Sandor stood in the hallway, listening to his friends talk without hearing a word they said. He’d chosen his spot very strategically, though he was telling himself that this was always where he stood on a Monday morning. A Monday morning where he’d made it to school on time and was now waiting, leaning against the lockers and watching the front door.
None of this had anything to do with a one Sansa Stark, not at all. A Saturday in detention, a kiss outside the school, a promise of something, a day spent dreaming about her.
She had nothing to do with the way his eyes scanned the doors, waiting for a glimpse of her red hair.
She probably wouldn’t even come in this way. She skipped class sometimes. Maybe today wouldn’t be any different. And did he even want to see her? It was one thing to be with her in the library or alone in a storage closet or outside with her indifferent driver ignoring them outside the car window. But she was still the most popular girl in school and one Saturday didn’t change that.
He reached up, almost out of habit, to touch the earring and make sure it was still there. He’d been playing with it all weekend, dodging his dad and brother so that they didn’t see it and assume he’d stolen it. It reminded him that it’d been real. That Sansa Stark was a real girl, not just a pretty doll up on shelf who only spoke when someone pulled her silk strings.
The door slammed and chatter filled the hall. He looked up again, not really expecting to see her. His gaze swept over the crowd of giggling girls automatically and didn’t think to look twice. Until that spot of red appeared and there she was, in flats and stirrup pants with a jacket. It made her seem softer, wrapped less tightly than her skirt. Her hair was still perfectly coifed, and he wanted to run his hands through it and shake it out.
She didn’t see him for a second and he felt his heart give a painful lurch; all his nightmares were coming true. She didn’t want to be seen with him. He’d prepared three cutting remarks before her gaze shifted and she spotted him, something in her face lighting up. He could see the emotions play out on her face, slowly, as she grew apprehensive, then resolved, then nervous, then determined once again. She began to walk towards him and everything he was going to say fled his mind.
She marched to them with purpose, adjusting her bag and fiddling with a ring as she approached. He watched her without moving a muscle. If she wanted this, she was going to have to prove it. He was going to make her work for it. And what had Sansa Stark ever worked for in her life?
“Hey.” she had a little smile on her face, and not the smirk that she wore for everyone beneath her. He didn’t say a word; it was distracting how pretty she was up close. She reached up and touched the earring, giving it a gentle tweak. Something like a smug smile crossed her face and then she walked away, a little swing in her hips. He watched her go silently, his stomach feeling like it’d been upended into his chest.
“The fuck was Sansa Stark doing talking to you?” Trant demanded and Sandor absentmindedly aimed a punch at his head, wandering away. He was lost in his thoughts and he wanted to go smoke and ruminate on them. She’d surprised him this morning, and he didn’t want it to happen again.
Sansa drummed her pencil against the desk thoughtfully. She wasn’t paying any attention to the history class being taught at the moment, nor did she really care to. All she could think about was this morning with Sandor. She hadn’t expected to see him. She thought she’d handled it well, given the fact that he’d been surrounded by his friends, those leering and vulgar cronies.
“Pst. Sansa!” Margaery was prodding her with her eraser. “How was detention this weekend?”
“Fine,” Sansa whispered back, as Mr. Pycelle droned on and on about some war or the other. “Boring.”
“I heard Gendry was in with you.” Margaery raised an all knowing eyebrow. “How’d that go?”
“Fine?” Sansa gave her what she hoped was a strange look.
“Fine?” Margaery’s eyebrows were doing a dance worthy of a Tony. “Just fine then?”
“Fine.” Sansa turned back to the front, pretending to take detailed notes.
“Oh, come on, you know he has a huge crush on us. And I say us because there’s no way anyone could decide who is better looking.”
“Shut up,” Sansa hissed and when Margaery gave her an affronted look, added, “Pycelle might be deaf but no one else in here is.”
“Whatever.” Margaery flipped her curls over her shoulder. “Are you going to prom committee meeting tonight?”
“Maybe.” Sansa had completely forgotten about it in the wake of the weekend. She’d spent most of Sunday sort of floating about the house, unable to sit down and focus on any one thing longer than a few minutes. Her mind was a bit consumed with thoughts of Sandor. Nothing was as exciting as it was trying to keep up with his rapid fire mix of insults, compliments, and cutting remarks.
“Maybe?” Margaery looked at though Sansa had told her of her intention to join a nunnery. “Sansa. Prom is in three weeks. You can’t miss it.”
“I’ve got some things with my parents is all.” Sansa waved a hand, now doodling in the margins of her notes.
“What things, custody hearings?” Margaery snorted and Sansa shot her a filthy look. Margaery, perhaps sensing the tumultuous nature of Sansa’s parents’ relationship was a bit too far, shut up and went back to her own notes. Sansa bent her head down over her paper. It occurred to her that when Sandor remarked on her family’s disfunction, she sensed a bit of understanding from him that she never got from her so-called best friends. But what did Margaery know about problems, when her own life was so perfect?
Everyone thought they knew her. Everyone thought that they understood. But this weekend had showed her that no one did. She looked up over her class, seeing the same people she’d seen every day for years. She’d went to pre-school with most of them and even the newest person, an exchange student named Dany, had been here for the entire school year. How many of them had lives and secrets and hopes and fears that Sansa had never even bothered to consider?
It all seemed so futile now. The prom and the gossip about if she and Gendry were a thing or not. All of it was for children, for dumb masses unable to think for themselves. For her friends, even for herself is she was being honest. The only one it wasn’t for was Sandor.
Second and third hour were best spent smoking under the bleachers, he’d found. Throwaway hours anyways, just science and English Lit. He wasn’t sure how he’d ever use chemistry in his real life, and he already knew how to read, so what did any of it matter? He did his best work out here anyways.
He stared down with pride at a freshly rolled joint. It was neat, perfectly round, and just thick enough to get him high but not thick enough to give him the munchies before he stole lunch from some freshman. He took his lighter from his pocket and lit it, taking a heavy drag. He exhaled the smoke. He’d spent the better half of first period talking to the Kettleblack brothers, who were annoying on the best of days. He’d finally chased them away so he could smoke and think in peace.
He laid down again on the picnic table that’d been dragged under here ages ago by some other delinquents. He took another hit, one that went all the way down into his lungs. He closed his eyes. It was an unseasonably warm day for March. Maybe he could get some sleep without the threat of being dragged from his bed to be tormented by his father or brother.
“Are you going to share that?”
He opened his eyes to see Sansa staring down at him, arms crossed and jacket pulled tight. He didn’t move for a second, not wanting to reveal that he was surprised by her presence.
“Why should I?” he questioned her and she watched him for a moment before sticking her hand out. He wanted to be startled by her presumptuousness, but it wasn’t startling, it was sexy. He held up the joint and she took it effortlessly between two fingers, lifting it to her lips.
“How long you been out here?” she asked, once she’d exhaled the smoke and handed him the joint back.
“Why are you out here?” he ignored her question in favor of his own. Sansa quirked an eyebrow but than sat down on the top of the picnic table, her feet on the bench. If he scooted just a few inches, he could rest his head in her lap. He eyed it, briefly.
“I needed to think.” seeing that the joint was going out, Sansa picked up his lighter and flicked it, holding it out to him. Slowly he leaned forward towards the flame with the joint between his lips and reignited it. Sansa flipped the lighter shut like she’d done it a thousand times before.
“About?” he asked and she laughed, taking the joint from him.
“If I told you, you’d make fun of me.”
“Where’d you get the impression that I’m not going to mock everything you tell me, princess?”
“I don’t want to be on the prom committee anymore.” Sansa stared directly at him, daring him to laugh. He desperately wanted to, given the circumstances.
“All that hard work, down the drain?”
“Don’t act like you’re sad about it.” she passed the joint back to him and for a brief second, their fingers touched. He had to work to not physically recoil at the intense sensation that went through him. “You’ve made it abundantly clear what you think of me and my friends.”
“What’s going to fill your time if not a hundred starry nights?” he questioned, blowing the smoke back at her. Sansa smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes.
“The theme is actually a million starry nights, since romance is eternal.”
“You don’t believe that shit,” he scoffed and she didn’t speak until she smoked the end of the joint and ground out the roach on the picnic table. She flicked it away and got up, brushing her hands off.
“No, I don’t. But neither do you.” with a little smile, she walked backwards for a few steps, then turned and went back for the school. He admired watching her go for as long as he could see her.
“Sansa!” Gendry was sitting at the lunch table with the rest of the wrestlers and a few other sports guys. He pushed back to give her a look of concern, half of his lunch abandoned.
“Hey.” she stopped, glancing over at the table where her friends were waiting. She could tell, even without seeing her, that Margaery was craning her neck to see what they were doing.
“How are you?” something in Gendry’s face made it seem like he was asking more for himself than her, but Sansa gave him a little smile.
“Fine.” she wondered if he could see the redness of her eyes. “What’s up?”
“Have you seen Arya?” his eyes flickered to the table in the corner, where the rejects usually sat. Arya’s black clad form wasn’t amongst them.
“Not yet, no.” she hadn’t seen Sam either, but she didn’t want to tell Gendry that she’d been smoking with Sandor Clegane two hours ago.
“Oh.” he gave one last look around the lunch room. “Uh, never mind then.”
“Want me to say hi for you if I do see her?” Sansa offered, partly joking.
“No,” Gendry said, a bit too quickly. Sansa raised an eyebrow and he went red around the neck. “I think I should say something to her, you know?”
“Yeah, I do.” she gave him a little smile, but wondered what she’d do if she saw either Sam or Arya. She should thank Sam for the paper; obviously it’d gone over well or they might have had more detentions. As it was, Sandor was going to be in detention until summer.
“See you around?” Gendry asked and she nodded, smiling. He went back to his lunch table amid some low hoots and catcalling. Sansa rolled her eyes and went to her table, where all of her friends were waiting.
“I knew it!” squealed Margaery, grabbing her arm and squeezing it until it hurt slightly. “You and Gendry!”
“Stop.” Sansa sat down and took her lunch out. Mordane, her nanny turned housekeeper had packed her a perfectly balanced meal. It was neatly wrapped and Sansa laid it out side by side as Margaery chattered.
“I told everyone that you two in detention was going to lead to something, I knew it! He was acting so weird at the party this weekend, he wouldn’t talk to anyone. So when did it happen? How long has it been happening? How far has it happened?”
“Would you stop?” Sansa snapped and Margaery went silent. The whole table went silent, staring at her. “I’m not dating Gendry. Nothing is happened between us. So can we all just drop it?”
“What has gotten into you lately?” Jeyne wrinkled her brow and Sansa sighed, picking up her salad and pulling the lid off it.
“Nothing, okay? I just don’t think you guys should speculate about it anymore. It’s really annoying to me and Gendry.”
“Fine.” Margaery picked at her lunch. “But you’re sort of acting like a bitch.”
“Better than a princess,” Sansa huffed, but under her breath.
Sandor liked shop. It was good for him, working with the hands instead of trying to write out words and numbers. No one asked him to explain his work. No one asked why he did it the way he did. He just got to put his head down and get to it. No one bothered him.
That was why he was usually in the shop after school. It postponed his arrival home and Mr. Brax never minded if he was in there. He had just finished up the cabinets he’d been working on, and now he was free to ponder his new project. There was a faint inkling in the back of his head of what it would be, but he forgot all about that when he entered and saw Sam standing there, eyeing the table saw with fear.
“Oi,” Sandor said loudly and Sam jumped, before turning and spotting him.
“Oh, Clegane.” he relaxed. “There you are. I was hoping you’d be here.”
“What you want?” he demanded, a bit rudely, but Sam was undeterred.
“I talked to Mr. Brax. If I redo the lamp, I can get a better grade on it. Not 100%, but higher, and if I do well on it then I can maybe keep my 4.0. It’s a long shot and I have to do it outside of class, but —”
“Tarly.” Sandor cut him off.
“I wanted to know if you’d help me?” Sam had an anxious, hopeful smile on his face. “Since you’re good at shop and all.”
“Shop’s for morons,” Sandor reminded him, a bit cruelly, and Sam’s fleshy face reddened.
“I get now that we have different strengths,” he said carefully and without breaking eye contact, Sandor flipped on the saw. Sam flinched and moved away. Smirking, Sandor turned it off. He figured anything sharper than a pencil would frighten Sam and he felt vindicated in his theory. Sam might have been smarter than him, had a brighter future than him, had a better family than him, but Sandor had this.
“What’s in it for me?” he questioned, going to look over the pile of wood.
“I had Mr. Brax talk to Mr. Lannister,” Sam said eagerly. “He agreed that if you help me with my shop project, it would count towards your detention. Two hours after school each day and you don’t have to go in on Saturdays anymore.”
“He agreed to that?” Sandor was shocked. Mr. Lannister never seemed to miss out on a chance to torment him, just as much as his family. Sandor had accepted that he was going to spend the rest of his junior year serving out Saturdays with him. It was rather freeing, to know that no matter what else he did, Lannister couldn’t give him any more detention than he already had.
“Well, I think it was because Mr. Brax explained to him that I —”
“I don’t care.” Sandor began to haul wood towards the table. He had a project to begin. Sam hovered behind him uncertainly.
“Does that mean you’ll help me?”
“Get some fucking wood Tarly, I’m not your damn babysitter.”
“Thank you!” Sam’s face had lit up and he nearly tripped over himself to approach Sandor. “Thank you, thank you, I appreciate it so much I really —”
“Wood.” Sandor used a 2x4 to ward off the hug that he was sure Sam was going in for. Sam stopped abruptly, the wood aimed at his throat. Sandor raised an eyebrow but Sam clearly got the point and made no further attempts to approach. Instead he went to the pile and began gathering wood as well.
Sansa walked to the cafeteria, lost in thought. She didn’t really want to go to the prom committee meeting. She didn’t really want to do anything. It was an odd feeling, to be a bit aimless. She thought that maybe she could call Robb, go visit him for a weekend to see if that’d help get her head back on straight. After all, seeing him never failed to cheer her up, even if her only sibling was a pain in the —
“Arya?” she did a double take, drawn out of her thoughts by the sight of the small figure sitting in a locker. “What are you doing?”
“Nothing.” Arya glanced up at her. She looked a bit different than she usually did. She’d kept the black clothes, though a bit less baggy than they’d been before. And her hair was actually pushed away from her face. The makeup wasn’t so harsh and she’d apparently taken Sansa’s advice to pluck her eyebrows to heart.
“Oh, I should tell you. Gendry was looking for you at lunch,” Sansa informed her and didn’t miss the fact that Arya’s face went red.
“Why?” she sounded almost defensive about it.
“I don’t know.” Sansa gave her a smile. “He didn’t say. But if you want to find him, he’s usually got a little bit of time before wrestling practice. He spends it in the weight room.”
“I’m not going there.” Arya tossed her head and barely avoided smacking it on the locker. Sansa raised an eyebrow.
“He won’t laugh at you.”
“And how do you know that?” Arya tried to sound cutting, but it mostly came out vulnerable.
“Because Sandor didn’t laugh at me this morning,” Sansa admitted honestly and Arya stared at her for a moment.
“I saw you kiss him, you know. You shouldn’t break his heart. He’s broken enough.”
“Aren’t we all?” Sansa asked her and Arya nodded after a second. “Besides, we both know what it is. He made it very clear.”
“Oh, silly, pretty, stupid Sansa.” Arya stood up and shook her hair out. “You don’t know anything about him at all.”
“Maybe,” Sansa admitted, shrugging. “But I do know Gendry, better than most anyways. And you should go see him in the weight room. It’s that, or you can go to the prom committee meeting with me.”
“I’d rather get laughed at by a bunch of man apes with an IQ of seven than bitchy girls,” Arya retorted and Sansa smirked.
“I do believe that’s the first honest thing you’ve said to me.” she gave Arya another smile. “Go see him. I don’t think it’d be weird or anything.”
“I’m weird,” Arya reminded her.
“Sure you are, but you’re pretty too. That means a lot, to boys.” with a wink, Sansa left her in the middle of the hallway. She did hope that Arya went to the weight room. She did know Gendry, and she hoped that they worked out. It certainly was a better story than a prom queen and star athlete anyways.
It was easy for Sandor to avoid going home now that he had Sam to keep him at school for a couple extra hours. That took up a big chunk of his afternoon, and then by the time he got home, both his brother and father were usually deep into several beers and a football game. It was almost warm enough out to sleep out in the shed, and he could start working at the Isle once summer construction season picked up again.
His stomach rumbled mightily, but the buzzing of the saw kept Sam from hearing it. He wanted to have enough money to get himself a sandwich at the convenience store but the fact remained that he was broke. He’d have to go hungry, until he could try to sneak inside and take something from the pantry.
“Alright, I think this is where I’m going to leave it.” panting, Sam shut off his saw. Sandor had been working with him to make him less scared of them, and he was proud to note that over the course of the week that Sam stopped flinching whenever he turned one on. “We can stop an hour early on Fridays!”
“Joy,” Sandor muttered, sliding one last block through the saw before shutting it off as well. Sam had also learned over the week to say as few words as possible to avoid Sandor snapping at him. They cleaned up in silence, then walked together towards the exit. Today was a colder day, and Sandor pulled his coat tight around himself.
“Hey, is that Sansa?” Sam perked up as they walked towards the exits. Sandor’s head snapped up and before he could stop him, the younger boy began yelling, “hey! Hey Sansa!”
“Sam.” Sansa stopped in her tracks and gave them a smile. She had a dress on today, and it was half obscured by a coat. As they walked up to her, Sandor did his best to seem aloof. A couple times since Monday, she’d caught his eye in the hall or lunchroom, but neither of them had been alone long enough to have a conversation. “What are you two doing?”
“Shop,” Sam said brightly. “Clegane is helping me redo my lamp instead of serving detention.”
“That’s so nice of you.” Sansa’s eyes crinkled in the corners when she smiled at him. “No Saturdays spent making mayhem then?”
“I’ll make it elsewhere,” he replied and Sansa’s lips curved up into a smirk.
“I’m sure you will.”
“What are you doing?” Sam asked her, clearly oblivious to the things passing unsaid between Sandor and Sansa.
“Student council meeting.” she waved a hand. “Load of shit, if you ask me.”
“Well, government is an essential cornerstone of our democratic process,” Sam said eagerly and Sandor gave him a little shove.
“Well, I hope your lamp project goes well,” Sansa said kindly to Sam, who only then seemed to understand that he was being dismissed when Sandor glared at him.
“Ah, yeah, you too,” he said vaguely, taking a few steps back. “Have a good weekend?”
“You too!” Sansa called as he walked to the parking lot. Then she turned and faced Sandor, still smirking.
She hated to admit how hot he was. Margaery and Jeyne and any of her other friends would die to hear her say it, but she meant it honestly. Sandor was hot. Tall, long hair that he flipped around like it had a mind of it’s own. And even if his clothes were a bit dirty and dingy, there was no hiding the fact that they clothed a fit body under it. The only thing that was any sort of off-putting was the scar, and she was even beginning to like that.
“Weekend plans?” she asked him with a quirked eyebrow and Sandor stared at her, long and hard.
“Yeah, got a full schedule. Why, you want my butler to try and squeeze you in?”
“I’m sure I can just take up the recently vacated 7 am to 4 pm on the next, what was it, seven Saturdays?” she was a little bit glad that he was free now. She hadn’t the faintest idea of what to do with this information, but it made her stomach squirm nonetheless.
“You sure about that, princess?” he demanded, a bit unkindly and Sansa opened her mouth to make a comment back, but before she could, Sandor’s stomach rumbled so loud that she could only stare at him in shock.
“What was that?”
“Nothing,” he said defensively and Sansa looked up at him, startled.
“Are you that hungry?” she thought about his lack of a lunch last Saturday and seemingly every day since.
“No.” he glared and Sansa briefly weighed her options. Risk pissing him off, but getting him fed, or carry on their witty banter and spend the entire weekend wondering if he was starving somewhere.
“C’mon,” she offered, turning towards the doors.
“Where are we going?” he asked, following her with some reluctance. She looked back at him with a smile, opening the door out into the brisk spring air. She led him silently to where her car was parked in the back of the lot, the BMW symbol shining in the afternoon light.
“My parents have been fighting all week,” she told him, as she unlocked the car. He stood on the other side, eyeing her skeptically. “My mom’s ran off to go visit her parents down south, and my dad will probably spend the entire weekend locked away in his office.”
“Gonna have a big party for all your friends?” he was mocking her, but he was also getting in the car, so she took that as a win.
“No, he has an at home office. And Mordy will be there anyways.”
“Mordy?” he raised an eyebrow but was distracted fiddling with the dials, turning the radio from a pop station to a heavy metal one.
“You have a housekeeper?” Sandor stared at her in disbelief. “What the fuck even is a housekeeper anyways?”
“She literally keeps the house running,” Sansa explained, pulling out of the school parking lot. “Buys groceries, cooks meals, cleans stuff up, arranges for any services we might need, or whatever the hell my parents want. She basically is my mom, most days.”
“And you pay her for that?” Sandor looked as though she told him the sky was purple.
“My parents do,” Sansa corrected and he was silent, watching out the window as she drove towards her home.
Of course Sansa lived in the nicest part of town. Once, he’d skateboarded over here, just to keep himself out of the house, and he’d nearly been arrested. For loitering. On a damn side street, on his skateboard. It was all bullshit, but who was going to defend a kid like him? Of course Sansa’s car slid through the streets and blended in with all the three story mansions and the other sports cars.
He did his best to sulk in the passenger seat and to not look up in awe. He didn’t want Sansa getting the impression that anything she had impressed him, but he’d be damned if it didn’t. Especially when she turned down a gated drive and it swung open, revealing an impossibly long and immaculately gardened driveway. Sansa didn’t seem moved in the slightest as she pulled around to a huge garage and parked inside.
“Coming?” she asked him, getting out and slamming the car door. Slowly, he rose up. Sansa grabbed her backpack from the backseat and went to the front door, flanked by two huge pillars of what he sort of thought had to be real marble. He scuffed his shoes on the pristine white steps but Sansa didn’t say a word, unlocking the front door.
If he’d thought the exterior was impressive, the inside was even more so. A grand staircase in front of them. Huge vases filled with flowers. A chandler casting rainbow light as the setting sun refracted around inside it. Sansa carelessly threw her backpack onto the stairs and disappeared off through one door. He followed, trying to take it all in.
“My whole fucking house fits in the garage,” he muttered to himself. Sansa gave no indication that she heard, instead standing in the middle of the kitchen. After a second, she yelled,
“Jesus christ.” Sandor stared at her. The girl had a set of pipes on her, he would say that much.
“You’re home late.” a grey haired woman, short and a bit pudgy, bustled in the kitchen holding a broom and a dustpan. “I thought student council was on Thursday.”
“They pushed it back,” Sansa explained, taking a seat at the massive bar. Sandor hung back, unsure and uncomfortable with what was happening.
“Well they should really — oh.” Mordane stopped in her tracks when she looked up and noticed Sandor standing there. “Did you bring a…. friend home?”
“Mordy, this is Sandor Clegane.” Sansa glanced back at him with a smile. “He’s in my grade.”
“Are you partners for a project?” Mordane asked hopefully. “A short project?”
“Not at all.” Sansa was far too cheerful for this, he felt. “Mordy, we’re starving. Can you make up some snacks for us?”
“What would you like?” Mordane stepped towards the pantry, never once taking her eyes off Sandor. He wanted to growl at her or some shit, just to scare her even more.
“Well, let’s start with a meat and cheese tray, and some crackers,” Sansa said thoughtfully, “and throw in a pizza while you’re at it, please. Do we still have stuff for milkshakes? We can do that for dessert.”
“Is that all?” Mordane asked dryly and Sansa shrugged, hoping down.
“Maybe. We’ll see how we feel. You can bring it up to my room!”
“Sansa!” Mordane yelled, scandalized as Sansa caught Sandor’s hand and tugged him out of the kitchen. “I’ll have to tell your father about you having boys up in your room!”
“Please do.” with one last pull, Sandor was led to the stairs and up them.
“This is my room.” Sansa opened the door, feeling incredibly self conscious as she did so. Sandor walked in behind her slowly, his face impassive as he looked around. Sansa even had to admit, it was a lot of pink. She’d thought about redoing it for awhile now, but it seemed like such a hassle when she was just going to go off to college anyways. Pink and marble, with lots of gold touches. Sandor turned slowly in a circle before stopping and looking at the kingsized bed against one wall.
“Where the magic happens,” he remarked sarcastically and she flushed. She’d never had a boy in her room before, and not certainly a boy like Sandor.
“Actually, the magic is in there.” she pointed to a door and after a second of hesitation, Sandor went and pushed it open.
“Seriously?” he walked inside the closet and she followed with a smile. She kept it perfect, all her clothes color coded and hung up by length. Shoes on the lower shelves, purses on the middle shelves, and hats on the upper rack. “Your fucking closet is as big as my living room, do you know that?”
“I’m not trying to make you feel bad,” she told him and he turned to look at her.
“Then what are you trying to do?”
“I don’t know,” she admitted quietly and he looked like he was going to say something, but then resumed browsing the clothes and shoes, occasionally touching some at seemingly random. Sansa watched him until the strange moment was broken by a knock on her door.
“Meat and cheese,” Mordane said quietly, pushing inside the room. Sansa and Sandor both watched as she set it down on the little bench at the end of Sansa’s bed. She looked at the two of them like she wanted to say something but when Sansa raised an eyebrow, gracefully bowed out.
“Go ahead and eat.” Sansa gestured to the tray and didn’t miss the longing in Sandor’s eyes.
“I don’t even know what half this shit is.” he turned his nose up, but took a few steps towards it.
“Brie, cheddar, gouda, and swiss.” Sansa pointed to the variety. “And the meat is turkey, ham, salami, and pepperoni. Stop being dramatic and eat it.”
“So now what?” Sandor sat on the bed and grabbed a few pieces of meat. When she turned her back to go get the remote, she didn’t miss that he grabbed a fistful more.
“Well, my dad has the best TV package. We could always watch some HBO.” she took her time looking for the remote and when she turned back around, was quick to notice that most of the tray was empty. Sandor was munching on a cracker, like it was nothing.
“That what I’m here for, Sansa?”
“I don’t know what you’re here for, Sandor.” she looked at him pointedly and for a second it seemed like he was going to challenge her. Then he picked up a bit of gouda and bit into it.
“This tastes like shit.”
“That’s because it’s authentic and doesn’t come from a plastic sleeve. Have it with a cracker.” she sat down on the bed next to him, but still a decent ways away.
Being around Sansa was overwhelming enough, but being immersed in Sansa was something else entirely. Her smell - flowery and sweet - was all around him when he sat amongst her sheets. She was reclining next to him, having a slice of pizza and laughing at the show they were watching. He glanced at her discreetly every now and then and saw how relaxed she was, red hair messy against the pillows. Once, she caught him looking at her and just smiled. It was sweet and entirely foreign to him.
“Watch this part,” she urged him, when he was looking up at her. “It’s so funny.”
“You’ve got a lame sense of humor, princess,” he muttered and she jostled him.
“Why, because it’s not dirty like yours?” she giggled and he smirked up at her.
“She WHAT?” a yell went throughout the house and Sansa abruptly straightened up, nearly spilling the plate of pizza that had been lying on her stomach.
“That’s my dad.” she went pale. “He’s home.”
“Sansa!” another yell. Sandor knew he had two choices; jump off the bed and run for the closet like a coward, or make himself valuable to Sansa. He chose the second in a heartbeat. He pushed the empty pizza platter off the bed and pulled Sansa down on top of him. A bit roughly, he grabbed her hips and buried his face in her neck, breathing in the heady warmth of her. Sansa gasped and went stiff in his arms, but after a second she softened and seemingly melted to fit the hard angles of him.
It only lasted a second; before he could lift his lips to hers and taste her again, the door blew open like a gale force wind. Sansa jumped off him with a squeak and Sandor got his first look at Ned Stark. It occurred to him for a brief, fleeting moment that it likely would have been much safer to make a run for the closet.
Sansa’s father was easily over six feet and as broad shouldered as Sandor’s own family members. Sansa’s mother had to be a waif, since Sansa clearly got neither her father’s height or stature. He stood in the doorway, glowering, as Sansa stammered out excuses and tried to rearrange her mused clothing.
“Dad — daddy — I didn’t — you —”
“Sansa.” Ned looked murderous, but all Sandor did in response was reclined on the bed, trying his hardest to seem unfazed. “What the hell is this?”
“What does it seem like?” Sandor asked quietly and Ned’s eyes flashed.
“Your friend needs to leave,” Ned warned and after she seemingly found her voice, Sansa replied,
“No?” Ned stared at her. “Sansa, do not test. me”
“Sandor is going to stay.” Sansa was trembling. “Mordy is making us milkshakes.”
“Milk….” Ned trailed off, incredulous. “Young lady, you’re going to get grounded.”
“So?” Sansa tossed her head.
“I’ll take away prom,” Ned threatened.
“Good.” Sansa crossed her arms. “I don’t even want to go anyways.”
“Jesus….” seemingly lost, Ned shook his head. “Wait until I call your mother. I’ll bring her home for this!” with that he left the room and Sandor exhaled a breath he wasn’t really aware he’d been holding.
“Holy shit.” Sansa’s heart was racing, but in a good way. She’d rarely seen her dad so mad, but it felt good for once, to have him look at her and see her, instead of just tossing money at her and walking away. Sansa twisted to face Sandor. He was laying on her bed like he owned the thing, casually inspecting his nails. Did nothing get to him?
“You think that’s impressive?” he didn’t look up at her. “You should see what he does when you come with me to a party tomorrow.”
“What kind of party?” Sansa immediately turned skeptical. She liked Sandor plenty, but that was because he was special. He wasn’t like the other guys in his friend group. He wasn’t like any other guy, period.
“My kind of party,” he clarified, brushing pizza crumbs from her bedsheets. “What did you call it? Heavy metal vomit parties?”
“You’re taking me to that sort of party?” she crossed her arms. She didn’t believe him, not for a second. It was one thing to be seen with the prom queen at school, where everyone probably thought he was boning her and it looked so good for his image. She didn’t care all that much about what his intentions were with her at school, but this was the real world. Outside their high school bubble.
“You saw what your old man did when he thought I’d shoved my tongue down his perfect little girl’s throat. Imagine the sort of attention you’ll get if he thinks I’m slipping you something else at parties.”
“I….” Sansa was flustered at all the implications, but then Sandor raised an eyebrow.
“Drugs, Sansa. I was talking about slipping you drugs.”
“You’re disgusting,” she told him without much gusto. “Am I just telling him that you’re taking me to a party or do I actually have to go?”
“You can do whatever the fuck you want.” Sandor picked up the remote and started flipping through the channels. It seemed that he liked to have something to do when they broached the prickly subject of what they were and how far it seemed to go.
“What if I wanted to go?” she asked him carefully and two grey eyes flickered to her, briefly.
“My other options are another party at Roslin Frey’s with one of her hundred brothers try to get into my pants and shitty beer.” Sansa inspected her nails, peeking up at Sandor through her lashes. He looked thunderstruck.
“We have shitty vodka,” he warned her and she shrugged.
“Would you stop anyone from trying to get into my pants?” she asked and didn’t miss the flash of something like jealousy in his eyes.
“You’d be with me.”
“Then I say we go.” Sansa’s heart was pounding again. “Pick me up at seven?”
“More like nine.” Sandor was back to staring at the TV.
“Fine.” Sansa rose. “I’m going to go check on those milkshakes. Chocolate okay?"
Sandor didn’t let Sansa drive him home. There was no way in hell he was going to have her see where he lived, especially not after she’d shown him her mansion and walk in closet and television with every channel available to man. He’d probably find free porn on there, if he looked hard enough. It was so clean and light and airy, and his own home seemed all the worse in comparison.
He had her drop him off at the tracks, where the houses started to crumble, and walked the remaining six blocks to his place. Darkness had fallen and the chill was back in the air. The weather always seemed to tease, with three or four nice days before it plunged back into misery for a couple more weeks. He’d have to sleep inside tonight, and try to avoid his family.
At least he was full. Sansa hadn’t said anything, but he doubted that it was her usual practice to order half a fucking deli counter every day she got home. She’s pecked at it like a damn little bird or something, but he’d eaten all that he could get his hands on. At this rate, it was enough to keep him fed for a week. He paused a few houses down to belch and then reached down and grabbed some of the dirt in a neighbor’s yard. He rubbed it over his neck, trying to mask Sansa’s floral scent. He didn’t want his family asking after her.
The light was on in the living room and he approached carefully, listening. He heard the muffled chatter of the TV and his father yelling. Football or baseball or whatever. He could sneak in. Bury himself in blankets and hope like hell that he was unbothered until morning. It was a long shot, no doubt, but today seemed like enough of a miracle and he wanted to push his luck just a little bit further.
The window to the basement didn’t latch. It hadn’t for years, not since Gregor slammed it shut in a fit of anger and broke it. No one had ever bothered to fix it, so Sandor used it as a front door. It would’ve been amusing under a different set of circumstances. He eased it open and slipped his frame through. He was almost too big to fit, but tonight went smoothly and he pulled the window shut quickly behind him, watching the stairs to see if a huge frame would lumber down them.
He breathed a sigh of relief when no one did. He crept towards his bedroom, which was basically a glorified closet. But it also locked, and that was key. He got inside and shut it, locked it, and stuffed a chair under it for good measure. Not that Gregor couldn’t bash that away if he really wanted to, but it helped Sandor sleep. He shed his coat and crawled into the mess of blankets, shrugging them up over his shoulder.
He closed his eyes. He wished he wouldn’t have rubbed all the dirt over him. He wanted to still smell Sansa. It made it easier to conjure her in his minds eye if he could. But as it was, he could still remember the curve of her body as it pressed against his. He wasn’t a virgin, but she made him feel like he was. No one had ever done the things she did to him, ever.
He wondered what she’d do tomorrow. Trant was having the party and he’d invited all the usual suspects. Sandor had no idea how Sansa was going to react. It was a bit upsetting already, imagining her pristine little self walking into some beater’s trailer and listening to rock. Would she smoke? Drink? Turn up her pretty nose at them? He was snarling before he could stop himself, convinced of her intentions.
But it wasn’t like they were a real couple, were they? She’d kissed him in the closet, so what? She just wanted to use him to get back at her fucked up family. And maybe he should just use her to get a couple free meals, some rides, and maybe a chance to really see what she tasted like in those pink panties of hers. It was better not to get attached. To know his role as the junkyard dog.
But when he turned his face into the pillow and fell asleep, he dreamt that he and Sansa were sitting on a cliff, watching the sunset, and his head was in her lap as she gently played with his hair, singing softly to him.
“And why the hell aren’t you coming out tonight?” Margaery demanded from the phone. Sansa absentmindedly tapped her makeup brush against her vanity, pondering which shade of black to use on her eyes.
“I’ve got other plans.”
“What’s it matter to you?”
“Because you’re my best friend in the entire world and we’re inseparable.”
“You ditched me three weeks ago when one of your brother’s stupid frat friends invited you to their party,” Sansa reminded her, finishing up her winged eyeliner.
“That was different. I told you where I was going,” Margaery argued and Sansa twisted the cap back on her liquid eyeliner and reached for the mascara.
“I don’t need to tell you or anyone else what I’m doing.”
“You’re sort of being a huge bitch lately,” Margaery informed her and Sansa rolled her eyes.
“I’m not being a bitch for not going to Roslin Frey’s shitty party. And I’m not being a bitch for trying to avoid getting a lecture from you, Mordy, and my parents.” except both of her parents were gone. Her father’s threat to bring home her mother had turned out to be an empty one. He was gone for some company dinner now.
“No, you’re a bitch for acting like you’re better than all of us.” Margaery hung up and Sansa briefly looked at her phone in annoyance. When was everyone going to understand that she didn’t think she was better than them? Sandor thought she looked down on his friends. Margaery thought she looked down on their friends. Sansa didn’t look down on anyone, she just wasn’t about all the bullshit.
She shook her head free of any lingering remorse and stood up, inspecting her outfit in the mirror. She’d gone to the mall specifically to get it this afternoon, since she was fairly confident that she didn’t own anything that Sandor’s friends would approve of. She was going for Madonna-esqe, which was as far into punk she dared delve.
Fishnet tights with black booties. Tight leather shorts and a studded belt. A tank top with a bunch of necklaces and some bracelets. She’d tried for edgy, dramatic makeup but as she critically inspected herself, it did seem a bit over the top. More Arya than her, really. And she’d teased her hair a bit too high. But it was too late to change any of that. She had to be to the gas station where Sandor had told her to meet him in ten minutes, and she knew it was a drive across town.
She snatched her bag and tossed a few things in it - lipstick, a few tissues, whatever else, and went downstairs. She let herself into her father’s study and to the liquor cabinet. He had a code on it and everything, but of course it was Robb’s birthday. He always was the favorite. Sansa took vodka, whisky, and the good bourbon just to spite him. Then she walked out of the house and to her car, without a second look back to the house.
She stashed the bottles in her trunk, got in the driver’s seat, and flipped her mirror down once more to inspect herself. She was sure that if she showed up to Roslin’s like this, they’d either laugh her out of the house or try to get her committed. But, she reflected as she snapped the mirror shut, she wasn’t going to Roslin Frey’s party. She was going somewhere entirely different.
Sandor leaned against the phone booth, smoking and scuffing his shoes against the concrete. The things were already getting holes in them, he might as well hasten the process. He needed new boots anyways, if he did summer work with the guys at Quiet Isle Construction. Maybe they’d give him an advance. He needed it. He’d managed to filch a couple bills from his mom’s wallet to buy shitty beer for this party.
The sound of a car made him look up. Sansa had been surprisingly okay with his suggestion that they meet in a gas station. He didn’t want her seeing his house and he didn’t want her showing up at Trant’s place in that BMW. They’d park on the nice side of town and walk. It was only a couple blocks. He reached down and grabbed his beer, sliding into the passenger seat.
“Christ am I glad it’s you,” Sansa remarked, “there’s so many drifters around here, I wasn’t sure what the hell to do.”
He wanted to answer her, he did, but he couldn’t. He could only stare in amazement at her. She was dressed so differently, and her hair was wilder than he’d ever seen it. She looked like his type. She looked better than his type. And when she turned and looked at him, those blue eyes so striking against her pale skin, he lost his entire train of thought for a few moments.
“What?” he asked her stupidly, once he realized that she’d still been talking and he’d been ignoring her entirely.
“I said, where should I go?” she asked him slowly and he blinked.
“You’re going to have to direct me,” she reminded him, reversing the car and then leaving the gas station.
“Yeah, we’re going to Seven Suns Church. You know it?”
“Yeah, I do.” her gaze briefly flickered towards him. “You don’t seem like a big youth group kind of guy.”
“It’s a couple blocks from the party,” he explained darkly. “No body fucks with cars at church. Bad karma and shit.”
“Would anyone fuck with my car if they knew that you rode in it?” she asked him and he glanced at her before realizing she wasn’t kidding.
“They see those three letters on your hood, Stark, and you bet your ass they would. I’m not god.”
“You certainly act like it,” she quipped and he snorted. If she thought he did, she had no idea what was coming for her. “Do I, uh, look alright?”
“What?” he looked at her incredulously and she shifted, uncomfortable.
“I mean, for the night. It’s stupid. I just thought it was better than what I usually wear. So I don’t, you know, embarrass you?”
“Fuck.” he had no idea how to tell her that he was going to spend the entire night fending off advances from other guys for her. They drove beneath a street light and the car was briefly illuminated and he saw her long legs, clad in fishnets, with the tiniest pair of shorts. He squirmed in his seat, trying to hide the rush of desire at seeing her.
“That bad?” she was still worried.
“You’re fucking fine,” he said darkly and then looked out the window, wishing for a cold shower.
Sandor was avoiding looking at her, but he kept directing her to the church. Sansa was worried that he was regretting bringing her, but he never once told her to stop or let him out, so she reluctantly went with it. She got out of the car, shivering slightly in the cold air. Sandor inspected the parking lot and once he was seemingly happy with their surroundings, began walking.
“Hold on,” she called and he turned, looking back at her in confusion. “I’ve got stuff in the trunk.”
“What, you pack a fucking overnight bag?” he came back with a little huff of annoyance, but that facade slipped off the second she opened the trunk and he saw what she had inside it.
“It’s rude to show up empty-handed,” she explained preemptively as Sandor reached inside the trunk and pulled out the bourbon, staring at it in wonder.
“You know this shit costs more than I spend in a year on food, right?”
“I stole it from my dad,” she told him defensively and he appraised her for a brief moment, then grabbed the other bottles and put them in his bag.
“You’re going to be the fucking belle of the ball with this shit. C’mon.” he offered her his arm and she took it, blushing slightly. They walked together a short ways before Sandor stopped her. “Sansa.”
“Yeah?” she turned to face him and noticed with a tiny surge of happiness that he was still wearing her diamond earring.
“Aren’t you freezing?” he was looking at her bare arms in clear concern.
“I’m alright,” she bluffed, even though she was beginning to lose feeling in her fingers. He gazed at her for a moment, then shed his heavy jean jacket and swept it over her shoulders.
“Don’t get chilled. Don’t need to add your death by hypothermia to my spotless record.”
“I don’t need this,” she insisted and he wrapped at arm around her shoulders, pulling her in close. He smelled like smoke and deodorant, but it was a pleasant smell on him.
“Quit chirping like a little bird, alright? Wear the damn coat.”
“Alright,” she said softly and tightened it around herself. It felt good to be in his clothes. It was like a little shield around her. And his huge form next to her was a great thing as well. She walked towards the party with a happy, light heart and tried to ignore the fact that the houses around them were slowly getting shabbier and shabbier.
Sandor guided her to a gray one that was in a slightly better state than it’s neighbors, but still bore peeling paint, a few missing shutters, a sagging porch, and a yard overgrown with weeds. She could hear, even from the sidewalk, the loud music from inside. A few beer bottles already littered the approach. Sandor looked at her, his grey eyes full of something she could describe as apprehension.
“Ready?” he asked her and she knew it wasn’t just if she wanted to go inside. It was a much more loaded question.
“Yeah, I am.” she took his hand and gave him what she hoped was a bright smile. He took her hand and led her inside, while she tried to take deep breaths.
He eased them into the party, gaze sweeping left and right to make sure that no one was paying too close attention to Sansa. She was walking close behind him and he was willing to bet that if he looked back at her, those blue eyes would be as wide as the moon. He wanted to press his face to her neck, to see how fast her heart was beating. He wanted to do a lot of things to her.
“Clegane!” the yell went through the entire house. It seemed that most people were congregated in the living room, so that’s where he led Sansa. Bottles were strewn all over, and a joint was already being rolled and passed. Trant, wasted, rose and clasped him in a hug. Sandor fended off most of it, moving protectively in front of Sansa. “Glad you’re fucking here man, this asshole is saying that Metallica is better than AC/DC.”
“I did not,” the other man argued, “I said that they weren’t shit compared to Kiss!”
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” yelled another partygoer and in the ensuing chaos, Sandor led Sansa to a quieter corner. She was silent, looking around and taking it in. He quickly found a cup and made her a strong drink, pressing it into her hands. She murmured her thanks, then took a deep drink from it. Sandor made one for himself and stashed their booze away. He guided her to a couch where they both sat, just in time to receive the joint being passed around.
“Thanks,” he muttered to the guy next to him, taking a strong hit off it. He passed it to Sansa with a bit of hesitation, but she took it and smoked, then passed it along without batting an eye. He snorted slightly, but when she looked at him, covered it up by taking a long drink.
“Does no one know who I am?” she asked him quietly and he glanced around. A few people here were from school; Trant, the Kettleblack brothers, Swann, Blount, and a couple others. Either they were so wasted they were beyond functioning, or none of them had imagined seeing Sansa Stark here, dressed like this, on the arm of Sandor Clegane.
“Maybe,” he said casually, watching her reaction. He might’ve expected her to throw a fit, pout a bit, or at the very least, be offended. She wasn’t however; the news seemed to relax her more than anything. He wondered if she was embarrassed about being seen with him. But before he could rile himself up, Sansa gently shouldered her way up and under his arm, nudging herself closer to him. And she still hadn’t taken off his jean jacket.
He scooted himself closer to her carefully, in case this was all a fluke. But then Sansa placed her hand on his knee and gave it an ever so light squeeze, looking at the conversations rather than him. His heart felt like it was being squeezed in an irregular beat and his body felt like it was on fire, especially whenever Sansa shifted and brushed against him. He took a deep breath and tried to get himself under control, tuning into the nearest conversation.
“— and I’m just saying that if you think Madonna is the future of music, you’re a fucking pussy.”
Good, focus on that and not Sansa. He jumped into the conversation with gusto, drinking heavily and trying to ignore the fact that Sansa was now resting her head in the nook of his shoulder and neck, somehow fitting so perfectly there it was like he was built entirely for her comfort.
Sansa was drunk. She was very drunk. In fact, the last time she’d been this drunk had been Robb’s birthday party when he’d gotten a hotel room in the city and she’d gone with some friends. But that party had been relatively tame compared to this one. She hadn’t taken shots of tequila yet, but she’d smoked and drank more than she was use to.
She reached up and gently tugged on Sandor’s flannel. He was busy arguing with people over the music but the second she got his attention, he looked down at her with a brief flicker of devoted attention.
“Can we go outside?”
“Why — oh.” he spotted the empty drink in her hand and smiled. “Yeah, c’mon.” he helped her up and guided her over the messy floor. He brought her to a tiny deck off the back of the house. Sansa took a deep breath of the cool night air and now, when she was a few drinks too deep, the air felt bracing rather than chilly.
“Thank you,” she told him, sure to remember her manners. He was watching her with a curious expression as she leaned against the railing, taking a deep breath to steady herself.
“You’re drunk, aren’t you?”
“Are you mad if I am?” she asked him and he shook his head.
“Why would I be mad about that?”
“I don’t know.” she played with the holes in her stockings. “I don’t know you.”
“But you’re here.”
“I’m having a good time,” she told him and his eyebrows rose. “At least, I don’t hate it.”
“You can leave anytime you want,” he reminded her and she tossed her head.
“Why would I leave?”
“Because I ruin every good thing that happens to me.” his grey eyes were locked with hers and she shifted, uncomfortable with the intensity of the moment.
“And this is a good thing?” she asked him, bluffing with an offhandedness that she didn’t feel.
“I don’t even know what the hell this is,” she admitted slowly. “If you’re using me or I’m using you or if it’s something else entirely.”
“You want to know what this is?” she couldn’t see his face well in the dark, but she heard the same dangerous note in it that she’d heard a week ago in the library. She swallowed, hard, and answered.
Sandor crossed the deck in two long strides, practically crashing into Sansa. He grabbed her jaw and brought her face up so that he could kiss her, deeply. Sansa was obviously taken aback by the gesture, but a second later she relaxed into his arms and kissed him back. She tasted like the whiskey and smoke and he pulled her closer to him. She was still wearing his jacket, but he managed to snake an arm around her waist.
She was a good kisser, but the sort that hadn’t done it much. A bit anxious, a bit gentle, a bit hesitant. Sandor was happy taking the lead with her, especially when she opened her mouth slightly. He tried to keep his hands from roaming too far, stopping himself when she gasped slightly.
The kiss didn’t last long enough; just like she had outside the school, Sansa broke it off. She pulled away and he couldn’t help but try to follow her. He needed her to feel like he could breathe. She was the solar system and he was a spinning, anchor-less moon. It was impossible not get swept up and follow in her orbit, especially when she reached over and caught his hand.
“That’s not an answer.” did his ears deceive him, or did he hear a bit of lingering desire in her voice?
“It’s whatever the fuck you want it to be, little bird.” he was struggling not to kiss her again. He wanted every inch of her.
“What if I want to be your girlfriend?” a challenge note slipped in then. “You said one girl isn’t for you.”
“Fuck, Sansa.” he took a step back and saw, in the flickering light, the hesitation and fragility on her face. “You don’t want to be my girlfriend. That’s a shitty fucking question to ask.”
“Maybe I do.” she crossed her arms. “You don’t know.”
“I do know.” he started to pace, rage coursing through his veins. “You just want to use me. I told you that, in the fucking broom closet! This was all to get back at your parents!”
“You told me that, asshole, I didn’t tell you,” she corrected him, annoyed. “You always put words in my mouth.”
“Because I know your intentions!”
“You don’t know shit.” Sansa crossed her arms. He did his damndest not to look at what that did for her cleavage. “Last Saturday, I bet you would’ve said that I’d never come to one of these parties, or kiss you, or invite you over to my house. Except I’ve done all of those things, and you’re the one over here acting like the only reason why I’d want you is because you’ll piss of my dad. Well, news flash you dick, I could have any guy come to my house and fuck me to make my dad mad. But I don’t!”
“Why’s that?” he taunted, unable to stop himself. “Perfect, pretty little Sansa saving herself for her someone special?”
“Yes.” she had no shame in it. “But I’m not going to let you make me feel bad about it. Especially not when I know you want to fuck me.”
“Jesus.” he stared at her in shock. He never expected something like that out of her mouth, much less said with a smirk. She gazed levelly at him, refusing to be intimidated and he stopped pacing in front of her.
“I know you want me Sandor. I just don’t know what the hell for. And I’m fine if I don’t know, but I was told not to break your heart. So when you decide if you want to fuck me for bragging rights or because you love me, let me know. Because I like you, and not because you piss off my dad.” she walked past him inside, and he would be damned if he didn’t watch her go the entire time.
She was less drunk after the deck conversation with Sandor, but she didn’t mind sobering up a little. The party around her was growing crazier, so Sansa could easily shrink back into the wall and watch. It had surprised her, a little, that no one had noticed who she was. But she didn’t mind this, really. She was always the center of attention at other parties, like a spotlight followed her around. Here, she was no one. And it was actually kind of nice.
“Hey.” some guy slid up next to her, smelling strongly of vodka. Sansa recoiled a bit but held her ground, trying to maneuver her cup between them. “You look hot.”
“Thank you.” Sansa wondered if she could hurdle the couch. “I’m, uh, here with someone.”
“Look alone to me.” he had a bit of a leering smile and she took another step back. Any further and she’d be in the pile of beer cans, but that was more appealing than him.
“Look again.” before she could take another step back, Sandor was there, one arm wrapping around her shoulders. His broad chest pressed against her back, and she knew without looking up at him that those grey eyes would be flashing.
“Hey man, I didn’t mean anything.” the guy put his hands up and began backing away slowly, but Sandor didn’t seem impressed. And he didn’t let Sansa go until the man was well out of sight.
“You alright?” his breath was hot in her ear.
“Yeah,” she muttered back quietly. “I’m fine.”
“Don’t know who the fuck that asshole thinks he is.” Sandor kept a tight grip on her, walking her away from the chaos and towards the door.
“Are we going?”
“Do you want to?” he glanced down at her and Sansa hesitated.
“It’s your party.”
“So?” he finished swilling his beer. “Let’s get the fuck out of here.”
“Okay.” with a tiny sigh of relief, she let him tug her out of the house and back into the cold air. The second they shut the door behind them, the noise level dropped significantly. Sansa could actually hear herself think again and she looked up at Sandor. She wondered if she’d pushed him too far out on the deck. But she did want answers, and she was fine waiting on him for a bit. But not forever. And she did think that a relationship was meant to be singular.
“You wanna go home?” he looked down at her and tugged his jacket so that the collar skimmed the bottom of her chin.
“I can’t go home, I’m too wasted to drive,” she laughed and he laughed then with her.
“Now what?” he didn’t seem too upset and so she leaned in close.
“You tell me. Aren’t you sort of the expert at roaming the street at all hours of the night?”
“Yeah.” he squeezed her hand. “C’mon, I know what we can do.”
He truly didn’t think Sansa was going to like his idea. He thought she’d brush it off, ignore it, and keep walking. But she seemed to enjoy herself, if her laying against his chest was anything to go off of. The car warmed up quickly with the two of them tangled together in the backseat, a blanket Sansa had found in the trunk over them. Sansa was humming something he couldn’t quite make out as she played with the fraying edges of his fingerless gloves.
“Do you do this often?” she asked.
“Don’t usually have a car,” he revealed and she was quiet. That wasn’t quite the truth - he’d had sex with plenty of girls in the backseat of cars. But he’d never cuddled, for lack of better words, in the back of one. He didn’t want to rush things with Sansa. After their fight-discussion-revelation on the deck, he was even more confused as to where they stood.
“Do we just wait for the sun to come up, or what?” she began to pull the glove off and he let her, mostly because he was actually very comfortable and didn’t want to move.
“When are you going to be sober enough to drive?”
“Fine.” she giggled and got his palm free. She started tracing patterns on his fingers and palm; it sort of tickled but felt good, in an odd way. “Do you think tonight went well?”
“What?” he craned his neck to try and get a look at her.
“Went well,” Sansa repeated, then clarified. “Would you do it over again?”
“Fuck.” he leaned back and rested his head against the glass. “Is this what you do after parties? Dissect every moment? Lay it all out, fit it together, make it into the narrative that the school hears Monday morning?”
“No,” she mumbled, but a bit sullenly.
“So yes,” he corrected, unable to resist the urge to prod her. “So what’s it going to be Sansa? What’s the story we’re going to tell Monday morning?”
“I don’t think anyone in there knew who I was,” she said lightly, skirting the actual question. What story were they going to tell on Monday? To themselves, to their friends, to the entire school? Her words on the porch kept rattling through his brain, her comments about not wanting him just to piss off her dad. Why the hell else would she want him? For his bright and cheery disposition? For his wealth and shining future? For his welcoming and affectionate family? Her wanting a fuck up to piss off her absent parents, that was the only narrative that could be ascribed to this relationship. Wasn’t it?
“Probably not. I didn’t even recognize you.”
“Did you like it?” her voice was quiet again, the hesitant sort. “I mean, did you like how I dressed? I didn’t think you’d like if I wore my normal clothes, so I tried to fit in a little bit more.”
He had no idea how to tell her that he didn’t care if she was dressed up like a Barbie or a wannabe punk. He didn’t know how to explain that she was perfect, unbelievably sexy no matter what, and like a gift he wasn’t sure was his to touch. So instead he pulled her up into his chest so that he could kiss her, and spend the rest of the night trying to keep himself from going too far.
Sansa woke up in her bed on Sunday morning feeling a bit conflicted. Her head was pounding in the same way that it did when she had a raging hangover, but for some reason she felt warm and cozy, utterly happy and content. It took her a second to remember why that was. She’d slept in a car last night, gotten home at the crack of dawn, and had drank like a middle aged trucker.
But she’d been with Sandor. In the car, things had gotten hot for a moment. The way he kissed her had made her head spin. He held her gently, like he was scared he was going to break her but his kisses had a hard edge to them. He never pushed her beyond what she wanted to give. But Sansa had wanted more and that had scared her. Every time either of them shifted, confined by the cramped quarters of the car, a shot of desire went through her.
She’d fallen asleep on his chest, listening to his heartbeat through the soft flannel of his shirt. His breath tickled the hair on her temple as she dozed. She’d woken up to one of his hands tangled up into her hair and the other on her ass. It oddly comforted her. She’d dropped him off, still half asleep, before sneaking in and falling back asleep in her own bed, still in his jacket.
She rose out of bed, winching and pressing a hand to her head. She stood in front of the mirror on her vanity, looking at herself critically. Pale, drawn, skin dry and angry after the night. She wanted to rinse all her makeup off and let her hair find some relief. She stripped, tossing her clothes towards the hamper, and went to try to steam the remaining alcohol from her system.
She came out in two towels; one wrapping her hair up onto the top of her head, while the other wrapped around her body. She sat down before the vanity again, ready to apply creams and moisturizer when she spotted the hickeys on her neck. One, a bit large, below her left ear. And a small one, right in the hollow of her right collarbone. She prodded them gently, smiling at the memory of Sandor’s hot breath on her skin. She was blushing at the pleasure the memory brought her when her phone rang.
“Where the hell were you? You missed everything this weekend.”
“Oh, I’m sure you’ll catch me up.” Sansa inspected her nails. She could really use a new coat. Maybe black this time. A little bit punk, for Sandor.
“Well, duh. If you’re going to be all weird and mysterious, the least you can do is listen when I tell you that the Lannister twins need to die, and I say that with zero dramatics.”
“Zero dramatics,” Sansa echoed, going to riffle through her nail polish drawer. The closest she had to black was actually a red so dark it seemed black, but somehow that seemed even more fitting.
“I swear to God, Sansa, if they name her prom queen, I will Carrie a bitch, and you’re helping me.”
Fuck, he was colder than he usually was. Why was that? He lifted a groggy eyelid, trying to figure out why. After a few more moments of sleepy bewilderment, he realized that he was in the shed. He must’ve stumbled in here after Sansa dropped him off a few blocks away. The sun was up, casting weak rays on the foot of his makeshift cot, but not bringing any heat. Spring was such a shit season.
He sat up and wrapped his arms around himself. That was the second reason - he was missing his coat. The jean jacket he’d gotten at a hefty five fingered discount from the local thrift store, the one thing that he actually liked. For a brief second, he cussed himself out for forgetting it at some stupid party before he remembered that he hadn’t lost it. He’d given it up.
Sansa had looked so cold last night. Wearing those clothes she thought would impress him, going without a jacket because she thought it would look better or some shit. He personally didn’t think that there was any point in not wearing a coat, especially now, but girls were strange like that. And besides, she looked pretty damn adorable in the thing. It was hard not to think that she was adorable all the fucking time.
Christ, he realized. He was going soft over the girl. He got up and threw his blankets in a pile, resolving to straighten himself up. No more thinking soft thoughts on account of her. He had shit to do, the first being that he needed a shower and he was about to miss the window where both his father and brother were asleep after a night of drinking, and his mom was still gone getting the weekly groceries before some sport was put on the TV to be screamed at while drinking all the more.
He eased himself out of the shed and across the still frosty ground. He just wanted it to warm up enough where he could be out here full time and not worry about it. He let himself into the house and went quickly to the back bathroom, the one furthest from the bedrooms. The water never really warmed up and there was a hole in the drywall where Gregor had punched it, but it served it’s purpose.
He showered in the lukewarm water, scrubbing his hair and body both with the discount soup his mom had bought in bulk then scampered out and brought his clothes to his room. He could use clean laundry. He piled everything off his floor into a sac and set it by the door, carefully navigating into the living room. He paused by Gregor’s bedroom door to be reassured by the deep, heavy snores, then went to the couch.
He scrounged between the cushions for change, slipping it into his pocket until he was satisfied with the amount and then snuck into the kitchen. There wasn’t ever much left by Sunday morning, but he managed to make a tuna sandwich and swipe half a jar of peanut butter half forgotten in the back. Not enough to even begin to fill his belly, but it was a start. He thought of Sansa’s fully stocked kitchen and was half tempted to show up at her house again under some guise or another.
He reviewed the night as he walked to the laundromat, his sack of clothes bouncing off his back as he went. There wasn’t much he remembered but Sansa. Her smile in the car, shy but excited. The way she’d rested her head against him, quiet and content to be by his side the whole night. That kiss on the porch - after she told him that this was something - and all those kisses in the car.
He shoved the entire load into a machine and paid, reflecting that he was maybe in over his head on this one, and he wasn’t sure if he wanted it any other way.