May. 11th, 2013

ladytp: (Anne of Cleves)
Sandor

Sandor wasn’t too surprised to get the invitation for a late supper in his lady’s rooms. He had heard the news the raven had brought, but Sansa had shared the contents in front of all her councillors. She might have other tidings she wanted to reveal only to him; perhaps something concerning Jaime or Jon.

He wasn’t sure if he welcomed or dreaded the opportunity to be alone with her. It could be his chance: if Lenore had done as she had promised, Sansa would have received a lecture on how to behave in front of men, and why restraint was important. Sandor only needed to expand on that and somehow make it clear that it applied to all men equally. He shook his head, wondering how in the bloody hells was he going to do that. He couldn’t implicate himself, of course, but he might use Jaime as an example. Surely Sansa didn’t know what was truly in Jaime’s mind, and the lion – well, he wasn’t there and couldn’t protest against being used as a case in point. He snorted. The little bird will have no trouble on that front.

Sandor was in his room, changing his usual rough homespun attire to more formal clothes for the audience with the Lady of Winterfell. Even as he was smirking, a new thought suddenly made him pause. He froze, clutching a finely woven tunic in his hands, feeling a cold draft on his bare upper body but not knowing if that was what made him shudder.

Has Jaime ever desired her?

That Jaime had other inclinations was abundantly clear, but after all, he had fucked his sister for years. That meant that he could get it up for a woman. Jaime had been almost as close to Sansa on their journey as he had been. Had the lion ever lusted after the little bird?

Sandor had to sit down on his pallet to consider. There had been that night in Greywater Watch when they had believed him dead. Jaime had told him about Sansa’s nightly visit…had anything happened between them? Had Sansa pressed her slender body next to Jaime like she had pushed herself against him? Had Jaime touched her, had he slid his long fingers against her soft skin? A low growl emitted from Sandor’s throat as unsettling images of Jaime embracing Sansa flittered in his head. Fuck!

There, in the twilight of the setting northern sun, as Sandor sat on his bed and stared at the wall, a never before experienced emotion swept over him. A hollow sensation deep in his guts, a slow constricting pain inside of him that made him cringe and curse. He didn’t know where the agony came from, but it hurt like hells. He couldn’t have articulated what he felt - and would have disdainfully laughed off any suggestions of what he was truly feeling.

Yet there it was nevertheless; something strange evoked by the thought of Jaime and Sansa together. Whether it was because of the girl or the lion or both, he couldn’t have distinguished any better than he could the feeling itself.

----------

The supper had been pleasant enough. Sandor had sensed Sansa’s nervousness and noticed with amusement how she had topped up her wine goblet more often than he had his own. He had hardly been better, feeling slightly uneasy despite his attempts to fight it off. Although he had almost succeeded in assuring himself that Sansa wouldn’t violate the sanctity of their pack, he couldn’t completely silence the doubts that had entered his mind. Mayhap the supper was just a ruse and he would be told in private that his services were not needed anymore? Aye, the little bird would be kind and courteous, but in the end he could be dropped on his arse just the same.

When there had been no sign of that as the evening progressed, he had started to relax. Sansa’s assured responses to his questions had eased his mind further. He might have worried for nothing after all. It was possible that Sansa’s nervousness was because of some strange women’s business that he didn’t need to know about. As they moved to the couch, he started to practice in his mind what to say next; inviting a man to sit next to her was exactly one of those things she should be warned against.

And then everything had gone to all seven hells.

Sandor spent the night walking restlessly around and around his room, cursing and muttering and trying to still his racing heart, hitting the stone wall until his knuckles bled. After only a few hours of fitful sleep, he went to the stables at first light and escaped to the woods with his first true companion. Yet even riding as fast as he could, as fast as Stranger’s powerful legs could carry him, he couldn’t outride the memory of Sansa’s big blue eyes or her red lips that had spewed bizarre and strange words. Or the sight of her blushing skin and round breasts, which he hadn’t been able to stop staring at despite his shock. Hells, she was just as beautiful and fucking desirable as he had imagined.

Bloody buggering fucking hells! Had he been played again? Had the woman of his dreams, the one who had given purpose to his useless life, turned out to be as false as the whore queen Cersei? Screw that. Sandor remembered his earlier fleeting deliberations on whether Sansa was practising her skills of seduction. As he had then, he dismissed that possibility. Not his little bird, not the strong girl of the North with the blood of wolves in her veins.

The black horse and its brooding rider rode on without a plan or aim, through the woods, across a stream, further and further. Sandor was only vaguely aware of his direction and surroundings, allowing Stranger to pick the route. The cold wind pricked his face but he didn’t care.

If Sansa hadn’t thrown herself at him as part of some game, why in the seven hells had she done it? Was her blood up, was the she-wolf inside her in heat? Highborn ladies were raised to suppress such base desires, but Sansa had seen more than a maiden of noble birth was supposed to. Had that made her bolder?

Sandor knew that Sansa had to maintain her reputation if she wanted to rule in the traditional domain of men. She couldn’t openly take a lover like a lord in her position could without anyone batting an eyelid. He was also well aware that there were no other men she trusted as absolutely as she did her companions. Was that the reason she had turned to him?

And there was the matter that stung Sandor’s soul most harshly. Had Jaime been here, she would have asked him. The realisation hurt him more than even his festering wound at the Quiet Isle had done.

At the same time he scolded himself. Of course she would have asked Jaime – who wouldn’t choose the handsome blonde warrior with his good looks and worldly manners over the uncouth scarred warrior?

Sandor had slowed down after Stranger had started to snort and throw his head, and by mid-morning he halted to a stop, both of them hot and sweaty from their exertions. He threw himself on the ground, panting and wishing that he was facing an enemy right now, someone he could attack, hack and splice, and forget all of…this.

He lay on the cold hard earth staring at the sky with unseeing eyes for a long, long time. As his breathing steadied, he tried to force cool contemplation to take over the foolish emotions he had allowed to run wild so far.

So, the little bird wanted a man in her bed. Since he was the only man around she could trust, she had turned to him.

I could have her. I could take her to bed, I could thrust my cock in her tight pink cunt and see her squirm under me, mayhap even hear her sing me a song.

Sandor hardened at the thought. He would finally be able to live out the dream that had haunted him for so long, and lay with his little bird. He could help her scratch her itch, and he could be discreet. He was no fool and knew it could only continue until such time as she was wedded and bedded and didn’t need the services of her stud hound anymore. Or until the lion comes back. He cursed again, impotently.

Even as Sandor was thinking of what a rational man in his circumstances should do, he couldn’t help the bile rising in his throat. If he did this, he would be used almost as badly as he had been in his previous life. He would once again be just a tool for a purpose.

If she would sing beneath me, the song wouldn’t be for me but only for my cock.

Still, if he turned her down, what then? Would he see her some morning, her lips swollen and bruised, her expression that of a sated woman… Sandor’s fists clenched. The prospect of Sansa being embraced by some sodden lord - or by some buggering soldier or stablehand she had resorted to in her desperation - made his anger rise until he couldn’t take it anymore and hit his fist against the ground in a thwarted fury.

Or she could decide to wait for Jaime’s return. The lion might not have the same scruples as he did about serving his lady. Thinking of Jaime and Sansa together, how his caresses would be reserved for her and her alone, how the little bird would wrap her long arms around Jaime’s broad shoulders… The agony he had first encountered just a day before returned with a renewed force.  Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Which would be worse, some anonymous tosser or the lion in her bed, Sandor didn’t know. He felt bitterness sweeping over him like the sea washing over a rocky outcrop, drowning him in its cold swell. Whichever way he looked, there was only pain to endure.

----------

Late in the day he whistled to Stranger, who had been grazing the scanty grass growing in the clearing where they had stopped. The horse raised his head towards its master and came to him readily, and they started their long way back.

Sandor’s energy had been spent and he felt exhaustion hitting him. Lifelong practice kept him straight in the saddle despite his tiredness, and all he needed to do was to give Stranger subtle signs and the horse picked his way surely towards the place they had started to call home. The evening shadows fell long and he could see his breath misting in the cold air.

He refused to think about what he would do when he got back, or what he would say to Sansa when he saw her again. As he rode towards Winterfell, Sandor started to go through the events of the previous evening once again, in every extraordinary detail.

His fatigue had quenched the raging sentiments that had overtaken him earlier and he started to remember the words and nuances he had overlooked before.

    “This is not a game and I won’t be asking this of anyone but you. Haven’t you felt anything…between us?”
    “You can’t deny what we share, and have shared ever since King’s Landing. Something other than the usual
      bond between a sworn shield and his lady.”

    “Please don’t go! This is not a game; you must know what I mean! It is only you…for me…”

He also saw in his mind’s eye Sansa’s face as he had thrown his harsh words at her; tears that had flowed down her cheeks and her desperate expression as she had pleaded with him, clumsily holding onto the front of her dress.

Seven hells! What did she mean, why would she say such things?

Without realising it, Sandor’s grip on the reins tightened until his nails dug deeply into his flesh.

When the walls of Winterfell finally greeted them, he knew he wasn’t ready to see her yet. He took Stranger to the stables and remembering the place where he had found an odd quiet peace many times before, he directed his weary steps towards the Godswood.

Sandor still didn’t keep any gods, but the old gods of the North were the ones he endured the best. The ability to feel their presence in nature, without the interference of the buggering septons, appealed to him.

Without a specific aim in mind, he soon found himself by the pool where he had been so tempted by Sansa just a short time ago. He sank to his knees, closed his eyes and forced himself to think. To forget about the frustration, the doubts, the hurt.

“…only you…”

A tiny flicker of light appeared inside him then, a flame so fragile and yet so dangerous that he wasn’t sure whether he should protect it to let it grow, or quench it before it consumed him in the burning inferno it had the potential to create.

Hope.

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