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Sweet Songs in Snow

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After Petyr kissed her, Sansa had a flash of memory--what words and commands had fallen from the last several pairs of lips she'd kissed. Dontos had wanted her to run away 'home' but he'd spoke only lies that had sent her here. The Hound had ill-concealed his desire for her maidenhead and said such cruel things about her dreams and hopes and love. The Imp had lusted after her, telling her pretty Lannister lies to lull her into thinking herself safe. Joffrey had asked Ser Illyn to bring him her father's head after promising mercy. She slapped Petyr and ran--ran breathless and terrified to her aunt's rooms and threw herself into Aunt Lysa's arms.

Through her sobs she told her aunt everything that Petyr had told her, and how scared she was. Aunt Lysa had been stilted and kind towards her, though her hands shook with shock or fury--Sansa didn't know which, even as Lysa led Sansa to her own bed and tucked her in like a child, and then the woman went to the door of the chamber and summoned guards of some sort.

The last thing Aunt Lysa told Sansa was that she was locking the door but not to fear--everything would be made right.

When Sansa next awoke, everything was still and quiet. Aunt Lysa was embroidering in a chair at the bedside, and Sweetrobin was curled up next to Sansa with one of his hands wound into her hair. Petyr Baelish was nowhere to be seen.

"Aunt Lysa?"

"Yes, Sweetling?" Sansa dared only shift a little so she could better look at her aunt. Lady Lysa was utterly, scarily focused on her needlework but the shaking was gone from her hands.

"I didn't mean to cause you--cause you upset. I was afraid, I didn't want him to dishono--"

"Hush, child, all is well once more," Lysa said, though perhaps her shaking was not gone. Instead it had moved to her voice, which wavered and trembled with control or rage. Sansa was well aware of what rage looked like, she had learned it at the hands of those at court after all.

Sansa bit her lips and closed her eyes, humming a little tune she'd heard her aunt hum to Sweetrobin a few days previous. She drifted off to sleep soon enough, and when she woke it was to one of Lady Lysa's serving girls bustling around the room making sure breakfast was properly ready.

"Sansa, Sansa, come!" Sweetrobin tugged her hand, and Sansa couldn't help but obey the little brat of a boy. He reminded her of Rickon, in a way, though his wildness came from lack of discipline not wolf's blood.

Her aunt had strained smiles for Sansa, but there was no cruelty lurking in her eyes this time as she offered Sansa lemoncakes and honey.

"Lady Arryn," the steward hurried in, all apologetic smiles and courtesies as Aunt Lysa turned her blue eyes at him, "the judges await you and your son's presence for the--the trial. Of Lord Baelish." A certain hint of Cersei Lannister showed through then, the way Lysa's mouth pinched and then smoothed reminded Sansa of when Queen Cersei was confronted with some past disappointment made real once more by news of it.

"Trial?" Sansa's voice was almost too soft to be heard, and that pinch-and-smooth appeared once more on her aunt's face.

"Yes, my darling. Lord Baelish, for his attempted rape of you yesterday. It is a wonder that Sweetrobin was able to alert the guards, and a mercy that you escaped his clutches in the time it took them to arrive. Your betrothed is greatly relieved that you found safety with me," her aunt said with a good deal of gravity. Sansa's stomach quailed a little at the masterful twist of the events of the day previous.

"You will not be expected to give evidence, sweetling, after such a trauma you must never wish to see him again," Aunt Lysa continued and Sansa found it in herself to interrupt. She wanted rid of Petyr Baelish, and if this was the way she might get it she would take it. Yes, her aunt was mad. But Joffrey had been mad too--and she'd survived him well enough.

"Aunt Lysa I--I would face him. He ought to know that he does not own me, that he could not do as he pleased with me. That I love my family too much to allow him to dishonor not only myself but you as well," she interrupted. This was her chance--she would agree to this surprise betrothal to her cousin, and then she would coax her aunt's madness into something less dangerous.

Aunt Lysa's smile was feral for just a moment after Sansa spoke, and whatever appetite Sansa had had previously evaporated. She would condemn a man to one of the sky cells or the moon door before the sun set, and she would embark on yet another turn of her life marked by death. First the butcher's boy, then Father, then Joffrey, then Ser Dontos, and now Petyr Baelish. Each accidents on the road of life, each so closely occurring to her they might have been her fault at a glance.

"I would not force you, child, but your evidence--and being the daughter of Lord Eddard and my own dear sister--will be most welcome. If you are willing, we leave for the court in a quarter hour."

"Should I change, Aunt Lysa?" She wore still the dress of the day before, one of the dagged sleeves ripped and trailing like a broken wing behind her. The woman across from her gave her a severe once-over before shaking her head.

"You are perfect as you are. This should also teach the men of the Vale that they should keep their hands safely at their sides when around you and I, I think."

"Of course, I'm so stupid, thank you for your kindness and advice Aunt Lysa."

"Think nothing of it, niece. We are family."

After only an hour's time, Petyr Baelish was led to the moon door and pushed through. He screamed and shrieked the entire way, leaving behind a terrible smell as he'd shit himself before being tossed out. Sansa wiped her tears--she doubted she would ever witness death impassively--and hardened her heart. She would keep her aunt safe, she would discipline her cousin as Joffrey had never been disciplined himself, and she would--once she was Lady Arryn--raise her banners and take revenge on those who had destroyed her family.

Watching Petyr's head--the only thing recognizeable after his fall--put on a spike, Sansa couldn't help but wonder if perhaps he had been at the root of it all.