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The Bird and The Hound

Chapter Text

TAKE ME

The scent of blood filled her nose as she made her way to her private chambers. She wasn't sure if the smell was from the men dying outside, or from her red flower that had just budded between her legs the night before. It was probably just in her mind, that's the choice she went with. Once away she locked her door and then turned on the spot to look her quarters over.

Shaken steps lead her inside, her eyes drifting over to her desk. On the desk laid the doll her father had given her. She had acted so ungrateful towards the gift; so cold and mean to her father. Her hands reach out for the doll, bringing it closer to her frame as she simply stood there.

That was until she heard the clinking of metal. Turning on the spot she locked eyes with the giant cleverly named the Hound. That's when Sansa realized that the smell she had taken in was the blood on his dark armor.

Her guts twisted as she looked at him sitting there before her. Hands clasped tighter around the doll. "...Ser..."

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Sandor Clegane was not a creature that planned ahead. His life was lived for the moment and what may come next was a mystery. This character trait of his is what now placed him hiding out in a bedroom, silently waiting for his little bird to flutter her way in. It was not moments ago that he threw his sword down in the middle of battle and told the King to fuck off; he should of been making his way out of King's Landing as quickly and as discreetly as possible, yet instead he followed the path to her chambers. It was as if this mind and movements were no longer his own, for it was not his first intention to go there, but alas here he was. In her room he found sanctuary, the scent of lavender and perfume casted over the smells of death and blood; and though the winds carried faint echoes of the war, there was a comforting peace lingering in the darkness of those quarters. It was so soothing that it almost made the giant warrior close his eyes and escape the reality he was facing. That was until she entered.

She had no immediate idea that he lurked in the shadows, and for a moment he basked in her innocent presence. He could never understand the power she possessed over him, yet he was drawn to her like a moth to a flame. She stirred within him that faint heartbeat of compassion that he had attempted to smother from existence.

She was no longer a child, but not quite a full woman; for still she clung to the comfort of toys. It was endearing. It was then that she caught sight of him and that beautiful visage twisted with horror as she gazed upon his own ugly, scarred face. Her voice trembled and her body tightened with fear. He knew he scared her. It was an unfortunate fact that she would never look upon him with any other expression than the one she currently held. One could say it broke his heart, but a dog isn't supposed to feel.

His scarred lip curled into a snarl as she whimpered out that frightened acknowledgement. "The little bird flew to her nest. There is no escape from the dangers..." He rose to his full length, his towering form casting over any light coming into the room. "Even in here." He paused for a moment before closing the gap between them. "You're trembling. Do I frighten you that much, little bird that you shake with fear?" His voice teased at her as his gloved hand reach up to squeeze her chin and to force her eyes to meet his own - twin, dark pools filled with unclaimed sadness and despair.

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Sansa's crystal blue eyes scanned from the scarred face before her, they landed on the doll in her hands. She stood there thinking of who she was talking with. The Hound, or in her world the only guard who stopped her from being raped and killed in the streets.

" No. You won't hurt me." She muttered before her head bounced back up to look at the giant of a man before her.

" We've lost?" She asked him simply, talking about the still going battle in the bay. In this second Sansa rethought her last statement(s), lacing questions around them. Why was he here?

His scarred lip curled into a sinister grimace at her naive question. "How the fuck do I know and what does it matter?" The hand squeezing her chin tightened ever so before releasing her to ponder his response. "I am getting the fuck out of this place. Fuck'em all and their cunt-ass wars. I am tired of being some spoiled boy's pawn." It wasn't clear if he was talking to her, or simply talking out loud.

He had redirected himself towards her window and was peering out to see into the faint distance the billows of green smoke dancing over the seas and the howls of men perishing by steel and flame. It made his face twitch slightly in remembrance. "How about the little bird sing me a song?" He still had his back facing her when he made the request, but turned around to catch her facial response. His voice deepened into a haunting whisper. "The things I can do to you to make you sing." He made small, calculated steps closer to her. "Just one sweet song before I disappear into the night." Was he talking about an actual song or the intent to remove her of her virtue? His own head was swarming in booze and uncertainty and memories.

He was not himself...or perhaps he was. Perhaps this was the moment his emerged from his cocoon to reveal his true form. He was not a philosopher, nor a ponderer of such questions. All he knew right there and then that inside this small chamber, with her, he felt...safe and secure and the phantom pains of burnt flesh were ever so dull when in her presence.

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" You could." Sansa let out as the man before her turned and went on with his words. What he was saying made the young girls insides twist, but none the less she had faith that he would not harm her. " But you won't." She told him before letting out a shaken breath.

" Take me with you..." Sansa honestly couldn't believe the request that escaped her own lips. Her blue eyes studied the man before her, watching his mangled expression.

" If you return me to my brother he would...reward you. Greatly in any way you request." Sansa told him this, not fully knowing if her words where honest and true but they were all she had.

" Please Sandor...take me with you." Sandor. The name rolled off her tongue so easily, almost as if she had never once referred to him as the Hound in her life. Hope that his rightful given name would snap him out of this drunken haze.

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Her innocence was almost humoring; especially in the current situation they were both in. Take her with him? Well wasn't that his intention, else why did he beeline for her quarters than escaping the city when he had the opportunity? Subconsciously he knew he couldn't leave without her. His movements paused for a brief moment when he caught wind of his name coming off her breath. Very few dared to acknowledge him by his given name; made him out to be almost human than the beast they created.

"Rewards? What can he give that others can't? You silly girl, I can bargain you off for a loaf of bread if the circumstances required it. Fuck, you are more than a pawn in this mad game of Kings. You best learn your worth soon or else they will devour you when given the chance." His voice chastised her, for he felt that she was degrading herself for even placing herself upon the chopping block.

He took a deep sigh as his sad eyes looked her up and down. " We ain't getting out of here with you looking like that. You're a walking target." His voice growled in frustration. "We need to disguise you." Her best option would be to travel as a man, but for now she needed to simply be discreet. "Quick, find your plainest frock and your darkest cloak." His hand yanked the doll from her grip and tossed it onto the floor. " Only the clothes on your back you will take. And the second you hinder me I will abandon you. I ain't got time to coddle your whims. Ya understand. Now quickly, get changed. I will stand guard at your door."

This was a dangerous task, but he knew deep down inside he couldn't say no. Perhaps the old dog had some compassion after all. "No longer than five minutes or I leave without you." His final warning before stepping out of her room, taking caution to be quiet and alert as he stood guard at her door.

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Sansa hurried just as was ordered of her, though her blue eyes did scan over the doll he knocked from her hands. But she gave it just a passing glance as she walked over to a trunk located at the foot of her bed. She knelt down, unlocking the trunk and pulling out a dark maroon dress.

While there on her knees she began to unlace the one she wore and slip it off her shoulders. Sansa wasn't nude under the dress; she had a proper short sleeved slip that covered her. When stepping out of the dress she wore she picked up the maroon fabric and shuffled it over her head until properly on.

Once the fabric was smoothed down she glanced over on her bed where a roll of clean rags were, she gathered then and shoved then down the top of her dress. Due to her ongoing red flower she would need the rags. Next came a cloak, the only one she had was the one she brought from Winterfell. It was a dusty grey with deer fur over the shoulders. Placing it over her body she found it to be shorter than she last recalled. But it had been sometime since meeting any sort of Northern chills. Once dressed and settled she made her way to the door and took hold of Sandor's forearm; this motion hopefully letting him know she was ready.

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She had barely enough time to emerge from the doorway before his hand gripped tightly around her forearm and he began to escort her through the castle. "Keep your eyes down and your mouth shut." He hoped news of his abandonment didn't have the time to spread due to the ongoing battle. If caught by guards he could easily pass her off for attempting to escape and he having caught her. It wasn't a solid plan, but at the moment it was the only excuse he could muster up. His energy was needed to weave them through the maze of halls and stairs that made up the large palace.

At first these halls had some familiarity to Sansa, but soon he would be escorting her through passages she never even knew existed before that moment. Some were servant's passages while others were secret. At times he would push her against the wall, or have her duck behind a corner, but the main focus was solely on moving. Outside the battle raged on and from their position he couldn't tell which side was victorious; either way coming into contact would be an issue. He needed to get Stranger and make haste out of this horrid city. He knew once upon the King's Road, they stood a safer chance than their current situation.

"Wait here." He ordered as he pushed her back against the wall and disappeared down a short hallway. It would feel like an eternity, but soon he emerged carrying a small bundle and a pair of boots, shoving the bundle into her arms. "No time to change until we make it out of here, but at least put the boots on."

As he waited for her to obey his orders, the sight of a lantern caught his attention, its flame bobbing side to side down the corridors that lead to the nearby stables.
"Who goes there?" A deep voice called out to the pair as the sound of steel sliding out from a sheath echoed down towards them.

"Fuck" He whispered to himself as he looked at Sansa.

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Sansa backed up to the wall and used it to lean against as she removed the dress shoes she had been placed in. The boots were a new feeling to her feet but if she was being honest they were much more comfortable than the pointed toed fashioned the southern women walked in.

The voice rose Sansa's head, she saw just a few yards away one of the chamber guards. The fire from his lantern shined against the golden armor he wore; his free hand already on his blade as he approached the pair.

The young girl didn't know what to say, so she remained quiet and stepped behind the Hound, holding tight to the items he gave her.

The halls he had lead her down were a maze, but she did know where she was. They were only one door away from the gardens that lead to the stables. Her father had walked her down there to feed her horse several times before his death. She knew with battle taking place no fool would be in the gardens or the barns. So she stammered out.

" I'll get the horse ready..." she told Sandor this before turning and taking off towards the heavy wooden door that lead to the gardens. The guard saw her and rose his light higher. " Clegane stop her!" The guard ordered.

Once outside Sansa ran on through the rose and berry bushes till coming to the barn. The darkness of the night hid her well, though there were no eyes as of yet looking for her. Once in the barn she made her way to the horse she knew to be The Hound's. True Sansa was not the fastest to saddle a horse but both Ned and Lady Katharine had taught her how.

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He had hoped to get through this madness unscathed, but fate chose a different path for him. He barely gave her acknowledgement before allowing her to rush through the doors while he took care of the guard.

The man was stunned as he saw Clegane not turn towards Sansa's direction but instead make a path towards him. "Did you not hear me...the girl is escaping!" His lantern rose to cast a haunting shadow over the burnt flesh of his face. "I heard ya just fine." The beast growled before impaling his blade into the man's gut; and as the guard gurgled his last living breath the Hound whispered "I just chose not to listen." and twisted his blade completely through to end the man's misery.

By the time he reached her Stranger was saddled to go. Impressive. Though such compliments were only observed and never spoken. As if she was a mere feather he hoisted her up upon the onyx beast before mounting himself. His last action before racing off to the outskirts of the city was to pull down her hood. "Keep your face down." Stranger was given the command and like the wind the stallion took off.

Despite racing away from the ongoing battle, the aroma of Death lingered deeply in the air along with the stench of sulfur and other unknown chemical compounds. At times the smell was so overpowering that it stole one's breath away and the cloud of residue curtained their path to where they only were able to see just more inches in front of there was danger ahead, Sansa would be the last to know as Sandor made sure her head was kept low, even at times placing his thick hand on the base of her neck and pressing it downwards.

By the time he allowed her any freedom to rise, the sun was already up and they were now surrounded by thick trees and rough brush. Tiredness had already seep through Sandor's skin and was now infecting his muscles and bones, as all he yearned to do was crash onto the ground and sleep till eternity passed by. Still he trudged on, finding some extra strength to mark one more mile between them and King's Landing.

To assume that they stopped due to Sansa's fatigue or any concern of her well being would be a fallacy; for it was concern for the horse that finally made the Hound relent and halt. Stranger was exhausted and they needed him in top shape if they wished to make their destination alive. He leaped down, his legs feeling like fresh saplings instead of ancient bark due to exhaustion, yet he still managed to pull the girl from her post and place her firmly upon the ground.
"We camp here for the night. Take those clothes off and change into what I gave you. We burn what you have on." His finger pointed northwest towards a gather of high bushes. "Go behind there but no further to change and get back to this spot immediately. I need to prep us a fire and get some food in our bellies before your growling stomach sends the entire fleet marching on our heels."
He left her to her own as he began collecting and creating a small campsite for them to rest. He did not consume himself with the 'what ifs' of their situation. He made no plan for anything beyond his current task. Everything was just too much to handle at the moment.

By the time she would return a warm fire was blazing and he was already skinning a hare to roast on his makeshift spit.

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Sansa did just as was instructed to her. Wearing pants felt odd to the young woman. She was nothing like her sister who often wore them in day to day activities. And her body was nothing like her sister's. Arya lacked a woman's frameBut the nearly 15 year old Sansa already was taller than most fully grown women. The curves of her now woman's frame followed along suit as well, and they were noticed by passing eyes from time to time. The pants only made her newly developed body stand out more to those who knew her frame work in a common dress.

She finished lacing up the vest over the tunic she was given; all dark brown and common. All but her hair that was; it shined like fire against the dark hues. Her blue eyes lifted as her finger tips finished up the lacing. She watched as the Hound pulled the skin from the hare. This wasn't anything new to the young lady. After all she had brothers who constantly hunted in Winterfell. Then there were the added horrors she had seen in King's Landing. To say the least she was not easily moved by death now days.

" Where are we going?" She asked, her tone a mix of both a curious young lady and a frightened child. Her hands then proceeded to lift up to her fiery locks as she settled down next to the fire, slowly her slim pale fingers weaved her hair into a tight braid. This would help keep it as clean as possible while on the road.

" Do you know yet? Where we're going?"

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He had only glanced briefly once or twice from his work to make sure she still existed where he placed her; other than that he barely lifted his head up. The tips of leather was all he saw of her upon her return, as he pulled the last skin of the rabbit and prepped it for the spit.

"Do I look like I have all the fucking answers?!" He snapped as he tossed the skin in her direction, his back now facing her as he busied himself. He didn't mean to be so harsh in his tone, but exhaustion had already replaced adrenaline and he was simply fucking miserable.

After a short while he finally finished and rose to place the secured meat over the small, yet strong fire to roast for their dinner. He paused upon seeing her. For a man who wore very little expression other than a snarl, his eyes spoke on his behalf; for they grew wide with wonder as he gazed upon her for the first time. What he was hoping would disguise her as a boy only amplified the woman she had blossomed into.

Curse the man who wins her heart for she is truly a beauty, was the quick, primitive thought that snuck its way to the forethought of his mind. "We need to get you some extra layers." He hissed as his eyes were fixated unwillingly upon her bosom. Those dark pools snapped and shot up to look her straight in her deep blue hues. "And we need to fucking cut that hair." Yes, that beautiful fire mane would have to go, at least some of it. He didn't wait for her to protest, instead he picked up the small blade he just previously gutted the hare with and tossed it at her feet. "You either do it or I will. You need to pass as a boy and you won't looking like that.

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Sansa was still very young and due to this simple fact she was full of protest. Truly grateful for the man before her who planned on returning her to her mother and brother but that didn't mean everything he told her she agreed with.

" No...I'm not cutting my hair off." She stated quickly once the still bloody knife was tossed towards her.

" I'll bind it up. " Sansa wasn't sure what bothered her more, the idea of chopping her only unchanged feature, or that he gave her no choice in the matter.

" I don't look like a boy, because I'm not a boy. These clothes will be covered with blood by dawn. " Sansa too was just as worn and mentally distressed as Sandor.

Her boot kicked the knife only a foot or so as she paced in an aggravated manner with her blue eyes towards the sky. She knew he would and could hold her down to chop it off. She stopped next to the knife and in a shaken manner she picked it up in her right hand.

Her whole body trembled as she wiped the blade against her thigh to get the rabbit blood off. Her movements were so shaken and her face looked just as disgusted when she spoke with the queen. But she moved on and picked her braid up and brought the knife to it before the Hound did as he promised.

The hair cut easily, the whole braid fell limp in her hand. Her blue eyes swelled up red as she did this but during the process she didn't speak. Once it was chopped, she walked the knife and still braided bundle over and dropped them next to Sandor.

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She had balls, he'd give her that. Honestly, he wasn't expecting her to follow through with the request and honestly he wasn't sure if he were capable either. But there upon the forest floor rested the casted off red braid. Unfortunately, it was not the best of cuts, the hacked ends were uneven and he sensed she felt vulnerable and ashamed. The image of when Joffery stripped her down in court came to his mind, as she held the same facial expression then as she did now.

Gently he lifted the lifeless mane and tossed it into the fire's embrace. "It is for the best..." He didn't look her in the eyes when he spoke but his voice seemed softer than his previous tone. "You must understand that we are facing treason for leaving. If that little cunt survived last night, the second he notices you're gone he will have his men hunting us down. The less you look like...you...the better chances you have."

He finally looked at her to read her expression. Did she understand how much danger they actually were in? "If they find us, I might get lucky and get killed. You...he will make sure you are kept alive for a long time that death would be welcoming and you will beg for the end." He looked upon her for a moment before shooting his gaze over towards the meat. "Fuck'n whore's tits! Burnt!" His voice cursed as he casted the meat away from the flames as quickly as possible. He looked back at her with an expression that longed to blame her for their charred dinner. "Here." He shoved a chunk of burnt, unseasoned flesh her way. "We still need to eat."

He sat back down after handing her the meat and tore himself a portion. He was a man that lack manners as he tore wildly into the meal and ate like a savage dog. He watched the flames with caution as he chewed hard, only pausing to grasp a small bottle from his side and gulping down the contents. Without speaking he shoved the bottle towards her and the hard scent of fermented alcohol would overpower her nostrils. Whatever it was, it was much stronger than the sweet wines she had at court and the taste was bitter and burned going down.

"We get some sleep and then we begin our way up North to find your mother and brother. We stay off the main roads and are to be cautious of the villages. If questioned you are my nephew. We need new aliases though, so you best think of what you want to he called." He had finally answered her question from before, hoping that this quick plan would give her some peace of mind.

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Sansa listened but didn't talk as she picked from the burnt rabbit. Her blue eyes stayed down towards the boots she wore. Her pale face stood out in the darkness. Dawn was only a few hours away yet sleep called to both.

Sansa stood on up once finished with the meat she was given. She made her way to where Sandor had tossed the saddlebags. When she had placed the saddle on the horse back at the barns she made sure to pack the cleanest horse quilt she saw in the stables. She pulled it on out and laid it out, following with rolling the dress up she had taken off and throwing it down at the head of the quilt. Sansa settled on the quilt and laid her head on the rolled up dress. Covered with her cloak she kept her face turned towards Sandor and the fire. Her uneven chopped hair dangled in her face, but even with short hair her newly bloomed feminine features still made themselves known. Her blue eyes shined and her lightly freckled face was perfectly smooth. Not even a blind man would think her to be a boy.

" You can call me Ned." She told Sandor finally breaking the silence before she rolled on over on her back and shut her eyes.

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He scoffed at her choice in names as he set about snuffing out the fire and erasing their presence as best as possible. He backed himself up against a grandfather oak and allowed his head to rest against the uneven bark; at that moment it was just as welcoming as any feather pillow could possibly be. He closed his eyes, giving the appearance he was retiring into the realm of sleep, but he only rested them, for his ears were perked to the sounds and his brain was spinning its wheels trying to figure out the next step.

He waited until she had settled and ever so gently snoring before he moved from his position. His towering frame, though sturdy and powerful, made barely a sound as his walked over to the sleeping beauty. Against the soft rays of sun, that were raining through the tree canopy, his form casted a shadow down upon her, shielding her briefly for a moment against the light. He lingered. His eyes gazed upon her and yet he made no movement. Whatever battle he was fighting, it was all done behind the curtain that which was his mind. Finally he broke from the trance and unclasped his wool cloak to lie over her sleeping form, and just like that the comfort of cloth and sunlight bathed her for he was gone.

Sandor knew these woods well, as was his duty to have such knowledge. His sense of direction was spot on like any mutt's would be and it didn't take him long to realize exactly what part they were in. He concluded they were headed Northeast and knew of a small hamlet that rested just beyond the nearby stream. Normally it was of no significance to anyone in King's Landing and was, for the most part, isolated from world. He began to make his way there trying to make a mental note of what shops or inns created the place. He knew he would be noticed and they were too close for comfort to risk him being identified. He also knew that he needed to get her looser and extra clothing if she were to pass for a lad. As luck would have it, a small cottage rested just short of the stream's bend and it appeared to be in living condition. His hand rested upon the hilt of his sword as he crept towards the surroundings...

"Get up!" His voice boomed enough to send a flock of resting birds to escape from their nests and find sanctuary in the sky. A new pile of clothes, darker in color and loose in form, were thrown at her resting feet along with a pile of shredded cloth. " Put these on and bind your tits with the cloth. Use the rest to shove up your bleeding cunt or else you will have bears on our heels along with guards." He was definitely in a foul mood this morning. His appearance was disheveled, exhausted and caked in fresh blood, and indicator that he was definitely up to something as she slept.

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Sansa jumped; the way his voice carried like thunder made her think someone had found them, but no, nothing of the sort just a grumpy old Hound barking again. Sansa didn't like the way he talked to her, she wasn't use to it. But if facts were laid out she was considered a child two days ago and now she was a woman.

She shifted up, noticing his cloak on her; she held it up against her chest as if he had just barged in on her in just night clothes. But within seconds her blue eyes adjusted and all was recalled from the night before.

Sansa stood, never taking her boots off once laying down for sleep. Her back was young but sleeping on the ground still ache her bones.

Hearing Sandor talk to her in this crude man like manner turned her expression sour. She dropped his cloak down on the ground purposely and picked up the bundle of clothes.

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" I would like it if you kept my 'tits' and my 'bleeding cunt' out of your thoughts. " Sansa stated as she locked eyes with Sandor as she snapped at him for the second time during this. "You've made me change clothes, going on three bloody times. You can layer it all over me but 'you' ran with someone with 'tits' and a 'bleeding cunt'. It's not my fault for either of those bloody facts!"

"As I recalled it, it was you who begged me to come. So as far as I am concerned you can stay here and be returned to that cushy palace I just rescued you from." At this, he bent down, hovering over her slightly. Briefly he relished in how she seemed to react to his closeness; how she cowered from his touch or even just shifted her eyes from his gaze. A skin was gently extended. "Water." He whispered. "Get yourself ready and meet me by the stream."

The cold, fresh water was welcoming against his soiled, scarred flesh, as he submerged his naked form into the embrace of the stream's depths. Blood, sweat and fear washed away downstream as he basked in the chilled waters. Over the years he had grown accustomed to frigid baths as it seemed more invigorating to his senses. Immediately, he felt the heavy tiredness removed and a new cloak of clarity come forward. Emerging from the waters, he shook himself out just like the dog he was named after. His stringy, brown hair whipped rich droplets away from his body before his hand ran through them to pull away the strands from his face. He had already discarded the clothes he had on prior and had secured himself a new set. He had even discarded his sword in favor of some unmarked daggers and an ax; best not to be identified by any means possible.

Once dressed, he walked over to where Stranger grazed on some high grass and pulled from the hanging bags an object. Snuggled into the confinements of his hand he fixated on it, allowing a silent moment to ponder it over and admire it. Unlike his other possessions, this one was not so easily discarded. Perhaps the beast held some sentiment after all.

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Sansa did the best she could to bind herself up, she changed her bleeding rags just as instructed. She had brought nothing with her so she literally had nothing to help cope and take her mind off the situation she had placed herself in. Though she was binded her face still glowed with a feminine feel, she had shifted all her hair to one side which made it look less chopped up, showing one ear. Her blue eyes seemed more noticeable in the morning light and so did her short fiery hair.

Her boots lead her on over to Sandor who had her back turned towards her. She knew she would be traveling with this man for a long time so she thought best to be civil with him.

" What do you have there?" She asked out of only curious nature. She chose not to ask where all the 'new' items such as clothes and weapons came from. Sansa figured he either stole them from the kingdom or from a nearby resistance.

Sansa rounded the man to hand off the horse blanket and her old dress she had left in. While shoving them in a saddle bag she looked Sandor's way again.

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At the sound of her questioning voice, he clasped his hand firmly around the object and quickly shoved it back in the saddle bag. He sighed as he looked upon her and realized any and all attempts were lost to make her a boy. Her feminine features, despite all, were determined to show through. Guess she would have to pass for his niece then. He felt awful coming to such realization, especially after having her chop off her hair. Still he rationalized that it was for the best as she at least looked like a peasant girl now instead of a potential queen.

He assisted her with mounting the horse and once settle upon it himself, raced off further North. "Once we are able to, we will get you your own horse. We need to stay off the road as much as possible right now but once we make it beyond the Crossroads, we should be fine to travel them without issue. If anything should happen, it would be best for you to have your own to escape."

It would have been easier to stay on the road, but unfortunately that was not a possibility so soon. Instead he zigzagged their course, going slightly east up towards Antlers and then a sharp cut West to avoid the lands and castle of Harrenhal. Word had already spread of his brother's presence there and he was certain that word of his own treason had already fallen on Gregor's ears. No doubt he would have his own men out searching for them. That would be far worse than any of Joffery's men.

Chapter Text

COMING UP

Sansa was placed in the front of the saddle with both legs draped off to the right side of the horse. While holding on to the horn of the saddle her thumb brushed against the metal plate over it. The metal was formed to look like the helmet that Joffrey's ' Hound' wore during combat. This was the only thing that told Sansa which saddle was Sandor's.

As they road Sansa grew more relaxed, against her back was the large arm of Clegane's holding the reins. Then to her was the hard frame of the giant man. She mostly kept quite during the morning hours; catching herself falling asleep until the side of her face drifted to touch Sandor's shoulder or frame just under his chin.

To snap herself out of her sleepless daze she spoke. "Do you have any children anywhere?" She asked this question and regretted it quickly. " No you don't...you use to many dirty words to be a father."

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He snorted at such a question. "I am sure there might be one or two running about, but none who bare my name." He had spent his fair share of time in the whorehouse, especially in his youth when he would drink himself into oblivion and bed any whore willing to look into his face. He had at least taken pride that he never assaulted or raped a woman, unlike his monstrous brother.

He shuddered at buried thoughts of being thrown a bag of gold and told to go to this house or that to go pay for Gregor's mishaps. He recalled a time when his brother found it humorous to steal a lady's virtue and then disfigure her, making her completely worthless for a potential marriage but still alive to remember the events. One in particular Sandor had a fondness for in his youth, Lady Claudia Evenshawl. Their house was small, but her father had been an honorable man and had assisted Clegane's father on many quests. She had hair as fiery as Sansa's, but eyes that were as green as a forest and a spray of freckles ever so light upon her nose. She never casted her eyes down when speaking to Sandor, never was shy to his touch and seemed generally interested in him. It was such an interest that made her a target to his brother, and when Sandor brought the bag of gold to her house he saw the damage his own blood created. Her once angelic face was nothing more than a mangled collection of gashes, cuts and open wounds. Forest green eyes were permanently closed and crushed in, where once soft, gentle hands would reach to touch his own, were now infected stumps that oozed putrid pus through the dressing, and her womanly features cut away from her. Last, her swollen belly where his brother's bastard now grew. All that pain and torture because she offered a few kind words in his direction.

His mind was deep in such thoughts that he almost didn't notice the troop of men coming towards them. A group of no more than five, but Sandor knew there could be more. Highway robbers. Instinctively, he shoved the reigns in Sansa's hands, and his warm breath kissed her. "Stay on Stranger, if this gets bad you continue forward. Stop only at the small villages." She would feel the back of her shirt lifted and the touch his bare hands gracing her flesh. A pouch of coins was tucked into her.

XXXXXX

A full day had not passed since leaving King's Landing, which hopefully meant no ravens had been received about the runaway Stark. Sansa's eyes turned towards the Hound as he was about to dismount, a chill running through her as she felt his rough hand lift her shirt. Sansa should have felt fear, but she didn't. Her face showed slight worry but nothing more than the average man might show. Sansa was raised on the tales of Robert's rebellion. And in those tales Sandor Clegane was mentioned along with his elder brother Gregor Clegane. Maybe it was her young naive mind playing with her, but she felt safe with this Hound.

" Good Dey'!" The one of the men waved, he led the crowd of five stopping only about ten feet away from the traveling pair. The stranger's eyes scanned Sandor up and down before snapping over towards Sansa. The man grinned which showed off his rotting front teeth. This man looked sickly but well enough to be an issue. "That's a pretty little bride to be riding with a ugly mangled mess as yourself. She for sale?"

Sansa's mouth parted lightly, she wanted to inform Clegane that she was right about chopping her hair off. But now wasn't the time. Sansa held the reins and kept hushed up while the men spoke.

" Why you not on the King's road? You take that little bitch?" Other man asked.

XXXXXX

"You can't afford to fuck a pig; I highly doubt you have the coin or cock to fuck her." His voice was cool and collected and his body showed no signs of nerves being rattled. He was an experience fighter and had face far worse than the likes of road thieves.
The man ordered to collect Sansa was slightly behind them on their left. Once given the go, he raced forward only to be met with a shoed hoof to the face. His scream was garbled with the pools of blood forming from his crushed flesh. "My horse doesn't take kindly to little cunts such as you. Now step aside and go find yourself a cliff to jump off of."
Apparently the men weren't fond of his sense of humor. Immediately they attacked, wielding iron blades, daggers and axes of their own. If he had kept his sword it would have been far easier to disarm and kill them, but he was capable with the weapons he had. He wasted no time ramming his blade into the throat of the first to approach them. A spray of dark blood spurted out of his neck and painted the side of Sansa's body and face with crimson color. Sandor leaped down to his right and stood off with the one wielding the axe. Though shorter in height, the man was large in girth and large droplets of sweat pooled off from his waxy, blubbery face as he charged towards the giant.

Iron clashed as the two men grappled together. Meanwhile another snuck up to attack the Hound's back. Though smaller than the two, he was more limber in frame and fast on foot. In his hands he held a rope and as he leaped onto the Hound's back he circled the cord around his neck in attempt to strangle him.

Meanwhile, the leader of the group took the opportunity to focus his sights upon the girl. His crooked lips curled into a rotted grin as beady eyes set their sights on her. "You gonna make me a nice fortune on the slaver's block."

XXXXXX

Sansa watched all this take place before her, it wasn't till the blood spattered on her face that fear filled her. Her hands lifted to rub the blood from her eyes. When the world was viable again she saw Sandor with the wire around his neck, the man on his back holding on for dear life. The words being said to her were lost due to being focused on what was taking place next to her. Her hands rambled around over the leathers on the saddle but all of a sudden the sickly looking leader road up and grabbed her. If he had locked his arm around her waist one second sooner all hope would be lost. But it seemed all seven gods stood with the young lady. Her finger tips latched with a knife tucked into Stranger's saddle. When jerked off the black steed reflex took hold and her arm shifted with the knife in hand striking the robber right over her own shoulder through the eye. He dropped Sansa and screamed but her grip never let the knife go. Blood sprayed as the man screamed and held to his bleeding face.

Sansa hurried to her feet holding to Stranger as her eyes looked about for an exit. When she saw one she darted to the woods as fast as any deer being hunted would have. The man she stabbed fell off his horse in pain to just have the Hound's own steed jump back on its back legs and slam down with hard hooves on to the man's back breaking his spin and hushing his screams. Sansa kept on till coming to a river that forced her to fully stop. In pure panic she looked each way as if trying to wield a bridge to appear.

XXXXXX

She certainly wasted no time escaping the hell out of there. The Hound's eyes bulged with fire as he caught glimpse of her darting off. It was that sight that provided the fuel to feed his adrenaline to kick it up and to finish his attackers off. With the rope and extra weight of the man still clinging to his neck, he focused his efforts on the fat mass attempting to crack his skull with the axe. As the man's axe rose to slam down upon Sandor's head, he took the opportunity to slice him from his groin up, emptying his guts upon the forest bed. Frozen in his stance stance, the fat man's eyes rose in fear, pain, shock and eventually drained of life and his massive body collapsed down around the men.
This provided enough distraction to buck the slender one off of him, taking power of the rope, Sandor pinned the man down as he attempted to crawl away and placed the rope around his neck and pulled. The rope tore into his neck, cutting away at tendons and flesh until he nearly capitated him.

He was left alone amongest a pool of blood, guts and stench. "Fucking girl ran off!" He cursed to himself as he picked the men clean of any coin and gear her could find. Yes he gave her instructions to do so, but still that was beside the point. "Bitch has my gold, my weapons...my horse!" He continued his little stampede until coming along the body of the leader. His back crumpled and sprayed out, he turned him over to notice his own dagger impaled into the man's eye. It took a bit of a pull to eventually remove it, but alas it came loose and he sweated the blade against the dead man's clothes. "Not bad."
He realized that he would need to train her. She got lucky with this kill, but may not be so lucky with the next. Having gathered all he could, he traced their tracks down to the water. From time to time he let out a clicking noise, a code for his horse to know that he was near. He silently hoped she had stayed out of danger till he caught up with them, having no energy left to go through another fight anytime soon.

XXXXXX

Sansa has fled on foot but Stranger along with the leader's horse followed her trail to the river. They both were drinking from the river when the clicking was heard. The black steed obeyed its master and trotted back to assist him. The new one was a dusty grey hue with bright golden eyes. Sansa plopped herself down on a stump as she just looked out at the river. Blood still splattered on her face and clothes.

All the lady could hear ringing in her ears was the final cries of the man she stabbed.

When heavy footsteps were heard Sansa turned to look who it was. At this point she had come to the idea that if any of the men appeared she jumped into the river and just drift down it. But luckily it was the dark expression of Clegane that she saw. Sansa felt her face crumble when she saw him standing there with his horse trotting towards his path. Her bloody face turned so she could as quickly as possible rub the overwhelming amount of tears out of her eyes. Sansa then stood on up and started to step back from the river towards Sandor's direction.

"Your reputation was nearly put to shame back there." She told him as she controlled herself.

XXXXXX

His neck was raw and burned like the seven hells due to the rope strangling him. Aside from a sideways glance, he ignored her statement and stomped past her and towards the water's edge to dunk his head and relieve his flesh of the burn. He lingered but only for a moment before rising to his feet and looking upon her. Closing the distance between them he paused just mere inches from her. The pad of his thumb traced ever so softly across the line of her cheek, wiping away a trail of blood from her porcelain skin. He lifted her chin to meet him. "The first is the hardest, but don't believe it gets better." He broke off the connection and pulled from his side the dagger she had used to kill the man. "It is yours now." He swung the blade around to offer her the hilt. "First rule, don't be stupid and get yourself killed. Do you know how many idiots hurt or kill themselves on their own weapon? People do fucking stupid things when given a chance." He was not without blame, as he had his own close calls as a young lad, but she didn't need to know those stories.

He looked about their surroundings. "Could have at least started us a fucking fire." He mumbled as he began clearing away brush to prepare a campsite for them. "There should be some meat left from yesterday. There are berry bushes nearby, go collect some."

XXXXXX

Sansa took the blade and looked down at her blood stained clothes. She then nodded in understanding to what he was telling her. Being safe was getting harder and harder for the young lady. But what was done was done, sadly to say this wasn't the hardest day of her life.

She then made her way to the saddle bags and pulled the dark dress from the pack. "I'm going to the shallow spot first to wash off. " she informed Sandor before gathering new rags and such.

Sansa stopped for a moment and looked at the grey horse; she then picked up its reins and tied it next to Stranger. Having her own horse would be very helpful during their travels.

Once off to the shallows found behind berry bushes, Sansa stripped from the bloody clothes. Once completely naked she dipped herself into the cool waters. Nothing like the hot springs of Winterfell, but definitely not the coldest water the young Northern had been in.

Washing the blood best she could out of her clothes was not an easy task due to it being a first time experience. Once washed, she focused on her own body, washing blood and dirt off her pale freckled frame. It wasn't long before the young woman placed herself on a rock risen from the water. But she didn't dress right away. The chill in the air hitting her still wet skin made her think of Winterfell. This was the closest feeling of home she had had in years. But she knew she needed to make haste, it was just hard to pull herself away from this memory. None the less she did. Creeping back to the shore where she would start slipping back into the maroon dress while her other clothes dried over night next to the fire.

Sansa trusted Sandor to keep away, not sure as to why she trusted him, but she did. Maybe it was childish nature that still lingered within her. She then proceeded on with the berry picking. Carrying them in the skirts of her dress that she had pulled up to form a fabric skirt as she walked back to the camp they had started. Sansa's bare knees visible as she walked with her dress rose to carry the berries.

XXXXXX

She was wrong to trust so easily, but that was the fault of youth; only time will train that character flaw out of her. He trusted no one, not even himself sometimes. Keep your enemies close...and he was definitly his own enemy.

He provided her the privacy she desired. Mentally and physically he was exhausted, he could only imagine what she was going through. There was no guarantee that they will wake to meet tomorrow and it seems they were risking a huge gamble that they would make it to her brother's camp alive. No, she needed a moment of peace, which was the least he could grant her.

He heated up their meal and sat near the fire as close as he was comfortable, which wasn't really close at all. Each flicker of flame sent a tingle down his spine. Fire was the monster he couldn't conquer and it surrounded him daily.
From his bags he pulled out his secret treasure and spent his solitude holding and gazing upon it in his hands. Each little detail was embedded into his memory core, and it was a ritual he performed daily. He was not a religious man, but he knew the importance of remembering. Too many forget their past and are doomed to repeat it in their future. He refused to forget. He wasn't a being incapable of change, but he definitely never allowed the past to slide off his shoulder. He remembered it all and allowed it to fuel his desire to move closer to the death he believed he deserved.

The soft padded sounds of her weight falling upon the forest floor made his lift his sights up. Haloed in the twilight glow, her beauty looked almost supernatural. He recalled tales of fairies and forest spirits tempting men to follow them their doom. Was she that temptation? Would she guide him to that dreaded fate? Only time would unravel that mystery.

XXXXXX

Already regretting taking a bath due to the chill running through her body, she walked on over to Sandor. She motioned for him to hold out his hands for the black berries found.

" I ate a lot while picking them. " she informed him as she filled both his hands with the black berries, before letting her skirts cover her properly, then went on to sit right next to Sandor, their hips literally touching.

There was reason for this closeness though; Sandor's cloak was much thicker. Probably made of bear skin. Without permission she wrapped it over her own shoulders as she leaned against the tree trunk behind the pair.

No perfumes lingered just the fresh smell of river water was placed on her, much better than blood and sweat.

" Day one. We're not dead and now have two horses. We're coming up in the world." She stated in her commonly used monotone manner. Her hands smoothed over her knees as she brought them up a bit. Blue eyes watched the fire dance before her, but suddenly she snapped out of her daze.

" Oh! I found this! For you!" Sansa stated in a more spirited way as she shifted so she could pull something from the belt across her hips. A aloe plant, root and all.

" For your neck." She pointed at her own neck to remind him of the rope burn he had gained.

XXXXXX

He definitely felt uncomfortable with her closeness as his body tensed up as she inched into him. He didn't mind her using his cloak, he preferred the cold and usually needed very little to keep him warm. Perhaps he had a bit of the North in his blood?

As juicy berries we popped into his mouth, he just grunted acknowledgments to her ramblings. "Best stop counting your days or else you will go mad."

It was then that she exclaimed and presented him with the plants. It was a touching yet unfamiliar kindness that he was truly not accustomed too. "Ummm..." Was the word "Thank You" that foreign to his tongue? He mumbled something inaudible before taking them. He sat there for a moment, allowing the night sounds to consume the silence that fell between them.

"I'm going to sleep." He announced, breaking the moment. "You will keep watch...now that you're a cold blooded killer I trust that you won't let me die from attack." He teased, as his lips curved ever so slightly into a grin as he rose from his spot. The man actually had a funny bone to his miserable self after all.

XXXXXX

" I didn't kill that man your horse did. " she stated with her normal manner of speech returning.

" That was the last thing I saw before darting off." Sansa stated as her eyes warned from the fire and back on Sandor.

" I've never hurt anyone until today though...If possible I'd like to not make it a habit " she told him simply before her gaze drifted back towards the fire.

" How old were you? When you first...hurt someone?" She asked him this without making any eye contact at all. She didn't mean to pry but her actions today haunted her even though she knew it had to be done. If she hadn't then the man would have taken her. Raped her and then once he was done with her he would sell her like live stock. It had to be done, she had told herself this over one hundred times since it happened.

XXXXXX

He could see the guilt consume her features, twisting its roots into her heart and weaving its course through every fiber of her being. "Stop." He warned as he stood over her. The sight of her was absolutely pathetic that he felt compelled to ease her suffering.

"You have nothing to be guilty about!" He knelt down in front of her. "You've been sheltered your entire life..." He paused, running his fingers through his stringy hair as he tried to formulate his thoughts correctly. Normally he was a man of very few words and usually those words ended or started with an expletive. "I had much respect for your father. He was an honorable man...perhaps too honorable...but he never left his power consume him. However, his biggest failure was how he raised you and your sister, but at least she rebelled. You.." His finger pointed at her. "You were treated like a delicate flower. Your days were consumed with needle point and music and how to properly curtsy."

He raised his finger and tapped the spot on her chest where her heart beat. "This right here was too consumed with fairy tales of your prince and the title you will have. Dreams of surrounding yourself amongest Lords and Ladies and of all the little offspring you would spawn. Look what that did to you. Your little heart fluttered for a sadistic monster and his insane mother. Your world of castles and balls and that fucking throne was all a fucking facade. You were helpless." He moved his hand away and sighed. "If he had taught you just the basics, you could at least defend yourself without the help of a man by your side. Learn this now Little Bird, the world is an ugly place and you can't trust anyone. Not even your own family. Don't think they won't bid you off to the first person willing to give them a boost in this fucking war. You need to learn to save yourself, to defend yourself and to look out for your own well being."

Finally he rose to his feet, the fire in his eyes still roaring. "I was about seven, a year after this..." His hand touched his scarred face. "My nursemaid's son had a litter of puppies but only one survived. My father had a moment of compassion...or guilt..whichever...and allowed me to have it. Ugly son of a bitch it was, but it was mine and we bonded well. I should have known Gregor would be up to something because he didn't bother the dog, despite how much he saw how it made me happy. I got too comfortable." He paused, took a deep breath and continue. "A few months later I caught my brother and his little gang. They had tortured my beloved pet and it was Alwick Summer who I saw take the bolder and smash its brains in. I don't remember if I screamed, but they laughed. The next thing I recall was picking up that bolder and smashing Alwick's skull in." The Hound chuckled. "My father sent me and my brother away to be trained after that and was when I was first called by my given nickname."

XXXXXX

Having the Hound talk to her in this sort of manner was different to say the least. No 'dirty words' as Sansa pointed out earlier to him when she pried into asking questions about his life. While his hand was placed on over her chest her blue eyes locked fully with his. And once he had stepped back and finished telling his tale she brought her eyes up to reconnect them with his.

"I wasn't the only one fooled by the Throne. Just as my family, yours was loyal to the crown. When I had dreams of being queen I was nothing but a foolish child...but my brother will not use me as a token like you say. Rob married for love not power. He would never ask me to do something he could not do." Sansa had faith in this but she had no idea what her brother's choice would lead to one day.

Sansa's eyes dropped back to the fire. "You should put more aloe on that rope burn...you'll sleep better." She stated this for two reasons, one she was done with this conversation and the other was a puzzle to the young lady still.

" Goodnite." She added before leaning fully back against the log and wrapping up best she could.

XXXXXX

He chuckled at her declaration, especially about her brother. "Fuck love. He married because he got his dick wet for the first woman to spread her legs. And if not for the first, she was the prettiest at that moment. And don't you know how many people he has fucking pissed off over that? How many enemies he created instead of allies? Who do you think pays for that? You. Don't underestimate power and what a person will do to maintain it. No doubt once you are back home you will be married off to fix his mistake." He turned and walked away. "I told you to stay the fuck awake tonight. We need a lookout. If I find you sleeping I will cut your eyelids off!" She had gotten under his skin and he had no idea why. Stupid girl. What does she know?!

He huffed his way over towards the base of a tree and threw his cloak down. He was still cursing under his breath as he slathered the clear goo upon his neck. He turned his back away from her and curled himself tight, making sure his weapons were tucked and ready in case he needed to jump to the rescue again. Sleep consumed him quickly and hard, for soon she would hear the deep snores of his slumber coming from his spot.

Chapter Text

SING TO ME LITTLE BIRD

Sansa had no intention of staying away the whole night. The woods were covered in thick autumn leaves; if the pair didn't hear someone walking up on them then it was just natural selection at its finest. She waited till the thunder like snores were heard and then she too found sleep. His threats were all hot air to her.

But before dawn she woke before he did. She assumed he had woke up at some point in the night, either to piss or just check on her, but when she woke the same grumbling sounds came from the man.
Sansa gathered her masculine clothes and made her way behind the thickest bush. Riding in a dress would just be uncomfortable, pants were more logical.

While she removing the rags she had placed between her legs she discovered her red flower had left her. It was a great relief that brought her to pause while changing, leading her to look up to the sky and thank the old and new gods out loud. Her whispers carried in the wind lightly but would go no further. As Sansa stood there topless, thanking the gods, a thought crept in on how much her body had changed the past few years. When one grows they don't noticed the day to day changes, but standing here in the middle of nowhere looking down at herself she noticed it more. Maybe it was just mental due to taking a very important step into becoming a woman only days ago.

XXXXX

It was true that he had no true intention on her staying up all night, or at least he wouldn't act upon his threat if he were to have caught her sleeping.

He woke refreshed of energy and ready to utilize every ounce of daylight possible. He calculated that it would take around four to five days to make it to Riverrun Road, if they made very little stops along the way, but he knew realistically that may not be possible. They needed supplies and judging by Sansa's new horse; it would need a new shoeing if it were to survive the journey.

After preparing the horses and gathering his belongings, all that was left was her. Noticing she was not where he left her the night before, he followed her tracts to find her half naked and staring down upon her chest. Fortunately, for her his view was more of her bare back than her front. Still it would be rather a shock. To him he would be oblivious to any embarrassment his presence would create, for all he cared about was moving. "What the fuck are you doing?! This is no time to be playing with your tits. Get the fuck dressed and come on!" He turned around, paused and looked back at her. "If you actually want to sleep in a fucking bed tonight you better start moving!"

XXXXX

Sansa turned just her head to give warning glance towards Sandor. " I'm not playing with my body. I found a bloody leech on my side from the river I took a bath in. "she informed him seeming more aggravated towards his words than his actual standing there.

Sansa shuffled into the clothes in her hands and picked up the dress she had taken off. When she turned she brushed her fiery hair to the side as the second half of what he was saying registered with her.

"A bed? Where in the seven hells are we going to find a real bed tonight?" She asked as she made her way towards Sandor, stopping only a few feet from him.

" You are not dragging me to a whore house. Forget it if that's your planning of this. "

XXXXX

"An inn, you redheaded ninny. If you would just hurry up, we can make it there by dark. It is a village near Pinkmaiden, though I can't promise you there won't be whores. Those are unavoidable." He marched off and mounted his horse to await her return.

The day was dreary and the sky was pregnant with dark clouds. The air blew thick with the blooming autumn foliage and a promise that their ride would not have them boiling in their saddles in a hot sun. Still they had to race the rain. By the looks of the sky they would be expecting a very heavy rain indeed, which would slow them down and soak them to the core.

"COME ON!" He shouted, but by the time those words were carried on the wind a big, fat plump of water smacked him straight between the eyes. "Oh for fucks sakes."

XXXXX

Sansa was climbing on her horse, thankful she was wearing pants since Sandor did not help her on the animal. " Yes Clegane. Just as your body and mind is telling you, I have indeed caused the rain." She stated in an attitude laced tone. Sansa was getting familiar with the man and this was leading to more of her snappy and wit filled comments to pour from her mind.

Once on the new horse she trotted it on in front of his own to get a feel for the animal. She hadn't ridden a horse alone since her trip from Winterfell to King's Landing.

Turning the animal she looked back at the sour expression on his face, but this time it just turned her own into a full smile followed with a laugh. " Not every action the world makes is against you." She informed him.

"Speak to me in another five years and tell me if what you said still holds true." He muttered for pulling his hood over his cloak and clicking his tongue to engage Stranger to begin.

XXXXX

Plop...plop..plop. The rain began to come, slow at first and then a steady stream to pour down upon them. Soon it was so bad that they could barely see beyond the horse's heads and the horses themselves having difficulty trekking thru the mud. It got so bad that Sandor had to dismount and pull Sansa's horse from the thick, muddy patches that rose up to the creature's legs in spots. By the time evening came, the pair was soaked to the core and Sandor was covered from his waist down in splattered mud.

The village was that he was referencing was a minor's village just ten or so miles from Pinkmaiden. Its original name was Craven Nest, but the locals called it Black Road due to the main paths constantly covered in soot from the mines.

Lanterns guided them through what seemed to be a ghost town this time of night. From their casted glow, Sansa would observe that all the buildings were black and cruelly constructed, and not a single soul seemed to be on the road, giving the place an eerie vibe.

Coming into the heart of the village the faint whisper of music could be heard, following the boisterous sounds of laughter and drunken antics. Soon they came to the largest building, whose lights bled soft glows onto the ground. Through the windows, the place was packed with a lively crowd and as they approached a few men stumbled out in stages of drunkenness, with one emptying his belly just mere inches from their horses.

Sandor paid this no mind, and moved beyond the inn and towards the stables were a young stable lad raced out to meet them. "They need to be watered and fed and new shoes." He dug into his coin pouch and pulled out a few coppers and one silver. "This is for whoever gets their teeth kicked in by this one. " His hand patted Stranger's side and the stallion huffed in agreeance. He nodded to Sansa to dismount, but he didn't wait for her to do so. Instead he bee lined his way right through those tavern doors.

XXXXX

Rain. Rain. Rain. This was literally their whole day and it led to heavy clothes along with cold bones. Her red hair hung to the side was stuck to her face. The shirt and pants she wore clung to her frame tightly as she made her way off the horse to follow along suit with Sandor.

When inside the tavern she quickly noticed the crowd of drunken men. They were larger men, mostly minors. Their job came hard to them which lead to growing into larger built men. Sansa quickly realized where they were when she glanced a few of the men over and noticed the black stain on the tips of their fingers along with several of the having cuts up along their arms. These scars were from their trade, digging through the mines was often placed them in a pitch black setting. Misplacements happened from time to time, but due to the power these men had from their trade, Lannister soldiers never entered this area. More trouble than it was worth.

Sansa followed suit with Sandor trying to stay as close as he would allow. The drunken men took note of the young red head but not as much as the working women did. One who also had fiery red locks, much like the hair Sansa had only days ago walked up to the pair. She wasted no time and pulled her eyes off Sansa and placed them on Sandor. " No fun can be had when a man brings his child bride along. " the woman stated in a dominant yet feminine manner. " We could send her for a walk. " the woman suggested.

XXXXX

Amongst these men, Sandor seemed to blend in. Amongst their charcoal dusted faces, burly girths and natural miserable expressions that spoke silent threats of possible aggression, he seemed naturally at home. Even his scarred face didn't make him stand out like a sore thumb; for many men amongst them had gashes and scars strewn upon them from the horrible mines which they labored.

He navigated smoothly through the crowd, as though he knew exactly what table he was heading for. Had he been here before? He kicked the chair out with the tip of his muddied boot and collapsed his weight down into it just as Sansa was falling on his heels and the redheaded wench coming up upon them.

"Not my bride...my niece." He quickly corrected the women. "Get us a few tankards and some stew. Also going to need two beds for the night, the split room." His eyes glanced over at Sansa. "And that one needs a bath." He threw her the required coin and as she went to grab it, he placed a silver down. "This is for later." He indicated, agreeing to the intimate services the woman was offering.

The red head smirked and picked up the coins laid out for her. "No longer have split rooms. No one wanted em'. None travel with their niece(s) long side em'. But the rest will be fully arranged. Make sure there's two blankets for the pair of you." The red head informed Sandor before trailing off to gather the drinks and stew.

XXXXX

Sansa just focused on the wooden table and kept her mouth shut tightly. This was as much of a whore house as Little Fingers establishment in King's Landing. While thinking this very statement she shook her head lightly before leaning back in her chair. Placing her elbow on the table she hooked her thumb to her front teeth as her eyes looked anywhere except towards the Hound.

Quite was a understatement to Sansa right now. Even when the stew and drink was brought out, her actions of eating was like a proper lady, it's all she knew. Not dropping one drop while the men and women around her made a mess all around them.

When finished Sansa stood and looked across at Sandor before speaking. " Be finished with the whore before I return from my bath." She sounded just like the fire spirited Katherine Stark. Not waiting for a reply before turning and making her way to the women's bathroom.

XXXXX

He allowed her the opportunity to storm off, as he was too content drinking his ale and powering down the thick, hot stew. She truly knew very little of the real world and he considered for a moment to take her to a real whorehouse so she can compare the differences. He did tell her whores were unavoidable and who was she to deny him some form of relaxation.

She wouldn't get very far, before a pair of gritty, thick paws halted her in her steps. Peering down upon her a large man as tall and thick like the Mountain himself gazed upon her with a wild grin. "Look at this lovely maiden!" He exclaimed with a jovial yet slurred manner indicating that he was well beyond his limits. "Come my fair beauty, have a jig with me!" He cooed as he attempted to pull her over towards his gang of merry men who were already laughing and shouting amongst themselves. "Maric, play us a tune." He shouted out towards his back.

"Get your fucking hands off her." The Hound's voice cut through the merriment like ice as he approached from Sansa's back. The man pulled his gaze from the girl towards the man and his grin grew even larger.

"Ozgarth!" He cheered upon seeing the Hound in his presence. "Where the fuck have you been!" The men behind him roared upon noticing Sandor and began tapping their tankard upon the wooden tables to welcome him.

Sandor grunted and stepped between the man and Sansa. "Been busy."

The other man lifted his scruffy brow and shifted his eyes from Sansa back to Sandor. "I bet you have been." He chuckled.

"This is my niece...Myrtle." Of course he would choose a ghastly name for her, but unfortunately she failed to pass as a boy and therefore Ned was out of the question.

His own choice in fake identities would perhaps bring a chuckle to Sansa herself, since she was a fan of fairytales and the like. Ozgarth, the guide of the dead. Legend states that Ozgarth was a man who fell madly in love with a woman who was on her deathbed, dying from a horrific plague; so strong was his love that he made a pack with the Stranger. Though he wouldn't be able to save her life, he begged for her to have a merciful, painfree death, and in return to give himself into service to the Stranger for all eternity. He was given the title of guide and it is said he is the one that helps souls cross over into the realm of the dead, giving him the chance to see his beloved every time.
Though a darker tale, it was perhaps the only romantic tale under the Stranger's.

The other man nodded. "Ah your niece. Of course. Please come, both of you and drink with us!" The man looked at Sansa and smiled warmly. "Forgive me. The name is Brutis. Come let me introduce you to the rest of these orgres."

There would be no protests at the moment, for the Hound's hands guided her towards the table where seven other men and one lad gathered around. Edwin, Victor, Morg, Xavier, Zan, Janhurn, Flynn and last to be introduced was Maric. A young man around eighteen or so approached with his fiddle tucked under his arm. He was a handsome image to behold, a head of chestnut curls, strong yet soft features of youth and crystal blue eyes that were ever so welcoming. He gently reached for Sansa's hand and bestowed a feathery kiss upon it. "Tis a wonderful pleasure to meet such a beauty. Greetings Myrtle." Even his voice was smooth and poetic.

XXXXX

Sansa didn't find the handsome fellow that charming. In fact she didn't find as much humor in this situation as Sandor did. When the younger man kissed her hand her whole body tightened up and slowly she drew her hand back to her own lap where she let it remain.

" Do you sing?" One of the men asked, Sansa thought she heard him say his name was Janhurn. Janhurn wasn't the best but not the worst of names. No the worst the Hound had blessed on as her own fake name. Myrtle. His own she did find a bit of a odd pick, but she made no remark to it.

"...I have in the past." Sansa told the man. This statment was true, Sansa use to sing often but a lot had happened since.

" You have a accent we don't get to hear often. Sing us a song!?" One of the more heavy set men stated as he slammed his drink down and rubbed his belly with his free hand.

Sansa let out a shaken breath. Her eyes glanced down as she thought of all the songs she knew. Most were Northern songs.

" Sing us a love song!" The younger man who had kissed her added.

Her eyes glanced over the fiddle before she nodded towards it. " Let me see it and I will." She told him. The young man was more than pleased to give her the fiddle.

She hadn't played since leaving Winterfell but she recalled the steps and placed it between her jaw and shoulder while her other hand lifted with the bow in hand. Slowly she started to brush the bow against the strings before her voice was heard at all. The strings stayed slow and so did the song, she had a saddened singing voice but it was peaceful at the same time.

If I could begin to be
Half of what you think of me
I could do about anything
I could even learn how to love
When I see the way you act
Wondering when I'm coming back
I could do about anything
I could even learn how to love
Like you
Love like you
I always thought I might be bad
Now I'm sure that it's true 'cause
I think you're so good
And I'm nothing like you
Look at you go!
I just adore you I wish that
I knew
What makes you think I'm so special
If I could begin to do Something that does right by you
I would do about anything
I would even learn how to love
When I see the way you look
Shaken by how long it took
I could do about anything
I could even learn how to love like
you Love like you... Love me like you

XXXXX

The men, though definitely drunk and lively, seemed decent and accepting of the pair. Once introductions were given and fresh drinks poured, Sandor and Brutis stepped off to the side to have a private conversation. Though unable to hear what was being said, their facial expressions indicated they were talking about something serious and Sandor was paying very little to the situation Sansa was placing herself in.

"Not ta many lady voices we get ta hear b'sides Zelda's squawking." Spoke the man named Morg, who was an older man with sprays of white hair poking out to the sides and a silly, wide toothless grin. The barmaid, a voluptuous woman shouted back. "Ya best shut that trap of yers Morg or I will give ya sumtin ta squawk about!"

"Hush, you two!" Maric scolded the pair before handing over his instrument with a smile.
The song was lovely and Sansa truly had a voice of an angel, even Sandor halted his current conversation to listen to her sweet voice. He couldn't explain it, but her voice calmed his troubled soul and for that time he felt a blanket of peace settle down onto him.
The room had grown quiet as she performed and remained so for a few seconds after she finished before erupting in a roar of cheers, tankards being pounded hard and coin being flung at her feet.

XXXXX

The cheering didn't startle her but the coins hitting her boots did as she passed the fiddle back to the younger man. One of the others bent down to gather up the coins before laying them down in her lap. Sansa had never done anything to earn coin before in her whole life. Looking the pieces over she took hold of them in her hands before standing.

" Thank you for letting me use your fiddle." She told the lad before stepping over to Sandor and the other man. It seemed as though her song inspired the men, several were seen grabbing hold of the giggling saloon girls and carrying them back to their inn rooms. Sansa took hold of Sandor's hand and brought it up so it was flattened out, she then placed the seven coins that were tossed to her. With no coin bag it was safer with him anyway.

" I'll be back." She told him with her hand still holding the side of his open palm. After making it clear she was going to take a bath she freed his hand and made her way successfully to the bathroom; this time of night it was empty which didn't bother Sansa as she took the silence in.

Around a corner came the same red head as before, she gave a gentle smile towards Sansa. " Laid you a dress out. So you can let those wet rags you're wearing dry. It's over there on a chair. " the woman pointed.

" Thank you." Sansa told her before the woman stated.

" Now I'm going to go climb that mountain of a uncle you have." The woman vanished back into the busy tavern but her final comment leading Sansa to nearly burst into laughter.

" Mountain of a uncle." She said to herself before going on to the bath.

The red head made her way in through the tavern until coming to Sandor. " The mouse is away I see." She stated as she looked him over once more before stepping closer. " Want to show me your room?"

XXXXX

She stunned him out of his trance when her delicate hand opened his and poured the coin into it. His first instinct was too pocket the coin for himself, after all she was an expense, but deep down he couldn't do it. Instead he nodded, counted the coin and pocketed it with his own until he was able to secure her a pouch of her own.

He wanted to tell her how beautiful she sang, how it invoked feelings that he tried so hard to bury away. He couldn't. He didn't know the words to express such emotions and even if he did he was clueless on where to begin. So he just grumbled and shooed her and continued carrying on his previous conversation.

Many, if not all, had wrong assumptions about him. They assumed he was all muscle and no brains and therefore no one ever questioned him nor found cause to tract him. According to the others, he was simply Joffrey's dog running about and obeying orders. It worked to his advantage. He was able to form his own alliances without the watchful eyes of the crown upon him. One such was Brutis and his gang. Miners by trade, but spies and thieves by night, they provided him with necessary information. Through his friend, word was that a new alliance was made between the Starks and the Freys and within the next coming month a wedding will be had.

It was then that the redhead swaggered over. Her promise of a good time was still welcomed...he did already pay for her...and he bid his friend farewell for a time to follow her to the room.

Another assumption was his incapability with the opposite sex. Though many ladies from court snubbed their noses at the sight of him, he wasn't lacking in intimacy, even if it meant he had to pay for it. The room was near the bath house, and from where Sansa washed, she could hear their voices seeping through the thin walls.

Following the woman into the room, he kicked the door closed and came up behind her, his hand tangling through those fiery tresses. He curled a mass into his hand, baring her neck and yanking it gently back to expose her flesh to him. "Tonight you will be my Little Bird and sing for me." His sultry voice purred before he sank his lips against her sweet flesh.

XXXXX

Sansa was in the deepest of the baths, it covered all the way up to her collar bones. Her hands often reach up to wash her once long hair, each time she recalled that it just touched her chin now. Disappointing but it would grow back over time.

Since entering the bath area she had been hearing lovers to her left through the walls. She found their sounds to be funny and from time to time nearly laughed. But finally to her right she heard motion. Not knowing it was indeed Clegane and the red head till hearing his harsh voice through the walls.

This words, " Tonight you will be my Little Bird and sing for me." Rang in her ears like a sworm of bees. She sank lower in the water until her neck was covered. At first she assumed he just called all females Little Bird, that made sense to her. But hearing him shagging a wall away was not on her list of wants tonight.

The red head did and followed his lead, her moaning making Sansa want to dunk her head fully under water right now. The woman was named Lily, that mattered not. She turned to face the Hound " How long have you wanted to fuck me? " she asked him this in a sweeter, almost childish manner. In reality she was mocking Sansa's accent. Her young proper, northern accent.

" Since you first saw me!?" The woman asked him in the same speech, and all the while Sansa could hear all of it.

XXXXX

He was a talented lover, rough but not overpowering that it took away from her own willpower. She was a talented whore, who knew exactly what role was requested to play.
He had pinned her against the wall, when she questioned him in between gasps of breaths.

"Since you first saw me?!" She cooed in her mockery only for him to reply. "Ayyeee" as he drove himself into her to her to full orgasm.

Needless to say they weren't a quiet pair, but such things in places like that were barely paid any attention and so the patrons went about their drinking, and eating and fighting and completely ignored the shouts of passion happening within the rooms.

An hour later Lily would walk out of the room disheveled and drunk from the ride of pleasure. Her dress torn slightly to reveal her bare shoulder and the love nips left on her flushed skin. A few of the tavern girls gathered about her to be given details of her recent adventures.

"He really made this bird sing!" The group busted out in fits of girlish giggles.

"And how big was he?" another inquired.

"Let's just say that I am going to be walking bull legged for at least a week!" Another round of giggles filled the room.

"Alright, alright, break it up and get back ta work!" Zelda came through swiping her hand to shoo the girls away like flies on a cake. "Lily go check on that girl, she has been in the bathhouse for over an hour. I hope she didn't drown like tha last one did!"

XXXXX

Lily too was laughing and carrying on with the others until she was given her orders. Giving a nod she made her way to the bath area. The candles had either all went out or been blown out. No one seemed to be in the area, but Lily checked. Once sure she walked back over to the room where Sandor was.

" Sorry to bother you. Its just...is your bri- I mean niece in here?" Lily knew good and well that Sansa was no blood of his. Not after the show he just had her put on. Lily looked about the room.

" She's not under the bed?" Lily asked as her eyes opened up wide enough to look like a dinner plate.

Sansa was not inside the inn, she had remained in the bath for a good amount of time. Long enough to understand the game Sandor was playing. But then she dressed and went to the stables to check on their horses. Happy she did this because the man they paid had done nothing but stall them and remove their saddles. So she spent her time watering the horses and trying not to over think what she heard.
But now she stood next to her own grey pony braiding its hair. Speaking to it lightly as she did.

" You need a name. It's only fair and fitting." She whispered to the beast.

" My brother Jon, he is really good at naming animals. But it will be far too long before we see him. So we must think quickly." Sansa was in the stall with both her pony and Stranger, the door locked just in case she needed to duck and hide.

Back with Lily and Sandor, the red head slowly dipped to look under the bed and when she saw she wasn't there she let out a breath of relief. " Oh thank the seven."

XXXXX

After his intimate exercise, he had collapsed upon the bed in sweet, sated relief. The night air was scented with fresh rain and it lulled the beast into a twilight slumber. He was just about to completely submit to sleep when the whore made her way back in.

He was too relaxed to pay her no mind and only cracked a slight sliver of a glance as she danced about his room. Sleep was welcoming and already the world of dreams began.

Something made his eyes dart open after she had spoken her last words and he sat up in the bed. "What the fuck did you just say?"

Lily simply smiled and repeated what happened; but once he figured out that Sansa was missing, he pushed her aside and began fumbling for his clothes. "Didn't I already pay you?" He snapped with a frigid tongue as he shrugged off anger further advances. "Get out and so help me if she is harmed there will be a price to pay."

"Stupid, fucking girl!" He grumbled under his breath as he hopped about to get his boot on. Fuck it, he was going out with one boot on, no shirt and barely his pants tied.

As Sansa kept company with her horse, she would be unaware of a pair of crystal blue hues admiring her. He had kept watch at the bathhouse door, waiting to catch sight of her. He had just caught a flash of her skirts heading towards the stables when he made his way to follow. For awhile he was happy to admire her beauty from afar, especially since she no longer was dressed in muddied clothes and looked like a drowned rat.

Finally Maric felt compelled to make his presence known. "The Dothraki take great pride in naming their horses..." His voice spoke with a honey kiss. "They are great warlords that ride the grasslands..." He came closer to her and placed his hand upon the horse, gently stroking it. "It is said a Dothraki is born, fight and dies in his saddle. Their horses are an extension of them. Two souls, one of beast and one of man." He lifted two fingers and crossed them together. "To leave the beast without a name is a bad omen, but to give it a name with no meaning, no extension of your soul...well...that is worse." His hand reached out to gently brush away a wisp of red from her face, leaving being a small white flower tucked behind her hair.

His smile was charming, just as his manners were and he made no advances to bring her discomfort. "You're a rose in winter, Lady Mrytle." His compliment was a tribute to the Northern poem by such a name, that spoke of a solitary rose left in the darkness of winter. "Such beauty beyond words yet your eyes speak of sadness and tragedy. Pray, tell me, is Ozgarth truly your uncle?"

XXXXX

The stable gate parted the pair. As this lad let his hand through the gate to not only touch her pony but brush her hair out of her way Sansa settled back. " The Dothraki also lay with their horses. They call our soldiers weak for wearing armor and fear crossing the sea. They also marry literal children. " Sansa stated all the harsh facts that she had once heard King Robert tell her father about the savages that lived a world away.

" Yes he is my uncle. We are just tied from traveling is all. He will be finishing up and coming here to collect me...you should go." Sansa was truly different than the young girl who fell for shining eyes of young men. Now days she felt no spark when a man showed interest in her.

Inside Lily spoke to a few of the other ladies working, only one knew where Sansa went. As she walked back with the news she noticed the stable hand passed out at one of the tables.

" She went to check on the horses." She called to Sandor from across the room.

Sansa showed distrust to this lad and stepped from her pony over to Stranger, thankful they were placed in the same stall. Stranger seemed to hate all men besides Sandor so she kept to him just in case.

" This horse gets nervous around people he doesn't know. So please go." She warned again.

XXXXX

Maric chuckled at her innocence. "You've obviously never ventured beyond your small world. I have had the privilege of such, and can assure you that though the Dothraki are savages, they are no worse than the ones we have right here on our own soil." He ignored her uncertainty and slowly made his way beyond the barrier between them and closer to her. " I am not afraid of a horse, or any creature when there is such a beauty like you to behold." He inched his way in closer. "Dare I steal a kiss from the rose's sweet, delish petals?" He closed his eyes and puckered his lips in preparation when suddenly his eyes bulged open when the hand snatched him from moving a step closer and slamming his body against the wall. Sandor's thick arm pinned him by his throat as the young lad fought in vain to be released. "I SAID NOT TO FUCKING TOUCH HER!" His voice boomed so loudly that the horses began to whine and move about madly. The boy clawed at the Hound's arm in mercy. "SHE AIN'T NO MINER'S CUNT FOR YOUR TINY COCK TO SPOIL..." He let go of the boy's throat and immediately grasped his hand, squeezing it to were the cartilage and bones began to bend and crack. Maric screamed out in pain as he was brought to his knees. "Please...not...my...hands..." He begged between gasping for breaths.

Meanwhile Lily and Brutis came rushing in to find the Hound towering over the young lad as he held the boy's arm above his head and ready to finalize the destruction of the minstrel's talent. "DID YOU TOUCH HER?!" His demand was responded with only a pleas and a whimper. Sandor whipped his eyes over to Sansa. "DID HE?!" His face was crimson red and the veins in his temples pulsed with white hot anger.

"Ozgarth, surely this is a misunderstanding. Just two kids having some fun in the hay.." Brutis wasn't given the chance to finish that thought when Sandor focused that fury on him, his chest rising and falling as foam formed on the corners of his mouth. "Okay...you were right, you did give warning. The man gave a defeated glance over at the lad who had now soiled his breeches in fear. "Please, let him go. I will make sure he nor,any of my men overstep their bounds again. He is just a boy."

"DON'T FUCKING BOY ME! I KNOW WHAT BOYS ARE CAPABLE OF." He lifted the boy up to his feet, not letting go of his hand but bringing him inches from his face. "She is miiinnneee." He growled through gritted teeth. He pushed the boy down and picked up the fiddle that was resting nearby, smashing it against the beam. "Get him the fuck out of my face!" He ordered as Brutis assisted the shit filled boy towards the door.

Sandor was not done. Without warning he made his way over to Sansa and scooped her over his shoulder and marched his way towards their shared quarters.

He didn't care if she cried, screamed, kicked or bite, he didn't relent until they were in the room and the door shut behind them. He threw her on the bed without mercy. "YOU STUPID, STUPID, GIRL! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING!"

XXXXX
Sansa did not make a scene while being carried through the inn like this. Her eyes did start to swell but she blamed that on embarrassment, or at least she did until Sandor tossed her down and directly yelled at her. Sitting up on the bed she glanced away with her ice toned eyes that now shined with against the candles in the room.

" I heard you." She choked out faintly before lifting a hand to her face and whipping one eye before a tear fled down her cheek.

" I heard it all. And I couldn't stand it so I walked across the way to the stables because it made my insides twist. " Sansa finally directed her eyes back towards Sandor. She had seen bigger men in her life but right now he seemed like the biggest man in the world. His red face and anger were something for the wise to fear but she did not.

" Did you have me cut my hair to make it easier not to lust after me? " she snapped.

XXXXX

He had begun pacing like a lion trapped in a small cage when she spoke up about what she heard. He wasn't expecting that. He paused mid pace and glared at her. "What did you hear?" He made his way over to her. " Me calling her Little Bird? You think you are the first to be called that...or the last." He ran his hand through his hair, his face still fuming with madness and his appearance still disheveled. His bare chest beaded with sweat and rose and fell hard with each breath. "What if one of Joffrey's guards found you? What if I didn't show up when I did, then what? You don't fucking think, girl!" He collapsed down at the edge of the bed, his large arms dangling between his legs as he slung his head down. "Do you know how many times I saved your ass from getting raped?"

He looked up awaiting her answer. "You have no fucking idea what Joffrey had planned for you each night. He wanted to you deflowered in the worse way and had all these sadistic ideas of how he was going to accomplish it. I was putting a sleeping powder in his wine almost every night to prevent it. I stayed up and watched your door." His large legs swung around and pushed her out of his way so that he could stretch his length out. His arms rested behind his head. "And this is the thanks I get. You gallivanting about without a fucking care."

XXXXX

Sansa shifted so Sandor could lay behind her frame that was still shifted up on the edge of the bed with her legs dangling.

" Well if that's the case never call me that again." She hissed before he went on about how many times he saved her and so on. She knew Sandor watched her closely, knowing this made what she heard make sense. But maybe she was wrong. A misunderstanding was would have made sense but it didn't settle with her.

" I have never asked you for anything till two days ago. But you knew I would ask you to take me with you. That's why you were in my chamber. " Sansa then turned to look at Sandor, knowing he was drunk she dare not step on his toes, but her mother came out of her mouth again.

" Just because you saved me from the hands of others, doesn't mean you get to place your hands on me." She stated before turning back and leaning over to blow the candle on the night stand out. Sansa wasn't sure if the drunken man would reply but she lay there awake on her side with her back towards him.

Chapter Text

SLEEPING WELL

Despite him closing his eyes, he couldn't really fall asleep. So much tension was in the air and it was suffocating dwelling in the silence of it. He should have been more discreet with his intimate tirade, or better yet he shouldn't even allow those thoughts to even enter his mind. He sighed deeply and shifted his eyes over to view her backside.

She was beautiful, and continued to blossom daily as she matured into her womanhood. He knew she was envied in court by the other ladies, as he had overheard them gossiping amongest themselves. Even when her father was killed and her brother condemned a traitor, did they still envy her. Stupid women, for only Sansa and he knew the true price she had to pay to stay in that little cunt-ass's good graces.

He was uncomfortable. He shifted a bit, once to his left and back again to his right. Face down in the pillow, and then back upon his back. He growled in frustration over the inability to find any comfort in a bed he was paying for. He punched his pillow and the entire contents of feathers spewed out of it, making him more irritated. "Arggghh." He threw the empty sack away and settled down with his arms underneath his head. His eyes shifted over to Sansa. Was she awake? He felt that she was awake? She didn't move when he was making a ruckus.

He needed to know and he needed to break this tension between them. "You're lucky you left when you did..." His voice was hoarse and raw from his previous explosion. "If you got stuck marrying King Cunt Bitch, you would have been horribly disappointed." He lowered his voice just slightly above a whisper. "His cock is no bigger than the size of your tiny toe." He continued on as if she responded. "Unfortunately I had the misfortune of viewing it on countless occasions, but it is a rumor the Queen wishes to keep hushed. Can't have her precious cunt goblin sporting a baby cock his adult life." He chuckled at those old thoughts and how he fucking hated that bitch of a boy and the position he, himself, was forced to hold. He hated the facade everyone played, the games, and the fake smiles as they stabbed each other in the back. He wished he could witness that entire castle burn to the ground. He stifled his laughter a bit to continue. "They use to have a Maester come and try to stretch it out. I nearly pissed myself the first time witnessing it. And there was Joffrey crying like the little bitch he is...him and is tiny cock.

XXXXXX

Sansa honestly couldn't believe the tales that Sandor was going on about. Did he honestly think that she wanted to know the size of Joffrey's manhood. Was he more drunk than she realized?

Sansa rolled over on her back, her short hair fanned out on her pillow as her eyes glared his way.

" Well wow. I did luck out. That would have been much worse than watching my father die or having my handmaid chopped to bits before me. Or that time I was beaten publicly with a bow aimed at my head. Or hearing that Joffrey's new fetish was killing whores in his own chambers, beating them first of course. But now, hopefully if the gods are good to me I might get matched with a man who is well endowed. I'll pray to both the old and new for this. "this was all said in the most smart assed tone Sansa could conjure up. She then remained laid there on her back but her eyes moved to the ceiling.

" Not all big men make good husbands." She added as if this was aimed towards Sandor.

XXXXXX

He had only wanted to make her laugh, or at least smile. Instead she obliterated the entire effort and threw a big "Fuck You" back at him. "Ungrateful cunt". He snapped back and pushed her off the bed, throwing her pillow to smack her on the side. "I paid for this bed, you can sleep on the floor." Like an overgrown child he sprawled his entire body over the width of the bed. "And don't think of going anywhere, the door is locked and I have the key." He turned his face away from her as he mumbled further expletives underneath his breath. It was going to be one long, miserable night.

Indeed it was. Where there was heavy tension before, now it was as if massive weights were being pressed down upon him. He barely slept a wink and by the time he had finally found a comfortable position the roosters began to crow.

XXXXXX

Sansa laid on the floor for a good while before standing on up and getting right back into bed. With his arms taking up on her side she just left her pillow on the floor and crawled in next to his wide side before laying her head directly on his arm with her back to him. Arms crossed over her own chest as she rested what little bit they had in the inn left. She knew he would wake to see her laying on him and probably toss her out of bed again but that was a chance she risked.

Her eyes shifted and her body truly relaxed. Just as she had pointed out in King's Landing, he would not hurt her. She still had full faith in that. When the roosters started to crow Sansa rolled over and bumped her nose right into the hard side of Clegane's bare side. This didn't fully wake her but it did make her arm shift and twitch as if shooing a gnat away. Her hand then fell over his midsection while her body relaxed again as her slumber went on.

XXXXXX

His first mission for that morning was to hunt down that fucking rooster and devour it so it could never squawk again and disturb the little bit of sleep he was actually enjoying. Something made him doze off into a peaceful slumber and as he was pondering that he realized the extra weight snuggled up against him.
He had taken many women to bed with him but never had he actually slept with one, or woken up to one so tucked tightly into him. It felt… No, he wasn't going to enjoy this. He was going to push her back off. How dare she climb back after he told her not to! "One...two…" He counted in his head preparing to fling her halfway across the room, but then she sighed in her dreamy state and melted deeper into his embrace. A slender finger found its way to caress the short curls on his chest. He held his breath in anticipation. He was not going to enjoy this, despite her touch already making his lids grow heavy.

She was like a witch placing her spell upon her victim. Would he wake to find himself in a boiling cauldron? With their recent luck, it was a possibility.

"Fuck." His lips moved the word but his voice did not come. Her soft snores were transfixing and lulled him to close his eyes just for a few more...

Never in his years did he sleep so soundly, nor so deeply. This wasn't the sleep that came from exhaustion, no, this was the sleep that came from satisfaction. It was similar to how a starving man needed food and then having that sensation when his belly was full. It was peaceful. He found comfort, and with his mind in a deep sleep, his body did what came natural and with his free arm, he curled her in tightly to secure her into the space.

XXXXXX

The rooster again started which stirred Sansa in her sleep again, this time her hand flatted on the chest it was draped on. Her body shifted against the side she rested on. Slowly rolling back on her back while her hand slipped from his chest and fell on to her own. Her finger tips placed on the skin above the hem of the green dress she wore, blue eyes waking to see the ceiling above her.

Was she aware of how cuddled up to the beast known as the Hound. No. Sansa had rested well, and growing up with a loving father meant this was not the first time she slept so peacefully next to a man. Back in Winterfell during storms several of the Stark children would crawl into Ned and Kat's bed. The children had always been welcome during time of troubles.

But Sandor was no Ned Stark yet she found the same peace lying next to him. Sansa slowly rose, her hair a bit of a mess from sleeping against his arm as she did. It looked wavy and curled at her cheeks where it had been pressed.

Blue eyes drifted to Sandor before her hand so casually patted the man's stomach area which made a light drum like sound.

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It was a rare opportunity for someone to be up that close and personal to him. Observing him, there was a history of scars and battle wounds that were strewn down his thick chest and trailed down to the concave of his stomach and over his sides.
The tapping made his eyes peel open and he glare at her. "I have half a mind of flinging you if you keep that up." His lip pulled into a sleepy smile as he shook the sleep from him and rose up. He sat up on the edge of the bed and stretch, before looking back at her. "No more running off." The way he phrased that was not in a threatening manner, but more of requesting an agreement. He didn't wait for her reply before rising and making his way over to the chamber pot to piss. "Take some coin and get us some food. I will get the horses. We are heading out and on the road as quickly as possible." He finished up and turned around. "Your family is having a wedding and it is going to be a grand celebration."

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" No more whore houses." Sansa stated in a matching tone to his own request before she stood on up from the bed and smoothed her dress down, adjusting the top half of the garment.

" I heard men talking about it last night near the barn. " Sansa whispered to him. She knew just how paper thin the walls here were. " My uncle marrying a Frey. " And this thought brought the young woman so much joy. Her face lit up with the thought of her vain uncle being paired with a Frey. Sansa held in her laughter and shook her head.

"It's fitting for him." She added before going to where Sandor had tossed his shirt, she lifted his chain purse up to remove coin before looking his way.

"I'll be back. " she told him, still nearly laughing at the thought.

Chapter Text

BONES AND STEW

"I told you their unavoidable." He protested as he began collecting his clothes as she scurried to find coin. "Guess you want to sleep on the ground from now on." He spoke as she made her way pass him and out the door. "Don't go wandering off!"

It didn't take him long to secure their horses and prep them for the ride ahead. Both horses seemed happy after having the opportunity to rest, eat and to be re-shoed. He also bid farewell to the group, having heard from Brutis that apparently there is a bounty out on the King's bride and his guard. A small fortune for anyone who may capture them...it didn't say alive. "Good to know." The Hound replied when given the news. "I could use that type of coin. I will keep a look out."

Brutis wasn't stupid, he just snickered and nodded. "I will make sure we all saw them go in a different direction if questioned." He reached his hand out and the Hound grasped it. "Good or else I will have to make an extra trip back here to slaughter you all, especially your boy. He is already on my shit list."

They would leave that darkened village around late morning, making their way towards Riverrun Road. The day was bright but a crisp air lingered to provide comfort. The Hound was actually truly refreshed from his sleep, despite it being short, and seemed in somewhat of a pleasant mood, even though his face still held a look that could turn someone into stone.

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Sansa put on the pants she had been wearing but wore the given dress over them. She added the thicker layers she had been given by Sandor. She kept warmer this way, and knew the more North they went the colder it would get.

Once they were on a trail Sansa allowed her pony to walk along side Stranger. The pony was easy going; suprising considering it was with a group of robbers. Sansa barely had to steer the animal, she mostly just stared down at flowers she plucked from trees.

" How tall are you?" She asked him randomly as she twisted some wild flowers together in her hands.

Her head the rose up to look across at the distance between the horses, her blue eyes scanned him up and down as she thought of the answer.

" I don't know how tall I am any longer. I was going to compare myself." She explained to him before he could answer. "I use to be five and a half but I think I'm taller." She added before looking back to the crown of weeds she was weaving.

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The Hound was content to be lost in his own thoughts during their journey. He only spoke when there was a direction that needed to be said or a warning to be given. Other than that, he was silent. He wasn't a talker; he had spoken more these last few days than he did the entire year.

His head whipped behind and his face scrunched up as he looked down at her. "How the fuck do I know." He answered before resuming his stance of silence.

It would be an hour later when they would come to a sudden halt and he dismounted. They had already rested awhile back and he didn't seem to be on alert, so the sudden stop would have been a surprised.

He stomped over to her and pulled her down to her feet, keeping grasp her tiny, gloved hand and begun to guide her through the patch of woods nearby.

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" What are we doing?" She asked as he pulled her along. " What if our horses get taken!?" All this spoke in a quickened whisper as she followed.

The woods were thick, twigs and vines wrapped around her ankles as they went on for a minute or so. This worried Sansa, but after asking once and getting no answer she didn't ask again. Maybe he saw something she didn't. After all he was the one who knew these woods. And even though bad thoughts would probably come to anyone's mind not one crept in to Sansa's. The Hound could be dragging her off to cut her throat and be done, or to sale her to a mountain man he knew would pay top dollar. Rape her, hurt her, or even eat her if he had the want to for it. But Sansa never thought the man to do any of these evil awful tasks.

After another minute or two she spoke again after a branch hit her in the face. " Where in the seven hells are you taking us!?" She asked as she pulled her hand from his to wipe pine needles from her eyes.

Just a few yards away from where Sansa had her aggregated fit laid an abandon house veiled over with ivy and wild vines. Some of the back was caved in but the front room looked stable. No one had lived here in a long time that much was sure due to no roads leading to the spot.

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He paid her no mind as he pulled her along, pausing from time to time to look at something she wouldn't be able to see and then drag her again.

Within a small clearing, he found what he was looking for. "That will do." He said out loud but all Sansa would notice was an ancient oak tree, whose branches stretched out over the clearing shading the soft ground underneath it. "I have half a mind to cut your tongue out with all the talking you do." He grunted and yanked harder at her.

Coming to the tree he looked all the way up and then down towards the base. The thick trunk was without any bends or knots and the base bled smoothly into the ground. He pulled her up to the base of the trunk, spun her around and pinned her back up against it. "Hold still and stand up straight." He ordered, kicking the tips of her toes to force her to bring her feet against the trunk.

He didn't think nor realize how this act could be determined, especially when he pulled out the dagger. " This tree is about a hundred feet high." He offered, at the time, odd information. His other free hand grabbed her by her checks to force her head straight and keeping her against the trunk. The dagger darted forward towards her but then above her, slashing at the tree. "See." He stepped slightly back to allow her the freedom to step away and look. "You're not a hundred feet tall, yet, so stop complaining. When you grow that tall then there is an issue."

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Sansa was busy looking at the nearly fallen building. Or at least she was until his rough hand took hold of her chin and forced her to look straight.

" Please don't cut more of my hair!" She told him once her sight caught on to the dagger.

This thought only made her push against the tree more. But then the task he aimed towards was over and he teased her. Stepping back she looked at the slash on the tree.

" I never thought my height was a issue, I was just curious. " Sansa told him as her head dropped and her eyes started looking the tree over from the roots up.

" Father use to do this with all of us. Even little Rickon. " Sansa never spoke of her past life in Winterfell. She had had to push all memories away to show she was loyal to the crown; but here the middle of no where she did not have to hid those thoughts.

" He took us to the same tree and made slash marks just like yours there. Rob and John " Sansa's expression grew into a smile but a saddened one. " They always raced to the tree. I had to often hold Bran and Rickon's hand. He told us he loved getting the privilege to see us grow as tall as the Godswood."

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He listened as she reminisced but he offered no comforting words as he was sure it was therapeutic enough for her to speak those memories out loud.

As she spoke, he went back up to the tree and carved two 'S' shapes and her family symbol into the tree. He had skills beyond sword fighting, drinking and eating chickens and wood carving was one of them. When he was satisfied with the completed work, he stepped back and looked around, eyeing finally the nearby cottage and began to walk that way.

"My uncle use to do the same with us when he was alive. Use to say that whoever grows as tall as the tree he marked would get his prized shield." He spoke as he marched over to the structure and began looking around the property.

"My brother obviously out grew the rest and when my uncle died he ripped the shield from his arms when he was laid out...fucking cunt."

The place appeared in good condition, but it was apparent it had been abandoned. Small, but sturdy, he noticed a garden to their left and made his way over to the gated area. It was overgrown but the vegetables were still good and ripe. Cucumbers, some carrots, cabbage and peppers all were in abundance and even some early autumn squash seemed to be amongest the weeds and shrubbery that had overtaken the once well tended space.

He then began peering into the windows where he estimated to be just one large room with perhaps a loft or crawl space up ahead. Walking over to the door, he pulled it open to allow the stale dust and air to escape. It smelled like the cellars, musty and damp, but if they got a fire going it would be a perfect place to stay for a night or two.

The stone hearth was large and well structured with a few iron pots strewn about it. A hard oak table with three chairs took center and off to the sides there were various shelves and cabinets along with one full bed against the wall. A ladder rested against the overhead wood ceiling, just as he assumed, was a loft filled with hay and blankets.

"Not a whorehouse." He exclaimed as he jumped down the last two rungs. "Would this satisfy her Ladyship tonight, or should I find us a castle made of gold and lined in velvet to suit your needs?"

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" This will do very well for the pair of us." Sansa stated with a near smirk curling up as she stood there with her arms crossed. Turning on her heel she looked about to see if there was an easier way to bring the horses.

She walked about in front of the over grown garden, and as she did she stepped on something. Her foot went clear through. Thinking she had just stepped on one of the squash she spotted nearby but when she bent down to free her boot that's when she realized what she had actually stepped on a human skull.

The bones her boot were now stuck in were old and dry rotted into nearly dust. Before tugging her boot out she thanked all seven of the gods for this fact. If it had been fresh and filled with brains she would have screamed.

But instead she gathered it up to not step on it again and tossed it to a clearing.

" Found the owner." She stated in her normal monotone way before looking to see random bones of the once body tangled in the weeds before.

" Died gardening. What a way to go." This statement made her look about more. " Sad no one found him...in Winterfell we put our dead in crypts. Build statues to visit." Sansa then turned and looked at Sandor. " If I die just bury me. I would hate crows to peck my eyes out."

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He came out when she announced the finding of the owner. He found it rather humorous and chuckled when she tossed the crushed skull away. "All that nonsense for a bag of bones. Dead is dead and you ain't feeling nothing when you are, but at least the crows were fed, and the ground was nourished and the land was given back too." He made his way over to inspect the remains. His arms crossed over his barreled chest as he looked down upon them and then back to her.

"Well make yourself useful, woman, and gather up these vegetables. I will get the horses and see if I can snag us a hare or two." He spoke as he turned around to leave her to gather. "Stew sounds good tonight. Maybe gather up a couple of those bones to throw in for extra nourishment." He was teasing. Or was he? His voice was dry without any obvious signs of humor. It was hard to tell when the monster cracked a joke and he was sure he left her baffled. She probably did imagine him to be the ideal image of an ogre, gnawing on the bones of his victims.

He left her to the task and walked back up the ways to collect the horses and lead them back down. There was a heavy stream winding through and it provided fresh water and looked rather active with fish. Once settling the horses, he began to search around the house and surrounding area for supplies. He found netting, a water bucket and supplies to construct traps and spent the rest of the afternoon setting them up. He cast the netting into the stream to even catch some fresh fish and made countless trips back and forth with water to fill up the wooden barrels nestled against the side of the house.

Passing time before checking his traps, he began to chop wood to build a fire for their supper. It felt good to be active and this type of activity he greatly enjoyed. He loved nature and this was a refreshing task than fighting. Out here he was allowed to be the man he actually was and not confined to the walls of a castle in a land surrounded by illusions. Out in nature everything was exactly what it was. No lies, no falsehoods and no power battles.

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Sansa did just as Clegane asked, she gathered up the vegetables in the garden along with all the bones she found while doing so. She assumed he was joking but it just didn't feel right stepping all over them, so she piled them up where she had tossed the skull. Once all the vegetables were gathered she waited for him to bucket up the water. She cleaned out a cast iron pot she found and filled it with water to start to boil over the fire she had started herself using some of the older wood from the back half of the house, it was already crumbled and broken so it was easy for her to gather.

Hand washing the vegetables took more time than she would have like but she could hear her old hand maid scolding her if it was done wrong so she took the time. Using the knife Sandor had given her a few days ago she started to chop the vegetables up and add them to the heating water.

Sansa then wandered the house, a small dresser was found. Digging through it she found a assortment of men's clothing. They appeared to be big enough for Sandor so she placed them on the bed. Another item was a leather book. Inside was only pages of hand written daily entries. She placed the book on the surface of the dresser before going outside.

She stood on the porch and watched Sandor chopping the final bits of wood. She stood there for a moment leaning on the post watching him. Up until now she hadn't thought Sandor to be an attractive man, but watching him with the axe slightly changed her mind. She let go of the post and stepped down to the yard.

" I took that hay to the horses." She told him as she crossed her arms and looked around. Since arriving she had taken her extra layers off and stood only in the green dress she was given.

" The fire is started and the stew is heating up. I refilled the bucket I was using and put it inside on the table. " Sansa then smiled and looked his way. " This might make you happy. There's bottles of wine inside." She informed him. " In one of the cabinets. Three bottles. I didn't open them, I knew if I broke it you would whip me. " Sansa laughed as she started to walk about picking up the wood chucks he had chopped.

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Each swing of the ax was powerful and precise. He had found the perfect rhythm and was chopping and tossing in a speed that would put most men to shame. If he had noticed she was watching him, he didn't acknowledge it, but he did pause when she spoke of wine.

His brown mane was dripping with sweat and he quickly whipped his head back to remove the sticky strands from his face and left his work, plunging the ax into the old stump

As he approached closer to her, he paused just long enough to whisper. "I don't whip little girls." And he made his way back into the house to secure a bottle.

It was aged to perfection and had a sweet taste to it. Very satisfying. He returned with the bottle in hand. "Going to check the traps." He walked pass her and then turned his head around. "You joining?"

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Sansa rolled her eyes at his comment, " No you just threaten them daily." She told him as she continued picking up the wood.

Once it was all placed next to the house she noticed him start to head out. His appearance with the bottle in hand made her think of the tales of drunken pirates she had been told by her father's ward. Nearly heading back inside when she heard his invite.

Her face gave question as he requested her to join him; she then stepped back off the porch and started to follow with her hands deep in her pockets.

" A few bottles of wine and you're a happy fellow." Sansa again rolled her eyes again. " I get the same way with sweets. Anything lemon flavored. " she admitted to him as they walked on to the traps.

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"That's all it takes to make me a happy man." He cocked his head outward and towards the house. "Grab those two buckets, we will need them." Spinning on his heels he led the way.

The rabbit traps produced nothing, but he had decided to let them stay with a hope that by morning they would at least have breakfast. "I'm fucking sick of rabbit anyway." He proclaimed after standing up from the last trap. "Come on, girl, let's see if we got some fish."

By the time they had reached the stream it was dusk and the sun was beginning it's decent over the western horizon. He had made it a point to show her. "Learn your directions. The sun rises in the East and sets in the West."

The stream flowed smoothly with small breaks of stillness around the coastline. Though it was about ankle deep there were dips were it pooled into deeper water. Sandor kicked off his shoes and walked downstream a ways to find one of these pools and wadded in to were the water rose to his waist. " Looks like fish stew tonight." They had caught an abundance of small fish and one or two good size ones, though none bigger than five or so inches. Upon shore he instructed Sansa to pull them from the net and to plop them into the bucket while he sipped from his bottle and enjoyed the view, though his eyes were not fixed upon the scenery.

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Sansa knelt on down and started pulling the fish from the net. What she had left of hair was all parted to one side and hung in her face. This easily kept her from noticing Sandor starring her way.

" I hate skinning fish." She grumbled to herself before adding " But it's not rabbit. Wouldn't it be great if there was just a wild chicken or a turkey running around? " Sansa smirked and shook her head. " We would need a bow for that. I don't see either of us catching one with our bare hands." All the while Sansa went on about this nonsense she pulled the fish, not noticing her dress dipping down several inches to show the tops of her breasts. After all the woman who gave her the garment was fully grown. So naturally it was a little loose.

When her head rose she looked at Sandor and leaned back on her legs placing her hands on her hips.

Noticing how deep the water was made her think to tell him." I found you a fresh change of clothes in the house. They look big enough."

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She was a unique beauty, and Sandor couldn't help to allow his imagination to wonder how she will be in a few years time. More than likely she would be bound to some undeserving nobleman who promised her brother a few horses. She deserved more than to be a pawn.

So deep in thought he was that he had barely heard a word she said. "What?...Oh, thanks." He mumbled as he pulled himself from the ground and went over to pick up the bucket of fish. "Grab that other bucket and follow me."

Back upstream he took her to where the water was shallow. Placing his bucket and bottle down he knelt before her, his hands unlacing her boots. "Does my little bird know how to swim?" His voice had a teasing song to it. He didn't wait for her response as he pulled off her boot. "If not you best not slip and go downstream cause I will let you drown." He looked up and gave a sly smile. He then grasp the bottom of her gown and without permission lifted it upwards and outwards past her calves and tied the end to a knot. The gown now rested just below her knees.

Rising up, he took her hand again and took the bucket from her other hand and began to lead her towards the water. "Now, you must tread very delicately. Use the rocks to walk. He had kicked off his own boots and walked into the water, but instructed her to step on a flat rock that was rising out of it.

Out into the middle of the stream he took her, and for being a big man he made little disturbance in the water. Once in a good spot he, placed the bucket on a large nearby rock and gently made her move next to him to see what he wanted to show her. "You see these rocks?" He pointed to a midsize rock lying on the stream bed. "Slowly we put our hand into the water and lift it up." Into the water his hand dove and with cautious movements his slowly lifted it from where it was embedded, but didn't pull it out. The water went cloudy for a moment, but he remained still as a statue until it cleared up. When it did, Sansa could see a small crustacean resting from where the rock was lifted.

Sandor moved swiftly and effortlessly as his free hand darted down and lifted the creature to show her. It was like a lobster that she had in King's Landing but much smaller. He dangled the critter in her face so she could see its alien like features and pinching claws, before tossing it into the bucket. "Be careful, they pinch." He stepped slightly out of the way. "Come on, your turn."

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Sansa watched carefully at what took place before her. Just like every other order she was given she tried her best to follow it to the best of her ability. But bending while standing on a slick rock was difficult. The only issue she had with the whole evening of hunting was he referring to her as 'his little bird'. After the inn's events she felt very odd about being called this, but she said nothing.

As he told her to try she nodded but before she did she handed off the bucket and reach down to shift her dress up more, exposing all the way to her bare thighs before adding on to the knot he started her out with. Sansa then stepped into the water that was about an inch from touching her dress skirts. Bending down she looked through the clear waters until spotting a rock she liked. Sansa reach on down and did the same process but when seeing the beast near her own toes she let out a nervous yet excited shout before her smiling face rose up to meet his. She let her hand touch the water's surface a few times before she dove in and grabbed the crawdad by the tail and pulled it from the water.

" Look! " Sansa was so excited that she nearing fully slipped on the rocks she stood on; her free hand grabbing hold of Sandor to balance herself.

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He had a genuine smile on his face, briefly, but it did show when she proudly presented her first catch. He took it from her to inspect it. " Not nearly as big as mine, but it will do." He winked at her before tossing it into the bucket. "Come on, keep hunting." He ordered, his arms crossing over his chest as he waited for her to continue.

"When I was a kid, me and some of the village kids would come down to the streams and do this. We would find the biggest crayfish and then make an arena out of the dirt and fight them for wooden pennies. We use to carve and make little lances, swords and shields for them to hold and one boy..." He paused in his story to recall the name. "Prudy...was his name...made up these elaborate stories and titles for each of them to present to the crowd before they would battle." It felt nice to share a happy moment from his youth, before his face got mangled and before his world was full of chaos. "They are good to eat as well and will make a nice addition to our stew." He began stepping back to go to the shore, but kept a close eye on her in case she needed his assistance. He gathered the fish and found a place to sit to gut and clean them but to be close and watch.

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Sansa liked listening to the tales of Sandor's childhood. It was a bit disarming, to have these sort of stories coming from such a beast of a man. It made him look more human to know these things.

" Arya never played with me." She started as she flipped rock after rock looking for more crustaceans. " She always wanted to play with the boys or go watch them train with father. But I had a friend. We see quilts together that told the stories father told us. She was a common girl with the fairest hair, not one freckle." jealously was laced in Sansa's voice about this friend she spoke about. Since her stay at King's Landing Sansa was anything but vain. She no longer saw herself as a prized beauty but that was due to years of degrading by the queen.

" Her name was Mable. She was a few years older. And she bedded Rob and Theon, she told me about. And admitted that Jon was next. " Sansa's voice now carried disgust about the same girl.

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He settled himself into a comfortable position , admiring her for her diligence to continue to hunt. Oddly, he was rather surprised of how comfortable she appeared. She was always thought of as rather snobbish in her ways, an assumption that Sandor knew wasn't true, but she certainly wasn't playing in dirt like her sister was in King's Landing.

As she spoke, he cleaned and gutted the fish, tossing the guts into the water to be washed downstream. "Someone sounds a bit green-eyed." He smirked knowing exactly of the girl she spoke of. "Mable Winters, wasn't it?" He recalled such a girl when they had visited Winterfell. "Flaxen hair down to her curved waist and a nice, voluptuous, milky white bossom?" He looked up to see if his description invoked the reaction he was hoping to cause.

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" Yes...that's her." Sansa stated right as she found one of the crayfish under a flat stone. She tossed it on to the shore between his legs. " Everyone noticed Mable. And why in the seven hells wouldn't they. " she added before reaching down to pick up a small flat rock. Her hand tossed the rock across the still part of the river. The stone skipped a few times before she focused once more to look for the crayfish. Finding a fourth crayfish lead to issues though. Due to the darkness from night closing in she picked the crawfish up wrong. It pinched her finger which lead her to turn back to the shore shaking her hand with a slightly panicked expression.

"Damn it!" She hissed while shaking her hand that the crayfish was latched to. And like that her hunt for these creatures were over with, she quickly climbed back to the rocks and got out of the water while trying to remove the animal.

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"I recall her rather well. She wouldn't dare look me in the eyes and cowered at the sight of my shadow...wait, I am mistaken, that was you. She tried to charge me triple for her cunt when others paid a singleton. I told her to fuck off. Besides I like my women with freckles."

He busted out laughing when the critter snapped her and she flailed about. " Told you they pinch." He had finished the fish and rose to gather their belongings. "Stop playing around and let's get back before you kill yourself. I told you I ain't rescuing you if you drown. You would have fish eating your eyes out instead of crows."

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She got the crawdad off her finger and tossed it on into the bucket. Once fully on land she untied her skirts, once they dropped she slipped her boots on not waiting to lace them all the way.
" Freckles are ugly. That's why you don't see them on whores." She stated her logic as she followed him. She picked up one of the buckets, the lightest one of course.

When they arrived to the yard the smell of the stew flowed out of the open windows. Sansa had been taught by not only her hand maiden but her mother as well. And even though they had nothing more than some salt, she knew how much of each item the stew needed.

" I'm not sleeping on the dirty floor tonight." She stated once they were 'home'. " Its a dirt floor. No chance in any of the hells." She informed him simply as she took the bucket of fish from him and took it to the stew where she tossed it in bit by bit.

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He shrugged at her response. " Well next time I am in Winterfell I will make a visit with your friend then, since you think she is such a beauty." He teased as he trailed behind her.

The scent of stew made his stomach growl with fury. It already smelled delicious and she didn't even add the fish to it yet. His mouth was drooling by just imagining the taste. Once back in, he place the cleaned fish and crayfish by the hearth's base and gathered the fresh clothes she had laid out. She was right, they were the right size. "Going to wash." He announced before stepping over to look through his saddle bag. She wouldn't be able to see what he plucked from it, but whatever it was, he stuffed between the layers of clothes and pulled out another bottle of wine before stepping outside.

Once the scent of fish and sweat was washed clean from him, he stole a moment of solitude. He rested upon one of the closed water barrels with his open bottle resting on the other one. Alone, he pulled out his treasure, just like he did the every other night. It was neither gold or silver, but it was worth the world to him. Callused fingers sketched over the embroidered pale green 'S' and the silver embroidered emblem of the wolf that rested over the white cloth of the kerchief. It was exactly what he carved into the tree earlier that day, from an image perfectly preserved in his memory.

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Sansa found only a handful of candles that had not melted due to the harsh summer heat. She went back to where she laid the book and brought it to the kitchen table. She used only one of the candles and placed it on the table so they could see to eat. Her hands opened the book and she held it close to the fire so she could make out the hand written literature on the inside.

She figured out in only a few pages that the author was a man.

He was rather sad it seemed, his wife and him had lived there together, making it mostly on their own and only traveling to town once or twice a year. The man mentioned that his sons hated that their mother was locked up in this home. It went on to say he missed the days when his sons all lived there and weren't taken by the outside world.

Sansa closed the book and let out a heave breathe before standing on up to go stir the stew. It was boiling which was a good sign due to the added raw fish. Earlier while washing the vegetables she had cleaned out two found bowls in the house knowing they would need them. Sansa went out right as Sandor was finishing up.

" It should be done in another five or so minutes." She told him as she noticed him holding something. " What did you find?" She asked simply. She assumed he found it due to herself going through everything inside the house. Her eyes drifted from him and on to the open barrel where she started to wash her hands.

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She startled him and immediately he leaped from the barrel, stuffing whatever it was in the pocket of his pants. "Fucking ghost that you are creeping up on me!" He growled at her as he grabbed his bottle before she toppled it over on him. "Trailing on my heels like a lost puppy!" He huffed as he stormed back into the house.

By the time she had entered he would have tucked it away once more, and she would find him already powering down a bowl of the hot stew. Her own, would be waiting for her, along with a cup full of the wine he was drinking.

He ate like the dog he represented, just with a spoon. He slurped and gobbled with no refined manners, but he didn't care, cause the food was amazing. He pulled a crayfish from the thick liquid and proceeded to suck the flesh from the shell before discarding the carcass into the fire. It was followed by a heavy sip of wine, that dripped over the sides of the bottle's lip and down his beard. Wiping his arm across his face he looked at her. "Come on and eat, don't want to listen to your grumbling stomach all night, woman."

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Sansa finished up outside, rolling her eyes hard when he called for her. When settled she lifted her spoon and started in on her own bowl. She ate much slower than him. Digging out a crayfish and using just her finger tips to pull out the meat instead of suck it out. Noble blood she had and in settlings like this it showed through thickly.

" Thank you for catching us fish." She stated without eye contact. Her focus on the crayfish in her hands.

" You're smarter than I would have ever given you credit for back at King's Landing. " her eyes peered to the half empty wine bottle. Normally she didn't like the taste of wine but it was the sweetest thing she had been offered in days so she lifted it her way once done fighting with the cray. Drinking from the bottle was different but she managed. Her face gave a sour glow when tasting the ruby red wine.

" I can't believe you've chugged that all afternoon. " she shook her head lightly before taking one more larger sip and then laying it down.

" I've never tasted a wine I like yet. " Sansa admitted. "During the celebration of Robert coming to Winterfell I got drunk for the first time. I hated each drink but I kept on while mother wasn't looking hoping it would get better."

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He almost spit out his food when she declared that she thought he was stupid. "Surprised?" He chuckled." I just don't go around flaunting it like some do." He was thinking of Tyron Lannister and how he acted like he was a walking library. Sandor liked the dwarf, to him he was genuine, but damn was that son of a bitch annoying as fuck sometimes.

He watched her mimic him with drinking the wine. "It isn't about taste, it is about how it makes you feel after awhile. If you stayed at King's Landing I am sure you would have been drowning in wine. It subdues the pain for a bit." He snorted as he took a sip himself. "That golden hair bitch, Cersei, practically has a goblet permanently attached to her hand full of the stuff." He sucked his teeth, arms crossed over his chest, as he watched her for a moment. "So what made you do it? What made you want to leave with me?"

It was a curiosity he had since the night she suggest it. Prior to that moment she always seemed terrified of him, even when he rescued her from getting raped by the angry mob, she still seemed to skirt away whenever he was near.

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Sansa shifted some in her chair before a hand lifted and she pushed her red locks out of her eyes. " If the kingdom lost at Blackwater that night Cersei gave orders to her hit man to kill me. " her tone serious and her eyes lifted to meet his.

" I figured take my chances with you, hoping you were nothing like your brother or wish them luck at Blackwater. But I couldn't wish them luck or pray for them. So I saw a exit and took it. So far it seems the right path..." she admitted this to him in a honest manner. This was the first she had brought up Cersei's orders for that night. There was no reason to hide it but now seemed the proper time to tell him.

" I didn't want everyone on the battle field to die that night." She admitted in a near whisper before standing on up and taking their empty bowls from the table to put them in the wash bucket. Sansa wished to express how thankful she was to Sandor, and stating it this way still seemed to simple to her.

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He shook his head as she revealed to him Cersei's plan. "Fucking cunt she is." He hated that woman just as much as he hated her little bitch of a son.

"It isn't a successful battle if no one dies. Besides prayers do nothing, but actions do. Remember that when you have the power to dictate lives. If you don't want men or innocents to die then prevent it before it happens." He truly saw something in her that she would not find for herself just yet. He saw her ability to be strong.

For a moment he was compelled to come up behind her as she rinsed the bowls and embrace her. He imagine how soft the nap her neck would be against his lips or the warmth of her body next his.

Hypnotized by those thoughts he stood and made his way over to her. He was mere inches from doing exactly what he planned but ceased and came to his senses. Instead he leaned over her and placed the empty wine bottle on the shelf next to the other one from earlier. "You have the bed. You earned it." From this closeness she could smell the sweetness of the wine from his warm breath and the weight of his hand on her shoulder as he tapped it.

He took the loft. It would not be the most comfortable of places to lay one's head, but it was better than most. At least she left some hay for him to bed down on and there were some quilts to cover up with.

Chapter Text

TOUCHING MOMENTS

They had shared a bed the night before; Sansa just thought they would do it again. But then she recalled his comments outside about how she tailed after him. She just expected that he wanted space. Sansa finished with the cleaning the bowls before putting a lid on the remaining stew and climbing into bed.

She left half of the bed untouched incase he changed his mind. The candle had been moved from the table to the dresser next to the bed. This gave just a flicker of light which eased Sansa.

Once settled and quiet she let her thoughts race about. She felt a bit puzzled by her thoughts. Thinking about seeing Sandor chop wood. His arms mostly. Sansa blamed these thoughts on her newly bloomed womanhood but found herself craving her own hand for a bit of a personal ease. Lady Margaery had explained this to her since her own mother or trusted elder could not.

She waited for a long while making sure she had the bed to herself fully. Glancing over the loft for moment before proceeding with this task.

Sansa spit in her hand and then allowed her skirts to be shifted up but remained under a sheet. Her eyes then closed and the task began. Her back arched some at the sensation passing through her and a change in breathing but no sound came from her. After all, the loft was just over her.

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An hour or so had pass between him retiring and her making her way to bed. He dozed in and out of sleep, but could not find that perfect spot to bring on the deep sleep he so desired.

He flipped over on his back and stared up at the ceiling. His mouth had grown dry from the wine and tasted sour and dehydrated. He needed water.

Rising up he made sure to be as quiet as possible when descending back down. In a haze he shuffled over to the hearth where there was some clean drinking water and he took a ladle full to sip. His eyes randomly rose up to catch movement coming from her bed. His lips pulled into a grin when he realized what she was doing, but quickly frowned when he spotted the candle flickering nearby.

The ladle was thrown and he darted his way across the room as if they were under attack and he needed to rescue her. "Stupid girl, do you want to burn us in our beds!" His fear of fire was deep and if she could see inside his mind at that moment she would see a vision of flames engulfing them while their skin bubbled and peeled from their bones. He treated her candle like it was a poisonous snake, and lifted it up by the end, held it far from him as possible and tossed it into the bucket of dish water.

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Sansa rose up quickly and gave a surprised yet mad expression across her face but none could see that now due to the darkness.

" Sandor the damn thing was a foot from the bed! Candles do not jump!" She stated in fueled frustration as she sat fully up in the bed and looked where his dark form was.

" Please tell me you are not up drinking that third bottle. " she hissed again before placing both hands on her still covered knees. Sansa took a deep breath and reminded herself who she was talking to. She recalled the story Littlefinger told her.

Sandor's outburst played in her head and she noted the fear laced in his voice. So instead of more hissing she took his hand in her own as he stood there. Sansa placed a stronger grip so he couldn't slip away easily from her.

She just sat there holding his hand till he relaxed, not even speaking till she knew he had come back to the real world. " Why don't you just lay here next to me. It might ease your mind?"

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All color had drained from him. In his world candles leap and snap. In his world fire was the monster he couldn't escape and that which he ran from. He could face a thousand swords, but damn did his hands shake when making a campfire, or being near a torch with its dancing flame.

His hand would be clammy to her touch, but he didn't attempt to pull away. Either he chose not to, or he simply was too in shock to do so. He did sit down at the edge of the bed. "You don't understand, Sansa. Until you have been kissed by fire, you will never know such a pain. It is rooted deeply and never goes away. Even now I feel it...the burn...the heat...it dwells under the scars and reminds me."

It was a mixture of drunkenness, fear, shock, desire feelings that he refused to act upon cause he was a fool, which compelled him to open up. "My father said it was a candle that started the fire in my bed that caused this." He ran his open palm over his face. "But that was a lie. He couldn't face the truth that his firstborn son was a monster dwelling in the flesh of a child. Gregor was spoiled and father gave into his whims, but revoked those pleasures from me. I will admit I was envious, I knew what he was and I hated everyone who was fooled by his charms. I was also a child then, with child wants and it was a stupid wooden soldier that I desired the most. My father carved my brother an entire army of knights, horses and soldiers to play with and all he did was break them up and destroyed them. All but one and I found it and hid it. When I knew he was away, I would pull it out and play with it, imagining that it was me and that I was some valiant knight saving the kingdom." He snorted at such silliness. "I slipped up one day and took it into the grand hall to play and sat next to the hearth for comfort and light. Gregor caught me. He yanked it out of my hands and threw it into the fire and without a word slammed me down and put my face in to follow." His last sentence was choked out as he recalled the incident as though it had just happened. He felt light headed and laid down on the bed. "It took five men to pull him off of me. I don't recall what happened after that cause the pain made me pass out. I was given essence of the poppy for weeks to keep me asleep. I heard my father wanted the Maester to overdose me to put me out of my misery, but it didn't work."

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Sansa remained seated where she was. Listening and understanding best she could. True she had never been kissed by fire but she had been scared in her life. But sitting here thinking about it made her realize she had gotten over those fears, unlike Sandor had with fire. Once he lay down she directed her gaze down on him. Their hands still latched while his free hand rubbed down the mangled side of his face.

Sansa said nothing she could say would help, but listening might. How many people had heard this tale from Clegane himself? True it rumored from person to person. But hearing him speak about it showed Sansa a side to him she wasn't sure any has seen.

Slowly the young maiden leaned over to the giant of a man, still holding his hand laid out on her covered thigh. Her mouth approached the scarred section of his face, knowing this could turn sour quickly she crept slowly. She then placed one kiss next to his right eye which was the worst section of his burn.

Sansa lingered against him as she allowed her kiss to bless his flesh. She then slowly pulled back and released his hand as she shifted back down into the bed under the sheets.

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She was the first to hear the tale from his own lips. Those that knew fragments only heard through the grapevine those pieces of the truth. His father had sworn every witnessing soul into a vow of silence over the ordeal and created the lie about the candle when he realized his youngest son was going to pull through.

His heart stopped the instant her lips pressed upon the destroyed flesh of his face. His skin in that area was rough and course and slightly cooler than the rest of him despite his claims that it still burned. No one, not a single soul living or dead had dared to do what she just did. Her hand was squeezed tight as he felt his blood roar through his veins and his brain beckoning him to take a breath or else he'll pass out. He couldn't. He remained frozen for spell.

Her hand was squeezed tightly as he came through and when he looked her in the eyes there was a fire of passion ignited behind those deep brown hues. He couldn't resist that primitive desire that had been clawing madly inside of him any longer. He needed to claim her, to feel her, to be inside of her with every fiber of his being.

Madly he devoured her lips with a deep, passionate kiss. His mouth moved expertly against her own novice movements as he inhaled her breath, and guided through her mouth with his wine kissed tongue. His mouth moved down her swan like neck, suckling the virgin flesh as his hand tore at the shoulder of her undergown. He shifted his body against hers, so she could feel his hardened manhood press against her frame, as it begged to enter her. The fabric tore, exposing her shoulder. He was mad with lust, but just as suddenly as it came did he snap back into reality. It felt as though some unseen force splashed icy cold water over him. What the fuck was he doing!
Shame consumed him. "I can't." He groaned under heated breath as he buried his face into the crease of her neck. "I won't hurt you." He whispered to her. "I won't spoil what is not mine." He rose up from her, refusing to even look her in the eyes. " I need to go." He stammered as he high tailed it out of the house and into the night's embrace.

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Sansa did not expect to be ravished the way he took her. One second she was shifting down in the covers ready to go to sleep with his troubles on her mind on how to aid him. Sansa may have had the body of a woman but she was cursed with the mind of a child still.

Her innocent kiss led him to place his own blessing of a kiss on Sansa. This led her to go fully breathless and tremble under him as he tore at her clothes. And though fear ran through her so did a desire that she barely understood. But it was too soon to voice it. Only barely hitting fifteen years old she found the idea if sex with another to be terrifying. But then she recalled something Jon once told her before he left for the wall. " You're not living if you're not scared" these words bounced around in her head as her heart rate went through the roof.

Sandor would never hurt her, he proved that. He was just a man fighting his own demons and she was temptation, but still he chose to stop.

Her eyes started to water as she lay there over thinking with her hand over her lips. His rough unshaven face had scratched against them leading them to swell. About this time was when she heard the wood door close to indicate he was gone.

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He walked and walked and walked some more. He walked till his feet were bleeding from the blisters that formed, busted and were now rubbed raw from it all. He couldn't go back and face her, yet he would be the true image of a coward if he abandoned her like this.

She was pure of heart and he ruined it by acting on his own desires. In rage, his fist wailed against a tree and smashed his knuckles open. He would slit his own veins if it meant to retract his actions. But isn't that what is to be expected of a dog? Dogs mount their bitch when they come in heat. Dogs don't care of the consequences. Dogs are beast and he was a beast too.

By morning he had returned. He slammed the door open and began collecting their things. He didn't say a word to her nor looked her in direction. He would fulfill his promise to safely arrive her to her brother. Then he would be done with her. His mind would cleanse her from his memory and he would desire no more.

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Sansa was settled at the table when Sandor came in, her hands holding to a clay cup that was filled with water. Relief washed over her the moment she saw Sandor walking back towards the house from the window. A shaken breath fled from her lungs as he walked in as if he had just gone out for a bucket of water.

One hand drifted from the cup she held and was placed on her shoulder, skimming her finger tips along the tore fabric.

" I thought you left me..." as she said this she didn't know she was fully crying till noticing the tear land in the cup of water.
Sansa hated crying, she felt as though she had used all the tears one should be given in a lifetime. Her face turned from his direction as relief washed over her that he had come back for her.

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His movements raced madly across the house, gathering whatever they had and recklessly stuffing it into their bags. As he gathered the bottles of wine, he finally spoke to her. "Get your stuff, we are going."

By the time she would be ready, the horse would be packed up and two fresh hares would be hanging off the side of Stranger's saddle with the Hound mounted and ready.

He needed to get her to the Frey's, he knew once she was reunited with her own that this current world would only be a memory to her and hopefully it, along with he, would fade into a nonexistence. He prayed he was right. It was best she forget him as quickly as possible.

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Sansa assumed that Sandor was mad with her, so she washed herself up and packed up as much of the vegetables as she could and got fully dressed before mounting her pony. She didn't say she was ready. Instead she just waited at the other end for him to ride up on Stranger. Guilty for a reason she couldn't mentally place. It had to be him sensing her resistance, and she understood. All day she thought her actions over which only made her guilt grow like a weed in an untrimmed garden.

She had lured him into bed, touched her own self, and placed her mouth on him, she felt more and more at fault to the point she felt sick. Or maybe she just was actually sick? Chills ran through her, the kind that only a fever could bring on, and then came the cough. Sansa hadn't been sick since she was a child. But she also hadn't been out in nature like she had the past few days.

Chapter Text

SICK AS A DOG

He wanted to explain himself, but every time he had opened his mouth he ceased. Just by looking at her, when he did steal a glance, he could tell she was riddled with unneeded guilt and confusion. Shit, he was just as bad as Joffery in his eyes now.

They had covered a lot of land by day five on the road that they were now slightly pass Riverrun. He had hoped that he could have left her there, that some of her family may be there considering that was her mother's homeland. Unfortunately, no such luck. They had departed over a week ago toward the Freys.

He noticed that Sansa was growing weaker with each passing day, but she said nothing to indicate an illness. Maybe she was just sick from him. A cold front had come in during the early evening with a biting chill, that it forced them to take camp earlier than he had wished. He hadn't been requesting her help at all, having taken upon himself to do everything to prepare them each night and morning. He made the fire large and strong for the night, not wanting the wind to blow and snuff it out and freeze them in the middle of sleep. He laid out the bed roll he had purchased in Riverrun village for her as close to the fire as he felt was safe, but to where she would get the most heat. He had also taken the liberty of getting her a thick cloak, one with a fur lining and slightly oversized to keep her warm.

He on the other hand was basically punishing himself. He kept away from her during the night, close enough to maintain sight, but away so that she wouldn't feel uncomfortable. He barely slept, but instead chose to just keep watch and that was exactly what he would do once he finished up their dinner. He had also made something else for the frigid night, a recipe his nursemaid use to create when he was under the weather. It was a tea made of pine needles and willow bark. He was collecting the ingredients all day, seeing how she was coughing a lot more than usual.

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Sansa was getting more the sick as the days went on. By the sixth night on the road she was a shaking, sweating mess, and her cough was getting so bad that her insides hurt from it. She never once complained though, at least not out loud. On the sixth night it was much colder due to how north they had traveled and with the cold winds rolling in.

She laid next to the fire where he put her, body turned to it best it could be. Her face was clammy with dark rings around her eyes, but the sweating was a good sign, it meant her fever was breaking. The issue with this fact was the cold weather, the sweat was leading her clothes to get damp and that only made her freezing worse.

No food interested her this night and the tea he was brewing she knew nothing about due to not being able to breathe through her nose to smell it. Sansa just laid there wrapped up, shaking while wrapped up.

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Having poured a cup of willow and pine needle tea he held it out for her to take, but when it was not removed from his hands, did he look upon her. She was a mess and immediately he came down to her to feel her skin. "By the fucking Seven's cunt hair, why the fuck didn't you say anything!" His words were harsh but there was a level of concern as he abandoned all protocols he had created and came closer to her.

He sat upon the ground just slightly behind her and hoisted her upwards to a leaning position to where she was against his lap. "Come on, drink." He encouraged as he brought the hot liquid to her pale lips. "Your fever is breaking but we must help it along. Bloody fuck, I am sorry." He whispered to her. His voice trembled with concern and guilt as he didn't know how bad of a condition she was in.

" It's just where the leaves are falling." She admitted to him as he scolded her. " It happened during when I was small at the end of last winter."

Sansa was like a rag doll in his arms, allowing him to shift up and get behind her. " I'm just cold." She admitted to him as she turned on her side and placed herself fully against his chest before her teeth chattered. Ignoring the given cup of tea, she just pulled the cloak around her tighter.
Hearing his whispers didn't magically make her better but it did ease her mind slightly. "We both are sorry then." Sansa told him simply.

"You ain't got nothing to be sorry for." He forced the cup to her lips. "You will though of you don't drink. Here, please try." He placed the cup in her hands and encouraged her to lift it to her lips.

Meanwhile he scooted slightly away for a moment. He pulled off his cloak and removed his riding tunic to where his bare chest was exposed. Taking his cloak, he came back to her and sat down, pulling her directly into him and wrapping the cloak fully around her to cocoon her into a blanket of warmth. He nestled her head so that it rested over his chest and positioned them closer to the fire's blaze so that the direct warmth would find her. Though the flames terrified him, he learned at that moment there was some things that scare him even worse than the fire's nip, and that was losing her.

"You should have said something. I could of got you to a Maester in Riverrun or at least get us some medicine. Why must you always put yourself in danger, girl?" He wasn't scolding her, but being genuinely concerned. "I don't want to hand your rotting corpse over to your brother. You already stink, do you know how much worse it will be going days with your body draped over the horse. You definitely won't be no pretty sight." He teased her gently as he soothed the hair from her forehead.

Sansa drank from the cup, her expression telling him just what she thought of his tea. Wash water came to mind when thinking of what to compare it to,but she chose not to voice that thought.

" Were you disappointed that you didn't get to give me away in Riverrun?" She asked him while settling against his bare flesh just as asked. " You've looked disappointed for days, I guess one more won't kill you." She told him. This was the most either of them had spoke to the other in days.

Sansa coughed into her hand away from Sandor. Chills ran through her as she laid her head back on his shoulder.

" Not as disappointing as this tea though. Your shitty wine was better than this." She informed him.

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"Disappointed?" He questioned as he pulled her in tighter. "You eat like a horse, you are constantly talking, constantly getting in trouble...nah...I am not disappointed...I can tolerate you for a bit longer. " He wanted to return the question but was fearful of the reply to tempt it. What he assumed was a reaction of her feelings the last few days was actually a decline of health.

"But it is far better than being able, which is what a Maester would do if in his care. Drink the tea, wine only masks the pain; this will take it away and reduce the fever."

He wanted to take that moment to express how sorry and ashamed he felt, but he didn't wish to upset her. Instead he occupied her mind by telling her stories of the tournaments he use to compete in for coin and some of his competitors. He told her tales of some of the adventures he had when he was around her age now and the time he attempted to run away from the training camp his father sent him and his brother too. These were tales he shared with no one, simply because no one truly cared to hear and he was a being who felt his stories weren't worth wasting his breath on to unworthy ears.

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The air between them seemed breathable again, which was good because they still had a long road to meet up with her family.

A sickly Sansa drank the cup of tea without complaining anymore even though it without a doubt she did not grow fawn of the taste. During his story telling she passed out fully on his chest. The tea help open her air ways up which, just like she told him, were her issue due to the season changing.
Come morning she shifted lightly against him, no longer sweating or panting for air. Her completion also appeared to be getting back to her normal hue. True it would take days to gain strength back but she would be fine.

" Sandor." She muttered in her sleep as a hand lifted up out of the cloak and took hold of his bare shoulder. Suspiciously her mind told her to make sure he was still there.

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He had fallen asleep himself sometime during the night. When she tapped him and called his name he jolted awake assuming that there was a problem.

Immediately he touched her head. "Your fever broke." He said with relief. He knew too well the dangers of being sick within the elements. "You're still going to need rest. We will find an inn in the next village. He had been cautious of lingering too long in the villages they went through, usually only stopping to purchase supplies and move forward. Despite them being in safer territory there was still a bounty out for them and he knew they needed to be constantly on the lookout. Sandor knew there were no honest men in this world when there was a promise of coin. For all he knew his "friends" back at the miner's village spilled his identity after what he did to Maric.

He rose up and pulled his coin pouch out to count his coins minus her small fortune that he refused to acknowledge. With what he had left he figured he could sacrifice a few coins for at least one night in an inn and a hot dinner in her belly. "Come on lazybones." He scooped down and gathered her in his arms to take her over to his horse. "You shouldn't be riding alone and at least you can rest against me if you wish." Once she was secured upon Stranger, he gathered up their things and mounted up.

Sansa knew it was useless arguing that she was doing well enough to ride alone. And in all honesty she just didn't have the energy to fight about it. So once placed on Stranger she allowed her body to rest against his.

" I'm happy you are talking again." She admitted while they trotted on. " That place with the garden was nice. " Sansa told. Sansa honestly hoped this simple statement let him have some peace of mind of what happened after his panic attack that night.

" Have you ever wanted that, to live out away from all things?" She asked him in a low whisper tone. Slowly she was getting use to traveling, use to what roads were safer than others.

" It didn't seem so bad did it?" She said easily. " No one telling you what to do or who to be. It was freeing."

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He pulled his cloak around them and got Stranger to a steady but mid pace to keep her from being just about.

"Aye... it was." He agreed as she mentioned the little house tucked into the woods. He was glad that she held no ill feelings regarding that time. "Hopefully you will have a bed to rest in by tonight." He reassured her.

When she questioned about him liking that environment he gave a slight smile. "No rules, no one to boss you around, you can be yourself, and have peace and quiet. I don't know how you folk can desire to live in cities and dwell in castles. That fucking place was too drafty and just too many stairs. So many fucking stairs to climb no wonder my knees ache."

He glanced down upon her. "It was indeed nice and maybe someday I will return there. Shit, maybe I'll even die there, in the garden like our little friend."

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" Well if so I hope someone better than me steps on you." She told him as she kept her sight straight ahead. The trees in this part of the woods were perfectly golden, only have had fallen to warn that winter was coming.

" We should have stayed there. Let the wars end around us." She told him before a light cough rattled in her throat. Her hand caught it, though she tried her best to be polite during the act.

Once done she smirked and rolled her eyes. " But you would have run out of wine and become a real ass to live around." She admitted in a teasing manner.

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He chuckled. "My luck it would a fucking giant, I wouldn't be fortunate to have my bones crushed by a dainty princess." But when she mentioned staying he grew rather solemn.

It was a few moments pass that he would actually respond to that statement. "Nah, you would not be happy stuck there with me, wine or not. You need to be amongst your own, enjoy the pleasures of your youth before this cruel world smothers that spirit and you end up like me. Besides, there aren't many, if any, dashing princes lurking in those woods. I am sure your brother will make sure you are given away to one of those pansies."

When she stifled her cough, he adjust himself to where he held the reigns in one hand and encouraged her to wrap an arm around his waist. He then used his free hand to gently, but firmly pat her back. " You need to get that shit out of your lungs or else it will build up and you die." He wouldn't sugarcoat the possibility of her catching pneumonia.

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" I know that!" She told him before settling back down on the horse in her spot against him. " But if at all possible I would like to not spit it out on you." Her head went back once more on his shoulder. Over head she watched as they passed trees.

" I'm sorry Joffrey was so bad to you..." she told him simply before rising her head off him once her breathing was regular again.

" I don't lust after the thoughts of being paired with a prince any longer. Though if I had to pick one, out of only the ones I have met, it would be Loras Tyrell. For two reasons. Hes pretty. From afar. Up close. In armour. Out of it. And he is a sword swallower. Which means no public bedding, and more than likely no sex with a stranger. Maybe later on when he wants a child, that would be understandable."

Sansa then broke into a full blown smile before couching again. This time laughter was mixed in. " But he is marrying Cersei and she hates the fact."

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"Spit away, I have seen worse. I am not some delicate lord who faints at the sight of some mucus." He continued to pat her back.

When she mentioned Joffery he huffed. "Him and his tiny prick can go fuck a poxxed cunt for all I care. I should of killed him, I had plenty opportunities to do so."

When she spoke of Loras Tyrell, he busted out into a fit of uncontrollable laughter for a few moments at the thought of such a pairing. "Loras Fucking Tyrell?! Nah, little bird, you don't want that life; best not to be married at all than married to someone who will never appreciate the beauty of your womanhood."

He had never really considered the prospect of marriage. He could have been paired off himself if others so wished it, but he had avoided it up to this point and he was happy for that. Now such a possibility was impossible, for he was definitely stripped of any and all titles he once possessed and not to mention that he was a wanted man whose only marriage prospect was a union with a noose.

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" Wouldn't matter. Loras could just sit and tell me about annoying nonsense as he demands I braid his hair." These thoughts made her eyes roll but her mouth stay curled and smiling.

" Father and Mother had a good marriage. Not at the start of course due to Jon...but it wasn't Jon's fault really. All he did was be born. Mother never blamed father, only Jon. But once I found her in the crypts crying. Father had taken the boys hunting, and Bran and Arya heard something howling. So naturally instead of getting someone who could actually do something they got me. " Sansa shook her head at this part.
" I found her at my uncle Brandon's tombstone. Just crying. Telling him how much she missed him and wished things were different. I never let her know I found her like that. " Sansa let out a yawn before adding. " I think that's why I dont want to be placed in the tomb when I die. I dont want people unloading their sorrows at my stone feet."

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Allowing her to talk herself into a slumber, he continued onward until coming to a decent village on the outskirts of Wendish Town. When Sansa would open her eyes again, she would find herself in a comfortable feather bed. He traveling clothes were cleaned and laid out upon a nearby chair and bottle of port would be sitting on the nearby table.

The inn, itself, was a traveler's stop, unlike the miner's town. No whores, not to say the barmaids wouldn't take the coin if offered, but Sandor was not interested. While she slept, he gathered needed supplies and news. Only three days ago a procession of lord and ladies and soldiers made their way through on their way to the Twins. Many merchants have been tasked with finding the required food and drink for the wedding and the tiny town was bustling with trying to send their wares up that way. Sandor had struck a bargain with an old farmer who was looking to make a few coins from selling his barrels of homemade ale, but who could not make the journey due to an ongoing illness. All it took was exchanging Sansa's pony for the man's cart and the promise that he would return with half a payment for the man.
After he had concluded business he stayed in the inn, sipping on ale and simply lost in his own thoughts. He would hope that Sansa would be greet with open arms and that by him bringing her home would be granted amnesty by her brother. If not maybe he will surrender himself up at the wall and become part of the watch, or secure passage on a boat and travel beyond the sea to world's yet discovered.

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Sansa woke up just before dark, the room smelled sweet. Unlike the other inn they previously stayed at, this one had its own personal bath tub. The copper molded tub caught her interested and she quickly stood, seeing fresh water placed in it she stripped on down and got in. The room was bigger than the last one, along with the tub there were two small beds instead of one big one. The beds only had about a foot between them. The tub was placed on the other side of the room close to the small window.

The water was just room temperature but due to her fever and sweating she didn't care. Taking a bath made her feel so much better even though it was a fast cold bath.

She dressed in the traveling clothes set out, they were the men's wear that Sandor had found for her at the start of this trip.

Once finished getting dressed, Sansa stepped on out looking from face to face till finding Sandor.

She trotted his way and slipped in on the booth his hand chosen but smelling the ale made her head pull away.

" What is that?" She asked due to the odd smell of ale. Most the people she was around drink wine. Ale was stronger after all.

XXXXXX

He poured her a glass and pushed it over to her. "Take a sip, put hair on your chest." It was nice to see her looking better than she had the last few days. "Got us a cart for the rest of the way. You can rest in the back when need be and it would be a more comfortable ride."

He called the barmaid over and ordered Sansa a bowl of bone broth and some sweet rolls. "You need to eat. I hope this place is to your liking? No whores to tempt me..." He shifted his eyes over towards a very large and scary face woman at the tavern head; her face swollen with a hooked nose and all but her fang teeth missing from her mouth. "Unless she wants a go with me."

Soon her food would be set in front of her with a pitcher of cold water. Sandor poured himself more ale. " It seems this will be a big wedding. We had just missed the pack traveling up this way no more than three days ago. I think we will make it by the time the ceremony begins. You will be reunited with your family in no time."

XXXXXX

Sansa glanced back at the woman who he was teasing her about. " No. She doesn't have red hair and she is no little anything. " Sansa figured it was either make light of what had happened or let it weigh her thoughts down. She smirked and then picked the drink up he had poured her.

Smelling the drink first, even with her sinuses stopped up she could take in the strong scent. Taking a small sip made her frown.

" Why would you willing drink this? At least wine is a sweet burn. This just tastes like dirt. " once a bowl was placed before her she picked her cup up and poured it directly into his. " Water. " she smirked. " I hear it's not a sin to drink it." She teased him as she picked the bowl up seeing as it was just broth she sipped from the bowl.

" Northern weddings are nice for the first half. Then everyone eats. And then it gets odd. The Bedding Ceremony just seems so off putting. Just two people lying about their venue and putting on a show. " Sansa shook her head. " But there will be pie."

He detested weddings, especially noble weddings. "The only good thing about a wedding is the food and drink. I could give a flying fuck if there is a bride or a groom. Same type of celebration if it were a funeral, just no bedding ceremonies. "

His expression went serious as he looked upon her. " Sansa, I hope..." His voice broke off when the doors to the inn opened and in walked a small gang of suspicious looking men. He was keen on details and noticed that they belong to Lord Bolton, as they displayed the signal of the flayed man on their crest. It struck a red flag because Dreadfort was closer to Winterfell than where they were currently located. It made no sense that they were simply banner men following the procession to the Twins. Too far south.

"Quickly girl, go to your room and lock the door. Three knocks, it will be me." Something was off but he simply couldn't place it. He never trusted Lord Bolton's house since his brother seemed to favor the man.

XXXXXX

Her hand fell off the table; she placed it over his knee as she too watched the men come in.

Sansa stepped away from the table and made her way along the stair railing and back to the room. Before going in she glanced off towards Sandor. A sickening feeling filled her before she made her way on inside. Sensing something awful from these men she made her way to one of the beds and settled down to wait for the three knocks.

The men seemed to not have their business fully there, they spoke to the bar keep and asked directions and ordered stew. But still they were out of their territory. The King of the North Rob Stark had claimed this land, not officially but all knew his army was spread here. The bar keep gave them the information they asked. All knew what these near savages did to their victims. It was one of the worst deaths, being skinned.

The group sat a few tables away and ate their stew with just random chatter between the group; which no one would talk about their plans in a place like this. They were not known to be foolish just curel and unjust.

Sansa waited and each minute seemed to get slower than the last. Her hands held to her knees as she watched the locked door and waited. Her breathe was heavy and just to herself she caught herself muttering prayers her mother taught her.

XXXXXX

He watched her closely skirt off to make sure they didn't look in her direction. Fortunately, she was able to get to her room without catching attention.

Sandor remained where he was. He was a master of listening in crowds, a skill he picked up in King's Landing. The men ordered drinks and made themselves comfortable. He could have easily been making assumptions of why they were this far South. They technically weren't out of their own territory, but then again they weren't exactly on their own ground, either.

He waited and watched for well over an hour, but nothing seemed out of place nor was anything said to raise awareness. Still his primitive instincts told him something was wrong. The men ate and drank, and made mention of heading up to the Twins to make it for the wedding. One of them smirked. A grin that indicated there was more to their story than what they were letting on.

He waited till they left, before approaching the one barmaid. With a gold coin in her pocket he asked her for some information. From what she gathered the men were coming from King's Landing as one mentioned a particular whorehouse in Flea Bottom. Though such information was nothing to the woman, it meant something to the man inquiring.

BAM! BAM! BAM! His first pounded against the wood so hard that it appeared he would knock the door down before she had a chance to unlock it.

XXXXXX

Sansa nearly fell off the bed when she finally heard his knocks. She opened the door and stepped back quickly for the man to enter. She looked him over and even stepped forward to touch his frame as if to just make sure all his flesh was attached still.
Living in King's Landing Sansa learned quite a bit of who stood with who, and she knew very well that those men stood against her brother just as much as Tywin's army did.

" We're leaving? " she asked just this one question as she closed half the space between them and looked up towards him

Chapter Text

STRANGERS

"Seems your brother may have a few foxes in his hen house, I never trusted the Boltons." He informed Sansa of what the tavern wench told him. "What reason would any of his men have doing in King's Landing when the Bolton's are suppose to be your brother's allies? Maybe they have been looking for you?"

He knew she didn't have the answers, she was cooped up as Joffery's torture toy since this all started, he just need to voice his thoughts. "I feel it in my bones, something doesn't seem right." He grabbed her by her shoulders, forcing her to face him. "I swear to you, I will not allow a single hair on your head to get harmed."

He let her go and went over towards their window to look out for them, but there was no sign of their presence. "We can't leave yet. We will wait till midnight when the streets are less crowded and we can sneak out. "

Sansa looked down from Sandor. " My brother would demand the Boltons to change their ways. Men like that don't change for Kings like Rob. They don't just stop stripping the skin from people because orders. The Boltons would go with the king who would let their traditions stay. Do you think Joffery cares about common men being skinned? He probably got off on the idea." This may have been the first time Sansa made actual sense when it came to this war. And unfortunately she had no idea how on point she was.

Once she got these thoughts she nodded. " I know that Sandor. " this statement was lighter than her other more serious words.

" We should rest." Sansa then in this moment looked at a feature she had never scanned over on the man before her. His mouth, she looked it over from edge to edge before pulling her sight away.

XXXXXX

Time seemed to pass horribly slow as the pair wait in the room. From time to time, Sandor would venture to the window, a task only he allowed for fear Sansa may be spotted, to look out for any sign. His mind's wheels were spinning on the possible scenarios they may face and each one grew grim as they passed through his thoughts. If they got there before the ceremony, they may be able to warn Rob that something was amiss; alas that would mean they would need to ride like the wind and make no stops in order to bypass the others and make it there a day early.

He had positioned himself on the floor, his back against the foot of the bed and he just sat there contemplating in deep thoughts. "I don't want you going in there without knowing what it is you may be walking into." He stated this out loud after over an hour of silence between them. "Let me negotiate. I will make sure you are in a safe place, but I don't want you stepping foot in that palace with Bolton's men looming around. I can easily sneak in, we will have goods on board the cart, no one will recognize me until I choose it."

Sansa agreed, she was laid on one of the beds starring at the ceiling. But rest didn't come with the Boltons here in town. When they packed up to leave no candles were on inside the inn main room, nothing like the miners inn.

Sansa stayed closer to Sandor that she normally would have. But while he made sure the horse was attached to the cart a man stepped from the darkness and grabbed Sansa, placing his hand over her mouth before she could scream and placed his sword, not a blade but his whole sword against her neck. The man stood there smiling like a fool. His hair was oddly fixed for a man, a top knot over top of his long mangled knots. Right then men slowly crept out of the shadows to surround the cart.

" Clegane. We've been hiding a long while waiting for you to come on out." This man stated with the same grinning expression as he pressed the knife closer to Sansa.

Another man rounded the cart with a far too happy face; he wore a eye patch over one eye. Just like the other man he was covered in dirt which showed they had been traveling a long while.

" Been looking for you." The eye patch admitted.

XXXXXX

It was times like this that Sandor regretted ever ditching his sword. That one-eyed cunt and his friend wouldn't have last a second if he had his sword in hand. "Get your fucking hands off her." He growled through gritted teeth. "So help me, you harm her and I will tear you limb from limb with my bare hands!" At that moment he probably could of.

"You want me, take me." He raised his hands out to show he had no weapons, but he knew if given the chance he could disarm the man. But as he walked slightly forward did he see others emerge from the darkness. They were surrounded. He looked over to Sansa, his eyes conveyed the concern he had for her. Here he was worried about the Bolton men when he should have been aware they were being hunted by others.

XXXXXX

Beric, the man with the leather strap over his eye walked about looking the well known Hound over. " No sword. But that axe would hurt just as bad." He told Clegane as he looked over towards Sansa. "We caught the Hound and the Dove. "

The man holding Sansa removed his hand from her mouth. "Say your name Thoros demanded.

Sansa hadn't pulled her eyes off of Sandor this whole time. " My name...is Myrtle."

Beric gave a forced over dramatic frown. " No its not though." His face then looked up to the man holding her against his sword. "Take her and ride her on your horse, and tell the others to chain this dog up. The pair can't be in the cage together, he might try and get out if that were the case. " Beric ordered which lead to the man starting to push Sansa to walk on.

" Drop all your shit Clegane. That little girl is worth a lot dead or alive." He informed him.

XXXXXX

He felt his stomach drop at the mention that they had no reason to keep her alive, but he knew if he retaliated their chances of escaping together or at least him getting her out of there were far less a possibility.

She would never know how much it took for him to submit. He was a fighter till death, but she was worth more than his pride. A dog is a loyal creature and he was loyal to her. He pulled his eyes away from her to look at Beric. "She dies and there is not a force on Earth that will stop me from making sure you and yours suffer for eternity for it."

" I have no doubt in your words." Beric stated as his one good eye scanned down to the axe and daggers on his belt.
" Now come on. Take it off."

Once the Hound was unarmed it took several men to approach him with chains in their hands. Bounding him good and then leading him towards a large metal cage. The men also took Stranger but the beast would not allow any to climb up on his back so they simply tied him to the cage to follow.

Sansa was placed on Thoros' horse, he reach around her and tied her hands all the while sniffing her hair.

" Myrtle here just had a bath boys." He announced with a hard laugh.

He had no choice to allow them to disarm him, but it didn't matter, he would kill them by any means possible when the right opportunity came and he didn't need a weapon to do so.

He was compliant up until the snarky remark Thoros made about Sansa. Immediately he became white with anger at the thought of that greasy man-bun wearing cunt laying his filthy hands on her body.

He was being guided by three men, two on each side and one in front. Upon hearing those words, he became like an enraged bull. His strength overpowered the two at his side, making the one on his right fall as he pushed against him and the other to stumble. The one in front came forward to only be met with his hard head smashing into his face and breaking his nose. The one in his left grabbed him by the side, his dagger to the Hound's neck. Using his leg, he coiled it around the man and brought him down on the ground, giving him enough time to stomp on his throat before the other one got up from the ground. He grabbed at Sandor's leg, but it did not hinder his movements so he dragged him along as he stormed towards Thoros like the rabid dog he was, chains and all, he was going to kill him . "DON'T YOU TOUCH HER!"

Thoros no longer had his sword out, but when Clegane started towards him he pulled a dagger from his hip and placed it up next to Sansa's face.

" Touch her? If I want. Cut her? If I want. So be a good dog and stop barking. " the blade the slipped slowly against Sansa's cheek, leaving nothing deeper than a cat scratch line across it. Her eyes closed as she winced from the pain.

" Understand?" Thoros just did this as a scare tactic, he knew all to well that the Hound was a killer and if he did not think they were serious he would never obey. "

" Get in the Cage Clegane." Beric said off the the side. " You don't want her blood on your hands. "

Oh how he imagined tearing into that man's belly, pulling out his guts and strangling him with them. He could truly become more sadistic than his brother if given the chance and this cunt was truly testing those boundaries.

To see the blade just grace her porcelain flesh made him leap towards him, but he was immediately tackled down by a half dozen of men. They pushed him into the ground, pressing his head upon the grainy, dusty dirt until he ceased struggling.

They lifted him up and escorted him to the cage, passing by just as Beric gave his warning. "No, but I will have yours on them!" He threatened as he spit towards the man, but pushed ahead towards his new confinements.

Helpless, he could do nothing but drown in his madness. Each and every face was embedded into his mind, and each one was given a personalized death sentence. He will not be merciful when finally gets to drain their life force.

Underneath the rage, he felt guilt. His promise to her, to bring her no harm and to prevent her from it, was all but broken words. Now what? Would she be carted back to Joffery for a sum of gold? He will make her life a living hell. He will say he kidnapped her, that she was innocent and he forced her, abducted her against her will. He will take any blame if it meant she would be released with the promise of safety. Still, that boy would find a way to torture her, he knew that.

From where he was in line, he could make out Thoros ahead, and though he could see Sansa's form, he could not see her face. It was making his blood boil just watching that man even touch her and each time his hand shifted against her waist, Sandor squirmed against his chains.

XXXXXX

A few hours of riding went by, Thoros then road his horse up to the cage that was being horse pulled and looked at Clegane.

" Your Dove here hasn't cried once." He informed the Hound before his hand lifted and he grazed his finger across the small cut. Sansa's face turned to remove his hand from her cheek. " Snappy. I can't tell who is more pissed, her or you, though without meaning to she gave up that she wasn't a common gal. I offered, one, then two, and finally three silvers to just take her clothes off. She said no. No common bitch would say no to that kind penny. "

" Please shut up. " Sansa stated out of fatigue and aggravation. "You've not hushed for hours."

" And she does speak! Is that a northern accent?" Thoros asked before the whole lot of them stopped and Beric spoke from the head of the line.

" Make camp. We start back off at Dawn!" Beric called.

Thoros then leaned in, "If you are still a common girl named Myrtle I can't promise what these men might do. But a high born lady? Like Sansa Stark, who is also lost, might have a better chance at not being raped." His hand moved the hair from against her ear.

" You know good and well who I am. " Sansa hissed. " And you know good and well that the King of the North is somewhere in these woods. " Sansa turned her head up to look at the still hanging moon. " Its full tonight too. " and like in some story told by a child off in the distance a wolf was heard howling.

XXXXXX

The silent treatment; that is all Thoros got from the dog. He knew that man was just trying to rattle his cage, figuratively and literally, and he wasn't going to give him no such satisfaction. Instead he locked eyes with Sansa, praying his mental thoughts could somehow fall onto her mind's ear.

Be brave.
I'm sorry I failed you, but you don't need my strength, for you are stronger than all of us.
I will get you home safe.
Oh, would you please squeeze his nuts to shut him up!

If only such a connection was possible, but he hoped at least she could see his concern for her written upon his face. A face scarred and twisted. A face she once was afraid to look upon, but whose lips were the first to kiss it.

A wolf's cry was heard in the distance and it echoed over the treetops like a haunting ghost making its presence known.

XXXXXX

Thoros looked over the trees that blew, he let out a slightly shaken breathe before looking over towards the cage, thinking hard if it was wise to put her inside there or not. He thought it best to not.

" Here. " Beric had a much softer voice that Thoros. " Come. She can sleep next to me. I won't let none of my brothers touch you miss." Beric's hand reached out for Sansa but she didn't take it. Even though more difficult she hopped off with hands bound and landed on her feet.

" You're tall for a girl, you know that?" Beric asked her.

Sansa look over to Sandor and replied " I'm not 100 feet tall so why worry about it." She told him as he lead her on over to a tree trunk to sit by.

Beric tossed a blanket over Sansa and literally chained her to him, he settled at the tree trunk too and fell asleep much faster than she expected. This stranger was so comfortable that his head fell on to Sansa's shoulder. Sleep didn't come for her while she sat there with locked eyes on Clegane. She could sense how sorry he was, it wasn't his fault. In her mind she fully blamed the king for this, if there had been no bounty on them this would have never happened.

Dawn came, all men rose and instead of being placed on a horse with another she was placed on Stranger who was being pulled by the wagon. Her hands tied to the saddle.

" Where are they taking us?" Sansa knew little about the area but she could tell they were still going North. " We're not headed South which means they're not taking us back."

XXXXXX

His eyes never closed, they stayed locked on where she was. It was the least he could do; if anything were to happen, he would be able to warn them.

However, he wasn't please that one-eyed asshole dared to rest his head upon her. He wished a branch would fall and impale him as he slept.

By the next morning he was sore, exhausted and just as miserable, if not more, having been confined in that cage. When she brought mentioned to the direction, he finally spoke up. "Could be that your brother offered a higher reward for your return, or it could have something to do with why those Bolton guards were around." He then lowered his voice to a whisper. "Remember, little bird, you killed a man...you can kill them all if you so desired. You are strong."

It was the only words of encouragement he had the opportunity to give before one of the guards came up and hit the cage with his blade. "Stop your barking dog, your ugly face is scaring the lady!" The guard glanced over to Sansa. "Do you wish to ride with me, I will keep you warm and protected?" Such words were spoken with the filthiest ideas behind them.

XXXXXX

Sansa locked eyes with the man who gave this offer. She then started to cough off into her shoulder but at the end spit out on the rear end of the guard's horse. If being honest she was aiming for the guard but it didn't hit. The man gave a disgusted expression before trotting forward due to this action. These men didn't know Sansa was just dealing with seasonal changes. For all they knew she had something that they could catch.
Sansa noticed then that several of the single riding men had ran on ahead. Having no idea where they were headed she just kept quite and looked at everything around them. Beric was one of the riders gone. He seemed the most trusting out of the group.

They met up with the others at an eatery in the middle of what seemed like nowhere. The cage was open and Sansa was untied but a bow man stayed close.
The bow man looked as serious as any before speaking. " I'll let one go through her eye then yours if you try anything. " his attention then went to Sansa. " You run, or try anything I do the same. So let's go in and have a bowl of broth with no issues."

Sansa stepped closer to Sandor knowing that might keep him from trying anything.

" Good little dove. If the dog need to piss you can help him along and help with feeding him." This stated that his hands were not to be freed.

XXXXXX

Like a giant he rose from the cage, extending himself to the fullest length of his height, to invoke the intimidation of the men ordered to pull him free. His neck cracked side to side as he shift his shoulders in unison. He could easily get hold of one of those men and use his own body weight to press the life out of them, but he stayed calm...or at least subdued.

"I bet you can barely aim your cock in the right direction let alone an arrow." He insulted as he drew near to Sansa, grazing against her shoulder. He looked down at her. "You alright?" He questioned with concern, before looking back up at the men. "Well come the fuck on you cock bastards, you waste more time moving your mouths with nonsense than you do any movement." He allowed Sansa to take the lead, but kept right on her heels as they entered the new encampment.

XXXXXX

Sansa walked on inside, once inside she noticed Beric and Thoros settled at a table talking with a small group of what appeared to be young boys. Saying nothing as she walked on past them and settled at the first empty table, scooting over to allow Sandor be seated. Her elbow was placed on the table before looking up at Sandor.
" If we're prisoners why are they feeding us? " Her light voice asked him before she shifted up some.

Arya Stark, she had been traveling these forests just as her sister, running into all sorts of trouble and such. Posing as a boy, she was settled at the table across from Beric just having an everyday conversation when she caught site of two faces she knew all too well. She froze there at the table seeing her sister, her hair was cut short and she was dressed in men's clothes but her eyes had not changed.

Sansa's eyes dropped from Sandor, she then started to look about and that's when she saw the familiar face across the room. At first she told herself that she was just imagining things due to lack of sleep but the way the young one starred back she knew.

Her hand fell from the table to take a hold of Sandor's upper thigh as her breathe caught in her own throat.

XXXXXX

"They want us alive..." He paused as he contemplated that statement. " Well, they want you alive, so they would have to feed you." He spoke as he followed her to the empty table. "But since I am in chains, I think it is safe to say we are both prisoners." He yanked his hands against the metal; they ached and were chaffing. He collapsed down on the bench, and gazed around, counting the heads to see how many he will need to fight. He estimated around twenty, maybe thirty all together. He sighed heavily knowing it was a stretch to get them out of this mess.

It would be her hand falling on his thigh that would snap him out of his head. He looked down to where her hand now rested and then up to her with a questioning gaze. She didn't need to say a word; he just followed her sights to land on a pair of dark eyes that were currently throwing daggers in his direction. " Well fuck me stupid." He chuckled. " She at least manages to look like a boy, unlike you did." He looked back at Arya. " Well say what the fucks on your mind, girl, ain't you going to greet your sister!"

XXXXXX

Sansa jumped up and didn't ask or give time for Sandor to move, she slipped across his lap nearing climbing over the table to get to the young girl. Arya was only two years younger than Sansa but to any with eyes she looked half her age. Nearly a foot shorter and small built of a girl.
Arya jumped up just as well and darted over to Sansa.

" Where have you been?" Sansa asked as she hugged and held Arya tightly.
Arya on the other hand had her eyes and mind focused on the Hound, glaring him down.

" I ran. " Arya pulled away. "They chopped fathers head off and I ran. "

That's when Beric stood on up and looked the pair over. "Two Star princesses ...one thought to be dead." He stated as he pulled Arya to him and looked her over. His eyes then glared up to Sansa. " You sure this her? The pair of you look nothing alike. And this one told me not five minutes ago that it was a lad."

Sansa stepped up as if she was a mother and not a sister and pulled Arya back to her. " She is mine." Claiming their blood line boldly as she glared the man over before stepping back to the table she was originally told to sit at.

" Just proof that you are where the Lord of Light wants you." Beric stated.

XXXXXX

The reunion was touching; he would never admit it, but he knew how much this meant to her, especially since Arya was basically declared dead. He knew, at least at this moment, she had her own blood with her. It was something he would never have; his own brother would never embrace him like that, unless it meant he was attempting to crush his bones.

"Oh for fuck sakes can't you shut the fuck up over your cock sucking Lord of Light, Beric!" The Hound shouted from his seated position. All he heard from these idiots, between them threatening him, were 'Lord of Light' this and 'Lord of Light' that. " Are we getting food anytime soon? You bastards have starved me for over a day. If you're going to kill me like that, it will take a loooooonnnngg time!"

XXXXXX

Broth was all that was given to both Sansa and Sandor. His his hands bound like they were she literally had to hold his bowl up for him to drink. Arya seemed disappointed and disgusted with this action. Then it was back locked up, and Arya settled on Sansa's horse. One of her 'friends' stayed but the older one followed.

" Why are you with the Hound? " Arya finally asked.

" He helped me. He plans on returning me home. And now he can return the both of us." Sansa stayed around Arya, Stranger was still being pulled along so she didnt have to guide him.

" From a cage? He's taking us home while chained up?" Arya stated.

" No...he's...he'll get out." Sansa tried to sound positive but failed.

" Once the trial is over then we will see if Clegane goes free or not." Beric stated while ease dropping.

" Trial? What?" Sansa asked.

" The Lord of light with show us. Beric added.

It took a whole day to get where they were going. All were masked when entering the brotherhood's base. Even with a sack over her face she could feel the heat from a fire, through the fabric over her eyes it glowed orange which told her it was a big fire. This led her to worry about Sandor.

XXXXXX

"The night is full of terrors..." Beric's voice echoed against the walls of the large cavern the men had gathered in. "From the clenches of Death, I was returned, through the guiding hands of the Red Priest, Thoros, and the willpower of the Lord of Light!" The audience shouted and cheered as Beric lifted the priest's arm to share the spotlight.

Sandor sat against a corner, his body still bound and now a cloth was placed over his head. Very little information was shared in his presence, but he figured he was about to become the main attraction for their games. The fire's heat made his skin crawl with goose flesh as he began to imagine what they were about to put him through. It would be just his luck to get capture by a bunch of insane lunatics that worship fire as their God. Why couldn't it be the Iron Born?!

" We are brother's from all corners of Westros..." Thoros began. " At times we may have been each other's enemy, but we have casted aside our loyalties to our houses and have come together as one!"

Sandor couldn't tell how far Sansa and Arya were from him, but knew they were near. He heard the guard guide them both in, but they weren't place in the same corner as he. "Little Bird..." He spoke above a whisper. "Sansa!" His voice went louder when he received no reply.

"Tonight our Lord will test the spirit of one of our own and that of a man whose existence orbited around those of evil and malice intent!" Thoros continued on, pointing his finger towards Sandor's corner, but he would not see, just hear the crowd scream with anticipation.

XXXXXX

The crowd was too loud for Sansa to hear Sandor call to her. The sacks were pulled off both her and Arya's face. Both looked about the area, a cave with large bonfire was their setting. So many men stood about, to many to count. Sansa then noticed the Hound be pulled up and have the sack pulled from his own face.

Beric introduced him, went on about the Targaryens, deaths that were nearly twenty years old. She knew nothing but rumors of what happened to the children they spoke of, but all the rumors always pointed to The Mountain or Tywin Lannister.

Then Thoros brought out a sack and tossed it down. He proceeded to pull the Hound's armor out of the sack, even his sword that was given to him in King's Landing. Sansa knew good and well he had traded all that in but here it was.

" You left a trail of crumbs, Clegane, made it easier to find you." Thoros stated as the crowd cheered on with a mix of laughter.

XXXXXX

With each step, he felt the air grow hotter and hotter as they approached the raging bonfire. When his hood was lifted, his eyes grew wide with the consumption of the bonfire's sight.

He knew Beric was speaking, but what he said Sandor couldn't tell, he was struck frozen and all senses solely focused on the hypnotizing dance of red, orange and white embers. It made him begin to tremble within the chain's confinement.

Even when Thoros threw open his armor and sword, Sandor did not acknowledge their existence.

They are going to throw me into the flames. My flesh will burn for all eternity.

He could think of nothing but what it felt to have that light touch his skin. He was facing his monster and it wasn't a single man in this room.

"Look, he is already struck dumb just by the sight of our Lord's power!" Thoros announced, pointing out Sandor's position. " Has the mighty beast finally met his match? Or do you dare fight our Lord's champion?" He came to step between where the Hound stood and Beric.

XXXXXX

" Of course he will fight!" Sansa called out loud enough that the crowd hushed. " You all just brought us here to bring up war crimes so old that half of this room would not be able to recall! " she went on to say before her own little sister gave her two cents.

" But he did kill the butcher's boy! Who's say he's not all ways been a baby killer!" Arya shouted which made Sansa step up and grab her from behind and place a hand over her mouth to get her to hush.

" This is rumor over truth Beric and you know it. Only those there and the gods know the truth." Sansa stated sharply before getting bit by Arya.

" He is a murdering bastard! Do a trial by combat and have your champion end him!" Arya told them.

"Well?"Thoros looked at the Hound. "What say you about these accusations?"

XXXXXX

Finally, he tore himself from the fire and for the first time look upon the crowd. His eyes danced through before falling on Sansa and Arya. If he were to be thrown in the flames tonight, he needed to make his last moments on Earth count. " I am not playing your fucking game, Thoros. You want me to say I killed people? Well yes I fucking did, just like any man here probably has when they were under oath." His head cocked out towards the crowd before looking at Arya. " Yes I killed your fucking boy, I did what I was told to do. Be no difference who gave the order. Today you praise one King, tomorrow you praise another. I fucking followed orders. I am a killer to my bones and ain't no fucking God going to change that."

He turn to Beric. " You want a challenge...fine...we will fight, but I want something if I win."

Beric glanced over to Clegane and a wild smile spread. " Its not a challenge. It's a trial. Allowing the Lord of Light to shine truth on what happened in the past." The crowd again cheered.

Beric laughed as the two biggest men walked up and unchained Sandor. " And what is this prize you want? " Beric asked as he pulled his own cloak off and tossed it to the side where Thoros caught it. They really were a pair.

" You want the girls back? That's a bag full of gold for each of them on return. Big prize." Beric stated before pulling his own sword out, slowly his bare hand reach up to stroke the blade, as he did it caught fire.

" Are they worth it?' He asked in a amused tone.

The freedom to move freely was welcomed, yet made him extremely sore. "Fuck the gold." He growled between rubbing and stretching each shoulder. He looked upon his little bird. " There are things far greater than that shit, and I am willing to put my life down if it means these girls are returned home."

Thoros looked at Beric. " We shall discuss it." He said as he approached Beric to speak in secret.

" If your plan is to kill me, may I at least have a final word with her?" He asked the men . Beric gave his nod of approval and Thoros spoke up. "There is nowhere to run and each man is armed here. Try anything and we will be truthful to our threats about them." He tilted his head towards the girls.

"Fuck off." The Hound grunted as he walked over to where Sansa and Arya stood.

He took a moment to look at the two together and sighed. " I ain't making no more promises..." He began. " I will die fighting if it means you can be home. If that is the case, take my corpse back to that house in the woods and bury me near the tree." He instructed Sansa. "I was very...happy...there...with you."

XXXXXX

Sansa shook her head lightly. " You're too big, so you can't die here. We're top far from that house." She told him before both of her hands reach out to take grasp of his own.

" I've never heard one story of you doing anything a King did not order. The gods question Kings on those orders not the soldiers that do them. " Sansa pulled her own blue eyes from Sandor and looked over at his discarded sword.

" You're good. Now show them." Her blue eyes lifted to meet his as her hands squeezed his own. All the while Arya watched this exchange and felt her guts twist. The young one looked the pair over and shook her head.

" Soldiers have choices. The gods know the facts so go on and die." Arya stated sharply.

XXXXXX

His lips curled up into a twisted face as Arya condemned him. "Perhaps I will tell them to keep you." He threatened her before looking back at Sansa.

"No matter what happens, I want you to get on Stranger and get the fuck far away from this place." He gently took her hand into his and allowed a moment to relish in the warmth and softness of her flesh.

His callused thumb, made a small circular motion over the top of her hand, before he rose it up to give it a kiss. "I..." He began to speak before being immediately interrupted.

"Hound? We accept." Was all Thoros said and Sandor pulled away from her with a maddening grin and walked back to the fiery arena.

XXXXXX

The fight was nerve wracking, Sansa stood there watching and praying to any that would listen while Arya shouted for Beric to kill him. The pair were like day and night and it truly showed in this moment.

But when the final blow hit it was Clegane who had fallen. Beric fell and blood sprayed all over the ground. Sansa didn't realize she had been holding her breathe this whole time. But she couldn't stand there in relief before her sister grabbed a knife and ran towards the Hound screaming murderer.

One of the members grabbed Arya and pulled the blade from her before Sansa step up to grab her. She held her sister until she stop, but her eyes never pulling off of Sandor.

But magic was in the making; Thoros ran to Beric's side and started chanting. The booing and moaning stopped all of a sudden, and when Sansa turned she saw the nearly, chopped in two, Beric stand up and he was fine. Nothing to show that he had just bled to death.

" You won Clegane.. but the Lord is not finished with me." Beric breathed out heavily.

" Take your horse, and wagon. Though I warn you most of that ale is gone ." Thorso told him before looking over at Arya. " I hope the little one doesn't cut your throat." He told him as he rubbed his temples.

XXXXXX

He had nearly cut the man in two, and yet he lived again. Impossible. The Hound stood there baffled. His body soaked from sweat, he had fallen to his knee, leaning on his sword when Thoros ran over to Beric and began chanting. The next thing Beric, though still injured, was alive and was granting him permission to go with his prize. "You are all a bunch of cockles, mother fucking, cunts." He spewed out as he rose to his feet and walked over to where Sansa was.

" You heard the man. You're free to come with me, or if you want you may stay. The choice is your own to make, but I am getting the fuck out of here."

He didn't wait for neither one to reply before spinning on his heels and getting out of there. The fire, Beric's flaming sword, the fight...it was all too much and he needed to breath.

Chapter Text

FREY DAY

Sansa didn't give her sister time to argue that she wasn't going. Taking a hard hold of her sister's hand and pulling her along to follow Sandor. " Come on." She ordered her as the crowd parted for the pair. All of Sandor's weapons had been thrown in the back of their cart. No horse was attached to the cart, Stranger was still tied.

Sansa look in the back and quickly got in and hid all weapons under a cloak so Arya wouldn't think to do anything foolish.

" Get in." She told Arya.

" We are really going? Why?"

" Because he is taking us to Rob and mother at the Twins. They will pay good money for us, now get in the damn cart!"

" Fuck you! You may be fooled but I am NOT! He is a murdering dog! And if you believe anything else you are a loon!"

Sansa let out a heavy breathe before stepping down from the cart again and picking Arya up. This lead to a elbow to the guts and a slap to the face but she got Arya in the cart. Literally kicking and screaming.

XXXXXX

Noticing Stranger was not attached, he went over to retrieve his horse while the two sisters bickered. Despite her great hatred for the man, the Hound respected Arya's willpower and natural instincts, she sort of remind him of himself when he was her age, young and full of hatred for the world.

He stole a moment to reunite with his companion, giving the horse a whispered apology before guiding him over to where they were.

"She is right." He nonchalantly spoke as he passed by them. "I am a murderous dog. Never denied that fact." He got Stranger into position and walked back over to the girls, targeting Arya specifically. "Tell me this, girl, who would you rather by your side? A man who is open about what he is, true to his form even if that makes him a monster, or someone who pretends they are the image of good, denies their true self and plays a facade? If you ask me they are both the same. Both monsters. Just one I know is a monster and the other pretends he isn't."

He turned around to begin fastening Stranger to the cart. "So you can take your chances with those that claim they are the image of good but will eventually stab you in the back and leave you for dead, or you can come with a man who admits he is a monster. Either way, I don't give a fuck, but now is your chance to decide or else I am leaving you, girl, but I am taking your sister with me."

XXXXXX

" Do you have any idea what some of those men in there would do to you if they knew you were a young lady? Even though you look like an eight year old boy doesn't mean you are one. And the moment one figured it out your doom would come. " Sansa told her sister.

Arya starred at her sister, she huffed out a hot breath before stating. " Well at least who ever cut my hair off cut it straight." Arya then turned in the cart and crossed her arms with her face turned away from Sansa.

Sansa couldn't help her reaction to reach up and touch her chopped up locks. But she didn't just stand there fussing with the child. Instead she made her way around climbed up into the sitting section on the cart. The up front seat held two, and Sansa took a moment to thank the gods that it didn't hold three.

XXXXXX

He rolled his eyes as he secured himself in the driver's seat. "This is going to be one hell of a fucking ride." He whispered to himself. "Have half a mind to take my chances again with Beric."

For the most part the journey up North was uneventful. Their side adventure had delayed them greatly and by the time they made it to the nearest village they were informed the wedding was tonight.

"Ya ain't gonna be much welcome with that lot." Said an old man as he surveyed Sandor's almost empty cart. Beric's men we kind enough to leave a barrel full, but Sandor suspected it was mainly full of piss and did not dare to taste it.

At least the old man gave him an idea of a how many people were possibly attending and told him the entrance for the local merchants.

"We will set up a small camp on the outskirts." He said as he brought the horse to a halt. "Give you time to make you two somewhat presentable." He looked at the two Stark girls, wondering how on Earth he was ever going to pass them off as actual ladies. He felt horrible forcing Sansa to cut off her hair. Arya was right, it was a horrific job and he expected that the girl would be absolutely mortified to be seen amongst the Lords and Ladies in her state. "Sansa..."He meekly spoke her name. "When you have a moment..."

His request was met by two sets of eyes. "She ain't going anywhere with you!" Arya spoke up, taking a slight step in front of her older sister. "What do you want her for? Planning on securing your prize before sending her off?" She put her hand on Needle, preparing to defend if need be.

"Oh for fucks sake you are an annoying Wolf Bitch." He moaned back. "And what are you going to do with that piece of shit?" Arya pulled it out and jumped into a ready stance. "I will drive this through your eyes and impale your brain if you so much lay a hand on her."

Sandor chuckled and quickly sealed the gap between them. He was a giant compared to Arya and when he approached he stood over. "It won't even reach my neck. How the fuck you going to stab my eye? Jump?" He swatted at Needle if it were no more than an annoying fly and the little sword flew out of Arya's hand. Sandor laughed, crossing his arms over his chest as he watched her scramble to get it and return to her readied stance.

For some reason he found her amusing. "You are going to attempt to kill me, you want to find a target you can reach. You can drive it here, between my ribs and get my heart." He pointed to his left side. "But you best be precise or else you will do nothing but piss me off." Arya looked at the target he suggested. " Or here." He tapped near his groin." You knick that artery and I will surely bleed to death." She darted her eyes to that area, but before she could even pick a spot the sword was once again swatted from her hands. "But it is all fucking useless if you can't even hold your sword!" He laughed as he watched her again scramble and her face flushed with anger.
" Help your sister with our things and stop being a fucking pest." He looked up at Sansa. " I had only wanted to help even out your hair for you, but nevermind." His voice was cold compared to how he teased Arya. " Didn't realize you needed a guard to protect you from me." He pulled his armor and sword out of the cart and walked away.

XXXXXX

Sansa was so use to the Hound's back and forth way about things, she honestly didn't even waste the time to roll her eyes at his comment. Instead she settled a bed in the back for Arya. Though she was ungrateful for the cloak-made bed, Sansa still made it for her. It was mid day and she knew good and well Arya hadn't slept in whole day and night.

" Just lay here and rest please?" Sansa told her as she paced slightly, starring out towards the Twins.

" I bet Rob's wife is lovely. " Arya said from the cart.

" I'm sure she is. " Sansa stated before reaching up and touching the ends of her hair again before looking at Sandor.

" How would you cut it? You don't have sheers to clip it up." She walked up to Sandor but her blue eyes scanned back over towards the Twins. " If you think you could I would let you..."

Arya sat up and looked over towards the pair. "You're going to let him place a blade next to your face...Sansa?!"

Sansa glared her way, " I told you to rest." She told her before walking on over and kneeling down next to Sandor.

Arya just stared in disbelief , "Are you kidding me. "

" I told you to hush. " Sansa hissed.

Arya then just flopped on down into the cart of the cloaks muttering to herself. " When he cuts your bloody head off."

"Keep it up..." He glared over to Arya. " Or I will drag you over to that cliff and see if the Wolf Bitch can fly."

The young girl darted up to return the death stare, her arms crossed around her chest and her lips curled down into a menacing frown.

XXXXXX

The Hound removed his eyes from one sister and placed them on the other. "Do you want me to help or no? If you do then sit down, shut up and trust me. If not you can go back over there. Either way I don't give a fuck." He grumbled as he dug through his discarded gear to find a pouch that had the Lannister emblem embroidered on it. From it he pulled out a hunk of lye soap, a cloth, a strap of leather and a beautifully carved, small knife. He swept the blade over the leather and gently ran his finger against it to ensure it was sharp enough. "It ain't sheers but it is better than that dagger you used." He pulled outwards a ribbon of his own hair and hacked it off, demonstrating the blades clean cut. "It is also good for cutting out tongues. So if either of you keep bickering I will be happy to demonstrate that as well."

XXXXXX

" You're the one who gave me the blade to do this to myself...my choices were, I do, or you hold me down and do it." She pointed out to him before leaning her head to the side so he could try and even it out best that could be done.

Arya couldn't watch, she just had zero trust of the Hound and instead settled down so her face was hid.

" I've been thinking about you...and what you might do once we are returned. " Sansa started in a low voice while letting him cut at her hair.

" You could join Rob's King Guard. Watch over the new Lady Stark even if you saw fit to." Sansa picked clovers that grew near where she was settled. Again her fingers started to weave the weeds together. She knew the Hound had no interest in joining another King's Guard, it was a stressful under paid job that few wanted. But she wanted him to know how much she trusted him, not with just her own life but with the lives of those she was closest to.
" I bet. Lady Stark is beautiful. " Sansa stated simply before glancing over towards the Twins again.

XXXXXX

He grabbed a piece of uneven hair and began to slice away as she spoke of her vision for him of the future. Despite his sour mood, he did attempt to be as gentle as possible. He didn't announce he had finished, but placed the blade down and instead grabbed her by her shoulders and pressed his lips close to her ear. " Hear me now, I will never bend the knee to any King for the rest of my life." He pushed her away from him, and he stood, gathering up his belongings. "Once you two are back home, I am off. Maybe I will disappear, go jump on a ship and sail off to some unknown corner of the world. All I know is I will never again be some fucking King's pet."

He paused for a moment to look at his completed work. It wasn't the best, but it was indeed a better version than what she was currently sporting. "You better clean yourself up and get dressed; you and your sister have a wedding to attend."

XXXXXX

Sansa glance up to lock eyes on Sandor, she gave a frown towards his harshness. " I'm sorry you have hated this." A part of her truly felt as though the man had hated this whole journey with her and now Arya. Blue eyes then scanned back down to the clovers in her hands.

" We can't go till after the wedding. It will only take eyes from the bride. It will be another slap in the face towards the Freys if we show up before." Sansa had been thinking about seeing her mother and brother for weeks now, but she knew things like this had to be done the proper way.

" After dark, you will hand us off and have your gold." She stated a bit more spiteful before standing and making her way to the creek to wash her hands and face off.

XXXXXX

He did hate this journey. Before all of this, he didn't have to face his own humanity, he was allowed to be just a monster and not a man. Now he was forced to feel emotions he shouldn't have and he hated that. He also hated knowing that all this was just temporary happiness...and sadly, despite the hell they have been put through upon this journey, was the most happiness he had ever experienced in his lifetime.

His had rose up to his scarred face and brushed his fingertips over the spot where velvety lips once kissed. He knew once she was back in the hands of her family, she will resume the roles of her class. She will marry a nobleman, she will birth an heir and she will walk the same path as her mother, grandmother and female ancestors before her. That, unfortunately, was just how life was and to Sandor such traditions were outdated bullshit.

"It better be double, cause now I have another to drag back!" He shouted at her as she went off. " Stupid cunts the whole lot of you."

"Well aren't you just a happy clam." Arya chimed in as she came towards the small camp to grab a swig of water. "You know she can't stand you either." Arya sensed his struggle and knew the cords to pull to grow his frustration. "She thinks you're a horrid monster and you use to scare her greatly when we were in King's Landing. She is just being nice because she wants to go home. She doesn't really like you. No one likes you."

"I hope to you choke on your fucking tongue." He cursed her back, but he knew that she spoke the truth. He was just a dog guiding back the lost. Once returned he will be thrown some scraps of gratitude and then be thrown out in the cold, for dogs are never meant to sit at the tables of his betters.

XXXXXX

Before Sansa cupped up water to wash her face she looked at her reflection in the still waters. Letting out a shaken breathe as her hand drifted up to touch her freshly trimmed hair. Not the best, she had an awful thought of the items she would give up to have her long locks back.

Odd feelings mixed in her guts as she knelt there at the creek. Sadness she felt, along with attraction. One she knew too much about and the other she knew nothing about. But as she sat there just looking at her reflection she felt her heart swell. Tears flooded her eyes, which lead to two large drops streaming down her face.

If what he said was true, and this was nothing more than a way to make coin, why did he kiss? Why did he look at her the way he did? Why even call her the same pet name he called his whores? It was enough to drive Sansa mad. And her final thought was why did she want him to never stop looking her way, or addressing her as his bird. Why did she want her lips to swell under his and be suffocated by his form again?

Why indeed. But she had no answers and staring in the creek like this would not help so she slashed the water in front of her to drag herself out of this useless daze.

XXXXXX

Cloaked to conceal his face, Sandor and the girls made their way closer to the castle. If it were up to him he would drop them off immediately, but he respected what Sansa said and agreed to wait.

He found a spot where they could watch the festivities yet stay concealed until it was time. There were many Freys and Boltons scattered about and at times the Hound swore he caught signals being exchanged amongst the guards. He had almost forgotten about the Bolton guards at the inn when Beric and Thoros came into the picture. Battling fire was far more concerning than tracking guards.

"You ready?" He questioned the girls when it was growing near to them moving forward. "I will unhitch Stranger and we will ride up. We will attempt the main gate first and if we get turned away, we will go through the servant's quarters."

XXXXXX

Sansa nodded but down deep she felt very unsure. " They might be mad...us just showing up like this." Sansa was on edge with her nerves and couldn't take her sight off the castle.

" Mother won't give two shits. She's never liked the Frey family. Their nasty and too many of them. " Arya looked her sister over. " You better never pop out children like that. Litters at a time."

" The only reason he has so many is due to how many brides he has taken in. Some as young as you." Sansa stated as they started to load up on Stranger's back.

" You lie. Who would want a little girl?" Arya exclaimed.

" I once heard King Robert saying if it bleeds it breeds. Doesn't mean it's ready to be a bride. Doesn't mean it's not either..." Sansa stated this from her own outlook, and she hoped that this statement took Sandor's mind a ways back without directly saying it to him. " Our parents had six children and one ward. It's not like mother didn't have a litter " Sansa then added with a laugh.

XXXXXX

"You two shut up!" He hissed as he begrudgingly assisted Arya up on Stranger. "I am not waiting on anyone, we are here and we are going in!" He scolded. "If they aren't happy about it than they can go fuck off!" He climbed up and commanded Stranger to move onward.

There was a heavy feeling in the pit of his stomach. It was that primitive sensation that warned him that something was wrong. The air felt heavy with impending doom, but filled with the vibrant sound of music and laughter. "The bedding ceremony!" Some random voice cried out and a wave of cheers rang through.

Sandor turned his head towards the girls. " Well it looks like we got here at the right moment." He began to go forward to the front gates but something made him pause. "I think it will be best to go through the servant's quarters." He spun Stranger around and pulled his hood further down over his head. Coming to the gate he was greeted by guard. "Who are ya?" The man lurched forward to cast a light over the trio.
"We have barrels of ale." The Hound stated, keeping his scarred face away from the sweep of the open flame.

"Are you touched in the head?!" The guard question as he only viewed a boy and a girl behind him and certainly no barrels of ale.

"We have the cart around front. It broke a wheel." The Hound responded as the haunting notes of the Rains of Castamere kissed the night winds.

XXXXXX

Sansa held to Clegane, looking over his side as at the many soldiers walking about the front gates. Then all of a sudden she felt the weight that was wrapped around her own frame leave.

Sansa turned her head to look and watch her younger sister make a run through the gates. The guards watched and one went after her but she slipped by.

The guard speaking with the Hound rolled his eyes. " Go get your youngin'. Now! Leave your horse here." The guard ordered Sandor.

Sansa wasted no time to slip off Stranger and look about, but then she noticed an odd odor. " Your other one can stay here too. Nothing in there a lady should see."

Sansa assumed he was talking about the bedding. " I'll be fine." She assured the Hound and reach for his hand, playing the role as his daughter well enough to be believed.

XXXXXX

Screams were heard, faint at first but then increased and the sound of fighting began as they heard metal clash upon metal. Men rushed through, ignoring the pair, their swords drawn as they ran towards the main entrance. The man speaking to them bolted the door when the last one ran out, only to hear pounding coming from behind the wooden frame.

He didn't need to question what was going on. In a split of a second he had turned Stranger around and scooped Sansa back up. "It is an attack!" He informed her as he rushed towards the front.

They got to witness with their own eyes the destruction that would be known as the Red Wedding in historical events. Stark soldiers slaughter as they celebrated, Rob's direwolf killed and its head mounted on a stake. Cries that they killed the King, the Queen and the King' mother. Blood, guts, flesh and pleas painted the scene that once held merriment and cheer.

He raced towards the edge of the woods and jumped down. He scooped her up in his arms and placed her down in the high bushes, removing his cloak and placing it over her. " You make not a single movement. Not one word, not one cry" He pulled from his side a dagger and placed it in her hands." I am going back for your sister. If they come you fight, you kill and you run. You are strong, you will survive."

XXXXXX

Sansa couldn't believe what had just happened before her own eyes. What they had just road through. And Arya was out there in the middle of it. Sansa didn't even blink when she was given her orders. Simply she settled into the bush before he headed out, unable to speak.

It seemed like he was gone for ages but Sansa lost all focus. The only images that flashed in her mind were the bodies. The only sounds she could hear were the screaming soldiers. But then after a while it all went quite. Her head leaned against the tree as she listened for anything off in the distance. Anything.

After a while she felt her guts twist, was Sandor coming back? Was he even alive? At the sound of a horse coming back her way she slowly shuffled the bushes apart. It was Stranger, so she stood. But when she saw only Sandor riding on the jet black horse her face crumbled like a paper doll. He hadn't found her, and there was nothing either could do.

XXXXXX

Covered in blood, it was obvious he witnessed combat, but his face held a solemn expression as he approached. How was he going to tell her how he found her family? Or how he couldn't find Arya anywhere. Did they capture her? Was she hurt? He had issues with the young Stark , and though she wished him death, he would of faced such a thing if it meant saving her.

Jumping off of Stranger, he approached her. He didn't need to say a word at that moment. His facial expression told her everything she feared to be true.

XXXXXX

Sansa rose a hand up and touched the side of her own face before letting out a shaken breathe. The small amount of pride the young lady had left in her broke. A tightened jaw line trembled as she looked about as if to find answers there in the bushes she stood in.

" We...need to go away from here." Was all she managed to say before filling her guts twist so hard and her mouth water before having to literally lean over and grab at a tree to steady herself. Tossing up her insides due to this scene making her sick.

It wasn't uncommon for death and war to turn the stomachs of those not use to it. Sansa remained leaned over crying silently. Broken was all she felt. Who did she run to now? All she had was now gone.

XXXXXX

Many called him a monster. It was an image he had upheld for the majority of his life. Emotions, as he was taught early on, were for the weak. Many times he witnessed a woman cried, even his late mother, and he remained untouched, cold and removed.

Unknowingly he moved. He didn't choose to do so; he had wanted to give her space. He moved again, closer this time to where she sobbed. Closer, till his feet met the edges of her pooled dress. He lifted her up; her full weight supported by his arms and brought her to his chest. His hand gently stroked against her chopped mane as he allowed her to cry, scream, fight or whatever she needed at that moment.

That was the moment he would realize years later, when he was introduced to his human self, the man he was truly meant to be but was forced to destroy when his face kissed fire.

He didn't make her any promises, knowing her heart could not take another broken word. He didn't vow vengeance, because he knew no amount of new death can resurrect old death. He just allowed himself to be there for her.

XXXXXX

Sansa didn't scream at him, or send wrongful guilt his way. Even when this tore up she knew whose fault this actually was. Instead of banging on his chest she wrapped her arms around his neck. She trembled and tried her best to stop her sobbing.

Once she stopped crying enough to speak she lifted her head off him and looked his bloody face over.

" You're-okay?" It wasn't the first thought by any means, but the words were choked out as her hand lifted to wipe the blood from under his eye. " Ri-ght? You have-to be." Her face crumbled again. " I don't have any-one else."

He nodded but didn't say a word. He had seen gruesome deaths in his time, but these ones hit him on a different level.

XXXXXX

"We need to go." He spoke just above a whisper as he brought his hands to her face and lift it up to study her tear-stain visage. "We need to go." He repeated it but slightly more audible. He lifted her up and placed her upon the horse and mounted behind her so that she could lean against him. Without a set direction he just rode. Rode until the sun had set upon the land and the stars illuminated the night sky.

When she would wake the next morning though, they did have a set course. He knew she was not without family and he was determined to see her safe with her own blood. "We are going to the Vale." He said when he saw her sights take in the scenery. "You should be safe there."

Chapter Text

YOU ARE MORE

" My aunt. My crazy aunt... "Sansa shifted and noticed how bright it was getting. They had road all night and that meant Sandor had not rested at all. " The Vale is a month away if not more..." She also stated. Her body started wiggling from stiffness. Her hands drifted up to her eyes where she rubbed the tear stain from them.

" You need to rest. " she told him before lowering her hands, her eyes red from the heaving crying through the night and eye rubbing.

" You need a bath too. We'll use that coin the miners gave us. " Sansa had never seen those coins as her own, she just assumed it was to use on their trip. Sansa let out a heavy breath before looking around. " If not a inn then we camp." Her voice was so weak. She found the only thing keeping her mind from what happened was worrying over Sandor.

"Two months, if the weather holds." He provided a more accurate timeframe. "They have a strong army and you will have their protection. You are not dead and that means you are possibly being hunted. I promised you to keep you safe."

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His eyes were bloodshot and he still wore the blood of the men he killed. He didn't care. He needed to distance her from all of that as quickly as possible and to him they were still too close. "Don't worry about me." He should be the last thing worrying her mind.

From that day forward he became extra cautious of her. When staying at inns, he would remain awake and guard the door. When camping, he stay as close to her as possible. If he slept, it was rare. He needed to be alert for her safety.

He was right in his timeline. It took closer to three months travel than Sansa's estimated one, due to weather, but they finally made it.

This land was breathtaking in its natural beauty and the majestic mountains that it was known for. It was the imagery spoken in Sansa's fairytales, describing lands that were full of magic and wonder.

Sandor had found a nice plot of land to settle down for their last camp. It was in a small valley surrounded by dark green mossy rocks and a roaring waterfall, that brought crisp, cold water down from the snow capped mountains.

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It was a lot warmer in this area, no need for over sized cloaks or vests. Also something new the pair had found was the game in the area. Both were so sick of rabbit, it was ridiculous. But today in one of the set traps a wild chicken had been caught.

Sansa had learned a great deal about taking care of herself. A part of her was forever gone, childlike innocence was taken from her during the red wedding.

She had grown ever close to Sandor. Often neither had to speak to know what the other was thinking. But right now as Sandor took care of his own personal business ,Sansa stepped up to a pecking chicken. Its leg was wrapped in a wire, it couldn't get away.

Once she figured out how to grab the bird and thinking back to seeing her father snatch a chicken up, did she approach it and grab it just as she was taught as a child. She snapped the animal's neck which led to a quick death. She then happily unwrapped the bird's leg and started trotting back to where she had left Sandor.

" Look!" She exclaimed as she held up the bird. They hadn't had meat in days due to moving so much.

" You said it was your favorite once did you not!?" This was the first time in a long time that the young girl even looked semi excited and it was over a dead bird.

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He had set camp up early, to allow them the entire day and night to rest before heading to the castle. He found a flat, large rock that was embedded on the shoreline, but near the waterfall to feel the cool sprays of droplets dancing in the air; his fingers sketching their daily ritual of a now worn out, frayed 'S' and the symbol of a house now fallen.

When she came up to him, he first noticed the proud expression painted on her face before noticing the actual prize she held. Chicken! His mouth watered at the sight of such delight. If he had believed in the Gods, he would of praised them right there and then. Instead he jumped down from his spot with a boyish grin on his face and hunger in his eyes. "Got me a present did ya?" He happily took hold of the bird. "Come on, woman, let's get this bird eaten!"

It didn't take long for him to prep and set the bird up to roast over their fire. The smell was enticing, but so worth the wait. "There is nothing in the world I love more than you." Such beautiful sentimental words were spoken to a roasting carcass. The man was love struck.

"Well since you got me something, I suppose I shall return the favor." He finally pulled his eyes off the bird to look at her. "Close your eyes." He demanded.

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" No. Last time you told me to close my eyes you put a grasshopper in my hand. I'm not foolish." She stated as she sat there on the ground and twisted small yellow wild flowers together.

Sansa lifted her gaze and looked at him. " I hope you plan on us eating that chicken. The way you are talking to it makes me think you want to bed it." She stated before finishing the small flower crown and placing it on top of her head. Her hair was growing fast, already nearly touching her shoulders, giving a slight curl at the end.

" So what are you giving me?" She asked before looking up his way. " I doubt I will love it as much as you love that bird." She reach her hand up so he would help her stand on up.

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"Don't tempt me." He teased. " I just might." He laughed at her suggestion of bedding the chicken. Though he still had his miserable moods, there were days, such as this one, where he was more carefree and somewhat happy. He grabbed her hand and yanked her up so hard that she stumbled into his arms and he pulled her over the fireside. He turned around briefly to pull something from his bag and quickly placed it behind his back. Dancing around wandering eyes, he got behind her and placed his one hand over her eyes. "Trust me." He whispered. "Open your hands."

When she did she would be presented with a small pouch of lemon sugar sweets, which he secured from the last village they traveled through, and a tiny handcrafted bird, that he worked on each night while she slept.

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Sansa stood there trusting this man who now had a hand over her eyes. Before he revealed what her gift(s) were the smell of lemon hit her. After all it was her favorite.

Once his hand dropped she looked in his large palm. Her eyes scanning over the fine detail of the carved bird. Over the past few months she had caught him from time to time with something he refused to tell her, her curious mind wondered if this was it.

Sansa had always liked getting nice things, who didn't. But getting something so on point from a man like Sandor meant something slightly more than other gifts she had received in the past.

She didn't even touch them from his palm before turning around and leaping to hug the giant of a man fully around the neck. She hadn't embraced him like this since the night of the Red Wedding.

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He didn't understand the protocol of gift giving very well. So when she hugged him, he was taken slightly aback having not expected such a reaction. With the gifts still in hand, he wrapped his arm around her and welcomed the embrace. "Was going to get you a pair of shears, glad I didn't."

To say he enjoyed his dinner was an understatement. He suckled every bone clean of flesh and even gnawed on few.
With bellies full, there wasn't anything to do now but just wait till morning.

Sandor laid back on his bed roll, and gazed up at the multitude of stars sprayed against the midnight blue hue of the night sky and the pale full moon casting its ghostly alabaster glow down upon the sleeping land. It was a cloudless night and so it felt they could see all of the Heavens and beyond. When he was a boy his Maester use to teach him astrology and showed him how to find their stories painted in the sky. "Psst " He called as he waited for her to look at him. "Little Bird..."A chicken bone was flung, to grab her attention, popping her in the arm.

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Sansa wasn't asleep, her attention was given at his 'psst' but then the chicken bone was tossed which lead her to pick it back up and toss back to him.

" Why the hell you whispering if you're trying to wake me? I'm not asleep." She told him as she rose on up to show he had her full attention.

" What do you want?" She asked before taking her pillow and tossing it to the side of his chest where she then shuffled over. Sansa then laid her head on down on the pillow, now staring at the same section of sky he was looking at.

" Is this enough attention?"

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"IF YOU WANTED ME TO FUCKING SHOUT WHEN WAKING YOU UP, I WILL FROM NOW ON!" His face scrunched up in its normal sour form, before giving her a jesting smirk; though a small voice in his head reminded him that there will be no more waking her up, or even moments like this. He pushed this away, vowing to at least enjoy the time given. Tomorrow he would face that, but tonight he could at least pretend they still has hundreds of miles to cover.

Settling himself down , he point up to a cluster of stars. "The direwolf, constellation, Maugrim." It was a cluster of stars rarely, if ever seen, down South and even up North due to snowy clouds. It was usually considered a good omen, if a person believed in such a thing.

"It usually means that your journey will be safe from harm. Sailors cherish the site of it, since on the seas it means their ships won't crash into rocks. Perhaps for you, this means you have someone looking down, watching over you while you complete your journey." He didn't believe in Gods or spirits. He believed dead was dead, and when you died that was the end. But he knew, she wasn't like him, she held onto those traditions of hope. She lost everyone who had ever loved her in an instant, he could at least give her a sliver of hope that they still watched over her.

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Sansa was settled there with her rolled up cloth that she had formed into a pillow, locking sight on to the sky above as he spoke of the tales and gods that were up there.

" No stars have been watching over me the past half year..." She paused just long enough to think about how tomorrow her life would once again change. The thoughts made her realize that unsaid thank you(s) and questions needed out of the way. " Only you have been there. So don't give your credit away to the stars."

Sansa then shifted up so she could fully look down at Sandor who laid there flat. "I owe you my life...and you will never know how grateful I am towards you." Her blue eyes were locked with his while she spoke but they flickered down for just a spit second on to the now covered with a beard lips that once kissed her so roughly. Only for a second before she locked back the connection with his own hues.
" Thank you is not enough from me..."

XXXXXX

There in the casted light of a moon's hue, he admired her beauty. It was not just her physical beauty that was captivating, but the beauty of her soul. It was pure, raw and untainted by the horrors of the world; even after all she went through.

" I just want you to know that I am not leaving your side. I will swear an oath to your Aunt if I have too and be a knight of the Vale, or work in the kitchens, but I will not leave until I know you are happy." He paused, lifting himself up to face her. "You must try to find some happiness in this cruel world, but the second you feel that this is not the place for you let me know and we are gone. I will search the ends of the world for your kin. If we have to we will go North to the Wall, or back to Riverrun, anywhere until we find you a place to call home."

He may not have always been a man of his word, but at that moment that was the first vow he swore to himself he will keep. She deserved a chance, and he was hell bent on making that a possibility.

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Sansa listened carefully, but as he shifted she fully raised her head from his body. Facing him, being this close and speaking this lightly was new. Untouched territory Sansa thought to herself, then noticing her eyes flicker downward once more to his mouth. But it all wasn't foreign to her. One night in particular came to mind.

Mentally she scolded herself thinking of that night and forced her eyes up to face his brow line again. Both their eyes shined due to the full moon. It seemed to hang lower in these lands than in any other they had traveled through.

Sansa had most her weight on her hip and one hand pressed to Sandor's roll out. Giving a nod she gave a weak smile. " You said no more kneeling for Kings, but you never said you would not serve a Lady. " she told him before her free hand slowly lifted.

Slim finger tips found their way to the burnt half of his face. " You will not be my Hound though. You are more than that...if to only me, you are."

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It was unfamiliar territory for him as well, but if he was honest with himself, it was welcoming just as much as it was terrifying. But he was just a Hound. He was a wanted man by the King; he had no lands, no money, no title. What could he offer her? He knew once she was settled back to some routine of normalcy that she would forget moments like this. She would look back on this time and realize that whatever emotions she thought she had was simply fleeting feelings of a young girl.

When she touched his face, he closed his eyes for a moment to savor the sensation a delicate, human touch felt. He grasped her hand as she spoke. He wanted to believe her words, he wanted to hope that someday that may be true, but he was a rational man. He pulled her hand from him, his expression transformed back into a scorn. "Go to bed, girl." He spoke with a frigid tone before turning his back to her and curling up on his bed roll.

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Sansa watched the man roll over and fully sat up, pulling one knee to her frame to wrap her arms around. " I thought fire was the only thing that frightened you. But it's not. Being accepted does the same. Maybe more so than fire." She told him while they kept their backs to each other.

" ...If you think about it, it all goes back to that same day you became frightened of fire. Your father covered up for Gregor. If a father won't choose you as their favorite then what chance will the rest of the world?" Sansa stated before looking back at him.

" Do you recall telling me that story? Drunk on wine in that house you told me it all. That was the first time you showed you were human and lost."

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Why couldn't she just shut up and go to bed?! Why did she have to analyze him and try to make him be more than the beast he was? Bringing up memories was making his skin crawl. It was not the memories of his childhood, it was the memories of that house.

His mind began to play those events despite how much he tried to avoid them. He was wrong in laying his lips upon hers. She trusted him, and he betrayed said trust. He should have never touched her. He should have never allowed himself to be drawn to her. He curled his arms around himself, his throat making guttural sound.

"Yesss" He growled like a disturbed dog when she questioned him.

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"Then you remember kissing me. Not that it mattered then or now even." Sansa had not brought this topic up since the event. So much had happened but it still lingered in her daily thoughts.

Her voice fell lighter than it may have ever with the Hound, even back at King's Landing. Nervous maybe? Or just stepping light on these topics. " Was it the wine? Or..." she couldn't send the words out into the open but she figured he would understand due to the topic that was now on the table.

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He pounded his fist on the ground in frustration. "Stupid girl!" He sat up and looked at her.

" What do you want me to say?! That you have captivated me? That your wit and your charms have seduced me into this whirlwind of emotions?! How I can't bear to think that you are and never will be mine? Sorry, girl, I am not one of your dashing knights from your silly fucking stories. I am not going to spew out poetic declarations of love so don't hold your breath!" He huffed as he gazed into her blue pools. " It was the wine and nothing more." His voice grunted as he spun back around to face away from her.

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Sansa kept her face turned to his, due to all this traveling him yelling at her was nothing new. She no longer even flinched at his harsh voice when it rose.

" I never asked for you to give me any sort of what you're talking about! I know you're not a knight. I also know you could have been one, still could be one. But dashing you are not. You are a hateful spiteful man who thinks he knows more than all the Seven kingdoms put together. And I see this. You're not charming, but that's because you chose not to be. You're not naturally mean. You try to be. You're trying to be right now by lying. It was not just the bloody wine and I know it." She said all this to him as strongly as any king or queen had ever spoke to the Hound. She meant every word too.

" And if it was then why did you stop?"

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She knew how to ram a dagger into someone's guts and twist. Unfortunately there was no escaping this; she was determined to see this entirely through. He couldn't blame her, she was a confused girl and her emotions are all over the place. He should have explained it to her. Told her how wrong and ashamed he was for ever seeing her like that. How the touch of compassion on a scarred soul ignited a fire that burned deeper than the one that burned his flesh. It was his fault, they were in this predicament.

He turned and grabbed her face in his hands, just like he had the night of the Red Wedding. He didn't scream, shout, growl or groan. He just spoke. "Listen, whatever it is you think you are feeling it goes away. You don't want me. You don't want to think of me in anyway but as the dog who guides you. Your heart is too special to give it away to someone undeserving of it, and I am. Think of these moments like being tipsy off of too much wine. The feeling is wonderful, euphoric and makes your heart flutter, but tomorrow when you wake up you are sick and disgusted with the thoughts of the night before." He paused in thought to look at her. The pad of his thumb traced over the edge of her defined cheek bone. "You are just a silly girl lost in hopeful dreams of fancy; don't allow them to dilute your reality."

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" And you're a liar." She stated in the same tone as before. Sansa never pulled or pushed on towards him, both of his mammoth sized hands held her face while they starred at each other.

" I may be young and foolish. But, I have seen the sort of men society would pair with me due to simply just my name be Stark. I doubt any of those men would have stopped sober the way you halted yourself while drunk, because you give a damn even though you don't want to. I've known since I heard you with that whore. And I'm not mad. I should be. I should want to run from you. But instead I worry about tonight being the last night we argue. "

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"Me too Little Bird." He whispered as he drew ever so close to her, hovering over her lips. "I could take you away right now and marry you. Spend the rest of our lives in that house in the woods." Instead of kissing her lips he kissed her blushed cheek. "Have our own litter of pups and live life in peace, away from this fucking world of Kings and Queens." He kissed her other cheek. "But that is only my fantasy, and fantasies are not real, just comforting thoughts to get us through each miserable day." His thumb swept over her lips, sketching a mental image of their curvature and softness into his mind's memory core. "You will never understand the power you possess." He finally dipped his head down and whispery pressed his lips against her own.

The huffs of Stranger's aggravation from being disturbed broke the spell that had captivated them. The black stallion rushed through the open area as the sounds of multiple hooves and the clattering of armor would follow. Sandor broke his gaze though his hands still held her face, to look up and to see armored men begin to surround them. He immediately jumped up, grabbing his sword and readying himself to fight.

"Lower your weapon! By order of Lady Lysa Baelish, Lady Regent of the Vale, we have orders to bring back Lady Sansa Stark and her kidnapper, former Knightsguard, Sandor Clegane." The head guard shouted down to them.

Clegane slowly lowered his sword and turned to look at Sansa as guards began to close in on them, confirming their identities by the obvious description of the man known as the Hound. It appeared they would be meeting with her Aunt sooner than expected.

Chapter Text

A NIGHT IN THE VALE

Sansa stood on up, all things important to her were nested away in the pocket of the dress she wore. The guards marched them on back towards the Vale, a castle Sansa had grown up hearing about but never once placed her sights on. The road was like a maze between two cliffs. Quickly it was seen as to why none had ever taken it by force.

Sansa let a few feet of space linger between her and Clegane. Her mind was all mixed up; he had in simple words cast all feelings towards her away. Then he kissed her another three times. No wine lingered on his mouth this time either. The situation and way of handling it made her feel slightly less than herself, along with feeling used. Sansa was after all a princess, to kiss one without emotion laced had taken the lives of many men in the past.

But as they grew closer she fell back until he was next to her, her blue pleading eyes scanning over towards him. " Did you really mean it...that you would stay with me?" Sansa asked truly unsure.

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He was forbidden to ride Stranger, but was allowed to lead the horse as the gang of knights guided them up through the mountains. The terrain was steep, rocky and at times slippery, causing even the expert guards to halt at times to allow their horses to catch their footing. It was definitely a kingdom of mountains, beautiful yet dangerous. A spare horse was offered to Sansa, but why she wasn't on it and instead choosing to walk, was unknown to Sandor.

When she approached him and questioned him, he looked on her with those forlorn hues and nodded. He stopped in his tracts which caused the men behind him to shout. "Keep moving, dog!"

"Fuck off!" He cursed back, ignoring their demands. "Your feet are going to be covered in blisters and raw by the time we get there. " He spoke to her and then scooped her up and placed her upon his horse. " I will not leave your side, m'lady, until the day comes when you ask me to." His callused hand squeezed her own for a moment before returning to his steady pace. "They called your aunt, Lady Baelish. " He was perplex as to why she now held the surname of that horrid weasel, but knew Sansa had just as much information as he did.

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" Last time I spoke with Lord Baelish he told me he had plans to visit the Eerie. Maybe those plans lead to him marrying my aunt. It's not that shocking. He loved my mother. I've always been told my mother and aunt look a lot alike. That might be my least favorite part of coming here." Sansa admitted to him they entered the last stretch where the gates could be seen.

" If Littlefinger is here then all of the Seven Kingdoms will soon know where I am. He has a nasty reputation for telling all he knows." Sansa added.

The guards allowed the pair to enter together. The halls were marbled over, the walls all neatly decorated and lined with odd arts that had been collected over time. It was the nicest place the pair had been during their travels together. But as they rounded the corner and stepped into the throne room, the sight they greeted them halted Sansa faster than anything she had seen.

A boy, about the age of Arya was there placed on his mother's lap suckling at her breast. " What in the Seven Hells..." Sansa muttered just loud enough for Sandor to hear.

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Sandor almost busted out laughing when Sansa openly proclaimed her shocked. He was proud at her openness, cause if she didn't say anything he certainly will and still may. His face twisted into one of disgust and confusion at the sight of the pair, mounted on the high throne with the suckling sound echoing throughout the crowd. It seemed this was a perfectly natural occurrence since the court attendance seemed not bothered by the sight. He immediately regretted even suggesting this as an option for Sansa.

"My beautiful girl, you are truly an image of your late mother. My poor, poor niece. Look my love..." Lady Lysa lifted her boy's head to view the crowd, her slender finger wiping away a droplet of milk from his chin. "Say hello to your dear cousin Sansa."

He whispered a greeting in a babyish voice. "Welcome, cousin Sansa." He scanned over to look at the monstrous man standing next to her and began to wail. "Momma, momma, that monster scares me. Let's make him fly...pllleeaaasssee!"

Sandor looked at Sansa with a 'What the fuck' expression on his face.

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Sansa knew good and well that this was her part of the deal; he had gotten her here now she had to state their case.

" Aunt Lysa, thank you for welcoming us in your kingdom. This is Sandor Clegane, he saved me from King's Landing, and he has chosen to remain my guard-"

" Your guard? Was he not Joffrey's guard? The man you agreed to marry?" Her aunt question.

" Yes. He was. And yes, before my father's murder I did agree to wed him. But that was before-"

" He choked on his wedding day a week ago." Again her Aunt interrupted Sansa.

Sansa forgot all of what she was saying and locked eyes with her aunt. " What?"

" Yes. Someone slipped poison in his wine. Dead. Died in his mother's arms is what I was told." Lysa explained.

Sansa couldn't help the smile that crept over her face, quickly her hand lifted to hide her delight in this news.

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"There are claims that he was murdered." The elegant voice spoke from the shadows, but soon the image came to view. Tall, slender and groomed to a fashion popular in the Vale, Lord Baelish appeared. His lips were curled into a warm, welcoming smile, but his eyes, to Sandor, seemed malicious in intent. "These claims state that he was poisoned...retaliation." His eyes casted down over Sansa.

"You saying she killed him?" The Hound caught on to what the weasel was saying, but was ignored as the man kept his gaze upon Sansa. "Rumors are spreading...your dog was witnessed at the Red Wedding." He paused just a few feet from her "Lady Sansa..." He scooped her hand into his and planted a kiss upon it. " Pray, accept my condolences. Your mother..." A genuine expression of sadness took over the man for a moment. " I am sorry we are meeting again under such circumstances, but you are safe within these walls and under our guard. We knew once the rumors began that you were innocent and I vowed to my beloved to find you. When we heard word that you were already in our lands, I sent out half of our fleet to search for you."

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" I've been in nothing but good company since leaving King's Landing. " she left out the issues with the Brotherhood they had on the way, it was best.

"Clegane would like to stay on here as a personal guardian. " Sansa explained refusing to use his common title.

" I'm sure he would." Her Aunt chirped and walked on down from her thrown. " How have you been paying him? With your body? "

Sansa's expression fell, " No...he never."

" No man never(s)." Lysa stated harshly. " The sooner you learn that the better. "

Littlefinger glanced to his new bride. " No need to make assumptions of this situation. The Hound has always been a loyal guard. But the tables are turning in the Kingdom. It happens with every passing king. "

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Where the Hound was brutally honest and open about whom he was, Littlefinger was the exact opposite.

"My love...we should be honored and happy that this man assisted our dear niece safely here to us. Let's get you settled in." Yes, his words were sugarcoated in kindness, but Sandor knew he was nothing but poison underneath. He was, after all, the one who had to clean up the corpses of dead whores that Baelish brought to present to the King to gain good favor. He knew too well the things this man was capable of. He may not be the one to stab a man, but he will definitely be the one to place the dagger into the assassin's hands and place him in front of the victim.

"Yes...you are right my darling." The woman cooed with a lustful tone and clapped her hands to summon a cluster of servants to come for the pair. "Take them to freshen up and we will meet later for a nice dinner to welcome my dear niece home." She looked down at her boy who was currently suckling his thumb in place of her tit. " Would you like that my little angel?" She brushed the boy's hair from his eyes. " I want the monster to fly, momma!" He demanded again and Lysa looked at Sandor. " Hush now, another time maybe." She hissed at the man.

Immediately Sansa was escorted away, and when Sandor attempted to follow, he was escorted in the opposite direction. "Don't worry..." Littlefinger assured the man. " You will see her again at dinner. Now go freshen up."

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Sansa was lead down to the underground hot springs. This was the only feature that this castle had that remotely made her think of her Winterfell home. The natural hot spring was sectioned off for men and women to use at the same time. A plant based wall separated and divided it for this use. Candles were everywhere which made shadows shine through the paper like wall.

Sansa walked slowly inside the chamber and looked about. The room was just stone and had a slight draft, where it came from she could not tell. The water had a slight steam over top of it, which looked so welcoming. A bath while traveling was few, a hot one was even rarer than the chicken they caught. She stood for a moment before she settled her new skirts down on a stone table before her hands started to unclasp the dress she wore .

The room was so quite that the light patting of her bare feet to the stone floor nearly echo. Slowly she made her way to the edge of the pool and settled on down to slip on in. Sansa remained seated with just her knees in while she grew use to the heat. The young child had no idea that others could be in there with her without her knowledge.

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He hated the facade. They may not be in King's Landing any longer, but the games of trickery and deceit were still in full force here as they been there. The same instinctual sensation that he had regarding the Boltons, he now had with Littlefinger and Lysa. He knew he had to keep a watchful eye and maybe plan on their escape soon. Still a doubt rooted itself in him. Maybe, just maybe, they did have good intentions for her. Her death would not benefit anyone whereas her life may. Sure, she may be married off to some Lord, but that was what was always intended for her since birth. He sighed as he faced the possibility that he was simply looking for a reason to take her off with him.

"Um..." A feeble voice trembled as a young man peered from the chamber door. "Please follow me...ser...the baths are ready." The Hound was given basic quarters, those mainly given to the man servants of nobility when visiting. It had a bed, it had a hearth and it had an eagle's view of the Vale. He would play along for a bit; it couldn't hurt to spend a little time enjoying the luxuries of a warm bed, food and a hot bath before deciding to race off back into the world.

He followed the lad, who kept looking back over his shoulder with a nervous glance. "Keep looking at me, boy and I will eat your liver." He growled, making the boy almost stumble over his feet. Yes, the Hound still enjoyed the pleasures of making others uncomfortable in his presence.

Once in the baths, the young man attempted to help the beast with his clothes only to be swatted away. "GET YOUR FUCKING PAWS OFF ME!" He shouted. " I can undress myself."

The sensation of the heat was a welcoming one against his tired skin. He sunk into the depths with a pleasurable moan, willing to drown in the extreme bliss of heated water.

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Sansa jumped at the roaring voice of Sandor entering the room. Her frame nearly plunged on into the water as she watched shadows move around the wall. She then heard feet move quickly and the sound of a door. Sansa knew his voice but his shadow didn't come through well due to his distance and Sansa herself was only about a foot or so away from the thin barrier.

" Is that you?" She asked as she peeled her eyes from the wall and kicked her legs in the water while leaning back to stretch her spin as she slowly started to slip on into the pool.

" Even when we think we're away from the other...funny isn't it."

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He had just emerged from dunking his head from the water when he heard her voice. "Who the fuck do you think it is?" He questioned back prior to shaking his head like a wet dog. "Are you okay?" He softly inquired as he leaned against the bath pool's wall. "I always heard your Aunt was a bit touched in the head, but seriously that fucking kid sucking on her tit is going to give me nightmares." He teased in a whisper. "What the fuck was he talking about, making me fly? Are you sorry I brought you here?"

He shifted closer to the barrier to see her shadowy form. "I guess you are happy to have at least a hot bath?" The few times at inns he would splurge for such a luxury for her, but even those were lukewarm compared to these waters.

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Sansa walked on over to the wall, when standing the water just touched over her navel. Since getting in she had not dunk her body in the water, it was a lot to adjust to.

" He is far too old for any sort of wet nurse. " Sansa stated as she crept to the wall and slowly lowered herself on to a stone seat. Her hands then drifted under the water where she realized the wall hug from the ceiling, but there was no barrier under the water. Her arm slipped under the plant based material and patted the other side.

" This is no thicker than a leaf. What's the bloody point?" Her hand then dropped back down to her own side.

" I'm fine. Didn't expect to be taking such a nice bath. She admitted as she sunk lower, slipping from the seat she was on.

Her eyes scanned up to Sandor's shadow. " We have to give this a chance. But so far I have my worries... I refuse to get my hopes up for now, that might be my issue." She admitted as she went completely under the water. When she came up her frame was right where his was at the wall, only a thin barrier keeping them apart as she pushed her hair out of her face. She could hear his breathing, and for some unknown, even to her, reason it made her smirk.

Quickly a playfulness came to Sansa, it was rare for the monotone lady to have this appear. Her hand went back under the barrier where she lightly pinched Sandor's side. Giggling followed.

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He grunted as she voiced her concerns, but didn't add to them. The heat and comfort was making him drowsy and he had found a comfortable spot. It was the perfect recipe to make one fall fast asleep. Even the sounds of her splashing and moving around didn't trigger him to stay alert. His eyelids went heavy as he sunk his head into his chest.

"What the fuck was that!" He yelped as he jumped up from the unexpected pinch to his midsection. He stood up, trying to search the water for the culprit. "Do they have fucking eels in these waters?" It wasn't until he calmed down that he noticed she was laughing. "Wait..." It finally dawned on him that she was the antagonist. "You fucking redheaded vixen bitch." He growled as he lowered himself back down in the water and began mocking her distinctive laugh.

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Sansa couldn't help but smile wider at his reaction. She tried to hold her laughter in. It had been a long time since she felt so relaxed that she allowed herself to laugh and do a carefree action. For months it had been traveling and riding with this once stranger but now closeness towards this man was like second nature.

" This water is too hot for anything other than us in it." She told him as she let her hand slip under once more to pinch at his upper ribs, " You are just mad you didn't think to scare me." She told him while attempting to let her hand flee again from under the barrier.

She got him again unexpectedly, but the second time he was quick and caught her hand before it escaped. "I am going to break your fingers, one by one." He threatened as he held her hand tightly with one of his own and grasped a slender digit with the other. "I can break them clean off they are so thin." He tapped on her tiniest digit, and slowly pulled it back then paused. "Nah, not this one." He teased as he selected another. "This one, maybe?" He pressed her middle digit and proceeded to pull it back. " Think how funny you will look with this finger missing." Again he bent it back and paused. "No, I should just take the whole hand just to be extra cautious. He wove his own fingers through her own and began to squeeze, showing off his strength.

Sansa just laughed more as he held her hand there on his side of the barrier, each time he choose another finger the tomb like room echoed with her laughter. Sansa had come a long way, back at King's Landing if the Hound had made such threats she would have cowardly pulled or even looked away. But now days she allowed him to grasp her hand fully and play with her.

" You will not." She let out as her laughter hushed slowly but surely. Their hand still laced together, each rubbing lightly against the other.

" Do you trust me enough to play a game?" Her voice softer down as her eyes locked on to the wall as if she could will it away just enough to make eye contact with him.

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He studied their connection intently for a moment. How her graceful, porcelain skinned hand contrasted next to his weather worn, battle scarred, sun kissed one. He could easily break every bone she had for she was so tiny compared to him.

For a brief moment, he wondered how it would feel to allow her hands to explore him, to have those digits run down his bare arms, or up his bare legs or even...

"Game?" He questioned snapping out of his own lustful thoughts. "Fine, I will humor you." He truly was surprised at how far they had come along, knowing the old Sansa would never even say two words to him willingly and now her she is wanting to indulge herself with his company. He truly treasured these moments.

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Sansa pulled her hand back to her side and sunk in the water to where her shoulders were fully covered over.

" Close your eyes and sit on your hands." She instructed him simply, and waited for him to agree to these terms.
When it came to anything physical with another, Sandor had been the only one, a handful of embraces with a pocket full of kisses. But being this close to him in the near dark made her want to go back to the argument they had just before coming here to the castle. She thought of a way to make her point, but Sandor was not one to surprise with such things. This was not a pinch to the side.

" And keep them closed and your hands still?"

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She could not see but a curious brow rose when she spoke her terms. "What the fuck kind of game is this?" He snorted in retaliation.

He was not one to give up control so easily and her demands were putting him in such a place. He considered saying he did, just to see what she had planned, but then had she not complied when he made his requests? He was always barking orders at her and she did them. He could give her this one.

"Fine." He submitted and shifted himself so his hands were underneath him and he closed his eyes.

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Sansa took in a shaken breathe once he agreed to this. Her head then went under the water while her hands guided her to his side, going completely under the barrier. She then plopped up to see his eyes fully closed as she asked. She knew he won't know where she was till touching him. Sansa moved slowly and made her way over towards him. The men's side of the bath was deeper but not enough to matter.

She let her knee hit his where he was settled on one of the rock seats. She finally let out the breath she had taken in before diving over to this side. Goosebumps covered the skin that she allowed air to hit, and slowly she walked over and placed herself in a sitting position on his knee.

" Don't move..." she whispered to him.

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He swore the sound of his heart drumming against his chest was echoing the room, when he felt her switch over sides and came to rest on his knee.

It took everything ounce of self-control not to move. Was he supposed to breathe? He had stopped that too. "San...sa?" He whispered her name behind gritted teeth.

" I don't want you to call me that right now..." she admitted before leaning in and placing a hand on his scared half of his face. Her chest pressed to his, both hearts beating like crazed birds in cages trying desperately to break free from their ribs. Her hand made sure not to touch anywhere to personal, but her thigh did press when she leaned in and fully kissed Sandor.

Sansa mimicked how she had seen other ladies kiss men, how her mother kissed her father. How the whores in the taverns they went through kissed the men with the most coin. It was all she had to go by; she just wanted him to fully kiss her back. Sansa knew this game was unfair and in many ways mean but she proceeded on with it.

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She had stolen his breath away and he was trapped. He definitely was not expecting this from her. For a moment she was the sole provoker of the kiss, for he was still frozen from shock over her "game". When he thawed though, was when she was greeted by a passion driven growl as he deepened her kiss. His tongue guiding through her mouth, teeth biting over velvet lips, he was becoming drunk off of her taste. "You temptress." He cursed her as he pulled his hands free and wrapped one around her waist and another to dive into her thick red mane, gently gathering it in his hands, pushing her closer to him.

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Sansa had never touched a man while undressed, she understood well enough what this could achieve though. The kiss lingered on for a long moment before she pulled back to breathe. Her hand clasp over the top of his around her waist while her head tilted slightly to kiss his jaw.

" I don't want to be called that either, you cheater." She spoke about him freeing his hands.

" You better not break the other rule." She told him referring to him opening his eyes even though her breasts were literally against him.

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He had already begun to peek. He never played by the rules anyway, and the way her bare skin felt against him, made him desire to see for himself. But when she called him out on it, he squeezed his lids tight. "Yes, my Queen."

The fingers laced through her hair tightened a bit, pulling her neck back slightly. He released his hand and placed it around the back of her head, his thumb rolled down against the sensitive skin and back upwards to trace her lips.

'Yes my Queen?' pulled Sansa out of the moment, she was no Queen. This made puzzling thoughts find their way in her mind. To be called one's Queen was a honor she honestly, since leaving King's Landing, thought she would never have nor want again. She accepted this as her future. But hearing Sandor say it was odd, she quickly scolded herself for liking the sound of it so much.

Her hands then lightly started to push herself away from him, not in an aggravated or upset manner, just in a way to let him know she was standing and leaving. Her body was bent as she stood off his knee and waited for his large hands to release her still smiling face. " I'm your little bird...can I ask you to only call me that? No one else you choose to spend your time on?" She asked as she lingered standing between his knees.

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He was drunk and she just stole away the delicious wine. He was left in a stupor as she stood up. "Jealous?" His voice spoke with intoxication as he opened up one eye to take in her beauty. "I have half a mind to scoop you up, carry you off right now and ravish you." He still didn't answer her question, but rose from the water and met her stance. "There is only one little bird in my world." He lifted her chin to kiss her once more. "Only you. I promise, Little Bird." He moved from the bath, allowing her to stand there, and gathered his belongings, passing the young lad who was off in the corner, watching the entire show. "Do you want your eyes, boy?! He snapped at the servant and made him jump to attention. " Keep your eyes off of her." He growled before leaving the room.

He would not see her again till dinner was served. A grand and plentiful banquet feast was made in their honor. Stuff pheasants and roasted piglets were surrounded by beds of spiced root vegetables and petite meat pies, and hearty soups. Rich, delicious wine filled the cups and sweet cakes and confections waited off to the side for after the main courses were devoured. For only the four of them, it was a bit extreme, but Sandor wouldn't complain, he had an appetite tonight.

Littlefinger sat at the head of the large table as his wife sat next to him, feeding him plump grapes and pieces of pulled meat. Lysa was absolutely hypnotized by her new husband. "I just love watching you chew." She cooed as she pushed a piece of meat pie to his lips. " Don't I have the most handsomest husband in all of Westeros?" She questioned her small audience. Sandor took that opportunity to gulp a full glass of wine instead of answering her question with the brutal honesty of how she was fucking touched in the head.
From time to time, he did steal a glance over her Sansa's way. He felt wrong for corrupting her as he did, knowing she would of never have been so bold if it weren't for him pushing her to such levels of intimacy. Her actions in the bath pools confused him, yet aroused him and yet shamed him for being so weak under her spell.

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"You are a very lovely looking couple. Any would envy what you share." Lies poured from her mouth as she used the proper utensils to pull apart the meat placed on her plate.

" Even you Sansa?" Lysa asked before her attention turned fully to the bright haired young woman who sat across the table. " Answer me?"

Sansa was taken slightly by the question; she again stopped eating and looked up again. " What?"

" Do you envy my husband? Wish you had him?"

" ...Aunt Lysa...no. Why?" Sansa sat up and gave a confused expression before placing her fork down and settling her hands in her lap. "I mean you no disrespect." She didn't know what else to say, her blue eyes shot over towards Clegane.

" Now, now. You're flustering the young girl." Littlefinger stated in his clear the air type of manner. But the look towards Sandor was waving another red flag. These people were strange, and she didn't know how to talk around them.

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Lysa chuckled nervously. "Of course my pet." She spoke softly again towards Sansa before picking up another piece of food to give to her husband. Sandor just shrugged towards Sansa. He had no explanation for the woman's accusations towards the girl, just that she was truly insane.

Following dinner, as was tradition so they were told, entertainment was to be had in the grand hall. Lysa practically coiled herself into the embrace of Littlefinger as they led the way. "Say the word and we are out of here tonight." Sandor whispered to Sansa as they followed. " She is crazy and he is menacing."

Littlefinger called the guardsmen over just as Lord Robin came rushing from one of the wings and into his mother's arms. "Momma! Momma! Are we going to make them fly?!" He squealed with excitement. "Yes my little cherub, we are and then to bed with you."

Was that little shit talking about them? Instinctively his arm crossed in front of Sansa to push her away. He had no idea what "flying" meant but he was positive he didn't want to experience it nor her.

The guard instead brought out the one to demonstrate this form of "entertainment". The prisoner, cuffed in chains and caked in filth was brought to the center of the hall where the guard read out the reason for his crime and for Lord Robin to provide a verdict of innocence or guilt.

"Make him fly!" He shouted with happiness and so proceeded to watch as the floors literally opened and a gust of cold air enveloped all who witnessed. Despite pleas, the man was forced to the edge before being flung from it. His screams echoed all the way down. Three more men and one goat followed. The goat was guilty for nipping the little lord when he attempted to pet her.

After the first demonstration Sandor had practically pushed Sansa totally against the wall for fear the entire floor would fall underneath them. "This is fucking insane." He whispered solely to her.

Just then Lysa approached the pair. Her green eyes dancing up Sandor's frame with a seducing glimmer than following over to Sansa where they shifted to form a more mothering expression. "Come, my pet." She extended her hand for Sansa to take. "I desire to speak to you. I have your favorite lemon cakes prepared. I do recall your fondness for sweets." She looked back at Sandor. " My husband wishes a word with you. "

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Sansa reach out at first but not for her aunt, for Sandor's hand, squeezing it as she rounded him. What they called the moon door was slowly being sealed shut again but Sansa couldn't help but keep her eyes locked on where the hole in the floor was.
She turned and locked eyes with Sandor. " Goodnight, Sandor...I'll see you in the morning." She nodded towards him as if to say they should leave come dawn. She had no clue what was in the making already.

The pitcher of wine that Sansa and the Hound had been tampered with. Soon the pair would fall into a deep sleep thinking it was nothing more than a natural happening.

Sansa followed her aunt while Littlefinger walked up to Clegane with a glass of ale for each of them. He made sure to give Clegane the correct glass, after all he was a giant of a man.

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In private, Lysa swept her hand down Sansa's locks as she guided her to a small table adorned with sweets and tea. "Help yourself my dear." She sat down and beckoned Sansa to sit across from her. "My, my, you are simply breathtaking. You are the spitting image of your mother when she was a girl." Lysa reminisced as she scooted over a plate of lemon cakes. " Cat, was envied for her beauty and knew how to flaunt it to make all the boys fulfill every one of her whims".

Meanwhile, Sandor reluctantly followed Baelish to a small study. The regal man poured them each a cup of Dornish wine. "You seem very smitten with my niece." He spoke frankly as he tapped the edge of his own glass.

"You're niece?" Sandor scoffed as he sipped from his glass. "I saved her from fucking hell and I am only looking to make sure she continues to be safe." He growled, not trusting the man one bit.

"You are mistaken, we are thankful for your services, Clegane. My dear wife has been distraught about what happened and to have her own niece under her roof has given her hope again. We only wish to extend our gratitude."

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Sansa started feeling rather odd as she settled down and looked at the lemon cakes before her. Her elbow rose up to lean against the table before her head spun in a dizzy manner.

" The thing about your mother though is she always chased the biggest and the prettiest. Like your Uncle Brandon. I see you chasing the wrong man just as she did in her youth. Shame."

" What? " Sansa honestly couldn't focus on her words. She was fading fast, unable to keep her eyes open.

Littlefinger kept Sandor's glass full, but as time went on he started to get worried about whether or not this would work.

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The Hound sipped his wine as Baelish continued. "We have plans for her, she is a special girl...a very important girl."

"She deserves to make her own choices." The Hound interjected. "She is a strong woman, she can hold her own."

Littlefinger chuckled. "Yes...yes she does and she certainly doesn't need dogs sniffing at her, either." His glare caught Celgane's. "I have been informed of what happened in the baths. How dare you take advantage of her!" He chastised

"Take advantage?!" Sandor pounded his fist on the table. " I have done nothing but protect her and cared for her! You and everyone else were going to just throw her at the hands of a sadist!" He was getting mad. "Fuck!" He shouted. "I want to fucking marry her! I love her!" It was the first time he ever declared his true feelings and unfortunately it was not to her but to an untrustworthy snake.

Lysa watched as Sansa began to grow uneasy. "Though your mother most definitely would never seduce men so blatantly like you did earlier!" She hissed with disdain. "We heard what you and that beast were doing in the baths. You lie with filth; you little whore, just like one of my husband's whores!" It had grown apparent that the servant boy talked about what he saw.

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Sansa hadn't even noticed the servant at the entrance of the baths. But more importantly she knew nothing of what her aunt was carrying on about. She stood, holding to the edge of the table. The room was spinning and she couldn't stop it.

" I need to go to my chambers...I..." Sansa didn't make it past the table before hitting the floor at her aunt's feet.

" You see...that's the issue. So for the time being we are paying for your service in returning Sansa. But due to your lingering uncontrollable feelings we must send you away. Either through the gates or the moon door. You pick. " Littlefinger showed slight signs of fear but hoped that the drugs would kick in once his heart rate spiked.

" Sansa is a lady. You are a mutt. "

He stood up ready to fight but stumbled. Fear, genuine fear caught him as he realized the predicament he was in. "Sansa..." He grabbed a hold of a table and lifted himself up to face Baelish. " I will fucking kill you!"

"You little whore!" Lysa proclaimed "Did he have his way with you?!" By now Sansa was unable to find the strength to keep her head up, but would still be alert of what was happening. "You better not dare try that with my husband! I see how he looks at you!"

Sansa lay there on the ground looking up at her aunt carrying on but couldn't speak. Her eyes rolled back and finally her body fell into a deep sleep.
Guards were then called in the carry her off to her own personal chambers while Lysa settled back down at the table and picked one of the lemon cakes up. She looked at the little yellow square before popping it on in her mouth.

" Always chasing the sweet ones. Just like your mother. " she muttered.

Littlefinger watched as the man held to the table. " Don't fight this Clegane. Think of the life someone like you would give a woman like Sansa!? Why curse her children like this? She is promised better than you!" He shouted to Sandor.

"Let it happen Clegane. Let it take hold."

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The fighter in him was fierce; therefore he didn't go down so easily. He stumbled and crashed against the furniture, but was determined to reach the weasel across the room and tear his head off his shoulders. His fingers reach out and grasp the fringes of Littlefinger's overcoat before a swarm of men came in to drag him away.

He swam in and out of consciousness as they pulled him away from the castle. His body had given up with fighting, but his mind screamed and shouted to kill them all. The coldness of the morning, the kiss of fresh dew on his skin, the sensation of the first sun ray's trickling over the horizon, would of have been welcoming had it not been for him being harshly dragged through the terrain. The guards finally stopped and one letting go to walk over a large, rocky cliff. "This good, we can drop him here." He announced to his partner. "We better before he snaps out of it. I don't want to face him when he is of sober mind."

Down the cliff he went to die. His body slamming as gravity helped it along the jagged rocks and steep distances.

Pain came in intense waves, swimming through his broken body. He was alive, but barely; left at the bottom of a mountain with two broken legs and a plethora of injuries, but he still took a breath. This was not to be his end; he can still fight if he could breath. He tried to move but the pain was unbearable that it almost made him pass out. He had to succumb to the fact that he had impossible chances of coming out of this.

He closed his eyes and submitted and when he opened them again he face the Grim Reaper in the form of a young girl who disguised herself as a boy. He blinked, but she was still there. "Ar...Arya." He whispered in relief to know she was still alive and that she can release him from this life.

The girl studied the dying monster for awhile and when he spoke her name she furrowed her brow and sat down next to him. "You...alive..." He had just enough strength to tilt his head towards her. "And you are barely." She answered. "Where is my sister?" She demanded in a calm yet cold voice. The Hound moaned realizing he failed her for good this time. "Your Aunt...Li...Lit" He had no strength to finish. " So she is with my Aunt Lysa." She caught onto that first bit. "I assumed that was the plan." She said nonchalantly as she pulled a skin of water from her side and took a swig. She then placed the water skin to his lips and allowed him a long, refreshing gulp. "Kill...me." He begged her.

He had been on her list since Winterfell, she hated him, yet she didn't. Unlike Joffery, the Mountain, Cersei and the others who truly deserved their end, she had conflicting emotions when it came to this particular one. She was hurt and angry with him, yet witnessed firsthand how he treated both her and her sister. He didn't have to go after her when she ran into the wedding battle, but he did. She watched him tear grown men to ribbons for seeing what they did to her family. She saw him and her sister embrace in the woods and followed then for a spell to see how gentle he took care of her.

"I want to." She spoke to him as she secured the skin back onto her belt. "I can take Needle right now and jam it right into the spots you showed me." She ever so gently poked his side and made him howl in agony. She didn't say sorry, but instead rose to her feet. "But I am not." She declared as she scanned him over and saw a bulge off to his side. She grabbed it from him, knowing right away it was coin, but upon inspection it was something more. Seven coins were wrapped in a worn out kerchief with an embroidered, 'S' and their direwolf symbol of House Stark. "Where did you get this?" Arya questioned as she inspected it. I remember this. Sansa was working on it in King's Landing to give to Joffery as a token. I remember nagging her that day and making her prick her finger getting blood on it." She inspected the corner to see a very old tiny bloodstain. "Did she give this to you?" Arya questioned him.

"Take...coin...but please.." His fingers opened for the desire to trail over the embroidery one last time.

"You really had a soft spot for her, huh?" She questioned as she fought with her inner voice on what to do.

"I...love her. " He gasped out which made Arya step back in shock. "Kill...me.."

She would of, she could of, but every fiber in her body told her to take the coin and run. Today was not his day to die. "Sorry". She shrugged her shoulders and walked away.

"FUCKING CUNT WOLF BITCH!" He found enough energy to scream before being totally alone to face a slow, painful death.

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Sansa would wake the next morning to a soft voice gently singing a familiar lullaby to her. Lysa sat at her bed side stroking her hair and keeping watch, as Littlefinger stood at her bed's end with a melancholy expression on his sharp features. "She is awake!" Lysa whispered with happiness as she planted a kiss upon Sansa's forehead.

Sansa recalled nothing from the night before, at least not the bad parts. The last memory was her telling Sandor that she would see him in the morning, and now it had come.

Her frame rose up where her eyes were lightly rubbed by her own hands. " Good morning." The young woman stated cheerfully to the pair of them.

" Good morning my angel." Her Aunt spoke in a sing song voice that was laced with fake love. Sansa glanced her way.

" I suppose I had to much wine last night. Sorry if I went overboard. I often don't even like the taste. " Sansa apologized to the pair.

" No Sansa you were fine. You just needed to lie down; you said it went to your head." Littlefinger chimed in.

" Now pet. Let's get you dressed. We plan on showing you the whole Kingdom today. Robin is so excited. "her aunt told her.

Sansa smiled. " When we were coming into the Vale Sandor told me no mountains he had traveled to were as nice. It truly is a lovely home." Sansa praised her aunt's castle.

" As if I care what a mutt like he thinks of my blood's accomplishments. It's good that dog ran on home with his tail between his legs." Lysa hissed.

Sansa lifted her face to fully look at her aunt and then at Littlefinger.

" I'm afraid so my dear. He asked for his gold right after you went to bed. We rewarded him for returning you to your true place." Peter stepped closer but Sansa body didn't move.

Shock maybe. The only feelings she had to compare the pain that hit her was through all the experiences of her loved ones dying around her. Her wolf Lady, her father, the Red wedding, and thinking that this moment felt just as bad as those made Sansa angry with herself.

Her body turned to where she could stand from the bed, slowly walking to the window to stare out away from those in her room. " ...I suppose it's best. "

" We will assign a new guard to you my lady." Lysa stated quickly. " One that will remain loyal for all days.

" Can you both leave." Sansa asked.

Peter said no more, instead just walked to usher his wife out.

Once alone, Sansa fell to her knees, rethinking every talk the pair had ever had. He told her time after time she was silly to proceed or think anything could come from her feelings. And this was proof.

Embarrassment rose through her body, she had settled naked on his lap, kissed him, lusted for him, and showed him what a fool she was. Falling back she fell on her rear and just laid on to the cold stone floor. Her sobbing was soundless. She truly wanted none to hear her be this upset. This went on for several minutes before she rose up and pulled her pillow from her bed. There her eyes locked on the wooden bird he had made her. Nearly screaming when seeing the item but she composed herself and picked it up. She remained on her bed side, digesting this news all day; having no idea that this was just the start of her hell on

Chapter Text

NORTHERN EYES

5 years later...

Five years could do a lot to a person, as the passage of time does not stand still for any living thing. Change is inevitable. In five years Sandor went from the brink of death at the bottom of a mountain, to now being part of the huge procession line back the Winterfell. He found it humorous how time just did a full circle from where this all began.

Experience had aged him, he had more grey to his shaggy beard and his melancholy eyes held more tales of trouble within their gaze. "You okay, friend?" Spoke the one-eyed man, Beric, who at one time the Hound killed. Funny, how he now called the man 'friend'. "Yeah, just fucking tired. This march to Winterfell is too fucking slow." Beric laughed. " What do you expect when you are marching with thousands of unsullied, Dothraki, Wildlings and a pair of dragons? We need to give our Northern friends a show."
The Hound growled. "I am not here for no one's entertainment!"

Despite the experiences he encountered, the alliances he made, his attitude had grown sour over the last five years. He became more isolated, quicker to temper and more daring to risk his life. Sometimes the men in his group thought he had a death wish, but no one was able to pry the true reason from him. He kept his stories to himself.

A large billowy laughter rang through his ears and made him cringe. "So this it men! Time to fucking kill or be killed! Arrrgggh I can taste it in the air!" Tormound shouted with a large smile plastered on his lips. "Tonight we drink and fuck and be merry, for tomorrow we may all be dead!" He brought his horse between the two men, caring not for personal space. He looked at Sandor with a cheeky smile. "I will fucking kill you now if you don't get the fuck out of my way." The Hound growled, but it made no impact on the wild man. "I hear the big woman is here. I have been having such thoughts of her, had to wank a few out on the way in anticipation. Do you think she missed me?" He questioned the men. "I highly doubt it." Beric responded.

Sandor moved a few paces ahead, having no desire to continue conversing. He felt sick to his stomach over this arrival, but it wasn't the impending battle that frightened him, it was facing a certain bird and having to look her in the eyes.

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Ser Jorah glanced back at the pair as they spoke, his attention then turned to Sandor who had stepped up to get away from the pair. " I hear the 'big woman' he speaks about is Lady Sansa's personal guard. Rumors are she is as big as you. "

" She is! Little red's guard!" Tormund over heard them and spoke up. " Little red keeps her in line. If the big woman turns me down Jon's sister is my next pick."

Jon over heard this and fully turned around to laugh at Turmound. " You know the hounds she fed Ramsey to still stay at her side. She loves them so much for eating her last husband she lets them sleep on her bed. "

" Animal lover, with red hair, and she is tall! Just not alluring as the big woman, too skinny. I would break her. " Tormund laughed out.

" She could break us all. All she has to do is point and Brianne will have us to the ground." Jon laughed on before taking his attention from the lot.

 

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He hated how the conversation quickly shifted to the topic of Sansa. He heard bits and pieces of what she endured and it made him furious that she ever had to face such tragedy. His upper lip curled in unspoken anger as Tormund was placing claim upon her and how dare he assign her a nickname. She was 'Little Bird'!
Their discussion was making him uneasy, but he couldn't avoid it and soon he would have to face her as the arches of Winterfell castle could be seen in the near distance.

 

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Brienne of Tarth made her way to where her redheaded friend stood waiting. "They should be arriving soon." She informed as she took her position near her mistress. "I hate formalities; we are wasting time with greetings and dinners when we should be discussing plans." She lifted her head high as the sights of the approaching men were seen. "That redhead bastard is going to ogle my tits again, I just know it." She whispered as she prepared for the greetings.

Sansa just like most of the Northern army were upset in their ' King of the North' taking the knee to a foreign queen. So naturally she seemed more up tight than normal. " Tormund is not the worst that could be putting eyes on you." Sansa reminded her personal guard and friend as they stood there. Then all of sudden the squire that had joined Brienne ran up to Lady Sansa, whispering in her ear.

" So he's ready to confess..." Sansa's face remain just as stone cold before the news. " We will have his trial this evening when Jon has settled." She informed both Podrick and Brienne. The pair nodded. When Sansa gave her attention back to the King's road she noticed her brother and the Dragon Queen at his side.

Sansa could not deny that the silver haired Targaryen was not beautiful. It was an understatement if being honest but she refused to voice that now. Her blue eyes then drifted to the horses behind the pair. She only knew Tormund, Ser Davos, Lord Tyiron, and The Hound...

She knew that scarred face better than any walking up the road. Her breathing stilled for just a moment before she forced her blue hues away.

" Her army is huge." Podrick stated. This comment only pulled Sansa from her own thoughts which she was thankful for. And then the thunder like cry of the dragons flying over head pulled every northern eye upward.

 

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There seemed to be some serious tension between the two women when they finally greeted each other. Was definitely not the warmest of greetings, but as formality and custom went, it was acceptable. Once Jon greeted his siblings, he ordered his closest men to follow him, which included Sandor. He was thankful he got to bypass an interaction between them, but he still caught a glance of her as he passed by.

To say she was beautiful was an understatement. He felt his heart skip for a moment as his eyes casted upon her. She had found her strength, as he could see in how she held herself. No living being can bring her down. For this he was proud of, she was no longer a weakling.

They wasted no time in preparation for the battle, time was running out and by their scouts estimates they only had a few days to prepare. Immediately tasks were assigned, mainly to secure enough food and water for everyone and to begin securing the castle and surrounding area with barriers. Every capable hand was put to work, even Jon, himself got his hands dirty.

All Sandor wanted to do was drink. He had found comfort in the bottle these last few years as it provided him his only escape. Yet, once put to work and given a task, he was able to place his mind on such than of that red headed beauty and the hell he caused her.

It wasn't until evening that he had to see her again, and even then he was just merely a face in a packed crowd. The evening was to be spent making plans, implementing orders and finding solutions to their ever growing problems.

 

XXXXXX

" I have seen to it and set up chambers here for every man who traveled with you pass the wall. " Here as in the main Winterfell Castle. It was where the Starks set up their own living quarters. "Along with your advice your grace." Sansa didn't want to allow the Queen in her family home but she knew until the war between the living and dead was over she had to be polite. Literally the lives of every man, woman, and child depended on these two kingdoms fighting along side one another.

" Thank you for your hospitality." Dany stated as she lookd up from the mapped out table and locked eyes with Sansa. She could sense the resentment and maybe if she had been there for the Battle of the Bastards she could slightly understand. But she was not.

" Tomorrow I will be holding a trial. You are welcome to sit at my table to observe. " Sansa told Dany but gained the attention of Jon.

" Trial?" He asked.

" Lord Petyr Baelish." Sansa stated simply.

Jon gave a nervous expression. " Where is he now? "

" He's been in the dungeon. He tried to play games with me and Sansa while you were away. We have no time for that." Arya spoke.

Sansa nodded, her eyes then drifted from Dany and landed on Sandor. It wasn't the first time she had looked at him that evening but it was the first she allowed him to know she had her sights on him.

 

XXXXXX

He hated people and large crowds, and though the flow of ale and northern wine was plenty, it was not enough to tempt him to stay. He received his orders for tomorrow, grabbed a bottle and began to make his way out of the grand hall before being stopped by the boisterous wildlings.

"There! There he is!" Tormund shouted as he caught Sandor trying to escape. He and Jon had begun to talk to Sansa about what happened beyond the wall and the dangers they were in to secure the proof of the undead. Tormund grabbed him and wrapped his arm around his shoulder to guide him over to the main table. "Get your fucking paws off me." He howled, being more occupied with swatting Tormund off of him then where he was being guided. Before he knew it, they had come face to face. " We were just telling my sister about the look on Cersei's face when you released the Whitewalker." Jon smiled as he was enjoying relaying the tale. The Hound just grumbled a quick 'yeah' response and brought the bottle to his lips.

"This bastard crushed one with his bare hands!" Tormund proclaimed with excitement to Sansa. "He is a beast amongst men!"

 

XXXXXX

Sansa too drank more now days than she once ever thought she could. But as the men walked closer she placed her own cup down.

" I've seen him fight." Sansa said simply before pulling her eyes back down from the man.

" King's Landing?" Jon asked.

" Yes. And other places." This allowed out to the air that Sansa had never informed her brother of her travels with Sandor. It raised Jon's eye brow but that was quickly forgotten about when Tormund stepped up and literally lifted Sansa up above his head, holding around her upper part of her thighs. This quickly got Brienne standing on up and heading over towards the display as Tormund slowly spun Sansa around, " He picked the dead up like so and crushed it. Bare handed!"

Sansa held tightly to Tormund, an odd expression came across her during the teasing.

" Put Lady Sansa down you drunken fool." Brienne barked as she watched them. Tormund then froze to look at Brienne, slowly putting Sansa down. When on her feet she let him go, her hands shaking and still she looked like a shot doe.

 

XXXXXX

Attention, be it positive or negative, was not something he desired. He was happy to have walked out of that hall unnoticed than to be pulled into the circle and talked about.

To say the pains of jealousy didn't strike him would be a fallacy. When Tormund scooped her up, Sandor's first instinct was to pound his face into the stone floor. But he did not move. She was not his. He held no claim and therefore he would not strike. He was not carefree and jovial like his wildling companion perhaps that is what she needed in her life - more laughter than sorrow.

He used that opportunity to escape; he didn't even give a formal goodbye, but just slipped out. When Tormund finally placed Sansa down he looked about. Where did he go?" He was baffled, for how did a giant man simply vanish like he did.

Sandor made his way away from the crowds and out to the balcony overlooking the open area where men and women were still working by the light of the torches.

Despite the doom lurking on the horizon, he couldn't help but appreciate how beautiful this land actually was. There was a sense of triumph within these walls, determination and strength. He imagined what it may be like to actually place roots on a land like this, and for a moment it was just as much a comforting thought as drowning in the bottle of wine.

 

XXXXXX

Sansa was then lead out to the hall by Lady Brienne. Due to the actions of Ramsey, the Lady did not find comfort in the touch of another; even a playful one as Tormund had just displayed. Once away she glanced over towards her guard, Brienne could nearly read the mind of Sansa.

" Come my lady. Let us get some air. I'll watch the door." Brienne lead her to the balcony door. Sansa stepped out in a hurried manner while Brienne stayed watch.

Sansa didn't look about or notice her surroundings. Instead she walked to the very spot where she and Theon jumped to freedom. She leaned on the stone railing letting her head fall so she could regain composure of her own breathing. But then off to the side she noticed him. Turning her own eyes locked onto him, still she remained leaned over in her improper manner as she tried to relax herself. Just starring, never speaking. But finally her face turned back towards the outlook of the land.

 

XXXXXX

It broke him to see her in such a state. He knew that state all too well when he came too close to the flames. Sheer panic that chokes every fiber of one's being until you can barely breathe or think.

He didn't say a word as he approached, but he didn't sneak up on her either. From her peripherals she would see him come closer and stop just close enough to extend the bottle out to her. "You look like you need this more than me, Little Bird."

Sansa was fine standing there and relaxing her breathing; or she was until she heard that once nickname that she once preferred over her own given name. But now, it made her face grow into a frown. Before Sansa knew it she was standing up right, she turned towards the man who offered her his own cup. Instead of taking the cup her hand lifted up quick and aimed forward, striking against the scarred half of Sandor's face. She put all she had into this attack against him. A open handed image was sure to rise over his skin.

" Call me that again I will have Brienne toss you off this castle." She growled, it was like night and day from what Sansa just was.

 

XXXXXX

Her bite was just as bad as her bark and it completely took him off guard when her hand whipped his face. He stumbled back, knocking a few crates in the process and the offered bottle falling from his hand and smashing into a hundred glass fragments on the ground below. He brushed his hand were she struck and despite it all gave a slight smile. "Good for you, girl." He complimented her power in a whisper.

Immediately Brienne came rushing through, her sword already drawn and ready to fight. "Put that fucking thing away before you hurt yourself, woman." He sniped at the female knight. "Nothing going on here but a dog getting scolded." He threw a hurt, yet cold look towards Sansa as he passed by, giving her full view of the red imprint over the scarred tissue.

Brienne remained by Sansa's side as they watch him depart into the shadows. "Are you okay? Did he hurt you?" She questioned with concern.

 

XXXXXX

" Not recently." Sansa admitted before turning back and leaning against the railing just as she had before. Sansa stayed out there till Brienne made her go inside. By that time most of the men had pushed off to bed.

" I am dismissing you for the for the evening..." Sansa told Brienne. " Tomorrow is the trial. I need you back at dawn. " Sansa told her guard.

Brienne nodded " Yes My Lady. Sleep well." Brienne then went on her way to her own chambers.

Sansa did not sleep well, only a few hours each night. She walked on to the sitting room and opened a cabinet. Inside was a folded tapestry that Sansa spent most her late nights on. Settling in front of the fire she picked her needle up and began seeing red inti the dark fabric, it appeared she was starting the embroidery on the material. After she got her mind on the task she began to sing.

"Crying eyes, broken bells
Back in course, no one tells
Down we go, wish me well
I don't know where we fell

Oh, I had a dream that you couldn't hear me screaming
Trying to tell you everything but it wouldn't stop you leaving

I wanna wake up where your love is
'Cause your love is always waking mine
I wanna break down where your heart gets
So torn it's almost breaking mine
I wanna lay here, lost and bitter
So long, I feel like I could die
I wanna tell you what my truth is
But it's buried down inside"

 

XXXXXX

He had found his way to the smithy, where twenty or so men were working hard at the dragon glass weapons. He did want to inquire about having a battle ax made from the material since he now preferred those over the typical sword. Dark eyes scanned the busy room before falling on the blacksmith he wanted to speak with. Gendry was already in mid-conversation with another young lad when the Hound approached. Gendry looked up, breaking away from his current guest to greet the new one. The person he was speaking with turned around as well, and Sandor realized that it was a 'he' but a 'she' or better yet. "The wolf bitch."

Arya Stark gave a smirk at the sight of the man she once left to die at the bottom of the mountain. Her hands crossed over her chest as she gave him a look over. "I see you lived after all." She tilted her head in a cocky manner. "Yeah, with no fucking help from you " He returned the stare with one of his own. "I see you are looking more like a woman these days than a man. Got yourself a pair of tits, I see." He looked over at Gendry. " Is this the cunt you talked about. The one you called "Your lady?" The inquiry made the young man go full red in the face before turning around to resume his work.

Arya had a slight blush to her own cheeks, but did give a slight smile despite trying to hold back. His humor was crude and impolite which was refreshing in a world where she was required to have manners. "What the fuck do you want?" She demanded. "Got business with your man." He replied stepping up closer just as she stepped in his way. " What are you going to do, beat me? Your sister had a good go at it already. Or maybe you will just steal from me again " He tapped his face for her to see the mark left.

Arya lifted a brow in question. "Sansa did that?" She couldn't say she was surprised, she was one of the few who knew what her sister had gone through, but even still she was usually pretty composed. "You know she thinks you left. I never said anything about finding you that day."

The Hound shrugged, he was already defeated in life so this new information wasn't going to hurt him. " It doesn't matter, and perhaps it is for the best she thinks I did." He ignored her and placed a paper near the boy. " This is what I want." He spoke with sharpness before turning away. He was hurt, but he was damned to show it.

Arya knew she had been purposely cruel and even felt a slight ping of guilt for throwing it in his face. She hated having conflicting feelings but knew she had the power to make some difference; after all they were all facing a possible death soon.

The girl left the blacksmith's and returned to her quarters, pulling out a small box she had tucked away. There wasn't much, but she found what she was looking for, an old kerchief with a little bloodstained mark on the corner. Shoving it in her pocket, she made her way over to her sister's chamber and softly knocked.

 

XXXXXX

Sansa had just finished her nightly sewing and was making her way back to her chambers when she saw Arya. " What do I owe for a visit this late in the night?" She asked her sister as she made her way to the door.

The pair still looked so different. Sansa's hair was the brightest it had ever been, and it hung half way down her back when fully free. Arya carried darker features just as their Father had. She looked so much like Ned that from time to time Sansa would refer to her as Little Ned when others were not around.

The castle was mostly quite. The men in were sleeping while others work or drank outside. " What have you brought me?" She asked her sister before looking her closed hand over.

" I should have told you...a long time ago. With the trial tomorrow you should know." Arya went to say.

" Know what?" A curious look came as she waited to hear the lost information.

" Littlefinger never bought you. He tried to kill the Hound. I found him on my way to the Vale. Nearly dead. I left him a begging bleeding bag of broken bones." Arya explained.

Sansa grew a puzzled expression. " Why ?"

" Why what? Why did Littlefinger do it? I don't know...why did the Hound not die? Or what?" Arya asked.

" If that's true...why did he not return once healed?" Sansa stated which left her sister speechless. She then handed over the tissue. Once in Sansa's hand she looked it over. Faint yet awful memories of rushed to Sansa. Her hand clutch the fabric but she said no more, she simply retired to her quarters.

 

XXXXXX

It was a circus the following morning and the Hound was content to be lost in work. He put all his into assisting with the construction of barriers that were to surround the castle.

There were whispers circulating of Sansa smacking him last night, but no one dared to approach him regarding the matter.

He tasked himself with chopping wood, a skill that provide him isolation but still added to the assistance of others. It was also a great way to destroy the frustration building up.

He had realized last night that whatever they once had or could of had, was now impossible. He decided that the best course would be to simply avoid her, treat her just like he treated others, and when this war was said and done to leave.

 

XXXXXX

Sansa made her way out in the morning air. Unlike Sandor, she heard of no gossip of her striking the Hound, not as if she would care. She was Lady of Winterfell, if she found the want and time to do so she could slap all in her home, but she didn't want that.

Along her sides walked two of the hounds that she had given Ramsey to. These were the only ones from the pack that could be salvaged that Ramsey hadn't corrupted. They now served as her pets. Before the trial she made her way to the front lines and watched as the men worked about; some working on their sword skills while others work with bows. It was a busy time.

Ser Jorah noticed the lady, he had been training a few young men with a bow in hand. " Good morning my lady. " he spoke loud enough for her to hear him.

Lady Sansa heard the near stranger and made her way slowly closer towards him. " Good morn Ser." Her eyes looked the bow over in his hand.

" Ever shot one?" He asked.

" No Ser." She replied.

"Would you like me to show you?" Ser Jorah asked.

Sansa just stare at the man, but then her sight went over his shoulder and past him. She noticed Clegane working only about ten or so yards away. Thinking her choices over quickly, she gave a simple nod and approached the elder knight.

Ser Jorah was not a pushy brute of a man. He moved slowly and placed the bow and arrow in her grasp. Sansa glanced him over as his arm rounded her, this lead her spin to tense up.

" Relax." Ser Jorah told her before he lifted Lady Sansa's free hand and place it on the arrow. " Take the string in hand. " he instructed her.

Sansa listen to each word and direction of getting grips with the weapon. Ser Jorah help her aim and then slipped his hands down to her waist to steady her. " Once you have your target, let it fly. " he told her.

Sansa let the arrow fly from the bow, it struck the painted hay target. She didn't get a bull's eye but she did hit the target. Her face lit up just as it did when she caught a crayfish. Turning Ser Jorah let Sansa go, neither of them knew the eyes that were on them, one pair coming from the Dragon Queen herself.

 

XXXXXX

He didn't break when she came into view. But though he continued with his work, he couldn't help put perk his ears and lift his sights to what she was doing.

Sandor had a few conversations with the old knight over the last few months and oddly found parallel similarities between them. But where Jorah seemed to cling onto hope, Sandor had completely given up on it. He paused only for a moment to see Sansa strike the hay barrel, before his ax pounded against another slab of wood.

"I tried telling her..." Arya's voice announced her presence before she herself emerged from behind him. Her stealthy ways seemed to give everyone a fright, but he didn't even miss a beat, acting as though he was expecting her.

" I don't give a shit if she knows or doesn't, believes it or won't. She was a stupid girl and I was a stupid fool." Arya shrugged her shoulders and nodded her head. "Yes, yes you were...and still are." She said as she ran off to join her sister and to show off her own bow skills.

 

XXXXXX

Brienne followed behind Arya, stopping at Clegane's side as the young one darted off towards her sister. " Lady Sansa has asked me to return something to you. I did not realize we would be running into one another so the item is placed in your quarters. She says that it 'once' meant something to you." Brienne didn't wait for a response. The item in question that now layed on Clegane's bed was the special item he treasured each night before bed. Arya had given it to Sansa and she thought the only rightful thing to do was return it.

Later that morning the lords and ladies all met in the great hall, it was the only place big enough to do a trial due to all the intake Winterfell had coming in.

Jon took his seat, along with Sansa to one side, Dany to the other and Arya and Bran were both situated to the side. Brienne lead in the man in question. Petyr Baelish. He had been locked up for over three weeks. He fully refused to admit his crimes out loud till the day before. He walked in with no chains on him. Sansa felt the chains would just insult her guards.

As soon as the man came before Sansa he gave a lost look. " I assumed we would be talking in private..." he admitted out loud before looking about at all the faces.

" That's not how a trial works." Sansa stated simply as she leaned in towards the table.
" Lord Baelish. You stand accused of murder and corruption. And newly brought facts show attempt of murder as well. Do you deny these charges?"

 

XXXXXX

 

As the masses gathered in the great hall of Winterfell for the trial of Littlefinger, Sandor Clegane made his way to the bunkers where the majority of soldiers and wildlings slept. He was content to just have a corner to sleep in and basically that was what he got. His bedroll was out with a wool blanket folded at the top that he utilized as a pillow than a comforter, and on top of that, a fold, off white square with the embroidered 'S' and Stark emblem facing outward.

He knelt down and gathered the tiny square, handling it as though it were a delicate piece of glass than fabric. With his back against the warm stone wall, he collapsed into a ritual he had not performed in half a decade.

He recalled the day he found it, when the Stark girls were fresh in the capital and Sansa had whimsical dreams of being a King's bride. The girls were called to court and had made a wrong turn to find themselves face to face with the scarred monster. Avoiding his gaze as though such would turn her to stone, Sansa spun Arya around and the girls ran off, leaving upon the floor the handkerchief. He had every intention of returning it to her, but every opportunity she avoided him and thus he came into permanent possession of the object.

"Lady Sansa, have I not cared for you? I have only ever had your best interest. I have made my mistakes, but truly my loyalties have been to you and your house." He spoke with such elegance and presented himself as a genuine, humble man to the audience.

 

XXXXXX

" You tricked my Aunt Lysa, a woman who thought the world of you so you could gain power in the Vale. You murdered Lord Aaron, you had my Aunt write a coded letter to my mother telling her that it was Lannisters. This started the struggles between the two houses.
You then tricked her into wedding you before you pushed her out the moon door so you could gain power! Do you deny it?" Sansa was nearly standing when she got started. Her hounds lifted their heads off the floor to look at their newly named master. Baelish stammered but Sansa went on and on, until she got to his new charges.

" Is it true that you drugged not just me and the once royal guard known as the Hound on our arrival to the Vale? Then proceed in an attempt to murder him so you could move forward with plans with the Boltins?" She now was standing and holding to the table.

" Sansa ...I had to. He...he was in the way of you becoming what you needed to be. " Baelish fell to his knees.

" No Lord Baelish. What you needed me to be." Sansa corrected.

" I loved your mother...I loved you." He begged on.

" Yet you betrayed us both..." her blue eyes then rose to scan over to Arya. That was her cue and she darted over and took the blade that was once sent from Baelish to kill Bran and slipped it across his throat.

The crowd watched him bleed out. Sansa's face went stone cold all the same.

Chapter Text

PLEASE DON'T DIE

He did not attend the beginning of the trial, but he did come to see the end. His tall frame leaned against the archway to the hall, far from the main event, but in view to see Arya slice the man's throat with such expertise that it put his own ability to shame. He could not take credit for what she had become, for he knew it was within her to be a strong, powerful leader. Perhaps that was why the Dragon Queen had such envy in her eyes when gazing over upon the true ruling woman.

The Northern crowd roared with praise for their lady, for she secured their loyalty without invoking wrath, but by dealing with injustice in an intelligent and calculated manner. That was something, Sandor could never teach, and even he had some envy over her ability. "Good work, Little Bird." He whispered that phrase solely to himself.

XXXXXX

Sansa then stood on up, she looked to her Queen's guard and then to the body. " Take him to the kennels. He will feed the dogs for over a week." Sansa then started to walk on towards the exit, lifting her dress so she would not drag it through blood. Her pair of personal hounds then came up behind her. As she made her way eyes flicker to scan over at the scarred man at the door.
She stopped just for a moment, and she quickly played it off as if she were waiting for her dogs.

" Come, Fang. Antler." She called to her pets before she started out towards the God wood tree with her pets. Sansa felt prayer to be needed after the trail.

Arya approached the exit but fully stopped and spoke to Sandor. " She knows part of the truth now. " she stated as she wiped the blood from her knife on to a old rag. " Maybe you should tell her the other half." The other half being the why he never return to her till now.

XXXXXX

"She will just end up throwing me in the kennels with her mutts. She does not wish me in her presence." Arya shrugged. "You two are stubborn asses."

Before he could retaliate with a suiting expletive, a guard raced pass them and into the hall towards Jon. Immediately all attention fell onto him as he rolled the parchment and read in silence. "Sound the bells! Everyone get ready, we have till dawn!" The hall exploded in noise and madness as everyone scrambled to begin preparing for the upcoming battle of the dead.

He did not hesitate to begin preparing, mainly by making sure his flask was filled to the brim with wine. He was expecting to die tomorrow; he needed nothing more than a weapon in one hand and some sweet wine in the other.

When the moon was high, he found himself a spot on the high tower and sat down to begin the long night's wait. Beric and some of the other Brotherhood were to join shortly, but for now he had peace before the storm that was brewing over the horizon.

XXXXXX

Sansa, like nearly every night, made her way to the balcony where her and Theon jumped. She had dismissed Brienne for the evening. When she step out she again found Sandor there. She said nothing and made her way over towards the area he was plopped down at; lifting her dress to step over his legs as she went past and stood to his left. She then proceeded to lean against the stone railing and look out.A long pause came before she started talking, her voice low, but clear.

" This is where me and Theon jumped. On this side. We landed in snow. On the other side is where I tossed my husband's lover. She didn't land in snow. " Her hands then pushed all the snow from the railing so she could lean against it, the snow powdered down on Sandor's head and chest.

XXXXXX

He wasn't bothered by the snow; it felt refreshing against the heaviness of his armor. She talked and he listened, just like old time when she would be rambling off and he be cursing her under his breath. "Sounds like you have horrible choices in husbands; heard he broke you in rather roughly." He coldly responded as he brought the flask skin to his lips and gulped loudly.

He did contemplate a moment to leave her to her own thoughts, but he was there first and had planned to camp out in that specific spot the entire night. She could piss off.

XXXXXX

" Roughly...I suppose that could be a word used for his actions. " she admitted simply as her hands took hold of the stone railing. " None have asked for details of what Ramsey did or didn't do; but he got what was coming to him. Jon beat him in the streets and I feed him to his starving hounds. Loyal beasts he called them before they ripped his face off. " Sansa talk as if she was in a trance, her finger drawing circles along the surface of the brick railing.

" ...you always warned me how cruel some men could be. I often wonder if Joffrey would have been as bad. With him I may have got out with the skin on my back-" Sansa then snapped out of her trance and straightened up with hands flat. She had never mention one of the more private tortures that Ramsey performed on her. But after all his house sigil was a flayed man.

"Stupid, girl." That was his drunken response to her opening up. "You never fucking listened to anything I said, but you definitely jumped when that fucking weasel told you and look what happened." His tone was bitter and angry, all those emotions that he attempted to bury were boiling in his stomach and no amount of wine was subduing them from poking up.
"I should have left you where you were that night. Should have walked the fuck away when I had the chance." He gulped another sip as he recalled that night of being in her room.

XXXXXX

Sansa did not fuss with Sandor, she had grown up enough to know it got her nowhere so instead she acted rudely again. Taking his flask from his own hand, as if she planned on drinking it, only to toss it over the edge right in front of the man.
" If you had I would have been just as mad as you are now." She stated simply as she went back to leaning against the railing.

XXXXXX

"You stupid cunt!" He leaped up in time to watch the flask hit the ground. He glared at her as his knuckled turned white gripping the railing. "Did I say something to offend you, Lady Bolton?"

His words were venomous in their direction as he struck her, not with his hands but words. "Pray, forgive me, Lady Bolton, for dishonoring you with my presence." He spoke with a mocking attitude as he bowed to her and turned to make his way to get more wine.

XXXXXX

Sansa turned and locked her eyes fully on Sandor. " It's better than being called Lady Clegane. " she spat back at him with a sour expression not believing that he had the nerve to speak to her in such a manner. She was so steamed by his harsh judgment that a match could catch afire if it touched her skin.

" At one time I wanted my name attached to yours so bad that my mind ache. But now I can't recall my reason."

XXXXXX

"Well good thing that never happened! I would say I could drink to that, but you fucking tossed my wine! Wouldn't want you for a wife anyway, you fucking feed them to dogs!"

He dug into his armor and pulled out the handkerchief and tossed it to the ground. "Keep your fucking cloth. It is bad luck anyway!"

He began to storm off, his blood boiling that he was ready to take on the entire dead army on his own with just his bare hands to crush their skulls.

XXXXXX

Sansa looked across the way and felt her rage storming up through her throat. " I fucking loved you." The word vomit spat out and she felt sick once it did, turning from his view and taking hold of the stone.

" Loving you made things so much worse..." she choked out before he walked through the door leading into the castle. " Every time something bad happened I would tell myself, he'll come back. He will, he will, but you didn't. " Sansa was wide eyed and starring into nothing, she looked like a shell in this very moment.

" I was sold, raped, branded, and you never came back. Till now..."

XXXXXX

He stopped in his tracks when she confessed her feelings for him. But those were old feelings snuffed out of existence by a harsh dose of reality. "You were just a girl. You had no idea about anything." He huffed as he kept his back to her. Slowly he turned around. "I did come back for you but by then you were gone. Your precious Littlefinger had me tossed over a cliff and I broke both my legs and then some. Your cunt of a sister left me to die, and if it wasn't for a kind stranger finding me and healing me, I would be a skeleton at the base of a mountain right about now. Took over a year just to be able to walk again, by then you were gone off with Littlefinger."

He stepped a bit closer to her, but the sound of a warning horn interrupted. He listened hard and another wail appeared in the still of the night. Men came running to their posts from all directions. Sandor grabbed Sansa and pushed her away so she wouldn't be trampled by the stampede of soldiers. "What's happening?!" He asked one of the men. "They are here. They are coming upon us as we speak. We need to get ready to fight. "

XXXXXX

Sansa watched as the men came across the balcony of the castle wall. It was time and she knew it. When Sandor pulled her close to his chest she didn't fight it even though it sent nervous chills down her.

Once the soldiers were gone she knelt down and picked the stomped fabric up and placed it in a pocket along Sandor's shirt.

" It's not bad luck and you know it..." she whispered to him before raising her eyes up to meet his heavy glare.

" I'm not sorry I slapped you. But I am sorry I didn't drink that wine before tossing your flask. " Sansa told him still not pulling her wrist from his grasp.

" Please don't die...I would hate to think this is the last time we argue."

XXXXXX

"Don't worry I will survive long enough so you can feed me to your mutts." He stole a moment to brush a strand of hair from her face. "We need to get you somewhere safe."

Those too weak, small or young to fight were ordered down into the crypts. He peered out a window to see many rushing in that direction attempting to get to safety as the dead drew near. He grabbed her hand tighter in his and placed a dragon glass dagger in it. "You still remember how to use one of these, right?"

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" Better now than I once did." Sansa admitted before taking the dagger and placing it against her belt to hold there. She allowed him to escort her to the opening of the crypts. Still her hand never pulled from his.

" My sister is fighting. Please...if you-" Sansa hushed. She had not right to ask him to look out after Arya. So she hushed and looked straight into his eyes before taking and step forward and cupping the smooth part of his face with her free hand. Sansa was tall enough to where he didn't have to bend for her to reach, leaning in she placed one kiss on his scarred cheek as a blessing favor.

" Don't die...that's a order."

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She didn't have to finish her thought. "Yes I won't let the little shit die."

He wasn't sure how he felt having her, or any of the others down in the cellars, for it could easily become a death trap just as much as it was a sanctuary now.

"I seem to recall having to take orders from you once before, Little Bird." He swept in and stole a kiss from her lips instead. "I won't die." Those were his parting words before vanishing into the night and all the terrors that awaited them.

There was no way to tell how long they were in those crypts. It could have been hours, or just mere minutes. Time was frozen as they waited, unaware of the absolute hell on earth those outside were facing.

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Bones dug themselves out of the dirt; the crypts soon became their own war zone. Mable Winters a long time friend of Sansa's was pulled away with her bastard wrapped in her arms. The babe cried and gained Sansa's attention. She knew it could easily become a suicide but she ran to her friend. She pulled the crying infant from Winter's arms due to how many corpses had hold of her. She struck two with the dagger Sandor had given her and then hurried away. The baby crying was a loud indication of where Sansa was in the crypts though.

She was fully cornered with several of the others hid away in the crypts when all a sudden the dead dropped lifeless. That's when Sansa dropped to her knees and knew the war was over and they had won.

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It was a battle that was almost lost, but a lot of lives were sacrificed. Hundreds were injured, including the Hound and those capable of mending or healing the sick were immediately summoned out.

He had lost his flame sword welding friend, but he kept her sister safe so that spirited wolf bitch was able to destroy the Night King and end this madness.

"Drink up, we need to reset the bone." An old maester handed him a small vial for him to consume before having to put in place his dislocated shoulder. The poor, old man almost became another casualty of war as a shot of pain electrocuted his nervous system and made him howl profanities.

He watched as people fluttered in an out, counting the faces he knew and searching for one in particular. Brienne of Tarth hobbled by when he shout out to her. "Have you seen her...Sansa...is she alive?" Brienne could not answer and had that same worry on her battered and bruised face as he did.

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Brienne looked to the side to see the Hound. " No. I haven't found her yet. The Crypts were attacked. Several bodies are in there tore apart...I looked at them and didn't see her hair...but there is so much blood. All their hair was red!" Brienne stated in a panic as she walked away from Sandor.

Sansa held the baby she had saved; it was blessed with fair hair just as its mother; a little nameless daughter with no father and now no mother. Sansa walked the halls of her home and looked over the soldiers that laid about. Sansa knew nothing about children, but she held the babe close as she removed them from what seemed like the house of death only to step out into the yard of bodies.

" Arya!" Sansa called.

Arya flung herself into Sansa's embrace. "You're alive!" She cried out with happiness as she counted herself fortunate.

Having been told what happened by Brienne, Sandor began making his way through the sea of injured and dead to find her. "He saved me, Sansa." Arya was in the middle of telling her when behind she saw the image of the man she spoke of. "Either he is alive or he is a ghost come back to haunt me." Her finger pointed behind Sansa to the monstrous man.

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He stumbled over, looking like part of the dead than living, but living he was and it was a promise he was happy to have kept.

Sansa was catching every other word that her younger sister was saying. Her eyes connected on the frames of those who were living while her mind raced and checked them off as alive deep in her thoughts. When she saw Sandor she didn't run to him, she had no time before her sister let out.

" Theon is dead."

This snapped Sansa from starring at Clegane and on to her sister. " What?"

" In the gods wood..." Arya told her.

And like that the realization that not all that she loved made it. All day Sansa held to the babe while she watched the remaining men gather the bodies up to prepare the burning ceremony later that day. She just like everyone else was a bit tore up, when she parted with the babe for the evening she gave it to some young girls who were more than happy to care for her; she was like a living doll to them. Sansa had a task at hand and that involved lighting the piles of bodies that surrounded the front fields of Winterfell. Once this task was dealt with she started to walk back to her home.

Chapter Text

HINTS OF CELEBRATION

Time taught him how not to mourn. Dead was dead, after all, what was crying going to do. He could see the layout of the bodies from his quarters and that was enough for him. But though he did not mourn like the others, he still felt the heaviness that came when losing someone that you cared for. Beric had become a close friend over the years and had helped Sandor face many demons. It was a shame that he would no longer be around to talk to.

He knew war brought out the best and worst of humanity that emotions were carelessly thrown into the wind when facing one's possible death. He also knew when victory was at hand and death defeated, those careless emotions quickly become bottled back up.

They were both acting like lunatics the night before because they had nothing to lose...well she didn't. Today, however, she did. She was still the Lady of Winterfell and he was still just a lone dog scavenging the world. He had nothing to offer her, and in a world were titles and gold brought power, the passions of the heart were ignored and forgotten, left only to fairytales.
So he packed his only worldly belongings and prepared himself for moving on.

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Arya was walking by when he noticed the Hound gathering up his things.
" What are you doing?" Arya asked as he looked the Hound's pack over.

" How can you leave when your shirt is ripped." Arya like serval others had heard the rumor of Sandor kissing Sansa. But unlike others she had heard them talking on the balcony the night before. She, just like others, was still overly protective of her sister.

As fast as possible the young girl reach up and pulled Sandor's lightly ripped shirt sleeve, this only caused it to further tear.

" Damn. Now I guess you'll need that stitched or a new one, maybe a bath too. Because if you haven't noticed the dead are dead and you need to start fucking living. " Arya stated harshly before looking at his bed cot.

" My sister offered you boarding and you decline. You are the rudest shit stain in the seven kingdoms. And it stops tonight! You are going to take a bath and sit under my roof! And if you have an issue I'll do to you as I did to the blue eyed bastard." Arya warned as she picked up a pile of Sandor's things casually and turned to start walking out. "Now come on."

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"Well look at you, the wolf bitch gets a taste of cock in her cunt and then she thinks she can take the world on single handily." He cared little about the torn shirt; he dealt with worse issues and walked away. "No place for me here, kid. I did what I came here to do, I gave her peace of mind, saved your stupid ass from dying...there is no place for me here." Strength wise, he over powered her and there was no stopping him from leaving. Her taking his stuff was not going to prevent him from leaving. Stupid girl.

He allowed her to walk off, but as he stepped over the threshold of the barracks, he bumped into Ser Davos. "Just the man I was looking for." He wrapped his arm over the big man, taking advantage of the element of surprise that momentarily hinder his movements. This gave Tormund the opportunity to come up from behind and knock him out. "Fucker got a head of iron!" He proclaimed as the Hound's unconscious body crumbled to the ground.

"Now we just need to get him cleaned up." Arya stated as the trio stood around him, observing him like one would observe a sedated wild beast. "We may need more hands to carry him." Ser Davos suggested, but Tormund just laughed. "Nah I got this, though you may need to stay by so I don't knock his head off the steps." Though he couldn't fully lift the beast up, he was able to pull him up by his legs and drag him from behind, leaving Davos and Arya to help hoist when needed.

When thrown into the tubs, the sensation of water snapped him out of his daze. This made him extremely mad and noncompliant with their demands to wash, and so Tormund knocked him out again, though Davos caught him before the man went under the water. "This can't be good on his head, how many times do we need to knock him out?" Arya crossed her arms and snuffed. "As many times as needed before he fucking listens.

By the time he awoke, he in the great hall where the festivities were in full bloom. He was freshly dressed, his beard and hair were trimmed and groomed, wounds were dressed and a bottle was placed in his hands so that he can immediately mute the pain that his head was going to feel.

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Gendry sat next to the Hound, his face then turned to the man as he started to shift awake. The young man stopped eating and fully stared forward as the young Stark settled next to Sansa. He smirked.

" I never thought I would have land or anything to offer her...but now I do. Riverrun." He repeated. Rumor ran quickly that each man who had went across the wall and still stood would be granted lands and a title. " There you are. Jon wanted to talk with you. But you passed out again at the bath house, probably something about your land. That's what he and the Queen spoke with me about.

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He chugged half the bottle as Gendry spoke, his head pounding from all the noise. "I ain't got no land...never did. Tell him to take his business up with my brother." He took another swig. "And tell your wolf bitch I am going to cut her up and feed her to the pigs next time she does something like this." He tugged the black tunic he was now wearing. "Fucking cunt ran off with my shit too!"

"I think I am going to ask Arya to marry me." Gendry spoke in a dreamlike voice. "I can give her what she deserves now." He barely was paying attention to anything the Hound was saying. The beast lifted a brow in disbelief over the young man. "You finally get your cock wet and all of a sudden you are proposing marriage. If that was the case, I would have a harem of wives by now. All that bitch deserves right now is a few whacks to the head."

Gendry broke from his fantasy to glare upon the old dog. "Anyone ever tell you how miserable you are?" The Hound grinned "All the fucking time, boy! All the fucking time!" And raised his bottle to finish it off just in time to snag a fresh pitcher from one of the servant girls. "Go bugger off to find your woman and leave me be." He groaned.

But as one left another took his place to annoy the big man who only wanted to drown his sorrows in ale and wine. "Can we talk?" His voice was trembling with the onset of tears. Sandor finished off a full tankard before glaring at the redheaded fool who managed to sit so close to him he was practically on his lap. "No, fuck off!"

Tormund took that as 'By all means my best friend, pull up a chair and tell me everything!' Tormund took a swig of his soured milk liquor. "I've lost her, Celgane. I've lost her to that blonde hair sister fucker!" He began to sob and Sandor wished someone would come back around and knock him out again so he wouldn't have to do deal with this bullshit.

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" She looks at him like he is a fat honey ham. " Tormund leaned in closer. "A fat one!" He informed Clegane before leaning against the wooden framed table.

" These Southern women...they don't like me." He told him as he rose his hand up to rub his brow. " And the one I love won't let me touch her...do you know how that feels?" Tormund then sat up and looked to the scarred bastard before smirking.

" You don't. You got to touch what you wanted last night. Or that's what I heard. " Tormund's side scanned over to the older Stark girl who was cheering her brother on to drink his weight in ale. " With you settled at Mormont, Little Red will be less than a day away if she stay here." saying this only made Tormund's eyes water. "I wish you the best." Tormund had no idea that the Hound had not spoken with Jon about his proposal of land. The rumors made it sound as if it was a done in stone deal but it hadn't even been brought to the man.

And easily done Tormund was snapped out of his crying state by a soft voice. " Not all of us don't like Wildlings. "

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He didn't question about the land nor about the rumor. He was sure there was plenty worse going on than him giving her a kiss. Arya was busy mounting the blacksmith, but no one was talking about that. He finished the rest of the ale as Tormund ran off with the women and another woman took his place.

In another lifetime he might have taken her up on such advances, but there was no interest there. He barked at the girl until she ran off, leaving him now happily alone with his faithful companion of booze.

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Sansa had been heavily drinking, some for sorrows and other for celebration. She wore a tight black dress that showed off the figure she had grown into over the years. It was classy though, nothing low cut or out there like the maiden that tried to lure Clegane away.

She watched him growl at the young woman which lead her to flee. Sansa wanted to smirk but chose not to. Even though she was drunk didn't mean she didn't have control. She drank so much now days that seeing her reflection with a cup in had made her think of the Lannister witch she hated.

Slowly she made her way towards his table. Not rounding the surface but choosing to sit in front of him. Face to face.

" She could have made you happy. For a little while anyway." she stated before taking the pitcher from his hand and pouring herself a glass of wine. She had never been drunk in front of Sandor. Drink yes, but drunk never.

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"Nothing makes me happy." He growled as he finished his drink and went for another. "Besides..." He paused to look at her in moment of sobriety. "I made a vow...no more whores." It was the only one he kept, and kept it he did since their last intimate moment all those moons ago. He pulled her glass towards him and filled it for her. "Look at you, such a lush. I remember a time when you would get tipsy off of tavern ale." He gazed down upon his glass, his finger circling around the edge as he fell into thought. "I am sorry for everything you went through. I should have marched you out of the Vale the second we witnessed your cousin sucking on his mother's tit. Same fucking instinct I had when taking you to the Twins. I placed you in the hands of evil." He finished his glass. "But look at you now, you've turned into a fine lady."

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Sansa thought of several catchy lines to say in this moment but instead of being a smart ass she just stated the truth. " I learn a lot the past few years from those evil people." She admitted before pulling her cup back towards herself.
" A hateful man once told me the older I got the more I would have to drink about. He was right. Not about most but about this he was right. " she told him before tipping her glass to her lips.

When she lowered it back down slim fingers drifted from the cup and were placed on Sandor's hand. "I don't blame you for Littlefinger or Ramsey. If I did I would feed you to my dogs too."

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"I speak a lot of rubbish, you shouldn't listen to me." He concluded with still a hint of guilt peppered in his words. "I think about those times...sometimes...our little adventure through Westeros." He felt sheepish bringing up those memories, but his tongue and his mind were not currently correlating at that moment. "I think sometimes I remember it too much..." He grew silent for a moment. "Especially when I feel completely shut off from the world, those memories..." He heavily sighed and lifted his drink once more.

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" They mean the world to me too." She admitted to him in wine scented whisper. Her hand squeezed his lightly, some might find it amusing that the hand holding his now was the same one slapping him across the face two days ago.

" I know you have demons that still haunt you. So do I. But at times when mine crawl out of inside my own head I use those memories to put them at bay. I think my favorite is the night in the forgotten house.
It's okay if it's not yours." She told him as her hand drifted from his slowly but remained on the table with their finger tips nearly touching.

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Her fingers were as soft as his memory remembered, shocking how harsh they stung when striking him. When she released her hand and began to pull away, he grasped it, ever so gently and drew it back to him. "Yes..." He whispered as he leaned closer into the table. His own hand, scarred, aged and rough caressed against her own. "Every moment spent is treasured..." He smirked "Even the times when you were mad at me and I had to sleep with one eye open cause I thought any minute you were going to kill me." He brought her hand to his bearded lips and kissed the top. " Even then I knew what you were capable of." He allowed a moment to pass as he reflected upon those distant memories. " So tell me, Little Bird, are you a hundred feet tall yet?"

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And this was when Sansa broke into a light smile. " No. Not yet. I'm not sure I will hit the goal you placed for me. But your expectations have always been high. " she admitted with a laugh laced into her words.

" But-" Her voice lowered after she comprised herself . It became luring, this tone never appearing in their once days together not even when so close and intimate. " We don't have to just live in our memories." She told him as she stood and took her hand from his slowly. Sansa then said no more and turned to guide herself through the crowded room with such grace. Once to the main door way she turned to look back at Sandor; holding his gaze for just a moment before continuing on into the hallway.

Chapter Text

FRECKLES AND SCARS

The man had many 'flight or fight' moments in his life, even just recently during the battle he was ready to flee, if not for the encouragement of Beric. Here he was again, given a second chance by the unknown forces that he refused to acknowledge. A new fork in the road, and he stood at its path and contemplated. He watched her dance through the hall of people like a spirit gliding effortlessly through the veil of time. He sat in a frozen state, unsure of himself until she paused and looked back.
Immediately he rose and wasted no time in meeting her heels, ever the fateful and obedient dog he was. He didn't say anything, just allowed her to lead him wherever she desired; at that moment she could lead him right off the edge of the tower and he would still happily follow.

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Sansa was now a woman, with just a few years of age, she was more sure of herself and those around her. Her hold ups though were rooted deep. But right now her demons were away it seemed. Maybe it was due to the wine she drank, or the simple fact she and he was still alive. The Lord of Light might have a hand in it, or maybe fate. Trust perhaps?

But whatever the reason, it was happening. Sansa lead Clegane down the halls until finally they were alone. The music could still be lightly heard where they were, but that's not the sounds that caught her attention. The faint sound of her heart beating like a drum in her ears along with the boards under Sandor's feet cricking. These sounds didn't frighten her from the ideas she had for them this evening.

Sansa stop at the quarters she now had, which once belonged to her parents. She turn with her back nearly press to the door, her blue eyes turning up to meet his own.

" Will you call me Little Bird tonight?"

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She was truly a woman grown, but still held that vibrant spirit that first ever captured his eye. She had more experience in the world now; and he knew her requests were not coming from a young heart, desperate for that first taste of love, but from wisdom, only gained by experience. She knew what she wanted and it was him.

He pressed her against the door when she made her request, his hand already skirting across the small of her waist and his other pressed against the wooden barrier above her head. His nose nuzzled against her face as he brushed his lips to whisper in her ear. "Only if my Little Bird sings for me...and only me." She could feel his heart drumming against his chest as he kissed the lobe of her ear. "I am yours to command, Little Bird." His free hand had already clicked open the door knob to allow them entry.

Knowing the trauma she had to endure, he allowed her to take the lead, giving her full control of the situation. So when they entered, he allowed her to go in first, with him lingering behind just a moment to shut the door behind them.

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Sansa entered her chambers backwards until fully inside. Heavy blue eyes never pulling from him as she allowed him to enter her sanctuary. Her quarters were clean, except for a table off in the corner where she kept spare fabrics to sew quilts and such in her free time.

Clean fresh cotton bedding showed at the corners of the furs over top her bed. Sansa had very little due to constantly traveling over the years but one item that stood out in the room was a small wooden bird she had placed in her windowsill.

Once inside she turned her back to Clegane and pulled the chain that held her cloak, it rattled as she loosened it and freed herself from the heavy fur. Folding it once in her hands and placing it at the table where her fabrics lay.

Her eyes then scanned over to the fire place that flickered in the room. Studying it for a moment, she decided best it be out. She then picked up a bucket of water near the fire and tossed it all over the flames. The wood was flooded and the fire died down to nothing just as she wanted.

The fog from the night before had faded outside, the moon was full. Her face then turn as she drop the bucket and look Clegane over in the just moonlight that shined from the window. Slowly she made her way to the Hound, placing her hands on his frame while looking up at him.

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He watched the steam from the fire dance out into the darkness like an escaping ghost, disappearing into the coldness of the night. He preferred to see her in moonlight, for that was how he best remembered her all those nights laying on the dirt floors of the earth. She use to remind him of the faes and magical woodland nymphs of tales from his childhood, now she reminded him of a Goddess.

When she came to him, he allowed a silent moment to build between them. His hands encompassed her own as he brought them to his chest. "Be not afraid, Little Bird." His words echoed a time when she would be caught by his presence and shiver with fear of him. "I won't hurt you." Leaving her hands on his chest, he cupped her head to bring her to meet his lips. "How I craved for your sweetness." He whispered between connections. "You intoxicate me." He deepened his kiss and then withdrew to view her reaction.

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Sansa listened closely, her hands pulling open the clasps over his shirt. It was not a rushed process, delicate fingers lifted the metal to free more of his barreled chest. When he paused to glance over her features her hands had just stop at his belt. Taken slightly by how he allowed her to set the pace.

" Even in King's Landing I knew you had kind eyes. Maybe not towards all but towards me I knew even when my shadow frightened me." She told him before a bare hand rubbed inside his now open shirt. Feeling the scared flesh under her palm did not halt her movements. Her free hand then drifted to one of his, taking it in her own while leading to her own clasps.

" I wish this was my first time with a man Sandor. " she admitted.

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Though welcomed and wanted, her touch was foreign to his damaged body. He was a map if untouched scars and it felt absolutely wonderful to have soft fingers graze across them. When she loosened his tunic and undershirt, he didn't hesitate to tear it off his torso and toss it.

When she permitted him to move forward, his fingers fumbled through clasps and ties. A small frustrated growl escaped him, for he had no patience for such things; still he smiled. "You are cloaked in a puzzle." He smirked. "You women and your fancy clothes." He finally won the ongoing battle of a stubborn tie and began unraveling it when she spoke again regarding her virtue. "Nooo..." His voice was guttural as he unleashed covered skin. "This is how I want you." He lifted her chin to meet his honest eyes. "You know now what you want, what your body desires and craves. Don't think of yourself as anything but perfect."

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Seeing him paw at her dress and work to gain entrance brought a smile to the young woman. "I think you like me dressed like this though." She teased.

Sansa had never seen herself as perfect, true she had enjoyed the idea once as a child. To be a perfect princess in the eyes of her beholders, but time and people took their toll on the young woman to the point where she did indeed see herself as lesser than she once was.

His words were so kind but they brought slight fear to her. Sansa shook her head and stepped back so her hands could pull the fabric open fully and allow it to slip down her body. She stood in only a low cut under slip that in light would be considered see through.

" I'm not perfect..." Sansa told him in a warning breathe before slowly turning in front of Clegane. Her hands moving her long hair from her back so he could see the damage Ramsey had placed on her. Two strips of skin fully removed to make an X along her back. Sansa had not shown any other than the nurse maids that helped heal it while in the Bolton's care.

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He wanted to resurrect that fucking cunt and kill him again and repeat the process till that bastard begged to be released from the torture. He would not ruin the moment allowing Ramsey Bolton to plague their thoughts.

His heart cracked seeing the scarred flesh; it wasn't that she wasn't beautiful because of them, but that she now knew what it felt like to be like him. That was a curse he wished on no one. His hand brushed over the back of her neck and trailed down to faintly trace the path of purple flesh. "Perfect to me." He whispered as he crossed over from one end to the next. He embraced her from behind, grasping the tops of her shoulders. "You are not your wounds." His lips kissed where his hand rested, softly pulling down the fabric from her under clothes and allowing them to pool down around her. "I once told you that I would never submit to any King." He spoke in between suckling on the backs of her shoulders and around her neck. "My knee only bows to you, my Little Bird. I am your loyal servant, tell me what you want."

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Sansa wanted a great many things, mostly freedom for her people and all the North, but that could not be gained in this moment. Her thoughts weren't even on those important factors right now. Instead her eyes close as he placed his mouth against her skin, she never knew a touch could be so desired and craved so much. Turning there in his embrace she dipped and met his mouth, kissing him with a bit more natural fire than before as her hands took hold of Clegane's face. Her body pressed to his in a guiding manner.

Even though he towered her she lead him back. In her youth she never saw herself to be the one leading this man into anything; always the one following his orders and holding to his hand as he led her. But now he gave her the reins and it freed a part of Sansa she thought would be caged for eternity.

Once the back of his knees hit her wooden framed bed she pulled their mouths apart. " I want all of you right now. " she answered through trembling lips.

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Control was not something he easily submitted. True, he fought many desires to lead, but he also found it arousing to give her the power.

When his legs hit the bed, he sat down allowing her to lean over him. In the spotlight of moonlight, her porcelain skin was a stark contrast against the dark red of her hair which made her seem unworldly. For the first time he was permitted to gaze upon her in her truest form. His hand traveled up the side of her curved waist and softly across her breast and down to the small of her belly. Just slight of her navel was a freckle, larger than the rest, it caught his eye and he dipped his head down to kiss it. "You are adorned in freckles." He teased knowing at one time she despised them. "Shall I kiss them all?" He found another and another, peppering her belly with his lips as they trailed up.

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This made a smile form fully over her as a hand lifted from his chest and placed on his shoulders. Sansa then nodded.

" You may kiss each freckle if I am permitted to kiss each scar." She replied as she slowly crossed over his lap and lowered her body down on to him.

Straddled over the man allowed for closeness they had not had in years with one another. Hearts beating like caged birds, hot breathes fanning out against each other's skin.

Her small hand lifted to graze his own scarred face, slowly pushing the hair out of his eyes to fully see him. Once done her finger tips skimmed back down his jaw line. As she looked him over she lightly bit her bottom lip due to feeling the elements between them playing out and making themselves known. This lead to her body reacting slightly, her hips moved over his still button pants.

" Scarred lovers we are." She stated as she looked over his features. "What a pair we make. "

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Since the last time she saw him, he added to his collection of scars. Naked, he looked as though he had been cut apart and pieced back together, and in some parts it was an awful job of reconstruction. Large, raised scars ran over his thighs where the bones had protruded and then flesh torn. His torso was a collection of battle wounds, where swords and daggers, lances and spears slashed and poked at him. Some were old as he was, some of them only hours old. White, pink, red and purple danced over sun weathered skin and dark curls of hair. "I fear you will grow tired and fall asleep if you attempted to get everyone." He teased, laying back to allow her to roam.

He had had his share of whores, but never was there any level of intimacy. It was a savage act, a performance on their part and a way to satisfy a need on his. No woman was given permission to linger and take in the details of his body, and frankly many if not all were not interested. He closed his eyes in pure bliss and stretch out his arms, fully submitting to her. Her touch was magical, just as her kiss had the power to snuff out the flame in his face; her touch had the same effect.

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Sansa massaged over the torn skin, her fingers danced over his frame, that was until meeting the top ties of his pants. Her eyes look down at the button and strings holding the fabric together, pausing just long enough to muster up the nerve to speak.
There were nerves of excitement, goosebumps coving her freckled body as she waited to extend the invitation to welcome him fully in body and soul.

" Sandor...take me." She whispered as she pulled open his pants but refusing to shuffle him out. Instead she leaned forward and met his lips again. Giving him control of the situation now was a big step for Sansa but she trusted him. Like she told him years ago, ' You won't hurt me'.

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There was a moment hesitation as the fear of causing her any discomfort or pain was not something he desired. He knew she had a horrible experience at the hands of another and he refused to add to any of those memories.

Swiftly he shifted her to lie on the bed, his hands simultaneously rolling down his pants to discard them on the floor. He didn't hover over her at first, but instead met her on the opposite side, bringing her body over to face his. Gently he lifted her leg to coil over his. Taking her hand he placed it downward so she could feel the impact she had on his sex. "I want to hear you sing, Little Bird, when I spill my seed into you." He kissed her then, allowing her to roam her hands over him and as his hand did the same.

When ready he moved so she can guide him into her, giving her the ability to adjust herself to him. He deeply sighed once fully inside of her, feeling as though she was a perfect fit.

His movements were only guided by her, but his expertise provided her a pleasurable experience. He was a firm but gentle lover, and as he came to climax, he buried his head into the crook of her neck and moaned her glory as though he were sending out prayers to the Heavens.

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Sansa found his pace perfect. Like nothing else that had ever been offered to her before. Touching his body and gain familiarity with it before impact was luring for her mind. Not to mention his own hand exploring her.
The movements were slow in the start, but by the end Sansa's quiet demeanor broke. Nails dug into his back as her face found a hiding spot against his thick neck. Panting came first followed with light moaning, but at the very end she cried his name. Again and again it passed her lips. It was the only word she was sure of in the heat of the moment. With that being the case this is the song she sang to him.

Afterwards she remained close to his chest, her ear pressed to where she could listen to his heart steadying. It was like a war drum being beat before battle. Her hair was slightly mangled, her hands playing with the dark thick chest hair while she lay there against him.

Sansa was unsure what topics were appropriate for after lying with a man, so for a long while she remain quiet. It was nice to just hear his breathing and heartbeat. But then she thought of some of the outcomes that could happen from their activities.

" Have you ever wanted children?" She asked without moving from him.

XXXXXX

He had just ridden a euphoric wave and the blissful coming down was just as sweet. He held her tight to him, enjoying the whispery, mindless twirls and caresses. He could die at that very moment and die a happy man.
His eyes were closed when she broke the silence, but he was not sleeping, just basking. " Why, you worried you will be stuck with one of my pups?" His one eyes poked opened.

Procreating was never something he pondered. He could have had a kid or two wandering around, but none he knew. Prior to joining the King's Guard, he had no prospects of marriage and since his brother held the rights to their land, there was no need for him to create an heir.

Like the dog he was, he stretched his body out as he shifted his comfort across her bed, before giving her his attention. "I don't hate the thought, but it never has been on my mind." His fingers played with a strand of red. "I am pleased your hair grew back." He gathered up a handful, admiring its strength and thickness. "This is the only fire I am happy to bury my face in." Her scent reminded him of the forest, earthy tones mixed with faint aromas of sweetness. "Do you?" He questioned the same.

XXXXXX

Sansa smirked as he played with her hair; her face shifted some now laying against his shoulder. She should have expected the question to back fire her way, but gave a lost in thought expression when it did.

" I'm not worried." She admitted to him. " At least not about the actual act of having children. I've always wanted them. But now that I know how the way things work, I worry about the world I would raise them in."

Sansa then shifted up and pulled the furs at the end of the bed up to their exposed flesh. With the fire fully out the room grew cold.
Before laying back down she thought of a past memory.

" A red flower didn't bloom during my marriage to Ramsey." Sansa paused. " It was the only time he was semi kind to me. But when the Maester look me over and told him it was due to stress...it's when he skinned me. " Sansa refused to look towards Clegane when telling him this, she had needed someone who understood true pain to tell this to. Who could understand? She had waited a long time to share this, truly feeling it was the first step to getting over her trauma.

" He told me I tricked him into thinking he was getting a heir. "

XXXXXX

Instinctively his hand wrapped over her belly, as though subconsciously he was placing claim on her womb. "You should have skinned him alive before feeding him to the dogs." He growled before fully embracing her. "Fuck him; he is rotting in dog shit." He nuzzled against her. "I am sorry you had to live through that." His hand grazing the cross of scars on her back. His eyes began to droop, feeling the weight of the last few night's events crashing down on him. "Your bed is certainly far better than a bed roll on the floor."He nestled under the warmth of the blankets and the feel of her flesh. "Would my Little Bird allow this old dog to sleep here tonight?" He looked up at her with a purposeful expression of puppy dog eyes.

XXXXXX

Sansa felt a weight lift off her mind. Having someone know about what happened made her lungs feel like chains had been unlatched from around them. She could breathe again.

His hands around her only made hers rub over them, agreeing to the claim that he placed over her. When he spoke about staying the night she turned and lock eyes on him.

" I put my fire out. You are ordered to stay and keep your lady warm." She informed him before crashing down to his side and kissing over his warm beard. Pulling the furs over not just her own body but his too, to seal him in her bed.
"My bed is yours. For as long as you wish." She told him as she settled her head over his arm.

XXXXXX

"Well if that is my lady's command I guess I have no choice. She is a brute of a woman who enjoys beating me, can't piss her off." He said this as he began to doze off entering the best sleep he ever had in the last five years.

By the time the sun reached over the horizon, he would be gone, or at least gone from her bed. He had decided last night that he was going to speak to Jon. He couldn't care about lands or titles, but if it meant he can secure her hand in marriage than he will gladly become Lord of the Swamplands if that was what was required. Personally he absolutely hated this; though he liked Jon as both a man and a leader, he hated playing this facade of formal greetings and customs. What was done in the North was odd in the South, offensive in the East and a crime in the West, was the saying he learned from his nursemaid regarding manners of nobility.

It was Jon he had requested but it was Dany he would see. He did not trust the Dragon Queen.

"Lord Snow has bent the knee to me, acknowledging that I am his Queen." Dany spoke in a serious yet calm tone when Sandor questioned why he wasn't speaking with Jon. "Whatever your business is with him, you can take it up with me..." She poured herself a glass of wine and waved her free hand for him to sit. He chose to stand. "Besides...I am the Queen after all." She wanted to add 'Despite what these Northerners think.' but she kept that to herself.

Sandor was not pleased but figured it was best not to cause a rift. "I understand I am being considered for a title..."

Dany cut him off. "Yes, Lord Snow and I wish to reward those who truly dedicated themselves in serving the Kingdom. Your service will not go unrecognized, Ser Celegane. I guess you are already aware of our decision to make you..."

Sandor cut her off. "I don't care for land or titles, you can make me Lord of the Mud Pit, it is all the same to me. I want to ask...for permission to marry Lady Stark."

A sly smirk attempting to disguise itself as a genuine smile, crossed over the woman's lips. "I heard rumors...apparently you two shared a common history a few years back." She sipped her wine as she looked the man over. "Love breeds in the most uncommon of places." He wasn't sure what she meant by that statement but assumed it had a lot to do about him.

Dany inhaled deeply and allowed her gaze to fall towards the widow's view. "I have no doubt you love her very much. Lady Stark is truly dear to Jon and her reputation here in the North is very important to my Kingdom." She didn't hesitate to emphasis the 'my'. "However it has already been decided that she will be betrothed to my commander in Meereen, Daarios Naharis, and will go there once I have secured the Iron Throne." She knew her words cut like a knife and Sandor felt she actually enjoyed it. Rumors claimed that she and Lady Stark did not seem to get along and this "betrothal" sealed that rumor to be true.

He felt his jaw twitch with anger. How dare they use her as a pawn in this fucking game! "And her brother is in agreement with this?" Was all he was capable of asking through gritted teeth.

"Jon Snow will agree to my commands and what is best to keep alliances. Bran Stark is the rightful heir to Winterfell after all. He will remain as Warden. Now if there aren't any other issues to discuss, I must dismiss you as we have to dedicate our energy to conquering King's Landing."

He was seeing red and stormed off, knocking a few guards out of his way he pounded through the halls of Winterfell. He had a novel of choice words to call that Dragon Bitch and sure enough he used every one of them as he proceeded through.

Chapter Text

VANISH

 

Sansa woke up alone, but this fact didn't lead her to be upset. Rumors were one thing but if actual proof was seen it could cause problems at the moment. She rose up and cleaned herself properly; the mess between her thighs being proof that last night happen.

The baby that she had saved had been passed about by the maids and servants of the castle. When Sansa came down she noticed Podrick to be holding the young one.

" I named her." Podrick stated slightly boldly.

" Did you?" She asked as she made her way over towards the pair. " May I ask what you named her?"

" Clementine. " Podrick answered. " Clementine Winters. You said that was her mother's given name? I think it sounds nice." he went on to tell Sansa.

" You're right. It does." She admitted to him before taking the babe in her own arms.

" I know nothing about babies." Sansa told Podrick.

" It shows. You look scared. " he informed her, which received her eyes to lift to meet his.

" You could have your own." A new voice entered the room. Jon.

Sansa turned to look back at her eldest brother. " You wouldn't allow me such freedoms. " Sansa was joking. She had no idea about the arrangements The Dragon Queen had in her head.

" I would with the right person." Jon stated.

" The right person?" She asked.

" Yes. A lady needs a Lord, someone who can take care of you. " Jon stated before smirking. " Also someone who dares ask me for you. "

" You made two new lords did you not? One a bastard, who gained a title and another, a once guard. " Sansa stepped lightly.

" Yes. Gendry is placed at Riverrun and Clegane with Castle Mormont, after all the war is over. " Jon stepped closer and reach his hand out to the babe his sister held. " So I guess the rumors are true?"

Sansa felt her cheeks turn a shade of red. " Some are always true. "

Jon just like his sister knew nothing of the arrangements Dany had mentioned to Clegane. He simply nodded with a smile. " Guess so. Never would have picked that one though. Some day you will have to tell me the truth on how you got out of King's Landing. "

" Someday I might. " Sansa admitted.

XXXXXX

By the time he had stopped he had marched himself into the gardens of the Weirwood trees, where Arya killed the Night King just a day prior.

He collapsed onto a fallen log, his mind racing between last night's bliss and today's torment. He wished for a bottle at this moment so he could drown away all thought, but unfortunately he was out of luck. These issues were to be faced with sobriety.

His first question was if she knew of this arrangement. She could have been welcoming of Sandor knowing full well that soon she would be on a ship to Meereen by the end of the month. The thought of another man made him want to scream with anger and frustration. Secondly, he wanted to know who else knew if this arrangement and what kind of man was this Daarios. For all anyone knew she could be walking into the arms of another Ramsey.

He buried his head into his hands, wanting so bad to just forget that he was told any of this information and just bask in the glory of last night.

XXXXXX

Sansa was not the one to find Sandor, a face that didn't know him that well instead made his way to the Weirwood tree, Ser Davos. The older man looked the tree over before his sight fell on Clegane.

" Peacful out here. For now that is. " he stated simply before putting his sights back on the tree. " Jon and I spoke about you last night. He's been meaning to speak with you. The rushed life of a king-...I mean Lord. " Ser Davos then glanced back towards the man. " Takes time for that title to go away I guess. But go away it shall. He's seen to that and there's no turning back." His tone was laced with his true feelings of the situation they found themselves in. " She wishes to take King's Landing as soon as possible...many will fall if she turns those dragons loose."

" You mean when." Another voice appeared. Arya." When she strikes King's Landing nine will live. One million people burnt to ash." She stated coldly. " Jon and Sansa just went in to talk with her. She wanted to talk alone with them. "

XXXXXX

Like a depressed dog, he lifted his head from where it hung but resumed that position once he saw it was not the person he was expecting.

"Come to knock me over the head again." He questioned solemnly. "I should of fucking left when given the chance. " He spoke to himself more than the two.

That was his answer. He could still go. It will hurt less now than if they continued on for he knew the second she steps foot on that ship, he would end it. He had finally found some fragment of life worth living for and just like that someone comes along to toss it into the flames.

Dany stood by the window, watching the world of the North go by their mundane business. She hated the cold and the snow and it was all made worse by the coldness she received from the people. "I wish I never had to come here." She spoke to her trusted advisor, Grey Worm.
"They all hate me here." She rested her head to the side of the window just as Jon came in with Sansa.

The young woman seemed to have blossomed overnight. She was a radiance within this bleak, cold world and Dany knew exactly why and exactly how to smother that happiness. She tried to love Jon's sister, she tried to believe that they could exist as family and as allies, but she knew that was just a pipe dream. She and Sansa clashed from day one and she felt the power the young woman had on others, even Jon. That was unacceptable.

Like Sandor before, she attempted to give a warm smile as she entered the room, but there was a sinister undertone behind that smile. "Greetings, Sister."

XXXXXX

The greeting made Sansa lift her head, sister...never. Jon walked in alongside Sansa, he too gave a worried expression by the greeting Dany gave. Before the battle the young man had told her the truth of who he was, claiming to not take his birth right, that was the Iron Throne, he didn't want it. That statement was true.

Sansa knew none of this; if she had it would have been a weapon to defend her along with her own people.

" Your Grace " Sansa refused to call this woman before her sister as she settled in a chair across from the Dragon Queen with Clementine in her arms.

" You called for us my Queen?" Jon asked as he stood properly with hands clasp behind his back waiting for any orders.

" I have been thinking of our future. All of our futures. " Dany started, as she leaned up in her chair. " How do empires grow?" She asked out loud.

" Locally they grow with future rulers being born. The line gets bigger. More money more land." Sansa stated.

" That's right! And the first step to successfully making that happen is through marriage. Agreed?" The Queen asked.

This started to make Sansa's skin crawl. " True."

" You see I left one of my hands back in Meereen. He's a handsome charming ruler. " Dany started with but was cut short by Sansa.

" I'm not sure Jon would like Meereen." Sansa hissed.

" No. He wouldn't. But your Brother might like King's Landing. " she hissed back.

Jon's face twisted at the thought. It wasn't natural what he and this silver beauty once had, and now knowing that made her proposal feel unflattering. " I like the cold your Grace. " he told her simply.

" I will not be going to Meereen. I will stay here in the North where my home is. " Sansa stated as every hair stood up over her skin.

" You will do as your Queen commands. " The Queen stated harshly.

" I am not a slave. People have choices. You don't get to snap your fingers and make me pop up in Meereen. " Sansa went on before standing up. Sansa was big compared to Dany, if she had been truly trained she could have been a real issue for some. Not to mention Sansa was holding a baby, the image made her look like a mother bear. " Some breaker of chains you are."

Dany settled back and watched her feel with more hate. " If not you then I will send your little sister. " and on this note Sansa turned to leave.

Jon didn't know what to say, he was at a loss of words. Instead of turning he followed Sansa. Before leaving the castle she gave Clementine over to Podrick and started out towards the Gods wood. Their voices could be heard by those already there.

" Did you ever step back and think about what it meant when you took the knee Jon!? You gave up our home! You gave her everything! And now you stand aside while she ships your sisters off like prized cattle!" Sansa had never sounded so mad at Jon, this fact showed on Arya's face.

When they came to the God's wood Sandor had trailed off but her sister and ser Davos remain.

XXXXXX

"Sansa, I won't allow it to happen! I am sure that once this is all over she will be more rational. She...we...are all under a lot of pressure at this moment. Please just give it time. I promise you I won't allow you or Arya to be forced into anything." Jon chased after his sister into the woods attempting to plea with her. He was a man torn between worlds at the moment and it was obvious he was attempting to mend them together.

Arya greeted the pair, her face expressing her emotions before her voice was able to speak. She was livid. "So when were you going to tell me about your betrothal?" She popped up in front of Sansa, stopping the girl right in her tracks. "The Hound told Davos and me you were engaged to a Daarios Naharis in Meereen. How long have you known and when were you going to tell me?!" Arya was not a girl who cried, but at that moment she truly had tears glossing over her dark eyes. She, like Sansa, lost so much in her short life; having only just gained back a family, she felt it being torn away from her again.

XXXXXX

" Is that his bloody name? Daarios Naharis?" Sansa hadn't even asked the man's name back talking with the Dragon Queen. Her eyes shot back at Jon. " Your Queen already has our lives planned and you are foolish if you think she will change her mind. We are not members of her court in her eyes, she sees us as nothing more than slaves. "

Jon didn't understand how Sandor had heard of the arrangements. He himself had just heard of them.

" I vanished from King's Landing once. I can vanish from here too Jon. But you know I won't run this time. What do you think the Northern men who stood at your side will do when they hear Ned Stark's daughters are forced into unknown lands to lay with strangers? The North it's self will swallow us up and your Dragon Queen will never know where to look." Sansa was madder now than she ever thought possible. She paced in front of Jon, kicking snow. It was worse than the temper she had when made to cut her own hair off and she refused to back down.

" Shes your Queen too!" Jon exclaimed.

Sansa stopped. " The fuck she is!"

XXXXXX

He sat at the edge of her bed, his hand rubbing against the fabric of the pillow. He knew she would not up and abandon her people, and if their safety and livelihood were at risk, she would do what she needed to do to keep it secure; even if it meant marrying a man from across the ocean. He knew no solution to keep them together, especially when the powers at hand threatened to pull them apart.

Last night he actually had hope. With her in his arms, he envisioned their future together as man and wife. Equal partners. He imagined the children they would have; perfect images of what they themselves may have been if life wasn't so cruel. He imagined carving them soldiers and princesses out of wood, teaching them to hunt and fish, swim and hold a sword properly. Their daughters would know their worth and be independent women, able to make their own choices in this world. Their sons would be kind yet strong men, who were honorable and trustworthy. He imagined every night sleeping with her in his arms and knowing that they would face tomorrow together.

The world now was shattering around them and there was no hope. He knew deep down he couldn't live another tomorrow without her as his own and yet that was exactly what he was facing. It was best to just vanish into oblivion and allow her to find some shred of happiness, for she was still young enough to survive this heartache, he on the other hand was not.

Upon her pillow he placed the sealed letter. He would not leave her with doubts. In the letter he told her of the visions he had for them, how he desired nothing more than to walk the rest of life with her by his side, but how he can't face the possibility of losing her. He wished her happiness and that her heart would find love again, but ended with saying...

 

My heart has beaten to the sounds of misery for too many years, but has only beaten for love once.
Without it I will die. I love you my Little Bird, your song has been the only hope I have ever had and ever wanted.

Love Your Hound

 

"I promise you both I will fix this." Jon stated again. "No one is marrying anyone they, themselves, didn't agree to. First though, let us deal with Ceresi and her army. I am sure once we succeed, things will be better." He left the sisters in the wood with just a promise he wasn't sure could befulfilled, but he was about to try.

XXXXXX

" Father said he would fix things too and they chopped his head off!" Arya informed Jon.

Jon then stopped and look back at his sisters. " Ned Stark you mean. "

" Who was your father. " Sansa stated.

" Was he though?" Jon added before turning and going on his way. When he caught sight of the Hound leaving his sister's room, Jon had a slight fear lace in his eyes, not of Sandor, but of the conversation he was about to have with Dany.

He stopped and looked the Hound over. " I know you owe me nothing, but..." he stopped and thought his words carefully. " I saw my sister smile this morning. She cares a great deal for you. I don't know why but I would like to find out one day. But right now I need to know if something was to happen. Something I couldn't stop." Jon stepped closer and spoke only in a whisper.

" Could you do it again? Make her vanish? Her and Arya?" Jon already knew he couldn't stop 'his Queen' so he sought out an escape loop.

XXXXXX

Despite having fought side by side on multiple occasions, the pair never truly sat down to talk to one another. Sandor knew Jon had good intentions, for he was a dreamer in a broken world and wanted to fix problems, not create them. However Jon had weaknesses, just like any other man, and currently his weakness was a woman from the East who had dragons on her side.

Sandor held his tongue and held it tight, for he wanted to lay into the young man for being a fucking idiot. He wanted to tell him how his white-hair cunt was fucking up everything that good men and women died for. But he held his tongue knowing that, like him, Jon had loyalty, even to the wrong people.

"My advice to you is to learn fast who you bed and who you bend your knee too." His pulled his hood over his head and glared at the man, searching his eyes for any falsehoods. "The closest port is White Harbor, correct?"

Jon nodded. "That is at least a four day ride from here, but I can speak to Davos about securing you all passage." The Hound was silent for a bit, trying to map out a possible escape that wouldn't make them a target. "I am assuming you will be making your way to King's Landing soon. Have the girls travel with you. Agree to send them to Meereen, that way it won't look suspicious when they detour off. Have your man bring them to White Harbor and I will take care of it from there. I will leave now, send word when I arrive and wait."

The plan seemed possible and it will prevent Dany from growing suspicious. "Should I tell my sisters?" Jon asked.

"No, the less they know the better; it would seem more realistic, especially if they truly believe they are being sent away."

Jon extended his hand to the man many referred to as a beast. Sandor looked down upon the gloved hand and placed his own to grasp his, pulling the young man to him to whisper in his ear. "If anything happens to Sansa, I will personally tear out your insides with my teeth." Jon looked up at him and nodded. "Likewise."

Chapter Text

TRICKED

Nearly five weeks passed since Sansa was first told of the arrangement she or Arya would be placed in. To make the situation seem less forceful both women were to travel to Meereen and meet with Darius Nahasis, and whichever he found more fitting would wed him and stay in Meereen while the other return; one the Lady of Meereen the other the Lady of Winterfell. To ease the nerves of the North men the Queen along with the help of Jon Snow told them it would be safer for his sisters in Meereen. This wasn't all false. No ongoing wars were taking place in Meereen, for the most part, peace had spread well enough.

The armies left Winterfell close to five days ago. Sansa had had to beg for The Dragon Queen to wait to attack King's Landing. The soldiers needed rest and it took a lot of council arguing for the silver Queen to see this.

Sansa had closed up a lot in the past few weeks, having found the letter written to her from Sandor, and having him leave again without even a simple good bye. Sansa read the letter each morning, today was the first time she hadn't cried, instead she felt her guts twist. She didn't feel well but she figured that was because she and Arya would be heading to the docks of White Harbor today. Leaving all they knew, and one of them never coming back.

Jon was the one who placed them on their horses. He walked up to Arya, who refused to look him in the eyes. " Ser Davos and Gendry will see to you getting to the ship safely.

" We don't need your men leading us. " Sansa stated harshly. " I have Lady Brienne. "

It was hard to see his sisters so disgusted with him. But if he confessed what was actually taking place he would ruin the plan. Ser Davos, he trusted and he knew where to actually take the pair. Gendry was up in arms just as Sandor had been, so he too was easy to trust as well; he knew he would lose Riverrun but thought Arya was more than his father's last name and a slab of land.
Lady Brienne was in the dark. Jon wasn't sure she won't tell Sansa. But he knew when the time came and she discovered the actual plan she would not stop it.
Jon would proceed with The Dragon Queen towards the Capital while Bran remained in Winterfell. A Stark always had to remain in Winterfell.

The area they were traveling through had barely any snow, mostly brown crusty leaves covered the ground. Sansa road in front with her eyes ahead as the ships came into view. " I never once thought I would leave these lands. " she stated as Arya road up to her side.

" Its not that bad. " Arya admitted. " I don't know why you are worried. He gets to pick from us, and I'm your competition. " Arya tried to tease her sister but Sansa's stone like face never shifted.

" This way girls. " Ser Davos stated as he rounded Sansa's horse and headed down towards the busy harbor. " We will be meeting a fellow at this tavern while our horses get loaded on the ship. " he told them.

Brienne followed and watched carefully as they dismounted from their horses. " Tavern?"

Tavern was a kind word; women were dressed up like all sorts of well known rulers. Some in blue dresses with the back cut out, with silver wigs. Another wore nothing but a fur cloak and boots, her hair was like wild fire but her teeth were as yellow as corn and her nose looked up to the large scarred faced man and placed a finger on his shoulder to gain his attention.

XXXXXX

Waiting was absolute torture, especially since there was no guarantee their plan would work. When Sandor received the letter that the Queen and her army were marching into the capital, he knew his wait was almost over. All arrangements had been made through Davos who had a contact for these types of missions.

Salladhor Saan was a man who loved the prospect of gold and when a nice sum came into his hands by means of Jon Snow, he couldn't deprive his services. Sandor found the man to be well traveled and knowledgeable of the seas and other lands, but he was too jovial for his taste. The man seemed to view the world as his oyster and lavished his time in the company of fine wines and even finer women. White Habor offered neither of those two luxuries, but to Salladhor Saan he still found ways of entertaining himself.

When not preparing, Sandor drank and dwelled. His heart ached but he knew this option was better than her actually going to Meereen to be a bride to some cunt. The Hound only had a name, Daarios Naharis, to identify the unknown man destined to steal his woman, but Salladhor, having heard the tales of the man's exploits, had filled in the details to give the beast a more vivid image. Sandor was beyond jealous over a man he may never meet, but wanted to destroy in a million ways.

Sandor was lost in thought when he felt a finger tap him on the shoulder. Turning around he saw the tavern whore's mockery of his beauty followed by Salladhor's hearty laugh as he watched the reaction. "Only a jest my scarred friend!" He shouted from afar as two bare chested women sat on his lap. "A reminder of what is to come!"

They were expecting the party either that day or the following and for the last three, Sandor was on edge and in a foul mood. "Fuck off you and your rotten cunt!" He shouted at the woman as he glared over to the laughing man. "Fuck you too!" He cursed as he finished his drink and exited the tavern.

The docks were busy but provided the man a place to refresh his thoughts. He loved the sea and the smell of brine in the wind gave him a sense of calm to his to troubled spirit.

XXXXXX

Another factor played into Sansa's sadness. Jon had forced her to rehome the young baby her and Podrick had so proudly named Clementine. Since Sandor's leaving she took on full care of the baby. But right before departing she had to hand it off to strangers. This bothered Sansa just as much as the other messes her life seemed to be taking her.

Sansa slipped from her horse and followed Ser Davos with Arya right on her heels. Arya wasn't paying much attention though, not with Gendry nearby.

Sansa was the second one of the group to walk inside the ' tavern' she halted and looked about at the women and men all around. It was loud and smelled. No place to bring a lady.

" Ser Davos! I'm not bringing my sister in here. " she stated loudly trying to make sure he successfully heard her.

XXXXXX

Arya laughed at her sister, pushing her to the side as she strolled in. "Trust me I have seen worse." Davos offered Sansa a comforting pat on her shoulder and escorted her in. "I was told we are to meet my contact here, I promise you it won't be..." His eyes lifted from her when he heard a familiar boom of laughter. "Looks like he has already made himself at home." Davos escorted the party over to where the gallant man sat. His dark, exotic features adorned in the finest of silks and satins woven elegantly with gold threads and embellished with jewels and peacock feathers.

"As I live and breathe, it is Davos the Onion Knight!" The man roared as he announced his old friend. Davos chuckled. "Long time indeed, friend and thank you for this." The dark man's gaze fell over the party. "Well, look who we have here. I say one of you will be a lucky woman soon." He teased as he eyed the Stark girls. "The other, not so much." He laughed as he rose to introduce him. " Salladhor Saan at your service." He bowed. "We shall be setting off to Meereen in a bit. Come, let's go to the ship and get you all settled into your quarters." He began to guide the group out but paused to speak to one of the ladies. "Azellea, please tell my friend when he returns that we are going to the ship and that his guests have arrived."

Arya looked over at Sansa with a curious expression when Salladhor spoke of this mystery man. When nearby she whispered. "Do you think they sent Daarios to sail with us?"

The Hound never made it back to the tavern, but instead headed back to the ship before the gang arrived. Upon the main deck's railing he sat, gazing off onto the endless grey sea and the pastel painted skies.

XXXXXX

" If so, then maybe we can have Brienne toss him over when we're in the middle of the sea. " Sansa stated as she followed the men. Gendry over heard her comment and chuckled to himself.

" And here I thought I ran around with the savage one out of the pair of you. " Gendry stated with a full smile. He had held off from asking Arya to marry him, he thought it best to wait till they were safe.

Davos lead the pair on out and glanced up at the ship where he saw Clegane. " Good. All is looking good. The horses on the ship?" Davos asked but his partner pointed to the side where the beasts were being loaded on. " Good. Now. Brienne we should talk. "

Sansa pushed a hand through her long hair as she walked towards the ship. She wore a pair of riding pants, and a woman's fitted riding jacket over top. This way of dressing was much more comfortable than the fitted dresses she would be wearing once landed.

Sansa heard Ser Davos call for Brienne and her attention was pulled from the ship and placed on her personal guard. Even when boarding, she had no clue that the ship she was getting on was not headed to Meereen at all.

XXXXXX

"Looks like they allow dogs on this stinking tub." Arya was the first to spot him after Davos. She, like her sister, had assumed he had followed through with his vanishing act. The Hound looked over when he heard her voice, but it wasn't Arya his eyes fell upon. He stood from where he sat and slowly made his way over only to be intercepted by the little spitfire he sweetly called...

"Get the fuck out of the way Wolf Bitch." He snarled at the girl before Gendry stepped in. "Maybe we should assist Ser Davos." The young lad suggested, understanding the situation far better than Arya. "I am going to gut him and feed him his own liver!" She protested as she was forcefully led away.

Nothing stood between the two besides a few feet of empty space. Sandor sheepishly hung his head, not able to read any expression Sansa was currently holding. "I've missed my Little Bird." His voice muttered softly.

XXXXXX

Gendry pulled Arya on away, trying to make her realize that the situation was not what she thought. Lady Brienne caught on as soon as seeing the Hound aboard and then Davos keyed her in with the further details.

Sansa just stood there for a moment trying her best to understand what was going on. " Why are you going to Meereen?"

XXXXXX

"To go meet your fiancé that you failed to inform me you had." He groaned as he crossed his arms. "Had to hear it from that Dragon Bitch that you were betrothed to Daarios Naharis. Did you know you were getting that woman's cast offs when you accepted, he use to be her lover back in Meereen."

He never truly knew if Sansa had known about the man prior to their union, but it was a possibility that had eaten at him since that day he spoke to Dany. For the way she presented this information made it seem as though the plan had already been set in stone.

XXXXXX

" I found out the same day you left me a letter on my bed where you laid with me the night before. " Sansa pulled her eyes from his and shook her head.

" I've read it so much I know it word for word.

My heart has beaten to the sounds of misery for too many years, but has only beaten for love once. Without it I will die. I love you my Little Bird, your song has been the only hope I have ever had and ever wanted.

Love Your Hound" As she said this it was easily heard how unamused she was in this plan. When her blue eyes bounce back up they were glossed over.

" This is either the cruelest or nicest thing you have ever done. So which is it?"

XXXXXX

It was both. He knew it must have destroyed her when she read it and realized he left. "I couldn't bear to lose you, so I decided to leave. Jon caught me and asked me to help you and Arya escape." He ran his hand through his thick beard and sighed. "It was in your best interest that you didn't know what was happening and believed that you and Arya were going to Meereen."

He was nervous, waiting to see if she was going to attack him like she had back in Winterfell.

"Everything in that letter is true, Sansa."

XXXXXX

" So this was his plan? And you had no plan; you were just going to leave?" Sansa asked as her eyes narrowed towards Clegane. She was truly a grown woman now seeing through any man's actions.

" And now all is right because I'm not going to Meereen?" Her eyes stay narrowed but not for long due to Ser Davos popping in. "Sansa. You can kiss and kill later. Right now let's hid you in your cabin? I'm old but would like to not be found out and burnt alive. " he stated simply.

XXXXXX

"YOU FUCKING DAFT WOMAN! HIS PLAN WAS MY PLAN!" His voice rumbled like a crash of thunder. His temper was fuming as Davos came over in an attempt to prevent the other from bloodshed. "Go on old man, take her!" He shouted at Davos. "If you want to go to Meereen so badly, Lady Stark, I will fucking arrange it. I am sure you are dying to meet your future husband!"

By then Salladhor had come up behind the fuming man. "Come, my scarred friend." He chuckled as he found this scene humorous. "Let's allow them to settle in and you two can brawl it out later. I am sure it will be very entertaining."

Davos escorted the girls to their personal chambers. The ship was a castle upon the sea, offering beautifully furnished quarters suited to their needs. Sansa's room was decorated in tones of yellow and white that contrasted beautifully against the cedar wood. A window seat, set against two large, pane windows provided her a view of the endless sea and near it a decorative, copper cage hung with two multicolored love birds resting happily within. "I hope you will be comfortable here, my lady? If you need anything, please do ask. The only thing requested of you is to stay below deck until we feel it is safe." Ser Davos stepped to the side to allow her entry into her chambers.

XXXXXX

Sansa walk over and settled on her bed before pulling her jacket and boots off. When freed she laid back on the silk covered bed and look up to the ceiling of her chamber, her eyes caught a surprise when doing so. A large mirror was placed over the bed; this lead Sansa to lay there and braid her hair with ease from seeing what she was doing. The love birds in the cage chirped lightly, it was a nice peaceful feeling that coated Lady Sansa in this very moment.

XXXXXX

They were on the sea by evening, sailing to Braavos instead of Meereen. Sandor had not spoken to her since her arrival, having decided it was best to be given space. However by evening he made his way to her chamber carrying a small tray of food.

"She is resting." Brienne stepped against the door, blocking his access.

"Don't you have anything better to occupy your time with?" He hissed. "I hear your sister fucker ran back home. Missed his sister's plush pussy more than yours." His cruel words brought tears to the strong woman's eyes but she held her stance. "Running away seems to be a common occurrence amongst the King's Guards. I didn't realize you were required to be a coward in order to join." She retaliated, but just received a sinister laugh. "I have her supper, let me through or I will go through you and that door to do so."

"Wait here a moment." The tall woman demanded and gently knocked and opened Sansa's door to slip in. "Do you want to see him?" She questioned her friend, knowing she could hear the commotion outside her room. "If not I will get him dragged away, just give me the command."

XXXXXX

Sansa was not use to riding on a boat in the sea by no means. Just a few hours and her already twisted guts were even more upside down it felt. Shifting half on, half off the bed in hope the cotton corner under her midsection applied pressure and did some good for her.

Her head rose when the door opened but she didn't move from her bent over position. " If he has food, yes he may enter. If he doesn't, send him to 'fetch' it." She used this word to hint at his given nickname that she hadn't referred to him as for years.

" Yes my lady." Brienne nodded and step aside for Sandor to pass.

XXXXXX

"I have a fucking name!" He came through, tray in hand the second Brienne opened the door, practically pushing the tall woman out of the way.

He placed the tray down on the small table at the other side of the room and looked up to see the two women staring at him. "Well? What the fuck you two staring at?" He was testy; it was obvious he was itching to brawl with someone.

Brienne ignored the man and looked over to her mistress, awaiting instructions. The two women seemed to have an internal link, for all Sansa had to do was look at her with a certain gaze and Brienne wouldn't hesitate to throw the beast off the boat if it was so desired.

As though sensing their silent communication he spoke up with a calmer demeanor. "I brought some broth and bread. I just want to make sure you are okay."

XXXXXX

" Lady Sansa has been sick each morning over the trip to Meereen approaching. " Brienne started just to have Sansa's eyes narrow. She shifted on up and spoke.

" I am fine now. We're not going to Meereen anymore. You can be dismissed." She told her guard before making her way from the bed to the table where Sandor was settled.

Her blue eyes scanned up towards the tall man before looking back down at the food he brought her. " Join me?"

XXXXXX

He felt awful that he caused her illness, but she was here now and they certainly were not traveling to Meereen. He nodded when she gave the request and Brienne departed to leave the pair alone.

"Figure you might be ill due to the ship." He spoke as he pulled out her chair for her. "The sea can knock the strongest of men over if you aren't use to it. Do you like your room? I got you the birds. Scooped them up the first moment I saw them. Fuckers squawk all the time though." He gave a gentle smile attempting to smooth the wrinkles of tension that had brewed between them. "I know you didn't have any say over this betrothal. I'm just a green-eyed fool who allowed my imagination concoct falsehoods. I promise I will keep you and your sister safe until this is all taken care of and then you can return home."

XXXXXX

" If I get to go home you mean." Sansa place a elbow on the table.
" Isn't it funny, twenty some years ago a princess was sent to hid away while another ruler took over. Then that princess returns and others are forced to go across the seas. Maybe I should have children and let them go back in twenty more years to take back, just so the circle keeps going round and round. " Sansa lean back in her chair and look Sandor over.

" I just never knew Jon would side favor with the one running me from my own lands. That part is what I find shocking. " she admitted to him using the same tone she would with a trusted advisor.

" No more secrets. Understood?" She told him before her foot slowly drifted over to tap the toe of his boot.

XXXXXX

"Nah, not you. I won't allow it. You will return home and that is a promise. I think your brother is torn inside, but he knows that girl ain't right in the head. He couldn't bear to have you or Arya be sent off to some unknown land and married off; he knew deep down that move was wrong. It is best we are gone from here, Little Bird, they are riding to the capital and only the Gods know what a shit storm they either will face or create.

He smiled when she tapped at his foot. "Aye, no more secrets, but it had to be this way." He sat back to watch her eat, thankful for these moments once again. " Braavos, I hear is beautiful and it gives you the opportunity to view more of the world."

XXXXXX

" Well if they win it probably means your brother is burnt alive. There's some sort of happy news." Sansa knew that he had given up his own revenge to save her and she was grateful.

" You will be head of House Clegane. A lord by blood." She told him before finishing the last of the bread he had brought her; Sansa hadn't been eating well due to the stress the Dragon Queen placed on her. But today she made up for it some.

" Lord Clegane has a nice ring to it. Lady Clegane sounds better though." Sansa told him as she leaned back in her chair and rubbed the tops of her thighs, not fully use to being placed in pants again.

XXXXXX

"Fuck him." Sandor growled as memories of his brother plagued his mind. "There isn't a fire hot enough to teach him." It was true that revenge was no longer on the forefront of his mind. Having seen Gregor at the arena, he knew his brother was just a shell of what he used to be and was just a string less puppet in the game of powers.

But when Sansa brought up about the land and the title he would naturally inherited he smirked and then laughed when she mentioned a Lady. "Well that would require me to find one. I have picky tastes when it comes to women, she can't be just anyone. Perhaps you know someone who may be suitable?" He playfully kicked her chair.

XXXXXX

" I may know one or two. Red heads, I feel as though you look at them more often than others. " they had never teased about such, it was all new territory and it brought a smile to Sansa's face. " That one at the miner's village. She caught your eye once. " Sansa remind him before she started to slouch some in her chair.

She couldn't tell why this scarred, angry fool gave her so much comfort, maybe it was his sad eyes. Or maybe it was how he went from cursing the world to talking sweetly to her. She wasn't sure but he relaxed her more any other human.

Sansa licked across her teeth and look over to the pair of birds, thinking of the topics on the table. " Or the one at the harbor dressed like the naked Northern queen. Is that really how people think I fix my hair?"

XXXXXX

He lifted a brow in contemplation. "I think I vaguely remember that woman you speak of, and it is Nessa, who is that lovely woman back at White Harbor...she..." He wagged his finger at her. "She is truly intriguing. Reminds me of someone though, but I can't place who. Still, I think she would make an excellent Lady Clegane. That is if she would have an ugly, brute like me."

He took a moment to steal a piece of her bread, nonchalantly dunking it into the broth before placing into his mouth."But I know what you mean about her hair. Horrific. I hear she fashions it like Lady of Winterfell and she is a nasty bitch." He leaned in as though he were to speak a secret. " She beats men and her snoring wakes the dead." He proceeded to make an ungodly noise that sounds like a pig being slaughtered.

XXXXXX

Sansa's eyes widened, but her smile only grew as he went on to mock her sleeping. " Beats men? I never have but I might change that today. " she stated with a laugh before shuffling back in her chair. Sansa the look him over before shaking her head lightly before lifting from her chair all together and stepping closer before planting herself on his knee. " But it sounds as if you got very close to this Lady of Winterfell? At least once?" She asked him as she casually crossed her leg over one of her knees and perched on him as they spoke.

" I doubt you would recall such due to your countless tavern stops since. " Sansa told Clegane as her hands place over her crossed knee.

" But I bet she remembers you though. How gentle your rough hands can get in the dark. And how your voice shakes during the end. "

XXXXXX

"You must have forgotten how you attacked me." He tapped a scarred spot on his already scarred face. "You left a mark." His laughter was genuine and it caught him off guard, for it was not something that occurred naturally. He pulled her from his knee and brought her over, propping her on his lap. "I suppose I will have to settle for you." He kissed the nape of her exposed neck, as his fingers brushed away her red locks. "There is not a Queen or King or a fucking dragon that will stop me from marrying you...that is if you accept. I am no dashing Daarios Naharis." He made a sour face when such a name rolled from his tongue.

"Don't lie to me." Dany's words cut like ice towards Jon. "Do you take me for a fool?! I know your sisters are not heading to Meereen." Jon maintained his stance, watching the Dragon Queen's eyes flare up with unspoken anger.

They had just settled in Dragonstone and the attack on King's Landing was on the horizon. Dany was growing worse as each day passed and everyone, even her own men, were walking on eggshells. "You lied..." She began but was quickly interrupted. "My sisters are not pawns to be sold for alliances!" He snapped.
"I was! They are no better than I!" She returned. "We won't deal with this now but when the battle is won, we will discuss it. Perhaps we can come to some form of agreement." She held a strange calmness that worked on Jon's current demeanor. "I am sorry, my Queen. We will speak on this afterwards."

It was when he left that Dany's true form emerged. "You said they were heading to Braavos?" She spoke to Grey Worm who provided her with such information. "We need to make sure neither girl returns."

Chapter Text

ON THE SEA

 

Days went by on the ship, it rock and bounced and nearly turned Sansa green each morning. Ser Davos allowed her and Arya out of their cabins to roam. Arya had no issue with the ship, sea sickness never got to her. But as she once again watch her sister toss up all she had into the dark ocean water's a thought came to her.
" What if this isn't sea sickness?" Arya asked while cleaning under her finger nails with a small pocket knife.

" We are on a boat...in the middle of the sea." Sansa hissed. " Why do you not think it's sea sickness?" Her head rose from the wooden railing.

" I don't know. You've been eating a lot more. " Arya added.

" Because I can't keep nothing in me!" Sansa defended herself.

" I'm just saying you were doing this on land too! And there was no damn ocean!"

XXXXXX

"She's right." Brienne added, having held the girl's hair back as she lost her stomach. "I was over my sea sickness within a day and half. I think by now you would have earned your sea legs." She offered Sansa a cloth and a cup of water to rinse her mouth. "Once we get on land we should get you to someone...a midwife perhaps." Brienne and Arya exchanged smiles.

"Ew, I can't believe you may be carrying that oaf's baby in your belly. It will probably be born with a bottle in its hand and cursing up a storm." Arya scrunched her face at such a thought. "Waaaaaa fucking cunts!" She imitated the Hound in such a manner that Brienne lost her usual stoic appearance and began cracking up.

" I will gut you from your cock to your throat if you don't rock me to sleep!" Brienne added to the jest having both she and Arya loudly laughing.

It was said laughter that caught the man's attention when coming on deck. Whatever could be so funny?

"Where is that redheaded bitch with my tit, I am hungry!" Arya puffed out her chest and stomped her feet to mock him, just as he approached her from behind.

"You find me funny, Wolf Bitch?"

Arya was not fazed by him; she just turned around to allow her eyes to climb up to meet his and she huffed. " Yes I do."

XXXXXX

Sansa rolled her eyes and shook her face before spitting a mouth full of water out into the waves they passed. " Hush the both of you. " she scolded the pair before Sandor walk up to her.

" Their making fun of me because I am not doing well on this ride...float...what do you call it? " Sansa was not a coastal member, she show this fact easily.

" Voyage. " Brienne told her.

" Voyage. When will we be done with it?" Sansa turned to ask Clegane but a new voice rang.

" Tonight is the last night, and due to tradition that calls for a party. " Ser Davos told Sansa before reaching and taking her hand. He led her on down off the steps she was on. " Wine. Fish of all sorts. Cigars I hear; the tough stuff that will put hair on your chest. " he teased Lady Sansa before leaning in and whispering in her ear.

Sansa pulled away and look at him with a bright smile like a child getting a gift.

" Aye. It's in your room go look. " like that Sansa let go of Ser Davos' arm and trotted off. The older man looked back at the others. " What did you and your sister pack clothes wise?"

" Northern clothes mostly. " Arya answered.

" No...that won't do. You'll burn up once we land. " Ser Davos stated. " Tell me...while she's away. She'll-"

" If it shows her back she won't wear it. " Arya finished for him.

" Aye. I'll see what I can find. I got her a modest dress to change into. Could get you one too." He started.

" I'm fine in what I'm in." Arya smirked.

XXXXXX

Being completely oblivious to this group's exploits, Sandor just shifted his gaze from one member to another having no idea what they were scheming. It seemed the trio truly cared for his Little Bird and Davos had taken on a father's role in her life; for that the Hound was appreciative for, knowing how much she truly missed her parents.

He followed her to her quarters, basically considering them his own due to not sleeping in his assigned bed since she arrived. "Your sister is lucky we arrive soon, cause if I have to deal with her one more day, she is on her way to being shark food." He came up behind her, wrapping his arms about her as he cursed her sister.

Arya and him had a strange dynamic to where no one could figure out if they strongly hated or cared about the other. Each one seemed to personally pick on the other yet would defend or risk self to make sure the other was okay. As Davos had become the father figure to Sansa, Sandor had become the big brother figure to Arya. "Once we are on land, you will feel much better. I suppose the sea is not your element, Little Bird."

XXXXXX

" I suppose. " she admitted as her hands placed over top of his. Sansa smirk and shook her head lightly before looking up at Sandor. " My sister and Brienne won't stop teasing me about my sea sickness. They've went so far to assume I'm with child. " Sansa let out a faint laugh. " I'm not. It's just I wasn't made to travel like this. " she told him as she held to his hands more tightly.

" The gods wouldn't place a child in this mess I'm in. The new and old would both find it cruel." She told him before slipping from his grasp to go and unwrap the dress ser Davos had brought her.

" Plus, I would never hear the end of it from you. I can close my eyes and literally see you drunkenly bragging. 'I did it on the first try', as you stumble around with one finger up." She demonstrated.

XXXXXX

His body froze when she mentioned how they teased her about being with child, as that very thought never crossed his mind. The possibility though was very real and as she fluttered away to unwrap her gift, he remained planted in the same position.

"When was your red flower?" He questioned, ignoring her tease.

Imagining such a scenario had his head spinning. He wanted to give her children, but he had hoped she would be carrying his name before carrying his offspring.

XXXXXX

Sansa turn to look at Clegane, " I'm not. " she stated as she held the near mint green dress up to look at it.

" And some women don't have them regularly. So that's not always manner to determine it. I'm not. It's just Arya being silly. And Brienne acts up around Arya same as you do. I'm not." Sansa stated again for the third time as she look the gown over.

XXXXXX

As she gazed upon her new gown and convinced herself that her illness was nothing more than the movement of the sea, he dipped behind her and began unlacing her gown with a boyish smile slowly creeping over him as the seed of hope rooted.

It was unique how natural he fell into a routine with her, even something so simple as assisting her to undress was a task he would have never imagined himself to ever partake in. Yet he found it to be just as normal as any other. Where at first he would fumble his way through buttons and ties, he now seemed to effortlessly complete the task without any thought.

He found that though he still possessed an ill temper and many horrible characteristics, that being around this woman made him desire to finally nurture that side of him that he thought died in the fire. It was a side she had seen sporadically while on their adventure through Westeros all those years ago, but now was able to witness daily. The monster was finally developing a heart.

Allowing her gown to fall, he placed his hands over her belly. "You do seem to be getting fat." Of course he wasn't completely soft hearted, but he was only speaking in jest. "Our children would be immensely privileged to have you as their mother." He held her tight, hoping his words provided her some level of comfort. "Now get dress, woman so we can get done with these nonsense celebrations and actually get to the one I enjoy the most."

Salladhor loved parties, and over these last few weeks seemed to have many causes to celebrate. If it was a beautiful day, he would open up a barrel of aged rum. When Arya learned how to tie a sailor's knot, he opened another barrel and had the cook bake a cake. And at the end of each week's journey, the crew and guest were entertained by a night of music and jovial cheer. However, it was the last night and Salladhor wanted a celebration like no other.

XXXXXX

Sansa turn in his arms after he touch her midsection. " I am not getting fat! I think you are seeing what you want to see. We've only laid together once. The chances are slim I would think. " she informed him as her face grew red from multiple factors.
One the topic they seemed to not be able to get off of.
And two, the fact she stood in his arms naked.
" You would make a good father...it wouldn't die. You kept me alive with literally nothing but a horse and hunting skills. And you never killed me yourself. Not even when you wanted to. But I'm not. Not yet anyway. " she told him and step back to pick up the dress she would be wearing to the celebration.

As Sansa walk about the deck, she noticed so many things taking place. Off to the side one of mast poles was being used as a target for knife throwing, it appeared money was on the line. A lady all dressed in black had a crowd gathered around a table, there she told their future from drawn cards. Drinking and more drinking was carrying on, mostly rum. A tall blue hookah sat on a table with Ser Davos and Salladhor passing it back and forth . Sansa walk towards the pair and smirk.

" Your smoking like a real pirate now Ser Davos. " she told him before she noticed Arya on sitting as well.

" Are they getting you doped too?" Sansa asked with a real laugh.

XXXXXX

Music sang against the salty laps of water and into the endless night. A warm breeze was scented with exotic spices and scents so foreign to a Westerners nose that it could make one drunk with just a single breath. Indeed it was a wonderful night to celebrate, for just making it one more day was truly a challenge for many.

Sandor had abandoned his usual attire and had adopted a looser style. A gray linen shirt formed tight to his strong arm, yet opened loosely against his broad chest to give just a hint of tiny, black curls. It was accented over with a dark blue vest and a pair of black breeches. He even trimmed his beard and washed the mess of stringy, brown hair that usually hung lifeless over his mangled face.

Arya was in the middle of one of her tales when the couple arrived, having been a traveler to Braavos all those years ago, she spoke of the land and the dangers it possessed in between deep inhales of the pipe. Gendry and Brienne were having a friendly competition with the knife throwing and Davos and Salladhor were relaxed as fiddlers and flutists played around them.

Sandor grabbed a tankard of rum and stayed upon his beauty's heels for he was not the greatest in social situations, even despite the fact that he had grown to know the crew, he still seemed to shy aware from these social events.

XXXXXX

The group that helped Lady Sansa and Arya had not pried into the personal life of Sansa and Sandor. Everyone knew but no one came out and said anything to the pair while together. Teasing them apart was different but not together.

" You should get drunk Sansa. Not sipping at wine like the proper Lady you are. Put down a pint of rum and let's see what happens." Arya told her sister as she took the hooked pip from Ser Davos. Arya was more adverse in such things due to her travels and mainly because she chose not to follow the ways of a lady. After taking a drag she puffed out smoke rings;she passed the pipe on to Sandor. The herb inside was sweet, it tasted like it had been soaked in honey. Smooth smoke.

Sansa declined this idea, her eyes scanned over to where people were dancing. Ser Davos noticed and stood up. " Now I have two left feet but I'm drunk enough to recall a thing or two about dancing. " his finger rose to Sansa. " You may be taller but I'm still leading so don't try to."

Sansa just looked at him and quickly tried to register what the man was saying, but before she understood he pulled her out towards where others dance, one hand on her hip and another on her upper back.

Arya leaned up to look at her sister and then turned to smile up to Sandor. " You know they say some men can steal a lady's heart with just dancing with them. Wouldn't that be funny; one old man taking her from another old man. " Arya laughed.

 

XXXXXX

His face scrunched up when Arya spoke. She never had anything nice to say. "That is a fucking lie if I heard one. All that matters is if you have a big cock, and the way I make your sister moan, I say I am good." He laughed when she returned the facial expression, having not wanted to hear such personal details.

Sandor did not feel threatened by the aged knight, besides it was pleasurable to watch her dance and move from the sidelines. She had such natural grace to her step and her laughter was absolutely musical when genuine. It made the beast's heart swell to hear her laugh. Damn he was drowning in love, but couldn't be happier.

 

XXXXXX

Sansa found dancing to be a pass time she never knew she missed. Her feet stumbled at first, but once she understood the steps she fell in. She knew that Clegane would not dance with her like this in a public setting. It just wasn't for him and she understood this. At the end Ser Davos spun her.

Before the dancing pair returned, Arya snapped back with one more rude comment. " She was probably just trying to breathe due to your ale belly crushing her. Not all moaning is good. " when Sansa stepped back up Arya turn and smiled. " The Hound was just saying how nice you dance. Just so nice. " she stated to pause their side line war for the moment.

" I'm too old for all that. But thank you My Lady. " Ser Davos patted her shoulder and settled back down.

" Here have some." Salladhor handed Sansa a full glass of rum. She had never drank rum before, the sweetness laced in it was a lie. Sansa easily drank the rum, not one, not two, but three cups later it fully hit her. Just like Arya suggested, she was drunk, more so than she had ever been.

She openly sat on Sandor's knee with her arm around his neck, laughing at nearly everything. Arya just sat back in awe.

XXXXXX

Being a happy drunk was a thousand times better than being a sad one, and Sandor seemed to enjoy this side of her. Carefree. Reminded him of how she was at that abandoned house when he took her to the stream.

When that tankard rose for her to sip that sweet, gold nectar, he stole it from her and finished it off, giving her a jestful bark in return and bringing her in for a passionate kiss.

Salladhor laughed at such a display. " Ah my scarred friend, what a beauty you hold. Tell me young lady, whatever do you see in this brute of a man?" He sat down next to the pair.

Sandor held her by her hips and looked up at her with admiration. "Me the brute? This vixen here has taken me down with an open palm to the face. She feeds men to dogs and doesn't hesitate to stab them in the eye. I would say she was the brute."

Sandor proceeded to tell them of her first kill against the slavers and how she stabbed the man and trampled him with the horse. "Little bitch rode off letting me to fend for myself!" He laughed as he told the crowd the story.

"My sister stabbed a man?" Arya was hesitant to believe. "I remember a time when she use to get queasy from having to skin rabbits."

XXXXXX

" You told me to run away!" Sansa stated in an over dramatic manner. " You also got so mad that I listened you had to scold me. That's all you use to do, scold me for bloody listening. " she informed them.

" And now you allow him to do other things. " Salladhor joked which only lead Sansa to laugh. " I don't know why the pair of you haven't just gotten married on this boat already. " Salladhor stated.

Sansa turned her head. " So he can remember me green and sickened. No." She then leaned in and whispered to Salladhor " Not all of us like the sea. Have you seen snow before?" Her voice fully returned. " If I had snow right now I would rub all over me. It's so hot here. Just like in the Capital. Hot. Gross. "

Brienne smirked. " Why don't you tell him how you really feel Sansa. "

" I bloody am." Sansa added.

XXXXXX

"Haha, then Braavos will not be your friend, for there is no snow there and only sun!" Salladhor stated as the group laughed at Sansa's openness. "But I believe you will enjoy the sights she to offer and we secured you all a beautiful home; one of my own, personally, though I hate it and never stay long. Land does to me what the sea does to you, my lady." Sallandor laughed as he refilled the empty cup with rum.

" I think she has had enough!" Brienne chimed in, ever the mother hen to her charge. "My beautiful lady, there is no such thing!" Sallandor winked at the tall woman making her face grow flush, before returning his attention to the pair. "My lady Sansa, this mutt shared a tale of you stabbing that man in the eye. You must tell us one of him."

The Hound hated the attention now placed on him and he growled, but the lively crowd cheered and demanded a tale. "Make it a good one!" Arya chimed in. "Like when he confessed his sweet love for you! Oh, sweet Sansa, how I love thee!" She began to mock the pair with kissing noises before a strong hand shot out and pinched her cheeks together. "Piss off Wolf Bitch! How about you tell us about fucking the Blacksmith over there. I heard that was a tale indeed! "Oh Gendry, let me ride that hammer of a cock!" He mocked her in return and made poor Gendry practically hiding his face in embarrassment.

XXXXXX

" Arya, we sound nothing like that. " She placed the cup down, listening to Brienne. " I recall once in King's Landing I stole from you. That's the only time I truly thought you were going to whip me. That's the only time. But I made you run all over the gardens. "

" What in the bloody hell did you steal?" Arya asked with a lost expression.

" His helmet. What else would I have wanted? " Sansa said as if all should have obviously known this. " Here I'll explain. "

Chapter Text

FLASH BACK

Flash back:

Ned Stark had just walk Arya to her 'dancing' class and then taken Sansa to her Lady class. The group of young girls all sat around with books in hand, reading about the past Kings and Queens. Their teacher had fallen asleep at her desk which led the girls to start their normal side activities.

" So today is the day." one of the young girls whispered. "Secret Treasure. "

Sansa's eyes rose up, glancing at the younger girls. She knew this game they meant to play. Each girl put in a prize. Some put in candy, small charms, jewelry, dolls, and so on to make a gamble out of their game. Then each girl had to work and take something from a royal member, returning it afterwards. The one who brings forth the rarest item wins the whole loot.

Sansa normally didn't play these games but she noticed what one of the girls put in a framed piece of stitched fabric. The stitch work was that of two birds, one alive and one just bones. Their teacher had taken it and tossed it out weeks ago telling Sansa it was unlady like. And now another had it, framed it, and was taking credit for her stitch work.

Sansa knew her name was stitched on the back of the fabric and she planned on proving the other girl was a liar. So she pulled her earrings out and placed them in the prizes. Thinking of something to steal was not easy, but with only a few hours to find the treasure she planned to steal fast.

Thats when she noticed from a window Joffery and his Hound. Her eyes danced over them and she quickly thought of what she planned on taking. The Hound's Helmet.

Sansa agreed that she indeed saw the Hound in the yard with Joffery and he had no helmet. So that meant it was in his chamber right?

So she made hast and trotted on down the halls towards where the King's guards slept. Not ever being in this section of the castle before made her more cautious. Every few steps she looked over her shoulder, then she came to his empty room. Thankful she was tall enough to reach the high latch.

Sansa slip inside and left the door open about an inch before looking about the chamber. Her blue eyes scanning it over till seeing the helmet; she knew for a fact this would win her the loot. Speeding over to his empty bedside she picked the metal helmet up, and then she heard feet. Heavy boots approached and in a panicked manner she hid as fast as she could slipping in the wardrobe still holding the helmet.

XXXXXX

Having to deal with that blonde headed cunt on a daily and personal basis made the man's head pound constantly. He was in even a deeper foul mood than usual as he was coming down with a cold, and the effects were having their toll on him.

Joffery was thankfully handed over to his tutors for the majority of the day, which gave the Hound time to go sleep off some of these symptoms. It was an absolute relief to shed the heavy armor and the beast moaned and groaned as he did. Once that was discarded, he removed his undershirt and went over to a basin of cold, refreshing water to bath before going to his bed.

As he dried off the excess water, his senses caught something was off. Something was different and there was a faint, sweet scent lingering in the air. He looked around, but nothing seemed out of place, but then again his head was spinning with pain that all he wanted to do was crash, and that he did. Falling face first onto the pillow, he slammed his body down with a satisfied moan. "Ooooooh fuck me." He popped open a small bottle by his bedside and utilized enough energy to chug the contents before returning his head to the pillow and closing his eyes.

XXXXXX

Sansa watched from a small slit how the man slipped into bed. His breathing sounded off, but that barely mattered. Sansa was literally stuck in his closet nearly caught in the act of stealing.

Sansa wasn't sure on the justice stealing a helmet could bring, she knew stealing a horse was death. But this wasn't as big as a horse. Plus she planned on bringing it back.

Sansa held her breathe until snoring could be heard. Her eyes then turned to the door, if she hurried out of the wardrobe she could be to the door in less than five steps. Reaching down, she removed her slippers so she could be as soundless as possible. So without over thinking it, as soon as his snoring sounded deep enough she crept out and started to the door. But when getting to the door and pushing on it she discovered it to be locked.

She let go of the helmet with one hand reach to snap the lock open with the other.

XXXXXX

The pitter patters of delicate feet were not sounds one heard in his room. Not even the bravest of men dared to set foot into his chambers, knowing the consequences it faced. Yet there she was already making a daring decision on entering and worse taking with her his helmet.

He groaned in agony and shifted his body to were his face now faced the very door which she was attempting to unlock.

"Ugggghhh...fucking Gods end me." He pleaded in his sick state as he flipped over once more to be lying on his back.

XXXXXX

Sansa heard his voice right when the clasp snapped. Turning to seeing him awake gave full view to what was in her hands. Wanting to explain what was actually going on led her to stand there for a minute but fear ran through her which led to no words coming out.

Sansa then opened the door and darted out with the helmet, shutting the door as fast as she could. She could have stopped there, gave up; a smart person would have; but instead she turn and clasp the outside lock thinking this little metal clasp would keep the Hound at bay. She didn't wait before darted down the hall as fast as she could.

XXXXXX

Her assumption that he was awake was wrong. He was in that in between state, where sleep had not fully taken its hold yet awareness was fading. However in her fear and haste, she woke him fully up when the door slammed shut behind her.

"WHO THE FUCK..." would be what she heard as she began to dart down the hall.
Fortunately in his sick state he was hindered and thus not as fast, so when he finally made it out into the hall all he would see is just a passing shadow of the intruder turning the corner. "I WILL KILL YOU!" It was obvious she awoken the rabid dog and he was now storming down the hall to get her.

XXXXXX

Sansa made it about half way down the hall way before hearing the wooden door fling back open. She wasn't sure if he hit the door so hard that the lock snapped off. Sansa had once been told the Hound kick a man so hard it broke all his ribs, so it didn't shock her that the tiny lock gave.

Not turning back she ran until she was in the gardens where she placed the helmet down under a rose bush. She was panting from running, and hoping to the Gods none saw her face including the Hound. But she knew he had seen the color of her dress as she ran away. She started to walk from the bush and go to her chambers to change; maybe it would be enough to trick him. But as she rounded back inside she slammed into a hard chest. She expected it to be the beast himself but no, it was her father.

" Where you running to?"

XXXXXX

Delirium mixed with rage was a wicked cocktail that fueled him into a wild beast. He had no idea it was her, specifically, that was in his room, but did know it was a girl by the tail end of a cornflower blue gown with an accent of rose at the hem.

She would hear him but not see him, his voice booming like thunder as it echoed off the high arches. "GET BACK HERE GIRL!" His voice growling to her. "WHEN I GET YOU, YOU WON'T HAVE A BACKSIDE!"

He ran into the garden when his barefoot smashed into the corner of hard steel and crack. "FUUUUUCK'N CUNT WHORE!" He screamed in unexpected pain as he yanked his helmet from the roses. Now he was sick and had possibly broken his toe, he stood there for a moment looking in every direction when something caught his eye where he had found his helmet. A ribbon, cornflower blue with a rose embellishment on it that matched the same dress he saw. His hand grasped the fabric determined to hunt down the girl and demand an explanation.

XXXXXX

Ned stark led his daughter back outside, after all he didn't know she was being hunted. " King Robert caught a elk on his hunt. I'm going to teach you to skin one. Come on." he led her down the hall way till coming to the garden entrance. As they started out the Hound started in, that's when the men lock eyes.

Sansa knew the man easily by his wide frame. One of the few men who made her father seem small to her. Her eyes didn't scan up but instead look at the helmet he had found. A huff of aggravation was then released.

" Clegane. " Ned nodded and smiled. " Walking bare foot through the gardens.

XXXXXX

He had respect for the Northern man, something that very few ever earned in his world. Therefore he wouldn't curse the man out, but instead just glared at the pair when he made his jest.
So focused on finding the culprit, he didn't realize at first until the pair had crossed his path and were heading in the opposite direction, that girl was wearing the cornflower blue dress!

"Stark!" He shouted, making Ned pause with Sansa by his side. What was she doing in his room? Oh he wanted to grill her right there and then.

"Yes Ser Clegane?" Ned kindly replied; bring him and his daughter forward to the monster.

It was then he opened up his massive paw to reveal the ribbon. "I think your daughter dropped this." His eyes burned directly into her own telling her he knew.

"Thank you." Ned spoke, being totally oblivious to the issue. "Sansa?" He nudged his daughter to remind her of her manners.

XXXXXX

Sansa look in Clegane's hand at the small ribbon. She didn't reach in the palm thinking he would grab her hand and hold it till it was literal mush in his grasp. Instead she took hold of the dangling end of the ribbon.

" Thank You Ser." Sansa stated as she pulled it from his hand.

" Do you want to join us? Robert has killed an elk, going to teach Sansa how to skin it. " Ned stated.

XXXXXX

He never pulled his eyes from the girl and he almost grinned when he saw her hand quiver taking the ribbon from him. He swore he could hear her pleas, begging him to decline.

"I like skinning things." Was that a threat?! Sounded like one, but to Ned he took it as part of the man's brutish behavior.

"By chance did you see someone running by before?" The Hound inquired as he trailed at their heels. Sansa would feel goose flesh form on her neck knowing his eyes burned against her. "I found my helmet out here. Suspect there is kids playing in the guard's quarters."

Ned shook his head. "We didn't notice anyone, but I will keep my ears perked. It is against the rules for anyone to be in there. I will make sure to find out and deal with them."

"I would like to be informed as well." He demanded as they made their way to the hunting party.

XXXXXX

The hunting party was at the stables putting their horses away. Sansa walk on with her father not looking back at the Hound but she could tell his sight was on her. What would he do? Gut her when her father wasn't looking? Come into her room at night and place a pillow over her face? Her thoughts only made her more distracted on what was going on around her.

The elk was placed on a large wooden table, the young girl was placed there with a knife in hand with her father guiding her how to cut the skin from the drained muscle. Her hand trembled which Ned expected to was only due to the meat in front of her.

" Don't worry about hurting it. The beast is already dead. " Ned told her.

XXXXXX

All eyes were upon her and she took instruction from her father and performed the skinning ritual on the beast. A blade, resembling an axe head without the base whipped in front of her, its glistening sheen reflecting the scarred, menacing face that watched her from behind.

"Use this for the tough areas." He spoke, quickly demonstrating the technique before handing her the blade.

Ned smiled. "Keep on going; I will circle back around in a few minutes to see your progress." He turned to make his way over to the other kills where Arya was assisting skinning a small boar.

The Hound waited until Ned was out of sight to speak to her. "It is best to use different knives to remove the flesh as easily as possible." He lifted a smaller blade to show her. "Like this one." He brushed his finger over the sharpness, appearing to others as though he were continuing the lesson. "I would use this blade to glide over soft, delicate porcelain flesh of young girls. It removes the flesh so easily from those tiny bones."

XXXXXX

Sansa wasted no time, she knew her father would be back and she was so frightened of literally being skinned right now that all the words just came pouring out.

" I'm sorry I woke you and took your helmet. I wasn't stealing it I just need it for an hour right before supper so I can prove a point to someone. It actually has nothing to do with you or your helmet it's just someone is lying and if I don't win this stupid game then I can't prove it. And your helmet will win me the game! So I'm not actually sorry for taking it but I am sorry you woke up and made you think I was stealing it!" She rambled so fast that no one could possibly get a word in. She would make any man be utterly grateful that the gods never gave him a daughter due to this low aggravated yet frightened manner she whispered across to the giant of a man.

" It's just for a silly game the younger girls play."

XXXXXX

"Stupid girl." He muttered as he assisted her pulling away the skin. "You think you are so privileged that you can take things that aren't yours for your stupid little girl games." It was apparent that he did not enjoy having his possessions stolen or touched. If only she knew how such a thing was a form of constant harassment in his childhood, she may not have ventured in there.

He paused and looked at her, for a brief moment he almost appeared human. "And what are you going to do for me?"

XXXXXX

Sansa let out a breath of relief to the simple fact that he wasn't going to skin her alive. This lead her hands to stop shaking to the point to where she could actually do the job her father had given her. The Starks had grown up in the North and both daughters knew this was a part of life. She wasn't overly skilled but for her age she did a passable job.

" I will return your helmet and...get my shoes out of your wardrobe. " she answered not thinking the Hound was actually asking for a favor. " What else would you want? I can't heal you, which is what you need."

XXXXXX

"Don't fucking concern yourself about me, girl." He hissed as he wiped beads of sweat from his brow.

"One week you will take care of my horse, Stranger. Your fucking prince us a handful to take care of already. You will groom him, feed him and clean his hooves."

Everyone knew of Stranger, it was said that horse killed two stable hands and mangled another, and no stable hand would come within ten feet of the massive beast since then. It was no surprise that the man and beast got along so well, for each was the same.

"I also want my helmet polished before you return it." He brought the blade to the pulsing vein of her white neck."So help me, if there is even a knick or dent in it, I will be wearing your head as my next helmet." He pulled away before he drew eyes. "I will put it back in the garden where you left it, so no one suspects I gave it to you."

XXXXXX

Sansa didn't say anything she just went about her task not making eye contact with the man she had made this agreement with. Once her father was done she went on her way back through the gardens and gathered up the helmet. She then met with the girls from her lady class. Each showed what they had taken and like predicted she brought to best treasure.

Sansa only took her earrings from the loot along with the framed cross stitch that she in front of the others broke and proved it was her own work.

Once the game was over with other girls Sansa went on to the stables. Like she predicted his horse Stranger would not allow her to brush him. When he kicked his stall was when she gave up. She did feed and water him though. Then the next step was to polish his helmet.

Sansa had no idea what to polish the helmet with. All the young woman had was rose scented water. So that's what she use and then headed to return it; this time knocking instead just going inside. She held the helmet upside down while she waited.

XXXXXX

Even just coming to the barracks was against the rules for someone like Sansa. She didn't have a chance to knock twice before he pulled her through the door and into his room. Slamming and locking the door behind them.

"I heard Stranger gave you the run around." He smirked a bit, knowing that was to be expected. "Does Little Bird have my helmet?"

XXXXXX

" Your horse and you are a pair meant to be together..." she stated before walking and placing the helmet down on his bed before pulling out a small bundle of fabric. It was the cross stitch she had wanted to win so badly, now that her point was made she didn't care for it. Now it had something wrapped up in it.

" These are elder berries. They help with colds." She laid the whole bundle down, the birds showing on the outside.

XXXXXX

He was shocked over the gift. Not many gave a shit that he was sick. "Mhm." was all he said when handed the collection of berries. "Don't think this gets you off the hook, Little Bird." He placed the berries on the nightstand and approached her.

His room was small, just enough space for a bed, a stand with a washing basin, a wardrobe and a small end table. Space was limited and therefore two in the room made it tight. He practically pinned her against the wardrobe, delighting himself in tormenting her with silent intimidation.

XXXXXX

" I know that! The berries are just me apologizing for this whole stupid situation. " she turned where she stood trying her best to make hast and get her shoes and get out. Her hands went to pull the wardrobe open to get her slippers.

XXXXXX

He watched her gather her belongings, fluttering about just like a bird trapped in a closure. As she turned, he grabbed her, holding her in place with his hands. He marveled at how tiny she appeared in his arms and how she still casted her eyes away from his grotesque face. "What the fuck did you do to my helmet?" He snarled having inspected it when she was getting her belongings.

XXXXXX

" I polished it, just like you asked me to." she told him as she look over at it. " I used water, the same water that I use on my face for your helmet. It has rose petals in it. " she told him as her arms tried to pull from his grip.

" And I couldn't find a polish rag so I just used the end of my dress. It's clean and smells better on the inside." She stated as her blue eyes finally lifted. " Do you want me to do it again?"

XXXXXX

"So I now have to go about my day smelling like you!" He tightened his grip before letting her go. "Stupid girl, how are you ever to please a man? Making him smell like fucking petals. Do that to your prince, not to me." He turned and shuffled to the small table, opening it up to pull something out. "Here." He placed a small pouch in her hands. "You don't need to go get those pretty teeth knocked out. Sugar root. He loves it and will become passive and compliant."

He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and escorted her to the door, looking out to make sure the area was clear for her to leave. "Take the side hall to your left and go down that passage. A bit longer but you won't be seen." Before allowing her to leave he pulled her close again to whisper. "You will still be punished for the helmet."

XXXXXX

Sansa lock eyes with Sandor when he pulled her back. His words were stern and harsh but she could tell something being this close to him.

" You won't hurt me..." she told him like the true frighten child she was. " You just like to bark." Sansa told him before she lifted a foot to slip a shoe on. The young girl nearly stumbled so she reached out to place her palm on Clegane just till both shoes were on.

XXXXXX

To look back, even then the pair shared an odd connection. She feared him yet still nonchalantly touched him. He intimidated her, yet willingly assisted to make her life easier.

"My helmet stank like a garden for weeks." The Hound recalled remembering those events. He didn't add how touching it was that she actually took the time out to clean it for him.

"So did our father ever find out it was you?" Arya questioned Sansa, knowing that she would of received the strap if he did find out. Their father did not take kindly to them breaking rules, and though he was a just and fair man, he was also stern when need be.

XXXXXX

" No. Only time I looked him in the face and lied. " Sansa admitted to her sister before Salladhor spoke up again.

" Let me marry the pair of you. Right here right now! I am I Captain of a ship. I have the right! And I make it so now!" He told them before leaning in and puffing on the hookah pipe.

Sansa had since telling the tale drank the fourth cup of rum. Her head simply titled against the drunken giant she was perched on before a laugh came out.

" You! Big man! Say the word!" Salladhor pressed on.

Chapter Text

DRINK

It was an exquisite night to be married. A million stars illuminated the midnight blue heavens and the crescent moon was haloed by silver hues. In the distance the massive Titan of Braavos rose from the sea and tiny lights of the rich city were a beacon welcoming the travelers. There was music in the air, laughter amongst friends and plenty of food and liquor to celebrate into the night.

Sandor was caught off guard by the boisterous Captain. It was true that he wanted no other as his bride, for he made that absolutely clear on multiple occasions, but he would not force her into such a union unless she was ready. Brown eyes fell down upon her as he looked to her for confirmation. "I cannot imagine no other I would want to spend the rest of my life with." He spoke to her with such a genuine tone that many were never privileged to hear before. "It would be an honor for you to take my name, but only when you are ready to do so." Ultimately he was leaving that decision to her.

XXXXXX

Sansa was drunk, more so than she had ever been in her life. It all sounded so nice, and made her face curl up in a huge smile.
" We could have a pirate wedding? Here right now as we are?" She ask him as if no one else was there with him. Her hands lifted to be placed behind her head.

" I'm not bedding with you in front of these people." Sansa stated as if this was her only worry about the whole idea.

" We would appreciate that to be honest My Lady. " Ser Davos spoke up which lead to much laughter.

XXXXXX

Sandor laughed, pounded down a full cup of rum and turned to Salladhor. "Marry us!" He declared throwing all caution to the wind. He stood up and scooped his soon-to-be bride in his arms. "Well come the fuck on before she changes her mind and chooses some other unfortunate soul!"

Salladhor jumped to the man's command, drink in hand and led the couple up to the bow of the ship. Crew members raced to make sure everyone on board had a drink in their hand including the couple.

"What is this for?" Brienne asked Ser Davos as her cup was filled to the brim with rum.

"Unlike the weddings we are accustomed too, pirate weddings require a lot of liquor." The onion knight explained with a wide grin plastered on his already drunken face. "Basically throw out any and all traditions of the West. No cloaking, no hymns to the Seven or rituals of the Old Gods, and no bedding ceremony. None. Not even a goose pie."

XXXXXX

" So what sort of wedding is it?" Brienne asked as he watched the Hound take Sansa on up to the bow.

" Its vows. Instead of vowing to the gods they will make vows to each other. " Ser Davos explained.

Sansa was lowered down, in her drunken state she didn't notice the crowd, her blue eyes relaxed on his. Holding to one hand to steady herself as a breeze came through, Sansa's red hair blew back with the wind. Her mint green dress too danced behind her.

XXXXXX

Salladhor stood upon a crate and raised his glass. "We gather here upon the open seas and endless skies to join two souls as one!" He lifted the tankard to his lips and took a sip, leading the congregation to follow. "Tonight we do not praise no God, for our destiny is written by the path we choose!" Again he drank and again everyone followed. "These two souls have chosen to follow the same path, a path that goes beyond the walk of life, but into the realm of death and beyond for all eternity!" Again another round of drinking, while men scrambled to fill cups.

"Come, my scarred friend and his redheaded bird." The Captain was already beginning to teeter in his footing as he called the pair closer. He grabbed a piece of rope. "We unite this union with a knot. He coiled the rope together and handed an end to each of them." Before securing this knot, each of you must declare your love." He looked over at Sandor to begin, but the man had no idea what to say and just stared at the captain.

"Go on." Salladhor commanded

"What the fuck do I say, I don't get married every fucking day?!" The Hound snapped at him, despite being drunk he still felt sheepish being the center of such attention.

"Now is the time you tell your bride the eternal promise of love. Whatever is in your heart...and then we drink!"

Sandor cleared his throat. He was not a poet; honey kissed words did not flow through his lips with ease. "Fuck..." He cursed as he couldn't find the expression of love she deserved. "Little bird...you are mine. I will destroy this world for you and do everything in my power to make you happy. I can't promise you that I will be the prince of your dreams, but I can promise that I will love you unconditionally...forever...even beyond the grave and into the next world. My heart beats only for the love of you." He finished and gulped down his drink so fast that droplets pooled from the corners of his mouth.

XXXXXX

Sansa smiled wider as he spoke to her, the wind gave a sea howl across the water before she took the lead and started with her own words.

" You have always watched over me. Since back before I knew the world was a hard place to live in. I owe you my life and I want nothing more than to see you have it. And I love you. " Sansa then took the cup from his hand and drank from the same as he had. She had read about pirate stories in her books growing up. Those same stories all now gaining new light in her eyes as she stood there on the bow with him.

Arya watch her sister and couldn't help but feel her heart swell. Her outer shell she had around her emotions breaking at the sight of her sister getting to choose something in her life for the first time.

XXXXXX

"Everyone raise you glass" The Captain sang. "By pulling the knot together, you two will be officially one!" He gave the nod for them to each pull their respected end which secured the knot. "We have witnessed this union; let us drink to welcome the joining of one!" Everyone proceeded to drink as musicians began to play and cheers followed.
Gentry stole a kiss from Arya and Brienne wiped away tears that had formed and Davos just clapped and whistled. "Now we celebrate!" Salladhor yelled as he jumped off the crate and drunkenly stumbled.

Sandor pulled his new bride to him. "Lady Clegane." He spoke before passionately kissing her amongst the crowd.

XXXXXX

The night was brilliant, more drinking and feasting followed. Sansa stay on Clegane's side, laughing and even getting him to slightly dance with her. But when they retire to their shared bedroom, Sansa passed out before the thought of bedding each other could be thought of.

A drunken slumber hit her hard, come morning the ship had fully docked and most had left the ship. When the young red head woke up her face was against the bare chest of Clegane even though both of them were only semi on the bed, it was easily seen they had come in and passed out. She shifted up and felt the weight of the world return to her, mainly in her head.

Sansa had never had a hang over, but now she felt the impact. As she stood on up she walked over to where she had a pitcher of water. Instead of pouring herself a glass she just turned the pitcher up. She had been on this ship to long, the pirate habits were starting to show.

" Seven gods what happened last night?" She asked out loud.

XXXXXX

He was accustomed to hangovers, but they still were never welcomed.
Usually, he was a miserable ass the day following a night of heavy drinking, but on this morning he seemed in a tranquil state. His body was sprawled over the bed, though his long legs were over and his arm planted over his face to keep the sunlight from poking at him. "Lots of drinking." His voice was hoarse and raspy as he pulled his eyes open to look at her.

Three knocks were on the door and soon Ser Davos walked in, untouched by last night events and carrying a breakfast tray. "Well I see the happy couple has finally woken; thought you two were going to sleep the day away." He placed the tray on the table. "Captain says we dock in about an hour. So eat up and prepare yourselves." He turned to Sansa and gave a slight bow. "Lady Clegane."

XXXXXX

Sansa was still chugging from the pitcher of water. But at Ser Davos greeting her as 'Lady Clegane' her face turned and water was the poured down the front of her mint green dress. Quickly she stopped pouring the water and look at him fully. "...What did you just call me?" She asked him as she place the pitcher back on the table.

" Lady Clegane. It's what you will be called now since..." Ser Davos could read people and right now he could see Sansa's very thoughts.

" You remember telling us about the helmet story?" He asked.

" What the bloody hell you talking about?" Sansa asked.

" Oh...kill me now. " Ser Davos breathed out.

XXXXXX

Sandor began to laugh as poor Sansa looked dumbfounded and Ser Davos seemed to now have a weight on his shoulders for having to tell the news to the girl.

"Last night, you two..." Ser Davos began before being interrupted by Sandor. "We got fucking married!" He was drunk, but still maintained some memory of last night. He lifted himself up to pull out the lover's knot they had created. " I fucking thought I dreamt it all."

Ser Davos bowed and quickly departed unsure if this was happy realization or one that was going to end with someone being tossed overboard.

XXXXXX

Sansa glance over to Sandor once they were alone. " I recall no wedding. " her eyes drifted down to the knot in his hands.

" I'm Lady Clegane?" She asked him as she looked at the knot and took the knot out of his hands. She was in such shock her hang over had been masked over for the moment.

" Did we..." her blue eyes bounce up. " It wasn't a Northern wedding?" She asked in utter fear that the whole ship had seen her naked last night on the decks.

XXXXXX

He gathered her up and threw her on the bed next to him; his hand rubbing up the length of her body till landing on her breast where it ceased and his lips, still lingering with last night's celebration, began kissing her. "It will be written in the books that upon the shores of Braavos, the most beautiful of birds sang out her song of passion." He teased her, knowing full well that he was the one that slung her over his shoulder when she passed out cold and brought her to bed. "Did you not see Davos's face when walking in? I think he saw more than he desired last night." He laughed. "Don't worry Little Bird, your song is only for me and I would never subject neither of us to such an awful custom."

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" You can barley talk in front of others so I have doubts the custom could be fully carried out. " she teased right back before leaning in and placing a kiss on his mouth.

" Lady Clegane. I told you it sounded rather nice. " she reminded him before shifting on her back and looking up into the mirror that hung on the ceiling.

"...I suppose we can stop worrying. " Her hand went over her midsection. " But I'm right. I'm not. I'll probably ruin sheets any day. " she told him.

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"I have no fear performing for a crowd, if that is what you desire." He overpowered her and slung her over his shoulder. "Come my bride, we shall have the wedding ceremony in broad daylight for all to see!" He held her tight, ignoring any protest that may be given and stomped out of their quarters to go above deck.

They were already coming into the bay area which bled into the port. From their view they could see the massive city already bustling with life. Arya stood watching, her eyes transfixed on the city. No one truly knew the ordeals she went through the first time she was there, but the skills she brought back made for some interesting rumors. Her eyes broke when the pair came storming up. "You're not throwing her over are you?!"

"No, just completing our missed ritual from last night." His hand smacked Sansa's ass lightly.

XXXXXX

" She vomits each morning and you have her over your shoulder like that. Brave man. " Brienne walked up behind the pair.
" Good morning Lady Clegane. " she bowed.

"The two of you stop and let's get going. Our horses were just unloaded." Ser Davos came back and smiled at the image of the pair. " Happy to see that you're not crying about being tied to this brute. "

" Cry no. Claw his eyes out." Sansa teased as she reached to take hold of Sandor's face. " The birds. We left them." She knew good and well he was teasing.

" No worries. The birds will be taken to the horses by the crew. " Ser Davos told her.

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Braavos was a beautiful city and a complete opposite of Winterfell or even King's Landing. Arya seemed off, her eyes darting around madly as they rode through the city.

"Will you fucking stop, girl?" Sandor hissed. He was attempting to rest off the hangover but the carriage ride was bumpy and the noises of the city were maddening. "You are acting like a skittish cat."

"I have my reasons." The girl answered before looking over to her sister. "I don't feel safe here. We really have to watch our backs."

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The house they traveled to was lovely, not as nice as their Winterfell but definitely gave comfort. Sansa was helped out of the carriage by Ser Davos, he then lead her on into the main yard area which was located in the back. " No one knows we're here. All Ravens to us will be sent in town. It was safer this way My Lady."

" That's wise Ser." Sansa told him as she looked around. The yard area in front had no natural grass but instead small sections planted about. The stone walk to the yard lead out to sand which lead to the ocean. The salt smell around her was so different.

" It's lovely here." She admitted starring at the sea. Her tone saddened.

" Aye. But it's no home. So don't get use to it. " Ser Davos said this just so Sansa could have hope of returning.

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The house of Salladhor was indeed exquisite and fashioned to the rich styles of the East. Open balconies were adorned with a plethora of exotic flowers and plants that faced a vast garden with springs and fountains that produced a cooling mist into the usual humid, perfumed air. Their quarters were homes of their own, allowing each individual privacy from one another. Instead of open halls to gather, there were tiled galleries with alabaster, marble pillars that provided a means to travel to each individual apartment of the home. No grand hearth, but copper pits with small flames, allowed for folks to gather around when the evening would grow a chill.

The couple were led to their quarters where a wide brass, canopy bed centered the room. Mosquito drapes danced in the soft breeze, providing the bed privacy and protection from the elements and pests. Large fruit trees swayed their ripe branches over the balcony, allowing the guests to pluck delicious fruit right from where an elegant oak table and chairs rested. In the center of the room a grand copper basin awaited, brewing with scents of lavender and lilac as two servants stood by waiting to provide their new charges with a welcoming bath.

As the guests settled in, Ser Davos chose to ride into the city to the spot where Jon was supposed to send news. Arya chose to accompany him along with one of the Captain's crew members who knew the city patches and could escort Davos quickly.

"I don't trust this place." Arya confided to the Onion Knight. "I almost didn't make it out of here alive last time." She confessed, eyeing around the familiar area.

"It was the best we could do at short notice." Davos assured her. "As far as I see it, we are in danger no matter where we go, but at least we have some solid, trustworthy connections here."

It was a merchant's stall that kept the secrets. "Would you care to look at my fine silks, traveler? Spoke the vendor as he draped a beautiful blue silk over his arm towards Davos, hiding the note underneath. Davos played the part well and once the scroll was secured, he and Arya made their way back to the carriage.

His face went as white as a ghost when he read the news. "She has gone mad." He managed to choke out before handing the slip over to Arya. "She has destroyed King's Landing! Burned it to the ground along with all those innocent people!" The girl was shaking with anger as she continue to read Jon's note, where he spoke of how he was now more of a prisoner than her partner and how they must keep hidden until he could figure out a solution to end this all."

Chapter Text

HAPPY FOR NOW

Sansa found comfort in the pools outside; they were heated by the sun and not by earth like the springs she was use to at home. While Davos and Arya were away, before the walls of this beautiful place echo the bad news that was brought from her home lands, she relaxed in the spring. The water covered up to nearly her chin, Lady Brienne was setting off to the side keeping watch and company.

" How was your wedding chamber last night? " Brienne asked since they were the only two around.

Sansa smirked. " I woke up in my clothes and cannot recall a thing. I get hints of remembering. Was the wind blowing last night?"

" Yes. Your hair looked like fire my lady. " Brienne stated while watching Sansa pick up a few cucumbers that had been set out at the edge of the bathing area.

" I think they are for your eyes. " Brienne informed her.

" I think they taste good. " Sansa replied after eating one. " I'm ready to get on out. " she told her guard before walking up the submerged stairs.

Brienne held a robe out for Lady Sansa to step into, wrapping her frame up. " Well you have the rest of your life. "

" I have more things to worry about. " Sansa reminded her as she pulled the robes around her.

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Sandor spent time studying the maps of the city as he waited for the Onion Knight to come back with any news from Westeros.

Not having seen his bride much of that day, he left the open scrolls and began his hunt to find her emerging from the pools. From the shadows of the garden vines, he watched her. She was his and such a truth was hard to even fathom. He didn't make his presence known, but instead began to go through the garden plucking from the exotic bushes a bouquet of flowers. Never had he done such a task before and he was unfamiliar with what would be pleasing to the eye, so he simply picked blossoms and leaves from each bush and tree and smooshed them all together.

Allowing her to get to her rooms, he raced to meet her and made it just in time as Brienne was departing and shutting the door. Quickly he intercepted and slipped in as she slipped out. Quietly, he made his way over to his bride and before she saw him she was presented with the odd gathering of plants and blossoms. Unaware of his follies and his own strength, he had pulled some of the smaller plants right out of their roots and had even collected some odd and smelly looking foliage believing that they were pleasing to the eye. "Lady Celgane." He whispered, loving how that name rolled off his tongue.

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Sansa look over the flowers, true they were not the best that had ever been offered to her; having young knights and battle men give her roses before being claimed as Joffrey's bride. But those were nothing more than lustful thoughts when those roses were tossed in her lap. Any knight would have loved to have had Ned Stark's daughter look his way during such a time. Looking them over she took them from his hands and smiled. " You plucked some of the roots. They'll last longer." She told him as she walked them to a vase and placed them in before looking back towards him.

" I adore them. " she told him even though the scents and colors did not mix well, it was the thought. Sansa rarely saw flowers so getting to see one of each was nice.

Sansa then paced slowly around the room until coming to the door, her hands reaching and locking it so none could enter.

" Are you in for the rest of the day?" She asked him while locking the secondary lock.

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"I am all yours." He smirked as he watched her click one lock and than other. "Locking me in, are you?" He began to move towards her like a beast stalking its prey. A wicked expression plastered on his scarred visage as he crept closer to her, recalling her tale from last night. "It has just occurred to me that I never did punish you for making my helmet smell like roses." The way he moved, made him appear more monstrous than human, and it could be seen why men feared him so. "What should your punishment be, Little Bird?" He teased at her.

XXXXXX

Sansa remained close to the door as he walk up behind her, his words though playful made her mind drift to Ramsey.

'How should I punish you Sansa? You lied. You've even made your body lie for you!' Ramsey's words rang in her head as she stood there with Clegane's shadow growing over her. The worst of her time with Ramsey he used this word as if it justified what he was doing. Some days Sansa honestly felt as though it was her own fault for the punishment.

But she had grown a lot since these dark days. Hearing her pet name from Sandor brought her out of these thoughts and she turned to face her scarred giant.

Her hands come up and took hold of both sides of his face. " I didn't bite when you gave this promise. " Sansa reminded him.

XXXXXX

"Promise." He grinned as he grabbed her and began tickling her. "I can bite too." He gnashed his teeth together before darting in to tickle her some more.

He had never 'played' with another before, and though he appeared to be brutish, his actions were gentle and provided her an opportunity to escape if she felt overwhelmed. He knew what she went through, but was determined to make those memories fade as best as possible and to give her new memories of happiness.

XXXXXX

Sansa wasn't much of the giggling girl she once was, at least not when heavy drinking was left out; but this fool brought it out of her as he went after her sides. Sansa had not been tickled since when she was a young girl, and never in a million years did she expect Sandor to be involved in such an action.

" You stop!" She laughed out as her body tried its best to wiggle from his large hands as she attempted to flee from him to the other side of the room, immediately grabbing a chair to place between them.

Sansa's still drying hair hung in her face as she leaned over holding to the chair and a wild smile spread across her lips. The champagne robe she wore was now half way open, her breasts nearly visible if she angled her body just right. "You're acting like a cat playing with a mouse. Your titled name must be getting away from you, 'The Feline', sounds less impressive than 'The Hound'. But they say after a man is married his best days are behind him."

XXXXXX

He allowed her to think a simple chair would barricade him from her. He held his hands out in defeat. "Only a single day of being married and I already have one foot in the grave. You wicked woman." He sprinted quickly around and grabbed her. "It has also occurred to me that we have yet had a proper wedding night. Someone..." He pinched her nose as he cradled her in his arms. "Had too much to drink and passed out." Playfully he threw her down on the soft bed and collapsed over the bottom of her legs; his hand skillfully skirting under her gown to glide up her bare leg and lift it up so that he could plant a kiss upon the flesh of her calf.

XXXXXX

Sansa had had no man put their face up her skirts like this, as she laid there a laugh came from her. If she was being honest she thought he was just being funny, but then his mouth was felt on her calf and her body shuffled up to look down at him.

" I'm pretty sure you were passed out in your clothes half way on the bed. " she told him in a sheepish tone with her blue eyes fixed on him. Sansa was very in the dark on the intimate exchanges between a man and woman. In her youth she heard her brothers whisper of seduction towards a few of the women in Winterfell, but for the most off the best advice towards the subject came from none other than Cersei and Margery in King's Landing.

Cersei had once told her the most powerful weapon she had was between her legs, and to learn to use it. Margery had told her that sex could and should be enjoyed by both man and woman. Up until Sandor, she had felt that couldn't be true, she had a lot to learn.

" What are you doing?" She asked him as her flesh rose with goosebumps.

XXXXXX

There was a light in his usual sad eyes when she questioned his intent. He kissed her again but slightly higher, allowing her dress to ride up further to expose more flesh. "It is a sin you never experienced the pleasures of the flesh." Keeping her leg in his arm, he moved in between to hover over her. "You are exquisite, Sansa." He pressed his lips over the bare of her collarbone as his hand move under her skirt and under clothes to find that intimate spot he once saw her pleasure herself all those years ago. "My Little Bird". He murmured as he slipped his fingers into her.

Many women he had before, but none that he cared to waste time learning their desires. With Sansa it pleasured him to unlock her mysteries, those special things that made her skin burn with passion or even as simple as to make her laugh. As this was all new to her, it was all new to him as well.

XXXXXX

Sansa was hoping to have him touch her, locking the doors and running about in her robes she figured would give him the idea. Sansa had always been told she was beautiful but she had never once used her appearance to lure a man in, it wasn't something she ever planned on mastering either. Her body pushed forward against his hand before kissing his neck, she often placed herself against the burnt side of his face. Making him forget about it during their sessions was important to her.

Her hands then started to pull his shirt out from being tucked in his pants, all the while her mouth moving from his neck line to his mouth. This time was different than the first, it was faster, and Sansa had a more passionate way about her. A structure of trust had been built since having each other. Once his shirt was free her hands drifted up his frame while her own body crossed over his lap.

Sansa felt so natural with Sandor, no thoughts of Ramsey or her past drifted into her mind. Instead she focused on how his hips felt under her own, how his rough hands touched her so gently while she pressed against his hand. It all sent chills down her spine .

Her hands drop and she started to lower her hands and pull open the ties of his breeches, wanting nothing to free him from the fabric. Her body showing signs against his hand that she was more than ready, fully open like a flower. Ready, she just needed him undressed and they could latch. Her face pulled back her blue eyes showing a fire in them that he had started.

" I want you." She told him as her lips trembled and the air between them grew hot and harder to breathe.

XXXXXX

He said there was to be a punishment and he meant that. There was a mischievous glare in his eyes when she demanded him. He ignored her request. "Fucking rose water." He griped. Slowly he unlaced her robe to reveal her breast and he dipped his mouth to tease the sensitive flesh. "My prized helmet, ruined." His tongue flickered as it toyed with her as his hand returned to tease her down below.

XXXXXX

Sansa's body slightly slouched when the man spoke about the past memory she had apparently shared the night before. This was just one of the many things she did not recall. " That's what you're thinking of right now?" She asked in a heated breathe before leaning back to look at Clegane.

" It was cleaned not ruined." She protested while wiggling fully free from the robes she wore.

XXXXXX

"I have a strong memory." He winked at her, before he grabbed her and swapped positions. He now laid under her, giving him full view of her body and allowing her to have the lead. "It seems I remember far more than you do, my little lush." His hand playfully smacked and grabbed her left ass cheek, squeezing himself a handful. "You can't even remember getting married." His hands circled up to her waist and held her there. "Shame, because you were a beautiful bride and not many could say they were united by a gang of pirates."

XXXXXX

" I am recalling bits of last night. " she admitted. " I remember the wind blowing and taking a cup from your hand." She admitted to him while perching comfortably over top of him.
" I think I've been yours longer than just last night though Sandor. Last night just changed my name." She told him as her hands started to pull his shirt on up over to pull it over his head.

" Northerners don't think a pair is married till consummation. " Sansa told him with a smirk. " But I can see you are very distressed about your helmet. So I guess all that can wait. " Sansa then placed her hands on his free bare shoulders before she started to lift away from his lap.

XXXXXX

Such a tease, but he wouldn't allow her off that easy. He grabbed her before she escaped, reclaiming his dominant position. "Fuck the helmet." He growled with a hunger. "I am claiming my wife." His mouth embraced her lips as his hand pulled down his pants.

The hunger for her was intense, and though cautious in his ways, this time was more passionately rough than before. His movements were harder and deeper, seeming as if he couldn't get enough of her. It was a thirst that he could not quench. His hands held her tight as he rode her, being able to only groan in pleasure like the animal he was. Still, he found her eyes, watching her for signs of discomfort or uncertainty. His greatest pleasure only fulfilled if hers was too.

XXXXXX

Sansa felt no pain, at least not in an unwanted manner during their session. Her body lay against his once finished, one leg tangled over top of his as her hand rubbed over his chest. Slim finger tips brushing through his thick chest hair. She was quiet afterwards just as last time, her thoughts replaying their actions.

" You would tell me if you ever got bored with me wouldn't you?" She asked this simple yet worrisome question that seemed to be bouncing in her head; blue eyes lifting to watch his expression as he answer her.

XXXXXX

It absolutely fascinated him the thoughts she had and her openness to express them in such a way. He laughed out of impulse, but knew that she spoke out of concern. "You are not a plaything." He turned to brush away wild strands of red from her face. "If anything, I should be afraid of you getting bored with me. I am sure once a handsome man comes into your world, I will be discarded. Probably have that Wolf Bitch poison my wine." His finger traced the outline of her cheek and down her jaw. "I will never grow bored with you; you aren't like any woman. Most are just a pretty face, but they are dumb as rocks. You, are intelligent, levelheaded and you have wits. You are a dangerous recipe and for that alone you intrigue me."

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" Sandor, I'm known as the husband killer. " she teased before leaning in and pecking a few kisses on his neck. " If I wanted you dead I would not use poison. You're a big man. It would take a gallon to do it. " she told him before sitting up and crossing over him once more, only this time sitting across his midsection.

" I just want to be yours and my people to be safe. I don't think I'm asking for much in life. " she told him as her hands massaged his biceps. " Maybe a baby too. Just two. One of each. " her face broke out into a smile. " Im not picky. "

XXXXXX

"A gallon?" He questioned with concern in his eyes. "You actually calculated this out. Now I must truly watch my back." His hand rubbed her bare tummy. "I told you, woman, you will have a litter. I want at least a dozen." Such talk triggered the reminder. "And what of your current sickness? Was it just the sea or could you still be with child."

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" I have not gotten sick since we landed. " Sansa assured him before stepping off of him. She made her way to where the clothes she was said to use lay.

All of the fabrics were thin, nearly see through which made Sansa frown at the thought of wearing them. But her northern attire was too thick and could not be worn so she started to place the thin crème colored fabric over her body.

XXXXXX

He took her at her word, but there was still a sliver of concern considering their current circumstances. A prospective heir could be used against them if there was a price on their heads. She was still technically promised to another through the law of a mad queen; if she found out that Sansa was neither in Meereen, married to her commander and pregnant with another man's child, it could be a very horrific situation.

Locking those current thoughts away, he watched her dance about the room making herself even more enchanting. He would have preferred to just stay in bed all day, but such a pleasure would not be granted, especially since the sounds of Davos's carriage were echoing through the open balcony.

Being not a man who cared a lot about his appearance, he was content to throw back on the same clothes he discarded and went down to greet the knight and his sister-in-law, who seemed out of sorts since they landed.

"We need to talk." Davos quietly pulled the giant away the second he saw him, making sure Arya had ran off.

He pulled the letter out and handed to him. He has seen and heard horrible things in his life, but the level of detail Jon went in to describe the destruction was shocking. Still he simply folded up the paper and handed it back. "Does Arya know?"

The Onion Knight shook his head. "No, and we shouldn't tell them. She (Arya) will use any means possible to return and fight the queen and I feel the queen will retaliate on us or Jon. Best to lay low and wait for further instructions.

Sandor was a fickle creature and considering the circumstances he may have, at one time, taken the knight's advice. However he was not a single soul anymore and therefore knew his wife should not be kept in the dark. "I am telling them." He proclaimed. "My wife will know everything I know and both of them deserve to know what their brother is enduring. The only way we will ever survive, or stand a chance of doing so is if no one is kept in the dark."

Davos nodded in understanding. "Perhaps you are right." He agreed. "But for right now we stay put and in hiding. Let's agree on that."

Sandor nodded in return and prepared himself for breaking the news.

Chapter Text

ITS LIKE KILLING

The following morning, he awoke with the rising sun to prepare to send Salladhor off back to the ruins of Westeros. The journey through the city was not just to give their trusted ally a safe escort, but to also become familiar with the layout of the land. Maps were fine, but he knew the only way one learns a path was by walking it.

He was a man with limited patience, so when he had washed and dressed himself for the journey, but noticed no one else was up yet, he didn't waste time pounding on various doors to give each guest a personalized wake up call.

He pounded on Brienne's door. "Time to stop dreaming of your sister-fucker and get the fuck up, woman!" He said after practically pounding down her door.

Davos was greeted with a shoe thrown at him. "You can sleep when you are dead, old man!"

Gendry he found was already up, or had never gone to bed. The young man simply was curled into a chair in Arya's room, his sad eyes lifted when noticing the door open and the monster enter. "Get the fuck up, Wolf Bitch." Arya was not in her room, and thus his eyes fell upon the lad questioning him with a gaze. "She went to her sister's room." Gendry offered. "Get your ass ready." He groaned, not wanting to deal with the boy's emotional crisis this early in the morning.

He had now completed a full cycle which ended back his quarters. Entering his room once more, it was quiet aside from the soft coos of Sansa's lovebirds waking from their nightly slumber. Arya was nowhere in view.

With quiet steps he walked over to their shared bed, pulling the white linens away to reveal not just Sansa in the bed, but her young sister, curled up against her sister's body. It was a touching image. The girl probably needed the comfort only blood could give and waited till he departed to slip in.

Two hands grabbed her ankles and before she had a chance to wake up, her ass hit the floor with a thump. "You're a fucking ass!" She cursed at the man who now stood over her. He simply shrugged as there was no argument to that truth. "Get ready, we are going to the ports and you are going to show us around." He leaned over the girl to give his own wife a wakeup call, that being a few taps to her rear. "Time to stop snoring and get up, woman!" Oh, he was in a cheerful mood today.

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Arya shuffled up and placed her hands on her hips before watching Sansa roll over and look at the pair. " What are you two doing?" She asked with a yawn. Sandor had kept her up very late after all. As Sansa shifted and pulled the quilt she had wrapped in was when the smell of blood was released.
The white dress she wore was stained beyond belief; the bedding under her now would carry a heavy stain. Arya quickly noticed the mess and hushed her complaining.

" Gods be damned. " Sansa hissed once her own eyes landed on the mess before standing and looking at the bed.

" Guess you were right..." Arya said simply like the smart ass she honestly was.

" Hush. Leave Brienne with me and the rest of you go on. " Sansa used what Gendry referred to as her 'queen' voice with the pair.

Arya didn't argue, she knew her sister well and she could feel the embarrassment rolling off of her. " Yes Lady Clegane." Arya again used this smart ass laced tone before walking on to fetch Brienne.

Sansa didn't lock eyes with Sandor, true it wasn't the first time he had seen her red flower. He actually was with her when discovering her first bleed. But now her body was his, she didn't want him seeing it as a soiled cause in the future.

" I'll have the bed cleaned by the time you return. It won't happen again." She sounded defeated; her tone was just like the trembling obedient one she gave Joffrey and Ramsey.

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"Being a pain in my ass." He growled looking at the girl when Sansa questioned their cause. It was a simultaneous action of her and him noticing the blood, but all he did was glare at Arya when she told her to go get Brienne.

Once she ran out, he came around to meet Sansa on her side of the bed. "I have seen my fair share of blood before." He lifted her chin to look at him. "Don't ever be ashamed." It was as if he had read her thoughts like an open book. "I will get you a bath drawn, take your time we will wait for you." Just like that the beast was calm and patience restored. He kissed the top of her head and left her to have some privacy.

Brienne came in awhile later with a cup of moon tea that was known to bring comfort during said time. Her demeanor was comforting, but judging by her appearance she had little sleep and a lot of tears. "Sorry, my ladyship." She whispered as she placed the cup by Sansa's bedside and quickly assisted the servant girls with carrying the steaming buckets of water.

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Sansa hurried seeing as how Clegane did not feel comfortable leaving her with just Brienne. So she washed herself while Brienne found the darkest fabric in the wardrobe where Salladhor had given them full access to. Brienne knew Lady Sansa preferred dark hues, mostly navy blue or solid black. But the dress she found for her Lady was nothing but solid.

" I look like I work in a festival. " Sansa stated as she look at herself in the mirror.

" It's either this or shite like before. " Brienne informed her.

" This will do. We've kept them waiting too long already. " Sansa lifted the dress up so she wouldn't walk on the multicolored fabrics. She had pulled her hair to the side and braided it.
Ser Davos met with her at the door. " We're going to be just taking the horses, leaving the carriage." He informed the pair.

Sansa said nothing and made her way to the horse Clegane was already mounted on top of. It was a large steed, grey and black spotted on the shoulders. She waited there till Ser Davos rounded with Sansa a horse of her own, " I'm not as little as I once was. " She told him before patting his knee and going to mount her own tan mare, but as Sansa settled on her saddle the smaller Stark climbed up on Sandor's. Arya settled behind the giant man.

" I've not grown in years..." She stated before patting his back. " Let's go brother. "

XXXXXX

A double take was given when Arya chose to ride with him than on her own. For a moment Sandor was concerned, for he knew the Wolf Bitch's abilities and she could easily end him without any warning. A truly concerning thought when only a hour prior he yanked her out of his bed. "Try anything funny and I..."

Arya smirked. "What will you do?" She teased, almost threatening him to try.

"Throw you the fuck off and trample your ugly face." His words were only met by laughter from the girl. "I will still look prettier than you...you cocksucking mangled face ass." She spewed back.

"Awww, Wolf Bitch, you fancying me, huh? Speaking such romantic words, careful your sister might get jealous." He feigned mock kisses at her which made the girl's face curdle like she just sipped sour milk.

Sandor turned back with an equally sour expression, curious to know what he did to deserve this punishment.

Brienne looked over at Sansa. "This is going to be a long day."

The ride through the city to the ports provided the travelers with beautiful sights to take in, though the route was direct. It was planned that after they watched their friend depart, Brienne and Davos were to ride back and the other four were going to take the long way to learn the city. Arya seemed displeased of this decision and seemed to keep her eyes casted downwards as they rode through.

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"Sansa...I mean my lady?" Gendry road close to the red head's horse. " I thought we might talk. If that's okay..."

Sansa's eyes scanned back towards the pair riding together behind them. Once she was sure they couldn't hear them she spoke. " You want to talk about your fight last night?"

Gendry looked slightly surprised and gave a nod before he turned to make sure the Hound's horse was far back enough. " Yes. If you don't mind. I'm sorry if we woke you. "

" You're too nice to her. " Sansa informed him quickly.

Arya leaned so she could see around the giant she road with. That's when she first noticed Gendry talking with Sansa. Her face fell at the sight. Sansa looked so nice in the bright sunlight Braavos had to offer. This image of her sister and Gendry made her guts knot up.

" Why are men like that..." she asked simply. " Like you would know. You look at her worse than he is right now. " she stated in a aggravated manner. "...What draws you to my sister? Is it just her looks, every man is drawn in by her looks. "

XXXXXX

For the most part he attempted to ignore the unwanted passenger, that was until she began to shift about attempting to see beyond his massive size. When she spoke, he assumed she was thinking out loud and had no real intention on him replying; that was until she directly asked him what it was he saw in her.

Sansa was beautiful, but to Sandor who had no beauty of his own, knew that beauty was not what made a person. One's appearance would never outweigh one's character. He considered himself lucky, for not only was his wife beautiful on the outside, but even more beautiful on the inside.

"I dunno." Was his first response, but when Arya sighed and he felt her sink back, that small fragment of empathy took hold and he figured he would amuse her.

"What I mean is I don't really know what originally drew me to her. She has a lot of bad qualities. Always rambling on about one thing or another. She snores in her sleep. And she is always putting herself in situations that end up getting me hurt in some way."

His statement made the girl laugh. "She does ramble a lot and she takes forever to get ready!" Sandor nodded and chuckled. "How many dresses does a woman need?"

Arya chirped up. "I know! She was always sewing some new frock back when we were girls. At one time she was determined to have a dress in every shade of blue."

Putting the jesting aside, he took a moment to contemplate the question truthfully. " Her strength." He finally concluded. " At first glance you would think she was weak and in need of constant rescuing, but that isn't the case. Your sister is stronger and smarter than she lets on. She had endured so much and has not allowed it to break her. I know warriors who wouldn't be able to deal with just a quarter of the shit she was put through...me included. "

XXXXXX

" Oh hush. You just like her cause she's the youngest thing in the all the seven kingdoms to let you touch her. " Arya harshly stated before slipping on off the still moving horse. She looked up at Sandor. " We can tie them up here. This part of the city is pretty safe. We'll see more on foot. Unless you're too old to stroll? What is there, twenty-five years between you and Sansa?"

Gendry quickly noticed Arya off the horse and halted. " I'm not sure your advice is wise My Lady. " he admitted.

" Arya has never went down the easy path in life. If you don't challenge her she will get more bored than she already is. " Sansa told him as she guided her own horse over to the boarding rail.

XXXXXX

Following her lead, he dismounted and towered over her when she insulted him. "That did play a part of it." When she mentioned the age difference he laughed. "Still jealous you didn't get to this big cock first?" He grabbed his crotch at her. "It might be old, but it knows how to make you sister shout my name. What of your blacksmith, he probably froze up when he saw your tits for the first time."

The pair began walking to close the small gap that had formed between the four of them. "What business is it of you?" The girl questioned. "It was very enjoyable." Was all she came up with, not really knowing what her first time really meant and having nothing else to compare it to.

Sandor's paw came crashing down upon the poor girl. "Imagine fucking like killing someone. The first time you are a mess, you have a sword and you just jab it, not really knowing what the fuck your doing but it is getting the job done. Your emotions are all over the place cause you don't really know what to expect. Then suddenly..." He snapped his fingers. "It is over and you are left with questions. The more you kill the better you become with your sword and know just the perfect spots to jab to bring the most pleasure...or pain. You develop tricks and techniques and eventually you end without any doubts or lingering questions cause you know you are one hell of a fucking killer."

Arya was left dumbfounded, confused but also not. Her brow lifted. "I don't have a...sword...though?" She assumed he was comparing swords to cocks.

Sandor shrugged. "Eh, well it is all the fucking same."

Gendry, meanwhile, stayed at Sansa's side as they began to walk near the vendor's stalls that outlined the ports, his own mind trying to wrap around what Sansa said. " What do you mean challenge her? Like to a duel? She unlike any woman I have known. I want to give her the world, but she turns her nose up at it."

XXXXXX

" No. " Sansa smirked and rolled her eyes before pulling a silver coin from her pocket. " Here. Go pay the lady who will be managing our horses. But linger. Talk to her and make sure Arya sees you talking with her. " Sansa explained while handing the coin over as the others joined. Ser Davos had given Sansa the right sort of currency for this land. The last thing they needed was to be spotted out by their ways of payment.

Gendry nodded and walked right by Arya. He made his way up to the lady who held a bucket of oats. She was not 'rich girl' like he referred to Arya as from time to time, but she was passable, with long golden brown hair that hung past her womanly frame.

Sansa watch as her sister gave a Ned Stark glance towards Gendry talking with the other female a distance away. Her face blank and empty for a long moment.

Sansa just stood by Sandor as she thought back to times that he brought her into town when they were traveling. He only brought her to passing towns to get a bowl of brown and take a cold bath back then. Now they were wasting time in a full city till hearing from Jon.

" Maybe you and Gendry should stroll alone?" Sansa suggested as she watched jealousy bloom.

" Why...so you are your scared brute can find a alley to roll around in?" Arya muttered.

" That lady Gendry is talking to is so lovely looking. Wonder if she's as mean spirited as you sister?" Sansa was smarter than she look, this was fact. She then step closer and took a light hold to Sandor's arm.

" We meet back here in two hours. " Sansa told her younger sister.

XXXXXX

"You are sending that poor kid off to his doom." Sandor whispered to Sansa as they departed the pair. "Seems like you and the boy were having yourself a good chat." His tone seemed to have a hint of jealousy sprinkled in with the usual misery and hoarseness of his voice.

The city was known to be the richest of all cities and was bustling with all walks of life. It was said that you can travel down one of the vendor roads and you would have traveled the world once over; for each stale held something from some foreign land. Cobblestone streets were adorned with beautifully crafted architecture of marble and stone, some buildings as old as the first slaves that settled there. Various parts of the city were connected by long bridges, which some allowed for both passage of carriages and carts and of those traveling by foot, to coincide by a series of iron rails separating the pathway. It was one of these bridges that Sandor would lead his bride towards.

Sandor guided Sansa up a ways, but eventually turned her around to trail behind the younger couple, keeping a safe distance so that they wouldn't intrude on their privacy, but allowing them the opportunity to spy. He mentioned something about finding the pair a good source of entertainment, but truthfully he was looking out for them.

XXXXXX

" Maybe I have. " she admitted as they walk on up on to the bridge.
" Gendry is a good lad. To soft though. Just like Jon. " Sansa stated as she walked over to the railing and leaned over the boards that gave a look down to one of the water ways leading out to the ocean.

" Soft hearted men have never been in my world so maybe my actions are wrong. " She admitted. Sansa had a point; she had never gotten to enjoy real courting. With her and Sandor they traveled and survived, love was never planned. And again they ran to make sure she stay safe, everything was go with the flow. No man ever called on her like Gendry called on Arya.

" He's given up a lot to help get her here and I think it's unfair how she treats him." Sansa then glanced back at Sandor. A statement her sister made that she barley heard rang in her ears. " Is there only twenty five years between our ages?" She asked in light disbelief.

XXXXXX

He wasn't sure how he was suppose to feel when she mentioned such a missed opportunity. He was not like Gendry, he was not openly soft hearted nor emotionally charged like the boy was. "You sound like you have regrets." Was he supposed to have gone through a song and dance routine to secure her heart? The way she was making it sound, it seemed like he had skipped a very important step.

"Your sister has a good head on her shoulders and knows what she likes. Do you really think she wants a man to play around instead of being direct with her? He needs to learn that women don't all fit into some mold." He gazed over at the pair as they walked over the bridge and down a curved path that lead to a stony beach underneath. He gave a small snort when she too brought up the age difference. "Only? If you want I can try to add on more years." He teased.

XXXXXX

" I have many regrets but nothing I would actually...no. There are things I would change. I should have killed Ramsey sooner. Gave in, submitted just enough for him to get comfortable and then stab him in the face. " Talking about this lead Sansa's light blue eyes to seem darker.

She shifted up off the railing and patted the wood. " Rickon may have lived if I had. Several hundreds of North men. " Sansa ran her tongue across her top teeth as she thought of this.

" Margaery was smart. She played Joffery well or so they say. I should have thought of that with Ramsey. " it helped to talk things over with Sandor, she knew he understood what it was to hate someone just as she did.

" I'm sorry I'm ruining our day with talking about this. " her eyes pulled off the water and on to Sandor. " Take your much younger than you bride to the water?" She asked in hopes to lighten the mood she had just brought down.

XXXXXX

"Ask any living being what they would've done in the past and each one would give you an earful. You did what you did because that was all you could do at that time. I should have fucking killed my brother on multiple occasions. I should have yanked off Joffery's baby-sized cock and made him a fucking eunuch before shoving it down his throat and choking him with it. I should have taken your ass right out of the Vale the second Littlefinger showed his cunt face. You can't dwell on that shit; it will consume you and weigh you down like rocks in your pocket."

He grabbed her hand when she mentioned about ruining the day. "I may need some assistance." He placed his weight over on her one shoulder, practically dragging her down to the ground. " This old bag of bones can barely keep up with you young folks." He jested.

XXXXXX

Sansa showed slight surprise as Sandor leaned against her as he did. " I never called you old. I just simply asked if there was only twenty five years between us." She laughed and wiggled the massive man off her back. Her feet turned her to face him.

" I am twenty. I've seen two winters. One in which I was born in. " she told him as she step up and kiss Clegane directly on the mouth there in front of whom ever was looking.

" What's it going to take for you to see I'm not ashamed of you?"

XXXXXX

He stole that opportunity and deepened their kiss. "Arya did have a good suggestion about fucking you in one of these allies...that may help." Was the reply to her question, but he was only again teasing.

"Come let's meet up with that sister of yours and make sure Gendry didn't 'accidentally' drown." He pulled her into him, but not to be used as a crutch; she was his equal.

They found the pair down by the rocks, but the two were not together. They came upon Gendry first, who stood back with his arms crossed over his chest. " She won't move from that spot." His head jetted to the image of Arya sitting on a collection of high stones and looking out towards another unique building. .

A windowless structure rested upon a rocky island, separated from the rest but still easily accessible through the networks of bridges and waterways. The structure rose up high and grey stone steps bled down to meet the tiny bit of shore before the water. But what made this building even more distinguishable was its door; a huge entrance with one side black as coal and the other white as ivory, it was an embellishment that even from where the group stood could easily be seen.

Arya seemed hypnotized by the place. Her body scrunched up upon the highest peak of the rocks to provide her with the best view. A view that only showed her what appeared to be nothing more than an isolated structure.

XXXXXX

Out of the group Sansa knew more than any about what sort of training her sister had gotten herself into last time she was in Braavos. Sansa just watched from a far for a moment before making her way and settling down next to Arya. She wasn't sure what that place across the water way held but it couldn't have been good. She had never seen fear like this laced in her sister's eyes.

After a long moment of sitting Sansa simply patted Arya's knee, and stood, this lead Arya to stand up as well. Instead of riding back with Sandor, Arya settled on the back of Sansa's horse during their return. She was stuck to her the whole evening as well. Like a fly in honey.

It was just the six of them in this big house now, which lead them all together while Sansa attempted to teach Arya to cook a stew.

" No. You can't just toss whole carrots in that. You love to cut things... so do it. " Sansa scolded but within less a minute she turned back to see Arya holding her sword needle ready to cut the carrots.

" If you have poked it into people's insides don't use it to cook with!" Sansa exclaimed as she pulled the sword from Arya's hand.

XXXXXX

As the group departed the strong beach, Sandor's eyes fell back on the building just in time to see a man step out. Cloaked in a pale robe and carrying a frayed broom, he gave the impression of being some type of priest or monk as he began to sweep the stairs.

The monk's gaze caught Sandor's and what was only a mere second, but felt like an eternity; they were locked in a visual hold.

Whoever the man was made the hairs on the back of the Hound's neck stand up and he couldn't get away fast enough, feeling as those that stranger touched his very soul and marked it just with his gaze.

Back at the house, Sandor and Davos discussed privately the destruction of King's Landing and what possible outcomes they would face.

Gendry occupied him by making Arya a gift, due to having a small smithy near the stables and Brienne assisted the girls in the kitchen, having just about the same experience as Arya had for cooking.

Arya entertained the girls about the advice Sandor gave her about sex being like killing and how the sword was the cock, but she only had a sword but not a cock. "This is the man you want to be the father of your children?" Arya ask as she threw a chunk of carrot at Sansa's head.
Brienne was basically on the floor rolling from laughter at the analogy.

XXXXXX

" I just find this to be funny, that this is how he talks about it away from me." Sansa admitted.

" Why?" Arya asked as she popped a raw carrot in her mouth. " He probably tosses you over his shoulder like some wildling giant and then bends you over like a bitch. "

Sansa rolled her eyes. " Hush your dirty mouth or the Katherine Stark will come out of me and I'll pop you in the mouth. " Sansa warned while pointing her stirring spoon towards her sister.

" Oh dear lord, if we had a coin for each time. " Arya stated as her head hung back to reminisce.

" My favorite time getting in trouble was when the boys took us to the play over near the Mormont Castle." Sansa admitted.

" Were you not suppose to go?" Brienne asked.

" No. Rob, Jon, and Theon were sent with us. Along with a few guards.
Rickon wasn't even thought of and Bran was just little. " Sansa explained.

" See the boys were to take us to see the play called 'Winter to Summer'." Arya chimed in.

" But what they actually took us to was one called 'Tree Nymph Seduction'. " Sansa explained. " We were little so we didn't understand what most of it was about. But when we came home with those songs stuck in our head, Father figure things out very quickly. " Sansa explained with a laugh.

" That's the only time I ever saw him whoop Rob and Jon. " Arya's face leaned on to the counter as she laugh the thought out.

Ser Davos heard the laughter of the pair as he was talking to Clegane in the study. " I expect word from Jon tomorrow. It will be one of two orders. Either he has killed The Dragon Queen and all is fine, or he tells us to proceed to Meereen. If he tells us to go to Meereen with take Sansa and Arya we take them elsewhere. Let them live their lives out somewhere with peace. West of Westeros,maybe? Somewhere rumors can't be heard. "

XXXXXX

It was challenging to sit still when knowing the only world he knew was in absolute chaos. He knew how much Winterfell meant to Sansa, for those were her people and her land and her memories; this was not home to her.

He nodded at Davos's suggestion, but it already felt like the battle was already lost. He was at least thankful that they had an ally in Salladhor who would give them more information than rumors. Word was already traveling fast through Braavos of what happened in King's Landing and it seemed as though there were a lot of different tales of said events.

Before further discussion could be had, Arya came in to announce that dinner was almost ready, which lead Davos to excuse himself to go wash up.

There girl was about to turn on her heels and go back to her sister when Clegane stopped her. "What was that place?"

She didn't turn to face him, but paused in her steps. "They call it the House of Black and White, the temple of the Many Faced God." Her voice trembled.

"What are you not telling us, girl?" Though she could not see him, she knew he shifted sides and was near the wall where the wines were stored. She even knew which one he was pulling out to uncork.

"Just that we are always being watched and the longer we stay here the closer danger comes to our doorstep and we won't know till it is too late." She left him to ponder that warning.

XXXXXX

Sansa finished up in the kitchen, she then left Brienne in charge and went to clean up her hands. Sansa and Sandor had their own chamber pot area; she had brought in water to wash up with and laid it in front of the mirror located in the room. Due to Sandor sharing it with her Sansa hadn't lit any candles, plus it was so hot in this city the extra heat was not wanted.

She stood in front of the mirror and heard steps coming up behind her. Assuming it was Sandor didn't make her turn. Her mind filled with thoughts of how easy it was to get back into a routine with this man. It didn't feel like a massive amount of time had separated the pair.

" So making love is like killing?" She asked out loud. Steps closed in on her and large hands drifted around her frame over her midsection.

" Maybe next time I talk to Arya and you talk to the lad?" She suggested.

" It's funny Sansa." This voice from the man around her body sent alarms off for the young woman. It couldn't possibly be who it sounded like. Her hands dropped the rag she held as she stood there wide eyed before the voice came again. " That you think there will be a next time. " there was no mistaking. This voice belong to Ramsey Bolton.

Chapter Text

SISTER SCREAM

Sansa paced slowly when the letter was read out loud to her and Arya. The dress she was given swayed with her body, due to her height it hung several inches from the ground. She had found a silk scarf to wrap around her shoulders, its blue made the off white fabric of the dress she wore stand out more. Her hair was down and hung fully down her spine. It swayed each time she changed direction during her pacing.

" Read it again." She asked Ser Davos.

He did without any hesitation. Lady Brienne felt sick, not knowing who lived and died was an awful feeling. Her bright eyes started to form tears but she looked up to the ceiling to keep them from falling.

When Ser Davos finished Sansa stop on a dime. " Those were my men...the men who help take back Winterfell with Jon and I, and he lead them in to be burnt alive!" Sansa was trembling due to anger.

" All I want is the world to leave us be. The North is a thousand miles from these people. " Sansa hissed.

" You mean those ashes. " Arya stated with wide eyes. " One million people lived there..." she added in a lost sounding manner. But this tone vanished just as quickly as it appeared. " We have to save Jon. He's our brother!"

Sansa took in a deep breath. " No he is not. " she let out.

" What? Because he's a bastard!? How dare you Sansa!" Arya yelled.

" No. He's not a bastard. " Sansa lifted a hand and push her fiery hair out of her eyes. " Jon is not our brother. Bran saw him. He's not from Ned Stark. "

XXXXXX

"I never trusted that white-haired cunt." Sandor grumbled as he slumped in the chair. "They always said the Gods flip a coin when it comes to a Targaryen and hers' land on fucking crazy."

When Arya suggested going back and saving him, the Hound perked up. "Go ahead, go fucking back and die. I am sure she knows by now you and your sister are not in Meereen, and you both pose a threat to her. She sees your abilities and how much Jon cares; she will destroy the pair of you." He stood up and walked pass Arya. "But go ahead; get eaten by a fire breathing, angry dragon." He leaned against the large, marble pillar overlooking the gardens.

"Nothing we could do." Brienne wiped away tears. "But you two are still alive and I will lay down my life to make sure you stay safe."

XXXXXX

" I agree. Her coin flipped wrong but Jon's did not. He's just...foolish." Sansa admitted.

" Starks don't apply to this coin rule. " Arya argued.

" ...He's a Targaryen? How?" Ser Davos after all was a smart man; he quickly started adding two and two together.

" My Aunt was never stolen. She went willingly. They were married. But none were to ever know. " Sansa explained.

" You're lying..." Arya breathed out.

" On her death bed she begged her most trusted family; our father, to keep the facts hidden and to not let Robert know. King Robert would have killed Jon!" Sansa stated with locked eyes to Arya.

" ...How could you keep this from me. From all of us!?" Arya demanded.

" Jon requested me not to tell unless things got bad...and things are bad. " Sansa answered.

XXXXXX

Sandor just scoffed at this news. Nothing surprised him anymore, Jon being of mad blood was no different.

Arya seemed to have taken the news the hardest; he knew she had a deeper connection with the bastard and such new information was hard to process. "Don't trouble your head, girl, Jon is a good man...stupid as a fucking tree stump when it comes to women...but a good man."

Arya grew quiet and finally walked away without any further word. Gendry rose to follow and was halted in his steps by one large arm swooping over him. " Let her be. She needs time to be alone." The Hound spoke with true concern in his voice, which led a defeated Gendry to sit back down and watch the fire glow from the copper pit.

"Let's get some sleep." Davos chimed in. " Tomorrow, Salladhor will be leaving back to Westeros. He will be our lifeline in finding out more information. Once we know what we are dealing with, will we be able to actually come up with a solid plan."

All agreed and bid goodnight, though sorrow was heavy on all hearts that night. Sandor remained quiet as the party departed to their quarters; he was lost in his own thoughts and concerns.

When he could not hear footsteps any longer, did he finally turn to his bride. "You should have told me." His words were not chastising her, but he felt the burden would of been less to hold if she had simply shared. Closing the gap between them, he wrapped her into his embrace and kissed the crown if her head. "I am sorry."

XXXXXX

" My Brother should have told the world and stopped this before it happened. " she stated as she roll over and glanced his way.

" Her claim to the Throne is nothing with Jon in her way. " Sansa explained. " He is a good man but he is foolish at times. He thinks the world is as loyal as he is. But it's not. So I have a once half brother who is the true king, a crippled brother who has visions, and a sister who kills first then asks questions. The North is doomed." Sansa simply stated.

XXXXXX

"You have me. " Which was no better for he was a mangled face, monstrous brute, that was the icon of misery. He laughed at such a thought. "I can see your point. He let her go and went to snag a bottle of Braavosi wine. "Tomorrow we will figure out the next steps and come up with a solid plan." He brought her a glass of wine and sat down, inhaling the perfumes of the garden and watching the glow of the fireflies flickering about. "You at least have a family that loves you, worries about you and will protect you at all costs.

You could have a family like mine." He wasn't comparing for sympathy, but just hoping to make her realize what she still had. "Jon knew the danger you and your sister were in and asked me to get you out. Whatever he does, as daft as it may be, he truly cares for you and Wolf Bitch."

XXXXXX

Sansa shifted up on the bed, but she took no wine from his hand. Instead the young woman shifted up on her knees and wrapped her arms around her newly marked husband. True they had bed each other and traveled Westeros together, but most of this contact was new to both.

Placing her chin on his shoulder as a hand drifted down to rub his chest while he sat. " You would be a good father." She told him as her finger tips traced the scars along his chest.

" You could have that too. People who care, besides just me.
Ser Davos told me it was your call to tell me about the letter. He said you claimed to not be one anymore...that makes me think of something Ned Stark would say." Comparing anyone to her father was a big deal for Sansa. Not meeting nearly any that meet the standard of Ned Stark. "Its eye opening to see that my father risked all to keep Jon safe, even his love for my mother. If she had known she would have loved Jon, but it would not have appeared real...smart man he was. "

XXXXXX

Her declined glass was quickly consumed by him and both placed off to the side when soft hands began to soothe old flesh. He closed his eyes to soak in the sensation. Touch was rarely kind to him at many points in his life, but now it was welcomed and desired.

"Ahh, that old fuck." He smirked at the mention of Ser Davos. "A wife is an equal, or at least that is how I see it. Men, especially powerful ones, use them like breeding mares and nothing more. You are something more and deserve to know what I know. I am just a mere hound... you are a true queen." His words were not just compliments, for he was an honest man and would call things exactly as he saw it.

XXXXXX

" I am no Queen. " she told him as she settled behind him. Drifting hands lead off his shoulders and on to his back as she started to rub over his scared muscles. Being able to openly touch him made her smirk and recall a time when he barked over such.

" If the North goes free one of us will be asked to rule. At least one. And if I am asked so are you. "she told him as her hands rubbed down his spine.

" But that is a far away topic. First we must kill the Dragon Queen. And then hope the dragon doesn't burn-" Sansa hushed with her thoughts due to knowing Clegane's one honest fear, so instead of speaking further on with the topic she changed it.

" Do you remember when I had to pop your shoulder back into place? " she asked as her hands rubbed along his shoulder blades. " You grabbed my thigh so hard that it left a bruise the size of your hand. You were so funny when I asked you to look at my bare thigh. "

XXXXXX

It was a wonder the the stuff that randomly popped into that woman's head. "Yes I remember." He groaned at the sensation of his tired muscles being kneaded out. "Your fucking fault it got popped in the first place, always getting yourself into trouble." The image of her bare thigh made his flesh grow heated for a moment, recalling such a time. "You were a walking curse, woman. I remember that time you scared a skunk and it sprayed Stranger. My fucking horse smelled horrible for weeks." He twisted around and lifted her to straddle over him. "That time you wasted my coin when the Mummers celebration was going on and you were determined to beat that fucking cocksucker with his magical cups."

XXXXXX

Her eyes narrowed, " You chopping wood to keep us warm was how your shoulder got hurt. " her hand lifted to poke him lightly on the nose with her index finger. Sansa shuffled on his lap some till she was sure both were comfortable.

" The worst day. Was the chicken day. You literally fought Lannister soldiers over a few chickens. " Sansa left out the part where the men he fought and killed had threatened to rape her. Time had blocked that part and her mind had made the event comical.

" I'll have all the fuckin' chickens" she mocked which lead her to burst out into a full laughing fit. Her forehead leaned forward until meeting with his shoulder. " You've always had a way with words. " she laugh lightly into the sides of his neck.

" If I didn't hear the word cunt(s) fifty times a day from you I would think something wrong. " she meant this, often she thought about how use to his chatter she had gotten over the years.

" I just wonder when those dirty words follow you to bed one night. " she admitted.

XXXXXX

It felt nice to actually reminisce over good memories. Before her, he had none that were worth telling let alone remembering.

"I never claimed that I was a fucking poet." His vocabulary, he knew, had made many blush who were unfortunate to be in earshot of the man.

"Tell me..." It was a question that had nagged him longer than he cared to admit. " What was it that made you see me in such a different light? Once upon a time you would quiver just being in the same room as me." His hand rose to hook over her ribs to allow his thumb to roll over her covered chest. "You still quiver...just much differently now." A pleasing smile stretched over his scarred lips as he recalled her organisms she had underneath him.

XXXXXX

Sansa's back arched like that of cat's. Eye lids fluttered shut as she enjoyed the sensation the simplest touches he placed on her. Taking in his question and seriously listening to him though her answer came quite quickly.

" You were the only one not smiling when Ser Meryn started beating me." Her head rose up off his shoulder so their eyes could meet.

" In the throne room. I couldn't focus on anything but what was in front of me. So I watched you. " she paused for a moment. " You looked disgusted with them all. And when it was over you leaped off two steps to get to me and cloak me. And I noticed even though I've never mentioned it. I learned that day the real dangers in that castle...and you were not one. "

XXXXXX

That memory seemed so long ago, another time, in another world where he was a different man. He recalled the cruelty she endured daily, and even some by his own hands.

"I should have strangled each and every man who fucking chuckled." There was anger in his voice as he envisioned that day. "And that fucking, small, cock, cunt boy sitting on that damn throne like a prized fucking peacock. I had so many opportunities to end that fucker and I never did."

He looked up at her and his hands placed themselves against her cheeks, forcing her to look at him. " But I did wrong by you so many times before and after that event and even so, you still cowered and avoided my gaze. What was it that made you..." The word stuck on his tongue for it was not one he used in relation to himself. "That made you love me?"

Fingers brushed away her hair as he pondered that same question. "I have always felt a pull to you, Little Bird, despite how much you avoided me and feared me; I wanted to be near you. I can't explain it and it has tormented me so much. I would endure your disgusted looks at me if it meant I saw you at least once each day. I delighted in tormenting you because I earned a bit of your time. I always knew something bounded us, but my heart was stone. I fell in love with you that first night we escaped. You came out of the woods, attempting to pass as boy and you walked out a woman instead." A soft laugh was given at the next thought. "Then I made you chop off your hair."

XXXXXX

" You tried so hard to make me fit a image for a nephew. But everywhere we went folks called me your child bride. " Sansa laugh before her hands rose and her fingers push through his thick beard.

" I have half a mind to cut all your hair off in your sleep over what you forced me to do to my own. " Sansa smirk and shook her head. " But you have too much." She teased.

Sansa found peace in these moments and if she were honest she could talk with him all night. " I don't recall the moment I fell in love with you. It was like falling asleep. Slow in the start, then all at once.
BAM! I do know the first time you sparked real attraction to me. The night in our lost house and you were chopping wood. " her eyes drop from his face and landed on his upper arm. " It was a sight that kept me up..."

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The devilish glare in his eyes was enough to tell her he was enjoying hearing this story. "I vaguely recall." Impishly replying, he began to hike up her skirts, hands massaging over the bare of her thighs.

"That was the night you put a spell on me." It was a memory that burned deeper than his own scars, for it was that very night she had kissed his disfigured face. "I swore you were a witch enchanting me that night. Half expected to be chopped up and boiled in a stew."

"I had kissed you that very night...do you recall that, Little Bird?"

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" It was a night you had three bottles of wine. Anyone could have put a spell on you. I just happened to be the one there." Sansa told him as her hands took hold of his. Her smile fanned out clearly, with her mouth open slightly as her tongue brush across the edge of her top teeth. Head shaking followed as she attempted to hold his hands still against her flesh.

" I kissed you first. " she stated as her hands stop fighting his grasp and lightly began to rub over his knuckles.

" We played house and you roughly put your mouth to mine, and blamed it on the wine. " Sansa let out a sheepish yawn. One hand covering her mouth as her head hung back, the arching of her body took over the space between them.
" When all these wars are over let's set us up a place like that,with a garden? " Sansa's eyes fell back to him. " In the North?"

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"I have had more wine than that before and since and never acted like a fucking loon. It was you, my redheaded witch. You reached a part of me that no soul ever dared to awake" He stole that moment to scoop her up in his arms and carry her out if their room. "Aye, my Ladyship, I will make sure you have acres full of carrots and squash, lettuce and leeks." Down the corridors his bare feet graced over marble flooring, being ever so stealthy as to not make much noise. "Turnips..." His voice went into a whisper as he brought her to the open area leading out to the botanical gardens. "Pumpkins and sweet potatoes."

Despite it being night, there was still a heated breeze that lingered in the air, allowing the spices of the land to hang heavy. The ground was soft under his feet and left deep impressions as he treaded against the grassy areas towards the large, wispy trees with hanging branches blessed with tiny white blossoms. "I will plant you an orchard as well, full of lemon trees so that you may never go without your precious lemon cakes ever again." He skirted through the veils of branches until he settled upon the open ground between two of the tree's bases. "Lemon trees surround by bushes of Blueberries and raspberries, strawberries and blackberries to sate my Little Bird's sweet tooth."

Thick, rich ground ivy became her bed, as he placed her amongst the green foliage. He stood over her, removing his clothes and discarding them into the dark abyss of the night. The darkness outlined his warrior's form, amplifying the curve of muscles in his frame and momentarily erasing the vision of damage years of fighting and hardships had caused. Even his infamous scarred face seemed to be smoothed over by such illusions of the light and lack of, that one can almost see how the man was suppose to appear if life had been gentle to him. "I will dedicate every waking moment tending to your Winterfell garden, but right now the only garden I wish to plow and sow is the one resting between your legs."

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Sansa listen to him talk about all the things that he would one day give her. It wasn't like him to sound so passionate and excited over such simple everyday items. It was touching and made her smile. But once she was settled under the trees she leaned up expecting him to settle next to her, but that when she noticed him stripping before her.

" Sandor!" She stated in a scolding whisper as she look about to make sure no eyes were on them. " You are not pushing me into the ground. " she informed him with a nervous laugh.

" If that's why you brought me out here you will be the one laying on the ground for it. " Sansa stated as she glanced at the ivy next to her settled frame.

"You've already had me once today. " she reminded him as her face brightened red as he stood over her, his manhood only inches from her face.

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He flopped down, happy to take the spot. "What is a little dirt?" The ground ivy was cool having been in the shade and near the fountains and pools that were woven throughout.

"Little Bird can't handle me more than once?!" He laughed as he laid back, put his arms around his head and settled his sights upon the stars. "I will remember this when you are begging for my cock." He was not one to ever pressure her and delighted in just being able to have the freedom of openness with her and only her. "But don't think you are having a baby any other way; can't plant those types of seed amongst turnips and leeks." He gave her a smile before looking up to the painted sky.

"You know I rode that fucking dragon before." He didn't think about that event until just now and had none aside from those that experienced it with him to share it with. " Once you get over the fact that you are on the back of a fire breathing, overgrown lizard, the experience is indescribable. I saw more stars in the sky then I ever knew existed down here, felt like I could pluck one right out of the sky." His body relaxed more as he brought a leg up and kicked the other out. "Do you know what my very first thought was when riding that beast?"

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It was hard to listen to Sandor as he settled next to her nude. Shielding her blushing cheeks and smirk by looking off to the side. She did catch his comment about begging and that made her attention snap back towards him.

" Beg?" She questioned as if it was a funny joke. " I have only begged you once for anything. " but her comments were lost as he went on about seeds and riding dragons.

Sansa couldn't lie, sex took her mind off her big issues. It was like drifting away from the world for just a moment. So why not? After all her personal issues had her on hold, till more news from Jon came what could she do. So slowly she raffled her skirts up in her hands and crossed over his bare hips. Sansa didn't hook their bodies at first, she just grazed over his member.

" You probably thought about not falling. " she stated as her hips lowered to where their bare skin just touched.

" Or you prayed for the first time in your life. Dear gods old and new. I will stop calling people cunts if you let me live. "

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"Wrong." He stated as he watched her climb over him. "I would never fucking pray." Closing his eyes he sighed contentedly. "I wondered what a big, fucking, dragon tasted like roasted over a pit." He chomped his teeth pantomiming the experience, making him appear like the Hound he was as his hands squeezed her ribs to make her laugh.

The crackling of branches in the near distance, made him quickly pause in his game to listen. Two distinct pairs of feet were heard rushing by and soon voices came upon the pair.

"Please, Arya, talk to me!" Gendry chased after the girl as she stomped her way through the gardens.

"I said leave me alone!" She shouted back as she came into their view carrying a stick and swatting at the thick vines and leaves that brushed along side of her.

Sansa and the Hound were hidden to an extent, giving them a view of the scene before them, but maintaining their cover from the other pair's sight.

Gendry caught up to her, reaching out to grasp Arya's arm only to be whipped with the branch. "Ouch! " He rubbed his arm as he gazed upon the girl with a pathetic expression of love towards her.

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" I bet I could make you pray." Sansa whispered as she lingered her body just above, threatening to plunge down on to his waiting manhood. But then attention was brought over to the side. Sansa was still dressed; slowly she lifted her dress and fanned it out around the naked Sandor she was on. Her slow movements making her thighs hit and tap his no longer resting member. But her blue eyes lock fully on her sister.

" Why do you think I want this right now!? For you to come in and yet again ask me to wed you? Be your Lady? I just found out that my bastard brother isn't really my brother nor a bastard! Your cock offer is the last thing I need right now!" Arya was the opposite of Sansa and Sandor. They had been whispering and keeping to shadows. But then here came this loud bunch.

" He should slap her...then kiss her. " Sansa whispered while watching.

Gendry just stood there nodding, crossing his arm and standing there. " I just asked if you had been thinking about it is all. " he tried to explain.

" I'm not my fool sister chasing something like this!" Arya again hissed. " Im not a lost princess looking for someone to hold my hand while I hold their cock."

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It took a lot to stifle his laughter when Sansa made such a suggestion, but when Arya raged about her sister, he grew tensed at the insult. "If he doesn't smack her, I sure fucking will, and then her face will be kissing the dirt." He growled, having no shame in his willingness to knock some sense into the kid. It wasn't her sister's fault for being where they were. His hand gripped the ground and tore up a chunk of ivy.

"You have been acting out of sorts since you found out we were coming here, and it got worse the closer we came! I just wanted to make you feel happy and comfortable."

The boy looked like he was on the verge of yanking his hair out, not knowing what to do or say to defuse the situation. Though the young man witnessed and experienced many things in his life, it was obvious he lacked very little knowledge on how to deal with women, especially those that had the tendency to fight.

Arya held her branch just like one would hold a sword or a spear. It seemed whatever object was laced in her hand automatically became a weapon. Her lips curled and twisted as the man spewed out his concerns like she was some delicate lady needing her emotions coddled. But just as she was about to whip him again, her eyes shifted over her left shoulder. Something was amiss. The sensation of eyes upon her was one she knew all too well. "Shhhhhhhhhh!"She warned the young man as she tilted her head to listen and began to scan the darkness.

Had they been caught? Sandor brought his finger to Sansa's lips as if she were the one how may have outed them out.

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" This has to do with the many faced god doesn't it? " Gendry asked as he watched her look around, he had never seen Arya show signs of being afraid.

" On the boat I came to check on you sleeping. You were having...a terror. " Gendry didn't use this word lightly. What he saw that night was worse than any nightmare he had ever had.

" You were yelling for someone not to take your face." the young man then reach out and took a firm grip on the branch but Arya just spun around and used her free hand to slap him across the face. " You don't know a damn thing!" She spat these words out.

Gendry didn't stumble back, which told Sansa she wasn't trying to hurt him. The young man just rubbed his jaw and step away from her. " But it's not due to lack of bloody trying! You just won't allow it! Because you're so consumed with death you refuse to live!" Gendry then stormed off. Arya tossed the branch off to the side and waited till Gendry was gone and screamed into the night before she too ran off.

" Seven gods. That was better than any book I've ever read." Sansa stated as she watch the pair fully walk away.

" Maybe tomorrow we should talk to Gendry. Explain to him he isn't trying to catch a butterfly and to stop useing sugar water. " Sansa said before turning back to the man she still had mounted.

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The Hound finally was given the freedom to laugh as his beautiful wife finally returned her attention to him. "You Stark bitches sure like to beat helpless men."

His hands spun to her backside, adjusting her so that he could finally join with her. He gave all freedom to her, allowing her to have the reigns and the power of their love making. There was, to the Hound, nothing more stimulating than having an unworldly beauty ravish him in the embrace of the raw elements.

Chapter Text

FAITH

 

They had went their separate ways after dinner, which led Sandor to make his way over to the smithy to check on Gendry.

Giving credit where such was due, the boy was immensely talented in his work and had a true, useful, skill. Sandor watched the lad for a moment before knocking on the wooden beam to announce his presence.

"You missed dinner." He informed, but Gendry shrugged as he paused from his work. " I wasn't that hungry." The lad was accustomed to missing meals.

Sandor came closer, his curious eyes searching to see the new weapon the boy was creating, but saw instead nothing. "What the fuck you been doing?"

Gendry's face grew a large grin at the Hound's question and quickly turned around to reveal what he had been working on. In front of Sandor's face a silver ring was presented with intricate designs and indents for jewels to be set in. "Going to propose to Arya...again." He proudly announced, allowing the beast to inspect the ring.

"There are some cultural wedding and courting practices here in Braavos that we don't have in the West. One is the exchange of rings to confirm a union of marriage. The man gives the lady a ring and she returns the same gesture. The belief is..." Sandor quickly interrupted him. "No, you are a fucking idiot. She is not a woman that wants rings. You want to win her over; you make her something unique to her, cause in case you haven't been paying attention that girl isn't a big fan of Braavos. I highly doubt she wants to perform any of their customs."

He stayed with Gendry for a bit to share a bottle of port he had been drinking, before retiring upstairs. The liquor was already inducing warm tinkles through his body and making him a bit tipsy. Pausing at the door, he finished off the contents in one gulp when suddenly he heard a loud crash from within.

Immediately his senses were snapped back to normal as he opened the door to find two bodies struggling on the floor, one of them his wife.

It is said that anger and hatred fuel rage, but love creates an explosion. He was that explosion. Barreling through the room, the man had transformed into a true, wild beast, leaping onto the assailant and tackling him off his woman.

Though smaller in frame, the attacker was swift and slashed the Hound's arm before his fist smashed down on his face. Sandor had no immediate weapon on him, but utilized his bare hands to inflict damage. The pair danced about the room, smashing into furniture, crawling on the floor and back up on their feet towards the balcony. The knife went flying, but that didn't hinder the attacker, he smashed Sandor's head off against one of the marble beams, making him black out for a moment and be dragged over towards the balcony to be flung off.

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Sansa scream and started to push herself away on the floor while watching the two men go at it. Her voice rang in the room, echoing down the hall. Arya and Brienne were still finishing up the tasks Lady Sansa had given when they heard the screaming.

Brienne jumped from the table, nearly knocking it over with her knee cap. She then rushed to where the screaming was coming from, grabbing hold of her long sword as she charged. Arya was right behind taking hold of needle.

Brienne slipped into the room where all the commotion was coming from. Her eyes scanning over Sansa, who was curled up in the corner with a bloody busted lip. Her eyes then darted to see the Hound being drug away by this stranger.

" It's the dead! He's come back from the dead! " Sansa shouted and pointed.

Brienne took no time and leaped forward with sword in hand and sliced cross ways on the attackers back. This led the attacker to cry out and drop Sandor, whose top half was now dangling over the railing.

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The blackness faded and he came through when the attacker shouted. Brienne had forced the man to back away and that gave Sandor enough space to remove himself from the balcony and go after him. As Brienne distracted the attacker, Sandor leaped and grabbed the man by the neck, feeling the sensation of skin shifting from underneath bone.

Pulling the man back by his neck, he lifted the man from the back of his knees and flipped him over the balcony and watched as the man crashed upon the stone floor below. A pool of dark, crimson blod painted the once pristine alabaster as the face of Ramsey Bolton gazed upwards with lifeless eyes.

Brienne wasted no time to check on Sansa, she practically cradled the girl in her arms. Arya raced downstairs to check the attacker, pulling the face off to reveal the face of the man Sandor had seen on the stairs of the temple. The many face assassins had made their move.

Sandor felt dizzy from the blow to the head, but managed to stumble over to his collapsed wife and fall down to her leve. Arms grabbed her from Brienne to pull her to him. "Little Bird." He whispered before completely blacking out.

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Shaking was an understatement to Sansa's reactions, tears trail down her face and silent crying was visible as she reached towards Sandor. Lady Brienne was happy to hand Sansa over, or she was till she noticed the mess on the marbled floor. Blood.

Brienne's eyes drifted back towards the path, it started at the corner where Sansa had been and slid on towards where she was now. It was a lot, more than a common red floor.

" Clegane. Shes hurt .. bleeding bad it seems." She informed him. " Sansa. Where are you hurt? Did that man cut you?" She asked her as she started to pat her back down.

Ser Davos had heard the fighting and made his way to the area. Standing in the door way, seeing the trail of blood and where it lead made his mind go further back than he care for it to. " I'm no Maester...but my once wife bled like this and it was from no blade. I think young Sansa was indeed wrong about her seasickness. "

Sansa couldn't hear the voices of those around her; she couldn't release Sandor to save her life right now.

" It could have started slipping this morning and this was the straw that snap it. " Ser Davos explained.

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It was a dance in and out of consciousness which ended with a crash as his world came back into focus. He woke up in such a panic that he practically leaped out of bed. "SANSA!" Was the first and only thing he shouted when he came through.

In a delirious state it took him a moment to comprehend that he was not in their bed, for he was in another room and she was nowhere in sight. He attempted to stand but stumbled and would have fallen completely if not for Davos grabbing him and sitting him on the edge of the bed. "Where is my wife?!" He growled, baring his teeth towards the man.

"Calm down." Davos spoke with a soft demeanor. "You have sustained a bad head injury and need to rest..."

Davos's collar was grabbed and his body clashed into Sandor's, just mere inches from his face. "WHERE IS SHE!?"

It was obvious that he would not listen and Davos understood. "Come with me." He offered his shoulder but Sandor declined, having found the energy to walk on his own. "She...she is in a bad state right now and needs to stay in bed." The Onion Knight explained. "What did that mother fucker do to her?" He was ready to find the corpse and destroy it again. "It is best to let her explain."

Davos knocked on the door where Arya greeted them. " She is sleeping." She stated but was pushed aside without thought. His sleeping beauty looked so pale within the embrace of linens and silk. He climbed into their bed, gently as to not wake her, and curled into her. Her skin felt clammy, but he didn't care, he just needed her touch. "I am sorry Little Bird." He whispered in her ear.

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Ser Davos never entered and Arya never stepped out. She look at the pair and let out a breathe. " It was her, the Dragon Queen. " Arya knew she needed to explain some things.

" She ordered and paid for this. " Arya paced and pulled out the skinned faces tossing them one by one. The face of Ramsey was not all full, it seemed old and torn.

" How would a dead man's face get all the way across the narrow sea? Not without being dug up and placed on a ship. Dark magic lurks within that Dragon Queen..." Arya spoke low to not wake Sansa.

Sansa's lip was blue but the blood had been cleaned off, a bruise formed just under her eye as well.

" ...We had to get someone to look at her. We didn't know why it wouldn't stop. " Arya started to tell him. " The Maester told us it was common for young brides to lose the first one. He blamed it on her blood pumping too fast. Stress. He went on to talk about how animals can shut their whole bodies down when their environment isn't right. "

XXXXXX

Right now he didn't want to hear it. "Everyone out! OUT!" He demanded, cradling her fragile body.

His hand went to her belly, where it gently rested. He wondered if it had been a son or a daughter, if they would have had her eyes or his colored hair. He was infuriated, but not with her. She was the victim in all of this. He wanted that Dragon whore dead. He wanted her tortured and suffering for forcing his wife to relive another moment.

For the first time since he was a child getting his face burned, he cried. It wasn't sobs or wails, just a silent stream of tears that trinkled down his scarred and aged face.

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Sansa lay still till morning, the medication given to her the night before allow her body to relax and settle after the shock and trauma placed on it. When her blue eyes fluttered open she looked Sandor over. Still slightly dazed she didn't attempt to move from her spot next to him.

The events of the night before were a blur, she laid there thinking them over. She had been looked over by a man of medicine brought there by Ser Davos. The man had helped her best he could but not much could be done. He had also cleaned and sewn up Sandor's arm while he was passed out. It was explained to her that she had loss a child; but Sansa hadn't even fully known about the child forming in her womb. It made her feel more than selfish that she didn't listen to her sister or Lady Brienne. All those times with Ramsey forcing himself on her and nothing came from it, and then once with Clegane and it fully took.

She couldn't think of anything but his reactions to the situation. When he woke would he show anger? Or would he toss her to the side as many men had done to their own barren wives. It was sickening to sit silently and worry over.

XXXXXX

He had passed out, emotions and the physical altercation took its toll on him. However, the second her body shift, his eyes fluttered open and were greeted by her sparkling blues.

His hand rose up to brush her cheek as he offered a small smile of comfort. He didn't know what to say. Did she know already about the loss? Would promising her revenge help heal her wounded heart? He had never been in such a position before. "I love you." Those words were barely heard, but rang true. His hand glided down to her belly, indicating that he knew. "How are you, Little Bird?"

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Sansa's face showed signs of utter relief when Sandor spoke. In ways she was happy her mind had protest the possibility of caring his child, if she had accepted it this would have been much harder on her. But if Sansa was honest she had so much to worry with she couldn't tell which was more fundamentally important. This thought only made her feel worse.

Sansa ignored his question, her eyes glossed over as she thought of what was on her mind.

" Are you one of those people, who down deep do believe in the Gods. But they've hurt you so much that you deny faith for them?
Or do you honestly not have any faith in them? " After the battle with the dead and hearing Ramsey Sansa was starting to question if the Gods, old or new deserved her prayers and thanks.

" My father trusted in them. My mother trusted in them. My brothers put faith in them, and our child bloomed in the womb of me who put faith. But still all are dead. Still all is dead in the ones who put faith and the Dragon Queen sits on her city of ashes. "

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Sandor was a honest man for he didn't hesitate to be raw with what he truly thought. Another man might have comforted her and stated that the Gods were real and it was part of their overall plan to remove every important person from her life. He was not any another man.

"No. I truly don't believe in anything like that. If there are such divine rulers, than fuck them for causing you pain." He took hold of her hand and began to caress it as he spoke. " Your parents and brothers died because like many they got tangled up in a game of power. They were good people and the world likes to shit on the good and reward the bad. It was no divine power stealing them away from you, just poor choices and evil cunts." He placed their laces hands on her." And our baby..." He paused at such a statement. "It happens. You did nothing to cause it and neither did some invisible force; just fucking cunts who wanted to hurt you. I promise you that we will go home...to your Winterfell and that by the time our next child is ready to be born it will take its first breath of life within those walls."

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Sansa found little comfort in most of what her husband had to say. Then he spoke of their 'next ' child, Sansa leaned up and took hold of Sandor, holding him close with both arms around his thick neck. This was a hard stepping stone to say the least, but he was still looking towards a future so she still had hope.

" I love you." she finally replied back to him as she embraced him there. They knew this place was not safe any longer. Moving would take place but not towards home for now. It would be a long while before home would be in their sights.

Chapter Text

Beaches

Six long weeks had taken the group of six from Braavos, back on to the ocean and settled them on the edge of Lorath. Coming from a busy place like Braavos, Lorath was rather boring. There was nothing to do. Even the people living there poked fun of their own land; it was simple, but it got the job done one would say. The house they were placed in was nothing like Salladhor's personal living quarters, it was basic living with no smith shop; however, that was fine because Brienne was helping better train Gendry. Arya played with the pair but she knew her level was much higher than the young man's.

Sansa was settled in a rocking chair, her hands busy at work knitting a blanket; since arriving she had knitted four full sized blankets. Her blue eyes watch as Brienne and Grendry practice, it was their normal routine for late in the evening.

Jon had been giving them the run around for over a month. Ser Davos hope good news arrived for them soon. If not he was going to stroke out, or at least this was what he threatened. To make matters even 'better' Arya had been sleeping next to Sansa each night since the many faced man's attack. Sansa slept right between Sandor and Arya. Which she didn't mind but she could tell it was starting to eat at her husband. Sansa stood up and place her knitting down, and glanced over at her scarred husband. The look could easily remind one of the signal she gave the first night they bedded.

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The bedroom arrangements were indeed driving him insane. Since her miscarriage the Maester's advice was no intercourse for at least a month to allow her body to heal and to prevent another pregnancy so close from the loss. He understood this fact and her health and comfort were more important than his desires. If that was the only issue, life would be bearable almost.

The biggest issue was Arya joining them in the bedroom each night. He was okay with it for a few days, knowing that the girls needed each other for comfort. But when days turned into weeks, he was about to just give up on sleeping all together. Yes, Sansa would be in the middle...in the beginning... but by morning, Arya would have shifted positions and her little body would have consumed the entirety of the bed. She was also a kicker and many times he would be woken from a sound sleep by a kick in the balls. He swore she was doing it purposely, for if she had balls he would definitely be kicking them too.

Lorath was nothing special and the land held little interest to him, besides needing to know where he was going. Due to the incident with Sansa, he spent a lot of his mornings training with Brienne and Davos, knowing that he needed to keep up his strength for the next attack. In the afternoons he drank and watched his wife knit. The hobby seemed to have made her happy as she completed multiple blankets already.

At the moment his big body was sprawled on a settee, one leg hanging to his side at the other was draped over the golden edge. A bottle was in the middle of being drained and thus his head tilted back to catch that sultry look. His own eyes illuminated and he sat right up and made his way over to her. He removed the knitting from her hands and bend down to kiss the side of her face. "Will my Little Bird sing for me? I miss her song." His hand brushed through her hair as he began kissing down her neck.

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Sansa had barely rounded the corner before he was on her. His mouth felt so nice on her skin, she would be lying if said out loud his touch was not missed. She had not voiced her own cravings of the flesh and she knew she should of, but she feared talking about it would only lead to them proceeding with their wants.

" Sing to you? " She acted as if she didn't know what he was referring to. Instead she spoke about really singing.

" You name a song and if I know it I will sing it. " she told him as she turned her face to where they were nose to nose. " I know a lot of songs so try and give me a...hard one. " Sansa wasn't trying to word play him into a trap, but her own mind was lingering on the dirty side of life. But no, she had to guide them away from that till they were home. Actually home.

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His hands could not roam her body quickly enough and her teasing innocence provoked him even more. "Oh I have a real hard song for you to play." He pulled her hand to his groin, so she knew exactly how hard of a song it was. "I can take you right here." He was serious too, for the man had no care that anyone could walk in at any moment, his mind was being drugged by the thought of her. Grabbing her, he pinned her against the wall and began to hike her skirt up. "My redhead vixen, you drive me insane. I am going to fuck you all night and into tomorrow."

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They were literally just in the front hall way, but not even that fact made it sound less welcoming. Her hand against his manhood made Sansa swallow hard, nearly losing her footing.

Stumbling back into a small table where Arya constantly placed her cups, since she had since they first arrived, Sansa found one still full of clean water. Sansa knew this was a bad idea, but she was about to give in and giving in risk things getting bad again. She couldn't risk that so she moved quickly.

Sansa pick up Arya's cup from the table and tossed it directly in the Hound's face.

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The splash of water against heated flesh definitely shocked him to pull back, looking at her with the glare that vividly screamed "What the fuck!" But he didn't say it, for immediately after the initial shock he assumed she had an unpleasant memory triggered. She had horrible nightmares days after the incident and would wake up screaming remembering the attack. "Sansa?" He just questioned her, wanting an explanation.

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Sansa's eyes drop as he started to question her, her focus going on the small drops that were hitting the floor. Sansa didn't want to show him how bothered the miscarriage had her mental state. By now she should have been use to looking weak in front of him but she wasn't. So she chose the salty way around this topic. " You're drunk. " she told him before turning from him and trading the cup before picking her sewing needles up again. Right then Arya walk in.

" Hey. Can you hand me my cup?" Arya asked.

" Its empty. " Sansa simply stated.

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She would see the fury in his eyes when she accused him of such. Yes, he was drunk, but had been before and no issue. Then, before they even had a chance to begin to have a conversation, Wolf Bitch strolls in.

Arya was grinding on his last nerve and he was already on the edge to explode. "Fuck off!" He hissed at his sister in law, grabbed his sword by the end of the corridor and stomped away.

He found Brienne with Gendry going over the drills she had once put Podrick through. "Go take a break, I will take over." Brienne was a person who was capable of noticing the small details, so when he came storming through she knew he was coming from where Sansa was. "Is Lady Celgane alright?" She questioned as her eyes darted from the pathway and towards the frustrated man.

Clegane had begun putting on his armor when he looked at the mighty woman. "Well get the fuck along and go coddle her, seems she has no fucking desire for me." He growled before turning his attention on poor Gendry. " You ready to fight?" Gendry was now at the hands of a mad dog.

Brienne washed up and made her way back to their quarters, finding the sisters sitting in a small room that had a view of the Shivering Sea and the coastal line. "Excuse me Lady Clegane." She spoke as she entered. "Are you alright?"

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" I'm fine. " She gave Brienne a smile, she had gotten good at faking smiles over her years. " But I do ask that Arya sleep in your room tonight, if you don't mind? "

" My Lady. Is there an issue I should know about?" Brienne asked.

" No. Just normal husband and wife issues. It will be sorted out by morning. " she assured her guard.

" Yes my Lady. "

" Stop looking so worried. I have no fear of my husband. " this was a lie. True she knew Sandor would never lay a wrong hand on her, he never had, but she did fear his judgment over this issue.

Arya then jump up. " He's not with Gendry is he?" Arya headed out, just as she stepped out on the porch there she saw Gendry on his back.

She showed slight worry over the young man. Sansa and Brienne walk out after. Sansa held a stone face as she looked over at her husband. The view made her think of when she was a simple girl and he was her protector chopping wood.

" I think I might go for a walk. " Sansa stated before leading herself off the porch. " I'll be fine Brienne."

XXXXXX

Poor Gendry. He never asked to be the punching bag for a grown man's frustration. He dealt with the training well, but was immensely sore afterwards. For the fiftieth time he was slammed down to the ground and the sword at his throat. Sandor didn't fight fair, he fought realistically. "People aren't honorable for the most part, especially when they stand a chance at dying. A man would stab you in the back without a second thought if it meant he was walking away alive." Brienne's techniques were good, for a knight, but his were better.

A hand extended outwards to grasp the fallen boy and Sandor helped him to his feet, though a bit wobbly. "Seems you had an audience." He discreetly spoke seeing as how Arya was watching from afar. "I will bet you two silvers that girl is wet in her cunt for you right now, seeing you fight like you did." This perked the man up as he looked over at Arya and then back at Sandor, waiting to be dismissed. "Well get the fuck going, you earned it." He shouted at the man before going over to a water basin to wash up.

It felt good to fight and practice and it allowed him to release all the frustration from the last few weeks. He dunked his entire head into the basin and when he rose up he was facing Ser Davos standing by. "You want a go old man?" He questioned the Onion Knight, but was shown a small scroll instead of given a reply. "From Jon?" Sandor asked pulling the letter from the man. "Is that cunt bitch dead yet?"

Davos shook his head as Sandor began to read the information. "No and she is appointing her army all throughout the capital and spreading it through Westeros. The letter sounded more like a prisoner being forced to inform, than an informant relying news. "The attack on my sister was a warning, one only to be given once. The Queen demands a union immediately." He read out loud in disbelief. "Fucking ballsack bitch!" He cursed as he threw the paper back. "That was a fucking warning! That white hair dragon cunt's assassin made my wife lose our child!" He was pacing now, like a lion trapped in a cage. "If I didn't get in there when I did, what the fuck do you think would of happened?! I call bullshit that it was a warning. Bitch was going to have her killed!"

Davos allowed the man to vent before speaking. "Well who's to say we can't play games with her. I have an idea, but it will mean luring that man to us. We do have our very own assassin."

Sandor growled. "No, I get that motherfucker! My hand will plow through his chest and I will pull his still beating heart from it, he is mine!"

XXXXXX

" Still this plan might work. We would just need Sansa to write us a pretty letter. Pretend to court the sorry son of bitch." Ser Davos explained. " Get him here to meet her. Let him warm up to her and then bang! Right in the guts. We cut his face off and send it to the Targaryen. " Ser Davos showed true passion for this plan.

" You would need to talk it over with Lady Clegane. A lot of acting would have to take place. " he admitted. " Why not go talk to her now, she's down at the water, here, show her the letter. "

Sansa was down on one of the blankets she had knitted. In her hands she held something different than her sewing needles. When settling they had bought a few chickens to ensure they had eggs daily. One of the larger chickens had stop laying, so Sansa figured it was time to eat. She had had Arya to kill the animal but now she was seated plucking features from it looking out to the ocean.

XXXXXX

He was hesitant to do so, but didn't mention this to Davos; instead he tore the letter from his hand and set off to the direction the knight pointed to.

At first he didn't approach her, he just watched her from afar. He wasn't sure how his presence would be received and he didn't want to intrude on her peaceful state. For a moment he contemplated just leaving and talking to her later, but he decided it was best to face her than allow the tension to stew any longer. Sandor was finally maturing in his emotions, or at least a tiny fragment was.

Without a word he plopped himself down next to her, eyeing that beautiful bird she was busy plucking. He looked out onto the beach and the roaring waves, admiring the endless sea and sky. "Got news from your brother." He finally stated and produced the crumbled up paper for her to view. "Davos has a plan."

XXXXXX

Sansa lowered the bird to the side before taking the letter from Clegane. Her stone like expression dropped some. "A warning he calls it...I wish I had the sight of a man just for a moment so I may understand what my brother sees in this witch. " Sansa rolled the letter up and handed it back to him.

" You're worried about this plan.I could hear it in the way you said it. " Sansa look over towards him before placing a hand on his knee. " I trust you more than Ser Davos. So if you say no I will listen to that. "

XXXXXX

"You are misinterpreting the voice of the letter." He tapped the paper. "That isn't your brother's words, those are HER words. She knows where we are at and is probably keeping him prisoner until you comply or die, whichever comes first."

He gazed down upon her hand but didn't move, just looked up towards the sea and the gray rolling waves crashing down upon the sandy shore. "Davos believes if we can lure him here, we can take him out, but we need to use you as bait." He absolutely hated that phrase. It was known how he hated seeing others be used as pawns, especially Sansa, but she was the key to this plan working. "You will need to write to him. Tell him whatever you need to get him to come to us. Davos will write to the Queen and tell her that you surrender to her demands and will marry him, but only on neutral grounds, thus the reason for him needing to meet you here." He ran his fingers through his wet hair and sighed. "You can say no. You are not held to this plan, we can always find another solution."

XXXXXX

" Well once I lured a King's guard from his post, and I was barely a woman. " Sansa smirk and lifted her hand off his knee and started to pluck the feathers from the chicken.

" Ser Davos will know what I should put in the letters, but once the chance strikes I want him dead. We'll mail her his heart and cock in a box, with just a note telling her to feed my dogs." Comments like this truly showed the changes in his 'Little Bird'. The child he stole from the Red Keep would have never thought of such monstrous ways to send a message.

Though her thoughts dark and bloody she still seemed composed, preparing a chicken for the husband she tossed water on only hours ago.

And as quickly as these dark thoughts had appeared she let them fade just as fast. " Arya is moving into Brienne's room..."

XXXXXX

Comments such as those made his heart swell with pride, not to mentioned he loved hearing foul words roll off her tongue.

He did not respond to the room change, just gave a slight smile over it. He watched her a moment before removing the bird from her hands and placing it on the ground. "This could wait. " His hand picked up her foot and removed her shoe, tossing to the side. He lifted the other and did the same. Positioning himself in front of her, he pulled up her skirt and tried to knot it like he did once upon a time before, but unfortunately the fabric was too heavy to hold. "Screw it." He said defeated. "Grab that monstrosity of a blanket and follow me." He instructed as he kicked his boots off.

XXXXXX

"Sandor." She gave little protest before standing on up from where she was settled. " Why do we need the blanket? " she asked but did as her husband asked. She gathered it up in her arms and started to follow him. Her sight was heavy on the water's edge as they walk in the sand. Sansa often walk the shore line barefoot. It felt nice to have the shifting wet sand under her bare feet.

" We should go swimming. Been here a while and we haven't. " she was mostly talking to herself as they walk.

XXXXXX

"We can." Holding her hand he escorted her down to the shore. The waves crashed softly against their feet, the sea foam tickling their feet as it gathered around the grainy floor. When the tide rolled out, small crabs scuttled about, tiny clams dug down and multi-colored shells remained.

He threw her handcrafted blanket down and tied the ends to create a makeshift sack. As the tide danced in and out, he began collecting shells and attempted to snatch a crab or two. Finding a medium conch shell, he stopped and brought it to her. Shimmering ivory mingled into pastel blue creating a shell that matched her eyes. "Listen" He said as he brought the shell to her ears. "Do you hear the ocean inside?"

XXXXXX

Sansa smirk and nodded. "Of course I do. It's right next to us. " letting out a laugh before stepping closer to Sandor, her hand rose to pat his chest before she started to walk on into the water.

" What are those fish Ser Davos goes on about. Sharks? " she turned back to let her smiling image stare back towards him. Her red hair was loose and blowing in the wind, just like the night she stood next to him on the bow of Salladhor's ship. For years he had told her that she looked like a woodland fairytale, but now standing in the rising waters of the sea, she appeared to look like one of the merbeasts pirates and sailors went on about. Sansa stop when the water was well past her knees, not caring about the clothes she wore.

" Come get me?" She called to him before putting her hands out like a playful child would.

XXXXXX

The ocean could be like a second home to him. He loved the water and despite his big size, he was actually a graceful and swift swimmer.

Contrasted next to the grays, blues and sandy browns of the sea and shore, she truly did resemble the descriptions of the merfolk in lore. "You're a bloody siren, luring me to my doom, huh?" He chased her into the throws of the crashing waves, tackling her down so she will be soaked from the dying wave. "Take that dress off before you drown." He said as he held her in place on the shore's edge. "Remember...I won't save you." He winked as he rose up and removed his shirt, rolled up his pants, ran out into the depths and dove under the large wave that was rolling in.

XXXXXX

The dress Sansa wore was simple, thin but not revealing. Under was an off white slip dress and over top was a dark navy, she personally preferred dark hues, but where she had just been tackled into the water it was already wet, so damage done; the fabric looked like it was now painted along her skin. A wave came crashing back into her legs, water crashing around sending sea foam about.
She wasn't a strong swimmer, the North had no large lakes or rivers, everything stayed half frozen most of the time so she was never given the chance.

" We're not catching crayfish!" She laughed out right when he dove under. The heavy scent of salt was lovely. At times she wished she had been born common, it would be easy to permanently settle in a place like this. Have babies that are better in the water than on land. But due to who she was they could never make this a true home, her heart lived in the North, but right now she saw what kept people settled here in Lorath.

Sansa just strolled in water up to her hips, letting the waves crash into her. It was simple and she hadn't been this happy in weeks.

XXXXXX

Adaptability was his skill. If not for emblems of his house or that of the Knights Guard, he would of easily passed as a common man. He never fit in amongst the Lords and Ladies and he was perfectly content with this. Fortunately, he was granted a life that provided him more freedom than she had and he took advantage of it.

He swam back in with the tide, rising up to meet her and shaking himself off to soak her even more. From his pocket he pulled out an oyster and with a little force, pried it open and began shifting the meat to find what he was looking for. His hand wiggled in the water a bit and when he extended it outwards a pearl rested in his palm. "Jewels from the Sea King, my lady." He mocked a bow as the pearl was presented.

XXXXXX

Sansa reach out for the pearl, her slim fingers taking it from his as she look its creamy color over. " Thank you. " she told him as he bowed and mocked the traditions they once had to follow.

" The Sea King sends me jewels sent by a handsome stranger who appears to have seen battle before. " she carried on with his mocking. " What a lucky lady I am. " her hand held the pearl in a tight fist close to her heart.

XXXXXX

"My lady, you must be blind as a fucking bat cause he sent his Sea Monster to deliver your gift."

The next hour was spent collecting them a few crabs and some small clams as he instructed her to finish her chicken plucking and to get some dry wood for a fire. Tonight they would feast under the stars. He went back to the house and gathered some supplies and a bottle of wine; taking the time to inform Ser Davos that Sansa agreed to the plan. With supplies in hand he began to make his way back down only to stop when hearing a shout and a crash of something fragile hitting the ground. He almost went to the rescue, but what followed were words of ecstasy and Arya shouting Gentry's name. A wide grin plastered itself upon the Hound's face.

XXXXXX

Down near the shore just below where they were staying was a stone made fire pit. The lot of them had had several dinners there during their stay. A wooden bench with feather pillows surrounded the fire pit, and a table was pushed over to the sides. Sansa found this to be the best spot the whole location had to offer.

The chicken was already cooking, along with a metal pot full of water. The crabs were being boiled with potatoes they had bought at the local market.

While the chicken cook Sansa had settled in the center of the bench, she had the pearl Clegane gave her still in hand. When his steps were heard she glanced over his way.

" Do you think Gendry could place this on a chain?" She ask holding up the pearl just over the small amount of cleavage her dress allow visible .

XXXXXX

These were the days that he treasured more than gold or jewels, more than land and power. Time simply stood still and life held no worries. He refused to allow future plans to interfere with this moment, refused past faults to worm their way through. A simple contentment was all he desired.

Laying back on one of the pillows, he chewed upon a stolen cooked potato as he waited for the rest of the food to cook. Her mention of Gendry made him chuckle and he shared his story of what he heard in the home. "It seems my advice worked." Proud as a peacock he definitely was.

XXXXXX

" It's funny. Both of them are rather little and they are mingling." to some women Gendry might not be seen as 'little' but not all women stood at Sansa's height.

" It would be odd to see Arya with a big man though. And I never once pictured myself with a short man. " Sansa told him as she smirked at the idea of the pair. " I wish he made her as happy as she makes him. But, her taste of full freedom has spoiled her. " Sansa stated before standing up to turn the chicken, she would hate to burn his favorite dish. She would never hear the end of it.

" I often wonder if we have children how tall they will be. " Sansa had not brought up the idea of children in nearly seven weeks, but only one paying close attention would catch her wording now. Use to be she would say 'when we have' now it was 'if we have'.

XXXXXX

He was not paying that close attention. He had never wanted to be a father before, but since he had her, he had become very open to that possibility. It wasn't that desire to have an heir, but simply a desire to see a living being formed by them. Their own creation. He never forced the subject on her since that night when he promised her their next child will be born in Winterfell. The lead would be given to her when said subject would be brought up.

And so it has, and he listened to an extent, imagining the height of their children. "We would have walking giants." He recalled Tormund having the same fantasy if he had secured Brianne.

XXXXXX

Sansa just simply nodded as she turned the chicken once more. When she turned to face him was when she noticed the bottle of wine he brought out. This gave an easy subject change for the woman to flee the topic she wasn't sure she was ready to have.

" Are we drinking like pirates tonight?" She asked as she made her way over to him and settled down next to Sandor, tossing one over his lap while her other was nested under her. The close contact was nice, they hadn't had much alone time after all, but she tried her best to not let their closeness start his fire.

" If my sister is working Gendry like you say she is, he will be thirsty. Best we drink our fill before they smell this chicken. "

XXXXXX

And drank like pirates they did. By the time the sun settled, the whole gang had made their way down to enjoy a delicious dinner and company. Arya even seemed happier, or as close to happy as she may get. Sandor just enjoyed the moment and the four bottles of liquor he helped consume.

Chapter Text

The Power of Ink

The next day Davos caught Sansa early, shortly after they broke their morning fast. He had already sent the Hound and Brienne to deliver the message of Sansa's acceptance back to Westeros, he now just needed Sansa to fulfill the first of her part.

With quill and ink in hand he escorted her to the writing table. "Honestly I do not know what to tell you to write." He said sheepishly. "You just need to be convincing that you have accepted the terms of marriage, but feel due to circumstances that he meets us here. Neutral grounds."

Over these last few months he came to see Arya and Sansa like the daughters he never had. He cared for them greatly, especially Sansa. He assisted during the early moments of her miscarriage. He explained to her what had happened and instructed Brienne and Arya how to care for her. " I know it isn't any of my business, but how are you doing." Before she can answer he continued. " I don't mean physically, but how are you coping. It took my wife awhile to deal with our loss and was terrified of the possibility of it happening again. It was a very...difficult time for the both of us."

XXXXXX

Sansa was settled across the table just looking at the quill and parchment. What to say? How was she to lure this man here? This stranger. Did she just write nonsense and spray perfume on it? Or did she give a stern letter and hope he like that? So many options but quickly Ser Davos saved her mind from thinking them all up at the same time.

" It's more difficult now." Sansa admitted. " I want children. I've always wanted them. When I was paired to Joffery I even wanted them, golden babies I once imagined. Now I dream of having them and calling them pups in a teasing manner. " Sansa smiled and look off towards the nearest window. " But now is not the time. They would be in danger. They could slip from me too soon. It's just not the time...so I have denied him a marriage bed. "

Ser Davos listened and understood what she was telling him. " My wife didn't let me touch her for nearly four months. I lay next to her not knowing what she was thinking. My thoughts raced nightly, then one night she told me, and I understood fully. "

" I don't fear that Sandor won't understand. " Sansa chimed.

" Yes you do, or he would know why you deny him. " Davos stated quickly.

Her blue eyes then lit up at the Onion Knigh'ts comment. Her hands reach for the quill and quickly she dipped it.

Dear Daario Naharis,

I am sure you have heard that I, myself, am not a sweet spoken woman. I have had a lot taken place in my life, I'm sure the pair of us have very interesting stories to tell the other.
One that I have heard of you is that Our Queen denied love for you. I relate to this. Before Our Queen arrived in Westeros my brother Jon Snow was facing an awful man, my husband at the time. A ward of my father saved me from his grasp, he was a true hero. I thought a future would be set for us but I too was denied by the one I loved.
If you agree on meeting me here in Lorath I would agree for us to try and heal the other from the heartache given to us.

Lady Stark

When Clegane returned the ink had just dried. Ser Davos walk it out to read to him and Brienne.

" She's clever, rubbing his face in his own pain. It will remind him of who he can't have, but also make him think of his Queen's wishes. The Dragon Queen wants this arrangement, so to make her happy he will come. " Brienne smirked.

XXXXXX

All agreed the letter was golden and Davos was willing to bet that it was the hook they needed to snag the man. "Once he is here, we get him comfortable, Sansa works her charm and then..."

Arya chimed in. "I slice his face off and throw his corpse in the ocean so the fishes can feast."

Sandor finally spoke up, prior to that he stayed off to the side, listening to the letter but having nothing to say. "No you fucking don't. That little cunt is mine. I get to drain the life from him, not..." He jammed his finger into Arya's shoulder. "You!" His eyes looked up at Sansa for a moment, letting her know how serious he was. No doubt he was going to destroy the man; it was all just a question on how long he will allow him to live before doing so.

XXXXXX

" Let him use to me just enough to where he is comfortable in being alone with me. " Sansa stated. " I'll lead him to the beach. Sandor will be waiting in the cave just a mile from here. I suggest we mingle there. Sandor drowns him there in the shallows." Her eyes then glance towards her sister.

" Then you get his face." Sansa's hands took hold of the arms of her chair. " You do what they taught you. You remove it. You wear it just like you did at the Twins, and when we go home you get close to her just as you did the Freys. Then stab her in the guts. " Sansa had fire laced in each word. None here but Arya fully understood her plan until it was finished.

" You were trained there?" Ser Davos asked looking at Arya.

" Yes. I could kill and take any face in this room if I wanted. " her dark eyes scanned over to Clegane. " Even if it is half way burnt. "

XXXXXX

"I dare you." He spoke through gritted teeth. "Well let's get this over with." It was obvious the idea of facing this man was twisting his guts. Since Dany mentioned the man, Sandor wanted him eliminated, simply because she wanted Sansa to marry him. For all he knew the man was just a helpless victim in the mad Queen's game, he could be the nicest man to walk the Earth, but that meant shit. He wanted him dead and to finally get back to starting their lives.

The next morning Davos personally sent the letter off. Four weeks later they heard a response from Dany stating an agreement to the proposition and a warning that if Sansa was not married within that first week and back in Meereen, she will be sending her unsullied to personally handle the issue.

Two days after Dany's letter arrived, Daario's letter came. Brienne scurried to find Sansa and handed it to her in private. "Does he agree?" She questioned with excitement in her voice.

XXXXXX

Sansa took the letter from her guard. She had just stepped from a hot bath and now was wrapped in a sheet when Brienne found her. She pulled her guard into her chamber to read the letter.

Dear Lady Sansa,

I have heard from our Queen that you are a woman who has been wronged by many, that you see the world as a hard place. She has mentioned you are nothing like your brother, I hear he is soft except in the art of war.
In your letter I noticed your hand writing is beautiful. I suppose when I reach Lorath I will find out how good you are with your hands.
I will meet you at the abandon stone castle that lines the ocean on the north side.

Daario Naharis

Sansa read the letter out loud, her expression twisted into a smile. " He has taken the bait. The date of arrival is in six days. " Sansa told Brienne before handing off the letter. " Place this in Ser Davos' room on his desk. "

" Yes my lady. " Brienne then exited Sansa's chambers. The men along with Arya were out fishing. Sansa had felt so bad towards Sandor that she had cook every egg laying chicken they owned in the past month. Arya from time to time slept with the pair, but it was no longer an every night occurance.

Sansa took the time right now to feel some joy to their plan making progress. Soon they could go home. Soon life would be right again. Soon she could feel no guilt in touching her own husband. Her stress would be lost.

If Sansa was being honest their sexless life was bothering her just as much if not more than Sandor. So with her mind settled some from receiving word from Daario and being fully left alone in her chamber she settled her naked body down on their shared bed. The sheet she was wrapped in was shifted off and fanned out around her as her head laid back into the pillows. Blue eyes fluttered shut as her hand drifted down her just cleaned body. Sansa had not touched herself like this since the first time laying with Clegane, but now she craved a true win and this would gain it for her.

XXXXXX

They had collected a small feast of sea life, and soon came back from their fishing expedition, tired but satisfied.

Sandor desired nothing more than to soak in a hot bath and sleep, since any other activity involving a bed was out of the question. There was no consideration to knock; therefore Sansa would be immediately interrupted upon him entering.

He wasn't expecting to see what he saw, but he was pleasantly surprised. "Don't let me interrupt you." He spoke with a sultry voice as he came closer.

XXXXXX

Sansa quickly stop and removed her hand from her between her legs as Sandor entered. Her cheeks blushed out brightly as her body shift up and her hands went to wrap the discarded sheet back around her body.

Instead of addressing what he just walked in on she acted as though it was literally nothing. " I didn't hear you or the others come in. I set you a bath up after I finished with my own. " she told him as she stood on up. Her aroused breast showing through the lavender sheet that drape around her.

When her blue eyes turn to his face they drop from his eyes on to his lips.

XXXXXX

She was not fooling anyone, she knew and he knew. He began removing his own clothes slowly, discarding them on the floor and taking his time stepping into the bath. It was as if he were teasing her with what he had to offer. The steam of the water scalded his flesh to a pinkish hue and his eyes fluttered as he sunk into the hot water. "Why don't you come and join me, woman. I need someone to wash me."

XXXXXX

Sansa let him pass her and go on to the wash area they had in their room. She traded the sheet she wore and placed her night robe on. As she was putting it on she glanced over her shoulder at the man stripping and getting on in the water.

" I already took a bath..." she told him when he ask her to join him. Instead of obeying she walked over and pulled a chair next to the side. " I'll wash you though." She told him before her hands reach down for a cotton rag, dipping it in the water with a bar of soap, her eyes glancing down into the clear clean water.

" How did fishing go?" She asked as her eyes bounced back.

XXXXXX

"Caught fish." He stated as he soaked in the warmth. He left out a relaxing moan when she began to wash him, though truthfully he would of adored washing her.

" You should have joined us." He watched her hands rub over his shoulder and down around his chest. Her face so close to his he could smell the perfume coming off her skin. A wet hand rose to bring her to his lips. All he wanted was a kiss.

XXXXXX

Sansa was on edge, with all that was going on in her world and getting the letter back with good news just made her want to scream with raged joy. Sansa let his hand lead up to her cheek, bringing her in for a kiss. It was sweet, her lips work lightly against his. The sleeve of her robe dip down into the water, slowly her frame leaned over the tub to deepen the kiss they share. She had kiss him recently, but not like this. It was slow and full of only two elements. Love and lust lingered in every touch she place against him, her hand dropping down into the water trailing down his frame until landing on his manhood. When she realized she was touching him here both her hand and mouth lifted from him.

XXXXXX

She alone had the power to ignite that yearning in him. Just touching him made him roar with a moan as he deepened their kiss while his hand yanked down her robe to fondle her breast, the force pulling her closer till 'Splash'. She was practically on top of him. "Guess you decided to join me after all."

He would not force her into anything, considering what happened last time he attempted to desire her. Instead he leaned back in the water, enjoying whatever she had to offer. "I will never force you to love me, Sansa." His tone grew serious for a moment, recalling that moment. "You mean the world to me, Little Bird." His hands were gentle as glided them under her gown.

XXXXXX

Sansa was nearly mad about being pulled into the water, but before she could yell at him his kind words were heard. Sandor wasn't a man to talk like that often, not even to his wife. She remained there in the water with her robe nearly off looking at him and replaying his words over in her head.

Her hand rose to push her hair out of her eyes as they started to well up with tears. " I miss it too. " Sansa wasn't one to cry over nothing, and this topic was something, something she needed to deal with now so she could mentally prepare for the active war plan they had taking action in less than a week away.

" It's just not the time for children between us...and it happen so fast last time." She stated as she sat back on her knees in the tub, no longer caring over her robes.

XXXXXX

"There will always be evil in this world, always someone wanting to cut your fucking throat. You can't always be afraid of something that will always be." Said the man who was afraid of fire, but he had a point, if she waited till there was no danger in the world or evils than they would never have children.

"What do you need from me, I will move mountains to make you feel safe, but don't allow the horrors of the world to consume you."

He stared at her for a moment; his hand mindlessly played with her the wet edges of her hair. "Have you heard any news yet?" He knew Brienne had gone to see if there was, but knew nothing of a reply. The only current piece of information he had was that Dany accepted Sansa's apology. "Is that dickless ass going to come and face me?"

XXXXXX

" We got the letter today. He will be in Lorath in six days. " she told Sandor as she wipe her eyes. His words were nice and sweet to come from someone like him. But in this moment she wasn't sure they were enough. Not knowing what would be enough lead her to unravel the robe around her frame and lay it off on the side of the tub. She then turned and simply lay back into his chest.

" He complimented my hand writing and had the guts to mention he would soon find out how good I was with my hands. " Sansa roll her eyes as she sunk further into his bath with him.

XXXXXX

The face he made when she informed him of the latter's contents was priceless, like a child forced to eat the nasty vegetables on their plate. There was also a glimpse of jealously behind those eyes, that the man, neither knew or seen before, had some tiny detail of knowledge about her.

"Your handwriting?" He questioned. "That chicken scratch with all that fancy looping and twirls?! Shit, I don't know if I am reading a letter or looking at a child's scribbles." He growled in discomfort. "Should have had Davos write the fucking thing." Davos wrote horrifically and all were aware, for the man had no fingertips and he had only begun his penmanship less than ten years ago. Compared to an actual chicken, the chicken would of received better penmanship marks.

He looked down upon his redheaded bird, nestling herself upon him and an ignition of passion, fueled by jealously went through his veins. Without another word, the beast rose and scooped her out of the tub, disregarding any care that both were covered in suds and walked over to the settee where she previously was.

Gently he laid her soaked body down, allowing the sea wind to brush over her and tickled wet flesh into erupting with goose flesh. "You are mine." A guttural voice spoke as he dropped his head down to begin kissing her fully erected nipples. His teeth gently pulling upon them to increase her pleasure senses. "Mine." He whispered again as his tongue traveled down her slender torso. "What you can do with your hands..." That part was whispered between kisses. He adjusted her slightly, parting her legs and draping one over his shoulder. His eyes looked up at her for a moment with a savaged cast written upon them, reminding her, that though he has shown her a softer side lately, he was still a mad beast, a Hound amongst the fancies of men.

His lips were a mix of roughness and softness as they trailed down the length of her long leg and circling within the garden of her womanhood. He gave her no warning, no caution of what he intended, but knew when it was over her desire for pleasure would be satisfied. His fingers parted her way as his tongue flickered against delicate and untouched flesh of her womanhood. He performed the dance of his tongue against her, a skill very few ever knew he had. His mouth moved as his hands grasped her hips, knowing full well the amount of pleasure she would have by him.

XXXXXX

Sansa had never had this performed on her, at least not in this manner. Once Ramsey bit her near her womanhood but that was just to inflict pain. Sandor's rough mouth against her softness made her back bend in ways she never knew it could. Her frame pushed her flesh closer against his face. Sansa literally bit into a pillow to keep herself from screaming. It wasn't long before her body was begging, fully open like a flower.

Her head flung back on the pillow and her eyes scanned down towards the man between her legs. She had only ever begged him once for anything, that was to take her from King's Landing, but now new prayers towards this man spilled from her.

" Come here? Please? Please?" Her body was shaking with excitement, too much to keep to herself. " Please ?" None could think this simple common word could sound so luring, so seductive. Her body finally shifted up and her hands took hold of the dark shaggy hair he had let grow out, lifted his face up by tugging it back.
When their eyes met she muttered this prayer once more. " Please?"

XXXXXX

He was a horrible, horrible man, for when she begged he just increased in laps and sickles until he felt her legs quiver in his grasp. On her last final plea, he paused and shifted to where little nips occurred on her inner thigh and then his lips trailed back up her torso, back up to her swollen breast and finally up to face his flushed bride. "Please what?" He grinned as his hand grasped her chin. "I knew I would get my little bird to sing."

Truly a horrible man he was, for he rose to his feet, satisfied with himself and knowing that he brought her to the tipping point of pleasure but no further.

XXXXXX

Sansa let out a hot breath before shifting up on her knees so she could wrap her arms around his neck and kiss him hard directly on the mouth. Her kisses were wet and lustful, her hands lowering down his tough shoulders. Her well kept nails clawed into his skin before she tried with her best efforts to pull him forward.

Settled up on the bed she matched his height perfectly. Midsections brushed against each other as she tried her best to pull him into the bed. Lips curling up into a trembling smile against his bearded lips. "I've missed it..." she muttered against him.

XXXXXX

He had the ability to be cruel, he had been with others in the past; leaving them begging for more. Her denials had taken a toll upon him and part of him desired for her to know exactly what it felt like to want so much and be denied. Like having cold water splashed on face.

There was a battle between old and new, for he truly knew she was not punishing him on purpose, she was simply suffering and it would be absolutely foolish to remove himself when she was finally ready for him.

Therefore in the end, he allowed for her to push him to the bed, but that was all the power he gave to her. Once there, he took over. Laying her over the bed, he proceeded to take her from behind, allowing for his fingers to continue pleasuring her, and movements, though rough and hard were not painful and displeasing. Though he would not finish until she was looking upon him. In his final moments he flipped her over so that he could kiss her sweet lips and whisper her name upon his.

Later, when tangled in the sheets, he was drunk off her, his body completely relaxed and sated. She was worse than alcohol on his body's senses. Lazy eyes glanced over at her as his fingers tugged at the tips of mangled red hair.

XXXXXX

" Can I ask you something? " Sansa had her head placed on her shoulder with his arm wrapped around her. Small hands rub over his frame, combing through his chest hair while she took in the lingering moment of what just took place between their bodies.

" What's your favorite? Way to have 'me'. Not favorite in general, but your favorite way with 'me'." Sansa was not foolish. She knew good and well that Clegane had slept with many throughout the year. He wasn't the first to touch her body either, neither pretended to be virgins. But at this moment she didn't want his mind thinking of other bodies.
" I prefer when my leg is over your shoulder, and your hands on my thighs. " this was new territory for Sansa. All her life she had had it drilled into her that proper ladies didn't talk about sex or lust. But he was her husband now, and she wanted to know and share these thoughts with him.

" I also liked being over you that time in Braavos. " her head rose which placed her nose to graze his jaw line. " So now you tell me. "

XXXXXX

The women he had been with were mainly prostitutes, and not so many lovers. Those types of women were trained young to not have an opinion and accept whatever position their client wanted.

He absolutely loved that she voiced her opinion, that she was comfortable to express herself in front of him for most women were taught to keep such to themselves. "Aye, having you over me is truly fucking wonderful. I can take you any way and be a happy man; it is your comfort that matters and thank you for telling." He adjusted himself over to face her. "Gergor had many wives, since they never lasted fucking long. Those poor girls were scared to even whimper let along say a single word. And then there was you...you spoke like a parrot for so long, saying words that everyone wanted to hear but never voicing your own opinion. If you were able to say what was on your mind, what would of it have been? I was always curious...it was the reason why I use to torment you so much, I wanted you to finally tell me to fuck off."

XXXXXX

Sansa leaned on her elbow with her cheek pressed to her palm when he shifted. " In Kings Landing?" She asked. When sure of his question she nodded, her eyes drop to her free hand as it smooth the sheets next to her out.

" I would have told Joffery he was the weakest form of a man I have ever met. The day he showed me my father's head on a spike I spoke my mind. Told him Rob might bring me his head on one. You were there. I thought about pushing him, but you stop me if I recall right." She reminded him.

" I wanted to end them just as you did. I just wasn't a poet like you.
Fuck the city, fuck the King's guard, Fuck the king." Her blue eyes bounce back up to meet his as she smirk.

XXXXXX

"I recall vividly that day when that cunt goblin did that to you, I also understand why you masked yourself as you did. You were and are a survivor, you knew, just as I did, that the only way to survive is to walk a straight line and be what those assholes wanted you to be."

He heartily laughed at her when she described him as a poet. "Yeah, I finally stopped giving a fuck. The way I see it, we are all going to die, so why the fuck was I risking my life for that blonde hair pussy and his bitch brother-fucking mother? I should have realized all that sooner than I did, but I am fucking thick headed."

Brown hues gazed upon her, knowing that her heart held much pain. "I told you before, but with that cock coming here soon; I want to remind you that you don't have to go through with any of this. I will dress Gentry up as a woman to take your place if need be. He would make a pretty girl; he definitely has the emotion for one."

XXXXXX

Sansa rose up to look down at Clegane, a smirk still playing on her face. " I only have one worry about this plan. And that's you. " she admitted to him.

" You and Brienne will be standing at my side. This man will be trying to court me. I will be pretending to court him. You can't kill him randomly. We can't let any know he is dead. The key is to make him think I plan on dragging him away and bedding him in a cave." Sansa then lay her head on down on her pillow.

" You have to grit your teeth and remind yourself it's all fake till the time is come. It could take days. "

XXXXXX

It was funny how such a simplistic request seemed nearly impossible to the man. She had a better chance asking for the moon to be given to her on a silver platter than to have him behave accordingly. In a childlike manner he shoved his face in the pillow and moaned, then looked back at her. "Fine...but make him get there as fast as possible so I can kill him." The thought of that man placing his hands on her drove him insane but it did trigger him to remember something.

Getting off the bed he went over to a small box and handed it to her. Inside was a beautifully crafted small blade no bigger than the palm of her hand. So detailed it was that it had tiny birds carved into the hilt with sapphires embedded for the eyes and along with the blade was a leather strapping. "In case you need to defend yourself. You can wear on your leg if you need to conceal it. He then placed his hand on her side close to her heart. "Stab him here.." The hand went to her throat where her artery pulsed. "Here..or.." Lastly on the edge of her thigh where her groin was. "Here."

Chapter Text

COCKY

There was heavy anticipation in the air the following days. Daily they made the trip to the ports just in case Daario's ship arrived early. Brienne and Arya took Sansa to the markets to purchase the finest fabrics for her to make a dress for the occasion and for the local women to do her hair and adorn it in the fashions of the land. "Glad it is you and not me." Arya stated as she flung the discarded feathers and other adornments that were laid out on a table in Sansa's dressing room. "I absolutely detest gowns and all this shit. I don't know how you even walk in those shoes half the time."

Brienne shifted through the different fabrics. "Oh me neither. Nothing better than a tunic and breeches. Besides I look awful in gowns."

XXXXXX

Sansa was good at sewing, but she often just made things she actually wanted to wear. Northern dresses were not what the ideal Meereen Queen would be placed in. So she had to think out of the box and step out of her element. She took her warm, useless Northern dresses and ripped them apart, mixing their dark colors with the smooth dyed silks she had bought.

She had been working on the garment for days, not having it finished till the actual day of the meeting. Having Brienne and Arya help her lace the dress up was amusing, but she could already hear Sandor declaring her to change. Which she found all too funny due to the backup she had also sewed showed even more skin than this one.

Arya just look at her sister as she finished fixing her hair back to the style she had been taught in town. " You're perfect. He'll runaway with you looking like this. "

" If he is stupid yes. But I feel he might be cocky and wise. " Sansa admitted before standing and rounding her sister, ready to step from her chamber. Sansa look herself over once more.

" He's going to flip a desk. I have money on it. " Brienne chimed in.

Sansa shook her head and walked on out into the man living area where all three of the men were settled. She froze and look down. " I'm ready. "

XXXXXX

As each day ticked by it seemed the more frustrated the Hound became. By the end of the fifth day Davos and Gentry had learned to avoid him least they be subjected to his fiery temper. He practice relentlessly the techniques he would use to kill the bastard, but finally settled on allowing his movements to come natural than rehearsed.

By the time she came into the room, he was pouring his sixth cup of honey wine, thus had his back turned when the men received the first glanced upon her. It was Gentry's gasp that made him turn around and when he did his mouth dropped. She was ravishing, for the shape and cut of the dress amplified her womanly curves and bosom and the color matched beautifully against her porcelain skin and dashing blue hues.

If this had been for any occasion he would have been proud to show her around, but this was done with another man in mind and that simply made him furious. "What the fuck is that you have on?" He demanded as he quickly grabbed his cloak and draped it over her shoulders. "Why do you need to dress up? You have many dresses already. Why not that brown one you have?"

Davos simply shook his head and chuckled. " No...that will do, we want her to use every trick she has. Come on everyone, we will head out early and wait, we can also check to see if there are any messages from home."

Everyone gathered their cloaks and began to shuffle out, but Sandor kept Sansa behind; the cloak still casted over her. "Are you sure you are up to this? It isn't too late to decline this horseshit."

XXXXXX

Sansa stood there in front of Clegane as the others made their way out one by one. Her dress did show more skin than anything she had ever worn, for the sides were cut out showing the alabaster skin of her body, a black belt rounded her hips and twisted to travel up her whole frame, parting ways at her breast and a strip of fabric was styled out directly over her abdomen. It was tight fitting, and she had sewn jewels bought from the area; and with a mix of blue and black fabrics made her hair stood out. The only section that was fully covered was her back.

Sansa step up and took Clegane softly by the face. " I'm not the one who is worried. " she told him before leaning in and kissing him once lightly.

" I am yours. I will always be yours. " she told him as her hands drifted from him and she step around him. Sansa fully knew the moment they walk out their safe house the show started.

They traveled on horseback to the abandon castle they were said to meet this man at. Sansa was thankful to see no one had arrived yet. Once she dismounted she made her way over to some rocks that stood tall enough to sit on semi comfortably. She crossed one leg over her knee and then her arms.

" Don't look so happy my lady." Ser Davos teased as he open a letter Gendry had went and picked up. But quickly his face went white when he read the letter to himself.

XXXXXX

Brienne looked over at the old Onion Knight, noticing the discoloration to his face. "Davos are you alright?" She didn't automatically assume it had anything to do with the letter's content but that the man was physically in distress.

Davos immediately handed over the letter to Brienne, who read it through twice before speaking. The message was from Salladhor, who had been keeping them greatly informed of the chaos going on in Westeros.

"Should I tell everyone the news?" She asked him and he nodded. "We need to figure something out before this man's ship arrives." Davos said as he sat down nearby, all the stress truly was wearing him down.

Brienne gathered everyone around the old knight and began to read the letter.

My Dear Friends,

I am writing to you as information is being given to me. I have even requested the fastest raven in Westeros so that I can assure you will see this in a timely manner.

Daenerys Targaryen is dead; dead by the hands of Jon Snow. The Unsullied army, along with any remaining Dothraki, are beyond furious and have imprisoned him so that justice should be given. They want him dead immediately, but many of our allies have petitioned that he be given a trial and that perhaps some form of negotiation can be reached.

Tyrion Lannister has been trying his hardest to reach out to every alliance we have to come to the Capital immediately.
Please come as soon as possible. I have sent my sister ship, the MoonMaiden, to Lorath and it will be docked and waiting for you to return. The kingdom needs its people returned.

Salladhor

Davos sighed heavily as Brienne concluded. "He actually did it. I truly did not expect him to kill her."

Arya scoffed. "He knew it was the only way, she destroyed King's Landing and could have easily wiped Westeros off the map.

"We can't go through with our original plan." Davos finally stood up as Sandor chimed in. " So we kill him the moment he lands. I highly doubt he has heard the news..." He was cut off by Davos. "No we need to keep that news from him. We need to get him on that ship home and use him to get Jon back. Sansa, you are going to have to deal with him a bit longer than expected, but we must keep him occupied till we reach King's Landing."

XXXXXX

" One of the letters. It was written in the Dragon Queen's hand. If we could copy her penmanship then we could write him a letter. " Sansa glance back to Arya.

" You're the master copy cat. You can take one's voice and all, can you take their writing. " Ser Davos asked the young one.

Arya nodded quickly.

" You know at the house where we keep them, under the boards in my room. You run back and get started. We will stay here and find out what this Daario knows. " Ser Davos ordered.

" What do I put?" Arya asked.

" Put something in it you would say to me. " Gendry chimed. " The Dragon Queen made him a lover, but he wasn't good enough to marry. So hard feelings are between the two. If it was me something like that would make me cross seas with strangers. "

" Go!" Ser Davos ordered. Arya hopped up on a horse and headed back.

Sansa stood and paced slightly. " This is going to be push harder now. " she stated as she glance towards the road leading up towards the once great fortress they stood at. Off in the distance men could be seen walking up. Sansa stood still and held her breath at the sight.

" Take a seat my lady. " Brienne glanced over towards Clegane, giving him a que to stand next to Sansa's side. Falling back into a guard like stance just as if Joffree was the one he stood next to.

XXXXXX

It was already hard to have to play this facade for a few hours, but to have it extended into a voyage was going to have Clegane driven to the brink of insanity. Perhaps it may be best that he was locked in a cage or hit over the head a few times to sedate him.

As he took his spot at her side, his hand grasped her own, silently reminding her that she was his woman. Every vein in his body was pulsing from tension of this and in his mind he kept repeating that this is all fake...all just a scene...she won't truly fall for a man like Daario.

XXXXXX

Sansa squeezed his hand back but then settled on the rock she had chosen before. Daario Naharis walk up, and just as promised he only brought along four guards. He made his way on up and stopping about ten or so feet from Sansa's party. Daario was dressed in his normal attire, layers of new leather. It appeared that his time of ruler of Meereen had treated him well. Sansa's eyes did catch of something though, a knife hanging from his belt. The handle was formed into the shape of a woman, its golden blade shined the closer to came.

Ser Davos stepped up to speak "Hello friends. May I please introduce…"

" She can talk." Daario interrupted Ser Davos. " Right? I know little about Lady Sansa, except she likes dogs and lemons. Plus she has natural red hair. Red hair isn't that common in Meereen."

Sansa made a face as this man cut Ser Davos off. The Onion Knight stepped on back so she could have full view of the man again.

" What princess? Sad we haven't met sooner?" He asked.

" I was starting to think that. But then you open your mouth and found out your rather cocky. " Sansa stated.

" Oh princess, if my cocky fell out you would already be over here on your knees. " Daario informed her.

" Did your men travel with a magnifying glass? I forgot mine at home. " Sansa spat back just as quickly as he had. This left Daario stumped and standing glancing back at his men.

" You're good. "

" I was raised with five brothers and a tomboy sister. I'm very good. " Sansa informed him.

XXXXXX

The man was arrogant; it was obvious even before he had a chance to speak, for his mannerism spoke just as loudly. Sandor wanted to knock that pearly white smile right off his face the moment their eyes glanced at each other.

"Let me at least make proper introductions of Lady Sansa's comrades." His hand gestured over to Arya. "This is Lady Arya, the youngest Stark sister." He then gestured to his left. "Ser Brienne of Tarth, Lady Sansa's guard. Lord Gendry Baratheon, Lady Arya's companion." Finally he gestured over to The Hound who stood as still as a statue at Lady Sansa's side. "Finally Ser Sandor Clegane, Lady Sansa's..."

He wanted to say husband but knew that wouldn't be acceptable. They didn't really have a plan for Clegane as he was suppose to stay in the shadows until it was time kill Daario.

"Hand...Ser Clegane is the Hand of Lady Sansa Stark of Winterfell...and of course I am Ser Davos, Lord Jon Snow's hand sent to supervise this union and secure safety of all parties."

XXXXXX

Sansa glanced over to see her sister returning so quickly. She dismounted and made her way to stand next to Gendry. Arya winked towards Ser Davos after he introduced her. Light worry filled him when she made her way back so soon but that couldn't be addressed right now.

" Hand? " Daario laughed. " You keep power around you in every form don't you Lady Stark.

" Clegane keeps me in line. Without him and Brienne I would have fed more people to my dogs. " Sansa stated coldly.

" So it is true that you like dogs. Good. " Daario thought the 'feeding' part was just a teasing statement if he was honest. So he truly had no clue how serious Sansa was. " I brought you a bride gift. I can't hide it till our wedding day. " Daario took a basket off of the back of one of his guards. He then started over to Sansa with the basket.

He made eye contact with Brienne then Sandor. " Relax. I'm not going to hurt her. " he stated as he placed the basket down at Sansa's feet. " Go on. Open it. "

Sansa glance over to Brienne. She waited for her guard to hold of the handle of her sword before she proceeded. But Sansa had little trust of this man, so she use the tip of her toe to kick the top of the basket off.

Both Sansa and Brienne peeked inside. What they saw literally made Brienne nearly laugh out loud. Sansa's eyes snapped back up.

" What the bloody hell is that?" Sansa asked.

" It's a dog. " Daario couldn't believe Sansa's tone. He honestly thought the sight of the moped up animal would thrill her. He bent down and picked the small shaggy haired animal out.

" ...What am I to do with that?" Sansa asked in such a real sounding tone that one might think she forgot this was fake.

" It sits on your feet and warms them at night. " Daario stated as the pet licked his face.

XXXXXX

"More like something you would feed to real fucking dogs." The Hound growled as he gazed down upon the odd creature. The comment made the newcomer chuckle, but Sandor didn't even grace him with an acknowledgment, he simply kept his eyes averted and his stance stone solid.

"Are...are all animals in your country tiny?" Brienne interjected before the Hound had the opportunity to say something out of line. "We truly have rats that are bigger than this little one." She was not poking fun, just making an absolute fact; Flea Bottom truly had rats way bigger than that dog.

"Well allow me to get you settled into your respective quarters; I am sure you all are very exhausted from the journey." Ser Davos stated stepping in front. "We will have a delicious supper to follow as well." This was part of the original plan, but it gave the illusion that they were in no rush to push things forward as to no raise suspensions. This also provided Arya time to send the message to Daario from his beloved "Queen".

XXXXXX

" So soon we depart?" Daario asked.

" Well you made cock jokes and given me a pet rat. " Sansa stood up and lock eyes with the man before her. " What a story to tell our future heirs. " Sansa stated harshly before she rounded the man.
Daario quickly noticed how tall Sansa was, just like many he thought about what if she had been trained in combat, she could give issue to a few if she was trained to. But his eyes soon faded down on to the exposed skin on her sides, as she started away Brienne followed.

" I'll see you at supper. " she called back.

Daario watch her walk back to her horse, then he look back at Clegane. " I guess it's true about red heads. Fiery. They also say their cunts match that fire. I'll find that part out soon enough.

XXXXXX

Arya possessed many unique skills and mimicking was one of them. It came as natural as walking, and copying Dany's penmanship was simple. It was wording it that caused her some hesitation, but Gendry's little snip did provide her the assistance she needed to truly bring life to the dead Queen's words. The letter was sealed with her waxed mark and placed on a crow to be delivered to Daario.

It wouldn't be till dinner that he would receive the news and Brienne made sure he and his men were welcomed to a display of some of Westeros finest foods such as liver and kidney pie, salted bull testicles in a brown gravy sauce, blood sausage in curdled cream and other fine delicacies that were native to their land.

Sandor watched as Sansa made herself presentable in her quarters, he was now reassigned to a separate but nearby chamber. "He is a fucking cocksucker." The man complained as he gazed upon her mirror's reflection. "Who the fuck gives furry, rat dogs as wedding gifts?" The little creature seemed to have taken a strange liking to the Hound and kept sniffing around his boot, wagging its little tail to get his attention.

XXXXXX

Sansa smirked and turned to look back at Clegane, she had changed into a evening dress that would help fight against the evening chill.

" It likes you. " She stated as she watch the little mutt roam around at his feet. " I will say it's as nice as some of the other gifts I have been given. " Her blue eyes bounced up to meet his.

" Once a man carved me a wooden bird with his bare hands. " she spoke like this just in case any new ears were listening. " And I've been given love birds. Though I let them go. Didn't seem right to keep them caged. " Sansa stood up and smoothed her dress down.

Her hand drifting up to touch the chained pearl just above her breast. " Treasure from the deep sea. " she smiled and then ran a hand over her thigh where her newly given gift was strapped.

" The carved gifts are my favorite." She admitted.

XXXXXX

Her expression of the gifts he had bestowed upon her made a small smile creep upon those miserable lips. "I don't like the way he looks at you. Let me at least tear those fucking eyes out. He can live without eyes." He had come over her, his reflection now meeting her own.

Having not received the attention it desired, the little pup began continuously yipping a high pitch, ear piercing sound that made the man finally look down. In between yips it began pulling on his boot strap giving off tiny growls then go back to high pitch squealing. He wasted no time in picking up the annoyance by the nape of its neck to glare at it. The critter's tail still wagging happily as it looked upon his mangled face. Two hounds finally meeting eye to eye. "I am going to fucking boot you out the window." He threatened the thing before tossing it onto her bed. "I need some fucking air before I explode." He bent over and lifted Sansa's face towards him, giving her a hard kiss before leaving.

Outside the air was crisp and cool. A cold front had come in over the sea and the land was covered in a foggy cloak. Sandor had taken a bottle from the dinner table as everyone waited for all guests to arrive, and stepped out to enjoy the moments of solitude he desired. As he sipped his booze he prayed. Yes, perhaps the man had finally found religion after all, but his prayers were towards the Stranger and they were that Daario choke to death on the bull testicles.

XXXXXX

Brienne was outside when Clegane step out. She shifted and looked his way. " Thanks to you we will never have to actually do this. " she told him. " After Ramsey I feared for her being suited with another. I knew she would be tossed about just like this. But soon she won't have anyone telling her what to do. Besides you. But soon, if all goes right, you will be the rightful husband to the Lady of Winterfell. You could end up as a real Lord being paired with her. Are you up for that?" She asked.

XXXXXX

"I don't fucking give a flying fuck about Lordships, Tarth Bitch." He offered his bottle towards her, a symbol that he had accepted her as part of their little tribe. In actuality, he enjoyed Brienne's company and did feel somewhat for her own heartbreak. If Jaime Lannister wasn't dead already, he would personally kill him himself for breaking the woman's heart. "And I won't tell her what to do." Well to an extent, he was very demanding but he would never force her to follow his commands. "We are equals...well somewhat; she is more valuable than me. I am just a dog" He took the bottle back and gave it a deep swig.

XXXXXX

" The north won't see you as just a dog once you are settled back in Winterfell. " she told him as she took the bottle.

" You will have power just as she. And though she's taken your name the North will more or less see it as you taking hers. Which isn't awful. Sansa Stark-Clegane. Sandor Clegane-Stark. " she told him as she took a sip from the bottle.

"What you need to be praying for is she doesn't get mentioned to be queen of the seven kingdoms. "

XXXXXX

He laughed as such a suggestion, not that it wasn't a possibility, but that it would be just his luck that she would get suggested. "That is all I fucking need. The last Queen rode on the back of a dragon, what is she going to do, carry that fucking rat dog at her side?"

Ser Davos interrupted the two. "Are you two going to join us? Dinner is ready and he should be receiving the letter soon."

Davos was a calculating fellow and had seated Daario at Sansa's side in order to provide the pair with the opportunity to speak one on one. Sandor was seated at her other side next to Davos. The dinner began as formally as it could, with a description of dishes and the uncorking of fine wines. Conversation was watched and controlled, especially with two people like Sandor and Arya who held no filter to their words.

XXXXXX

" What are you going to name it? Give it a matching name to go with your other dogs?" Daario asked Sansa as he pick at the dinner placed before him.

" ...Antler, Fang, Bow, and Thorn are my other dogs. This one we have agreed to call Rat. " Sansa answered simply.

" Why am I starting to think you're darker than I've been told. " Daario stated.

" Why am I starting to think you're softer than I've been told?" Sansa asked.

" Well maybe being around you could turn me into a hard man." Daario chimed which lead Sansa to lick over the edge of her teeth.

" A letter came for you Daario. " Ser Davos hurried to say.

XXXXXX

"So why did your Queen keep you in Meereen while she and every loyal member came across the sea to Westeros, Lord Daarios?" Arya questioned before slurping her soup. Sandor gazed over and wink, he knew he could count on her to be just as sniddy as he could.

Brienne though kicked the girl under the table and gave her a silent death glare to behave herself. They needed these men to trust them. "What Lady Arya meant was what do you actually do for the Queen in Meereen? Do you rule her kingdom in her place while she travels across the seas to expand it?"

XXXXXX

" I mostly sit on a throne and listen to people's issues all day. We have a small council set up who deal with the trades and land. People who know it much better than I could ever. I try my best to fix as many issues that come to me, but some cannot be easily dealt with. " Daario explained.

" Are most of the issues slave related?" Sansa asked.

" Yes. " He pushed the letter Ser Davos haded him. Waiting till after dinner to read it. This made the table hold their breath nearly.
" What about you? What do you do in Winterfell?"

" I don't make people come to me. I walk the area daily making sure all is well." Sansa told him. "We have never had slaves there. So we probably have less issues than Meereen. "

" Name a issue. " Daario went on.

" Feeding the North all through winter. I can't tell you what has been done as of late-"

"-Because you went out on holiday instead of coming to Meereen." Daario hissed.

" Because 'our' Queen doesn't keep collars on those she sees fit to be slaves. " Sansa snapped back.

" Do not talk badly of our Queen. " Daario stated.

" I owe you no politeness. You sit at my table mocking me in every manner. Your future bride, which is what our Queen demands. " Sansa stood. " Tell me. Did you have a choice in this arrangement?"

Daario too stood up. " No. But I will wed you because OUR Queen request it. "

" Good. Everytime you look at me know you are no freer than the slaves being sold in your city the next seven years. " Sansa told him before sitting back down. Her point was made and that's all she wanted.

XXXXXX

Sandor couldn't have been prouder of his Little Bird than at that moment. She held her stance with dignity and grace but assertiveness.

Davos almost choked on his soup and immediately attempted to defuse the escalation. "What you must understand, Lord Daario is that Northern folks are deeply committed to their people. Though in error Lady Sansa detoured on her journey to you, you must be aware she was only concerned for her people's welfare."

Sandor cut him off and looked directly into Daario's eyes. "Enough pussyfooting around. She just wanted to make sure you aren't someone's little bitch. The North holds strong people; it is a fucking insult to be married to a weak shitling. Perhaps if your Queen cared to learn about our people's traditions, she would understand why Lady Sansa hesitated."

XXXXXX

Sansa had used this table talk to allow them all to see, that as far as Daario Naharis knew, his dragon queen was alive. She felt pride seeing Ser Davos and Sandor talk about the North in the manner they did. It showed that they both had been listening and understanding the area she came from.

" You're not the first man I've run from." Sansa stated simply.

" I'll try not to take it personally then. Like King Joffery. I heard he use to have his King's Guard beat you?" Daario asked as he settled and casually ate.

" Only one member. Half of his King's Guard were good men just following a crazed King. " Sansa refused to lie about such actions.

XXXXXX

The remainder of the dinner went as smoothly as possible, as each individual seemed to be on edge about the other. Polite remarks were coated with bits of jabs and then smooth over by those wishing to keep the atmosphere as calm and serene as one could hope when enemies dined together.

Davos entertained the group with stories of battles past, of history from various areas of the land and will cultural customs. Brienne chimed in with techniques of war and how judicial systems worked. Arya remained quiet occasionally asking Daario and his gang how they enjoyed the food considering that those 'delicacies' were not something eaten by said crowd.

When the diners had their share and ports and wines were brought out to replace the food, Daario seemed happy, or at least satisfied with the current outcome. He appeared to be a man who allowed many things to roll off his shoulders and possessed a carefree aura about him. It was obvious that very little if anything offended him and the more Sansa seemed resistant to his charms the more smitten he was becoming with this redhead beauty.

"I've noticed you have some beautiful coastland nearby, would you honor me with a walk, Lady Sansa?" He quickly eyed the Hound and Brienne. "Of course your guards may accompany us, I don't want them to think I may steal you away in the cloak of night." He offered a whimsical smile that gave the impression that may have been a plan or still was.

"We will both go." Stated Brienne before Sandor had a chance to even open his mouth. "But we will give you respected privacy of course." Those piercing blue eyes shifted over to the beast as he seemed unknowingly fixated on the man his wife was promised too. "Ser Clegane?" She announced, clearing her throat to get his attention.

He heard her, but didn't answer, just rose...slowly...to show these men his full height and structure. He grabbed a bottle and nodded. "We will be in sight of her the entire time." He directed himself at Daario and the man simply nodded and agreed. "Of course, I am sure we won't be bothered by you anyway."?

XXXXXX

Sansa stood on up and made her way out. Her steps lead her further back but she had a uneasy look towards Clegane as they did. It was just a faint glance as if to let her secretly tell him it was all fake.

Once out on the beach she step from her slip on shoes and lifted her dress up just enough to keep the edge of the rolling in waves off the fabric.

" That dress from earlier. You dress like that all the time?"

" No. It's too cold in the North to dress like that. " Sansa told him in a tone that hinted he knew nothing.

" It was lovely. Truly. You made it?"

Sansa simply nodded as she glanced over towards him. " Why are you asking me silly questions. State what's actually on your mind or don't talk. "

" Children? Why don't you have any? You were married before. Why no little red heads running about? "

For a moment Sansa's mind drifted from the plan. This topic hit a core point in her recent ongoing life. " I don't know."

" Are you barren?"

" No. I just...it hasn't happened. It was not meant to happen with Ramsey. "

Daario look listen to Sansa and glance towards her when she hushed. " What about the man after Ramsey?"

" It wasn't right then either. "

XXXXXX

Brienne and Sandor allowed distance between themselves and the courting couple; enough to were their sight was upon them but they couldn't hear anything being said. The night itself was lovely, with a sky filled with stars and a cool, brine breeze coming off the waves. It was a night meant for lovers.

"If you clench your teeth any further you will smash them to pieces." Brienne discreetly spoke as the pair kept step. "She is only faking it, you know this."

He groaned, not answering her, not wanting to waste energy on conversation just in case he needed to sprint across and kill the man. His eyes caught sight of a spiky rock formation up ahead and immediately envisioned bashing the man's face in with the pointy edge.

"You truly love her." Brienne continued to speak despite it being a one sided conversation. It was as if she just realized the truth to his emotions. It was enough to give her a side glance. "Cause I am incapable of feelings." He blatantly stated.

"No. No not at all..." Brienne, like Sandor, knew exactly what it felt like to be out casted by society, to yearn for acceptance yet to refuse to conform. She also knew that she was not the prettiest or daintiest woman in Westeros or beyond and that very little held her in any regard of beauty. " There is a big difference between actual love and well...not lust to say, but the illusion of love. I can tell your love for her runs deep, I didn't realize that before is all."

Meanwhile Daario allowed Sansa to have the lead, giving him the desire to drink in her beauty. "I had the pleasure of being acquainted with Lord Tyrion Lannister and Jorah Mormont. It is a shame about Ser Mormont, I had received news that he passed away during the Battle of Winterfell." That was his way of informing her that Dany maintained contact with him regularly. "He was a true companion to our Queen...one would even say he loved her." His sights gazed back at Brienne and Sandor walking behind them. "He looked upon her like your dog looks upon you." The man chuckled at the thought. "What an ugly bastard he is. Where on Earth did you pluck him out of? I assume he protects you well. What happened to his face?"

XXXXXX

" Ser Sandor Clegane was a King's Guard for Joffree. " Sansa had a stone cold face as she just look into the distance as she walk, ever so often kicking the water at her feet.

" During the Battle on the Black Bay, he turned from the crown and help me escape in hopes to join my brother who had taken the title of King of the North, but failed. He battled at the Red Wedding in hopes of saving me and my sister. He then proceeded to take me to my Aunt in the Vale. Then years later he helped me to freedom once more. He has more honor towards me than my own blood some might say. "Sansa stated as she stop and turned to look towards Daario.
" There's a difference in love and honor. I'm sorry you can't tell them apart. "

Brienne halted and held her hand up for Sandor to stop. She could see the pair talking back could not hear them.

" Prove it. " Daario simply commanded.

" Prove what?"

" That it is only honor I see from him. "

" How so?" Sansa could feel a sweat running down her back as she wait this request.

" Kiss me. Here. Right in front of him."

Sansa felt her guts twist and her body slightly tremble with rage at this request. But it had to be proven that this was 'real' at least for now. So she step up and reach out, just as she would Sandor's face she took hold of Daario leaning in and kissing his jaw with closed eyes.

XXXXXX

Brienne was the first to sense the mood was shifting and the facade was going to be blending into reality quickly. It was why she made him stop in his steps. "Look at me." She ordered, meeting the man at eye level with her own striking eyes. "Clegane listen to me now." He was shifting to look, to see what was occurring behind her, but her voice dragged his attention for a second. "What?" He wasn't as quick to catch on, but from his peripheral sight he could see his wife shifting her body to meet him, raising her hands to grasp him and finally...

Visions of a time, long ago came flashing back, when a young man once tried to seduce a young girl in the stables. Sandor lost it then, having crushed the man's hand till the bones were dust and shit filled his breeches. Daario was not a young man and therefore Sandor knew he could inflict worse tortures on the man. First he would rip those lips of his off his face and then...

Brienne's hand came swooping in to crack itself against the harden flesh of his cheek, snapping his attention back to her and forcing her to take the brunt of his anger. His eyes were that of a wild animal's -primitive and fueled by instinct, he wanted to go charging like a raging bull towards the couple.

"It isn't real." Brienne spoke through gritted teeth as her hands pressed against the Hound's muscular chest, literally digging her heels into the sand to attempt him from going forward.

Daario was different than Sandor in many ways. Where Sandor was tall and brutish, Daario was stealthy and shapley. He was the image of what one would envision when describing a handsome prince from some distant land, dashing chocolate hues set against soft, sunkissed skin and accented by a tamed mass of black hair, that had grown long enough to tie back just some. His groomed facial hair did not hide the fact that he possessed a youthful, yet mischievous visage, one that lacked a multitude of scars unlike the Hound.

His kiss was a mixture of gentleness and passion. It was obvious he was very talented in this art, and was not shy to show it. His movements were orchestrated beautifully to her own and he even dared to give her own plush lips a little nibble as they parted ways. Yes, he knew he had powers. Such powers worked on untrained virgins up to a powerful Queen, so in his world they should of had some effect upon a redheaded vixen such as she.

XXXXXX

Sansa was the one to pull away when Daario took it upon himself to turn and kiss her. Her face shifted in disgust, not in the man before her but in herself. Sansa literally felt sick from having to do this and make Sandor walk.

" You're nearly back to your housing. This is where we part. " Sansa back away.

" Thank you for proving I was slightly right. If I had been wrong you would have told me to fuck off. "

Sansa's vision blurred at how mad this man was making her. " Sleep well " she said through gritted teeth.

" I'll call on you tomorrow. " he called to her as she started back.

Sansa couldn't bring herself to look at either Brienne or Sandor. She just storm off between the pair feeling dirty, shameful, along with mad that Daario had won this one.

XXXXXX

She didn't even look at him. Nothing. Not even a glance to confirm that it meant nothing. "I will go see to her, you..." Brienne attempted to figure out quickly a task that prevented him from actually mingling with Daarios or his men. "You go and check on Gendry, he is suppose to be shoeing the horses for us." She waited till she watched him march away towards that direction.

Once inside, Brienne made her way to Sansa's chamber. After knocking and stating that it was she, did she enter. "Well that escalated rather fast." She stated having settled herself on a small, velveteen chair and sighed heavily. "I underestimated your hus...band's strength, he is strong like a bull."

XXXXXX

" He knows. " Sansa turned with bloodshot eyes. " He called me out on my ' hand' looking at me like a lover would. Then asked me to prove him wrong. What was I to do? " Sansa explained as she felt sick.

" I don't know how long I can or how long Sandor will allow this to go. " Sansa's hands then came up to run through her hair. "...I'm not trained in this. " she fully admitted.

Gendry was showing the horses and whistling. He heard Clegane enter the small barn. He turned to look back towards him. " Pretty boy go on back to his camp?"

XXXXXX

Brienne allowed her to vent for a moment before giving her opinion. "Men, like Daario, are arrogant and think they are smarter than most. He is playing with you, trying to decide the situation. I highly doubt he knows, but is simply trying to figure your weaknesses. Did he say anything about the letter? I saw that he disregarded it during dinner."

Sandor grunted at the lady's statement. "I would prefer that he walked off a cliff instead." He began to roll up his sleeves to provide the kid assistance. "Where is your woman at? Is she playing this game too?"

Gendry laughed, though there was a hint of nervousness mingled in. Arya was a master at these sort of games and could easily be sporting another face while seducing the the men in camp. "No..." His words were not without doubt. "She was with Ser Davos last time I saw her."

For the next couple of hours, Sandor put his energy into work and gave Gendry a helping hand. He wanted nothing more than to go to his wife and claim her that night, but logic outweighed lust and he didn't. Instead he made his way back, to go drown himself in the comforts of liquor than that of a woman's arms.

Chapter Text

The Play Day

 

Sansa found no sleep in her empty bed. For months now she had shared a bed with one or two people; Sandor always being one of those people. Unlike her husband, lust was not mixed into her emotions, sex was honestly the last thing on her mind when she chose to get up out of her bed and roam over to the room Clegane had been settled in.

Though their guests had settled in a guest house down the shore line Ser Davos had request the pair part in case of anyone seeing them. Sansa agreed it was a good idea, but here she was creeping through the silent house just to find comfort at sitting at the edge of a drunken Hound's bed.

XXXXXX

He did not go directly back in, but wandered about aimlessly down the coast and back up. He had half a mind to go to Daario's camp, but knew that may just cause an issue. Instead he settled for solitary walking, which he convinced himself it was to patrol the perimeter to make sure that arrogant cock didn't get any ideas of sneaking in tonight. He knew there would be no sleep for him once that thought entered his mind.

When he finally stumbled in, the last thing he expected to find was his own wife in his chamber. "What the fuck you doing here?" He grumbled as he staggered in. "If you are looking for your prince, you got the wrong room."

XXXXXX

Sansa knew he was upset, and she fully understood. She couldn't turn to face him as his rude comments came barking out towards her. " I'm in the room I want to be in. " she told him as she pushed all her orange hair off to the side, it spiraled down her shoulder fully uncovering her back. If a candle had been lit the scars from Ramsey would have been visible through the thin night gown she wore.

" I've never seen your face so disgusted at anything like it was today. "She whispered. " I didn't expect that look from you, but I also never expected to become a war placed whore. " Sansa wasn't scolding him, she understood his disgust just as much as her own shame.

XXXXXX

He didn't know what to say to bring her the comfort she so desired. Both knew too well that this game needed to continue and there was no backing down now.

He flopped himself upon his bed, grabbing her from the edge to have her lay over him. "If all whores looked like you, there will be no wars; all the men would be too busy fucking." He teased as he brushed her hair from her eyes. "You are not a whore..."His tone grew serious. "And I was not disgusted in you either, just in the situation. You shouldn't even be here doing any of this."

He inhaled deeply. "I don't know what powers you possess over me, witch, but I never felt like this before."

It was true; he was not a jealous man or a possessive one. Any woman that had ever held his interest in the slightest, he truly learned never to give a fuck if her interest, if any, waned or disappeared entirely or if another came to steal her affections. Perhaps it was because Gregor was such a threat that Sandor learned quickly not to grow attachments. He wasn't about to ponder those life questions; all he knew was that Sansa drove him to the brink of madness.

"So tell me Lady Stark, is he a good kisser? Little fucker seemed pleased with himself after it was done."

XXXXXX

Sansa felt a swell of emotion when Clegane took her in his arms. Her arms wrapped around his neck and she just held to him like a child would have. Sansa felt small right now in the big man's arms.

" If we ever are blessed with a daughter, I never want her to have to deal with arrangements like this. She will never be given to no one. No Queens or Kings will ever have say over her. " Sansa told him before lifting her head from him.

" Never" she stated seriously to Clegane. " My father once tried the same for me, telling me that he would set me up with a match worthy of me. We will see to that with our own blood one day. "

XXXXXX

He laughed. "You think she will be given up?! I am putting her in a tower and no one will dare look at her or else deal with me." He sighed as he looked down upon her. "She probably will end up running away with some savage man in the middle of the night, just like her mother did."

He began to close his eyes, enjoying the comfort of her warm body against his chilled one. It was enough to lull him into sleep, but just as he reached the state where he was able to fall, another body attacked him and a tiny tongue began licking his face. His one eye opened to peer into the dark pools of the tiny creature. "You little shit!" He growled as the tiny beast yipped at him and he barked back, making the creature whimper and tuck its tail between its legs. "What a fucking wedding present."

XXXXXX

Sansa relax there in Clegane's arms knowing before dawn she would have get up and get back into the fake world they were sewing around their lives. " My father trusted you. Several times do you recall?" Sansa asked him as a memory of the pair crept into her thoughts.

******Flash back*******

Ned Stark had arranged his daughters to be taken out into the main part of the Capital to see a performance; the only issue was the man who was to escort Sansa and Arya had fallen drunkenly sick. Ned found this to be a blessing in disguise; no man that could not hold his drink in his own belly needed to be watching over his children. So like any other busy father who had a small council meeting in less than an hour he made his way towards the only off duty King's guard he knew. Sandor Clegane.

Ned tapped on the giant's door. The hand of the King had little fear of the Hound. His brother was a different issue. Honorable men could spot out others who held a true code. Without a doubt their codes were different but he knew the Hound did not enjoy killing like his brother, but he also knew if need be the Hound could kill without hesitation.

" Its Ned Stark. " he called as he knock again.

XXXXXX

As being the prince's personal guard, the Hound was not allotted the same amount of time off as the other guards had. His time was precious and usually spent sleeping or, at times, at the whorehouse. Ned was fortunate it was the former.

"What the fuck..." He was groggy from mid sleep when he answered the door, but immediately snapped awake when noticing it was the Hand. "You need something?"

A placid smile lifted over Ned's lips as he came face to face with the man. "I was hoping you were available." He stated and continued on before being questioned further. "My daughters need an escort to the theater performance this afternoon and unfortunately I am in need of a guard since Ser Fredric is indisposed at the time and I am needed by the court till evening."

Sandor leaned against his door frame as the man spoke, knowing that he was not going to get any sleep. "So you decided that I was the best option on taking your girls out?" He tried to voice it in a way to make Ned Stark doubt himself but it obviously didn't work.

"If you are good enough to protect the prince then you are good enough to protect my daughters." He dangled a leather pouch in front of the man. "Enough here to allow them to indulge their fancies and for you to be compensated for your time. They will meet you in the court hall in about a half hour." The pouch was tossed in his hands and Ned turned on his heels to walk away leaving the Hound stuck with the obligation.

XXXXXX

Ned Stark spoke with his daughters. The youngest of course showing concern due to who would be watching over them. " Father...no. You can't be serious!" She whined.

" Arya. Hush. " Sansa hissed. " Just be happy we get to go.."

" Your sister really wants to go to this. If you don't want to then by all means don't. " Ned stated simply. " I have to go. You both have a good time and you stay with Clegane. " Ned warned the pair before heading on to his meeting.

Sansa look over to her little sister and gave a defeated expression. " Please don't ruin this. "

XXXXXX

Arya huffed and glared at Sansa. "You won't even look at him! That means I am forced to do all the talking." She crossed her arms across her chest, looking defeated. "Fine. But this stupid play better have a damn battle like you promised."

She stomped ahead of Sansa towards the court hall where they were told to wait. He was late, of course, and smelled like he just downed a bit of liquor before meeting up with them. "Well come the fuck on! Last thing I wanted was to fucking go to the fucking theater with two stupid girls." He groaned as he led the way.

Fortunately, he had forethought to secure them a carriage to take them to the city's heart, but that meant both girls were forced to gaze upon him in the cramped space. "The fuck you looking at?" He snapped at Arya who was obviously staring.

"Your face." She blatantly spoke which made the man laugh madly. "Well get a good look then!" He growled coming inches from her own.

The entertainment district was alive with music and jolly crowds of theater goers. Food vendors danced about selling thick, roasted chicken legs, sweets and pints of ale and wine, while entertainers dazzled bystanders with magical tricks, dances, poets and songs.

A few of daughters of the court assembly were to be there as well; some of them had taken to Sansa and were awaiting her presence. Apparently this district and this particular play was the popular item at the moment and her reputation was on the line.

XXXXXX

Sansa sat across closest to Sandor, their knees nearly touching in the small space. She had picked up a few strands of hay she found next to her, she then gave her focus on tying them together until making a circle. When hearing her sister's rude comments she glance up and elbowed her while slipping the straw ring around her wrist.

" Arya!" Sansa was sounding more and more like her mother each day. " Don't be rude. He didn't have to agree to take us out. Be grateful. "

" I would have been fine not coming. It's you who has been going on about this foolish horse sh-"

" Arya." Sansa again scolded before her younger sister could blurt out swears. Her blue eyes then lifted from her sister and fell on to Clegane. " Thank you Ser. For escorting us. " Sansa rarely look at the Hound, barley ever made full eye contact with him, but in this moment she was just happy to be attending the play.

" Once our brothers took us to a play, but right when things just started getting good Jon made us leave. " Arya started.

" That wasn't a play that was a strip show. " Sansa muttered.

" Well there was a story. A soldier even. " Arya countered.

XXXXXX

He snarled at the two, caring not for their little spurts of insults and tales of their childhood memories.

He pinched his eyes when coming into the district at the loud music blaring through. His head was pounding with frustration and he needed a drink. "Get out." He demanded and hopped out to escort the girls out. He assisted Sansa out first and then Arya, stopping her to give her a warning. "You pull any funny business and so help me I will send you back to your father with a red ass, missing teeth and two broken kneecaps." Arya stuck her tongue out and took her place near Sansa.

He paused a moment to look at the older one. "Same goes for you." He mumbled but the threat didn't seem so menacing when applied to her.

"Can we get some sweet cider?" Arya was that type of kid that wanted everything she saw. "Oh look vanilla powder cakes!" She pointed at the traveling baker and began to make her way over, only to be stopped by her collar. "You stay with your sister or else." He instructed as he looked around the performance arena spotting exactly what he wanted.

Meanwhile a few girls approached Sansa - Charon Ewins, a beautiful honey blonde girl, who was the daughter of Lord Harold Ewins, a minor lord from the South Coast. Elisabeth Kywill, who was of Dornish decent and had silky black hair and soft brown skin, her father was Lord Vinograd Kywill. Lastly, was the ringleader, Willowbe Renwaters, who was a curvy and voluptuous girl with chocolate tresses and deep green eyes, she was the daughter of Lord Tyrus Renwaters, a secondary house under the Lannister banner.

"You made it, Sansa!" Willowbe chimed as the other girls gathered around. She was dressed in a fashionable southern style dress of canary yellow. "Did Prince Joffery accompany you?" Sansa wouldn't have a chance to answer as the girl had already lifted her sights to the mangled beast, who was currently making his way over to the open tavern, and snickered. "I guess not...you were escorted by his dog." The other two girls laughed. Willowbe grasped her hand. "Come let us save you, you must sit with us for we have the best seats in the house, right under the King's row."

Arya protested. "I am NOT going with them." She planted her feet into the ground refusing to move. "

XXXXXX

" No Joff didn't come. He told me due to becoming a man he couldn't waste his time with silly plays. " Sansa only called the prince this name in front of her 'friends'.

" No...we really can't. " Sansa told the three. " Ser Clegane has already warned us about running off. " Sansa explained.

She then noticed the ring leader cross her arms and look the young girl over. " So you, Ned Stark's oldest daughter are going to let some Mutt tell you where you can and can't go?"

Sansa glance over to the man, and then back towards the three not even carrying what Arya was saying. " He's not the nicest. He will have a fit. " just then the bigger of the girls took Sansa by the arm and started pulling her while the others got Arya. Giggling exploded from the three.

" What afraid he might whip you!" One mocked in her southern accent while they tugged the pair off to their seats, all the while Arya whined and Sansa kept looking behind her shoulder.

XXXXXX

He probably misinterpreted Ned Stark's demands, because he was not doing a good job supervising the girls. The outdoor tavern was, in his opinion, the only good thing about this area. That and the barely nude dancers that danced to Dornish drums.

Three pints in he finally had a fleeting thought about the girls, handling the purse Ned gave him, he figured he did need to eventually feed them. He glanced over to where he last left them, assuming his threats were harsh enough to have kept them in their place, but apparently not. Immediately he jumped up just as the horn announced the start of the play, and began scanning the crowd for the pair.

"So did Joffery kiss you yet?" Questioned Charon as she squeezed between Arya and Sansa. It was a well known fact that the girl had a huge infatuation for the prince. "Wouldn't it be romantic if he kissed you right by the Cherub Waterfall where the roses bloom?" She giggled with delight at such a thought.

"Why want a boy when you can have a man." Spoke up the Dornish girl, Elisabeth. "I wouldn't mind climbing between the sheets with his uncle, Jaime." She cooed only to have Willowbe scoff at her suggestion. "Ew, why would you decline a prince for a knight? You better watch what you wish for cause you might get betrothed to a Clegane brother!"

Arya was fed up with all that going on. She was bored, tired and hungry and these girls were absolutely annoying. Just as her mind began to plot, the horn rang and the play began.

Music welcomed onto the stage an old man dressed like a Maester carrying a big book. "Ladies and Gentlemen, Lords and Ladies, young and old, gather around for a tale of love...adventure...passion...and..." His voice deepened into a sinister tone. "Death! As we watch the tale of two star crossed lovers." The audience clapped and out onto the stage a beautiful woman appeared.

XXXXXX

Sansa had held the seat next to her and Arya in case the Hound chose to join them. She blushed lightly at the teasing questions tossed her way, and shook her head at the idea that her friend thought of.

" Sansa hasn't kissed anyone yet." Willlowbe stated in a harsh tone. " Sansa hasn't even gotten her red flower. She probably still has a room full of dolls and doesn't even understand the idea of crawling in sheets with a man. " the girl went on to say which just got the other pair of girls to laugh till they nearly fell off the bench they were settled on.

During the girls laughing Sansa let her attention fade from Arya. She didn't even notice her little sister getting up and fading away. Even though Sansa's spirit had slightly fallen due to the aimed mocking her attention turned quickly once the bells rang and the play started.

She sat up straight so she could see the stage. Still having no clue that Arya was no longer next to her she elbowed literally nothing. That's when she turned to no longer see Arya. Her guts felt like they fell out into the floor. Not due over her sister's safety but due to getting not only one scolding from their father but from the Hound too.

" Oh shit..."

XXXXXX

Soon the girls hushed to silence when the play began. Of course there were some snickers and remarks, especially over the man who played the handsome knight. None of them paid mind to Arya's disappearance or Sansa's distress.

"Where the fuck is she?" She would hear his words before seeing his face as he approached from behind.

"Ssshhhhhhh" Demanded a nearby patron which resulted in the Hound rising up and shouting "SHUT YOUR ASS SMELLING CUM HOLE OF A MOUTH!" Which was enough to draw attention to almost everyone and the girls to glare at Sansa. "Tell your dog to please be quiet, some of us actually want to watch the play." Spoke Willowbe in a snide manner.

He grabbed her by the forearm and raised her to her feet, making the girls giggle and go "Oooohhhhh" realizing she is in trouble.

Sandor either didn't realize or care that the girl he held was more than likely mortified from embarrassment; the latter more likely a possibility.

He didn't wait for her protests or cries, he just dragged her from the stands while the group of girls laughed and waved 'bye' to her. Once separated her group but on the sidelines of the performance, the Hound finally faced her. "When I find that little shit, I am going to kick her right in the cunt." He exclaimed, still holding tightly on Sansa's forearm, his hand imprinting into delicate skin. " And you..." His finger pointed at her face. " You were too busy gossiping and giggling about the Prince's cock that you didn't realize she went missing!"

XXXXXX

Sansa didn't give much of a fight, what would it had mattered. When they finally stopped under the stands she took her own little hand and placed it over his to push it off. Her face the turned from him but this time it wasn't to not see him. It was so he wouldn't see her. Her eyes glossed over as the sound of his thundering voice went on in her ears over and over.

" She said she was hungry...she probably went to the food vendors. She has her own coppers saved. " Sansa told him without locking eyes.

" She'll come right back. But we need to be where she left from..." Sansa wasn't ordering this. She was simply explaining it due to fully and clearly seeing the Hound knew nothing of children.

XXXXXX

He had half a mind to go hunting her down, but he guessed Sansa would know her sister better than anyone currently there. "Fine, we will go back, but if she isn't back before the second act, we are going to look for her." He spun the girl back around and marched her back to the spot she currently was at.

Immediately their presence drew attention from her 'friends' and they gasped when the scarred beast sat right down in the middle of them all. His face was sour and crunched up as he pressed his large frame into the wooden planks of the stands.

Willowbe casted Sansa a 'wtf' glare, while Charon gazed at the man with terrifying sights and Elisabeth pushed out her developed chest and batted her thick eyelashes towards the man.

XXXXXX

Since they had left, others had settled in. The area she had been saving was less than half. So when Sansa sat down one of her legs was basically on top of the armored thigh of Clegane. She said nothing though and placed her hands in front and settled in her lap.

Her blue eyes gave no mind that she was settled on the man. Once adjusted she was fully focused on the play in front of her. The others around her giggled and whispered, but Sansa never once glance from the stage.

The play before them was about a guard who help take care of a princess and loved her from afar. The princess was played by a woman wearing a blue wing. Her skin painted with glitter and her dress a dark yellow. The guard was played by a very handsome man, he wore black and acted as though he hated the world.

XXXXXX

He had endured many forms of torture, but none equated to this. Surrounded by giggling, swooning, and love sick girls made him almost sick. Having to deal with watching romantic shit play out in front of him, made the experience a level worse. When Arya did return, nonchalantly chewing down on a huge roast chicken leg, she found that seating was limited and therefore plopped her ass right on his leg. That made him want to explode.

He should have flung her off but that would have created a domino effect of crashing victims. He was stuck, and the delicious smell of chicken tantalized him even more.

"When is the fighting scene?" Arya asked in a tone way above a whisper and was greeted by various shushing noises.

"Not till act two, scene four." The Hound mumbled making the girl almost choke on a piece of meat. "You...you've seen this before?!" Arya was flabbergasted at such news. The Hound just stared straight on with his jaw ticking from the rage building up.

"Had to chaperone the Prince here five times to see it." He offered having no idea that Sansa told her friends a different story.

XXXXXX

Sansa was in her own world watching this play. But as the Hound and her sister kept on talking her hand drifted over and placed just the edges of her fingers over his mouth. If she was being honest she forgot who she was with. It was common for the girls to be around men, they were raised with four brothers and an older ward. But as she snapped out of her state of mind she quickly pulled her hand back. Turning to see Arya.

" Oh there you are." Sansa stated unamused.

Arya nodded then finished her chicken leg and dropped it on to the ground for the time being. It was like the younger Stark could sense the Hound's boredom. It was the only time she seemed slightly okay with the man around. Her head hung back, leaning against his shoulder.

XXXXXX

"Get the fuck..." He swatted at Arya's head, refusing to allow the girl comfort.

"Piss off!" The girl whispered in annoyance and huffed for a moment, allowing her attention to fall upon the actors. "Who is he?" She pointed to a new character on stage.

"Prince Valiant, he steals the girl and locks her away in a cage hidden in the catacombs of the castle." He just spoiled the next few acts and got some serious pissed off glances from the girls.

While he was distracted, Arya slipped her hand down to grasp the money pouch that her father has given to the Hound. It was full and she knew some that coin belonged to her and her sister. By the time he turned his head again, the girl was gone and so was his money.

"That fucking bitch!" He shouted by his voice was drowned out by waves of cheers from the crowd.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we will now break for a short intermission and prepare for Act two."

Immediately he yanked Sansa up to curse her out for her sister's antics. ""She left again and this time stole my coin!" His scolding was pushed aside as the three girls surrounded them. "Wasn't that absolutely thrilling!" "Oh that man is so beautiful!" "It would be more enjoyable if the Prince was here!" It was like a house of clucking hens!

XXXXXX

" Sansa why don't you make the dog leave you here. " one of the girls stated.

"I'll hold your hand if you get scarred. " another one said as the others laugh. " Just till you grow up." Yet another jab at her being a late bloomer. Sansa's face fell some.

" The other day when we were getting ready she asked to wear one of my dresses. She put it on and the thing nearly fell off. " the busty girl stated as she placed her hands on the sides of her ribs to imply where the dress fell.

Sansa's friends were real mocking bitches, or at least that's what Arya called them.

Instead of saying anything Sansa just step around the three girls pulling Sandor with her to find Arya.

XXXXXX

He had no time to react to those little cunts before she had pulled him out of the crowd. It was odd that she even touched him; therefore he concluded that their presence made her more uncomfortable than his own.

It seemed that the area was becoming rather crowded as more patrons traversed through. He knew spotting that girl was going to be absolute chaos and he had no idea where to even begin.

"You shouldn't allow those cow faced whores to speak to you that way." He offered as they began walking. "Stupid cunts are just jealous of you because you are promised to the Prince. That blonde one basically will lick his asshole if he commanded her too. That Dornish cunt's cunt smells like rotted fish, I know because the servants fight over who has to wash her clothes each morning and that fat little piglet in the yellow still wets her bed and is scared of the dark that she sleeps with her nursemaid."

XXXXXX

Sansa turned on the spot and made full eye contact with Sandor. " In what world is it okay to talk to ladies like that? You have said some of the dirtiest things today. That may be okay in front of Joffery and the King, but it is not okay in front me. " Sansa told him, she kept a hushed tone and refused to make a scene.

" But you are right. They're awful. But they're not my real friends. My real friends are home in Winterfell and they haven't written me in weeks so can you just drop it on telling me how awful the fake ones I have here are!?"

XXXXXX

"You need to grow thicker skin, girl. You think everyone will use sweet words around you?" He chuckled at her innocence. " You are in for a rude awakening, girl."

As he spoke, a mime began to follow the pair, mocking the giant as he stomped about looking for the Stark girl. The silent, yet colorful entertainer puffed out his chest and crinkled his face just like the monster was doing and became his shadow. A small crowd begin to laugh as he walked through, making him turn around in time to catch the entertainer acting like him. One swift swing of his fist and the mime collapsed at Sansa's feet with his nose smashed into his face. "Are you going to fucking stand there or are you going to help me find your sister?"

XXXXXX

Out of nowhere as if she had been summoned Arya appeared next to Sansa who was now staring at the man Clegane had just knock down. Arya look down at the man and then laugh before looking up at the Hound. " That was the best thing I've seen all day. " she told him before lifting one of the cups she held in her small hands. " Here I got you an ale. " Arya told him before hiccupping. She also held an empty cup.

" You didn't do it again...father is going to kill us. " Sansa covered her face.

Arya had drunk a whole stein of ale by herself. She was drunk; the little thing barely weighed as much as a sack of potatoes and drank a whole stein.

" Arya! You lied to get those!" Sansa pulled her hands from her eyes.

" I told them that if I didn't take the Hound two pain would come. Cause hes a biggen'." Arya look at the man with a smashed nose and started laughing in a drunken manner. " There's the pain. "

XXXXXX

When Arya came back stumbling drunk, the Hound couldn't help but find it hilarious. "So she is a bit tipsy, there are babes still at their mother's tits that drink more than that." He spoke to Sansa, finding nothing wrong the girl's state. He did however push her to the ground to grab the coin purse, pissed that she helped herself to his loot.

"Heeeyyy" She moaned sitting on the ground. "That...wasn't -hiccup- very noble of you -hiccup-" Arya laughed at herself sitting on the ground

The horn rang again, stating that intermission was about to end. " Well come on, girl..." He looked to Sansa. "
Help me get her back to your seats and you keep an eye on her." He hoisted the girl up and placed her to lean over Sansa's shoulder.

XXXXXX

Sansa didn't even try to drag her now cloud watching sister over to where they once sat. She settled down in the first empty seats they came to. Arya refused to sit in her own seat so she literally was cradling her young sister who seemed to be falling asleep. If Sansa was honest she was happy Arya had hushed and passed out, even with the fact she was holding her.
In the second act, the princess with blue hair was now being played by a grown woman. She too wore a bright blue wig with glitter around her eyes. Her outfit showed more skin, and when around the guard it quickly showed more of an attraction.

" Why would she leave the prince for her guardian. He has helped raise her...' Sansa was so puzzled now.

XXXXXX

Once Sansa settled in with Arya, Sandor left them once more to secure himself a chicken leg and his own tankard; if he was to endure this shit show any further he was going to have a satisfied stomach.

He returned just as Sansa openly questioned the scene. His lip curled up as he looked upon the actors. "The prince is a fucking cocksucker, despite being depicted as the dashing hero and the guard, though brutish and dark, truly loves the princess. That is why he sacrifices himself at the end when the prince kills her. The guard can't live without her." He just spoiled the entire play in that single statement, but he didn't care, his chicken was amazing.

XXXXXX

Sansa just let out a huffing breathe, " Let's just go home..." She stated simply defeated. When she stood up, she picked Arya up like a pet dog, just dragging her toes on the ground while she remained asleep. They were sitting fairly close to the stage during this act. Sansa saw more stage than act in the pit, nothing like their great seats earlier that look down on the stage.

XXXXXX

Her disappointment struck a cord with the man and try as he must he couldn't shake it. "Nah, give me the girl." He removed Arya from her hands. "Stay here." He commanded and left with the passed out child.

Minutes later he returned and grasped her arm. "Now you." He didn't give her time to protest, but marched her up to the King's Row, which was private seating for the royal family and honored guests. He pushed her down upon the plush velvet of the seat. " You are betrothed to the Prince, you have more right than anyone to be in these seats." He sat himself down and sulked back.

The view was spectacular from her new position. "Here." Upon the nearby table he placed a creme cake for her. "Figure you may be famished."

XXXXXX

" No you probably hid something nasty in it. " Sansa stated in her commonly used tone as she watch the play work out, each thing he told her happening before her eyes. She crossed her arms loosely.

"Her father died. And this guard raised her and she later beds him...that's so gross. The prince's younger uncle is the one she should have ran away with..." Sansa was mostly speaking to herself. Some might find it eye opening that she didn't ship the princess and prince together. Maybe it was just in this play.

Sansa look directly over towards Sandor. " It would be like you bedding Marcella. This man is too old." Sansa then pick up the cake, but she wouldn't eat it till ripping it in two and checking the cake over.

XXXXXX

He allowed her to grip; he just sat back and closed his eyes half listening to her. "It is what it is. Joffery said the same thing; you two are such a perfect match." That was obvious sarcasm on his part, but he wasn't sure if she would catch it. He tucked his arms against him and lowered his head. "You are turning up your nose at the old, but what of the young. I can't imagine marrying the likes of stupid girls such as you. Giggling at every cursed word and blushing at the slightest touch. Nah, give me a real woman who knows what she wants. You silly girls turn into the most nagging wives."

When the play concluded Sandor rose to stretch. "I fucking hate the theater." He moaned as he cracked his back and neck. "You ready, girl? Need to go get your sister, that is if she didn't run off from where I left her."

XXXXXX

" All women who know what they want started out as giggling little girls. You're just really bad with little girls; maybe that's why the gods never sent you a wife. You would just constantly remind her how stupid you think she is. " Sansa told Clegane a bit more boldly as she stood at the railing to watch the actors bow.

" You don't just hate the theater, you just hate everything." She the added before leaning off the railing and looking his way. " Where did you leave her?"

XXXXXX

"I don't have a wife because they are nothing but trouble. Why should I chain myself for life to a nagging, bitchy, cunt bleeding woman? If I ever do, it is because I was immensely drunk beyond recognition or forced."

When she questioned where Arya was he simply shrugged, acting like he had no clue where she possibly may be. He just shuffled past her to begin leaving.

When she finally would meet up with him, he would march her through the streets of the theater district which bled into some of the oldest parts of King's Landing. Ned had taken the girls for a ride through there once and pointed out the beautiful sandstone and marble columns that he claimed were there hundreds of years before the rest of the capital.

Sandor wove through the streets like a pro, being King's Guard it was his duty to know the entire city. "So what are you going to do about those cunt friends of yours...or not friends...or whatever the fuck they are to you? You need to stand up to them at some point." That must have been bothering him for him to bring it up. "You can't be pushed over like that; you need to grow a backbone sometime." If only he knew how thick of a backbone she would have someday.

XXXXXX

" What would you like me to do to them? Hit them? Cause a scene? Maybe push one as she pokes the fire in her chamber? They're just little bratty girls who are jealous over nothing. " Sansa didn't notice herself right then but she had just called Joffery, the golden prince, nothing. Now truly some days she thought the sun shined out the young man's ass, and she spoke about their future with golden babies, but most days she didn't spend this much time with the Hound, he was literally sucking the joy from her life.

" Girls don't just fight and hurt each other like boys. "

XXXXXX

"They should, it will make them stronger and less reliant on others." They came to a dingy alleyway that was now leading into Flea Bottom. Where they stood, sun beamed down upon them and the air carried scents from the sea; looking down that alley, all light was suck out, leaving a dusky darkness and the smell of mildew and dampness that resembled the dungeons. "Keep up girl." He paused, noticing she was not at his heels.

Each row of buildings was bleak and in need of repair, the sounds of babies crying echoed over the lone barking of some stray dogs and as they walked an actual brawl broke out near them as two drunks began fighting over a street prostitute. This hell hole was definitely not a place for children, let alone children of the court.

He paused at a rotten door and knocked, having paid no attention to the details going on around him. A few minutes later a dirty, middle-aged woman opened up, and stole a moment to look at the pair. "Bring me another did ya?" Her voice cracked at a high pitch peak and she stared at Sansa as though she were a prize cow. "Ya best got enough coin."

XXXXXX

Sansa ran on up to the Hound when he called. Her eyes looking from left to right as they made their way through the alley. When she noticed the men fighting there in the street she quickly ran up closer, again forgetting who she was with. Her small slim hand took hold of two of his large fingers as she stepped up against him.

Having no idea why they were here or what he planned on doing she just kept quiet and stayed practically glued to his side.

XXXXXX

He swatted her hand away, before acknowledging the woman. "You're like a fly on shit, girl! Back off."

The woman chuckled. "Ahh don't go pickin' on the lass, she probably never walked on a street that wasn't made in gold before." The woman opened the door to welcome them in.

Just like the streets, the place was dingy and dark for the exception of a small, dying flame in the hearth heating up a cauldron. Though cramped, the place was clean and there was a vapor of smoke carrying herbal scents hovering about like a witch's mist. Dried herbs and other plants hung from strings from the rafters and shelves held hundreds of vials of unknown concoctions along the walls.

It was a description of a witch's hut, just like her fairytales described, right down to the knobby broom leaning by the door's frame. "Where is she?" He asked and the woman cocked her head towards another room covered over in curtains.

"Well aren't ya a pretty lil' thing." The woman lifted Sansa's chin to view her profile in the soft fire's light. "Name is Meggie." She gave a quick introduction as Sandor vanished behind the curtain and she spun around to dig through a collection of small boxes upon a cabinet. "I see ya got yerself in a bit of trouble with the wee one." She spoke as she dug through her things, leaving Sansa to stand and wait.

XXXXXX

In the back room was where Arya was laid out on a bed, she wasn't alone though. This house was home to two women, one being that of the one that greeted the pair and the other being her daughter. Her daughter went by the name Bells. She was a bit younger than Clegane though time had not been easy on her. Her face was ghostly white, her hair as black as night. She would have been a charming beauty if not for the scar that cut across her face and down her eye. It was a deep scar that left the torn flesh a dark purple. The actual eye had glossed over from the damage and she could no longer see through it.

All of Flea Bottom knew how Bells had gotten this scar placed. She fell in love with a man and they were to be married. He was no royal or lord but he made a proper wage. But due to her natural blessed looks Bells had many wanting her. One wanted her so badly that lust drove him to attack Bells and hack her face up. This of course changed the mind of the man she loved; he was worried of his own life so he broke their engagement.

Now a days Bells worked for Littlefinger in the gentleman's tavern he had set up. She's rather good and often dresses like a pirate to cover her white glossed over eye, but today she was home, settled next to Arya with a paint brush in hand painting stars on the sleeping child's face. Her scar was turned from Sandor as he walked inside her room.

Her face never lifted but she could sense him there. " She sleeps like a rock..." her voice low, it was always low. Her bedroom smelled like perfume to help mask over where their house was located. Bells had layed with Clegane several times, even if he didn't recall it all. She found amusement that he brought the ward he was watching to her door.

XXXXXX

Old Meggie was indeed a witch...well perhaps not, but she was a damn good healer. She knew the right concoctions to cure or sometimes to cause just about anything, but her main specialty, especially amongst the young folk, was curing drunkenness.

As Sansa and Sandor bantered back and forth at the theater, poor Arya was trapped in Meggie's house and being forced to drink a horrible, thick liquid that resembled the sludge that collected on Flea Bottom's streets. For the next half hour the girl was violently ill, but soon passed out peacefully in Bells' bed. And there she rested now, contentedly as the odd woman painted stars upon her skin.

Sandor nodded as the woman spoke. "Her father would have my head on a spike if I brought her home like that." It was amusing how Sandor had concern for Ned's anger and didn't want to disappoint.

He came over to where the girl rested, his arms crossed over his chest as he watched the woman adorn her.

He had always seemed rather comfortable around the woman. Both understood what it felt to walk the Earth with visual imperfections and formed a bond between them. He didn't love her, that he knew, but respected her, even liked her a bit and the bat-shit crazy woman that was her mother.

Meggie had found what she wanted and turned around to approach Sansa once more. "Just look at that fiery mane of yours!" She cooed as she lifted up a hefty strand to admire it. "You have been kissed by fire...but yours was a sweet kiss while his was rough." She was of course speaking of Clegane. She opened up the girl's hand and placed a velvet pouch in it. "Fer yer sister when she wakes. Ginger drops to ease the nausea. She will need them fer the ride home."

XXXXXX

Bells finished the set of stars on the Stark girl before her face lifted to meet the Hound. Just like the man before her, there was no love laced in her for this man, or any she had created 'friendships' with. It was simple and she trusted fully that he was one of the few that never thought other than that, so she was a bit friendlier towards the man due to this understatement.

"I just find it amusing, a son of a bitch like you watching two little girls. " Bells admitted, even when cursing her voice was so soft and well spoke. A smile formed which wrinkled up her scar at the edge of her eye.
" At least the oldest one likes you enough to listen." She added before standing. Bells wore a dark blue nearly black dress. It was loose and thin, it was too hot with all this stone around them to wear anything thicker and not pass out from the heat.

" Mother has a pot of chicken soup on the fire. If you and the other one are hungry you can eat and wait till the little one wakes. Up to you." Bells told him as she turn to look back at Arya.

Another part to Bells past was that her attacker had harmed her in ways to prevent her from ever baring children. It was a real treat for the woman even just for a small while.

Sansa who was in the living room with the older lady look at the items handed off to her. She was slightly afraid to take the box, her eyes constantly glance towards where Sandor had went. Her palms slightly sweaty due to being nervous but finally she took the box.

" My sister is in there? Is she still asleep?" Sansa asked simply as she finally pulled her blue eyes from the door. "Father is going to kill us both once he finds out she has been drinking ale. We're only allowed a sip or two of wine at dinner. But she drank a whole pint. "Sanda explained which only lead Meggie to laugh and shake her hand.

" I know dear. I've watched her cough it up all evening. "

XXXXXX

Sandor placed his hand on Bells shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. "You're a good woman, Bells." He proclaimed before making his way back to the kitchen area.

"Now..." Meggie turned from Sansa and began hunting again. "What can old Meggie do for you pretty girl?"

"Give her thicker skin and a voice to speak up." His voice boomed in the quiet of the hut as he stepped from the curtain and to where Sansa stood.

Meggie laughed as she looked over at the man. "Go on, bowls and spoons are where they are. Help yourself." She offered seeing Sandor had found the soup. "So why does this fiery maiden need thicker skin and a voice. She is kissed with fire, just like you, she should be a force to be reckon with."

"Some royal pig-faced cunts are teasing her. Told her to teach them a lesson but she won't." He spoke up as he ladled two spoonfuls of soup into a bowl and placed it down closer to where Sansa stood. "You going to eat standing up, girl?" He questioned her before getting himself a bowl.

Meggie walked back over to the girl and once again lifted her chin. "Like I said before, you were kissed sweetly; perhaps that fire hasn't yet blossomed in you as it did in him."

Sandor scoffed as he began shoveling thick spoonfuls into his mouth.

XXXXXX

The wording the woman used made Sansa's nose curl up slightly. Sansa followed lead and noticed Sandor just sit in a random chair so she did too. The main kitchen table was covered in herbs and all sorts of witch appearing items so the young girl chose a chair against the wall.

" Mother could always put a spell on them for you. " When Bells stepped out she wore one of her trade mark eye patches. The one she chose for the evening was a black one with a blue crescent moon painted on it.

Witches and pirates, where the bloody hell had he taken her, Sansa thought this to herself. "

" Maybe I should do you a reading? Make the future seem slightly less scary?" Bells asked her as she trotted over to sit next to Sansa.

" A reading?" Sansa questioned.

" Yes. With cards! Would you like? " she asked the child.

Sansa smirked in a nervous manner. " My father doesn't like us to play with stuff like that. He says it makes the gods mad. "

" Ned Stark ain't here. Ozgarth here sure is not your father!" Bells used a nickname other than his commonly used one for Sandor. Less lead her and her mother to laugh. " Come here. Sit at the table with me. " Bells dropped on a chair at the table. " Go around. "

Sansa placed her bowl of soup down and walked around to sit right across from Bells next to Sandor.

" Who is Ozgarth?" Sansa asked and look up at Sandor.

" Your too young to meet him." Bells stated as she pick up a pile of cards.

 

XXXXXX

Sandor paid the women very little attention as he gobbled down his food. His thick brow rising only in acknowledgment to the name; a name bestowed by no other than Bells when they first met.

Meggie danced around the group, like a fluttering butterfly, but not as graceful since she had a limp to her step. "The cards! The cards! Where did they run off too?!" She chimed as she scurried about.

At last she brought over a small, carved box with a golden lock on it and placed it on the table for Sansa to admire. "There is payment of course." The old hag remarked and Sandor pulled out the pouch of gold. "No you overgrown oaf!" She hissed as he handed her two coins, but still plucked them from his hands. "For the wee one." Her eyes went back to Sansa. " A piece of fire would be the payment." Her hand reached out and stroked another strand of hair. "Just a tiny bit."

XXXXXX

" A piece of my hair? What!?" Sansa asked as she lean her head back and look at the woman like she was crazy.

" Yes. Just a strand. " Meggie tossed down a pair of scissors.

" Come on. It will be worth it. Might find out how many babies you and the Prince are going to have. " Bells whispered.

This idea made Sansa nervous but she pick up the scissors with a shaken hand and cut a strand from underneath her mane.

Meggie wasted no time and pulled the strand the young girl. " Thank you." She stated in a cocky over all two sweet manner.

XXXXXX

"Payment has been made" Bells chimed in. "Now open the box and shuffle the cards." Her hand gestured over to the wooden case whose golden lock was now unlatched before Sansa's sight.

Sandor rose, having finished his soup and going in for another go. "You shouldn't be filling her head with anymore hogwash." He mumbled when they referenced her and Joffery. " That is all these stupid girls think about are babies and Prince's cocks." Despite being a tiny woman, Meggie did not hesitate to whack the man on the side of his head with the wooden spoon she now possessed. Most would never dare attack a beast such as he, but the old woman had no fear. "How dare ya use such foul language in front of the girl. Were ya raised in the pig pin?!"

Sandor rubbed the welt now forming as he placed his soup down. "Ya best be apologizing ta her, or else I will whack ya again and not on the head this time."

Begrudgingly he grumbled. "Sorry." Before lowering his head to his food.

The wooden spoon was shot out to the girl. "My girl has the gift, her words speak truth."

XXXXXX

Sansa did just as Bells told her to, shuffling through the cards just as she had seen men in passing inns and taverns during the long rude from Winterfell. Once she felt they were shuffled enough she handed them over to Bells.

Bells instructed the young girl to pull three cards from the deck. Sansa took her time and place the cards face down in a line. All she could think about was her father finding out about this. He would call it playing with 'black magic' and claim it to be disrespectful to the gods they followed.

Bells then turn up the first card, and once it was placed down the symbol standing for thirteen was read clearly. Bones and death were painted on the card. The air grew slightly heavy as the woman look about the card.

" Someone you love is going to die soon. Someone you are very close to. It will change the life you as of now know. " Bells told her.

XXXXXX

Attempting to be preoccupied with his food, Sandor did raise his sight momentarily when the one-eyed Bells spoke of an impending death. He wanted to interject to state that death had many meanings and that every living thing dies at some point, just to ease the girl's mind. He instead chose silence, all for the exception of slurping his food.

The next card placed out had a golden border with an image of a lion being held down by a lovely maiden adorned in armor. Bells' slender finger tapped upon the card. "Strength. From death you will gain your strength, but you will not see yourself as such, but others will and will attempt to hinder you through means of fear and intimidation. In the darkest moment you will find it and your voice will shout its power"

XXXXXX

Sansa listened closely, her elbow on the table with her cheek in hand as she watched Bells turn each card. She didn't like the idea of gaining any sort of power or strength if it meant someone she cared for had to die. But if Sansa was honest she wasn't sure how much faith she put in these cards.
When the last card was flipped it showed a picture of a golden heart with eight swords plunged into the heart. Bells hand shook lightly as she saw this card and then pulled her eyes to look across at Sansa. " A caged 'Little Bird' you will be. "

Sansa felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up, that was the same pet name Sandor had given her. Then there was the pet name the queen placed on her, Little Dove. Bells knew neither of these pet names but called Sansa it as if she had known no other title to call her.

It was spooky and made Sansa sit back some, her hands placed in her lap. " Did you paint all those cards?"

" Yes I did. " Bells answered.

" Then they could really just mean whatever you want them to. Couldn't they?" Sansa stated.

Bells broke into a saddened smile. " That's not how it works my dear. "

XXXXXX

"I do not create your future, love, I am only a reader of it." Bells spoke as she collected the cards together and then displayed them all face up for Sansa to view before collecting them once more and handing her the deck. "Go ahead, shuffle and pick three, any way you desire."

When three were displayed, Bells flipped each one over showing Sansa the same three cards as before. "This is what the spirits want you to know." Even if she did it multiple times it would be the same three cards.

Meggie came over to the trio, Sandor now fixated on the reading once he heard Little Bird in the mix, and placed a linen cloth pouch to Sansa. "For you my dear. Have yer cook mix it in cakes and send them ta yer friends. They be messin' their undergarments fer days." She cackled before looking up to see Arya staggering through.

"Where am I?" The girl questioned as she was still a bit disoriented.

XXXXXX

Sansa was not interested in hurting the girls that gave her a hard time. She refused the bag and stood to go to her sister, but all she could think about was the cards. It had to be a trick she told herself over and over. " We're...at a place that the Hound knows. " Sansa then noticed the face paint on her sister. " You're just worn out. " she assured her.

Bells placed her index on the center card, the one with the lion. She slowly spun it in a circle before picking them all up and placing them back in the golden box and letting her face turn up towards Sandor.

" You'll need to watch her...closely. " Bells told him in a whisper that only would linger between the pair before standing on up and picking the empty bowls up around and taking them to the wash tub.

" Can we go home." Arya came over and asked Sandor. " I've had some strange dreams. "

XXXXXX

He nodded and stood up. "Don't forget to give her sister her sweets for the ride home." Meggie said as she pointed to the original pouch she had previously given her. "She will be feeling right as rain within the hour."

Sandor pulled out another two coins and placed them in Bells hand. "What is this?" She questioned. "The reading was already paid for."

"That is for later." He spoke, and Bells smiled. "Well in that case I shall freshen up."

The two women walked the little gang out, saying their goodbyes and safe travels. However Bells grasped Sansa's arm as the other two walked ahead. "Take care of him." She whispered cocking her head towards the walking man.

XXXXXX

Sansa look directly into the one dark eye looking back towards her. Her face falling some as she heard the serious statement, but she couldn't think of anything to say so she just nodded.

Once they were back in the wagon Arya settled down with her head in Sansa's lap. She was eating the medicine given to her by the witch. Sansa was quite, more so than normal.

" Will you sing that song that Theon use to sing to Roslen? " Arya asked.

Sansa had been starring out the back of the wagon with heavy thoughts. That was until Arya started on about some song.

" I'm not singing to you right now. No one wants to hear some Greyjoy song. " Sansa stated.

" No I do. And The Hound doesn't care. He'll probably find it better than listening to you and those fools you run around with. Sing it. Please. It's been on my mind but I don't all the way know it. " Arya whined before picking Sansa's hand up to place in her hair as if giving hint to play with it. " If you don't I tell father something. "

" What will you tell him?" Sansa asked.

" That you have been skipping your lady classes for two weeks. "

Sansa gave an aggravated yet defeated look down. " Fine. But there is no real love in this song right now."

" Liar. Now get on with it. " Arya laughed.

"I stood alone, upon the platform in vain
The shore folk they were playing me salsa in the rain
With open doors and manual locks

I headed west, I was a man on the move
The islands had lied to me, I needed the truth
Oh, I need somebody, needed someone I could trust
I don't gamble, but if I did I would bet on us

Like the dead sea
You told me I was like the dead sea
You'll never sink when you are with me
You'll never sink when you are with me
Oh, lord, like the dead sea
The finest words you ever said to me
Honey can't you see,
I was born to be, be your dead sea

You told me you were good at running away
Domestic life, it never suited you like a saddle bag
You left with just the clothes on your back
You took the rest when you took the map

Yes, there are times we live for somebody else
Your father died and you decided to live
It for yourself you felt, you just felt it was time
And I'm glad, cause you with cats, that's just not right

Like the dead sea
You told me I was like the dead sea
You'll never sink when you are with me
Oh, lord, I'm your dead sea

I'm like the dead sea
The nicest words you ever said to me
Honey can't you see
I was born to be, be your dead sea

I've been down, I've been defeated
You're the message, I will heed it.
Would you stay,
Would you stay the night?

Dead sea,
You told me I was like the dead sea
I never sink when you are with me
Oh, lord, I'm your dead sea

I'm like the dead sea
The nicest words you ever said to me
Honey can't you see
I was born to be, be your dead sea..."

XXXXXX

Her voice was like a siren luring the sailors with their heavenly voice. He placed his head against the carriage and just allowed the song to lull him away.

He didn't remember arriving back to the palace so quickly and assumed he had fallen asleep. It was dusk by the time they reached the gates and Ned Stark was waiting to welcome them home.

Arya was the first to step out and collapsed into a tired fall into her father's arm, greeting him with a huge yawn.

"You must have worn her out, Clegane. This kid is usually a bundle of energy." Ned chuckled as he watched his oldest child step out of the carriage. "And you, Sansa, did you enjoy the play?"

XXXXXX

Sansa step on out but before she did she turned and look at Clegane. " Thank you for taking us Ser. " she told him before starting on towards her father.

" Yea we had a rather good day. " Sansa admitted when her father asked. She stop and held her breathe, listening to see if the Hound spoke up about the issues he had had with Arya.

Ned looked at his youngest before picking her up. " What is that on your face? Stars?" He placed her on his hips. If there was one thing that could be said about Ned Stark it was he loved his children. None had ever seen King Robert pick his own daughter up like this or touch any of their faces of his. But Ned stood here in front of warriors asking his daughter about the face paint she wore.

His eyes then lifted to meet Sandor. " Thank you Clegane. They both seem pleased and wore out. "

XXXXXX

"Mhmm" He mumbled as he stepped out of the carriage. He did his duty and as long as the girls kept their mouth shut Ned would be none the wiser.

"I am going to put this one to bed." Ned claimed before wishing the pair a good evening and heading off to the castle. Before parting ways, Clegane did have a few words for Sansa. "Don't pay Bells any mind, your future is what you make it, so don't go worrying yourself, okay?" He seemed awkward and unsure of how the girl would react; therefore he simply nodded and made his way back to the barracks.

A few days later, a tray of three, delicious, sweet cakes was sent to Willowbe, Charon and Elisabeth during the ladies' needlepoint lesson along with a note.

To the three beautiful ladies,

It was an honor and privilege to see you at the theater. Allow these cakes to be a reminder of how sweet you truly are.

Yours truly,

Ser Ozgarth

The gift and the specialize note made the girls prance about like proud peacocks. Neither could vividly remember the man behind the name, but each spoke about how handsome and wonderful a man he was. "Oh don't you remember, he was the one with those beautiful pale green eyes!" Elisabeth said. "No, he was the one that kept staring at us near the dancers." Charon protested. Though Willowbe only seemed to care about being personally selected.

Over to Sansa she strutted carrying the plump cake that was powder with sugar and stuffed with hazelnut crème. "Tis a shame you didn't receive a cake. I would share, but I wouldn't want to take away from the kindness of Ser Ozgarth. Unfortunately he must not have taken notice of you." She then bit deeply into the cake, chewed and swallowed in front of Sansa's eyes.

XXXXXX

Sansa just sat there with her eyes wide before a larger than life smile spread across her face. Her eyes then drop down to the cross stitch she was working on. Later that day she heard about the awful fit the girls' bodies gave them. She heard that Willowbe didn't make it to her chamber pot and Tywin Lannister was the one who discovered her on top of a flower pot.

Later that day, Sansa found herself walking through the halls when she saw Sandor walking in the opposite direction. She slowed down so they could face each other longer. She simply smirked though and looked away. " Have you been mean today?"

XXXXXX

His face was stone cold when the girl questioned his behavior. "I have no idea what you are rattling on about, girl."

Before any further conversation could continue, one of the girl's handmaidens came rushing through. "Lady Sansa!" She cried as she had her skirts hiked up as she ran. "My lady, we need your assistance. You are the only girl who didn't catch that awful sickness and we can use your help." The look in the young girl's eyes was pitiful and told a tale of desperation.

"You heard her, girl, go help." His voice was harsh but if Sansa looked she would catch the wink he gave her. She might not be one to go the low road, but he had no shame in doing so.

XXXXXX

Author's Note

(( Dead Sea by the Lumineers))

(( I hope everyone is enjoying this story so far. Due to this being an ongoing RP between myself and the other author, I am behind on editing many chapters and posting them. I will probably be posting multiple chapters in order to catch up to where we are right now, which is around 40 chapters and still going. Also, I would like to note that there are some inconsistencies and obvious changes to the original GOT plots as this is an AU. We keep some things, add new things, throw out shit we don't want and keep what we do. The other author and myself plan very little in how we plot, and truly just fly by the seat of our pants as each one plays off the other. I think that is what keeps us writing so much is that we aren't planning something down to the tiniest detail, we just go with the flow and see where it takes us. So if some things don't make sense or there is some confusion, please forgive us. Anyway, thank you again for your kind words, criticisms, following, likes and views! ))

Chapter Text

The Onion Knight

As Sansa laid in bed with Clegane's arms wrapped around her she found amusement in how things had changed so much between the pair. This memory sparked something inside her and lead her to have quick motions. Her body pulled from his grasp and she rolled over on top of him with her legs and frame between his. Sansa had her full weight pressed to Clegane, if one was in the mood her actions would feel slightly arousing.

" What if we made Daario think we killed his men?" She asked him with fire in her eyes. There's a chance this letter situation is not going to work. If that be the case knocking his men out in to some sort of sleep might be our key. Then we take him to the ship. Lock him in one of the storage cells. " Sansa explained.

XXXXXX

She jostle him from his sleep when she climbed over him with her declaration. Automatically his hands rose to fall upon her ribcage, naturally adjusting her so that he could enjoy her just a bit more. "Or we can actually kill them and him."

His hand massaged under her breast as he fantasized about slaughtering the entire lot of them. "But I suppose your idea might work as well." He gave her a warm smile. "If it wasn't for helping your brother escape the noose or the executioner's blade, I wouldn't mind tossing the entire lot to the sharks, piece by piece."

He stole a moment to simply admire her. "What got you all full of energy?"

XXXXXX

" I was thinking about the way we're going about this is all. We're playing it safe. We should be playing it smart. " she declared before her shifting on up some, lingering just above his face. " These people were eating at our table. And what did we do? We feed them. What we should have done was knocking them all out, and then disarming Daario and leaving before dawn. Then we don't need to fake anymore. " she told him as her nose rubbed against his.

" It's dirty but if done right it would work. "

XXXXXX

Sandor was not generally one to be surprised. "I fear that I have been a bad influence on you." He teased, embracing this 'new' woman. There were no complaints on his end, as he preferred to fight over playing mind games.

"Wake your sister." He informed her. "She would be able to secure us what we need. "All we need is Daario, the others we can either throw off the cliffs or simply put them on another ship going in the opposite direction." He would prefer to end them, but knew some in their group weren't keen on offing people if there were an alternative action to take. Daario had brought only ten men with him, which was nothing compared to what they had to face in previous battles.

Relief washed over him just then knowing that he wouldn't have to witness anymore games of affection and for him to play 'nice'. "I am going to go speak to our captain and make sure we have a proper cage and chains to transport him in." He spoke as he sat up and began collecting his boots. It was then he came to a realization.

"Sansa..." He paused with boot in hand, his back facing her. "When we get back home..." He turned slightly so that she was able to view just the scarred flesh side of his face. "I want to marry your properly. You deserve a true wedding and for it to be recognized by the North as a legitimate union." She knew his stance on traditions and marriage, for he even compared weddings to funerals at one point and has always turned his nose up to the traditional ways.

XXXXXX

" I had a true wedding once, to an awful man. I'd take the one I only half way remember with you any day. " She told him before shifting up on her knees, wrapping her arms around his wide frame, her chin place on the shoulder next to the scared half of his face.

" You don't have to prove nothing to me." She told him. Sansa and Sandor were not a overly emotional couple, maybe due to both of them being broken in very different ways. It just wasn't their style. But at times they truly could show a warmer side to one another.
" But..." she broke into a smirk. " If you think a Northern wedding is your way in bedding me publicly you are mistaken." She informed him. Sansa would love to be wed in her home to him, but she knew Clegane. He cared nothing of weddings she recalled his mocking towards the matter when she was a young girl.

XXXXXX

"If I wanted to bed you publicly, I don't need no fucking wedding to do it." He smirked, but then went serious. "A pirate marriage, on a ship not on a Western sea won't be considered a legitimate marriage. I have already asked for your hand in marriage twice...I think I can handle one day of tradition if it means no one will have the power to separate us. I can't handle this; you being sold off to some ass Lord for the sake of unifying land holds." He shoved on his other boot and stood up. "Something to consider." He kissed her on the head. "Now go get Arya and informed the others. We need a solid plan, Daario is an arrogant cunt, hopefully he will think he has the upper hand and not see it coming. We need to strike soon and get the fuck back home. "

Before the sun had a chance to rise, Sandor was down at the docks inquiring about the ship home and making sure they made their new friend accommodations to accompany them back.

XXXXXX

Arya had learned a lot in her years, medical intelligence was key when traveling. You had to know what plants you could eat, what would heal you, and what could kill you.

She had made her way to the market place, she blended well and made her way to the vendors that she needed. Looking for something she had seen years ago. When finding the items, along with the right toxin for it she headed to the docks to find Sandor.

" Blow darts. " she rounded a corner and stated in a serious tone. " We can strike them from ten or so feet away. I've seen it done before. This." She pulled a vial from her pocket. " One drop will make you hit the floor. "

XXXXXX

"Blow darts?" He rose a brow in question to her unique suggestion. It wasn't the most outrageous idea, but he did have doubts. "And how accurate are you with them?"

Arya shrugged. "I have used them once or twice before. The upside is that the toxins immediately effect the body.."

"And the downside?" He questioned as the pair walked through the ports.

"Accuracy. You need to hit flesh in order for it to take. Hitting a vein or artery is the best option, but anywhere will do."

It was near mid morning when the pair decided to head back to the house. Plans from last night were to escort Daario and his crew around and have an early lunch. "I have a feeling he is probably already there fucking attempting to serenade her with his cock." He moaned as the pair mounted their horses.

"Ah stop being so jealous." Arya teased. "I mean it isn't like he is the perfect image of the man she always dreamed about. Tall, dark, handsome, dashing, charming, witty, funny, has manners and courtly appearance but can still be protective and fight. Nope, certainly not." She was a horrible girl and Sandor was tempted to boot her off her horse.

Once out of the city, the ride home was peaceful through the coast and provide the pair a chance to relax. As they came upon an area known as Stony Ridge, where large stone formations rose up from the grassy knolls, an image of a man upon the horse could be seen waiting in their path.

Coming closer it was no other than Daario, sitting in a prideful manner upon his white stallion. "Greetings friends!" He flashed a white smile towards the pair. "Thought I come and witness some of Lorath's beauty on this fine day." He never moved when they grew closer.

"We are headed back." Arya coldly stated as she eyed up the man.

His gave an odd smirk. "Oh? Are you now? Enjoyed your time at the docks did you? I truly hope you weren't planning on boarding that ship anytime soon?"

He didn't need to say it, they knew that he knew. The facade was up and now it was time for real colors to show.

Simultaneously Sandor and Arya began to pull weapons but Daario laughed. "You really don't want to do that." Surrounding them were now more than fifteen men closing in on them; way more than what came off the ship and ate dinner with them the night before. "Right now my men are dealing with your redheaded whore and the rest of the traitors. You do anything, beside listen, and I guarantee she is dead."

XXXXXX

Sansa was brought out still in her night gowns, she walked out without showing a once of fear though. The tides had just rolled out while sand was stirred up by the morning winds. The air all smelt of salt. Making her way down, the men lead her down to the fire pit with Gendry and Brienne following suit. But Ser Davos was not to be seen.

Arya and Clegane had been brought back to the fire pit area. Daario stood there tossing little pieces of wood that the tides had brought in and left behind.

" You had me fooled. For just a minute. Who wrote the letter?" Daario asked.

" My sister. " Sansa stated as she made her way around the fire. " What gave it away?"

" My Queen would never keep me from Meereen like the letter suggested. " Daario explained. " So explain. "

" Explain what? " Brienne hissed.

" This situation. Why do you want me in Westeros. " Daario answered.

" To trade you for my brother. " Sansa felt as though lying was useless.

XXXXXX

Daarios was pleased with her honest answer, but not with the situation. "Do not think for a moment that I have been fooled by you. The moment you snuck onto that pirate's ship, I knew. The Queen was very suspicious of you from the very beginning." He lifted up Sansa's face so she could look into his eyes. "Your bastard brother murdered her and as far as I am concerned, you are just as guilty. Traitors to the crown are to be executed." He pushed her face away from him. "Besides, why would I want a dog's whore for a wife?" He glared directly over at Sandor.

"How did you..." Brienne began to question but was cut off. "How did I know my Queen died? I HAVE HER BODY!" He came barreling towards the female knight like a madman, which immediately made Sandor jump up in defense. "Sit down you dog!" He growled. "Or the whore will get it."

Drogo placed her lifeless body upon the throne steps before vanishing." He pulled the fake letter out and tossed it at Arya's feet. " Before she left Meereen we had discussed our communication. She was to sign all letters to me simply as 'D'. I knew immediately it was fraud."

He then turned back to Sansa. "So, now that we have everything out in the open, you will all die..." He stepped over to her once more. "But first, my redheaded pet, we are going to ride you, your sister and your woman guard like the whores you are." His smile was pure evil as it glared at her. "I already know what that sweet, delicious tongue can do." He began unlacing his breeches.

Sandor didn't care if he lived or died at that moment. Every fiber of his being was on fire and no man was going to hold him back. He was like a bolt of lightning flashing through and pouncing on the man before anyone had a chance to react. The men came forward but didn't go towards the men but to Sansa with their swords in hand and one grabbing her by the hair and placing the blade across her neck.

He caught just the sight of it in his peripherals just as he was about to pummel Daario. It was enough to make him halt and for Daario to get the upper hand and come up with a dagger in hand to impale the Hound on the side making him fall to the ground. Men gathered him up and dragged him to the side, trailing a blood trail behind him. "Looks like the dog needs to be taught a lesson."

XXXXXX

Sansa's head was pulled back, her blue eyes wide as she huffed out. Seeing Clegane submit was a hard thing for her, even harder than seeing him take a blade to the side.

" Jon is not my blood brother. I'm sure your Queen didn't share that with you. He was blood to your Queen though." The men holding Sansa pushed her down on her knees with her head still held still looking at Daario.

" He was the son to her brother. "

Daario wiped the blood from his blade and listened to Sansa as he made his way towards her. " Explain that. Fully. "

" Rhaegar never rape my aunt Lyanna. They married and had a son. That son was given to my father to hide. " Sansa stated sharply. " I just thought before you kill me, you should know your Queen was never a Queen. Just some dragon taming bitch who thought it was her blood right to burn one million people. "

" Liar..." Daario hissed before rearing his hand back and slapping Sansa hard across the face, hard enough to bust her bottom lip.

" Why would I lie now!? " She declared before spitting blood at his feet.

Daario paced, he couldn't even think of his previous threats due to this information. And this was just enough time. Over the hill that started down to the fire pit crowded around at least fifty pirates. Ser Davos stood next to Salladhor, and without warning arrows were shot. Taking out a guard who held Clegane, and another who had Brienne.

A loud thunder rattling cry was given by Ser Davos as he pulled a blade from his belt and lead the men on towards the pit.

XXXXXX

He was down but not out for the count. Davos's army provided Sandor the opportunity to break, grab a discarded sword, and go back to fight Daario.

The men were equal in talent and skill and the clashing of swords and strength had the two men utilizing every ounce of strength they possessed. Unfortunately, Daario had the upper hand due to Sandor being injured.

They danced back and forth, each one solely focused on the other without any care about the ongoing battle. Daario was a dirty fighter, but so was the Hound and neither held back, fighting each other like two rabid dogs over a piece of meat.

Sandor was losing blood, his face was draining to an ashen white and his movements, though strong were delayed. Daario backed them up towards the fire pits. Sandor made a hard swing, forcing Daario's sword to fly out of his grip; however the touch of heat against Sandor's skin made him almost freeze in his tracks, the momentary pause allowing Daarios to tackled the beast to the ground and casting his own sword into the nearby flame.

Upon the sands they grappled, spinning and twisting until Daario had mounted the Hound and dug his fingers into the open gap on his side. "Howl mutt!" He cried through spit and blood as Sandor screamed in pain. Those brown eyes fell upon his sword in the fire, it was his only chance. As Daario laughed in assumed victory, Sandor reached his hand into the burning flames, grasped the sword and plunged it into Daarios's hip.

The Hound's world faded till he was consumed by darkness.

XXXXXX

The battle didn't take long due to the numbers. Salladhor did lose five men though, who were all taken to his ship so later on they could be given a proper pirate funeral.
Sandor too was brought on board. He was so white; so much blood had fell from his wound. Salladhor ordered his Maester on his as soon as he was brought to the ship. Sansa help in every way she could, still wearing her night gown that was now covered in blood as she cut his clothes off and washed around the deep wound. Sansa refused to leave his side even when the Maester had done all he could do.

Sansa settled at his side, not giving into the sea sickness that already made its self known to her. Slim fingers held to his large hand when Ser Davos made his way in.

" I was with them at the docks my lady. " he stated to let her know he was in the room.

" Hmm?" Her attention slowly turned back to the Onion knight.

" The men. That's how I knew to come. I saw several loading off of a ship while at the dock checking for letters. " he explained.

" Wise of you. You eyes saved us. " She told him.

Ser Davos hadn't seen the display or heard the words Sansa spat in Daario's face, but he could see the woman before him was scared shitless over loosing yet another person she cared dearly for.

" He won't die here. " she choked out. You see, a long time ago we found a garden, and we are nowhere near there. So he can't die here. " she turn back and wipe her eyes. " Now go. You're getting me upset. I can't be crying when he wakes up. " she told Ser Davos. The scene shattered the knight's heart.

XXXXXX

The Maester worked relentlessly to stop the bleeding but had already warned that the man was knocking on Death's door. There was also significant damage to his hand and lower arm from the fire, and though cleaned and wrapped the possibility of it getting infected was high.

"He is fighting a double battle." The Maester told Sansa. "If he survives the loss of blood the burn may cause death and vice versa. His hand will never have the same strength as it once had and it will be a long process to use it. That is if he actually makes it that far.

He faded in and out of consciousness, as his body fought to keep him going. The Maester instructed strong doses of Milk of the Poppy, to ease the pain, but it did very little for such; even in his sleep he was tormented by the crashing sensation.

On day two he opened his eyes. "Little...Bird." His voice was barely a raspy whisper. "Be...happy...my love." Was the last words whispered before his eyes fluttered close.

XXXXXX

Sansa spent day and night, cleaning along with changing the bandages on his wounds. She found little peace at times, watching him to take breathes. Sometimes waiting for his chest to raise felt like a life time. But she remained next to him.

On day two when he called to her, she was on the other side of the room rinsing out the rags she had to doctor him with. But at the sound of real words practically lead her to leap across the room to him.
Her small hand taking hold of his chin while her other hand pat his jawline.

" Sandor!? Please!? Wake up !?" She begged. Not just him or his wounded body, but Sansa litterally placed herself on her hands and knees begging the old along with the new gods for her husband.

By day three she just climbed in bed with him. Needing sleep as she listened to his faint breathing. It was odd what thoughts came to her mind in this time. Some good, some bad. The one that she thought of the most was a day she thought she was to die.

AUTHOR'S NOTE - Next Chapter Is A Flashback

Chapter Text

Hurt

*** Flash Back ***

Sansa had been placed down on her knees, Joffrey's guards all around paired with other men she didn't know. The only thing the child could focus on was the bow aimed her way and the scared disgusted face of the Hound who stood away from the King.

Joffrey held the bow as if he was made to wield this weapon. Even though she knew the young boy had never killed any with it, she feared today could be the day. Sansa was apparently on trial, for what none could say. Her brother had had a win during the war and angry men choose to blame someone or something. So why not a child? The future Queen? Seemed fitting in their eyes.

The actions happened so quickly, before she knew it she was pulled to her feet to only be stuck hard in the guts. It fully knocked the breath from her. She fell to the floor.

XXXXXX

The entire scene was nothing but a show of insecurity. Everyone knew, but no one spoke. As Tyrion Lannister put a stop to her torture, a tear of a cloth could be heard and immediately her bare body was draped in alabaster.

It was disgusting in his opinion, but such was the way in this world, the cruel will always torment. He watched her leave with the imp and when they all dispersed to their own corners of the castle; he lingered behind for just a moment.

He hated King's Landing, he hated this castle and that fucking throne of welded swords. He hated being that little shit's guard and he hated not helping her aside from saving her a bit of dignity.

XXXXXX

Sansa locked herself in her chamber, not even her handmaids came to help her. It was out of fear that Joffrey would send one of his golden cloaks into her room and finish the job he started in the throne room.

Sansa had stripped herself from the ripped dress and cast it outside into the hallway to not see it. If Sansa was being honest her sight had cut out and she didn't know whose cloak she had. So she just folded it up and placed it on a chair.

When the guard in the throne room struck her with his sword just the tip had cut through Sansa's skirts and left a line along her calf. Instead of calling for help she was mending it best she knew with a bowl of water with a rag. She knew it needed to be sewn up, so she got her sewing kit and a candle, only seeing this done once by their father when Arya busted her knee up. Once the needle was heated she just look at it and then at the cut. Could she stick her own leg? No. She couldn't.

XXXXXX

Joffrey sat pouting over the day's events. How dare his dwarven uncle embarrass him like that! He blamed the entire incident on Sansa. "Hound!" He shouted for his trusted guard.

He stepped forward, not asking but just waiting for the request. "Go to Lady Sansa's room and give her a good beating. Bring me back a token. Like her tears in a vial or something." Joffrey laughed at himself for such a suggestion. "I can make her drink them in front of her lady friends."

Sandor just nodded and departed. It was best this way, being silent meant he wouldn't blow up on the boy King.

Moments later he was at her door. His fist formed to knock but hesitated, he had to work himself up when dealing with her. For some reason whenever he wanted to be kind he came off as cruel and harsh. 'BAM. BAM. BAM.' " Open the fuck up or I am busting the door in." He didn't yell but his natural voice was just as intimidating in its threats.

XXXXXX

Sansa jump at the knocking and the shouting. Her trembling had made her drop her needle and thread. She just felt herself sink down off her bed at him shouting. She just settled there on the floor as her face lost its serious edge and started to crumble like a wet paper doll.

Sansa knew not answering would just make things worse, so she choked down her crying and stood with the help of holding on to the wall. She opened the door to come face to face with the Hound.

She stood there with the door half way open just staring at him. Then Ned Stark slipped from her, " Is it your turn Ser?" She asked as her hand rose to rub off a dripping tear.

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Once the door swung open, he stepped in, ignoring her tear stained face and question all together. He looked furious, his mouth twisted into a sinister frown and his eyes bend down. He appeared as though the worst was yet to come.

He stood there, in silence, gazing around the dimly lit room. "He sent me to beat you." He finally said as his head turned from one side to another and the over to her, where he turned around and began to slowly approach her. "He wants your tears in a bottle."

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" Well...then." Sansa just pulled her eyes off of the Hound letting her door go shut. It was against rules for a male guard to be alone with a lady of the court but that was the last factor on her mind. She lifted the edge of her dress up; even distressed she didn't want blood all over her skirts.

Sansa walk back to her bed and just sat down. " I bled on your cloak, I'll wash it out tomorrow. " Sansa had figured out who had given her the cloak. She figured she might as well tell him the bad news over his garment maybe it would fuel his rage in this and it would be over faster. When she settled she shifted her dress up past the cut . Her eyes scanned down at it and she looked over at the candle and needle.

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He heavily sighed. "Stupid, fucking girl." He groaned. "I am not going to fucking beat you. Joffrey..." He paused, not wanting to slander the King's name. " Joffrey was a coward. If he wants to beat you let him come here himself and do it." He sat down on the bench that was at the foot of the bed. "I just need to sit here for a bit. I have been witnessed coming in, so I need to make it seem I am fulfilling my duty."

He swept his hand through his messy tresses and sighed as he hung his head low. It was then he noticed the blood upon the floor and a discarded needle. "What the fuck?" He questioned as his thick fingers lifted up the needle and he turned his sights to Sansa. "You aren't that stupid to try to kill yourself with a fucking needle, are you?"

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" I'm stupid! " She hissed. " I've washed it, and put fire to it! I've seen it done before I just can't..." Sansa look towards him.

" Not that it matters. If my own needle kills me it'll be over. " she stated simply before turning back from him and looking at the cut.

" I need to stitch this, so give my needle back so I can get it ready again." She told him as if she was trying to wash away that she just wished to die from the air around them.

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He planted his face into his palm as she explained the situation. " Have you ever smelt rotting flesh, girl? It smells sickeningly sweet but putrid at the same time and the skins swells and turns colors of blue and green and then black. If you're lucky you will become infested with maggots which will crawl out of the wound and feast on the infection...that might save you or at least keep you alive a bit longer. More than likely, you will succumb to an agonizing, long death." He came closer to inspect the wound, asking not her permission, but forcing her to submit to his touch.

"He got you good." His finger grazed around the area. "And deep. Bastard did it intentionally." He threw her on the bed belly first. "Looks like you are stuck with me, sewing you tonight. I guess Joffrey will get to hear some screaming after all "

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Sansa bounced when tossed to the bed, she shifted to where she laid on her hip looking back at him. "It won't fester if you put the needle in that candle flame and dip it in that bowl first. " she instructed him.
Her blue eyes looked scanned over the man as a hand tug her skirts down as far as they could go and still have her wound showing.

" I'm not going to scream..." she stated simply while her hand drifted back and she laid on back down. " Have you done this before?"

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"I think I know how to fucking sew a wound, girl." He sterilized the needle and prepped it to begin. "Of course I have. When you fight battles you get wounded. I think I have some knowledge of fixing a wound. Then again you and your little gossiping hens think I am stupid." He placed her leg over his lap, stealing a moment to admire the curve of the ivory flesh over the muscular structure.
.Slowly he blotted up the fresh blood with a rag and then began sewing her up. "Best you do scream, I have seen full grown men do over this."

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Sansa let out a shaken breathe and grip her sheets when he washed over the cut. " I've called you a great number of things. But stupid has not been one. " She stated through gritted teeth. Her leg twitching as he started to place the needle through her skin. Sansa's face fell to the bed where she bit into the feather mattress. Her toes curl up in her slipper which lead it to fall from her foot.

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"Just scream you idiot, or I really will beat you to save my own fucking skin." He growled as he continued working. Despite his attitude he was attempting to be as gentle as one could be.

"Tomorrow I will have one of the Maesters put a salve on it, but this should be fine until then." He spoke as he finished off the last stitch. While doing so he noticed part of her dress was covered in fresh and dried blood; Joffrey wanted a token and this would satisfy him...though unfortunately humiliate her tomorrow.

Placing the needle down, he grabbed her skirt where the blood was and ripped and tore it from her, wrapping the cloth in his hands and taking it to where his own cloak rested.

In the corner of her room, pass the window where the moon's light trickled through, he noticed the large chair and made his way over. Collapsing upon it he sighed as he looked over at her. "By chance you wouldn't have some wine or ale around?"

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Sansa heard the ripping of her dress and shot up. " You can't take him something with blood on it!" She stated quickly and in more of a panic than she had acted through the whole stitching.

" You can't. If you take him something with blood on it they will think my red flower started. They can't think that yet so please anything but that. I'll cry. I'll scream. Whatever you want, please just don't let them think that yet!" This was probably the first time Sansa allowed anyone to see how she truly felt about her arrangement towards Joffrey. And even though she was just a child she fully knew that this would not be the worst day in this castle. She knew as soon as her first womanly bleed started that her 'punishments' would be more awful. True fear the kind only a woman could show washed over her as she begged for the cloth back.

" Just hit me and leave Clegane. " she let out a shaken breathe before rolling her head to look away from him.

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He lifted his head to look at her when she began her outburst. "I have to bring him back something, Little Bird." She had to understand that she wasn't the only one subjected to punishments and torment.

A predicament they were both now in. He leaned back into the chair, having no energy to deal with this. He may have been a monster, but to beat a girl to save his skin was not something he would do. "Oh Little Bird, how we have fallen into the pits of Hell." His voice sounded defeated, tired and forlorn.

Those sad eyes looked out the window to momentarily take in the view. "I know." He spoke in a voice just above a whisper. " I know that hatred that boils in the fires of your gut. I feel it to, Little Bird. What you wanted on that day the King showed your father's head, is what I wanted too. They say patience is a virtue...well it is one I can fucking live without." He finally turned and looked at her. "When does patience turn into cowardice?" He inhaled deeply knowing what had to be done.

"You win, Little Bird." He rose from the chair. "Try to get some sleep and forget about this miserable day."

He left her then, knowing that he would be facing consequences come morning. Joffrey was not just her tormentor.

The next morning Shae came in to check on her. A few light knocks and the exotic lady poke her head in before entering. "We need to get you cleaned up and dressed." She stated bringing with her a tray of food. "The King expects you down in the gardens by noon."

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Sansa barley slept, she just lay there thinking of the words the Hound had told her the night before; having never seen that sort of expression on any of the guards face before. For him to openly tell her that he too wanted to push Joffrey from the highest tower was enough to get them both killed. But he still told her. Why?
Sansa found the thoughts of Joffrey dying to be the only prayers she had now days, or her own death coming maybe sooner than later. Sansa had never understood people who killed themselves but placed in this castle alone with mad lions was starting to make her nod in understanding. She rose and Shae cleaned her wound, placing a creamy medicine over top of it. It burned but she never said anything about the pain. Sansa now days ate just enough to live so she was done with her food shortly after and started to the gardens with her hand maiden.

" Why has he called on me?' She asked.

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"I don't know, my Lady" Shae spoke in her beautiful accent as she walked along side of Sansa.

The gardens were an array of beautifully crafted foliage and fountains with a path of sandstone to mark the trails. It was a popular spot for Lords and Ladies to congregate, play games, and eat or for lovers to sneak away and have a moment's passion. "He wants us by the Dragon's fountain in the main garden."

By the time they made their way to the selected destination, a crowd had already formed. It was a mixture of Knight Guards, Lords and Ladies, servants and some of Sansa's female companions, specifically the three girls from the play last year.

The Dragon's fountain was the largest fountain in the main garden. It was a large, immensely detailed crafted Dragon's head made of onyx with small pits of fire burning around the fountain pools.

Shortly after she arrived, Joffrey and his Hound made their way through the crowd, but the Hound was not dressed as he normally was. Instead of his armor and Knight's cloak, he was adorned in simple ivory, linen, under pants. His bare chest bore the scars of the past but also emphasized the muscular form underneath. He held his head high, his back straight as the blonde King walked smugly in front, stopping when he saw Sansa and giving her a little bow. "So glad you felt up to coming, my dear." He cooed as he brushed a finger over her cheek. "I truly hope you enjoy this, afterall it is because of you." He chuckled and looked to his guard. "Stand in front of the fountain, dog." He snapped at Clegane.

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Sansa gave a questionable expression as the King spoke, her blue eyes looking past his shoulder and landing on his Hound. " I'm not sure what you mean, my Grace. " Sansa gave the right bows and didn't flinch when Joffrey touched her skin.

" My dog wouldn't bite you last night. My uncle won't let me punish you publically for your family's crimes. And I'm just at a loss Sansa.
Now I can't do anything about you here. " Joffrey whispered the last bit to her before stepping back and looking over towards Clegane.

" Your father. He saved my great grandfather. Got him a knighthood. Land. Made his kennels the King's kennels. Correct? And in return for all those wonderful gifts he took a full knee to house Lannister. Are you still on that knee dog!?" Joffrey demanded.

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Sandor stood where he was instructed, placing his eyes beyond the crowd and immediately focusing on an object, a rose bush. He can take the names but it made his skin crawl to be stared at and right now there were many eyes upon him.

"Good afternoon, everyone." Joffrey swept through the crowd with grace, even stopping to give Charon a little peck on her hand, making her blush and giggle. "I am your King." An obvious statement but one he needed to drive in. "Part of being such is knowing when you need to inflict justice. We all sin, but the King is beyond that and therefore judges your sin."

The crowd agreed, drawing even closer as Joffrey made his way up to the tall man. "When I give orders, no matter how big or small, those orders need to be fulfilled." The King's eyes locked solely on Sansa. "Or else that is a sinful and treasonous act against the crown!"

He looked over at his dog and grinned. "I told my dog here to beat Sansa Stark and bring me a vial of her tears." The crowd looked at Sandor and then at Sansa. "He informed me, after spending a few hours in her room alone..." Cue gasps of horror from the crowd. " That not only did he not get me my token but failed to give Sansa the required beating she deserved."

The Hound's breathing became rhythmic as he was controlling himself while Joffrey spoke. His eyes refusing to move and his body forced to stand like stone. "What spell did this girl cast on my most LOYAL guard that he refused to obey?" Everyone looked at Sansa again and then there was silence.

"Well, Sansa?" The King asked standing nonchalantly with his hip kicked out and a smile across his face. " Did you suck his mangled cock? Maybe allowed him a sweet taste of that girlish unflowered pussy?" Everyone laughed. "Speak up."

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Sansa listen closely to the words pouring from Joffrey, her face showed how uncomfortable the topic made her. Her blue eyes darted over towards Clegane. It was like she was begging to know what to say right now. His eyes never locedk on her own though. Instead another form of saving came.

" No...Ser-Clegane never-" Sansa started with right before a new voice rang.

" My King! " It was the Hand again. Lord Tyrion. He stood on the top step that lead down to the fountain they all stood around.

" If you are done scolding Clegane I could use him. Seems your uncle's ships have been spotted. They will be rolling up on our shores in a matter of days. " the men and women around them all let out frightened gasps and whispers.

" Clegane is one of my captains if a attack breaks loose. I need him. " The Hand stated clearly.

" But he bed the Stark girl!" One and then several cried out. " He raped her!" Their chanting went on.

Tyrion glance over to Sansa and the the Hound. " Did the Hound touch you?"

" No my Lord. " Sansa rang clearly.

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Joffrey's face coiled and twisted at the sight of his uncle. Why that imp had the audacity to interrupt him was beyond his comprehension. "In that case it is imperative to make an example of this man! It isn't about if he raped her." He looked over at Sansa with a disgusted look upon his face. "I was going to allow him a go at her after I had her myself." He snickered. "It was the fact that he disobeyed my orders all because he looked into her eyes. As if she were a witch!" Joffrey added. "Oh my Hound will fight, dear Uncle, and what better way to fuel that rage than to teach him a lesson."

Joffrey cocked his head to Ser Ilyn Payne who stepped forth with a whip to show the awaiting crowd. "My Kingdom's Symbol of Justice..." His hand rose towards Payne "Will bestow ten lashes!"

"IS THIS REALLY AN ISSUE WHEN WE HAVE OUR ENEMY AT OUR DOORSTEP!" Tyrion shouted out to the child King. " You want to waste your own manpower on childish games when we should be planning for an upcoming battle!" The crowd went silent, awaiting Joffrey's reply.

"You think you weld all the power, dear Uncle. Then go waddle off and begin making those plans. As YOUR King, I need to show both my enemies and allies that I rule with a firm hand!" He looked over at Payne and gave him a nod to begin.

Sandor said nothing nor did nothing. It was as if he left his physical body to endure and allow his essence to escape. As Payne came up, unraveling the long cord, Sandor didn't move a single muscle.

The whip snapped and cracked against flesh and the crowd cheered. Tyrion looked at Sansa defeated. "You should look away, my lady." He spoke before another crack of the whip took place.

"Did you know my dog hates fire!" Joffrey lit a small torch from the fountains flame as the crowd laughed and the Hound went pale.

XXXXXX

Tyrion rubbed between his eyes as he watched this whole display. It was ridiculous to say the least. He waited till the tenth lash, noticing that young Sansa never pulled her sight off the man. He then started wondering about why she appeared so guilty but thought it wise not to question this topic. Instead he waited till the last lashing and then picked up a pail of water from the fountain and tossed it out on the torch the king held.

This of course lead the crowd into another laughing fit.

" Now." Tyrion stated sharply before looking over at Clegane. He quickly noticed the red markings on his flesh begin bleeding. " Go to the royal bath Clegane. "

Joffrey's torch was out, but this set him on fire more so, but before protest started he was hushed by the sound of his mother.
" Joffrey. " the Queen mother stood at the top of the steps. " I've had us lunch brought out. " his mother wasn't fully clueless as to what was taking place, but she could tell enough was enough. " Come my King. " she reach out with one hand towards her son.

Tyrion glared towards Sansa, " Please leave now." His hissed to Sansa. The young girl pulled herself from starring and nodded. Tyrion look at Shae who then took Sansa by the arm and pulled her along.

XXXXXX

He could handle the whipping, for he felt worse, but the threat of flames licking his face made him almost pass out. If asked to recall the incident he couldn't. His mind solely focused on the dance of fire close to his skin.

He had received an order, but by whom he could not say. "Go to the bath house." so he rose and unknowingly his body obeyed.

He passed by the pair, giving Sansa a full visual of what the King claimed she had caused. His bare back was torn with bleeding slashes, some so deep they would require stitches and his hands shook, despite being clinched into fists. Still his eyes did not meet her own and one would wonder if he even knew she stood by him.

He received no help, no assistance, not even a Maester came by to check on the wounds; he would have to seek one out himself if he desired care. He sat in the pool of steamy water and simply stared off into oblivion.

"I hope you enjoyed the show, Lady Sansa." Joffrey was able to catch up before she had a chance to escape. "Perhaps I should order you to go lick my dog's wounds for him." He chuckled. " I sure wouldn't want to be around him when he gets in these moods." He leaned in close to her. "Last time he got too close to a flame, he snapped some guy's arm right off him for simply laughing." The boy King laughed and ran off to meet his mother.

XXXXXX
Sansa was rushed back to her chamber by Shae, the young girl felt so sick. To sick if she was honest, not even able to hear her hand maiden.

" My Lady. Please stay here till I come get you for supper. " Shae told her before darting on off towards the halls to make sure all stay away from her lady.

Sansa pace for a long while once locked away. It was such an awful situation. So bad, all she could keep seeing was the Hound taking the lashes due to her. Finally Sansa stop her pacing, her blue eyes locked on the medicine that Shae had given her for her own cut. Shae had dropped off two jars of the goop. Sansa pick one jar of it up and slipped her shoes off and placed them at her bed. Quickly she shuffled a pillow under her bed sheets to make it appear someone was sleeping.

After she had her bed settled she crept on out and made her way towards the royal bathing areas. She knew with Stannis so close no men besides the Hound would have the free time to soak. With her shoes off she sounded like nothing more than a ghost. She took no light to lead her way, just followed the walls until coming to the steaming room that lead down into natural hot springs. The natural minerals scented the area just like the ones from her home in Winterfell.

Sansa made no sound as she stepped on in around the stone edge of the bathing area. It was like a underground heated pool, in the early mornings people were all about, but mid day it was a ghost town.

Her feet slap against the wet stone as she walk the jar over and placed it down at the edge. Her eyes never lingering his way. " I'm not here..." She whispered.

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His nostrils flared madly with each breath he took. He felt the rage building and building like a pot ready to over boil and spill.

His skin was red and soft from the water, but all he did was sit and maintained the same focus, staring off into oblivion.

Her voice made his eyes blink and slowly his lip curled. His head snapped to catch the image of her and he held his sights upon her, though it was uncertain if he was looking at her or through her.

It was like being in a staring match with a vicious, wild animal; knowing that with the slightest move, the beast would strike and kill.

XXXXXX

" My hand maiden made this early this morning for me. You should have it placed on your back as soon as you can." Her whispers carried over the steamed up water easily. Her hands clasp tightly across her chest as she kept her eyes off of him, it was so improper for a lady to be in the bathing area when a grown man was in use of the waters.

Sansa didn't choke out how sorry she was, but she thought it loudly. Her eyes scanned down to the jar at her feet. " I'll put it on the ones in the center of your back if you wish. " she had a feeling that Clegane was in no way open to letting a Maester sew and patch him up, maybe she was wrong. But none the less her offer stood.

" If not I will leave you. "

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She was playing a dangerous game attempting to not only speak but to touch the monster. He still didn't speak, but he didn't attack. He simply turned and revealed his back to her.

It was well know that Payne was not a gentle executioner, especially when it came to disciplining. It was obvious he took great pleasure in inflicting damage as streaks rested over streaks, creating deeper wounds. Many knew he would add tiny blades to his whips and it seemed to have been the case for Clegane.

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When Clegane turned, Sansa still never look his way. Instead she made her way over, just knowing by the sound of water that he had moved at all. She picked up the jar and brought it to him. The sight of his back made a chill roll down her own.

Slowly she knelt down so she could be face to face with his shoulders. Sansa wasn't use to seeing shirtless men. In the north it was too cold for anyone to trot about without their clothes on. Seeing the scars and sliced flesh made her face ho ever serious. Slowly the lid was pulled from the jar and a three finger amount of medicine was scooped out.

Without warning she placed the ice cold cream on to his wounded flesh. Light trembling came from her, her hand like a dogwood tree branch in the wind.

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It stung and he winced as her fingers painted on the medicine. He clenched his teeth till she had completed the task and then pushed himself away.

He rose from the waters, caring not for dignity and grabbed a sheet that was near his discarded clothes. It got wrapped around his bottom half as he simultaneously stepped out of the now red water.

He glared at her as he dripped droplets onto the stone floor. It could be sensed he had something to say, but words were not spoken.

Suddenly the clanking of chains was heard as the Maester entered the baths. "Lord Tyrion sent me to." He didn't have a chance to finish his sentence when the Hound swung his clenched fist into the man's face, sending him into the pool with a large splash, and he walking out in a storm of anger.

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Sansa didn't move, her eyes stay off Sandor as he crept on out of the pool. When chains were heard, Sansa rose, her eyes scanning left and right on where to run to escape. But then as quickly as the man appeared, he was knocked to the pools. Sansa stared just a moment as his passed out body float face up, but she forced her eyes off the man and look up at the Hound, her hand slowly screwing the lid of the medicine on before handing it out towards him.

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He snatched it so fast from her hand that she would not notice it was gone till he had already left. In the distance the sound of it smashing against the stone wall was heard.

"What exactly happened the other night to cause Clegane to get lashed?" Shae asked as she groomed Sansa's hair. It was nearing the evening hour and Shae was attempting to make Sansa presentable for the evening meal. "He never seemed like the type of person that wouldn't hit a girl." The handmaiden spoke as she wove a fee braids through Sansa's tresses. "We all know his brother's reputation. Just the other day I heard a few guards talking about how he destroyed a young tavern girl. She succumbed to her injuries a day later. You would assume the mangled one is the same way. I get fearful of how he looks at you sometimes."

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Sansa sat there without saying anything to her handmaid. She couldn't say anything about the Hound's brother. If the Mountain was in front of her she wouldn't know him. She also didn't know why the Clegane brother she did know refused to be cruel to her. Shaking her head lightly she stood on up to make her way on to dinner.

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Chapter Text

ROS

***Flashback continues***

On the other side of the keep, inside the same Clegane brother's room settled another young Northern girl with a full bottle of wine on the nightstand. Ros was a strawberry blonde beauty who found her nerves on edge being in the castle. Even in one of the guard's rooms. Last time Tyrion asked her here things got extreme and not in the way she was use to.

Ros was dressed in a fully see through peach dress, she was settled in the center of Sandor's bed with his dog shaped helmet between her legs. She had his pillows stacked up so she could lean back in a sitting position.

Ros had never spoken with Sandor, but she had heard word of his brother. Just the rumors of the Mountain made her nervous to meet his brother, but she had been paid well enough for this risk, or so she told herself.

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The day was consumed with lots of drink to subdue the pain and to ease his nerves. No one spoke to him at the guard's table for fear they too would suffer like the Maester did. Rumors were already spreading that the man had a broken jaw and had bit part of his tongue off when the Hound attacked.

Finishing off the last of a bottle, he decided to make his way back to his quarters to gear up and continue on with his job. There was no recovery time and he wasn't a weakling. He was a survivor and a fighter and something like this was not going to bring him down.

He didn't notice Ros at first, despite his quarters being small; his mind was on other things. He didn't blame Sansa for his punishment, he would gladly do it again if it meant she was spared, he just hated this life in particular. He was so sick of playing games. He wanted to be left unleashed.

He dunked his head into his water basin, allowing the cold water to sober him up a bit. When he lifted up, that was when he noticed her, a shear nude image in the small mirror above him."What the fuck do you want?" He wasn't in the mood for any more jokes and if this was Joffrey's doing, she was going out the window.

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Ros sat up when she heard the door open. Her hands rubbed over the metal ears of the helmet that was settled between her legs. She look him over, he was a huge man. Maybe the biggest man she had ever personally been assigned to.

When he spoke it made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. Slowly she pushed the helmet to the edge so she could shift closer towards this wounded Hound.

" I'm Ros. Lord Tyrion, paid for the next three days. " her Winterfell accent echoed as her fingernails tapped on his helmet.

"...so I'm here for whatever you want. "

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He almost laughed at that news. "Is this some sort of fucking apology for what I was put through?" He questioned as he spun around to view her.

There was no doubt of her beauty and her tits alone were enough to satisfy, but she seemed to possess very many attributes. She was certainly not a tavern whore. "You're one of LittleFinger's?" He questioned before having a fit of coughs and wincing with the pain it brought. Immediately he began to search for a stashed bottle.

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" Yes I am. But I wasn't always. " she informed before putting the helmet back next to the night stand where she found it. She would be lying if she said she wasn't hoping he wore it during some of this paid time.

" Lord Tyrion never said what it was for. He gave me a bag of coin and told me for the next three days I'm the Hound's bitch. " she pick up the bottle of wine she came with. " Glasses or are we pirates tonight?"

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He collapsed on the edge of the bed where her legs were and stole the bottle from her hands. "Dogs don't use glasses." Then popped the cork out with his teeth and spit it onto the floor. The wine was rich, bold with a tart taste that hit hard once it rolled down the throat. At this point he would drink piss water if it meant he would get drunk off it. "My bitch, huh?" He glanced over at her to allow his eyes to soak her in. "You're a fucking Northerner, aren't ya? Her accent had caught his ears but he didn't place it until just then.

Unknowingly, he reached his hand out; at first it directed itself to her voluptuous breast but suddenly lifted to grasp a thick strand of hair. "You're kissed by fire as well." Mad, drunken thoughts formed into his head as he coiled the strand around his fingers, then allowing it to cascade back down before he repeated the process.

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" Winterfell." She told him as she watched his hands on her hair. Many men liked to tug and pull at her strawberry locks. Ros couldn't help but think of the rumors about the Mountain that the girls she worked with had told her. Only one spoke of the Hound. The one eyed whore named Bells, she spoke of him as well as a paying man could be spoken of.

" Only lightly am I kissed. " she answered his comment about her hair. Maybe it was her nerves or the talk the other girls placed in her head, but Ros' skin showed slight shyness. Goosebumps covered over her and every hair she had stood. Making no comment of this she reached over and took the bottle back from him and took a slow swig before handing it back.

" You won't hurt me?" Ros had no idea that these were the very words that Lady Sansa had told the Hound several times during her stay at King's Landing. Maybe this was the spell she had over him?
But Ros was more or less asking the brute of a man if he found the same joy as his brother did.

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His eyes fluttered at such words, but the voice was not the same despite the accent. Still he answered. "No, Little Bird, I won't hurt you." It was only a moment of being hypnotized by that phrase and quickly he snapped back into reality. His heart was pounding as he came to realize his infatuation for the girl. He had never questioned why he sought her out or why he showed her moments of softness until that moment. It wasn't love, at first, but that was the exact moment he felt the planted roots of such a foreign emotion sprout the sapling inside that black heart of his.

In his stupor he could at least pretend the woman in front of him was the woman he desired. If he squint his eyes just right, he could erase her significant details and replace them with the ones he desired, or he could just mount her from behind and it would all be the same. He snagged the bottle again to heavily sip it.

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" Little Bird. " she cooed. " That's better than the Hound's Bitch. " Ros admitted before standing. Hearing this sort of softness in this giant's voice relaxed Ros. It relaxed her so much she felt the need to stand and look about his small living quarters.

" You're thinking of another. " she stated simply before picking a yellow banner with his house sigil on it. " No need to lie. You won't hurt my feelings. Tell me about her. " Ros turned with the yellow fabric in hand, she pressed it against her body and look down at the mad dogs that trail down her frame.

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His eyes did not focus on the whore, but directed themselves onto the lip of the bottle, staring down the hole into the darkness. "A northern voice, like you, but refined and distinguished. A lady's voice." He took a sip as he recalled her voice singing him a lullaby. "Sings like a celestial siren." Another swig as he laid over his bed, not caring about the sore slashes on his back.

"Skin of porcelain, but painted in freckles; like an alabaster night sky with stars." He closed his eyes imagining. "Eyes as blue as the southern sea, clear yet haunting. When they look at you, they see into your soul. And hair...fiery red pools. So soft and thick, it is the only fire I desire to touch."

He didn't realize how easily the words flowed as he described her, but in his world at that moment there weren't enough words to give her description justice.

XXXXXX

" She sounds beautiful. " Ros tossed the fabric to the side. She didn't crawl on to Sandor's bed, no, instead she step up on it, walking till she was straddled across his lap, then she plopped down.

" I had a boy in Winterfell sing me a song of sirens. I don't recall all the words...You're like the Dead Sea. Finest words you ever said to me.." she lick the edge of her canine tooth as her hands slowly reach out to start to pull his shirt from over his belt. Her slim fingers pulled at his belt and button's before her own near golden eyes flickered up.

" Oh honey can't you see, I was born to be your Dead Sea. " She gave a full smile before pulling his manhood fully out.

XXXXXX

Just the thoughts made him already aroused and ready before her hand released him. He moaned, not sure if it was because of pain or impending pleasure or both.

Then there was another voice in his head, the one of logic and reason. She feared him. She hated him. She was still a girl, not yet a woman. She was betrothed to the King. She couldn't even look him in the eyes if he didn't force her to do so.

"I need air!" He announced, lifting Ros from him and placing her on the bed in one fluid motion. "I need to get the fuck out of here." He mumbled more to himself than his whore. Adjusting himself, he walked out of the room.

He needed to breathe, to focus, but all he saw was her face branded on his mind. So he paced the corridors where she would eventually pass through at some point. Maybe if he saw her, just a glimpse he would realize how foolish he was being.

XXXXXX

Sansa had just finished dinner with her soon to be royal family. The entire meal was hell, constantly she was asked by Joffrey what she had allowed the Hound to do to her the night before; accusing her of loosing herself to him, even claiming that her purity wasn't her own to give away. It was ridiculous to listen to his bullying tactics over and over. She had sent her handmaiden Shae off, taking her time to stroll the halls alone if only for a little while.

Rethinking all that had happened just made her sick though, seeing a man get beat due to her own well being was enough to send her nearly crying. She wiped her eyes and sniffled as she round the corner, then bam. She walked directly into the hard chest plate of Clegane.

" Excuse me Ser..."

XXXXXX

If he believed in Gods, he would say it was their cruel work that made the two collide at that moment. She, with her tear stained face and he, in what could only be described as rage fuel arousal. Fuck! Today was meant for torture!

"Come out to play did we?" His voice was already kissed with drink and cruelty towards her. "What would your precious King think of his little pet wandering these halls alone?" He grew closer to her, forcing her closer to the wall. "It is dangerous for such a sweet little bird to be fluttering her wings around here...don't know what MONSTERS creep around." He had grown so close that he was mere inches from her face.

XXXXXX

Sansa found the closeness to be a bit uncomfortable, her hand placing hard against his chest. The scent of wine lingered on his breathe and it made Sansa step back as he spoke.

" ...I'm just going to my chamber. It's late I need to change my bandage." She informed Clegane before pulling her blue eyes from him.

" You've been drinking. " she then stated as if he wasn't aware.

XXXXXX

"Bleeding." He growled as he had now cornered her. "Soon that cunt between your legs will bleed and you will be joining your King in his bed. That tiny cock of his trying to worm its way to find your sweet virgin hole. You probably won't even feel it when it enters you, be like a gnat on your skin, but you will fake it cause you have to please the King. Please your fucking blonde haired charming savior!" He was becoming vicious towards her, that same rage she witnessed in the baths now being aimed at her.

XXXXXX

" My wedding night is none of your business. " She stated this with as much passion as a statue would have. All love for Joffrey was gone, all affection dead, she now just said what she needed to say in order to live another day.

" I guess it'll be good for you too when my flower blooms, he said he would give me to you afterwards. " her blue eyes snap back towards him, locking on to his fully. "How lucky I am. " her eyes showed levels of sadness a man could never think of feeling. The topic Sandor placed on the table was her true fear and it made her so broken inside that her body couldn't even form tears.
" I suppose you will hurt me then..."

XXXXXX

His hand shot out like a viper attacking and snatched her forearm. He squeezed with all his might that she would feel her bone being slowly crushed. "I can take you right now if I wanted too. Let your cunt be worn for your King to fuck!" He pressed her against the stone as he held her there. The pair in a locked gaze. He was mad. Perhaps the lashing unleashed something tucked away. Joffrey probably knew this was to be, that his Hound once provoked will become rabid with rage and lash out at her. "Ten fucking lashes might deserve ten fucks." Every word he spoke was filled with venom. He wanted her to be afraid, he wanted her to tell him how she hated him, how she was repulsed by the sight of him, how she would tear her own cunt out to prevent his cock from seeking such pleasure. Anything to kill the roots.

XXXXXX

Sansa jerk back her arm but he fully had her in his grasp. Her mouth curled into a frown and her free hand placed hard against his chest.

" I'm sorry. " she blurted out before big rolling tears dripped from her face. These tears weren't from pain or his hateful words. Sansa knew better, she knew Clegane even when drunk would not hurt her. But her eyes gave tears from the pain he took for her.

" I'm sorry you wouldn't hurt me! I'm sorry he is our king!" Fear quickly ran over her face after her last statement. Quickly she looked behind the corner to make sure none other than Clegane heard. " Please Ser let me go!"

XXXXXX

"Little Bird...my redheaded Little Bird. Where is my song, sweet one? Sing for me your seducing tune. The King was right, you are a witch." His grip did ease up, but he still held her.

It was then that a pair of footsteps could be heard approaching and a familiar voice speaking. "Is everything alright here?" It was the dwarf, Tyrion.

"Was just about to escort Lady Sansa back to the chambers. She shouldn't be out alone." He growled, never once shifting his eyes from her.

"How kind of you Clegane, but I think I can handle that task. You are injured and need to heal."

The Hound snapped his eyes toward the little man. " I am fucking fine!"

"Yes and truly no one doubts your ability to withstand so much." He stepped closer in an attempt to defuse the situation. "You are drunk and if I am not mistaken you currently have company waiting for you in your barracks. Three days worth of company. Ease your pain and rage through pleasure and stop tormenting Lady Sansa." He spoke in a low tone, for only the three to hear. "Hasn't she been through enough?"

Sandor took a deep breath, realizing that the dwarf was right and he was currently acting out due to unacknowledged emotions. "Go." He shoved her away from him and towards the dwarf. "May I never see you face again." He cursed at her.

Watching him storm off, Tyrion sighed. "I would like to believe there is a spark of humanity in him. Sometimes I am not so sure there is...anymore. If only he had a better chance at life..." The dwarf stopped himself, knowing it wasn't the time or the place to ponder the 'what ifs' of Sandor Clegane. Instead he looked over to a visibly upset girl and sighed. "Did he hurt you?"

The door to his chamber slammed open so hard that it swung back and shut on its own accord due to the momentum. He was already tearing at his clothes as he approached Ros. "You ready for my cock, Little Bird?"

XXXXXX

Sansa glanced down at Tryion and let out a shaken breathe before speaking. " He's one of the few who has not hurt me. " she admitted before making her own exit and off to her own chambers.

Back inside Clegane's room still rest Ros. When the man stormed inside Ros slowly lifted from the bed and look him over.
" You went and saw your siren didn't you?" She asked him this boldly before moving to the edge of the bed and taking hold of his ready open pants, pulling him closer so her chin was placed on the flesh visible above his manhood.

" I was thinking of what you told me of your siren. Playing a sort of guessing game in my head. I think I have her pinned. " Her mouth turned down and she playfully nipped at this exposed skin.

" She wouldn't act like this though. " Ros said sweetly against his skin. " And you wouldn't talk so loud with her. "

XXXXXX

He pretty much said everything but her name when describing her, therefore it came to no surprise that Ros figured it out. She was after all from Winterfell, therefore she had to have known.

His eyes fluttered to the back of his head as the woman's mouth toyed with him; his hand grasping her hair into a clump and yanking her head back to look at her. "Then be a good whore and act like her then."

He was riddled with confliction, but at that moment he threw it all out and focused solely on his lust and primitive needs. He may never have her in real life, but there was no one to stop him from fantasizing, from desiring and imagining.

XXXXXX

" Act like a blind scared lamb. " Ros stated before standing on up and looking Clegane in the eyes.

" Ser. I'm lost. I was trying to find my way to the Red Keep. But somehow I ended up here. " Ros leaned over and blew the one candle lit in the room out. Now he stood with just a body lingering with a northern accent, her face vanished in the darkness.

" Can you help me Ser?" Ros reach out to let her finger tips linger over his arms. " You're Joffrey's Hound. You won't hurt me. "

XXXXXX

"The Little Bird is lost?" Once the candle went out his fantasy was allowed to take flight.

With the image of her in his head, he shocked himself at how gentle he actually could be. In the dark, this was not a whore whom he could ravish with extreme intensity; this was now an embodiment of the woman he desired.

His had rose to greet the side of her face, softly stroking it as his lips began to kiss up the curve of her neck towards her mouth. "I will never hurt you." He spoke with genuine kindness to what his imagination was conjuring. As his lips met her own, his hands glided down to unlace her covering. " You are beautiful in every way imaginable." Words that never escaped his tongue were now melting out of him as he exposed her bare flesh and moved her to the bed.

Laying her down, his tongue began to explore her body, imagining what little details it possessed that were strictly her own. His tongue began to flicker around her nipples, assuming that Sansa's was smaller, and more delicate to touch. "My Little Bird will sing for me." He whispered as he trailed down her body. He imagined how her flesh must taste like rose water just like his helmet smelt still. He glided himself further down and hands parted her thighs are he suckled on the tender flesh from between, guiding his tongue towards her womanhood.

He treated her body like it was untouched and pure, his movements were graceful, patient and oddly gentle considering he was a man who possessed none of those qualities in the light. As he began to please her, his opened up her folds and began making whispering laps, teasing her sensitive flesh before actually diving in to explore her with his mouth.

XXXXXX

Ros was use to all sort of men, but if she spoke truthfully this was not what she expected in the least. This giant of a man took his time picking ever lock he came to inside her. It was overwhelming at moments even for a skilled woman as herself.
Ros allowed the Hound to do with her body as he wished. She faked nothing, which was unusual for the commonly used whore. Her body started to even beg once he got into rhythm with his mouth. It went on for so long or so it felt that her body shot up and she pulled his face up. Hand fully on his scar as she forced her body to shift under his, plump lips pressing to his as her legs wrapped around his frame. Kissing on the mouth was not often performed by a high end whore. But in the heat of the moment Ros could easily forget her own rules.

XXXXXX

He took her to the brink of climax, but stopped to move upward, adjusting himself to enter her. He nestled his face, the unscarred side, to her own and whispered. "I will be gentle, my dear." He took his time entering her as if it where her first, treating her as if she would need time to adjust to him.

Once fully in, his movements were passion filled, but not rough. He kept his body close to her own, but lifted her leg to wrap it around his waist. With each thrust, his rhythm increased succumbing to the waves of desire as he imagined her underneath him.

Towards the peak, he began to speak her name. "Sansa...Sansa...Sansa...I want to steal you away and make you my own." He buried his face into Ros's hair, climaxing deeply within her.

He spent a few minutes in that position, coming off his high and bringing himself back into reality, but when a knock occurred at his door, he didn't hesitate to get up and open it.

The guard handed him his orders for the morning, the request to escort the royal family to the ports. " So they are sending the lil' princess away?" He questioned the guard as they spoke. "For the best, I suppose." They said their parting byes and he closed the door and went over to light the lantern that rested on the far side of the room.

A soft glow of amber illuminated the small chambers, enough for when he turned around the girl had transformed back into the whore and the magic of the illusion was broken. Grabbing the bottle, he took a swig and handed it over to the laying Ros. "Get yourself dress, since I have you for a few days I have to feed you."

XXXXXX

Ros was so into the feeling, her body felt on fire. It was rare that a man actually made her feel anything like this. But then he called her another's name and all that built up feel good energy faded fast.

He climbed off her to answer the door, when he turned back she was already standing, pulling her hair up and tying it up. " I can feed myself. I'm a little easier to take care of than a stray. " She told him as a smile appeared.

" I will come back tonight. " Ros informed him as she picked up her peach dress and shifted into the fabric.

When her face popped out of the top her expression turned slightly serious. She smoothed down the fabric.
" You know you're not the only one who wants to take her away..." Ros spoke so lightly before lifting her hand and wiggling her smallest finger. " Some wouldn't be as nice as you I fear..."

XXXXXX

"Suit yourself. Bring another bottle of this" He lifted the now empty bottle of wine. When she spoke up regarding others wanting to take Sansa away, it made him raise a brow but he was so drunk and overall exhausted he didn't question her further about it, that he would save tomorrow.

It was early in the morning when they made their way down to the port to send Myrcella away to Dorne. It was a hope that she would forge an alliance with the kingdom by eventually wedding the young prince, but the underline reason was that she simply wasn't safe in King's Landing anymore; at least that was how Tyrion felt.

Sandor escorted the King along with his mother and a few Lords and Ladies which include Sansa. That poor girl was dragged around like an abused puppy, for there was no reason for her to be there other than for the King to either torment or use.

Sandor felt shame; he could barely look her way, feeling as if he truly degraded her last night for imagining her during his time of pleasure. He was an absolute ass and he felt like it, but still there was a yearning and a desire that he simply couldn't kill off. What was it that made her so appealing? Yes, she was beautiful, but he had seen beautiful women before, and knew it wasn't beauty alone that drove him to her.

"No more." He whispered to himself as he stood alone during the departure. He went as far as he wanted pretending with Ros. He got it out of his system and now he can just focus on the upcoming battle and try to go back to a semi normal, though lonely, existence.

XXXXXX

Sansa step back from the Queen mother, even though she hated this woman she despised seeing a distressed mother. She was still close to them as they said their goodbyes. If she was being honest she found the whole setting to be rather heart touching, even Joffrey appeared to be slightly saddened but scolded his brother for crying.

" She's safe. " Lord Tyrion muttered as he stood between the Hound and Sansa. He didn't expect anything to be said more on this but a soft voice broke between the odd trio.

" She's lucky. " Sansa stated as she watch the Queen mother kiss her daughter once more before she got on the boat.
Tyrion glance down because he knew what Sansa meant by this far too well. " Maybe you'll be lucky one day too. " he muttered just loud enough for them to hear.

XXXXXX

From the side he observed the brief interactions of the others until Joffrey huffed by. "Come on Dog!" He demanded and Sandor obeyed.

As the procession marched through the streets of King's Landing, that internal instinct poke at his gut that something was amiss. The kingdom's people watched in silence until someone began mocking the king, and another begged out for food. Slowly but steadily others began calling out. "We're starving!" "Your royal grace so high and mighty!" " Don't you care about your people!" "All Hail the King". Until there was a wave of voices shouting at the group.

Tyrion must have held the same instinct for he immediately ordered for the prince to be returned to the Keep, then suddenly a pile of shit was thrown, slapping the boy in the face and making him squeal.

Instinctively, Sandor drew his sword, but honestly he wanted to personally shake the hand of the person brave enough to do what others should of done awhile ago. Chaos was building and fighting began as the King threw a temper over the situation.

It was the orders of death that began the fighting, as now villagers were attacking Gold Cloaks and Gold Cloaks attacking villagers. The Hound threw himself into the fray, swinging, fighting and killing as was his nature to do so.

XXXXXX

Sansa was pushed off to the side by one of the white cloaks. The situation around the royal family broke out so quickly, the young girl couldn't focus on who was around her. Each member of the royal court was grabbed up and carried away, all except Sansa.

She stumbled around and looked at the outbreak around the area. That's when she saw a man's arm fully get ripped off from his shoulder. It was so sickening that it sent the young girl darting away. Her running caught the eyes of several men in the pile tearing the man limb for limb. Down an alley she darted thinking if she could just find her way to the street she knew all would be fine but unfortunately she had taken a dead end.

Tyrion was trying to relax the king but it quickly turned into a screaming match followed with him slapping his nephew in the face. " Where's the Stark girl?" Tyrion gave up on talking sense to his nephew. Instead he started counting heads.

" Let them rip her apart!" The King shouted.

" Then we can't get your uncle Jamie back!" Tyrion explained in a angry tone. " You!" He pointed at several king's guards who refused.

XXXXXX

The people were turning into savages; but what was to be expected when they were poor and starving. He grabbed the King like an angry parent would grab a disruptive child, and this child was truly disruptive. Joffrey screamed and yelled for everyone's death, not realizing the absolute danger he and his family were currently in.

Sandor wanted to feel sympathy for their crisis but unfortunately it was not the place; instead his sword spoke. He slashed and pummeled through the crowds, attacking only those who sought to challenge him until he had safely escorted the King to a secured area.

Immediately Tyrion let into the ruler, having the balls to tell him he was the sole antagonist to why such a rebellion was occurring. When he questioned the Knights to seek Lady Sansa, no one offered and many spoke that they only take orders from their King, who had already huffed away to pout in a corner.

What Tyrion failed to notice was that the second he mentioned the girl was still in the frenzy, Sandor had already dashed back into it, determined to find her. He fought with madness, giving no mercy to anyone who dared crossed his path. His only focus was her.

XXXXXX

Sansa had led herself into a loft of sorts and she had no where to go now, but her capture came due to tripping over a rope that was hid in hay. Quickly in a panic she rolled on to her back and started to shuffle away before screaming as loud as she could. Knowing good and well it would not help or save her though. Her eyes fully lock on the men before her right before three of them grab her and pulled her back towards them. One on each of her legs separating them while one moved to center himself in between them. The one on her right reach forward and tug at the fabric on her dress, nearly releasing her full breast. All the while the one on the left covered her mouth right after another scream came out. Slapping and clawing did no good against three full side men though.

XXXXXX

He followed the crowd of lust hungry men acting like starving dogs to fresh meat. Reaching the target right before her virgin fruit was plucked by the scum of Flea Bottom.

Immediately he grasped the man as he was preparing to ram his cock into her and spun him around to ram his sword into the man's cock and sliced upwards. Bloody intestines unraveled from the man's belly, spilling in splashes at her feet. The others that held her down fled as fast as they could, while the monster's focus was on the girl.

"You're alright Little Bird, you're alright." There was an absence of panic in his voice, for he spoke to her with a casual tone as though she merely slipped and he caught her. His hand reached out to extend his service to her, and when she would grasp it, he flung her over his shoulder as though she were light as a feather.

XXXXXX

The whole event was a blur to Sansa, it caused her to be rather skittish the rest of the evening. Once back in the keep she just found a spot in the dining hall and sat with one of her cross stitch squares. No one was in the dining hall, most of the court were to shook up to leave rooms. Sansa found peace in this setting because Shae wouldn't stop checking on her while in her chamber. If she was being honest she wasn't sure if she was alright, she felt many things about what happened. Some that she wasn't too proud about but she knew better to voice those thoughts even to someone like Shae, so instead she just kept to herself and sewed.

XXXXXX

The events had everyone in an uproar and Sandor's remaining day was consumed handling a very overtired, temperamental boy King who couldn't rule an army of ants let alone a kingdom.

When he finally was relieved of his duties, his first inclination was to go back and comfort himself in his whore's purchased cunt, but he got side tracked by a group of fellow guards planning on drinking away their worries in the dining hall.

He wasn't much of a companion and usually kept to himself even amongst his fellow guards, but he was not one to say no to drinks, especially after hearing it was from a Lannister stash given to them by Tyrion for their bravery during the day's events.

He didn't notice her at first, for she tucked herself away far from where the men conjugated. It wasn't until he was bringing the cup to his lips did his sights catch that mane of fire from afar. Even from across the room, he could see that she was paler than normal and there was a slight shake to her hands.

He grabbed an empty goblet and poured some of the ruby wine into it, not filling it completely, but making sure there was enough for a good dosage before making his way over. Not a word did he say at first, only extended the goblet towards her. "Come on Little Bird, it'll ease those rattling nerves."

XXXXXX

Sansa stopped her needle and glance over at the cup, she didn't like the taste of wine but his comment made it sound rather appealing. She took it from him but didn't sip it right away. On the table in front of her she had a plate of berries, with no one dinning in the hall she had had the privilege to choose what she wanted this evening. The cross stitch she held in her hands was of a God Wood tree, she was working on the bright red leaves.

" Thank you Ser. " she told him before putting the cup to her lips. " Not for the wine." she stated as she lowered it to the table, her face showing the distaste she felt from the wine.

XXXXXX

His eyes were fixated on her bringing the cup to her lips and the soft ruby stain it left behind when she did. For a moment he imagined how delicious kissing her would be, but that internal voice immediately chastised him.

"No need to thank me that is what dogs are for after all. We chase the rats that scatter at your feet."

In another world, he imagined her gratitude far different than a simple 'Thank You', but at this moment she was actually looking him in the eyes, which was a huge shift from her typical scared expression of him.

XXXXXX

Sansa pulled her eyes back to the tree settled in her lap. Figuring it was useless to thank him again, so she chose not to. " I suppose you have made up for the filthy things you said to me last night. " she stated simply before picking her needle back up and looking up at him. " I'd rather you sit than lurk over me like you're doing." She admitted.

XXXXXX

"I said nothing drunk that I wouldn't say sober." He wanted to truly tell her he was sorry for those words. That she was not the source of his anger and madness and that she had nothing to fear from him.

"Taking ten lashings didn't really have me in the best of moods yesterday." His voice growled towards her, giving her a reminder of the situation he was placed in.

He brought the bottle to his lips and drank heavily. "And I can lurk if I want to fucking lurk. Not all dogs sit on command."

XXXXXX

" I didn't command it, I invited you to sit with me." Sansa hissed before pricking her thumb with her needle. She shook her stuck hand and placed her stitching down on the table before her.
" You didn't mean what you said. That's why I'm not mad at you. " she admitted before placing the end of her thumb against her lips to stop the bleeding sticking herself .
Her blue eyes lingered over him before she drop her thumb from her lips, " How are you?" She was referring to his back, her saddened guilty expression read clearly.

XXXXXX

A mere shrug was given to her comment before watching her prick her finger. For a moment he wanted to ask her if that was how the bloodstain on the handkerchief he possessed got the same mark. "You have shitty luck with sewing needles." There was almost a touch of humor to his usual miserable voice.

When she inquired about his back, his face twisted up again. "What the fuck do you care, you don't have them." Again he silently chastised himself for being cruel to her. She was doing nothing but being genuine and here he was being an asshole once more.

"How is your leg?" It was his attempt at easing back his snide remarks and to extend some form of verbal kindness her way.

XXXXXX

Sansa was just not in the mood for this banter with him or anyone. This had been just as long of a day like the day her father was put to death. Her demeanor showed elements that normally only older girls gave off.
" What the fuck do you care, it's not your leg. " she spat right back at him when he asked her this. This was the first time in her life she used this word. After saying it she could nearly feel her father's bones rolling over in his grave. Exhaling hard she turn back to her cross stitch to see her bleeding thumb had drip on to the white tree. This made her eyes roll and she toss it in to the table as if it was fully ruined.

XXXXXX

She was a spitfire and it rattled his nerves. "Well don't come crying to me when the fucking thing rots off." He slammed the bottle down and spun on his heels to walk away. He needed his whore.

He didn't come barging in like a crazed lunatic this time, but he did seem on edge when he entered his chambers. Ros wasn't there as he expected, but he also wasn't disappointed either. She got her coin, maybe she hightailed it out of here, he figured. Aside from Bells he rarely had the same whore twice; he knew they were scared if his face and couldn't handle having to look upon it more than once.

Immediately he began removing his armor, his body ached and wanted to feel air on his sore and battered skin. These last two days were torturous and he wanted to know when it was all going to end. "Maybe I will get fucking lucky and die when Stannis comes to town." He spoke to his mangled reflection in the small mirror.

XXXXXX

" What a thought to have. " Ros was just stepping in when he started speaking to himself. She held a brand new bottle in her hand.
" If you die may I have your helmet, it would make a grand flower pot. " She teased as she placed the bottle on the table in front of him.
" I've been looking high and low for you another girl for this evening, but I can't find you one. Apparently lots of men plan on dying and all are taken, and you have me and I'll ruin your bed sheets tonight." Ros wasn't like the other whores, she spoke clearly and stated what was on her mind. She also spoke to Clegane fearlessly now, so differently than before they slept together. It was normally the opposite with whores. Normally after the exchange was done they were rude and gave little care to how they spoke. " But if you don't care about the mess I don't either. "

XXXXXX

"Facing Death brings all men's cocks to stand stiff." He chimed in to her comment about the lack of whores. "Blood is blood, isn't something I haven't seen before." He grabbed the bottle from her and immediately tore into it. For some reason he enjoyed this one over the Lannister wine, finding the latter too sour to his taste compare to this. He studied the bottle for a moment before gazing back up to her. She had not transformed into his secret illusion and at that moment he was happy that she didn't.

He handed the bottle to her son she could share in the liquid delight. "Were you okay during that shit show this morning?" His voice actually held concern when questioning her.

XXXXXX

" Yeah. Peytr had me running all over making sure his boat is stocked up for his journey to the Vale. " Ros settled down at the top of his bed before slipping her shoes off.

" I was nowhere near flea bottom. But I heard a few of the handmaids talking. Seems your Little Bird nearly got her wings clipped. " Ros glance over and took the bottle from him, bringing it to her mouth, her golden eyes scanning over him.

" You save her?"

XXXXXX

"No one else was going too, fucking small cock cowards the whole bunch. " He paused to take a swig. "Not the imp though, I have respect for him. May be small as a fucking tree stump, but he has balls bigger than a bull."

"Well I am...it is good to know you're okay. You're a good woman, Ros. Do you know if Bells and her mother are safe?"

XXXXXX

" Some Dornish man has Bells this week, she has to stay on his boat and drink out of a bowl like a cat. " Ros started laughing. " No one messes with her witch of a mother. She should be fine. " she lowered her head and look across at Clegane.

" I'm not a good woman. " Ros stated as her tone lowered back into a serious one. " ...I know things. Things that should be told. " Ros leaned up and lingered close to Sandor's ear.

" The walls have ears and eyes Clegane. And Littlefinger has two feather beds ordered for his voyage. Her wings we're clipped today but people are getting in line with scissors. "

XXXXXX

He took another hefty swig as she spoke, spilling the details of Littlefinger's plan. "You mean he plans on taking Sansa with him?" He never trusted the man; he always sensed he was up to something. "But why? What purpose does she have to him?

He never got involved with the details of plans and plots, that was unless he was personally involved or had to stand by and listen. He couldn't imagine the weasel had good intentions for her. "He isn't going to fucking sell her to one of those foreign harems, is he?"

Despite slavery not being used in Westeros, everyone knew Littlefinger dabbled in the trade; for many times he would present beautiful, exotic girls at his houses and at other times beautiful, native girls would vanish.

XXXXXX

" I don't know for sure. " Ros leaned away. " I just see how he looks at her, and it worries me. " she admitted to him.
" I know it's not your place, but I don't know who else to share these worries with. Sansa is an important chess piece to some. Littlefinger has clients who would pay a lot for a child as pretty as her. The thoughts of what he has planned for her are too dark to voice. What he asks of some of the girls that work for him..." Ross shook her head.
" Just check on her often. Maybe talk to her as nicely as you did last night. "

XXXXXX

He wanted to grab her and shake her till she spilled every detail she knew about him, but he knew she was already doing so and at a cost. "How dare that fucking bastard even think of touching a single thread of hair on her head?" He spewed through gritted teeth before going to a drawer and withdrawing a few coins.
"For your ears to hear and your eyes to keep watch for me. I want to know everything." He dropped the coins into her hand, not knowing the future events would not see that girl on that man's ship. "And I do watch out for her." He added. "Though I haven't been so kind."

XXXXXX

" I'm not asking for payment for this Clegane. " she stated strongly before placing the coin on his night stand. " If I know anything you will be told. And when you die I get that fuckin' helmet. It's going right in my garden. " she informed him before tapping the large dog like face with her foot before laying on down in his bed.

" Why is that? That you aren't kind to her? You can be civil. Or are you just acting that way because I let you make love to me and call me another's name during?"

XXXXXX

"It smells like fucking roses already." He kicked the sitting piece as he watched her flop casually on his bed. He didn't really want to remember last night, and fortunately he didn't, but what transpired between him and the whore was very much remembered. He had to let that go. He had to remove those roots before they grew too deep that they would consume him like a vine choking a tree.

"Get the fuck off my bed and come with me." He needed to forget right now, and what perfect company he had to do so.

XXXXXX

Ros couldn't forget the night the pair shared. It was a interesting evening in her book. A smirk fanned across her face as she sat on up. " You can't fool me Clegane. You may fight like a mad dog, but you didn't place one rough hand on me last night. We didn't fuck at all. You treated me better than most proper ladies get on their wedding night. " she told him as she put her shoes back on.

" Let's go. Where are we going?"

XXXXXX

"I was drunk and in pain." He gave the only excuse he could create at the moment. "And if you keep talking about it, I"ll fucking cut out your tongue." It was obvious he held shame over the incident but she would know his threats weren't as serious as many who have cursed her.

He grabbed the bottle and opened the door and stepped out to wait for her. "Going somewhere private." He stated as he took the lead. A few moments later they were on the path to the gardens. It was a crisp, yet soothing night, perfect for lovers or men with their whores.

He took a sip as they strolled, not having a set path or destination to take, but subconsciously he was being guided. When he had settled on a spot, it was the gardens underneath the dining hall balcony, where a certain someone sat alone in a corner, with a goblet of Lannister wine and a bloodstained cross stitch in hand.

XXXXXX

Ros didn't ever get to freely stroll about the gardens, she was either asked here by Lord Tyrion or when she accompanied Lord Baelish. The gardens were nice even in the dark; she wasn't sure why Clegane was leading her through them.

" Why are we here?" Ros asked as she walk over and cupped one of the large ruby red roses in her hands. Her face dipped down and she smelt the shining petals before looking back over to the scared man. " Did you want me to pick you some flowers? Or were you thinking of picking them for someone else Ser?"

XXXXXX

"Fresh air...privacy.." He shrugged. "Do we need a fucking reason?" He grabbed her then, his hand rounding over her bottom and firmly squeezing it. "Or maybe because I like to fuck in the dirt. I am a dog after all." He growled as he took a few steps off the path and toward the grassy area.

The gardens that rested over the balcony held an open area where stone benches rested, giving patrons of the gardens the opportunity to enjoy the sounds of music when such was played in the grand dining hall above, yet concealing them from the eyes of those who may be lurking over the balcony's edge.

"So does my paid whore sing?" He questioned as he pulled her over to the benches nearby. Sitting down upon the the graystone slab he brought Ros to sit on top of him. "Know any Iron Isle songs?" He had a particular tune in mind, one that once put him to sleep by a redheaded siren. He brought the bottle to his lips at the first image of her popping into his head.

XXXXXX

Ros settled on his lap, her legs cross and her hands clasp over her top knee.
" I know one. I sung it to you last night, probably to drunk to even recall that. " she teased him as she let her fingers drift up from her knee to her hip.

" A Greyjoy boy use to waste all his earned coin to sing it to me. But I barely remember the words. " Ros admitted before her eyes shot up at the sky. " Shows how important that boy was to me. Can't even recall his song. " Ros had to think hard on the words, it was more difficult when this sober to just sing.

" You're like the Dead Sea, you'll never sink when you are with me. Kindest words you ever said to me. " Ros didn't really sing, it was more like reading poetry.

XXXXXX

It was the same words but lacked the desired effect. "You should stick to fucking, singing isn't your skill."

He was trying to stay focused on the moment. He had many whores in his life, even recently, and none did he perform with like last night. He wasn't a brute to them, but he also wasn't the image of a gentleman either. Part of him desperately wanted her to transform into his Little Bird. His Little Bird who sat just above their heads. His Little Bird that pricked her finger on a sewing needle and ruined her stitch. His Little Bird that can sing an Iron song and make his eyes heavy and his body relaxed.

Unknowingly he had pulled Ros's hand up and began kissing the inside of her palm and up around the side to eventually fall upon her index finger. The same finger that Sansa pricked. His lips kissed the spot, expecting to taste a droplet of blood. It is what he should have done.

XXXXXX

" I never claim to be good at singing. " She told him easily before looking over head at where the dining window rested. She couldn't see anyone inside but Ros knew where they were at least. Her attention was snap back when Clegane started kissing her hand. Again she was surprised in this giant of a man.

" I think you need to admit that a whore isn't going to get this out of your system." She told him in just a whisper. " If it was as simple as fucking it would be much easier to deal with. " Ros told him before getting more comfortable on his lap. Never once pulling her hand from his mouth as she curled up against the man. Laying her head against his shoulder and bringing her legs up like a child might.

" Do you want me to tell you about Winterfell?" She asked softly.

XXXXXX

Still holding her finger, his mind broke free from his thoughts and again came back to reality.

"I have been to Winterfell." He was tempted to critique it, give his horrible opinion about the things he hated there, but honestly he enjoyed it. "It was...cold." A generalized statement, but that was all he was able to muster up.

"Tell me what you know about her?" He knew this was his opportunity to find out some information from someone who may have seen the girl or heard of her at some point. "You fucked the charge...Greyjoy...so you're basically like family." He teased.

XXXXXX

Ros rolled her eyes. " I don't think it works that way. " she fully admitted before a laugh followed.

" I don't know much of her. I know she is going on fifteen, and her mother worried about her . Most girls get their red flowers by eleven or twelve, I heard Lady Catelyn praying about it once at the Godswood. In the North they call barren girls 'Eternal children.' I think having her mother worry about this has made her try and grow up a bit too fast.
She sews. The Greyjoy paid her to make me a dress once. I still own it to this day." Ros had to think of things back from her days in Winterfell. Nowadays she had very little sightings of Sansa, let alone information about her.

" Ned use to say she was like a mocking bird and could remember any song sung to her. She used to sing a lot to her smaller siblings. The littlest named Rickon was glued to her for the first year of life. He cried when anyone else touch him."

XXXXXX

He listened intently, but aside from minor details, he knew those things about her. He felt that it was absolutely unfortunate that the majority of the kingdom knew she hadn't bled yet; a detail he felt should have remained between her and her female confidants.

He patted Ros on her thigh. "Okay I had my share of you." He grunted as he placed the woman back on her feet. "Your free from my clutches...I want to be alone."

He left her there, standing in the gardens. He felt compelled, and being that he was a man that didn't waste time planning, he just went where his instincts told him to go.

He found himself a short while later staring up at the grand oak that stood center in the Godswood of the Red Keep. In a perfect world he had hoped it would have been a Weirwood like she had back home, but knew that this tree still represented a piece of who she was.

In the light of the stars the smoky, berry vines that twisted around it made it appeared to be adorned in rubies and it massive branches reached out as though it were raising its praises to the Heavens above. He surveyed the tree, not wanting to break away healthy pieces, but wanting to find a branch suitable for what he had in mind.

He desired to bring to her a gift; something that would bring her comfort in these dark times and represent an acknowledgment that he was not cross with her.

By the light of a single candle he sat in his chambers alone, carving and shaping until the crack of dawn trickled into his room. In the end, he had a small hand sized flute, perfect for her to slip into the pockets of her dress if she wished.

He planned on sneaking into her chambers during the morning feast and placing it under her pillow to surprise her when she returned.

Scrawling onto a torn piece of paper 'Little Bird' he gently tied it to the flute and began his morning ritual before heading out.

XXXXXX

The gift Sandor had made would have lead Sansa to have as good of a morning as she could have had in the Keep, but instead of peacefully waking to a gift being placed under her pillow she woke up before dawn with her heart racing and nightmares lingering even while she was awake.

Her body shook as she saw the faces of the men who took hold of her the day before. Awful nightmares lingered even while she sat up in her bed; orange strands of hair hung in her face as she shifted up, her hands rubbing them out of her face.

Settled in her bed she look over to the cross stitch she had finished the night before. As she reached over to pick it up was when she felt the wetness between her legs. Her body froze as she felt the mess on her thighs. Quickly her hand pulled her sheets back and that's when she saw it. Her face crumbled faster than it had ever during her stay in the Keep. Trembling and shaking her head. "No...no...please Gods no..." quickly she jump from her bed and look down at her messed sheets and night wear.

Her hands were shaking so much and her thoughts racing. She couldn't do anything more try to hide it all. Her hands took hold of the bed and she pulled it as much as she could. Her plan was to flip it, hide it so none could see. It was before dawn maybe no one was up or listening but then her door started to open.

XXXXXX

As Shae made her way to Sansa's room, she heard the cries of panic. She had a soft spot for the girl and knew she must be dealing with the trauma from yesterday and the day before. Immediately she came rushing in, only to find the poor girl covered in blood and freaking out.

She knew and she knew the consequences that were to come. "Come I will help you." But Sansa's salvation was not to be, for as the girls attempted to cover it up did the dress maid enter. All who attended to her knew to watch for the flower to blossom, and unbeknownst to Sansa, the Queen had promised every servant that cared for her five gold pieces. The girl only stood long enough to see the blood and Sansa's condition before dashing out of the door with Shae following her.

Moments later he came in. Having not seen the scenario of girls rushing out, he assumed the door was ajar due to the servants stripping her bed and cleaning her room, while she feasted in the dining hall. What he walked into was a different sight indeed.

XXXXXX

Sansa gave up with flipping the bed when Shae ran off. She stumbled around and pulled out a clean dress, tossing it to her bed before she started to peel the bloody one she wore up over her thighs. As her hands gathered the fabric up she caught full sight of him. The Hound stood there; he looked just as surprised as she did. A defeated look fell over her and she dropped the dress she wore. Sansa turned and settled on the edge of her bed. Too many eyes had seen it now, it was real.

Sansa rubbed her eyes as tears spilled. "Well...soon once Joffery... you and the rest of the King's guard will have me." Sansa choked this out before crossing her arms around herself.

XXXXXX

What could he even say at this moment? They all knew that once she flowered she would wed the King and then her true nightmare would begin. He wasn't going to sugarcoat this for her; he wasn't going to tell her that everything will be alright or assist her in hiding it. This was a situation that Sansa would have to face head on.

"Well no use crying about it." He stood tall, looking down at her like a giant gazing down upon dwarf. "You need to be strong, Little Bird."

Shae returned hoping that her threat held and planning the next phase to secure Sansa's secret. Unfortunately when she entered all hope collapsed as she noticed the scarred knight looming over the frightened, bloodstained girl. "Get her cleaned up" He demanded of the servant "We have much to face."

***Flashback Ends***

Chapter Text

HOMELAND

Present Day

Sandor began convulsing in the middle of the night as the fever he developed reached a high point. The Maester, who stayed in the room, rushed from his chair and immediately attempted to assist, only to be struck in the face from a flailing arm. "He is getting worse." He spoke out loud, grabbing the nearby water basin to splash upon his burning body. "When fevers take over it can burn the brain." He informed Sansa. "Help me administer the liquid of the willow, it might help reduce the fever, but he might not pull through."

XXXXXX

Sansa and even Ser Davos attempted all help they could for Sandor, but it wasn't enough. Salladhor who had grown very close to the scarred man over the month they spent alone together came up with their best bet; taking their ship on to the Citadel instead of King's Landing. It might be Clegane's only hope, and Sansa knew this. She would give all she had to save him, but leaving him with strangers seemed so hard to do.

" Come on my lady. We have to get going. " Brienne called to her.

" Just another moment. " Sansa stated as she sat on the edge of a foreign bed. The off white brick walls made the room seem much bigger than any she had been in with him, but maybe this was also due to Sansa had never felt this helpless in a situation.

" Leave me. Just a moment. " she asked her guard as a tear rolled down.

" Yes my lady. "

Once alone Sansa gave attention back to her husband. She found it odd the features she noticed while looking him over, for just a moment she forgot the jagged skin that formed over his face. Over the past few months she had gotten so use to seeing him daily that she no longer noticed it. This brought a sad smile that only lead to more tears.

Her hand reach over and she place a letter in his hands, even if he didn't know she was there she wanted him to have proof when he woke up.

" I love you...and I order you not to die here. No one will make soup of us here. That would be a shame. " she told him before a shaken crying laugh broke from her. Sansa then stood and leaned over to kiss his face, each jaw equally before looking him over.

" You are loved. "

XXXXXX

The Citadel was known to possess some of the best Maesters in all of Westeros; this fact was verified by the stories Sansa heard from Samwell Tarly, who studied and worked under the same walls she now dwelled.

The Maester in charge of Sandor was Horus Dern, an elder gentleman who had a crooked back but kind eyes and allowed Sansa to accompany them while they set up quarters for her husband to recover. "It will take time, my lady." The old man placed a hand on her shoulder. "But I have brought back many men from Death's door and I assure you he seems like a true fighter." He chuckled softly before allowing her a few moments alone before departing.

They were able to break the worse of the fever, but the man still stayed in a world of dreams till coming to the Citadel. When she spoke that final phrase, his lip curled into a small smile and ever so lightly was her hand squeezed.

Brienne waited at the door, hesitant to disturb her mistress but knowing their time there was up. She slowly approached Sansa and stood over her. "My lady...it is time." She knelt down to Sansa's level. " He is in good hands. Let us begin to pave him a happier path to come home too. " She offered her hand to assist Sansa up. "Our ship is ready to sail."

XXXXXX

6 Months later

A lot had taken place in just a half of a year. Bran the Broken now was king of six Kingdoms, Sansa Stark was no longer the Lady of Winterfell but the Queen of the North while her adopted Targaryen brother lead the free folk who she provided needed land to. Arya, the youngest Stark was housed in Winterfell for the time being, but it wasn't where she wanted to be forever, or was it? Still to this day she had conflict over the blacksmith she fell for, but for the time being she had to help Sansa lead the North.

Arya was walking around the walled gate of Winterfell on her horse when she noticed a horse coming up the path. Her eyes narrowed as she locked on the being making their way through the snow.

" Friend or Foe?" She called in a half way friendly manner.

XXXXXX

"Your worst fucking nightmare, Wolf Bitch!" He shouted in returned from the distance.

Arya clicked her tongue to bring her horse into a full blown dash to close the distance between them coming upon him with a wide grin on her face.

"You didn't die!" She exclaimed as they came face to face for the first time.

"Disappointed?" He asked, raising a brow

"Yes!" She chuckled. " I sent many assassins to poison your wine, guess it didn't work."

"Well I am fucking here so you can now poison me to my face." He smirked.

"We weren't expecting you for another week." She turned her horse around and began to keep pace with his.

"I am fucking sick of being sick. Those crotchety old dust fucks of Maesters constantly poking and prodding at me. I couldn't fucking take it anymore. Decided to head North and come fuck its Queen."

Arya shook her head, the beast would never full change, but truthfully she never wanted him too. "Well she didn't miss you. She has moved on and found someone worthy of her love and affection." The girl teased and gave him a sideways glance to see if he took her seriously.

He ignored her jest completely and instead grinned. " Does she still pray to her nonexistent Gods in the Godswoods?" He asked instead

"Everyday...she will be going there after dinner."

"Good. Don't tell her I am back yet." He shifted his horse to slightly change direction, but before heading off to the Godswood, he stole the opportunity to push the girl from her horse and into a pool of mud. "Nice seeing you, Wolf Bitch!" He mischievously laughed as he rode off.

XXXXXX

Arya was not good at keeping secrets, nothing like Sansa that was for sure. The young woman had literally told Brienne the first chance they were alone together. Sansa settled at the table and quickly caught on to some looks coming her way.

" What?" She sternly asked as she piled on an aggressively large amount of cooked potatoes and cabbage.

" Nothing. " Brienne chimed along with her sister.

" I'm not in the mood for ether of you playing games. What did you do?" Sansa literally pushed her plate back.

" We didn't do anything to the food. Just laughing at how fat you're getting. " Arya stated as she fixed her own plate.

"It probably already weighs ten pounds. " Brienne added.

" I'm not fat." She scolded them both.

"You're with child. We know. " both Arya and Brienne said together, it had become a commonly stated fact.

" You looking forward to telling him...next week?" Arya asked.

Sansa smiled and happiness just shined from her. " Yes. Not telling him in our letters has been hard. But I want to see his reaction. "

" Yea. Seeing that scared fool say 'Oh shit' is going to funny, but then we'll get to hear about his magic one touch cock. " Brienne shook her head.

At this point Sansa hushed and started in on her food. She ate like a horse now days due to carrying a child inside her. Being pregnant was an interesting feeling, and it had been difficult not telling Sandor, but she thought such things should be told face to face.

After dinner she layered up, and with her winter cloaks on she didn't seem to be carrying, but once arms were around her it would be unavoidable to notice the swollen hard midsection she had.

" Bow, Antler, Fang, Thorn, and Rat!" She called her hounds who came running down the halls to meet their mistress. Rat being the small moppy looking dog given to her by Daario, she figured its fur would work well in the North; and thankfully her real hounds cared for it like a pup. " I'll be back. " she called to her sister who still looked like she was up to something.

XXXXXX

Brienne and Arya exchanged glances before continuing on with their meal while Sansa left.

As long as that Wolf Bitch kept her mouth shut, he wasn't expecting her till after the dinner hour, and had planned to wait till then. The air in Winterfell was much warmer than he last remembered, though definitely not a Southern breeze, the North wind was crisp, cool and utterly relaxing. He was content to spend time in the wood, a place he rarely had the opportunity to view during his time in Winterfell. He could feel the embrace of peace amongst the ancient trees, and he understood why she desired their company.

Finding his inner child, he chose to climb the white tree and hide in the thick branches to enjoy the bird's eye view and to cloak him from her sights until he was ready to surprise her.

XXXXXX

The moon had just fully rose up, large clouds showed their shape around the moon. Stars shined in the areas with no clouds. It was as clear of a night as the winter here could offer. Sansa made her way on to the Godswood, her hounds running about barking at each other. They each did their own thing but kept Sansa surrounded at all times. Rat walk closest to her, when they came in view of the destination Sansa could be heard talking to the small dog.

" Stop whining. You wanted to come out here. You have to walk in the snow. Next time don't get off the porch. " she scolded the animal like it was a person. Sansa stop under the tree and nonchalantly removed a whole slice of cake from under her cloak. To expect her to eat it normally was asking too much, instead she literally shoved the whole slice in her mouth. It took a moment to chew enough to be able to speak. " Thank you for cake...I've been all over the world and nothing compares. "

XXXXXX

As he waited in the folds of the tree, he noticed the small seeds that sprouted from it. Slightly bigger than acorns, these seeds though were a reddish hue and left a slight strain of red if held too long on an ungloved hand.

Sandor had occupied his time by plucking all the nearby ones and collecting them onto his lap. Out of boredom and his natural curiosity he attempted to eat one, only to discover how rancid they were and immediately spit it out.

When the sound of hounds announced her arrival, he quickly grew still and watched. Where he located himself gave him an advantage to see her from where she stood, alongside that little shit of a dog that followed her heels.

He almost busted out laughing when she shoved the cake into her mouth, for he never once witnessed such unladylike mannerisms from her like that. He found it fascinating but also rather humorous. When she spoke her praises, he took one those red acorns and tossed it down to peck her right on the head, and then another was tossed to get that stupid mutt right on its nose.

XXXXXX

Sansa finished the cake and made sure none was left on her face. When getting hit she just dusted her head off, thinking nothing of it for it happened often. One of her bigger dogs, this one being named Bow, trotted up to her with a stick. The beast dropped it at her feet and Sansa just look at the branch and then the two dogs at her side.

Sansa then placed her hand on the tree, and slowly started to attempt to bend down. About half way she looked back to the dogs. " Why can't you ever put it in my hand?" She stated before finally picking up the branch and tossing it. Rat went charging in snow as tall as himself while Bow leap nearly eight feet away.

When another acorn just naturally fell and hit Sansa her eyes shot up to the tree. " Damn squirrel. "

XXXXXX

He chuckled at her reaction, but caught himself for fear he would be heard, however if she didn't hear, that little mutt certainly did.

Rat's eyes darted at the tree and paused momentarily to sniff the air. Immediately it began to yelp and rushing over to the tree to attempt to see beyond the thick foliage. Bark. Bark. Bark. Then it would run over to Sansa as though attempting to get her attention then back over to the tree. Bark. Bark. Bark. Its voice hitting those high pitches that would make one's ear drums burst in their head. A pile of acorns came pelting down on the mutt and it growled, then continued to bark wildly once it caught sight of the suspect hidden inside.

XXXXXX

Sansa didn't think anything odd or she didn't until the pile of acorns came falling down on to the small mutt. " That must be a big squirrel." Sansa's eyes look up into the tree, she was trying her best to spy something out of the normal.

" It's bad luck to climb a Wierwood. " her voice ran clearly. " As your Queen I demand you get down and stop disrespecting that tree. "

XXXXXX

"Or what? Will the Queen of the fucking North beat me?" He revealed himself, the giant still in the tree. "She already has once." He said as he now was visible to her.

Aside from the slight flush in his cheeks due to the coldness, he seemed remarkably healthy and vibrant. It seemed the time at the Citadel shaved a few years off his age, but then again the last time she had her eyes on him he was very near death.

He slowly climbed down, taking care not to allow his massive frame to break the branches, and when his feet planted upon the snow, he stood just mere inches from her. "Well Little Bird, are you going to fucking kiss me, or just stand there with cake smudge on your face?" He laughed as his thumb pad removed a smidgen of frost from the side of her mouth.

XXXXXX

Sansa would have put coin on the simple fact that she felt her heart skip. A hand went to her smiling face, while another rested on her midsection. In the dark this look normal and nothing out of the normal but when Sansa came towards him and ready to embrace him, her mouth was the second part of her to bump into him; her now round hard belly pressed to his as her hands shot up and wrap around his neck.

" You're early! I wasn't expecting you for days!" She rub her nose to his as she excitedly stayed glued to him.

XXXXXX

At first he just delighted at the fact he got to kiss his wife again. Her lips were delicious and welcoming, which made him groan in an unsatisfied manner. He needed more.

However he also couldn't deny that something felt different about her. The press of two bodies together and he felt the hardness of her midsection and immediately his world stopped. His eyes glued onto her own as his hand slowly and meticulously moved beyond her furs to place over a hard, pregnant belly.

"Sansa?" Was all he was able to mouth as he stood still with questions in his eyes.

XXXXXX

" Sandor?" Sansa used the same tone as her husband but her face curled out into a nervous smile.

" I told you in my letters you needed to hurry on home." She told him lightly before placing her own hand over top of his. Her smooth hand ran over his scarred rough one. Her blue eyes pulled from his and look down at his hand over her.

" Just about two or so months now to go." She told him as her face turned back to him. " I was thinking of naming it Daario if it's a boy. " she teased in hope it broke the ice quickly.

XXXXXX

To his knees he fell, placing his head upon her belly enamored with the idea that a piece of him now grew in her belly. His hands circled around and when he felt a tiny kick he looked up in surprise and laughed, astonished that life lived inside.

He rose up when she gave mentioned of a possible name, but he didn't even scowl at such a suggestion; big hands pressed against the sides of her face and he brought her in for a deep kiss before pulling away to look her in the eyes and say. " Absolutely fucking no." Smiling wide afterwards.

So many questions reeled through his mind yet the only one he could think to ask her at that very moment was "Are you happy?"

XXXXXX

" Over the moon. " she told him as she closed the distance between their bodies again. " I've wanted to tell you since I found out, but I wanted to see this. " Sansa look down at her bump and rub her own hand over it before speaking. " If I had told you in a letter would you have still come?" She asked in a near whisper.

" I've actually been calling it Sandy for the time being, but only cause I have no clue what it is. My midwife says I'm carrying in the middle so that's little help on the old wise tales. "

XXXXXX

"Sandy?" He chuckled " You're horrible with names."

Effortlessly he scooped her up in his arms, holding her tight to him. "If you had told me, I would have ran for the hills, climb the mountains, swam the sea and walked till I had no skin on my feet to be here sooner."

He began to walk them out of the Godswoods, whistling for her mutts to follow. "You sure did get fat." He teased acting like she weighed a ton as he walked them back to the castle.

It seemed there was more life bustling about, now that Wildlings were granted lands in the North and the freedom to come and go as they pleased. He saw many familiar faces as he wove them through the crowds of workers, merchants and builders, who worked hard to restore Winterfell back to its original standing. Yet as they passed, each individual paused upon seeing them to bow in her presence.

"So you are Queen of the North now, huh?" He questioned as he still carried her through the corridors.

XXXXXX

" I am. " she stated simply before looking his way. " Queen. I am not fat. " she stated this quickly. " Pregnant is not fat. " she stated just as hard with him as she did with her female comrades.

" Though my midwife does admit that I appear larger. She has fussed with me on the conception time for weeks now, but I was there and she wasn't.
Plus what is it Arya called you once? A biggin'." She didn't even look towards those bowing at this moment; her whole focus was on him. As she laugh at her memory her face lean in to his, her voice only shared with him. " Sandy isn't bad till it gets out into the world. "

XXXXXX

"Put. Her. Down!" Was the very distinctive voice of Brienne who came rushing to their side. "For the Gods sake she is pregnant! You don't go carrying around a pregnant woman like a sack of potatoes! Besides she can walk on her own, she isn't crippled." Brienne had no shame in scolding the man as she was very protective of her Mistress.

" I know she is, you dumb cunt, it is my babe growing in there. Well a happy, fucking hello to you too, Bitch!" He growled but obeyed and gently placed her down beside him.

Brienne ignored him, she was frazzled enough already to play games. Once Sansa was securely upon her feet again, Brienne, having heard the last bit of their conversation add. "Besides, 'Sandy' is much better than what Giantsbane is calling it..." She paused and shuddered at the nickname. "Lubsux...apparently it is a name of a goblin giant." She shook her head in disappointment.

Sandor, wrapped Sansa into his arms as he listened to what the tall knight had to say regarding that redheaded man. "Tormund? That fucker is back?"

"YES!" Brienne cried. "And he won't leave me alone."

XXXXXX

" Tormund is Jon's right hand man. I took Ser Davos from him." Sansa explained. " Jon and Tormund normally show up every six to eight days. "

" They make rounds through the land making sure the Wildlings aren't ..." Brienne grew quite.

" Eating each other. " Sansa finished. " So far we've just been having that issue with one tribe. " she explained.

" But besides that the North has been rather peaceful. " the voice of Ser Davos rang from up on one of the wooden porches. " Come on. Get your sorry asses on in the house." He ordered the lot of them.

XXXXXX

Their letters to each other didn't really go into the issues regarding Winterfell or the North in general. Generally, it seemed, Sansa kept the details very light of all the changes occurring. His letters to her were more detailed and colorful regarding his stay and what he planned for them upon his return.

He looked down at Sansa when she mentioned the Wildlings having cannibal issues. "Anything else I need to know before walking through those doors?"

But before she could answer, Ser Davos appeared calling them in.

"Good to see you home, Lord Celgane... your Highness... Ser?" Davos was uncertain the formality the man desired, as it was known he had little interest in the powers of the thrones.

"Call me any one of those again and I will nip the tip of your tongue to match your missing fingers." He threatened before shaking the man's hand. "Home." He whispered as he looked over the massive structure that was now part of him.

"Did you know about this?" He patted Sansa's belly and Davos wildly smiled. "I was one of the first to know...I think we will have a little princess." He added.

"I still think it is a boy." Brienne chimed in.

The Hound's eyes danced between the pair. "Well I guess the father of the child is the last fucking one to know!" He wasn't mad, but it would be a lie that he felt out of the loop, especially with her being pregnant with his child.

XXXXXX

" As long as it has two eyes and no tail I will be happy." Sansa stated as she rub her own midsection.

" A tail could be a useful appendage. " Arya added. " It could jab its enemies with it. "

Sansa stayed close to Clegane, only stepping away to strip her winter cloak off. Without the extra layers her body changes stood out dramatically. Her breasts were swollen and it was easily understood that this late in the evening her dress laces were loosened. She stood in a royal blue, her favorite color. Stepping to the side so he could get a profile of her bump she smoothed the dress down so he could see just how far along she was.

" The last to know but the most important to be told. " she told him as she smiled and look him over. " I wouldn't have got to see your reaction in a letter."

XXXXXX

"As long as it doesn't come out looking like you, I will be happy with tails, fangs and horns." He snipped at Arya who retaliated by sticking out her tongue. "How was your mud bath earlier, Wolf Bitch"?

"Oh piss off you mangled bag of bones!" She scoffed.

Once settled inside, he finally got to see exactly how far along she was. He had always thought her beautiful, but now he had no words that could even come close to how radiant and majestic she looked now. Pregnancy suited her and there was nothing more alluring than knowing she carried the fruit of their love in her womb.

As the others conversed amongst each other, he stole a moment to come from behind her and whisper. "We never did have that bedding ceremony; I can take you right now right here, this very spot." His hands rubbed her swollen belly and made their way up to her breast as he planted a kiss on her neck.

XXXXXX

" I think we have better proof . " She told him as her hand drifted over top of his that held her so close. Her face turned to look at him from the side. " Plus I think you may be disappointed to not find your slim bride under all this. " she stated before looking away. " I'll be back to normal soon. Just a few weeks longer. " The whispers between the pair were interrupted by Arya.

" I think there is more than one in there. A pair at least. The midwife says it happens more often than one would think. " Arya told Clegane.

" There is not two in there. " Sansa clarified calmly. " Its just one. It does flips daily under my skin."

" One of each would be so perfect though. Then we could be done. Two is enough. " Arya stated simply.

Sansa rolled her eyes. " Hush. You'll make Sandor have a heart attack at the thought. " she told her sister.

XXXXXX

Where she saw herself as unattractive he saw the complete opposite. "You are ravishing just like this." He assured her before turning his sights on Arya. "We will have an entire litter of pups and each one will bite at your heels." He promised Arya.

"I still think there are two in there." She spoke before heading off to feud with her own lover.

"Well..." Ser Davos spoke as he looked over at the pair. "I suppose you wish to rest for tonight and hopefully by morning King Jon and his entourage will be back. I know he wanted a word with you, Clegane. I will leave you two to...catch up." The old man gave a sheepish grin as he bowed to excuse himself.

"Do you need anything, my lady, before I retire for the night?" Brienne stepped forward to offer her services before Sandor's hand flickered at her. "Bug off woman, I can tend to her. You all had your bloody share!" He growled in a protective manner, but Brienne still waited for Sansa's confirmation.

XXXXXX

" I'm fine for the rest of the night. I will see you in the morning. " she assured her guard who nodded towards her before making her way on down the hall. The room grew quite as one by one their comrades departed.

" Are you hungry? " She asked as she walked in front of him with her fingers laced in between his own. "...I sewed a Clegane and Stark banner for our bed room. I hung the Clegane one over the side of the bed you prefer." She told him.

XXXXXX

"There is nothing more I desire than you." He scooped her up again, caring not about Brienne's scolding. "You've been a busy woman, Lady Clegane."

He navigated the halls of Winterfell as if he had never left and didn't put her down until they were in the room, where he rested her gently on the bed.

Kicking off his boots, removing his cloak and overcoat, he finally settled into the bed next to her. "I have waited six long months to have my Little Bird again." He brushed strands of red from her face before cascading down his hand to brush over her collarbone and over the tops of her breast. "I missed your touch, your voice, your eyes, your body..." He wrapped his arm around her waist and lifted her over him as he rested on the bed. His hands began to navigate underneath her skirt, onto the tops of her thighs and over her round belly. "I never wanted children before...never cared for them and thought this world was too cruel to bring life into it. That all changed with you."

XXXXXX

Sansa sat up and pushed her skirts down best he would allow. " Well the world is still full of cruel people, but our children can help change that bit by bit just as we have. " Sansa glance down at his hands moving under the fabric of her dress over her belly.

" You miss my old body. The one I have at the moment is not what you remember nor should you see it to compare. " Sansa was slightly self conscious over her new natural plum features. " But I've missed you too. " she told him before pointing up to the bright yellow banner that hung on the stone wall. " These use to be my parents chambers. My mother kept her own banner next to my father's, so it seemed fitting. "

XXXXXX

"You stupid woman, I think I love you more like this than before. It is a wonder to hold life, don't ever chastise your current state. You are perfect to me and always will be."

He was so enthralled with her that he barely even noticed the changes to the room. Eyes lifted to view two joining banners, the Wolf and the Hound, he almost laughed never thinking he would ever see such a sight in his life. Prior to the attack with Daario, he had mentioned the desire to marry her properly, to truly unify so no man or nation could separate them again. "You did good, woman, but will your people accept me as one of their own; I am after all a dog from a horrible house who stole their Lady and whisked her away to the East."

XXXXXX

" You never stole me. " she stated quickly. " You saved me from King's Landing, and saved me for the Dragon Queen. And now" She gave a full smile. " The North is no longer part of the seven kingdoms. Jon and I rule it together just as all wanted. All are excited about the birth of our baby. I've not hid the truth. " Sansa stated this shamelessly before she slowly shifted off of him and stood from the bed. Sansa made her way to a table where she kept a pitcher of water.

" The last Queen these people had slept and bred with her brother. You and I are a better pair. " she told him as she fix herself a glass of water. Sansa leaned against her table and sipped her water. While standing there her free hand drifted up fully unlace her outer layer fully.

"Jon will probably end up paired with a Wildling, so soon the gossip will all be on him, and the ongoing bullshit between Arya and Gendry. He rides up once a month to just see her and begs her to leave with him. This has been going on for six months now. "

XXXXXX

He propped himself up slightly on his arms to watch her dance around the room. She still possessed the same graceful and dignified step she had since he first met her.

She was right, she had changed, but it was a wonderful change, like seeing a rosebud still tightly closed and green finally bloom open to a thick, crimson blossom. How foolish she was not to see what he saw.

He half listened to what she had to say, placing the majority of his focus on her hands unlacing; yet when she mentioned Arya and Gendry he laughed. "That poor boy, when is he going to learn that some can't be tamed?"

XXXXXX

" Tamed? " Sansa smirk and made her way back over to the bed where she slipped the outer blue layer off before folding it and discarding it away for the night. " Is that what I am? The tamed Stark sister?" She asked as she sat down on the edge of their bed.

" I think if anyone has been tamed it is you. " her blue eyes shot his way. "You use to be so...untouchable. And now?" Sansa lick the edge of her teeth before standing back up. " Now you are practically begging me to touch you. " Sansa didn't turn back, instead she made her way to the door and glance back just as she had on the night she lead him to this very chamber. Nothing was said but the young woman crept out of the room in hope he would follow.

Once out in the hall she picked up the pace and headed to the stone stairs that would lead to the underground springs that rested under the castle.

XXXXXX

"I don't beg." His voice grew deep as he watched her tease him. His words might not but his eyes sure did. He attempted to reach out and grasp her, but she had an advantage and made her way out the door while he leaped up and chased after her.

He could have easily caught her, but he allowed her to have the advantage. "You'll be the one begging." He shouted out to her as he chased her heels, giving her enough distance to vanish behind corners.

"Is this how you treat your husband? You wicked Queen!" He gave a deep laugh that echoed off the stone walls.

XXXXXX

The springs were steaming hot; Sansa still to this day could close her eyes and see her father telling her mother of his disliking towards the spring, a northern man through and through he was. Her mother had been raised in a hotter climate, her blood and bones ached for the springs. Sansa had spent half her life here in the north and then the other half was spread all over, but she knew Clegane had been traveling for well over a week, a bath was needed.

Once inside she walk over to a table and reach into a bowl where she kept dry rose petals. " Do you fancy smelling like rose water tonight?" She asked as she lifted a hand full out and the drop it in the spring.

"You'll have to keep me warm with us taking a bath this late. "

XXXXXX

"Rose water." He grunted as he watched her sprinkle in the petals. "You're lucky you're carrying my pup or else I would dunk you for even suggesting that." He was already discarding his clothes as he spoke.

"I remember it was about a week before we got to the Vale..." His shirt was casually tossed down as he began to slowly make his way over to her. "That was the first week you actually smiled since..." He paused not wanting to mention that horrible time. "We found that small hot springs and you begged me to stay for a night just so you could soak." His pants unlaced and he stopped in his tracks to pull them off. "I told you if you wanted to fucking boil yourself alive then by all means go ahead. You were red as an apple when you got out." He softly laughed remembering those times.

At times it felt like they were still traversing those old paths, searching for a reason to make it through each day. Other times it felt like those memories were so far away that Sandor would question if they actually happened or if he was dreaming so vividly that they only seemed real.

XXXXXX

" That was a long time ago. Back when you still felt shame for wanting to kiss Ned Stark's daughter. " Sansa liked it down in springs, the lighting was wonderful. Only one torch burnt and it was half way up the stairs. They could make each other out but he couldn't see the details she wish to hide for the time being.

Arya constantly informed Sansa that she was foolish to think the stretch marks that lined her breasts and sides would bother someone like the Hound. Arya reminded her sister she married a mangled burnt mess, but still these details mattered to her.

" You're not ashamed now, are you?" Sansa stood five feet away from Sandor, but it felt like miles. Hands slowly drifted up to the white lace under dress she wore, pulling the whole laced area apart until her swollen perked up breasts were free.
" I bet you're not ashamed to do a lot of things to your Little Bird now are you?" Sansa had never spoke in such a manner to anyone let alone Clegane, and all the while making eye contact while pulling her dress further down her shoulders.

XXXXXX

Her forward behavior made the Hound almost melt, or perhaps it was the steam wafting off the waters. "You're right; I have no shame in making you scream my name." He darted up to her, gathering a handful of hair into his hands and gently pulling to lift her head to meet his eye. "My Little Bird earned some boldness since I have been gone. I fear my bad habits have infected you." His teeth gently pulled on her bottom lip before consuming them in a hard kiss. "You keep this attitude up and soon every other word out of your mouth would be fuck or cunt."

XXXXXX

" You would like that? Me to say all those dirty words?" Sansa asked him before her own mouth leaned forward to place a kiss on to his neck line. " No you wouldn't. My innocence attracted you. Dirty words aren't what drives you. " Sansa's mouth placed on and off him slowly as her hand brushed up the nape of his neck.

" You like taking care of me. You like being the only one I allow to do so. The only one I have ever willingly allowed to touch me. I use to catch your eyes on me during our travels, and at times I wanted nothing more than to know your thoughts. " she breathed out hot air against his collar bone, it had been a long six months of nothing but letters for her too.

XXXXXX

There would be no argument on his end, she was right. He loved caring for her. He loved her sweetness, her captivating personality, her gentle characteristics, but he also loved her indomitable strength, her witty words and even angry truths toward him.

"You fucking love it too!" He chimed back as his hand rose to cup a full breast, relishing on how big and heavy she had become. "You fucking love what you do to me, woman. I see it in your eyes. But I can easily say you enjoy it when I cause a scene, or become enraged. I know what makes you cunt wet and that is all that matters."

He stepped into the steamy fog first, allowing his feet to adjust to the burn of the waters and he then extended his hand out to give her assistance when stepping in herself.

XXXXXX

Sansa allow her under dress to fully fall the floor. Taking his hand and letting him lead her into the hot water, but as she walk in her free hand was placed over her midsection as if her hand would hide it.

" I sometimes like your mouth opening." She told him through a full smile, one hand fully staying on him as she made her way down the red painted rock steps, welcoming the hot spring water against her body." But I also can recall times I wanted to fill your mouth with cotton to get you to hush. "

XXXXXX

Once she was situated in a comfortable spot, he took the liberty of washing her. He found a bucket filled with chunks of soap and secured a piece to bring over and to begin gently massaging it across her back, taking extra caution not to be overly rough with the scarred tissue of the X.
As the soap glided and suds remained his fingers worked over her muscles, finding the spots that, at that point in pregnancy, would be immensely tender and bothersome.

"I remember my mother's pregnancy." He never had mentioned his mother before, and all Sansa knew was that she had passed away shortly after his incident with the fire. A piece of Clegane history that was known, but the details were uncertain. "My father hated the sight of her when she was pregnant. Hated the sight of her when she wasn't as well. So I use to rub her back and feet at night, especially during the last stage of her confinement." Perhaps it was her own pregnancy that triggered those buried memories, but he felt compelled to share.

XXXXXX

Sansa loved hearing him talk about his childhood, it was rare. But it was rare for her too. A man once told her when she was a child living in Winterfell that she was the happiest she ever would be. How right that man was.

" I recall mother with Rickon. I must have been to small with Bran and Arya, or it was so bad I have blocked it from my memory. " Sansa leaned back into Clegan's chest and look up at him.

" We were settled around having dinner, and out of nowhere she started on how this was the last. And father agreed and said six was enough. And that started the biggest fight I ever remembered them having. He counted Jon. She didn't." Sansa couldn't help but laugh at the thought. " She threw her whole plate of food at my father's head and he just sat there. So calm. " Sansa's face shifted into a saddened smile. " We all just watched him. Knowing this would be the day he lost his composer. But instead he got up and walked over to our mother and kissed the top of her head, and said the supper was good. "

XXXXXX

He gave a slight snicker to her story. "I see where you get your temper from." He shifted from her back to her hair, gently wetting it and massaging his fingers through.

"We never had such things, such as family dinners and gatherings. My mother was just a breeding bitch to my father. She produced him two sons and a daughter. He had strong views against women and often beat her. Was what forced her into labor and eventually death."

XXXXXX

Hearing the sort of living situation that Sandor came from made Sansa appreciate what sort of man he turned out to be. She never sugar coated the sort of man he was, at times he was a wild beast who would kill first and think after. But he wasn't a cruel man. Sansa had been with cruel men most of her life. She would have never settled in a tub with her first husband, he would have held her under water till the bubbles stop and then rape her while gasping for air. It shocked her the ways of torment her mind could now come up with.

Sansa turn to look at Clegane , " Your father sounds like a Ramsey." She told him before moving in slow but not stopping till their mouths were nearly touching. " You won't hurt me." She said this with such positively and confidence, unlike the frightened child he saved.

XXXXXX

"He was bad tempered, but never went as far as that cunt hole did. My brother...well Ramsey and him should have been brothers, would have made a perfect fucking pair. My father gave my baby sister, Esra, away, simply for being a female, but I believe he felt her life was in danger with Gregor around."

When she turned to face him, he let go of the soap and wrapped his arms around her to bring upon his lap. "That all depends, Little Bird, are you planning on throwing dishes at my head? You know I will throw back." He chuckled before kissing her. "Noooo, I would never harm you." His hand went to her belly. "Or you." He spoke to the unborn. " My little cunt goblin."

XXXXXX

Sansa look down at his hand over her midsection, thinking it was a touching moment. That was until Sandor spoke. A laugh escaped before she turned and picked up a bucket, dipping it full of water and tossing it over Sandor's head.

" When Sandy is born those dirty words will go on a trip." She told him before her grinning smile kissed his wet mouth.

XXXXXX

He stood to full length, towering over her like the giant beast he was. His face had an expression of seriousness painted upon its scarred features. His lip curled back, he growled and then shook his head like a dog, spraying her with a mass of droplets, before scooping her back up to mount over him.

"You don't like my heirs name, my lady? " He nipped her neck playfully as he held her tight. "What about Pussy Fruit instead?" He laughed as he nipped her shoulder. "Fuck, I am willing to let Giantsbane name it before you do. Fucking Sandy." He then grew serious for a moment. "What about Catelyn if we have a daughter and Eddard if we have a son?"

XXXXXX

Sansa was touched at him picking the names of her parents, but she felt it would lead to a odd sort of sadness when calling to the babe.
"I like Beric. " Sansa stared in all seriousness. " For a boy. " she stated as if it needed to be said due to his harsh judgment over her already assigned name. " I want it to be a boy. I'm afraid of ending up with a another Arya if it is a girl. " Sansa smirk before looking up at him. " Ozgarth." She then stated before a spark fired up in her eyes. " That one might be fitting for a boy. We could call him Garth for short."

XXXXXX

"Beric Ozgarth Celgane." He allowed the name roll off his tongue. "Perfect to me. And Bertha Hegwenda if it is a girl...named after my nursemaid." He added with a smart smug on his face.

He had just about enough of the baths and wanted more of his wife. Grabbing the soap he quickly scrubbed his own body and dunked himself to rinse before stepping out. Staying naked as the day he was born, he waited for Sansa to robe up and before plucking her up to carry her back to their room, having not a single care about who might have witnessed them walking by.

XXXXXX

Sansa couldn't help but laugh but try her best to give him a scolding tone as he literally ran the halls nude. " Sandor!" She couldn't keep her laughing from rolling out. Her wet hair bounce on her shoulders as he trotted them on to their chamber.

When he had her locked away her shoulders rolled back so her head was no longer just hanging. Her blue eyes look him over, that same expression that showed its self slightly in the spring room.

" Will 'it' bother you? With me like this?" She asked him as she titled her head to the side while her hand lifted from his neck line. Her hand cupped his bearded jaw while her thumb brush against his bottom lip.

XXXXXX

It was beautiful to hear her fill the halls of Winterfell with her song of laughter. It felt like a stroke of light broke through the heavy clouds of darkness that had once consumed it and casted the foundation to begin to grow a new happiness within those walls.

"Ain't like they never saw an ass before." Poor Mistress Higgins, who was on her way to the wash house to scrubs clothes, was unfortunate to catch sight of the monstrous man strutting himself right pass her. Her face turned four shades of crimson.

He squeezed her face when she questioned him again about her changes. "I have seen pregnant women before; you aren't showing me anything I haven't seen. When will you understand, you stupid woman, that you are in every way the image of beauty in my eyes. There is no physical change to your appearance that would make me think otherwise. You have cursed me and that spell is permanent." He placed his hands on her belly. "There is nothing more beautiful than to see my wife swollen with child."

XXXXXX

Sansa loved hearing him talk like this to her, none of those dirty words she was so use to hearing from him. Instead of saying more she let her actions speak for her. Her lips pressed to his still heated neck, her thumb dragging down his chin until fully dropping from his face, slowly making its way down his long broad body. Slowly tracing the scars she came across, her movements so light.

The placement of her hand fell over his member finally while her face hid against the side of his neck. Both bodies still warm from the spring but now a new heat sparked as her hand rubbed against him. Sansa did not have a natural lustful nature, but with Sandor she did have a desire set flame inside her . No one else opened these locks for her as he did.

While her hand rubbed against him her free hand pulled the robe she wore open. Limited candles were placed in their chamber; Sansa didn't want Sandor to feel uncomfortable in his own quarters. She had been living the past six months in near darkness to get use to the lighting.

XXXXXX

It had been too long since he had her. He was not thrilled when he woke up in the Citadel to find she and the others departed for the Capital. Once the fever broke, the poor Maesters were left with a wounded yet very angry dog who fought them left and right to let him go. They would not know the fear he had inside of him, for the last time he was injured he had lost her and she faced the clutches of absolute hell.

Her letters kept him on the track of sanity; informing him of all the major changes the Kingdom had undergone and how they negotiated Jon without the need of a living Daario. She wrote of how she needed him to get well, that where he was, was where he needed to be in order to live and that she was safe. She always made sure to mention she was safe. Knowing she was, kept him in place and allowed the Maesters to do their job on his tattered body.

Yet he yearned for her, she was on his every thought and every time. When the Maesters cleared him to return, he thought of nothing more than her touch upon his skin and the way she felt when he brought her to the edge of pleasure.

He was not expecting more, yet he couldn't be happier at that moment. The way her hands felt arousing him almost brought him to an early climax, but he held back. He wanted to enjoy this first moment for as long as possible.

She cloaked her body in darkness in the baths and limited his viewing in the light, but now he was able to see her for all that she was and he could hide the grin that crossed over that scarred face. "You're blind woman, how can you not see how stunning this is?" His hands cupped her swollen breast and glided down her equally swollen torso.

XXXXXX

Sansa didn't pull from him at his encouraging words, that fire she started was spreding from each movement placed between their bodies. And due to not knowing if he knew her face lifted and she look at him. Her body trembling from the anticipation she had built up with him.

" My midwife says we can, you just have to be slow and easy. She suggests with me on my side with you behind me. " all this came out in a rushed way as if it was a order instead of a suggestion. But none the less it was clear she had been thinking of their marriage bed just as he had been. Her hand rose up to rub through his thick chest hair. Sansa held her bottom lip with her front teeth in hope not to embarrass herself further.

XXXXXX

"I don't care how it needs to be done, so have thought of nothing but being inside of you." Despite his hunger, he, as other times before, gave her the freedom to find her comfort. To have her enjoy the moment was just as important to him as his own satisfaction and with a full bloomed pregnancy in the mix, he understood creativity and adjustments were needed.

His movements this time were slow yet deep. Each thrust lingered to enjoy it to the fullest and when he climaxed he remained bonded to her as he came down from his high; clutching her body from behind he laid them both into a comfortable position with her nudged into the curve of his frame with his arm nestled around her moving belly. The movement of life inside was more enchanting than a song to be lulled to sleep too.

As morning dawned, he woke early to enjoy some time simply watching her sleep and rubbing her stomach. In his thoughts he vowed to his unborn that it would never know the life they had both endured, that he would be a better man knowing that a piece of him walked fresh upon the Earth. scar less,untarnished, and uncorrupted by the cruelty the world had.

Chapter Text

Cold Blood

 

Sansa didn't sleep as well nowadays, but that was because something was kicking her through the night directly in the bladder. At least twice a night she was up to her chamber pot, but she would take that over the awful morning sickness she had in the start. When she woke up she rolled on to her back to face Sandor who was just watching her. Her hands rose and she stretched which only made her plumpness stick out further.

She didn't say good morning though, instead she just look at him with a smile. " I can get use to this. " her hand lowered to her belly. " So can Sandy. " she told him before dropping her eyes to her frame, her smile faded though.

" I need to tell you something Sandor. And I expect you to be upset when I do. " she simply stated before slowly but surely shifting up.

" I tried to tell you this in the letters. But...I just couldn't explain it on paper. " she admitted. Her finger tips started to nervously pick at the fur blanket over the pair.

" I brought your brother here. " her blue eyes shot towards him. " ...we didn't know what else to do with him. "

XXXXXX

That morning was blissful to him and he had wished he could wake up every morning just like that. Everything was perfect until she broke the magical spell. He wasn't sure what to expect, but he certainly wasn't expecting that news.

Hiding the pregnancy was one thing; he could even understand the delay in informing him about the issues with cannibalistic Wildlings, but to hold off telling him this! He felt a mixture of anger, panic and hatred boil together and jolt through every nerve and fiber of his body.

"WHAT THE FUCK WOMAN!" His voiced boomed in the stillness of the room. "Sansa, what in all Seven Hells were you fucking thinking bring that filthy, fucking ass, partially dead monster here!?" He leaped out of the bed and began pacing the room

"You are putting yourself at fucking risk...OUR child at fucking risk having this creature under us!"

He began gathering his clothing to get dressed. He needed to confront his brother once and for all and it seemed the fates were forcing their reunion to occur.

XXXXXX

Sansa just remained in the bed and let the beast pace her room before her. As she listened she placed both of her hands over her belly as if this would in some way keep their child from hearing it's father talk with so much anger.

" The Dragon Queen tried killing him and so did Jon..." Sansa went on to explain. " Jon shot a arrow through his head, yet he stands. The Dragon Queen lost eight men just getting him chained and she had his arms removed. The wounds won't fester and kill him though..."

XXXXXX

"So the solution was to bring the mother fucker here?" He snarled, spitting those words out as he secured himself into his boot. "He doesn't need fucking arms to hurt you!" Were the last words he spoke before yanking the door open to be facing a helpless, young maiden carrying a breakfast tray. "GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY!" He roared at her making her panic, dropping the tray and ran off.

Hearing the commotion, Brienne raced out of her own quarters to catch the tear stained girl run pass and the fuming beast stomping down in her direction. "What in the bloody hell?" Was all she managed to say before he got in her face.

"YOUR BLONDE CUNT SELF WAS SUPPOSED TO KEEP HER SAFE!" He came just mere inches from the lady knight, pinning her against her slightly open door frame. Unlike the young lass, Brienne was not afraid of his antics and stood still while facing the manic beast. " WHO THOUGHT BRINGING MY BROTHER HERE WAS A FUCKING GOOD IDEA! I WILL RIP THEIR LIMBS OFF AND FUCKING BEAT THEM WITH THEM FOR DOING SO!"

Brienne simply sighed. "Calm down you damn ninny!" Her words did not go above a stern whisper. "Is this how you want your homecoming to be remembered? You tearing apart people? Will make for great memories, and your poor wife, what about her? You're acting like a fucking lunatic while she is in such a delicate state!" How she spoke to him was the equivalent to a dog being wacked over the nose with a rolled up scroll. He cowered back, staying silent for the time being, but kept the pissed off expression planted on his face.

" Now if you just allow me to get dressed, I will be happy to escort you to where we have been keeping him. Rest assure that every precaution has been taken and Sansa isn't at risk of any danger by him being here."

"Just get fucking dressed woman, that is for me to decide. He should have stayed in the Capital. You are all fucking ass cunts for allowing this." He stomped over to the wall facing Brienne's door and propped himself against it to wait for her. Not a single servant dared to cross his line of sight as he stood there; looking as though his sights would turn you to stone if you just glanced in his direction.

XXXXXX

Sansa wasn't overly concerned with Sandor's rage. Out of all in Winterfell she understood his rage probably more than any so instead of pouting she rose on up from their bed and started on her morning normalcy. Making their bed, washing her face, getting dressed, Sansa took her time getting ready for her day. But then she came to the one task her body no longer allowed her to do alone; putting on her socks and boots was not something she could proceed to do in a comfortable manner due to the still growing belly she now had. She figured now was not the time to trouble her husband with such a small issue so she walk on out the hall and spied the crying maid he had snapped at.

" You. Anna. Come here. " Sansa walk on with her boots in hand.

" Yes your Grace? " Anna wiped her eyes and look to her Queen's full hands. " Here! Let me help you!" She just as many had already seen Sansa having issues putting her shoes on, so she quickly understood.

Sansa settled in a chair as the young girl knelt down to assist.

" I would like you to not over react as you did earlier. He is the head of this household; you need to get use to him quickly." Sansa told Anna.

" He just...his...well..." Anna couldn't find the words.

"He's a loud scary at times man but you will still learn to respect him as the head of the house you work for. Agreed?" Sansa stated simply. " I will not have you breaking my dishes each time he yells. We would run out by the end of the week. "

XXXXXX

When he felt Brienne wasn't hurrying fast enough he walked over to her door and gave it two kicks. "I am coming!" She shouted in frustration as she opened the door while fastening the last strap on her tunic. "You really need to learn patience. " She scolded as she shut the door behind her and stepped from him.

The bells of Winterfell rung as he opened his mouth to curse her back, but his voice was drowned out by the chimes. "King Jon and the rest have arrived." Brienne stated once silence took over. "He would want to know of your early arrival as he had expressed to speak to you."

"About what?" He snapped as arms folded around his chest. "Marrying his sister off to a cannibal Wildling perhaps?" He huffed away. "I am not letting this rest; I will see him sooner than later."

He stormed back to his chamber to find the chamber maid assisting his wife with her boots. "For fucks sake, give it to me." He snatched the boot out of the girl's shaking hand. "Go." He softly spoke, but the girl scampered off like a frightened hare being chased by a hunter.

Kneeling down he placed her foot in the boot, his eyes focusing on that task before rising to look up at her. "Whose idea was it to bring him here? Spill everything I need to know, Sansa. No more secrets, I am not a fucking delicate flower that needs protection. It is important I have a say, especially in regards to my own home and my family." He bent his head back down and laced. "If anything were to happen to you because of him." She may not see the fear in his face thinking about the possibilities but she could definitely hear it in his voice.

XXXXXX

" Jon chose to bring him here. I wanted to burn him alive and see if he would die that way, but Jon said I didn't have the right to make that choice. So I brought him here for you, his last blood member to choose his fate. " Sansa sink some in her chair as he pulled at her foot and laced it up.

" I chose not to tell you of the baby, the Cannibals, and your brother because you needed to rest. And you knowing any of those things would have placed you on a horse headed here before you were ready. Am I wrong?" She asked in a serious manner before he finished with her boot. " I am not trying to keep you out of the loop, you have been home less than twelve hours and you now know all that I know. "

Jon and Tormund were the only from the party to enter the gates. Ser Davos saw this and quickly realized this was a bad sign. " How many?" He called to them.

Jon's dark eyes rose and he held up one hand showing three fingers. The question Ser Davos was asking was how many of the enemy tribe they had waiting outside the gates. These three men would have been caught for the ongoing crime this tribe felt was their cultural right, and death would be their punishment. Just as her father Sansa would have to go and state their crimes. She would then order the death penalty and be witnesse as her brother dealt the punishment with his sword.

XXXXXX

"My blood is your blood now. You had every right to burn that motherfucker till he was nothing but ashes." He finished her boot and extended his hand to help her up. "What does your brother want with me? I swear I will knock his teeth out of his pretty little head if he mentions anything of marrying you off to someone." It was obvious he still felt uncertain of the legitimacy of their marriage, he was ready to pack their things and whisk her away again if need be.

Brienne made her way out to greet the King and his party, her eyed avoiding the puppy dog stares coming from Tormund who gazed stuck on her since she came into view. "Your Grace." She bowed formally and looked to Davos. "Did you tell him?" It took the Onion Knight a moment to figure it out what she meant. "Oh, yes, that is right, Celgane has arrived.

XXXXXX

Sansa stood to her feet and just look down at her swollen body. " Who would want me in this state besides you?" She nearly started laughing.

" He probably just wants to say thank you in person. " Sansa stated as her blue eyes lifted from her own body. " Come. He just arrived. We can go see him together."

Tormund just stood awkwardly next to Jon looking at the only creature the North had he gave a damn about.

Jon dismounted and nodded to allow Ser Davos to know he was listening. " Good. Has my sister popped yet? Last time I saw her she looked like a tick ."

" No your grace. The queen is still as plum as then. The midwife checked on her and the wee little one yesterday. The midwife says soon but your sister says about eight more weeks. " Ser Davos informed him.

" Good. Means she can ride. " he told his once hand before going on into the main castle. He didnt bother with knocking even though he no longer lived there, it was just how the remaining trio were with each other.

" Sansa? You still fat?" He called into the house. " Jon teased.

" Yes." Rang the voice of Arya from her own room.

XXXXXX

He shrugged his shoulders sheepishly as she questioned him. "I am sure there are plenty of men who want you, pregnant and all." He protested, but when she mentioned that it may be all about gratitude, he grew silent. He wasn't accustomed to being treated with kindness from superiors. "Probably wants me to kneel and pledge my loyalty to him." He said as he escorted her out. "Or he is going to throw me in a pit with my brother, for putting you in danger with Daario." He paused as a thought came to him and grabbed her forearm. "You don't have him locked in the dungeons too, do you?"

XXXXXX

" Yes…" Sansa look up at her husband. "Every six hours Gregor is shot with a very powerful sleeping medicine. No one gets behind the bars with him. We've stop giving him food, but he won't eat anyway. He just stands. Looking out the small barred window at his eye level. He doesn't talk or move. Doesn't sleep. Or so I'm told. I haven't gone down there. " Sansa fully admitted.

" Have Jon take you. He can talk to you while you see." Sansa stated simply.

XXXXXX

"Not Gregor...Daario!" He growled as he had no recollection if he actually killed that bastard or not.

Arya jumped up to give her dear brother a hug. "Glad to see you safe." He rustled her hair before looking for his pregnant sister. "Where are they?" He questioned, wanting to see how big she got from last time. "I will go fetch them. We will meet you in the grand hall." She began to rush off and stopped to turn around. "He found out about his surprise just so you are aware." It was already circulating around Winterfell that Sandor found out about his brother.

XXXXXX

" Daario..." Sansa's bottom lip pulled in and her face turned from her husband.

" Well no. Daario is not here. Or in King's Landing. We did an even trade for Jon. I assume he is back in Meereen but it's not like the cocky bastard is writing me letters anymore. " Again something Sansa had kept from Sandor. Only this was something she planned on not letting him know about, there was no need. Nothing would change.

" His hip is forever messed up. " And here was more information she never planned on letting her husband know. " Your sword stuck right into the joint. He is now no better of a fighter than Bran due to the wound you gave him...but...he lives. "

XXXXXX

A slight grin took hold of his lips when she mentioned the man's disability now. "I hope his cock never stands straight again." He truly hated that man.

"Talking about Daario?" Arya questioned as the pair emerged from their room and into the hall.

"Must you always be a fucking pest?" The Hound questioned back.

"Jon has returned. He summons you to the Grand Hall, wants to see how fat Sansa got." Sansa was aware that they all had bets placed on her and one was how many pups she carried. Jon predicted three and Tormund said twelve, thinking that they literally were pups going to be born and no one cared to correct him.

"Where's your man at? Haven't seen Gendry yet."

A sullen expression crossed upon Arya's face. "Who cares." She mumbled as her entire attitude shifted. " I am going to practice, I will talk to you later, sister."

The grand hall was not how he remembered it prior to sailing over to Braavos. New renovations were in order to repair the damage from the battle and to simply start a new chapter in Winterfell history. This was something he was aware of through their letters, but to finally see it for himself made it truly real and gave him a sense of hope.

Jon, Tormund, Davos and Brienne along with a mixture of Northmen and Wildlings gathered in the hall to warm up and enjoy some ale and fresh stew. When the pair made their entrance, Sandor was not prepared for the homecoming.

Tormund was the first to come to them, wrapping his big paws around the big man as he grinned madly."I missed this ugly fucker!" He proclaimed. "Nothing takes this son of a bitch down!" He then leaned in to whisper to the pair. "I think Brienne is finally warming up to me." He winked. "I hope I will be fucking her by morning!" He shifted his eyes to Sansa. "And look at you my redheaded sister! When are the pups arriving?" He patted her belly. "Can't wait to take them on adventures with me!"

"Not a fucking chance of that happening." The Hound, finally having a chance to speak, growled as he watched the man touch his wife.

"He is still a miserable fucker!" He smiled warmly at Sansa and stepped to the side for Jon to say his welcomes.

XXXXXX

Sansa took one step and another person was bowing and rubbing her belly. It took her a good five minutes to get to her brother due to everyone praising over her and the baby all seemed excited for. When she came in view of Jon he just sat leaned against his post smiling with arms crossed.

" Look at you. You're glowing. " Jon stated which just lead to a eye roll from Sansa.

" Let's shove a potato bag under your clothes and see how glowing you are. I'll help you put on your shoes. " Sansa teased.

She turn to Ser Davos, who in a teasing manner stuck his own gut out, Sansa simply allow their midsection to touch which quickly got Tormund and Jon laughing.

" She's catching up with you old man!" Jon stated as he pat the Onion Knight's shoulder.

" Damn! I need more ale! " Ser Davos laughed. He had fully taken to the grandfather role for her soon to be born baby.

Jon's eyes then lifted to Sandor. Leaning off the long table he reached out and took hold of Clegane's arm in a respectful hand shake.

" I wanted to thank you. " he stated simply there in front of the court.

Sansa glance over towards Sandor as Jon held to his arm, she simply wink instead of said anything.

XXXXXX

This was the first time he actually felt comfortable being amongst others, especially in a court setting. Genuine laughter and joy never filled the halls of Celgane's Keep or the halls of King's Landing; if it did it was merely a facade to cloak over malicious intent.

He was content to watch them all jest and praise, hug and hold and simply remove all barriers of formality and just be themselves. When Jon shook his hand and openly thanked him, Celgane didn't really know what to say. "You don't have to thank me; I did it out of love for your sister."

XXXXXX

Jon wasn't one to say a lot when it came to praise, his hand soon faded from Clegane's and he glance over towards his sister who stood between Brienne and Tormund to keep the pair separate. " You've saved her more than I have and I thank you. But..." Jon placed his hands on his hips while Ser Davos smirked at the man's awkwardness.

" Jon don't think your pirate wedding counts as a real union and wants to request a Northern wedding before the babe enters the world. " Ser Davos spoke for Jon.

Jon's eyes rose to look at Clegane. "I grew up a bastard...I just don't want there to be any chance her youngins are seen as that." Jon explained.

"What Jon really is saying. " Tormund walk over and took hold of Clegane's shoulder. " We want to have a happening and get drunk off our asses with you. "

XXXXXX

The wave of relief that came across his face was priceless. "You mean I have to marry her again!?" He looked over to her and smiled and back at Jon. "It would be my honor to do so, besides I don't think there is a man alive who would tolerate her in bed. She snores like something awful and kicks and flails like a fish gasping for air." All joking aside he extended his arm towards Jon and when he accepted Sandor pulled him in for an embrace. "Thank you and it will be an honor to call you brother."

Pulling away, Jon had a smile upon him as he looked over at Sansa. "Well that settles it then, we will begin making arrangements immediately. Also speaking of brothers, you are aware that we have yours. I take full responsibility for bringing Gregor here to Winterfell, but I assure you as a man of my honor, if I felt he was capable of harming anyone here, especially my sisters, it would have never happened. Once we are settled in, I will be happy to escort you myself to the dungeons.

Sandor simply nodded, allowing himself to give the man his trust before returning to Sansa's side. He then whispered to her. "Perhaps this wedding you will actually remember." A brown hue winked as he nudged her.

XXXXXX

" Yes. I will recall being as wide as a barn. " Sansa teased before glancing back to her brother.

" We need to get matters past the gate dealt with my Queen. " Jon only addressed Sansa like this if it was actual business.

Sansa grew quiet and her face washed over with worry. " Yes...let's make haste with it. " her hand then drifted to Sandor's. " Come on. "

The party then made their way to the stables, but Brienne refused to let Sansa on a horse. " The cart. " she pointed.

Sansa obeyed like a child would have, with an eye roll and her head to the sky. But she knew a fall from a horse could be deadly for not just her so she got in the cart with Sandor.

" So you're going to cloak me? And we're to read from the book of the old gods? Like a traditional Northern wedding." Sansa didn't want to make a big deal of it, but she had always had dreams of a real wedding with someone of her picking.

XXXXXX

"Only if I get to publicly bed you...if we must follow tradition." He teased as he geared up his horse. "I suppose I can suffer one day for you if it means that much."He leaned over and gave her a kiss on her head before mounting his steed.

"So what exactly are we going to do with these tribes?" He questioned as they began to make their way. "Are we avoiding conflict with these folks or causing it?"

From the bits of information that Sansa provided through their letters, it was stated that the Free Folk were able to come into the North and vice versa for the people of Westeros kingdoms, but each party must follow the laws of the ruling kingdom in order to keep peace. Therefore what may be acceptable beyond the wall may not be acceptable in the North. Jon and Tormund knew it would be a rough few years to adapt, but had hope that this peace treaty will be the start of something good and establish peace and prosperity amongst all.

XXXXXX

" We're trying to just weed out the ones giving issues for the time being. " Jon answered as Brienne lead the cart with Sansa on.

Jon road close to Clegane so they could speak, Tormund on the other side. " The tribe is fairly small."

" So if we wished we could go in and hack them all up. " Tormund stated.

" But it's not all fighting men we would be attacking. Young and old. So hopefully change could be pushed on them. If not..." Jon just like Clegane could kill, but he didn't enjoy it. He wanted people to choose the right path, and all from the party could agree that not eating other men was the correct path.

" Why must she come?" Ser Davos trotted up.

" She is our Queen. She must give witness." Jon stated quickly.

" Her hand would have done just as well. She needs to slow down. Soon that babe is going to come and when that happens I would not like to be a mile from her nest. " Ser Davos stated.

" I'll clip Sansa's wings soon enough." Jon stated. " ...Well I guess I won't. You'll get that task Clegane. "

" Wildlings never go on bed rest. They just keep going. Plop a babe out in the snow. Pick it up, slap it and carry on. " Tormund stated.

" She enjoys going in the cart. " Jon added.

" We're not going on a stroll your Grace. We're going to watch you chop the heads off three baby killers. " Ser Davos hissed as he speed on up.

XXXXXX

Celgane let them converse before he gave his own opinion. "You are aware she has a mind of her own. She has more intelligence and logic than all of us and is capable of knowing her limits. Her wings will not be clipped, by you..." He looked at Jon. "Nor I. You want her as your Queen than you give her as equal respect as you do your King." He knew what she could handle, more than anyone there, for he witnessed firsthand what she was able to withstand without ever breaking.

When Davos spoke about the execution, Sandor looked to Jon. " I know here in the North you have a tradition of he who gives the sentence fulfills the punishment, and that is something I greatly respect and admire. Since she rules equally but is incapable of fulfilling that duty, I would, as her husband, like to take on that task on her behalf. Once we are married under the eyes of the North, we are considered as one are we not? Therefore it would be as if she were the swinging the sword, if it were I in her place. You won't always be around to deal the punishments, Jon."

XXXXXX

" Between you and Brienne I don't think there will be worry of any picking up her sword. " Jon glanced down at his gloved hands that lingered over the horn of his saddle. " She doesn't even flinch...when it happens in front of her. " Jon stated this as if it was the saddest fact about his sister. If she had lived the pleasured life of a real noble lady, death, blood, and such would bother her. Knowing how bad things had to get to result in her being so strong saddened him deeply.

" It's because I'm her hero. She sees me as the male form of her spirit. Strives to act like me to impress." Tormund stated proudly as if any gave a shit about the nonsense he had to share.

Jon just smirked. "Yes. All women think, if I had a bone I'd want to act like him. " his head rose on up and he saw his troop up ahead with the three awaiting criminals.

XXXXXX

Clegane added "If she was seen as an equal early on in life and subjected to the same upbringing as the boys, it would have had the same outcome. Your father taught her how to skin and clean animals, he could have also shown her how to fight and how to pass judgments. It would have prepared her better than learning how to properly sip tea."

"Aagh, you should have been born a Free Folk, Celgane. That's how our women are, shit we have a tribe in the mountains of just women. Those cunts would put any warrior to shame with what they can do."

One would expect the leader of the tribes to be a monster of a man, resembling that of an ogre with deformed features and strength to crush men with his bare hands; but that is not who greeted them. Standing in front of the tribes was an old woman. Her white hair fizzed out and was adorned with black twigs that twisted through the white mass. Her skin was tanned and wrinkled from the elements but one could tell she was a beautiful woman during her youth. Black painted marks crossed over cornflower blue eyed, amplifying them and making her strong features truly stand out. Her stature was small due to her back being twisted and bend forward, forcing her to use a thick, knotted branch as her support. Standing beside her were the other two; strong men and youthful who kept their eyes casted down to the thawing ground.

Tormund spoke as they grew closer. "These folks cut out their own tongues and don't speak aside from one member of their group, who is the voice for the entire tribe. I am assuming that woman is her."

"They cut out their own tongues?" Brienne questioned in astonishment. "Why?"

"Because they see themselves more like animals than men and animals don't speak. She represents their human side, while the others are merely beasts."

XXXXXX

Five North men and ten, handpicked by Tormund, Wildlings stood around the three captured. Sansa hadn't been told what the three had been caught doing. Jon felt like waiting till they were out here would be best, he didn't want the people of Winterfell to worry if worry was not needed.

Sansa was help down off the cart and step close to Brienne's side. " State their crimes..." Sansa spoke clearly once all were dismounted.

"The two men snuck into a rival Wildling camp. Stole a child in the night. When we caught up to them the child was cut into pieces and being roasted. " Jon explained.

" She talks?" Sansa asked.

" Ay! I can talk." The woman barked.

Sansa kept a serious glare, but nothing like one of the men who stood off to the side. His eyes glued on her Sansa's belly, his eyes didn't look human, more like a literal beast.

" Do you deny-"

" We do as we always done! Our way!" The woman answered quickly.

" Even if you have been given land to harvest and hunt. You're no longer living past the wall. These traditional ways-"

" Our ways!" The woman shouted away.

" But that wasn't your child that you stole!" Sansa barked back.

The woman then lean forward, even though there was ten feet between them Sansa could feel the air thicken. " Happy it not be yours we pick our teeth with next." The woman then pointed directly to Sansa's swollen belly.

XXXXXX

Sandor stepped between the two. "You keep your fucking eyes off her, you wrinkled bag of bones, or I will be happy to pluck them out of your head and feed them to your men. Fuckers probably would like that." He had no shame in fighting with an old woman; he would fight a bunch of children just the same if they were threatening his woman and unborn child.

But the old woman simply laughed, showing a row of tiny, yellow teeth each filled down to fangs. " We can smell the beast in you." She pointed a thin, long finger at him. " Yours is strong and it tears and claws within your belly. " We can smell them in all of you, each one different but still smells delicious." The two men began making sniffing noises behind her, inhaling the air deeply.

Sandor backed up, never once taking his eyes off the woman, but wanting to speak to his wife. "She has gone mad. They all are. They say it is a curse when you eat your own; it meddles with your mind and turns it to mush. It is best we end them, I don't see how this will end well for us."

XXXXXX

Sansa place her hands over her belly, never taking her eyes off the woman. " They've all been like this...and this has been the first one able to talk. " Sansa stated in a aggravated manner. " We kill them then there is no warning sent. We don't kill her then we worry with her bringing her whole tribe here and taking who knows what or who. "

Turning Sansa look at Sandor. " If it was our babe I would want all death. Do you agree?"

XXXXXX

He nodded in agreement. "They are dead already." He looked over to Tormund, who despite his humorous ways was a respected and knowledgeable man amongst his kind. "Your folks live with these...monsters...has it been a problem?"

"White walkers were our biggest threat, and then there was you and that fucking wall, followed by famine, disease and coldness. Tribes, like these, normally don't bother us unless one of us happens to fall on their territory. They tend to eat amongst themselves. I can guarantee you, she is the only elder in the tribe and I haven't even seen them all." The man rubbed his beard as he shifted his sight from the trio back to the others. "I will say though, they did join forces with us peacefully when attempting to break the wall and some of them even fought for you. I don't know why there is suddenly an issue, but my guess would be they see you Southerns like you see your pigs and cows...just meat."

Brienne chimed in. "We also can't expect thousands of years of tradition to just vanish. What did you think would happen when the fighting stopped? The point of these peace treaties is to find a common ground. I agree that these three should be sentenced to death, for they broke the cardinal rule of not obeying our laws, but does that mean we should destroy an entire culture for it? Is there truly no hope in trying to negotiate?"

"You can't negotiate with an animal." Sandor added. "A fucking bear, a wolf or any predator eyeing you up doesn't give a fuck about what you have to offer, unless you are offering up a big prize, they are going to fucking kill you if you don't kill them first."

XXXXXX

" The issue is not that they are killing themselves. It's that they are striking camps close to them and stealing people away for this." Sansa stated.

" All other tribes stayed away from them when we lived past the wall. " Tormund explained.

" New meat!" The woman chimed loudly. This gained the party's attention again quickly.

" South sweet. South fat. " Again her eyes didn't pull off Sansa's belly. " Flesh bubbles up just like its paw."

" End them now Jon." Sansa stated this so coldly, her eyes so locked on the woman but she step closer to Sandor. A new fear laced in her veins, one that only a mother could know.

XXXXXX

As Ned Stark did before, Jon now stood in as executioner. He had the first of two men kneel upon the cold grounds as he spoke the man's crime, gave him his sentences and ended with a swift, clean blow that immediately removed his head from his body. Next was the second man and again the ritual was performed effortlessly. Last was the old woman, as frail as she appeared she walked with a sense of pride to the spot and gazed over her audience before kneeling. Her sights locked onto Sansa before giving her a sinister toothy grin. She said nothing as Jon repeated the process, but when the head was removed, it rolled towards them, it's dead eyes still locked on the Queen and it spoke "May the crows come and peck out your child's eyes!" The words died but the fanged mouth continued to move hysterically before Sandor stepped in to shove his sword down upon the severed head, ending the madness.

There was no explanation, but everyone who witnessed it was disturbed by the performance; even the Wildlings whispered and claimed the cannibal leader must have been tampering with the spiritual arts in order to speak from the dead. Others believed she cursed the unborn with blindness. Sandor paid them no attention and simply stated. "I need a fucking drink." to conclude it all as he stepped on the head to remove his sword and then kicked it away. " Now the crows will come and peck out your own eyes, fucking crone."

XXXXXX

It took a lot to frighten Sansa, she had seen a lot in her life but this was something that ran her blood cold. Once all was over she wasted no time to get back on the cart. Brienne right on her heels. The way back to the gates was quiet; all replaying what just took play before them.
Sansa loaded off the cart and look towards Sandor. " I'm going to lay down. You should let Jon take you down." She told him.

Jon dismounted and sent his horse to be treated, he noticed his name come from Sansa's mouth and quickly recalled. " Yes. I can. Then we can get that drink we all need. "

Jon wasted no time to start towards the dungeons, just like his sister he was stressed at what they had all just witnessed. Glancing back he looked up at Clegane. " I think it will be best you take on her part during affairs that we just dealt with. If she allow it. After today it has my approval. "

Chapter Text

The Hunt

He nodded in agreement but stayed silent for the most part. He waited patiently this time for Jon to settle himself in and soon the pair headed into the dungeons of Winterfell.

He had never been to this part of the castle before, which was located down below and beyond the catacombs. An old door, at the end of the tombs welcomed them. Thick and locked tightly, Jon placed his lantern on the ground and unraveled the puzzle of locks that clicked and clanked with each turn and twist. He then strained to pull the door open, and even when Sandor assisted, it took a lot of energy to get it to a point where both could slip in.

The passage was narrow, just enough space for a single person to navigate, so Jon lead, holding the lantern with Sandor behind him. "My sister protested against this, you know. She wanted him burned, but I felt that was not her decision at the time." Jon glanced back to try to read Sandor's features, but the man always looked so miserable that it was difficult to know. "I should have had the dragon burn him when we had the chance. Unfortunately, the Queen, at the time, didn't want us to completely destroy him as she was curious about what he was now. He doesn't exist in either realm and I guess..." He paused noticing he was rambling on. "We had his arms removed and he is completely chained to the wall. Every precaution has been taken."

The passage felt like it went on forever but soon it grew wider and spread out to an open area where three cell chambers existed. This place was definitely designed to isolate its prisoners. Sure enough at the furthest cell he could see the massive figure against the wall. As they approach the rancid smell of decay clenched them, making them both cough and eyes to water.

Clegane clasped the thick bars and peered in. There his brother stood with chains across every inch of his frame aside from his head, which a metal contraption was place across his mouth.

Honestly, he didn't know how to react to this monster. It has always been a monster, losing pieces of its humanity as years rolled by. Now he was virtually non human and Sandor sort of felt sorry for him. "Well you did it to yourself, you piece of shit." He spoke to his brother who had lifted his eyes to stare at him; just like that crazy old woman stared at Sansa.

"We ain't here to give you sympathy. We are going to kill your useless ass in the most painful way imaginable." He said before looking to Jon, who jumped his sights from one man to the next. "I can't understand how you two were...are...brothers. Two completely separate beings you are. Night and day."

Sandor gave a slight chuckle. "Nah more like night and twilight. The Clegane brothers." He sighed as he looked at his own blood. "I am terrified of my child inheriting any of his traits." He confessed. "I hope it is more Stark than me."

"Has Sansa ever told you about meeting him?" He asked Jon

" Yes, she said she watched him at a tournament which you fought him and won." He answered.

"Nah, that was nothing. I mean the time she actually got face to face with him. Got a real introduction."

Jon shook his head. "No, she never mentioned it. Then again she spoke very little of her time in the South."

Clegane nodded. "I knew that day the girl got a set of balls on her and an unyielding strength.

XXXXXX

Flash Back

The day felt as much as a summer day could feel. The sun held high over King's Landing, the waves from the coast line was letting a nice breeze pass into the city. For one of the young Stark girls the day was to be very promising. But for the oldest of the pair the day was already starting to be a hellish one.

Their father, Ned Stark planned on teaching the pair to hunt a little. He mentioned this to his King who quickly jumped on board. Hunting was King Robert's favorite pass time. Plus he couldn't let Ned get ahead of him, if Ned was teaching his daughters to hunt then he would do the same with his own.

Sansa had been instructed to put a pair of her sister's pants on. Sansa dug through all of her young sister's clothes to find a pair that semi fit. Sansa was over a foot taller than her sister so naturally the pants fit her much differently than they did Arya.

Robert had asked the Hound to join them for safety measures, but naturally the King was late as always. Ned found his way to the assigned meeting hall, and that's when he spied his preferred Clegane brother standing.

" Good day." Ned gave a wave as he walk on with his bow over his shoulder. " I've not had the pleasure of going turkey hunting in a long while. "

When the three young ladies made her way down to the great hall Ned just look past the smaller two and let his eyes land on his older. It was the first time that Ned noticed she was getting a woman's shape to her. If the man was being honest it made him uncomfortable, so much that he darted over and stopped speaking to Clegane all together.

" What are you wearing?" Ned asked her.

" ...What you told me, Arya's biggest pair of riding pants. " Sansa stated. The pants we're skin tight, and for a lady they were not proper.

" ...you look like you're from Dorne!" Ned stated under his breath. " Wrap a scarf around your waist." He demanded.

" Do you expect me to pull a scarf out of midair!?" Sansa hissed.

" Oh I thought I was talking with Sansa Stark not Catelyn Stark!" Ned turned and looked at a side table, he pulled the table dressing off it and pulled her over to him.

" Wrap this around your belt. " he told her.

Marcella just kept quiet but Arya could be caught laughing at this display. "Father thinks some pervy man is going to look at you."

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The girl looked absolutely ridiculous and obviously was not suited for the excursion. "Ser Stark..." The Hound had been standing there waiting, acting more like a human statue than a living person. "I can get her some proper attire. There are some the stable hand boys and a few paiges that are about her size. We have time."

Ned looked over at his oldest and nodded. "I appreciate it...thank you. They grow up so fast." Sandor simply grunted and went off to search for something more suitable for the occasion.

When he returned Robert and his posse of hunters were already preparing for the day's journey along with some additional Lords and Knights that wanted to tag along. "It is a good day for a good hunt!" Robert patted his large belly as he approached Ned and his daughter's. "By the Gods Ned, this girl isn't fit to be seen let alone hunt." Though Robert was a good man in nature he had horrible habits and one such was to stare when a pretty girl was around. Therefore when he spoke, his eyes were soaking in all the qualities that Sansa was blooming into.
"I know, your son's guard is getting her something else. I figure we have time."

Robert chuckled. "Always time! You girls are going to have so much fun. Nothing like stalking and killing to get the blood boiling!" He laughed as he went over a table adorned in fruits, cakes and wines and began to indulge himself in one of his other bad habits...drinking. "We are expecting another Clegane on our journey." He informed Ned as he gulped down the dark wine. "Ser Gregor. I believe you witnessed him at the jousting event when you first arrived."

How could anyone forget that event, where he, the sore loser, killed his horse and went after Lord Tyrell, only to be intercepted by his own brother. Gregor didn't take too kindly to that event and the rumors that circulated of what he did to a few of Littlefinger's whores afterwards, was enough to make one lose their stomachs.

Ned smiled. "He is a big man." It was a trick of his to never speak unkindly of those he secretly disliked, but when he had absolutely nothing nice to say he would simply state a fact. This little trick the girls knew and Arya quickly caught on. Once Robert's attention was given elsewhere, Ned whispered to the pair. "You both stick next to me or your assigned guards. No wandering off the paths and no being around that man."

When he spoke those final words, a huge shadow casted over them from behind, making them turn to view the Hound lurking behind them. "Here." He shoved the bundle into Sansa's arms. Breeches, a shirt, a tunic and a hunter's cape were now in her possession. "Thank you kindly." Ned smiled before nudging his oldest. "Sansa..."

XXXXXX

Sansa took the clothes and nodded until her father nudged her. " Thank you Ser. " Sansa stated but did not look up at the man.

" Now go and change. " Ned ordered. With his oldest away changing, Ned looked about. " I hear your brother will be joining us. " His kind yet worn eyes looedk Sandor's way. He wasn't sure if he knew Gregor was coming or not. Ned hoped that the Hound sensed the uncertainty this gave the Stark father, if not he understood, after all Gregor was the Hound's brother. But if he did sense it and showed sign it would ease his mind slightly. When it came to the Mountain you either feared him or trusted him to kill your enemies.

Ned then pulled Arya in front of him and held her shoulders while she played with a feather in her hands.

" Sandor!" The king called and looked about for Sansa, he was hoping to look her over once more but she had vanished. " You've got Ned's ginger one. "

Arya look up at her father. " You've got me then?" She asked.

" Yes. Because you run away and I'm not afraid to whip your tail even in front of people. " Ned stated sharply to his daughter.

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Sandor's expression spoke more about his thoughts about his brother than words would ever convey. His nostrils flared and his pupils dilated at the mention of the man; subtle cues that he absolutely hated him. "I will make sure he is watched over." They called Sandor a beast, but Gregor was like a monster at times that even the bravest of men trembled when he was near. "As long as he is killing something, he shouldn't be a bother."

"I never..." Ned tried to ease the tension but Sandor had already stepped away when the King called.

Arya snickered to herself when she heard who had Sansa. "She is going to be soooooo upset."

It was just the other day the girls were walking the grounds and stopped to watch the Knights practice. The Hound was in a furious mood regarding his helmet. His companions laughing about how it stunk like roses was keeping him off his game. In mad fury he yanked it off and flung it so far that it smashed a nearby statue perched on one of the castle pillars. Sansa, Arya noted, grew so red that she looked like a plump tomato and immediately pulled Arya and ran, never mentioning why.

Gregor would not meet them in the Grand Hall but waited instead, outside on his mount with his own companions. A sinister tribe of black cloaked men with expressions of malice permanently stuck on their battered, ugly faces.

The Starks would not have to greet the guest at that moment, as he raced ahead as soon as the signal was given to move forward. Robert rode with Ned and the girls in the large carriage with purple velvet cushions. He filled the girl's ears with tales of him and their father and the hunts they had.

"So, this son of a bitch falls asleep and this old stag wanders up and is sniffing around and must have disturbed your father. He jumps up out of a sound sleep and screams and the damn beast falls dead!" Robert was a boisterous man and his actions had Arya in stitches over the stories. "Now let me tell you about the time your father had to walk the streets naked over losing a bet..." He began before being quickly cut off by Ned.

"Pay no attention to him, girls, he tells tall tales with little truths and a whole ton of fluff." Ned laughed as he placed his hands around each girl's open ear and pressed them into his body to prevent them from listening.

The area where the hunt was to take place was around two hours north of King's Landing. The actual hunt was to begin before sunrise, but they went a day ahead to prep tents and set up a suitable camp for their guests. The land, especially to a young girl, was something out of a fantasy tale, with wildflowers in full bloom, thick, lush forests, and a crystal lake that reflected the towering mountains surrounding them.

XXXXXX

Sansa kept quite most of the riding, it was easily seen that she was out of her element. Her father had taken her out with her brothers to bow hunt. Just small game though, rabbits, turkey, and squirrels. Some of the men we're going after larger game on this trip. Ned perfered bird hunting. His favorite was turkey, and he felt as though that would just be easily enough for both of his daughters.

Once the tents were put up he stood them both in front of the bows he brought. " We do not touch these unless someone is with you. That means me with you Arya and Sandor Clegane with you Sansa. If I catch you", his eyes darted right down to Arya. " Practicing I will whoop your butt and take you straight home. "

" Like home home? Winterfell home?" Arya asked in a sarcastic manner.

" You know what home I mean. " Ned rubbed between his eyes. " Now. Go wash up before supper. " Ned pointed to the creek.

" Let's have a foot race!" Marcella had just been given the same orders from her own father; she trotted over to the girls and playfully pushed Arya. Both of them were about the same size, which left Sansa feeling slightly left out. In order to not get left behind she darted off to the creek with them.

Sansa could run as fast as a deer. She was tall, and movement in pants was very easy she quickly found out. Gaining lead in front of the pair, she turned to look back towards them. While not watching, she ran directly into the one being their father said stay clear of, The Mountain.

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He turned around slowly; black eyes were like daggers looking her up and down. Unlike the Hound, this man's intimidation silently informed Sansa that he would squash her like an annoying fly if given the chance. "Look what we got here." Said a weasel looking man, with a hooked nose and a skinny frame. He, like the other men that circled around, looked unkempt and stunk like blood, booze and sex. "Pretty lily's thang she is." The man spoke as Gregor just stared.

There was another in the pack, a girl, perhaps no older than Sansa herself. She was petite in frame, but obviously undernourished. Her skin was a sickly pale and moist brown hair was greasy and laid lifeless across her doe like features. She had a beautiful face but her dark eyes were bruised and her petal lips were cut and swollen. Though the shocking part was her belly, it was ripe with child and protruded immensely against her tiny frame. She gave a small curtsy towards Sansa but kept her eyes down casted.

Finally following were Arya and Marcella, laughing and paying no attention to what Sansa just encountered but stopping just short a foot from where she stood. Three girls now gazed upon a collection of ruthless monsters and a helpless child bride.

"Where the hell do you think you're going?" A familiar yet brutal voice question as the Hound came into view, stepping immediately between Sansa and his brother. "This is our side, run back to your own before I tell your fathers!" His hand grabbed Sansa's forearm and turned her around with the other two following. "You caught his attention Little Bird." The Hound whispered the warning as he pushed her off.

XXXXXX

Sansa couldn't say anything while being stared down at by the Mountain. He gave her an uneasy feeling. As the Hound pushed her away she glance up to meet his scarred face. "...What do you mean by that?" She whispered back in the same hushed tone just as he used.

Once the Hound had the three pushed away Arya spoke. " We have to go to the creek and wash up. "

Marcella was very use to Sandor, he was always around her brother. Unlike the other two she showed no fear of the scarred man, and due to her only being eight or so years old she didn't know to be afraid of the other. Her eyes look over to Sandor's hands.

" Your hands are dirty too." Marcella informed him before walking over where he stood with Sansa. The youngest was use to telling her own guard who was just as big as the Hound where to go and what to do, but her personal guard was a bit better with children. She took hold of his smallest fingers which took up Marcella's whole hand. The Stark girls just watch as the princess began to attempt to lead the Hound.

XXXXXX

There was no saying 'no' to the little princess, not because of her standing but because she was such an angel; a demanding angel, but an angel all the same. He allowed her to guide him, as if he had a choice and the group went to the creek.

"I don't understand." Arya spoke quietly with her sister as Marcella pulled the big Hound ahead of them. "How can he be so gentle with her and yet can also kill a helpless boy?" Sandor was still on her shit list.

Meanwhile Sandor lifted the little princess up on a down log and assisted her with unlacing her boots. "When did I get assigned to be your nanny?" He growled at the little girl who simply giggled and shrugged, making the beast give a slight curl of his lips towards her. "SANDOR!" A man's voice called from the distance. "SANDOR!"

"Oh for fucks sake what now!?" He stood up in a fury and walked over to the Stark girls. With Sansa being the oldest, he immediately went over to her and shoved the child's boots into her embrace. "I have better things to do than to play nursemaid." Arya, upon his approach, ran over to Marcella, leaving Sansa to deal with the brute. "Watch her, she can't swim, make sure she stays in the shallows. And you, you watch yourself girl. Keep away from Gregor, he took a fancy to you."

He didn't explain any further as his name was called again, but as he went ahead the young girl from Gregor's gang approached him. "I will watch them." Her voice trembled. Sandor paused. "Lily, I can't expect you in your..."

She shook her head. "It isn't a burden, I need to fetch water anyway." She whispered as her eyes went down. Sandor gently lifted her chin. "I will be back shortly or send the nursemaid to attend."

The young girl nodded and watched the man disappear back into the cluster of hunters before making her way to where Sansa, her sister and Marcella were. She seemed shy, and sat on a nearby rock with her pail in hand to watch the younger ones play.

XXXXXX

Sansa walk over to Marcella and finished taking her boot off. Sansa glanced over when a other body made its self known. It was the girl from the other camp. Sansa just stare at her for a moment, thinking of how young she appeared but there was no question about what was under her clothes.

" You going to have a baby?" Arya bluntly asked as she trotted barefoot through the creek.

" Arya! That's none of your business!" Sansa scolded. Her blue eyes then look back to the doe like girl. " I'm sorry. She's rude. This is my little sister Arya. I'm Sansa. And this is Princess Marcella. "

" She ain't being rude. She's just asking a question. " Lily said in a low tone.

" Yea Sansa. I'm just asking a question." Arya stuck her tongue out at her sister.

Marcella wiggled on down and went to the water's edge to dip her toes in. She trotted like a show pony and giggled due to how chilled the creek was.

" The Hound called you Lily? That's your name?" Arya asked before picking up a black rock and twirling it in her hands. The young girl nodded.

" You young right? Or are you old and just look young?" Arya was so nosey, it just made Sansa rub between her eyes.

XXXXXX

The girl put her arms across her belly in a manner that suggested she was more embarrassed by her condition than proud. "Yes." She whispered when questioned if that was her name. "I am fourteen." She added.

Arya looked at her older sister who was reaching fifteen and then back at the girl. "Are you a servant of the Clegane house?" Arya questioned as her curiosity peeked.

It could have been easily assumed that she was just by her humble demeanor and appearance, but to Arya's surprise the girl shook her head. "I am Lady Lilith Clegane, formerly Lady Lilith Haren of Haren Mount." Haren Mount was a third ranking house under the rule of the Clegane's, but the girl still had a ranking just like the other three in her presence.

Arya looked at Sansa and whispered. "Is that the Hound's wife?" Her eyes were as big as saucers but very little was known of the man's personal life, she could have been.

XXXXXX

" I don't...think so. " Sansa moved her hand from her face. " You've already asked her life story. Might as well ask her husband's name. " Sansa put faith in her sister asking this in a proper manner but no.

" You married that burnt up dog?" Arya asked which just lead Sansa to hide her face and walk over to Marcella who was writing in the dirt with a stick.

" No...I'm married to the Mountain. " Lily stated simply. This made both of the Stark girls look her way with shocked expressions.

" Your father allowed this..." Sansa just couldn't believe it. It made her feel sick to know who this young girl was paired with.

XXXXXX

She nodded. "Though I was hoping it was the younger one. Ser Sandor is a gentle man and has always been kind to me." She added as she felt comfortable amongst the girls to glide off the rock and waddle over.

Arya couldn't help but to allow her mouth to fall open when the girl mentioned Sandor as kind and gentle. "She is touched in the head." She spoke solely to her sister as the girl approach the trio.

"Princess Marcella please come up near the bank." She called up to the girl who was wadding in ankle deep waters. Immediately the child obeyed and came near the group.

"You're the Stark sisters." The girl spoke. "I have heard of you before, especially you Lady Sansa, I hear you have such a lovely voice."

XXXXXX

Marcella trotted on over with something cupped in her hands. Apparently she had been after a salamander in the water. Now the red bellied lizard like animal was in her hands. " Look at it's pretty colors!?" Marcella truly didn't know a stranger. She walked up to Lily and showed her living treasure off.

Sansa was too focused on something Lily said. " Who do you know has heard me sing?" Sansa had barley sung since moving to the Capitol. It was mainly due to the lack of confidence around all these lords and ladies who thought themselves better than the Stark girl.

XXXXXX

Lily's eyes, though painted in an array of bruises, were warm and soft towards the child. "Oh so lovely, but put it back so it can go catch the biting flies for us." She was only half listening when Sansa spoke and looked up with a questioning gaze. "Oh, it was Ser Sandor of course. He tells me many stories when he visits. He spoke of the plays he attended with the Prince and with you and Lady Arya and he spoke of the parties the King and Queen have and of your singing. He says your voice is sweeter than a songbird."

Arya couldn't help it and began busting out into fits of laughter. "HE SAID THAT!" She managed to squeeze out as tears of humor rolled down her cheeks. Lily smiled but had no clue why the girl was suddenly now on the wet ground, clinching her stomach and laughing hard. "SONGBIRD!"

XXXXXX

Sansa's face lit up like a ripe red apple. " Songbird...gods ." She rolled her eyes and looked away from her laughing sister and went on to the creek to wash off. Marcella was still playing with the salamander next to the creek.

" Okay Marcella. Let's get you on back. Grab your shoes. " Sansa didn't bother putting her own shoes on or Marcella's. The forest floor was covered in moss so it was easy to walk on. " I would like to hear you sing." Marcella stated as they made their way back to camp.

" Maybe later she will sing, just like a nightingale. " Arya laugh the whole way back. " The Hound is looking less and less scary as the day goes. " Arya laughed out.

" The Hound is nice. He makes funny sounds. " Marcella stated.

" That's growling..." Sansa informed her.

XXXXXX

"Girls?" Marcella's nursemaid called for them as she attempted to follow their carefree path through the field. "Girls it is time to come back to camp." She sang from the distance, stopping to wait for them to run to her. Marcella ran ahead, leaving Arya and Sansa to follow. "I thought I hated the Hound, but I think I hate his brother even worse." Arya conveyed to her sister. "I am so thankful I am not married to such a monster. I would kill him before he had a chance to touch me."

Coming back to camp, they were greeted with the now large cloth structures scattered upon the field with house flags indicating whose tent it was; with smaller tents were sprinkled throughout for servants and Knights. Torches lit their path back to where the tents of the King and the Hand were.

However the first group they needed to pass by was that of the Clegane house and his companions. Lily had returned earlier and it was she they saw first as they emerged from the small patch of woods. One of Gregor's men had her by her hair as he smacked her face. "You burnt the fish, bitch! Your husband won't be pleased." He yanked her head back to force her to look at him. "Going to punish you real bad." His grimy hand touching her belly, yet the pair paused as the group came into view and he immediately let her go and bowed their heads to the little princess and her gang.

Since the morning started the hunt, the evening was set for the groups to relax, enjoy good food and drink and to have fun. Many of the knights and lower class men had taken to wrestling each other for coin. Robert and Ned sat off to the side as the men entered a makeshift ring and began to tackle each other at the King's command. Voices began shouting at the opponents danced around. One of the men fighting was Sandor. He had stripped down to just his breeches and had tied his hair back as did his opponent. Both men were barefoot as they bounced around making slight attacks before Sandor caught him off guard and got him to the ground.

XXXXXX

It bothered Sansa, what she saw with Lily. She felt thankful in this moment, Lily's future could have easily been her's or Arya's if their father didn't care.
Sansa was in a daze, simply keeping up with Arya who lead her through the camps.

When they got to their father's side, was when she was pulled from her own thoughts. The men were fighting, but it was easily noticed that it was for entertainment and not combat. She didn't realize it was Sandor till the man pinned on the ground started to tap out.

Robert leaned in to Ned with the girls between them. " Take on my Hound. "

Sansa's eyes shot up at the suggestion. " Yes! Father! Go!" Arya acted just as Sansa had over going to the plays, her eyes lit up with utter excitement.

" I'm too old. He'll bend me. Make my hip pop out of place. " Ned stated with a full smile.

Robert slapped his shoulder. " I am your King!" A drunken laugh followed. " I order it! Bend him Sandor!"

XXXXXX

The Hound's last opponent got up from the dirty ground defeated, bowed to the King and removed himself from the ring of surrounding men.

The Hound, waiting for his next opponent, spent a few minutes cracking his neck and shoulders as the crowd egged him on; he had no idea the King was already preparing his own Hand to take him. "Get the hell in there and show him how we do it!" He demanded.

"Please father!" Arya cried with glee at the possibility of her father defeating the man. "Plllleeeaaaseeee!"

Ned sighed. "Fine, but you are the one who will explain any broken bones to Catelyn." He said to Robert as he stood up and began to remove his overcoat and shirt.

"HOUND, WE GOT YOUR NEXT VICTIM!" Robert shouted and the Hound spun to see that it was Ned. The crowd began to cheer wildly.

" Snap his neck, father!" Arya shouted in a bloodthirsty manner only to get a stern shot of eyes sent back. "Arya!" He scolded as he made his way to the ring.

"Girls." Robert called to the pair. "Come sit at your father's spot and cheer him on." Marcella took her place near her father, snuggling into his big arm to watch the show.

Sandor looked Ned up and down as the man approached; the man still seemed in shape despite his age. His eyes glanced over at the girls, especially Sansa as he watched her look at her father with such admiration.

XXXXXX

Sansa did look proudly on to her father as he walk on into the ring, but the point her father stood there next to Sandor the image of her father being a big man vanished. True he was in shape, and well feed. But he didn't even reach six foot, where the Hound was six and a half feet tall.

As Sansa sat here looking the men over her face fell and then her eyes landed to meet the Hound's. Defeat in her eyes but a smile on her face and she clap her hands to encourage the match.

Ned looked at Sandor before placing his hands on his hips. " I'd rather go up against you than your brother. You might not break me. I doubt it but I have an ounce of hope. " Ned laughed as he look over to the man setting up the match. Ned had been drinking some just as his King, it was the only time he had good jokes some would say. When his eyes look back to Clegane he wink and stated. " I like my hair pulled. "

XXXXXX

Sandor was not a man of jest and therefore had no retaliation other than to grunt and prep himself for the bell.

Robert took a heavy sip of ale and nudged little Marcella. "Grab that bell and on the count of three ring it to start the fight." The little princess did as instructed and grabbed the bell, waiting for the count. The crowd went silent.

"One...Two...Three!" Robert spoke to her and she began to shake it madly and the crowd exploded. Sandor was strong but Ned was fast and nimble. When the Hound darted towards him, Ned easily slid by to avoid impact. A few turns of this manly dance and Sandor finally got a hold of him and they began to grapple.

"Punch him in the throat!" Arya shouted, standing up on her bench to get a good view. Robert laughed hard at the kid. " You fight dirty girl!"

The pair coiled together in the ground, rolling about, getting up and then back down. It appeared that Sandor was getting the best of Ned, having him almost pinned and ready to be submitted.

XXXXXX

Sansa too stood to her feet; the sound of the crowds around them was blocked out as she watched her father go up against Clegane. The men about felt like they were getting the show of their life. It wasn't that Sansa didn't have faith in her father, but she was surprised the match was taking as long as it was. The Hound was big, and that slowed him down, Ned's palm press against Clegane's jaw as he pushed forward to pry himself from under the man. His leg then swung as hard as Ned could against Sandor's side. This gave him just the right amount of force to roll Sandor. As he scrambled to crawl on top of the man his hand stayed pressed to his face only now it was over his scar; keeping arm's length was his only hope.

XXXXXX

He flipped himself over, bringing Ned to his side and the two of them locked in strength as Ned attempted to get the upper hand.

Arya, being the sly girl she was, looked over at Sansa and then back at the fight. "IF YOU WIN YOUR SONGBIRD WILL SING!" Her words may have meant nothing to anyone standing by but Sandor heard them and looked up briefly to catch the girls' sight. A moment's hesitation was all Ned needed and his quickly got Sandor pinned back down. Sandor felt the man's exhaustion as he pressed his weight into him; if he truly wanted too he could easily overpower him and win. It was a thought, but he wanted the man's daughters to be proud of their father. So he allowed the count to take place and Ned to be declared the winner.

As the end of the brawl took place, Gregor and some of his men appeared, standing off to the side but giving them full view. Gregor looked over as his brother got thrown to the ground and then his dark gaze fell upon the redheaded girl and it remained there.

Arya practically leaped off her bench right into her father's embrace as he stood up to the roar of cheers. She was still small enough for him to pick her up and spin her in celebration. Sandor simply rose, and unlike his brother, did not take defeat to heart and was about to exit the ring. "Clegane." Ned called out and when the Hound spun around he was met with an extended hand. He took it and Ned patted him on the back. "You had me." He smiled, knowing the Hound went easy. "You won fair." Was all Sandor said before walking over to the water buckets for a drink.

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Sansa remain next to the King but a odd feeling as if someone was looking towards her, but the crowd was too busy for her to pin point who was looking at her. " Sansa. Go get me wine. " King Robert placed his empty pitcher in her hands.
" Yes your grace. " she headed on towards the area where wine, water, and all sorts of food laid about. When she was waiting to get wine she glanced over just for a second at Clegane before her cheeks flared out. How dare her sister yell that out. In the end she was happy her father won, but the how truly embarrassed her.
" I didn't realize my father was a little man till today. " Sansa admitted in a low tone before filling the pitcher, her eyes never turning towards him.

XXXXXX

The party continued as wine was poured and music played. One would think that this was not a hunt at all but an excuse to simply get drunk. Marcella's nursemaid took the young girl back to her tent and Ned escorted the girl's back to theirs. "I feel your old man is getting too worn out for these antics." He joked as they walked to their tent. "Your mother will kill me if she found out about this."

He waited as they prepared themselves for bed and assisted where needed. He knew it was hard on them not having a mother around to assist with their nightly routines, but he tried his best. "Arya, wash your feet before getting under those sheets?" He stopped his daughter in her tracks before she was just about to hop into the small bed. "Uggghhh" She groaned as she made her way over to the basin and Ned sat down next to Sansa's bed to watch his youngest fulfill the task.

"Father..." Arya began as she focused on scrubbing her blackened foot. " Did you know that Sansa sings prettier than a songbird?" She giggled as she looked over to them.

Having no clue what this was about Ned simply smiled with pride. "Of course I do. She has the prettiest voice I have ever heard."

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Sansa just rolled over at the topic of her singing. " Oh hush ..." Sansa groaned.

" Come on. Sit up and sing us a song. I liked that one you sung once. About the sailor." Ned patted Sansa's hip as she laid there.

" Yea. The one about Brandy!" As much as she teased her sister she did like the stories the songs she sung told. Arya finished washing up and ran over to plop down on Sansa's bed.

Sansa rolled over and look at the pair. " I don't know if I recall all the words ." She stared.

" Just make it up as you go. " Ned encountered his daughter. He hadn't heard her sing since coming to the Capitol, it would send his mind right back to Winterfell.

" Fine. " she rolled her eyes and sat on up, rubbing her knees she thought the words over.

There's a port on a western bay
And it serves a hundred ships a day
Lonely sailors pass the time away
And talk about their homes

And there's a girl in this harbor town
And she works layin' ale down
They say, Brandy, fetch another round
She serves them ale and wine

The sailors say, "Brandy, you're a fine girl"
"What a good wife you would be"
"Yeah, your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea"

Brandy wears a braided chain
Made of finest silver from the North of Braavos
A locket that bears the name
Of the man that Brandy loved

He came on a summer's day
Bringin' gifts from far away
But he made it clear he couldn't stay
No harbor was his home

The sailors say, "Brandy, you're a fine girl"
"What a good wife you would be"
"But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea"

Yeah, Brandy used to watch his eyes
When he told his sailor stories
She could feel the ocean fall and rise
She saw its ragin' glory
But he had always told the truth, Gods, he was an honest man
And Brandy does her best to understand

At night when the taverns close down
Brandy walks through a silent town
And loves a man who's not around
She still can hear him say

She hears him say, "Brandy, you're a fine girl"
"What a good wife you would be"
"But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea"

XXXXXX

Ned bowed down and kissed the crown of Sansa's head. "You truly have a gift my love." He said before grabbing his youngest. "You...you best get some sleep. We need to be up and ready before dawn."

The girls would be lulled to sleep by the warm winds and the faint sounds of laughter and music playing around them. Soon even those noises died down and all that was left was the chirping of crickets and the lonesome hoots of owls, that was until a woman's scream was heard that made Arya jump out of her bed and run to her sister. "Sansa!" She shook her sister's shoulder. "Did you hear that?!"

XXXXXX

Sansa didn't hear the first scream, but when Arya shook her another soon followed. Both girls sat up in their bed. Sansa took hold of Arya, in her half asleep state she had thoughts of beasts coming in and taking her right from her side. So she held Arya, as they noticed their father shift up from his bed to investigate what was going on.

" What's happening out here!?" He called right before bulking his sword to his hips and looking back at his daughters.

" Stay here." He told the pair before he faded out of the tent.

" That girl from earlier...you saw that man hurting her didn't you?" Arya asked.

" Yes..." was all she could tell her sister as her arms coiled around her tighter.

" I'll never let a man hurt you like that..." Arya stated this as serious as any could. Sansa glance down at her sister who's eyes couldnt pull from the tent entrance .

" Me either." Sansa told her.

" Its Lady Clegane. She's bleeding. She's in labor." A man informed Ned. Ned just stood there as a disgusted expression formed. Gregor's child bride was one of the reasons he had little respect for the man. The poor thing had just turned fourteen, Sansa was older and he didn't think of marrying her off for years.

XXXXXX

Why Gregor brought her along in such a state, pissed Ned off. "I am going to see what is going on." He said with a tired sigh, before looking to Sansa."Watch your sister and stay put you two." He warned as he gathered his things and headed out.

Arya waited only ten minutes before disobeying and right under Sansa's own nose did she sneak out of their tent to find out what was happening.

By the time Ned made it to the Clegane side of the camp, there was already much commotion going on. "YOU'RE ALL A BUNCH OF FUCKING CUNTS!" The Hound screamed as Gregor's men simply stood around the poor girl as she laid in the dirt floor in a puddle of blood. Ned watched as the man lifted the girl up and carried her out of the circle.

"Tell me what to do and I will be of any assistance." Ned met with his footsteps as the Hound came storming by.

"Can we get Marcella's nursemaid to assist?" The Hound questioned, knowing that was the only woman available to help deliver.

"Come, we will take her to the tent and I will have Marcella go in with my girls." Ned offered as they marched towards that direction.

It was all a bunch of commotion as a sleepy princess was escorted by a guard over to Sansa's tent, Arya was nowhere to be seen and men were already waking to prepare for the morning hunt.

As Sansa stayed in her own tent, with a now sleeping princess curled into Arya's bed, she would see a shadow loom over her tent, a huge, monstrous shadow much bigger than the Hound's and then she would see his join. "What the fuck are you doing?" Sandor's voice growled but got no reply. "So help me, you will not even think of doing what I know you were about to try. I will fucking tear you to pieces you fucking cockstain of useless flesh if you even look in her direction. Poor Lily is laboring and I don't think that baby is going to make it. I would say go be with your wife, but you are a waste so go bugger the fuck off!"

Gregor never spoke in her presence and many thought he was a mute, but Sansa would learn such was not true. "The red one will be mine." His voice was guttural, deep and sounded like what one would imagine a monster to sound like. "Fuck off!" Sandor snapped and the shadow of the Mountain left.

Sandor came into Sansa's tent, his body was covered in blood from his neck down to the tops of his thighs. " I need any sheets you're willing to spare" He demanded.

XXXXXX

Sansa heard the man, but she didn't fully get what the Mountain meant. Her child like mind told her the man was mad that she had run into him and not apologized. Sansa had been very sheltered her whole life, in her world married men didn't chase young girls. But she had been raised around honorable men.

When the Hound stepped in she quickly got up, her hands pulling out every piece of spare cloth they had brought. Arya crept back in, slipping between the Hound's knees to get back inside.

" There is so much blood. " she stated as she sat down on the bed with the sleeping princess. Arya pulled out a peach, she then causally started to peel it. " Mother didn't bleed like that with Rickon. I heard someone tell father it's because the baby was breech? What's that?"

Sansa was balling up the sheets to make them it easier to carry, but when she heard her sister she turned to look at Sandor. " That means...the baby is coming out legs first. Normally neither..." Sansa couldn't finish her comment and she just handed the sheets over. " Do you need anything else Ser?" Sansa asked as her face showed how saddened she felt over the situation.

XXXXXX

He didn't even acknowledge them, just ran out once his hands were full.

Awhile later, Ned came back in. "Come on girls, we need to get ready." He didn't say anything about what had happened but the look on his face was solemn.

"Was the baby born?" Arya asked the question.

"Yes and before you ask no it didn't make it. The King doesn't like his hunt interrupted so you need to not talk about it or question or act sad around him. What is done is done and we can't do anything." There was more he wasn't telling them. Ned was pissed, but he held it together. He didn't say that as he, Sandor and the nursemaid tried to help the poor girl, Gregor and his men didn't even acknowledge her suffering. How that poor girl's entire body was covered in bruises and scars and when they told Gregor that his son passed, he had simply shrugged, laughed and said he will just get another of both.

There was only a short delay in getting the hunt ready, but soon everyone, including Gregor's clan minus his wife, was ready to go. "Arya...you are with me. Sansa… you might have to wait a bit for the Hound. Go down to their tents and wait by the camp pit, till he is ready."

The horn blew to signal the start of the hunt and the King shouted. "A bag of gold stags to whoever gets the biggest kill!" Making the men rush off immediately into the woods.

XXXXXX

Sansa did just as her father told her, her head hung a bit but it didn't matter. Literally everyone was now in the woods, all except Sansa, Sandor, and the stitched together Lily. Marcella's nurse maid was sleeping in the Stark tent when they headed on out.

Sansa didn't make herself known in the Clegane tent, she just walk on inside. That's when she saw Lily, or at least what was left of her. Sansa could honestly say that she didn't think one's skin could get so blue, but there Lily laid with her eyes closed and her chest faintly moving to show she was alive.

Sansa was going to back on out but Lily's eyes shot open to look towards her. " Is that you Sandor?" Lily called.

" No...it's me. Sansa Stark. " Sansa just froze. Lily looked like one of the ' White Walkers' the kids in Winterfell told stories about.

" The Songbird. Come here. Sit with me. " Lily asked.

Sansa was hesitant but made her way on over, she didn't see the Hound so she figured waiting with Lily was still waiting. She settled down at the girl's bedside. To Sansa's surprise Lily reached out and took hold of Sansa's hand.

" My baby was so little." She informed Sansa. " Isn't that funny. Such a big awful father, and he come out pure and little. "

XXXXXX

He came in with a bowl of broth, not expecting to see Sansa at Lily's side. There was a slight hesitation as he entered but moved forward once both girl's sights were on him. Lily gave a faint smile as she whispered a 'thank you' to him. "I can't stay, but the nurse will be back shortly once she rests."

Without asking he handed Sansa the bowl while he propped the girl up. "Do you need any help?" He questioned her and she shook her head. "No, Ser. Thank you...for everything." Her lip began to quiver and tears began to stream down her face. "He's going to kill me!" She then began to sob uncontrollably.

"Lily, hush!" It was clear he was not comfortable with dealing with emotions, but he understood that the girl, who was only a child herself, went through such a horrible ordeal. "Gregor is a fucking ass but he isn't stupid to kill his own wife in front of the King. Right now you are safe and once I can, I will get you out." He whispered to her as Sansa was almost completely ignored.

"He...said...I am ruined and that he wants a fresh bride." She looked over at Sansa with fear in her eyes.

"That won't happen." He tried to assure her but the girl, though young, was not blind to the truth. "Sandor, I am his fifth wife! That was his twelfth son through marriage and he only has two that live, don't dare tell me I am wrong to believe him when he tells me I am next!"

She began crying again and Sandor inhaled deeply. "Help her with her broth, Little Bird. I need a drink before we go." Why was he always the one who had to deal with his brother's antics? He cursed his bleeding heart for allowing the girl to get under his skin, but then again the other four had as well. Each bride had, at one time, cried to the man to save them from his brother and each one he had failed to do so.

XXXXXX

Sansa got up to catch Sandor just as he was walking out, she took hold of his tunic. " Sandor..." a rare thing for the young Stark to address him with his actual name.

" We don't have to go anywhere..." She told him in a whisper. " I mean if you don't want to. " she held the fabric of his tunic as she glance back at Lily.

" I just..." Sansa couldn't place her thoughts in words. She just felt like running about in the woods after some turkey or hog was much less important than sitting with Lily. Her blue eyes bounced back to the man as she let him go. " I won't be disappointed. It's your call."

XXXXXX

His eyes darted her hand grasping on him and for a brief second or so he was silent. "We need to hunt, Little Bird, but it won't be for turkeys or any other game." At that moment he felt compelled to share his thoughts, if anything he just wanted someone rational to tell him he was fucking stupid for even considering this. "She is bleeding from the labor and I need to get her out of here. I need special plants for the nurse to make a poultice so the bleeding will stop and she could have a fighting chance. I am going to send her to the Inn and then get her somewhere else, probably off of Westeros completely."

He looked at her then over at Lily. "Go help her eat, she needs nourishment and I am going to get a fucking drink. We won't be gone long and the nursemaid will tend to her." He pried the cloth easily which removed her grip and he left.

"Lady Sansa..." He voice was so weaker a normal whisper would have been louder to hear. "May you please give me a drink of water?"

When she watched Sandor leave she began to cry again. " What am I going to do!" He face planted itself into the palms of her hands. "I am so scared!" She sobbed for a bit and then looked up at the girl. "He destroyed my sister before me." She confessed. "He told father she died in childbirth, but he told me he fed her to the pigs piece by piece. That he purposely kept her alive for months and cut parts of her off and made her watch!" She sobbed some more remembering that time. "Father paid him a small fortune to marry me after Gregor spoiled me. He caught me in the forest and had his way. My father knew my prospects of a good marriage were now gone and begged him to marry me. I tried to be a good wife! I listened and never spoke up. I thought maybe if I showed him love and compassion he would change, that his black heart would bloom." A serious expression crossed her innocent face. "He never had one, or a soul. I would say they were dead, but in order to be dead it would have had to once live. His never existed! He has been a monster since he took first breathe into this world."

XXXXXX

Sansa made her way back to Lily with the broth in one hand and a wooden cup with water. Heart breaking was an understatement to Lily's back story in how she ended up in such a way. Sansa settled down and placed the cup in her hands.

Sansa found no encouragement to give this girl, it just made her step back and look at her own life. Blessed she grew up in a loving home, with a father who would rather die than sell her off. Blessed she had been arranged to wed someone the world didnt lable as curel and evil like the Mountain. And blessed none had ever done to her that Gregor had done to Lily.

" I'm sorry about your baby..." Sansa admitted. " I'm sure he was beautiful. "

Lily started to dry her eyes and look slightly happy but in off sort of way. " When he kills me Sansa, I'll be with my baby again...so...not all is bad. " she stated.

Sansa proceeded to feed the girl and stay close till the medicine given to her worked in and she faded to sleep. She then step on out of the tent and just stood with arms crossed, zoned out talking to herself while waiting on Sandor.

XXXXXX

He had gathered some saddle bags and two flasks, one with water and the other with the strongest ale he could secure. He paid Sansa no mind when he returned and threw her a bag with her flask inside. He immediately walked over and lifted the flap to check on the now sleeping girl. "She will sleep while we are gone." He stated and began heading towards the trail.

Once down the small hill, he immediately began their hunt. "We need yarrow, horsetail and witch hazel." He wasn't sure if she knew those specific herbs but he figured she would ask him if she didn't. We are also going to need blue bellies."

Blue bellies was a small mushroom with a beautiful bluish hue underneath. They sprouted up all through Westeros and even were in abundance up North. Nan use to warn the Stark children about them, having once spanked Rickon for almost plopping one in his mouth. "Blue bellies are not for children, especially high class children." It was known the consumption of the beautiful mushroom made a person get immensely loopy and hallucinate. Many of the local village boys would eat them and make a game out of it for fun. Though in high abundance they could be fatal if consumed, so it was classified as an off limit mushroom the children were never to have.

XXXXXX

Sansa followed him with the bag he gave her over around her frame. As they walk on into the woods her eyes darted around the floor. " Any sort of mushroom will be growing under the fall leaves. " She told him this not be a smart wit but to be helpful.

" Maybe under rotten logs. " She added before trotting on past the Hound and pointing out a sprout of witch hazel. She knelt down to pull it on out but its roots were too deep. " Do you have a pocket knife or did you bring your long sword. " Sansa asked him before smirking and glancing up at him while still knelt down on her knees. The sun was so hot and beating down as she looked up at him her red hair shined like fire. To not look into the sun she made full face contact with the scarred man.

" I never believed people when they talk about how awful your brother was. Not till this trip at least..."

XXXXXX

Pulling out a dagger, he held it out to her as he deeply exhaled. "They don't have to witness it...I do." He murmured as he rushed his fingers through his sweaty hair. "This is my fucking life,watching a boy prince and cleaning up my brother's fuck ups." He turned and walked over to a nearby tree to begin collecting some moss.

He didn't speak much the rest of the afternoon, and by the early evening he realized they had traversed a good portion of land and collect more than enough. "Fuck, we need to get back. Have enough stuff here to heal an army." He pulled out his flask to finish off the remains of the ale. "Girl!" He called her over. "Go up that path between those two pines and there should be a small creek bed. Get me some water."

XXXXXX

Sansa didn't bother with statements or questions. She just simply told herself it was none of her business and made her way on with the Hound. Her pack was full enough to the point she had to hold it shut with her hands while walking.

Her orders were simple enough so she walked on to where he instructed her to get water. It was such a nice area, the creek was up due to rain, and right at the pines it pooled out into a little river bank area that one had easy access. She didn't notice at first, not until she brought her canteen on up to her mouth to take a drink did her eyes fall on her. Just like a swan on the water Lily floated face down.

" SANDOR!" Sansa screamed as she rose and covered her mouth as big tears formed in her eyes. The way she screamed his name lingered with danger and panic. But she couldn't scream for him again, her voice gone.

XXXXXX

It wouldn't be that scarred knight to come to her fearful call, but instead a massive hand swooped around her mouth as it opened up to call again. Her eyes would then meet the sight of a decapitated stag's head as one of Gregor's men dangled it in front of her. "Look what we caught!" The man who was harassing Lily yesterday spoke as he brought the head to touch Sansa. "Fresh killed! Want a taste?" His fingers dug inside the neck and plucked out a chunk of flesh to present to her. Soon the other men encircled, carrying their hunting bows and weapons.

Gregor spun her around so fast that her neck whipped in the motion and he held onto her tightly and sneered. His teeth were rotted black and broken from fighting, his face scarred and sweaty and his black, beady eyes were lustful.

" . Poor Lily." The other man cooed. "Couldn't bear the death of the baby so she drowned herself in the creek." He walked over to Gregor's side as he plucked the raw meat into his mouth and licked the blood from his fingers, still carrying the head in the other hand. The other men laughed as one went over to the floating corpse and poke it with a stick. "Ya think her cunny is still fuckable?" The one asked. "Well go ahead give it a try!" They all began to laugh harder as they egged the guy on.

Gregor paid none of them attention and just stared at Sansa as his tongue glided over his foaming lips. "My Lord here has taken a fancy to you." The other man spoke. "Thinks ya make a good wife number six. Ain't that somethin' how fate works? Just so happens that Lily killed herself and here we have this pretty virgin girl all ready for the pluckin'."

XXXXXX

Sansa pushed Gregor's hand from her mouth, or at least tried to and failed. The man held up his free hand and place one finger over his mouth.

" You scream and get that Hound Dog over here you dead just like she be. " The man with the deer head stated.

Sansa agreed to this with a simple head nod before Gregor removed his hand. " I am Sansa Stark of Winterfell, betrothed to Prince Joffery. I can't be your wife and you shouldn't just-" Gregor didn't let her crying carry on before he slap her across the face, as the man with the deer head then made his way on over to the body of Lily. This left Sansa alone with Gregor which if she was honest scared her more than when surrounded.

Gregor stood on up and took hold of Sansa by the shirt and lifted her off the ground. He started walking with her dangling. She knew screaming might work and she also knew the possibility of it getting her killed. Sansa was smart though and recalled the dagger attached to her belt.

The way she saw it was, do nothing and get raped to nearly death if not all the way or surprise the Mountain with a attack and get away. The chance of death was high on both ends, but dying honestly sounded better than being mounted by the Mountain. So she took the dagger and struck it into his hand has hard as she could. He let go of the fabric of her shirt and landed best she could. The only advantage she had was knowing the play before he did. Sansa jolted off away from the man as fast as she could and she no longer needed to scream because as Gregor pulled the dagger from his skin he let out the most blood thirsty cry all could hear for a mile, including Sandor. She didn't look back and just kept running on into the woods away from Gregor, but also away from the Hound.

XXXXXX

The roar was like thunder and it caught Sandor's attention. It was a roar he knew too well. "Sansa!" He leaped from where he was sitting and dashed off into the direction.

When he came upon them, Gregor was fuming, throwing rocks and weapons to exert the pain he was dealing with and his anger that the bitch got away. "WHERE IS SHE!"He screamed as he came barreling through the group and towards his brother, grabbing him with all his might and slamming him down.

"She ran off." His second in command spoke. "Crun and Nash went after her. Can't have a pretty thang like that lost in tha woods. Might be wolves. Might be bears."

"Might be Mountains!" Someone else added and they laughed.

Sandor jolted up and punched the man square in the mouth shattering his remaining teeth. "I WILL DESTROY YOU PIECES OF FUCKING SHIT IF SHE IS HURT!"

He left them and went on the hunt to find her.

As darkness approached, the men made their way back to camp, including Gregor and his men. Poor Lily was left in the creek to be found or not. Ned Stark waited near the trails entrance when there was no sight of Sansa. The nursemaid had informed them that the other girl had gone missing when she had woken from her nap and that she never saw Sansa that day either.

"We are going to send out a search party." Robert assured him. " They may be tracking or someone could be hurt."

Ned didn't need no search party, he was going to find his daughter. "So help me Robert if he..."

Robert patted his shoulder. "Not the brother you should be worried about. Sandor is a beast, but I have never witnessed him to attack little girls. If he did, I will personally execute him myself."

Torches were lit and men were dispersed. Questions were asked why Harold had his teeth crushed and the story was they were coming back from the hunt when Sandor came rushing towards them in a mad state looking for the girl. He stabbed his brother and punched Harold. "Dun worry, we sent our best trackers ta find her." He assured them, acting like they did the whole party a favor.

XXXXXX

Sansa had never ran so far in her life, when night finally took full hold she stopped and just leaned against a tree. Due to her father and mother teaching her about nature she had sensed the rain coming for hours. When she stopped was when the downpour finally happened.

" Gods be damn..." she muttered to herself as she turned and looked around her surroundings but had no clue where she was. She had been praying to run into her father or the King but she didn't come across one living person. She then heard whistling off in the distance. The issue she was facing was the men chasing her knew how to track. They were professional hunters and even though Sansa ran like a deer they were keeping up.

Not being able to run anymore she pushed herself up off the tree and walked down to the river she had been following. The water was fairly calm but she wasn't a strong swimmer and knew this.

" If your drown. You drown. " Sansa slipped on into the water and started across. When half way across, the water was way above her waist.

" WE SEE YOU!" The men cried out, not knowing that they were also pin pointing their location for their own hunter.

Ned went with the party sent, one of them they was leading the group had found something. Ned pushed through the men to get up to the front to see a man holding a lifeless body.

He froze and nearly fell to his knees but quickly realized it wasn't Sansa. "...her hair. It's not red." Ned choked out before swallowing hard and looking back at the men. " This is Gregor's wife!" He informed them.

XXXXXX

He was delayed, but like the two hunters, he too was a good tracker. He tried to convince himself that they wouldn't harm her knowing who she was, but he also knew what his brother was capable of. He didn't care if the King was standing right in front of him, he would still do what he pleased.

He tried to race the rains, but suddenly the pregnant clouds could hold no longer and the rain came pouring down in sheets. The high winds drowned out any noise and made the rain drops feel like needles being whipped on the skin.

Back at camp they brought the deceased child bride. Robert demanded an explanation; but just as it was planned, they concluded she killed herself as rocks and stones were removed from her dress pockets. "This FUCKING Hunt!" He shouted, pissed his party was ruined by such events. "Did they find the Stark girl and my Hound?" He questioned angrily. "No, your Highness." Was his only reply.

"Where oh where is our little doe?" Cried out one of the men as they grew closer and closer to where she hid. "The wolves want to play and we play hard!" They chuckled as flash of lightening illuminated the sky as if it were dawn and gave them a full view of where she was at.

Immediately they raced towards her, but as Nash got slightly ahead, Crun fell back as a rock hit his head from behind and he fell to the ground.

XXXXXX

Sansa was still in the water, making haste across and grabbed on to the roots of the bank before pulling herself on up to the other side. She was soaked and her clothes now heavy. She pulled the man's vest she wore and tossed it to the side along with the sack full of herbs and medicine it was no use to her now. The only thing she didn't toss was her water but then she heard the men, only they weren't addressing her anymore.

" Clegane! YOU FUCKER!" she saw nothing and in all honesty she wasn't sure what brother they were shouting at but she was more than worn out. She noticed a rotten willow tree, nearly tripping over its roots as she made her way up to its hollowed out trunk. She slipped on inside and stay as quite as she could. No more shouting could be heard which she wasn't sure if that was a good or bad sign.

XXXXXX

He had knocked out one, but the other remained. He had hoped the other would of been distracted by the girl, but he had turned his sights back just in time to see Sandor in the lightning's flash.

Clegane didn't have a weapon, as he had given Sansa his dagger and left his belongings when he heard the screams of his brother. Nash had a bow and arrow but also a dagge