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I was happy

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Sansa Stark

"Please, just let me explain." What there is to explain?

Why does he have to explain?

Isn't clear enough what's happening?


 

Sansa was just finishing feeding Jacob some soup when she heard a knock on the door, it was the middle of the afternoon, her husband was working and from what she knows no one in her family was visiting. She was still relatively new in the neighbourhood, there weren't many people who could be showing up at her house.

Somehow by instinct or something else the moment Sansa saw that girl younger than her but with the same auburn hair with a baby at her arms, she already knew what was going on and to whom that child belonged to, it wasn't hard. Those eyes, those curls, all that lacked Jacob she found in that baby, she couldn't take her eyes off her. He had to be a lie, she begged God, this couldn't be happening, not now that everything was perfect.

Jon had been promoted, they had finally left their one bedroom apartment eight months ago and moved to a house in the suburbs, they had Jacob their one year old boy who looked exactly like her but had his father's everything else, she was happy beyond measurement. Ever since she first met him, Sansa always knew that he was the one and whoever came after him could never make her feel like he did, it had been a lie. All of it.

All the I love you, the kisses, the touches that made her knees weak and left her head spinning, the smiles that were meant only for her eyes, his laugh, oh how she loved his laughter, he was perfect and he was hers. The perfect husband and before that the perfect boyfriend and now the perfect father, he loved Jacob fiercely, the day their son was born was the first time she saw him cry, it only made her love him even more.

And he throw it all away, for what?

Who was the woman who made him forget his vows, not the ones he swore in front of God and their family and friends but the ones he swore to her in the that cheap motel room, the night he made her his, what about those?

Why wasn't she enough?

She was a good wife, a good person, all that she was belonged to him, all that she'll ever be she's going to be with him, it's always been this way. For years he's been her only family, for years they've been each others world, everyone said so. Wherever they go all they hear is people congratulate them or saying how lovely they are as couple, how they have the most perfect little family. Did these people lied to?

Was it her fault?

After she got pregnant with Jacob things started to change, Sansa didn't want to become intimate with him anymore, yet he told her he would wait, he never pressured her to do a thing. Once their son was born things slowly returned to their norm, or maybe she just chose to see what she wanted to see. The truth is after she gave birth and after his promotion on his law firm soon after, he changed, his smiles became more forced, his kisses felt distance so did his embrace, whenever they were together there was missing that spark, that connection they had, he was slipping from her fingers, she just thought...

She doesn't even know what she was thinking, his job position was hard and demanded a lot more from him than the other before, having a baby didn't prove to be easy for them, her pregnancy was an high risk one, Jacob was born premature and due to it Sansa was forced to stay many nights away from home, from him. Not mention that their baby had hearing disabilities. All of that started to crack the foundations of their relationship, but for Sansa it was a test, a test at their strength and at their love, one he failed.

All the while those eyes kept staring at her, Sansa doesn't see the babie's face, all she can see his her husband in the arms of another, she didn't even know if this girl standing here in front of her is the one who took him from her. She's young, not even a woman still, and she looks ashamed almost scared, she can barely look Sansa in the eyes.

Sansa can't speak, she can't react to all that's happening around her but she can't let this girl freeze at her door, so she gestures her inside and tells her to seat in the living room, she goes to the kitchen where Jacob his still sitting trying his best at eating alone, the moment Sansa picked him up he began to cry, he must have sensed something was amiss, or maybe because he can see the tears that threaten to fall from his mother's eyes at any moment. She won't cry.

Probably it wasn't the right moment for it but Sansa decided to make some tea and set up a platter with cakes and biscuits, she just needed time, it was still to painful but the worst is that she can't feel the pain all she can is see it, him and the other whispering the same words Sansa used to, kissing and touching, laughing probably at her, she was a foolish girl who thought she had found her prince charming and that they were going to live happily ever after with Jacob and all the children that were to come, it was pitiful. Her sister had been right, hope is our worst enemy.

When she arrived at the living room the baby was now asleep in that girl's arms, Jacob who was in Sansa's lap was stretching his arms to try and reach her but Sansa held him gently in place. Maybe he knew that his sister was in front of him.

"What's your name?" Sansa asked, she was terrified of asking something else. The girl took a minute or two but finally spoke up.

"Anna and the little one is Emily." Did Jon pick the name?

"Are you...who's baby is that?" She couldn't bear to ask the girl, Anna, if she was Jon's mistress.

"My sister's, I'm just her aunt." It didn't make her feel any better, the woman ruined her life and now couldn't even face her, she sent someone else.

"Look Miss, I don't know much about the story. A couple of months ago my sister came home heavily pregnant and told my parents she needed a place to stay at least until the baby was born, I never knew the father. I still don't, I only had an address." She sounded sincere and even sorry.

"Where is your sister?" Anna's jaw clenched and her eyes were shinning with tears, at first Sansa tought she was mad at her. Until...

"Three days after coming home from the hospital Ygritte left and the baby stayed behind, she left a letter saying she wasn't ready to become a mother, my sister is not one to settle down. She wrote that the father was a good man and was going to help, that's why I'm here. I'm so sorry for what Ygritte has done to you." She had tears rushing down her face now, Sansa felt empathy for the girl. "Miss, we come from nothing, my family barely has enough for ourselves...this baby is our family, our blood but we can't give her the life she deserves."

Sansa was so focused on her grief that she didn't noticed the obvious, with another glance at that child it became clear as day. She was skinny, she barely cried, her clothes were old and her blanked was covered in patches, it was the middle of winter and even in Kings Landing there was snow yet she was only wearing a wool onesie, not even her head and hands were covered, Sansa regrets leaving them outside for that long. She can't blame an innocent child, who doesn't even know it's part of this world, for something her husband did.

Jacob started to cry and Sansa tried to calm him down but to no effect, it was past is nap hour so he was very cranky, she doesn't even wants to think how much will this affect him or her family. The Starks loved him, her father even saw him as one of them, Arya loved him more than she loved Sansa and Robb was one of his closest friend. He had not only betrayed her but also her family, the family that took him when his own turned their back.

"Hey, little man. Watch this." Anna started making funny faces and immediately Jacob laughed and soon enough calmed down again. She was nice.

"You're probably thinking my sister is a homewrecker and a bitch." It was as if she could read Sansa's mind. "I can't blame you, but if it's any comfort she's not a bad person."

"She abandoned her newborn baby, I'm sorry but it's hard for me to think anything good about her."

"Trust me, she actually did a good thing. The baby is more safe with us than it'll ever be with her. She's not cut to be a mother."

"So why did she got pregnant?! Don't tell me it was an accident, your sister knew exactly what she was doing!" Sansa raised her voice so loud that Emily woke up.

"It was! She was going to do an abortion but by the time she found out it was already too late. Your husband promised he was going to help her, he said he was going to get a divorce!" What was left of Sansa's world finally came crushing down on her.

"You...you said you didn't know a thing."

"I don't, I swear it. I've only read a few text messages that my sister showed me." Sansa knew how to read people well, this girl was telling the truth about everything. Even the divorce.

As if on cue, the door opened and she knew this time it was him, Jon Snow.

Sansa didn't even wait for him to get in the living room, she placed Jacob on the sofa and went to the door. Before he could even open his mouth to speak Sansa slapped him with all of her strength, it was her first time doing this to anyone, it didn't help, causing him pain was doing nothing to numb her own.

Jon even had the audacity to look shocked, she realised she doesn't know him, it's always been a mask but it's slowly vanishing. He can't pretend nothing is happening, not when his daughter is crying just feet away from him. He knows she's here, he knows Sansa found out everything, his eyes are downcast and he's shoulders are slumpled, he looks like a broken man. For years he made her believe he loved her, Jon is just pretending. None of it is real.

He rushed to the living room and when he got there his behaviour changed completely.

"Leave, now! If I see you or anyone from your family again, I'll call the cops!" Jon wasn't a violent person, he could sometimes get a little bit worked up but never quite like this.

"I will, but don't forget it's your daughter you're putting on the street." Sansa certainly wasn't going to forget that any time soon, Jon on the other hand looked unbothered.

This man was a stranger.

"Bye Miss Sansa, thank you for the tea." And without wanting Sansa to take her to the door, Anna left with Emily in her arms. It was so cold outside and she had no idea if they lived near or far.

Jacob was sitting in the couch looking scared, she hated herself for it.

"Come on baby, let's go sleep." Sansa picked her son up and made her way to his room.

Jon grabbed her arm, his hands against her pale skin made her want to be sick. His hands were no longer pure, somebody else has had them in their bodies, running up and down their spine, exploring every single inch of skin.

"I'm going to put Jacob to bed, wait for me in our room." Our room, another lie. His body was there but never his mind.

The moment Sansa placed Jacob in his crib was the moment he fell asleep.

She wishes she could do just that. Close her eyes and stay in the dark, a part of her desperately wants Jon to lie, to tell her none of this is true. Sansa much rather be stuck on a lie than to face the truth and lose him, because that's the thing despite all he's done she can't find it herself to hate him, she can't feel repulse, this is Jon, her Jon. It's killing her inside, she's tried her earnest to remain neutral, she didn't need pity or someone to see her tears but now that she was alone, Sansa let it all out. She doesn't for how long she'd been crying, her troath felt constricted, she could barely open her eyes and her face was drenched, yet she couldn't stop and Jon made no effort to go to her, she cried even harder at that notion.

Would've he come for the other?

Slowly she left her son's room and headed towards her own, when she arrived there Jon was sitting in bed with his face buried in his hands, he had been crying too. When he saw her he got up and walked in her direction, Sansa moved back. If she touches him now she'll be lost, she'll forgive him.

"Did you knew about the child?" Of course he knew, Sansa just wanted a confirmation which he didn't give.

"Did or did you not?!"

"Yes, I've known for quite sometime now." He was looking at the floor.

"You weren't going to tell me, were you?" Jon shook his head, she never saw him as a coward until now.

"I'm sorry."

"How? How can you be sorry? You cheated on me, you had a baby with someone else! Did you ever thought about me or our son?!" She hated herself for her weakness and for not being able to keep her tears at bay.

"Of course I thought about you, you were always in my mind."

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?? To know that you were thinking about me while you were fucking another, it doesn't." She never cursed in front of him before, he looked surprised.

"I was never my intention for it to go this far, the first time we...I was drunk and so was Ygritte." She couldn't stand to hear her name on his lips. "I barely remember what happened, it wa-"

"Stop lying! You knew what you were doing and you wanted it to happen, you already broke my heart, telling lies is not going to fix the damage." Jon punched a wall, his knuckles were bloody.

"If you had looked around just once you would've known! You've always sugar coated everything but the truth is we haven't been fine in a long time. I've changed so did you." Did he thought that was an excuse, that the fact that their marriage wasn't well gave him the right to do what he did?

"Do you love her?" His silence was enough to prove he did.

"I'm going back to Winterfell, you can keep the house, the car, everything. I never want to see you again." Now she was just trying to fool herself.

"No!" Jon grabbed her face and gave her a kiss, much to her shame Sansa didn't stop him. "Please Sansa, I made a mistake a huge one, I'm so, so sorry for causing you this much pain. We're drifting apart, I don't how or when but something changed and I hate myself for it, I not the husband you deserve, I'm not even a good man but please don't leave, we can work this out I know we can. Ygritte is in the past, you're my future. It's always going to be you." Seeing him so vulnerable, was hurting her more than any betrayal.

"I love you, but how can I stay after what you've done?"

"I don't know, I wish I had all the answers but I don't. Help me find them, please...I love you Sansa." Why can't I hate you? She thought. It would've been much easier if she could just turn her back and leave him alone but she couldn't.

Without Jon she wasn't Sansa, she was just a shadow. He was her strength, her soul, her love.

"I don't want to loose you Jon but right now I need time, I can't..." She broke down in tears and he was holding her, even now his arms felt safe. She was afraid that this was all a trick, that he was manipulating her, she didn't care.

She was weak, any other woman would've left. But then again they didn't had Jon, no one knew what it was like.

"I'll do anything to fix what I've done, I swear it."

"Good, you can't start with your daughter." It was the right thing.

Sansa couldn't allow that child whom she didn't know but was a part of him, a part of Jacob to suffer because of the choices someone else did. She was going to make things right, she needed her husband back and their marriage, if that means having to take care of that baby girl, then it's a price she's willing to pay.

Chapter Text

Jon Snow

He couldn't sleep, no matter how hard he tried he just couldn't and it had nothing to do with the fact that he was sleeping in the couch. He's been feeling guilty for months but somehow now it's different, of course it is, Sansa found out the truth. He promised that he would never harm her, that he was going to keep her safe but now she's alone in their room crying all because of him, she's been like that for hours, all he wants his to hold her and make it better but right now he's probably the last person she wants to see.

He still remembers the first time he saw her, he thought he was dreaming after all he hadn't slept in over a day, but he wasn't. She was real and she was smiling at him. In order to pay for his tuitions, Jon got a job has janitor in college, that was the only way he could attend class and make sure he had enough to eat. On his second year in college, Sansa Stark moved from Winterfell to King's Landing and started to live on campus, he would see her every morning strolling along with her friends, she had such a beautiful smile and she was so nice, whenever she saw him she would say hello and Jon would just stand there grinning like a fool, when he found out she spent her free time in the library to help others with their studies, Jon took his chance. Before he knew it they were dating, it happened so fast, he asked her out once and she said yes, after that they would spent hours together just talking about themselves, their families, their interests, he couldn't get tired of listening to her, with time he mapped out all of her expressions, her gestures, her scent, she became his everything.

When he finally graduated, Sansa stayed another year in college, Jon got a job at a law firm and rented out an apartment, one he ended by sharing with her. During her graduation party he met her family and they welcomed him like one of their own, not long after that he and Sansa flew to her home in Winterfell and Jon proposed to her in front of her all family, four months later they got married and have been for over six years, as the years went by they decided to start a family, it took them a while but Sansa got pregnant, the day she told him about it was the happiest of his life.

He had everything he ever wanted, but things quickly became sour. Sansa's pregnancy was rough on them both, she even was rushed to the hospital one night when she woke up crying and with blood on her tights, after that the doctor told her she had very little hope of carrying the pregnancy to full term, those news created a gap between them, Sansa spent days in bed worrying for their baby while Jon was helpless, he had no idea what to do or say, and then their son was born two months before due date, he was so tiny, his lungs weren't fully developed so he had to be plugged to machines for weeks, they also discovered that he had an hearing impairment, Sansa stayed with him for almost four months in the hospital, Jon had to go back to work, he barely saw her anymore and when he did she wasn't the same.

Things also started to get hard on him, he got the promotion he's always wanted at his job, but that only made his work even more difficult than before, then when they decided to buy a house of their own things took a complete turn, Jon didn't told Sansa but their finances didn't look bright, he was getting more money but still wasn't enough to pay for the car, the house, the hospital bills that kept piling up. She was already was going through so much, the last thing he wanted was to cause her more stress.

Instead he ended up by ruining their life, all because of a selfish choice, maybe he was more like his father than he cared to admit.

As a way of coping with the fact that he couldn't provide for his family, or that he couldn't do a thing to help his son, Jon started to spend a few hours in a nearby bar before coming home, there he met Ygritte, a waitress, she was flirtatious and always had some kind of spicy joke to tell, normally she would talk to him but Jon would always know when to stop, until one day it all ended. He had gotten the news that Jacob's hearing had gotten worse, Sansa was devasted and wouldn't talk to him or to her family, he didn't know what to do anymore, he just wanted to forget everything and so that's what he did. That night was and still is a blur, he lost count on the amount of drinks he had, he only remembers waking up in the morning in a room that wasn't his and with someone at his side that wasn't Sansa, it was Ygritte. He couldn't believe it, Sansa was at home probably heartbroken and here he was, in the arms of another woman. Jon was a monster, after that he couldn't look at his wife in the eyes, despite everything she didn't gave up on them, she was strong and kept going even when giving up semmed like the only option, Jon on the other hand took the easy path.

He wanted to tell her but he couldn't or just didn't have the guts to do it, she and their son were the only good thing in his life, his mother died at birth and Jon was raised by a family who didn't love him, his father only took him in because Jon didn't have no one else, Raeghar never cared for him the same way he did for his legitimate children, Jon was the walking and breathing prove of his infidelity, and now history was repeating itself again.

A few weeks after that night, Jon got a call from Ygritte saying she was pregnant and even if she wanted to do an abortion it was already too late, Jon met up with her a few days later at her apartment and when he saw the ultrasound pictures that's when reality hit him hard, he was going to be a father and Sansa wasn't the mother. He couldn't leave Ygritte alone to deal with the situation so he told her that he was going to help with the baby, she sobbed in his shoulder and he felt like the biggest shit stain in the world, she kissed him but unlike before Jon didn't make any effort to take things any further, he didn't love Ygritte, he barely knew her in his eyes she was just a friend, he never gave her hope not once, what happened between the two of them was a mistake, one he would carry for the rest of his life, he could help her with the child, he could even be there for her whenever she needed him, but he could never love her, that belonged to Sansa.

After that she disappeared, no one knew where she was, she quit her job and rumor was that she went back to her parents house. He tried to reach her after all she was pregnant with his child, he didn't want to be like his father, he wanted to be there for her. All the while things at home kept going downhill, Jacob was improving every day but he and Sansa were not, everyday that went by he wanted to come clean but didn't, out of fear and shame, also because Sansa was good, she was kind, he couldn't do that to her.

When he finally heard from Ygritte, she told him that she was fine and the pregnancy was going well, it was clear that she was feeling guilty as well. She even apologized for kissing him and told him she understood if Jon didn't want to have anything to do with the baby but he told her otherwise, he was still going to face the consequences of his actions, it was only the right thing to do. When she asked him about his marriage, Jon told her he was going to ask for a divorce because it was the truth, Sansa deserved so much more than him, she deserved someone who could treat her like the queen she was, and Jon clearly wasn't that person. He had his chance and he blew it, he had to let her go, it was only fair. It was going to break him but it had to be done, he couldn't allow the woman he loved to be miserable for the rest of her life because he fucked things up.

But then once again Ygritte became unreachable, he should've been used to it by now, as soon as he met her Jon quickly discovered that she played by her own rules, she left home at sixteen and ever since has been on her own, she didn't plan on settling down any time soon.

Up until yesterday he had no idea his daughter was born, no one told him a thing about it. He regrets the way he reacted, he kicked Ygritte's sister out of his house and didn't even bothered to see if his baby girl was fine or not, seeing the look on Sansa's face made him become someone else, in her eyes he could see all he's done, all the pain he's caused, it was like a mirror coming back to haunt him. He didn't expect her to forgive him, honestly Jon was ready to leave but he didn't, he was selfish but when it came to her he was powerless, a better man would've done the right thing and stop her suffering but unfortunately Jon wasn't that man. Instead he begged for forgiveness, one he didn't had any right of asking, one she didn't have to give but she did nonetheless, he knew things would never be the same again, all he could hope for now was that it wasn't to late to start over, not only with Sansa but with everybody he has wronged.


 

Next morning and Jon was greeted with silence, their house didn't feel like a house anymore, normally Sansa would wake up first and start on breakfast for him and Jacob, she used to work as a business manager but after the birth of their son she decided to quit, Jon also thought it was a good idea specially with Jacob's health problems. His mornings would be filled with laughter and the voice of Sansa softly singing for their little boy, now it felt like a graveyard, not even the birds were chirping outside, probably he won't ever hear her laugher again.

He got up and went to their room to pick an outfit, Sansa was curled up in bed with Jacob in her arms, despite having her eyes closed Jon knew she wasn't asleep, he had to refrain himself from going to her, it was only going to make matters worst. She told him she needed time and his willing to wait forever if that's what she wishes.

Today was Sunday which meant he didn't work but still he drove there, he had to talk to someone otherwise he would explode, there was only one person who could help him now.

When Jon arrived at the building he worked he went straight to his office, he needed to see him. Tormund.

"What you're doing here, it's Sunday. Shouldn't you be at home with your family?" Tormund asked the moment he saw Jon.

"I fucked up big time."

Tormund was the chief of maintenance in the building Jon worked, when he first started working in is law firm that's when he met him. Everybody loved Tormund, he was a nice man but mostly he always had a word to say, no matter the situation Tormund could help you, he's been one of his biggest supporters and Jon pretty much sees him as a brother, at least that man has done a lot more than his own ever care to do.

He knows that when he tells the truth Tormund isn't going to be happy, he knew that with Sansa's siblings living away from her in Winterfell, Tormund feels almost responsible for her and treats her as a younger sister, he's protective about Sansa. He didn't came here because he needed someone to tell him everything was going to be fine, he needed guidance and Tormund wasn't going to sugarcoat anything.

Jon told him everything and as he already expected, Tormund wasn't pleased about it. He was rubbing his temples a murmuring something like you fucking idiot under is breath. If he could punch Jon he would have already done it, maybe he will.

"Where is Sansa?" Tormund asked.

"She's at home."

"Then consider yourself a lucky bastard. Sansa has always been to good for this world." Jon didn't say a word, Tormund was just stating a fact.

"I've never told you this before but I was married once. It didn't work because I was part of the military and sometimes would spend months on end away from home." Jon was surprised, he had no idea about it. "Still despite everything I never cheated on my wife, not even when I was away on duty and trust me I've had plenty of opportunities to do it. But I made a vow and I keep my word, I could've had sex with another and have a few moments of pleasure but it wasn't worth it, I wasn't going to ruin something I've built over the years just because I had certain needs." Tormund was the kind of man Jon wishes he could be.

"I was drunk."

"Don't even get me started with that bullshit! You cheated on Sansa, drunk or not it still was a choice you decided to do. Stop making excuses!" Tormund banged his hand on the table with such a force that Jon actually flinched.

But his friend was wrong on one thing.

"I know that!" Jon raised his voice. "I'm not making excuses and I didn't came here because I thought I did the right thing! I'm here because Sansa hates me, she's the love of my life and she cannot even look at me, I need my wife and my son back. I can't lose them, I rather kill myself than to face a world without them in it, please Tormund I ruined everything, tell what to do." Jon was crying freely now, just with the thought of not being with Sansa anymore.

"If you invite someone for dinner or something and that person doesn't show up, will you invite them again?" He knew what his friend was saying.

"No, I don't think so."

"Exactly. I know you love Sansa and she feels the same, but once you break someone's trust there's not much you can do to regained it back. I can assure that as we speak, Sansa is at home thinking on all the different scenarios as to why you're not there with her now, she will never act the same with you as before, she'll always have doubts lingering on her mind. The best you can do now is not to force anything, she needs time to heal and to cope with what you did to her, maybe she will never be able to but can you blame her? You brought this on yourself man." He did, he was the only villain in here. The one who couldn't face the hardships and so decided to act on impulse and get drunk.

"And about your daughter. Keep in mind that she didn't ask for any of this, if you were man enough to put her in this world now be man enough to face the consequences of that." His daughter didn't leave his mind.

The way he treated her was despicable, she was a baby, an innocent baby and Jon threw her away in the street. For as much as he wanted to fix things with Sansa, still he had to make amends for his behaviour, he promised Ygritte that he wasn't going to neglected this child and Jon wasn't going to break anymore of his promises.

"I know what you must be thinking about me right now but thank you for listening." He said to Tormund.

"You have no idea. Go home Jon, you and Sansa have a lot to talk about and there's still a little girl who's mother ran away and who's father is a fucking asshole." He couldn't argue with that.


 

When he arrived home, Sansa was in the living room playing with Jacob on his jungle playmat. Sansa had dark circles under her eyes, her face was pale and she looked devasted, he did that. Maybe leaving was the best after all, he can't see her suffer this much, there's no trace left of the Sansa he knows, the one who would kiss him out of the blue because she felt like it, the one who would tell him I love you at least twenty times a day, the one who saw the good in him, now all he could see was someone who was trying her best not to cry and faking a smile for their son. It's is fault.

If she saw him, she made no effort to acknowledge him, she kept staring at Jacob and only stopped when he got up and ran to Jon. Immediately he picked his son and gave him a kiss on the forehead, he loved this little boy so much, he was the testament of his and Sansa's love, he's all they've ever dreamed of.

"He missed you." Sansa whispered, her eyes were focused on Jacob's toys.

I've missed you, he almost said.

"I...I was with Tormund this morning. That's why I wasn't here." Finally she looked up.

"You don't have to tell me where you are everytime you leave the house." Her voice was cold and foreign to his hears, he could hear the pain.

"I do, I own you that much."

After what it felt like an eternity, she finally got up and spoke.

"I couldn't sleep last night, I spent the whole time just replaying what happened yesterday on my mind, and I came to the conclusion that I still love you and I hate myself for it." The tears rushing down her face made tore him to pieces. "You humiliated me, you reduced me to nothing, you made feel disgust at myself and I still love you! You have any idea how bad that is?" He didn't, he couldn't even imagine what she was feeling right now.

"If said I do, I would only be lying and won't do that again to you." He swore that from now on there would be no more secrets.

"I'm going to stay even if everyone tells me otherwise, but for the time being I don't want you in my bed, I don't want your kisses or your touches, I just need you to be a good father to both of your children. I've been thinking and it feel it's best if you bring Emily here. They can't provide for her." Tormund was right, she was too good.

Emily wasn't her daughter, Sansa didn't have to take care of her specially because she was another reminder of his infidelity but here she was, willing to raise somebody else's child.

Eight years ago he wasn't worthy of her and now was no different, how could she love him still?

She was giving him another opportunity, this time he wasn't going to throw it all away. He was going to spend the rest of his days proving that he loved her and that she was the only woman he wanted.

Things would go back to what they were, they had to.

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

Two weeks.

It's been two weeks ever since that dreadful day and still nothing has changed, the pain was still there, a constant companion of hers, she still felt terrible and ashamed of herself without really knowing why, Jon was the one who cheated he should be the one feeling this way, not her.

Time was passing by at a agonizing pace, each day semmed longer than the one before, she couldn't carry on with her normal life, she barely had the will to leave bed in the morning, if it wasn't for Jacob she would've given up by now.

What's the point of keep on fighting?

The gap they created between them was finally taking its toll, Sansa felt like she was falling into a very dark pit, every second she was deeper and deeper inside of it, she didn't know how to get out, Jon was no better. He barely ate anymore, he would leave to go to work and when he returned he would go to their basement and stay there, his beard was longer than has ever been, his hair which he always made sure looked presentable was now a tangled mess, he was skinnier, all that happened in a couple of weeks, she's afraid of what this will do to him on the long term. People began to notice this as well, just yesterday she got a call from Sam, Jon's co-worker and closest friend, he was worried sick about him, he said that he wasn't the same and couldn't focus on his job, most times he would just sit there and stare at nothing while the world kept turning and turning around him.

She shouldn't feel bad about it, he made his own bed to lay in, he chose this. But yet here she was crying because of him, it would've been so much easier if she could just pack up her things and go back to her family home, why would she care about his feelings when he scarcely tought about her own?

I wish I could hate you, I wish I could hurt you as you did to me.

"Please, come home."

"Is no good enough for you."

"Wake the fuck up! He's a piece of shit who doesn't deserve half of what you've done for him!"

Her family's words wouldn't leave, they were there everywhere she went, like a cloud looming above her head.

Sansa knew she couldn't keep what happened a secret, news travel fast specially this ones. She wanted to put on a brave face but as soon as she heard her mother's voice she broke down in tears, her mother was beyond herself and wanted to take the first plane going to Kings Landing to bring her home, Arya and Robb, the ones closest to Jon in her family, wanted nothing more than to kill him, they called Jon that same day, she doesn't know what they said but afterwards Jon's cries could be heard for hours, her father wasn't happy but instead of saying what was on his mind he just told her that in the end of the day it was her choice and no matter what she decided to do he was going to support her. Bran, one of her youngest siblings, was a psychologist and even though he had good intentions, Sansa didn't want him to treat her like one of his patients and that's exactly what he did, Rickon had pretty much the same reaction has everybody but as always he didn't voice that out loud, she was thankful for it. She already had so many voices in her head.

The worst was she didn't know if they were right or not. She didn't want to leave him but if she stayed here she was going to loose her mind. The silence was as loud as a battlefield and it was killing her, not having him around was affecting her more than she cared to admit. Everywhere she went she could only see his face.

"What did you stay? He cheated on you." She remembers the exact conversation she had with Margery, her best friend, a few days ago.

"I know he did, everybody keeps reminding me of that every five minutes. He had sex with someone else and got her pregnant, I know that should be enough for me to go away but...I can't let that overshadow the rest. Everytime I think about him all I can see is that boy who came to me in library with cheesy pick up lines, who gave me a shoulder to cry when I was homesick, who gave a love I never thought it could be real, he's the father of my son, he's...he's the love of my life, trust me I want to forget all about it but I can't!"

Margery had pity in her eyes, most likely she felt sorry for the excuse of a woman Sansa was.

"You've always loved him to much for your own good."

Margery had said. She had a feeling that this was going to change their friendship.

She was an embarrassment to every other woman or man that went through the same. She was cheated on and actually is terrified of losing Jon.

You're pathetic.

And there was still another child to worry about, Jacob wasn't the only one who was crying more often than before because mommy and daddy aren't as they used to be, they couldn't be in the same room as one another, Jacob was still a toddler but he must sense something is amiss. Jon and Sansa used to be inseparable.

Emily, that little girl who was a copy of Jon.  How is she? She asks that question to herself every day.

She wasn't her mother but she was a mother, she couldn't just sit and watch her suffer. For all she knows Ygritte will never return, she left her daughter at the care of others instead of taking responsibility for her, maybe she and Jon were perfect for each other after all, he never mentions his daughter not once, it's almost as if he's trying to erase her from their memory, Sansa cannot and will not allow that to happen. She probably will never love this child as she does with Jacob but she won't let her pay for her father's sins, everyone tells her to let Jon deal with it, it's is daughter after all but right now Jon can barely look out for himself, and from what Anna told Sansa her family can't give her a proper life, Jacob as the perfect one it's unfair that Emily grows up to have anything less than that.

Maybe Sansa loves Jon to much, maybe she's being selfish and only wants to raise this child because it's going to keep him at her side, probably she is but when it comes to Jon, Sansa has already crossed the point of no return, she can't let go of him.

She couldn't take this anymore.

It was late when she got out of bed, the sky outside was pitch black, not a single soul could be heard, the nights were the hardest for her, now she feels as if she's freezing, her bed is almost like a tombstone, is too big, too strange, not even having her son at her side can make her fall asleep, it's been so long she barely knows the meaning of that word. She needs his warmth, his body always felt like it was on fire, a fire she craved for, maybe Jon is as cold as her now, their basement wasn't a place to sleep, probably he's thinking the same things as her, will it be worst if she lets him into their room again?

She can fool her family, her neighbours, even her son but she can't fool herself, she needs him. It's her biggest weakness and shame.

Under the betrayal and the hurt there's still all they lived in these past eight years, only if she could turn back time. Everything could've been so different.

Quietly she made her way to the basement, Jon is still up since he doesn't sleep anymore like her. When she got there she could smell the alcohol in the air, it worried her, before he didn't even drink at parties and now it was becoming an habit, she just hopes it's not to late to fix things. She can't let him fall, if he does then it's the end for both of them.

He was sitting on the floor, a beer bottle at his hand. His back was turned against her.

"We need to talk." She said, unsure of how to proceed.

"About what?" Jon remained still, his voice was hoarse.

"I don't know. But we can't keep ignoring the elephant in the room, we can't keep brushing this under the carpet and pretend nothing happened because that's not true." Her voice was already starting to crack.

"I'm sorry."

"Stop saying that! I don't want your apologies, they're not going to change what you did to me. I want you to react, I want to fix things, to fix our marriage but I need your help! I want us to go to back to what we were but I can't do it alone." That made Jon got up and go to her, this time she didn't move but he didn't got very close either.

"What can I do?" He was truly a mess.

"Why? I want to hear the truth no matter how painful that might be." She was ready, what was another blow anyway?

"I was stupid and a coward, I know that's not an answer but it's all I can give you right now. Seeing you so defeated and being unable to do a thing while our son was in the hospital fighting for his life made me feel like a failure, I promised to keep you both safe and I couldn't." Sansa had to fight the urge to hug him. "Instead of trying harder, I...I threw the towel, you needed my support and all I could do was get drunk to numb my pain, to have some peace. I don't expect your forgiveness , I've done nothing to deserve it." No you didn't, Sansa said to herself.

But I forgive you. She didn't know better.

"Do you love her? I never got my answer to that question." Maybe it was for the best.

"Of course not and I promise that Ygritte doesn't love me either, I was piss poor drunk and she was probably the same. By the time any of us realized what was happening it was too late. I never..."

"Why didn't you told me? Why did you let me find out in the worst way possible? Anna told me you wanted a divorce, was she lying?" Please let it be a lie. She knew it wasn't, a part of her just wished it could be.

"No she wasn't, I wanted a divorce because I couldn't stand the thought of hurting you, it wa-"

"So you thought that leaving me was actually going to help?!" She was mad, more with the prospect of him going away than anything else.

"Growing up I saw what my birth did to Elia, it destroyed hers and my father's marriage even to this day they can't let it go. They're both miserable, you don't have to be the same, I don't want you to wake up everyday wishing it was your last, you don't deserve to wear a mask to disguise what you're going trough. So yes, that's why I thought about leaving, I still do. I love you and if that means being away just say the word and I'll go." Sansa would never say it, if she did he was going to disappear.

"I understand you're trying to do what you feel it's best for me but you don't know how." You're the best for me. "Up until I saw that girl and your baby, I was happy and now that's gone but I don't want it to be, I love you more that you'll ever know, I really shouldn't but these things aren't really up to us, right?" She gave him a small smile, his eyes lit up for the first time since that day.

He only nodded.

"We still have a long road ahead of us but we don't have to travel alone in it, I'll be by your side every step of the way. We need help, professional help since it's clear that we don't know how to do it on our own but I want try not only for us but for our family." She didn't want to talk with a stranger about her wedding but it was the only solution she could find.

"I promise I'll be there, always." She craved his touch so much.

"Tomorrow, I want to visit Emily." Jon froze in is spot.

"I can't...it's not your job to care."

"No it's not, but you grew up without any love and affection and that left a damage beyond repair, do you honestly wish the same upon your daughter?" His childhood or lack of it made Jon feel like he was worthless, when she met him he didn't love himself, he barely knew what was.

"Of course not, but it's not fair you have to see what I did every single day."

"Don't talk about your daughter as if she was nothing more than an object, it's true that it's going to be hard to accept but I can't spend the rest of my life knowing I put my needs in front the ones of an innocent child who's all alone." With time she could learn to love that baby, she was Jon's daughter and Sansa loved him, maybe it wasn't going to be hard.

Jon didn't talk, he just took a few steps and hugged her, she missed this so much. His body fit hers perfectly, they were made for each other, suddenly she wasn't tired, the pain wasn't as prominent and she found herself smiling at him, they were going to work this out for the sake of their happiness and their life. Jon didn't linger though, it was still much to soon to be become intimate again and even kissing didn't feel right at the moment, Sansa was more than content with his embrace, it was going to take a while to go back to normal.

"Don't become a stranger." Jon pleaded, he sounded desperate.

"Can...If you want you can go back to our room, you don't have to sleep in the couch." His eyes were going to be her downfall if they weren't already.

They returned to their room together, Jon slept with her, Jacob was in the middle of them so they weren't close but just have him there was enough to make her fall asleep. It felt good.


 

Next morning as agreed they drove to Emily's, neither one of them said a word. Jon's hands were shaking and Sansa was terrified of what to expect, but it had to he done.

"Thank you." Jon said for the hundredth time already that day.

The moment they got there she knew she made the right decision, they lived in a trailer park and Sansa could see this wasn't a safe environment for a child, there were all kinds of people there and most didn't look nice, all of them were eyeing her from head to toe, it made her uncomfortable naked.

As they approached the trailer several cries could be heard, they didn't sound good.

"Make her stop! We're trying to sleep in here!" A man was screaming inside, Jon's fists were clenched and his nostrils were flaring.

After knocking on the door, they waited a few minutes for someone to show up, all the while Emily kept crying. Sansa was tempted to ask Jon to break down that door.

"Jon?" A very flustered Anna showed up, Emily who was in her arms had her face red and she was giving her aunt a very difficult time. Anna was bouncing her up and down but to no effect.

"Come in, it's freezing outside." The trailer was small, the kitchen sink was overflowing with dishes, the floor was dirty, there were at least two dogs living with them, there were boxes and clothes everywhere she looked, this wasn't a place for a child, honestly no one should be here. It was an health hazard.

"Who are you?" This man must be Emily's grandfather, he was shirtless and he didn't look like a good man in any way possible. He appeared to be drunk.

"Dad...this is Jon he's Emily's father and this is Sansa, his wife."

"So you the fucker that knocked up my girl and left her to fend for herself? I should kill you right now." Things could turn sour really fast.

On instinct, Sansa grabbed Jon's hand. Losing his temper now was the last thing they needed.

"Calm the fuck down! Ygritte is not a saint!" Anna shouted back, it seemed to do the trick.

"I'm here to take my daughter home." Jon said, he was holding her hand so tight that it was starting to hurt when he noticed he immediately stopped and apologized.

"She ain't going nowhere. You think you can show up here in your fancy car and with a pretty wife at your side and all the sudden you own the place?Piss off to where you came from!" He was being extremely hostile. Even Sansa was getting angry at this point, couldn't this man see they were there to help?

"Norbert, let her go!" A woman came from the back, her hair was auburn but with several gray hairs, she looked friendly. "We both know Ygritte isn't coming home, you made sure of that years ago. He's the father, Emily should live with him. God knows this isn't a place for her, or do you want her to run away to?" Jon and Anna shared a look, they knew something she didn't.

"It's not my intention to keep her from you, I want to go to court and deal with all the paperwork. She's your grandaughter, you can see her anytime you like." After a few minutes pondering he finally gave in.

"Do whatever you must." Just like that he walked out of the door.

Sansa took Emily from Anna's arms, her diaper was heavy and the poor thing was so starved she was beginning to suck her own fingers. She looked up and smiled for Sansa, she had her father's smile, Sansa had to smile back. It wasn't going to be as much of a challenge as she thought.

I can love this child.

Saying goodbye wasn't easy, both Anna and her mother cried but they were happy she was going somewhere far better than this. Jon assured them they could still be a part of her life and they thanked him for it.


 

There was much work to be done but for the time being Emily was going to be sleeping in Jacob's room. Jon confessed that their finances weren't ideal but they were going to manage somehow, he even told her he was going to work extra hours.

She hoped dearly that she wasn't going to regret doing this, one thing is to forgive him another is to take in his daughter to live alongside their son. Jacob's disability could sometimes be time consuming and she didn't want her son to feel left out because there was another baby around, also the fear of Ygritte coming back was crippling.

"A simple action can dictate the course of everything. A choice can complety change someone's life in a matter of seconds for better or for worst but nonetheless they are yours to make." I know dad.

Her father had told her that the day he found out.

Let this be the right choice.

Chapter Text

Ygritte

"Sorry?"

"I asked where to, Miss."

"Just drive, I'll tell you when to stop." If only she knew when to stop.

Anywhere was better than this shithole she's called home for the past ten years, it's not the bravest choice but it's the only one she can make right now. It's best for her, for her daughter and for Jon.

Goodbye little one, you'll thank me someday. Ygritte thought as the taxi left that damned trailer park.


 

Four weeks later and she found herself somewhere far away from Kings Landing, The Frostfangs up in the North where she was born, she preferred this place far better than the South, it had treated her better than the latter that much was true. After leaving Kings Landing Ygritte never looked back again, it was pointless, that place never brought her any joy, only pain and sorrow.

Everyday she wonders how Emily is, she named her after her grandmother, despite what everybody must be thinking right now, Ygritte does love her daughter more than anything, it's why she's doing this in the first place.

She didn't take a long time to settle down in here, though she knew it wasn't going to last, Ygritte didn't like to stay in one place for far to long, she wasn't raised like that. Despite giving birth less than a month ago and still feeling like crap and with things oozing out of her she was already working in a bar, she always picked bars, everyone has a story to tell and she's always eager to hear it. She didn't told her boss about the pregnancy and he didn't seem to notice she had given birth shortly so he hired her right away on the spot, she's renting out an apartment whom she shares with three more people, Mance, Val and another one she can't remember the name now, all of them are nice even if they look a little bit fucked in the head at times, she's too so it's not that hard to get used to it.

But now as another night settles she can't sleep, all she can do is think about her life and how shity it turned out to be, and to think that once not very long ago she wanted to conquer the world, but somethings are beyond our reach and her faith was one of those.

Now her father might look like a half decent man but the bastard wasn't always like that, growing up she can't recall ever seeing him sober, he would spend his days working at the mines and his nights at the local pub getting shitfaced, there were times where she actually had to go get him because he couldn't walk or had passed out, her mother would dragged him inside and carry him to the bathroom because he had pissed himself or done something else equally disgusting. He was never violent, he was just pathetic and a lawsy father, she lost count the amount of times he forgot to pick her up at school or how he would even forget her name and would call her Irene or Brigitte, because of his drinking he couldn't keep a job, the first one was on the mines but that lasted two year or maybe less, they never owned a house or a car, they lived in trailers never knowing where they were going to stop or what they were going to do to survive, her mother wasn't really any good either, she did what she could but wasn't enough and the woman had knack to get pregnant at the worst occasions. Ygritte had five younger siblings, all of them had only a year difference between each other or something like that.

Sharing a trailer fit for three people with seven other people instead proved to be a feat on his own, the babies would sleep with her parents until they were old enough to join her in her room, if you could call that a room. She hated it, she was growing up and going trough all of these changes in her body and mind yet she had to be cramped up with five other brats who lived to get on her nerves, worst of all was the constant moving, Ygritte didn't even had a chance to make friends since her family never stayed for that long, the road was her only friend.

The moment she turned sixteen, Ygritte packed her bags and left. She stayed in Kings Landing but never set foot on that dump she called home.

It was far from perfect, there were times where she slept on the street and actually begged for money so she could eat but she was a smart kind and an excellent liar, the only perk of having an alcoholic father is that she was forced to lie a lot to safe his ass including calling his boss saying she was very sick and papa couldn't come to work because he was taking her to see the doctor, while really papa was passed out on the couch. She managed to trick people in believing she was eighteen in order to get a job, after her first paycheck things slowly started to look better, Ygritte would never be a rich woman not even close to whatever comes before that but she was free, that's all she's ever wanted. She didn't want people to tell her what to do, where to go, she didn't want to share a room, none of it. Living on her own was challenging but she loved the thrill and the unknown, probably a little to much.

A year and a half ago she started working in this bar, it wasn't fancy or anything but certainly was cleaner and calmer than the ones she worked in before. The clientele consisted on businessmen since it was located downtown, that's when she met him, Jon Snow. He was a lawyer and was about her age, God that man was handsome and despite his suits and tied hair he had a bad boy vibe to him, Ygritte felt an attraction for him almost instantly, that was until she saw the ring on his finger and that all died down. She might have a lot of flaws but dating married men wasn't one of them, she knew what that did, she had seen it up close throughout the years families being split because of it. Still that didn't prevent her from talking to him and with time they actually became friends, occasionally she would flirt or throw an implying joke here and there but she did it because it was hilarious to see his reaction, it was clear that he loved his wife dearly and that they were the kind of family she wished hers could be, instead all of her siblings followed her example and Anna was the only who stayed behind taking the wheel.

One night Jon showed up at the bar a complete wreck, his eyes were swollen and his cheeks soaked, he didn't told her what happened, just kept a bottle to himself. She finished her shift early that night and so decided to stay, no one should drown their sorrows alone, that was a bad idea. Before she could even comprehended what had happened, Jon was shouting and Ygritte was naked under the sheets without any clue on how she got there, Jon didn't know either.

She felt terrible about it, she didn't know Jon's wife but from what she heard about her the poor woman didn't deserve it, nor did the baby she and Jon shared. Ygritte quit her job the next day, she couldn't be responsible for destroying someone's marriage, Jon wasn't going to tell his wife about it that much he said, she was grateful for it. What she wasn't expecting was to find out she was pregnant, she was going to do an abortion, not only because she and Jon weren't a couple but also because she didn't want to be a mother, she could barely take care of herself properly, unfortunately it was to late to do it and so she had to keep the baby. She didn't believe in adoption either, it was like a russian roulette, the baby could go to a perfect family but also could go to a crappy one and she didn't want her child to be part of the system, there were already so many kids suffering because of it. So she did the only thing she could and even though she hated it, Ygritte went back home.

Her mother was beyond happy with the news, she always wanted grandchildren, her father at first was against it but after having an heart attack that quit the booze he was a much more reasonable man and with time accepted her back home, Anna just gave her a lecture but was also happy she was with them again.

Telling Jon about it wasn't easy but he couldn't be kept in the dark about it, he freaked out of course and Ygritte to make matters worst kissed him even though she didn't feel a thing for him, it was the bloody hormones. He offered to help her in everything, he was a good man and that proved it. She didn't know if he told his wife or not but he said he was getting a divorce so maybe she found out, Ygritte didn't ask any questions.

She was just helping her mother with lunch when her water broke in the middle of the kitchen floor and after five hours enduring the worst pain she's ever felt and almost punching a few nurses on the face, finally Ygritte held her daughter in her arms, she realised why her mother kept having children, to know that this little being was hers and no one else's was something inexplicable but also terrifying. Ygritte never wanted children, she had no idea how to raise a child especially in her conditions. Maybe she was selfish and a coward but she left, her daughter was good and pure, all she wasn't. She couldn't risk giving her the same life she had growing up, her daughter was destined to achieve great things and with Ygritte as her mother she would never be able to do it but Jon could, he promised he was going to help and if someone could actually give this baby a chance on a good life that someone was him and not her. It broke her heart to leave Emily behind but it had to be done, she already fucked so many things in her life, she wasn't going to do that with her daughter's one.

It's unfair to leave Jon to carry all the responsibility, after all they both made this child together and even though it wasn't planned still it was on both of them but Ygritte wasn't capable of that, she was to scared. Maybe one day she'll tell Emily why she did what she did, maybe one day her daughter will forgive her or not, these are all questions she's not ready to ask just yet.

She told Anna what to do, her sister is the youngest with only seventeen but she has more balls and common sense than Ygritte ever will, she'll know what to do. She always knows. She just hopes it's the right choice.

"Can I join you?" Mance asked when he arrived at the balcony. He was an odd fellow and very spiritual or something but she enjoyed his company far better than the others who lived with them.

She was just finishing her beer and smoking her cigarette, her nightly ritual, when Mance sat down next to her. He handed her a beer and lit up a cigarette.

"One day I'll find out what keeps you awake every night." He said looking at the sky, Ygritte never slept much. It was an habit by now.

"My mistakes, plenty of them." So many to count.

"Who?"

"What are you talking about?" She wasn't in the mood for one of his riddles.

"In my experience people who come here are either hiding something or running from someone. And I can tell you have nothing to hide, someone who's trying to keep secrets doesn't come to live with us, so who is he?" Clever old cunt, she said to herself but Mance probably could read her mind because he laughed.

"I'm just doing what's right."

"For you or for him?" She wasn't enjoying his company anymore.

"They, my daughter and the man I left her with. A man I barely know. I...I can't be a mother, no child deserves such faith so I left her with her father hoping she can be happy." That's all she wants.

"And you're second doubting it?" Ygritte only nodded. "No one knows the future or God's plans but one thing is certain, it's not up to us to question it. If you left it was because you never belonged there in the first place, you and me are looked upon as irresponsibles who only care for ourselves when the truth is very different. I left my home to when I was already a grown man with a good job on the police and a wife and kids, but one day something changed and I couldn't stand to be there another second, I was suffocating."

"What did you do?" Ygritte was genuinely curious.

"I packed my things, bought a truck and drove until I stopped somewhere, haven't been stoping much lately. Maybe I'll leave soon again. But the thing is, my wife remarried and she's more happy than she's ever been with me, me kids are married and have kids too, they are doing things that couldn't be possible if the bitter and cold man I was lived with them still. It may seem like you did the wrong thing but sometimes that's when you know you're on the right track, if nothing is happening how can you expect to change?" She didn't know how to answer that question.

"Take this time to turn your life around and one day it will be worth it, how can you expect to be a good mother when you don't even believe in yourself? Learn from your mistakes and turn them into your biggest lessons. One day you'll return to where you came from and when that time comes the Ygritte that's sitting right here at my side will be dead and someone better takes her place." She didn't mean it but she found herself crying.

She wanted all of that but she didn't know how or where to begin. But Mance was right she couldn't remain the same, there were still many nights to come and with each one she was going to become someone else. She was turning the page.

No, she was writing an all new book and when the time comes she'll see Emily again. It's all she's sure about.

 

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

2 months.

Another day, another lie, she thought. It was almost like a ritual by now, wake up most times alone, go to the kids room and change them onto some new and clean diapers, go to the kitchen to prepare their breakfast, play with them for a while, cook lunch and dinner, clean the house while they are napping and then wait for her husband to come home for dinner. All a lie, people still think they're happy, that they adopted a beautiful baby girl whose parents left, that their marriage is solid as a rock and that they should be envied by all they've accomplished at such a young age already, but Sansa knows better. She knows the truth.

Her relationship with Jon is slowly improving specially since they've started couples therapy a few weeks back. They sleep in the same bed but might as well be siblings since they barely touch, they can sit together and talk but not like they did, now they only speak about the kids, the bills that are finally being payed, and mundane stuff like the weather and his work, just small talk to avoid the silence that only hurts them, there's no more words of love and affection and shared laughs, it's gone maybe for good. She knows these things take time to heal, their therapist said so but it's too long for her and what is harder is the doubt, she doesn't know how to live without it now, everytime Jon leaves she fears for herself and their fragile relationship, everytime she calls him and he doesn't answer her heart starts pounding and she can't breath even though he promised to be faithful.

How can I trust you after everything that happened?

There's always a suspicion that his words might not be real or his gestures are just all part of some wicked game, a game design to keep her around. He would bring flowers everyday to her after he came from work and he still does it, Sansa used to love it but now it just doesn't feel the same. Jon is not gifting her with flowers because he saw them and thought about her, no he's doing it because he's sorry and trying to repent. She hates this, now everything he does he's because he wants to please her, to make her forget, she doesn't now the difference between a love gesture and an apology and that's what he's eating her up, the unknown.

When will this be over?

Right now she can't think of it, not with everything that's been going on lately. She needs a distraction, that's a good thing for her but she never imagined one like the one she got not long ago. Jacob will never be able to hear, the doctors made that very clear and all they can do know is try and give him the best life quality possible, starting with a cochlear implant, just the thought of her little boy going trough all of that at such a young age terrifies her but the doctors say that if he does it now then it'll be easier for him to develop speech and language skills, so Sansa said yes and now they're just making tests and all of that to make sure Jacob gets his surgery in the next two or three months. The day she got the news she cried for hours alone in her room, Jon was working and when he returned she put on her brave face, he was probably the only person that could console her in that moment but she didn't want to succumb, knowing if she did she was going to fall in bed with him and that couldn't happen, not when the wound was still open and someone else's scent still lingered on him.

That too disappeared, that earthy and musky aroma that brought her back to sweeter days in Winterfell as a child, running around in the woods looking for treasures, the smell of rain on a summer day, the smell that could warm her body and make her forget. He used to smell like home, not anymore, now all there exists is a foreign one, she doesn't recognize it but it doesn't belong to him or her, it belongs to Ygritte. Sansa knows because she can smell it on Emily as well.

She wants to move on, forgive and forget that's what they say right?

She can forgive, she already did but the memories of what they were and what they could've been if only he hadn't done that won't leave her. She's not miserable but she isn't happy either and Jon isn't helping, whenever they go to therapy he keeps saying the same thing over and over again, it was a mistake and he regrets it, Sansa might even believe his words, the logic part of her does anyway but her heart tells a different story. She always followed her heart but know she's ignoring it, this isn't all about her, she has to more people to think about. Jacob and Emily.

She thought it would be harder to have her around, after all she's the living proof of Jon's infidelity but it wasn't. She has so many things that remind her of her own son, like the way she has dimples in her smile, or how she hates bath time and no matter what won't sleep if her feet aren't covered. She's also a very quiet child, she gets that from Jon, she sleeps trough the night and barely cries during the day as if a part of her knows and is afraid of upsetting Sansa. She never knew Ygritte, one day she would like to, so she doesn't have much to compare but there are times that maybe Emily acts like her or like Anna, her aunt. She's become a good friend of hers, she never speaks about her sister and Sansa is grateful for that, she's Emily's family so she's always welcomed in her home but it's evident she feels some guilt still and only visits when Sansa asks for it.

Jon is also making an effort on raising her, he loves her but there are moments where she can see he's not putting his whole heart in it, sometimes he comes home and hugs Jacob and plays with him and only goes to Emily when she looks at him. He confided in therapy that he is afraid that seeing him with Emily might hurt Sansa's feelings, he's not entirely wrong since that girl is also a part of the other, a part that she doesn't know Jon clings to or not but she learnt to put those feelings aside or at least disguise them better.

Right now only time will tell, she loves him that's not even questionable but the fact she can't trust him is making things impossible to move on, maybe they're bound to remain like this forever, two friends that shouldn't know this much about each other.

Arya: Calm down, I've been talking to her for a while now. She'll be fine.

Sansa almost forgot, she didn't, not really, she was just trying to delay the inevitable. Today her mother was visiting, she probably is on the plane already and in less than six hours will be here at her door alongside Arya. She comes with the pretense that she wants to accompany Jacob to one of his appointments, she loves him and he's her only grandson but she's truly here to take her back, Bran told her himself. Her mother can't accept the fact that Sansa wants to stay, that even though it's painful and exhaustive she wants to try it again and achieve some measure of normality, or something close to what she and Jon used to have, some in her family have already understood that, including Arya who was coming to prevent things from escalating, she was still mad at Jon and knowing her she would be for a long time but she supported Sansa, after all it wasn't really her choice and no matter what she said Sansa wasn't going to bugde and Arya knew that. Her father as been on her side since day one, Bran and Rickon don't really talk about it anymore, Robb and mother are the ones who won't stop.

Sansa loves her mother more than anything, she's always been a bit of a mama's girl, she always saw a friend and a counselor in her, but Catelyn Stark is protective and fierce when he comes to her children and Jon cross every boundary possible and imaginable, she would never forgive him for it. Sansa wasn't even sure if she was on good terms with her as well, when she told her mother about Emily she almost fainted on the phone and ever since that there's been a wall between. She's losing people already, Maergery included, she can't lose her mother too. Just knowing she didn't have a best friend anymore was to difficult to bear.

She brushes those feelings aside otherwise she will just cry and ruin her mood which is already bad as it is. For now she has two babies to take care of. Life still as to go on and no one needs to suffer for her weakness.

"Good morning, my little ones. Let's get you some breakfast." Sansa cooed to both of the now barely awake toddlers.

She picked Jacob first and with some difficulty because he hated it, Sansa placed his hearing aid behind his hear and very carefully not to hurt him she pushed the earpiece into his ear canal, he cried the whole time. His been wearing it for almost an year now but it never gets easier, she's actually considering calling off the surgery because it will only cause him pain and she prefers to be tortured than to have him feel any of it. She can't and it's awful but this is for the best, she doesn't want her son to miss out on any opportunity that might help him to have a normal and full life.

She wants the both for them, her two children, Emily is not hers biologically but she's the only mother she knows and probably will ever know, no one still knows about her real one and honestly they seem to not care about her whereabouts.

After putting Jacob in his highchair and with a plastic bowl of porridge in front of him, she would have to feed him since he was only going to make a mess by himself, but first Sansa went to pick Emily from her crib. She was getting bigger and heavier everyday, the first time they took her to the pediatrician she was underweight and her body was missing proteins but now she's eating as it's supposed to and Sansa is seeing signs already.

"Come on Emily, let's go to the kitchen before your brother decides to paint the walls." She said picking her up and carrying her to the kitchen, Emily laughed. She always referred Jacob as her brother, it was true and Sansa wasn't going to hide that.

Her son thankfully was adapting well and actually got along with Emily just fine. He didn't realize she was his sister or maybe he did, Sansa couldn't tell but what was important was that he wasn't feeling left out.

Jon: Good morning, how are things going around the house?

No I love you, or even an xo. Nothing.

Sansa: Good, I'm just feeding the kids.

Jon: Okay, be home around six.

She didn't reply anymore, they didn't used to text. He would always call to hear her voice but she was the one who spent days on end ignoring all of his calls. He was hurt and that hurt her.

"Thank God I haven't changed you yet." Jacob was covered in porridge and she only was away for two minutes.

She cleaned him up and feed him and once she was done it was Emily's turn. It was tiring but she loved being a mother, it gave her a purpose and a sense of accomplishment but once they're older she's planning on starting to work again, Jon's paycheck is good but it won't be enough and they have to start thinking on the long run, there are colleges funds to be created and everything that comes along with raising two children. She just hopes they can make it with enough to live a decent life, she doesn't care about luxury or living in a big suburban house as the one she lives now, she was much happier back in their small one bedroom apartment, she should've stayed there and maybe things could've been so much different or maybe it was bound to happen anyway.

Maybe it was written all along and faith had just been waiting for the right moment to strike her.


 

She was just finishing dinner when he came back, she could hear him playing with Jacob in the living room, and much to her surprise when she arrived there she saw him with Emily in his arms bouncing her up and down but carefully, while Jacob ran around on his baby walker making Jon chase him. He was right, seeing him with Emily in his arms was upsetting, something was squeezing her heart and she felt that already familiar burning sensation in her eyes, it shouldn't have this effect on her but she can't help it, she's the one who is here, the one Jon lives with but now as he's holding that precious little girl all Sansa can think of is her mother, Ygritte. She has to stop feeling like this, tomorrow she's going to therapy alone, she can't be feeling jealousy of a ghost, one that's very real but is not around to torment her. Ygritte is not the one who's doing this, not even Jon, it's her, Sansa's the one who's betraying her own mind with toughts that don't belong there.

"Hi." Jon said when he saw her, he was smiling because of his children but it made her heart skip a beat all the same.

You used to smile for me all the time.

It's partly her fault, Jon wants to come close, he wants her, she can feel it whenever he looks at her, Sansa is the one who built a fortress around herself and doesn't let him in for the world.

I can't get hurt again, I love you and I'm sorry but I'm not strong enough.

She wasn't, she couldn't risk opening her heart just to have it broken again, she's still recovering from that first stab, she can't allow herself to that once more. If Jon truly keeps his words and she can see that it's safe to trust him, only then she'll give herself, all of herself. It's been two months and he's been patient and has shown signs of improvement but there's always a what if.

"Hi. My mom is coming today." Jon flinched, he wasn't prepared to see Catelyn Stark. Neither was Sansa.

"I know, you told me last week." He's been listening but that doesn't mean she'll given an award for it.

"Try not to fight with her. I'm tired of bickering."

"I won't but you already know she won't be quiet." Jon murmured, he didn't like confrontations because most times he couldn't keep his mouth shut.

But now he can't defend himself not when he admitted what he did, yet he probably won't hold back and let her mother walk all over him. He didn't allow that from anyone, even when they were just friends with benefits Jon couldn't stand seeing someone next to her, most times she would end the night in his room cleaning up his wounds or mending his ripped t-shirts. He was a bit of an hot head back then but that was just a front he led others to believe, under that bad boy who smoked in places he wasn't allowed, had a cool car and a pocket knife and made girls faint just by looking at them, Jon Snow was a lost boy with an heart of gold and a tragic past, she fell for him because he showed her his real self, the one who just wanted love and affection and someone to accept him because as a child all he knew was rejection, pity and anger. Sansa did that, she loved him, and in return he gave her the independence and the guidance to discover herself. She misses that Jon.

Emily's cries snapped her back to reality.

"I think she needs a diaper change." Jon said scrunching his nose and putting her on her playpen. Sansa had to laugh despite the circumstances.

"I don't think you've ever changed a diaper in your life." Jon helped with everything but that part was almost like a phobia to him.

"I did once in the hospital."

"Oh yes, if I recall the nurse forced you to it."  Sansa said dryly.

"You win, I'll do it this time." He threw his hands up in defeat and picked Emily up again.

This interaction was the most human one they've had in a while, it wasn't forced and it didn't happen because they ask for it, it was natural and genuine, when she laughed she laughed truly and he did the same and in that minute or less she felt happier than she's been for two months. It gave her strength to know they were on the right track, a conversation and a few jokes weren't going to solve their problems but it meant that they weren't beyond repair.

"Sansa?"

"Yes?"

"How do you do this?" He asked sheepishly, if it was to make her laugh he was successful.

"It's not been that long, Jon. How could you forget?"

"I wasn't even paying attention in the first place, I just kept nodding my head." He said in all innocence.

"Of course, that's why I not-"

*Ding*

All playfulness was replaced by tension, there was only one person, or better two people who could be coming now. As Sansa opened the door her guess was right, outside it was no other than Catelyn Stark and Arya Stark themselves, her sister looked more mature somehow, that was hard for her to picture since Arya was the wild one against settling down and yet she appears to be different from what Sansa is accustomed to see, Arya looks good, her mother however hasn't changed one bit, it still like looking at a mirror.

"Sansa! Oh, I've missed you so much!" Her mother said while hugging her tightly, Sansa returned the gesture.

After her mother let go of her it was Arya's turn.

"Stop shaking sis, Dad gave her one of his famous talks." Her sister whispered in her ear. She knew which ones Arya was talking about.

Her father most likely spent an hour talking to their mother about the value of family and how they should stick together, she loved them. Her father was wise and made her feel safe and like her decisions were always the right ones.

Arya and their mom entered and made their way to the living room, Sansa quickly followed them, she couldn't let Jon alone that was just an invite for a fight. But Jon wasn't there neither were the children, he must have gone to their room.

"How are things going with you?" Is he treating you well? That's what she wanted to ask.

"They're good, it's exhausting sometimes but all I know I learned from you so I think I'll figure it out sooner or later." Sansa tried to relieve some of the tension, unfortunately it was in vain.

"Where is he?" Her mother wasn't referring to Jacob that much was clear.

Sansa didn't want to lie, she never did that to her mother but if Jon shows up a fight is bound to happen. She absolutely dreads the idea of picking sides, Jon is her husband and the man she loves but her mother, is one of her best friends and biggest rock or used to be anyway.

"Mom, it's been a long day why don't we all get some rest?" Arya step up, thank God for it.

"Is he not brave enough to show is face?" Her mother's voice was cold and her eyes even more.

"The kids are a little restless this, Jon his calming them down."

"I'm here." As if he could hear what they were saying, Jon appeared in the middle of the living room.

Arya remained where she was, things weren't good yet and Sansa understood that, luckily her sister didn't to anything rash. Her mother did.

Catelyn Stark slapped Jon so hard that the sound echoed around the house, Sansa jumped to the middle of them. Arya followed her as well and took hold of their mother's arm to prevent her from harming Jon even more, he stood there like a rock the slap didn't seem to affect him. Not physically at least but Sansa could see that he had hurted him emotionally, her mother always cared for him going as far as to acknowledge him as a son.

"How dare you stand here after what you've done!" Jon's eyes were focused on the floor. "My daughter might've forgiven you but I haven't or will anytime soon, so as long as I'm visiting whenever I come here I don't want to look at your face. Is that clear?!" Sansa realised there was no point in asking for her mother to stay the night as it was her custom, she would probably go to some inn. She didn't want that, she wanted her family with her.

"If that's what you wish then I'll leave, goodnight Sansa." Jon was already heading towards the door, she had to fight the urge of stopping him. If she did that would only cause more problems.

"And take that bastard with you!" Sansa couldn't believe her own hears neither did Arya by the look on her face. Her mother was always kind and understanding, she would never say something like that about a child.

Was it her anger? Her grief? That was making her act this way.

Jon was visibly distressed, Sansa was too.

"Mom! I understand what you feel towards Jon and I accept it but I won't allow you to mistreat Emily otherwise you can just go back home." Immediately she regretted her words, she just threaten her own mother in the worst way she could, she was pretty much kicking her out of the house.

"Why?! She's the sole reason your marriage ended up like this." The anger in her eyes was replaced by pain, a pain Sansa caused. But she wasn't going to let Emily suffer, never.

"She's not! Jon is, he cheated on me and this child is a victim of the consequences. She's not to blame for anything, she doesn't have no one else. Can't you see that." Sansa pleaded hoping she could make her mother see reason.

"He's made you blind, he doesn't love you he just doesn't want to you to leave him here alone to rot. He's using you to fix is mess, I've raised better than this. How can you defend them?"

"I'm-"

"So the next time he falls in bed with another will you forgive him again?" Her mother asked.

"I..." Sansa wasn't ready to answer that question, she didn't know if she had to. Jon promised he wasn't going to hurt her again but once he promised so much and kept so little. She doesn't know anymore. She can't be certain but right now she doesn't want to voice these toughts.

"I see, Arya let's go. I'll be there for Jacobs's appointment as I said I would but I won't step foot in here again." Her mother picked up her luggage and walked out of the door without hugging her, Arya gave her a kiss on the cheek and promised to talk to her. It was pointless, her mother wasn't going to hear.

Sansa stood there watching everything unfold around her, she couldn't act her body wasn't cooperating.

"Sansa..." Jon grabbed her hand and Sansa let got.

I can't right now

"Don't...I need to be alone. Dinner is in the oven, make sure the kids go to bed in time."


 

That night Jon didn't sleep with her. Sansa didn't know what to do, if keeping Jon with her meant losing her family then Sansa wasn't sure she was able to deal with that. She didn't want to chose between any of them, it was impossible but she had to do something.

What?

Chapter Text

Jon Snow

Emails, phonecalls, talking to clients, dealing with Thorne and his always cheerfull mood, reading papers he already knew by heart, signing agreements, seeing judges and it was still only two in the afternoon. Jon couldn't be here in his office not when his life was crumbling once more, he and Sansa slowly but steadily were making progress, they started therapy, everyday she was more comfortable around him, she was smiling again, he was sleeping in their bed, Ygritte no longer existed in their lifes, Emily living with them actually was a blessing in disguise, Sansa was happy or was until a week ago, until Catelyn Stark showed up and pulled the rug on him, on them.

Now they are back to square one, Sansa only leaves the house to go to the hospital with Jacob, and whenever she's at home her mind is somewhere else, Jon has tried so hard to help her, to make her open up to him but it's all for nothing, she doesn't listen, she refuses to speak to him or anyone. He and Arya aren't on speaking terms, her choice, but they've put their differences aside for Sansa, Arya has visited everyday to talk to her sister, she hasn't been able to do it yet, his wife doesn't want to. She doesn't eat as well, he fears for her health, this stress is too much for her to handle, he's afraid something will happen to her and he won't be able to avoid it.

He always cared for his mother in law but now just the mention of her name his enough to make his blood boil, what she's doing his not fair, she can disrespect him as much as she likes, he's prepared for it, but calling Emily a bastard and emotionally blackmail Sansa, Jon won't have any of it. The day she visited their house he had to bite his own tongue, literally, in order to prevent himself from screaming at her. She was playing with Sansa's feelings, she knew what her daughter feared the most and was using that to her advantage, Sansa was close to her family, Jon still remembers the nights she cried herself too sleep on his shoulder because she missed her family, the Starks were amazing and growing up Sansa had the perfect childhood with everything a child can dream of, when they were younger every little thing she did was with the intention to please her parents, specially her mother who despite being loving and caring could sometimes be a little demanding. Sansa didn't do stuff for herself, she did it for others, she was a people pleaser but Jon thought that was long gone, he made sure of that when he first realised it, he showed Sansa that she could make her own decisions and be happy about herself without the fear of disappointing people, that if they truly cared for her then they would accept her no matter what. Apparently having her mother making an ultimatum to her was enough to bring that back.

He can't keep her prisoner, if she really chooses to go then Jon can just wish her luck and hope that whoever comes after him does a better job, knows how to treat Sansa the away she deserves. If leaving his going to make her happy, if Winterfell and the Starks can give her what be couldn't, then Jon will pack her bags himself. But he doesn't have a fucking clue, Sansa doesn't let him know what she wants, they should be communicating and being honest even if that honesty could hurt the significant other.

But right now he can't do any of this since he's stuck in this God forsaken job, Jon hates it here, his family more exactly his father aren't well seen in Kings Landing, that's why they moved to Dorne years ago, he's grandfather was part of a scheme that made a lot of people lose money and almost ruined what was left of the family name. He was tired of hearing things behind his back and now to add to the list, somehow people found out about him and Ygritte, everyday he feels like a criminal. He can't wait to leave this for good and start a knew job. There was a man called Stannis Baratheon who had also a very successful law firm and offered Jon a position there, he was going to make triple the money and hopefully that would stop being a problem for him and Sansa.

"I'm done for the day, go home and I'll finish for you." Of course Sam was done, the man was a machine and Jon's best friend.

They met on the first day of work and got along almost instantly. Sam is actually  Jacob's godfather.

"I can't, Gilly is waiting for you." And their little boy Sam as well. His friend had it all perfect, but unlike Jon he wasn't a screw up so that was probably why.

"She was the one who told me to stay. She talked to Sansa yesterday and she's worried about her." To know that his wife confided in Gilly and kept him in the dark hurted.

He felt betrayed but that wasn't fair, since he was the one who started this whole mess. If only he hadn't been such a coward things would've been so different.

"Me too but she doesn't want to see me and I can't make her." He said, he was tired of this. Not of her, that would never happen, but just tired of failing.

"I never saw you as quitter, come on Jon where's your fight?" Sam was sat down in front of him. "Where's the Jon that fought tooth and nail for this job, for the woman he loves, for his son. Right now I can't even recognize you, Sansa is carrying the world on her shoulders while you just sit here sulking around." Sam never talked to him this way, not even when he found out about the cheating.

He was right, Jon kept thinking about everything and how to fix it but that was it, he wasn't moving. He had to act, to do something, try and get some kind of reaction out of Sansa, she's slipping away and he's just watching from afar. Honestly he's not really doing anything other than giving up, on Sansa, on their marriage, and most importantly on the family they built for themselves. He promised he was going to fight for them but he's laying on the mat right now.

"What do you suggest then?" He asked.

"Talk to your wife, she doesn't want to but it has to be done. Her family is making this hard for her, they are trying to get her back home and you need to show her why she should stay. If you can't then maybe she should really leave since you two can't work this out." No, if Sansa wanted to leave by her own choice Jon couldn't do anything but if she left because he didn't try hard enough then that was his fault.

Jon didn't waste another second and after thanking Sam for replacing him, Jon got into his car and drove like a maniac. Arya and Catelyn were leaving tomorrow and there was a huge possibility of Sansa going with them. Last night Catelyn called Sansa and afterwards she spent the whole night crying while Jon had to listen helplessly, he didn't know what she said but Sansa valued her opinion more than anything and that was scary. If Sansa goes back to Winterfell she won't be returning, her family won't allow it, they'll make her see that she can do better than him, that he's no good for her and Jacob. She'll leave Emily behind, his daughter and Sansa have a bond that he can't comprehend but it's there and to take that away from Emily is just inhumane. The Starks were his family, they've support him and the most part still tolerates him but Robb and Catelyn are overstepping and he won't let that happen, they can't decide their faith, they aren't the ones in this marriage, they don't know his feelings for Sansa, for them Jon is just the cunt who cheated on Sansa Stark.

As far as he's concerned they can all go to hell, these people once were his family but he doesn't need them nor their opinion. Sansa is the only one that matters and if they think they can just take her away with a few words they have another thing coming. He's going to fight, actually fight instead of whatever he's been doing up until now.


 

When he got home everything was silent, at this hour the kids were most likely napping but Sansa, who usually would be in the living room, was nowhere to be seen, for just a second he stopped breathing. But then he could hear water running, Sansa was taking a shower.

He went to check on the kids first, Jacob was sleeping without his pacifier, he never liked it, to think about everything this baby boy already went through and what was ahead of him was hard to deal with, Jon had to be brave for him now but also he and Sansa had to support each other.

Emily was sleeping too, he loved her so much, he was around during Sansa's whole pregnancy so he got to experience everything from the first ultrasound to the last time seeing her pregnant belly, he didn't have that with Ygritte but still he felt so much for this baby, he couldn't see life without Emily anymore. Sometimes he would hold back because he didn't want Sansa to see him like that, loving a child that isn't theirs but he came to the conclusion not long ago that Emily deserves a good father and that she won't be treated the same way he was.

These two babies were what they were fighting for, this wasn't just about themselves anymore. There were children who needed strong parents and not a broken home with two strangers in it or worst, two parents apart from each other. For them Jon was going to do all in his reach and if needed beyond that.

Carefully not to let his presence be heard, Jon walked to the master bedroom, Sansa had a towel wrapped around herself and her hair was wet and cascading down her back, it looked like fire consuming all of his being as he stood here. He wanted her, he craved her touch, her lips, just the sight of her like this is enough to drive him wild, it's been so long since he's seen her this way. Jon has to chastise himself, he's here to talk and not to dwell about the effect that Sansa's body his having on his own.

"I'm home." He whispers but it's enough to make her jump.

"Jon...you should be working." Sansa wasn't expecting him and obviously she would preferred to keep it that way.

"Sam is covering for me. I have something I need to do." He said and Sansa turned her back on him.

Wow.

He prepared this the whole drive here but now the words wouldn't leave his mouth, this was his last opportunity if it doesn't work then he has to follow Sam's advice. Leave her for good.

"What?" Sansa asked but there was nothing in her voice that indicated she was at doubt.

"Isn't it clear?" She didn't spoke, barely moved. "We need to talk about what's happening."

"There's nothing to talk about, Jon." That was it.

Jon didn't want to, it was never part of his plan but after everything he's been trough, after all they've overcame only to lose it now, it was to much and he exploded. All he could see was something flying against the wall, he didn't even realised he was the one who threw the vase.

"Goddamnit Sansa! Shout at me, curse me, hit me, anything but this! I can't stand it anymore, not knowing if you're leaving, if you hate me for what happened with your family, I need you to talk to me. You say you want us to work but you're not making any effort for it! Please say something." Finally he saw tears in her eyes, he didn't want to make her cry but at least it was something already. He couldn't hear robotic sentences forever.

"You don't know what it's like!" Sansa was speaking at the same level as him, the kids were going to wake up if they kept going like this.

"Then tell me!" He almost got on his knees at this point. He needed something, good or bad it didn't matter.

"I don't want to lose anyone! How can I stay here if I don't even know I can trust you again after all that you did, and at the same time I don't know if I'm going to be happy in Winterfell without you. I won't have our children growing separately, I...I love Emily and I love you, but they're my family too before there was Sansa Snow, Sansa Stark already existed. I'm being folish and childish by not speaking and I'm aware of that but if do then I'll have to make a choice and I can't, there's not one." Sansa sat on the bed crying her eyes out, she looked so worn out as much as him. It was painful to see.

"What do you want? You, not me, not your family. What does Sansa want?" Jon whispered.

He was kneeling on the floor in front of her now, holding her hands. She didn't object.

"Someone to tell me it's going to be okay."

He didn't know what to say, he could only think of something it probably was a mistake but he was going to risk it anyway.

Jon took hold of her face in his hands and kissed her like his life depended on it and Sansa welcome it with the same passion. There are somethings that'll stick with him forever, Sansa's kisses were one of those, there was something about it that stopped time, he never tasted anything has good as her lips, they are sweet, they have the power to heal. He had kissed many before her, he couldn't remember any of them, this was his first kiss, his first love. As she opened her mouth to give his tongue entrance, Jon felt as if his heart was on the sea and the waves were crashing against it, he didn't want it to be over, this was so much bigger than them, it was right, she belonged here.

Suddenly Sansa pulled away, her chest was heaving up and down, her eyes wide and her face as red as her hair. He was afraid he had overstepped but that went away the moment she pulled him closer and they fell in bed together.

"Are...are you sure?" Despite being desperate for it Jon would give her the lead. This was up to her.

"It's the only thing that feels right. I chose you, it'll always be you." I love you so much, he said to himself.

Gently Jon took the towel from her body, it was pure art, her skin was delicate, every curve had a beauty to it, she was an angel and even them didn't look like this, pure and flawless, Sansa didn't like the stretch marks around her stomach, Jon felt otherwise, every single one of them told a story, it was because of their son and he was probably the only good thing he did in his life, that and Emily.

He couldn't get tired of her eyes, those blue sapphires, God he loved her eyes, her nose, her lips specially when they pouted, no one compared to Sansa, no one would ever make him feel the she way she does, like he's falling but doesn't want to stop, like the world was designed just for them.

Quickly he took off his shirt and tie followed by his pants, in no time he was just in his boxers.

He lowered himself and began kissing her neck, her scent was intoxicating, he was kissing her as if she was made of china  and touching her breasts with the same care.

"Jon..." He kissed her lips then, the hunger wasn't there anymore, he was going to worship her.

"I love you, only you." He said trailing kisses from her neck to her breasts.

"Don't ever doubt that, there's no one else."

When Jon began sucking on a nipple and rubbing the other with his hand, Sansa started squirming in bed and moaning softly, her moans were the most beautiful harmony he's ever heard.

"Forgive me, I'm a fool a big one. All I want is you."

"Oh oh...God." Jon was now rubbing her wet folds and lightly pinching her clit.

If it was up to him he would've spent hours doing this but they didn't have that kind of time, not with the kids sleeping in the other room.

"Please...I need..." Sansa pleaded, her eyes were closed and she was clutching the bed spread.

He gave in and moved his fingers faster but never breaking his rhythm but also lowered himself and began sucking on her clit, Sansa was bucking her hips. She was close, he could see it, hear it, and feeling it as her pussy clenched around his fingers with a force that made him actually wince, when he licked harder she came.

"Oh Jon, don't...ahahah!" Her back arched and her whole body tensed and shook only to sag moments later.

She was smiling and looked peaceful, it was the prettiest sight he's ever seen.

After removing his boxers and freeing his painfully hard cock Jon asked Sansa for permission again, he only got a kiss in response.

This felt so good, he longed for this for so long, to be inside her, to feel her heat enveloping is whole body and all that he was in her.

"Sansa! My Sansa...I love you." He wasn't going to last long.

"I love you too, Jon." She moaned.

Each thrust felt better than the one before, it didn't take long for Jon to feel a tension coiling in him, his balls were tightening, he was almost there.

"I'm...shit I'm coming... God!" Sansa wrapped her legs around his lower back and grinded against him furiously, that was his downfall.

"Fuck! Oh oh ohhhh!" He came hard, with one deep stroke he was spurting inside of her.

Sansa followed him.

"Yes, Jon...like that! I love you!" She was trembling beneath him and her eyes were shinning. He could only see happiness.


 

"Jon?" Sansa was curled up against him, they were still recovering from both of their orgasms.

"Yes?"

"Let's forget this. All of it, Ygritte, my mother, everything. In order to move on we have to put this things were they belong, in the past, let's worry about the present and nothing else. I love you and that's the only thing I know for sure, I don't want to resent you no more. Let's live." Those were the words he seeked to hear.

"That sounds like a great idea, love."


 

He's never been a romantic man, not even close but he had to do something to prove to Sansa that he loved her and things were different, that Ygritte didn't belong in his heart and that she was the only one for him. Sansa wanted to forget but there's still so much to be done and so many things he has to figure it out. Starting with the kids, Sansa works day and night taking care of them, Jon can't because he works and when he comes home everything is practically done so he just helps putting the kids to bed. But now since it's his day off the least he can do is take his ass out of bed and see to the kids, hopefully Sansa makes this look as easy as it actually is.

Because it's still early the kids are asleep and that gives an idea, breakfast in bed. Sansa deserves it and Jon used to do it all the time when they were younger, normally it was just cereal but now he had to raise the bar, and so he was going to make some crepes since they were a favourite for her. There were so many recipes online, gluten free, vegan, salty, sweet, hot, cold, why couldn't there be just the original one, the one he grew up eating. Somehow by miracle Jon managed to do them, along with bacon, eggs, porridge, toast, orange juice and diced fruit, Sansa couldn't possibly eat all of this but he wanted this day to be different, he was going to forbide her from leaving the bed, it was her day off. She needed those.

He was just about finishing with setting a tray with some flowers he picked from their small garden when the doorbell rang, Jon rushed to the door not to disturb Jacob, Emily or Sansa, when he opened the door he was greeted by Catelyn Stark. This isn't good, she was supposed to leave today. Did she came to drag Sansa with her?

Jon forgot he was shirtless, Catelyn was glaring at him. She knew what transpired between him and her daughter.

"Sansa?" She asked.

"She's asleep." He replied in the same tone as hers.

"Why don't you just let her go?"

"I could ask you the same, she's an adult who doesn't have to do what her mother tells her too." Jon said, he was about to get slapped again if he carried on like this.

Catelyn walked inside and went into the kitchen, she was eyeing the tray he prepared with utter disdain. She hated everything about this.

"You can fool my daughter with breakfast in bed and sweet words but not me, you're no good, you broke Sansa's heart and even had the audacity to make her raise your bastard!"

"My daughter isn't here, don't mention her name." The last time he didn't say a thing because of Sansa, she wasn't here now. "If you want to bee mad at someone pick me but leave Sansa and Emily out of this, you've already said to much."

"I'm not even getting started, Snow. Sooner or later Sansa will see your true colours, you're nothing but a filthy animal who couldn't keep it in his pants, you humiliated my daughter and for that I'll always hate you. My biggest regret was letting you in my house." That stinged, Winterfell was more of a home to him than his own.

"Mom, I believe you have a plane to catch. You should go before you miss it." It was Sansa's voice, it sounded so distant.

She was wearing a robe and was walking in his direction, he never expected this from her. She was picking his side.

"That's what you want?" Catelyn asked, Sansa nodded. "Don't forget your words, one day you might regret them." Sansa was trying not to break down.

"Goodbye then, our house is still yours I just hope that when you get back to reality it won't be to late. He'll hurt you over and over and you'll keep forgiving him because he has you wrapped around his fingers. He doesn't love you." Catelyn said in a chocked voice.

"I'll take my chance." Jon was proud of Sansa, not because of what she did for him but for what she did for herself.

She took control of her own life.

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

*4 months*

Hospitals are an odd place, in here life and death walk hand in hand, there's a fine line between hope and despair, everyone is stuck on a limbo just waiting to hear their sentence. Right now as she's seating here in these uncomfortable seats, in this waiting room which is too bright, the smell too strong and the white walls too empty, someone is welcoming a child into this world, someone is happy while somebody else is saying goodbye to a brother, a husband, a father, a friend. Sansa's faith still remains unclear, all she can do now is not to think, if she dares to do it her mind will flood itself with so many different pictures, pictures she doesn't want to see, pictures she doesn't want to face.

Her baby boy is all alone with three strangers getting surgery, he's been there for an hour or maybe ten, time is a tricky thing and she is incapable of looking at the clock in front of her. Jacob, that perfect little boy who looks so much like her, who has the brightest smile and the cutest little dimples, that baby that she carried inside of her that made all of her dreams come true, the one who was hers and Jon's, he carried whatever good there was in them, no matter where she goes from now on Jacob will always be her future and right now there's nothing she can do to help him, she can't hold him and kiss him so he knows he's safe from the monsters under the bed, she can't do a damn thing and that's what's killing her, a guilt which is eating at her, a ghost that came back to haunt her.

During all pregnancy there was never any signs of his condition, Sansa did everything that was instructed of her and still it wasn't enough, the night she woke up with pain radiating trough her whole body and blood on her thighs and all over the sheets, that was the day she thought her life was going to end, she thought she killed her baby but thank God she didn't, yet she couldn't keep him safe. Jacob was born premature and undeveloped, his hands were so tiny so was the rest of him, she was even afraid of holding him, fearing that if she did he would break, his lungs didn't work on it's own and he couldn't be breastfed, those days on the hospital, the same one she's now, were the hardest and most agonizing ones of her life, she couldn't sleep because at any moment a nurse could possibly come in bearing the worst news, then the doctors told her he couldn't hear, part of her already knew that. Whenever she talked or sang to him, Jacob didn't respond, neither to her or Jon, she just kept her suspicions to herself, maybe things could still change but they didn't and now she's here again, the place she dreads, and once again she can't keep him safe.

The doctors have been assuring her for days now that the surgery will be a success, that the procedure itself isn't complicated and that there is a very high success rate, Sansa isn't doubting that but a part of, the mother, doesn't believe a word they're saying. Somehow she can only envision the worst case scenario. There are the what ifs, she can't help it. There are so many things that can go wrong, nerve injuries, nerve damages that can cause paralysis, leakage of fluids around the brain, infection, meningitis. She has to put those feelings aside and trust the doctors, they know what they're doing, they've been with her son since the beginning of this nightmare.

And then there's the recovery, it will be painful, Jacob is still a baby and doesn't understand that he can touch the cochlear implant, or that he can't move much in the first weeks. There's still a few other procedures that he has to undergo, he still has to attach the sound processor, fittings and a lot of rehabilitation and speech therapy. He's not even two years old, how can she make him go through that, is she a bad mother?

Jon's presence isn't helping either, she knows he's not doing on purpose but ever since they've arrived he hasn't stopped one minute, he's been pacing the waiting room over and over, Sansa thinks that he's going to actually open a hole on the floor, when he's not doing that he's outside smoking, he quit when Jacob was born but now he probably already smoked a whole pack. He can't help it, it's the way he is, he's always been like this, Sansa is the one who can keep her cool in stressful situations or at least is capable of dealing with them, Jon can't and that is very clear she's just happy he hasn't left for some bar like he did the first time Jacob was hospitalised, there's still three hours left and maybe Jon will still leave, she can't know for certain. The fact that his dad called earlier today only made things worst, Raeghar never took any interest in his grandson and he's only calling because it's the polite thing to do, the call itself lasted less than a minute but still he called, Sansa couldn't say the same about her mother unfortunately.

Everyone in her family and their friends have called or texted but not her mother, knowing that Sansa chose to stay it's proving to be hard for her to accept but Sansa never imagined that it would also affect the relationship her mother has with her grandson. She won't tell a single soul about it but she wants her mother here, she's the only one who can calm her right now, but Sansa is aware that if she calls her, Catelyn will say something bad about Jon and Emily so she prefers to suffer in silence. They've already come so far, having her mother talk to her now would only make things walk backwards.

"I'm going to the cafeteria, need anything?" Anna asked, she didn't have to be here but she was nonetheless.

Sam and Gilly also showed up to give their support but went home to take care of their son and babysit Emily, Sansa and Jon were going to stay the night so they needed someone to watch over their little girl. She was thankful for having them both in her life, especially Gilly who she considered to be a sister.

Anna arrived thirty minutes ago, Sansa talked about the surgery the other day she visited but never told her she had to be here, Anna was proving to be an important person in their lifes already. She was young but was wise beyond her years and she cared dearly for Jacob.

"Can you bring me a cup of tea, please?" She needed to calm down.

"Yeah sure, be right back." Anna went away.

Jon followed her, it was pointless to ask him to stay or to go after him. He doesn't know how to handle these situations after all Sansa has always been the one who goes to the appointments and already has an idea of what's going on, this is whole new ground for Jon since most of the time he was working or at some bar in those early months after Jacob came home from the hospital, she needed someone to support her but honestly that person wasn't going to be him and she didn't want him either, he wasn't going to help, he was only going to make her more nervous than she already was.

They still have to work on that, communication. They weren't bad at it, they just had a hard time when it comes to confrontations, most times they chose to ignore it and move on. Their therapist has told them many times before that this isn't an healthy behaviour and that if they keep acting like that there won't be any chances of working out as a couple, they are trying to improve that starting with a few exercises that involve a lot of talking, mainly about the past. Sansa is finding out so much about Jon, he kept so many things hidden like the fact that he didn't saw himself as a good father and that's why he's away right now, probably thinking about that. It's not true, he's amazing with Jacob and he's becoming more comfortable around Emily each passing day, but what he did still torments him and there are times it seems he brings Ygritte and the cheating to the conversation on purpose, as if he can't forget what he did because then it will be like he hasn't move on, Sansa wants to but Jon is making it hard for her. Just this morning he talked about it again, she can't still hear it vividly on her mind.

"I feel like this is some kind of sick joke." Jon said as they were preparing to leave for the hospital.

"What do you mean?"

"I don't know. It feels like some sick joke, our son his paying the price for my mistakes if I had been a better man none of this would have happened."

Needless to say they fought, they were doing it less often but still there were times where they couldn't separe the past from the present and nothing they could do could prevent it from happening. She hated those moments.

Please, stop bringing that up.

That was all she wanted and needed, to forget and find some closure. But right now she would be happy with some news, of course that wasn't going to be happening, not now at least.

Everybody was walking around to somewhere maybe no where, there were noises all around her yet she couldn't listen, all she wanted was for this to be over, her son's surgery, the fights, the splits, all of it. She couldn't stand being in here another minute, this place was where it all started, wasn't it?

The months she spent here sleeping by her son's side while he was getting the treatment he needed and her husband was away, this was where she was when he first met her, Ygritte, right?

She promises herself to forget, the night they made love she told him just that but now being here the memories were all reappearing. But she had no choice, her son was in here as well and even though it was unbearable for her, she had to stay.

Keep your tears at bay. A phrase she's been using quite a lot as of late.

When was that woman going to stop tormenting her?

She was away, not even her sister knew where, Jon has been the perfect husband in every aspect most times, he's been there and he's been showering her with an immense love, even more than before, Emily is becoming a part of her more and more everyday, yet Ygritte is still there, she's always there. Even now in this cold and bright room.

Go away!

But she didn't, she never does. She likes being around.

"Sansa...Sansa?" By the look on her face, Anna has been calling her name for a while now.

"Uhm...sorry?"

"The tea, you ask for it remember?" Anna said it with an hint of amusement. Sansa wished she could be as positive as her.

"Oh...right. Sorry, my head was elsewhere." She said feeling a little bit embarrassed.

"I get that, I mean I don't 'cause I don't have kids but it can't be easy. The last time I was here my dad was in pretty rough shape, we all went crazy even Ygritte." Anna doesn't mention her sister often.

Sansa was just guessing but the two of them weren't close, maybe they once were.

Someday she'll gather the courage to ask about her.

"What happened?" Sansa asked, only to distract herself a bit.

Anna handed her the cup of tea and sat down next to her.

"He was an alcoholic and a bad man, one day his habits came back to bite him in the ass. But it was actually a good thing, yeah he almost died and that was scary but ever since that he now can be called a somehow decent dad. He doesn't get our names wrong anymore either, so that's a plus." Sansa giggled, Anna was just trying to lift her mood.

"People can change I guess." For the better or for the worst.

"They can and I just saw it. Your husband isn't a bad guy, he's just very stupid but he's making an effort. He's even turned to God." Sansa frowned, what was Anna talking about?

She noticed this.

"He's at the chapel, he's been there at least five times now. I reckon is knees are bloody from all that kneeling." Anna said while sipping some coffee.

Jon wasn't a religious man, he believed and God but he wasn't what you called devoted, Sansa normally went to church all by herself while Jon waited outside or in the car because he didn't like it there. She doesn't know if she's ever seen him pray before.

That also meant that he wasn't running away from her, he was dealing with this at his own way, one she never expected to hear about. Jon Snow praying, she had to see it, she wanted to know what was going on in his head.

Her father was a religious man, he used to say that God was the only one who knew all of his secrets. Back home they had their own little chapel, it wasn't a real one or anything but it was the place where he would find some solace and peace of mind.

And also the only place to have a break when you live in a house surrounded by five teenagers who are going through puberty and think their world is going to end.

"Can you stay here while I walk for a bit? I won't be long." Sansa asked Anna.

"Of course, go to him. If there's anything new I'll make sure you guys know it right away."

So that's what she did, Sansa got up and walked down those narrow corridors until she reached the chapel. It looked like any other, the wooden seats on each side, stained glass windows, an altar and above it a cross with Jesus on it. It was still afternoon but the place was empty, safe for Jon. As Anna said he was on his knees on the front row, his head was buried in his hands and she could see his shoulders shake, he was crying and that only made her want to get close but as she tried he started speaking. Immediately she stopped dead in her tracks.

"Lately I've been mentioning You a lot, mostly to swear something. The truth is I don't know if I should believe in You, growing up I used to ask You to take me away from that house," He was talking about his childhood home back in Dorne. "but You never came...so if you're real then now it's the perfect time to prove it." He waited a few more minutes in silence. "See, that's exactly what I'm talking about, how are we supposed to believe in you when there's so many bad things going on in the world, children dying, wars, starvation, rapes, murders, men who are cruel and break others hearts." he was referring to himself. He couldn't let go. "How do You explain that? Where are You?! Where were You when my life was going to shit?!" His voice was louder. "I want to believe in You, I truly do but it's not easy when all You've ever done was leave on my own! All I ask.. beg is for you to show me, to give some kind of sign or whatever people call it. Please right now as I speak my son is being operated and I just want to make sure he's alright and he's going to be safe, he's a good kid, do you hear that he's just a kid. He takes after his mother thanks to You, he's not like me, I'm glad of it everyday, I'm already bad as it is, we don't need another Jon Snow." Sansa didn't like when he talked about himself like this, he was good. "Just so you know I...I would give my whole life so he could have five more minutes of his, you know why? Because in that time I know he was going to do better than me, be someone worthy, he was going to achieve better things that I could ever accomplish. I would do it a thousand times if I had to, for him and his mother. Please help me..." He was sobbing now, Sansa ran to him.

They didn't speak, no words could ever describe what they were feeling in this moment so they just hold each other. For better or for worst he was still here, he was still hers.

"He's going to be fine, isn't he?" Jon asked uncertain.

"Of course he is, he's half Stark remember?" Jon gave a small chuckle. "And he's your son and you're as stubborn as they come. Jacob is going to be just fine." Like us.

"I wanted to be next to you but I...I suck at this. At talking to people, half of my life I've kept quiet afraid I was going to say something that would make my father and Elia fight." His past has left him with many scars, most of them are beyond healing.

They've cut you too deep.

"I know, you're here now."

"Because you came, I can't keep hiding whenever something gets complicated. I can't put all on you and expect you to solve every problem like you do everytime." He was finally realising his big mistake.

"You're right you can't, I love you and what I do but honestly I can't do it all by myself. I'm tired Jon, really tired. I need you to help and I don't mean with the kids, I mean with this marriage. Stop saying you cheated, I know you don't do it to hurt me be it does anyway, it's like something inside me is tearing everytime I hear those words, it's going to come a time where there's nothing left to break and we'll...I can't even say it." She kept smiling and saying it was alright all this time but it was so much easier to tell the truth.

"I won't, I'll never bring that up again. I promise." Good.

"Forget Jon, please just do that. What you did only hurts when you're the one who says it. It's like you feel joy reminding me that I wasn't enough for you."

"You have my word, I don't want to hurt. I've done that plenty of times before." And maybe you'll do it again.

Jon kissed her then, she gladly accepted it. She loved his kisses.

"Sansa!...Sansa! San...sa..." Anna rushed to the chapel, she was almost fainting and her whole face was red and sweaty. "Your... your son...h-he's... awake. The nurse just told... he's in his room still under anesthesia."

Her son was well! Her son was well, she and Jon weren't finished taking but in that moment Sansa forgot and ran like a mad woman, Jon's footsteps could be heard close by.

Mommy is almost there.

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

4 and a half years later

"Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Emily
Happy birthday to you"

"Hey!!!" Everyone clapped and cheered as Emily blew her candles, five candles.

"Happy birthday, Emmy." Sansa whispered in her daughter's hear.

"Love you mommy." Emily turned around and gave her a hug, Sansa kissed the crown of her head.

Today it was a special day without a doubt, today her little girl, the girl she learned to love in time and that now is her whole world, was celebrating her fifth birthday.

This was as Emily first birthday party out of the house, Sansa and Jon wanted her to have happy memories throughout her whole life so they decided to throw her a big party, she deserved it. Emily was obessed with the circus ever since she went a few months ago so it was only obvious when she chose to have a circus themed party, one which Sansa and Jon gladly planned out alongside with the help of Gilly and Sam.

Because it was Winter they couldn't have the party outside in their backyard and they wanted everyone to be able to move around and being able to be in a spacious room so they ended up by renting a small salon not far from their home, Jon knew the owner so they didn't spent too much money on it and everyone kind of got together and brought lots of food and drinks, luckily their finances had improved great and just last year Sansa started working again so they could begin saving up enough money for the kids to go to college. It was soon but Sansa wanted to make sure her children could have any choice they want when it comes to their education, specially because they're so smart and are meant to achieve great things. But well Sansa might be a little bit biased.

From the corner of her eye she can see Emily with her mother talking very excitingly, Catelyn Stark probably doesn't have a clue of what she's saying but is listening attentively to her every word. Emily is her little princess, there's nothing her mother wouldn't to for that girl. Most times Sansa has a hard time with that because Emily takes advantage of the situation, whatever mommy doesn't allow nana Cat does, it's quite funny actually. Even though her mother lives miles away from them in Winterfell still Emily manages to get her wishes, just one phonecall saying she wanted nana and grandpa Ned in her birthday party and Sansa's parents flew straight to Kings Landing without any hesitation whatsoever.

"Well...it wouldn't be a real circus without a clown, am I right?" Jon appeared alongside side her brother Robb, they were both dressed as clowns. Sansa laughed hard, so hard she had tears in her eyes.

It happens that most clowns in Kings Landing were booked so they had to get creative, or as Arya liked to call it " get clowns on budged". Not wanting to dissapoint Emily since her main request was clowns, Jon somehow got two costumes and by a miracle made Robb wear one. It wasn't hard for them to get into character, whenever they were together the two of them behaved like children, it was so bad that her mother sometimes would have to put a stop to it, with no result of course. Those two weren't going to change anytime soon that much was clear, not from the way they were acting right now, Jon was making balloon animals and Robb was sabotaging him, all of Emily's classmates who were in attendance didn't know their real identity so they were screaming of joy, Emily was also having the time of their life.

"Look mommy! Look!" Emily was trying to get her attention.

"I see baby, do you like it?" Of course she did, how could she not?

"Yes! Thank you mommy! Love you." Here comes the waterworks. Emily was growing up so fast, Sansa wanted to hold these moments forever before she gets too older and none of this excites her anymore.

Somebody else was trying to get her attention, a very shy little boy of six.

"What's wrong? Are you not enjoying the party?" Sansa gestured, even though Jacob had a cochlear implant sometimes specially in crowded places it could still be challenging for him to hear and during those times Sansa would've to use sign language.

"The clowns are scary." Jacob gestured back, he could speak if he wanted but it was still a bit hard for him to regulate the sound and pitch of his voice. He was working on that and everyday he was getting better.

As she sensed something was wrong, Anna got up from her seat and picked up Jacob and carried him on her shoulders, they were close and shared a very deep bond. Anna has been around for most of his life, she knows his struggles and always finds a way of dealing with them, sometimes even better than Sansa herself.

"Don't worry, I got it from here. Ice cream always help." And so off they went in the search for ice cream. Jacob was smiling.

Unlike Emily who was comfortable around everyone and was a very bubbly child, Jacob was more shy and only engaged in conversations if asked to it. Part of that comes from the fact that a lot of people don't know how to deal with his disability, it's not easy not even for Sansa and Jon sometimes but they love their son and want him to be happy and feel included in everything, they started taking sign language classes a few years ago, most people in her family know some as well but mainly prefer speaking to him which is something that Jacob understands well, but it's complicated for him to make friends because kids even though they don't do it on purpose of course sometimes don't understand what's wrong with him, luckily he got the chance of getting to attend a school just for deaf children, Sansa hopes that being with other people who are just like him Jacob will learn how to open up a little more and don't be ashamed of his condition.

She loved all of her children all of the same but Jacob was her true son, her only son so Sansa could be a little bit overprotective of him, Jon on the other hand was the cool parent.

"I love you." Suddenly Jon came from nowhere and grabbed Sansa from behind and kissed her neck.

"I don't think this is very appropriate place to be kissing Mister clown." Sansa joked but it was true, they were surrounded by five year olds and their parents.

Jon didn't care about any of it, he was always making public displays of affection to her, everywhere they went he never missed an opportunity to kiss her or hug her, he always made her feel like some queen.

"Your brother has it all under control, why don't we go to somewhere quiet and share a few words?" No way Sansa was going to sneak out from her daughter's party to make up with Jon like two teenagers, yet she was having a hard time refusing him.

"You'll ruin your makeup." And with that Sansa let go of him, Jon pouted.

It didn't last long because then he saw Catelyn Stark and before Sansa could notice the two of them were hitting the dancefloor floor despite the only music playing being a child's one. Her mother was laughing freely while Jon kept twirling her around, in no time Anna with Jacob, Arya, Sam and Gilly, Robb and his wife Tallisa all joined them. Her family definitely knew how to have a good time.

As she watched the scene in front of her, everybody laughing and dancing, Sansa couldn't quite believe that they made that far, only a few years ago most of them couldn't tolerate being together in the same room.

Time really flies.

He wasn't easy far from it but they all made and effort and with time that effort payed off immensely.

After promising not to speak anymore about Ygritte during Jacob's surgery things started to shift for good. Jon kept his word and even to this day he's never mentioned that woman's name once, it had to be done otherwise they would be stuck in the same pattern, both miserable but afraid of speaking their mind.

Therapy was also their greatest friend during those times, Jon let all out and Sansa finally got to see his side of the story, what he did was wrong and it hurt like hell but she didn't made things easy for him either, even before the birth of Jacob Sansa isolated herself from everyone including her own husband, Jon did everything in his power to prevent that from happening but she didn't listen or gave him an opportunity, she was so worried about the pregnancy that for a while, a very long one, Sansa neglected her marriage and her husband. She learned in therapy that they were both together in this and that no matter how hard it became they had to trust each other and most importantly communicate, something they were terrible at it but together they've changed that and now there's nothing they won't say to one another, even if that might hurt or not be what they want to hear.

After coming to the conclusion that the perfect marriage doesn't exist and that there's always going to be obstacles in the road, Sansa and Jon came to terms that they didn't live in a fairy tale and that they couldn't strive to do that, they had to have a healthy relationship above all, couples fight, they scream and cry and not everything is picture perfect but that's how it's supposed to be, the only thing that mattered was how they handled those things and how they grew up as people because of it.

Jon also started to attend the AA, he wasn't an alcoholic but wasn't far from it either, alcohol was becoming his coping mechanism, everytime something went wrong he would go to the nearest bar and hope to forget, drinking to the point of oblivion. He wasn't something he was happy or proud of but it helped, Sansa even went with him a few occasions and hearing the stories of men and women whose marriage has been destroyed because of their addiction made her realise that they had done the right thing, she couldn't lose her husband and she couldn't allow Jon to live the rest of his life with that burden, not to mention the pain that it would bring to their children.

Sansa's relationship with Emily improved greatly as well, she always said that she didn't care about her parentage but that was a lie, she cared for her but couldn't seem to let go who her mother was, Ygritte wasn't around but her daughter was and she needed a mother, a real one not just someone who took care of her out of obligation or because it was the right thing, no she needed someone to shower her with love and affection, to make her feel special and like a part of the family. The first months weren't easy especially because Emily was looking more and more with Ygritte each passing day, Sansa made the mistake of asking Anna to show her a picture and she could see all of Ygritte in that baby's face, her hair and eyes were Jon's but everything else wasn't.

She put that behind her back and focused solely on Emily's way of being, she was sweet and kind, she was so curious always asking questions and exploring her surroundings and with time Sansa started seeing herself in her, in the way Emily cared for others, her thoughtfulness, even her smile. She came to love her and now she can't see her life without that girl in it, without her daughter, because that's who she is. Sansa might not be able to name her Stark but she will always treat her as such, she's a little wolf too.

Everything was coming together, she and Jon were getting back to what they were, actually they were even better than before, now that there wasn't any more secrets between them and that the bad and ugly was out they were able to come to terms not only with their marriage but with each other. The fact that Jon cheated was hard to accept even now but in a way it was a blessing in disguise, if none of that were to happen maybe they wouldn't be as close as they are and maybe would still be stuck on some unrealistic idea. They had to go trough hell to realise that they loved each other, that they were meant to be. Nothing and no one was going to change that, Sansa wasn't going to allow it, she learned how to fight for what she wants without being afraid of what others think, she wasn't afraid of confrontations or disappointing people anymore, all that was important was her happiness and how she felt about herself.

But despite being happy with Jon and the kids that was still a huge part missing, her family. She knew that they weren't going to forgive Jon for what he did and Sansa couldn't walk out on him because of that, she forgave him, she chose to give him a chance and was rewarded with the results, she couldn't throw all they've built away. Still there were nights she would lock herself in the bathroom crying for her family, mostly her mother. She spent almost a year without hearing from them, the only news she got came from Arya and their dad, sometimes Rickon would visit and video chat their mother while Sansa saw and heard her but always from the corner, always away from her mother's eyes.

When Robb married his long time girlfriend Talissa three years ago he invited Sansa to the wedding, only Sansa and Jacob that part was almost highlighted. Initially she didn't want to go, it wasn't fair for Jon and honestly it wasn't fair for her either, Jon was her husband and Emily her daughter, they didn't have to stay at home while she was having fun and with her family. Jon was the one who told her to go, he witnessed first hand how much she missed her family and he knew that seeing them was going to be good, so Sansa went but on her own terms. If her family didn't want Jon at the wedding there was nothing she could do to change that but they didn't own Winterfell, they all flew there a few days before the party and spent the whole time walking on the snowy streets hand in hand and with both of their children, the Starks were an important family so almost everyone knew what happened and weren't happy for having Jon there, she could see it in the way they looked at him, with anger and disdain yet he kept his head held up high and Sansa never let go of him or Emily, she wasn't going to be ashamed of her family, Jon didn't deserve that sort of thing.

The wedding was beautiful she was so happy for her brother and Talissa, and thankfully her family didn't voice out loud what they thought about Jon not even her mother, her father probably was behind it. But it was clear they weren't amused by having him here in Winterfell.

A day after the wedding and a day before returning to Kings Landing Jon left the hotel room for hours, she had no idea where he went or what he said but afterwards her mother came to the airport the next day to say goodbye and promised she was going to be visiting soon. Even to this day she has no idea what Jon said to her, he doesn't speak about it nor her mother, but the truth is whatever it was it did the trick. As promised her mother and father visited them two months later and even stayed at their house, Catelyn Stark was nothing but polite towards Jon and Emily, the affection wasn't there but it was already something, it definitely was a lot more than what she hoped for. With time her mother came to realise that Jon was a different man and that Sansa was happy, she came to terms with the fact that she wasn't going back home and leave her husband behind, slowly they started visiting more and return to their old ways.

Emily was different, it just happened. One day her mother only cared for her because of Sansa, then the other Emily was her granddaughter, her true granddaughter. It wasn't hard to be mesmerized by her, everyone loved Emily.

With the years everything went back to normal, Robb moved to Kings Landing with his wife and soon after Arya followed him, that made their parents spend more time in the South which by consequence ended up by making everyone closer to each other. Her parents were even discussing buying a house here.

Robb and Jon are best friends, he and Arya are still like brother and sister, her mother simply adores Emily and her marriage couldn't be any better. There are times were she's still scared that something is going to happen but all of this was in vain, for almost five years now Jon has been the perfect husband, the perfect father and the perfect son in law, they still fight occasionally but not because of the past, that part of their lifes is buried far away, it doesn't hurt or be bothers her anymore.

Sansa and Jon are happy, they love their children, their life is improving by the day, ever since Jon started working for Stannis Baratheon he has more time for his family and he's not as stressed as before, his paycheck and insurance is better so they don't worry about money as much either and now that Sansa is working again they're able to live a comfortable life and give their children all they want and need.

They're a lot more intimate, their kisses aren't forced or their smiles, she can look at Jon and only see the man she fell for over ten years ago and not the one who cheated on her. She doesn't pretend either, everything she feels is the truth and not just some mask she puts on in the morning to get through the day, they still have couples counseling at times but not often, they only go when they feel there's something that they can't work together because it's new, like Jacobs's situation. Her son is showing a lot of signs of improvement but in the beginning after is surgery it was hard to adapt but now they're used to it and know how to handle the situation without making Jacob feel like is unable or make him feel bad.

Yes, now everything is just as it's supposed to be. Now she knows she made the right choice.

Thank God I stayed.

There are so many possibilities for them but first she has some news to share. She's been keeping this a secret for a while but it's finally time to unravel it.

"Are you ready?" Maergery asked her, they too made amends for all that was said and done and now are back to being best friends.

"I guess it's now or never." Sansa said unsure of herself. She was so nervous.

"That's the spirit. Go get 'em tiger." Margery gave her a small push on the back.

Sansa turned off the speakers and immediately everyone stopped dancing or what they were doing and focused their attention on her, it wasn't helping at all.

She cleared her throat and took a deep breath.

You got this.

"Everyone, thank you so much for being here today and celebrating with us Emily's birthday, it means a lot to us having all of our friends and family here, because in the end of the day when all it's gone this is what remains, the people we have in our lives the people that make it worth living and I couldn't be any happier for having you all." Her mother was already tearing up. Wait until you hear the rest, Sansa tought. "Before we can celebrate some more and enjoy this amazing party that wouldn't have been possible without the help of so many, I have something I've been wanting to share with you and especially my husband Jon." Jon was now looking at her with a concerned look on his face. "I'm pregnant."

Before she could register, Sansa was being flooded with people, her mother barely gave her any time to breath, everyone was congratulating her for the news, even her dad had tears on his eyes.

"Oh Sansa! This is the best news I've had in a long time." Her mother said tearfully. "I'm going to be a grandmother again!"

"I couldn't be prouder of you, princess." Her father who was at their side said, Sansa was about to bawl her eyes out.

"Thank you for that, now mom can finally give me and Talissa a break." Robb told her playfully, he didn't want to be a father just yet.

"Yeah great Robb, can't wait to hear Sansa saying she's fat again. Those where the times." Arya very kindly reminded her of her first pregnancy and her insecurities back then. "By the way congratulations, sis."


Once everybody said what they wanted say, it was Jon's turn to talk to her. Because there were so many people he stayed behind and let them finish but now he was already running towards her.

He lifted Sansa of her feet and gave her a long and passionate kiss, she could feel only love. His eyes were welling up with tears.

"Are you happy?" She asked still in his arms.

"Are kidding me? Look around, I've got all I could ever wish for and now I'm going to be a dad again. I don't need anything else."

"Well, maybe some alone time?" Sansa teased him.

"I mean, you should always comply with the wishes of a pregnant woman." He kissed her again. "I love you."

Okay maybe mommy and daddy would have to leave the party for a few minutes.


 

3 days after Emily's party

Anna

She hasn't changed one bit, her hair might be different, her clothes more formal, she maybe even be rich but underneath that all she's still the same. Anna hasn't forgiven her yet. She won't anytime soon. She doesn't even know why she agreed with this on the first place, yesterday morning she got a phonecall from an unknown number, it was Ygritte saying she was in Kings Landing and wanted to talk. She didn't mention a word to Jon and Sansa, she didn't want to worry them without a motive. She's just hoping Ygritte is only passing around town.

Ygritte chose a fancy restaurant for them to meet, something was off. Her sister wasn't the type to come to a place like this but then again Anna doesn't know who she is anymore, honestly she never knew.

"I've missed you." Have you? She thought to herself. It's been five years and not even a phonecall.

She hugged Ygritte but didn't linger, she didn't want to be here, her sister didn't even had the balls to come to their father's funeral two years ago. He was never a good father but he was theirs and Anna stayed with him right until his last breath. Where was Ygritte?

Probably not giving a damn, as usual.

"Where have you been?" She didn't make any small talk, there was no need for it. She wanted this to be over fast.

"Everywhere. I've met this man called Mance Rayder when I left," exactly, when you left. "me and him alongside some others friends have started a business that involves the wildlife of Westeros, I've also went back to school." It appeared Ygritte had made quite a life for herself.

Anna didn't have that because someone had to stay behind to pick up the pieces. Her sister was selfish.

"And didn't you have a cellphone, is that it? Where were you when Emily was just a newborn crying every night ,when dad found out about his cancer or when mom broke down because of it? All of you bastards left!" She hasn't seen any of her siblings in years.

Bunch of fuckers that's what they all are.

"You're being unreasonable, I was trying to make a better life for myself and I did. But now I'm here and I want to change all that happened." Anna wasn't going to let her.

Sansa and Jon are finally in a good place so is her mother, no one needs Ygritte. Her presence is only going to cause more and more trouble, she can't allow Emily to suffer because of it, her mother already went through hell, she couldn't build her hopes only for Ygritte to leave when she gets bored. She's done that too many times already.

"You've done enough, trust me. Go back to whatever shithole you came from and stay there, you can't just show up in here and turn everyone's life upside down. I'm not the same naïve girl who was always making excuses for your actions, it took me a while but now I know the real you. You're a nasty bitch."

"Say whatever makes feel you better, you're angry. I don't want any trouble, I just want my daughter back. That's all" Ygritte said.

This was bad, she wasn't going to stop.

Chapter Text

Jon Snow

Six in the morning on a cold Sunday, outside it was still dark and quiet and would remain like that for another couple of hours or so, most people were probably still in bed where it was nice and warm and even better if you had someone to share it with, but not Jon. Jon was already up, or at least close to being awake and was getting ready to cook a feast or his version of one, he hated to cook and people hated is food but today he kind had to put an effort, today Ned and Catelyn Stark were leaving for Winterfell and he wanted this last hours in Kings Landing to be perfect for them. His in law's have been staying with him and Sansa for a week now but it's time for them to go back to their home, Sansa's father has his business there and her mother has an important role in the community, they can't just leave whenever they feel like it, Jon wished they could.

Saying goodbye to her parents is always hard on Sansa, despite doing it very often it never gets easier on her. Jon hates to see her unhappy, even if it's just for a couple days it's still unbearable for him. Her happiness his all that matters.

As he was making his way into the kitchen Jon could hear noise coming from his daughter's room, when he arrived there the lights were on and Emily was sitting on the floor crying softly, her small frame shaking and her face buried in her knees. It tore him to pieces to see his little princess like that. Immediately Jon picked her up from cold floor and Emily wrapped her tiny arms around his neck, she began crying even harder than before.

"Hey, what's wrong?" He asked her.

"I...I don't want nana and grandpa to leave." Apparently Sansa wasn't the only one having problems with saying goodbye.

"I know you don't but it's not up to us, baby. They have to go."

"Why?! It's not fair!" Emily shouted, she was a feisty little girl at times. Just like her mother, Sansa.

"It isn't but grown ups sometimes don't have much of a choice. Grandpa Ned loves you very much but he has a job and people that need him, somewhere in Winterfell there's a little girl just like you, whose father or mother works for grandpa and without him they can't give her what she needs." Jon tried to explain it as best as he could, after all Emily was just five.

"But nana Cat can stay!" If Catelyn could she would never leave but it wasn't that simple.

"But do you want grandpa Ned to be alone?" He asked already knowing the answer. Emily shook her head. "Nana Cat takes care of him just like mommy does for me and for you and Jacob. The truth is we would be lost without them, you've seen daddy cook right?" Emily giggled.

"You're not very good." Emily giggled some more, Jon would turn into a fool just to have that reaction out of her.

"Exactly, so why don't you help me make breakfast for everyone, would you like that?" Of course she accepted, so off they went to the kitchen.

Sansa has been teaching him how to cook for years mainly because he wanted to help around more so Sansa didn't have to do it all by herself and could've a much needed break, he was great at doing the dishes, folding laundry, with the kids, all of that but cooking was his kryptonite, he tried so hard but to no effect, most times it was a miracle how he did not set the house on fire, Jon could do the basics but that was it. Yet his father and mother in law are about to leave and he wants them to leave knowing that his making an effort even though it's been years and that the old Jon his dead and will remain like that for eternity.

He can't break his promise, if he does then all of this would've been for nothing. So he went to work.

Emily and him decided to cook pancakes because it's impossible to miss with those, his daughter also wanted to make eggs and bacon, orange juice, fruit salad, muffins, tea and even a chocolate cake. Maybe he should've woken up at three in the morning.

He loved spending time with his children, they couldn't be any different from each other that much was evident. Jacob reminded Jon so much of himself, he was a quiet child who liked playing with his toys in the living room for hours on end without anyone to distract him, he adored building things and solving puzzles and already was showing signs of being a very intelligent child, he was the best in class and was always seeking new things to learn and new challenges to overcome, Emily was more like Sansa, she was a sweet and caring child who couldn't stand seeing people sad and would do anything to help others, whenever they found a bug around the house Emily would forbid him of killing it, if he and Sansa let her have her away she would have probably opened an orphanage for all the roaches that show up in the house, but there was still a part of her that reminded him of Ygritte. Emily was stubborn and passionate, she loved being outdoors and wasn't very keen on following rules, she didn't like to be quiet for a long time, always running around the house or in the backyard getting her knees scraped and her clothes all muddy, she was adventurous and fearless, nothing scared her.

If that part of her ever bothered Sansa she didn't show it, Emily was raised by her and had so much of his wife in herself but she would always have something of Ygritte, without knowing it. He and Sansa never told her the truth, it's not that they don't want to but she's still so young to understand it and when he tells her Jon wants to tell everything, including how she was conceived. He dreads the day that he has to do it, will she hate him for it? Will she still see Sansa as her mother?

They still have time but that day will have to come eventually, he's not sure he's ready for it but he will never lie to someone again.

"Daddy, hurry up!" Here came the bossy tone Sansa used sometimes, Emily was a parrot in that aspect.

"I'm doing the best I can, baby. Don't worry." He said while juggling multiple tasks simultaneously.

"Your making a mess! Mommy is going to be mad!" Yep she will but you're the one who had the idea of cooking all of this, Jon didn't voice that out loud. He didn't stand a chance on Emily, she was definitely going to be a lawyer someday.

"Mommy is definitely going to be mad." Came Sansa's voice, she didn't stay long in bed.

She was wearing her flannel pajamas and her hair which was always in a braid was loose and her eyes were still swollen from sleep yet she still looked gorgeous, she always did. And now that they were about to have a child again Sansa was going to become even more than before. He still was in cloud nine with the prospect of being a dad again, he couldn't wait to hold that tiny being in his arms.

"Daddy did it!" Emily was quick to point a finger at him. Traitor.

Sansa wasn't mad, she looked completely in love and in pure awe. Jon came a long way as a husband but also as a father, before he was content with just being the one who brought home the paycheck but now he much rather spend his nights watching cartoons and reading the same bed time story over and over than to be at the office or worst, a bar. He hasn't set foot in one for nearly five years and won't ever again. It's not worth it, he knows that now, Sansa and the kids are all he needs to be happy, sometimes it's stressful and he feels like leaving and have a beer or several but he never does, he can't fuck things up again, he had one chance and he made the best out of it but God knows how much he had to work for it, all they went through, the therapy, the nights on the couch alone, the tears and almost losing is wife, Jon couldn't do that with Sansa. He had to grow up and face his demons, even now he's still battling them but it's getting easier to fight, he's had a lot of practice. By now his therapist is his best friend.

"And that's why you're strictly forbidden to watch culinary shows, Jon Snow. You get too creative." Sansa came to the rescue and took over the stove.

"And that's a bad thing?"

"Only when you try to start a fire in my brand new kitchen." A year ago they remodeled the kitchen and ever since then Sansa barely lets him in.

Jon gave her a kiss, okay maybe he was just trying to safe his ass but still it was a meaningful kiss and Sansa soon forgot about the dirty dishes and the stove overflowing with pots and pans. Mission accomplished.

"Can you awake up Jacob? I'm sure mom and dad are already up." Sansa requested.

She and Emily were handling breakfast far better than him, no surprise there, so his presence wasn't needed and he didn't want to risk getting in more trouble with his daughter who clearly has had enough of her dad failed attempt at cooking.

If he didn't live here he would say he was walking in a library or a classroom, Jacob's bedroom was filled with books and he even had a planisphere hanging on the wall, his son loved anything that involves science and geography, he's such a smart little boy, he definitely doesn't take after his father. Jon sucked at school, it's still a mistery how he graduated from college and became a lawyer, spending a lot of time in the library "courting" Sansa definitely was one of the main reasons.

Gently not to scare him Jon started waking up Jacob, he didn't have his speech processor on so he couldn't hear a thing, slowly he woke up.

"Good morning champ, mommy and Emily are cooking breakfast." Jon gestured and Jacob smiled.

He was their miracle child, even before coming into this world the odds were already against him, there were moments Jon actually thought he wasn't going to meet his son, Jacob proved him wrong and even though he was premature and with several heath issues, his little man fought tooth and nail without ever giving up. Jacob was a warrior and Jon couldn't be any prouder of him.

Hopefully their baby won't have to face any of those challenges.

After making sure is cochlear implant was in order and working properly, Jon and Jacob made their way into the kitchen where by now Ned and Catelyn Stark were already seated just waiting for them to eat.

"Jacob! I cooked breakfast!" Emily was always seeking the approval of her big brother. .

The two of them were inseparable.

"Don't forget that daddy helped." That earn him a glare from Sansa and laughs from his in laws.

Breakfast was divine, no thanks to him obviously, if it was up to Jon everyone would be having cereals and burnt toast. Sansa and Emily really went to town with it, Jon was a lucky bastard as his friend Tormund so often reminded him.


 

Later that day they were all at the airport saying their goodbyes, Arya, Robb and his wife Tallisa also were there.

The kids were staying with Sam and Gilly but already said goodbye earlier today, Jacob was sad but he understood why his grandparents had to go, Emily on the other hand cried the whole time just as Sansa is now.

"Come on now, no tears. We'll be back before you even notice." Ned said while hugging Sansa.

"I know, I know. I can't help it, it's the hormones."

"Stop blaming it on your pregnancy, crybaby." Arya joked, she and Sansa had kind of a love hate relationship. Most times it was funny to witness.

The last time he agreed with Arya, Sansa got her revenge. Two weeks without sex, after that Jon never picked Arya's side again. Happy wife, happy life.

"I'm going to miss you all so much." Now it was Catelyn's turn to get emotional. "Call me at least two times a day, okay?" Sansa would probably make it five.

"If you keep this you'll miss your flight, don't worry mom we're going to be just fine." Robb said as if he wasn't a momma's boy too.

Once they said their goodbyes Ned gave Jon an handshake and Catelyn gave him a hug.

"Don't forget." She whispered in his ear.

How could he?

And with that they left, leaving Jon with memories of not long ago. In a small and shabby café in Winterfell."


 

Five  years before

"What are you doing here?" Catelyn asked, she wasn't expecting him at all, he took Sansa's phone and texted her. Catelyn tought she was going to meet her daughter.

"I'm the last person you want to see, trust me after all you've said and done it's not very pleasant either. But please just listen to what I have to say, if afterwards it's not enough...I'll leave Sansa myself."

And that's what she did, she listened to his every words and by the end of it her eyes were shinning and her head was downcast, somehow Jon was able to make her see.

He told her everything about himself and about his past, she found out things not even Sansa or his therapist knew, she found out secrets that he was going to take to his grave. From not having his mother, to being neglected all of his life, the children making fun of him because he was born on the wrong side of the bed and how much that affected him. Jon told her the role that Sansa played in making him a better man, she took that broken teenager who didn't want to keep on going and she gave him a purpose, she gave him a future. He told her about his insecurities as a father, he was afraid that having Raeghar as his father messed up his head, that he was going to be unable of being a good father, a good husband. When she asked him why he cheated he couldn't lie and he knew that being drunk wasn't an excuse, it was a reason. He came clean about that night with Ygritte and everything that lead up to it, it wasn't right and he knew it, what he did didn't have forgiveness but he wasn't doing it for himself.

Sansa was suffering, everyday that went by and not a call from Winterfell was a stab, she took too many and Jon decided that enough was enough, he swallowed his pride and begged Catelyn.

"You're a good man, I've seen it countless times before, everytime Sansa talks about you it reminds so much of me when I was younger and had just met Ned. But what you did.. I'm mad because it came from you, the last person I expected to come from." She said not looking at him.

"I love her, it's the only thing I know, I've never knew what I was before her. Your daughter changed my life, she gave me a better one, one where I don't have to be afraid. She's good, far better than I'll ever be, please don't make her pay for what I've done, nor my daughter. Hate me if you must, I'm ready for it but Sansa isn't. Please...do this for her." He pleaded, if this didn't work then...

"Promise me that you'll care for her, both Sansa and your daughter. That's all I need to forgive."

"I promise." And Jon kept that promise for five years.

He was going to keep it for the rest of his life.


Two days later

He almost had three accidents already, he was driving like a mad man but he was past the point of caring. This morning he got a text message from Anna, because he was in and out meetings all day he only got to read it when he was in the parking lot ready to go home.

Anna: Ygritte's back. She's staying in my house.

It had to be a joke or some kind of twisted dream. Jon always knew this was a possibility, that Ygritte was very much alive and could come back at any moment but it's been five years, so why now?

What does she gains from it?

He and Sansa are stronger than ever, he and Emily are finally father and daughter, what he did all those years ago no longer haunts them, Ygritte is nothing but a bump in the road, a part of the past they were able to overcome. It was almost as if Ygritte could sense they were okay and now returned to put end to it.

All he could think was how much this was going to affect Sansa and Emily. He couldn't risk something happening to her pregnancy.

He drove without looking at the red lights, his speed was getting dangerous and all he could conjure in his mind was the pictures of him and Ygritte drinking at that God forsaken bar.

What did she want?

He went through hell just to open a door and realise he never left. Nothing happened, nothing changed. Ygritte's here and with that Jon's falling apart once again.

His hand are shaking, his palms are sweaty and his head hurts, he needs a drink, something to calm the storm that's brewing inside of him. He's never been a violent man, specially not with a woman, for all his flaws Raeghar taught him better than that but now Jon doesn't know what I'll do when he comes face to face with Ygritte.

She left, she didn't care. She never did but now that changed.

Why?

Why couldn't she have stayed away?

Anna was his and Sansa's friend yet she kept the truth from them, Jon didn't know how to feel about that.

Could he trust her?

He didn't now anything anymore. It was all a blur.

Finally he arrived at Anna's apartment, his whole body was betraying him. He couldn't think.

With a knock on the door Anna showed up, she didn't utter a word. Once inside he saw her, she looked different, more mature, there was no trace of that wild girl he once called friend, the woman he...

"I'll leave you two to talk, there's a lot to be said. I'll be in the kitchen if you need me." He needed Anna here otherwise God knows what he'll do.

Ygritte was smiling, did she not know what she's done? The pain she caused?

They are both to blame for what happened but the fact that Emily grew up without her real mother is all on her.

"Hi." It's all she said.

"How can you be here after all you've done? You ran away!"

"Jon...I'm sorry, I know I didn't act the best way but I was young and scared and leaving seemed like the best choice for everybody at that time, I wasn't in a good place with myself. It took me a while to see it, I'm not the same, I'm in place now that I can say it's good and I can feel proud of the person I've become. I just want to fix things, it's what my daughter deserves." She didn't know what she was saying.

"What she deserves is someone she can rely on, your not that person. You ran away because you were afraid, I get that. But that doesn't justify what you did, Emily was just a baby." Jon was scared too, Sansa was the one who took Emily in but Jon never left her.

"She doesn't know about me, does she?" Deep down she already had her answer, Jon could hear it in the crack of her voice.

If it was meant to make him feel something it wasn't working, he knew a liar when he saw one. He was one, once. Ygritte was just trying to manipulate him.

"No, she doesn't. I want to keep it that way."

"You can't keep me away from my daughter, you're a no good bastard! You stand here acting like the perfect husband and father yet on the first opportunity you had you fucked me while your pretty wife was at home with a baby in her arms. You want to paint me as the monster, go forward but don't act like you're not one too." Maybe she was right.

But that Jon was gone, this one wasn't going to let her come into their life. He wasn't going to hurt Sansa again.

"My daughter deserves the truth!" Yes, this was the real Ygritte, she was about to jump on him.

"She's five years old! How am I supposed to explain to her that her mother left because she wanted to be free?! Sansa is her mother, she's been there since the beginning, hospital appointments, school plays, bedtime stories, giving love it's all on Sansa. I won't take that away from her!" Neither will you, he almost said.

"That's all really pretty, pretty as a picture but the truth is Sansa is not her birth mother, I am. Let's see how that plays out on court!"

No judge with give her custody, not after everything she did. Still Ygritte had a point, she was the birth mother.

What if she gets custody anyway?

"You wouldn't do that."

"We'll see about that, it's your choice. One way or another I'll have my daughter."


 

All the way back home all he could see was Sansa's face, it's been awhile since she's cried because of what happened, because he cheated. He has a feeling that'll be over now, he just prays she can see that he harbours no feelings for Ygritte and most importantly that he won't let her take Emily away.

He won't, he can't.

When he arrived home Sansa was in the couch with Jacob and Emily, they were wrapped in a blanket and watching their favourite cartoon. It was the perfect family, the family he's always wanted.

Why did it have to end?

As soon as she layed eyes on him she could see something wasn't right. Jon looked like a walking dead.

"Jacob, can you please take Emmy to your room?" Jacob nodded, Emily was barely awake. "Mommy will be there to tuck you in bed in right way." Jacob took Emily's hand and they left for his room.

Sansa got up and walked towards him, when she kissed him Jon couldn't accept it. Somehow he felt like he was betraying her if he did.

"My love, what's wrong? Something happened with Stannis?" He wanted to tell her yes. "Don't take it personal, he's a complicated man." She gave a small laugh, Jon's heart shattered at his feet.

He was going to end her smile, he knew it already.

"Ygritte's back...I've been with her today." Sansa's face turned white and she just froze in her spot, he knew that look. He had seen it five years ago. He couldn't keep looking at her.

"What...what did you do?" She asked him carefully, her eyes filling with tears. She was petrified of his answer.

"Nothing, I swear it, Anna was there you can ask her. But there's something else...something you must know." He didn't want to say, he didn't now how.

How was he supposed to tell her that she could lose Emily, her little girl. He couldn't accept that, he was a failure.

"Jon...talk to me. Please."

"She...it's Emily. She's here because of her."

"No!" He's never seen Sansa like this before. Not even when Anna showed up with a baby at her arms.

There was a fire in her eyes, her jaw was clenched and her hands were balled into fists. There was no trace of the sweet and caring Sansa, only someone who was determined to fight come hell or highwater.

She walked away from him and was already making her way in the direction of the door. This wasn't good.

"Where you going?" Don't do this, that's what he should've said.

"I'm going to settle this once and for all."

Before he could do anything Sansa was already gone.

She and Ygritte were about to meet for the first time.

 

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

Turn around, your children need you!

Emily couldn't sleep without Sansa kissing her goodnight or without having her read a bed time story, Jon's ones where never good enough for her, he always did a silly voice. By now her little girl is probably crying because her mother is not there by her side to tell she loves her, that she's safe and that while Sansa is around nothing and no one will hurt her, she won't let it. Never

Sometimes Jacob's implant hurts him and in those nights he sleeps in his parents room, Sansa holds him the whole time and and places kisses in his head, promising she will take the pain away, that he's going to be okay, she won't let him be hurt. What if he's feeling like that now, in pain and scared?

Go back!

Sansa desperately wants to do that, to go back to her house and return to her husband and children and to the safety of her home. There there aren't any monsters, only love, there she doesn't have to think about the past, she has only the future to care about. Even though her mind his telling her just that, her body is refusing to follow orders. She can't stop, she's already too far now. It's too late to turn around, she has to do this, to face the woman who spent this last five years haunting her dreams. Even though they promised to forget, although they moved on with their lifes Sansa can't remove Ygritte off her, she's always there. But up until now she's been just a memory, a darker page in her history, someone who caused her pain but now Sansa knows that she's stronger, that the words said in the dark a long time ago can no longer harm her, or that's what she thought before Jon showed at their house half an hour ago.

She knew it, even before he told her what happened Sansa already knew what he was going to say, she saw in his eyes. It was like a déjà vu, like the day Anna appeared with Emily in her her arms. She didn't want to believe it, it had to be a dream but it wasn't. She should just be used to it by now, peace is a fragile thing it only takes a little stir to turn into a nightmare, one who's real and is getting closer and closer as she drives. She has no idea where's she's going, by now she can't focus on the road, her car has a mind of its own, she just knows that wherever it's leading she won't find a silver lining, instead she'll meet her doom, Ygritte.

Why did have to you come back?

We were fine.

It's getting hard to breathe, every second is longer than the one before, each sign, each red light is looking straight into her face and it's laughing at her. She failed to keep Jon at her side once maybe she'll do it again. He's always said that he didn't love the other but still there's the doubt that's eating her inside, and no matter what she does she can't keep it away, it's too big, too strong and Sansa is weak. She's always been weak.

Don't you dare cry.

She wishes she could, yet her vision is blurring and her eyes are burning, her whole body is shaking, she can't seem to let go, it's like she's being engulfed in flames, like she's falling into a dark pit, one she's been before, one she managed to leave but this time she's not that certain. If she falls now she won't trouble herself with getting up. What's the point?

If she loses Emily, if she loses Jon she'll lose herself too.

All the smiles, the kisses, the tears, all the times Emily called her mommy, all the times Sansa held her in her arms and whispered I love you in her ear and all that they went through will disappear. She'll lose her daughter, the daughter she didn't ask for, the daughter she didn't thought she could love but now is her whole world.

The thought of not having Emily around and the thought of Jon in Ygritte's arms once more is doing things to her, all the pain and misery she's feeling is being replaced with anger. A anger that she can't control, she can't keep herself calm, Sansa barely recognises herself anymore, whoever replaced her is dark and bitter, someone who's not afraid of the consequences and of hurting somebody else. She doesn't know that person and the thought of what she's about to do terrifies her, yet her fear is not stopping her as it once did, now that fear is only fueling her body in a way that makes her see red.

Sansa as always been a peaceful person ever since she was no more than a child, she hates confrontations and maybe that's why she and Jon took so long to get things right, she's always been afraid of hurting other people's feelings by saying what's on her mind, she prefers to keep it all to herself, to be the guilty one instead of creating an argument, sometimes she would cry herself to sleep because of it during her adolescent. In highschool she wasn't popular, she was the shy girl who was afraid of her own shadow, that made her an easy target for all the it girls, they would call her names and make her eat lunch by herself in a corner in the cafeteria, Sansa never did a thing even though she could, it wasn't worth it she didn't want trouble and violence never solved anything. Arya despite being younger was the one who got her back, they never were close but her sister couldn't stand seeing someone mistreat Sansa and whenever that happened, well people would run to the nurses office with a busted lip or a swollen eye. Arya was the fighter not Sansa.

Now, now it's different. Sansa is no longer a scared and helpless teenage girl who's waiting for her sister to come to the rescue, she's an adult, a mother and a wife who'll do everything for her family and the ones she loves. If Ygritte thinks she can just show up after years away and just take Emily with her, she has another thing coming. Sansa is tired of being weak and having people walk all over her, that's why she was cheated on the first place, she couldn't fight for Jon and because of it he found comfort in bar and in somebody else who wasn't her. She's tired of crying everytime there's a step back, she has to be more like her sister, like her family. Sansa might be a Snow but the Stark blood runs through her veins, she's not a meek little girl who's hiding behind her mother's skirts anymore, she's a fighter or at least is becoming one. The fact that the possibility of losing her daughter is very real is making her become this way, she doesn't care about anything but Ygritte, she'll show her that the woman she broke all that time ago ceased to exist, the one sitting here now, the one who's driving like her life depended on it won't let herself fall, she won't be weak. She's done with that.

She'll fight for what's hers, she'll stand for her family. Ygritte doesn't belong here, she didn't in the past and she still doesn't now in the present. Sansa will never again let her consume her life, that's over.

You won't have them.

She has to think about her baby, Jacob suffered so much in the past, he and Emily, they payed for their father's sins. Sansa will make sure this child who's growing in her womb will never know anything but a united family, with a loving mother and father. She's fighting for him or her too, this part of her that she already nurtures so much love for and it's that love that she has for all of them that it's giving her strength now. She will do all in her power to keep them, whoever comes in the way is a fool who underestimates Sansa. They all do, now it's time for them to see the real her.

You won't have them, I'll die before that happens.

Hours, minutes, she has no idea for how long she's been driving but by the time Anna's apartment building comes in sight the sky is already pitch black. By now Jon must be panicking, he probably already called her all family, maybe they are looking for her. She won't be going home now, not until she settles this once and for all.

With her head held high she left her car and walked towards the building, she's only wearing a t-shirt and jeans and it's too cold and there's snow falling, even for January this sort of weather is unusual specially in King's Landing. She can feel the cold infiltrate her bones, she's shivering and wants nothing more than to feel warm, the warm that only Jon can provide but she won't back down now. She won't show any vulnerability.

It's cold but the fire burning her whole being is a lot fiercer. Her blood is pumping and her heart can't seem to slow down. There's a beast in her ready to come out.

With just a knock on the door Anna appeared, her facial expression told Sansa she was expecting to see her. Yet she didn't look one bit pleased. Perhaps Jon spoke to her already.

"Sansa...you should go home, your family is worried. Tomorrow we can talk." Tomorrow is too late, she has to talk now while she still has the guts for it.

"Where is she?" Anna didn't answer but let her in.

Breathe, in and out.

"You must be Jon's wife." Came the voice Sansa is certain she'll never forget. It was a bitter poison in her hears.

Don't look away.

She can see why Jon once might've cared for her. She had red hair just like Sansa yet hers was a darker shade, her face was covered in freckles, some of them remind Sansa of Emily, she had blue eyes and a round face, she was beautiful maybe not in a common way but there was something about her, something about her eyes that displayed a wilderness, she wasn't unattractive by any means, men definitely will succumb to her charms, Jon did. Will he again?

"And you once were is mistress." It hurt to say it out loud but it was the truth, Sansa wasn't going to shy away from it.

Her words semmed to affect Ygritte, maybe she did have a conscious after all.

Anna was getting more and more uncomfortable, she didn't know where to be. At Sansa's or Ygritte's side.

"If you're because of Jon rest easy, me and him was just a one time thing. I don't love him and I don't want nothing to do with him."

"No, you just want my daughter." Sansa said equality cold, all of her emotions were shut off.

You won't see me break down.

"I really appreciate all you've done for Emily, Anna told me how you took care of her." And I will keep on doing that. "But she's my daughter, I've already missed out too much." Was this woman serious?

Did see not see what she did?

She was talking as if Emily was taken away from her, like she didn't have a choice. When the truth is she had every chance in the world to be with Emily, it was never Sansa's intention to have her daughter grow up away from Ygritte. She brought this all on herself, she couldn't make excuses and Sansa wasn't going to tolerate them either.

"You left a innocent child on her own, I've seen were you left her. How can you stand here and say you have any love whatsoever for her after all you've done?!" She was getting angry, her head was spinning and her heart was pounding.

Calm down.

"Not everyone gets to be born with a silver spoon like you did, you have no idea what I went through in my life. I've been trough hell while you were playing house with Jon, I won't let you or any cunt doubt my love for Emily." Ygritte was getting closer, dangerously close.

"Ygritte that's enough." Anna warned, her tone left no room for doubts.

Ygritte didn't listen and kept speaking.

"Y'all like to paint me as the villain as if I was the one who did it all on my own but it's not that simple, is it? I didn't get pregnant on my own and if I so recall Jon was enjoying fucking me too. I was drunk but it was quite the night" Hearing her speak about him was to much, Sansa felt like trowing up right here. Her stomach was up and down. "Yet he got a second chance, the way my sister talks about him it's like is some saint while I'm the bitch who destroyed a lovely family." Ygritte had tears on her eyes, they weren't from sadness, this was pure rage.

"I made mistakes, plenty of them, but I learned from each and everyone. I know what I did wasn't right and I'm not seeking apologies, I've done nothing to deserve it. But that's I'm here, I'm not the same and I won't allow you or anyone to judge me for it, is that understood?! I'll have my daughter one way or another, that I promise." Sansa would be lying if she said Ygritte wasn't intimating. But she wasn't going to run back to her mother as she once did.

And she wasn't going to scream or be violent, there were other ways of making her see.

"Emmy hates the rain, she doesn't like too much sun either, she says it makes her head hurt, she won't eat vegetables unless I make them look like a smiley face on the plate, she loves strawberries but only the fruit, she won't have anything strawberry flavoured, she loves making breakfast with me, she has two pet worms, Nicky and Billy. She's such a smart kid, she's good, she's willing to get hurt so others won't. You know how I know these things? Because I've there since the start, me! Not you! You don't get to show up when you feel like it and become a mom, you lost that right years ago. I'm the only mother she knows and ever will." Despite the circumstances Sansa found herself smiling, she always did when it came to her children.

Even Anna was smiling. She better than anyone knew exactly what she was talking about.

"Your my sister and I love you even after every shitty thing you've done. But Sansa is right, Emily is happy. Let her go, goddamnit!" Anna said to her sister in the hopes of getting trough her.

It didn't have that effect, Sansa's words only made Ygritte more angry. Her eyes turned dark and her nostrils were flaring up, at this point Sansa was actually fearing for her safety. Could this woman hit her?

Sansa could actually understand what she was going through, it must not be easy to see your child, the baby you carried inside of you for months, that tiny person you held in your arms, that baby that doesn't realise it yet but it's your everything ,there's nothing you wouldn't be, nothing you wouldn't to for them. Sansa felt that way with Jacob, she was feeling it already for this child inside of her and Ygritte must've felt it too with Emily. And to have someone show up and rob you from that, from all the possibilities it's cruel and inhumane, the thing is Sansa didn't steal Emily, she only raised a child who didn't have no one else. What Ygritte doesn't understand is that Sansa didn't have a choice, she didn't took Emily because she wanted to make Ygritte suffer.

Back then she wanted revenge, to make her feel as betrayed and as broken as she was but she would never use an innocent child to achieve that. Sansa wasn't capable of such thing.

"And why's that? You fucking lied to her whole life, to a child! My daughter will look at me and see a stranger! I may be a monster but you and me aren't that different, we're both selfish little bitches aren't we?" Her cold and hostile tone became bright and cheerful, she was mocking Sansa.

Just like she was the first time. She couldn't be here anymore, if she stayed she would do something she couldn't take back. She was going to lose everything.

"Sansa, go!" Anna screamed, she wasn't arguing with Sansa.

She could sense she wasn't okay and was trying to prevent something bad from happening. It was too late, she heard enough. Now it was her turn to speak.

"I can't believe someone like you could give birth to someone like Emily, your nothing but a cruel and horrible person. You knew Jon was married and still you fell in bed with him, you had a daughter but decided to leave, you never gave a damn a about anything but yourself! While you where having fun I was raising her as my own. You won't have her, she's too good for, I won't allow you to ruin her as well. I'll make sure Emily doesn't know about you, she doesn't need to. I hate you and my daughter will too!" Did Sansa just say that?

She was becoming someone she loathed, Ygritte started but Sansa shouldn't have payed her in the same coin.

*

She started to feel a chill in her spine and cold sweats all over her body.

What's happening to me?

Ygritte was about to strike her but somehow Anna got to her before she had a chance to.

No!

Suddenly Sansa was hit by the worst cramps she's ever felt, her knees gave in and she fell to the ground. She was clutching her belly, trying to protect her baby.

Please, no!

Her whole body ached, it was impossible to stand of move. It felt like someone was stabbing and punching her from the inside, each blow more powerful than the other. She couldn't do a thing only cry and pray for it to be over.

"Sansa! Sansa!...Sansa! Talk to me!" Anna was at her side, she didn't even notice.

She and Ygritte were screaming but Sansa's ears were shut. All she kept thinking was the last time she's been in this position.

I can't lose this baby.

Was it to late? *

Chapter Text

Jon Snow

9 years ago

"Ohh...Jon!" Sansa moaned, all that could be heard heard her moans, the more he heard them the more he needed them, they kept spurring him on despite being exhausted.

Today Jon found out he got the job he's always wanted, after countless years in school and grueling hours of studying with barely any sleep, Jon was finally going to be working as a lawyer. The moment he got home and told Sansa she nearly tackled him to the ground with the force of her kiss, their life was finally showing signs of improvement, they were finally going to stop being worried about money and could actually eat something other than ramen noodles.

Of course being them they decided that this was something to celebrate, they bought themselves a six pack and a bottle of vodka, which were already empty. Now Jon was making love with his wife, it still felt weird to say it, for the third time already that night, it started in the kitchen, they continued in the shower and now were wrapping it up in the bedroom. He didn't know where he and Sansa got all that stamina. He was close to faiting at this point.

"One of these days...shit... you're giving me an heart attack." He said half joking half true, he couldn't keep this any longer. Sweat was dripping from his whole body, the sheets were soaked.

Sansa was getting close too, her moans were getting louder and louder and she was riding him faster than before, it was their first time doing it like this and Sansa seemed to be loving every second of it.

"Touch me...I need..." Her wishes were orders to him.

At once he took a hand off her breasts and went lower and began rubbing her clit the way she liked it, he wasn't going to last but first he was going to make sure she climaxed as well.

He's never seen her like this, he's always been the one who took the initiative in the bedroom, Sansa was still shy and somewhat ashamed when it came to sex. Yet tonight she was different, it maybe was the fact that she was a bit tipsy or something else but his wife was in charge, she's already done things today that he's never asked for or expected from her, like giving him head in the shower.

Seeing her on top of him, riding him, her breasts bouncing up and down, the way her hips moved almost like a dance, her moans and whimpers, the way her head falls in the back and her eyes closed as she keeps biting her lips it's too much for him to handle. He still doesn't know what he did to deserve such woman, a goddess in fact, but he won't throw that chance away. He's going to cherish all of her, she deserves to be worshipped and I'll do nothing less than that.

When Sansa started scratching his chest in the middle of her euphoric state it was all it took to make him go over the edge. His body quickly went from 0 to a 100 in a matter of seconds, it was like opening a bottle of champagne.

"Ahhh!!! Fuck!!!!" He just exploded, there were no other words for it.

He was shaking, his hips began bucking and his whole muscles started to spam and twitch. He could feel his heart trying to leave his body and his mind went completely blank yet he kept rubbing Sansa's clit and in no time she followed him, her orgasm hit her as hard as his.

"I'm cumming! I'm cumming! Jon...ohhh!!!" She let out a scream that didn't sound human, he felt bad for their poor neighbors, specially because they were old people who probably were awake by Sansa.

Immediately she fell on top of him, she was breathing heavily and he could feel her heart pounding against his bare chest, he kept massaging her back and stroking her hair until she recovered.

A few moments later Jon was about to fall asleep, he loved this night but now is whole body was aching and he need to rest. Sansa who was wrapped around his arms abruptly sat on bed and her eyes were wide opened. It was fear.

"Shit! Jon, we...we forgot to use a condom! What if..." She was near tears, he promised to never make her cry.

He didn't understand why she was reacting like this, she always talked about having children. Of course...he was the one who was against it and changed the subject whenever she mentioned it. To be honest, Jon was dumb as hell and sometimes could be a little bit of an ass.

He sat up too and brought her closer to him.

"Would it be so bad?" Sansa frowned. "I mean, I've just started working and we're still young but maybe thinking about the future might not be a bad idea, I'm not saying that it has to be now and that we have to try it all the time multiple times, though I don't object to it." She giggled. "Your my wife, my love, my everything. I can't wait to start a family with you, Sansa Snow." Instead of answering Sansa kissed him on the lips, his face was getting wet with her tears.

In that moment he knew he made the right choice, when it comes to her it's always right.

"I love you so much! I can't wait to have a child, our child, a baby boy or girl. I'm so happy, thanks to you." She said tearfully, he will never get tired of making her feel this way.

It's for what he lives for.

"Mission accomplished." He said with a smile.


 

Present day

"Sir, if you don't calm down you'll have to be escorted outside by the security." The nurse told him as if it was here because of nothing more than a cold.

"How am I supposed to do that when my wife has been inside for hours and no one tells me a fucking thing?! I swear to God I'll break trough that door if you keep me waiting!" At this point an army could come down on him and Jon still wasn't going to back down.

"Jon, do as she says." Gilly placed a hand on his shoulder, she came with him while Sam stayed at his house watching over the kids. "Sansa needs you, getting kicked out is not going to help." She was right, immediately he did his best to come back to normal.

It was impossible, this was his fault.

The moment Sansa left the door he should've gone after her, he knew where she was headed and that nothing good would come out of that conversation. There was a reason why he never wanted Ygritte to meet Sansa, she could be cruel if she wanted and she would know exactly what to say to hurt his wife.

Instead of following Sansa he stayed at home like the coward he was, the truth was he couldn't see the two of them together, he cheated Sansa with Ygritte and no matter how long it's been that'll never change, he can clearly picture on his mind what Sansa's face must've looked like upon seeing Ygritte, Jon couldn't handle that. He couldn't see any more pain on her features, he's already witness to many.

Gilly and Sam showed up at his house after he called them, Jon was in no condition of looking out for his children, he also asked Margaery to go to Anna's apartment but the distance between the two of them was big and it would take at least an hour to get there, nonetheless she went hoping to arrive in time. He left hundreds if not thousands of voice messages on Sansa's phone, she ignored them all. He wanted to go but he couldn't and even if he could it would still be too late. The damage was already done.

When his phone began to ring he didn't even took the time to see who was calling, he just picked up expecting it to he his wife. It wasn't, I was Anna and with just two words she killed him.

"Sansa's in the hospital."

In didn't know if he should go to Anna's apartment and kill Ygritte or to the hospital to be with Sansa. Gilly was the one who took him there otherwise he would've chosen the first option. It was still very much on the table, if something is to happen to Sansa or the baby then there's no one able to stop him, he doesn't care about the price he'll pay, he's not afraid of going to prison, one thing is certain he will kill Ygritte with his bare hands.

She's never knew pain but he'll make sure she does, he's going to make her pay for all she's done. He's never felt so much anger for someone, not even when his father threw him on the street with only the clothes on his body he was like this. Something had awake inside of him, the Jon that is good and honourable is no longer there, this was one has always been a part of him it was just waiting for the day to come out. That day had come and there was no stoping now, no matter the outcome someone will get hurt.

Right now he has to put those toughts away, he will still follow trough with his word but Sansa is more important now than anything. She needs him to hold together even when falling apart seems like the best thing to do now. He can't even begin to imagine what she must be feeling, is she in pain? Is she awake? Is she okay? Is the baby okay?

He hates the waiting and that doubt.

And no one gives a damn, they've all seen how desperate he his yet they only answer his questions with yes or no. Don't these people have families too? Don't they care?

Of course they don't, they just doing their job and consoling Jon is not one of them. In the end of the day as long as they get their paycheck nothing else is important. Sansa is just another patient who they have to take care of, Jon is nothing more than a husband who wants answers. They've seen this story a thousand times before, they feel no sympathy. It's just another day at the office.

Sam: They're sleeping.

He was referring to the kids, Jon's been so all over the place that he didn't even stop to think about them. When he left the house Emily was crying and Jacob was trying with all his might not to, they miss Sansa and they know that mommy isn't at home now because something bad happen. What will he say to them if something indeed happens?

Emily was so happy about this baby, she was already making so many plans. Jacob even wanted to make a garage sale because he's going to be a big brother again and he didn't need toys and he could use the money to buy the baby a present, something related with dinosaurs because he was going to love him no matter what but it would be a lot cooler if he liked dinosaurs too.

"I can't go trough this again." He said mostly to himself but Gilly who was at his side heard him. She knew what he was talking about.

Despite dreaming about being a mother and trying hard become one it was never easy on Sansa. After almost having a miscarriage during Jacob's pregnancy, the doctors told Sansa that despite her age and healthy lifestyle her body wasn't prepared to have children and that if she carried the pregnancy to full term it was always going to be dangerous and it did. Jacob was premature and barely survived those first months. This pregnancy wasn't planned, Sansa was taking the pill but a few months ago she came down with the flu and started with antibiotics, weeks later she revealed to them she was pregnant. Jon was overjoyed, he wanted to be a dad, he missed the first months of Jacob's life and it took him a while to actually became part of Emily's, this time it was going to be different, he was going to be better. On her last appointment the doctor was surprised, everything was going perfectly fine, Sansa's body wasn't showing any signs that the pregnancy was at risk, he even told them they had nothing to worry about and that the baby was healthy and wasn't going to face the same struggles as Jacob. That was all he needed to hear, Sansa didn't have to suffer any more and he couldn't bare the thought of something happening to both mother and child. Yet here he stands on the cold floor of the hospital dreading the worst already, deep down he knows that the next time he sees Sansa they won't be shedding tears of joy.

"Sansa is the strongest person I know, she's been through so much already yet she refuses to give up." Gilly was only trying to make him feel better, thank God for her. She's been like a sister to him lately. "Your wife his a fighter and your baby is too. You'll see that in no time we'll have news, then you get to go home because there's a baby's room to decorate." I want you to be right. He needed for her words to come through.

"I..." He couldn't keep it any longer, he started crying as if he was nothing more than a child himself.

Pain, sorrow, anger, heartbreak, agony, hope all wrapped into one, all coming out of him. Gilly held him the whole time, now that he started he couldn't stop.


 

Anna

She can still hear Sansa's screams, she's not sure she'll forget them that soon.

It was her fault.

She should've never allowed for Ygritte to stay with her, if it had been different Sansa could still be at home with her children instead of an hospital bed. She knew exactly who her sister was and what she was capable of yet she did nothing to prevent her behaviour, she let Ygritte say want she wanted to say even though her words were filled with cruelty, Sansa wasn't made to deal with someone like her. Sansa was far too good for that, all of her life she was taught the difference between right and wrong, she was given values and beliefs that make you a decent human being. Anna and Ygritte never had any of that, all she knows she had to go and learn on her own and even now it's still hard at times to be good.

All of her life she's always been trying to make the right thing, it wasn't easy when your only role models are a drunken excuse of man and a woman who spent her days regretting her life and blaming the way it turned out on her children. She always did her best to be a good daughter, a good sister and a good friend, her whole life was lived at the service of others, Anna quit school at sixteen and got a job to help pay the bills around the house, when all of them left she stayed behind without much of a choice in the matter, when her dad was diagnosed with cancer she stood by his side every step of the way, she took him to chemotherapy, she gave him a bath when he was to weak to move, she changed his diapers, she fed him and took money out of her wallet to pay for his medicine, her mother was mentally unstable and couldn't do any of those things.

She never knew what it was like to have someone caring about her without expecting something in return, but then she met Jon and Sansa. They showed her alongside with their family what a family truly is, they gave her a place when she had none, when she did nothing to deserve it, they never saw her as the sister of the woman Jon slept with, for them she was Anna just Anna. It was new to her to be seen for what she was and not for who she was or where she came from. The Starks and the Snows were more of a family to her than hers ever been. A mother who barely recognises her at all now, three siblings that she hasn't seen in years and another who only remembers her when she's in trouble. Jon and Sansa took her in, they gave her something she's always dreamed of, a family yet she acted behind their back and was helping Ygritte.

She's always wanted to do the right thing, she doesn't think she's done it once.

If something happens to Sansa they'll never forgive her, honestly she doesn't think she can forgive herself either. She and Ygritte will always be the same, there are certain things that can't be changed and the person she was it definitely was one of those things.

"Are you happy?" She asked Ygritte when she returned to her living room. She was outside smoking, inside the noise of what happened was still too loud.

"I didn't know she was pregnant." Her sister at least had the decency of looking worried when Sansa collapsed on the floor but as she suspected it was a trick.

If you aren't Ygritte then she doesn't give a shit.

"Is that even relevant now? It doesn't change what you did and what you said, Sansa didn't have to come here, she could've just ignored you like everybody else does but she didn't. You're too blind by your own pride to see but there's actually people that want to help you." Ygritte laughed, a cold and bitter one.

"And Sansa was helping?"

"She was, trust me if I was her shoes you already would've asked for a restraining order or worst. Instead of being reasonable and try to work on a solution you almost hit her. A pregnant woman for fuck shake!" Anna has been holding herself, she knows that if she loses her cool someone will get hurt.

"I just want my daughter ba-" She didn't left her finish, Ygritte fell to the ground the moment Anna's fist came in contact with her face.

She was sick of hearing that talk, she couldn't take anybody's bullshit anymore. She's tired of failing, she's finally going to do the right thing.

"Shut the fuck up! If you wanted your daughter then you should've done something years ago! You had one chance and you blew it, no one asked for you, no one needs you, you stopped being important a long time ago, leave and pray Jon doesn't find you. You've done too much already." And so she left.

She got up and slammed the door, she wasn't going to give up. After all Ygritte was her sister, they were much of the same.


 

Catelyn Stark

"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.Thy kingdom come.Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread;and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us;and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"

She lost track of the amount of times she's already said those words, her knees are aching and she cannot even open her eyes, her throat is worse and by now Ned must be on his way to take her back home. He'll come in vain, she won't leave her prayers until she's certain they were answered, until her phone rings or someone tells her something. Catelyn won't leave this little chapter her husband had built for her over thirty years ago.

She once heard someone say that mother's are put in this world to suffer, she had been a girl at that time and couldn't find any truth in it. Over the years she came to understand it's meaning, ever since she gave birth to Robb, her firstborn, Catelyn hasn't had much rest, even now that all of her children are adults with lifes of their own she can't stop worrying, every night she lays in bed thinking about them and how they're doing. Mostly she thinks of Sansa, that woman that once was her little girl, the one that out of all of her siblings resembles her mother the most and not just in looks.

She's always strived to be like her mother but then she met Jon Snow and that changed. Catelyn couldn't say she was mad, she was happy and proud of the person Sansa was becoming. She was hardworking, a good wife and an even better mother.

Yet God was cruel when he wrote her faith, her daughter despite being so young still has suffered already so much, when her son was born only Catelyn knows what her daughter went through alone in that hospital bed with her baby boy, she spent months with her on the phone, only ending the call when all that could be heard was Sansa's breathing a sign that she was sleeping already. She cried herself in silence and in the solitude of her bedroom then. Mother's were supposed to protect their children from all that's wicked in this world, she was supposed to assure her all was going to be fine and for sometime she did until...

It's been years and those wounds have already healed but she won't ever forget or forgive herself for what she's done. Her daughter had just lost the ground beneath her feet, the man who vowed to replace Catelyn in protecting Sansa was the same man who ended up by hurting her, he was the monster from the stories Sansa was terrified of listening when she was a child. She couldn't see past her pain and her anger and because of it she condemned Sansa. She should've supported her choice no matter what the choice that might be yet she didn't, her daughter needed comfort and love yet all she found in her mother was rejection and pity. That's the part of her life she's the most ashamed of, she blamed an innocent for the crimes of others, she left her daughter in an even worst state than before.

Time heals all and it did. Slowly and carefully Catelyn become Sansa's mother again and in the process she won a grandchild.

Now history is repeating itself once more, Sansa is all by herself in some hospital while Catelyn remains here in the snowy Winterfell. This time she won't win a grandchild, this time she's praying not to lose one.

If mother's are supposed to suffer for their children why can't she be the only one carrying that burden? Why can't she take what Sansa's feeling and accept it for herself?

It's not easy, she wants to leave this chapel and take the first plane leaving for King's Landing but even if she does it's not in her power anymore. It's all in God's hands and it's too Him that she prays now, over and over. Waiting for a sign.

"Come home." Ned loved all of his children but Sansa will always have a special place in his heart. The shake in his voice is only prove of that, he's only cried a few times in front of her and everytime it was for Sansa.

Just like her Ned also feels she's suffered enough and it might even be worst for him. Sansa always saw him as an hero, a knight in shining armour that wouldn't let any one harm her or take her away, that same hero is now powerless, the monsters are real and much too strong, they can't do a thing. That's what's hard.

"I need to pray." She couldn't be at home, it reminded her so much of Sansa. If she sees her picture now she won't be able of getting trough whatever this is.

"It's been a while but can I join you?" Ned rarely prays now a days, he still firmly believes in God he just keeps his prayers for himself.

Maybe they've spent to much time unanswered.

She extended her hand and he joined her. Despite what was going on she couldn't deny the sense of calm and peace that surrounded them. It was hope.

"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.Thy kingdom come.Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread;and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us;and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

And so she and Ned prayed.


 

Arya

"Doctor Robbins, they need you on room 3."

"Of course, I was actually on my way there." She said trying to disguise her voice. "You know, there's no need to follow me I know exactly where room 3 is" She didn't but she wasn't going to go there anyway. Hopefully it can wait.

"Your not a real doctor are you?" This boy was in the right place because Arya was about to break his nose.

"No I'm not, doctor Frankenstein."

"Come on, you can't be here. Or do you rather be removed by force?" Okay he was begging for it.

"And you're going to be the one doing it, I bet there's newborns heavier than you here." She had to laugh. The bastard was already dialling his pager, she was faster then him.

She took him by the neck and pressed him against the wall.

"Look, my sister who I care greatly may or may not have lost her baby, trust me I don't mind kicking your skinny ass if that means getting to her, it might actually help to release some of the anger. You can chose to leave or do you rather being removed by force?" He got her message and was already leaving, she wasn't in the mood for any of this shit.

Arya arrived at this place half an hour ago, she lost her license and so she came with Robb and his wife Tallisa. Ten minutes in and she left saying she wasn't feeling to good and needed some air, little did they know that she managed to walk unnoticed to the locker rooms and stole a doctor's uniform.

It wasn't the Christian thing to do or the most legal but it was the only thing she could think of. Everybody was a crying mess, Jon looked like a baby, Talissa wasn't that far from him and Robb almost got into two car accidents on his way here. That's not saying she isn't feeling anxious because she is, when she heard what happened to her sister she never expected to feel like she did, it was like a part of her was being crushed and she couldn't ease the pain in her, she and Sansa always had a very odd relationship, sometimes they were the best of friends while the next minute they were making death threats to each other even now that they are grow women not much as changed but there's nothing she won't do for Sansa. She would die for her and even kill if needed, and she will. As soon as she's sure Sansa and the baby are fine she's coming for Ygritte, she's been waiting five years for this day and Arya doesn't make idle threats. She won't kill her of course but Ygritte definitely won't be able to eat solid foods for quite sometime.

Sansa could sometimes be stubborn as hell, what was she thinking when she met up with Ygritte?

The woman had a reputation and her sister didn't even know how to throw a punch, if Arya had been there with her this wouldn't had happened she would make sure of that. By now Ygritte would be the one in the hospital.

She had no idea where she was going and she was certain that she got lost still she kept walking, the maternity ward couldn't be that far. She needed news and since none of this doctors with a stick shoved in their ass could give her that she took matters into her own hands. Spending a night in jail to find out if her sister was alright was more than worth it.

Her mother probably would have a stroke if that happened but then again she was always the one that kept saying she should be nicer to Sansa. And sneaking trough the back door and disguising herself as a doctor it's probably the most effort she's ever put in her life for her sister.

Despite putting on a brave face in front of the others, she's already cried too much today (probably more than ever) she's actually shitting herself as she gets closer. She's here to see her sister but she doesn't know what she'll find. If their worst fears are confirmed Arya will...

She doesn't know what she'll do, she's never been in a situation like this. She loves her nephews and this baby means so much to Sansa, it's no secret her sister as fertility problems, she almost died during her first pregnancy and Arya knows how hard that was on all of them, she always knew that people are going to die, that's the only sure thing in live, but thinking about it and actually having to face it are two different things. She's never been so scared as she was during that time, she hated being afraid.

As she was walking she saw a few nurses coming her away she seized the opportunity and asked if they knew which room was Sansa Stark staying, they did.

After a few more minutes and almost being caught Arya got to where she needed to be. There was one of those big glass windows that could let people see Sansa from outside and Arya got close. Her sister was wearing a white hospital gown, she had a bunch of wires and monitors hooked on her, she was getting an IV and and was wearing one of those nasal breathing tubes, she wanted nothing more than to rip that all from her. She couldn't see her face since Sansa was facing the wall, she looked like she just lost. Arya was bracing herself for impact already.

She took a deep breath and said a quick prayer, she couldn't remember all the words, and got inside.

"Doctor Tarth?" Sansa asked, her voice was heavy she had her eyes almost shut. She probably was given a sedative.

"Have no idea who she is." Arya removed her cap and the mask.

She ran to Sansa and gave her a hug she didn't want to but her tears fell anyway, it wasn't often of them to do something like this. Arya made sure she could show to her sister all she felt for her in that one gesture she was never good with words. She didn't want this to be over but first she had something to ask.

"Is... the baby... are you still pregnant?" Time stooped for a beat.

Slowly Sansa nodded, it was like Arya head was under water and only now was resurfacing.

"I...I still have a few tests to run but I've done...an ultrasound and I heard his heartbeat...it's strong." Sansa smiled it was a small smile but it was something already.

"I fucking hate you so much! Don't you ever scare me like that you idiot!" She hugged Sansa again.

She was going to start doing it more often.

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

BEEP

Everywhere she turns all she can see is blood, on her, on the floor, the walls. She can smell it, she can taste it mingling with the salt in her tears.

It's gone.

Her baby it's gone.

She doesn't even feel pain, she lost to much for that. There's only a numbness running trough her veins and a void in her womb where her baby used to be.

BEEP

She doesn't know where she is, this place is strange, a white room with no windows or even a door

Why am I here?

She's barefoot and only wearing her hospital gown. It's cold, the floor feels as if it's made of ice and not even the blood there is coming out of her can keep her warm, it's like fire burning her skin, tainting her yet she can't feel it.

Only that numbness.

BEEP

She can see two people coming, she doesn't see their faces but she hears their voices.

Jon and Ygritte.

They're kissing and laughing at her, she's screaming for help not even caring that they are together, she just wants to escape but they keep ignoring her. They keep laughing.

"You'll never be good enough. You can't even give a child." Jon says, she barely recognises is voice.

"Come, my love. You're free now."

Ygritte is holding Emily in her arms, her daughter is turning her face away.

"Emily! Mommy's here! Emily! Baby, please! I'm your mother!!!" She screams until her throat can handle no more. They don't seem to hear.

"Jon! Jon! Help me!

I'm alone.

BEEP

"Sansa!...I'm here... please wake up!"

That voice, the voice that always made her feel safe was what pulled her out of that place. A place where pain and misery ruled.

When she opened her eyes the bright likes that she faced were making her dizzy, she was hyperventilating and was crying rivers, her heart was going to make a hole in her chest if it kept beating like this.

"Jon, I...the baby...it's gone." She said, sweat clinging onto her body and every breath more painful than the other.

As painful as the stab she felt on her womb, she can still feel it. The pain that wasn't there in her nightmare was now making it's way to her body.

"Rest, it was only a bad dream. Our baby boy is perfect, you're perfect." He was right, it was a bad dream.

They didn't stop.

She's been in the hospital for a week now, the doctors were worried that she could still miscarriage so they kept so they could keep an eye on her. She's afraid of closing her eyes, knowing that when she does the dream will return. It's always the same, she knows it's not real, that Jon would never do something like that and that her baby, a boy as she found out a few days ago, is fine still it haunts her all the same, it's like her body is betraying her, as if it's trying to warn of something she knows it's impossible. Jon will remain at her side as he's been for this past week, only leaving to take a shower and make sure the children - who were with Sam and Gilly and now are with her parents - are doing well.

Sansa is certain that she looks like a mess yet somehow Jon even manages to look worst, there are dark circles under his eyes and he can't barely open them, his beard is unkept and his cheeks hollow, it looks like a ghost of the man she once knew and it's not because he hasn't slept. She knows that he feels guilty for what happened, there's something whispering in his hear that he's a failure like it did when he was nothing more than a boy, everytime she looks into his eyes all she can see is anger, they're so dark because of it, he wants to go after Ygritte but she won't allow it. The last time she almost lost her baby if Jon is to go to her, Sansa knows her body won't be able to endure that much pain, plus there's always the chance that her dream can still come through.

"I want to go home." She needs to.

This place only brings out the worst on both of them, they don't have good memories in here. Most of all Sansa wants her little girl and boy, she hasn't seen them ever since she came here, they're too young and to fragile to see their mommy like this, broken and defeated with several wires and needles hooked her body. They'll only see her smiling and laughing, they'll only know love, this place doesn't know what that is. This hospital only carries grief or maybe it's just her.

She's so tired of fighting, right now giving up seems so tempting, it's right in front of her all she has to do is reach for it. She wants to be strong as strong as she once was, back when she was child and her only fears were thunder and even then she didn't have to worry about it, there was always people that she could rely on.

Now who's coming to safe her?

Jon is as lost as her, she can see it. He's not the same.

"You will, soon enough. First you have to recover." How can I do that?

The memory of what almost happened is very much alive still, when she felt that pain in her belly she thought she was going to die, she much rather die than to lose her child. All the way from Anna's apartment to the hospital she kept crying and begging for someone to make it stop, it hurt so much, every cramp was longer and painful than the other, every minute she spent in the ambulance was one less minute her son had, she was certain that by the time they arrived he was gone. She always felt him, not physically but she knew he was there, he had a place in her heart but in that moment all she could feel was a void, a big and dark one, when her underwear became damped and her tights warm with blood she asked them to kill her instead. It was unfair to ask such a thing, she had two children and a husband at home that were very much alive and needed her yet how could she be strong and a loving mother when she couldn't even keep this child safe?

For she knows that if this baby boy were to die before even grace this world then Sansa would've died too. She was going to make sure of that herself.

It was her fault.

She was so blind with her own anger, she wanted to face Ygritte and tell her that she wasn't the same she was five years ago, that this time she wasn't going to let her take Jon away, that Emily was hers and hers only yet when she started to speak Sansa couldn't deny that each word that came out of her mouth didn't affect her, truth is seeing Ygritte damaged her more than she could ever imagine. It turned a switch in her that she couldn't turn off, as long as Ygritte stayed here in Kings Landing things will never be as they once were. There's always going to be the fear of what her presence might do.

At Winterfell that was an old lady that everyone called Nan, she used to say that our nightmares existed to warn us of what was ahead of us, it was away of preventing the worst from happening. If we could see them then maybe we could change them, most times it was too late and the stars had already written in the lines of the sky and it was only a matter of time until they completed their destiny. Sansa never believed in any of that, those were just stories, myths of old.

Now she's not sure. Maybe Nan's superstitions might not be that far off.

"Sleep now, I'll be here when you wake up." Sansa trusted in what Jon was saying and so she closed her eyes and prayed for a dreamless sleep.

For the time being I trust you, can I do that forever?

She doesn't know why she's feeling this way about him now. He did nothing wrong, she was the one who was wreckless and almost killed their baby, if someone shouldn't be trusted than that person was her. She had to learn how to put her wishes aside and be there for the ones who needed her, her family wasn't going to be a victim of her choices.

"I love you, I'm sorry for all of this." Jon said once he tought she was asleep, his voice chocked.

Don't be sorry.

She was causing him so much pain, Ygritte was right. She was selfish.

As a child she always made her brothers play the games she wanted to theirs were never good enough, as a teenager she always wanted to have the best things and sometimes was cruel to Arya, and now as an adult she's putting her needs in front of the others as well. Her need of revenge, a revenge she shouldn't be seeking.

Ygritte can only hurt her if she allows it to and unfortunately Sansa fears she's already let her in her head, there's no way she'll leave now.


 

Two days later she finally got discharged from the hospital, Doctor Brienne -who's been there ever since her first pregnancy- assured her that if she took the vitamins she was prescribed and followed her orders, each an every one of them (no stress, no heavy lifting, a few weeks without intercourse and above all no fighting of any sort) everything was going to be okay with the baby and her too. Jon who also listened to the conversation promised Brienne that he was going to make sure Sansa did everything she was told to, she was already expecting him to tie her to bed and only let her leave the house when her water breaks. Honestly it's a little bit too much, ever since that day when she almost lost the baby he's been constantly hovering around her, barely letting her do a thing, she doesn't know if it's remorse or protection. Deep down she has her answer, Jon will never change.

In a way it's sweet to seeing him care about her this much, it definitely is much more than what he did when she was pregnant with Jacob but at the same time she doesn't want him to resent himself and that's exactly what he's doing. Ever since she found out about the cheating Jon feels like every bad thing that happens in their marriage it's his fault and can't seem to get over that, he's never been good with his emotions or speaking is mind, he prefers to brood and only after Sansa begs to he finally opens up. She has a feeling that they'll have to return to therapy very soon, Ygritte is once again putting a strain on their marriage and very like the first time, she and Jon don't know how to deal with that.

The drive from the hospital to their house was spent in silence, once she was glad for it since no words could fix the damage Jon caused on their marriage but now, now is just a brutal reminder of where they were years ago and Sansa didn't want that. She wanted his smiles and his affection, mostly she wanted to ease whatever was troubling his mind.

"Jon, talk to me. What's wrong?" He probably wasn't going to say it but she asked all the same.

"Nothing, precious." She wasn't heard that nickname in years, that's how he used to call her before they started dating, somehow it gave her hope. "Things been rough lately but now were going to finally go home and rest." Perhaps that's all they need.

"Don't become a stranger." Jon told her those exact same words years ago, she said them because she's feeling so much like him at that time. Afraid of losing.

He didn't answer but squeezed her hand, it meant yes.

When they got home she was expecting to see only her parents and her children yet she found her whole family and friends there waiting for her. They announced themselves by screaming "surprise!" and throwing confetti in the air, Margaery was definitely behind this. There was a huge sign that said welcome home and balloons, flowers and even a cake, after a week locked in the hospital with just her thoughts, most of them toxic, it felt good to finally be here with the ones she loved the most, the ones who will never leave her no matter what, these people are the reason why she didn't fall and won't now, they keep her sane and give her hope for a better future, no woman no matter how strong or how bad will take this away from her. They won't let it.

Her parents flew to King's Landing just a day after she was rushed to the hospital and in just two hours after arriving her mother was already taking names, she went to Anna's apartment to see Ygritte but she wasn't there yet that didn't stop her from screaming at Anna and curse her for her family, Sansa still didn't apologize to her friend for it after all she did nothing and couldn't be blamed for her sister's actions, yet she hasn't seen Anna and it's clear she doesn't want Sansa to, she's like Jon in that sense. Blaming herself for things she had no control of.

Sansa didn't approve of her mother's behaviour but then again if that were to happen with Emily and Jacob, if someone ever puts her children in danger there's not a single soul who'll be able to calm Sansa's wrath. Thankfully her mother seem to be calmer now, she's always boiled in short water when it came to her family, she was fierce and wasn't afraid of doing a thing to protect them.

"Mommy!" Emily's voice brought her back to better days.

Her daughter got off Robb's arms and ran to her despite still being a little sore Sansa picked her up and spinned her around. No words could explain how good this felt, she was now complete.

"I missed you so much, mommy." Emily's voice was cracking and Sansa could already feel her daughter's tears on the crook of her neck.

"I missed you to, baby." Emily hugged her tighter. "Mommy's home now." And I won't leave you ever again.

"Daddy said you were sick." Jon looked once more guilty.

"I'm better now that I'm with you." She was, she no longer felt in pain or weak.

Her children were her strength.

"Me and Jacob did something for you."

She could see Jacob slowly approaching, he looked scared as if Sansa could fall ill at any moment, she kneeled on the ground and pulled him into a tight hug and promised she wasn't going away, he seemed to be more at ease after that. He handed her a sheet of paper with a drawing in it, it was Sansa, Jon, Jacob and Emily and the new baby all in with looked like an amusement park with their hands hold, there was a puppy as well, they've always wanted one and this was their way of asking for it again, for Sansa it was the most beautiful thing she's ever layed eyes on it, gently she traced the words around it we love you mommy get better soon, it was Jacob's hand writing but the glitter all over it was Emily's work.

"Mommy loves you two so, so, so much." She hugged her children again and could see Jon smiling a little.

"It's good to see you, Sansa. It's been a week right?" Arya who was at her side now said with a chuckle, that got her a stern glare from their mother.

After the little stunt she pulled in the hospital it was a miracle Arya wasn't arrest, she not only assaulted a nurse but also disguised herself as a doctor. Sansa was against this sort of behaviour but Arya was the first person she saw that day who made her feel safe at last, the way they hugged each other then was different from all the interactions they've had in their life, when Arya was dragged outside by the security Sansa actually opposed to it and almost rip out her IV to prevent them from taking her sister away.

Robb and Talissa also hugged her and told her how much they've missed her even tough they came to see her everyday. She was so lucky in having a close family like this, it made her feel bad for Anna. That girl didn't have no one to care for her this way, Sansa did but it would never be the same and just the thought of that was enough to make her want to cry. Perhaps if she and Ygritte had a different childhood things could've been so different, perhaps Ygritte wouldn't turn out the way she did and none of this would've happened, that's why Sansa always strived to make sure her marriage was stable and she and Jon were in a good place so that their children didn't pay the price of it later on.

And that's why she has to try and talk to Jon.


 

"So have you thought about any names now that you know you're having a boy?" Maergery asked once everyone told what they wanted to say.

Apparently they were having a barbecue so all the men were outside grilling, she could hear Robb and her father talking loudly about their grilling skills or lack thereof, Jon was with them too but probably was silent in a corner. She was sitting in her living room with her mother, her sister, Tallisa, Gilly and her best friend Margaery, they took advantage of the situation since everybody was joined in the same room and were having a makeshift baby shower.

"It's still early to be thinking about that." She said in a small voice.

Honestly she was still scared for this pregnancy.

Her hands wouldn't leave her belly, constantly searching for some kind of movement, it was all okay yet she couldn't find it in herself to believe that, her first pregnancy was a living hell why would this one be any different?

"I agree with you. I never named my children before their birth, I always had to look at their face before knowing how they were going to be called." Her mother said in a sweet and wishfull tone.

"And still you named one of them Rickon." The moment Arya said that everyone bursted into laughter, all but her mother.

It was truth that they gave him a hard time for his name, mainly Arya and Robb. Sansa liked it just fine, it was different. Maybe she'll do the same about this baby, there are so many names out there that are pretty and exotic.

"I think I'll follow Catelyn's advice on that." Talissa just spoke.

Wait what?

"Truly? Are you..." Her mother was already about to cry. Talissa only nodded.

Everyone congratulated her, they were all excited. Sansa couldn't join them and so she left to her room with the pretense that she was going to use the bathroom.

It wasn't that she was unhappy for her brother, this pregnancy clearly wasn't planned but she knew Robb was probably over the moon and would be an amazing father, just like their own. Tallisa was the love of his life and they were perfect for each other, everyone could see that. Sansa was sad for herself, Talissa was going to have a good pregnancy and a supporting husband to hold her trough all those rougher days, Robb was going to shower with love and kisses, he was going to make these nine months the best of her life. Sansa didn't have any of that.

Her first pregnancy she was all by herself, no one held her hair when she was sick in the morning, no one massaged her back and feet when they were aching, when she was in the hospital fighting to not lose her baby Jon was at some bar. Now it's different, he's there and he's making and effort yet she can't put that behind her and she never told no one about it, that's one thing she won't say in therapy or to him. Jon already had so many insecurities about being a dad, Sansa doesn't want to add another one to it, he's learned and he's changed and now he's a better father than most and definitely a better one than before.

The arrival of Ygritte unleashed all of those memories that were hidden deep inside her where they couldn't hurt, they were always there but she learned to accept them and they had become a companion, a reminder of what they were and what they became. Those memories allowed her to change, to see past her grieve and do everything in her power not to relive them again. She wasn't expecting to be blindsided by Ygritte, it was so fast and so sudden that Sansa couldn't prevent the fall.

"Sansa?" A knock on her door brought her back. It was Gilly's voice.

"Come in." Her friend must've noticed something. Gilly knew how to read Sansa like a book.

Margaery was her best friend and Sansa trusted her with her life and even the life of her children yet when it comes to her marriage there's only one person she can opened up, Gilly. She met her during a party at Jon's office, she was is best friend's wife and was already a mother, the two of them sat together and Sansa who was pregnant and seeking advise quickly became friends with her. Gilly helped her a lot in those months when Jacob came home and Sansa didn't have the nurses to rely on no more, she was full of doubt and afraid that she would turn out to be a failure but Gilly showed her otherwise, she made Sansa realise that when it comes to parenting there's never a straight answer and that everyone adapts differently. Gilly was more of a sister than anything, sometime she could even be a mother to her.

"Are you feeling okay?" She wasn't talking about the baby.

"No, I feel terrible." There was no point in lying. "I can't stop thinking about that damned woman and what she'll do. I saw it her eyes, she won't stop until she gets what she came for." She cried, she just wants her gone.

"Then give her what she wants." She couldn't believe Gilly said something like that.

"Are you serious?! Gilly I-"

"Let Emily decide. She loves you and you're her mother, when she meets with Ygritte she won't feel what she does with you, she won't be able to see her as the person you've always been to her. Ygritte will see it too, I don't know her but as a mother all I want is for my son to be happy, she'll want the same too." Gilly had a point.

Emily might actually feel something for Ygritte after all they have a connection and she's her birth mother but she won't ever want to leave her family and her brother behind, even if she's just five she won't make that choice. Sansa knows her daughter too well, and if Emily decides to go with Ygritte then it's Sansa's fault. Then she wasn't a good mother at all.

"Another thing, don't be too hard on him." Gilly was talking about Jon. "He has his own way of dealing with these things, I saw how he was the day you...he loves you and if something were to happen then there would be no more Jon Snow, you're a part of him. You gave us a mighty scare, Jon still hasn't recovered, right now he needs time and patience." 


 

That same night she was laying in bed with him, in here in the safety of their room with nothing but themselves Jon was closer, he was holding her and cradling her small bump in both of his hands, he always slept shirtless but he's body felt on fire.

"I missed having you here in my arms." She was holding her tears, they never did nothing good.

But she couldn't keep quiet.

"I wouldn't have noticed by the way you've been acting." Jon gave a long an pained sigh.

"I'm sorry." He was never good with his words but still that was so little.

Such a common thing to say

"I've been thinking and I've come to the conclusion that Gilly is right."

"What did she say?"

"We need Ygritte to leave otherwise we'll never recover, maybe if she meets Emily again for just one time...maybe she'll go." Behind her Jon tensed, his hands left her belly.

Suddenly she was cold.

"I'm her father too, I have a saying in it as well. Emily won't leave this house to meet that woman, she'll go away when she realises we won't let her have her way." His voice was firm and irritated.

"Jon, pl-"

"Sansa, it's been a long day for both of us. Let's sleep, we'll talk in the morning." He turned his back on her.

But they didn't talk, next morning she woke up alone in bed.

Where are you?

Chapter Text

Jon Snow

17 years ago

He didn't sleep at home, he rarely did and honestly that wasn't a good or a bad thing. Jon simply didn't care if his father was at home or not, he's probably with another woman by now, yet not everyone shares his feelings, Elia certainly didn't. When Raeghar is not at home she can't shout at him, she can't rub the past on his smug face (maybe that's why he's never around in the first place) so she redirects her anger to someone else, him.

It's no secret that Elia hates him, she never lost an opportunity to tell him that to his face, Jon his the bastard son of a woman Rhaegar's been with while Elia was at home planning their weeding, that same woman whose name was Lyanna Snow died and just two months after his honeymoon Rhaegar found himself with a baby boy at his door. Somehow he didn't abandon him but Jon wished he had at least then he wouldn't have to deal with none of this.

"Ms.Targaryen should I serve dinner or do you want to wait for your husband to get home?" One of the maids asked.

Sometimes it felt like these women did it on purpose to provoke her since she would so often treat them as nothing more than objects. It wasn't always like this, Jack who was the family chauffeur and the only one who treated him with respect, once told Jon that Elia was sweet and kind and that she loved Rhaegar with all of her heart, the years of lying and cheating took a toll on her and that woman disappeared, now all that remains is someone cruel and bitter, someone who's miserable with her life so she makes sure everyone is the same. He felt pity for her, his mother went through the same and she even faced a much worse fate, Raeghar did it. He destroyed both of them and if Jon allow it he would do the same for him.

"I'm not hungry, make sure the children eat and then give the leftovers to the dogs or share it amongst yourselves. I don't care." She got up and went to her study, which was really her room since she and his father haven't shared a bed in years. But before she did something else. "You, come with me."

Jon didn't disobey, it was going to be worst if he did. She's always finding new ways to hurt him, not physically but sometimes words hurt more than any slap or punch he might receive.

Just like her the study was cold, black and white were the only colours he could see, it was pretty and decorated with all of the best, from leather sofas and cushions, to animal skin on the floor, there used to be a big picture of their wedding day above her fireplace, Elia got rid of it the same way she did with all the pictures she was in with Rhaegar, Jon saw them once and he could see the happiness in her then. His father took that away from her. Now she rarely smiles, not even for Aegon and Rhaenys.

"Read this." She threw a flyer at him. Golden Company military school, he read it to himself.

"What's this?" He doesn't know why he asked, not when it's so obvious what she wants.

"I want you gone. You're fourteen, it's time to be a man and this school is exactly what you need. You lack discipline, let them to what they do best on you."

"No, I'm not going." It was the first time he's ever talked back.

Elia smirked and got up from her chair.

"Your finally showing the little ungrateful you are. For fourteen years you lived in a mansion, had people cook and clean for you, most boys in your situation end up in places far worst, you have the life of a king. Now it's time to face the real world, you've been a leach for far too long already."

"You don't like it but I'm his son too, I have as much right as any of my sibl-"

Slap

Jon fell to the ground with the force of the slap, he tasted blood on his tongue and above him Elia was panting.

"You're nothing! No one cares about you, do you honestly think that your father would lose a night's sleep if you were to leave? Who do you think had this idea?" He hated is father yet the fact that he wanted to Jon to leave still hurted more than he cared to admit.

"You'll never be good enough to be part of  this family, I won't have my children be denied from what's their right because of a bastard. No one loves you, no ever will. I pity the poor soul that falls for you, you're just going to make her suffer as you do with everyone already, because that's what you enjoy the most." Tears were falling down his cheeks. From pain and not the one on his cheek.

"I hate you, Jon Snow." Snow, never Targaryen.


 

Present day

"Give me...another one." He said with a slurred speech.

"That's enough already man, go home. It's still early." The bartender said. Jon wanted to punch him, the pity on his face was too visible.

But he was right, it was early. Ten in the morning and he's already lost count on how many times he's glass has been refilled.

"Just this one then I'll go, I promise." The man gave in, what was another one anyway?

Jon used to drink to forget now he's doing it to get some courage. It's been awhile since he's been here, drinking, his sponsor would've been so proud of him. He needs to calm down and scotch always had that desired affect on him and was helping already, he was still mad but at least now he won't kill no one.

Jon: We need to talk, in person. It's best this way.

Ygritte: Come to my hotel room, I'm always available for friends ;-).

He's read that text too many times by now. He has to end this, she has to go if he and Sansa are to have an opportunity to fix all the damage Ygritte's already caused. He has to stop being a coward and man up, Sansa needs him to, his children as well. His phone keeps buzzing, Sansa, she has been trying to get an hold of him for hours now yet Jon ignores all of her calls and doesn't even read her text messages, if he does then he'll just go back home and he can't, he was to make sure Ygritte knows where her place his and that's not in his or his daughter's life.

When he was a child he never understood why Elia hated him so much, he didn't ask to be born or to spend half of his life in her presence, he was just an orphaned baby whose father didn't care and whose mother had died before he could even open his eyes. Now he can see why, why Elia was so hateful and his father so cruel. It's happening now in his life, Sansa will never mistreat Emily nor will she be like that woman who he always wished could've loved him but Jon couldn't say he wasn't becoming his father because then that would be a lie. Rhaegar spent his nights away from home drinking, gambling, fucking, he loved that and now Jon he's going on that same path. His wife almost lost a baby and here he is, his kids are scared for everything that happened and yet he's here in some crappy bar.

You're nothing, words that he used to hear daily make their way back onto his mind.

He shouldn't be driving, not in his state at least, yet if something happens, if his hands lose the wheel Jon doesn't care about the outcome. Let him die maybe that's the silver lining they all need, a life without him in it. Who knows, maybe Sansa remarries again, she's still young and beautiful, she's still hasn't been corrupted by him, he doesn't know why she keeps forgive him, it would be so much easier if she didn't, then he could leave knowing that she won't suffer but she will. Sansa loves him and he hates himself for it, for being the one who took her heart and made it his but along the way forgot how to take care of it. Of her.

He hates himself because he knows that if she had to go deep down he won't let that happen, he's not giving her a choice, he's not letting her live or see that there are others who are far better than him, any other man would be at home with her now and not on his way to see the woman he once had sex with.

You're going to make her suffer.

Maybe Elia was right all along, maybe she cursed his faith. He wouldn't be surprised if she did.

Aegon's hill hotel. It looked fancy, five star. It definitely was far different than the cheap motel he's once been with her.

As he got in the elevator to go to her penthouse he couldn't stop shaking.

It's this a déjà vu?

He doesn't want it to be, he can't fall in her arms once more or maybe he will then Sansa wouldn't have any other choice but to leave, that's what he deserves. Four years in therapy and he hasn't learned a damn thing, all that was said inside those four walls gone like his marriage, he was happy, they were happy but then Ygritte appeared and with her problems he never handled, he just chose to forget hoping that he would never had to relieve them, that ended weeks ago. He doesn't know how to cope, he never did. Sansa is the one who always had all the answers, Jon could always rely on her, he didn't have to worry about a thing. That's wrong and he knows it.

DING

The elevator doors opened, just a few feet and he would be at her door. The distance was short yet it felt like was walking through a never ending desert, it was hot and he was sweating bullets, his head was spinning, chest was heaving, he was going to pass out.

He didn't even had to knock on the door, probably the receptionist told Ygritte he was coming. He's here to make her go back, she doesn't belong in Kings Landing.

She was wearing a black see trough nightgown, her lingerie was black was well with lace details, he didn't want to but yet found his eyes lingering at her body, she was smirking and waving her long wavy red hair, her makeup was done, red lips and a smoky eye. Everything about her was to make him fall at her feet, he wasn't going to, he couldn't.

"It's already too late for breakfast but can I get you something? You've always liked sweets didn't you?" She said in a sultry voice, making her way inside while swaying her hips seductively.

He took a deep breath, he and Sansa haven't been close in a while and it was getting hard to keep his eyes away from Ygritte.

"I want you to leave."

"Your the one who's in my room." She got his meaning, she chose not to listen.

"You're destroying my marriage, you almost killed my son and you want to take away my daughter! I should kill you for that but I won't if go. Don't test my patience." Ygritte bursted into laughter as if he told a joke.

She was pouring a glass of champagne but stopped and removed her nightgown, only staying in her lingerie, stockings and high heels. She was walking towards him, lust filling her eyes.

"I'm the bad witch who's making Jon and pretty Sansa mad." Ygritte was making a childlike voice while stomping her feet on the floor.

"You're a bitch." His tone was low and raspy, he was holding back knowing that otherwise he would do something bad to her, he was going to hurt her.

"I am. Maybe that's what you need after all, Sansa is a beauty but she's much too proper. She probably just lays on her back quiet while you fuck her, doesn't make a sound not to disturb the children, you do all the work. You need a real woman, snow. You need me." She whispered in his ear.

"I need you to leave!" He said it so loud that the sound echoed.

Jon pushed her before she could grab him and Ygritte fell on the bed but didn't stay there much longer. She got up and kept smiling, grinning actually.

"We've only been together once but you and me Snow, we're far from strangers." Ygritte was getting close, their noses were almost touching and she had a hand on his cheek.

Jon shouldn't have drink that much, it was getting hard to react.

"Let go of me, you just want to get back at Sansa." It was her plan all along.

"Maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong. I might actually care for you or I'm just a very horrible person, let's find out." She said with a smirk.

Suddenly he felt her lips against his, his mind went blank and when Jon came back to his senses he was already on his back on the hotel bed with Ygritte on top of him, she looked like a woman starving, she was biting his neck and scratching his chest and grinding furiously against his crotch, his body had a mind of it's own and Jon could feel an erection growing in his pants, and he realised he was giving in, his hands were grabbing her ass and he was actually encouraging her movements. Ygritte was moaning loudly now.

"That's it. Fuck me, I now you want to." Her hands went to his zipper.

No!

Suddenly her face was gone and all he could see was Sansa but this wasn't her. Her kisses were always soft and gentle whilst Ygritte's were angry and painful, she always whispered words of love in his heard, Ygritte was saying obscenities, her touch was cautious, Ygritte's was all over the place. This woman on top of him was gorgeous and he couldn't deny that his body was reacting to her but she wasn't Sansa, no one was. Sansa was his wife, he couldn't forget that, she loved him and he loved her, that was the right thing, it's always been the right thing. Without her Jon wasn't Jon, just a ghost. He could give in and find some comfort in what Ygritte was offering but then who would comfort Sansa?

I'm worth something and you won't suffer.

He was going to prove them wrong.

At once he flipped Ygritte over so he could be the one on top, she kept smiling but that vanished when she felt both of his hands around her neck squeezing the life out of her.

She was getting red in the face, her hands were clawing his face but he felt nothing, there were tears at the corner of her eyes, Jon's vision was blurring because of his too. His grip kept getting firmer.

"Why did you have to come back?! We were fine!"

Rhaegar, Elia, the maids, Catelyn Stark, his co-workers, all kept appearing in front of him. Shouting, cursing, all were judging him.

"Monster...coward...drunk...you're no good..."

He couldn't stop hearing them. He came face to face with his true self, they were just stating a fact, every word that came out of their mouths was the hard and cold truth.

He was squeezing harder, his hands were aching and below him Ygritte was putting less of a fight, she was slipping through his fingers, she was in a crossroad, Jon  just had to give one final push and she was gone.

"Don't do this. You're good."

Sansa?

Her voice was so clear that for a second he thought she was in that room with them.

Hearing her voice and the gentleness in it made him stop. He couldn't go trough with this, that wasn't him.

He let go of Ygritte, got off the bed and made to the door. His feet dragging themselves, he was exhausted physically and mentally, he felt like every single person in the planet had just throwned a punch at him.

Ygritte was still on her back and gasping for air.

"Bast-...I'll kill you!!! You... I'm taking you...to prison!"

Good, I'm a danger to myself.


 

"Jon?! Where are you son of a bitch?! Everyone's looking for you!" Davos shouted on the phone.

"I..." He didn't know. "Flea bottom, maybe. It looks like it."

"Stay there, I'm coming!"

From Ygritte's hotel to here where he's now it's one big blurr, he doesn't know how he got here in this alley, it's pouring rain and there's a bottle of whisky at his hands, it's empty. How many did he had?

It's dark and smells of piss and shit and he's shivering, this is probably what the bottom looks like and Jon finally reached it.

Ever since he can remember Jon always enjoyed drinking, at college he did it at parties and then when he moved in with Sansa it slow down a bit but there were still times where the two of them would get drunk just because they felt like it, Sansa drank to ease some tension and to have fun and she usually did once or twice a year, Jon however drank because he enjoyed the felling that it gave him, like he was indestructible and he had his own world where he was king and did as he pleased, four years in the AA seemed to do nothing to change his ways. He still drinks the only difference is that he now feels like shit, he always feels that way and not even alcohol can help him right now. He never liked the alcoholic or addict but that's what he is and there's no sugar coating.

The man he just called, Davos Seaworth, has been his sponsor and the closest thing he has to a father, his own one might be dead for all he cares. Davos as been sober for 27 years and never relapsed once, Jon can't even reach the mark of four years. Davos has a tough love method, he says things the way they are and not the way Jon wished they could be, he's probably going to slap the crap out of him in a few minutes, it wouldn't be a first. That man is a real man, has been married for 29 nine years, has a bunch of kids and grandkids and he's everyone role model. He used to be a thief but those days are long gone.

It felt like forever but finally Davos showed, he was looking angry and relieved at the same time but Jon couldn't miss that little hint of disgust in his eyes. He's been getting that look from a lot of people lately.

Davos sat next to him on the ground, Jon felt bad because it was raining and cold and Davos didn't have to be here. Unlike him he has his life all figured out.

"Wanna talk?" He always started like this.

"No." Jon said what he always did.

They weren't strangers to this ritual by now, he needs time and Davos will give him that. It doesn't matter if it's five minutes or five hours. He would be willing to spend the night here if necessary.

"I should be better at this by now." Jon finally spoke after a while.

They were both drenched at this point.

"Well, then I would be out of a job." The two of them actually shared a laugh. Davos had that ability to make people smile at the worst times of their lifes.

"You always make it look so easy." Jon said in a pained tone.

Why was it so fucking hard?

Davos tought about it for a while before answering.

"It's not, that's why so many relapse. But that doesn't matter, what's important is how you get back from it. You can chose this or you can change. What do you want Jon?" That's a good question.

Right now he wanted a bath, a warm meal and sleep. Tomorrow however his choice was different.

"Sansa, my kids, my life back." Yes, that's was pretty much it.

But will they want the same?

"Then you know what you have to do."

"Castle black, right" He's heard that name before. It's a rehab facility up North, it's an isolated place and the only away to reach it is by chopper.

It's one of the best in Westeros, Jon never wanted to go, he always refused when Davos mentioned it. His drinking wasn't that serious, there was no need for such thing. Times change.

"Their doors are always open. It's helped many over the years and it's going to help you too. It's not going to be perfect, there are going to be times that you'll want to kill someone, you'll be in pain and alone but I guarantee that a few years from now on when you're old and grey with your wife at your side and your children all grown up, you'll see that all the sweat, blood and tears was worth it. You're not doing this for yourself."  Davos placed a hand on his shoulder.

No he wasn't, Jon was doing this for their future.


 

He left the house at the crack of dawn and now only at nighttime he was making his way back. Sansa should be resting, Brienne warned them of the risks, but because of him she was doing it all by herself. If something happened to the baby now he couldn't blame it on Ygritte.

It was silent, lately whenever he was around all laugher died down, he didn't fit in here not now at least, he needed help and he was getting it before it's too late, before Sansa sees the real him.

When he arrived at their room she was still awake, it was late and she should be sleeping, yet here she was awake and cold, there were so many covers around her, her hair was still wet at the ends and he didn't miss the way her face looked blotchy and her eyes red and swollen.

Great, you asshole.

Sansa was reading a maternity book, there was no need for it since she was the best mother he knew, he was the one who didn't know how to be a decent father.

You're truly his son.

"Jon! Where were you? I was worried sick!" She said when he made his presence known.

She ran out of the bed and into his arms.

He gave in to her embrace because he had no idea when he would be able to do it again. He was afraid she could smell Ygritte's scent on him, he was going to tell her the truth this time. Ygritte will want revenge and what better way than to tell Sansa what happened?

"Would you you leave me?" He asked while she was still holding him.

She moved a bit so she could face him.

"Why would I...Jon you're not making any sense."

"Just as I thought." She frowned and her lips were quivering. "Luckily you won't have to make that choice, I'll leave." He didn't want to.

But he said it before anyway, before he could regret or become scared.

"No, you can't leave now. Jon were going to have a baby," and he needs me, but I'm not me. "we have children to care for. What are you thinking? I know we're not okay but-"

"I kissed Ygritte and we almost had sex again." She couldn't be with him after that, that's why he said it.

"That's what you want me to believe. You promised!" There was so much her voice was carrying, most of all betrayal.

Maybe now she'll open her eyes and she the piece of shit Jon Snow, because he wasn't fit for the Targaryen, is.

"To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part. Those are just some of the many promises I made in my life, you should know by now that I'm not a man of my word."

Chapter Text

Maergery Tyrell

Shit! It's still too early for her phone to be buzzing and Maergery hasn't yet recovered from last night, she went out with Arya and that ended up by being the recipe for disaster, that girl must've some kind of gift sent from God 'cause she didn't seem to get drunk. After eight tequila shots Margaery was ready to puke her guts on the sidewalk, Arya was just getting started, they went to every bar in King's Landing or at least that's what it felt like and then to top it all off Arya dragged Maergery's drunk ass to some nightclub she's never been before, it's a miracle how she got home alive, that and Gendry who was Arya's "his not my boyfriend, we just have sex", he didn't drink often and because he was driving last night he didn't at all, he was the one who made sure she didn't got ran over by a car when she had the bright ideia of running around in the middle of the street, he was also the one who held her hair while she made him stop the car so she could throw up, Arya was just laughing at her.

Maergery was getting to old for this, four months ago she turned thirty and going out and get drunk at least once a month it's not as appealing as before, maybe it's time to settle down get a husband and some children. Deep down she isn't ready for that, there's still time and she wants to live this next few years knowing that no matter what she does she's free to do it and no one is expecting something from her, because the moment she becomes a mother she will change drastically, just not yet.

Right now even before unlocking her phone she knows who's texting her and what the contents of those messages are. There's a marching band inside of her head and a rollercoaster in her stomach but she hopes some coffee and aspirin will do the trick. There's someone who needs her.

Arya: Good morning, bitch! It's time to put our plan into use, she's not getting any better.

By she, Arya meant Sansa and that wasn't surprising at all. Actually that's why she and Arya met up yesterday but they got distracted and drunk, still Maergery hasn't forgot what they said.

It's been two weeks since Jon "no good" Snow left for rehab, it's a good thing that he's actually making an effort in getting sober since he never quit drinking in the first place, her brother owns a bar and he would see Jon often with quite a few empty beer bottles in front of him. The thing is Sansa hasn't been doing okay with that, God knows why but she misses him and has isolated herself from her family and friends because of it, they used to talk at least two times a day on the phone and once every three days Maergery would show up at her house, Sansa doesn't want any of that. Now the only people that go to her home are Gilly and her parents and it's only to help with the kids, Sansa just sits quiet on the couch. She went through depression once and that nearly was the end of her.

Maergery hates herself for not being there during that time, she and Sansa weren't good because Maergery cut ties with her suddenly, that probably only made her best friend feel worst. If some guy ever decide to cheat on her, Maergery will probably hire someone to kick is ass and never see that person again, that's always how she felt about that so the fact that Sansa went and forgave Jon and also decided to raise his unlegitimate daughter was hard to swallow. Now she knows that it wasn't the right thing to do, Sansa made her choice, one she didn't agree with but one that she should've accepted. Maergery has done some pretty sketchy decisions when it comes to her love life (Joffrey "I like watching cats die online" Baratheon) and Sansa always supported her. Sansa is a saint and this world doesn't deserve her.

Margery: I'll do my part of the deal, you better work on yours. See ya tonight xo.

Arya: I'm on it.

Maergery: Robb, aren't you gonna be a daddy? Great, see this as a practice run and take care of your nephews. Sansa is unavailable today.

Maergery loved Sansa's kids as if they were her own and it was nice being with them all day, Jacob sometimes could be smarter than her and Emily wanted to be her, she was always asking Maergery to do makeup on her (Sansa doesn't allow it but she does it anyway) but for as good as that might sound Sansa desperately needs some fun of her own and what better way than a girls night out, hopefully Arya doesn't come up with something too reckless.

She got out of bed and took a shower, she didn't take one last night when she arrived and as soon as she saw her reflection on the mirror she almost had a panic attack, her fake eyelashes were now glued to her forehead, her eyeliner was smudged all over her face so was her lipstick and her hair was a tangled mess.

Well, at least it was fun.

The headache not so much but nothing that a strong cup of coffee couldn't fix, at least she hoped it would.

She dressed warm because it was Winter, God she hated this season, there was nothing good about it and she couldn't wear dresses as she loved to.

She got inside her SUV, a present from her grandmother last year, and made her way to Sansa's place, she didn't call saying she was coming over if she did Sansa would just come up with some excuse as to why today wasn't a good day. She probably will do that anyway and most likely will be mad at the fact that Maergery has a spare key to her house, she didn't of course. This one belonged to Arya but she gave her last night while they were still sober and not making fools of herselfs.

After a twenty minutes drive Sansa's house finally came in sight, it reminded her of those perfect little houses she would see on TV when she was a child and her grandmother sat with her watching classic shows. She misses her family and Sansa is the closest thing she has to that in Kings Landing, she can't lose her. Her brother Loras also lives here but Maergery knows he's fine so she doesn't worry much about him, she can't say the same for Sansa.

Slowly not to scare anyone and also because the kids can be sleeping or something Margaery put the key on the locked and rotated, she almost cried when she saw what was going on.

Where's the Sansa I and everyone loves?

Jacob was sitting on the floor making a puzzle and Emily, as usual, was at his side with her eyes glued to what he was doing and handing him the pieces she thought might fit, above them Sansa was sitting on the couch in her pajamas, her hair was missing the shine it always had, her face was too pale and her eyes were puffy and sad, she was holding her wedding album and there were already tears staining her cheeks. It broke her heart, this woman was once a fighter now she's...

Maergery doesn't want to use that word because it doesn't fit with Sansa but right now she looks almost pathetic and that makes her angry. He did that, he placed her in the sky and let her fall without warning, he took a sweet and caring boarder line naïve girl and made her become this empty shell of a person she is now. Maergery should've stopped it, she knew about his reputation, Sansa never went to parties but Maergery did, Jon was quite the drinker already and would explode over the smallest thing, she even saw him break someone's jaw once, he was violent and possessive, no one could look at Sansa without having Jon making death threats, she witnessed it, she heard it, she was there yet did nothing to make Sansa leave him while they were still at college and the stakes weren't as high as they are now but she couldn't, she wanted it but as soon as she saw the look on Sansa's face and the way she talked about Jon, she realised she was happy and most of all that she was in love. How could she put a stop to that?

"Aunty Marge!" Emily was the one who noticed her presence.

She was already running in her direction and Sansa dropped that damned album and tried to wipe her face, there was no point of doing it since her distress was written all over not only her face but the house as well, Sansa always took pride in keeping things organized and clean, right now she couldn't say that, there were clothes and toys all scattered around and the sink was full of dirty plates, glasses and utensils, Sansa couldn't to all the work not in her state, her pregnancy was already risky as it was, Jon should be here. He's getting help but not his wife, she's alone once more and actually she's acostumed herself with that reality. Maergery will make sure she's here for her, she can always take a few days of work after all her father is her boss, he won't mind and her grandmother will shut him up if he tries to say something.

"Oh my little ladybug, I've missed you!" She said while hugging her honourary niece.

"Emily, can you and Jacob give mommy and aunt Maergery a moment?" Sansa asked, still not facing her.

After giving her a kiss, Jacob left the room and took a very disapproving Emily with him.

"Maergery? How...what are you doing here?" Sansa said in a hurried tone, already up and trying to fix the house.

"Your sister gave me the key. I know it's wrong and an invasion of privacy but I'm worried about you."

"There's no need for that. I'm good." Everything told her otherwise specifically her voice, it was so low and almost afraid.

"How are things going?" She wasn't going to get an honest response but she asked nonetheless.

"I got a phonecall from Jon yesterday." He even had the audacity. "He says he's doing great but he's not, that place is so cold and dark, only ice and silence." That's what he deserves.

Maergery chose not to talk about it, it was only going to make Sansa sad and ruin what could be a perfect day for her. She wanted to say her true feelings about Jon, after what he did with Ygritte he should rot in hell, he cheated on his wife again and now was nowhere to be found do deal with the consequences.

That's why she doesn't want to fall in love, it's tempting to find your person, your place, to start a family and grow old next to the one you love, but then again being in love means doing anything for your significant other, isn't that scary?

"You've been stuck in this house for days and I know for a fact that Doctor Brienne said you needed fresh air once in awhile. Let's go out, let's do something." Maergery put her puppy dog eyes to use but Sansa still looked so unsure.

"The kid-"

One thing about her, she's stubborn and just like this rain Maergery won't go away. She cut Sansa off before she could finish speaking.

"Your brother Robb is on his way to take care of them, he's offered to babysit while we, drum roll please, go shopping." Maergery said excitedly, she always had fun shopping and this time she's on a mission.

Sansa needs a makeover asap, most of her clothes are outdated and bland, jeans and fleece sweaters or plain t-shirts in the summer are the only thing in her closet, Sansa hasn't bought new clothes ever since Jacob was born and Maergery knows this because that was the last time they went out shopping. If she looks like a princess then she'll feel as one, Sansa is absolutely dead gorgeous but she forgot about that, it's been forever since she's put on any sort of makeup or actually took some time to take care of her appearance, she's only thirty and Maergery can already spot some grey hairs on her.

"I can't, th-"

"I won't take a no for an answer, you should know me better by now. Come on Sansa, when was the last time you had time?" Maergery said and that did something to Sansa.

She could see her thinking about it and finally after almost a full minute in silence Sansa spoke.

"I'll go only if I can make it home for dinner time." Maergery nodded like a kid who had just won his weight in candy, she didn't tell Sansa the truth about what they were going to do later.

Sansa left to go and get change, by the time she was done Robb had already arrived. He wasn't that happy about spending his Saturday off babysitting but when Emily started to call him her hero he melted and in no time was pretending to be a night for his niece while Jacob was the dinosaur chasing them. She wasn't sure how knights, princesses and dinosaurs went together but they were all laughing and that was what mattered the most, and seeing them all like that reassured Sansa that she had nothing to worry about, Robb was a decent guy and he loved children, Maergery actually once had a crush on him.

After Sansa said goodbye to her kids as if she was about to leave town for good (they already miss their dad, it can't be easy for them) they finally made their way to the mall.

"I've already set us up in my favourite hair salon, were getting also a mani and pedi and were going to do something about that wardrobe of yours." Maergery said while driving.

"Marge, I have two children I can't go splurge whenever I feel like it." Sansa said looking at the window, no doubt thinking about him.

She was getting her maternity leave payment and Jon was also still receiving his paycheck but it was truth that they couldn't afford to have a luxurious lifestyle, specially now that Jon is away and his money was cut short. Yet Maergery was single and didn't have to worry about buying groceries for a family of four, so she actually already payed for almost everything.

"Good thing I'm offering then." She said to Sansa who just shook her head and was about to ask her to turn around.

Sansa has always been too proud, when Jacob was born and she and Jon moved to the house they are now their finances were far from perfect and Maergery wanted to help but she and Sansa were mad at each other, even if she managed to lend her some money as she wanted to that money would go back. The Starks biggest flaw was their stubbornness and Sansa had plenty of it.

"I don't deserve any of this." Now it was Margery's turn to get angry.

Sansa was worthy of everything life had to offer, she's been so beaten and humiliated that she doesn't believe in that anymore.

You're an ass, Snow.


 

Sansa complained the whole car ride saying she had plenty of stuff and didn't need more and that Maergery should safe up instead of spending as much as she did. Margery ignored her, this was their day and they were going to have fun, money wasn't everything in life.

Sansa is her best friend and she loves her to death but the truth is that she has kinda let herself down a little. Looks aren't everything and you don't have to wear fancy clothes 24/7 but Sansa was never like this, she and Maergery sometimes would get lost in the mall, they would get their hair and nails done, buy a bunch of clothes that probably wouldn't be used but they did it because it felt nice, sometimes they just needed a day without caring about their studies, sometimes they just wanted to wear makeup and pretty dresses just to go grab lunch, yet that doesn't happen anymore. Sansa doesn't have the time or the drive for it, now she only buys diapers, toys, animal shaped cookies, and other things the kids need (Maergery doesn't have a clue what that might be) and the only stores she goes to buy clothes have an age limit of 9 nine  years old.

She's an amazing mother and whoever doubts that has some sort of problem, there's nothing she won't do for her kids, Maergery finds that admirable, Sansa has always been better than her in that aspect, even though she loves to help people Maergery loves herself a little bit more and that's what she wants to teach Sansa. Just because she has two kids and counting that doesn't mean she has to forget herself, she can still be Sansa the loving mother while simultaneously be Sansa, just Sansa. She doesn't know how to do that but luckily Maergery is an expert on that subject and she's going to do all in her reach to show her a good time and remind her of who she still is.

They ended up by spending the majority of the day at the mall, they had lunch and then headed to the hair salon, Sansa got an haircut and did something about those horrid grey hairs, after they got their nails and toe nails done and even did their waxing (it had been a while for Sansa), then it was the best part, shopping. Maergery bought a lot more clothes then her friend despite having almost no room in her closet, Sansa wanted to keep her clothing casual and comfortable but Maergery wasn't having none of that, just because she wasn't going to wear those fancy dresses and shoes that didn't mean she couldn't buy them, it's kinda therapeutical actually, if Sansa sees those things at her closet then somehow she's going to find herself dreaming about wearing them to some sort of glam party, Maergery used to do that all the time, when she was a kid she would put on her mother's clothes and pretend she was a princess, nowadays she puts fancy clothes on and walks around the house because it gives her confidence.

Getting Sansa to buy underwear was the real challenge, she kept saying she was pregnant and none of those sexy lacy bra and panties were for her, they didn't fit that's true but Sansa wasn't going to stay pregnant forever and she needed to drop the granny panties for good, not even Olenna Tyrell wore them.

Once they finished and the backseat of her car was a sea of bags they finally left and now it was up to Arya, she sent her a text message saying she was waiting at the community center, she's never been there before and she's scared of what Arya might have come up with, they want Sansa to enjoy herself not to end up in the emergency room.

"This is not the way to my house. Where are you taking me?" Sansa asked cautiously.

"It's a surprise."

"Maergery! My kids are at home waiting for me! They already cry every night because their father, who decided to leave without thinking about us, is not there and no matter what I say or do they won't stop! I really appreciate all you've done today but I don't have your life! I can't leave whenever I want to and trust me I do! I want to go shopping more often, I want to feel free but I don't have that choice!" Sansa said with a booming voice and tears at her eyes.

She was actually relieved about this reaction from Sansa.She was finally saying what she was feeling and telling that despite of what she shows, Jon's absence is taking a toll on her as everybody suspected already. Their relationship never felt healthy, at least for Maergery, they have this codependency between each other where they can't seem to go on with life on their own, Jon is obsessed with Sansa and Sansa is terrified of losing him, she'll do everything to prevent that even losing herself along the way.

"You do have a choice! Right now I'll do whatever you ask, do you want me to turn around and take you home where Jacob and Emily are having fun with Robb and not worrying about their dad, or do you want me to keep driving so we can have a night where none of this exists, let's forget for a little bit."

"Do you promise? That I'm going to forget, I mean."

"On my honour as a girl scout" She only spent two days there because of the mosquitos but it still counted.

"Keep driving then." Sansa said and Maergery squeezed her hand and gave her a reasuring smile.

However when they arrived there Maergery was the one who wanted to turn the other way around. As soon as she got inside she saw a bunch of tables with cooking utensils and food and a bunch of people, above the door there was a paper sign that said Podrick cooking classes.

Arya was there already waiting for them with a smile, Sansa semmed pleased enough but Maergery was fuming, was she really going to spend her Saturday night cooking?

Arya greeted Sansa and the two of them chatted for a bit then Arya turned to her as Sansa was already settling in her table.

"A cooking class? That's your idea of fun?" She whispered not to be heard but she wanted to shout.

"Sansa loves to cook and I had a coupon, we all win." A coupon? Arya was just being cheap as usual.

"She cooks everyday for her kids, we might as well had stayed at her house."

"Look, she can't get drunk, she'll kill us if we take her to a strip club and I'm not going to take her to the shooting range as it was my plan and risk something happening to the baby. It's safe and we both are shit at cooking, might as well learn something" Maergery couldn't argue with that.

I guess I cook now.


 

Arya Stark

She was already regretting coming here and most people were old enough to be her parents, luckily that wasn't any over romantic couple so Sansa was going to be depressed. Arya and Maergery were already that, it's Gendry's fault, he was the one who gave her the coupon plus he's been spending so much time at her house that Arya can't focus on anything else but him, she's falling for him.

Maybe she's found the one, he's the first one that she really enjoys being around, their relationship goes deeper than sex, it feels that way. They are starting to behave as a real couple, they go out together, he cooks for her and she tries to do the same, she loves his jokes and loves making him laugh because his laughter his beautiful, she always sleeps better when he stays at her house, whenever he can't come over she's sad and doesn't know why, it always cold when he's not there. Yeah, Arya is in love.

Fuck, that's new.

Anyway she couldn't think about that now, tonight was about Sansa and her well being. Jon fucked up once more, Arya was done with forgiving that piece of shit especially after what he did with that bimbo Ygritte. Arya got her revenge with that one, she definitely won't be driving any time soon unless she fixes four busted tires, Jon is still waiting for his but Arya can't do a thing since the bastard ran away with his tail tucked firmly between his legs, leaving Sansa all by herself with two children and one on the way. If she ever sees him again she will break his jaw and kick him in the balls, he won't be thinking about sex for a long time.

Sansa was with Maergery waiting for Podrick Payne, he was a chef and taught how to cook in his free time, apparently he did a lot of charity work to help disabled children and this was one of them, Arya decided to come also because of that. Jacob's condition can be tricky for Sansa's wallet and even though their insurance helps there's a few things they don't cover and Sansa and Jon have to pay for it, Arya is here with a coupon but she'll make sure that by the end she makes a donation and asks Maergery to do the same, she's rich after all, like batman rich.

Arya went to sit next to them when Podrick showed up, he was nice looking but he was too clean for Arya, she always had a thing for bad boys and maybe that's why she hasn't found the one yet, none of those guys were worth getting to know her family, plus her mother would die if she saw them. Gendry wasn't a rebel but he could be if he wanted to and Arya knew all the right buttons to push.

"Hi everyone, welcome to my cooking class. I'm seeing some familiar faces and ones that are new, for those who are well don't be nervous of failing, cooking is all about try and error and every dish is different, we all have our techniques." She didn't even know how to toast bread. "We're going to be making homemade pizza and the winner gets a free meal at my restaurant. Let's get started." Podrick said while rubbing his hands.

Arya hated to cook but she loved to eat, even more if it was for free so she was about to turn on her MasterChef switch on, she sees a lot of TV, that's gotta be worth something.

Podrick was making his rounds to everyone's table and was now next to theirs.

"So is there a Miss Payne at home or do you have to deal with your aches all alone?" Maergery asked in a sultry voice.

Damn that girl's got game. Unfortunately they were surrounded by old people and Podrick was as red as the tomato sauce, that boy was going to pass out.

"I...take out y-your bowls, why don't we go to the next step? Okay...that's...that's good."

"I have plans after this, try not to kill the poor man. That's not how I want my TV debut to happen." No it wasn't, she rather show up on TV by being the one who killed Jon Snow.

Halfway through it, Arya spotted a familiar face face. She didn't know him, but s
he followed her on social media and was Sam's brother, his name was Dickon. Arya used to laugh about it, she still does.

"Dickon?" He turned around and smiled when he saw who she was. "Hi man! Come join us." He did.

"Hey! What a small world right?"

"Tell me about it. So, what brings you here?" She wasn't this nice to people but this was part of a plan she came up just a few seconds ago.

"I just moved out of my parents house and if I have to eat another frozen pizza I'll be hospitalised." He said sheepishly, Maergery had no idea he was there (she was more focused on Podrick) but Sansa actually giggled a bit.

This is so easy.

"I reckon you've met my sister." Arya pointed at Sansa who gave her a look but blushed when Dickon extended his hand.

"Yes! Hi Sansa, I almost didn't recognize you. How are you, his Jacob okay?" Just the fact that he still remembered her nephew's name was all the encouragement she needed.

Piss off, Jon Snow.

"He's doing great, he and my daughter Emily are both great." Sansa said shyly. She was just trying to be polite.

"Really? I didn't know you had a daughter, Sam's mentioned a little girl with that name before but I don't recall hearing him say you were pregnant. I'm new in town too so I guess I'm a little lost still." Dickon didn't do it on purpose but he made Sansa tense.

Not many people knew about Emily's birth circumstances, most thought she was actually Sansa's daughter. Sensing that her sister was very uncomfortable and that Dickon was picking it up, Arya went to the rescue.

"You know Dickon, actually we're having a bit of a competition ourselves, you see my sister is an amazing cook and she dared me and our friend Maergery to do better job than her. Why don't you join us? The loser buys us a round."

"I'd love to! I mean only if that's okay with you, Sansa." Could this guy be any sweet? Arya already had a toothache.

"Of course, that sounds good." Sansa didn't sound all that excited but she said yes and that was already a start.

"Maergery, come sit next to me."

"Why can't I be with Sansa?" Maergery was so dumb at times or maybe she was too horny.

Arya just gave her a look so she could see Dickon and Sansa who were now next to each other and talking.

"Oh! Oh, Arya you're a genius!" Duh, I know. "Now do the same with me! It gets terribly cold at night and Podrick just looks perfect to warm me up." Maergery was a master at seduction, she could do it herself but Arya wasn't going to miss this opportunity.

"I take cash only."

Turns out cooking is actually pretty fun, Maergery was trying to get Podrick's attention by making some very interesting comments, somehow she could make them food related and no one suspected a thing, she did one not long ago but that wasn't that subtle. She can still picture Sansa's outraged face.

"Now we're going to need five eggs. Which brings us to the question, what came first the chicken or the egg." Podrick said and all laughed but her, this people were old.

"Me." Maergery said in a whisper, Podrick couldn't hear otherwise they would have to cancel the class.

"Stop it! You two are embarrassing me!" Sansa tried to look mad but Arya could see the hint of a smile, just that made this whole evening perfect.

And now just minutes later,Sansa was actually grinning, she completely forgot about them two and was only talking to Dickon, he was a bad cook even worst then her and so Sansa was helping him.

She was doing it again already.

"Wait! Wait! That's too much!." She was talking and laughing about the way he was putting peppers on his pizza.

"Okay, mom. I'll stop." He said in a mocking tone that made Sansa laugh some more.

It was the most beautiful sound ever, she wasn't like that, all cheesy and with feelings but seeing Sansa this happy and care free even if just for little was making her almost cry with joy. These last two weeks Sansa has been at home crying for that asshole who didn't care about her, how could he say he loved her and then do what he did?

Sansa deserves someone different and maybe Dickon is that guy, Arya doesn't know him too well but she knows people that know people and with just two phonecalls she'll know even the name of his preschool girlfriend.

Sansa hates when people get involved in her life but she needs that one push so Arya doesn't care about the lecture she'll hear later. Sansa needs to see that she can be happy without Jon and with somebody else or even by herself, Arya is not going to force her to date Dickon obviously, but if that happens, if Sansa actually starts harvesting feelings for him everyone will support her. Jon is known for his jealousy but he can't say shit about that, it's not like he's the faithful husband who was cheated, and she knows her sister to well to know that she will never cheat on Jon, Sansa is going to make sure she asks for a divorce first even when Jon deserves no such thing. Let him go trough the same her sister went through.

"Look at them, you think they stand a chance?" Maergery asked.

"I don't know, do you?"

"He seems like a really good guy and he makes her smile but we both know to whom her heart belongs to. It's always going to be him." Maergery said with some sadness.

"She's blind, let's just hope she doesn't throw this way. Wait a second, I have a plan."

Arya left her table and made her way to Podrick's. This was going to be a good thing for Sansa and also to a bunch of children.

"Can we talk?" Arya asked and he nodded.

"There's this guy in here called Dickon, can't you make him the winner?" Podrick didn't look pleased.

"Miss, I can't do that it's not fair for everyone who's worked hard to get the award, not to mention th-"

"I'll donate five hundred bucks to charity, trust me I'm doing this for a good reason. My sister also has a child with disabilities and she's kinda going through a hard time and the kids are always the ones who suffer the most." Arya wasn't lying, they were also being hurt by all of this.

The only thing that wasn't true was the donation, she was going to do it but Maergery was paying for it.

"I really shouldn't but I get were you're coming from, and the kids are the most important. I'll give the award to your friend." Podrick was smiling so they were good.

"My friend likes you, you should talk to her later. She has a heart of gold and you'll just love her"

And that's how she's going to convince Maergery to pay for the donation.

Thirty minutes later they were done, Podrick saw all the pizzas and complemented all of them, that was just theatre, her pizza looked like shit and Maergery's one looked like a shit took a shit, Sansa's one was beautiful and Dickon's looked decent enough, thankfully, so no one could suspect this all thing was fake. When Podrick announced the winner, just as Arya already predicted Dickon invited Sansa to have dinner with him since she did most of the work, she tried to bail but Arya and Maergery didn't let that happen. So now she and Maergery are going to spend next Friday night babysitting, hopefully will be worth it, spending a whole night with Maergery whilst being sober is not an easy task, she has two moods, in love and heartbroken and Arya doesn't know which one is worst.


 

"Did or did you not enjoyed yourself?" Arya asked when they reached the parking lot, Dickon didn't live far away and went on foot despite her offering him a ride.

"I'm going to keep it to myself, otherwise you'll get all puffed up."

"I'll take that as a yes." Arya said triumphaly.

God, I'm good at this.

"Did you enjoy making pizza or was it the company?" Sansa didn't smile this time though.

"Dickon is only a friend, he's very nice and funny but he knows I'm married and with kids. I made that clear." Sansa said and didn't speak anymore afterwards.

She probably kept talking about Jon the whole time. Maybe Dickon can still pull it off and make Sansa see that she has options. Jon is in rehab but that doesn't mean he's going to come out like the Messiah, old habits die hard and he hasn't been giving a lot of reasons for people to support and trust him.

"Arya, I love you! Guess what? I'm going on a date!" Maergery was already hugging her.

Arya was definitely going to have a change in her career. Matchmaker sounded perfect to her ears.

 

Chapter Text

Jon Snow

One month in rehab

Snow, silence, isolation, despair, cold, pain. All are fittings words for this place or maybe there aren't words to describe it, perhaps this is what hell looks like, the books and TV shows show a burning place filled with the screams of lost souls, but maybe hell is cold and quiet just like Castle Black.

It's been a full month since he's arrived and everyday he wanted nothing more than to pack up his belongings and leave without a second glance back, that would be the easy path, Jon can't take that one anymore, he already knows that road by heart.

This place is horrible not because of the small and shabby looking rooms, the food that tastes bland and old, the cold that leaves him with frostbites on his nose and cheeks, the snow that makes him blind, the claustrophobic halls that are hard to breathe, or the tasks they undergo every single day from dawn to dusk, all of those things he can live with, he already expected them, he didn't came here without knowing what he was getting himself into. What's making him break is the people, men and boys all like him, with families and children that they've let down, all of them have something in common, they're sick.

Jon never admitted his addiction not even when he arrived, he came here because Davos advised him too and because he needed help, but Jon never thought that he was this bad, he always thought that he still had a chance. Only when he started to shake in the mornings, when his body began to ache and his nights were spent vomiting just like the rest of them, Jon realised that he was indeed an alcoholic. He used to look at these men and feel pity for them, he wasn't like this, but that's a lie. The truth is he needs alcohol as much as he needs air, it's become a part of him, consuming his whole body and mind, blurring the lines between right and wrong, most of all it made him lose track of what really mattered. Sansa, Jacob and Emily.

There's not a day that goes by that he doesn't think about him. It's only been thirty days but do they miss him? Are they sad or angry? Does he even have a home to return two in twelve weeks?

By the time he's done Sansa's pregnancy will be nearing it's end, Jacob will already be seven years old and Emily will probably be taller than before and so many more adventures to talk about, Sansa probably won't care for him and if that happens he can't blame her.

Right now is the worst time to be away from home, Sansa can't be dealing with her pregnancy, the kids, the housekeeping, Ygritte and all the shit he left behind alone, it's a cruel and selfish thing to do yet he did it. He keeps saying to himself that this remaining three months are necessary in order to become Jon Snow again, to restore his marriage, his sanity and his children but that's all a sweet lie to make him sleep at night, Jon ran away. There's no other word for it, he fucked up and instead of facing the world as a man he packed up a gym bag and left the morning after being with Ygritte, he decided to hide, leaving behind Sansa with tears streaming down her face while Jacob held very agitated Emily, his son was crying too but sometimes he didn't seem to have Jon Snow has his father because that little boy could display some much strength in times of distress. Their faces won't leave them, sadness and pain mingled with aversion and disdain.

A father is supposed to be strong, to protect his family from anyone who dares to hurt them, instead he has to protect his wife and children from himself, from the man he's becoming. One day they'll thank him for doing this, for getting help or for setting them free, Jon doesn't want to think about the outcome just yet. First he has to survive this place.

And that's proving to be harder than he expected, he thought he was going to rehab not the military, yet he can deny the success rate of this place so probably they're doing something right. In the end it will be worth it, he prays for that every night before going to bed.

"Wake up! The sun is shining and duty is calling!" Yoren said in his booming voice, he would do that every morning or night. Sometimes Jon couldn't tell by the darkness in the sky.

"Shut up, old man. I don't get how painting walls and shoveling snow is going to help us." Edd Tollet complained, as always.

Jon actually had become quite friends with him, he was one of the few he had in this place and they also shared a room or "the barracks" as they were so often called. There were three bunk beds in each room and unfortunately for Jon an Edd they got the worst, they had to sleep with Karl Tanner, Rast, Locke and that beast Ramsay Bolton, they didn't give a fuck about treatment and would sneak out alcohol into the room somehow. Ramsay was the worst, he was always sporting a grin but his eyes were cold and emotionless, something about him didn't sit well with Jon.

"If you're working you ain't drinking. Go on, get those lazy arses out of bed." Yoren wasn't know for his patience so they didn't linger in bed.

Jon got up, made his bed (it was mandatory) and after using the bathroom quickly since they only had one, he took out his sweatpants and grey hoodie and changed into the Night's Watch uniform, a black jumpsuit which was luckily warm enough, black steel toe boots and a black beanie, Jon didn't fancy wear that outfit because it made him look like a prisoner but there were orders to follow and punishments for those who didn't. This wasn't a summer camp or some five star resort, this was the North. The real north and there was no escaping it, this place was so remote that they could only make it by helicopter, the only road was hundreds of miles away, they were hidden from civilization and had very little contact with the outside world, no TV, no internet, no phone, only once a week they were given an hour for the chance to call home, it was never enough and everytime he heard Sansa's voice and Emily begging him to come home he would later cry himself to sleep, not caring if the others heard it or not.

Once he was finished he followed Yoren and the rest of them to the courtyard if you could call it that, it was just a bunch of snow everywhere and broken walls and a small balcony that lead to the Director's, Jeor Mormont, room. He was old but despite that the man still looked in his prime, they called him the Old Bear and his word was law in here, in a place so far away men sometimes tend to make their own rules, Mormont makes sure that doesn't happen, just a glare from him is enough to make a few piss themselves.

He was already standing there waiting for them, today was Monday which meant the shifts were changing, that happened once a week. Some would cook and clean while others were sent to the workshops and some would help with the paper work, there were doctors, lawyers, teachers, cops in here yet it didn't matter, they were all the same and there wasn't any sort of perks because of their social status. Still it wasn't all about physical labour, every two days they would have group sessions were they would talk about their addiction and how that affected their lifes.

Just a few days ago, Jon came to the conclusion about something as much as it pained to do so. His and Sansa's relationship was abusive, he kept hurting her emotionally and mentally yet she stayed, they were depended on each other, Jon's addiction wasn't only the alcohol. He had to learn how to be there and be her husband yet at the same time give her space and learn how to live without her 24/7, that was proving to be a challenge by it's own since he was here. Almost half of his life has been spent with Sansa, he met her with just nineteen years old and he was about to turn thirty three, he's gotten so used to having her all for himself, specially during those first years while she was in college and he was her only family, she was the first person he ever connected with, their love went beyond what was demeeed romantic, it was a disease.

He couldn't bear being without her for just one minute and unfortunately Sansa has spent so much time around him that she somehow became the same. He knows it's not right and that they or at least him need to work on that but he's still a bit in denial, it's only been one month there's still so much he has to learn and to overcome. His demons still follow him everywhere he goes, Jon has to find a way of silencing them for good. He fears he's broken beyond repair but not Sansa, he can't let his ways affect her as well. She's too pure to be corrupted by him.

"Quiet! Or you won't hear a damn thing and I won't be talking twice." Jeor Mormont roaring voice brought him back to this wasteland.

"Jon Snow, Edd Tollet, Pypar, Green, Locke, you'll be going with Othell Yarwyck to the main gate, there was a blizzard last night and there's snow to clean." Jeor ordered, it was going to be Jon's first time working outside. He usually went to the kitchen or the library.

After everyone was giving their task they headed to the cafeteria to have breakfast, porridge and a glass of milk or bread and butter, it was always the same. They're not notorious for their cooking, but it's bearable and in college there were times where he had much worst and maybe because he's not cooking today lunch can be better, that would be Edd's greatest joy. His friend kept cursing under his breath, something about how the food reminded him of wrinkled balls, Edd was still going through a hard time refusing to quit, he complains every second of the day, hates to work and he's rude yet unlike others he's a good guy and Jon likes him just fine. He has to make new friends because then he will have someone to hang out with for a little instead of being constantly with Sansa, the counselors said so, that and a hobby are a few things that Jon needs.

"Let's go Edd, the snow isn't going to get shoveled by itself." Jon was actually looking forward with doing this task, some fresh air was going to be good.

When Jon and Edd arrived at the main gate Othell Yarwyck was already there with Locke, Grenn and Pypar, Jon didn't know them exactly. He's seen them a few times in the courtyard or the cafeteria and even in the group sessions, but this place was divided in several wings and so not everybody knew eachother but those two actually seemed okay, they were young probably about Bran's age if not younger, they were just kids and where already here, he can't imagine what that might be like for their families, another thing he's learned here is that is addiction doesn't only affects him but also the ones around Jon, he's always been so focused with his problems that he forgot about the people that love him.

"It's a lot snow but it's still going to be here tomorrow, take your time and a break if you need to. I'll have someone bring you cup of coffee in a bit." Yarwyck said, Jon was liking the man already.

Truth is they weren't actually working their arses off in here, sometimes it was boring and tiring but it wasn't like they were in labour camp, most of the tasks are just normal day to day things that most people do, cleaning gutters and cooking and making sure the building is in order. At first it was strange that a rehab facility would work like this but now Jon knows why it is like that, free time is their worst enemy, if they're busy then they won't be thinking about going to some bar and drink to the point of blackout, if they're hands are full they can't be lifting beers. Even now there are moments where he desperately needs a drink but as he gets deeper and deeper into work that goes away or at least is not as overpowering has before. He's starting to see why so many people have this place in high consideration, their methods might be unorthodox and even outdated but it's clear they work.

Before coming here he couldn't think properly and would've nightmares almost every night mostly about his past and his marriage, those are gone. Being away from the crowd and with just the northern wilderness is helping him rediscover himself again, and not being with his wife and children is making him see how much he loves them and how much he wants to be with them again, two weeks ago he was ready to run away in the middle of the night, now maybe staying might be the best choice. He can deal with the cold, the silence and the darkness for a little while longer, in the end it's going to be worth it. All he wants is for Sansa to look at him as she once did, with pride, he doesn't want Jacob and Emily to have a drunk for a father. He's going to change.


 

"They don't tell you about the bloody shoveling in those damned panflets." Edd complained once more, it was funny actually.

"Let's take a break then, I need a smoke." Grenn said and that's what they did.

Jon didn't smoke often, sometimes he would smoke one or two cigarettes a day no more. They threw their shovels on the ground and went to sit on some wooden crates nearby, as promised Yarwyck had a boy bring them a thermos filled with coffee and paper cups which Pypar was now making sure were being filled, there was also sandwiches and despite having lunched already they decided to eat. Locke wasn't there, he spent the whole time ignoring them and now was gone, most likely he was with Ramsay Bolton getting drunk, that one always found a way of sneaking some alcohol inside, not all the men who were here were honourable as Mormont and Yoren, money can speak loudly even in a place like this where there's no use for it.

"You look like you're twelve, how come you're here?" Edd asked Pypar, they all laughed including him.

It's something his being doing a lot more lately.

"During high school I couldn't even speak a sentence without pissing my pants, I figured that if I was drunk then it would be easier, it was. It's easy to start, stopping is the tricky one." Pyp couldn't be anymore right.

Just another one, that's what Jon always said. A couple of more couldn't hurt, right? But it was always much more than a couple, when he started to drink he would only stop when he was sick or kicked out of some bar.

"That's the stupidest thing I've heard! Who the hell does that? If you are going to get drunk do it for yourself not for some cunt." Edd said and Jon had to agree with him on that.

"And you? What's your excuse?" It was Grenn's turn to tell his story.

Another thing, everyone had a story. Some were bad, some were even similar to his, no one was different, all men seeking redemption.

"My father was an alcoholic, ever since I can remember alcohol as been part of my life. I have a beauty back home, golden hair and eyes as blue as the sea, Agatha that's her name, she has a heart as big as Westeros and even a bigger smile. I'm going to marry her someday, let me just get fixed." Green was looking like some lovestruck fool.

Jon could see himself in him, it was like a mirror showing a Jon of different days. Even before speaking to Sansa he already knew she was the one, he did everything to prove her that, he would bring her flowers and her favourite chocolates, he even managed to sneak into one of her classes too speak to her, she definitely gave him a run for his money. She played hard to get and Jon got in a lot of trouble because he wanted to impress her, like riding motorcycles without a license and such (he was a bit of a show off back then) ,but if could turn back time he would've done it all over again if that meant he could see those shy smiles she so desperately tried to conceal, she felt the same for him from the first moment yet she didn't told him.

"Does she even know your name?" Edd was teasing the poor boy.

"I...no but...we sometimes talk in the...the store."

"And you Edd, where's your beauty waiting?" Jon was going to stick up for Grenn, plus he wanted to have some fun as well.

"Trust me, if I had a beauty back home I wouldn't be an alcoholic." Ouch! Jon made the mistake of telling Edd about Sansa a few days ago. He knew exactly what he meant with that conversation.

Jon was an ass, hopefully his beauty is still at home waiting for him.


 

Later that night he was already in bed just waiting for the lights to be shut, above him Edd was already snoring. He actually enjoyed his day today but now he was succumbing to sleep but before he had to do something, otherwise he couldn't close his eyes. Inside his pillowcase there was the only thing that reminded him of home, a picture of he and Sansa and their children, it was taken during Emily's birthday and they were all smiling, maybe because Jon was dressed as a clown. He took the picture out and slowly traced his fingers trough it, they all looked so happy, that was probably the last day they were, from than onwards there's been a dark cloud hovering above them.

He was so concentrated that he didn't notice Rast coming up and taking the picture out of his hands. Immediately Jon got up and ran after him, the fucker only laughed, when Rast handed the photo to Ramsay, Jon's blood turned cold.

"Well, well Snow. And here I was thinking you were a lawyer, you should give us a show sometime. Who's this? Your wife? Lucky you, she's more goddess than woman. Maybe I'll pay her a visit once I leave, I've always wanted children and yours are so cute." Ramsay said with his eyes glued to Sansa, Jon could see his smirk and the way he was speaking it was obvious that he meant every word.

That was it, Jon saw red and the only thing that could give him some peace was Ramsay's bones cracking under his fist, he was going to kill the bastard.

"Leave them!" He was certain everyone heard him.

"Tell me Jon, does your wife like it rough? In my experience the sweet ones always do." Ramsay was staring directly into his eyes, Jon met two blue pools filled with malice and a very twisted sort of joy.

He's been angry at his father, Elia, Catelyn, Ygritte but this was far much more than that. His whole body was shaking and his heart was pounding so fast that the sound of it was the only thing he could hear, everything around him was a blur only Ramsay's face was visible and he kept smiling, he knew he had Jon at the palm of his hand in that moment. He should be quiet, he can't be kicked out but he won't let Sansa's name be tainted by Ramsay's words. He's going to pay.

He was walking towards Ramsay but Karl and Rast were on their way to Jon too, Karl punched him but he felt nothing or moved an inch, Jon grabbed his fist and just like that he punched him to the ground, Jon could feel every bone in his nose breaking under his hands, and Karl fell the floor whimpering and cursing. Rast however was successful in knocking Jon down, he grabbed a night lamp and hit Jon on the back of the head with it, after that he stopped functioning.

His whole head hurt and the back of it was wet, blood. There was a buzzing sound and everything was spinning, he didn't know where he was or who he was, he couldn't focus on anything but the pain, weakly since his whole body was limp and numb he tried to get up but was stopped by a kick on the ribs by steel toe boots, Karl, Rast, Ramsay one of them did it, Jon couldn't decipher who. The kicks kept coming, he was coughing and there was blood coming out of his mouth, whenever he tried to breath there was a sharp pain that traveled through his whole body. They were kicking him and stomping his fingers, Jon never felt so much pain in his life, he could hear what sounded like Edd screaming but soon enough those screams turned into groans, they were hurting him too. He tried to get up once more but this time when he opened his eyes all he could see was a boot coming straight at his face. Afterwards he was engulfed into darkness.


 

"You should've seen it, the Old Bear slapped them so hard I reckon they spent the rest of the afternoon looking for their teeth." It was the voice of a woman.

"This one was lucky, they could've have killed him and would've if not for Bowen Marsh." Another woman.

Where am I?

Slowly he opened his eyes and immediately closed them again, the light was too bright. His whole body was trobbing and there was still dizziness. As he took in his surroundings minutes later, Jon realised he was in the infirmary, when he tried to sit up to let the two woman, who had their back turned, know he was awake he screamed in pure agony, it was like his abdomen was covered in opened wounds and someone decided to pour salt and lemon on them, he was out of breath just because of that little effort. His hands were killing him too, there were several splints on his fingers.

"Easy now, lad." One of the nurses, she was in her fifties or at least looked like it, she had a kind and friendly expression on her face. "Don't move or it'll be worst."

"What happened...how long have I..." It was still so hard to speak, from the pain and also because it felt like the last time spoke was a lifetime ago.

"You've been sleeping for a day now. You and poor Edd took quite the beating, he has a broken nose and a missing tooth, he'll survive, however you weren't as lucky as him. A concussion, six broken ribs, four broken fingers, an eye hemorrhage, and five stitches on the eyebrow." Jon definitely felt like he was ran over by a truck.

The second nurse he heard wasn't there, she left to make a call and minutes later no other than Jeor Mormont and Yoren appeared. Mormont's face was always a challenge to him, Jon could never tell if the man was mad or not, yet this time Yoren looked mad and so the scowl on Mormont's face must mean the same thing as well.

"How are you doing, lad?" Yoren asked.

"At least I'm not shoveling." Yoren chuckled and Jon tried to join him.

But all laugher died down the moment Mormont spoke.

"Is this a joke to you? You're here to get treatment not to start a fight club." Mormont definitely didn't find humour in this situation whatsoever.

He rarely smiled and was a cold and harsh man, so much like he's own father. Jon was actually fearing what he might do now.

"I didn't do anything, Ramsay an-" Jon wasn't given a chance to speak.

"Ramsay and his friends have been punished accordingly with their actions, however you're to blame as well. I saw the surveillance footage, you made the first move. The beating was more than enough, you won't be punished but keep something in mind." Jon didn't agree with Mormont's decision, he was just defending his family.

"And what's that, Sir?" Jon asked, he was too tired and too sore to be dealing with this.

"Boys lose their temper over petty provocations, boys love to fight to prove a point, boys don't make it in here. I fear you're still very much one yet, Jon Snow. Learn how to be a real man and not someone who's constantly making excuses as to why he drinks and fights or why he cheated on his wife." Jon was getting angry again. "Your promises are just words, they mean nothing. Actions are what me and your family are waiting for, if you are to stay here you better hurry then."

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

12 years ago

"Sansa, please let's go have some fun. Ignore these bitches." Maergery begged her once again. Sansa actually felt sorry for that.

"It's easy for you to talk, you're Maergery Tyrell the most popular and beautiful girl on campus, while I'm Sansa Stark the prude who's never even kissed a boy! They're all laughing at me!" Sansa said trough her tears, she was sick of being here. Winterfell was secure.

"If you stay here you'll just be giving them what they want. Let's go to that party."

"You go, have fun. I'll be fine." She wasn't going to be fine but Maergery didn't have to spend her Friday night babysitting her.

"Are you sure? I don't have to go." Maergery said but that wasn't truth. She loved to party and never missed one.

"Go. I just need some time alone." Sansa said hoping Maergery could take the hint.

She did, her friend was already all dressed up in a black mini dress and had spent hours in front of the mirror getting her hair and makeup done, she was truly gorgeous and most all of confident. Margaery did as she pleased and couldn't care less about what others thought about her, she didn't let herself get affected by some nasty comments as Sansa but then again Maergery was popular and everyone worshiped her, she didn't have to worry about any of that, every girl in campus aspired to be like her, whatever she wore the next day everyone was wearing the same, all the boys had a crush on her and would constantly try to take her out. Sansa hated that feeling she got whenever she saw those things, jealousy.

As soon as Maergery was out of the door, Sansa finally let all of her emotions out. She buried her face in her pillow and cried herself too the point of exhaustion. She thought that as soon as she left high school all the bullying would end and she could finally live a life without having others laughing at her or calling names, she thought that in college none of that existed yet she was wrong, somehow it's worst then in Winterfell, the people in Kings Landing are more hateful and take even more pleasure in taunting her. She just wants to go home and be with her family, she misses them and needs the comfort of her mother's embrace, her father's words, she seeks Arya's and Robb's protection, if they were here none of this would be happening.

She's eighteen already an adult yet she can't help feeling like a little child right now, she's alone and people don't seem to understand her, all they do is hurt her, more and more everyday. She fears that one day it will be too much and she puts an end to it, it's something she thinks about often but doesn't do it out of fear and because her family doesn't deserve to suffer because she can't be strong like Maergery, Arya and even her mother. They would never be like this, crying like a baby and afraid of leaving the room.

All of this started a few weeks ago when she and Maergery had a private talk about something in Sansa's life or the lack thereof, apparently they weren't alone and so rumours soon spread themselves life wildfire. Sansa was now the laughing stock of Kings Landing university all because of a choice in her life.

Her family was very important in Winterfell, everyone looked up to them so there were certain standards that had to be kept, despite being very conservative her parents never forbade Sansa or her siblings of dating, as long as they were responsible and careful they were okay with it. Sansa always wanted to have a boyfriend, she was obessed with romantic movies and deep down she wanted to feel like those characters though that never happened, she knew she was beautiful but her shyness and social awkwardness made it very hard to talk to the opposite sex and most boys at her school didn't even bother with acknowledging her existence, she didn't even got to go to prom since she didn't have a date or even kissed a boy. During her pubescent years she started to hear about sex more and more, at class, at the locker rooms when all the girls where getting dressed, even from her mother and then there was that one time she accidentally found some magazines in Robb's room, altough it was something that she was very curious about, Sansa never explored that part of her life. She never watched porn, she never touched herself intimately as she knew some of her friends did, overall sex was something she never thought about or knew much.

Being a virgin and not having a boyfriend or even kissed someone didn't bother her, her mother always said that there's a right time for everything and maybe the time for Sansa to do those things hadn't arrived yet, she was okay with it. Or at least she was until people started calling her a nun and a frigid, the boys would blow kisses to her in the halls in a mocking away, the girls would laugh and call her a child and that she didn't belong in college, yesterday however it was the worst day yet, somehow someone managed to put a pack of condoms and a book on how to kiss in her backpack. She cried so much she was certain her eyes would dry themselves off, she felt like a freak, she always took pride in who she was but now she's starting to hate herself, she can't even stand looking in the mirror knowing that if she does all she'll see is their faces, she used to think she was beautiful but now she feels too tall and her body looks flat as an ironing board. She used to smile know is getting more and more difficult to do that. She's about to lose herself and if that happens then she isn't going to fight it, she's already lost.

"Sansa, are you there?"

Jon?

Her mind is overflowing with toughts of what has been going that she couldn't even hear the knocking on the door.

It's him, Jon Snow. She met him a couple of months ago when he showed up in the library saying he needed her help, it was clear he was just there to get her attention and that he didn't care about math problems or Valiryan literature, he would go there everyday bringing flowers and his sweet talk, despite Sansa refusing his efforts he didn't want to give up until he took her on a date, which she always refused. She likes him, he's the most beautiful man she's ever seen, with those black curls she so desperately wants to touch, the pink and full lips that are begging to be kissed and those black eyes that leave her speechless and unable to look away, he's so strong and warm, she can feel his heat just by standing next to him, he's funny and sweet and caring, all she's ever wanted in a boyfriend or even a husband, all she has to do is say yes but doesn't. Jon has a bit of a bad boy reputation, she knows he likes to party and he's constantly getting himself in fights, girls practicality drool themselves whenever he passes by and it's obvious he likes the attention by the way he grins and winks at them. Sansa is afraid that this is nothing more than a game to him, maybe he and his friends made a bet to see who could take Sansa Stark v-card first, she's seen to many movies to know that it's real and it happens with a lot of poor girls, they fell in love only to realise that in the end none of it was real, that terrifies her. She likes Jon a lot, she wants him to be hers and the thought that every smile, every laugh, every word they've said might not be truth it's much too painful.

The logical choice is to tell him to go away but before she has the chance to do just that her feet are already carrying her towards the door, it's like their bodies are connected, she can't seem to get away from him, she doesn't want it either. And if it's all a lie then she doesn't to live in the real world anymore, she was never happy there. Those four hours a day she spends with him in the library are the closest thing she's had to happiness in a long time, the sole reason she wakes up in the morning is because just a few hours later she gets to be him.

When she opened the door and Jon saw her immediately he smiled, she loved the way his eyes and nose would crinkled whenever he smiled, she could already smell his cologne and that smell always reminded her of home, of the north and it's woods, of the snow. His black curly hair was still wet from showering and he was wearing black jeans, a white t-shirt and a grey bomber jacket with black sneakers, he always looked nice.

"What are you doing here?" Sansa asked in a tone that sounded too hostile, it wasn't her intention of course.

"I was at Josh's party and saw Margaery and the girls but no signs of Sansa Stark. Perfection is the only thing I can think of when it comes to her appearance and for unknown reasons she can't stand me but I'm trying to invite her to a party anyway, have you seen her?" He flashed her a grin and she blushed, he always did that to her.

Just thinking about him was enough. She was falling for him hard and fast, she never imagined that someone would do this to her. If she only opened her heart and told him her true feelings. But she won't.

"Jon, just go and have some fun. I won't be a good company to anyone tonight." Sansa said with a sight, she was already envision herself dancing with Jon holding her in his arms and whispering sweet nothings in her hear.

At once she threw those toughts away, if he saw it he wouldn't leave. Part of her didn't want him to do that either.

"Come on Sansa, these are supposed to be the best years of your life! Don't listen to what those little shits are saying, who cares if you're a virgin or if you've ne-"

No! Oh God!

Someone had just poured a bucket filled with ice water on her, that was the only way she could describe what she was feeling. Her whole face was the same colour of her hair and she couldn't even look Jon in the face, she was so ashamed of herself, he probably has known for awhile and if not then he must be thinking she's some little child. For some reason she feels like crying, hearing it from the others hurts like hell, hearing it from Jon is...

She can't explain what it's like but it hurts, literally hurts.

"You know?!" She asked mortified, her voice was so high and childish.

Just like you.

"It's hardly a secret around campus." For him it sounded like the most normal thing ever, that only made it worst.

She was mad and in her state she began pushing him and slapping his chest, she couldn't having him here now. Not after what he said.

"Go way! Leave me and go to that stupid party! I don't want you in my room!" She was screaming and crying, her hair looked like a mess and there was probably snot coming out of her nose.

This is why people make fun of you.

Jon grabbed both of her wrists gently and made her look at him.

"I'm so sorry, that was a stupid thing to say." Sansa could see he was being honest. "Look, I don't care what people say, most of them are jerks and spoiled brats. I don't give a damn about any of that, to me you're still the same and I won't ever judge you. I only want to laugh with you, never at you." Jon was looking straight at her, his black eyes meeting her blue ones which were now all teary.

With his thumb Jon wiped her tears, he has never been this close before. Sansa shuddered at his touch, his hands were rough and calloused but no touch as ever felt so good.

"You don't know what it's like." She hated how weak she was looking in front of him.

She could always disguise her emotions, she's been doing it for years now.

"I don't. But I know that their words only get to you if you let them. Damn it Sansa, why can't you see what I see?"

"And what is that?!" She demanded, she desperately wanted to know what he saw in her and why was he here when he could have any other.

Jon turned her around and walked her over the other side of the room where there was a turquoise full length mirror, Sansa loathed that thing. She refused to look at it but Jon placed his finger on her chin and moved her face so that now she was seeing all of herself. He was so close, her back was leaning against his chest, she could hear his heart and feel him breathing on the back of her neck, both of his hands were on her waist not exactly touching just hovering, despite his constant insistence Jon never did once overstepped, right now she wished he would. His hands were supposed to be all over her, his lips kissing her neck as if his life depended on it, like she was the air that he breathed, she wanted to feel loved with an intensity only Jon could give her, she wanted him. For the first time in her life Sansa Stark was becoming aroused, she never experienced anything like this, the ache in her lower belly and a wetness in her tights that kept increasing and above all a heat that was cursing trough her whole body.

"You know something?" Jon rasped in her hear, she couldn't speak. "You're the most beautiful person I've ever seen, if this was the last thing I saw before dying then I would leave this earth a happy man. You make this shit of a world so much better just by existing, you definitely made mine. You're too good, too kind, too pure for me, you know I'll never be enough but I'll spent the rest of my days trying to prove you otherwise, I'll die for you, I'll kill for you, I'll love you and cherish you, I'll do anything just to make you smile, there will be no more tears only joy, you'll never be alone again, you'll always have me. If you chose to be mine then I'm yours body and soul. I love you, Sansa Stark." That last part came in a whisper but it was echoing across the whole room.

I love you, Sansa Stark.

Time stopped, she wasn't here, she was floating somewhere far away where the only thing that existed was Jon's words. This wasn't a trick, he wasn't manipulating her, he loved her and she loved him, she has always loved him it only took her a lifetime to discover it, that's why she never dated, none of the others ever mattered because she was already destined to be with Jon, this wasn't a coincidence, it was already written a long time ago, even before there were men in the world, no matter how long it will be, ten years or a thousand they will always find each other. Sansa Stark and Jon Snow are one.

She turned around and without hesitation or fear she grabbed his face and brought his lips to hers, he only hesitate for a second. Jon was kissing her and everything disappeared, there's was no one else but them in this moment, no insults, no fears, no expectations or obligations, only Sansa and Jon existed. His kiss was slow and his lips soft, comforting her from all the evil in this world in ways that no other could. His hand rested below her ear, his thumb caressing her cheek as their tongues mingled, he tasted like cigarettes but underneath it there was a sweet taste she couldn't name it but it was now her favourite, she would never get tired of it. She ran her fingers trough those dark curls, massaging his scalp, pulling him closer until there was no space left between them and she could feel the beating of his heart against her chest, both of their hearts were beating fast, they were battling against each other. After what it felt like a lifetime they finally pulled away, his arms were encircled around her and he was looking at her with love, it was pure, the moment her eyes locked with his Sansa realised something, she couldn't let go. She was addicted, she couldn't bare being without with him even thought she could barely breathe in his presence, that kiss was her salvation and one day would be her doom, she would live and die for him if he asked her to. Sansa Stark's life was now his, if she loses him she will lose herself. He made her complete.

I love you, Jon Snow.


 

Present day

Almost midnight and still no sleep, she barely sleeps these days, it's too cold and the bed doesn't feel right, perhaps because it's missing one piece, him. She always slept better knowing he was there, she was safe because she was with him, no harm would ever come as long as they stayed together now she can't say that. She misses him badly, he's never been this much time away from home, away from her, it's been so long since she's been alone that she doesn't know how to handle it, she feels like a child who just watched a scary movie and wants nothing more than to go to their parents room, but then again the only person she wants now isn't here and the best she can do is go to sleep, at least she won't be thinking about him, but she can't. She closes her eyes but nothing happens, and her nights are filled with nothing but emptiness.

She hasn't gave him an answer yet, he left just a day after confessing he was with Ygritte and in that moment Sansa couldn't think of a single word to say, all the pain and misery was returning like a tsunami without any warning, so she remained silent. She couldn't pretend it didn't happen or forget that it did, she forgave him once and he broke her trust, a trust that took years to get back, Sansa doesn't know if she's willing to do that again.

Of course you are.

She's ashamed of herself for that but the truth is she already made her choice, she forgave him again, she didn't say that to Jon but the fact that she waits every week for his call, that knowing that she's going to be hearing from him it's what gives her strength when the days are too long and the children too restless, she perseveres because she knows that soon enough he's coming back to her, she endures it all because she loves him. She'll never stop loving him.

"He'll hurt you over and over and you'll keep forgiving him because he has you wrapped around his fingers." Those were mother's exact words five years ago.

Her mother was wrong and still is, Jon doesn't have her wrap around his fingers, if something they're both stuck in a tangled mess together.

He'll hurt me and I'll keep forgiving him because I can't be without him, because I don't want to live in a world where is not part of.

Jon Snow his her world, he's the first one who showed her what love is, he took a broken girl ready to take her own life and gave her wings to fly, he set her free from herself and the prison she built inside her own mind, when she was falling all those years ago Jon's hand was the only one she saw at the edge of the cliff. He gave her a new life, he created life with her, a beautiful boy and another one who rests in her womb, for that she will always be grateful and even for Emily despite how she came to be in this world.

Sansa knows that she won't leave but she also knows that she can't live like this forever, she wants to be happy something that right now she's not. She doesn't want her marriage to be a lie or a farce that they keep up for the sake of their children. She wants to live and that's why as she doesn't beg Jon to come home, that's why she accepted being without him for months, because she knows there's no other way. Jon needs help and so does she.

She needs to learn how to become herself again, truth is she's only ever been truly happy with Jon, before him there was nothing, not even her own family could give her that. She has to find out who she is, how can she love him when she barely has any love for herself?

She loves being his wife, she loves being a mother but she doesn't know what it's like to love being Sansa Stark. She never knew and she fears it's to late to know. She's already so used to being just one thing that now all the possibilities don't seem to exist, maybe she's broken beyond repair.

But seeing Jon taking that first step, seeing him struggle even though he doesn't say it but he doesn't have to, she knows him better than she does herself (maybe that's the problem) it's clear to her that he's suffering but still remains in that place so far away that maybe not even God exists there, because he loves her. That's the only thing she won't ever doubt about, everyone tells her it's a lie but they don't have any idea. Before all of this there was an other Jon, the one she met in college and the one she would give her life for, he's not gone, he's just forgotten who that boy was but there was still a chance for that boy to become a man and that man to be Jon Snow. She prays for that every night.

She prays for him, for herself and for her children specially the one who she still hasn't met. She'll do everything to protect him, she promised Jon she would and he promised he was going to return in time for the birth, she can't go trough that again alone, she loves him but she can't put her children in front of him, in that aspect she doesn't have a choice. Not even her love for Jon is that strong, he's part of her life, Jacob, Emily and this unborn baby are her life.

She was about to fall asleep when she heard the door of her room opening, it was late very late, immediately she turned on the light switch in her night lamp that was in her bedside table. She could see Jacob making his way into her bed, he rarely woke during the night, Emily was more likely to do that, he didn't looked scared as if he had a nightmare but there was got to be a reason as to why he's here at this hour.

Sansa patted the bed and he sat next to her, she couldn't place him on her lap because he didn't had his implant connected so she had to be facing him.

"What's wrong, baby?" She signed to him.

"Where's my sword?" Jacob signed back, that took Sansa by surprise.

It's been years since he's played with his old toys, he prefers doing puzzles or building Legos nowadays, most of them were already donated to charity and the rest are in boxes in the garage. There's no reason why he should be asking for them now, at one in the morning.

"Why?" She gestured.

"Emily had a nightmare and I promised I was going to protect her." Sansa wanted to cry.

He was always so attentive of others, he was Emily's hero the same way Robb was hers when she was growing upl. Jacob loves Emily, he's always teaching her new things, he doesn't mind spending his afternoons playing with dolls instead of doing something he likes just to make her happy, they are so close and rarely fight as most siblings do, Emily has actually been sleeping in Jacob's room because she's afraid of being on her own, Jacob was actually the one who told her to do that when he found her crying in her room. Jon being away is proving to be hard on them as well, Jacob his more protective then before and spends a lot more time around Sansa, he's always right behind her wherever she goes, he doesn't leave her out of his sight for just one second, even when she goes to the bathroom he stays waiting for her on the other side of the door, she doesn't know if it's only protection or if he's scared she'll leave too. Emily who used to spend her days singing around the house, dancing and laughing doesn't do that anymore, now she mostly plays with her toys in silence and whenever Jon calls and they talk for awhile Sansa already knows that that night she will certainly have nightmares, she's always been daddy's little girl, she and Sansa have a deep bond but it will never get close as the one Emily shares with Jon.

They are so young and already have been trough things most adults cannot even phantom, they're strong but they still are just two children who miss their father and whose mother can be as present as before. Because her pregnancy is so risky Sansa can't run around after them in the backyard like she used to only a few months ago, most times her family and friends are the ones who cook for them and tuck them in bed, there are days she's too tired for that.

She chose not to hate Jon but she can't make that call for Jacob and Emily, if they grow to hate their father there's not going to be any person or clinic to help Jon, he will never recover from that. He's childhood was already has bad as it was, Jon hated his father and that shaped his whole life and unfortunately not for the better, if there's a chance that Jacob and Emily can become like Jon that will definitely be the death of him.

"You're such a sweet little boy, you know that?" Sansa gestured and Jacob blushed, he was looking like her more and more everyday.

"Come, let's go find your sword."

Sansa and Jacob made their way into the garage, there were a few boxes with old clothes, Christmas decorations, Jon's tools and the kids toys, Sansa had them all labelled so it wasn't hard to find the one she was looking for, luckily it was right in front of her so she didn't have to lift a thing, her doctor would go crazy if she did. Jacob's sword was right on top, Jon bought that to him a few years ago and the two of them would spend hours in the backyard fighting off imaginary monsters and keeping Princess Emily safe, holding this small plastic sword in her hand is holding her happiness, it's the reminder of better days when they were a real family.

As she was about to leave the garage she felt Jacob tugging at her bathrobe, she kneeled down so she could she what he was gesturing.

"Can I and Emily sleep with you? I want to keep the baby safe too." He gestured and Sansa hugged him tightly.

He was going to keep them safe, she knew he would.

"I don't want anything else other than that." She gestured back. Jacob was looking so proud, he has her looks but his smile is all Jon's.

They went to his room to fetch Emily who was barely awake and then returned to her own. Sansa layed on the middle of the bed with Emily curled up against her and Jacob at her other side, he was holding his sword and promised to sleep only when he was certain she and Emily were already doing that. Sansa was tired and having her babies here made it so much easier to close her eyes so it wouldn't be long until she fell into a deep slumber.

"Good night mommy, love you." Emily said groggily.

"Good night my angel, mommy loves you very much." Sansa kissed her forehead and rested her nose on her head inhaling that sweet scent of hers.

I'll keep you safe too.

Ygritte hasn't bother them but Sansa knows it will be a matter of time before she shows up again at their door. She told Jon she wasn't but right now she's considering having a meeting between Emily and her birth mother, she doesn't want Ygritte to take her away but she also knows it's not fair to keep her away. Sansa is a mother and she can't bare the thought of not seeing her children for more than one day, Ygritte hasn't seen Emily for five years.

All that disappears as soon as she closes her eyes, she doesn't have nightmares that night. Her children don't let that happen.


 

"Maergery, this is too much!" Sansa warned her friend, she was regretting this already.

Why am I doing this?

"Nonsense, I'm not even anywhere near done." Maergery said as she kept doing Sansa's makeup.

These days she rarely uses any of it, with taking care of the kids and the house Sansa doesn't have the time to be getting all dressed up and pretty, most days she wears her hair on a messy bun, puts a bit of moisturizer on her face, comfy clothes and that's it. She doesn't have the drive she once did, she barely leaves the house any more so it's really pointless to get ready like she used to. Every Friday night she and Jon would go out, they would go to some fancy restaurant, the movies, to concerts, to bars but that ended years ago, after Jacob was born they just didn't have the time and their responsibilities were bigger and then when she found out about the cheating she didn't want to keep a marriage of aparencies so that all ceased to exist. Yet now here she is getting ready to go out, with a man whose name is not Jon Snow and because of it she doesn't want to go, it feels like she's betraying him which is rather silly given all that her husband has done, if she were to be involved with another person no one could judge her for it, they would probably even encourage her to, but she won't, Sansa can't give herself to anyone but him.

I'm yours and you're mine.

She only agreed with this because as she found out Margaery made a very large donation to charity and that the money would help many children like Jacob and their families. She didn't know Dickon that well, he's Sam's brother and she's been with him a few times during little Sam's birthday parties but that was it, they only ever spoke a few polite words, a couple of weeks ago she saw him again at that cooking class that Margaery and her sister Arya made her attend. She actually enjoyed Dickon's company that day, he was genuinely a good guy and it was obvious that he only wanted to be her friend, mostly they talked about their families, their jobs and Sansa's children, he even asked about Jon and when she told him the truth he apologized for it, he was probably just doing this because it felt like the right thing, he was very handsome and could be spending his Friday night with any other woman instead of Sansa, she wasn't a very interesting person to be around with.

"All done." Margaery said and got out of in front of her to give Sansa a chance to look in the mirror. She gasped when she did.

She could barely recognise this woman, she was gorgeous, there were no bags under her eyes, no wrinkles, she looked like a teenager again. Her facial features were more accentuate, namely her cheekbones, her friend had done her a smokey eye and a winged eyeliner, her eyes were looking even more blue than they used to, her lips looked bigger all due to the red lipstick she was wearing and in her cheeks there was a light blush. She's feeling beautiful in a way she hasn't in a while, she might not be too excited to go but she can't deny that it felt good to do this, she's feeling somehow even giddy just by looking at the mirror.

"Wow..." It was was the only thing she could say right now.

"Mommy you look beautiful." Emily, who has been attentively watching her getting her makeup done, said.

I do. I'm beautiful.

Afterwards Margaery took out of her closet a knee length fitted floral dress with sleeves, it used to be one of Sansa's favourites, and a denim jacket, her pregnancy wasn't still showing that much so she could still wear her normal clothes. Sansa wore burgundy suede boots, they weren't high and so she was still comfortable. Margaery finished her look with silver hoop earrings and a simple silver pendant necklace and a black clutch bag. They probably spend almost two hours just picking on an outfit, it took her back to her teenage years, she and Margaery would to this all most daily, specially after starting to date Jon, back then she always wanted to look her best.

"Who are you strange woman and what did you do to my sister?" Are said in a mock voice when Sansa arrived at the living room. She blushed.

"I did good, didn't I?" Margaery was already trying to get credit, this time she definitely deserve it.

She took Sansa and made her look like a princess. The mother and wife was nowhere to be seen, only someone who was about to leave to have fun. Fun, it's such an odd word still.

"How are you feeling." Margaery asked when Arya was distracted playing with Jacob and Emily.

"Nervous." Now that Dickon was just minutes away she was almost having a panic attack.

"Don't be. Like you've said you're just friends and friends go out all the time right?" Sansa nodded weakly. "You need some Sansa time away from this house, away from the kids and from house chores, have some fun and live in the moment. Jon will want that." Hearing that from her friend helped.

Margaery was right, Jon wouldn't want her to shut herself away, when he returns she wants to be whole, she wants to be the Sansa he knows and love.She wants the same too.

She wants to be human again.

 

Chapter Text

Part II

Sansa Stark

Dickon: Just left home. Be there in 5.

Sansa: Okay, drive safely.

Dickon: Can't wait to see you ;-).

"So..." Margaery asked when she saw her using the phone.

"He's on his way here." Sansa said hurriedly trying to avoid any other discussion about it.

"You don't look happy about it." Arya chimed in. She was the one who was eager about this.

This is all her fault.

It wasn't that Sansa wasn't happy or excited, she was very much indeed. She's been talking to Dickon on the phone pretty much every day, mostly just about his job or her kids, she's made it very clear that she's only looking for a friend and that she's a married woman, also Gilly and Sam both said they had a talk with Dickon to warn him not to try anything stupid. She enjoys talking to him because he gets her, he doesn't know the whole story but from what she's told him he's been amazing with, he's such an understanding person and really seems to care for her, like a brother does for a sister of course. Not once did he made their conversations flirtatious or made Sansa uncomfortable, he's funny and sweet and promised that he just wants to see her happy, he like everyone else noticed that part is lacking.

She's really looking forward to go out with him but it's been so long since she's hang out with someone other than her family, Margaery or Gilly, Sansa has always had an hard time with being out with people, she's always afraid she's going to do or say something that might be embarrassing, that people may find her stupid and boring, overall Sansa is just terrible at socializing and she's positive that Dickon is going to realise this. She feels like she's in high school or college all over again, she's just waiting for it to happen, for someone to make fun of her. This time around they have plenty of motives, cheated on twice, an alcoholic husband, a marriage that's falling apart, it's all right there for the picking.

"Sansa, we've been over this before. It's all in your head." Her best friend reassured her. It's kind of her duty tonight, it seems.

"You're right, I just want this to be a good experience." She said a little bit more cheerful now.

"It better be. I'll make sure Dickon father's no children if he tries to push it." Thank God Arya was finally getting Sansa's point.

Her sister initially wanted her to be more than friends with Dickon, that would never happen.

"He cheated again! Let him taste his own medicine, it's only fair." That's what Arya said a few days ago.

Fair to whom?

It definitely wasn't for the kids and it's because of them Arya stopped, she's seen how much they miss Jon and if Sansa were to cheat on him with the brother of his best friend she knew what would happen, Jon would probably try to kill Dickon and get himself in jail. Sansa doesn't want her children to suffer that much, there's still a chance that she and Jon might get a divorce and that will be hard enough as it is. She doesn't want to think about that possibility but if Jon doesn't work out his problems then Sansa won't keep putting up with them, she loves him but she's once heard that love is not enough, it wasn't enough to keep him faithfull and it may not be to keep him sober.

Let this time heal you.

"Stop being morbid for Christ sake! Anyway, Sansa don't overthink as you do most times and relax, you can't drink but you can take a deep breath and think about how much good this will do to you." She doesn't know how Margaery became this good with helping people but she isn't complaining.

"I'll try my best."

"Just don't think about him." Margaery gave her a knowing look.

Jon is all she can think of right now. He doesn't know about this, she spoke to him on the phone yesterday and yet didn't mentioned it, she also made Sam promise to do the same, she lied to her husband but if he found out about this then is recovery would be in jeopardy. Maybe he'll understand when she tells him, if she tells him.

Lately she's been hiding so many things, Sansa is not like this at all. She lied to her family about Ygritte, they don't know what happened with her and Jon, she lied to her children who know think mommy has to work, and she lied to him, the only person she promised nothing but honesty. Yet that same person has kept secrets of his own for years, maybe Arya is right, Jon has to taste his own medicine. He has to see that this time she won't just crawl back into his arms, he has to earn her. Just like he did twelve years ago, now he has to fight that same way, she wants him to, she wants to feel desired by him once more, if she takes him back with open arms and a smile nothing will change, she knows that now. They were once perfect, to halfs of a whole, they have to go back to those days, Jon has to become that kid who didn't gave up at the first no and Sansa has to become that girl who always delivered the no. When he gets back they'll start over from scratch, they'll forget about this last few years and write a new page on their lives.

It's crazy how a makeover can do all of that, seeing herself in the mirror and feeling like a princess, feeling worthy for the first time in years instead of pity and shame made her realise something as well. Jon is not the only one she can have, any man would be lucky to call her his, there's thousands of men out there willing to treat her how she deserves, men who would never cheat, men who wouldn't make her cry yet despite all of that she still chose Jon, she'll always choose him. He needs to see that he's the lucky one, that his wife and mother of his children is more than just that, she's a human being, not a punching bag.

If it was only that simple. Truth is she can't do any of that. She's scared of losing him, Sansa can have any other man but Jon can also have Ygritte or somebody else.

Why is this so complicated?!

Dickon: I'm at your door.

Sansa didn't want Dickon in her house, it would just confuse the kids. If they meet him it won't be like this.

"Mommy has to work but I'll be here in time for tuck you in bed." Sansa said to both of her children before leaving the house.

"Are you going away like daddy?" Emily's voice carried so much pain that Sansa wanted to cancel this whole thing and stay with her.

Dickon would understand, she knew he would.

"Of course she isn't. She's going to work and in the meantime will have a pajama party, right Margaery?" Arya was already picking Emily up.

"Absolutely, Jacob where does your mom hides the candy bars?"

"Don't you dare giving my children tummy aches!" Sansa warned Margaery who would probably give them chocolate cake for dinner.

Her friend just laughed and tried to usher her out of the house, before Sansa could leave she had to say goodbye to her children.

When she left she could see Dickon's sports car parked in the driveway, she glanced to both sides of the street before making a move, her neighbours could be nosy and the last thing she wanted was to gain some sort of reputation. Once she was certain that the coast was clear Sansa started walking towards Dickon's car, he was already outside opening the car door for her.

"Wow! You... you're beautiful!" Dickon said in a surprised tone as if he was expecting something else, Sansa couldn't blame him of course.

It's been years since she's dressed like this, it feels good to get a reaction like that though there's a part of her that wishes it came from someone else.

Dickon gave her a respectful kiss on the cheek, barely touching her, and then Sansa got inside his car. It was definitely luxurious with all white leather interior, much to her surprise Dickon touched a button on the dashboard and the car became a convertible, Sansa gasped since she's never been in one before.

"I just thought since it's such a pleasant night we could ride like this, plus I want to show you what you're missing by driving a minivan." Dickon playfully teased her.

"Stop being a showoff." She huffed.

"Don't hate the player, hate the game." He countered, it was so silly that Sansa burst into laughter.

It's been less than five minutes and she's already feeling lighter then she's been in months.

Thank God I said yes.

"I'm going to ignore the fact that you said something like that." Sansa rolled her eyes and he laughed, he looked like Sam a bit when he did that.


 

They had been driving for about twenty minutes when all of the sudden Dickon stopped the car, immediately she noticed that they weren't going in the direction of Podrick's restaurant, she started to freak out a bit, what if he wanted her to go to his house?

They had been laughing and enjoying themselves, sometimes Sansa would playfully smack his arm but she never thought he would interpret that as a sign that she wanted more, she didn't, she told him before yet they weren't going where they were supposed to go. She was starting to regret this, the breeze in the air was good and fresh but now it just seemed too cold, his cologne smelled nice but now it was too strong, now everything was going the opposite way and somehow Sansa felt the need to leave, she was far from home but with just a text message Arya would be here in a matter of minutes.

What have I done?

Panic was rising in her, she couldn't go trough with this, she couldn't risk losing her family and her marriage over one night. Did Jon felt this way too? Did the same thoughts flashed trough his mind?

I love you Sansa Stark.

"Sansa, are you alright?" Dickon asked, it was evident that he was worried.

You're so stupid!

Maybe he was just taking a shortcut, maybe he didn't like that restaurant, there were so many maybes. Just because he was going in another direction that didn't mean he was taking her to his home, Sansa didn't even knew where his house was exactly, plus he's Sam's brother meaning that he has a good heart and would never do something like that. Just like Margaery warned, Sansa is overthinking.

You've ruined it.

"Where are you taking me? Why did we stop?!" She tried but she couldn't disguise the fear in her voice.

Dickon looked hurt by her words, his eyes were downcast and he was murmuring something under his breath, maybe an insult at her.

It's what you deserve.

He took her hand in his and Sansa tried her earnest not to flinch, his touch was gentle but it still felt wrong, there was only one man she felt good with. Only him could touch her but that's not good either, she has to forget him even if just for a few hours but everywhere she turns all she can do is see his face, those eyes that have her under a spell.

"I...I thought we could skip dinner and do something different, I don't know something you've been wanting to do but haven't been able to yet." He said in such a caring way that she couldn't help but to cry a bit.

"I'm so sorry, I really am. I've told you what happened and I'm sure Sam has as well, I know it's really stupid but I can help this feeling, it's like I'm..."

"Betraying Jon." Dickon finished for her, there was no pity, no resentment. Just plain understanding. "I find you one of the most admirable people I've met." He said with an hint of wonder.

"Well you're the first." She let out a humourless laugh thinking about everyone who disagreed with his opinion.

They never told it to her face but she knows her family and friends see her as a fool for all she's done and keeps on doing.

"It's easy for people outside to judge, no one knows what's like going trough that untill they've been there, in the meantime making assumptions and giving their suggestions seems like a good help. They say love is blind, in a way it is, it makes us only able to see what we want to see even if it's only a wish, a whim of sorts." Dickon wasn't looking at her, she could see that he was about to cry too.

She felt so bad for him, Sansa better than anyone knew what it was like, the amount of pain that's inflicted never truly goes away, it's always there but with time fades if we choose to. She hasn't made a choice yet.

"Did you forgive?"

"I did but she didn't want to, she only wanted him." A single tear roll down his cheek.

How many has he shed already?

"I'm so sorry." It was a silly thing to say.

Everybody says I'm sorry always, it doesn't mean they are, it's just pleasantries, what to say when there's nothing else what to say. Sorry will never be enough yet she will always accept it. Specially if it comes from him.

"Don't be. You're the first person that knows about it, the reason I'm telling this is for your own good, Sansa."

"How?" Immediately she regretted it.

Dickon took his hand away from hers and extended it, when he pulled his sleeve up Sansa saw it. A scar, it was big and white almost fading but Sansa has never seen something so clear in her whole life. What can drive a person to do that?

You know what.

When there's no where else to go some choose to give in, one action and all the pain ceases to exist. She was so close if not for him, he saved her life when no one else did. She will always be grateful for that.

"Sansa, don't make my mistakes please. You love Jon the same way I once loved her, all of you it's his, there's no more Sansa Stark because you gave that person to him, and now if he leaves you go with him. You can love him, you have no other choice anymore but you can't lose yourself along the way and from what I can see you've already did and that's why I'm asking for you to stay with me here, just for tonight be Sansa Stark forget Sansa Snow, tomorrow you can go back to him but tomorrow isn't here yet." No words have ever affected her this much, Dickon did something to her.

Many people have been giving advice for years, Sansa never followed them. Maybe because Dickon has been in the same situation as hers it's helping, he's been trough hell and came out okay that gives her hope for the future if only she forgets, she's trying but that's not enough, she has to do what he says, she has to become Sansa Stark. Jon Snow is not here so there's no point for Sansa Snow to be here too.

Just for tonight, my love.


 

"So? I did good?" Dickon asked.

After what happened Sansa thought that he didn't want to keep doing this, she couldn't blame him of course, she's still so embarrassed by how she behaved, she all but called him a pervert when all he's trying to do is to help and he's succeeding. Sansa wasn't in the mood to go to some fancy restaurant or bar, honestly she was drained and wanted to go home to her babies, Rickon sensed she wasn't excited with the prospect of being in a crowded room and took her to a place she wasn't expecting at all, a gas station in the middle of the road. He parked the car and told her he wasn't going to take too long, about five minutes later he came out with two ice cream pints, cheesecake and a six pack of beer for himself of course, afterwards they drove to Aegon's hill and now were both laying on his car hood stargazing, she's never done this before and even though it was odd she was enjoying it very much, she was feeling so much better now.

"I'm sorry, I'm sure you had better plans than this." She told him, still feeling a little embarrassed.

Dickon let out a chuckle.

"Are you kidding? Having ice cream past my bed time is probably the most extreme thing I've ever done in my life. Your leading me astray, Sansa." She giggled so hard that she almost chocked on her ice cream.

"Thank you so much for doing this. I was really needing it."

"You shouldn't do things because you were need them, you should do them because you want to. Once in a while if you ran away for the hills no one will call you a bad parent, growing up my dad would leave us to go hunt for days and my mother sometimes would host her book club for hours, by the end they were always in a good mood and that reflected on our childhood." Dickon was really good at this.

"Can we do this again sometime?" She asked unsure, probably Dickon wouldn't want that.

"I was going to ask you the same. My nephew has been begging me to take him to the zoo for days now, we could all go. Me, you, Gilly, Sam, your kids, it's going to be fun and I know a guy so we get a full tour just us. Would you like that?"

She wasn't sure but then again if Gilly and Sam were to be there it wouldn't be strange for her kids. They've known them for all their live and little Sam is their best friend.

"I would love to."

Chapter Text

Jon Snow

2 and a half months in rehab.

"Can you stop whimpering?! It's not like you're the one who has to share a room with those fucking cunts!" Edd almost slapped him during lunch, everybody was getting tired of his bullshit.

"You don't know what it's like! None of you do!" He knew his friends did nothing wrong but he couldn't keep his cool.

All he could see was Sansa with another.

"Like you didn't do the same. If your wife wants to get in bed with some other lad you can't be mad about it. What goes around comes around." Grenn said to him, plain and simple.

If this was a couple of months ago Jon would've broken every teeth in his mouth, now he knows better than that. He's a man not a beast, he can't punch people whenever they say something he doesn't like, specially if that something is true. That's the worst because he knows that if Sansa cheated or cheats on him, Jon can't say a thing about it. Not after all he's done.

Yesterday was "calling day", when Jon tried to call Sansa she didn't pick up, that never happened before, most times she would be eager to hear him and if she could would spent hours on the phone. Immediately he began thinking about her pregnancy and the children. Did something happened to them?

Before starting to freak out he decided to call Sam, it was Sunday after all and so there was a huge possibility Sansa might have been at his house with the kids. Apparently he wasn't entirely wrong, Jacob and Emily were staying with Sam and Gilly while Sansa went out to have lunch with Sam's brother. At first Sam did all he could to keep it a secret, he said Sansa was in the bathroom to which Jon replied he could wait, then after much stuttering Sam told him his wife was with Gilly, Jon knew it wasn't truth because Emily said Gilly was helping them with some drawings, never once did she mentioned her mother's name. After that his best friend had no choice but to tell him of Sansa's whereabouts, in that moment Jon felt like he could run from Castle Black to King's Landing barefoot and in less than a day, he couldn't believe what he was hearing but then again it was is fault. He was the one who made the choice to leave, he was the one who drove Sansa to seek comfort in somebody else. Gilly promised that they were only friends and that Dickon knew Sansa was a married woman and would never do anything to hurt Jon or the kids, he was helping her they said. Jon fucked up so bad that is wife had to be helped by a random stranger.

You did this, asshole.

He knew Dickon, they weren't exactly friends, Jon sometimes would see him whenever he was in town visiting his brother but that was it. Sansa barely knew the man and the fact the she's already going out with him all by herself and almost daily, from what he knows, hurts like hell.

But Grenn he's right, Jon cheated on her twice, he had a baby that Sansa was forced to raise because Jon was a shitty father, she almost lost her own baby because of his mistress, she was now all alone in Kings Landing because Jon is a lawsy drunk who cares only for himself. If Sansa goes to bed with Dickon that will probably be God's punishment at him. All his sins are finally being payed, his nightmare might have come through and if not then it won't be long until it does. He could never bare the thought of Sansa being anything but his, even before started dating her no one could come near her, not if they wanted to keep their teeth. But that Jon no longer exists, the one he's now knows better than that.

He always dreamed of the perfect family, growing up that's all he wanted and that's what he strived to achieve and that he did. The thing is, Jon wanted the perfect wife and the perfect children but not once he was the perfect husband and father. He realised in this place that he was a selfish pig, he created an illusion of what he's life should be, of what Sansa should be, Jon became so obsessed with all of it that he didn't look at himself and saw what he was doing. He married for love of course but he remained a married man because he wanted people to see that he could be all they said he wouldn't. Honestly he never cared for Sansa's feelings along the way, as long as they kept the facade he was happy, as long as people said you're perfect he was fine.

All of the therapy sessions, all he's been trough in this hell on earth made him see his mistakes, truly see. He loves Sansa, she's his everything, the reason why he hasn't given up yet but after everything he's done, after all he's put her trough Jon his a fool if he expects her forgiveness. Nothing he can say or do will change what happened, he can't go back in time and erase all memory of these last six years and honestly he doesn't want to. If two and a half months ago someone told him that he had to leave Sansa he would've refused but now he still does but knows better than to say it out loud. If she goes he will suffer, happiness will disappear and Jon might as well be death but then again Sansa already felt all of those things, it's only fair that he gets to experience them too. He already does, in less than twenty four hours his whole life vanished, gone with the wind, the woman he belongs with sits now with another, maybe she's happier, maybe she's smiling more, his kids must like Dickon to because otherwise Sansa would've never let it go this far, opposed to him she lives for Jacob and Emily, unlike him she deserves a second chance at a better life.

He doesn't want to give up with a fight but he can't trap her.

"You have to give her a choice, saying you'll die if she leaves is doing the total opposite. You're blackmailing her."

His therapist said something along those lines only a few weeks ago when she asked him what he would do if he couldn't be with Sansa.

"I would kill myself." That's what he replied.

Of course she won't go, how can she make up her mind when her husband he's blaming her for the cause of his death?

What kind of monster does something like that?

The old Jon, he definitely would do it without thinking twice about it, he's done it already and would've again if he had not seeked for help. But it's too late.

He's a changed man or at least he's man enough to own up to his mistakes and accept his flaws, he doesn't make anymore excuses and doesn't cower at the first bump in the road, but what's the point?

I've lost her.

It's his biggest regret, his doom, it's the beginning of the end. He won't kill himself but he won't ever live again either. Not only did he lost her but Jacob and Emily won't care for him, he knows that because he's doing exactly what Rhaegar did and even to this day Jon hasn't forgiven him for it, just like his children won't.

There's nothing, his past is a sad reminder of what he never had, his present is on hold and there's no future, not if they aren't in it. The worst is that he could've prevented it, instead he addedd fuel to the fire. He did this and now he has to live with it no matter what that means.

He's not ready to let her go, he will never be able to but it's her choice and he has to accept it. Even if it hurts, even if he keeps hurting for the rest of his life. He's not a good man, far from it but he will be for her, to her, regardless of the cost.

I just want you to be happy. I'm sorry I couldn't do that.


 

Later that night

"Thirty more days and I'll be going home!" Pypar said cheerfully.

In a month most of them will be returning home, including Jon. Everyone is over the moon, they all made it and now can finally get back on their feet. Jon can't share those feelings, he's happy that he now can say he's sober but he has nothing to return home to. Somebody else saw to that already, home is just an empty space now.

He can't smile, he can't even breath. All he has is pain and misery running trough his veins.

"Snow, get dressed. The old man wants a word with you." Yoren who had just entered their "barrack" said.

Jon was actually taken by surprise, it was late and everyone should already be sleeping yet Aemon called for him. Why?

Aemon was an old man, probably somewhere in his eighties, some saiy he's a patient who came but never left, others say he works here. Truth is only a few people know the whole story, he's been here for almost fifty years now, since the opening almost. He's blind and nowadays spends his time in the library or in the group sessions, everybody loves him and owns him much, he's helped hundreds of men before and will keep on doing that until he gives his final breath. Jon only spoke to him on a few occasions and everytime he was harder and harder to understand him, he used a lot of riddles and would say things that didn't make sense, at least for Jon anyway. Some call it wisdom, others say it's dementia while Jon thinks Aemon knows something he's not telling.

Not wanting to keep him waiting since it was already so late at night, Jon got dressed quickly and then made his way into the library with Yoren at his side, ever since the incident with Ramsay Bolton everyone has been keeping an eye on him, they think he wants to get back at him, he did but not anymore, no amount of pain inflicted on others will ease his own.

After a few minutes he finally arrived, Aemon was at his desk reading a book in Braille, it was a romance. Jon didn't even know this place had such books, it didn't belong in here, love doesn't live in Castle Black.

"You asked for me, sir?" Jon said in order to make his presence known.

Aemon gestured for him to sit and Jon obliged with his request.

"What's your name again? I'm an old man, I'm afraid."

"Jon Snow, sir." He replied to which the old man gave a soft laugh.

"A Targaryen all alone in the world is a terrible thing." How?

Jon spoke lengthy about his family but he never mentioned their name, they weren't particularly popular here in the North and the last thing he wanted was to give people more reasons to hate him, Mormont knew but promised to keep a secret, he was an honourable man and he would never say a thing. If Aemon knew then he didn't heard it in here but he's been away from the outside world for years now, even before Jon was born. How could this man know?

"How can you know about who I am?" Jon asked in a whisper, maybe these walls had hears.

He wasn't going to take any chances.

"Even in a place so remote as this one we all heard about the Targaryen scandal, what Rhaegar did to that poor girl. It was an injustice." Aemon was the first person who felt the same way as him.

People always blamed his mother for seducing a rich man in the hopes of a better life, some even agree that her death was for the best. Jon hated them all.

"Who are you?" Jon wanted to know why he cared so much about his past.

"In here I'm just like you, like thousands who've been here before, out there I could've been so much more, after all the seat your father occupies now was once meant for me. Aemon Targaryen."

Of course, Jon should've have suspected but it's been years since he's heard that name. He knew about Aemon Targaryen, Jon's grandfather was the one who so often talked about him, not in a good way, Aemon was regarded as a coward who left the family in a time of need, they erased all traces of him and now he's just a ghost people sometimes speak of, he's not a Targaryen anymore. Maybe because Jon was ostracized all of his childhood he feels a greater bond with this man he just found out is related to him than with the rest of his family, he knows what's like to be seen as a stain in a name so powerful as theirs, he knows what he's family does with that. He's lived it and Aemon did to, it's funny how they ended up in the same place so many years later, maybe it's the Targaryen curse.

"You aren't like them which is a good thing, I suppose." Aemon continued before Jon could say something else. "Targaryen men make bad lovers, we've always did." He was old but right now he looked so small, almost like a child regretting something.

"Who was she?" Jon sensed that he's in here for the same reason as him.

Another laugh, this one bitter and humourless. It was sorrow he was hearing.

"I've lost my eyesight years ago but I've always been a blind man. Back then we didn't marry for love, specially if you were as wealthy as I was, I've had plenty of girls, pretty girls, all trying to charm me in order to get me to ask their hand in marriage, some were close I'll admit it after all I was young and in my prime, now you see an old man who can barely stand but I was beautiful once, a Targaryen trough and trough." There was a small smile gracing his face. "It was never in my plans to fall for the maid's daughter but I guess it was never up to me to decide."

"They didn't approve." It wasn't a question, he knew is family. Even when he married Sansa a girl who came from a respectful family wasn't enough.

None of them attended his wedding.

"I told her to wait, I promised that we were going to ran away to Essos and begin a whole new life together. Time is not kind, in a blink of an eye it can change it all and not even love is strong enough to slow it down, I lost her because deep inside I was afraid to leave, I wanted power more than I wanted her. She realised that before I did, when I saw my wrongdoing it was already too late, I never saw her again. I never will, now she's only a part of my memory but somehow she's more real than you do, I can't see you yet her face never vanishes from me." He was crying, Jon felt all he did.

His story is the same as his, his mistakes, his regrets, his love. Jon did it all and felt it too, they're equals, both with time as their weakness. Tragic fates separated by the years.

"I'm so sorry." Jon didn't know what else to say, he never does.

Maybe that's the problem.

"Don't be, that's not what I want from you. I've had plenty of Ygritte's in my life but only one Sansa, there's always going to be only one. Kill the boy and let the man live, that's where I failed. Don't fail too, Jon Snow." He was wise but there's always a but, Jon can't do a thing thousands of miles away from home.

"I'm here, there's nothing I can't do."

Aemon stretched his hand and grabbed Jon's.

"Love is the death of duty."


 

Was he really going to do this?

He wasn't proud of it but desperate times call for desperate measures and it's not like Ramsay doesn't deserve it, he's going to be doing a favour to all of them, specially Edd, his friend will love him for this.

Aemon is right, Jon can't let Sansa go. If she chooses to leave he can't force her to stay, he doesn't want to either, but no one will say that Jon Snow let her go without a fight, he's going to give his all, he's going to be a man, the boy has to go. The boy only caused trouble, but before Jon buries him there's one last thing he'll do. It's going to be worth it in the long run, hopefully.

This one's for you.

Before he knew it he was already at his door, unlike Ramsay Jon didn't need friends to do his dirty work, in his life he's fought with many and now he's about to have one last taste of it. Afterwards Jon won't raise a hand to anyone ever again. He's only doing this because he needs a way out, he signed a contract and if he leaves by choice Davos will suffer the consequences because he was the one who payed for his treatment. He's in a place know where he can go to the normal world without being numb by alcohol, he's been sober for almost three months and will remain like this for the rest of his life. That's his promise to himself.

Kill the boy.

Without any other thought, Jon opened the door and entered Ramsay's "barracks". They were supposed to be asleep but that wasn't what they did at this hour, they were playing cards and laughing, probably all were drunk except for Edd who was sleeping.

"Look! The prodigal son returns." Ramsay who was the first to notice his presence said in his mocking tone. "Came to gives us a clown show, is that it?"

"We have business to settle. Me and you, just the two of us." His tone was deathly.

You're going to pay for everything.

Jon hasn't forgotten his words. Ramsay wanted Sansa, Jon would die before that happens.

"Do you enjoy pain? We'll gladly give it to you." Locke grinned triumphantly.

Not for long.

Rast and Tanner tried to get in his way but Jon shoved them both to the ground, he was possessed by something. The will to see his wife and children again was overpowering all of his senses, all he could see was their faces, they were laughing but Jon wasn't there, Dickon was. He was the one whom they called father, when he heard Sansa say that she loved him it became too much.

He didn't even realized he had punched Locke, only the pain in his hand told him that.

"Jon! Stop you asshole!" Edd was awake now but Jon didn't pay him any mind.

"You're quite the man, I'll give you that. But you play fair, Snow." And with that Ramsay pulled a knive, that didn't frighten him.

Nothing did right now.

Ramsay took a few steps in his directions, when he lunged the knife at him Jon managed to doged and took hold of his wrist. He twisted it and immediately Ramsay collapsed, that was his window of opportunity.

He doesn't know how many blows he gave to him, he kept pummeling his face non stop, he could hear and feel Ramsay's bones crack under his fist, blood was everywhere, Jon's face was splattered in it, his knuckles were bloody as well, his own mingling with the one of Ramsay, each punch had a motive, he was fighting for his freedom, he didn't want to become this, he wanted to be the better person but there was always that beast that Jon kept inside of him, only a few had seen it, all of them regret it. He wants to keep it in but now that it's unleashed he can't stop. He has to.

Stop, you're going to kill him.

"Enough!!!" Mormont's roar made Jon freeze in his spot.

Underneath him Ramsay's face was covered in blood and he looked almost dead, he couldn't find it in himself to feel pity.

"In my office now!" Jon got up in shaky legs, now that the adrenaline was coming to an end his whole body felt like mush.

His hands which were not fully healed yet were trobbing and most likely broken again.

Let this work.

"Haven't I made it clear how things work in here?" Jon could only nod in response now that he was sitting in Mormont's office.

Jeor Mormont scared him more than he cared to admit it.

"And yet here you stand again. Maybe that was your plan all along, being expelled from here." Jeor wasn't fooled by his act, he knew about Dickon and Sansa.

He knows everything that happens one way or the other. That's why people fear him, there's no lying to him.

"I wasn't." He tried to be convincing.

"Aemon sometimes talks too much. What did he told you?" Apparently Mormont doesn't know everything.

He cares greatly for Aemon, that probably will help Jon.

"Love is the death of duty and Jon is beyond repair in that matter." It was Aemon himself who spoke.

Did he know what Jon did? Of course he did.

Bowen Marsh was helping him inside, Mormont himself got up from his chair and offered it to the older man. Jon could see how much he meant, how much his words carried in here. Jeor Mormont answered to no man but Aemon was an exception. Finally in here he found the power that he so much wanted, it wasn't worthy but it was his nonetheless.

Mormont and Aemon were whispering to each other, the room was silent apart from their quiet murmurs, Jon was beginning to panic. If they decide to only give him a punishment and not sending him home as it is his wish, Jon is a dead man. Ramsay will get his revenge, that much he knows.

I'm fucked.

It sounded like a good idea only minutes ago, now he has a feeling that this is going to backfire.

That stopped when he saw Aemon smile, he could see the resemblances between him and he's grandfather Aerys.

Thank God.

"Snow, you've made more progress than I could ever expected from you, you're not the same man who walked through those gates months ago. It's a shame that you threw that all away, I just hope that what we taught you in here can remain in the future." It will. "You broke the rules. Jon Snow, you're expelled from Castle Black." He was probably the first man who's ever smiled upon hearing that.

"Don't waste this opportunity." Mormont said before leaving to his room.

Jon wasn't going to do that, for the first time in his life he's going to treat Sansa like she deserves.

I'll be there, I'll fight, I'll bleed, I'll show you who I am. I love you, precious. Just a little bit more and I'll see you.

 

 

Chapter Text

Gilly (Tarly)

Don't you even dare. Gilly said to herself the moment she saw her husband approaching, she hasn't forgotten what he did.

Yet today was a special day and she didn't want her mood to get ruined by anything in this world. Finally Winter was over and now Spring is all they have to look forward. Gilly always hated Winter, she grew up North and there Winter is far harsher and longer than the ones in Kings Landing, it's a brutal season, nothing grows and it's always dark and raining, not to mention the thunderstorms that would make her cry at night with fear, her father always came to her during the storms. The elders would say that Winter brings out the worst in men, there's no rules, no right or wrong, just survival, it takes happiness out of people and replaces it with nothing but pain and grief, when she was younger she never understood why they said such things but as the years went by she finally saw it. She saw it as a teenager living with Craster and now as a friend who stands by as witness. This year the seasons have not been kind to Sansa Stark, her friend has suffered so much in so little time, most people would've succumbed by now but not her, Sansa is the true definition of a fighter. Now that Spring is upon them things can change, the flowers are already starting to blossom and so is Sansa. From the corner of her eye Gilly can see her grinning, she's laughing again, it's been so long that the sound is foreign to her ears, Gilly hopes she can keep hearing it for a very long time.

"Come on honey, how long will you be angry at me?" Sam whined, this past week she's been giving him the cold shoulder.

"I'm not angry at you," she wasn't, it was impossible to be mad at Samwell Tarly. "disappointed is the right word."

"What did you expected me to do? I had no other choice." He's been using that excuse almost daily now, Gilly still doesn't buy it.

"We'll talk about this later, go help your brother at the grill." She told him already turning her back on him.

Today they were celebrating this new season and because it was an holiday the couple decided to have a cookout in their backyard with all of their close friends and family.

"Maybe I could give a backrub later?" Sam didn't give up easily and she had to admit that his offer was very tempting.

"We'll see." Gilly gave him a small peck on the lips and he almost fell to the ground, sometimes he made her feel like some sort of enchantress.

God, I love you. You infuriate me but I love you.

She knows her husband did what did without bad intentions but still he shouldn't have said a word about it, she's afraid of the consequences because Gilly's 100% sure there'll be consequences.

At first when Dickon, who had just moved to Kings Landing a few weeks back, told her about his encounter with Sansa, Gilly was a bit worried not only regarding Sansa but for her brother in law as well, she didn't want him to get his hopes high because despite everything Sansa will never stop loving Jon Snow, she doesn't want anyone else. Sam freaked out (no surprise there), she's never seen him fight with his brother up until the day he said he was going out with Sansa. Jon is her husband's best friend and he felt bad for keeping something like that from him, she did too in the beginning but that's over now. Dickon has been trough the same that Sansa has, he almost died because of it, he doesn't want to date her, he's heart is still too broken for that but they can be friends and lean on each other, only they know what it's like, only they've suffered, only they overcame.

She's happy for both of them, it's evident that they care for one another and that they are both better, Sansa loves herself a little more and Dickon he's starting to realize that what he went through is nothing to be ashamed of, there was a time he couldn't leave the house. They go out a lot but most times Gilly and Sam accompany them alongside all of the kids, just a few days ago they all went to the movies. Emily and Jacob are comfortable around Dickon and even call him uncle which he absolutely adores. The thing is Jon has no idea about any of this, Sansa begged both Gilly and Sam secrecy, her friend wanted Jon to find out from her and not from someone else, she hasn't told him yet despite keep on saying she will but now she doesn't have to worry about that because Sam already took matters into his own.

About a week ago Jon called him, Gilly was watching over three kids so she didn't pay much attention to what her husband was saying to his friend over the phone, only when she saw Sam pacing the living room and struggling with his words that's when she found out what happened, she didn't needed to hear it from him, Gilly got a hold of the phone but by then it was already too late, Jon knew and nothing she could say was going to change it. If it weren't for the kids she would've screamed at Sam, Sansa was already so nervous about this whole situation and having Jon finding out about it would only make things worst.

Jon wasn't a bad man, it's truth that he's messed up more times than she can count but he's working on that or at least he's trying, he doesn't talk much about what's going on in rehab but there's one thing she knows will never change, his temper. Jon doesn't get mad often but when he does someone always gets hurt, she still remembers that one time her father decided to come to Kings Landing to take her back home, she told Jon about it and in the next day Craster went back North all bruised, now Gilly fears for Dickon and for what Jon might do to him, specially if he sees her brother in law having fun with Sansa and their children as he so often does. Hopefully this time away will calm him and make him less violent, otherwise Dickon is in big trouble.

She hasn't told Sansa a thing about it yet, she's being an hypocrite and she knows it but with Sansa's pregnancy being so risky as it is Gilly isn't going to be taking any chances. She'll try calling Jon next Sunday to explain the situation to him, maybe that'll work.

She chooses not to think about it now, it's a lovely day and she wants to enjoy it with the ones she loves. Tomorrow she can worry.

After making sure everything was coming as it was supposed to- Sam and Dickon were responsible for the grill and she didn't want to serve her guests salmonella- Gilly returned to her back porch where Sansa, Arya and Margaery were all sitting drinking homemade lemonade while the kids were running around playing soccer with Podrick (Margaery's boyfriend) who is a saint and an amazing guy, it's funny that Margaery is now dating him giving her history with men, anyway they're happy and that's all that matters.

"Gilly, thank God you're here. We need your help." Arya said the moment she sat down next to them.

"What can I do?"

"You're Jacob's godmother, Margaery somehow became Emily's, it's only fair that I get to be this baby's one, right?" Absolutely no, Gilly almost said it out loud.

Arya Stark wasn't exactly cut out for that role, she absolutely adored spending time with her nephews...for about thirty minutes then she would get bored plus she had no self control or rules towards them and of course Jacob and Emily took advantage of that whenever they could.

"It's not up to me to decide." Gilly said that instead of her previous answer.

"Exactly! That's why you're my favourite, Gilly." She laughed at her friends reply while Arya and Margaery pouted. "It's too early to be thinking about that." Sansa continued.

She was only five months pregnant so there was plenty of time still, even during her pregnancy with Jacob she only invited Sam and Gilly to be her son's godparents after he was born. Yet the reason she was saying that wasn't because she hadn't made up her mind already, Sansa had another motive, one that Gilly knew too well, Jon Snow. Sansa wants him to have a saying in everything about this pregnancy and that's why she's keeping all preparations on pause right now, as a parent Gilly completely understands that decision, she feels the same way but as a friend she has a different opinion. Jon is in rehab and so he kind as an excuse as to why he's not here now but it's not a secret that he's never been supportive in that aspect. Gilly sees him as the brother she never had, she knows that he's a troubled soul and that he has demons that make him unable to live a normal life, even when she found out about what he did to Sansa she was one of the first people to come in his defense, her father was an alcoholic so she saw it first hand what that addiction can do to a person, if it weren't for Sam, Gilly by now would be a drug addict, it's not easy to quit once we find that sweet escape from reality.

In less than a month Jon will be out of rehab, if his stay there helped him in any way then this time he has no excuses, she loves him but Sansa is more important and Gilly won't let her suffer anymore. She doesn't want to turn her back on Jon like so many have already but if he doesn't get his head in the game and step up to be a good father and husband, Gilly won't apologize this time, she always told Sansa to give the benefit of the doubt but she can also be the one to tell her to get away from him. It may not work but she'll try, Sansa can't keep handling the weight of the world on her shoulders by herself.

"Don't worry Arya, one day you and Gendry will be godparents." Margaery teased her. Honestly she couldn't tell if those two were friends or enemies.

"He's-"

"Not my boyfriend!" Gilly, Sansa and Margaery finished for her in unison.

Arya was getting red in the face, anger or embarrassment Gilly couldn't say. But being Arya it was most likely anger.

"Fuck this. I'm going to join Podrick." She grumbled.

"Don't steal my man!" Margaery warned her.

Sansa was laughing hard at all their antics, a couple of months ago that would be a shocking event. She's made so much progress, she's glowing and not only due to the pregnancy, she's almost unrecognisable, she takes time for herself now, her clothes are far prettier and she even goes shopping whenever she can, her hair his shinning and loose cascading down her back like it once did, she puts on makeup and when Gilly organizes these cookouts she's always the first to accept. Gilly couldn't be any more proud of her, she just hopes that Jon coming home won't change that. Sansa has always relied heavily on him even though he wasn't that helpful, but Sansa has come to the conclusion that she doesn't need a strong man, she's a strong woman. She can keep loving Jon, because it's impossible for her to do the opposite, but she can't keep loving him more than she does herself.

"Look who goes there." Margaery bumped her shoulder against Sansa's one. She rolled her eyes at her friend.

Dickon was making their way to the back porch, he was already flashing them a smile.

"Are you ladies having a good time? You definitely look extremely tired" Dickon sarcastically said, the poor man was covered in sweat.

It wasn't too hot of a day but he's been grilling for awhile now and he was the one who carried all the tables and chairs outside, he must be worn out. God knows Sam avoids all of that, it takes a miracle just to get him to mow the lawn.

"Tired? No. Famished? Absolutely." Sansa joked, she makes jokes now to.

"Lucky for you I've cooked a feast for days. I know you're eating for two now." He countered.

"Are you calling me fat?!" Sansa was trying to sound scandalised, she was having a hard time being convincing.

"Is it too bad of me to ship them?" Margaery whispered in her hear, Gilly could hear the uncertainty in her voice.

"We both know that's never going to happen." Gilly stated.

"Oh well, a girl can dream."

Margaery has never been in a serious relationship and Arya runs from them like the devil runs from the cross, it's easy for both of them to tell Sansa to find someone else to share a life with when they've never even experienced what that's like. Gilly firmly believes people only fall in love once, there's this connection that occurs once in a lifetime then it is almost impossible to break it or forget about it.  Gilly can't imagine having with somebody else what she has with Sam, he knows all about her past, from the drugs, to being molested for years by Craster, to almost selling her body just to be able to eat, Little Sam is not even his, his real father is a man she met a few months before Sam showed up in her life, despite all of it he didn't ran away, he stayed with her and raised her child as his own, every day she falls in love with him again, he gave her something she didn't thought possible, love and affection and for that she'll always be grateful, she'll always love him. Sansa and Jon are the same.

Even if her friend decides to get a divorce (she won't of course) Gilly knows she'll never find another Jon Snow in her life, she might be happy for a time but that won't last, she might kiss another but it'll be Jon's lips she's seeking, she might lay with someone other than him but she'll always burn for him, her heart is his just like his is hers. Even before being friends with them Gilly could already see the way they looked at eachother, the fact that Sansa was the only one who could make Jon break from his sullen persona, that was love. One of the strongest and purest she's ever seen or will see, what those two have goes beyond human comprehension, it's something that can't be explained but everyone can see it and feel it. After everything that's happened there's still no denying about their bond, most couples wouldn't have made it this far. That's why Gilly desperately wants Jon to change, they can't lose this, it's to good to throw it away, it's too rare to find it again. It's impossible to love somebody else like they do for each other.

"Let's eat, people!" Sam was already carrying trays of chicken and burgers to the table.

Podrick, Arya and Margaery where fighting over the food and who gets which before it even arrived at the table.

Yes, she has time to think about those things but now there's three children who need to be fed.

Jacob, Emily and her son must be hungry to.


 

4 days later.

Okay, don't panic, breathe. You read about this a thousand times before, you know what to do.

One thing is reading books about it another is actually going trough it. Sunday morning and Sansa called her saying she needed to go to the grocery store, because of the pregnancy and the doctors's instructions it was best for Sansa if she had someone accompany her, normally Dickon would volunteer to help but he had to work so Gilly said she would without a problem. Little Sam and Jacob were having soccer practice, her husband was at home probably still sleeping since it was his day off, only Emily came with them and now she was nowhere to be seen. She and Sansa where at the dairy aisle and her friend let Emily out of her sight to check her grocery list while Gilly was buying a few things for herself and that's all it took, when Sansa reached her hand to held Emily's she wasn't there, of course Sansa started to panic, it hasn't been five minutes and her friend his already in tears. This grocery store is big but there's a security guard at the door and several more scattered around, Emily isn't far away.

"Emily! Emmy! Where is she?!" Sansa kept screaming, there were already two shop employees with them trying to help.

"Sansa, please calm down. It's not good for the baby, Emily is probably at the candy aisle. I'll go look for her, you stay here." Gilly said in the hopes of calming her down, the stress was something she had to avoid.

It was just a guess but Emily is a five year old and she's been in here plenty of times already to know where is where, most likely she's next to the candies or the toys. A boy who worked there went to the latter to look for her while Gilly made her way into the candy aisle, if Emily gets scared then that's bad, she'll won't find mommy and we'll start to cry and do something or follow someone who she shouldn't, she's smart and Sansa is constantly telling her not to talk to strangers but now that she's lost Emily might not remember that. This was a first for Gilly but she's was trying her earnest to remain calm.

When she arrived there she gasped with relief as soon as she saw Emily, she seemed undisturbed, but Gilly's gasp was also one of fear. Emily wasn't alone, knelling in front of her there was a woman who wasn't a stranger by any means. Mother and daughter were seeing each other for the first time in years, Emily finally came face to face with Ygritte.

Sansa. That was all Gilly could think of.

"They're my favourite too!" Ygritte- who didn't know Gilly and so wasn't paying attention to her- said to Emily while holding a box of chocolates.

"Mommy doesn't let me eat too many." Emily complained to the other woman.

Gilly couldn't seem to make a move, she was too afraid for that.

"I would." Ygritte was smiling, that was a motherly smile. It didn't fit her.

What if Emily can sense something? She was a newborn when her real mother left but she's still her mother, no one can erase that, most people can't remember being a baby there's scientific prove of that but right now Gilly doesn't know in what to believe. Maybe a word, a nickname, a smell might be all it takes to make Emily go back in time. A time where Sansa wasn't part of, where the only person she had was Ygritte.

Do something! Her mind kept screaming. But before Gilly could do a thing...

"Emily!" Sansa came running towards her daughter, immediately Emily turned around to face her mother. "Don't ever do that again! Do you hear me?!" Sansa was shaking Emily.

She wasn't being rough but it was enough to scare her daughter and make Ygritte's nostrils flair and her hands clench into fists. At once Gilly stepped in the middle of them, she's a mother and a wife now but there was a time where she would gladly take Ygritte down in the blink of an eye maybe she still can and will.

"I'm sorry mommy! Please don't be mad!" Emily was crying, seeing Sansa like that must've terrified her.

Sansa's face immediately soften up and for a second she forgot about the woman standing in front of her.

"Oh baby." She hugged Emily. "Mommy is so, so sorry, of course I'm not mad I was just very scared of losing you. I love you so much, my little one." Sansa cooed.

Ygritte was about to cry and couldn't even look at the scene in front of her. Suddenly she didn't appeared to be mad anymore, just hurt and defeated.

"Gilly, take Emily to the car." Gilly wasn't going to do that of course, the last time Sansa was with this woman she almost lost her baby. "We need to talk." That last part wasn't meant for her.

"We do." Ygritte was gentle as a lamb. "Don't worry I don't want to fight, just talk." Ygritte looked at Gilly and somehow she found herself nodding and already taking Emily's hand.


 

She should've stay but she was already at the parking lot with Emily when the doubt started to creep in her mind, there was something about Ygritte's eyes that made Gilly realise she was being honest, she wasn't going to hurt Sansa like the last time they were together, maybe this conversation could actually be a good thing, it was the first time Ygritte saw Sansa and Emily interact with one another, they were inseparable and their love just too strong, no one can't tell Sansa isn't her birth mother from the way she treats her. Maybe this will make Ygritte have a change of heart, maybe she'll go away for good. Gilly wants to believe in that but as a mother she would never leave her child behind.

Ygritte did it once, from what she could see, that smile, she wasn't doing it again.

Chapter Text

Ygritte

It was never her intention for things to turn out this way, of course she wanted to see her daughter, that's the only thing she's ever wanted, but not like this, not in some grocery store aisle and specially not without having Emily knowing who she is, in her daughter's eyes Ygritte was just a stranger who was being kind to her, that was the worst feeling ever. Her daughter was right there in front of her, she had Jon's hair and eyes but she could see so much of herself and her siblings in that little girl, yet she couldn't say the truth, she couldn't hug her and kiss her just like Sansa did, she could but Emily wouldn't understand, she would just get scared. So Ygritte had to stay there and watch someone else comfort her little girl and much to her pain that same little girl only wanted Sansa's comfort, nothing Ygritte could say or do was going to make Emily smile like she did upon seeing Sansa, in that moment Ygritte was nothing more than the nice lady at the grocery store.

She was never supposed to be here in the first place, Mance made her come. Today they would leave the office, there's been a few reports of men laying traps in the woods and her team was called by to take them out safely so no animal or person could become injured, since they were going to be away all day they couldn't stop at some place for lunch so Mance asked her to go buy supplies, she refused saying she was the owner as well and that he could find someone else to run errands of course the fucker didn't give a damn about it.

"Me and Val are loading the truck, do you plan to starve as well with the rest of us?"

So Ygritte had no choice, she wasn't going to spend hours without having anything to eat, she hated doing this but she found herself driving to the store nonetheless, all the way there she had this bad feeling about it and now she knows why, of course Sansa would be here, that's the only place she probably goes when she's not home being the perfect little wife and mommy. Unlike Ygritte she is actually decent.

She hates it but a part of her is jealous for the other woman. She had a good life, caring parents, a house in the suburbs and two beautiful children while Ygritte...

What do I have?

Her bank account is good but that's it. She doesn't have people waiting for her at the end of the day back home, she doesn't even have one, she's always on the road, always wandering around trying to find her place. She hasn't yet and the only person she needs knows nothing about her existence. For years she's tried to build a better life for herself and in a way she has but that all means nothing if in the end of the day it's all the same, she's alone. She's always been alone.

All this time away she missed her daughter and that's pretty much the only reason why she decided to change, to get a job, a diploma and a way to give her the life she denied Emily for years but the truth is, Ygritte hasn't changed one bit. Deep down she's still the same, changing her clothes and appearance is not enough, she's still ugly on the inside.

Her sister had the same life as her growing up yet she didn't let that define who she is, Anna was content with what she had but Ygritte always wanted more, she never belonged in that trailer park, she wasn't going to marry the first loser she saw and definitely wasn't going to be birthing children every nine months like her mother, that's why she ran away in the first place and even after giving birth she still didn't want to settle down, she was free and yet she was still so much of a prisoner.

It took years away, years finding herself and her place in this world to realise that all she needed was back home, Emily. That's why when Mance told her he was planning on staying in Kings Landing for a while she was the first one to accept it. She knew he was only going to stay for a year or so but Ygritte didn't plan of joining him or their team for the next adventure, she had money to rent a house and a degree in wildlife conservation, she could get a job in here or any other place she wished to, all she needed was her daughter by her side.

She knew she couldn't just show up and take Emily away but she never expected Jon and Sansa to keep her away from seeing her, they didn't even gave her a chance to tell her side of the story, they only focused on the fact that she left but not why she left, Jon knew who she was and he saw who she is but he didn't give a shit about it. He's been a lawsy father for years yet he had the balls to remind Ygritte of her mistakes as if he didn't get drunk and fucked her. The worst was that he didn't recognize Ygritte has Emily's mother, for him Sansa was her real mother.

Of course she was mad, she wanted nothing more than to storm Jon's house and take her daughter away, she wanted to drag his ass to court, she wanted revenge. And then out of the blue Sansa showed up at Anna's apartment and said she was going to make Emily hate her, that was all it took for Ygritte to become something else, if it wasn't for her sister she would've beat the shit out of Sansa just for saying something like that but then she saw her almost losing the child and in that moment she became paralyzed with fear.

Was she really going to feel fight with a pregnant woman? Was she that vile?

Of course she was, she never changed, the bitter and nasty human being she was never truly left and that's why she wanted to take Jon into her bed, if Sansa didn't want to give Emily to her then Ygritte was taking someone from her as well, and what could hurt more than knowing her husband and fallen in bed with the same woman he did years ago?

For Ygritte no revenge could've been sweeter, she was going to take everything from the other, she was going to show her what pain truly was but she underestimated Jon fucking Snow and she almost died for it, for a split second the cunt was succeeding but at the last minute he had a change of heart, Ygritte wasn't that weak, she would never leave something undone.

Before she had a chance to do anything else the shit stain of a man Jon Snow was ran away to fucking rehab as if that was going to help, she didn't lie when she said they were equals, deep down Jon wanted to be like her, free. He was just too much of a coward to admit it but Ygritte could see right through him, even after all this time she still can. Sansa might love him but Ygritte is the one who truly knows him, and that small triumph was enough to keep her away for a while.

She was getting her daughter one way or another but she took pity on Sansa, she was pregnant and Ygritte wasn't going to be the one changing that, she vowed to await until the birth of the baby to make a move, in the meantime that would give her time to find a proper lawyer and present her case on court, also Jon almost killed her and she had the pictures of his fingerprints on her neck and the surveillance footage of him  getting inside her room to prove it, no judge would allow such man near a child again, she was relying on that.

But that was yesterday. Now she feels different.

When she looked into her daughter's eyes she was hoping for something but she got nothing, Emily didn't care about who she was, when Sansa showed up and grabbed her that was love, the way the two of them were hugging eachother was something not even Ygritte could fight against, she could say she was Emily's real mother, that Jon was a monster but what for?

She'll never have what Sansa does, Emily will never love her the same and that's Ygritte's fault. She lost the right to that little girl the moment she turned her back on her and it took someone else filling her void to understand the consequence of her actions. She'll never be good enough.

You'll always be the nice lady at the grocery.

And what if someday Emily's learns about the truth? What guarantees does she have that her daughter will forgive her?

She can say whatever she wants to but in the end she did leave, she ran away and there's no other way around it.

Her sister was telling the truth, Ygritte had her chance and the blew it, Sansa doesn't deserve to lose because of that. If something Ygritte should be on her knees thanking her for she knows that if she were to be in Sansa's shoes she would've never loved that child the same, not when she was the living prove that the person she loves the most may not love her the same.

And now she's here, standing face to face with Sansa once again, this time she doesn't want to fight, she's too tired for that. She doesn't want to be bad anymore, suddenly revenge seems like the wrong thing to do.

There's only one thing she can do know.

"Are you chasing me? Why are you here?" Sansa asked her, the minute they sat down to talk.

"I'm not stalking you if that's what you think. I came here to do the same as you just like anyone else."

"And yet I found you talking to my daughter." My daughter, Sansa might be right.

"A coincidence, one that shouldn't have happened but in a way I'm happy it did. It made me see the truth." Why did Ygritte had to come here?

If she didn't none of this would've happened but then again she would just be avoiding the inevitable, no matter what Emily will never be hers, she's her daughter but Sansa's her mother.

"Which truth is that?"

"I'm not taking Emily away, you can rest assure." Ygritte had to fight back the tears that could fall at any moment.

Never in her life she had to do something this hard, she's used to leaving, it's a part of who she but so is Emily.

"What changed?" Sansa asked her. Ygritte was asking herself the same.

"Look at us." Anna's words were still very much present. Her sister told her that a few days ago when they fought, that's all they seem to do.

Ygritte didn't want to hear it but know she can't deny Anna has a point. What life can she give to Emily?

Her daughter still has an opportunity to be someone, having Ygritte in her life would just mess her up.

"You may not believe it but I do love Emily, all this time I was away she was always with me, never once did I stop thinking about her. I'm no good but you are, even if she finds out the truth, even if she understands it, I can see now that she'll always chose you. I'm better out of her life." It was fucking hard to say it out loud.

Only because it's the most honest thing Ygritte has every said before.

"I don't want that." Sansa said firmly, Ygritte was surprised.

How could this woman say something like this? Does she enjoy being hurt?

"Jon once told me you're one of a kind, I get it why he said that. I had sex with your husband, made you raise my daughter, tormented you and seduced Jon not long ago and yet you tell me to stay? Why?" Ygritte asked Sansa, she was clueless right now.

"You're a liar, I'm not. There's going to come a day where Emily will find out the truth, I'll make sure of it."

If Ygritte wasn't certain about her decision before, she certainly is now. She'll never be good enough, Sansa already is.


 

Jon Snow

It's been two days since he's arrived in Kings Landing, the trip there was anything but easy, he had to take an helicopter from Castle Black to White Harbour then he had to wait four more days to find a flight available to go to Kings Landing, so after more than a week he's finally back, it's been so long that the "real world" seems so different or maybe Jon has spent too much time isolated from everything. He misses Sansa and the kids like crazy but he still hasn't told them he's here, he's not even seen them yet, there's only two people who know he's here and who have been with him, Sam and Davos. Davos was the one who came picking him up at the airport (Jon was actually staying at his place), Mormont told him about what Jon did and of course Davos was pissed at him, it was a miracle Jon didn't end up like Ramsay Bolton, Davos wanted nothing more than that. He told Sam because he was his best friend but also the only person who could tell him about Sansa, from what he's heard she's doing better than okay and thankfully her pregnancy is not as complicated as it once was, Jon prayed for that every night while he was away. Sam also told him that the kids are a little bit sad because they miss him but that everyone is trying to cheer them up, by everyone Jon knows Sam is referring to his brother Dickon, just thinking about that name is enough to make him go back to his old selfish ways.

Breathe. Kill the boy.

He hasn't forgotten about his conversation with Aemon, he still remembers clear as day what that man went through and how that affected him. Years alone in the cold of the North all because of a choice, power. Jon never cared for that but he did care for his drinking and in a way that was the choice he made, five years ago he could've stopped and actually make an effort in therapy when in reality all he did was sit there and endure because that made Sansa happy, he never gave a fuck about what his therapist was saying, yes it was good to have someone to talk to, there were certain things he couldn't share with Sansa but no matter what his therapist said to him, Jon would always find more solace at the bottom of a whisky glass, it's been that way for years.

He thought that now since he's not in Castle Black anymore it would be harder to stay sober but it's not, in these two weeks away from that place he's had plenty of opportunities to drink, his hotel mini bar, the drinks served at the airplane, damn it even Davos has a cabinet full of whisky bottles, he doesn't drink of course but Davos says it's been a passion for years and that he actually doesn't tempt him in anyway possible, Jon didn't feel intimidated by them either, they're just objects, they can't do a thing, only he can if he wants to and even though sometimes he does, Jon never follows those urges.

The will to see Sansa and have them become like they once were is stronger then his addiction. He won't ever touch another drop of alcohol in his life, he's said that before already but this time he means it. This time Sansa knows the real him and he's afraid that now she finally he's able to say goodbye, God knows he's not. How can I be?

He needs her so much but yet finds himself sitting in Davos spare room looking at the ceiling because he doesn't sleep anymore, it's strange but he almost misses those hard bunk beds he had to sleep in at least there he could close his eyes and doze off, in here he can't because he knows that she's just miles away from him, he only has to get out of bed and go there, the only place that could give him some measurement of comfort right now his is bed, the one he shares with Sansa but he doesn't, he can't right now. Not until he finishes his plan, because for the first time in his life Jon Snow actually has a plan, he's not relying on her forgiveness because well he's done nothing to be worthy of it.

Not yet at least but that's about to change.

It's wrong to be away from home for months and then return only to remain hidden like some wanted fugitive, that's already a bad way to start but Jon also knows that he can't just show up at their doorstep with a bunch of flowers and hollow apologies, if he wants her back he has to show it, really show it and that's what he's going to do. If he still hasn't made his presence known is because he's awaiting for something, something he should've done a long time ago. He's counting with Davos help on that. His friend promised he was going to do all he could to help him and Davos has never failed him before, if Jon is now sober is because of him, he was the one who payed for his stay at Castle Black and talked to Stannis so Jon could keep his job.

Even if Sansa doesn't take him back he still has to make sure she and the kids have everything they need and deserve, despite his many mistakes he's never failed them on that, only on everything else. For a while he thought that "bringing home the bacon" was more than enough. How wrong was he.

Apparently Dickon takes them to zoo trips and to the movies and they all have fun, just like a family but the thing is they're Jon's family and he won't let another take that from him, even if the asshole gets Sansa he won't get the kids, they'll always have Jon. He's here to stay, this time around there's no more excuses.

Mormont taught him that, he and so many others. Jon was a boy amongst men in Castle Black but he's in Kings Landing now and it's time for his own man show is face.

Kill the boy.

Next morning when he woke up after probably two or three hours of sleep, Jon got dressed and headed downstairs to Davos kitchen. Even before arriving he could already smell breakfast, fried bacon, eggs and toast, Marya was an early riser and she loved to cook, she was Davos wife and one hell of a woman, she was short and plump with always a kind smile in her face, she was little but fierce, she raised seven children and was the one who got Davos back on his feet, even now she still manages to do that, in several ways she reminds him of Sansa a bit. Both strong and the pillar of the family.

They would be lost without them, Jon was already halfway there.

"Good morning, Jon. Did you get any sleep at least?" Marya asked, the bags under his eyes were prove that he didn't. She noticed that right away.

"I tried, it doesn't work for me I'm afraid."

"Well, you look too skinny and pale. You should rest, we know that these next couple of days won't be easy." Marya knows what he plans on doing, she was the one who's helped him with the preparations.

If it was up for Davos...he actually didn't help much. He was just taking care of the logistics while Jon was trying to find the right words, because in the end of the day everything can be perfect but if he doesn't convince Sansa into give him on last try then all of this is pointless.

He's never been good with that, Marya told him to speak from his heart but there's so much in it that it's difficult to find the right one to pick and he doesn't want to keep saying what's he's been saying for the past five years. I love you it's not enough.

"About that, has Davos said anything? Did he get it?" Davos was the only person with enough connections to help Jon in this matter.

He doesn't even know if it's possible, maybe someone else already lives there and it's highly unlikely they'll let in a stranger inside their home.

Jon has lost his mind but for Sansa he doesn't mind being a fool.

When Marya smirked Jon's whole universe got a new meaning, it wasn't much but if Davos succeed then Jon had a glimmer of hope. That place was where Sansa's heart truly was, that was their little paradise away from the world, they were happy, they shouldn't have left.

But how could we know?

"Prepare to take a trip down memory lane." Marya smiled and Jon grinned, he almost forgot how good it felt to actually allow himself that action. "Go on eat, we have some shopping to do. Don't we?"

"Oh Marya, you're an angel!" He got up from his chair and hugged the woman.

He actually lifted her in the air and spinned her around, she was laughing and so was he.

He was so close, just one more day that's all that was left.

 

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

"Come on baby, you got this one." Sansa coaxed Jacob.

Everyday she would take a least an hour a day to practice some speech exercises with Jacob, even though he was seven is speech was still very much lacking but he was hardworking and as stubborn as her, everyday that went by he was improving more and more and Sansa's certain than in no time he's going to achieve all of his goals, she's going to be with him at every step of the way.

"The p...pen...penguin is at t...the zoo." Jacob slowly said while looking at the pictures Sansa was showing him, despite being difficult and sometimes frustrating for him his speech was easy to understand.

She was beaming at him. Jacob is such a smart little boy.

"Oh! I'm so proud of you baby." She hugged him.

"Mommy! I want to learn too!" Of course Emily wanted to do everything her older brother did, it was so sweet the see their bond.

Despite being so young Emily already had an idea of what Jacob's condition was and she was willing to support him in every way she could, recently as she began seeing Sansa and Jon using sign language more and more around the house she decided she wanted to learn as well, Sansa wasn't an expert but she knew the basics and so she was showing Emily the essential signs, like hello, what's your name, do you need anything, and what not. Emily was proving to be a fast learner, she already was able to have conversations with her brother only by signs.

"Okay baby, but remember that nana and grandpa will be here tomorrow and we have to awake up early, so we don't have much time." Emily didn't even listen to the whole thing, she was already running towards her room to collect some books Sansa gave her about sign language.

Honestly Sansa loved these little moments she shared with her children, not long after the arrival of Emily Sansa began working again and the kids were sent to daycare and now with everything that's been going on in their lifes and the fact that her pregnancy stops her from being as active as before, Sansa can't help but feel that she's neglected them a bit, she loves her job but she can't deny that being at home with the kids is so much better, maybe once this baby is born and she finishes her maternity leave Sansa will quit her job. It's good to have options and now she has plenty of them, all because she allowed herself to.

At first she felt guilty for going out with Dickon or even by just having fun with her friends like she used to when she was younger, it didn't feel right because while Sansa was living her best life Jon was in rehab going through hell, she made the mistake of looking up Castle Black online and what she saw kept her without being able to sleep for days, that place was so grim and dark, nothing grows there, there's no colour just ice as far as the eye can see, it broke her heart to picture Jon, her Jon in a place like that away from the ones he loves, alone without people telling it's going to be okay, without her to say I love you.

All of that would go away the moment she heard Jacob and Emily crying for him, when she found herself alone in the doctors office dreading what doctor Brienne might say, whenever she's too cold to fall asleep, or the wind is too loud, in those moments all she can feel is anger at him, he's alone but Sansa despite being surrounded by her family and friends doesn't have him either and that hurts so bad, she always fought for them, she forgot, she swallowed her pride, she was humiliated twice and yet she remained at his side because otherwise he would've done something crazy and when the tables turned and she was the one helpless and in need of comfort he wasn't there, of course she's mad. He promised to be with her but he said it himself that he wasn't a man of his word, he said he wasn't going to cheat on her again but fell in Ygritte's arms while Sansa was still recovering from almost losing a child, a child who has been growing inside of her, a child who doesn't have a father around. She loves him but she's starting to see that Jon is no prince charming.

And yet I can't stop thinking about you.

Whenever she goes out with Dickon she's always hoping that Jon could be the one in his place, when she's laughing with Sam and Gilly she whishes Jon could be there to share those moments with them, when Margaery teases Arya she knows Jon would do the same, when she has to comfort Emily after a nightmare she does it with the knowledge that Jon is far better at that than her, when she's alone in bed she clings to his clothes because his scent still lingers in them and that's the only way she can be at peace.

She's so confused right now, she knows that he's not a good husband or a good father, she also knows that she doesn't need him to be human but she can't help feeling that she does, that he's going to change, that he's not hurting her no more. Sansa doesn't know in what to believe, she keeps waiting for him to prove himself to her, it's been over ten years and that day hasn't yet arrived. She's afraid that won't come.

But still I love you, you keep pulling me away but I keep coming back to you.

She's happy, she truly is, these months away from him made her see so many things, discover so much of herself. She's in a place now where she can look in the mirror and feel pride of who she is and all she's accomplished but there's always a but. Is name is Jon Snow. She feels good with herself but she wants to be with him because she wants him to see who she is, she wants to try again because this time she knows she's better, she's stronger but she has no idea if she can't say the same about him. Her strength might not be enough for both of them and even if she can she doesn't want to, they have to be their own individual no matter who that might be.


 

Next morning

*Ding*

Oh! That's right, mom and dad.

Their parents arrived yesterday because tomorrow Robb and Talissa will be hosting a baby shower/gender reveal party and so every Stark was going to be there, plus Sam, Gilly, Margaery, Gendry (Arya doesn't know of course) and Dickon, he was present when Robb invited everyone and even though he wasn't that familiar with Dickon her brother felt like it was the right thing to do, Sansa isn't mad of course, it's not her party but everyone is going to be there and are going to see them interact, his her best friend no more, she doesn't have any feelings for him at all, just a very deep friendship but the rest of her family might not see it that way. God knows how hard it was to convince Arya to stop trying to make them fall in love, luckily she's stopped, hopefully her family won't try anything either. At least they don't know about what Jon did, they think that rehab was a mutual agreement between the two of them.

Sansa quickly got out of bed and headed downstairs to open the door. Her mom and dad were there so was Robb and Rickon, because her older brother lived in an apartment he couldn't have the party there so Sansa decided they could use her backyard, most likely her brothers are here to start decorating since the party is tomorrow afternoon.

"See mom? I told you guys it was too early, we could've come after lunch." Of course Rickon was going to say something like that. The less he had to do the better.

"It's not, I was already up. I'm just going to start breakfast for the kids, you know the way. Those tables aren't going to fix themselves." Sansa replied much to her little brother's misery.

"Thank you so much for doing this, I own you big time. I swear I'll be on babysitting duty for the rest of the year." Robb who was carrying what looked like a thousand boxes said. Sansa just waved her hand.

Ever since he found out he's going to be a dad he's been around her kids a lot more than before, he says is because he wants to get the hang of it, little does he know that nothing can prepare your for fatherhood or in her case motherhood. She's confident he and his wife Talissa will do just fine, also her parents are talking about finally moving to Kings Landing and if that happens nana Cat will be all over the new baby, she can't help it. It's good to know that this time around she has people to help her in her pregnancy as well, she's almost reaching her third and final trimester and the nerves are beginning to pile up. Doctor Brienne assured her that her pregnancy is going well and that slowly Sansa can finally return to her routine, she still has to take vitamins and go see her doctor at least once a week but she's feeling so much better and the baby is healthy, that's what matters the most. She wants this child to have both of his parents present but she can't guess that now.

As soon as all the men went to work, Sansa went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast, Jacob and Emily will be waking up in no time. But of course her mother didn't give her that chance.

"Sansa, why don't you go to your room, take a shower or rest some more if you want to, and I'll make breakfast for them?" Her mother suggested.

"There's no need for it, I'm not tired and you already have so much in your hands." It was true, her mother was the one responsible for all the cooking.

Yet this was Catelyn Stark and she doesn't take a no for an answer. She just gave one of her famous looks and Sansa knew better than to persuade her. As if she was a teenager again, Sansa just nodded and went upstairs.

Her family as been her rock, for weeks she couldn't do a thing and they practically took care of Jacob and Emily by themselves, she's so grateful for it. After coming home from the hospital and then receiving those news from Jon, Sansa wasn't herself, she didn't have the drive to do a thing and if it weren't for her family her kids would've suffered for it. She stopped thinking that way a long time ago, she's never putting any man, regardless of who he is, in front of her needs and the needs of the ones that she cares for, her children.

After returning to her room, Sansa went straight to the bathroom and took a quick shower, she still wanted to help her mom, as she was leaving she couldn't help but stare at his toothbrush, she hasn't moved a thing, this room still smells like him, everywhere she looks she can see a bit of him, it's almost like she's torturing herself.

Out of sight, out of mind. Right?

She can't do that still, she has to see him first. Only then she can truly make up her mind.

Sansa was just finishing getting dressed when her phone rang, she thought it was Margaery since she was supposed to show up after lunch with Arya, they were always fighting but were inseparable, maybe they had a change of plans or something.

When she picked her phone and saw who's name was on her screen for a second she wasn't there, this couldn't be.

This can't be real.

Jon: Hello, precious.

In rehab they're aren't allowed to use their phones so that means he's not there but it's soon, there's still sixteen days left, she's been counting them. Did he got in trouble? Did he got hurt?

She was in the verge of tears, if they were of joy or sadness she couldn't tell. Jon was doing well from what she heard, he told her he was going to finish his programme, that he was going to get sober but if he's here, or somewhere else she doesn't know then he's not sober, then all the progress he's made went to waste. Most importantly all that she's went through this past two and a half months all by herself were for nothing, Jon left and she accepted it because it was the best for them but it seems he didn't care about that, he didn't make any efforts.

For all she knows he's probably not even in Kings Landing, maybe he got tired of her and everything around him and just left to be on his own.

He left me. Us.

She thought she could make him stay but she can't, she loves him but he doesn't love her. She knows that now. And it hurts so much.

But he called me precious.

That's got to be worth something, he wouldn't say that if he had given up, right?

Maybe she's just making excuses as to why he's not here. She chooses to believe that he's still in Castle Black and somehow they made an exception, at least she can still hope that he's going to return, he's getting treatment. All lies she's telling herself to stop the pain.

Who knows maybe he found someone else.

She can't fight what she's feeling so she gives in. She just sits on the ground and cries, unable to reply to him because she's afraid of what he'll send in return.

Why you do this to me?

She's a fool who keeps giving him her heart knowing he'll just break it. She has to stop but she's running in circles, in the end she always goes back to him.

"Sansa?" She was looking but she knew it was her father, his voice always had the ability to calm her down. "You've been in here for an hour, what's wrong, sweetie?"

Slowly she got up and when Ned Stark saw the look on her face, the tears, he all but ran to her. Sansa sobbed in his shoulder, like she has so many times already, the reason is always the same.

"Jon's not in rehab." She told her father once she collected herself, they were now sitting on her bed.

"I know. He called when he arrived at White Harbor. He's been staying with Davos for over a week now." So Jon is here, she felt so relieved hearing those words.

Yet he only texted her now, he could've done it before. It doesn't change a thing, there's still time for him to leave. He's being a coward.

"Were you going to tell me?" She was angry, her father lied to her after all, but she remained neutral.

She was mad at Jon, her father has nothing to do with this. Even if he told her that doesn't change the fact that her husband choose to hide.

"He made promise not to. Sweetie, it wasn't up to me to say a thing." Her father was the most honourable man she knew.

Jon took advantage of that, he knew his father in law would keep a secret.

"I know and I understand, I'm not mad at you. I'm just... very confused right now, for months this is what I've been waiting for but now... it's difficult." She wants to give Jon a chance but how can she do that when all he does is ruin things?

"It always is, but that's what makes it good right?" Sansa frowned, how could that be a good thing? "Life isn't perfect, it's hard and sometimes very ugly but that's beauty of it because with every obstacle you face you learn a lesson and that lesson sticks with you for the rest of your life. Take it from a man who's learned many lessons before." Her father said, his face sullen.

"I don't believe it. I mean you and mom are just perfect, I always wanted a marriage like yours." I still do.

Her father chuckled, he wasn't usual for him to do it.

"When Robb was born, your mother got post partum depression and for months on end she locked herself in her room with just your brother, she only left for appointments and such and even then she didn't want me around. I didn't do the same as Jon but...I did things equally bad and for that your mother hated me. For years we were strangers sharing a house, only when you where born things finally began to shift, we realised that we couldn't let our family be thorned apart because of words said in the heat of the moment, it took a long time but we forgot and now that's just a part of our past." Sansa was shocked at that revelation.

Was her father only saying that to make her feel better, no he wouldn't go that far. She never thought something like that would be even possible between her mom and dad.

"Why are you telling me this? Should I forgive Jon?"

Why should she forgive him in the first place?

"Perhaps if it wasn't for those years that we weren't us, then maybe today we wouldn't be here, not as a couple at least. Even forever can take a time out."


 

Later that night

After her dad left she finally managed the courage to text Jon back, if she heard his voice she would be doomed, he was indeed in Kings Landing staying with Davos and his wife that's all Sansa knows, he didn't answered to any of her questions, he avoided them saying it was best to speak in person, so that's why she's driving now to a place she loved once upon a time. Jon only gave her and address but she knew exactly where it lead, their old one bedroom apartment, the one where nothing but them existed, the one she was happy and the one she should've never left. She was an idiot back then thinking a bigger house and a suburban neighborhood was what she needed to be happy, all she needed was him but the moment they left their little bubble in the streets of Flea Bottom, Jon Snow was never the Jon Snow again, if she has to pinpoint the exact day their marriage fell apart then it would be the day they closed that old wooden door behind them for good, everything that's happened ever since is just...

Their fairy tale ended a long time ago, it never existed. They're just stories people tell each other in order to get trough the night.

Perhaps she doesn't want to live in a fairy tale anymore, it's time not only to face but to also accept the truth.

Look the truth in the eyes.

She didn't had to knock, the door was unlocked and even if it wasn't Sansa didn't need a key, she knows every secret to this place, too bad she can't say the same about her husband.

Husband, just a word.

She almost doesn't know who she is anymore, the old Sansa would've give her life for this moment. Who she is now is only here because...

Why am I here? Jon should be the one coming to see me. Not the other way around.

When she got inside she gasped, everything was exactly as she remembered. The furniture was the same, mismatched and second handed, the pictures on the wall of them as teenagers where still there, the fleece blanket she and Jon would wrap themselves in it was laying on the couch as it once was, on the dinning table there were two packages of noodle soup and two cans of coke, just like it did the first time they slept in here, even the magnets on the fridge hadn't changed, it's like time froze and all of what happened was nothing more than a nightmare, she was twenty years old again, recently married to the love of her life and without a care in the world.

We could stay here forever, the world can keep on turning while we make our own pace.

Sansa knows that she can't and when she saw him she was catapulted back to reality, he was different from the man that left just months ago, his hair was shorter, his beard was longer, his shoulders more broad and there was a scar above his eyebrow, she couldn't get past it.

What have they done to you?

He was still as beautiful as she remembers and even though she doesn't want to she can't seem to keep herself away from him, the urge to fall back into his arms is too big, there's a desire of kissing him again, it's been so long since she tasted those lips that breath life back into her, those hands that warm her skin, those eyes that make her blind, yet there's also the man who destroyed her for any other man.

He was smiling at her. That smile was the culprit behind all of this, she looked at it once and couldn't stop afterwards, even now she can't.

I'll never will.

"You look... there's no words for it." Jon appeared to be mesmerized, it's been a long time since he's seen her like this. Like who she was before faith got in the way. "I love you." She needed those words three months ago.

Where were they?

Where were you?

"I've missed you, all of you." He continued.

Sansa almost caved in, she was about to fall, to surrender herself to him. It was so easy, all she had to do was take that last step but if she did there would be no turning back, he's where the road begins and where it ends, there's no escaping from it, from him. She wants to be held captive, she wants to hold him and never let go. She has to live to,  but what's the point of a life without him there?

I'm yours and you're mine.

But Sansa as known nothing but strength this past months, a strength she found deep in herself. Jon Snow might not be the same but neither is she. She can't and she won't behave like she used to, she's saw to much for that already. She knows the man in front of her and what he's capable of and she can't let herself to endure such treatment again.

I love you.

"I hate you." She said instead.

It wasn't a lie. Only half true.

"Sansa..." Those eyes she loves where now coated in tears.

He's always made her cry, she never did the same. It hurts to be the one doing it and yet Jon did it anyway, why would someone do that?

"Let me give a little update of what you missed. Ygritte finally saw Emily while she was lost at the grocery store, Jacob had to upgrade the sound processor of his implant, he got in a fight at school, Emily got stomach flu and for days couldn't keep anything in her stomach and I was too weak to be there for her, someone had to take my place, my pregnancy is going great but for weeks I was in pain, there were bills to pay, children to look out for, and you weren't there! I needed you and you didn't came! I was alone, I'm still alone! You're a selfish bastard!" For years she kept it all bubbled inside, at some point she had to explode.

Hearing her say what he hated most must have been horrible, she regrets it but she won't say that to him.

You deserve the pain.

"I shouldn't have left, but ple-"

"No, I'm sick of hearing the same thing over and over again, it doesn't change what you did! While you were away, I was going through that alone and it wasn't that hard actually, I've done it and it felt good. There's far better ones than you out there, you made me realize that I don't need you." She could have them all but there's only one that she loves.

"I do." I do to.

But she'll make him fight, he did it once let him do it again.

"I don't see how that's my problem." Outside she was cruel and almost inhumane, inside she was dying with every word that was coming out of her mouth. "You're children miss you very much, you should visit them. Just make sure you don't stay long, you can life here just fine for all that I care. Bye, Jon." Without wasting another second she left with her head held up high.

Inside of her car, in her shelter, she finally cried. The hardest thing she's ever done was walking way still loving him.

Chapter Text

Jon Snow

I hate you.

I hate you.

I hate you.

He's heard those words before, many people had use them against him, his father, his siblings, his step mother, his friends, it was such a common thing to say to him that Jon was used to it already, it didn't hurt after all words are wind, they only damage if he allows them to, he did for a time but that time is long gone.

But hearing them coming out from her mouth, hearing Sansa say them is...

He's never seen her like that before, the warmth he knew wasn't there, the woman who would turn him to a babbling mess with just a look was gone, the kisses he grew addicted to didn't exist, in her place there was someone else, someone cold, someone who caused him more pain than he could ever bare, someone who made him crumble, someone who took his will to live. This is who Sansa is now and the worst part is...he's the one who created her.

You can only hurt someone so many times.

Sansa came to him in a time of her life when she had no one, her family was miles away in Winterfell, she was the laughing stock of college, she had no love for herself, she was vulnerable and he was the one who took her away from that hell she was living, who saved her and for that she loved him without limits, without fears, unconditionally.

After the birth of their son her barriers were down, she thought that Jon wouldn't hurt her intentionally, Jon thought so too but he was wrong, he kept hurting her and much to his sorrow she allowed him to.

When things change, people have to adapt, they can no longer tolerate, there's a point you get tired of trying to fix things, you get tired of being beaten down, humiliated, and Sansa had reached that point in her life. He can't say she's giving up, she's not, she's only doing the right thing for herself.

Being in love is not a  poetry book, is not like the movies make it look like, it's fucking horrible. Sansa opened her heart to him, she gave him all of her, and Jon just took that and broke it into a million shards, he left her bleeding, he made her cry, he took that pure soul that was Sansa and turned her ia cold and emotionaless, he did that, she was already so close to the point of no return, to the darkness and Jon gave her that last shove. She cried for them while he was drunk and numb, she needed him and he wasn't there, she wanted him and he pushed her away, she blamed herself while he thought that was nothing to be sorry for, she loved him and now he knows he didn't do that.

She hates him and he hates that she does, he hates what is done. He knows Sansa is the only one for him but now there's nothing more he regrets than the day he made her fall in love with him, he should've never entered that library, he shouldn't have promised all the things he did because deep down he knew he would never be able to fulfill them, he already knew he was going to hurt her yet he didn't stop, he was selfish and she payed the price.

I hate myself to.

He should leave but he can't and he won't, their love is not something that happens twice, it's like a shooting star, something like that can't just be discarded like a piece of rubbish, relationships aren't perfect, neither are people. To build something first there's the need to destroy what was there before and that's what he'll do, Jon can't change the past, but he can shape his future and he desperately hopes Sansa and the kids can be part of it, if not then it's not even worth it, he spent all of his life fucking things up, that stopped the moment he saw Sansa and what his actions have done to her.

Let's try again.

She hates him and in a very twisted sort of way he's happy for it, Sansa finally saw the shit stain he is, she only knows his mistakes and that's what she's expecting to see again, Jon's going to make her see otherwise. The ball is on his court now and this is last round.

Even if he takes him a lifetime or two he won't stop until she sees who he is, who is always tried to be, even if Sansa doesn't take him back he won't give up. He can't let her go thinking this is him, if she has to leave at least let her do it with the knowledge of this Jon.

Let her memory of me be good, if anything at least that.


 

He hasn't slept at all last night, the fact that he stayed at their old apartment only made it worse, there's to many memories, smiles they lost, people that no longer exist, too many shadows. His head is pounding, his whole body sweating, he's feeling cold despite the warm weather, he's aching and his right hand can't be still, he needs a drink, he would kill for one right now but the moment he has it, Jon probably will kill himself. He can't drink now, not when he's on his way to see Jacob and Emily, he can't let his children or Sansa's whole family see him drunk, they all know he's back from rehab and that he's earlier than expected, the lack of faith they have on him is already big enough, Jon can't be given them any more motives to give up on him.

Fuck! My hands! Suddenly he remembered, he couldn't show up at Talissa's baby shower with his hands looking like this. He had to make them look presentable or at least keep them away from prying eyes.

Last night after Sansa left Jon trashed the whole apartment, dishes went flying everywhere, tables were flipped over, holes were made on the wall, afterwards he was left sitting on the floor breathless and with his knuckles bloody and raw and mostly a broken heart. He was mad at himself not at her, she was the one that spoke but Jon was the reason why she was speaking like that, he was mad because in that moment he didn't saw Sansa, he saw Elia Martell. It was a mirror of what his father did to her and he couldn't stand the sight of it, he couldn't live knowing that there was a possibility for his wife to become that woman who only caused him pain growing up, the same woman who now no longer knows the meaning of the word love.

I'm sorry I did that.

At least she didn't completely shut him out, an hour after she left, Sansa texted him. She only did so he knew what to say at the party or how to act, she didn't told her family the truth and so they were still speaking to him, she also told them that he left early just because he didn't want to miss such a special occasion in Robb and Talissa's life, all lies of course. Sansa has always been honest, she never lies because for her that's the worst thing someone can do to a person and yet that's exactly what she's doing. Once again she's saving his sorry ass, it's all she's ever done for him.

Now Jon hopes he can return the favour but it looks like there's no need for it, she's been doing pretty good on her own, she looks healthier and happier, stronger than the woman he left behind to go North. He's the source of her problems, he's always been.

"Stop being sorry! Show some fight, goddamnit!" Davos shouted on the phone last night when Jon called him bawling like a baby.

He wants to fight of course, he's trying is earnest but at the same time he doesn't know if that's the right thing to do right now.

Why am I such a screw up?

But his sponsor is telling the truth, Jon can choose to cry in a corner for things that no longer can be remedied or he can give the fight of his life.

What should I do? What's best for her?

He once tought getting a divorce was the best thing for Sansa and that backfired, he can't keep thinking for her, he has to give her space to make her own decisions, that's why he's going to that party, he wants her to give him an answer or at least a sign that he can try, that it's worth that. He can no longer force her to do a thing, that's where he got wrong in the first place.


 

Come on, you can do this.

Now that he was standing at the door, key in hand, he was unable to move. Everybody was already there, Jon could see their cars at the driveway and he could hear them talking and laughing inside, it felt wrong to be here, it's like he doesn't belong, he use to feel that way when he lived in Dorne, everytime he walked into a room all would be silent, his presence was too uncomfortable. He has the feeling that now it will be the same, he's too embarrassed to face his children after months away from them, he's too much of a coward to look at Ned Stark in the face, despite everything he's done the man didn't give up on him, he was the one who came all the way from Winterfell to White Harbour just to make sure Jon kept himself sober, he's scared of what Arya will say to him, he can't look Catelyn Stark in the eyes knowing he broke his promise to her.

Get your shit together!

With one deep breath he turned the key and the door opened, immediately he could smell lemons, their house always smelled like lemons, at first he didn't like it but it was Sansa's favourite so if she wanted to clean the floor using only lemons he was willing to do that himself, with time he came to love the fragrance of it, it was the same as hers, even know it's as intoxicating as in the beginning, he breathes again taking in that scent, somehow it gives him strength and courage to face this trial.

He looks around and sees no one, they're outside in the backyard and that gives him time, he looks at the wall on the living room where Sansa had marked both Jacob's and Emily's height on this wooden ruler he build, slowly he traced his fingers trough it, both of them had grown, Emily a bit more.

You missed it.

The pictures where still there, he figured Sansa might've gotten rid of them but she didn't, they look like the perfect couple, kissing, on the beach, holding hands, it's been so long since they took pictures together just the two of them. He wants to take them all and burn them, these are fake, he wants to replace them with new ones, real ones. He wants Sansa to want the same.

From the corner of his eye he saw something that made him laugh, his recliner chair was still there, it looked untouched, he probably was the last person who sat on it, Sansa wouldn't allow anything else even though she loathed that thing.

"Jon you're 25! Please don't turn into one of those dads!" He still remembers how she begged not to buy that chair years ago.

It was a part of him that she could've get rid of but didn't, he found himself smiling almost grinning. It wasn't much but seeing that old recliner full of patches and stains gave him glimpse of what his future could be, he only had to fight for it.

I can still be one of those dads.

Being in this house again is giving him strength for what he has to do, they were happier in their one bedroom apartment but the past is in the past, this house where he is now is gifting Jon the chance of turning it into a home, a happy one.

There's still so many memories to build, I need you at my side for that. Sansa.

Slowly and cautiously as if a wrong step would make him awake up to reality, Jon made his way into the backyard, seconds ago he was in peace, he felt a sense of happiness he thought long gone and forgotten now that's being replaced with dread and fear. Their voices are getting louder and he's getting closer, he can't run away now, he's done that before, he has to look at their faces, he has to see them, to prove to them he's so much more than before, he was to prove to her that he's terrible at this but that he loves her and wants nothing more than to begin again, he wants to rebuild, to set the past free and embrace all that's to come, all that he wants to have, them to live, all he has to do is take another step, he's at the edge, so close but so far away still.

You can do this.

If he walks then the boy must die, he's been promising himself that for days now but he's still there, the man hasn't showed himself yet, now it's time for that.

After an eternity he does it. Everyone he loves is there, they look so happy, their laughs echoing around, they're playing some sort of game, Arya is losing and Rickon is winning and because of that they're fighting, Catelyn is glaring at them, Robb and Talissa and sitting next to each other holding hands, Ned is talking to a man he doesn't know but looks young, Gilly is with little Sam at her lap, he's so big. All is different yet all the same, these people are his family, the only one he's ever known, he can't lose that, he has to do something to avoid it.

And there she is, the most beautiful woman in the world, Sansa Stark. He can't stop staring at her, her hair is shinning like cooper, her eyes are all he can focus on, she's perfect, she used to be his. Her hands are cradling her growing bump, their son, a son he wants to nurture and love like he never did in his life up until now. She has a smile on her face, he can see why is there. Dickon Tarly is sitting next to her and saying something to close to her hear, he has to count to ten to keep from going there, if he does...Jon loses everything.

He does make you laugh. You always loved to laugh.

He wants to be the one doing that, not Dickon.

"Jon?" Margaery is the first to spot him, she looks surprised and disgusted. He didn't expect anything less.

Immediately everyone turned in his direction, Sansa's eyes widened as if she didn't expect him to show up, maybe she's scared of what he'll do about Dickon's presence, he's too.

But he doesn't has the chance to do anything because there's two children running in his direction, he doesn't miss a beat and does the same. The moment he picks his two children up all of his tiredness, his pain, his despair, all of it it's gone. He holds Emily and Jacob for dear life, like this is his last day on heart, he can't help but cry. For almost three months they've kept him going, when the days were to long and too hard to handle Jon thought of them, they made him go through that alive, they kept him sane when losing his mind seemed like the only way, they were a part of him, amidst all the monstrosities he's done in his life he was able to create them, these two little angels, the better part of him, the only good thing he had in his heart, Jacob was the testimony of a love that couldn't be broken or tamed, a love he will get back. Emily didn't came from love but she had love, he may never love her true mother, Jon almost killed the woman but he won't blame Emily for it, she's so much more than the baby he didn't want, the "accident", Jon will never look at her like that, she's his daughter, Sansa's daughter, she's all they have and he can't make her lose it.

"Don't leave again." Emily sobbed, Jon never felt worst in his life.

"Never. I promise you, princess." He was going to keep that one until the end of his days.

Once he put Jacob and Emily down everyone came to greet him, except for Sansa who didn't move from her seat.

"I'm sorry I'm late." Jon didn't mean just today.

Rehab saved my life but at what cost?

"We'll you've missed the big reveal, we're going to be having a baby girl." Robb looked like the proudest man on the face of the earth. "But hey, don't go too far I'll be needing your help."

"If your daughter takes after you, I'm afraid there's nothing I can do." Jon joked, he couldn't keep sulking every second of the day.

And today was about Robb and Talissa, he didn't want nothing to come between them. There's time to deal with the drama later.

Talissa gave him a hug and commented on how skinny he looked which of course made his mother in law walk up to him and drag him to the table where the food was.

"Jon! They must've starved you in that place, come on I'll fix you a plate." Getting such an warm welcome was doing nothing to ease his guilt.

Everyone looked so happy for him, all but Arya and Margaery, they ignored him but he was counting on that already, he knew they had plenty of reasons to.

While Catelyn was stuffing food on his plate, Sam and his brother walked over to him, Gilly who wasn't that far away looked nervous and so was Ned, he was already getting closer just in case Jon lost his temper, they all knew he had a hard time keeping it together.

"Hi, it's good to see you again, Jon." Dickon extended his hand to him.

Everyone stopped what they were doing and were attentively watching the scene unfold, they were waiting for his next move, Dickon's hand was shaking, he must've heard the rumours, behind him he felt Catelyn place a hand on his shoulder, a signal for him to keep his cool, Robb tried to get up but Talissa didn't let him, at least she was showing some faith in Jon, Sansa was whispering something Gilly who kept shaking her head.

Dickon still had his hand up, by now it's becoming rather awkward, it's been at least well over thirty seconds, and in that time no one was moving, it was all up to him.

"Thank you." He shook hands with the other man. "I've heard what you've done for Sansa, it's very kind of you." The boy was death.

"There's no need for it, she's an exceptional woman. You're very lucky to be married to her." Now that looked like he was mocking Jon.

Sansa probably told him the whole story, probably he thought himself better than Jon. He was cocky or at least was trying to make himself look like it, Jon didn't like his air of superiority over him.

Calm down.

"The luckiest." His voice was cold, his stare was the North itself.

"I'm sure she's very lucky as well to have such a devoted and caring husband. You're an example for us all." Dickon smirked.

Fucker!

For some reason he kept thinking about Ramsay Bolton and what happened to him, it would be so easy to do it again this time with this puffed up peacock, how can Sansa be friends with this asshole?

"Jon! Come here, my love!" Sansa nearly shouted.

Did she called me my love?

He knows she did it to prevent him from ruining this day but hearing her say that calmed the storm that was raging inside him, he made his heart almost stop, he never imagined to hear her say that so soon again. It made him want to make her say it all the time, genuinely and not because he's about to punch someone, there's got to be a reason better than that.

"Such a charming friend you have over there." He said dryly when he got next to her.

Jon was being childish and falling back to old patterns but he was still fuming about that guy, if only he could do something about him.

"Punching people it's not the solution to everything, moron." Edd once told him after their beating from Ramsay's boys.

"You're being rude." Sansa wasn't looking at him, her eyes were in the direction of the kids.

"He started." Okay, that was probably even more childish then before.

What are you doing?

"And I stopped before you could finish."

"I wasn't going to touch him, not here in front of my children, in front of you. I never did that once." He always kept his anger in check when he was with her.

She always managed to soothe him.

"No, you normally do it behind my back." That stinged, Sansa wasn't having any of his bullshit.

He decided to try a different approach, since Jon was starting all over again why not go back to the start of everything. That day in the library.

"Tell me precious, do you fancy Dickon?" His voice was low and he was smirking, Sansa still wasn't looking at him but she was trying to keep a serious face.

"He's very good looking and a true gentleman. Maybe I do, you can't hardly say a thing about it."

"No I can't, I'm still waiting for your decision. Whatever you choose I'll accept."

"What do you think my decision is?" This time she looked at him and all the playfulness was gone.

"I know it's not Dickon, th-"

"I never said it was you either." Sansa interrupted. "I'm tired of your little games, your pick up lines from eleven years ago no longer work. Back then I had no idea what life is, I didn't you know and there's a part that wish he could've remained that way."

"What about the other part? What's the verdict?" Jon asked her. Regretting it already, this wasn't being easy to hear. It was painful.

"A few months ago I would've told you I love you, I would've followed you everywhere like a lost puppy, I would've humiliated myself. I'm Sansa Stark, there you have your verdict. You've always underestimated me, you took advantage of my love for you, you kept fucking and drinking around because you knew that in the end of the day I would be in bed patiently waiting, I didn't know any better, after all I was Sansa the prude, just a stupid little girl with stupid dreams who never learns." The Sansa he knew was disappearing in front of his eyes. "I'm a slow learner, that's true, but I learn." And just like last time she got up and left him once again without letting him talk, he wanted to run and tell her all he felt but this wasn't the time for it.

Damn it! He just wanted this party to be fucking over.

He saw Sansa get inside and that was his opportunity, he didn't want to draw attention to themselves but everyone was here in the backyard, that gave him a chance to speak to her in private. He's not going to hold back, he's finally showing her what she wants, the real him, the man. He knows what has to be done.

Discretely he followed her, she was in the living room, she looked about to cry and he wanted to hold her, to make her feel safe but before he could speak or do anything else his phone began to ring, Sansa jumped when she realised he was standing there, still she gestured for him to take the call, he didn't want to but for some reason he picked up the phone. There was this fear in him he couldn't comprehend, was it her words or something else?

"Hello?"

"Am I speaking to Jon Snow." The man had a thick Dornish accent.

This couldn't be good.

"This is he." He replied, trying to disguise the nervousness in his voice.

"I'm so sorry, my deepest condolences."

"Your what? Who died?! For fuck sake talk to me!" Sansa walked over to him and grabbed his free hand, despite the circumstances of what happened moments ago.

"Your father."

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

Death is such an abstract concept. It's the most famous and ancient tale ever told, even before we can comprehend what it is or what it does we're already exposed to it, a pet that dies but our parents shelter us from the truth, nonetheless we know it's not there anymore and there's a reason for it, a loved one that would come and visit us once in a while but now it's our turn to go and see them in a garden filled with flowers and stones with pictures that somehow don't belong there but it's their true place, we know we'll never see them again, not until we change our address and go to live in that garden as well, Sansa went through all of it in her life. When her dog lady died she cried without knowing why, she was too young to understand and she wished she could've remained the same, the day her grandfather Hoster Tully passed away was the day Sansa discovered a knew word, death.

There's no escaping from it, no amount of money in this world is enough to bribe the reaper himself, our good deeds won't save us, the same way our bad deeds won't kill us, there's no judgement between the good and the evil, death rules over us all, lurking in the shadows waiting for the moment to strike. That's the worst part, the waiting, what can it be? A sickness? An accident? Ourselves?

The most cruel thing about that is the uncertainty, people spent more time of their life thinking about on how they'll go instead of thinking what do rest until the time is here. Some chose a life of wonder, some choose traveling, while Sansa preferred to be a mother like so many others that came before her, some even spend their lifes without knowing what to do, but they all have one thing in common, sooner or later they die. And that scares her.

When she was younger she learned to accept it, it's the cycle of life, there's no way to prevent it or to make time stop, all we can do is make sure that our time in this earth is worth it and that the ones we love know everyday how much we love them, she never left anything unsaid because no one knows when it will be the last time, she always followed her heart afraid that she might have not be able to do it the next day. Overall dying wasn't something she feared, she didn't like thinking about it but it's the truth, we all die.

That all changed when she met Jon, when she became a mother, even when she took Emily in. Now Sansa isn't alone, she has them and the thought of losing that someday is what keeps her up at night, to know that is so easy to cease to exist, so easy to disappear, sometimes it doesn't take much for it to happen. Jacob had just been born and Sansa already was forced to go trough it, she thought she was going to lose him, a baby she carried inside of her for months, a baby she dreamed about for so long and had so many hopes and wishes for his life, only to have the doctors tell her minutes after he came to this world that maybe he didn't had much time, she still remembers their exact words.

"His situation is very delicate, I'm sorry to tell you this but you and your husband should think about the possibility of him not surviving. You should prepare for the worst."

Dying is one thing, it's peaceful and in the end there's no pain, we're no longer here to deal with it, losing someone we love it's not. They go to a better place, that's what everybody says, their no longer suffering but what about the ones that stay behind? What about their suffering?

How can they hope to live knowing that a part of them no longer lifes?

As she gets older she's starting to realize more and more about God, He's cruel. All of her life she's been taught that He's merciful and compassionate, that He's good and she believed it once. But why would God bless us with the ability to love someone we can loose? What's the point in it?

Most of all why would God make us want to love someone as equally cruel?

She promised herself that she's not going to let him win, if he wants her the same way she wants him he better prove it, he hasn't yet. She's giving him time because she knows he's capable of that, deep down Jon Snow is still a good man. She still loves him but she won't let him take advantage of that has he did in the past.

But now his father is death and that changes things, she might be mad at him for his behaviour today but that doesn't erase the fact that minutes ago someone called him and nothing was ever the same after that, five minutes ago Rhaegar was alive in their minds at least, now he's no longer that and she doesn't know how to respond. She's not looking at Jon her husband, but Jon the man who lost someone. The right thing is to give him support trough this difficult time, anyone would do the same, it's true they're not okay but if there ever was a time to put those problems aside the time is now.

Rhaegar was never a good father, he's one of the biggest reasons if not the only one as to why Jon is the way he is but still he's his father. Sansa can't even imagine what it must be like to get those news, she hopes she never has to hear from a stranger miles away that her father is gone, that they didn't even had the chance to say goodbye.

Worst of all she's dreading what this means for them, Jon cracks under pressure, he doesn't know how to deal with it and shuts himself away, he drinks and fights, he becomes someone else. Maybe rehab won't be able to help him now, maybe Sansa won't either. She knows if he goes back to that same pattern that only caused them pain she won't forgive him again, this is his last chance, she made sure he knew it but now not even her warnings might be enough.

Say something goddamnit! She wants to scream at him.

He doesn't, he doesn't even move, he's sitting still on the couch with the phone on his hands just like it was minutes ago, it's like the world stopped the moment he got that call, Jon is a statue right now, she doesn't even know if this man in front of her is him, there's no sadness, no joy, no relief, he's not showing any kind of emotion, he's just there. There's nothing in his eyes, he's looking at the blank space quiet as a rock and in that moment she knows what's happening, she's been witness to it too many times already, for years she chose not to see it, she chose to ignore this behaviour but now she can't look away, she refuses to do that.

"I'm going to check upon the kids." He finally responds mostly to himself, his voice gives nothing away so does his face.

Slowly he got up from the couch and tried to go outside, where everyone is still unaware of what happened and that's why Jon is heading there. He doesn't want to deal with it and so he decides to go somewhere where his father is still alive, where nothing occurred.

"Don't" she grabbed his arm before he had the opportunity to leave, she can feel him shake beneath her palm. "Don't do that thing."

"What thing?" He asks, still not giving anything away.

"Pretend nothing is happening, that you're fine. That's how we got here in the first place." Sansa's tone is harsh, she doesn't have time for this now. She's tired of it.

"I am fine! Don't ask me to cry for someone who never shed a tear for me. That man died a long time ago." He was finally getting out of that state of denial.

He wasn't angry, more like hurt. But her experience taught her that his hurt always turns to anger.

"I'm not asking you that! I'm asking you to work with me in this marriage!" She should've kept her cool, the two of them shouting for domination won't do a thing. "How can we do that if whenever there's a bump in the road, you hide away in a corner?"

"You want the truth, is that it?!"

"For once? Yes!"

Now this was turning into a competition, both in the middle of the living room apart from each trying to see who can raise their voice louder.

"I'm fucking angry at him! He made my life miserable for seventeen years, I needed him and he didn't bother with it and now he's death! He's not here anymore to pay for what is done and it's not fair!" Jon shouted, tears were falling down his cheeks but she didn't went to him, it's something he has to deal on his own.

She was forced to spend months without him, alone with two children and one on the way, all that Rhaegar did to Jon, Jon did to Sansa. He was getting help while she was seeking for it too, he got his and she got hers but no thanks to him.

"It is! You're finally getting a taste of your own medicine, it's not good is it?" She said defiantly.

Sansa doesn't know where that's all coming from, maybe it's been bottled for years inside of her and now is finally seeing daylight, Jon has to realise what he's done, he has to understand that he needs to change, she can't continue enduring all of this. With just one word she can end it all now, she's not sure if she will fight against that urge anymore. Divorce used to be something so distant in her mind, thousands of couples go trough it but they don't love each other like they do or at least she thought so, getting a divorce doesn't mean you're giving up or that you don't love that person anymore, she loves Jon and she always will but she can't be with someone like him, she can't keep pretending everything is going to be as it was or that Jon is just in a bad place, he's been there for years, he's had all the tools to fix it but ignored them all, he doesn't want to be helped and Sansa doesn't want to force him either, it's like she's swimming across the tide and everyday she's deeper and deeper into to the bottom of the ocean, she has to stop before she drowns. She has to leave before she turns like him, she's getting close to it.

"But I'm here now!" Jon stepped closer, she stepped back.

It was a dance between them, he was seeking her and she and she was seeking to hurt him, moving away does that.

I won't touch you now.

"Tell me what do to!" Hearing him say that was all the confirmation she needed.

"I shouldn't tell you what to do, Jon! You're the one who ruined everything, you're the one who should be thinking on what to do to remedy that, you can't lean on me, grow up! I'm not your backup plan!" She was crying now too, she was angry at him.

She was angry for his lack of will, she was tired of his actions, she was heartbroken for what she's heard. Jon doesn't seem to care, he's not putting any effort into this marriage, he keeps apologizing but then goes and ask her what to do, that's a sign he's not willing to do a thing, he's just waiting for her to make a move.

Sansa will forgive him, they'll have sex and he's going to say that he loves her and she'll fall for that trap again, she'll forget everything and life will go on, they'll go back to be that couple everyone envies and will pretend nothing happened, but that's not true and that same lie will return years later to haunt them. And so on and on it goes, until they die. It's a story she knows by heart now, she's read it too many times, it's time to write her own.

Death is such an abstract concept, one can die and still be alive, two that were once an all can life separate lifes and still survive. When Jon left to go to rehab, Sansa tought that wasn't anymore life in her, that part travelled with him but she saw otherwise, life goes on. She wants him to be part of hers but she says something different in that moment.

"I want a divorce."

Not really but you gave me no choice. You did this.

"Sansa, ta-"

"Get out, you've done too much already." She cut him off.

After a few minutes in silence just standing there looking at her Jon left, he didn't even put up a fight.

Get back here! She wanted him to do that, she wanted him to show her something and in a way he did.

Acceptance, that's what he gave her. He just came to terms with what she told him without questioning it.

You left again.

As soon as she got back to her backyard she could see almost everyone running back to where they were, they had that look on their face that sometimes people have whenever they're caught in the middle of something it wasn't theirs, there was an awkwardness in the air, a tension that could be cut with a knife yet no one said a thing, it's clear they all heard what happened since she and Jon were shouting, it was evident they knew she no longer had the desire to stay married to him but they kept quiet, maybe like Jon himself they didn't know what to say, maybe they were proud of her.


 

Three days later.

Wednesday morning and Sansa had just stopped her car in the driveway, she left to take Jacob and Emily to school and now was going to take a bit of time to rest before getting started on her daily chores, she got maid that would come to her house once a week so it wasn't like Sansa had much work in her hands, yet there's always something that needs to be done and she's glad of it, it's been a few days since the baby shower and still nothing from Jon, he doesn't call or visits and Sansa decided she wasn't going to be the one taking the next step, she's walked too much already. If Jon doesn't want to do a thing, if he's given up then the next time they'll see each other is when she delivers him the divorce papers.

She didn't meant what she said, she just wanted to scare him, to make him see it was so easy to lose her but that backfired because it's pretty clear that he wants that, he wants this divorce in a way she wished she could to.

As she opened her front door, Sansa spotted a white envelope on her floor, there was nothing written on it, not even a name or an address, this wasn't left by her mailman. When she ripped it open there was a letter inside, she knew everything about him, his handwriting wasn't different. Jon Snow left this here.

 

Sansa,
I know a letter is not going to fix all the shit I've put you through, I don't know if anything will but I write you this because it has to be done and the reason why I'm writing instead of being face to face with you, it's because I don't trust myself to say what I want if I see you. My father's death made me realise that no matter how much time we have it's never enough, he's dead now and whatever was left unsaid between us will remain that away, if I were to die tomorrow I want go knowing I told you everything, it may not be enough but at least I know I tried, you deserve that much.
I fell in love with you the first moment I saw you because unlike everybody else you're different, you see the worst in people but know that deep inside there's more than just that, you were the first person who actually gave me a chance and for that I promised myself that I would spend the rest of my days proving that I was worthy of Sansa Stark, I didn't to that. I should've smiled more, I should've told you look beautiful, that I didn't care about what others think, that to me you were perfect, that you're always right and that books are ultimately better than movies, that waking up is only good because you were at my side even if you kicked me in the ribs, I should've held you when you had nightmares because I never wanted to see you cry instead I became the reason for all of your tears, I promised you heaven on earth and ended up making you go trough hell. I should've told you how much I love the way you're brow furrows when you're thinking, how you sometimes start singing when your focused on some task, how you say you aren't scared of horror movies but always ended up watching them with your eyes shut, how much your smile makes me happy, how much your touch heals me or how you have the power to make this horrible place we live in the only place I want to be. Most of all I should've loved you more.
We were happy in our one bedroom apartment, we build our own world there and when we left I got scared of facing the real one, I had a job, you were pregnant, we had a bigger house and even bigger responsibilities, I was terrified that the dream we were living in was going to end, now I know that the dream has always been you. I should've gone to you and talked about these things because you would know exactly what to say, you wouldn't have given up, you wanted to help but I pushed you away, I chose the easy path and ever since then things have never been the same. We could've been so happy, we were for a time but I ruined that, I made you cry, made feel disgust at yourself, I took everything you are and turned it into who I am, I'll never forgive myself for it and honestly you shouldn't either, it was never your job to care, you could've walked way but didn't because you're you, Sansa Stark the love of my life, the woman this excuse of a man I am doesn't deserve, I should've cherished that more. I didn't.
I'm so happy with who you are now, there was a time I thought I ended all possibilities of that but like always you keep defying the odds and proving us all wrong, once again you're the girl I first fell in love with, unfortunately I'm not the boy you did but I don't want to be either. He wasn't a good person, he took the best things in you, the things he didn't have and destroyed them because deep down he wanted you to stay and he was afraid that if you saw who he truly was you wouldn't, that's why I kept hurting you, that's why I did all I did, I wanted you to think that I was the best you could have.
That was my biggest mistake, now I see all I've done and I'm fucking disgusted at myself, I was selfish and a coward. They say we learn from our mistakes but that's not true, not for me at least, it took losing you to see what I became, what we became.
No words or gestures will ever be enough to fix all I've broken but I beg you for one more chance, I'm not the same, it's hard to not go back to that Jon but I'm not giving up this time, I want you to be who you are because that's who I love, I want to prove you that you weren't wrong in giving me a chance, I want to fulfill every promise I made years ago, we're not broken, even paradise has storms, the sun rises every morning the same way it sets, let us set our past behind and rise in a better future. I know I lost the right to ask such a thing but I'm doing it nonetheless but I have one request (as if I deserve it), I want you to make a decision based on what you want, if you stay, if you forgive me again do it because of  what your heart tells you, I know you didn't the other times, you kept staying because I forced you to it, not again. If you stay I'll make sure you know how much you and our children mean to me, I'll be the husband you want and deserve, I'll be a father that Emily and Jacob can remember fondly of, can be proud of. If by the end of this letter you still hate me, I understand, it's not your fault it never was. I'm so proud of and I'll always love you, I'm sorry but that I can't change but I won't ever dictate your life again, whatever you do I'll support it and if you chose Dickon or any other I'll make sure to tell them they're the luckiest sons of bitches in the world, I'll make them look at me and see what happens if they do the same as I did.
No matter how many times I say it will never be enough but I'll keep on trying, I'm sorry.

I love you.

Chapter Text

Jon Snow

Breaking News: Rhaegar Targaryen, business mogul, has passed.

Breaking News: After six months since being diagnosed with lung cancer, Rhaegar Targaryen has passed away.

Breaking News: Earlier today, Rhaegar Targaryen was found dead in his bed.

Update: The funeral will be held tomorrow morning in a private ceremony meant only for close friends and family.

Update: Rhaegar's ashes will be carried to Dragonstone, his childhood estate.

It's all he hears, it's been almost week since he got those news and yet people still talk about it, it's everywhere, magazines, newspapers, TV, online, most of all Jon's own mind.

He hasn't been able to leave the house in all that time, it's wrong and selfish specially after what he promised to Jacob and Emily, but right now Jon doesn't have the strength to look at them, he doesn't want to be seen like this.

Sansa's words shattered the world at his feet but not as much as the ones he keep hearing on the radio. Those are tearing him to pieces, those are too loud and clear, it's engraved deep inside of him like a tattoo of sorts, he can't get rid of it. Rhaegar Targaryen is dead.

Dad, can we go fishing? He would walk away everytime.

Dad, I scored two goals today! He pretended he wasn't listening or actually wasn't. It was hard to tell.

Dad, I'm going to get married. He never answered that voicemail or the one he sent months later saying Jacob had been born premature and there was more than a seventy percent chance of him not surviving.

Rhaegar just didn't care and yet Jon mourns him, he cries himself to sleep holding pictures he has kept hidden for years, for the death of the man he hated the most, the man that Jon secretly always seeked approval. He never got any and it he won't anytime soon.

He feels guilty for all the times he prayed for his father's death and how angry he would get when they weren't answer, he would be lying if he said it wasn't something he didn't want because of all he went through, because Rhaegar took his mother away from him and in her place he gave him Elia Martell. He thought that getting those news would make him happy even relieved or something but they haven't, there's an emptiness now that not even Jon himself can explain why it's there, maybe because dead is such a definite word, there's no way around it and it can be reversed with some prayers and mindless wishes, it's forever. Despite the circumstances of his childhood, of the insults, of the silence or just the daily reminders of who he was, a very small part of him- so small he didn't even noticed untill now -hoped one day he could make peace with his father, he always wanted to hear him say he was proud of Jon and that he loved him as a father should love a son, he always craved the embraces Aegon and Rhaenys received, even those little smiles his father would give them would be more than enough for Jon but that never occurred. Jon Snow was just a stain in a powerful name, a constant reminder of vows who weren't kept, the "mistake". Yet he can't bring himself to hate the person responsible for that if something there's still love for him.

He should've swallowed his pride and make amends with Rhaegar, who knows what would be the outcome of it?

No, you don't get to ask those questions anymore.

Even if Rhaegar was still alive would've he been proud of Jon? Because right now Jon isn't.

Once again he's put his needs in front of others, it's been days since the baby shower, since Sansa asked for a divorce and Jon hasn't yet tried to reach for her or the kids. He's never mourned no one before, he was just hours old when his mother died and all the ones he's lost up until now didn't deserve his tears or his grief, he's read somewhere that people have different ways to cope with it, that no death is like the other and above all that it takes time. That's something he doesn't have, every second that goes by and he isn't proving himself to his family is another second he loses and yet he doesn't go home or picks up the phone to call her, she's pregnant with his child and has two more at home waiting for him as well and Jon's at an old apartment that won't help them crying like a baby, he's been doing that a lot more as of late.

Today is the first time since his father's death that Jon leaves the house, for nearly seven days he's been in the darkness and so now the sun is becoming too uncomfortable, wearing something other than sweatpants is too hot and scratchy, even driving is a exhaustive task right now but still he manages to do it. He should be on his way to see her, to see them, his family and the only ones that matter to him but instead Jon isn't making his way to his home. No, he's about to meet his past.

Unknown number: I'm in town, you're too stubborn to pick up the phone but we both know I don't give up easily. Meet me at my hotel bar tomorrow, I'll text you the address.

For a fleeting second he thought it was Ygritte but Sansa had told him she wasn't going to bother them anymore, that she actually asked for forgiveness which Sansa granted to her. Jon doesn't know how to feel about that.

A thousand names cross his mind before he texted back:

Jon Snow: Who are U?

He expected everything except the answer be got:

Unknown number: Your stepmother.

It's been years and still he hasn't been freed from her clutches, she's probably the only person alive that still can make him tremble with fear, Jon is a man grown but right now that he's just minutes away from seeing her again, he's beginning to feel like he did for seventeen years of his life, helpless and scared of what she might say or do. Her blows were hard and excruciating but what would render him to tears were her words, clear as water and as sharp as broken glass, piece by piece she slowly broke him and all that he's done even though it's his fault she's the reason behind it, he started drink even before he legally could and if he doesn't know how to deal with his feelings it's because Elia never let him have any.

"Toughen up, the world is not kind to bastards like you" He had been eleven when she told him that. She found him crying because the stray dog that would sometimes show up at their door had been run over by a car.

He never got anything from her, just rage and pity because he wasn't even good enough for his own father's standards.

He's going there because he needs to close that chapter in his life which has taken up too much space already, in order to move on with the future first he has to bury the past and in a way Jon's doing this for his family, they're the ones who payed for his childhood.

So Jon keeps driving, it won't be long now. He decides to slow down a bit, even if it buys him only two or three more minutes he's still grateful for that.

The hotel she was staying was definitely one of the oldest in Kings Landing but also the most famous and prestigious, Jon has never been here before but as soon as he walked inside he could see why Elia picked this place that looked like it had been decorated specifically for her, it had a domed ceiling and the walls were covered with art pieces, the furniture itself could be called art too, there was so much gold engraved everywhere, he was even afraid of stepping into the rugs which were probably more expensive than his own house, Elia always had a taste for the finer things in life, growing up he remembers her changing the house decoration at least once every month, her family was rich and so were the Targaryens and no one loved to brag more about it then her. It's funny that his childhood home is so much like this hotel yet his bedroom looked like a dungeon, a small bed and no windows.

From the lobby to the bar wasn't far, it just had to take the elevator and walk about fifteen steps and he would be there, however Jon decided to go trough the emergency staircase. He's pondering turning back and returning to his car, Elia has no right to ask him to meet with her, she's probably just going to humiliate him like she did so often in the past, Jon has no obligation whatsoever to be here, he doesn't have to but still he does. In order to fully recover he has to face his demons and she's the biggest one.

If it wasn't for the old fashioned in her hand and the ring with a sun and a golden spear pierced trough it Jon would've never recognized the woman standing in front of him, the years have not been kind to Elia Martell. She was a vicious woman but there was no denying her beauty, she had the dornish look with olive skin and tick dark hair in ringlets, she was gracious and everywhere she went people would stop to stare at her. Now her face is worn, her hair is grey and shorter than has ever been, she looks pale and frail as if she could fall ill at any moment, when her eyes met his there was regret in them, Jon has never seen it before, this woman is unknown.

Rhaegar did that, he's the one who died but Elia is the one who's lifeless.

"You've changed." She didn't even greet him.

"So did you." Jon said in a cold tone and that smirk of hers came back to life.

It wasn't mockery or disgust, it was something akin to pride. She was expecting someone weak, he was fighting not to give her that.

"I have to be honest, I didn't expected you to come." Me neither.

"It's funny, I thought the same. I once heard you say Kings Landing was a...I think pigsty was the word you used." She actually laughed at that,for a second Jon tought he was hearing things.

"Oh, it is. But Dorne is no better right now, there's a circus around my house since he's gone." She was smiling but her voice was solemn.

Elia's hatred against Rhaegar was deep but her love for him was even more. Jon actually feels sorry for being this cold to her, after all this woman just lost the love of her life, she's probably even worst then him.

"How did he...what happened?" Jon asked because he only knew what he heard on the media.

No one bothered with giving him some piece of information, up until that phonecall he had no idea his father was sick.

"He died, that's it's." He wanted answers but it was obviously painful for Elia to give them to him. "Anyway, that's not why I'm here."

"Then why are you here?" He finally asked the question which has been plaguing him for days now. "You want to torment me!?" People began to stare at them.

Jon couldn't care less.

"I could but I see you've done it on your own."

"You don't know a thing about me." Jon was getting defensive, that's what he does when he's under criticism.

And that's wrong.

"But I do. You've left Dorne years ago but you were never out of my sight." He was getting angry already, she's been spying on him. Most likely Elia payed someone to track his every move. "A cheating husband, an alcoholic and a lawsy father? That screams déjà vu."

Jon's thirty three years old and still this woman can turn him into a mess. Currently, he's feeling a rollercoaster of emotions.

"You've made quite the life for yourself, I must say." She continued, every silable turning his stomach.

Please, stop.

"You must be so happy." Of course she was.

Elia Martell was only happy when he was failing, when he was the bastard she loved to remind him of.

"No, not happy just disappointed." Jon frowned. He didn't thought she could surprise him anymore up until now.

"Because I also saw you be the man he once was." Elia explained.

It wasn't always bad, there was a time where Rhaegar loved Elia and there was no bitterness amongst them, that was the time his father was happy. Jon's birth ended all of it and that's why Elia hates him so much.

"How was he then?" He knew the story by heart but he wanted the hear her version, the only one that mattered.

All the whispers of his childhood were just that, whispered words somewhere around the house by the staff when all were sleeping, Jon never slept. And no one ever noticed his presence so it wasn't hard to hear the tales.

"Her name was the last thing he said before dying, as if she was standing there at his bedside. Maybe she was." Elia was referring to his mother, Lyanna Snow. There was so much misery just in that sentence alone, she's been torturing herself. "He loved her in ways he could never love me, it was hard to accept that and frankly I never did, even worse now that I have the knowledge that they're somewhere together, a better place than this hell on earth we've been living in. Lyanna Snow is the ghost your father cried for every night, she's the void in him I could never fill and God knows I've so desperately tried to, your mother was the only thing he ever wanted. He respected me, he cared for me, he even loved me but he was not in love with me, somebody else took that place in his hear." Jon has never seen her cry before but she is now and it's hard to see because it's all so clear.

He was young when he lived with her, back then Jon didn't know what being in love with someone was, the word itself was foreign to him. Now that he has or had Sansa he knows what's that like, now that she hates he knows what that was like for Elia.

"I never..." He couldn't seem to finish.

"Forgive me." She had to be lying. "I wanted to love you, when I saw you I knew I had to protect you because Rhaegar was too broken for that but...you were the only thing remaining from the one thing I couldn't have, his love. Because despite of what I've said, you Jon were born from love and not duty like your siblings." And there's the reason he's been looking for at the end of every empty bottle.

"There's nothing to forgive." Jon said, he wasn't being completely honest.

There was still so much to apologize for but he had two choices in front of him right now.

Be stuck on the past as he's been for years or forgive and move on and start a better future for himself and hopefully his family.

There's nothing more in this world that can hurt her, Elia has nothing left and that's enough punishment already.

"Can I do something I should have done a long time ago?" Jon nodded at her request.

Gradually she got up from her seat and wrapped her arms around him. Suddenly Jon traveled back in time, his nightmares were the same as they were over twenty years ago, he was scared, he was crying and begging for someone to come and pick him up from the ground, as a child he never had anyone for that, as a man he does. He might still be feeling as helpless as before but now she's here and he knows he's not going anywhere, nothing is going to hurt him. It's the gesture he's been seeking for all of his life.

" Remember this, Sansa is not a ghost and you're not him." Elia said trough her tears, she was still hugging him.

They stayed like that for a while.


 

What are you waiting for? Winter?!

He's been standing at his and Sansa's door for almost thirty minutes now, even the neighbors are starting to peek trough the windows to figure what he's doing, they won't have any luck because not even Jon knows what's happening.

After leaving the hotel, after his talk to Elia he knew that his faith was in his hands and no one else could do what had to be done for him, Jon wrote a letter to Sansa a day ago and he doesn't know if she's read it but he's here nonetheless. The letter was heartfelt and he let out everything even the things he regretted the most, Sansa gave him no reply but that's understandable considering his actions these last few days, he's been running away from the truth of what she said.

I want a divorce.

He was just trying to buy some time but that's something that can't be done. Time has no pity, no remorse.

He's at their door but he's dreading what's to come next. Still he manages to knock on it despite having a key of his own, Jon lost the right to show up when he feels like it.

"Hi." Great! He's been here for two seconds and he already is disgracing himself. Just saying hi is downright stupid.

"Jon..." Sansa mumbled, the look of surprise evident on her face.

She probably thought he had gone away for good. Lately he's been a fugitive, running from the truth instead of facing it like the man he should be.

"You read my letter?" Jon asked but somehow he's certain she burned the thing before opening it.

"Y-Yes. Come in." Sansa didn't look at his face but gestured him inside.

He followed her to the kitchen, he didn't see the kids but because it's sunny they're most likely outside playing, he loved those evenings where they would lose track of time, where nightfall would dawn upon the sky without them even noticing it.

You should be there with them.

"I...I should've come sooner, I know that but...his death hurts more than I like to admit. Still that's not an excuse but I...you didn't have to deal with that to." He already put so much weight on her shoulders, she needs a break.

Lately, he hasn't been giving her that.

"And I shouldn't have talked that way to you, I mean you deserved it but still...not minutes after you found out your father passed away." He didn't want Sansa to apologize, she did nothing wrong.

I did.

He wanted to say something but he couldn't find the words for it. He was just there looking at her like an idiot, Sansa on the other hand was avoiding eye contact.

"So..." Sansa tried to end that uncomfortable silence between them.

Before the house used to be filled with their chatter, with their laughs, it's all missing.

"Actually, I was thinking a day at the beach would be great for the kids...and for us of course, I mean if you want to...no pressure whatsoever, you don't have to..." He was so nervous he couldn't even speak properly, he's never been good at this.

Sansa has always been the one who planed their activities, Jon was the tag along. He never really payed that any attention, as long as they were all together he was fine with it. But he has to show some initiative on his part and that's why he spent a all day planning this.

"I'll go with you, after all Jacob and Emmy can be an handful." Sansa tried to lighten the mood but her response just made him sad.

She was going because she was scared of leaving him alone with two children and not because she wanted to be there, most likely she was doing this out of pity.

Yet it was something and Jon was going to take every chance he could get.

"Yeah, right...the kids." He couldn't disguise the disappointment in his face.

If Sansa saw it she didn't mentioned it, but then again she's not paying attention.

"Let me just get them ready and prepare some snacks and then w-" she was already heading to the backyard before Jon interrupted her.

"T-There's no need for it, I...I already packed a bunch of snacks, sunscreen and stuff. Oh! And I-I bought this thingy where you place the bread in it and it comes out with all these cute shapes, it's awesome and I know they're just going to love it." Was he really still talking about kitchen utensils?

What's wrong with you?!

"There's literally more than twenty of those in the kitchen cabinet. You know that right?" Sansa was barely containing her laughter, which meant the world to him.

He wanted to hear that sweet laugher of hers so bad.

"I know, but do yours glow in the dark?" He said quickly and with a cocky grin plastered all over his face.

"Touché, Jon. Touché." And with that she left for the backyard.

While Jon stood there in the kitchen like a lovestruck fool, he swore he could hear her giggle. He was willing to become a clown himself just to get that reaction out of her everytime.

His kids rushed to his side as soon as they layed eyes on him, Emily didn't lost any time in reminding him that the was absent, he was tempted to tell them the truth but Sansa's gaze told him not to, he promised he wasn't going to lie anymore but his wife had a point, he didn't want to tell them that a grandfather they barely even knew and that never cared for them was dead, he wanted to sheltered them for a little while, the world is already so bad as it is. So instead he said he was working and they believed him, honestly it's still a miracle how they haven't turned against him yet, Jon's paved the way for exactly that, instead they just hugged him tightly.

He took extra time with his embrace, he's going to start doing it from now onwards.

It seems that while he was away his family settled into a new routine of their own, Sansa took Jacob and Emily to hers and Jon's room and he could see that most of their belongings where there, from clothing to toys and other things they had, they have been sleeping with Sansa. That wasn't new, even when Jon was the one occupying that bed his wife always had a hard time refusing their children, Emily always found out a way of waking up in their bed in the morning. He should've been there this time around to, to protect them from their nightmares or just to held his wife, Sansa once told him she slept better when he was there and by the way she would wrap herself his arms- there were nights he could barely breathe, nonetheless he loved it - he knew she was speaking the truth. Now she has to held their children because her husband was sleeping somewhere else (he doesn't sleep, just stares at the ceiling).

If Sansa allows him to, she'll never sleep alone again. He'll be the one holding her tight.

He stopped thinking about those things, things that if are up to him will come through, when he started watching the scene that was unfolding in front of him.

Jacob was their easy child, he rarely has any complaints or requests, whatever Sansa cooks he's on board with it, he likes all cartoons and when it comes to clothing he's like Jon, the simple the better, Jacob is a very easygoing child, his sister however isn't. And that's exactly why Sansa is struggling now with her, Sansa said she was going to prepare them for their outing and that was exactly what she was doing, Jacob was already halfway dress and he had insisted on doing it by himself- he was good -, Emily was a lot more picky and whatever Sansa was showing her to put on she wasn't having it, the way her nose scrunches when she's displeased reminds him of someone, he wished that wasn't there but then Emily wouldn't be here either, he regrets what he's done but never the outcome of it.

Jon's realised he's been standing there not really doing much, he's returning to his old ways once more, at once he remedied that.

"Hey, why don't you wear your dress with the daisies on it?" It had been a gift from Margaery, she spoils Emily too much. "You look beautiful with it." He said while Sansa already was looking for said dress, she already knew Emily was going to say yes.

She was is little princess, Jon had no power towards her whatsoever. How could he ever deny her a thing when she that pouts so adorably?

"Really, daddy?" Emily wasn't shy by nature but she was blushing now.

It's been so long since daddy payed attention to those little details and she must've noticed. He wanted both she and Jacob to always feel like the most important thing in the universe.

"I mean you always look beautiful but there's something about that dress, I don't know it just brings out the colour in your eyes." His eyes, she had his eyes.

Emily blushed some more but when Sansa present her the dress she eagerly nodded and was already getting rid of her clothes, just like Jacob she asked to get dressed on her own. He and Sansa didn't had to do much, Jon just tied Jacob's shoes and his wife braided Emily's hair. In that moment it's like nothing happened and they were the family he previously had, his heart couldn't take that much joy, he missed this peaceful yet somewhat stressful minutes they frequently shared in the past.

There's still the future.

As the kids got ready they left the room to go to Jacobs's, he had some beach toys there so they went searching for them leaving Jon alone with Sansa. In the bedroom.

How long has it been?

There was tension in the air and no matter what he does or says it won't go away so he chooses to remain quiet, he wants to work things out but that's still a long way ahead of him and he doesn't want to force anything, Jon's going let things take their normal course.

One day at the time. Something he's heard in rehab but that fits perfectly for his marriage now.

Sansa's back is turned to him, her hands are already unzipping her denim shorts and Jon could clearly see the dimples at her lower back and the underline of her blue underwear (it seems), his palms are sweaty and his breath is caught in his troath, he shouldn't be here but his boy his refusing to move and to listen to him and now there's a very evident bulge on his pants, he feels like some creep who's just there watching her strip out of her clothes. It's been almost a year since...it's getting tough but he refuses to give in, now it's not the time no matter how much his body desires her, how much he misses that closeness between them because there's also other things he's missed as well, those things go being sex or physical pleasure, those things are worth the wait.

Suddenly Sansa's hands came to an halt and she turned around so now she was facing him, her eyes were shinning and she looked at him with something he couldn't identify, his never seen that look before, it's the sort of look you give when you're going through a photo album and the memories are still very much alive though you can't reach them, they're just words on a page whose ink as already dried, there's nothing to do about it.

Please...he doesn't say it.

"Jon...can you wait outside?" Her voice is almost inaudible, her eyes downcast and he's thankful for it.

If she looks at him right now...he doesn't know what will happen but things won't be able to fix themselves afterwards. He'll just say all she's heard before. Empty apologies and meaningless words that will make her stay, Jon doesn't want that, he promised not to do it.

"Sorry...I-I shouldn't b-be here in the first place." There's was no point in stopping the cracking of his voice, it was unbearable to hold it in.

Still he didn't want her to see his tears, they're a weapon which Jon won't use. A few months ago maybe but that man no longer exists, Sansa just killed him.

"I'm not...I'm not ready." Her back was turned once more.

Jon didn't say anything else, he left.

There used to be no boundaries but now he's afraid this wall she's built around herself, his doing of course, might be too strong for Jon to take down, he wants to be strong but that's only a wish and sometimes those don't come through. He knows her body by heart, every curve like the palm of his hand (a hand he would trace all over her), he's memorized each strand of auburn hair, he has kissed the scar on her lower stomach a million times before, her birthmarks are little treasures he cherishes on his mind, he knows where she's ticklish, which place makes her turn to jelly in his arms, he knows too much of her to forget, not even turning back the clock can erase her of his mind, she's permanent and not even God himself could do a thing to change that. He can leave but he'll always be looking for her, but there's no other Sansa and there will never be. He's so close, he can smell her, he can hear her shallow breaths but he's so far away to wipe those tears of her face, to kiss those lips, to take the pain from her. They're divided, they used to be one and now he barely knows who they are, what they are. Only what they were.

When he reaches the living room he puts on a brave face, inside his breaking, but he does it because of the kids. They aren't that young anymore, they probably know so much already, who knows what they're going through?

Jon's suffering but he has to remind himself that Jacob and Emily are too, their all life they've seen a happy couple now they face two strangers, that can't be disguised but he tries to anyway because even if there's no hope for him there's still plenty for them.

You aren't broken like me.

He sits in the living room playing with them, trying to distract himself from what he's life turned out to be.

Minutes later Sansa reappears, she's wearing a dress similar to the one Emily has (it came in a "mommy and me" set or something) and her hair his braided, she looks stunning and... there's nothing he could say right now because it would never be enough to describe her, what she looks and what she means.

Maybe his actions can come better to him than his words and there's still a day at the beach ahead of them.

It's not much but it's already more than he's done in months.


 

The car ride to the beach is anything but silent yet it still feels like that, the kids spent the whole time singing and playing a bunch of games, Sansa joins them and Jon does too, they're interacting with Emily and Jacob but not with one another and that's fucking brutal, Sansa looks so tense and he's absolutely certain that if the two of them were alone she would've left his car a long time ago, she can't seem to tolerate his presence anymore. After his long absence away Jon is more of an outsider than a husband, but right now he doesn't need to be her husband he's more than happy with being her friend for the meantime.

When he finally made a decision and stopped acting like a spoiled brat and an inconsiderate jackass he already knew that it was going to take a long a gruelling time to fix things up, what he wasn't counting was the silence and the indifference Sansa's is displaying. He wasn't counting on it but he should've, after all what goes around comes around.

After the longest twenty minutes of his life Jon finally parks the car at the beach, before he can focus on what's going on between him and his wife the kids are already running towards the boardwalk, Sansa can't put any strain in her body and Jon won't allow it either so he runs to try and catch them before they get hurt.

It's still far too cold to be swimming but it's a perfect day for building sandcastles and that's what Jon does for the better part of an hour. Time flies in that moment, it's been ages since he's went out with Jacob and Emily and now it's time to make up for that, their wishes are orders to him and so when they ask him to build a castle with six towers and even a drawbridge, Jon doesn't hesitate. Yet his sandcastle building skills are far from decent, the kids end spending more time complaining that he's not helping, all of their antics keep making Sansa giggle once in awhile. She's not far, just a few feet away watching the very amusing scene unfold before her eyes, she's entered her last pregnancy trimester and he knows her body is starting to feel the effects of it, even before arriving at the beach she was already yawning, now is the time she'll need him the most (she needed him before but he wasn't there) and he will be at her side every step of the way, he's missed so much of this pregnancy already, Jon won't be missing the rest.

Fearing his kids might start throwing sand at him if he keeps messing up their castle, Jon leaves (okay, Emily might have or might have not kicked him out of the team) them to go to Sansa's side, when he gets there she moves a little so there's space in the towel for him but she doesn't make any talk, she's still focused on Jacob and Emily. It may not be what he wants but it's not that bad either, yes they're in silence but it's not one where Jon's is suffocating, it's more like a company, it's comfortable and the tension from before it's almost gone.

It's three o'clock, the sun is shining as it was hours ago but the sea is getting choppier and the waves are growing bigger which make him redouble his attention towards the kids though they're at a safe distance from the water and there's at least two lifeguards in sight, he can't help it and by the look of it Sansa can't either, he knows her too well so when she starts bitting her bottom lip and snapping her fingers (something she only does when she's nervous) Jon slowly and cautiously, afraid to overstep it, reaches his hand out to her, she hesitates for a few seconds but returns the gesture, her hands are so cold in comparison to his but they're also far more gentler and soft than his rough and calloused ones, this is the touch that keeps him up for hours at night, the prospect of not having it it's too frightening.

Her hands are still in his as they watch the waves roll ashore still in silence but at peace, it feels good to be like this. Suddenly something comes to his mind and Jon can't help but to chuckle.

"You said something?" Sansa asked, clearly distracted.

It's probably only the second or third time she looks him in the eyes today.

"No, it's...I just remembered you still don't know how to swim." He said a bit amused.

That once used to be the only reason why they fought, before there were no real problems.

"Well, you're the one who grew up at the beach we don't have that in Winterfell as you so often liked to mention." Sansa was right, growing up in Dorne the beach was his only refuge. That's maybe why he chose to come here in the first place.

And no, Jon didn't take any pleasure in bringing that up yet he had to admit it was funny to see Sansa get all worked up because of it, she used to become so mad at him but in a playful manner of course.

"Would you like to learn?" He has asked that question before and by now he knows the answer too well.

"I'm heavily pregnant." She huffed, her free hand going to her stomach.

"You're pregnant, not heavy." That earned him a eye roll from her but also a very small and shy smile.

Jon couldn't do anything but grin.

Not long afterwards they were attacked by two starving kids, luckily Jon had outdone himself and food was something they had to spare, Sansa actually told him he had exaggerated a little.

I'm not taking any chances.

Once the kids were fed they started saying they were tired and so they all called it a day and returned home, Sansa would be going with the kids but Jon didn't know if she wanted him there, not even in the couch.

Jacob and Emily barely made it to the car seat awake and as soon as Jon started the engine they immediately fell asleep completely.

The only noises were coming from Jacob and Emily's soft snores that signaled him that they were still sleeping. Sansa was quiet but that changed as they were about to reach their neighbourhood.

"Today showed me that we can more than this." Sansa gestured between them. "I want us to be more than this, but it's going to take time...I need it." She was whispering and he knew he had nothing to do with the kids.

She always did that when she was unsure. Unlike the other times she had no need to be self doubting, Jon will always give her a choice.

"I've waited my whole life to find you and only a second to fall for you. What's a little bit more anyway?"

Time is ruthless but it also can be merciful. No amount of time will ever be enough but from now Jon is going to make every single second count.

I'll wait for you, a lifetime and another after that.

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

3 weeks later

He's Jon, your husband. She lies to herself.

It's been a month since Jon returned from rehab, he still hasn't left but there's still time for that so she won't build her hopes high, only her walls. She promised herself not to cross the line but she just did an hour ago and now she's second doubting that decision, still she told him they had to give it a chance and even though Jon is the one who has to prove himself, Sansa has to make an effort as well. She can't walk into to whatever this is already thinking of the outcome, in her mind it's never a good one. He leaves again and this time he doesn't return, but that's only a nightmare...for the time being of course.

It's hard to believe in his promises.


 

Their little trip to the beach was almost two weeks ago and in that time a lot has changed. Jon had to go back to his job since his leave was over, still he managed to be at their house in time for dinner everyday and even though Sansa won't say that to him, she's grateful that he does. After getting the confirmation from her obstetrician that she could return to her normal routine, Sansa started dismissing her family's help around the house, she was not an invalid and she's been taking care of the kids and the house chores for years on her own so it's not a very hard task to accomplish, but as she's nearing the end of her pregnancy things start to get a little bit more complicated, she's always tired, her ankles look like tennis balls, her boobs are hard as rock and hurt, pretty much everything in her body aches as of late and to make matters worse, Sansa's huge. Her belly is so big that even doing something as simple as tying her shoes it's an impossible task- thankfully summer is coming and she now only wears flip flops or sandals - and she can't even keep an eye on the kids because she has to use the bathroom every five minutes (she even considered using a diaper), her baby is healthy and so is she but Sansa feels miserable. All she has to do is ask for help but she doesn't because she's always been to proud and stubborn, and her family has done so much already that it's not far to ask anything else from them. She wasn't going to ask for any kind of aid but she didn't had to, this one came without any request. Jon was the one taking hold of the ship right now.

During the day the kids are at school and Jon he's the one who picks them up after leaving the office, he's the one who cooks dinner (all of her favourite dishes), he cleans the dishes, he bathes Emily and helps Jacob with his homework and once that's done he puts them both to bed, he makes sure Jacob is comfortable and he reads to Emily as many bedtime stories as she wants. When Sansa goes to the bathroom to take a shower, he takes care of the laundry and prepares the kids lunches for the next day, when she returns to the living room there's always a tea cup waiting for her and a slice of lemon cake he brings everyday alongside a glass of water and all the vitamins she has to take and even some he bought on his own, she sits on the couch and he stays with her the whole time, sometimes they talk but most nights they just stay in silence watching TV, it's clear that Jon wants to speak but Sansa isn't making that easy for him.

She's still so confused, she's scared of falling back into an old trap. She just doesn't want to keep getting hurt.

From an outsider's perspective Jon is only doing what any loving husband and father would and not even Sansa can refuse that or take the credit out of him, she knows better than anyone how tiring that all can be and although it's only been three weeks Jon is still doing a good job and the pressure hasn't gotten the best of him yet. Maybe he's really being honest this time around but there were so many times before where she thought that too.

From an outsider's perspective they're not the perfect couple anymore- by now every one knows about rehab -but they're still a couple nonetheless, Sansa can't agree with that. Real couples don't sleep in different houses, every night Jon leaves because she told him to yet every time he opens the door she has to prevent herself from asking him to stay; real couples hold hands and Jon and her did that day at the beach but that was it and even then he was only reasuring her; real couples kiss whereas she and him barely touch, whenever they are sitting at the couch there's always a gap she covers with a bunch of pillows, Jon wants to rip each and every single one of them but he never does, he said he was going to give her time and he has been true to his word.

Their just friends right now but Sansa doesn't love her friends like she loves him, so they can't even be called that.

He's trying so hard, he's never been like this before and in a way she's actually proud of him, she knows how much he's suffered and how much he still does, she knows what he used to do to deal with that but he doesn't drink anymore, he's been sober, he's been helping her, he's been a remarkable father and yet she can't take that final leap of faith.

She's stronger now but there's always going to be that insecurity that never leaves and sometimes it is the one who speaks louder, even louder than her own heart. She wants Jon to remain like this after all she loves him the most when he's this way, but she's not sure if forgiving him will actually maintain that or it will be the reason why that disappears. She hates the doubt she's feeling, she hates the fact that he's doing every thing to fix what he's done but she can't seem to care for it, she's afraid that in the moment she says he can come back, that she forgives him, Jon will interrupt what he started and will return to the man he was.

She hasn't talked to anyone about this because in the past that was a catalyst for their downfall, Sansa always listened to whatever her friends and family had to say and most times she would follow their advises instead of her gut, and the times she didn't she couldn't help but feeling guilty that she ignore them, and that ended up by putting an even bigger strain in her marriage, now she's walking this road alone but she's glad of it. Jon told her that her decision must come from her, from what she feels no matter the outcome of it and that is what she's doing or at least is trying to. In the end of the day if she gives him another chance she'll be the one living with that choice, she'll be the one spending the rest of her days with Jon Snow, Sansa just wants to be happy and she needs to know if she can be that with him.

How can you want that if you aren't giving him an opportunity? How can you be happy if you're the one making yourself miserable?

Those are the questions she asks herself in the dead of the night, when her children are asleep and Jon is away in an empty apartment with no one to keep him company. She's being cruel, just because she doesn't want to be close just yet that doesn't give her the right keep Jacob and Emily away from Jon.

And that's why last night when Emily said she wanted her daddy at her side, Sansa asked Jon to stay. When she told him not to leave, specially because it was Friday Jon almost didn't believed her.

"Really?" He had asked her. She felt so bad for the way she's acted these past couple of weeks.

In that moment Jon looked so much like the teenager she once met, he had the sparkle in his eyes he used to have whenever he went to visit her at the library; that was wonder in his voice, almost like a child who just heard the best news ever, maybe for him that's what they were. Sansa realised in that moment that Jon hasn't slept at home in almost four months, in all that time he's been waking up alone to silence while Sansa was greeted by two very energetic children, he left but he's here now and he's actually doing something and yet she kept him away from so much. No matter her decision, there's certain things she has to give to him and the right to be with his kids when he wants to - and she can see that he wants it so badly - is one of them.

That night when Sansa left the bathroom and reached for the leaving room Jon wasn't there, only a tea cup, a plate with a slice of lemon cake and some whipped cream on the side, on top of the coffee table there was a post it note.

Jacob's room.

When she arrived there her heart melted in her chest and tears were already making an appearance, this time she couldn't blame it on the hormones. It's been months since she's seen anything as beautiful as what she's seeing now. Jon is laying in the middle of Jacob's bed while Emily has her hands and head against his chest, her son is one the same position as her, their both sleeping with a smile on their faces, Jon however is awake and has both of his arms securitly wrapped around them. He looks so smitten by these two children laying in his arms right now, he looks so different.

"I would've kept you company..." He said sheepishly when he noticed Sansa standing in the doorway.

She has been there watching them for a while now. She enjoys having Jon around but tonight this is where he belongs, it should've been a long time ago.

"It's okay, I was already going to bed anyway." Yet she had to do something before.

She crossed the distance between the door and the bed and placed a kiss on Jacob and Emily's forehead as she always did, that gesture brought her so close to Jon, their noses were literally touching and she had to take a deep breath, it was so tempting to kiss him.

Will it be worth it? I'll I lose you if I kiss you?

Jon semmed to be wanting the same thing as well but the only thing he did was bid her goodnight.

"Sansa?" Jon suddenly asked when she was about to leave, she only turned around. "Muffins or pancakes?" He was already thinking about breakfast.

"Surprise me."

Next morning when she woke up there was a platter with eggs and bacon, muffins, pancakes, a bowl with strawberries and fresh orange juice and a latte on her bed, there was a red rose in the middle of it and a small pink note covered in hearts (probably from Emily's notepads she uses to draw), Jon wrote all the I's with little hearts too. It was so cheesy she had to laugh.

I'm probably five years late with breakfast in bed but you I hope this humble meal can make up for it. By the time you read this I'm already out of the house, Emily and Jacob wanted milkshakes for breakfast and you were sleeping so peacefully that I couldn't disturb you but don't worry I'll bring you one as well. I won't be long.

What happened to you? It was all she could think right now.

This Jon was...wow.

But was he real or just a trick?


 

Later that day 

"Watch your step, that's it. Wait, let me just... don't move I'll turn on the lights." Sansa didn't really had a choice in the subject.

How could she move when she was blindfolded?

Apparently breakfast in bed wasn't the only surprise Jon had in store for her. When he returned home this morning, he told her since it was his day off he wanted to go out with them all, Sansa actually had been promising to go with the kids to the movies so it was a perfect opportunity for that because she wouldn't be alone and didn't had to be constantly worrying, she still hasn't forgotten about that day at the grocery store with Emily, also that was a good way for them to bond as a family. After a quick lunch (she was the one to cook this time) they all headed to the mall and of course ended up by choosing a cartoon movie to watch, this one was about dragons and ice creatures, Sansa didn't mind since she's so used to watching them already tough she knew Jon never cared for them, she was actually expecting him to fall a sleep midway through it but that wasn't the case, he watched the whole movie and in their way back home he spent the whole drive talking about it, he was genuinely excited about a cartoon.

Before going home they stopped at a pizza place because neither Sansa or Jon felt like cooking or cleaning dishes, she always made sure her children had an healthy diet but pizza once in a while wasn't that big of a deal and she was craving it as well, this pregnancy was making her eat a lot more than what she normally does.

They had been at home for five minutes, Sansa was thinking whether Jon should spend the night with them or at his current place when the doorbell rang, Jon was the one who answered the door and because Sansa was in the kitchen she couldn't see who it was but it didn't take long for Jon to reappear with a girl at his side, she was probably in her mid twenties, Sansa was about to protest because it was evident that Jon knew her and had been the one inviting her over, flashes of what happened years ago came back to her mind and she was already panicking, but then Jon spoke.

"This is Julie, she's going to babysit the kids for a while." He had said.

Jon told her he had something planned only for the two of them and that he hired Julie because he didn't wanted to bother her family or their friends, of course that wasn't the only reason. Immediately Sansa asked him where they were going but he told her she would've to wait, she was perfectly fine with going out with him if the kids were around but the two of them alone was something else entirely and she didn't know how to feel about it, she didn't even cared if he had already payed for the babysitter or not, she wasn't going to leave the house without any information whatsoever.

"Sansa, please trust me. This is going to be good for both of us, it doesn't have to be more than a half an hour." Those eyes were really her kryptonite.

And Jon was right, when they were with the kids they didn't have time to focus on whatever their relationship is now and she was the one who told him she wanted to try, it would be hypocrite of her to refuse, like he said it didn't had to be for a long time, just a few minutes by themselves and no one else. So Sansa reluctantly agreed with him.

The moment he stopped the car and asked her if she could wear a blindfold that was the moment she lost it, she shouted at him saying he was out of his mind and that if he didn't stop the car she would still leave anyway, of course she wasn't and Jon knew that too, she was pregnant after all the last thing on her mind right now was jumping out of a moving car, the first however was a little bit more real. This time she's the one in control and that makes her somehow feel safer because she knows that Jon would never take it away from her but if she puts on that blindfold then the tables turn and she's still not ready to give so much to him at this point, she's still vulnerable from all the blows life has striked against her, she still doesn't know if she can fully trust him after everything that happened, but he's asking her to do just that, to let him take the wheel and she can refuse if she desires it, Jon will understand after all he swore he wasn't going to force her to do a thing but Sansa couldn't help the curiosity in her.

She was actually a little bit thrilled about it, she has no idea where she's going or why she's going and that's one of the  reasons she accepted his request, Jon has never been spontaneous, most of their date nights would be planned by her and even then there were times Jon refused to go because it was far too fancy for his taste, if he could they would've spent years visiting and old and loud pub not far from their house.

She turns and gently he puts the blindfold on her, his touch was slow and light, it was as if she had fire running trough her veins, his touch feels so good and deep inside she wants it for the rest of her life, she needs those hands to caress her cheeks has they've done a thousand times before; she can feel him breath on the back of her neck and God she needs his lips there, he's always been so good at kissing, he had the power to make her fly to the moon and back with just those perfect lips; she's hot, Sansa's already sweating and there's an ache in her lower stomach, it's been so long and the fact that she's pregnant isn't helping at all, lately she's been horny, very horny. Not even all the "experimenting" she's been doing as helped. After the blindfold is secured Jon moves way and his hands return to the steering wheel, she's thankful for it because even though she's trying to remain as neutral as possible it's getting hard to resist, if he had stayed for just a little more Sansa is not sure if her willpower was going to be strong enough.

These hormones...

And now she's in an unknown building or something, she can hear what she assumes is running water and there's a faint smell of chlorine and the air is humid, she could feel her skin hot and sticky, she already had an idea of where she was and honestly she wasn't enjoying this whatsoever. She heard Jon moving around and not long after he was at her side again.

"You can take it off now." He asked, she was actually a bit disappointed that he wasn't going to be the one removing it.

When she took off the blindfold she saw that her suspicions were truth, she was in the community center indoor public pool. She was feeling extremely nervous about the prospect of what was going to happen, Jon knew about her fears and yet he brought her here without asking if it was okay or not, she was expecting him to take her on a special date, somewhere romantic even so they could have some privacy to see if the flame was still there, instead Jon just threw a bucket filled with ice water at her.

"I know a guy and so we have the place just for ourselves." That only made it worst

Ever since she can remember Sansa has had a phobia with water, she can't explain why or when it happened but she does, when she was a child her siblings would spend their days at the hot springs of Winterfell for hours on end, Sansa would accompany them but never participated, she would stay there watching them from afar, her father had tried so many times to make her go in the water but she would just cry and beg to go home, with time he gave up and she couldn't be any more relieved for it. As the years went by nothing really changed, not even coming to Kings Landing were - specially in the summer - the heat was unbearable, Margaery would spent her weekends at Blackwater Bay beach while Sansa would stay at her dorm. Even now that she has two children who love nothing more than being at the pool she still is terrified of it and so she rarely goes there, which in a way it's unfair for them.

Seeing this pool right here is making her vulnerable, she has nowhere to hide. Jon is at her side and she wants to be like she's been but right now she can't show anything other than weakness and that makes her mad. He knows about this and probably that's why he came, this is the one place she can't keep her walls up.

"Why didn't you tell me you bringing me here?!" She was mad now.

"If I did you wouldn't be here." No I wouldn't. "The day my father die I bought a bottle of whisky, I took it home and filled a glass and spent hours just staring at it. My biggest fear was that my hands could reach for it without me having no control over it whatsoever but I did something else, I took that glass and poured its contents in the sink and ever since that I don't feel like drinking at all." He said, trying to talk some sense into her.

She felt guilty because she knows that if he were to drink, a part of it would've been her fault. The only reason why he bought that bottle with demons stored inside was not only because his father had died but also because Rhaegar died and Sansa didn't even told Jon she was sorry for it, she treated him like a piece of garbage that day and even though her words had some kind of a positive effect on Jon that doesn't make it right, she regrets it now because if she were to be the one in that position Jon would've held her for hours until her tears dried. Sansa just added fuel to the fire.

"I'm not an alcoholic." That was such a stupid and childish thing to say to him or anyone.

He was telling her that's okay to face our fears but she didn't want to hear none of it so she was being defensive and using pointless arguments.

"You don't trust, let me show that you can. You'll be safe, I swear." When Jon said that she realised that this was so much more than facing fears, it was his way of asking her to let go.

She wanted to trust like she did in the past, back then she would've followed him everywhere blind and without questions, she knew she was safe but that was a lie because wherever he took her she only found pain. She doesn't want that experience again.

You'll be safe.

And it was because those words, words she desperately wanted to be real, that Sansa accepted. She can't trust Jon but now she's in a position where she has to, as soon as she enters that pool she won't know what to do and she'll have to hold to him, if he manages to keep her safe like he said then maybe not all is lost.

"How deep is it?" Sansa finally relented.

"Nine feet." Sansa's eyes widened at that. "B-But there's an inclination at the bottom so at first the water will only reach your belly button." Jon quickly reassured her when he saw her expression.

That wasn't that bad, the water up until her belly button, she could handle it.

"I don't have nothing to wear." It wasn't an excuse, she was wearing mom jeans and a white shirt.

"I figured you would say that. If you go into the locker rooms you'll find a bag with everything you need." Jon really had planned this very thoroughly.

It was actually nice to see him making such an effort, it might not be the ideal situation but it's still good.

"Okay then."

"Okay." Jon said as well.

She left him there while she headed to the women locker rooms, she's been here before a couple so she has and idea of where everything is located. Exactly like he said there's a bag in one of the benches, there's at least three swimsuits and luckily they look like they'll fit (Sansa has to tell him to stop buying so many stuff), there's also flip flops, a towel and a robe, quickly she gets changed and after putting her clothes in the gym bag she leaves and heads out to where Jon is, she wasn't expecting to see what she saw when she got there but then again it was a normal thing given their circumstances. Jon had changed as well and now was only wearing swim trunks.

Those abs will be the death of me.

She hasn't seen him like that in a while, his six pack can now be called an eight pack, she can also see that his chest is covered in hair (Jon usually shaves it of) and quite frankly she prefers it this way. Her body is reacting to his, she's aroused just by looking at him but that's because her body is all over the place, it's obviously to soon to be intimate with each other and the attraction she feels for him right now won't change that. That day at the beach while she was getting dressed she knew that Jon was looking at her and when she turned around it was very clear that he was aroused by it, she couldn't deny the sexual tension in that moment, the same way she can't now, it's evident that they both lust for one another, neither Sansa or Jon can hide it, there's this connection between their bodies which is too powerful, it used to go beyond sex but now she's not that sure anymore. What if lust is the only thing they have in common?

She loves him but she doesn't know if she can say the same about him.

"Are you ready?" Jon has his hand stretched.

"Y-Yes." Sansa grabs it.

His hands are burning against her skin, for months she's been cold so she won't let go just yet.

Will I ever have to let go? Will I be able to let go?

He takes her to the edge of the pool and then lets go of fee hand so he can go inside, Sansa can't do the same. She only manages to dip her toe in the water and even that its enough to scare her.

"Jon, I can't! Please don't insist, let's just go somewhere else." She begged, putting as much distance between the her and the pool as she could. It still looked so close, if she's not careful she'll fall and...

In the past she was no more than a little girl terrified of stepping foot the the hot springs of Winterfell, all of her siblings would be there having fun and splashing on the water while she sat there feet way missing out all of it, now Jon is the one who's at the pool, an unknown place for her, and he doesn't want her do miss out on anything ever again, this that she's about to do can be somehow make them or break them, all it takes its one step but it's probably the longest distance Sansa has ever had to cross, because that distance is going to take her to him and she doesn't know if he will keep her afloat.

Jon is stubborn as a mule and he's already stepping out of the water to meet her, there's a pause between is every step he takes and a there's uncertainty in his eyes almost has if he already knows she's about to refuse, Sansa by now knows this behaviour like the palm of her hand, it's how he's been since he returned. Jon's walking on eggshells and is she and maybe that's why nothing has changed, both of them are unsure about taking that last step between them.

"Are you okay." He asks, whispers. Sansa shakes her head.

"Don't think about it, just...close your eyes and take a deep breath, when you open them again I'll still be here, you're safe." Jon's hands were near her face, not touching just hovering there.

She still is hesitant about that part and Jon never crosses the limit she silently ordered. That day at the beach was the only occasion he broke that unspoken rule.

She did as he asked but that wasn't sufficient to qualm her worries, he was still there but life as taught her that being there doesn't always lasts.

"I want to go home."

"We can do that if you want to, we'll get dressed and head back home. Or...there's five steps from here to the bottom of the pool, every step is a question you can ask me, anything at all, and I'll have to answer it in all honesty." Jon wasn't going to give up.

Sansa has so many questions but hasn't gotten the courage to ask them yet, answers are what make the world real and if Jon gives her those and if they are what deep inside she's already expecting then they can't keep pretending anymore, and that's why she hasn't made them yet. Some things are better left unsaid, but in her own experience lies can make more harm then good.

Sansa may not like what she's about to hear but she knows that whatever comes from his mouth can't make anymore damage then the things Jon's done in the past. She's going to take that risk.

Jon returns to the pool, this time however he isn't alone. Sansa walks with him and when he extends his hand she takes it, she needs to stop the shaking of her hands and holding Jon's does that.

He takes one step and now it's all in her hands, there's a million questions and only five she can make right now but that's all she requires for the time being, those five questions will dictate her faith, a faith that in the first time in a long time is in her hands.

Finally she joins him, the water is warm and only reaching her ankles. It's not very hard to stand here, what's harder is what comes next.

"Did you ever felt like I was holding you down?" Sansa asks and Jon is already failing at the game, he promised answers but now it was all quiet. "In college you were the popular one, the king of the parties and every girl's dream while I was...different. I wanted to get married and start a family, who knows what you wanted?" Still nothing from him.

It stays like that for a while, a very long one. Suddenly it's getting uncomfortable, the water on her skin feels to cold, the air is so humid and she's getting all sweaty, the quietness around them is too big now and Sansa wants nothing more than to return to the locker room to get dressed and go home to her children. She's disappointed at him, Jon sees it and that pushes him to deliver something.

"You. I fell in love with you exactly because you're different, all those girls I met were all the same, their clothes, their personality, they were vain and cruel, you weren't. Even now I can't believe you're real, I'm still waiting on the day I'll wake up and this has all been a dream. You're one of a kind." It wasn't what Sansa wanted to hear, she wasn't one of a kind. Not to Jon at least.

There will be always be the memory of another.

" Was Ygritte the same as them?" Sansa climbed down another step.

It's getting deeper but she's nowhere near where she needs to be. The necessity is stronger than her fear.

I'm brave enough.

"No, but she wasn't you either."

"Yet that didn't stop you." A few months back that would've never left her mouth.

A few months back Jon would've coward and just beg for forgiveness. He's not begging now.

"It should've but you're right it didn't. I cheated on you." She's never see him being this blunt before, he's never said that out loud either, not on his own will that is. "I can't deny it and no matter how long it is, that will never disappear. It's there and I can't do a thing to change it, all there's left is to accept that fact and live with the knowledge of what he did to us, of what it will keep on doing if we let it consume us from within. You once told me that much, I didn't listen but now I'm the one asking you to do it. Listen to me." She remembers vividly that day, she had a fight with her mom and Jon was the one who came to her aid.

That was also the first time they came to a decision but now she's hearing that Jon didn't put much of an effort about it, all the pieces are coming together. Back then he just didn't care, now it seems like it's different, that things can actually change. She has to listen and to forget.

Ygritte is not the only source of their problems, she was just the trigger.

"Do you regret marrying me?" The water was almost at her knees and what she was doing was finally sinking in. But she couldn't stop, that question was one of the most important and one of the oldest.

"I have many regrets my life, most of them are familiar to you." More then just familiar, in a way they're the same. "You should know by now that marrying you it's not one of them."

"You haven't made it easier to believe." She says, Jon looks so tired.

"I still have time, if you let me." His voice was weary but his eyes had steel on them.

In that moment she believed him, she'll let him do just that.

"Why didn't you talk to me?" The water was at her tights already, she's never been in here before. It's unsettling but she pulls trough because she wants this.

"I was afraid that if I did you would see the real me." The real him. Who's that?

"Would it be so bad?"

"Out of sight out of mind. I thought that if I kept it inside and didn't think about it would just go away. And I knew that if I told you, you would just want to get to the bottom and I wasn't ready for it. I'm sorry I didn't accepted your help" He wasn't meeting her eyes, there was shame in is all posture.

She's always been there and apparently that was the last thing he wanted. She feels like she's suffocated him for years on end but right now she can't feel guilty or sad about, not when she's about to go to the bottom. The bottom of the pool and the bottom of the truth.

The next question is the last, it's the one she wants to keep in the dark. Up until now she's seen only honesty coming out of Jon, she knows all of his tricks and he hasn't used them yet, only the truth. The truth for this next question might not be what she expects.

"Do you truly love me or did you just stayed because you knew that no else would want me?" She was still so small, still so alone and now the water is swallowing her and he still hasn't said a word.

She looks at him with pleading eyes, she has to have this or she'll die.

" Don't you ever say that again! The girl I met is not here, you've changed and trust me I could spent hours telling you exactly how and still it wouldn't be enough, anyone could want but I guarantee you that they won't want you like I do. I love you." This time Jon did grab her face.

They were so close, if she allowed it her mind would just forget everything and kiss him. Sansa can't do that, she has to fight that addiction in her.

"That still doesn't answer my question." It didn't. I love you is just a word that people sometimes speak without understanding it's real meaning.

"Do you remember the first time you told me you loved?" Jon asked her, his voice was raspy and his hands kept tracing her face, it was so easy to get overwhelmed by it.

She will never forget the day she told him that, she meant every single word, she gave him every single piece.

"It was on your graduation party." That day she caught him crying, he always pretended not having his family around wasn't hard but deep inside it was killing him.

"I'll be your family." That's what she said.

She hasn't broken that promise yet.

"No it wasn't." Did he forgot about that too? "We were staying at the cheapest motel in Kings Landing, you were sleeping in my arms and all I could do was stare you, trying to memorize every little thing in you forever in my mind, how perfect you were and how everything was better at your side. At that time I couldn't even take you to a half decent place, I was living in a shed and quite honestly I was a huge piece of shit whose family didn't even wanted, there was no future for me but then out of the blue you whispered I love you..." His cheeks were wet but had nothing to do with the pool. "and in that moment I just thought to myself that if someone like you could love a person like me maybe I'm not that bad, maybe things aren't that bad, maybe there's more to life than just life itself, there was you and as long as you were there it was okay, I realised that everything I've ever needed was right there in my arms. There are billions of people in the world yet when you're not around I'm alone, I know that no matter where I am the only place I want to be is the one where I get to hear you whisper I love you, I felt like that twelve years ago and I still do, I haven't really showed it lately but it never went away or will. I can't explain it but when you're around, when you were mine I felt at peace, I knew that there was nothing to fear because you're my safety, you're my home and if that's not love than I don't want it. For me I love you means Sansa Stark." By the end he did something she wasn't waiting whatsoever.

He made her climb back up a few steps and then fell on his knees, his hands cradling her bump and his forehead rested there. The quiet sounds of the water she was listening to were replaced by Jon's sobs, his tears mingling with the water droplets on her skin.

This wasn't a game, she knew manipulation like the palm of her hand by now but that wasn't what Sansa was seeing. This was a broken man, there was no other way to describe it. Jon looked no more than a child right now, the child that he was never given the chance to be, the same child who grew up to be a troubled man, a man who ended by blaming her for his failures and that's something she can't forgive but there's so much more to redeem him for it and how she's seeing him right now only enhances that. They still have to heal, there's still bridges that need to be crossed and walls to tear down apart but now Sansa knows that there's a light at the end of that tunnel, that Jon he's different and that this time will last and that's why she won't shut him away anymore. The past is in the past.

Whenever she thinks about the future her children and Jon are the only thing that come to her mind, that's got to be a sign, a sign of what's to come is good, that they can improve and one day look at all of this and just see the memories of the people they once were.

"Jon..." He's still crying.

I'll be your family.

"You did it." That was all he said.

Chapter Text

Jon Snow

2:30 am

Sansa: I'm fat and my feet hurt, it's not fair.

Jon chuckled reading that message, she was just too cute to be real.

Jon: I'm on my way.

Jon won't say he and Sansa are okay or that they made peace because that's not true but they also aren't as bad as before, so he can't complain. Last time around they made up because that was what they wanted but thing is they never actually did any healing whatsoever and that showed, specially on his side, they just choose to forget and move on but there's things the mind cannot erase and no matter how long and how fast you try to run from it, the truth always comes back to bite you in the ass. And the truth is they haven't been okay in a long time, even before Ygritte or even the birth of their son and Sansa's pregnancy, for years they were stuck in the illusion of what a relationship should be, Jon had to learn the hard way but now he knows that "and they lived happily ever after" it's only for books, that relationships do have conflicts and that it's okay as long as they know how to overcome those differences and those feelings, something he didn't before.

Everyday it's a learning process and every lesson only takes him closer and closer to his main goal. That goal used to be having Sansa back but that has changed, he still wants her back of course but first he wants to be a better person that the one he was and even though it's only been a little bit over a month since he's arrived home, Jon feels as if he's truly making progress.

Sansa: Nevermind, you don't have to come. It's late.

As if you could stop me.

Jon is living with her and the kids again. He returned home not long after their evening at the pool, that was probably the day that Jon striped all of his armour and showed her the real him, he cried for what it felt like hours if not days, regret of what he did, of who he turned out to be and most of all of who she became because of him.

"Do you truly love me or did you just stayed because you knew that no else would want me?" Those words will haunt him for the rest of his days and even after that. He can't unhear them or erase them.

They're a mirror, one where is reflected upon.

He made the woman he swore to always care for, to be there when the days were too long and the pain too strong, feel like she was nothing. Sansa was everything Jon could never be, she wasn't broken like him, there was so much hope for her future and he shattered that, he ruined everything that was good in her because of the little that remainded in him, and hearing her say that probably she could never find anyone else because they didn't want her was all he took to make him see that.

It's all about the little things really, Sansa doesn't need love declarations, she just needs him to be there even if that means only making dinner and look after the kids, it's still something and it's definitely much more than Jon has ever done.

I'm not stopping, ever.

Slowly so he doesn't awake the kids, tomorrow is a school day after all and it's already close to three in the morning, Jon makes his way to Sansa's room which used to be theirs but not anymore. He's back at the house but his nights are spent at the couch, a place that unfortunately Jon knows too well by now; he and Sansa can talk sometimes for hours on end, she's beginning to laugh more easily in his presence and the kids don't even have to be around, she genuinely enjoys Jon's company; two days ago they all decided to stay at home instead of going out with the kids, they ended up by renting a movie and spent their evening on the couch watching it just like a family would, unconsciously Sansa grabbed his hand and they stayed like that until the end; whenever Jon touches her arm or hands she doesn't flinch away, she welcomes it and touches him as well on the arm or on the back, she's at ease with him and Jon is bursting with joy over it, he once felt disgust coming from her and that was the worst fucking feeling ever.

Yet sharing a bed is a trial that they still have to conquer, there's something about the intimacy of it all that has Sansa still in doubt, she hasn't asked him to join her and of course Jon won't push it, he's lucky he's got this far, he won't overstep it or get to comfortable.

Despite not wanting him to sleep with her that doesn't stop Sansa from texting him in the middle of the night to give her a foot rub, which he gladly does. This pregnancy is hard on her body and more so now that she's 27 weeks pregnant, her ankles have tripled their size, she's constipated, there are times she can't even get out of bed because her back is hurting too much and she also developed a rash (which doctor Brienne assured is nothing to worry about), in other words she's miserable and by consequence so his Jon, he's starting to feel the same way as he did when she was pregnant with Jacob, like a big failure for not being able to make her feel better, a few years ago this is the part that Jon would start to freak out and run to the nearest bar, because he can't do that now internet as been his life saver, most nights are spent reading pregnancy blogs and learning all the different ways he can try to make this pregnancy less than a ordeal to Sansa, so far he hasn't really found anything helpful but that only encourages Jon even more.

When he arrived at their room, Jon didn't made his presence known for a few minutes, he wanted to keep this image in his mind forever, Sansa was laying in bed (with no covers because she can't handle the heat anymore) on her side with her knees bent, one pillow under her belly for support and another between her knees, she was wearing a maternity night gown and yet Jon could clearly see every single curve of her body, the swelling of her stomach was mesmerizing to him, his son was in there, my son...Sansa is even more beautiful than before and now he knows why some people say pregnant women glow, back then he was too much of an ass to notice but now he can see that her skin looks brighter and somehow her hair can actually be compared to flames, she has a developed few freckles and he just loves them but it goes beyond physical attraction, there's something about her that just emanates pure love and affection, the way her hands barely leave her stomach, or how she sometimes speaks or sings to their baby at night when he's pretending to be asleep in the living room.

How can I sleep when you sound like an angel?

An angel that in a way is slowly and painfully torturing him, he's desperately trying to ignore it but he can't overlook the fact that Sansa's breasts are larger, that her smell leaves him crazy and that much to his shame Jon can't do a thing about the trobbing sensation below his waist whenever she's too near, it takes so much willpower not to groan when that happens. He can't do a thing about it obviously since that's probably the last thing in Sansa's mind and also he's afraid that even if they get a chance to have sex again he'll hurt the baby, there's nothing online that proves it but he doesn't want to risk it , so he waits until dawn to do something about the bridge in his pants in the solitude of their bathroom, Jon's not proud of it and honestly when he's done he somehow always feels like a creep.

"Sansa?" He softly knocks on the door.

She has a bit of difficulty because of her bump but she manages to sit up in bed.

"You didn't have to come. They don't hurt that much now." Sansa was lying, she was grimacing and even from afar he could see the sweling on her feet and ankles. And her breasts too.

Take an ice bath! He mentality chided himself.

"Oil or lotion?" Jon ignored what she was saying.

He was going to be here in any way possible.

"I...I don't want you to think I'm using you on a whim." Sansa said, she was blushing and God did she looked adorable.

I've used you for much worse. He reminds himself of someone he used to know.

"Rubbing your feet at three in the morning on a Monday? That's the Westerosi dream." Immediately she giggled.

She tried to cover it up with her hands but there was no point to it.

"Well, since you insist. Who am I do tell you no?" Sansa fluttered her eyelashes at him. Is she flirting? With me?

Thank you, God.

At once he made for her vanity where she had all of her lotions and other feminine beauty products - there were so many that it was hard to spot the right one - and took out a bottle of coconut body lotion, normally he would use the lemon one but Sansa doesn't care for it as much as she did (another symptom of her pregnancy, she's starting to dislike scents and foods that once were her favourite), after that he climbed on bed and sat at the foot of it, he motioned Sansa to lay down and stretch her legs, she did exactly that and well it was getting harder to focus at the task in front of him.

Really? You're horny just with the sight of her legs?

After so much time it wasn't really surprising.

He opened the bottle and put a little bit of lotion on his hands and then proceeded to gently massage her feet, they were sensitive so he was extra careful. This was something that he was good at it, real good, in college he used to do this every night to her when she came from her many classes exhausted and already sleeping before even reaching their small but comfy bed, Jon loved doing this because it was peaceful and somewhat therapeutical for him, normally they would be silent and there was always some relaxing background music, Sansa always had a thing for classic music and with time Jon grew to love it as well, actually while he was at rehab they were allowed to use an MP3 (yes in they were still a thing) and that was how he slept.

Now there's only silence but it keeps getting interrupted by Sansa's little purrs and no sound as ever sounded so sweet, he doesn't need music when he gets to hear that every now and then. Her eyes are closed and there's a small satisfying smile gracing her lips, no matter how many times he does it Jon will never get tired of it, of making her feel like the queen she is, she deserves to be appreciated in all ways possible and imaginable.

"You have no idea how good that feels." She murmurs, sleep is already claiming her.

Sansa always falls asleep before he even gets to finish just one foot and once Jon's done there's always the wish to stay. She's quite the heavy sleeper now as well and Jon could just lay down at her side and leave the room at dawn without her noticing it and altough that's something that has crossed his mind several times he never goes through with it. That's just not right.

"You could very well return the favour." That earns him a kick, a very gentle one and in revenge he tickles the bottom of her foot.

She always had a thing with is feet, just seeing them was enough for Sansa to scrunch up her nose and there was this one time she actually made gagging sounds. Razorblades? Yep, that's what she called Jon's feet.

"Can you please not ruin this experience for me?" Sansa asked sarcastically, that's always been a strong suit of hers and in college that was her favourite weapon whenever he tried to approach her.

"I could but of c-" Jon didn't got to finish.

Sansa sat up abruptly in bed, her pregnant belly didn't even bothered her, her eyes were wide open looking at her hands who were resting on her stomach and she gasped, Jon was panicking. He thought something was wrong with her and was already getting up to take her to the hospital but none of that happened because Sansa grabbed his hand and joined it next to the one in her bump, sometimes he could be clueless but it didn't took long for realization to dawn upon him. By now she's probably already felt dozens of kicks but this was Jon's first time, Jacob was a quiet baby and never once kicked. For a while he couldn't feel a thing and was a bit sad that he missed it but then out of the blue Jon Snow's life was never the same.

It made Jon think about waves rolling, or a little frog hoping, they were fast and quick and it wasn't really needed that much for him to become addicted to those tiny movements, somehow feeling it only made it more real somehow their connection deepened, there was a baby just under that, a helpless little baby who still wasn't strong enough and so Jon needed to provide that for him, he felt a new sense of duty, a fierce protection grew in him, in that moment he knew there was nothing he wouldn't do for him, nothing he wouldn't be, this baby is going to be loved with no limits and no fears, Jon will do that.

"Hey, little man. I'm you're dad." Another kick, this one was stronger and Sansa actually winced. "Hey! I know that's not really exciting but there's no need to be rude, you know." He pretended to be extremely offended and Sansa couldn't keep her laugher to herself.

I don't want you to, either.

"Wow..." Jon was utterly in love, he already knew he wouldn't be able to deny a thing to his baby, he had no control over that.

You already got me wrapped around your fingers.

"You wouldn't be saying that if you were the one being kicked in the ribs and in the bladder simultaneously." Sansa complained but her tone didn't suggest she was actually being serious.

But it can't be easy for her either, he felt the kicks and boy their son was like some warrior, that's got to be painful. By instinct his hands caressed Sansa's ribs, she didn't commented or stop him, this moment was bigger than them, for just a few seconds everything was perfect.

"Have you thought about a name?" Jon wanted to be part of that aspect but if Sansa already made a choice he won't mind.

She's always had better taste than him anyway. He actually tought about naming their son Bentley instead of Jacob. Thank God Sansa stopped him.

"No." Sansa's joyful mood was completely gone and she was already tensing up.

"Why?" He asked, still unsure of her reaction. Wasn't she supposed to be happy?

During her first pregnancy Sansa was already picking names when she was only two months pregnant.

"You know why?" That look gave him the answer.

You're really thick, Snow.

She was still fearful about the outcome of this pregnancy, specially after that scare where...just thinking about that day makes him shake and feel sick to his stomach, Sansa must be a thousand times worst than him specially after all she's experienced with motherhood and her troubled journey into it. Sometimes Jon would feel the same, as if dreaming and making plans for this baby was much to risky, it was a possibility and now that Sansa is getting closer to the finish line that possibility is probably the only thing she can think of.

"The worst is over." He tried to offer her some comfort and for himself too.

Sansa wasn't buying it.

"I thought I lost him." She said very quietly, almost as if saying it out loud would only make it real.

Jon could see tears forming at her eyes and with his hand he wiped them away, when he tried to remove his hand Sansa grabbed it and kept it on her cheek. She was so harm.

"Me too. But he's in there safe and sound, because you won't let anything else other than that happen." Jon touched her stomach, his hands were shaking despite not being cold. "And in no time he will be here with you and me and his siblings who love him so much already." His words were calming her down and Sansa was no longer crying.

"I want that very much."

"You hear your mom, kid?" Jon was now speaking to his son, it was rather silly but it was their moment. The first of many. "Don't take too long but please when you get here try to sleep trough the night, also poopping more than five times a day it's forbidden and if you are to break that rule try not to make a big mess." Sansa was grinning and he did the same. "One last thing, whatever direction life might takes us always know that I love you and that you're mom is the best mom you could ever wish for, you're the luckiest baby in all the uteruses out there. I know that sounds amazing and you're very excited but try to give mommy a break, okay? She needs it." He wasn't sure if it was the right thing but Jon placed a kiss on Sansa's stomach, he felt the slightest move and that was a sign that maybe his words weren't in vain.

"Thank you, Jon." Sansa's eyes were shiny with tears again, these ones were of joy.

He was about to leave but then...

"Jon...stay."

For as long as you want me to.


 

"Sansa, that's a bad idea!" He wasn't liking how loud his voice was becoming but he was upset.

"You didn't even let me finish! Anna is going to be there too!" She countered back, her voice at the same level as his.

One of the first things Jon found out when he returned to Kings Landing was that Emily and Ygritte had seen each other, he was mad but with no reason of course. It was something that neither him or Sansa could've prevented and not even Ygritte was to blame, it was just a coincidence, one that shouldn't have happened and if it was up to him wouldn't be happening any time soon either. Those meetings between Emily and Ygritte would only lead up to questions and answers Jon wasn't ready to give just yet. But just ten minutes ago, Sansa told him something else, honestly he never thought he would hear his wife even mentioning something like that.

They still kept in contact with Anna, despite everything Jon does see her as a part of the family and the kids absolutely love her, since returning from rehab he hasn't really had the opportunity to talk to her - Jon's been more focused on Sansa and the kids - but apparently Sansa speaks with Anna almost daily and she's been the one keeping her updated on everything Ygritte has been up to, from what he could tell it looks like he hasn't been the only one going trough changes. Two days ago Anna told Sansa that her sister has to leave town for a couple of months on work but before doing so she wanted to see Emily even if just for a few minutes, much to his surprise Sansa actually pondered that decision and this morning she asked Jon if he was okay with it, he wasn't.

It's not fair to keep a child away from her mother but then again Ygritte is not that person, Sansa is. Jon's mad because he had no idea what was going on until the last minute, he wishes Sansa would've told him about this sooner but he can see why she didn't, he was going to react well. He isn't reacting well now, he barely gave her a chance to explain as to why she wanted this, Jon just refused to hear anything about it.

"I don't want her near our daughter! Or in front of me!" The last time he saw Ygritte God knows he almost destroyed his whole life.

"But if you had to?" Sansa kept insisting. It was strange given the circumstances and what Ygritte meant in their lifes.

"Jesus, Sansa! It looks like you want me to be with Ygritte in the same room!" He couldn't take those words back, he desperately wanted to.

Why would he even say such a thing?

"Don't you dare twist my words, Jon! Do you even realize what you're implying? If you think I'm happy with this situation I'm not!" Sansa looked ready to hit him, right now she could and he wouldn't back away.

But beneath the anger there was sadness. Jon was now the one ready to hit himself.

"I'm sorry, I should've never said that and I won't ever again. I don't want to share what we've built with somebody else, specially Ygritte. You don't have to put yourself trough this, I know it hurts enough as it is."

He can't even begin to contemplate what that must feel like for her. When Jon found out she was going out with Dickon he was ready to kill the man just for getting close to Sansa, and that's nothing compared to what he did that night many years ago with Ygritte while Sansa was at home nursing a sick baby all by herself.

"Emily is my daughter, I love her more than I love myself and that's why I'm doing this. I can't have her living a lie, if she finds out later by someone else that isn't us you know what will happen, she'll hate us. I don't feel comfortable around Ygritte, I can't barely look at her without having my mind conjuring pictures of what transpired between you two." There was agony in that sentence, Jon felt a chill going trough his body. "If we're going to do this, to allow our daughter to be with the woman who put her in this world, I...I want to know that there's nothing left between you two." Sansa could've asked that question a thousand times before and the effect would still be the same.

Utterly painful. It's like a confirmation that he's done nothing to earn her trust, that she'll always see someone else at his side whenever she looks at Jon.

"Sansa..." He was too broken to speak.

Jon tried reaching for her hand but Sansa slapped it away. It stinged like daggers piercing his skin and had nothing to do with the slap, it went beyond that. It was emotional.

"Don't lie to me, please." The last word was a plea.

Jon promised no more lies but right now it was too tempting, all he had to do was reach for it. He knows his feelings and has no trouble saying the truth, Sansa is the one he loves. But he doesn't want to bring those memories of him and Ygritte back to life because despite Sansa putting on a brave face, Jon knows that's just for show.

But she asked and he will not refuse her.

"I've always seen her as a friend, she was someone I could talk to after a day at work and have a laugh with alongside everybody else who was in the bar, just like you and Dickon. I liked her personality because in a way we had so much in common, our childhood wasn't that different and that's what we bond over. I can't say she's not pretty and all but I never thought about her that way, if I was sober nothing would've happened. I could've never go trough with it. I didn't love her back then and I don't love her now." That place in his heart is saved for Sansa. It's always going to be her. "What I did was disgusting and disrespectful and I'll never forgive myself for it, but please believe me. I've lied many times before but this isn't one of them." It would never be one of them ever again.

Sansa semmed hesitant, almost in disbelief but she stepped closer.

"So why did you go look for her when she came back?" Sansa asked him. That part of the story he wasn't ready to share.

He nearly killed someone, the lines between man and beast were blurred that day for him and Ygritte was the one who almost payed the price but the suffering would all be from Sansa.

"I went to confront her for what she did to you, I wanted her gone from Kings Landing but I was drunk and fell right on her trap, when I realized what I was doing it was too late and I tried to stop it, I..." Jon didn't know what to say next. "I did something terrible, I almost..." He couldn't.

That's the one thing he will never be able to say out loud. He almost became a murderer and that was unbearable but it was his cross to carry, only his.

"You don't have to finish. I can imagine what happened next because the Jon from months ago would be capable of something like it." That Jon was a monster, Sansa was only emphasizing that. "Will the one standing right in front of me do the same? Can I stop being worried every five minutes whenever you walk through that door? Can I trust you again?" Doubt written all over her features, tears staining her cheeks Sansa asks him that question.

"Always." Such a small word but the way he said it carried volumes.

Sansa heard it too.



 

Anna

Cleaning my apartment while I could be sleeping? That's just great.

Anna works her ass off six days a week working as a cook in an hotel, she only gets one day off and instead of resting as any other sane person would, she's doing spring cleanings. Her apartment is not a pigsty but it's far from spotless, she lives by herself and barely spends time at home, there's really no need to be dusting the furniture everyday, yet that changed with just a phonecall. Her sister is about to leave town, she's not very happy about it but she has to go, before leaving she made one request, seeing Emily. And she asked Anna to help her but she wasn't really sure if she should, Ygritte has caused so many trouble in just a matter of months and now finally things are starting to calm down a bit, Anna just wants peace.

But she can't forget the look on Ygritte's face when she told her she saw Emily at the grocery store, it was probably the first time Anna has seen her genuinely happy about something, it's a look she decided she wanted to see more often. They're different as night and day but damn it that's her sister and Anna would anything for her, she may never say it to a soul but she loves Ygritte, she's all she has left from her family. That's why she spent almost a week trying to convince Sansa into allowing Ygritte to be with Emily for a little while, it wasn't easy even more so now that Jon returned - she loves him but she also knows what he did to her sister -, Sansa was worried and with plenty of reason, Ygritte could still do something crazy but she has given enough evidence that she won't do any harm, having almost died seemed to give her a whole new perspective on life, she's not perfect but she's a lot better than when she arrived.

After much convincing, Sansa and Jon finally caved in but not without a few rules of course. Emily won't be staying for more than an hour, she can't be alone with Ygritte and they have to be in Anna's apartment because it's a place that Emily knows and she feels safe in, the most important rule however is they can't tell her the truth and Anna agrees with it, it's still to soon for that given that Emily and Ygritte are practically strangers, plus the kid is only five so there's no way they can explain something like that to her.

What can they say?

"Oh, this is your mother. Sansa is just married to your father and he cheated on her, you're real mother ran away and so Sansa took you in." Yeah, that's exactly what a kid needs to hear.

God knows her and Ygritte became trainwrecks for much less, Emily won't go trough any of that shit. Luckily Ygritte seems to be in the same page as them, beggars can't be choosers.

"Shouldn't you be dressed already! You'll be late and then Sansa won't let you bring Emily here!" If Ygritte keeps acting that way, Anna will punch her in the face.

Ygritte has been on the edge of a breakdown for days and now that there's only hours left for her to be with her daughter she's finally cracking.

"It's barely an hour from here to her place, calm the fuck down! I'll get ready in a second." Anna was wearing old clothes because of what they were doing but honestly she never took that long to get dressed, five minutes were more than enough.

"I want this to be perfect." Of course she did, Ygritte has been waiting for almost six years for this day.

Anna will do everything she can for it to be perfect, it has to.

"Relax, everything is going to be okay. You worry too much and that's never a good thing."

"Luckily you're here. Thank you for everything, I love you." Ygritte gave her a hug.

It's probably the most heartfelt gesture she's ever done for Anna, she had to hold her tears.

After that Anna went to her room, picked out an outfit and took a quick shower. As soon as she emerged in the living room, Ygritte was already pulling her towards the door.

"Hurry!" Her sister was shaking like a leaf on an Autumn day.

"I'm going! God damn it."

Sansa and Jon lived a bit far but nothing that a few speeding couldn't solve, it was still early and Kings Landing police wasn't known for their competency, otherwise Jon and Ygritte would've been in jail by now, they're so similar. Both of them ticking time bombs just waiting for that final second, Ygritte almost beat up a pregnant woman and Jon well he almost killed her because of it, maybe they're perfect for each other. She won't voice those toughts because Sansa is the one who will get burned, she's a good person. Too good for this fucked up world they live in.

After driving forty five minutes, give or take, Anna finally arrived at Jon and Sansa's driveway. She couldn't see Jon's car and it was for the best, Sansa was okay with this, him not that much. He could still have a change of heart and then Sansa will change her mind as well and Ygritte will get hurt. She's so happy for this, everything has been planned to the t and having none of it coming trough will break her heart, apparently she actually has one. It took a long time for Anna to see it.

Sansa is quick to open the door and by the look on her face she's probably has been up for a while now, maybe she hasn't slept last night.

There's no need for it but Anna still asks for permission to come inside - there was a time she couldn't even do that - which Sansa of course says yes and tells her she doesn't need to ask, she's family.

But not quite.

The house is quiet, the kids aren't in the living room neither is Jon, Anna starts to worry that he took them away to stop this meeting but when she sees Emily in the cutest pink outfit, Anna lets out the breath she's been holding.

"Anna!" Emily always calls her by her name.

Anna has always been around but has a family friend, Emily always called her Anna and that was it, she knows she won't ever get to hear the same words that Arya and even Margery hear, and the way Emily says it it's so sweet that Anna's heart aches with jealousy over the other women but then again that's a choice she made and now she has to live with it. Sansa wanted Anna to present herself as Emily's aunt but she refused, it would only confuse that little girl's head, one day maybe if she has the chance she'll ask Emily to treat her as her aunt. It's hard to watch, even harder to experience what it feels like to be in the sidelines.

"Ready to spent the day with me, kid?" Anna asks Emily who's still in her arms. The little girl nods eagerly.

"Emmy, go get your backpack ready so you can leave. Okay, sweetie?" That was all the conformation she needed to hear from Sansa.

"Okay, mommy." And with that Anna put Emily down and off she went.

Sansa went to the kitchen to make some coffee but didn't take long to return to the living room where Anna was patiently waiting.

"Where's Jon?" She finally touched that subject.

"He's with Jacob at soccer practice, he actually volunteered to help their coach since he got hurt a few days ago" It sounded like an excuse.

Jon just didn't want to be there. He knows what he did.

"And he's fine with this?" She couldn't quite figure out how that happened.

"Yes, we talked about it yesterday. He understands or at least he's making an effort to." Sansa always defended him.

That's her biggest flaw.

"Look, if you don't want to do this it's okay. I'm sure Ygritte will understand, I mean she won't but let me be the one worrying about that." Anna wanted this but only if Sansa was totally on board.

Otherwise she might even storm trough her apartment the moment Emily steps foot in it.

"I made a promise to myself that I intend to keep. I'm nervous but I know Emily is in good hands, she's with you. Just keep her safe and...I want to be the one telling her the truth, it's for the best."

"I get it and don't worry, nothing will happen. You have my word."

"I know, you've helped us trough some really dark times." Sansa wasn't overreacting, when Jon left for rehab this place became upside down.

Anna actually took a few sick days off work to help Sansa with the kids and the house.

"I'm ready." Came Emily's voice from the hall.


 

The drive to her place was far better than the drive to Sansa's house, Emily kept singing and begging her for foods and games to which she's strictly forbidden of, but Sansa isn't here now and as a aunt her job is to spoil Emily. She's sure Ygritte will probably do the same but at a safe distance of course, the last thing they want is to overwhelm Emily.

Time flies and before she knows it she's already putting the keys on the lock and twisting the doorknob to open the door. Ygritte gives the biggest grin she's ever seen the moment her eyes fell on Emily, there's a mixture of happiness, pride, longing and even melancholy.

"You're the lady from the grocery store." Emily said when she saw Ygritte on the couch.

Melancholy was all that remained after that.

"This is my sister, her name is Ygritte and she'll keep us company today." Anna tried to turn this around.

"Hello, Miss Ygritte." Emily, who was the sweetest child who ever lived, actually gave Ygritte an hug.

Anna's own eyes were burning with tears, it was really something beautiful to see.

"Oh, you don't have to call me Miss. Ygritte it's just fine." She couldn't keep the crack in her voice hidden but Emily didn't notice it.

"My mommy says it's polite."

"You're very lucky to have a mommy like her then." That felt like a punch in a gut and by the expression on her sister's face and the way her shoulders dropped, Anna guessed she was right.

"Emmy, you know my sister loves playing games. Why don't you go fetch some for us, can you do that." It appears Anna will have to do a lot of improvisation today.

Emily nodded and ran to Anna's room where she kept games and stuff she bought just for her niece and Jacob of course.

"I can't do this." Ygritte began pacing around in the living room, both hands clutched to her chest.

She couldn't be getting cold feet now over something Emily said, the kid is just doing as she was told.

"Really? You expect me to believe that bullshit? It's done, Emily is here and by nighttime will be gone from this city." And from this people.

She still doesn't know how she kept this farce for years without a single slip. Anna was a good actress and Jon and Sansa loved theatre.

"Where will we go?" Ygritte was involved but that part was unknown to her.

Only I know.

"Somewhere Jon and Sansa can't find us."

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

"How old is she?"

"Do you have any recent pictures?"

"What was she wearing?"

"Do you know the license plate of the getaway car?"

Why are they still asking questions?

"My daughter is gone!" Should be enough to make the police look through every corner in Kings Landing.

Having went to Anna's apartment and see that she wasn't there, most of her clothes and personal belongings gone, should be enough to go after her.

Emily left at two pm and it's getting close to midnight, that should be enough to have them all over Westeros searching for her.

But it isn't.

Her daughter is missing at the hands of two monsters, one of them her friend, and still no one cares about lifting a finger to help. Sansa herself can't do a thing, she's a failure as a mother, she was the one who caused this. The one who let them in, she can blame every single person in the world for what happened but in the end it all falls on her.

Life is all about choices, her father once told her something between those lines, every choice holds a power bigger than ourselves, a simple word can dictate the faith of so many, Sansa just did that with her daughter who is now at the clutches of someone who's evil and someone she doesn't know, Sansa tought she did. She was betrayed once again and just like in the past it came from who she least expected.

Sansa always gave too much of herself, she's easy to be played with because she's blind, she trusts all she is to people who would never give her a fraction of that.

"My niece is God knows where with two mentally unstable bitches and you're sitting here! Does that make any sense?!" Arya shouted at one of the officers.

It's all she's done since she arrived hours ago.

"She's right. And don't tell me you have to await forty eight hours, we're talking about a little girl. She's only five years old!" Margaery was behaving exactly the same as her sister.

Right now Sansa doesn't have time for any of this, she appreciates what they're trying to do but honestly it's only making her more nervous. They're throwing guesses about Emily's whereabouts and how she might be, Sansa doesn't want to listen to any of it because one of those might be correct and that's too much to think about right now, it's opening a hole in her chest and ripping her heart away.

"None of you are helping at the moment. Think about Jacob, do you want him to awake up?" Gilly was there to and as soon as she said that both Arya and Margaery shut up almost in synchrony.

It took them hours to calm him down but Jacob was finally sleeping, he was a very attentive child and of course he knew what was going on, or at least had an idea. It's not really that hard, the house is empty without Emily's voice, it doesn't feel like home anymore. Home is where the heart is, that's what people say, and Emily takes a huge part of Sansa's.

"I never liked that girl." Arya was talking about Anna.

I loved that girl, deep within I still do. How is that possible?

Anna was the person who walked in when everybody else walked out. Jon wasn't himself, her family barely spoke to her, Gilly and Sam had their own life to worry about and Margaery wanted nothing to do with Sansa; during that time she found solace in the last person she expected to, the sister of the woman who took everything away from Sansa. Anna was so much more than a family name, more than just a background character in her own story, she was a good person despite not feeling that way, for years she's always been there going as far as to turn her back on her own blood because of Jon and Sansa and now none of it is real anymore, it probably never was. It's hard to accept that, to see someone you cared for, someone you knew would never walk away no matter how bad things became abandoning you.

Anna loves Emily and that's the only consolation Sansa can find in this whole situation, Emily is not here but as long as she stays with Anna she'll be safe.

Maybe Sansa is still being too naïve, maybe she still trusts too much but there's something in her that tells her that deep inside Anna's tainted heart there's still that seventeen year old scared girl who showed up at her front door, the same girl who would never hurt a fly much less her own family.

Sansa is clinging to it, she keeps her eyes glued on the front door hoping that at any moment Anna will appear with Emily in her arms, that she'll bring her to where she belongs. To her mother's embrace.

Why am I expecting that? It's all been a lie.

Blood will always be thicker than water. Sansa is Anna's friend, Ygritte is a continuation of her.

It will always be Ygritte who Anna picks and now because of it Emily isn't here.

Emily isn't here.

Where is she?

No one knows how to solve that puzzle yet.

King's Landing is the most populated city in Westeros, Anna and Ygritte can be right under their noses and still they won't notice, by now they're probably already changed their appearance, by now Emily already knows the truth.

Will she be fine with it? Is the love she nurtures for me stronger then the unknown connection between her and Ygritte?

She's her mother, for years Sansa refused to believe in that but it's beyond her reach, there's no way around the truth. She lied to her daughter but she knows Ygritte won't do the same.

"Ma'am?" Sansa faintly hears one of the officers saying.

All she can hear is Emily's laugher, she always had such a beautiful laugh. She holds on to it because that's all that she has now, a sound engraved in her memory and there's a frightening chance that it will be like this forever. Memories, voices that the wind will never erase.

"We'll start a search party and release an amber alert. You'll be constantly updated and please no matter what happens don't try to do justice by your own hands. All of you." The female officer was looking at Arya on that last one, she only got a glare in return.

Honestly even Sansa feels like she can storm trough every single house and building in Kings Landing until she finds her daughter, if it wasn't for Gilly she would've been out in the street looking and she wouldn't stop for the rest of her life if she had to.

"Thank you so much, officers. Please do anything you can." Gilly took the lead of the situation.

Sansa wasn't in any condition whatsoever to be giving her report to the authorities, it still feels so foreign. Less then twelve hours ago life was just like any day, Jon was with Jacob at soccer practice and she was in her living room knitting a blanket for the baby, Emily wasn't at home but it wouldn't take long for her to arrive but she never did.

She might never do that again, this house will never know her songs, Sansa will never see her smile. Someone else will.

"Sansa, it's late and you look more dead then alive." Gilly wasn't insulting her in anyway possible, Sansa had already looked in the mirror. In just a matter of hours her face became one of a ghost. "Get some sleep." Her friend advised her and not for the first time since she arrived almost three hours ago.

"My daughter is missing! Do you think sleep is what I need right now?!" Sansa's tone was far harsher than necessary.

She was sick of people telling her what to do, how to be. No one knows what she's going through not even her friend who like her is also mother, Gilly has little Sam waiting for her at home, Sansa has Jacob and she thanks God for it, for keeping him close to her. But there's a little girl somewhere right now awaiting for a bed time story and a hug and Ygritte doesn't know that.

She doesn't know a thing about Emily, giving birth to her it's as far as their relationship goes but that too can change, Emily gets along with everyone. Why would that be any different with her birth mother, just the thought of Emily loving Ygritte the same way she does with her it's...she can't think about that now. It will only break her even more and those pieces are already getting smaller and by the second.

"Your son does, and that's not debatable!" This was one of the rare times Gilly as ever raised her voice to Sansa. "Go to sleep, please." She was whispered

"Do as Gilly says, get some rest. Me and Arya will join the men." Margaery was now holding Sansa's hand in a futile attempt to comfort her.

The men. As if they'll be able to do a thing.

She hates that she's giving up already, that her eyes are no longer wet with tears. She won't give up but she's already embracing for impact, and there's no point in crying anymore, tears won't solve this and Sansa has shed so many today that somehow there's no more left.

"Yeah, the more the merrier right? My gut tells me they aren't far, Emily will be here before you awake up." Even Arya was trying to reassure her. It wasn't working but Sansa was grateful for the gesture.

It didn't take long for the two of them, Arya and Margaery, to leave the house and join the others who were having a search party of their own.

Jon wasn't here currently, he was alongside with Sam, Dickon, Gendry and Podrick looking for Emily on his own. He promised a text message or a phonecall as soon has he had something, needless to say that her phone as not yet made sound.

As the hours passed and still Emily hadn't returned, Sansa's whole body became flooded with pure dread, she didn't wanted to believe what was going on but after four hours and still no sign of Emily it was clear to both her and Jon what had happened. She nearly had a panic attack in their living room, if Jon hadn't been there she would've been rushed to the hospital for sure. She couldn't move because the way her body was shaking was taking hold of everything, she couldn't see a thing because the tears wouldn't stop flowing and a million scenarios ran through her mind, Emily had been taken away that was all she could focus, all she could see.

When their fears came through Sansa was expecting Jon to blame her for this, to call her an horrible person and an even worst mother, she was already imagining what he would say, how loud he would shout but that didn't happen, quite the opposite. While Sansa was hyperventilating and bawling her eyes out trying to get in her car, Jon remained calm, so calm that for a moment she thought he didn't understand the gravity of the situation, he went to the kitchen and then returned with a glass of water with sugar, after that he picked up his phone and alerted the police and their friends, he was taking control of this better than Sansa, she couldn't react but he did, in a way she never imagined it could be possible.

When the police arrived he talked to them, gave them everything they needed and then left with the others to look on their own, not even having Dickon around bothered him but that's quite a silly thing to be thinking of giving their circumstances. Sansa wanted him around but she needs Emily's presence even more than she needs Jon's, and there's a reason why he's probably the only man for the job right now, he knows how Ygritte's mind works because - and Sansa doesn't want to admit it, she hates it - he knows her far too well.

But it's been so long since he left and still there's nothing.

Please find our baby.

"Little Sam is with a cousin of mine at home, I'll be here in the couch awaiting." Gilly wasn't going to sleep at all and that wasn't fair.

"If there's any news...good or bad, don't keep me in the dark." Now that there's only Gilly here, Sansa slips of her mask and allows her self to be weak.

She tried to remain strong, for Emily she keeps reminding herself but her body is too exhausted and her mind is shutting down.

"I will...good or bad." Gilly has a hard time keeping a neutral face.

The police said that the worst that can happen is Ygritte catching a flight and leave for Essos, it becomes more complicated because of the jurisdiction and then there's also the fact that Sansa has no legal bindings with Emily, Jon has full custody of her but Ygritte as her biological mother still holds some power.

If they're no longer in Westeros it becomes impossible to find Emily, there's already police officers stationed at the airport and some are checking trough security surveillance footage but that can be a shot in the dark.

You did this. If you never see your daughter again then it's your fault and yours alone.

Sansa leaves Gilly and goes away from the living room but instead of going to her and Jon's room, Sansa takes a turn and walks inside the room where the walls are violet, where there's little fairy lights hanging from the ceiling, next to the canopy bed with the baby blue comforter there's a small white nightstand with butterflies in it, on top of it small wooden carrousel - Sansa's parents gift to Emily this year - that carrousel belonged to Sansa when she was a girl and Ned Stark had it restored for his granddaughter, as a child the melody of it and the horses with golden details going around always made her fall asleep, there was something to it that made her feel safe, just like this room. In here dreams are allowed, innocence still prevails, most of all Emily's smell still clings in the air, that smell of rain with a touch of lemons and something sweet almost like cotton candy, if Sansa closes her eyes she can still see Emily laying in bed holding all of her favourite stuffed animals, her hair a mess of curls dark as the night, her chest raising and falling as she softly breathes, her little smile and those dimples, it's all there if Sansa keeps her eyes shut but as soon as she sees those images clear as day her eyes start to tear up. They haven't dried after all.

In here she can be whoever she wants to be, there's no need to put on a brave front. Sansa falls in Emily's bed and cries for hours, until her troath feels raw and her eyes to heavy to open, her lungs are burning but it's nothing compared to the pain in her grieving heart.

I'm sorry, Emmy. Mommy's here, I'll keep you safe just follow my voice and you'll find your way back home, back to me. I love you baby.

Sansa always wanted to be a mother but God had other plans for her, after Jacob's birth she completely gave up the prospect of having another child, her baby boy was in her arms and that was all she would ever need. Not long after, the same God who mocked her body decided to give her a blessing, one that came disguised as a punishment. It didn't take long to love that girl, Sansa was already halfway through it as soon as she saw her, those dark eyes. She promised herself to love that child and never to fault her for her father's mistakes. She never imagined how much she would end up by loving that motherless child, Sansa was blindsided by the intensity of that feeling, it was as if she was the one herself to carry Emily for nine months in her womb, she realised at that time that even if she wanted to she could never be anything but her mother, she could never love her any less than what she did with Jacob. Emily was hers, not by blood or looks but by everything else, she was the missing part that for so long she was denied of, there's not enough words and there will never be to explain what Emily is to her, she's everything and more, her children are the light at the end of the tunnel, life as a way of beating her down but all Sansa needs to do is look at her children, there's nothing but love in their eyes, she's their whole world but they're much more than that to her. They're her, she's not Sansa without them and right now she's incomplete.

I will bring you back.

This room brings her the strength that went missing just mere hours ago. She won't stop until her heart is beating again.


 

Her sleep was tampered with nightmares, each one worst than the one before but the outcome always the same.

Emily is already a teenager by the time Sansa finds her, she looks different and there's barely any traces left of the baby she had once been, there's anger in her gaze and it's mix up with disgust. She looks at Sansa and all she says is "I hate you", afterwards Sansa is brought back to reality panting and crying, she refuses to fall back asleep but always succumbs to it. Everytime the nightmare only intensifies.

The first rays of sun are making their way through the window when Sansa begins to stirr in her sleep, she feels harmer then before and there's someone with their arms wrapped around her, slowly as she opens her eyes she can see that it's Jon, he hasn't changed and he's still wearing his shoes to bed, his purpose was never to fall asleep but he did, she doesn't know for how long he's been here or for how long he's been away or if even there's any news. All that can be heard is his snores and she can feel the beating of his heart against her chest, it's so similar to her own almost like they're the same person, one heart, one flesh. Both of them splintered right now, he's keeping it in - but not in the way he did before - but his pain is the same as hers, he's the only person right now that knows what's it like, they have to support each other like they've never did in the past, if she's going to go trough this she wants him at her side.

Sansa presses her body closer to Jon's trying to hold this for as long as she can, she's gathering the courage to get up and face the world.

"Good morning." Jon says, his voice heavy with sleep and Sansa doesn't need to look at his face to know that there are dark circles under his eyes.

Hers have them to.

She already knows the answer but yet finds herself asking it anyway. "Did you get anything?"

Jon doesn't respond but she feels him shaking his head, it's now been almost twenty four hours since they've last seen Emily.

Sansa cries again but she's not alone, Jon gently turns her to face him - despite her belly nearly preventing it - and Sansa almost instantly buries her face in the crook of his neck, the sniffling sounds aren't coming only from her and she can feel Jon's whole body trembling against her own. Once again their rhythm is the same.

"I swear it on my life and on everything that is sacred in the world, Emily will return to us." He promises in a choked voice.

"Please, I...she needs us." But it will never be as much as Sansa needs her.

"And we're going to be there for her." He keeps promising that. "It's all over the news, online, Ygritte and Anna have nowhere else to hide."

Even if they do, Sansa will find them.

"I'm sorry...you were right and now...I should've listened to you." She cried harder.

Jon had every right to be mad.

"No I wasn't, I was acting on what I wanted and not what was for the best. I don't trust Ygritte but I agreed with what you decided because..." Jon let out a shaky breath "if my mother was still alive I wouldn't want that to be kept a secret from me, the same way I don't want our daughter to live a lie, it was hard to understand that at first because I was too blind with my own rage, with what I almost did. We both put our faith at the hands of someone who we thought was our friend. Anna betrayed us and she's the only one to blame, not you. Do you understand? Stop torturing yourself." His hands keep stroking her hair and his grip on her is firmer

In that moment it feels like the right thing, the only consolation. Sansa gives Jon a chaste kiss on the lips. For a split second she's at peace.

Both of them don't linger too long in bed, sleep won't be their friend now. When Sansa arrives at the living room she feels like the worst person in the world. Everyone is still in there, Jon told her they all returned probably an hour ago and that they went their separate ways and looked through all of King's Landing and still not a trace of Ygritte.

Gilly and Margaery are both sleeping in the couch, it looks extremely uncomfortable, Gendry and Pod are sitting on the floor with their heads downcast, Sam and Arya are the only ones still standing but they don't look that good either, Dickon is not there but Sansa can her the coffee machine working in the kitchen, that's where he is.

They should all be putting their differences aside in a time like this yet there's still a tension in the air and Arya is glaring daggers at Jon, they spent the night separately and this must be the first time she sees him since yesterday where none of them had a chance to properly talk and work things out.

"When are you planning to leave and join Ygritte?" Arya says with a cold stare.

The whole room goes even quieter than before. This is not good, there are more important things than this. They all have to swallow their pride. Sansa still wants to solve everything but not now that her daughter is missing.

"Now? Are you out of your mind?!" Jon seems to be in the same page as her.

But Arya being Arya it's obvious she won't back down.

"Given everything you've done? No, I'm probably the only sane person in here."

"Arya, stop!" Sansa demands from her sister. She has had enough.

Gendry gets up and tries to whisper something in her hear but her sister just pushes him away.

"No! He has to own up to his fucking mistakes, he's the sole reason why Emily is not with us!"

"Arya, if you are going to fight this no good jackass at least use the right arguments!" Now that was unexpected, Margaery wasn't picking Arya's side. "Anna did this, the little bitch."

"Stop treating him like he's a saint! So just because he's not a lawsy drunk that means he's forgiven?!" Arya continued.

There was a time she would've fight Sansa just to defend Jon.

"I'm not a saint nor I'm trying to be one! I know there's no excuses left for me, you want to shout? do it! I even let you throw in a punch or two. First you're going to help us, if that's not good for you then you know the way out." Jon had never argued with Arya before.

In the past she could insult him as much as she wanted and Jon wouldn't utter a word.

It's was more than evident that a lot hung unsaid but there was no way they were going to keep with this stupid fight, not when Sansa's phone is ringing and the number is from the police station. It's probably the fastest call she ever took.

"Y-Yes...this is she?" She feels as if she's going to faint, she's lightheaded and there's a lump in her troath.

Everyone stops and start looking at her, Jon is glued at her side.

"Are you sure it's hers?"

It takes a moment for the officer to reply but it feels like a lifetime before he speaks again.

"Thank you...yes I understand. I'm on my way."

She now has something she didn't have before, a clue.

Sansa has hope.

"What did he say?" Sam asked, somewhat still scared.

"They found Anna's car right outside the city. And a few days ago she booked an hotel in Highgarden, there will be patrol cars at the entrance, no one gets there without being searched."

"I was at the city exit before coming here, there wasn't any car there. They must've left only two hours ago." Podrick said and that was all he took.

Jon ran away and headed to his car, Arya was next to follow him. It didn't take long for the house to become empty again

They're so close.



 

Anna


"You're my sister, I'll have your back as long as you have mine. That's how it works." Anna was no more than a child when Ygritte told her that.

She's a woman now but not much as changed.

"I'll come back. Promise me you'll look out for her, even if you're not there don't lose her out of your sight. She needs you." She was only seventeen when she made that promise. Back then Anna barely understood the implications of it.

Now she knows.

"They'll all go way sooner or later. I'll always be here, I got your back." That was the day Ygritte left.

The rain was pouring and she carried a backpack with all she had, she left in the hopes of a better future, one that wouldn't be possible if she had stayed in the trailer park.

"And I got yours." Anna said it and she meant it.

That was their goodbye.

"We don't need them."

"We're just pawns, no one will ever lose a night of sleep over us."

"You're different from them, you're better. You're my sister."

All words that Ygritte left with her, they never made it out ever again.

"You have to help me, Emily is ours. They don't even let you treat her as your own family."

"The same blood that runs through your veins, runs through hers. And yet they call her a Stark and you're nothing more than a friend."

"I'm her mother, Sansa will never get close to that. She wants Jon not Emily, keeping her was the only way she found to keep Jon at her side."

Ygritte told her those things three weeks ago.

"See what Jon did to me. To your sister." Anna saw the pictures, those marks around her neck.

Anna hasn't seen her siblings in years, her mom is at a mental facility and refuses all of her visits, her father is six feet under in a grave with no flowers and only a small tombstone marking his name and the date he was born and the one he died, right now Ygritte is all she has. It's all she has ever had in a long time.

"You're family." Something she heard often from the Starks and even more from Sansa.

But she wasn't, she could never be.

They all took her in because she was seventeen when they met her and wanted to help. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, all those special occasions she spent with them for years, she's shared moments with them that she never had with her real family, they gave her something she never had, love but that came with a cost.

Anna always tried to ignore it not to look at it but it was impossible not to, there was always pity on their eyes, they were giving her something because they felt sorry for her, Sansa felt bad for what Ygritte did and taking Anna under her wing was probably her way to get some sleep at night. A good deed, that's what she truly was for them, both Starks and Snows.

No matter how much they say it she'll never be one of them, she always wanted to, she still craves for it, to belong somewhere with people who are good, people that value her for who she is and not because of the need to prove a point.

She's been in denial but Ygritte is right.

"They'll never care for you as I do." Her sister told her that a few weeks back.

It's the truth, Ygritte would take a bullet for her, would starve herself so Anna could have something in her plate, she can't say the same thing about the others.

"They'll always see us as trash. In their minds they'll always be better than you and me." Ygritte's words kept echoing, louder and louder.

The only reason she stayed was because of Emily, she couldn't leave her behind and she promised Ygritte she was going to watch out for her, she's kept that promise for years now.

"You're awfully quiet." Ygritte spoke for the first time in an hour or so.

Anna has been driving non stop, she doesn't plan on slowing down anytime soon.

"Just trying to make good time, that's all." She said, paying more attention on the road than to Ygritte.

They left her old car right outside the city and were using one, a second hand one, that Ygritte bought when she returned. It has been hidden way so no one really knows the license plate or it's aspect. Her sister also payed in cash so the police can't track her credit car.

That was one of the strategies Anna used, a week ago she booked an hotel in Highgarden using her credit card so now the police must assume that's where they're heading, they're so stupid it's so easy to do this. Not even Jon and his friends were able to track them down, Anna knows he's been sweeping all Kings Landing for them.

Anna manoeuvres her rear view mirror so she can take a look on Emily, it's early and she's still sleeping in her car chair. Luckily if they make good time they'll be able to go to a motel or something, Ygritte only has cash with her so they're safe from being discovered. Emily has made a few questions, as any child would, but Anna has been able to keep her calm, Emily has known her for all of her life so she's at ease with Anna's presence and she actually gets along with Ygritte just fine, it's not overnight that she'll start calling her mommy but it's something already. She's quiet now but it won't be long until it happens again, she can't keep lying specially because that's not what Ygritte wants. Somehow they have to find a way to make this easy for Emily to understand.

It's been less than two days and she already got cold feet too many times already. When that happens all Anna has to do his remind herself of Ygritte's words and look back and realise her sister has been right all along.

"Tell me, it must've been boring as fuck." Ygritte grinned at her.

"What?" Anna doesn't know what that meant.

She suspects but she wants to hear Ygritte say it first.

"Having to deal with Sansa and her constant pity party." Ygritte let out a chuckle. A cruel one.

"Yeah, you have no idea. Fucking boring."

Being with Sansa and her family wasn't boring. Being with Sansa and her family was a lie.

For years Anna believed in it.

Chapter Text

Jon Snow

They can't be far. They can't! Jon mentally begs, it's all he's been doing so far. Nothing else.

Jon's fucking angry at himself for everything he's done, Anna and Ygritte might be the ones who took Emily away but the only reason they even had the chance to do it was because of his lies. If he had the balls to tell Sansa what happened in that hotel room she would've never allowed this meeting, no one with a shred of common sense would've allowed it.

Once again he fucks up and someone else pays the price of it. Maybe that's why he keeps fucking up, it's easy when there's no risks attached to it.

But now there is and it's the biggest consequence of his life, it's Emily who is at stake. His daughter is missing, she's never been this long without her family and even though she's one of the bravest kids there is, she's still just a kid. A little girl who misses her mommy, a little girl all alone with a stranger because that's what Ygritte is, Jon doesn't care if she was the one who gave birth or the one who shares the same blood with Emily, Ygritte will never be her mother. It should've always been that way, wherever that woman goes there's always trouble, it's like she craves for it.

Jon was addicted to alcohol, there are people addict to drugs, gambling, sex and the list goes on. Ygritte is addicted to danger, he's been with her long enough to see it. That should've kept him away but it didn't and now all that's happening to him and his family is because of it, a choice he made years ago.

It keeps on coming back, it chases him.

It's all because of you, they're better without you.

Jon has to shake away those toughts.

"Where to next?" Sam asked

They're all right outside the city, as soon as Sansa told him what the police said about Emily, Jon all but flew out of the door to go after her.

"We can't go to Highgarden, we'll just be on the way. My family has connections on the police, they'll help us." Margaery said, Jon had to agree with her.

Highgarden was as big as Kings Landing, if they weren't successful here they won't be there either.

"Do you even think she's going there?! If that's the case then y'all stupider than what I thought." Arya wasn't herself, she hasn't been for a while. At least not with him.

The only reason as to why she hasn't tried to kill Jon is Emily, if she wasn't missing Arya wouldn't even be in his presence. She hates him.

"She booked an hotel!" Margaery fought back, she never coward again Arya's deadly tone. That has always been Jon's job.

"Exactly! She wants us to believe in it, someone who wants to stay hidden doesn't just goes around booking five star hotels. It's a fucking trap and you fell right into it." Arya was telling the truth, Jon was to blind to even realize it at first.

Jon's so worried about what's going on, he's been driving and searching everywhere but he never made a plan, he doesn't know how to. Right now getting Emily back safe and sound is what's in his mind, it eats at him and leaves nothing else. Everything is foggy.

Focus, your daughter needs you to.

"Arya's right." Despite what he just said, his sister in law still glared at him. "They aren't there, we need to think of something. Driving around is not going to help." Jon finally says what he should've said hours ago.

If he wasn't so stupid they probably would've something by now.

"We should separate and go talk to people who know them, co-workers, friends, neighbors, anything can help right now. Those people might have a clue." Dickon was with them as well, Jon doesn't even care about that now.

His jealousy is gone.

"Yeah, I known where Anna works and I'm sure it's not difficult to find Ygritte's boss." Podrick, at least that's what Jon thinks his name is, said.

He barely knows them but hasn't slept since yesterday. He's a good man, Jon should try to be a lot more like Podrick.

After that they spend a while working on a plan, it's easy to come with one.

"What are we waiting for? Let's go." And as Margaery says that everyone gets inside their cars and goes looking for clues.

He's not sure if there is any. Ygritte is smart and Anna even more. He was completely blindsided by her, out of all the people that could do this Anna was always going to be the last one, that's why Jon allowed her to be a part of their life, she was their friend and they always came in first, she hated Ygritte. People keep telling him that she was acting, that everything ever said or done by Anna was nothing more than a trick to make Jon and Sansa trust her, that she never care for them,  Jon has a hard time buying it. It takes one to know one, Jon was a liar for years on end, he always knew exactly what to say or what to do, he knew all of the ways and he's never seen it on Anna, she wasn't lying when she came into their house, when she promised to be there no matter what and that's why it's so painful to accept that she took Emily. She had no motives whatsoever.

Ygritte is behind this, she takes advantage of people, she knows just the right buttons to push and how to turn the tide in her favour, unfortunately Sansa bought the whole "I don't want any trouble" excuse but then again she didn't know anything else, Jon did and even with that knowledge he did nothing to try and stop the inevitable. He always knew that it could come to this and the fact that he almost killed Ygritte only gave her even more reasons to do it.

 You should've told the truth.


 

Everyone knew what they had to do, Podrick and Margaery were going to the hotel that Anna worked, Sam and Dickon were going to see Mance Rayder but that was probably a shot in the dark, he's more than just Ygritte's boss, he's her friend maybe he knows something but that doesn't mean he'll open his mouth; Arya and Gendry were going to go to Anna's favourite bar, it's where all of her friends usually are but given how private she can't be there's no certainties there either; Rob isn't in Kings Landing, after the baby shower he and Talissa decided to take a vacation to be with her family, right now they're in Volantis and don't know what's happening, Jon was the one who decided not to since this is their time to relax and also for the fact that Talissa hasn't seen her family in a while, neither Jon or the others want to ruin that for them.

Sansa's father is definitely the one who has the worst one, Ygritte's mother. She's been in a mental facility for years now, ever since her husband died she hasn't been the same, he knows this because Anna told him, things are so bad that the last time she visited her mother she showed up at his and Sansa's house with a nasty cut on her cheek, her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and she can be extremely violent. Jon wants to go there himself but he knows that if he does that woman is very likely to hurt him, their last encounter - during Ygritte's father's funeral - wasn't a friendly one. Ned who was at the police station alongside Catelyn not long ago called Jon asking if he could do anything and so Jon gave him that assignment, if someone can actually manage to have a productive conversation with that woman that someone is Ned Stark, he has nerves of steel and always knows what to say.

Catelyn Stark is on her way to see Sansa, she's all alone with Jacob - Gilly had to go home to take care of little Sam - and that's not good, she's pregnant and her health is delicate, Jon won't take any chances and just because he can't be there right now that doesn't mean he won't try to look out for her. She hasn't eaten or slept in almost two days but he's hoping that her mother can talk some sense into her.

On his part Jon is driving to Anna's apartment, the police already searched the place and found no trace of evidence that could help but they're all a bunch of incompetents, they even had the audacity to say that with Ygritte being Emily's birth mother there wasn't much they could do and that officially it wasn't kidnapping, which of course it was. It's always been complicated to explain that but legally Emily's custody is solely Jon's, Ygritte is indeed her mother on paper but that's it, because she ran away when their daughter was just a baby it was stipulated by court that Jon would be the one responsible for Emily and that if Ygritte ever planed on coming back then all visits would've to be with Jon's permission and if need be his supervision, Sansa always wanted to adopt Emily but that was impossible because Ygritte had to give up her parental rights and that was a no from her.

As Jon was getting close, every minute more agonizing than the other, his phone vibrated and when he saw Sansa's name on the screen he could hardly care about traffic rules.

Sansa: Mom's here, she's looking out for Jacob. I can't be at home, I'm going to help you.

She texted because if she were to call he would definitely hear how hoarse her voice was or how much strength she tried to convey in that conversation. Sansa is breaking down.

Jon: Don't even think about leaving! Damn it Sansa, stay still!

He was being rude and even violent but that was the panic speaking. His daughter is missing but she's alive and right now that's enough, but if Sansa leaves the house the same thing can't be said about her. Jon can't lose his wife and unborn child.

Sansa: You can't ask that of me.

Sometimes Sansa's stubbornness is too big for her own good, the last time she acted this away she ended up in an hospital bed. There's nothing fiercer in this world then a mother's love for her children, Jon has no doubts about it but Sansa is not made of steel, she's human and right now far too fragile.

Jon: I'm not asking. Stop being stubborn, you can't do this! I'll ask your mother to lock you inside if I have to.

He knew Catelyn would do it without wasting a second.

After that there were no more texts, Sansa didn't even picked up his calls. Now Jon was getting worried, whatever it's on his wife's head right now can't be good.

Please Sansa, stay at home.

After two and half long hours behind the wheel, Jon finally stopped the car in front of Anna's apartment building, he knows this place by heart, the same way he thought he knew her.

She was is friend, Jon didn't have many of those. She was loyal.

He didn't have a key of course but the janitor was a friend of his and when Jon told him about what happened the man straight away gave him a spare key. There was still one of those black and yellow ribbons that the police left earlier, crime scene that's what it said. Honestly it was a bit too much but after what Sansa almost did when the officers show up at their house, they were just being cautious.

"You're not the mother." One of the cops said and seconds later if it wasn't for Gilly that man would've been in the hospital eating by a straw. The Starks always favoured wolves, now Jon knows why.

Inside the apartment looked the same, everything was as it was hours ago, there were even dirty dishes in the sink and toys scattered all around the floor and it looked like they had been building a fort. Jon opened every drawer, lifted the couch, the mattresses, he took out the rugs and still there wasn't even a single piece of paper with an address or something, there was nothing there that could help him. Only Emily's scent which still lingered in the air, so much like the one of her mother.

Seeing that this place had nothing to offer Jon decided to leave, it's almost nighttime and he and his friends just wasted another day, with driving around and making a plan and then going about to fulfill said plan took them hours, if it was up to him he would've kept going but there's more people to think about, Sansa is suffering and so is Jacob. Jon still remembers what happened when the news of Emily reached his son, Jacob ran into the garage and destroyed the whole place, there were a few boxes with old toys and Christmas decorations and whatnot, Jacob threw them all to the ground despite some being heavier than him, there were tears rushing down is cheeks and he was trying so bad to scream, it was one of the worst things Jon as a parent had seen, seven years old shouldn't have that look on their face, a look of despair and sorrow.

"Stop! You're going to get hurt!" Jon said, a little too harshly and Jacob eventually stoped.

He had been breathless by the end of it, his tears kept flowing even more than before.

"I need my flashlight!" Jacob gestured, his gestures were a lot more constricted than ever.

Jon knew why, Jacob wanted to go and look for Emily on his own.

"I'm a good big brother. Emily is going to be sad at me if I don't look for her. I promised."

Jon kneeled down and brought Jacob to his arms, it wasn't that often as before because as Jacob got older hugging his father wasn't cool but at the point he couldn't care, his son held on to him for dear life, he kept sobbing and sobbing, his little chest as beating like crazy against Jon's, his whole body was shaking and he kept slamming his hands, Jon didn't protested. Jacob needed that moment to take everything out, he was like his mother in that aspect, keeping it inside but there had only been Jon in the garage and maybe that was what made Jacob succumb to his emotions, there were so many of them.


 

As Jon was heading towards the front door he noticed something, right away he knew what was it, Emily's favourite stuffed animal. A little white and grey wolf whose name was Lady, Sansa bought it years ago when Emily was just a little baby, it was one of the first gestures that made Jon realise Sansa's love for Emily, his daughter carried it everywhere she went, it had seen better days of course but it was still the thing Emily cherished the most. Right now Lady is on the floor discarded like trash, it's cruel. Emily can't sleep without it.

She's crying, Jon knows it.

He picked up the stuffed wolf and then without another glance Jon left, it's a dead end. They're all searching for something they don't even comprehend, the same question echoes in his mind over and over again.

Why?

Outside the sun was already setting meaning that another day had just come to an end, tomorrow they'll start all over again and again and again, he won't stop.

Jon was about to open his car door...

"Find anything?" Arya was here, she probably has been here for a while now.

It was so sudden and unexpected that Jon couldn't help but jump. Arya's eyes were glued to him.

"Did I scare you? I apologize."

"What you're doing here?" She was supposed to be with Gendry, it's like she doesn't care.

"Making sure you're not hiding anything, who knows maybe Ygritte forgot her toothbrush and you came to pick up." Arya was talking about the same thing once more.

In her mind Jon is behind this, it hurts. She should know that he would never do something like it, out of all people Arya was always the one who never judged him. Time has changed.

"You're being ridiculous." Jon still tried to get inside his car.

This is exhausting, he just wants to be with Sansa. Arya and her suspicions can wait.

"Am I?" Arya wasn't going to bugde.

"Think whatever you want. I'm going home."

"How can you look at my mother in the eye? She deserves to know what you did, how you almost fucked Ygritte... again." Jon blanched, if Arya says a word to Catelyn or Ned then he's finished.

His mother in law won't give him another chance.

"Tell her then." It was a poor attempt at bluff.

The smirk on Arya's face told him he wasn't successful. He couldn't keep a thing from her.

"You're a piece of shit." It's not something new to hear but coming from Arya's mouth it's a whole new wave of shame washing over him.

She was his best friend.

"I know." Better than anyone, he does.

"You're not even putting up a fight! You're just...what happened to you?!" There was so much disappointment and expectation in her eyes.

Arya wanted him to say something, she wanted Jon to justify every shitty thing he's done not only to Sansa but to her family as well. Jon wanted that but that was yesterday, now his priorities have changed.

"I'm tired of fighting, that's it! That's what happened, life got the best of me." Jon was only thirty three yet he feel as if he's been living forever.

It never ends, everytime he fixes something there's two more problems to handle. It's fucking hard.

"You were my hero! Everyone always told me to act normal, to be like Sansa, to settle down, no one payed attention to what I really wanted, no one but you. I want that Jon back...the one who gave me a pocket knife when I was fourteen, I miss you. The real you." Arya was crying, it was so odd to see.

Say something! She's right in front of you!

"I...I have to go now. Emily is out there, I have to look for her."

Just like that he turned away. Now he knows there's no going back to what he and Arya were. He regrets it but she's right, he's changed.

When he arrived home everyone, except for Arya, was there. They had all arranged to meet at his house by nine pm, it's been hours since he last saw them but the tension in the air and their faces it's all Jon needs to know they had the same luck as him. By now Ygritte can be in Essos for all he knows, time is running right in front of his eyes and there's nothing he can do, he's just a bystander.

People were trying to talk to him, he should listen but he could inline focus in the fact that Sansa wasn't there. He looked around and no sign of her, Jacob was asleep on the couch, his head on his grandmother's lap but no Sansa, immediately he began pacing the room like a maniac, all he kept thinking wasas their last text exchange.

"Jon, she's in the bedroom. I finally convinced her to take a break." His mother in law assured him.

Thank God. Jon said to himself.

"And?"Jon asked to no one in particular.

"The same as for everyone, Highgarden." Margaery answered for them all. No one was in the mood to talk.

They all looked defeated, they've been searching non stop, they aren't doing this for him obviously but still Jon will never be able to say thank you enough times. These people are too good.

"Even Mance Rayder?" Jon asked Sam but Dickon was the one who stepped in.

Jon's opinion of him is slowly changing, it's clear that Dickon's intentions are nothing but friendly. He can see now why Sansa seeked him, he's a good guy.

"He didn't know a thing, up until yesterday he had no idea what Ygritte did." Of course he didn't.

Ygritte was a sneaky little bitch, Jon never hated anyone as much as he hates her.

"Her mother was no better." Ned Stark chimed in, his face solemn as always. "Do you know Jenny's song?"

"The lullaby?" Catelyn must've sang that song to her children and grandchildren a million times before already.

"Yes, it was all she did. Even before I entered her room I could already hear it from afar."

"She's sick, we should've predict this." Margaery had a point, they lost time.

Ygritte and Anna haven't spoken with their mother in years, their relationship has always been on thin ice.

Another day, another hour, another minute, all gone. And still Emily isn't here, they aren't doing anything.

"Let us go home. Tomorrow is a new day, I'll speak to a friend of mine and we'll make an official statement on the media." Ned Stark's word was law, no one objected.

Soon enough everyone left with the hopes of a better day in the morning, Jon was left alone, Jacob would be spending the night at his grandparents house. After a quick shower that did nothing to ease the trobbing in his head, Jon went into his room and as Catelyn said, Sansa was asleep but still it wasn't what he wanted. Her face looked anything but peaceful, she kept trashing around and murmuring something he couldn't decipher but had to do with Emily, it was another nightmare. Quickly Jon got under the covers and held her to his naked chest, she didn't wake up but with Jon stroking her hair and whispering sweet nothings in her hear - he also placed Lady at her side - she finally stopped moving. Sansa probably hasn't had a good night of sleep in months, when Emily returns home Jon will make sure to take his family away from Kings Landing for a while, they're going to Winterfell. It was Sansa's safe haven, she always spoke so fondly of that place, she loved those starry skies of the North and Jon knew why, the day he proposed to her he witnessed that beauty, it was a world of its own, a little secret in the depths of Westeros. Nothing could harm them there, maybe he'll go and won't return, they can finally be happy.

It was early when Jon woke up, he slept twenty minutes or so, the sun wasn't even in the sky yet and only the chirping of birds could be heard, at his side Sansa was still sleeping and he would keep it that way, she needs this. Jon got up, carefully not to disturb his wife and made to the kitchen to have some much needed coffee, only when he got there did he realised his phone had stayed in the counter, when he unlocked it there was a text message.

Unknown number: High in the halls of the kings who are gone Jenny would dance with her ghosts.



 

Ygritte

Two in the morning, outside of a motel in the middle of somewhere, there's no noise, no cars, it's like this part of the city was forgotten, fitting she thinks given everything she's ever heard about this place. It's dark and even in spring the cold is seeping through her bones, it's strange because this place was once on fire. The only thing that can be seen it's the faint orange light coming from her cigarette, the smell it's intoxicating, too overpowering so Ygritte decides to throw it on the ground and go back inside. If she can.

Emily has been restless, she has cried for hours begging for her mother, Ygritte wants to shout, to hurt Jon and that bitch Sansa for brainwashing her daughter, hers and no one elses. Ygritte has tried to comfort her but it's in vain, Emily almost seems afraid of her, her own flesh and blood.

They'll pay for this, they already are.

Anna has been locked in this motel room for almost an hour now, she has a way of calming down Emily better that Ygritte herself, of course she does after all Anna has always been around.

Ygritte still doesn't know why she convinced her to come, Anna swore she was in her side but she made that same promise years ago before and when Ygritte returned she saw that her sister had broken it, Anna was a Stark all but in name. Yet she was necessary, Ygritte would've never gotten this close if not her, she needed someone who had Sansa's trust, that wasn't that hard, Sansa was a silly little thing with her mind filled with fairy tales, she pitied the woman. In Ygritte's experience the world eats people like Sansa everyday, it's no coincidence that she's stuck with Jon. Of all the people she could marry with, Sansa ended up by choosing the worst of them.

The one like me.

Jon doesn't have room for Sansa in his life, she's too good and kind, a saint. Ygritte however is all Jon needs, he still lusts for her, she can see the desire burning inside of him, she felt it that day he almost tried to kill her, she should've hated him but she doesn't.

What's pleasure without the pain?

Jon keeps fooling himself but she knows that in no time he'll fall at her feet, he never fails to meet her, it's too strong.

Too sweet, it's and addiction Jon always fails to resist.

They'll be a family, Sansa has her son and that's all she needs, it may not look like it now but Ygritte is actually doing Sansa a favour. Deep down she cares for the other woman and taking Jon from her is a blessing in disguise.

But right now she has other things on her head, they're hidden and no one will find them since where they are it's been abandoned for years, only a handful of people stayed behind, it's a beautiful place even in ruins, it's a start on a new life. What's worrying Ygritte is Anna, she's been very quiet and that's never a good sign, she's about to regret it and if that happens then she'll have to stay behind, honestly Ygritte has no more use for her, she's fulfilled her part of the plan.

Anna is her sister and for as much as she wants her around she won't take any chances, it's already risky as it is.

"Don't make noise." Anna said has the door slowly creaked. "She's cried herself to sleep."

Emily was laying in bed wrapped up in the bed covers, Anna was at her side. Remorse written all over her face.

She never had the stomach for it, Anna's too weak. It's a shame but it is what it is.

"You've been acting strange." Ygritte whispered but her tone wasn't kind.

There was no need for pleasantries.

"We're all over the news, you're the one who acts as if we didn't commit a crime." She couldn't believe her hears.

"A crime?" She tried to keep her voice low because of Emily. "A mother who is taking care of her daughter and you say it's a crime? You got it wrong dear sister, the only criminals in here are Jon and Sansa."

"Her mother? You are that?" Anna was defiant, she's always been.

"Of course I am."

"Yet Emily cries for Sansa, not for you." Ygritte wasn't liking where this was going.

"Remember what's at stake, remember your friends." Anna knew exactly what she was talking about, Ygritte didn't make idle threats. The way her sister tense showed that "Don't betray me."

"I won't." Anna wasn't being honest but there were ways to turn that around.

"I know how much you care for the Starks. We don't want them to get hurt."

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

Present day

The anticipation was killing her, Sansa had Lady clutched to her chest and that familiar scent that the old and ragged stuffed animal carried was the only thing keeping her calm right now.

Sansa has been in here for so long that she can't tell if it's day or night, her whole body hurts from being in these uncomfortable chairs for hours now but she won't go home, not when they're so close.

Yet so far.

Her guess was right and the police found them, Sansa didn't know the details, but she heard some officers say it was violent but that her daughter was fine, that was the only thing that mattered the most.

After telling the police everything she knew, her father took her home to be with Jon, it all happened so fast that he didn't even have the chance to meet her at the station, Ned didn't want for Sansa to be in this place for longer than necessary. For hours, she was kept in the dark, they had emitted an alert and the police in the Stormlands were looking for Anna and Ygritte yet Sansa didn't know if they were successful.

Everybody was at her home, there was no need to be looking, so long had passed before her phone rang but when it did Sansa almost fainted. With relief or just for the simple fact that it had to be impossible, she couldn't say.


"Your daughter is on her way home."

And now she's here, Jon is with her alongside everyone else, except for Gendry, Podrick and Dickon, they said this was a moment just for the family but after everything they've done Sansa sees them exactly like that, yet they didn't come.

At any moment Emily will be here, it's a six hour drive and it's been almost ten already, Sansa can't take her eyes off the clock. The tick-tock sound is all she can hear, it's quite nerve wrecking actually.

She doesn't know what happened with Anna and Ygritte or what will happen now, as long as Emily is with her again, Sansa can't care less about what faith has in store for those two. She and Jon already pressed charges and all she wants is for them to disappear, how doesn't matter.

There's a window and from the corner of her eye Sansa can already see the sky turning dark, it's been a day since they found Emily but still she's not here. Jon hasn't left her side and it's clear he's as nervous and anxious as she is, he's not trying to hide it either.

Suddenly she hears a car stop and instantly she knows, Sansa doesn't wait for them to come, she goes outside. She's followed by the others as well.
There're two officers, a man and a woman, their uniform is different from the one of Kings Landing so is their car. The man is walking towards them yet Sansa pays no attention to him, she can't because just right behind him the woman is carrying a little girl with black curly hair and pink flannel pajamas.

Emily...

Sansa is afraid to move, afraid that if she does she'll wake up, that nothing has changed.

“Mommy!” Hearing her is all the confirmation she needs.

It's real, her daughter is here and right now she's stretching her arms at her and trying to break free from the arms of the policewoman.

Sansa doesn't even realize she's been running, when she comes close to the other woman, Lucy it's says on her badge, Sansa almost pushes her onto the ground, the urge to hold Emily is too strong.

“My baby! Oh! my little...” Emily's face is buried in the crook of her neck, and she's sobbing almost as much as Sansa herself. "Sshh... you're safe, I'm here. I missed you so much, mommy will never leave you again, I promise."

"I miss you." Emily's voice is almost inaudible, she's lighter than before. And looks so frail.

"That's over now, let's go home. Jacob misses you too." Jon was now hugging both of them now.

Sansa is finally happy.


 

2 days before

It's been a week since Emily was taken away and still not much as a letter, not a clue, just emptiness really, it's a blank space, an incognito. Most people have given up hope by now after all what more can they do? They've already tried everything and that hasn't proven to be enough.
Where else can they go? There's people everywhere and none of them found a string of hair.

It's a maze, there is no beginning or end. It's one big circle, no matter what they do, where they go eventually they end up at the start.

Most of her neighbours show up at her door countless times a day, some bring words of encouragement, saying Emily will come back, that they're here for whatever she needs, that they want to help, she even was offered money; some bring prayers, they ask God for a miracle, a sign that he hasn't forgotten about Sansa yet, it's getting hard to believe in that given the year she's having, some don't even talk, there're no words that can comfort a desperate mother, and even if they dare to speak it's all going to something she's already heard them before, they just squeeze her hand in reassurance - as if it's going to change how she feels - they're all different, faces she knows for years but right now they're strange, new, yet somehow they're all the same, all have something in common. They just don't care.

It's just something that's expected of them, it's their duty as neighbors and friends after all this is what a strong and supportive community like theirs it's supposed to do, help each in times of turmoil, it's what God deems right, what their pastor preaches every Sunday morning, love thy neighbor, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It all sounds so inspiring, if Sansa wants she can even believe what they say, still the eyes don't lie and theirs it's not an exception.

We're all liars in here.

Beneath their false pleasantries Sansa can see how shallow are their words, almost as much as them, they apologize in her face but as soon as their backs are turned she can hear their mockery, they say they'll pray but the candles won't light up, God won't hear her daughter's name coming from their mouths, those touches that are supposed to make her feel better only repulse her because Sansa knows none of it's true, none of them loses a night of sleep for everyday her daughter is away, much by the contrary. Maybe they even sleep better knowing Emily is no longer with her, they will never say it out loud but there's no need for it, Sansa can see that they all think of her as a monster, what kind of woman lets a child at the hands of strangers? How can a mother subject her own child to something as cruel as what she did?

They don't care because they know it's the right to do, it's what Sansa gets for the choices she's made.

Good, let them.

She can't even find the strength to be mad, what will it change? It certainly won't help bring her daughter home, if something it's only going to prove a point and Sansa refuses to let them know she's suffering, that she blames herself every single day, it's all she can do. Looking in a mirror and seeing the woman who took Emily from her, the picture it's always the same. It's her.

Sansa doesn't even know why she's thinking about this, these people live close to her, but they don't live with her, they have no idea of what happened, she never told the truth, and she never will. Sansa doesn't need them, not when she has her mother who has been taking care of Jacob the same way she once did for her, she has her father who pretty much summoned every single TV station in Kings Landing to broadcast what happened, she has Arya who drives day and night alongside Gendry, she has Gilly to lean when the guilt is consuming, she has Dickon who's her friend, Margaery who won't let no harm come to her but most of all she has Jon. It's the first time she can say that, it's the first time it's real and not something she created in her mind in order to sleep at night, Jon's here, and he's not leaving neither is he giving up, in these last days he's showed more strength and character than in their whole marriage, maybe even his whole life.

And now he's the one who's taking her out of bed, she doesn't want to leave because the moment she does it's the moment she'll find out what she already knew the day before, there's no news. Jon is dressing her as if she was a child herself - it feels that way - , she doesn't want to do this right now, she can't and yet Jon won't let her.


"I'm not going, I don't want to." Sansa was trying to be instilled some authority but it just came out as weak as she's right now.

"And I don't care." She was taken aback by it, Jon's been so kind lately that hearing him say something like it almost renders her to tears. "This is not about what you want, it's about what our son needs. Your mom is picking you up and you're going to see Brienne and that's it." She couldn't argue, she didn't want to.

Sansa has to go to doctor once a week to see how her pregnancy is evolving, for the last two months everything has been completely normal, the baby is the right size, there're no complaints with her placenta, there's no pain, she's fine and yet when she called Brienne two nights ago canceling her appointment her doctor didn't want to hear none of it. She had said that the stress Sansa was going through was why this next appointment is so paramount, she needs to be checked out, but she can't leave the house, not when Emily might walk at any moment, she's been alone for far to long already, the last thing Sansa wants is for her daughter to return and not see her waiting.

But she has no choice, Jon won't let her stay and her mother is probably going to drag her by the hair if she keeps acting this way, so Sansa gives in and does as they say, it's easier than starting a fight wich is the most stupid and childish thing they can do now. Even Arya understood that, she can't stand Jon, but she hasn't opened her mouth to insult him again, no one has. That's something that only Jon does, he thinks he's good at keeping it a secret, but she can see how much he loathes himself right now, he's has something to say but never seems to be able to do it, honestly Sansa is afraid of what that might be. It's clearly about Ygritte.

Once Sansa got dressed with Jon's help - it was silly, but she made his task harder than supposed to, she's wasn't going to budge this easily - she made for the kitchen where there were already plates with all kinds of breakfast foods waiting for her, Jon did this but probably hasn't eaten in days, he's so skinny, his cheeks are hollow but it's hard to notice because his beard is a wild thing, his skin doesn't look healthy or has its normal colour, she looks at him and it's like seeing a corpse, even walking is hard for him, he keeps insisting that she has to see a doctor, yet he's the one who's about to drop dead at any point.

"Eat with me." She softly asked in the hopes of calming his racing body, he hasn't stopped.

"I'm going to Ygritte's high school, some of her teachers still work there and they agreed to meet with me. They might have something for us." Jon was fooling himself.

They had already contacted every person who's ever had anything to do with Anna or Ygritte and that was in vain, Anna was a quiet person and didn't had many friends, the ones she had didn't know much; Ygritte was a compulsive liar so whenever Jon or anyone else tried to talk to people who knew her they only got more confused then before, there were so many versions, Ygritte was so many people. That scares Sansa, to know that one of them has Emily.

Is she safe? Does Ygritte care for her? Is my Daughter happy or in pain?

Sansa knows emotional pain is iller than the physical one. Some scars heal but there are others than not even time can erase, the years only make them deeper, they shape a person. That's another thing that keeps her up at night, what will she find when Emily returns home? If she returns.

"Please." She all but begs.

Jon doesn't make an effort but as she places her hand on his it changes. He pulls the chair for her and then sits at her side, their hands never letting of one another. His keep trembling, must be the alcohol which he can no longer turn to, he misses it but hasn't touched it.

"I can't stay for long."

"Don't worry about that, just stay." Even a minute is enough, she just wants to hold this peaceful yet almost too good to be real moments for a little more.

"Okay." His voice is weak and that only makes her want to hold him.

They have breakfast in silence, their hearts too heavy with pain to speak, both their eyes are shinning and now it's just a matter of waiting to see who breaks first, there so many cracks involving them, they keep being hit by all directions and there's no warning of when will the next blow come or how intense it will be.

Two days ago the media was at their house, Sansa and Jon stood in their living room holding Lady and a picture of Emily while they pleaded for help amongst the people of Kings Landing, Margaery also created a page on social media and Podrick spent hours on foot distributing papers that said Emily was missing. Their home phone keeps ringing but every time they answer it there are only words of comfort on the other side, no information whatsoever.

No long after sitting the doorbell rings and it's her mother, she's here to take her to the appointment.

You should've stayed at home.

"Where's Jacob?" Her son has been staying with their grandparents these last few days, the atmosphere in this house isn't fit for a child.

Not to mention that not seeing his sister running around is hard for him, they've always been so close. Jacob suffers in silence, he never shows it but that doesn't mean it's not there.

"I thought it was best if he went to school, at least with his friends there he might distract himself a little." It's a good idea.

"I have to go now, I still have to call Edd, Pypar and Grenn, they offered to help." Jon had mentioned his friends in rehab, they left a couple of weeks ago.

From what she knows they live North and maybe that's where Ygritte and Anna are staying. They were born there.

“Ned is also on his way to meet with a friend of his, it's a retired cop. And Arya is driving as usual.” Her mother said.

"That's good. I'll do my part then, call as soon as you leave the doctor's office." Jon kissed her forehead, that didn't go unnoticed by her mother.

Jon always kissed Sansa on the lips but that is rare nowadays, she only kissed that one time when she woke up in his arms the day after Emily's disappearance.

"Bye, my love." Sansa did kiss is lips, not because her mother was there, and she had to keep some sort of pretense.

She couldn't explain why, but she did and Jon was as confused as her. It was involuntary but it's probably the only thing that felt good since what happened with their daughter, no words could give her as much solace as this little unplanned gesture between Sansa and Jon.

My love, that's what you are.


 

From her house to the hospital wasn't really that far but her mother still tried to make small talk even if only to keep both their minds occupied but it did nothing to ease her nerves. Sansa is the first to admit that she's been careless of this pregnancy, she hasn't been taking her vitamins or followed the instructions given by Brienne, but she had plenty of reason for it, most people would've probably be the same way as her but that's not an excuse, she's pregnant and her situation is very delicate and now because of her irresponsibility it may even become more precarious than before, she has not one but three children, Jacob needs support too but Sansa hasn't been the one providing it, this baby is relying on only in her, on her body, and yet she neglects it. Mothers say that's impossible to have favourite children and Sansa agrees with that statement, she loves her children all the same but it's hard to be there for all of them in a time like this, she feels awful about it.

"Once Arya got the flu, she was barely two and because of it somehow I forgot to cook dinner for you and your brother. Mothers are strong, but they aren't perfect, your children are going to be just fine. Trust me, you'll overcome this." Her mother always knew how to read her.

"I pray for that every night." A lie.

Sansa does pray but her faith isn't what it once was. How can it be?

Being in that area of the hospital was difficult, everywhere she turned there was mother and a child at her side, there were so many girls Emily's age, some even had curly hair and all, they were safe and unaware of how mean the world really is, tonight they'll sleep in their bed wrapped up in their cozy blankets holding their stuffed animals but what her daughter?

It's not fair!

As a mother Sansa's main priority has always been sheltering her children from the world and it's people, she never showed them what hers and Jon's marriage was truly, whenever they had nightmares she always seeked a way of making it sound less scary than it actually was, she wanted to protect them, Sansa had no innocence left people made sure of that but the same wasn't going to happen to her children, they would never be like her, bullied and afraid, now she's failing. They're in danger and this time songs and lullaby's won't solve a thing, there's no place for those in this place.

The world isn't a song and Sansa can't pretend it is, she could for a time but it's been so long.

"Ms. Snow, you can come inside. Doctor Brienne will be there shortly." One of the nurses announced.

It was actually a good thing, here in the waiting room she couldn't breathe.

Sansa got inside doctor Brienne's office, her mother following behind, Brienne wasn't there, yet she always gives her a few minutes to get changed, it's almost by a miracle that Sansa undresses and puts on the hospital gown, she never liked it and what it means.

She doesn't like it here, the light is far too bright, so many pictures on the wall that make her stomach turn, then there's the medical instruments right in front of her and by now Sansa has probably had each one of them in her body someway. She hasn't been in pain but as she sits here it's returning, it's just her imagination but it feels real. Her baby is scared.

As she sat there, her mother sitting on a chair in the corner, Sansa spotted a little black and yellow children's book in Brienne's desk, it's nothing uncommon since a lot of kids come with their mother's and these appointments yet for some reason Sansa feels drawn to it, it's almost like a calling, she has to reach it. She gets up and walks in its direction, her mother looks at her strangely.

Sansa doesn't know why she's doing this, but then she sees it and all the pieces come together.

The legend of Summerhall, it's says.

Suddenly the song Ygritte's mother kept singing, the text that Jon got, and they thought it was a prank, the legend she heard so many times in her childhood, Duncan and how he gave up his crown to marry Jenny, the fire that ended their story, it all starts adding up. None of it was by chance, Ygritte's mother sang that song because it had a hidden message, that unknown text wasn't a prank or jiberish, it was a clue. It must've have been sent by Anna, she's not on Ygritte's side after all.

She just gave them everything they needed to know, Emily's location.

"I have to go." Sansa dropped the book on the floor and was already starting to get dressed.

Her mother interrupted of course, she was grabbing Sansa by the wrists. Her face frowning in confusion and concern.

"Sweetie, tell me what's going on." Her tone was sharp.

"I know where Emily is."


Without missing a beat, Sansa ran as fast as she could, her pregnant belly was making it almost impossible to do so, but she kept going, she couldn't stop now. She took the first cab she saw and told the driver to head to the police station. With shaking hands Sansa grabbed her phone and began to text Jon, she couldn't speak right now.

Sansa: Meet me at the station.

Jon: ???

Seconds after the phone started to ring, but she couldn't answer, her heart was about to jump out of her chest, she was panting and sweating and slightly lightheaded due to the way she ran.

"Are you okay, miss?" Even the driver was worried about her.

"Y-Yes...go faster, please!" The man was quick to obey.

After ten minutes she finally arrived where she needed to be, she wasn't expecting it but her father was there.

"Sansa? What you're doing here?" Everyone was looking at her.

"Summerhall! She's in Summerhall!" It was pretty vague but that should be enough for them to understand yet it wasn't.

"Emily?" Her father looked lost.

"Yes! I... I saw in a book!" Sansa sounded crazy, so she took a deep breath and willed herself to try to be as clear as possible. "You said Ygritte's mother kept singing Jenny's song, the next day Jon got a text similar to it, at first I didn't understand but then I saw a book about the tragedy at Summerhall, that song is about the story of Jenny and Duncan." Most of them still looked skeptical, yet they could see Sansa had a point.

"We'll alert the police in the Stormlands."



 

Anna

"Make her stop!" Anna wanted to punch Ygritte so bad.

Did she even knew what she was saying?

Of course Emily has been crying for hours, she's locked in a motel room with a stranger, she's miles away from home and from everything she knows and loves, she's begging for mommy but mommy isn't here, Ygritte is nothing but an extremely poor replacement of it. She lost her mind and Anna helped her in this fucked up plan.

She's as bad as her sister.

"Give up! Let's go back!" Anna had to shout, Emily's screams were getting out of proportion. "You're torturing her!" Putting a child trough this has no other name.

Anna is part of it as well, she's a monster.

"I'm her mother! Me not Sansa! My daughter will see that sooner or later! And don't try to be the hero, you know what'll happen." She knew too well.

It was always planned that Anna would get close to Sansa and Jon to be able to look out for Emily as she promised she would, but she was tricked. Ygritte left and became unreachable, Anna just gave up there was no more need to lie but thing is...she wasn't lying anymore.

She grew to love the Starks as her own family and when Ygritte came back she lied to protect, she assured her sister that she hated them, that they weren't good people, it was true she was hurt because she was never seen as a true Stark, but she would never betray them in that way.

Ygritte is smart, she saw it and took advantage of it.

"I sent Sansa to the hospital once, do you really think I'm afraid to hurt her or her family? I'll do whatever it takes to have Emily, if someone has to die then they die." Anna had never been scared of Ygritte before.

That's why she agreed to all of this, that's why she became Ygritte's accomplice. She wasn't going to let her keep Emily, but she had to let Ygritte take her away, it was the only way she had to prove her loyalty, Anna always thought she could figure out a way to escape with Emily, but she was wrong. Ygritte is not okay, she doesn't sleep, she's paranoid, seeing enemies everywhere.

There's a pattern, Anna has seen it before. Ygritte is sick just like their mother.

"You need help."

"Fuck you!" She looked possessed, her veins were almost popping from her neck and her eyes were bloodshot. Ygritte has lost her mind. "I need her to be quiet!"

"She's a child! They normally cry when they're upset which she is, because of you!" Anna was shielding Emily.

Ygritte would never harm her but then again the last time Anna saw someone with bipolar disorder she ended up in the hospital and with scar to remind her of it.

She should've left a long time ago.

"I'm tired of this place! Only you would choose something like this, don't you know by now storybooks aren't real? Stupid bitch." Anna knew that, but she wasn't as dumb as Ygritte thought her to be.

Growing up her mother would sing Jenny's song every night, as she got sick she started to sing more and more, nowadays it's all she does. Fitting, after all it's a song of lost, about doomed souls, all they are.

And she never wanted to leave.

Anna had no choice, she couldn't remain a child forever. It doesn't work that way, it's funny when we're children we can't wait to grow up but then again no one ever says what it means to be an adult.

"I'm going to Essos, Emily too. You can stay and rot in here." We'll rot together.

If won't be long, she texted Jon and earlier that morning the police got a phonecall about Ygritte. If Jon and Sansa can't figure out on their own Emily's whereabouts then Anna will take matters into her own, she already did.

The police is almost here.

She knows what that means, she's going to jail for a long time, but she's okay with that, no matter the circumstances she did commit a crime, one that by law can't be punished, she betrayed a friend.

Sansa hates her by now, her family won't ever look at her face, her real family doesn't care, Anna has nothing left.

She can go to jail, it's fine.

"I want my mommy!" Emily cried, it was like breaking Anna's heart to pieces.

"I'm here! I'm your mommy! Sansa doesn't love you, I do!"

"You're mean! I don't like you" Emily probably shattered Ygritte's dreams with that.

"No! No! That's a lie!" Ygritte was pacing back and forth, mumbling nonsenses. "You love, I'm your mother, they...no...lo-"

Suddenly someone burst the door, several police officers were storming trough the room.

Anna was so relieved by seeing them, she couldn't control Ygritte anymore.

"Both of you on your knees, hands behind your head. Now!" They had guns pointed at them, Anna did as they told.

She was already being handcuffed, she didn't put up a fight, she went willingly.

Ygritte however wasn't, the moment they tried to pick Emily from the bed her sister went into beast mode or something, she was clawing and screaming, not even two officers were enough to stop her. It was all going by in slow motion, Anna closed her eyes and took several deep breaths, Ygritte kept fighting and Emily kept crying, it was so loud, but she was at peace, she didn't have to keep going anymore.

It's over.

The next moments were a blur, Anna was being carried to the patrol car, everyone came outside to watch the scene, Ygritte had to be carried by force, but then she spotted Emily, she was no longer in danger. Someone was carrying her, she no longer was crying, just a bit shaken up. She was going to where she belonged, they all were.

"You have the right to remain silent. Everything you say can and will be used against you..." After a while Anna stopped listening.

It's over. Thank God it's over.

Chapter Text

Jon Snow

2 weeks after Emily coming back

It looks like Jon will be sleeping alone tonight... again. It's becoming a common occurrence here at home, ever since his daughter finally came back Sansa hasn't let her out of her sight, she's the same with Jacob as well. She spends every given hour of the day constantly watching over them, wherever they go Sansa isn't too far trailing behind them, Emily took some days off school but Jon actually feels sorry for Jacobs's teachers, Sansa must call them at least ten times a day just to make sure he's alright. The fact that Sansa isn't really close to him as she was just days ago doesn't bother Jon, Sansa is just still a bit shaken with everything that has happened.

This behavior is totally normal even the doctors said so, Emily wasn't the only one who needed emotional support right now.

As soon as they left the police station they went straight to the hospital to have Emily checked up, she wasn't hurt and though she looked skinnier the doctors assured them she was healthy, her emotional state however was a bit more negative, Emily only talked to him or Sansa, she was scared of being alone for even just one minute, she was crankier than Jon has ever seen before, snapping over the smallest of things, she doesn't laugh or sings anymore, playing with Jacob which was her favorite thing do doesn't matter to Emily either, most days now she's in her room holding Lady, Sansa has to feed her and even that is hard, she'll have tantrums about it, the first two nights after returning his daughter cried trough the night, no matter what Jon and Sansa did she couldn't stop, it was all they could hear, those blood curldling wails, she was screaming almost as if someone was torturing her, Emily also developed a habit she never had, she started wetting the bed, every morning she would wake up and Sansa would've to change the sheets, it's gotten so bad that they had to buy diapers for her, honestly Jon feels as if Emily is a newborn all over again, she used to be such an independent child but now she won't even get dressed on her own, she just sits in a corner and whimpers and there's nothing he can do, he's tried of course. God knows how hard Jon and Sansa are trying.

None of them have ever been in a situation like this before, no parent is prepared to hear from a psychologist that their child is dealing with trauma. Nothing could've ever prepared them for it, it still feels so unreal, Emily is five years old she's no more than a child, how can this be happening to her?

"It's a coping mechanism." The doctor said.

What Emily is displaying right now is normal, it happens when a child or an adult go through something as terrifying as what his little girl bared, those things leave sequels and there're no guarantees that things will ever be as they were, maybe Emily won't ever smile genuinely, maybe she won't open up to anyone, all they can do now as parents is wait and most of all be patient, they can't force Emily to do what she used to do, they can't be mad at her no matter how frustrating it can be, they have to give her support and let Emily know it's okay, that there's nothing wrong with her and that they love her, their family has to help as well or in this case stay away, her psychologist advised that it's best not to overwhelm her, everyone wants to spend time with Emily but that's not a good idea, she needs space and a safe environment, but they can't isolate her. It's important that she gets back to her routine, that she starts to socialize with her friends again, this at her pace, one that Jon and Sansa are still trying to figure out, they still have to understand what are Emily's triggers and how to prevent them and if necessary how to deal with them.

"She can't be in a toxic home, there can't be any fights."

Sansa told the doctor about their relationship and how it stood, she had too.

The psychologist, Emma was her name, asked about it because Emily's feels as if she's going to be taken away, that she'll lose her parents. Right now they can't even mention the word divorce around the house, it may very well be a trigger. Jon's confident that such word won't ever be used again, this time he's not jealous for the fact his wife is not there at his side. He's much more mature than before.

Emily's recovery was it's all that matters, the rest can wait. Jon just wants his daughter to be fine, knowing there's a possibility of that not happening its daunting, those thoughts leave him unsettled and that makes him mad.

It's not good when Jon's mad, he no longer feels the need to explode every five minutes, he hates that person but now that someone hurt is girl, now that someone left her scared for life, it's not up to him anymore. He's containing those urges, that thirst in him, the need to hurt but it's overflowing already.

Jon hasn't seen Ygritte or Anna yet, when Emily came back to King's Landing they stayed in the Stormlands, they spent two days there before returning to face trial, they're staying in remanded custody, it can take months for them to be heard by a judge, he knows that Ygritte keeps saying she's not guilty, she's delusional that's what she is, that woman thinks she can just get away with what happened because she's Emily's birth mother, but she also is facing battery against an officer of the law, she's looking up at least a year in jail just for that one, it's what she deserves, Jon isn't that far away considering everything he's done but unlike Ygritte he's aware of his crimes, Jon's trying to repent them, Ygritte just keeps digging her own grave. Anna however has pleaded guilty, she's already resigned herself with her upcoming faith, Jon isn't. Anna is as guilty as Ygritte, yet she's the reason why Emily's here, she sent him the text and was the one who called the cops, she basically turned herself in, that's got to count as something, Jon doesn't want to see her again, but he hopes she can come to an agreement with the law, she doesn't deserve to be in prison. She's so young, Ygritte has messed with her mind in so many ways, honestly Jon doesn't even know if Anna should be held accountable for Emily's kidnapping, second chances are real and Jon is the living proof of that, he's had more than two already.

Sansa has even suggested that they should pay her a visit, she wants to know the truth because she doesn't believe the version Anna's has told the cops, it doesn't make any sense what she said. There's more to that story and one day Jon will hear it but not today, not when he's watching Sansa cuddle with Emily.

His daughter is already asleep but Sansa isn't and probably won't. They've already tried to take turns but to no avail, Emily won't have no one but Sansa with her, she leans on Jon as well but only during the day, the nights are all Sansa's. She's seven and a half months pregnant, her belly is huge and sleeping in a bed made for a child must be uncomfortable if not painful.

"Come to our room with her, I'll stay in the couch." Jon has lost count of the amount of times he's slept there, one more night won't hurt.

And it's for Emily, there's nothing he wouldn't to for her.

"You know what'll happen." He does, the last time they tried to make Emily sleep somewhere else she became extremely agitated and actually vomited from all the crying.

After that they didn't push it no more, Emily sleeps wherever she wants to. And with the lights on, she's terrified of the dark.

"Your back..."

"Jon, in here or in our room my back will still hurt." Being pregnant is rough, being pregnant and dealing with what Sansa's dealing it's almost superhuman. She's a warrior.

"Can I at least get you a hot water bottle?" There's wasn't much else Jon could do at the moment.

"That sounds lovely." That smile... Jon always wanted to see it.

Unfortunately there hasn't been many reasons for that lately. One day it will all be over.

I hope.

"Be here in five."

Jon went to the kitchen to prepare everything Sansa required, he also brewed tea to help her rest a little. He was so immersed in his task that when someone gently touched his back Jon almost dropped a mug on the floor, there was only one person who could be out of the bed at this hour.

"You know tomorrow is a school day, right champ?"

"I want to help." Jacob gestured.

He's been doing just that for these last couple of weeks, always the first to offer help which is sweet but still neither Jon nor Sansa want to overburden him, he has school to worry about and at his age Jacob should be playing with is friends and getting his knees scraped.

"Five minutes and then off to bed." Jacob excitedly nodded his head.

After everything was done father and son went to Emily's room, Jon was carrying the tea and Jacob the hot water bottle. As soon as Sansa saw their son her whole face lit up, and she had her arms open wide, Jacob ran to her. Both of them shared a big hug.

Jon was just standing there until Sansa gestured for him to come closer, there wasn't any room left so Jon just sat on the floor next to the bed, still it felt perfect.

After a few more minutes Jacob was already asleep too, as Jon tried to pick him up to carry him to his room Sansa stopped him.

"Let him stay, let my babies sleep with me tonight." It wasn't ideal but Jon couldn't refuse her.

Despite not being what she needs for her comfort, Jon knows that if Sansa is to have a night of rest this is the only way, she has sleep with her babies. She looks happy with that prospect.

He ended up by spending the night in Emily's room as well, he slept on the floor without even a blanket but compared to some places he's slept before it was like laying on a cloud, it was a definitely better than the mattress he had on rehab, Jon still has nightmares about that damned thing and of course in here no one his snoring. Instead, their breaths are slow and steady and that's what lulls him to sleep, it's the best night Jon has had in a long time, he's with Sansa, Jacob and Emily, that's enough. Jon was willing to make a deal with the Devil himself if that meant he could spend the rest of his life like this, if he could freeze this moment for all eternity.

Next morning it was with a lot of sacrifice that Jon managed to leave the house, he had no other choice, Jon's already missed so many days at work and although his boss wasn't happy about it, Stannis Baratheon isn't known for his patience or kindness, the last time that man smiled was probably during his childhood, working for the Baratheon enterprise wasn't a walk in the park, Stannis was demanding and hated laziness, he has fired people for being five minutes late, Jon has been lucky because all of his missing days are legally justified, there's nothing Stannis can do except make Jon's life a living hell, he keeps giving him a shit ton of work, more than Jon has ever had to deal with. Jon loves being a lawyer, it's what he worked for years on end but now as he gets older Jon is becoming to realize that maybe it's not worth it, he's seen what this job does to people, Stannis is rich and successful but in the end of the day when he goes home there's no one to welcome him there, he's been divorced for ten yearsz his only daughter Shireen went abroad to study and never came back, and the rest of Stannis's family doesn't speak with him, he's not a very likeable person.

He's thinking about Winterfell more and more, living there might not be so bad, the schools are great, they have friends and family there too and Sansa's father has even said he can get him a job, one that pays well and still provides Jon with plenty of time to be with his family. Everybody needs to escape sometimes.


 

Jon: Thank you so much for doing this.

Margaery: Yeah, keep thinking I'm doing it for you.

Jon: Still, thank you. It wouldn't have been possible without you.

Margaery: Sure, whatever. Bye.

Did I just talked to a fourteen year old?

Jon is a successful lawyer, he's always had good grades yet there are times when he feels like he's the dumbest person in the world, this is one of those times. In paper this had looked like such a great idea now that the day as arrived it looks really stupid, maybe this will ruin things. Sansa's birthday was two days ago but because it was Wednesday they didn't get the chance to celebrate properly and no one was really in the mood for a party, if it wasn't for Jon arriving at home with a lemon cake and some flowers Sansa wouldn't have realized it was her birthday, she totally forgot about it. When she saw what Jon did she cried, but not in a good way.

"While I was at the supermarket I heard about a woman the same age as me who died from cancer, she left four children behind. What if that happens to me too?" Sansa had a breakdown in the middle of their kitchen.

Jon was at loss for words, this wasn't Sansa. It's true that everyone is afraid of dying, it's something that sometimes unconsciously we find ourselves thinking about it but this was different. Sansa has a very healthy lifestyle she doesn't smoke or drink, she used to exercise (not anymore because of the pregnancy) and during her last doctors appointment Brienne assured her she's going amazing, her medical condition took a whole spin, she has nothing to worry about, yet she was crying with the thought of imminent death. Jon knows it's deeper than just being afraid of getting sick, it has to do with the kids, Sansa doesn't want them to be alone. Emily's kidnapping its taking a huge toll on them, how much more can Sansa endure?

It's hard to know.

But Jon has an idea that might cheer her up a bit.

"I'm to old for a birthday party."

She's only thirty two. That's why Jon, alongside with the help of Margaery is throwing Sansa a party, it's nothing over the top but it's something that he knows she'll enjoy. Downtown there's this restaurant which Sansa's adores, they used to go there every weekend, Jon is friends with the owner.

So he reserved a small area of the restaurant so everyone can enjoy a quiet meal as a family, they're all coming, Starks, Tyrells, Payne, Snow, Tarly, Jon even managed to get Jeyne Poole ( Sansa's childhood friend) and apparently Edd and Grenn are visiting Kings Landing, so they might as well come, he wants Sansa to meet them.

He could've planned a romantic dinner with just the two of them but Jon feels it's best if the whole family is there, plus he has a surprise for Sansa one that no one knows about.

Yesterday he called Doctor Emma to know what was acceptable for Emily and what wasn't, she didn't object against his plan though she did warn that it could backfire specially because there's going to be strange people in attendance, if Emily senses she's in danger it's uncertain how she'll react. But as long as they don't hover constantly around her - Jon already warned them all to give her space - and make her feel safe, no loud noises or abrupt touches, then there's nothing to fear.

Today Sansa left to have lunch with Margaery and a girls' day out, it was nearly impossible to achieve that, but they did, Jon promised he would call if something happened with Emily and Jacob and Sansa calmed down a bit, Jon told Emily that they were going to a restaurant to celebrate mommy's birthday and even though it took some coaxing she was happy with it.

Now they're almost finished, Jon already got dressed and helped the kids do the same, it's a casual place so there's no need to dress fancy, Jon put on black trousers and a white and black polo shirt, Emily had on a floral print dress, Jacob was wearing jeans and a yellow plaid short sleeve shirt, Sansa usually dresses them but Jon is feeling good with what he accomplished, all that's left to do is get in the car and head to the restaurant, Margaery will come later and will bring Sansa with her.

"Where's Emily?" Jon gestured to Jacob. Emily had been here just moments ago.

Jacob shrugged but pointed to the hall, the most logical place for Emily to be right now it's her room. Jon went there while Jacob waited in the living room, Emily was sitting on the floor brushing one of her doll's hair, her back was turned so she couldn't see him but Jon didn't want to frighten her so he gently knocked on the door three times and eventually she turned around, her eyes downcast and her her body shaking.

"Do you want to stay?" With just one phonecall Jon could cancel the whole thing.

He wanted this night to come trough but if that was going to cost Emily's wellbeing then he won't even open the front door.

Emily just shook her head, she was thorned.

"You know why you're my princess?" Emily didn't answer. "Because I'm your knight and my job as one it's to protect you, I promise I always will."

Emily remained in silence but she stretched her arm and put her pinky up, Jon entwined his finger with hers.

After that it didn't take long for them to leave, it was still early but Jon wanted to make sure everything was going according to plan, he had payed for the staff to organise everything but still he had to see it for himself. This night had to be perfect, there's no room for mistakes, he still hasn't seen the decoration but if everyone did as he asked or at least kept in that theme then Sansa was in for quite the surprise, Jon should've done something like this a long time ago.

When he arrived he was escorted to a private room, it was made just for occasions like this one where people wanted privacy with their family or friends. Ned and Cat were already there with Rickon, Bran worked in Winterfell so he couldn't be there and Robb was only coming back from Volantis in a few days - after finding out about Emily, his brother in law decided that he couldn't be much longer there but Sansa convinced him that there was no need for it -, Jon's in laws where sitting at the table chating while Rickon was on his phone, they stood when they saw Jon approach, Jacob was quick to go to them but Emily actually hide behind Jon.

"Is she alright?" His mother in law asked worried sick.

"She's out of the house." And that's proving to be challenging.

"Emmy, would you like to see the fishtank? There's even a ferris wheel inside." Emily loved ferris wheels despite never being on one.

Slowly she loosened her hold on Jon's leg and took Ned's hand, Jacob and Rickon went with them as well.

"How is she doing?" Catelyn didn't knew much, Sansa and Jon didn't want to stress her out.

"There are days and days, but I guess she's holding up. Kids are stronger than we give them credit for."

"Ned and I moved here to King's Landing to be closer with you all, we're just one call away." That's a great thing but also it can prevent them from going back to Winterfell.

Sansa is close with her family and they're all here. Yet there's more to think about, Winterfell is definitely a lot peaceful than King's Landing, it's bigger yet less crowded. Most people prefer it here in the South, there's more jobs, more shopping malls, more culture but it's also a lot more darker, this city as a way of changing people and not always for the best.

"Thank you for doing this for Sansa, you're a good man." Catelyn patted his shoulder, just like a mother would.

Here comes the guilt, it twists his stomach into knots, he's not a good man if only she knew half of what he's done. She wouldn't be here now.

"I try to be." Jon was being as honest as possible.

Everyday it's a trial.

Catelyn left him to be with her grandchildren but Jon didn't stay alone for long, not far from where he was there was this big wine cabinet, there were two man facing it and Jon already knew who they were.

The bastards made it. He didn't think they would show up but here they were, he loves them like brothers.

"Look at it, such grace, such beauty, that colour, red as blood, oh my, oh my. It's probably more valuable than my house and it's interior, I know a couple of lads who would sell their kidneys for it, I would." Edd was fixated at all the bottles, like a sailor hearing the chanting of sireens.

He was probably just joking but there was truth in his words, even now being here so close to it it's being tempting. It never fades away.

"But you won't, who wants Edd Tollet's kidneys anyway?" Jon smacked him the back, playfully of course.

"Fuck you." Edd, always so polite.

"You too."

"Come here you asshole!" His friend pulled him into a bear hug.

Grenn hugged him as well. It was because of these men that he made it through, they had become eachothers rocks, when one was down the other would pick him up. They were more than patients, they were a brotherhood, Jon will never forget how Edd stood for him when Tanner and Rast were beating him up.

"What are you two doing here together?" That was the million dollar question, Jon only knew they were visiting. Why, was a mystery.

He doubted he had anything with sightseeing, that would be hilarious.

"Agatha moved here a few weeks ago, she called me asking to meet with her. We saw each other yesterday." Grenn was a lovesick fool, he was blushing and all.

Jon has heard a lot about Agatha, Grenn's crush, he's happy that they're finally taking a step into an actual relationship, Grenn battled in rehab strictly because of that and now it was paying off.

"And I just needed some sun. While I was drunk I wasn't complaining but now that I'm sober, I ask myself why did I lived so long in that frozen dump." Jon and Grenn laughed, Edd could be dramatic. Really dramatic.

The North wasn't a dump, King's Landing was.

"So, those are your kids." Grenn pointed to where Jacob and Emily were standing, Jon nodded. "It's a good thing they don't look like you." He joked, Jon was used to it already. He actually missed it.

"Have you seen Jon's wife? Now she's a beauty, no wonder is children are cute." That joke he wasn't okay with it.

Boundaries Edd, boundaries!!!!

"That's my wife your talking about."

"I'm just messing with you, there's no way I can compete with your hair."

Grenn and Edd talked with him a bit more, they shared what happened in his absence in rehab, apparently Ramsay got kicked just days after Jon, Mormont grew tired of his ways.

"Come on Green, let's have some orange juice. I can't believe I just said that out loud." Edd might as well get used to it.

One by one all the guests started to arrive, Tormund actually brought a date with him and guess what it was no other than Brienne Tarth, Sansa's doctor, now that was strange to say the least not to mention that well they were in love but had a very peculiar way of showing it; next came Gilly, Sam, Little Sam and Dickon, those days looking for Emily made Jon spend a lot of time with Dickon and now Jon actually sees him as a friend, Little Sam's presence also helped Emily since they were best friends, Podrick came solo because Margaery was with Sansa, the last one to come was Jeyne Poole and Jon was so excited that she was here, she was Sansa's childhood friend and even now they still are like sisters, but because Jeyne works as a teacher in Winterfell it's hard for her to visit, but she made an exception for Sansa's birthday.

Everyone was just socializing when Arya and Gendry appeared, Jon invited them but he never got a response, he just tought after his last conversation with Arya and how sour it ended, she wouldn't want to be in the same room with him.

"Hi." It was the first thing that came to mind, Arya wasn't impressed.

"It's Sansa party, I couldn't miss it." Arya was stubborn, she helds grudges but when it comes to her family she's soft as butter.

"It means a lot having you here." It did, Jon wants to repair the bond they lost.

"Someone can only disappoint you twice, the first time is a warning, the second time it's a lesson, after that it's just disrespectful." Arya was looking in straight in the eye, she's no longer the girl who would beg him to show her how to ride a bike.

She's no longer his sister.

"There won't be a third time."

"We still have much to discuss, now it's not the time, but we will someday." She didn't give him a chance to speak, just turned her back on Jon.

Deciding not to get his mood ruined by Arya's interaction Jon went to sit next to his children, Emily rushed straight to his lap and buried her head on his neck, she wasn't crying but it was evident she was nervous, Jon kept rubbing circles in her back and saying he was with her, after a while she calmed down, in that same moment he got a text message from Margaery.

Margaery: We're at the door. Be ready.

"They're here." Jon said to everyone, and they all got up and waited for Sansa to arrive.

Because of Emily they couldn't turn off the lights but there was a door separating their dinning room from the main one so it was easy to surprise Sansa. After about two minutes he could hear their footsteps, all eyes glued to the door.


"Surprise!" All said in unison.

Sansa mouth was open wide and there were tears brimming at her eyes, she was speechless. She kept looking around, trying to see all of their faces, it took a while for her to react and Jon was starting to think he screwed up but then Sansa jumped to his arms, she was pregnant but Jon still was able to spin her around. Once they loosened their embrace she looked at him and he was lost, Jon thought he was impossible for her to ever look at him that way again, those eyes were the first thing that made him fall in love, now they were full of love, it took him back to a past long forgotten, a time when the world was a good place and love prevailed, a time when there weren't lies, sorrow or regret, there was only two blue gems looking intensely yet so softly into his dark eyes, there was a flame burning, a passion that never left. They weren't broken, life never betrayed them, they were... just them. Nothing else could ever come between that.

"I love you." How long as it been since Sansa spoke those words?

How much did they lost before they disappeared?

"Love you more." One day Sansa will know how much Jon truly does.

If it was up to him, Sansa would've never left his arms, but she was already getting away to greet the others, he had time to hold her later now it was her time to be with her family and friends.

"I still hate you but this is special, I'll give you that." Margaery was smirking, Jon could tell she was pleased.

Sansa hugged everyone, when it came to Edd's turn Jon doubled his attention but his friend was nothing but respectful. His wife was grinning from hear to hear, she was giddy and that reminded him of so many good days they shared, she was always bubbly... something about her just made everyone feel like someone.

Sansa being here was doing wonders to Emily who was already laughing again, Sansa was saying something to her and that was enough to make her feel good.

After all that they finally sat down to eat, with making sure his plan was working and that Emily was okay Jon didn't even have the chance to eat lunch so now he was starving. Thank God he went with the buffet, some of these men can eat, Tormund was one of them and of course Edd and Rickon being the children they were ended up by getting themselves in a competition with the chief of maintenance, it was unclear who was winning but it definitely was fun to see Catelyn fight with them. Sansa was talking to Jeyne, Gilly and Maergery, but she kept her hand on Jon's and now and then would smile at him, she even murmured I love you two more times and Jon couldn't help the chill in his spine whenever that happened, Ned Stark wasn't stupid he knew very damn well what happened, Jon had told him in White Harbour while bawling his eyes out, now his father in law was looking at them with a knowing smile.

"Take care of her" Ned didn't say it but that's what was on his mind.

The kids were the first to finish their meal and so now were playing, everybody was distracted talking to each other and that was the perfect opportunity to do what has been on Jon's mind for days now.

"I want to show you something." He whispered in Sansa's hear.

"Now?"

"It's quick." Sansa excused herself and went with Jon.

None of the others were aware of what was going on so they looked extremely confused but made no questions.

Jon grabbed Sansa's hand and took her to the back, they had to climb a few flights of stairs but because Sansa's feet were hurting Jon carried her bridal style, he was taking her to the rooftop. He had called in a few favors and so now - hopefully - they'll be about to enter into a dream.

It was.

Jon's breath got caught on his troath, this was better than anything he could ever imagined, there was a metal vintage table with two chairs of the same quality under a wooden canopy decorated with vines, there were several lightbulbs hanging and there were lanterns on the floor creating a path paved by rose petals, candles were burning, music was playing, the night was warm and the sky full of stars, his friend outdid all of Jon's expectations, things like this belong in movies.

"It wouldn't be a birthday without a cake, would it?" He was referring to the lemon meringue cheesecake he had made just for her, it was from one of her favorite bakery's.

"Can you pinch me?" Sansa was in pure disbelief, this is not something Jon does. She's never gotten anything like this from him.

"I won't do that but I'll ask you to dance with me." Jon was a terrible dancer but it was a slow song.

I'll survive.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and Jon placed his hands on her waist, they danced for minutes in silence just looking at one another. There was nothing they could say, their eyes spoke a thousand unsaid words. After a while Sansa laid her head on his chest, Jon's heart was pounding right now, she can probably feel it trying to leave his body, they were no longer dancing, but they didn't want to let go, it was too good for that.

"You really got me, I had no idea you would do something like this, honestly a store bought cake was fine by me." As if Jon would ever to that to her.

She should spend her night always like this, it's what queens deserve and that's what Sansa is to Jon.

"I had no idea either, having free time made me step up a notch."

"About that..." Sansa looked remorseful, Jon was really stupid.

He explained himself completely in the wrong way.

"No, that's not what I mean at all, I've...it's crazy how much you can accomplish when you aren't sitting in the couch doing nothing." Sansa laughed. "Yes I'm an idiot but still... you've been amazing with Emily, I'm sure most people would've ripped their own hair if they had to do all you've done and keep on doing. I firmly believe you have hidden superpowers."

"I'm half wolf, remember?" Only too well, Jon loves that side of her.

Sansa is quiet and shy but there's a fierceness under all that unlike anything in this world. She's not half wolf, she's the whole package.

"Happy birthday, precious." It was out of the blue but for some reason Jon felt like saying it.

"You're late, it was two days ago."

Just the fact that Sansa exists should be a celebration by itself, people have been part of the world for centuries and Jon was lucky enough to be born in the one Sansa is.

"Time it's relative, isn't it? There was a time when I thought we would never be like this, with you in my arms under the stars, look at us now."

They're closer than yesterday and tomorrow will be more than tonight, it's a slow process, but they're getting there.

"It took a while." Jon wiped a tear of her face.

Sansa is right, it feels like forever.

"It did, but the outcome will make up for it."

"And what's that?"

"You, me, our children somewhere in Winterfell sitting by the fire, roasting smores and drinking hot cocoa, we can even get a dog or two, Jacob will be playing and Emily will be dancing, while you cradle our little one to your chest humming some song older than time itself, and I'll just be there drooling myself at the vision in front of me. We can grow old, leave everything and everyone behind." It was a dream but one day it will come through.

One day they'll have a little cottage close to the mountains and who knows maybe even more children to warm the place. It's his biggest wish.

"You mean it?" Again the disbelieve.

Jon's promises weren't reliable, they never were.

"With all my heart, Sansa."

"It's crazy. We can't abandon everything." Sansa tried to make him see reason but the way she said it sounded like she was the one fooling herself.

"But do you want to?" Jon knows it's a yes from her.

"Yes, more than anything." Exactly.

"Then it's not crazy, let's go."

"Eventually, now I want to go home and sleep in my bed with you. I love you, Jon." They kissed.

Nothing will ever be the same again.

 

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

What have I done?

"I love you" it was her emotions speaking nothing else.

Sansa loves Jon even she tried to stop it was impossible, yet given all he's done those words shouldn't be spoken right now. It's a getaway, it's always been he's getaway.

Things with Jon have been so well but now that Sansa gave him the confirmation of something he already knew everything can and most likely will change, Jon knows now that Sansa's feelings remain the same as they have since the start, he no longer has to be the Jon's he's being right now.

What if everything goes back to the same?

What if he hurts me again?

None of this was supposed to happen, her birthday was a couple of days ago but it's been forever since Sansa actually celebrated that date, being a mother of two small children and having Jon has her husband hasn't really allowed her to give herself to such luxuries, it's a day like any other, one day closer to death. That really shouldn't be a party for it, that was what Sansa felt until she saw her whole family and friends standing there, it was more than nice, it made her feel appreciated and loved, she was so overwhelmed with what was happening that at that moment the veil she's been using to keep Jon at close distance completely slipped away, she let her guard down and that was it, there was no turning back.

Emily disappearing and then coming back a whole new person, these crazy hormones, her friend being in jail, her enemy being there as well but with no warranties of remaining, it had been building up inside of her for days, those thoughts culminated in telling Jon the truth.

Looking back, this wasn't an isolated incident. It's been occurring for quite some time now, she's allowed Jon back into her bed, gave him permission to hold her, everyday she kisses him, entwines her hand on his for hours, she's even called him my love, Sansa shouldn't be surprised by what she did tonight, it's no different from what she's been doing for weeks. It's like she forgot what he did, she wants to but that's not the solution. They have to build foundations before anything and they're not, she wants to be with him so desperately that she ended up by rushing everything.

Those promises she made to herself while Jon was in rehab just went down the drain.

I'll be strong. She's never been that in the first place.

I won't make it easy for him. Sansa pretty much paved the way for Jon.

He won't have my affection. He's been getting much more than that.

The most important one was broken tonight.

No I love you. She's said it.

When Jon took her to the rooftop - it was the most romantic gesture she's ever received in all of her existence - all that was left of her self control was swept away, then he started to talk about her biggest dream, Winterfell, he told her he wanted to take her there, start a new story and close this horror one they've been living for far too long, and being the fool she was Sansa accepted, she actually believed that moving away from King's Landing would solve every problem they have. The thing is, those problems aren't here in the city or in their house, they're embedded in them and it doesn't matter where they go they won't vanish.

They plague us.

Inside the restaurant Sansa was alright, she was so happy to see Jeyne, it had been over three years since they last saw each other, Emily was smiling and playing just like she used to, there was nothing to worry about, in the rooftop she was in love, she was good. Now that Sansa is heading home, it's not alright.

She's been sleeping with Emily for a while now yet tonight she told Jon that it would be different, Sansa was going to be sharing a bed with him. That wasn't something said in the heat of the moment, she really wanted but the implications of it were to big.

Jon will never make her do something against her will, for all of his flaws he's better than that, it took almost eight months for Sansa to have sex for the first time with Jon and he never pushed her to do anything, she was always the one asking him to. Sansa doesn't trust her own body around him, she knows that he wants her and she wants him as badly, she's been fighting that primal desire in her for so long but now that strength is about to be tested.

Only if she wants to of course. Sansa can choose to sleep with Emily and Jon won't say a thing, but Sansa refuses to use her children as a shield and unfortunately she already has. Emily is afraid of sleeping alone but there's no need to stay the whole night, that's something Sansa does because she decided so. She realized that she was being to careless, she was vulnerable and Jon knew it, he didn't take advantage of that because in the end Sansa was the one who came seeking his comfort, he just gave it to her.

"Are you okay?" Jon asked, eyes on the road but his hand on her knee. Just that touch alone was making heat radiate trough her whole body.

He's worried because she's been quiet since arriving at the car, there's nothing she can say right now.

"Yeah, just tired." Sansa wasn't being dishonest, between spending the day with Margaery and attending the party she was more than exhausted.

The rooftop was what drained the energy in her body, or thinking about it a least.

"When we get home I'll prepare you a bubble back and then if you want I can give you a backrub." Sansa wants it bad but...

That's not what she says, "Honestly, I'll just take a quick shower and then I'm off to bed."

With you apparently.

"I can still give you that backrub, I saw you wince earlier." Oh, that?

It wasn't from pain, not physical one at least.

Sensing that Jon was satisfied and not suspecting something was wrong Sansa decided to cease their conversation, maybe he thinks that because she's pregnant she doesn't have as much energy as before so he doesn't attempt to speak anymore either, yet his hand never leaves her knee.

The damage is already done, one more touch won't make a difference. That's the logical part in her speaking. Sansa doesn't move his hand away because it's where it belongs.


 

As soon as they get home, Sansa claims she has a headache and goes straight to the bathroom. Jon then takes Emily and Jacob to their respective rooms to get them ready for bed, Emily fell asleep on her way home and Sansa is sure that the moment her head touches the pillow she'll doze off again, at least she won't have nightmares. That also means there's no need for Sansa to be with her, she can't lie.

The water was running and now that Sansa had finally achieved the perfect temperature of it, she was undressing which must be her favorite part of the day, it doesn't matter what she wears she's always itchy and even maternity clothes seem too tight and uncomfortable, when the kids are at school and Jon at work, Sansa doesn't even bother with wearing clothes, she sticks with her robe and that's more than enough, it's heaven.

Being all day on foot was starting to make itself acquainted, her lower back was throbbing, there was this dull pain in her neck and God her feet looked like two soccer balls and if she looks in the mirror her face must be all puffy, her facial features have changed immensely, her nose is round, so is her jawline that used to be chiseled, and she has at least two more chins now.

Yeah, pretty as a picture.

Sansa was about to get in the shower, it was going take some maneuvering, but that's her new reality now so she best just suck it up. She heard the door creak but payed no mind because that's something that Emily's does a lot now, Sansa hasn't taken a shower alone in days, Emily is always sitting on the toilet seat waiting for her, but Emily must've fallen asleep already and these footsteps didn't sound like her daughter's and that smell, musky and hearty. She turned around and Jon was there, looking at her naked body with a look that she couldn't decipher but it had to be desire, maybe even lust. It's been months since he's seen her body bare and now Sansa is freaking out, not only is it too soon for that - there's something about the intimacy of it that scares her - but her body isn't attractive at all, she's huge, both her hips, breasts and aerolas have doubled their size, there are blotches on her skin, both her breasts and stomach have stretch marks around them, they're small and light coloured but still it makes her feel ugly and Jon is seeing all of them, there's nothing to hide. He still hasn't moved and Sansa can't find her voice to tell him to leave, so she goes to fetch a towel to cover herself up but the movement is so abrupt that she slips and almost falls on her face, the only reason that didn't happen was because Jon grabbed her by the waist and pulled her body against his.

Against his, and I'm still naked.

There are layers of clothes preventing her naked skin from touching his but they were the same as nothing. Jon still has his polo on but she could feel every single muscle in his body making contact with hers - there were so many of them, hard as stone, build like a warrior -, the heat coming from him is hotter than water running in the shower, Sansa tried to put some space in between them but that cause her nipples to graze against his chest, that action alone was enough to send sparks of pleasure flying trough her whole body, specially her lower one, she was dizzy from it, blind with lust.

No.

Inhaling several deep breaths, Sansa finally got away from Jon and managed to put on her bath robe, she was covered but horny as hell and Jon still hadn't said a word, only groaned when he picked her up. It was quite destressing actually, not in way that made her skin crawl, he wasn't looking at her like she was a piece of meat, instead his eyes were searching for something, something Sansa wasn't sure she could give him right now.

Love.

She could, she already has but what will be the price?

There's always one and she's payed dearly for it in the past.

"I...sorry, I just came to see if you needed help." He finally broke the silence between them, his voice was husky and his hands were shaking.

Taking a bath is something quite hardous nowadays but she always endured it by herself, yet tonight she opened the door that gives him entrance to these private moments. It's quite silly that she's covering herself up, Jon is her husband and it's not like he doesn't know her body by heart, but there's always a but.

And whatever comes before it it's nothing but horseshit. She and Arya laughed for days when they caught their father saying that, back then just that word was enough to make her blush. She was innocent.

"Why didn't you knock?" She's bringing back the hostility that no longer had a place in these four walls or her heart.

But it's here again.

"I thought you wouldn't mind." She shouldn't mind.

"You thought wrong." Sansa saying she loved him must've been the enabler. "Can you please leave?" He didn't, he was frozen.

Too stunned from what she said and how she said it.

"GET OUT!!" From a mile away people could probably hear it, Jon certainly did and actually flinched.

His back was turned when he spoke, "I'll be in the room"

But I won't.

It was definitely the longest shower Sansa has ever had in her whole life, the water was scalding hot yet it was as if she was made of ice, she didn't feel a dammed thing, it was getting impossible to breath properly due to all the steam that kept increasing in the bathroom, but it didn't bother her, she just wanted clarity. She kept waiting for some switch to turn on in her mind but it never did, staying here bought her time and Sansa spent most of it crying, what for?

Good question.

It was all going so well, she doesn't know where all of this is coming from or why is coming now. After all being in an healthy relationship with Jon was the goal, they had reached it or at least were heading towards it, yet she's back at square one again. She's alone and so his Jon.

Maybe the problem is her and not him. Seeing red flags where there are none.

In the past it was the opposite, maybe that's why she's so wary about all of this. Life as made her distrustful.

When Sansa finally breaks free from her transe like state it's late, she looks at her phone and notices she's been for almost two hours in the bathroom, one of those were probably spent in the shower the rest she just sat on the floor to numb to do much else, she passed by her room and for a fleeting second Sansa almost didn't got inside, but that would be just cowardly of her and she won't do that. Jon wasn't there, he wasn't in the living room either.

He was home that much she knew, bars were no longer a part of his daily life - another evidence of how he's changed -, Sansa decided to go look for him at the garage, now that he can't drink or have outbursts of anger he's found other ways to take those negative feelings and use them for something constructive, he's taken some hobbies and his favourite one is wood carving. Jon's actually very talented at it, he even carved two small wolves for Emily and Jacob.

Her guess was right, Jon was there and like she predicted he was carving wood like his whole survival depended on it, Sansa has seen him do this a couple of times before but his moves were always cautious and calculated, some might even say gentle. Now he's practicality stabbing those wooden blocks, he's not building anything, more like destroying them.

"Fuck!" Jon shouted.

Sansa saw the blood drip onto the ground before even registering Jon's voice. His whole hand was bloody, even from far away Sansa could see that it needed at least six or more stitches.

Ignoring everything, Sansa went to Jon but he did something she wasn't expecting, he moved away from her.

It hurts. She can see what she's been doing to him and it's horrible.

"Let me look at it." All that blood was nauseating but it was barbaric to leave him here in pain. It was written all over Jon's face.

"I'm fine." He said trough gritted teeth, disguising the pain and his anger too. "It's nothing serious." Jon was wrapping an old towel around his palm. That wasn't going to stop the bleeding.

"You need to see a doctor, let's go to the hospital."

"I don't want your pity." What?

Did she heard it right or was it her mind playing tricks on her?

You know what? Fuck your hand!

How could Jon ever think Sansa was pitying him? She knows how much he hates that, how for years that's all he got from people. It's one of the things that even now affects him the most, Sansa might be mad or whatever she's feeling now but never would she use that weapon against him. Those wounds are too fresh and though Jon as touched hers for countless times already, Sansa won't touch his. It will only bring pain to both of them.

"I don't understand none of this anymore." Despair and exasperation in Jon's voice.

"What?" There wasn't any need to ask, Sansa knows what he's saying.

"Hours ago we were fine, we kissed, we danced and now...you're pushing me away. I don't know how to deal with it...I thought that we were on the right track, for a moment it was all perfect again and now you just pulled the rug under my feet. Honestly, it was best if you haven't given me hope at all, it wouldn't be this painful." Sansa wanted to laugh at his face.

What do you know about pain?

"We were fine pretending."

Is that what it was? A pretense?

If so, it was a really credible one. She almost believed in it.

Sansa headed towards her room - it was plain to see that Jon wouldn't be going there tonight - , she was out of breath and sweaty from their altercation and a bed was the best thing she could hope for right now, yet when she got inside Sansa saw that sleeping wasn't going to be part of her plans anytime soon, not when Jacob was sitting there.

At lighting speed Sansa tried to wipe the tears from her eyes and even pretended to sneeze hoping she could use summer allergies as her excuse, but Jacob was too smart to fall for that pathetic theatre of hers, instead he padded the mattress signaling Sansa to sit with him.

"Shouldn't my baby be sleeping?" It took so much effort to make her voice and her whole demeanor sound close to happy.

"I...am not a...baby." This was serious.

Jacob only used his voice when something was really troubling him. It had something to do with what happened in the garage, the door had been closed but emotions were running high and voices weren't contained, Jacob still had his cochlear implant on so he must've heard some of it.

"Are you and dad mad?" Jacob gestured this time, Sansa didn't gave him an answer straight away.

How could she explain to him what happened?

"It's an adult thing." She went for the safest route, Jacob scrunched his nose, he absolutely hated whenever someone said that.  "Let's just say it's complicated, okay? I don't want you to think about that now."

That's my business to worry about. You're still too pure to learn certain things.

"But you're sad." Jacob doesn't cry much but now he's close to tears.

Sansa was already hiccuping and sniffling.

"Dad has done some things that made me sad." Jacob isn't a small child anymore, he can handle some of the truth.

Not all of it, of course.

"But he's sorry."

"How do you know that?" She gestured back.

Not even Sansa knew that.

"He's sad to. When I fought Max," months ago Jacob got into a fist fight in the middle of the playground, it was so unlike him. "I became sad as well, he's my friend and I didn't mean to make him cry."

"But he made you cry too, didn't he?" Sansa just wanted to see what Jacob opinion was.

"I don't like to cry, Max doesn't like it either." And still you made him cry...

The look on his face told her everything she needed to know.

Sansa has to keep reminding herself that Jacob is seven years old, sometimes it's almost unbelievable. Tonight he's definitely the wisest person in the house.

"Sleep with me tonight?" Jacob was already getting under the covers.


 

It was close to lunchtime when Sansa finally got out of bed, she never sleeps that much but given how the night turned out - and to think that it had started so well - Sansa just hibernated, the little sleep she managed to achieve did wonders and her head was clearer already, not to mention that the chat with Jacob did most of the job.

Jon hurt her but that was months ago, so why only now is she hurting him? It's almost childish.

It's like laying traps blindfolded, it will end up by coming for her.

Sansa took a bath, quickly got changed and only then left the room, the sun was shining and the heat was insufferable. If Jon is actually being serious about Winterfell, the southern climate is the thing she'll be most happy to get rid of.

As she padded trough the house Sansa could feel a breeze coming and the front door was wide open, the kids were in the front yard playing and Jon was sitting at the porch, his hand was wrapped with the same towel as yesterday and if he didn't change it soon his wound would probably infect, he was so engaged in the interaction between Emily and Jacob (probably because their daughter hasn't been this active in a while) that when Sansa took a seat next to him he didn't seem to notice.

"We're terrible at communicating."

"Big time." Jon's mood wasn't as sour and his lips were actually quirking into a smile.

Sansa hasn't been the only one who did a lot of thinking during the night. They have to stop fighting each other, it leads nowhere.

"I want you to know that I wasn't pretending." She felt like she owned him that much.

It was never fake.

Omitted? Absolutely, but they can't be having that either.

"Neither was I." Jon could be lying, but that wasn't the case.

How she knows that? Well, he's here.

He never admitted his mistakes, always ran away from them but he hasn't left, he's facing her and willing to hear all that's on the tip of her tongue, willing to deal with the repercussions, willing to understand them. Sansa was thinking ahead of the future when she should've been paying attention to the present, there's two Jon's and Sansa only saw the first one, that one didn't deserve her love but this one might even get a shot, it's all up to her.

"I do love you." No words have ever been more sincere.

"And that scares you." Jon stated.

It does, it's always scared her. She's been living with that fear for years and now it's tough to let go of it. Sansa fears so much yet so little actually comes true, it's all in her head.

"You have a knack for overthinking." Arya must be  overjoyed to know she's right and Sansa isn't.

"Doesn't it scare you?"

What does scare Jon Snow?

"More than you know. It means a part of you thinks I'll use that in my favour, my transgressions are serious but your love for me knows no limits. You're probably wondering how I know that." She was. "Those things you fear already happened, I've been there, done that and it wasn't worth it, why should I do it again?" It wasn't the answer she wanted, it was too brutal but it was honest.

It's something she wasn't used to associate Jon with.

"Because it's easier."

Why face the truth when he can pretend?

And that question is her blocker, when Jon does something nice the question is there, when he kisses her Sansa can almost taste those words, it's like a child to her, she's raised it and nurtured it for years, too many even.

"Yes, but it's a lie and I refuse myself to go trough it again, I don't want the perfect marriage anymore. I want our marriage, the one where it's okay to have bad days, where you don't have to feel like you're constantly trying to put up a show, love is raw and no one has a clue what it truly means but we all make our own pace to its discovery."

"Do you think we can make it?" Please say yes.

They can make it, they've made it this far already. The finish line is so close she can feel it.

"If anyone can, it's us."

Chapter Text

Ned Stark

14 years ago

His whole body itches from all the mosquito bites, he can't barely breathe because of this insufferable shoutern heat, his back hurt because of that damned mattress, in other words Ned Stark hates this hotel room, he hates being this far from home - Stark men aren't built for the South - , most of all Ned hates what he's about to do. Only because of what it means.

"Ned? Are you in there?" His wife is knocking in the hotel door, Ned has been hiding in is room for a while now.

He can't keep hiding for much longer.

Taking four long strides, Ned opens the door and faces is wife, she's wearing a blue summer dress, even now after five children and countless years of marriage, Catelyn Stark remains as beautiful as the day they met, if not even more.

"Why are you in here, love? We can't go without you." She's trying to scold him as she would to their children, but her face betrays her.

Her lovely smile tells him otherwise, she probably is thinking him to be the silliest man on earth right now, maybe that's the case, but Ned doesn't care. He's not exaggerating, no one gets him apart from his wife, but she seems to be dealing with this far better than him

"Exactly." Ned surprises himself with that response.

He's always been regarded as a very reserved and introvert man, he has always been the quietest one from all of his siblings, yet now he finds himself acting as brashly as his older brother Brandon - may he rest in peace -, but given the circumstances of what will happen in less than twenty minutes (if he does leave the room) this behavior of his shouldn't come as a surprise.

"My love, Sansa is going to college, it's not the end of the world." Catelyn palms is cheek - her hands are always soft and warm- , if this was any other day that gesture alone would put to rest any worries.

Not today.

Not when the college his daughter chose puts thousands of miles between them.

"It seems like just yesterday she was asking me to check for monsters under her bed, now my little girl has no one to do that for her." Ned was getting all chocked up, thinking about this is hard already as it is, talking about and finally voicing those fears it's enough to break even the strongest of people.

"The last time that happened Sansa was eight, I don't think she believes in monsters anymore." His wife kept holding him, he'll fall without her.

I'll always fall without you.

"That doesn't make them any less real, you know how bad this world can be, there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about Brandon." A shadow crosses is wife's face, and Ned regrets talking about that particular ghost, they were best friends. "I can't protect her." Is more a whisper than anything, it's Ned's biggest failure.

"Those were different times, Brandon...he was wreckless and his temper always got the best of him." Ned never heard his wife utter that name ever since that dreadful day.

His brother Brandon is the sole reason why Ned is a married man and family father, growing up Ned was always shy unlike his brother who was the live of the party. Almost twenty five years ago he and Brandon travelled to Riverrun in work, there is brother met Catelyn and quickly they became best friends, their bond was so strong that Brandon even invited her to spend a season with them in Winterfell, but then their father got hurt meaning that Brandon didn't have time to be with Catelyn, not wanting to make her feel alone Ned took in the task of showing her the North, it took a week for them to fall in love. Many years later, Ned would come to find out that Catelyn had a fancy for him that begun when they met in Riverrun, one which she confided in Brandon, and so his brother ended up by setting them up, the trip, his absence, it had all been planned.

Just days before Ned's wedding to Catelyn, Brandon had to go to Kings Landing in their father's place to attend a few meetings regarding their timber company, two days after arriving Brandon got into a bar fight and was stabbed, he didn't make it. Catelyn cried for days, no one, not even Ned himself could console her, but even if he tried that would be impossible, Ned was as broken as she was, after that their family home never was the same, joy became something of the past. Shortly their father died from pneumonia, some say it was the pain. Ned agreed with it.

And that's why he can't resign himself with the fact that Sansa is moving away. Winterfell is safe, no one ever comes and no one ever leaves, it's so remote and secluded that the elders say it's guarded by mythical beings and protected by old magic, Ned doesn't believe in such tales of course, but he can't deny that behind those stories created to wonder children there's some truth. Outsiders like to think that Winterfell and the North itself are frozen wastelands, that the people are savages who still follow old traditions and speak to trees, but the reality of it couldn't be anymore different. The North might be old fashioned, so are its people, but the North is also safe and looks out for those who live in it, there's still a sense of honor and duty, people help each other without claiming something in return, the weather is brutal, people have to sweat for their earning, they don't care about who has the most, who dresses better or whose house is bigger, it's all about making it trough Winter, together as community. Ned has seen how the South is, there's corruption and greed lurking around every corner, a nightmare disguised under the promise of a better life, people compete against each other, there's no honor in here, the word itself it is unknown, it's a vipers nest.

"It's scary seeing the baby we raise with so much care and love leave us, it's even scarier to know that this is the place where she's going, but this is Sansa we're talking about, she's too good to let this God forsaken city corrupt her, too pure to ever turn to the darkness. She's our daughter, a Stark and a Tully, I can't imagine a fiercer combination." Ned chuckled, Sansa's fierceness comes all from her mother's side of the family, not his. "As parents we both always tried to do what was best for our children, we taught them right from wrong, good from evil, now it's time to set one of them free and hope all we've done was enough." Catelyn once again is the one putting some sense in this stubborn head of his.

There's so much to fear, but like Catelyn said it herself, this is Sansa they're talking about.

Sansa is stronger than what people take her for, growing up she has always been the sweetest and most dutiful amongst her siblings, she didn't like to play in the mud like them, she never really liked being outside, his Sansa loved being with Catelyn Stark cooking and sewing, while the rest of the children loved seeing horror movies or fight movies, Sansa would sometimes cry over them, she was scared of those things, preferring to spend her days dreaming about princesses and knights, she saw life as a perfect fairy tale and for that everyone underestimated her. She's seen as a gentle flower, all of her life people have sheltered her, Ned did too, and he regrets it, everyone was always afraid of ruining the fantasy for her, but Ned knows that there was never any need for it, Sansa is strong, strength can be displayed in many ways, and he's seen it on her, she's strong enough to follow her dreams, strong enough to conquer her fears, strong enough to go past the exceptions placed in her, she's strong enough to make it in this city. For some she's a porcelain doll, but underneath it there's steel.

Ned will always have worries regarding her, as a father it's almost like its job to be constantly worrying about the well being of his children, it never stops and there's no control over it whatsoever, but a good father also gives his children space to make mistakes and learn from them, he encourages their dreams no matter what they might be, if Sansa truly seeks to stay in Kings Landing then the only thing left to do is hug her goodbye, and promise that she'll always have a home in his embrace.

After realising that there was nothing he could do to avoid the inevitable, Ned was ready to leave his hotel room and go to see Sansa in hers. It wasn't necessary.

The door which was unlocked, opened and one of the most beautiful girls in the world appeared.

"Hi, daddy." Sansa doesn't call him that anymore, only when she's...

Of course she's scared, even more if she overhead his conversation.

"Are you nervous?" He can tell that already, is a retorical question.

"A little." The way her eyes are focused on her feet, her shaky hands, and the bitting on her lower lip, are all signs that she's extremely nervous.

He knows his daughter too well.

"Don't be. Your and your siblings happiness is all that means to me. I can see this place makes you happy, and that's what you should be. Don't worry about this old man," Sansa made a face, she was constantly saying Ned was still young. "he'll be just fine. This is your time, all you worked for, so enjoy it, have fun, make friends, go to parties, don't make it an habit but every now and then get drunk." His wife was now the one with a scowl, Ned should've kept that part out. "And if all becomes to much, know that even in Winterfell I'm always with you. Every night I want you to look up to the sky, when you do that you'll see the North star, I promise I'll be doing the same thing too. Then we won't be alone." Ned didn't cry often, but when he's daughter his looking at him that way there isn't much he can do to keep the tears away.

Sansa is looking at him as if he's her knight in shining armour, the one who can keep even the loudest of storms at bay, like Ned is an hero. That's is favourite look, but also the one he dreads the most, is one that he has to fulfill, but sometimes he doesn't know why. Life was much easier before fatherhood, back then there wasn't five people relying on him, five people to keep safe and sound, it wasn't this scary, but it wasn't this good either. He'll never change a thing about it.

"I love you, daddy."

"I love you too, my brave girl."


 

Present day

"Where are you going this early?" Catelyn had just arrived in the kitchen, it was barely seven in the morning.

Yet Ned was already dressed and ready to go.

"Apparently you have to make an appointment to see the barber in this city, this is the only hour available." Ned lied, using something Catelyn had told him not long ago.

He hates to lie to his wife, a marriage like the one they have can only stand the test of time if there's harmony, and honesty, yet ever since he arrived at this city, lying as become a common occurrence.

"Don't forget we're going to meet with Robb and Talissa today." Ned will try to make it on time.

He and Cat offered to pay for Robb and Talissa's nursery, the same way they payed for Sansa and Jon's.

"Don't worry, love. I'll be back before you even notice." He won't, there's no guarantees.

"Don't shave your head, I only married you for your good looks." Only his Cat could make him laugh in a time like this.

After giving her a peck on the lips, Ned left and made his way to the King's Landing Women Penitentiary. Ygritte has requested to see him.

No one knows about this, only his family lawyer since he's the one working on the case, Jon and Sansa want nothing to do with it, it's understandable and Sansa's nearing the end of her pregnancy, right now the baby is their only priority, and Ned will keep it that way.

He could've told Catelyn the truth, she would be fuming and locking every door in the house, preventing him from leaving, but Cat has a curious mind, it would only be a matter of time before she started to wonder why Ygritte wants to see him, most likely she would've wanted to go herself. The day Emily was taken, it took all of his strength to keep her from running the streets of King's Landing looking for someone to kill.

Ned still has no idea why out of all people, Ygritte wants him. She's dangerous and manipulative, maybe this is just some game to throw him off, but Ned said he would be there, and will. For Sansa.

Sansa is the one who suffered the most at that woman's hands, the worst period on his life was the one is daughter was here in King's Landing crying for her broken marriage, and Ned could to nothing, he could only give her support and tell her to follow her heart, while everyone did the opposite. Sansa is an adult, there's no need to shelter her from the world, but Ned finds himself doing that just now. He can't help it, she's his little girl.

A little girl who has a life no one deserves, all because of who she loves.

Ned cares for Jon, he still remembers that boy who came to Winterfell asking for his daughter's hand in marriage, being Raeghar's son is a life sentence by itself, that man is arrogant and cold, he loves no one but himself, Jon and Elia were the ones who payed costly for it. Still that's not an excuse for all he's done to Sansa, at first when Ned found out about the cheating, he was ready to bring Sansa home, to hurt Jon but that didn't last long, his daughter had made a decision and all Ned could to was support her, that doesn't mean he forgot, for years he's kept a close eye on Jon. That boy didn't disappoint him, over the years Jon improved, he became a good man, the man Ned always wanted him to be, but then something happened. No one was ready for it.

When Sansa said Jon had gone away for rehab, Ned knew something was wrong, his daughter never told him a thing, she rarely touched the subject. Ned had given up all hope in finding the truth, but them out of nowhere he got a call. Jon asked him to come pick him up at White Harbor, for two hours they talked, by the end of it Ned couldn't hear anything else. Jon had done it again.

Ned swore to himself that he wouldn't forgive him a second time, but unlike what people think Ned isn't cold, he might look like it on the outside, but his heart tells a different story. He felt sorry for Jon, he saw so much of himself in him, Jon's tear stained cheeks took him back, his posture that spoke of so many battles reminded him of his own. There was time when Ned was the one lost and clinging to a marriage that was slowly slipping through his fingers. It took all he had not to fall for the same traps as Jon did.

Since that time in White Harbor a lot has changed, Jon has always been an honorable man, for years that path of righteousness was lost to him, but he's found his way back, Jon loves Sansa and his daughter loves him even more, how can Ned intervene against that?

Love is dangerous thing, in the wrong hands it can be used as a weapon, Sansa unfortunately has had that happen to her, Ned might forgive Jon for everything but never for breaking Sansa's heart, he suffered so much in silence during those years that Jon gave her a child who wasn't hers, Sansa would cry over the phone and Ned couldn't do a thing about it. Yet love can also be a gift, and Sansa has been given that too, Jon gave her the perfect family, a happy home - even the happiest of ones can have days in the dark - and now he's giving her support and all that for years was just a wish. Ned won't ever let his guard down, but he can take a few steps back and let the life take is course of action. He knows Sansa and Jon aren't hopeless, not anymore.

At least that's what Ned's heart desires.


 

Finally, after much driving and even more musing on all they've lost and gain over this lifetime, King's Landing Women Penitentiary is in front of him. What might happen as soon he steps foot out is SUV is hard to tell, but there's only one way to find out. Actually getting inside.

He's never been inside of a prison before, the closest he's ever been to something similar was Castle Black, to pay Mormont a visit and to hear what the man had to say about his son in law, what he heard was bittersweet.

This place is everything but memorable, white walls as far as the eye can see and bared windows, in a way it looks almost like the mental facility he visited not long ago, that was a dead end that left him with more pity than answers, Ned actually felt sorry for Ygritte's mother and the life that God gave her, no one deserves to be in such a place alone and forgotten, only her wails and her songs are her loyal companions. Now Ygritte and Anna are in the same situation, renegades by society like so many others in here, there's no chance for a better future once this doors open for them, it's a choice they made.

There're two guards who search him, their eyes all over him, they treat him as if he's the one who committed a crime, their faces void of any emotion, Ned is just another visitor as thousands of others before him. After making sure he wasn't hiding anything, a guard escorted him to a common room, unlike some prisons this one actually allows inmates to be face to face with their visitor, there're no barriers separating them and maybe that's probably the only part of these women stay in prison that makes them feel part of the normal world. There're more women that he thought, some shouldn't even be called women, they're children whose life was cut short, even if they ever leave things will never be the same, they're marked for life. It makes Ned think about his own daughter's, he and Cat did everything in their power to raise two good and responsible girls, they achieved that but what if they didn't?

What if instead of Anna and Ygritte, it was Sansa and Arya in here?

Ned doesn't want to think about that, he doesn't even know if he could ever set foot in here to see them. What words could he ever say to make them feel safe?

There's no need to keep replaying those things in his head because a door opens and Ygritte is being guided towards one of the tables Ned's staying, she's wearing an orange jumpsuit, her hands are handcuffed and there's a female guard holding her arm, the woman isn't being gentle at all. Ned has only seen her a few times, she's always wearing a scowl in her face, anger is her guide.

"You wanted to see me, I'm here." Ygritte looks surprised by his presence.

Ned is a man of his word, the only thing that matters in the world is a person's word.

"Ned Stark himself in this shit hole. Now, that's something we don't see every day, I thought your family was too good for the likes of me and Anna." Her mocking didn't affect him one bit, Ygritte's trying in vain.

"You're the one who asked me to be here. Just tell me what you want." Time was ticking, the visit period was fifteen minutes and five of those were gone.

Ygritte laughed, the guard was looking mad, but she ignored it and got closer to him, as if she was about to tell him a secret only for his ears.

"Your power."

Ned was powerful indeed, his family was one of the most important families in the North, he owns one of the largest timber companies in all of Westeros, and not long ago they started exporting across the Narrow Sea as well. Here in the South he's still highly respected, but that doesn't mean Ned can interfere with the law, neither does he want to, specially if Ygritte is the person who's asking for help. If it's up to him she won't be leaving this place anytime soon.

Sensing his confusion, Ygritte spoke again. "I don't want anything from you, but my sister does." Anna...

With just a phonecall Ned can arrange for her one of the best lawyers in King's Landing, she was no criminal record, her case is not as serious as Ygritte's, but Ned doesn't know if helping her it's the right thing. It feels as if he's betraying not only Sansa, but his whole family as well, Anna was part of that once, but she threw it all way, Ned cares for that girl almost as much as he does for his own children, Anna is everything Ygritte is not. He wants to help her, but does she want that?

As far as he knows she's refused to talk to anyone, as pleaded guilty and doesn't care about the options in front of her. There's nothing he can do to help someone who doesn't want to be helped.

That's what he says to Ygritte.

"Your sister has already pleaded guilty, even if I could do something to help, no judge will show her mercy."

"They won't show it to Jon either, if he ever gets accused." What is she talking about?

There it is, that glimmer in her eyes. Those blue pools covered in malice, she's plotting already. It's against Jon, but the target will always be Sansa.

"Accused of what?" The walls have ears, Ned's voice is slow and careful.

There's a chance that Ygritte might not be bluffing.

She laughs, there's no humor in it. "Jon always liked it rough, since your daughter doesn't provide him with it, " it's hard not to lash out, Ygritte is downright degrading his girl. "let's say he got a bit carried out. A little more and I would've been six feet under." Ned couldn't believe in her, he refused to hear anymore words coming from her mouth.

She was spitting pure venom.

"Goodbye." Ned never got the chance to get up and leave.

"There's a video. I had to tell the hotel staff it was a game of ours, no more than a kink, they bought it of course. Will the police do the same?" He knows they won't. "No, I don't think so. Help my sister get out of here, and try to make my stay short, I get bored easily. Or I'll have someone deliver that tape to the police. It's on your court now."

"Plead guilty and I'll help you, I can even arrange for you to move to Essos, start a new life." He was in no position to make demands whatsoever. "You know the judge won't ever let you take full custody of Emily."

"They probably won't, I know that. But if I'm in jail, and Jon is in jail too, who will look out for Emily? Sansa has nothing on her, do you truly want your granddaughter to be part of the system?"

Breath.

He's never been a violent man, never once did Ned raised a hand to a woman. That might be about to change. How can a mother, no matter the circumstances, submit a child to that?

Emily is theirs, the blood on her veins means nothing to him.

The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.

He has to protect his family, honor means nothing now.



 

Jon Snow

Sansa: Is it safe to go back home?

If someone were to read that text out of context they probably would think Jon has a bomb inside. All he has are just a few cans of paint, and even that is too much for Sansa.

Jon: All windows are opened, the smell is gone.

There was still some paint smells lingering in the air, but nothing like this morning. The smell was so bad that Sansa spent close to thirty minutes locked in the bathroom vomiting her breakfast, Jon insisted she had to go to the hospital, but she told him fresh air was all that she needed to feel better, so for over two hours now Jon has been alone at home, while Sansa is at the park with the kids.

Sansa: Thank God. The kids are getting crankier from all the heat, plus I'm starving.

In other words, Sansa wanted Jon to cook, no that he minded of course. He's no professional, but he can cook a mean burger, and what pregnant woman doesn't love that?

Jon: The walls are taken care of, tomorrow we can start decorating if you feel like it.

Sansa: I want to eat first, then we'll talk about decorations.

Jon: As my lady commands ;-).

I guess I better get going then.

It's only three pm, but Jon is already tired from all the effort he did this morning and afternoon, tomorrow he doesn't work because it's an holiday, yet that doesn't mean he gets to sit all day doing nothing, there's still so much to be done and time is running out. According to doctor Brienne, in about a month, or even less, Sansa will give birth to their baby boy, and only now as she decided to start preparing the baby's room, it's where Jon's office used to be, it's smaller then Emily's or Jacob's room, but it's enough for their new family member, plus the baby will be sleeping with Jon and Sansa those first few months. It was hard to convince Sansa they had to start doing something, she's still a bit nervous about the pregnancy, but having the confirmation last week from Brienne that it's all in her head, plus getting to hear the baby's heartbeat again - Jon can still vividly hear that sound -  was all the assurance she required, after that they spent hours buying all the baby was going to need, Sansa actually should receive a gift basket from Pinterest given that she's their top user.

Because this is the twentieth first century, Sansa feels that decorating the baby's room with blue colours is out dated, Jon agrees with it, honestly he never understood why there's established colours for boys and girls, there's thousands out there and sticking with just two seems rather silly. In the end they both compromised with a very light shade of grey for the walls, Sansa also had the idea of decoration the walls with trees and clouds, it reminds her of Winterfell, she even asked Jon to hang some fairy lights, but not too many and definitely not too bright. Right now, it's still very much an empty room, but he can already see Sansa's vision coming to live, and he couldn't be any happier for it. It's starting to look amazing.

Just like their own wedding.

It's only been a couple of weeks after Sansa's outburst, but now they're in speaking terms and that's all they've been doing. Talking and talking. They haven't been to counseling like in the past, maybe they should in the future, but for now the two of them are able to sit together and point out what they feel is wrong. For instance, Sansa told him she loves when Jon is spontaneous and surprises her, but it's better if he gives her an heads up and asks for her opinion instead of letting her find out just minutes before anything happens, she also wants him to respect her space for now, if there's something he wants to do then he should ask, and not just walk unannounced like he did that day they fought, it's still weird for Jon to hear her say those things, but he has to understand that Sansa still needs a lot of personal space, and that forcing her to give it up is wrong, she'll come to him when the time is right, Jon will be awaiting. Jon also shared some of his issues with her, he wants her to stop raising walls, if there's something troubling her she should just say it, and not keeping all in until it finally bursts, and the explosion is ten times bigger, Sansa also has to stop being worried about his feelings, he's lied about many things in the past, however is love for Sansa wasn't one of them.

They also promised not to lie to each other anymore, they'll always say the truth. Jon hasn't mentioned Ygritte yet, he wants to, but at the same time doesn't. It's complicated. Jon knows he made a promise to Sansa, and by omitting what he did he's already failing, yet Ygritte is in jail and will be for years to come, she can't hurt them anymore, Jon feels that talking about what he did to her will only open more hounds, and he doesn't want that especially when there's so many left to heal already. He's sorry for what he did, if Jon could turn back the clock that wouldn't have happened, it's something that he will live with for the rest of his days, it's one of his biggest lessons. All he can hope for now is be s better man, and never give Sansa reasons to feel unhappy.

The arrival of this new baby will start a new chapter in their life, they're going to move - it's still very much on the table -, they have a seven year old and a five year old, who can be two daredevils when they want to be, and even though they have the support of family and friends, this is something Jon and Sansa want to do by themselves. Their a family, and right now they need to help each other go trough this journey, it's one they aren't strangers of, but every baby is different, Jacob was always calm, whilst Emily was a little more feisty, this baby can be a mixture of both or not, they don't know but are about to discover, no matter how hard it will be, if they stuck together they'll make it.

*ding*

Sansa? No, I can't be.

It's been less than ten minutes since their text exchange, the park is close to their house, but not that close, plus Sansa has a key. Also there's no noise coming from the door, if it was Sansa and the kids Jon had to be hearing Emily's voice.

It can just very well be just a neighbor, or even the girls scouts or something, not every one stays at home painting in a Sunday. Quickly wiping his paint covered hands in his old jeans, Jon makes it for the door and the person standing at the other side actually scares him.

It's Ned, his father in law, but it could very well be a stranger. There's something in his face that just screams hurt and anger.

Ned gets enters, but makes no sound.

"What brings you here, Ned?" Jon isn't sure he'll get a reply.

For a while there's only silence.

"Is Sansa home?" Ned finally speaks, voice hoarse, hands balled into fists.

"No, actually I started painting the baby's room this morning, and the smell was a big strong so she went to the park with the kids. She's on her way her-"

Jon doesn't finish because in the blink of an eye he's being pushed against the wall, Ned's hands are currently wrapped around his neck, the force of being pushed alone was enough to make him gasp for air, Jon tries to fight back but to no effect, Ned is so much stronger that him, and right now it looks like something or someone took hold of his body, Jon is desperately moving yet he's stuck, his feet aren't even touching the floor. Ned's eyes are burning with rage and that reflects on his actions, Jon's vision is already coming blurry, his hears are thumping due to the pressure, and his head feels heavier than his whole body. For a moment Jon thinks he might just die at the hands of Ned Stark.

He doesn't know how long it's been, or if time even passed through them, but Ned finally releases his hold on Jon, his hands are still on his neck but Jon can finally breath, it's painful to do so, is troath feels raw and constricted.

"How could you?!" Ned's booming voice actually makes Jon shake with fear, never before has he feared someone else as much much as he does for his father in law. "I trust you, my family trusted you! We were all on your side, we were rooting for you, I respected you!" Jon's not sure, but he can swear there're tears in Ned's eyes. "And what you do? You almost killed someone, the mother of your daughter! The woman who lives to destroy my own!"

It's impossible for Ned to know about that, Jon never told a soul about it, it's only between him and Ygritte...exactly.

Ned must've been with her today, she probably told him the truth, but knowing Ygritte she always adds a little something to the story. How much does Ned knows?

Does he even know why?

None of it matters, Ned is one of the best men there are out there, facts are all the he cares about, and Jon strangling Ygritte is one. There's no way around that truth.

"I can...ah...let me expl...explain." Talking is torture, it's like there's embed glass down is troath.

"There's nothing to explain! You committed a crime, and like all others you've done, you're not the one paying for it!" Ned's wrong, but Jon doesn't dare to open his mouth again. "Sansa is! Your children, my family! They're the ones who pay for it!" Jon as no answer to that.

"You have until tomorrow morning to tell Sansa the truth, or I'll tell her myself." Jon knows this is not a threat, it's a warning. "She can still go to Winterfell without you."

And as if Jon was nothing more than a sack of potatoes, Ned let's him fall to the floor, and leaves the house. The door banding echoes around, and there's nothing else Jon can hear.

Until tomorrow...

They were fine, they won't be for much longer. He can wait for Ned to tell Sansa, instead of being the one who'll see her cry, but it has to be him. Sansa always loved him, but now...who can love a monster?

As if she knows Jon's thinking about her, the phone rings.

Sansa: Made a detour, kids wanted tacos. Can you set the table?

Jon does as she asked, because it's probably going to be the last time they're all eating together.

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

"Can I get you anything else, Miss?"

"No, I'm good with just the tea. Thank you." Sansa's hungry, and the lemon cakes on display look divine, but the heartburn isn't worth it.

The waitress gives a polite nod, and leaves.

It's been a while since Sansa has been in here, it's this small dinner just miles away from her house, if it wasn't for her huge belly, Sansa could've gone on foot. It feels good to be here, it's still relatively early, and so there's not many people, maybe herself and a couple other clients, elderly people. Being in this cozy little diner gives her some more much needed quiet, she hasn't had that in a while, not at home at least, but to be honest Sansa wouldn't want any other way. Her house finally feels like a house, there's no more awkward silence hanging in the air, Emily is finally laughing, Jon has been hammering walls day in and day out (the baby's room), Jacob has made a lot of friends during this school year, so now that summer vacation started, Sansa has spent her days with a bunch of seven year olds running around in her backyard, she loves every minute of it, and even more the fact that Jon has been there to witness and be part of it all, he's great with kids no matter whose kids they are. He's also great with her, more than she ever hoped to be possible, life is smiling upon all of them.

Yet, that joy has brought some consequences, ones she hasn't even realized.

Because Sansa has been so immersed in her family, and with everything that has been going on with it, the good and the bad, she lost track of her other family, the one she chose and the one she grew up with. Arya and Gendry just moved in together, Margaery is preparing to go to Highgarden so Podrick can meet her family, Sam and Gilly also want to have some quality time this summer with Little Sam, Robb and Talissa are getting ready for parenthood, so all of them are busy, and Sansa can't feel guilty of not being around much, she doesn't want to be in the way. But there's someone that is all alone, someone who was there for her when Sansa found herself in the same situation, Dickon Tarly.

Sansa hates being that person that relies on her friends when she's in need, and then neglects them when those same needs are fulfilled, she's never been that way. Yet that's exactly what she did to Dickon, when Jon came back, the time the two of them used to spend together was cut short, then when Emily was kidnapped Dickon never left, but Sansa was so focused in her own pain that she barely spared him a glance. It's a terrible thing to do, especially after everything Dickon has done for her, Sansa can now say he's her best friend, Dickon should be able to say the same thing about her, but that would be a lie.

"You should see him, it'll be good. I don't want you to stop doing the things you love or seeing the people you love, and I know that you love Dickon like he was your brother, so go. Have fun." That was probably one of the most mature things Jon has ever said or done.

Sansa didn't even broach the subject, Jon noticed by himself that Dickon wasn't around, and he was the one who wanted to change that. Sansa knows - even though there's no need for it - that Jon still has some issues in accepting her friendship with Sam's brother, but he's more than willing to swallow his pride to see her happy, going as far as to invite Dickon to their house, but Sansa refused. Both Jon and Dickon are cordial towards one another, ever since that day of Talissa's baby shower, there hasn't been anymore animosity between them, but still peace can be such a fragile thing, there's no need to rush anything, when the time comes Dickon and Jon will be in the same room with Sansa, and no one else. First she wants the two of them to get to know each other better, maybe they can even achieve something close to a friendship. Jon has showned her that is something he's comfortable with, Sansa is about to meet with Dickon, so she'll ask him if he indeed wants to spend time with Jon.

It's been fifteen minutes since she arrived, her tea is still pipping hot, no one else has entered the door, outside the sun is shining and the heat is increasing, Sansa already regrets her choice of drink, an iced tea or a natural juice would've been more fitting, but the North never left her veins, old habits die hard. Dickon called her not long ago, he was already in his car so by now he's probably just parking. Which is good, because it gives her some time to think of what to say, there's got to be an apology on her part.

Sansa doesn't have much time left, the bell above the door just chimed in, and with it came Dickon. He was wearing black shorts, and white tee and a cap, and was already sporting a huge grin on his face, it was contagious.

Dickon nearly ran to her, she was huge but that didn't prevent him from hugging her. "Oh! I missed you."

He's an important figure in her life, but Sansa always liked to believe she was one on his too, this hug tells her that.

"So...does Jon know you're here? Did you have to escape?" Dickon didn't mean it, Sansa knows, but his words hurt all the same.

So many keep thinking that Jon has her in the palm of his hand, so many still see her as hopeless fool in love with the big bad wolf. Dickon is subtle, but Sansa has learned to read people from a mile away, and Dickon is an open book.

If only they could see what I see.

"No." Her tone firmer than she wanted to be. "He's at home with the kids, they're decorating the baby's room." With that, Sansa hoped to soothe some of Dickon's concerns.

In the end, he doesn't hate Jon, he just wants what's best for Sansa.

Something like shame flashes trough his features. "Sorry if I sound like an idiot, I just don't want to cause you trouble."

"You won't, Jon was the one who told me to come. He's okay with it, more than okay actually." Jon also wants what's best for Sansa.

Dickon's eyes threaten to leave their sockets, he's in utter disbelief. After all, Jon Snow the one all keep saying has a temper shorter than Summer in Winterfell, the one who would punch whoever came near Sansa, he's the same one who now encourages her to see male friends. That's new to everyone, even Sansa herself.

"Wow...does that mean Jon likes me? Can I cancel my bodyguard?" This time it's a joke.

"I guess, that and probably he's over the moon in finally out of the house." Sansa hasn't been easy to deal with lately.

She's always been a bit of a control freak, and her condition doesn't allow her to be that anymore.

"Let me guess...you've been nagging him constantly about the nursery, right?"

Right, but I won't say it out loud.

"I...this is my baby's room, it better be perfect." She sounds so bossy right now, Jon must be so relieved she's not around.

The poor man works close to ten hours a day, and then when he's finally home hoping to catch a break, Sansa decides once again to change the colour scheme, or just the all decoration in general, there's so many ideas to choose from, and whenever Sansa feels she has the right one, another prettier shows up, it's a never ending cicle, and the physical labor all falls on Jon. But he's a big boy, he can deal with a bit of heavy lifting, those muscles aren't just for show.

God, those muscles. Sansa can swear every day there's a new one.

"And apart from that, how are things going with you two?"

"Dickon, we don't have to talk about me. I didn't invite you to be my personal therapist, there's other stuff we can discuss." Though Sansa wants someone who can hear her, she can't use Dickon for that.

It's all he ever does, there are few occasions where Sansa is actually the one offering him advice, Dickon barely gets to open up about his own personal problems because whenever there's a chance for it to happen, Sansa has at least three more issues than him. It's selfish of her, so today it's all about him.

"Your life is far more interesting than mine." That it is, a crazy rollercoaster. "But okay, here it goes. I'm still single and definitely not ready to mingle, work has pretty much been the same, I'm thinking about visiting my parents soon, probably Sam and Gilly are coming too, so that's all you've missed. Now it's your turn." Sansa doesn't know what she did do deserve someone like him in her life.

Always there to listen, always there to guide when the path seems unclear, Dickon is one of the best people Sansa has in her life, she doesn't want to lose that, she was close to, but she won't make that same mistake twice.

"Things have been hectic, but in a good way I suppose, the kids are doing great, Jon...well there are days I awake and can believe that he's real, you should see how much he's improved, not only with our relationship, but with everything else around him, I know it's hard to trust him after all he's done, but you should give him a change. Just like I did." Sansa pleads, it's not her job to do it, it's Jon's, but he can't.

Jon can't because no one will hear him, it is fault of course, he made his own bed to lay in, but Sansa wants things to go back to what they were, and the only way she can do that is by having her friends and family around without any tension in the air, she doesn't want to spend the holidays or any other special celebrations in a room full of people who just merely tolerate each other, everybody used to get along. Why can it be like that again?

"I don't have anything against Jon, Sansa... you're so important to me, I want you to know that you're my best friend, and I just want to see you happy, for a time you weren't all because of Jon, so yeah I was childish towards him, but I can see now that there's nothing to worry about, you look happy and apparently Jon is the cause of that. I can't promise me and him will become the best buddies, but I'll give it a try. For you." Dickon grabbed both of her hands in his. For some reason, Sansa was shaking.

"Thank you, it means the world to me."

After settling everything, after making sure that Jon returning home wasn't going to be changing a thing, Sansa and Dickon decided not to dwell on it anymore, and just went back to more pleasant subjects. Apparently, Dickon's life hasn't been as boring as he made it sound, there is actually a girl at his office that seems very interested in him, she even dropped a few hints during their lunch break, but Dickon hasn't made a move yet, Sansa knows exactly why, and that's one of the reasons she doesn't pressure him into doing something he's still not ready for, both Dickon and herself have been trough the same experience, her friend tried to commit suicide because of it, of course going out and maybe start a relationship with someone new is scary, Sansa has been married to Jon for almost twelve years now, and during that time when he cheated she was afraid of being close to him, afraid of what that could mean, it's so easy to forget once you've given all of yourself to the person that harmed you, you no longer are in control, life flashes trough your eyes but you're far away, just watching everything slip trough your fingers.

Sansa is passed that, or at least she thinks she is, truth is there something that doesn't leave her mind, it's always there no matter how hard she ignores it, and it chooses to appear in the most inopportune of times.

"Sansa, what is it?" It must be so visible because Dickon now he's looking worried, moments ago they were laughing.

Sansa ruined what could've been a perfect outing with her best friend.

"It's nothing really, just something between me and Jon." Actually it's more just something with Sansa, Jon has no idea.

And it'll remain that way, same goes for Dickon.

"I thought you said everything was fine. It's not, is it?" How can she answer that?

"It is...trust me, it is." Sansa barely sounds convincing.

The way Dickon's jaw is tensing, and the furrow of his eyebrows, tell her she can't get way without giving him something.

"You know you can tell me anything." But not this.

Maybe she'll say it to Gilly or Margaery, but never to Dickon. Their friendship is deep, but there are still things you just don't share with your male friend, it's too uncomfortable not only for Sansa, but probably for Dickon as well, he just doesn't know it yet.

"I rather not." Dickon gives her an exasperated look, almost begging. "Okay, you see...me and Jon have been sharing a bed, but that's it. Every night he holds me, he's so close and..." She can't find the courage to finish that sentence.

Her face is burning, and if Sansa were to look in the mirror right now, she's certain she will be red as a tomato. The fact that Dickon his smirking is not helping at all.

"You want to do something, right? You want to have se-"

"Please don't say it!" Her voice comes out in a squeal, it's so pathetic. "Let's not cross that bridge." Ever.

Sansa already said too much, she should've just kept it to herself like she's been doing for weeks now, then she wouldn't have to be having this discussion with Dickon, but at the same time she's glad she's talking with someone about it, she feels as if she's going to explode if she holds it in for much longer. It's the pregnancy, she keeps fooling herself, it's normal for women especially at this stage to feel horny, she's read about it, even Brienne assured that it's completely normal, yet, deep down it's more than just a pregnancy symptom, it's a need. A need to be with him, with Jon, it's been months since they've been connected that way, because that's what sex is for them, it's always much more than just a physical act, it goes beyond that, there's this connection between their bodies, it may seem cliché, but they just fit, two pieces of the same puzzle. She misses it, more than what she should, Jon misses it too, she can feel it, literally feel it, but he never acts on it, sometimes she whishes he would, because Sansa won't ever take that step by herself.

They've come so far, but maybe not that far. Maybe doing this will send everything else down the drain. Sansa will be at her most vulnerable, that has always been Jon's favourite time to strike...that Jon is gone. Maybe the old Sansa isn't, she's still too scared.

She was so focused that she barely noticed that Dickon has started talking.

"Sorry...you were saying?"

"You and Jon are not a hundred percent, yet, it's clear to see, but you aren't ten percent either, maybe, how should I say this?" He paused for a second. "Maybe, you know, being together intimately is actually what you two need, you've already surpassed every obstacle, except that one. Who knows if crossing that barrier may help, if you do it, if you feel like it's still the same way as it was the first time around, then that means nothing is lost, there's still Sansa and Jon, and that's worth fighting for. It's not my business, but if I were you, I would take that leap of faith. But I'm not you, do what makes you happy."

Dickon...what would I do without you?


 

It was suspiciously quiet when she arrived home, most likely because it was such a sunny day, Jon and the kids were in the backyard, still she should be able to hear their voices. It's so strange to be welcomed by silence, for months it has been her dearest friend, but now it's foreign, she hoped that those days were gone. She's probably just overthinking.

As she knew it already, the backyard door was wide open, but from her position she couldn't see a thing, they must be further back, next to a tree Jon had planted when they first moved in.

"It's not as big or pretty as the one in Winterfell, but it's ours, it's home." They were so young back then. So naive.

It's still home, it's always been home. It just needs a few adjustments, that's all.

Slowly, Sansa goes outside and what she sees does not disappoint, it's true that Jon should be working on the nursery - they still haven't finished with the wall, and there's furniture that needs to be assembled - but the sight that Sansa encounters quickly makes her forget all about that, they still have one month to go, but who knows how long can this that she's seeing now will last?

That's why she can't take her eyes off it, a hurricane could be at her door, and Sansa still wouldn't move an inch. It's so beautiful, so perfect, it's how it has always been. Jon is wearing one of her kitchen aprons as a cape, one hand holds an empty cereal box, while the other holds a cardboard tube from one of the wallpapers they bought, behind there's Emily, she's wearing a plastic tiara and a tutu skirt - it no longer fits - and bright pink leggings, Jacob is nowhere to be found, Sansa knows this game well. Both her husband and daughter are moving very cautiously, occasionally Jon stops and whispers something to Emily, Sansa is out of earshot. Everything is quiet, that is until Jacob jumps from behind the tree, and starts running off towards Jon and Emily, he too is carrying a cardboard tube just like his father, he doesn't have a "cape", but for some reason he's wearing rubber boots, and a bicycle helmet, immediately Jon crouches down and Emily climbs onto his back.

"Daddy! He's going to attack!" Emily screams, laughter erupting in her voice.

This is the happiest Sansa has seen her since that day when...it doesn't have a place in the present anymore.

"Fear not, milady! I, Ser Jon, will keep you safe." Jon sounds so theatrical it's almost comical.

And people still call him broody, right now that doesn't exist. He's looking so carefree, so young and happy, those crinkles near his eyes are mesmerizing, oh...how she missed them.

"Surrender yourself!" Jon starts clashing tubes with Jacob, carefully of course, after all Emily is on his back.

They keep fighting, it can hardly be called a fight because right now they're more busy laughing, rather than doing anything else.

"Daddy, he's winning!" Emily is right, Jacob keeps dodging Jon's blows.

He's always been a fast child, and there's no questioning that Jon is indeed letting him take this victory. But not for long, because his princess needs him to win, and so Jon resorts to a bit of cheating, he uses Jacobs's weakness, tickles.

In no time, all three of them are rolling around in the grass, the tables have turned for Jon, now he's being attacked by two very energetic children who keep tickling him. Jacob had to get that from someone.

They are having so much fun, it's written all over their faces, their laughter, if it wasn't for the pregnancy, for sure Sansa would be there as well, even now it's so tempting to do it. But she won't, mainly because her mother instincts start to kick in, as much as she enjoys watching them like this, there is still the fact that both Jacob and Emily are wearing day to day clothing, instead of old one, and Sansa doesn't feel like spending an afternoon trying to remove grass stains from their clothes, and Jon he's wearing jeans, that is the worst fabric when it comes to stains. She could ignore it, they can always buy new clothes, but going to the mall with Jon and actually convince him to buy something other than a black t-shirt is a miracle, she doesn't have the energy for such thing, he'll just have to make do with what he has now, or he can always go solo, but that's a one in a million occurrence.

"Christ, you're worse than them."

"Well, kids clothes are easy to pick. It's all the same."

"Yeah, because your wardrobe is the synonym of variety."

Sweeter days those were, they're on the horizon once again.

And this time it's not an illusion, it's the real deal. After so many storms, safe land is finally in sight, there's only a few more miles to travel, and even those are going to be easy, they have everything to make this work, it's not luck, it's hard work. Sansa has given all she got for this, put hours into it, she never, not even once, gave up. She did it because she wanted, she still does. What others think isn't relevant anymore, not when she gets to experience this she is at the moment, not when her family is thriving.

"Okay, playtime is over." She begins separating all three of them. "Let's get you something to eat." She hates being the party popper, it's a dirty work but somebody has to do it.

"Mommy! Mommy! I won!" Emily says, very proud and excited with herself.

"Dad cheated, I was winning!" Jacob gestures, extremely offended. It's not real.

But thank God Emily still doesn't know sign language fluently, otherwise those two could've started fighting, they're best friends, yet as Starks competitiveness is embedded in them. It reminds Sansa so much of her relationship with Arya, their father would sometimes cheat as well for the sake of his daughters, safe to say that never ended well.

"Thank you for saving me, my queen." Jon is still laying on the ground, he called Sansa a queen, but he's the one acting as such.

Panting and sweating, almost as if he had gone to a real medieval war, when all he did was got tackled to the ground by two toddlers.

"I can't be out of the house for more than ten minutes." Sansa used her sarcasm against him.

Jon has to stop grinning, it's not helping with those emotions she's been having for weeks now.

"Just so you know, I had it all under control."

"Really?! I wouldn't have guessed." Jon laughs and she does the same.

But when Jon gets up, and Sansa goes in for a kiss something makes him hesitate, and that bubbly and childish expression vanishes from his face, she doesn't ask why. Maybe she should.

Later that night, Sansa was just putting both kids to bed, it wasn't hard given how busy today was, after they had lunch, they decided to play some more, so Sansa sat in the backyard under the shade, while she watched Jon play with them, it went on for quite some time actually, by the end of it Jacob and Emily were practically sleeping on their feet, they even had dinner sooner than most days, and now by eight pm they're already sleeping, it's rare these days. Sansa will make the most out of that situation.

She's talked to Brienne earlier this week about having intercourse with Jon, it was a very awkward conversation, but she survived through it. Despite wanting him very much, Sansa still wants what's best for the baby, and if Brienne said it was off limits, then Sansa wouldn't do a thing, but that wasn't the case. Her doctor said that given her condition and how far along she is, having sex might be risky, but that doesn't prevent Sansa from doing some foreplay, as long as there's no penetration involved, Sansa and Jon can try other things.

It's more than okay, and honestly Sansa doesn't know how far she's willing to go just yet, maybe sticking with kissing and touching will be more than enough, the rest will come with time.

Jon was already in bed when she arrived at the room - nowadays they take turns with the kids routine -, he was actually reading one of her maternity books, it's the first time she sees him doing it, it makes her heart swell up with love, he's doing so well, there's not a doubt in her mind that Jon will not be a good father, with Jacob and Emily it took some time, but with this baby it will be instantaneously. He's working on that, for that.

He's been very quiet all day, or maybe since she arrived earlier, it's probably nothing and Sansa is making a big deal out of it, Jon has had so much on his hands lately, he's just tired. She knows that feeling well. Their little family can be quite the handful sometimes, and now with summer break even more, now they have two kids in the house all day long, and to make it even more exhausting, Jon works for none other than Stannis Baratheon, it's not easy.

"Learned anything?" She said as she joined him, tonight she decided to wear only a maternity night gown.

Only that, nothing else.

She's ready for this, it's all that's left to do. And she wants to, more than anything right now. Almost as much as the air she needs to breath, it's goes beyond just natural desire, it goes beyond human comprehension even.

"Pregnant women are badass, that's it, that's what I learned." She never felt badass before.

Yet being in here with Jon, the way he's looking at her, he tries to conceal it but Sansa doesn't miss it, this does make her feel powerful. Here he is, a man hardened by life, that now he's practically drooling does give her some confidence, it makes her feel sexy and wanted, maybe it's wrong to be thinking this way, but it feels good.

Minutes later, they're both cuddling, this is familiar, it's what they've been doing for weeks, but it's time to navigate uncharted waters, Sansa is about to return to a place she knows only to well, it's up to her. Jon will never do it, not until she asks him to.

Unable to find the right words, Sansa goes for actions, she lets her body tell his what hers is seeking. Her back is pressed against his chest - Jon is always shirtless in bed - both of his hands are securitly cradling her belly, he's not a sleep, but he's breathing tells her Jon is not very far from it, when he sleeps it's like a rock so there's not much time. Shyly, Sansa begins rubbing herself against his crotch, she doesn't want him to know its on purpose, she pretends to be asleep and that her movements are caused by a dream or something, it doesn't take long for her to feel it poking her lower back, unconsciously she finds herself smirking, and that turns into a full grin when Jon actually groans, it's crazy the amount of restraint he's displaying right now.

Knowing she'll have to be the one in charge, Sansa takes his hands from her belly, and moves them a bit higher, they're not touching her breasts yet, just mere inches away, still it's more than enough to ignite a flame in her, now that she's started, Sansa can't stop.

"Sansa..." It's something between a plea and a warning.

"Shh...let go." Her voice is sultry, her movements are seductive, and her touch is soft.

Jon starts kissing her neck, one hand goes up, the other goes down, he's barely doing a thing and Sansa is already moaning is name. Those hands were made for her body, Jon knows how to touch, where to touch better than he probably knows himself, he's gently yet underneath it there's a primal instinct, he keeps it in but once is out there's nothing to be done to stop it, right now it's coming to the surface, his teeth start grazing her pulse point, sometimes he nips at her earlobes, at that Sansa swears she can see stars, she barely knows her own name anymore, what started as just a spark is now a full fledged fire, it's spreading lower and lower, there's an ache, it's been there for a while but never like this, never in a way that makes her scream in frustration, she's getting wet, her body flushed and desperate, yet Jon does nothing to help her, his teasing her. Once she might've enjoyed it, how he took his time, and how special he made her feel, but she doesn't need it now, she needs something else. She wants that sweet release that only Jon knows how to provide, he is her one and only, but Sansa isn't sure if any other man could ever make her feel this way.

It's very hard and awkward, but Sansa manages to crane her neck to the side, so she's facing Jon, when her lips lock on his everything is forgotten, they've kissed many times before, but never like this, it's passionate, it's hunger mixing with lust, Jon is a man seeking something, Sansa is a woman more than willing to give it to him; it's months of bottled up feelings that never left, feelings that can't be put to words, that no matter what will always whit hold against the test of time; it's her past, her present and her future, it's herself, she and Jon no longer are individuals, outside of this room perhaps when there're others, but surrounded only by these walls they're one.

"Please...touch me." She's the one begging now in between kisses.

Her hands move as well and start massaging Jon's very prominent bulge trough his shorts, it's all it takes for him to lose his inhibitions. As if she weighted no more than a feather, Jon flips her to her back, and starts devouring her neck, his hands rubbing her nipples, she just wants to take this damned nightgown off, she can feel the warmth coming from his hands, still she seeks for more.

Jon isn't making coherent sentences anymore, only growls and grunts come out of his mouth, it's hard to tell but Sansa is probably doing the same, there's a very high chance that those noises aren't even from Jon.

"I love you, my Jon...mine..." It doesn't have the desired effect.

Jon was in a trance and what Sansa said just freed him from it. His body is no longer close to hers, he almost ran away.

Sansa sits up and tries to get closer, but he refuses.

"We can't...please...stop!" There's fear in his eyes.

It scares her, not his tone or how he's looking, but what he feels, she can feel it too. He's so hurt.

"Jon...I talked to Brienne, it's safe. I want to...I want you."

"You want to because you don't know the truth."


 

Her mind is still racing, her body numb, she was hit by a bomb - it's the only way she has of explaining it -, nothing else exists, only his words remain. Each one heavier then the last. Sansa knew it, or at least had an idea of what had happened that day, but nothing could ever be as gruesome as what he said.

We need to talk.

Sansa no longer had the allusion that Jon was a prince charming, but still, murderer was a word she never thought she would use to describe her husband.

He's not a murderer! Her mind keeps saying.

What he did wasn't murder, so Jon can be called that, but what else can she say?

He did try to kill someone, maybe that was his intention after all. Something stopped him, but he could've kept going.

Then everything would be different. It already is.

"Sansa...say something...Sansa!" He's here right in front of her, she can feel him, yet she can't reach for him. "Precious..." And with that she comes back.

Back to what?

Minutes ago, she had something to return to, now...what's in here? Who's in here?

"Are you okay? The baby..." Jon is thorned between holding her, or stepping back. It's plain to see.

Sansa doesn't know which alternative is the best.

"He's fine." I'm not. "Jon..." There is so much Sansa wants to say, but nothing comes out.

There's a lump in her troath, it's too heavy, almost as heavy as the tension hanging in the air. It's crazy how just a few words can make someone's whole entire world turn, disappear even. Not long ago, she told him say that she loved him, now all that's left is something Sansa can't even begin to deal with, how does one finds the strength to deal with such matter?

How can she make the right choice when that same choice might be the last nail in the coffin?

There are things in this live that not even the most powerful of loves can forgive, this is one of them. Right?

It should be, but it can't be. Sansa doesn't want it to. Once again, love is blinding her. Yet, once again Jon has lied to her, he kept her in the dark because in his mind, Sansa is too weak to handle the truth. He's not the only one, they all do it, even now after all she's accomplished, all she's done by herself, all that Sansa Stark has become, people still see her as a hopeless little girl with stupid dreams that never learns.

"If you wish it with all of your strength it will come true." That's what she says to her children, because in a way it's the truth.

Now she says something to herself along those lines. She has a wish to.

"Tell me this is not real, you didn't do it."

But he did, he always does something. Sansa opened her heart, she had good reason not to, but for Jon that reason always vanishes.

Until what?

This should be her breaking point, no one can or should forgive such a thing, Ygritte is a monster, but beneath it she's still a human being, she has a life and no one but God has the right to take that away.

"It's been months, and yet only now you're telling me this, I was ready to forgive you, to give myself to you!" She can't stop her voice from rising, nor the tears from coming. "Why you keep doing this to me?! Do you enjoy it?!"

He must, that's the only thing that makes sense right now.

"Of course not, I love you." This time, Jon did try to get close.

Sansa got out of the bed, his touch heals and she doesn't need that, she just needs the truth.

"It's not enough!" She nearly screamed, every breath is painful.

"I was ashamed! Jon never spoke to her this loud before, it's a good thing the door is locked. "I know what I did, there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about it, I can still see it so clearly in mind, her face, how she begged for her life, and how I almost denied her that request, but I also see the way you look at me, like there's some good inside, I want to believe there is. I didn't tell you because...we were getting better, you were finally giving us a change, and so I chose to bury that secret, it's enough that I have to carry it, asking you to do the same is just cruel." Jon was next to her, she barely registered how. "Please...I almost lost you because of Ygritte, the thought of being in a world where you're just part of my memory it's...Sansa I'm not that person anymore, trust me. I love you, because of that I want to be a good man, you make me become that, you've seen it...I don't want to be a monster anymore." He's crying, Sansa doesn't even move away when his hands cradle her face, or when his lips almost touch hers.

"I know you weren't in a good place, you were sick, but that doesn't make it okay, it doesn't change what you did. Ygritte is in jail for a crime she commited, the same goes for Anna, yet here you stand. How is that fair?" Jon may no longer be that man, but is crime doesn't go away just because of that.

Jacob and Emily don't deserve to see their father behind bars, Sansa doesn't want to see that either. Yet, her honor is making this hard.

"It's not, I know it. I also know that what happened won't happen twice, blaming my alcoholism is not the solution for everything, it never was, that's why I'm not going to be using it anymore. I did what I did because I wanted to, but I stopped because I'm better than that. All my life I was told otherwise, everyone keeps saying it, everyone but you. That day it was your voice that took my hands away from Ygritte's neck, it was you who saved her life, and it was you who keep saving mine. You were the one who made me seek help, the one who made me survive all those months in Castle Black, you believe in me, I know you do, and that's the difference between me and Ygritte. I have someone who knows all my secrets, who's seen all my mistakes, and yet that same person knows I'm much more than just that, you give me hope and strength to wake up every day wishing to be better than the last, because that's the only way I'll be worthy of you someday. I love you, it's the only thing I know how to do, it's the only thing I want to do. I love you more than I hate Ygritte or any other that deserves my hatred. For years I was guided by revenge, but you showed me a better way, even now you keep doing that, now I know what you deserve, now I know what kind of person I want to be. I lost that right, but please forgive me."

Jon has cheated, he has lied, he has hurt others, but he also loved her, loves their children, he's there for her, he's gave her strength when strength was unknown to her, if she made him a better man, then Jon as also made her a better woman. She can decide to think about something she no longer has the power to change, or she can move on, finally move on. This is the last secret, that much she knows, what happens from now on is still a blank canvas, the past cannot be changed, the present is too quick to act upon it, and the future is not set in stone. She can't condone Jon for what he did, she could but it's too late already, Ygritte didn't deserve it - no one does - but she pushed him, Sansa saw her doing it to her, she almost killed her own child because of the poison that woman planted on Sansa's mind, Ygritte knows how to tip the glass in the wrong direction, she turns the tide into her favour. It doesn't change what Jon did, it doesn't make it less bad, but it gives her something. Hearing him now, shows her that he regrets it, and that's the difference between the man and the monster, he lives with those mistakes, they torment him, he's aware of every single one of them, he knows better than to repeat it. He's Jon.

No matter what he was, all that she has is what he is now, and it's good, he's good. Jon's right, she has seen it. If she gives him a chance, Sansa will keep on seeing it.

"I forgive you."

Chapter Text

Part II

Jon Snow

"I forgive you." Sansa said.

She didn't mean it, how could she?

Jon asked for it, begged in fact, but he couldn't see why he did such a thing. Why did he ask for Sansa's forgiveness, when he hasn't even forgive himself yet?

"How is that fair?"

It's not, Sansa wasn't just trying to hurt him, she wasn't fighting, she was being reasonable. Ygritte is horrible, apparently Anna is no better - Jon hates that she turned out like that -, but just like them, Jon is a criminal, if something is crimes are far worst than the ones they've committed. Yet he wakes up every morning in his bed, goes to work, returns home to his wife and children, while those two are behind bars, because that's where they belong, but so does Jon.

Right now, as he sits on the porch smoking a cigarette, with nothing but the moonlight and the quiet of the night to keep him company, Jon begins to wonder what is the right decision. He's been wondering all of his life, but never reached that goal, he's always been clueless. Now there're two choices sitting in front of him, keep Sansa and the children, or face trial for his many crimes?

Being in jail does not scare him, spending months, maybe even years surrounded by man equally despicable as himself, is not something Jon fears, it what he deserves, he knows he can handle it, it's no worst than rehab, he's done it before, and somehow survived - cheated is way trough it - he can do it again, this time he'll play fair.

What he cannot do is being away from her.

Sansa is Jon's salvation, but also his curse. When it comes to her there's no control, nothing he wouldn't do, and that's terrifying. He's gotten to the point where his love is so overpowering, that makes wrong seem right, sinful turn holy, a crime feel like a good deed, but it's not her fault. It's his.

He opened that door, he was the one who lost control, and along the way himself, Jon no longer knows who he is, what he is. He doesn't know how to be who Sansa deserves, every time he thinks he's got it, Jon ends up by going back to square one.

"Do you enjoy it?"

He shouldn't, only a very sick and twisted person would inflict pain on others, and get a kick out of it. Ramsay Bolton, and now Jon?

It's hard to tell.

It's exactly like he said to Sansa just minutes ago, he wants to be a good man, she makes him do it, but it was never her job. Jon made it hers, he has so little self love, that being good no longer depends on him, but on others. He needs help. He's always needed it, but has been too much of a screw up to ever go look for it, if they can't see it, then it's not there.

Jon needs to find Jon, he needs to stop hurting them, Sansa, Emily, Jacob, Arya, Ned, Catelyn... wow, Jon has hurt every single person who made their way into his life. Maybe he truly enjoys inflicting pain upon others. Maybe that good he thought still linger doesn't even exist anymore. That wouldn't be surprising.

But that's not him, or at least that's not who he used to be. He promised to change, he's desperate for it. It has to be done before it's too late, if he loses Sansa now, then she's lost for good, his children who he loves with every single fiber in his being, will hate him for the rest of their life. There's only so much she can keep forgiving, and even if she does, Jon won't allow it. He doesn't want it, he has to learn. But he never did, or does.

"I thought you quit." Her voice doesn't startle him.

Jon was expecting her, she always comes back. Much to his shame, Jon doesn't stop her.

You shouldn't be here, I lost that right.

"So did I." Jon left on purpose to buy a pack of cigarettes, despite being without them for so long. Now, the taste is odd, bitter and plain.

It's like tasting himself, it's what runs through is veins.

But is this or the bottle. Even now he still craves for it, it still whispers in his ears, Jon's hands always looking for it. His only friend for years. He's lost that, but the will never leaves. It's engraved deep in him.

"Can you come back inside?" Sansa asks, her voice is steady.

Jon's back is still turned, he's afraid of looking at her right now. Her voice may not show it, but her tear stained face will, Sansa's suffering and once again Jon's the reason. He made her happy, but that was yesterday. Those days are gone, for a fleeting second they were at hands reach, Jon crumpled that all into dust. He breaks everything he touches.

"You deserve better." So much better.

A better man than the one who can't even face her right now, a proper husband, and a worthy father for their children, a better life than the one Jon is offering. What Sansa needs is a new life, Jon doesn't think he should be part of it, but is selfishness speaks louder.

"I do." At least Sansa acknowledges it too. "And that's why you're still here... you're better than this." There's so much sincerity and hope that Jon has no other choice but to believe her.

She brings out whatever good is left in him. If there's not any, Sansa can create it from scratch. She's done it again and again, Jon was too much of a jerk to take it.

After hearing that Jon decides enough is enough, he won't cry, he will never again feel sorry for himself, yes, his life was a mess, but so were the lives of so many others, still they didn't turn out to be alcoholics and murderers. It wasn't Rhaegar, it wasn't Elia, it was no one, Jon destroyed his life on his own. And he's also the only one right now who can turn it around.

Ask and you shall receive.

He asked for forgiveness, but in order to get it, Jon still has one thing left to say to Sansa. She needs to know.

It isn't that Jon lied about it, he just never spoke about that subject. Whenever he tried his voice would falter, keeping it away lessens the pain, if he's not thinking about then it's not causing him any harm. That's probably the only part of Jon that is still so unclear, he's never dealt with it. Out of sight, out of mind. But he can't do that to Sansa, he doesn't know why he's pondering telling her, but she has the right to know.

"My mother." Just saying something so small and simple like that is enough to make a thousand buried memories come back to life.

Sansa is no longer standing up, she's sitting right next to him. Still, he can't face her, if he does he'll remain quiet.

What he's about to say is almost a secret to even himself, there's only one person in this whole world that knows about this. Catelyn Stark, he told her that day in Winterfell, the day she gave him another opportunity, one that years later Jon would end up by wasting. Maybe talking about it is what it's necessary, in the past it was what healed him, it's who he is, Jon just never chose to accept it, and ever since that he's been living a lie. He knows who he is, he's always known, just never made peace with that. This is all that is left from a past he desperately seeked to erase, a man he was, the real Jon Snow. It's the only thing he can't face, it's what makes him fail, saying it out loud is going to free him from that burden, but it also can be the last thing he ever says to Sansa. No matter what, he's going to do it, this is the help Jon needs.

Find yourself.

Be yourself.

Tell her.

"Jon, why are you saying that?" No doubt Sansa is taken aback, after all he's only mentioned that person to her four or five times in all the time they've been together.

Lyanna Snow is practically a stranger to Sansa. And a ghost to Jon. Nothing but a shadow.

"My mother... she died giving birth to me." He killed her, and ever since then he's been paying the price.

Everyone says she was good, she was kind, Lyanna was the only person in this world who could make Rhaegar Targaryen cry. Jon was just a boy when he first saw it, that made him feel sorry for his father, and ever since that moment Jon could never truly hate him. Not when Rhaegar had lost so much already.

"Jon, don't." He knows why Sansa is saying that.

There's a reason why he never speaks about his mother, one of the few times he did someone had to call one of his friends to pick him up from some gutter, he was in college, Sansa had only seen him a couple of times, but the news spread like a fire, Sansa never mentioned it to him, but Jon knows that she wasn't oblivious. Lyanna is the only thing that Jon never truly made amends for, she had so much to live, she was so young, only eighteen, a naïve girl with a heart of gold, she was trusting and just like Sansa, his mother only saw the good in people, she was that one person who made Rhaegar feel like Jon does when he's with Sansa, worthy of love. Someone - he doesn't recall the name - once told Jon that his mother wished to see the world, she was too wild for just Westeros, this place wasn't ready for her, in a very wrong way she did see the world, she saw the worst, and never got a chance to change that because Jon didn't allow it to happen, he took her life. His first breath was her last.

"I do. I can't keep lying to myself, this is what started everything, a decision I made in the past and that up until now has been dictating our all present. You deserve the truth, you need to know what I did."  That was the first step into becoming the monster he is now, he can't keep denying what has been so visible for so long.

Most of all, it's the only thing that remains from all the secrets he's kept from Sansa. Maybe because it's Jon's darkest one.

"Do I want to?" Everything made it look like Sansa didn't want to. For a moment she seemed ready to go back inside.

Just minutes ago she was hit with the revelation of what Jon did to Ygritte, is still fresh, and will keep on being for a while. His mind keeps screaming that this is not the right time, but his son is going to be here very soon, in order to be a good father, Jon has to face what he did to his other child, how he almost...

Sansa is about to hear it, but Jon doesn't know how to say it. She's right next to him, her hands are far away, but her eyes never leave him. She's searching for something, she may not like what she finds.

"It's necessary."

This was the beginning, Jon has to revisit and finally put and end to it. He wants a fresh start, for that he's willing to feel all that pain again.

"That night... when I woke up with you screaming in pain, with blood everywhere, on you, on the sheets, the floor...I knew already that we had lost our child, it was so hard to accept it but I had to, it was the only thing I could do after all that I saw, and you saw it too, and I know you shared the same feeling." Sansa made a choking sound, between a sob, and plea to stop. Jon didn't want to disturb her, but he was already too far to stop. "Then in the hospital, the doctors said that it was just a false alarm, that Jacob was going to be fine, I was so happy, so relieved, but that was cut short because in that same moment they told me you could die. I could only think about one thing, one person, my mother and what happened to her, what that caused to my father, how that single moment in time shaped my whole life. My mother was the reason of his life, the same way you are mine." Jon and Rhaegar are so similar, their lives are full of parallels. "How could I ever move on knowing was I going to be alone? Worst, how could I ever love a child that would just be a constant proof that you weren't with me anymore?" Sansa almost grabbed is hand, something made her hesitate. "That was the moment I forgave my father, because at that moment I knew what it was like, I saw myself in the exact place as him, and I knew that if something were to happen I would've become him." And at the time Jon didn't know what was worst.

He never became his father, instead he turned into a monster.

"I'm here, alive and well, so is Jacob. That's all that matters, the worst could've happened, but it didn't. Don't let that haunt you, it's not real, and I know that you have to much of her in you," Sansa never knew his mother, but she was referring to her. "to ever be like him." Sansa always had all the answers, but she's wrong now.

Jon hates to admit it, but he's not like his mother. If she were alive, she would be heartbroken for the child she put into this world, and the man that child end up being. Sometimes it's hard to believe that she's his mother, he never met her, only saw a picture, old and faded, collecting dust amongst his father's things, but just that one quick glance in the dead of night when he was fourteen, was enough to know. His mother's eyes carried nothing but love, joy, and something else Jon still doesn't know, but he hasn't found it in his own eyes yet. Lyanna was everything Jon could never be. She would never hate a child for being born, she would never fault others for something no one has control of it, Jon did all that. Jacob was still a baby resting in his mother's womb, and Jon was already blaming him, he almost made his only son at the time go trough a faith no one should go trough. Sansa is so strong, she was going to make it, Jon chose not to see it, instead he began planning her funeral in his head, he started thinking on a world without her in it. He never had faith, he gave up hope right the second the doctor spoke, he was weak. It's been years, Jon still thinks about it, he still hates himself. That's why he can't fix a damn thing. It's not possible, not when the first one is still hidden.

"It's not that simple. You're right, you and Jacob survived, but so did those things I said. That's why I couldn't be next to you two, every time you would hand Jacob to me, when I had him in my arms safe and sound, when he smiled at me like I was some sort of hero..." Jon had to swallow a sob that threatened to come out at any moment.  "I could only think that there was a time when I couldn't love him, I was going to make him go through what I did as a child, because you almost died. I was ready to condone an innocent for something beyond our reach, if something happened I should be thankful I had him, at least a part of you would always be with me, instead I... I nearly became what hurt me the most, and by doing that Jacob would turn out like me. So I left, I couldn't be at home, and I couldn't be conscious, getting drunk seemed like the right choice at the time, it was the only thing that could lessen the guilt. Even now it still weights on me, when you went to the hospital months ago it came back. It's a part of me." That sob did escape, several of them.

So strong that were making his whole body tremble, his sight was covered in tears, the faint street lights were now nothing more than a blur, Sansa's hands were shaking as well, or at least Jon had that impression.

"Why did you kept that with you for so long? Why did you let it torment you?!" He still wasn't looking at her, but that soon changed because Sansa took hold of his face. Her blue eyes were the only thing he could truly focus on, they were pulling him out of the darkness. "I was always there, I wanted to do something, but I couldn't because you didn't talk to me, if you did... I would've helped." Sansa says unsure, not even she knows if she could've helped him during that period of their life.

She was as broken as him, after all she was the one who faced death, who carried a child knowing every day could be his last, she was the one who needed help. Jon made her feel worst with his actions and unspoken thoughts.

"No, you would've hate me." You should've.

"I wouldn't. I can't hate you for something it's not true, you love Jacob, it's been clear since he came into this world, you love Emily even if her birth caused us so much pain, and you love this child so much already." One of her hands took his and guided it to her stomach. "You were scared, I know that because I was too, I didn't want to die or lose my baby, you weren't the only one who wronged, I too did that, I kept you away throughout the whole pregnancy because I felt like a failure," Jon made her feel that way with his lack of support. Sansa doesn't need to be apologizing. "I couldn't even keep my child safe, and in doing, so I made you feel worse than you already were, without knowing, I made you think you were right. We both did things which we regret, but that was years ago, since then everything has changed, we're a family. Let me be your family, me and our children. Please... forget about that person, that's not who you are." Is it?

Sansa is here, she's his family, Jacob and Emily. The ghosts from days they can't even remember have no place in their life. She's right, it's all different, none of his fears came through, meaning it's more than time to let them go, embrace this chance and make the most out of it. To make up for lost time, to fix himself and not the things around him, they're fine, Jon's not. Sansa is here and that's all he needs to be fine.

Jon now fears that the damage he has caused to himself, might prevent all of that to happen.

"Why are you so good to me? I don't deserve it, I'm nothing."

Sansa's so close, their noses touching one another, her lips hovering his. "Everyone matters especially the ones who don't know it yet." She whispers in his ear.

After that, Jon was left speechless for some reason, he couldn't move. Sansa grabbed his hand and guided him trough their house, Jon kept looking at all the pictures, they needed to be updated, the ones hanging on the wall were taken so long ago, when it was perfect. When they reached their bedroom, Jon was emotionally drained, he was so tired that taking his clothes seemed like an impossible task, Sansa helped him remove his clothing, sat him down and brushed his hair, her hands massaged his shoulders, he didn't ask for it, but here she was loving him. They laid down together, Sansa kissed him and that brought him back to life, gave him strength. Jon kissed her, she kissed him back, her kisses carefully placed, gentle, calming those demons in his head, Jon's were passionate, his words were failing, so he said everything he needed to say in kisses, he apologized, he cried, somehow even laughed, maybe he had gone mad; she touched his whole body, traced his scars, it was light, almost like a feather roaming Jon's body, but they told him everything he needed to know. Jon couldn't keep contained, his grip was strong, not in a way that could hurt her, but in a way that showed Sansa that he hasn't stopped fighting, that she's the one, the only one, her moans were a melody for the cries of agony in his hears, her grip on his hair as Jon kissed every single inch of skin he could find, was a balm to his wounds.

That night was for Sansa, Jon didn't care about his pleasure. She deserved to feel good, he could wait, he wants to wait until he's worthy of claiming her body. When she came with Jon's mouth buried between her legs, it was his name Sansa spoke. Jon loved the way she said it, it made him feel like something. For just a few minutes, Jon mattered.

"Jon... promise me something." Sansa broke the silence that had settled between them, she was still in a daze from what happened just a minute ago.

Sansa's face and chest were flushed red, her breath coming in soft pants, her hair in a disarray, right now she looked like an angel.

"Anything you want."

"Don't keep me in the dark, whenever you feel like something is troubling you, just say it to my face. Otherwise, was the point of even keeping this going?"

Jon didn't want to ruin the moment, but Sansa asked.

Ask and you shall receive.

"It's about Ygritte..." For a while he couldn't finish, with just a look Sansa made him talk. "Ygritte will use what I did against us, against Emily, against Jacob. She already did, she took our daughter away." Ygritte might be in jail, but that means nothing.

"For years I was scared of her, but not anymore. You know why?" Jon shook his head.

"Because we were fractured, that was her only advantage, she knew exactly where to hit. If we stay together as a family there's nothing we can't endure" Sansa kissed him.

They didn't say much after that, she fell asleep quickly, Jon didn't. He was pondering all the different ways he could follow trough to make her happy. To make his family happy.

They'll endure.

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

The pain started at dawn, Sansa ignored it thinking it was just Braxton Hicks contractions, just like it had been the day before, and the one before that, but they've never lasted this long, or were this strong. There's nothing to stop it, Sansa is going into labor in the middle of a soccer field, she shouldn't have left the house, there's still two weeks left before her due date. Instead of being at home, she's here half an hour away from it, and almost one from the hospital. She could call an ambulance, or even Jon, he's working but with just a phonecall he would drop everything to come pick her up, but there's also someone else who needs to be picked up, after all that's the whole point of why Sansa is here, she promised Jacob she would see him practice and afterwards they would have lunch just the two of them, Emily had a sleepover with Margaery last night, and will only return home for dinner.

You can't do that now, can you?

Her water hasn't broken yet, and maybe she's making a big deal out of this, at this stage Braxton Hicks contractions can be just as strong as normal contractions.

Don't be stupid, you're baby is coming!!!

The most logical thing right now is go straight to the hospital of course, there's a bunch of other parents in here, she knows some of them and if she asks they will gladly take Jacob to her parents house, she doesn't want to worry her son, just a couple of days ago he found out about everything that she went through during the time she was pregnant with him, Jacob had been so scared, they all are. But well, she's about to give birth, if there is a time to be selfish and leave her son at the care of someone else, the time is now.

That's what she'll do, Jacob will definitely understand. First she has to call Brienne.

Sansa never has the chance to do it, because has soon as she takes her phone out of her purse, there's a gush of water running down her maternity leggings, and the strongest contraction, yet, hits her.

"Ahhhh!" Sansa doubles over pain, pain that is radiating trough her whole body. Right now everything else is forgotten, her mind is in a haze.

This time the contractions are extremely painful, to the point where she's left dizzy and weak in the legs, they also seem to be taking less and less time to come, she's been timing them mentally. There're tears in her eyes, her bottom lip is bloody because Sansa bit on it to keep herself from screaming, this is not the place for it. She's surrounded by seven and eight years olds, the last thing she wants is to traumatize those poor children.

"Call an ambulance!" Someone screams, she can't say who. Even opening her eyes is hard.

"Ma'am? Can you talk to us?" It's the voice of a woman.

Sansa is in excruciating pain, she's still leaning against the bars, but she has to move in order to get help, taking deep breaths she finally does that.

"The baby is com- ahhh!" Another contraction.

Forget about the other, this is one almost makes her fall on her knees.

"Stay calm, okay? We've already called an ambulance, they must be on their way." The same woman says, Sansa has seen her here before a few times, but they never spoke to one another.

By now everyone is next to her, even Jacob's coach. The assistant coach is on the field trying to keep the boys there, but he's failing because right now there's a seven year old with auburn hair and tears on his cheek, running frantically towards her direction. There's another woman, this one close to Sansa's mother age that notices what's happening, and tries to stop Jacob from getting any closer, Sansa wants to scream at her, her son has every right to be next to her, but maybe that's not the smartest choice right now, not when she's whimpering in pain, sweat dripping all over her, and blood on her lips, Jacob is already so frightened, she won't cause him anymore of that.

Another contraction, it takes only thirty seconds, but afterwards she's left with barely any strength in her body, the urge to lie down is all she can think of, that and what will happen next. At home, she was fine, ten minutes ago in this field she was fine, now that is clear what's happening to her, Sansa is everything but fine. Seven years ago, Sansa was scared, now she's petrified of what will happen. She knows what's it like, this is her second child and maybe that's why she's this way. When she gave birth to Jacob, she had no idea what would happen, what the outcome would be, she barely knew if she was going to make it out alive, or if she was ever going to hear her son cry, now she knows all of that, and that's the worst part of this. Sansa is not going in the dark, she knows her body, the struggles that she underwent giving birth, how that changed their whole life, how she thought there wasn't even going to be life after that. Something very hidden deep in her is starting to regret getting pregnant in the first place, it's a horrible thing to be thinking of, yet given her history it's probably very sane as well, she wants this baby, Sansa always wished to have a house with an army of children running around, but she never had the courage of follow with that, even this pregnancy was more luck than anything, it wasn't planned, it just happen and now is one of the most important things in her life, she has to have this baby, to hold him to her chest, she's going to name him after someone she doesn't know, but nonetheless has an immeasurable amount of respect, she wants to sing for him, to spend hours getting lost in his tiny features (somehow she knows already that this baby will look like Jon), to see Jacob and Emily watch over him, she wants Jon to get another chance, to be better than the first time, most of all... she wants to survive.

"Where's that goddamn ambulance?!" Being calm is all that she can't be right now.

"On its way." Jacob's coach tells her, he's looking scared of her.

On its way isn't enough, for crying out loud, this is an emergency!

Jacob is part of her, they're connected, she can sense when he's distressed, the same way he does with her. And that's why he's next to her, completely ignoring the people that don't want him there. Sansa has to swallow the lump in her troath, dry her eyes, and endure the pain that doesn't seem to stop, Jacob can't and will not see her like this, this might be the last time he sees her, and if so then Sansa doesn't want him to remember her that way, she'll smile, she'll always smile for them, even if it's from above.

"Don't cry, nothing bad is going to happen." Sansa is not only reassuring her son, she's doing it for herself to.

Even if it's a lie, even if...

A lifetime could've gone by, the world could've come falling at their feet, the sun could've die and the seas dry, and Sansa wouldn't notice it. Jacob was the only thing she could see, and in her mind Emily and Jon. My family.


 


 

Arya Stark

"Hey" That was probably the most somber hey ever said in all this world.

Well, he's a pretty somber guy and Arya is probably the last person he wants to see right now. The felling is mutual, or that's what she thought, but at the first bump in the road Arya went straight to him, there's countless people in her life to go seek help from, yet Jon is always going to be the first who comes to her mind, he also used to always the first to show up, just like he's doing now.

"Will you get in trouble with Stannis for being here?" Arya didn't bother with saying hello, she also didn't care if Jon had trouble at his work.

Yet, at the same time she did, after all Jon needs his paycheck, Sansa and the kids need it as well.

"No, I'm on my lunch break. I have almost two hours free." He said, finally taking a seat next to her.

He looked so nervous, Arya should've chosen some other place to meet with him. This is a crappy bar after all, right now beer and whiskey is all they can smell, it's Jon's favorite thing in the world. Or used to be, he's sober but Arya still has her doubts about it being forever.

He said that the last time. She remembers that day, seven years ago when she came visit from Winterfell, Arya was staying and her sister's place when someone called her to come pick up Jon's sorry ass from the sidewalk, she had to be the one dragging him home, Sansa had just given birth, and the perfect husband was puking his guts on an alley, with piss all over his pants. Before that Jon was perfect in her eyes, she loved him like a brother, there was nothing she wouldn't do for him, afterwards she... things changed, I guess.

"So... yeah, thanks for coming." Jon was putting his sobriety to the test just for being here, it was the least she could do.

"It's nice to see you." She didn't answer, this  used to be her buddy, her big brother, my best friend. "How are things going with you?" He continued, he always worried about her.

She did the same for him once, and even though she tries to fool herself, she still does.

"Good."

"I know you to well, come on you called me because you had a motive, what is it?" You smart bastard.

It's crazy how she can lie to her own mother and get away with it, but then she sees Jon, and she can't stop her lips from smiling, a sign she's not being honest.

"You're the biggest screw up I know." Jon actually chuckled, probably he's remembering the old days where insults weren't to be taken at heart. "Care to share some wisdom to the newcomer?"

"What happened?"

"Shit happened." Jon looked at her, she kept going. "Me and Gendry had a fight." A fucking big one.

"Couples fight all the time." Thanks for nothing, Jon.

"Not when one of them tells the other they love her." Arya is hopeless, maybe Margery is right.

"You're afraid of commitment." Bitch, that's not bullshit. Apparently.

"Do you love him?" Jon was turning this into a Q&A, she needed answers. He always had the best ones.

Unfortunately he never uses them on himself.

She does love Gendry, Arya never been one for clichés and stuff, but when she's around him her stomach does somersaults, he makes her heart race just to make it stop with a kiss, yeah, Arya is completely head over heels for him, and that shit is fucking terrifying. Before he came, she just wanted to be free, see the world just to get back home and then do it all over again, now... everything is different. Yes, she still wants to travel, she wants to explore, to enjoy life at the fullest, a different city every day, a backpack and the road, but only if he's there, without Gendry none of these dreams will ever make sense, what's the point of living if you're doing it alone?

Everything tells her they're the real deal, just like mom and dad, and even Jon and Sansa in the past. A few months back she finally moved in with him, and they're happy, before she was just wandering around, with no purpose, she saw it all only to fall for the boy who didn't have nothing at all. And that's why she freaked out when he told her those two words, words Arya couldn't let escape out of her mouth, she can live with him, laugh, kiss, make plans, even talk about children (yeah, she wants one of those too) but I love you is different, a lot more meaningful than any other gesture, it's irreversible. You can move away, you can cancel your plans, wait for children, but you can never take those two words back, once they're out, they're out. She always saw them as a permission, once you say it there's nothing else under your control, in that moment you stop being you, you'll play fool, you'll hold back the tears, you'll hurt, worst is that now you have something to lose, someone to lose.

And that's why she left Gendry, in the middle of their living room with pleading eyes waiting for his words to be echoed, and Arya couldn't, they were there at the tip of her tongue, but she didn't speak.

That's the probably why she called Jon in the first place, I love you don't have to be just for the person you're with, if something it means even more when it's directed towards your family, and Jon was her family, and she once told him she loved him, and he broke her trust. Now she's hoping he can fix her.

"I love him, I love Gendry Waters." It feels so good to say it out loud, and she knows it would be even better if Gendry was the one to listen.

"I know, I've known for a while now."

"How?" Even Arya had a hard time figuring that out, Jon had been away when they started dating, he didn't know what she felt.

"Whenever you're together, you look like you want to strangle him." Arya had to laugh, Jon did know her.

They laughed for a little while, she was Arya and he was Jon, and the shitfest they've been part of for years, was just part of a nightmare. That was the moment she realised she wanted to make peace with Jon, he did horrible things, but she also knows the good he's done, especially to her.

"What do I do now? I blew it." She did, if Gendry wants to break up Arya has got only herself to blame.

"You didn't." Jon assured her.

"You weren't there." She countered, it was rather silly.

"I've been trough it, I suppose. There comes a time in your life where you find yourself in the middle, and you have to chose if you want to stay there or go forward. It's easy to stay, it's familiar, you already know the story by heart, whatever comes doesn't surprise you anymore, it's easy because you know what to do, but then you'll just be living the same day over and over again." Jon was... he was actually good at this, better than before. "Or you can take that last step into the dark, and discover what lays ahead, you never been there before and that's scary, you have no idea what to expect, but if your heart told you to be there, then there must be something wonderful waiting for you at the finish line. If you love someone you make sacrifices, and some of them mean letting go of everything you know. Some are good, some are bad, but that's called life."

Shit.

She just wants to go home, she can cross that line, she's scared, but she's not alone, she won't ever be alone again, whatever happens next Arya knows Gendry will be there. This is new for him as well.

"Jon," Arya grabbed his hand of the counter and looked him in the eye. "Thank you, brother."

Jon was quiet for a while, his eyes shinning with joy, he was grinning, and she thought he was going to hug her, but then is phone rang.

"Do you mind?" He asked gesturing for his phone, Arya just waved her hand.

"Yes? I'm Jon Snow, yes, Sansa's husband. Silence. "I'm on my way."

Okay?

The call lasted less than twenty seconds, but that was enough to make Jon get up and run like a wanted man. Arya quickly paid her tab and joined him outside. She faintly heard Sansa's name during the phonecall, something happened to her.

"Jon! Wait! Jesus Christ, man! What the hell is going on?" She asked while opening his car door.

"Sansa...the baby is coming, b-but... there's something wrong."

All of a sudden Arya is twenty one again.

"Move! I'm driving."



 

Jon Snow

Arya drove like her life depended on it, they even got stopped by a police officer, but then Jon quickly and with a lot of stammering told what was going on, after that the man let them go. And now they're here, and Sansa is too. He's going to be a father again, but there's a chance we'll become a widow as well.

Don't! He has to stop, he still has no idea what's going on. Only that Sansa's water broke during Jacob's football practice even though there was two weeks left to delivery, she was rushed to the hospital almost immediately, but on her way there things took a very dark turn, Jon didn't understood half what the nurse, or whomever person who was on the other side was saying, his head was somewhere far away, but Jon heard enough to make his blood run cold. Before arriving to this place that he hates so much, Sansa started bleeding heavily, and...she might not make it, or the baby.

He was running, and running, these corridors didn't seem to end, every turn lead them into another, everytime they thought they made it, they found themselves in a whole different place, it doesn't stop. So Jon stops, takes a breath and revalues the situation he's found himself in, there's no need to panic, Sansa is already getting the help she needs, the due date isn't now, but there's only two weeks left so maybe if there's risks they probably won't be as severe as the ones they encountered with Jacob, plus even though bleeding can be extremely dangerous and life threatening, that doesn't mean Sansa will die, she's stronger than she believes, than what most people think her to be. If someone can make it is her.

Arya is worst than him, she's disguising her tears but they're there, and the panic is setting in which doesn't help them, they can't lose their cool, if they do so they'll be kicked out, Jon would rather kill himself than to leave Sansa on her own. Man up, they all say. The time is now.

Finally, his prayers have been answered, strangely enough this place it's the one where Jon always finds himself turning to God, maybe that's what everyone does in situations like this. Catelyn and Ned Stark are in front of him, so his Rickon, they're the only ones here, everything happened so fast that probably only they know what's happening, in a way that's a good thing. Jon knows the people around him, all of them would want to be here, and right now he doesn't need that, he can't see their faces because they'll only show grieve, as if Sansa's fate was already sealed, even her own father looks lost right now.

Thank God, his children aren't here, Emily is with Margaery and even if Sansa's best friend knows something, she won't say a thing to Emily, Jacob is with Max, his friend, they have practice together and his mother was the one who took Jacob to her house, his son couldn't be in better hands, Max's father is a doctor so he knows what to say in times like this.

"For fucks sake, what is happening?!" Arya finally exploded, she was screaming at both of her parents.

They did nothing wrong, but Jon understood her. Honestly, he didn't react that differently.

"Where is she? Is she alright? Why aren't you with her?"

"Jon, get it together!" Catelyn admonished him, as if Jon was nothing more than a ten year old. "She's with the doctors, they... there's complications with the placenta, Sansa is going to do an emergency C-section."

No...No!

This isn't the plan, she's not ready for it. Jon doesn't know much about the procedure his wife is about to undergo, he regrets not taking the time to learn, but the little that he's read, and researched online, is all he needs to know that getting a C-section without being planned isn't safe, there's so many things that can go wrong, most of them with Sansa. And then there's the fact that her water broke before the designated time, which means something isn't right, most likely her amniotic sac has ruptured, the risks are many, the worst placenta abruption. That part he knows too well, he's spent hours researching every possible outcome, every risk, every symptom, he's seen it all. And for what?

Now he has a brain full of knowledge, and that knowledge isn't helping to qualm his fears, and there's nothing he can do to help her. But he's not giving up.

"I need to see her." He said to no one in particular.

"You can't, she's being prepped for surgery. The anesthesiologist is with her." Rickon said, his voice free of any emotion.

Maybe that's the best thing to do, at least he's not thinking about it.

Before Jon had a chance to move, his mother in law placed a hand on his forearm. "They won't let us see her, you'll just get in trouble."

"Do I look like I care?" If so, then all these doctors, nurses, and whoever stands in his way have another thing coming.

He promised to stop being a hot head, but he won't be pushed away. It's his wife and child on the line.

Catelyn almost ran to get him, but Arya was there and didn't allow it. When he locked eyes with her, she smiled and motioned him to run, she has his back, he knows it now. Ned wasn't even paying attention, it looked like he was having an out of body experience or something. Jon his fighting for his wife, Ned is doing it for his daughter, what's worst?

Jon won't dwell on it, instead he'll run.

Rickon said Sansa was getting ready for anesthesia, so that's where Jon will go. He's never ran this fast in his whole life, there's a sharp pain in both his lungs and sides, his legs are cramping up, but Jon pulls trough, he can't see a thing, he's bumping into people, and objects, almost fell three times already, that doesn't mean shit, she needs him. Jon can feel, a melodic voice is calling out for him, it's almost like being in a spell, there's no control over his body or his senses, only her voice guides him to her. Only she matters, Sansa and their son. A son he'll see even today, he'll hold him to his naked chest and make promises that this time will be fulfilled, God has given him a second chance on life, but that only means something if they're there to share it with. Jacob and Emily will grow up with their mother, they won't know the pain Jon goes through everyday when he looks in the mirror.

He takes the elevator, after that there's not much to walk, he asks someone about her, they give him an answer, but not a permission. He won't be needing one.

The door is there, and with a push Jon opens it, he notices people staring at him with disapproval, no doubt already calling someone. Yet, the door is already open, and Jon steps inside.

He didn't even had time to look around, a petite and chubby nurse came to stand in front of him, "You can't be here. Security!"

He wasn't going to push her of course, but staying still wasn't an option or something he was willing to do, and then she called him.

"Jon? It's you." My Sansa.

It broke him to see her this way, IV's all over her body, body that right now looked made of glass, her face whiter than a sheet, her hair all tussled and  plastered to her forehead, she's dripping in sweat, her lips aren't supposed to look that colour, Jon has seen dead bodies before, and much to his pain, that's exactly what he thinks of right now when he sees her.

"Yeah, it's me love. I'm sorry I'm late." No one wanted him here, but they could all hang, not even the security guard that had just walked in unfazed him.

That was until the bulky man, who had the body of a wrestler grabbed Jon and tried to remove him from the room, he wasn't going to start a fight in a moment like this one, but Jon wasn't going to make this jackass task easy either. He struggled for a few seconds, twisting and pulling, he even kicked the man on the shins, and was so close to bite him, until Brienne raised her hand.


And spoke. "One minute."

That's all I need.

That didn't sit well with the rest of the people in the room, though they kept it to themselves.

"You're here." Sansa's voice was barely above a whisper, her eyes all glassy and not meeting his, she wasn't looking at anything in particular.

Her skin was clammy, but the cold was what worried him. Not even ice itself was this cold, his finger tips were freezing against her hand.

"As if I was going to be anywhere else, my place is with you." It was hard to keep a steady voice.

"I love you, remember that."

Sansa held her hand up - just that gesture alone seemed to be taking all of her energy - and cupped his cheek, Jon leaned into her touch.

"Don't make it look like a goodbye, please."

"It might be." She accepted her faith once more. Jon will never be able to. He would switch places with her if he could. She has so much to live.

He could only shake his head, fighting the tears that he refuses to show to Sansa, she can't know that he feels the exact same way as she does. This time he won't believe what his head is telling him, he won't even listen to his heart, Jon is going to shut it all down until she returns from surgery. Because she will.

She will!

"You have to love this baby, no matter what comes to be... take care of our children, tell them mommy loves them, I'm proud and I'll never leave their side, look up and I'll be there. And ...be strong, my love. You're mine and.. always..yours."

"You're not going to die!" He shouted, begged, cried, she's not... "Tell her, Brienne!"

She only gives them a reassuring smile but even that is hard for her, her eyes betray her, and that's when Jon knows this is far more serious than he ever thought. If the doctors themselves aren't hopeful, how can Jon have any?

"Always carry hope in the pocket of your jeans." Whose voice is that?

He remembers someone said something a long those lines to him, little Jon of just six years, he got a present that day. It's still with him.

Now is time to pass it on to someone else.

"I've had this all my life, just hidden from my own eyes." Jon goes into the pocket of his jeans and removes a silver coin. "It was my mother's, it's the only thing I have left of her. It means the world to me, for the meantime you'll keep it, but I want it back today." He opened Sansa's palm and placed the coin there, just for a little while.

She doesn't close her hand, and her lack of strength has nothing to do with it.

"I promise it will come back to you, I can't promise I'll be the one delivering it...." Don't say it.

Please don't do this to me!

"Swear you'll be the one to give it back. Promise me!"

She hesitates, she doesn't trust herself, but Jon's gaze doesn't leave her, with his eyes he's telling her what he's mouth can't. And she listens.

"I promise." She's not being true.

But it's all he has now.

"I know, you're so brave." Brienne steps forward, her hand on his shoulder is the signal to leave. "I have to go now, I'll be waiting, so will your family, don't take too long it's the same without you." Jon pecks her lips, a promise of many more to come. "I love you, precious."

After that he doesn't fight anymore, he can't be with her and that's okay, he'll see her again very soon.


 

45 minutes later

Another nurse passed by, and just like the other five before her, she doesn't say a thing. Doesn't even acknowledge them.

"I saw online that this is quick, for safety reasons. Fourty five minutes isn't quick!" Rickon will need a new pair of shoes after this, he's pacing back and forth since Jon returned.

"I'm going to punch someone in the face." Arya who was at his side, sitting in the cold tilled floor muttered under her breath.

No one seemed to hear, if they did then they don't show it.

Catelyn is sitting in a chair, her head downcast and in her hands a white rosary, Ned isn't here, said he needed some fresh air, a lie of course, he just needs a place to cry, maybe punch a wall; Robb and Talissa arrived fifteen minutes ago, both silent, there's nothing they can offer right now. No words of comfort will help him, not even prayers, they don't seem to work most times, God grants but He also takes, and takes, and takes. Sansa is a perfect angel, if Jon was God he would want her at His side too, but that's not where she belongs, and not even God almighty will have her, she's his. Her place is with Emily and Jacob, Arya, Ned and Cat, the rest of her siblings, their friends, and even the people who never heard of her. Sansa has to stay here because that's where she can do the most, his wife has changed the life of every person she's ever came across, even without meaning it, that's just how she is. The embodiment of good, what gives colour to this world, his world.


 

1 hour later

He's memorized everything about this place already, the clock is the one thing that stands out the most, it's ticking over and over again, each time the sound brings more agony, Jon's heart is clenching, breaking at the seams, and pain is pouring out, just like the rain outside. It started minutes ago, along with thunder, it's the perfect weather for a...

Don't say funeral.

"I can't take this anymore, I'm going to get answers." Eddard Stark himself, snaps.

If his chair wasn't attached to the floor, it would've already flown against the wall.

"You won't get any." Everyone, including Jon, looked at Arya with disbelief. "What? Do you think these people care about our feelings? They don't. Bunch of pricks with a stick up their ass."

It's so bad, that not even Catelyn scolds Arya on her language.

On the other hand, maybe Catelyn doesn't even noticed it. They're the ones looking like dead bodies now.


 

1 hour and 23 minutes later

Rickon is sleeping in a chair, the position is extremely uncomfortable but exhaustion speaks louder.

Patricia: Jacob is asking for Sansa again.

It's probably the sixth text he's gotten from Max's mom today, it's always the same context. Jacob wants to be here.

Jon just wants to leave. Especially after seeing a father crying for his son, and a wife mourning a husband who will not keep her company tonight.

Will his time come to?

That's the question they all are making, in their minds of course, they've all given up talking to each other. Being haunted by voices and images covered in blood is all that they can do, or at least that's what he's doing.

"Sansa Stark's family?" The same nurse who cornered Jon not long ago, just appeared.

At once they all got up, even Rickon.

They looked at each other carefully, silently trying to decide who should speak, or what should be said. It was taking this long because now it's the moment to find out the truth, and Jon wishes time could've slow down. He prefers the doubt, than the answer.

If he stays in the dark Jon still has a wife and a baby.

"And?" Robb is the one with the balls to talk.

His face says otherwise.

A pause, this woman is killing them. This is not a magic show, this is Jon's life!

"Congratulations, the family just got bigger. You all have a perfectly healthy baby boy to spoil." She smiles

Their gasps of relief came in unison, Catelyn collapsed on her chair, tears of joy spilling down her cheeks.

Jon couldn't share her feelings, not yet. He's so happy that he's son is well, he wants to cry of you too, but first...

"My wife? Is she..."

"It variates from person to person, but she'll wake up in the next four hours or so."

She's alive! Thank God, she's alive! Jon ran towards the woman he hated seconds ago and lifted her up her feet, grinning like a fool and kissing the nurse's cheek.

"I swear to God, Sansa will be the death of me someday." Arya was out of breath.

Sansa kept her promise, his guardian angel kept her safe.

Thank you, mom.

Chapter Text

Sansa Stark

"Where am I?" Sansa thinks, barely even conscious.

Her head feels so heavy, as if she's been up for days without even much of a blink, there're shards of glass in her troath, or at least that's the closest thing to reality right now, it's hot and sweat is making her whole skin feel clammy, it's so uncomfortable and in a way dirty. Her eyes remain close, her body has a mind of its own and they cannot open, maybe it's for the best, she feels like she's spinning non stop, it's making her feel nauseous, Sansa can even taste bile in her mouth, or something equally disgusting, it doesn't really matter. She's getting annoyed by the beeping sound surrounding her, the voices in the background or maybe right next to her, it's hard to tell with her eyes closed, and her hears pounding. She tries to move her hands but there's something in them, wires perhaps, there's definitely some kind of device in her index finger, almost like a clip, she's barefoot and wearing something very thin, even that is clinging to her body and suffocating her. Sansa has to get up, she's trapped inside her own body, there's no reaction.

Finally, when she manages to will her body to respond Sansa tries to sit up, to find out where the hell she is, as soon as she makes an abrupt movement her whole body is engulfed in pain, it's in her stomach -there's some pulling there - but it travels from the tip of her toes to her head, it hurts so much, she tries to scream but nothing comes out, or she just doesn't hear it.

Suddenly it hits it, everything starts coming back to her.

I gave birth...the baby...

There's the sound of machines, the sound of nurses and patients but they come from outside, while her room is dead quiet, there's no crying or even the faint sound of someone breathing.

Sansa can hardly care about the stitches - she had a C-section, now she remembers - and with a lot of effort she gets on a sitting position, the pain is so sharp that takes the breath out of her lungs, makes her eyes well up in tears but  Sansa won't stay still, not when she's finally seeing everything, yet what she needs the most is nowhere to be found.

The shy is pitch dark, not even the stars grace it, her room is white, with nothing but a TV on the wall, a bed where she's currently laying and the monitors at her side, but no crib, no Jon, no one.

My baby isn't here.

"Sansa, we have to do an emergency C-section, otherwise you'll both die." After that whatever Brienne said remains forgotten.

Sansa is here, she's alive but at what cost?

Her baby isn't here.

They saved her life, a life that means nothing to her, not when she's alone surrounded with silence, not when her only company is the dark sky and a light above her head that keeps flashing, and makes her eyes hurt.

It's not because of the lights, it's because there are tears ready to spill at any moment.

Her baby isn't here.

When he was in her womb he was safe, or at least that's how it's supposed to work for most babies. While they're with their mothers, they gather strength from them, it's a mother's job to nurture her child for nine months, to protect it, to give guidance, love, and all the things their tiny little bodies need, but Sansa always failed at that task.

She knows she's sick, there's something wrong with her body. When she had her first period at twelve years old, a year later Sansa had to be rushed to the hospital because the bleeding was heavy and the pain excruciating, that night her doctor told her she had to run some tests.

"Thirteen years olds aren't supposed to bleed that much."

Scared with his words, and the prospect of what they could mean to her, Sansa decided that she didn't want those tests after all, she convinced her family she was okay, even if every month she had to stay bedridden because standing up only made everything else more intense, she started dreading her period. Her friends would complain about theirs of course - as any teenage girl does -  but what they had was normal, Sansa however couldn't say the same. Her flow was heavy, to the point where sometimes she would have to wear two pads instead of one, and most times there were always blood clots when she wiped herself, she would spend days without using the bathroom to relieve herself from her digestive functions , some months tough she would have to live in the bathroom, she would feel nauseous and even be sick, but Sansa never mentioned a word to no one, not even her mother who had some suspicions of her own.

"I guess my period is just a little harder on me." Eventually Catelyn bought that excuse.

In a way Sansa did to, maybe she was just overreacting and there was nothing wrong with her.

Meeting Jon made her realize that indeed Sansa had something to worry about. It took a while, but finally after months of dating one another, Sansa decided to take the next step with Jon, she already knew he was the one so it only made sense to lose her virginity with him. Sansa at that point already knew a lot, she and Jon had even done a few things, he had touched her and kissed her down there, the same as she did for him, what came next wasn't a surprise and Sansa didn't really had her hopes too high. She knew the first time was going to be painful and somewhat awkward, she was prepared for it, she was willing to endure it with the promise that after that things would get better.

"Fingering and all that is great but Sansa, trust me when I say that the main course is always the best one." Maergery had no filters when it came to that part of her life.

Losing her virginity was painful, even more than she thought it would be, Jon was so sweet in taking is time, asking how she was or what she liked every ten seconds, he was not a virgin and definitely knew exactly what he was doing, he wanted it desperately yet took all the time in the world, he contained himself with all of his might, it was clear that he wanted so much more but sensing Sansa's discomfort, Jon didn't press it, they made love slowly and carefully, still it was painful.

"It will get better." She thought at the time.

It never did. It wasn't every time they had sex, there were moments where the act itself was extremely enjoyable, nights where she and Jon would lose count of the amount of times they came, or how many condoms they would use, they would be hungry for each other, Sansa lived for those nights because there were others where she had to bite her own tongue not to scream in pain. Sometimes even the gentle of thrusts would make her gasp in pain, Sansa would carve her nails into Jon's back to make it more endurable, he always saw it as passion, when in truth it was just Sansa's way of making it through. With time, Jon began to notice it as well and stopped, Sansa told him that there wasn't any need for that, she just wasn't comfortable having rough sex, though that meant nothing to Jon. Especially because it wasn't just when they had rough sex, they could be making tender love and the pain would still be there. Each thrust bringing waves of pain, each one stronger than the last, each time worst than before.

"I won't touch you unless you see a doctor! Jesus Christ, Sansa you need help! I... I can't stand feeling like some kind of rapist afterwards."

She knew what Jon was referring to, in those nights once they were done Sansa would curl on her side in bed and cry softly, so not to wake Jon. Apparently he never slept.

She did seek a doctor, she wishes that she hadn't. He destroyed her right there in his office with just one word.

"Endometriosis."

There wasn't a cure for it, only medication to disguise it. 

Sansa made herself feel that way by not speaking about it, keeping it hidden not only from her family, but from herself to.

Nothing really changed, yes the symptoms declined as she started treatment but they didn't disappear, there was still pain once in a while whenever she had sex, her periods were still dreadful, but Sansa could live with that, she adapted to her circumstances, and with time so did Jon. Their sex life slowed down immensely, but they were fine with it. They didn't need to have sex once a day, or even multiple times a day, a relationship is so much more than that, it's about creating bonds, creating life.

Sansa couldn't.

With her condition pregnancy wasn't impossible, just something she shouldn't become to hopeful about. It would take a lot more time, and even if she conceived the changes of staying pregnant to full term were narrow.

Isabel... it's been years since that name made its way into Sansa's heart.

Her first baby...

She was so happy with the prospect of motherhood, ever since she could remember Sansa always wanted a child, as one herself there was nothing she loved to do more than pretending her dolls were her babies.

When that test revealed two pink lines Sansa cried tears of joy, only to be crying tears of grief six weeks later.

*Jon was at work, her family in Winterfell, so no one knew about that afternoon Sansa found herself in her bathroom with blood on her tights, with her hands between her legs trying to prevent that blood from gushing out of her, while she screamed in pain and anguish for the child she had lost, for her girl, Sansa never got the answer to that but she always knew it was going to be a girl named Isabel. She'll take that secret to her grave, she promised herself that when she was cleaning the blood and the remains of her child from the floor.*

"It's your fault!" She wailed that same day in the shower, trying to clean herself but to no effort.

The blood was gone, emptiness had now taken its place. Strangely, she could still feel Isabel inside of her.

Even now, years later Sansa still feels her baby girl.

She was mad, and then ashamed at her body's incapability to create life, that's the main and probably only reason why Sansa doesn't speak about it. She feels like she's broken, there's something wrong with her, even after giving birth to Jacob the feeling never went away. She did it, she had a child but he almost died twice, Sansa herself was close to meeting God. She would never be able to have a child again, she didn't want to. And then Jon got someone else pregnant, someone who didn't want it, it was just that one time and both Jon and Ygritte were drunk, yet that woman managed to make a perfect and healthy baby at her first try, while Sansa battled for years. It wasn't fair, not for her or Jon. He wasn't to blame for her disease, Sansa couldn't take his right to be a father due to her own problem. He deserved a better woman in his life, and Ygritte could clearly fill that criteria.

That's why his cheating was so painful. He loved Sansa, but that would always be someone out there more fitting than her.

That doesn't exist anymore. Sansa knows her worth now, and she no longer resents herself for something that happens with thousands of other women, it's not lien she chose it and it's not something she can control, so after much heartbreak and adversities, Sansa accepted it.

She has endometriosis, and that's okay. Or it was until yesterday when Brienne told her she could give birth to a...

Her baby could die.

Her baby isn't here, Sansa has no idea where he might be, or even if he is.

No one comes to see her, for a long time she's all alone with her thoughts, there's a button where if she presses it a nurse will come, and then Sansa will finally know the truth, but the truth can be too much to handle, the truth can make so many things come through.

She's sore and tired, it doesn't take long for sleep to claim her again. For now, she'll have a few hours of rest ahead of her, tomorrow she'll face the world.


 

"Shhh, I know you're eager to see her. Honestly, that makes two of us but mommy's asleep you know that, right?" It was Jon's voice. "She went through hell to bring you into this world, for a second I thought it wasn't going to be possible, but she keeps surprising me again and again. Whenever I think I have it all figured out, there goes mommy making daddy rethink everything he knows, maybe superheroes are real, or just her at least." Sansa desperately needs to open her eyes. "You weren't to bad yourself either, you're a fighter just like her, I guess that must be the Stark blood that runs through both of your veins, you certainly didn't get it from me. Anyway, it's over now. Your here safe and sound, in a little while you'll finally find a much better looking person to hold you, and she'll love you as much as I do. Now try to get some sleep, will you?"

There's silence after that, but Sansa already has everything she needs to know.

Her baby is here, is with his father. He's fine. He's alive.

I did it.

She feels as if she was run over by a truck, there's not a single muscle in her body that doesn't ache, it's so hard to wake up, but her son is mere feet away from her, is with Jon and he couldn't be with a better person, what she heard just seconds ago confirms it, Jon is utterly smitten by this little human being, there's nothing Jon wouldn't do for him, he's okay. But he needs mommy as well, and she needs him to, she needs to see it to believe it, to hold him and apologize for scaring him, she needs to do the same to Jon and her family, who knows what they went through while she was at the operation table, who knows the tears they've shed and the agony of the clock ticking, Jacob saw her get inside the ambulance, he saw the blood, Emily slept alone. Having a family is hard, when one isn't well then the aren't either.

When they're happy we too are happy. Right now Jon is in cloud nine, Sansa wants that to, she wants her baby.

Also, there's a task she needs to fulfill.

"Swear you'll be the one to give it back." The coin never left her. She made a promise.

In a way that was her salvation, that coin kept her fighting even when given up seemed like the right choice.

You can do this.

And she does it, using all the strength that's left on her, ignoring the pain, Sansa moves so she can look at Jon.

He's in one of those big chairs, he's shirtless and holding their son against his naked chest, there's a blanket covering him but Sansa can see his hair already, black and curly, a full head of it, just like she knew it would be.

How would Isabel look like if she had made it?

Jon is staring down at him, his eyes carry nothing but love and amazement, he's still a bit unsure she can tell, the baby is tiny, with just one hand Jon is able to cover is whole back, while the other holds his little head. Their son was born two weeks sooner than expected but if he's here with Jon, and not in some incubator like Jacob did, then there's nothing to fear, he's healthy.

"Jon..." Speaking is a arduous task.

For a moment it looks like Jon isn't here, his eyes wide in pure disbelief, from his position in the corner of the room is hard to tell if Sansa is awake or not, and for that Jon must be thinking he's hearing voices, that's what his face says.

He gets up, slowly because of the baby he's holding, and walks to her. Each step more careful than the other, as if he was heading towards a mirage.

I'm real, come to me my love.

"Hey..." His voice husky and choked up. "I missed you."

Sansa can't help but cry, his features make her do that. His face speaks of pain, of loss, just like that day he talked about his mother and how he felt because of her dead, how he feared the same outcome for Sansa, she felt it to not long ago. She could've died, leaving behind a husband who would never be the same, and two children who would never hear mommy's voice again.

Is for them that Sansa keeps going, they make this road that she's been travelling for far too long worth it.

"What happened?" That shouldn't be her first question, but the truth is everything is still blurry.

"There were a few complications with your placenta, you lost a lot of blood, the doctors didn't want to put you through anymore danger so they opted for a C-section, the baby was born in a matter of seconds, you however...it doesn't matter, it's in the past." something bad happen, or it could've happened. But Jon's right, Sansa won't dwell on it.

There's more important things right now in her mind, one is so close to her right now.

"How is he?" Sansa is talking about the baby.

He's sleeping safely in Jon's arms.

"My face was the first thing he saw when he woke up, so I guess cranky is the right word." She giggled, and immediately regret.

Sansa has to keep reminding herself of her stitches.

Jon is next her and Sansa sits up and motions him to hand the baby to her, he hesitates afraid that Sansa might still not be ready to hold any weight, but she convinces him with her eyes.

"Tell me if it's too much, okay." Sansa only nods as Jon places the baby in her arms.

He's beautiful.

So light in her arms, almost a feather, he was still a pink newborn, his facial features still a bit puffy but there was no denying the beauty in him. His black curly hair, which was so thick, Sansa ran her hands trough it she would never get tired of doing this, he wasn't totally awake but all the shifting did rouse him a bit. Her baby was cooing a little, making the most precious sounds she's ever heard, music to her ears ,he kept moving his head and opening his little mouth, maybe he was hungry but Sansa wanted to change that. He was a dear little thing, and quite chubby much to Sansa's own relief, she kept tracing gently with her fingertips those chubby rolls where the fat gathered at his wrists. He was so perfect and he was hers.

"Thank you." Jon breaks the silence that had settled upon them. "For giving me him, our little miracle."

There's no denying his tears now.

"I wouldn't have done it without you." Jon fought as much she did.

Maybe even more.

"You would've, you're the strongest person I know."

She's not, she'll never be. But this baby makes her want to become that.

He, Jacob and Emily.

Our children make us want to be the best versions of ourselves, to go back, to cast away all that's bad in ourselves, our greed, our envy, and replace it with love, the love they seek to receive. They're our compass, guiding us in this journey that life is, one that is gritty and terrifying, one where's no winners or losers, just a human being in the search of the word love, in the end our children always help us find it.

"He's waking up, see?" Jon says, immediately Sansa looks down at her arms.

Those eyes...

In those eyes Sansa sees herself, the same blue, the same shape, and above all, the person she was born to be, a mother. This is who she is. He's looking at her now, that look is one she's been seeing for years now, there is a purity to the it, love, to give and receive, she will give her all, unconditionally and without knowing any barriers. She knows in this moment she'll stop at nothing for this child, her love is too powerful. If  someone cames to harm him, or them, Sansa  would defend her children with her life if need be.

Neither Sansa nor Jon speak much afterwards, they're too mesmerized by this baby.

"Have you thought about a name?" Suddenly Jon asks.

She already did, but it's not entirely up to her.

"Don't you have one in mind?" Jon probably doesn't.

Which Sansa supposes it's a good thing, that's never been is strong suit. Nonetheless, she asked.

"Not really, I mean I had a few but now that I'm looking at him, I don't think they would be the right ones."

She'll never name a child after Jon's father, that's probably the worst kind of pain she could inflict upon her husband, and Sansa unfortunately knows too much about Rhaegar to even consider that option. But there's another Targaryen, Jon only spoke of him once, a few weeks ago, it was enough for her to know how much that man meant to Jon, how he pushed him into being a better person.

He brought Jon back to her. This baby will keep on doing so.

"Aemon Snow."

Jon says nothing, can't even look at her, instead his gaze his fixed on little Aemon, as if looking for signs of that kind old man he met on rehab, of his only family.

That's why Sansa picked that name, it's all Jon has from a name he couldn't even take.

"I love you." Jon's hand caressed her cheeks. "I'm sorry for everything I've done, you deserve the world, you deserve to be as happy as you keep making me every day."

"I'm happy."

For the first time in a while, she means it.


 

It didn't take long for their family time to be interrupted. Nurses came in and with that Jon and Aemon had to get out. Sansa needed to be examined, she didn't complain although that was her wish.

Brienne also appeared alongside a couple other doctors.

The examination took longer than she predicted, night was gathering once more, meaning Jon would probably have to go home, like he did last night. Sansa can't say much about that, Jacob and Emily need him to, her family and their friends are helping as they normally do in situations like this, but Sansa knows it's best if Jon stays the night with the kids, they'll feel safer with Jon.

Sansa will have some company, Arya is on her way to spend the night at her side, or part of it at least. She and Margery are taking turns.

Jon said that her parents will also be arriving at any moment, they slept in the waiting room last night and so Jon sent them home this morning to get some rest, Robb was with them as well. Now he's probably with his wife Talissa and will only return in the morning, after lunch Sam and Gilly are visiting and will bring Jacob and Emily with them - Sansa is the most excited about that - since Jon will most likely leave the house after breakfast, the most surprising thing is that when Jon does leave, Dickon will take his place and watch over the kids for a couple of hours, they love him and already call him uncle, so it's not that hard to adjust at his presence.

Sansa never expected something like that coming from Jon, because as crazy as it sounds it's all his idea. All of it, he even created a list with schedules for people to visit Sansa, so she can have some time with the baby and rest without having her family - who doesn't do it on purpose, of course - hovering over her.

When Jon returns, he's alone.

"Your parents and Arya are already here, the baby is in the nursery but a nurse said she was going to bring him back to teach you how to feed him." She wanted to slap that smirk out of him.

Sansa is not new to this, she knows exactly what it takes to nurse a baby. What do these women think she did when her first son was born?

Still, they insist on showing it all over again, as if being a mother is something that one can easily forget, it leaves her fuming much to Jon's amusing.

"Put on my boobs on display and make sure the baby latches on my nipple? Yes, I know the basics, for God's sake."

"Be nice to her, she's just doing her job. And knowing you like I do, I know you'll make it very hard for her." Jon says with a wicked grin. Sansa blushes like a child caught doing something it shouldn't.

He does know her. If this woman thinks Sansa will listen to her, well she wrong.

"I can't make any promises. Not when they treat me as a if I haven't gotten a clue on how to be a mother."

"They're wrong, you're an amazing mother. We're all lucky to have you in our lives." He gets closer to her ear and whispers. "They're just jealous."

They talk some more, Jon updates her on everything that's going on, and she even gets an opportunity to video chat with Jacob and Emily, they're so happy to see her and already promise they'll bake a cake with the help of Podrick, when Sansa returns home.

A few minutes later, a nurse knocks on the door saying Sansa's parents are asking when can they see her.

The number of visitors is limited, only two per room.

"That's my cue to leave." Jon says it, but makes no move to get up.

If it was anybody else outside waiting, Sansa would tell them to keep on doing that so she can enjoy a few more moments with Jon, but she hasn't seen her parents yet and she misses them so much already, plus Jon did promise that he was going to be at home in time to tuck Emily and Jacob in bed.

But Sansa saw the mischief in her children's eyes, they just want daddy home soon because daddy will let them watch as much TV as they want. This time Sansa will allow it.

"Rest a little, Jon. I know you haven't slept in a while." Maybe since she was rushed to the hospital.

"I'll try." He assures her by squeezing her hand. "And you try to behave with the nurse, okay?"

Sansa just pouts making him laugh.

"Goodnight, precious. I love you."

"I love you too." Sansa has and will always love him.

Jon gives her a kiss. It's slow and tentative, he barely even touches her. Any other time she would start seeing red flags, now she knows it's because she just got surgery and he's afraid of hurting her. Anyway, that gesture manages to warm her heart.

"Jon," he's already standing in the doorway, but turns around. His eyes make her words die in her troath. "Goodnight." It's what she tells him.

"Isabel would've loved you." It's what she wanted to say.

One day, she'll tell him all about her.

Chapter Text

Catelyn Stark

In moments like this, Catelyn regrets not having more children. Moments when she's holding someone else's child, in a way this child is hers to. A part of her at least.

She had five children, each one different from the last. And she's certain that if she had her way, every other child who would come wouldn't be the same as his or her siblings. That's the beauty of motherhood, your children are reflection of who you are, but they'll never be you, they'll always be better, because you make them that way.

Catelyn is proud of what she and Ned have done with their family, they're far from perfect but she wouldn't change a thing about it.

Arya is wild, settle down is a word that doesn't agree with her, she's never still, always seeking some adventure that most likely will bring her trouble, but that's who she is, headstrong and fierce about the ones and the things she loves, underneath that rough exterior there's a heart of gold.

Robb, her child who never behaved as a child. Ned used to say that Robb was an old soul, in a way that's exactly what her son was, he loved to play in the mud, get into fights, pretend his bicycle was a motorcycle, like any other boy at his age, but what he loved the most were the moments where Ned took him to his office, at just six years old Robb already wanted to take the family business, always attentively listening to his father talking on the phone with his employees, always acting braver and stronger than he actually was, sharp and very mature. Still, he was goofy, loved to party - something Catelyn never really approved - , knew how to make everyone laugh, and most of all he was a caring person.

Bran, Bran was a mystery on his own. Her son was wise beyond his years, at just sixteen he graduated from high school and went straight to college, to study psychology his biggest passion, and probably the thing he knows how to do best, he's helped so many people over the years, Catelyn still recalls how some would call him in the dead of the night seeking for some kind of answer that they still hadn't achieved, and how Bran would always know what to say, how to take their troubled pasts and cultivate strength from that. Yet he wasn't always like that, there was a time when Catelyn's biggest job was keeping Bran indoors, though he always seemed to escape and she would later find him looking for some wall or tree to climb. No matter how many times she asked him to stop, Bran would never listen, it took a nasty fall and broken leg to make him see. Now there's no more climbing, but the spirit is there.

Rickon, he's like Arya if not worst. Still, just a boy, barely seventeen and already is showing signs of someone Catelyn once called brother. She loves Rickon, she'll support him in everything he chooses to do with his life, even if that might not be what she wishes of him, but Catelyn will also always fear for him. He reminds her so much of Brandon, her son's temper is calmer, but there's a wildness in him that cannot be denied, the same one she saw Ned's brother display so many times, the same one who took part of her heart. Brandon's life was sowed by himself, by the choices he made, and by not listening to her.

"Don't start a fight you know you can't handle."

Rickon might be just like his uncle, but Catelyn will never let any harm come to him. She already paid that price once, she can't do it again.

And then there's Sansa, her sweet and dutiful Sansa. The one who takes the most out of her, and just like Catelyn, Sansa already grieved so much in her short life.

But now she's at peace, in this hospital bed she can rest. As Catelyn can to.

For a moment there, she thought the next time she would see her daughter would be in a morgue, laying in one of those steel tables, eyes closed with all traces of life gone from her.

Sansa made it, she's a fighter and most of all she's a mother, she would never leave her children alone in this world. And especially now that there is another one, fragile than Emily and Jacob, one who can only rely on Sansa to live.

For now, she sleeps, so Catelyn will keep on watching Aemon.

There's no denying who is his father, this child is Jon's replica safe for the eyes, her own eyes. The rest is all Jon, even his personality. Baby Aemon is quiet, sleeps trough the night and when he's awake barely makes a sound, his also very curious, always looking around at his surroundings, trying to know where he is and what he is, Catelyn has no doubt in her mind that Aemon will grow up to achieve a great deal of accomplishments, as will all of her grandchildren. Catelyn might be a little bias in that matter.

As she sits here, holding her grandchild, with nothing but the hustle and bustle of the morning, Catelyn finds herself reminiscing about the past.

Where did the time go?

It seemed just yesterday she was a girl in Riverrun dreaming about that shy and gruff man from the North, now she's a grandmother. Her time in this earth is nearing its end. If God wills, she'll stay to see her grandchildren grow up, to see what Rickon does with his life, if Arya will ever discover the meaning of hers, if will ever settle down and become the woman she was always meant to be; to see what Robb will do as a father, will be like Ned or like her?

She also wants to know how many more people will Bran help, how many more lifes can he change with his words.

However, it's Sansa who she dreams of seeing the most.

Every parent will say that you can't have a favorite child, which is not a lie of course. Catelyn loves them all the same, but Arya, Rickon, Bran and Robb are different from Sansa.

None of them are going trough what their sister is. They're all happy, Catelyn doesn't know if she can say the same for Sansa. She looks like it, but there are times when her smile never reaches her eyes, h