"I am his, and he is mine, from this day, until the end of my days."
And, with a ceremony and a feast, Margaery Tyrell became Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, wife of Joffrey the Illborn.
In another life, there might have been a reckoning, for all the ill works of that wicked boy; there might have been a death at another wedding, another king felled, this one as he so justly deserved.
But there was not, this day.
Instead, Queen Margaery passed a goblet of wine to her husband, who drank from it, and she saw a missed opportunity when nothing happened, as she too drank from the goblet a moment later.
Perhaps a part of her wished that it was poisoned, despite her partaking of the same wine her new husband drank. Perhaps she didn't care at all, one way or the other.
Sansa would not know. She would never know, though she would always wonder.
It was not the sort of question proper young ladies asked queens who professed to love their husbands, after all. And, too, it was not the sort of question that Sansa believed Margaery would ever answer.
Sansa did not know how long the torturous feast continued, when false smiles turned brittle, and food that had turned stale in her mouth became rotten.
She heard the remarks that her lord husband continued to make, both under his breath and to the king's face, as the king continued to order him to refill his wine, heard even the Queen Mother bid her son that perhaps it was time to find a new passtime, lest his guests grow bored.
She heard Joffrey's laughter at that, and saw the way Margaery doted over him, letting him slip an arm around her waist and whispering amusing nothings into his ear until he forgot about tormenting his uncle and half of the guests at his wedding for a few short moments.
Sansa Stark did not realize that she was clutching her meat knife with her fist until Shae, ostensibly here to help feed so many guests, slipped it out of her grasp under the guise of pouring her some wine.
"Drink, my lady," Shae said, her voice soft and pitying, and Sansa shoved the cup away for that.
"I'm not thirsty," she snapped at her serving girl, reminding herself with a wince of the early days, when Shae had been sent to work for her, but not enough for her to apologize for the words. She was not entirely sure how she felt about Shae these days, anymore than she had been then, and so it didn't matter.
She noticed the Queen Mother's eyes on her, then, cold and piercing, and struggled to hold down a flush, turning instead to the King and Queen once more.
She wasn't sure if Shae would have believed her, if she'd told the woman that she had no intention of burying the knife in Joffrey's neck, or his chest, as her brother Robb had died.
She never had the intention of following through; she hadn't since the fateful day she'd attempted to push Joffrey from the ramparts, as they stared up at what remained of her father's body. She had learned then a horrible lesson, that she would never have been able to manage such a feat.
She knew that Arya would probably call her a coward, for refusing to follow through, and perhaps she was, but she never would have lifted the knife. Not really.
It was comforting, though, to hold onto it.
"And shall we be having the bedding ceremony, Your Grace? Or are you not enough of a man to parade yourself before your subjects?" Tyrion asked, mildly, interrupting what had no doubt been another speech from Joffrey, by the looks on the Tyrells faces, about the upcoming night. Ser Loras especially looked livid, and Sansa was abruptly reminded of her warnings to Margaery, that to marry Joffrey would be a mistake, of how Margaery had laughed this off with the simple explanation that her brother would, of course, protect her.
Sansa blinked, glancing at Joffrey, aware that she had not been following the conversation.
She did that these days, sometimes. Her lord husband would often tell her over their breakfast that her eyes glazed and she didn't respond to him for minutes at a time. She wondered if it was noticeable to anyone else.
Joffrey glared at Lord Tyrion, and opened his mouth, but Margaery spoke first, placing a hand on his arm that he looked like he wanted to shake off, but didn't.
"His Grace has honored my wish to bare myself only before him," the new queen said, in that sweet, musical voice Sansa had so often observed her using, in an attempt to bring Joffrey down from his anger. "He is very kind to do so."
"Yes," Joffrey said, rather stiffly, straightening his collar. "She is my queen, after all. There will be no bedding ceremony to embarrass my queen."
Margaery's smile widened, as if he had just offered her a sweet. "Your Grace is so very kind to me. I only hope that I please you, tonight."
His eyes traveled down her form in a way that made Sansa feel sick. Or perhaps that was the wine. "Oh, I think I shall find you...very pleasing," he murmured, and Sansa wondered how Margaery managed not to blush at those words, or, at the very least, at his tone.
She did not, however, bat an eyelash.
Joffrey turned back to his captive audience, a leering grin on his face as he wobbled, and Margaery was forced to take his arm to keep him from falling on his arse.
It would not have looked very kingly to do so, after all.
Sansa wondered why Margaery did not simply let him fall, as Joffrey shoved out of her grip and announced to the audience at large, "My queen and I shall retire now. Feel free to...continue the festivities. My uncle shall serve as cup bearer to any who claim him."
He let out a drunken giggle then, one that sounded almost mad but not quite, and Sansa imagined his head on a pike, instead of her father's.
"Come, my love," Margaery murmured, just loud enough to be heard, "I am quite tired from these festivities. You are a gentleman to leave them early on my account."
And then they were gone, and Sansa wondered how many bruises Margaery would wear, in the morning. How many of them would be visible.
Part of Sansa was wickedly relieved that she did not face such a vile fate, yet she easily tempered this thought with worry for her friend's own fate, now.
She didn't know how long the sweet-tempered Margaery would last, as Joffrey's bride.
She knew that Margaery was better at the game than she, but still she worried, for no one could ever outlast Joffrey.
"Well, there they go, then," Tyrion said, returning to his seat, and Sansa wondered if he was deliberately not thinking the thoughts that kept plaguing her mind.
That, not so long ago, it might have been she, walking off to the bedding chamber with Joffrey. The thought made her shudder visibly, and Tyrion sent her a look of concern. He'd been doing that more and more lately, looking at her in such concern that she ought to have been made of glass.
"Would you still care to go and rest, my lady?" he asked, his voice that oddly gentle tone that he seemed to reserve only for her, the one that she hated to hear because it only served to remind her that her husband, for all that he was an imp and scarred, was the least monstrous of his ugly family.
She took his proffered hand, grateful when he did not mention how she was shaking.
"I would be glad to," she told him, not meeting his eyes, and allowed Tyrion to escort her from the wedding and back to the chambers that she would never call home without a backward glance.
No one tried to stop them.
She would not know how much of a queen she had looked, in that moment.