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A Laying of Hands

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Completely bared to him, tangled in sheets, she's as white as the northern snows. All pale peaks and valleys. It's enough to drive a man to poetic heights were he not already occupied. Certainly Tyrion could do two things at once...but today, tonight, tomorrow, he has no desire to multitask. Now, here, he only wants to focus on one thing: making love to his wife. Better late than never, after all.

Sansa laughs as his beard brushes her thighs, and he has to stop there, with his cheek on her soft skin, just to revel in the sound. The Lady of Winterfell's laughter does not come easily. She barely parts with a giggle, though her husband is a notoriously witty man. Even her smiles are given with shadows. But as he settles between her legs, hands gentle on her knees, she is immersed fully in the light.

It took little coaxing to get them here. Frankly, it was all her idea. And who is he to deny the command of a strong woman? If he can kneel for the Mother of Dragons, surely he can do the same for Sansa, to whom he was so ignominiously wed all those years ago. She'd called him "Lord Tyrion" without one hint of irony or censure and taken his hand. And though it's been some time since he's bedded anyone, he's hardly forgotten the signs of want, of willingness.

She's pliant under his touch. Her breathing comes in shallow gasps. The flame-red hair of her cunt is damp with need. He can do something about that need. His mouth and tongue are more than suited to the job, and he applies them enthusiastically. He'd forgotten what a woman's pleasure sounds like. That it's Sansa's pleasure riding on moans and whimpers is all the more sweet. Sansa. Lovely Sansa. Tempered like Valyrian steel and yet melting under his ministrations and forged anew.

They sent ravens to one another. Her at Winterfell, him at Dragonstone. A strange courtship born of political necessity. Her cousin and his queen are uneasy allies even now, but those early days required diplomacy only the practical people in their lives could provide. He found himself writing to his once-bride as a peer...perhaps with a touch of flirtation because even in forced chastity he's not dead. And she came alive in return.

Just as she's alive now, clutching his hair, crying out his name, nearly choking him with the grip of her legs round his head. There are far worse ways to go than buried in a beautiful woman's cunt. He can't imagine a nobler ending. And when she falls back against the pillows, spent, he grins at her in smug satisfaction.

"I think that was to your liking, my lady. A credit to my expertise."

Her gray eyes are not quite so haunted now. Her scowl is playful. "Boasting doesn't become you, my lord," she frowns, still gathering her breath.

"Of course it becomes me. It becomes me so much that you became all over my face."

It's terrible. He knows it's terrible. But the amused huff that escapes her is wonderful, as is the blush that heats her cheeks. She told him once that she'd forgotten how to blush, how to do any number of maidenly things, because those were weaknesses. There is nothing weak about the pink hue of her skin, about her desire and her joy — and he tells her so. With his fingers stroking into her. With his lips on her knee, her belly, her breast and her throat. There are two things he does exceedingly well — talking and fucking — and he's happy to do both in service to Sansa.

She's so guarded, his lady. So careful and distant everywhere but here. Here, she turns her face into his neck and salts his skin with her tears. Here she whispers that no one has ever done this for her before. He knows at least one man has offered. And it gives him a savage, possessive, moment of glee — he hadn't known he was quite so territorial — that Petyr Baelish has not had a taste of what he so blatantly craves. Littlefinger does not deserve it. Tyrion does not deserve it either, but he's hardly going to complain if Sansa chooses to give herself to him. He is no martyr. This is no great sacrifice.

It's a blessing, a cleansing of the soul for a man with no faith. And as he fits his cock into her and drives it deep, he, too, is inclined to weep. For all his prowess at fucking, he is nearly as virginal in this bed as she: No one has done this for him before — accepted him with trust and care and an utter lack of ulterior motive. It's a marvel, really. Sansa knows he will not hurt her, and Tyrion believes she will not betray him.

They fall into the rhythm easily, like ebbs and swells of the tide. I won't hurt you, I won't betray you. Somewhere in the middle of it is the promise of "I will love you," but Tyrion knows better than to speak or expect such a declaration now. For all the bonds between them, for all the trust they've built thus far, they are each of them still wounded and healing. The maester's chain that ties them needs at least a dozen more links before they bare their entire hearts.

Until then, they give one another what they can. He spills in her without fear. She comes again with a hoarse cry. He takes her beautiful face in his palms and kisses her mouth. She kisses him back in tender sips that sting and soothe his cynical bones in turns. They linger in bed, touching and exploring and speaking of nothing but silliness and sex.

"I never thought I could want this," she confesses.

It's vulnerability that drives him to make the quip, to give her the out should she require it. Lovemaking has lowered his walls, too. "With a dwarf like me, you mean?" 

"No. With anyone. Regardless of stature." She gives him a look so stern it brings to mind one of his childhood tutors — except that none of those venerable men ever inspired him to immediate erection. "You've...changed me. I thought I was frozen solid inside, but you've made me believe in good things again." She pillows her cheek on her palm, gazing at him with such open affection that it humbles him. "I thought because Joffrey was beautiful, he would be kind. I know far better now. I know cruelty can wear many faces. But because of you, my lord, I know what kindness truly looks like. I know what beauty really means. It's this. It's us, isn't it?"

Tyrion's never had illusions about his visual appeal, but in this instance he feels like the most handsome fellow in the Seven Kingdoms, the most worthy as well. He clears his throat, blinks away sentimental tears, and reaches for her free hand — for the hand that he will hold until he draws his very last breath. He squeezes her fingers, kisses the tips. "Any man who does not treat you well is no true man. You deserve kindness, my lady. You deserve wickedness, too," he adds. "But only the good kind."

He wins another one of her precious laughs for that. "Then I'm certainly in the right place."

Yes. Yes, she is. She's finally home.