Two years, Sansa thought as she sipped her wine.
It has already been two years since the fighting stopped, two years since the bloodshed ended, and two years since she was able to go home. Winterfell had been bashed and broken but a castle could easily be rebuilt. New stone mended the broken walls. Mortar fixed the cracked floors. New tapestries had been hung and new furniture had been made. When she looked around the great hall, Sansa saw the home of her youth. She pictured her father telling stories by the fireplace and her mother and Septa Mordane teaching her to sew. Rickon and Bran ran through the halls in bare feet while Arya hacked at their heels with sticks, calling out the names of long dead knights and kings Sansa still did not know. The builders had done a wonderful job recreating what had been destroyed, but Sansa knew it was not enough. A castle could not bring back what had been lost. It could not change the past.
Even tonight, when the castle was alive with music, food, and laughter, Sansa couldn’t help but frown. She nodded politely, of course, when her guests greeted her - the Stark of Winterfell must do her duty - but it felt so false and so frivolous. Her guests had come to celebrate the anniversary of the war’s end. They wanted to dance and be merry but Sansa could not. Too many people had been lost and too many lives had been ruined. The world was not a song. It had taken a long time for her to learn that lesson but she knew it now. Nothing would make her forget it.
Sansa felt eyes on her. She knew what it was like to be watched. Usually they hid in the shadows or sent spies to do their bidding. There had been proposals of alliance and proposals of love, each more insulting than the last. She had no need of any of it. She would not be another man’s pawn. Not again. She scanned the crowd and found an ordinary man with thin smile on his face. He held a lute in his hand.
A bard. They were all the same, trying to win favor and pennies for some insipid song of her family’s great deeds. She’d heard countless tales of her father’s sacrifice and her brother’s heroics. Normally she could ignore their ridiculous rhymes but not tonight.
Sansa set her drink down and excused herself from the table quietly. She slipped from the hall, past her guards, and through the grounds until she reached the forest. Before the war she had spent little time in the Godswood. Her father’s gods seemed strange and frightening to a naive child. Now she felt closer to her family when she stepped into what remained of her father’s woods.
A branch snapped and she turned around. The bard bowed.
Sansa sneered. “You dare follow me? I could have you killed for less. Leave me now or so be it...”
The bard took a step closer. “I only offer you a song, my lady.”
“What is it? The Truth and Honour of Eddard Stark? The Boy Wolf’s Victories? What about “The Lady and her Lady?” I have heard them all and I do not mean to hear them again.”
“You have not heard this one, my Lady. It is a song only for you.”
“That is what you all say.”
“I speak the truth.”
“I have no time for songs.” She glared at him but their eyes met and for a moment she could not look away.
“There should always be time for a song, my Lady.”
He waited a moment and when the Lady of Winterfell said nothing he began to strum. The cords were simple but pretty. His voice was clear and strong.
Once a little bird did sing,
beauteous—a perfect thing.
She loved. She laughed. She lived her life.
Dreamt for children—too be a wife.
But, oh how, the times do change.
Trapped and bound without any chains.
They clipped her wings and stole her song
Lost even hope but she carries on.
“Stop!” Sansa shouted. “What is this? What are you playing at?”
“Only a song, my lady. Do you not like it?” He lowered his instrument and Sansa’s eyes burrowed into him. He was so ordinary. His grey streaked hair was pulled away from his face and his eyes twinkled with knowing.
“Who are you?”
“No one. You may call be Abel.” He reached out and took her hand and Sansa shivered. His calloused fingers felt wrong as he stroked her wrist. Her mouth was dry.
“You have overstepped, Abel.” She watched the lines at the corners of his eyes crease when he smiled.
“Oh, I think not, my lady.” He ran his hand up her arm until he reached her shoulders, and let his lute fall to the ground. He side stepped behind her and brought his other hand to her waist. She tried to pull away but the bard leaned in against her neck. The whisper of his voice and the heat of his skin sent chills through Sansa’s body. To her surprise, she was not displeased. “I am not finished my song, Lady Sansa. There is still more story to tell.”
Sansa stood still, well aware of the slight movement of the man’s fingers across her waist and his rustic scent that overpowered even the godswood.
“Her flock took flight—was scattered and lost,” He continued slowly. His voices still lilted rhythmically without the notes of the lute. “Flew to the south without knowing the cost.” His thumb found the curve of her breast. Sansa felt the warmth of his lips on her neck. “Tortured and taunted and changed all to hide. But that sweet little bird was the one to survive.”
She closed her eyes as his lips moved across her skin, tasting the length of her neck and her thin shoulders. His hands moved lightly as the teased her through the bolts of fabric. Her mind flickered to another touch—one that had not been so sweet. Tears slid down her cheeks as she faced the man who called himself Abel.
“There is no little bird. Her song is dead.”
“No.” He said wiping away a tear as it dripped down her chin. “Songs do not die, because they are never truly forgotten.” He stepped closer. “You are not dead, Sansa. You must be the one to live.”
The Lady of Winterfell did not know this man. She knew nothing about his land or his place or where he had come from but she kissed him all the same. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him hard and with everything she had. A moan hung deep in her throat as his tongue intertwined with hers. He smiled when she pulled away, her face hot and her breath gasping.
“There you are.” He said, pushing a stray strand of auburn hair behind her ear. She grabbed his wrist and led his hand back across her breast and down the curve of her hips. His other hand followed suit. Stories of knights and their ladies flooded Sansa’s mind as the bard’s able fingers moved under her skirts and up her legs. Stories she had dismissed as foolishness. Stories for little girls and...
“Oh,” She moaned as Abel found her nub of pleasure. Her legs shook as he explored. His fingers found her opening and slowly began to trust. She closer her eyes as he worked faster and soon she found herself wet and ready.
“Are you alright, my lady.” He asked, never stopping.
She nodded. He would take her and take his pleasure. For a moment anger swelled in her belly. Her eyes opened wide and she shook her head. “No.”
In an instant, Abel was on the ground, his back against the sticks and twigs of the forest. Sansa straddled him, her hands pressing against his chest. “If you are to sing for me, it will be the song I want.”
Abel grinned. “Whatever your request.”
Sansa moved his hand once more under her skirts and guided him to her center. He heart pounded as she toyed with the laces of his britches. He was hard for her and it made the Queen of the North smile. She cried out as he squeezed her nub of passion.
“Now.” She moaned, arching away from his fingers and positioning herself above his willing cock.
“Whatever my lady commands.”
She spread he legs wider and he filled her easily enough, bucking slowly to find his rhythm. She felt him slide back and forth slowly, again and again, but that wasn’t what she wanted. She looked down at the man and gripped his shoulders as she set her own pace. She wanted it faster and harder. She wanted everything.
Abel was happy to return the effort as she set the pace. He met her with every thrust as she moved up and down on his cock. He could see the look of please on her face. And the look of power. Cries of pleasure spilled from her lips over and over again. He could feel her tense and her legs shook as her body clenched around him. That was enough to finish him too and with on final thrust they came together.
She lay on top of him for a moment, her face flushed, as her breathing steadied. She kissed him once more and stood, straightening her dress and brushing away the dirt. “Thank you,” She said as she left him alone in the godswood.
Mance walked back through the castle walls with his lute in his hand. He was smiling.
“I will kill you if you hurt her.” A hooded figure threatened.
Mance turned. The boy was wrapped in furs to hide his face but they had been through too much to not recognize each other.
“I will not hurt her, Jon.”
“Then what are you doing here?”
“Only reminding her of something long forgotten.”
“And what is that?”
Mance’s eyes twinkle, “That life can be a song, if only for a moment.”