Sansa threw her keys on the little table, beside the door and entered her apartment. Lady, her precious and most beautiful and most intelligent and most good dog trotted with her tongue out and her tail wagging towards the bowl, drank some water and laid her big body onto her bed.
“You’re tired, huh? Not as much as me.” She went to Lady, bended down and scratched behind the ear. It made her tail wag some more. “You made me chase you through the park! But you’re still a good Lady! Yes you are!”
But she stopped when she felt something. Sansa kneeled and spread the fur and saw a medium size red lump. She had never seen it before. This was odd. The next day she called the vet and told her what she had found. The pause on the other line was alarming and more when the doctor told her to bring her as soon as possible.
The doctor said that she didn’t want to jump to conclusions so she made some tests and told her to wait a couple of days. When Lady came out, they had shaved around the lump but, other than that, she looked fine.
Between the days that the doctor told Sansa to wait, she noticed that Lady was barely eating and hardly got out of bed. Not even when she took the leash out, did Lady ran towards her. Now that was alarming. Lady loved walks! Since she was a pup! Sometimes she would take the leash herself, sit in front of the T.V. and let a little whine.
When the doctor called, she didn’t sound cheerful and told her to come as soon as possible. “Sansa, have a seat.” She said and Lady sat between her legs. “I am sorry but Lady has Hemangiosarcoma. It’s a cancer that spreads to the spleen and liver and it’s the type that it cannot be diagnosed early.”
“What are you saying, doctor?” She was afraid to of the answer but the doctor’s face said it all. Tears welled up. “How can this be? She has all her shots, I buy her good food and she exercise…” Lady turned around and wagged her tail. “Oh, Lady…” she said and hugged her.
“The cause of this cancer is unknown but we know that it affects most dogs of the ages of 8 to 10 and mostly males but… some cases are the exception. There is a surgery but it’s too risky, I am afraid.”
“But is there a chance that she can recover?”
“Very low percent. We made some x-rays and…” the doctor was silent again. Tears flooded her face and Lady cocked her head to the side, making her ears flop a little. “You have to make the decision. Soon she will be in pain, she will have seizures and even even collapse when you least suspect.”
“I don’t want her to suffer.” Sansa sniffled. “Lady has been the best dog I have ever had and she doesn’t deserve this…” she ruffled Lady’s head. “Give me a few days, please. With her.” The doctor nodded and Lady and Sansa went home.
Sansa did everything to make Lady comfortable. She took her to the park when she felt better, she gave her one of her favorite food: hamburgers and slices of block of cheese, bathed her and let her sleep with her in bed. Lady have never been more happy. But Sansa… her heart was breaking by the second. This was her baby and her friend for years and it had never occurred to her that one day Lady might… she couldn’t even think it, let alone say it out loud.
One night, Sansa heard Lady barking and running around the living room of her apartment. It was as if she was playing. Sansa groaned and got out of bed. It was three in the morning.
“Lady…” she groaned louder. "She better not be playing on the sofa..."
When she entered the living room, by dragging her feet and yawning, Sansa turned on the lights and let out a scream. The scream that followed wasn’t Lady’s (of course not, she is a dog!) but of a girl, dressed with a long sleeved, black turtle neck, black tight pants and black boots. The girl’s hair was as pale as the moon and her eyes were the color of amethysts. The intruder had Lady on a leash and trying to take her away, through the door.
Both screamed at the same time and Sansa took the first thing that was beside her and threw it.
It was a squeaky toy. It hit her head and bounced through the floor, making Lady run after it and dragging the intruder.
“What are you doing with my Lady!?” Sansa screamed and this time threw a vase full of flowers. It shattered when it hit the wall when the girl dodged it and glared.
“That’s dangerous!” The intruder screamed. Lady had the toy in her mouth and was waiting for one of the to throw it again.
“You are kidnapping my dog! Let her go!” Now Sansa had a pair of scissors and the girl rolled her eyes while trying to pull on Lady.
“I don’t know how can you see me but you think a pair of sci—” she dodge them again, but with more shock in her face. “Are you serious!?”
“Let go of her! Or I am going to call the police!” Again the girl rolled her eyes.
“Humans.” She muttered to herself. But then took a deep breath and let go of the leash. “Fine. It’s clearly not the right time.” She held her hands in the air. “I’ll see you later, pretty Lady.” She waved with her fingers and smiled.
“Oh, gods! Lady, go inside the room!” She looked at Lady and she trotted to the room while wagging her tail.
When Sansa looked back, the girl was nowhere in sight.
Sansa hadn't slept in a few days and it was a toll on her. She had finals and most of her money was going on pet hotels in fear that the crazy girl might come back and take Lady away. She would rather die than let some stranger taker her... and now more that Lady had not much time left.
One day they arrived to the apartment. Sansa was so tired that she went to her bed and threw herself there. So far nothing had happened so she decided to take a nap. A smile appeared on her face when she felt Lady jump on the bed and cuddle beside her. She was the best dog ever and she would never… let… anyone…
The light of the living room hit Sansa’s face. She groaned and massaged her eyes. Lady was not in the bed and when she saw the hour she jumped up and ran towards the living room. Lady was sitting, looking behind the couch and wagging her tail. This time Sansa was prepared. She had bought a wooden baseball bat. Lady barked and started playing around the couch.
Sansa lifted the bat. “I know you’re there!” Silence. “I have a bat and I am not afraid to use it!” There was a pause before a girl groaned and lifted her body. She rolled her eyes and dusted her shoulders and knees.
“Chill.” Said the girl and then patted Lady’s head.
“Lady, come!” But Lady didn’t move. “Lady, baby. Come to me.” The girl nodded to Lady and she did as she was told.
“Look, I know how this looks like and to be frank, this is the first time something like this has ever happened and—”
“What do you want with Lady!?” Sansa still had her bat up. Ready to hit.
The girl sighed and sat on the armrest of the couch. She looked tired. “First, let me introduce myself. My name is Daenerys—”
“That’s a weird name.” She muttered. Must be fake.
“Would you let me finish? Look, I was assigned this case and I need to take Lady with me but she isn’t cooperating and,” Daenerys looked at her invisible wrist watch. “I’m running out of time. I’ve never been late with a delivery.”
Sansa’s eyes winded and raised the bat higher. “You want Lady’s meat, you sick psycho!?”
Daenerys raised her hands and fell on the couch and closed her eyes. “No! No! No! That’s not what I meant! Lady is dying and I am in charge of her soul!”
Daenerys opened one eye and saw that Sansa had lower her weapon. She cleared her throat. “I am what you call a grim reaper…” Daenerys looked up with her purple eyes, very dramatically and intense. “For dogs.”
“You have got to be kidding me…”
Daenerys shrugged and stood up. “It really doesn’t matter if you believe me or not. Quite frankly, I don’t give a damn but I am on a schedule here, little human so I need Lady to come with me.” Sansa shook her head.
“Lady still have a few weeks left! Look at her! She still wants to play! She can’t die just yet!”
Daenerys opened her mouth but closed it. It was the first time Sansa had seen her so serious. Then crossed her arms, thinking. This was really a weird couple of days, for both of them.
“Let’s make a deal,” she looked again her invisible wrist watch. “I guess I can make an exception. There is always a first time for everything… and I am still on time… I will give you one weekend with her. No more than that. And I get to tag along.” Sansa didn’t say anything. “I’ll take that as a yes. Well, I have to make some adjustments. I can’t just drop my job at the last minute. I’ll probably ask Gandry or—”
“Right! The faster, the better!” When Sansa blinked, Daenerys was gone.
The next morning, Sansa woke up with Daenerys’ face a few inches from her face, making her jump. Lady lifted her head but placed it back down.
“Don’t do that!”
“I always found sleeping humans fascinating.” She sat at the edge of the bed. Sansa’s hair was a tangle mess and there were traces of drool on the corner of her mouth. “It’s like death but without the existential crisis you all love to suppress.” Sansa groaned. “What are your plans with Lady today?” Lady’s ears perked up.
“Since you only gave me a weekend.” Daenerys nodded. “I was going to make her favorite. Bacon and sausages.”
“Cool! I heard those are the favorites among dogs. Isn’t that right, Lady?” Lady barked.
After Sansa was done feeding Lady, she ate too but had to stop when Daenerys was still staring. “Let me guess, you find humans eating fascinating too.” Daenerys noded.
“Rippers don’t eat. We just exist—well, we haven't tried. Too busy. Never crossed our minds. It's 24/7 job.” Sansa took a bite of her toast. “This is the first time I am interacting this close to a human. Not even rippers assign to human interact, though there are these pesky mediums and—”
Sansa pressed a sausage in Daenery’s mouth. “No wonder you’re a chatterbox. Eat and tell your ripper friends.” Daenerys chewed and was in a trance. A smile appeared in her face and then let out a laugh.
Sansa thought that Daenerys was really, really pretty. Well, not pretty but beautiful. No. Not beautiful, but gorgeous. Wait, no—
“Oh, my! We have, what you call, taste buds! I wonder what dog food taste like.” she stood up.
They went to the park and sat on a bench and watched how Lady played with other dogs. It was a warm a sunny day, the clouds were white and puffy, there were some butterflies flying around, kids playing with their pets and Sansa trying not to cry. She had two days now to enjoy Lady but all her thoughts were about death and loneliness.
Daenerys looked at Sansa and then at Lady. “I’ve seen many deaths in my existence and I’ve seen families crying like you are too. There has always been something inside me that wants to yell at them that they are going to be alright. That where I’m taking them is full of happiness and freedom. There is no pain, there is no fear, there is just pure peace.” Sansa looked at Daenerys and her face was soft. “Some pets don’t want to leave because they love their family so much,” Lady came with a ball in her mouth and gave it Sansa. “Like someone over here.” She ruffled her hair and Lady wagged her tail. Sansa threw the ball. “But in the end, they all come.”
Sansa looked down. “… I’m sorry that I threw a pair of scissors at you and threatened you with a baseball bat.” Daenerys smiled and shrugged.
Four hours later, they went back to the apartment. It was time for lunch and she was hungry. Lady just walked towards her bed and laid down. She didn’t even look at the fresh food that Sansa poured in her bowl. She bended down and caressed her fur. Lady is just tired, she thought.
“Tomorrow we are going to the beach.” Sansa said without facing Daenerys. “We are going to have so much fun.”
The next day, Daenerys was laying in the bed, watching Sansa. She turned her body over but she couldn’t go back to sleep. She should find this more creepy but, oddly, it never crossed her mind.
“Beds are comfortable.” Said Daenerys. “I always wanted to try this.” She opened her arms. “It’s called a spooning.” Sansa raised her body and looked at Daenerys with a weird look. But then she bursted out laughing. “Why are you laughing? Not the type of response I was expecting.”
But Sansa got out of bed, ruffled Lady’s fur and went to the kitchen. She prepared breakfast for the three of them. “It’s called pancakes.”
“I know what pancakes are…” she lifted one side with her fork. “But never had one.” Sansa waited for her to take a bite and when she did, her face lit up again. “My cheeks are tingling! What is it!?”
“That happens when you don’t have something sweet to eat for a long time.” Sansa smiled. “You like it?” Daenerys nodded quickly and took a big chunk of it and ate it. “Also, since we are going to the beach, I’m going to lend you a bathing suit.” She took the plates and placed them on the sink.
“No need.” When Sansa turned her head, Daenerys was already wearing a two piece bathing suite, a black pamela hat and sunglasses. “Hurry! We need to beat the traffic!”
When they arrived, Sansa let loose Lady and she ran towards the water. Daenerys opened her black towel and laid down. Sansa sat next to her and took a bit of water. She couldn’t stop staring at Daenerys. The girl had an amazing body and just the thought of it made her blush.
Lady barked and ran towards Sansa with a stick in her mouth. “I’m gonna get a nice tan.” She threw it and Lady ran.
“You need sunblock or else you’re gonna get a sunburn. You’re so… pale.” Daenerys clicked her tongue.
“Because I always wear my uniform. I just want to show my colleagues my sun kissed shoulders.” She stood up. “But I don’t want to look like a tomato.” She pushed her hair over her shoulder.
Sansa squeezed the bottle and rubbed the sunblock in Daenerys back. Then her shoulders and then her arms and then her waist and then. “Here.” Sansa gave the bottle to Daenerys. “You do the rest.”
“Do you need me to smear this thing on you?” Sansa shook her head. “Oh, come on. Turn around and let me help.” Sansa lowered her head and turned around.
Sansa let out a yelp when she felt the cold run down her back. “Oh, my gods! It’s cold!”
“It wasn’t cold when you did it.”
“Because I rubbed it first with my hands!” Daenerys chuckled.
“You’re funny.” Sansa blushed.
Daenerys hands wandered through her back, shoulders, arms, waisted, stomach and brea—”
“That would be enough!” Sansa blushed and Daenerys shrugged and gave her the bottle.
Sansa hugged her knees. “Aren’t you going to play with Lady? She is having the time of her life.” Sansa didn’t answer. “Oh… I get it. You’re going to sulk the remaining time you have with her. Smart.”
Sansa snapped her head. “She is my dog! I have all the right to sulk!" Daenerys lowered her sunglasses. "You don't understand because you have never lost someone important to you."
Daenerys pushed her sunglasses back and stood up. "Well, there is a reason why you can see me and I can't have your negativity rubbing on on me. I did you a favor and if you're going to waste then that's fine by me." Then she ran towards the shore where Lady was.
On the way back, they didn't talk. Only the music was filling the space. Lady had laid down in the back. Daenerys was back in her original clothes and at some point she disappeared. The ride back was lonely. When they arrived, Sansa opened the car to let Lady out but she didn't.
"Lady, come on. I have to wash you and..." But Sansa stopped when she saw that Lady was whimpering and trembling. "Lady!"
When she arrived to the vet, the doctor said that she had no time left. Sansa was crying. Daenerys was right... now it's too late. She wasn't ready to let go of Lady. The memories of when she got her as a pup as a gift from her late father. How every single sibling had gotten one and it was the most lively since then. How they used to go for walks and play with their siblings. Why does everything have to change? Why does everyone has to die!?
A hand pressed against her shoulder. She looked up and saw Daenerys. Quickly she hugged her and cried in her arms. Shocked, Daenerys hugged her back. "You still have a bit of time left." She whispered and Sansa nodded.
When they entered, Lady was laying on a metal bed with a IV. She was breathing slowly and her tail wagged when she saw Sansa. "Oh, Lady..." She whispered and caressed her furry head. "I am so sorry that you are suffering... I am so sorry that I was selfish enough to let you live this long." She sniffled.
"Actually," said Daenerys, sniffling too. She was full sobbing. Eye makeup running down and a bit a running nose. "Oh, gods... wait, let me see my face—OH GODS! MY FACE!" Sansa couldn't help but chuckle. "Lady is the selfish one. She did her best not to show her pain. She wanted to be with you as much as you wanted to be with her. You two are something else." She sniffled again.
"Oh, Lady..." Sansa chuckled again. "But I will be fine. You can go with Daenerys." Lady whimpered. "No. No. I'll be fine. I promise. You know that I am a cry baby. Good bye, my Lady." She smiled.
Sansa backed away and Daenerys stepped forward. "Let's go." She whispered and Lady got up and jumped off the bed. "Oh, before I go. I've been wanting to do this the moment you threw the scissors at me." Then Daenerys pulled Sansa in to a kiss. For the ripper it was as if fireworks had erupted in her belly and for the girl it was as if all her body had caught fire. "Ah... now I know what the fuss is about." Sansa blinked and then burst into laughter.
Then Daenerys and Lady walked out the door.
Lady's body was cremated and Sansa sperced the ashes back home, where her big brother's dog—Grey Wind—was. It was refreshing to come back and see the family. Her mother made her famous pecan pie and her sister was still annoying as ever but they shared a mutual understanding of what happened.
When she returned back to her apartment, she just stood there in silence. Sansa is definitely going to miss the barking and happiness when Lady used to greet her. Wow... she felt so lonely. But she wasn't going to get another dog right away. She was going to wait and try to live her new life as best as possible.
But when she threw the keys on the little table by the door and turned on the lights, she let out a scream when she saw Daenerys eating a pint of ice cream on her sofa.
"Oh!" She placed the ice cream on the floor and whipped her mouth. "You're back!"
"Wh-what are you doing here? I-I though—"
Daenerys did her signature shrugg. "Well, it's a funny story... remember when I told you that I was going to ask Gendry to cover my shifts? Well, he said no—well, everyone I asked said no so I just stopped? I know, I know! I am irresponsible but there was no harm done! I mean, I did have a perfect score and I lived by that score but I met you and Lady and I had my first weekend as a human, which violated a bunch of rules and now I am suspended." Sansa blinked. Daenerys smiled. "Until further notice."
Sansa's bags dropped to the floor.
Daenerys stood up and hugged her. "Welcome home!" And then kissed her cheek.
Yeah... so much for living her new life as best as possible.