failed his final test. The Lion ripped his balls off and…” He hesitated to finish, seeing the Queens expression. “The boar did all the rest” He said with a few final strums, looking like he knew he was in for it.

The Joffrey started clapping, and everyone else joined in, Sansa and myself included.

“Very amusing” Joffrey started, looking amused on the surface. “Isn’t it a funny song?” He addressed the crowd. “Thank you for your rendition. I
imagine it was even better received at that tavern” He said, now more clearly irritated.

“I’m so sorry, Your Grace” The man said as he slowly stood, his instrument in his hands. “I’ll never sing it again, I swear” He promised.

“Tell me, which do you favor? Your fingers or your tongue?” Joffrey asked.

I could see the man’s heart drop to his toes at the question.

“Your Grace?” he questioned as if he didn’t understand.

“Fingers or your tongue. If you got to keep one, which would it be?” Joffrey clarified. The man struggled to answer. “Or I could just cut your throat”
Joffrey continued a little quieter than before.

“Every man needs hands, Your Grace” The man finally answered.

“Good!” Joffrey perked up at the man answering. “Tongue it is!” He said as guards approached the man while the man tried to beg Joffrey not to.
“Ser Ilyn, who better than you to carry out the sentence?” Joffrey beckoned and Ser Ilyn took out his dagger and a pair of plyers before holding them
over the fire.

“Your Grace, please! I beg you! I’ll never sing again!” The man pleaded.

“I’m done for the day” Joffrey said as he stood and removed his crown. “I leave the rest of the matters to you, mother” He said handing it off to
Sandor.

The man continued to beg as Joffrey approached us. “You look quite nice” He said to Sansa, though I wondered what he was talking about as Sansa
looked terrible, despite my best efforts.

“Thank you, My Lord” Sansa said.

“Your Grace” He corrected quickly. “I’m King now” He said. Behind him she watched Ser Ilyn start to cut the man’s tongue out. “Walk with me, I want
to show you something” He ordered.

“What of the handmaiden?” One of his guards asked.

“She’ll join us” Joffrey said, looking at me.

“Yes, Your Grace” I said with a curtsey.

Joffrey walked past and Sansa watched him go, till Sandor stopped in front of us. “Do as you’re bid child” He said, looking at Sansa before looking at
me. I started back with narrowed eyes and teeth gritted so tight my jaw ticked. To say I was mad at Sandor would be an understatement but there’s
not much to be done for it. The feelings that I’ve developed for him matter little when put against my need to protect Sansa.

Sansa started walking, me following close behind, with the guards behind me. I didn’t like it.

As we walked he talked about the wedding. Then we started getting closer to our destination, as he started to slow his gate. “And as soon as you’ve
had your blood I’ll put a son in you. Mother says that shouldn’t be long” He said as he stopped and looked up at the tops of the outer walls.

The sounds of Flies buzzing and the smell somehow hadn’t reached me till that moment but when it did I had to fight a gag as the contents of my
stomach tried to escape.

“No, please, no!” Sansa begged when her eyes landed on what I now saw to be her father’s head on a spear. One of the guards grabbed her so she
couldn’t run away and I could feel Sandor standing behind me, probably for the same reason.

“This one’s your father, this one here” Joffrey said pointing. Sansa wasn’t looking, I didn’t blame her. “Look at it and see what happens to traitors”
Joffrey ordered.

“You promised be merciful” She whimpered, still looking away.

“I was. I gave him a clean death” Joffrey said, looking up at Ned’s head then back at Sansa. “Look at him” He ordered, his could have been
misunderstood as being gentle if not for the words themselves.

“Please, let me go home, I won’t do any treason I swear it” Sansa begged, looking at the floor.

“Mother says I’m still to marry you, so you’ll stay here and obey” Joffrey said firmly. It was quiet for a moment before he seemed to get more irritated. “Look at him!” He shouted.

Sansa slowly looked up and I could see her spirit die a little more. It angered me that there was nothing I could do and it made me hate Joffrey, the
Queen, Meryn, and everyone else more.

“Well?” Joffrey prodded, as if he was expecting her to be proud of him.

“How long do I have to look?” Sansa asked, eyes still on her father’s head.

“As long as it pleases me” He answered, his proud smirk dropping. “Do you want to see the rest?” He asked, sounding almost like a child showing
off their toys.

“If it please You Grace” She answered.

“That’s your Septa, there” He said pointing.

It was my turn to gasp, I hadn’t seen her since she told Sansa and I to run, I didn’t know what had happened to her, now I do and it’d worse than I’d
imagined.

I fought the urge to cry and turned my sorrow into determination to protect Sansa and rage to kill Joffrey.

“I tell you what, I’m going to give you a present. After I raise my armies and kill your traitor brother, I’m going to give you his head as well” He said.

“Or maybe he’ll give me yours” Sansa said in return, still looking at up at the heads on the wall, then she looked at Joffrey with a kind of defiance I’d never seen on her before. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud but her timing wasn’t the best.

“My mother tells me a King should never strike his Lady” Joffrey said before looking at Ser Meryn, who was holding Sansa still. “Ser Meryn” Joffrey said.

Ser Meryn turned Sansa and struck her once on one cheek then again on the other. I ground my teeth and went to approach him but a hand from
behind me took my arms and kept me in place.

Sansa turned back to face Joffrey and looked very much the broken-hearted child she was. She looked down at the multiple stories below the platform that Joffrey and her currently stood on, then she looked back at Joffrey with an expression that spelled death for the blond in front of her. I
knew what she was thinking and was about to move to stop her when Sandor moved from behind me and grabbed her shoulder.

“Here, girl” He said wiping the blood from her lip with a ragged cloth, leaving it in her hands after.

“Will you obey now? Or do you need another lesson?” Joffrey asked. Sansa didn’t answer as her hands fiddled with the cloth. Joffrey must have not
wanted to wait for an answered and walked off with a “I’ll look for you in court” before disappearing, Ser Meryn right behind him.

Sandor leaned a little closer to her. “Save yourself some pain, girl. Give him what he wants” He said before moving to walk away. Sansa went to give him back his scrap of cloth but he refused. “You’ll be needing that again” He said before turning away, now facing me. “You watch yourself. Not all the Kings Guard are as nice as I am” He said like he was joking but I knew he was serious. I didn’t say anything as he walked away.

Now alone, I approached Sansa and wrapped my arms around her as she looked once more up at her father’s head before looking at me. “Take me to my room” She begged and I nodded as I guided her back.

That night when I went back to my room I was met with a raven scroll placed neatly on my pillow. I rushed to it, thinking it to be a reply and was
met with a blank piece of parchment then I noticed the other note next to it. I picked it up and read it silently.

“Y/N, please write something to send to Robb so he knows you and his sister are alive. -Varys”

I sighed and took up a quill as I thought of what to write. Then the words started to flow.

“Robb.

Sansa and I are alive but far from well, they aren’t torturing us but Joffrey is getting as close as he can. I long for the days back in Winterfell when everything was simple and made sense but those times, I fear, are gone forever. They killed your father in cold blood and Arya is missing, or they’ve done something to her. I’ve not heard from her since the day your father was arrested but she is a smart, strong, girl who, I’m sure, is trying to find her way home. Please come for us soon.

-Y/N”

I tied it up with a piece of string and placed it on my night stand with the plan to take it to Varys as soon as possible.

I lit the candle next to my bed and burned the note from Varys, as I didn’t want him to get caught helping me, before changing into my bed clothes and laying down.

I laid in bed for hours before I finally fell into a fitful sleep that left me far from well rested.

The next day Sansa had nothing she needed to do and didn’t want to leave her room so she sent me out to do as I please, I wanted to stay with her but she said she wanted to be alone so I had no other choice than to do as she wished.

I was going to pass through the Throne Room on my way out of the Keep but was caught by the sight of Baelish looking up at the Throne again.

Then I saw Varys approach him and I was once again forced to hid behind a pillar to avoid being caught listening in.

“When you imagine yourself up there, how do you look?” Varys asked. “Does the crown fit? Do all the Lords and Lady simper and bow, the ones that sneered at you for years?” He continued.

“It’s hard for them to simper and bow without heads” Baelish answered simply.

“A man with great ambition and no morals, I wouldn’t bet against you” Varys said.

“And what would you do, my friend, if you found yourself sitting up there?” Baelish asked.

“I must be one of the few men in this city who doesn’t want to be King” Varys answered.

“You must be one of the few men in this city who isn’t a man” Baelish quipped.

“You can do better than that” Varys said sounding more disappointed in the badly picked jab than hurt by it. The sound of light footsteps told me
Varys was walking.

“When they castrated you, did they take the pillar with the stones? I’ve always wondered” Baelish asked as he followed Varys till they were walking
together.

“Have you? do you spend a lot of time wondering what’s between my legs?” Varys asked in response.

“I picture a gash, like a woman’s. Is that about right?” Baelish asked.

“I am flattered, of course, to be pictured at all” Varys answered.

“Must be strange for you, even after all these years. A man from another land, despised by most, feared by all” Baelish said as they both passed the
pillar I was hidden behind.

“Am I? That’s good to know. Do you lie awake at night fearing my gash?” Varys asked, I had to keep from laughing at the joke.

“But you carry on, whispering in one Kings ear, and then the next” Baelish continued as if Varys hadn’t spoken at all. Then they stopped walking. “I
admire you” He finished.

“And I admire you, Lord Baelish. A grasper from a minor House with a talent for befriending powerful men and women” Varys responded.

“A useful talent, I’m sure you’d agree” Baelish said and Varys hummed in agreement.

“So, here we stand, in mutual admiration and respect” Varys said.

“Playing our rolls” Baelish said.

“Serving our new King” Varys finished as new footsteps filled the hall and I tensed in fear that I would be caught.

“Long may he reign” Baelish said. “My King” He continued.

“My King” Varys said.

“My Lords” Joffrey said as he seemed to completely bypass them. “Shall we begin?” He continued.

When they left the hall, I sighed in relief. That was twice now. “I need to stop coming in here when court isn’t in session…” I murmured as I went on
my way.

That day was spent wondering the city till late in the evening when the sun was on the horizon.

Then I returned to the place where Ned’s head was on the wall. I looked up at it and kneeled.

“I swear to you Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell, I will see your daughter home. No matter what it may cost me. I swear on my life” I said. I’d never
made an oath before but there was no other that I’d be willing to make.

They want a Game of Thrones? They’ll get a Game of Thrones.