When the mad King screamed for the Hound to beat her into submission and she saw the Hound's wild scared eyes, Sansa prayed to the gods old and new to take her away.
She awoke in an unfamiliar room. There was surprisingly no pain. Instead, Sansa felt different, so strong and hard. Her arms and long legs were toned, and her hands were rough like Arya's from riding horses. And her hair was not red like her mother's hair! Looking into the mirror, she saw the face staring wide eyed at her was reminiscent of the statue of her father's beloved sister. She muffled her yell and tried to not panic.
Looking around her room, she saw the blue winter rose crown for the queen of love and beauty, still fresh and beautiful. With a short intake of breath, she realized that Prince Rhaegar and his knights Arthur Dayne and Oswell Whent were soon to take her, starting the chain of events that led to the deaths of her grandfather, uncle and countless others in Robert's Rebellion.
Her father never talked about his sister but she heard from Old Nan many stories about Lyanna, who Old Nan said had too much wolf in her and not enough sense, which always made Arya laugh at Sansa, pointing out that Sansa neither had any wolf in her nor any sense! Thinking back, she admitted ruefully that she did not have the sense to realize how evil her betrothed and his mother were until it was much too late. But Arya was wrong in that it was the wolf in her that kept her alive with the enemy all around her; and she had learned many hard lessons about trust (to trust no one, especially those who act nice to you) and about love (that it can become twisted and lead to madness like the love that Cersei had for her brother).
She remembered everything she wished she could undo. Was this her chance to change everything? To save her family? To save her people, all those bannermen and their forces who supported her brother? To save the kingdom from the mad rule of King Joffrey?
But if she somehow foiled Prince Rhaegar, would the results be worse? She remembered that his father, King Aerys, was mad, both sadistic and paranoid, while the Prince was well regarded and well-loved by the people. She wasn't sure that other rebellions wouldn't have otherwise occurred to ravage the Kingdom even if her aunt wasn't kidnapped or ran away as some have whispered. The Lannisters alone could have also rebelled the crown as she recalled stories that the King desired Lord Tywin's beloved wife, Lady Joanna, and it was Ser Jaime Lannister himself who killed the mad King! If her grandfather and uncle did not die, her mother would not have married her father, meaning that they wouldn't have her or her siblings. But that also meant that her siblings wouldn't all be ruthlessly murdered, as she strongly suspected her little sister also was killed or worse.
However, she could not and would not put her interest and the interests of her family above the interests of everyone else. Her mother stressed the importance of family above all else, which affected her mother's relationship with Jon, who was viewed as a threat to Sansa and her siblings, especially to Robb. And her mother's single mindedness in this also led to her to bizarre kidnapping of Tyrion which led to Lord Tywin's invasion of the riverlands and the War of the Five Kings. She loved her mother but did not want to repeat the same mistakes her mother made.
Instead of thinking of all of the ramifications of each course of action and be confused by all the possibilities, she needed to think what she wanted as an end result.
At the end of the day, who did she think should be King? Not mad King Aerys. Not the incompetent King Robert Baratheon. Not Lord Tywin with his evil brood who could succeed him. Not her father who was too naive and unwise to lead. In her mind, everything led to the Prince who was coming for her. He needed to somehow succeed to the crown as soon as possible, but that meant that his father must die. But his reign could not start with kinslaying nor with bride stealing. Sansa did not know what she could really do, but she must try.
She waited with scissors in her hand. When Ser Arthur Dayne came through the window, she was already next to her door and told him that she would scream if he came closer and waved her scissors threateningly.
Surprised, he raised his hands to placate her.
"I came from the future - from year 299 AC. I am telling you that you cannot take Lyanna. If you do, Prince Rhaegar will be cut down by Lord Robert Baratheon, you will die by the hand of the Northerners and your sister will throw herself out of a tower to your death."
"My lady, did you hit your head? It will be well - you just need to come with me and we will take care of you and your injury." He tried to step closer but moved back when she made to open the door.
"You don't believe me, but below is your sworn brother Ser Oswell Whent, who will also die with you in front of the Tower of Joy."
Arthur was surprised but realized that all knew that his brother is almost always with him. She was crazy as she was beautiful, his prince's love.
"Valar Morghulis - all men must die. It is something that both I and Oswell, along with all fighters, know well. You may or may not have sight but you cannot change fate." He thought if he distracted her that he may be able to surprise her although she was quicker and fiercer than he expected for a lady.
"I think we can change the future for the good. You are a good man but you serve a King who you know is both mad and cruel."
Arthur bristled, "I serve my Prince. He is true and just."
She laughed, "Do just and true men and knights steal unwilling ladies who are betrothed to others? And you know, deep in your heart, that you effectively serve the Mad King as you do nothing to stop his madness, but instead you enable him. You and your Prince are as culpable and guilty as he as you both do nothing to stop his madness! Do you know that even with all of your prior brave deeds you will be always remembered in my time as the weak knight who served both a mad King and lovesick fool of a prince?"
While the lady is obviously mad, she made many sound points, many things he thought about but tried to ignore. He tried to focus on the actions of his prince but any good deed of his prince was offset more than one thousand time by the evil deeds of the King.
"Ser Arthur, you know well that the kingdom is a boiling cauldron, just a single drop could set the kitchen afire. Your prince taking me will bring the ire of the Northerners upon you and yours. Many innocent lives will be lost, including your sister. Winter is coming, and it is coming for you!" she hissed.
"You know that your Prince would make a good king. His father can die quickly in his sleep with a small drop of tears of Lys in his cup of wine. Your king has stockpiled wildfire that he can at any moment lit, engulfing Kingslanding into flames, killing your prince and all of those innocent people. You can do this for the kingdom, for your prince, your sworn brothers, and your sister."
"My lady, you speak of treason. I caution you to be careful here. We cannot speak of this." His face was ashen, but he understood the full implications of her words. As a member of the Kingsguard, he knew of the stockpiling, but how could a Northern lady know of this unless she was from the future? Could he save his prince and countless others?
"I understand what you are saying. But you need to tell your prince that Lyanna is not going with you or him. She is betrothed to another. That dream of his cannot be - it is not right nor proper. He is a prince and must do his duty to his kingdom, his wife and his children. Please tell him... I cannot love a selfish man, a man who thinks only of himself and not others."
The knight looked deeply into her eyes, nodded slowly and bowed. He stepped out of the window.
Years later, she would sometimes muse what would have happened if she followed the knight and ran away with her prince. But then she smiled as she looked down at the chubby face of her babe, Arthur Baratheon, with hair so black and eyes so blue that it looked almost dark violet.
Her uncle Brandon is exactly what Old Nan described - more wolf than man. He was quick to anger and fiercely loyal; and he found his true match in her mother, young Catelyn Tully, who looked like a genteel Southern lady but who was as fiery as her red hair.
When they wed, Sansa was almost overwhelmed to see how young, beautiful and overjoyed Catelyn was on her wedding day to a man who was not Ned, her father. On that day, Catelyn looked like a spitting image of herself on the day she met Joffrey - auburn hair in elaborate braids with a few strands framing her face, sparkling and happy blue eyes, creamy complexion that so blossomed in lovely pink blushes and pink lips curving in a smile so bright. Her uncle was equally taken by his bride, seemingly a delicate doll who pleasantly surprised him with her passion.
She shook her head still thinking about Brandon confiding in his siblings that in their bed chamber, Catelyn was like a wild horse that needed to be tamed. Ned blanched and quickly walked away while Benjen guffawed. Snorting, she told him that his wife would not pleased by his tales, which should be private between a husband and his lady wife. He retorted that he looked forward to being punished by his wife, a lady on the outside but a wildling at heart. But even if he weren't so verbose, everyone knew how happy his lady wife made him and he her. Their screams of passion echoed throughout the keep.
When they heard of the mad king's demise, Brandon urged his father to raise the Northern army to overthrow the new King. Catelyn strongly supported her husband and foolishly sent a raven to her father asking him the same. The two passionately argued that the King Rhaegar would grow mad like his father. Ned argued for caution; and her grandfather argued for more time to build further alliances with the other houses - once his daughter is wed to Robert Baratheon, who would bring with him the fierce navy and land forces of the Stormlanders.
Sansa shocked her family by asking if not King Rhaegar, who was to be King of the Seven Kingdoms? Rickard? Hoster Tully? None had the royal bloodlines. Who was to say that King Rhaegar may not go mad? He may rule wisely and justly - this was treason based on unfounded suppositions!
Her brother looked at her in betrayal as she always sided with him rather than dull Ned who put everybody to bed. But they were not thinking it through - what is the end game? She hoped that they would not recall that her betrothed had distant Targaryen lines - she somehow knew the the Stark brothers wouldn't know but wasn't sure about Lord Rickard Stark or her mother.
She felt sad seeing Catelyn's eyes narrowed with suspicion and flinched when she sneered that her good sister was bewitched by the new king's looks - that she remembered how her good sister glowed when he crowned her queen of love and beauty. Brandon hushed his angry wife and defended his sister's character and honor. That put an end to such talks. Luckily, her mother's raven either did not arrive at Riverrun or her grandfather Lord Hoster Tully had the good sense to hold.
The new King did bring the heads of the Houses Stark, Tully and Lannister for questioning on his father's suspiciously sudden death. He took the head of Lord Tywin but sent the other two great lords to the Wall. Keeping the second child of each house (that is, Ned, Lysa, Jaime, Stannis, Garland, etc.) as his wards and effectively prisoners, he maintained a long reign of peace and prosperity.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said about Brandon's wardenship of the North. Brandon had too many ideas which his wife actively supported, feeding his already too big ego. He decided to build like his namesake - unfortunately, he never finished the projects. Without the generousity of his good brothers, Edmure Tully and her husband, the North would have gone hungry many times over.
Sansa was so happy when Brandon and Catelyn had children who they named Robb, Bran, Arya and Rickon. With the exception of quiet Bran, his father's namesake, they were all rebellious like their father and hot blooded like both of their parents. They were all wolves.
She wanted another chance to have a relationship with Arya, but that was not to be. Even in this life, Arya would not take any responsibility for her actions and ran away with the butcher's boy to Braavos. They later heard tales of her many adventures as a sellsword.
Young Bran Stark was sent to Storm's End while her second son, Jon, (who had the slightest reddish hue to his dark hair) was sent to Winterfell. Both boys flourished in their new homes with Jon quickly helping the Stark household be more organized like the way his parents ran Storm's End. Sansa relished the moments when she was with her family, her giant but lovable husband (who did stray a bit but knew to be discrete), her boys (Arthur, Jon and red headed baby Addam who was born nine months after the last tournament her husband hosted), and Bran. It was bittersweet that when she was with Bran, she could not forget the past and what could have been. But she also could not help but be happy to have more moments with Bran who with Robert's kind instructions became a well renown knight, just like his and her hero, Ser Arthur Dayne.
"Fuck you, Robert!" exclaimed Ned as he read a missive from his brother Brandon that Robert had another bastard, this time with a lady from Dorne who he mistakenly thought was a courtesan. "You promised to treat my sister well, to not shame her."
Robert, Jon Arryn and he were close, like brothers. Unlike Jon and himself, Robert loved chasing skirts, catching them for the night and releasing them that night or the next morn. But Robert promised that he would change - that he loved Lyanna and would never dishonor her. Ned believed him.
When his sister voiced her concerns about Robert already having a bastard or two (actually, it was three), he discounted her concerns. Instead, he warned Robert about how willful and what a handful his sister was, that she was difficult to live with. He knew as he lived with her (and their oldest brother who was just as hot headed and wild). He loved his sister but she was stubborn, more stubborn than two mules as Old Nan would mutter under her breath.
He was wrong about Lyanna, who somehow seamlessly adapted to marriage. He thought she would feel trapped and would rebel. But she knew how to run a large keep, to organize great feasts, to sew (he had no clue that she could embroider such great works of art like the cloak she made for him for his name's day), etc. - mastering all the skills of a gentle lady wife. Lyanna was kind and gentle, always openly affectionate to her husband who he thought doted on her. In her letters to him (he was actually surprised how beautiful her script was as he recalled that Lyanna wrote like a wildling), she recounted her love for their children and how wonderful Robert was with their boys, Arthur, Jon and Addam, and with her.
If he didn't know any better, he would have thought that another person inhabited her sister's body. Laughing ruefully, he knew that wasn't true as his sister and Robert still raced their horses when he last visited them, accompanied by Ser Arthur Dayne who participated in the Storm End's annual tournaments for Robert's "forever" queen of love and beauty. Lyanna was as sassy as ever, still kidding him about his shyness with the opposite sex. Both she and Brandon still pushed him to dance and meet ladies. He was mortified when Garland's little sister touched him inappropriately at the last dance, brushing her hand across his bottom - she was so forward!
His King was thinking of having him be betrothed to Lady Lysa, the sister of his good sister Catelyn as their families are already joined. However, his sister urged him to decline the match and said something curiously about the tears of Lysa. As he found the lady to be unfriendly, he declined the match to his sister's relief.
Ned would have to petition Ser Arthur to request from his King's approval for his request to see his sister and her new babe, Addam. It still confused Ned that Ser Arthur told him that he would need to put all of his requests to see his sister through him but could directly petition the King to visit Jon Arryn or his brother (odd).
As soon as he saw Ned waiting for him at the training ground, Ser Arthur came to him and saw that Ned was still shaking from anger. Ned wouldn't say why he was upset but Ser Arthur knew it had to do with Lady Lyanna.
By nightfall, they were riding hard to Storm's End with a small escort of guards. Ned could not help but notice that Ser Arthur was gripping so tightly his reins that his normally well controlled stallion was acting nervously, galloping slantedly. He heard some rumors that not only did his sister capture the attentions of his King but also his best friend, Ser Arthur. He scoffed before at these rumors as Ser Arthur's conduct was beyond any reproach.
In his meetings with his sister, Ser Arthur was always present per the direction of their king according to Arthur. His sister was more beautiful every time he met her - her body, while still strong and toned, was more curvaceous from her babes. Lyanna expressed surprise at their visit but greeted both graciously, inviting them for a small snack and light refreshments after a hard ride and excusing her husband who was away. At that, Ned angrily threw his gloves to the floor and grounded out when her husband would be back. Surprised, she said in a fortnight and apologized again that Robert must have forgotten that Ned was coming. She would send a raven to ask him to come home quick as he would never want to miss a visit from his dearest friend Ned.
The food tasted like ash as Ned thought of all the whores Robert would go through in fortnight as he was known to bed two or three at a time. Looking at his sweet sister, he wanted to curse himself for ever inviting Robert to his house. It was all of his fault and he almost burst into tears.
As he sat quietly and sullen, Ser Arthur held his sister's hand and asked about her health and the babes. He filled her cup with tea and strangely hand fed her lemoncakes, wiping the crumbs gently from her lips as she sighed with pleasure. But Ned saw none of this as he planned in his mind all the ways he could kill his friend - it had to be a surprise attack as Robert was deadly with his war hammer.
He was no good company for his sister and secluded himself in his room, sharpening his sword and various knives.
By the time, Robert returned two days later, Ned was stewing with so much anger that when he saw him, he wrestled him to the ground. Robert laughed and pinned him down easily, outweighing Ned by almost twice (although he hadn't gotten fat yet with Sansa monitoring his food and alcohol intake). Finally, Ned had to squeal mercy otherwise he would still be on the ground as both Lyanna and Arthur looked upon them horrified. The two quickly left and gave the best friends some privacy after Robert decided to put Ned in a head lock.
Once Robert released a sputtering Ned, Ned was so infuriated he could not speak.
"Bastards... How could you?.... You promised... No shaming her," Ned blubbered as he pummeled the big man's strong chest to seemingly no effect.
"Ned, there are three bastards, and that was before I wed your sister. You know that - you were there - making sure I paid each girl. No more bastards since then - all mouth or arse or both! All paid in full. Not that many - only a handful since your sister made me the proudest man five times over - when she agreed to marry me, when she married me, and when she gifted me with each of our three boys," Robert crowed proudly.
"What???? But Brandon..."
Robert guffawed, and then Ned realized that his brother played another trick on him. He now knew who he should really maim (as kinslaying is wrong) - his arse of a brother!
"Lyanna told me that you were upset and she feared that it was likely a joke that Brandon had at your expense."
While the big man was still laughing, he enveloped his best friend in a hug, comforting and grounding him.
"Don't worry, Ned - we will get him! You know, I would never do anything to hurt you and Lyanna."
The big man kissed him on the top of his head.
"I know - I should have known better."
Both hugged with Ned wiping his tears that his friend pretended to not see.