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Fashioned For Love

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Sunspear, Water Garden Palace – Sansa

 

Sansa sighed as she unwrapped a tampon and took care of business. Like clockwork, her period had come. She was well used to dealing with it and the disappointment that it represented about her.

Her personal life was a mess. She'd poured her heart into her career for most of her twenties, often willing to compromise other parts of her life to have professional success. And now, she was another month closer to thirty, and in a dead end-end relationship that she knew was going nowhere.

She washed her hands and stared at herself in the mirror, and took stock.

What the hell was she doing?

She had been with Harry for four years and knew it was going absolutely nowhere.

Disgusted with herself for wasting her time with a man that wasn't worth it, she threw the tampon wrapper in the garbage and then rummaged in her designer clutch to freshen her makeup.

Four years. Ugh. What an utter waste.

She wasn’t even sure she liked Harry much anymore. In fact, she knew she didn't and hadn't for a while. But she had been too busy to end things. She really hadn't dated much. Harry was only her fourth boyfriend, and the thought of another failed relationship made her depressed.

She had been twenty-four when she'd met Harry. He’d been a year older than her at twenty-five. At the time, he'd seemed perfect – a golden-haired prince of a man that she'd dreamed of her entire life.

Sansa had just moved to Highgarden after finishing her master's degree in fashion design and marketing. She had taken a job with the Tyrell fashion group, and she'd thought he was everything she'd wanted when Marg, her best friend, introduced her to the ambitious stockbroker. Sansa had willingly dived into the relationship, determined to make it work.

Now, as she took stock in the elegantly appointed washroom at her boss's mansion, she knew that had been hopeless. They had been hopeless and probably had been doomed from the start. All her relationships were doomed because Sansa knew what she wanted, and she had yet to find it.

She wanted heart-stopping, sweep you off your feet, can't live without you, love. A once in a lifetime love. Soulmate level love.

Alone in this bathroom, she could admit that she wanted something more than what she had settled for – what she always seemed to settle for.

What was it that her Dad always said? No use crying over spilt milk? He'd had the right of it. Things were over with Harry – she just had to end it.  

Shaking herself from going down that road again of lamenting what she didn’t have, Sansa stared at herself in the mirror and took stock. She knew what she had to do. End things with Harry.

While she might have been depressed to get another period at twenty-eight, at least she wasn't pregnant with Harry the Horrible's baby. As much as she wanted the husband and family, she didn't want it with him. It was well past time to end things with him.

Like most women, she'd had a scare or two over the years, but the timing had never been right and she’d been grateful she’d never ended up having a child with someone she didn’t love with her entire heart.

She'd been what one might call a 'late bloomer' – not even dating until her third-year university and losing her virginity when she was twenty-one. Sansa was not a woman that played the field much – either in university or out of it. She was ambitious and picky, and it took a while for her to warm up to guys and trust them. She'd seen far too many friends derailed from their life plans by a handsome face. And she was determined that would not be her.

Which was why she was more annoyed at herself for staying with Harry than she was at Harry himself. Not that she was cutting him any slack. Harry was decidedly lacklustre for a boyfriend, and if she were honest, she couldn't quite figure out why.

Was it her? Was she lacking? Was there something wrong with her that she attracted only duds for boyfriends?

She knew she was slim, but she did have an ok ass. She had perky boobs, and her hair, arguably her best feature, got more than one comment. Sansa knew fashion and dressed to impress. She was smart, a great conversationalist, and she had a variety of interests and hobbies! She even liked kids and dogs and would put up with cats if pushed. All in all, she knew she was a catch!

So why on earth had she 'settled' for Harry?

Sansa was an accomplished professional in her chosen field, with a healthy bank account and a condo that felt far too lonely most days. Now, she was ready for the next step. The one thing that hadn't changed since she was young was the dream of having it all. Career. Husband. Family. None of those dreams had diminished over the years, even if people told her she was far too ambitious and picky sometimes. If anything, those dreams grew stronger by the day.

She had been fooling herself, thinking that was what she and Harry, had been working towards. She knew that they weren't. Harry was immature, socially ambitious, and a workaholic that barely made time for her anymore.

At twenty-nine, Harry Hardyng was a douche. She knew it, and so did her friends.

Sansa had attempted to broach the subject of marriage with Harry six months ago. Or – not even marriage. Just maybe one of them moving to where the other lived. She was in Sunspear, and he was in the Eyrie. How could they possibly have a future when they lived hundreds of miles apart from one another?

She thought that maybe after four years of dating, some of that long-distance, he'd want something more.

He'd laughed and told her he thought their life was fine.

Fine.

She snorted.

What they had was hardly fine. It was barely even passable.

There hadn't even been any wiggle room. When Harry made up his mind, that was it. He liked the status quo, and it was slowly killing her. That conversation had been six months ago, and things had only deteriorated between them since that dinner. She knew they both felt it. Their relationship was over in all but name. Sansa knew she should have left him that night. There was no future between them.

But they'd been together for years, and she liked having someone in her life. It just seemed like most of the men she was dating were frogs instead of princes.

What had once seemed exciting and fun between her and Harry was now just grating and annoying. She used to be willing to put up with Harry and his antics.

But now?

Now, Sansa wanted what she'd always dreamed about. That incredible, soul-consuming, fantastic love. She wanted a husband that adored her and children that created a messy house. She wanted to love someone passionately and have that love returned.

And none of that would happen with Harry.

Here she was, hiding out in one of the elegantly appointed bathrooms in her boss's family's mansion, having a pity party because she'd known her period was coming, and she knew that she'd given up on her dreams for another month. Because she had stayed in a relationship for far too long with a man that wasn't worth it.

Who was she that she was willing to settle? Was this what she had become?

She was frustrated with herself at that moment for never really getting over that idea of true love. Was she just being naïve in thinking there was a perfect man out there for her?

Every single man she'd met, she'd compared to her ideal ‘dream guy.'

Dream guy would be handsome, yes. But kind. Confident. Passionate. He’d be a hard worker and he’d want a family. He’d be sexy as hell and maybe a bit of an alpha male – all growly and possessive and want to shout to the rooftops that he was her man.

That was not Harry. The man didn’t care that she spent her entire day surrounded by beautiful people.

Not that Sansa wanted some jealous possessive asshole. Just a guy that was hers and that she was his. Something … all-consuming and that they couldn’t stand to be apart from one another. And if truth be told, she might not have the most experience in the bedroom, but Harry did not get it done. She wanted a man that was more – that took control, knew her body, got her off.

Sansa liked dirty talk and dominant men and gods …. This was so not helping!

As she stared at herself in the mirror, she realized that every man she’d ever dated had come up lacking. Severely lacking.

She was angry - pissed off at herself that she found herself at such a dead-end in her relationship, again.

She took her lip gloss and put it back into her clutch, unable to keep her mind from straying to Elia Martell, her boss. Elia had been trying to convince Sansa that she had the perfect man for her.

Sansa snorted at that thought. So far, no man had even come close to being perfect.

Elia Martell was fifty-two, almost fifty-three and Sansa's mentor and close friend. The woman was a force in the fashion world and ruled her empire like a benevolent goddess. She had two children, a son named Aegon, thirty - almost thirty-one, and a daughter, Rhae, twenty-eight.

She also had a step-son that was thirty. A step-son that she'd been trying to set Sansa up with for the past few years.

One night when they'd drank far too much wine, the entire sordid story had come out about her step-son, and Sansa's respect for Elia had notched up even higher.

Elia married Rhaegar Targaryen when she was twenty-one and he was twenty-four. Eager for a family, she’d gotten pregnant quickly and at twenty-two, had her son, Aegon, followed a few years later by her daughter Rhae.

Unknown to Elia, her husband began an affair with a woman in the North - a woman Elia’s same age, within the first year of their marriage and had a child with her.

Elia hadn't known about the child or the affair until her husband had died when she was twenty-five. It had caused quite the scandal at the time because her husband had been with his mistress and they both died in the car accident.

At the time, her husband Rhaegar had been twenty-eight and his mistress twenty-five. Their son, Jon, was the same age as Aegon, just shy of three.

It was only then that Elia had learned the affair had started shortly after they had married. Her entire marriage her husband had essentially had a double life with another woman. A woman her same age, who had a son the same age as Elia’s own. 

Unlike most women who might have rejected the child and sent him to live with his uncle in the North when he’d become an orphan, Elia had welcomed the child into her home. She was a widow at twenty-five and now had two three-year-olds and a one-year-old to raise by herself. 

Elia had taken this Jon Snow into her home to raise him with his half-siblings. Aegon and Jon were only months apart, which made the betrayal all the more brutal. But Elia had never take it out on the boy – loving him as if he were he own.

Since that night, Sansa had her all about the fantastic Dr. Snow, not only from Elia but from Rhae, who also worked with them, and Aegon. It was clear that Jon's half-siblings and stepmother adored him.

Sansa had learned that Jon had ended up splitting his time between Sunspear and the Martells and his Uncle Benjen Snow in the North during his childhood and now was a trauma surgeon in the North. He was in his final years of training, having secured a coveted fellowship at Wintertown’s best hospital. 

Despite working for Elia for the past three years, Sansa had yet to meet this mysterious Dr. Snow, as he rarely came south. And really, what were the odds of Elia’s step-son being Sansa’s dream guy? Slim to none the way Sansa could figure it.

So even though she was having a pity party in the bathroom, Sansa knew she had to get her ass out of the bathroom and back to work.

Today was a massive spring launch party for Elia's fall line at her family's mansion, the Water Garden Palace. Sansa, one of Elia's principal designers, was expected to be seen – to mix and mingle and generally be the star she was for House Martell, which had stolen her away from House Tyrell in the Reach. Even House Lannister and House Targaryen hadn't been able to compete with Elia's very generous offer.

Sansa had chosen to work for Elia because the woman was almost a legend in the fashion world, but more, her reputation as a truly amazing woman had proceeded her. And Sansa had worked her ass off for such an opportunity. It had been everything she'd ever wanted. Elia was one of her closest friends, a true mentor and a wonderful woman. Sansa adored working for House Martell.

Except her love life was an utter mess.

An hour ago, her boss, the fantastic and incomparable Elia Martell, had handed Sansa her dream assignment – heading up the new division of House of Martell Fashion in the North.

And Sansa had agreed, knowing it was the next step in her sky-rocketing career.

After practically fleeing the North ten years ago, Sansa Stark was finally going home. She had mixed feelings about it; things were hard there and had been for years. But she couldn't say no, given how much faith Elia was putting in her.

And no one knew the North as Sansa used to. There was something different about the North, even if Sansa had never felt like she'd quite fit in there. She'd left shortly after graduating high school for university in King's Landing, followed by her masters at the Eyrie and only rarely went home since then.

Still, there was no way Sansa could say no to this opportunity. She would be THE person in charge of finding and recruiting new designers from the North into House Martell. She would also be solely responsible for their new spring line, a year from now. It was a massive opportunity and one she couldn’t pass up.

Sansa knew that by accepting this job, there was no way that her relationship with Harry would survive. They'd already been doing long distance, first when she'd taken her first job at Highgarden, and now in Sunspear. Hell, maybe that was why she was willing to take the damn job in the North – to finally put this dead-end relationship to bed.

It would also mean that Sansa would have to face her mother with another failed relationship. Catelyn Tully Stark would not understand how Sansa could give up on Harry. On paper, Harry was everything her socially ambitious mother wanted for her in a partner. Too bad they were oil and water.

Besides the distance, they just didn't want the same things in life. Sansa might have the worst dating history of anyone she knew, but she was unwilling to compromise any longer. She wanted a family and didn't think that was asking too much. She wasn’t even thirty!

"Get it together," she whispered to herself, straightening the bright blue dress that Elia herself had designed.

Her love life might be down the toilet, but Sansa knew she looked good. With her height, slim build and uniquely red hair, there had been more than one fashion designer that had mistaken her for a model. But Sansa's heart was behind the runway – designing elegant clothes and helping run one of the major fashion houses in all of Westeros.

This was the event of the season – one that anyone who was a somebody in the fashion world attended, and her moping about in the bathroom would do her no good. Elia was counting on her, and Sansa was nothing if not the consummate professional.

With one last smack of her lips, Sansa fluffed her hair, thinking that while her love life crashed and burned, she looked good. Her long red hair cascaded down her back in loose waves, and the colour of the dress brought out her eyes.

Eyes that still held a touch of sadness for what might have been.

The whole period/no baby thing had just brought up all those old dreams that she'd tried hard to suppress while dating Harry.

Sighing, her phone chime. She dug it out and glanced down, wondering who on earth was texting her.

Marg: Sansa. Are you alone?

Suddenly, dread formed in her stomach.

Marg was Sansa's best friend, a woman a year older than Sansa, who lived in Highgarden. They'd roomed together through their master's degrees and when she and Marg worked for her family's fashion house in the Reach. It had been Marg that set Sansa up with Harry when she'd moved to Highgarden for her first job, with her new MBA.

There was no one more socially connected than Marg. And if she were texting now, it meant something was going on in their circle of friends.

Sansa: Yeah. Why?

Marg: Fuck, you know I love you, right? That I'm your person, and I'm here for you no matter what.

The pit in Sansa's stomach got worse. For months now, Marg had been begging Sansa to end things with Harry.

Sansa: Just spit it out

A picture came through of Harry. Wrapped around a stunning blond woman, hand up her skirt, clearly doing things to her. Intimate things. Coupley things. Sansa knew that woman – she also worked at House Tyrell. Her name was Maya, and she was a year younger than Sansa at twenty-seven.

Guess that answered her question if she had a future with Harry and when she might end things with him.

Angry now, Sansa shot a quick text message to Harry, telling him they were done, including the picture.

He barely responded, only to say that they both knew it had been over for months.

Come to think of it, it had been at least that long, if not longer since they'd even seen one another, let alone be intimate. Still, she’d schedule an appointment with her doctor to get tested, as Harry was clearly not to be trusted and push him out of her mind.

Resigned, but also relieved that it was over, Sansa stuffed her phone back into her purse, opened the bathroom door, and prepared to grin and bear it for the party. Plenty of time to throw herself a pity party later.

As she stepped out into the hallway, Sansa forgot to glance to her left and ran smack into a hard, male body.

Her nose smashed into a shoulder and stung, so she closed her eyes and prayed it wouldn't start to bleed. That was the last thing she needed today. Strong hands gripped her arms, steadying her, and for a brief second, she inhaled, loving the spicy male scent of whoever had caught her.

"Sorry!" they both cried at the same time, just as another little voice chimed, "Daddy, you ran right into the pretty lady!"

Sansa's eyes flew open to see a very handsome man standing in front of her, looking slightly stunned, holding her by the arms to keep her from falling, a look of shocked bewilderment on his handsome face.

Heart beating wildly, Sansa felt a tentative smile on her lips as their eyes locked. Her mind could only think about how damn attractive he was. Dark, curly hair. A smile that had a dimple popping. The man wasn't huge, but Sansa could tell he was fit. His eyes were grey, and she found herself staring into them as her heart thumped wildly.

For a moment, she wondered if this were THE moment. That moment in her life when she literally ran into the man of her dreams.

Then reality intruded, as Sansa realized someone had called this man Daddy. Someone little. Sansa looked down.

And saw someone who looked like Handsome Stranger, with dark curls and curious blue eye, staring up at her.

The truth crashed into Sansa.

This man was a father. And surely a guy that looked like him, who seemed kind and had such a great smile, had a wife because lord have mercy, who on earth would ever let a man like this to roam around by himself? He was far too handsome for him to be single! 

"Hello," the handsome stranger said as his pouty lips quirked. Gods, she wanted to kiss those lips.

Sansa blushed and noticed he didn't let her go, which she could admit, didn't precisely track with the idea that he was here with someone. Because if this were her husband and father of her daughter – no way in HELL Sansa would let him go around rescuing women as they stumbled out of bathrooms.

"Hi," Sansa replied and knew she sounded breathless. But she couldn’t help it. Had anyone ever affected her like this?

Gods, this man! He was scrambling her brain and making her lady parts ache. He was just so handsome.

Sansa was trying to regain her equilibrium, sure some model gorgeous woman was going to call his name and come rushing down the hall to claim not only him but the adorable little girl who was shyly smiling at Sansa.

"Hi," the girl lisped. Sansa forced her attention aware from Handsome Stranger and to the little girl. She’d always been good with kids.

Sansa's shot her a smile. "Hi."

"You have mermaid hair," the little girl said and then pressed herself against Handsome Stranger's leg.

The man smiled softly at his daughter, which made Sansa's heart melt. He was about to say something, when Sansa crouched down, so she was eye level with the child. The little girl had bright blue eyes that matched her dress and she was staring at Sansa.

"Mermaid hair, huh?"

The little girl nodded, suddenly both mute and shy as she pressed closer against a black trousered leg.

Sansa's discerning eye took in the bespoke suit, which fitted the man to a T. Gods, he was freaking delicious!

Sansa looked up to see Handsome Stranger's eyes dancing with delight.

"She's into princesses right now. Ariel is a current favourite,” he said, that voice deep and holding a hint of a Northern accent, which, she could admit, she’d missed.

Who was he? And why was he so damn yummy?

Sansa winked at Handsome Stranger, whose smile got wider. His dimple popped and oh god, she wanted …. Something.

Turning, Sansa focused back on his daughter.

"Ahh, well, that makes sense, although can I share a secret with you?" she stage whispered the little girl, who nodded.

"I can't sing."

For a moment, silence reigned until the girl giggled, and Sansa's smile widened.

"Really?"

Sansa nodded.

"Really. I like your dress," Sansa added, watching the little girl's eyes widen as she seemed to realize they were both wearing blue dresses.

Sansa was just about to share more when her phone buzzed with the distinctive sound that she'd assigned to Elia.

Too late, Sansa realized she had been gone for far too long from the party and needed to get back to work.

Genuine regret coursed through her, for she found this combination of Handsome Stranger and his charming daughter delightful.

"Thanks for the rescue," she said, sending him a wink as her phone buzzed again.

It meant Elia REALLY needed her! She wished she could stay, but she had to go.

Sansa had enough presence of mind to glance down at Handsome Stranger’s hand and see that it was bare before she spun on her heel and dashed down the hall and away from the temptation that was the best-looking guy she'd ever met.

Thank goodness he didn’t have a ring on, she thought as she hurried towards the expansive gardens of the Water Palace.

Not that no ring meant that he was single. Maybe there was a reason he didn't wear a ring. Or that his significant other wasn't with him today. There could be any number of reasons he was here alone, and not one of them meant he was single.

But as she stepped out into the elegantly appointed backyard and scanned for Elia Martell, she couldn't help but think that if the mysterious Jon Snow were anything like the man she'd literally just run into, well, then Sansa just might, MIGHT think about throwing her hat into the dating ring again.

 

 


A few minutes earlier ….


 

Sunspear, Water Garden Palace - Jon

 

"Mia, please, your dress is fine," Jon said, trying to keep his temper in check. He loved his daughter. She was the light of his life. She was his everything. They were a team. A dynamic duo!

But right now, she was driving him mad.

She was as stubborn as a pack of mules when it came to getting dressed. Somehow he'd ended up with a little girl that was obsessed with fashion. It baffled him that what she wore mattered so much to her, but it did.

Elia loved to dress up and often laughed that even though she wasn't Mia's biological grandmother, only her adopted one, Elia’s sense of fashion had somehow rubbed off on Mia.

"But Daddy, Nana Elia's seen me in this dress before," she said, stomping her foot, that bottom lip going into her signature pout. It was a blue creation Elia had gifted Mia with a few months ago when she'd made one of her rare trips North.

Jon sighed and knelt, so he was eye level with her. He knew this was his fault. He'd been so busy at work the week before they'd come down to Elia's big party that he'd failed to get Mia a new dress. Now she was upset, and he couldn't really blame her, but there was little he could do about it now.

"Mia, I'm sorry," he said, meaning it.

It wasn't her fault that he was a single father, with a demanding and busy career, with little family in the North where he worked to help him out. His uncle Benjen, who'd help raise him, was a great guy, but he could only handle so much Mia. The guy was a perpetual bachelor, and there was no way that Ben would ever go shopping for a dress for Mia.

His daughter stuck out her lower lip that quivered.

"I'm sorry too, Daddy."

Jon's heart ached. He did his best, gave her everything he could. But he could never make up for Mia's mother leaving when she was two months old, and his career as a trauma surgeon had left so little extra time.

He tried his best, but Jon was exhausted. Even the live-in nanny that Elia had arranged for them barely had Jon keeping his head above water.

For a brief moment, Jon closed his eyes and imagined someone else, here beside him, the way he'd always thought about having a family. There had never been a time when Jon had ever imagined being a single father – not after his own rocky start in this world. But circumstances and too much whiskey and sheer loneliness had led to Mia.

Not that he regretted his daughter at all. She was everything to him.

He felt Mia's hand on his cheek and opened his eyes to see blue ones staring back at him.

"Don't be sad," she said.

"Oh, baby, I'm not. I just wish I had more time. Daddy just forgot about the dress, and I know how important it was to you."

She kissed his cheek and told him it was ok and the surge of fierce love and protectiveness he felt for her rushed through Jon. As long as he lived, Mia would always come first. He might have screwed up his personal life spectacularly, but he had Mia.

Jon knew that he and Val had never been more than something casual from the first time they'd hooked up. He'd been in residency learning how to be a surgeon, and she was a nurse, and he'd been upset when he'd learned his ex was dating someone new. He'd been twenty-five, Val twenty-six, and they just sort of fell into bed with one another.

He and Val had been an itch for each other to scratch and were more off than ever on. Hell, they could go for two weeks without even talking, their schedules both so gruelling. They were just … convenient. There hadn't been anything between them but sex.

So he understood how she could walk away from him. They had never been in love, never really committed to one another. Never made any long-term plans. Hell, half the time, they weren't even really dating, just sleeping together.

But he would never, for as long as he lived, understand how she'd walked away from her daughter. Their daughter. How any person could do that baffled Jon. It hurt to think of what it did to Mia to have a mother that had rejected her so soundly. No matter how much Jon loved his daughter, he couldn't make up for what Val's leaving did to her.

Now he was thirty, almost thirty-one, with a highly intelligent, incredible daughter, and he knew that he was failing Mia on some level. Maybe it was time to take his stepmother up on her offer to move back to Sunspear.

Jon loved the North, but he had so much more family down south, even if he felt like the south was stifling him every time he was here.

"Maybe Nana has something," he said, winking at Mia as she fit her small hand into his.

She giggled, and Jon knew Mia forgave him. Mia was like that – her love so freely and easily given.

It had been a few years since Jon had come down to his step-mother's big fashion/gala event, and the first one that Mia was allowed to attend, and she'd been talking about it for months. In fact, the last time Jon had been here was five years ago, right before he'd found out that Val was pregnant.

Mia laughed again, and knowing he had averted the crisis, Jon brushed a hand through his curls and straightened his tie. He'd kept it simple, wearing a white shirt, a black designer suit and a blue tie to match Mia's eyes.

If Jon longed to meet someone that would understand not only his love of the North but also the love he had for his daughter well, he pushed those thoughts aside.

Jon hadn't been on a date since the moment Mia had been born, and even before that, he had been more dedicated to making something of himself than playing the field.

He was, he knew, a man who craved monogamy and a committed relationship with one woman. He wanted a real partner – an intelligent and driven woman, but someone who was warm and loving. His ideal woman would want a family and know that he and Mia were a package deal. He could admit that he had an affinity for slim redheads, which was maybe another reason he and Val would never have worked. She just wasn’t his type.

"Daddy, can I have some punch?" Mia asked as they stepped into the hallway, drawing him out of his pointless musings on his pathetic love life.

Elia had been begging him for years to come to her big fashion gala, and her latest' hook' had been so she could introduce him to her "incredible, talented and beautiful up-and-coming designer that would be perfect for you."

Jon had snorted at that thought, sure such a woman didn’t exist.

Jon was too busy paying attention to his daughter that instinct took over when he felt someone crash into him as he grasped onto bare feminine arms. Immediately Jon was assaulted with an incredible scent - lemons and lavender.

The woman that had stepped out from the bathroom was one that the universe had plucked from his very thoughts. His dreams!

Oh god. He was holding on to dream woman.

For a moment, he could only stare. She was stunning. Tall – almost as tall as he was. Long red hair. Porcelain white skin. Pink lips. Oh gods, her lips.

Did he groan? He swore he groaned.

"Sorry!" he cried at the same time she did as their eyes collided. There was a small smile tugging at her lips, and for a single second, it felt like they were the only two people in the entire world.

Hope surged in Jon.

Suddenly, he was excited about the party and the possibility this woman represented. He glanced at her left hand and didn’t see any rings there, so she wasn’t married, which was a good start. Surely someone like her had a boyfriend though? Maybe?

"Daddy, you smashed into the pretty lady!" Mia cried.

Jon watched as the woman's eyes tore themselves from his face, down to Mia. Since Jon watched Mystery Woman, he saw the moment Mystery Woman realized Mia was his daughter, and he couldn't help but smirk as her eyes darted past him and down the hall – as if she were searching for his wife.

He wanted to tell her that there was no wife. No girlfriend. No lover. No one but him and Mia. But he didn't because he didn't want her to think he was too forward.

Jon realized he was still holding onto her arms; although she was steady, she didn't step out of his grip, and he liked touching her.

"Hello," he said, immediately cursing himself for not coming up with something more original.

"Hi," She returned, eyes positively dancing.

Gods, everything about her called to him, and Jon knew he had to take a chance. At least learn her name and ask what she was doing here, at Elia's impressive mansion.

Just as he was about to introduce himself, Mia said her own hello.

There had been plenty of people that Mia had introduced herself to over the years. His daughter had a big personality and was outgoing, and believed everyone should want to be her friend. Jon had gotten pretty good at reading people, especially by how they first responded to his daughter.

Some were placating to Mia.

Some almost ignored her.

Some spoke to her like she was a dog or a puppy.

But Mystery Woman didn't. She gave Mia a real smile and said Hi, back.

Which, of course, led Mia to claim that Mystery Woman had mermaid hair. Mia had been on a Disney princess kick – the latest being Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

Jon was about to say more when Mystery Woman crouched down, so she was eye level with his suddenly shy daughter.

Jon felt Mia press herself into his leg.

Mystery Woman gazed up at him, her blue eyes dancing with mirth.

"She's into princesses right now. Ariel is a current favourite," Jon said, feeling like he sounded like an idiot.

But she winked at him, and Jon's smile grew. This woman owned him right now.

"Ahh, well that makes sense, although can I share a secret with you?" she stage whispered his little girl, who nodded, suddenly intrigued by the stranger as was Jon.

Who was she? Jon wanted to know her name. Hell, he wanted to know everything about her.

"I can't sing."

For a moment, silence reigned until the girl giggled, and Mystery Woman's smile widened. Jon’s heart thumped. She’d made his daughter giggle. And treated her like she was her own little person, which she was, but lots of people didn’t get that about kids.

"Really?"

The stunning redhead nodded and then, bless her, complimented Mia's dress, which was a very similar colour to her own. Jon saw his daughter's little chest puff out in delight, and he knew he had to get this woman's name, her number, ask her if she were single. He'd never felt like this about anyone. Ever.

Jon was just about to ask when her phone rang, and he saw real regret on her face.

She rose gracefully and glanced at the phone as it buzzed again.

"Thanks for the rescue," she said, flashing him another smile and then all but dashing away and down the hall, leaving Jon standing there, stunned.

"She's pretty," Mia said conversationally. "And her dress matches mine."

Jon could only nod as he led Mia down the hallway towards the party, wondering if he might see Mystery Woman again, and if he did, would she speak to him.

But as they stepped out onto the huge stone patio, Jon was swallowed up by Martells. His half-brother Aegon, and half-sister Rhae, who were delighted to see him and Mia, were waiting for them. Mia adored her aunt and uncle and the large Martell family. They hurried him over to the plethora of Martell cousins, aunts and uncles, all of whom had to comment on Jon's lack of appearance at Elia’s party over the last few years.

None of them could quite understand how insanely busy Jon's life was in the North.

Jon tried to look for Mystery Woman, but she was gone, almost like she'd never existed. He almost wondered if he'd imagined her, except Mia kept asking him to find the pretty lady with the matching dress.

He could have asked someone – likely Aegon. His half-brother always seemed to know all the pretty women at any place they were at, but Jon wanted to keep her to himself for some reason.

But as the party wore on, Jon never found her and was busy keeping Mia from eating too much junk.

Jon sighed and then turned his attention back to his family. That was why he was here, for Mia to get to know her aunts and uncles, connect with Elia, and take a short break from the insanity that was his life. Not to chase after women, no matter how intriguing they were.

How long had it been since someone had affected him like that?

When Jon thought about it, he couldn't ever recall anyone ever affecting him like that.

But it seemed like she was gone, so Jon resigned himself to the fact that it wasn't meant to be. He'd enjoy the next few days in Dorne and then head home to the North where he belonged.

He was determined to be the best father he could to Mia and a damn good doctor. It was enough. It had to be.

Jon wasn't a man that believed in fate or destiny or soulmates.

Or had Mystery Woman changed that? There was something that felt like kismet, running into her like that, but as the night wore on, he never saw her again.

Then shaking his head, Jon plastered a fake smile on his face and joined in the fray, knowing that he'd dream of Mystery Woman tonight despite his best intentions. Somehow, in a short five-minute encounter, she'd worked her way past all his defences, and he knew it would take more than one night to get over the stunning redhead that had rocked his world to its very foundation.

 


 

Chapter Text


 

The Party – Sansa

 

After Sansa left Handsome Stranger, she hurried to find Elia, who was frantic. Even as Sansa saw that something was going on with her boss, Elia, of course, asked about Sansa.

"What happened?" her boss asked her immediately, reading Sansa like a book. It had always been like that. They were close and Sansa had shared so much with Elia over the past few years.

Sansa took a moment to take in her boss. She was soon to have her fifty-third birthday, and she looked amazing. Her dark hair had a bit of grey, giving her a dignified look. Elia was wearing a stunning pink and black creation that worked so well with her olive-coloured skin and dark hair.

Elia Martell was a woman that Sansa respected, admired and secretly wanted to be one day. The woman was a visionary in the fashion world, kind, fierce and loyal as the day was long. They were much more than just boss and employee – they were friends.

And for months now, Elia had known how unhappy Sansa was with Harry. Elia had told Sansa that life was far too short to settle when it came to love, although Elia herself had remained stubbornly single since her marriage had imploded over two decades ago.

For a brief second, Sansa thought about telling Elia about Handsome Stranger and seeing if Elia knew him, but she needed to focus on work.

"Sansa?" Elia asked again, the concern on her face genuine.

"It's Harry the Horrible."

Sansa was far less concerned about Harry, although Elia cursed colourfully. Sansa was thinking more about Handsome Stranger and his adorable mini-me. There was something about the man that just ticked every box for Sansa, and she wanted to find him and spend some more time getting to know him.

But that would have to wait. It was clear that Elia needed her for something. Knowing it was better to get this over with, Sansa opened her phone and showed Elia the picture of Harry. She’d finally had enough of Harry and his antics.

"Son of a bitch," Elia swore, looking angrier than Sansa felt.

“El, it’s fine. I ended things with him, which we both knew I should have done months and months ago.”

All Sansa felt was a relief that things with Harry were done.

Especially after running into the Handsome Stranger with the adorable daughter. There was no denying that she had been captivated by both of them. After all, Sansa had mermaid's hair. That made Sansa smile.

Suddenly, Sansa was excited about the party. Maybe she'd have some time later to find him and put her rusty flirting skills to good use. Sansa sensed that Handsome Stranger was interested in her.

“Yeah, well, he’s still a world-class jerk,” Elia muttered crossly.

Sansa let out a little laugh and shook her head.

"It's alright. I was about to kick him to the curb anyway, and he just saved me the trouble."

Elia gripped Sansa's hand, her beautiful face awash in concern. "Are you sure?"

Sansa nodded. "Yup. Now, what's up? You sounded urgent on the phone."

Elia gave Sansa a long look, and then as if sensing she was alright with the entire Harry debacle, sighed.

"I forgot some of my designs at the office downtown."

Sansa laughed. Elia was many things, but organized was not one of them.

"And you need me to go and get them?"

"Would you mind terribly?" Elia gave a helpless wave as she gestured to the party that was in full swing.

Under a warm spring night in Sunspear, House Martell would display their new fall designs on a makeshift runway in a few hours. But not if those designs were at the office downtown. The Martell mansion was a solid half an hour from downtown Sunspear, and Sansa knew this would be an unmitigated disaster if she didn’t go and get their creations. Sansa would have just enough time to race downtown and be back to help prep the models for the show and oversee things.

"I'm on it."

Quickly the two women went over what designs were missing, and Sansa raced away, with Elia's eternal gratitude ringing in her ears.

Once she was on the road, Sansa opened her sunroof in her Mercedes, allowing the warm spring night into the car. It was one thing she did not miss about the North – how winter lingered. They never saw snow this far south, and while her sister Arya, was a year younger than Sansa, couldn't understand how Sansa could live without it, Sansa didn't mind at all.

As she drove, a soft pop station on the radio, she let her mind drift back to Handsome Stranger.

It was a near-perfect encounter, and she hoped when she got back to the party, she'd have time to find him and maybe have a longer conversation. Sansa knew she hadn't made up the interest she'd seen in those distinctive grey eyes when he'd held her, nor the smile on his face when she'd spoken to his daughter.

And wasn't she the cutest thing ever, with her blue dress and matching eyes? Had someone told Sansa that she'd find herself attracted to what she hoped was a single dad, she’d have thought they were crazy. But Handsome Stranger and Adorable Daughter had sucked her in, no doubt.

Not that he had much competition. Her dating history was woefully short. In her third year of university, when she was twenty-one, she'd dated a nice young man, a year older than her, named Podrick Payne. Pod had been the perfect first boyfriend and the best type of man to lose her virginity to. Sweet and attentive and decently good in bed, the man had been what she'd needed at the time. Unfortunately, they hadn't lasted and by the time she started her final year, she was single again.

That was the year she tried to forget. She'd been twenty-two when she'd met Joffrey Baratheon, and once again, she'd thought she'd found her ideal man. Six weeks into dating the heir to the Baratheon empire, Sansa knew she'd made a colossal mistake. Joffrey, who was her same age, was arrogant and controlling, demeaning, and a man that played mind games. She thanked the gods that nothing much had ever happened between them. The man was a vile human, and she'd been glad to see the end of him.

When she'd been doing her masters in the Eyrie, she'd briefly dated Marg's older brother Willas. Sansa had been twenty-three, Willas twenty-five. Sansa had met him when she'd went to Highgarden to visit Marg, and he was once again sweet and attentive. He had a bit of a limp, owing to a childhood illness, and preferred walks in the garden and reading poetry to anything too onerous. He'd been a balm to her soul after the bitterness that was Joffrey, but there had been no spark. Even Willas had known it. Things had ended quickly between them.

As Sansa thought about the past men in her life, she wondered if that was why she'd stayed with Harry for so long. He'd been far more exciting than either Willas or Pod, but not a total jackass like Joffrey. Harry could be self-involved, but as she thought about their first year together, she knew that he'd been different back then. He'd made an effort, put her first, made time for her and their relationship.

But that hadn't been the case in a very long time. She could admit she was relieved to be done with Harry Hardyng. Especially after running into Handsome Stranger.

A song that Sansa loved came on the radio, and she cranked it, happily belting out the lyrics, even though, as she'd told Mia, she was a terrible singer.

Somehow, though, that didn't matter. For the first time in what felt like years, Sansa felt --- excited. Almost giddy!

She was free from Harry the Horrible and had Handsome Stranger to flirt with when she got back to Elia's party.

Yes, life was looking good, and Sansa was going to embrace it and the dimpled stranger that made her lady parts ache and her heart race!

 

 


 

Water Garden Palace – Jon

 

Despite the fact the Water Garden Palace was one of the most extensive and most exquisite private residences in all of Westeros, Jon knew his way around. It came from growing up here with Elia and his half-siblings. It was a far cry from the tiny, two-bedroom apartment he shared with his Uncle Benjen in the North, up in Moletown, during the summer months when he went North.

Jon had come to love the Water Palace, if only because it was where the other half of his family lived. He knew he'd been lucky – that he'd won the veritable lottery with Elia Martell and her endless giving and loving heart. There would have been many women that turned away an orphaned boy that was the product of their late husband's affair. But not Elia. She'd raised him and loved him as if he'd been her own and adopted him when he was two years old. For all legal and practical purposes, Elia Martell was Jon’s mother. 

As a child, Jon had never been invited to Dragonstone to meet his father's side of the family, and Elia had reassured him he was missing nothing. She didn't have many good things to say about the Targaryen's, so she said nothing at all.

Later, when Jon was older, in his twenties, he'd met his aunt Daenerys and his uncle Viserys. Dany as she preferred to be called, was a year older than he was, and Viserys, her brother, a few years older than her. Jon hadn’t gotten along with Viserys at all, although he and Dany did alright. It had been years since he’d seen Dany, who was now thirty-one, and even longer since he’d seen his uncle Viserys, now thirty-four.

Jon thanked the gods that he didn't look much like either one of them, his dark hair favouring his mother. Neither Rhae nor Aegon had Targaryen features, other than their purple eyes. In fact, unless they told people they were only half-siblings, Jon, Aegon, and Rhae could for full-blooded siblings.

The Targaryens were as into fashion and this entire scene as were the Martells, Tyrells, Lannisters and Baratheons. Jon had wanted nothing to do with it, knowing from the time he was twelve that he wanted to be a doctor. He loved Elia and his siblings, but the Martells had always been a lot for Jon to handle.

The patriarch of the family was Doran. He had three children: Quentyn, thirty-three, Arianne, thirty and Trystane, twenty-seven. Elia had laid down the law when it came to accepting Jon into their family, but Jon had never been close with the sickly older man, although he liked his half-cousins well enough, he supposed. He and Quentyn never got along, but Arianne was fine, and Trys was mostly an easy-going guy.

Elia's other brother, the charming and dazzling Oberyn Martell, had five daughters, ranging in age from twenty-two to twenty-eight, with his long-time lover Ellaria Sand. Oberyn was in his mid-fifties, and Ellaria had just had her fifty-first birthday. Jon didn't really like any of them, for they all seemed to have chips on their shoulders and seemed to make it their mission to remind him that he wasn't one of them. Which was ironic, considering they all took their mother's last name. Whatever.

There were others, cousins to Elia, Oberyn and Doran so that the Martell mansion was never empty. Jon appreciated the large family, even if he longed for the North's quiet after a few days of being back in Sunspear. For the most part, he knew he’d had a great life growing up and he loved his siblings and Elia something fierce.

Now, Jon was handed a scotch that he sipped as he glanced around at the show that Elia was putting on here tonight. These parties were always huge events, one of the most talked-about spectacles of the season, and tonight’s theme seemed to have something to do with electric colours, palm trees and flamingos.

"Those are some deep thoughts, brother," Aegon said, his handsome face in his customary smirk as he looked at Jon, joining him at the edge of a stone patio.

For his part, Jon just grunted as he watched Mia bounce at their feet.

"Uncle Aeg, I met a mermaid with Daddy!" she cried, making Aeg's eyebrow wing up in disbelief.

"A mermaid?" he said, picking her up and twirling her around, much to her delight. There was no denying how much Mia loved her Martell family, and especially Aegon and Rhae.

Mia giggled. “Yup. A real mermaid. She was so pretty.”

When he finally set her down, Aegon leaned in closer to Jon.

"So a mermaid?"

“Yup,” Mia said, as Aegon set her down. She was full of energy and loved visiting her family in Sunspear. 

Jon cursed the blush he felt stain his cheeks. He and Aeg were the same age, and so far, his brother had barely had a steady girlfriend, preferring to play the field. As close as they were, Aegon had never understood Jon's need for a stable, long-term relationship. The last thing Jon wanted to try to explain to Aegon was how he felt when he’d met Mystery Woman. His brother would tease him for days.

Jon watched as Mia ran up to Arianne and Rhae, both of whom complimented her dress, making Mia preen.

"I met a woman when we were coming outside, but now she's disappeared," Jon finally muttered, as Aegon laughed and clapped him on the back.

"Only you, brother, would fall for someone when there is a bevy of beautiful women just waiting for the handsome Dr. Snow to introduce himself." Aegon made a vague gesture towards the crowded party. “There are models here, Jon.”

Jon frowned, which made Aegon shake his head. His brother might bug him, but he'd never push him. Everyone in his family knew Mia came first, his career second, and in a far, distant third, was dating. And dating for Dr. Jon Snow was something to be taken seriously.

Aegon shook his head, a rueful laugh carrying in the warm night.

"I get it. Don't worry. We won't push any beautiful women on you tonight," his brother said, just as Rhae joined them.

Rhae gave Aegon a look and then punched him in the shoulder before smiling at Jon.

“Leave him be. Our Jon knows what he wants and I for one, think it’s admirable. Too many men are like you, big brother,” she said to Aegon, sticking her tongue out at him.

Jon basked in the warmth that were his half-siblings, missing this easy banter and acceptance when he was in the North.

Jon opened his arms and was delighted when Rhae stepped closer, as he hugged her hard. As close as he was with Aegon, he and Rhae had been almost inseparable growing up. She had been his little shadow and his biggest cheerleader outside of Elia and Jon loved his sister.

"So, big brother, Mia tells me you literally ran into a beautiful mermaid in the hallway?" Rhae arched a perfectly sculpted brow as she drew back to inspect him.

Elia and Rhae seemed to think it was their life mission to get Jon hooked up and happy, and while they were generally pretty good at not pushing too hard, he knew they worried about him being alone in the North, with only his work, Mia and a few nannies for company.

"She wasn't a mermaid," Jon mumbled. "But she did have great hair."

Jon watched as Aeg and Rhae exchanged a look. A knowing look.

"Hmmm," his little sister said. "I wonder if he finally met Sansa," she said to Aegon, who was grinning like a fool.

"Oh gods, can you imagine if he met her all on her own? Mom will be thrilled!" Aegon answered.

"Who the hell is Sansa?" Jon asked, both thrilled that Mystery Woman might have a name and annoyed at his siblings that seemed to be talking in code.

"Sansa, big brother, is Mom's protégé."

Aeg nodded. "She's been with us for three years since Mom stole her from House Tyrell in Highgarden. They're close."

Jon looked between his brother and sister, trying to see if this 'protégé' had caused any animosity in his family. Rhae also worked for Martell fashion house, and Aegon did marketing. But all he saw on their faces was love for this woman named Sansa. Jon recalled Elia and Rhae talking about someone, but he hadn’t paid much attention to the name. 

"She's awesome," Rhae said, hurrying to reassure Jon. "Nice and kind. Funny and smart. She's been a godsend to our fashion house."

Jon was saved from having to speak about Mystery Woman when the incomparable Elia Martell suddenly appeared. She took one look at all three of them standing there and let out a happy squeal, clapping her hands. No one was as happy as Elia was when all her chicks were under her roof!

"Nana!" Mia cried, racing towards Elia.

Jon couldn't help how happy it made him to see Elia open her arms for his daughter and snuggle her close, scooping her up. Elia loved her only grandchild fiercely and desperately and not so subtly kept hinting about wanting more. Grandkids that was. 

"Daddy forgot to get me a new dress, and I was cross. But then we ran into the mermaid in the hallway, and she had a pretty blue dress just like mine, so I think it's ok that I don't have a new dress."

Elia shot Jon a look. "A mermaid in a blue dress? Did my boy finally meet Sansa Stark?"

Even though Jon hadn't got Mystery Woman's name, hearing Elia say that name, right after his siblings had, did something to Jon. Both his siblings exchanged a knowing look, and Jon figured Mystery Woman and this Sansa person had to be one and the same.

Was it possible that Jon had met her all on his own? And quite by chance?

"I don't know. Tall, slim, red hair, wearing a blue creation that I'm sure is one of yours?"

Elia's smile told Jon everything he needed to know as she came closer to him, still holding Mia. Apparently, all on his own, Jon had run smack into Sansa Stark.

"Oh, this pleases me so much. She just ended things with her awful ex, who the press caught cheating on her, and I wondered why she wasn't more upset. Now I know,” Elia said, winking at Jon.

Jon had heard all about how Elia’s protégé should have kicked her loser boyfriend to the curb months and months ago when he had his weekly gab sessions with Elia and Rhae.

Hearing that this Sansa, if that was indeed Mystery Woman, was now single, made Jon's heart race, although externally, he gave Elia 'the look.' It was a look he'd perfected years ago when his loving mother interfered in his love life.

"Nana, what's cheating?" Mia asked, full of four-year-old curiosity.

Jon laughed at his daughter and held his hands up to say to Elia; this is on you.

Elia grimaced, and they all knew the elephant in the room was where Jon had come from – it was a sore spot for all of them.

"It's when someone isn't very nice to the person they are dating, Mia-bug," Jon said, rescuing Elia, who sent him a silent thank you. "It means that they've broken a promise to someone special to them and hurt their feelings."

"Oh. I don't like cheating," she said, and there was another awkward pause.

"Ok, well, let's see if Jon did meet Sansa," Rhae said, her voice filled with excitement.

She opened her phone and shoved it in Jon's face, and he felt his entire focus narrow to the photo of the stunning woman he'd been holding an hour ago outside a bathroom, who was smiling with his sister at what looked like a club.

"That's the mermaid! Daddy said she was pretty!" Mia announced.

"Traitor," Jon said, tickling her belly and making her laugh.

Aegon, who appeared delighted by this, threw his head back and laughed and then rubbed his hands together in delight.

"Oh boy, Mom's been angling to get you two together for a while now," he said.

As much as Jon hated being set up, he liked that his family approved Sansa. He was very wary about introducing anyone to Mia, but Sansa seemed Martell family approved.

He watched as Mia occupied Elia and Rhae with story after story of life in the North, giving Jon a chance to angle Aegon away from the women. If anyone would give him the unvarnished truth about this Sansa Stark, it would be his brother.

"So, what's the deal with her?" Jon asked Aegon when they were alone.

"She's as advertised, man. Honestly, she's a catch. The moment she arrived, she just fit in with us. Of course, even with a boyfriend, Q had to try and hit on her."

Jon growled at that thought as both of them looked to Quentyn Martell, the heir apparent for the Martell business that wasn’t part of the fashion house. He was the lawyer of the family and came across as smarmy. He had slicked-back hair and none of Oberyn or Elia's charm.

"And what did Sansa do?" Jon asked, feeling possessive of her already.

Aegon shook his head. "Shut him down, nicely. She was dating some loser named Harry. He's a stockbroker in the Vale. As far as I can tell, Harry was never any good for her, but she kept things going with him. It was long distance, and from what Mom and Rhae said, has basically been over for months."

Jon levelled Aegon with a look. They both knew that was a hard line for both of them when it came to dating, given what their dad had done to both their mothers. They never ever dated women that weren’t completely single.

Aegon let his hand come down and rest on Jon's shoulder.

"Sansa isn't like that. Trust me when I say her relationship has been over in all but name for months. If Mom said she is done with her ex, then she's done. The woman is amazing, Jon."

Jon cocked his head, looking at his brother. He was handsome, wealthy, and a pretty nice guy. But Aegon had never had a serious relationship. Maybe he had a crush on this Sansa – and that was another line Jon wouldn't cross, no matter how drawn he was to her. He’d never go after a woman his brother was interested in.

"And you two?" Jon asked, needing the truth but dreading what he might feel if Aegon was interested in Sansa.

For a moment, Aeg looked stunned, then he laughed and shook his head. "Nah, man. We've always been friends. I don't know. She's awesome. Hot. Intelligent. We just didn't spark like that."

Relief coursed through Jon at Aegon's words.

"You're sure?" Jon asked, needing to double-check.

Aegon's grin was huge. "Brother, I'm positive. Mom has been angling for years for you two to get together, convinced you're meant to be. Sansa and I are friends, nothing more."

Jon gave a short nod before Mia's squeal had them both turning back and watching as Jon's daughter held court with the Martell family.

Mia had fallen in love with the palace the first time Jon had brought her here, barely more than a baby. She and Elia bonded fast and quickly, and Jon knew it was hard for his mother when they went home to the North. Not that she wasn't proud of him. She was. Elia Martell was one of Jon's biggest cheerleaders and set up the trust fund to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.

It was why Jon loved her and would do almost anything for her. Including attending her big gala event. Mia was finally old enough to make it through most of the afternoon and evening, and judging by the smiles on everyone's faces and on Mia's, it had been the right choice.

Leaving Mia with Ellaria, Jon saw his mom break away from the group and walk towards him. When she was close, Jon opened his arms, and she hugged him hard, giving a little sob. Elia always found it difficult when he was in the North.

"My boy is home," she said into his chest as warmth coursed through Jon. It had always been like this with Elia – easy acceptance of him as one of hers. She'd never wavered in her love for him, and Jon knew that so much of what was good in his life was all because of this woman he was now hugging hard. Jon had always just been hers, from the moment she’d learned about him. 

"Yeah, mom, I'm home." Jon didn't often call her Mom in front of other people, knowing that some didn't understand their bond, but when they were alone, he did. She sobbed a bit and then finally pulled herself together.

"Mia is amazing," Elia said as they watched her do a little dance, making both Oberyn and Doran smile. She was the first 'grandchild' of their family and doted upon by everyone. Despite what some of the Martells might feel about Jon, Mia was loved.

"She is," Jon agreed, pride at his daughter evident.

"And Sansa?" Elia finally asked, resting a hand on his chest.

"You're a meddler," Jon muttered, watching her lips twitch.

"Oh bah! She's perfect for you."

"And her boyfriend?" Jon asked pointedly.

Elia turned serious as she looked at Jon.

"It has been over for a while and officially ended tonight. The man was a user, Jon and treated her poorly. I am not saying she is ready for something immediately. Even a bad relationship takes time to get over. But she agreed to take the job in the North so that she will be in Wintertown for a year."

Jon felt himself startle a bit at that news. He'd assumed that if he'd wanted anything with this Sansa woman, it would have to be long-distance, which wasn't anything he was keen on. His life was already so busy.

While he was a board-certified surgeon in general surgery, he was currently doing a two-year fellowship in trauma surgery before taking that exam. His goal was to be a double board-certified surgeon by the time he turned thirty-two. It was an ambitious professional goal, and what little time he had leftover, he dedicated to his daughter. Most women didn’t or wouldn’t understand that. Maybe Sansa was different?

"Yeah? She's coming North?" Jon had been working in Wintertown now for a few years, having moved there after he'd done his residency in White Harbour.

He'd met Val in White Harbour, and last he heard, that was where she still was. But Wintertown was a state-of-the-art facility with far more trauma, being the largest city in the North. Jon knew for his career that was where he had to be, and since Val had signed over all parental rights to him when it came to Mia, he'd taken the job at Wintertown after he’d completed his residency.

Elia hummed.

"She is. She has … history there. One that is her own, and she will share when she is ready. I won't break her trust. So the move is not the easiest for her personally, but professionally, it will be a huge step for her. I think, at the very least, she could use a friend when she goes North."

Suddenly, things clicked for Jon.

"She's one of those Starks, isn't she?"

The hospital he worked at had an entire wing named after the Stark family, the wealthiest and most influential family in the North. There had been a few hospital fundraisers where Jon had seen the family's patriarch, Ned, and his wife Catelyn, hold court. Everyone seemed to want to bend over backwards to please them, and Jon had stayed well clear of them, knowing that bastards whose mother had scandalous affairs had no business rubbing noses with the blue bloods of Westeros.

"She is, but she has never traded on their name or their influence. Everything she'd earned has been on her own." Elia gave him a pointed look. "Reminds me of someone else I know."

When Jon had first graduated from med school, Elia had tried to get him to come south. One of her dear friends, Arthur Dayne, was one of the leading trauma surgeons in King's Landing, and Elia had spoken to him about taking on Jon. But Jon had turned it down, preferring to stay in the North and try to get a coveted fellowship with Dr. Rodrik Cassel at Wintertown. Arthur was good – Cassel was better.

Now, several years later, Jon had achieved what he'd set out to do, and in eighteen more months, his fourteen years of schooling would finally come to an end.

"So you're saying Sansa is stubborn?" Jon quipped back to Elia, who thumped him on the chest.

"Just give her a chance. From what Mia said, you were taken with her before you knew who she was. She's a good woman, Jon."

He didn't say anything, knowing he was already attracted to Sansa. Nothing Elia had told him made him less intrigued by her – in fact; it might be the opposite. Knowing she was single, that she was coming North, that she had the love and approval of his family, not to mention she was his ideal in looks, it all just fuelled the need in Jon to know more.

Linking arms with his mother, Jon gave her a soft smile.

"So where is the mysterious Sansa Stark? You claim she's here, but I've yet to see her."

Elia had the grace to blush and mumble something about forgetting some designs downtown and that she'd sent Sansa to get them. Jon threw his head back and laughed. His adoptive mother was many, many things, but organized was not one of them.

As they walked arm and arm back towards their large family, Jon let the possibility of Sansa percolate in his head and his heart. The only thing that had distracted him from his career plans in the past decade was Mia.

Was he really ready to let a woman in? To give someone a chance? To open himself up to that possibility?

Jon could admit, he wanted a partner – a woman in his life to come home to, to build a life with, to love. But it wasn't just him he had to worry about either. He had a daughter.

Was perusing something with Sansa the right move?

But then, as if gods, or fate, or the universe was nudging him in this direction, Jon saw Sansa suddenly appear. She locked eyes with him, and Jon felt his heart thump, as she flashed him a smile before everyone around her heard Mia's happy squeal.

"You're back!" his daughter cried, and then all but launched herself at Sansa, who bless her, knelt down to speak to Mia. The two of them were giggling with one another as Elia dropped his arm and stepped back, just as he reached his girls.

His girls.

Gods, Jon wasn’t a fanciful man, but something just felt right about this – all of this. Seeing them together, like this, surrounded by his family.

"Hi," Sansa said, a bit breathless, a bit tentative. She was still talking to Mia, who was gazing at Jon with her big blue eyes as if pleading with him to give them all a chance.

Suddenly, Jon knew that Sansa was worth the risk.

"Hi. I'm Jon Snow. Elia's son," Jon said, watching Sansa's blue eyes go wide before her lips split into a huge smile, and she shook her head, laughing.

"I should have known," she said, and Jon liked the mirth he saw in her eyes.

"I'm Mia," his daughter pronounced.

"And I'm Sansa."

"Hi Sansa," Mia and Jon said at the same time, and Jon felt as if his fate was sealed.

He knew there was no walking away from this woman. The three of them just stood there, grinning at one another, as if they all knew that everything in their lives was about to change, while Elia, Aegon and Rhae all looked on with knowing grins.

 


 

Chapter Text


 

The Party – Sansa

 

Sansa took a moment to look at the man who was now smiling at her as she stood close to his daughter. Of course, Handsome Stranger was the mysterious Dr. Jon Snow!

Sansa knew first-hand how much Elia doted and loved her children, Aegon and Rhae, but the woman also had a special place in her heart for her adopted son, Jon. Sansa had sat through more than one evening gab session with Elia, Rhae and Arianne while they waxed on about the incredible Dr. Snow.

And they hadn't been kidding or exaggerating. The man was so handsome he stole her breath, and even now, and Sansa knew she was grinning like a fool at him. Mia was gazing at Sansa adoringly and Sansa kept smiling at her. 

All Sansa knew about Mia’s mother was that she wasn’t in the picture. Elia had been tight-lipped about anything else, which now, having met Jon and Mia, had Sansa’s curiosity piqued. But there would hopefully be time enough to ask those questions.

Then Mia rubbed her eyes and started to complain. 

"She's probably hungry," Jon said, gesturing around a bit helplessly. "I meant to get her some dinner, but then she got swept up with her aunts and uncles and cousins. Then Nana showed up and you came back."

Sansa nodded, feeling a bit hungry herself.

"Why don't we find some food?" she asked both of them, hoping she wasn't too forward essentially inviting herself to join them.  

Jon's smile assured her that she wasn't, and he stepped closer, allowing Sansa another wonderful whiff of his cologne. Gods, this man smelled good. Looked good. She briefly wondered if he tasted good, then felt herself blush, although that lovely thought lodged itself in her brain. Sansa did not miss how his fitted pants highlighted a truly spectacular ass on Dr. Snow. She’d like a bite out of that!

"That sounds good. Mia-bug, let's find some food," Jon suggested in the way that parents had that meant it wasn't really a suggestion.

"You're staying?" Mia asked Sansa, blue eyes wide as she gazed up at her. Mia seemed utterly fascinated by her hair, which Sansa loved. 

"Yup. I'm actually working here tonight, so I have to go and do my job in a little bit. But I can get some dinner with the two of you and then find you the best spot for the fashion show that I'm helping with."

Mia's eyes went wide, and she practically vibrated with excitement as she looked at Jon.

"Daddy, there's a fashion show?" she cried, as Jon scooped her up. 

Sansa flashed a smile at Jon. "You have a budding fashionista on your hands."

He gave her a wry grin, which, oh lord, did something lovely to her insides, making them all jumbly and warm and she swore she was freaking dripping for this man, watching as he picked Mia up easily.

Dr. Snow was deceptively strong, Sansa decided, watching the flex of muscles in that elegant suit he wore so very well.

"If you eat some dinner, and mind me, then yes, there is a fashion show that you can watch,” Jon told his daughter.

Mia gave a happy squeal as Jon frowned, looking to Sansa, a question in his grey eyes, one that was easy to interpret.

Sansa laughed. "It's kid-friendly, no worries. Elia told me that her granddaughter would be here. Trust me; she'll love it."

“Daddy, I wanna go and find Nana,” Mia said, and Jon put her on the ground, telling her to come right back before his eyes were back on Sansa.

Their gazes held, and for a moment, even with the music and the people around them chattering away, it felt like they were the only two people in the entire world. Time felt like it slowed, and Sansa got the impression that there were very few people that Jon Snow trusted in his life. So she was out on a limb here, and they both seemed to know it.

Which way would it go? The ball, as they said, was in his court. Despite the attraction that was evident between them, he was a single father, so Sansa knew it was up to him if he wanted to spend more time with her – and if he was going to trust her. Even with something like reassuring him that the fashion show was kid-friendly.

He gave a slow nod, stepping closer to her, as if he had something important to say, for her ears alone.

Sansa held her breath, never taking her eyes off of this beautiful man. She felt like her entire life had been building to this night, to meeting him. All her silly, dreamy, insanely romantic ideals seemed to be coming true, right here and now. Dream guy was real!

The music faded, and even the scent of the warm spring night, with the fragrant flowers and the spicy Dornish food, faded, until it was just her and Jon.

"Oddly enough, I do trust you, Sansa."

His voice had gotten deep, his accent more pronounced, and Sansa swore she freaking moaned.

That voice!

Gods, it did something to her. She could well imagine this man whispering all sorts of naughty, dirty things into her ear while she was wrapped up in his arms. Could he get her off with words alone? Sansa didn’t know, but oh lord, did she want to find out. Maybe not tonight, but someday – soon!

Swallowing hard, suddenly parched, Sansa nodded.

"Good. Because I know what Mia means to you. I'm sorry I didn't put it together before, outside the bathroom. I should have. Elia speaks about the two of you all the time, so in some ways, I feel like I already know you and I want you to know that you can trust me. With Mia and with you. So I just wanted you to know that. And Elia can vouch for me.”

Oh god lord, why was she still speaking? Sansa felt her cheeks burn, but didn’t look away. Sansa's mouth tended to run away from her when she was a bit nervous. Or turned on.

Jon's lips quirked. "Can she now?"

Sansa's head bobbed. "She can."

He leaned in closer and Sansa wasn’t ashamed to admit that she sniffed the man, because he smelled divine.

"I wonder what she might say if I asked if you were a good girl, Sansa?" Jon whispered in her ear, breath hot. Sansa turned to look at him, his eyes going all smoky with desire.

“Are you a good girl, Sansa?” his voice had deepened, going rougher and thicker.

Good freaking lord she wanted to play these games with Dr. Snow!

The air between them fairly crackled, and Sansa sucked in another deep breath when suddenly, Mia broke it, running back up to them, standing right in the middle of them, so they were forced to break the enchanting spell that had seemed to surround them.

"Daddy, I'm hungry."

Sansa stepped back, hardly realizing she'd been so close to Jon, wishing like hell her dress had some damn pockets so she could shove her hands inside so she didn’t just reach out and touch him.

Dr. Snow was potent!

Instead, she gestured to the far end of the garden, where they had set up a buffet.

"Shall we?"

Jon smirked as if he knew exactly what had just happened between them and fell in behind her. Sansa swore the man almost had a hand on her back, but it was like it hovered just above her dress. Sansa swore she could feel the heat of it – right there!

The man was a tease and he was fast checking every single damn box that she’d ever had about Dream Guy.

The party was in full swing as Jon put his hand out for Mia’s, Sansa taking the lead towards the buffet. It was clear that Jon was familiar with the Water Garden Palace and its extensive grounds, but with all the tents and the makeshift stage, not to mention that it was now early evening and getting dark, it wasn't apparent where the food was in the crush of people.

They had just made it to the enormous buffet when Sansa felt Jon stiffen beside her, and she belatedly realized that Quentyn Martell had somehow found her. She'd been hoping to avoid Elia's nephew for as long as possible – at least for tonight. The man had been asking her out for three straight years since she’d come to Sunspear and she just felt nothing for him.

"Sansa," he said, opening his arms in that smarmy way that indicated he wanted a hug. When she didn’t budge, he stepped closer, leaning in as if to kiss her cheeks.

Sansa stepped back and right into Jon's chest. Thankfully, that hand that had hovered on their walk now found itself against her back and Jon didn't remove it. If anything, Jon tugged her closer and she went willingly.

When Sansa glanced at Jon, she saw his eyes narrow as he took in Quentyn.

Well, wasn’t that interesting? Sansa thought. It seemed Dr. Snow had a slight protective thing going on which she heartily approved of.

"Snow," Quentyn sneered, his feelings about Jon clear. Elia had said there were a few in her family that failed to ‘warm to Jon.’ Clearly, Q was one of them, which wasn’t surprising as the man was the snobbiest of the bunch.

"Quentyn," Jon replied, his voice hard.

Quentyn was taller than Jon, but Sansa had to suppress the little giggle as the man stepped back, clearly reading that Jon was not impressed with him. It was more than clear who the alpha of the group was, and it wasn’t Quentyn Martell, even though they were in his family’s mansion.

Quentyn, now looking a bit unsure, wiped his hands on his pants and glanced nervously at Sansa, trying to ignore Jon which was almost impossible because Sansa was pressed against Jon’s chest, and Mia was standing at their feet, eyes daring between all three of them.

"Well, yes, I just wanted to come and say sorry to Sansa. I heard you've ended things with Harry."

Quentyn was focused on her, pointedly ignoring Jon.

Sansa cocked her head, leaning closer to Jon and feigning innocence as she all but batted her eyes at Quentyn. Really, the man should have learned to read the room and leave them be. But since he didn’t, Sansa was going to end this once and for all.

"Why are you sorry? Haven't you told me that Harry is a loser for the past few years and I should date a real man? A man like you, is I believe what you said.”

Quentyn blushed and stuttered, shaking his head as his hands went to his hair, messing it up. It wasn’t a good look on him, as he’d gelled it, so now it stuck up in odd little spikes. It was clear he hadn't expected Sansa to call him out, and the flush on his face showed how flustered he was.

"Well, yes, but you know, these are just things one says."

Sansa wasn’t done.

"So you don't think Harry was a loser and that we should date?"

Sansa heard Jon snicker, and she glanced at him and winked, loving the smirk on his handsome face.

“I love a fierce woman,” he murmured into her ear, and Sansa felt the power of those words hum through her blood.

Quentyn's eyes narrowed as he looked at a loss for words as his eyes went between her and Jon. It was more than evident that they were --- something.

Before he could respond, Sansa decided to put him out of his misery.

"Quentyn, thank you for your kind words. I'm fine. Things with Harry and I had been over for a long time, and I should have ended it sooner. I'm not heartbroken or even very hurt, and hardly embarrassed. I'm just relieved that it is done and now I can move on in my life."

Quentyn’s chest puffed out, and Sansa had to wonder what he thought he had that Jon didn't. It was clear he had misinterpreted her words, though how was anyone’s guess.

"She's not interested, mate," Jon stated, voice hard with no room for argument before Quentyn could further embarrass himself.

So far, things had been civil, but now Quentyn's face transformed into an ugly sneer.

"And you think she wants you, bastard when she has someone like me, willing to ask her out?”

Sansa let out a shocked gasped and then stepped forward, leaving Jon, disgusted by Doran’s eldest. She drilled Q in the chest with her finger. She heard Elia’s shocked and pained gasp behind her and knew that it was up to her to set Quentyn straight.

"Listen here. I've put up with your comments about my relationship for three years, and I've tried to be kind and let you down easy. But you've left me no choice. I am not interested, nor will I ever be interested in you, Quentyn. Who I date next is none of your concern, but let me state it for the record that nothing about Jon's birth would ever make me turn away from him. From what I've seen tonight, he's far nobler than you are, and ten times as handsome."

With that pronouncement, Sansa turned back to see a small crowd had gathered. Not only did Jon look stunned and like he wanted to kiss her senseless right then and there, but Elia, Rhae, Aegon, Tyrs and Arianne had also all gathered. Everyone had heard her very public defence of Jon. 

Q's siblings shook their head at him and then guided him away, muttering things like he was an idiot and a snob, while Aegon let out a wolf whistle and clapped his hands.

"There's our girl, standing up for Snow!"

Sansa coloured and went to make some excuse, but not before Jon caught her hand, dragging her away from the others. His eyes were all intense and stormy, and she worried about the scene that she had caused. She barely knew this man, and sure her lady parts wanted to get to know him much, much better, but maybe he wasn't even single! She'd just learned his name!

Oh god, what had she done? She’d all but declared in front of his entire family that they were a thing!

"Breath, warrior woman," Jon said, smiling softly at her, cupping her cheek, stroking gently.

She sucked in a breath and met his eyes, hoping he wasn’t too upset at her. Sometimes, her mouth just got her into trouble.

"You're not mad at me?"

He shook his head. "Gods no. Why on earth would I be mad? I've never had anyone stand up for me like that, and we barely know each other."

"Are you single?" she blurted out suddenly and then blushed deeply. But she had to know.

He chuckled softly.

"Very, very single, Sansa. I know you just ended things with Harry. I know that we barely know one another. But, perhaps, we can take some time – tonight, or over the next few days and get to know one another better. I hear you’re moving north, and I’d like to be there for you when you arrive."

Sansa felt her face break out into a huge smile.

"Oh, I'd like that a lot. I mean, yes, I did end thing with Harry only a few hours ago, but I hadn't even seen him in four months, and it's been ages since we've even been in the same room together, and I don't even think we've slept together in close to seven months."

Jon's eyes widened at that, and Sansa's groaned, closing her eyes.

"My mouth tends to run on when I'm nervous," she muttered, embarrassed.

"Gods, you're just the most adorable things, aren't you?" she heard Jon murmur as she opened her eyes.

He didn't seem put out by her lack of elegance as he slipped his hand into hers.

"How about we take things slowly?”

Sansa nodded.

”But if it's all the same to you, I'm going to hold your hand, so every man here knows that you're getting to know me," he stated, and Sansa's heart thumped.

She wanted that as well!

Handsome Stranger was fast turning into Dream Guy!

"How will Mia feel about that?" Sansa whispered, not wanting to let go of him but also very aware of how curious his daughter was.

Jon shook his head in wonder at her. "I think she’ll be quite pleased.”

Then he chuckled softly.

“Gods, I have to hand it to Elia. She was right about you. We suit, you and I, don't we, Sansa?"

Sansa grinned. "I believe we do, Dr. Snow."

They were standing there, holding hands, grinning like fools at one another, when Mia came running up.

"Oh good, you two are done talking. I'm hungry," she said, tugging on each of their free hands, somehow making them a unit of three as they walked towards the buffet.

Jon shot Sansa a wink, and she knew she was grinning like a fool, this entire evening happening at warp speed. She knew they had oodles of things to talk about – to discuss, to get to know about one another!

But so far, Handsome Stranger was everything Sansa had ever wanted in a dream guy.

He was sexy. Confident. Protective. And so sweet with his mini-me, who was scowling at the food at the buffet as they approached the line. Sansa knew that some dishes were particular to Dorne and there was lots of seafood. She sensed an epic Mia pout. 

Jon scooped up his daughter as Sansa grabbed an extra plate, as his eyes widened in shocked delight. Sansa shrugged.

"I'll hold her plate if you make the choices for her. I think between the two of us, we can all get dinner at the same time," Sansa said.

"Thank you," Jon responded, deeply touched by her simple gesture.

"It's always just been her and I, so I'm used to balancing things on my own," he said by way of explanation, piquing Sansa's curiosity.

As much as Elia had talked about Jon, she'd been surprisingly mute about Mia's mother. Sansa had no idea what type of woman could walk away from Jon and Mia, but she was curious to find out.

They somehow managed to fill three plates, get drinks and find an open table, where they joined Elia and Rhae with their food. Mia had relented to eat some salad, some fruit, a bun, white fish and rice.

Thinking that Nana might let her get away with not eating as much food as her Dad, Mia hurried towards Elia, leaving Sansa some coveted alone time with Jon.

"I swear she's not normally this picky. But with everything going on here tonight, I think she's a bit overwhelmed," Jon said, flashing Sansa another grin, which had a dimple popping. She swore her lady parts wept. The man was far, far too charming.

"No worries. I have three younger siblings. I know all about picky eaters," she said.

As far as she could tell, Jon was an excellent Dad.

"So Sansa Stark, how do you like working for Elia?" Jon asked as they finally had a chance to speak.

"Oh gosh, she's amazing. I mean, she's so incredible at what she does. And she's kind but demanding. But not in an overbearing way – just in a way that makes you want to be your best if that makes sense."

Jon smiled at her.

"It does. She's always had that effect on people – bringing the best out in them."

"That's totally it! You want to work hard for her because you see how much she puts into everything. The designs, the business, the marketing. There isn't a single part of her business that she doesn't know inside and out. And trust me, that's rare."

"You were with Highgarden before, right?"

Sansa arched an elegant brow and took a sip of her soda. "I was. That’s impressive, Dr. Snow. I didn't get the impression that you were much into the fashion game."

He had the grace to laugh and nod. "I'm not. But I love Elia and Rhae, and it's their life, so I adapted and learned."

Sansa knew how much Elia and Rhae adored Jon, not to mention how close he was with Aegon, so she thought it was less about adapting and rather knowing about fashion because it interested the people he loved.

She was just about to ask Jon about the North and see how he liked Wintertown when a handsome older man, perhaps in his mid-fifties, approached Elia.

Both Jon and Sansa saw her blush and get slightly flustered as she introduced him to Mia.

"I wonder who that is?" Sansa said, more to herself than to Jon. In her time in Sunspear, Elia had been stubbornly single, claiming no man would want to date an ‘old lady.’ It was utterly ridiculous, given how stunning Elia was – and fifty-three was hardly old!

"Dr. Arthur Dayne, one of the leading trauma surgeons in Westeros. Elia was trying to get me to come and do my final training with him in King's Landing."

Turning away from her boss and the man Sansa swore was flirting with Elia, Sansa focused on Jon.

"And why didn't you?"

He gave a little shrug and sipped his beer. She couldn't help but watch his jaw muscles work as he swallowed down a sip.

"I like the North. There is a surgeon in the North at Wintertown, and he's the best in all of Westeros. I wanted a spot with him, and I worked my ass off to get it. And …"

Jon paused, and Sansa couldn't help but reach out and touch his knee.

"And you don't like trading favours for professional gain," she finished, knowing how he felt.

It was one of the reasons she'd gotten out of the North. The Stark name was everything in the North. It didn't matter where you went – White Harbour, Dreadfort, Last Hearth or Wintertown. She would never have been anyone, but Ned Starks's daughter had she stayed.

"Know something about that, do you?" Jon said, sending her a look that said he got it.

"Yeah. I'd imagine you do as well if you're working at Wintertown."

Her family had an entire cancer wing named after them. It was impossible to miss.

"Elia said you were one of those Starks," was all Jon said, and she wondered if he'd met her family. Lord knew she hadn't been back for any fundraisers or events in a decade.

Before Sansa could say anything, there was a hand on her shoulder. Sansa glanced up and saw Elia standing there.

“I’m sorry my dear, but as they say, it’s showtime,” Elia said, true regret in her voice. It was clear that Elia was loving how she and Jon had been talking.

Sansa flashed Jon a smile, wondering if he’d pout, the way Harry used to when she had to leave him and go work at these events. But Jon just gave her a warm smile and a nod.

“Go and work, Sansa. I’m not going anywhere,” he said, and Sansa realized how true that was. Jon was staying right here, at the Palace.

Relief coursed through her. “I set aside some seats for you, Aegon and Mia in the front so she’ll have the best view in the house.”

Sansa saw how that affected Jon, as he swallowed hard. “Thank you, Sansa.”

“You’re welcome, Jon.”

With that, Sansa pushed back her chair and rose, knowing that she really did have to work. Linking arms with Elia, she forced herself not to look back at the handsome Dr. Snow, as Elia patted her arm and gave her a knowing wink.

“Told you my son was the man for you.”

Sansa could only shake her head and laugh at Elia’s meddling, thinking for once, her hopeless love life, was looking anything but. The best part was, Sansa knew that after the show, she’d have more time to spend with the very handsome, very intriguing Dr. Snow.

 


 

Chapter Text


 

The Fashion Show – Jon

 

After Sansa left with Elia, Jon found himself with a lapful of Mia, who was happily chattering about Sansa and the upcoming fashion show and Nana Elia. Jon couldn't help but grin at his daughter, who it seemed was having the very best night of her young life.

Jon was glad that he came down to Elia's party and brought Mia. It had been hell to get the few days off from his intense fellowship program, but Jon was dedicated to the program, and Dr. Cassel knew that Jon needed the short break. Seeing his family had been the goal – but meeting Sansa had been totally unexpected. Not that Jon was complaining. At all. It was almost impossible not to replay his conversations with Sansa over and over again in his mind.

"And now there's a fashion show, Daddy," Mia said, snuggling closer. There was no denying his baby loved all things fashion.

Jon took a moment to inhale the shampoo that Mia love – it smelled like strawberries. No matter what he did in his life, Mia would always be the very best thing in his world.

In the wee hours of the morning, when Jon was alone, he could admit he'd hoped that he’d meet a woman that would want him and Mia – they were a team after all, and there wasn't him without his daughter as well. But in the four years since Mia's birth, no woman had ever come close to reaching his lofty standards. Until Sansa Stark.

"Yeah, that's exciting, isn't it?" Jon agreed.

"It is. I like Sansa," Mia said, transitioning between topics the way that children tended to, seamlessly and without rhyme or reason.

Jon chuckled, agreeing with his daughter. He liked Sansa as well. A lot.

The fact that Sansa fit so seamlessly with them was something that had resonated with Jon in the best possible way. It was clear that his family loved Sansa and that she was a massive part of their lives here in Sunspear. She was integral in the Martell fashion world, and she was a beloved member of the family. That eased something in Jon, knowing that she was Martell family approved.

Jon hadn't been lying to Sansa when he'd said it was hard for him to trust people. Val had broken something when she'd rejected not only him but their daughter. Jon knew they hadn't loved one another, but he'd never imagined Val would sign over all parental rights to him, walking away from them both.

When he'd first found out Val was pregnant, he'd imagined that they could have made it work for Mia's sake – that they could be one of those modern couples that co-parented while remaining friends and raising their child. Val's leaving had shaken Jon to his very core, and he'd vowed that he would always put Mia first.

But that didn't take away the fact that he was a man that had needs. It had been years since he’d been with a woman. More, Jon wanted someone to love – to build a life and a family with.

He should have known that when Elia kept pushing him towards Sansa, it was because they were well suited. Elia had always had Jon's best interests at heart, and she knew him almost as well as he knew himself.

Jon had barely spent an hour with Sansa, and he was already feeling things for the stunning redhead he had never felt before. Sansa ticked every single box for Jon – including that slight praise kink she'd responded to and his dominant personality. Jon knew he came across as mild-manner, but deep down, he was an alpha man. You had to be to be a surgeon, to do the job he did – and that extended to his bedroom activities and his desires.

There was no denying the insane attraction between him and Sansa, but it wasn't just all that sexual heat. The woman had talked with his daughter, helped with getting her food, and reassured him that the fashion show was age-appropriate.

And then, most incredible of all – she'd gone toe to toe with Quentyn Martell and defended him!

Jon didn't have self-esteem issued. He'd long ago come to terms with his bastard birth status. He knew his family loved him and that he had a place here. But he'd never had a woman stand up for him like Sansa did – and declare for him so publicly. It was incredible.

Not that Jon wouldn't have words with Quentyn. That was coming. Jon appreciated Sansa's support of him, but he had his own things he needed to say to Q, to settle things once and for all.

But seeing Sansa, so fierce in her defence of him, well, it had struck a chord deep within in Jon. He couldn't recall ever feeling like this before. Not even for the first woman that he'd fallen in love with.

Holding Mia, Jon let his mind drift back to his third year of university when he'd been twenty-one and met Ygritte. She'd been a redhead as well but had none of the grace that Sansa did. She was … earthier. More free-spirited. Rougher and unlike anyone Jon had ever met.

Ygritte had been a year older than him, although she'd been far less focused than him in her studies, taking a variety of courses and never really settling on a degree.

When they'd met, Jon had been a virgin and fallen hard and fast for the wild woman from the far North. She was his first everything – first lover, first real girlfriend, first real relationship.

They were together for just under three years, and Jon loved her as best as he could. But in the end, they were just too different. Jon was committed to his schooling, and Ygritte wanted to travel.

Things had ended in a spectacular fight that had her throwing things at his head in their small apartment in White Harbour, accusing him of never really loving her or committing to them.

It had shaken Jon, her accusations, because he knew he was focused on his schooling. His entire life, Jon had wanted to make something of himself – to prove that he was worthy of Elia's love for him.

When Ygritte had finally driven away, it had been a relief. Jon had loved her, but he'd always held a part of himself back with her. He had wondered if there was something wrong with him, that he'd always known he'd never been 'all in' with Ygritte.

When he'd talked with Elia about it, she'd reassured him that when he found the woman he was supposed to be with, he'd know. He'd be able to trust the woman he was meant to be with, not only with his heart but also, his dreams and his desires. That had settled something in Jon.

After the disaster of Ygritte, he kept things casual with the women he dated. He knew he was an excellent lover. He treated the women he dated with respect. They always knew what he could and couldn't commit to when they went out with him. Emotionally, Jon never let himself become 'involved' with a woman again. He rarely dated anyone for more than a month, and he never let things get serious with anyone.

He'd met Val when he was doing his residency in White Harbour. She was a nurse, a year older than him and she'd wanted nothing more than casual hookups. Jon had just found out that Ygritte was dating someone new and though he was over her, long over her, his failure to fully love her had made Jon melancholy. That was the first night he’d slept with Val – a night fueled by regret, whiskey and questionable choices.

But their ‘relationship’ for lack of a better term, worked for Jon. He often worked ninety-hour weeks trying to learn as much as possible as a surgical resident. Val had never wanted anything more and had never pushed to make things more serious. If anything, she was ever more closed off emotionally than he had been.

He'd never really given any thought to the potential consequences. A consequence that now squirmed on his lip, doing the pee-pee dance.

Pushing aside his somewhat lacklustre dating history, Jon placed Mia on the ground and then rose and held out her hand, telling her they needed to find a bathroom and then their seats for the fashion show.

She almost skipped along as they made their back inside the mansion, and Jon couldn't help but reflect on the people he passed along the way. People that had been part of his life since he was a toddler and had come to live with Elia, but that he'd always felt a bit on the outside of.

He'd been so occupied with Mystery Woman that he'd failed to realize that this party hosted a veritable who's who of Westeros and Essos's fashion world.

Jon caught flashes of silver hair and knew his aunt Daenerys was here, her hulking husband hovering over her. Drogo was an imposing beast of a man that was a few years older than Dany, and someone that Jon ever wanted to be the wrong side of. Thankfully, the few times Jon had met him, Drogo seemed to like him well enough.

If Dany was here, that meant that Viserys would likely be around. Vis seemed incapable of letting his little sister run their fashion house, even though Dany was the brains behind it all.

Personally, Jon had no idea why Dany put up with her whiny older brother, but he never commented since he wasn't close with either one of them. They were both in their thirties and more than capable of running their own lives without his interference.

A group of dark-haired men stood in a cluster, along with an older woman, a stunning redhead. Those were the Baratheons – Stannis, who ran the business end of things, and his younger brother Renly. Renly was the creative flair behind their fashion label. Renly was holding hands with a vaguely familiar man who appeared around his same age, in their late thirties.

Thankfully, that odious prick Joffrey and his father, Robert, didn't seem to be in attendance. Jon couldn't stand them on the few occasions over the years when he'd met them. Joff was a few years younger than Jon and Jon had never met a whiner, more entitled douche of a human being than Joff Baratheon. His father, an overweight man in his early fifties, was hardly any better, chasing after women half his age.

That didn't mean Robert's ex-wife wasn't here. Cersei Lannister Baratheon was as much a fixture in the fashion world as Elia Martell was, and the two women had been long-time rivals who often went head to head.  

Just as Jon got to the mansion, he spotted golden hair and saw the Lannisters deep in discussion with Arthur and Ashara Dayne. While Arthur was a well-known surgeon in King's Landing, along with his protégé Jaime Lannister, Ashara ran another fashion label called Morning Star.

Cersei, Jaime and Tywin, the Lannister family patriarch, stood out even in this high fashion world. Jon had no time for them, finding them all far too superficial for his liking.

The twins were beautiful people, of that there was no doubt. The famous twins of Tywin had both just turned fifty. Even Jon hadn't missed the gossip rags going on about that.

Jaime was a long-time gossip favourite – the perpetual bachelor surgeon that had never found love. Jon had yet to attend a party where there didn't seem to be a bevy of beautiful women surrounding the male Lannister twin. Oddly enough, as Jaime watched them, he saw Jaime standing close to Ashara, who was forty-eight and a few years younger than Jaime.

Just as he had Mia to the door, Cersei spotted him and glared, a scowl on her beautiful face. Jon had to give Cersei credit – she must have an excellent plastic surgeon, for she could easily pass for a decade younger. Jon had heard the rumours about his father and Cersei – that she had been trying to win Rhaegar away from Elia years ago when his father had taken up with Jon's mother Lyanna instead. It seemed like that grudge had never died, given how she was scowling at him.

Jaime, the golden lion as he was known, also spotted him and smiled at Jon. There had never been any animosity between them, perhaps because they were both doctors. Jaime, though, appeared at ease in such elegant surroundings, and for a moment, Jon envied him.

Even having grown up with Elia's love and protection, Jon always felt a bit outside of all of this. Thankfully, before he could get too maudlin, Aegon was there, clapping him on the back and joking with him and Mia.

By the time they came out of the palace, they only had enough time to get to their seats, which were as advertised, in the front row and perfect for Mia. Of course, as they made their way to the makeshift stage, Jon spotted Quentyn. Knowing this was his chance, Jon looked to Aegon.

"Give me a moment," Jon said to his brother, who only smirked and nodded, knowing precisely what Jon was about to do and not standing in his way. Aeg was good like that, always having Jon’s back and Jon appreciated the hell out of his brother at that moment.

"I'll watch Mia," he told Jon, knowing that this was something Jon had to do.

Jon loved how Sansa had stood up for him before, but there were just some things a man had to say to another man. Especially when that other guy didn't seem to be getting the very clear message a woman was giving him. Sansa wanted nothing to do with Quentyn Martell.

"Quentyn, we need to have a chat," Jon said, clapping his sort of cousin on the back and squeezing hard.

For all his bluster and his snobbery, Q was soft. Jon swore the man paled and started to sweat as Jon guided him away from his group of equally smarmy loser friends. If Jon had to guess, they were all bean counters and lawyers, like Q himself – men who'd never done a hard day's work in their entire privileged lives.

When they had a bit of privacy, Jon's eyes narrowed and he leaned in close, so Q could hear what he had to say.

"Leave Sansa alone," was all he said, watching Q swallow hard and then open his mouth.

Jon let out a frustrated little growl and shook his head.

"Q, she's made it more than obvious she's not interested in you."

"I could speak with father, get him to talk to Elia about removing her,” Quentyn blustered.

Jon's eyes went wide before they narrowed to slits, and he leaned in close.

"You sanctimonious little prick. You'd do that? Ruin a woman's career just because she fucking rejected your ass? Christ, you're a fucking waste of skin."

Jon was pissed, and he watched as Quentyn tried to walk back the threat as if he realized what he'd just said.

"Stop," Jon commanded, watching Q's mouth snap shut.

"Fuck, you're such a disappointment," Jon said, shaking his head again. "Here's what we're going to do. You're going to tell Elia what you threatened, tonight and then we'll see what Mom wants to happen to you."

Quentyn began to shake, his head going back and forth as he stuttered on about how his father would kill him.

"Well, you should have thought of that before you threatened Sansa. All I asked was for you to stay away from her," Jon told him. He pinned him with a look.

"After the party, Q. Don't make me come and find you. You speak with Elia, and maybe this'll end better than you think. And you stay the fuck away from Sansa. You smile nicely at her, and that's all."

Quentyn glared at him but nodded, and Jon turned to go and find Aeg and Mia.

"Do you really think you're enough for her?" Quentyn called, and Jon paused before turning a smirk on his handsome face.

"Q, I know I am. And so does she."

With that, Jon pushed Quentyn Martell out of his mind. He knew his baby would be excited about the fashion show, and he didn't want the spectacle of the past five minutes to rub off on Mia.

When he took his seat beside Aegon, his brother leaned in.

"Put Q in his place?"

Jon nodded as Mia scrambled onto his lap, bouncing in excitement.

"Mom and Sansa were super pumped for tonight. Now I know why," Aegon said, giving Jon a knowing look, wiggling his eyebrows.

"Are we really going to do this?" Jon asked his brother.

Aegon grinned, squeezing Jon's shoulder.

"I knew you'd be gone over for her the moment you two met. And that heat between you? Her standing up for you?" Aegon whistled and shook his head. "Tell me you didn't love that."

Jon grunted but said nothing. The truth was, he had loved it. It had been hot as hell and unleashed something primal in Jon. He'd wanted to declare to every guy at the party that Sansa was his, which was just fucking crazy since they'd met only hours ago.

Thankfully, the lights dimmed, saving him from answering his brother.

Over the years, Jon had sat through more than one fashion show, so he knew the deal. He was more interested in Mia’s reaction than the clothing itself and watched in delight as the new fall line for House Martell was revealed and Mia’s eyes went wide.

Jon knew people didn’t get why lines were revealed in opposite seasons, but it had to do with the trickle-down effect of the haute couture world on the rest of the fashion world. Those people that bought a skirt at the Gap or shopped at Target or Wal-Mart that had been influenced by something one of the major fashion houses had debuted six months earlier. Elia had explained the economics to them over the years, and Jon understood she took her role in the industry seriously.

Mia was in awe as the plaid, velvet and leather combinations were revealed, along with the fall colours, all so at odds with the tropical feel of the party tonight.

It was a testament to the work of the creative minds of Elia and Sansa that the show was a hit and when the two women appeared on stage for the final walk, Jon knew that his step-mother had named her heir apparent. Rhae loved this world, but Sansa Stark was the star of the Martell fashion empire.

As Sansa and Elia sashayed past where they sat, Mia called out, “Nana! Sansa!” and Jon swore his heart almost burst when Sansa smiled and waved at Mia as Mia bounced in delight.

They got to the end of the runway, where someone handed Elia a mic and she announced the new branch of Martell Fashion that was launching in the North, under the guidance of Sansa Stark. There was no denying the star power of the woman that Jon found himself attracted to.

The pride he felt for her, that she’d achieved this, and would achieve more, felt like when he’d passed all those important steps in his career – med school, residency, his first board certification.

When the show finally wrapped up, Aegon guided Jon and Mia to where they could find Sansa, who had emerged a few minutes earlier to be surrounded by people – everyone wanting a piece of her.

She caught his eye, and smiled, giving a little wave, as she answered question after question from reporters that had been at the party. As the time wore on, Mia got whiner, and Jon knew that it was well past her bedtime. He had only a few more minutes that he could wait, and then he’d have to get her to bed and hope to catch Sansa when he came back down from putting his daughter to sleep.

As if she sensed his impatience, not with her but the situation, Jon heard her say she was done with questions for now, and she slipped away from the throng, rushing towards him.

“I’m so sorry! I wasn’t expecting that big of a reaction. How did you like it, Mia?” Sansa asked.

His daughter, whose head had been resting on his shoulder, lifted her head and smiled sleepily.

“It was so pretty, Sansa. And did you see me? When you were on the runway?”

“I did! You had the best seats!”

Mia giggled and then her head dropped again, against Jon’s chest as he swayed with her.

“She’s exhausted. I need to get her to bed,” he said, even though the explanation was hardly needed.

“Of course. Are you coming back down?” Sansa asked, almost shyly.

Jon smirked and nodded, reaching for Sansa’s hand and squeezing. “Yeah, I was planning on it. Will you be here?”

Sansa nodded. They were just standing there looking at each other when Mia piped up, “Sansa can you come with us to the zoo tomorrow?”

Sansa’s eyes widened and Jon thought for a moment she might not want to, her eyes bright, even in the darkness. But then she reassured him. 

“I’d like that, if it’s ok with your Daddy,” Sansa said, her eyes going between him and his daughter.

Jon had never taken a woman on an outing like this with Mia and knew his daughter was falling as fast as he was for the stunning Sansa Stark. Perhaps he should be a bit more cautious, but there was just something about Sansa that called to him.

“I’d like that, if Sansa has the time, Mia. We’re on vacation, but she might have to work.”

“It’s Saturday tomorrow,” Sansa said, lips quirking as Jon gave a little laugh.

“And I suppose you never work on Saturday?” he countered, liking their banter.

Sansa’s laugh was rich and deep.

“You’ve got me there, Dr. Snow. I was planning on a debrief with Elia and Rhae tomorrow morning here at the Palace. So why don’t we plan to go after we’ve had our meeting? Would that work for you two?”

Mia was already nodding eagerly, excited for more time with Sansa, and Jon could admit it felt good to have locked down another outing with Sansa.

“Alright Mia-bug, you’ve gotten your way. Now say goodnight to Sansa. It’s time for bed.”

“I liked meeting you, Sansa,” Mia whispered, but not quietly enough that Jon didn’t hear. Sansa was gazing right at him, and gods it did something to see her hold his baby like this.

“I’d like meeting you, Mia.”

Mia giggled. “Night Sansa."

“Night Mia."

Before he left, Jon reached for Sansa’s hand, tugging her close.

“I’ll be back. Don’t go anywhere,” he whispered against her ear. She shivered and nodded and then sent him a look that could only be described as one filled with promise. Of what, he wasn’t quite sure, but damn if he didn’t like it.

“I’ll be waiting for you.”

Content with that, Jon nodded and then turned away, hurrying Mia inside and praying that tonight was not a night that she needed ten stories. Jon loved his daughter but he desperately wanted to get back to Sansa and see if what he hoped was between them was real. 

 


 

Half an hour later, Jon tucked Mia into her bed, as Elia laid a hand on his shoulder. His mother had seen him slip inside with Mia and had hurried to join him, claiming that bedtimes were a Nana privilege. Elia had made Mia the perfect princess room of her own in the Palace, and a door connected Mia’s room to Jon’s.

Standing together, they both gazed down at her. Mia had her little stuffed wolf tucked up in her arms, a smile on her sweet face. Jon felt that fierce surge of love and pride each time he looked at his daughter.

"She's so precious, Jon. Thank you for coming,” Elia said, resting her head on his shoulder.

He gave a warm smile to the woman who'd been his surrogate mother for so much of his life.

"Thanks for inviting us, El."

"You know that you always have a place here, Jon. Always."

To some, it would never make sense, how Elia had loved Jon as if he were her son when her husband had been cheating on her with Jon's mother. But Elia had never held that against Jon. He'd been an innocent. And her heart was huge. From the moment Elia had seen Jon she’d claimed him as one of her own and then soon got the paperwork going so legally he was hers. 

Jon adored her for it. She was a force of good in his life.

"I know," he told her.

He did. Had Jon wanted, the Martells would have found a place for him in their fashion empire.

But his heart had always been drawn to medicine. Since he'd been a boy, Jon had wanted to save people. And he’d wanted to make it in his chosen career on his own merits – his intelligence and hard work and instincts. He was so close, with only eighteen months to go in his fellowship, before he’d stand for another oral board exam and then, hopefully have his pick of hospitals where he’d become an attending trauma surgeon.

"Come, the family awaits," Elia said, holding out her hand for him. "I only get you for a few days. I'm going to be horribly selfish and demand all your time. Or what time you have for me that you won’t be spending with Sansa.”

Jon gave her a soft smile, still a bit in awe that she could love him the way she did. But the truth was, she did. She had been a constant in his life. Her and his Uncle Benjen.

"Thanks, Elia, for everything."

Her eyes misted as she pushed a few silver strands of hair behind her ear. Jon liked it. It added a touch of aged elegance to her beauty.

She cupped his cheeks, and Jon swallowed around the lump in his throat.

"Oh my boy, thank you for coming. We know how busy you are."

So grateful for what he did have, Jon squared his shoulders, he looped his arms with Elia and grinned.

"Lead the way," he said, giving her a wink. She threw her head back and laughed.

"Oh, I've missed you. Come now, and be with your family, Jon, and catch us up on life as a doctor in the wilds of the North and tell me all about Sansa."

Elia gave him a knowing look and he knew he wouldn’t get away from her gentle and loving questions. And her smug happiness that her ‘pick’ for him had worked out so well.

Arm and arm, they walked towards the light, towards the family that had welcomed Jon, despite what his mother had done. These people had owed him nothing, and yet, because of them, he was the man he was today.

Jon laughed.

"There isn't much to tell, El. My life is work and Mia and I just met Sansa."

Elia gave him a look. “I may be your mother, but even I could feel the heat and the sparks between the two of you. And then when she put Quentyn in his place? Have you ever seen anything like that?”

Shaking his head, he laughed.

"Nope. I never have. She is something special, that’s for sure.”

Elia gave him a conspiratorial smile.

“Don’t mess this up, Dr. Snow.”

Jon paused and Elia stopped with him, as he was suddenly serious.

"El, I barely have time to breathe. Sansa is special. Gods, in a few hours I’m so intrigued by her and want to know more. I want to know everything about her. But what can I offer? I still work insane hours, Mia gets all my free time and what little time I have leftover, I do chores or try to squeeze in a workout.”

Elia gave him a look of such love, that Jon was surprised he didn’t stagger under it. This woman was always his biggest cheerleader.

"You’re such a good man, Jon. Such a good man. I worried, that Val broke something in you when she did what she did. It was cruel, to you and to Mia. But what I saw tonight? I saw a family, Jon.”

Before he could protest, Elia held up a hand.

“I’m not saying immediately. She is here in the south for another month. She will be busy in the North. You’re busy. You are right, to protect your daughter and your own heart. But Sansa is worth the risk. She will understand your commitments and admire and respect you for making them. All I am asking is to give the two of you a chance.”

"Doctors make the worst boyfriends. Surgeons even worse," he warned her.

"So you didn’t already agree to spend time with her at the zoo tomorrow, with Mia?” Elia asked.

“How do you know everything?” Jon muttered, shaking his head.

The truth was Jon didn’t want to stay away from Sansa. Yes, both their lives and careers were demanding and busy. Yes, they might not have much time for one another, but already Jon had been trying to figure out how to make it work. Perhaps he could take Elia up on her offer for a housekeeper so he could free up some more time to be with Mia and Sansa.

And if anyone would understand his commitments, it was Sansa. Elia had been speaking about him for three years, so Sansa knew what he was faced with. And Jon heard all about how much Elia relied on Sansa. She’d be busy with her own job, establishing an entirely new branch of Martell fashion in the North.

The truth was Jon was tired of being single; tired of being lonely. He wanted a partner in this life. And gods, he missed sex. Fuck did he miss sex. Sure, he and Sansa had things to work out, but already Jon was figuring out ways he could make time for Sansa. Because she was important, and he did want this chance with her.

“You know that you’re a scary woman, right?” he told Elia who threw her head back, laughing in delight.

“You’re here for a few more days. Take some time with her, get to know her. Allow Mia to get to know her. I can tell that you two suit one another. I knew the moment I met her; she was the one for you. I’m not saying it’s easy, but nothing good in this life ever is easy. I’m just saying it’ll be worth it.”

Jon nodded, thinking about Elia’s words. Something had always been missing with Ygritte and lord knew that he and Val barely had what anyone would call a ‘relationship.’ But from the moment Jon had met Sansa, everything had felt different.

He knew, then and there, that no matter what, he wanted to take this chance with Sansa.

When they got outside, about half the guests had gone, making the palace gardens seem much less crowded. Jon found Sansa sitting beside Rhae on an outdoor loveseat, near the pool, with Arianne, Tys, and Aegon surrounding them. She was sipping a soda, and laughing at something Aegon said, and something welled up inside of Jon, seeing her like this, with the people he loved best in this world.

He knew the moment she realized he was there, for her eyes landed on him and the smile that lit her face was brilliant. Rhae, reading the situation, smirked at him, as she rose, handing him a beer as she patted his cheek.

“Take a seat beside your girl,” his sister said.

Since that’s exactly what Jon wanted to do, he didn’t argue, taking the spot where Rhae previously sat. As he did, Sansa leaned into him and Jon draped his arm around the back of the loveseat, so she could sit closer to him.

Gods, how long had it been since he’d been part of a couple?

It was so easy, with Sansa, here, in his family’s home. She fit – with them and with him, and he let the banter and the conversation flow, the ease at being back here, in Sunspear soaking into him.

He missed his family when he was in the North, as Aegon and Tyrs got into some debate about a local DJ and the best club in Sunspear.

“They can do this for hours,” Jon murmured, brushing Sansa’s hair back from her ear. She shuddered a bit at his tough, her skin pebbling. He loved how he affected her. She turned, so their faces were mere inches apart, and grinned.

“I know. Sometimes I wind them up just to watch them go at it.”

Jon laughed, taking another sip of beer, feeling himself relax. They easily followed the conversation between the Martell siblings and cousins, some of Oberyn’s daughters joining them, although Quentyn was nowhere to be found.

Eventually, Elia, Oberyn and Ellaria all joined in, and it gave Jon a chance to speak to Sansa while the others occupied themselves.

“Good job tonight, on the fashion show. I hope you’re ready to become a superstar in the fashion world because I think tonight’s show put you on the map.”

Since he was paying such close attention to her, he saw her blush and then brush away the compliment. Jon frowned, not liking that. He reached for her hand, waiting until her eyes met his.

“Why do you do that?” he asked her.

“Do what?”

“Not take credit for your hard work?”

For a moment Jon thought he might have overstepped; Sansa was quiet and clearly thinking. He hoped he’d built enough of a rapport with her tonight that she would confide in him.

“My last boyfriend didn’t like when the spotlight wasn’t on him,” she explained softly.

Then she met his eyes and he saw some old insecurities and hurts there, and he wanted to slay dragons for this woman.

“I’m not used to a man that isn’t intimidated by my success,” she told him honestly.

Jon knew he was an alpha male kind of guy. He’d always been the smartest, the most athletic, the best at everything he did. He was a freaking trauma surgeon and surgery was a cutthroat, dog-eat-dog world to be in. He was confident in his abilities - all of his abilities, and he took pride in protecting those he loved. So yeah, Jon knew he was an alpha male.

And for the life of him, he could never figure out men that didn’t want their women to fucking shine. It was bizarre to him. What man didn’t want a strong, capable successful woman by his side?

“I’m not like that,” he said to Sansa.

She nodded and gave him a half-smile. “I know. Somehow, I know that. I saw how happy you were for me. And I can imagine, as the father of a little girl, you want her to feel like she can do anything. Be anything. You’re not like those other insecure guys, Jon.”

“I’m not.”’

“Mia is incredible,” Sansa murmured, both of them now lost in their own little bubble, the others fading into the background. “It can’t be easy. Your career, her demands.”

Jon reached out and touched Sansa’s cheek knowing what she was getting at. “It’s not. I won’t lie. I don’t have much spare time and what little I have, it’s for her.”

Sansa nodded, and Jon saw she misunderstood him.

He cupped her cheek. “I know you just ended things with that douche. And I know you’ve got a month to get things settled down here before you move North.”

“Yup.”

“I want to try, Sansa. I’m not sure what this is between us, only that it’s not something I’ve ever felt before. This? This heat? This attraction? But more, how you just fit, with Mia and me. I know I can’t promise you as much as someone that works a nine-to-five job, Sansa. Not right now. And Mia is the most important thing in my world. But you? Gods, I want a chance with you.”

Her hand came up, covering his. “I have the worst dating history of anyone I know. I make really bad choices, Jon.”

He wondered for a moment if she was going to say that he was another bad choice.

“But I don’t believe you’re a bad choice. I want to try as well. When I move North. I know you’re busy and I will be as well. But I know we can make it work.”

He let out the breath he was holding, leaning forward to rest his forehead against hers, brushing his lips there as he held her close.

“I’m old enough to know that this, whatever this is between us, Sansa, it’s fucking rare. And special. And I’ll do whatever it takes to make this work. Whatever I have left, it’s yours.”

“Oh, thank goodness. I thought this was just me.”

Jon let out a rueful laugh and shook his head. “No, not just you.”

Sansa’s lips quirked. “So, here’s to taking things slowly, and getting to know one another, exclusively?” she tacked on.

Jon let out a little growl. “It had better be exclusive. I don’t share.”

Her giggle did something to his insides as she fucking beamed at him. “Well, I don’t either, Dr. Snow.”

He shook his head at her.

“Gods, you’re going to be trouble,” he whispered into her ear, as he pulled her closer, loving how she fit in his arms.

“Don’t worry, Dr. Snow, I can be a good girl,” she said back, making Jon’s dick ache and a moan escape his lips. This woman!

They were snuggled up on the loveseat, clearly a thing, just in time for his sister to ask Sansa a question about the line they’d just launched. Sansa happily chatted with Rhae, as Jon caught Elia’s happy grin, Aegon’s smirk and Rhae’s knowing wink.

He couldn’t even be upset at their clear delight and obvious meddling, because holding Sansa in his arms? Well, nothing had ever felt so right in his entire life. As his mom said – it might not be easy, but Jon knew that Sansa was worth all the effort in the world.

 


 

Chapter Text


 

Water Garden Palace – Sansa

 

It was incredible what changes could occur in twenty-four hours, Sansa thought as she applied a light dusting of make-up to her face. She'd come home positively glowing after the party last night, and while some of it had been the success of their latest show, a considerable part of it was finally meeting Dr. Jon Snow.

Sexy, sweet, protective Jon Snow. A dad who was one of the best looking men that she'd ever met, who'd made her heart race and her panties damp.

She wasn't ashamed to say that after the massive drought that had been her sex life in the past seven months, she'd come home from the party and taken care of business last night. It was sad to say that some of the best orgasms she'd had in the past few years had been from her own hand.

Somehow, Sansa didn't think that would be an issue in the future. Not with the sexy doctor now in her life, although Sansa had heard Jon loud and clear about his priorities. She knew that to become a double board-certified surgeon, both in general and trauma surgery, wasn't something that just anyone could do. He was indeed one of the elites in his chosen field. Intelligent, intense and dedicated to a profession that would require an incredible amount of concentration and time. She got that. She liked that about him. She was a bit of a workaholic herself so she recognized the breed in him.

Sansa also knew how important Mia was to Jon, which only made her want to make it work – however they could. She'd be busy as well when she moved North, and she wasn't a clingy woman. Jon had his priorities right, and she respected the heck out of him for that.

Beyond everything that he'd shared with her, Sansa felt as if she knew the type of man Jon was. For the past few years, Elia had been saying how compatible they were – how they had similar morals and values and wanted the same things out of life. Ultimately, Sansa wanted a husband that adored her, lots of children and a thriving career.

Which was what had missing between her and Harry. They had never wanted the same things.

And speaking of Harry, he'd sent a late-night apology text, asking if they could talk, which she'd promptly deleted and not thought about him again. She had been wasting her time with a man like that when there were ones like Jon Snow in this world.

Today, Sansa had dressed casually chic – black capris pants, a lacy deep blue tank top and a light linen jacket that was a lighter shade of blue with white converse sneakers. She picked a purse that could be strung across her chest, leaving her hands free and style her hair into a long ponytail to keep it under control.

When she pulled up to the Water Garden Palace, she felt the butterflies in her stomach, knowing that Jon and Mia were just beyond those doors.

She couldn't ever remember feeling this excitement upon meeting a man before! And she was equally excited to spend time with Mia. Jon's daughter was a bright, fun little girl who had made Sansa smile with her easy acceptance of her last evening. To say that Sansa was looking forward to her day was an understatement!

The door opened a few moments after she rang the bell, Elia's staff extraordinarily well trained.

"They are in the study, Ms. Stark," the butler said, and Sansa thanked him.

Even though a big part of her wanted to go and find Jon and Mia, Sansa knew that Elia and Rhae would be waiting for her. Work first, then fun for the rest of the day.

She entered the study where Elia ruled her fashion empire and was warmly greeted by the two Martell women. As close as Sansa was with both Elia and Rhae, a big part of Sansa was grateful that neither one brought up Jon, instead of diving straight into the show last night and rehashing what went right, and what they would have changed. They then spent some time and planned out the next show and discussed her move North in greater detail.

But the time they were done, Sansa was grateful that Elia seemed to take pity on her, and within the hour, smiled at her, clapping her hands and dismissing Sansa who was now free to go and find Jon and Mia.

"They're in the pool, dear. Mia was very excited for her day with you and Jon," Elia announced with a little wink.

Sansa blushed but secretly was pleased. She had never dated a single dad before, but nothing about Jon's situation or Mia herself was unappealing to her. In fact, Sansa would say the opposite. Perhaps it was knowing that this was someone beloved by both Elia and Rhae, or just the fact that Sansa knew Mia's mother wasn't around, but Sansa was as excited to spend time with Mia as she was with Jon.

"Am I that obvious?" she said dryly.

Both Martell women laughed and shared a knowing look.

"We've never seen either of them so happy, Sansa," Rhae said, linking their arms. "Mom won't stop gloating that she knew the two of you were perfect for one another."

Sansa laughed, shaking her head, but couldn't deny how eager she was to see the Snows. She heard Mia's happy shriek before they stepped out onto the patio where the pool was.

"Uncle Aeg, you need to catch me this time!" she demanded, followed by a massive splash and Aegon’s happy laughter.

Sansa knew that spring in the North would mean melting snow and muddy streets.

But in Sunspear, it was a balmy spring day, perfect for shorts, pool parties, trips to the zoo and maybe even ice cream later. No wonder Sansa adored living here, and it was clear that Mia was making the most of her time in the south.

"SANSA!" Mia cried, spotting her, leaping out of the pool just as Sansa saw Jon.

He was wearing dark blue swim shorts that clung to his muscular thighs, and oh god, the man was fucking built.

Was that an eight-pack?

Sansa barely had time to ogle him before a wet little girl flung herself out of the pool, splashing Sansa.

Sansa laughed grateful she'd put a change of clothing in her vehicle, while Jon's voice rang out, gentling scolding his daughter.

"Mia, love, we've talked about this. You've got to wait for permission before just splashing everywhere," Jon said love warring with exasperation in his voice. He was standing in the shallow end of the pool watching his mini-me be a little tornado. 

He sent Sansa an apologetic smile as Mia stood there, holding Sansa’s hand, beaming up at her. It was apparent that Mia was just as excited to see Sansa as Sansa was to see her! 

"Sansa, I'm soooooooo excited you're here! Dad said I woke up with ants in my pants, but he didn't mean real ants! He just meant that I had lots and lots and lots of energy!"

Sansa laughed, utterly delighted by Mia, feeling her heart melt.

Gods, she wanted a family!

Sansa knew that her heart was in as much danger of falling for Mia as it was for Mia's handsome father. A father who was shaking his head, his dark curls flinging droplets of water around the patio, just as Aegon tackled his brother, wrestling him back into the water. Sansa couldn't help but watch the display, wondering if she were drooling at seeing these two go at it.

"Is that right?" Sansa said, her attention going between the exuberant little girl and Jon. "What animal are you most excited to see?"

"The elephants!" she cried, and Sansa smiled at her.

Then Sansa's eyes widened as Jon finally emerged from the water. Again. Giving her a second chance to stare at that perfect body of his. He wasn’t huge, not some muscle-bound jock, but built just right. And he was laughing with his brother as they finally walked to Mia and Sansa, which made him appear so effortlessly sexy that Sansa’s heart was racing. This man just did it for her. Checked every single box. 

"Hi," he said, voice low and almost raspy as he held his arms out for Mia, who pouted but went to him.

"Hi," Sansa said, swearing she sounded breathless. And who would blame her? Jon was just standing there, dripping water down that chiselled chest, curls tousled as the sun seemed to illuminate him.

Gods, she had it bad for him.

"Daddy, what are you excited to see at the zoo?"

In truth, the Sunspear ‘zoo' was a wildlife sanctuary, of which the Martells were huge supporters. It was a vast reserve outside of the city limits, where the animals had plenty of room to roam and live, and many endangered species were part of programs to save them and keep them safe.

"I think the wolves," he said, making Mia giggle as she somehow rolled her eyes.

"Daddy, you always say that. You love the wolves!"

Sansa wondered if he knew that her family’s ancient crest was a direwolf, a species long thought to be extinct in the North, but that had a place in the tales that Sansa had grown up on.

Jon tickled Mia’s belly, agreeing he did like the wolves. Sansa was sure Mia was about to ask another question when Jon looked at her.

"Why don’t we ask Sansa what she wants to see?”

“Sansa?” Mia asked, parroting her father and making them the most adorable duo.

"Hmmm," Sansa said, a twinkle in her eyes. "I can't wait to go to the reptile house!"

Mia's mouth dropped open before she let out a happy little squeal and scrambled down Jon to fit her hand into Sansa's.

"That's so cool! Do you like spiders? Or snakes? Or lizards? Or all of them?”

In truth, Sansa didn't like any of them, but she thought it was important to be fair about all the creatures at the zoo. Before Sansa could answer, Elia called for Mia.

"Mia love, come and let's get dressed. We can pick out something special," Elia said, making Mia's eyes light.

“Coming Nana. I’ll be right back,” she reassured Sansa before racing off towards her Nana, leaving Jon and Sansa a few moments to themselves.

"The reptile house?" Jon said, his lips twitching.

"What? I might like snakes," Sansa said, barely holding in the shudder.

He threw his head back and laughed and then reached for her hand, tugging her closer. She went willingly, smelling the saltwater from the pool on him and that scent that was uniquely Jon – something spicy and oh so good. She wanted to lick him dry but knew that would have to wait.

"Are you sure you're up for this? She's so excited, and I know she'll be a handful," Jon said, suddenly serious. "I know that this isn't an ideal first date."

Her heart raced that he thought of this as a date-like situation! And he was wrong. This was perfect.

"Jon, she's incredible. I am looking forward to spending time with both of you. I am so excited for today."

His eyes bore into hers, and she saw the wonder there – that she was telling the truth or that she meant every word of it. She was excited for today.

"You're something special, Sansa," his gravelly voice doing wondrous things to her body.

"Well, from what I've seen, you're the incredible one, Jon. Single dad, surgeon, loving son. Are you even real?"

He chuckled warmly and then pressed a soft kiss to her cheek.

"I'm going to dart inside and change. Be back in a few, then you're ours, Sansa."

Oh wow, did she like the sound of that. She tugged Jon's hand, and he turned to her.

"And you're mine, Dr. Snow."

"Yeah?"

"Oh yeah."

"I like the sound of that."

With that, he turned and strode into the house, using a towel to dry his hair while Sansa let out a breath and fanned herself. The man was far too good looking for her to play this cool.

"Girl, I love you, and I'm super excited that you're into my brother, but it sucks we can't talk about it," Rhae said, shaking her head in mock disgust.  

Sansa had forgotten all about Rhae and Aegon, who were grinning like fools at her. Sansa felt her cheeks heat but didn't say much as she turned to Jon’s siblings.

"Maybe if someone had told me what a snack Dr. Snow was before this weekend, I wouldn't have wasted so much time with Harry the Douche," Sansa retorted, making Rhae howl as Aegon smirked and Sansa settled in to wait for Jon and Mia to come back.

 


 

The Zoo – Jon

 

Jon couldn't help but smile as he overheard Mia in her room chattering happily to Nana Elia about Sansa and what she was going to wear for her very important day.

Jon couldn't remember a time when Mia had taken to anyone as she had with Sansa. Not that he'd dated – at all – since her birth, but even the nannies and babysitters that he'd had helping him out hadn't captured Mia's attention like this.

And watching Sansa with his daughter?

Well.

Jon hadn't really known he could feel like this. There was an ache in his chest, but also a hopefulness that maybe he'd found a woman that fit him and his daughter – that wanted them, wanted the same things he did in this life. Jon was never going to be a man that played the field, much to his brother’s chagrin. He was always a man built for a committed, monogamous relationship.

Over the years, he’d gotten better at reading people, determining their intentions, and knowing when they were just making time for Mia to get to him. And nothing about Sansa indicated that was what she was doing. She was genuinely delighted to see Mia and him this morning and excited for their afternoon.

"Nana, I want to wear pants like Sansa's, but she said she was going to change," Mia said and Jon could hear the pout in his daughter’s voice.

"Hmmm, well, we have some capris for you to wear and what if I text Sansa and see what colour top she is going to wear?" Elia suggested. It was clear that Elia was team Jonsa. She was unapologetic in how much she wanted to see the two of them together.

Jon was just grateful Sansa had shown up in pants, or else Mia would be demanding to wear a dress to the zoo, which would be a disaster.

"I'm going to pop into the shower," he told Elia, who gave him a thumbs up and a wink, leaving the clothing choices to his mom who was far better at it than he was.

Twenty minutes later, in shorts, a polo shirt and runners, Jon was trying to contain a squirming Mia who just wanted to find Sansa NOW.

Elia was having far too much fun with all of this as she stepped out onto the pool patio with them, delighted by how quickly Mia had taken to Sansa. Both his mother and his daughter adored Sansa Stark, and Jon knew he was falling fast for the gorgeous redhead.

Jon knew his siblings were there, entertaining Sansa, but all he could see was her. She had changed and was wearing khaki capris, white runners, a white top and a jean jacket. She'd styled her hair into a high ponytail, making her look younger than she was and effortlessly beautiful.

"Oh, Sansa, we match," Mia cried in delight and then launched herself at Sansa, who caught his baby and sat with her on the lounge chair.

"We do. I think our outfits are very sensible for today," Sansa said, and Jon sent her a mouthed, thank you.

Lately, Mia had taken to wearing dresses everywhere – including playgrounds and parks, and it was a struggle to keep them from getting too dirty and to allow her the chance to play hard like she wanted to.

Mia gave a sigh and a solemn nod. "They are."

Rhae and Aegon were delighted with her, while Jon just shook his head at his mini fashionista.

"Come on, ladies, the animals await," Jon said.

He was borrowing one of Elia's luxury SUVs, fully fitted with Mia's booster seat. There were hugs to the family before Mia grabbed both his hand and Sansa’s, and marched them towards the impressive garage that housed the fleet of Martell vehicles.

Sansa appeared a bit stunned when they went inside, and Jon arched an eyebrow at her, the question not even having to be asked.

She waved a hand.

"I know how wealthy you all are, but sometimes, I forget, you know. Because Elia and Rhae are so down to earth, and I don't often see … this."

She gestured a bit wildly around a garage that housed twelve high-end vehicles.

"They are wealthy, but it's not me, Sansa. Most of this is Martell wealth, not Targaryen."

She bobbed her head and let out a whoosh of breath.

"Yeah. No, I get it. I wasn't meaning …" she stumbled over her words as Jon boosted Mia into her seat and gave her a book to read.

"Hold tight, Mia-bug," he said, closing the door on her and going to Sansa, who looked like she was going to hyperventilate.

She was freaking adorable, was all Jon could think.

There had been some women, more than perhaps he liked to admit, that had pursued something with him because of his connections to his wealthy step-family. He often thought it was one of the reasons he liked Ygritte so much. For all her craziness, money and status had never appealed to her. Jon had known that she'd just wanted him when they were together, even though they'd been in their early twenties.

"Sansa, talk to me," Jon said, infusing his voice with a command. He stepped closer and reached for one of her hands, squeezing it and pleased when she didn’t pull away.

"I'm not here because of your relationship with Elia," she blurted out.

Jon smiled at her. "I know."

Her eyes narrowed. "I do just fine with Elia on my own. I don't need your connections, Jon Snow."

Jon knew he had a massive grin on his face.

Gods, who knew that this was his ideal type of woman? Smart, idealistic, and fierce in so many appealing ways.

He was so intrigued by Sansa and how she just said whatever she was thinking, as if these thoughts she had just spilled out. There were no games with Sansa and it was shockingly refreshing. She was unfiltered and real and that appealed so much to Jon.

"I know that you don't need me to make Elia love you more. I was here last night. I know you're a star of your own making. My mom thinks you're amazing."

"Good," she said. "I mean, good that you know that, not that I'm pumping my own ego. Because I'm not. I mean, I think I'm good at my job and a hard worker and sure, Elia's given me the contract in the North, but I wasn’t bragging."

Her eyes darted away as if she were suddenly embarrassed by her outburst. She shouldn’t be. Again, Jon liked getting all these insights into her personality, which was so sweet and warm and genuine.

Reacting on instinct, he gently took her chin in his hands, tilting it upwards, so their eyes met. Her blue eyes were wide and her lips parted slightly.  

Could she be any more his type? He wondered.

"I haven't dated anyone since Mia was born," he told her, needing to share that with her, needing her to know how rare this was and how special he knew that Sansa was.

He watched her process that information, wondering what she might say.

Did she think he was pathetic? A man without choices? Or would she see that he was dedicated to his hectic career and demanding daughter?

He watched in utter fascination as her eyes narrowed and saw something there – desire, heat – but maybe, something more.

"Good."

Good?

He was stunned for a minute until he threw his head back and laughed, delighted by her.

Then he leaned in close to whisper in her ear.

"Oh darling girl, we're going to have some fun, aren't we?"

Her hands were clutching at his shirt.

"Yes, we are," she whispered back.

For a moment, he wanted to kiss her right now. He wanted to kiss her as he meant it, pouring everything he felt for her into it. But then Mia's voice penetrated the thick wall of need, and he reluctantly stepped back.

"This isn't over," he said.

He levelled a look at her, filled with how much he wanted her.

"Hell, it hasn't even begun, Sansa, and you have me twisted up eight ways from Sunday."

Her grin was proud and fierce.

"Good. You do the same to me. Now, let's go to the zoo, Dr. Snow."

She sent him a cheeky wink, seeming to know precisely what it did to him when she called him Dr. Snow.

 


 

The day went much as Jon thought it would, with Mia's excitement making both Sansa and Jon smile in delight at her. It hadn't even been awkward when, for the first time in his life, Jon actually paid for a family admission rather than just for him and Mia. He caught the look on Sansa's face and saw how it didn’t scare her either, which told him everything he needed to know. She was right there with him.

Maybe it should have scared him, but somehow, even as fast as he knew things were moving, it didn't feel wrong. Neither did slipping his hand into hers as they watched Mia race in front of them, her excitement barely contained.

It was the most fantastic experience to have Sansa by his side, as they took turns answering Mia's endless questions, allowing her to lead them on a path of her determination throughout the huge wildlife reserve.

There were times when Jon stood back and watched as Sansa knelt down, so she was eye level with Mia, reading some of the interesting animal facts or explaining something in a way that Mia would understand. There seemed to be a bottomless pit of patience in Sansa, and when Mia reacted poorly to the lineup at the reptile house, Jon scooped her up into his arms.

"I think it's time for lunch," he said, holding her close as she snuggled into him. His daughter was a delight, except when she was hungry. Then she was just hangry and grumpy.

Never would Jon have thought his first date with Sansa would include chicken fingers and French fries in a cafeteria-style restaurant in the Sunspear Wildlife Preserve, but as Mia ate, she perked up, and Jon was able to share a knowing smile with Sansa.

"You're so good with her," Sansa said when they were off again, and Jon took the compliment with his customary shrug.

"She's my entire world."

"She's lucky to have you," Sansa said, meaning it.

Jon could see the questions in her eyes – about Mia's mother. Now was not the time to talk about Val, but they would have to at some point. It wasn't a matter of custody, for Val had no rights when it came to their daughter, but Sansa deserved to know what had happened between them and how Mia came to be his. Often Jon avoided the issue of Val with people who looked at him with curiosity. But he wanted to share the story with Sansa, knowing that it would be an important step for them.

"The moment she was born, I vowed I'd be there for her," he told Sansa, voice thick with emotion as he looked at his daughter, who seemed to have made a friend with another little girl as they watched two panda bears lazily eat their bamboo shoots.

Sansa squeezed his hand.

"Can I ask you a question?"

Jon nodded, wondering what was on her mind.

"Will you stay in the North?"

A bit startled, he looked between Mia and Sansa, struggling to find the right words. Sansa knew some of his backgrounds and was aware of how close he was with Elia and his sister and brother. So it was a valid question and one they'd touched on a bit last night. But last night, it had been why he'd chosen to do his residency in the North and today is was what his long-term plans were.

"I don't know. I have just under a year and a half left in my fellowship, and if it all goes according to plan, I'll be able to choose where I want to work. I know that Mia adores her family in Sunspear," Jon said, still not committing to where they’d end up.

He was quiet for a bit.

"It's funny, I don't even remember my Mum, but sometimes, I feel closer to her being there."

"That's fair," Sansa said.

His lips quirked.

"What about you? Are you ready to go home?"

Sansa started a bit and then gave him an enigmatic look.

"How did you know?"

He shrugged.

"Elia is amazing, and I love her. But I have a radar for family drama. I've been to two hospital fundraisers in the past few years, and you haven't been at either one."

Sansa sighed, watching Mia doing an impersonation of a monkey with her new friend.

"A lot of it was my fault," she said after a time.

She finally looked at him and he could see that there was some history there, as he’d suspected.

"You're going to think I'm some bratty, ungrateful daughter."

Jon chuckled softly. "Sansa, I'm not. And you only have to share what you want. No pressure."

Nodding again, she took a deep breath.

"My parents are great. I mean, yes, they are those Starks, and my Mom raised us to be … aware of who we were but not consumed by it. I don't mean that in a snobby way, but she was a Tully and my father was a Stark. Once my uncle Brandon died, Dad was in line to take over the entire Stark family holdings, which weren't small. So I always knew, always felt a sense of responsibility to live up to that name. The Stark name. There’s no escaping it in the North."

Jon guided them to a bench, as it seemed Mia was content to be by the pandas for a little bit longer. He wondered at that. He was well aware of the Martell name and the Targaryen name, but neither one was his. He had his Mum’s name – Snow. It wasn’t associated with anything powerful or fancy.

Sansa sighed again.

"I left the North because, well, to put it bluntly, I needed to find my way, and I thought I was better than the North. Or the people there. This sounds awful, but I had just graduated high school, and my passion was fashion and design, and I knew I couldn't do that in the North. Before I left, I said some awful things to my parents, and we fought, and I just … gods, I sound positively awful, but I haven't made much of an effort to fix it."

Jon tugged her closer, seeing how much guilt she was heaping upon herself. Being a parent, he knew what it was like to forgive your children and love them unconditionally. He was pretty sure that Sansa’s family would do so with her.

He pressed a soft kiss to Sansa's temple as she met his eyes, finally.

"I know going back won't make things right. I know there is work to do. But I'm hoping I can fix things or make amends, or just … something."

"I'm sure you can, Sansa. It's never too late."

She gave a little bitter laugh. "It's been a decade since I've lived there. I mostly fly in and fly out for holidays, putting in the bare minimum time to appease everyone. I don't really know my siblings, and there is just this huge … chasm between my parents and me."

"But you want to fix it, right?"

Sansa nodded.

"Then, that's all that matters. The effort, Sansa."

"I hope you're right."

"It's a brave step, going back home when you don't feel welcome."

"Even when I'm the one who wore out my welcome?"

Jon smiled softly at her. "I doubt that's true."

He didn't know the Starks – had avoided them all the fundraisers he'd been to. But he didn't think that Sansa's parents would reject her as she feared.

"Besides, you'll have me up there," he said, giving her a wink, just as Mia crashed back into them, scrambling into Jon's lap, effectively ending their conversation about her family.

He could tell she was fading. She was too old for afternoon naps, but usually, her days weren't quite so busy.

"Time to head home," he said, eliciting the typical four-year-old whine at having her fun day end.

Sansa saved an epic meltdown by suggesting they stop by her favourite ice cream shop on the way home, so Jon found himself licking a chocolate cone, as Mia's lips turned blue from her bubblegum one, and Sansa had lemon sorbet.

They were sitting on a bench outside the cute little shop, eating their treat, when an older lady, perhaps in her sixties, called them a delightful family.

Jon and Sansa exchanged knowing smiles and then were stunned when she offered to take a picture of them.

Before he could even think about it, Jon handed his phone over and then scootched both Mia and Sansa closer, so they were all cuddled up together, his arm draped around the back of both of them.

After the kindly lady exclaimed she got the perfect picture of them, Sansa turned to him, her lips mere inches away from his.

“Best first date ever, Dr. Snow," Sansa said, making Jon grin.

"Best first date ever, Sansa Stark,” he agreed, meaning every single word. 

 


 

Chapter Text


 

*Sunspear and Wintertown are three hours apart – with Sunspear being 'ahead' by those three hours.

 

 


 

Week 1:

 

Jon: We made it home, safe and sound. Mia charmed everyone on the plane. But now she's hungry and cranky.

Sansa: Awww, poor baby. How is her father? 😉 

Jon: Trying not to lose his patience 😠🙄

Sansa: LOL. Well, get her some dinner and let her have a pyjama party and veg out of a bit. I bet she goes right to sleep 💤 

Jon: Thanks. Have to run to the grocery store as well. Sorry.

Sansa: Jon, don’t apologize for taking care of you daughter. I know how full your life is. Glad you made it home safe and sound! We’ll talk soon! ❤️

 

 


 

Sansa: So, how was your first day back? Crazy, I bet!

 

*** Several hours later****

 

Jon: Massive car accident – three vehicles. Got pulled into a long surgery that thankfully had a great outcome. I'm sure I'll crash later, but for now, I'm just riding the surgical high.

Sansa: LOL. Well, glad that you've had an exciting first day back!

Jon: Thanks, Sansa. It was good and nice to see everyone, and it always feels better when I save a life.

Sansa: You're a real-life hero, Dr. Snow.

Jon: Playing with fire, my girl. Playing with fire 🔥 

Sansa: 😘😉 I'm glad your first day back was terrific. But now I need sleep. Talk soon!

 


 

Week 2:

 

Jon: Are you sure you're okay with me checking out this condo? I don't want to overstep, but Elia sometimes doesn't understand the concept of boundaries 🙄 

Sansa: 😂 You make me laugh, Dr. Snow. I'm more than okay with it. I even suggested it. I trust you, and hey, you can even bring Mia to get her approval.

Jon: Wow, she'd love that. Okay, as long as you're sure.

Sansa: I'm sure. I trust you, Jon.

 

… … …

 

Jon: That means so much to me, Sansa. So much. We'll call you later.

 

FACETIME CALL

 

Sansa connected the facetime call, knowing that Jon and most likely Mia would be calling tonight. It was why she'd touched up her make-up and had made sure that her hair wasn't a total disaster. It was 10 pm in Sunspear, which meant it was 7 pm in Wintertown and very close to Mia's bedtime.

It had been incredible the little things they'd learned about each other these past two weeks. Sansa had been sad when they'd left, even after she'd spent the final few days of their vacation with Jon and Mia, going to a movie and hanging out at the pool. Anytime Sansa got to watch Jon in his bathing suit was time well spent in her mind. Of course, she'd made sure she'd worn some of her favourite bikinis to the pool and knew he’d appreciated them, which made her feel amazing. 

But it was also lovely to have this time to get to know Jon and connect with him without all that insane sexual chemistry humming between them.

There had been one night where Sansa had read Mia a story at bedtime and another where Jon had Facetimed her during supper so she could join them. Mia was full of stories about her daily adventures, and later, Jon and her would chat about their jobs, friends, favourite movies and books.

There were days when sometimes Sansa only got a one or two-line response from Jon. His schedule was brutal, and she knew he worked incredibly long hours – especially if a trauma came in. She understood, and it never bothered her. He always responded when he had time and she knew he was juggling alot on his plate. But whenever they did connect, he was dedicated to her. 

Jon was a man that kept his word. He was loyal and steady, and stable. And all of that was such an incredible turn-on for Sansa. It sounded boring on paper, but it was anything but!

To have a man with all those qualities interested in her? It felt like Sansa had waited forever to find Jon and now that she had him, she was determined that they would make this work. And so was he.

Now, Sansa saw Mia's face pop onto her iPad screen with the white kitchen cabinets in the background.

"Hi, Sansa! Guess what? We saw your new house today!" Mia exclaimed in one long sentence not even giving Sansa a chance to respond.

Sansa grinned at her.

"You did?"

"Yup. Daddy took me cause he said you said it was okay. And it's nice, and it even has a pool," Mia announced, a gleaming look in her blue eyes. 

Sansa already knew about the pool, of course, but she was delighted that Mia had found it in the condo complex. Sansa was not so secretly hoping that Mia and Jon might want to come by for a swim when summer came. Elia had confirmed Jon had a house, a new one, with a nanny suite in the basement that he was still getting around to furnishing. She'd shown Sansa pictures of his house, and it was an impressive middle-class home, but there was no pool at the Snow house. Which meant her condo might just be enough to entice the Snow family to visit her. 

"Well, when it warms up, and I've moved in, we'll have to have a pool party," Sansa said, watching the little girl almost vibrate in excitement.

"Ohhhhhh, Daddy said I wasn't allowed to ask you to visit the pool, but if I was invited, then I could say yes!" She shot a triumphant grin to Jon, whose handsome face suddenly appeared.

"Hey," he said, shaking his head at Mia, who handed the iPad over to him.

"Hi, handsome," Sansa said, watching his smile get a bit wider.

Those dark eyes deepened with desire, and Sansa felt a shiver run through her, seeing that he'd recently had a haircut, those curls just a bit tamer and shorter than usual.

"The condo and the complex are great, Sansa," he said, taking a seat and settling in to talk with her. Mia was busy in the background with her toys, giving them a few minutes to catch up.

"Yeah? It's as advertised?"

Jon nodded and then told her about a few of the neighbours he met and how close it was to the downtown, her new office and surprisingly enough, his house. That was the thing about Wintertown – after White Harbour, it was the largest city in the North, but it still wasn't anywhere near the size of Sunspear, King's Landing or even Lannisport. Everywhere was relatively close. 

They talked for a few more minutes, catching up until Mia appeared with a book and snuggled into Jon's lap. Sansa happily listened to him reading a story about a stinky pug dog, the little girl giggling before Mia wished her goodnight.

"Have fun with tucking her in," Sansa said, her voice only a little envious. She knew that things were moving quickly between her and Jon and that they'd made such significant strides already, but alone, she could admit that she wanted it all. She wanted to be part of their daily lives.

But she was also pragmatic and patient enough to know what they were building was something rock solid.

"I'll call you later," Jon said, and Sansa nodded, knowing he would.

Jon Snow was a man that kept his word.

In the meantime, she had a condo in Sunspear to pack and shipping arrangements to make. Sansa was a heck of a lot more excited about the move North now that she'd got a place all squared away, and Jon and Mia approved and was happy to focus on this next chapter in her life, with the very sexy, very handsome Dr. Snow.

 


 

Week 3:

 

Sansa: You'll never believe what Elia told me today!!?!?!? 😳😲

Jon: That you're amazing, and she's regretting sending you North?

Sansa: No funny man! 🙄 She said she thinks that two other big fashion houses might offer me jobs that I can't refuse. Her words, not mine.

 

A few moments later, Sansa's phone rang.

“Are you considering these other offers?" Jon asked, his voice quiet.

It was late in Sunspear, close to midnight and 9 pm where Jon was. She could hear the worry in his voice and she knew she should have called him instead of texting. She loved modern technology, but for things like this, it sucked!

"Oh gods, no. I'm so sorry. I knew the moment I sent that text, and I should have just phoned," Sansa cried, hoping Jon heard the conviction in her voice.

"Is it a good offer?" he asked.

Sansa snorted.

"Jon, it could be the best offer in the world, and I still wouldn't take it. I love working for Elia and House Martell. There is no way in hell I'd want Cersei Lannister to be my boss, and no offence, but I've heard rumours about House Targaryen and how dysfunctional they are. Thanks, but no thanks," she finished.

Jon chuckled softly.

"Alright. I just wanted to make sure, you know? That you want to come North and that it’s your choice," he said. 

Unsaid were the words that you want us. 

Over the past few weeks, Jon had shared in bits and pieces about Val, mostly to tell Sansa that she had signed over all parental rights to him when Mia was two months old. Sansa didn’t know this Val person, but she couldn’t imagine ever giving up her child like that.

Sansa also knew that Jon and Val hadn't loved one another. Her leaving hadn’t broken Jon’s heart, but there were some old hurts there about abandonment and being left behind - especially when it came to Mia.

Sansa wasn't a psychologist by any means, but she thought some of his issues might also go back to being an orphan. Even with Elia's love, Jon's mother and father had died when he was very young. He’d been lucky to be raised by Elia, but losing both parents at such a young age had to have an impact. 

"Jon, I promise you, coming North is exactly what I want to do." She took a deep breath and then spoke again, needing to be brave. "It's not just the job. I hope you know that. You and Mia, well, you mean so much to me, Jon. I'm excited to see what this is, what we could be."

She heard him exhale, his voice gruff.

"Me too, Sansa."

Her Dr. Snow was a man of few words, but that was fine. Hoping she'd reassured him, and knowing that once she got to Wintertown, she could show him just how much she wanted to be there, she deliberately changed the subject, asking about Mia, talking about her moving day (which she had finally nailed down), and asking Jon about some of his more colourful co-workers. There was a surgical nurse named Tormund that seemed to make Jon equal parts exasperated and delighted.

When she felt herself get sleepy, she mumbled she had to go to get off the call, but before she did, she heard Jon say, quietly, "There's nowhere else I'd rather you were either, Sansa."

With a smile on her, she fell asleep dreaming of a new life in the North.

 


 

Sansa smiled as she glanced at her phone, seeing Jon's name. It must mean her little present for them had arrived.

"Hi," she said, swiping her phone open to see his handsome face smiling back at her.

"Someone forgot to mention she was sending something in the mail," he murmured.

“Bad girl,” he almost purred to her. 

Gods, she loved his voice. She'd had more than one fantasy of all the things that voice might say to her when they finally could be alone together. Filthy, dirty things that would make her moan and ache. Shaking herself, Sansa concentrated on the present she’d sent and not on Jon Snow’s bedroom voice. 

"Does she like it?"

Jon snorted. He turned his phone, showing her package sitting on his kitchen table while Mia practically vibrated beside it.

"Daddy, it says it's for me. From Sansa," the little girl emphasized.

It was clear they had just gotten home, as Mia still had her pink and purple sparkly backpack on, and Jon was in what Sansa was coming to think of as his work clothes. He often wore dress pants, a shirt and a tie to work, even though she now knew he preferred his scrubs or his comfy clothes that he wore on weekends and evenings. But as he’d explained, people liked to be reassured that their surgeon wasn’t a slob, so part of it was dressing the part. 

"Hi Mia-bug," Sansa chimed, watching Mia's eyes go wide, and the huge grin split her face.

"Sansa, you sent me something in the mail!” she almost yelled and it was clear she was bursting with excitement. 

“I did. I can’t wait to see if you like it."

It was clear this was a special occasion for Mia. Jon put his phone down so Sansa could watch and then he helped Mia with the packing tape. Sansa was content to watch them together, loving how patient Jon was with his daughter.

When they got the tape off the box, Mia gasped as they opened it up and she pulled out a soft pink book. 

Sansa had made Mia a sketchbook of her designs, which Mia could colour in. Sansa had also included some high-end colouring pencils, as well as a little white wolf stuffie she'd found at a local toy store. Mia was hugging the stuffie as she was gazing reverently at the sketchbook. 

"Sansa," Jon breathed, looking at her through his phone as his daughter was speechless for once.

"Are these your drawings?"

It was clear that Dr. Snow thought she was talented, which pinked up Sansa’s cheeks. She loved to draw and design. It was her happy place and sharing it with Mia was just the icing on the cake. 

"Yup. I thought Mia would like to spend some time making her own designs by colouring them in."

Suddenly Mia's face was pressed against the phone. "Thank you soooooo much, Sansa."

"You're welcome! Have fun!"

Mia promised she would and that she would be 'extra' careful to stay within the lines, making Sansa grin. Mia was a hoot!

Jon got his daughter situated at the table as she was eagerly looking through her mini fashion design book. At the same time took the remaining two items out of the box - a  bag of the coffee beans he liked that you could only buy in Sunspear and some of the chocolate-covered beans that Elia swore he lived off of when he was doing his residency.

With Mia occupied, happily colouring away, Jon grabbed his phone and walked into the living room.

She could see that he was pleased with her present, and it made her feel good to do something little like this for them.

"Sansa, no one, other than my family, has ever really cared about us as you do," he told her when he had a bit of privacy.

She gave him a soft smile.

"Well, you two are pretty easy to care about."

He nodded.

"When you get here, when you're living here, I want time with you, Sansa. And not just the three of us. I want time with you. Just us. Gods, woman, I want you."

That delicious heat curled through Sansa, so heady and freeing and she welcomed it. 

"I want that as well," she told him, meaning every single word. She wanted Jon Snow. All of Jon Snow. 

Mia was a huge part of Jon's world, but he was a man as well - a man with needs. They needed time together to be a couple and help whatever this was between them flourish.

"I promise, Sansa, whatever it takes, I'm going to make this work.”

His dark eyes were intense, the promise clear. Sansa knew just how busy this man was. It spoke volumes that he was willing to make time in his busy life for her. And Sansa knew what a promise this was for him to make and that he’d keep that promise. 

"I know, Jon."

“Good. I can't wait until you're here. My hand is a poor substitute,” he muttered darkly. 

She giggled at how put out he sounded, and they spent some time catching up on their day to day lives. When she got off the phone that night, Sansa was almost buzzing with excitement and couldn't wait to get to Wintertown.

 


 

Week 4

 

Sansa had been putting off this conversation for a while now, but finally, she knew that it was time with her moving date fast approaching. She dialled the number, knowing it her entire life and heard her father's rich, deep, Northern voice answer the phone almost immediately. Sansa’s parent’s routine never varied and they were always home on Saturday mornings. 

"Stark residence," Ned Stark said.

For a moment, Sansa's breath caught, and she swallowed it down, hearing her father speak. She had missed them so much, but had created this space between them. Now, she hoped they’d forgive her and she could make amends. 

"Hi Dad. It’s me, Sansa."

“Sansa?” Ned asked. 

“Yup. The one and only. I know it’s short notice, but do you and Mom have some time this morning to talk?"

There was a pause and then a chuff of breath before her Dad responded.

"Of course, lemon drop," he said, voice gruff.

The use of her old nickname made Sansa's chest ache as her breath hitched. She heard her father call for her mother. Being a Saturday, Catelyn was most likely going over the weekly menu and planning her week. Sansa knew her father would put the call on speaker in the study, and she braced herself for their anger and hurt. Not that she blamed them.

She'd been … struggling when she'd left home a decade ago, feeling like her parents had clipped her wings. They hadn’t, she now realized, but at the time their love and their important name had stifled her in the North and she’d reacted the only way she knew how - by leaving and putting distance between all of them. Physical and emotional. Now she wanted that distance gone, but knew it wouldn’t be easy. Still, she was willing to work to make things right if they were. 

"Sansa?" came her mother's voice, a tremble there. It hurt that Sansa knew she’d hurt her Mom by staying away. 

"Hi, Mom."

"What's going on?" Ned asked, a bit brusquely. Not that Sansa blamed him. At all. What she loved about her father was how unconditionally he loved her mother. 

"So I have some news I want to share with you both," she told them and heard an intake of breath. She wondered what they were thinking, perhaps imaging something horrible.

"My boss has offered me a promotion. To run a new branch of her fashion house,” she told them in a rush, so they would know it wasn’t bad news. 

"Oh, well, that's lovely," Catelyn said, her voice a bit pained, as if wondering how much further Sansa could go to be away from them. 

“The job is in Wintertown. And I've accepted it," Sansa said in a rush, closing her eyes and praying that maybe, just maybe, they'd forgive her and be happy she was coming home. Or would they reject her? Be cold and distant as she was to them?

"You're coming home?" her mother's voice broke through her musings, the hope and the fear heard in equal measures.

"Yeah, Mom. I'm coming home."

Catelyn sobbed, and Sansa knew her father must be holding her mother.

"When?" Ned asked.

"Umm, a few days. I fly in on Wednesday. I've got everything arranged, and I know it seems like I'm shutting you guys out. But I'm not. I'm really not. I was hoping, well, I was hoping that once I get settled, maybe I can come for dinner?"

There was silence, and for a moment, Sansa thought they might say no, when Catelyn said, "Of course you can come for dinner. Friday night?"

Relief coursed through her. Sansa knew this wasn't an immediate fix. She'd done some damage. But her parents were willing to try as Jon had predicted.

"That sounds good, Mom. Really good. Okay, I've got to go and finish packing, but I'll see you guys in just under a week."

After the three of them hung up, Catelyn pressed closer to Ned's chest as he stroked her back, her eyes wet.

"Our baby is coming home, Ned."

His smile was as tentative and hopeful as hers. "Our baby is coming home, Cat."

 


 

Jon: What time does your flight land tomorrow?

Sansa: 1:25pm. Are you sure that you can pick me up?

Jon: Yes. I'll be there 

Sansa: I know it's an awkward time …

Jon: Sansa, stop. I'll be there. I can't wait to see you.

Sansa: 🥰👍Alright. I'm so nervous and excited at the same time!

Jon: Me too. Can't wait to see you. Have to run. Incoming trauma. See you tomorrow

Sansa: Me too! See you tomorrow!

 


 

Sansa exited the plane and hurried down the walkway, knowing that Jon would be waiting for her. It was so different coming home, coming back to Wintertown knowing that he was waiting for her this time. It made everything better. 

She wasn't pushy per se, but her steps were fast as she burst into the waiting area where she would get her luggage. Not that she cared about that. There was only one thing she cared about right now and that was finding him. Finding Jon. 

When she came into the main waiting area, she saw Jon standing there, with flowers in his hands, looking a bit nervous but oh so handsome!

Then he saw her and that smile she was fast coming to adore quirked on his face. 

She broke into a run, saw his lips twitch on his handsome face as she raced towards him. Within moments she was in his arms as he was holding her tightly.

"Hi," she finally said, loving how he held her tight.

“Hi,” he almost growled, and she felt how much he wanted her as her entire body was pressed against the length of him, his strong arms banding tightly to hold her close. 

Then, before she could react, he cupped her neck and his lips were finally on hers, and he was kissing her, and she had her hands in his hair, and the entire world faded around her and it was just her and Jon, kissing each other like they never meant to stop. 

She was finally in the North. Sansa was finally home. 

 


 

Chapter Text


 

Wintertown – Jon

 

It took them no time at all to get Sansa's luggage from the carousel once it started spitting out bags. She'd shipped most of her things already so she only had a few pieces today.

Jon knew all about this move. He'd helped coordinate the arrival of her belongings at her condo. If that didn’t speak of the status of their relationship, he had no idea what did. The kiss helped, for Jon noticed that some of the guys were checking her out. How could they not? She was gorgeous and she was his.

Of course, Jon didn't let go of Sansa's hand as they stood there, looking at one another like love-struck fools. He wanted everyone to know that Sansa was his girlfriend and that she was clearly taken.

They hadn't even had an actual date, yet Jon knew that this woman would change his life.

Their month apart hadn't dimmed any of the desire he felt for her, but now that was layered with how much he liked Sansa, along with a healthy dose of hope for their future.

Sansa was everything Jon had ever wanted in a woman. If he were honest, Sansa was everything he'd ever wanted in a wife. In a partner. And if he allowed himself, he could very easily see a future with her.

She was kind and funny, warm and open. She was beautiful, yes, but almost unaware of that beauty, and more than once, Jon had a Facetime call with her late at night, when she was without makeup and au natural. Those moments had been remarkable since it spoke of their growing bond and intimacy.

Jon adored how much Sansa seemed to enjoy Mia. There was no denying the bond between the two of them.

But he also wanted time with just her. And now she was here in Wintertown and even with their busy schedules, he was determined to make that happen. Sansa was important and making time for her, to be with her, was equally important to him.

As they waited for her luggage, he tugged her closer again, nuzzling at her neck, loving her breathy little sigh and how she fit her body closer to his.

"I can't believe my girlfriend is finally here," he said, using the term for the first time, seeing how she liked it.

They'd said they were exclusive, but this was naming it.

"I'm your girlfriend?" she asked, blue eyes wide and wondering. But also, in agreement.

Jon gave her a sexy little smirk.

"Well, I was kind of hoping you'd want to job."

Her lips were on his again as Jon held her close, his hands going to her lower back. Gods, he wanted to drag her even closer, to cup that fantastic arse of her and have her grind herself against him. Jon had spent more than one lonely night over this past month imagining what Sansa looked like when she came.

"Oh my god, I do! I am. That means you're my boyfriend," she said, absolutely beaming at him.

Jon grunted out his pleasure at hearing himself referred to as such. He wanted no doubts that Sansa was taken. Call him a caveman, or alpha, or whatever. He didn't fucking care. Sansa was rare and unique, and she was his. She was theirs. His and Mia's.

Jon knew this woman would change his life in more ways than one. She was as dedicated to her profession as he was, but underneath it all, committed to making this relationship work. And Mia would be overjoyed that they were now ‘official-official’ and she could tell people about Sansa.  

Soon enough, they had her two bags, which were far larger than Jon had imagined. She had this adorable little blush on her face as she apologized for packing so many things. Jon knew the stacks and stacks of boxes that awaited her at her condo. He'd grown up with Elia as his mother and Rhae as his sister, so he figured most of it was clothing and shoes and it didn’t bother him in the least.

Sansa had told him that one of her three bedrooms in her condo would function as an additional closet/spare bedroom, while the other would become her home office.

Jon guided Sansa to the Land Rover he had waiting, watching her eyes narrow slightly as she bit her lip, checking out the expensive vehicle. It still amazed him that she didn’t seem to care, at all, about how wealthy the Martell family was. More than one woman had asked how much trauma surgeons made, and while it was good money, yes, it was a demanding job. Sansa didn’t seem to care about that at all, and it made Jon like her all the more.

"I thought you said it was all Martell wealth," she muttered as he lifted the bags into the back. Jon laughed and tugged her close.

"Gift from Elia. She worries," was all he said, making Sansa roll her eyes.

“Elia is a control freak,” Sansa said, to which Jon agreed. His step-mom was the original helicopter parent and they teased her endlessly about it.

And speaking of family, it would be interesting to see how Sansa did in the North, being around her family again. Sansa had shared that she'd called her parents before flying up here. They sounded nice to Jon – or at least willing to work on things, which quite frankly, seemed like half the battle.

She had dinner planned with them on Friday night, and it was just the three of them, to begin with.

As he asked her about her family now, she sighed as she settled into her seat.

“There are five of us. Are you sure you’re up for a crash course in the Starks?”

“Yes,” he’d said.

Her large family, which was something Jon was getting used to. Yes, he had Elia and Rhae and Aegon, and he'd felt loved and wanted his entire life. He had. But Jon had also dealt with losing both his biological parents and the fact that he was, in some ways, an only child and an orphan. He’d mostly dealt with those issues, but sometimes, large families were a lot for him to process.

Sansa's family sounded terrific to him if a little intimidating.

Her brother Robb was Jon's age and worked for their father. Sansa spoke fondly of her older brother, and from what Jon gathered, Robb seemed nice enough. He was the Stark family heir, and at thirty-one hadn't yet found a woman to settle down with and start making new little Starks. This was a cause for concern apparently, and Sansa told Jon that Robb was sure to be feeling the pressure to settle down soon.

"You don't mind that he's the heir?" Jon asked, truly curious.

There were issues in Doran's family about who would take over the family business. Quentyn was the eldest and a male, but as far as Jon could tell, Arianne was much better suited in both personality and intelligence to run the vast Martells family holdings. Quentyn though, wouldn’t give up what he claimed was his ‘rightful’ place.

But that was a fight Jon rarely waded into. Even if his father had lived, Aegon was still older than Jon by a few months. And Jon loved his brother fiercely. He'd never let anything as petty as running a company or who was their father’s ‘heir’ come between them.

"Oh gods, no," Sansa said, laughing and shaking her head.

Jon like it when she did it. She appeared so happy and carefree, and those tiny worry lines that seemed to pop up when she spoke of her parents disappeared.

"The very last thing I'd ever want was to be tied to Stark Enterprises."

She gave a dramatic little shudder and sent him a wink, and Jon knew she was telling the truth.

"Who's next?"

"Arya," Sansa said, her voice turning contemplative.

Arya was her only sister and a year younger than Sansa. Arya sounded a bit like the black sheep of the family. She ran a dojo in the North, teaching mixed-martial arts with her boyfriend Gendry and refused to marry because marriage was an "outdated and patriarchal institution that she had no use for."

Sansa rolled her eyes. "Arya's words, not mine."

"She sounds … interesting," Jon said, trying to appear neutral.

Sansa snorted and gazed out the window.

"Arya has always been her own person. We used to fight terribly when we were younger. We had nothing in common. I was in ballet; she was in karate. I was playing the piano, and she was learning how to shoot a bow. We just never … gelled."

Jon could hear the ache in Sansa's voice and squeezed her hand. She turned back to him, a look of hopeful longing on her face.

"I made so many mistakes when I left, but the worst was, I just cut my siblings off. None of them wanted to leave the North, and I just said terrible things about their choices. I think Robb got it, more than Arya. She was just hurt by my decisions and my words."

"But you're here now, Sansa. And that counts for something," Jon said, meaning it.

He knew people weren't perfect. They made mistakes. Did things they regretted. But it was how they dealt with those mistakes and those actions that mattered.

She gave him a smile and a nod. "I am."

They were quiet for a time, and then he asked about the last two Stark siblings.

Bran was twenty-three and worked for some high-tech security firm in the North when he wasn't working on his masters. His girlfriend, Meera, was a year older than him, and she also did something in the computer world that Sansa didn't quite understand.

And last was Rickon, the baby of the family who'd just turned twenty-one and was doing a bunch of different things, including working with Arya, working on motorcycles at a local shop and chasing whatever high adrenaline sport caught his fancy. He was also in school but wasn't serious about his studies. 

Seeing that talking about her family had made her melancholy, Jon quickly changed the subject to her new condo. He'd done a fair amount of work, with her blessing, of course, so she wasn't walking into an utterly uninhabitable place.

He was excited for Sansa to see it and could already imagine spending time there with Mia. It was crazy how fast he'd integrated Sansa into their lives, and it felt right, so he didn't question it.

Mia had been pouty when he'd dropped her off at daycare, not understanding why she couldn't come to the airport to pick Sansa up. Jon had explained, but he was sure his four-year-old didn't quite understand. And truth be told, Jon just wanted this time with Sansa to himself.

When Sansa reached up to play with his hair, he gave her a rueful smile that he had forgotten to get it cut. Sometimes they just weren't enough hours in the day. But he liked her hand there – how it felt on his skin and in his hair. when 

"I can cut it. I just got busy."

"Don't you dare, Jon Snow. I like it longer."

She looked horrified at the idea of him cutting his hair, which made Jon grin, so he promised he wouldn't. Some nurses and other doctors bugged him that he was challenging McDreamy for the best hair on a doctor. Jon had no idea who the hell that was until he'd google it and admitted they might be right. And Jon was vain enough to know when a woman liked his curls. Which apparently Sansa did.

Her meaning was clear, and Jon didn't miss the look in her eyes. The heat. The desire. The sheer want.

Gods, this woman drove him mad in the best possible way. He'd taken care of himself more times in the past month than he had when he'd first discovered the wonder of jerking off, and still, his balls ached for her.

"Yeah?" he asked, voice gruff.

"Oh yeah."

"Sansa," he growled, swerving a bit when he'd taken his eyes off the road for a mere instant to stare at her.

The best part was all these lusty feelings were all jumbled up with the friendship they'd built and how much they liked one another. Hours spent on the phone, getting to know one another, learning about the other person, building a solid foundation for their relationship. It was everything Jon had ever wanted – passion, laughter, understanding and friendship.

Of course, it helped that Sansa was his dream woman. Seeing her race towards him through the airport, Jon hadn't wasted a moment letting everyone know that she was his. He felt like a caveman sometimes with her, wanting to announce, loudly, that she was his girlfriend. He'd never had these feelings of … possessiveness with a woman before.

He was soon driving through her neighbourhood, which was only a ten-minute drive from his, about a thirty-minute walk. She didn't have a vehicle yet, and he hadn't wanted to be pushy asking her if she was thinking of buying one. If she wanted his help with that, he was sure she’d ask.

Public transit in Wintertown was only buses. They weren't a large enough city to have a metro like King's Landing, Lannisport or Sunspear. But she was close to lots of restaurants and some shops, and she did have family here so he was sure she’d make do. And if she asked and if he could, he’d be here in a heartbeat to help her or take her wherever she needed to go.  

Jon had to be careful not to push too much. Sansa was fiercely independent, and she'd created an entire successful life for herself thousands of miles away in Dorne, so he knew she was more than capable of taking care of herself. He only wanted to help – not to be pushy and overwhelm her.

Still, she seemed to have no issues with how much he'd helped get some of her belongings set up, meeting with the movers and coordinating where boxes went. He hadn't opened those – just directed the guys to put them in the appropriate rooms.

He did get her bed set up, and that had given him a hardon that hadn't gone away for days. When he’d first unpacked it, he’d stood there’re staring at it, fantasies racing through his head. It was a wrought-iron masterpiece with a headboard that he could imagine binding her hands to as he did wicked, lovely things to her. Jon had avoided her bedroom after that, lest she thought he was some sort of creep for all the wonderful, dirty thoughts he had about them in that bed together.

But now, here they were, outside her condo, and he was dangling the keys in his hands, and her eyes sparkled.

His breath hitched, and he wondered if he'd ever seen anyone so beautiful in his life. He was so far gone over for this woman, it wasn't even funny, and so grateful when she linked their hands, opening the door to her new home together.

A home that Jon very much hoped he was part of, now that Sansa was here, in the North with him.

 


 

The Condo – Sansa

 

Being here with Jon, having him pick her up, take her to her new home, well, it's made everything feel so right! Sansa had a lot of nervous excitement moving back North. Part of it was her family and another this huge new responsibility that Elia had given her.

But she had also been a tiny bit worried that all this chemistry and instant attraction between her and Jon might not have been quite as intense as she'd made it out to be.

The moment she'd spotted him in the airport, she knew that she had been wrong to have any doubts. If anything, she was more excited than ever to see him, to spend this time with him, to touch him again. She was finally in the same city as he was, and the possibilities for them as a couple were spread before them like glorious little gifts of things to come.

There was an ease between them now, as they knew one another much better. A month of text messages and phone calls and effort would do that. They had both put in some much effort this past month to really get to know one another and that pleased her greatly.

Jon was an impressive man. Handsome. Charming. Intelligent. Loyal. Sansa worried she'd have been swept away by him had they not had that month of forced separation. As it was now, she felt she knew him so much better because of it. They had such a solid foundation beneath them, that it all just felt so right.

She liked how he held her hand and kept her close as they waited for her luggage. When it came shooting out, he grabbed it and put his hand on her back as he guided her to the waiting SUV. Sansa hadn't missed a few envious looks thrown her way by other women at the airport, and it pleased her greatly that Jon was her boyfriend.

Sansa had never felt like that about any guy she'd ever dated. She wanted people to know that Jon was hers and she was his.

In his vehicle, he held her hand, which made her romantic heart swoon as he told her about everything he'd done to help get her condo ready.

He flashed her that little smile that made her stomach flip.

"I know how awful it is to move to a place and spend three days having to unpack everything. Even a mug for coffee."

Adoring him, Sansa thanked him profusely and then, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, stroked a hand down his neck. He leaned into her touch as she played with his curls, murmuring, "It's grown again."

He gave a sheepish look. "I can cut it. I just got busy."

Aghast, Sansa shook her head. "Don't you dare, Jon Snow. I like it longer."

Her meaning was clear, and Jon didn't miss it.

"Yeah?" he asked, voice gruff.

"Oh yeah."

"Sansa," he growled, swerving a bit when he'd taken his eyes off the road for a mere instant.

She threw her head back and laugh, throaty and deep.

"Oh gods, I am so happy to be home!" she cried, missing the pleased look in Jon's eyes at her statement.

"So Dr. Snow, tell me about your hectic schedule," she said, wiggling her eyebrows at him.

His lips quirked, and he raised their clasped hands to his lips.

"I like how you accept that part of me," he began, startling her a bit.

"Of course I would! I know how important your work is, and you're saving lives, Jon."

He nodded, but his eyes went distant for a second, and Sansa wondered who had made him feel like he'd had to make a choice – his career or a relationship. She would not do that. They would make this work. She hadn't lied. She was incredibly proud of him and the job he had chosen. It took a supreme effort, and commitment to become a surgeon, and that was something to be treasured and admired.

"It's not as bad as it was when I was first a surgical resident," he told her, giving her a look that conveyed how hellish those years were. "And now that I have my specialty, it's better still. I have my scheduled shifts, and I'll only ever be called in if there is a major incident."

Sansa said nothing but hummed and stroked her elegant fingers down his hands. Hands that saved lives! Gods, everything about this man was amazing.

"I'm glad it's a bit more manageable," she told him, meaning it.

That dimple flashed again. "Me too."

Before anything else could be asked or answered, Jon started to explain that they were close to her condo. Even though Sansa had grown up in Wintertown, time stood still for no woman, and things had changed. New developments, up and coming neighbourhoods, different stores and shops.

Her condo was in a lovely residential neighbourhood that was a short walk from the downtown area. The area was littered with cafes, art galleries and restaurants. They passed a few parks, some signs for some local walking trails and enough mature trees that Sansa felt like she wasn't living in a construction zone. It was a well-established neighbourhood that felt like home. It was an ideal location, and the complex itself was just to her taste.

Jon keyed in the code to the gate, sharing it with Sansa and then parked in her designated spot. When he killed the engine, he smiled at her as he somehow produced the keys to her new place, dangling them in front of her.

She wasn't ashamed to admit she squealed a bit and clapped her hands. He'd sent her pictures, of course.

Dr. Snow was thorough and thoughtful.

But now she was here, and this was her home, and she was so excited to see it.

Sansa gazed up at the three-story structure. It was really more of a townhouse than a traditional condo in that each unit had its own entrance and a small little patch of grass for a backyard. That excited Sansa immensely. The outdoor space wasn't that big, but enough for a table, some chairs and a little grass for Mia to run around. Sansa wanted her home to work not only for herself but for Jon and Mia.

The siding was a light blue, and the windows and trim white.

Sansa opened the door to the SUV and walked to her house's front door, loving how Jon joined her. She grinned at him, and it seemed her happiness was infectious because he swooped in for another kiss. Another mind-bending, panty-wetting kiss that had Sansa wrapping herself around the man and clinging to him.

"You're addictive, Dr. Snow," she muttered when he finally let her lips go.

They were plump and just a little bit bruised, and the ache was wonderful. It thrummed alongside another ache, far lower in her body. The man was delicious, and she couldn't wait to take a bite out of him when they had the time to do it right.

"Open the door, Sansa," he murmured into her ear, the command clear, but his hands were tracing patterns on her lower back, hovering just about her ass. Surely, she was causing a scandal as the new tenant who was standing here making out with her boyfriend on the steps of her new home!

Hurrying, she slid the key into the lock and turned and then pushed the door open, trying to take it all in at once!

The first floor was the main living space, with an open concept kitchen, dining room, and family room. There was a gas fireplace and so much natural light that highlight the light wooden floors. The walls were a soft grey colour and saw immediately that Jon had been busy unpacking her sofa, kitchen table and chairs. There were still endless boxes, but he'd dealt with the heavy objects and furniture, giving her a massive head start in moving in.

She turned to him and threw her arms around his neck, kissing him hard.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!" she said, meaning every word.

His lips quirked as he pulled her closer, his hardened length pressing into her belly. She squirmed a bit.

"Yeah? I didn't overstep?"

"Not even a little bit," she reassured him.

She watched his eyes darken.

"This wasn't the only room I unpacked."

She bit her lip and fluttered her eyelashes.

"Oh yeah?"

He growled, and she wiggled closer.

"What else did you see, Dr. Snow?"

"Sansa," he warned. She loved how it drove him wild when she called him doctor. 

"Did you see my bed?" she whispered in his ear and then sucked.

Before she even knew what was happening, Jon's booted foot kicked her front door closed, and she found herself pinned against a wall. Instinctively she wrapped her legs around him as he had his hands under her ass and all but attacked her mouth before going lower, sucking on her neck and making her moan.

"Gods, woman, you drive me wild. Do you know how many fantasies I've had about that fucking bed?"

She chuckled and dug her hands into his hair, writhing. "It's new. I saw it, and I thought of you. Of us."

He stilled, his mouth coming up from her skin, his dark eyes pinning hers.

"New?"

Sansa nodded. "Yup."

"So no other …"

"Nope. Just me. And well, hopefully, you. I mean, at some point," she said, suddenly wondering what he was thinking.

Did he want to have sex right now, before she'd even seen the rest of the condo?

He leaned down, taking her lips in a gentle kiss that did more to reassure her than she thought possible. When she was all but a melty pile of goo in his arms, he stroked a finger down her cheek.

"I haven't hidden how much I want you, Sansa. But I want to do this right. I know we're exclusive, but I want a first date. I want to treat you right. And the first time I have you, I want to have as much time as I need, to make you come again and again. I want to learn all your secrets and unlock all your desires."

Oh.

My.

God.

Was her brain leaking out of her ears?

"I want that as well."

Jon grinned and then nipped at her before stepping back. Both of them looked a mess, but there was such joy in his face, matched only by hers.

"Come on, My Lady, let me show you your humble abode."

Sansa threw her head back and laughed, snuggling closer to Jon as they linked hands, so excited that she was nowhere in the North. It felt like her life was finally ready to begin, and she couldn't wait to get started.

 


 

Chapter Text


 

Wednesday Afternoon – Jon

 

After Jon left Sansa's condo, he headed towards Mia's daycare.

It was a bit early to pick her up, but he wasn't working tonight, and he knew how much Mia liked being sprung early from her daycare. She was doing well there, but she also loved time with him.

Besides, if he knew his little girl and Jon did, she'd be excited to ask about Sansa. Jon was planning a Facetime call later, after dinner and before bed so Mia could talk to Sansa herself. The way those two had bonded, Jon knew that they’d both be eager to talk to one another.

Jon was secure enough in his parenting that he didn’t worry too much if he was doing right by his daughter by moving so quickly with Sansa.

Val hadn't given either one of them a choice when she'd just left them, high and dry and all alone. From the moment Mia had been two months old, Jon had seen to her every need.

Jon knew that Mia was well-loved and doted upon. She was well adjusted, sweet and intelligent and there was very little lacking in her life.

Except perhaps this one thing.

A Mom.  

Jon had always wondered if he'd meet someone special enough that he'd want to open his heart and his life to that person. To make time and space for them, not only in his life but in Mia's. He'd imagined different scenarios over the years – a vague idea of the type of woman that might suit his life and his personality.

He never pushed it and hadn’t actively sought it out. Somehow, he’d just trusted that if the right person was going to come along, they’d find a way into his life.

But never had he imagined someone like Sansa. She ticked every single box for Jon, and he'd never met anyone in his life that he'd connected with so quickly. Not another woman or his any of his friends.

In many ways, Jon was a bit of a lone wolf, always a bit outside of whatever group he was part of. The only people he'd felt entirely comfortable with in his life were Elia, Rhae and Aegon. His family.

It was probably why he made an excellent surgeon. It was a competitive field and there wasn’t time for friendships. Most of his twenties had been spent studying, working and raising his daughter.

And there were things in Jon’s past that lent himself to being a bit outside everyone else.

He'd done his clinical rotation through psyche and knew that even with the loving home he'd been raised in, he had some issues around being an orphan – those feelings of abandonment, even though his parents hadn’t willfully left him.

He didn’t need a therapist to tell him that he didn’t let a lot of people in. But when he did, they were all the way in.

Over the years, he'd talked to someone about it, and especially when he found out Val was expecting, wanting to be in the right headspace for his child when they arrived.

And it wasn't like Jon didn't want to have that soul-deep connection with another person. Gods, eh wanted that. He'd just never found it. Until Sansa.

Jon had known that he was interested in Ygritte within the first few times meeting her, but even after being together for months, things had never fully clicked between them. It hadn’t been that hard to end the relationship and focus on his studies and the career he’d wanted.

His closest friend in the north was a guy named Tormund. Tormund was one of Jon's trauma nurses, and while the man might joke around and flirt relentlessly, there was no one that Jon wanted by his side when the trauma code was called.

So yeah, Jon was close with Tormund, but he'd resisted allowing his friend to set him up outside of work and often used Mia as an excuse for why he couldn't hang out more. Both he and Tor had known it was a lot of excuses, but he’d never pushed Jon on it and Jon appreciated that.

Jon had met his best friend Sam in med school, and they'd been fast friends. Sam was now in clinical research in Oldtown, not interested in dealing with patients. The distance had made their friendship one of text messages and emails with the occasional phone call.

But this need with Sansa, well, that was something entirely new and decidedly welcome to Jon.

There was such trust between them already, and he was always excited to talk with her and share his day with her. She was so down-to-earth but sexy as hell and just had such a fantastic personality. She was warm and friendly, and she made him feel like he was some kind of superhero when they were together.

And oh gods, the women drove him mad with her flirting, talking to him about her brand new bed with that fucking headboard.

Jon could just see her wrists tied to it with a silk scarf as he drove her wild. Gods, he wanted her. Even now, half an hour after leaving her at her new condo, his dick ached in the best possible way.

He pulled into the cheerful little heritage house where Mia's daycare was. It was close to his home, in an affluent neighbourhood in Wintertown.

Jon hadn't been lying to Sansa when he'd said he didn't have Martell's wealth, but the Targaryens weren't exactly paupers. He'd received an inheritance when he'd turned twenty-five from his father's estate, and Jon had used it to pay off any remaining medical school bills and then eventually put a down payment down on a house that was far too big for just him and Mia, but one that he'd fallen in love with instantly.

At the time that he had bought it, Jon had no idea what he'd been thinking.

Why did a single guy like him need five bedrooms and four bathrooms?

He claimed it was the in-law/nanny suite in the basement that had sold him on the three-story house, but the reality was, Jon had always wanted a big family.

The backyard was huge, over a half-acre of manicured lawn and mature trees. There was enough room for Mia to run, it was fenced, and Jon was seriously contemplating adding an in-ground pool since Mia loved to swim so much.

And Jon knew that when he was finally done with his schooling, he’d want to get a dog. And this house was perfect for a pet.

He shut off his truck and strolled out of the Rover, barely knocking before the door opened, and he saw his daughter standing on the other side, grinning at him.

Today she was in black tights, a rainbow-coloured tutu and a bright sparkly pink top that said, "I want to be a scientist!"

Rhae loved picking out clothing with great life sayings for Mia, and Jon heartily approved. Not that he had any issues with what his mom and family did. They worked damn hard at their fashion empire, and he'd watched the blood, sweat and tears that Elia Martell poured into her fashion house.

Jon just wanted Mia to know she had choices - lots and lots of choices. That she could be anything including a fashionista like her Nana or a doctor like him or hell, anything she wanted.

"Is she here, Daddy?" Mia cried, launching herself into his arms.

Jon held her close, inhaling that scent that was pure kid – apple juice and peanut butter. He took a moment to savour this. His baby was already four and somedays it seemed like time was going by far too fast.

"Yeah, bug, she's here."

Mia squealed with delight, chattering on and on as they got her backpack, continuing to talk as Jon buckled her into her car seat. They waved to their daycare lady, and then Jon was backing out of the driveway, half an ear to what Mia was saying and thinking about the fact that Sansa was here, in Wintertown. And what that meant. She was fucking here! If he wanted he could drive to her condo and SEE her! It was wild. And fucking awesome.

"Daddy, where are we going?" Mia asked, frowning when he didn't make the turn to their house. Let no one say that his daughter wasn't whip smart because she was.

"Well, bug, I forgot to pick up groceries," Jon said, a bit ruefully.

In truth, he was seriously contemplating getting more help. It wasn't a financial thing for him, but it always seemed odd to Jon to pay someone to shop for him. It was such an easy thing to do – when he remembered.

Thankfully, Mia giggled, and they made a date of it, Jon letting her pick out some special snacks, all while Mia debated what Sansa might like and adding it to the cart. It was apparent that Mia thought that Sansa might come and visit and Jon wanted that as well.

Several hours later, when the dishwasher was going, and Mia was colouring, after dinner was cooked, eaten, and cleaned up, Jon finally had a moment to Facetime Sansa.

She answered immediately, wearing a cute little blue bandana on her head. The was a smudge of paint on her cheek, and her eyes were bright and cheerful.

"Jon!" she said, her entire face lighting up.

Gods, he loved how she was always so happy to see him. No one made him feel like Sansa did.

"How was the rest of your day?"

Before Jon could respond, Mia wormed her way onto his lap, abandoning her colouring and was reaching for his phone.  

"Daddy, is that Sansa?"

Sansa laughed and waved to Mia, who chatted with Sansa about day and the letters they were working on at daycare. That was followed by Mia demanding that she use Jon's phone to show Sansa her colouring in which she'd been 'extra' careful.

Jon gave his daughter a look at her tone, to which she mumbled, "Sorry, Daddy," before he let her take his phone and show Sansa all her hard work on the colouring book Sansa had made for her.

Sansa praised her, and Jon's heart melted more as he saw Sansa's genuine delight and interest in Mia.

"And I told my teacher that I was going to draw a picture of the three of us at the zoo the next time we're allowed to choose what to draw. ‘Cause sometimes she makes us draw things she wants us to draw."

Sansa nodded thoughtfully.

"What was your favourite part about the zoo?" Sansa asked Mia.

Mia suddenly appeared shy and then mumbled, "When we were all together, holding hands."

Jon swore his throat felt thick as the impact of Mia's words hit him. Just like he had, his daughter had fallen fast and hard for Sansa. Jon could see that Mia was already hoping that Sansa wanted a more permanent role in their lives, and god, he hoped so as well.

"I liked that as well," Sansa said gently. "Perhaps if you get a chance, you can bring me a picture you've drawn, and I can put it on my fridge. I'm afraid it's empty right now."

"Show me!" Mia said, giggling, as Sansa turned her phone and showed her an empty fridge.

Jon looked to their fridge which was littered with Mia's artwork that Jon routinely changed out. Jon also shipped some new drawings monthly to Elia in Sunspear.

"I'll make you a picture right away!" she said before Jon coughed.

"Mia, it's almost time for bed," he said and watched the epic pout begin.

"But I was going to ask if Sansa wanted to explore a park with us tomorrow morning. I'm not working until later, and we could stop by her house and take her for a walk in her new neighbourhood."

"Oh, Daddy, I would LOVE that," Mia cried, the pout about bedtime forgotten as she threw her arms around Jon and looked at the phone.

"Can we do that, Sansa?" Mia asked.

"Of course! I'd love a break from painting and unpacking. Now, you'd better get some sleep if you want to have some energy tomorrow! And remember to wear some pants so if we find a playground, you can run and play," Sansa reminded her.

Mia promised she would and then was dashing away, running up to her room where Jon heard her door close.

“Can I call you back when she’s asleep?” he asked, wondering how long Sansa would be up. She did fly in from Sunspear today, which was three hours ahead.

“Oh sure. I’m in the midst of painting my office so I’ll be up for a while.”

Jon promised he wouldn’t be more than an hour, racing upstairs to do the nighttime routine with Mia, who told him repeatedly how happy she was that Sansa was in Wintertown.

“Me too bug. Love you,” he said, as she clutched at her wolf stuffy from Sansa. She was crashed out snoring by the time Jon turned out her light and from experience he knew she slept like the dead. He paused for a moment to just look at her, letting the love he felt for Mia wash over him.

For so long it had been just the two of them, but now, Jon was ready to add one more person into their lives. 

As Jon wandered through his house, cleaning up the mess left by Mia, he thought about how amazing it was that he was going to phone Sansa and she was in the same town as him. The last month had felt almost endless waiting for her to move here.

"Hi, you," he said, FaceTiming her again, smiling when she answered, and then giving Sansa a soft, sexy smirk. He’d moved to his living room, settling on a comfy couch. Sansa's smile was huge as her eyes danced at seeing him again. 

“Hi back. How’s Mia?” she asked, even though they’d just talked an hour ago.

Jon yawned and rubbed at his eyes.

“She’s good. Conned me into three stories.”

"Oh, she's so precious, Jon," Sansa said, giggling. "But how are you not exhausted each night?"

He chuckled warmly.

"I am. Sorry for not giving you the heads up about tomorrow’s park outing. I shamelessly used you to avoid an epic meltdown."

Sansa's happy smile assured Jon that he wasn't in the dog house with her, thank god. 

"That’s fine. I’m looking forward to it,” Sansa told him.

Everything in Jon settled, hearing the truth in Sansa’s voice. The three of them just fit. He knew it. Sansa knew it. Mia knew it. Hell, Elia had known it before they did.

Sansa was his dream girl, and Jon wanted nothing more than to treat her right. She was finally here, in the North, less than half an hour from his house, and he couldn't wait to take things to the next level with her.

Jon lowered his voice.

"So, Ms. Stark, when are you available for an adult-only date?"

Since he was face timing her, Jon saw her eyes darken with need, and there was a tiny hitch in her breath as she bit her lip.

His cock roared to life, again, imagining those lips around him, gazing at him with those big blue eyes while she sucked him off. And then he'd do the same to her. Christ, he wanted to feast on her – kiss her skin and unlock all her secrets. Fuck, it had been far too long since he'd been laid, and he wanted hours with Sansa and no interruptions – just time for them to be together.

"Hmmm, well, considering my schedule consists of painting and unpacking and setting up my home office, my schedule is pretty open, Dr. Snow," she flirted back shamelessly.

She wrapped an escaped tendril of that glorious red hair around her finger and gave him a pretty pout.

"Fuck, Sansa, you're doing this on purpose, aren't you?" Jon groaned.

She laughed as his eyes went all smoky.

“Maybe,” she replied coquettishly.

"Naughty girls get punished," he warned.

"Oh, I hope so, Dr. Snow. I sincerely hope so."

Gods, he just wanted time with her. He wanted to see what this was. And he wanted to watch her come apart underneath him.

"Sunday night. I don't work, and the nanny can stay late," he said, a growl to his voice, meaning clear. It was time to take this to the next level. “Very late,” he added. 

Sansa arched an eyebrow. "I can do … Sunday night."

Jon swallowed hard.

"Sansa --- this --- it's not just sex. Gods, I want you. But it's more than that. You know that, right?"

Her entire face softened, and she nodded, bobbing her head.

"I know, Jon. I know this is something more.”

She gave him a little wink, which just did something to him.

"Gods, I can't wait to see you tomorrow," he said.

Then he yawned again, even though it was early. But such was his life. And he had three nightshifts in a row coming up. He needed sleep.

"Time to go, Dr. Snow," Sansa said, sending him another one of those smiles that said she got it.

And for some reason, Jon trusted that she did. Trusted that his life was crazy busy and that he would make time for her and she was important, even if he had a demanding career.

"I'll see you tomorrow," he told her, excited that she was so close and that even these little moments were now something they could have easily. He planned to give her the perfect first date on Sunday night, but just knowing that she was so close eased an ache in his chest.

"I'll see you tomorrow," Sansa agreed.

"Oh, and Sansa," Jon said, right before he hung up, waiting until he had her full attention, not wanting her to miss his instructions at all.

"Hmm?"

"Don't touch yourself between now and date night. That's my job now, and I'll know if you've disobeyed me, sweetheart."

She sucked in a breath and then moaned, and Jon swore it would take all his willpower not to take care of himself over the next three days.

"Sansa?" he asked, wondering if he'd pushed her too far.

But then he saw her eyes were all but glazed with lust, and she was biting that damn lip again. Her cheeks were flushed, and she was breathing hard, and Jon knew she wanted him as much as he wanted her. Thank fuck.

"I won't," she said, sending him a heated look. "But you'd better deliver, Dr. Snow, on Sunday night."

Jon smouldered at Sansa.

"Oh, I'll deliver, sweetheart. I promise you that."

“Jon,” she said his name with a breathy whisper which made him fucking ache.

"Night, Ms. Stark."

“Night, Dr. Snow,” she purred back.

Jon hung up, grinned and then hurried up the stairs, taking them two at a time, his mind racing as he planned the perfect date for the incredible Sansa Stark. Sunday night couldn't come soon enough.

He'd never felt like this about any woman ever before, and Jon knew that he'd do everything in his power to make Sansa as mad for him as he was for her. Because somehow, someway, Jon knew she was everything he'd ever wanted, and he had no plans on letting his dream woman ever get away.

 


 

Chapter Text


 

Winterfell Manor – Sansa

 

Sansa was singing softly as she dried her hair early Friday evening. She'd spent the last two days painting and unpacking. When she’d taken a break from that, she’d been on the phone with Elia in Sunspear, coordinating her new set up in the North.

Of course, her mentor and friend had wanted to talk all about Jon and how the move North went before they'd discussed business. Sansa had gushed over Elia's stepson, genuinely feeling like she'd found someone worthy for once in her life. Elia was delightfully smug about the two of them, and Sansa took the good-natured teasing as it was intended – with a whole lot of love.

There was an office for Sansa, waiting for when she was ready. But for now, Sansa was going to work from home. She had her condo about sixty percent unpacked and had made good progress over the past few days.

As she got ready for dinner at Winterfell Manor with her parents, Sansa distracted herself by thinking of Jon and Mia's visit yesterday.

The first thought she had, was that Dr. Snow knew how to dress. He showed up in distressed designer jeans with a black t-shirt that clung in all the right places and a leather jacket. His curls weren't tamed into a bun, and Jon was sporting just enough scruff along with a pair of high-end sunglasses that made her drool. He topped it all off with black boots, and oh yeah, Dr. Snow just ticked her boxes!

Sansa approved of his style, and it made her glad that she'd spent some time making herself look good. Jon took his sunglasses off and gave a low whistle while gazing at her in appreciation.

Sansa was wearing black yoga pants that made her ass look great and a sporty top that did wonders for her small boobs and highlighted her slim future. She paired all of it with a light Lululemon hoody, the perfect outfit for the park.

That look in Jon's eye had been worth the mess that was her spare bedroom as she'd dug around for the perfect outfit for their little outing.

As promised, there were now two pictures on Sansa's fridge that Mia had drawn for her. One was of their zoo outing and all three of them together. The other was of the three of them with a puppy throwing a ball, to which Mia had made doe eyes at Jon, who'd just laughed and tugged on her ponytail.

"Not yet, bug," he said.

"But when, Daddy?" she said, that lower lip in a full pout. "I want a doggie!"

Sansa had to turn away, lest she laughed at Mia, as Jon crouched down eye level with his daughter and explained how much time and love and attention a dog needed.

Sansa busied herself with finding a spot for the plant they'd brought her – a lovely pink and white orchid along with some cheerful sunflowers. Both now occupied important spots in her condo – the flowers on her kitchen table and the orchid in her home office. Each time she spotted them, Sansa felt the smile tugging at her lips.

The best part of seeing Jon had been how he hadn't even hesitated to kiss her when she opened the door or hold her hand when they went to the park down the street from her condo, Mia skipping happily ahead of them.

"She doesn't mind?" Sansa asked quietly when Mia was out of earshot.

Jon laughed and shook her head.

"No. I think she wonders why you didn't just move right in with us."

Something quivered in Sansa's belly at that thought. She looked at Jon to see if that scared him at all. In her experience, most men were commitment-phobic.

Harry.

Robb.

Aegon.

But Jon didn't seem to be phased at all, and Sansa let that idea of being a real family with Jon and Mia occupy her thoughts. It certainly seemed like they were heading down that road, and she, for one, was excited as could be. This was what had been missing in her life. A relationship with a man that wanted the same things she did.

When they'd gotten to the park, a lady was walking her Goldendoodle. Mia had run towards the dog and asked to pet it. They watched her giggle as the dog licked and cuddled her.

"I wish I could give her one," Jon murmured as they stood there, watching Mia play with her new four-legged friend.

Sansa shrugged. "You're busy, and it's not like she's doing without. You're a great dad, Jon."

Jon's smile was somehow both soft and sexy.

"Yeah. Still. Parent guilt and all that rot."

Sansa laughed. "Just think of poo-patrol, Jon. When she's older and can help, then you'll be ready for her to have a pet."

He snorted and then called for Mia, eager to get her to the playground where she could run off some of her boundless energy.

Later, when they went to get ice cream, Mia asked Sansa if she had a dog.

"Not right now. But my parents did. We had huskies growing up."

Mia asked what a husky was, almost bouncing on her heels as Sansa pulled out her phone and showed her while they waited in line.

It had been the perfect spring morning, and Sansa noted more than one envious looks from other women in the park when all of Jon's attention was on her or his daughter. It felt good to have a man like him devoted to her. He wanted the same things she did – a family, a committed relationship, a future. In short, Jon was everything Sansa had been searching for.

When he had Mia buckled into the SUV, headphones on and watching her tablet, he hurried back to where Sansa was standing in her doorway, waiting to say goodbye to him.

Jon tugged her closer, his hand going underneath her soft cotton t-shirt and stroking her tummy, right where the band of her yoga pants rested on her hip. He'd hooked his sunglasses in his t-shirt.

Did she whimper at the picture he made?

Heck yeah, she did. This man heated her blood in a way no one ever had. He was so effortlessly sexy and in control, and he just did it for her.

"Were you a good girl?" he asked, leaning down and whispering in her ear.

"Yes," she moaned.

It had been hard but so worth it to follow his directive last night and then again this morning and not make herself come. Sansa knew she easily could have gotten herself off just thinking of Jon's voice and the dirty, sexy promises it held.

But she knew following his orders would pay off in spades on Sunday night, and she couldn't wait to be with him. And gods, it got her off to be his good girl. Sex had always been mediocre at best for her, and she was banking on it being anything but with Jon. This anticipation was already better than most of her sexual encounters.

"Good," he said and then let his lips hover over hers, leaving Sansa to wonder if he was going to kiss her as she wanted.

"Sunday night, 7 pm dress nicely," he said instead.

And then he smirked that sexy little smirk and stepped back from her, leaving her aching and alone in her doorway.

"Jon Snow, you are the worst kind of flirt!" she yelled at him as she backed away from her, laughing and shaking his head as he put his sunglasses back on.

"Remember the deal, sweetheart. No touching yourself. That’s my job.”

He winked and then was backing away from her, and she couldn't help the pure need that rushed through her body and her blood, and all mixed up with how much she genuinely liked this man.

It was a good memory to distract her from the nerves that fluttered in her tummy. She was trying not to fidget as the car that her father had sent for her turned into the long tree-lined driveway that would take her to Winterfell Manor.

As the manor house where she'd grown up came into view, Sansa remembered that old adage about you could never go home again. In her case, it was partially true and primarily because of her own actions.

Sansa felt the nerves war with that sense of homecoming that was always a confusing mix in her heart and her head.

She'd left the North at eighteen, determined to make it on her own and prove to everyone that she didn't need to rely on the Stark name to get somewhere in this world.

She'd felt smothered. Cloistered. Heaped with expectations that weren't hers living here.

It wasn't that her parents were bad people – quite the opposite, in fact. They were kind and loving. Generous. Involved.

But all of that had been far too much for Sansa and the enormous chip on her shoulder. She'd burnt so many bridges when she'd left – with how she'd left. And had only recently started reaching out to repair what she had broken.

This was the first step, she knew. Meeting with her parents. Apologizing. Opening up. Letting them in. It would take work, but it would be worth it.

When the car stopped, Sansa was surprised but pleased to see her parents waiting outside the front door of their impressive home. Winterfell Manor was a mansion – all stone and wood and soaring ceilings. It was so different from the Water Glass Palace that was all open courtyards and tropical plants, and airy rooms. Winterfell was a true testament to its Northern setting and impressive in its own right.

Her entire life, Sansa had known not only what it meant to be a Stark but to be a Tully. Two great families from the very upper echelon of Westeros. That pressure of being a Stark-Tully had been what she'd soundly rejected when she'd left here in a fit of tears and stubborn pride and no small sense of superiority that she was going to make it on her own.

And it wasn't even like her parents were snobby about their wealth or status. They weren't. Gods, they really weren’t.

Compared to Marg's grandmother or Joff's grandfather, her parents were the least pretentious people she knew. Over the past decade, Sansa had rubbed elbows with the upper crust of Westeros in her everyday life all the time. After all, they were the ones that could afford her and Elia's creations.

So Sansa knew that her frustrations with her family had been misplaced when she'd been younger.

Still, she was stubborn and prideful and knew that when she'd left, it hadn't been on the best terms. After leaving the North, she paid her own way in her life, working her ass off in school and bartending or waitressing to make rent and tuition. She hadn't ever relied on her small trust fund, nor on her parents' insistence that they pay for school, instead preferring to prove she could make it on her own.

Over the years, she came back for Christmas and the occasional holiday. But it was always fly in and fly out, and she never spent much time at home, preferring to keep it casual and light and her family on the periphery of her life.

And now Sansa was faced with how much she'd hurt her parents as she saw her parents standing there. Her father had his arm around her Mom's shoulder as they waited for her.

Suddenly, all Sansa wanted was to make things right – to undo the hurt she'd done to these people that loved her.

The moment the vehicle stopped, Sansa was out of the car and racing towards them.

"Mom, Dad," she said, throwing herself into their waiting arms.

"Ahh, Sansa," Catelyn said, hugging Sansa tightly. “Welcome back.”

"You're home," Ned whispered into her ear.

"I am, and I have so much to tell you," she said, linking arms with them, the smile on her face huge as they walked into Winterfell Manor arm in arm. For the first time in a decade, she truly felt like she was home and not running away from the North, the Stark name and all that came with it.

Her parents led her to the massive great room where a fire roared. Soon enough, Sansa had a glass of wine, and there were appies on the table in front of her. She smiled as her Dad took a seat beside her Mom on the love seat. As he sat, Ned brushed his lips across her forehead. No matter how far Sansa had run, her parents and their love for one another had always been her bedrock – something she could rely upon absolutely and what she knew she’d wanted for herself.

"So lemon drop, catch us up," her Dad said, sipping scotch.

Excited now, Sansa launched into a rather lengthy but animated discussion of her time with Elia Martell and this new opportunity she’d been given in the North.

"The goal is for me to find local, northern designers that are undiscovered and work with them. Next spring, I have my first solo show in Sunspear, at Elia's huge event she does every spring, and it’ll be all my own creations and those of the designers I find here."

"Sansa, that's impressive," her mother said, smiling warmly. "Such responsibly. It sounds like this Elia has put a great deal of trust in you."

Sansa bobbed her head.

"She has Mom. She's great. I think you’d like her.”

Cat’s eyes warmed, and she murmured she was sure she would as well.  

Sansa swallowed hard.

"I know it's uh a long ways away, but if you guys are free, I'd love for you to be there."

Sansa watched as her mother's breath hitched, and she blinked back tears.

"Of course, dear. We’d love to come,” Cat responded immediately.

Realizing just how much distance there still was between them, Sansa set down her glass of wine and wiped her palms on her pants. The silence stretched until she finally looked up.

"I'm sorry," she blurted out and saw her parents startled a bit. Her Dad opened his mouth, and Sansa shook her head.

"No, Dad. Let me finish."

She took a moment to gather her thoughts.

"I won't say that it was the wrong move for me to leave the North because I know I wouldn't be where I was in my career if I had stayed. And I didn't fit here. Not then. I had to go and find myself, and I couldn't do that here. But I do regret how I left. The attitude I had. How I hurt you guys. I am really, truly sorry for that."

Catelyn sniffed, clutching at Ned's hand.

"Thank you for that. I'm sorry if we ever made you feel stifled. Or like you couldn't be yourself ---"

"Mom, stop," Sansa said gently, shaking her head. She sighed.

"It wasn't you guys. You were great parents. It was me. And I wish I could have expressed that better." She shrugged. "I was young and a jerk."

"Can I ask why you never used the funds we provided you?" Ned asked, frowning.  

Sansa bit her lip. "I don't know. I just – wanted to prove I could do it on my own, I guess. It was important to me."

Ned and Catelyn exchanged a knowing look before turning back to her.

"You were always a stubborn thing. I knew when you left; you'd do great things. I just wish we could have been part of your life when you were doing them," Catelyn said, and Sansa swallowed down the guilt.

"I know. I'm sorry."

Before anything more could be said, dinner was announced, and Sansa found herself in the dining room; the tension eased slightly and things back on track.

It was over a delicious roast beef dinner when the front door opened, and Sansa heard excited male voices talking.

"Maybe Mom and Dad will have some chow for us," came Ric's hopeful tone.

Sansa grinned as Bran and Rickon came barrelling into the formal dining room. They almost skidded to a stop when they saw her.

Sansa pushed back from the table and rushed towards her brothers, who opened their arms and hugged her hard.

"San! You're home!" Bran said.

He was the tallest of all the Starks, thin and studious. Both her younger brothers were in their twenties and lived together in Wintertown, going to the local university.

Even though Bran was far more responsible when it came to his studies, the brothers were best friends, and Rickon often talked him into quadding through the trails that made up the twenty acres that were part of Winterfell. It was their plan tonight, with the last of the snow having just melted.

"I am Bran muffin."

He rolled his eyes at his old nickname but appeared pleased to see her. Ric, who had just turned twenty-one, almost bounced on his heels.

"San, are you really back? Like for good?"

She nodded.

"Cool," Ric said.

Sansa reached for both their hands and squeezed hard.

"I'm sorry for staying away and being distant. I promise I'm going to make it up to the both of you."

Both of them bobbed their heads before Cat asked what they were doing.

"Quadding, Mom," Ric said, grabbing a few Yorkshire puddings and a piece of beef and shoving it all in his mouth. Bran was slightly more circumspect as he filled a plate.

"Rickon Stark, you were not raised in a barn! Put that food on a plate and eat with the manners with which you were raised," Catelyn said, as Sansa and Bran snickered at their youngest sibling.

He was just so loveable, and something warm spread through Sansa, being home with her family. She had missed this – especially lately.

The guys scarfed down some food and then were out the door, promising they'd be safe and check-in. Sansa couldn't help but grin at them as they left in a flurry of excitement.

Sansa gave a happy little sigh.

"I've missed them so much," she said quietly as both her parents smiled warmly.

Her Dad told her about his company, and her Mom spoke of some family friends, her parents and her siblings. It was all quite lovely until her Mom asked about her dating life.

"And how is that Harry fellow that you were seeing? Petyr said he's quite the rising star in their industry and has taken quite a shine to him."

Sansa tensed and then coughed. "Ummm, well, we broke up. Over a month ago, Mom."

Catelyn frowned. "Oh. May I ask why?"

Sansa felt her cheeks heat. It wasn't her fault that Harry was a cheater, but it still was embarrassing. She mumbled something about them not being compatible until she glanced up and saw her father frowning.

"Lemon drop, what is it?"

She sighed.

"He didn't want to commit. Four years and it was all long distance. Near the end, we never saw one another, and then I caught him with someone else."

Both Ned and Catelyn were suitably outrage. It was only when her mother mentioned a nice young man named Ramsay, when Sansa blurted out, "I have a boyfriend."

"Oh?" Her mother's eyebrow arched.

"Yup. A doctor. His name is Jon and ---"

"And you speaking of Dr. Snow?" Her father asked, interrupting her, looking impressed.

"Yup. He's Elia's stepson, and we met about six weeks ago at Elia's big gala event in Sunspear."

"Rodrick has nothing but excellent things to say about him. He's a star at the hospital, Sansa," Ned said, mulling over this information that this was the man Sansa was dating.

"Oh, is that the young trauma surgeon?" Catelyn asked as Ned nodded.

Both her parents were on the hospital board and very active in the community. Her father's best friend was Rodrik Cassel, the star surgeon that Jon worked for and was learning under. Sansa had been well aware that coming North, she and Jon would never be able to hide their relationship. Not that she wanted to – at all. But this was part and parcel of being in the North. Her parents knew everyone.

"Yes. As I said, he's a star, and I know Wintertown General hopes to keep him after he writes his next set of Board exams a year and a half from now."

She found herself grinning. "I can imagine they'd want him. He seems pretty dedicated to his career and to Mia."

"Who is Mia?" Catelyn asked.

"His daughter. She's four, and she’s awesome, Mom."

To Sansa's relief and slight surprise, Catelyn only seemed intrigued by Jon, not worried about him being a single father.

"And where is the mother?"

"Out of the picture. It happened when Mia was young ---"

Sansa was interrupted by yelling. Frantic yelling. All three Starks pushed back from the table and ran to the front foyer where Ric held his arm, which was clearly broken, while Bran pressed a sweatshirt to a gash on his forehead that was gushing blood.

"What on earth happened?" Catelyn cried, rushing forward.

Ric gave a rueful smile.

"Had a wee bit of a spill, Mom. Nothing too bad."

Then he grimaced in pain, and Ned was calling for the SUV where all the Starks piled in. Dinner was forgotten and a trip to the ER imminent. Sansa took out her phone and sent a quick text to Jon, just to give him the heads up before half her family descended upon his workplace. Not that it could be helped. Ric needed to see a doctor.

Sansa: Hey. On my way to the ER with my youngest brother. Just wanted to give you the heads up. Entire Stark family incoming.

Sansa never knew when Jon might respond, so she was pleasantly surprised when her phone buzzed almost immediately.

Jon: Good timing. ER is dead right now. See you soon.

Please that Jon didn't seem too phased that the Starks would be in his workplace, she settled back in the vehicle, sending Ric a smile.

"Don't worry. We'll find a pretty nurse to take care of you."

Ric grinned.

"Thanks, San."

She reached for the hand on the arm that wasn't broken and held it.

"I'm really glad you're home," Ric said quietly, but everyone in the vehicle heard.

Ned and Cat exchanged a happy look.

"Me too, Ric. Me too."

 


 

Wintertown General Hospital – Sansa

 

It wasn't a pretty nurse or Jon helping them in the ER but a large man with a bushy red beard that kept winking at Sansa and flitting with her, calling her kissed by fire.

Sansa shook her head at him, somehow knowing that it was just harmless flirting.

Ric was in a bed in the ER instead of minor treatment because his arm was suspected of being broken, and he needed an x-ray. They were also worried about the gash on his head and a possible concussion.

Jon had been right – for a Friday night, the emergency room was surprisingly unbusy, and while Sansa wondered where Jon might be, the very last thing she wanted to do was bug him while he was at work. She knew he saved lives when he was at work, and she would not be a clingy girlfriend.

"So, do you have a boyfriend?" the nurse asked, wiggling his bushy eyebrows at her and sending her a lusty look.

For some reason, Catelyn seemed highly amused by the nurse and giggled while Sansa tried to find a polite way to say she was taken. Very taken. So taken.

"She does," came a very familiar voice as Sansa turned and saw Jon standing there in dark blue scrubs, looking as handsome as ever. He was wearing sneakers and had his curls tied back in a bun, a stethoscope around his neck and a white coat. Gods, Sansa didn’t know what looked hotter.

Jon in a suit tailored to perfection.

Jon in jeans, a black t-shirt and a leather jacket.

Or Jon in his scrubs, looking all kinds of competent and sexy.

Either way, she was thankful she didn’t have to choose, cause every look worked for her.

"Jon!" she cried, rushing towards him before she even wondered if he wanted people to know they were an item. Thankfully, Jon was moving towards her as well and pulled her close, brushing his lips across hers the moment she was in his warms.

"Hi, sweetheart. Fancy meeting you here," he said, winking at her as Sansa giggled.

He reached for her hand, making it very clear that they were a couple.

"Snow, this your woman?" the nurse asked.

"Yeah," Jon said, smirking. "This is her. This is Sansa. Sansa, meet Tormund. Best ER and trauma nurse there is and pain in my arse."

Sansa giggled and held out her other hand while Tormund gave a low whistle.

"She's a beauty, Snow. Now I know why you've been walking around with that dopey look on your face for the past month."

Jon didn't even seem phased by Tormund’s teasing.

"And she’s smart, successful, and Mia adores her," Jon told Tormund before there was a cough.

Sansa and Jon turned, still holding hands, to see her parents looking at them, along with Bran and Ric, who were grinning like fools.

Blushing now, Sansa tugged Jon forward. Time to meet the parents.

"Mom, Dad, I'd like you to meet Dr. Jon Snow. Jon, these are my parents, Ned and Catelyn Stark. And those are my two youngest brothers. Bran, currently not injured. The one who's doing his best impression of Humpty-Dumpty is Rickon."

Jon nodded to her brothers and then held out his hand to her folks, a neutral look on his face as if he wasn't quite sure how her parents might react to him. Or them. Or …

Sansa didn’t quite know. Her parents hadn’t really met many of her boyfriends. It was just another part of her life she kept very separate from them.

And quite frankly, none of her past boyfriends had been worth bringing home.

"Dr. Snow, we've heard excellent things about you from Dr. Cassel. He speaks highly of you, as did our daughter tonight at dinner," Ned said warmly.

Sansa felt the tension ease from Jon.

"Dr. Cassel is amazing. I'm so lucky to have this chance to train under him, Mr. Stark," Jon said.

Ned's grin widened.

"Please, call me Ned."

Jon nodded and then turned to her mother.

"How are you liking the North? Sansa said you were raised in Sunspear," Catelyn asked him, and Jon gave a rueful grin.

"To be honest, I spent summers here with my Uncle Ben. And I did my residency at White Harbour. But yeah, nothing quite prepares you for a true, Northern winter," Jon told her mother.  Catelyn gave Jon a warm look, and Sansa knew her parents were liking Jon.

As they talked, an intern had arrived and had begun to clean Ric's head wound, laying out a suture kit.

When Jon caught sight of this, he coughed, and the intern turned, looking annoyed at the interruption until he spotted Jon. It was clear that this was Jon’s ER, and he ran things here.

"Dr. Snow. I didn't see you there," the intern said, then frowned.

"I hope you weren't thinking of closing that head wound without calling for Dr. Manderly," Jon said, and the intern glanced between the needle in their hand and Ric.

"Why not?"

Jon heaved out an aggravated sigh and let go of Sansa's hand.

"Because you've been here for three weeks and done stitches on how many facial wounds?" Jon demanded.

The intern swallowed hard. "None."

"That's right. None. So you're not going to give this young man a scar that he'll carry for life just because you're eager to practice your technique. In fact, Dr. Manderly might not even want you to stitch it. So I'd suggest you page her for a consult before you do anything," Jon snapped, and the intern sprung to his feet and hurried from the room.

Tormund laughed and shook his head, winking at Sansa.

"That's our Snow. He's a beast, and they all scurry to do his bidding. Here, he's like a god!" Tormund said.

Sansa laughed and then tugged Jon closer.

"That was hot, Dr. Snow."

"Yeah?" he said with a bit of smirk, knowing exactly how hot he was.

"Oh yeah," she said, just about to kiss him when the center of attention known as Robb Stark appeared.

"Ricky, what the hell did you do?"

Ric frowned at his hated nickname, especially since Robb used it in front of Sansa’s boyfriend, who Rickon thought was pretty awesome.

"Manners, Robb!" Catelyn hissed.

Robb was grinning his typical cocky grin until he saw Sansa holding hands with Jon. Then he frowned.

"San, who the hell is the Doc?"

Sansa didn’t back down for a moment. She loved Robb, but sometimes he was so immature. And his overprotective streak was ridiculous.

"Robb, this is Jon, my boyfriend. Jon, my oldest brother, Robb. Excuse his lack of manners."

Robb did that thing he was known for, straightening his shoulders and acting like the heir apparent he was to the Stark empire. As if that somehow made him important or impressive.

But Jon wasn't like other guys that might have been impressed by Robb's posturing. Jon’s family was at least as well connected as theirs was, and he was a rock star in one of the most demanding careers possible. Jon saved lives! Robb had nothing on him.

Jon was all cocky swagger and easy confidence as he held out his hand.

"Dr. Snow, trauma surgeon, and Sansa’s boyfriend," Jon said, and Robb blinked.

He took Jon’s hand and mumbled about his title, VP of something or other, before Robb coughed and turned to her. It was clear that in the dick measuring contest, Jon had won. Sansa bit back the grin at seeing Jon handle her big brother so well.

"San, you're back," Robb said and then opened his arms.

Robb was a lot of things – immature, lazy and a bit of a playboy. But he genuinely cared about his family. Of all the Stark siblings, he'd stuck by her and supported her choice to go south the most. Sansa hugged him hard, loving how he twirled her around. Robb wasn't a bad guy at all – a bit of the golden child, but he more than made up for that with his generous nature and loving heart.

Just as Robb let her go, someone whisked the curtain to where they were back, and a beautiful but annoyed doctor was standing there, scowling at them.

"Dr. Snow. I heard an intern almost decided to Frankenstein a head lac," she snapped as Jon grinned.

"Yup. Dr. Manderly, meet the Starks," Jon said, Sansa firmly back in his arms.

"Dr. Manderly is our plastics fellow, and she's one of the best."

Jon was also a fellow but in trauma. It meant that he and Dr. Manderly were at the same stage in their careers, in those final few years of their specialty.

Dr. Manderly was very pretty, with dark hair and looked to be around Jon and Robb's age, in her early thirties. Sansa was a bit in awe of these two surgeons and how dedicated they were to their careers. Imagine spending years in school and then years more training, all just to save lives? It was awe-inspiring.

With Dr. Manderly now here, Sansa saw a few things happen at once.

First, Dr. Manderly knew who her family was and recognized their name, for she stumbled a bit upon hearing it and then glanced around at all of them. Ned, Cat, Robb, Bran, her and Ric. The Stark name held weight in the North. A lot of weight.

Second, Robb looked like a train just hit him as he gazed all doe-eyed at Dr. Manderly.

And third, despite how pretty Dr. Manderly was, it was clear that she and Jon were just colleagues.

"Ten bucks says that your brother asks for her number before she's done her exam," Jon whispered in her ear as they watched Dr. Manderly get to work on Rickon while Robb flirted shamelessly with her.

Sansa adored how she was standing in the cradle of Jon’s arms, leaning against him, with her family and his work colleagues around. She'd never been a couple like this around her family.

Sansa snorted and turned to brush her lips across Jon's.

"I'm not a sucker, Dr. Snow."

He chuckled into her ear, his warm breath doing something to her insides when suddenly, the ER seemed to come alive around them.

"Dr. Snow, incoming trauma," someone called. The voice was urgent and demanding, and Jon straightened immediately.

Sansa glanced over to see a nurse at the station in the middle of the ER on the phone, nodding frantically and waving towards Jon.

"Ambos are two minutes out. SUV with a family versus logging truck and the logging truck won."

"Shit," Jon cursed, turning to Sansa.

"I have to go," he said, kissing her swiftly.

She could only nod and let him go, knowing he was needed. This was his job. She watched him stride away from her as he barked out orders, others scrambling to do his bidding. Tormund was at his side, as everything seemed to change in an instant.

Sansa's eyes, along with all the Starks, were glued to Jon as he took command of the ER, gloving up and racing to meet the incoming ambulance.

"Status?" he asked the head nurse that had waved him over.

She shook her head.

"It's bad. The front seat passenger seemed to take the worst of it."

Jon gave a grim nod.

"Call the OR. Tell them what's coming in and get me my team. Tormund, Jeyne with me," he said to the two nurses, just as two paramedics came rushing into the ER.

The patient was covered in blood, and they were barking out all sorts of technical terms at Jon.

"Nineteen-year-old male, a restrained front-seat passenger in the SUV. Chest contusion, tenderness above the pelvis, head laceration and unstable BP in the field."

"Bay five," Jon said, taking the chart and glancing at it quickly, following the paramedics to the trauma bay.

"On my count," Jon said, all of them reaching for the gurney to transfer the patient.

"One, two, three," Jon said, and on three, they placed the patient onto a new bed.

Everyone was deferring to him, and it was clear he was in charge. Sansa couldn't tear her eyes away. Jon had his stethoscope in his ears and was listening to the patient’s chest, all the while Sansa could see that he was thinking, that brilliant brain of his already trying to figure out how to save this person's life.

"Hang three units of O-neg and cross-type. Get me a chest tube and an intubation kit and call the OR now and tell them we'll be up in five minutes," Jon ordered.

Nurses rushed to do his bidding as others came to help, and Sansa could only watch in awe as Jon worked, never stopping, checking charts and calling out orders.

Stunned, Sansa felt her mother grasp her hand. Someone handed Jon a scalpel right there in the trauma bay, and he cut into the guy’s chest and inserted a chest tube as blood gushed out the patient. Another doctor that had joined Jon got a tube down his throat as they started to bag him.

"I need a chest x-ray, a CT and an OR now! Call and tell them we're on our way," he barked, and then they were rushing away; Jon, Tormund and Jeyne, along with others Sansa didn't even know, off to save a life. To save a life! Sansa couldn't believe what she'd just witnessed. It was incredible.

"Holy shit, San," Robb saw, the awe in his voice evident. "Your boyfriend is badass."

Catelyn gave Robb a look, but even she looked amazed at what they'd just witnessed.

"I know. He's like a real-life superhero," Sansa said, still unable to wrap her brain around what she’d just witnessed.

She felt a gentle arm on her elbow and turned to see Dr. Manderly smiling at her.

"Jon is the best we have. He's brilliant at what he does. And he'd been talking about you non-stop for a month. It was nice to meet you, Sansa. Tell your little brother to take care of his stitches and see your family doctor get them out," Dr. Manderly said.

Then she was walking away, and Sansa saw Robb running after her, flirting and trying to get her number.

Sansa turned back to Rickon, who was grinning at her. His arm still needed to be put in a cast, and they'd likely be here for hours, but for now, Sansa was alone with her two youngest brothers and her parents.

"Jon's cool," Ric said, making the understatement of the century.

"Yeah, San. Way to not pick a dud," Bran chimed in, winking at her.

Sansa grinned like a fool at them, coming down of the high of seeing Jon in action.

"He's amazing baby brothers. And neither one of you are going to use the fact that I'm dating someone that can fix Rickon up as an excuse to be reckless."

Sansa brushed Ric's curls back and pressed a kiss to his forehead.

Everyone laughed, and then Sansa found herself being hugged by her father. It felt good to be back with her family – right in a way it never had before. This was where she was meant to be. This was her family. This was her future.

"Quite the guy you've picked out, lemon drop," Ned murmured to her, making Sansa giggle hysterically.

"He's so good, Daddy."

Ned smiled indulgently at her. "I can see that."

"Tell us more," Cat requested gently, taking a seat by her son as they waited for the trauma to be dealt with. Right now, the ER was in chaos, and the least of the hospital staff's concerns was Ric's broken arm. He had some pain meds and was comfortable for now.

Seeing nothing but open faces and eager looks, Sansa took a seat on Ric's bed and then told her family all about Dr. Jon Snow, his adorable daughter Mia, his family in Sunspear and how they met. Her parents had heard some of it, but they seemed just as eager as her brothers to learn more about the incredible Dr. Snow.

Robb joined them, grinning like a loon and holding up his phone, indicating he'd gotten Dr. Manderley's number. Ric went to high-five Robb but stopped with a look for Catelyn.

Eventually, they were moved to a room and out of the ER, and Sansa spent the next several hours catching up with her family while they waited for Ric's surgery to set his arm. The orthopedic surgeon had been called in to help with the car accident, so they had plenty of time to bond.

Sansa found herself resting her head against Robb's shoulders, joking with Ric and talking with Bran about his schooling. He was doing his master's in computer engineering, and even though she didn't understand half of what he said, he seemed to get the most excited when he talked about it.

She told her family about House of Martell fashion, her new role in the North and how she'd moved into her condo with Jon's help. Her brothers were already Team!Jon and her parents seemed to be as well.

It was four hours later after a nurse told them that Ric's surgery had been pushed to the morning, that she insisted her parents go home and sleep.

"I'll stay with Ric," she told them, promising if anything changed, she'd text them immediately.

They left, grateful that she was back, with hugs and promises exchanged. Never again would Sansa let this distance build up with her and her family.

A few hours later, a nurse had come by to tell Sansa that Dr. Snow was in surgery and would likely be there for a while but that he'd text her later. Grateful and deeply touched that he thought of her, she shot a quick text to Jon, even though it was close to 1 am.

Sansa: Jon. You are amazing. A real-life hero. I am so in awe of you and what you do. I'm so glad I got to see what you do, see how important your job is. I hope your surgery went well. You are Stark family approved. I'm hanging with Ric in his room as his surgery's been pushed to morning. Talk soon. xoxo Sansa

She must have dozed off, for when she woke up, it was to find Jon smiling tiredly down at her. He'd changed and was in fresh dark blue scrubs as he dropped a kiss to her lips, took her hand and sunk into a vacant chair beside her. Ric was still sleeping, and Sansa glanced at her phone to see it was just before 5 am.

"Hey," she whispered.

"Hey," he said back, sighing as he scrubbed a hand down his tired face.

"Good outcome?" she asked.

Jon shrugged.

"He's alive for now," was all he said, and she knew that meant that his patient must be in critical condition.

Jon nodded to Ric.

"I checked with the OR nurse. They'll be coming to take him for surgery soon. You might want to text your parents," he told her.

Sansa did so immediately and then tugged him to his feet and into the deserted hallway outside Ric's room. Once there, she wrapped her hands around Jon's neck and pulled him close. He looked wrecked, and she wondered at the toll such a job took on a person. All she wanted to do was be there for him in any way she could be. She felt she'd learned so much about him and what it took to do the job he did.

Brushing her lips gently across his, she hoped she could give him a bit of relief – a port in the maelstrom of emotions he must be feeling. Again and again, she kissed him softly, gently, until he groaned and deepened the kiss, his arms banding around her and holding her tightly to him.

When he stopped kissing her, she felt him shudder out a breath against her ear as she held him.

"Gods, what a fucking night," he muttered, and she held him tighter.

"Trust me when I say you made an impression, Dr. Snow. And not just on my parents."

He chuckled and lifted his head, and she saw a spark of something joyful in his eyes.

"Yeah? Bet your parents never met a boyfriend like that before."

He was rubbing circles along her hip, his fingers having dipped into her pants above the waistline. It felt so good, and Sansa leaned into his touch.

"I can say unequivocally that they have not met a boyfriend like that. There haven't really been that many boyfriends," she told him, watching his eyes darken.

"Sansa," he growled, and then he was kissing her again, and she didn't care that they were in a hallway where anyone could see them and that her parents might show up at any moment. She knew they both needed this connection.

When he stopped, they were both breathing hard, and he stroked a finger down her cheek.

"Gods, you're just what I needed after that hellish night," he told her, voice husky.

She smiled at him.

"I'm glad I could be here for you. What else do you need?" she asked and saw him startle.

He started to shake his head, and then she grasped his hand and squeezed hard.

"Jon, you're not alone. We're together, right?”

He nodded, saying nothing.

“So what can I do to help? I can't imagine you can just leave, not with the condition your patient is in. It's Saturday. And I'm here for you."

She saw him take her words in, swallow hard and nod his head.

"You're incredible; you know that, right?"

Sansa blushed. Harry had never made her feel like this - like he saw her for her loving heart and how giving she was.

"You're the incredible one. Now, tell me what you need help with, Dr. Snow."

"Oh, bossy."

She winked at him as Jon scrubbed a hand down his face.

"It's Mia. I have nannies for her, of course, but I promised I'd take her to the park, and I have no idea when I might get out of here. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to go back into the OR at some point today."

"Done," she said, bobbing her head.

Jon looked a bit stunned but so pleased that Sansa felt her heart swell for this amazing man.

"Are you sure?"

"Yup. It'll be fun. As long as you're ok with it?"

His jaw dropped.

"Sansa, I'm more than ok with it. Mia will be so happy to see you. I'll text the nanny and tell her you'll be by."

"Perfect. Once my parents get here, I'll pop home, shower, change, and then go to your house and pick her up. We'll make a day of it," Sansa said.

Jon was kissing her again when there was a discreet cough, and they turned to see Ned and Catelyn Stark standing there, smiling at them.

Jon rubbed his hand on his neck but kept Sansa close.

"Mom, Dad," Sansa said, blushing only a little as she leaned into Jon. He gave them a slight grin and held out his hand.

"Mr. and Mrs. Stark, it's nice to see you again."

Ned took Jon's hand and shook it firmly.

"Dr. Snow. Your reputation is well earned. Catelyn and I sit on the Board here, and I can't tell you how excited Dr. Cassel was when you decided to do your internship here at Wintertown General. He's had nothing but good things to say about you, and after that display earlier, I can see why."

Jon's mouth quirked up in a bit of a smile.

"It wasn't a hard choice. Dr. Cassel is the best. Demanding. Tough. But the best."

"He is," Ned said, chuckling. Sansa knew that Jon was Ned Stark approved.

"Dr. Snow, I know your schedule must be chaotic, but perhaps when you have a free Friday evening, you and your daughter can join us for dinner at Winterfell Manor."

Sansa saw him swallow hard as if he couldn't quite believe it. She squeezed his hand. Jon had just been given the Stark family seal of approval.

"I'd like that. And please, call me Jon."

Catelyn beamed at him, and then someone paged his name.

"Dr. Snow to the ICU."

He turned to Sansa, but she just patted his chest.

"Go. Text me later, and I'll tell you where Mia and I are."

He kissed her hard and fast and then was rushing away, and Sansa found herself standing between her parents.

"He's one of the good ones, lemon drop," Ned said.

"Yeah, Daddy, he is definitely one of the good ones," Sansa agreed, more in awe of him than ever and excited as to what the future held when it came to the incredible Jon Snow.

 


 

Chapter Text


 

Winterfell – Jon

 

Jon grabbed his keys to his Rover from where they sat in the pretty glass-blown bowl that Rhae had got for his last birthday. He always kept a set for the two vehicles he owned by the exit to the three-car garage, so if he had to leave in a hurry, he knew where they were. It meant he never had to search for them, which if he were ever paged in for an emergency trauma, those extra few minutes could mean the difference between life and death.

It was 6:40 pm on Sunday, and he was just leaving for his date with Sansa. Mia was happily reading stories with her nanny and eating her snack and barely blinked when he'd said he was going out for the evening. Which was sort of odd, but Jon didn't think about it too much. Right now, all he could think about was date night and Sansa. 

Jon had the flowers he'd picked out earlier with Mia's help in his hand, along with a new picture Mia had drawn for Sansa.

The picture was a collage of all the things they'd done yesterday. Jon could easily pick out the activities his daughter had drawn, for Mia had talked non-stop about Sansa and the wonderful Saturday they'd spent together.

As he drove, Jon thought about what it had felt like to stand in the hallway at the hospital, with Sansa in his arms and her genuine willingness to help him out. She wanted to be there for him, relieving some of that parental guilt he carried when he had to cancel plans with his daughter to save a life.

Jon fought with those feelings from time to time. He’d been told that it was normal, by other surgeons that had families and children. They were in a profession that demanded a lot and often it was their personal lives that got the short end of the stick. While Jon knew that he wasn't doing any long-term harm to his daughter with his career choice, for the first time in his life, he felt like he had a true partner he could rely on. All of Mia's life, it had always been Jon.

But now? Well, now there was Sansa. And Sansa was incredible.

As he'd raced towards the ICU when they’d paged him, Jon had quickly sent Sansa a text of his home address, along with a note that she was free to drive the second vehicle that he had in the garage. It had a car seat for Mia installed and was a smaller version of his Ranger Rover and completely reliable. He then shot a quick text to his nanny, letting her know the change of plans.

Sansa had sent him a thumbs-up emoji along with a heart and a little doctor and the words, “Go save lives, Dr. Snow.”

Something warm had settled in Jon’s chest and for the first time in what felt like forever, Jon knew that his daughter would have as great a day with Sansa as she would have had with him. It allowed him to concentrate fully on the patient he was trying to save.

He got to the ICU, saw the grim faces and shoved his phone in his pocket and concentrated on what he needed to do to save his patient’s life, knowing that his daughter was in good hands and would have the best day with Sansa. Jon only wished he could see Mia’s face when Sansa showed up at their house.

Over the next gruelling sixteen hours, Jon was either monitoring his patient or back in the OR operating on the young man from the night before. What kept him going was the frequent text updates from Sansa throughout the day, detailing what she and Mia had gotten up to.

The weather had turned poorly, so instead of the park, and they had gone to the local children's museum. Sansa had sent several photographs of their activities, including digging in the sandbox for buried dinosaur bones, inspecting the insect tanks, and dressing up in old-time costumes. After the museum, they'd gone home, where Sansa made lunch, and then they baked cookies. Mia had batter all over her face and chocolate on her lips, and it was clear she was having a blast. All of this was followed by dolls, then stories, dinner and finally a movie.

The final text had been a picture of Mia tucked into bed, waving to Jon, her wolf stuffie tucked in beside her.

Sansa: Hope things have turned a corner with your patient. I made a plate of food for you and left it in the fridge. I'll be waiting on the couch watching cable TV because you, Dr. Snow, have all the channels! xoxo S

Jon knew that Sansa didn't quite understand how monumental it felt to him to have someone like her in his life.

He knew she was a knockout – that much anyone with two eyes could see. But Sansa was fundamentally good. Caring. Sweet and yet sexy. She was his dream woman and he'd loved how both her family and his colleagues knew they were an item.

When she'd cuddled in his arms and kissed him in front of her family and his colleagues, it was apparent to everyone in the ER that they were a couple. Likewise, he wasn't letting anyone stand in the way of him kissing her when he saw her – not even her parents or her brothers.

And speaking of the Starks, Jon liked them. Sansa’s younger brothers seemed to be fun, and it was clear they adored their big sister.

Jon had seen the pissing contest Sansa's older brother had wanted to have with him, but he'd shut that shit down quick. Jon was uber-confident not only in who he was but where he fell in the pecking order with men his age.

And not many dudes could beat double board-certified trauma surgeon. Not even golden boy Robb Stark. Thankfully, Robb seemed to recognize it before it became a thing.

Funnily enough, Sansa's parents seem far less uppity than Jon had assumed when he'd come to work at Wintertown General. A person couldn't work here and not know the Stark name and the incredible amount of money they'd donated over the years. The Starks were like royalty in the North if that shit still existed.

Still, Sansa’s parents actually seemed pretty down-to-earth and friendly, considering who they were. And Jon wouldn't lie and say it didn't feel damn good for him and Mia to get an invite to their house for dinner. He was pretty sure that those weren't just handed out like candy.

Sansa had confirmed that later when she'd said he'd made a good impression. That counted because, as Jon knew, it was all about family. Sansa had been worried about how she might mend the bridges she had broken, but from what Jon had seen in the ER, the Stark pack was well on its way to accepting Sansa back into the fold.

Jon cruised through the streets of Wintertown, taking his time as he took the familiar route to Sansa’s condo. Funny how quickly it became a part of his routine. The streets were busier now than it was late April. The sun didn't set for another couple of hours, and even though the air was still damp from the two days of rain, people in the North were out, embracing the spring and the end of winter.

It was one of the most extraordinary things about the North – four actual seasons. It had always been a bit odd for Jon in Sunspear that he could be swimming in the pool at Christmas time, and there was no snow on the ground. There were times if the North got winter early that Jon had trick-or-treated with Mia in a snow suit.

Jon had always felt this pull to the North that he knew he couldn't really explain to Elia. She tried to understand, but her heart was in Dorne, whereas Jon always just felt like he belonged up here, in Wintertown.

He loved his family in the south, but if pressed, Jon would always choose the North. His heart was here.

As he drove to Sansa's condo, Jon thought about how he'd felt when he'd gotten her last text – the one with the food and that she'd be cuddled up on his couch, waiting for him after taking care of his daughter all day.

She'd made him a plate of food and put it in the fridge, for him after giving his daughter an incredible day. He bet she didn't even realize what those small, thoughtful gestures meant to him. But in Jon's world, they were huge. Actions counted, and Sansa's were saying loud and clear that she was committed to him and Mia.

It had been late when he'd finally pulled into his driveway, utterly wrecked after more than twenty-four hours of work. He didn't often pull shifts that long anymore, nor do two gruelling back-to-back surgeries as he had. But in the end, it had been worth it, since his patient was holding steady for now.

He’d pulled into his driveway and there was a light on the front porch and one above the stove in the kitchen. She’d left a note on the island counter saying his food was waiting for him and signed a heart beside her name. Jon slipped the note into his pocket. Leaving his dinner, for now, needing her, Jon went in search of Sansa.

He found Sansa curled up on the couch, TV muted and wrapped in his favourite blanket. And she looked absolutely perfect in his home.

Jon knelt down and gently brushed her hair back from her face until her eyes fluttered open. Those stunning blue eyes met his.

"Hi," he said, voice husky and deep.

Jon couldn't put into words what he felt for her. It was too soon and too big. But he wondered if she could tell, nonetheless. Because whether he gave word to his feelings or not, they were developing fast.

She smiled at him, and Jon's heart did a slow, thumping roll. He liked being the first thing she saw when she came awake. He would prefer it if it were in his bed, but he'd take what he could get for now.

"Hi back."

"It's late. I'm sor----"

She pushed herself up off the couch and cut him off with a kiss – insistent and sweet. Her hands went around his neck as she held him close. Then her lips quirked in a sassy little smile.

"Nope. Don't say those words. Did you save that guy's life?" she asked.

Jon nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, we did."

"My hero," she said, cupping his cheek and stroking his cheek. He loved it when she touched him.

"Sansa," Jon murmured, shaking his head.

He wasn't a hero. He was just a guy doing his job. A job that sometimes had more bad outcomes than good. But damn if she wasn’t looking at him like he was. And damn if he didn’t feel like it.

"No arguing," she said. “You are incredible Jon.”

Their eyes locked, and Jon felt something profound shift and settle deep inside him.

"Alright. No arguing, sweetheart," he agreed.

He loved how her breath hitched when he called her sweetheart.

She yawned, and he helped her to her feet, insisting she take his second vehicle home. Sansa, stubborn thing that she was, called an uber, not wanting to inconvenience him.

Instead of arguing with her, he led her to the kitchen and heated his dinner, thanking her again for cooking for them.

“I loved it. Mia enjoyed baking and there are some fresh cookies for you both tomorrow,” she said, indicating a Tupperware container he didn’t even know he owned filled with homemade baking.

Her phone buzzed, indicating her ride was there for her, but before he let her go, Jon held her close, loving how she locked eyes with him.

"Thank you for being here for Mia and me today."

He meant it. It meant so much to him. He liked how she accepted his gratitude with a smile but didn't make a huge deal about it.

Jon liked how they worked – how they didn't need to make more out of things, but both seemed to understand what was important. He liked how they just clicked on every single level.

"I had a great time. Mia is so awesome, but you already know that. So anytime you need me, you call or text."

Jon promised he would. Sansa was a part of his life, embedding herself deeper by the day, and she was precisely what Jon had always wanted in a relationship.

Of course, Jon got all the details about Mia's Saturday with Sansa the following day. He and Mia went and got groceries and picked out flowers for Sansa, all the while Mia chatted away about Sansa and their day together.

Later still, Jon did his laundry, the one chore he hated the housekeeper doing for him and picked up his dry-cleaning. One of the best things about the house he’d purchased was the massive walk-in closet in the master bedroom which he gratefully allowed Elia and Rhae to stock with clothing for him when they came North. A lifetime of living with fashionistas and dressing well had naturally rubbed off on Jon. It was one thing that he willingly indulged and knew he looked great.

But, for tonight, Jon wanted a second opinion. He’d gotten a reservation at L’aterio, the best restaurant in Wintertown. He’d called in a favour to the owner, whom he’d operated on a year ago.

He texted Rhae to ask what he should wear, and they chatted for half an hour, his sister giddy about how good he and Sansa were doing together.

"Mom is on cloud-9, Jon. I swear, she thinks you're the only hope for grandchildren," Rhae said, rolling her eyes.

"Well, so far, I am. What about you? Anyone catch your eye these days?" Jon teased back but also interested in his sister’s love life and what was new with her.

Seeing Sansa and her brothers the other night had made Jon miss his siblings. No matter how much Jon loved the North, a part of his heart would always be in Sunspear with his family.

Rhae was notoriously picky when it came to dating, and Jon often wondered if it had anything to do with what she'd told him one night a few years back when they'd both been drinking. She'd said that she thought she might be bisexual. Jon didn’t say much, only wrapped her up in a hug and said that was cool. But when Rhae didn’t said anything more about it, only that she was 'experimenting,’ Jon had just told her to be safe and have fun. She promised she would be and then dropped the subject and Jon had respected her privacy.

Still, he knew she hadn't said anything to the rest of the family, and he wondered why.

Jon had rarely met a family as open and accepting as the Martells. Oberyn and Ellaria had an open relationship, a few of their cousins were openly gay, and one distant uncle had married his boyfriend a few years ago. They were all raised to accept people's choices or choices of partners and were a very open family when it came to those matters.

"No, not really," Rhae said, picking at her sweater.

She sighed.

"I don't think I'm bi, Jon. I think I'm gay. Like full-on into chicks. Like we like the same parts on the people we’re attracted to."

Jon chuckled and gave Rhae a soft smile. "That's cool. Anyone catch your eye lately?"

She grumbled that no one had. Then her eyes lit, eagerly.

"Why? You got some hot lesbian surgeon tucked away up North for me?"

"No, sis, I don't. But I wasn't exactly keeping my eyes peeled on that front. But now that I know," Jon winked at her and saw her mouth bloom into a huge smile, "I'll definitely keep my ears open."

"Yeah? You going to set me up?"

Jon laughed. "Well, if I find someone worthy of my baby sister, sure. Do Mom and Aeg know?"

Rhae shook her head. "Nope. You were the test run. You passed, by the way, so I guess it's time I come clean to them."

"Rhae, none of us care who you love. We just care that you're happy," Jon told her, meaning it.

She'd gotten all misty-eyed and then changed the subject and helped him pick out his wardrobe, demanding details on his plans for his first official one on one date with Sansa.

Eventually, they'd settled on Tom Ford. Jon dressed in grey tailored pants, a black shirt and paired it all with a dark grey pea coat. Jon also grabbed his Louboutin's, knowing if there was ever a time to wear them in the North, it was tonight. They fit his feet perfectly and even he had to admit, he looked good.

Jon tamed his curls a bit and added some cologne and then gave a little smirk at himself in the mirror.

How long had it been since he’d done this? Gotten ready for a date and with a woman he really liked? Years.

As he glanced at his watch, saw the time and took one last look in the mirror. Satisfied with what he saw and with a confidence he knew he could back up, Jon was on his way, eager for date night to begin.

 


 

Chapter Text


 

Date Night – Jon

 

Jon pulled into Sansa's condo complex at exactly 6:59 pm and was knocking on her door at 7 pm. He wasn't nervous but excited for tonight. He'd waited for what felt like forever for this alone time with Sansa and he was excited to be with her, in every way possible, and to take this next step in their relationship. This need for one another had been building between them since that very first encounter in Sunspear.

As he thought about the date he had planned, Jon couldn't help but imagine what would come after. It had been far, far too long since he'd been with a woman and Sansa was so different than Val.

For one, this wasn't just sex with Sansa. He and Val had just been scratching an itch with one another – something convenient and when they’d both had to the time.

With Sansa, it was something more. Something deeper. Something that might be everything Jon had ever wanted in a lover as well as a partner.

Jon knew that Sansa as a girlfriend was incredible. She'd proven that to him time and again. And what man wouldn't be proud to have her on his arm? But Sansa as a lover? Well, Jon had high hopes that they were well matched there as well. Christ, he was soon to be thirty-one and Sansa wasn't far behind him. He hoped that the glimpses he'd seen of what turned her on was genuine. Because he'd never met a woman that seemed to fit him so well and fuck he didn't want to have to keep searching. He wanted them to be as compatible in the bedroom as they were everywhere else.  

Jon knew that Sansa had a bit of a praise kink, and she liked it when he was demanding. He hoped she was submissive enough for his more dominant side to come out and play – that it turned her on the way it did him. Each time he gave her an order, she followed it, so that gave him hope that they were well matched. Jon knew was that he was going to do everything to rock her world and unlock all those secrets she held inside of her.

He had a feeling that Sansa had been disappointed far too often when it came to her lovers and was determined that would not be the case tonight. Or any night with him. He wanted to know every fantasy she had, and everything she desired, and what turned her on the most. It was what got him off – knowing he could be that guy.

Jon thought he'd be prepared for Sansa, for what she might wear. She was always so effortlessly sexy whenever they were together, and he had grown up around Elia and Rhae, so he was no stranger to well-dressed women. And Sansa was one of the leading fashion designers in all Westeros and a total knockout in yoga pants. So he'd let his imagination wander as to what she might wear tonight.

But when he opened the door to see her in a sleek black dress that hugged that fantastic body, sky-high heels and lips painted a fuck-me red, Jon couldn't help but the groan that let loose from his mouth. She looked good enough to eat, and he wanted to do nothing more than slam the door closed and feast upon her, dinner be damned.

"Hi," she said, voice all throaty and raw, as she bit her bottom lip, plumping it up and driving him fucking mad. She had to do it on purpose, knowing how wild it made him when that sexy, playful side of her came out.

"Seven hells, woman," he growled and stalked towards her, needing a taste right now.

She giggled, and he was undone, knowing she wanted to play. She backed further inside her condo as he came for her.

There was no mistaking the spark of desire in her eyes, and Jon knew she was right there with him. He could practically smell the need rolling off her as he slammed his lips against her, hauling her against his chest, as his hands went to her back and felt nothing but skin.

Soft, silky smooth skin. Skin he was finally touching, stroking, claiming.

Somewhere in all this, he dropped the flowers as he backed her up against the wall in her foyer, needing this from her, needing to kiss her senseless, to mark her, to show the world that she was his.

That was all Jon could think, over and over as he kissed her. Sansa was his, and he meant for everyone in Westeros to know it.

His balls ached, and his cock was hard as granite as he captured her mouth in a brutal, demanding kiss.

A kiss that Sansa returned and then some, her tongue in his mouth, hands in his hair as she pinned his head to hers. She wasn't letting him go any more than he was letting her go. Perhaps they'd just waited too long, that it was inevitable that this tension would explode like this between them.

Not that he was complaining. At all. He had his tongue down Sansa's throat and his hands on her body. That incredible body. Her high, tight round ass in his hands, her tits a perfect handful pressed against his chest and all that creamy smooth skin that just went on for days that was his.

His to touch. His to lick. His to kiss. His to mark.

Sansa mewled, and Jon lifted her leg, loving how her tiny skirt rucked up higher as she ground her lace-covered pussy on his leg. Jesus, he wanted her.

He slid his hands down to her ass, that fabulous peach of an ass that she had and held her there, letting her grind herself on his leg, loving it as she bucked and moaned on him. It was apparent that she wanted him as much as he wanted her, thank fuck, and Jon planned for this to be the first of many orgasms he gave her tonight. No way in hell he was settling for being mediocre.

"Let me get you off, sweetheart," he whispered into her ear, breaking the kiss.

He nipped at her ear and then sucked on her neck, his beard rasping against that pale, soft skin.

"Oh gods, please," she moaned, and he kicked the door shut. Quick as could be, he slid a hand up her smoothed, toned thighs, higher and higher, until he found his prize.

Jon could smell her arousal and felt the heat pouring off her pussy. He fingered the lace thong, felt how soaked it was and teased her clit, noting the bud was rock hard. As he stroked her, his other arm held her tight, letting her grind into his hand, slipping his fingers inside her and taking her lips in a brutal assault on her senses.

Jon wanted her to know exactly what he could deliver. That he wasn't all talk and no game. He needed her to know that he was the only man that could give her pleasure like this.

"That's it, my good girl, come on my fingers," he crooned in her ear.

She keened and tightened on him, drenching his hand with her cream. Jon loved it and felt his chest swell with pride at how must trust she was putting in him.

"Oh baby, you're so wet. I'm going to smell like you all through dinner. And the entire time, I'll just be thinking of the moment I can bring you back home and undress you, and then fuck you with my tongue and my mouth. And then when you can't possibly think you'll want more, I'll get you off while I feed you my cock. And you'll take it because you're such a good girl, right Sansa."

"Oh gods, yes, Jon," she panted, tugging at his hair. He liked the bite of pain – just the slight edge of it and wondered if she did as well.

"Say it. Say you're my good girl," he demanded.

"I am," she said, wild blue eyes focused on him.

Jon reached down, with his other hand cupped and a smooth ass cheek and squeezed. Hard.

Wetness gushed, and he knew that she liked a bit of pain with her pleasure which suited him just fine.

"Do you like that edge, sweetheart? Do you like it when I praise you?"

He locked eyes with her and held them there.

"Yes."

"Yes, what?" he demanded, needing her to say it.

"Yes, I like when you praise me. And give me orders. And when there is a bit of an edge."

Jon grinned, feral and possessive.

"Oh sweetheart, we are going to have so much fun," he crooned and felt her shudder slightly, her whimper telling him precisely what she needed.

"Jon, please, I need to come," she pleaded, nails biting into his shoulder where she clung to him. His cock went harder. He’d never been this turned on in his entire life.

Everything about Sansa drove him wild. Her scent. Her little whimpering mewls. How juicy she was. What she liked. How she responded to him. Her slim, toned body and perfect ass and tits.

Fuck, he couldn't wait to get her back home later tonight and just take his time, unlocking every desire she had.

But right now, this was about her. She'd been honest and responsive to him, and all he wanted was to make her come apart as her reward for being so good.

He stroked her faster, curling his fingers inside her cunt until he felt that spongy patch of nerves inside her walls. Her pussy clamped down on him as the keening wail broke from her lips, and she bucked in his arms, giving herself over to her orgasm with an abandonment that made Jon swell with pride.

Her trust in him, in them, was incredible, and he couldn't wait to have her again. As she finished shuddering, he held her close, stroking a hand down her back, gentle with her now, as she let out a contented sigh.

She tipped her head up to his.

Jon held her gaze and loved what he saw there. The edge of desire had been sated but the fire still burned.

"Better?"

He loved the elegant little snort.

"Are you fishing for compliments on your technique Dr. Snow?"

Jon grinned and shook his head.

"No, sweetheart. I know that was good for you the way your pussy fucking drenched me. I'm going to smell like your cunt all night. No need to wonder."

She blushed red but looked pleased with his dirty talk, and so it was only with some reluctance that he stood her up and reached down, picking up the half-crushed flowers. On that, he looked a bit sheepish, but she just laughed and then waved him to a downstairs bathroom while she called out for him to give her a few minutes to freshen up, taking the flowers from him and disappearing into the condo.

Jon took himself to the bathroom on the first floor to see what type of damage control he'd have to do.

Thankfully, his pants were dark enough to hide the wet spot her orgasm had left on his leg. He cleaned up and then towel-dried them and, knowing the restaurant was dark, didn't worry too much. Even after washing his hands, he swore he still smelled like her pussy, although it was likely all in his head. He wandered back out to the front hall to wait for her, more excited than ever for the night to come.

When she came back from freshening up, she still looked like she'd just been fucked to within an inch of her life, which pleased him greatly. No one that saw them tonight would doubt that Jon had made Sansa very, very happy before they'd gone to dinner.

Did his chest puff out a little bit? Perhaps, but Jon didn't care in the least.

"Ready for dinner?" he asked, pulling Sansa into his arms, brushing his lips across her cheek, noting the faint scuff of his beard on her elegant neck. Call him a caveman, but it just did something for Jon to the evidence of their passion on her skin.

"I am," she said as he helped her with her coat.

She set the alarm, grabbed her purse and soon enough, they were on their way, both of them eager to get on with their night and excited to finally take things to the next level in their relationship.

When he got her to the SUV, Jon opened the door, and she slid inside, and then he boxed her in, watching her breath hitch.

"And sweetheart, just so you know, that was just the beginning of how I'm going to make you scream my name."

Her eyes widened as her breath hitched. Pleased with how this evening, Jon couldn't help the smirk that graced his handsome face as he closed her door, whistling to himself at just how compatible he and the incredible Sansa Stark truly were.

 


 

Dinner – Sansa

 

Sansa knew that her cheeks were flushed, her eyes were bright and that she couldn't keep the smile off her face. The best orgasm of her life would do that to any girl, and she was a woman that hadn't exactly been hitting home runs when it came to the pleasure department.

They hadn't even slept together, and already Jon Snow was blowing her mind.

It was like the man knew every fantasy she had and was determined to fulfill them all.

Not that she was complaining. Not at all. The man was so sexy and handsome. She'd felt herself ache when she'd opened the door to see him standing there, looking good enough to eat.

And all his praise kink and dominance and the slight hint of hurt just revved her engine in a way no man ever had. Because Sansa trusted Jon implicitly, and while she knew they would have to talk about their bedroom preferences because communication was vital when exploring their mutual kinks, she knew that he would never push her too far. That was how much she trusted him.

She liked how confident Jon was, in a totally different way than Harry. Harry had been handsome, yes, in that golden boy way that made him act as if the world owed him something. Harry was cocky and arrogant, whereas Jon was just … sure. Sure of himself. Sure of his place in this world. Sure of his skills. It was so attractive. Even now, he gave her a little smirk when he gunned the engine to the SUV as if he knew how sexy he was.

He navigated the vehicle with ease, just like he'd commanded the ER.

Did he know how much a turn-on it was? Sansa wondered.

Probably. Men like him had to know. Take the other night and how quickly he’d put Robb in his place, which was no easy feat. Jon wasn't arrogant about who he was, but it was clear he was confident in himself.

"So, Dr. Snow, where are we off to tonight?" Sansa asked, just as Jon reached for her hand. He brought it to his lips and kissed it in a gesture that was both sweet and almost absent-minded as if it were the most natural thing in the world and her heart did a little flutter.

He was so in command of her pleasure, and yet, she loved these soft little gestures just as much.

When he named the best restaurant in Wintertown, her eyebrows winged up. She'd been there twice in her life with her parents. Once when Robb had graduated and another time for her birthday. It wasn't an easy place to get into.

"Impressed?" he asked, wiggling those eyebrows, lips quirking. Gods, this man did something to her.

"I am," she said. "How did you score that?"

He'd asked her out on Wednesday, and this place was known to be booked solid for months at a time.

"I saved a life," he said with a grin and laughed, but Sansa knew it had to be true.

How many lives had Jon saved? How much hope had he given back to people with his skills and his talent? How did he not see himself as a hero?

She hadn't stopped thinking about what she'd witnessed on Friday night in the emergency room. On some level, she'd understood what Jon did. She watched prime-time television and had an idea of what it meant to be a trauma surgeon. And they'd talked about his job in the month before she'd moved to Wintertown. Sansa had even googled what it took to become a surgeon of Jon's calibre.

So she wasn't ignorant to what his career involved. Or hadn’t thought she was. Until she'd see him in action. He had been in complete control, and everyone had deferred to him.

And oh boy, beyond being incredibly proud of him, watching him had turned her on.

It seemed like everything Jon did; he did with a single-minded determination to be the best. And that included making her happy and seeing to her pleasure. She thought she might have been embarrassed about how he'd made her come so quickly, as she'd ground herself against him in her hallway no less, still dressed. But all Sansa felt was terrific, especially when the man kept stroking her hand as he expertly drove them towards the restaurant where their dinner reservation was.

Sansa liked how easy the conversation was between them, even with that hum of sexual anticipation. She hadn't missed the bulge in those grey pants and couldn't wait to get back to her condo for the second part of the date.

They discussed their families, what they did on their Sundays and what their upcoming weeks were like. When they got to the restaurant, Jon escorted her from the SUV and then linked their hands, and Sansa didn't miss the envious look on the faces of some patrons when they entered the high-end eatery. Jon just drew everyone’s attention and she was proud that she was here with him, as his girlfriend.

The owner, Antione, rushed over upon seeing Jon and kissed him on both cheeks, proclaiming that Jon was finally here with a date. Sansa couldn't lie. That also made her feel good. She liked that Jon hadn't dated much. She liked that she was special. She liked that this was something more.

After introductions, in which Antoine winked at Jon and told him in a not-so-hushed whisper that 'he'd chosen well,' they were shown to an intimate little table that was romantic and cozy.

With a bottle of wine ordered and the specials given, Sansa levelled a look at Jon.

"So, what's the story with Antione?" she asked.

Jon's lips quirked, but before he could answer, their waiter was back with the bottle of red, opening it and asking Jon if it were to his liking. Knowing where he'd grown up, it didn't surprise Sansa in the least that her boyfriend knew good wine. Elia had an extensive collection in Sunspear, and Sansa had learned more from Elia about wine than anyone else. Clearly, so had Jon.

The red was deep and full-bodied with a hint of a smoky note that lingered, and Sansa sipped it slowly. She enjoyed wine as much as the next girl, but like hell she wanted to be tipsy tonight. She wanted her full wits about her the first time they slept together.

Sansa liked how Jon's eyes crinkled a bit as he recounted the story of saving Antoine’s life when he'd come into the ER after a traffic accident. As they settled into their meal, it was clear that Jon was beloved by Antoine, who quickly warmed to Sansa. She made him laugh as she regaled the restaurateur with her own tale of Jon's heroics on Friday night. By mid-meal, Sansa had been told she was welcome at the restaurant anytime she wanted – with or without Jon.

Jon just grinned good-naturedly as if he knew she’d never want to come here without him.

When their entrées finally came, lamb for her, duck for Jon, they finally had the privacy that Sansa craved to ask him about his preferences in the bedroom. She wanted it all out in the open so that they could truly give each other what they both craved.

"So Dr. Snow, have you always had a bit of a dominance kink?" she asked, fluttering her eyelashes at him and watching Jon's eyes go dark and hot.

"Careful, Ms. Stark. I'm not sure good girls should be asking questions like that," he responded.

Lust bolted through Sansa, white-hot and oh so delicious. She reached for Jon's hand. Squeezed. Looked him straight in the eye so there would be no doubts about what she wanted, how she wanted it, and what she craved. From him.  

"Oh, I can be a good girl, I promise."

"Yeah?" He asked, and Sansa nodded.

"Have you ever played like this before?"

Sansa shook her head. "No." She paused. "I've wanted to. It's there, within me. I like praise. I like being a good girl. I like pleasing you."

She saw Jon react to her words, and it was powerful. She understood the basics of this type of power exchange - what they both got out of it. It wasn't a one-way street at all. She got off on going into that submissive headspace, where he got off getting her there. And both of them got off by fulfilling this need in the other. It was a two-way street and when done properly, highly fulfilling. Or so she had read.

"Oh, sweetheart, I love pleasing you. I love being in control of your pleasure. Pushing you. Unlocking all those hidden fantasies.”

And that was what made them so compatible. Because what they wanted was in perfect accord.

“I want all those things as well. To please you and give myself over to you. To trust you’ll find that edge where we’re both happiest.”

Jon stroked his fingers over her hand, his eyes never leaving hers.

"I'm not fully into that lifestyle, San. I don't have a room of pain. I don't go to a club. Hell, I haven't ever really done this with anyone before. But I know my nature tends towards being more in control in the bedroom. I've read things," he said, his eyes locked on hers.

Sansa sipped wine and nodded.

"I think we figure out what we like... together. I'm not interested in a club or sharing you, Jon. Or being shared," she said, wrinkling her nose, loving how he growled.

"Fucking think not." He scowled as if the mere thought of anyone seeing her like he would piss him off, which she liked.

Sansa smirked at him. And then took a deep breath and blurted out what she wanted, hoping that it would pay off for both of them.

"I liked what we did at my house. When I bought my bed, I did think of being tied up. Maybe a blindfold. Just … I want to be open to what we both might like," she said. "I want something a bit beyond vanilla sex, but nothing too out there. At least, not to start."

He stroked her wrist, where her pulse beat wildly, fluttering like wings of a hummingbird.

"Oh, sweetheart, I am right there with you. We will find what works for us, Sansa."

She nodded as their waiter appeared, asking about the meal. The food was delicious, but she hardly tasted it. All Sansa wanted was Jon. And he wanted her.

He asked for the bill and dessert to go – some chocolate souffle special that she honestly didn't care about. They barely touched the wine and only ate half their meal. Neither one cared. There was a different kind of hunger driving them both – and one that could no longer be denied.

Soon enough, they were hand in hand, racing towards the SUV. When they got there, Jon pinned her against the big vehicle and took her lips in a brutally demanding kiss.

"Fuck, I've wanted you since you ran into me in Sunspear," he muttered, leaving her lips and trailing nips and bites down her neck as she moaned. She'd never behaved like this before, in public no less, but she'd also never felt this need before.

"Take me home," she whimpered as he hand cupped her ass and squeezed. Wetness gushed, and she felt her panties dampen further. She was ready for this next step. He stopped kissing her, his head coming up, eyes locked with her.

"If we do this, I won't let you go, Sansa. You’ll be mine, so be sure."

Her heart raced as those words seemed to imprint themselves on her.

"And you'll be mine. I'm sure."

He said nothing, dark eyes on her.

"I haven't been with anyone in a long time. I'm clean. I need to know what you're comfortable with when it comes to protection."

"I was tested a month ago. I have the results in my email if you want to see them. I'm clean. And I'm on the birth control shot. So your call, Jon. I trust you," she said, wondering what it would feel like to have sex without a condom.

In four years with Harry, they'd never taken that step, which probably told her everything she needed to know about her relationship.

Jon's hand slid up her thighs to her mound, which he cupped. He leaned in, tugging her ear.

"I want this pussy bare. I want this pussy to belong to me and only me. I want you to feel my cock, Sansa, as I fuck you deep and slow. No barriers. Nothing between us. Just you and me."

Her nails bit into his shoulders as she clung to him, whimpered.

"I want that as well."

With a flick to her clit that left her aching, Jon kissed her hard and then opened the SUV and got her inside. She was lost in a haze of lust as he circled the front of the vehicle and took his place behind the driver's seat.

When the throaty engine roared to life, Sansa swore she felt it in her body as well. Then, with one last look at her, Jon began to drive to her condo, all the while holding her hand, the anticipation between them building to an inferno that she could only hope didn't burn them both alive.

 


 

Sansa's Condo – Jon

 

As he drove, Jon's mind raced with possibilities. Everything about tonight had exceeded his expectations, including Sansa opening up about what she liked, what she wanted, what turned her on. And it all aligned perfectly with his desires.

When he'd been dating Ygritte, they'd both been young, him just past his twenty-first birthday. She was his first serious girlfriend, and while she didn't mind the occasional spanking, she'd never been into his kink. In fact, she liked taking control in the bedroom, which had never really done it for him. Perhaps it was because she was older than him, but it always felt like they were slightly out of balance in the bedroom. It was just one more thing that made them incompatible and one more reason he hadn't been too upset when things had ended between them.

After Ygritte, he'd hooked up with women. Enough women that Jon was confident in his skills to please anyone he took to bed. But one or two nightstands and some casual sex didn't lend itself to exploring his darker and deeper desires. That had to be done with someone he trusted – someone he had a connection with.

With Val, it had been --- convenient. Good, but more like taking care of business. Which was just fucking sad when he thought about it now. Not that they both hadn't gotten off. They had. But he'd settled with Val, and it hadn't been that satisfying.

With Sansa? There was no settling. She was everything he'd hoped for when he'd first run into her at Sunspear. She was his dream woman. And now more than ever he knew that to be true.

Her kinks aligned with his, and there was an emotional connection that deepened by the day. Jon hadn't been lying when he'd told her he was a possessive guy. Once he was inside her, once he had her, well --- all Jon knew was that everything would change.

It seemed like no time at all passed before he was pulling into her complex and cutting the engine to the vehicle. Without a word, they raced towards her condo, hand in hand, both of them needing this. She fumbled with her keys, and Jon took them from her, unable to wait, opening the door and kissing her neck as she keyed in her code to her alarm.

Then she was turning back to him, arms around his neck as she kicked off her heels. Jon lifted her up and began to make the climb to her bedroom where that bed that had fueled more than one fantasy awaited them.

When he got them there, he was pleased to see her windows afforded them privacy, so the moonlight was the only light in the room.

"Strip," he commanded, wondering how far he could take this, how far he could push it tonight.

Without hesitation, Sansa reached for the dress, and with a simple flick, it fell into a dark pool at her feet, leaving her bare except for the tiniest lace bra and a skimpy lace thong.

"Fuck, you're gorgeous," he said, shaking his head.

She smiled, cupped her breasts, and then said, "All of it?"

Jon could only nod, swallowing hard, watching as the little tease undid the bra and then hooked her fingers in her thong and slid it down those long legs. Legs he couldn't wait to have wrapped around him as he fucked her hard.

Jon purposely kept himself clothed as he stalked towards her. He loved how the moonlight highlighted the shadows and angles of her body; the curve of her hip, the fullness of a breast, the tip of a hardened nipple.

"Jon," she said, voice breathy and oh so needy.

He hovered his lips just above hers.

"Mine," was all he said before he once again took her mouth in a demanding kiss, loving how she opened up to him, giving herself over to him. Her mostly naked body, against his clothed one. The contrast was incredible as Jon let his hands stroke down her smooth back and to that ass he loved. He cupped and squeezed and heard her breath hitch.

That's when he began to trail love bites down her body, over her chest, until he reached her breasts and those nipples that were begging to be touched. Jon palmed one, flicked, while he tugged another into his mouth and sucked. Hard. Sansa keened. He continued.

He spent what felt like hours worshiping her tits before the smell of her drove him to his knees. There, her mound was covered with neatly trimmed red curls, and though he couldn't see everything in the moonlit room, he saw enough. A greedy little clit that was hard and pulsing. Wetness on her plump lower lips. A perfect pussy that he couldn't wait to taste.

"Spread your legs, sweetheart and no coming," he ordered, pleased when she did exactly what he asked.

He'd always loved giving oral, and especially when a woman was as responsive as Sansa. He knew she wasn't a virgin, and thank fuck for that, but neither did Jon think she'd had much experience with a man that was devoted to her pleasure. All of that was about to change now.

For as demanding as he may be, it was all because he knew that was what got her off – what got him off. It was about unlocking all those secrets she had – fantasies she might not even realize she wanted to be fulfilled. And if the cream that now filled his mouth as he licked up her seam was any indication, his dominant side turned her on. All the way on. She was so fucking juicy that she covered his face in her come as her legs quivered.

Jon gripped her ass and held her steady, pausing briefly when she dug her nails into his head and whimpered his name.

"Jon, gods, what are you doing to me?" she asked.

He grinned.

"No coming, or I'll have to punish you."

He laid a light smack on her ass, and she moaned, high and wild. Oh, gods, he couldn't wait to smack that ass one night, to pink it up as she got wetter from his ministrations.

In truth, Jon knew he couldn't play that much tonight. They'd waited too long to come together the first time, that some of the things he wanted to explore in bed with her would have to wait. Maybe there was a weekend where they could get away – head to Lys for an entire weekend with only each other and palm trees for company.

But those were thoughts for another time. Right now, he wanted to keep her on that edge of coming so that when he finally sunk inside her, she would feel him. All of him.

He wasn't a small guy, despite not being as tall as some men, but he more than made up for it in the size of his dick.

 When Jon finally rose from between Sansa's legs, he kissed her again, happy when she didn't even balk at her wetness covering his mouth and beard. The greedily little sounds coming from her ensured Jon that she was as turned on as he wanted her to be.

He stripped quickly, and Jon heard her gasp as she finally caught sight of him, naked. He couldn't help but smirk.

He'd caught her looking at him in the pool at the Water Garden Palace, and he knew his body turned female eyes. And it wasn’t just his rock hard abs. He reached for his dick and stroked, watching as she licked her lips and followed his movements with her eyes.

"You can touch me, sweetheart," he said, voice husky and rough.

"Gods, you're gorgeous," she said, running her hands along with his well-defined muscles. Then she reached his cock. Stroked. Touched. "And impressive."

Jon chuckled.

"Pretty sure that's my line, sweetheart."

She was adorable when she bit that bottom lip and laughed, clearly enjoying herself. Jon loved how even with all this tension swirling around them, this need he felt, there was still this – this connection with her.

Sansa gave him a little grin, and Jon was lost in everything he was feeling. She was so utterly perfect for him; sexy, sweet, submissive and yet, sassy. She was just the best combination of all the things that turned Jon on, and he couldn't help but card his hands through her hair and kiss her, slow and deep, hoping she understood without words what this all meant to him. He kept them locked in the kiss as he backed her towards the bed, then effortlessly lifted her and put her down on top of the covers, rising above her.

His hair was loose around his face, and hers spread out like a copper waterfall against her light grey comforter. Jon took a moment to just gaze at her.

"My Sansa," he whispered.

She smiled and cupped his cheek.

"My Jon."

That tipped him over. He kissed her hard as his cock nudged against her soaked folds, and then after a few shallow strokes, Jon surged inside Sansa, filling her full. He paused, breathing heavily as her legs came up around him, heels digging into his ass, as she moaned. He felt her shift, adjusting to his size, while Jon talked to himself, telling his dick to keep it together. She was tight. And warm. And fucking felt incredible, unlike anyone else he'd ever been with, and it took all his incredible willpower not to be some two-pump chump.

Fuck, it had been far too long since he'd been laid, and he'd never done it without a condom. Even with Val, they'd figured the condom had failed. In all his years, this was the first time he'd been in a woman bare, and nothing could have prepared him for how fucking good it felt. How slick and warm she was. How she kept tightening on him.

So this was all new territory for both of them.

"Fuck, what you feel like," he grunted and withdrew, dragging his dick along her slicked-up cunt.

Sansa keened, and he slammed back into her again, needing to take her hard.

"Jon, you feel so good," she said, holding onto him.

He threw his head back and groaned. She was all sweet slickness and tight velvet heat, and he knew he wouldn't last as long as he'd have liked. Still, Jon was determined to make this good for both of them.

"Fuck I love your cunt," he muttered, leaning down to capture her mouth in another demanding kiss, dragging himself in and out of her, over and over again, until they were slicked with sweat and the pounding of his blood roared through ears. He was only barely holding on when Sansa began to pant, and he ground his public bone against her mound, hitting her clit. She arched and tightened, eyes briefly closing.

"Eyes on me," he grunted, and they fluttered open. Somehow he kept his relentless pace going, twisting his hips and hitting the spot deep inside of her that flooded his cock with come as she wailed his name and broke apart underneath him.

"JON!"

He could only grunt and pound into her welcoming body as he felt his orgasm race down his spine and into his balls as he came deep inside of her, filling her with his come. He felt her hands on his face and had enough presence of mind to gaze at her, sure that whatever he was feeling, she was as well.

When he caught his breath, Jon kissed her, sweet and slow, holding himself just off her body. Sansa seemed to welcome his weight and the fact that he was still half-hard inside her. He'd never come that hard in his life.

"Wow," she finally said, giggling a bit. "You sure delivered."

Jon grinned and then tickled her. "Bet your ass I did, sweetheart."

Eventually, Jon rolled off her and went to the bathroom to grab a washcloth. When he came back, she was propped up, naked, sure of herself in a way that pleased him as he cleaned them both up. After he threw the dirty cloth into her clothing bin, she rose and grabbed a silky robe while he tugged on his pants, keeping his shirt off for now.

"Come on. I'm starving," she said, a wicked sparkle in her eyes.

She led him by the hand down to her kitchen, picking up their forgotten desert along the way. When he was seated at the island on a stool, she grabbed a bottle of water for each of them and then came to stand in between his legs.

He fed her bites of the chocolatey confection, his dick hardening as she moaned around the fork.

Then, without him even prompting her, she dropped to her knees and tugged his pants down and then took him in her mouth, eyes gazing up at him while he fucked her mouth, his hands carded through her hair, losing himself in the sensations. Without even needing the words, Jon knew this was turning her on, which made him even harder. They were insatiable for one another.

"Sansa, if you keep going, I'm going to come in your mouth," he warned voice guttural at that image.

He swore to the old gods she fucking smirked, and he growled and pumped inside that wet mouth, bellowing her name as he spent down her throat. He closed his eyes for a moment, gathering himself before he scooped her up and put her bare ass on the island and parted her thighs.

"Hands-on the counter," he demanded, his need for her barely slaked.

Sansa's eyes darkened, and she did as he commanded, her silky robe covering her tits as he feasted on her swollen slit, loving it when she ground herself against his face, never taking her hands from the counter as he brought her to orgasm number three for the night.

Finally totally exhausted, they somehow made it back upstairs and fell into her bed, Jon setting the alarm for a few hours. Before they fell asleep, he tugged her into his arms, noting how she fit perfectly there.

"Best date night ever, Ms. Stark," he whispered and heard her sleep giggle.

"Best date night ever, Dr. Snow."

 


 

Chapter Text


 

Monday – Sansa

 

Sometime in the night, after another round of intense lovemaking, Sansa remembered Jon brushing her hair back from her face and kissing her goodnight. Or good morning. She couldn't quite remember - only that when she woke up, she had a sweet text message from him and an ache in her core that brought back the feelings of the incredible night they'd had.

Never in her entire life had Sansa experienced anything like Jon Snow and his incredible skills when it came to her pleasure. She'd always known something was missing with Harry. But being with Jon had made her realize just how lacking that relationship had been. Jon Snow was the best lover she’d ever had.

Sansa stretched and then spent a few minutes thinking about the sex from the night before. She'd never been a woman that got off easily, but Jon seemed to know exactly how to touch her, kiss her, talk to her to make her orgasm multiple times.

And that entire dom/sub talk? Gods, how freeing was it to find a man that got her kink and had the same one?

It felt amazing. Everything felt amazing.

She took a selfie and sent it off to Jon, pleased when he responded right away.

Jon: There's my sexy girl. Time for a quick chat?

She knew he was at work today, so she quickly tapped his name and the phone rang through to him.

"Hey sweetheart," he said into the phone, voice low and rough.

"Hi, back," she said, knowing she sounded a bit breathless but unable to help herself.

"How are you feeling?"

"So good? You? You're the one who got no sleep."

Jon chuckled into the phone. "Oh, trust me, I've functioned on far less sleep and for much less pleasant reasons."

That made Sansa smile.

"It was good, right? That wasn't just in my head?"

"It was great, Sansa."

She giggled and stretched out in bed. "I'm so lazy, and I have so much to do today."

"Your boss is a harsh and demanding woman."

Sansa snorted. She liked Jon's dry wit.

"Yes, well, be that as it may, I need to get this condo set up properly and then I need to start to finalize some plans to meet some designers in the North."

"What does your week look like?"

They discussed their schedules, which were, as they'd assumed, busy. Jon had staff meetings and work, and he wanted to spend some time with Mia since he'd been away a lot on the weekend.

"How about dinner with Mia and me? Taco Tuesday, but on a Wednesday?"

Sansa laughed. "Oh gods, I'm going to have that song stuck in my head. But yes. I'd love that! What can I bring? I make a mean homemade guacamole."

They discussed a time, and then they both had to go, but Sansa knew she'd spend the day sending each other funny and flirty text messages. With that, she finally dragged herself out of bed, grinning when she saw the marks on her pale skin in her bathroom. Marks left but a man that had rocked her world like no other.

After a quick shower and breakfast, Sansa found herself ensconced in her home office, prepared to dive into her day.

It was only when her stomach rumbled, and Sansa looked around to realize she'd been at it for hours. She was hungry, and she'd made some excellent progress, confirming with three designers that she could meet with them later this week. First, she’d fly into Bear Island to meet with Dacey Mormont before heading to Castle Black to meet with a man named Satin and then beyond the Wall to Craster's Keep to inspect some fabrics by a woman named Gilly.

Sansa had a call with Elia, and they'd gone over the projections from their show at the Water Garden Palace and what was trending in the south. Sansa hadn't gotten out enough in the North to say if she saw anything different, but she'd have a much better idea after this quick trip at the end of the week.

Her mother had already texted to ask if it was too soon to invite Jon and Mia to dinner on Friday night at Winterfell Manor. Sansa promised she'd ask him, delighted that her mom seemed to like Jon so much. And Sansa couldn't wait to watch Mia charm her parents. It was a sore spot for the Starks – that none of their children had given them grandbabies to spoil yet. Sansa was lost in her head that she almost missed the knock on her door.

She wasn't expecting anyone but now that she was in Wintertown and in her condo, it could be any of her family. Or even an old friend she hadn't seen in a while. Sansa wouldn't put it past her mom to tell Theon or Jeyne that she was back.

Instead, when she opened the door, Sansa saw her little sister standing there, a scowl on her face and her arms crossed over her chest.

"Arya, hi," Sansa said, giving her sister a tentative smile.

"What happened to your neck?" Arya asked as Sansa stepped back, and Arya stomped into her house.

Her little sister was dressed in all black, with big black boots and looked tough and standoffish. Sansa glanced around her sister to see her motorcycle sitting at her parking spot, which reminded Sansa that she needed to go vehicle shopping.

"Come in," Sansa muttered and then shut the door after she glanced at herself in the mirror and blushed. Yup the marks from Jon were still there on her pale skin. She hadn’t put any concealer on because Sansa was expecting visitors today. But this was one guy Sansa wasn't going to feel embarrassed by or hide.

"My boyfriend and I had a date last night," Sansa responded.

Arya snorted. "So it's true. You're dating that hotshot doctor?"

"Well, I'm not sure I'd call him a hotshot," Sansa said, but Arya gave her a look and Sansa knew that Jon had a great reputation if even Arya knew about him.

"Did he use your neck as a chew toy?"

Frustrated, Sansa put her hands on her hips.

"Arya, I'm happy to see you, but I'm sensing you've got something on your mind. So spit it out."

One of Arya's dark eyebrows winged up. Then she cocked her head and looked at Sansa.

"You've changed."

Sansa snorted.

"I hope so. I left Wintertown a decade ago. But I've grown up and I know how I left wasn’t great. I hope you can forgive me for leaving as I did."

Sansa saw as the air seemed to deflate out of her sister as she hunched her shoulders.

"I know we weren't close when we were younger, San. I bugged the shit out of you with all that fashion and girly shit you were into." Arya paused. "But I didn’t think you’d just leave. I didn’t know you were that unhappy here. For years, I thought I was the reason you'd left."

Sansa felt her stomach drop as she realized the impact her leaving had on her sister. What Arya said was true. They hadn't gotten along when they were younger. And when Sansa left, she had been solely focused on herself, which likely hadn't helped matters between her and her sister.

Taking a chance, Sansa reached out and grabbed Arya's hand.

"I promise you, Arya, my leaving had nothing to do with you. I was so unhappy here and just felt like there was no escape from the Stark name. I wanted more than the North. And you all seemed to love it here. I couldn’t relate to any of you."

Arya snorted. "We're Starks, Sansa. We belong in the North."

Sansa bit her lip and debated how far to take this with her sister. Then decided now was no time to hide her true feelings.

"That statement right there is why I had to leave. You don't leave room for anyone who doesn't see the world the way you do, Arya. I love you, I do, but gods, can't you understand that I was drowning up here?"

Her sister frowned and then kicked at one of those god-awful ugly boots she was wearing.

"I mean, I knew you weren't happy, but I didn't know it was that bad."

Sansa gave a hysterical little snort.

"Arya, there was no way I'd be where I was today if I had stayed."

Her sister sighed and shrugged a shoulder. "And now?"

Sansa frowned.

"Now what?"

"Are you back for good? Or are you going swoop in here and make Mom and Dad, and Robb and Ric and Bran all excited that you're back, just to leave again?"

Guilt that Sansa didn't know she could feel pressed down upon her. Sansa's contract for Elia was for a year, and truth be told, Sansa had no idea what Jon's plans were when he was done his last bit of schooling. Sansa didn't want to lie to her sister, but she could sense that if she answered wrong, she might ruin things before she could make them right with Arya.

"I don't know exactly where I'll be in a year, but," Sansa said as Arya scowled, "I promise that wherever it is, I will never leave the way I did when I was eighteen." Sansa took a breath. "I was a kid, Arry. An unhappy kid that had to find her own way in this world. I hope you can understand that."

Arya gave a big sigh and looked at Sansa. "I guess."

Sansa felt her lips twitch. "Come on. I'm just about to make lunch. You can join me."

"Yeah? You gonna make homemade grilled cheese and tomato soup?"

It had been one of Sansa's go-to meals to cook for her younger siblings, along with Kraft Dinner and chicken and stars.

"What are we? Twelve?" Sansa asked but smiled. Arya surprised her by darting in for a quick hug, which Sansa gladly returned.

"I'm glad your home, sissy."

Sansa sniffed.

"My too, Arya. Me too."

After Arya stepped back, Sansa took her by the hand.

"Now come on. I'll cook, and you fill me in on Gendry and your dojo and everything I've missed."

Arya's lips quirked. "All right. If you spill the goods on the doctor. Is he more McSteamy or McDreamy?"

Sansa's laugh was bright and happy. "Oh, Arya, he's definitely the best parts of both."

With that, both Stark sisters shared a knowing look, and Sansa felt another crack in her heart begin to mend, knowing that her family was one of a kind and grateful for this second chance to be part of the Stark pack.

 


 

Tuesday – Sansa

 

"Sansa, I just think we should look at a few different options before you settle on a Land Rover Discovery," Robb said, giving her a wink. "After all, it's a bit like dating, right? You have to test drive a lot of models before you settle for the one?”

Sansa chuckled and shook her head at her brother.

There was no doubt that Robb liked to play the field. Sansa couldn't even keep up with how many girlfriends he'd had over the years. The same went with vehicles. Robb got bored easily.

"Robb, I know what I want. Jon let me drive his the other day, and it's perfect for me. It’s big enough to have a car seat for Mia and not so big it's a gas guzzler. Plus, it has lots of trunk space for fabrics and the occasional mannequin if needed."

Robb frowned but did as he was asked and drove to the Range Rover dealership.

"Things are pretty serious between you two, huh?"

"I'd say so. Or least, I hope they are. Neither one of us has had much luck in the dating world, and this just seemed so effortless and good."

"And it's not like an insta-step mom-type thing?"

Sansa took a moment to observe her oldest brother. It was true that Robb could be a bit self-involved. He was definitely the golden child. And he hadn't even come close to settling down himself. But he cared. And Sansa knew his question came from a place of looking out for her and not because he was questioning her judgement. Or at least she hoped not.

"It's not like that at all. Mia is really well adjusted, and Jon has things under control when it comes to parenting. I’m more like – a great addition to their little unit."

"What's the deal with the birth mom?" Robb asked, frowning.

Whether he knew it or not, Sansa could already see that Robb was Team!Jonsa. He was protective of them as a unit. Sansa hid the smile.

"It wasn't serious, between the mom and Jon. They were just hooking up and then boom, pregnant. Jon said that Val stayed for the first two months and then signed over all rights for Mia to him."

Robb scowled and shook his head. "Man, that's rough." Paused. "He seems like a good guy. A bit arrogant, but a good guy."

Sansa snorted and punched Robb on the shoulder. "Pot meet kettle. Give him a chance, Robb. He is a good guy."

Robb gave her a sassy little grin. "Is he going to come to family dinner on Friday night?"

"Oh yeah. And he's bringing Mia. She's a blast. I can't wait for Mom and Dad to meet her."

"Yeah, they'll love that. They're dying for grandkids."

Sansa opened her phone and showed Robb a few pictures she had of her, Mia and Jon – some of the zoo and some of the park, and she saw when her big brother accepted Jon entirely.

"You guy looks really good together, San. I'm happy for you," Robb said quietly.

All Sansa could do was grin, pleased that she finally had the perfect boyfriend and that he was Stark family approved.

 


 

After the exhaustion of buying a vehicle, even with knowing what she wanted, Sansa was grateful to come home, brew up a pot of tea and put on some soft music as she scrolled through her emails.

It was odd this feeling she had in her condo in Wintertown. It felt far more like home than her place in Highgarden or Sunspear ever had. She thought about her family and those interactions she'd had over the past few days with them. They’d welcomed her back with open arms.

She knew the way she'd left, and she'd hurt people – her parents for sure. But she hadn't expected her little sister's pain, and that weighed on Sansa. She sent Arya a quick text message.

Sansa: I bought a new car. You'll think it's far too girly. Do you want to come hang out and watch bad reality TV tonight?

Sansa wasn't sure if her sister would respond. She knew she had some work to do there to make things right with Arya. But this was a start, and if Arya said no, well, Sansa would just keep trying.

Thankfully, her phone chimed almost immediately.

Arya: Sure. Thai, Indian or Chinese for dinner? My treat as long as you have beer.

Ginning now, Sansa gave her order of spicy butter chicken and extra naan bread and promised she had beer.

Arya: Haha, you never change San. And yeah, that's a total mom-vehicle, but considering you're basically trying on that role, it's a good vehicle. See you later.

So pleased with how things were going, Sansa actually let out a little squeal of happiness when she realized how well everything was coming together. Excited, Sansa dialled Elia's private number.

"Hello, my dear. How is the North?" Elia's warm voice said.

"So good!"

With that, Sansa launched into the work stuff first, and the two women spent a good forty-five minutes talking about what they might like to see from the up-and-coming designers. Elia was incredibly excited about the fabric from Gilly, having tried to get her hands on it for years.

Once that was done, Elia chuckled. "Now, my dear, tell me all about your love life."

Sansa gave a dreamy sigh.

"Jon is so incredible, El. I --- I've just never felt like this with someone before. I got to see him in action at the hospital on Friday night, and I can't even describe how good he is at his job. It was amazing. And I got to spend the entire day and evening with Mia since he was so busy."

"Mia told me all about her day with her Sansa. She is quite taken with you."

"She's wonderful," Sansa gushed.

"And your date on Sunday night with my boy?"

Sansa blushed and mumbled something about how good dinner was. She loved Elia, but she couldn't discuss that aspect of her time with Jon with his mother!

Elia chuckled. "Don’t worry, I do not need details. I know what it is like to be swept away by a man and be young and in love."

"Speaking of love, how is Arthur?" Sansa asked and heard Elia suck in a breath.

"Sneaky girl," Elia muttered as she sighed. "I'm far too old to be having an affair."

Sansa snorted. "I think not. Gods, I hope I'm having sex into my eighties," Sansa countered, making Elia laugh.

"Is he a good man?" Sansa asked gently. She knew how burned Elia had been by her husband.

"He is."

"Elia, we love you. All of us. All we want is for you to be happy."

"Well, I want more grandbabies," Elia murmured, and Sansa laughed.

"I have to go, but we'll chat tomorrow, alright? I'm having a taco date with Mia and Jon tomorrow night, so we'll facetime you when I'm there. Sound good?"

"Sounds perfect, my dear. I knew you were what they were missing. Talk soon."

With that, Sansa hung up and then spent the rest of the day finishing off her trip North, working on her vision for House of Martell fashion in the North, and preparing for her little sister to come over and visit tonight.

All in all, it was a perfect Tuesday with the bonus of seeing Jon and Mia on Wednesday night, before she finally got to take her first trip into the wilds of the North, proving to Elia that she had picked the right woman for the job.

 


 

Wednesday – Sansa

 

Sansa thought that her Wednesday might drag, for she was so excited to see Jon and Mia at the end of the day. But it went by shockingly fast, perhaps owing to the fact that her mother stopped by for a tour of Sansa's condo, and then they went for lunch, taking up a good chunk of her day and keeping her mind occupied.

Jon had confirmed that he and Mia would love to come to Friday night dinner at the Stark mansion, and Sansa spent lunch with her mom gushing over Jon and his daughter.

"I'm so happy for you, Sansa," Catelyn said, a warm smile on her face. "You know how much Robb loves to play the field, and I doubt Arya will ever give me grandbabies to spoil. But you've always talked about children as being part of your future."

It felt so lovely to sit on a patio at one of the hip, trendy restaurants in the North and have this girl talk with her mother. It was something Sansa hadn't realized how much she'd missed in the past few years. Her relationship with her mother seemed so much different now that she was an adult. A mature woman of twenty-eight that had a thriving career and a great boyfriend.

"Oh, I do want kids, Mom. And, I mean, we haven't discussed any of that yet, but Jon is so good with Mia. He was so grateful when I spent Saturday with her, and we got to cook and bake. I'm going over to his house for dinner tonight."

Catelyn gave an approving smile and asked about their date on Sunday, to which Sansa managed not to blush too much as she gave her mother the non-x-rated version of their date.

High off a great lunch with her mother, Sansa rang the doorbell to Jon and Mia's place a few hours later. Perhaps she was a bit early, but she didn't think Jon would mind. She had a six-pack of beer, all the ingredients to make fresh salsa and guacamole and the tortilla chips she loved. Since the day was beautiful, Sansa was wearing a sundress with wedges and her sunglasses, her long hair loose down her back.

Jon opened the door, took one look at her and reached for her.

Sansa's heart did a pitter-patter thing as he slanted his lips across hers, his hand on her back while the other cupped her neck, and he kissed her for all he was worth. When she was finally breathless, he pulled back, but only slightly.

"Fuck sweetheart, I've missed you," he said, a low growl to that voice she loved.

Sansa positively beamed. "I've missed you as well."

She loved how Jon didn't hold things back – he just said what was on his mind. It was so refreshing. He kissed her again and then tugged her inside the house. Sansa slipped off her shoes as she listened for Mia.

"Where is the little tornado?"

Jon snorted. "In the backyard. She's been wild all day, waiting for you to come over."

Something warm bloomed in Sansa's chest, hearing that. She dropped her two grocery bags on the kitchen island and then went out through the French doors to see Mia blowing bubbles in the backyard.

"Hi, Mia!" Sansa called. Mia’s heard turned on a dime the moment she heard Sansa call her name.

Mia dropped the bubble wand and then launched herself at Sansa, screaming her name.

"Sansa, YOU'RE HERE!"

Sansa caught her, scooped her up and hugged her close as Mia babbled all about her day. When Sansa turned back to the house, she saw Jon watching them, a contented look on his handsome face.

"Mia bug, you have to let Sansa answer your questions," he explained patiently.

Mia giggle and rested her head against Sansa's neck.

"I just missed her soooooo much, Daddy. It's been soooooo long since she was here."

Jon laughed as Sansa put Mia down, her hand clasped in the little girls.

“Sansa, I have to show you how I’ve arranged my dolls,” she said, dragging Sansa inside, as Jon reached for them.

“Hold on a sec, Mia.”

He leaned down and kissed Sansa, this one much more G-rated, but still, in front of Mia.

“Are you sure?” Sansa whispered.

Jon’s lips quirked. “One hundred percent. I’m in this relationship, Sansa. All in.”

“Me too.”

Jon smiled at her.

“Good. Now I’ll let Mia occupy you for half an hour and then we can prep dinner if that works for you. I’ll admit, I’m only good at the basics.”

Sansa cupped Jon’s cheek and kissed him again. “Not to worry. Mia knows all about being my sous chef! You can be one too, Dr. Snow.”

With that, Sansa let Mia drag her off to her playroom. She immersed herself in dolls for the promised half an hour. Mia was only slightly bossy and did listen to Sansa’s suggestions, which was something. When Jon popped his head in to say it was time to start preparing for dinner, Mia’s lip went into a pout.

“But I don’t want Sansa to leave yet.”

“Oh baby, I’m not leaving,” Sansa said and then clamped her mouth shut.

Shit!

She hadn’t meant to call Mia that endearment. She looked to Jon, to see if he was upset with her, but he had this soft smile on his face.

“You’re not?” Mia asked, crawling into Sansa’s lap. Sansa brushed back Mia’s hair.

“Nope. I’m here all night. We can make dinner and then I thought after dinner, we could walk to the park, together.”

Mia jumped up and raced to Jon to ask if they could do that, just as Sansa rose to her feet. When Sansa got to Jon, he slipped his hand into hers, as Mia had run off towards the kitchen.

“Fuck, sweetheart, you have no idea what it does to me to see the two of you bond as you have. You’re incredible, Sansa,” he said.

“You’re sure? I didn’t mean to overstep---” he was kissing her then, letting her know he had no issues with any of this.

“Sansa, I know you have her best interests at heart,” was all he said when he finally stopped kissing her.

“I do.”

She did. They both knew it. They were moving fast – they’d met each other’s families already and had sex and were doing things as a family. But it felt right, and Sansa wasn’t going to argue it. They weren’t exactly young and they both knew what they wanted. And neither one of them was in any type of place to be playing games.

Jon nodded. “Good. You fit with us, sweetheart.”

Sansa beamed at Jon. “Maybe you two fit with me!”

Jon laughed. “That we do. We all just fit. Now, let’s go make tacos!”

They found Mia in the kitchen waiting by her stool and holding her little apron. Sansa helped her put it on and unpacked the ingredients she had brought with her. She tried not to laugh when Mia scrunched up her nose at the avocado, but the little girl threw herself into the squishing of it when it came to making the guacamole.

Jon kept brushing kisses against her cheek or her lips or resting a hand on her back, shoulder or butt. She did the same, and soon enough they were drinking beer and eating chips and fresh salsa and guac as the meat browned. Mia didn’t seem phased in the least by their open affection, just accepting that Sansa was here, part of her family.

“This is gooooood Sansa,” Mia said, scooping up the guac and shovelling it into her mouth.

“You’re the Mia-whisperer,” Jon said to her, making Sansa laughed. She adored these two so much.

“I have one more special surprise for our dinner!” Sansa announced, pulling out little cactus taco holders.

Mia squealed in excitement as they sat around the kitchen table, the three of them, indulging in their first family meal, together. There was no other word for it, and both Jon and Sansa knew this was a huge step in their relationship.

Later, stuffed full of tacos and buzzed on two beers, with the kitchen cleaned, they walked to the park near Jon’s house. It was huge, a true testament to the wealthy neighbourhood in which he lived. Mia rode her bike, a white and purple thing that had glittery stickers all over it, along with a bright pink helmet as they strolled behind her hand in hand.

“Having a good time?” Jon asked and Sansa smiled at him.

“The best time.”

He arched an eyebrow at that.

“Well, the night is still young, Ms. Stark, and I’ve only had the barest taste of you today.”

The desire in his eyes was evident, burning and intense. Sansa felt the hum in her blood, loving how her nerve endings pickled in anticipation.

“Pleases tell me she’s a deep sleeper?” Sansa asked as Jon laughed.

“She goes out in a heartbeat and sleeps like the dead. Trust me. We’ll be fine.”

They spent a good hour at the park and then Jon gave Mia a bath upon returning home, while Sansa tidied up downstairs. She liked how domestic they were. In fresh jammies, Mia launched herself at Sansa on the couch, with three books in her hand.

“I thought you could read my stories tonight, Sansa,” she said, clutching her wolf stuffie in her other hand.

Jon joined them, bringing a blanket, so they were all cuddled together on the couch. Sansa had to swallow around the lump in her throat. This little family was everything she’d ever wanted in her life. And from the expression on Jon’s face, he felt it as well. They were on the exact same page when it came to this relationship.

Three stories later, hugs and promises that Sansa would see Mia on Friday for dinner at Winterfell Manon, Jon finally carried his daughter upstairs. He was back in fifteen minutes, taking a spot beside Sansa on the couch and drawing her into his arms.

“She’s already out,” he told her and pressed a kiss to her forehead.

“She’s perfect, Jon,” Sansa told him, watching the pride on his face when she mentioned his daughter.

“Yeah, she’s pretty amazing. There were times when I had no idea what I was doing or if I was doing the right thing with her. But I think she’s turned out pretty good.”

“Better than good. As I said, she’s incredible.” Sansa bit her lip and looked at Jon. The TV was muted.

“What’s on your mind?”

“Doyouwantmorekidsoneday?” she blurted out in a rush.

Jon looked confused before a smile bloomed. He stroked a finger down her cheek.

“Yeah. I’d like to be married next time. Established. But yeah, Sansa. I want more kids one day.”

“Good. Me too. I mean, not that I have kids, but I’d like kids. I mean, I love Mia, so I mean, there’s that. Not that I’m saying she’s mine ---”

Jon’s laughter, followed by his lips, cut her off.

“I love it when you nervous babble,” he told her making her blush but not deny it. She was a nervous talker indeed.

Jon cupped her cheek and things settled between them.

“So, I need to know. How did you feel about what happened between us on Sunday night? Any regrets?”

“God no!” Sansa said in a rush, shaking her head. “You?”

“Only that I had to leave your bed. And the dom/sub stuff? How do you feel about that?” he asked, serious.

She smiled and leaned closer. “Well, Dr. Snow, if you’re asking if I’m in, I am. If you’re asking if I know red, yellow, green I do. If you want to exchange lists of what we both like, what our kinks are, we can. I love the idea of you leading in the bedroom. It turns me on.”

Jon growled. “Sansa, fuck you drive me wild.”

She batted her eyelashes and quick as could be, Jon spun her, placing her across his knee.

“Tell me, sweetheart, have you ever been spanked? You’re being a bad girl,” he purred.

“Never.”

“What colour, Sansa,” he demanded, testing her.

“Green,” she replied instantly.

He rucked up the skirt of her dress, so her ass was exposed. She was wearing a tiny thong and she felt the rush of air across her skin and then – a crack.

Jon’s hand came down on one fleshy cheek and she moaned, the slight sting blooming into something delightful.

“Oh gods,” she said and wiggled, wanting more.

“Nine more. Count them out for me,” he demanded and peppered her ass again and again.

By the end, she was an incoherent mess of need. She could smell herself and had dripped all over his pants.

“Such a good girl,” he crooned, rubbing her reddened flesh.

“Strip and bend over the couch,” he commanded as he helped her to her feet and she did exactly what he asked, watching the approval flare in his stormy grey eyes.

She had never presented herself like this and knew he was staring at her – it only added to the entire evening and heightened her desire.

“You’re being so good, sweetheart, that I’m going to reward you. Spread those legs wide and no coming until I tell you,” he ordered.

Sansa trembled but promised she wouldn’t.

Then Jon dropped to his knees, cupping her ass and sniffing at her.

“Fuck you’re wet. This juicy cunt liked me spanking you, didn’t it?”

Sansa groaned and dug her hands into the couch cushions, legs trembling.

“Yes. I loved it.”

She didn’t beg or plead, just let him lead, having never been this turned on in her life. It was clear that she lived for this sub stuff and he was so good at giving her pleasure, knowing what she craved, what she desired.

Sansa felt his hands on her thighs as he parted her, and then licked, long and slow through her seem, up to her clit, again and again, almost lazily as if she weren’t a woman trembling on the brink of an explosion.

But still, she didn’t come, wanting to do as he’d asked and not come until ordered. When she couldn’t even see straight, he finally rose and covered her body with his. She loved how his toned body fit over hers, his stubble brushing against her skin.

“Such a good girl,” he crooned, petting her clit.

“Come, baby, on my fingers,” he ordered, and she flew apart, just as he slammed his huge dick inside of her, the orgasm making her cunt extra tight so they both groaned at the sensation. 

She whimpered his name, but he just kept going and all she could do was hold on, letting Jon take her exactly as he wished.

“Fuck my fat cock barely fits in this tight pussy,” he grunted but somehow worked himself inside of her, all the way to her womb.

Then he withdrew along her swollen flesh, so she felt every inch of him and thrust inside again. Even though she’d just had one orgasm, soon enough Jon had her ramped up again, and she keened out a wail that was half plea and half his name, seeking only what he could give her. The man knew exactly what she desired.

When she came again, black spots danced in her eyes as she hung over the couch and Jon grunted and finished deep inside of her, bathing her with his come. He pressed kisses to her neck and kept murmuring how amazing she was. She turned her face and met his lips, a dreamy smile on her face.

“You are incredible,” he said gruffly, and she giggled.

“That’s my line, Dr. Snow.”

He smiled and then withdrew, cleaning her with his shirt and then scooping her into his arms and bringing her upstairs to his bedroom.

“Wait until you see the bathtub in the master ensuite,” he told her.

Sansa pressed closer to Jon, loving how good Jon was with the aftercare.

Soon enough she found herself in the huge tub, in Jon’s arms, as her lover pressed kisses to her forehead. Her breasts bobbed in the water, through the bubbles, as she ran her hand up and down Jon’s arms, completely blissed out.

Sansa had never felt contentment like this in her entire life – as if she’d found the person she was meant to be with. She finally turned to meet his eyes.

“Great taco Tuesday but on a Wednesday, Dr. Snow.”

Jon gave a little laugh and kissed her deep and slow.

“Great taco date, Sansa Stark.”

 


 

Chapter Text


 

 

Wintertown – Jon

 

The alarm went off early, far earlier than Jon had hoped for. He'd known, of course, that it would sound, as Sansa hadn't packed an overnight bag. But he wasn't quite ready to let her go yet. She hit snooze, and he cuddled her closer, loving how her legs tangled in his. He'd had his king-sized bed for years and had never had a woman in it. Not until Sansa.

He felt her squirm, that perky arse he'd redden earlier grinding into his rapidly hardening cock. Fuck he couldn't get enough of her. Even now, mere hours later, after he'd taken her again in the bathtub, he wanted her. He reached down and felt between her thighs, finding her pussy wet.

"Sweetheart, were you dreaming of me?" he whispered into her ear and then nuzzled her neck, dragging his lips along the thin column of milk-white skin, knowing she'd wear his marks in the morning.

"Yes," she moaned, and shifted, just as Jon lifted her leg and slid inside of her.

Tight, wet, velvet heat gripped him as he gripped her hip and flexed his hips.

This woman was fast becoming everything to him. Wild and passionate in the bedroom, just the right amount of submissiveness to tick that box for him and bright as could be. She was sexy, kind, compassionate and brilliant with his daughter. And fuck could she cook.

"Christ, Sansa, that cunt," he groaned into her ear, cupping a breast and rolling the nipple as she bucked back on him, driving herself onto his dick again and again.

"Jon, gods, please," she begged, which only made him harder. Hearing those sweet pleas from her lips drove him mad.

"Please what? Ask nicely," he said, pinching a nipple and capturing her keening moan in his mouth as her cunt gushed with fresh cream.

She turned her head and smashed her lips against his, biting at him, bucking and still he didn't reach between her legs. He knew that greedy little clit of hers would be a pulsing nub of need, but he wanted to drive her out of her mind with desire before he let her come.

"Please let me come," she finally begged.

Jon only grinned as he slid a hand down her slim stomach and tapped her mound, feeling the lips of her pussy stretched around his cock. She wailed, and he kept it up, alternating harder and lighter smacks against her cunt, until finally, he felt her start to shake, and the walls of her pussy gripped him hard. Growling, he took her lips in a brutal kiss as he pinched her clit, knowing she was on the brink of an explosive orgasm. One that only he could give her.

"Come, now, Sansa," he commanded and felt her detonate around him, barely keeping his wits about him as he fucked her hard and deep before he unleashed spurt after spurt of cum inside her pulsing cunt that milked him dry.

“Fucking hells,” he muttered, cradling her close, still rocking gently inside her.

Jon loved how she collapsed in his arms, a sweaty mess that reeked of sex, but seemingly uncaring. They both were covered in one another, something else that was new for him. He’d never had sex without a condom before and he liked how his seed looked dripping from her freshly fucked pussy. Jon saw her smiling up at him and he grinned back, unable to help it.

"Wow," she said.

Wow indeed. He'd always loved sex, but nothing had prepared him for this. He knew that he could fuck her every day for the rest of his life, and she'd always be the best sex he’d ever had. Or would ever have. This type of chemistry was rare and something special.

"Wow indeed."

She groaned as she looked at the time – a full forty minutes after her alarm had sounded. Jon didn’t care in the least that he’d kept her in his bed for one more round of mind blowing sex.

"Gods, I have to be at the airport so early," she moaned, finally rolling away from him.

Jon couldn't help but admire the view as he watched her naked form dart into his bathroom, gathering her clothing along the way. The woman had a killer arse – one she liked spanked. Even thinking of taking her over his knee while she creamed all over his leg had his spent cock twitching again.

When she was back, she came to the bed where he was propped up, waiting for her, and sat on the side of it.

"So how formal is Friday night dinner?" he asked, watching her bit that lip he loved to suck. Jon pressed a kiss to her shoulder and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, eager to hear her answer. He was comfortable in formal settings, so it didn’t bother him – he just liked to be prepared. And prepare his daughter. Although the Starks had raised five children, including Rickon, so perhaps they would be prepared for a Mia-sized tornado.

"Formal-ish. Like a suit. What you wore to Elia's party," she told him. "I can come by and help Mia with her hair if she'd like before we go."

Jon smiled at how sweet Sansa was.

"She'd love that." Then he took her hand and raised it to his lips, pressing a soft kiss there. "And I think you should pack a bag. To stay the night, here, after dinner."

Her eyes widened, and she looked excited. "Do you think we're ready for that? Do you think Mia's ready for that?"

Even before Mia, Jon had always been cautious about letting people in. Part of it was being an orphan, even with Elia and her love, and another part of it was knowing who his family was. He was … wary of being hurt and tended to guard himself. But Sansa had blown through all his carefully erected barriers.

Elia had told him once when they'd had a painful discussion about his father and mother that Rhaegar told her that meeting Lyanna had been like being struck by lightning. He'd loved Elia, yes, but he'd believed that Lyanna was his soulmate. Jon had never known what to make of that, often judging his father for leaving a wife and his two children to chase after another woman.

But now, with Sansa?

Well, Jon thought he might understand his father far better than he had before.

Because since the moment he'd met Sansa, he'd known that she was someone special.

"I'm ready for it, and so is Mia. But there is no pre---"

Sansa's lips were on his, cutting him off. The grin on her face was huge and Jon felt his own lips tug up into a smile. He loved making Sansa happy. She was shockingly easygoing and like him when it came to things she enjoyed, and he liked how well suited they were.

"Yes. Yes, of course, I'll pack a bag and spend the night. And in the morning, we can make pancakes and go to the farmer's market! And, oh, there is this super cool kids expo is happening at the art gallery on Saturday, and I thought Mia would love it. It's interactive, and the kids get to do their own art projects and ---"

She stopped as if she just realized what she’d said, blushed and then gave a sheepish little shrug.

"I guess I got carried away."

Jon kissed her then slow and sweet, carding his hands through her hair.

"Get carried away, sweetheart.”

“Yeah? I’m not freaking you out?” she asked quietly.

Jon shook his head.

“No baby. That sounds like a perfect Saturday, and I can't wait to spend it with my two favourite girls."

She smiled then and went to kiss her, before her alarm chirped again. She groaned.

"Alright, I really need to go. My flight to Bear Island leaves at 8 am, and unlike you, I did not go through years of surgical school to train my body to function on no sleep."

Laughing, Jon threw on some grey sweatpants and walked downstairs with her, holding her hand along the way. He slipped on some flip-flops and walked Sansa to her car, kissing her again before she slid inside.

"Text me when you're home," he said, loving how she nodded and promised she would.

He stood in his driveway, watching as she carefully backed out and then waved at him before driving away, and all he could see were headlights. Then he whistled as he headed back inside, knowing he'd only get a few hours of sleep but hardly caring in the least. Sansa was worth the sleep-deprived nights, and in two nights' time, she'd be in his bed for the entire damn night.

 


 

Bear Island – Sansa

 

Sansa suppressed another yawn as she took her seat on the tiny airplane that would take her North to Bear Island. There were only two flights a day – one in the morning and one in the evening and the very last thing she wanted was to have to rebook herself for the evening flight and miss a day with Dacey Mormont. Not even when she was running on less than four hours of sleep.

The reclusive fashion designer was someone that Sansa had wanted to meet for years. A pet project of Sansa's had always been to keep her eyes and ears open when it came to the North and new talent.

She hadn't been lying to her family when she told them that there wasn't anything for her to aspire to in the North a decade ago when she'd been eighteen and had this bright dream of working in the fashion industry. But that had changed. Sansa, with Elia's blessing, was here with the opportunity to find the best and brightest the North had to offer.

And the way to get the North on the map was through authenticity. Finding people that loved the North the way that Sansa did.

Sansa wasn't after people that had gone to school in the south and then moved home. No. She wanted people that were OF the North. People who felt this land in their blood and their heart. She knew she couldn't explain it well – after all, she had been the one to leave the North and burn her bridges.

But this land had always called to her. She thought, perhaps, it might have something to do with her parents naming her after the first Queen in the North. Maybe there was some ancient connection to that woman, who lived thousands of years ago and who defied all odds to rise to power in a time when men dominated the world.

Even if she wasn't in a fanciful mood, Sansa had long defended her home to people in the south. It was one thing for her to leave it, realizing its limitations. But it was quite another to hear men like Harry Hardyng and Qyentin Martell disparage it.

An hour and a half later, after a turbulent flight, the pilot finally announced they would be landing on Bear Island.

The island wasn't as small as some might think, but it was extremely isolated. It was located in the Bay of Ice and had three villages along with a larger 'main' city center on the southern tip. People here were fishermen and sealers and lived a traditional lifestyle of northern sea people. But lately, more and more art that was created here was finding its way to the mainland. And the response to that art had been stunning. People wanted more of it.

Sansa had stumbled across Dacey Mormont on a TikTok video, the stunning woman of thirty showing off some of her own designs. Dacey was creating things that weren't being done anywhere else in Westeros – a throwback to traditional gowns with a Northern warrior flare. To say that Sansa was intrigued was an understatement. She was ready to offer Dacey a prime spot in Elia's show next spring if the designs were even half as good as the few she'd glimpsed at on the app.

Sansa disembarked and grabbed her single carry-on and exited the small plane right onto the tarmac of the tiny airport. Bear Island made Wintertown seem like a thriving metropolis.

Waiting for her just inside the equally small terminal was Dacey Mormont.

She was unmistakable.

A tall woman, at least Sansa's height, if not an inch or two taller, she had the blackest of hair that almost looked violet in the right light. Her hair was poker straight and long. Her skin was milk-white, her eyes bright blue. Her lips were painted bright red, and she wore thigh-high leather books with a three-inch stiletto heel. Sansa fucking loved her already.

Eager now to meet her in person, Sansa hurried towards her, letting Dacey assess her. She knew she didn't look her best – a night of wild love-making and only a few hours of sleep would do that to a girl, no matter how good the makeup.

Dacey's lips quirked as she assessed Sansa.

"At least tell me he was worth it," she said by way of introduction.

Sansa threw her head back and laughed. She liked this woman already.

"Oh yeah, he was worth it."

Dacey's red lips smiled.

"Good. I don't swing that way, but anyone who looks as sleep-deprived as you do, should at least be able to say it was worth it."

"It was. He is," Sansa said. She thrust out her hand.

"Hi. I'm Sansa Stark."

Dacey gripped her hand. Shook it. "Dacey Mormont. Welcome to Bear Island."

"I'm excited to be here and to see your designs."

Dacey cocked her head. "So that thing I said, about men not being my thing. That doesn't freak you out?"

Sansa shook her head. "Nope. Although my love life was so pathetic a few months ago, I might have considered switching sides had I met you then. Or adding a side. Or you know, just experimenting. You're hot."

Dacey didn't say anything for a moment, and Sansa feared she might have overstepped until Dacey smiled again, this one genuine.

"Oh, I like you, Sansa Stark. You aren't what I was expecting at all."

Pleased with how their first meeting went, Sansa, let Dacey play tour guide. It soon became apparent that while Dacey had an eye for fashion, she also passionately loved her home. And the people here loved her. Everywhere they went, she stopped to talk to someone, and they talked to her, catching her up on the latest gossip or telling her a funny story about someone they both knew.

"My family has been here for generations. A part of me thought about leaving, but I just couldn't. I was determined to figure out a way to make my passion work, here, where my roots are."

Sansa nodded.

"I respect that. I was the opposite. Ran screaming from my home the moment I graduated high school. Burnt some bridges. Hurt some people I love. I've only recently realized that it's possible that I can have both – a career in fashion and the North."

Dacey eyed her up. They were now standing outside of a shop, which she had yet to open.

"That's pretty ballsy telling me you left the north like you did after I told you how much I love my home."

Sansa shrugged. "I don't lie. And I won't hide the choices I made. I am where I am in my career because I left Wintertown. There is no use in sugar-coating that. I would never have gotten the job at Highgarden or the one with Elia Martell had I stayed here. And if I'd stayed, I'd be in no position to show the rest of Westeros what the North can do."

Dacey said nothing, weighing Sansa's words. "That's fair."

With that, Dacey opened the door to her shop and flicked on the lights.

Sansa didn't know where to look first. Most of what Dacey sold was functional. Traditional woollen sweaters and pants. Sturdy clothing that could withstand the elements could be worn and washed and thrown on in layers. But there were hints of something more – that creative flair that Sansa had seen in some of the scarves and some of the blouses. It was in the tiny embellishments, and the careful stitches and Sansa reverently ran her hand along.

"You're talented," she murmured and heard Dacey snort. Sansa turned and looked at her. Dacey had crossed her arms and was assessing her.

"But you already knew that. You've also got the vision. Where is your creative space? Where do you keep those designs I saw online?"

"Through here," Dacey said, flipping the lock on the door and heading deeper into the shop. When they stepped through the narrow doorway, Sansa sucked in a sharp breath and then exhaled.

"Holy fucking shit," she whispered, blown away.

Everywhere Sansa looked, Dacey had her designs. Dresses that looked like armour. Corsets with whalebone and pretty jewels. Fur capes that looked so soft and thick.

"All of my materials are scavenged. I take nothing from a live animal," she said quietly as Sansa reverently ran her hand over the gorgeous pieces.

"How?"

Dacey shrugged.

"People bring me things. We believe in utilizing the entire animal. It's why I won't guarantee something. Take a fox, for instance. One year, someone might have caught one in their trap line, unintentional. I'll use that fur, but I won't make a point of searching out more. Same with the whalebone. We had a dead one wash up on shore two years ago. They brought me a lot of the bone after it had decomposed. I use what nature gives me."

Sansa nodded.

"You're amazingly talented. I need to know what you want."

"What are you offering?" Dacey countered.

"Your designs are yours, of course. What we are offering is a spot in Elia Martell's spring show, next April, in Sunspear."

"And I have complete creative control?"

Sansa gave Dacey a look.

"To a degree. We'll have to come up with a concept for the show. But I can safely say that when I show Elia and Rhae your work, they'll be tripping over themselves to make you the star of their show."

"Can you call them now?" Dacey asked, and Sansa raised an eyebrow.

Dacey shrugged.

"You think I don't know exactly who you are? You’re Sansa Stark, the up-and-coming designer that wowed Westeros six weeks ago with her show at the Water Garden Palace. I've seen you're stuff. You're good. As good as I am. And the fact that you can recognize my talent and not be jealous of it, well, I like that. I like that a lot. I like you a lot. You aren't the first fashion house to come sniffing around. But you're the only one I like enough to think about taking a chance with my stuff."

Sansa said nothing for a moment, gathering her thoughts.

“I believe in helping other women straighten their crowns. Not stabbing them in the back. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m a straight-shooter, Dacey and you’ve got mad talent. I love Elia Martell and I’m dating her son. I’m loyal to them, to the designs and to the designers that I bring under their banner. I’ve never worked for a better person in my entire life. Elia Martell is the gold standard in the fashion world.”

Dacey nodded. “So can you call them?”

Sansa grinned and took out her phone, dialling Elia. Since her boss knew exactly where she was, she answered instantly, as both she and Rhae were in Elia’s office in Sunspear.

“Sansa, tell us you’ve met Dacey and that she’s as fabulous as you’d hoped!” Elia exclaimed and Sansa saw the woman from Bear Island startle a bit as if she wasn’t expecting such open and honest praise.

Sansa grinned at Elia and then winked at Dacey, muted her phone.

“I told you Elia was amazing. Trust me. You’ll love her.” Dacey nodded, looking a bit stunned. Sansa unmuted her phone.

“Yes El, I’ve met her. I’m standing in her workshop, attempting not to drool. My advice? Offer her whatever she wants!”

Sansa turned her phone, so Dacey could see Rhae and Elia and watched as Rhae and Dacey’s eyes locked. Rhae had never said anything to Sansa, but she long suspected her friend played the entire field when it came to lovers she welcomed to her bed. And it was clear that Rhae was checking out Dacey, not that Sansa could blame her at all. Dacey was gorgeous.

Dacey gave a little wave, and the four women spent the next two hours going through Dacey’s designs until finally Sansa’s stomach grumbled, and she knew she had to find some food. They signed off, promising to work things out, as Dacey had made up her mind to go with House Martell to showcase her amazing designs.

When they locked Dacey’s store a few minutes later, Sansa asked where she could find her hotel and a good place to get a bite to eat.

Dacey smirked. “We don’t have a hotel on the island, so you’re staying with me. And if I take you anywhere to eat but my mother’s pub, she’ll kill me. Let’s go.”

Dacey linked arms with her, as Sansa shot a quick text to Jon, telling him how amazing her day was and that she’d call him later. When they entered the pub, it was dark and smoky and smelled of peat and had huge deep leather booths that were cracked from age and use and the biggest bar Sansa had ever seen, made out of solid oak.

“Ohhhh, I love it!” she cried.

There were men in cable-knit sweaters, hunched over steaming bowls of stew, while kids ran around, clearly welcome in this, a gathering place for the village.

As they entered, all eyes turned to them, and more than one person cried out a happy greeting at seeing Dacey.

“Ahhh, there she is! Our Dacey who is going to be famous one day!”

Dacey actually blushed as Sansa giggled, loving everything about this place.

“Come on,” Dacey said, taking her by the elbow and shuffling them towards the bar, where a stern-looking older woman with greying dark hair eyed them critically. The woman was cleaning a glass and had a scowl on her face. She was the least welcoming person Sansa had seen on Bear Island so far.

“Ma, this is Sansa. Sansa, my mom, Maege.”

Sansa held out her hand and beamed. “Pleased to meet you Mrs. Mormont.”

Dacey snickered and Maege frowned.

“Not a Mrs. Never married. Never saw the need. My children are bastards, but they’re raised right. Are you going to do right by my girl?” Maege demanded.

Sansa didn’t even startle, she just leaned in closer. “I’m going to make her a star if that’s what she wants and sell her clothing to people with too much money in the south who’ll pay through the freaking nose for it.”

A smile cracked across Maege’s weathered face. “Good. Fish and chips?”

“Yes please!” Sansa said and took a seat at that bar. “Also whatever you have on tap that’s thick. A pint if you would.”

At that, Dacey raised an eyebrow. “You drink beer?”

Sansa laughed. “Dacey, I have three brothers. Trust me, nothing can shock me.”

Dacey slid into the seat next to Sansa’s, as Maege built them two pints. When they were set in front of them, dark with a nice foamy head, the two stunning women clinked glasses.

“To the start of something special,” Sansa said.

Dacey winked.

“To northern women that kick ass.”

Sansa laughed and drank to that, pleased that she’d come to Bear Island and knowing she’d met a new friend and one stunningly talented designer whom she couldn’t wait to show off to all of Westeros next spring at Elia’s big show.

What followed was a fun night for Sansa, who met Dacey’s two sisters, the mouthy little Lyanna Mormont who was nineteen and reminded Sansa of Arya, an Alysanne, a quiet woman that was twenty-three. Neither woman had Dacey’s creative flare, but they did like to bug their sister. Dacey’s uncle, a man named Joer showed up later, and the drinks flowed as they shared stories of Dacey when she was younger.

Word spread that a visitor had come to their little village and soon people and music filled the pub, as Sansa danced and laughed and got to know the people of Bear Island. At one point, drunk, she phoned Jon, who smiled indulgently at her and let him listen to a song, about lost loves and men that went off to war, leaving their women behind.

“Good day sweetheart?” he asked when she stepped outside into the cool spring night.

Sansa giggled, as the world spun a bit. She spun with it, loving her life right now.

“The best. I found a little present for Mia as well. I hope that’s ok.”

Jon smiled at her. “That’s perfect. Just promise me you’ll drink some water before bed when you get back to your hotel.”

Sansa giggled again. “There is no hotel Jon. I’m staying at Dacey’s. She’s a lesbian, but I don’t think she’s into me. But she was checking out Rhae when I called her and Elia earlier.”

“You’re an adorable drunk baby. But have a glass of water,” Jon repeated.

“Yes Doctor,” she purred as he growled.

“You’re being a naughty girl,” he responded.

“The naughtiest,” she agreed.

“Sansa, fuck,” he grunted, and she knew he was adjusting that impressive cock. “I have to walk into the ER in scrubs that hide nothing woman.”

She laughed again, as she heard Dacey call her name.

“Got to go. I’ll text you in the morning!” she told Jon and he told her to have fun.

Then she linked arms with Dacey, smiling at her new friend.

“I think everything is going to work out just perfectly,” Sansa said as Dacey, also slightly tipsy just shook her head at her, agreeing.

“I’m glad you came to Bear Island Sansa.”

“Me too, Dacey. Me too.”

 


 

Chapter Text


 

North of the Wall – Sansa

 

Sansa groaned and pulled a pillow over her head as her phone chimed. Maybe it would stop on its own. Maybe whoever was attempting to get ahold of her would realize she had one too many beers and that her head was pounding, and her mouth felt like something had died in it.

At some point last night, the Mormont sisters had decided that it was time to teach Sansa how to do a dance known only on Bear Island while the local fiddlers spun their tunes. It was so much fun, and Sansa knew that Bear Island was a place she would come back to, again and again. It didn't matter if Dacey never wanted to be part of Martell House of Fashion – they had forged a deep friendship last night.

But oh man, along with the dancing and the laughing came the drinking.

So much drinking for a woman that didn’t do a lot of it. She was paying for it today.

Her phone chimed again, and Sansa groaned and swiped it open, smiling when she saw who was calling her. Thank the old gods that Jon had just called her – not facetimed her. She knew she looked like death.

"Hello," she croaked and heard that warm chuckle she knew well, come over the line.

"Hi, sweetheart. Fun night?"

She could tell he was amused at the state she was in, and she groaned again.

"Yes, it was so much fun. But oh gods, I'm going to be a wreck today."

Jon only sniggered and delighted by him; she told him all about the people of Bear Island, including the incomparable Mormont family.

"It sounds like a wonderful place," Jon responded, and Sansa agreed that it was. Feeling slightly more human, she sat up and gulped down the huge glass of water she'd brought to her room last night.

"How was your shift?" Now that her head had cleared a bit, she could ask him about his night.

Jon told her about a few drunks that had gotten into a bar fight – with pool cues, and an elderly lady that had slipped on her back stairs and needed emergency surgery. It was all fairly routine stuff, but Sansa still felt that surge of pride whenever he described what he did. Her guy literally saved lives!

"What's on your agenda today?" she asked, and he told her about the staff meeting they had mid-morning, as well as his promise to take Mia shopping for a new dress.

"I dropped the ball, so to speak, when we were in Sunspear, and so I promised for tonight's dinner that we could go shopping for something new."

Jon sounded slightly apprehensive. Sansa loved how even though it wasn’t his thing, he put that extra effort in for his daughter, knowing how much Mia would love it.

"Oh, I know this adorable little kids boutique, and their prices are excellent. Plus, they let you bring back fancy dresses in exchange because kids often only wear them once or twice and then grow out of them," Sansa said.

"Yeah?"

"Yup. My friend Alys runs it. I'll send you the address. I bet Mia will love it there."

"Thanks. That would be great."

Sansa groaned as she heard Dacey knock on her door.

"Get a move on it, San. Your plane for Mole Town leaves in an hour."

Sansa grinned at Dacey’s tone – it was a sign of a great friendship that they were so easy with one another already.

"I have to go, but I'll be home by 3 pm today, and I'll be at your house at six at the latest. Dinner is at 7:30 pm, so we should have plenty of time to get ready." There was a thrill at the idea of getting ready for a family dinner, together. She’d never had that before.

Jon chuckled warmly. "Deep breaths, babe. Dinner tonight will be great."

Sansa heaved out a sigh. She knew her parents liked Jon. So did Robb. And Ric. And Bran. It wasn't that she was worried, per se; it was just that she had rarely brought a guy home. And she liked Jon. Really liked Jon. She wanted things to go perfectly.

"Yup, it'll be fine," she said, popping the p.

Another knock by Dacey has Sansa scrambling to say goodbye to Jon, dash through the shower and put herself together, running out of Dacey's tiny house and towards the airport with only moments to spare.

Thankfully, everyone on Bear Island now knew who she was, and she was one of only two people flying into Mole Town, so they rushed her through the tiny airport. She and Dacey hugged hard, promising to stay in touch and then Sansa ran up the steps of the smallest airplane she'd ever seen and settled into her seat, excited to see what the far North had in store.

Forty minutes later, she touched down in Mole Town, one of the last true Northern outposts before the free territory of the Lands of Always Winter.

After drinking two cups of coffee on the short flight, she felt much better and was very excited to meet Satin.

Just Satin. No last name.

Sansa couldn't wait. She'd heard excellent things about the designer who was in his mid-twenties.

Much like she had on Bear Island, she exited the plane straight onto the tarmac and then entered an even smaller airport to see one of the most fabulous men she'd ever laid eyes on waiting for her.

He had jet black hair, sleekly styled into a faux-hawk and tipped bright pink. His eyeshadow matched, highlighting some of the bluest eyes she'd ever seen. His cheekbones were so sharp they could cut glass, and Sansa swore he'd contoured them, while his pouty lips were slicked red. He wore black platform wedges, ripped fishnet and a black leather skirt and paired it all with a fabulous teal crop top that showed inches of tanned, toned abs.

Sansa adored him already and waved excitedly upon spotting him. He was exactly what she'd been hoping to find when she'd told Elia there were untapped resources in the North.

"Hi, Satin?" she asked, and he simpered and preened.

"The one and only, darling."

Sansa's grin only grew wider.

"Oh, you are fabulous!" she exclaimed, and he did a little twirl, much to her delight.

"And you are Sansa Stark, one of the best up-and-coming designers from the south."

“I am. I’m so happy to be here,” she told him, meaning it. Satin’s blue eyes warmed, and they linked arms.

Sansa could feel the eyes of others on them, but Satin held his head high and strutted through the airport to a waiting dark SUV.

"Our ride," he purred.

Sansa caught sight of the driver – a beast of a man with a thick beard and reddish-blonde hair who looked fierce until his eyes landed on Satin. He looked to be at least a decade older than Satin, but his eyes blazed with emotion as he gazed at Satin, and Sansa knew that these two were a hot and heavy thing.

"Hi, I'm Sansa," she said once she was settled in the back, all bright and cheerful towards the big man in the front.

"Toregg," he grunted out while Satin giggled, turning to face her, waving a perfectly manicured hand.

"He sounds like a mean old bear, but trust me, Sansa, he's as friendly as they come when you get to know him, and he likes you."

Then to Sansa's delight, she saw the very masculine Toregg pick up Satin's hand and press a gentle kiss to it.

“Behave,” Toregg said to Satin, who batted his eyelashes at Tor.

“Or what?”

Toregg only growled and Sansa wanted to squeal in delight at them. They were obviously madly in love with one another and had accepted the other for their authentic selves. She wanted to get to know them better.

Toregg turned to her, assessing her.

"You don't seem bothered by us," he said, tone challenging, as if there were plenty of people that did have a problem with them.

Well fuck those other judgemental people, Sansa thought. Satin and Tor were awesome.

Sansa shrugged.

"Why on earth would I be bothered? Love is love and you two are #couplegoals, and yes I just said hashtag.”

Satin clapped his hands in delight.

“Oh, I like her Tor. I really really like her.”

Toregg merely grunted and put the vehicle in gear while Satin chattered away like a magpie. They drove to what could only very loosely be called the 'downtown' of Mole Town, to Satin's shop. He was out of the vehicle in a flash, clearly excited to show Sansa his designs, leaving her alone in the vehicle with the intimidating Toregg.

The man once again turned to her, his eyes serious. Sansa didn’t worry that he’d hurt her – but he was clearly very protective of Satin.

"It's taken him a long time to be this comfortable with who he is. For people here to accept him. For people to accept us. I won't have anyone hurt him. Not even you Ms. Stark. I don’t care how much money you offer him, if you don’t accept him for who he is, then you have no business being here."

Sansa's heart melted for this big burly man and how much he clearly loved Satin. She leaned forward so that their eyes were close.

"Trust me when I say, I will do everything in my power to protect him as well. I'm not here to exploit him, Toregg. I'm here to see what he wants and help him make his dreams come true. If his dream is here, then that is wonderful. This is all about what he wants."

Toregg said nothing, and then his face bloomed into a smile that was warm and inviting and Sansa knew why Satin was head over heels in love with this man.

"He's good. I don’t know a thing about fashion, but I know what he does, and he’s one of the best. But he's nervous. He barely slept last night because he was excited to meet you, Ms. Stark."

"Call me Sansa," she said.

Toregg grumbled out her name, and then they both exited the SUV and stepped into Satin's shop.

Sansa gasped and reached out to touch the fabulous designs. Everything Satin was doing could only be described as haute couture and very cutting edge. Sansa lost herself in design after design, touring the store almost speechless. When she finally heard Toregg cough, she saw that Satin was almost trembling in anticipation.

"You're extremely talented, and any fashion house worth their salt would scoop you up in a heartbeat, Satin."

She thought he might faint until he let out a happy squeal and threw himself into Toregg's arms. His lover hugged him close.

"I've been telling you this for years, baby," Toregg murmured to Satin.

Toregg held Satin close, and then his enormous hands cupped Satin's leather-clad ass and squeezed, making Satin giggle and pepper kisses along Toregg's thick neck. The big man didn't even blush, just kissed Satin back.

Sansa fucking loved them both and hoped like hell that Satin would at least consider moving to Wintertown.

When they finally stopped hugging, Sansa found herself holding a vibrating Satin, who was talking a mile a minute.

Sansa laughed. "Let's phone Elia, shall we?"

Satin squealed. "Are you sure?"

Sansa squeezed his hand.

"Trust me. I'm more than sure. She's going to flip out over these designs. You're going to have some important decisions to make, Satin, about what you want with your future in fashion."

Sansa dialled Elia, who picked up immediately. She saw Toregg smile softly as the excited fashion designer, who was already winning Elia and Rhae to his side as he gushed about them and their fashion house, looked at his lover. Satin took Sansa's phone and, now, not a shy bone in his body, gave Elia and Rhae the tour of his shop while Sansa sidled up to Toregg.

"He's a superstar," she said quietly.

Toregg nodded. "He is." Paused. "And I'll go with him wherever that may be."

"You're from the Lands of Always Winter, aren't you?" she asked.

Toregg nodded and sighed.

"Don't like the south. Too fucking warm and too many people. But I knew the moment I met him that he was meant for more than this. So wherever he'll be happy, that's where we'll be."

"And you? What makes you happy?"

Toregg's smile was huge. "Him."

With that, he pushed off from the wall where they were standing as Satin was waving him over, eager to introduce Elia and Rhae to his boyfriend. Sansa knew that whatever happened, House of Martell fashion has just another superstar to their line, and it was all because Elia had sent her North.

An hour later, they were on the road North. Toregg and Satin insisted on driving Sansa to Craster's Keep. They had both been relatively tight-lipped when it came to this place, but clearly there was something they knew about this place that she didn’t.

"It's just --- weird," Satin said and then rolled his eyes. "And that's saying something coming from me. But Gilly's fabrics are amazing, and it's worth the trip for that alone.”

Sansa had always heard that those from the Lands of Always Winter were – different. She tried not to be judgy, but she'd rarely met anyone from this far North. Jon had said he'd done a rotation early in his career at one of the local mining outposts called Castle Black, and he'd warned her to be safe and be smart around these rough men that were up here.

Craster's Keep was a small village, barely more than five hundred people, and bleak. It was odd because it was in a valley surrounded by beautiful mountains. But instead of feeling welcoming, the entire valley had a sinister feel to it, as if the mountains meant to trap people here.

Sansa shuddered, and Satin threw her a knowing look.

"Yup. This place gives me the creeps too."

Toregg only grunted his agreement. Sansa didn’t ask where he was from, but she knew it wasn’t this dreary little town.

The small warehouse where they met the fabric maker was in an even more rundown part of the town, and Sansa felt something foreboding about this place. She didn't like it in the least.

The three of them stepped out of the SUV, and Toregg looked at Satin and Sansa.

"Stay close to me," was all the big man said to them, and Sansa was happy they’d come with her. This was not a happy place.

A door at the side of the warehouse opened, and a woman poked her head out. She had mousey brown hair and a plain face, but something sparked in her eyes upon seeing them. She looked to be around twenty-two or twenty-three.

"Ms. Stark?"

Sansa nodded and hurried forward, eager to meet Gilly.

"Gilly, right?"

The woman nodded, and her eyes went wide as she spotted Satin, who could only be described as strolling towards them, holding hands with Toregg. Even here, Satin stood out like a bright hothouse flower amid weeds.

"Come in," she said and hurriedly ushered them inside, closing and locking the door behind them.

The warehouse was dim, but everywhere Sansa looked, filled with rolls of gorgeous fabrics, all of different colours and textures. She and Satin moaned together, and Gilly looked pleased as they ran their hands over the bolts of material. Within half an hour, Sansa had determined a few things.

One that Gilly was incredible at what she did. The fabric here was some of the best Sansa had ever seen.

Two that Gilly wasn't happy in the North.

And three, Gilly felt she couldn't leave Craster's Keep – and that it wasn’t her choice to stay here.

Going on instinct, Sansa pulled Gilly aside.

The timid woman was almost shaking.

"I only have a thousand dollars cash, but it's yours," Sansa said and pressed it into Gilly's hand. The woman's eyes went wide.

Gilly shook her head. "I can't take this."

Sansa was firm. "You can. Hide it. Please keep it for yourself. I can send you more when I'm home or come back, on another buying trip."

Gilly's eyes watered, but she nodded, and the money disappeared. Sansa felt only a small bit of relief that she could do this for Gilly. The woman had all the hallmarks of someone that was being abused.

"I'll write you an official cheque for the material I want, which I assume will go to your …."

"My husband," Gilly whispered and there was no mistaking the fear in her eyes and her voice.

Sansa grimaced. "Yes. Your husband."

Sansa had a feeling that said husband was an abuser and a brute.

“Here is my number and Satins and Tors. They are in Mole Town, and I'm in Wintertown. If there is anything we can do …."

Sansa left that sentence trail off. Gilly swallowed hard.

"I have a son. He's only a year old."

Understanding dawned. That was why Gilly was so afraid to leave. Sansa was out of her depth here. All the signs pointed to Gilly being in a bad relationship, but the woman had made no mention of wanting to leave or being abused.

"Is there anything else I can do?" Sansa asked quietly, and Gilly shook her head.

Sighing, Sansa and Satin soon left, with Gilly promising she'd ship the fabrics they'd purchased within the next two weeks. Once they were back in the SUV, Satin turned to look at Sansa.

"How much cash did you give her?"

"A thousand. It was all I had on me," Sansa muttered, still reeling at that visit.

Satin cocked his head.

"You're a good woman, Sansa Stark. I was worried that you'd be snooty. That you'd judge Toregg or me or just be a raging bitch because of the family you come from. But you're none of those things. I think we're going to besties," he announced, and Sansa couldn't help but grin at him.

"I think we will be as well."

Satin reached for Toregg's hand.

"I don't want to move to Sunspear. Or King's Landing or even Lannisport. I'm sure they are all amazing, and I'm sure my fabulousness would only make them better. But I love Toregg, and while I know he'd go anywhere I want, he'd be unhappy. So Ms. Sansa. How would you feel about your new besties moving to Wintertown? Think about how fabulous we could make the North together!"

“Oh my god, YES! Please move to Wintertown,” she said as Satin beamed and even Tor’s lips quirked.

Sansa adored Toregg and Satin and was excited at the thought of them moving to her city.

"We could do so many things with you there," she answered honestly, a bit stunned at how great the trip North had been.

Satin reached for Sansa's hand and held it.

"Don't worry. We'll find a way to get her out. It might take some time, but Gilly is not alone. Not anymore."

Deeply touched, Sansa could only nod, knowing she'd gained some true friends on this trip and loving being back in the North.

 


 

Wintertown – Jon

 

Jon rechecked his watch, knowing that if the Chief of Surgery droned on for much longer, he was going to be cutting it close to picking Mia up, taking her shopping for a new dress and then swinging by the airport to pick Sansa up when her flight landed at 3 pm. She'd told him she'd catch a cab home, but he wanted to surprise her and pick her up, and Jon knew Mia would love to be part of that.

There was no denying just how close his daughter and Sansa were. It was just another part of how compatible they were, that the three of them were building something real together.

Finally, Dr. Karstark stopped talking, and Jon was out of his seat. Before he could escape, he felt someone call his name. Turning, he saw his mentor and the man he'd stayed in North for, standing there, clearly wanting a word with him. Jon tried not to sigh in frustration.

Dr. Cassel was a stern man. He was a perfectionist and demanding. But he was, without doubt, the very best trauma surgeon in the entire country.

And he was best friends with Ned Stark.

Jon was well aware of how important this invitation was to the Stark family mansion.

He'd never dated a woman that came from a family like the Starks, and while Jon wasn't intimidated by them, he did respect what the Stark name meant in the North. And what it meant to be dating Sansa.

"I hear you made quite an impression on the Starks," Rodrik said.

His face remained a neutral mask, but those bushy eyebrows of his flashed up and held, and Jon could swear that Dr. Cassel was happy that he was dating Sansa.

"I have, Dr. Cassel. Last Friday night, when they came in with their youngest, Rickon. He'd taken a bit of a spill."

Rodrik just grunted and shook his head. "I've been stitching that boy up since the moment he learned to walk."

Jon's lips twitched. From what Sansa had told him, Rickon Stark had more lives than a cat. And just as much daring.

"So, dinner tonight at Winterfell. That's quite an honour, Jon." Rod let his hand settle on Jon's shoulder and leaned in.

"I know you have a year left in your fellowship, but I hope you're considering staying in the North. Your work has been exemplary."

Stunned, both pleased and unsure what to say, Jon could barely say thank you before Rodrik waved an elegant hand.

"You've earned it. I don't give out praise to just anyone. Enjoy Winterfell, Jon. The Starks are good people."

With that, he left, and, in a daze, Jon walked through the hospital and out to his SUV. He'd never expected to hear such high praise from Dr. Cassel and to feel such genuine acceptance.

It made Jon wonder what Sansa's plans were. She seemed to be thriving in the North – not only reconnecting with her family but staking her claim on the fashion world up here. Jon knew the assignment from Elia was for a year but was it possible she'd consider staying longer?

Jon hadn't made any choices about his future, but he'd be lying if he didn't admit that he liked the North and the hospital he currently worked at.

Knowing it was a good problem to have, to be wanted by his mentor, he tapped his fingers to the music as he cruised home to pick up Mia. She wasn't expecting him, so he saw when her lips curled into a wide grin. She threw herself into his arms when he stepped into her playroom.

"Daddy, you're home early!"

"I am, bug. Remember how I told you we were invited to a fancy dinner tonight?"

She bobbed her head.

"I thought we could go and buy you a new dress," he told her, bracing for the high-pitched squeal which she delivered immediately.

Jon got her to car-seat, all the while listening to her happy chirping, and climbed in the front.

"Where are we going shopping?" she asked when they were on the road, kicking her little legs. Her eyes were positively sparkling, and Jon felt any lingering nervousness about the dinner tonight dissipate. Mia was impossible not to fall in love with, and Jon knew she'd charm the Stark clan.

"Sansa told me about a shop that sells the best dresses here in Wintertown. I thought we'd go there."

The shop was called The Glass Slipper, and Mia was almost bouncing by the time Jon extracted her from her car seat.

"Daddy, it's named after Cinderella!" she cried and pointed to the whimsical name.

Jon chuckled and ushered her inside.

It was every little girl's dream shop, filled with some awe-inspiring dresses and all the accessories one might need. Mia was almost vibrating with excitement, and thankfully, the shop was empty because Jon was slightly overwhelmed. He wished Sansa was here.

A pretty blond woman, the same age as Sansa, approached them, holding her hand.

"Hi, you must be Jon and Mia. Sansa texted me. I'm Alys, and she said Mia has an important dinner tonight and needed the perfect dress."

"I'm Mia!" his daughter cried, and Jon felt such gratitude for Sansa that she thought to reach out to her friend for help, along with some other, yet-to-be-named emotion.

The woman cared about them deeply. It was something that couldn't be faked. When a person was invested in someone, they did little things like this, and it made Jon all the more eager to see her in a couple of hours.

They spent an hour and found not one but two perfect dresses for Mia that were much more reasonably priced than Jon had anticipated, along with a new pair of sparkly silver shoes, a pair of shiny black shoes, and a pretty bow for her hair. Jon thanked Alys, who told Mia to have fun and then Jon took his daughter out for lunch before they stopped to buy Sansa flowers.

"Where are we going now, Daddy?"

"To the airport, bug. Sansa is flying home today, and I thought we'd surprise her."

Mia let out another happy sigh, and Jon was pleased that she was so excited to see Sansa. Together, with flowers in hand, they stood waiting for her plane to land. Mia's face was pressed against the window watching the planes, and she was once again almost bouncing in anticipation.

The plane landed, and Mia squealed.

"It's here, Daddy! Sansa's plane is here!"

Jon chuckled and then took Mia's hand and stood to wait for Sansa to disembark. It was a tiny plane, only her and two other passengers, and Jon spotted her immediately as she exited onto the tarmac. Her red hair was so distinctive, and she had such an effortless grace about her that he knew he could pick her out in a crowd anywhere.

She didn't spot them until she was inside the terminal, but Jon knew the moment she did. Her face lit into a huge smile, and then, like before, she started to run toward them, uncaring at the scene she was creating.

"Sansa!" Mia yelled, and Sansa hurried towards her, dropping her bag and scooping Mia into her arms, twirling her around.

"What are you doing here?" Sansa asked Mia.

"Surprising you!" Mia announced.

Sansa laughed and tickled Mia's belly.

"Well, this is the very best surprise."

Mia laid her head against Sansa's shoulder as Sansa continued to hold his baby. They looked perfect together.

"Hey," Jon said, stepping closer to them both.

"Hi," Sansa responded, sounding almost breathless.

Jon loved how he affected her and how she didn't hold back her reactions. She was so open with him, and he lived for it. He couldn't fucking wait to have her in his bed tonight for the entire night and wake up the following day with her in his arms.

But right now, he needed a taste of her, and he leaned down to kiss her, with Mia cuddled between them.

When they finally parted, Mia was smiling at them. Sansa reached into her big purse and pulled out a little bear from Bear Island, and Mia squealed in delight.

"Thank you so much, Sansa. I'm going to put him with Lady, my wolf."

Sansa finally put Mia down, still holding her hand, as Mia started telling Sansa all about their dress shopping at the princess shop.

Mia kept up her running dialogue for an impressive ten minutes until finally the vehicle and the excitement of the day had her nodding off so that the SUV was finally quiet.

Sansa's eyes danced as she glanced back at her.

"She seemed to have quite the day," Sansa said as Jon reached for her hand and drew it up to his lips.

“She did. How was Mole Town?" Jon asked.

"Oh my gosh, I met the best couple – Satin and Toregg. They are fabulous, Jon and I think they might move here. You'll love them."

Jon was quiet as he listened to Sansa fill him in on how successful her trip was, pride for how accomplished she was in her field filling him. Smart women turned him on, that was for sure. Soon enough, they were at her condo. Sansa leaned over and kissed him hard.

"I'll be by your place soon, with my overnight bag," she added. He could hear the question, and he cupped her neck and drew her back for another kiss.

"Hell yeah. Oh, and Sansa?"

"Yes?"

"Pack for the weekend. I don't have another shift until Sunday night, so I want time with you. Time with all of us."

Her bright blue eyes went all dreamy.

"I want that as well."

Their eyes locked, and Jon could see how much she meant it.

"Alright, go and pack. I'll see you in a few hours."

She nodded and then was out of the vehicle, and Jon couldn't help but smile as he watched her go, looking forward to the weekend to come.

 


 

Winterfell – Jon

 

He'd had his housekeeper at the house earlier to give it a thorough cleaning, and both nannies that he employed had been given the weekend off until Sunday night. Jon had even capitulated and had one of them do the grocery shopping for him, so his fridge and pantry were fully stocked.

The only thing left to do was put clean sheets on the bed and then make sure there was some space for Sansa's stuff in the bedroom and bathroom.

He hadn't been lying when he said he wanted her here all weekend long, and he wanted her to be comfortable. He also wanted Mia to understand where this relationship was going.

Jon was a thoughtful guy, and he took things like this very seriously. He liked that no other woman had ever been in his house and that the first one he'd ever had here was Sansa. It felt right.

When they arrived home, Mia had raced to her bedroom to add her new bear to Lady, the wolf from Sansa, while he did his few remaining chores, trying not to constantly check the clock.

Soon enough, Jon heard Sansa's vehicle and then the knock on the door. Both he and Mia were there to greet her, and Jon opened the door to see that she had decided to get dressed here.

For some reason, that warmed something inside Jon. He'd never had this type of relationship before.

"Hi Sansa," Mia chimed, while Jon, lizard-brain that he was, could only tug her into his house, so pleased that she was here. He grabbed her bag with one hand and then took her hand with his other one while she held a garment bag that contained her dress for tonight.

"Hi," he finally said when she was inside.

"Hi," she said back, and then they stood there, grinning at each other like fools, while Mia danced between them.

"Come on, let's get you settled in," he finally said.

Mia followed them upstairs, chatting away, and Jon listened with half an ear while Sansa told Mia all about her dress, and they discussed different hairstyles. No matter how much he did for Mia, this was what was missing from her life – a woman that loved her.

"Mia, love, let Sansa get settled. I can come and help you with your dress, and then she can do your hair," Jon told her. Mia nodded and darted off down the hallway to her bedroom.

Once they were alone, Jon closed his door, dropped Sansa's bag. He backed her up against the door, pinning her body there.

"Fuck sweetheart, I've missed you," he growled.

Without waiting for a response, he took her lips in a brutally demanding kiss, needing to own her.

She whimpered and pressed close to him, her hands going into his hair and digging in, keeping his head pinned to hers. Jon cupped her arse, kneaded it and felt her grind against his knee that Jon had wedged between her thighs. Fuck he wanted her, but he knew they had no time. Jon wouldn't be satisfied with some cheap orgasm when he had her for the weekend.

He forced his lips away from hers and sucked his way down her neck, careful not to mark her – not yet. Not when they had to go to her parents house in an hour.

"Fuck, Sansa, I am so fucking hard, and I can smell this cunt. It’s practically weeping for me," he said, cupping her core. Even though her thin cotton pants, he could feel how wet she was. He loved how open she was when it came to her desires. It was a heady feeling.

"Jon," she panted, grinding on him. He growled as he felt the need coil in his body, knowing she was right there with him. Finally, he drew back enough to cup her face and look in her eyes, which were glazed with lust.

"Fuck, you drive me wild," he said, trying to get himself under control. He'd never felt this uncontrollable need with another woman.

Sansa bit her lip and batted her eyelashes.

"I know. I'm so naughty."

Jon snarled and kissed her again and then laid a smack against her arse, capturing her moan in his mouth.

"Bad girls get punished. I'm going to tie you up tonight; keep you at my mercy. Maybe I won't let you come until you're fucking begging me."

She keened.

"Would you like that?" he said, tugging her earlobe into his mouth. "Would you like to be tied up? Like it that I could do whatever I wanted to you, Sansa. Is that what you want?"

His hands once again cupped her magnificent arse, thinking about how he'd had her splayed out over his knees the other night and how she'd pinked up so perfectly. She got into her sub headspace so easily and finding out what made her tick turned him on in ways he'd never imagined before.

"Yes."

He pulled back slightly. "Yeah?"

She met his gaze. "I'm saying it now, Jon, I'm green for being tied up. I trust you."

"Christ, you're amazing," he said, shaking his head, his mind racing with ideas. Thank fuck he’d ordered those soft leather cuffs he’d seen for her. He knew exactly where he wanted to start tonight.

He stepped back reluctantly, slipping his hand into hers. He wanted nothing more than to stay home, order pizza, watch a movie with Mia and then spend the rest of the night with Sansa in his bed.

But that wasn't going to happen. So he'd give her some time to settle in. He gave her the tour of the master suite, knowing that last time she'd been in his room, it had been late, and they'd been far too busy with one another.

Jon didn't miss how pleased she was when he'd made space for her clothing. She thanked him with a kiss and a giggle, which he adored, and he slipped out, giving her privacy. He needed to find Mia and get her dressed and then do the same. They had to be at Winterfell within the hour, and time was ticking.

His daughter was playing with her dolls in his room, and she gave him a sweet smile when he entered and helped her dress. By that time, Sansa arrived and announced she'd set up a little beauty parlour in Mia's bathroom. His daughter's dress was dark green with flowers embroidered in it and had a full tulle skirt. It matched Sansa's black couture gown with silk flowers stitched in it.

Jon was observant enough to know that Sansa’s dress was an Elia Martell original and therefore retailed at over ten grand. He was glad that he had his black Brioni pinstripe ready for tonight so that they’d compliment one another.

As Jon dressed, he kept his door cracked open and could hear feminine giggles from the bathroom. When he stepped out of his bedroom, he found Sansa had tamed Mia's curls and twisted half of them up into an elegant half braid. Sansa had also added a sparkly little butterfly to Mia's cheek, and his daughter was glowing with happiness.

Sansa stilled when she caught sight of him and gave him an appreciative look while Mia twirled her tulle skirt.

"Ok, Mia, I have to finish my hair and makeup," Sansa told his daughter.

"Come on, bug, let's go and get your tablet and let Sansa finish up," Jon said. He brushed his lips against Sansa's and then hurried Mia downstairs.

He'd grown up in a house of fashionable women, so he gave Sansa a bit less than half an hour to get ready, and then slipped back inside the master bedroom, pleased to see she'd made herself at home in his bathroom.

She saw him in the mirror and turned, giving him a little show.

"Beautiful," he said, meaning it.

He held out his hand and then asked her to help him with his cuff links. He couldn't remember ever having this – a woman in his life, in his home, in his fucking bedroom that fit all aspects of his life. They were so compatible it sometimes stunned him.

She did his cuff links and then nestled closer to him; her arms draped around him. He loved how her eyes twinkled. Sansa was so down to earth, even though she moved in the very elite fashion world. It was a world in which they'd both grown up in, but one that neither of them fixated on.

"So, Dr. Snow, are you ready for dinner with the Starks?"

Jon took a moment to look at her, wondering how he'd gotten so lucky.

"Yeah, I am. Dr. Cassel talked with me today. Told me how I'd made an impression."

He knew he was smirking. He couldn't help it. Surgeons were, by nature, the very best in a very competitive field. Jon knew he was good. Better than good. One of the best.

Sansa threw her head back and laughed, full and rich.

"Well, come on, Dr. Confidence. Let's go get the mini-tornado and go to Winterfell."

They came down the stairs holding hands, finding Mia curled up on the couch with her tablet. Jon wisely packed it, along with a bag that had a change of clothes for Mia and palmed his keys, grabbed the bottle of wine he'd purchased for Catelyn and a nice bottle of scotch for Ned, before opening the door to the garage for his girls.

His girls.

Fuck did he like the sound of that. His girls. Both of them here, in his home. Seeing Sansa here just felt right.

Sansa and Mia were talking with one another, Mia laughing at something Sansa said. Jon opened the door and lifted Mia into her seat, and she fluffed down her dress. Her shoes were shiny and black, and she kicked her feet.

"Daddy, I'm so excited for dinner tonight."

Jon merely clipped her in and then tickled her belly, loving how happy his daughter was.

“Best behaviour tonight, right bug?”

“Right Daddy.”

Sansa gave Jon instructions to her parent’s home when they were out of the driveway, and Jon reached for her hand. Jon lived in one of the wealthier areas of Wintertown, but as they made their way towards Winterfell, he realized that the Starks were much more like the Martells than even he'd realized.

As they drove, the homes became statelier, and the properties spread out until finally they drove for several minutes without seeing another home. That’s how exclusive and private this area was.

Sansa indicated that their turn was coming up. Jon turned down a long driveway and then came to an elaborate gate into which Sansa entered a code, and they slid open. More trees and an expansive lawn, and then even Jon gasped when he saw Winterfell Manor.

It was all stone and wood and soaring peaks. Jon was no stranger to impressive homes, having grown up in the Water Garden Palace.

But still. Winterfell had to be one of the most impressive residences in the North.

He let out a low whistle. Sansa gave a nervous laugh.

"I know. It's a lot."

He knew that Sansa had only just repaired her relationship with her parents. He raised her hand to his lips and kissed it again.

"It's a great house," he told her and saw her relax.

"Yeah. Yeah, it is." Sansa turned to face Mia.

"Hey bug, how it's going?" Sansa asked.

"Good." She kicked her feet again. "I'm ready to go inside."

And that broke the last of the tension as Jon gathered his girls and started towards Winterfell. He held Sansa's hand while she held Mia's, and they rang the doorbell together.

It opened almost immediately, and Ned and Cat were standing there, pleased smiles on their face.

"Sansa, Jon, welcome to Winterfell," Ned said, stepping back, just as Catelyn turned her attention to his daughter.

"And who is this beautiful princess at my door?"

Mia giggled.

"Hi, I'm Mia," she said and then let go of Sansa's hand and stepped into Winterfell as if she'd been there a million times before. She went right up to Sansa's mother and reached for her hand.

"Are you a Nana?"

Since Jon was watching Catelyn, he saw her startled a bit and go to shake her head when Mia just kept on talking. She reached for Catelyn's hand.

"Cause I have a Nana Elia, and you look like her. But she has dark hair, and you have red hair. But you’re both pretty and you smell like a Nana.”

Catelyn looked up at him, and Jon's lips quirked. He shrugged and ran a hand through his hair.

"I don't mind," was all he said.

Catelyn's lips quivered before she cleared her throat as if she knew how monumental this moment was. "I guess I am a Nana. Nana Cat."

Mia beamed. "Hi, Nana Cat." Then Mia leaned in closer. "Is that Papa? I've never had a Papa."

Jon swore his breath caught in his chest. There were two things that, despite his best efforts, he had not been able to give to his daughter. A mother that loved her unconditionally. And a grandfather.

But perhaps that had all changed upon meeting Sansa. He felt Sansa's hand in his, as they were both fixated on how Catelyn would respond.

Catelyn reached for Mia's hand, taking it gently. It was clear that Sansa's mother was already bonding with Mia.

"Yes. That's Papa Ned."

Mia gave a solemn nod. "Alright." She turned to Sansa's father and gave a little wave. "Hi, Papa Ned."

Ned looked utterly gobsmacked, while Catelyn was clearly delighted. Then, as if it were the most natural thing in the entire world, Mia slipped her hand into Cat's and Ned's, chattering away at both of them. They turned, the three of them, Ned and Cat, listening avidly as Mia told them all about her day, including her new dress and going to the airport.

"Jon," Sansa whispered, watching Mia weave her magic around Ned and Catelyn.

Jon tugged Sansa close and brushed his lips against her forehead.

"I know, baby, I know."

He knew precisely what Sansa was feeling because he was feeling it too. Even with Elia's love and acceptance, there was a part of Jon that had always felt … a bit outside of the core family unit. As if he didn't quite fit. It wasn't that he was waiting for rejection, but maybe there were some lingering doubts over whether or not he was following in his parents' footsteps by not being able to make things work with Val.

But all of that appeared to be changing before his very eyes. Somehow, between his family in Sunspear and Sansa's family in Wintertown, Mia would be surrounded by people that loved her. It was all Jon had ever wanted for her – to know that she belonged and was loved and supported.

Sansa and Jon, hand in hand, followed the Starks and Mia down the hallway and into the Great Room, where Mia had stopped, looking at all of Sansa's siblings that were gathered there. Even in the massive room, they were an impressive bunch.

For their part, the Starks were grinning at Mia. She was holding hands with Ned and Cat. Mia pressed closer to Ned, who hoisted her up in his arms.

"Papa Ned, who are all these people?"

Ned laughed. "They are my children - Sansa's brothers and sister."

"All of them?" she asked, eyes wide, to which Ned chuckled again.

"No, not all of them.”

Jon recognized half the room – namely Sansa's brothers.

Ric, with his cast, was grinning and waving at him.

Robb, who had risen from the sofa, extending his hand and welcoming Jon to Winterfell.

And Bran, who was seated on a loveseat with a pretty, dark-haired woman, giving Jon one of those shy, slightly enigmatic smiles.

"Hi, Jon. This is my girlfriend, Meera. She's also in computer sciences," Bran said by way of explanation. Jon recalled Sansa telling him that Bran's girlfriend was a year older than he was. She appeared shy and only waved at him, so Jon just waved back.

Which left the small dark-haired woman who had a bit of a scowl on her face. Standing beside her was a dark-haired man who seemed far more easygoing than the woman Jon deduced was Arya, Sansa's younger sister.

"Arya, right?" Jon said, taking charge and holding out his hand for Arya. The woman's lips twitched slightly.

"I've heard you were a cocky one."

Jon gave a lazy shrug of his shoulder. "Confident. It comes from saving lives."

Arya snorted, and Jon looked to Sansa, who was glaring daggers at her sister.

"Arya, be nice," Sansa hissed at her. Arya rolled her eyes.

"San, if he's going to fit into this family, I have to see what he's made of."

Since Jon grew up in the big, loud, messy Martell family, he understood. So he pulled Sansa closer and brushed his lips against Sansa's forehead.

"Sweetheart, don't worry about me. I survived growing up with Rhaenys."

Jon felt Sansa relax and let out a little laugh and then introduced Jon to Gendry, Arya’s boyfriend. Gendry was twenty-eight, a few years older than Arya.

Jon learned more about their shared mixed-martial-arts studio, as well as the fact that they were both avid motorcyclists. Jon didn't say much to that – he'd seen far too many gruesome injuries from bikers ever to feel comfortable on the back of a bike, but he also knew those that loved it would never be talked off their bikes.

Robb had joined them, easy and confident in a way that the eldest son often was, and Jon found himself sharing amused glances with Sansa's older brother while the two Stark sisters bickered.

"It's always been like this," Robb muttered sotto voice to Jon, but there was relief there, and Jon knew it came from having Sansa back in the Stark fold.

When there was a lull in the conversation, Jon heard Mia questioning Rickon how he got his boo-boo. Ric was making Mia laugh with a story about how he’d hurt himself.

It was more than apparent that Ned and Catelyn Stark were smitten with Mia, and she became a focal point and highlight of the dinner.

Thankfully his daughter was on her best behaviour, and dinner was roasted potatoes and chicken with a few of the vegetables that Mia liked.

"Incredible how this is a dinner she likes," Jon whispered to Sansa, who only smiled benignly at him.

Jon chucked. He loved how intertwined their lives were and how well Sansa already knew his daught’s likes and dislikes.

After supper, the Starks surprised Jon by inviting everyone back to their expansive patio, where Ned and Robb built a fire. It was shockingly low-key for the wealthiest family in the North and Jon found himself having a great night.

There was no doubt that the Starks were the upper echelon of Westeros, but they were friendly and warm. By the time they'd moved outside, Mia had dubbed all Sansa's siblings as her de-facto aunts and uncles and had even warmed up Sansa's prickly sister Arya, telling Arya she liked her big black boots.

"But they don't match," Mia said solemnly, shaking her head at Arya as Sansa snickered. Arya had worn a designer dress but paired it with her black motorcycle boots.

Mia was cuddled on Sansa's lap, and Jon was sharing the love seat with them.

"Maybe I don't want them to match, squirt," Arya retorted.

Mia frowned, thinking about that. Jon wondered if anyone had ever questioned his budding fashionista on her choices.

"Sansa, do things have to match?" Mia asked.

Sansa tucked a curl that had come loose from Mia's hair behind her ear. "No, baby, they don't. Sometimes people like it when things clash – when they don't match."

"Why?"

Sansa shrugged. "It makes you pay attention to the choice they made."

Mia thought about that.

"I like matching, but clashing is ok too," Mia said generously.

All the Starks laughed. After a treat of smores, Jon and Sansa finally rose, Jon holding a sleepy Mia in his arms.

All of Sansa's siblings told them not to be strangers, while Ned and Cat saw them out. At the door, Cat hovered as Jon held a sleepy Mia.

"Thank you for coming and sharing her with us," Cat said, eyes suspiciously bright.

Sansa leaned in and kissed her mother's cheeks.

"If you're keen, Mia loves to go to parks and museums with Sansa. I'm sure she'd love to see you again," Jon said.

He knew that Sansa was in his life, and Mia had taken to the Starks like a duck to water.

Cat's breath hitched, and she stroked a hand down Mia's back.

"Oh, I would love that. Thank you, Jon."

Sansa hugged both her parents and then together, and they got Mia into her car seat. When it was just them, Jon drew Sansa into his arms.

"Did we pass?"

She smiled and nodded. "With flying colours, Dr. Snow."

Jon slipped his hand into Sansa's. "Ready to go home, Ms. Stark."

Her eyes sparkled. "Ready, Dr. Snow."

For the first time in his life, Jon knew he was as well. Ready for this next step in his life, sure that he'd found the women he'd been waiting for his entire life and excited to see what the future had in store.


 

Chapter Text


 

The Sleepover – Sansa

 

When they arrived at Jon's house, he pulled into the garage, and then, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, as if they'd done this a dozen times before, they went inside together.

Jon carried Mia in his arms, since she was still sleepy, while Sansa tidied up downstairs and plugged in Mia's tablet before she headed upstairs to Jon’s bedroom.  

That soft, sexy grin he’d shot her before he'd taken his daughter up to her room had Sansa's tummy quivering in anticipation for what was sure to be a very good night.

Sansa hadn't forgotten Jon's promise to tied her up, and she was curious as to what might happen tonight, and how she’d like that. She trusted him with her pleasure and finding her limits. It was a heady feeling to finally feel sexually satisfied in a relationship, and she was excited for more.

She was also aware of what a sleepover meant – how big a step this was in their relationship.

Jon hadn't dated in five years, and Sansa was the first woman he'd ever let Mia become close to. Sansa recognized the trust that Jon was placing not only in her but in them as a couple.

When she got to his bedroom, Sansa puttered around, lighting a candle, going to the bathroom and then finally taking a seat on the edge of the bed. She wasn't exactly sure if she should undress. She had on some pretty skimpy lingerie, but this was new territory for her. Sansa had never spent the night at a man's house when his child was present, and she didn't want to make any mistakes. What if Mia burst into the bedroom wanting to say goodnight?

To distract herself, Sansa picked up her phone, opening her social media accounts, and laughing at a few of Satin's latest posts in which he was crawling all of Tor, who was smiling indulgently at his lover. Sansa hoped they moved to Winterfell – and not just because it would be a huge professional success for her. She liked them and could see herself becoming quite close with the adorable couple.

She’d just replied to Satin’s latest picture on Instagram, when the door opened. Sansa placed her phone down and then had to force herself from fidgeting. She had no idea why she was nervous being here. It wasn't like this was their first time together, and Sansa knew that the sleepover meant something to Jon. Maybe that was what was making her nervous – knowing that this was a big step for both of them.

"Hey," he said, voice a bit gruff and low, and her tummy fluttered.

That voice. Gods, it just made her pant.

"Hi. Is she down?"

Jon nodded and tugged at his tie, and then took off his cuff links. Sansa liked seeing him like this – a bit undone after an evening together. It felt very coupley and very domestic.

"Out like a light. She had fun and couldn't stop talking about her new Nana and Papa.”

Jon winked at her, and Sansa’s heart clenched at that thought, hoping that maybe one day it would be true. Mia was well-loved, but a child could never have too many grandparents, and Sansa knew hers would be excellent at that role.

Then all thoughts of Mia and her grandparents fled as Jon prowled towards her. She was still sitting on the bed, letting him take the lead in the bedroom, which they both liked. As he neared, Sansa swung her legs to the side and opened them so Jon could stand between them.

He leaned down to cup her face in his hands, holding her there, eyes on one another. Neither said a word.

The moment felt supercharged, the electricity between them palpable. Sansa had never experienced chemistry like this in her life.

He stroked a finger over her cheek, and her breath hitched.

"You're so beautiful," he murmured, still gazing at her, not taking his eyes from her face.

Gods, her entire body felt like it was on fire. She wanted this man with a fever she'd never felt before – this insatiable urge where she craved him so much.

"What do you want to happen tonight, sweetheart? Do you want to play?"

Sansa turned her mouth and drew a finger into her mouth. Sucked hard. Watched him and saw his eyes darken as his nostrils flared.

"I want to play,” she answered confidently, knowing it was true. Fuck did she want to play.

Jon merely nodded before he leaned down to kiss her.

"I'm going to bind your hands with leather cuffs that are just for you and place you how I want. And I'm going to blindfold you, so you'll have to rely on your other senses more. Tell me what colour Sansa."

Her breath hitched in anticipation. "Green."

"Good girl," he crooned, and Sansa preened under his praise. This man just understood what made her tick.

"Stand up and let me undress you," he commanded, and she scrambled to her feet, hoping he liked her lingerie.

It was red and black lace and covered very little of her naughty bits and had cost a fortune when she'd purchased it. Standing there in his room, knowing she was spending the night, knowing that this was something real, and knowing she'd found a man that understood her desires, Sansa gave herself over to Jon. She knew this man wouldn’t let her down.

"Slip this on," he said before he even touched her, holding out a black silk sleep mask.

Her heart was thumping and her breathing fast, but she took the mask and put it over her eyes. It obscured her vision completely and was soft against her eyes. Expectation roared through her entire body, electrifying her.

"Perfect," Jon growled, and Sansa felt how drenched her pussy already was. Her thighs were slick with her cream, her entire core pulsing in anticipation.

She was standing there, in her dress, and she knew that Jon was looking at her. But she couldn't see him, didn't know what expression was on his face, couldn’t read his expression and it made it the moment all the more powerful.

Sansa whimpered when his fingers found the tiny zipper on the side of her dress and slid it down, the dress pooling at her feet. There was a brush of cool air against her skin, and Sansa felt her nipples pebble, sure that it was the involuntary response of her body for what Jon had planned for her.

Because she was blindfolded, something she'd always wanted to try but never had, she heard every sound Jon made. He grunted out a pleased sound as he looked at her, standing there in her skimpy bra and panties, and her nipples strained against the lace. She felt the scratch of the sensitive buds against the fabric, breathing harder when Jon cupped a breast and pinched a nipple.

She moaned unable to help herself. The slight bite of pain turned her on.

"Fuck I want to see you in clamps," his voice guttural as desire roared through her.

Sansa loved the idea of being at this man's mercy, allowing him to push her limits and do whatever he wished to her. Before she knew it, his mouth replaced his hand, and he sucked the sensitive tips into his mouth through the lace.

Sansa mewled, trying to keep quiet.

"Jon," she cried as he nipped and tugged at her breasts.

"Be as loud as you want, sweetheart."

Sansa could hear the wickedness in his tone as if he liked the idea that she couldn’t keep quiet, and she panted as his hands slid lower, cupping her arse and kneading the flesh there as his mouth left love bites along her neck.

"Fuck I love seeing this skin pink up beneath my hand. You're so responsive," he praised before he had her stripped down to nothing and helped her back onto the bed.

"On all fours, Sansa. Hands at the small of your back and present your ass to me," he commanded, and she hurried to do as he told her.

Wearing the blindfold helped a bit. She was eager to do as Jon wanted, and because she was lost in her own world, she gave herself over to what was happening. Her entire body felt primed and ready for him as she felt the cool leather of the cuffs around her wrists before he secured them together.

Sansa felt the bed dip and the rustle of clothing and knew Jon was undressing. She stayed still, her cheek against the comforter, hands now bound behind her back, knees pressed into the mattress. She was pretty sure they weren't doing anal tonight because Jon would have discussed it with her, but the possibility that he could have her however he wanted her made her ache.

"Fuck, you're perfect," he murmured again before a light tap landed on her ass. She rolled her hips into the touch and heard Jon chuckle.

"Not tonight, sweetheart," he told her, his lips suddenly at her ear while his hand slid between the seam of her ass.

"Tell me, has anyone ever fucked you here?" he asked and played with her rosette, not pressing his thumb in, just circling it.

She felt her heart race at the idea of Jon fucking her there.

"No."

"Good," he replied and fresh desire flood through her. She liked that she could give Jon this first.

"Will you let me have every part of you?"

"Gods, yes, Jon. Anything."

She heard his moan of approval and it made her even needier, though how that was possible she didn’t know. Sansa couldn’t ever remember being this turned on.

"Christ, Sansa, you're fucking perfect," he repeated.

Then he was gone, but only for a moment, his strong arms positioning her near the side of the bed while his fingers were on her jaw.

"Open up and let me fuck your mouth," he told her, guiding his weeping cock to her mouth. Eager to please him, Sansa greedily worked him over as he plowed into her, his hands tunnelling into her hair as his strokes were firm and steady as he took her there.

Sansa appreciated how he didn't force her to deep throat him instead of seeming to get off on seeing her cuffed and blindfolded sucking his dick. She felt herself grow even damper between her thighs, sure that cream was coating them as her clit pulsed. The idea of Jon taking her ass had her hot and bothered. It was something she'd only ever wanted to do with someone she trusted implicitly. And she trusted Jon with every part of her.

"Fuck, that's it, suck my dick. Such a pretty little cocksucker aren't you?" he crooned, and Sansa moaned against his dick. She was! She loved how he heaped praise onto her.

She had no idea how long she sucked his dick for, but one thing became clear – Jon did not want to come in her mouth. She lost herself in this motion, enjoying having him like this, until he finally pulled out, praising her again, before repositing her on the bed. He uncuffed her wrists and then pulled her arms above her head and attached them to the headboard as far as she could tell. She still had the blindfold on.

"Colour?" he asked again, voice strained.

Sansa grinned. She could only imagine what she looked like, and she revelled in it.

"Green."

"Thank fuck," Jon muttered and then proceeded to lick and kiss her body, making her moan and arch into his talented hands and mouth. Each time she wanted more, the man moved onto a different part of her body, a wicked chuckle sounding until he gently parted her thighs.

"Fuck baby, you're god damn soaked. You’re making a mess of my bed like the naughty girl you are," he said.

Sansa quivered as she felt his warm breath hover over her cunt. She could smell her desire and knew she'd made a mess of herself and the bed, not that Jon seemed to care about that at all, thank goodness. She couldn’t help how turned on she was and it was all his fault.

When he lowered his mouth and licked her seam, working his tongue into her pussy, lapping her up, Sansa canted her hips up, seeking more.

Jon chuckled.

"Be a good girl," he said, chuckling darkly, and then laid a light tap on her cunt, making her whither against the bonds that secured her.

Then he proceeded to eat her out, using every trick he knew to drive her mad, bringing her just to the peak of an orgasm and then retreating, not letting her finish.

"I could spend all fucking night denying you the chance to come. Your entire body is flushed; your pussy is pulsating in my mouth and this clit. Fuck this greedy little clit."

His tongue lashed out and sucked on it, and Sansa keened.

"Please, Jon," she begged, and again, he chuckled darkly before he moved. She felt him leave her cunt as he fit his mouth on hers, kissing her passionately.

His cock, stiff and throbbing, nudged her pussy as she eagerly kissed him back. Her come was all over his face, but she didn't care as she ravished his mouth, eagerly tasting herself on his lips.

Without warning, he pushed up the sleep mask, and Sansa's eyes met his. They were so intense, filled with feelings that were so big between them that neither one wanted to name them.

"Jon," she whispered, seeking more from him. He put his hands on her cuffs, and that one gesture almost undid her.

How was there so much trust already between the two of them?

Were soulmates real?

This had to be what she’d been searching for, right?

Then all thoughts fled, and pure need took over.

"My Sansa," he responded and then surged inside her, hitting a spot that only he had ever found.

They said nothing, only the slapping of skin, their pants and grunts filling the room and the air reeking of sex. Passionate, sweaty, brain-melting sex. Sansa lost track of time, caught up in the moment, unable to do anything but follow Jon as he dictated the pace of their fucking. When she felt her body tightening, she knew she was close. So was he as the muscles strained against his neck.

"Come, baby," he whispered and at that single command, she did - like a freight train, the g-spot orgasm that he stroked inside her making her gush like a fountain and drenching them both. Sansa was a quivering mess, the orgasm never-ending, when Jon howled out his own release, filling her with his seed and holding himself deep inside of her as her pussy wrung him dry.

She felt him nuzzling into her as they came down from that blissful high.  

She was still in a daze as he undid the cuffs and then cuddled her close. They had made a right mess of the bed, but neither of them cared at the moment.

"Fuck, tell me that was good for you, sweetheart," Jon said softly against the shell of her ear.

She shuddered again and turned, cupping her face.

"It was amazing. You are amazing."

He grinned, and her heart did that flippy thing it so often did when she was with Jon.

"You are as well."

They only cuddled for a bit longer until the stickiness of their combined orgasms forced them from the bed. Sansa said she'd run a bath for them while Jon changed the sheets. Sansa went through her nightly routine in the bathroom, taking off her makeup, applying her creams, and then winding her hair into a top knot before she climbed into the warm bubble bath.

Jon joined her a few minutes later, and Sansa scooted forward so she could settle in his arms. Sansa gave a happy little sigh when he was behind her, and then kissed his bicep, enjoying this moment just as much as the wild sex they'd just had.

"I'd say tonight was a success," Jon said, and Sansa laughed. She loved his dry wit and sarcasm.

She turned her head, so their eyes locked. "I’d say so as well. You and Mia were a huge hit with the Starks."

"They were so good with her." He swallowed hard. "It'll be nice to have them around. I mean if they want to see her that is.”

Sansa nodded vigorously. "Jon, my parents are half in love with Mia already. Trust me. They will be with her as much as you let them."

He merely bobbed his head and then cuddled her close, both of them content to bask.

When the water cooled, they dried off, and Sansa gave Jon the bathroom, crawling into his bed. He joined her a short time later and tugged her into his arms.

"I'm a cuddler," he said, smirking at her. "And I don't want you that far away from me."

Sansa melted and happily snuggled into his arms, his legs twined in hers.

"Night, sweetheart."

"Night, Jon."

 


 

The Next Morning – Sansa

 

Sansa heard Mia first. It was the pitter-patter of little feet in the hallway, followed by a giggle. She glanced over at Jon, who had his arm around her middle, holding her tight. Then she checked her watch that indicated it was just a little past 6 am.

Knowing that he probably never got to sleep in on a Saturday, Sansa slipped out from the bed, pleased when he rolled over, not even waking up. Sansa tugged on some yoga pants, a tank top with a built-in bra and a hoody and padded quietly out of the bedroom. The giggles continued as she made her way downstairs to find Mia setting up her stuffed animals around the kitchen table.

"Sansa, you're still here!" Mia cried upon spotting her, launching herself at Sansa.

She was wearing pyjamas with a dancing unicorn and little padded feet, and Sansa's heart melted. It wasn't just Jon that Sansa was falling for but his adorable daughter as well.

Sansa scooped Mia up, noting that her hair was a riot of dark curls, while her blue eyes sparkled in mischievous delight.

"I am here. What are you doing up so early on a Saturday, bug?"

Mia giggled.

"Cartoons," she replied.

With a knowing smile, Sansa carried her over to the couch in the family room and flipped on the television, keeping the volume down so that Jon could sleep. She left Mia snuggled up with a blanket and went and got her some milk and cut up an apple, giving her a little snack. When Sansa was back on the couch, Mia crawled onto her lap and snuggled in, the two of them content to relax together.

An hour later, Sansa flicked off the TV to an epic Mia pout. But when she suggested they go and play with her dolls, Mia rebounded quickly and all but dragged Sansa to her playroom. That was where Jon found them, forty minutes later. Sansa heard him before she spotted him and looked up to see Dr. Snow wearing grey sweatpants that rode low on his lean hips and a tight black t-shirt, his curls barely tamed and a sexy, sleepy look on his gorgeous face.

She must have made a sound because he smirked. And good lord that did something divine to her entire body.

"Hey sweetheart, hey bug," he said to them, padding into the room and dropping down to press a kiss to Mia's forehead and then one to her lips. Mia didn’t even blink at their open affection – clearly accepting Sansa into their lives with an ease that made them both happy.

Jon took a seat beside her, pulling her into the cradle of his arms as Mia chattered away about the world that they had created. Jon was half listening to Mia, but he was also nuzzling at her neck and had one hand on her hip where he squeezed. He was an excellent multi-tasker.

"How'd you sleep?" he asked softly into her ear, making her shiver.

One of those talented hands stroked over her wrists where the leather cuffs he'd had made just for her had resided last night. The cuffs were soft, and Jon had been careful, so there wasn't a mark on her pale skin. Still, both knew what had taken place and how much trust they placed in the other with the way they liked to fuck.

"Great," Sansa replied, meaning it.

She'd had to fight tooth and nail to get any intimacy with Harry.

With Jon, once he'd let her in, he didn't hold back. She was here in his home on a Saturday morning, with his daughter, wrapped up in his arms.

No, Jon Snow wasn’t afraid of monogamy or a relationship once he’d made that choice to be in a committed partnership.

"How did you sleep?"

He grinned, and her stomach fluttered. He was so gorgeous all the time, but this morning? Here, in his daughter's playroom, her having spent the night and the entire weekend stretched out before them? He took her breath away.

"Excellent," he replied. He kissed her again and gave a growly little pout and a look that made her tummy quiver in anticipation.

"Until I woke up all alone in my bed." He dropped his voice lower, and she felt his breath against her neck, making her shiver. "Naughty girl."

Sansa's head was spinning as Jon worked her up again, trying to develop a coherent sentence as to why she left the bed early.

"Little miss was up and wanting her cartoons. I gave her an hour, and then we came here. And I thought you could use the sleep-in," Sansa told him when her brain cells started working again.

Jon's hand-squeezed, pulling her closer. "You're so good for us."

Delighted with his praise and agreeing wholeheartedly, Sansa leaned back against Jon and watched Mia play until finally, she heard his stomach rumble.

"Come on, let's make breakfast," she said to them, leading them out of the playroom and to the kitchen, which by this time was bathed in bright May sunshine.

Pleased they'd have a nice day to do all the activities Sansa had planned, she helped Mia with her apron and then donned one for herself, setting Jon on coffee duty while she asked Mia what she wanted for breakfast.

"We can make pancakes, or we can make crepes," Sansa said.

"What's crepes?"

"A really thin pancake that you can roll up and put all sorts of different toppings on. Fruit, chocolate chips, whipping cream or syrup."

"I want crepes!" Mia declared.

It was a recipe that Sansa knew by heart, so she had Mia helped her gather the flour, the icing sugar and the white sugar. Together they carefully measured the dry ingredients, Mia's little tongue sticking out as she concentrated. Jon brought her a cup of coffee, and Sansa caught the look on his face as she and Mia worked on making the batter.

"What's next?"

"Two eggs."

Mia hopped off her little stool and ran to the fridge, asking Jon for help. Jon was there, handing them carefully to Mia, who hurried back to the island. Sansa helped her crack the eggs into the bowl, and then they mixed them in with a fork.

"Now we need to mix our wet ingredients. Milk, water, melted butter and some vanilla," Sansa told Mia.

Soon enough, with that task done, and then they poured the wet into the dry and mixed it all up until the batter was smooth and ready to go.

Mia was almost wiggling in excitement as Sansa asked her what she might want on her crepes, and they spent several minutes pouring toppings into little bowls.

Sprinkles. Chocolate chips. Cut up strawberries and melon.

"I'm very excited for breakfast," Mia announced when Sansa reached for a pan to begin to cook.

Jon, who was now on his second cup of coffee, leaned against the island, smiling at them both.

"Mia bug, would you say that Sansa is a better cook than me?"

She gave him a solemn look and nodded her head. "Yes, Daddy."

Jon feigned being hurt and then came over to tickle her. Sansa adored Mia's happy little squeals. She loved cooking for people and being part of this family. Then Jon kissed her again, and Mia didn't even bat an eye at them, as she hovered on her stool, excited to see Sansa cook the crepes.

"You're amazing," Jon told her, making Sansa preen.

"You're a distraction, Dr. Snow."

He winked at her as she shooed him away so she could cook.

"The key is not to add too much butter to the pan and make them thin," Sansa told Mia, who had her little tongue sticking out. She was concentrating so hard, watching Sansa.

Sansa dipped the ladle into the batter and then poured it into the hot pan and rolled the pan expertly. They all waited for a minute while the crepe cooked on one side, then using her spatula, Sansa flipped it to cook the other side. When she slid the finished crepe onto a plate, it was a perfect golden brown.

Jon helped Mia chose her toppings and then rolled it, as she added syrup to the concoction and then happily dug in after Jon sat her on a stool at the island. This way, she could watch Sansa cook and eat breakfast at the same time.

"This is sooooo yummy," Mia announced after a few bites, face covered in a chocolate-syrupy mess.

Sansa laughed. "She's going to need a bath before we go out."

Jon agreed while Mia perked up.

"What are we doing today?" she asked, eyes half on Sansa and half on her plate.

Sansa kept busy making more crepes and plating them, pleased when Jon moaned at his first bite. She loved it when people liked her cooking.

"There is a kids expo at the art gallery, and there is a big park right next to it. I thought we could head downtown for the afternoon and check things out," Sansa told Mia, who squealed happily.

"Can we, Daddy?"

He ruffled Mia's hair.

"Yup. But after breakfast, a bath. You need to tidy up. Sansa doesn't want to come home to a messy house later, bug."

Mia's eyes widened. "You're spending the night again?"

Sansa nodded. "You bet."

That made Mia very happy.

"Sansa, can you make dinner tonight?" Mia asked as Jon chuckled.

"I've already been replaced."

"I can. What would you like?" Sansa asked, now sitting down with a coffee and her own plate of food.

"Lasagne. Nana Elia makes it really good,” Mia answered immediately. Sansa smiled at her. She loved how fierce Mia was and how she knew her likes and dislikes.

"It is," Sansa agreed. She’d been treated to more than one Elia dinner at the Water Garden Palace.

After they finished breakfast, they made plans for their afternoon, and Jon hurried Mia upstairs to take a bath and get dressed. Sansa suggested shorts and runners, pleased when Mia promised that's what she would wear. Jon sent her a grateful look, and Sansa promised that she'd wear something similar. She loved how Mia liked to dress like her.

Sansa spent some time looking through Jon's kitchen and determined they'd need to stop at the market for a few ingredients. She was excited for their day and spending another night with this family that had fast taken up residence in her heart and worked their way in deeper by the day.

 


 

Saturday Afternoon – Jon

 

Jon couldn't help but preen as he watched Sansa and Mia holding hands, walking towards the art gallery in downtown Wintertown.

He'd found a parking spot downtown, between the park and the art gallery and had taken it immediately. This area was filled with shops, restaurants, cafes and boutiques. It wouldn't be hard to find somewhere to eat after they'd done the Children's Expo at the art gallery and take their late lunch to the park for an impromptu picnic. Sansa had a rather large bag that he knew held a blanket for them.

Jon knew his chest was puffed out as he gazed at his girls. Sansa was absolutely gorgeous and clearly his. His love bites were visible on her pale skin, and she kept sending him heated glances while touching and kissing him as they walked towards the gallery. They were very much a couple, and anyone who looked at them would know it.

Mia, his brilliant, energetic daughter, was flourishing having Sansa in their lives. She was dressed in matching clothes to Sansa – capris pants, a t-shirt and a little jacket. The sun was shining, and both his girls were giggling with one another, talking about what they might create at the art gallery.

Jon's heart swelled, and he took out his phone and snapped a picture of Sansa talking to Mia as she held her hand and sent it to Elia, Rhae and Aegon.

Their response was immediate and expected.

Elia: Oh, my babies! Look at them together! I knew you two were meant for one another!

Jon chuckled at that. Elia deserved the credit for pushing them into each other’s orbits, no doubt.

Rhae: Sansa is a keeper. Don't mess this up, big bro.

Aegon: Brother, that is one good-looking family you got going.

Jon grinned and then sent the picture to Catelyn, who'd given him her number. Just in case. Her response was also immediate.

Catelyn: Oh, thank you so much, Jon. It looks like you have a fun day planned. It was a delight to meet you and your daughter last evening. Please do not be strangers.

Jon texted everyone back, including Catelyn Stark, promising that Mia had already asked about her new Nana and Papa and that they could schedule a play date soon. Catelyn seemed quite pleased with that and told Jon she’d make it work when his schedule allowed. Jon had never had parents like him as much as Ned and Catelyn seemed to.

When they got to the art gallery, Sansa took him by the hand while grabbing Mia's other one. It was free today, and they had stations set up for the kids both inside and out. Jon might have been here once for some hospital fundraiser, but art wasn't his thing. He'd always been a math and sciences guy – he was the one that looked forward to dissection day in biology class.

But Sansa was in her element, and so was his daughter. He was content to join in when they called him and stand back and hold Sansa's huge purse when they were lost in their own little world. Another Dad joined him when they were at the fashion station, shaking his head. Sansa had bonded with his daughter, and Mia had made a new friend.

"Daughters, huh," the guy said, winking at Jon.

Jon smiled.

"Yeah."

"That your wife there?"

Jon didn't quite know how to answer that question. Obviously, Sansa wasn't, but he'd be a liar if he said the thought hadn't crossed his mind.

"Not yet," was all he said, and the guy gave him a knowing look.

"Dude, I'm a single Dad as well, and I'm telling you, lock that woman up."

Jon frowned at the guy, not liking how he was talking about Sansa. Yes, she was gorgeous and friendly and almost fucking perfect. But this jackass didn't know that. He was just checking her out.

"Thanks," was all Jon said and then went and took a seat beside Sansa.

"Hi babe," she said, smiling at him, unaware of Jon's slightly put-out feeling. "Everything ok?"

So maybe she did know him.

"Yeah. What are you guys making?"

"Daddy, they have all sorts of different fabrics, and we get to make choices and then when we're ready, it all goes into this computer program, and we get to see our own design!" Mia answered excitedly.

"She's made three, and honestly, I'm thinking about using one of them," Sansa told him.

She'd been sending a steady stream of pictures to Elia and Rhae, who agreed that Mia had quite the eye, as well as some to her mother, who was delighted to be included in their family day.

They spent a few more hours at the art gallery, leaving with Sansa's purse filled with Mia's creations. They grabbed lunch at a little bistro that boasted the best homemade mac and cheese, sandwiches and soups and took their lunch to the park where they found a spot beneath a tree in the shade and had their picnic.

Mia giggled at Jon's attempt at some of his drawings when they were looking at what they’d each created.

"Babe, you have the worst drawing skills," Sansa said, joining in the fun.

He was a true doctor in that his handwriting was atrocious and his art skills weren’t much better. After lunch, Sansa sprawled out on the blanket, and Jon took Mia to the playground, running around with her as she burned off some of that endless energy. When they were walking back to Sansa, Jon picked her up to give her a snuggle.

"Daddy, I really like Sansa," she told him.

"I do as well, bug."

For a brief moment, Mia's comment made Jon think of Val. He rarely did so these days, having long ago reconciled the fact that she didn't want to be part of Mia's life. It wasn't her rejection of him that hurt since they had never been a real couple. What continued to baffle Jon was how any mother could just walk away from their child.

And while rationally Jon knew that Mia was loved, there had been something missing in their lives. It was apparent today as he'd watched Sansa and Mia together. Mia needed a mother.

Jon couldn't lie. Seeing Sansa bond with Mia so quickly had only added to his already deepening feelings for this incredible woman.

They packed up their picnic and walked back to his SUV, and Jon drove them to the market by his house. Again, there was something fierce and possessive inside of him as he watched Sansa and Mia together inside the store. Anyone who saw them would think that they were a family, and while Jon knew it was too soon to have that conversation, for him, things were headed that way.

Like everything else about this magical day, Sansa made grocery shopping fun. She'd texted Elia for her 'secret' lasagne recipe and then had Mia help her find the missing ingredients. Sansa added some garlic bread and promised she made an excellent homemade Cesar salad. When their cart was full of what they required, Jon insisted on paying and then loaded the bags into his SUV before driving his girls home.

Home.

Where Jon was hoping Sansa wanted a more permeant spot.

That night, he opened a bottle of red while Sansa once again cooked, Mia a captive audience. Sansa was so amazing with her, helping her stir and cook and soon enough, an elegant and tasty meal was on the table.

Mia shovelled food into her mouth, claiming Sansa's lasagne was almost as good as Nana Elia's. She even ate some salad and some garlic bread, which Jon claimed was a miracle.

Cleaning up was a fun affair, as Jon had sent Mia off to her playroom so he could make out with Sansa in the kitchen. He'd put her on the island, standing between her legs, taking a moment just to drink her in.

"Fuck, you're amazing," he told her, unable to adequately express how perfect the day had been.

She beamed at him.

"Mia is just … gosh, she's so incredible, Jon."

He knew it wasn't a put-on with Sansa. He knew that she cared deeply for his daughter.

"Well, so are you, sweetheart."

He saw her melt a bit at his words. It was hard to reconcile all these parts of Sansa.

Brilliant businesswoman.

Culinary goddess in the kitchen.

Sweetly passionate submissive in the bedroom.

Loving and caring mother.

Amazing girlfriend, sister, daughter and friend.

Fuck, she was utterly perfect for him, and he growled a bit as he thought of everything he liked about Sansa.

"Tonight, I'm going to make you scream my name again and again," he told her.

She clung to him, her nails biting into his arms.

"Yes, please."

His cock went to granite, and he knew he'd be aching until he could be in her cunt again.

After dinner was cleaned, they got Mia and put on a movie in the family room. She cuddled between them both and, in the end, sleepily let Jon carry her to bed, winding her arms around his neck.

"Thanks for the best day, Sansa," Mia called out as he carried her up the stairs.

Sansa blew Mia a kiss and said she’d had fun, making Mia giggle.

It had taken a bit longer to get Mia down tonight, owing to the excitement of the day and he wasn’t sure how he’d find her when he got to his bedroom. Jon found Sansa in bed, the light on her nightstand on, her laptop open. He paused, loving how right Sansa looked here in this room. She just fit in with them. He closed the door behind him and then strode over to her, watching her head pop up. She smiled when she saw him and lit up his entire fucking world, making him realize how lonely he'd been before he'd met her.

"Hi," she said, voice a bit breathless and his ego was healthy enough to know it was because she was imagining what he was going to do to her.

"Hi. Good weekend?" he asked, and she nodded, lips wide, eyes sparkling.

"Oh yeah. One of the best."

Pleased with that, Jon gently placed her laptop on the nightstand and then cupped her face in his hands.

"Me too, sweetheart, me too."

Then nothing much more was said as Jon made good on his promise to make her come as many times as she could handle, finally emptying himself into her velvet heat after her fourth orgasm and then cuddling her close in his arms.

He knew she had her own place. Her own life. But he also knew that this was what he'd been looking for his entire life, and he had no plans on ever letting Sansa go. When the time was right, Jon knew that right here was where Sansa Stark was meant to be.

 


 

Chapter Text

 


 

June

 


 

Wintertown – Sansa

 

The past month had flown by for Sansa. She loved being back in the North, and with her newly-repaired relationship with her family, it felt different from before. Perhaps she'd just had to mature – to leave the nest and spread her wings to find out what she truly had in Wintertown. That this was the place where she wanted to spend the rest of her life.

Having Jon here was also a very big part of why Sansa loved the North and being back home.

It helped that her Mom and Dad liked Jon. Sansa had snagged Mia for a few more playdates and invited Catelyn along, and Mia had taken to Cat like a duck to water. Catelyn loved finally being a Nana and made not-so-subtle hints to Sansa that she would enjoy more grandchildren.

Sansa didn't say anything to her mother’s comments, but she wouldn't be opposed to more children in her future either. She’d always imagined herself with three or four kids one day.

Not that she thought of herself as Mia's mom – not yet.

But everyone knew that things were serious between her and Jon.

After their fantastic weekend together, their schedules had conspired to deny them another weekend together, but they fit in as much time as they could whenever they could. Sometimes that was lunch – other times dinner and movie together, and still other times it was a quick breakfast and coffee at the hospital when Jon was on shift.

Of course, they always made time for their bedroom activities, and Sansa swore the best skin care regiment in the entire world was multiple orgasms from a highly skilled boyfriend.

The point was that it wasn’t the amount of time spent together, but the quality of that time. And their quality time was top-notch.

Sansa knew it counted, the little gestures that both she and Jon seemed to excel at. It was apparent that both of them knew this relationship was something special, and they were willing to put in the time and effort to make it work.

Arya had spent more than one evening at Sansa's house, drinking beer and bugging Sansa about how 'in love' she was with Dr. Snow. Sansa didn’t deny her feelings, although neither one of them had said those words yet. Sansa wasn't sure why not – perhaps just timing and crazy schedules, but she knew that was what she was feeling. It had been three months since she'd met Jon in Sunspear, and while some might think it was fast to fall in love, Sansa knew her heart, and her heart belonged to Jon Snow and his adorable daughter.

As for her professional life, things were going well. Sansa had moved into her new office space recently, and there were several talented local designers that she'd tapped into, along with Satin and Dacey. Elia and Rhae couldn't believe what the North had to offer and there were many phone calls to Sunspear where Sansa gushed about the North and the designers she had uncovered up here.

Sansa was seriously contemplating lobbying Elia to make an entire branch in the North for designers from this region. Sansa knew that the talent she’d uncovered was enough to bring people to Wintertown to see what they had to offer.

Sansa had a line on another designer, her friend Alys who ran the shop she'd sent Jon and Mia to for Mia’s dress. Alys loved to sew in her spare time, and Sansa hoped to convince her to showcase some of her designs, but so far, her friend was proving shy about putting herself out there.

Sansa had bought more fabric from Gilly, slowly getting the woman to open up to her. They now spoke on the phone every few days, and while it wasn't much, Sansa was glad to offer her shoulder to Gilly. She hoped that Gilly knew that Sansa was there for her – if and when she wanted to leave Craster’s Keep.

Sansa had spoken with her father about Gilly's situation. Ned was very well connected in the North, including knowing the Chief of Police in Wintertown. Ned promised that if Gilly left her husband, they would do everything to help her and her son be safe. But she had to choose for herself. It was a frustrating situation and one that Jon had heard her worry about more than once.

Her friendship with Dacey continued to flourish. The two women exchanged text messages, emails and phone calls almost daily, and Sansa liked Dacey's wicked sense of humour and dry wit. More than just professional colleagues now, Sansa counted Dacey as one of her closest friends.

The most exciting news was that Satin and Toregg had made good on their promise to move to Wintertown. Even better? The condo three down from Sansa's had come for sale, and her new friends had snatched it up.

Which was how Sansa found herself almost bouncing in excitement, looking out her front window for Satin and Tor's truck. They were due to arrive any moment.

Jon snorted at her.

"A watched pot never boils."

She turned and huffed at him.

"I'm just so excited to see them again. And they are going to be my neighbours Jon."

He chuckled and shook his head at her excitement.

Jon had been 'introduced' to both men on more than one occasion via the near-constant Facetime calls Sansa and Satin had. As Sansa had predicted, Jon didn't even bat an eye at some of Satin's more outrageous outfits or make-up, taking it all in stride.

"Is Satin the pretty one with the nice lipstick?" Mia asked from the table where she was colouring, barely even looking up.

Sansa grinned at her. "Yeah, baby, he is."

"I like his clothing and he’s really pretty," she added, giving Sansa a huge smile.

"I like his make-up as well," Sansa responded. Mia was her tiny co-conspirator when it came to all things fashion.

Once Satin had realized he had a captive audience in Sansa to test out his clothing choices, she'd been treated to more than one Satin fashion show. Often it was Tor that held the phone for his guy, an indulgent look on his face as Satin strutted his stuff in their living room in Mole Town. While Sansa knew that Satin adored designing, she wondered if she could ever convince him to model. She knew he had the potential to be a superstar in their world.

Sansa was just about to recheck her phone when she saw Tor's black SUV pull into the lot.

She opened the door and was outside waving at them before they'd even gotten halfway to her.

Satin opened his window and popped his head out.

"Hey, beautiful! We're here!"

Sansa let out a happy squeal, only barely containing herself because she felt Jon's hand on her back. She knew the grin on her face was huge as she turned to her guy.

"They're here!"

Again with that sexy chuckle, which made all her lady parts do a happy dance. Even today, dresses in a t-shirt and shorts, wearing flip-flops of all things, Jon was sex on a stick.

“Yeah, sweetheart they are.”

"Sansa, where are they?" Mia asked, hurrying to join them.

“Right there bug,” Sansa told Mia, pointing to the vehicle as she scooped her up in her arms.

Toregg pulled into an open parking spot and Satin was out of the SUV like a shot.

Sansa grinned at his outfit.

Bright pink hot pants, a black mesh top and some black high-top runners. His lipstick matched his shorts, and he'd highlighted his cheekbones, so they were razor-sharp, his faux hawk tipped with blue today.

"Sansa!" he cried, rushing towards her while Mia beamed at him.

He stopped right in front of them as Mia snuggled into Sansa's arms suddenly shy.

"Well, who is this little fashionista?" Satin asked, clearly knowing who Mia was but playing it up for the little girl.

Mia giggled at Satin, and Sansa knew that Satin had charmed another person as he seemed to do. It was impossible not to fall in love with his personality.

"I'm Mia, and you're Satin. We met on the phone!" Mia announced, and Satin winked a perfectly lashed eye at her.

"That's who you are! I thought I recognized you!"

That got another happy Mia giggle, who was looking at Satin in all his fabulous glory.

"I like your dress," he said.

Mia was wearing a rainbow-coloured sundress, tie-died that she and Sansa had picked out one afternoon when they'd gone shopping together. Let it never be said that Jon's daughter was afraid of bold choices. The little girl had excellent fashion sense.

"I like your lipstick."

Satin preened and then did a little twirl before he gasped and clutched at his chest and reaching out for Sansa, taking her hand in his.

"Good lord, he is yummy enough to eat, isn't he?" Satin purred, looking at Jon.

Jon laughed at Satin's antics, while Tor, now joining them, gave his boyfriend a look.

"Behave," Tor growled while Satin simpered and cuddled closer to the big guy.

"Darling, what fun is that?"

Tor merely rolled his eyes at Satin, but there was no heat. Sansa loved how perfect they were together.

Jon, who now had one arm around her and Mia, held out his hand to her new friends.

"Hi. I'm Jon. Boyfriend to Sansa, father of this munchkin and son of Elia Martell. Welcome to Wintertown. Sansa has been going out of her mind waiting for you guys to show up."

Satin took Jon's offered hand and shook it, batting those fabulous eyelashes at him. Jon just grinned and then shook Tor's hand.

"You look familiar," Jon murmured to the big man, who didn't say much. But there was something in his eyes when Jon said that, and Sansa wondered if he had family down here. The North was geographically large but small in population.

Sansa didn't think much of it, putting Mia down so she could hug Tor (because he seemed like he needed it). The big man held her close.

"He's so excited. Thanks for giving him this opportunity," Tor said quietly to her. Sansa beamed at Tor.

"Thank you for coming with him. How is the job hunt going?"

Tor's eyes twinkled. He wasn't as outgoing as his partner, but Sansa knew there was a wicked sense of humour in the big guy.

"I got an excellent offer from a local company that does construction. It seems someone put a bug in their ear that I was looking for work."

Sansa feigned innocence. "Who me?"

Tor tugged on the end of her braid. "Thanks. I can't wait to work for Stark Enterprises."

Sansa squeezed his hand.

"They'll be lucky to have you. But I'm warning you now; my brother can be a pain in the ass."

Toregg merely shook his head. Sansa knew he came highly recommended and that his work was amazing. Robb and her father had been drooling at adding him to their team and couldn't wait to meet him. It really was a perfect match.

"Alright, well, let's get you two all settled in. I assume you have keys?" Sansa asked.

"We do!" Satin dangled a shiny new set of keys and let out a happy squeal before launching himself at Toregg, who caught him easily.

"And all our stuff is right behind us! You'll finally get to see how talented my guy is."

Sansa swore Toregg blushed and mumbled something, denying it. But Sansa had a suspicion that Toregg had hidden depths. Both men began to walk towards their new condo, talking lowly to one another, and Sansa almost had to pinch herself, unable to believe that they were finally here!

Sansa turned to Jon, who arched an eyebrow at her, as he leaned in for a kiss.

"They are quite the pair, sweetheart," he said, amusement lacing his tone. Jon had grown up around some of the most outgoing people Sansa had ever met in the Martell family, so she knew Satin didn't even phase him.

Sansa laughed.

"I know. But trust me, they are awesome," she said, taking his hand in her other free one.

"I like them, Daddy. Satin is pretty, and Tor is like a big friendly bear," she said, skipping along the walkway.

Jon rumbled out a laugh.

"Out of the mouths of babes," he said, shaking his head at Mia.

But Sansa knew he liked her new friends. She couldn't wait to get them all settled into their new home, sure that this was just one more sign that Wintertown was right where she was supposed to be.

 


 

Wintertown General Hospital – Jon

 

Two weeks after Satin and Toregg had arrived in Wintertown, Jon found himself smiling at a text from Sansa while he sipped coffee in the ER. It was a Wednesday afternoon, and she'd headed North again, to Bear Island to meet with Dacey. They were out on a fishing boat of all things, and she looked adorable in her rain jacket and her hat, a big grin on her face.

Sansa: Dacey's uncle swears I'm going to reel in the big one! Stay tuned!

Jon loved how much Sansa was embracing being back in the North. He loved seeing how happy she was here, and it was evident by the strong friendships she was developing that she had no plans on heading south again. They hadn't discussed it, but Jon was reasonably confident that this was where they both wanted to be. Which suited him just fine.

Chuckling, he scrolled through a few of his photos, smiling at the memories. They'd seen a lot of Tor and Satin over the past weeks. Mia adored both men, loving Satin's colourful outfits and Tor's quiet intensity.

The big man was so good with Mia that Jon wondered if they'd ever thought about having kids. They'd made good Dads, and he hoped if they wanted to go that route, they could either find a good surrogate or do adoption. Either way, if that's what they wanted, Jon would lend whatever help he could.

Toregg had been an instant hit at Sansa's father's company, and he and Robb were already close. He was an extremely talented woodworker and made high-end specialty furniture in his spare time. Or he had when living in Mole Town. Up there, Toregg had mostly worked regular construction. There hadn't been a demand for his talents when it came to making furniture.

But Robb and Ned had taken one look at the furniture in their new condo and had quickly pulled him out of general construction and into making pricey pieces for their wealthy clients. Toregg had confessed he'd never imagined such an opportunity and that he'd moved to Wintertown primarily for Satin and to advance his career. That his career was now taking off was just a bonus. It was clear that Tor and Satin were madly in love and dedicated to one another and Jon liked being around another couple that felt so deeply for one another.

Jon was pleased that both men were flourishing here, and the two couples, along with Mia, had bonded fast. It was nice having friends outside of the hospital. It had been his career and Mia for a long time. But now, with Sansa, Jon felt his entire world opening up. The best feeling was that he had a true partner that he could rely on.

The Starks liked him, and he enjoyed spending time with Sansa's family. Catelyn was itching to be a grandmother, and Mia loved her already. And now, two new people that added to the life they were creating together.

"Why the fuck do you have a picture of my cousin?" came Tormund's angry voice as he snatched Jon's phone out of his hand, frowning at it.

Jon stilled, observing his friend and the best damn ER nurse he'd ever worked with.

He and Tormund had a great professional relationship. Inside the hospital, there was no one that Jon trusted more or wanted on his team more when trauma came in. The man was worth his weight in gold. He almost knew what Jon wanted and needed before Jon had to ask.

But outside? Tormund had tried to invite Jon to events and get to know him better. It wasn't that Jon wasn't interested – but he'd had so little time, and so he'd always begged off. Which meant they weren’t quite as close outside their professional relationship. It also meant that Jon had to be careful as to what he said. He didn’t know that Tormund even had family. And now Jon knew why Toregg looked so familiar – he was cousins with Tormund.

"He moved to Wintertown," Jon said, a bit cautiously. He wasn't sure what Tormund and Toregg's relationship was. Did Tormund know about Satin? Hell, did Tormund even know that Toregg was gay? Jon didn’t get the impression that Toregg cared much about what anyone thought of his lifestyle choices, but Jon couldn’t be sure.

Tormund's eyes widened, and his lips twitched as he looked at the pictures, including ones where Satin was in all his make-up glory.

"Yeah? With his guy?"

Relief flooded through Jon. It was clear that Tormund knew about Satin – knew about his cousin. The very last thing Jon wanted was to 'out' someone to their family. He hadn't even talked with Sansa about Rhae's confession a few months ago. Being a doctor, Jon held confidentiality to a high standard.

"Yeah. Sansa met them when she went on one of her trips. She and Satin hit it off, and before anyone knew it, job offers and moves were being discussed, and now they are here."

Tormund sniffed and nodded, gazing at the picture.

"That's good. He always was a stubborn and proud fucker."

Tormund shook his head at the picture.

“He’s happy?”

Jon laid a hand on Tormund's arm and swiped his phone. The picture showed Mia between Satin and Toregg, making both men laugh.

"Yeah as far as I can tell. He loves Satin a lot, and Toregg’s working for Stark Enterprises. They moved into a condo in Sansa's complex. He's a great guy. I'm sure he'd loved to connect with you."

Tormund's eyes were bright and suspiciously wet.

"Yeah? You think so?"

Jon nodded. "I do."

Tormund handed Jon back his phone and then gruffly said, "Well, tell him I'd like to talk with him. Give him my number, would you?"

"I will," Jon promised, just as his phone rang.

He still had hours left in his shift and seeing his nanny's number come up was not a good sign. He answered his phone to hear his nanny puke and Mia speak.

"Daddy, she's really sick," Mia said.

Jon heard the worry in his daughter’s voice, which matched a churning feeling in his stomach. His backup nanny was on vacation and Sansa was out of town.

"Give me a bit of time bug to figure something out. Put Rosa back on the phone."

Rosa groaned and promised that she could hold on until Jon could get home. He was speed walking down the hallway to the doctor's lounge to get his stuff when he heard the code called.

Cursing, his phone lit up, informing him of a major accident on one of the main roads and that incoming surgical trauma patients were less than five minutes out.

Truly worried now, he ran a hand through his hair, wondering how the fuck he was going to manage this. Sansa wasn’t around, and while Jon had met Robb and Arya a few times, neither one of them seemed to be ready to look after his daughter. He might be able to ask Satin and Tor, but Jon knew their condo wasn’t kid-proof at all and that Tor was working long hours with Robb and Ned.  

Maybe he could get Rosa to bring Mia here – she could hang out in the nurse's lounge for a bit just until he could figure something out?

"Jon?" came a kind voice. The touch on his elbow dragged him from his worried thoughts and Jon found himself staring into the concerned eyes of one Catelyn Stark.

"Mrs. Stark," he said, relief at seeing her there almost overwhelming him.

Was it too much to ask if she could look after Mia? He had no idea if he was crossing a line if he and Sansa were there yet in their relationship, but he was out of options. Even his uncle Ben was off at his cabin, out of cell range and hours away.

"What's wrong?" she asked, and he gave a stressed little laugh.

"My nanny is sick, Sansa is on Bear Island, and a major trauma was called," he said, the words tumbling out before he could decide if he should let Sansa’s mother know about the jam he was in.

A smile bloomed across Catelyn's face, and Jon was given a glimpse of his future – of what Sansa would look like in a few decades. It was something he knew he wanted.

"What can I do?"

He went to protest. For so long, it had been just him and Mia, and he’d mostly managed. But he knew this was the best option for Mia and his own peace of mind. And besides, this was what family and being in a relationship was all about, wasn’t it?

"I hate to put you in this position –"

Catelyn stopped him with a touch and a gentle shake of her head.

"Jon, I've been itching to spend more time with your delightful daughter. I've raised five kids, quite well if I say so myself. If you trust us, I'd be happy to pick her up and bring her to our place. She can hang out with me, and then when Ned comes home, we'll make supper together. And there is no rush for you. We are perfectly capable of babysitting a four-year-old for an evening.”

Gratitude and relief warred inside of Jon, although with a healthy dose of worrying that he was imposing far too much on Sansa's mother.

"Are you sure?" he asked. "She can be a handful."

Catelyn, one of the most elegant and refined women that Jon had ever met, snorted.

"Have you met Arya and Rickon?"

Jon grinned as someone called the code again. He knew he had to move – to be in the ER now. He had no other options.  

"You're sure? I have no idea how long I'll be."

Catelyn nodded. "Text me your address, and I will go and pick her up right now. And no rush, Jon."

Unable to help himself, Jon leaned in and hugged Catelyn close and pressed a soft kiss to her cheek.

"Thank you. I owe you."

She waved a hand, a tear in her eye.

"Go save lives and let me worry about Mia."

With that, Jon nodded, fingers flying over his phone, giving Catelyn the information she required and sprinting to the ER. He knew that Mia would be safe with Ned and Cat, just like he knew his daughter would probably be delighted in spending time with her new grandparents.

Then Jon pushed all thoughts of Mia to a corner of his mind, focussed solely on the task in front of him, grateful once again that he'd met Sansa and for this life that they were building together, up here in the North.

 


 

Jon's House – Catelyn

 

Catelyn stood in the hallway of Wintertown General Hospital, watching her daughter's boyfriend rush away to go and save lives. She let out a shaky breath and then dialled her husband's cell phone, knowing he'd pick it up immediately. He always had and always would.

"Hello, love," Ned's voice rumbled across the line.

Catelyn let out a hysterical laugh.

"IvolunteeredustobabysitMia."

There was silence on the other end before Ned chuckled.

"You volunteered us to babysit Mia? When?"

Relief and love poured through Catelyn at her husband's easy acceptance. Ned had always been her rock.

"Right now. I was at the hospital for a Board meeting and ran into Jon. His nanny is sick, and he got called into a major trauma. I'm going to head to his house now and pick her up. Oh! I guess I'll have to get a car seat."

Ned chuckled again. "Enjoy, and I will try to leave early so I can see you girls."

Tickled pink by Ned, Catelyn hurried towards the hospital exit when her phone dinged.

Jon: There is an SUV at my place that has a car seat. Feel free to use it, and we can make arrangements for vehicles later. I've texted Rosa, and she's waiting for you. Thanks again.

Catelyn: Go save lives, Dr. Snow! We'll see you later.

Catelyn hummed softly as she drove to the well-to-do neighbourhood where Jon lived. Catelyn heartily approved of Jon's house. It was clear that this man had family on the mind. Having Sansa back in the North was almost indescribable, but what made it even more special was that Sansa was in this fantastic relationship with an incredible man.

As painful as Sansa's leaving had been, Catelyn could see how settled and happy Sansa was now. It gave Cat hope that her daughter would want to stay in the North.

She rang the doorbell and waited, hearing the pitter-patter of little feet, until an ashen-looking woman opened the door, while Mia peeked out behind the woman's legs, a big grin on her face.

"Mrs. Stark? Can I see some ID?"

Catelyn nodded and then showed the nanny her identification, pleased that the women had asked. When Rosa was satisfied Catelyn was who she said she was, Rosa stepped back and gestured for Catelyn to enter. Catelyn was barely in the door when Mia launched herself at Catelyn.

"Nana Cat, what are you doing here? Did Daddy send you? Are you staying for a playdate? Can I show you my room?"

Catelyn laughed softly. "Your Daddy did send me. Poor Rosa is feeling sick, so I am here to bring you to Winterfell."

"Will Papa Ned be there?"

Delighted by Mia, Catelyn nodded at her.

"He will, and I have some very special things planned for us." Catelyn looked around the house and saw it looked like a tornado had been through the house.

"But first, let's clean up."

Mia almost pouted, but a look from Catelyn had her scrambling to do as she was told. Rosa, who swayed, was hurried to her room by Catelyn, who found her some water and some medicine and told her to rest.

"But Mrs. Stark, it is my job ---"

"Hush," Catelyn said, interrupting the woman.

"I want nothing more than to spend time with Mia, and you need to rest and get better. We will tidy up the house and be on our way. Jon said I could borrow the SUV?"

The woman nodded and told Cat where the keys were and then crawled into her bed. Catelyn hurried upstairs, rolling up her sleeves to do the dishes and set the house to rights before they were off to Winterfell.

Mia joined her when Cat had finished loading the dishwasher, proudly proclaiming her room was clean as well as the playroom. Catelyn smiled at Mia and then took her by the hand, enjoying how eager the child was to show off her hard work. As promised, she had done her best to clean up her mess, and with a little more held from Nana, both rooms were spotless. Catelyn helped Mia pack a bag, just in case Jon didn't get out of surgery until late.

"These are my favourite pyjamas," Mia announced, grabbing ones with dancing strawberries on them. "And this is my very favourite stuffy. Her name is Lady, and Sansa got her for me."

Mia paused.

"Nana, where is Sansa?"

Catelyn, who'd been on her knees folding Mia's clothing and putting them in her sparkly backpack, looked at Mia.

"She's visiting her friend, Dacey, on Bear Island."

Mia nodded and then ran and got the little bear stuffy Sansa had brought back, announcing she needed both her wolf and her bear. They added some books and her toothbrush and then checked on Rosa before Catelyn locked the doors, and they made their way to the borrowed SUV.

Mia chattered away as Catelyn strapped her in, eager to see Winterfell again and do more exploring. Cat texted a picture to both Jon and Sansa, hoping to reassure them both that she had this well in hand.

Of course, Sansa phoned not five minutes after Cat sent the picture.

"Hey, mom, what's going on?"

Catelyn explained Rosa's illness and Jon's emergency and how she'd volunteered to look after Mia tonight.

"Wow, way to step up. That's awesome," Sansa said, and Catelyn could tell her daughter was pleased. It made Catelyn so happy to be close with Sansa again.

"Sansa, I'm going to Nana Cat's house for a special playdate," Mia announced, and Cat swore her heart swelled. She'd waited what seemed like forever for her children to find their significant other, and Cat was sure that Jon was it for Sansa.

"You are? Are you going to be a good girl? Eat all your dinner?"

Catelyn caught Mia's frown.

"Nana Cat, what's for dinner?" Mia asked somewhat warily.

Inside, Cat was laughing. She'd dealt with a picky eater or two in her time.

"Roast beef, potatoes and vegetables."

Mia gave a mighty sigh.

"Mia bug, be good for Nana," Sansa cautioned, and Catelyn wondered if her daughter realized how important she already was in this little girl's life. There was something so satisfying to watch Sansa become a mother and to be part of this incredible time in her life.

"I bet if you ask nicely, Papa Ned might be able to find some of my old dolls. I think they were put in my old closet."

"Can he?" Mia asked, forgetting her worries about dinner for now.

"Hmmm, yes. If you eat your dinner, I'm sure we can do some exploring," Catelyn promised.

Sansa said she'd call later to check-in, and Mia chirped out a happy goodbye, looking out the window as Catelyn made her way to Winterfell.

"You have a big house," Mia announced as they turned into the driveway.

Cat saw Ned's truck was already home, and she parked outside the triple garage; her husband opened the front door and waving at them.

"There's Papa!" Mia cried, waving back.

Catelyn shook her head in stunned wonder at how excited Mia sounded. Ned hurried over to the SUV and opened Mia's door, the little girl bouncing in excitement.

"I'm here, Papa Ned. Nana came and got me, and she said we're going to have an extra special day."

Ned chuckled warmly and unclipped Mia from her car seat before helping her down. Cat's heart felt like it might explode out of her chest as Mia fit her hand into Ned's and walked with him inside of Winterfell. This next chapter of their lives had been one that Catelyn had been looking forward to for more years than she could count, and it was all because Sansa had finally come home.

 


 

The text from Jon came at 10:30 pm that night. He was finally out of surgery and was just leaving the hospital. Catelyn had sent him numerous updates over the evening, and from his responses, Jon was grateful that Mia had come to Winterfell.

Their afternoon and evening had consisted of baking cookies, going on a nature scavenger hunt in the woods around Winterfell, dinner (in which Mia did eat her roast and vegetables), followed by a search through Sansa's old room to find some of her treasured toys from childhood and then ice cream sundaes and colouring using glitter. There were also several bedtime stories before Cat had tucked Mia into bed in Sansa's old room, her wolf stuffy snuggled up with her.

Mia had said it was the best night ever and asked when she could visit again, and Catelyn promised that they would ask her Dad.

But now their evening was over and Cat was feeling both grateful for the time with Mia and greedy for more. She loved being a Nana.

"He's on his way?" Ned asked, muting the program they were watching on television.

"Yes." Cat paused and looked at her husband. "I love her already, Ned. What if ---"

Then, a bit overcome, Catelyn abruptly broke off that thought.

Ned shook his head and drew her close, and Catelyn gratefully cuddled into her husband's strong arms. Ned pressed a kiss to her forehead and smoothed back her hair.

"Don't think like that. I do believe Dr. Snow is as smitten with our daughter as our daughter is with him."

"They are so wonderful together, Ned. They remind me of us when we were young. I just want them to be happy and be a family."

Ned's chest, still solid and broad, rumbled.

"Ahhh, my Kitty-cat and her soft heart. Our children haven't done us any favours, making us wait for grandchildren, have they?"

Catelyn let out an inelegant snort.

"You can say that again," she muttered.

Ned cupped her chin so their eyes met.

"We have to trust that if Sansa and Jon are meant to be, they will find their way. And so far, I think they are off to a wonderful start."

"You always had so much faith in her – that she would find her way back to us."

Ned rubbed his nose against hers. "I did. And now she is here, and she's happy Cat. Truly happy."

Soon enough, they heard Jon's vehicle and then the knock on the door. When Catelyn opened it, the man looked exhausted but grateful to see them. Then he smirked.

"Let me guess. Mia, had you guys use her glitter pens?"

Laughing now, Catelyn realized that both she and Ned had the telltale signs of glitter all over them.

"She did."

"How was she?" Jon asked.

"Wonderful," Catelyn answered as Jon gave her a look that every parent had perfected.

Ned chuckled and shook his head. "She was a gem tonight, Jon. Truly, we enjoyed having her."

He ran his hand through his hair, now mused and curly, swallowing hard. Catelyn like how serious Jon was – how things mattered to this man. It meant she could trust him with her daughter's heart.

"I don't have the right words to tell you what this meant to me," he started to say.

Catelyn merely reached out and took his hand in hers.

"Jon, it was our pleasure. Truly. Perhaps it is too forward of me, too presumptuous, and Sansa might kill me, but we think of you and Mia as family."

To Cat's surprise, Jon grinned, and she knew exactly why her daughter had fallen hard and fast for this man. She might be old enough to be his mother, but even she had eyes. And as a woman, Catelyn could admit, Jon Snow was devastatingly handsome, especially when he had that confident little smirk going.

"Yeah? That's good. I mean, Elia basically already adopted Sansa, and she'd been angling for us to meet for years. So it's nice that you guys like Mia so much. She needed more grandparents."

Pleased as punch by Jon’s statement, Catelyn beamed at him.

"Come on; I'll take you to her. I put her in Sansa's old room after we dug around and found some of Sansa's old toys."

Jon followed Cat through Winterfell and up to the wing where the family rooms were. Catelyn had left a nightlight on and watched as Jon picked up a sleeping Mia, who cuddled into her Dad's arms.

"Daddy?" Mia asked, waking for a moment.

Jon kissed her forehead. "Yeah, bug. Daddy's here."

"I had fun at Nana and Papa's house," Mia said before yawning and falling back asleep, while Jon smiled at his daughter. Catelyn thought it was a very good indication of the type of person someone was by how they treated children and Jon was one of the best fathers Cat had ever seen.

Catelyn followed them out, holding Mia's bag and helping Jon get her into the car seat where she stayed sleeping. When it was just Jon, he turned back to them.

"Thanks again. Truly. For so long, it's just been me, and well, my uncle Ben up here in the North. Having Sansa and you guys around, well, it's pretty awesome."

Ned held out his hand, and Jon shook it and then, unable to help herself, Catelyn pulled Jon in for a hug.

"Don't be a stranger," she said as Jon hugged her back.

"I won't," he promised.

Then Cat was back in Ned's arms, watching Jon pull out of their driveway, hoping that her husband was right and that Sansa and Jon would find a way to make it work.

As far as Catelyn could tell, they were perfect for one another and deserved all the happiness in the world. And Catelyn wasn't above admitting she wanted more grandchildren to add to the one she now held in her heart.

 


 

Chapter Text


 

JULY

 


 

Wintertown – Jon

 

As summer gripped the North in its heat, Jon kept one ear on Mia, who was playing with her water table and kiddie pool in the backyard, while he checked his text from Sansa to make sure he had all the ingredients for another epic taco night. It had become a tradition with them and one he thoroughly enjoyed – at least as much as Mia did – taco Tuesday but on a Wednesday.

Sansa wasn't spending the night, as she was leaving tomorrow morning to fly to Bear Island for another meeting with Dacey Mormont – only this time, she was taking Satin with her. Jon could only imagine what shenanigans those three might get up to, but he was happy that his girlfriend had made such good friends here. She was flourishing being back in the North.

Over the past month, more often than not, they found a way to spend time with one another. Sansa had transformed one of the bedrooms in her condo into a room for Mia, for when they stayed there, and Sansa had spent the night at his place enough that they had exchanged keys.

That was a monumental step in Jon’s life – that unfettered access to someone else’s life.

For Jon, he knew that he wanted to build a life with Sansa. Four months of dating, and this was the woman for him.

But neither one of them was in a rush either, which was nice. There was no pressure to have Sansa formally 'move in' with him, and what they had was working for them. They’d have to have those discussions soon enough – where they wanted to live, marriage, more children. But Jon knew that everything would come in time and he was confident that Sansa was right there with him when it came to thinking about their future.

Right now, he was more worried about dinner in a few hours. He sent Sansa a quick text to tell her what they were out of – he still wasn't great at the entire grocery thing, but he was getting better. She didn't respond, but Jon knew that she would show up with what was needed. She always did.

"Daddy, look at the mudpie I made," came Mia's happy cry from outside.

Jon grinned.

Spending time with the Starks, especially Rickon and Arya had transformed his daughter into a bit of tomboy who didn't mind getting wet, muddy, dirty and grass-stained.

Of course, when they had a significant 'event,' she always liked to wear her nicer clothing, but no longer did Jon have to fight with her to wear shorts to the park. Thank the old gods for that.

"Looks great, bug," he said, hearing Mia giggle.

That had been another fantastic revelation to Jon – how easily the Stark family had accepted him and Mia into their lives.

Jon had made good on his promise not to be a stranger, and Mia loved spending time with her new Nana and Papa.

She was especially fascinated with Ned Stark, as she'd never had a grandfather before, in any capacity. Ned was so good with her, and Cat was terrific, and now there was at least once a week when Mia had a sleepover at their place.

When he added in Satin and Tor, who loved babysitting Mia, along with Arya, Gendry, Robb, Rickon and Bran, the support he now had allowed him to go down to one nanny. He'd always heard it took a village to raise a child, and his village had never been so big or so supportive.

Elia was itching to come North for a visit, and she and Rhae were coming up for two weeks in August since neither Sansa nor Jon could go to them in Sunspear. Jon was looking forward to having his family come North and knew that Sansa was as well. For so long Elia had worried about him being so far from them and ‘alone’ but that was no longer the case.

"Daddy, I found some worms," Mia announced.

Jon chuckled, wondering where his little princess had gone. She'd found a bucket to make the worms a new 'home' and had clomped inside with her wet sandals to show him her new friends, grinning proudly.

"That's great. They look happy," he agreed to the wiggly mass in the bottom of the bucket.

"Is Sansa coming for dinner tonight?" Mia asked, glancing around the kitchen and seeing some of the telltale signs of tacos on the island.

"She is," Jon confirmed, getting a huge Mia grin at that. There was no denying how close Mia and Sansa were.

Before Jon could join Mia outside, there was a knock on his door.

Wondering who on earth that could be, Jon told Mia to stay in the kitchen until he could watch her out back again. She promised he would.

Distracted by his busy daughter, Jon didn't even look before opening the door. When he did, he felt the bottom fall out of his world.

Standing there, with a half-smile on her face, one he knew well, was Val Rayder.

"Hi Jon," she said, her voice husky and deep just as he'd remembered.

Memories assaulted him. Working together. Their “relationship” if it could be called that. That moment she’d told him she was pregnant. That feeling of disbelief when he’d come home to their apartment and found her packing up her shit, and then walking out on him and Mia as he’d held his daughter.

Their time together in White Harbour had shown Jon how important an excellent nurse was to a doctor – a lesson he’d never forgotten.

She'd also been what he'd needed during that brutal time of his residency when he would never have been able to make a relationship work.

They'd been friends that had fucked, and while he cared about her, the way Jon cared about a friend, he'd never developed deep feelings for Val.

Not even when she'd told him she was pregnant and had moved in with him to his tiny apartment in White Harbour.

There just hadn't been anything more profound between them, though he had thought that they'd be connected because of Mia.

Looking back, Jon couldn't say now whether he thought he and Val ever would have “made it”. They hadn't even shared a bed near the end before Mia had been born. But he supposed he'd always imagined that they'd be one of those modern couples that somehow co-parented together even though they weren't together.

"Val," he managed to choke out, his brain feeling numb.

What the fuck was she doing here?

His first thought was for Mia, of course.

He could hear his daughter, HIS daughter, not Val’s, talking to her new worm family in the kitchen. It had been years since Jon had thought of Mia as having more than one parent, and Val's sudden arrival on his doorstep did nothing to change that thought. Perhaps some might think him uncharitable, but he didn't give a fuck. This woman had walked away from her – signed over all parental rights. And he wanted to protect Mia from being hurt – even if that hurt came from her own mother.

He knew he could tell Val to leave, and she didn't have a legal leg to stand on. She had signed away all legal rights to their daughter.

But there was something in Val's eyes that had him hesitating, and he didn't know why.

He'd imagined this moment more than once – how he'd lay into Val for what she did, the choices she made. How he’d make her understand just what she’d given up.

Blocking the door, Jon crossed his arms over his chest. Val would have to answer some tough questions as to why she’d suddenly shown up in their lives.

"What are you doing here?" he asked her, voice cold with no hint of warmth or the turmoil he was feeling inside.

It felt like he'd been hit by a fucking truck, and as a man that prided himself on dealing with one of the most dynamic work environments on earth, it wasn't a great feeling. He hated being blindsided.

Val's cheeks reddened, and she shuffled her feet, looking down. She could barely meet his eyes, and Jon was in no mood to make this easier for her.

"I um…." Val started to say before she glanced away and took a deep breath.

Jon didn't attempt to fill in the silence. She was the one that had shown up on his doorstep unannounced.

When she finally turned back to him, Jon couldn't read her intentions. It had always been like that with them – superficial. They'd never been close. Not like how things were with Sansa. Not like the trust he had with Sansa and how well he knew her.

Val ran a hand through her blonde hair, which was shorter than Jon remembered. Objectively, he knew Val was a beautiful woman. She was shorter than him, and trim and athletic. There were more than one of his colleagues that had thought him lucky to be hooking up with her – especially when she'd never been with a doctor before.

But Jon's definition of beauty had changed, and he knew that Sansa was the woman against which he'd measure all others, and Val didn't even come close.

Uncharitable perhaps, but true.

"Daddy, the worms need to go outside," Mia called impatiently and Jon glanced towards the back of his house, remembering who he was protecting.

"Ok, bug, Daddy's coming."

When he turned back to Val, he saw a sheen of tears in her blue eyes – eyes that were Mia's and a boatload of regret.

That was the first crack in his heart. He knew that he would never have an intimate relationship with this woman ever again. But like it or not, she was Mia's mother.

"I just wanted to see her. If you give me some time, I hope I can explain what was going on in my life after I had her," Val said in a rush.

He felt paralyzed standing there, wondering what the right thing to do was.

He knew that some people would slam the door in her face, reminding her of what she'd given up and not budge an inch. Val had no legal rights to be near Mia. And maybe that was what he should do.

If Mia were older, Jon might include her in the decisions – this was her biological mother after all, and Jon knew there were plenty of blended families in this day and age that made it work. Jon had never wanted this – he’d never wanted Mia to only have one parent.

He didn't want to be bitter and vindictive to Val, not when she had given him Mia, but neither was he ready to forgive her for what she’d put them through.

His was reeling, and he just didn’t know what the right thing to do was.

"Daddy, is this the new babysitter?" came Mia's curious voice. Jon looked down to see his daughter in all her muddy glory standing behind his legs. She had somehow snuck up on him and now the cat was out of the bag, so to speak.

Jon watched Val, so he saw the genuine regret cross her face as she laid eyes on her daughter for the first time in four years.

Clearing his throat, Jon nodded.

"Yeah, bug. This is the babysitter I’m interviewing, in case we run into another emergency," Jon told Mia.

Mia giggled.

"But Daddy, I like going to Nana Cat's and Papa's Ned's. And Satin said he'd babysit me anytime you wanted."

Jon couldn't help but smile at her as he ruffled her curls.

"I know, baby, but just in case, right?”

He winked at Mia who nodded at him.

“Why don't you go back to the kitchen, and we'll be there shortly."

Mia nodded, sent a wave to Val, who had gone pale and was shaking and then Mia darted away.

"Val?" he asked, now worried about her.

Fuck, his stomach was in knots. He couldn’t imagine what she was feeling.

"She's so big," Val whispered.

"Well, she's four and a half. She starts kindergarten in fall," he replied, somewhat bitterly. He couldn't help it. She had left her daughter for four years.

Val wiped away the tears, her chin notching up. There was a fire in her eyes that Jon remembered from some of those brutal shifts they'd worked together. Val was a lot of things, but she never slacked when it came to her job, and she was tough as nails.

"She's my daughter," she said.

That had Jon seeing red. He stepped outside his house and crowded her space, towering over her.

"Let me make one thing perfectly clear. She is yours biologically but nothing else. You decided that when you signed away all rights to her and walked out of her life. I will let you meet her, but only as a family friend. You say nothing to her about who you really are. Do you understand me?"

Jon could see that Val wanted to argue, but she seemed to sense that Jon could deny her any access to Mia with a simple phone call. She bit her lip and nodded, and Jon stepped back from her, trying to get himself under control. But, once they were inside the house, he sent another text message to Sansa.

Jon: We need to talk ASAP. Something unexpected came up. Call me, sweetheart.

Feeling slightly more settled, Jon followed Val into his house, wondering at this earthquake-sized change that had just upended his entire world – a world that he liked a lot and hoping that the impact of Val wouldn't be too detrimental to all those that he cared about.

 


 

Wintertown – Sansa

 

"Crap," Sansa muttered, juggling a bolt of fabric, a bag of groceries and her design book, all while holding onto the extra-large skinny vanilla latte.

Like she always seemed to be doing these days, she was running behind and had a million things on the go. Which meant she'd once again let her cell phone die, only just getting Jon's grocery list for taco night before her phone went completely dead.

Between her career flourishing, her new friends, her family, and Jon and Mia, Sansa's life was jam-packed full – just how she liked it. Being back in the North was everything she'd hoped it to be and more.

She was headed to Bear Island again tomorrow morning, this time with Satin in tow. She wanted Dacey and Satin to meet one another face to face because an idea was percolating in her head, and she needed her two top designers on board if she was going to pitch it to Elia when she came up for a visit in August.

Sansa managed to dump everything inside her condo and throw a bag together for the trip tomorrow. She planned on spending the entire evening at Jon's and didn't want to worry about packing when she got home late.

As she cruised towards his house, she was singing loudly with the happy pop song on the radio, wondering how she'd gotten so damn lucky.

Sansa was capital L-O-V-E, in love with Jon and Mia. The life they were building together was one she'd always dreamed of, and things were going so well with all of them.

Mia continued to win Starks over, having wrapped Rickon and Arya around her little finger. Both her parents were full-on into their new roles as her grandparents and Sansa had never seen her father so smitten in his entire life. Papa Ned was a massive hit for Mia, who'd never had a grandfather-type person in her life before.

Jon got along well with her fashion-forward friends, and Jon and Toregg had struck up quite the friendship. Jon had even managed to reunite the two cousins, Tor and Tor or double trouble as they were now called, so their group had once again expanded to include Jon's nursing friend. The redhead was still as wild as ever, but Sansa liked him a lot.

Even shy Alys had come out to a few of their barbeques and Sansa knew that Tormund was thinking of asking her out.

She was thinking of them, how she might nudge them together when she pulled into Jon's driveway. Sansa didn't even glance at the small compact car that she parked beside, figuring it had to be someone Jon had hired to do some work. Unfortunately, the man was forever run off his feet, and while she tried to help, she couldn't always be there, so she was pleased when he reached out and hired people to ease his burden.

Sansa reached for the bag of groceries, thinking she might add a little jalapeno to the guacamole to see if Mia liked the bit of spice.

Because she had a key, and because Jon was expecting her, and because they were at that stage in their relationship, Sansa walked into Jon's house, wondering where Jon and Mia were.

Her bet was the backyard. Mia loved being outside and with her endless energy, it was the best place for her.

Jon had talked about adding a pool to his yard, and lord knew he had space. Mia loved swimming at the condo's pool, and so Sansa expected that on this beautiful summer day, Jon would have filled Mia's kiddie pool and let her splash about.

Sansa set the groceries on the island and glanced out the French doors to the backyard and --- paused.

Her heart felt like it was in her mouth, and her stomach did a weird, queasy flip at the scene she came across.

Jon and Mia were in the backyard, but it wasn’t just Jon and Mia.

With them was a beautiful woman.

A beautiful blonde woman who was making Mia smile.

And the look on Jon's face – Sansa hadn't seen it before.

It was – she couldn't quite place it. Stunned perhaps? But happy?

Not that he was touching the woman and he was looking at Mia at that moment, but there was something about the three of them that just fit.

Sansa realized the woman must be Val.

Mia's mother.

The woman who had walked away from Jon and Mia.

Somehow, someway, she was now here. In Jon’s backyard.

Sansa felt frozen like she was suddenly the intruder. She didn't know if she should stay or go.

What had Jon said to Val? Had he known she was coming? Did Val know about her?

As these thoughts were racing through her head, Jon spotted her. She saw the grin on his face as if he were pleased to see her, and he said something to Val and Mia before he hurried inside.

He kissed her when he got to her, which Sansa thought was a good sign, although she couldn't help but have a million questions.

"Hey, sweetheart," he said, voice all low and rumbly.

But for once, it wasn't desire that was making her stomach do loops, but what Val was doing here. And where Sansa fit into all of this.

"Hey."

Jon frowned and looked down at her.

Then he followed her gaze outside to where Val and Mia were blowing bubbles and chasing them.

He stepped back a bit, ran a hand through his hair, an apparent nervous gesture as if he knew she was …. confused.

Sansa knew this man – had fallen in love with this man. They didn't have secrets from one another. But she felt like she was standing on quicksand right now and couldn’t get her bearings.

"Val just showed up, like an hour ago, out of the blue."

Sansa frowned.

"What does she want?"

"To see Mia."

By now, Sansa had taken another step back, needing her own space. Jon didn't like that, Sansa could tell, but she didn't care. He's the one who had blindsided her with this.

She cleared her throat, trying to think.

"You agreed?"

The frown deepened. "Val is her mother."

Upset now, Sansa reacted. "She abandoned you both."

Sansa could see that her words impacted Jon. He began to pace his kitchen, clearly trying to find the right words to explain the situation. Sansa wished she could do something to make this entire situation less awkward, but she was feeling decidedly out of sorts coming upon the scene she had. Suddenly her place in Jon's life, which had to seem so sure, wasn't. When he finally turned back to her, Sansa could see the conflict in his face – how confused he was feeling as well.

"I know she abandoned us. I know that better than anyone. But she's here, and she explained some things."

"Like what?" Sansa said, crossing her arms over her chest.

Perhaps she didn't have a right to ask that question, but she did. She was part of Jon and Mia's life. They had welcomed her into their world. So she wanted to know why Val had left and what she could have possibly said to be let back in.

"She had horrible postpartum depression. When she dealt with that, her anxiety was sky high, and it was compounded by feelings of guilt for leaving Mia."

"Abandoned," Sansa bit out. “Not left.”

Jon gave a jerky nod, acknowledging Sansa’s point.

He sighed.

"Yeah. You're right, but does it matter? Mental health is real, Sansa. And she was struggling.”

She narrowed her eyes at him, feeling more put out by the moment. She didn't need a lecture from Jon on mental health nor how debilitating it could be. She wasn't a person without compassion. But she was also feeling blindsided by the events of today. And to be honest, uncertain about her place in Jon’s life and what this meant for her.

And Mia. Val had abandoned her once. What was to stop her from leaving again?

"So, what does this mean?"

It was the hesitation that had her backing away – the way that Jon looked to where Val and Mia had their heads together, laughing about something before he answered her.

Without saying a word, Sansa turned and left, needing air and space and to be anywhere that Jon and Val weren't.

"Sansa, wait," Jon called, hurrying after her.

She paused because she knew that Jon hadn't done any of this on purpose. But, turning back to him, she could see how conflicted he was about everything. Well, so was she. She knew if she stayed, things would be said that couldn’t be taken back.

"Look, I texted you to tell you Val was here, but your phone must have been dead. I don't really know what this means. But I am entitled to a bit of time to process this all. She is the mother of my child."

Sansa could feel her walls coming up. Jon had a point, but she also had to protect herself. There was no arguing with the position that Val had in Mia's life. No matter how close Sansa got to Mia, Val would always be her mother. So she simply nodded.

"Yup. You are. So take your time. I'm off on a buying trip, and we can talk when I'm back."

Jon frowned, and Sansa could tell that he didn't like that – whether it was the fact that she was going out of town, or she'd just told him she was giving him a few days to figure things out.

But it was what he had asked for, and hell, she needed it as well. Needed it so she didn't say or do something stupid and idiotic that she'd regret. 

"How long?"

"What?"

"How long are you gone? When are you back?"

"Friday night."

He nodded, although he didn't look pleased, and she wanted to press then and there. After all, he was the one who said he needed time to work through this, and when she gave it to him, he didn't look happy.

Before she could, though, he had her in his arms and kissed her.

"Sansa, I just ---"

She interrupted him with a shake of her head.

Again, she stepped out of his arms, putting space between them, and again, she saw that he was displeased. But she had to protect herself. She had, perhaps mistakenly, come to think of Mia as hers. But maybe that wasn't how Jon saw her or her place in Mia’s life. Hell, right now, Sansa had no idea how Jon saw any of this.

"No, take your time. This is important."

The frown on his face deepened. "I'm not happy with how this all went down."

Sansa gave him a sad little smile.

"Yeah, neither am I. But somehow, I'm the one leaving here alone."

She heard him growl and protest, but by then, she'd slipped out of his house and was hurrying towards her vehicle. She knew Jon wouldn't follow her because he'd never leave Mia alone with Val. But still, it hurt that when she looked back at his house, the door was already closed.

She pulled away, knowing she was leaving the man she was in love with alone with his ex – the mother of his child. And while Sansa wanted to believe that Jon would choose her, it was hard to believe when she felt like her world had just crumbled out from beneath her. After all, they hadn't discussed their future – nor had they told one another they loved each other. So maybe all of this had been more one-sided than Sansa had thought. Maybe she was the only one with those feelings.

For now, all she could do was focus on going to Bear Island, thinking it was perfect timing that she'd be out of town for the next few days with her two best friends, who were sure to give her some well-needed advice when it came to one Dr. Jon Snow.

 


 

Chapter Text

 

 


Wintertown – Jon

 

"Fuck," Jon cursed as he slammed the front door, pausing to watch Sansa drive away.

He'd known that Val showing up like she had, out of the blue with no apparent warning, wasn't a good thing. But somehow, he hadn't thought it would end like this. Somehow, though he had no idea how, he’d imagine he and Sansa dealing with Val - together. But that hadn’t happened, and he was pissed at the results of the afternoon.

Running a frustrated hand through his hair, Jon was pissed chiefly with himself.

He didn't blame Sansa for feeling blindsided by seeing Val here. Hell, he was fucking blindsided. And he had fucked things up with Sansa by not explaining that the only place that Val might have in their life was as Mia's mother – and even that wasn't something he'd decided upon yet.

There was no trust between him and Val. Jon didn't know her motives for coming back into their lives right now, and he was uneasy with Val just showing up as she had. Even though he’d let Val see Mia this afternoon, he wasn’t exactly ready to throw open the doors and just let Val waltz back into their lives.

Four fucking years and she just popped back up, as if she had some right to be here. As if she had no idea the countless hours, he’d spent questioning his own parenting skill after she’d left. As if he hasn’t wondered endlessly how he'd do it with a baby that had only him to rely upon. And the never-ending questions of what he’d done wrong to make Val leave as she had.

It was like Val had no idea, no fucking clue, no sense of what he'd been through the past four years. The worry and the stress and the sheer fear of single-parenting. It hadn’t been easy, but he’d done it and he was damn fucking proud of how he’d raised Mia.

And Val had no part in any of that – she had no part in how amazing Mia was and the awesome person that was his daughter.

The one thing Jon was sure about was that he wasn't about to let Val fuck things up between him and Sansa. He'd give Sansa the two days she said she needed, but then they'd fucking talk, and Jon would finally tell Sansa how he felt about her and the place she had not only in his life but his heart. There was no one else for Jon but Sansa. He knew that unequivocally and had been an idiot that felt he didn’t need to ‘say’ it.

Well no more. He’d fix what he’d fucked up when Sansa was back in Wintertown.

Angry now, worried about the "Val Impact" on his life, Jon stalked through his house, needing to see Mia. He found her sitting at the island, kicking her feet as Val poured her juice.

So they’d made it inside. It pissed Jon off seeing Val just make herself at home here, in a place that was his and Mia’s. He’d never imagined seeing Val here and he didn’t like it.  

Val looked at him, and he knew she knew he was furious.

"Who was that?"

To anyone else, the question might sound mildly polite and inquisitive, but Jon knew this woman.

There was something coy in her asking, something that sent a big red flag up in Jon's world. Something that he needed to shut down right the fuck now. He was done ignoring his gut when it came to Mia’s mother.

Instead of answering Val, he said, "It's time for you to go."

Val's mouth turned down as if she wanted to protest, but it was as if she knew that if she pushed him too far, Jon would just deny her any access to Mia.

"Where is Sansa, Daddy? That's her shopping bag," Mia asked.

Mia pointed to the taco fixings that Sansa had left on this island and the distinctive shopping bag that Sansa always used. Sansa had taken Mia to the market often enough for his daughter to recognize it.

The single bag signified how important a role Sansa had in their lives – juxtaposed with how small Val’s place was.

Fresh guilt roared through Jon at how things had gone down with Sansa.

Every part of his relationship with Sansa was the opposite of what he'd had with Val.

From the moment Jon had met Sansa in Sunspear she had been open and warm, loving and accepting. She'd mothered Mia far more than Val ever had and had brought her family into their lives. Mia thought of Cat and Ned as her grandparents, Sansa's siblings as her aunt and uncles and Sansa's friends as her friends.

Sansa had stepped up when Jon had needed her – when he'd had no one else. So had her parents. Fuck, Ned and Cat were there for Mia far more than Val had ever been.

"Sansa, is it?" Val asked, one eyebrow arched, tone snarky, ripping Jon away from his compounding guilt over how Sansa had left.

Hearing Sansa’s name out of Val’s mouth made Jon see red. He heard the unanswered question and that pissed him off – as if she had any right to judge who he chose to let into his and his daughter’s life. When it came to legal rights and Mia, it was all up to Jon. Val had signed away any part she had in Mia’s life four years ago.

"Mia bug go to your playroom while I talk with my friend," Jon ground out, trying not to ball his hands into fists.

His daughter, sensing the undercurrent of tension in the kitchen, hurried away. When Jon was alone with Val, he glared at her.

"Don't," he told her.

Val smiled, but there was nothing warm about it, and Jon was once again reminded of why they'd done nothing more than fuck. There was something fundamentally untrustworthy about Val.

Jon would never regret that she’d given him Mia, but that was the only thing he’d be thankful about when it came to Val Rayder. He regretted how he’d been caught off guard and the access he’d given Val to Mia this afternoon.

Val’s eyes glittered with jealousy, which made Jon wonder what the hell Val really wanted.

Was she hear for him? How the fuck had she known where to find him? And did she know about Sansa before she knocked on his door?

Something wasn’t quite adding up. No word from Val in four years, then just as Jon was getting serious, she shows up in his life.

"She seems sweet. A little fragile, though. Imagine little ol' me, scaring her off," Val tutted, shaking her head.

"You need to leave. Now," Jon repeated and gestured to the front door.

As if she realized she'd pushed him too far, Val went instantly contrite. The tears, which Jon was sure were fake, pooled in those blue eyes that were just like Mia's.

Before that might have swayed him – seeing Mia’s eyes on this woman.

But now, he wasn't quite so gullible.

"I'm sorry. I'm being a bitch. I'm just overwhelmed at seeing Mia again. She's amazing. You’ve done such a good job with her Jon, and I know I have no rights to her ---"

He interrupted Val then and there. He didn’t need the sob story. He was doubting everything about Val right now and where an hour ago he’d thought she might have been here for Mia, now he wasn’t even sure about that.

"You don't. You signed away your rights to her when you left us. I want you to leave my house, now," he said again, voice implacable. "If you don't, I'll call the cops and then my lawyer. It won’t look good for you. But either way, you’ve worn out your welcome.”

It was apparent that Val knew her time was done, and she hurried to the front door, only turning back to Jon when she was standing outside on the front porch.

"When can I see her again?" Val asked.

Jon said nothing, grinding his molars, fist clenched tight.

How dare she? He fumed.

"I don't know."

Val didn't like that answer, and Jon saw the defiant tilt to her chin.

"She's my blood, my daughter. Don't make this difficult, Jon."

He gave a bitter laugh, shaking his head at her.

"Fuck, you don't get it, do you? No judge in their right mind is going to give you anything more than visitation rights. And maybe not even that. You fucking abandoned her, Val. So don't fucking push me. I need to think about things. I’ll be in touch with you when I’m good and ready.”

As if she knew that was as much as she'd get from him, Val nodded.

"Don't wait too long. Here's my new number. I'll be in town for a while."

Was that a threat? It sure as fuck sounded like one. He snatched the piece of paper from her and shoved it in his shorts, and then shut the door on Val to find Mia standing there, clutching her wolf stuffy, from Sansa, her little lip quivering and her eyes worried.

Fuck.

He'd made a right mess of this, hurting the two people who meant the most to him in this world.

"Daddy?" Mia asked, voice tiny. “Where’s Sansa?”

Jon forced himself to relax and scooped Mia into his arms, tickling her. It spoke volumes to the fact that Mia wanted Sansa right now and his own heart hurt that she wasn’t here.

"Sansa had to do some last-minute packing," he explained, hating that he was lying to Mia. But he wasn’t about to explain to her who Val was and how he’d messed everything up.

"Why don't we go out for supper and then to the park?"

Mia brightened at that suggestion, and they hurried to clean up – her water table, the dirty pool water and Mia herself. When they were ready, Jon forced himself to be cheerful for his daughter. She was a bright little girl and the last thing he needed was her picking up on his adult-sized problems.

Their night was pleasant if subdued, and Jon missed Sansa with an ache in his chest he'd never felt before. More than once, he'd thought about texting her. Or just dropping by her condo. He was sure if he did, she'd talk with him, but he'd asked for time, and she’d given it to him. And perhaps they’d both needed it.

But that night, lying in his huge bed alone, Jon was sure of one thing. Sansa was the woman in his life – in Mia's life.

Val might be able to carve out a niche as Mia's mother if she was sincere about getting to know Mia and being part of her life.

But not at the expense of what he had with Sansa.

Sansa was the woman he loved, and when she was back in Wintertown, Jon was going to make very sure that she knew the place that she had in their lives and that he had no plans of ever letting her go.

 


 

Wintertown – Sansa

 

Sansa knew she looked like shit. She didn't need Satin's perfectly sculpted eyebrow lifting and assessing her as he eyed her up to know that she'd slept poorly.

And that it showed.

Sometime no amount of makeup in the world was enough to cover up an aching heart.

"Don't even start," she growled as she climbed in the back of the SUV.

Tor was driving them to the airport. The big man just handed her a cup of coffee, made the way she liked and gave her a sympathetic look.

She loved him for it – that silent support from someone who’d fast become one of her closest friends.

Satin lasted five minutes before he turned in his seat and pinned her with a look.

"You're gonna have to tell me sooner or later, and then I'm going to tell Tor right away. So better to get it out now, sugar plum, when you have your two besties with you."

Sansa glared at him, but he just smiled wider.

Then, knowing he was right, she heaved out a breath and finally spoke.

"I showed up at Jon's yesterday to find his ex already there. Mia's mom. That ex."

Tor and Satin exchanged a knowing look – one that couples who were in love and perfectly in sync with one another had. It made Sansa miss Jon even more.

"And you caught him in a hot and heavy lip-lock with her?" Satin asked.

Sansa scowled.

"No."

He tapped his mouth as if he were thinking deeply when she knew he was just placating her. Then he snapped his fingers.

"Oh, I know. You caught him professing his undying love for her, even though she walked out on him and his daughter?"

Sansa sighed and sipped her coffee.

She'd known about an hour after she'd left Jon's house last night that she could have been more empathetic – that she'd let her own fears about her role in his life manifest and that she’d perhaps, slightly, overreacted.

"No."

She pouted as Satin reached out and squeezed her hand.

"Ok honey, no more jokes. Tell us what happened."

Sansa wasn’t sure where the words came from, but suddenly, they all bubbled out of her, and the whole story came tumbling out. Hearing it spoken out loud, reliving it, Sansa could see where she could have given Jon a bit more empathy. But she had been shocked and confused, and she hadn't reacted the best upon seeing Val with Mia and Jon.

And even knowing all of this, there was still that kernel of doubt. Still, her own brain whispered, what if Jon wanted Val back?

"We haven't even said we love one another. What if ---"

She swallowed hard, unable to finish that sentence.

Satin was shaking his head emphatically.

"No. Nope, nope, nope. You are not going to go there. You are going to go to Bear Island, we are going to have a fabulous time, and when you come back, you're gonna make things right with the sexy Dr. Snow."

Satin gave Tor a look, as if to say, say something, and the big man grunted.

He pulled into a parking spot at the airport and turned to Sansa.

"Couples have fights. Jon cares for you. And you care for him. You two will work this out.”

Sansa felt the tears well, and she reached for Tor's hand.

"Will you check on him? Make sure he's ok when I'm gone?"

The smile on Tor's face was everything, and Sansa felt her world right itself a bit more. Perhaps it was good that they were giving each other this bit of space to think things through.

"Of course I will. You two have fun, and when you get back on Friday, things will work out."

With that, Sansa linked arms with Satin after he'd finished kissing the breath right out of Tor and marched into the airport. Soon enough, the two of them boarded the plane for Bear Island, and Sansa realized she was looking forward to losing herself in the charm of the island and the empathy of her two best friends. A break from Wintertown seemed like just what the doctor ordered.

 


 

Bear Island – Sansa

 

Sansa was glad that Satin was with her on this trip. It prevented her from getting inside her own head – which wasn't always a good place for her to be. Also, Tor's reassurance that he'd check on Jon had made Sansa happy, for she knew that her guy didn't like conflict and how things had ended between them last evening. She liked that Jon had friends to lean on.

Talking with her friends had put their …. fight into perspective for Sansa. If it could even be called a fight. More like a misunderstanding coupled with bad communication.

She was still struggling with some of the whys of the entire situation – struggling to understand why Jon would allow Val back into Mia's life.

Maybe it wasn't Sansa's place to question his call on Val. Mia was his daughter, after all, and she was only the girlfriend. But Sansa cared about Mia – no, correction, Sansa loved Mia, and she had hoped for a permanent role in Mia's life. So it was worrying, Val’s sudden reappearance. Any woman would question what that meant to her place in her guy's life.

"Chin up," Satin said, strutting his stuff to a waiting Dacey.

Sansa's friend merely shook her head at them and grinned as she watched Satin in his heels and short shorts navigate the tarmac at Bear Island's tiny airport. No matter where he went, Satin made an impression.

"You sure do make a statement," Dacey drawled, taking in Satin and all his fabulous glory.

"Oh sugar, you bet I do. And you're just full of Amazonia goodness, aren't you, all tall, dark and gorgeous," Satin whistled, checking Dacey out.

"I see why you love him," she said to Sansa, who hugged her friend. Sansa clung to Dacey as she hugged her back.

"Oh shit, what happened?" Dacey asked as Sansa let out a little sob.

Satin sighed.

"She had her first fight with Dr. Hunky McHunkerson. Come on. We'll fill you in."

Feeling slightly dramatic but happy to be with her friends, Sansa climbed into Dacey's truck, wedging herself between the two of them.

"Pub or shop?" Dacey asked them.

"Shop," they both answered together and then giggled. Dacey rolled her eyes at them.

"Good lord, I'm going to need some fucking whiskey for this visit," Dacey grumbled, but Sansa knew her friend wasn't too put out. Dacey could be gruff, but her heart was so caring, and she was one of the best people Sansa knew. Sansa rested her head against Dacey's shoulder.

"Jon's ex showed up. Unannounced, and I walked into a happy family moment between the three of them," Sansa blurted out.

Dacey's eyebrow winged up at that, and nothing more was said as Satin ooh'd and ahh'd at the pretty coastline of Bear Island. Sansa waved at the locals, pleased as punch that they knew her by now. She knew she'd never get Dacey to move to Wintertown, but it was no hardship to visit her here. Sansa loved this place.

When they were inside the shop, Dacey flipped the lock and pinned Sansa with a look.

"Spill the beans," she said while Satin glided around the shop, taken with Dacey's designs and touching things. Dacey let him go and they both knew that Satin wouldn’t damage anything.

Sansa took a seat at the counter and told Dacey what happened as her friend leaned against the other side.

"I know that I --- maybe --- overreacted. A bit. But seeing her spun me," Sansa said.

"Yeah, I mean, sure. Anyone would be. Did he really text you to tell you that she was there?"

Sansa nodded.

"He did. And I'm not worried about them as a couple. It's not that. It's --- ok fuck, I'm going to sound selfish, but I thought I was stepping into that role. For Mia. With Mia. I thought we were going --- there."

Dacey's look was one of sympathy but also something else.

Sansa knew a harsh dose of reality was coming her way, and she knew that this was why she'd needed to speak with Dacey. She didn't sugar-coat things or skimp on the honesty. Dacey was a straight shooter and would tell her what was what.

"San, I think we can all see where things are going with you and Jon. You guys are great together, no doubt. But you two haven't said those big three words to one another yet. And you're not living together. And you refuse to ask him where he wants to live when he's done his final board exam next year. You two are great together, and I know you care about one another, but you've still got some steps to take. And whether you like it or not, you're not Mia's mom. Not yet."

Sansa sighed and nodded. Everything Dacey said was absolutely true.

"I know. But I was kind of hoping for the job."

"I know, sweetie, but ---" Dacey paused, and Sansa sat up straighter, narrowing her eyes.

"But what?"

Dacey shook her head and bit her lip, and now Sansa really wanted to know what her friend was thinking.

"Tell me!" Sansa demanded.

"Ok, here's the thing. I love you, girl. You are this amazing and compassionate person. But you've lead a charmed life, Sansa. Your parents are still hashtag relationship goals, and yeah, you didn't have a great dating history, but it wasn't that bad. And then you met Jon, and it's all been pretty good. Easy street. This is a bump, and honestly, one you're going to have to figure out if you want a future with this guy. No relationship is perfect."

Sansa nodded, hanging on Dacey's every word.

Dacey ran a hand through her raven-black hair, and those blue eyes pinned Sansa.

"Look, your guy is an orphan, right? His Mom and Dad were both killed when he was young. Sure he had Elia, and yah, he was loved, but I can only imagine how that fucks with you. And then, he's sleeping with this woman, totally causal, and gets her knocked up. Does the right thing – steps the fuck up, and then she leaves. She abandons him and their infant daughter. That has got to hurt, even if they weren't together as a couple. If you don't come from a broken home, you just don't know how some of that shit can mess with you."

Sansa nodded.

"So, what are you saying?”

Dacey lifted a shoulder.

"I mean, my mom is awesome. And so are my sisters. My uncle. We’re a tight family. I had a great life. But if you're asking if I ever wondered about my dad, and if my life would have been better with him around, the answer is yeah, I did. I knew he was a total shit – and I knew we were probably better off without him, but I think every kid from a broken home wonders, you know."

Sansa thought about what Dacey was saying.

"I take your point. And I guess I overreacted a bit."

Dacey snorted and shook her head.

"Sansa, that was a shit situation for anyone to walk in on, broken home or not. That chick fucking abandoned her kid – a kid you love. But if this Val is serious, if she is back for the right reasons, well, no kid ever suffered from having three parents love them, right?"

Sansa bobbed her head, taking in everything that Dacey had said. It all made so much sense when she talked about it and what Jon might have been feeling.

"Fuck, you're right. I know you are. I knew it last night. I mean, ultimately, I want what is best for Mia. I was protective of her, not wanting her to get hurt again."

Dacey squeezed Sansa's hand. "And that is why I love you. You're a mama bear, Sansa. That little girl is lucky to have you in her life."

Sansa sighed.

"And I was jealous. I was worried. I have some insecurities, and Val is gorgeous."

Satin laughed, joining them again at the counter, parking his fab ass on a stool beside Sansa.

"Girl, have you seen yourself?"

The man looked her up and down.

Dacey chuckled and agreed.

"I think you and Jon just have to talk things out. And I know you. Your heart is so big, San. If Val's intentions are good, you'll make room for her in your life."

Sansa sighed and nodded, wondering if she should call Jon right now.

"Nope," Satin said, reading her mind and plucking the phone from her hand.

"Dacey is right, and we all know it. But Hunky there done fucked up a bit as well. He could have handled that Val situation ten times better. So let Toregg visit him tonight, let him miss you, darling, and tomorrow you'll go home and makeup and do your kissy face thing that makes us all sick."

Sansa snorted at Satin, who was still holding her phone.

"Like we have anything on you and Tor. The two of you are so sweet together it’s sickening."

Satin batted his eyelashes. "We are, aren't we?"

Dacey growled.

"Alright, no talking about being happily hooked up in front of the single lesbian unless you have some hot pussy waiting for me."

Both Satin and Sansa laughed and said sadly they did not.

"For what it's worth, I'm glad my parents were never together. Not after the stories my mom shared with me when I was older. But I did wonder, especially when I was a teenager. I think Jon is just wondering too. And he's got to be thinking, what is the right move, you know? Mia isn't old enough to ask her opinion and he wants to do the right thing. But unfortunately, there is no right answer."

Sansa smiled. "And that is parenting in a nutshell."

With that, Sansa turned the conversation to the real reason she'd brought Dacey and Satin together.

"So, aside from the dumpster fire of my personal life," Sansa said with a grin, feeling far lighter than she had this morning, "the reason I wanted the two of you to meet is that Elia Martell is coming to Wintertown next month and I want to do a fall fashion show. For us. Northern designers only. I’m going to invite the entire fashion world here to the North to showcase what we have to offer."

There was dead silence before happy squeals filled the shop, and Sansa found herself with a trembling Satin and an equally stunned-looking Dacey before both of them eagerly jumped on board the idea, talking over one another about how they could pull it off.

Sansa would take this time on Bear Island to put her plan into motion, and when she was back in Wintertown, she would go straight to Jon's and work out this little bump in the road. Because that’s all it was. Just a bump.

Dacey was right. No child had ever suffered from having three loving parents in their lives, and if Val were serious about being back in Mia’s life, then Sansa would find a way to make it work with her.

She knew that Jon had true, genuine feelings for her, and Sansa was determined to trust in what she and Jon had built and fight for the future she knew they both wanted.

 


 

Wintertown – Jon

 

To say he was in a bad mood was an understatement. No one wanted to work with the normally cheerful Dr. Snow. Perhaps when he’d first come to Wintertown General, Jon had developed a reputation as a bit aloof – he was a perfectionist, and this was the chance of a lifetime.

However, since meeting Sansa, Jon had changed. He laughed more. Joked more. Was more open with his colleagues. But not today. Today no one wanted to get on his bad side.

Nevertheless, Jon was grateful for the gruelling shift at work because it helped keep his mind off the mess that was his personal life.

He'd cursed himself out more than once for failing to show or tell Sansa how important she was to him. Sure he had been blindsided by Val as much as she had, but when he imagined the shoe on the other foot, he saw red. How Sansa hadn't lost it on him was anyone's guess. He could have handled everything so much better. Including telling Val to go away and come back later after he’d had a chance to talk with Sansa about how to handle her sudden reappearance in his life.

But he hadn’t and now he needed to deal with the consequences of his choices. Own them.

He wanted to think that Val just had epically lousy timing showing up when she did, but that sly, calculating look in her eyes near the end of her visit, made Jon rethink that.

It felt premeditated.

Now that he had some time to think about it, it felt like Val had come back with an agenda that had nothing to do with Mia and everything to do with him and Sansa. Which made no sense at all since Val and Jon had never been an actual couple.

What the fuck did she want?

So he stewed about it, in his head all day, snapping at everyone who didn't move fast enough or anticipate his requests, until finally, Tormund patted him on the back.

"Come, Dr. Snow, let's walk."

It wasn’t really an offer – more like an order.

Jon didn't want to 'walk' or 'talk' with Tormund, but the redhead nurse left him no choice. When they were outside in the sweltering heat, Jon glared at his friend. Thankfully, Tormund didn’t keep him waiting.

"Toregg said you'd fought with the one kissed by fire."

Jon's gaze narrowed on Tormund.

So.

Sansa had spoken to Satin and Toregg. Of course, she had. They were her friends. In her three months here, she'd made more friends than he had in three years. Jon didn’t blame her in the least for reaching out to her friends.

"So?" Jon said, arms crossed over his chest, legs spread wide.

Tormund shrugged.

"So nothing. He says we are coming by with beer tonight, and like men, we will listen to you bitch about your woman problems."

Shocked, Jon almost protested, wanting to say that he could take care of it on his own when something stopped him. That was his normal MO. To deal with his shit on his own. But if the past month had proven anything it was that it wasn’t a bad thing to let other people help him.

So maybe he needed to let people in. To help Sansa build their world up here in Wintertown. Maybe he needed to make an effort with their friends and with people that wanted to be there for him. For them.

Jon swallowed hard.

"Toregg's not pissed at me?"

Tormund frowned.

"Why the fuck would he be pissed at you?"

Jon shrugged, and Tormund squeezed his shoulder, leaning in.

"All he said was you two fought and that you need your friends."

Jon's throat felt thick, and all he could do was nod at Tormund.

"Seven work for you guys?"

Tormund grinned. "It does. Now I'll go and find you someone to cut, to make you feel better."

Tormund let out a huge laugh at that, but both of them knew it was true. Jon would feel better if there was a surgery to perform – even a minor one.

Shaking his head at Tormund, Jon took a moment to appreciate the friendships he'd developed here in Wintertown. Of course, most of that was due to Sansa and how she'd helped him open up to these opportunities – to see that he didn’t have to do it all alone.

It was just one more reason why Jon had to fix this between them. His life was so much better, so much fuller, with Sansa in it.

A few hours later, when Jon was off shift, his phone rang as he drove home. He saw Catelyn Stark's number and wondered what Sansa's mom wanted.

Has Sansa told her mom about Val and how much Jon had fucked up?

Was Catelyn calling to rip him a new one?

Not that Jon would blame her at all. He deserved it.

A ball of dread formed in his stomach as he answered.

What became apparent soon enough was that Sansa hadn't said anything to her mother about their fight.

"Jon, I was wondering if I could snag Mia for a few hours tomorrow morning. We could do some shopping, and then go out for lunch and maybe stop by Papa Ned's office and visit him there."

Relief coursed through Jon that Sansa had kept their issues between them (and their close friends only). If Sansa were seriously angry at him, she'd have told her parents about his jackass move, but it was clear she wanted to work things out privately.

And for that, Jon was grateful. It also showed how much he could trust Sansa. Even with this … disagreement, she wasn’t willing to involve more people than needed.

Jon swallowed hard and coughed to clear his throat before he answered Cat.

"Absolutely. She'd love that. I have another day shift, but I'll let Rosa know you're coming."

"Perfect! I'll be by around 10 am," Cat said, all bright and cheery.

Jon somehow managed to get off the phone without Cat suspecting anything, to which he was eternally grateful. When he got home, he once again found Mia playing in the backyard. Rosa had thawed some steaks and put together a salad, happy to do a few more things around the house now that Cat took Mia on a more regular basis. It was an arrangement that worked out well for both of them.

When Jon told Rosa and Mia that Nana was coming by tomorrow for a shopping date, Mia was ecstatic. Then Jon told her that both Tormund and Toregg were coming over for dinner.

She gave Jon a happy giggle.

"But Daddy, I've already eaten my supper."

He grinned at her. "I know, bug, but we haven’t. But you can stay up a bit later to see them if you'd like."

Mia was more than agreeable to that, and after a quick shower, Jon opened his door to see the cousins standing there, a case of beer between them.

Feeling better than he had in twenty-four hours, Jon ushered both men from the far North into his house.

"Uncle TOR!" came the Mia tornado, who launched herself at Toregg.

The big man picked her up and cuddled her in his arms and Jon showed both guys to the backyard where they made themselves at home.

An hour later, the three guys were on Jon's back deck, the remnants of a delicious meal before them on the table and more than a few empty beer bottles scattered about. They watched as Mia used her bubble maker to send hundreds of bubbles into the warm summer night.

Toregg had just retaken a seat by Jon after chasing Mia and bubbles around the yard, delighting his daughter to no end. Toregg might look like a scary dude, but he was a gentle giant.

"You ever think of having one?" Jon asked his friend, slightly buzzed off beer, his tongue looser than normal.

Toregg stilled as Tormund's eyes widened, looking directly at his cousin.

Tor shrugged.

"I mean, yeah. I'd like to, of course."

He paused.

"It’s hard to imagine who might choose us as parents if we went the adoption route. I love Satin and would never change him, but we're not exactly the most conventional couple."

"You could always do surrogacy," Jon suggested, and Toregg's eyes widened as if he hadn't considered it. The man took a swig of beer and looked at Mia before giving a slow nod as a smile bloomed across his face.

"Yeah, that would be cool. And now that I'm making some real coin working for the Starks, and Satin’s career is about to take off, maybe it'd be doable."

Then and there, Jon made a silent promise that no matter what, he'd help his friend find a way to make his dreams come true.

“So, are we going to talk about you and your ex?” Toregg asked.

Jon knew he’d kicked the door open with his personal question to the big man, so he wasn’t surprised when his friend went there.

And truth be told, it was nice to have friends to talk with. For so long, Jon had been alone up here in the North.

He picked at the label on the beer bottle, wondering what Sansa had shared. Then, as he thought about it, Jon knew it didn’t really matter. He’d messed up but he hadn’t lost anyone in the process. He glanced around the yard and spotted Mia in the far corner, beneath a tree where her and Sansa had built a fairy garden. He knew that Sansa would give him a chance to make things right between them.

“I opened my door yesterday, to see my ex standing there. Four fucking years with no word from her and she’s just there. Wanting to see Mia.”

Tormund growled a bit and Jon realized how protective he was of him. Which felt nice. Very few people had ever been protective of him in his life.

Elia. Aegon. Sansa. And now Tormund.

Toregg merely gave Jon a look.

Jon leaned forward, beer bottle in his hands.

“Look, I know I should have done things differently. Told Val to give me some time. Sent her away. Fuck, I should have talked with Sansa first. I was just gut punched, man. And then Mia saw her and I fucking didn’t know what to do, so invited her in and then Sansa arrived, and it was all fucked up.”

Toregg took a long pull of his beer before he spoke.

“That’s fair. Look, I don’t have kids. None of us do. I don’t know what I would have done If I’d found myself in that situation. I also don’t know this Val person, but her showing up like she did, it sounds calculated to me.”

Jon nodded. He agreed with that assessment fully. Val’s visit had felt calculated, especially when he had time to actually process everything that happened.

“Fuck, I know. I feel the same way. Since I asked her to leave, I’ve been running the questions through my head. Why now? Why here? Why not send me an email, a text. Fuck, she could have got a lawyer to contact me if she wanted to see Mia.”

Jon looked at his daughter, so happy and well adjusted.

“It just feels like a bomb went off in my life. And somehow, it doesn’t seem like Val gives a shit about the fucking chaos she caused.”

Tormund gave him a sympathetic look. “So what are you going to do?”

Jon looked at Toregg. “How pissed was Sansa?”

The big man shrugged. “I won’t speak for her. I think hurt is a better word. But she’s got Satin and Dacey and they’ll talk her down. The question is, Dr. Snow, what are you going to do about Val? And how are you going to make this right with Sansa?”

Jon had to give Toregg props for sheer balls at laying the gauntlet down for him. Jon met Tor’s penetrating gaze head-on. He had nothing to hide. He fucking loved Sansa and wanted her in his life.

“Mia and Sansa are the most important people in my life.”

“Does Sansa know that?” Toregg asked and Jon cursed again.

They’d danced around some important steps. Their future. Living together. What they wanted. Where they wanted to build that life. And perhaps the biggest one of all– their feelings for one another. They’d been cruising along in their little bubble of happiness and Val had popped it. A serious talk was in order.

“She will,” was all Jon said and both Tor’s gave him approving nods.

Eventually, Mia tired herself out and crawled onto his lap. He rocked her as the night wound down, and the guys eventually left.

As he tucked a sleepy Mia into bed, she wrapped her little arms around his neck and hugged him hard.

"Daddy, is Sansa back tomorrow?"

"She is, baby."

"Can she come and visit us?"

Jon’s heart clenched. He wanted Sansa here, in their home. Just like Mia did. Because this was where she fucking belonged.

"Yeah, I think she should. And I think she should spend the night as well, so she’ll be here in the morning."

"Yes!" Mia exclaimed, making Jon grin.

"Now get some sleep. Nana will be here before you know it, and you don't want to be a grumpy bug."

Mia's sleepy giggle was everything, and Jon swore he'd do everything he could to get Sansa and him back on track and here where she belonged. They sure as hell were going to talk tomorrow, and not only about Val. They were going to talk about their future and what they felt for one another and what they both wanted. And by the end of that conversation, Jon hoped that Sansa would never doubt her place in their lives ever again.

 


 

Chapter Text

 


 

Friday Morning – Sansa

 

Sansa's phone dinged early – so early she was still in bed in Dacey's spare bedroom on Bear Island. There was only one person who would be texting her at this time, and she'd given Jon's text a distinctive sound, so she knew it was him.

There was a slight flip of her stomach as if she didn't quite want to check what he’d sent, just in case it wasn't good, but she snatched up her phone and looked. If it was bad, she wanted to get it over with.

Jon: Hey sweetheart. I know you're back from Bear Island today. Nana Cat has offered to take Mia today and keep her for supper. I was hoping you could come by my place so we can work things out?

It wasn’t bad at all – the opposite of bad. He wanted to work things out!

With her heart racing, Sansa responded before she could even re-read Jon's message.

Sansa: Yes. Of course I can come over.

Jon: Thank God. K, have to run. New trauma is coming in. Travel safe, and I'll see you soon. We'll fix this, Sansa. I promise.

Sansa clutched her phone to her chest and gave a happy little sigh, burrowing deeper into the blankets. She had hoped that Jon would text her this morning to say he wanted to talk, and the fact that he did gave her so much to look forward to. As did the endearment he used, the fact that her mom had Mia today and that Jon promised they'd fix this.

She knew that neither one of them had handled Val showing back up in Jon and Mia's life well. However, her friends were correct that this was a bump in the road and not the end of them, and that all couples went through rough patches.

The rest of her time on Bear Island was Sansa riding the high that she would soon see Jon and that they would work things out. Because she knew they would – she trusted that all these feelings she had for Jon weren’t one-sided.

She spent hours with Dacey and Satin in Dacey's shop, brainstorming ideas for this fall fashion show that they were going to pitch to Elia in a few weeks. They laughed and argued and cursed each other out, but in the end, they had something spectacular. There was something magical working with Dacey and Satin, and Sansa was beyond pumped to share all of it with her mentor.

"And you're coming to Wintertown when she's up visiting to make the pitch," Sansa said, levelling a stern look at Dacey. "You can stay at my condo, and we'll make a weekend out of it. No arguments. Elia wants to meet you.”

Dacey smirked. "Yeah, I'll come to your southern city."

Sansa snorted while Satin clapped and let out a happy squeal. He fit in perfectly with them and Sansa dreamed of the three of them being a force in the fashion world – and not just in the North. Sansa knew this would put them on the map when it came to fashion, and she had big plans for all three of them.

And speaking of plans, one thing that Sansa was determined to speak with Jon about tonight was the future. Their future.

Specifically, where he wanted to live, did he want more kids, and what type of life did he envision for himself?

Before Val, when things had been going so well, Sansa hadn't wanted to push him by having those conversations. But by not talking about what they wanted, by not sharing their dreams and goals with one another, it had added to the entire miscommunication fiasco.

For her part, Sansa knew that she wanted to stay in the North. She loved it here, and she wanted to be near her family. Especially if she was on the verge of something more with Jon. Her parents had already proven to be wonderful grandparents, and Sansa had great friends, a remarkable career and her siblings in Wintertown. The life she had always wanted, she had found by coming home. There was something magical about that and Sansa didn’t want to leave.

She assumed Jon wanted to be in the North as well. But assuming had gotten them into this mess, so she was done doing that.

Sansa knew that Jon had a bit more than a year left in his fellowship before he'd write his final board exam – this time to become a certified trauma surgeon. From her parents' role on the Hospital Board, she knew that Wintertown General would like nothing more than to offer a position to Dr. Jon Snow. The man was a superstar in his field and would be highly sought after when he was finally double board certified.

The real question was, did he want to stay? He could likely go anywhere he wanted in Westeros. Or Essos. So Sansa wanted to know where Jon saw himself putting down roots. It was needed for both of them.

And then there was family. While her biological clock wasn’t ticking that loudly yet, Sansa did want children one day and she needed to know if Jon wanted that as well. It might not be a deal breaker if he said no, but she’d have to think about it.

Sansa wanted a future and a life together – and one that was in Wintertown.

And perhaps one day, marriage, and hopefully more children to add to their family. Sansa already viewed Jon and Mia as her family. What Sansa needed to know now was, did Jon see her the same way?

When Dacey took them to the airport, there were dramatic hugs (Satin mostly) and a knowing look from Dacey.

"Go get your guy, San. And text me when the bedroom Olympics are over."

Sansa grinned in anticipation. She was both nervous and giddy about seeing Jon, and her stomach felt like it was doing somersaults over and over again – both for the talk and hopefully the sex.

That was something she had never experienced – makeup sex. Was it as good as they said? She definitely wanted to find out.

Sansa promised Dacey she would be in touch and linked arms with Satin to board the tiny plane that was taking her back to Wintertown – back to Jon and Mia. Back to those two special people that already had a massive chunk of her heart.

Once onboard, Sansa settled into her seat on the plane, put in her earbuds and organized her thoughts. She was looking forward to her evening with Jon – she was ready to figure out where things stood with them. She sent a quick text to Jon before the pilot told them to turn off their phones.

Sansa: Leaving Bear Island now. Be home soon. Can't wait to see you tonight. xoxo.

Jon responded immediately, which just showed Sansa he was as excited to see her as she was to see him.

Jon: Thank God. See you soon, sweetheart. See you soon.

 


 

Friday Afternoon – Sansa

 

Sansa was out of the shower, towel drying her hair and surveying her half-unpacked suitcase, when her phone dinged. She hurried to pick it, glancing at the clock and seeing it was only 4 pm.

Jon: Your mom and dad said they'd keep Mia for dinner. I'll be home in ten minutes. Come over anytime. I'm making dinner.

Sansa let out a happy little sigh. There were butterflies in her stomach and her nerves danced, but all of Jon's messages indicated that he wanted to work things out – not end them.

Not that she'd ever really thought that. Sansa knew what they had – she knew she wasn't the only one that felt something profound and deep in this relationship. She had to trust that the past three months hadn't just been incredible for her, but that Jon was right there with her in what this all meant. 

They'd made the mistake by assuming the other person knew how the other person felt when it was clear they needed to say those words to one another.

She quickly texted back that she'd be there by 5 pm and then hurried to unpack. She threw a new overnight bag together, brushed on a light smattering of makeup and dried her hair.

She was in casual capris and a tank top, with her Birkenstock sandals on her feet. Sansa had kept it deliberately casual, although her lingerie was peach-coloured lace and did wonders for her skin.

If Jon was a good boy, Sansa knew he'd love it. And oh god, did she want to have makeup sex with him. Her entire body ached for this man, and she longed to be back in his arms and his bed.

Arriving at his house, everything just felt different from when she'd been here on Wednesday afternoon. Sansa gazed up at the large house, which she'd come to think of as her second home, happy to be back here. She grabbed her bag and purse, wanting to show Jon that she was all in and ready to do this with him.

He opened his front door the moment she was out of the SUV and was striding towards her, a look of fierce determination on his face. Her entire body trembled. There was something so magnetic about Jon and how intense he was. It was clear he'd been watching for her, and that settled something inside of her.

Sansa dropped her bags on the driver's seat and held herself there, against her vehicle, to wait for him to come to her.

Her breath caught in her throat as she observed Jon, this man she loved so much. He was in a tight t-shirt, khaki shorts and sandals, and damn if he didn't look good enough to lick from head to toe. Sansa had to talk her pussy down from just saying screw it and letting Jon have his wicked way with her.

Talk first. Sex later.

When Jon was in front of her, she let out the breath she'd been holding with one long sigh.

Then without a word, their eyes locked, and they came together. One of his hands was on her head, fingers digging into her hair while the other hand cupped her ass and pulled her tight against his hard body.

"Thank fuck you're finally here," he whispered, almost raggedly.

It was apparent how hard the past two days had been on him as well. Sansa appreciated the emotional vulnerability.

Before she could respond, his lips were on hers, devouring her as his tongue tunnelled into her mouth. The kiss was one of the rawest and most demanding he'd ever given her, his need evident.

Sansa moaned and pressed herself closer, wrapping her arms around his head and keeping his mouth on hers. She needed to re-establish this connection with him as well.

When he finally stopped, they were both breathing rapidly, and their eyes held.

"I'm so fucking sorry," he whispered.

Sansa's lips quirked. It was so like Jon to make the first move, and while he'd made some questionable choices, Sansa knew she'd played her part as well in their first fight. She wasn't going to let him martyr himself – that would do neither of them any good.

"Me too. Let's fix this."

His grin was crooked but full of hope.

"Yeah? You're gonna give me a second chance?"

Sansa's laugh was bright and cheerful.

"Oh, Dr. Snow. I was never letting you go without a fight. Besides, I have plans for us."

Sansa winked at him, but she saw how relieved he was at her words. It made her realize that they both needed reassurances from the other person regarding what they felt for one another.

He cupped her face in his hands, eyes suddenly serious.

"You and Mia are the most important people to me in the entire world Sansa. Just so we're clear. I want there to be absolutely no doubts of what you mean to me."

Sansa felt her stomach finally settle.

She nodded, cupped Jon's cheek.

"I know. But it's still nice to hear, and a step I think we both missed."

Jon growled a bit, upset with himself. He sighed, dragging a hand through his curls, which were a bit wild and untamed. Sansa liked the look and couldn’t wait to play with his hair later.

"We both missed that step, Jon. There's enough blame to go around."

His lips turned down at that as if he wanted to argue, but on this, Sansa would be firm. She could have done things differently as well. She was serious about them talking this out so they could avoid misunderstandings like this in the future.

"Come on. Let's get inside, and then I can try to explain some of my shitty decisions. I told your mom we'd pick Mia up later, around 8 pm, so we have some time, sweetheart, for me to grovel."

Jon grabbed her bag as Sansa took her purse. She fit her hand into his and gave him a warm, soft smile.

"No need to grovel, Jon. We just need to talk and be honest with one another."

Jon simply nodded, and then together, they made their way into his house. It was wild how forty-eight hours ago Sansa had all but fled this place, unsure if she were still welcome.

But now? This moment with Jon?

Sansa knew that she was finally home.

 


 

Friday Evening – Jon

 

Jon held onto Sansa's hand as if it were a lifeline. There was no way he was letting her go – not now that he had her here, back in his house. But, to be fair, she didn't seem to want to go anywhere, and even though he hadn't planned on kissing the living daylights out of her the moment he saw her, she hadn't protested. In fact, she'd pressed her body closer to his, a clear indication that she was as into the kiss as he was.

Thank fuck.

Gods, he'd hated these past forty-eight hours and how much he'd messed up.

If he could go back, he'd do things so differently.

The good news was, Sansa seemed willing to talk and hear him out, and he hoped she'd forgive him for being an idiot.

Jon had spent the past two days and two nights going over everything he had done wrong.

Yes, Val had stunned him showing up here as she did, but he had been the one to invite her into his house. More, he'd given her access to Mia, something he now questioned and did not feel comfortable with.

Worst of all?

Sansa had somehow questioned her place in his life. In Mia's life.

That was what had given Jon sleepless nights - that the woman he loved didn't understand that she had a vital place here with them.

Jon wanted to share all of this with Sansa. He was prepared to open himself up in a way he never had before – to be completely emotionally vulnerable with Sansa. If he wanted a future with her, he knew it was required.

He knew he'd always held himself back.

Ygritte had accused it of him more than once and though he’d known he was doing so, he’d never tried to be more available to her.

Val had bitterly joked one night after they'd fucked that they were perfect for one another because Jon had about as much emotional depth as she did.

And in the parade of women in his bed after his break-up with Ygritte, he'd never once felt the need for 'more' with any of those women.

But that wasn't the case with Sansa.

Before he'd even known her name, in Sunspear, standing in the hallway at Elia's house where she'd literally run into him, Jon was taken with Sansa.

She hadn't even broken down the walls in which he'd erected around his heart – she'd smashed them to smithereens.

And yet, somehow, he'd failed in showing her how much he cared for her if she was questioning her place in his life.  Because her place was here, with him and Mia.  

That all ended now. Here. Tonight.

The moment they got into his house; he flipped the lock on the door. He saw Sansa's eyebrow arch, and he squeezed her hand.

"Ok?"

She gave him a smirk.

"Your dominant is showing," she teased, and he growled.

He wanted to kiss her again, but he knew that they needed to talk. He'd be just as likely to fuck her against the door than grovel for her forgiveness if he got his hands on her again.

Jon dropped her bag and tugged her towards the kitchen.

"Come on. Let me cook for you so we can talk, and then perhaps I can get out of the dog house."

She stopped him with a single tug, and he shuddered out a breath. He wondered if she had any fucking idea of how much power she had over him.

Her face was warm and forgiving, and she stroked his cheek softly.

"Stop, love," she said, using the endearment for the first time.

His heart raced as his stomach quivered.

"I love you," he blurted out, unable to keep it to himself anymore. He didn't fucking care if it made him sound weak or vulnerable. He needed her to know.

Her eyes widened in delight, and then that mouth he loved curved into the most brilliant smile Jon had ever seen.

"I love you," she responded.

He cupped her neck and brought their faces close to one another, so their breath mingled.

"Fuck baby, I am so sorry," he whispered unevenly.

"Me too."

They stood like that, arms wrapped around one another, just basking in this moment. No matter what Sansa said, Jon knew that they would work things out because they loved one another. Words that had been felt but not expressed were now freely given and it made all the difference in the world.

Eventually, her stomach grumbled, and he smiled softly at her, kissing her before guiding her to a stool on the island.

He saw her slightly bemused expression as he moved around the kitchen.

"I warn you now, it's nothing fancy, but I lived off stir-fry when I was in medical school, and I got pretty good at it," he said, and she nodded.

"Wine?"

"Yes, please," she said politely.

Jon poured her a glass of her favourite white, which he always had in his house because he wanted her to be as comfortable here as possible. And somewhere along the way, even though he hadn’t said it, he’d wanted Sansa to think of his house as hers.

As he chopped and cut, he thought about what he wanted to say. And how he wanted to say it.

He prepped the oil, added garlic and ginger, and turned to Sansa, leaning back against the counter.

"I fucked up."

Sansa's eyes danced at that statement. He could tell she wanted to say something, but thankfully she held her tongue. Which was good. He had to get this out.

Jon ran a frustrated hand through his curls and then walked to the island where she had her fingers on the stem of the wine glass. He could tell she was nervous and wanted to reassure her.

"I want to make one thing clear. Val and I were never what you and I were. If I sound like an asshole, I don't mean to, but we did little more than fuck. I was so busy at that time, I barely had time to eat, and she was convenient. But so was I – for her. She never wanted anything more, and neither did I. We were both fine with that arrangement. If she'd never gotten pregnant, I would have left White Harbour and probably never thought about her again."

"Alright," Sansa said.

Jon thought about that time in his life – how stunned he'd felt when Val had shown him the pregnancy test.

"I won't lie and say that kids were ever part of my plans. I was focused on my career for so long, and I couldn't imagine how a child or children would fit into that. But, I guess, if pushed, I'd have thought that sometime in the future, maybe, I’d have a family. If the right person came along."

Sansa reached for his hand, stroked.

"I understand."

Jon's lips quirked. He knew that Sansa did get it. And that he could tell her anything.

"I'm not unaware that my background has lent itself to me being … closed off."

Sansa snorted.

Jon grimaced and shook his head. Losing both his parents had affected him – deeply and in so many ways he was still sorting it all out.

"But when Mia came along, fuck, Sansa, she had my entire heart. She broke down every barrier I ever had, and I vowed, no matter what, she would always come first."

"Jon, you are one of the best dads I've ever met in my entire life."

His lips quirked at her support. Fuck she was so amazing. Was it any wonder he loved her so much?

"Thanks. I knew that Val and I weren't going to make it. After she was pregnant, we tried to be a couple, but we just didn't fit. Still, I thought we'd get to the point where we'd co-parent. Then, the bottom dropped out when she left. I came home from a brutal fucking shift to find her packing up all her things. I was … well stunned doesn't even begin to describe it. Elia and Rhae flew up to White Harbour right away to help, and then I got accepted to Wintertown, and I vowed then and there that Mia would come first, no matter what."

Sansa frowned.

"Do you think I don't get that? That I don't know the place she holds in your life?"

Jon shook his head.

"No, sweetheart. Not at all. That's the thing. For four and half years, I didn't meet anyone that I wanted to make room for in our lives. Then you ran into me in Sunspear, and I was done, Sansa. I was fucking done. You might not believe me, but fuck, it's true."

Her blue eyes danced, and she hopped off her stool and came to him. Jon wrapped her in his arms, their faces once again close.

"It was the same for me, Jon."

"From the moment you ran into me, things have been so easy. Perfect. You were my dream woman and even living in different places didn't slow us down. Then you were here, and things just coasting along. They were amazing. We were amazing. Mia loves you, and so do I and I knew that you were it for me," Jon said.

He saw the pulse flutter in Sansa's neck as her eyes widened and her breath hitched.

"Jon," she said, breathless.

He grinned.

"Sweetheart, I want a life with you. A future. A family. I'm all in Sansa, and I fucked up by not telling you that."

"More kids?"

"Hell yeah, baby."

She was almost shaking now.

"And you want to be here? In the North?"

"Love, this is our home."

She was shaking now, and Jon held her tighter.

"Sansa, if I thought I could convince you, I'd ask you to move in with us. Here and now."

Her breath hitched, and she swallowed hard.

"Jon?"

Confident now, he brushed back a lock of hair.

"I know it's quick, Sansa. But I'm in love with you. I want a future with you. I want you to be in Mia's life. I want you to be in my life. And I want to build that life together. But I also don't want to pressure you. I know you love your condo---"

She cut him off with her lips, somehow smashing them to his as she wound that amazing body around him, kissing the life out of him. When she finally let him come up for air, he saw her looking a bit dazed but also determined.

"You've had your say, and now I'll have mine."

He grinned at her bossy tone, loving it but not letting her go.

"I love you as well, Jon Snow. And I want a future with you. A family. More kids. A life here, in the North. And yes, I know it's quick, but I think we can make something work when it comes to me living here."

"Yeah?"

"Hell yeah," she answered, and sheer relief surged through Jon.

"Fucking hells Sansa, that's the best thing I've heard in two days."

"But we do have to discuss Val," she said, making Jon grimace.

"Yeah, I know."

Still, he didn't let her go immediately.

"Give me a second to just memorize this moment."

Her little giggle almost undid him, and Jon nuzzled her again, loving how she was here, in … their house, in his arms. Later, they'd go and pick up Mia and bring her back here, all three of them back together, where they belonged.

When her stomach gave another growl, Jon finally let her go. Her entire posture was far more relaxed, and she stood by him as he began to cook, sipping her wine and stealing veggies while he put on a pot of rice in the cooker.

He loved seeing her here and was still wrapping his mind around the fact that she'd agreed to move in with him. Mia would be thrilled, and Jon knew it was the right step. The next step. The only step.

"So, Val," she said as he slid the chicken into the sizzling oil.

He gave her a look.

"Brat," he growled.

Desire flashed, and that steadied Jon even more. They hadn’t broken what was between them. If anything, they were stronger than before.

"Val. She fucking blindsided me. Looking back, I wished I'd sent her away. I should have told her that if she wanted to see Mia, to contact me a different way – to give me time to sort it out. Had I done that, we could have talked about it, and you wouldn't have walked in and just seen her here."

Sansa nodded.

"Does Mia know who she is?"

Jon shook his head vehemently.

"Fuck no. I made it seem like she was a potential babysitter."

Sansa took another sip of wine, and Jon knew he had to say more. So he stirred the chicken and gathered his thoughts.

"I won't lie, Sansa. At first, there was a part of me that was happy to see her. It was a flash and it wasn't about me. It was about Mia. I was happy for my daughter that Val had come back.”

He saw Sansa frown, and he reached for Sansa.

"No love. Let me explain. I never imagined Val back in Mia's life full time. Not like you are. You are the most important person besides me to Mia. She loves you, Sansa and your place here, well, fuck. I should have told you what it meant to me. What I knew it was. That's my fault for just assuming you understood."

Sansa sighed.

"Well, I let my own insecurities get the best of me. I jumped to all the wrong conclusions, and I should have been far more supportive. And I should have charged my phone," she muttered.

Delighted by her, Jon stole a quick kiss.

"Ahhh, yes, that phone. I'm going to buy you a new one."

She pouted adorably.

Jon added the veggies and then put on the lid to the wok and tugged Sansa closer to him.

"Here's the thing. I know what it's like to have no biological parents. I love Elia. She is incredible, and I know my life was amazing because of her."

"But…" Sansa prodded.

"But I was still an orphan. I still have some abandonment issues. And Val leaving as she did compounded them."

Sansa frowned. "Then why give her that chance? Why just let her waltz back into your lives after she left as she did. She signed away her rights to Mia, Jon, one of the most lovable and amazing little girls I've ever met!"

Jon couldn't help but smile at how fiercely protective Sansa was over his daughter.

"Fuck, I love that you love her so much. You're always gonna fight for her, aren't you?"

"Hell yes, I will. And I'm not leaving Jon. Dacey and Satin, and even Tor, they helped me see that this was just a bump. I get that I come from parents who are so solid it's hard to conceptualize it sometimes. But I'm not going anywhere. I love Mia and you and if I’m overstepping well – yeah, I did start to think of being a stepmom to Mia.”

She undid him with her declarations and a part of Jon's heart that had always been wary of whether it could trust anyone absolutely, finally felt like it could. Jon knew that Sansa was meant to be his, that she was his other half. That she would love Mia and defend her and always be there for his daughter.

"I'm not going anywhere either, Sansa. You are the most important person to Mia and me. And yeah, I had hoped you’d want that role in Mia’s life as well."

She beamed at him and then nodded.

"Good. So how do we fit Val into our lives?" she asked.

Jon stilled as the impact of Sansa's words hit him. Then, unable to help himself, Jon hugged her close to him, taking a moment just to hold her.

"You're amazing," he whispered into her ear. That pleased her he saw, but it was one hundred percent true. She was the most incredible woman Jon had ever met.

"Well, I know she is Mia's mom. Someone reminded me that no child ever suffered from having three loving parents."

Jon nodded.

"I agree. I wanted to give her a chance. But, now I'm worried. I'm suspicious of why she showed up now, as she did. She asked me about you and seemed far more interested in my personal life and far less interested in Mia."

Sansa's eyes flashed and Christ that made him hard. Was there anything hotter than Sansa willing to go to war for him and Mia? Jon knew there wasn’t.

"She left once. Imagine what it would do to Mia if she did it again."

Jon sighed and let Sansa go so he could plate their food. As he did, he thought about Sansa's word. She wasn't wrong and the fact Sansa was so worried about Mia only highlighted how well she fit into their lives.

He took a seat beside her and poured himself a glass of wine. He enjoyed that they'd worked through their first fight and that they had confirmed how they felt for one another. They were moving forward with their lives, and now together, they would discuss where Val fit into this world they were creating with one another.

"I know. It's been on my mind since the moment she showed up. Why now? What does she want? Where is she living? I don't have any of those answers, Sansa."

Her hand was a comfort on his arm, and she stroked it gently.

"We'll figure it out."

Jon swallowed a bite of food.

"We will. You and Mia come first, Sansa. I'm not going to let Val affect what you and I have."

Sansa nodded. "It won't. And if having Val in our lives is best for Mia, then it will work out. But I wonder if---"

She paused.

"What?"

She gave a little shrug and dabbled at her lips as she put her fork down.

"I wonder if we should talk with Elia and my parents about Val coming back. I mean, her timing does seem a bit odd, and who knows what her plan is. I hope all she wants is a chance to know Mia, but ---"

Since Jon agreed with Sansa's assessment, he also thought that it would be good to inform the people that were part of their inner circle. However, Jon could only imagine what Elia's response would be when she found out that Val came 'back.' She had never been a fan of the RN. Elia’s temper, while rare, was a sight to behold and Jon still remembered her reaction when Jon had called Elia to tell her that Val had left him and Mia.

They finished dinner and then cleaned up, and Jon was pleased it was still early. They had a solid hour or so before they had to go to Winterfell.

"What now?" Sansa asked, biting her lip and batting her eyes at him as she stood in the kitchen.

"Does someone want to play?"

She nodded. "Oh yeah, someone does."

Jon growled at her as she giggled and dashed away towards the stairs. He grabbed her bag that was still in the hallway and then raced up the stairs after her, eager to put this entire misunderstanding behind them finally.

Jon knew they were in a much better place than they had been, but he was determined to put in the work – to communicate better, and let Sansa know precisely how much he loved her.

But for now, all that was on his mind was to strip his woman bare and fucking feast, making her come again and again as she screamed his name and lost herself to the pleasure that only he could give her.

 


 

Wintertown – Sansa

 

As Sansa darted up the stairs, she couldn't help but think about how amazing the night had gone.

Jon loved her! He wanted babies with her and a family and a future. And he wanted it all in the North!

Her heart was racing as she stepped into Jon's room.

Wait.

Was it her room now?

Had she seriously agreed to move in with Jon?

She let out a happy little squeal and twirled in the room.

Jon caught her, and Sansa found her lips on his while her hands were tugging at his soft cotton t-shirt.

"Admiring your new room?" he murmured as he tugged on her ear and then trailed kisses down her neck.

Red hot lust roared through her body, and she wondered how fast they could be naked. A finger flicked her nipple and pinched, and Sansa keened out a wail.

"Maybe," she managed to pant out when the brain cells that were functioning remembered his question.

Sansa somehow got Jon's shirt off as he did the same with her. Then they discarded the rest of their clothing, both of them needing the other far too much to stop and 'play.'

Sansa loved dominant Jon, but right now, she was far too impatient to wait.

"Fuck baby, you're so gorgeous," Jon muttered, jaw a bit slack as he looked at her very expensive peach lingerie. It was doing it for him just as she’d known it would. As much as Jon knew what made her tick, she knew what he liked as well.

"The thong matches," she told him.

Jon growled, and within minutes she found herself only with her lacy bits on, spread out on his bed as Jon caged her in.

He stilled, gazing down at her, all the love he felt for her right there. There was no way she could deny that this man was 'all in' when it came to them.

"Christ, Sansa, I fucking love you so goddam much. I feel like I've waited my entire life to find you."

Sansa's heart melted, and she gazed up at him.

"Me too. I love you and Mia, and I can't wait to move in."

Jon grinned.

"Fuck yeah. I can't wait for that either. Then I can have this sweet cunt whenever I want."

He lightly tapped her pussy, as his dirty mouth made her moan, and Sansa's hips involuntarily canted upwards, seeking more. She always wanted more with this man.

"Jon," she begged.

His eyes darkened, and she could feel her own body respond.

The slick between her thighs, the tightening of her nipples, even her pussy – all of it just ached for this man.

"Nothing I like better than hearing my good girl beg for me. When you move in here, I'm going to have so much fun with you, baby, finding all sorts of ways to make you come, make you beg, make you lose your fucking mind," he told her.

He flicked open her bra, and the rush of cool air over her sensitive nipples made her cry out right before his mouth descended, hot and insistent, tugging on them.

Sansa gave herself over to him and the journey on which he wanted to take her. Jon knew what she needed and when she needed it. When he left her tits, the peaks now wet and engorged, he trailed kisses down her stomach. He pressed a soft kiss below her belly button and his eyes locked with hers.

"I can't wait to see you pregnant one day, Sansa. This tight little pussy that takes my cock so well, swallowing up my seed until one takes root."

"Me too," Sansa sobbed, already able to see it – see the future they wanted to create together.

"You're mine," he snarled, and she nodded.

"Oh my gods, I am. I'm yours, Jon!"

With that, he skimmed his fingers into the edges of her thong and pulled it off her body so she was bare to him. She knew he could see her desire – it was evident to both of them. Even her thighs were wet with her need. There was something about being bare before him, laying it all out there for Jon to have however he chose, that spoke to Sansa on such a fundamental level.

He cupped her, stroked inside her cunt, moving those talented fingers in a way that drove her wild.

"One day, I'm going to tie you up and drive you to the brink. You have no idea how incredible it can be to deny yourself what you want until I finally permit you to come," he muttered with dark promise.

Sansa whimpered. She absolutely couldn't wait for that.

"Yes, please."

Jon snarled and then fastened his mouth to her cunt, eating her out noisily as she bucked, digging her hands into his hair. She didn't even care about the mess she must be making of him, far too close to the edge to stop. She came with a vengeance, hollering out his name.

Barely sated, he looked like some depraved God as he smirked down at her, face wet with her come. Then, tapping her hip, he grinned.

"Upon all fours. I'm going to fuck you hard and deep. Hands-on the headboard sweetheart and don’t let go," he commanded, and she rushed to get into position.

Jon did nothing for a moment, just looking at her when she was ready, and she wiggled her ass.

"Naughty," he said.

She threw him a grin.

"I prefer cheeky."

The smack that singed onto her ass made her yelp but in such a good way.

"Fuck I can't wait to play more. A flogger. Clamps. I was looking at a nice plug for this ass, sweetheart. Imagine being stuffed in both holes while I fuck you like this?"

New need roared through her, and she canted her hips, seeking Jon out.

He chuckled into her ear, biting it.

"Not yet. I want this flesh pink before I finally give you my dick."

She could do nothing more than nod and say, "Green."

She saw that pleased Jon, which again only ramped up her desire. Fuck, praise kink got her hot.

The smacks to her ass helped her into that delightful headspace, where she transformed the pain into pleasure, riding that glorious line that only those who were willing to give themselves over to it knew about. Sansa had never had this before – this absolute trust and insane chemistry with a partner, where they almost anticipated her every need and then delivered on it.

When Jon finally spread her cheeks, she stilled, knowing that he was looking at … well, everything. But she wasn't shy or embarrassed. Instead, she wanted him to have everything – every part of her. Mind, body and soul. She was his, and he was hers.

His thumb brushed her rosette.

"Fuck I can't wait to see you take a plug," he murmured, almost to himself. She couldn't wait either. The idea of Jon working her ass, preparing her, putting the plug inside her to stretch her for his dick one day drove her out of her mind.

Then, almost without warning, she felt his cock nudge at her soaked cunt. In one brutally demanding thrust, he surged inside of her, bumping her cervix as he did, fusing them together.

"Jon," she howled while he fucked her hard and deep.

"That's it, baby, take my cock. Gods, your cunt is just so greedy for it."

She panted and moaned, bucked and writhed, and still, Jon just fucked her with a steady pace, never deviating until she was, as predicted, begging for him to let her come. His body blanketed hers, and she felt every ripple of muscle, the power in those thighs that drove his cock into her, over and over, while one hand came up to tug her hair.

The fresh bite of pain brought another gush from her cunt, and she was nearly incoherent, breasts bouncing, this man owning every part of her.

"Fuck, you're mine, Sansa. You're gonna move in here, be in my bed every night. This pussy is going to be mine whenever I want it. Everyone is gonna know who you belong to, right baby?"

"Yes, yes, yes," she cried, wanting that as well.

"Such a good girl, letting me fuck you like this. You know you're going to go off when I pet that needy little clit."

She sobbed again, turning her head, so their eyes locked.

"Please," she whimpered.

Jon grinned and powered into her again.

And then, blessedly, the man took his hand from her hair and skimmed it down her sweat-soaked body and brushed her clit.

She was so sensitive that she wailed as he pinched it and commanded her to come, grunting out his own release as he filled her with rope after rope of cum – so much so that she felt it leaking out of her, onto both of them. She was in a daze, barely hanging onto the headboard, until Jon gently took her hands and cradled her against his body, laying them down on the bed.

His lips were at her temple, kissing her softly, so at odds, to the wild fucking they'd just had. But both were expressions of love from this man.

Sansa tilted her head towards him.

"I've never done that before."

Jon frowned. "Done what?"

"Makeup sex. It's good, but I think we can get that wild without a fight."

His chest rumbled as she snuggled deeper into his arms.

"You're sure about moving in?" he asked after a while.

She knew they'd have to get up and take a shower before going and picking up Mia, but she was in post-orgasmic bliss.

"Very sure," she told him. "Are you sure?"

"Fuck yeah," he said. Then he frowned.

"And you don't have to babysit Mia. That's not what this is about."

Sansa laughed, pushing up from him. He was so handsome, sprawled out naked and covered in their spendings, hair mussed. Even his cock was half-hard, already wanting more. Cripes, his cock was a thing of beauty, and later tonight, she wanted to suck him off.

But now, she had to focus on this conversation - about living together. And her one lingering fear - that she wasn't Mia's mother, and her place in Mia’s life. That wasn't Sansa being unsure – it was just a fact.

Val was back, and Sansa wanted to know the place she occupied in Mia's life. She didn’t think that was asking too much and she wasn’t going to shy away from asking that question.

"Jon, I know that. I know that’s not why you asked me to move in. But … I want everything that comes from being here with you two. I know I'm not Mia's mother ---"

At that, Jon sat up and took her face in his hands. He was shaking his head and looked almost – upset. Not at her, but at what she said or how she viewed her role in Mia’s life. Sansa’s heart settled.

"Stop. Sansa, you are more Mia’s mother than Val is. Val is biological, and yeah, if she's here for the right reasons, there might be a place for her in Mia’s life. But it’s never going to be what YOUR place is in Mia’s life. I fucking trust you with Mia. She loves you, Sansa. And I want a future together, as a family."

Overcome, Sansa sniffed.

"I want that as well. I love her so much, Jon. I know we have some important steps to take, things to work out, but I just want to be there for her, be part of her life.”

He cradled her close, almost rocking her. She loved what it felt like to be in his arms again – to be so loved and cherished by this man.  

"Baby, on Monday, I'm going to talk to my lawyer, and I promise you, we will figure this out. But never doubt your place in her life. Or in mine. It’s right here, with us. This is where you belong.”

Reassured, Sansa kissed Jon hard and then giggled at the mess that they were.

"Come on. Let's go shower and get our girl," he said.

It was one of the best things that Sansa had ever heard, and she couldn't wait for that moment when she saw Mia again, and then all three of them came home, together, ready for this next chapter in their life.

 

 


 

Later Friday Evening: Winterfell – Jon

 

Thoroughly relaxed and feeling fabulous, Jon held Sansa's hand as they cruised towards Winterfell. They'd taken a quick shower and made themselves presentable and were only running fifteen minutes late to get Mia.

He didn't think that Ned or Cat would mind too much. They loved Mia so much and quickly took to their role as her surrogate grandparents in the North.

It was incredible how reassured Jon was, knowing that he and Sansa felt the same way about each other – that they wanted the same things in life. He wasn't even sure how many kids they might add to their family, and while he knew he wanted Sansa to be his wife, neither one of them seemed to be in a huge rush to take that step – not quite yet.

Soon though.

Jon was excited about Sansa moving into his house and knew that was an essential step for them.

It was still unusual for Jon to rely on other people for help. He'd done it with Cat when he'd needed an emergency babysitter. He'd allowed Tor and Tor to come over and be with him after he'd fucked up with Sansa.

And then there was Sansa. Fuck he couldn't even describe how much she'd been there for him and Mia over the past three months.

It was nice, having people to rely on. Friends and family. A village as they said.   

Elia might not be happy that they'd chosen to live in Wintertown, but Jon had seen how much Sansa had flourished here, and quite frankly, he loved it here. He loved where he worked, his mentor Dr. Cassel, and loved the world they were building. The North had always been where Jon had felt the most comfortable.

Now he listened as Sansa described her trip to Bear Island and her desire to have a fashion show in the North. Jon was content just to grunt out his agreement as she spoke, thinking it sounded like an amazing idea. That was something else Jon enjoyed about Sansa – that their professions were different. There had been too many times that Val spent their time together either bitching about the people they worked with or pumping him for gossip.

It was nice to have that 'break' with Sansa. She cared about his work and what he did. She was supportive of his career. But she wasn't embedded in it. They didn't spend hours each night discussing his work colleagues or cases unless he brought it up. And for a woman that didn't work in the medical field, Sansa just rolled with his weird hours and demanding schedule.

"Sweetheart, I think my mom is going to love your idea," he told Sansa sincerely.

She fucking beamed and made Jon feel like a king. Christ, to think he'd almost fucked this up. He raised her hand to his lips, amazed at the blush that stained her cheeks. She was goddamn perfect, and she was his.

To some, it might seem far too fast for how things had escalated in their relationship. But they weren't some clueless twenty-one-year-olds.

This was what both of them had been waiting for their entire adult lives – to find the person they were meant to be with and build a life with them. Jon saw no point in wasting more time when he wanted Sansa in his bed, in his house, in his fucking life all the time. He'd never been scared of marriage and being with one woman for the rest of his life. A person couldn't dedicate nearly thirteen years of their life to one career and be too chicken shit to commit. He’d just been waiting for the right person to come along.

"I hope so. It'll put Dacey and Satin on the map," she muttered, worrying that lip.

Jon knew that Sansa was as big a name as anyone right now in the fashion world. The glitterati would come North for her and be wowed by those that she had brought into House of Martell. His girl was a superstar in the fashion industry, and the fact that she wanted to build her brand here, in Wintertown, was just fucking amazing.

Jon turned into the now-familiar driveway of Winterfell Manor, wondering when it would be appropriate to speak to Ned and Cat about his intentions for Sansa. He didn't want to wait too long, but tonight was defiantly NOT the right time. But again, soon.

He'd barely parked the SUV when the front door open, and Mia was out like a shot.

And Jon knew exactly who she wanted.

"SANSA!" his baby screamed and then launched herself at Sansa, who was running towards Mia. Sansa caught Mia and hugged her to her chest.

"Hi baby," Sansa said, stroking a hand down Mia's curly dark hair.

The only way that Jon could describe seeing them like they were, was that they fit. When he'd been single, Jon hadn't often let himself think too much about what type of woman might come into his life at the right time. But he knew when he found her, she'd love Mia as her own.

And Sansa did.

Jon's own throat burned a bit as he observed them, laying a hand on Sansa's shoulder. When she looked up from hugging Mia, Jon saw her blue eyes were almost wet. He understood precisely what Sansa felt because he was as well. They were finally a family.

"You're back," Mia cried happily.

"I am."

Mia giggled as Sansa tickled her, and then she rested her head against Sansa's neck.

"Are you coming home with us?"

Sansa nodded. "I am."

"And you're gonna be there in the morning? Can we have waffles?"

It said something that Mia didn't even look to him when he asked Sansa about breakfast. Jon laughed.

"Mia," he warned.

Her eyes went wide and innocent as she played with Sansa's hair. "What, Daddy? Sansa looooooves cooking. She said so."

Jon shook his head at his daughter as she scrambled down Sansa and grabbed both their hands.

"I'll make you waffles if you eat some eggs."

The lip came out, the pout about to go into full effect, but Sansa countered it with a stern look.

"I suppose if someone wants to be picky, then we'll have to skip the waffles."

With a dramatic sigh, Mia promised she'd try to eggs and then told them all about her day, the highlight of which seemed to be a visit to Papa Ned's office and shopping with Nana.

Inside Winterfell, Sansa and Jon were warmly greeted by the Starks, who added to Mia's stories. Mia was glued to Sansa's side, and it was only when Sansa got her settled with a snack and a cartoon that Jon and Sansa met with her parents in the Great Room at Winterfell.

"What's going on, guys?" Ned asked.

Jon recognized the authority in Ned's voice. The man was a force in the North. He'd built his family's business into a true empire, all while raising five children and maintaining one of the best marriages Jon had ever witnessed. Every time Jon saw Sansa's parents, they were touching, kissing or hugging. Watching Ned with his wife, with his children, was how Jon wanted to be with his own wife and kids.

Sansa looked to Jon, and he cleared his throat.

"I'm not sure how much Sansa has shared with you about Mia's biological mother. We were ---"

Jon paused a moment, thinking of how he wanted to explain his relationship with Val. He wasn't ashamed because they had both known what it was. But neither was it something he liked to discuss.

"I was in the middle of my residency. It was a difficult time, and she and I were casual. She was a nurse I worked with, and we were exclusive but not serious. So when she told me she was pregnant, I thought we would find a way to co-parent. But within two months of Mia's birth, I came home one day and found her packing her bags. She was just done. I tried to talk her out of leaving as she was. Tried to give her options. Thought it might be post-partum."

He shook his head and felt Sansa's hand on his back. Knowing he had her by his side, knowing that she was his future, Jon finished his story.

"She didn't want anything to do with Mia. Within a few months of leaving, she had sent papers, relinquishing her parental rights. I was stunned, to be honest. I didn't understand how anyone could walk away from their child. Me? Fine. Val and I weren't ever going to be anything serious, but Mia?"

It was Catelyn that gave him a sympathetic nod and reached for his hand. "Jon, you don't have to tell us if you don't want," she began to say.

Jon smiled at Sansa's mom. He liked her a lot. She was warm and caring and had accepted Mia and him into their lives.

"No. I worked through a lot of my issues with Val leaving. And you guys need to know this stuff. I hadn't heard from her in four years, and then on Wednesday afternoon, I opened my front door to find her standing there."

Jon grimaced and shook his head.

"She blindsided me. I … fuck, I didn't handle it well. Mia was all of sudden there, and I just let her in. I thought --- cripes, I don't know what I thought."

Catelyn rose then and came to him, hugging him hard.

"Jon, stop. Whatever this woman is, whatever she wants, her agenda, she is Mia's biological mother. Of course, you'd let her in. Especially when she just showed up like that."

A part of Jon needed someone like Catelyn Stark, one of the best mothers he'd ever met, to tell him that she understood his actions. Relief flooded through him, and he bobbed his head.

"Thanks. I think I needed to hear that. Of course, I didn't tell Mia who she was, and after Sansa left, Val's questions about Sansa raised some huge red flags for me. I told her to leave and that I wouldn't be answering any questions about Sansa to her."

Ned frowned, and Jon was pretty sure it wasn't at him but Val and her sudden reappearance.

"You're a big name, Jon. Everyone in the North knows about you, and you’re set to start making some real money in the next few years. Is it possible she somehow is after a payout?"

Jon shrugged, wrapping an arm around Sansa's shoulders as they sat on the love seat together.

"Maybe. But I'm not exactly poor," he said and saw Sansa arch an eyebrow.

 He grinned.

"Babe, you've seen the Water Glass Palace. And my dad was a Targaryen."

He shrugged.

"I've always had money, and yeah, I'm in a for a pay bump when I'm a double board-certified surgeon but that hasn’t happened yet. So why now?"

"Is it possible someone at the hospital told her? The medical community isn't that large in the North."

"It's possible, I guess. But, I mean, everyone knows I'm with Sansa, and there's no denying we're serious."

Ned leaned forward, having been rejoined on the sofa by his wife.

"So, what is your plan?"

Trust Ned to cut to the heart of the matter. Jon liked that about Sansa’s dad.

Jon looked at Sansa, who nodded and cleared her throat.

"Jon has asked me to move in with him and Mia, and I've said yes."

Jon didn't know what he was expecting, but the smiles on the faces of Sansa's parents weren't it. Somehow, he’d thought they might protest or say it was too soon.

Ned had a knowing gleam in his eyes, and Catelyn let out a joyful sound.

They were a modern couple and living together was the next step. But Jon still wanted a ring on Sansa's finger and his last name behind hers. But first steps first.

"On Monday, I'm going to talk with my lawyer. I want to know what rights Val might have to Mia and what rights Sansa can get. And I'll call my mom tomorrow and tell my family in Sunspear what's going on."

They talked a while longer, Ned and Cat giving them some good advice and then listening as Sansa talked about her fashion show idea. Finally, there was a discussion about a party in August when Elia came North for a visit, and Catelyn said she was quite excited to meet Sansa's mentor and Jon's stepmother. All it just made Jon feel warm inside, seeing their two lives blending even more.

Within an hour of being at Winterfell, a sleepy Mia was in Jon's arms, and he set her into her car seat and then waved at Ned and Cat as he pulled out of the driveway.

"Sansa, I'm glad you're coming home with us," Mia announced and then fell asleep.

"She's so precious," Sansa said, glancing back at her.

"She is."

When they got to their house, Jon carried Mia to her room, and then together, they tucked her into bed.

"Night, baby," Sansa said, pressing a soft kiss to her forehead.

"Night, Sanny," Mia said sleepily.

Then both of them were standing there, at the doorway gazing at her, with Jon's arms around Sansa. He pressed a kiss to Sansa's forehead, a feeling of completeness he'd never felt before consuming him. Both his girls were home, and he had everything he'd ever wanted.

Now he just had to get to the bottom of what Val wanted. If she thought that she would take any of this from him, she had another thing coming because Jon would do everything in his considerable power to keep the family that he'd just built, safe.

The best person in his daughter's life was the woman by his side, and nothing would ever convince him otherwise. Sansa Stark was the woman that had taken up the rest of Jon's heart - right beside Mia, and he'd waited a long time to find her. And no one, not even Val Rayder, had better come between his and Sansa's happiness or else there would be hell to pay.

 


 

Chapter Text

 

 


 

Wintertown – Sansa

 

Sansa woke up with Jon's lips on her neck, a firm hand cupping her breast and the evidence of Jon's arousal pressing into her ass.

"Morning, love," he rumbled into her ear, his tongue doing wicked things to her neck, stroking her desire from an ember to an inferno with each brush of his lips.

Was it any wonder that when a man just knew everything that made a woman tick and used all that knowledge with considerable skill, that a woman was putty in his arms?

She moaned and pressed back against him, his rumbly laugh making his chest shake. Sansa made no attempt to hide how much she wanted him. Sansa turned towards him.

"Fuck I love having you naked, wet and willing in my bed," he growled, slipping a hand between her thighs and finding her cunt damp. The slick of her arousal perfumed the air, and Jon brought his fingers to his mouth, obscenely sucking the cream from her pussy off his fingers.

Her stomach fluttered watching him, her entire body aching. She bit her lip.

"Delicious," he groaned.

“Jon,” she whimpered.

His grin was wicked.

“Open,” he commanded. She did so immediately as Jon put his finger in her mouth. “Now use that pretty little mouth to show me how you’d suck me off sweetheart.”

Sansa’s body canted towards him as the rush of his words has fresh longing rushing through her. She craved this man with every cell of her body.

She worked his finger, tasting her own pleasure on it, and sucked him hard, working it back until the tip grazed the back of her throat. Jon’s other hand cupped her neck and stroked.

“Christ you respond so well when you’re not being a brat,” he muttered, and Sansa sucked harder. She loved pleasing Jon in the bedroom.

He withdrew his finger from her mouth and crooked it.

“Kiss me,” he demanded.

She found Jon's mouth, kissing him and working her hands into his curls, pressing her breasts against his chest. Her nipples were so hard, aching points that she rubbed against him, sending bursts of pleasure straight down to her cunt, which was pulsing in anticipation. She could taste herself on his lips, and all that did was make her want him more as she squirmed. His hands kneaded her ass, a thumb playing with her back entrance, just slipping the tip in.

"Please," she begged, knowing what it did to him to hear those words from her lips. She didn’t know what she wanted, only that she needed more.

"Fuck," Jon swore as he notched his dick at her pussy and filled her fill with a single thrust of his hips. “One day soon I’m going to have this ass baby. You’re gonna let me fill you up, stuffed full of my cock and a dildo lodged in this cunt.”

She knew it was early; the sun was breaking through the blinds, bathing the entire room in translucent, ethereal light. Here, in this room, in this home in which they were building a life together, she felt as if they were the only two people in the entire world.

And gods did she want everything Jon Snow was promising.

“Yes. I can’t wait,” she responded imaging that moment, letting the naughtiness of it turn her on even more.

Eyes locked, Jon stroked inside her body, Sansa moving in perfect accord with him, no words needed.

This was precisely where she was meant to be – with the man she'd been waiting for her entire life. A man she loved wholly and completely.

“I’m gonna find you the prettiest plug and start to prep you for my fat cock, Sansa. How would you like that? Walking around with my plug up your ass?”

"Jon, yes please" she exclaimed breathlessly at one point as the man worked her body perfectly, knowing all her cues and what she needed. No one had ever known her as he did.

His eyes told the story – he knew exactly what he was doing, and he loved her reactions, how honest and raw they were.

"Fuck, you’re such a dirty girl aren’t you? This cunt loves my dick. It takes it so well, such a good girl for me, letting me fuck you how I want," he praised, and her pussy gushed, fresh cream coating them both.

His thrusts became more determined, and he tapped her clit, making her bite her lip to keep from crying out his name.

Jon smirked.

"Ahhh, my baby can't scream, can she?"

Sansa moaned and arched onto Jon. The man's mouth never stopped, and gods, it did something to her to hear those words from his mouth.

Did anyone but her know how fucking kinky and twisted Dr. Snow was?

She hoped not. He might have always had this kink inside him, but she hoped it was just her in which he was pushing them both.

Thankfully, they both knew that time was not their friend, with Mia set to wake up at any moment. Jon took pity on her, stroking her clit exactly as she liked it, and Sansa smashed her lips to his as the orgasm rushed over her, and he quickly followed her to his own peak, filling her with spurt after spurt of warm come.

Blissed out, they took a few moments to kiss and stroke each other in the bed before they cleaned up and dressed and then cuddled back in bed, taking a few moments to talk and plan their day.

Sansa was lying in his arms, basking in the afterglow of not only an incredible orgasm but the fact that she was moving into Jon's house and that they loved one another. She'd imagined this moment so many times – finding the guy that was the right one for her.

And now, here he was.

"I think we can get a good portion of your stuff moved today," Jon said suddenly.

Sansa arched an eyebrow, her heart beating a bit faster. She knew they'd discussed her moving, but a part of her had been … not worried but wondering when Jon wanted her here. She hadn’t wanted to seem too eager to suggest they move her stuff in right away.

But apparently, she shouldn’t have doubted Jon or worried. They were on the same page, again.

It seemed like he, like her, didn't want to waste any more time living apart. She appreciated the hell out of a man that could make a decision and commitment.

"Today?"

He nodded, his hands never still – stroking, cupping, caressing her body. Jon was a tactile man, and she adored all his touches – whether he was smacking her ass or gentling holding her.

"Yeah. I mean, I want you here, Sansa. I want to wake up with you in my arms and come home from a shift and find you in my bed. And fuck, I just want to get on with our life. I’m ready for this. Are you?”

She beamed at him.

"I am. I want to be here as well. We can definitely get my clothing and my shoes. Makeup."

Jon snorted. He knew just how much ‘stuff’ she had.

Sansa batted her eyes at him and laughed.

"And I'm sure we can get my home office moved. That's the beauty of a big family. We can text my brothers and Arya. And Tor and Satin will help."

Jon snorted at the Satin helping comment. The man was many things, but he did not do 'physical' labour.

Sansa frowned. "Well, Satin will provide entertainment."

"Better. Tormund can help as well," Jon added. "What will you do with your condo?"

Sansa shrugged.

"Keep it as a rental property. It's a good investment."

Jon was nuzzling at her again, and she heard his agreement, although her mind was a bit fuzzy as she clutched at him, wondering if he could sneak in another orgasm before they had to get up to make breakfast when the doorknob rattled.

"Daddy, why is the door locked?" came Mia's confused voice on the other side of their room.

Jon chuckled and rolled off Sansa. “Time’s up,” he whispered to Sansa before he put a pillow behind his back and Sansa sat up in the bed.

"Because Sansa and I are having a sleepover," Jon called back.

There was silence and then a polite knock.

"Who's there?" Jon called.

Mia giggled, and Sansa felt her heart explode in cuteness. This man!

"Daddy, it's ME! It's MIA!" came Mia’s high-pitched and excited voice.

"Mia, who?" Jon asked, acting confused.

Another giggle, bordering on hysterical, came through the locked door.

Jon swung his legs out of bed and padded towards the door. He flicked the lock and opened the door just as Mia was set to knock again.

Sansa saw the little girl's eyes widen when she saw Sansa there, and then she clapped her hands in delight as Jon scooped her up, tickling her and bringing her back to their bed.

He put Mia on it, and the little girl cuddled between them.

"I like it when you sleep over," Mia said, playing with Sansa's hair.

Sansa hugged Mia close to her, wondering how it was possible to love a person so much. Sansa didn't care that Mia wasn't hers by blood; she was hers by choice. Sansa met Jon's eyes over Mia's dark curls, both knowing how important a moment this was in their lives. Sansa and Jon had discussed her moving in and now it was time to tell Mia. Jon understood what Sansa was asking without having to say the words.

Jon nodded and then reached for one of Mia's tiny hands.

"Mia bug, how would you like Sansa to sleep over all the time?"

Mia's eyes went wide as she looked between the two of them. Sansa could see her mind racing to process Jon's words.

"She'd live here?"

Jon nodded as Sansa held her breath. She knew that Jon wasn't really 'asking' Mia – that no matter what, she would be moving in here. But oh, her heart wanted this little girl to want her here.

"YES!" Mia cried and then threw herself into Sansa's arms.

Sansa cradled her close, rocking her. Eyes now wet; Sansa saw that Jon was feeling the same depth of emotion as she was.

This was a defining moment for the three of them – when they became a family of three. Full of energy and excitement about Sansa moving in, Mia quickly left the bed, chatting to herself about her dolls, giving Jon and Sansa another moment alone before they would start breakfast.

"That went well," Sansa said, her eyes twinkling.

Jon snorted. "She loves you as much as I do."

"Well, you know I love her, Jon and that I think of her as mine."

Sansa loved being able to say that, for it was how she felt about Mia and Jon. They were hers. And it was freeing that Jon saw her the same way. She was so glad they’d talked and worked things out. She couldn’t imagine being with anyone else.

"I know, sweetheart." Jon frowned and Sansa wondered what was on his mind. "I work tonight, so I won't be here. I can have Rosa take care of Mia if you want."

Sansa laughed and shook her head. "Jon, no."

"No?" He looked a bit confused, and Sansa stroked a hand down his face.

"Jon, I love Mia. And what we are building is a family. We will need Rosa, no doubt. We both have busy careers, and you know my travel schedule. But nights like this? No, I want Mia with me."

"I don't want you to think that you're some babysitter ---"

Sansa stopped him with a kiss and a giggle. "I don't. Not at all."

That seemed to satisfy him. "Good," he grunted.

Contentment surged through Sansa. Jon was so thoughtful, but he also worried about everything. She knew it would take time for them to find their groove with this new life they were building together. Jon had done everything with Mia for so long, and now he'd have to learn that he could rely on her.

Jon's face was still so serious, and Sansa knew he had more on his mind. She was pleased he was willing to let her in and talk with her.

"I want to talk with my lawyer about granting you guardianship of Mia."

Sansa locked eyes with him and swallowed hard. "What does that mean?"

"It would mean that legally you would have as many rights as I do with Mia. If she was in your care and you needed to make a medical decision for her, you could. When we take her to school in the fall, you'd be listed as one of her legal guardians. I mean, I want more Sansa. I want ---"

Jon paused and gave her a meaningful look.

"I'm not asking you that question like this. Not here, in our bed. One day, when it’s right and I can ask you properly. But I want us to be a real family, and I don't want to wait. This would just solidify who you are to Mia in the eyes of the law. How would you feel about that?"

Sansa didn't even have to think. She was already bobbing her head.

"Yes. I say yes to becoming Mia's guardian."

Jon's lips were on hers again, both knowing what a monumental moment this was for them when a crash from downstairs had them breaking apart.

Jon gave Sansa a rueful grin.

"Are you sure? She's not exactly a quiet, easy child."

Sansa laughed as they held hands, off to find Mia. "I'm sure. She's perfect just the way she is."

"We have to speak with Elia this morning," Sansa said as they entered the kitchen to find a mess.

Jon grimaced at the thought of telling Elia about Val's sudden reappearance in his life, and Sansa didn't envy him that call. Elia was fiercely protective of her children and would not be happy to hear about Val ‘popping’ up again.

Sansa entered the kitchen to see a spill had happened. Thankfully the juice was in a cardboard carton and the glass was plastic so there was no glass to clean up.

"I was tryin' to get the juice," Mia said, eyes downcast, lip quivering.

Sansa kneeled before Mia, not upset, gently taking Mia's hand. Sansa could see the tears, and Sansa wanted to reassure Mia that accidents happened.

"Oh, sweetie it’s ok. It's just a little bit of juice. Let's clean it up before we have a sticky mess," Sansa said, getting the little girl to help her clean up and then pulling out the ingredients for breakfast.

Mia was glued to Sansa's side; happy she wasn't in trouble for her spill and chatting cheerfully about Sansa moving into her house.

As promised, they made waffles and eggs, and Mia munched her way through the latter with a healthy dose of ketchup on them, claiming that eggs "weren't that bad."

Jon just shook his head in wonder. He kept kissing Sansa and holding her close, saying how she was the Mia whisperer again and again.

After breakfast, Mia had run off to play while Jon and Sansa tidied the kitchen. She loved the domesticity of it all and how Jon seemed to have no problems with her stepping into their lives – especially when it came to things around the house.

In fact, he seemed to welcome it, and Sansa knew they made a great team. Together, with their friends and her family, they had a great support system in the North, and Sansa knew it was a huge weight off Jon's shoulders to have people he could count on in his life.

Sansa was making a grocery list, happily humming as she walked around her new kitchen while Jon got Elia on a Facetime call. Of course, Rhae was there as well, so he would face both women in his family at once. They were on the big iMac Jon had in the kitchen, so Sansa had a great view of her friend and mentor.

"Hello, my beautiful babies," Elia exclaimed seeing both of them on the computer screen.

The woman's sharp gazed missed nothing as she took in Sansa making a grocery list, appearing very comfortable in Jon's house. Elia was practically glowing.

"How are you two this Saturday morning?"

Jon tugged Sansa into his arms, holding her close as he smiled at the woman that had raised him.

"Hi, Mom. We’re good. Sansa and I have some news we want to share with you."

Sansa swore Elia let out a high-pitched scream, and Jon laughed, shaking his head.

"Not that news. Not yet."

Sansa's heart raced at Jon's declaration. They both knew wanted it all – marriage, babies, family, and they wanted it together. She was excited that Jon wanted ‘that’ question to be special. Sansa had been dreaming of the day her future husband would ask her to marry her since she was a little girl.

"But we've made some important decisions, and we wanted to tell you guys about them."

"Spill it, big bro," Rhae demanded.

Sansa was happy that she had an excellent relationship with Elia and Rhae before meeting Jon because these two women were fiercely protective of him, and she'd have hated to be on their bad side.

Raising their clasped hands, Jon spoke.

"I've asked Sansa to move in with me, and she's said yes.”

Both Elia and Rhae were overjoyed with this news.

"And I'm going to my lawyer on Monday to discuss making Sansa Mia's legal guardian."

Elia nodded, but Sansa could see her mind racing at that news. Elia didn’t appear upset, but she was thinking.  

"Something has happened," Elia said, eyes narrowed. "Something bad."

Jon straightened as Sansa squeezed his hand. Hard. A mother's instincts were rarely wrong, and Elia was a mother that loved fiercely.

"Tell me," Elia demanded, and Jon gave his mother a look.

"You have no objections to Sansa being named Mia's guardian?" Jon asked instead, avoiding answering Elia's question for the moment.

Elia waved a hand.

"Bah. Of course not. She loves Mia as much as any of us. And she loves you and you love her. The two of you were destined for one another. I trust Sansa with your heart and with Mia. With the rest of your family so far away, I think it is a sound and logical choice, not only for you but for Mia. Sansa has my full confidence. Now quit stalling my boy and tell me what has happened to precipitate this."

Sansa pressed a kiss to Jon's tense shoulders. She hoped he knew that she was there for him and that they'd worked past the issues Val's arrival had created between them.

"Val show up. Wednesday night," Jon finally bit out.

Elia swore, colourfully and Rhaenys' eyes narrowed.

"That bitch. What happened?" Jon's sister asked. Sansa didn't smirk precisely, but it was nice that Jon's family weren't Val fans.

Jon sighed and ran a hand through his curls. He told them the entire story, leaving nothing out and perhaps casting himself in too harsh a light. Sansa was glad that she was there to intervene – to add some balance to the story. Neither Martell woman was impressed with Val's sudden reappearance and even less so when Jon indicated Val's interest in Sansa seemed to trump her interest in her daughter.

"That woman shouldn't be let near my granddaughter," Elia snarled, dark eyes flashing. "Jon Snow, tell me you will put measures in place to ensure that she cannot get her hands on that precious girl."

"Mom, I promise I will keep Mia safe. I'm going to go to my lawyer on Monday. Val signing her rights away is a big deal in the eyes of the court. She can’t just come back whenever she wants.

"Someone must have told her something," Elia muttered. “Something about you two. Suddenly my boy is happy and in love and that witch pops back up. Gah, it’s too suspicious if you ask me.”

Who didn't like her or Jon enough that they might tell his ex, an ex that had abandoned their daughter, about her and Jon? Sansa wondered.

Jon gave another sigh.

"Look, I know what Val did. I lived it. I know how devastated I was that she’d abandoned her daughter. I will take measures to protect Mia. But" Jon said, as Elia's eyes narrowed to dangerous slits.

"BUT if she is here for the right reasons, if she wants time to get to know Mia, Sansa and I will figure out a way to make that work."

Sansa could tell that Elia wanted to argue, to protest. It had to have been brutally hard as a mother to see what Jon had gone through with Val's leaving. But Sansa was proud of Jon and how he was standing his ground. Mia was his daughter, and he knew what was best for her.

Elia looked to Sansa.

"And how do you feel about all of this?"

Sansa cocked her head.

"I was recently reminded that a child has never suffered from having three loving parents. I trust Jon. He's done a wonderful job raising Mia, and I know he will do what is best now."

There was a moment when Sansa wasn't sure what Elia might say, but she sighed and then shook her head.

"I love the two of you and that little girl with my entire heart. I do not want this witch of a woman to disrupt that," Elia muttered, clearly not pleased with Val's sudden appearance in their lives.

"Mom, Sansa and I are in love. We're solid. Trust us to deal with this," Jon responded.

There was an edge to his voice, and Sansa loved him even more for putting his trust in them.

Elia wagged a finger at him. It was clear how much she loved Jon and Sansa was glad that Jon had grown up with a woman such as Elia as his mother.

"One day, you will understand the worry that comes from having adult children. You want to protect them, to keep them safe. But they think they know what is best. I know you did not love Val, Jon. But she did so much damage when she left you as she did."

Jon nodded, not denying it. Sansa leaned into the cradle of his arms.

"She did. But things are so different now, Mom. Trust me."

That seemed to soften Elia. Slightly.

"I do. And I will be coming North. Three weeks, Jonathan and I will be there."

Sansa snickered at the Jonathan nickname and pressed her face into Jon's chest. Her guy's chest rumbled.

"We'll prepare the North for your arrival," he quipped back, and Elia gave an elegant snort.

"See that you do. Now, where is my baby?"

Jon called for Mia, who came racing into the kitchen, telling her Nana all about her time at Winterfell and that Sansa was moving into her house.

"She is gonna be here allllll the time. This means I'll probably have to eat more eggs and veggies, but Sansa makes them taste good."

Sansa went back to her grocery list as Mia chatted with Elia, noting that with Rosa now doing the shopping, things weren't quite as sad as they'd been when she'd first started dating Jon. And she had plans to do far more cooking living here full time.

After she made her grocery list, her mind worked through what she could logically get moved to his house today, and she sent a group text that included Robb, Ric, Arya, Bran and Tor. All offered their congratulations, although there were a few jokes about how fast they were moving. But everyone to a person promised to be at her condo within an hour to help her move.

When Jon had Mia say goodbye to Elia, Sansa took a moment to talk shop with her boss.

"I have something special planned for when you're here," Sansa told Elia, sipping at her coffee. Elia's eyebrow arched.

"Do I get a sneak peek?"

Sansa laughed. "No. But I promise you it will be worth it.

"I'm looking forward to it." Elia paused.

"Sansa, I am concerned about Val's reappearance in Jon's life, just as he'd found true happiness. That woman is poison, and she can do damage if left unchecked."

Sansa gave her mentor and her friend a thoughtful look.

"I know you are. But you must trust Jon. He's handling this, and he has my full support."

Elia muttered something that sounds a lot like, "You're a far better person than I am."

Sansa's face was fierce.

"Trust me. I will do everything to protect Mia and Jon. I love them, Elia. They are my entire world. But if Val's intentions are good, then I think it's important to make space for her in Mia's life."

Elia sighed and nodded.

"You're right. I just remember the hell that my son went through when she left, and I'd hate to have either Mia or him exposed to that again."

Sansa nodded thoughtfully. She understood Elia's concerns and reassured her friend that they would be cautious with Val. But Sansa also believed that Jon needed to take the lead on this. She would trust him to do what was best not only for Mia but for their family. And if Val’s intentions weren’t good, well then Val would learn what it meant to fuck with Sansa’s family. After all, Sansa was a Stark and inside her beat the heart of a wolf. Sansa was fiercely protective of those she loved – those that were hers. She reassured Elia of all of this, and her friend gave her a knowing look.

“I trust you with them, Sansa.” Elia’s face was full of pride, love and support.

With that ringing endorsement, Sansa promised Elia that they would talk soon and keep her informed of Sansa's guardianship, and then Sansa signed off, eager to get to her condo and begin the process of packing up her single life once and for all.

 


 

The Condo – Sansa

 

Sansa had to give the Starks credit – when she needed them, they were there.

She and Jon each drove a vehicle to her condo complex and arrived to find her entire family waiting, along with Tormund, Toregg and Satin.

Ned and Cat were both there, which sent Mia flying into Nana Cat's arms the moment she saw her, chattering excitedly about Sansa moving into her house.

"Daddy and Sansa had a sleepover, and they locked their door," Mia informed Papa Ned seriously.

Ned threw his head back, laughing as Sansa rushed to open her condo and get people to help packing, trying not to blush about being called out about her sex life by a four-year-old.

The Starks had shown up with totes and boxes and entered her condo behind her, giving Sansa a hard time about her ‘sleepover’ with Jon. Jon just puffed out his chest, to which Sansa rolled her eyes. Men.

"This is a sweet place, San. What are you going to do with it?" Ric asked, eyeing it up.

Sansa shook her head.

"Hell no, baby brother. I've seen your place."

Rickon grinned, easy and not the least bit offended. He was a total slob and still the baby of the Stark pack. More than one person stopped by to ‘help’ Ric with all manner of things. No way did Sansa want Rickon living here.

"What about us?" Arya asked, stomping in with her biker boots. Gendry was right behind her, eyeing up the condo, eyes excited.  

Mia, now in Robb's arms, was asking him about his office at Stark Enterprises, momentarily distracting Sansa.

"But Papa's office is bigger because he's the Papa," Mia said seriously with the irrefutable logic of a four-year-old.

"But I get more phone calls, and more people speak to me each day. Sometimes I catch Papa taking a nap in his chair," Robb said, voice now a whisper.

Mia gave a solemn nod. "It’s hard work being the Papa."

Robb laughed and tickled Mia before setting her down.

"It's clear who her favourite is," Robb said, pulling Sansa in for a hug.

"You sure about this, sis?" he asked quietly as Jon began to give people their assignments.

"One hundred percent," Sansa told her big brother, who looked satisfied with her answer.

Soon enough, Sansa found herself in her bedroom with Satin, her mom and Arya, which wasn't the most productive, as Satin seemed to pause every few moments to gush over another clothing item.

"You're useless," Arya grumbled at Satin, who looked offended.

"I am the least useless person in this entire house."

Arya snorted.

"Is a unicorn useless?" Satin demanded.

Arya laughed. "Um yeah. And fake."

"But pretty and adds flair! That's what I bring to this entire endeavour. Flair, darling." He did a fake flip of his fake long hair.

Arya was just about to retort when Sansa intervened.

"Arya, were you serious about moving into the condo with Gendry?"

Arya perked up.

"Yeah, I think so."

The sisters discussed rent, which was enough to cover Sansa's mortgage and the same as what they were paying for their crappy two-bedroom basement suite. Sansa liked the idea of Arya moving in here.

"What about furniture?"

Arya shrugged.

"Whatever you leave behind, we can use, but I mean, take whatever you'd like."

Catelyn was pleased that Arya and Gendry would be moving to a nicer place, and Sansa knew that her mother liked having all her children back in the North.

Sansa left those three in her bedroom to find Jon and try to determine what furniture they wanted to take with them. There were some things Sansa definitely wanted. Her bed. Her desk. Her kitchen table. Jon's house was big, and half the basement was a nanny suite, but there was still significant square footage with over five thousand square feet and seven bedrooms so she could find room for her stuff.

The guys downstairs had taken apart her kitchen with shocking efficiency and Tor and Tor had loaded up sofas, chairs and tables into a few of the trucks. Jon handed the Tors his house keys, and they soon left for their first of many trips back to his house, leaving Sansa stunned at how quickly this was going with her family’s help. Jon chuckled, slipping his hand into hers and drawing her into his arms.

"Overwhelmed? Still with me?"

Sansa turned to him, smiling brightly.

"Oh yeah. I am. I'm just impressed you managed to get something productive out of my brothers."

"They're like wrangling interns," Jon muttered.

Sansa laughed and then guided him throughout the condo to discuss furniture. They were of the same mindset, choosing things they wanted and those they would leave behind. By and large, a lot of stuff was coming with her, and Jon promised they'd find a way to blend it at his home and make it work.

"I still have a few empty rooms, and I thought that sitting room in the back of the house with all the windows would be a great office for you."

Delighted, they tagged what was coming and what was staying. Sansa couldn’t wait to ‘nest’ and organize their new home, to blend both their styles.

Somehow beer and pizza ended up at the condo, and within a few hours, most of the stuff that Sansa wanted at Jon's house was packed up and transported to her new home.

Both she and Jon stood among the many boxes now littering their dining room, living room, sitting room and into the garage. Sansa giggled and promised she'd work on it over the next few days.

Jon shrugged. "No rush, love. We'll get through it."

Sansa merely grunted and fought the shudder. She liked being organized. She couldn’t live with this chaos for long.

With Jon working a night shift, Sansa packed a bag for her and Mia with their bathing suits and a change of clothes. They were going back to the condo complex for a bar-b-que and pool party with Satin and Tor and her siblings, giving Jon a chance to nap before his shift.

"Have a good sleep, Daddy," Mia said happily, ready to go.

"Replaced already," he said, shaking his head.

Then he pulled Sansa close and kissed her hard.

"Have fun today."

"We will."

"I'll pop by the condo before my shift," he told her.

"We'll save a burger for you, Dr. Snow."

"I can't fucking wait to come home and find you in my bed," he murmured against her ear.

"Oh, me too," Sansa said, agreeing wholeheartedly.

With one last kiss, Sansa loaded a happy Mia back into her SUV and began the drive to her old condo once again.

"Uncle Rickon said he could wear a bag on his cast so he could come into the pool with me. And Satin said he had a new bathing suit and some new sandals and that he'd painted his nails a pretty colour. And Aunty Arya promised that we'd do cannonballs into the pool," Mia told Sansa.

Sansa couldn't help but grin at the little girl who had wrapped every Stark around her tiny finger, including Sansa herself, thoroughly looking forward to this exciting new chapter in her life.

 


 

Wintertown – Jon

 

The one skill that Jon had learned and learned fast when he'd been an intern had been how to sleep when he could. Those early days had been brutal, and sleep had been a scarce resource. So, he'd learned quickly to sleep whenever he could. He always caught a few hours before a night shift – if the night wasn't too busy, he generally could catch some sleep at the hospital because his expertise was surgery. But tonight, was Saturday and summer so he figured he’d be busy.

Still, it was always nice to get some sleep before a shift. Especially when Mia was so well cared for. Jon didn't realize just how alone he'd been until Sansa came into his life. And now she would be here, beside him, living together, building a life together.

Crawling into his bed with the blinds drawn, he could smell Sansa, and his dick ached, as he inhaled deeply. Tomorrow morning, after his shift, he'd come home and find her here, waiting for him. With that, Jon closed his eyes, a smile on his face as he dreamt of Sansa and the new life they were building.

A few hours later, freshly showered and dressed in a casual suit; Jon navigated the road to Sansa's condo. He wouldn't miss this drive at all, excited to have both his girls in his house. Sansa had sent him numerous videos and pictures and their afternoon together. Mia loved her time with Sansa, and the two of them were natural together.

There were several action shots of Mia jumping into the pool, followed by some of Sansa in a tiny bikini and Satin in a pair of tight purple swim trunks. Sansa had somehow found a flamingo floaty and lazed around the pool, while Tor had Mia on his shoulders for what appeared water gunfight. There were times that Jon hated missing moments like this. But seeing those that loved Mia having such a good time with her helped some.

Jon: On my way, sweetheart. Looks like a fun time.

Sansa: See you soon! Burgers are waiting for you. At S and T's.

They were out of the pool and in Satin and Tor's condo by the time he arrived, and Jon walked into the place a few doors down from Sansa's 'old' condo and let himself in.

Tor and Satin's place was incredible, owing to some of the spectacular pieces that Tor had made and Satin's natural decorating talent. Jon found them all out on the deck, Mia cuddled on Sansa's lap, eating some corn on the cob while she giggled at what Rickon was saying.

"Daddy," she cried when spotting him.

Sansa somehow managed to wrangle her butter-soak cob away from Mia's hands and wipe them before Mia ran towards him.

Jon scooped her up. She smelled of suntan lotion, chorine, and barbeque – in essence, like a little kid at the end of a perfect summer day.

"Hey, bug, how was your afternoon?"

She laid her head against Jon's chest as he stroked her curls and pressed a kiss to her head.

"Good, Daddy. I did lots of swimming," she murmured against him. Jon took a moment to hold his daughter, overcome by this extended family his child had.

"Who won the cannonball contest?"

Mia giggled. "Uncle Robb. That made Auntie Arya mad."

Both Starks grinned unapologetically. They were a competitive bunch.

Soon enough, Jon set Mia down and accepted a burger and some salad from Sansa, tugging her onto his lap while eating his dinner. She had a light summer dress on, but Jon could still see the outline of the bright yellow bikini, and his dick twitched. Jon squeezed her ass cheek as she wiggled on his lap, and he swore she wanted him to smack it. Fuck, this woman was perfect for him.

"It looks good on you, San," Robb said, looking at the two of them, drawing Jon's attention away from all the ways he wanted to fuck Sansa and to her brother.

"What looks good on me?" Sansa asked with a wrinkled brow.

"Family. Love. Happiness."

Sansa radiated out bliss, and it was hard to argue how good it made Jon feel to hear her family recognize that this was it for them.

Eventually, Jon kissed his girls goodbye and went to work.

The shift was gruelling, as the sun, liquor, and summer nights seemed to make people even stupider than usual. There was a group of young adults that had thought copious amounts of beer and boating went together. Jon had to amputate a leg below the knee to save a twenty-three-year-old's life. The young man's entire world had changed, and Jon knew that he would always be blamed even though the kid had made a shit choice and Jon had performed a miracle to keep him alive.

When he finally arrived home, he crept through the house. It was early, barely six am, and he didn't want to wake Sansa. But fuck was he glad she was here. He stripped and then climbed into bed, having showered at the hospital. Instantly she cracked a sleepy eye.

"Jon?"

"Yeah, babe, I'm home."

"Good."

She cuddled into his arms as Jon closed his eyes and sunk into the moment, momentarily overcome with how damn good it felt to have her here.

With Sansa in his bed, and his daughter, safe and loved, tucked into her bed, even with the uncertainty of Val looming in their lives, Jon finally had everything he'd ever wanted.

That feeling of loneliness that had always been so prevalent in his life was finally gone – filled by a stunning red-headed woman that had fast become everything in his life and one that Jon would fight dragons to keep by his side. Jon Snow had found his happiness and her name was Sansa Stark. And he had no intentions of ever letting her go.

 


 

Chapter Text

 

 


 

 

Wintertown – Jon

 

 

Late Monday morning, Jon found Sansa in the middle of the boxes deposited in their house from her condo. She had an adorable little frown on her face and a clip board in her hands as she tried to organize and blend their lives.

He sipped coffee as he watched her. They were in one of the large sitting rooms at the back of the house that had a full view of the backyard. This was where she was going to put her home office, and there was such a sense of peace in Jon's heart that she was here. He loved having her living at his home, building this life together. For too long he’d thought he’d be alone – his standards too high for anyone to meet them.

But Sansa had – not only met them but exceeded them.

Coming home Sunday morning to find her in his bed --- well, the feeling was indescribable. She'd slipped out to be with Mia while Jon had slept, and then together, as a family, they'd done their chores to get ready for the week ahead. They'd unpacked more of her things over the weekend and found a home for the furniture she'd brought with her.

Jon put her bed in their spare bedroom – a bed that Jon had plans for with that elaborate headboard. He could imagine her all trussed up and at his mercy while he had her hands attached to that wrought iron headboard and she whimpered as he denied her an orgasm. Her submissive kink was perfect for his dominant personality when it came to sex and having Sansa here, well, Jon had plans for his woman.

He liked seeing their clothing all co-mingled, her makeup and products all over the bathroom and their shoes lined up neatly beside one another. His closest was big enough, or so he’d thought, but Sansa had already claimed one spare closet for all her ‘extras’. Such was life living with a fashion mogul. He didn’t mind in the least.

Throughout his house, there were pops of colour that were a clear nod to Sansa – grey and pink, silver and rose gold. He liked seeing her things here and knew that their styles would only blend more the longer she was here. His house had been functional, and the professional decorator had done an excellent job, but Sansa brought warmth. It felt complete now that she was here.

Mia has been ecstatic to be 'helping' Sansa, glued to her side for much of the day as Sansa calmy and easily explained things to his daughter. They fit together, those two.

Jon had hoped for something like this, but if he were honest, he hadn't expected to find it. The loss of his parents, coupled with Val's leaving, had convinced Jon that people didn't 'stick' when it came to him.

But that wasn't Sansa. That would never be Sansa. Jon knew she loved him and Mia with her entire heart. She was here for the long haul, thank fuck.

Now she let out a muttered curse as she tried to open a box.

She had an adorable little blue bandana in her hair, running shorts and some yoga top that clung to that body he loved. He didn’t mind in the least the bits of clothing that gave him tantalizing glimpses of her smooth, tanned skin.

Fuck, everything about this woman did it for him. Her passion, her kinks, her heart, her mind.

"Need help?" he asked, pushing himself off the doorframe and strolling into the room.

She would be in a lot of shade at the back of the house, but the room seemed bright and cheerful with all the windows. And she confessed she wanted to be able to see the backyard while Mia played.

Soon enough, they'd have to leave to go to his lawyer; Jon had an appointment after lunch, and he was anxious and eager to put Sansa's guardianship of Mia in place and reaffirm what rights Val might have to Mia. And, perhaps more importantly, what rights she didn't have.  

One thing was sure, Jon would not give his ex free access to his daughter again. That had been a mistake and Jon wasn’t a man that made the same one twice.

Sansa flashed a frustrated smile at him and waved around the room. It was …  chaotic and that drove her organized heart nuts.

"I just wish it was done already," she said, hand on a hip as she surveyed the room.

He pulled her close, wrapping his arms around her, nuzzling at her neck. Her little sigh made Jon grin.

"Not helping Dr. Snow," she muttered but pressed her body against his.

Fuck he loved her. He loved it when she called him by his title. It made his blood roar and his cock perk up. Not that his dick needed an excuse. No matter how many times they’d fucked, Jon was always ready to go around her.

Jon grinned and licked at a sensitive spot on her neck, loving that breathy little moan she let out.

"Yeah? Not helping?"

He felt her nipples, always an indication of how turned on she was, press into his chest. He’d already fucked her hard this morning, waking up with his dick aching and wanting to be buried inside her cunt. Now she was driving him mad again and he wondered if he could have her here, bent over the loveseat against one wall. She’d looked fantastic with that ass on display as he took her from behind.

"Daddy, I can't find my favourite My Little Pony," came Mia's voice, interrupting his fantasy of fucking Sansa. Sansa gave him a knowing grin and Jon bit back the groan. Mia somehow wormed her way in between them as Jon reluctantly let Sansa go to scoop up his daughter.

She snuggled into his arms and smiled at Sansa.

"Have you checked your playroom?" Jon asked in response to the missing My Little Pony, a new favourite. Nana Cat had found them for Mia, explaining how much Sansa had loved them as a girl. It was a wonder at the toys that were making a comeback.

Mia gave a dramatic sigh.

"It's very messy," she said, a bit of a pout there.

He laughed. His daughter was not known for being neat and tidy.

"Ok, Mia bug, let's go and see if we can clean it up. Rosa will be with you this afternoon, and you know she doesn't like a mess."

Mia wrinkled her nose.

"But Sansa made a mess."

Jon bit back the smile as Sansa huffed out a frustrated breath.

"Bug, I'm moving in. Moving is always messy. And you know how clean I am.”

Mia gave Sansa a solemn nod.

"It's ok. I'm messy too."

Sansa tickled her.

"I'm not messy," Sansa protested but then gave a rueful look around the room that was in disarray. Jon knew that Sansa hated it, and soon enough, she'd have things put the way she liked.

Mia was giggling as Jon left Sansa in the middle of her new study to get back to work. Probably best that Mia had interrupted them. Jon saw the almost maniacal look in Sansa’s eyes which meant she wanted to get the study put to right asap.

An hour later, with one very clean playroom and a re-discovered My Little Pony along with other treasures, Jon found Sansa in their bedroom. She was standing in the massive walk-in closet, wearing a pale pink and black polka dot lingerie set. Her lips pursed as she debated what to wear.

Hearing him, she turned and smiled and held out her hand. Instantly Jon went to her.

"Hey sweetheart," he rumbled.

Fuck he loved having her here.

"What should I wear?"

Jon gave her a look. She had forgotten more about fashion than he would ever know.

"I mean," she said, poking him in the ribs, "Do I go formal? Causally formal? Power suit?"

"Think an interview. I'm wearing a suit. Honestly, Roose is a fucking shark, and I don't think he will care. What he'll want to know is about you."

"Wait. Roose Bolton is your attorney?" Sansa said, eyes wide.

"Yeah. Why's that? Do you know him?"

Sansa nodded, "Oh yeah. He's been friends with my dad forever. Like since university. He's the top lawyer in the North. I didn't think he did family law cases."

Jon shrugged.

"Elia found him. She was insistent that I have the best. I have no idea how she convinced him to take my case, but she did. That's why I'm sure there is nothing to worry about."

Now Sansa was biting her lip. Jon cupped her face.

"Babe, no. There are going to be no issues with this guardianship. We'll have to go through the steps. Criminal record checks and references and then take it before a judge. But Sansa, no one is going to deny you this. Trust me."

Sansa sighed and cuddled into his arms.

"I know. I just want her to be safe, Jon. And I want it done. I'm worried about Val and what she wants."

Jon dropped a kiss to Sansa's forehead and smoothed his hands down her back.

"I know, love, but we just have to trust the system. It's a big deal for a mother to give up her rights. Val hasn't been around in nearly five years. And both of us are good people with great careers and stable lives."

Sansa nodded, and they dressed.

Sansa settled on a classic look; black pants (hers), a white blouse (Elia's), black Jimmy Choo stilettos and a Chanel handbag.

Jon was in grey pants and a white shirt; sleeves rolled up with his own designer dress shoes. He'd forgone the tie, owing to the fact that the summer heat gripped the North right now.

When they exited their bedroom together, they went to find Mia, who was with Rosa. Their nanny beamed at them and told Sansa if she wanted help later with unpacking, she'd be happy to help. Instantly Sansa took her up on that offer, the two women chatting about how to rearrange the house with all of Sansa's stuff now here.

It warmed Jon's heart to see Sansa and Rosa become close.

Rosa was from Dorne and had come highly recommended by Elia. She said she liked Wintertown and was planning on staying in the North. With Mia set to start school in the fall, Rosa would have more time to herself, and she was talking about going back to school, perhaps to do her interior design degree.

Jon promised they'd make it work no matter what. Rosa was twenty-two, just a year older than Rickon, and Jon got the impression that her life hadn't been the easiest. But she fit with them, and she and Sansa were getting closer by the day. She was just one more important part of their village in the North and Jon liked having her around Mia.

Jon held Sansa's hand as they drove to the office downtown where Roose Bolton ruled the North. Jon wouldn't say that he was ever comfortable with the man – there was a coldness to him that bothered Jon a bit. But when it came to fighting for his clients, there was no one better in the North – perhaps in all of Westeros. The man earned his money and his reputation.

They entered the sanctified offices of Bolton and Associate- the associate being Roose's son, Domeric. Jon had never met him, dealing only with Roose himself. A secretary immediately ushered them into the massive corner office, where Roose was sitting behind a massive oak desk.

He wasn’t alone as Jon scanned the room.

The other person in the room had to be Roose's son. He was tall and built and filled out his bespoke suit perfectly, his dark hair coiffed into an elegant mane that must take some work to maintain.

Jon's curls were a bit wild and untamed, but Sansa didn't seem to mind. Jon had grown up wealthy; the Martell family was one of the richest in Westeros, so he understood how the game was played. It was clear that Domeric wanted to make an impression.

The office had a stunning view of downtown Wintertown, and while Jon knew that he was no slouch when it came to his career, briefly, he wondered if this was the type of person Sansa wanted as he watched the younger man's eye light when he spotted Sansa.

Both Boltons seemed to warm upon seeing Sansa, and it was clear she knew these people. That was part of being a Stark of Wintertown – everyone seemed to know them.

"Sansa, welcome back to the North. Your family missed you while you were away," Roose said, leaving his large desk and coming towards them. He pressed a kiss to each of Sansa's cheeks and gave her a warm hug. She returned it, giving Roose a rueful smile.

"Yeah, I know. I stayed away for too long. But I'm home now."

Roose squeezed her arms gently. "That's good. Your mother was worried about you."

Sansa merely nodded and then turned to the other man.

"Dom, you've grown up."

She gave him a warm smile that spoke of friendship. Dom’s eyes however seemed to take Sansa in – all of Sansa.

Domeric was Jon's age, and jealousy briefly flashed in Jon before he tamped it down. He knew he had nothing to worry about when it came to Sansa and her feelings for him.

"So have you. I've heard about your success. House of Martell, is it?"

Sansa nodded and then grinned at Jon.

"It is. Jon's mother, Elia, is my mentor. She's amazing, and she finally found me the man of my dreams. Dom, meet Dr. Jon Snow, the love of my life. Jon, this is Dom. We've been friends since we were kids."

Jon held out his hand and squeezed. Hard. His chest had puffed out, and he didn't mind admitting that he laid a possessive hand on Sansa's back.

So fucking sue him, he thought. This was his woman, and damn if he didn't want every guy in the world to know it. Especially this Domeric Bolton. Dom didn’t miss the gesture as his eyes narrowed slightly, his smile far less warm for Jon than it had been for Sansa.

"You guys are a thing?" he asked, disappointment evident.

"Yeah. More than a thing. Sansa is the one," Jon said, uncaring what that made him sound like.

Dom got the hint, and any interest in Sansa died then and there.

Thank fuck.

Jon didn't want to have to find a new attorney, but he would if this would be a problem. No fucking way was he dealing with Dom sniffing around Sansa when he was paying through the nose for his attorney to make sure his rights to Mia held.

A cough by the senior Bolton had Jon releasing Dom's hand. Roose gestured for them to take their seats, clearly amused at the showmanship on display. Jon didn’t care. And Sansa didn’t seem to mind his macho display, which was good.

After they had all settled into the chairs, Roose asked what brought them here.

"My ex, Mia's biological mother, showed up last Wednesday. Completely unannounced. I had no warning."

The distinction was important to Jon about what Val was to Mia. If anyone could be considered a 'mother' to Mia, it was Sansa. Sure, Val had given Mia life, but other than that, she’d given up all her ‘rights’ to Mia.

"How much contact have you had with her over the years? Since she left?" Roose clarified.

Jon shook his head.

"Nothing. Not an email. Not a text. Not a phone call. Then, out of the blue, she's ringing my doorbell."

Roose frowned and asked Jon what he did when she showed up.

Jon admitted he let Val into the house. It still made him angry that he'd been so shocked at seeing her he didn't think straight and just invited her in. He couldn't believe what an idiot he'd been.

"That ends now," Roose said, voice hard as those pale eyes settled on Jon.

Jon met Roose's gaze. It was unnerving, and Jon was glad this man was on his side.

Jon had been through some of the most brutal training any person could when becoming a surgeon; he met people who'd demanded the impossible from him. He’d worked under those that literally held life and death in their hands. Surgeons were not easy people.

And yet, Jon had always known that Roose Bolton was a man not to be fucked with.

"Val signed away all legal rights to Mia. That has far-reaching consequences, Jon. You never went after her for parental support, which adds to your case that you have been Mia's sole caregiver for almost her entire life. Val has contributed nothing financially or emotionally to raising this child. In fact, in nearly five years, the only reason Mia is the well-adjusted girl she is, is because of you."

Hearing those facts from a hard man like Roose settled something inside Jon. He'd known it, of course. But anxiety made him doubt himself these past few days.

"So, no more. Val does not get access to her. If she wants to see Mia, she will have to get her own lawyer. She will most likely have to go through Social Services to see if they will even give her visitation rights without you. Before I've heard from her attorney, the only time she can see Mia is if you are there. Are we clear?"

Usually, anyone lecturing Jon put him on edge. But this was precisely why he'd hired Roose. This man's no-bullshit attitude and ruthlessness. The way he told it like it was. The way he kicked ass for his clients.

"Clear."

Jon nodded his head, voice firm, eyes flinty. All the Val shit stopped now. If his ex wanted access to their daughter, she'd have to go through proper channels. Mia came first. And Sansa. And this family they'd built. Val had knowingly walked away from all of that and then burned every bridge she had with Jon.

"And even then, I would suggest you set a schedule. Do not allow her to see Mia more than once per week. Public places. No more of this coming to your house, unannounced and whenever she wants. And do not budge on this. Document everything. Communicate through email, and most importantly of all, do not tell Mia who Val is. As of now, Val has no rights to Mia. All Mia needs to know is that Val is a friend.”

Jon nodded again and knew he'd follow Roose's instructions to a tee. He wanted nothing to jeopardize what he had with Mia.

"Now, I assume there is a reason that Ms. Stark is here with you today."

Sansa flashed Roose a smile, and Jon coughed.

"Yes. We would like for Sansa to have guardianship of Mia. As soon as possible. She has recently moved into my house, our families are aware of how serious we are, and with my career, it only makes sense to have Sansa have some legal rights over Mia."

Roose looked to Sansa once again, who bobbed her head.

"This is what you want?"

Jon bristled slightly at Roose's question, but Sansa's beaming smile alleviated any annoyance that Jon felt for his attorney. He reminded himself that the Stark name meant something in the North, which would only help their case.

"Oh yes. I love Mia so much. She's wonderful, and I'm ready for this next step."

Roose didn't say anything for a moment, assessing them both.

Then the man smirked, and that was the oddest thing Jon had ever seen – a smile on Roose Bolton’s face.

"Ned and Catelyn have nothing but incredible things to say about their new granddaughter. I assumed that you two would either get married and chose adoption or go this route."

Jon shuffled a bit, not looking at Sansa.

It wasn't that he didn't want to get married – he did. And he wanted her to be his wife. Fuck, he wanted that. Sansa was it for him.

But he didn't want to ask her because Val had shown back up in their lives. He had an idea of how and when he wanted to ask Sansa, and he wasn't going to let Val’s reappearance rush him or make it less. Sansa deserved a romantic proposal and one that they’d be talking about for years to come. Jon was only ever going to be married once and he was damn well going to do it properly, so they’d remember it for the rest of their lives.

Thankfully, while he was stewing, Sansa spoke. She gave Roose a smile that said, ‘don't fuck with me, I'm a Stark’.

"This works for us for now."

Christ he fucking loved her.

Roose merely jerked his head once and went through the process of guardianship with them, including the paperwork they had to file, the reference checks for Sansa, including a criminal record check and some character references she would have to provide. She assured Roose that none would be a problem and then, like a boss, name-dropped a judge that even Jon had heard of in the North.

"When can we get this before Justice Luwin?" She asked. "Jon's life is busy, and we want no delays."

Jon could only stare at her in delight before he said fuck it and dragged her mouth to his and kissed her hard. He didn't care if he was making a scene in his lawyer's office. This woman was such a mama bear when it came to his baby.

"Fuck, sweetheart, I love you so much," he said quietly, so only she could hear. Her smile was everything.

"I love Mia, and we need to get this done."

Sansa's eyes were bright, and Jon saw the conviction in them. He knew, at that moment, he'd never be alone again – he would always have Sansa by his side.

"Yeah, we do."

Another discreet cough from Roose had Jon turning back to the Boltons. Both Dom and Roose seemed more amused by them than annoyed. Roose shook his head.

"I see now why your mother is so pleased with this match," was all the man said.

There was more to discuss – technicalities and legalities. Roose wanted paperwork for Val to sign, making it clear that she had zero ability to make any legal decisions when it came to Mia, along with the fact that any visits had to be supervised by Jon or Sansa once Sansa received her guardianship.

Roose advised Jon to meet with Val in a neutral place to give her the news and if she took it badly and to document everything. Jon promised he would. Roose said he’d send over the paperwork in the next few days. Jon was paying through the nose for speed, but none of that mattered. All that mattered was keeping Mia safe.

When they exited the high-rise, Jon felt as if a weight that had been pressing on his chest had lifted. Slightly. Things with Val were still uncertain, but he felt better after meeting with Roose.

Knowing that both Elia and Sansa's parents would want an update, they did a group phone call when they were in Jon's SUV, headed back home. Ned promised he'd reach out to his old golf buddy Luwin and his friend Jon Umber, Chief of Police in Wintertown to expedite things.

Jon could only shake his head at how much support they had, still adjusting to the entire "it takes a village to raise a child,” and that he finally has his village. 

Mia was so lucky to have all these people in her life.

Once they were home, Sansa started the process of guardianship immediately, and things were in motion, further settling Jon and allowing him to focus on their family and not on Val and what she might want.

A few days later, when Jon was on shift at the hospital, he received a phone call from Roose that the paperwork for Val to sign was ready, along with a fast-tracked guardianship date set for two weeks.

Jon was stunned.

"Wow."

Roose's dry chuckle sounded through the phone.

"Son, you're dating a Stark. They are practically royalty up here. And none more so than Sansa. There was more than one family in the North that hoped she'd make a match with someone from around here. You're just the lucky sap that caught her eye."

Jon could hardly argue with that and thanked Roose for his hard work.

"Don't worry. I billed you through the nose."

Jon didn't even care. For Mia, it was worth it. The paperwork arrived the next day at the house, and he and Sansa looked it over at the kitchen island while Mia ran around the backyard.

"It's all in order?" she asked, sipping a beer.

She'd spent most of her week organizing the house, and it was finally up to her exacting standards. Jon loved having all their stuff co-mingled together, as did Mia. She'd commented more than once how much she loved having Sansa living with them and how much ‘prettier’ their house was now that Sansa was living here. The three of them had adjusted to living together shockingly well.

"Yup."

He signed his name to the paperwork and then put the pen down, reaching for Sansa's beer and taking a healthy swig. Then he pulled her into his arms.

"Next step is meeting with Val," he said, brushing his lips across her temple.

She wrapped her arms around his midsection and held him tight, and fuck, he loved having her here.

"Mmmm."

"Together," he added.

Sansa pulled back; her eyebrow arched as she looked at him.

"Yeah?"

Jon nodded.

"Hell yeah, sweetheart. We're a packaged deal. You, me, Mia. The three amigos. Val needs to know that."

Sansa wrapped her arms around his neck and drew him close.

"Oh yeah, we are," she said before her lips descended onto his, her eyes joyful.

Jon was kissing Sansa when he felt Mia wiggle in between them.

"Daddy, I want some love too," she said.

Jon chuckled and stopped kissing Sansa long enough to pick Mia up as he and Sansa snuggled Mia between them. Sansa kissed Mia's cheek, which had a smear of dirt on it. Once again, she smelled like sunscreen and Kool-Aid and was tanned as could be from spending so much time outside in the warm Winterfell summer sun. She had bug bites on her arms and grass-stained knees and looked like every kid should in the summertime.

"Bug, how would you like to go and visit Papa Ned and Nana Cat tomorrow night?" he asked.

Sansa's parents had already willingly agreed to take Mia while he and Sansa met with Val. Jon had no idea how long it might take, and he wanted Mia somewhere safe and having a good time while he tackled what was sure to be an unpleasant discussion.  

"Oh, I'd like that, Daddy," she said, bobbing her head. There was no denying how much Mia loved Winterfell and Sansa's family.

Jon was working two night shifts this weekend. It was the end of July; the weather was warm, and people's decision-making capabilities were often hindered on the weekend with alcohol and weed. He didn't mind, as it gave him multiple surgeries in a single weekend and made his shifts go by fast. There was also such comfort in knowing that Sansa was here with Mia.

He wanted to get this talk with Val done and over with, and the sooner, the better. Which meant not delaying it any longer and getting it done before his weekend shifts.

They dropped Mia off at Winterfell Thursday afternoon. Both Ned and Cat were waiting, and Mia was excited for more time with her new grandparents.

As Sansa headed inside with Mia and Catelyn, Ned pulled Jon aside.

"How are you, son?" he asked.

Jon's throat felt thick as Ned rested a hand on his shoulder and squeezed.

How long had he wished for a father?

Not only had Jon found his forever woman, but he’d also found another family.

His uncle Ben was a great guy, but a bit closed off and a lifelong bachelor. He wasn't what Jon would call 'open' and 'warm.' Jon didn't know how to explain what it felt like to have a man of Ned Stark's calibre care for him – care for his daughter.

"Good," Jon said.

Jon coughed.

"Really good. Roose is confident that the guardianship for Sansa will go through no problem. He's drawn up the papers for me to give to Val, and he's sure that no judge in Westeros will give Val rights to Mia no matter what excuses she might make."

Ned nodded. "That's great to hear. But how are you, Jon?"

Startled, Jon looked Ned in the eyes. There was nothing but compassion and, dare he thought, love there. Love for him, along with acceptance and pride.

Suddenly, Jon grinned.

"I'm great. Having Sansa in my house," Jon shook his head. “It’s amazin’. She just fits with us.”

Then he felt his cheeks heat.

"When the time is right, I'm going to ask her to marry me. I don't think I need your permission. Sansa can make up her own mind. But I'd like your blessing. Yours and Catelyn's."

Ned said nothing for a moment, and Jon wondered if he'd overstepped – or misstepped. Then Ned's weathered face broke out in a huge grin.

"Son, you're right on all accounts. Sansa will make up her mind about who she spends the rest of her life with. She's always been the most stubborn and the most determined of my children despite Arya’s bluster. Still, I appreciate you sharing your intentions. When that day comes, you have my blessing. We cannot wait to welcome you to the Stark family formally."

They embraced, and Jon felt the sheer wonder at having a man whom he respected accept him for his daughter.

Sansa found him a bit emotional as she stepped out the front door. As if she sensed he needed a moment, she hugged her father and brushed her lips against his cheek.

"Thanks for watching Mia, Daddy," she said.

Ned grinned.

"Anytime lemon drop."

Sansa took Jon by the hand as they made their way to his SUV. Once inside, Sansa chatted about all the things that her mother had planned for Mia, giving Jon a few moments to compose himself.

They were meeting Val at a restaurant downtown, as per Roose's advice to do this in a public place. There was a large outdoor patio, and Sansa had reserved a table for the three of them.

Sansa was wearing a green and white summer dress with spaghetti straps and a cinched waist, her creation. Her long hair had beachy waves, and she had tan suede wedges on. She'd paired it all with a light dusting of makeup. She was a redhead that bronzed up in the sun, along with the freckles that dotted her shoulders. Jon had spent more hours than he could count kissing and licking those freckles on her body.

She looked effortlessly gorgeous as she smiled at him when he held his hand out for her. Jon knew that more than one guy was checking her out as they entered the restaurant together. Jon rested his hand on Sansa's back as she gave their name to the hostess.

"We should be meeting someone," Sansa said.

Something flashed in the hostesses' eyes as she looked at Jon.

What the fuck has Val told this woman? Jon wondered.

"Right this way," the woman said and led them to the table that Sansa had requested.

Jon spotted Val, who was nursing a white wine, at a table by herself. Because he was watching her, he saw the fury in her eyes when she spotted Sansa. It was evident that she hadn’t expected her and that she wasn’t pleased.

Jon didn’t care. It just affirmed his initial fears as to why Val had come back into his life. He didn’t know for sure, but he had a sinking feeling that Val wasn’t here for Mia at all.

They got to the table and the tension was thick. The hostess didn’t know what to do, and so Jon took pity on her and took the menus from her and held out a seat for Sansa. He rubbed a hand down Sansa’s back and then dropped a kiss against her forehead. Then he sat and listened with half an ear to the specials. Sansa ordered a white wine and Jon a beer, and the hostesses hurried away, leaving the three of them alone.

For a brief moment, Jon wondered who would start this off, when Val spoke.

“What is she doing here?” she snapped, eyes flashing.

Jon felt his own ire rise, although outwardly he projected an air of indifference to Val.

“She has a name. Use it or we leave,” he said, tone implacable.

It was a tone he used often enough – either in the OR or the ER where his word was law.

Val knew it and he saw her shoulders straighten as her fingers played with the stem of her wine glass.

He took a moment to observe the woman he’d made a child with. In his wildest dreams, Jon had never imagined having kids the way that Mia came about.

Honestly, he couldn’t even say that he really liked Val – just that they’d been convenient for one another.

Objectively, she was a beautiful woman. Even now, around his age in her early thirties, she was perfectly put together – casual and sleek with her blonde hair and make-up artfully done. Jon caught more than one admiring glance from men seated on the patio, though Val seemed to be ignoring them.

But there was a hardness to Val that had always made Jon wary of her. 

Jon never knew much about her history. She wasn’t an orphan like him, but she wasn’t close with anyone from her childhood. She was tight-lipped and private and that had suited him just fine when they’d been hooking up.

However, all that had changed when Mia had arrived. Jon had known then and there he’d have to open himself up to loving Mia – to be vulnerable to another person. He’d gone all-in from the first moment he’d held his daughter, unable to believe that she was his.

Jon had worried for a time if he’d be able to do that with a woman- if he could open himself up. He knew it would be required to have the type of relationship he wanted. He didn’t exactly have the best track record when it came to finding the right person to be with.

Turned out, he just had to be patient. Because loving Sansa was the fucking easiest thing in the entire world.

“Hi Val, I’m Sansa Stark,” Jon heard the love of his life say and he cursed himself for getting caught up in his tangled history with Val again and forgetting to introduce Sansa.

“Sansa and I are together, Val. All the way together. That’s non-negotiable.”

Val’s lips curled down, and Jon braced himself for her acerbic tongue. She wasn’t known for holding back. Thankfully, they were interrupted by the waitress, who delivered their drinks. No one had even looked at a menu.

“I’ll, umm, give you guys a few moments,” she said, glancing nervously at the tense table. Then she hurried away.

It was impossible to miss the edge around them all. Jon felt Sansa’s hand on his thigh, and she squeezed. At that moment, Jon realized he was going about this all wrong. He had nothing to prove to Val. Nothing to hide. Nothing to fear. Mia was his and so was Sansa.

He reached down for her hand and drew it up, kissing it and smiling at her.

“Alright love?”

She gave him a bit of a smile and bobbed her head.

“Yeah. I’m alright.”

“Good. Let’s order some food and then we can chat,” he said, uncaring if Val thought he was being rude. He wasn’t here to please her.

The angry huff told Jon that Val was not happy, but he didn’t really care. Nothing made Val happy. Not him. Not Mia. Not them together.

They took their time ordering, Sansa asking what appetizers he wanted to share. It was almost like they were on a date, and even Val couldn’t miss how together they were. It was in every little touch; a brush of hair, a kiss against the cheek and the way they interreacted. They were that couple. The one that all single people hated because they were so in sync with one another.

Finally, as their waitress hurried away with their order, Jon turned his attention back to Val. He’d draped an arm around Sansa after sliding the paperwork from his attorney across the table.

“What’s this?” she asked, an edge to her voice.

Val didn’t touch the paperwork, almost as if she were afraid of it.

“Papers. From my lawyer.”

Val’s eyes narrowed and she leaned in.

“Don’t make this harder than it has to be Jon. She’s my daughter. My blood.”

Jon snorted and shook his head.

“You’re delusional if you believe that. You signed all those rights away, Val. As far as the courts are concerned, you’re nothing to Mia. And any lawyer that tells you differently is lying to you. When it comes to Mia, what I say goes.”

He could tell she wanted to argue. She was smart. Shrewd. Jon had admired her toughness in the ER. She wasn’t a wuss, and she was one of the nurses he could count on when he was doing his rotation at White Harbour. But what made her great in the ER didn’t fly with him when it came to Mia.

Jon saw the instant Val changed tactics. She went contrite, somehow morphing before his very eyes into the hard done by mother.

“It’s just … you have no idea what I was going through. The post-partum ---”

“Val, stop,” Jon said, voice full of command.

Again, those blue eyes that were his daughter’s flashed and he saw that she was barely holding back from just unleashing on him. Christ, she had so much anger. Such a chip on her shoulder. Did she honestly think he was the bad guy in this story? She was the one who had left.

“You’re a doctor. You know it’s real. You know what people experience.”

Jon nodded. “Aye. I do. I know the struggles of mental health. I’d never dismiss it. And perhaps that was what you were suffering. The problem is that it’s been years Val. Almost five. And nothing from you. You haven’t tried until now. So, what’s changed? Why now?”

The break in the conversation saw their food delivered. As they often did, Jon and Sansa each took a plate and dished up the appetizers between them. Sansa gave Jon a tiny smile and it was never more apparent to him than right now that Sansa was his entire future.

“Eat,” she said, ever the caregiver.

Jon grinned and took another moment just to gaze at the woman that held his heart.

An angry huff from Val had Jon turning back to her.

“So, this is serious?” She waved a fork between them, not answering his question as to why she’d come back. And why now.

While Sansa had ordered a variety of delicious food for them, Val was shoving lettuce into her mouth. Jon had forgotten how obsessed she’d been with her weight and the calories she consumed.

Sansa never seemed to be like that, eating wisely but never needing a ‘special’ menu. Jon appreciated the hell out of her for that alone, as Mia’s diet had vastly improved since Sansa come into their lives, introducing all sorts of healthy food to his daughter. Sansa’s approach was balance and common sense.

“It is,” Jon said, while Sansa nodded, popping a piece of calamari into her mouth.

“Yup. Jon and I are living together,” Sansa added.

Val’s eyes widened and her nostrils flared.

“What?”

Sansa nodded while Jon reached for her hand. Before he could add to the conversation, Val was raging.

“I don’t approve. I don’t want her around my daughter,” she hissed, pushing her salad aside.

She was pissed. Beyond pissed. Furious.

Jon shrugged.

“That’s not for you to decide. All decisions with regards to Mia are mine, Val. You should also know that I am going to court to give Sansa guardianship of Mia. She is in Mia’s life whether you like it or not. She is in my life. That’s just the way it is. There is room for you if you wish to get to know Mia. My lawyer has outlined the terms. Look them over.”

Val snatched up the manilla envelop and practically tore it open. There was a part of Jon that almost felt sorry for her – she was so alone. But he didn’t feel sorry enough to let her back into his life full stop.

She just seemed so consumed with rage and had such a chip on her shoulder. He had no idea why she was so combative and so angry all the time. Only that she was.

It made him very hesitant to allow her any time with Mia, while at the same time wondering what the hell had made her this way.

Jon and Sansa continued to pick away at their food, more to be polite than out of any real desire for supper. Val had a way of curbing his appetite and Jon knew that she wouldn’t be pleased with the terms outlined by Roose.

When she looked up, Jon braced himself for what she was about to say. There was something in her eyes that he didn’t trust.

“You’d do this to me? I am her mother. I carried her in my body when I could have had an abortion, could have ended this. The only reason you have her is because of me!”

Horror at that thought rushed through Jon as he leaned across the table. No one, not even Q down in Sunspear, had ever made Jon so angry.

How could Val say that after she’d met Mia?

Seen what an incredible person she was?

Jon was all for a woman’s right to choose – but Val’s statement today was just cruel and unnecessary. She’d never once mentioned an abortion when they’d been discussing options – it hadn’t even come up. So to say it now, she had done so to piss him off.

And boy did it work.

He had half a mind to say fuck it to all of this and deny Val any access to Mia entirely. The only reason he wasn’t out the door was that he wanted to make damn sure he’d done everything possible to give Val a chance at some type of relationship with Mia.

But Val was on thin ice – very thin ice right now.

“I should leave right fucking now,” Jon growled. “If that’s how this is going to go, you can forget about any of this. Why should I even give you a chance if that’s how you truly feel?”

He was already rising to his feet, reaching for Sansa. He was fucking done with Val and her games. He’d deal with the fallout with Mia in the coming years when she finally asked who her bio mom was.

“No!” Val cried.

There was something in her voice that had Jon pausing and retaking his seat. It was the first honest reaction he’d seen from her since they’d sat down. She was scared that she’d blown her opportunity with him. Jon saw the genuine regret in Val’s eyes. She’d always been tough, but never cruel. She angrily wiped away tears.

“I’m sorry. Fuck. I didn’t mean that. You know I didn’t mean that. I’m just …. fuck....” she said, shaking her head.

Jon had little empathy for her, and his anger was up. People said stupid things when they were pissed, but Val had just crossed a big line with him.

“I know that you gave Mia life, Val. I know. But these are my terms. You don’t see Mia until you sign them. That is the only fucking reason I'm giving you this chance. So, years from now, when my daughter asks about her biological mother, I can say I did everything possible to make this work. But fuck if I will let you hurt her.”

Val pursed her lips and looked away.

When she turned back, that sly look was back.

“I’d heard that you were getting serious. With her,” Val muttered, looking at Sansa.

Jon rested an arm around the back of Sansa’s chair, brushing a hand against her shoulder.

“We are serious, Val. And Sansa will always be part of Mia’s life. You need to come to terms with that. Fast.”

The look on Val’s face was one of extreme displeasure. It aged her. Made her look hard. And cruel.

“I knew I’d made a mistake leaving Mia with you.” Val rose, clutching the envelope to her chest. “I’ll have my lawyer look these over and get back to you.”

“Val,” Jon said, a warning note in his voice. “Don’t make this difficult. I’m giving you a chance here.”

She snorted.

“Don’t worry, lover. You’re not getting rid of me that easily.”

Her smile was anything but warm.

Dread curled in Jon’s stomach.

What had Val done? He wondered.

“Didn’t I tell you? I got a job at the hospital. They were short on nurses, and my resume is impeccable.”

She flashed him a triumphant smile as if she had just won. Jon hated the idea of being around her more. And what would Sansa think? There was no way Jon could leave his fellowship – not with the time he’d already put in. It was a highly coveted spot and one he’d worked his ass off for. Besides his life was here, with Sansa. 

Ice-cold fear rushed through Jon as Val sent Sansa a victorious look. He turned, fearing what he might see on Sansa’s face, but to his utter astonishment, she seemed completely unphased.

“Good luck with that. Jon says you are an excellent nurse and I know he has a great team up here in Wintertown. I hope you like it here,” Sansa said.

Val looked stunned. She rallied quickly though.

“Aren’t you worried that I’m going to be with him all the time? Long hours? Long shifts? Emotions running high.”

Sansa threw her head back and laughed, wiping away tears.

“Oh god, you’re pathetic. No. I’m not worried at all. I know who Jon loves.”

Sansa casually sipped her wine and took another bite of food. Jon knew this woman well – better than anyone he’d ever been with. She truly wasn’t affected by Val at all.

Val snarled and turned, about to leave when Sansa called out to her.

“Oh Val, one more thing.”

Val turned back and Sansa stood, towering over the smaller woman.

“Just so we are perfectly clear. Jon and Mia are mine. Wintertown is mine. I am a Stark and you’re in my town now. So, whenever you get any ideas, whenever you think it might be a good idea to fuck with me and my family, think again. Our friends are everywhere. My family is everywhere. If you want any chance at seeing Mia at all, play by Jon’s rules. If not ----”

Sansa trailed off as Val paled, blue eyes wide as saucers. Sansa shrugged.

“We’ll be watching you. Play nice and you can stay.”

With that, Val hurried away as Sansa retook her seat and once again began to eat as if she hadn’t just laid the biggest smackdown that Jon had ever seen on Val.

“Fucking hells woman, I love you,” Jon said and leaned over to kiss her hard.

She moaned and he was done. He wanted her with a longing that defied words.

“Let’s go,” he growled, motioning for the bill and grabbing her by the hand.

Sansa’s giggle was everything as he threw down some cash and all but pulled her from the restaurant. Once they were at his SUV, he pinned her against it, one hand in her hair, another on her ass as she pressed that lush body against his and his mouth found hers in a brutally demanding kiss.

“You’re mine. You and Mia, and I don’t share with bullies,” Sansa said when he finally let her come up for air. Her eyes were intense, almost stormy and he knew she’d go to war for them.

Jon had never had this before – had someone that was solely his the way that Sansa was.

“I love you,” he managed to say, hoping she got it. That she understood how deeply she was woven into the fabric of his life. He’d do anything to make her happy.

Her smile told him she did as she cupped his cheek and stroked.

“And I love you, Dr. Snow. Now let’s go get our girl and head home.”

Jon nodded. It was the best thing he’d heard all day.

Home. With his girls. Exactly where he was supposed to be.

 


 

Chapter Text


 

Wintertown – Sansa

 

As the calendar flipped into August, Sansa truly settled into Wintertown in all aspects of her life, both personally and professionally. She had finally found her forever place, and it wasn't just the location and her thriving business, but Jon and his love and that of his amazing daughter.

Sansa had been in the North for close to five months and being home reminded her of her childhood. She had always loved the last month of summer. While the nights began to get longer and cooler, they were into the lazy, hazy days of summer now and those that lived in the North appreciated these warms summer days.

She'd unpacked and rearranged everything in Jon's house - now their house - to her specifications, finally happy with it.

In less than a week, Elia and Rhaenys would be here, and she'd have houseguests for the first time, which made her ridiculously excited to show off their blended life to people Sansa loved. She’d missed Elia and was excited for her two-week vacation in the North. It was special that Jon’s mother was a woman that Sansa already had a great relationship with.

Mia had adjusted shockingly well to Sansa's moving in, and Sansa's love for the little dynamo only grew by the day.

August also brought about a special birthday. It was Mia's fifth birthday while Elia and Rhae were here, and Mia had made Jon and Sansa promise to make it 'extra' special.

Since she had everyone wrapped around her little finger, Sansa didn't know how it could be anything but extraordinary, but still, she was planning something fun for Mia.

Jon was amused at how much thought Sansa was putting into Mia’s party.

When Sansa had asked him what the theme had been last year, he'd given her a funny look and shrugged.

"I invited a bunch of the kids from her daycare to the park and grilled up hotdogs and gave out goody bags while the ran around and had fun. I didn't do a theme."

Sansa had shaken her head, muttering under her breath about men and their lack of vision when it came to birthday parties.

“No wonder Mia wants it to be special this year,” Sansa said, giving Jon a look.

"Go nuts, sweetheart," Jon had said, kissing her neck and distracting her for the moment. But once Sansa had a moment to think about it, she threw herself into planning Mia’s party.

Perhaps she was compensating a bit, but Sansa knew that five was an important age and summer birthdays weren’t always easy to have. In less than a month Mia would start school and with Elia and Rhae here, Sansa wanted her day to be special.

Sansa had worked with her mother, Rosa, and Satin to plan the party.

Both Catelyn and Satin had many ideas for a perfect summer birthday party, and Sansa was excited about Mia's party.

When Sansa told Jon what she planned, he'd merely shaken his head and kissed her, telling her that Mia would love it and saying she was so good for his daughter. And for him.

For Sansa, she liked how there were these moments that she could genuinely contribute to Mia's life. Not that Jon hadn't done an excellent job with her. He had.

But their lives, all their lives, felt so much fuller now. Even Sansa's.

She could hardly recall how lonely and miserable she'd been in her personal life when living in Sunspear. Yes, she'd had Elia and Rhae.

But how she'd put up with Harry for so long was anyone's guess. Sansa honestly didn't have an answer for that. But she rarely dwelt on those thoughts. With what she had now, it wasn't worth thinking about what her life had been.

Sansa was precisely where she was supposed to be – and with a man, and a relationship, she'd dreamed of her entire life.

The only fly in the ointment, if one could say that, was Val. It had been two weeks since their conversation with Val in the restaurant, and things hadn't gotten any easier with Jon's ex. Nor had they figured out what she wanted.

Val had, as promised, gotten a job at Wintertown General Hospital, although she hadn't yet been scheduled to work when Jon was. Sansa believed she owed that little anomaly to Tormund, who seemed to take great pleasure in annoying the 'sour one' as he called Val.

"She looks like she sucked on a fucking lemon all the time," he'd muttered one night when he'd been over at their place for a cookout.

Sansa knew that Tormund ran the ER and what he said went when it came to the nurses. So, the fact that Val hadn't won the red-headed nurse to his side spoke volumes already.

Satin had been gloriously outraged by Val's behaviour. He was also Sansa's biggest cheerleader when Jon had described the 'verbal smackdown' Sansa had laid on Val at the restaurant. Jon loved to tell everyone about it – including her family.

Sansa had blushed, unsure what had come over her to speak to Val like that. Lord knew that Catelyn Stark hadn't raised her to behave in such a manner, but Sansa was sick of Val's bullshit.

Not for one moment did Sansa think that Val was here for Mia, which bothered Sansa on a fundamental level. Mia deserved so much better from her mother.

While Sansa didn't yet know why Val had popped back into Jon's life, she was sure it wasn't for Mia. Val's interest in Mia waned by the day, and Sansa and Jon were both concerned about exposing Mia to Val any more than necessary.

Val had obtained a lawyer, but that didn’t seem to get her very far. In the end, she signed the papers that Roose had drawn up for Jon, outlining the terms of visitation. Val had never disclosed what her lawyer had advised, but it was clear that her rights when it came to her daughter were few and far between.

There had been one supervised visit with Jon, Sansa, and Mia at the park that had shown Sansa that Val just didn’t know how to connect with her daughter.  

She'd tried at the beginning with Mia, but it was clear that Val had no idea how to talk to the bright little girl, and Mia had become bored with Val and run off to the swing set.

Sansa had followed Mia, giving Val some time to speak with Jon, hoping maybe if she weren't around, Val would finally spill the beans about why she was back.

But when she turned back, all Sansa could hear were raised voices and angry gestures. It was hard to imagine them ever being a couple when Sansa saw them like this. Val just didn't suit Jon in any way that Sansa could see. She was far too jaded and hard for Jon – it was like there was a constant power struggle between them.

After that visit, the guardianship date had been next on their to-do list for Mia.

As predicted, it was a breeze, with Judge Luwin taking less than half an hour to render his verdict. Val had been there, given the date by her lawyer and had been furious at the judge but wisely held her tongue, not wanting to cause a scene.

Jon had shaken hands with Roose, thanking his lawyer, before pulling Sansa and Mia into his arms. Sansa was holding Mia, who was grinning broadly, understanding from their happy smiles that Jon and Sansa were pleased. They'd explained that this meant a more permanent place for Sansa in their lives.  

"We did it," Jon whispered into Sansa's ear.

She was shaking as she held Mia tightly. There was relief and joy in equal measure coursing through Sansa.

If needed, Sansa could now make legal decisions when it came to Mia. If Mia needed medical help and Jon wasn't around, Sansa could make that choice. It was far more than symbolic – it was another step in building the family Sansa had always dreamed about and sign of how much Jon trusted her with his daughter.

That night, with all their friends and family, they had a huge family dinner at one of the premier restaurants in the North, rented out by Ned, of course. Her family loved Mia as their own, and her parents were some of their biggest supporters when it came to Mia and keeping her safe.

Ned invited Roose and Dom, along with Tormund, Wyn and Alys, Satin and Toregg and all the Starks and their significant others.

It was quite the event, and Sansa was still a bit stunned at how much her parents loved Jon. Not that he wasn't an easy man to love. He was. But she'd never had this before, and in her wildest dreams, she'd never imagined everything working out like it had when she'd accepted Elia's offer to come back to Wintertown.

Tormund and Alys were now a hot and heavy item, and throughout the night, Sansa had seen Dom laughing and talking with Dr. Wynafryd Manderly, who seemed smitten by the handsome lawyer.

They made a stunning couple, much to Robb's dismay. Her big brother was having no luck with the ladies and pouted to no end, making Sansa giggle as Mia teased her uncle Robb for his ‘pouty face.’

As the night wore on, Ned was into the scotch, with his old buddies Roose and Jon Umber, the three of them tying one. At one point, they dragged Jon and Robb along for their fun.

Catelyn and Sansa could only shake their heads at the five of them, knowing how heavy their heads would be. Jon and Robb had grown closer in the past few months, and a true friendship had bloomed between the two of them, further pleasing Sansa.

Arya and Gendry, who had moved into Sansa's condo, were happy to bullshit with Tormund and Alys and, of course, Satin and Toregg. Arya and Satin were constantly taking swipes at one another, but it was all in good fun. Gendry, as easygoing as ever, floated from group to group, often picking up Mia who loved her Uncle Dre as she’d taken to calling him.

Sansa found herself sitting next to her mother and Rosa, along with her friend Alys, and Bran's girlfriend Meera, some of the quieter people in the restaurant as they watched the antics unfold.

Rosa had been delighted with the outcome of the guardianship and had recently applied to begin college in January, with Jon and Sansa's blessing and help. Catelyn had taken the nanny under her wing, and Rosa was just one more person in their village.

When Ned introduced Toregg to Roose, claiming he was the "best goddamn furniture builder he had ever seen," Sansa saw her friend tense.

Toregg was always on the defensive when he met new people, unsure how they might react, not only him as a gay man, but to his very effeminate partner.  

Tonight, Satin had outdone himself, wearing a hot pink and black halter dress and mile-high heels, along with matching lipstick and eyeshadow. Mia loved it and had twirled in Satin's arms, claiming he looked very pretty.

Satin had preened under Mia's compliment.

Toregg, never one to back down and constantly having Satin's back, held tightly to Satin as Ned introduced the couple to the influential lawyer.

Sansa loved how fiercely Toregg would defend the love of his life – how he didn't bow to societal pressure or expect Satin to change himself for anyone. Tor loved Satin exactly the way he was and never asked him to be 'less' to try to fit in better. It made Sansa ferociously protective of them.

To Roose's credit, he barely blinked at Satin, shook both their hands and then spent an hour picking Tor's brain about how to furnish a new cottage he had purchased up North with some of Toregg’s furniture to make it a real showstopper. Satin, bored, had wandered off while Tor gave Roose a rough quote.

Later, when Ned dragged Roose away for a celebratory cigar, Sansa sidled up to her friend, bumping his hip with hers.

"So, that seemed to go well," she said, nursing a diet coke. With Jon into the scotch, Sansa had taken to drinking soft drinks all night.

Tor looked stunned at the conversation he’d just had.

"That's Roose fucking Bolton, San."

She laughed.

"Yup. And by the sounds of it, you just made a huge commission."

Tor shook his head in disbelief, turning around to see Satin in the middle of a heated discussion with Gendry and Ric, two of the manliest guys Sansa knew, while Tormund chimed in - loudly.

"People just accept him here. Accept us," Toregg said, shaking his head, watching as Rickon slung an arm around Satin and drew him close.

"Yup. We love you guys. You're part of this family now, Tor. Never forget it."

He shook his head again and gruffly cleared his throat.

"Satin is losing his mind about Elia coming North. But I want you to know, no matter what happens, this was the best possible move for us, Sansa. He's thriving here, and so am I."

Sansa wrapped her arms around Tor's thick middle and hugged him hard. She'd expected Jon and Mia when she'd moved North; had hoped to reconnect with her family and had yearned for new friendships.

But never in her wildest dreams had she expected this. All of this.

Friends who were family and family that were friends, and everyone all jumbled together, supporting one another as best they could.

Everything about coming home had exceeded her expectations.

Sure, Val was annoying, but that was more because Sansa couldn't figure out what she wanted and less about truly 'worrying' about her.

Jon was in a mood whenever her name was mentioned. Not that Sansa blamed him in the least. She was like a tick – she burrowed uncomfortably under one's skin and could cause serious problems if left unattended.

But even then, Sansa trusted that she and Jon would find a way to either make Val work in their lives or send her on her way.

Sansa felt Jon's lips on her neck as he found her at the bar, still talking with Tor. His hands went to her stomach, and Sansa's belly quivered. There was something about how he touched her that she knew they were both thinking about the next steps in their life. One day she’d add to their family; give this man another child.

"Mia is falling asleep in your mother's arms," he told Sansa, kissing her again and running a tongue over her sensitive skin.

He smelled of expensive cigar smoke and high-end scotch, mixed in with his spicy cologne, and the flutter in Sansa's stomach went lower, right down to her pussy. Living together had distinct advantages when it came to Dr. Snow's insatiable sexual appetites. And hers. Never had Sansa known she could have so much sex and still want more.

She turned and saw Cat rocking the little girl in one of the booths. Clearly, it was time to go.

Nodding, they said their goodbyes, which took longer than expected, given how many people wanted to congratulate them. Eventually there were outside, Mia in Jon's arms as he carried her towards his SUV. Sansa opened the door and Jon slipped her inside.

Mia gave Sansa a sleepy smile and as Jon buckled her into her car seat, she blurted out, "I'm happy we got you for good, Sansa."

Sansa stilled, overcome.

Then she leaned down to brush back a dark curl from Mia's braid that had come loose and kissed her softly on the forehead.

"Me too, baby. Me too."

Jon's own eyes were suspiciously damp as he climbed into the passenger seat, and Sansa put the vehicle into drive. Both knew that few things in life were guaranteed, but this life they were building together was everything they'd ever wanted. And both would fight like hell to keep what they had found.

 


 

With two days until Elia and Rhaeyns arrived in Wintertown, Sansa had taken to working from home.

Rosa was keeping Mia occupied while Sansa prepared their home for Jon's family and Dacey. Her friend was flying in from Bear Island within the week to help Sansa pitch her idea of a fall fashion show in the North, to Elia.

They were into the second week of August now, and things with Val had settled into a pattern where she saw the little girl twice a week – each time with Jon and Sansa present.

They still hadn't seen any genuine warmth from Val nor been able to ascertain why she was back. But she seemed determined to entrench herself into Winterfell and showed no signs of leaving.

It didn't bother Sansa. Much.

Certainly, Sansa didn't worry about Jon's feelings for her. If anything, the man made it known each day how much he loved her and wanted her. Jon loved having Sansa living with them and Sansa liked it just as much as he did.

No, if anything about the Val situation bothered Sansa, it was how much it affected Jon. He wasn't happy having her back in their lives without knowing why. It sucked that Sansa couldn’t fix this for him – and that there appeared to be no timeline as to when it might be resolved.

The latest ‘issue' had come about a few days ago, when Val asked when they would tell Mia that she was her mother.

That had sent Jon's hackles rising and had resulted in raised voices at the local outdoor pool in the park they were visiting that day.

Sansa had distracted Mia while Jon had it out with his ex.

"Christ the fucking nerve of that woman," he'd cursed when they'd been home, late at night and alone in their bedroom.

Sansa was on the bed, watching him pace as he ran a frustrated hand through his hair, musing it up and muttering to himself.

Sansa knew Jon well enough by now to recognize he needed to vent, and so she wisely kept her mouth shut as he railed against Val.

When he was done, he gave her a sheepish grin.

"I'm not helping much, am I?"

Sansa laughed and went up on her knees near the end of the bed, motioning him closer. When she could touch him, she put her hands on his soft, dark grey cotton t-shirt and stroked her hands down the planes of his chest. She knew his body as well as she knew her own.

"I'm no happier to have her around than you are. And honestly, I don't get her. In half a dozen visits with Mia, she's barely bonded with her. But," Sansa said as Jon scowled.

His pout was far too sexy, and Sansa pressed her body closer. She was in a thin tank top, and so her nipples pebbled as Jon's hands cupped her ass and kneaded while she wound her hands into his hair. She pressed her lips to his and kissed him, hoping to settle him a bit.

"But," she continued when she stopped kissing him.

"She gave you Mia. For that, I will always be grateful to her."

Jon huffed out an annoyed breath.

"I know. You're right. But she doesn't care for her Sansa. It's fucking odd. What mother feels nothing for her biological child? You're not even blood-related to Mia, and you'd do anything for her."

Sansa merely shrugged. She didn't have an answer and wasn't sure there was one that they'd ever find satisfying. Sansa couldn't imagine ever abandoning a child, so she had no reference point into Val's mindset. Some people just weren’t cut out to be parents. What was weird was why Val wasn’t leaving things well enough alone.

Sansa knew it bothered Jon. It bothered her as well. But what could they do? Roose said if they pushed, it might backfire. Better to wait her out and let her dig her own grave.

"Mia is an amazing child, Jon. Val's rejection of her or her inability to bond with Mia is not a reflection of your daughter. Look at how many people adore her. My parents. Robb. Arya. Rickon. She's got Satin and Toregg wrapped around her little finger. Rosa. Her daycare lady. The entire Martell family, even with Q's dislike of you. She's amazing. Val is just …”

Sansa waved a frustrated hand in the air, trying to find the right words.

“There is something off about her. Not Mia."

Standing so close to Jon, Sansa saw the war of emotions in his eyes. He swallowed hard and bobbed his head, and when he spoke, his voice was almost raw.

"You always know what to say; how to give me comfort. You're a treasure, Sansa."

Pleased, she stroked the back of his neck and pressed soft kisses to his mouth.

"Take me to bed, Jon. Make love to me."

Tonight wasn't a night for frantic fucking or games. There was no place in the bedroom right now for dominant Jon and submissive Sansa.

The only thing they needed was one another and a chance to express their love for one another through touch and feeling – the physical manifestation of what they felt down to their souls.

Jon's talented fingers skimmed up her side, sending shivers along her skin. Sansa had turned off the central air conditioning in their room, more content with the open windows so she could listen to the songs of the summer night that floated into the bedroom.

The unmistakable smells of summer waffled through windows, where curtains blew in the warm summer breeze.

There was the sweet scent of the flowers Sansa had planted late this year tickled her nose. She’d had Mia as her helper, so she'd been unable to resist.

Then there was the smell of fresh-cut grass from when Jon had mowed earlier.

And something else – something that was uniquely summer in the North – the smell of pine trees and the lingering scent of bar-b-ques that spoke of family dinners consumed outside, northern families embracing the summer for all it was worth.

Jon took her tank top off, so she was bare, save for a tiny pair of panties. He took a moment to gazed at her and she held herself still, revelling in the trust between them.

With him, Sansa never felt lacking. She wasn't the most well-endowed woman, but Jon's eyes always darkened as he palmed her breasts, thumbing nipples into points.

"Fuck, you're so responsive, so mine," his voice guttural as he leaned down to lavish the tips, paying particular attention to how sensitive she was.

Sansa ran her hands down his cotton-clad back, feeling the ripple of muscles there, loving the contrast of him clothed and her almost naked. Jon's dark head was at her chest as he feasted, going from one breast to the other, only leaving when she was canting her body towards his needing more.

His smile was one of promise, both of the passion he would give her now and for years to come as he gently laid her down on their bed, his muscular form on top of hers.

She smiled at him, stroked a bearded cheek.

"Jon," was all she said, words deserting her. He had to know what he meant to her.

His lips quirked.

"My Sansa."

It was as if an electric current went through her body at that statement. She'd never belonged to another person the way she did him. She'd never wanted to; she never felt the need to give herself to them. But she’d give this many everything he asked for and more, knowing the feelings were returned.

With reverent touches that conveyed what they felt for one another, they stripped Jon down and discarded her panties. She loved the press of his naked flesh against hers. His body was so much harder, so much firmer than hers. Sansa knew this man would do everything in his power to protect her, to keep her safe, make her dreams come true. Maybe, she wasn't supposed to like that, being a twenty-first-century woman and all that, but she did.

Oh lord, did she ever. She liked how masculine Jon was; how alpha he was.

"Love me," she repeated.

"Oh, I plan on it, sweetheart," Jon said with a cocky grin that sent a new bolt of lust through her body, that delightful ache settling between her thighs, making everything feel heavy with anticipation.

Jon locked their hands together, eyes on her as he rocked against her cunt, his rock-hard cock nudging between her thighs. Her pussy lips stretched, and tongues duelled as Jon slid inside her, her body taking comfort in that edge of almost painful fullness that was always part of their coupling.

Sansa lost track of time as she stared into Jon's eyes, as he moved inside of her, their whispered pants and moaned the only sounds in the room besides that of the outside world that occasionally flittered inside to join them in their coupling.

There was no rush, no end goal other than experiencing this moment together. Sansa imprinted it on her memory, knowing how special it was.

When they finally peaked, the rush coming over them together, Jon's face strained, as Sansa gave herself over to the pleasure that consumed her, her keening wail matched by his own grunt.

"Gods, I love you," Jon murmured, brushing his lips against hers when they finally stilled.

Sansa felt a dreamy smile cross her face.

"My whole life, I dreamed of something like this. But even knowing this was what I wanted, what I was searching for, nothing could have prepared me for you," she responded to him.

Jon gave her a soft smile and a gentle kiss and then rolled off her, scooping her into his arms and bringing them to the bath.

Later, wrapped in Jon's arms, Sansa gave a contented sigh and drifted off to sleep, true happiness imprinted on her heart, knowing she’d found everything she’d wanted when she said yes to coming North; to coming home.

 


 

The next day, Jon worked a day shift at the hospital, and Sansa was putting the finishing touches on the three spare rooms where their guests would stay.

Sansa had plans to pick up fresh flowers tomorrow and had done all the washing for the linens, bedding, and towels. Mia was her little shadow, drawing pictures for her Nana and her aunty and chattering away to Sansa as she worked.

"Nana loves coming to visit me," she told Sansa as they walked towards the playroom to tidy it up. "We always do lots of fun things, and she's sad when she has to go home."

Sansa merely smiled at Mia, listening with half an ear while making a menu in her mind, and going over the things she still had to do, making a mental list.

They were barely into cleaning up Mia’s toys when the doorbell rang. Since Rosa was off, Sansa rose and rushed downstairs, wondering who it could be.

There was always a chance it was someone from her family, but they tended to walk right in, unannounced. Arya had done so more than once, and Robb was often here in the evenings, having a beer with Jon and grilling outside. So much so that Robb didn’t even know anymore. Likewise, Satin was over here at least once a week and often just breezed right in.

Her parents were far more polite, and Sansa thought that maybe her mom was stopping by on her way home from one of her committee meetings downtown. But usually, Cat would text Sansa to give her a heads up that she was dropping by.

Without even thinking, without even checking, Sansa opened the door and frowned.

Val was standing there, arms crossed, a scowl on her face.

"What are you doing here?" Sansa blurted out, a bit stunned, to be honest.

Val knew she wasn't supposed to be here. It wasn't allowed and was clearly stated in the paperwork that Val had signed. Their house was off-limits.

"I'm here to see my daughter," Val said an edge to her voice. Obviously, she knew Jon was on shift at the hospital, which further roused Sansa’s suspicions.

There was a hardness to Val that Sansa hadn't previously seen, as if she were on edge.

Sansa knew one thing - no way in hell was Val getting through this front door.

Sansa didn't care about the scene she created; she'd call the cops before she let Val had access to Mia.

Before either woman could say anything more, Mia appeared behind Sansa.

"Mommy, who is it?" came Mia's voice.

Sansa saw victory flash in Val's eyes at the use of the word. It made Sansa wonder if Val had said something to Mia about who she was – not that she was allowed to. But it seemed like something Val might do – tell Mia who she was, even though Jon had expressly told her not to.

Mia reached for Sansa's hand.

It was only then that Sansa realized that Mia had called her mommy and not Val.

Sansa would be lying if she said she hadn't imagined this moment. She had. She’d wanted this – on Mia’s terms.

Sansa would never have pushed – she knew when Mia was ready - if Mia were ready, it would happen.

But now, with Mia's biological mom standing right there, Mia had bestowed Sansa with a title she'd been longing for. Sansa couldn’t focus on that right now. She had to get Val to leave.

"Baby, it's just Daddy's friend," Sansa said, picking Mia up.

Mia cuddled into Sansa's arms, resting her head on Sansa's shoulder.

"Hi," Mia lisped at Val, who somehow managed a tight smile.

"Hi Mia," Val said, blue eyes flashing in anger. "I'm..."

"Just leaving," Sansa said, putting Mia down.

"Baby, go and find Fluttershy while I speak with Val."

"Ok, Mommy," Mia said, giving Sansa a huge smile.

Sansa watched as she hurried away. When she could no longer see Mia, Sansa turned back to Val.

She stepped outside and closed the front door, palming her phone as she crossed her arms over her chest. There was no way that Val was getting inside.  

"What are you doing here?" Sansa repeated, voice hard, eyes flinty.

Inside, her stomach clenched, but outwardly she would give Val nothing. This was her home and her daughter.

"She's mine, not yours. What have you done to her?" Val seethed and went to poke at her while Sansa stepped back, putting space between them.  

For a moment, Sansa wondered if things were going to get physical. There was something about Val's entire demeanour that had Sansa on edge.

Even amid this bizarre standoff, Sansa had a brief flash of empathy for Val. It had to be impossibly difficult to hear your child call another woman Mommy.

But that wasn't Sansa's fault. Val had made her choices. She couldn't fix this for Val.

And Sansa wouldn't apologize for what she meant to Mia. Sansa loved that little girl as if she were her own. As far as Sansa was concerned, Mia was her daughter.

"I've loved her," was all Sansa said to Val’s question, just as Jon's SUV turned into the driveway.

Sansa had to give him credit. He was parked and striding across the lawn as fast as could be, his face absolutely livid upon spotting Val at his door once again. He came to stand beside Sansa and she felt instantly more at ease with him here.

"What the fuck are you doing here, Val?" he demanded.

Val crossed her arms over her chest and scowled.

"I wanted to see Mia. And it's a good thing I dropped by because apparently Mia is confused because she thinks this woman is her mother!" Val snarled that last part as Jon's eyebrows winged up.

Jon turned to her.

"Sansa?"

"I answered the door and saw Val here. Just as I was asking her to leave, Mia found me. She called me Mommy, Jon," Sansa said, suddenly overcome by what it all meant.

Jon's lips twitched, and he pulled her close, brushing a kiss to her forehead.

"Yeah? Well, that's because you are, sweetheart."

Sansa was shaking as the importance of the moment threatened to buckle her knees. She clung to Jon as he turned to Val, whose face was bright red.

Val opened her mouth to protest when Jon cut her off.

"Leave. Now. Before I call the cops. And I'll be contacting my attorney to tell him about this little visit. You can't do this, Val," he said, voice hard.

"This isn't over. Mia isn't hers," Val snapped before turning and finally leaving.

Sansa buried her head in Jon's shoulder, taking a few deep breathes as she saw Val zoom away in her little car. When she was gone, Sansa met Jon’s gaze. It was clear he was beyond pissed about Val showing up; but happy about the development with Mia.

"So, mommy, huh," he said, grinning. He brushed a hand down her back.

Sansa appreciated how he pushed away the anger at his ex to focus on what was important – Mia. And what Sansa meant to Mia.

"Oh gods, I'm a mommy Jon!" she cried, utterly delighted.

"Hell yeah you are sweetheart. The best mommy," he said, grinning at her.

Sansa was still stunned, shaking at what a monumental moment this was.

He took her hand in his, twining them together.

"Why don't we go and find our daughter?" he said, still grinning.

Sansa knew that Jon would contact Roose. This unexpected visit by Val couldn't go unreported.

But for now, what was important was their family.

"That sounds absolutely perfect," she said, squeezing Jon’s hand. Together they walked into their home to find Mia waiting for them.

"Mommy, Daddy is home!" she said, launching herself at Jon.

He swung Mia around in his arms, locking eyes with Sansa, who looked at the two of them with so much love, she had no idea how she contained it all.

Then Jon grinned and winked at her.

"Yeah, baby. Mommy is finally home."

 


 

Chapter Text

 


 

Wintertown – Jon

 

Jon had one hand on the steering wheel while the other held Sansa's hand as they cruised towards the airport to get his mom and sister. Mia was chattering away in the back, beyond excited that she'd have her Nana, her auntie, and her new mommy all at the same house.

Jon was excited as well. For the first time in his life, everything felt – right. Like he was finally with the woman he was supposed to be with and that his family was complete.

Sansa flashed him a grin, and he saw the nerves there. She knew Elia and Rhae loved her, but today she was meeting them as his live-in girlfriend and the mother of his child and not as their up-and-coming star designer.

It was different than before.

Good, but different, and definitely an adjustment period for them all.

With Sansa's help, they had made a poster welcoming Elia and Rhae to the North – it was stashed at Mia's feet. Sansa had helped Mia pick out a special outfit, and the two of them had giggled as Sansa braided Mia’s hair in a puffy braid. There was no denying how well Mia and Sansa got along. The two of them were thick as thieves and spent endless hours together. Jon could often hear their giggles from different parts of the house. If he could have tailor-made a mother for Mia, she would have been just like Sansa.

While Val's appearance at his house had been troubling and unwelcome, hearing Mia call Sansa mommy had filled a piece of Jon's heart that he hadn't even known was empty. He finally felt … whole.

After the stunt Val pulled, showing up out of the blue at his house, Jon had called Roose, who'd promised that he'd investigate the consequences of Val's action.

For now, all visits were rescinded, and Roose batted around the words restraining order. Jon had sighed at that. Maybe he should agree to that, but with Mia's birthday coming up, he was reluctant to push it.

Sometimes he felt like an idiot – giving Val chance after chance. But something didn't add up to him when it came to her behaviour. He couldn't quite figure out what the fuck Val wanted.

Roose would take care of informing Val's lawyer about the visits ending for now, and they would wait to see what Val's reaction to that would be.

"Jon, no more contact with her. We'll set up a meeting next week with her lawyer to discuss the outcome of this visit. If she shows up again, call the cops."

Jon promised he would. It was an easy thing to do. Until he knew, for sure what Val was up to, she would have no more contact with Mia. He would hold Mia's birthday over Val's head as leverage and see if that threat produced results.

Beyond being furious with Val, he was baffled. None of this was normal. Her behaviour was so odd. She hadn't bonded with Mia. She didn’t seem to be here for Mia, which was what she had claimed since the moment she’d shown up.

That wasn't Jon being rude – it was the truth. Val wasn’t cut out to be a mom. Some women just weren’t.

So why on earth was she still here?

Jon understood jealousy. If she had been like that when they’d been together, he might get it – her feelings towards Sansa. But Val had never been one of those women when they’d dated. Come to think about it, she hadn’t even had that many friends. Everything was a competition with her. And she was hard, edgy. She drove people away. She was Sansa’s complete opposite in so many ways.

Jon had known that she'd never warm up to Sansa. Or any woman Jon chose to be with. Whether Val liked him or not, she’d see him as a prize that she’d lost; not that they didn’t make one another happy.

Still, it made him scratch his head. In the entire time they'd been together, he'd never gotten the impression that Val had wanted anything more from him. In fact, she was just as 'unattached' to their relationship as he had been. It was why it had worked and why it had lasted as long as it had – because it could only be considered a 'relationship' in the loosest sense of the word.

After Jon had talked with Roose, he'd found a quiet moment to let Sansa know what his lawyer said. Sansa promised she'd always check the door first and wouldn’t let Val near Mia.

Jon frowned at that.

"Christ, she's making a right mess of things, isn't she?" he muttered, running a hand through his hair.

Every time he thought of Val, his stomach knotted, wondering what she might do next.

Sansa had set Mia up with a poster for Elia, and their daughter was happily colouring away, ignoring them for the time being.

Sansa shrugged.

"I mean, I can't imagine it was easy, hearing Mia call me ‘mommy’. But what can we do? Val has made her choices, Jon."

He merely grunted, wondering how he could get to the bottom of why she'd come back. And thankful as fuck that Sansa was one of the most understanding people he’d ever met. Even now, Jon knew she was trying to ‘get’ Val’s point of view.

After dinner, they went to the local grocery store to stock up on food and liquor. It was amusing watching Sansa load up a cart of wine and spirits for his family. Jon loved that she was already so close with them and wondered if it would feel different now that he and Sansa were so entwined in each other's lives. After all, Sansa had been friends with Elia before she’d met him.

Sansa had also picked up the flowers she wanted and then came home and puttered, claiming she wanted their house to be 'perfect' for their guests.

In Jon's mind, his house had never looked this good. Mia had trailed after Sansa, her little shadow, as Jon watched them.

He wondered if Sansa even recognized the little things she did to make Mia feel included – pausing to speak with her whenever Mia asked a question, getting Mia to help 'arrange' the flowers, stroking a hand down Mia's curls. Sansa was a tactile person, as much as he was, and she was always so loving and gentle with Mia. His daughter soaked it up like a sun-starved flower – that female guidance and love that had been missing from her life before Sansa became such a part of their world.

They arrived at the airport with a few moments to spare. He helped Mia out of her car seat, and then carefully held her poster, brushing the glitter that now littered the back of the SUV away as best he could. Jon had long ago resigned himself to the fact that his clothing, vehicles, hair and home all looked like he'd spent time at a strip club. Such was life with a daughter as crafty as his was, and a sacrifice he'd willingly make.

Once inside, Mia ran to the big window at the airport and watched the plane land. Winterfell wasn't big enough to have more than one flight come in simultaneously, so Mia knew it was Elia's plane that was touching down.

Sansa stood protectively behind her while Jon wrapped an arm around his girlfriend and kissed her cheek.

"Nervous?" he asked.

Sansa shook her head and then shrugged, giving him a slight grin.

"Maybe a little. I mean, I know Elia loves me, but jeez, this is your mom, Jon."

He chuckled.

"You have nothing to worry about," he said, meaning it, just as Mia turned to them.

"MOMMY! DADDY! The plane is HERE!" She practically screeched, as Jon winced. His daughter was not a quiet child.

Thankfully Sansa had far more tact.

"Baby, keep your voice down," Sansa said, making a lowering motion with her hand, while Mia merely grinned, looking out the window again.

Jon saw Elia and Rhae the moment they stepped out onto the tarmac. His mother, attractive, talented, and elegant, was wearing a bright red dress that hugged her figure. She wasn't the tallest woman, but even in her mid-fifties, she turned heads with her beauty and was never afraid of a bold fashion choice.

Love surged through Jon, seeing her here in the North.

Jon knew that this was home, that Wintertown was the place where he and Sansa would live and love and hopefully grow old together. Elia probably realized it long before him. She had that uncanny knack of knowing what her children needed before they did.

And if their life was here, in Wintertown, it meant that Jon would only see Elia on occasion. That was bittersweet. Unless he could somehow convince her to move North, but that seemed unlikely to happen. Elia's life was in Sunspear just as his was in the North. Thank God for air travel and that they were wealthy enough to visit one another often.

Elia and Rhae entered the small airport terminal, gazing around and looking for them.

Jon squeezed Sansa's hand, and she rested her other hand on his arms and rubbed up and down. Whatever happened, Jon knew that they were a team. That was an entirely new feeling for Jon when it came to the woman in his life and something he welcomed.

"NANA!!!" Mia yelled, jumping up and down, waving frantically. As if Elia could miss her. She was waving her poster, spreading glitter in her wake, a tiny little hurricane of love and giggles.

Elia spotted her immediately and began to hurry over, somehow walking fast on those stilettos she insisted on wearing, blowing kisses to Mia.

Jon had to practically hold Mia back; she was vibrating so much.

"MY BABIES!" Elia cried, engulfing all three of them in a hug when she got to them. No one resisted.

Jon heard the sniffles, likely Elia and Sansa, while Mia tried to talk as Elia scooped her into her arms. Mia was somehow holding onto the poster, which now had a bent corner, while simultaneously winding her arms around Elia's neck and snuggling into her, making a right mess of Elia’s elegant dress. His mother couldn’t care less, as she soaked up the Mia love.

"Nana, I made you and Aunty a sign!" Mia said.

Mia waved her poster proudly as Rhae and Elia smiled at her.

"I see that, mi amour, and it's beautiful," Elia said, cupping Mia's cheek and stroking. There was no denying how much Elia loved her granddaughter. Mia giggled.

"Mommy helped. She also did my braid and helped me pick out my special clothes to come and meet you."

One of Elia's dark eyebrows winged up at the Mommy comment.

Rhae punched Jon in the shoulder while Sansa blushed and fidgeted.

Jon was having none of it. He grinned and pulled Sansa into his arms, holding her in front of him as he faced his family.

"Yup. That's right. Mia's made her choice, and I couldn't be happier," Jon said.

For a moment, Elia said nothing. Their eyes locked, and she gave Jon a nod as if she’d predicted this all along. Knowing her, she probably had. Elia let out a happy cry and was once again hugging them.

"I told you two fools that you were perfect for one another," she said.

Elia grinned at Sansa.

"Welcome to the family, mommy. These two have been waiting for you for a while."

Jon swore to God Sansa almost melted then and there as she blushed and smiled at Elia, clearly pleased with his mom's acceptance of this latest development in their lives.  

Somehow, even hanging onto Mia, Elia managed to wag a finger at the two of them.

"Think of the time you wasted. If you two had just listened to me," she said, shaking her head at them.

Jon rolled his eyes at her.

"Yeah, yeah. We know."

Elia had been talking about her protégé for at least two years and Jon had always resisted. Thank fuck he’d finally wised up and gone to Sunspear. He hated to think about what he’d almost missed out on.

Then Elia let out a happy little squeal, setting Mia down and clapping her hands together.

"Ahhhh, I am so happy. No longer is my boy alone. Now he has the one he's supposed to be with by his side," Elia exclaimed and hugged Sansa hard. Again. Elia was on cloud nine and she was hard to resist.  

Sansa's face was wet as she and Elia whispered to one another.

Rhae shook her head as she watched Elia and Sansa, long ago coming to terms with how much their mom loved Sansa.

"Wow. Way to show the rest of us up, big bro."

Jon grinned and then pulled Rhae in for a hug, swinging her around in his arms, happy she was here.

"Ahh, Rhae-rhae, don't be jealous."

Rhae snorted.

"Why? Because I’m pathetically single and haven’t been laid in months and you’re probably having the best sex of your life?”

Jon grinned, not denying it. Sex with Sansa was fan-fucking-tastic.

Rhae rolled her eyes at him.

“Please tell me you have some hot lesbian waiting for me at your house?" she joked.

Oh, little did she know, Jon thought.

Jon winked at Rhae, loving how his sister's mouth dropped open. Dacey was set to arrive next week, so technically, Jon would have a hot lesbian at this house. Whether Rhae and Dacey hit it off, well, that was another story.

"Seriously? Tell me!" she demanded.

Mia bounced from foot to foot and then demanded that her auntie pick her up. Rhae did so but told Jon this conversation wasn't over.

Jon threw his head back and laughed while the carousal that held their bags began to spin. The five of them, all jumbled up and together, began to walk towards it, while Rhae demanded to know who else was staying at their house.

"Oh, my good friend, Dacey, from Bear Island," Sansa told Rhae, just as Mia asked to use the bathroom, wiggling in Rhae's arms.

Rhae set Mia down, her eyes now locked in on Sansa and this new information about the fashion designer from up North.

"Seriously? The super-hot one?" Rhae blurted out.

Sansa, to her credit, merely smiled at Rhae and nodded, as if his sister hadn't just revealed her preference for dating women.

"Yup. Super-hot and super single," Sansa added with a wink.

With that, Sansa took Mia by the hand to go to the washroom, while Jon bit the inside of his cheek, wondering if his sister realized what she'd 'revealed.' It appeared her secret was now out. He was happy because he honestly knew that no one would care, and he hoped that it meant Rhae was ready to live her life on her terms.

While Sansa and Mia went to the bathroom, Elia looked at Rhaenys.

"So, daughter, are you finally going to tell your mother that you prefer women to men?" Elia murmured.

Rhae blushed a bit and ran a hand through her dark hair.

"I wasn't keeping it a secret exactly…" she started to say.

Elia gave an elegant snort and waved a manicured hand.

"You think I didn't know you've been unhappy?"

"Mom, it wasn't that I've been unhappy. I was just … mixed up," Rhae said quietly.

Elia held out her hand, which Rhae took.

"When you are ready, we will talk. But not here. Here we celebrate your brother finding the love of his life and that he is bringing a hot woman into his house for his sister," Elia said as if that settled things.

It was such an Elia Martell thing to say. The woman was always in charge and gleefully interfered with her children's lives. Elia didn't care if her children loved someone of the same sex as they were; only that their partners were good people. 

Rhae snorted, and Jon threw his head back, laughing.

"As if you've ever let things lie," Rhae muttered, but there was no anger there. Instead, Rhae looked relieved. And happy. Maybe even hopeful. Jon was happy for his sister.

He wrapped an arm around each of them, loving that they were here.

"Gods, I've missed you. Sansa's just about driven herself mad making sure the house is perfect, so make sure you compliment her."

Rhae made a gagging noise while Elia beamed.

"Spoken like a true gentleman and a man in love," Elia said, cupping his cheek and patting him.

Jon grinned at her.

They got their luggage just as Mia and Sansa came back and then loaded it into Jon's SUV. Mia insisted that her Nana and her aunt sit in the back with her and proceeded to tell them all about what it was like having Sansa live with them.

"Sansa is special because she is the mommy we choose," Mia announced solemnly to them at one point.

Jon's own throat felt thick as Sansa squeezed his hand.

"That's right, bug, she is. Extra special," he told all the ladies in his vehicle.

Mia nodded.

"She makes me eat veggies. And guacamole. And eggs. But we also get to make crepes. If you're good, she'll make you crepes, Nana. She's a good cook. And even when I have a spill, she doesn't get mad at me."

Elia's eyes were suspiciously misty, and she stroked Mia's hair.

"She sounds like a very good mommy," Elia agreed.

"And our house is way prettier with mommy's stuff now there. I like it alllllot better," Mia added.

Jon shook his head at his daughter and then distracted Mia by getting her to tell Elia and Rhae all about the Starks.

"Papa Ned is very important. Sometimes when I visit, he has naps on the couch. Nana Cat says it's because he's old, and he snores!" Mia giggled. "But I think it's just because he's the Papa and everyone comes to him for help that he gets so tired."

Sansa turned in her seat to look at Elia and Rhae.

"I hope it's alright with the two of you, but we are planning on going to Wintertown for dinner with my family tomorrow night. We can go over the itinerary I've outlined while you're here. I know it's a working vacation for you both, and I have a great office set up at our house as well as some space downtown, so whatever works for you."

Jon had managed to wrangle a bit of time off for the important dates. Elia and Rhae were here for sixteen days and spread over that time was dinner with the Starks, Mia's 5th birthday and a big summer party at Winterfell where Sansa, Satin and Dacey were pitching their Northern fashion show idea to Elia.

Jon wasn't sure what event Sansa was most nervous about, but she'd mentioned that her lists had lists and she wanted things to go perfectly.

"We would love to see Winterfell and meet your family, Sansa," Elia said warmly. "I've heard Winterfell is spectacular."

"Papa Ned has a pool. And I get to do cannonballs with Aunty Arya. She doesn't match when she picks her clothes. She says she likes clashing." Mia clearly did not like clashing.

Elia's warm laughter filled the SUV as Jon settled into the drive, happy to have his family here, in the North, where he and Sansa were building this life together, and looking forward to the weeks to come.

 


 

Winterfell Manor – Sansa

 

Sansa smiled as she heard Elia's voice, reading to Mia in the family room. Sansa was in the kitchen, emptying the dishwasher, while Rhae was up in her room getting ready for their evening.

It was late afternoon, and they were waiting for Jon to arrive home from his shift at the hospital. He'd texted her earlier to say that he was on his way, and soon enough, they'd be heading out to Winterfell.

Her mother was nervous about meeting Elia. Part of that was on Sansa. When she'd left the North, she'd cut off ties with her family and, for the most part, hadn't made much of an effort to renew them. Except when she'd gotten the job with House of Martell Fashion and gushed endlessly about the incomparable Elia Martell, to anyone who would listen. Including her family. Sansa might have made Elia seem … like an impossible standard to live up to. She regrated how she’d handled that, but not meeting Elia.

Elia had been precisely what Sansa had needed at the time. Friend. Mentor. Older sister. Boss. Sansa hadn't been shy about bragging about how close she and Elia were. All of that had led to a bit of … uncertainty on her mother's behalf. Last night, after Jon had kissed her, goodnight and Rhae had made her escape, Elia and Sansa had sat up and demolished a few bottles of wine and caught up with one another.

Sansa had been worried that things would change between them with Sansa's new and important role in Jon and Mia's life. But if anything, it only made her and Elia closer. Sansa unloaded everything on Elia – all the Val stuff and her family and what life had been like in the North and coming home. She didn't hold back when she told Elia how much she loved Jon and Mia and what her hopes and plans were for the three of them.

Elia ate it all up, happy for all of them.

It was close to 2 am when Sansa finally crawled into bed beside Jon, slightly buzzed and her heart happy to have Elia here.

Her guy pulled her close, nuzzled neck and settled a hand on her stomach.

"Night, sweetheart," he rumbled into her ear and then was out again.

She'd giggled and followed him into sleep.

Today, Mia had occupied a lot of Elia's time, while Rhae and Sansa spent time in her office, going over the latest designs from the south and now they were about to leave for Winterfell.

Sansa heard Jon pull up and the garage open.

If that wasn't indication enough, Mia yelled, "Mommy, daddy's home."

"Inside voice, love," Sansa called to her daughter. She caught Elia’s look of approval and it further settled Sansa. This was all just working, and Sansa loved it. It was everything she’d ever wanted.

Mia raced towards the garage, eager to see Jon, while Elia joined Sansa in the kitchen.

"Glass of wine?" Sansa asked, and Elia groaned and waved a hand.

"No thanks. Water if you have it, dear."

Sansa laughed and handed Elia a cool bottle from the fridge and then said she was just going to pop up to her room for a moment, giving Jon and Sansa some time to themselves.

Jon joined her in the kitchen, Mia hanging from his arms. She'd been amped up all day that she'd have BOTH Nana's around.

"Hey, love," Jon said, kissing her while setting Mia down.

Once his hands were free, he pulled her closer as she pressed her hands to his chest. Gods, he smelled good, which was saying something considering he'd just spent the entire day in surgery.

"Hi. Good day?" she asked. She liked hearing about Jon’s work, although she had no idea how he did it.

"Busy. Some kid busted his spleen on his bike, so it was a bit hairy for a bit, but he's out of surgery and zoned out on pain meds and Jello for now."

Jon grabbed a beer and flipped off the top before taking a long pull while tugging at his tie.

"When do we have to go to your parents?" he asked, leaning against the island, drinking deep. Sansa was mesmerized for a moment by the muscles in his neck and that hint of skin as he loosened his shirt. Did she ever not want this man?

Nope, she thought, giggling a bit. Before she could answer, Mia did.

"Soon, daddy. I've packed my bathing suit and a change of clothing, and Uncle Rickon has his cast off, and I want to swim," she half announced, half demanded. “We need to get going.” Her little foot didn’t stomp – not quite, but she was clearly impatient.

Jon arched an eyebrow at her and looked at Sansa.

"She's been excited all day to head to Winterfell. It's up to you when we go, but,” Sansa said by way of explanation. Sansa trailed off. Jon knew his daughter, and he could manage this.

"Ok, bug. Let me get changed, and then we'll head out."

Mia frowned.

"Why? You look nice, daddy."

Jon snorted and brushed her curls.

"Give me a bit, Mia."

His tone had her sighing, but she didn't argue, instead swinging her little legs, knowing that when Jon spoke to her like that, his word was the law.

"I'll tell Mom and Rhae we're going soon," he said, kissing Sansa and then hurrying out of the kitchen to shower and then get ready for their night.

Sansa already had the dip she'd made, some fresh bread and several bottles of wine to contribute to the night packed, so she was ready to go when he was.

"Why don't we go over some party details?" Sansa asked Mia, trying to distract her.

Mia perked up, and they hauled out what Sansa had dubbed "The Ultimate Guide to Birthday Party Planning." 

It was a white three ringed binder and Sansa had filled it with several colourful tabs inside, all with different categories – much like a bride might do with her wedding album. Not that Sansa had one of those. Well, maybe a small one.

There were all sorts of different tabs that covered almost everything Sansa could think of for planning a kid's birthday including ones for invitations, party favours, balloons, colour schemes, themes, games, food, cakes and decorations.

They'd made several trips to the local party store and gotten 'samples' to add to the binder and then spent time writing out different ideas that they thought up together. The front of the binder had been decorated in stickers, glitter and bright pink letters, all with a sparkly silver crown over the title.

It was where Elia, Rhae and Jon found them – at the kitchen table, giggling over some silly invitations that they'd picked up for fun, but Mia had deemed 'not her style.'

"What is this?" Elia asked, intrigued.

"It's my Birthday Binder. Mommy and I are making it together. She said I had so many good ideas that we had to capture them all and put them away for future years!" Mia announced.

Elia slid into a seat as Mia proudly showed her all their hard work.

"Darling, this is wonderful!" Elia said, flipping through the pages.

Elia looked up at Sansa, a bit teary-eyed.

"Your mama is a smart woman, thinking this up. Now, whenever you have a new idea, you can put it in your binder."

Mia nodded at Elia.

"I know, Nana. And mommy said this year my birthday is extra special because we have extra family and friends to invite."

Elia pressed a kiss to Mia's forehead. "It will be, darling."

Jon picked up Mia, who was giggling, giving Elia a moment alone with Sansa. The two women said nothing for a moment until Elia reached for Sansa's hand and squeezed.

"I love all my children, Sansa. Jon might not have my blood, but he's been mine from the moment they brought him to me. He always was … quiet. He loved us. Loved Aegon and Rhaenys. He tried so hard. He was such a good child. Quiet and studious. Good at sports and at school. He excelled at everything he put his mind to. And still, I worried. There was always a part of him, no matter how much I loved him, that he held back. I didn’t blame him, but I knew it wouldn’t be me that unlocked that part of him.”

Sansa felt her own throat close a bit, her heart aching for the orphaned child that the man she loved used to be.

"But that is gone. That … empty spot in him, that nothing seemed to fill, it's vanished. Because he found you. I don't often believe in soulmates. I was a foolish young woman who fell in love with a scoundrel of a man. But you two? You make me believe in them. Thank you for loving my boy."

"Oh, gods, El," Sansa cried, hugging her friend and mentor hard. "He's just the best man. I've never felt anything in my entire life like how I feel when I'm with Jon. And Mia. I just … I love her like she's my own."

"I know, Sansa. You three just fit."

Happy that she had the full support of Jon's mother and her friend, Sansa was a chatterbox on their drive to Winterfell, with her and Mia giggling about things her father would do or how her mother would scold him, and Ned would swing Catelyn up in his arms and kissed her until she wasn't mad anymore.

"Papa loves Nana a lot," Mia said to Elia and Rhae.

When they turned into the long driveway of Winterfell, both Elia and Rhae gasped at the wood and stone mansion. It was impressive, with its acres of manicured lawns, mature trees, endless gardens and its soaring silhouette.

Pride thrummed through Sansa, and she could hardly believe she'd run away from all of this. This was her heritage, her family. This was where her roots were and she wasn’t ever leaving here again.

Her parents were waiting, and Sansa was out of the car, rushing to her mother, hugging her hard. She needed to fix things between them, once and for all.

"I'm so sorry for cutting you out of my life for so long. I love you so much, Mama," Sansa whispered to Catelyn, who shuddered a bit and then wrapped her arms around Sansa.

"I love you too, baby. I'm so glad you're back here."

"I love the North, Mom. This is where I want to be. Where I am supposed to be."

Sansa's meaning was clear, and Catelyn brushed away a tear or two.

"Good. Now introduce me to Jon's mother before she thinks I've raised a child without manners," Cat said, but it was clear that Sansa’s words had impacted her.

"Nana, Papa, I brought my other nana and my aunty Rhae," Mia announced, holding both their hands. Jon had the grocery bag of food that Sansa had neglected when she'd raced out of the SUV.

He grinned at them.

"Ned and Catelyn Stark, I'd like you to meet my mom, Elia Martell and my sister Rhaenys."

Unlike some encounters with family that were awkward, Catelyn and Elia took one look at one another, and then they were hugging, each of them tripping over the other to speak about Sansa, Jon and Mia. Sansa knew then that the two women would be fast friends.

"I told you they'd like each other, Papa Ned," Mia said as Ned scooped her up and tickled her tummy.

Elia and Cat stopped chatting long enough for Elia to shake Ned's hand, comment on their lovely house and then thank them for having her.

Cat waved a hand.

"Bah. You're family. Come in. Let's drink wine, and you can meet the rest of the Stark clan. I apologize already for their behaviour."

Elia, who adored large families, was instantly delighted by all the Stark children – especially Robb and Rickon, whom she claimed reminded her of Aegon.

"We really need to get Aeg up here," Jon said.

He was sitting on a love seat beside her, nursing a beer. Their daughter was already in the pool with Arya and Rickon having the time of her life.

Tonight, the Starks had forgone their typical Friday night dinner and opted for a barbeque outside by the pool. Her mother had outdone herself with appetizers and finger foods to munch on while Ned grilled steaks and baked the potatoes.

There were coolers of drinks, pitchers of sangria and a fully stocked bar that Gendry and Robb took turns at, making more and more outlandish cocktails by the minute.

When Rhae ducked inside to change and join the others in the pool, Robb had let out a low whistle upon her return in her tiny bikini. Rhae had rolled her eyes at him.

"Easy big boy. I'm totally gay."

Robb's grin was easy. "You're still gorgeous."

Rhae threw her head back and laughed.

"I like you, Stark."

"I like you, Martell."

And thus began a friendship that no one had seen coming between Robb and Rhae, who dove into the pool to splash and dunk Arya and Rickon, making a fine team and earning shouts and protests from the others. Mia was delighted, having most of her favourite people all in one spot. Sansa heartily agreed. Things felt pretty close to perfect with everyone here.

Elia and Catelyn had been by each other's sides the entire evening, exchanging stories of the kids growing up and generally bonding. Sansa rested her head against Jon's shoulder at one point, just soaking in the moment.

Later, when Mia climbed onto her lap, Sansa held her, with Jon's arm around her shoulder and she felt like they were a real family. Maybe there was no ring on her finger, but the important people in their lives loved them and were part of their lives. That part would come when the time was right.

"Who knew they'd become instant besties?" Jon remarked looking at their mothers, making Sansa giggle.

"Yeah, way to set mom up with a new friend, San," Arya said, kicking her foot against Sansa.

The night was warm and sultry, and her family was all here. Everyone except for Aegon and some of her closest friends, but still. For once in her life, Sansa felt complete. Content. As if this was precisely where she was supposed to be.

She turned to Jon, and saw he was feeling the same as she was. Tonight had gone about as well as they had hoped.

"Thanks for loving me," she said and then brushed her lips against his while Mia giggled at them.

"Daddy kisses mommy a lot," she said in not quite a whisper.

The Starks howled in delight, while Elia clapped her hands and saluted them with her wineglass.

Jon grinned and then leaned in closer so only Sansa could hear.

"Hell yeah, he does. And tonight, he's gonna kiss her from head to toe."

It felt like every nerve ending was on fire with the promise in Jon's voice. Guests or not, Sansa knew she was in for some fun when they got home.

She leaned into his touch, loving how those talented fingers played with the nape of her neck, stroking her just how she liked. Mia cuddled closer, and Sansa held tight to their girl, who smelled of chlorine and sunscreen and had a smear of vanilla icing on her cheek from the cupcakes her mother had made especially for her.

Conversation flowed around them. Sansa switched to iced tea ages ago, and Jon was sipping bottled water. Neither one of them was interested in any more alcohol, which was just fine with her.

Robb had dragged Rhae into an impromptu drinking contest with him and Arya while Elia and Cat were giggling over something while holding cups of sangria.

"Who knew the nanas would hit it off," he murmured.

"I did, daddy," Mia announced, making both of them laugh.

Eventually, when Mia was snoring in Sansa's arms, they made their exit. Elia proceeded to pat Ned on the cheek, stating he was a terrific Papa, while her and Cat hugged, and Catelyn promised to drop by their house tomorrow.

Rhae was drunk off her ass and laughed at something Arya did, making Jon roll his eyes at his sister.

Once they were home, both Martell women told Jon and Sansa that they approved of the Starks and then disappeared into their own rooms. Sansa was grateful that the liquor and the distance between the guest rooms and her and Jon's bedroom would keep them from hearing what Jon was about to do to her.

Hopefully.

Sansa didn't much care. This was her house, and gods, she wanted Jon. There was an ache in her core that had settled there, familiar and pleasant with anticipation.

They tucked Mia in and stood watching their girl, as they usually did, for a moment.

"Gods, I love her," Sansa whispered, reached for one of Jon's hands that rested on her shoulder. He brushed a kiss against her neck and murmured his agreement.

"Come on, love. She's asleep, and I have plans for us."

His hands slid down her arms, stroking and found her hand.

Silently they walked to their room, and once inside, Jon turned the lock. Sansa stood, knowing he wanted to be in control and that she wanted to turn herself over to his capable hands. There was such freedom in losing herself in that subspace – when he was in charge of her pleasure and their lovemaking. He was at her back again, brushing aside her hair and pressing kisses to her neck, open-mouthed and using his tongue.

"Fuck I love what you taste like," he muttered, almost to himself.

There was one hand on her hips that curled, possessive-like, and another that stroked up her stomach and higher to cup her breasts through her lacy top, finding her nipple hard.

He flicked it, and Sansa moaned.

"Jon," she said, already breathless with anticipation.

She had no idea what he had planned, but that was half the fun of their lovemaking. Letting him lead her where he wanted them to go.

"Sansa," he said, a dark promise in his voice as his lips made their way up to her ear. He sucked her there, where she was most sensitive, and she bucked, the hand on her hip digging into her side.

"Tonight, I'm going to worship you. I'm going to break you down, sweetheart, until you beg me to fuck you."

On shaky legs, she somehow made it to the edge of the bed, where he proceeded to undress her, taking his time, unwrapping her like a present. He kissed and touched her, stroked and licked her, devoted what felt like hours to building the anticipation until she was naked and quivering. She could smell herself, how turned on she was, and her thighs were slick with her excitement. And still, Jon hadn't even touched her clit.

"Jon," she said, digging her hands into his curls as he chuckled, his eyes positively dancing with what he had planned. He laid a smack on her ass.

"On the bed and hands above your head. I want you at my mercy," he said and then gave her a look.

"Green," she said quickly before he even had to ask.

His satisfied grin sent a surge of contentment through her that she'd pleased him with her answer – that she wanted this as much as he did.

She hurried to get into position, never taking her eyes from him as he attached the soft leather cuffs to her wrists and then pulled her arms, gently, over her head to where they attached to the headboard. She was now completely at his mercy, and they both knew it. The entire scene was made that much hotter because he was fully clothed, and she was naked, laid out like some virgin sacrifice from years gone by.

"Gods, I love to look at you, knowing you're all mine," he said, cupping a breast and thumbing the nipple. The desire that had retreated momentarily was back, full force, and she bucked her hips.

Jon shook his head and wagged a finger at her.

"Behave, or else I'm going to have to deny you an orgasm. And that's not what I want at all. Not tonight."

"What do you want?" she asked, her voice sounding fluttery and distant as the roar of desire hummed through her blood.

His grin was almost feral.

"I want you to come. Over and over and over again until you're begging me to sink my cock into your cunt and fuck you to the last orgasm of the night. I want you begging, wet and limp and out of your mind with the pleasure I give you."

Her legs fell open as she whimpered, wondering if she'd finally bitten off more than she could chew. There was a look about Jon tonight, and she knew he'd make good on this promise. Could she handle it? She was often sensitive after coming twice. What would it mean if he just didn't stop? How many orgasms could a woman have before she just passed out from the pleasure? Sansa had a feeling she was about to find out.

Part of why she loved Jon, why they were so good together, was the inherent trust she had in him – that he knew what she needed before she did. That he could take her places, no man ever had.

She nodded, only once, met his eyes.

"Green."

He grinned.

"I don't like safe words because they can get forgotten. Especially because it implies that one word is enough to convey the complexity of what is going on, but if it's too much tonight, you say red, Sansa and I will stop. I want to bring you to the edge – and I think you can handle it. But I will stop if it’s too much."

Instantly any worries she had drifted away. This was why Jon was so good at being in charge in the bedroom. As kinky as he got, as dominant as he liked to be, he always had her best interests at heart.

She grinned.

"I will. Now bring it on, Dr. Snow,” she purred.

Then she wiggled, arching her mound up off the bed towards Jon. He still hadn't touched her there, and she felt empty without some part of him inside of her.

"Fuck, you're a brat," he muttered darkly and then proceeded to undress.

When he joined her on the bed, she thought he might have a toy – a wand vibrator or bullet or something to help her come as much as he promised.

Surely if he were planning on multiple orgasms for her, he'd need help, right?

It was as if he knew what she was thinking, and he shook his head.

"I only need my tongue, my mouth and my fingers to get you off," he said, full of confidence and almost cocky arrogance. On another man, it might be a turn-off, but gods, not with Jon. It was as if the man were determined to learn every secret her body had and wouldn't stop until he did.

With her wrists tied and knowing what he wanted, all Sansa could do was give herself over to the pleasure he seemed determined to give her.

He kissed his way down her body, chuckling when she whined or bucked but never giving in – never going faster. This was at his pace. He eventually parted her thighs, found her clit pulsing and sucked it into his mouth, and a brutally demanding first orgasm that crashed into her like a freight train. There was no build-up – just intense pleasure that had her screaming his name. It was as she was coming down from that first peak when he sunk his fingers inside her, stroking and tapping her, working her body how he knew best. The second peak came soon after the first, far gentler and more prolonged, like waves crashing against a beach.

She felt spent, wrung dry and knew he was only just getting started. As promised, the man had skills, and he used them, all of them, to give her orgasm three and four. She was panting, out of her mind, twisting and begging, and still, he kept going. His entire face was covered in her come, she'd soaked the sheet, and she was so wet that even her back entrance was slicked with her essence.

That's when he began to play there, a wicked grin on his face as he stroked and probed until her body gave way, and he sunk a finger into her ass, breaching her there for the first time in her life. She keened out a wail, and he stroked her hip, praising her.

"Good girl, that's it, just feel me. Relax, Sansa; you can handle it."

What was it about being praised that turned her on at such a fundamental level? She wanted to please this man, to do whatever he wished of her, so she did exactly as he asked and relaxed and went with the sensation of a finger in her ass until she felt him add a second one, opening her up.

It felt odd; good. Dirty. A bit taboo, but that was ridiculous. Anal sex was everywhere, even in mainstream romance. She was lost in her head until his lips were on her clit again, nipping at her.

"Get out of your head, sweetheart. I'm in charge, and I know what you need," he commanded, and she nodded, letting go.

She trusted this man, and he did know what she needed. The fifth orgasm was with his fingers buried in her cunt and ass, and six was much the same until she was shaking from coming so much, exhausted and a complete mess. He'd opened her up – both physically and emotionally so she was bare before him.

And as promised, she did beg him to fuck her.  

"Please, Jon, fuck me," she said, unashamed of the whimper in her voice, the plea she heard with her ears. She needed his cock inside of her. She felt empty without that connection.

He grinned and finally rolled off of her, walking to the bathroom to wash his hands.

When he left the bed, she thought he might be done, although he hadn't uncuffed her. Instead, he returned with a plug. It was small, hot pink and adorably cute. Except she knew it was going in her ass, and so that wasn't that cute.

"Do you know how tight this pussy is going to feel with this plug up your ass?"

Sansa shook her head. She had no idea. She'd heard about this – read about it. Hell, she might have even watched a porno or two when she was really lonely and desperate. But somehow, seeing those women take something up their ass and being faced with it herself were two entirely different things.

But she wanted to please Jon. And his fingers back there had felt good. Really good.

"I need to know what colour, sweetheart," he said, grabbing a bottle of lube and applying a generous amount to the plug.

"Green," she said, voice a whisper.

He looked at her and paused. She saw he wanted this, and truth be told, so did she. It was the final frontier. Somewhere no man had gone before. And she wanted to give him this.

Stronger now, more confident, she nodded.

"Green."

He smiled and petted her hip, and then spread her thighs open, taking a moment to gaze at her. She loved how intense Jon got when he was staring at her – all open and ready for him.

"Alright, love, now relax. The plug is hardly bigger than my fingers, and I swear, you'll fucking see stars when I sink my dick into your tight cunt with this plug up your ass."

He began to play again, with her ass, his fingers there, along with the harder silicone of the plug. When he stroked her clit, she closed her eyes and gave into everything that was happening. He opened her up with the tip, dragging it in and out of her, and she let the sensations wash over her until he finally pushed it in, seating it in her butt.

She wiggled a bit. It felt – different. Not bad. And not painful. Just full. Her eyes opened to find Jon gazing down at her; his body now ranged over her.

"How does it feel?"

She told him, and he nodded and then kissed her. He smelled of her, and she greedily took his lips as he guided his cock to her empty cunt. She wanted him inside of her, but she felt the plug in her ass every time she moved.

"Gods, this feels weird," she said, grinning a bit.

He smirked and then began to enter her. Sansa moaned and wished her hands were free so she could touch him.

"Relax, baby and let me in. This fat dick wants your cunt," he told her and then reached up to free her hands so she could clutch at him.

Needing this, she wrapped her legs around him, digging her heels into his ass as he sunk all the way inside of her, filling her fuller than she'd ever been.

She moaned, low and long as she adjusted to having both holes filled. Gods, the feeling was indescribable.

"With me?" he asked, brushing his lips against hers, moving his hips and testing out if she could handle it. Sensations unlike any she'd ever felt, pleasure so great she knew this would be the most memorable orgasm of her life, surged through her. She smiled back.

"Oh yeah, I'm great."

He chuckled.

"I'm glad you like anal play, sweetheart. I can't wait to get my dick into that tight ass, watching it open as I take you there," he said, withdrawing from her pussy and then ruthlessly surging back inside her.

Every nerve ending felt like it was on fire as she clung to him, his eyes locked on hers. Her pussy was so sensitive from the multiple orgasms she’s already had that she felt every inch of his dick; every ridge, every vein, every pulse.

Both of them knew this was something special. They said nothing, just moving as one, faster and faster as the world around them faded and they felt like the only two people in the entire world. It was always like this with Jon – a place where she could lose herself in what this man made her feel.

"Jon," she whispered at one point.

"I know, baby, I know. Let go, love, and come as I fill you up," he murmured back, taking her lips again and then reaching down to find her clit and stroke her to the final orgasm of the night.

She detonated in his arms, screaming into his mouth and shaking, coming with a force she'd never felt before, feeling reborn in this man's presence as he just kept fucking her, hard and deep until finally she felt him shudder and empty rope after rope of hot seed deep inside of her and collapsing on top of her.

She held him there, both of them a fucking mess as they gathered themselves. Sansa stroked his back as he nuzzled her neck, lapping at her.

"Good for you?" he asked, still feeling half hard inside her, the plug lodged deep in her ass.

She chuckled. "Yeah. That was mind-blowing."

He grunted, but she could tell he was pleased. Eventually, he lifted his head and looked at her.

"You're everything I ever wanted," he blurted out.

Inordinately pleased, Sansa smiled softly at him.

"And you're everything I ever wanted."

They said nothing for a moment before Jon finally pulled out and grinned at the mess she was.

"I hope you trust your birth control, sweetheart, because fuck, you're filled with my cum."

Sansa paused and swallowed, the idea of being pregnant with Jon's baby warming her.

"I mean, I do, trust it. Or course I do. But I can fail, right? And that wouldn't be the worst thing, would it? I mean, if it failed. Not that it's going to, but I mean if it did, because sometimes, things happen ---"

She was babbling, the idea of being pregnant overwhelming her in so many ways.

He cut her off with a kiss, eyes warm.

"No, love, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. I can't wait to give you as many children as you want. But first things first," he said, scooping her into his arms.

"I have to take that plug out of your ass."

She snickered and cuddled into his arms.

"Such a romantic, Dr. Snow."

He wiggled his eyebrows.

"You know it, baby."

Contentment filled her as she drifted, happier with her life than she could ever remember being and all of that owing to the incredible Jon Snow and this miraculous love that they'd found together.

 


 

Mia's Birthday Present – Jon

 

"Do you honestly think this is the best time? And the best idea?" Jon asked. They were at the kitchen island, alone in their house the next morning after their epic sex-a-thon last night.

Mia had convinced Elia and Rhae to take her shopping to the 'princess' store, giving Sansa and Jon a chance to discuss Mia's birthday present without little ears hearing them.

"They're a bonded pair. Both are housebroken and crate trained and have basic obedience skills. Ghost is a white German Shepard, and Lady is a pure-bred Siberian Husky. Look at them." She pushed the tablet towards him and waved a hand. Jon saw the hope in her eyes and he really didn’t want to let her down.

Sighing, he looked at the tablet. Again. He had been looking at their pictures since Sansa woke him up this morning, excited and saying she'd found the perfect birthday present for Mia.

His daughter had been after a dog for a while. He'd always imagined that one day he'd be able to make good on that promise and give her one. But single parenting and becoming a double board-certified surgeon hadn't left a lot of extra time. With Sansa now living here, and to be honest, the Starks always around, it did seem much more doable to add a pet to their household. And lord knew Mia would be overjoyed if they did.

But Jon had always imagined he'd get something small and fluffy for Mia – something that was easily contained. Not two large dogs.

Not that the dogs were bad-looking. In fact, if Jon had his druthers, these would be the animals he'd chose. He'd always liked dogs. His uncle Ben always had a couple of old mutts, and Jon had spent hours with the dogs when he was at Ben's cabin. And there was something about not potty training a puppy. Not dealing with the chewing and the piddles and the midnight crying. Maybe Sansa was onto something with these adult dogs.

"So instead of one dog, now we're getting two?" Jon asked her, putting a bit of a bite into his voice, wondering how badly she wanted this extra work.

She shrugged. "They are just over a year old, both of them, and I think they'd be perfect for us."

"Sansa," Jon said, and she sighed.

"Look, I know it's a lot. Two dogs and big dogs at that. But with me and Rosa around, not to mention my family, I think it would work, Jon. I'm not setting any of us up for failure, and I promise if we go and see them and they aren't as advertised, then we won't get them."

Jon snorted and gave Sansa a look. He knew her. She was already in love with these dogs that needed a good home. She'd decided theirs was the right home. Still, the Shepard seemed like he'd be a good guard dog, and Jon wondered if he'd run with him? Maybe this was the perfect solution. Having a dog to take on his morning jogs was appealing. And somehow, he could see Mia cuddling into both dogs, delighted to have not one but two new pets.

"Do you think Mia would like them?" Jon asked, already knowing he was caving.

Sansa's eyes danced as if she knew she had him.

"Baby, I think she'd love them."

Was there anything he could say no to when it came to Sansa? Jon thought not.

Jon sighed. "Fine. When can we visit them?"

"The guy said we could come by anytime this morning. We just need to change."

Sansa beamed at him as he scowled her.

"You knew I'd give in, didn't you?"

She laughed as she wrapped her arms around his neck, kissing him.

"Yup. But I think they will be good for us."

An hour later and Jon was navigating his way through a part of Wintertown he'd never been, Sansa telling him where to go. The area wasn't run down per se, but the houses were much smaller and older, and far closer together than where they lived. This was what Elia would refer to as a place with starter homes.

"There," Sansa said, pointing to a small blue and white clapboard house with a yellowing lawn but an impressive fence.

Jon pulled into the pot-holed driveway just as two dog heads popped over the fence.

Even he had to admit, the dogs were impressive.

Why on earth was this guy getting rid of them? Jon wondered, immediately suspicious.

Sansa was out of the SUV and reaching for his hand when the front door opened, and a guy stepped out.

Jon was eyeing him up when Sansa let out a startled cry. She dropped his hand and was running towards the slim man standing there with a crooked grin on his face.

"Theon Greyjoy, is that you?" she cried as Jon hung back. Clearly, these two knew one another, which wasn't that odd since Sansa had grown up here. But she’d never mentioned a Theon before. The guy, Theon was her age, a few years younger than Jon. 

Theon had come down from the front steps to envelope Sansa in a big hug.

"It is me, Sparky," he said, grinning and using an old nickname.

She laughed, saying how good he looked when Jon coughed, and she turned back to him.

"Theon, meet my guy. Jon, this is my old high school friend, and lab partner, Theon Greyjoy. I had no idea the dogs were his."

Jon and Theon shook hands and eyed one another up – the way two men who knew they had a connection to a woman, did.

Jon slipped his hand into Sansa's and pulled her closer. He wanted this Theon to have zero doubts about just how much he was Sansa's guy. Jon saw when Theon got it. Good.

Theon shoved his hands in his pockets and looked to Sansa.

"So, you're back," he said, making it less a question and more a statement.

Sansa bobbed her head.

"I am. About five months now. I'm working on a branch of Martell fashion up here in the North."

Theon got a bit of a nostalgic look on his face and nodded.

"That's great."

There was an awkward pause, and then he gestured to the backyard.

"Well, I guess I should show you guys the dogs."

They followed Theon into the backyard, where the dogs danced, excited to see him. There was genuine regret on Theon’s face as he looked at them, and Jon admitted they were beautiful animals. They sat when Theon commanded them and then came forward when called to sniff at Jon and Sansa.

Soon enough, Sansa was on her butt, and the dogs were licking her, and she was crooning to them, uncaring that they were getting her covered in dog hair. If Jon had doubts about how much Sansa loved dogs, they were obliterated seeing her like this.

"Why on earth are you getting rid of them?" she cried as Lady, the Husky, began to 'speak' the way huskies did. Jon grinned at the mouthy dog, loving her sass. Ghost was pressed up against him, silent but looking between Sansa and Lady and him.

Jon dug his fingers into Ghost's white fur. He liked the shepherd. He was silent but watchful.

Theon looked upset.

"I wasn't planning on it. But well – fuck, San, you know how shitty things are with my Pops. I never thought he'd let me back on Pyke, but I got a call a week ago. He's got a place for me on one of his mining ships, and I can't say no. Pyke is no place for these guys, and I want them to go to a good home."

Sansa nodded.

"We have a daughter. She's five, and she's been bugging us for a dog for months."

Every time Sansa talked about ‘their’ daughter, Jon’s heart swelled. It rolled of her tongue so easily and sounded so right.

"They're great with kids. Obedience trained. Honestly, it breaks my heart to give them up, but I just can't give them a good life where I'm going."

The look Sansa gave him made it clear that these were their dogs, and Jon smiled at her.

"Yeah, sweetheart, you can get them. For Mia."

Sansa snickered as Lady once again began to speak. Sansa praised her.

"You're such a good girl, aren't you? Aren't you?"

They discussed payment – far less than what either dog was worth, but Theon wanted them to have a good home and the fact that he knew Sansa went a long way into him making his decision. He was giving them all their stuff – crates, beds, toys and food and promised he'd deliver them next week to Mia's party on Saturday.

Just as they were about to leave, Sansa hugged her friend hard.

"Don't be a stranger. I know Pyke is far away, but you know, cell phones. It is 2021, you know."

He nodded and held her close before letting her go.

"Jon," Theon said, holding out his hand, something unspoken passing between the two men.

Jon shook it and then guided Sansa into the SUV, where she bit her lip. He waited for five minutes before he asked about Theon.

She sighed.

"I know you think there was something between us. There wasn't, not like that. I didn’t even date anyone until university.”

Jon grunted at that and reached for her hand. It was clear Theon was important to her but not like how he’d pictured.

“I mean, we hung out a lot. It was senior year when we really became close. We were best of friends for a little while. Theon was … confused about his sexuality. I think back then there weren't as many options as there are today. People wanted to label you. Gay. Straight. Bi. Although gods, we weren't really open to that, were we?” she said, speaking almost to herself, lost in memories.

Jon said nothing, simply listening.

Sansa shrugged.

"His Dad found out about his sexuality and sent him to Wintertown. Theon was fostered with a family up here. He and Robb were close friends for a while, but they had some falling out, over what I'm not sure. I think nowadays, Theon would be considered pan, but even I'm not sure he has a label for what he is. He’s a good guy but he had a tough childhood.”

Jon reached for Sansa's hand.

"What's got you worried?"

She shot him a grateful grin. "I'm that obvious, aren't I?"

He nodded.

"Pyke wasn't good for him when he was younger. I don't know how much it's changed. I get wanting to go home – to make amends and be around family. But his father wasn't a good man, Jon. I'm just worried about him."

Jon brushed his lips across her knuckles, drawing a smile from her.

"You're a good person, sweetheart. Theon knows he has you back in his life. I think it's a sign, these dogs. You'll stay in contact with him, and he knows they are in good hands. You should invite him over for dinner one night. If anyone can make him feel loved, it's Elia, and lord knows she likes to collect strays."

Sansa chuckled. "Thanks. I will." Then she grinned. "Jon, we're getting dogs!"

He laughed as well, shaking his head. His house was about to be covered in fur and slobber and dirt but seeing how Sansa loved on Lady and bonding even briefly with Ghost, he knew this was the right choice.

Like everything with Sansa, this was the path they were meant to be on. It felt right and he’d learned to trust his instincts.

And now their family had just expanded by two more into the messy, loving home that Jon had always wanted but never imagined it would be his. Not until Sansa Stark had crashed into his life and upended it in the best possible way, changing everything for the better and showing Jon what it meant to be loved for the man he was and the man he wanted to be.

"Let's go home, love."

"Yes, let's go home," she agreed, words that were music to Jon's heart and ones he fully agreed with.

Home. With Sansa. The love of his life.

 


 

Chapter Text


 

Wintertown – Sansa

 

The weekend flew by after their visit to Theon, Sansa enjoying time with Jon’s family and planning for Mia’s birthday party. But as much as she enjoyed Elia and Rhae, Theon was on her mind for a lot of the weekend. She'd reached out to Robb after they'd gotten home from visiting the dogs and told him what she'd discovered.

He was no happier that Theon was going back to Pyke than she was, and he agreed to come to dinner on Sunday night so they could talk about their old friend. Sansa did not want Theon to leave Wintertown without knowing he had Stark support in the North.

"What happened between the two of you?" Sansa asked, unable to keep a bit of accusation from her voice.  

Robb sighed and that didn’t bode well.

"It was the hockey team. Some of the guys gave him a hard time, and I was a jackass."

Hockey was like religion in the North – everyone played, including Theon and Robb. It was everything up here and Theon had been a bit of a phenom.

"Robb," Sansa snarled into the phone.

"Not like that. Gods, San, Mom, and Dad raised me better than that. But I didn't stand up for him when some of the guys made fun of him. A lot. Which, yeah, I get it now, how big a dick that made me. It wasn't good. After that, we just grew apart, not that I blamed him. He was a couple years younger than most of the other guys on the team and I figured he’d find friends his own age."

Sansa sighed. It was hard being unique, and the North hadn't exactly been the most open to those that weren’t like everyone else. Things had changed in the last decade, but there was more work to do. It was why Sansa was a huge advocate for youth mental health and creating safe spaces for those that were different or struggling – one of her passions beyond Jon, Mia, and fashion.

"Well, come over and join us for dinner. I don't particularly like how alone Theon looked. I mean, I love the dogs, and Mia is going to lose her mind when he brings them over, but Robb, I'm worried about him. If I had to give up the dogs because he was staying, that would make me happiest.”

"I promise you, San, we'll figure this out."

After that, Sansa had turned her attention to her guests and preparing for the coming week. Not only was she hosting dinner on Sunday night, but Mia's fifth birthday was next weekend. And then Sansa had to prepare to pitch her idea to Elia for her Northern Fashion Show.

Sansa adored having Elia and Rhae staying with them, and they got so much accomplished. It was apparent that both women were comfortable in their house and had settled in and made themselves at home.

As predicted, the friendship between Elia and Catelyn bloomed, and the two women spent copious amounts of time together, much to Mia's delight.

Perhaps more surprising, but no less welcome, was how close Robb and Rhae were – like two long-lost besties that had found one another again. Sansa couldn't help but love how all these bonds were forming between their families. Coming from a rather large family already, Sansa had always wanted a houseful of people – kids included.

Jon had a night shift on Saturday, so it was Sunday when Sansa invited their friends to their house to meet Jon's family. She thought it might be good for Satin to meet Elia before they pitched their idea to her since her friend seemed to be losing his mind a bit over Elia Martell being in Wintertown.

Satin sent Sansa a dozen text messages about what outfit was 'appropriate' to meet his idol, making Sansa laugh at his antics. She finally sent Tor a message.

Sansa: LOL, get your guy under control!

Toregg: You started this when you came North and discovered him. He keeps saying that. I was discovered.

It was hard to deny what had been put in motion when Sansa had met with Satin and Tor. Sansa giggled, imaging Satin prancing around their condo repeating it. That was until Tor tackled him to the couch and had his wicked way with him!

Sansa: Guilty! I love you guys!

Tor sent her back a heart which made Sansa smile. She loved her guys. There was no denying what an essential part of their lives they were and how awesome their friends were.

Sansa was also happy that Tormund was free, and he RSVP'd that he and Alys would be delighted to join them for dinner and meet Jon's family.

Sansa knew that Jon hadn't socialized much during his fellowship. She didn't blame him since he'd been so busy and what little extra time he'd had, he’d dedicated to Mia, as he should have.

But now, Jon had her, and her parents, and her siblings, and their circle of friends had expanded to include many more people. It was good for him and Mia.

Sunday afternoon, Rhae was in the kitchen helping Sansa prep food for their dinner.

"I just can't believe how much of a life my brother has since he met you," Rhae said, snatching up a cucumber that Sansa was dicing.

Rhaeyns was perched on the island, wearing shorts and a tank top. Elia was in the backyard with Mia and Jon, helping set up on their massive deck for their dinner. That was one thing Sansa loved about summer in the North – dining outside in August. There were no longer any bugs, and the nights were sweet and warm.

If Sansa listened, she could hear Mia's excited chatter and Elia explaining things patiently to her. Mia had been on cloud nine having her Nana and her Auntie here.

Sansa smiled and slid the veggies into the salad bowl.

"He was busy before," Sansa said, and Rhae snorted.

"He was a work-a-holic before he met you," she said in a way only a loving sister could.

Sansa shrugged. She knew how dedicated Jon was to his career, and she was so proud of him and what he was accomplishing.

"I can't imagine becoming a double board-certified surgeon is easy," Sansa said, defending her guy.

Rhae smiled, and shook her head at Sansa, snatching a tomato.

"I like how you defend him. I mean, Mom has wanted the two of you to hook up forever, and here you guys are. I mean, so did I. I thought you two would at least have hot monkey sex. But it's so different seeing how fucking happy he is, Sansa. Like truly joyful. I'm so glad for the two of you."

Rhae reached out and squeezed Sansa’s hand. Sansa could only hope that one-day Rhae was her sister for real because she already loved her like one.

"I'm happy too, Rhae. I love him so much."

Before either could say anything more, Elia, Jon, and Mia joined them in the kitchen. Mia wanted to help, and Sansa got the little apron she'd made for Mia, put it on her, and gave her the task of making the guacamole. Mia loved to smash the avocados.

"Nana, Mommy, lets me help with the food," she said, proudly, before sticking out her tongue as she concentrated on her task.

"That is good, my love," Elia said, brushing a kiss to Mia's curls and then put a hand on Sansa's arm.

"What can I help with?" Elia asked, and Sansa got her started on dicing the hard-boiled eggs for another salad.

Jon got them glasses of wine and then popped a beer, and the five of them got the food prepped, laughing and joking until the doorbell rang and the first of their friends arrived.

Tormund, loud and brash as always, entered carrying a giant chocolate cake. He and Jon were on shift tomorrow, so there would be no drinking for them tonight. He took one look at Elia and let out a wolf whistle. Jon was cursing under his breath while Elia preened, and Mia cried out happily seeing him.

"Uncle TOR!" She yelled before launching herself into his arms.

Tormund grunted as he caught her. Mia was delighted she had two uncles named Tor. She thought it was the funniest thing in the entire world. She also liked this Uncle Tor’s bushy red beard.

Tormund carried Mia towards the kitchen, listening with half an ear as she told him all about the dinner at Winterfell. When he was close to Sansa, Tormund put Mia down and kissed Sansa's cheek.

"Looking beautiful as always, kissed by fire." He winked at her while Jon said, “Careful mate.”

Sansa grinned at Tormund while Rhae snorted. She'd met Tormund on her last trip North to visit Jon and liked his wildling friend.

Mia was now free to turn her attention to Alys and chat about the princess dresses she liked best. Sansa had already purchased one as a birthday present for Mia, and one of the 'stations' at the birthday party next weekend was a princess dress station.

Alys winked at Sansa. It was hard to imagine the loud and brash Tormund dating the shy and circumspect Alys, but Tormund hovered protectively over Alys and treated her like a Queen. And Sansa knew her soft-spoken friend was falling hard for the nurse.

Jon made the introductions, and Tormund didn't disappoint, heaping on the compliments to Elia and Rhae and Alys, and only stating he didn’t dare say anything to Sansa because “Snow is a right miserable cun …ning SOB when I hit on his woman.”

Jon snorted and rolled his eyes at Tormund. Then Jon pressed a passionate kiss to her lips, twirling her around and proving just how jealous he did get. Sansa loved it.

Sansa loved how people settled in, and she poured her friend a glass of wine when Jon let her go.

"You're a saint for putting up with him," Sansa said, taking a sip of her white wine.

Alys gave a pretty laugh.

"He's harmless, and he makes me laugh. And he’s a stallion in the sack," she added, under her breath before blushing red while Sansa and Rhae howled in delight.

“Go Alys,” Rhae said, clinking glasses with the woman and making her feel welcome.

Tormund was brought outside by Mia to inspect her new bubble maker giving the woman a bit of peace and quiet to catch up.

"Sansa and Mia have told me all about your shop. I can't wait to check it out."

Alys blushed, but Rhae's natural ability to put people at ease soon had the shy Alys talking excitedly with Rhae about fashion. Pleased, Sansa heard her brother arrive.

He walked into their house as if he owned it. Jon didn't seem to mind, and the two men embraced. Each day it seemed that Jon and her brother grew closer. Sansa knew Jon missed Aegon and wished he’d been able to come and visit as well.

Robb brushed his lips against Sansa's cheek and squeezed her arm.

"I texted Theon. We're going to meet up for coffee later this week."

"Thanks," Sansa said, meaning it.

She really didn't want to think about Theon being alone and leaving Wintertown without knowing there were people here for him. She wished he wasn't going so far away.

The last to arrive, fashionably late, were Tor and Satin. Sansa had told Elia and Rhae all about them, but still, nothing could quite prepare someone for Satin – which was his goal after all. To make an entrance.

Satin strutted into their home wearing bright red palazzo pants, a black tight crop top, a slim-fit houndstooth blazer and black T-strapped platform heels. He'd dyed the tips of his hair red and shaved one side of his head, and he'd fashionably styled the dyed section against all odds into a little faux hawk. His lips were bright red to match his pants, and he had silver glittered eye shadow on his lids with a fierce black winged eyeliner.

"Holy fucking shit, I'm already in love," Rhae whispered and let out a wolf whistle when she spotted Satin.

He preened and did another spin, and then shook his tight little ass.

Jon and Robb cheered him on, which drew in Elia, Mia and Tormund from outside.

Toregg was wearing khaki shorts and a blue button-down short-sleeved shirt, and flip-flops. He spotted Sansa and held out a bowl while Satin was doing his thing.

"We brought potato salad," he said, handing it off to her and then pulling her in for a quick kiss on her cheek. She placed the salad on the island.

“Thanks,” Sansa told him meaning it, squeezing him back. She loved Toregg as much as Satin.

"It took him hours to get ready," Tor said with deep affection for his lover.

Sansa giggled. She knew this was a big moment for Satin, but Tor's calm presence made her just as happy. She rested her head against his shoulder as they heard Mia come racing into the house.

This little girl was a social butterfly, and Satin was one of her favourite people in their entire world.

"UNCLE SATIN, YOU'RE HERE!"

"Of course, I am buttercup," Satin said, somehow managing to scoop Mia up even as he continued to shake his body in ways that were surprisingly hot.

Mia giggled.

"I like your eyeshadow. It's very pretty."

Satin batted his eyes at the girl. Mia's happy laughed warmed Sansa's heart.

They were a household that embraced everyone for who they were. If Sansa could have a motto, it would be something like, be true to one’s self.

This house would always, always, always be a safe space for any who needed it.  

It was only when there was a cough that Satin stilled. Somehow, he managed to hand Mia off to Toregg, another favourite, and do an elegant turn to see Elia standing there.

"Oh my god, as I live and breathe, Elia Martell in the flesh. A legend. An icon. A hero!" Satin gushed.

Elia threw her head back and clapped her hands, delighted.

"You must be the incredibly talented, incredibly fashion-forward Satin, no last name need," Elia retorted, pressing a kiss to each of Satin's cheeks while he trembled.

He clutched at Elia, and Sansa caught Jon's eye. This wasn't like when some bigwig fancy pants mover or shaker complimented Elia.

The fact that Satin was who he was, where he'd grown up, was a testament to this man's determination to be his authentic self.

And his authentic self was awesome.

"I am. Satin that is," he said, voice shaky.

He glanced around the room and only settled when he spotted Tor – his rock. Sansa adored how in love they were.

"And this is my lover, and my best friend and the most amazing boyfriend I could ever have. Toregg. Tor, this is ELIA MARTELL!” Satin squealed.

Satin somehow motioned for his guy to come closer. Tor smiled at Elia while still holding onto Mia.

"Please to meet you, ma'am. Satin has been gushing about you for years."

Mia giggled.

"Uncle Tor, that's nana."

Tor tickled her and put her down so he could shake Elia's hand. Once introductions were done, Elia linked arms with a still stunned Satin and guided him outside. Sansa could hear him getting excited, as he seemed to be recovering from his initial shock at meeting his idol and now had a rapt audience to discuss all things fashion. Rhae quickly joined them, bringing Alys along, leaving Sansa with Tor and Tor to help her in the kitchen while Jon and Robb fired up the grill.

At one point, they heard Elia let out a happy squeal and Toregg was caught looking a bit misty-eyed.

“His entire life he just believed in himself so much. And then you came alone, Sansa, and gave him this opportunity. You believed in him. And that’s made all the difference in the world,” Tog said to her.

Sansa shook her head. “It’s all him Tog. I’m just happy to be designing alongside someone so talented.”

Tor snorted. “Don’t sell yourself short. Satin is in awe of you. Youngest designer in history to be named head designer at a major fashion label. That’s no small potatoes.”

Sansa grinned. No, it wasn’t. She was proud of her career.

The night was more than pleasant. The company was outstanding, the conversation was snappy and fun, and the group got to know one another better. Mia was in her element, having so many of her favourite people in one area – especially when Uncle Robb brought out the water guns after dinner and coaxed a bunch of them into a water fight.

Mia's delighted squeals of happiness warmed Sansa's heart.

"Sansa, I have never seen that little girl so happy. You've built a true home here," Elia told Sansa.

That was one of the best compliments Sansa could ever remember receiving in her life and she thanked Elia, pleased that Jon’s mom saw how happy they all were.

After dinner, Elia and Rhae loved hearing Tormund's stories about Jon's work in the ER. Sansa was cuddled with him on the love seat outside. She knew her guy downplayed his skills, but Tormund had no such issues telling the entire group how talented Dr. Snow was.

Jon let Tormund talk, saying little. Sansa rested a hand on his chest and every so often would glance up at him, smiling at him so full of love she felt like she might burst from how perfect her life was.

"Happy?" he asked her at one point.

Mia was cuddled onto Rhae's lap, refusing to sleep even though she was tired.

"So happy," Sansa said, meaning it completely.

Jon grinned. "Me too, sweetheart. Me too."

The best part was Sansa knew he meant it just as much she did. They were building the life that they'd both wanted for so long and knew that this was just the start of amazing things to come.

 


 

Wintertown – Jon

 

It was Wednesday when Jon finally had his meeting with Roose, Val and her lawyer. Elia had threatened to attend, having heard the entire Val saga from him and Sansa, but Jon had told her he could handle it.

And he could handle it.

The most important person when it came to Mia was Sansa. As far as Jon was concerned, he and Sansa were in this together – co-parenting and Mia's primary guardians.

Sansa, unlike his nosy and opinionated family, had understood his reluctance to cut Val off from Mia completely.

Still, Jon was stone-faced with his anger simmering as he awaited Val's arrival at the law office. Roose hadn't like that Jon wanted to give Val one last chance at Mia's birthday party, but Jon hadn't gotten to where he was in his career by being pushed around.

He wanted one last time for Val to prove once and for all her true colours. Then Jon could cut her out of his life and his daughter’s, with no regrets.

Val was late, clearly trying to control the meeting, but Roose wasn't having any of it. The man went on the attack the moment Val sat down, her lawyer in tow. While Roose batted around words like restraining order and willfully breaking the terms of the agreement, Jon took a moment to observe Val.

She was thin - thinner than he'd ever seen her.

Her hair didn't seem as shiny and as blonde as it once was.

Her eyes were not quite as bright.

There was a hardness to her that Jon couldn't remember being there before and a bitterness that left him reeling.

This wasn’t the woman he’d hooked up with five years ago. She’d changed.

It made Jon's heart hurt that this was Mia's mother. His child was nothing like this cold and angry woman who kept complaining that Jon's terms were unfair and that it had been a misunderstanding and that Sansa was the unreasonable one.

Jon finally had enough. He rose, pissed off and ready to be done with this charade. No one in the right mind believed that Val was here for Mia.

Leaning on the table, his eyes bore into Val's. What he saw there shocked him. She was scared. Of what, Jon didn't know. But something.

"Our daughter's fifth birthday is this Saturday. This is your only chance to make it up to Mia. You will show up as a friend of the family and say nothing to Mia about who you are. As far as Mia is concerned, Sansa is her mother. You will show me and show Sansa and show our families that you wish to be part of Mia's life by putting her first for once.”

Her eyes had widened at his tirade, but Jon wasn’t done.

“This isn't about you, Val. This is about Mia. If you say anything to Mia or any parents about who you really are, we are done. If you upset Mia in any way, we are done. If you upset Sansa in any way, you guessed it, we are done. Are we clear? One last chance. That’s it.”

Val's eyes burned, but she said nothing, merely swallowing hard and nodding.

"Crystal."

"Good. One pm at my house. Don't be late."

With that, Jon stormed out of the office, needing air. He was calling Sansa before he'd even reached his SUV, having taken the rest of the day off.

"Hey, baby," she answered, breathless. Hearing her voice settled something inside Jon.

"Have dinner with me tonight," he blurted out.

"What?" she gave a little laugh.

"Come out with me. My mom can babysit Mia, and I want to wine and dine with you. Let me take you on a date, sweetheart."

"Oh! That sounds lovely. I'll ask Elia, but I'm sure she won't mind."

Happier now, Jon knew his mom wouldn't mind looking after Mia. Before he went home, he stopped at a flower shop and purchased four bouquets.

For his mother, he picked white and pink lilies since she loved them.

For Mia, some pink and yellow tulips that were bright and cheerful, just like her.

For Rhae, he didn't know the name of the flowers in a bouquet with purple and blue flowers but her liked it nonetheless and thought his sister would as well.

And for Sansa, three dozen red roses, all artfully arranged in a gorgeous hand-blown glass vase.

Delighted with the sale, the shop owner boxed it up for Jon and helped him carry it to his vehicle.

Mia spotted him first when he got home. She must have been in the sprinkler, for she was wearing her bathing suit and came rushing towards him. Jon grinned and made her his co-conspirator, having her help him with the flowers.

Jon found his mom, sister, and Sansa on the back deck with a pitcher of lemonade and their laptops out, talking fashion and catching up.

All three were delighted with the impromptu flower arrangements, and Jon swore Sansa had a tear in her eye when he gave her the roses.

"Mommy, do you like them?" Mia asked as Jon pulled Sansa into his arms.

"Too much?" he whispered into her ear. She shook her head and clung to him.

"Gods, no. I, I love how you are always thinking about me. Doing such nice things, Jon. It's amazing."

He kissed her, soft and gentle, thinking that if a few flowers made her this happy, she'd been dating the wrong men before. Which come to think about it was a good thing for him. Because he was now her only man.

"I love them, baby," Sansa said, answering Mia.

"Daddy got me my flowers as well," Mia said proudly, and Jon watched as Sansa knelt and made a big production out of Mia's bouquet – even going so far as to take their daughter inside the house to pick out a vase and find a special spot for them in the house.

Elia wrapped him in a hug, resting her head against Jon's chest.

"That is an incredible woman you've chosen," his mom said, both watching as Sansa and Mia's heads were close together, the two of them giggling about something.

"So, you're saying you'll babysit tonight?"

Elia threw her head back and laughed and then winked at him.

"I want more grandchild, Jon. Keep that in mind."

Jon could only grin. He wanted kids as well – and he wanted them with Sansa.

Soon, he thought, soon.

 


 

Friday, Jon got a surprise when Rhae showed up from a 'shopping trip' with a visitor.

Hardly believing his eyes, Jon's jaw dropped. He'd been left home alone to begin to 'prep' for the party the next day, which had turned into quite the event, while Sansa and his Mom and Mia had gone to the airport to pick up Dacey, and Rhae had done some last-minute shopping.

But now, standing in his backyard, quite unexpectedly, was his brother.

"JONATHAN!" Aegon cried.

Jon was grinning as Aeg strode over and wrapped him up in a big hug.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Jon asked.

Aegon snorted.

"You think I'm missing my niece's fifth birthday party?"

Something warm and fierce surged through Jon that his entire family had made the trip North for Mia.

"She'll be so happy to see you," Jon said, shaking his head.

"So, where is Sansa?" Aeg asked, glancing around the backyard. "I want to see if she's still as hot as I remember. And if she still thinks she chose the right brother."

Aegon winked at him, but Jon didn't take the bait. He was confident in how happy he made Sansa.

"Her, Mom and Mia went to the airport to pick up her friend Dacey. She's also staying here."

Thank God for his big house and the two unoccupied spare rooms they had.

"Dacey, huh? She hot?"

Jon grinned. "Oh, yeah, she is. Really hot. But you're not the sibling she'll be checking out."

Rhae stuck her tongue out at the both of them, but it was all good. Hell, it was better than good. It was amazing to have his entire family here.

The three of them were a few whiskeys in when Jon heard the garage door open.

"Do Mom or Mia know you're here?" Jon asked his brother.

Aeg grinned and shook his head.

"Nah. Bit of a surprise."

Jon could hear the different cadence of female voices from inside the house. Sansa's sweet melodic one. A huskier one with a northern accent that Jon knew to be Dacey Mormont. His mother's slightly accented voice, and then Mia's high-pitched chatter.

"Mommy says you make some of the very prettiest clothing she's ever seen," Jon could hear Mia saying.

Dacey chuckled. "Got yourself a live wire there, San."

The three women and Mia exited the house to find Jon, Rhae and Aegon waiting for them on the deck.

Jon had no idea where to look first.

Elia took one look at Aegon here and let out a happy scream, rivalled only by Mia, who charged at her uncle, wanting to be scooped up.

Dacey Mormont stuttered to a stop when she spied Rhae, who was wearing a loose, flowy top that slid off one shoulder and barely-there jean shorts that displayed miles of tanned legs.

Likewise, Rhae's drink was halfway to her mouth when she spotted Dacey Mormont, jaw slightly slack. Dacey was a tall woman, stacked with a tight top that displayed her assets best with her great ass on display in a yoga shorts, her dark hair almost purple in the sunlight.

Sansa was beautiful in her sundress as Jon opened his arms and she nuzzled his neck.

"Well seems our house will be quite full this weekend," she said.

Jon turned so he could give her a proper kiss. He was slightly buzzed and feeling good. Everything in his life was precisely what he wanted it to be, minus the unfortunate situation with Val.

"Mmmm," he said, kissing Sansa again, feeling his cock go half hard.

"Wonder if we can slip away," he whispered hotly into her ear, delighted by her little giggle.

They were interrupted by Elia, who was exclaiming loudly that her babies were all here and introducing Rhaenys to Dacey, both women doing nothing to hide their instant attraction to one another.

Jon laid an arm around Sansa's shoulders and smirked, confident and feeling good. It might be the whiskey talking, but either way, Jon was happy Sansa’s friend was here. He wondered how long until Dacey and Rhae were sharing a bed.

"Welcome to Wintertown, Dacey."

Dacey smirked at him.

"Oh boy, I see why Sansa was doing backflips for you. You're not even my type, and you're far too handsome for your own good.”

Jon laughed, relaxed and easy.

"I'm the worst hostess," Sansa said, realizing she hadn’t made proper introductions and quickly doing so. No one much minded.

They ordered in as no one wanted to cook and settled in with drinks to wait for their food, while Mia dashed around the backyard, and Sansa grilled everyone about last-minute birthday party preparations.

It didn't take long for Dacey and Rhae to gravitate to one another, finding out how much they had in common. Their attraction was evident to anyone with two eyes, and Jon caught more than one happy look on his mother's face.

Aegon was happy enough to chase Mia around the yard, and when Robb showed up, Jon was excited to introduce the two of them to each other, thinking that Robb and Aeg were similar in a lot of ways.

The three men ended up being shooed to the far end of the yard to smoke the cigars Aegon brought with him and gossip about their families.

"Damn shame those two women are making heart eyes at one another," Robb said, taking a sip of his drink and letting out a sad little sigh.

Jon and Aeg snorted as talk turned to the upcoming football and hockey seasons, jobs and life in general.

It wasn't until later when Mia was asleep and night had fallen, when Aegon finally broached the subject of Val.

Everyone knew the troubles they'd been having with her, so Jon didn't mind sharing in front of the group.

Aegon, though, looked upset.

"The thing is, I only found out by accident. It wasn't even like I was looking at Quentyn or anything but ---"

That put Jon on high alert.

"Wait a minute. You're saying Q had something to do with this?"

Aegon looked miserable.

"Yeah, Jon. Fuck, look, we all know he's always been jealous of you. It's fucked up, man. But apparently, he was more pissed off about you and Sansa hooking up than any of us knew. I have no idea how he even thought to look for Val, but he's the one who told her about you two. Said that you were serious. Told Val that Sansa was a big part of Mia's life."

"That fucker," Jon snarled, pissed off, before he looked at Sansa and saw she looked miserable.

"Love, what's wrong?" he asked.

"This is because of me? All the Val crap, it’s because I didn’t say yes to Quentyn?" she asked.

Jon instantly pulled her close.

"Gods, no, baby. Q is a jealous prick who couldn't handle when you didn't want him. He's always hated me, Sansa. You just rubbed salt in the wound."

She nodded against his chest, and Jon met his brother's eyes. He was fucking angry now.

"What else?"

Jon knew Aegon. He was fiercely loyal and protective. Once he had sniffed out Quentyn's involvement with Val, he would have kept on digging.

"It's fucked, Jon. According to Q, Val wasn't hard to track down. Her name is on the public record since you went to court over Mia when she was a baby. He hired a PI and found her, but she'd already been sniffing around you, hearing that you were hooking up with a Stark."

Aegon shrugged, looking decidedly uncomfortable. Both Robb and Sansa looked resigned as if they got why that was such a big deal.

"Look, I don't know. Even Q didn't seem to want to do much more than just stir shit up," Aegon finished. “All he said was he contacted her and told her about you and Sansa, hoping if she showed back up, you and Sansa might break up. That’s all he said his role in this was.”

Jon shook his head, confusion marring his handsome features.

"I've never been poor. You guys saw to that, and Elia put together that trust from our father for me. Sure, I'm set to make more money when I'm a double board-certified, but Jesus, if it was money Val wanted, why not just come to me for it?"

Aegon shrugged. "Not sure. Q got dodgy when I pressed. Even when I left him with a swollen jaw, he clammed up. But I think it's something you should ask the ex about. Her timing is suspicious, and it all smells fishy to me."

Jon agreed and regretted that Q's actions and Val's unknown intentions had destroyed the easy-going mood of the night. He was angry and confused, wondering what Val wanted. Sansa seemed to get that he needed time to process, so she made their excuses, showing Aegon his room, cleaning up and then finding him in their bedroom.

She came from behind and wrapped her arms around him and squeezed. Hard. His own hands covered hers.

"Want to talk about it?" she asked after they'd stood there for a time.

Jon sighed.

"No. But I should. I mean, fuck, San, I wasn't ever poor. I mean, I wasn’t rich, but it wasn’t like I was eating ramen noodles every night. And the Martell’s aren’t exactly paupers either. I don’t get it.”

He felt her nod into his back and then turned so he could look at her. He saw that she got it.

"What kind of mother doesn't come back for their child?" she asked quietly, echoing his thoughts.

That's what hurt the most – that all of this was some ploy to get money out of him. That Val had never been here for Mia.

"I know. Christ, was a fucking mess," he said, and Sansa hugged him hard.

Jon took comfort in her, leaned into her strength. This woman was Mia's mother. This was the woman he was building his future around.

As far as Jon was concerned, Val was nothing more than a bio-parent that had given Mia life and nothing more.

Sansa's hands found their way to his neck and cradled him close, her lips on his.

"I promise that I will love her enough for a mother that can't," she vowed to him and he knew she would. She’d proven that already.  

"I know, love, I know."

That was what made this entire situation bearable. Sansa loved Mia unconditionally.

Needing her, Jon scooped her up, striding across the room, placing her on the bed. He felt the hunger gnawing at him and hoped Sansa felt it too.

"Need to fuck you hard and deep, sweetheart. Need you to help chase away this darkness. Can you handle that?" he all but growled at her.

Sansa nodded and was discarding her clothing as soon as the words left his mouth. He hurried to do the same, wanting to feel the press of her naked flesh against his own.

"Fuck, you're stunning," he growled, his eyes feasting on her.

Sansa bit her lip, and batted her eyelashes and then leaned back, spreading herself out on their bed. The invitation was clear, and Jon gripped her thighs, pushing them apart. He leaned down, sniffed her and licked, finding her already soaked.

"Fuck what a good girl," he crooned, watching her cunt pulse with his praise.

Fuck, this woman was so responsive. He worked her over expertly, taking her clit in his mouth and sucking and nibbling on it, working his fingers into her pussy, loving how tight she was.

"That's it, baby, come for me," he demanded and felt her flood his face.

Jon smirked as he pressed a kiss to her thighs, seeing that she was barely sated. Knowing he could have her how he wanted, he quickly positioned her on his stomach, while he was on his back, facing away from him – reverse cowgirl style. He had plans for her ass.

"Ride me, I'm gonna play with this ass," he commanded, wanting to watch her fuck herself on his cock.

Sansa's grin was everything as she stroked his dick, and then worked him into her body, one slow inch at a time. She pushed herself up and slammed back down, using him for her pleasure while he spread her cheeks and exposed her puckered star to his greedy gaze. Half out of his mind watching her bounce up and down, she was moaning in delight, as he brushed his thumb over her asshole and saw it pulse.

She was ready for him to take her there, although he wanted an empty house and Mia to be at a sleepover with the grandparents when he fucked her ass. Anal sex, especially for a first timer wasn't to be rushed.

But oh gods, the idea of her ass yielding to his cock, as he fucked her virgin hole almost sent him over the edge. Thankfully, as he worked her cream over her ass, it gave way so he could sink his thumb inside her while his other hand played with her clit and she rode him hard, bucking and panting, grinding down, determined to come.

She fucking detonated on him, clutching at his thighs while she tensed, and both holes greedily gobbled up his thumb and his cock.

It was so fucking hot that he grunted and came in long, hot spurts inside her, watching it leak out of her and cover them both while she whimpered and rode out a third less intense orgasm.

Sansa collapsed on top of his legs, a dopey smile on her face, hair dishevelled, and his thumb still up to her ass even as his dick slid free. He grinned down at her.

"Fuck, you're a dirty girl, getting off on me playing with your ass."

She grinned at him and licked his thigh, which was oddly erotic and had his dick twitch.

"You like it. You want my ass."

He growled then and withdrew his thumb, using his other hand to smack her ass as she shrieked. Laughing, they rolled off the bed together while Sansa went to run a bath for them to share.

Yeah, the shit with Val was worse than Jon had thought, but he wasn't alone. Neither was Mia.

Holding Sansa in the bath, her favourite scent of lemons and lavender surrounding them, he pressed a gentle kiss to her neck.

"I love you so much, Sansa," he said, no other words needed.

Her eyes went all soft and warm, dream-like, as she leaned into the kiss.

"I love you too, Jon. So very, very much."

With that, he pulled her close, content to hold his future in his arms, knowing that tomorrow, once and for all, he dealt with his past and finally sent Val on her way.

His job was to protect his family – to protect those he loved. His loyalty was always and forever with Sansa and Mia, the two people who were his entire world. And tomorrow, he'd make damn sure Val knew that. 

 


 

Chapter Text


 

Mia's Birthday Party – Jon

 

The morning of Mia's birthday party flew by. Her actual birthday was Monday but celebrating ahead of time was a must for children, and Mia had woken him and Sansa by jumping into bed with them, chattering about the day to come.

Sansa had snuggled her close, giggling with her and asking her leading questions, such as what did she want for a present and what was she looking most forward to? Mia happily chatted with Sansa in her arms as Mia played with a lock of Sansa's long, red hair.

They were a picture, the two of them, one that was imprinted onto Jon's heart and soul. Watching them and seeing how easy they were with one another gave Jon a chance to reflect on the two women who had the most impact on Mia's life for vastly different reasons: Sansa and Val.

Val had given Mia life, and for that, Jon would always be grateful. But Sansa was Mia's mother.

Even in his wildest dreams, he'd never imagined he'd meet someone like Sansa. In some far-off future, he'd hoped he'd find a woman to share his life with – a woman that would come to love Mia as her own. But there had been a part of Jon that had his doubts – that had worried he’d be a single dad the rest of his life.

And then he’d gone home and literally run into Sansa. That instant connection, not only between him and Sansa but Sansa and Mia, had allowed Jon to open himself up to Sansa in a way he never previously had with a woman. The rewards of being in a relationship with Sansa were amazing and seemingly endless.

They had built a life together, with friends and family and a future in the North.

Jon had found his place, found his people, found where he belonged. And it was here, with Sansa in Wintertown.

And the moment he had his future, Val had swooped back into his life, doing her level best to destroy his happiness.

Aegon's revelations last night, that Q had something to do with Val's reappearance in Jon's life just as he'd found his dream woman, had sparked a kernel of anger inside of Jon that hadn't dissipated overnight. If anything, it burned brighter and hotter today.

Jon was slow to anger. He had never been a guy that had gone off half-cocked. Jon wasn't like Aegon and Robb, first-born sons who seemed to spout off at the slightest insult and then find their good humour again, quickly.

Becoming a surgeon was a competitive endeavour and allowing emotions to rule him wouldn't have helped him in his career choice.

But when Jon did finally work himself around to that level of wrath, it burned, intense and passionate. Val had ignited such anger within him, and Jon knew that whatever this bullshit that Val was pulling with him, ended now. Today.

Jon was fucking done with her and her games and her fucking with his life, and Sansa's and Mia's. He needed no more proof that Val wasn't here for Mia as he watched Sansa prepare his baby's fifth birthday party. Everything Sansa did was with Mia’s best interest at heart.

Sansa and her mom, his mom and Rhae, had done most of the work to make this day memorable for Mia.

Not Val.

Val hadn't even sent Mia a birthday card, in her entire young life. In four years, she'd never once shown any interest in their daughter.

Not until Jon was nearing the end of his gruelling schooling and started dating a Stark. Which was just far too big of a coincidence for Jon to ignore anymore. He'd wanted to give Val the benefit of the doubt, but more and more, it looked like she had come back into his life for some far more nefarious purpose that had nothing to do with getting to know her daughter.

Which both saddened Jon and made him feel highly sorry for Val but did nothing to cool the fury that he had for the woman, which was twisting in his guys, eating away at him.

As the morning progressed, with more of Sansa's family arriving at their house to prepare for the party, Jon held onto his rage and bitterness, saving it up for the inevitable confrontation that was about to take place with his ex.

He resented her even more that his anger for Val had robbed him of thoroughly enjoying this day for Mia.

Sansa, thankfully, in her constant state of wisdom and acceptance of him, had rolled with his tumultuous emotions, allowing him to see the love she had for him.

Fuck, he would never deserve that woman, but he swore to the gods that he'd do everything in his power to love her the best he could for the rest of his life.

Thankfully enough people were arriving, gushing over the party that Sansa had planned, that when Val did show up, Jon knew they could speak without causing too big a scene.

The birthday party was incredible. Even Jon could see that. Sansa had outdone herself.

He stood with a beer, greeting their guests and pointing out the various options for the children, all of whom went wide-eyed when they spotted the backyard, and then took off on a tear, eager to enjoy themselves.

And enjoy themselves they did.  

Sansa had set up various stations in the backyard, including a bouncy castle, a fashion runway, a costume station and a face painter; the kids and parents were all having a blast, intermingling with their family and friends.

Elia, along with Catelyn and Ned Stark, the consummate grandparent hosts, all doted upon their one grandchild and readily welcomed the rest of the children to the party.

Robb and Rhae made the parents feel at ease and operated different stations, ensuring no one went without drinks or food.

Arya, Gendry, Bran and Shireen, all were helping out where they were needed. Rickon was in charge of the bouncy house, but he seemed to be inside of it playing with the kids, making them giggle as much as doing his job.

Alys and Tormund were at the station where the kids could pick out a costume, while Toregg and Aegon were grilling burgers and hotdogs for the kids and parents alike.

Sansa had decided to give each of the kids a little shopping basket, and they could spend time at various 'stores' she'd planned – one with candy, another that made ice cream cones for the kids, one where the kids could 'order' their lunch, and yet another where they could pick out their favourite drinks.

Sansa has also set up 'adult' stations with alcoholic drinks and more sophisticated fare for lunch.  

Their entire back yard was filled with people, balloons, presents and laughter, along with a goodly amount of food and drinks.

The piece de resistance was a small runway where the kids were going to put on their own fashion show later – led, of course, by Satin himself, who was in the thick of it with the kids, painting their faces and being a star.

Dacey, also a dab hand at makeup, took pictures of the kids in their costumes at the photo booth that Sansa had designed and texted each parent the snapshots of their children in their outfits much to their collective delight. Rhae kept walking over to Dacey, brushing her hand along her back, or holding her hand. Jon was happy for them, and knew he’d have to speak with his sister later.

Jon heard more than one parent exclaim that this was the best birthday party they’d ever attended, which only made Jon’s pride in Sansa surge.

Jon was happy to see that several little boys at the party seemed to have no qualms about getting their faces painted or dressing up and that warmed Jon's heart.

More than one child had told Satin that he was the prettiest person here, and Satin and Tor had been overjoyed with not only the kids’ acceptance of him, but the parents as well. Jon knew that they wanted to be parents, but had some worries about how they would fit in. This party was proving that as parents, Satin and Toregg would be amazing.

Sansa had knocked this party out of the stratosphere, and even he knew it.

All their friends were here – along with several kids from Mia's daycare, and while the party was over the top, watching Mia's beaming face as she darted from station to station, yelling happily made it worth it.

"Your baby is going to wonder if she's done something wrong if you keep standing over here scowling," Ned Stark said, a knowing look on his face as he joined Jon, standing on the big deck, watching people having fun.

Jon had come to respect Sansa's father profoundly and knew that Sansa had told her parents what Aegon had learned about Quentyn.

In Jon’s mind, it said something that Ned didn't criticize him for being a fool when it came to Val. At least Jon thought so. He appreciated the hell out of Ned Stark and respected him even more for the words of advice the man was willing to give and the shoulder that he could lean on.

"I'm just so pissed at her. At myself, too, if I'm honest. I was such an idiot to let Val into our lives."

That was the rub. Jon had given Val chance after chance, even against the advice of others. And now, to find out that she'd likely been using him, well, it stung. It hurt. It made him feel like a fool.

Ned nodded thoughtfully, sipping a beer. Jon noted that Papa Ned already had a sparkly unicorn painted on one cheek. Mia's presence was everywhere. His daughter was so loved.

Ned squeezed Jon's shoulder.

"I won't pretend to know what you've gone through with your ex, nor how scary it must have been to raise that little girl on your own."

Jon swallowed hard. He'd never had a father before. He desperately appreciated Ned's perspective now.

"But I do understand giving Val the chances you have."

Jon's eyes widened. He had not been expecting that.

Ned chuckled.

"You're a good man, Dr. Snow. I knew the moment my lemon drop started talking about you that you were the one for her. She loves you, and she loves your little girl. Both of you are Sansa's. You’re her family. So that makes you part of our family. We look out for our own.”

Jon’s throat felt thick at the words that Ned was saying. The meant so much to him.

“Never doubt that one thing Sansa loves most about you, is your compassionate heart. She explained, passionately, how you wished to give Val this chance, how Mia was too young to make such a choice for herself. She's defended you, Jon, and how you've handled this entire situation."

It was quite the speech from a man like Ned Stark – one that Jon had never had a male figure make to him before.

“That means a lot,” Jon managed to croak out, before turning his head to find Sansa and gather himself.

She was looking at them and sent him a questioning look – as if to ask if her father was giving him a hard time. Jon shook his head and smiled at her.

Fuck he loved her. So goddamn much. So much that he sometimes woke up at night and just stared at her, wondering how she'd ever become his, vowing he’d do everything in his power to make her happy.

Which made this entire situation with Val all the worse. Because Jon's job, his most important job, was protecting his family – protecting the ones he loved. When he told that to Ned, the older man nodded wisely.

"It is. And you have. But men make mistakes. And perhaps you did, with Val, in a manner of speaking. But that woman has her own agenda. Mia is unaware of who she is and the damage she wanted to cause. So you did protect your daughter. End this today, Jon, and then put it out of your mind. You’re a good man.”

It was sage advice for Sansa's father and some that Jon planned on taking.

Once Val showed up.

As if she knew that he needed her, Sansa began to walk towards him, somehow having a kind word for everyone that wanted to gush at what a great party it was.

When she got to where he was standing, she gave her father a quick hug and then settled into Jon’s arms, resting her hand on his chest and brushing her lips across his.

"Any sign of her?"

Jon shook his head. And then, to distract them both, asked when Theon would be by. Sansa's grin was enormous.

"After all, the rest of the kids leave; when it's just family and close friends left."

Jon grinned. He couldn't wait for Mia to see their present. Those two dogs would send her over the moon, and truth be told, Jon was looking forward to expanding their family today.

It was his brother who alerted Jon to the fact that Val had arrived. All the Martells had been watching for her.

"Incoming," Aegon said, sotto voice to Jon.

"You guys go," Ned said, locking eyes with his wife and his eldest son. "We've got this."

"Thanks," Jon said, motioning to his mom and sister, knowing they wanted their say in this. He also knew he could count on the Starks and their friends to keep the party running smoothly. His life had changed so much in the time since Sansa had come into it.

It felt good to have his mom and siblings by his side, and Jon locked his fingers with Sansa as they stepped inside the house and closed the door to the party in the backyard. There was no way Jon needed nosy eavesdroppers when it came to his private business.

To her credit, Val did have a brightly wrapped present in her hand, and for a moment, Jon wondered if he'd gotten it all wrong.

But her eyes were distant and disengaged as she slid the present onto the island, facing Jon, Elia, Aegon, Rhae and Sansa.

"So, this is how it's gonna be, huh?" she sneered, and Jon's guts twisted. There was nothing pleasant about this woman in front of him, and he knew that this was going to be brutal.

"I know you've spoken to my nephew. Quentyn. I am not sure what he promised you but let me assure you that you will not see a single dime of our money. You will not blackmail or extort my son or my family," Elia snarled, a mother fully prepared to defend her child. To defend Jon.

Jon wanted to smile with the utter devotion this woman had shown him his entire life. He, more than anyone, knew that a parent-child bond was not defined by biology. It was a choice.

"Stay out of it," Val snapped. "You have no idea what I've been through, and Jon, well, he's led a charmed life."

At that, Jon snorted. He didn't know anyone that referred to his life as 'charmed.' An orphan at age two, wearing the stain of his parent's affair, taken in and raised by the very people who could have abandoned him, Jon had always felt the need to prove himself worthy – to prove that he wasn't his father's son.

Beyond that, Jon wasn’t going to let Val berate Elia. Or Sansa. Or anyone ever again.

"Enough, Val. This ends today. I'm not sure why you're here, but if you come clean, I'm sure we can work something out. But cut the bullshit. We all know it's not for Mia," Jon said, voice immovable.

Sansa was by his side, and she was also frowning at Val. There was no warmth for his ex in this kitchen.

There was a bitter laugh from Val, who shook her head.

"The untouchable families of Westeros. I should have known you were always just slumming it with me. Of course, you'd end up with a fucking Stark, all fucking goo-goo eyed over her and her precious pedigree."

Before he knew it, Jon slammed his fist down on the island.

"STOP! You left me, Val. Don't rewrite history. I fucking begged you to stay."

"You weren't even in my bed, Jon. We were barely roommates, for fuck sakes. Do you think that's what I wanted?"

Jon snorted and shook his head.

"You and I were over long before Mia came. You knew what the deal was when we hooked up. You knew what I could offer when Mia came. And you agreed to it and then you still left. Fuck, even when we went to court, I asked you, repeatedly, not to give up all your rights. But that was what you wanted, Val. I'm not the fucking bad guy in this story!"

Jon took a deep breath trying to settle himself, but it had all just bubbled out. No, he and Val weren’t in love. They never had been. For her to make it seem like they had been was a lie.  

"Last chance. Tell us the truth, or fucking leave. And so, help me god, the moment you walk out that fucking door, I'm calling my lawyer and putting a restraining order on you. I'll do whatever I have to in order to protect my family," Jon growled, drawing Sansa closer to him.

There was a flash of something in Val's eyes – regret or envy. Jealousy maybe. Then it was gone, and instead, the bitter woman was back.

"You didn't even look for me, did you?" Val asked, cocking her head.

"Look for you? You fucking left us," Jon said, confused and angry.

Why did she always try to blame him? She had known as well as he did exactly what their relationship had been. Now she was rewriting history to suit her own narrative. It pissed Jon off even more.

"I bet if Sansa left you, you'd move heaven and earth to track her down."

Jon had nothing to say to that. Val was probably right, although Jon knew Sansa would never leave – not like how Val had. Val waved a hand.

"Not that it matters, but …."

She paused and looked at the five people ranged in front of her. In the quiet of their kitchen, Jon could hear the party out back – a party they were missing. Missing because of Val and her drama and her bullshit. Jon was sick of it.

"You're wasting your time, Val. Speak, or leave. For good."

With that, she picked at a nail, her eyes sliding away from his. When she spoke, her gaze was fixated on a picture on the fridge – one of the three of them – him and Sansa and Mia at the park. One that Mia had drawn with the word Mommy over the red-haired lady.

"I wasn't lying about the post-partum. I wasn't lying to you when you asked if that's what was going on back then. I just didn't have the ability to identify it at the time," Val said, not meeting his eyes.

Sansa squeezed his hand, and Jon knew that she would feel empathy for Val. He did as well. But he also remembered pleading with Val to get help – only to be ignored.

Val shrugged.

"I mean, I'm not saying that had I been willing to admit what I was going through, things would have been different. Honestly, looking back, I'm not even sure why I kept the pregnancy."

Sansa and Elia both reacted to that, but Jon thought it was one of the first sincere things Val had ever said.

Obviously, he was glad she hadn't had an abortion, but he also felt for the first time that he saw the impact that having Mia had on Val's life. An impact that neither one of them could have anticipated.

No one said a word, waiting for Val to continue.

She sighed heavily.

"I'm not sure that even if I had received help, that having a child was the life I wanted. I felt stifled. Even now, I don't know how you do it," she said, shaking her head at him.

Jon couldn’t identify with that feeling. Mia was his entire world. Mia and Sansa.

"Surely something had to happen for you to come back into my life now?" Jon pressed. He was glad Val was opening up, but she still wasn’t telling the whole truth.

"A car accident. About eighteen months after I left you guys. It was bad, and I ended up on some pretty heavy-duty painkillers."

Outwardly, Jon didn't react. Inside, he recoiled. He'd dealt with one too many similar stories. An accident. Overwhelming pain. Perception drugs for pain management, and then before the patient knew it, they were hooked. It was a story that repeated again and again and one that as a doctor, Jon had seen far too often.

"How long have you had a problem?" Jon asked, going into doctor mode. Now that he knew, they could find a solution. This wasn’t an insurmountable problem. There were good programs out there.

Val grimaced.

"Look, I do my job. I have friends. A life. I'm managing."

Jon scoffed.

"Managing? That's why you call your behaviour?"

"My behaviour?" she screeched.

Jon nodded, putting pieces of the puzzle together, now that he had more of the picture.

"You're erratic. Emotional. Angry and standoffish. You have a hard time relating to people, and you can't connect with your daughter. So, I'm going to ask you again, how long have you had a problem?" Jon demanded, not backing down.

Val bit her lip and once again picked at her fingernails before pushing her hair back.

"I've moved around, for the past few years, to different hospitals, but it's caught up with me. I can't get any more prescriptions, and no one will hire me. Except for Wintertown, but I think that was only because I said I knew you. I was managing," she stressed, though Jon knew she wasn't.

It was only her own determination that didn't have her turning to something worse. And that made him scared – for her. Jon didn’t love Val. He never had. But fuck, he’d seen what happened when patients who were cut off of their pain killers turned to harder stuff to get that fix. No matter what he felt for Val, she was Mia’s biological mother.

"And Q? What happened with him? How did he become involved?" Aegon asked, while Jon’s mind was racing.

She glared at his brother.

"I was at Karhold when his man approached me. He offered me a big payday to come back and get between Jon and his new girlfriend. That was the play. I was supposed to try to break them up. That was all."

"How much?" Jon ground out, unable to believe it.

Val shrugged. "Ten grand upfront and another ten grand if it worked."

Jon felt sick thinking what Quentyn had set in motion. And how he'd known none of this. Not about Val's post-partum. Not her car accident. Not her problem with pain pills. She was a stranger to him. Jon couldn't even think about how she'd taken money to do – to split him and Sansa up. It disgusted him.

Mia was happy. Jon was finally settled. Their life was good.

And Val had tried to ruin that – on purpose, for a measly twenty-grand.

"And Mia? Our daughter? Does she mean nothing to you?" Jon seethed.

That got a reaction from Val. She started to shake, digging her nails into the palm of her hand, her cheeks suddenly wet. But her eyes were angry and accusatory as if Jon had stepped over some imaginary line.

He let Sansa's hand go, stalking closer to Val, so he invaded her space. Rarely had Jon ever felt the need to be so aggressive, but Val made him furious.

"No. God, no, Jon. I mean, fuck, when Quentyn first approached me, I didn't really think – I mean, he made it sound like Sansa wasn't staying in the North and that she was just using you to get closer to your mom. And I don't know. I mean, it's not like I haven't thought of Mia over ---"

Once again, Jon slammed his fist down on the counter, his rage barely contained. Val flinched, but he didn't care.

"Five years, Val. Five fucking years and not a card or a present or a visit. Not one. So, don't fucking lie."

Val was right in his face.

"I had no idea what I was giving up. And yeah, seeing the three of you, it hurt. I began to think that could have been us."

Jon gave a disgusted shake of his head.

"That was never us, Val."

She shook her head.

"Fine. Whatever. I know that. But watching Sansa with Mia, I wanted that. I was jealous, but the more I tried to connect with Mia, the less I did. I don't know how to do this. And seeing all of this, I realized what I had lost."

Jon snorted.

"You never had this. Never had what Sansa and I have. Mia, yeah. She was yours. I would never have kept your daughter from you. But me? We weren't in love. You knew that."

There was a pain in her blue eyes that had Jon questioning everything. For the first time, he wondered if he'd misread the entire situation. Had Val loved him? Had he missed it?

Her laugh was bitter. "Maybe not. I don't know. But I know if I hadn't left, you'd have stayed with me. Even if we were in separate rooms. And after a while, who knows what would have happened. Maybe all of this could have been mine."

Jon felt sick that she was still thinking about the material things she could have had if she'd stayed – and not what being a mother to Mia would have meant.

"Stop. You don't get to do this. You don't get to rewrite history. So, fuck you, Val. We're done. And just so you know, I'm calling my lawyer right now. Any time you want to be near my daughter, you'll have to pass a drug test. Tell me, were you ever high around her?"

For once, Jon let his temper rule him, and the results weren't pretty. But he was done with this woman and her manipulations. How his sweet and joyful daughter had come from this woman, Jon would never know.

Val paled and began to shake, wrapping thin arms around her middle. It was only Sansa's hand on his back, stroking lovingly, that calmed Jon down.

That was when his training kicked back in. Addiction was a disease and likely not helped by harried doctors who were only too willing to throw pain pills at patients instead of working with them to find alternative solutions.

He spun away, dragging a hand through his hair, pulling Sansa close. She held him tight, whispering nonsensical things to him. Meanwhile, his family crowded Val, angry and demanding to know more about Q and his role in this entire affair.

"I'm so sorry, sweetheart," Jon whispered, pressing a soft kiss to the shell of Sansa's ear.

Christ, what a fucking ness. He closed his eyes, hoping that Sansa understood where he was going with his thoughts. When he opened his eyes, Jon found Sansa's compassionate gaze on his.

"She needs help, Jon."

Amazed by her, Jon nodded.

"Yeah, baby, she does."

Sansa's mouth curved up, her smile so warm and loving.

"You're a good man, Jon."

He held her for a moment, savouring her goodness.

"You're an amazing woman, Sansa. Everything I ever wanted in my life. You’re the love of my life," he rasped, his voice thick with the emotions he was feeling.

Shockingly enough, they'd only been inside for fifteen minutes. But suddenly, that was ten minutes too long. Jon was missing his baby's birthday party. And that wouldn't do.

They turned back to Val, together, to hear Elia Martell promising that Quentyn would pay for his role in this mess before Elia muttered a string of curses and then let out a sigh. Jon bit his lip as Sansa glanced up at him.

"What's going on?" Sansa asked.

"Watch and see how amazing my mother is," Jon said, knowingly.

Elia levelled a look at Val that had the blond woman shrinking into herself.

"I have never made it a secret how I felt about the two of you. I never thought you were right for one another. There was no love there. But you made a child, together. And I was prepared to welcome you into our lives, if only as Mia's mother."

Elia's lips pursed as she looked at Jon, who nodded. He knew what his mother was thinking. And it was time to do the right thing.  

"Val, you need re-hab," Jon said, with the full support of his family and Sansa.

"We will pay for it," he started to say before Vale interrupted him.

"No, Jon. That's not for me."

She gave him a sad smile and a shake of her head, the tears now flowing freely down her cheeks.

"You're a great dad. And Sansa, well, she is who Mia needs. Not me."

Jon didn't protest. Right now, Mia didn't need Val in her life. Val wasn't fit to be around his daughter.

"The offer remains open. I'm sorry, Val, but you cannot be around Mia until you're clean and sober. I have to contact my lawyer and put things in motion – to protect Mia."

Val nodded her head. "I know."

She sniffed, and Jon did feel for her. But not enough to back down from this. His job was to protect Mia. And that's what he was doing.

Val pushed the present towards Jon.

"One day, when it's right, tell her I wasn't always like this. And give her this for me."

Jon promised he would, and then Rhae and Aegon gently guided Val towards the door, walking her out of Jon and Mia's life, leaving him and Sansa with Elia.

His mother gave a sad sigh and cupped Jon's face.

"I am sorry, Jon, that this has happened," she whispered, clearly disturbed by what she'd learned. “She needs help but if she won’t take it, you must do what is best for Mia.”

"I'm just glad that the truth is out there. Now I can take steps to protect my family."

Elia nodded and then slipped outside, giving Jon and Sansa some privacy. For a moment, Jon heard the party outside but was focused on the woman that was his future. The woman he loved.

"How are you doing, honestly?" Sansa asked, brushing her lips against his. Jon returned the kiss, sinking into her warm embrace.

"I am … oddly relieved, and yet, I feel sad for her. I know all about addiction from pain medication, and I know that post-partum is real. But fuck, the fact that she'd take money from Q to try to break us up," Jon said, shaking his head.

"Little bastard," Sansa muttered. "When I get a hold of him."

Jon laughed, stroking her cheek. "Vicious little thing. I'd pay money to see that."

Her eyes went all dark and stormy, and Jon knew that whatever he wanted to do to Quentyn, Sansa's way would be that much more entertaining. And lord knew that Elia wouldn't let this go. Q would feel their wrath.

Jon sighed and looked at Sansa.

"If she does reach out for help one day---"

"Then we help her," Sansa finished. "Jon, this is Mia's biological mother. Of course, we will help her."

Jon should have known that would be Sansa's answer. Her heart was so giving.

"You're amazing; you know that, right?"

Sansa grinned. "Yup. I am." She smacked her lips against his and grabbed his ass, winking at him.

"Call Roose. Give him the information that he needs to get things done, and then join us outside. Don't let her ruin anything else, Jon."

He nodded. "I will. But first, let me remind you how much I love you."

Sansa beamed at him.

"Bet that great ass of yours you love me.”

Jon barked out a laugh, oddly relieved. Val was finally out of their lives. And he and Sansa were stronger and more committed than ever.

“Five minutes, Jon. Mia has a design picked out for your face and a costume she wants you to wear."

He chuckled warmly and promised he would be right along, taking out his phone and making what he hoped was one last call to Roose Bolton, praying that somehow Val would find the courage to reach out for help.

Not for him. Not even for Mia. But for herself.

After he hung up with Roose, who was livid, Jon pushed Val from his mind. It was out of his hands now.

He'd done what he needed to do. And now it was time to celebrate his daughter's birthday with his family, friends, and Sansa by his side. It was time for Jon to plan for his future with Sansa and Mia, safe, loved and happy, and right here, in Wintertown, where Jon knew they all belonged.

 


 

Chapter Text

 


 

Mia's Birthday Party – Sansa

 

Sansa felt Jon before she saw him, as he re-joined the party, done with his conversation with Roose. She was pleased it was over quickly, if only for his sake. Sansa had a lot of sympathy for Val, and she hoped the woman got help, for her own sake. As horrible as it was to say, it felt like Val had taken a lot of their time and energy lately, and Sansa wanted Jon to focus on his daughter and how much fun she was having at her party.

Sansa was talking to the parents of one of the little boys at Mia's daycare when Jon slid his hand around her hip and pulled her close as his lips grazing her forehead. Sansa leaned into him, taking comfort from his presence.

The past hour had been heavy, far too heavy for a day that was supposed to be filled with happy giggles and smiling faces.

Maybe there would be those that wouldn't understand how Sansa could feel sorry for Val, but she did. That didn't excuse the poor choices she'd made, nor how she'd taken money to try to break her and Jon apart, but it was apparent that Val had some demons. All they could do was ensure that their offer for help remained open and hope that she took them up on it.

However, Sansa wanted to focus on Mia – on the first birthday party that Sansa had planned for their daughter.

"Everything good?" Sansa asked Jon, turning her head slightly, missing how the couple looked at them, slightly envious.

It was apparent that Sansa was very well-loved by Dr. Jon Snow. Many parents had gossiped, good-naturedly of course, about the type of woman the handsome doctor would eventually fall in love with. Most were pleased it was someone as kind-hearted and loving as Sansa Stark.

"Yeah, sweetheart, everything is great."

Sansa saw the truth in his eyes. Hearing the reason Val had done what she had settled something within Jon. Sansa was pleased.

They made small talk with the couple and then politely excused themselves, hands linked as they wandered throughout the yard. Everywhere Sansa looked, the party she had planned was going off without a hitch. The latest hit was the woman she hired that made balloon creations for the kids, a group of them standing there and jumping up and down, clapping their hands as she spun magical creatures out of the colourful balloons for their eager hands.

John wrapped an arm around Sansa’s shoulder and pulled her close, his lips on her forehead once again. Sansa loved how much Jon adored public displays of affection. He was a tactile man, and he always made it known that they were together.

"This is amazing," he told Sansa.

There was a note of awe in his voice, his respect for her party planning skills was evident.

She laughed.

"It's totally over the top."

She knew it was. But she didn't care. Sansa shrugged.

"But I figured it was my first kick at a kid's birthday party, so you know, go big or go home."

Jon chuckled just as they heard Mia's happy cry in time to see her uncles Aegon and Robb done their costumes. Alys had somehow procured adult-sized costumes of famous Disney characters. Both were now decked out as different princes, much to Mia's delight.

"Daddy, Mommy, LOOK!" she cried happily, almost bouncing, pointing at them, as Aeg and Robb ‘fought’ with foam swords, drawing a crowd of delighted four and five-year-olds to their impromptu melee.

Jon scooped Mia up into his arms, tickling her belly as she giggled and cuddled into him.

"Good party, baby?" he asked.

"The best, Daddy. The best ever!"

Hearing that made Sansa inordinately happy, all the hard work paying off.

"Mommy said it was going to be fun, and it is."

Sansa leaned over and kissed Mia's cheek, watching as her baby giggled. It was all the thanks that Sansa needed, seeing how much fun Mia was having.  

"Daddy, let's get your face painted. Uncle Satin is the best."

The three of them, holding hands, walked towards that station, and Jon sat down, allowing Mia to pick his design – a white wolf with sparkles. Sansa got a matching wolf on her face, making Mia extremely pleased, and Sansa let her drag Jon towards the bouncy house castle while she checked on the food and prepared for the cake and fashion show.

One thing her mother had instilled in Sansa was how to be a good hostess, and it was something Sansa took a great deal of pride in. It wasn't expected of her from Jon – he didn't view her as the little woman that had to mingle and greet their guests and make sure everyone was enjoying themselves. It was something Sansa enjoyed doing. She liked making their home comfortable for their guests.

After checking that the food and drinks were good, Sansa found her mom and Elia together, talking with a group of parents. Sansa leaned against her mom, who pressed a kiss to Sansa's cheek.

"How is Jon, honey?" Catelyn asked, clearly worried about him. There was no hiding how much her parents loved Jon Snow.

Sansa gave her mom a warm smile.

"Good, mom."

Later Sansa and Jon would tell her parents what Val had disclosed, but not here. Not now. Now was for Mia.

The afternoon was warm and sunny, and soon enough, Sansa gathered the kids, along with Satin, Rhae, and Dacey, and helped organize them into a bit of fashion show before they did the cake. A surprising number of dads sporting sparkling face paint wished to join the fashion show, including Jon.

Satin seemed a bit stunned at the sheer level of acceptance for him as Mia clung to him and made him promise they'd walk down the runway together.

Sansa had Rhae find her the mics they used in a real fashion show, and together they got the kids all organized as Rickon manned the stereo, music pumping. The group of kids, half boys, half girls, were eager to get out onto the make-shift runway, all of them wearing different costumes or dresses provided by Alys.

"Ready, buttercup?" Satin asked Mia, his hand in hers. They were going to start the fashion show off, and for a moment, Sansa wondered if Mia would turn shy.

She shouldn’t have worried at all.

Mia beamed up at Satin and gave him a high-five.

"Yup."

Satin, decked out in a beautiful silver dress, with matching Jimmy Choos, led the way, strutting down the runway with Mia beside him. Mia hammed it up, naturally, and Sansa wondered if her daughter would follow her into the fashion industry. Both Elia and Catelyn called Mia's name, loudly and the little girl preened for her nanas.

Sansa giggled at the sight they made while people took pictures and cheered them on.

Mia stopped at the end of the runway, spotted her Papa Ned, and waved at him.

Sansa's heart just about melted as her father, one of the most powerful and influential men in the North, with his painted unicorn face, came onto the runway to walk with Mia and Satin.

It was a statement moment, and Sansa turned, pleased to see Theon had arrived. He was standing beside Robb, who had an arm hooked around the thinner man's shoulders, their heads close together. It was apparent that they were making amends, and Sansa was happy for both of them.

After Ned escorted Mia and Satin to the end of the runway, the show went on. Father after father walking with their child on the runway to hoots and hollers from the crowd gathered. Everything had been upended in the most wonderful way possible and Sansa was living for it and the acceptance she’d found in the North.

When Satin got back with Mia, he handed her off to Jon and wrapped Sansa up in a big hug.

"San, I just can't believe that all these big burly men are doing this for their kids!"

Sansa nodded, watching one little boy who'd decided upon a princess dress walk with his dad down the runway. She leaned her head against Satin's shoulder.

"I know, right? It's amazing."

There were great cheers when all the dads and kids went back onto the runway for one last strut and then an even bigger cheer when Satin was called back out, scooping Mia up and sashaying down the runway with her.

Afterward, many moms swarmed Sansa, utterly captivated and delighted by their husbands and how much fun the party was. Sansa also noted how warm and welcoming all the parents were to Toregg, who was a hit with the suburban moms, trading cooking recipes and talking about furniture. The big guy wore a dopy, happy smile on his face, and Sansa knew that he'd finally gotten all the confirmation he'd need to proceed with the family he wanted.

With help from her mom and Elia, they prepared the cake – a Little Mermaid-themed creation that could feed the lot of them. It took all three women to bring it outside to the picnic table where the little kids sat, Mia's eyes going so wide she looked like a bug as she got her first glimpse of the cake Sansa had made for her. It was yet another one of Sansa’s many talents.

Jon chuckled.

"Breathe, Mia-bug."

They sang a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, and Mia blew out all but one candle and then promptly noted that her boyfriend was Toregg, much to everyone's delight.

Sansa dished up cake and ice cream and then presided over the gift exchange from the friends. Presents from family were going to be done tonight when the friends had left.

Mia was a gracious little girl, happily thanking her friends for her presents. Sansa was pleased to note the parents had taken her advice to go for things that would challenge the little girl's imagination, and no one spent too much money on a gift, thank goodness.

Sansa was about to hand out goody bags when Robb, Aegon, Ric, Dacey, and Rhae showed up with totes of water guns and water balloons. The afternoon was hot, and the kids were ecstatic, and an enthusiastic water fight ensued, until finally, near 5 pm, Sansa and Jon thanked the last of Mia's friends for coming, left with just the clean-up and their close family and friends at their house.

With help, they got their backyard organized, although the bouncy house castle was staying overnight. Ned and Cat had ordered a catered dinner for the exhausted group, and another large table of presents appeared, as did coolers of beer, more bottles of wine, and a make-shift bar operated by Ric and Aegon, who had become fast friends.

Sansa sought out Theon, finding him laughing with Robb, Dacey, and Rhae. Sansa swore that Robb was flirting with Theon, who kept blushing but smiling at her brother.

Sansa had never seen Robb so – calm. And happy. Content.

He kept throwing his arm around Theon, and Sansa saw Theon rest his hand on Robb's back.

"Love is in the air," Jon murmured, brushing his lips across the nape of her neck, his arms coming around the rest on her tummy. She smiled and shook her head.

"I just want them to be happy."

"Me too, sweetheart, me too." Jon slipped his hand into hers, and together, they approached the group, wondering where the dogs were. It was nearing 6 pm, and Sansa was eager to see Mia's face before she got cranky and tired from her long day.

Theon grinned at Sansa’s unasked question

"They're at my place. I didn't know when you wanted them to come. But I have their stuff here. I just need help unloading it."

Robb and Jon were eager to volunteer, the three guys promised they'd be back soon. Sansa watched them disappear into the house and then turned to Rhae and Dacey, who were holding hands.

She grinned at them.

"I knew you two would hit it off."

Dacey just gave Sansa a big, shit-eating grin, pulling Rhae close and kissing her soundly.

"You can hardly take credit for this one San," Dacey said, giving her friend a hard time. “She’s so hot.”

Sansa laughed.

"Oh, I can. I'm just so happy for the both of you."

Rhae wrapped her arms around Dacey and swayed against the gorgeous woman from Bear Island. They were a stunning couple.

"Aunt Rhae, is this your girlfriend?" Mia asked, appearing out of nowhere.

Sansa opened her arms, and Mia snuggled in, happy but tired. She rested her head against Sansa's shoulder as Sansa rocked her.

"Yeah, bug, this is my girlfriend," Rhae said, getting a nod of approval from Dacey.

"She's nice," Mia said, and Dacey gave Mia a high-five.

The women managed to distract Mia for a while by helping her carry and arrange her new presents inside. Jon had stuck all the dog stuff in the garage, so Mia was happily oblivious. In the time that the guys were gone, the caterers arrived with good – a veritable feast of different options, and everyone dug in until Sansa received a text that she'd been waiting for. Mia was sitting with Bran and Meera, entertaining them with her antics, when Sansa heard Jon's SUV pull up. She slipped away to go and meet the guys, squealing in delight as she saw the dogs.

Lady, the sassy girl that she was, gave Sansa her typical husky greeting, while Ghost bumped and rubbed against Sansa.

She was in the middle of a doggie pile but looked up at Theon, worried what this meant. Sansa would be devastated to have to give up these dogs, and she'd barely spent an hour with them.

"Are you sure?" she asked him, one last time.

Theon, who looked the happiest Sansa had ever seen him, nodded.

"I'm 100% sure, Sansa. I need to go back to Pyke to settle things with my family, and while I will be coming back to Winterfell, I know these guys need more exercise than I can give them. This feels right."

Theon looked to Robb, who nodded and rested a hand on Theon's shoulder.

"He is coming back, Sansa, but he also knows these are your dogs. Call it karma or fate, or just good luck. But these guys are yours. When Theon is back, he can look at getting another dog."

Somehow, the way Robb said it, Sansa knew that there was far more going on between the two men than Robb was saying. But Sansa wouldn't pry. Theon looked relaxed and confident, and there was a light in his eyes when Theon spoke of coming back to Wintertown. Sansa would let them figure it out.

Jon helped her to her feet as Sansa took Lady's leash, and Jon took Ghost, and together, hand in hand, they entered their backyard.

Sansa caught Bran's eyes, saw her brother wink as everyone there quieted to watch the show. Robb and Theon were behind Jon and Sansa, who strolled with the two dogs. Bran nudged Mia, and everyone heard what he said.

"Bug, I think Mommy and Daddy have your birthday present."

Mia's head swivelled, her eyes landing immediately on the dogs. She trembled, then her face split into a wide grin, and she was hurrying away from the picnic table towards them. Both Lady and Ghost went to their bellies as the little girl crashed into them, happy squeals coming from her as she threw herself into the dogs, who were sniffing and licking her, making Mia giggle. It was a pile of happy little girl and two thrilled dogs.

"Yeah, this is perfect," Theon said as the rest of their group came to meet the two newest members of the Stark-Snow household.

Rickon was on the ground with Mia, the dogs all over him. Bran and Arya weren't far behind. All the Stark children had grown up with dogs their entire lives and it was maybe the one thing missing from their adult lives. Sansa knew that Ghost and Lady would be well loved by those here.

Ned wistfully wrapped an arm around Cat and wondered out loud if they should get a dog. Catelyn snorted and reminded Ned of how much work they were, but Sansa sensed that was a conversation that wasn't over.

Jon's family was slightly more reserved with the dogs. Jon explained that the Martells had hairless cats that had to be pampered and taken care of but were still cats – with their attitudes and no hair.

Aegon and Rhae both seemed utterly delighted by Lady, who was now in her element, 'talking' to everyone. Elia was happy for them, but Sansa could tell she was worried about dog hair. It was a small price to pay to see Mia so happy.

They did a tour of the house with the dogs, the guys helping get crates, bowls, x-pens, food, toys, and leashes all settled away. There were two dog beds with the dog's names emblazoned on them, and Sansa knew how much Theon must love them. She found her friend and, without saying a word, hugged him hard.

"Come back," she whispered into his chest, a bit broken-hearted he was leaving.

Theon chuckled and promised her he would, but he wasn’t looking at her. He was looking elsewhere, to someone that held his heart, Sansa was starting to suspect.

Sansa followed his gaze to Robb and saw heart eyes in Theon's expression.

"He's a good guy. I think he's just been waiting for the right person," Sansa said softly.

"Yeah. He is a good guy."

"So are you," she told Theon.

His lips quirked.

"It won't bother you if I come and visit the dogs when I'm back?"

Sansa shook her head vehemently and squeezed Theon's hand.

"God NO. No, no-no-no. Come over as much as you want. As you can see, we're kind of a revolving door around here and the more, the merrier."

They heard a little squeal and turned to see Satin hop into Toregg's arms, the big man easily holding his guy as Ghost sniffed at Satin's creamy thigh.

"He's licking me," Satin complained.

Tor rumbled out a laugh.

"That's cause your body lotion is brown sugar."

Satin seemed to think that was a logical explanation and nodded before kissing Tor.

"I never thought ---" Theon paused and shook his head, giving Sansa a rueful grin.

"Never thought what?" She probed, quietly.

Theon was quiet. "I never thought people like Satin and me and even Tor would be accepted in the North. It's nice, San."

It was more than nice she knew. It had been desperately needed. The North had been slower than other regions to accept those that were different.

"Do not be a stranger," Sansa told Theon, catching her brother looking at Theon as if he desperately wanted to spend each minute with him before he left. That made Sansa happy. She pecked Theon's cheek.

"I don't think my brother will let you be gone for very long."

Theon looked delighted by that idea, and Sansa slipped away as Robb joined them, the two of them in their own world.

With the party now done and successfully in the books, Sansa gratefully accepted a glass of wine. Someone had built an enormous fire in the backyard, and Sansa found Dacey and Satin chatting away about their fashion show idea for the North. Ironically, many kids today had inspired them. They wanted to turn everything on its head for their first major show, and Sansa giddily joined them, knowing they had something spectacular planned.

They were caught up in their little world when a cough alerted Sansa that Elia was onto them.

She wore a bemused expression on her face as she gazed at the three of them.

"Enough. Out with it. Tell us what you three ridiculously talented people are planning.”

Never one to shy away from the challenge, Dacey and Satin nodded, and Sansa dashed inside while the others set up a screen with the projector against the back fence. Sansa, being the organized, anal-retentive fashion executive she was, had made a video presentation for their vision. She tweaked a few things before she headed outside, nerves dancing.

It had gotten darker, night coming earlier now that it was mid-August. The heat from the day was still evident, though, and Sansa paused for a moment as she looked at those gathered.

Rickon, chatting with Bran, Meera, Arya, and Aegon.

Dacey, Rhae, and her father, of all people having a heated discussion.

Mia was on Catelyn's lap.

Robb, Theon, and the two Tor's talking about something.

Alys was standing with Gendry and Jon, and Sansa, for the life of her, could not figure out what they could possibly be saying to one another. But it didn't matter because everyone here was getting along.

This was the family Sansa chose. Friends that more than just friends and family that were their friends. These people were everything Sana wanted in this life.

Elia took her seat, front and center, alongside Rhae and Aegon. This was, after all, business. Jon winked and gave Sansa a thumbs up as she plugged in her laptop and began her presentation.

They had worked hard on it, and it showed, pitching a Northern fashion show that challenged the status quo. It wasn't just about using male models when most would typically use females to promote a women's clothing line; it was about creating clothing from products, fabrics, and dyes found only in the North.

They wouldn't shy away from traditional practices, nor fabrics that people in the North had been using for decades to survive – humanly sourced leather and furs.

The designers, venue, and models would all be from the North.

When it ended, Sansa grasped Dacey and Satin's hands, and they waited for Elia's verdict. She said nothing, cocking her head.

"You wish the launch the spring line of your new label like this?"

Sansa knew it was a gamble. No one took the North seriously in the industry, and her designers were unknown. But she believed in herself and Dacey, Alys and Satin.

"Yes, Dacey, Satin and Alys will all work under my label. We will use this show to launch Stark Fashion House, a division of House of Martell. And we will do so a full week before fashion week in Lannisport," Sansa said.

Elia arched an elegant eyebrow.

"That is four weeks away, Sansa. I've seen your work; I know how talented you are, but four weeks? You wish to go before fashion week and pull all of this off? Upend the entire industry?”

Sansa knew that Elia was impressed with her boldness. Sansa notched up her chin, eyes blazing.

"I do. No offence, but fashion week is going to be more of the same. This won't be. This is something new, something different. We'll have a smaller venue. It will be intimate. And we will limit invitations. Only the crème de la crème, El. I promise you; this will work."

Elia and Sansa locked eyes, communicating in that silent way they had. Everyone in the yard watched them, the Starks getting an idea of just how talented their daughter was. How important a role she played in Elia’s massive and influential company.

"I love it, Mommy," Mia called out, smooshed between the two dogs that didn't seem to want to leave her side.

That broke the tension, as people laughed.

Elia rose, as graceful as ever, holding out her hands for Sansa. Sansa clasped Elia’s hands to hers.

"My dear, I cannot express how proud I am of you. Of the work you have done and the relationships, you have cultivated here in the North. I would be proud to put House Martell's stamp on such an event. Anything Rhaenys or I can do to make this a success, we shall."

Sansa released the breath she’d been holding and threw herself into Elia’s arms, Aegon and Rhae joining Satin and Dacey as the six of them began to chatter excitedly amongst themselves, eager for this new opportunity.

Jon stood beside Sansa’s parents catching their slightly stunned looks. Having grown up in this world, Jon was pleased for Sansa and knew how big a deal this was. But her parents were only getting a glimpse at how successful Sansa was.

Ned looked at Jon, eyes filled with pride.

“She’s someone important, isn’t she?” Ned asked Jon quietly.

“Yeah. Yeah, she is. Sansa is a big deal in the fashion world. If she’d stayed in the south, Elia would have had her take over her entire Martell fashion empire. She’s been recruited hard, by House Lannister and House Targaryen, but has stayed loyal to Elia. She’s a superstar.”

Catelyn shook her head in wonder, as Sansa, looking stunned, but excited, walked toward their little group. Jon kissed her.

“Jon, I did it!” she squealed, hugging her guy hard.

“I proud of you baby. This is a big step.”

She bobbed her head, as her family offered their congratulations, the night taking on an even more celebratory feeling.

But there was one last surprise.

Toregg left his lawn chair and walked onto the make-shift stage. Once there, he coughed, drawing everyone’s attention towards the big man.

“Uh, if I could just have a few minutes of everyone’s time,” he said, clearing his throat.

Sansa had a pretty good idea of what was about to happen, but as she looked at Satin, her friend seemed totally oblivious.

Toregg had a beer in one hand and his other hand shoved in one of the pockets of his khaki shorts.

Satin batted his eyes at his guy and blew him kisses, which seemed to settle Toregg. Tor grinned at Satin.

“I remember when Satin first told me that one of his idols, Sansa Stark, had contacted him and wished to meet with him. Well, to say he was excited might be an understatement.”

Tor grinned and shook his head, as everyone laughed and Satin cried, “Who me?”

Tor shrugged.

“I was worried. That’s what I do. I worry about him. I’ve always been a big guy and able to take care of myself. Then I met Satin and he turned my entire world upside down. I knew I loved him within the first month we were dating, and it didn’t take long until I knew I was going to marry that man.”

Satin’s lips began to quiver, and thankfully, Elia was there, to wrap her arms around him. Sansa felt her own eyes well up.

Toregg grimaced.

“We had to wait, for the law to catch up. And in waiting, we built a life together. I watched the man I love be brave and true to himself, each day, no matter how much shite he took. I knew that there had to be people out there that we were meant to find. People that would be our family. And we did. Sansa, you opened our lives. Moving to Wintertown has been a dream come true for both of us.”

Sansa was opening sobbing now, clutching at Jon, so happy for two of her closest friends.

Tor handed his beer off to his cousin, Tormund, who was grinning like a mad man.

“Satin, baby, can you join me up here?” Tor asked.

Elia escorted a quivering Satin towards his lover, who put his warm hands in Satin’s when he was on stage and then dropped to one knee. Sansa could barely see she was crying so hard and heard the other gasps and sniffles in the yard. Thankfully Bran had the sense to tape the entire proposal as Toregg flipped open a jewelry box and produced a gorgeous diamond engagement ring.

“I love you, Satin. All of you. I want a family with you. I want to grow old with you. I want to be your husband and for everyone to know you are mine. Will you marry me, baby?” Tor asked, voice gruff.

The squeal could be heard three houses over as Satin threw himself into Tor’s arms, shouting his acceptance at the top of his lungs and kissing the hell out of his fiancé. Tor grinned and spun Satin around and then put the stunning ring on Satin’s finger. True to form, Satin gasped and then showed it off and Mia told her uncle Tor he made a good choice.

Somehow Catelyn and Ned produced bottles of champagne, as the newly engaged couple was toasted and the party continued into the night, with a group of them spending a solid hour with Satin helping him brainstorm ideas for his ideal wedding. Toregg just wore a look of amused contentment and promised Satin he could have whatever he wanted.

When night had fallen, Mia fell asleep in Ned’s arms, as the dogs snored at Ned’s feet. Robb and Theon were sitting on a love seat, together, and appeared quite happy, which pleased Sansa to no end.

Sansa snuggled deep into Jon’s arms, his lips on her forehead.

“Good day, huh,” he said.

Satin now in a princess dress, debated fiercely with Rhae and Dacey about what kind of wedding dress he wanted and who he wanted to design it. Sansa was secretly hoping he’d pick her, but whatever Satin’s choice, she’d respect it.

Sansa turned her lips, met Jon’s, and nodded.

“Great day, love.”

Sansa knew this was only the beginning of the incredible life she and Jon were building in the North. She had a feeling the best was yet to come. And that was certainly something worth celebrating.

 


 

Wintertown – Jon

 

Jon found his mom in the family room, cuddled up with a book, a tea and a blanket. Everyone else in the house was asleep. Jon had left a satisfied Sansa snuggled deep in their covers, promising he'd be back soon.

She mumbled I love you before she'd been out. Jon had taken a moment to smile down at her, knowing this was the woman he was going to marry. The past six months had made it more than apparent that he wanted a lifetime with Sansa. She was his forever.

What he needed now was answers before he took this next and most crucial step in his life. Answers he'd shied away from his entire life.

Since he'd been old enough to understand that Elia wasn't his biological mother, Jon had felt the shame of his parent's actions. Logically he knew it wasn't a reflection on him – that he'd been a mere toddler when they'd died and that their decisions had been that of two adults that had nothing to do with him.

But emotionally, he'd be constantly worried that he would be like them – unable to commit to one woman. Or if he did commit that he’d be like his father and cheat on his wife. Jon didn’t want to be that man.

For a long time, it had seemed like his inability to find a deep connection to a woman was his lot in life, if his dating history was anything to go by.

Jon had never loved Ygritte as profoundly as she claimed to love him.

He and Val had been little more than fuck buddies that probably shouldn't have gone on as long as they did.

And the other women – well, Jon had never had a problem walking away from them when the relationship had run its course.

All of those 'relationships' had reinforced the idea that he was more like his parents than he wanted to admit. That he wasn't built for the long term. That he couldn't trust or commit to one woman.

Until Sansa.

Nothing about Sansa was temporary. Jon didn't want to wait until their life was 'perfect' to take the next step. Life wasn't ever perfect – it was just life. And having Sansa by his side, not only as the mother he chose for Mia but as his wife, was what he wanted.

"Ahh, my boy, come and talk to you, mama," Elia said, patting the seat beside her.

There was an ache in Jon's chest that she was leaving tomorrow. He knew she had a life down in Sunspear, but he'd miss Elia and Rhae when they left. Aegon had gone back this morning but promised he'd come back soon. Aegon had told Jon how awesome his life was in the North.

Somehow Jon knew that his very Dornish family had fallen in love with the North. That pleased him because this was where he and Sansa were going to live. This was where they'd put down their roots and raise their family, and Jon wanted Elia, Rhae and Aegon to be part of that.

Jon took a seat beside Elia and reached for her hand.

"How could you love me?" he blurted out, wondering where that came from.

He frowned. That hadn't been what he'd meant to ask her – to question Elia's commitment to him. It had been the one constant in his life. He’d never doubted it.

Elia seemed to take his question in stride. She squeezed his hand.

"The moment they told me about you, I knew you were mine, Jon. I hated that son of a bitch for humiliating me as he did, and boy, I had some anger for your mama. But you? Never. You were innocent. The missing piece to my family and my heart."

Jon sighed and scrubbed a hand down his face, battling feelings of shame. He was pissed his parents’ actions, even that long ago, made him feel tainted in some way.

"I hate what they did to you. I hate that they lied. That he cheated. That she cheated. Marriage is scared El, and they fucked with that and with you. You didn’t deserve that.”

Elia nodded. "You're entitled to all those feelings. I've felt them all myself."

She paused and cocked her head.

"I've never spoken much about your father – to any of you children. I thought I was protecting you. The actions he took hurt a lot of people. He did more than break my heart – he bruised my ego to such a degree that I questioned if I could even be worthy of being loved ever again. I’ve stayed single, in part because of what Rhaegar did to me.”

Jon scowled, cursing his selfish asshole for a dad.

Elia gave a shake of her head, looking at him with such love. If his father were here now, Jon would give the man a piece of his mind.

"The truth was that Rhaegar was a force. I'm not making excuses for him. Indeed, I won't. His actions were deplorable. But he was --- charismatic. Larger than life. Gentle and yet strong. Caring and yet dynamic. He had all these ideas and energy, and people were drawn to him. I was drawn to him."

Jon’s frown deepened.

"It still doesn't make it right, Mom. If he wanted someone else, he should have been upfront with you," Jon mumbled.

 Elia leaned forward and cupped Jon's face in her hands.

"My dear, sweet boy. Of course, you would think that way. You are nothing like him. Smart, yes, and charismatic, but so loyal and true and good, Jon. So good."

Jon looked into Elia's dark eyes and saw she believed it; she believed he was good.

"I want Sansa to be my wife. I want a future with her. I want to wake up to her forty years from now, old and grey and know that she is mine."

Elia's grin was huge.

"And you will. I've never seen two people who are as in love as the two of you. Look at how effortlessly you blended your lives. Look at how happy Mia is. This entire world you've built for yourself up here, Jon. I am so proud of you. And so excited about your future."

He hugged Elia hard.

"I'm glad you're my mom," he whispered into her ear.

She gave a little sob before a throw pillow hit Jon in the head.

Jon looked up to see his sister standing there.

“Room for one more?”

Jon patted the couch and Rhae snuggled in between them. Contentment surged through Jon, having his mom and sister with him.

"So, how's Dacey?" Jon asked with a wink.

"Good. Tired," Rhae said and then blushed but notched up her chin.

"It's going to suck me going back to Sunspear and her being on Bear Island. We couldn't be further apart if we tried, but we're going to try to make it work."

"I'm happy for you," Jon said, meaning it.

Rhae looked at him and cocked her head.

"So, the fact that Sansa invited both Dacey and me to stay at your house for the next month while we work like mad to pull off this fashion show isn't going to bother you?"

Jon shook his head, not bothered in the least. He was looking forward to it, and he told Rhae that. She settled then, also content. The only one who wasn't was Elia, who was grumbling about retiring in the North and how much she hated snow. Jon and Rhae teased their mom, the three of them enjoying these last moments together.

When Jon finally rose to go to bed, he brushed his lips across Rhae's cheek and then Elia's forehead.

"Thanks for coming up," he told them both, meaning it.

And now he knew that Rhae would be back, likely within a week. Jon didn’t mind a full house and Mia would be overjoyed.

He padded upstairs and opened Mia's door to find Ghost and Lady curled up beside the little girl. She'd been in heaven with the two dogs over the past day and already loved them dearly.

Grinning at Mia's new protectors, Jon backed out of her room, slipping into the master bedroom. Sansa was curled up, asleep, but lightly, the moment he pulled the covers up, she turned and snuggled into his arms.

"Everything good?" she mumbled, still half asleep.

"Everything is perfect, sweetheart," Jon told her, meaning it.

She smiled and then was back asleep, and Jon kissed her lips, holding her close, knowing it was the absolute truth.

 


 

Chapter Text


 

 

Wintertown – Jon

 

Life in the Stark/Snow household quickly settled into a routine after Elia and Rhae left. Rosa had taken a much-deserved two-week vacation while his family had visited, but with the Northern fashion show now a go, Sansa was as busy as Jon was with her career.

Thankfully, they had wonderful people in their life to help with Mia. Rhae was moving in with them, along with Dacey, when she was in town, so Jon felt like Mia was well taken care of. Rosa and Mia were as close as ever and as always, there was Sansa’s family.

Ned and Catelyn were the first to volunteer to babysit Mia, picking her up for dates at Winterfell or going to a movie, park, or any of the numerous museums in and around Wintertown. Arya would sometimes pick Mia up for a swim in the pool at the condo, and even Rickon was known to babysit if required.

All of it just reaffirmed to Jon that this was the place where he and Mia were meant to be. They’d built a life here in Wintertown and Jon was excited for Mia as she was about to start school. School had always been somewhere Jon had excelled and he and Sansa spent a fun afternoon with Mia, doing back-to-school shopping.

"Only it's not back to school," Mia had informed them with a knowing look as she slurped down a chocolate milkshake for her treat for being so good.

They were sitting at a diner having a late lunch, his baby’s feet kicking as she ate her French fries drenched in ketchup.

Sansa bit her cheek, a clear sign she was trying not to laugh. Mia’s personality was so big, it was impossible not to be utterly charmed by her.

“No bug? Then what is it?” Jon asked while squeezing Sansa’s hand, winking at her. The idea that Jon had such an important event to share with someone else was not lost on Jon. He had waited for a long time to find a woman to share his life with.

"It's my first day of school. There's a difference, Daddy," she informed him smartly. “I haven’t been to this school. Yet.”

Sansa grinned while Jon smirked at how bright his baby was.

“Ahhh, I get it.”

Mia glanced down and then lifted those big blue eyes, now worried, to both.

"You're both gonna be there, right?" Her voice was small, and Jon knew she was worried.

He had managed to take the morning off for Mia's first day of school.

"Of course," Sansa decreed. "It is a very important day, and Daddy and I are so proud of you."

Mia relaxed as Jon reached for her little hand and squeezed it.

"I'll be there, Mia-bug. I promise."

She grinned at him. Promises were sacred things in their household, so Mia knew how important it was. Jon couldn't imagine missing her first day of school.

"I know, Daddy. But I also know you have a really important job. Nana Elia told me that sometimes when you can't be there, it's because you're saving someone's life."

Jon couldn't help but sent a silent prayer of thanks to his mom. Elia had the ability to explain things to Mia in a way that his daughter accepted, to which Jon was grateful.

He was entering into the last year of his fellowship, the light at the end of the tunnel now brighter than ever. There was already talk of offering him a position as an attending, and everyone knew that Jon would accept it. The North was where he wanted to be. He'd finally found his home.

True to her word, Val had vanished. She'd left no forwarding address, and even though Jon and Tormund had reached out to their contacts in the medical field, no one knew where she was. Jon tried not to worry. He didn’t love Val, but he wished she’d taken up their offer for rehab – for her sake if nothing else. But he knew as well as anyone else, it had to be her choice.

Elia had been home for less than an hour before she'd torn a strip of Quentyn, exposing his scheme to his father, earning Doran's wrath as well.

Jon had never been close with Elia's eldest brother, but Doran adored Mia, still the only grandchild. Q had crossed a line and had been exiled to Essos as a purchaser as his punishment. Jon wasn't sure it was enough, but since his life with Sansa was in the North, he trusted his mother to take care of things.

Besides, Jon knew that they would only rarely be in Sunspear – perhaps only for holidays and to visit with his mother. With Rhae moving North, and Aegon being a bit of a nomad, there were days that Jon wondered how long it would be until his mother moved to Wintertown as well – at least for part of the year.

If things went according to Jon’s plans, and he and Sansa added to their family, he bet there was no way that Elia could stay away.

The weekend before school started saw Mia going to Winterfell for a sleepover with her grandparents and Rhae flying to Bear Island to be with Dacey, which gave Jon and Sansa an entire night to themselves.

Jon couldn’t lie; he was looking forward to it.

Secretly, Jon had been working with Elia to design the perfect engagement ring for Sansa, knowing that he wanted to propose at the end of her fall fashion show. He was more than ready for the next stage in their lives. He wanted this woman to be his wife.

And speaking of the 'next steps,' Jon was eager for some alone time with Sansa. Not that their sex life had slowed down at all. It didn't seem to matter how crowded their house was or how busy they each were; they always made time for one another.

They leaned into their natural role more and more, with Jon's dominant side finally having a proper outlet with a woman he loved and trusted implicitly. Meanwhile, Sansa had fully embraced that submissive streak that came so naturally to her.

They'd played with more anal plugs, Jon working to open her up more and more, but they'd yet to take the plunge into anal sex, and he was eager to cross this last barrier with Sansa.

She'd taken the plugs beautifully, giving herself over to the pleasure that came from being stimulated in a place that was still slightly taboo. The praise and dirty talk that Jon lavished on her helped, for his girl loved to be told she was good. Jon had never had such a connection with another person as he did with Sansa. It was as if they’d been tailor-made for one another.

There wasn't anything in their sex life that Jon would change. Sansa was the perfect partner for him, and Jon couldn't wait to push them, together, and explore all their kinks.

He'd never been this happy or satisfied in his life.

Since he rarely got the chance to wine and dine Sansa properly, Jon made a big deal out of the rare Saturday night they had off together, kid-free.

Using the connections of Ned and Robb, he'd booked them a table at one of the most romantic restaurants in town and told Sansa to be ready for seven pm. The dreamy look in her eyes as she kissed him sweetly was worth the effort.

He liked how they got ready for their date together, quickly moving around one another in their bedroom. It was something to watch Sansa contemplate what lingerie she would wear, knowing that he'd be taking it off her in a few hours.

She was there to help with the cuff links on his dress shirt and laughingly undid his tie and loosened a few buttons on his light blue button-down, pressing a kiss to the hollow of his neck.

"No tie," she purred, her hands sliding down his back to cup his ass and squeeze.

Jon's cock responded immediately, hardening within his tight boxers almost painfully.

His eyes went dark and smoky as Sansa's breath hitched. She was wearing on the skimpiest lacy bits of navy blue, and while Jon knew they were expensive as hell, right now, he was using his legendary control to not rip them from her body and order take out, staying in to fuck her good and proper.

"Sweetheart, you are so close to being fucked to within an inch of your life," Jon growled, his hand on her ass now, feeling that lush bum that he so wanted to fuck.

She let out a happy little whimper and pressed closer, and Jon stroked a finger down her the seam of her bum, laying his thumb against her puckered star, moving the tiny thong to the side. He tugged on her earlobe and sucked, feeling the heat of her cunt against his trouser-clad cock. She gave a breathy whimper into his ear.

Gods, she drove him wild.

"Do you want that, love? Do you want me to have you in all ways a man can have a woman? Are you ready for that next step, baby?"

Jon didn't hold his breath, exactly. He could wait. He didn't want to push Sansa beyond what she was truly comfortable with.

But part of his role as her dominant was to figure out what she wanted – even before she might know she wanted it. He pulled back so he could see her face. He thought the sweet anticipation of the act might heighten her desire for anal sex, and he knew he'd guessed right when he saw the barely contained lust and curiosity in her blue eyes.

"I want that, Jon. I want to give that to you," she said.

His lips quirked, and he brushed them against her lips, loving how she carded her hands through his hair.

"No pressure, love. If we get home and you just want to be tied up and fucked hard, we can do that instead."

He winked at her. Jon meant it as well. As much as he wanted to share with her how amazing anal sex could feel, Jon was in no rush. It would come when Sansa was ready.

Sansa threw her head back and laughed and then stepped out of his arms, wiggling that amazing ass as she strolled to the bedroom to finish putting on her makeup.

"I'm definitely intrigued, Dr. Snow."

Grinning to himself, Jon finished dressing and then went downstairs, giving Sansa her space. He liked being surprised at what dress she'd choose to wear and was not disappointed when she came down wearing a short, lacy number in dark blue. He knew it matched the lingerie and subtly reached down to shift his aching cock.

Jon whistled, pleased when she blushed. She did a little twirl, just for him and Jon was struck by her beauty. She was such a good person – kind-hearted and compassionate, intelligent and hard working. But gods she was also gorgeous.

When she leaned in for a kiss, Jon willingly indulged and then palmed the long jewelry box he had for her, holding it out to Sansa.

Her eyes widened in disbelief, and Jon smirked again, loving that he’d surprised her. Sansa was the least materialistic woman he’d ever dated. Every time he gave her a present, she was genuinely stunned.

"Jon, what is this?" she asked.

Gods, she was adorable.

"Just a little present, sweetheart. Open it."

He hadn't had a chance to spoil her very much, and he wished to rectify that. He was watching her reaction, and Sansa didn't disappoint when she opened the rectangular box to reveal the sapphire and diamond bracelet, he'd picked out for her.

Her eyes widened as her mouth popped into a perfect O.

"Oh my gosh, Jon, it's incredible," Sansa gasped.

He took the bracelet out of its box and secured it around Sansa's slim wrist, loving how it looked. Little did Sansa know he had commissioned a matching set of earnings, a necklace and finally, an engagement ring for her.

Jon loved Sansa's blue eyes, and since Mia's were the same colour, he thought Sansa would appreciate the sapphire and diamond ring he had for her. He wanted something unique on her finger that showed the entire world she belonged to him.

Call him a caveman. Jon didn't care in the least. Sansa was his and he wanted everyone to know it.

She fingered it gently and then threw herself back into his arms, kissing him soundly.

"Thank you," she said.

Jon smiled.

"You're welcome. Come on, let's eat," he said, grasping her hand, her little giggle doing so much for Jon's heart, making him excited about the night to come.

Jon didn't miss the envious looks as he escorted Sansa into the romantic little restaurant. She was a stunningly beautiful woman, and she was all his.

The restaurant was tucked away in an older part of Wintertown and had rave reviews. Sansa's eyes went all dreamy as they walked to their table.

"Oh Jon, this is so lovely," she said quietly, squeezing his arm.

He loved doing special things for Sansa and vowed to ensure that no matter how busy their lives got, to make time for them.

They were seated and menus and specials discussed, and Jon ordered a bottle of wine for them to share.

Sansa was adorable as she ordered three appetizers and then proceeded to eat more than her fair share. He loved that his girl like to eat. Her appetite was impressive and made him want to spoil her even more, finding little gems where they could have these date nights.

Jon sipped his wine and listened to Sansa discuss the upcoming fashion show. She chattered about Theon and how he and Robb were getting closer and that Rhae was talking about getting her place in the North. She spoke of those that had already responded to the exclusive invites to the Northern fashion show, including his aunt and uncle, Dany and Viserys, those from House Lannister and her friend Margaery from Highgarden.

"You haven't met Marg, but she's a riot," Sansa gushed.

Jon said he was excited to meet her friend. He knew that the buzz around the fashion world was strong for what she was doing up here. There was almost no way that they wouldn't be the fashion darlings of Westeros by the end of September. Rhae had told Jon that she’d never seen the hype for the show that Sansa was planning. Rhae was excited to be in Wintertown, helping plan it.

Sansa and Jon stopped drinking after finishing one bottle of wine, neither wishing to be even tipsy for their night ahead and what they both knew was coming.

Sansa moaned through the dessert and then gave Jon a sultry look, when she was finally full.

"Take me home, Dr. Snow."

He called for the bill immediately, helping Sansa to her feet and brushing his lips across hers as he held her with her wrap. He missed the looks on the faces of those gathered – some covetous, some adoring. He was solely focused on Sansa and the rest of their night.

"What does my good girl want?" he whispered in her ear, cupped her arse and then grabbed her hand to guide her towards the SUV.

The desire in Sansa's eyes was unmistakable, and she turned to him when he got her to their vehicle, a gleam in her eyes that he couldn’t mis.

"Well, considering I have been wearing a plug in my ass all night, I think you can guess what I want," she said to him.

Jon swore his heart stopped for a moment as his brain attempted to assimilate what Sansa had just revealed.

She had a plug in her ass? The entire night? Through dinner and dessert?

Lust roared through him.

"You're telling me that if I reach between these sweet cheeks, I'm going to find a plug in this ass that I want to fuck?" he growled.

"Yup," Sansa said, popping the p as Jon pressed her back against the SUV, caging her in.

"Baby," he murmured, sliding his hand up her silky thigh.

Sansa widened her stance, and Jon swore when he felt the tip of the plug.

"Fucking hells woman," he snarled, his finger twisting the plug as his lips ravished hers, and Sansa clung to him. Her nipples were pebbled and pressing against his chest, and Jon could smell the cream from her cunt, the heat down there unmistakable. She was revved up and ready to go.

She moaned his name into his mouth.

"You dirty fucking girl, sitting there all night with this plug up your ass, stretching yourself so you'd be ready for my achingly hard cock. Is that what you were thinking? How I'm going to fuck this ass tonight, Sansa? Take your last virginity when I sink my cock in here," he grunted, pressing his cock against her soft belly while his fingers played with the plug. He couldn’t believe how much she turned him on.

Christ, he had never wanted anyone or anything more than he wanted Sansa right fucking now.

"Yes. Gods yes. I want you to have this part of me, Jon. I'm ready," she said.

He broke away far enough to stare into her eyes, and what he saw there was everything he felt.

Love. Desire. An understanding that came when you met the person that you were supposed to be with.

There was such trust between them, such deep affection and need, that Jon almost wished he had the engagement ring right now. He wanted this woman to be his wife. To be by his side for all their days. Soon enough. Tonight it was time to take this next step in their sex life.

"Come on, love, let's go home," he said, reaching behind Sansa to open her door and get her inside the luxury vehicle.

There were moments when he fucked her hard, and she loved it.

But gods, there were those times when he wanted nothing more than to treat her as precious. She had no idea what she'd given to him – the peace and sense of home that he'd found with her.

Anticipation filled the ride home along with soft kisses and gentle touches.

When they got home, they went through their routine of closing up the house.

The dogs were at Winterfell with Mia, so they were all alone. Once in their bedroom, Jon couldn't help but draw Sansa into his arms, swaying for a moment as he cupped her head and brought her lips close to his.

"If at any time you wish to stop, you say the word. You just tell me red, and I'm done, Sansa. It doesn't matter what I'm feeling; I want you to be comfortable. To love this experience. And if you don't, you tell me."

Sansa nodded, but as Jon gazed into her eyes, he didn't see any concern. What he saw was a woman, full of confidence that knew what she wanted. That she trusted him with this, that she was ready for this step in their sex life.

"I know. But I'm telling you, green," she said, and then she slid her hands down his body and worked his zipper open, so his cock sprung free.

She dropped to her knees. Raising her eyes to him, Sansa wrapped her lips around the tip, her hand stroking him and proceeded to blow him, all the while keeping her eyes on him.

"Fuck look at you, so pretty with that mouth wrapped around my dick," Jon muttered, unable to help himself. He thrust his dick deeper into the warmth of her mouth, one hand going to the back of her head.

"I bet that ass is burning, stretched around that sweet plug that's got you stuffed full," he continued, his mouth just running away on him.

There was something about Sansa on her knees, taking him deeply, that brought that dominant spirit right to the forefront. And in her way, Sansa was telling him she wanted the wild, dirty sex he had promised her.

She was precious, yes, but also a woman with desires. And one of her desires was for Jon to fuck that sweet ass.

He lost himself in the rhythm of her mouth, once again smelling her arousal as it perfumed the air. It was the same for him. When he was feasting on her quim, Jon was always rock hard. When the tell-tale tingle started in his balls, he pulled Sansa off his dick with a loud plop.

"Such a good cocksucker baby," he praised her, kissing her sweetly.

Then he swatted her ass.

"Now strip and climb on the bed, presenting that pretty ass to me while I get the supplies."

Jon didn't miss how Sansa scrambled to comply. He took a few deep breaths, looking down at his raging hard-on and getting himself under control. The last thing he needed was to fuck this up for Sansa.

In the bathroom, Jon washed his hands and took off all but his tight black boxers, and then grabbed the lube he wanted as well as one of the larger plugs he had. He wasn't sure if Sansa needed it. Maybe she'd be ready. He also grabbed a little bullet vibrator, knowing she'd go off when he pressed it to her clit after he'd worked his dick into ass.

When he walked back into their bedroom, he found Sansa had lit candles and positioned herself in the center of the bed, on her knees, head bowed into the pillows, completely naked.

"Fuck, you're perfect," Jon blurted out.

Sansa's head turned, and she smiled at him and then winked.

Then she turned back, putting her head down, closing her eyes, and hopefully sinking into her sub-space.

Jon circled the bed, looking at Sansa. The plug in her ass twinkled, catching the candlelight, and he saw with delight it was the second largest one she owned. That boded well for their plans tonight. He stripped down so he was naked as well, his cockhead pulsating and leaking, eager for what was to come.

He set the lube, the plug, and the vibrator down on the bed and then climbed behind Sansa, nuzzled at her cheeks. He spread her wider, glad when her little hole pulsed in anticipation around the plug already filling her.

"What a sight," he murmured almost to himself.

"But this poor little pussy, all neglected."

He laid a slap against her cunt as Sansa moaned and arched into his hand. Her cream was coating her thighs already, and her clit was poking out of its hood.

Jon had to taste her. He rubbed his nose against her plump lower lips and sucked, working his tongue into her body and then upwards to suck on her clit while his fingers sunk inside her. The orgasm hit Sansa hard and fast, and she cried out his name, bucking back against his face, bathing him with more cream.

While she was still quivering from that high, he moved towards her ass, kissing a cheek and then gently tugging on the plug. Her hole gaped briefly as he pulled the plug out. That was a sight to see and Jon’s cock twitched, wanting to be inside her.

She'd added plenty of lube to her bum, but Jon knew she needed more. He didn’t want anything to impede this event.

"Such a good girl," he crooned, petting her hip as she trembled slightly, while he kept her cheeks spread wide, so she was wholly exposed to his gaze. Her little star pulsed, having closed up as he blew on her hole.

"I won't hurt you, baby, I promise. My dick in your ass is going to feel so good," he promised her.

"I know. I trust you, Jon," she said, making his chest puff out with what she was giving to him. Her last virginity.

He rubbed a thumb over her puckered star, pleased when it slipped in with little resistance. He lodged another two fingers in her quim, and stroked, working her up again, before adding a second finger to her ass, again pleased when it slipped inside with ease, so he had both holes of her corked.

"Gods, you're such a good girl, prepping this ass to take my cock. I can just imagine what it's going to look like, splitting you open, baby, sinking deep inside of you. I’m gonna fuck you so good."

Sansa keened out a wail as Jon flicked her clit, and she began to quake. He wanted her to come once more before he finally took her in the ass.

"That's it, baby, ride my fingers, feel them in your ass, feel me opening you up. Soon enough, it's going to be my dick back here," he encouraged her, watching as she clutched at the sheets, her body seeking out more.

"Jon, I need ---"

"I know, baby. Just give yourself over to the pleasure. Come," he commanded, delighted when she did, pulsating against his fingers that were buried deep inside both holes.

As she did, Jon flipped the bottle of lube, added a healthy dollop to the head of his cock and then more to her now pulsating ass.

Quickly, not wanting to give her body or her mind too much time to come down from those two peaks, Jon gently rolled Sansa to her side, so her back was against his chest and he could cradle her in his arms, as the head of his cock nudged her rosette.

"Jon," she cried, her hands gripping his arms as he nudged at her back entrance.

"Relax, love and let me in. Push back against me," he whispered in her ear, his tongue doing wicked things to her neck while his one hand cupped a breast and another strummed her clit.

She bucked and then shifted so his slicked-up dick notched against her tight hole and then, Jon felt her body part of taking him inside.

He worked his hips in a rocking motion while holding Sansa to his chest as his cockhead breached her ass – the first time any man had been back there.

"Oh my god, you're huge," Sansa cried, but she pushed back against his groin so that her ass opened more to take him deeper.

There was a ring of muscle that he had to sink past, and he didn't want to go too fast. Jon wanted Sansa to get used to his size, and he flicked the bottle of lube and somehow added more to ease the glide of his cock.

"That's it, baby, take me in your ass," he muttered into her ear, her little moans now filling the room, as he sawed back and forth, sliding deeper inside her each time until finally, her ass gave way, and Jon was buried all the way inside her, his balls hitting her soaked pussy.

"Oh my god," Sansa cried again while Jon merely grunted.

He'd never felt anything quite like Sansa's ass opening up to take him all the way in. It was a testament to the trust they had in one another that they were doing this, and he slowly eased back out again and then thrust back inside.

Sansa fucking wailed, her clit hardening under his fingers as her entire body shook.

"Good?" he asked, needing to know.

"Yeah. It hurts but in a good way, and then it just feels amazing," she panted.

Jon grinned and did it again and again, pulling out almost all the way, before ruthlessly surging back inside her backchannel. Sansa was shaking in his arms, and he knew neither one of them would last long. He managed to roll her to her knees, still buried deep in her ass and palmed her cheeks wide so he was draped over her back, his dick deep insider her.

"Need to see your ass taking my cock, baby," he groaned as she buried her head in the pillows, now panting as he watched her hole spread to take his thick cock. It was a sight he’d never forget.  

"Fuck."

It was unlike anything he'd ever seen, watching her sweet little hole take his cock. She was so tiny that Jon worried he'd hurt her, but she kept bucking back and then finally said those magic words that had him going off.

"Fuck me hard, Jon."

He grinned, flicking on the vibrator, pushing it into her hands.

"Get yourself off, sweetheart and hang on while I fuck this ass," he commanded, pleased when she did so immediately.

The moment she touched her clit with the toy, she began to wail, loud and long, and her ass gripped him so tight Jon swore she was going to break off his dick. He took her hips in his hands and pounded away, Sansa's puckered star opening to take him deep, her lush cheeks thrusting backward until she screamed his name so loud Jon was worried his neighbors would be pounding on their door, worried what they were up to.

But he was too far gone to care. He kept at her, fucking her ass hard and deep until he finally felt his end, spurt after spurt of hot come filling her ass as he bellowed her name. As he got his wits about him, he held a limp Sansa in his arms, emptying himself into her body and then collapsing on top of her, pressing gentle kisses to her neck.

She giggled a bit, and Jon felt his half-soft cock loosen in that tight ass, though he was still buried deep inside her.

She turned her head, cheeks flushed and eyes bright and full of love.

"I think I like anal sex," she giggled.

Jon smiled at her, dropping another kiss to her lips and then the tip of her nose.

"Hold on, baby, let me take care of you," he said, pushing himself off her back and then slowly and carefully withdrawing from her butt.

Jon couldn't help the groan at that sight – her puckered star closing up and then pushing out his come, so it spread down her fleshy cheeks and onto those silky thighs in great white globs.

"Christ woman, you're gonna kill me," Jon said, meaning it.

He was glad when she contentedly laid there and let him wipe her clean and then hauled her into his arms and made for the bathroom, cuddling her close as they both soaked in the large tub. She had one of his hands in hers, playing with his fingers, a slight grin on her face when she finally turned to face him.

"I wonder what your patients would say if they knew where these talented hands had been," she said with a wink.

He laughed, delighted by her.

"That is between you and me," he said, although he sensed some of their friends got how kinky he was. Toregg and Tormund especially. Both had that dom vibe going for them as well.

"Well, I, for one, am delighted that they belong to me," she said, kissing his palm and laying it across her stomach, pulling her close into his embrace.

"That they do, sweetheart, that they do."

Jon kissed her temple and held her tight until the water cooled. He dried her off, taking care of her, kissing and petting until he had to feast on her once more. There in the bathroom, surrounded by steam and the scents she loved so much, Jon tongued her to another orgasm before carrying a limp and sated Sansa to bed.

"Sleep baby," he whispered, happy when she snuggled into the covers. Jon padded naked through the room, blowing out the candles and picking up their clothing. He went down and got himself a glass of water and brought one up for Sansa, the entire time his mind at peace for the first time in years.

Everything he'd ever wanted was within his grasp. The woman he wanted as his wife. The family he'd dreamed about having. The career he'd worked so hard for. When he slid into bed beside Sansa, she immediately sought him out.

"Love you," she mumbled in her sleep.

Jon smiled.

"Love you too, baby."

 


 

The first day of school was bright and sunny. It was only for a few hours for the children to adjust to their new routines and continue that way for the next few weeks. But it was an important day nonetheless.

Sansa made it special with homemade waffles and whipped cream for breakfast. The two of them were chatting away, Mia asking Sansa all sorts of questions about her first day of school, while Jon sipped coffee, content to watch his two girls.

Mia was excited that she was going to the same school her Mommy had gone to – as had all the Stark children. Catelyn had brought over pictures of all the Stark kids' first day of school, and Mia had been fascinated to look through the albums with her Nana. Jon liked that Mia had this sense of connection and family with the Starks.

"Mia bug, I like your outfit," Jon said, sipping coffee.

Mia had picked out a purple t-shirt with a unicorn and a rainbow heart on it, a turquoise skirt and bright yellow leggings. On her feet, pink and white sneakers and her long brown curly hair was in two French braids that Sansa had done herself, with sparkly clips in each.

Her blue eyes were bright and filled with wondrous excitement, and Jon knew he'd never forget this morning.

"Thanks, Daddy. Mommy and I made the choices together."

Jon winked at Sansa, who gave a slight shake of her head. The choices had been more Mia than Sansa and they both knew it.

The school was close enough that they would walk over, and in winter, Rosa could drive Mia.

Once Mia was done breakfast, they got her backpack and let her choose a single snack and then stepped out the front door, together.

Rosa was there to take pictures of the three of them, then with the dogs, Lady and Ghost and then Mia all by herself. Jon knew that Sansa and Rosa would have pictures sent to their friends and family within the hour. He made one of him, Sansa, Mia and the two dogs his background on his phone.

The Starks were coming by this evening for dinner, but it was just their little family for now. Jon loved it. He’d waited so long for this perfect moment.

Jon linked hands with Mia as Sansa took her other one, and they hooked the dogs up to their leashes. Mia loved her new companions, and Jon had to admit, the dogs had made a seamless transition into their lives.

Sansa had taken copious pictures of the dogs and sent them to Theon, who surprisingly seemed to be very alright with how well his dogs had adjusted to Mia and their life at the Snow household. Jon thought it had something to do with Robb's attention to Theon but said nothing about that. No one knew what Robb and Theon were and when they were ready, they'd share it with their friends and family.

For now, Jon revelled at the moment as he walked his daughter to her first day of school, Sansa by his side, and two amazing dogs, watching out for them all.

When they got to the school, there were kids there that Mia knew from daycare and parents who had been at the birthday party a few weeks ago. It was so easy and right, standing there with Sansa, talking with the other parents while their kids played together on the playground.

When the bell rang, Mia darted over to them, gave him and Sansa hugs, and then ran back to line up.

Sansa wept as Mia waved at them and then marched into school, and Jon could feel his own throat thicken.

"There were times I never thought this day would come. When she was so little, just a baby. Those endless nights and then during the toddler years."

"I can't even imagine," Sansa said, squeezing his hand. Jon pressed his lips to her forehead.

"I want more, San. I know we have busy careers, but I want more kids," he told her.

She was already bobbing her head, pressing her lips back to his, her eyes dancing with excitement.

"Oh my god, me too, Jon. Me too."

Contentment filled him as he and Sansa walked back to their house, thinking of how right all of this felt and excited about the future to come.

 


 

Chapter Text


 

Picset 1

 

Picset 2

 


 

The week before the fashion Show – Sansa

 

There wasn't a time in her life when Sansa could remember being as crazily busy as she had been these past few weeks. With the traditional fashion week taking place at the end of September, placing her Northern fashion show in the middle of the month meant that she'd worked like a dog to pull off her first solo show from the moment Elia left the North.

Thankfully, the team she assembled around her was world-class.

Beyond Dacey, Satin, herself, Rhae and Alys, Arianne had flown up from Sunspear to help, bringing with her Trystane's girlfriend Myrcella, a fashion student and Myrcella's cousin Shireen Baratheon. The three additional women helped ease some of the stress Sansa was feeling, as all were hard workers and got along fantastically.  

It didn't take long for Rickon to begin to drop by the building Sansa had rented for them to work, daily, flirting with the pretty woman from Storm's End. Shireen was twenty-one, and Cella was twenty-two, and they were literal godsends, working their asses off to help Sansa pull off this show.

Both women had confessed that they wanted to see the reactions of their families when Sansa upended the fashion world – which was saying something since they'd grown up in the Lannister and Baratheon fashion empires, respectively.

With the new help, along with Dacey, Rhae and Satin, they buckled down and got to work, often logging long hours and even longer nights. Sansa's parents were amazingly helpful with Mia, often taking her on nights when Sansa just couldn't get away and Jon was working.

Arya, who would never admit it, was great at organizing all the designs, while Bran got involved with all the technical stuff. Even Aegon flew back up to Wintertown to lend his expertise with the production end of things, representing House Martell well. While this was a Sansa Stark show, she was being launched under the banner of House Martell.

More to the point, Aegon loved her like family, so of course, he was going to help. All the Martells would.

Somehow in all of this, her father surprised her with the fabric maker Gilly from Craster's Keep. It was a happy reunion for all of them, and Gilly shyly shared that Ned had arranged for Gilly to become a designer with Stark Enterprises, while she settled in Wintertown.

Her little guy, now over a year, was happily passed from person to person in Sansa’s ever-growing village, glomming onto Toregg the most, but Catelyn took him a fair amount of time, and Sansa knew her mother wanted more grandkids to spoil.

Sansa and Dacey had worked out which designs would work on their male models and which ones on the female ones. This haute couture show was meant to showcase everyone – big and small, male and female, tall and short.

"It's lazy when designers claim that their designs only fit one body type," Sansa could be heard griping while she confirmed that not all her designs were meant the ‘typical’ model body.

Shireen and Cella fell more in love with Sansa and her take no bullshit attitude the more time they spent in the North.  

"It's fabric, for fuck sakes. A designer worth their salt should be able to make it work for everyone!"

One of their models was a very tall woman named Brienne, at over six feet. Sansa was so excited to dress her – to prove that women didn't have to be rail-thin with eating disorders to be part of the world she loved so much.

Shireen hero-worshiped Sansa by the end of the first week she was in Wintertown, and Sansa liked the bright woman from Storm's End.

"My dad takes care of all the men's lines, but he's coming," Shireen had confirmed to Sansa one afternoon on a coffee break.

All the big names had RSVP'd, including Myrcella's grandfather, Tywin Lannister, the fashion icon himself. He was probably one that Sansa wanted to impress the most.

Along with the Great Lion, Jon's aunt and uncle were also coming, along with Robert and Stannis Baratheon, Olenna and Margery Tyrell, Ashara Dayne, Cersei, and Jaime Lannister and Doran and Oberyn Martell and a host of others. Sansa could barely keep up with everyone who wanted to be at THIS show!

There wasn't a spare seat to be found for the event, and Sansa's nerves danced for days as she hurried to incorporate her designs into the show, along with those from Satin, Dacey, and Alys.

As Sansa had pitched, they were here to showcase the North. That meant using sustainable fabrics that were often frowned upon in the rest of Westeros.

Leather. Fur. Skins.

It was a homage to where they lived, the harsh lands their people had survived, and the history they were so proud of. The North wasn’t like the rest of Westeros and Sansa wasn’t going to pretend it was. She was damn proud of where she was from.

The crowning piece, the finale one might call it, was a dress Sansa had designed herself.

She'd based it on the vague descriptions of her namesakes' coronation dress – a grey and red creation that Sansa had recreated. Rhae and Dacey had somehow convinced Sansa to model it herself, which she had mixed feelings about.

"Designers aren't meant to be models," Sansa had fretted one night in the warehouse, surrounded by reams of clothing and empty bottles of wine. She was joined by Dacey, Alys, Rhae, Arianne, Cella and Shireen.

They were all just a little bit drunk, and Sansa was letting the stress of the last few days bleed off of her, here with these amazing women.

They had an area where they had a couple of couches, some tables and some lamps that cast a warm glow over the warehouse. Sansa was bone-deep tired but so proud of the work they had done. She was less than a week away from the most significant event of her career.

"I thought you said that this was supposed to be something that flipped the fashion world on its head, sister," Rhae said with a smirk.

She bumped a boot-clad foot against Sansa's yoga-pant leg.

"Sister?" Sansa asked.

Rhae snorted and looked at the others.

"Gods, Sansa, Jon is crazy about you," Arianne said with a knowing smirk.  

"You should hear Aunt Elia going on about the two of you and Mia. I am so glad that sweet baby finally has a proper Mama,” Arianne said in a pretty damn good impression of Elia’s voice.

Sansa felt her cheeks heat but didn't deny it. Dacey leaned forward and topped off Sansa's glass of wine.

"I can't imagine he's going to wait much longer to propose. That guy has it bad," Rhae sing-songed.

Sansa rolled her eyes.

"Oh? Like you don’t? I’m pretty sure you moved North after spending a week with Dace!"

Rhae grinned.

"You bet your great ass I did. When you know, you know," Rhae said, winking at her lover.

Dacey leaned over and laid a kiss on Rhae's mouth that turned hot and heavy.

Shireen gave a happy little sigh.

"You two are so cute together. I have the worst luck when it comes to dating," she said with a sigh.

"Oh really? That's not what I've heard," Sansa said.

Shireen sat up.

"What have you heard?"

Sansa’s eyes widened as she shook her head at the sweet woman. How could she not see that Ric was crazy about her?

"Ummm, my brother,” Sansa said, incredulous.

Shireen waved a hand.

“Nah. He’s just here to check out the designs.”

Sansa's mouth dropped open. Then she snorted.

"Seriously? You think Rickon Stark cares one whit about fashion? I can assure you, he does not,” Sansa told her.

Shireen, the adorable woman she was, blushed and shook her head while the others snickered at her.

"Shireen, he likes you," Cella chimed brightly.

Sansa liked the granddaughter of Tywin. She was one of the happiest people that Sansa had ever met and always positive. She was like having a sunbeam always around.

"Really?" Shireen squeaked.

"Ummm, duh," Dacey said with a knowing look. One didn’t argue with Dacey when she looked at you like that. "Girl, he likes you."

"Wow," Shireen said, shaking her head, a goofy smile on her face. "Wow."

Alys snickered and sipped wine.

"I know what that feels like. When Tormund kept asking me out, I had to triple-check with Sansa that he was serious about me. He’s so handsome and sexy," Alys said with a happy, drunk sigh, thinking of the red-headed nurse.

"And now you two are the cutest," Sansa said.

"Speaking of the cutest, that's totally Satin and Toregg. Oh my god, I have never seen anything like them," Arianne said, eliciting agreements from all those there. Satin and Toregg were freaking adorable.

"Oh, we should show them his wedding dress," Sansa said, reaching out for Dacey's hand.

"We designed it together. The diva thought he'd take charge, but nope. We know what he'll look stunning in."

Dacey helped Sansa to her feet, both women smiling almost stupidly at one another.

"I totally get why Rhae jumped your bones. You're super-hot," Sansa said and then blushed. The wine had all but obliterated Sansa’s filter.

Dacey threw her head back and laughed.

"Sansa, are you hitting on my girl?" Rhae called.

"Nope. But she is hot," Sansa called back, giggling when Dacey rolled her eyes at her.

“Hell yeah she is!”

"You're a funny drunk, Stark,” Dacey said, linking arms with Sansa.

They got Satin's wedding dress, a short, bejeweled creation that had a corset on the top, with a flared skirt on the bottom, that had the other women oohing and ahhing. Of course, that turned the conversation to wedding dresses – namely what Sansa might want as they all seemed to think that she was next when it came to a wedding.  

Sansa didn't want to jinx anything, but she thought she and Jon were moving in that direction. After all, the man had spoken openly about wanting more children, and Sansa knew that Jon wanted the same things in life as she did – a family and a wife and partner. In that, they were similar, and both were traditionalists.

"So, tell us about your dream wedding," Rhae asked, emptying a bottle into Sansa's glass.

"Promise you won't say a word to Jon," Sansa demanded.

Rhae held up her pinky finger, and Sansa giggled through a pinky-swear.

"I would love to be married at Winterfell. It's so perfect, and there is this arch that gets the lightest sprinkling of snow in winter. With some lights and red flowers, it would be perfect," Sansa sighed dreamily.

"You don't want a big wedding?" Cella asked, curious.  

Sansa shook her head.

"I mean, we could probably fit one hundred people at Winterfell. That's perfect, I think. Enough time that we could talk with everyone and enjoy ourselves. Anything bigger, and I think it would be hard to spend time with all your guests."

Cella and Shireen nodded, and Rhae gave a happy little sigh.

"You are the perfect woman for my brother, and I hope the idiot proposes soon, or else I think Mom's gonna lose it on him."

Sansa giggled.

"Elia can be quite demanding when it comes to those things," Sansa said, agreeing.

"What things?" came a male voice and Sansa's head swivelled to see Jon standing there.

He had a day shift run late, and he was wearing scrubs, which suddenly seemed like the hottest thing in the world.

"JON!" Sansa cried happily, forgetting all about what they were discussing.

She launched herself at him, pleased when he grunted and absorbed her weight, finding herself in his arms.

"Hey sweetheart, good night?" he asked, in that low, seductive voice that made all her insides go all shivery.

"Yup. We might have had a few drinks."

Sansa frowned, turning back to look at the women whom she'd just spent the better part of the night getting sloshed with.

"They might need a ride," she said as if it suddenly dawned on her that none of them were in any state to drive.

Jon didn't complain as he helped round up the lot of them, although Dacey and Rhae begged off on getting into Jon's SUV, claiming they had an uber coming.

“No drunk sex in the warehouse!” Sansa told them, only half-serious.

Dacey gave her the middle finger while Rhae giggled, and Sansa knew they were going to do it on the couch inside.

"This reminds me of when you girls would call me drunk from the bar at 2 am needing a ride home," Jon grumbled to Arianne and Rhae. They each kissed on of his cheeks, clearly adoring him. So did Sansa. Jon was perfect.

"You were always such a good big brother," Rhae told Jon.

Sansa loved how close Jon was with his siblings, and soon enough, the rest of the women piled into his SUV.

"Seatbelt's ladies," he said, in his best, "I'm a surgeon; don't mess with me," voice.

Sansa snickered and turned around, facing her friends.

"Dr. Snow is all about safety first!"

The double entendre was not lost on the women in the vehicle, who were now laughing and bugging Jon until Sansa put on one of her favourite playlists filled with songs Jon called girl anthems, and they serenaded him, off-key and drunk, as he dropped them off at the condo complex.

Arya and Satin graciously opened their homes to accommodate Arianne, Shireen, and Cella for the weeks leading up to the fashion show.

Of course, once they pulled into the complex, it wasn't enough for Jon to simply drop the women off. Satin, Toregg, Arya, and Gendry, who'd been having their own little party, invited everyone in.

Sansa found her arms wrapped around her little sister, gushing happily to Arya how happy she was to be home in Wintertown.

"Here, Jon, take your drunk woman," Arya said but did little to push Sansa away.

The two Stark sisters might not have much in common, but they loved one another dearly. Eventually, Jon helped a sleepy Sansa back to their vehicle, expertly driving them home and getting her into bed.

When he crawled in beside her, Sansa snuggled deep into his arms, content and happy in a way she hadn't believed was possible.

"I love you, Dr. Snow," she whispered before promptly falling asleep, missing Jon's laugh and rumbled, "I love you, Sansa Stark."

 


 

The Pre-show – Sansa

 

Funnily enough, by the time the day of the event rolled around, Sansa was as calm as could be. She and her team of amazing friends, family and colleagues had worked tirelessly to pull off the first inaugural haute couture fashion show Wintertown had ever seen.

There was nothing left to do but trust that everything they'd worked so hard for would turn out as Sansa wished.

Aegon and Arianne oversaw ensuring the VIP guests that had paid top dollar for a seat were escorted from the airport in elegant town cars to the premier hotel in Wintertown.

The entire hotel had been booked solid, dedicated to this one event – everything from the posh suites for the guests, to the two ballrooms for the fashion show and dinner, and the second-story concourse that would host various vendors pitching their wares. Sansa also had commandeered the various conference rooms for each of the designers and their creations.

A fashion show often made its money not from the clothing itself but by selling tickets, sponsorship and allowing lesser-known designers a chance to buy space at a booth to flog their products to the who's who of the fashion industry that inevitably attended these events. Each booth had been purchased, and some big names in Wintertown had stepped up for sponsorship, including her father, Roose, and Jon’s boss at the hospital.

The rest of the Martells had flown in a day early to help greet and settle the guests, which Sansa was grateful for.

Doran and Trystane, Oberyn, Ellaria and Obara, all helped Aegon and Arianne at the hotel, ensuring everything was set to House Martell's exacting standards. They had a vested interest in seeing this show succeed. Sansa had ‘grown-up’ under their label, and they wished for her success as it would be a reflection upon them.

Elia had arrived a few days earlier to help, and Sansa had kept her mentor appraised of every step of the show.

The entire thing had turned into quite the event, with the press salivating at the idea of new designers being showcased, along with the somewhat unique schedule and theme.

Attendees had been asked to dress in what Sansa called Historical Haute Couture. Those attending were to wear something fantastic that represented their region or ancient House. Knowing the creativity that was present in her industry, Sansa was excited to see what everyone came up with.

The guests would have a chance to mingle with one another, and each person knew that the paparazzi would be there to capture them for posterity. Everyone wanted to make the fashion blogs and it was becoming the event of the season – which was what Sansa had hoped for when she’d developed this idea. 

Once the attendees had arrived, the first show would commence, showcasing ready-to-wear designs by Dacey, Satin and Alys.

There would be a short intermission followed by the main event – Sansa's new haute couture line.

After that, a dinner for the VIPs at the hotel, a chance for Sansa and the other designers to talk to the press and an opportunity for the very elite of the fashion world to mix and mingle.

And everything was happening under her name.

She knew what a huge step this was in her career – what Elia was risking giving her this chance.

Sansa was confident in her designs and those of Dacey, Satin and Alys. The four of them had worked seamlessly together, even when the days had gone on for fourteen hours sometimes.

When they fought, it was over quickly enough and a rare event. The three other designers were Sansa's closest friends – part of her growing family in the North.

In keeping with the historical couture theme, Sansa had designed an outfit for Jon and Mia.

Before leaving for the hotel early Saturday morning, she'd made Jon triple-check that he knew exactly what to do when it came to the clothing.

"Sansa, it's just a doublet, some pants and a tunic. I can handle it."

She frowned.

"And the leather tie for your hair. King Jon used to wear it back."

Jon grinned at her.

"And the cloak, though it's not quite cold enough for me to wear that properly."

Sansa bit her lip and sighed, resting her hands against his chest.

"It's not too much, is it?"

Jon shook his head. He'd seen all her designs, including the final piece that she would wear and model. The grey dress was stunning, and he couldn’t wait to see it on her.

"No, baby, it's not."

Sansa gazed into his eyes and saw the truth there. She nodded.

"Elia will be by to help with Mia. I'm sorry, I've got to go…."

It was barely past 6 am, but the list of things to do was endless.

Jon cupped her cheeks, kissed her softly.

"Go and be a superstar. We will see you later."

Sansa nodded and then was out the door, knowing that out of all the men she’d ever date, Jon just got it. His own career was highly demanding and so he knew what it meant, to strive for this pinnacle in her work life. She’d never been as supported as she was by Jon and her family.

Her mind was racing as she drove downtown to the hotel, mentally flipping through her endless checklists and hoping she hadn't missed anything.

When she pulled up to the hotel, she was distracted by the tall man smoking a cigarette outside the hotel entrance.

His profile was unmistakable, and Sansa felt the butterflies quiver in her stomach as nerves danced.

Before she exited her SUV, she did one last check of herself in the rear-view mirror. One did not approach this man without looking absolutely put together.

She wore black tailored pants, ballet flats, a white sleeveless blouse, and a black suit jacket with an extended cut. Her hair was in a sleek tail down her back, tamed for now. Her make-up was subtle and understated.

The bracelet that Jon had given her flashed on her wrist, and somehow, seeing it there gave her the confidence to get out of her vehicle, knowing that a fashion icon was standing right there.

The fact that Tywin Lannister had come North for her show said something. Hell, it said everything.

It told the fashion world that she was to be taken seriously. The man only attended a few such events in the entire calendar year. And he’s chosen to come here, to Wintertown.

She handed her keys off to the valet, grabbed her laptop case and purse and settled on cool professionalism as she strode towar