Jun. 1st, 2013

ladytp: (Anne of Cleves)
Sansa

Their joining as a man and a woman was intense, passionate - and soon over. Their mutual longing for each other had built to such an uncontainable level of pressure that when unshackled, it was as powerful as a swollen stream bursting open the floodgates.

Any concerns Sansa had harboured about whether she would be able to respond to Sandor as she wished, instead of being paralysed by her past experiences, were swept away from his first touch. She felt his caresses and absorbed them with a keenness that was new to her. Each and every kiss, every single stroke of his hand, every lick of his tongue; Sansa returned his urgency with an urgency of her own.

When he entered her, it didn’t hurt as she had feared, although she winced trying to adjust to his size. Sandor sensed her reaction and halted, a concerned look on his face when he scrutinised her. Sansa realised that even now - as far as they had gone - all she had to do was to utter a word and he would stop.

Yet nothing could have been further away from her mind, as she couldn’t wait to feel more of him inside her. She urged him on, pushing her hips towards his so he could push deeper, filling her to the brim. Sandor resumed his thrusts, a low growl emanating from his throat as he did so.

It was clear that he was close to coming undone from the moment their bodies joined. Sansa had barely started to absorb the new sensations his movements generated before Sandor had reached his limit. He tried not to lose his control; he truly tried, squeezing his eyes shut and pulling himself away, his whole body going taut and hard as iron under her grip. A fine sheen of sweat glistened on his face and Sansa had an irresistible need to run her lips over it.

She felt for him and pulled him back against her, telling him with soft whispers to let go. She wasn’t concerned about her own pleasure, as she found it from being so wholly engulfed by his arms and his body, from the feeling of him so deep inside her and from the sights and sounds of the union of their bodies. Sansa opened herself to him with abandon; she wanted to please him and offer herself as a vessel for his satisfaction.

That was her pleasure – for now.

As Sandor grunted his release, Sansa responded to it by pressing her lips against his neck, corded and strained and slick with sweat. She savoured the taste of him on her tongue and held him tight as she felt him shudder, then go absolutely still. After an indeterminable time, Sandor relaxed, his body settling on top of hers. It didn’t feel suffocating as she might have imagined, but as if she was made to mould into the contours of his form. The sensation of his skin against hers made her shiver and with sudden alarm Sansa realised that she couldn’t let him go. Not now, not ever.

“I am sorry, little bird,” Sandor muttered as he finally slid over to lay beside her, smoothing tangles of her hair with his fingers.

“For what?” she whispered, nestling against him.

“For being such a brute. I didn’t want to, but oh gods, woman!” He buried his face against Sansa’s neck and she felt his hot breath against her skin.

“Shush, no more talk like that! This was your first time, after all. You did as could be expected,” Sansa teased. Sandor lifted his eyes, stared at her for a moment and threw his head back, laughing hoarsely. Sansa loved the sound of it; so genuine, so carefree – and she had heard it so rarely.

“You are a crazy little bird, do you know that?”

“I may be so, but I am your crazy little bird,” Sansa murmured, thrilled to see him so happy.

Sandor sobered, pulling her closer. He twirled his index finger over her shoulder in ever-increasing circles. Sansa closed her eyes and concentrated on the feeling of his rough fingertip on her sensitive skin. She sighed contentedly.

“Are you mine? How could you be? This is not a flaming fairy-tale and the lady doesn’t end up with the knight who swore to protect her. ” His voice was harsh but at the same time heartbreakingly raw. Sansa lifted herself up, leaned on her elbows and stared at him.

“I am. I will. We will make it so. Just stay with me.” Sandor glanced at her quickly, then stared at an invisible spot in front of him. Sansa realised she had never noticed how long his eyelashes were; long and dark and framing his grey eyes like dark shadows. Finally Sandor exhaled, fixed his gaze on her and raised his eyebrow.

“And where the bloody hells do you think I would go, from a soft bed and a willing wench?”

Sansa laughed and kissed him on the mouth, biting his lower lip playfully. He responded by grasping her shoulders, turning her over and nuzzling his face between her breasts.

Eventually sleep overtook them, but even that didn’t break their embrace.

----------

By the first light of morning they loved each other again.

Their touches were still fumbling and inexperienced, befitting the make-believe of a first time. Yet tentative strokes and timid caresses gradually gave way to confident ones as they explored each other’s bodies and discovered what made them sing. Sandor took his time, careful not to be swept away as he had been the previous evening.  If he laid his hands sometimes a bit too roughly on her body, making Sansa gasp, she didn’t mind. She discovered that the control he had bestowed on her earlier was still hers; he took his lead from her and she was the one to dictate their pace.

At a more leisurely tempo Sansa experienced how Sandor’s movements inside her, and his lips and teeth on her sensitive nipples, started to build up a tension that grew and grew and focussed on the centre of her womanhood in a way that made her squirm and writhe. Something elusive seemed to be almost within her grasp – what, she wasn’t sure of, but something worth chasing… And then she felt it, her first release, waves of intense pleasure emanating from her core like ripples in a pond. She whimpered, a small cry of surprise, and clutched Sandor’s firm biceps tightly with both hands. She held on to him as if she were drowning, throwing her head from side to side while her contractions around Sandor’s manhood gradually subsided. She felt dizzy, excited and slightly embarrassed. 

Sandor followed her soon after, losing his control once more and spending himself deep inside her. This time he didn’t lower himself on top of her but stayed up, supporting his formidable weight on his arms. Once he regained his control, his eyes raked Sansa’s flushed countenance with satisfaction.

“I told you once I’d have a song from you, whether you willed it or not,” he murmured.

“And I told you I would sing it for you gladly. Although had I known what song you meant, I would have been horrified, no doubt!” Sansa pulled him down to her side and kissed his brow, his cheeks and nibbled on his intact earlobe. Finally she understood her aunt Lysa on her wedding night and why she had made herself such a fool for love. That it had been because of Petyr still made her shudder, but even for him she could concede some sympathy. Love surely made slaves of people who were tangled in its webs.

They rested again for a while, not talking much but not being able to stop touching each other. As morning progressed Sandor was the sensible one, getting up before he was expected at his duties. He dressed quickly as Sansa leant on the pillow, studying him, still hardly believing the pleasures his honed body had given her.

“When will I see you again?” she asked as he was pulling on his boots. Sandor glanced at her.

“Midday, in the meeting with the builders. And in the evening in the Great Hall for dinner, as usual.”

“That is not what I mean and you know it.”

“I know what you mean, Sansa. But how can I give you an answer? Only you can.”

“Then I shall see you in my rooms again tonight, after the meal.”

Sandor had finished and stood up, ready to go. Sansa gestured for him to come over and as he did, she pulled him closer and reached for his lips. He kissed her gently, lingering long, brushing his tongue against hers, and across her lips. Then he withdrew and heaved a deep sigh.

“This will be the death of me, I know. Call me a buggering sheep led to slaughter, but I can’t help it. Aye, I will see you here tonight.”

----------

They saw each other that night, and the next and the next. Eventually Sansa found it increasingly difficult to accommodate Sandor in her well-set routine and she realised there was one more important discussion she had to have.

She had brushed Lenore aside with many excuses; blaming feeling poorly or urging her to spend more time with her family, but over time her justifications for needing time on her own became increasingly feeble. Lenore was, after all, her closest attendant in Winterfell, used to serving her and being by her side. Hence one evening when Lenore was helping her to settle down for the night, brushing her long hair in sure strokes that always brought reminiscences of her mother to Sansa, she collected her courage.

“Lenore, you do know that I am the head of my house now? And that I alone decide what I shall do, not having a father, a brother or a husband to rule over me?”

“Yes my lady, I know that. You are the Warden of the North, and you handle it so well.” Lenore had never been a flatterer, but in her mind Sansa was the rightful and wise ruler of her dominions and she was not shy about expressing it.

“That means that I alone make decisions on what is right and proper. My main consideration in this is what is good for my people, for my bannermen, for my house, but ultimately, also for myself.” Sansa had rehearsed her speech, but now that the time to deliver it had arrived, she felt hesitant. What if Lenore disapproved? She could always dismiss her from her service, but she had grown fond of her and relied on her in so many matters. She would hate to see her go.

Lenore nodded and focussed on the tangles in Sansa’s hair.

“My responsibilities are vast, but I am only a young woman on my own. I have come to realise that I need support; someone in my life with whom I can share my burdens, unwind and achieve some contentment. That is usually the role of a husband, but I don’t feel ready to wed again so soon,” Sansa continued, eyeing the other woman via the looking glass. She caught a faint smile on Lenore’s angular face, and for some reason it irritated her.

“Do you disapprove? Do you think I am not entitled to see to my own well-being?”

Lenore became serious and was hasty with her reply.

“Of course not, my lady, I wouldn’t dream of criticising your judgment.”

Sansa drew breath in preparation to continue with her well-practiced speech. Yet she caught sight of Lenore in the glass again, and this time there was no mistaking it; Lenore’s lips twitched in an unsuccessful attempt to thwart a smile. Sansa turned around, grasping her maid’s hand to halt her.

“Is there something you want to say, Lenore?”

Lenore stopped and viewed Sansa with apprehension.

“Apologies, my lady, I wouldn’t dare to question you. But…” her face broke into an engaging grin “…are you trying to tell me that you have taken a lover?”

Sansa exhaled loudly. “Why would you think so?” she managed to utter.

Lenore regarded her with abashed curiosity.

“I have observed you, and for several days now you have been so happy, so content…and not many things cause such happiness in a woman. You hum to yourself when you think nobody sees you, and some mornings you look like a cat that has just licked up a whole bowl of cream.”

She leaned closer to Sansa, a conspiratorial smirk on her face.

“If that is the case, I am truly pleased for you, my lady. You deserve happiness!”

Sansa was relieved to have been spared from the embarrassment of lengthy explanations, Lenore having understood her meaning so swiftly. She smiled shyly at the older woman.

“It is true that I have found someone who can offer me the comfort I need. Yet I can’t reveal it openly without losing my reputation.”

“Don’t you worry about that, my lady. Only those who are very close to you can see the signs – and even then only those who have lived through the first waves of passion themselves.” Lenore’s face softened and suddenly Sansa remembered that she and her kennelmaster husband had married because of their genuine feelings towards each other. Thus she undoubtedly had experienced the heady days of a new love herself.

“Is it very obvious?” Sansa was suddenly worried that others had noticed changes in her behaviour.

“No, not at all. In truth, you actually seem a bit more aloof than before. Especially with your sworn shield; you don’t seem to be as familiar with him as before.” Lenore leaned towards her again and her voice dropped.

“It would probably be better not to let him on this secret. He might be likely to do something terrible to that poor man. Oh my, he came to me a while ago and huffed and puffed about you perchance giving wrong signals to your suitors, and how he may have to run his sword through one of them if they got indecent ideas in their heads from your kindness.”

Sansa frowned. “He said so, did he?”

“Yes, my lady. On that account I raised the subject with you, as you may remember. There was truth in what he said; how some men may read a woman’s behaviour wrong and that can lead to all kinds of misunderstandings. It was not my place of course, but I only wanted what is best for you. And I know that he also has your best interests at heart, so please don’t hold it against him - even if he spoke out of line.”

Sansa had to think about it. They had had that discussion a while ago, before she and Sandor had become lovers. Had Sandor really been worried about her behaviour with her suitors – or with himself?

Lenore continued her ministrations with a determined expression.

“We in the North have never been too far removed from the wildling ways. It is not only men who have a say in what they want; women too have their options.”

Sansa was pleased to have her own views validated by someone she had learned to appreciate and respect. The women in the North were strong, and she was one of them. Of course she was entitled to her own choices!

“I understand it is not for me to know about your private matters, but should I be aware of who the lucky man is? I might be of more help to you. I could pass messages, cover for you both, or do any other service you may need,” Lenore gushed.

Before Sansa could reply, she continued.

“I don’t mean to pry, my lady, but is it Hetwyl Umber? He is a strapping lad, ripe for picking for sure, and so much in love with you!”

Sansa shook her head emphatically. “No, it is not Hetwyl. He is a sweet boy, but not someone I could imagine by my side.”

“Is it any of the young Umbers? They are strong and comely, all three of them. I bet they would know how to comfort a lady!” Lenore’s eyes twinkled and Sansa felt herself drawn to the familiar grounds of girlish exchanges, like old times in the Vale with Randa and Mya.

“Please, you are mistaken; he is not any of my suitors.”

A knowing expression crossed Lenore’s face. “Ah, but you are so clever, my lady! All these young bucks can’t be trusted; they might not be able to hold their tongue and thus could reveal your indiscretion to unwanted ears. Somebody more mature, mayhap even one already wed – they would hold their silence. An older man is also better comfort to a young woman, and can bring lots of experience to the union. He’d know a thing or two about how to please a lady, unlike these young lordlings!” She was beaming now, clearly excited by the game of trying to guess who Sansa’s lover was.

“Of course it ain’t proper to break the sanctity of marriage, but we all know that happens. Especially if the wife is far away, like Ser Garett’s from Deepwood Motte. He is a handsome fellow for sure, so strong and capable!” Lenore leered openly and Sansa wondered if she had some designs on the man herself.

“No, no and no! He is none of those you are proposing!” Sansa couldn’t help the smile spreading on her face. It had been so long since she had had this kind of confidential discussion with a woman friend, and she realised she had missed it. Then she turned serious.

“Lenore, I don’t have to keep this a secret from my sworn shield. He already knows.” She studied her maid and saw comprehension slowly dawning on her. Lenore let the brush drop and opened and closed her mouth a few times, but no words came out.

The Hound? Apologies my lady, but Clegane?”

Sansa knew many in the keep still called Sandor by his old name, although more and more had shifted to using ‘Clegane’ – at least in front of him. Sansa nodded.

Lenore sat down on a bench and stared at her with wide eyes. This was clearly not what she had expected. She recovered quickly though, stood up and continued her work. Sansa’s hair was as smooth as silk, but Lenore kept on brushing it.

“I know it sounds unlikely, but he is my true companion, and I am his. He is…so very good to me.” For some reason it seemed important for Sansa to make the other woman understand how marvellous Sandor was in her eyes, and how worthy of her affections.

“He certainly is loyal and only wants the best for you. And he is true, a man of his word. He is also strong and able. Yet I would have thought him to be a bit too…rough for you, my lady.”

“He is not rough with me at all, I shall have you know. He is very kind and gentle, and caring.”

Suddenly Lenore placed her hand on Sansa’s shoulder, gripping it gently.

“Tell me, my lady, did he force himself upon you? Did he threaten you in any manner? He can be quite intimidating, for a fair lady such as yourself.”

Sansa tapped her hand lightly, touched by her concern.

“Nothing of the sort. If anything, I forced myself upon him.” She blushed. “He resisted at first, but I insisted.”
Lenore slackened her grip and looked at her again, long and hard. Then she smiled.

“Aye, I can see that you know what you are doing and have made your choice. That is all that matters. I have no objections to the man and if you deem him worthy, so shall I.”

They continued their conversation a while longer, although Sansa was still shy of sharing too much of her new love with Lenore. There was a matter of great importance, however, that she had to bring up. Embarrassed and flushing she asked if Lenore could secure some moon tea. The woman nodded sagely, asked her a few questions about when she had first invited Sandor into her bed and whether he had finished inside her, ignoring Sansa’s bashfulness on the matter. Already knowing about her lady’s latest monthly flowering, as a maid does, she concluded that Sansa had nothing to worry about - yet. She also assured her that she would get her a supply of the bitter brew, and advise her how to use it.

To Sansa’s concerned queries about whether it could damage her reputation should she be seen seeking the concoction, she answered cheerfully that it didn’t matter, that she knew a reliable and discreet source, and for her to ask it would not raise any suspicions. Sansa grinned, realising that her maid had obviously found her own pleasures in the keep. The knowledge of that added to the fondness she felt towards Lenore. They both were women of the North, making their own decisions and determining their own lives.

At the end of the evening they embraced warmly, and as Sansa laid herself on her bed, she marvelled at how well her life was turning out. She had a gentle lover and a caring woman friend. There was only one more thing that would have made her life even better, and that was her close friend and companion Jaime returning to her. Thinking of him, Sansa closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.

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