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Sansa Stark had always said that she would never work at or join her father's business under any circumstances. After all, she never thought there was anything glamorous in commercial construction management; it was bad enough growing up having to clarify that no, her father is not a construction worker, he wears a suit and tie to work and rarely if ever goes on site to any of the jobs.

Her mother never liked it either, wasn't exactly thrilled when Robb, who used to work there in the summers, decided to major in business and join Stark Industries, Incorporated as soon as he graduated college, working his way to eventually becoming a junior project manager.

Arya had fought to work there as soon as she could, accompanying superintendents onto job sites, which was also further cause for her mother's concern. Bran and Rickon will soon be itching to work there as well as soon as they age out of summer camps.

But never Sansa.

Sansa's plan was to major in fashion merchandising or English, or maybe even History. Perhaps Psychology if she fell in love with it during her freshman year – she felt like that happened often.

But she didn't account for her freshman year to be an utter disaster, her fall semester of sophomore year to be even worse. And she certainly didn't account needing to drop out and running off to Europe to…decompress. To heal. Whatever term her parents like to use.

So here she is, back in New York City after the Fourth of July weekend, walking down Broadway to her father's company in order to start her first day as an office assistance-slash-receptionist-slash-assistant administrator-slash-whatever she's needed to be for that particular day.

She takes a deep breath and makes sure her braids are still pinned to her head properly before walking through the glass doors to the building.

**

The Administrative Assistant, Mordane, whom Sansa has only known as the old lady who would send Cadbury chocolates to her siblings during the holidays, shows her around. She hasn't been here before – when Stark Industries was smaller, it was located further uptown in a cramped office on one of the top floors of a massive building. They've only just moved in here a few years ago and it looks nice. Although given that the office was painted in the company colors of grey, white, and greyish blue, she finds it rather drab.

The receptionist – a nice woman who is at least eight months pregnant and ready to give birth – sits in the immediate right when she walks in, and then further down the hall, there's an open space – the 'bullpen' as it's affectionately called – where administrators and estimators work, yelling at each other for numbers and information. Across from them there are the project managers with their own cubicles. She walks by Robb, who gives her a cheeky grin.

For today, she'll be in the back office with Accounts Payable, filing invoices and scanning old, completed job folders that are filled with old invoices, drawings, and contracts. Utterly mind-numbing and tedious, but it's perfect.

**

She spends her first morning with her earbuds in, music loud as she files dozens of invoices, organizing them neatly into piles before putting them away. That keeps her busy until half past twelve. She was told she could take her lunch hour whenever she wanted, so she goes outside and finds a salad bar and brings it back to her dad's office, watching Netflix until the hour has passed. For the rest of the afternoon, she takes armfuls of old job files and removes the staples from all invoices, organizing them by company before she puts it aside for scanning tomorrow.

At five, she changes into her flats and walks back to her family's apartment in the Upper East Side, a good fifty blocks away, but she's taken a liking to walking around cities alone.

**

It remains the same for the first week – she files, she removes staples from old invoices from old jobs, she scans hundreds of pages of old jobs onto the server – it's a continuous cycle.

She doesn't talk to anyone much – sometimes when Robb is around the office, he says hello and speaks with her for a few minutes, but everyone else doesn't know what to make of her, the redhead girl in their boss' family photo on his desk, so different from Arya, whom all the supers ask after when they come into the copy room.

She becomes so used to the isolation that even when the weekend comes and she takes the train to her childhood home in Connecticut, she has no desire to socialize with any of her high school friends.

But then again, she's been avoiding them for a while now, unable to rid herself of that feeling of utter failure.

**

Her second week, she goes to work with Arya, who is wearing high-waist jeans and a tucked-in polo shirt with the company logo on it. She claims she has to meet Sandor at the office to do boring paperwork before going to the Financial District to one of the six jobs going on. Sansa is only beginning to pick up certain job numbers in relation to their locations.

"I don't know how you're doing what you're doing. I would die of complete boredom," Arya says.

"It's not terrible. Besides, I'm catching up on a lot of TV. I even started watching Brooklyn Nine Nine."

"Do you like it?"

"Yeah, it's really funny."

Arya and Sansa smile at each other and talk about the show for the rest of the walk without arguing once, which is quite a feat.

**

As soon as Sansa walks in, Mordane is there, ushering her into the receptionist area. Apparently, the receptionist went into labor three weeks early the night before and they needed coverage until the company can hire a temp during her maternity leave. Sansa does her best to write notes on how to answer the phone: "Good Morning/Good afternoon, Stark Industries, how may I assist you?" and how to transfer calls.

It's overwhelming at first – she drops a few calls and accidentally transfers a few more, but by the time it's almost lunch time, she's gotten the hang of it.

She starts seeing people leave for lunch ten minutes before twelve – project managers going out together, carrying bags with the company logo, going over talking points for a lunch meeting. Soon after, estimators are trickling into the waiting area to catch the elevator, including Jon.

She's only caught glimpses of him – he's always been focused on the computer, or on the phone, or speaking with Senior Estimator Jeor Mormont, pouring over large architecture drawings.

She has to admit – he really looks good in a suit and tie and very fitted pants.

He looks over at her and gives her a crooked smile. She smiles back.

To her surprise, he walks over to the window. "Hi, Sansa. Sorry I didn't get to greet you properly – last week was a little crazy with that hotel –"

"I know, I've heard everyone yelling and cursing about it."

He smiles sheepishly. "Yeah, that's the business for you."

"How else did we all learn our curse words?"

"Too true. How are you doing? Did you like Europe? The pictures were amazing."

She smiles. "I did, thank you. It was just what I needed."

"That's good. You were missed." He runs a hand through his hair and smiles again.

He's always been rather awkward, basically half adopted into the family and seemingly fit with everyone but her and her mother, but she thinks he finally might be comfortable in his own skin.

And maybe she's grown up a bit too.

The elevator comes and they all squeeze in. Jon nods at her before the doors close.

**

There are seven estimators: Jeor Mormont and Qhorin Hafeman are senior estimators; and then there's Jon, Sam, Grenn, Pyp, Tormund, Edd, and Val, who is the only woman. They're apparently interviewing for one more estimator since they're running ragged.

When Sansa is at reception, she's typically getting calls asking for the estimators. Sometimes a super if they're in the office, but usually she just recites their cell phone number to reach them. Very rarely will someone ask for her father. Sometimes she even recognizes names, people her father has mentioned at home, like Stannis Baratheon and Jon Arryn.

It's honestly…not bad.

**

One day she takes lunch at one and realizes that Jon didn't leave with everyone else earlier, that she hasn't seen him at all today. She leaves the receptionist area to check where the estimators sit, seeing Jon squinting at the computer, stacks of papers around him. She bites her bottom lip for a moment before steeling herself, walking over to him.

There's a short wall between him and her, which she rests her arms on while she delicately clears her throat.

He does a double take and blinks a few times.

"Would you like for me to get you lunch?" she asks without preamble.

He blinks again. "Uh, yeah, that would actually be…really great. Hold on –" He half stands up to get his wallet from his back pocket.

"Oh, you don't have to," she starts, but he's already taken out a twenty.

"Just get me whatever you're getting. It's on me," he says.

She raises an eyebrow. "Are you sure about that?"

"You have good taste, I trust you."

She takes the twenty. "Alright. Thank you."

"No, thank you, seriously. I'm swamped."

"I know, it's alright. I'll be back in fifteen. I'm not going far."

She only goes to the deli across the street and gets herself a salad and she picks out a pre-made sandwich, chips, and a diet ginger ale, things she knows Jon likes from basically living with him most of her life.

She hands him his lunch and change. He narrows his eyes at its contents. "This is definitely not what you ordered." He takes out the sandwich and wraps it, taking a large bite.

"Don't be silly." She lifts up her bag containing her salad. "I know what you like. I'm sure you could guess most of the ingredients in my salad."

He pretends to think for a moment. "Spinach, grilled chicken or tofu, almonds, cranberries, avocado, goat cheese if they have it, some sort of vinaigrette – raspberry? Fat free, of course."

It shouldn't be so shocking that he knows what she likes too, but it is. "The deli across the street doesn't have goat cheese, unfortunately. Otherwise you've got it."

He smiles. "Thanks again, Sansa. Really appreciate it."

"You're welcome. Good luck with everything."

She leaves him be and she spends the rest of her lunch break watching TV on her phone in her father's office.

**

The commercial construction business is primarily run by Irish men – second or third generation and even first, coming fresh off the boat. And it becomes a family business – her father has worked with subcontractors who have passed their business onto their sons, who will probably pass it on to their sons if they're fortunate enough to remain profitable. The Starks are a bit of an anomaly, coming from England almost two decades ago and her father starting the business from scratch with only a few contacts.

But now he'll essentially be joining the lot of them, grooming Robb to becoming his successor. Although she's overheard talk of having multiple partners, of giving shares to Howland Reed and possibly Mormont, but that's not for a while.

**

There comes a point where she has finished catching up with Brooklyn Nine Nine and she could start a new show, but instead of going into her father's office, she decides to sit in the kitchen when she sees Arya at the head of the table with Jon on her right.

"Hey," she greets, sitting down across from Jon.

"Hey. What did you get?" Jon asks.

"Sushi," she says as she pulls out her lunch, which Arya makes a face at.

"Yes, we know, you think sushi is disgusting," Sansa scoffs, unwrapping her chopsticks.

"Oh come on, you like the potato rolls," Jon says, nudging Arya.

"Yeah, because it's not fish. Fish is disgusting," Arya complains.

"Where did you get that? It looks good," Jon asks.

"It's on twentieth and Park – a bit of a walk, but I read good reviews on Yelp," Sansa answers.

"Leave the menu on the table," he says, gesturing towards the small pile of takeout menus the office has accumulated.

Sansa searches for it in her bag and tosses it onto the table. A few seconds later, other estimators come into the kitchen.

"Well isn't it our lovely receptionist," Tormund greets, taking the chair at the other end of the table.

"Do you know how many compliments I get on your behalf – it's literally the new greeting," Pyp adds. "That quasi-English accent makes them swoon."

Sansa smiles and blushes.

"Thanks for putting off Slynt, I just couldn't deal with him this morning," Sam, Jon's roommate and best friend from college, shoots him a grin as he sits down.

"He sounds awful, I don't blame you," Sansa responds.

"Get used to him – he calls a lot." Tormund\ dives into a meatball sub.
"Always asking for your dad."

"I'm sure he'll call me next." Jon sighs. "Why do we work with him again?"

"Because he doesn't drive Accounts Payable fucking crazy with the invoices – there's never an issue," Edd deadpans.

Half the table snorts into their lunches. Sansa smiles and eats her rolls, primarily listening to everyone banter. She leaves two rolls and gives them to Jon, who pops them into his mouth. "It's good – thanks," he says quietly.

She smiles at him and catches Arya looking at her with a confused expression. As soon as Jon and the other estimators leave the kitchen to return to their desks, Arya asks quietly, "Uh, since when are you nice to Jon?"

"Is it a crime?" Sansa retorts rather stupidly.

"No, it's actually nice, I'm just curious as to why."

She says curious, but Sansa thinks she sounds more demanding than anything else.

But honestly, Sansa can't think of any particular reason why. Part of it is that she's tired of pretending to be some dignified, perfect version of herself, or someone she wishes she was. Part of it is that she's been with Joffrey too long of a time and knows Jon is the complete opposite of him. Part of it is that when she was jumping around from England to Paris to Stockholm to Berlin to Rome, she realized she wasn't just missing her parents and her siblings – she was also missing Jon too.

"Because he's Jon."

Arya stares at her long and hard before giving her a small, rare smile. "Okay. Good. I might crash at the apartment tonight. I'm going to a Yankee game with some of the supers and Gendry."

"That's still going strong, huh."

"Yeah, whatever," Arya mumbles, which makes Sansa smile.

Arya would be the last person Sansa would assume who'd meet their one true love on the first day of freshmen orientation.

"I've got to go and you have to go back up front," Arya says, standing up.

Sansa checks her watch and quickly fills up her water bottle before heading back to the reception area.

**

On Friday, Jon greets her at reception with an iced tea from Starbucks and a paper tray.

He hands her the drink.

"Thank you – what's this for?" she asks, ignoring the fluttering in her chest.

"You're going to do something new today. So you know how we won that bid with the River Hotel?"

"Yeah..."

"So after we win the bid with the client, we hold our own bidding war with subcontractors – different HVAC companies, electric, millwork, iron, etcetera. Everyone's bids are due today at noon. So over the next few hours, couriers are going to come and drop off sealed envelopes. Most of them will typically say 'sealed bid' on the outside, but in case you're unsure, don't open it, just in case."

She nods, sipping her iced tea. She likes that he remembered she prefers it unsweetened.

"Once they come in, I'd like for you to cross their names off. I'll call you periodically to see whom we're missing."

"Sounds good."

"You're leaving at two today, right? Summer hours?" he asks.

"Yeah, heading home. Are you coming?" she asks.

"I think so. Might get in late tonight or Saturday morning."

"Okay, great. If you need to be picked up, I'll be around."

The phone rings and Sansa shoots Jon an apologetic smile before rushing to the phone, bending forward to pick it up. "Good Morning, Stark Industries, how many I help you?"

**

She does as Jon instructs, accepting bids and crossing off names neatly. Jon calls every half hour asking for an update, which she finds herself looking forward to, even when he calls at 11:30 and ends up cursing when she tells him none of the plumbing companies have submitted their bids yet.

"Jesus Fucking Christ – sorry Sansa – fuck, alright, thanks, bye –"

She hangs up and sighs, but she doesn't have time to relax because the phone is ringing again.

**

"So, honey, how's the office?" her mother asks while everyone is outside on the patio.

"It's good, actually," Sansa answers, cutting her salmon.

"Good. That's good."

"They all love her," Robb adds. "Frankly she's the most competent person we've had in years."

"Robb," her father says with a sigh.

"What, it's true," Robb argues. "She's ridiculously organized, she can actually talk to people. Honestly, if her schedule at school works out, maybe we shouldn't even bother with a temp. The admins can cover for when she's in class. And the office is only ten minutes away on the subway from NYU."

"You've thought this through," Sansa says dryly, but she's actually…rather thrilled about it. It's nice to be properly be appreciated, even if the work is a bit simple, but it's still a job, right?

Especially after over a year of being put down, she'll take what she can get.

"Seriously, Dad, please."

Her father chews on his chicken and looks up in thought. Sansa bites her bottom lip until her father says, "It would be nice not to interview for a receptionist. It's bad enough trying to find an estimator willing to keep up."

Sansa smiles and Arya gives her that look again, but she ignores it and focuses on her dinner.

"Is that what you want, Sansa? You don't have to," her mother says.

Sansa looks up and nods. "It's fine. I like it. Pays well for sure."

"You know we can support you –"

"I know you can and I'm grateful," Sansa interrupts, "but I want to do this for me."

The family doesn't like to really talk about What Happened. And she doesn't blame them; she doesn't like thinking about it. She's finally reached a sort of new normal in that her life is finally starting to make sense again: she'll go to school at NYU for the fall semester to get back on her feet, and then hopefully come the spring semester, she'll have figured out what she might want to major in. She'll end up graduating at least a year or two after her peers, but she's had to let that go or else she'll never get any peace of mind.

"Alright. But don't let it get in the way of school," her mother says.

"I won't. Promise."

"She is really good," Arya admits. "That last one was a damn moron."

"Arya," her parents say at the same time as Bran and Rickon snicker.

"Told you," Robb grumbles.

"Robb."

Sansa starts laughing and soon enough, everyone else has started laughing too.

**

Sansa makes sure she is lathered in sunscreen and wearing a wide brim hat before stepping outside by the pool. Everyone except Robb and her have left, so she's taking full advantage by being in the pool in a floating arm chair, a magazine in her hand while her phone is in the cup holder playing the Michael Bublé Pandora station since it's the only one Robb and her can agree on.

He's also floating in the pool on another arm chair, but he's checking e-mails and occasionally answering a phone call.

"Hey, what's up?" Robb asks after picking up his phone. Pause. "Yeah, that's good." Pause again. "Uh, hold on." He turns his face to her and asks, "What do you want to drink? Jon's at the liquor store."

She blinks. "What are you drinking?"

"Brooklyn Lager since it's the only one we can agree on. Fucking hipster with his IPAs. What do you want?"

She never had beer when she was with Joffery because she got tired of his comments, so she stuck with mixed drinks and shots of vodka. In Europe, she primarily drank wine in an attempt to rebuild herself as the kind of sophisticated person she's always strived to be.

But now it's the middle of July and she's in her pool and she wants a damn beer. "Stella, please."

Robb smiles. "Stella for the princess."

Sansa smiles and tilts her face toward the sun for a few minutes.

**

Jon arrives with his huge dog Ghost, who must be excited to escape the confines of Jon's apartment for the weekend, and two large cases of beer. "Fridge working by the grill?" he calls out as Ghost bursts through the door and starts running around the backyard.

She gets a sudden lump in her throat at the memory of Lady.

"Yeah, just put some in there and keep the rest in the pantry," Robb responds.

Jon heads over to the grill and starts putting away some beers before heading over to Robb and Sansa with two open bottles, placing Robb's at the edge of the pool.

"Oh, come on," Robb complains.

"You're at the other end, I'm not swimming to you," Jon laughs. "You'll get around here."

Since Sansa is close, she uses one arm to paddle her way toward the edge. Jon hands her a beer. "Thanks," she says. "How'd you get here?"

"Arya. Promised I'd pick up some things for a party she's going to tonight."

"A party? Seriously?"

Jon shrugs.

"Hurry up and get in. I have to tell you what the fuck happened last night with Theon," Robb demands.

"I can only imagine where they all ended up," Jon says dryly before heading back inside the house.

Sansa furrows her brow and looks towards Robb.

"Strip club," Robb answers.

Sansa scoffs and rolls her eyes. "Seriously?"

"Oh, my sweet summer child," Robb says the way their Nan used to say. "You don't even know how we party."

**

(Sansa does her best not to stare too long at Jon because she's forgotten how utterly beautiful his body has become.)

**

Sansa gets a taste of an evening out with the company one Thursday.

She's told early on that there would be an office meeting, but she would still be at the front to field calls, saying that people have gone home for the day or are out in the field. She doesn't hear much, although her father is saying things like how well everyone is doing and all that. Eventually, they all start leaving for a bar that's three blocks away. A company-paid-for happy hour.

There are a few stragglers, so she leaves at five with Sam.

"Geez, it's so hot outside. Why did we have to reserve the rooftop?" Sam laments.

"Rooftop? Really? Who planned that, certainly not my dad," Sansa snorts.

"Robb did."

"Makes sense."

They arrive at the bar and are ushered to the back where the elevator is, going all the way to the top.

Even though the bar is shaded with a canopy, it's still very hot. Sansa gathers her hair and puts it into a ponytail, although she suspects at some point she'll end up putting it in a bun; she can already feel sweat beading on her hairline and behind her neck.

Pyp comes up to Sam and says, "We have a problem. There's no beer up here."

"What? You're joking."

"I wish I was – it's just hard alcohol."

"Well that seems dangerous."

They grab menus from the bar and Pyp wasn't joking – there is really only cocktails and a separate list of spirits. She orders herself a margarita on the rocks and just tells herself she'll take things slowly – the weather will certainly dehydrate her quicker and therefore make her drunker faster. She'll be just fine.

They all raise their glasses in a toast and start drinking.

**

"I've got a car to take us home, if you want," her father says to her during the second hour.

"Um," Sansa starts, but she actually…doesn't want to leave. She's having fun, of all things. Besides, she's supposed to work on Friday and even though she has the freedom to take off whenever she likes – the perks of being the boss' daughter, getting paid by the hour and not being a proper, full-time employee – she wants to do her job. "That's alright. I'll be fine."

"Okay. Get home safe." She watches her father say his goodbyes and it's nice to see how everyone appreciates him so much. He claps Robb on the shoulder and smiles. With Jon, he exchanges farewells and Jon's eyes flicker to Sansa. Jon nods and focuses back on her father, who nods and smiles and he finally leaves.

**

Sansa is standing in line for the bathroom and she is really quite drunk. She'll need to order a water once she rejoins the party.

Jon is also waiting in line with Howland Reed, who has just stepped into the men's restroom.

"What did my dad say to you about me?" Sansa asks once they're alone.

Jon smiles and rests his head back against the wall. "Make sure you get to the apartment safe."

"I can take care of myself – I was alone in Europe for the most part."

"He knows that. I'd say it was a parent thing, but I was considering on giving you cab money at some point."

Sansa laughs. "Jon, come on, I can pay for a cab. And you know Uber exists. I'm fine." She stares at him for a bit, feeling an almost painful fondness grip her heart. "You're very sweet." The words tumble out of her mouth in a way that only happens when intoxicated.

He smiles and looks down bashfully.

The women's restroom is free, which she's grateful for because she can use the time to will the blush off her face.

**

It's been four hours, it's now dark outside, she's one of the last remaining people at the bar, and she is very drunk.

She's okay, sitting on a stool, but she's cradling her…fifth? Possibly…margarita and she's with Robb, Jon, Sam, and Tormund.

"I'm so fucked for tomorrow," Jon sighs, resting his head on his hand that's not cradling a mojito. She would make fun of him for it but she's been stealing sips of his drink for the last twenty minutes.

"C'mon, let's get some food. Dragonstone?" Robb suggests.

Sansa grimaces at the thought of eating high end food.

"Are you fucking joking? Do you want me to vomit in the bathroom like last time?" Sam complains.

"You vomited in Dragonstone?" Sansa gasps.

"I didn't even notice and I was in there with him," Jon adds with a shake of his head. "Let's go to a diner, for fuck's sake. Proper drunk food."

"Yes, I want eggs," Sansa exclaims.

"I want a club sandwich," Sam pleads.

Robb sighs. "Where do you suggest we go?"

"Holdfast Diner is ten blocks uptown."

So it's Sansa and Jon sitting across from each other against the wall with Robb and Sam taking the ends. Sansa gets scrambled eggs and toast while Jon gets a cheese omelet with bacon, Sam gets his club sandwich, and Robb orders a burger.

"Do you think Tormund made it home?" Sansa asks, slurring a little. He was stumbling out of the bar and (hopefully) into a cab the last time they saw him on their way to the diner.

Robb waves dismissively. "He's fine. We're all professionals here."

Sam snorts as he picks up a fry. "Have you heard the story of Mance getting so drunk at a function he crashed in the office under his desk?"

Sansa throws her head back and laughs. "Definitely. Told all the time at home." She tears her last piece of toast to put some eggs on it, disappointed – she wishes she had another side, but even she's not quite that drunk enough anymore to ask.

"That was one of my first nights out, I had a horrible hangover the next two days," Robb says fondly.

"You lot are a bunch of animals," Sam says with a shake of his head.

"Is that what Gilly says behind our backs?" Robb laughs.

"More or less," Sam admits.

Sansa hasn't met Gilly, but she's spoken to her on the phone when she sits at reception. She sounds nice enough with the few pleasantries they exchange before Sansa transfers Gilly to Sam's extension.

"She could've came," Jon offers.

"Not on the company dollar! I wouldn't want to –"

Jon shoots him a look. "I think we would've been able to swing a drink or two," he says at the same time Robb says, "My dad isn't going to notice an extra few drinks with this lot."

Sam stares at Robb with horror. "You know Gilly can outdrink most of us, including me! Your dad most definitely would notice!"

Jon shrugs. "It's true." He flags down the waiter. "Excuse me, would you mind sending another side of rye toast? Thanks."

Sansa blinks in surprise at Jon, who shoots her a quick smile.

"Besides, she's not, we're not," Sam stutters.

Sansa has no idea what Sam is blathering about until Jon explains to her, "Sam bought a ring."

"Oh, really?" Sansa gushes. "Are you going to propose soon?"

Robb snorts into his soda and soaks his face while Jon winces.

"Well, I, uh – did, but you know, I didn't have the ring and Gilly, well…didn't grow up with the best parents and isn't really…into the marriage establishment, so…it's a work in progress."

"But when the lease is up next June, he'll live with her, right?" Jon encourages.

"Maybe?"

Jon shakes his head.

Her side order of toast comes and she laughs when Jon takes a slice for himself.

**

"Let's flag you a cab," Jon says, holding out his arm into the street.

"How are you getting home? Please don't say the subway," Sansa says.

He barks a laugh. "I thought about it, but I'm too tired to contend with the F train right now. I'll get a cab after you."

Finally, one stops by them.

"I have money, I'm fine," she insists before he can reach into his pocket. "Thanks, Jon." She impulsively hugs him. He's a little shocked when she pulls away, but his smile brightens his face.

"G'night – let me know when you make it back."

She sighs. "I will."

She does – as soon as she gets into the elevator, she sends him a text that she's made it safely home. He's quick to reply a that's good – have a good night and see you tomorrow, which makes her smile.

**

Sansa wakes up at six in the morning feeling pretty good, but she knows this only means she'll crash midday, so she tries to sleep for another hour before getting ready for the day, taking a long shower and drinking two bottles of water before walking to work, considering on getting an iced coffee and maybe getting an egg and cheese sandwich on a sesame bagel –

She takes out her phone and texts Robb and Jon:

From Sansa Stark:
Heading to the office – anyone want a coffee and an egg sandwich? This offer is only good for the next ten minutes. If one of you can extend the offer to Sam that would be great – I don't have his number.

From Robb Stark:
I fuckin wish but I'm going to a breakfast with JP Morgan.

From Jon Snow:
Bacon egg and cheese on an everything bagel and an iced coffee. Sam is not going to eat until midnight tonight, but I'll thank you on his behalf since you can't mention food to him at this time.

From Sansa Stark:
Poor thing.

From Sansa Stark:
Wait since when do you drink iced coffee? I thought you were a strictly hot coffee person even when it was 100 degrees out??

From Robb Stark:
He realized he didn't look cool doing it (Face With Tears Of Joy )

From Jon Snow:
Contrary to popular belief, my sole goal in life isn't to look cool.

From Jon Snow:
I just developed a liking to it recently.

From Sansa Stark:
Never thought I'd see the day.

From Robb Stark:
But he's still ahead of the curve by preferring NITRO COLD BREW.

From Jon Snow:
It tastes nice…

From Robb Stark:
It's a crime against humanity, is what it is – it costs a stupid amount of money!!!

From Jon Snow:
It's not like I'll only order that! If the option is available, I'm going to order it!

From Robb Stark:
Whatever hipster just move to Williamsburg and be with your kind.

From Jon Snow:
(Reversed Hand With Middle Finger Extended ≊ Middle Finger)

Sansa reads the text exchanges while she's waiting for the egg sandwiches and laughs.

From Sansa Stark:
I don't think I've ever had a nitro cold brew.

From Jon Snow:
I'll make sure you try one at some point.

From Sansa Stark:
Sounds good. Be at the office in 5 minutes.

**

Sansa arrives ten minutes before nine, going straight to Jon's desk to drop off his coffee and egg sandwich. He looks up at her with such gratefulness that it makes her laugh.

"I can't say how much this means to me."

"Hungover?" she guesses innocently.

"Not so bad, just a general feeling of shittiness, but this should help." He hands her a ten dollar bill. "Thank you, seriously."

"You don't have to pay for mine –"

"Yes I do. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need a moment with my bagel."

Sansa smiles and shakes her head, taking his money and going up to reception to relieve Mordane from her desk.

**

As expected, despite the very large iced coffee she sipped on throughout the morning, Sansa is tired by lunchtime and looking forward to going home at four.

Project managers and estimators come pouring into the waiting area, debating on where to go for lunch. Half want to just go to McDonald's, others are arguing that it'll make the office smell for the rest of day – which is very true – and going to Chipotle or Dos Toros.

Sansa joins them, internally debating on what she wants. She looks over at Jon, who is going through his phone, probably reading work e-mails even though it's his lunch hour. "What are you getting?" she asks him.

He glances up at her before focusing back on his e-mails. "I'm getting…a grilled cheese…" He quickly types on his phone. "With tomato soup…"

"Seriously? It's eighty-six degrees out and you're getting soup?" Sansa asks with a raised eyebrow.

Jon shrugs his shoulders. "It's cold in here. Besides, the deli across the street has an amazing tomato basil soup. Perfect day-after-drinking meal. I don't know how they can eat Chipotle."

Sansa has definitely had plenty of nights when she had Chipotle, but felt promptly ill, so he understands where Jon is coming from.

"Alright, I'll give your meal a try," she says.

While everyone parts ways in front of the office building, Jon and Sansa make their way across the street. It's usually fairly busy and Sansa is used to quickly jumping onto the salad line and mentally preparing what she wants since the staff moves quickly. She follows Jon's lead as he exchanges pleasantries with the man behind the counter and asks for two grilled cheeses and two tomato soups – yes, the combo, thank you.

While Jon is getting his diet ginger ale, Sansa sneaks to the cash register and pays for their lunches.

"What kind of cookie would you like?" she asks.

"What?"

"You get a free cookie with your lunch on Fridays – chocolate chip?"

Sansa looks to the left at the casing of cookies and says, "Chocolate chip for one, red velvet for the other, thank you."

Sansa looks behind her to find Jon, who is coming up to the register with a put-out expression. "Sorry, too slow," she teases.

"I got you a lemonade Snapple," he says, holding it up.

She smiles. "I just bought your ginger ale, so you can buy my Snapple."

Jon rolls his eyes and pulls out his wallet.

**

"You know, I make fun of him for that fucking lunch, but every time he gets it after a night out, I'm so jealous because it smells and looks great," Tormund complains as he watches Jon dip his grilled cheese into his soup.

Sansa grins and eats another spoonful of soup. Jon's right, it really is a great meal.

**

On Saturday, Sansa meets her best friend from childhood Jeyne for brunch at Jeyne's parents' country club. They're sitting outside watching children ride ponies.

"So how's working at your dad's…construction company?" Jeyne guesses.

"Construction management – think of it as akin to a producer of a movie. You find all the people you need to make a project happen," Sansa explains succinctly.

"Huh, interesting," Jeyne says, picking at her salad.

Sansa didn't expect much of a reaction beyond that, so she's not offended.

"Is your salary amazing? It must be, being the boss' daughter," Jeyne asks, eyes sparkling with excitement.

The salary is great, but she makes the same as anyone else who works by the hour. "Yeah, it's super nice. Next week I plan on buying Chanel espadrilles."

"Don't you already have a pair?"

Sansa did, but she left them in Joffrey's dorm room the last night she ever saw him because she couldn't find them and she needed to get away. She ended up walking across campus barefoot.

"Yeah, but they got ruined."

"Well, that's cool. Are you still going to try to work there even with school?"

"Maybe. Haven't really thought too much about it. We'll see how school is."

"Makes sense. Do you want a shopping buddy next weekend?"

Sansa smiles and nods.

**

Jon meets her in the receptionist area on a random Wednesday and he's fiddling with something in his hands.

"So, Theon is going to be here for the entire day," Jon says in a low voice.

Sansa groans and rolls her eyes. And of course today she decides to wear a relatively low-cut shirt today due to the heatwave.

"I kind of wanted to fuck with him a little bit." He reveals what's in his head and she grimaces. It's an awful figurine of a half-dressed school girl and some sort of tentacle monster – a gift from a twisted relative.

"Ugh, that thing." Every time she has to leave a package or paperwork for Theon at his desk, she catches that stupid figurine by his computer and half-considers throwing it out with the rest of the garbage.

"I'm going to leave it with you," he says, hiding it behind the printer to her left, bringing a finger to his mouth.

She smiles and nods, going back to organizing papers.

**

"Alright, seriously, who took it?" she hears Theon demand at around ten in the morning. She assumes he was chatting with coworkers for the first hour of the day and hasn't bothered to sit down at his desk for more than a few minutes.

"Took what?" Sam asks, not bothering to look up from his desk.

"Took what," Theon mocks. "The only thing I keep on my desk!"

"Oh…" There's a pause. "That's too bad."

Sansa slaps a hand to her mouth to muffle her sudden laugh.

"Did you take it?"

"Theon, I've got back to back meetings and then I have to go out for drinks with a client tonight when I'm going to have to drink Guinness until I inevitably vomit. Piss off."

Sansa looks through the glass and sees Jon hunching his shoulders so she can only see his eyes, which are squinted in amusement. Theon comes into her frame and he goes directly toward Jon.

"It had to have been you," Theon says, his arms crossed.

Jon shrugs. "Wasn't me. Unlike some people, when I come into the office, I begin working right away."

"You're fucking lying, give it back."

"Look, search my desk if you want, I'm not keeping it."

Theon immediately starts searching and Sansa bites her bottom lip as she copies drawing numbers on an Excel sheet for one of the administrators. Once she finishes, she suddenly grins at her brilliant idea.

She takes a stack of paper that she's going to back to Accounts Payable, keeping it close to her chest so she can put the monstrosity of a figurine between the papers and her stomach. She casually walks by the administrators, saying she'll be right back.

"Sansa," Theon says once she passes him, with what she supposes he's attempting for a charming smile on his face. "You like me enough to let me know who took shit off my desk, right?"

Sansa raises an eyebrow. "I mean, no, but I honestly don't know who took what off your desk. I'm up in the front and rarely leave, so." She shrugs her shoulders nonchalantly. "Now, if you'll excuse me…"

She walks past him and purses her mouth to hide her smile, going straight to her father's office.

**

Her dad doesn't arrive until before lunch, but once he does, Sansa immediately types an e-mail to send to Jon that reads, I took your prank a step further. Wait for it.

Sure enough, ten minutes after her father came in, she is speaking with Sam in regards to an upcoming bid when she sees her father come out from the back offices and go straight to Theon, who is at his desk working. Sansa slaps the space by Jon's left to get his attention, wordlessly nodding across the bullpen. Jon stands up without shame to watch.

Her dad says, "I don't know how this…thing got into my office and I don't care…but please. I don't like seeing it on your desk as is, but I really don't like it in my office. Keep your belongings on your desk, if you must." He places the figurine on Theon's desk, not waiting to hear a response from Theon as he leaves to speak to Howland Reed.

Sansa has never seen Theon's face so red in her life. Her eyes shift to Jon and suddenly, they crack at the same time, Sansa grabbing onto Jon's arm and masking her laughter into his bicep as he hides his face into his free hand, body shaking.

"You fucking assholes," Theon hisses across the bullpen and Sansa doesn't bother to hide her amusement anymore and throws her head back and laughs loudly, still gripping Jon's arm to keep herself steady.

Her father turns to look at her and Jon, blinking in surprise before smiling.

"It really is fucking horrible, Greyjoy," Jon says with a shrug of his shoulders, grinning, and really, Sansa doesn't know why he doesn't smile more often because he's really quite handsome when he does.

Eventually, Sansa makes her way back to the front, but she doesn't stop smiling for the rest of the day.

**

"It's nice to see you getting along with Jon," her father says when they take the train to Connecticut together that Friday. "He grew into a fine young man."

Sansa smiles a little as she looks out of the window. She wants to say that he's always been good, that he didn't grow into anything beyond his body (those muscles really are truly distracting). But she keeps her mouth shut and pulls out her earphones to listen to music.

**

Sansa registers for four classes. A high level psychology class, a literature class, art history, and Calculus, which she didn't get to finish her last semester, so she has to retake again. She claims confidence because that's what her parents expect and hope; she hates the idea of disappointing them again, so she keeps them informed when she receives e-mails from her professors regarding the lists of books she needs to purchase and rent, let's them know when she's given her roommate pairing.

Never mind that she has difficulty falling asleep the closer she gets to the end of August, to her first day of transfer orientation.

**

Her family usually spends a week in the Hamptons in August. This year, they're going a little later than normal, the week before Labor Day.

A few days before, they're having a family dinner – Jon included – and her mother is planning transportation. Her mother, her father, Rickon and Bran will ride in the wheelchair van with their dogs and Arya's dog. Robb will drive alone since he and their father will have to leave a day or two earlier to get back to work, and Arya and Sansa will drive out together.

Jon isn't included, which has been more common since college and beyond, and it didn't use to bother Sansa. But now, having him sit silently at the end of the table as her parents plan this trip, Sansa feels anger stirring in her gut.

"Actually, I have plans in the city Thursday night, I was thinking about taking the Jitney," Sansa brazenly lies.

Arya chokes on her drink, coughing but smiling in amusement.

"The Jitney? Really, Sansa…" her mother sighs.

"What? I know people who take it all the time," Sansa says with a shrug. Granted, she never thought she would ever take the Hampton Jitney based on her belief that all buses are disgusting, but she can ignore that for now. "Besides, Jon will be with me, right?"

From the corner of her eye, Sansa can see Arya staring at Sansa with undisguised admiration, but she keeps her gaze focused on her mother, who looks almost confused, for a few seconds longer before smiling at Jon. "I'm sure you'll protect me from the drunkards."

Jon's jaw is slack and his eyes are wide. "Um…" He looks toward her father, who nods.

"That would work. One of us can pick you up in the morning," her father considers out loud.

"I'll do it, I want to go to The Lobster Roll, so get off at Amagansett," Robb says at once.

Everyone starts talking at once about wanting to go to The Lobster Roll too – or Lunch, as her parents call it since that was the original name – but Sansa interrupts with, "Robb can bring a cooler and get things to go! For God's sake…"

Everyone is in agreement and it's not brought up again until Arya corners her in her bedroom as she's changing.

"That was awesome what you did at dinner. I'm truly impressed," Arya says as Sansa quickly pulls her sleep shirt down.

Sansa doesn't bother to yell at Arya for not knocking. "Yeah, well, it was ridiculous to talk about the trip while he was there and not have him come."

"Not the first time it's happened and it won't be the last, but it was a nice change of pace to have you argue about it."

Sansa sighs, running a hand through her hair. "I get why Mum has issues with Jon, but now I just think…it's all rather silly. I mean, there are worse things, right?"

Arya nods, smiling. "Yeah. I also can't wait to drive there by myself. Three hours with just me blasting the music I want? It's going to be great."

"Yeah, yeah. Just be careful on Route 27 – you know how cops like to wait there."

"I know, I will. Well, g'night."

"See you tomorrow."

Arya leaves and after a few seconds, she hears Arya say, "G'night, Jon!"

Sansa takes a breath and runs her hand through her hair again, smoothing it down when she hears a knock on her door. She turns around to see Jon standing in the doorway, his hand falling to his side.

"You can come in. Arya already did the honors of barging through," Sansa jokes.

Jon shoots her a quick smile and steps inside. "I, um –"

"You don't have to thank me," she interrupts him. "Really." She swallows. "Besides, your shoulder is the best for sleeping on."

There have been plenty of pictures throughout the years of Sansa and Jon somehow ending up next to each other and Sansa falling asleep on Jon's shoulder.

He smiles properly this time. "Yeah, well, your head isn't too bad either."

There aren't as many, but there are a few of Jon falling asleep too.

"I guess just pick a stop that's in between your apartment and mine and we can meet there?"

He nods. "Alright. I'll get tickets now."

"Great, thank you."

She opens her mouth to say something along the lines of how everyone cares about him, how even though he's grown and independent, he's still wanted, even if her mother still stubbornly holds onto old grudges. But she doesn't know how to word it and it's really not a conversation to be had while he's standing in her bedroom, looking mildly uncomfortable.

"Have a good night," she says, wanting to kick herself.

"You too, Sansa." He smiles again before leaving, shutting the door softly behind him.

She checks herself in her vanity mirror and is surprised to see her face is a little flushed.

**

(Sansa does nothing that Thursday night beyond picking up sushi, a six pack, and watching several movies on HBO. But nobody has to know that.)

**

"How was your night out?" Jon asks when they meet at the 42nd Street stop for the Jitney at eight in the morning.

"Oh, it was chill, didn't stay out too late," she lies while yawning.

Jon side-eyes her. "You stayed in and watched Sex and the City, didn't you?"

She gapes. "I did not." Pause. "Nice guess – I did watch movies on HBO," she admits.

He grins. "Figured. You don't look hungover."

"I don't know what you're talking about – I look fabulous after a night drinking, you can't tell," she sniffs.

"All you Starks carry it in the eyes," he points out.

Unfortunately, he's right. She blames it on her mother. "Fair enough," she allows.

"Did your plans fall through?"

"Plans?"

"Didn't you say you had plans last night? Hence the Jitney in the morning?"

"Oh, I didn't have plans. I just lied," she says with a dismissive wave of her hand.

Jon, however, frowns. "So then why didn't you just drive with Arya? It's way more pleasant than the Jitney, that's for sure."

If she thought having this conversation in her bedroom would've been uncomfortable, she regrets this current situation more – standing on the sidewalk with a bunch of tired strangers. "Because I was trying to be clever in getting you there."

"Why? There have been a number of summers when I haven't gone with you," he asks, confused.

"Well maybe I think that's wrong. You're basically family – you grew up with all of us," she says, even though she feels rather weird calling him family since she spent a great deal of thought and time differentiating Jon from the rest of her siblings. "It should just be automatic by now. Next year I'm sure Arya will pitch a fit on your behalf and cause a scene during family dinner."

He looks down and runs a hand through his hair. "You didn't have to have to do that."

She almost says we have to, but she knows he'll misconstrue it as a terrible obligation. Instead, she pats Jon on the back. "You know we Starks are stubborn folk – we do what we want."

The corner of his mouth twitches. "That you do."

**

She lets him take the window seat. "I'm going to sleep – the least I can do is give you some entertainment while I'm dead to the world."

He shakes his head with a smile, but takes the offered seat.

She doesn't think they even make it out of Manhattan before she's falling asleep. She has a low level of awareness in that her head keeps falling forward, but Jon soon gently guides her head to his shoulder and she smiles before dozing again.
 

**

She wakes up sometime and they're a few miles away before merging onto Route 27. Thankfully, the early hour in which they boarded the bus meant that most people were relatively quiet most of the journey.

"Did you sleep?" she asks.

He shakes his head, squinting as the sun comes through the window.

"Well I hope you didn't run this morning…"

He smiles a little sheepishly. "Just a short one. I'm used to running with Ghost in the morning."

"You better lather up because you're going to pass out on a blanket and end up turning into a lobster."

She has a moment of imagining herself rubbing lotion into his back and immediately chastises herself.

"Thank God for sprays – no unfortunate streaks," he says.

She grins. "Remember when Arya drew a smiley face on your chest?"

Jon chuckles and rolls his eyes. "It was a good thing it was the end of the summer so I could keep covered."

"I wonder if we have pictures of that," she thinks out loud.

"No, but there are pictures of Arya, Bran, and Robb trying to bury me."

Sansa laughs out loud. "I added the seashell bra."

"That was a very nice touch."

She tries to smile, but eventually she gives up and bites her bottom lip. "I'm sorry," she says.

He furrows his brow. "For what?"

"For how I treated you – I was such an ass to you –"

"Sansa, it's fine."

"It's not. I was awful."

He briefly smiles. "You were occasionally awful," he allows. "I'm sure I couldn't have been charming always sulking in the corner growing up."

"Can you forgive me?"

"There's nothing to forgive."

"Forgive me," she demands with a smile.

"Alright, alright, I forgive you."

They grin at each other and it feels nice to let go of the past.

**

Robb and Arya pick them up in Amagansett, Arya sitting in the driver's seat, Robb in the passenger, so Jon and Sansa sit in the back as they drive down Route 27 toward Montauk to get to The Lobster Roll.

Sansa slides on her sunglasses and smiles, resting her head back to look at the trees and the sky during the long stretch of nothing between Amagansett and Montauk. Occasionally, she glances over at Jon, who has shut his eyes and turned his face to the sun, and she's hit with the uncomfortable realization that Jon really, truly is attractive – not just his sculpted body, but his face and the way he smiles, and even when he broods. But she really likes it when he smiles.

She exhales, cutting herself off there and focusing on whatever rap song is playing through the speakers.

**

Luckily, they manage to nab one of the last few parking spots in the lot. After placing their large order of multiple lobster rolls and orders of fries, Robb, Jon, and Sansa each order a beer, and Arya gets a soda.

"I'm surprised you got an order of fries," Arya says to Sansa. "Isn't that like, going to ruin your figure?" she asks in a mocking tone.

"Arya," Jon says warningly.

Robb and Sansa look to Jon in mild surprise. Sansa's eating habits were poor Before, but it wasn't something that was brought up to any of her siblings besides Robb – she didn't think Jon noticed or figured it out.

Arya looks to Jon in slight betrayal. "What? It's true," she mumbles.

"And I was stupid, right? Fries are great. Although they don't keep, so I'm definitely eating all mine in the car," Sansa says, leaning into Jon a little to look at Arya down the bar.

Arya looks up and grins.

**

Sansa's grandparents used to live in the city, but have since retired to East Hampton where they own a house a few blocks away from the beach.

They bring their bags inside and greet her grandmother, who is reading under a large umbrella in their backyard. Her grandfather is out fishing with neighbors.

"Is there anything you'd like for me to do?" Jon asks.

Her grandmother smiles. "Oh, go have fun. I'll get my son to do it later," she says with a wink.

Jon smiles and nods and Robb drags him by the back of shirt so they can change for the beach.

**

Sansa is a little tipsy from drinking wine at dinner and exhausted, so she's in the room she shares with Arya, Nymeria lying by her feet as she browses through online shops.

She's surprised when Robb comes in, immediately going for Arya's bed.

"Your room is down the hall," Sansa says with a shake of her head.

"I'm not that bad," Robb says, his face muffled by the mattress.

"Hmmm," Sansa hums noncommittally, saving a link to a particular top she may want to buy after her next paycheck.

"Alright, spill."

She furrows her brow and doesn't bother looking over at Robb. "Spill what?"

"What's up with you suddenly caring about Jon?"

She looks over at him now. Robb is still sprawled on the bed, but he's resting his head on his hand, looking over at her with a surprising amount of seriousness.

She swallows. "Now I know who the good guys are." She stares unseeingly at her laptop screen. "I was stupid, treating him the way I did."

"It was."

Sansa shoots him a look. "I apologized."

"I know – he told me."

"Then what are you hoping to get out of me?"

"I just wanted to know where my sister's head is at," he says with such sincerity and love that it brings tears to her eyes.

"It's nice to not be expected of anything with Jon," she admits.

"I know – I used to tell him all the time he'd probably make a halfway decent therapist, but he looks so miserable half the time, the patients would probably be worried about his having depression over their own issues," Robb snorts.

She can see it – how he'd make people comfortable. But Robb is also right in that Jon has resting sad face, of all things.

"It used to annoy the hell out of me – how miserable he seemed."

"If my dad fucked off and my mum OD'd when I was four, I wouldn't be the happiest kid. He probably thought we'd turn him out if he pulled half the shit we all did," Robb murmurs.

"Daddy would never."

"No, but Mum would've."

"No, she wouldn't have. She may not have liked the idea of Daddy taking the kid of his best friend –"

"First love," he corrects her.

"They didn't date," she says immediately.

"So?"

Her parents are the first couple she thinks of when she considers true love and forever – there was nobody else before and there was certainly nobody else after.

"It's not like Jon is some…love child or something. What was Daddy to do? Jon has no family. The foster care system is awful in both countries. What's the difference between five children versus six? We certainly have the money to support him – hell, I'm sure if Mum had another four more, it still would've been alright. I don't –" She stops herself short, forcing herself to breathe.

"Careful, you're sounding like Arya," he points out lightly.

She smiles with a shake of her head. "She'll save the world."

"Yeah, and rid the world of assholes by probably socking them in the teeth."

"Or kicking them in the kneecaps."

"Both," they say at the same time.

Robb slowly gets up from Arya's bed and stands over Sansa. "Just wanted to check in. I need to do a better job of doing that."

There wasn't really any way for anyone to know – she kept things close to the vest and it worked for years, but she appreciates his efforts all the same. "Thanks, Robb. Get some water by your bed. And painkillers. Love you."

"Yeah, yeah, g'night, princess, love you too." He kisses the top of her head with a loud 'mwah!' and leaves her alone.

**

It's definitely one of the nicer trips to the Hamptons. Sansa and Arya don't fight beyond grumbling about sharing the bathroom and needing to use another shower if they both need it at the same time, the weather is perfect the entire time, it's…good.

(Even though during one afternoon while they were shopping in East Hampton, an employee who was helping her get the right size dress she was trying in the fitting room had informed her that her boyfriend was hot, nodding toward Jon. It was the most awkward denial she ever had to make. But other than that, it's been great.)

During the last evening there, after a day on the beach, Sansa and Jon make a quick stop to the liquor store to pick up wine and beer. The drive is quiet save for the music playing lowly – Rumours, of course, since it's inexplicably his favorite album and a go-to whenever he's behind the wheel. She never understood it, but she won't complain since it's better than half the depressing music he loves.

"It's Theon's birthday in September – have any ideas of how we can get a laugh out of it?" Jon asks as he turns onto Route 27.

Sansa grins and rests her head back. "Obviously we need to mess with him when it comes to the food."

He nods. "Maybe we can coordinate with everyone, give them a heads up."

"Are we really going to stick with the doughnuts? I heard you used to get Magnolia Bakery cupcakes."

"Yeah, but for some reason we got doughnuts one time and that office is full of savages, as you've witnessed –"

"Tormund nearly shoulder-checked me to get the last half of a cinnamon sugar doughnut," Sansa points out.

"Fucking savages, then."

Sansa smiles. "I'll think on it." Her smile widens. "What did you do last year?"

"Nothing. But, I snuck chili salt onto his cupcake once…I think they were sent to us by a sub."

Sansa laughs. "Was his face hilarious?"

He wordlessly reaches into his pocket and hands her his phone. "Password is 2, 4, 6, 8."

"That's not difficult at all."

"One would say it's so simple that no one would guess it."

Sansa grins. "True."

"Besides, I've been locked out of my phone enough times to know I need a simple password," he sighs.

"That drunk?"

"Once, but the others were just friends dicking around."

She scrolls through his pictures and there aren't a lot – most of them are drawings or certain documents for the job. There are pictures of Ghost, Arya, Bran, and Rickon taking silly selfies, the occasional picture of a plate of food or beer. Finally, she finds Theon, who is red in the face with bulging eyes and she bursts out laughing. "I'm surprised he didn't break your phone to confiscate the evidence."

He scoffs. "As if I didn't send everyone in the office that photo. It'll never die." He glances at her briefly with a grin.

She texts herself the picture; she's sure she can find a use for it in the future.

"If you're thinking about putting them through the office, it was already done."

"By you?"

"Several different people, several times."

She raises her eyebrow. "And does it ever get old?"

"Absolutely not."

"Great." She goes to hand back his phone, but instead, she unlocks it again and pulls out Snapchat. Jon doesn't often use it, but he has a respectable number of friends whom he probably ignores. She pulls up the camera and sticks out her tongue, takes a photo and types 'HIJACKED' in pink letters before adding it to his My Story.

"What did you just do?" he asks with a laugh.

"Dangerous to give your phone out."

He rolls his eyes with a sigh. "You Starks with your hijacking."

She adds herself on his Snapchat and goes on her phone to add him. She sneaks a picture of him driving and adds the cutest Hamptons geotag before writing the caption 'On a very serious mission…'

"Are you done making my My Story?"

"Almost. We need to let the people know where we're going."

"People?" he asks amusedly. "I think maybe ten people check that, and I think I'm being generous."

Someone replies to his My Story and it's Sam. She opens it and it reads, 'Hi Sansa!!'

"Sam messaged you and said hi to me," she informs Jon.

"Great."

She doesn't open any other responses that come in, but she recognizes a few of the younger estimators and supers. He makes a quick turn into the parking lot of the liquor store and Sansa unlocks his phone again and begins recording:

"So, as you can see, we're making our way into the liquor store where Jon plans on buying plenty of wine coolers for himself," she says, focusing on the store before turning to Jon for a reaction.

Jon raises his eyebrows. "I'm more of a Smirnoff Ice man – have to keep the theme," he says, which makes her laugh and she stops recording.

"Have you ever had Smirnoff Ice?" she asks, immediately uploading the video.

"No, but I don't mind wine coolers," he says with a brief smirk before turning off the ignition and getting out of the car.

She's a little slow to follow because has she ever seen him smirk before? And why is it…dare she even admit –

No, she won't. She gets out of the car and slams the door shut.

**

Sansa considers going back early with her dad, Robb, and Jon, but her mother had made plans at a spa as a means of girl bonding, so she's waving goodbye to them from the front porch.

While the three of them are getting a pedicure, Sansa snaps a picture of her feet in the water and sends it to Robb and Jon with the caption 'jealous?'

She notices Jon opens it almost immediately and sees him typing for a few moments before she receives his message:

Honestly, yes, anything to not listen to WFAM and hear your brother and dad argue about that asshole host.

Sansa mentally groans in sympathy and writes back: That's the worst - do what we do and put your headphones in and tune it out.

Jon: Way ahead of you. Have any podcast recs? I figured I should stop being depressing and cut down on the political and true crime podcasts.

Sansa smiles and opens up a text message to continue the conversation.

**

Once the number of days until orientation drops to single digits, Sansa begins to feel and increasing amount of dread.

"How are you feeling about school, Sansa? Are you excited?" her mother asks hopefully.

Sansa doesn't have the heart to even hint at a single negative emotion she's feeling. She smiles and says, "Yeah, it'll be great to have a fresh start."

Arya looks at her from the corner of her eye, but Sansa ignores her.

**

Sansa gets offers to stay in Connecticut, for the family to stay in the city, but Sansa insists she's fine. She has plans with friends. She tells her friends she's spending time with her family.

She's perfectly fine and doesn't need to be babysat. She can watch TV, she can order in sushi or go a few blocks and get a salad. She can get through this. It's only school – it's not like she's hasn't been taking online classes to keep up –

She forces herself to breathe, repeating her therapist's words in her head on how to keep count. Then there's reaching out, but…

She pulls out her phone and goes through her contacts. When she dropped out of Vanderbilt, she deleted a lot of numbers, so she goes through her contact list quickly, then back up again.

She pauses on Jon. Not family, true, and not quite a friend either…

From Sansa Stark:
Hey are you busy/do you want to help me finish off this bottle of wine?

She bites her bottom lip and wonders if it was too forward, if they were even close to this kind of friendship or whatever this relationship is. She watches him type something, stop, then start typing again, until:

From Jon Snow:
I can swing uptown for you. Do you want me to bring anything else?

From Sansa Stark:
You can surprise me – I trust you.

She puts her phone away and goes to her bathroom, looking at herself in the mirror. Jon has seen her at her almost worst – so has everyone in her family; tired, sick, makeup-less, all inevitable when living under the same roof, so she's not understanding the sudden desire to at least put on foundation and maybe a little mascara.

She ignores it, but does change into her more fitted pair of sweatpants.

Twenty-five minutes later, he's knocking on the front door, carrying a bag with three bottles of wine and another bag with snacks, Ghost by his feet.

"I wasn't sure what kind of wine you were drinking, so I bought one of each," he says as she steps aside to let them both in. Ghost head-butts her thigh, tail wagging enthusiastically.

"It's summer," she answers, smiling as she scratches behind Ghost's ears.

"Rosé, then," he surmises, taking a bottle of Whispering Angel out of the bag.

This trend – his remembering such specific things about her – causes her heart to swell and break at once. "You're the best." It's supposed to be an exaggeration, at least on some level, but if there's something about this summer she's realized is that maybe her siblings weren't crazy and that she was the only one who had sense, maybe the whole time she was crazy to not see how good he is, or at least, not fully appreciate it until now.

She puts the other two bottles away, recognizing the labels of what her mother likes. She grabs two glasses and they park themselves on the couch in the room where they typically watch TV, Ghost quickly grabbing the large armchair that her father typically likes to sit in. She has Spotify playing some indie station that she thought Jon would appreciate.

"I'm surprised your mum at least isn't here with you," he points out, pulling out a bag of sour cream and onion chips.

"Yeah, well I told them I was perfectly fine and was going to spend time with Jeyne. And I was, but now…I don't know. I want to be alone, but not really." She shakes her head, taking the offered bag. "I'm not nervous about the work – I know I can handle it, but it's…everything else. I don't want to make the same mistakes."

He nods, taking a sip of wine. "It wasn't a mistake, Sansa."

"Yes it was. I should've never stayed with Joffrey."

"You loved him."

Her nose stings and tears fill her eyes. "It was stupid. He was awful and I'm stupid for ignoring it and let him do what he did."

There's a flash of anger that passes through his face. "Sansa –"

She drinks half her glass in one go. "The least I could've done was suck it up, but I was weak and I let it ruin my life –"

"Your life isn't ruined. It's okay that your trajectory changed. I mean…the circumstances of how you got to travel were terrible, but I was pretty jealous of you when you were away. I wish I got to do that before starting school."

She opens her mouth to say that her parents would've supported him, but she holds back at the last second, realizing that her father would've and her mother wouldn't have, even with Jon earning an almost full ride to UConn.

"It was really good for me," she admits. "I'm sorry you couldn't visit with everyone else in April."

He shrugs. "Couldn't miss work."

She clenches her jaw. "Well, next time you will," she declares boldly.

He smiles softly. "As the lady demands."

The nickname causes sudden tears to fall down her face.

"Sorry for – shit. I'm sorry," he stutters, awkward but genuine, while at the same time she says, "Fuck, sorry," she sniffs, wiping her face. "I miss her, you know."

 She remembers how she was so broken after Joffrey and then just when she thought she could pull herself together, Lady was hit by a drunk driver; she petted her until she fell asleep for the last time. She wipes her face again with the sleeve of her shirt.

"Sansa, you're one of the strongest people I know. You're going to get through this. And you have people who love you who are here for you."
 
She nods, taking another long drink. "I know." She smiles a little at him. "Thank you for listening to me blubbering –"

"Really, it's okay." He tosses the bag of chips toward her. "Have you actually eaten any real food today?"

She shakes her head, noting that the wine is already getting to her and she hasn't even finished a glass.

"Alright, let's order food – what do you want? Thai?"

She thinks about it. "Yeah, actually that sounds perfect."

"Great, because I've been craving it the last two days," he says with a grin.

She grins back.

**

 
"Do you want to borrow Ghost for the night? I can pick him up tomorrow."

"That's so out of the way for you – I'm not –" she starts.

"It's fine, seriously. I'll make it part of my morning run," he says.

"I thought you liked to run at night."

He shrugs. "I'll switch it up."

She swallows over the lump in her throat. "Thank you."

**

They're halfway through dinner and another bottle of wine when she has enough courage to start a conversation that she doesn't think he's ever had with anyone. "Jon?"

He smiles, his cheeks a lush pink. "Sansa?"

"Do you…remember your mum at all?"

He looks at her thoughtfully, head tilting to the side. "Bits and pieces," he answers. "I remember her hair – it was dark and long. She used to wear large jumpers. Socks, too. High ones, but it took me a while to realize she only did it to hide track marks in her ankles."

Sansa tries to swallow over the lump in her throat.

It's not something that's ever brought up – Jon's mother being a heroin addict. It was something unsaid, like Jon never drinking until his twenty-first birthday, always the designated driver, even for when she started drinking in high school; he was so deathly afraid of that slippery slope, of gateway drugs brought up in health class. She doesn't know if he just gave up after seeing how fun it is drink, or if he learned that it's not a given based on genetics alone.

"Why do you ask?"

"Just…curious…" she says before looking at the TV for a few moments. "You're the only other person I know who…" she struggles to find the next words. Who has trauma? Does what happened with her – Joffrey being who he was and his friend Ramsay – does that count? She doesn't have scars – bruises have faded, but she almost wishes she did.

"When I was younger, I thought I should run away. It was probably around the time when Rickon was born when I planned it out. I packed a bag that I kept in the closet and would figure I would just leave at night, walk to the train station and take it to New York, since the city has decent social services."

"I never knew that."

"I never told anyone. Not even Robb."

She nods. "I'm sure if you did, he would've kicked your ass and told you off."

"I know, why do you think I kept my mouth shut?"

She smiles. "Yeah. I should probably thank Rickon because you were the only one who could shut him up for a while – he probably convinced you to stick around, right?"

He smiles back.

She breathes a little, feeling her lungs expand with air. "I told my parents that I didn't actually want to kill myself, that I just said it because I was upset about Lady, but that's not true." Tears fall down her face and she's slow to wipe them away as Jon puts down his food on the table and slides toward her on the couch. "Now I don't, I swear I'm okay, but I did, I couldn't –" 

He pulls her in and she doesn't sob like she thought she would. She shuts her eyes and breathes him in as he rubs his hand up and down her back.

"I know it's not much, but you can always come by and hang out with Ghost. I can even put you as a co-owner of Ghost at the doggy daycare I put him in and you can take him out if you want," he murmurs.

As soon as he had gotten his apartment, he made a spare set of keys to be kept in the Stark family apartment in case of emergencies. She doesn't even think Jon has a set of keys for the family apartment - but she'll rectify that in the morning.

"Thanks, Jon."

"'Course. Besides, Ghost could probably use a proper brushing."

Sansa laughs a little. "That I can help with."

**

The next day, she wakes up to a slew of text messages in the Family Chat:

From Mum:
Good luck sweetheart!!! You're going to have an amazing orientation! Make sure you call me as soon as you can (Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes )(Two Hearts )

From Daddy:
You're going to do great Sansa we love you

From Robb Stark:
Not even worried you're going to have fun (Winking Face )

From Arya Stark:
Anyone gives you shit give me their name I'll add it to the murder list.

From Jon Snow:
Good luck Sansa

Sansa is about to furrow her brow at Jon's text until she gets one sent to her outside of the group text:

From Jon Snow:
You're an amazing person, Sansa Stark, and if anyone doesn't like you, then they're not worth knowing. Feel free to blow my phone up if need be. I don't have much to do today.

From Sansa Stark:
Thanks Jon

She smiles as she gets herself ready.

**

It was terrifying at first, but everyone seemed to be in the same boat, so it makes things easier. Most people are Arya's age, but there are a few people who are older. She exchanges numbers, she's featured in a few people's My Stories, she even finds someone who is in two of her classes. Best of all, her future roommate seems much better than the awful bitch she had at her last school.

(She may have texted Jon a few times to ease her anxiety when she wasn't speaking with anyone, but nobody has to know that but him.)

She's relieved, but she's also happy to be done with it. But the best part is, she's not nearly as afraid to start classes as she was before. In fact, she thinks she's looking forward to it.

As she's walking over to the office, she pulls her phone out from her purse and instead of going to the Family Chat, she pulls up a text for Jon:

From Sansa Stark:
Orientation was great - met some nice people!!

From Jon Snow:
That's great! Future roommate good?

From Sansa Stark:
Yeah, we're going to get along well - we'll probably end up sharing our clothes we have the same taste.

From Jon Snow:
If that makes you happy haha.

From Sansa Stark:
Okay I have to call my mum but since I bothered you the most I figured you deserved to hear the good news first (Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes )

From Jon Snow:
I gave you permission to. But thanks for telling me (Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes )

Sansa quickly goes to her recent calls and gets a hold of her mother.

**

Her schedule is this: Monday and Wednesday mornings are Art History from 9 until 10:30; Monday and Wednesday evenings are her literature class from 6 until 8:30; Tuesday and Thursdays are Psychology 101 from 9 until 10:30 and Calculus from 10:45 until 12:15. She can most likely work on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for primarily fully days and for half days on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"Remember, Sansa, if you can't keep up with the work, we'd rather you not work at the office," her mother insists for the tenth time as the family is out to dinner in the Flat Iron district.

"I know, I know," Sansa sighs, exasperated as she brings a glass of wine to her lips.

She's sure she can even do some of her work while working at reception too.

"You've already got your tutor – Jon practically slept through all his math classes and aced them," Robb says, nodding at Jon, who flushes and looks down at his meal.

"I didn't sleep through them," he argues quietly.

"Would you prefer coasted?"

"Marginally better."

Robb nods. "See, you won't have any problems."

Jon smiles at Sansa. "It wouldn't be any trouble."

Sansa has always been relatively decent at math, so she doesn't expect to have too many issues in the subject, but she finds herself thinking about Mean Girls and faking to be bad just to have the boy spend time with her, which is stupid.

Seriously. Very stupid.

(Even though Jon is definitely more handsome than Aaron Samuels – wait.)

Sansa drinks more of her wine.

**

They move Arya to her dorm at UConn a few days later. They all drive up – including Robb and Jon to help. Gendry they meet on campus and he helps out as well.

Sansa and Arya aren't ones for hugging one another – the last time they had it was when Sansa left for London months ago. But surprisingly Arya steps forward and initiates a hug.

"Take care of yourself, Sansa."

"You too."

Arya pats her on the back and that's Sansa's signal to let go. Their mother is staring at them with glistening eyes and even their father looks happy.

On the drive back home, Sansa sits in the back of Robb's car with Jon in the front seat. She watches the trees go by on the highway, feeling an odd ache in her chest.

Her phone buzzes with a text. She briefly glances at it, but double-checks when she sees it's from Jon.

From Jon Snow:
You okay?

From Sansa Stark:
I think I'm going to miss Arya. Weird, right?

From Jon Snow:
A little, but she'll come by for the random weekend or two.

From Sansa Stark:
Right. It's silly.

From Jon Snow:
It's not. You don't want to know how I was last year when she first started (Flushed Face )

Sansa smiles fondly.

From Sansa Stark:
It's sweet.

Jon glances at Sansa from the front seat and smiles.

Her heart flutters in her chest in a way that hasn't in such a long time, she almost forgot how nice a boy can make her feel.

**

She begins her new routine and she likes it – likes how busy she is, how she feels like the purpose she was experiencing over the summer increased exponentially by going back to school.

But she primarily keeps her lives very separate.

It's a little too difficult to explain the insanity that happens in Stark Industries. Like how is she going to explain that on September ninth for Theon's birthday, she and Jon coordinated with the rest of the office in that the doughnut boxes in the kitchen were filled with vegetables while everyone else got to choose their doughnuts by going into some of the unused drawers? It's almost too much work for it to be considered a normal office prank.

(It takes Theon until lunch time to figure it out, and by that point he's pretty pissed off and Jon has tears streaming down his face from laughing so hard, which is quite a sight.)

And it seems as if her family has different preferences of which part of her life they want to hear about. Her parents primarily cares about school, Robb, Arya, and Bran only care about the office, really, and Rickon is too focused on his after school activities to care about anything going on in Sansa's life, which is fine since she doesn't find the life of a thirteen-year-old boy that fascinating either.

Jon, on the other hand, is attentive when she talks about her classes, when she complains about one of the project managers having her scan three-hundred pages of a current job and some of the pages were stapled together five times.

And on her birthday on September twenty-second, the office offers doughnuts as usual, but on the receptionist desk, there is a box with Magnolia Bakery's logo and inside are four lemon cupcakes, which she knows have to be ordered ahead of time.

Enjoy ‘feeling 22' – Jon

Her heart pounds in her chest and she pulls out her phone, taking a photo of the cupcakes and card, editing it on Instagram for a minute and typing out the caption 'who'd of thought @jonsnow93 had it in him to make a Taylor reference? (Face With Stuck-Out Tongue And Winking Eye ) #happybirthdaytome #ofcoursetheyrelemon' before posting it.

Arya is surprisingly the first to like the post and comment with '@jonsnow93 HAHAHA LOSER,' followed with, '@sansastark happy birthday sis those actually look great.'

Jon comes up to the front soon afterward and he's smiling. "I set myself up for that," he says with a shake of his head.

"You did," she agrees, grinning. "Thank you, though." She stands up and walks the few steps toward him to kiss him on the cheek and hug him.

"Uh – you're welcome," he stutters, patting her awkwardly on the back. "I know there's usually that lemon doughnut, but I figured you should get what you really want on your birthday."

"I appreciate it, really. It's so thoughtful."

He smiles shyly. "You're welcome." He rubs the back of his neck. "Ah, if Oberyn from Dorne – the millwork company – comes, just give me a call. I'll meet him outside. If he comes in we'll be an hour late for our reservation."

"I will."

He gives her a parting smile before going back to his desk. She checks her phone and she has at least ten more likes and two more comments. She also has a series of texts from Margaery Tyrell, her friend she met while traveling Europe this past year, first wishing her a happy birthday and then demanding to know who 'Jon Snow' is, that his Instagram is private and she's already searching for him on Facebook.

Sansa sighs.

From Sansa Stark:
My parents basically adopted him when I was a baby. He's in my sister's Facebook profile picture.

From Margaery Tyrell:
Don't you have four siblings? They actually adopted another kid?

From Sansa Stark:
Well, not officially adopted – Jon still kept his last name and all.

From Margaery Tyrell:
What a score!

From Sansa Stark:
Not a score!! Just friends.

From Margaery Tyrell:
If you say so.

From Margaery Tyrell:
Is it still alright that the last week of October still works for you? We'd be more than happy to get a hotel! We don't want to put you out.

From Sansa Stark:
YES please stay with me! We have all the space you guys need. I'll text you my schedule once I know it so we can figure out when I can take you to the Met and everywhere else. Are you still interested in coming to Connecticut for a day?

From Margaery Tyrell:
Yes!! The pictures you shared were beautiful I need to see it in person!

From Sansa Stark:
:) Good because my mum wants to meet you and make you a feast! Are you sure you don't need to be picked up from the airport? I'm sure I can figure out how to navigate Newark!

From Margaery Tyrell:
Uber exists for a reason! I'll text you to let you know when we land/when we should be in the city!

From Sansa Stark:
Okay! Sounds good. I'm so excited to see you! Give my love to Loras and Renly xo

From Margaery Tyrell:
Tell your brother to be prepared for me (Winking Face )

From Sansa Stark:
lol oh god.

Finally, Sansa begins to enjoy one her lemon cupcakes in peace. At least until the phone rings a few minutes later.

**

Eventually, Sansa has to pull out her proper fall clothes, noting that some pieces are too small. She takes a deep breath and looks at herself in the mirror. She gained what weight she lost last year, which is evident in the way her collarbones don't jut out from under her skin, how her face isn't so gaunt anymore.

She puts the clothes that don't fit away, gives to her mother to give to GoodWill, and asks to go shopping.

And once she leaves the mall with multiple bags in hand, she feels like she can breathe a little easier.

**

There's a weekend in October when Sansa is out in the Lower East Side with her new friend Shae from Psychology and her classmates from a neuroscience class and she spots Jon out with Sam and two people that look vaguely familiar, like she's seen pictures on Facebook.

Sansa has gotten rather used to Jon in his work clothes, so it's always a bit of a jolt to see him dress casually in dark jeans and a stupidly fitted shirt.

"Where are you off to?" he asks.

"Karaoke bar," she says and his friends whip their heads to look at her at the same time.

"Karaoke bar," they repeat.

Jon looks back at them exasperated, but in the end, all nine of them cram themselves into a private room and while most songs are nineties bops, Sansa and Jon do a dramatic take of "Mr. Brightside" that Shae records bits of, uploading some to Sansa's My Story while Sam does the same with Jon's.

The thought of going uptown is exhausting when her friends leave to go west to their dorms and the Uber fare is too high, so she crashes at Jon and Sam's apartment, in Jon's bed.

It's a little problematic how much she loves his bed.

She takes out her phone from the charger he keeps by his bed and checks her Snapchat, cringing a little at her slightly off-key voice singing along to "Mr. Brightside," but they all sound rather bad, which is the point, she supposes. She didn't realize how close she and Jon were, how she stabilized herself by gripping his arm or leaning into him, how their faces were so close during certain lyrics that their knuckles of their hands gripping the mics grazed one another.

She checks replies to her My Story and half of them are either 'omg he's so hot please tell me you got some/his number/etc.' or 'omg is that your adopted brother since when he did get muscles/hot/etc.' or 'omg since when do you like Jon?' She's not sure which of these are worse.

She gets out of his bed finally, puts on her bra underneath the shirt she borrowed from him and finds a pair of gym shorts in his organized drawers. She goes out of the room and immediately sees Jon lying on the couch, scrolling through his phone with one hand half over his eyes.

"Hey," she says, clearing her throat.

"Hey. Sleep alright?" he asks, dropping his phone and putting his hand completely over his eyes.

"Yeah, your bed is amazing. Thank you."

He smiles.

"Do you need water or something? Painkillers?" she asks.

"Both would be incredible, thanks."

She smiles and goes into his bathroom and finds the bottle of painkillers readily available on the counter. She gets out three and grabs a water bottle from the fridge, placing them into Jon's outstretched palm.

While she waits for the painkillers to work in Jon, she goes back to catching up social media. It doesn't take more than twenty minutes for Jon to sit up and rub his eyes.

"D'you fancy a bagel?" he asks, voice gruff.

"Lox with scallion cream cheese," she thinks out loud with a dreamy smile.

"Let me see if Sam wants anything." Jon is slow to get up, but he walks normally toward the door next to the front door. Jon knocks. "Sam, you want a bagel?"

Silence. "Busy!" a female voice calls out.

Sansa is immediately confused, but Jon grimaces. "Sorry," he says.

Silence again, at least until Sansa is pretty sure she hears some sort of groan. She flushes. "Two of Sam's usual." Another muffled moan. "Please. Thanks."

Jon quickly leaves the doorway and shakes his head, rubbing his face with one hand as he grabs his keys on the counter.

"Wait! Let me change – you're not leaving me in here!" Sansa hisses, rushing back to Jon's room to change back into the clothes she was wearing the night before, grabbing a UConn sweatshirt on her way out.

"Let's get the fuck out of here," he mutters, a hand on her back as he guides her out of the apartment, slamming the door shut behind him.

**

"THEON!"

Sansa jumps in her seat, whipping her head toward the office to see Jon standing up, looking like he's ready to murder Theon, apparently.

She can hear Theon laugh through the wall.

"I have a meeting with Nestoris in less than an hour, you fucking prick!" Jon snaps.

"Oh, fuck –"

Sansa gets up and goes toward Jon's desk, seeing a Cadbury chocolate bar squashed in Jon's chair. She glares over at Theon, who looks contrite, surprisingly.

"I swear I didn't know – I thought that was Thursday –" Theon starts.

"You keep spare clothing here, don't you?" Sansa asks.

"I have everything but pants, of course," Jon mutters, shaking his head. "I'm afraid to even fucking look."

"Change into gym shorts – I can get rid of it," Sansa says.

He looks at her like he's witnessed a miracle. "Really?"

"If I can get red wine out of clothing, I can certainly get chocolate."

He heads toward the restrooms and Sansa does the polite thing and doesn't stare at his ass. She walks back to her desk and not a minute later, Jon comes over with his pants draped over his arm. She thinks it's unfair that he doesn't look ridiculous in gym shorts and a fitted button down work shirt and tie.

"You are amazing," he gushes, leaving the pants with her before going back to his desk.

"Mordane, I have a fashion emergency to attend to – can you cover me?" she asks in passing on her way to the women's restroom.

The key to getting rid of stains is to be gentle so as to not grind it further into the clothing. Next, is patience. Rubbing laundry detergent, or in her case, using her detergent-to-go pen and rinsing carefully under cold water for a little while has gotten rid of most of the stain.

Thankfully, one of the administrators keeps a small blow dryer in the bathroom – probably to fix her horrible bangs – and so she uses it to dry his pants. By the time she's done, it's definitely passable enough that nobody should notice unless they're actively searching for it. Which, honestly, might be a risk since he does have a nice ass, but ignorance is bliss in this case.

When she hands him back the pants, he holds them like they're a precious gift before looking at her like she's an angel. She's in shock when he drops the pants on his desk and he steps forward to kiss her forehead, hands dancing from her shoulders to her face. "You're incredible, Sansa Stark, thank you." And he's off to the bathroom to change.

She blinks and to her surprise, her heart is pounding in her chest and she can feel an echo of his lips against her forehead and she thinks she's blushing.

She rushes back to the safety of her desk and exhales.

**

While Jon is on his way out with her father, Theon stops him by grabbing his arm, his face serious as he probably apologies. Jon stares for a few moments before nodding, tapping Theon's arm with a small smile. Theon says something again with a roll of his eyes and Jon laughs.

"Print out about twenty copies of Theon's face, Ms. Stark." Jon says on his way out.

Sansa grins. "Will do, Mr. Snow."

She's smiling as she pulls up the saved picture of Theon's face.

"Well, well, well."

Sansa sighs and rolls her eyes. "Well, well, what?"

"I've known you for a long while, Sansa Stark. I think I know when you like someone. I just never figured you'd go for such a broody person."

She whips her head around to look at him. "No, you don't know me. And Jon is…basically family."

Theon throws his head back and laughs. "Wow, that was really difficult for you to say."

"It's true!"

"No, because you guys never even bothered with one another growing up. You treated him like an unwanted stranger. You don't fool me, sweetheart."

"Call me that again and I'll tell Robb."

His smirk falls a little. "Whatever. If you don't want people to figure it out I suggest you keep it in your pants. You and Robb make the same goofy expression."

"Good luck getting me to make copies of anything for you," Sansa responds with fake sweetness.

Theon gives a sarcastic smile and wave before finally leaving her.

Sansa is not obvious. And Sansa does not have a crush on Jon to begin with. So it's all a moot point. With that conclusion being drawn, she gets back to work.

**

"Okay, but you guys looked like, you know, something was going on," Shae insists as they leave class together.

"I swear it's not."

"If you want to be in denial about it, fine, but it's not a good look."

Sansa scowls and changes the subject back to the test they have next week.

**

Jon offers to take her out to lunch at a restaurant of her choice or a Starbucks giftcard. She should pick the Starbucks giftcard, but the thought of getting lunch with him without the rest of their coworkers is thrilling. Plus, she thinks he knows what restaurant she would choose - the nice one a few blocks away that has a two-drink limit on Stoli Dolis because they're so potent.

"Are you sure this is okay?" she asks. It's pricey for sure and she doesn't want to take advantage of his kindness.

"I wouldn't have offered if it wasn't," he reassures her, holding the door open for her. "Besides, any place that gets you drunk with two cocktails is impressive."

Since everyone had the same idea as her to treat themselves on a Friday, they sit at the bar and eat, slowly sipping Stoli Dolis and being educated by the bartender on the process of making Stoli Dolis, that they soak the pineapple in vodka for two weeks before they're served.

He also secretly taps their drinks off periodically, so she thinks they probably have at least three drinks each.

They leave the restaurant more than a little tipsy.

"How am I supposed to answer the phones," she whispers even though they're out on the street.

"I have to crunch numbers," he whispers back, which somehow makes her laugh out loud.

She ends up looping her arm with his to keep her steady since she almost trips on a broken bit of curb. "Are you sure it's okay that we're not sober?"

He snorts. "Trust me, half the estimators and pretty much all the PMs are going to be hammered."

And he isn't wrong - there are plenty of red faces and stumbling to be had. It doesn't make her feel too badly when she stutters a little on the phone, the few times she has to pick up the phone; the number of phone calls steeply decline past twelve o'clock.

Come three o'clock, she's beginning to feel more tired than drunk, so she goes into the kitchen to make herself a cup of coffee when she sees Val, Tormund, and Qhorin Hafeman drinking beer.

She noticed within the first week of working there that the company kept beer in the fridge, but she assumed it was for after work hours.

As she waits for the Keurig to kick in, she takes out her phone to text Jon.

From Sansa Stark:
Is it normal to be drinking during work??

From Jon Snow:
It's a slow day.

From Jon Snow:
The world of construction is problematic, in case you didn't realize.

From Sansa Stark:
Problematic is certainly a word for it! Do you want coffee I'm making some now.

Jon sends her a picture of his desk, which has a cup of coffee and an unopened beer bottle.

From Sansa Stark:
Not you too!

From Jon Snow:
I'm just finishing up with some e-mails first. I have a quasi decent work ethic.

From Sansa Stark:
You probably have the best work ethic out of everyone here besides my dad.

From Sansa Stark:
Are you coming to CT tonight? The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend.

From Jon Snow:
I try.

From Jon Snow:
Maybe tomorrow - might go out with the team. Do you want to come?

She wants to, but she knows her mother wouldn't be pleased and she's not in the mood to hear it from her.

From Sansa Stark:
Promised my mother we'd have dinner together. Let me know what time you want to be picked up at the station tomorrow!

From Jon Snow:
OK.

She puts her phone away, surprised that her coffee is already made.

**

Deep into October, her mother asks if there are any boys in her classes, if she's met anyone nice.

She knows her mother means well, that she wants Sansa to be happy and that happy means finding a boyfriend. Sansa has to be gentle, not wanting to be cruel and say that she's still not ready to make herself vulnerable like that again, that the thought of kissing and sex still frightens her.

She also does not mention that she thinks she's already met a nice boy, but that's complicated to explain since she's grown up with Jon her entire life, but she feels like she's really getting to know him now. There's a feeling a safety when it comes to him that she craves and doesn't think she'll find with anyone else. And she shouldn't be having these thoughts anyway since she knows how it looks from the outside.

So she just shakes her head and says, "no," and "not yet," and "maybe next semester I'll have better luck."

**

A few days before Halloween, Margaery arrives in New York with her brother Loras and his boyfriend Renly. It's strange having Margaery in New York when she was so important to Sansa's growth in Europe, but Sansa feels nothing but happiness as she hugs her on the sidewalk when they arrive to the apartment.

"I'm so happy you're here," Sansa gushes as she leads them up to the apartment. "You can sleep in Arya's room and the boys can sleep in the guest room, if that's alright?"

"It's fine, thank you, Sansa. You really didn't have to host us," Margaery says, looking absolutely beautiful despite traveling for over ten hours.

"Of course I do - it's the least I can do."

She shows them around the apartment and instructs them how to use the showers, giving them time to freshen up before taking them out to lunch nearby.

Her phone buzzes a few times.

From Arya Stark, Jon Snow, Robb Stark (6)

She opens the group chat and smiles at the chat already changed to "Family Employees."

From Robb Stark:
I need that new admin hire to get out of here she's SO BAD.

From Robb Stark:
Sansa, please come back.

From Arya Stark:
Is this the idiot who wore basically sweatpants on casual Friday once

From Robb Stark:
She's wearing floral leggings today with too short of a top. You can't treat leggings like normal pants!!!

From Jon Snow:
She dropped a call with Nestoris TWICE. I'm considering taking up the post.

From Arya Stark:
LOL

From Sansa Stark:
Sorry, I'm enjoying my afternoon off with a Nicoise salad and a glass of wine!

She even attaches a picture of her table.

From Robb Stark:
CRUEL.

From Jon Snow:
That looks delicious - definitely need to order that the next time.

From Arya Stark:
Jon you're whack she picks the grossest things on the menu.

From Jon Snow:
Not all of us have the palette of a seven year old.

From Sansa Stark:
(Face With Tears Of Joy )(Face With Tears Of Joy )(Face With Tears Of Joy )

From Robb Stark:
Hahahahaha

From Arya Stark:
Whatever I'm going to enjoy my sandwiches and fries fuck y'all

"Loras, have you ever seen Sansa Stark smile like that?" Margaery asks, a teasing smile on her lips.

"I don't think I have. Renly?"

"Certainly not."

Sansa blushes. "It's just my family."

"That's not a smile for family," Loras points out with a laugh.

Sansa shows them the group text. "See? Family Employees."

"Who is Jon Snow?" Renly asks at once. "Not Stark, I see." He stops smiling. "Please don't tell me that's a cousin."

Sansa grimaces but laughs. "No. He's...well. We basically adopted him. Long story. He's like a brother to my siblings."

"But not to you, obviously," Renly concludes.

"Obviously not, she clearly wants to plow him."

"Loras!" Sansa exclaims.

They all laugh.

"Great pun."

Sansa shakes her head and flags down the waiter to get another round for the table.

**

Later that night after Renly and Loras have gone to sleep, Margaery and Sansa are in Sansa's room watching a movie in her bed.

"You look really good. You seem better," Margaery says.

"I am." She wants to tack on an, I think, to her answer, but maybe that's part of the healing process - confidence.

Margaery takes Sana's hand and laces their fingers together. "So, where are you taking me shopping? Can we go to Bloomingdale's first? I've always wanted to go. Oh! And Bergdorf's."

"Trying to spend all your money on the first day?" Sansa jokes.

"Have to keep my followers happy."

Right, all six-hundred thousand of them. Although Sansa is sure she's gained more since the last time she checked Margaery's Instagram account.

"Yes, I'll take you there. And to SoHo, which should give you plenty of options for pictures."

"And Connecticut!"

"You still want to do that?" she asks, surprised and pleased.

"Of course! I must meet your family. And make sure Jon Snow is there, won't you?"

Sansa sighs and doesn't respond, not wanting to give her the satisfaction of admitting that she already made sure Jon had nothing planned for this weekend. "So, what time do you want to wake up tomorrow?" Sansa ask, changing the topic.

**

"Your family is ridiculously good looking," Loras murmurs under his breath.

"Is that your older brother?" Renly asks, nodding toward Robb. "I'd put him on a…what do you call it? An exception to monogamy…"

"Freebie list. Good choice."

Renly smiles up at Loras while Sansa sighs.

"Oh, is that him?" Margaery whispers, eyes wide with delight as she stares at Jon across the yard.

"That's Jon," Sansa confirms.

"He's very handsome."

"…I suppose."

Margaery side-eyes her. "You suppose," she repeats.

"Okay, fine, yes. He's attractive." Sansa realizes her mistake when Margaery smiles in triumph. "Uh, I –"

"Alright, I won't touch."

"What –"

"It's fine, Sansa, I get it."

Sansa's pretty sure Margaery doesn't get it, but the differences are obvious in how Margaery interacts with Jon versus Robb, whom she likes to flirt with, which he's all too happy to return the favor. She doesn't like how grateful she feels - after all, Jon is single and he can hook up with whomever he likes. Even though she doesn't think Jon is exactly the hooking up type - she remembers distinctly picking him and Robb one Thanksgiving Eve and Robb bemoaning about Jon not sleeping with some random girl and Jon repeating that he didn't have a condom and the pill wasn't enough. Double up don't you remember health class?

She didn't think anyone took a sixth grade health teacher's lessons so seriously.

And Jon has only had one girlfriend, she thinks. A girl with bright red hair and crooked teeth that were oddly charming. She only met her once in passing and she seemed brash, her thick Scottish accent adding to the effect, but she was nice enough. They really seemed different, though, so it wasn't not much of a surprise that they parted ways when she wanted to travel and be free and he wanted to get back home and finish school. She's not sure if they still keep in touch.

At one point during dinner, Jon and Sansa catch each other's gaze as Margaery laughs at something Robb says, touching his arm. Sansa purses her mouth to prevent herself from smiling as Jon masks a laugh into his napkin, turning it into a cough.

**

Last Halloween, Sansa overheard girls saying they saw Joffrey hooking up with a freshman girl who seemed very drunk. She ignored it at the time, but after Everything, she laid awake at night, hoping it wasn't true.

This Halloween, she stays in her apartment with Margaery while Loras and Renly bar hop in Lower Manhattan, dressed up as a knight and king, respectively. Occasionally the children who live in the building come up and trick-or-treat, so she's also snacking on the candy she bought to provide the kids with.

She texts Arya to be safe, which Arya responds with sending a picture of herself dressed as Eleven for the second year in a row with Gendry dressed as Thor, and the rest of Arya's friends at school. There's beer in bucket and they seem to be playing Mario Kart.

Of course Arya wouldn't involve herself in any of the shit Sansa did since Arya doesn't care about what other people think of her.

"Where's Jon tonight?" Margaery asks as they're watching classic horror films.

Sansa sighs. "Not out – he has a meeting in the morning."

"Oh." Margaery grimaces. "Ugh, this movie is disgusting – and people were terrified of the Exorcist?"

"I'm sure it was terrifying forty years ago."

"Hmm…" Margaery picks up a Snickers bar and unwraps it. "You know I just want you to be happy."

"I am happy," Sansa insists. "I don't need a man to make me happy."

"I know you don't, but I don't want you to completely close your heart to new relationships."

Sansa smiles wryly. "And you think Jon's 'the one'?"

"You won't know unless you give it a shot! And who says about him being 'the one' – I'm just talking about having a proper gentleman caller."

Sansa scrunches her nose. "Seriously? What century is this?"

"I'm just trying to say that not all relationships are going to be potential 'happily ever afters.' Some are just good for a time and end. But I know you're a romantic."

Sansa is a romantic – despite everything, she still believes in love. "If – and I'm saying if," she stresses, "something were to happen with Jon – I would – we would have to be serious about it. We couldn't just be together and break up. Even though we don't consider ourselves as family, everyone else in my family does. I won't put my family through it. And –"

Margaery waits for Sansa to continue.

"Jon would never risk it. My family taking him in means everything to him. Even if he did feel something for me, he'd probably bury it and hope it would go away."

She avoids looking at Margaery, knowing there's sympathy or understanding in her face and Sansa doesn't any of want it. They silently watch the movie for a few minutes before Sansa excuses herself to the bathroom. She stares at herself in the mirror and hates how her vision blurs.

**

Sansa says farewell with teary eyes, promising the Tyrells and Renly that she will visit them next spring or summer.

Margaery hugs her one last time, holding her tightly and says in Sansa's ear, "You're the loveliest person I know, Sansa. I hope you continue to do what makes you truly happy."

"Thank you." It really doesn't encompass Sansa's gratefulness for Margaery coming into her life, but it'll have to do.

After heading back up to the apartment, she gets a text from Jon:

From Jon Snow:
Hey so Gilly's friend who was supposed to come to dinner tonight cancelled at the last second – want to take her spot? We're going to that southern restaurant you like with the mac and cheese.

From Sansa Stark:
I'll be downtown in an hour!

(She's a little late because she had to make sure her makeup was perfect and her outfit was on point, but she thinks it's worth it; she's pretty sure she caught Jon staring at her more than once.)

**

Arya comes home the first weekend of November with bags of laundry, complaining about half the machines being replaced over the weekend.

"It's good the whole family is here – I have news," her mother says once they meet for dinner. "But first – anyone want a drink? Arya, you may have a beer, if you'd like."

Arya blinks in surprise, but doesn't question her mother, grabbing whatever Robb and Jon are drinking.

Once everyone has a drink in hand, her mother sighs. "My sister and her new husband are coming for Thanksgiving."

The uproar is instantaneous.

"No, come on!"

"Ugh, why?"

"She's so scary!"

"He's so scary - he's a goddamn creep."

"Arya, please," her mother admonishes.

Except Arya is right, Petyr Baelish, while somehow a dear friend to her mother's family, is a creep; over the years, Sansa has begun to feel more uncomfortable around him. Thankfully, she hasn't had to see him much, not even when he wed her aunt and officially became part of the Tully family.

"Why is she coming? She never wanted to come again after Bran accidentally kicked a soccer ball in Robin's face," Robb complains.

"Well, that clearly won't be a problem this time around," Bran says dryly.

"She's the only family I have left and we're trying to get along. Please," her mother almost begs, which makes Sansa uncomfortable.

"Gendry is still coming, right?" Arya demands.

"Of course, Arya, he's always welcome," her mother reassures her.

"Rickon can have my room, I'll crash on a couch," Jon offers.

Her mother looks at Jon with such gratefulness that it takes Sansa aback.

"Fine," Rickon grumbles. Everyone else follows suit.

Sansa will just have to make sure to wear something extremely conservative.

**

November goes by very quickly; she's too focused on doing her work and going to classes that the end of the month catches her by surprise. She has to call out of work two days in order to make sure papers are completed and coherent, which makes her feel guilty, even though she's reassured that it's fine.

She saves her Calculus homework for the days she comes into the office so Jon can check her work (and even complete some problems for her, but nobody has to know that).

She splits certain nights out, sometimes beginning the evening with her co-workers and meeting up with her classmates later, or vice-versa. Very rarely do her two worlds collide like they did in September, even though she is asked about Jon often.

All in all, Sansa is very happy to be on a crowded train with Jon the day before Thanksgiving.

"I can't believe Robb is going out tonight - does he not remember Thanksgiving three, four years ago?"

Jon winces. "That was horrible."

"He should've learned his lesson like you did."

"Maybe this year I'll be able to eat pumpkin pie." Judging by the face he makes soon afterward, Sansa doubts it.

"At least there's apple. I made my mum pick up my favorite one from that farm two towns over."

Jon hums, pulling out his phone. "Let me figure out what time he's going to be coming in because I bet you anything it's going to be two hours after whatever time he tells me."

Robb, apparently, tells Jon that he will be on a nine o'clock train, which makes Jon snort. Sansa looks over to Jon's phone to see their exchange:

From Jon Snow:
lol ok see you at noon.

From Robb Stark:
Be up early because I will be on that fucking 9am train

From Jon Snow:
Sure thing buddy

From Robb Stark:
I'll have you know that I'm only on my third beer and there are no shots in sight

From Robb Stark:
Oh wait Tormund just brought some over fuck

From Jon Snow:
So...12?

From Robb Stark:
I'll keep you posted…

Sansa shakes her head. "Maybe make Arya do it - you're going to need a few drinks in you to deal with Aunt Lysa and Petyr."

Jon scowls. "We're all going to need a few drinks."

Sansa pats his leg and doesn't say anything else.

**

Sansa puts on a thick sweater dress, curls the ends of her hair and gathers it in a ponytail. She figures it's cute, comfortable, and by no means a way to attract attention, especially pairing it with flats.

"Wow, you look downright dowdy," Arya comments in the kitchen as they drink coffee and eat pumpkin bread that Gendry gifted the Stark family as a thank you for hosting him for the weekend.

"That's the idea."

Gendry looks between them, confused.

"Watch out for Baelish. He loves Sansa," Arya says to him. "‘Looks just like Cat,'" she mocks with a high voice that Baelish doesn't have at all.

Jon barks a laugh from kitchen dining table, focused on the newspaper.

"That's a totally accurate impression."

"You didn't flip flop your accent."

Arya throws her head back and laughs.

"Does he really?" Gendry asks.

"Oh, just you wait," Sansa says, going over to the Keurig to make herself another cup of coffee.

"Robb will be arriving at noon, as expected."

Sansa rolls her eyes. "Of course." Pause. "But let's just say he doesn't text us until we're already on our way to the station, assuming he was arriving earlier…"

The corner of Jon's mouth curls into a smirk. "I think that's brilliant. Do you guys want to come?"

Arya eagerly agrees while Gendry shrugs his shoulders and nods.

**

Aunt Lysa and Petyr Baelish arrive a little after eleven, right when Sansa, Jon, Arya, and Gendry leave to pick up Robb. Her father is immediately suspects that they're not going straight to the train station, but he doesn't stop them from leaving.

"So, joy ride?" Jon says as he slips into the driver's seat of the van.

"Absolutely. I propose a drive to the beach and maybe a stop at Starbucks."

"You just had two cups of coffee," Jon reminds her as he pulls out of the garage.

"Who said anything about me getting coffee? Robb is going to need sustenance."

"I would like a pumpkin spice latte," Gendry adds.

"I'm breaking up with you, basic bitch."

Gendry gasps, staring at Arya in disbelief. "So says the girl who wears Adidas sneakers!"

"I wore them before they came back in fashion!"

"Now you sound like a basic hipster, which is essentially a variation of a basic bitch." Gendry looks very satisfied with himself. "I win."

Jon reaches into his back pocket for his wallet and hands it to Sansa. "Please hand Gendry five dollars for his latte."

Sansa laughs and does so.

**


Even with sunglasses on his face, Robb looks properly and obviously hungover.

"I'm not ready," Robb whispers.

Sansa wordlessly hands him a bag with a toasted bagel and a small coffee.

"You're a queen amongst mortals."

"A queen? I like that."

Arya pats Robb's head.

"You were better off just drinking through it. Hair of the dog and all that," Gendry says.

"We can make a screwdriver for you when we get back," Jon offers as he turns up the stereo and starts singing along, "Don't stop thinkin' ‘bout tomorrow -"

"You're such a fucking prick!" Robb wails while everyone laughs.

**

Robb takes Jon's suggestion and immediately starts pouring himself orange juice with a good amount of vodka. Her mother stares at him with disapproval.

"Have pity on me, Mother. We do have to spend today with your sister and your childhood friend who creeps everyone out," Robb says lowly.

Her mother sighs. "Please, Robb."

Her aunt and her mother are busy in the kitchen, making side dishes and watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade. All of the men and Arya are in the family room in front of the TV, waiting for the game to start.

Sansa joins everyone in the family room, leaning against the entryway as she takes a picture of the scene for Snapchat. When she lowers her phone, she notices Baelish staring at her. He gives her what she thinks is a mild smile before looking at the TV, but Sansa deletes the picture.

She glances over at Jon, who is texting. A moment later, her phone buzzes in her hand.

From Jon Snow:
You can take my seat if you want.

She smiles.

From Sansa Stark:
I wouldn't dare take you away from this very important football game.

From Jon Snow:
I think I'll survive missing the Cowboys play.

From Sansa Stark:
I'll go see if they need help in the kitchen, but thanks

She can feel Baelish's gaze on her retreating back and she crosses her arms defensively.

**

Throughout the day it's a dance of avoidance. Whenever she's about to enter a room, Jon shakes his head minutely and she gracefully turns to go somewhere else. If he enters a room she's in, she finds a way of leaving it.

At one point, Arya catches on.

From Arya Stark:
If you need to hide just go to my room. I totally caught him staring at you and it's WEIRD.

From Sansa Stark:
Thanks, but I'm fine. Mum would be pissed.

From Arya Stark:
I think she'll be more pissed off you didn't tell her that our 'step uncle' or whatever the fuck he's called is being a creep to you.

From Sansa Stark:
Let's just get through today without starting family drama yeah?

From Arya Stark:
Whatever.

Sansa puts her phone in her pocket and sighs. Robb looks over at her from the couch. He's stopped complaining of his hangover finally, switching from drinking screwdrivers to beer.

"Next time he looks at you I'll say something," he says conversationally, reaching onto the table for the bag of chips Arya opened twenty minutes ago even though they're going to eat in an hour.

"Is it that obvious?"

"Yes. Plus you and Jon are pretty obvious with your nonverbal cues. You would make awful spies."

Sansa shoots him an unimpressed look. "Keep drinking until you become nonverbal."

"That only happened when I took shrooms."

"I'm getting a drink."

"That's the spirit! Hah! Get it?"

"Alright, goodbye, boozy."

**

They eat lunch a little later than planned due to the turkey taking longer than expected, which means people are a little tipsier than usual once they sit down to eat.

Sansa always sits next to Robb, who sits next to their father at the end of the table. Sometimes Bran sits nexts to her, sometimes it's Rickon. It's never Arya. This time, Jon slips into the seat next to her - not very gracefully, either. He laughs under his breath. "There's a reason why I did cross country in high school," he says, his face close. She likes how pink his face gets when he drinks - it's cute.

"Some beauty, no grace, but will he still punch you in the face?" Sansa quips.

"The right person, maybe." Pause. "Some beauty? Really?"

Sansa laughs and puts a hand on his shoulder before turning to her plate. She glances up and swears she catches Baelish looking at her, but he's talking with Bran, pointing to his wheelchair, seemingly engaged.

She swallows and picks up her wine glass, downing the rest of it. "Would anyone like a refill?" she asks, getting out of her chair to get a bottle of wine for the table.

**

Despite eating enough food to last her a week, Sansa finds herself a little drunk in a way that makes her feel lethargic, despite the coffee she's trying to drink.

"I'm going upstairs," she tells Arya.

"Okay, but hurry because I want pie and you're the only one that cuts the pie right," Arya says, not taking her eyes off the screen.

"Alright, fine."

Sansa heads up the stairs to her room, using her bathroom and fixing her makeup and hair. She's tempted to change into pajamas or sweatpants, but with her aunt Lysa and Baelish and even Robin, who is a little odd, she's not comfortable to do so.

She takes a breath and leaves her room, going toward the stairs, nearly running into Baelish.

"Hello, Sansa," he says lightly, almost expected.

She swallows, her tongue feeling too big for her mouth. "Hi. Um, sorry, didn't see you there."

He smiles and she takes a step back.

"You really do look so much like Cat when we were younger, it's remarkable."

She tries to smile. "I get that a lot."

He takes a step forward and she feels outside of herself and stuck in her body at the same time, without control of her limbs. She can see how it would happen, the hundreds of ways in which he could come into her space, the words he'd say, where he'd touch first. She feels the ghost of Joffrey's fingers squeezing her arms that last night and how much he wants her -

The thundering of steps snaps her out of whatever trance she was in and she's not really surprised that it's Jon. Baelish gracefully steps to the side, allowing Jon to pass through.

He looks at Sansa, then at Baelish with narrowed eyes.

"I was trying to find a restroom, given that they're all taken downstairs," Baelish says. She doesn't know if it's a lie or not.

Jon stares at him as he walks a few feet to his right, opening the door to the bathroom that Arya and Rickon use. "It's right here."

"Wonderful - thank you, Jon. Excuse me."

Once Baelish enters the bathroom, Sansa feels her knees give and she stumbles back to the wall to keep her standing.

"Sansa," Jon says, rushing over to her but stopping short, hands halfway out toward her.

She reaches out to grab the front of his shirt, which is enough for him to gently lead her to his bedroom, which is far away from the bathroom.

She can't even look at his bed - she sits down on the floor and leans against it, squeezing her eyes shut.

"If he did something, I'll go in there and throw him down the stairs," Jon says, his voice low.

"He didn't. I was stupid, he didn't do anything and I just fucking froze."

"He didn't do nothing, Sansa, he must've triggered something."

Her face crumples and she hides her face in her hands, trying to smooth her face and breathe and not cry.

"Stay in here, okay? I'm throwing him out."

Jon walks out and Sansa stumbles to her feet to the doorway, seeing him walk quickly toward the bathroom, but then she hears another set of thundering steps and Arya yelling, "What's going on up here?" Baelish opens the door to be met with Jon and Arya.

"Arya, hold on!" And that's Gendry.

"Oi -" Robb.

Sansa sighs and presses her forehead to the doorway, unable to watch.

Baelish isn't pushed down the stairs, but he's led forcefully down and out by half of her family. She can hear Aunt Lysa screaming and so she shuts Jon's bedroom door to muffle the noise.

Unlike his room in the city, his bedroom here is dark - navy walls, grey and white comforter and sheets, dark grey carpet. But it's still orderly, not a single item out of place. She goes over to his bookshelf, the spines of most of his books containing white lines that she runs her fingers over.

By the shelf there's a suitcase that contains his records - he only had a few from his mother, that much she knew. (She used to think he was an annoying hipster for preferring music on a record until she figured it out.)

She opens it and thumbs through, finding the occasional modern record like Snow Patrol or Frightened Rabbit. She pulls out what she thought was Fleetwood Mac's first album, but it was really just the first Fleetwood Mac album with Stevie Nicks on it.

She carefully takes the vinyl out of the sleeve and goes to the record player, something that she thinks her father gifted to Jon one Christmas or birthday when she wasn't paying attention. She puts side B on, places the stylus onto the first track lets it play lowly as she sits back on the floor.

Jon comes back soon afterward, stares at her with sad eyes as he goes to join her on the floor. She rests her head against his.

Arya comes in next, staring at the two of them with a confused expression, which she shakes off and goes to sit down on Sansa's other side.

"We're never seeing him again, so. We're good. Mum is currently eviscerating him - it's amazing," Arya says, breaking the silence.

"It was terrifying the bit I saw," Jon agrees.

"Robb chucked a beer at him, except his aim was off, but it hit him in the leg so it looks like he pissed himself," Arya snorts.

Sansa smiles a little.

"I would've ripped his hair out, but Gendry held me back."

"I have no doubt," Sansa says.

Robb stumbles in and says, "I made it look like he pissed himself with a beer. It was completely intentional."

Sansa snorts. "Of course it was."

Robb turns to the record player and grimaces. "Jon, why you gotta put this on now?"

"I didn't," he answers and for a painful moment, she wants to reach over to his lap and take his hand.

"Take cover."

Robb takes a few quick steps forward and dives over them onto Jon's bed, sighing.

Bran rolls in by the doorway, slipping inside with his narrow wheelchair, Rickon close behind him. "Dad said he's taking Mum to bed, so we should just fend for ourselves."

Arya looks to Sansa expectantly.

Sansa sighs, but smiles. "Pie?"

"Pie."

They scramble to get up and Jon carries Bran down the stairs because sometimes that stairway machine takes too long.

They drink coffee and eat pie and make turkey sandwiches from leftovers. Arya tries to impersonate Baelish again, except it's more outrageous, despite the accurate addition of his ever-changing accent. Bran recounts the conversation he had with Baelish about his high tech wheelchair, which Bran regaled Baelish with an in-depth and extremely boring commentary about how it works, how he would like to engineer something different.

"You definitely tortured the son of a bitch more than anyone else could," Robb laughs.

"I kept kicking his chair," Rickon offers.

"Oh, that was a good idea," Arya pouts.

Sansa shakes her head. "You're both children."

"True in one case," Rickon quips, he turns to Arya. "What's your excuse?"

Jon laughs and Arya elbows him in the side, which will definitely bruise later.

(The night ends on a good note and Sansa quickly passes out, but she wakes up at four in the morning in a quiet panic, not remembering the dream, but feeling remnants of stress and terror.

She goes downstairs, mindful to be quiet as she passes Gendry on the couch on the living room and going into the family room, shutting the door behind her to put on the TV at a low volume.

She can see through the glass door when a light turns on, when Jon in his running clothes heads down the stairs, stopping short when he sees the family room light on. He comes inside and sits next to her.

"Did you sleep?" he asks.

"A little."

He nods.

"Did you? You're up early."

"Yeah, but I'm sure I'll take a nap later or something."

She adjusts herself on the couch and throws half her blanket onto his lap. They watch a rerun of a cooking show and she shuts her eyes when they start to burn. Jon shifts next to her and he's so warm and she's so comfortable that she drifts off to sleep. She thinks he does too.)

**


She's alone when she wakes up, the sun up in the sky and brightening the room. She stretches her arms above her head and yawns. She's about to turn off the TV and go into the kitchen when her mother comes in. Sansa notes her eyes are red and puffy as she sits down next to Sansa and takes her hands.

"I'm so sorry I brought him here," her mother says.

"You don't have to apologize - he really didn't do anything, he just...triggered me," she says, remembering Jon's words and remembering her therapist mentioning the term. "I would rather not see him again, though," she adds, wincing.

"That will never happen."

"I'm sorry about your sister."

Her mother sighs, the lines on her face more prominent. "Do you see why I want you and Arya to get along?"

Sansa knows her mother wants Sansa and Arya to have a closer, better relationship than what she had with her sister and it's difficult with Sansa and Arya being so different. "I think we're getting better," Sansa says to her mother.

Her mother brings her in for a tight hug and Sansa maybe tears up a little, but nobody has to know.

**

As Sansa is eating a bowl of cereal, Jon and Arya come in drenched in sweat from their run. Sansa discreetly checks out Jon as he and Arya chug down water bottles.

Jon goes up to shower and Arya pours Sansa's cereal into the palm of her hand, eating a few pieces before asking, "Can we talk? Upstairs?"

Sansa furrows her brow, but follows Arya up the stairs to her bedroom. As soon as the door shuts behind them, Arya demands with a hiss, "What are you playing at?"

"What do you mean?" Sansa asks, confused.

"With Jon! What is going on with you two? It looks like–" she stops herself short, temporarily unsure.

Oh no, Arya definitely saw them on the couch. Sansa shuts her eyes briefly.

"It looks like what?" Sansa asks, fearing and yet already knowing what she'll say.

Arya stares at him for a few moments before shutting her eyes with a pained expression. "God, you do. You actually do. Fuck."

Sansa flushes, her tongue stuck in her mouth, unsure of what she can possibly say.

"I would say he's basically our brother, but he wasn't yours at all." Arya sighs, getting down to the floor to stretch her legs.

Sansa shifts on her feet and crosses her arms.

"I mean, you could do a lot worse -"

"I did do a lot worse," Sansa points out.

Arya bursts out laughing before slapping a hand to her mouth. Sansa looks down and starts laughing too and soon they're both tearing up.

"I mean, if you're going to do something, you better make damn sure it's what you really want."

"I'm not going to do anything," she says at once. "Besides, even if on the off chance he did, you know...he wouldn't. He owes our dad everything, he says it all the time. He wouldn't risk it. You've heard him, how he treats us like we're his only family."

"It's not like we're all living under the same roof," Arya points out. "Robb and Jon have their own place, and soon enough they're all going to move out and live alone or with partners and we're all in school save for Bran and Rickon. I think it would be okay." She shakes her head, running a hand over her hair. "I can't believe I'm encouraging this."

"Yeah, why are you?" Hope surges in her chest and she does her best to keep her expression even.

"I don't know for sure," Arya is quick to clarify. "But I mean...even I noticed you've been putting in a large amount of effort in your outfits and stuff whenever he's around, and Jon may be literally incapable of flirting, I can tell he appreciates your efforts, so."

Sansa flushes and and sighs. "Okay, so basically, you're saying we're both idiots."

"Basically, but that's nothing new." Arya smiles. "Just...let me know if something does happen? Jon and I don't have secrets, besides this poorly kept one that he likes you, and I know if you wanted it badly enough, he would keep a relationship a secret for you, so don't make him do that."

She runs her teeth over her bottom lip and nods. "Okay. But like I said, I doubt anything will happen."

Arya stares at her balefully. "You two are very attractive looking people who like each other. Something will happen. Now, I want to shower, so, you can leave now."

"Right...bye."

Sansa quickly leaves Arya's room to get dressed and hope her face loses its redness.

**

From Sansa Stark:
Okay I want to plow Snow.

From Margaery Tyrell:
!!!!!!!!

From Loras Tyrell:
HAHAHA

From Loras Tyrell:
Renly's phone is broken but he wants to add that you should get it!!

**

Now that Sansa has somewhat come to terms with the situation, nothing really changes. Her stomach flips when she sees him first thing in the morning or when she comes to the office after classes. She sends him stupid memes on Instagram and she maybe has a dream or two about him, but nobody is ever going to know that.

Although she does miss a few days of work in preparation for final exams and papers. Her last one is the day of the office Christmas party, which Sansa has heard many stories of. She already has her dress picked out - a dark green sheath dress that's very classy but also very sexy, which is a look she thinks she rather likes for herself.

During finals week, Sansa meets Jeyne for dinner as a means of a break. They meet by Columbus Circle as a halfway meet up and pick an expensive sushi place.

"Are you excited to live in Paris next semester?" Sansa asks.

"Yeah, totally, thanks for that list of restaurants and stuff. Really appreciate it."

"Of course."

They eat in silence for a minute.

"So, do you know what you're going to major in?"

Sansa smiles. "I was thinking about forensic psychology. I really like learning how the mind works and I like law - you know my obsession with Legally Blonde, so. I don't know. I think I want to do some good. Maybe work with domestic violence - or really now it's being called intimate partner violence - survivors."

Jeyne stares at her for a few moments. Sansa thinks she's going to ask, but Jeyne only says, "That's really great. Lord knows there are too many unchecked assholes in this world."

Sansa nods, smiles a little. "Yeah, there are." She sighs. "I hope you find a nice Parisian boy to live out your European fantasies with."

"Yes, and preferably he speaks very little English."

Sansa shakes her head and laughs. She considers telling Jeyne about her crush on Jon, but they're not close like that anymore, so she keeps it to herself and keeps the conversation light.

**

As the Starks have grown older, Sansa and the rest of her siblings have gotten lazy with gift giving. It's rare if they buy each other something particular – it's only when someone makes a request, like Arya requesting Sansa to get her some running apparel, or it's something obvious like of course Sansa wants a certain eyeshadow palette because she brings it up all the time.

Usually, though it's specific gift cards. Sephora, Amazon, specific clothing stores, or a generic gift card that can be spent anywhere, which is usually what Robb does because he can get one at a drug store.

With Jon, Sansa usually gives an Amazon gift card. This year, however, she actually buys him something – nothing he asked for and nothing that her siblings might have recommended. She was shopping one day and saw a nice, warm hat and matching gloves that she could see Jon wearing once it really got cold.

So she nervously hands him the gift the day before the Christmas party. Usually he's restrained in his emotions when it comes to opening gifts; he always seems uncomfortable and put on the spot. "Can I open it?" he asks.

She grins. "Yeah, go on!" He rummages through the tissue paper in the bag and she quickly adds, "I have a receipt in case you don't like it."

He takes out the hat and gloves, feeling them between his fingers. His eyes are soft and his mouth is parted and her heart aches for him. He looks up and smiles. "Come here," he says, opening his arms and she hugs him, tempted to hide her face into the crook of his neck.

She feels his mouth against her hair. "Thank you."

She smiles and pulls away. "Unfortunately for Christmas you're getting holiday-themed gift cards."

He snorts. "Let me guess, is one of them a Starbucks gift card so I can use that to buy you drinks?"

She gasps. "I would never." Pause. "That's actually a great idea, damn. I was actually kind and got you a gift card to a coffee place you actually like, though."

He smiles again, brighter. His phone on his desk rings and he briefly checks the caller ID. "I have to take this," he says apologetically, picking up the phone. "Sorry," he mouths. "Hello, this is Jon," he greets, rolling his eyes. "Hi, Janos, impeccable timing."

Sansa purses her mouth to stop herself from laughing. She pats his shoulder and leaves him be.

Although she does get a text from Robb later in the day, questioning her getting Jon an actual present.

From Robb Stark:
Ok since when do you get personal with gifts for Jon?

From Sansa Stark:
Have you missed the fact that we've gotten along better over the last half year?

From Robb Stark:
True but we're blood and you still ask me what I want for birthdays and holidays…

Sansa doesn't know if Robb realizes what he's suspicious of - Robb has only had one girlfriend in his life and it was when he was seventeen and the most he did was take her to senior prom and a few dates. Her gift was, admittedly, something a girlfriend would probably give a boyfriend - something he wouldn't ask for but would find necessary, a pleasant addition he didn't realize he wanted.

She sighs.

From Sansa Stark:
Speaking of holidays, you still haven't let me know what gift card you want. You better let me know by the end of the day or I'm going to get you one for Victoria's Secret.

From Robb Stark:
Omg fine!! Can you renew my Spotify subscription?

From Sansa Stark:
Yes can do that when we're home.

From Robb Stark:
Beautiful thank you.

Proud and a little relieved for successfully redirecting her older brother, Sansa goes back to studying for her last final.

**

She only got four hours of sleep before her last final, so she heads back to her apartment to take a nap before the Christmas party. She takes her time getting ready, putting on dark lipstick because she wants to give it a try and not putting on her shoes with the highest heel because she's not in the mood to have her feet hurt tonight.

She stops by the office first and greets everyone. Yes, I'm done with finals, I'm very happy; yep, my winter break starts now, but I'm going to take two weeks off and start working again after New Years; no, I'm not quitting school to work full time, Tormund, enjoy me while you have me.

When Jon sees her, he blinks, and she catches him checking her out, which is remarkable in and of itself since Jon does not do that, ever. He meets her gaze and he smiles sheepishly. She smiles back.

"You look really nice," he says.

Jon decided to be festive and wore a green tie with tiny snowmen on it. She reaches out and touches it. "This is cute."

"I thought so."

They walk to the bar together - an English pub that's decorated to the nines in garland and evergreen wreaths. They reserved the space above it, which is small and warm and Sansa can't wait to discard her coat and pull up the sleeves of her dress up her forearms.

"What do you want to drink?" he asks her.

"Vodka soda, thanks." She spots her dad and touches Jon's arm. "I'll be with my dad."

He nods and heads toward the bar.

She goes over to her dad and tells him about her last final until a client comes over to greet him. She gratefully takes her drink from Jon a few minutes later and starts drinking.

**

Sansa loses track of time after a few drinks. She rotates around the room and talks with coworkers, most of them upset that Arya wasn't able to make it to the party this year, even though Sansa has to remind them that Arya isn't legal to drink yet, but she supposes they would've been able to sneak her in anyway. Theon is pretty decent and leaves the party early, claiming he has to be at a job site early in the morning. She gives him a brief hug and tells him she'll see him after the New Year.

She distances herself a little from the crowd by the bar to check her phone and take a breather when she hears Jon's name being mentioned:

"That's Jon Snow? Jesus, he really did that?"

"I fucking swear to God. It's why we even went with Stark Industries, besides the fact that Ned Stark is one of the few decent guys in the field."

"So, wait, walk me through it again."

The guy's voice lowers to the point where Sansa can just barely hear him. "Snow put this random guy in a fucking chokehold -"

"I just can't believe it."

Sansa tries to search for Jon in the crowd, just finding him at the edge of the bar, talking with someone she doesn't recognize. Maybe a client. He's giving easy smiles, so he's definitely feeling the scotch he's drinking.

"Seriously – I was there! We had just left a function with one of the HVAC companies and we'd passed this bar where this guy who honestly looked like a little prick was smoking outside of and Snow just fucking choked him and basically threatened to bash his head if so much as looked at some girl. He's one of those types that turns into a scary motherfucker."

"Fuck, that's so insane. When did that happen?"

"Like, a year ago. November."

Sansa is a little drunk, so maybe it's a bit of a leap in logic, but Jon is not a violent man; there's only one person she can think of whom Jon would do that toward.

"So what did that guy do?"

"I mean, he was with me and other people and we basically told him to suck it up, you know? Like he'll look like a pussy if he reported it." Pause. "Also, not for nothing, but the prick probably deserved it."

"Wow. Never would've guessed."

Jon looks over at her and his eyes crinkle as he smiles. She bites her bottom lip and looks away, gracefully weaving through the crowd further toward the back of the bar where the bathroom and kitchen was. She looks down at her drink and considers chugging it.

"Hey, are you okay?"

She looks up and sees Jon standing in front of her, his hands in his pockets, drink abandoned, she assumes. She swallows over the lump in her throat.

"Did you really threaten Joffrey? Last year?" she asks him.

After a few moments, he looks down in shame, nodding his head. "I did."

Her mind races, almost as if all the alcohol she drank disappeared from her bloodstream. "Does Robb know? Does Dad?"

Jon looks up. "Robb found out – word got around. Ned doesn't know, I don't think. I didn't want anyone to know, it wasn't…my finest moment. I admittedly had a lot to drink."

"Why?" She's not even sure what she's asking an explanation for – why did he do that? Why didn't he want people to know?

"I was drunk and he set me off and…because I couldn't stand what he did to you. I'm just glad I didn't end up punching him, even though I wanted to."

"But…" she trails off.

"Sansa, we might not have been close or really gotten along until a few months ago, but I still would've tried to be your knight in shining armor. I still cared about you and wanted you to be happy."

Tears fill her eyes and okay, maybe the alcohol is playing a part in that. "Oh." She smiles. "Well, uh, thank you."

He nods, a sheepish smile on his face. "How did you find out?"

"I overheard two guys talking about it. They didn't know the finer details of the incident."

"Ah, yeah, one of them was there, I think. We still got the job with his company, so I guess he wasn't too upset about it. Last time I went out with him was a few months later and he bought me a drink and a shot, so he probably was impressed."

"I was considering returning the favor in a similar manner," Sansa admits.

Jon smiles. "You don't have to do that. I shouldn't have done it –"

"I know. But still." She likes that Joffrey got a taste of what she felt, but she won't share that with Jon since she knows that will break his heart. Also he clearly had a good idea of what he put her through, even though Sansa didn't give much detail to anyone, let alone with Jon.
She suddenly smiles. "Knight in shining armor? You were paying attention."

"I thought you preferred princes or kings."

"I like my chivalrous knight. Princes can be pricks."

He laughs a little. "They can."

She glances over at the rest of the party. Everyone is halfway to getting drunk if they're not already.  "I always imagined my life being some sort of modern life fairytale. It's funny how far it is from it. I used to be so upset about it, but now…I think I rather like it."

She looks back at him and she's surprised by how serious he looks. "You deserve to have some of that fairytale."

She smiles. "Like a fairytale romance? I'll just take someone who is willing to hold my hand down the street and maybe buy me eggs at the diner after a night of drinking."

He smiles at her with fondness and maybe…

She stares at him, words like, 'you're already halfway there' on the tip of her tongue, but she's not brave enough to do it.

His eyes flicker down to her lips and she's suddenly scared again, prematurely embarrassed of a rejection that hasn't happened.

"I think I need air," she exhales, taking a final slip of her drink.

"Do you want company?" he asks, gallant despite the fact that his nervousness probably mirrors her own.

She steadies herself. "Yes, but –"

"I'll wait."

She reaches out to touch his arm and feels immediately stupid for doing so. She finishes off the rest of her drink and places the empty glass on the table next to the pile of coats. It doesn't take long to find hers since she wore her light grey wool coat, so it stands out amongst the black. She slips it on as she goes through the crowd, explaining to a few people that I'm just getting some air and I'll be back.

She goes down the set of stairs and passes quickly through the main floor of the bar, inhaling sharply once she's outside. It takes her a few seconds to register how cold it is and she shivers, immediately buttoning her coat and popping the collar up.

She pulls out her phone and responds to a few text messages to classmates, Shae asking if she'd be free for breakfast before her flight out to Florida. She considers a response that doesn't make her seem like a desperate fool before eventually closing out of the message app, figuring she can answer it later tonight.

Eventually, Jon comes out. "Couldn't find my fucking coat."

Sansa grins. "Perks of wearing light colors."

He shakes his head. "Yeah, yeah."

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the hat she got him for his birthday. She steps a little closer so their arms are pressing against each other.

"So when are you coming to Connecticut?" Sansa asks, not knowing what else to say or do.

"The twenty-third – do you want to pick me up?"

"Yes." She suddenly laughs at the double-meaning.

He looks at her with surprise.

"Yes," she repeats.

His brow furrows, his tongue briefly wetting his bottom lip.

"So, um…" she starts, rocking from the heels of her feet. "About earlier, when you mentioned a fairytale romance…"

He gives her that smile again, the one that seems to be only for her and it makes her weak at the knees. He takes his hand out of his pocket and holds it out. An offer – a promise, most likely, since Jon Snow is the most serious person she knows and doesn't take things lightly.

She takes his hand, her stomach flipping.

"So, eggs?" he asks.

She grins.

**

They go uptown, to the diner a few blocks away from home. They both get eggs and her ankles are touching his under the table of the booth they're sharing. She inhales her fries and Jon recounts an office Christmas party where Tormund was found sobbing in the back of the bar, so drunk he was slurring his speech, and it wasn't until three days later when he realized he forgot he took Percocet for his back earlier that day and downed about four glasses of whiskey and soda.
 
"How do you forget taking Percocet?" Sansa laughs in disbelief.

"I don't know, but it was so weird and fucking hilarious – he kept talking about how his cat doesn't appreciate him? Bizarre."

"That would explain that random 'furry' comment I overheard toward him," Sansa thinks out loud with a grimace.

"Oh God, everyone kept doing that for two months afterwards."

"Savages."

"I know, love them to bits though, as sad as that is."

She smiles a little. "Guess I'm a sad case too."

He pays for their meals and walks her to her apartment building, but she grabs his coat and brings him upstairs. She's paranoid about the camera in the elevator, so she stands a respectable distance away from him and they exchange smiles.

She keys into the apartment and hangs her coat and his. They take off their shoes in the foyer and she leads him to her bedroom; she thinks she can count on one hand the number of times he's been in here, but he likes how stark he is against the pale pinks and light greys, but she likes it even better when he steps into her space, curling her hair behind her ear. She grabs his tie and leans in, kissing him lightly.

She's never kissed anyone with a beard, but she likes how it rubs against her face, sobering her a little as alcohol buzzes just a bit under her skin. She inhales shakily as he kisses her deeply, body slowly pressing against her, dizzying and safe and warm.

"I need to take my makeup off," she whispers in between kisses.

"Why? It's nice on you," he murmurs, mouth trailing to her jawline.

She smiles when he kisses her pulsepoint. "Because I'm not getting makeup on my pillow case."

"You know we don't -"

"I know."

"Okay."

She brings his face to hers and gives him a final, closed mouth kiss before going to her bathroom. She maybe grins in front of the mirror for a moment in pure happiness, but that would make her a little too much like a loser, so she pretends it doesn't happen.

She brushes her teeth too, which he picks up on at once.

"No fair, I probably taste gross," Jon says with a laugh, pulling away.

"Fine, let's just get ready for bed and meet back here."

"Okay, ready, break," he says jokingly, leaving her room to change into the one he shares with Robb.

Sansa is grateful she has some cute pajamas here, changing into a camisole with a built-in bra because while she's comfortable with him, she's not quite ready for that. She throws on snow-themed pajama pants and a robe to stave off the chill and sits on her bed.

He comes in wearing a grey shirt and flannel pants, his white sock-clad feet peaking out from the bottom and she pulls him into her bed, pressing her body against his and kissing him.

Since Joffrey, the only person she's kissed was months ago in Prague was a boy named Harrold who was nice enough, but she only did it to erase memories that kept overwhelming her that night.

Jon keeps her in the present but makes her lose track of everything but him - the way his hands keep coming back to her face, the way he keeps trying to keep his hips away from hers, but she occasionally feels him hard against her thigh. She feels warmth pool and settle in her abdomen, a heady sensation she hasn't really felt while with another person before. She used to in the beginning with Joffrey, but she didn't realize how little or not at all she felt it.

She unconsciously spreads her legs and he settles between them. "Is this okay?" he asks at one point.

She hums in contentment, directing his mouth back to hers.

She's missed making out without an end goal. She likes that he doesn't have expectations, she likes that he asks her how she's feeling. She really justs likes him a lot. A lot, a lot.

Her lips are close to numb when she says, "I'm sobering up and very tired," she admits, running a hand through his now wild hair. "Rain check?"

He smiles and nods, his thumb grazing her bottom lip. They separate, getting under the covers and resting on their sides, facing one another.

"We have to tell Arya," Sansa says.

He furrows his brow. "Really?"

"We might have talked."

He raises his eyebrow and smiles a little, subtly pleased.

"But Robb…" she trails off.

His smile fades a little. "Right, Robb."

"We can tell him together after the holidays? I should probably be present for that one."

He nods. "Alright."

One family member at a time - she's sure they'll figure out how to break the news to her parents and younger siblings.

Jon reaches out to take her hand resting in the space between them. "Whatever you're comfortable with," he adds.

She smiles and squeezes his hand. "Goodnight, Jon Snow."

"Goodnight, Sansa Stark."

She falls asleep pretty quickly, a smile still probably on her face.

**

She wakes up to Jon getting out of bed, the room palely lit with the rising sun.

She groans, which makes him chuckle.

"I have to run," he says quietly.

"No, you don't. Run later. Come back."

"Your pouting is not going to work."

She continues to pout anyway. "Please?"

He sighs, but she can tell when he gives in, sighing as he gets back under the covers. She shifts closer to him, pressing her forehead against his.

"You're not hungover?" he asks.

She shakes her head a little. "You?"

"Head hurts a bit, will pass soon."

She's sleepy still, but sober enough to acknowledge how strange the shift in their relationship is, at least a little.

"This is still okay?" he asks.

She loves his concern. "Yes. I want you - this, um," she stumbles, flushes a little.

He smiles. "Me too."

She wants to kiss him until she has difficulty catching her breath. She wants to hold his hand like she did last night and kiss him every time he smiles or kiss him until he does. She wants to sleep in his bed again and she wants to have quiet dinners with him and do Thai takeout and other domestic things. She wants to know what it's like to really orgasm with someone else, to receive for once.

She thinks Jon would be really good, but she can wait for that.

For now, she dozes against his chest, her nose resting by his collarbone until his alarm goes off.

**

Arya picks Sansa up, reluctantly even though Sansa insisted.

Once Sansa slides into the passenger seat, Sansa says, "Something happened."

Arya stares at her at her blankly for a few long moments, but then her eyebrows raise briefly once she understands. "Oh. Okay. Uh," Arya scrunches her nose and shakes her head. "Sure. Congrats? Do I say that?"

Sansa shrugs her shoulders. "I have no idea. But, thanks, I guess."

Arya nods, starting her car. "Thanks for telling me. When are you telling Robb?"

"January."

"Smart. And everyone else?"

"Not sure yet. We're taking it slow."

Arya glances over at her. "You're happy, right? This is what you want?"

Sansa nods, unable to stop herself from smiling as she stares out the window. "Yeah, it is."

"Okay. Good." Pause. "I don't want to hear anything, or see anything."

Sansa blushes a deep red. "We're not going do anything in front of you!"

"Okay, I'm just saying, ignorance is bliss, okay? Don't test me."

Sansa rolls her eyes and pulls out her phone.

From Sansa Stark:
Arya took it well, but be prepared to be interrogated by her, probably. And threatened.

From Jon Snow:
You just said it went well…

From Sansa Stark:
She's protective and she also acts like she's twelve and thinks people kissing is gross.

From Jon Snow:
Clearly she doesn't because I've unfortunately walked in on her and Gendry twice.

From Sansa Stark:
(Face Screaming In Fear )she's unbelievable!!!

From Jon Snow:
lol I mean it was deeply uncomfortable for me, so I get where she's coming from.

From Sansa Stark:
Yeah yeah. Whatever.

She bites her bottom lip.

From Sansa Stark:
Can't wait to see you tomorrow.

From Jon Snow:
Me too - we can plan when I will take you out on a proper date once we're back in the city.

From Sansa Stark:
❤❤

"Ugh, you're like, so sappy," Arya grimaces.

"Shut up and let me have my honeymoon period. I'm sure you were just as gross with Gendry."

"I was perfectly level headed." But Arya shoots her a small smile in understanding.

They drive to the house in a comfortable silence, listening to Christmas music on the radio. It's overwhelming, what the future holds - there will be complications with her and Jon seeing each other and sometimes she worries something will come along and imbalance whatever peace she's established for herself. But she's trying not to look twenty steps ahead and just put attention and care into putting one foot in front of the other.

It's such a cliché, but then again, she's always loved her nice clichés and happily ever afters and that's not going to change any time soon.