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The Here and the Now

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Back in the bar she chalked it up to the warm drunk fuzzies when he looked at her from across the room and for a moment it looked like he was flanked by torchlight of all things. And what else could it have been but a lovely shiver, when he brushed his fingertips down the cap of her shoulder, even though it felt for all in the world like snow falling on her bare skin. Each glance that turned to a gaze, smiles and brief looks away that turned to a conversation, all of it was spiked here and there with the odd sensations that Sansa blamed on three empty shot glasses and a beer she couldn’t bring herself to finish. The howling of a wolf, the scud of clouds over a fat and ageless moon, the echo of swordplay on stone walls, like she has ever seen a sword in her entire life. 

 “You are buzzed right now,” she whispers as she braces her hands on the edge of her bathroom sink, staring at her reflection with widened eyes, as if that will help to miraculously sober her up. “You are buzzed and you are probably dumb but you better get back in there before he leaves,” she says with a slow-spread smile that makes her eyes turn a little Bette Davis, at least in her estimation, “because that is one cute boy you brought home, Sansa Stark. Go get ‘em, tiger,” she whispers, snorting a laugh as she winks at herself before turning on the faucet to wash her hands and cover up the fact that she is giving herself a freaking pep talk in the toilet right now.

“Everything okay?” he asks once she’s back in her apartment living room. 

“Yes, everything’s fabulous,” she smiles, at once shy and emboldened when he smiles back and turns to face her in full from where he was studying her bookshelf. She tips her head towards it. “See anything you like?”

“Sure,” he says amiably, setting down the bottle of hard cider she’d opened for him before ducking into the bathroom. “Although I’m seeing something I like a lot more, now that you’re back.”

“Nicely done,” she says, biting her lip as he makes his way past the coffee table to stand in front of her.

“I would have done a bit better down at the bar, but loud rowdy places really aren’t my thing,” he says.

“Then why were you there?”

She herself was at the bar two blocks away because, well, for one it’s only two blocks away, but also because Jeyne and Beric told her to meet them after dinner. Coincidentally that is also one reason she was so eager to leave when this man Jon asked if she’d like to go somewhere quiet to talk. Because nothing makes singledom sting quite so much as watching your best friend make out with her super cute boyfriend on their super awesome one year anniversary in the super fun neighborhood bar.

“I don’t know,” Jon says, and even though he already pulled a smooth one-liner on her, his shrug and open smile make Sansa think it’s the god’s honest truth when he says, “I just felt like I was supposed to be in that bar right at that moment.”

“Lucky me,” Sansa says, and when she drops her gaze to his mouth a moment and then looks back into the wool grey of his eyes, when she sees he is looking at her mouth too, she grins.

“I was thinking the same thing,” he says and then he pauses. “I mean, lucky me, not lucky you,” he adds hastily, immediate fluster to the ironed out smooth of him just moments before, and it makes Sansa laugh. “Shit, I’m sorry, I’m- I’m never really good talking to girls in the first place, let alone with a girl like you.”

And then he lifts his eyes to hers, all embarrassed smile, sweet university boy with library-on-the-weekend scruff.

It is like a struck match being laid against her heart.

The bleak brittle blast of a winter wind, the heavy drape of furs that broaden his shoulders, the determined set of a jaw below the grim pluck of a full mouth. A sword on his hip and his hand in her hair, long auburn hair half bound up with intricate braids she’s never had the skill to do herself. The deep-seated ache for this man, this would-be bastard, this rightful king to kiss her, to fill her up, to—

Sansa blinks, sees Jon frown at her with confusion, shock. Recognition?

“Are you okay?” he asks, and he takes a step towards her.

“I um,” she breathes, pausing as she tries to figure out what the hell is wrong with her.

She lowers her eyes as she gazes at the old blazer he’s got over a light grey thermal and a pair of jeans, far different from furs and a- what, a cloak? Was that what she saw just now? Sansa lifts a hand and pinches the lapel of his jacket, slides the touch down his chest as she leans into him. Whatever the hell is going on with her, with the shots of liquor in her belly and this handsome guy in her apartment, whatever it is, she cannot deny the fact that what she felt a second ago is still humming inside her. And it’s not a matter of greed or aimless sexual frustration that makes her pull ever so lightly on his jacket, it’s not two strangers settling to help each other scratch an itch. It is a matter of necessity, air to breathe, water to drink, Jon to kiss.

“I just really want to, um,” she starts, and Jon finishes the sentiment for her.

“So do I,” he says quickly, taking the single step left to bring them together, their chests pressing like a flatline as his hand finds the nape of her neck and his mouth finds hers.

Sansa gasps, exhales into his open mouth before she whimpers and wraps her arms around his neck, and there is this feeling inside her, the harrowing whip of a tornado and the heavy, claustrophobic chokehold of such painful, painful sorrow and heartache. She never thought she’d see him again, never thought she’d feel him again and here he is, whole and in her arms, and it is so overwhelming a sensation she thinks she will drown in it. She cannot breathe. Gone is the faint aftertaste of booze, the tingle of hard cider from the slick slide of Jon’s tongue against hers. All she tastes is winter and tears that she has not wept in one hundred thousand years.

It’s her apartment but somehow Jon knows just where to go, and he walks her backwards to her bedroom, body a full firm press against hers as he goes where she does, and she understands, truly she does, because they have been apart for a dozen lifetimes or more and there is no excuse, anymore, to let one sliver of winter air come between them.

“Sansa,” Jon says when the kiss breaks, the sound of a dying breath on the flicker of a lonely flame.

“Jon,” she says with a ragged sigh, her hands in his hair to hold him close.

His arms are two tight bands across her back until they unwind to set his hands on a hungry wander, and her shirt rides up in the back as he rifles for the feel of skin, and it shocks another gasp out of her when his palms slide against the bare of her back, press her harder, closer, tighter against him. His eyes dance across her face, up to her eyes and back to her mouth and over again, all under a disbelieving frown of dark eyebrows she is used to seeing cinched together in sorrow and hardship rather than this lovestruck, lust-fueled wonder. But I’ve never met him before, she thinks, knowing somehow that it’s a lie, a lie Jon can sniff out for himself, judging by his words.

“I feel like I know you, all of a sudden,” he murmurs once they’re in the blue-black dark of her bedroom, and even though it’s balmy outside, humid and fat from spring and the buzzing of bees, the cool shadow of her room makes her shiver.

“I know,” she says, even though it should make her roll her eyes since it’s only two ticks away from Hey baby, have we met before.

“I can’t take my eyes off of you,” he says when her calves bump the mattress, and his arms are back around her when she almost sinks down into a sit on the bed. “I can’t keep my hands off you,” he says, bowing his head to exhale a low sigh against her neck, to kiss her skin and prove to her he cannot keep his mouth off her either.

“I don’t want you to,” she says, back arched and head tipped back to stare at the high vaulted stone above – no, no, at the ceiling fan overhead – as she holds him to her.

He freezes, mouth a hover above her clavicle, and the swell and rise of want inside her churns in place as Jon’s hands stop, as his mouth stops, as time seems to stop when before it bled out and left them separated. She is about to protest, to beg him back before she hears her own words on playback in her mind, and then she laughs, a feeble winded thing that sounds almost like sobbing, but then again there’s a part of her that wants to cry, and that’s when she realizes there are tears in her eyes.

“No, I meant I don’t want you to keep your hands off me. Please, please don’t stop, Jon, I’ve missed you,” and it sounds like the drunk ramblings of a foolish young woman but he doesn’t seem to mind it, instead he—

“I’ve missed you too,” he says, hands sliding down her back, a brief firm press to her ass before they squeeze on the backs of her thighs and tug, hard enough to sweep her off her feet.

Sansa drags him down on top of her when she topples onto the bed, kicks off her stilettos before she uses her bare feet to scoot herself back towards the pillows. He is suddenly so here after being nowhere for so long, his mouth on hers, hungry open kisses and licks, suckles to her tongue and nips to her lower lip as he crawls up the bed after her, a bit slow since she’s yanking his jacket off one arm at a time. By the time she’s tugged his thermal up and over and tossed it to the floor she can see he’s riddled with gooseflesh as if they’re writhing around in the snow instead of in a climate-controlled apartment. She’d shiver herself now that he’s sitting back on his heels between her legs, pulling her up into a sit so he can drag her blouse over her head, but she’s just trying to breathe right now, to keep her head over water while Jon stares at her hungrily as she unclasps her bra and lets it slide down her arms.

“I know you,” he murmurs, all awe and bewilderment in the downtown glow of light that filters in muzzy and milky through her curtains.

“Then come love me,” she says, tossing her bra to the floor and baring herself for him, once more at last,  and she has never been so sure of anything in all her life than she is now in the knowledge that he does love her, that he has since the beginning and will to the end.

Wordlessly he pushes her back to the pillows with a tight grunt in the back of his throat, and it’s fire now when their naked skin presses together, heat where before it was so cold, here in this sad bedchamber that hasn’t known what a lust-drenched sigh sounds like in so long. Sansa’s hands run down his back and up, nails a drag along his spine that makes him hiss an inhale, and he pulls the breath from her mouth and into his before he kisses a goodbye to her lips in order to properly greet her breasts, one lick and suck at a time.

“Oh my god,” she moans, back arching as he tips his weight onto one hip and against one of her thighs while he works the fly and zipper of her jeans.

“Dresses were always easier, weren’t they,” he mutters.

It doesn’t make any sense but it makes her laugh, and then he’s chuckling against her belly once he’s tugged her jeans down and off her legs.

“Now you,” she says once he’s got her down to nothing, but then she sucks in a breath, head pushed back into the pillow when he puts his mouth on the wet of her.

Candlelight and firelight flicker on the stone walls of her rooms, and there is the crisp stinging smell of snow in the thin air as he licks into her, his tongue a warm, slick, swab that seems to split her in two at the same time it seems to draw everything together.

“Jon,”  she moans, or maybe she cries, because there are tears leaking down the sides of her face, down her temples into her hair as she stares up at the high stone ceiling and wonders if he’ll come home to her.

He hums and strokes his tongue against the soft skin of her, against the auburn his nose is buried in, the luscious point of contact broken only when he briefly lifts his head to gaze at her. For a moment her vision swims and she sees the head of a white wolf and the red burn of lupine eyes before it’s gone. Sansa whimpers in confusion, in delectable agony, in heart-wrenching pain.

“Do you want me to stop,” Jon asks, and she bites back a sob, shakes her head weakly and watches a moment as he grins and lowers his head again, and there’s the crest and the slake and the drench and the burn, the crackle of a low midnight fire, the silent fall of snow out her chamber window, the beating of war drums that make her fear for her life at the same time it makes her feel so alive.

“Gods, Jon, yes! Yes! Oh, oh, oh gods, please,” she cries out, and that spot he’s turned into hot spice feels like a tiny burst of sparks that singes her blood and turns her veins to ash, and then her hips buck and drop back to the bed, and the very core of her pulses like a fist around smoke. The clapping of a giant’s hands, the break in the hull of a great ship, the streaking of a blood-red star across an endless sky.

“Jesus Christ,” Jon says with a jerk away from her as his chest heaves, and if he were any other stranger from a bar with his head between her thighs, she’d be offended by that kind of reaction after going down on her, but she knows better because she knows him and she knows what he means.

“Come here, come closer, Jon,” she begs him, hands scrabbling at his bare shoulders until her nails gain purchase and she can dig in and pull. “Just you wait.”

He groans, still staring at the small waxed thatch of hair just above where he sucked an orgasm out of her in record time, but he does as she bids him, hands and knees to the mattress as he crawls up the length of her body, and he licks his wet lips as he lifts his gaze to her eyes. And then he frowns, lifts a hand to cup her jaw, his thumb a brushstroke of skin against her cheek.

“Sansa, you’re crying,” he murmurs, eyes full of sorrow, lust, love maybe.

“It’s because I’m so happy,” she says, a hand to the nape of his neck before it slides fingers-first up into the tousle of his hair. It’s because you shall break my heart when you go tomorrow.

“Good,” he says, lowering his weight down to his elbows, one hand cupped around the crown of her head. “I love to see you happy.”

He stays still and watches her as she rids him of his belt, undoes his jeans to work them and his boxer briefs down his hips and below the firm curves of his ass. She uses her feet to push them down to his knees and then he kicks his way free on his own. And then just like that they are naked together, and he’s a firm hard thrust against the slick of her, a memory, a shadow, a haunting. It’s a question he need never ask her again when he squints at her and tilts his head to the side, his chest still a rapid rise and fall, perfect mirror to her own. Sansa nods, mouth parted as she licks her lips in preparation, like she is about to take a bite out of him instead of invite him in. But then, they’re both doing a little devouring, here.

When he nods too and leans on one elbow so he can reach down and position himself she follows suit with a touch of her own. He jumps at the touch, lifts his gaze to her, and for a moment that’s it, that’s all they do, their fingers wrapped together around the base of his cock, the head of which is pressed like the faintest kiss against the warm wet of her. But then Sansa sighs and he smiles, and it is in this way that they meet again, the rewind and the restart, and when she opens up at the slow slide of him, the firm steady push and the rush of air that leaves his lungs just as it seems to fill hers, everything seems to blur at the edges.

He smells of leather and sweat, tastes of it too though they have only just begun, and his body glows with a hot orange sheen in the firelight as Sansa lifts her head from the lump of pillow to sink her teeth into his shoulder. He grunts in response, bows his head over her as he draws his hips back again - no, this is the first time, the first time he's ever been inside her – but that makes no sense, they've been trying for a child for six moons now. Sansa cries out his name when he pushes back into her, a good rough thrust that makes her entire body bob up towards the tapestry draped on their headboard. It is silent here save for the noises they make and the snapping crackle of a fire that warms her even from across the chamber.

“Gods, Sansa, I love you. Fuck, you feel so good,”  he says, voice a muffle against her sweat-damp hair that clings to her neck.

"Oh, good, I like that," she says, lifting her legs off the duvet to wrap them around him, and she hums when he pushes deeper inside her as a result of it. “I love it when you say that.”

“I’ve never said it before,” he says with a laugh, propping himself up on one elbow to slide his hand to the back of her thigh, to pull it higher up his body so her legs unlock and her knee is pressed against his ribs. He is soon breathless from the quick pump of his hips, but still he smiles down at her. “Though I swear it, I know I told you I loved you.”

“You did,” she pants, one arm wrapped around the trunk of his body while she holds onto the back of his neck with her other hand. “You did, you told me.”

“I will tell you that a thousand times more,” he says before his eyes screw shut in concentration and he flings his head back, neck stretched as his mouth opens so he can breathe in time to his thrusts.

“But you’re leaving,” she says, one final hard thrust making that last word stretch out into a high moan before he draws out of her.

“I won’t be gone forever,” he says, words a rushed tangle as he grunts out an exhale and rolls over onto his back beside her. “I’ll come back to you, on my word. But first come up here, come and let me see you, you never do,” he begs, twisting his torso to take her by the hips, to coax and persuade and cajole until she sits astride him. “I will be back before you know it, and you will show me the babe that we will put in your belly tonight.”

Quickly he delves a finger inside her with one hand, guides his cock to find that sweet space with the other hand, and with one or two movements she has the thick lift and slide of him up inside her, and despite it feeling so achingly lovely, she still isn’t confident.

“I don’t- I’m not sure how to move properly up here”, she says, half crying over his imminent departure, half laughing from embarrassment, but at least the fire is behind her and he cannot see her blush so easily.

Jon takes her hands in his, slides his fingers between hers so they’re laced together snug as any corset, and he rests his elbows on the featherbed to give her something else to push against.

“Pretend I’m above you and move that same way,” he says, settling amongst the pillows as he gazes hotly up at her, watches her breasts move when she tentatively rocks her hips forward. And then the King in the North moans out her name, head pressing back as his eyes close when she moves as he suggests.

“I’ll move more if you swear you’ll come back to me,” she says when she finds that quicker, shorter jerks of her hips bring about a fine feeling for her though his writhing abates some.

“ Of course I’ll come back to you, Sansa,” Jon says, drawing his hands up towards the headboard so that she is forced to stretch out on top of him.

He frees his fingers from hers and runs his hands down her back until he has two cupped handfuls of her arse, fingertips aimed inwards as he slowly lifts her off his cock. He holds her firm there until she squirms, whimpers and grunts in frustration with only the head of him still inside her.

“Will you come for me now, though, my queen? Hmm?he asks as his hands move from under her arse to the small of her back, and even as she sinks down herself he presses down with his hand so that she is filled completely with him. “My lady wife, future mother of our children, will you come for me now, come for me again?”

Sansa moans, bent knees digging into his ribs as she flexes her thighs and draws her hips up and then rolls them back down, all with the gentle guide and coax of Jon’s hands until she finds the rhythm that seems to suit them both best. And then his hands leave to find newer pastures to roam, the length of her back and between their bodies so he can knead one of her breasts, and it’s that lovely aching touch that makes her sit back up. She rocks her hips and he tells her how wonderfully she moves, and he tells her how lovely she looks, and he tells her how good she feels when she rubs herself against the thatch of his coarse black hair above where they’re joined.

“Yes, Jon, I will, so long as you promise to return,” she says, head lolling back as he cups her breasts, as he sits up to suck each of her nipples into his mouth, one at a time before he kisses the valley between them.

“I vow it, my lady,” he says, holding her tight against his chest when her moans stutter out into breathless little Ohs because he knows her body and knows what that means. He will always know her, he will know her from across the entire realm, across a sea of time, across a crowded room full of rowdy noise and the smell of sour ale.

“Come for me, Sansa,” Jon says.

His back is against her headboard and his hands full of her hips as she shifts from small rocks to little bounces and a little bit between as she chases the orgasm around dizzying thoughts and heartrending memories and the relentless full feeling of him buried inside her. And then there’s that rub again with the forward roll of her hips, one he seems to notice when he lets go of one breast to press a thumb to her.

“Come for me again,” he pleads, and when she rights her head to gaze down at him his eyes burn and they burn for her, burn for the both of them, burn for the unfathomable loss they both of them share and they both of them now know.

 “I’m coming, I’m coming,” Sansa pants out. “Oh gods, Jon, yes, yes!”

There’s a strange and guttural cry that comes from her, a high stuttered whine as she comes with a series of pulses around him, and she realizes she is sobbing at the same time she climaxes, and she lets go of the head board when he lurches forward to wrap his arms around her, and she does the same to him. He gusts out a moan of pained pleasure against the bounce of her breasts before he lifts his face to kiss her throat, and there is the hot spurt of him inside her, a ragged groan as his arms wrap and squeeze around her. Constriction and consuming love, the terror of letting go and never getting back together again, and so even though it hurts to be so snared it also feels incredible, and she does the same to him, arms a tight suffocating vise around his neck as she weeps with her face buried in the bend of her elbow.

“You promised,” she whispers, voice hitching from a weak sob that has taken centuries, thousands of them maybe, to well up and bubble to the surface of her. “You promised and then you died, Jon.  You died and you left me.”

“I know, but I meant it when I swore to you,” he says quietly, a hand lifting from the sweat of her back to sweep her hair away from the shoulder his mouth is pressed to. He is out of breath, but still he tries to comfort her, ten thousand years too late. “I always meant it.”

“I thought I’d never see you again,” she whispers, chest heaving with the onslaught of another racking sob, and she squeezes her eyes shut as she clings to him. She shudders out a heavy sigh and as if to add insult to injury his softening cock slips free from her, leaving her empty all over again. “You left me and I was alone forever.”

“Hey, but I’m here now, Sansa, hmm?” he says.

Jon lifts his head and she does the same, loosens her grip on him to draw back and look down at him from her perch on his lap. He’s frowning and sad, still, which she recognizes now as his way, the steady smooth flow of him, but he’s also smiling up at her as he lifts a hand to tuck her hair behind her ear.

“Aren’t I?”

“Yes,” she whispers with another hiccup that embarrasses her, makes her laugh wetly as she wipes her wet cheeks with the back of her hand.

“I found you again, didn’t I,” he says, and she nods even though it’s not a question.

“Are you going to leave now? Is that what- I mean, this a one night stand, isn’t it?”

“How can that be possible,” he murmurs, bringing her tear-smeared hand to his mouth so he can kiss her knuckles. “How can that be true when we’ve already lived a life together?”

The pounding of her heart is like the knocking on a door, and it says open me, open me.

“Does that mean you’ll stay here tonight?” she asks.

It’s all wheedle and whine and probably desperate sounding, but she is drained and exhausted from feeling so much concentrated emotion in such a short span of time, feels torn apart and shattered at the same time she feels all put back together and whole again. It’s crazy what they just experienced, and the booze has most certainly played its part but there is no bourbon on earth fine enough to weave so incredible a hallucination, one that is strong enough to share with another person.  

“Yes, it means I’ll stay here tonight,” he says, and then he smiles, and then he grins. “It took me long enough to get back here, Sansa, I’m not going to let you just kick me out.”

Sansa laughs through drying tears.                     


They sleep in a knot of limbs and sweat-tangled hair, sleep on top of each other like a tiny stack of love letters with his head on her chest and one of his legs draped over both of her thighs, and it’s deliciously possessive and needy, a child with his precious lovey, and she falls asleep with the weight of him and the smell of him, with the memory of him and the sorrow of losing him, too.

Snow banks reach up the yard walls higher than a man’s head, and Sansa stands on the armory bridge, staring numbly down at the battered force of men, somehow victorious despite the ragged numbers, despite their depthless loss.

“My lady, you must come and speak to your people, now you are Queen,” her maid says at her side.

Sansa hugs herself and sighs, shakes her head and walks away.

“I was always a Queen," she says, dashing away her persistent and never ending tears. "I was Jon’s Queen. But he’s dead now, and so now I’m no one’s, she says bitterly. Once she was sweet, lovely and ripe, and now she is empty and alone, and she will never share another man’s bed, will never love another man again, so long as she lives.


“Did you really have a baby?” Jon asks her in the middle of the night, his breath a warm gust against her skin where he’s still draped on top of her. “That last night we had together, did anything happen?”

His voice is soaked with sleep and all the heavier for it like wool dipped in seawater, is dazed and faraway from some distant dream he himself had, or from some memory stirred to life in him. Sansa hums at the question, lifts her arm from where it slipped off his back to the mattress and runs her fingers through his hair.

“I can’t remember,” she mumbles, licking her dry lips as she clears her throat. “I can’t remember, I just- I just know how empty and alone I felt.”

Jon murmurs incoherently by way of reply, the timbre of his voice part sad, part curious, part awed at it all. He lifts his head to kiss her breast, and when he realizes he’s kissed her nipple he licks it lightly before lowering his head back to her chest.

“And is- there’s not- is there a chance there’s going to be a baby tonight? I mean, in the here and the now, not- not then. Whenever that was. Wherever that was.”

Sansa smiles and shakes her head in the dark. “No, there won’t be. I’m on the pill.”

“Oh thank Christ,” he exhales with audible relief, and she laughs because she understands completely.

“You can sleep easy now, Jon,” she murmurs, carding her fingers through his hair again, wondering if there really had been a baby, wondering if any of that had been real, if they had been lords and ladies, if such a thing as past lives really exist and if they do, how remarkable it is that he really did come back to her as he promised.

“Will do, Sansa,” he says, voice already fading as sleep gives them both a sweet firm tug. “My woman, my queen.”

“My love, my king,” she whispers with a smile.

“Aye,” he says. “That too, my lady wife.”