Actions

Work Header

Lemonade

Chapter Text

“A lemonade, please.” Sansa Stark rubbed some alcohol-induced sleep away from her eyes and groaned when she remembered that she was wearing makeup. She used a napkin to rub some mascara off her finger, and grabbed the glass the bartender had just placed on the counter in front of her. She straightened her back, trying to find a comfortable position on the bar stool, and took a sip of her drink. The glass was cold, almost frozen, and the lemonade felt sweet against her thirsty tongue. With her lips wrapped around the tip of her yellow straw, Sansa checked her phone. No calls, no texts. Her friend Margaery had disappeared somewhere in the bar, leaving her all alone. As she savoured her refreshing lemonade, Sansa thought to herself that she would have looked for Margaery after finishing it.

“I’ll have what she’s having.” The loud music that filled the air did not cover the voice coming from Sansa’s left. She lazily turned her head to her side and peered through the dizziness in her eyes.

“It’s just lemonade,” she blurted out, pointing at her own glass with her forefinger. The stranger beside her sat on the nearest stool. Cute, Sansa thought.

“Even better,” he said. “I have to wake up early tomorrow.”

“Then why are you at a bar this late at night?” Sansa asked, still sipping on her lemonade. Very cute, indeed. The stranger was wearing a striped black and white t-shirt, over dark jeans and black boots. A watch on his left wrist, and no tattoos in sight. Good, Sansa thought. She hated tattoos.

“My friends dragged me here,” he confessed, running a hand through his dark curls, a ring glistening under the neon lights of the bar. “They say I work too much.”

“They’re probably right.” Sansa chuckled, and the stranger did as well.

“I’m Jon, by the way,” he said smiling, holding out his hand to her, across the glass counter.

“Sansa,” she said, clapping his hand with hers and squeezing it lightly.

“Here,” the tall bartender told him as he laid out his glass of lemonade in front of him. What followed then made Sansa wonder if there were alcohol in her drink, since she could not believe her eyes. With a sharp move, Jon grabbed a paper napkin and rubbed it around his glass, thoroughly. Sansa did not know if laughing in his face would be appropriate.

What are you doing?” she asked him, suppressing a laugh.

“The lemonade is cold, and the glass was all wet on the outside. I didn’t want to wet my hand, too,” Jon answered calmly, still rubbing his glass. Even the bartender looked rather confused.

Sansa did not know what to say, so she just laughed it off. “Are you always like this, Jon?” she asked him.

He looked at her with bewildered eyes. “Like what?”

“Oh, nothing. Never mind.”

He cleared his throat. “So, did you come here alone?” he asked her, holding his straw between his thumb and forefinger.

“Not really,” she replied. “I was here with my best friend, but she’s disappeared,” she concluded, gazing around her. Margaery still was not in sight, and Sansa wondered where she could be. Her glass was almost empty. She twirled the last drops of lemonade and watched the yellow liquid spin in a circular motion. She took one last sip and put the empty glass on the counter, in front of her.

“Why a lemonade?” Jon asked her, looking at her with the corner of his eye.

“I could ask you the same question,” she said, grinning. She secured her purse on her lap and gently turned her stool, to face him. She was now smiling at him with defiant eyes, her right elbow resting on the counter next to her.

“I asked first,” he fired back. Clever, Sansa thought.

“All right.” She gave up. “It helps me when I drink too much,” she confessed.

“Oh, I see. Did you have too many drinks?”

“One or two,” she replied. She had actually had more than one or two, but she figured he did not need to know. “And you? Why lemonade?”

“I just like it,” he said. “That’s all.”

How boring, Sansa thought to herself, but no word escaped from her lips. She checked her phone again. No texts. She sighed and called Margaery up. The phone rang, but to no avail. She put her phone back in her purse and hopped off the stool.

“Are you leaving?” Jon asked her.

“I should,” she said. “My friend might have gone home, as far as I know. There’s no point in waiting for her here.” She was about to reach for her wallet when he stopped her, gently placing a hand on her purse.

“It’s on me,” he said.

“Thank you, you shouldn’t have,” she said, watching him as he paid for both their drinks.

“Can I take you home, at least?” he asked her. And honestly, how could she say no?

“So what, you’ll murder me or something?” she teased him.

“I can’t tonight,” he joked as well. “I have to wake up early tomorrow, and I don’t have time for a homicide.”

“Oh,” Sansa laughed. “I see. All right then, let’s go.”

She walked out of the bar, and he followed her close behind, carrying his jacket in his arm. When they stepped outside, and the crisp winds of London swirled around them, Sansa was glad she had carried a leather jacket with her, too. They walked towards his car, a nice car, Sansa thought. They drove for ten minutes, or perhaps fifteen, Sansa did not know for certain. She leaned her head on the passenger window, looking out at the city. The sky was pitch dark, and a thousand lights illuminated the world around them. Neon signs, streetlights, traffic lights and fancy shop windows. When they reached her destination, Sansa almost did not want to leave. She walked towards her door, and stopped in front of it, Jon close behind her. She pulled her keys out of her purse and opened the door. She was ready to say goodbye when a sudden courage got the best of her.

“Jon,” she said, turning around to face him. His eyes were brown like chocolate under the moonlight. “Would you like to come inside?” She bit her lip. How stupid, she thought. Sansa did not need a mirror to know how red her cheeks must have turned. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to—”

“Yes,” he replied, taking her by surprise. He walked past her, grinning with teeth white like pearls, whispering as he stepped inside, “Why not?”

Once inside, the two immediately found themselves half-naked on her bed. Her flat was completely dark, save for the dim light that entered from outside through the windows, but Sansa did not mind. She did not need to see, she needed to feel. She got on top of him, in her underwear only, each knee on either side of his waist. She did not even know where he had thrown the blue velvet dress she had worn that night, but again, she did not mind. She helped him remove his t-shirt and jeans, and started kissing him, slowly and fast, tenderly and hungrily. He kissed her back, one hand on her naked hip and the other on her breast, gently teasing her skin, hot to the touch.

“Are you sure you’re not drunk?” he asked her mid-kiss, his lips wet and swollen.

“Shut up,” she commanded him, her long red hair tumbling down over his chiseled chest. “You’re here because I want it, Jon, don’t worry.”

They started kissing again. He flipped her over, got on top of her and removed the rest of their underwear. Sansa was on her back, watching him as he positioned his face between her thighs. She moaned, and that was just the beginning.

When the morning sun crept through the white curtains, Sansa woke up with a light headache. It took her a few seconds to recall what had happened the night before. She grinned, still half-asleep, as she pushed herself up on her arms, resting her head on the white headboard behind her. She rubbed her eyes and stretched out her arms, noticing a piece of paper on her bedside table. She picked it up and read it in her mind.

Thank you for the lovely night, too bad I had to go. Let me take you on a date next time.

—J

Jon, his name escaped from her lips in a soft whisper. He had even written his phone number at the end of his note. Giggling, she jumped out of bed, still completely naked, and put the note in her jewellery box on her desk, near her laptop. She then went to the bathroom, and looked at her own reflection in the mirror. Her scarlet hair was a tangled mess, and what remained of her lipstick was still smudged at the corners of her mouth. She had dark circles under her blue eyes, and a small reddish bruise on her neck, under her ear. A love bite, actually. She decided she would have worn a scarf around her neck to hide it.

Sansa left her flat in a hurry and rushed to her university, where Margaery approached her.

“Hey, lovely,” Margaery greeted her in the university hall. She was wearing a light blue blouse with little golden roses woven into it that brought out her eyes.

“Where were you last night?” Sansa asked her, as they walked towards their lecture classroom. Summer was getting near its end, and their first lecture of the year was about to begin.

“Oh, I’m sorry about that,” Margaery began. “But your brother and I made up, so we went—”

Ew, gross. Enough.” Sansa raised a hand in front of Margaery, as if to silence her. “I don’t need all the details, knowing you were with Robb is enough.”

Absolutely!” Margaery exclaimed, her blue eyes shining like sapphires. “And you? What did you do all alone?”

Well,” Sansa said with a sly smile as the two sat in the French literature lecture classroom. Front row, like Sansa always liked, to hear better. “I wasn’t exactly alone,” she teased her friend.

What?” Margaery almost screamed. “I want to know everything, now!”

“Well, I met a guy, and I probably had the best sex of my life,” Sansa said, blushing. She picked up her pen and started fidgeting with it. “All I know is that his name is Jon, and he’s one of the cutest guys I’ve ever—”

“Good morning, everyone,” a familiar voice said, and all the other students went quiet.

No, Sansa thought. It cannot be

She followed him with her eyes as he walked towards the teacher desk. Sansa felt as if she were about to faint when she recognised the dark curls that had tickled her inner thighs the night before.

“Margaery,” she said with a shudder, lightly shaking her friend’s arm. “That’s the Jon I was talking about. Our professor.”

Chapter Text

“Are you sure it’s him?” Margaery whispered, leaning closer to her. Sansa, still shocked, barely heard her friend, but managed to reply.

“How couldn’t I be?” Sansa answered. She put a trembling hand on her forehead as if to hide her face. Her cheeks had turned the colour of apples, and her mouth was dry as a desert.

“Maybe he won’t recognise you,” Margaery reassured her.

A few feet away from them, their professor placed his textbooks on the wooden desk in front of him and turned on his laptop. He looked for a piece of chalk and started writing his name on the blackboard behind him.

“Of course he will,” Sansa said. “He saw my face.”

“Well, he actually saw more than just your face.”

Margaery!” Sansa almost screamed, slapping her friend’s arm. “Could you save your dumb jokes for later?”

“All right, sorry,” the brown-haired girl apologised. She quickly pulled her reading glasses out of her bag and handed them to Sansa. “Here, wear these.”

What? I won’t see anything!” she exclaimed, examining the lenses.

“Don’t worry, I’ll take notes. And if you’re lucky, he won’t recognise you.”

I hope so, Sansa thought. Before wearing Margaery’s glasses, though, she took a second to read the professor name’s on the board. Jon Snow. He had not told her his last name, nor had he written it on the note he had left her. Jon Snow, why did you have to be my professor? Sansa thought to herself.

After Sansa put on the glasses, the world around her became blurry and indefinite. She quickly slid her long red locks under the collar of her shirt, in order to appear even less recognisable, and prayed that Jon Snow would not have recognised her. Unfortunately, she knew all too well that he would have spotted her, sooner or later. She gazed around her from above her glasses and noticed that the lecture room was not very crowded. Students sat here and there, and for once in her life she wished she sat at the back, as far as possible from her professor. She shrank in her seat, trying to make herself as little as possible.

“Tell me if he looks at me,” she told Margaery, in a whisper. In the meanwhile, the girl had already started taking notes.

“So what, you’ll become invisible?” she asked her, joking.

Sansa did not reply. I wish, she thought to herself. She crossed her arms in front of her chest, as if to shield herself from inevitable embarrassment, and looked at him furtively, peeping from above her friend’s glasses. He looks even cuter than yesterday night, she reluctantly thought to herself. He was wearing a dark blue sweater that accentuated his muscular arms, and tight black jeans, similar to the ones he had worn the night before. He must be very fond of jeans, Sansa thought. His curls were accurately combed and shone under the white neon lights of the lecture room. He was speaking of something, probably about his French literature course, but Sansa did not hear a single word. His words got lost in the still air around him since she was too busy thinking about what would have happened later. Her heart was still beating so fast that she thought it would explode inside her chest. What could have happened? Sansa started picturing some possible scenarios, but the more she thought about it, wrapping her head around the issue, the more her mind seemed to spin, round and round, like a tornado.

“Do you want to know what I think about him?” Margaery asked her furtively after a while, interrupting her trail of confusing thoughts.

“You’re going to tell me anyway, aren’t you?” Sansa asked sarcastically, rolling her eyes.

“Of course.” The girl chuckled. “I think he’s hot. Like, super hot. It’s a shame you can’t go out with him again.”

Sansa felt all burned up, but tried to keep her composure. “Tell me about it.”

The lecture went on for what seemed to be an eternity. Jon Snow talked the whole time, explaining the students which topics his course would have been based on, but Sansa could not seem to follow as usual. She had always been a diligent student, but for once her favourite French authors and playwrights did not catch her attention at all. All she seemed to be able to focus on was how to become invisible. However, no matter how hard she wished she could, she could not disappear.

At the end of the lecture, Sansa quickly gathered her things and strode to the door, almost running, Margaery following her close behind. She had almost stepped out of the lecture room when the inevitable happened.

“Excuse me, miss.” God, no, Sansa thought. His voice sounded raspier than she remembered. She quickly turned around, her body stiff as if it were frozen, and tried to look as calm as possible, even though her heart was about to jump out of her chest.

“Yes, professor,” she said, quickly removing Margaery’s glasses. She noticed he was taking short and uneven breaths, even though he visibly tried to hide it. Professor, she had just called him. Jon, she had moaned into his hungry mouth the night before as he kissed her on her bed, their naked legs tangled up in her bedsheets.

“Come to my office after lunch,” he told her in a serious tone, breaking eye contact. He lowered his gaze and awkwardly cleared his throat.

Sansa gulped, and even though she tried to say something, she failed. She simply nodded, and turned on her heel, walking out of the lecture room in a daze. She felt confused, astonished, flabbergasted. Her stomach started turning. She wished that it were just a dream, she prayed that she were asleep in her bed and that after waking up all of that would end, but when reality hit her, she felt lost. In the corridor outside the lecture hall, Margaery told her something but she paid her no mind. Instead, she rushed through the nearest toilet door and threw up in the sink. Margaery quickly reached her, holding her long hair back, and putting a reassuring hand on her back. After she had calmed down, Sansa washed her mouth with fresh water, and started breathing regularly again.

“Are you sure you’re not pregnant?” Margaery asked her, jokingly.

“Shut up!” Sansa exclaimed, her blue eyes burning like embers.

Margaery laughed. “I was just trying to make you laugh.”

“Do I look like I want to laugh?” she asked through gritted teeth as she dried her mouth with a paper towel.

“Well, look on the bright side. At least you’re not going to fail French literature.”

Sansa rolled her eyes without replying. She threw the crumpled up paper in the bin under the sink and picked up her bag.

“What did he tell you, anyway?” Margaery asked her as they walked towards the university hall.

Come to my office after lunch,” Sansa repeated his words mechanically, sighing. The two stopped in front of Sansa’s next lecture room.

“Try to survive without me, all right?” Margaery said as she hugged her tightly.

Sansa sighed for the hundredth time that day. “I hope so.”

“See you at lunch!”

Sansa stood there for a short while, watching her friend as she disappeared into the river of students that crowded the building, each one going in a different direction.

The other lectures of the day had been quite boring, if Sansa had to be honest with herself. She had tried to focus, and even though all the other professors were not smoking hot as Jon Snow, her mind would always wander somewhere, anywhere but there. To him, actually.

“How did the other lectures go?” Sansa asked Margaery as they sat at an empty table at the university dining hall.

“Nothing special,” Margaery said as she poured some water into her glass. “Latin is going to be a pain in the ass, this year.”

“I’m still trying to figure out why you keep taking Latin every year if you don’t like it that much,” Sansa said, mixing her food with a fork. She did not feel hungry at all, so she had opted for a tomato salad and a green apple.

“What can I say,” Margaery said in that usual dreamy way of hers. “I love challenges.”

I wish I did too, Sansa thought.

Suddenly, Margaery leaned closer to Sansa. “Don’t turn around, but Professor Hottie is having lunch here, right now as we speak!” she whispered in an excited tone.

What?” Sansa almost screamed, her blue eyes wide open. “God, it’s a nightmare!”

“Don’t worry, he’s on the opposite side of the room.”

Sansa took a sip of fresh water to calm her nerves, but it did not help. She tried to eat her salad, but every time she took a bite, she would chew for an eternity, and could not manage to swallow. She wanted to turn to look at him, but she knew she could not. If he had caught her staring at him, it would have made things even more embarrassing.

“What is he doing?” she asked Margaery, nervously twisting a strand of her red hair around her forefinger, waiting for her answer in anticipation.

Margaery gazed behind Sansa and then spoke. “He’s eating alone.” She tilted her head and squinted to see better. “He looks rather… broody.”

Broody?” Sansa asked, confused.

“Is he one of those guys who ponder about the universe after sex?” Margaery asked, looking at Sansa with worried eyes.

What?” Her friend’s question seemed rather bizarre to her. “No, I don’t think so. I mean, I don’t remember what we did after… I guess we just fell asleep.” She shrugged, not knowing what to say.

Oh, so cute,” Margaery said with dreamy eyes. “What do you think he’s going to tell you?” she then asked, looking at Sansa with wide eyes.

“That it was a mistake,” she simply replied. “As if I didn’t already know.”

“Do you think he’s going to screw you on his desk one last time?”

I wish, Sansa thought, but she laughed instead. “He’s probably going to warn me not to tell anyone, and to forget about it,” she said, shrugging. “It probably meant nothing for him, anyway.”

“Well, I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” Margaery said with a sly smile on her pink lips, emphasising the last word. “He’s looking at you right now.”

Looking at me?” Sansa asked, shocked. “Are you serious?”

Margaery nodded, and she buried her face in her hands.

“I’m sure he likes you, but right now he’s conflicted because you’re his student,” Margaery said in a wise tone. “Trust me, I know how guys work.”

“He’s not a guy, Margaery,” Sansa reminded her, pointing at her with her fork. “He’s our professor, my professor.” She sighed. “Why is it so hard?”

Margaery reached out with her hand and started gently caressing Sansa’s arm. “Don’t worry, my dear, we’ll get through this too.” Her comforting smile reassured her, and for a short while she felt calm, completely calm.

“What would I do without you?” she asked her best friend, smiling back at her.

“No need to find out,” Margaery replied. Sansa managed to finish her salad, and ate part of Margaery’s lemon cake as well. A lemonade, Sansa thought as the bittersweet taste of the lemon cake danced on her tongue. It all started with a lemonade.

After a short while, Margaery gestured in Jon's direction. “He’s leaving,” she said.

Sansa finally decided to turn around. She watched him as he placed his tray with the other dirty ones, on a counter near the exit door, and left.

“He doesn't seem very tall,” Margaery said after observing him as well, breaking the short silence, “but he’s got a nice ass.”

Oh yeah, he does”, Sansa said, and both girls burst out laughing.

Chapter Text

Jon paced restlessly up and down in his office, between the door and the window on the opposite wall, almost wearing his leather boots out. No matter how many times he inhaled and exhaled, he could not calm down. The first time I’ve ever had a one-night stand in my life and the girl turns out to be my student, Jon thought, groaning loudly. What are the odds?

He walked to the library behind his desk and picked up a book. He held the heavy tome in his hand and read the cover: Les Liaisons dangereuses, by French author Pierre Choderlos de Laclos. It was one of his favourites. Jon had always liked stories about power, seduction and revenge, but he had never thought he would find himself in a liaison dangereuse with one of her students. He sighed, putting the novel back on its shelf. On his desk, his phone lit up with a text message. He picked it up and read it.

In case you got tired of avoiding me, we could go out tonight .x

Jon did not reply, even though many other texts had preceded that one that day. Instead, he decided that he would have dealt with that later. He put his phone in the back pocket of his jeans, and sat himself at his desk. He rubbed his eyes, many little wrinkles forming on his forehead, and let out a deep sigh.

There was a soft knock at the door.

Jon almost jumped up. He cleared his throat. “Come in,” he called out. He leaned back in his black leather chair, intertwining his fingers on his lap, trying to look as casual as possible.

Then she appeared. Carrying a bag visibly full of many textbooks, and with long red hair that almost covered her face, his student entered his office. She kept her eyes on the floor the whole time, until she sat in the chair on the opposite side of his desk. Only then, she looked at him. Blue eyes, now he knew for sure, seeing them clearly for the first time without the blinding neon lights of the bar concealing their true colour.

He cleared his throat again. “So, miss…?”

Stark,” she declared, looking at him straight in the eye from the other side of his desk. Sansa Stark, he thought. It has a nice ring to it.

Miss Stark,” he repeated her name again. He then opened his lips to speak but the words died in his mouth.

“I know what you’re going to say, professor,” she spoke before him. “What happened last night was—”

Inappropriate,” he cut her short, working up the courage to speak again. Sansa’s eyes widened.

“I was about to say wrong, but I guess inappropriate works too.” She lowered her gaze. He started nervously tapping his fingers on his thigh, where her fingers had run across his skin the night before. It still ignited something inside him whenever he thought about it.

“Anyway,” he began again, “it’s mandatory that no one knows of our accident.”

Sansa lifted a brow. “Of course, I haven’t told anyone.”

Good,” he said. “Neither will I, it wouldn’t look good if anyone were to find out.”

She did not reply, but lightly nodded, breaking eye contact. Jon took a moment to observe her. Her skin was fair, and her eyes shone like two gemstones, with long eyelashes framing them graciously. Her nose was a bit long, but he found it fitted her face perfectly. When his eyes met her lips, though, he loved and hated every second of it. They were plump and pink, like sweet spring strawberries, and he ached at the thought of how he had tasted them and how he would never savour them ever again. His eyes then lingered on a small reddish spot at the side of her neck, under her ear, and he was abruptly brought back to reality when she, with a sudden movement, lifted her beige scarf to cover it.

He shook his head and cleared his throat, again.

“May I go now?” she asked him, her voice revealing her embarrassment, and he could not dare look her in the eyes. He hated himself for looking so stupid, for being so stupid. Daydreaming like a young boy, he thought. Really Jon?

“Yes, yes,” he almost stuttered. He awkwardly gestured at the door with his hand, and then covered his forehead as if to conceal his reddened face as the girl picked up her bag from the floor and stood up to leave.

“What about your friends, anyway?” she suddenly asked him, turning around to face him, her hand already on the door handle. He looked at her in disbelief, failing to make sense of her words. “After you left the bar with me, did they look for you?” she added, clearing it up. Oh, he thought. He felt a rush of blood to his cheeks once again.

“That’s none of your concern, miss,” he replied, perhaps too brusquely, judging from the face she made. She had already opened the door when he spoke again. “That note, with my number—”

“Don’t worry about that,” she snapped, “I’ve already thrown it away.” He managed to catch one last glimpse of her red hair before she shut the door behind her.

Jon buried his face in his hands and sighed. It was all silent now around him, since he was all alone, but he could not quite put his finger on what he was feeling now. What was going through him? Disappointment? Anger? Frustration? If he could have been honest with himself, he would have locked the door and he would have kissed her again, and not just that, like he had done the night before in her flat. With his desk between them, Jon had figured that he would have felt safe, but that had not been the case. Even a few feet from him, with an oversized shirt and a scarf around her neck, she attracted him like a magnet. She probably doesn’t even realise it, he thought. When he had laid his eyes on the love bite he had given her, he had felt a rush inside him, and even now, without her sitting across from him, he could feel her under his fingertips, so close that he could touch her.

But what could he do? He stood up and started pacing back and forth again. A relationship with a student was not illegal, but it would have been frowned upon, and Jon had worked so hard for that job that he never would have risked it. Besides, sleeping with a student was immoral and unprofessional. There were literally a million reasons why it was wrong, so Jon knew he had no other choice. It was the right thing, he thought to himself as he left the building, walking with long strides towards his parked car.

The drive home had lasted more than thirty minutes due to a traffic jam he had encountered along the way. In the meanwhile, a heavy rain had started pouring over London from the sky, and as Jon ran up the stairs that led to his flat, holding his jacket on his head to shield himself from the cold raindrops that landed from above, he noticed someone standing near his door.

“Why do you ignore my texts?” The girl asked, her arms crossed in front of her, like every time she was mad at him.

“What texts? I didn’t see any,” Jon lied, looking for his keys in the pocket of his wet leather jacket. He opened the door and the girl followed him inside.

“I might forgive you, you know,” she said as she wrapped her arms around him from behind, slowly caressing his chest.

“Dany, I’m not in the mood,” he said, disentangling himself from her arms.

“You’ve never in the mood, are you?” she asked bitterly. He turned around to face her, and he gazed at him with her burning violet eyes. She cupped his cheek, gently stroking his beard, and leaned closer to him.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” he said, his voice almost an inaudible whisper.

“You won’t,” she said, leaning even closer, their lips almost touching. “You could never hurt me, Jon.”

What happened next was an indefinite mess of naked bodies and heavy breathing. It was always like this, with her. Every time he tried to leave her, she would find a way to come back in his life, and for some unknown reason even to him, Jon always ended up letting her in. This time, though, it was different from all the others. As they lay in his bed, her head resting on his chest, their bodies tangled up in his bedsheets, Jon could not stop thinking about her. He gazed out of the window of his bedroom, looking at London’s bright lights. It’s inappropriate, I had no other choice, he thought. There was no way he could actually have what he really wanted. It was the right thing, he kept telling himself. Then why does it feel like a mistake?

Chapter Text

“He’s an asshole!” Sansa almost yelled as she stormed out of Jon Snow’s office, walking with long strides towards the exit. She heard Margaery gasp through her phone.

“Why?” her friend asked. “What did he say?”

Well, for starters, I was super uncomfortable and he didn’t help me feel at ease at all,” Sansa replied as she left the university building. Once outside, she looked up. Dark grey clouds were gathering in the sky, covering what remained of the late summer sun which that morning had shone upon London.

“I wouldn’t blame him though, it must’ve been embarrassing for him, too,” Margaery replied.

“I know,” she groaned, “but he didn’t need to be rude.”

Rude?” Margaery asked. “What do you mean?”

“He barely looked at me in the eyes and when I asked him what his friends had told him after we left the bar he snapped at me saying that’s none of your concern,” Sansa said, mocking his authoritarian tone.

Oh boy. What a mess.”

“Exactly.” Sansa sighed as she crossed the street. “It’s not like I hoped he wouldn’t break things off, I mean, I know very well that there was no other way, but…”

“It hurt a little,” Margaery said, finishing her sentence.

Yes,” Sansa admitted almost in a whisper, to conceal her wounded pride. Even more than a little, she thought and she would never dare admit. “Anyway, I’m almost home.”

“Oh, before you hang up, there was something I wanted to tell you. Why don’t you come with me and Brienne tomorrow night? We’re going to this new bar in Piccadilly!” Margaery said in an excited tone.

“I don’t know, Marg, I’m not really in the mood,” Sansa said, rubbing some raindrops away from her lashes. It had started raining when she was still a few blocks away from her flat, and she did not have an umbrella with her. Shit, she thought, now even this?

“All right my dear, think about it okay? And let me know what you decide. Bye, love ya.”

“Bye Margaery.” Sansa hung up and started walking faster in order to get home as soon as possible. She covered her head with her hands, but she barely shielded herself from the rain, so when she arrived at home she was soaking wet, from head to toe. She rushed inside her flat and left her wet boots near the door, in order not to leave wet prints on the floor. She removed her soaked clothes and threw them in the washing-machine, then proceeded to get into the shower. As the warm water ran across the curves of her body, she hoped that it would also cleanse her of her frustration. After the shower, she wrapped her body in a towel and rubbed some mist away from the mirror to observe her reflection. The love bite under her ear was starting to change colour, since the blood red had been replaced by a deep purple. She brushed her skin with one finger, where Jon’s lips had kissed and bitten her, and felt a shiver run down her spine. She shook her head to throw him out of her mind and walked towards her bedroom. She got dressed with one of the many t-shirts she had stolen from her brother Robb’s old wardrobe before coming back from her family home at the end of summer, and threw herself on her bed. She closed her eyes, but not for long. Her red hair was still wet when she jumped out of bed and walked towards her desk. She opened her jewellery box and among her many shining rings and necklaces she picked up the small piece of paper Jon had left on her bedside table after leaving her bed. She read his words many times, analysing his neat calligraphy, and as her eyes ran across the blue dried ink on the crumpled up piece of paper, she wished she could call him up to go on a date, like he had promised her. I’ve already thrown it away, she had told him almost in a fit of rage after he had snapped at her, but it was not true. She was now holding it between her fingers, the only thing he had left her before their fallout, the only thing she had of him. No matter how hard she tried to find the courage to toss it in the bin, the paper would not leave her fingers, as if it were stuck in her hand. I should really get rid of it, she thought, perfectly aware that nothing could have changed between them, but she could not bring herself to do it. So, with a sigh, she decided to put it back in her jewellery box, among her most precious things, where it belonged. She threw herself on her bed again, and looked at the clock on the opposite wall. 5 pm. It was not that late but she already felt exhausted. Her first day of university had been a rollercoaster, and the storm of confused thoughts and conflicting emotions that was going on inside her made her eyelids weigh a ton. She fell asleep still half-dressed and with damp air as a pouring rain fell on the busy streets of London. She had a dream even, but when she woke up from her nap she did not remember any of it. She was only left with some unspoken words in her mouth, the tantalising taste of his heart-shaped lips and the fresh scent of his clothes. She opened her eyes, her lids heavy as stones, and peered at the clock on the wall again. 7 pm. She wondered where he was, what he might be doing. She wondered if she ever crossed his mind, until she reluctantly realised that he probably did not think of her at all. Why did it have to seem so easy while it was so hard? She thought about Margaery’s proposal and figured that perhaps going out with her friends would help her get over him faster. She stood up, tying her now fully dried locks in a bun, and picked up her phone to sent her friend a text.

Count me in for tomorrow night. Drinks are on me!

She laid down her phone on her desk and gazed outside of the window, as the raindrops falling on the streets of London glistened like a million little pearls. She then went to bed, hoping for a dreamless night.

The following evening came fast. After getting dressed for the night, wearing a short white dress with puffy sleeves, Sansa wove her red mane into an elaborate braid that rested on her left shoulder. She secured the braid with some pins and applied one last coat of pink lipstick before leaving, along with a spray of perfume. On the way to the bar, she met Margaery and Brienne, who was a few years older than them, and was very tall, even taller than Sansa. Whenever she hung out with them, Margaery always jokingly complained that because of her smaller stature she looked like a child.

“How is your thesis going?” Sansa asked Brienne as they walked to the bar, the sound of cars honking and people chatting surrounding them.

“Almost finished,” the blonde girl answered, smiling proudly. “A few more chapters and I’m done.”

“It’s great, Brienne,” Margaery said, the sequins on her blouse gleaming at every move of hers. “What do you plan to do after graduating?”

“I’d like to visit France, for a few weeks. I really need to wind down for a bit.”

“Wow,” Sansa said, her blue eyes shining like diamonds. “I would love to go to France, too.”

“So you’ll run away from your forbidden love story?” Margaery teased her, and Sansa blushed violently.

“Shut up!” Sansa did not hold back a loud groan, and Margaery laughed. Brienne, instead, looked at her with curious eyes.

“Which forbidden love story is she talking about exactly?” she asked, concerned. “It’s not Joffrey again, is it?”

“Of course not,” Sansa replied. “I haven’t seen him since I broke up with him.”

“Then what is it?”

“Our professor,” Margaery said, and Sansa’s stomach turned just like the day before, when he had talked to her in the lecture room. “Our very hot professor.”

Brienne was taken aback. “Sansa? What did you do?”

“It’s not my fault,” she explained. “When I met him, I didn’t know he’d turn out to be our lecturer.”

Oh.” Brienne spoke with a softer tone now. “God, what a mess. What happened then?”

Nothing,” Sansa said, lowering her gaze and shrugging. “He told me to forget about it, as if I didn’t already know.”

“I see. And how do you feel now?” she asked her, putting a comforting hand on her shoulder.

“To be honest, I’d slap him if I could.” Sansa said simply, faking a smile. The girls burst out laughing, and the sound of their laughs made Sansa laugh, too.

“That’s my girl,” Margaery said as they reached the bar. Sansa took a deep breath before walking in.

The place was not very big, but it was cozy enough to attract many people. Dark red leather sofas were scattered here and there, along with many wooden tables for couples and groups of friends. There was also a small stage for karaoke, and Sansa thought that if she had been in a better mood she would have sung a few songs, like she always loved doing. The three girls sat at a table and ordered three drinks as soon as a waiter arrived. He took their orders and was back shortly after with three fresh cocktails on a round tray. He placed each glass in front of each girl and turned on his heel, leaving for the kitchens.

Sansa thought that some alcohol could have helped her clear her head. She picked up her glass, holding it in her hand, and started twirling her drink, watching the ice cubes on the surface of the transparent liquid spinning, clinking against each other. She closed her eyes and took a sip, her tongue savouring the sweet taste that invaded her mouth. Her eyes opened abruptly when Margaery lightly shook her arm. “Sansa,” she whispered, catching her friend’s attention. “Look who’s here.” 

She gestured behind Sansa and she turned around to look behind her, her cold drink still in her hand. She almost dropped her gin and tonic when she saw Jon Snow’s brown eyes staring at her from a table across the bar.

Chapter Text

Jon rushed through the bar door, a waiter gazing at him as he walked past him. It took him a moment to locate his friends, who were already sitting at a table on the opposite side of the room, near a rack full of red wine bottles. 

“Glad to know you’re alive!” Sam exclaimed sarcastically as Jon draped his jacket on the back of his empty chair and sat.

“What happened to you?” Tormund asked him, grinning at him with his slightly crooked teeth.

Jon sighed. “I’ve had the worst two days of my entire life.” He ran a hand through his messy curls and pulled with two fingers the collar of his black turtleneck sweater. “God, is it me or it’s really hot in here?”

“It’s you,” Sam said, nodding and looking at him with his round brown eyes. “It’s actually a bit chilly in here,” he commented, and Jon did not reply. Instead, he busied himself with the drinks menu, his eyes running across all the different alcoholic options, but he could still feel his friend’s eyes fixated on him. “Jon, what’s wrong?” Sam asked in a concerned tone. “Is it Daenerys again?”

I wish it were just that, Jon thought to himself, biting his lip. He did not reply and Sam figured he could take it for a yes.

“Did you two hook up again?” Sam asked again, and Jon gave up, letting his guard down. He nodded and laid down the drinks menu on the table. “This is not healthy,” Sam admonished him.

“I know,” Jon said, rubbing one eye. “I’ll end it with her, for good this time,” he declared, furrowing his brow.

“I’ve never liked that girl,” Tormund suddenly blurted out, and his friends’ heads turned simultaneously to look at him. “And those iguanas… what kind of person keeps iguanas as pets?”

Jon snorted. “Try tell her that and she’ll kill you.”

“No thanks!” Tormund exclaimed, his red brows knitting on his forehead. “Keep that woman and her creepy overgrown lizards away from me!”

Jon chuckled. A waiter approached and the three of them ordered one drink each. As they waited for their drinks to arrive, Jon tried to play it casual, hiding the fact that there was something else going on inside his mind, but Sam knew him too well and had no intention of giving up.

“I know there’s something else,” he said. “You’re even quieter than usual. What is it?”

Jon almost choked on air. He bit his lower lip again, but he knew that he could not lie to his best friend. “I met someone else.” It was all he managed to say.

Oh,” Sam said, in a relieved tone. “That’s not a bad thing, is it?”

“It wasn’t, until…” Jon’s mouth dried instantly, and the words did not seem to come out even though he forced himself to speak.

“Until what?” Tormund asked, leaning closer to him, frowning.

“Until I found out she’s one of my students,” he confessed bitterly. None of his friends dared to speak, but he heard Tormund curse under his breath.

“But…” Even Sam struggled to find the words. “…what happened exactly? Did you…?”

It was enough to see Jon nod for Sam to understand. The silence that followed seemed to be lasting an eternity. Jon hated himself for letting that happen, but how could he know? Not even talking about it with his closest friends would make it sting less. It felt like rubbing salt all over it. Another waiter appeared with their drinks, and placed them in front of each one of them. Even after he had left, the silence continued. Jon looked down at the amber-coloured liquid in his glass, his mind wandering where it was forbidden to go, and picked it up and took a sip. The fresh whiskey slightly burned his mouth, and after a few short seconds Jon could taste the wood it was aged in. He closed his eyes for a second, enjoying the smokey taste on his thirsty tongue, and for a moment it was just him and his drink, wishing that it would make him forget what pained him to remember.

Well,” Tormund broke the silence, bringing Jon back to reality. “What happened it’s unfortunate, but it’s over now, so you’d better forget about it.” Every time Tormund gave him a piece of advice, Jon wished he could trade his broody demeanour for his friend’s carelessness, and this time was no exception.

“He can’t just forget about it, Tormund,” Sam said, twirling his red wine glass in his hand. “Needless to say it must be embarrassing for both of them, and for someone in Jon’s position it’s his duty to break things off immediately and in a civil way,” he concluded, still looking at Jon. His eyes, though, were staring blankly at his drink. “Unless,” Sam began again, like someone who had just put two and two together, “it’s not just that, the embarrassment I mean, is it, Jon?”

“What can I say?” Jon finally lifted his gaze, looking at his friend, the dim bar lights casting a blue shade over his curls and beard. “Of course it’s not just that.”

“Then what is it?” Tormund asked, still clueless. Jon could not bring himself to say it.

He likes her,” Sam said in a whisper, wide-eyed, taken aback by his own sudden realisation. 

Jon surrendered and nodded, not being able to actually say it out loud. He lowered his gaze again, his fingers still wrapped around the glass when he realised that he had forgotten to dry the tiny drops of moisture that had formed on the outside of it, like he would usually do whenever he had a drink. He suppressed a bitter laugh. Are you always like this, Jon? Her words echoed in his mind, like a melody too sweet to forget.

“Shit. What will you do now?” Tormund looked even more confused than before. His red beard had turned white because of a thin line of beer foam that had gathered on it, and the sight of it managed to get a smile out of Jon.

“There’s nothing I can do,” Jon simply said, sighing.

“Why? Can’t you date her anyway?”

“That’s out of the question,” Jon cut him short, shaking his head. “I would never date a student. Ever.” No matter how badly I want to, he would never admit.

“You’re a disaster with women, Snow,” Tormund said, shaking his head in disapproval, before picking up his glass to take another sip of his beer. “And that morality of yours won’t help you at all.”

Jon chuckled, and Sam opened his mouth to speak. “What is she like?” he asked, his eyes wide in curiosity.

Good question. “Well, she’s tall, even taller than me—”

“That describes pretty much everyone,” Tormund said, teasing him with a grin.

“You asshole.” Jon pretended to be offended by his friend’s remark. “Anyway, as I was saying before being interrupted, she’s got blue eyes and long red hair—”

“Like me!” Tormund exclaimed excitedly, interrupting him again.

Yes, Tormund, like you,” Jon said, sighing. “But she’s actually prettier than you.” Very pretty indeed.

“Fuck pretty!” Tormund suddenly exclaimed, taking both his friends by surprise. “Enough with your bullshit. Now that’s pretty.” Unaware of what Tormund was talking about, Jon looked in the direction of his pointed finger. A tall woman with short blonde hair had just entered the bar, followed by a shorter girl with long brown waves.

“I don’t get it,” Sam said, squinting in vain. “What are you pointing at?”

“That woman,” Tormund said with his tongue flooded by beer, pointing again at the blonde one. “I like her.”

Jon turned to his friend, taking another sip of his whiskey. “Why don’t you go talk to her?” he asked him, as if his friend needed to be encouraged to stand up and go talk to a girl.

Oh, I will… as soon as I finish this beer.”

“They’re sitting, the three of them” Sam said, stretching up his neck to see better.

Three?” Jon asked. I had counted two, he thought to himself. He pushed himself up from his chair, peering through the other costumers, but he had never expected to see who was sitting on the other side of the bar.

“Shit!” He exclaimed under his breath, covering his face with a sudden movement. “Guys, it’s her!”

Who?” Sam asked, confused, the skin of his puffy cheeks flushed due to the wine he had drunk.

“The red-haired one.”

No way!” Tormund gasped loudly. “Did she see you?”

“No, she was talking to the waiter. What is she doing now?” he asked, his hand still on half of his face. His breath was uneven and his hands had started to sweat, tiny drops forming all over his skin.

“She’s chatting with her friends…” Sam stretched his neck even farther, “…and she’s drinking now.”

Good, Jon thought. Damn, with all the bars in London did I have to come to this one?

He had only caught one glimpse of her, and it had been enough to wreak havoc within him. She had woven her hair into a braid, from what he had managed to see, and was wearing a white dress above the knee that revealed her long legs. He pushed himself up again, to look in her direction, and froze when his eyes unexpectedly met hers.

Shit. He jerked down abruptly. “She saw me!

Sam’s head turned towards him. “Are you sure?”

Yes!” he whispered. What do I do now? he wondered, his brain buzzing in search for answers. In a sharp movement, Jon quickly stood up and grabbed his jacket, his eyes fixated on the floor.

“Where are you going?” Tormund asked him, confused.

He quickly put his jacket on. “Out. I need some air.”

In the blink of an eye, Jon found himself outside, his brain still failing to make sense of what had just happened. His breath was even heavier than before, and his fingers could not stop trembling. He did not even know if she had seen him rush out of the bar, but he knew it was not unlikely. To try to calm himself down, he pulled out a pack of cigarettes from the pocket of his jacket and lit one up, shielding it from the cold night wind with his cupped hand. Holding it between his fingers, he brought the cigarette close to his lips and inhaled deeply, letting the smoke hit the back of his throat and lightly burn his lungs. He looked around. The pavement was crowded with people, and he wished he could disappear among them, nowhere to be found again. He took another bitter drag and held the smoke back for a moment before releasing it, creating a small white cloud the dissolved in the chilly night air. He closed his eyes, and waited for his heart to slow down inside his chest.

Behind him, someone cleared their throat. A girl. His eyes opened suddenly. He turned around and immediately recognised those familiar blue eyes that seemed to read through him whenever they laid upon him.

He almost broke his cigarette, his fingers tightening around it. “Miss Stark,” he said, his voice hoarser than usual. “What are you doing here?”

“I saw you run out of there,” she declared, and it almost felt like an accusation. She did not break eye contact, not even for a second, and Jon crossed his arms, to shield himself from her penetrating gaze.

His body stiffened under his late summer clothes. “I needed some air,” he blurted out. How stupid did I just sound? he thought, biting his lower lip.

She looked at him as if she perfectly knew what he was going through and sighed. “Can we try to be civil?”

Civil?” The word escaped from his lips before he could do something to prevent it, and she looked at him with a confused look. Suddenly, Sam’s own words echoed inside his mind. He cleared his throat and spoke again. “Of course we can, I mean…” he paused, taking in a deep breath and disentangling his own arms. “Look, miss Stark, I should apologise.”

She did not seem to follow him. “Apologise?”

“Yes,” he insisted, white smoke swirling around him as he moved his hand. “I apologise for speaking impolitely to you yesterday. It was utterly unprofessional of me.”

She lowered her gaze, her lips curving in the hint of a smile. “I’m sorry, too, for snapping at you like that.”

“It’s my fault,” he claimed. “I shouldn’t have made it harder than it already was.” She nodded, looking at him with forgiving eyes. He broke eye contact and gazed around him, taking another drag, feeling quite… relieved. She was still standing there, a few steps away from him, and with the corner of his eye he noticed that she was unbraiding her scarlet hair, her long fingers moving swiftly through it. He pulled out his pack of cigarettes again and held it out in front of her. “Want one?”

“No, thanks,” she said with a kind smile. “I don’t smoke. And, frankly, you shouldn’t either.”

“I know,” he confessed. “I’m trying to quit.”

“With poor results, from what I see,” she joked, gesturing at the cigarette in his hand.

“Bad habits take time. I hope I’ll eventually make it.” He smiled at her, and could feel the muscles of his back loosen.

“Anyway, I should go back inside,” she said, gesturing at the door behind her.

“I guess I should too… after finishing this,” he replied, nodding at his cigarette.

She was already on the doorstep when she suddenly turned around. “Try not to ditch your friends again, this time,” she teasingly warned him, flashing one last sly smile at him before stepping inside, her loose auburn hair twirling behind her.

Not only pretty, but also devilishly clever, Jon thought, his lips pressed together with a slightly raised side. She handled this more maturely than me, he admitted. As he smoked what remained of his almost extinguished cigarette, Jon could not help but wonder what would happen if he followed Tormund’s piece of advice. If he asked her out on a date, like he had intended to do before seeing her in that bloody lecture room, what would happen? He shook his head. No, he thought. That was a boundary he would not dare cross. As she said, they had to be civil to one another, like every other professor and student, and nothing more than that.

He finished his cigarette and adjusted the collar of his jacket, then started walking towards the front door of the bar when he suddenly stepped on something, feeling it through the sole of his shoe. He instantly stopped and cautiously lifted his foot. Bending down, he squinted at the ground and noticed a shining pin on the concrete. A hair pin. He picked it up and held it between his fingers, examining it under the white glow of the street lights near the bar entrance. It was shorter than his forefinger, with a little wolf head on one end. It must be hers, he thought. He considered for a second giving it back to her, but instead he figured that it would be better to put it in the pocket of his jeans, where nobody would have taken it from him.

Chapter Text

September was about to come to an end, and the air above London was getting colder by the day. All the autumn courses had begun, and Sansa was already studying for the first tests of the academic year, including the French literature one. Weeks had passed since that conversation, and Sansa had managed to maintain a healthy student-professor relationship with Mr Snow, like all the other students. She had struggled at first, but day after day, lesson after lesson, she was now able to look at him in the eye without faltering whenever she had an answer to his questions. Not too much to make it noticeable, at least.

“Oh, there you are!” Margaery’s high-pitched voice caught her attention, making her divert her focused eyes from her textbook. The girl slammed a colourful leaflet in front of her and silently dragged a chair to sit next to her in the university library.

“What is this?” Sansa asked when she picked up the mysterious piece of paper and observed it, keeping it between her fingers. She read what was written on it. “Théâtre Bilingue: A French Experience,” she read it out loud, her features twisted in a confused look. “What is the meaning of this?” she asked Margaery, who was now looking at her with her bright blue eyes, more excited than ever.

“Read right here,” she said, guiding her with her pointed finger at the bottom of the first page of the leaflet. “They’re looking for a singer.”

“So?” Sansa could not seem to understand why her friend was so excited by it.

“They’re looking for you!” Margaery exclaimed, trying not to yell in order not to disturb the other students around them.

“I’m not an actress, Margaery. And singing is a just a hobby to me,” she replied, laying the leaflet down on the table, among her many opened textbooks.

“You don’t need to act, you just need to sing,” Margaery insisted. “It would be a shame if you didn’t participate, you’ve got a lovely voice and you’re great at speaking French, so that’ll help!”

Sansa was still sceptical. “I don’t know, Marg—”

“What are you confused about, little sister?” From behind both of them, her brother Robb appeared. He gave a kiss to both of them and sat in the middle between the two girls. He looked at Sansa with his blue eyes and ran a hand through the crown of light brown curls on his head waiting for her to reply, but Margaery spoke before her.

“I was just suggesting that your sister should take part in this play,” she said, dragging the leaflet on the table with her fingers and placing it in front of Robb’s eyes. Sansa shook her head and scoffed as her brother examined it, a hand under his chin and a pensive look in his eyes.

“I agree with Margaery,” he stated after a short while, nodding, and Sansa did not even try to hold a groan back.

“Of course,” she complained. “She’s your girlfriend.”

“And you’re my sister,” he replied, his rosy lips curved in a reassuring smile. “And I do believe that you’d be great in it.”

Sansa rolled her eyes. “I hate you both,” she sneered through gritted teeth.

“You’ll thank me for that one day,” Margaery said as if she could already know what the future held for Sansa. She, on her part, was still quite sceptical about the project.

She picked up the leaflet again, analysing it more thoroughly than before. “Look what it says here,” she said, pointing at something that her eyes had previously missed. “Promoted by Professors Jaime and Cersei Lannister,” she read.

Oh.” Margaery sighed. “I hadn’t noticed that,” she confessed, her pink lips parched in a thin line and frowning. “Maybe she’s forgotten about… that.”

“I doubt it.” Sansa shook her head. “She hated me even before I broke up with her son,” she admitted, bitterly. “Even if I auditioned for it, she’d never give me the singer’s part.”

“She’s not the only one who gets to decide,” Robb said, reassuring her. “Her brother has a say in it too, and as far as I remember he’s much nicer than his sister.”

“Oh, he is,” Margaery said. “We took his French language course this year. But have you heard the rumours about them?”

“What rumours?” Robb asked, curious.

Please, Margaery, don’t be ridiculous.” Sansa shook her head. “There’s no way they’re in an incestuous relationship.” Robb let out a laugh, and Margaery laughed as well. After a while, Sansa spoke again. “I don’t know, guys, I have to think about it,” she said, gazing at the leaflet one last time before sliding it inside one of her textbooks. She gathered the rest of her scattered belongings and stood up, preparing to leave.

“Where are you going?” her brother asked her, glancing at her with a bewildered look.

“I have to get a French literature graded paper back,” she replied casually.

“Good luck with Mr Snow,” Margaery teased her, and Sansa hoped that Robb would not pick up on his girlfriend’s remark.

“What do you mean? Sansa has always been a brilliant student. Why would she have issues with a professor?” Robb asked, confused, his shiny eyes narrowing.

I hate you, Sansa mouthed at Margaery as she walked away from them, towards the exit door.

Oh, how oblivious you boys are sometimes.” She heard her friend say to her brother when she was already almost out of the busy library.

It was a long walk towards his office. Sansa had walked many steps and had climbed and descended many stairs before arriving. Once she had reached her destination, she softly knocked on the door and stood there, waiting.

“Come in.” She heard him call out from inside, the sound of his raspy voice muffled by the thick wooden door between them. She took a deep breath and entered, a kind smile already on her lips.

“Good morning, professor,” she greeted him, sitting in the chair on the other side of his desk. He nodded at her and, without a word, quickly looked for her paper in a stack of graded papers near his laptop. As he worked his fingers through the many papers, her eyes ran over his features. His dark curls were accurately combed, but one single black strand fell over his forehead, which was snaked by thin wrinkles as he scanned the stack of papers with focused eyes, looking for hers. His lips were parched, pressed in a thin line, and the muscles of his shoulders were visibly tense under his black sweater.

“Here,” he told her as he handed her the paper, his arm stretching out towards her. Their fingers brushed against each other for a fleeting moment, and she could still feel his gaze upon her as her eyes ran across the few corrections he had made. She heard him clear his throat. “It’s one of the best papers, actually. You made only a few mistakes here and there, but nothing to worry about,” he said, complimenting her, which made her blush.

“I see”, she simply replied, her lips curving in a timid smile. She could smell his perfume and to her great dismay she found it even sweeter than she remembered. Without any other word, she opened her bag to put the paper with the ones that she had already collected, when suddenly the leaflet Margaery had given her slipped out, slowly landing on the floor near her chair like a dead leaf falling from a tree.

“Theatre in French?” he curiously asked her, intertwining his fingers on his desk before him, observing her as she clumsily picked it up.

She bit her lower lip, tasting her sweet lip balm with her tongue. “Yes, but I don’t think I’ll audition for it.”

“Why not?” he asked again, his watch reflecting the light that entered through the high window beside him. “Your French is already quite good, but it would help you improve your linguistic proficiency.”

“I’ll think about it,” she replied almost inaudibly, putting the leaflet back in her bag and wondering where her voice had gone. With her head down, she let her loose hair tumble over her chest, hoping that her locks would conceal the unbidden red that had spread over the skin of her cheeks. Even after securing the leaflet in her bag, she lingered in that chair for no reason at all, as if her body were incapable of standing up and leaving.

“You may go now, if you want,” he said, gesturing at the door behind her and leaning back in his chair after a short silence that seemed to last an eternity.

Perfect, now he must think that I’m dumb, she thought. “Of course,” she stuttered as she stood up and zipped her heavy bag shut.

“Have a nice day, miss Stark” he told her as she was about to turn around to walk towards the door, the corners of his mouth curving in a kind smile. She wanted to apologise for forgetting her manners, but her mind was too dizzy to find the right words.

“You too, professor,” she simply said, flashing one last smile at him before leaving his office, his gentle brown eyes disappearing from view.

Once the door behind her was shut and she found herself in the corridor crowded by many other students, she took a deep breath, deeper than the one she had taken before entering. Why did she feel like this? She could not seem to wrap her head around it. After they had talked outside that bar that night, she had found his lessons easier to bear since they had both put aside the mutual embarrassment between them. But now, after being in close proximity to him again, she felt as if she had gone back to square one. If she had been so sure of being over it, why was her heart now beating fast inside her chest as she rested her back against the wall near his door, desperately trying to gasp for air? It was not desire that was eating her alive from inside, she was sure of that. It was the awareness that had followed the bitter realisation that she longed for something that she could not reach, that she could not grasp.

As she recomposed herself, she pulled out the leaflet from her bag and held it before her own eyes, keeping it tight between her fingers.

Auditions: Friday at 10h30, she read in her mind. She had two days to rehearse some songs on her own before the auditions. Perhaps this will help me take my mind off him, she thought as she walked down the corridor, holding the leaflet close to her chest, where her heart was still beating like a drum.

Chapter Text

“I need a break, my throat is dry.” Sansa rose from her bed where she had been lying, rehearsing the same song for the millionth time with her friend Margaery, and walked to her desk to pour herself a glass of water. She let the smooth liquid wet her lips and flow down her throat, enjoying the refreshing sensation that lingered within her even after emptying the glass. She poured some for Margaery, too, and sat near her, on her bed.

“What do you think?” she asked her, handing her the glass.

“I think that you’re ready,” her friend replied, sipping on the water but not taking her blue eyes off her. “I’m sure that you’ll get that part!” she exclaimed, reaching out to her with a hand. 

Sansa slid her hand on top of Margaery’s and squeezed it, smiling warmly at her. “Maybe this was not a bad idea, after all.” She stood up and walked to her desk again, this time looking for something to tie her hair with. She swiftly twisted her red locks in a bun and wrapped a hair tie around it. Then, she opened her jewellery box and searched for her favourite hair pin, but to no avail.

“My wolf pin,” she said, her fingers still inside the little wooden box among her necklaces, earrings and hair clips. “I lost it.”

“When did you last wear it?” Margaery asked from her bed.

Sansa narrowed her eyes and frowned, trying to recall when and where she might have lost it, but nothing came to her mind, no matter how hard she tried to reminisce.

“I have no idea,” she admitted, letting out a sigh and shutting the box with a thump. Resigned, she opted for another one of her pins, and secured her bun behind her head, some loose strands lightly brushing the skin of her neck. She sat on her bed again, her eyes fixated on a picture of her family that she kept on her desk. “It reminded me of Lady,” she said, the corners of her mouth curling in a melancholic smile. “Whenever I wore it, I felt as if she were with me.” When that morning her mother had texted her wishing her good luck for her auditions, she had wished she could have gone home to her family, since she missed them all terribly, and her dog was no exception. She had dreamed of Lady a lot in the past few nights. She had seen herself running alongside her, her grey fur shining like silver under the sunlight, and in her dreams the garden at the back of her family house was greener and endless and full of promises.

“Why don’t you go home this weekend?” Margaery suggested her, her sweet voice reaching her ears from behind her back.

“I can’t. I have to study,” Sansa said with a sigh. “You know, when we got the puppies, no one wanted them, because they looked like wolves. I still remember how happy Bran and Rickon were when we brought them home.” A warm smile formed on Sansa’s lips as she thought of her younger brothers. “And there was another one, smaller than his brothers and sisters…” Her eyes narrowed even further, and her red brows knitted on her forehead as she retraced her own memories. “It was white as snow, with blood red eyes, an albino,” she said, “and we didn’t get him because we already had one each. The owner said that he’d die soon, anyway.”

“And did you ever find out what happened to him?”

“No,” Sansa said, twisting a strand of hair that had fallen from her bun around her forefinger. “I have no idea.”

“I still remember the first time I met Lady,” Margaery said, lying on one side and resting her head on one hand, her elbow digging a small dip in the mattress covered by a light pink blanket. “The gentlest dog I’ve ever met.”

“Lady is like that,” Sansa proudly claimed. “She’s calm and trusting, and I wish she were here with me now. I’m looking forward to seeing her again,” she concluded, her heart full of hope and longing.

“I miss my family too,” Margaery said, rolling over and lying on her back, her gaze pointed towards the white ceiling of Sansa’s bedroom.

“Are Loras and Renly still looking for a wedding venue?”

Yes,” Margaery said, a loud sigh escaping from her lips. “I believe that I’ll manage to marry Robb before he marries Renly,” she joked, her thin lips curving in a smile. Margaery’s laugh resonated in the room, but Sansa did not smile. There was not place in her heart for jealousy, but it seemed to her that everyone had found the great love of their lives but her. And whenever she thought of what love could look like for her, a forbidden face appeared in her mind, making a pang of bitter disappointment burn her stomach.

“What’s wrong, Sansa?” Margaery pushed herself up and crawled closer to her, her legs under the weight of her body. She gently grabbed her soft hand and leaned closer to her. “Wouldn’t you like that if it were to happen someday?”

“Of course I would,” Sansa said, reassuring her. “I already consider you my sister…”

“But?” Margaery tilted her head, her blue eyes still on her.

Sansa swallowed and broke eye contact, lowering her gaze. She did not want to sound like a whiny little girl, but she did not want to lie to her friend either. If there was someone she could completely be honest with, that person was a girl, and her name was Margaery Tyrell. “I feel like everyone’s in love and then, there’s me,” she confessed, shaking her head. She bit her lip, as if she wanted to pull her confession back into her mouth. “Forgive me, I sound like a stupid thirteen-year-old.”

No,” Margaery squeezed Sansa’s hand tighter and brushed her pale cheek with a finger. “You must tell me everything that’s going on. I don’t want you to bottle up your feelings.”

“Thank you.” Sansa smiled timidly. “I don’t know what’s going on, I feel…” Her lips parted, but she could not manage to articulate a word and only an inaudible sigh escaped from them.

“I think I know what’s troubling you,” Margaery stated, straightening her back.

“Of course you know,” Sansa replied, her fingers nervously fidgeting with the hem of the burgundy skirt she had sewn herself. “I feel stupid.”

“You shouldn’t,” Margaery said. “Your feelings are valid, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of them.”

“But what should I do?” Sansa asked, hoping, praying that her best friend would hand her the right solution to her problems even though she knew, in the back of her mind, that it was impossible.

This time, it was Margaery’s turn to sigh. “My dear, I wish I didn’t have to tell you to move on, but—”

“I should move on,” Sansa finished her sentence in a monotone voice, and Margaery nodded, her lips parched in a thin line. Of course, she thought. There’s no other way. “He’s already forgotten about it, anyway” she blurted out, the corners of her mouth curling downwards.

“How can you be so sure?” Margaery asked her, skeptically.

“Oh, trust me, I know.” Any doubt had dissipated outside that bar, that night, and in his office, the day before. Her eyes had lingered upon him in search of a twitch of his lips, a quiver in his voice, but she had found nothing that could point her in the right direction. Instead, she had been the one with red cheeks and sweaty hands, and now she could only hope that, at least, he had not noticed any of that when she was in front of him. “Anyway, let’s get back to singing,” she said, clapping her hands. “I need to focus on that.”

Margaery rolled over and covered her face with one of the many soft pillows scattered on Sansa’s bed. “How many times do I have to listen to you singing that song again?” she asked, letting out a muffled groan.

Sansa chuckled and cleared her throat to sing. “As long as it pleases me.”

The next day arrived soon, too soon for Sansa. She had spent hours in front of the mirror, deciding what to wear. Eventually, she opted for a black turtleneck sweater with long sleeves and blue jeans, and had decided to adorn her neck with a golden pendant that stood out like a lustrous sun against a pitch-black sky. Her scarlet hair was woven into a braid starting at the top of her head and falling down on her back, almost reaching her waist. Whenever she braided her hair, Sansa would secure it with her wolf pin, but this time, without it, she had no other choice than to use other pins she was not particularly attached to. When she arrived in the university auditorium, she took a seat with Margaery beside her. Some other students were already sat, scattered here and there with empty seats in between them, and some dim lights illuminated the stage where they would have performed in a short while. She looked repeatedly towards the door, in search of the Lannisters’ golden heads, her leg nervously bouncing back and forth in anticipation. A wide smile appeared on her lips when she saw Brienne appear.

“Sansa! Are you nervous?” Brienne asked her as she sat next to her, her light blue eyes shining like two spotlights.

“A bit,” she admitted, gazing around her. “I hope I won’t embarrass myself in front of everyone.”

“You won’t!” Margaery exclaimed, gently stroking her arm. “Brienne, tell Sansa that she’ll get the part.”

“No doubt about that,” the blonde girl said. “You should stop second-guessing yourself.”

Sansa was about to utter a reply when Cersei Lannister appeared, fingers intertwined before her, dressed in gold and red from head to toe. Her short hair shone like molten gold under the stage spotlights, and when she stopped in front of the microphone and tapped it with her knuckles to check if it was on or not, Sansa took a deep breath, for the show was about to begin.

“Good morning, everyone,” she spoke, her icy voice echoing throughout the room. “As you can see for yourselves, my brother, professor Jaime Lannister, is not here today.” She paused, and a murmur of voices rose among the students and filled the air. “Unfortunately, my brother had an accident and broke his hand, so he’ll be replaced temporarily,” she announced. Sansa’s eyes travelled to the entrance doors, where someone appeared. “This is why Professor Snow will take his place until my brother recovers,” she concluded.

What?” Margaery’s head turned abruptly towards Sansa, who did not reply.

Even Brienne asked her a question, but she paid them no mind. Instead, her eyes followed him as he walked on stage and placed himself beside Mrs Lannister, his hands shoved in the pockets of his dark trousers, and a crown of black curls forming soft waves on his head.

Sansa could not believe it, but in a way, she could. Her body stiffened, her breathing accelerated and she gulped as if she had a stone stuck in her throat, but she did not flinch. Margaery shook her arm, catching her attention again, and looked at her in disbelief, as if she wanted to ask her What will you do now? but Sansa did not cringe. She could not go back now. She could not run away. A newfound courage, or perhaps some kind of madness that she had never known took over her body and mind, and as she firmly laid her gaze on Margaery, she heard herself say, “I’m not going anywhere.”

Chapter Text

“Sansa.” Brienne called her name in a soft whisper that sounded almost maternal, and laid a gentle pale hand on the thin skin of her wrist, where the black cotton of her turtleneck sweater ended to reveal the bluish veins that merged and flew into the palm of her hand. “Are you all right?”

“Don’t worry, Brienne,” Sansa replied, her blue eyes flashing a reassuring look at her blonde friend whose comforting hand had not left her wrist yet. “He’s just a professor. A lecturer. Just like many others.”

“I’m glad you won’t let this discourage you,” Margaery whispered, stroking her arm and smiling with her shiny white teeth.

“Of course I won’t,” Sansa said, her cheeks bearing only a light shade of pink, one that did not reveal too much. “I shouldn’t be ashamed of anything. Besides, I’m here to sing and get the part, if I’m lucky. I won’t even have to look at him.”

“No need to do that since he’s just turned around to look at you,” Brienne whispered close to her ear. Sansa instinctively lifted her gaze in his direction. He was sitting at the front row, close to the stage, and was already facing in front of him, so all she could see were his dark curls and broad shoulders. The partial glimpse she had of him was not much, but it was enough to make a fire grow inside her.

She bit her lip and stood up, trying to do so as quietly as possible in order not to interfere with the auditions that had just begun. “I’m going backstage. Would you come with me?” she whispered to her two friends who gathered their things and followed her close behind towards the back of the stage, where other students were rehearsing their parts. One after the other, they were all called to perform, until Sansa remained last, with Margaery and Brienne by her side.

“Next.” Sansa heard Cersei Lannister call out from the other side of the thick red curtain that divided the stage from the audience.

“Go! And kick everyone’s ass!” Both Margaery and Brienne encouraged her and gave her one last kiss before she walked on stage.

She kept her composure as she walked towards the microphone, her eyes straight in front of her, her fists clenched at her sides. She adjusted her breathing in order to conceal her agitation, when Mrs Lannister’s voice suddenly filled the auditorium.

Oh,” she exclaimed in surprise, “it’s you.” Sansa lowered her gaze and her eyes met hers. The woman folded her hands before herself and rested her chin on them, studying Sansa with an arrogant smirk plastered on her face. “I’m still picking up the pieces of the mess you caused, you know?” Her voice echoed in the air, and Sansa saw Mr Snow, who until that moment had been very busy fidgeting with his pen, lift his gaze and turn his head towards the woman next to him, a bewildered look on his face. It was clearly shame or even fear that Cersei wanted to witness on Sansa’s face, but she would never give her such joy. I’ll never cringe for you, she thought. With a courteous smile on her lips, she remained unbothered and leaned closer to the microphone, politely asking, “May I begin?”

Cersei Lannister, visibly disappointed by Sansa’s apparent calm, raised a blonde brow and leaned back in her seat, her smug smirk turning into a frigid half-smile. “Of course,” she replied.

Now they were both looking at her, even him. Brown eyes and green eyes, fixated on her as they waited for her to begin. She nodded at the pianist a few feet away from her and he began to play. Soft and mellow notes filled the air, a honeyed melody swirling around her as she opened her mouth to sing.

She closed her eyes.

“Des yeux qui font baisser les miens, u n rire qui se perd sur sa bouche, v oilà le portrait sans retouches d e l'homme auquel j’appartiens”

Her heartbeat sped up.

“Quand il me prend dans ses bras, i l me parle tout bas, j e vois la vie en rose, il me dit des mots d'amour, d es mots de tous les jours, e t ça me fait quelque chose”

She smiled.

"Il est entré dans mon cœur, u ne part de bonheur, d ont je connais la cause”

She opened her eyes.

“C'est lui pour moi, moi pour lui dans la vie”

Her eyes met his.

“Il me l'a dit, l'a juré pour la vie…”

Someone at the back of the room started clapping. In a few seconds, everyone else joined and a thunderous applause filled her ears. Jon Snow was still looking at her, wide-eyed, still as a marble statue, and the emotion of the moment took over her and gave her the courage to smile at him. His heart-shaped lips curled up in a timid smile as well, and only a few seconds later he cleared his throat and looked over his left at Cersei Lannister. Sansa bit her lip and could feel her cheeks burning but, for once, she did not care. She smiled at the students who were still applauding and then she laid her gaze on Mrs Lannister, who looked at her as if she wanted to kill her and bury her body right here, and, in that moment, Sansa knew that she had sung well.

The woman raised a hand and everyone went quiet. “We’re done here. The results will be published in the afternoon.”

She stood up and took her leave with a notepad in her hand. Sansa lingered on stage for a short while and was about to leave as well when she noticed out of the corner of her eye that Jon Snow’s eyes were on her. She locked eyes with him for a brief moment and watched him as he turned on his heel and strode towards the exit doors through which Cersei Lannister had already disappeared.

“You were extraordinary!” Margaery suddenly appeared from behind her and hugged her. Sansa could smell the violets in her hair as her arms were wrapped tightly around her best friend’s body.

“No doubt you’ll get that part,” Brienne said. It was her turn now to hug her.

“I don’t know, wasn’t La Vie en Rose too cliché?” Sansa asked, her hands still shaking.

“Oh, don’t be silly, it was perfect!” Margaery reassured her, offering her arm. The three girls walked off stage. “Let us get you some water now, your throat must be dry.”

After a quick lunch with the girls, Sansa was now waiting outside Mrs Lannister’s office for the results to be published. She was restlessly pacing back and forth, her heart beating like a drum in anticipation. Before she had walked on that stage to sing, Sansa had not really cared about getting the part, but after that she had started to think that, if she got it, it would not be a bad thing after all.

“Sansa, it’s time,” Brienne said, pointing at the door of Mrs Lannister’s office. The woman had just appeared and was now hanging something at the wall near her door. The results, Sansa thought. She took a deep breath and prepared to find out the truth. With her friends following her close behind, Sansa walked towards the bulletin board where the auditions results had just been displayed. Cersei Lannister, hands folded before herself, was walking in the opposite direction.

“Congratulations, miss Stark,” she hissed as she walked past Sansa, her green eyes narrowed. “I guess we’ll see each other more often, from now on.”

Sansa tried to reply but no word escaped from her lips. Why would Cersei Lannister say such a thing? Sansa knew that it could only mean one thing. She made her way through the crowd of students and her eyes ran across the results as quick as the wind, in search of her name, and her heart skipped a beat when she found it.

“I got the singer’s part!” she exclaimed, throwing herself in her friends’ arms. Both Margaery and Brienne hugged her and showered her with kisses.

“See? I knew that you’d be perfect for it!” Margaery said, her eyes shining like blue diamonds.

“We should celebrate!” Brienne added as the three of them walked towards the university exit.

The rehearsals started the following day. Sansa was the main singer, but she also had a few lines. A tailor had already taken her measurements for her costumes, and Margaery and Brienne would accompany her to support her whenever they could.

“Where did thad bloody boy go?” Mrs Lannister’s groans resonated throughout the dimly lit auditorium. The male singer was late, again, and Sansa needed to rehearse a duet now. She was on stage, dressed in all black from head to toe, and was growing tired of rehearsing alone all the time.

“Can someone else take his place for now?” Sansa suggested. Cersei Lannister studied her face for a moment, reflecting on what she had just said. She swept a blonde strand away from her forehead before stating the obvious. “There are no male singers here,” she pointed out.

“So?” Sansa asked. “One of them could,” she said, gesturing at the male students on the opposite side of the stage.

“No,” Cersei Lannister said, “they’re all in couples, and they’re already too much to deal with on their own. Mr Snow will do it.”

What? Sansa tried to protest, but every word she tried to utter died in her throat before it could even reach her mouth. She turned her head towards him, who was sitting next to Cersei, and was now looking at her with a face she had seen in his office on the first day of university. Without a word, he stood up and walked on stage, one slow step after the other, his whole body visibly stiffened. He stopped in front of Sansa, and for a moment she swore she had seen the man she had met more than a month earlier, when she still did not know who he was, but the vision faded as fast as it had appeared.

“So? I don’t have all day,” Mrs Lannister complained with a snort, impatiently tapping her foot on the floor.

Jon Snow held his breath and stepped closer to Sansa, but Mrs Lannister was not pleased yet. “Closer,” she commanded, and he released the air from his lungs with a deep sigh. Sansa could not manage to look at him in the eyes, and neither did he. He stepped even closer and placed both hands on her hips, as the script required. His fingers were spread on the curves of her hips, where her waist ended and her thighs began, and the soft fabric of her clothes was now crumpled under his fingertips. His touch sent a river of electricity down Sansa’s spine, but she knew that she had to hide it. She bit her lip, her gaze still fixated on the floor, and struggled against her own feelings to conceal the storm that was raging inside her. With a bit of courage, she managed to lift her gaze to catch a glimpse of his face. His jaw was clenched and the veins in his neck were pulsing with every heartbeat, while his eyes were lost, staring elsewhere. He must be hating every second of it, she bitterly thought to herself.

“Exactly like that.” Cersei Lannister approved. Her eyes travelled to Sansa. “Now, this is when you stop singing and he kisses you, understood?”

Sansa bit her lip again and nodded. She glanced at the red chairs of the audience and hoped to see Margaery’s reassuring smile, but unfortunately she was not there.

“Of course you’re not required to kiss Mr Snow, but if you two tried to make it more convincing, that’d certainly help,” Cersei Lannister said sarcastically after a short while, rolling her eyes without even trying to hide it. 

God, she really loathes me. Sansa held her breath and shifted closer to him, erasing the small distance that had remained between them, and finally his eyes met hers. His dark lashes perfectly framed the chocolate of his irides, and they were so intense that they seemed to be looking right through her. His lips were plump and pink, surrounded by a soft beard that stretched even past his chin, where the curve of his neck began. Sansa’s eyes lingered on his lips for a moment, and it suddenly seemed to her that they were moving closer to hers. She blinked many times but his lips were still there, he was still there, so close that she could actually kiss him. She gulped and closed her eyes, feeling his warm breath on her skin as her heartbeat sped up and he moved closer and closer and closer…

“Perfect,” Cersei Lannister said, abruptly bringing Sansa back to reality. Her eyes widened and she stepped back, embarrassed, still in a daze. “That was exactly what I wanted to see. That’s all for today."

She clapped her hands once, the rings on her fingers catching the light of the spotlights, and dismissed everyone. All the students started to leave, and so did Jon Snow. He flashed one last glance at her out of the corner of his eye and walked off stage, not looking back again. Sansa was still standing there, her limbs frozen, incapable of moving. What has just happened? she wondered. Was he about to kiss me? Or did I dream it? And what did everyone else see? Still shocked, her cheeks covered in embarrassment, Sansa walked off stage. She was wearing a light sweater but she felt warm, too warm, as if an unquenchable fire was burning inside her, devouring her guts. A rivulet of sweat fell from her forehead, and as she wiped it with the back of her hand, her gaze laid upon something that caught her attention. Her blue eyes narrowed, studying the red chair where Jon Snow had been sitting during rehearsals. She squinted and noticed something familiar. My hair pin. It was the one she had lost, with the wolf head on one end. How did it end up here? Sansa picked it up and put it in her pocket and decided that she would have thought about it later. For now, she only wanted to get out of that suffocating auditorium as fast as possible.

After a shower, still wrapped in her towel, Sansa prepared a cup of tea for herself. Mint tea with sugar, her favourite, with a thin slice of lemon. She sat on her bed, the hot cup in her hand. The window was open and a fresh evening breeze entered through it, tickling the wet skin of her bare legs. As she stirred her tea to dissolve the sugar in it, her mind went back to the hair pin she had found earlier. Sansa was glad that she had found it, but she could not stop wondering how it had ended up in that auditorium. But that was not the only thing that was spinning inside her head. Whenever her mind wandered back there, to that moment on that stage, she could feel her blood run faster and warmer inside her veins. She could still remember everything: how he had stepped closer to her, how his hands had gently landed on her hips, how his lips had moved closer as if they were about to touch hers. It was all part of the script, but at some point, she swore that it was Jon Snow up there with her, the one who had ordered a lemonade and had taken her home. But what had happened, exactly? Had she imagined it? Had it been only a dream? Some wishful thinking, perhaps, yet it had felt so real… And then, a sudden realisation made her eyes widen. Now I remember where I lost it… it was that night at the bar, when we talked… Sansa’s mind was now spinning faster than the sugared tea she was stirring. My hair pin was on his seat… I found it there… She gasped, and her hand stopped abruptly. What if he found it and kept it? It was the only reasonable thing she could think of. As she sipped her tea, every doubt dissipated. But why would he do such a thing? If that was the truth, what was the meaning behind it?

Chapter Text

The first thing Jon saw after waking up were Ghost’s crimson eyes fixated on him. He yawned and rubbed some sleep away from his eyes and weakly pushed himself up, resting his back on the headboard behind him. The huge wolflike dog licked his cheek with his rough tongue and Jon scratched the thick white fur behind his ears, getting a soft whine of contentment in return. He ran a hand through his own curls and groaned when his fingers got stuck in the tangled mess he would wake up to every morning. He stood up and opened the window to let some air through and headed for the kitchen, Ghost silently padding close behind him. As he had breakfast, with pancakes and coffee, he picked up his phone and quickly typed a few words that had been going around his mind in the last few weeks, and that he could not hold back anymore.

Dany, can we meet?

He was chewing the last bit of his pancake when his phone lit up with her reply.

Already on my way .x

After cleaning the dishes and taking Ghost for a walk, Jon had a quick shower and got dressed, wearing a scarf to shield himself from the chilly morning winds that were blowing over the city. He took the tube to where they had decided to meet and waited for her to arrive. He had not seen Daenerys in weeks, since that time, and he still hated himself for not refusing her. She had been away for work and in the meanwhile Jon had had the chance to reflect on what he really felt for her. It had not been hard, actually. It had been enough for him to realise that he had not missed her at all while she was away, so now he wanted to break things off with her, once and for all. He had been ignoring the elephant in the room for too long and he would never make that mistake again.

As Jon waited for Daenerys to arrive, he sat on a bench by a pond, one of the quietest spots in London where crowds would rarely gather to spend their free time. The water was still and clear, and not even the wind could make it ripple. He absentmindedly looked for the wolf pin in the pocket of his jacket, like he did whenever he wanted to find some comfort, but his fingers searched in vain. He shook his head and tried again, checking even the pockets of his jeans, but to no avail. I lost it, he thought to himself with a sigh. But where? He wished he still had it with him, and hoped that he might have forgotten it in another jacket or in another pair of jeans, but perhaps that was his punishment for his depraved dreams and desires. He struggled with his own emotions every day, battling with his own mind whenever it wandered and led him to her. It was not simple, at all, and most of the time he did not even understand where all that yearning he had inside came from. In a simpler world, he would have taken her on a date, like he had promised her, and they would have known each other better day after day and, with a bit of luck, they could have lasted for a long time. But it was not a simple world Jon lived in. He could only be Mr Snow to her, the lecturer she would see three times a week, and nothing more. By keeping her hair pin, he felt as if he still had her under his fingertips, but with the pin gone, now, what was he left with?

“Jon!” A woman’s voice resonated in the sharp air all around, sending a shudder down his spine as if winter had already come. He turned around and saw her. Daenerys was wearing a sleeveless black dress with a red belt that clashed with the silver in her hair and certainly was not appropriate for the autumn breezes that swirled around them, but somehow she never seemed to suffer from the cold like everyone else, including Jon. As he watched her stride towards him, he shoved his hands in his pockets, trying to contain his palpable agitation.

“You couldn’t wait one more day without seeing me, could you?” she asked him, flashing her perfectly-aligned teeth at him in a smile that stretched from ear to ear. She was about to wrap her arms around him when he took a step back, his hands still in his pockets.

“Actually, this is what I wanted to talk about,” he replied, and her smile turned into a frown.

“I don’t understand, what’s wrong?” she asked, visibly puzzled.

Jon took a deep breath. “I can’t keep doing this anymore,” he said, feeling as if his soul had just gotten rid of an impossible burden to bear. How much time had he needed to find the courage to speak those simple yet heavy words?

Daenerys stared at him in disbelief. “Are you joking? What are you talking about? Last time, we—” 

“Last time was a mistake. And we were broken up. It was a moment of weakness and we shouldn’t have… I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry.”

As if she had not heard him, she cupped his cheek with her hand and looked at him with eyes full of hope, her mouth speaking the sweet words of an enchantment that he had heard many times before. “We’re one of a kind, Jon. We’re someone else when we’re together. When we’re in each other’s arms, we’re better.” She paused, observing his frowning face, looking at him in awe. “You’re confused, I know, I’ve been away and you missed me,” she murmured, tracing the nook of his neck with her hungry lips, “but I’m here now, and everything can go back to normal.”

“No!” he almost yelled, stepping back, freeing himself from her grip. He did not want to be harsh or cruel, but she had left him no choice. A storm of emotions took over her face, twisting her features in ways that Jon had never witnessed. Surprise, confusion, fear, confusion again, and then, last but not least, pure rage.

“Are you out of your mind? You can’t break up with me,” she scoffed, stalking closer to him, her nostrils flaring.

Jon sighed, and he knew all too well that that would not be the last time a sigh would escape from his lips that day. “I’m sorry, Dany, but I can’t pretend—”

“Don’t call me that,” she snapped, stalking even closer. “You have no right to call me that.” Her violet eyes narrowed, and they were so full of anger that they almost looked as black as a forest after a fire.

“We can’t keep playing this game anymore,” Jon said, watching her face as it contorted in fury and a deep shade of red spread over her cheeks.

She clenched her fists so hard that her knuckles turned white as she slowly said, through gritted teeth, “Any man would kill to be with me.”

Jon did not think about it twice before replying, “I’m not any man.”

The look she gave him now was even worse than all the others she had previously flashed at him combined. He had offended her, he was aware of that, but he also knew that it was the truth that she did not want to face. His whole body became hard as steel as he expected her to swing her hand against his face, but instead she did not slap him. As her chest jerked rhythmically up and down with every furious breath of hers, she slowly turned around, her inflamed eyes still on him. She did not utter a word before leaving, but if her eyes had been blazes, Jon knew that she would not have hesitated to burn him alive, leaving a pile of ashes where the man that could not love her back once stood.

As days went by, no word from Daenerys reached Jon. Although he was quite surprised by her silence, he could not hide, not even from himself, that he felt relieved. He knew that Daenerys was one of those people who do all that is in their power to get what they want, but this was not something that depended solely on her. He had been clear to her, and she had to accept his decision. She probably hated him with every fibre of her being, but it was not his fault he did not love her.

“God, this is a mess,” Jon muttered under his breath as he graded one of his students’ paper. The pen he was using had almost run out of its ink with all the corrections he had left on that paper and on many others as well.

He dropped the pen on his desk and stood up. He had been sitting for hours and he really needed to stretch his legs. He walked to his window, from which he could see the vast gardens that stretched around the ancient university building, almost deserted at that time of day save for a group of students who were gathered under the branches of a weeping willow, far from the last sunbeams that would illuminate that afternoon. Jon was massaging his numb muscles when someone knocked on the door.

“Come in,” he called out, still facing the window. He rubbed the back of his neck and turned around, and Sansa Stark was standing there, her red hair falling in long waves over her shoulders, her blue eyes fixated on him.

“Miss Stark.” He cleared his throat and walked away from the window, to his desk, but he did not sit. “What are you doing here? Office hours are over for today.”

“I know,” she replied, still by the door, “but I couldn’t wait anymore.” Her words barely reached Jon’s ears for all he could think about was hiding the sensations that took over him whenever they were in the same room.

“It’s all right, you may sit,” he said politely, gesturing with a hand at the empty chair on the opposite side of his desk, but she did not move.

“I don’t need to sit, Jon.” His name escaped from her lips faster than he could realise, and it hit him unexpectedly, making his whole body burn with the heat of a thousand suns.

He was at a loss for words. “Miss Stark, what are you—”

“I found the pin,” she said, cutting him short, taking slow steps towards him. What pin? Then, he remembered, and his whole body shuddered. No, she can’t be serious. “The one you lost.” Her eyes were still on him, their gazes inevitably locked, and she was getting closer, dangerously closer. “My hair pin,” she concluded, one hand of hers brushing the wood of his desk.

He wanted to run. “Miss Stark, I have no idea what you’re talking ab—”

Before he could even finish his sentence, she pulled something out of her pocket, something he knew too well.

“So, you’ve never seen this before, right?” she asked him, holding the hair pin before his very eyes, the silver in it shining as it caught the golden afternoon sun that crept through the window. What could he say now? He could lie, he could pretend that was the first time he had ever seen that pin, or he could tell her that he had found it and kept it for no particular reason, and not because it belonged to her. He could put on his mask, the one he had been wearing continuously in the past few weeks, ever since he had seen her in his lecture room, the same mask he had worn during rehearsals, on that stage, when her eyes were on him and his hands were on her. He could run, hide, disappear, he could lie to her like he lied to himself whenever he thought of her, or he could tell her the truth. For once, he could speak honestly to her, allowing himself to finally escape from that torment that had been plaguing everything within him, from his mind to his heart.

But now that he thought about it, what did she want?

“Miss Stark, what are you trying to tell me?” A newfound courage took over him, and now his eyes did not drift away from hers like they had done before.

“I want to know why you kept this pin,” she said, taking another step closer to him, her blue eyes clashing against his, her lower lip trembling. “I know you found it, I know you kept it.” Her voice was now an inaudible whisper. “Tell me why, and don’t lie, Jon.” She called him by his name again, and it sent a flush to his skin, more violent than any other before.

Don’t lie, Jon. “What do you think?” He took one final step towards her and tilted his head, his eyes dropping to her quivering lips. “If you came here, you already know.”

His lips crashed against hers. Jon was tired of waiting, tired of being restrained, and was yearning, yearning for more. He slid a hand under her arm, laying it on her back, and pulled her closer to him. She whimpered under his touch as her lips became one with his, their tongues chasing each other in an agonising dance that would never end. As they kissed, they switched positions and he pushed her against his desk, making her sit on it, a book falling to the floor with a thump he did not even hear. His other hand flew behind her head, securing his grip through her scarlet waves, even though he perfectly knew that she would never let go. He bit her lower lip, tasting the sweetness he had feared he never would have savoured again, and his mouth engulfed her as she gave all of her to him, once again, and it had never felt so good. Am I dreaming? he wondered as her hands grabbed his face, her fingers stroking his beard. Stop, he commanded himself, but he could not bring himself to do so, for she was too sweet to let go. Please, he begged, don’t let this ever end. He kept kissing her, tracing the curves of her swollen lips with his own, pulling her boneless body even closer as her pounding heart clashed against his through their panting chests. She breathlessly moaned his name, making him realise what they were doing, as if she had suddenly woken him from a dream.

“Shit!” He pulled away, and a sudden cold fell on him now that her body was not pressed against his anymore. He went blind for a second and could hear his blood pump in his ears. “Shit! S-sorry, Sansa, I mean, miss Stark, I…” He tripped over his own tongue, trying to articulate some words that could save him from that situation, but it was too late now. Shit, Jon, what have you done? “Please, forgive me, I shouldn’t have—”

“No, forgive me, it’s my fault, I…” She was still standing there, where he had left her, her eyes wide and her cheeks red, gasping for air as much as him. She lost trail of her words and covered her face with a trembling hand, her red hair made dishevelled by his feverish hands. She stood there for another second before grabbing the bag she had dropped onto the floor, making her way to the door.

He grabbed her wrist. “Wait.” She turned around, her face now pale and her jaw clenched. What did he want to tell her? She tried to rip her wrist away from his firm grip, but he did not let her go. He did not even know what he wanted to do. He pulled her closer again and drowned in her eyes, bluer than any ocean. “We can’t, Sansa.” 

Her name on his lips sounded as sweet as a curse. Her eyes narrowed as they drifted to his fingers still wrapped around her wrist. “Then why am I still here?”

His eyes widened and his lips parted, but no words escaped from them. “I…” He let her go and took her hand instead. Don’t lie, Jon. “I wish we could,” he whispered as he looked down, defeated, his armour finally falling to the ground. He was vulnerable now, naked, bare in front of her, and she looked at him as if she were trying to make sense of his words, her lips slightly bruised from his kisses.

“Excuse me?”

Yes.” The flow of his words flooded his mouth first and over her last. “You were right about the pin… I kept it because I wanted you, Sansa, and I couldn’t have you. And that was all I could have.” He lowered his gaze, unwilling to look at her in the eyes, ashamed of his own desires.

She squeezed his hand, taking a step closer to him and lifting his raspy chin with two fingers, guiding his eyes into hers. “Why can’t we?” she whispered, tracing his jawline with fingers as light as an angel’s wings. “Is it illegal?”

“No, well, not really.” He placed his free hand on her hip, gently caressing her skin through her clothes. “But the department policy is strongly against it, and it’s very frowned upon, not only for me, but also for you.”

Me?” Sansa asked, confused. “How so?”

“It could put you in a bad light with other students,” he explained. “They could accuse you of using our relationship for your academic interest.”

She scoffed. “That’s ridiculous.”

“I know,” he said, sighing. “You’re a brilliant student, and I would never jeopardise that.” It was the truth now that was spilling from Jon’s lips, a truth that he had always acknowledged and loathed at the same time. But now it was there, in front of them both, and despite the sweetness of Sansa’s lips and the intensity of his emotions, he could not pretend to look away. “A professor was fired this year for having a relationship with a student. They were both consenting, but that wasn’t enough for him to keep his job.” He sighed. “And it’s not only that,” he continued. “Even if that doesn’t happen, I could be accused of exploiting my position to take advantage of you. Even after informing the Head of Department—”

“Your credibility would suffer from it,” she concluded, and he nodded. “We can’t let that happen either.” Neither of them spoke for a while, and Sansa’s eyes frantically travelled around her, as if she were looking for the answers Jon himself could not find among the many books in his library. “What if we didn’t tell anyone?” she suddenly said, making Jon frown, trying to make sense of her words.

“Keeping it a secret?” he asked her. “Is that what you’re suggesting?”

“Yes,” she replied. “Would that be so terrible?” A secret. He would lie if he said that he had not considered it, but what if anyone found out? What if they were not careful enough?

He lowered his gaze again. “Sansa, I can’t lie to you.” Don’t lie, Jon. He took a deep breath. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

She shook her head and her lips curved in a surprised smile. “Hurt me? How?”

“I’m your professor,” he reminded her, his voice thick and hoarse as he stated the painful truth. “I can’t be with you.” But I really wish I could, oh, Sansa, you have no idea. “I can’t date a student, it’d put us both in an uncomfortable position. We wouldn’t be able to control it and if anyone found out…” He sighed, shaking his head. “I’m sorry, Sansa.”

Sansa looked distraught by his words. He had finally told her the truth, the one that had been left unspoken for so long, then why did it hurt now like never before? A professor he was, and what now? It was his duty to be professional, it was required of him, and he had failed. He had crossed the line, not once but twice, and as much as he wanted to go back he did not want to, and he hated, despised himself for it, because he had tried to do the right thing and he had failed, and now he did not even know what the right thing to do was anymore.

Silently, Sansa dropped his hand and stepped back. He suddenly felt so alone, so cold. I’m her professor, a voice inside his mind had insisted for so long, but he could barely hear it now as it became fainter with every flutter of her lashes. And while she was kissing him, cupping his face with her hands and silently whispering not to let go with every twist of her tongue, he had not heard it at all.

Sansa,” Jon invoked her name again, her sweet name, in a murmur that desperately begged for solace. She turned around, in her eyes the look of pain, and he stepped closer, taking her hand once again. “Forgive me,” he said, stroking her soft skin with his thumb. “I wish I could, but—”

“If you don’t want me, just say it,” she said, her voice low and hurt, and he was startled by her words.

You think I don’t want you?” No, he would never let her believe that. “I do want you, Sansa.” He took another step, brown eyes into blue eyes, lips trembling and hearts pounding, Jon Snow in front of Sansa Stark like never before.

Then show me.

His lips moved of their own accord. He kissed her again, this time more slowly than before, wrapping his arms around her as if she were about to disappear at any moment and he wanted to keep her with him. His duty and his fears forgotten, locked out of his mind fogged by desire, he took his time teasing her lips with his own, drinking every little twitch and quiver in her body as if it were a divine nectar sent from heaven to bless him, to cleanse him of his unspeakable sins. Her lips parted as he stroked her cheek with his thumb, allowing his tongue to enter her mouth fully, tasting the tantalising honey that dripped from it. If he pulled from her again now, he would not ever forgive himself. Let’s keep it a secret, she had suggested more bravely than he ever could. It was too great a risk, but he was willing to take it.

“Sansa,” Jon muttered mid-kiss, softly placing a hand on hers after she had reached for his belt, trying to unbuckle it. “Not so fast.” She pulled away from the kiss and looked at him in disbelief like she had done before, a hint of sadness in her eyes again, but he was quick to reassure her. “If we’re going to do this, let’s do it properly. Remember what I wrote you on that note?” It took her a moment to understand and when she did, she smiled. “Let me take you on a date.” She threw herself on his lips again, and as she whimpered against his mouth for the millionth time, he knew that that was the point of no return.

I’m her professor, Jon thought as Sansa’s fingers ran wildly through his curls, but I can’t lie anymore.

Chapter Text

Jon Snow had spent hours in front of the mirror, trying to decide what to wear on his first date with Sansa Stark. Even thinking about it made him shiver, but it was a pleasant kind of shiver, one that would bring a nice flush to his cheeks. What should he wear? A blue shirt? A brown sweater? Jeans or trousers? It was 6 pm, the sun was starting to set, disappearing behind London’s skyline in a parade of reds and oranges, and Jon was still in his bedroom, in his underwear, with a hundred pieces of clothing scattered on his bed.

“Do you like this?” he asked Ghost, holding up a dark blue sweater in front of him. The wolflike dog, who was resting on his tummy, his long forepaws stretched in front of him, lifted his huge head and tilted it to the side, whining softly.

Jon groaned. “Is that a no or a yes?” In response, Ghost whined again, frustrating Jon even further. “I’ll wear this,” he declared, pointing at the blue sweater he had just picked out of his wardrobe, “even if you don’t like it.” The dog got to all fours and trotted towards him, nuzzling his white muzzle against his leg. Jon knelt in front of him and smiled, scratching the fur between his ears. Perhaps he likes the blue sweater, after all.

After getting dressed and meticulously combing his curly hair, Jon was ready to go. He had opted for blue jeans and a pair of velvet Chelsea boots, in order to be casual and a little formal at the same time, but not too formal, of course. He put on a jacket, leaving it open, and wrapped a soft scarf around his neck. He petted Ghost one last time, getting a low whine in return. Wish me luck, he had told his dog before closing the door behind him.

Once outside, the wind tickled Jon’s face with its soft yet cold fingers. He drove to Sansa’s flat and parked near the pavement, waiting for her to arrive. After what had happened in his office the day before, they had agreed to go to a restaurant in Southwark, near the river Thames. For Jon, the last twenty-four hours had been a rollercoaster of emotions. He would find himself lost in his thoughts more often than usual, grinning like a fool whenever his mind wandered to her blue eyes and her soft hands. The rational side of him had tried to riot against his decision of dating Sansa in secret, but even the sneakiest voice in his head would fade away whenever he thought of how sweet her lips had tasted against his. And even now that Sansa walked out of her flat door, the red in her hair shining like molten copper as it caught the white glow of the streetlights around her, he had no doubt that he was doing the right thing.

He rushed out of the car and walked around it, his eyes fixated on her as she made her way towards him. She was wearing an azure blouse with what seemed to be glistening fish scales embroidered across her chest, high-waisted jeans and a blue trench coat that swirled behind her at every move of hers. Two braids ran from her temples and met at the back of her head, revealing her high cheekbones.

“Hi,” Sansa said once she had reached him, near his car. She gave him a soft kiss on the cheek, much chaster than the ones they had shared in his office the day before, yet the delicate touch of her lips did not fail to bring a flush to his skin.

“You look beautiful,” he told her before he could prevent those impulsive yet true words from escaping from his mouth. But, after all, why should he?

“Thank you, Jon,” she replied, blushing and lowering her gaze. Am I being too awkward? he could not help but wonder. Why am I so nervous?

Jon cleared his throat. “So, ready to go?” he asked her, gesturing at the car behind him with his hand.

“Of course,” she said, her lips curving in a timid smile. As he opened the door of the passenger’s side and helped her get inside the car, he realised that he had never seen her like this. There was something in the way Sansa looked at him now that totally clashed with the way she had talked to him the day before, when she had been so blunt and straightforward. Right now, as she sat beside him in his car, she looked shy. Perhaps she was shy as well, and he just did not know it. However, he was looking forward to knowing her better, discovering every aspect of her personality, and could not wait to show his as well.

Once they had reached their destination, they got out of his car and Jon’s saw something he had not noticed before. The twisted braids that adorned Sansa’s head were clasped by her silver wolf pin, the one she had used to confront him, making him admit his hidden feelings for her.

“You’re wearing the pin,” he whispered to her ear as they waited in line to get the table he had reserved.

Sansa smiled coyly. “You like it very much, don’t you?”

He smirked. “I must admit I find it quite… interesting.”

Interesting?” She flashed a sly smile at him and leaned closer to his ear. “I might actually give it to you, at the end of the night.”

“Really? And what does that depend on?”

“A few things,” she teased him, her fruity perfume filling his lungs. “If I like the food, if I find you funny… let’s say it depends on how the date goes.”

“I’ll do my best, then, not to make you regret my invitation,” he concluded, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her closer to him, unconcerned by the people around them that might be bothered by their displays of affection.

She rested a hand on his chest, softly clenching at the fabric of his sweater. “Careful, Jon Snow. Our date has just begun.” She got dangerously near, their lips almost touching, her blue eyes gazing into his. “It’s not time for dessert yet.”

Sansa pulled away, leaving Jon breathless. His blood was flowing so fast inside his veins that if he could, he would pin her against a wall right now. But that was just a fantasy, and he really wanted to do things properly, like he had promised her. He cleared his throat and recomposed himself, despite the red that, he was sure, must have already spread over his cheeks.

“Good evening. There should be a table reserved under Snow,” he said politely to the young man on the opposite side of the wooden counter near the entrance.

The man quickly scanned the computer screen in search of their reservation, but a frown appeared on his face. “I’m sorry mister, but there are no tables reserved under Snow.”

Jon shook his head. “Are you sure? I mean, I called this morning and you assured me that it was reserved.”

“My colleague must have messed up the names. I apologise but you are not on this list, and all the tables are reserved already.”

Jon felt a pang of anger in his stomach, but he tried to remain as calm as possible. Before he could speak again, Sansa placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder and got closer to the counter. “We can wait,” she said in a soft tone. “When will the first table be ready for us?”

The man took another look at his computer and then lifted his gaze at Sansa. “11:30.”

“It’d be too late,” Jon said, disappointed. He turned around to look at her. “I’m sorry, Sansa, I don’t know how this happened—”

“It’s okay, Jon,” she said, before flashing one last smile at the restaurant manager who was now carelessly looking back at the computer screen, ignoring them both. “We’ll find another place to go.”

As they stepped out of the crowded restaurant, Jon was still in disbelief. How had that been possible? He had called them in advance to make sure that a table would be reserved for the two of them, and now they needed to find another place to go. There were countless other restaurants and bars in London, but Jon had chosen that one because he knew that it would have impressed Sansa. Now, he was even too ashamed to look her in the eye.

“Are you angry?” he asked her, sparking a laugh out of her. He could not seem to understand what she found so funny about the whole situation.

Angry? Why would I be? You’re too hard on yourself, Jon,” she said in a wise tone, as if she had known him all her life. You don’t know how right you are, he thought to himself, but he preferred not to tell her.

Knowing that she was not mad at him made him feel better, but somehow he could not help feeling a little disappointed. “We could look for another restaurant,” he suggested, his voice almost muffled by a car honking in the street near them.

Or,” she began, “you could follow me. I know a place that has never forgotten to reserve a table for me whenever I needed one.” She took his hand and he let her guide him. As her soft fingers were intertwined with his, Jon had to stifle a laugh that was about to escape from his lips.

“Where are we going?” Jon asked her.

She turned her head and flashed a sly smile at him. “You’ll see for yourself once we get there.”

They walked around a few blocks, rivers of people all around them. The streets of London were so crowded that night that Jon wondered if all its inhabitants had suddenly decided to go out. When Sansa let go of his hand, immediately making him want to grab hers again, he knew they had arrived to where she had in mind.

“What do you think?” Sansa asked him, biting her lip in anticipation.

An unexpected twist, I would say. “I’m quite… surprised,” he admitted with a smile.

“Really?” She stole a kiss from him. “Then let’s order, shall we?”

“Of course.” Jon seized Sansa’s waist with his arm, softly crumpling the fabric of her blouse with his fingers, and they both walked towards the food truck a few feet from them.

“What do you want?” she asked him, turning her head to face him.

“I’ll have what you have.”

“All right.” She turned towards the lady inside the truck. “Two cheeseburgers… oh, and two lemonades.”

Jon chuckled. Of course, he thought to himself. Their food was ready shortly after. As Jon paid for both of them, Sansa grabbed the burger boxes and the drinks, and sat at a bench near the bank of the Thames, its calm waters shining like silver under the moonlight.

“Thank you,” Sansa told him as he sat down near her, nodding at the food truck behind them.

“No need to thank me. It’s the least I can do after what happened with the restaurant.” She handed him his food box and his lemonade, licking her lips as she prepared to take the first bite of her burger.

“It’s okay,” she said, her lips curving in a warm smile. “These things can happen.” She picked up her lemonade and raised it. “Before we eat, though, we should toast.”

“Definitely,” he said, raising his paper cup as well. “To us.”

“To us,” she echoed, smiling. 

Jon took a sip of his cold lemonade and grimaced when his tastebuds were unexpectedly flooded by the sour taste of the drink. “This is not half as good as the one we ordered that night,” he confessed, his eyes narrowed and his nose wrinkled.

“No, not at all,” Sansa admitted, incapable of holding back a laugh. 

Jon laughed as well, and seeing her happy made him want to laugh even more. “We should go back there. On our next date, maybe.”

If there is another date.”

“God,” Jon groaned, “our date has just begun and you’re already teasing me.”

Sansa laughed. “Where is all the fun if I don’t tease you?”

Jon chuckled and dropped his eyes to his burger. He took a bite and looked up again when he noticed Sansa’s curious eyes fixated on him.

“So, what do you think?” she asked him, covering her mouth full of food with a hand.

“It’s delicious,” Jon replied, nodding, and Sansa smiled proudly, taking another bite of her burger, some molten cheese dripping from one side and into the box that rested on her thighs. “How did you know this place?”

“I used to come here with my family when I was younger whenever we were in London,” she replied, wiping some oil from the corners of her mouth with a napkin.

“So, your family doesn’t live here?” Jon asked, one arm resting on the wooden bench, the other wrapped around his burger.

“No,” she replied. “They live in Brighton. My older brother lives here, but not with me.”

“You have a brother, then?” He took another sip of his lemonade.

She nodded, and swallowed a mouthful of her food. “I actually have three brothers and one sister.”

Jon’s eyes widened. “Wow.” He did not even try to conceal his surprise. “You have quite a large family.”

“I do,” she said, smiling. “And you? Do you have any brothers or sisters?”

Jon gave her a bitter smile, before lowering his gaze. I knew this question would come, sooner or later. “I was adopted shortly after I was born, and I have an adoptive brother, as well.” That last bite of his burger tasted particularly bitter in his mouth. “I never knew my parents, so…”

Sansa blushed. “I’m sorry, Jon.” She scooted near him and placed her hand on top of his, on the back of the bench. “I wish I had known.”

He intertwined his fingers with hers, caressing the back of her hand with his thumb. “You don’t need to apologise,” he said, reassuring her. “I don’t open up easily, and when I do, it means that I’m comfortable enough to do so.”

Neither of them spoke for a while, as they finished their food. While Jon had drunk all of his lemonade, Sansa’s cup was still half full, but from the look she gave him, it was clear that it was not her lemonade that was on her mind. She stood up and removed her trench coat and, without taking her eyes off him, she sat on his lap, wrapping her arms around his neck.

“In case it wasn’t already clear enough,” she whispered to his ear, “I’m comfortable with you, too.”

Jon rested a hand on her thigh and laughed, looking up at the sky. “My breath probably smells like onion.”

Her voice was thick with desire. “I couldn’t care less.” 

Their lips met, and as they kissed, to Jon it seemed like the first time. Sansa cupped his face with one hand, her soft fingertips gently ghosting over his beard, and he hooked a hand behind her neck, pulling her closer to him. Her long hair tumbled in copper rivulets over his chest, inebriating him with its sweet scent. Her lips were hungry against his, and her tongue was feverish. He secured his grip with his free hand at the bottom of her spine, and his fingers slowly travelled down the curve of her thigh, lightly squeezing her bum through her jeans, making her gasp in surprise while her mouth was still on his. She pulled away from his lips and traced the shape of his jawline, leaving a trail of wet kisses that made his blood run faster and hotter between his legs. Fogged by arousal, Jon pulled his hand away from the back of her neck and slid it under her blouse, palming and squeezing one of her breasts through the soft fabric of her bra.

“Jon,” she moaned breathlessly, looking at him with eyes darker than ever. “I can’t take it anymore.”

His voice was low and hoarse. “My place or your place?”

“Yours.”

Without another word, Sansa hopped off Jon’s lap and recomposed herself, her hands visibly trembling as she flattened out the fabric of her blouse under which Jon’s hands had briefly explored her body. Jon stood up from the bench and quickly tossed the empty food boxes and cups in a bin near them. He took her hand and they walked towards where he had parked his car. This time, he was the one guiding her. They made their way through the many people that crowded London’s streets, occasionally bumping against some of them, but they did not care. They rushed into Jon’s car and he quickly drove away from the parking spot, his blood still pumping in his ears with the sound of a hundred drums.

They had almost reached Jon’s flat when Sansa’s phone tinged with a text.

My mum?” Jon heard her say in disbelief. He took a quick glance at her and saw her frown.

“What’s wrong?”

“They’re… here.”

Here? What do you mean here?”

“At my place,” she said. “I should go home.”

Jon nearly crashed his car against the one in front of them. The red glow of the traffic light made Sansa’s hair appear even more auburn, yet not even this view managed to make Jon feel any better. Her parents? Now? Really?

“It’s all right,” he said, feeling his arousal inexorably leaving his body. “I’ll take you home.”

“Thank you,” she replied, and Jon could not help but notice a hint of disappointment in her voice as well.

“What will you tell them when they ask you who took you home?”

“Oh, don't worry about that. I’ll tell them that I was out with my best friend.”

Good. Needless to say she could not tell them that she had almost had sex on a bench with her professor that she was secretly dating.

As soon as Sansa’s apartment complex appeared before them, Jon slowed the car down and pulled over far enough from the entrance in order not to be seen by anyone.

“When can we see each other again?” he asked her, one hand still on the steering wheel.

“As soon as I can see you, I’ll let you know,” she replied, darting her tongue out to wet her lips. She moved closer to his face, her breath mixing with his. “For now, this is all you get.” She kissed him again, slowly, taking her time to tease his lips with her tongue. He cupped her cheek with his hand and tilted his head to press his lips further against hers, his tongue making its way into her mouth. She pulled away and smiled, her eyes still closed, and left him with the taste of the last drops of lemonade that still lingered inside her mouth.

She had already opened the car door when she turned around again. “Oh, and this, too.” Jon did not follow her at first, but as soon as she reached for the hair at the top of her head, he understood. “Here,” she said, placing her hairpin in his hand. “You earned it.”

He looked at it and smiled. “You might wanna fix your lipstick before meeting your parents… it’s a bit ruined.”

She leaned closer to his face again and left one last kiss on his swollen lips. “I can’t wait for you to ruin it again.”

With that, she got out of the car and rushed to the entrance of her apartment complex. Still in his car, Jon’s eyes followed her until she entered and disappeared into the building. Only then, once he knew she was safe inside, he was ready to go home.

It’s funny how life works, he thought as he observed the pin between his fingers. She may be gone, for now, but at least her wolf pin was back in his hands.

Chapter Text

The lift doors opened in front of Sansa and she entered. She pressed the button to her floor and turned around to face the big mirror behind her as the lift doors closed. Her cheeks were red, flushed, and her pink lipstick was smudged at the corners of her swollen lips. She evened it out by tapping it with her fingertip, and then combed her red hair with her fingers, trying to make herself look as presentable as possible. The lift doors opened with a tinging sound, and she stepped out and walked towards the door of her flat. Her trench coat hanging from her arm, she pulled out her keys from her purse and inserted them in the lock, opening the door. Here we go.

“There you are!” Her mother’s high-pitched voice filled her ears. All the lights in her living room were on, which made her squint. She hung her coat on the coat hanger near the door and walked towards her family, who were sitting on the white sofa on the other side of the living room. Catelyn Stark rose from her seat and ran to her daughter, hugging her tightly.

“Mum!” Sansa said, patting her back and giving her a kiss on her cheek. She looked over her mother’s shoulder, peering from under her own eyelashes, and saw her father and her sister, who were both waiting for their turn to greet her.

“Where were you?” Arya asked, before pulling her into an embrace.

Sansa kissed her little sister’s forehead. “Out with Margaery,” she lied, but they did not need to know that. “Where are Bran and Rickon?”

“They’re at your grandparents’ house,” her father told her. It was now his turn to hug her. “Did you get a new perfume?” Ned Stark asked her as he pulled away from their hug, his brows knitting on his forehead in a frowning expression.

Sansa tilted her head and let out a brief laugh, confused by her father’s sudden question. “Why are you asking?”

“You smell different… like aftershave.”

Shit. Sansa almost stuttered. “Don’t be silly, dad.” She tried to contain the growing embarrassment within her, putting on a nonchalant expression. “Maybe you’re just smelling your own,” she said, breaking eye contact with her father. “Anyway, I’m going to get ready for sleep now.” She rubbed her eyes in a sleepy way and walked towards the bathroom.

She locked the door and rested her back against it. Shit, that was close. She had not considered that she could be smelling like Jon at all, and in normal circumstances she would not even mind it, but right now, with half her family in the next room…she washed her hands in the sink and removed her makeup thoroughly, using a gentle cleanser that instantly refreshed her skin. She then brushed her teeth and combed her hair until it shone under the lights of her bathroom.

Sansa went to her bedroom and found Arya already in her bed, under the covers, the lamp on her bedside table the only source of light. All the other rooms were silent and dark, so Sansa figured that her parents must already have gone to sleep.

“What happened to knocking before entering?” Arya jokingly asked Sansa, her back rested on a large pillow behind her.

“Last time I checked, this was my room,” Sansa replied, getting undressed. “So, that makes you the intruder here.”

Arya crossed her arms before her. “Maybe I should go sleep with mum and dad in the guests’ room.”

“Maybe you should,” Sansa said, putting on her pyjama and flashing a teasing smile at her sister. “But I’ll let you stay… if you promise to behave.”

She pulled the curtains with both hands to close them, leaving the glimmering lights of London outside, and she climbed in bed. She turned the lamp beside her on and got under the covers, and Arya snuggled up against her, resting her head on her collarbone. Sansa pulled the covers up over their bodies and wrapped her arms around her sister.

“I missed you,” Arya said, after a while, her voice low and drowsy.

“You too.” Sansa left a soft kiss on her sister’s head, smelling the pine in her hair.

“Is it true then?” Arya asked, and Sansa shook her head, confused.

“What?”

“That love is in the air.”

Sansa shuddered. “What are you talking about?”

Arya slightly lifted her head from her chest and looked up at her. “You can tell me, Sansa, I already know.”

Sansa frowned and her stomach churned, but she tried to look as calm as possible. How can she now? She can’t. It’s impossible…

All of a sudden, Sansa felt naked, defenceless. Her sister’s inquisitive hazel eyes stared into hers as if they were studying every little twitch of her face, in search of the truth. She wished she could tell her sister, but she perfectly knew what her reaction would be. She would not approve, and she certainly could not let her tell their parents, or anyone else. But what was she supposed to do now? Perhaps if she explained the situation to her, asking her to keep it a secret, Arya would understand. Sansa herself was still not used to her new relationship, and now this…she swallowed and took a deep breath, praying that her sister would respect her wish to keep it a secret. 

“Arya, you need to swear that you won’t tell mum or dad, or anyone else,” she heard herself say before she could even realise it.

“Don’t worry about that, Robb will probably tell them first.”

Robb?” she asked, incredulous. Wait, what is she talking about?

“Then who?” Arya rested her face on her sister’s chest again and stretched her body under the covers. “He told me that he and Margaery got back together. I just wanted to know if it was the truth.”

A laugh of relief escaped from Sansa’s lips. “Well, yes, they’re together again,” she said, still grinning, and feeling as silly as a little girl.

“Why are you laughing?” Arya asked her, glancing at her with furrowed brows.

“Oh, nothing,” Sansa said. “I’m just happy for them, that’s all.”

Arya still did not seem convinced. “Whatever.” She gave her a peck on her cheek, switched the lamp near her off, and turned onto her side, her back facing Sansa.

Before she could fall asleep, there was a question that was begging for attention inside Sansa’s mind and that she wanted to ask her sister. “How long will you stay here?” she asked casually, as if she did not really care about the answer she would get. In truth, she really did.

“Until tomorrow. We’ll leave after lunch, I think.”

After lunch. “Got it. Good night,” Sansa said, switching the lamp near her off and resting her head on her pillow. Everything was dark around her, and the only sound she could hear was her sister’s soft snoring. 

If she had to be honest with herself, she felt guilty for wanting to get rid of her parents and sister. She loved having them around, especially whenever they would pay her a visit like today, but right now, there was something else, someone else waiting for her. As her sister slept beside her like a baby, Sansa picked up her phone from her bedside table and quickly looked for Jon’s name.

Are you free tomorrow afternoon?

It did not take him long to reply.

You’ll be free by then?

Sansa smiled, and quickly typed back, but then another text arrived.

I don’t know if I should ask but… is anything wrong with your family? Did something happen?

Sansa smiled at Jon’s genuine concern, and typed her answer.

No, don’t worry. They like to pay a visit sometimes, even if it’s late, like today.

Alright, got it.

Sansa quickly typed what she was about to tell him before.

So, I’ll be free tomorrow afternoon. Are you still in for a second date or not?

His reply was almost instantaneous.

Of course. At my place, like we had decided. I’ll make dinner. Do you like spaghetti?

Sansa’s smile widened, and she had to stifle an excited giggle in order not to wake her sister. She still could not believe it. If she had not found the courage to confront him in his office…but she did not need to think about that, for it belonged to a past that luckily had never happened. 

Spaghetti sounds perfect. Off to sleep now. Good night, Jon x.

Her phone lit up one last time.

Good night, Sansa x

Her eyes lingered on his words for a short while, bringing a pleasant warmth to her stomach she still had to get used to. After switching her phone off and placing it on her bedside table, Sansa slid one hand under her pillow and fell asleep with a smile on her face.

The next morning, Sansa woke up to the delicious smell of her mother’s pancakes. She opened her heavy lids and glanced over at the other half of her bed, where Arya had slept, finding it empty. She lingered in bed for a little bit more and then decided to get up. As she walked out of her bedroom, the mouth-watering smell of breakfast became more intense with every step.

“Good morning, princess,” her father said as soon as she walked through the kitchen door. The morning sun crept through the white curtains, shedding a ray of light on the table in the middle of the room. She grabbed a cup from the kitchen counter and gave a kiss to each of them.

“Your fridge is almost empty, sweetheart,” her mother told her as she stacked all the fluffy pancakes on a dish, white clouds of steam swirling around them.

“I know,” Sansa replied, pouring herself a cup of coffee. “I haven’t had much time for groceries.”

“Been studying much?” her father asked as she sat near him.

“Yes,” she said, cutting a piece of pancake with her fork. And not only that.

“Robb will come for lunch,” Arya announced excitedly while chewing a mouthful of food.

“He called while you were sleeping,” her mother said, sitting down at the table, near Sansa. “And he’ll probably stay for dinner, too.”

For dinner?” Sansa almost choked on her coffee. “Weren’t you supposed to leave after lunch?”

“We’ve decided to leave tomorrow morning,” Ned Stark said. “Unless it bothers you, of course.” He gazed at her from above his coffee, studying her face with his solemn eyes.

Sansa wanted to scream. “Of course it doesn’t.” The corner of her lips turned upwards, revealing a smile that only she knew was forced.

Her mother reached for her hand, her eyes flickering with joy, in a way that made Sansa’s heart melt with affection and guilt alike. “We’ve been missing you so much, sweetheart. If only Bran and Rickon were here…”

“Why didn’t they come?” Sansa asked, drifting her gaze from her mother to her father.

“They couldn’t miss school,” Ned Stark declared.

“And Arya could?”

“The perks of being eighteen.” An arrogant smirk appeared on Arya’s face, and to Sansa it seemed as though she were the eight year-old that would chase her around the house again.

“You’re still a baby,” Sansa teased her sister, mocking her tone.

“That’s not true!” Arya made to throw an orange slice at her sister, but Ned’s hand stopped her before she could.

“Enough, you’re both too old for this,” he said, and Arya decided to bite the slice instead, orange pulp dripping from her mouth.

After breakfast, as they cleaned up the dirty dishes and mugs, Sansa’s phone tinged from her bedroom with a sound that did not go unnoticed to her mother’s ears.

“Who’s texting you?” she asked, pushing some red hair away from her daughter’s face.

“Probably Marg or Brienne,” Sansa said casually, avoiding her mother’s eyes. In truth, it could be either Margaery or Brienne, but in her heart Sansa hoped it was someone else.

She reached her bedroom in a few strides as if her legs moved of their own accord. She picked up her phone and sat on her bed. In fact, it was neither Margaery nor Brienne.

How’s the family gathering going?

Sansa quickly typed her reply.

I was about to text you. My parents and sister will leave tomorrow morning, so we can’t see each other tonight.

Your sister’s there, too? God, it really is a family gathering. And their timing… perfect.

Sansa bit her lip in order to stifle a laugh.

And there’s more to that. My brother is coming for lunch, too.

It took Jon longer to reply this time.

Oh, fuck. Anyway, you should go back to your family, I’ll wait for a text from you when you’re free.

It was incredible how kind and dashing Jon could be at any time, and this time was no exception. Sansa started typing her reply but her sister interrupted her.

“Sansa, get dressed. Robb is already here.”

Sansa looked at the time at the top of her phone screen. “It’s not time for lunch yet… we’ve just had breakfast!”

“I know, but he’s here. And you’re the only one who still hasn’t taken a shower.”

Sansa scoffed. “Are you telling me that I stink?”

Arya smirked, in that usual way of hers that made her look like a child again. “I didn’t say that. You did.”

Before Sansa could throw a pillow at her, her sister had already disappeared. From the living room, she could hear Robb’s familiar voice, muffled up by the TV.

My sister, who used to play in muddy puddles when she was little, has just told me to shower. Sansa pulled the fabric of her pyjama with two fingers and sniffed it, instantly regretting it. God, what happened to me? She rose from her bed and headed to the bathroom, tossing her pyjama into the washing machine and jumping into the shower.

After getting dressed with clean and fresh clothes, Sansa dried her hair and brushed it until it shone, just like her mother’s. She wore a cream sweater and a pair of jeans, and reached the rest of her family in the living room.

Robb rose from the sofa and kissed her on her cheek. “How are rehearsals going?”

“Very well, actually.” Sansa sat in an empty armchair, between the sofa and a coffee table with a plant on it. “I’ve already memorised all my lines… not that I have many,” she admitted.

“Does that bother you?” Robb asked her, his blue eyes narrowing.

“No, not at all. Singing is already enough for me.”

Her phone tinged again. Shit, I forgot to reply.

“Will you tell me who’s texting you so much today, Sansa?” Catelyn Stark asked her, gazing up at her from the sofa with her inquisitive eyes that looked so much like her own.

“I told you, mum,” Sansa said as she nonchalantly walked to her bedroom, “it’s Brienne.” She preferred leaving Margaery out of the picture for now before Robb could say something that contradicted her.

She unlocked her phone and saw her own half-typed text and a new one from Jon.

Have you already forgotten about me?

Far from everyone else’s eyes, Sansa allowed herself to smile at the screen, careless about being transparent about her own feelings.

I might have.

If there were something that she liked doing more than kissing Jon, it was teasing Jon. She loved seeing him pretending to be offended by her remarks, even though, she must admit, it was hard not to appreciate the sweetness that dripped from his full lips whenever he kissed her.

She stood up and put her phone in the pocket of her jeans, heading to the living room, where her parents and her brother were having a heated conversation about something that was on TV, and Arya was on her phone.

She sat in the empty armchair and her phone buzzed, once again.

It would be a shame if you forgot about me.

Sansa quickly came up with a reply. 

How so?

She bit her lip as she waited for him to respond.

You would miss out on all the things I was planning to do to you.

Sansa almost ran out of breath. She crossed her legs, her eyes lingering on the last part of Jon’s text for a little more.

Like what?

Her heartbeat sped up as soon as his reply arrived.

First of all, I would kiss you, slowly.

“Sansa, could you give me the remote?” Robb’s voice reached Sansa’s ears. She looked at her brother, almost not making sense of his words, then shook her head and picked up the remote from the coffee table near her, handing it to him.

I would kiss you on your mouth, on your neck, behind your ears…

“Thanks,” Robb replied, but Sansa was not paying attention to him anymore.

Then I would pin you to a wall.

Her blood started flowing more quickly. Sansa pressed her crossed thighs against each other, biting her lower lip as a wave of warmth radiated from her core and traversed her whole body.

I would tear your clothes off you… and I would touch you where I know you love it so much.

Her teeth dug more deeply into her lower lip, until it hurt. She could feel her heart pump in her ears in a way that she had rarely experienced.

I would touch you, and caress you, and rub you…

Sansa pressed her thighs even more tightly, her muscles almost sore, and another wave of pleasure ran through her body.

I would taste you…

She could not take it anymore.

And then I would fuck you like you’ve never been fucked before.

She almost screamed. She jumped to her feet, and she was sure her father had said something to her, but she did not hear him. She gasped for air as she entered the bathroom and shut the door behind her, locking it.

As her phone stopped lighting up with Jon’s texts, almost as if he knew what she was about to do, she glanced at her reflection in the mirror. A light shade of red had coloured her cheeks, and many darker red spots had spread on the light skin of her chest, like it always happened whenever she was nervous or excited, or both. She left her phone on the counter near the sink and sat on the edge of the tub.

As she still took shaking and uneven breaths, she frantically unbuttoned her jeans and slid a hand under the soft fabric of her underwear. Her long fingers ghosted her clit, briefly massaging it, then made their way to her slit, where she spread her folds open. She teased her own entrance and gasped at how wet she already was. Jon had just used words and nothing else, but it had been enough. 

She lingered between her folds with two fingers, biting her lip to stifle a moan before it could escape her mouth. Her fingers ran up and down a few times, slick with her own honey, and then headed for her clit. She started rubbing it in circular motions, slowly, almost too slowly, and then sped up, adding another finger and increasing the pressure on herself.

She imagined Jon doing it: exploring her with his fingers, taking his time across every curve of her body, lingering down there where she was dripping and pulsating, and with his mouth he would kiss her, worship her, celebrate her. Because that was what Sansa wanted. All those days spent trying to lock him inside of her brain had drained her mind of its own fantasies, and now that she was allowed to think about him, her desires were stronger than ever. 

Her legs twitched uncontrollably with every rub, and she did not even try to stay still, for it was impossible. She kept rubbing, faster and faster, her free hand looking for a safe grip on the sink in front of her. She imagined him kissing her in the meanwhile, moaning her name against her lips like a hopeless prayer, finally doing to her all the things he had said he would do. 

Her eyes shut, her lips parted, and she allowed herself to ride every wave of the pleasure that Jon had ignited within her. She felt her body come near the edge, and as her heartbeat quickened inexorably, she kept rubbing where she was slick and swollen, her hand moving of its own accord, her muscles aching yet unstoppable. 

She came with his name on her lips, arching her back, forced to muffle her moans with her other hand. Her whole body quivered and trembled as one last wave of pleasure crashed against her, leaving her breathless, empty and full at the same time.

As she returned back into her own body, which was recovering from her peak, she took deep breaths, trying to recompose herself. With a satisfied grin on her lips, Sansa stood up and buttoned her jeans again. She flattened the crumpled fabric of her sweater and washed her face with cold water, trying to extinguish the fire that had spread across her cheeks and neck. She brushed her long, scarlet hair and picked up her phone from the counter near the sink. Jon had not sent any new message. Her fingers quickly ran across the screen, slightly trembling when she thought of how she had just pleasured herself with nothing but him on her mind.

You’d better keep your promises, Jon Snow.

She bit her lip and opened the bathroom door. One more day, she thought, and I’ll find out if he’s true to his word.

Chapter Text

The staircase that led to Jon Snow’s flat seemed endless, and Sansa’s heart beat faster and faster with each step. With one hand she carried a lemon cake she had baked herself, and with the other she continuously pulled down the hem of her tight red dress which, perhaps, was way too short for her long legs. She had spent hours in front of the mirror, trying on different blouses and dresses and she had finally opted for this one. It was tight and above the knee, and it was one of her favourites. She had worn it once or twice before, and had thought about giving it a go tonight, but now that she found herself in front of Jon’s door, she almost regretted her decision.

What if it’s too much? she could not help but wonder as she rang his doorbell. Luckily, all doubts and insecurities dissipated when he opened the door.

With a hand frozen on the door handle, for a moment, Jon seemed unable to speak. His lips parted as though he were about to say something, but no word escaped from them. His wide eyes travelled up and down Sansa’s figure many times, and when he became aware of the way he was looking at her, he shook his head and lowered his gaze in shame. Maybe this dress wasn’t a bad idea, after all.

“Hi, Sansa, I— please, come in, I was just about to finish, uh, preparing…”

Sansa had almost forgotten how cute he would get whenever he was embarrassed. “Hi, Jon,” she said as she stepped inside, suppressing a grin and giving him a soft kiss on his cheek, his beard softly scratching her skin. “I brought this,” she told him with a smile, holding up the cake plate in front of his eyes.

He took it from her hand and examined it for a second. “A cake?”

“A lemon cake,” she corrected him.

Of course.” Jon shook his head and laughed. “You really love everything with lemon, don’t you?”

Sansa laughed. “And you? Last time I checked you were very fond of lemonade, too.”

“Fair point.” He guided her to his living room, which was cozy enough to make her feel at home immediately. “Dinner is almost ready. I just need a minute to change into something else, all right?”

“Of course,” she said as she sat on the black leather sofa. “I’ll wait here.”

He smiled at her one last time and turned on his heel towards what must be his bedroom.

Now alone, Sansa gazed around her. A wooden coffee table divided the sofa from two grey armchairs, and many framed pictures were hung on the walls. She stood up and walked closer to them. Near a modern library filled with what seemed to be thousands of books, one of the pictures caught Sansa’s attention. A grey-haired man and a black-haired boy posed for the camera. The man looked quite old, and the boy’s bright blue eyes were his most remarkable feature. None of them looked like Jon, but it did not take her long to put two and two together. They must be his father and brother, Sansa thought as she brushed the thin glass with two fingers.

When she heard some soft steps coming from behind her, she turned around, but she did not see Jon. Lady? she wondered, but it was silly even to consider that. The dog in front of her resembled her own dog in a way, but was way bigger than her, and his fur was white as fresh snow, and not grey like Lady’s. Sansa stood still, letting the wolflike dog pad closer to her, and when he sniffed her foot and then her hand, she knelt in front of him and gently scratched him under his chin, her fingers getting lost in the thickness of his fur. Now that he was close, and Sansa gazed into his crimson eyes, her childhood memories came back all at once in a sudden realisation.

She jumped to her feet with a gasp. “Jon!” she yelled before she could even process it. The dog tilted his head and observed her, but did not make a sound.

“What happened? Jon ran into the room, his white shirt still half-unbuttoned. “Ghost! To me!” The dog quietly padded towards his master, his immaculate tail wiggling behind him, but that did not seem to calm Jon at all. “I’m sorry he scared you. I should’ve warned you that—”

“Not at all,” Sansa reassured him with a smile. “He didn’t scare me. Actually, sorry for yelling, I shouldn’t have.”

A frown appeared on Jon’s face. “Then, why did you scream?”

Sansa stepped closer to the albino dog and pointed at him. “When you got him, was he the remaining one of a litter of six?”

Jon reflected for a moment, rubbing the back of his neck and squinting, as if his memories were right there in front of him and he struggled to see them clearly. “I think so, why?”

Sansa snapped her fingers. “I knew it!

Jon looked even more bewildered than before. “What do you know that I don’t?”

“I adopted his sister,” she said excitedly. “When my siblings and I got our dogs, there was another one that we didn’t get, an albino, and I’m pretty sure it’s him.”

Jon gazed down at his shoes, on top of which his dog was resting his huge head. “Ghost?

Yes!” It made perfect sense in Sansa’s mind, but Jon did not seem convinced yet.

“Are you sure? I mean, he’s certainly not the only albino dog in the whole country.”

No, but he looks like his siblings. Only, he’s white.” Now, Ghost was sniffing Sansa’s shoes again. “Do you remember when and where you got him?”

Jon rubbed his eyes as though he was trying to remember. “My father brought him home from Brighton, I think, where he worked at the time, seven or eight years ago, and…” He stopped for a moment, and his eyes widened and met Sansa’s. “Wait, you told me that your family lives in Brighton, didn’t you?”

Sansa crossed her arms and nodded. “It’s him, Jon. I have no doubt.”

He gazed down at his dog again and his eyes widened even further. “If it’s really his sister that you’ve adopted…God, what are the odds?”

Sansa let out a laugh. “I know, I thought the same thing.”

While they both looked down at him, Ghost got to all fours and jumped on the sofa, tickling Sansa’s legs through her stockings with his thick tail as he passed.

Sansa took a step closer to Jon, erasing the distance between them, and started working on the rest of his buttons. “What are the odds, right?”

Jon chuckled and followed every movement of her hands with his eyes. “Exactly what I thought when I saw you in my lecture room for the first time.”

Sansa blushed and bit her lip, her knuckles softly brushing against his bare chest. “Was that all that you thought about?”

“Well, that and…” he cupped her hips with both hands, pulling her closer to him, “…too bad I can’t take her out.”

Their lips were so close that they could touch. “But we’re here now anyway.”

A flash of concern appeared in Jon’s eyes. “Sansa, if you ever feel uncomfortable, you need to tell me, all right? I don’t ever want to force you to do anything,” he concluded, tucking a strand of her loose red hair behind her ear.

“You don’t need to worry, Jon.” Sansa finished buttoning up his shirt and rested both hands on his chest. She could feel his heartbeat through the fabric of his shirt. “If I’m here, it’s because I want it.”

His lips curled up into a warm smile, and some little wrinkles formed at the corners of his eyes. As he hooked a hand behind her head and leaned closer, she closed her eyes and waited for his mouth to meet hers, but his lips kissed her forehead instead. It was not what she had expected, but his lips had felt sweet nevertheless. After reopening her eyes, his own were gazing into hers, and she could not help but let out a laugh.

“What?” Jon asked her, unaware of what had made her laugh.

“Nothing,” she said, shaking her head. “You’re sweet, that’s all.”

Pink spread over his cheeks. “Before you arrived, I had worried that I’d have to compete with Ghost for your attention,” he joked.

“Well, he undoubtedly has a certain amount of cuteness that you lack.”

Sansa turned around and glanced at the dog who, in the meanwhile, had fallen asleep on the sofa, his nose tucked under his tail.

“He’s sleeping, so I guess you’ll have to settle for spending your evening with me,” he teased her.

Sansa muffled a laugh with her hand. “I promise I’ll give you a chance, all right?”

Oh, so kind of you. Anyway, let’s go, now,” he murmured, taking her hand into his and guiding her to the kitchen. “Dinner is awaiting us.”

Sansa folded her hands on her lap as Jon placed a pasta bowl in front of her and poured some red wine into her glass. Very chivalrous, she thought.

Now that he was seated in front of her, she had the chance to observe him. The white shirt he was wearing fitted him perfectly and accentuated his muscles in a way that made Sansa’s belly tingle whenever she laid her eyes upon his broad shoulders. His dark curls were perfectly combed, and his beard was neatly trimmed. He looked so handsome that Sansa almost thought about sitting on his lap and kissing him, but she knew that she had to silence her fantasies. For now, at least.

Jon sat opposite her and sipped on some wine. “So, how did it go with your family?”

Sansa rolled some spaghetti around her fork. “Oh, very well. I mean, they occasionally pay me a visit like they did this time.”

“And their timing was perfect, I would say,” he joked with a smirk.

Sansa chuckled. “Perhaps I should change the lock.”

“Perhaps,” he echoed, lowering his gaze and smiling slyly at the pasta bowl in front of him.

“You mentioned that your father worked in Brighton. What does he do for a living?” Sansa asked.

“He worked on cruise ships at the time, so he would spend a lot of time in Brighton. He’s retired now, anyway.”

“Oh, so you lived in Brighton, too?”

Jon nodded. “For a few years. Then we moved back to London.”

After Jon lowered his gaze on his plate again, Sansa thought that it would be better not to inquire further. From what he had hinted at during their first date, it was clear that he came from a difficult background, and as long as he did not feel at ease enough to open up more, she would not push him.

“Anyway, you’re a great cook,” she told him as she chewed on a mouthful of spaghetti, managing to get a smile out of him. “This is delicious.”

“I’m glad you like it.” His smile widened and he sipped on some wine. “So, you said that Ghost has five siblings?”

“Yes,” she answered, wiping some sauce away from her mouth with a napkin. “Two sisters and three brothers.”

Jon’s eyes widened. “And your family adopted them all?”

Sansa nodded as she drank some wine. “We got one for each one of us. That’s why we didn’t get Ghost.”

“And what are their names?”

Sansa laid the glass down on the table, and counted with her fingers. “Mine is called Lady. The others are Grey Wind, Nymeria, Summer and Shaggydog.”

Lady,” he echoed, and Sansa genuinely wondered for a second if he was making fun of her.

“Are you mocking me?”

“I would never,” he declared, raising both his hands in front of him. “It’s actually an interesting name for a dog.”

Interesting?” She poured herself some more wine. “Well, sorry if it’s not as tough as Ghost.” Now, she was the one teasing him. She smirked, twirling her glass and watching the dark wine spin, before laying her eyes upon him again.

Lady is just fine. I bet she’s elegant like you.”

His sudden compliment made her blush, but she managed to reply without stuttering. “And is Ghost as smooth as you are?”

He chuckled. “I guess you’ll have to see for yourself,” he said as they both ate the last bites of pasta left in their bowls.

After the first course, a side dish followed. Sansa tried to serve herself now, but Jon stopped her before she could grab the salad bowl. “You are the guest tonight, so you won’t need to lift a finger.”

“Thank you, Jon,” she said, looking up at him as he filled her plate with spinach, nuts and apple slices.

“You’re welcome,” he replied, smiling at her in that adorable way that made her swoon.

He sat across from her again and she could not contain a moan when she tried the salad. “This spinach is amazing,” she said, pointing at her plate with her fork. “Where did you buy it?”

“I didn’t.” He swallowed some food and spoke again. “My neighbour grows it on her balcony.”

“And she gave it to you?”

“Not really.” His lips curved in a sly smile.

It took Sansa a moment to understand what he meant. “You mean you… Jon!”

He laughed as if she had just told him the funniest joke in the world. “Are you angry now?”

“I should be. And you should be ashamed of yourself.”

“Come on, I took just a few. And she probably won’t notice anyway.”

Sansa tried to remain serious but there was something in the way Jon laughed that made her crack up as well. They were both laughing now, and as she finished eating her salad with the stolen spinach, she realised that there was no other place she would rather be.

Jon made to stand up but she got to her feet faster than him. “You stay there now. I made that cake and I am going to serve it.”

He chuckled as she removed all the dirty dishes from the table. “All right, I give up.” His voice was a mix of amusement and tipsiness, and a quick glance to the wine on the table made Sansa realise that they had emptied the bottle without even knowing it. She, herself, was starting to feel her head swimming a little, just enough to make her braver and more confident.

She placed the cake in the middle of the table and cut two slices, serving Jon one. As she took her first bite, she observed him to see his reaction.

God, Sansa,” he moaned with his eyes shut, in a way that she certainly was not expecting and which made her blush. If he drank just a little bit more, he’d be totally drunk. “You have a gift for baking, I swear.”

She did not hide a proud smile. “I’m glad you like it.”

“Oh, yes, I like it. But you know what I like more?”

She shook her head. “What?”

You.” He took her by surprise. Sansa was not oblivious, and she had noticed the way he had been looking at her since she had set foot into his flat, but hearing him say it this way, with his cheeks reddened by the wine and an innocent smile on his face, made her heart flutter like the night she had first seen him, when she had ordered a lemonade and did not know his name yet.

She stood up, leaving half of her slice on her plate, and walked over to him. He pushed himself from the table and spread his legs to allow her some space. She sat on his lap and hooked one arm behind his neck, feeling the warmth of his breath on her lips.

“I like you too, Jon,” she whispered into his ear, tracing his jawline with a finger.

“Sansa,” he murmured against her body, burying his face in the curve between her neck and her shoulder, tickling her skin with his beard. “Kissing you that day in my office was one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

A wave of electricity ran down her spine. She cupped his face with one hand and guided his gaze to hers. “You can kiss me again, now.”

He did not waste any more time. Jon’s lips crashed against hers, hungry and violent. She let herself get engulfed by his kiss, yet she could not help but chuckle against his lips at how tipsy he was. She had gotten used to him always being sturdy and serious, and right now, seeing him like this, was something that Sansa had not expected to see. He was certainly fun to watch, with the way he tried to articulate some words between kisses, resulting in his mouth mumbling something incomprehensible, but no matter how adorable or funny he looked, he did not fail to stir some heat within her.

She kept his lips on his, following the movements of his mouth with hers, moaning and whimpering with every twist of his tongue. His hands went everywhere. They moved sloppily on her body, grabbing and pulling and caressing all at the same time, and he cursed under his breath when his fingers grabbed her thighs and tore her stockings apart.

“Sorry,” Jon muttered, pulling away from the kiss and gazing down at the holes on her thighs.

“Don’t be.” With his curls all messy and his cheeks flushed, he was a vision. She hopped off his lap and he stood up as well, hooking a hand behind her neck and chasing her mouth with his. He pushed her body against the nearest wall and grabbed her thighs again, tearing her stockings apart even further, making her whimper when his hot fingers burned against her bare skin. Her back against the wall, she ran her hands through his hair, slightly pulling it as he kissed her. His lips tasted of wine, of lemon, of him, and they felt so sweet that she would rather die than let go. He pressed his body onto hers, pushing up the hem of her dress, and she quivered when she felt his arousal between her legs.

“Sansa,” Jon muttered against her neck when she pressed herself on him, making a grunt slip out of his lips.

“Just kiss me.” She found talking so unnecessary now. As if he had read her mind, he pulled away from her, leaving her with her lips still parted as if she were still kissing him, and took her hand, leading her towards his bedroom. As she walked close behind him, she realised that one of her feet was bare. She must have lost her shoe in the heat of the moment, and even though the most perfectionist part of her wanted to get it back, she shook her head and reminded herself that there was something more important now to think about.

Jon’s lips found Sansa’s again. He pushed the door of his bedroom open with his back while still kissing her. He flipped her around, making her gasp, and unzipped her dress. She shimmied out of it and kicked it aside, and was now standing in front of him in her underwear only, thin layers of fabric covering her most intimate parts. She helped him getting undressed, but the sight of his dark eyes drinking every bit of her body made her heart flutter and her fingers tremble.

Shit, get a grip, Sansa, she told herself as she tried to unbutton his shirt, yet her fingers failed her.

She let out an exasperated huff. “I’m sorry, I’m a bit nervous.”

“It’s okay, don’t be sorry.” Jon reassured her with a voice softer than silk and sweeter than honey. He may be tipsy and aroused, yet his good manners had never abandoned him. “The belt,” he said, nodding at it, a stray curl tumbling over his forehead. “I’ll do the buttons.”

Sansa hummed, chewing on her lower lip, and as she unbuckled the strip of leather around his waist, she could not help but smile at how she had tried to do this in his office before he had suggested going on an actual date first.

Jon tugged his trousers to the ground and Sansa managed to work up the nerve to help him with his shirt. She pushed it away from his shoulders and rested her hands on them, feeling his muscles tense and loosen with every movement of his. A smile bloomed on his lips, and he darted out his tongue to lick them.

“Are you okay?” he asked her, pulling her closer and caressing her cheekbone.

“Yes.” She kissed him, gasping when his hands travelled from her shoulders to her hips and then to her bum. 

He took the lead once again and in a whirlwind of lips and tongues and hands, Sansa found herself on his bed, her head between two pillows. His bedroom was dimly lit, but she could see Jon’s eyes sparkling like two diamonds. She could see all sorts of things in them: lust, tenderness, devotion. A mix of things she had never seen in no other man’s eyes. He looked at her in the way every woman would ever want to be looked at.

“May I?” Jon asked her once he got atop her, one hand on either side of her head, nodding at her stockings. When she nodded, he rolled them down, one and then the other, and the feeling of his fingertips skimming the sensitive skin of her thighs gave her goosebumps. He tossed her ruined stockings aside and placed himself on top of her again. He dropped quick yet hot kisses on her lips, chin, jawline and neck, his breath sweet with the scent of lemon and wine. Sansa stretched her neck to one side to give him easy access to the sensitive spot behind her ear, loving every second his feverish lips spent on her skin. She wrapped her fingers around his arms, stifling a gasp at how tense his muscles were. And I thought I was the nervous one.

“Jon,” she managed to utter between moans and breaths. He pulled away from her neck and gazed at her with confused eyes. “You’re too nervous. Relax.”

His eyes narrowed and he shook his head. “I’m not nervous,” he declared, sounding as if he wanted to convince himself and not her.

Yes, you are,” she insisted, massaging his arms that were hard as steel. “Don’t be embarrassed, I’m nervous too.”

He bit his lip, but Sansa did not miss how it had been trembling. “It’s just…you’re beautiful, Sansa. And I don’t wanna ruin it.”

“Ruin what?” She blushed at the compliment, but hated to know that, somehow, he did not feel at ease. “We’ve already done this, Jon.”

“I know, but—” His eyes drifted away from hers, and he shut his lids and pressed them hard. “This time it’s…it’s different.”

“How? Please, explain it to me. I want to understand.” She tried her best to speak in a soft tone, the one she would use with her younger siblings whenever they wanted to confess something to her but failed to find the courage to do so. Right now, she was in front of a side of Jon she had never seen. Now that the effect of the wine had faded away from his mind, his eyes were swimming in the same concern that he had showed in his office, when he had tried to push her away to shield her from the risks of their relationship. It was not rejection, Sansa had no doubt about that. It was his usual way of putting his own desires aside to protect her whenever he thought that she would get hurt. This time, though, Sansa knew that there were no risks. This time, she was absolutely safe.

Still hovering over her, he cupped her cheek in the most delicate way. “It’s not easy for me to explain.”

“Please, try.”

He rolled off her and landed on the other half of his bed. She instantly felt cold and empty without his body close to hers, but she knew that he needed to calm down before they could do anything else.

“It’s…” He rubbed his eyes and sighed. “You’re amazing, Sansa, you really are.” He paused and turned his head to look at her, and she could not help but allow her lips to curl into a smile. “You’re kind, you’re smart, you’re funny and I love how good your hair smells all the time.”

She laughed, causing him to fall silent. Perhaps he’s still a bit tipsy after all. Or maybe not. “Please continue, I didn’t want to interrupt you.”

Jon pushed himself up and rested onto an elbow. “What I mean is that it’s not just sex to me.” He swept some hair away from her forehead and leaned closer. “It never was. And please, don’t think that I’m regretting our decision. I’m just so nervous because I…” He paused and sighed, then worked up the courage to speak again. “I like you more than I had imagined.”

His confession made her heart skip a beat. Sansa had found him handsome ever since the first time she had seen him, but hearing him speak like this now made her want to hold him and never let him go in a way she had never experienced. She could imagine how nervous he must be, after all, she was quite nervous, too. The feelings in her heart were exciting and frightening at the same time, but for every part of her that whispered to run away and hide, a million others screamed to stay. And now, there was nothing else that Sansa wanted more than to stay.

“It’s not just sex to me, either.” She ran her fingers from his pulsating temple to his clenched jaw, trying to melt his tension away with the softness of her fingertips. “And I trust you completely, that’s why I’m sure that you could never hurt me. Look, Jon, I’m nervous too, and it’s perfectly normal to be. But you have to trust me, all right? Do you trust me?” It’s just us tonight, and I don’t want to think about anything else.

He nodded, and his eyes stared into hers as if he were on the verge of apologising. “Of course I do.”

“I mean, I’m half-naked on your bed, and if you run away now I’ll start doubting your interest in me,” she teased him, and when Jon chuckled, visibly relaxed, Sansa felt immediately relieved.

“Running away is the last thing I intend to do now.”

She cupped both his cheeks and pulled his face closer to hers. “Good. Because I don’t wanna run away either.”

They kissed again and this time Jon’s lips felt softer. He put himself on top of her again, finally shielding her from the cold, giving her the warmth that she had been hungering for. She let her fingers run wildly through his hair, messing it up as his mouth travelled from her lips to her neck. Sansa felt that he was more relaxed now, their limbs not clashing anymore in their embrace, and knew that it was the right moment for what she had been dying to do. 

She slid one hand under her own back and unclasped her bra, making a surprised smirk appear on Jon’s lips. As she arched her back to get rid of it, he pulled away slightly to allow her more space and watched in a religious silence as she tossed it away, revealing her breasts to him. Sansa bit her lip in anticipation and gazed up at him, and she knew that if his cheeks were flushed, it was not from embarrassment, it was from desire. His insecurities pushed aside, he met her lips again and tasted every inch of her skin, every little curve of her neck and collarbone until his mouth found her breasts. 

Eager to be engulfed by his mouth, Sansa arched her back a little and he slid an arm beneath her, supporting her quivering body as he traced the shape of her stiff nipple with his tongue. With his free hand he grabbed her other breast, stroking her skin in a way that made her moan shamelessly. His tongue swirled and flicked around her nipple, drawing endless lines and curves that left her breathless. His lips parted and clasped around it, and his teeth nipped at it just a little. Sansa lifted her head from the pillow and peered at him through the fog of her arousal, and it was even better than how she had imagined it in her bathroom a few days before. He kept licking and sucking while palming her other breast, and the sight of the crown of dark curls resting on her chest, along with the wet sounds his mouth would make against her hot flesh, made her burn with desire and impatience. As Jon still worked his tongue against her breast, Sansa pushed down her panties with shaking hands and sighed with relief now that she was finally free.

Jon stopped and lifted his head from her body to look down at her core, and she saw him bite his lip. He made to move closer to the apex of her thighs, but she quickly slid two fingers under his unshaven chin and made him look up.

“Come here. I want to kiss you.”

He did not let her say it twice. His mouth was back on hers in the blink of an eye, and he had sucked and licked her so intensely that she could taste the fruity perfume she had sprayed on herself before leaving her flat. He was kissing her with the same passion with which he had feasted on her breast, and a loud moan slipped out of her shaking lips when she felt his cock, still restrained inside his briefs, pressing on her own throbbing core.

They kept kissing, and she only pulled away when she looked for his hand, which had been cupping her naked hip. He looked at her with confused eyes, and perhaps for a moment he had thought that she was regretting it, but the crease of worry disappeared from his forehead as fast as it had appeared when she brought his hand close to her mouth and kissed his knuckles.

“I could do it myself, but I want you to do it to me.” He did not understand at first, but when she guided his hand past her belly and between her warm thighs, where her slick core was already awaiting him, all doubt dissipated from his eyes.

“Show me how you love it.” His voice was hoarser than usual, and his lip trembled a little but Sansa knew that this time it was from desire and not insecurity. She spread her legs open, allowing his hand to briefly rest on top of her mound, and she took two of his fingers and gently placed them on her clit. She could not feel herself but she imagined how wet she must be by now, and sighed with relief when Jon traced her slit in its entirety and then went back on her clit. He started rubbing her, circling her slowly, almost too slowly.

She did not even need to tell him to speed up for he anticipated her, picking up the pace and rubbing faster. She clenched the bedsheets at her sides, biting her lip but letting moans of pleasure escape all the same, cursing his name every now and then. She loved the way he looked at her. He was enjoying pleasuring her, she knew for sure, certainly just as much as she was adoring the feeling of his fingers against her. As he went back to kissing her, his fingers kept tracing hot circles on her slick clit, and with every flick of his wrist she would moan louder into his mouth.

She wanted to let him know how much she was loving it, to make sure that he really knew, but when she opened her mouth to speak her voice failed her, and from her throat only moans and sighs and heavy breaths managed to spill. Jon was still kissing her, sucking all the air from her lungs, working his fingers against her, and right when she felt herself come closer to the edge, he slid one finger inside her. Sansa thought that he must be exhausted from holding himself up on one arm only, but the way his hand moved against her made it clear that he would not stop until she was completely satisfied. He added another finger inside her, and kept rubbing and circling and drinking every moan and curse that would spill from her feverish mouth. She felt his fingers curl inside her and while Jon’s mouth was still on hers, she pulled away and threw her head back on the pillow, riding the endless waves of pleasure that radiated from her core and traversed her whole, quivering body.

Her mind went blank during her climax, and all she could manage to do was moan his name, gasping for air even after his hand had left her. Her body was still writhing when Jon cupped her cheek and placed a long, passionate kiss on her lips, which were still too shaky to return it in full.

“I love seeing you come.” His voice was a low whisper full of lust.

“And I love coming for you…” she replied, now finding the strength to kiss him back like he deserved to be kissed, “…and making you come as well.”

Sansa smiled coyly from beneath him and placed both hands on his chiseled chest. Their lips met in another passionate kiss before she flipped him over and pushed his legs open, nestling between them. She wanted to be in charge now. Jon devoured her with his eyes, and when she helped him rid himself of his underwear, finally setting his hard cock free, the sight of him panting made her feel ready to do it all again.

She took him in her hand, slowly circling the tip with her thumb at first, and then started sliding her wrapped fingers up and down as soon as she saw him shut his eyes and clench his jaw in the agonising pleasure she was giving him. She bit her lip and picked up the pace. As her hand worked him relentlessly, with her other hand she started rubbing herself. On his back, Jon lifted his head and grunted at the sight of the little show she was putting on between his thighs. His eyes initially landed on his cock, then drifted to her eyes, then went down again, on her core, where her own fingers were circling where she was swollen and wet again. Sansa could not help but smirk at the way he looked at her. He must be desperate by now, she knew for sure. No matter how much she loved pleasuring him with her hand, she needed to feel him inside her, and when he started rolling his hips up against her hand, she knew that he was longing for the same.

Her fingers let him go and he made to protest but his words died in his mouth when she straddled him, one leg on either side of his hips. He grabbed a condom from his nightstand and handed it to her, and after sliding it on his length, she guided it with two fingers towards her entrance and then inside her. She sighed when he filled her up, and panted when he grabbed her breasts with his hands. She started bouncing up and down, her nails digging in the flesh of his thighs looking for a stable grip. Jon pinched her nipples, getting a whimper out of her, and then his hands made their way towards her hips, where they stroked her skin. She kept riding him, and he helped her by pushing her up and pulling her down rhythmically with every movement. 

It was pure electricity that their bodies created together. Up and down, back and forth, Sansa kept riding and riding, the wet sounds coming from where they were joined filling her ears and making her moan even louder. She did not want to hold back, she did not need to, and she perfectly knew that even if she tried, she could not. She loved being on top of him, setting the pace, deciding the depth and the rhythm. She loved watching him from above and seeing him like that: sweaty, breathless, struggling to stay still, completely at her mercy. She loved being the one calling the shots. And she loved, oh she adored the way his exhausted eyes ran up and down her body, from her scarlet hair past her heaving breasts to her warm thighs, where he disappeared inside her with every roll of her hips.

She peered through her heavy lids and saw Jon pushing himself up. Now seated, with her still on top of him, he wrapped his strong arms around her, holding her firmly. He kissed her passionately and squeezed her bum with both hands, and Sansa saw him smirk when her lips slipped away from his and she desperately cursed his name for the millionth time that night. He’s even better than in my fantasies.

“Keep going,” Jon incited her as she bounced over him, her arms over his shoulders. “You’re amazing.”

She gathered the strength to nod and rested her forehead on his, shutting her eyes. She let herself enjoy every second of how good he felt inside her without thinking about anything else. And just when she felt her muscles around him tightening, Jon secured his grip on her hips and rolled her over. 

Before Sansa could realise what had just happened, he climbed on top of her, entering her again and filling her completely. She was so slick that he had to tighten the grip on her hips, almost hurting her, not to slide out of her. He thrust and thrust, deeper and faster, holding her shaking body tightly. With trembling fingers she rubbed herself again, quickly stroking her swollen clit, amplifying the pleasure while enjoying the feeling of her muscles clenching around Jon. God, it’s even better than our first time.

He leaned closer to her, nestling his face in the crook of her neck, whispering and grunting in her ear. “Come for me again,” he murmured, and it was enough to send her over the edge. As she rubbed faster and her breathing quickened, she orgasmed again, harder and louder, in a beautiful mess of sweat and pleasure alike, writhing beneath him and screaming his name as if her life depended solely on it.

He was still thrusting inside her when his breathing became quick and uneven and she realised he was coming, too. When he collapsed on her to catch his breath, his body felt heavy, but she loved the feeling of having him so close. His curls tickled her forehead and his beard scratched her cheeks when he placed one last kiss on her mouth, and she could not help but smile mid-kiss. He stayed atop her some more, and she wished he would never leave. She cupped his cheeks and his eyes opened, meeting hers, glimmering in a way she had never seen them shine, and a smile formed on his swollen lips.

He slid out of her and rolled on his back, and she looked at him out of the corner of her eye. His chest was still jerking up and down, just like hers. Her eyes drifted off to the dark ceiling above his bed and then closed. She was lying there, naked and sweaty, with her hair and makeup probably ruined, but that was the furthest thing from her mind right now.

Her eyes still closed and her mind satiated yet exhausted, she felt the bed rise when he got up to dispose of the condom, and then sink when he laid back beside her. She turned her head and lazily opened her eyes. Her heart fluttered light as a butterfly’s wings when she saw his brown eyes staring into hers.

“How do you feel?” he asked her, as if he did not already know, but she knew that it was just his usual, attentive way of making sure that everything was fine.

Never been better. “Good,” Sansa replied, smiling. “And you?”

“Me too.” He pulled the covers over their naked bodies and moved closer to her, careful not to take up all the space on his bed. She lifted her heavy legs and placed them on top of his, soaking up the warmth that radiated from his body, and in response he topped them with his other one. She closed her eyes again, enjoying the feeling of Jon’s legs nestling hers, and even though it was not that late she could already feel slumber dulling her senses.

“Anyway, there’s still some lemon cake in the kitchen,” Jon said after a short while, making her eyes fly open.

Sansa stared at him incredulously and did not even try to hold back a laugh. “Is that really what you’re thinking about now?”

Jon chuckled and scooted closer to her, softly caressing her hair. “I thought that you could be hungry, that’s all.”

“All right,” Sansa said with a smile, closing her eyes and feeling sleep close in. “We’ll eat. Maybe later.”