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Truth or Dare

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Stannis had to work hard to suppress the groan that was threatening to escape. Rickon Stark was a very energetic six year old, and it was already clear - though the boy had only just burst through his door - that Catelyn’s promise of a quiet evening where Sansa would watch the kids, and he could get some work done, was a pipe dream.

Arya followed her brother, shouting almost as loudly as the boy.

“I’ll catch you! You’ll never get away! The treasure will be mine!”

Stannis had to take a step back in order to save himself from being run over in his own house. Wonderful.

Thankfully, Bran seemed to be in a calmer mood. He walked in without even looking up from the small device in his hands. He seemed to be in the middle of some sort of computer game. It wasn’t one that Stannis recognised, but then Stannis only recognised the games he had spied Renly playing during board meetings. Perhaps ten year olds and twenty-something year olds had different tastes in games…

Catelyn and Sansa walked through the door last of all, immersed in conversation. Catelyn was looking a little harried, Sansa mutinous.

“I’m really sorry, but this is how it’s going to have to be tonight. Maybe next year you can come with us. We did promise - Stannis! How wonderful to see you again! It’s been too long.” Catelyn’s harried expression vanished as if by magic, replaced by a genuine smile. She walked right up to him and kissed the air next to his cheeks. He tolerated it because it was Catelyn, and even though Ned had never been his favourite person in the world, Catelyn had always been nice to him. Much nicer than Cersei, in any case.

Catelyn did not give him a chance to say anything before she turned around and picked up the thread of her previous conversation with Sansa. Stannis might have been offended, but as a parent he understood that the conversation Catelyn was having with her daughter needed to be finished.

“We did promise Stannis that he wouldn’t have to spend his evening controlling your siblings, didn’t we Stannis?”

Stannis was surprised at being pulled into the conversation. He nodded, wondering if that was enough. Catelyn had only convinced him to let the Stark children sleep over because Shireen enjoyed Arya’s company - Gods only knew why - and because Catelyn had promised that Sansa would be coming too in order to take care of Rickon and make sure that Stannis would have peace to work.

“It’s not fair! Robb gets to go! Margaery is going! Why do I have to babysit?” Sansa pouted, crossing her arms angrily. The motion drew attention to two things that had definitely not been there the last time Stannis had seen her. He quickly looked away, feeling his face grow warm. Sansa had always been a beautiful child. He had never really thought about it beyond noticing it in the way one notices a well made piece of art. Now that she was an adult - nineteen, if his calculations were correct - she was nothing short of devastating.

And what are those skintight things she's wearing instead of trousers? Stannis was fairly certain they should be illegal.

Stannis heard a crash somewhere in the house and decided it was as good an excuse as any to remove himself from Sansa’s vicinity. He needed a little time to adjust to the fact that she was all grown up.

Arya had knocked over an ugly vase that he didn’t quite know why he still had. It had been from Selyse’s parents. It must not have been a particular favourite of hers, otherwise she would have taken it in the divorce.

“You will clean that up,” he said sternly to a sheepish Arya and told Shireen - who had emerged from her room to investigate the noise - to help her find the necessary equipment for the procedure.

Catelyn and Sansa had followed him at a slightly slower pace and were now entering the scene from the hallway.

“I’m so sorry, Stannis! Was that valuable? I can reimburse you for it,” Catelyn said worriedly, shooting Arya a meaningful look.

Arya rolled her eyes. “I’m sorry I broke your vase, Stannis.”

“It was from the Florents and it was hideous,” he said dryly and raised an eyebrow. “No apology necessary.”

Arya giggled, and to Stannis’s surprise, so did Sansa. The sound of her amusement made his stomach do an odd sort of flip. Her laugh was amazing. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a very funny man, otherwise he might have attempted to keep her laughing somehow. Nothing amusing occurred to him.

Get it together. She’s too young, and there’s no damn point.

He was only noticing her like this because the last time he had seen her she had been about Shireen’s age, twelve or so, and now she had blindsided him with her frankly astounding, grown up looks. Additionally, he hadn’t seen Melisandre in months. Fucking her usually got rid of his pent up tension and frustration, but since he had been forced to move from Dragonstone to King’s Landing he hardly ever saw her anymore.

He had always liked red hair.

If only there was a proper school for Shireen on Dragonstone...

Stop thinking about this, Catelyn is talking to you.

“... with Ned in the car. So I should really get going. Are you going to be all right?”

“Yes, I’m sure it will be fine.”

“I’ll give your regards to Robert and Renly, shall I?”

“If you must.”

Sansa giggled again and Stannis’s stomach did another flip.

“All right,” Catelyn said, suppressing a smile. She turned to her daughter and said, “try to keep Arya and Rickon quiet tonight. I know it’s difficult, but you have my permission to bribe them with pizza. Thank you for doing this. I know you’d much rather come with us.”

Catelyn embraced Sansa, and Sansa accepted the hug with a resigned look on her face.

“Just promise I’ll get to go next time,” Sansa said, her voice muffled due to the hug.

Stannis frowned at the floor, feeling a little like an interloper in this Stark family moment.

Once Catelyn had left the house, Stannis found the phone and handed it to Sansa along with a menu from a nearby pizza place.

“Number ten is pretty good,” he recommended awkwardly.

“Oh, thanks.” Sansa was looking up at him in vague surprise. “You can go do some work if you like. I’ll keep the monsters under control.”

Stannis didn’t really want to leave Sansa’s presence, but he knew he should. Maybe he should call Melisandre and find out when she’d next be in town?

His throat felt dry, so he just nodded curtly and walked in a calm, dignified manner to his study.

***

Sansa had finally managed to get Rickon to fall asleep and Arya was sitting still and not breaking anything. She and Shireen were watching some horrible gory film about zombies, the remains of several pizzas strewn in front of them. Bran was pretending to be absorbed in his computer game, but Sansa could see him sneaking looks at the screen. She didn’t have the energy to tell him off for it. He was probably too young to see all that brain matter splattered about, but... oh, well.

She wondered if Shireen was allowed to watch stuff like this usually. Stannis seemed like the type to get hung up on movie ratings. Judging by the shocked looks on Shireen’s face every five minutes, she hadn’t seen as much gnarly zombie gore in her time as Arya had. Arya was the only person watching the film who looked perfectly thrilled. Shireen was tougher than she looked, though. She could handle a zombie flick, Sansa decided. What Stannis didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him, and he wasn’t likely to come out of his study if the previous three hours were anything to go by. Shireen had brought him some pizza earlier, but Sansa hadn’t seen their surly host since he’d given her the phone and the pizza menu.

With a sigh, Sansa made herself at home on the sofa next to Bran and wondered what Margaery was doing right at this minute. Probably flirting with Joffrey. She didn’t even like him as much as Sansa did. It was so unfair that she got to go the Baratheon gala and Sansa didn’t. It was her dad who was the guest of honour, not Margaery's. Therefore Sansa had a much better reason than Margaery to go. Margaery was only going because Loras was going out with Renly. Big deal.

By the time the film ended, Sansa had convinced herself that Joffrey was wrapped around Margaery’s little finger, and that she’d never get a chance with him. It isn't fair! she thought, her stomach clenching in on itself.

“Let’s watch another movie!” Arya suggested excitedly as the credits rolled.

“We’ll never have time to finish another film. Why don’t we play a game instead?” Shireen was a much more reasonable kid than Arya, thankfully.

“Not a board game, I hate board games,” Arya said in disgust.

“Is chess a board game?” Shireen wondered, her forehead wrinkling delicately.

“I don’t know, but I’m not in the mood for chess. This is a sleepover, let’s play truth or dare!”

Sansa groaned. Arya always insisted on truth or dare, and she always ended up daring Sansa to do humiliating, stupid things.

“I’m not playing truth or dare,” Sansa said flatly.

“You have to, it’s no fun with just two people!” Arya cried out.

“With Bran you’d be three…” Sansa trailed off when she noticed that Bran had fallen asleep next to her. She hadn’t noticed because he’d been sitting still all evening, single-mindedly playing his stupid game. Being asleep didn’t change his pattern of movement much.

“You were saying?” Arya raised an eyebrow triumphantly.

“Fine, but there will be no dares where anyone is forced to eat or drink anything gross, okay?” Sansa crossed her arms and glared at her sister. The last time she had played this game she had been forced to drink a completely vile cocktail of fish oil, mayonnaise and diet coke. She had been violently ill straight away, and the kitchen sink had smelled awful for days.

“I second that stipulation,” Shireen said decisively, much to Sansa’s relief.

“All right, sure, whatever,” Arya agreed, holding her hands up in surrender.

For a while they warmed up with mostly truth. Silly inconsequential things like their most embarrassing moments, their favourite this or that, whether they had stolen anything and what were their worst nightmares.

Arya had scarred Sansa for life when she had revealed that the most embarrassed she had ever been was when she had walked in on their parents having sex in the living room late one night.

“Oh, gods! Do they know that you saw them?” Sansa gasped, covering her mouth with both hands.

“No! I know how to be really quiet. My fencing teacher taught me,” Arya said.

“I don’t think my dad ever does anything like that. I’ve never walked in on him with anyone. I don’t think he’s ever brought a woman home since the divorce,” Shireen said, crinkling her brow. Sansa would have expected her to be pleased about this, but she looked... disappointed.

“I think he’s probably lonely,” Shireen added a little sadly.

“You don’t know that. Maybe he just doesn’t want to bring the women he meets to the house. I’m sure he has someone. He’s not bad looking.” Sansa hadn’t the slightest idea what Stannis’ love life was like, but she said what she thought might cheer Shireen up. Arya was rolling her eyes and pretending to gag and then vomit.

Shireen ignored Arya and looked a little heartened by Sansa’s words. Sansa smiled encouragingly at her and shot Arya a quelling glare.

The game moved on to questions about crushes.

Shireen had just admitted that she had used to have a crush on her father’s best friend and they all fell about giggling like a pack of silly geese. “Oh, I hope your dad’s best friend is better looking than our dad’s best friend!” Sansa exclaimed once she had caught her breath. Perhaps it was harsh of her to say something like that about Robert - he had been quite good looking in his day, after all - but Sansa couldn’t help herself.

“I don’t think a man has to try very hard to look better than Robert,” Shireen giggled. “Arya, truth or dare?”

“Do you like anyone right now?” Shireen asked when Arya had chosen truth.

Arya went curiously red in the face. This surprised Sansa; she hadn’t thought that Arya liked anyone.

“I’ll not answer that. Give me a dare instead!” Arya said and crossed her arms stubbornly.

“All right, I dare you to… wear your pants backwards for the rest of the game!”

“Ooh, how embarrassing,” Arya said mockingly with an eyeroll. She got up and turned her pants around without much fuss. “We really need to come up with more interesting stuff, this is getting boring.” Arya gave Sansa a look that did not bode well at all. “Sansa, truth or dare?”

Sansa quickly asked for truth, worried about what kind of dares Arya would come up with now that she was bored.

“Who do you have a crush on?”

Sansa should have expected this. Arya had been trying to pry this information out of her for days. How Arya had found out that Sansa even had a crush was completely beyond her, but Sansa knew that if she told Arya that she had a crush on Joffrey, she would never have any peace. Arya would tell their brothers and Robb might even tell Joffrey. They saw each other all the time these days. Sansa couldn’t bear the thought of Joffrey finding out, especially now that she was convinced that he was practically engaged to Margaery. What if he laughed at her?

“On second thought, I’ll take a dare.”

Sansa hoped Arya wouldn’t get too creative. She wasn’t really in the mood to humiliate herself. It was already bad enough that she had to babysit instead of dressing up for a gala and flirting with her crush.

“I dare you…” Arya looked around the room as if she were searching for inspiration. Her eyes landed on the television screen. It was set to a very low volume and was showing an old superhero film. At the moment the hero was hanging upside down with his mask half off, kissing a pretty girl in the rain. The girl had red hair, but it was obviously a dye job.

“I dare you to kiss Shireen’s dad!” Arya said with an evil glint in her eyes, “on the mouth! With tongue!” she added with relish.

Shireen had to put both of her hands over her mouth in order to muffle her giggles.

Sansa’s mouth had dropped open in shock. Arya wanted her to kiss Stannis? Grumpy, serious, sour-faced Stannis?

“What’s the matter? You said earlier that he wasn’t bad looking,” Arya gloated.

“Yes, but - Shireen, are you okay with this!?” Sansa looked at Shireen - who was still giggling helplessly - in desperation.

“Oh, you heard what she said before. She thinks her dad needs to live a little. He’s ‘lonely’ and shit.”

“Don’t swear. It isn’t cute.”

“Whatever! Go kiss him.”

“Shireen, are you seriously okay with this?”

Shireen finally got herself under control. “I don’t see the harm,” she said with a shrug.

“But…” Sansa trailed off, not knowing how to get out of this ridiculous dare if Shireen wasn’t going to take offence.

“You don’t have to do a strip tease! Just go to his study and smack one on his lips!” Arya grinned and acted like the dare she had given Sansa was easy breezy, and that Sansa was being silly for hesitating.

Sansa narrowed her eyes at the challenging look Arya was giving her and got to her feet.

“Fine. Stay here. If I’m not back in ten minutes, I expect it’ll be because Stannis will have killed me for assaulting his person.”

“Don’t worry, he won’t hurt you. He might lecture you, though,” Shireen said cheerfully.

Sansa nodded, squared her shoulders and marched towards Stannis’ office door.

“With tongue!” Arya repeated, just as Sansa was about to turn a corner.

“Yeah, yeah!” Sansa called back, annoyed.

She felt like she was marching to her doom.

It took Sansa a minute or two to work up the courage to knock on the study door. She used the time to try to figure out how she would go about this. She had kissed boys before. She had even kissed a man before. It had been some friend of her mother’s at a Christmas party. There had been mistletoe, and he had been slightly drunk. She hadn’t really liked it, but it had been interesting to kiss someone older. Most of the boys she had kissed up until then had barely been able to grow beards, and the sandpaper texture of stubble had been a new experience. Sandor had been able to grow a beard, but his beard had been long enough to be mostly soft. It hadn’t been like sandpaper at all.

Stannis has stubble…

Well, it was too late to work on her kissing technique now. The real question was whether she would just kiss him without saying anything first, or if she should try to explain that it was a dare. She tried to think of the words she might use to explain such a thing and ended up drawing a complete blank. There was no way to ask, ‘hey, can I kiss you for a dare?’ without coming off as insulting. Honestly, who wanted to be kissed on a dare?

Right. I'll just have to go for it.

Sansa knocked before she lost her nerve. This was crazy. Crazy crazy crazy!

“It’s open,” Stannis said in a neutral tone of voice, his voice carrying through the door.

Sansa took a deep breath and opened the door. Stannis was sitting at his desk, his laptop open in front of him, a stack of printed reports next to the computer. There was a glass of water within easy reach - on a coaster - and there were two slices of lemon in it. Stannis was still wearing the same shirt he had been wearing earlier, but he had loosened the top buttons and rolled the sleeves up to his elbows. It wasn’t a bad look on him, Sansa thought appreciatively. He had nice arms.

He was looking at her expectantly, probably waiting for her to state her business.

Heart beating frantically in her chest, she walked into the room, closing the door behind her. She quickly made her way around his desk and right up to him. He raised his eyebrows in surprise and turned his head towards her, the look in his eyes becoming more baffled and wary than expectant. She was glad he turned his head, otherwise she would have had pull on it or something. That seemed disrespectful.

She let out a nervous, high pitched sort of sound, placed one hand on his desk for balance and bent forward, aiming her lips at his. Luckily, his lips were opening slightly, forming a startled 'o' that would make it easier to stick to Arya’s tongue stipulation. She breathed in, smelling lemons, sandalwood and something slightly heavy and satisfyingly male. A split-second before their lips met she squeezed her eyes shut.

His lips were soft. This drew an involuntary noise of shock from her. Stannis did not make a noise. Not even when Sansa remembered herself and inexpertly thrust her tongue into his slightly open mouth. Instead he met her tongue with his, and - oh - he was much better at this than anyone she had ever kissed before.

His hand came up to the back of her head, steering her a little to get a better angle; it was a gentle touch, but all she noticed was how warm his hand was and how the different angle let him fit their mouths together wonderfully. He curled his tongue around hers, and she could taste lemons. He massaged her tongue with his, and she felt her insides melt into some kind of hot, sticky mess. When he drew back, biting her lower lip exceedingly gently as he did, she let out an embarrassingly needy whimper and pressed her thighs together tightly. His hand released the back of her head and the kiss ended. Sansa kept her eyes closed and did not move to straighten back up. She felt frozen in place, her cheeks warm, her heart hammering, her breathing laboured. It was good that she had one hand on his desk to help keep her balance, because her knees had gone all weak.

That had been some kiss.

Eventually she let her eyes flutter open, both nervous and curious about what sort of expression she would see on Stannis’ face. He was looking at her with his very dark blue eyes, an eyebrow raised, his lips twisted into a small frown. She couldn’t tell if he was angry, aroused or just mildly annoyed.

She hurried to straighten herself up, her back complaining about being bent forward for so long.

“Um,” she said, swallowing nervously, “I’ll just go now, shall I?”

“Perhaps you would like to explain why you felt the need to kiss me before you go?”

It was unfair that he sounded so calm and collected when she sounded all breathy and shaky.

“You kissed me back,” she blurted, her brain obviously not fully functional.

His calm façade cracked a little at her words, his face taking on an expression of guilty chagrin. “Instinct, I suppose,” he said apologetically.

Good instincts, Sansa thought.

“Oh, well. Um.”

“I have a lot of work to do. Would you like to go take a moment to compose yourself, or do you think you might arrive at some sort of point soon?” Stannis was obviously trying to look aloofly unconcerned, but there was a hint of a smirk playing on his lips, and a slightly smug gleam in his eyes.

Sansa was pretty sure he was feeling rather pleased with himself. She couldn’t really blame him - if she could kiss like that she would be feeling rather self-satisfied, too - but it was still infuriating.

She took a deep breath and huffed it out in an irritated way. If he was going to be smug and infuriating she could see no reason why she should spare his feelings.

“Shireen, Arya and I were playing truth or dare, and Arya dared me to kiss you. I’m sorry, I’ll leave you alone now.” Sansa turned around and was just about to flounce off when Stannis halted her progress.

“Wait,” he said, sounding affronted and startled, “Shireen knows you’re doing this?”

Sansa turned to face him again, crossing her arms defensively in front of her. “Yes, she knows. She doesn’t have a problem with it.”

Stannis’ eyebrows made an attempt to reach his slightly receding hairline.

“She thinks you’re lonely.”

Sansa had no idea what had possessed her to say that. Her brain had to be malfunctioning badly. She clearly needed a surgical intervention.

Stannis was blinking rapidly and there was a vein on his forehead that was starting to throb ominously. Sansa couldn’t take her eyes off it. How does he make it do that?

“Let me get this straight,” he said in a low, scary tone of voice, “my daughter thinks I’m lonely and your sister decides to send you to kiss me in order to fix the problem?”

Sansa’s palms were starting to feel decidedly clammy. She nodded, not trusting her voice to come out normally if she tried to speak.

“Perfect. That’s - that’s just perfect.” Stannis was shaking his head slightly and bringing his hands up to rub his temples. He blew out a long breath in a tired sort of sigh.

Sansa started to reach for the door handle, thinking that Stannis might just want to be alone.

“Please tell the girls to refrain from sending any further… dares my way,” Stannis said in an irritated tone of voice.

She nodded again, her face hot with embarrassment, and opened the door to leave. Before she was all the way out of the room, she heard Stannis grumble something that she was relatively sure he had not meant her to hear. (Sansa had very good hearing. Arya’s sneaking around saw to that.)

“... just kissing isn’t going to do much of anything for me anyway… “

Suppressing the need to squeal with embarrassment, Sansa fled to the TV room.

***

Of course it had been a dare. How stupid had he been to think Sansa would randomly walk up to him and kiss him for any other reason?

It had been like something out of a dream or a fantasy when she had descended on him, her lips soft, her tongue eager. Melisandre had been similarly forward the first time she had made her interest in him known. Of course, she had stripped first and they had done a lot more than kiss.

Stannis had filed for divorce the very next day.

It would not do to stay with his wife after straying. It was both a matter of principle, and also a matter of thinking ahead. If he were to continue giving into his base urges with Melisandre, and Selyse caught him… He’d have an ugly custody battle on his hands, and he’d probably lose half of his possessions. Better to take the initiative. Cite irreconcilable differences and call it a day.

Of course, his relationship with Melisandre never amounted to anything regular or clearly defined. They fucked. She tried to convince him to convert to her strange religion. He refused. (The sex was not good enough for him to find God.) Time went by and the cycle began again.

He stared at his computer screen and read the same word over and over while he imagined Sansa in Melisandre’s usual role. He hadn’t really fantasized about nineteen year olds since he had been around that age himself. It was appalling how arousing he found it; how appealing the idea of Sansa’s innocence was.

Melisandre was the opposite of innocent. She was blatant sexuality and seduction, burning him up with her passion. But Melisandre never looked dazed after he kissed her. She never made surprised noises in the back of her throat, never let out needy little whimpers that went straight to his cock…

He’d never felt quite as powerful as he had in the moments just after that kiss with Sansa.

Perhaps this was why so many men seemed preoccupied with the idea of chasing girls that could easily pass for their daughters? He had always thought it was just some ridiculous ego thing. A way to prove that they weren’t too old to charm someone young.

He scrubbed at his face with his hands trying to clear his mind of Sansa and her sweet lips. If he continued this train of thought he’d have a situation in his trousers. That would not do. He’d need to move to his bedroom first. No one would bother him there.

First he had to finish these reports, however.

***

It was well past midnight when Shireen and Arya finally went to sleep. (Bran had been prodded into moving to a bed hours earlier.)

Sansa had managed to convince them to switch to a different game after The Kiss, explaining that Stannis was not amused by Arya’s dare, and that he’d given explicit instructions not to involve him in any more dares.

“Was he very mad at you?” Shireen had asked in a worried tone of voice.

“Not really, but I don’t think he liked being used like that,” Sansa had admitted, blushing.

“Fine, we won’t be able to top that dare, anyway,” Arya had said, agreeing to change to a different game.

They played Never Have I Ever until Shireen started to yawn and Sansa told them to get in their pyjamas and go to bed. The two girls had obeyed reluctantly and Sansa had heard them chatting and giggling for at least half an hour after she turned off the lights in their room. She hadn’t told them off for it, though. The whole point of sleepovers was to stay up late talking.

Now that Sansa was alone with her thoughts with no siblings to corral, her thoughts were irresistibly drawn to The Kiss and the muttered words that she had not been supposed to overhear.

Sansa was not so innocent that she didn’t know exactly what Stannis had meant. He had obviously meant that a kiss would not ease his loneliness in a meaningful way. Logically, that meant that something more might ‘do something for him’. But had he just meant in general? Or had he been thinking about doing something more with her?

Sansa had only gone all the way once with a boy. It hadn’t been enough to make him stay, but she didn’t regret it. It was a precious memory to her and it had made certain that Sandor would always have a place in her heart. She had dated a few other boys after Sandor, but had never felt the need to progress to physical relationship with any of them. Nothing beyond making out, at least.

She hadn’t even considered having sex with anyone since that awkward, wonderful night in the backseat of Sandor’s beaten up old T-bird. No one had brought the need out in her.

Until tonight.

Sansa felt herself flushing, her cheeks, her neck and even her chest feeling unusually warm. She kept having to cross and uncross her legs uncomfortably because the ache that had started between her thighs when she had kissed Stannis was refusing to go away. It had faded to the background while she had been with Shireen and Arya, but it was demanding her attention now. It was very inconvenient because she would definitely not be able to get comfortably enough in a strange house to take care of herself. Even if she locked the door to the guest bedroom that she was supposed to sleep in, she doubted she’d be able to feel truly at ease.

The memory of how Stannis had bit her lip caused her to shudder slightly and she felt a fresh wave of heat move through her. The need to press something firm intimately between her thighs growing unbearable.

She needed a distraction. Maybe if she went and talked to Stannis he would act grumpy and annoyed and this weird want would die a painful death? It was hard to be attracted to someone who was telling you off for bothering them.

Sansa fidgeted for a bit longer, worrying at her bottom lip and debating with herself.

Without really coming to any decision about what to do, she stood up from the couch and started collecting dirty plates and glasses. She was loading the dishwasher when Stannis saved her the trouble of making up her mind about whether she should seek him out or not. He arrived in the kitchen carrying a glass that was empty but for two slices of lemon. His hair looked more mussed than it had been when she had been in his study. His forearms were still very nice. Sansa had the wild urge to stroke them with her fingertips, wanting to to know whether the dark hairs that grew on his arms were as fine and soft as they looked.

“Still awake?” he asked, sounding mildly surprised. He threw the slices of lemon away.

“Shireen and Arya only just dropped off,” Sansa explained, feeling awkward and distracted. Her heart was beating very fast again, and when he came close so that he could put his glass in the dishwasher the scent of him made her want to stop breathing out; she just wanted to keep breathing in and in and in.

“Ah,” he said, nodding in understanding as he fiddled with the detergent, closed the dishwasher and started a program running. When he finished he was still standing quite close by. They both had their backs to the kitchen counter, and their sides were almost touching. Her head was turned towards him, but he was looking straight ahead.

“Shireen give you any trouble?”

“Oh, none at all! She’s so sweet. I wish Arya were more like her.”

He wasn’t moving away. Should she move away? Was it normal to be standing so close to each other? Stannis still wasn’t looking at her, but she couldn’t take her eyes off him.

“I’m sorry about the - earlier,” Sansa blurted. She saw the side of Stannis’ mouth quirk up for a second, but then he seemed to catch himself and he frowned, his jaw tensing up.

“Apology accepted,” he said formally.

Seeing Stannis was not having the effect that Sansa had hoped for. She wanted him to lecture her, be grumpy and irritated. Anything but stand around smelling all attractive with his sexy forearms, making her want to kiss him again.

“You’re a very good kisser.”

Oh, gods. Did she say that out loud?

Stannis had finally turned his head and he was looking at her with both eyebrows raised.

Sansa was sure she had never blushed that violently before in her life. But despite this, she couldn’t look away from his startled face. It was fascinating to see him go from surprise, to suspicion and finally to see his eyes getting that smug gleam again, although his jaw was still clenched, his lips refusing to curl into a smirk.

“You, however, could use some practise,” he said dismissively.

Her mouth dropped open in shock. She didn’t know whether to be offended, amused or humiliated. He thought she was a bad kisser? No one else had ever complained. What was she supposed to say to something like that?

“Oh,” she breathed out, and to her horror she sounded hurt and vulnerable.

A look of dismay appeared on Stannis’ face. “You’re still young,” he said awkwardly, looking straight ahead again, not meeting her eyes. “You’ll doubtlessly surpass my meager talents by the time you’re my age.”

Sansa was fluent in foot-in-mouth speak and understood his meaning. I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.

“You’re not that much older than me,” she said, trying to smooth things over.

“I’m thirty-five.”

“I know. That’s not old.”

Stannis looked at her again with a raised eyebrow, he looked supremely sceptical.

“What did I do wrong?” she asked before her malfunctioning brain had a chance to stop her.

Stannis looked momentarily confused, but then he seemed to understand that she was asking what had been wrong with her kissing. She was intrigued when two spots of colour appeared high on his cheeks. Was he embarrassed?

“Sorry, forget I asked,” she hurried to say, even though she was now deathly curious about what he might tell her. She looked at the floor and squeezed her eyes shut. Why was she acting so stupid tonight?

The silence stretched on for a while. Sansa was just about to make some excuse and flee the kitchen when Stannis abruptly spoke.

“Too much tongue too quickly.”

Sansa opened her eyes and snapped her head up to look at Stannis. He was staring straight ahead again, his cheeks still faintly red, his jaw clenching and unclenching rhythmically. He had crossed his arms, and Sansa was momentarily distracted by the sight of his forearms tucked against his chest.

“Some guys like that.” Sandor had.

“It’s not my preference.”

“What's your preference?”

Sansa didn’t take her eyes off his, hoping he would turn to face her again. She saw him glance at her, lightning quick. He seemed annoyed that she had noticed. She suppressed a smile.

“Does it matter?” he asked at length.

Sansa shrugged. “I’m curious.”

Stannis gave her a hard, piercing look. She tried not to shrink away, but it was difficult.

“What possible reason could you have for being curious about my preferences?” he asked scornfully.

Sansa’s blush had been fading, but it came back in full force at his question. There really was no innocent reason for her to ask him about this. Asking him about what he liked was almost as good as admitting that she wanted to kiss him again.

The ache between her thighs that she had been doing her best to ignore intensified.

“Maybe I just want to get it right next time,” she said, her voice embarrassingly breathless.

***

That was it. The infuriating girl was taunting him. He should really teach her a lesson. He could think of ten different things to say that would devastate her and get her to retreat to her room and never bother him again as long as she lived. However, after hearing her breathe that soft, vulnerable little ’oh’ when he had criticised her kissing prowess, he couldn’t bring himself to say anything biting. The hurt look in her eyes had been unbearable.

There was nothing for it. He’d just have to kiss her. A proper greedy and demanding kiss. That would frighten her off and hopefully teach her not to taunt people. Yes, he would kiss her for those very logical and unselfish reasons. Not at all because he just wanted to.

Before he could think better of it, he moved to trap her body between his own and the kitchen counter. He put his hands on the counter on either side of her, and sought her lips with his own. As soon as he had moved she closed her eyes, raised her chin towards him and parted her lips enticingly -- just as if she wanted this. A low growl escape from the back of his throat before he claimed her lips. This time she did not immediately thrust her tongue into his mouth. Instead she just invited him in, tongue tangling with his enjoyably when he started to taste her. She tasted faintly of a caramelised drink and strawberry lip balm, but she smelled like lemons and powdered sugar. He usually didn’t care for sweets, but Sansa was delicious. She obligingly turned her head and yielded when he hungrily deepened the kiss even further, and moaned in a way that got his cock to stand up and take notice.

Surprisingly, Sansa did not seem to mind the pressure of his erection against her abdomen. Still, as much as he wanted to, he decided against rubbing himself against her lewdly. That might be going a bit far.

He had intended to use only his mouth for this lesson as touching her might prove too tempting, but she had not received the ‘no hands’ memo, and he could feel her arms wrapping around his neck, a hand resting against the back of his head, fingernails scraping against his scalp in a way that made him groan into her mouth. She was pressing her breasts against his chest insistently, and they felt soft, hot and perfect.

Perhaps she would not mind if he rubbed himself against her after all?

His knuckles were turning white as he held on to the counter, but he lost the will to keep from touching her when she moaned again: a drawn out lusty sound. He brought his hands to her waist and steered her to the kitchen table, only four steps away. (He knew that it was sturdy and just the right height.) She kept moaning appreciatively into his mouth, and he did not think he would ever tire of her sweet, soft lips. He picked her up and sat her on the edge of the table, pleased when she immediately wrapped her legs around him, squeezing him to her and bringing his cock into wonderfully intimate contact with her. If only they weren’t wearing clothes...

Wait. Weren't you supposed to be frightening her off? the voice of reason suddenly piped up at the back of his head.

He reluctantly broke the kiss in order to look at her. She did not seem remotely intimidated. She still had her eyes closed, and her lips were red, swollen and parted. Her cheeks were a delightful pink, and she was breathing deeply and slowly. In short, she looked thoroughly, beautifully aroused. As if to confirm his assessment, she squeezed him with her legs and rubbed herself against his cock, a very erotic, needy whimper escaping her.

Fuck.

Eventually she noticed that he wasn’t kissing her anymore, and she opened her eyes and pouted. “Why did you stop?”

Why indeed? It was difficult to think straight when his brain was not getting enough blood. The pressure of his erection was all he could really think about. Well, that and how good it felt when she rubbed herself against him like that.

Instead of answering her he decided to just kiss her again. This decision was met with a delighted noise from her. The noise that somehow served to make him even harder, and made his hips perform an involuntary thrusting movement. One of his hands seemed to have discovered a will of its own too, it had wormed its way underneath Sansa’s top, finding a breast and fondling it roughly through her bra. This drew a startled noise from her, followed by a muffled moan. He started to kiss her neck, wanting to hear the noises she made without his mouth getting in the way. Sansa did not disappoint. She moaned with complete abandon as he attacked her throat with lips, tongue and teeth, and when he found her pulse point and sucked on it greedily, she gasped.

Fondling her through her bra was getting frustrating; he wanted to feel her nipples. Withdrawing his hand, enjoying the gratifying whimper of protest this caused, he moved to tug at the hem of her top, shooting her a questioning look. She bit her lip and saved him the effort of undressing her by pulling the flimsy garment off on her own. Without even waiting to give her an appreciative look, he immediately reached for the clasp of her bra. Sansa’s breath hitched when she realised what he was doing, but she didn’t stop him.

Once the bra was off he made her lie back on the table so that he could take a proper look. She was taking fast shallow breaths and quivering slightly. A less experienced man might have thought she looked frightened now, but he knew what arousal looked like, and she was obviously completely in its grip. There was dark heat in her blue eyes, and she was still so beautifully pink. Her cheeks, her neck, her chest… All flushed with arousal for him.

Oh, and her nipples. Gods they were gorgeous. Little, peach-coloured and perfectly round, stiff and begging to be touched. His hands looked huge and rough against her unblemished, porcelain-white breasts, and the sight of her soft curves filling his palms almost rivaled the feel of her, it was so perfect.

He rubbed his cock absently against her as he fondled her, enjoying the way she was moaning for him, waiting until she sounded delirious with want. Only then did he start to let the rough pad of his thumbs pass over her nipples, back and forth, over and over until she was whimpering and pleading for more.

“Please, please, it’s - oh - it’s so good…”

She was tightening her thighs around him, trying to bring his erection into even closer contact, pressing him against her, writhing and squirming wantonly.

Stannis had never touched such a responsive woman before. It was a complete power rush, heady and intoxicating.

She actually let out high pitched squeals when he finally relented and pinched her nipples between his thumbs and forefingers, rolling them in a way he knew she would like. She was writhing frantically against him, and he was rocking against her in a steady rhythm that was only serving to drive him to distraction, but she seemed to enjoy. He kept playing with her nipples, watching her face and perhaps having a little too much fun tormenting her with pleasure. It probably shouldn’t have surprised him, but he started when she suddenly squeezed her eyes tightly shut, cried out wordlessly and practically convulsed against him.

Did she just… ? Interesting. There was no way he could stop now. If he could make her come through her clothes, without even really trying, what could he do with his cock in her? He had to know.

The voice of reason that had been unsuccessfully trying to point out how he should probably not be tampering with Ned’s daughter like this made a last ditch effort to catch his attention. He threw six months worth of sexual frustration at it and started to peel Sansa’s absurdly tight… trousers? leggings? whatever they were, off.

“Oh, gods… oh, gods...” Sansa moaned, lifting her hips to make it easier for him to pull her tight whatsits off. She was wearing lacy blue underwear that did not match the plain black bra that was lying on the floor.

Once the tights were off, he started to drag her underwear off too. “Have you done this before?” he asked, his voice rough and low, hoping that she had. He wasn’t sure he could go through with this if she was a virgin. Who was he kidding? Of course he would go through with it.

“Y-yes,” she stammered breathlessly, “once.”

He’d need to go slowly, then. “Birth control?” he asked as he eased her pretty little panties over her knees.

“I’m on the pill.”

Oh, excellent. He always used condoms with Melisandre, and it was never quite the same with the latex in the way. The friction felt different. Additionally, there was just something primal and satisfying about spilling his seed inside a woman. He might not love Selyse anymore, but when they had been trying to conceive a child the sex had been some of the best he had ever experienced in his life.

Her underwear joined the rest of her clothes on the floor and he quickly unbuckled his belt and undid his fly, pushing his underwear down so that his aching cock could finally spring free. He couldn’t resists the urge to tug on himself a few times, just to take the edge off, but then he went to touch her to see if she needed any more attention.

The sight of her spread out before him on his kitchen table stopped him in his tracks for a moment. She was indescribably beautiful and unbearably arousing. All that flawless skin, those soft curves, her wild mane of copper hair surrounding her head like the rays of the setting sun, her thighs so invitingly parted, revealing her glistening folds surrounded by a dusting of fine red hairs… There was no force on the planet that could stop him from fucking her. He had never wanted anything as much as he wanted her right at this moment.

“Wait,” she said when he reached a hand towards her, meaning to test how wet she was.

Oh. Perhaps there was something that could stop him.

“Shouldn’t we go to your bedroom? What if one of the kids wakes up and comes in here for a glass of water?”

Relief flooded his system. She didn’t want to back out, she just wanted to move to a more convenient location. He could do that. He reluctantly tucked his cock away, but left his belt unbuckled, bent and picked her clothes up and walked quickly towards his bedroom. She’d follow if she knew what was good for her.

The light from the hallway and the streetlight outside his window lit his bedroom very faintly. He dropped Sansa’s clothes on the floor next to his bed, and started to tear his own clothes off hurriedly. Sansa was already getting on the bed, pulling the bedspread down and tugging at the covers. She had closed the bedroom door behind her, causing the room to darken, and Stannis turned on the bedside lamp. Sansa looked beautiful in the soft, yellow light, her skin luminous against his dark bedsheets.

The last of this clothing came off and he got on the bed, his heart pounding with excitement. Sansa was looking at his body with unguarded appreciation and it was making him feel rather pleased with himself. He would probably always need to spend hours at the gym each week to keep himself sane, but a toned physique wasn’t a bad side effect of his self-imposed therapy. She clearly liked what she saw. Unless she always looked at people like she wanted to lick them all over…

Sansa was on her back and she made it easy for him to reach down between her thighs and feel how ready she was for him. Without much preamble he pushed a finger inside of her, groaning at how hot and wet and tight she felt. He moved the digit in and out a few times, adding another and finally a third. Sansa responded to his touch very enthusiastically, spreading her thighs wide for him, bucking against his hand and moaning in appreciation.

He couldn’t take it anymore.

He pushed her thighs up, spreading her even further with her knees towards her chest, and settled himself over her, guiding his cock to her entrance. The head was already leaking precome and he doubted he’d last very long, but he was going to do his best with the time he had.

Hopefully he’d manage to make her scream. (It wouldn't wake the kids, he knew. He’d made sure his bedroom was soundproof.)

He wanted to test the soundproofing himself when he started to sink into her. She was absurdly tight, although she was wet enough for him to move forward without having to constantly stop. The slow friction was maddeningly wonderful and he groaned continuously, his rough voice mixing with her needy moans and whimpers.

Being buried to the hilt in Sansa was a religious experience. He was thankful that she wasn’t trying to convert him to any strange beliefs, because he just might have let her convince him. The burning, wet heat of her and the perfect, snug fit was driving him out of his mind with the need to start thrusting, no, pounding her into the mattress. He remained still, however, as he could see that she was struggling to catch her breath, her brow furrowed and her eyes squeezed shut.

When her breathing evened out and her forehead became smoother, he risked pulling out and thrusting back in experimentally.

“Oh!” she gasped, and he could feel her inner muscles clenching around him.

He kissed her briefly on the lips and pulled out further, slamming himself back inside firmly. She moaned and her hands came up to cling to his back, her fingernails digging into his skin.

His patience was completely worn away. With his knees supporting him, he pulled and prodded her into a position he liked, her hips angled just so, her calves over his shoulders. This gave him perfect control and excellent access. He started to fuck her as gently as he could -- which was not very gently at all. He was only just managing to keep from using maximum force.

She seemed all right with it, however, gasping and moaning prettily. (“Mmm, oh gods, oh Stannis, oh, oh, oh!”)

There were no words that could describe the perfect bliss of dragging his cock nearly all the way out of her hungry, grasping heat, only to ram himself back inside in one smooth thrust, his sac smacking against her pleasantly. He didn’t even care that he was making undignified grunting sounds each time. Especially not since his ears were too busy listening to the gratifying sounds she was making for him. He wished he could record her and listen to her whenever he wanted...

His other senses did not go wanting, either. His nose was full of the scent of her arousal, and his eyes were treated to the view of her gorgeous breasts moving in time with his thrusts. He wasn’t sure what was the more erotic sight, her breasts or her face. She had screwed her face into a mask of concentration, eyes closed, brow furrowed slightly, lips parted to let those beautiful sounds escape, and cheeks flushed a shade of pink that was just about to become his favourite colour -- black and gold be damned.

She was a true feast for the senses and he never ever wanted to stop enjoying her.

Of course he came as soon as the thought crossed his mind; the idea of simply staying in this bed and fucking her for eternity pushing him off the edge he’d been teetering on almost since he entered her.

As he came his thrusts became even more forceful, his pace punishing, and Sansa sobbed with pleasure, her inner muscles fluttering around him, milking him for all he was worth.

“Seven, fucking, hells,” he heard himself groan as he became lightheaded due to his powerful climax.

He was fairly sure she had just ruined him for other women.

***

Sansa thought it was probably unfair to compare her first time and… this. Stannis had taken her completely by surprise. The crush she had been nursing on Joffrey felt like quaint childish dream compared with the overwhelming attraction she was feeling for Stannis now.

This had to be why people made such a fuss about sex.

She would have let him keep doing it for hours if he’d wanted to, it had felt so good. He seemed utterly spent, however. He was pulling out, collapsing onto his back next to her, and letting her put her legs down. She had never had an orgasm that came anywhere close to this one. She almost felt like she was still having it. Her stomach kept involuntarily cramping in a weird, good way and she was still throbbing and tingling with electric jolts of pleasure down there. It felt a little gross when his stuff started to leak out of her, but she couldn’t bring herself to care.

All she cared about was how soon they could do it again.

“I’m so glad you’re divorced,” she said, feeling silly and stupid with pleasure. It would be more difficult to have an affair with a married man.

Stannis made a sound that might have been his version of a laugh, a short burst of noise that sounded much more like he was scoffing than anything else.

“I’m serious, if you were married I’d have to feel guilty about this. I’d also have to feel guilty about wanting to do it again.” She held her breath and wondered if she had said too much. What if he didn’t want to do it again? A horrible, terrifying thought occurred to her. What if he thinks I'm bad at this too? Like he had thought she was bad at kissing?

She felt herself growing pale and she started to hyperventilate a little even as she tried to control her breathing. She desperately wanted to rise up on her elbows and look at Stannis to see his expression, but she was too frightened of what she might see to manage it.

“I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a while if you’re after a repeat performance. I’m not nineteen.”

Did that mean that he wanted to go again? How long was ‘a while’? Was he just trying to put her off gently?

“Was I okay?” she blurted, sure that he would tell her if she asked him straight out. She really hoped he didn’t think she was awful. Although if he said that she needed practise in this too she might be able to convince him to practise with her. That wouldn’t be so bad.

Stannis rolled to one elbow and looked down at her, a look of bewildered incredulity on his features.

“Okay?” he repeated, blinking at her and shaking his head slightly, “pizza is okay. The weather is okay. You… you are a revelation.” He spoke fiercely and deliberately, obviously willing her to hear and understand him.

She felt herself blushing at his words. She had admittedly never paid much attention to Stannis in the past, but she had never seen him be anything other than reserved and serious. If he showed any sort of feeling at all, it was irritation ranging from mild to the level it sometimes got to when Robert was in the room. Hearing him describe her as a revelation was like seeing Arya in a dress: slightly unnerving and unexpected.

“So… you want to do it again?” she asked tentatively, smiling nervously at him.

He looked at the ceiling in exasperation and kissed her instead of answering her with words. But his kiss told her everything she needed to know. She eventually had to push him away so that she could breathe, giggling as she did.

***

Shireen walked very quietly back to her room. She had gone to the kitchen to get a glass of water, but seeing her father making out with Sansa on the kitchen table had convinced her that she really wasn’t that thirsty anymore.

It had been weird to see her father like that. It had been weird to see Sansa like that. Sansa was always so proper. That’s why it had been so funny when Arya had dared her to kiss Dad. Obviously Sansa hadn’t minded the dare. Or maybe the dare had made her realise that she quite liked kissing Shireen’s dad?

Had her father really had his hand up Sansa’s top?

So weird.

She had honestly started to think that her father was turning into some kind of hermit recluse since he and Mum got the divorce. It was actually pretty good to have the fact that he clearly wasn’t confirmed. Shireen thought everyone deserved to have a little love and affection in their life: like Davos and Marya.

Shireen crawled back into bed and wondered whether she should wake Arya up and tell her what she’d seen.

No, Arya would probably insist on going out there and bothering them. Shireen didn’t want them to be bothered.

She closed her eyes and let her mind drift, attempting to fall back to sleep. Her last thought before sleep took her was whether she’d get to be a bridesmaid at the wedding.

Chapter Text

Stannis woke up feeling better than he’d felt in months. All the pent up tension in his muscles seemed to have drained away, and his mind felt completely still and at peace. Even his jaw didn’t feel like he’d been grinding his teeth all night like he usually did. His dentist would be pleased. He stretched, feeling almost like he might smile.

His hand came into contact with warm, naked skin.

Stannis’ eyes flew open and he froze in the middle of his stretch, every single previously relaxed muscle tensing up to the fullest extent.

The memories of the previous evening and the night came back to him. Sansa. He’d fucked Sansa Stark. He had completely and utterly lost himself in the pleasure of sticking his cock in Ned’s nineteen year old daughter. The damn babysitter. Was that really who he was now? The dirty old man who couldn’t keep his hands off the fucking babysitter? What a humiliating cliche…

What made it even worse was that he was pretty sure it had been the most amazing night of his life.

He could never ever let it happen again if he wanted to live.

Stannis didn’t know any swear words that could fully express the depth of his horror.

Sansa started to move and make little moaning sounds that were far too attractive. Stannis pulled his hand back, unfreezing his body with difficulty.

“Stannis?” she said in a very sexy and sleepy voice. How could he be getting hard while also panicking over his impending death?

“Mmf,” he managed, sounding hoarse and irritated. He didn’t trust himself to make any words that weren’t swear words.

“What time is it?” she yawned. “Never mind, I can see the alarm clock. It’s only seven. That gives us at least an hour before Rickon gets up.” She was sounding rather fascinatingly suggestive now. His cock twitched with interest.

No. Impending death, remember?

Stannis did not have a six month long dry spell to throw at his voice of reason now. What he did have was a gorgeous naked girl straddling him. She had moved really fast. No one could have expected him to be able to stop her, surely? Seven hells, she was already wet. He hadn’t even touched her. Before he could protest she was reaching down to hold his cock steady so that she could impale herself on him in one smooth, slow movement. He exhaled a surprised lungful of air, feeling a little like he’d just been punched in the thoracic diaphragm. Sansa was mewling with pleasure by the time she had taken all of him in, and the sounds of her pleasure were all the stimulation he needed.

When she started to move he wanted to cry. There was no way in any of the hells he could ask her to stop. How had he already forgotten how perfect she felt on his cock? It was as if she had been made for him to fuck. Based on the noises she was still making, he was certain that she felt the same way. He was letting her be in control as he knew that being on top could be a tricky position for inexperienced women; Sansa would need to be left in peace for a while so that she could find an angle that she liked.

Unfortunately for him it was torture to have her on top of him, moving slowly and experimentally, looking the way she did and making those insanely erotic sounds. He wanted to thrust up, he wanted to grab her hips and and force her to go much, much faster. He wanted to flip her over and fuck her until she screamed her lungs out.

He held himself back and focused on the way she was biting her lower lip in concentration, her eyes closed. She was that wonderful shade of pink again, and her breasts were on full display for him. He reached to fondle them and pinch her nipples. That was a good decision. As soon as he touched her nipples she gasped and started to move faster, grinding herself desperately against him. He risked pinching a little harder and she cried out in pleasure and started moving even faster still. Oh, this was fun.

“Please, I need more - can we switch?” she moaned desperately.

As if he would ever refuse her anything?

They separated briefly while Sansa got on her back and he got himself into position. Sinking back into her with her legs wrapped around him felt decadent, and he thoroughly enjoyed the way she gripped him tightly with both her legs and her inner muscles when he was fully sheathed, obviously wanting him to stay deep inside for as long as possible. He humoured her, staying still for a little longer than he usually would have, using the time to kiss her. Their chests were almost pressed together as he was supporting himself on his elbows, their faces aligned. Sansa tasted very faintly of mint toothpaste, and she was catching on very fast regarding how he liked to kiss. She let him lead, only using her tongue after he started to invade her mouth with his. When their kiss broke she sucked on his bottom lip enjoyably, putting him in mind of other things he wanted her to suck. He couldn’t hold back a long drawn out moan at the thought.

The thought of her mouth on his cock shattered his control into a million pieces and he started to thrust forward in swift, hard, unforgiving strokes. Sansa threw her head back and cried his name beautifully, which only made him fuck her harder and faster, working himself into a mad frenzy. His mind had gone completely blank save for one goal: to make her scream for him.

It was difficult to get the leverage he needed, however, since she was wrapped around him so tightly. If he was going to make her scream he’d need to be able to pull nearly all the way out so that he could muster the necessary force. He knew exactly what the two best positions for this would be. (At least they were the best when one was located on a bed…) They had tried one last night. Would she be up for the other? A lot of women were shy about letting men take them from behind… Selyse had always thought it was too dirty, while it was Melisandre’s favourite, naturally.

But if this was the last time he got to do this with Sansa before Ned killed him he had nothing to lose and everything to gain by asking.

He pushed her legs away and pulled out of her. Sansa cried out in protest, sounding indignant and a little desperate. He felt his lips curling into a smirk and tried to force himself to stop. She might not like it if he smirked at her at this junction.

“Turn around,” he rasped, not quite sure if he was asking or commanding.

Sansa’s eyes widened a bit and her blush deepened from her pink glow to a deep, embarrassed red. It was a rather titillating sight. He had to use a lot of discipline to keep from stroking himself as he watched her make up her mind.

Eventually she nodded a little uncertainly and got on her hands and knees in front of him, facing away. He suppressed a groan at the sight, and gently pushed on her back until she went down to her elbows. As he got behind her on his knees, he adjusted her thighs, spreading them until she was displayed to his liking. Looking down at her from this vantage point was intensely erotic. The curve of her arse was pronounced, and her waist looked absolutely tiny. Her back was toned, smooth and flawless, and he found himself wanting to scratch at it lightly with his fingernails to see faint red lines appear and disappear. He might write his name...

His cock nearly jumped out of his hand when he started to guide himself back inside of her soaking passage. There really wasn’t much that remotely compared with the pleasure of watching his cock stretch her open and disappear inside of her, inch by slow inch. Sansa looked over her shoulder at him, still flushed red, her eyes glazed. He felt like he was experiencing some sort visual overload. There was only so much salacious imagery he could stand to see before he simply had to close his eyes.

He started to move, determined to keep his eyes open so that he could watch his cock moving in and out of her. Thankfully Sansa stopped looking over her shoulder at him. If she had kept watching him with that glazed look in her eyes, he would have ended up coming much too soon.

Stannis dragged himself out of her slowly and slammed his cock back inside with a single, rough thrust. Sansa made a sound that was a cross between a gasp and a whimper, but she pushed herself back to meet him, so she obviously liked it. He repeated the motion. Drag, slam. She made a slightly louder noise. This would work.

For a while he managed to keep his pace slow, pausing a little every time he was fully sheathed. He had the notion that she’d beg him to go faster soon and he so wanted to hear her plead for it.

“Please, Stannis! Please, please, please!

Right on schedule.

“Please what?” he asked, ruthlessly maintaining the same slow pace.

“Please go faster, I need more, I need - ah!” He hadn’t waited for her to finish. He was desperate to fuck her hard and fast, so he immediately obeyed her wish. Holding her hips firmly, he got to work fucking her like she so clearly needed to be fucked.

The smell of their mingled arousal and sweat was heavy in the air, and the sound of skin smacking against skin was loud enough to be heard through her continuous moans, even as they grew in volume and strength, changing into cries, sobs and then finally - finally - into screams of pleasure. She tried to muffle them with a pillow, but he could hear.

He let go at that, his sac tightening up as he kept pistoning in and out of her as fast as he humanly could with her inner muscles clamping down on him as hard as they were, groaning and calling her name as he started to come and come and come.

His last thought before he passed out, exhausted and spent, was that if Ned killed him, it had been completely worth it.

***

Sansa watched Stannis sleep with an amused, fond expression on her face. He’d only just managed to pull out of her and flop onto his back next to her before he fell asleep. He must have been using up a lot of energy, she thought, suppressing a giggle. She was quite thankful for it, as she was pretty sure his efforts had made her have the longest, most intense orgasm of her life.

If he kept making sex better each time they had it, she wasn’t sure she’d survive the affair she was planning to have with him.

An affair.

It sounded so grown up and exciting. It wouldn’t be the kind of affair where anyone was cheating on anyone, but she thought the word applied because she very much intended to keep it a secret. If a sexual relationship is a secret it should be called an affair, Sansa thought.

She tried to stand up and go to the en suite to clean up, but she was forced to abandon that plan in order to rest for a minute. Her legs were refusing to cooperate; just trembling and insisting that they were unable to support her at the moment. Try again later, please, they seemed to say.

Sansa squirmed around trying to get comfortable despite being rather tender and hypersensitive between her legs. Squirming around turned out to be a bad idea as it made sticky liquid start to seep out of her rather disgustingly. She really had to go get herself cleaned up now, otherwise the bedsheets would probably be ruined.

Her second attempt to stand on her shaky legs went better than her first. She hurried to the en suite, feeling the viscous stuff running down the inside of one thigh. Why did sex have to be so messy? It was totally worth it, of course, but still rather annoying.

By the time she felt as clean as she was able to get without taking a shower, the time on the alarm clock was fairly alarming. She had to get to the guest bedroom before any of the kids woke up. Otherwise her plans for a secret affair would be ruined before she could put them into practise properly.

She got dressed in the clothes that Stannis had dumped on the floor in the night and shook Stannis awake gently.

“I’m going to the guest room now,” she whispered when he opened one eye to peer at her blearily.

“Fine, fine,” he muttered hoarsely, obviously still half asleep.

She kissed his cheek and hurried out of the room, closing the door behind her. She snuck to the guest room as quietly as she could, walking on the very tips of her toes. She carefully opened the door, slowly and gently, making absolutely no noise at all. Hurrying inside she started to close the door just as carefully, until the smallest, most unobtrusive ’snick’ signaled that the door was firmly shut.

She let out a sigh of relief. She was safe.

“Good morning!”

Sansa froze. That had been Shireen’s voice. Had she accidentally snuck into the wrong room? She turned her head to look in the direction that the voice had come from. Shireen was sitting on the guest bed. The guest bed that had obviously not been slept in. Why is Shireen sitting in the guest bedroom?

“I guess you kept my dad company tonight, huh?” Shireen said, a shrewd look on her face that reminded Sansa eerily of Stannis.

There go my plans for a secret affair, Sansa thought to herself sadly.

“How did you… ?” Sansa trailed off, not really sure what if she wanted to know the answer to any of the questions that were swirling around in her head.

“Don’t worry, I won’t rat you out. I even covered for you with Bran. I got up really early this morning and I was having breakfast in the kitchen when he came out of his room to use the bathroom. When he passed my dad’s door he could hear some noises, but I explained that it was just this weird Japanese show that sometimes comes on when my dad’s clock radio starts up in the morning. I think he bought it.”

Sansa felt herself blush from the roots of her hair down to her toes. She had thought the rooms were soundproof. She brought both of her hands up to cover her mouth in mortification.

“You guys should probably be more careful to make sure no one is out in the hallway next time,” Shireen said, nodding sagely. “The walls are pretty soundproof, but the doors that lead to the hallway kind of aren’t,” she added in explanation.

“I doubt there will be a next time now that you’ve found out,” Sansa said dejectedly without pausing to think.

“Don’t say that! I won’t tell anyone, I swear! Not even Arya.”

Sansa went pale, panicking at the very idea of her sister finding out.

“Really! I promise I won’t tell. Dad looked so pleased when you were kissing in the kitchen last night. I think it would be nice for him to have a girlfriend.”

“You saw us?” Sansa exclaimed, horrified. Which part of the kiss in the kitchen had Shireen seen?

“I didn’t mean to! I was just going to get a glass of water… I left as soon as I saw you!” Shireen sounded earnest and anxious to appease Sansa.

Sansa took a deep, steadying breath. This might be salvageable. It had been Shireen and not Arya who had seen her kissing Stannis. Bran did not suspect anything despite hearing whatever it was that he’d heard. That had been Shireen’s doing -- she sounded like she was pretty supportive.

This might not actually be a bad thing. If she was going to have an affair with Stannis, having Shireen on her side might prove to be invaluable.

“Okay. So. Let me just make sure I’m understanding everything,” Sansa began haltingly, collecting her thoughts. “You actually want me to be your dad’s girlfriend?” she asked, a note of incredulity sneaking into her tone.

“Well, only if that’s what you both want,” Shireen said matter-of-factly and shrugged.

“I don’t know what we both want at this point. We just realised tonight that we like having… uh, that we like kissing.”

Shireen gave her another shrewd look that said, ‘I see what you did there,’ but she didn’t actually say anything.

Sansa tried to fight the blush that had never really gone away completely since the start of this awkward conversation, but it was no use. “I definitely want a chance to see your dad again soon, at least,” she admitted, “but I don’t think either of us are ready for anyone to know that we… like kissing.”

“I could help!” Shireen offered excitedly, “I could ask you to help me with my art and poetry lessons! That way everyone would think you were visiting me and not Dad!”

Sansa’s eyes widened as she considered the possibilities. If she became Shireen’s tutor she could spend hours at Stannis’ house each week; it was the perfect cover.

“We’ll have to talk this over with your dad, but I think that might actually work really well,” Sansa said slowly, her brain still whirring away as she thought of all the implications.

“Yes, you could tell your family that you’re going to tutor me, but I’ll actually spend the time at Robert’s house with Myrcella. That way you and Dad can have some peace and quiet,” Shireen chattered happily, obviously very impressed with her own brilliance.

“Right, that would be perfect! But we still have to run this by your dad first. Why don’t you let me get changed and I’ll come out to the kitchen soon. Is Rickon awake yet?”

“No, he and Arya sleep like the dead.”

“Thank the gods for that,” Sansa muttered.

***

Bran watched in quiet amusement as everyone ate breakfast. Sansa was busy trying to convince Rickon to eat something healthy, but his younger brother insisted on sugary cereal. Sansa explained that they weren’t at their house and there was no sugary cereal at Stannis’ house, so Rickon ended up letting himself be persuaded to eat some oatmeal, but only once he’d been allowed to upend a bag of brown sugar over his bowl. Arya immediately copied Rickon.

Everyone else made do with fruit, toast and oatmeal that was not fifty percent sugar.

Bran watched Stannis and Sansa very carefully as he fed himself slices of orange, trying to catch them giving each other sappy looks or lingering touches like he sometimes saw Mum and Dad give each other. Shireen’s stupid story about a Japanese radio show hadn’t fooled him one bit. He had been on the Internet and knew exactly what people having sex sounded like. Anyway, he doubted any Japanese guys would have a reason to shout Sansa’s name.

He definitely spotted Stannis looking at Sansa differently than he looked at anyone else. He wouldn’t exactly call it a ’sappy’ look, though. More kind of intense and a little frightening. Sort of like Arya sometimes looked when she was about to win a fencing match.

Sansa looked almost normal, except Bran thought she was blushing a bit more than she normally did. He also thought she had been walking a little gingerly earlier; much more slowly and less gracefully than usually. Bran didn’t really want to think too hard about why that could be.

Shireen was also acting a little unusual, he noticed. She was keeping a close eye on Stannis and Sansa and kept smiling a goofy kind of smile and getting a far off, happy look in her eyes. She obviously knew and approved of whatever his sister and Stannis were doing. Bran thought she must want to keep it a secret if she felt the need to feed him some lie about a Japanese radio show instead of just talking to him about things.

Bran could keep a secret. No one was likely to ask him about this, anyway. He had long ago discovered that if you kept still and quiet, people tended to just forget you were there. He had been able to listen in on all sorts of conversations this way. He had even witnessed Robert’s wife kissing her own twin brother because they just hadn’t realised he was in the room. He’d never told anyone about that because he was sure it would probably just upset everyone.

He didn’t think people would get as upset about Stannis and Sansa getting together, but he still didn’t really want to be the person who told his parents about it. He had a feeling his dad wouldn’t really like it. Dad was always talking about how Sansa should find a ’nice boy who treated her with kindness and respect’ and how she shouldn’t give the likes of Sandor Clegane the time of day. Bran was pretty sure Stannis did not fulfil the requirement of being a ‘nice boy’.

No, Bran would definitely be keeping this to himself unless someone asked him directly.

Watching the looks on Stannis and Sansa’s faces was very amusing when Mum came to pick him and his siblings up. They were obviously trying so hard to look like they would normally look that they were overdoing it completely. Stannis was scowling like he’d just eaten a whole lemon and Sansa was beaming around at everyone like it was Christmas.

“Did you have a good time last night?” Mum asked the group in general.

“Sure! We had pizza and watched movies and played truth or dare!” Arya exclaimed happily.

“Oh, how lovely! I hope you didn’t bother Stannis.”

Bran had been asleep by the time they had played truth or dare, but Arya had laughingly told him that she had made Sansa kiss Stannis for a dare, so Bran understood why everyone got funny looks on their faces now. The dare also explained why Sansa had ended up sleeping in Stannis’ room, Bran thought. She must have really liked kissing him.

“They were no trouble, Catelyn,” Stannis said stiffly, his scowl still firmly in place.

Mum was looking at the strange expressions on Sansa’s, Arya’s and Shireen’s faces suspiciously, but she didn’t pursue the matter.

“Well, let’s get going!” Mum said, clapping her hands to get them all to hop to it.

Before they left the house to go to the car, Bran saw Stannis execute a very suave move where he unobtrusively handed Sansa a business card. If Bran hadn’t been keeping an eye on them he never would have noticed, because the move somehow transferred the card straight from Stannis’ pocket into Sansa’s hand without really ever being revealed properly. Bran wanted to learn how to do that. It had looked very smooth; almost like a magician’s sleight of hand.

He watched Sansa surreptitiously in the car for a while, pretending to be absorbed in his game, but she seemed to be completely back to normal now. Just bickering with Arya like usually. The only thing that was out of the ordinary was that every once in awhile she smiled to herself for no reason that Bran could perceive.

Must be strange to be a girl, he thought.

***

Sansa called the number on Stannis’ card as soon as she was sure she would not be overheard or bothered. She was lying on her bed with her door firmly locked. She had to talk to him about what Shireen had offered to do. They hadn’t had a chance to discuss much of anything after she’d left his room because her siblings had all been awake and underfoot.

“Stannis speaking,” he answered in his gravelly voice. It made Sansa’s heart beat slightly faster just hearing it.

“Hi, it’s me,” she said awkwardly, not really knowing how to have this conversation. She had never really talked to Stannis. They’d barely spoken last night. Their mouths had been busy. Wonderfully, delightfully busy. Sansa allowed herself a goofy smile since Stannis couldn’t see her.

“Shireen has informed me that you two have hatched some sort of plot,” he said dryly. Sansa wasn’t sure if he was amused or exasperated.

“I told her we needed to talk to you about it first,” Sansa explained hurriedly, “but her idea was pretty good. Did she tell you what it was?”

“Something about you tutoring her?”

“Yes! I’d tell my parents that I’m tutoring Shireen, but she’d actually go over to see Myrcella. That way my parents won’t suspect anything and we’d have some time to…” Sansa trailed off, feeling uncertain.

“... get to know each other?” Stannis tactfully suggested.

“Exactly!” she agreed, glad that he’d been able to think of something that didn’t sound totally crude. “It will be our secret. Shireen will be the only one who knows.”

“You know, I’m not quite sure how to feel about my daughter knowing that something is going on between us, but she seems to be taking it remarkably well,” Stannis said thoughtfully. “Did you say anything to her to make her so pleased about all of this? So eager to - ah - help?”

“She was already all nice and helpful when I spoke to her this morning. Apparently she saw us kissing in the kitchen last night and thought you looked pleased. I think she just wants you to be happy,” Sansa said, feeling a little embarrassed.

“She saw us?” Stannis sounded horrified. Oops. Had Shireen not told him that?

“I think she just saw the kissing, nothing more than that,” Sansa said.

“Seven hells…” Stannis sighed, obviously irritated and embarrassed.

“She didn’t seem scarred for life or anything like that, and it made her want to help, so I don’t think it’s the worst thing that could have happened. Imagine if Arya had walked in on us.”

“I’d rather not, thank you.”

“I know! I highly doubt she would have been able to keep her mouth shut and I really don’t think my dad needs to know about this. He gets so weird about guys I like.”

Stannis was quiet on the other end of the line and Sansa wondered if he had taken offence to being described as a ‘guy she liked’.

“So, should we put Shireen’s plan into action?” she asked, changing the subject.

“Are you sure you want to go to all that trouble to get to know me? I’m really not that interesting,” he said.

“You can not do what you did with me and then just... stop doing it,” Sansa blurted out, feeling completely incapable of expressing herself properly. She would die if he didn’t want to keep having sex. It was too good to only happen twice. Did he not understand that?

“Anyway, you have to keep teaching me how to kiss properly,” she said pertly, “if you’re going to criticise someone’s kissing ability it’s just rude not to help them improve.”

“You’ve already improved.”

Was she imagining things or was his voice getting huskier? The sound of it made her feel as if someone had just trailed a finger down the length of her spine.

“Oh,” she breathed, she thought that was a rather flattering thing for him to say, “really? I mean - thank you.”

She could kick herself. One should never cast aspersions on a compliment by doubting its sincerity. One should always graciously accept it with thanks and look for a way to return the compliment at the earliest opportunity. She had known this since she practically a baby.

“You really do not require much help to improve in these matters. You’re naturally gifted.”

Sansa was not sure if he was amused or if he was being completely serious.

“But there are so many things I’ve never tried!” she argued, “I think you should teach me.”

Sansa heard Stannis clear his throat. “You - you want me to teach you…” He sounded like he didn’t believe what she had just said.

“Why not?” she said and shrugged. Then she made a face at herself for shrugging; Stannis couldn’t see her shrug. “You’re very good at all this.” There, now she had complimented him in return. “And I really liked what we did so far,” she added, trying not to sound too much like she was wheedling.

Stannis made a noncommittal noise, somehow managing to sound both sceptical and flattered at the same time.

Sansa waited with bated breath for him to give her a proper response.

“How are Wednesday afternoons for you?” he asked abruptly.

“Good! They’re good.”

“I’ll tell Shireen to expect her tutor at five-thirty. Don’t be late.” The line went dead.

Sansa squealed in delight, hugging her phone and kicking the air randomly to get rid of all her nervous energy. She was going to have a real, clandestine affair like in the movies. It was awful to have to keep it a secret because she really wanted to brag about it. Maybe she could hint at it to Margaery? Without giving anything away? It would serve Margaery right for stealing Joffrey. Sansa could just imagine how the conversation would go…

Margaery would want to tell Sansa all about how Joffrey was now her boyfriend, but Sansa would act supremely unconcerned because honestly, Joffrey was so last week. Then Sansa would hint at how she had found a much more interesting man to spend her time with. She’d have to emphasise the fact that it was a man not a silly boy, of course. When Margaery asked for more information Sansa would describe how wonderful the sex was - going into just enough detail so that Margaery couldn’t accuse her of lying - and make her wild with envy.

Sansa giggled at the thought, but rolled her eyes at herself once her amusement died down. She couldn’t risk even hinting at anything to Margaery. The girl was just too smart. She’d figure it out and hold the information over Sansa’s head. That’s just what Margaery did.

No, she’d just have to be satisfied with the knowledge that she was having a secret affair, and keep her mouth firmly shut when the urge to brag came over her.

***

As school had only recently started it was easy for Sansa to convince her parents that she was going to tutor Shireen this semester. It might have been a slightly harder sell if it had already been the middle of the school year. Since Stannis and Shireen lived in a house that was much closer to the centre of town than the suburban villa Robert had arranged for the Starks to move to when he’d finally convinced her dad to leave Winterfell and come to work for him, her parents agreed that Sansa would take the bus from her school to Stannis’ house on Wednesdays and that Stannis would drive her home after the tutoring session was over. Sansa had been very tense when her father had called Stannis to arrange this, but Stannis didn’t give anything away. Not that Sansa had really expected him to; he had a fair poker face. His trick seemed to involve always scowling and always sounding irritated and resentful.

Her first tutoring session went off without a hitch.

She arrived ten minutes before her allotted time, and spent a while chatting with Shireen and finding out whether she really needed any help with any of her studies. As it turned out, Shireen was having trouble with an assignment that involved reading a book of poetry and writing an analytical paper about it. In order to preserve the pretense, Sansa and Shireen decided that Sansa would spend half an hour helping Shireen with this project and any subsequent projects that Shireen needed help with, before Shireen would leave to go play cyvasse with Myrcella.

Sansa didn’t see Stannis until Shireen had left.

He emerged from his study, looking rather attractive in another shirt that he’d left unbuttoned at the throat and rolled up at the sleeves. This time he was also wearing a tie, the knot loosened and slightly crooked. Sansa had a feeling he only ever looked this dishevelled in the privacy of his own home. Whenever she had glimpsed him anywhere else he always looked impeccable.

Deciding to be brave and seductive like women in movies, Sansa walked right up to him and reached for his tie. It felt like it might be pure silk, and she got distracted just admiring the fabric for a little while.

Stannis cleared his throat. “I take it you like the tie?”

Sansa blushed and looked up at him with a sheepish grin. “I like it on you.” She was attempting to sound flirtatious, but wasn’t sure if she was successful.

“How fortunate that I’m wearing it, then.”

Sansa giggled at that; Stannis had a way of saying things in a deadpan sort of way that made her laugh.

He seemed pleased that he’d made her laugh, albeit unsure about how he had managed it. It was rather endearing.

She wished he would just kiss her already. As much as it was nice to talk to him like this, she wanted his lips on hers. Sansa tried to tell him what she wanted with her eyes, gazing up at him meaningfully through slightly lowered lashes. When he just raised an eyebrow she tugged on his tie and got to her toes, trying to bring their faces together.

This he understood.

On Sunday it hadn’t seemed like such a difficult thing to do; waiting until Wednesday to see him again. But when he kissed her she felt like she had been waiting an eternity.

Remembering that he liked to take the initiative, Sansa waited for him to start before she did anything with her tongue. It really was interesting how soft his lips were, especially in contrast with the rough skin around his lips. It was all bristly. She really didn’t know how she’d managed to escape his last kisses without getting rubbed raw.

When he started tasting her and curling his tongue around hers, she remembered why she might have been too distracted to notice a little thing like beard-burn. The wonderful things he was doing drew moans from deep within her, and she snaked her arms around his neck so that she could hold him as close as she wanted. His scent was almost exactly the same as last time, except she could also smell a hint of anise, of all things, mixed in with the lemon and the sandalwood. She loved it.

He had one hand at her waist now, but his other was threading through her hair, grasping the back of her head and steering her so that he could devour her properly. She really liked how he just seemed to know exactly how much to turn her head. Would she ever be able to just instinctively turn her head and find the right angle herself? She tried to take note of how their mouths were fitting together now, but it was really difficult to think coherently when he did - oh - something demanding and fascinating like that.

The kiss was making her want to press herself even closer to him, and he seemed thoroughly amenable to that. He was gripping her waist firmly and pulling her towards him a little just as she did her best to merge the atoms of her skin with his. Unfortunately they were both fully dressed, so it was basically an impossible endeavour. But only because of the clothes. Otherwise she would totally have been able to bend the laws of physics to her will.

Stannis broke the kiss, breathing faster than he usually did, eyes dark and smouldering as he took her in.

She wondered if she looked as aroused as she felt.

“I don’t think you require any more training when it comes to kissing,” he said wryly, his voice a little rough around the edges.

“If you say so… sir,” she said playfully, addressing him as she would one of her teachers. (Although she generally refrained from using quite such a flirtatious tone of voice with actual teachers. None of them were that attractive.)

She felt herself breaking into a delighted grin when she observed his reaction to her playful address. He had closed his eyes and swallowed thickly, his grip on her waist and her hair tightening noticeably.

“What do you think my next lesson should be, Mr. Baratheon?” she lingered over his surname, drawing the syllables out a little breathlessly. Judging by the way he was grinding his erection against her, he was clearly really liking this little game of titles. She decided to kiss his neck while she waited for his reply. He groaned when she licked at the place where his stubble stopped growing and his neck became soft and smooth. His neck tasted of nothing much at all, or maybe it was a little salty?

“I think we should review what we’ve already gone over, to see how much you - mm - remember.”

Stannis sounded rather out of breath, she was pleased to note. His words hadn’t been entirely helpful, however. Which thing that they had already done did he want to do again?

“Oh, okay.” She backed away a little, looking at his face and biting her lower lip anxiously. “Do you want me to go to your room?”

Stannis was looking at her lips as if he wanted to bite them too, his eyes almost black with lust. He nodded slowly and moved his hands to tuck some stray strands of hair behind each of her ears, letting his fingertips trail down along her jaw after he was done, continuing down her neck and making her shiver.

A little reluctant to abandon his touch, Sansa broke away and walked to his bedroom. She could feel him following close behind, so near that she could almost feel his breath on her neck.

The blinds of his bedroom window weren’t shut completely and they were letting in the fading afternoon light. The room was shady and it the air inside was cool. The bed was flawlessly made and Sansa suspected the bedspread matched the sheets just as it had last time. She had liked the material of his sheets; it was a very soft cotton with an impressive thread-count if she was any judge. She hoped the sheets were still of the same kind. His bed was surprisingly comfortable, too. Sansa would have expected such a hard man to sleep on a firm, hard mattress. Instead it was the kind of bed Sansa could easily imagine spending the whole day in; reading and napping... or just having a ridiculous amount of sex. Sansa was already thinking of ways to ensure she could have a Saturday or a Sunday alone with Stannis at some point. Perhaps she was getting a little ahead of herself, but these things required planning.

The room was very spartan aside from the surprisingly luxurious bed. There were matching nightstands with matching lamps and an alarm clock, but there was no pile of half-read books on either one, no random pieces of paper, boxes of tissues, or empty glasses of water. Everything was as neat as if the room were a hotel room. No mints on the pillows, though. Sansa suppressed a smile at the thought.

The only other things of note in the room was the big built in closet along one wall, and the door that lead to the en suite. Sansa wondered why Stannis needed all that closet space. How many suits and shirts could he possibly have? He always seemed to be dressed in a uniform of sorts. Suits in grey or black, shirts in white or black, unremarkable ties that did not call for attention or offend the eyes.

Sansa found her courage and turned to face Stannis. He was calmly untying the knot of his tie. There was something incredibly arousing about watching him methodically unwinding the silk from around his throat, his piercing gaze directed almost unblinkingly at her. He looked rather predatory, Sansa thought, butterflies fluttering madly in her stomach.

“Shall I take my clothes off, sir?” she asked, trying to sound playful and flirtatious again, but probably coming off as a little deferential. It just didn’t seem all that much like a playful game to call him ‘sir’, it felt sort of appropriate and it was turning her on like she wouldn’t have believed. It probably had something to do with how his eyes flashed dangerously at her words, the muscles of his jaw tensing visibly.

“Wait,” he said authoritatively.

Sansa waited.

She watched as Stannis put his tie away, unbuttoned his shirt and shrugged it off. She doubted she would ever get tired of seeing his bare chest. He wasn’t bulky with muscles, but toned and fit - not an ounce of fat obscuring the view of his clearly outlined abs. His upper arms were fascinating too. As much as she liked his forearms, she felt it was a tragedy that Stannis never wore T-shirts. His biceps were a work of art.

She observed as he sat down on the edge of the bed and pulled his socks off. She bit her lip and pressed her thighs together as he slowly and deliberately unbuckled his belt, shooting her heated looks as he did. Eventually he was left in boxer briefs that didn’t do much to hide the erection that was straining the material. He turned down the bed and made himself comfortable. The sheets looked just as soft as last time, and they did match the bedspread.

“Now you may undress.”

Sansa had known that this was coming, but it was unnerving to strip with his heated stare fixed on her, his complete and unwavering attention on her form. Her heart was hammering like never before, and she could feel her cheeks glowing with heat.

She had been careful when she had dressed that morning. She had wanted to look nice for Stannis, but it was important that no one in her family would notice that she had made any sort of extra effort. Still, she was wearing her nicest black jeans and a delicate cashmere sweater that matched her eyes. She had also quite deliberately worn her nicest set of lacy black underwear. Her usual understated touches of make-up had been supplemented with a little more eyeliner than she tended to use, but thankfully no one had commented on the change.

The cashmere sweater came off easily enough, a rush of cold air making the hairs on the back of her arms stand up. Stannis looked like he appreciated her pretty bra. His eyes had widened a little and they were pointed quite obviously at her enhanced cleavage.

Well, if he liked her cleavage…

She bent forward in order to push her jeans down her thighs, wriggling a little more than she strictly needed to. She was blushing all the while as it was kind of awkward and embarrassing just to let him watch her like this, but it was also rather exciting to give him a show. The way he looked at her was making her very impatient to join him -- it was so full of unrestrained desire.

Her socks came off just as she discarded the jeans and she was left standing in her bra and panties. She started to walk toward the bed.

“All of it,” he said sharply, stopping her in her tracks.

That wasn’t fair; he’d left his underwear on. She opened her mouth to express her displeasure with the injustice, but the smouldering look in his eyes made her close it right back. He’d seen her naked before, anyway. It made no difference. It just… made her feel a little vulnerable. That was all.

She drew a deep shuddering breath and tried to will herself to stop blushing so much. She reached behind her back to undo the clasp of her bra. It was a little awkward as she usually always put the straps down and turned the bra so that she could look at the clasp as she undid it, but that wouldn’t look very sexy. She fumbled a bit, but got it done in a reasonable amount of time. She pushed the straps off her shoulders and the bra fell away from her. The clasp clattered a little against the hardwood floor.

Sansa willed herself to square her shoulders proudly. She already knew that Stannis liked her breasts and she had nothing to be ashamed of. When she looked at him she was a little startled by the raw need she could see on his face, and even more shocked when she noticed that he was stroking himself through the fabric of his underwear. The shock was quick to wear off, however, replaced by a flood of heat between her thighs. He liked the sight of her that much?

Too eager to join him to feel embarrassed anymore, she quickly pushed her panties down over her knees, letting them fall to her ankles and stepping out of them delicately. This time he did not stop her when she moved to get in bed with him.

She pressed herself tightly against him, kissing him desperately and reaching down to tentatively take the place of the hand he had been using to idly stroke himself. He felt very hot, even through the soft fabric of his underwear. She broke the kiss, breathing unevenly and feeling a little lightheaded.

“Can I take this off?” she asked, surprised at how low and breathless her voice sounded.

“Ask properly,” he growled into her ear and moved to attack her neck with his mouth. The heat of his tongue on the sensitive skin just under her jaw was very distracting, and it took her an embarrassingly long time to understand what he meant. She got there in the end, however.

“May I please take your underwear off, sir?” she whispered, cheeks flushed and growing damper with every word, starting to squirm with need.

“You may,” he allowed, and though his lips weren’t giving anything away, she could hear the smirk in his tone.

She got to her knees and pulled his boxers off without much fanfare, feeling much too excited to reveal her prize to make a production of it. His cock sprang free, looking swollen, roped with veins, thick and a little curved. The tip was pointing towards his abdomen, nearly touching the toned muscles there. She reached for it curiously, wrapping her hand around the shaft and moving the silky skin back and forth over the head and back. It really was so strange how the soft skin could be moved over the hardness underneath. She liked how it alternately revealed and hid the angry-looking head, all red and seeping clear beads of liquid. She had touched Sandor like this a few times, but those had been frantic, stolen moments. No time to look and explore.

Sansa licked her lips unconsciously and tilted her head to the side as she wondered what it would taste like.

“Have you ever used your mouth on a man before?” he asked curiously. It was as if he had read her mind.

She shook her head and blushed.

“That will have to be a lesson for another time,” he said roughly, shuddering as she kept moving her hand in a slow rhythm.

“Lie back.” It was a soft request and Sansa obeyed without thinking.

Stannis was hovering over her, kissing her deeply for a moment and using one of his knees and a hand to move her legs apart, telling her without words that she should bend her knees. Sansa was too focused on what he was doing with his other hand to really think about the kiss or the way he was moving her into position. His other hand was stroking her between her legs, finding her most sensitive places and massaging them firmly but gently. She was already quite damp, but his touch was making her crave him.

“Please, I need you inside,” she begged shamelessly, desperate to feel the wonderful stretching, filling sensation of his entry. To her frustration he decided to misunderstand her and use his fingers instead of giving her what she wanted. But - oh - he was curling them in a way he hadn’t before and it had to be like some sort of cheat code, because how else could she be coming already? She couldn’t help herself, she was crying out and bucking against his hand, feeling an equal measure of shock and embarrassment.

“Oh my gods, Stannis, Stannis!

As soon as she said his name he growled at her, took his hand away and pushed himself inside of her in one forceful stroke. She let out a relieved sob of pleasure and clawed at his back in an attempt to bring him even closer and deeper. Their chests were flush against each other, her breasts feeling almost squashed, but it was a wonderful, warm sensation to be so close to him, feeling him fill her so intimately, his scent all around her, a faint taste of lemons still on her lips.

When he started to move, lifting himself up a little so they were no longer pressed together, Sansa had to close her eyes to concentrate on the overwhelming sensation that was building deep within, coiling and sending jolts of intense pleasure to her extremities, making her gasp every time he hit a certain spot. It was warm, wet, physical pleasure, but she needed her mind with her. She needed to focus. So even though the grunts escaping Stannis made her want to look at him and see the effect this was having on him, she kept her eyes closed, her mind on her task.

He sped up and she was soon rewarded for her focus with the beginning of her orgasm. She heard herself get louder, moaning without pause, and this seemed to spur Stannis on. He wasn’t using the kind of force he’d been using last time, but his thrusts were still powerful and perfectly paced. It was enough to get her off and then some. He didn’t stop when she came down from her first peak; instead he kept maintaining the same ruthless rhythm until he forced another orgasm from her. At the height of her second climax, as she screamed for him with reckless abandon, he somehow managed to speed up and prolong her pleasure until she was sobbing for mercy.

“Oh, please, please, I can’t! I - oh! - I don’t think I can…” she lost the ability to speak as her abdominal muscles started to cramp up in a way she had never experienced before. She couldn’t really think what it reminded her of more: the involuntary muscle contractions after she’d done too many crunches, or the sensation she sometimes got if she’d laughed uncontrollably for a while. Whatever it was, it felt amazing and Sansa gasped for air helplessly, unable to scream or cry out anymore.

She must have really seized up on the inside, because Stannis was gasping too and cursing, his hips moving jerkily now, his precision completely gone. It was probably just a flight of fancy, but she thought she could feel a burst of heat deep within as he drove into her desperately, moaning her name and sucking in great lungfuls of air.

Eventually he slowed to a halt, resting on his elbows above her and letting his breathing even out. Sansa wanted to wrap her legs around him to make sure he wouldn’t pull out until she wanted him to, but she couldn’t move.

She pouted and whimpered in protest when he moved to lie down next to her, but her knees were grateful for the chance to unbend. She let her legs flop into a normal, stretched out position, and continued to feel completely paralysed.

“Wow,” she breathed out after a while, sounding a little punch-drunk.

His strange scoff of a laugh only last a second, but Sansa was pleased that he was happy.

She was happy too.

***

Stannis had no idea how he had managed to keep from coming for as long as he had. He felt like he’d been on the verge the whole time. If he’d been an inexperienced youth he might have had an accident the second she started calling him sir.

What was she doing to him?

He had spent Monday and Tuesday convincing himself that this scheme of Sansa pretending to tutor Shireen would never hold under scrutiny, and that Ned was bound to find out sooner or later. At that point Stannis would be in for a world of pain. (Ned was going to murder him.) Better to just talk to Sansa when she arrived and explain that this couldn’t go on. Maybe kiss her goodbye, but nothing more than that.

Of course when he’d seen her she had looked like no woman should really be allowed to look. It had to be against the law to be so distractingly stunning, surely? He imagined she caused traffic accidents on a daily basis. Before he’d had a chance to start explaining his carefully reasoned arguments for why they simply could not continue seeing each other (naked), she had grabbed his tie. It had all gone downhill from there. She had flirted and giggled and pulled him in for a kiss, and he’d been lost. Just lost.

Did she have some sort of magical power that allowed her to shut down his higher brain functions? Or was he just that desperate for good sex? He was pretty sure he had never been that desperate. Well, he’d been pretty desperate when Melisandre had cornered him that first time. Selyse hadn’t wanted to do anything with him for nearly a year and Melisandre wasn’t the type of woman you really said no to. Not when she was standing naked in front of you and offering herself freely.

“I really don’t think this is a good idea,” he said hoarsely after they had been lying still for a while.

“I agree,” Sansa said, amusement in her voice, “it’s the best idea.”

Stannis rolled his eyes and groaned. “That was awful.”

“No, you’re awful if you want to stop.”

“Your father is going to murder me if he finds out about this. And the odds of him finding out increase every time we do this. I rather like being alive, so the only logical thing to do is to quit while we’re ahead.”

“Oh, relax. He’s not going to find out. And why aren’t you worried about what my mother will do if she finds out?”

Stannis hadn’t really considered that, but he was fairly sure that Catelyn could be reasoned with. “Catelyn likes me.”

“You don’t think Dad likes you?”

“As a father I can tell you that no man likes the lout who is making time with his precious little girl.”

“Wow. Did you just hear yourself? You are not old enough to talk like that. No one born in the last century is old enough to talk like that.”

Stannis rose up on one elbow so that he could scowl down at Sansa. “I don’t care if you think it’s archaic, it’s just how things are.”

“Please, I’m sure I could talk my dad around. I just don’t want to right now. I quite like the idea of having a secret affair. Don’t you?”

Sansa was grinning up at him like the cat who had caught the canary, still a little flushed and glowing from her numerous orgasms, her hair a messy halo around her head.

Seven hells, but she was beautiful.

A secret affair with this siren was probably the most wonderful thing that he had never deserved to have happen to him.

“What do you think?” he grumbled, giving in.

Sansa made a delighted noise and her smile widened even further. She reached a hand up and touched his cheek. She was exerting just the slightest pressure, but combined with the look she was giving him it was a clear signal that she wanted him to kiss her. He did as she wanted because it was what he wanted too, and he thought about how foolish he was being even as he kissed her silly.

He really was a classic fool. Drunk on a woman’s smile; addicted to her body after enjoying it a scarce handful of times. He had never expected to end up in such a situation. It was always Robert who took leave of his senses whenever he saw a short skirt; Stannis had never had to deal with these kinds of issues. It was a rare woman who caught his eye, an even rarer woman who kept his attention.

But Stannis thought he’d like to meet the man who could resist Sansa’s smiles. Such a man would have to be completely homosexual, asexual, or just dead inside. … Tywin Lannister, maybe?

Maybe he was just turning into a pervert in his old age, and maybe Ned would kill him, but for now Stannis was in bed with a gorgeous woman who was determined to have an affair with him, and he really thought he should just stop worrying and let it happen. At least until she left. He could go back to panicking then.

***

The first time Sansa thought she would get caught with Stannis was four weeks into their affair.

He had driven her home and she had insisted on kissing him goodbye before leaving the car. She hadn’t noticed that Robb had been taking out the trash and could easily see the car.

Her brother had knocked on the passenger side window, a bewildered, angry expression on his face. Thankfully Stannis was a quick thinker. Robb would not have had a clear view of anything from where he had been standing, and Stannis took advantage of that.

Still holding the side of her face where he had been stroking her cheek as he kissed her, he broke the kiss and pressed a button that would roll down the window Robb was looking through.

“I’m afraid I don’t see the splinter,” he said apologetically, giving her an intense stare.

Sansa was confused for a split second but caught on. “Are you sure? I’m sure I feel something, right under my eye.”

Stannis moved closer, turning her head a little. From Robb’s vantage point, she was sure that it looked like they were kissing. “No, I’m sorry. Perhaps you had better ask someone to take a look somewhere where the light is better.” Stannis moved away from her, dropping his hand calmly.

“Good evening Robb,” Stannis said formally, looking at her brother. “Here to escort your sister to the house, I presume?”

“Uh, I was just taking out the trash. I thought I saw…” Robb was furrowing his brow and looking at the pair of them, eyes full of suspicion and confusion. “Never mind,” he finally said, shaking his head and smiling. “Did you get a splinter, Sansa?” he asked solicitously.

“I’m not sure, Stannis can’t see anything.”

“Well, maybe I should take a look in the house with a proper light on.”

“Would you?” Sansa smiled gratefully as she made to get out of the car. Robb opened the door for her and gave her a hand up.

“See you next week!” she called carelessly over her shoulder as she started to walk towards the house with her brother. Her heart was pounding and her veins were on fire with the shock of almost being found out. However, now that she thought she and Stannis had got away with it, she was starting to feel rather thrilled.

She heard Stannis pull out of the driveway, and she felt a pang of regret at not being able to turn around and blow him a kiss. Why had Robb chosen such an awful moment to take out the stupid trash?

“You would not believe what I thought you two were doing!” Robb laughed as they walked to the front door.

Sansa had to suppress a giggle. “What?” she asked, trying to sound completely innocent and curious.

“Well, it sort of looked like you were kissing from where I was standing,” Robb chuckled and held the door open for her.

“Ew! As if!” Sansa giggled, feeling like the worst kind of traitor.

“I know, right?” Robb smiled his charming, crooked smile at her and closed the door behind them, “do you want me to check and see if I can find the splinter now?”

“Yeah, thanks.”

Robb didn’t find a splinter, but he didn’t seem to find that suspicious at all. Hours later he was still shaking his head at how he had misread the situation in the car so thoroughly. Sansa would almost have been offended, but she needed Robb to think he’d been wrong to think Sansa and Stannis had been kissing; she couldn’t afford to start lecturing him about how wonderful Stannis was, and that any girl would be lucky to kiss him.

***

The second time Stannis and Sansa were almost caught it was a decidedly closer call.

It was a dark and dreary Wednesday early in November and Stannis was so thankful he had Sansa to look forward to after the nightmarish day he’d had at work. A huge shipment of car parts had somehow mysteriously vanished, and then the Iron Bank had called him up, wondering if Baratheon Industries were ever going to start paying back a loan Robert had apparently taken out with them without consulting Stannis three years ago. Stannis had been yelling on the phone for hours, first to find out how that shipment had ended up in Volantis instead of King’s Landing, and then at his brother for being a complete twit. Robert had just laughed it off and told Stannis to discuss it with Ned. Precious Ned who would apparently just swoop in and fix everything.

One of these days Stannis was going to strangle Robert.

As it was Wednesday he had been able to keep it together much better than he usually would have. If Sansa weren’t in his life, a day like today would have meant at least a three hour session at the gym to ‘productively channel his anger’. As it was, he’d only needed a fifteen minute run and half an hour with his weights during his lunch break.

His weekly meetings with Sansa were doing wonders for his mental health. He was even grinding his teeth a lot less, so one could argue that she was good for his dental health, too.

Stannis had half expected Sansa to grow bored with their affair after a few weeks, but she seemed just as enthusiastic about it now as she had at first. He was incredibly thankful for it, as it meant that he was regularly having the kind of sex he only thought existed in dirty novels and adult films. Sansa was curious, playful and up for anything he could come up with. She even suggested a few things herself, surprising him with the fact that she was even aware of certain possibilities. Sansa also did not seem to be getting bored with the idea of him as her ‘teacher’, and she often encouraged him to direct her and tell her how better to please him, whispering ’sir’ and ’Mr. Baratheon’ in his ear. It never failed to drive him to distraction.

While Sansa helped Shireen with her homework for half an hour Stannis paced around his study, unable to focus on anything except disjointed thoughts about what he wanted to do to Sansa as soon as Shireen was gone. He thought he might ask her to use her mouth for a while before returning the favour and then fucking her up against a wall… She was getting quite good at going down on him, although he usually didn’t let her do it for very long. His recovery time wasn’t the same as it had been when he had been her age, and he liked to be able to last long enough to get her off with his cock inside of her. He was addicted to the way she screamed for him as he buried himself to the hilt in her tight, perfect -

“Stannis? Shireen’s gone,” Sansa said, her voice carrying through his study door.

He took a deep, calming breath and opened the door to join her. He stopped dead when he saw her. She was wearing a black skirt, white knee socks and a white shirt. It wasn’t a real school uniform, but it did a very good job of evoking one. A groan escaped him before he could hold it back, “Sansa, what are you doing to me?”

She smiled a genuine, delighted smile. “You like my outfit?” she asked flirtatiously.

He was helpless to do anything but nod his approval.

“I thought it was appropriate because I want to show you how much I’ve learnt, Mr. Baratheon.

The way she drew his surname out, speaking in a breathy, suggestive tone of voice, made him rock-hard in less than twenty seconds. The best part was that even as she flirted and seduced, she still blushed and glowed pink for him. She really was the perfect blend of innocence and scintillation.

“Oh?” he exhaled, curious about where she was going with this, shifting around due to the sudden discomfort of his trousers.

Sansa walked right up to him, putting her lips right up to his ear. “I was thinking I’d do an oral presentation… sir,” she whispered. She pulled back and he was that she was biting her lip nervously and looking at him with intense heat in her blue eyes.

Seven fucking hells. She wanted to go down on him, wearing that?

“I think that could be arranged,” he choked out, somehow having lost the ability to sound cool and collected.

Sansa beamed at him and kissed him quickly on the mouth. He wanted to deepen it, but she broke away and started walking to his bedroom, a pronounced swing in her hips; it made her little skirt swish from side to side attractively.

Stannis started to loosen his tie as he followed her, almost dizzy with the feeling of all the blood in his body rushing south.

In his bedroom Sansa had already turned down his bed and grabbed a pillow. She was just dropping it on the floor as he managed to get his tie off. Clearly she meant for him to sit on the bed and for her to kneel at his feet. Oh, this was going to be so good. He loved it when she knelt in front of him; it made it so easy for him to watch as her lips wrapped around his cock…

Sansa walked towards him and went straight for his belt, letting him take care of the fiddly shirt buttons. He was naked and sitting on the edge of the bed before he knew what had happened, Sansa going to her knees in front of him. His cock twitched at the sight of her, anticipating what was to come eagerly.

“I want to make you come, sir,” she announced, her cheeks glowing pink but her eyes determined, “so please don’t stop me until you do.”

Fuck. Would she swallow? He didn’t know what was the more arousing idea, her swallowing every drop he gave her, or maybe just ruining her pretty white shirt… He nodded at her to signal that he accepted her terms.

She started to stroke his thighs, looking up at him with a playful smile, her eyes shining with something akin to adoration. It probably wasn’t, though. He was just a little delusional with lust. That had to be it.

Sansa seemed to be in no hurry. She stroked the tops of his thighs and then the insides, using her fingernails to scratch the sensitive skin lightly. It made him shudder with pleasure and increased his anticipation even further. Finally she brought her mouth to the inside of one thigh, licking and sucking at the skin she had just been scratching so pleasantly. So close and yet so far. He groaned and shifted his hips a little impatiently. This made her smile and move her lips to the skin of his lower abdomen -- just above and to the side of his cock. It was obscene how she used her tongue there, making his cock twitch and jump, drawing more groans from his throat.

He was starting to pant and she hadn’t even touched his cock yet. Feeling impatient and a little mad with need, he buried a hand in her hair, exerting just a tiny bit of pressure to nudge her along.

“Impatient?” she asked, looking up at him with theatrically widened doe eyes, a small amused smile playing on her lips.

“Careful, I might decide to give you a failing grade,” he bit out through clenched teeth.

“Don’t worry Mr. Baratheon, I’m just getting started,” she giggled and squeezed the tops of his thighs for emphasis.

She bent down to lick the insides of his thighs again, but moving closer and closer to his cock. Finally she was lazily lapping at skin that was so close to his sac that she might as well be licking it. He wished she would. He wanted her to suck it into her mouth - gently - and… “Fuck!” She had apparently read his mind. Her mouth was searing hot and wonderfully wet, and her tongue felt so good as it massaged him gently. He had to fight the urge to grip her hair tightly, but he managed to keep his hold gentle, only stroking the back of her head softly as he moaned in appreciation.

Before he had really had a chance to get used to the singular pleasure of having his sac in her mouth, she suddenly moved to lick his shaft from the base to the tip, her tongue flattened. He most certainly did not let out an undignified yelp at that, and even if he did; no one would ever be able to prove it.

She held him at the base and licked him a few more times before she sucked the head into her hot mouth, swirling her tongue around in a way that made him groan and buck his hips forward reflexively. Finally she was getting to the best part.

Sansa had done this enough times to know how tightly to grip his shaft with her hand, how fast to move and how deeply she was able to take the head without choking. She was quick to establish a rhythm that had him moaning her name and rocking his hips to meet her. She kept the pace perfectly even at first, bringing him slowly but surely to the edge of his release. He desperately needed her to go faster now that he was almost there, and he was just about to ask her to speed up when she slowed down.

“Wha - oh,” he started to ask her what she was doing, but got distracted when she started to take him deeper into her mouth than she had ever done before. She wasn’t quite deep-throating, but it was close.

It was torture to be so close to climaxing and having her just slowly bob her head up and down, taking him as deep as she could and letting her tongue massage him as she moved. Stannis knew it was vital that he not thrust forward while she was doing this, because it would make her gag. Suppressing the need to buck his hips was hard. He clenched his jaw stubbornly and tightened his grip just the tiniest bit on her hair. After what seemed like an eternity of this, a pathetic sort of whimper escaped him. Maybe she hadn’t heard?

He was just about to abandon his pride and beg her to go faster, or let him fuck her; anything but keep this torture going, when she went back to moving her hand in a firm grip and focusing her attention on the head of his cock, establishing a fast rhythm that had him bucking up erratically and calling her name within moments. He’d been so close for so long that coming was almost more a relief than a pleasure.

“Hello? Is anyone home? The door was open, so I let myself in! Stannis? Sansa? Shireen?”

That was unmistakably Ned Stark’s voice; sounding like it was coming from the foyer.

It was the last voice on earth Stannis wanted to hear while he was having aftershocks from a powerful orgasm, his cock still spilling his seed into Sansa’s mouth.

He felt completely paralysed with a bizarre mixture of afterglow and gut-wrenching panic. All he could do was stare down at Sansa and watch as she let his cock pop out of her mouth with an obscene sound, swallowing what she could but missing some of it and letting it run down her chin. (Seven hells, that was an image that would haunt his dreams if there ever was one.) She wiped at her face impatiently and pushed Stannis until he moved to lie on the bed. She covered him with his duvet and hid herself completely under it, going very still.

While she did this Stannis had been listening as Ned had gone around the house, rudely knocking on and then opening every door he found, calling their names as he did. He could hear that Ned was almost at his bedroom door and he did some very fast thinking, trying to come up with a believable story to tell the man.

Ned burst through the door about fifteen seconds after Sansa had managed to hide herself.

“There you are! Where are the girls? I was working late tonight and thought I’d save you the trouble of driving Sansa,” Ned babbled, looking more and more chagrined as he noticed the state Stannis was in. The duvet wasn’t pulled up to Stannis’ neck, so it was clear that he was bare-chested. He was pretty sure his hair was in a bit of a disarray, and from how warm his face felt he was probably rather flushed.

“Uh, are you all right?” Ned asked awkwardly.

Stannis made his voice deliberately hoarse and said, “not really. I’m afraid I’ve come down with something.”

Ned looked relieved for a second, but then he frowned. “That’s a shame. You should try an infusion of ginger, lemon and garlic. Always gets me back on my feet in no time. Where are Sansa and Shireen?”

Stannis wanted to roll his eyes at the medical advice, but contained himself. His heart was beating frantically and he was highly aware that if Sansa moved and drew Ned’s attention to the suspiciously lumpy duvet, he was a dead man. He needed to get Ned to leave as soon as possible and could not afford to get drawn into a debate about cold remedies.

“They went to Robert’s house,” Stannis invented, “Shireen thought Sansa would want to avoid getting sick with whatever it is that I’ve got. I gave her money for a cab home since I’m not going anywhere.”

“Oh, do you think they’re still there?”

“Shireen probably is, but Sansa might have gone home already. I could call Shireen and ask her if you like.”

Sansa’s head was close to his side and her breaths were very hot on his skin. It must be getting hard for her to breathe under there... He really needed to get Ned to leave.

“No, that’s all right. I’m sure Sansa will get herself home. I’m sorry I came bursting in here like this. I thought it would be a nice surprise. I haven’t seen Shireen in ages, either. Maybe we should all have dinner together soon?”

“If you insist,” Stannis said, not really caring that he sounded prickly and irritated. He could always blame it on his ‘illness’.

“I think it would be a great idea! But I can see that you’re tired, so I’ll leave you to your recovery. Sorry again about the intrusion,” Ned waffled on, unconcerned and oblivious to the tension that Stannis was feeling.

“See you at work!” Ned said at last, leaving the room and closing the door carefully behind him.

Stannis held his breath and listened until he heard the front door open and shut. When he was sure that the house was empty of bothersome Stark men he pulled the duvet to the side, revealing a very amused Sansa.

“It’s not funny,” Stannis growled at her.

“It’s a little funny,” she giggled.

“I could have been murdered.”

“How often do I have to tell you that my dad would never kill you?”

“You don’t know that.”

Sansa made an amused sort of exasperated sound and shook her head as if to convey that he was hopeless.

Stannis glared at her halfheartedly and sighed. “You’re going to have to go home now.”

“Why?”

“Because Ned might still take it into his head to visit Robert or at least call him. If he finds out that you’re not at my brother’s house and you take too long about getting back to your home, it will raise all sorts of questions.” Stannis sighed again and rubbed his forehead tiredly. Sneaking around was exciting, but it was also a complete headache.

“Oh, yeah. I guess that makes sense.”

Sansa looked at him, tilting her head to the side and smiling softly. Moment’s later her smile had widened and she had a playful glint in her eyes.

“So,” she said meaningfully, “how did I do?”

Stannis looked at her blankly for a moment before he understood that she was asking his opinion on the blowjob she’d just given him.

He groaned and closed his eyes. “I am afraid I’ll need several more demonstrations before I’ll be able to give your final grade.” He was smirking despite himself, curiously blasé about how he had just barely escaped Ned catching him with his cock in his daughter’s mouth. Perhaps it was just the thrill of getting away with it, addling his brains?

“But you liked it, right?” Sansa sounded a little unsure of herself and when he looked at her she was worrying at her bottom lip endearingly.

“It was perfect,” he whispered and kissed her hungrily, tasting a hint of himself on her tongue.

***

The third time they were almost caught, there was no ‘almost’ about it.

It was the annual Baratheon Industries Christmas party, thrown at a trendy location in town for the employees of the main office and their families. There was a giant tree, entertainment and sweets for the kids, plenty of eggnog for the adults and it was all set to awful, horrible holiday music. Sansa would have crawled out of her skin if it weren’t for the fact that the party allowed her a rare chance to see Stannis outside their usual Wednesday night arrangement. As Shireen was on holiday and Sansa hadn’t been able to go to Stannis’ house last Wednesday, it was a very good thing, too.

Margaery was there on Joffrey’s arm, looking every inch the society girlfriend, charming the pants off every person she spoke to. Sansa had been absolutely correct when she had assumed that Margaery would manage to turn Joffrey’s head at the gala Sansa hadn’t been allowed to go to. They’d been seeing each other for months, and Margaery was even hinting at their impending engagement, obviously trying to get some kind of reaction out of Sansa. Happily, Sansa was completely over Joffrey and was able to sincerely wish Margaery all the best and smile serenely at the golden couple whenever she ran into them. Margaery still always seemed a little surprised at how well Sansa was taking it, but accepted it well enough.

Most of her family was lingering near the entertainers, Catelyn holding Rickon’s hand so that he wouldn’t rush forward to join the show, her father and Robb laughing along with everything as if they were a pair of big kids themselves. Bran was sitting by himself, absorbed in a computer game as always, and Arya was… somewhere? Maybe?

Jon would know where Arya was if he were here. He had always got along with Arya the best. It was a shame he couldn’t get shore leave this Christmas, Sansa thought with a little pang of sadness.

Sansa looked over at Stannis to distract herself from missing Jon. Stannis looked very handsome in a much nicer suit than he normally wore, even if it was a little grim to wear black on black at a holiday party. He was keeping one eye on Shireen who was sitting with Myrcella and chatting happily, and scowling into his glass of water. (Someone seemed to have found him some lemons for it.)

Maybe she should try to cheer him up? She looked around and found that no one was really paying attention to her. She used the opportunity to slip out of the room unnoticed, heading down the stairs to the cloak room. Thankfully it wasn’t the type that came with an attendant. There was security on the ground floor instead.

Once she was ensconced in the dimly lit room, surrounded by all manner of trench coats, down jackets and mountains of fur, she sent Stannis a text telling him she needed to speak to him in private, giving her location. Five minutes later he walked into the room, finding her at the back, hidden behind the last rack of outer wear.

She gave him her best seductive smile and held up the lacy underwear she had used the time while she waited for him to remove. It had been easy since she wasn’t wearing pantyhose, having opted for stay-up thigh-high stockings tonight. Her dress also had a convenient slit in it, going up to the middle of her thigh, allowing her a pretty good range of movement.

Stannis’ eyes darkened and his nostrils flared when he saw the panties hanging off one of her fingers.

“Are you insane?” he hissed, but he was coming closer and not protesting when she tucked the scrap of lace into the front pocket of his suit jacket.

“A little bit, maybe. But I just really need you,” she said breathily, attempting a sexy pout, “please?” she added, fluttering her eyelashes.

Stannis looked like he was still resisting the idea, though he was stroking her sides, lingering at her waist.

“Everyone is upstairs so no one will hear us. The party only just started too, so no one is going to come looking for their coat anytime soon,” she wheedled, kissing his neck in between every other word. She was careful not to get any lipstick on his shirt collar.

Sansa was getting ready to say all the other things she had thought of saying to convince him when she suddenly felt him move her skirt and run his hand up the inside of one thigh.

“Oh, yes, please...” she moaned, shivering and getting quite embarrassingly wet. He had her trained after all these weeks; he barely had to touch her these days to make her ready for him.

Stannis fumbled with his belt, getting his fly open in a hurry, pushing his underwear out of the way until his cock sprang forth, fully erect and ready for her, too. He pushed her up against the nearest wall, impatiently lifting her skirt and hoisting her up easily. She wrapped her legs around him and felt him sink into her, the angle a little awkward, but still so good. She held onto his shoulders for support and he maintained a bruising grip on her thighs to hold her up, but mostly he was using his bulk to pin her to the wall.

He started to move; his hips making short, sharp and shallow thrusts that had her gasping within moments.

It was a short and brutal coupling, Stannis obviously uncomfortable with the nearly public setting, grunting harshly into her ear as he ruthlessly sought his release. Sansa closed her eyes, focusing on the intense bliss of having him inside of her again, stretching and filling her, making her feel complete and adored.

“Oh, gods! Oh, gods! Stannis!

Her orgasm came as a complete surprise, sudden and intense, and her eyes flew open as she cried out.

What she saw made her want to cry out again in alarm, but she just gaped in horror, her eyes wide with shock as she felt Stannis speed up, shudder and moan, obviously just finishing.

Robert was standing on the other side of the coat rack, looking at them through a gap between a mink shrug and an expensive looking wool overcoat. His mouth was also hanging open, his eyes nearly popping out of his head. Without a single word, he turned around and fled.

Sansa had the vague thought that it was good that she and Stannis were at least mostly dressed. She felt like this would be worse if they had been naked on top of everything else.

Stannis eased out of her and helped her get her feet back on the floor, completely unaware of what his older brother had just witnessed him do. She wished she hadn’t opened her eyes. Maybe she wouldn’t have seen Robert then, either. But she had seen, and how she had to tell Stannis. She had the feeling he would need all the warning he could get.

Trying to think of the right way to break it to him, Sansa fished some tissues out of her purse and did her best to clean herself up. She gave a few to Stannis and he was soon all tucked away and looking perfectly presentable.

“Robert saw us,” she ended up blurting out with no grace at all. “Just now, right before you - um - finished.”

Stannis blinked at her a few times, his face draining of all colour.

Sansa stuffed the used tissues into the plastic pocket they had come from, putting the bundle away in her purse so that she could throw it away later. She hoped she was looking as presentable as Stannis was. She had a feeling they’d be getting company soon.

“What do you mean?” Stannis finally said, his voice weak.

“I mean that Robert caught us. He gaped at me like he was seeing a white walker and then he turned around and left. I expect he’s getting my dad.” Sansa felt surprisingly calm, considering. Her stomach did feel a little clenched up, and her palms felt a little clammy, but otherwise she was… okay. Her parents had to find out at some point, and although sneaking around was very exciting and sexy, it was becoming a bit of a pain. She still hadn’t been able to think of a plausible excuse to spend a weekend with Stannis, and she was tired of answering questions about whether she was seeing anyone with a mysterious smile and a shrug.

With a startled jolt Sansa realised that she wanted to be Stannis’ real girlfriend. She didn’t want to be the girl he had a secret affair with. She wanted to go with him to the next Baratheon gala, on his arm, proud to be his official date. Someone else would just have to babysit.

Stannis did not seem to have found the calm that Sansa had found. He had started to pace back and forth like a caged animal, running his hand through his hair and shooting her frequent panicked looks. He did not seem capable of speech.

“Sansa? Are you in here? Are you… decent?”

“We’re over here Dad, it’s okay. Everyone’s decent.”

Her father and Robert came into view from around the coat rack, her father looking a little shell shocked, but Robert was looking like he’d already got over the surprise of catching his little brother ‘in flagrante delicto’. He now mostly looked like he was wishing he had popcorn.

“What in the…” her father cut himself off before he started to swear and took a deep breath. “What is going on here?”

“Robert caught us at an inopportune moment,” Sansa answered delicately with a shrug.

“I know that, he told me,” her father said, clearly a little irritated. “In a little too much detail,” he added in a dark mutter, glaring at Robert and frowning when his friend did not seem the least bit ashamed.

“Well, what don’t you know?” Sansa asked, crossing her arms and raising an eyebrow. She glanced at Stannis to see how he was holding up, and became a little worried at how pale he still looked, an expression of mild horror on his features.

“I don’t know what you two think you’re doing!” her father exploded. Next to him Robert grinned, obviously extremely entertained.

“Dad, you just said that Robert told you,” Sansa said, rolling her eyes. She knew it wasn’t wise to antagonise him like this, but she needed him to ask sensible questions before she could give him sensible answers.

“Has he touched you before this?” her father asked, looking really quite angry now.

“Yes,” Sansa said, trying to sound calm. It was getting harder to maintain her cool. Especially since Stannis was just standing around, mute and paralysed with horror, being of absolutely no help at all. This was unfortunate; she could really have used his support.

Before she could finish being annoyed with Stannis, her father had rushed past her to grab Stannis by his jacket lapels.

“Why have you been touching my daughter?” her father growled threateningly. Sansa was suddenly reminded of the old Stark sigil, the one with the direwolf. Her father looked rather like a wolf when he bared his teeth like that…

Sansa took a step forward, intending to put a hand on her father’s shoulder to make him calm down, but Ned was already letting Stannis go in favour of grabbing at something from his front jacket pocket.

“What. Is. This?” he bit out through clenched teeth, holding Sansa’s lacy underwear in front of Stannis’ deathly white face.

“That’s mine!” Sansa said, grabbing her panties from her father’s hand and blushing crimson. She hurried to stuff the scrap of lace into her purse, glad to hide it from view. She glanced at Robert but regretted it immediately because he was obviously having to go to great lengths to keep from bursting into laughter. It was making his face all red and blotchy.

Her father let out another threatening growl and pushed Stannis the short distance up to the wall, almost picking him up by the jacket lapels in order to accomplish the feat.

“Answer me!” her father barked.

“Dad! You’re acting like some sort of wildling!” Sansa shouted, pulling at his arm without much effect. “Stannis didn’t do anything I didn’t want him to. Leave him alone!”

“Yes Ned, I’m going to have to insist on having my brother walk out of here alive. I need him to run the company. You know I’m only the name on the stationary,” Robert chortled.

“Shut up!” Sansa and her father both shouted at the same time.

“I don’t care what you think you wanted, Sansa,” her father said, obviously attempting to control his breathing and sound calmer, “Stannis is… fifteen? Sixteen! Sixteen years older than you! He should know better than to lay a finger on you.” His attempt to sound calm had failed.

“I’m an adult, Dad! I can make my own decisions,” Sansa argued, wishing that Stannis would say something already. From the look on his face he was still trying to determine whether he was stuck inside some horrible nightmare, and would he please wake up soon?

“You are nineteen! You are not an adult. It’s right there in the number! Teen! You are a teenager!” her father shouted, looking at her in a way that he had never looked at her before. She had never ever seem him this angry.

Before she could help herself her lower lip was trembling and her eyes were welling up with tears. She did not want her daddy to be angry with her.

Her father’s expression softened at the sight of her tears. “Oh, honey. Don’t cry,” he pleaded. Then the angry expression came back as he turned to glare at Stannis. “See what you did?”

Stannis looked like he was gaining some control of himself because he looked affronted at that.

“It’s not his fault,” she said, sniffling a little pathetically, “he’s not the one who’s shouting.”

Her father had the grace to look a little ashamed of himself, and to Sansa’s relief he finally let go of Stannis. Stannis took the opportunity to smooth down the front of his jacket and clear his throat.

“All right, no more shouting,” her father said after taking a deep breath, “but I’d still like to hear what you have to say for yourself.” He looked at Stannis with a clear challenge in his eyes, crossing his arms threateningly. Sansa sniffed and wiped delicately at her eyes, trying to keep her mascara from running everywhere.

“I have nothing to say for myself,” Stannis said quietly, “I knew the whole time that what I was doing was not entirely right. I did it anyway. I was being selfish.” He shrugged a little helplessly when he finished talking, looking mournfully at Sansa.

“Well, at least you’re honest,” her father said, both eyebrows raised incredulously.

“I never should have touched her.”

“That’s not an apology.”

“No.”

“Aren’t you going to apologise?”

“No.”

Sansa looked back and forth between her father and Stannis as they spoke, noticing Robert doing the same. Her father was starting to look angry again, Stannis was looking belligerent.

“Dad, please! I’d feel awful if he apologised for touching me as if I were some possession of yours that he didn’t have permission to play with! Please don’t make him!” Sansa burst out with before her father had a chance to start shouting again. Her voice still sounded a little tearful, but she was recovering quickly.

Her father looked at her in surprise, his expression becoming chagrined as he realised that she was right.

“Fine. No apologies. But you will promise not to touch her again.”

“No.”

“Excuse me?” Her father sounded colder than ice now, and it was even more terrifying than the explosive anger from before.

Sansa wasn’t scared, though. She was too busy feeling overwhelmed with hope. If Stannis was actually standing up to her father, that meant he wanted to keep seeing her. Her fantasy of being his real girlfriend became even more vivid now that she had a hint that it might possibly become a reality.

“I will promise no such thing without discussing it with her first,” Stannis said stiffly.

“I don’t want you to stop!” Sansa said, directing her outburst at Stannis.

“Sansa, you cannot continue this… whatever this is with Stannis. He is too old for you. It’s just not… I mean… I forbid it!”

Sansa felt like her father had slapped her. “You forbid it?” she repeated coolly, raising an eyebrow. She sounded deathly calm.

Her father winced at her tone, grimacing as he realised that he’d made a grave error.

“I - I didn’t mean that the way it came out,” her father backtracked, looking at Robert for support. Robert was giving him a look that said ‘you’re on your own, mate’ and shaking his head.

“Of course I would never try to tell you what to do with your life, sweetheart,” he said soothingly, trying to dig his way out of the hole he found himself in, “it’s just that I think I know that this isn’t the kind of relationship that has any future in it. I’m just trying to look out for you.”

“I know, and I appreciate the thought, but I want to be with Stannis right now. I really like him.”

Sansa shot Stannis a shy look. They had never spoken about their feelings for one another, and she was curious to see his reaction. His eyes looked a little surprised and gratified, but otherwise he was keeping his expression closely guarded.

Her father had painted himself into a corner. He couldn’t go back to forbidding her from pursuing the relationship, and he couldn’t exactly order Stannis about either. He was obviously itching to, though, the way he was glaring at Stannis.

Obviously feeling at a loss, he rubbed his face and asked, “how long has this been going on?”

Stannis and Sansa gave each other slightly panicked looks. “Oh, just two weeks… maybe three. I’m not sure,” Sansa quickly said.

“How can you not be sure?” her father asked in an irritated tone of voice.

“Oh, you know how it is. How do you define the beginning of something?” Sansa said airily, waving her hand aimlessly.

“Hmph,” her father grunted skeptically, but didn’t argue. “I’ll want to arrange that dinner we’ve been putting off to discuss this properly, sometime between Christmas and the New Year.” He aimed his words at Stannis, speaking sharply.

“Of course,” Stannis said, nodding.

There was a long awkward pause. Well, everyone except Robert looked awkward. Robert looked delighted.

“Should we go back upstairs?” Sansa asked at length, breaking the tense silence.

“I suppose,” her father sighed.

Sansa gave her father a pointed look, indicating that he and Robert should leave first to give her a moment to speak with Stannis. As soon as her father understood her meaning he made an indignant noise.

“I am not leaving you two alone in here! You’re walking up front.” He made a sharp ‘after you’ gesture with his hand. Sansa rolled her eyes but started walking. Stannis followed on her heels and her father and Robert brought up the rear.

Once they made it up the stairs Sansa excused herself to go to the ladies’ room that was located just outside the main hall where the party was still in full swing. She needed to fix her make-up, throw out some used tissues and she should probably put her underwear back on.

***

“I can’t believe it! I always thought Stannis was adopted, but it turns out we’re related after all!” Robert laughed, feeling happier than he’d felt in years.

Ned did not seem all that amused, though. He’d come around. Robert dug around for the hip flask he kept in his inside jacket pocket and grabbed an empty glass from the pile next to the eggnog.

“Here, have some whiskey,” Robert said, pouring Ned a generous amount, “it will make you feel better.”

Ned knocked it all back at once with a grimace. Robert raised his eyebrows, but poured his friend another measure without commenting. Thankfully Ned decided to take this drink in sips. Robert wasn’t sure Ned could really hold his liquor anymore. Back in college maybe, but now? Ned rarely ever drank these days.

Anyway, he didn’t know why Ned was so upset. It wasn’t as if he had been faced with the scene Robert had walked in on. Gods it had been strange. There he’d been, minding his own business, looking for his phone because he thought he must have left it in his coat, when he’d heard noises. At first he’d been sort of intrigued, because he hadn’t seen anything; he’d only heard a pretty female voice crying out for the gods and for Stannis. If it hadn’t been for the fact that the girl had called that particular name, Robert probably wouldn’t have given into the urge to spy on the amorous couple, but he’d been consumed with curiosity at who it could be that his straight-laced, uptight brother could be banging in the middle of the company Christmas party.

He’d regretted his decision to pry into the matter as soon as he had been faced with Sansa Stark, flushed and beautiful, her long legs wrapped around a man who he would recognise anywhere - even from the back - as Stannis.

What on earth had his scowling, resentful, whiny younger brother done to deserve being balls deep in a girl like that? That was what Robert wanted to know. Sansa was the same as Myrcella; too good for anyone except maybe one of those knighted gentlemen; those poncy types who dressed up in silly costumes and went on fox hunts and lived in palaces that had been in their families for a thousand years.

Still, he supposed Stannis wasn’t all bad. He never really got drunk and he had been faithful to Selyse when they had been married. Robert also had to grudgingly admit that Stannis was doing a pretty good job of raising Shireen.

“Where did I go wrong as a parent?” Ned moaned, halfway through his second glass of whiskey.

“Oh, you’re fine. Girls often go through phases with older men. I’ve taken advantage of that plenty of times!”

Ned winced and glared balefully at him. Apparently what he had said was not helping. Robert hurried to add something he thought might make Ned stop looking at him like that.

“It hasn’t got anything to do with how well you raised her!” he exclaimed and poured some more whiskey into Ned’s glass. “And Stannis isn’t the worst bloke she could have gone for.”

It felt strange to speak on Stannis’ behalf, but it was his brotherly duty. Like he’d said to Ned earlier; it wasn’t as if he could run the company without Stannis. The least he could do was make sure Ned didn’t murder him.

“I mean, she could have decided to sleep with… oh, I don’t know… Tywin Lannister?”

The look on Ned’s face at the very idea was priceless. Robert had trouble keeping a straight face, so he didn’t. He laughed and slapped Ned on the back when it looked like he might be choking on the air in his lungs.

“Stop helping,” Ned said when he finished his coughing fit.

“What?” he said, feigning innocence.

They were both silent for a while, Ned brooding, Robert trying to figure out how Stannis might have managed to charm a girl like Sansa and coming up with absolutely bupkis. Well… maybe not bupkis. Sansa had been pretty loud in that cloak room. Stannis was apparently upholding the pride of the family name when it came to satisfying the ladies. Robert grinned to himself, determined to interrogate Stannis about this later.

“What does she see in him?” Ned muttered into his whiskey, sounding baffled and a little annoyed.

“Hey now, that’s my brother you’re disparaging,” Robert said, trying to sound scolding but coming off as amused instead.

Ned gave him a look.

“Well, off the top of my head it could be the fact that Stannis is rich, powerful, not entirely unfortunate-looking, very similar to you in a lot of ways, and also apparently capable of making her cry out for the gods up against a wall in a cloak room,” Robert paused for breath. “I hear some women like that in a man.”

Oh, it was too easy to torture poor Ned. He was looking completely aghast, even though Robert hadn’t said anything that Ned didn’t already know. Robert had been pretty explicit when he had gone to fetch Ned earlier, telling him of the scene he had walked in on. Perhaps Ned had been trying to block it from his memory? Oops.

“You think she likes him because he’s like me?” Ned asked, sounding horrified.

Robert shrugged. “I always heard that women go after men who remind them of their fathers and that men go after women who remind them of their mothers.”

“How does that work for Renly?” Ned asked, looking momentarily distracted from his horror.

“I don’t know what the rules are for poofs!” he laughed, slapping Ned on the back again just for the hell of it, accidentally catching him just as he’d been taking a sip of whiskey and causing another coughing fit.

“Would it be so bad if it were true?” Robert asked, peering at Ned when he had once again got his breathing under control.

“If Sansa liked Stannis because she thinks he’s like me?”

“Yes.”

“I… I don’t know.” Ned frowned at his glass thoughtfully. “I suppose it wouldn’t be the worst reason among the ones you mentioned.”

“I agree! Daddy issues are much better than cold-hearted gold digging.”

Ned hid his face in his palms and groaned.

***

New Year’s Eve was a night of fresh starts, Sansa always thought.

She smiled to herself, glancing at Stannis out of the corner of her eye. She was certainly experiencing something new with him these days. Ever since Robert caught them at the Christmas party, things had been different. At first it had been awkward and a little dramatic, but eventually she and Stannis had arrived on the same page.

Neither one of them wanted to stop seeing each other, and they both admitted that they wanted more than just sex. As it turned out, they had both been convinced the other only wanted sex, so they had both been holding back, refusing to show their hands. Now they were tentatively ‘dating’, even though her father was not happy about it. Thankfully her mother had come down on her side, telling her father off for being an ‘emotionally stunted oaf’ and letting him know in no uncertain terms that Sansa was to be allowed to make her own decisions when it came to the men she chose to spend her time with.

Her siblings’ reactions to the news that she and Stannis were dating had been amusing and surprising.

“I KNEW IT!” Robb had exploded, “splinter, my foot!”

“Will he give you presents?” Rickon wanted to know. When Sansa told him that he might, Rickon nodded seriously. “Will he give me presents?” he then asked hopefully. Sansa had just laughed and said that she didn’t know about that.

“Oh, so it’s not a secret anymore?” Bran had commented mildly. “That’s nice.”

“Does Shireen know? Is this because of the dare?” Arya had asked, narrowing her eyes suspiciously. Sansa had to shush her and make her swear not to say anything about the dare so that their dad could hear. She really didn’t want her father to know that she and Stannis had been carrying on for months behind his back. For some miraculous reason he still hadn’t made the connection regarding the Wednesday night tutoring sessions. Sansa hoped he never did. Especially since that might make him remember the time he had almost caught them.

Sansa took her glass of Champagne over to where Stannis was standing with Shireen. They were both gazing at the firework display with identical expressions of appreciation on their faces. It was odd as Sansa hadn’t taken Stannis for the type to enjoy fireworks.

“Happy New Year,” she said softly when the clock struck twelve.

“Happy New Year,” he said in return, glancing around quickly and noticing that everyone was busy embracing one another. He stole a kiss, the fleeting touch of his lips making Sansa want to push everyone else off the balcony so that she could have enough privacy to kiss him properly.

“Happy New Year!” Shireen exclaimed, smiling up at them.

All right, maybe she didn’t want to push everyone off.

Sansa hugged Shireen right after Stannis did, and then Sansa was tackled by the members of her family, all of them eager for their turn hugging her.

Once the fireworks had all fizzled out the Starks and the Baratheons started to get restless, most of them moving back inside relatively quickly. Sansa was in no hurry, however. It was nice outside and she had always sort of liked the gunpowder scent that fireworks left in the air. Stannis lingered too, sending Shireen inside ahead of him. He put his arm around her waist without saying anything and they stood together in silence, watching the city lights and enjoying each other’s presence.

Sansa smiled and sipped her Champagne delicately. She had a good feeling about the upcoming year.