The North had been murmuring of their marriage since before the Long Night; and now that it has passed, the Stark bannermen grow restless in their desire for a royal wedding, and the restoration that would follow.
After his parentage had become known and before the war, Jon and Sansa had agreed to discuss the matter at a more prudent time. They had nearly acquiesced immediately—for if Jon should die in battle, perhaps Sansa would be with child already, and the North would at least have an heir. But from all sides their enemies had been swift and incorrigible, and Jon could only press a kiss upon her brow and promise to come home, and then he’d run off to save the world for their sake.
It is six moons later, and the murmurs have picked up where they’d left off: The Targaryen prince to whom they’d pledged reluctant loyalty should marry their beloved queen, and usher in an era of peace that the kingdoms had not known for centuries. The Seven had split into independent factions, but alliances were still necessary, as were assurances of the noble families’ continuation. The North in particular would not be satisfied until the Starks could make such a promise. Bran would not father children, and any Arya might bear would take the name Baratheon, as her husband had been legitimized by Sansa’s decree. Jon had steadfastly refused to take any Targaryen title, his birthright notwithstanding, and the Northern kingdom had been happier for it. Instead, Jon had remained a Snow, despite his family’s insistence that he take the Stark name.
He would take it soon enough. But he has been Jon Snow all his life, and he does not wish to be anyone else when he asks for her hand.
Jon is sure that both Bran and Arya are aware of his intentions—they had been a long time coming, after all, but it’s only now that time is on their side—but Tormund is the only one who confronts him about it, and then proceeds to laugh in his face.
“What are you waiting for?” the wildling guffaws as they share a skin of fermented goat’s milk ‘round the fire. “I thought you were already married.”
Jon nearly chokes, but manages to turn it into a sputtering cough when he asks, “What gave you that idea?”
“Fuck if I can wrap my mind around your kneeler traditions.” Tormund slants a suggestive look his way. “You just look like a man who wants to have his woman.”
“And Sansa’s my woman, now, is she?” Jon says, trying for humor when his heart pounds a restless beat at the prospect that she could be, if only he would ask.
Tormund shrugs. “Looks that way to me. Or d’you always walk into the wall when you see a woman cross the courtyard?”
“That was one time.”
“Aye,” Tormund agrees, “one time’s all it takes.”
“And that black eye of mine made you think I’d married her already?” Jon wants to know.
“Not your black eye, no,” the other man allows before his face splits in a grin. “But the ones you threaten to give these other sorry fucks who want her? That tells me all I need to know.”
As much as he’d like to leave this conversation with his dignity intact, Jon finds that he cannot contest his friend’s observations. Tormund has always been a sharp man; it had served Jon well over the years, but he must admit that he’s not as fond of Tormund’s cleverness when it’s being used against him. Without much more to say on the subject, Jon only mutters an unintelligible reply and drinks deeply. For once, Tormund lets it go, leaving Jon to quietly brood over his pathetic adorations.
He’d have to do something about these feelings eventually—Jon already knows that he’ll have to ask Sansa for her hand, but he would very much like to woo her first if he could—but for now, he’d rather get drunk and forget that he’s probably complete shite at wooing. Perhaps he wouldn’t bother at all, if it weren’t Sansa, but…
Well. It is Sansa, so pondering such what-ifs is a futile pursuit. It’s Sansa, and however shite Jon might be at it, he wants to romance her; she deserves her song, doesn’t she?
Of course, she likely never imagined that her song would feature her drunken, lovesick cousin coming upon her chambers well after supper, but—drunk and lovesick as he is—Jon thinks it a marvelous idea.
Sansa doesn’t seem to mind, though. She greets him with a soft smile—she’s tired, Jon thinks, his mind fuzzy from the goat’s milk—and sets her sewing aside. Jon casts a look at it when he takes the seat beside her, and sees that she’s mending another one of his shirts. There’s a half-finished white wolf stitched on the breast, too; the sight of it causes Jon’s heart to lurch.
“This is nice,” he tells her as he traces a fingertip around the wolf’s head. “Thank you.”
“Of course, Jon.”
Sansa never embroiders his clothing in Targaryen colors or sigils, no matter the things some of the Northern lords mutter behind their hands. Jon may have led them out of the Long Night, but there will always be those who look upon his parentage with distrust and unease. They had lost too much to Targaryen rule over the centuries, so Jon can’t blame them for their wariness. The North remembers, after all. But if anyone were to ask Sansa, or Arya or Bran, for that matter, they would say that Jon is just as much of the North as any trueborn Stark. And as much as Sansa may hold their bannermen in great esteem, she fumes over some of their comments and jibes, and stitches Jon’s tunics and cloaks in Stark colors in a quiet sort of rebellion.
She’s good at that, Jon has thought more than once, and does so now as he continues to trace the wolf’s head. Quiet rebellion and careful words and a kind heart, a brave face and pragmatic mind and generous nature. It’s how she led the North in his absence; it’s how she’d won them, and kept their faith in Jon alive—because she kept faith herself.
Jon’s not sure he can ever repay her for that. He can only love her for it, and pray that it will be enough.
He is roused from his contemplation by Sansa’s hand on his arm. He’s always been prone to drowning in his own thoughts, and his reticence had only gotten worse since the war. The Starks are able to shake him of it, and perhaps none of them so well as Sansa. She knows all too well what it’s like to keep one’s thoughts to oneself and stew in silence.
“Did I lose you again?” she asks when his eye meets hers.
Never. Jon shakes his head and drops the shirt back onto the table where Sansa had left it. “No, I’m sorry. I’m here.”
Another soft smile. Jon wonders if her skin is as soft as the curve of her lips.
“Have a lot to drink with Tormund tonight, did you?” Sansa teases. “I can smell it on you.”
Jon huffs a breath into his hand and finds that, yes, she likely would have been hard-pressed not to notice the stench of fermented goat’s milk on him. “Sorry.”
“That’s alright,” she chuckles, and the fire pops in the grate in front of them. “I know it helps you sleep.”
Not as much as it’d help if you stayed with me through the night, Jon thinks, but no amount of goat’s milk or ale or wine or pure, unadulterated insanity would compel him to say such a thing aloud. Perhaps if he’d already told her of his feelings or made his intentions clear, but… No. He hadn’t done anything about any of it. So now he only rubs his eyes with his forefinger and thumb, and says, “Yeah, it does.”
His head is swimming. He keeps his eyes closed and leans his head back, willing the room to stop spinning, lest he get sick all over the stone floor and put Sansa off him before he can even admit that he wants her to be on him—
Ah, fuck. Jon groans internally, and thanks the gods he didn’t say that out loud. To save himself of the possibility that he may say much worse before the night is over, he mutters that it’s late and he should turn in, but he doesn’t move from his seat. He feels heavy and sluggish, the way he always does when he’s had too much to drink. That was part of the appeal, as such a state often lulled him into a dreamless sleep, but now he’s on Sansa’s settee instead of in his own bed and he can’t bring himself to leave.
It’s so warm here, and Sansa is so close that he can smell the rosewater that lingers in her hair whenever she’s had a bath. He probably shouldn't be thinking about her in the bath, but now he’s gone and done it and he squeezes his eyes shut tighter as if that will shield Sansa from his wicked thoughts.
“Jon?” she says, and for a moment he fears that his thoughts have slipped from between his lips, after all. The back of her hand presses against his cheek. “Are you feeling alright? You’re rather flushed.”
“Too much to drink,” he says thickly. Sansa’s hand is on his shoulder now, and she’s rubbing soothing circles into his tense muscles.
“Stay here awhile, then,” she tells him. She gently nudges until he’s laying down, his head in her lap and her soothing touch in his hair now. “Sleep it off a bit.”
Had he been sober, Jon might have been able to control his long, low hum of contentment as Sansa cards her fingers through his curls. But he’s not and he doesn’t, instead practically purring into her skirts and nuzzling her thighs as he drifts into unconsciousness. The smell of rosewater is stronger now. Jon thinks he could drown in it more deeply than he’s ever drowned in his own thoughts, and he’d certainly be happier for it.
His hand clutches at the wool of Sansa’s dress; he thinks he hears her chuckle at him again before he’s more asleep than awake, and the sound of her laugh dances on the hazy edges of his dreams.
When his breath deepens and evens out, Sansa continues her ministrations through his hair. He’d let her cut it when he’d come home to Winterfell, just enough so that he didn’t have to tie it back anymore. His curls are lively around his face, even when he’s passed out in her lap, and Sansa thinks that Jon is far handsomer than any of the gallant golden knights of her girlhood fantasies, and nobler, too.
Handsome and noble and kind. Brave and gentle and strong. Sansa runs her hands through his hair. Jon is good, everything she had once hoped for and the very last man she would have expected to be the realization of those old forgotten dreams.
But she hadn’t forgotten them, not really—she’d only lost them for a little while. She just never thought that Jon Snow would be the one to give them back to her, until he had.
And now the North wishes them to marry, and Sansa finds herself wishing the same. She had thought love to be lost to her, but sometimes… Oh, she hates to say that it’s in the way that Jon looks at her, for she knows how deceiving looks can be, but she has never felt home in anyone’s eyes before. But Jon looks at her, and she feels it in her bones.
There’s a breeze through the open window; it picks up the flames in the hearth and makes them dance. A few sparks fly forth and sizzle on the cool stone floor, flaring once, perhaps twice, before dying out and leaving an ash mark in their wake.
Sansa watches the fire, fingers stroking idly through Jon’s hair as he murmurs intelligibly into the thick fabric of her skirts. His hand flexes, his grip tightening in the wool, and his murmurs become more decipherable.
At first she catches words like “soft” and “lovely” that trail off into naught but sighs. She smiles, for Jon’s dreams sound sweet, and she hopes that he finds some warmth in them. Winter has waned and spring has come, but the North has yet to thaw entirely in the wake of the Long Night. They must take their solace where it comes.
Jon keeps talking, his breath hot upon her skirts, and a warmth all her own pools in Sansa’s stomach as she listens to him whisper.
“…sweet… so lovely…”
Sansa jerks in her seat, and Jon’s grip loosens on her dress to smooth over her thigh instead. Her breath catches in her throat and Jon’s is more labored than it was before. His lips drag against the material of her skirt as he continues to talk, his voice rough but clearer as whatever he’s dreaming comes into sharper focus.
“You’re so soft… so beautiful… Let me kiss you again…”
Could he be dreaming of her? she wonders, and is ready to dismiss the fanciful thought when—
“Sansa…” His groan breaks on a sigh and he says her name again.
Sansa’s heart races, scrambling in her rib cage like a pup being teased with a treat just out of its reach. Jon’s eyes are still closed but he’s touching her more determinedly now; one hand drags across her knee and up her thigh while the other toys with the belt cinched at her waist, almost as though he means to loosen it. She shakes her head to dispel such wickedly wayward musings. Involuntarily, her fingers tighten in Jon’s hair and he whimpers, his mouth open and hot on her thigh as his hand slips between her legs. Her skirts still separate them, but she can feel him as assuredly as if there was nothing between them at all.
She should wake him. She knows that, but it’s a distant thought and she’s frozen in place when Jon says her name again: “Sansa… love… gods, the way you taste—”
Jon is panting now, and it makes Sansa want. His palm is rubbing insistent circles on the inside of her thigh, much the same way she’d rubbed his shoulder before he’d fallen asleep in her lap. Perhaps she shouldn’t’ve—
“I want to see you…”
He’s touching her, Sansa can feel the press of his hand against her center, skirts and smallclothes be damned and oh, she wish they would be, damned right to the seven hells—
“Ride me, Sansa…”
She jerks again, more violently than before, but not so much from surprise as an instinctive, carnal need to get closer to him. Jon’s hand ceases, as do his words, and Sansa sees the flutter of his eyelids before they open and his bleary gaze meets her dilated one.
“Sansa?” His voice is no less rough than it had been a moment ago, but her name is more a question than an adulation this time. He blinks again and then, quite suddenly, realization dawns. Sansa’s skin is flushed, eyes wide, and he can feel the skip of her breath. He feels short of it himself, and he catches his wandering hands before they can take her cunt or her breast, as he knows he was about to do in his dream, because that is what he always dreams.
Jon scrambles up into a sitting position, away from Sansa and all the things he wants to do to her, all the things he said, things he can recall as clearly as if he’d been awake all the while.
“Sansa, I—” He swallows, and blinks rapidly in a vain attempt to clear his mind of its lusty fog. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t—”
“Didn’t mean it?” she finishes for him, her voice breathier than he’s ever heard it and—dare he say disappointed? He studies her face, searching for some sign, some inkling, anything that might tell him that his attentions weren’t unwanted when she might be too embarrassed to admit it aloud. When his gaze lands on her eyes, she’s too preoccupied with his mouth to notice the way he’d set her aflame if only she’d look at him straight-on.
“Did you mean it?” she reiterates, her tone hushed and distracted now, as though she’s asking herself more than she is him. The firelight plays upon her skin. “Do you even remember what you said?”
Jon hesitates. He remembers every word—but is that what she wants to hear? Would she have him say such things to her now, when they’re both awake and alone and unable to blame his indiscretions on goat’s milk and drunken dreams?
He’s certainly not drunk now. Visions of Sansa had sobered him. Touching her, even in sleep, had roused him. He wonders what it would be like to touch her now.
“You’re beautiful,” he blurts. The admission is hardly as poetic as he would have liked, so he swallows again and puts a hand to her cheek. “I said you were beautiful, Sansa. I remember, and of course I meant it.”
She’s looking him in the eye now. Hers are shadowed and dark and hungry. Jon imagines his own to be the same.
“What else?” she wants to know, and the question cracks.
“You’re sweet,” Jon tells her, without skipping a beat this time. His free hand comes to rest on her other cheek so that he’s cradling her face, and he can feel her breath fan across his lips that are aching to taste hers. “I said you were sweet, and lovely and soft. I meant that, too.”
He wonders if he could ask her to marry him like this. He traces the line of her cheekbones with tentative thumbs. You’re sweet, and lovely and soft, and I want you to be mine.
“What else?” Sansa asks again. She’s leaning into him, her eyes flicking from his to his mouth and back again, and Jon will give her anything, anything, she wants.
His chest hitches when her breath ghosts across his lips again. His own gaze follows her pattern, and he says—rough and soft all at once, barely audible over the pop of the fire and yet the loudest thing either of them has heard in so long— “Kiss me.”
She leans in another half-inch, and Jon meets her along the way. His mouth takes hers and he exchanges his needy whine for her sweet sigh.
She’s as soft and sweet as he ever imagined, and sweeter still now that it’s real. Her lips move languidly against his, and part upon the insistence of his tongue. He sends a quick prayer up to the gods that his breath doesn’t taste of that blasted, blessed goat’s milk that started all this, for Sansa tastes of mint sprig and only the barest hint of the summer ale she’d taken with supper.
Jon’s hands move from her face to her temples, then dive into the lushness of her unbound hair. She grips his shoulder and the side of his neck, pulling him closer, and Jon is all too eager to comply. He nudges her lips further apart and licks into her mouth, and he thinks that the summer ale on her tongue is finer than anything he’s ever drank. Surely nothing will ever taste the way that Sansa does—rich and fine and mine, all mine…
“Marry me,” he murmurs into the kiss, and then kisses her harder.
She doesn’t answer in words, but meets his renewed fervor with her own. He thinks she sighs a yes, but then she bites his lip and all rational thought is lost to him. Her hands move to the hair at the nape of his neck and twist into the curls, tugging him so close that her body is flush with his and he can feel her—every curve, every move, every beat of the heart that she’s given to him.
He leaves her mouth for the slope of her neck. She doesn’t taste like mint sprig here, rather like the rosewater oil that had overcome his senses earlier. His head is positively swimming with it, and pounding when her short, harsh breaths hit his ear as he sucks on hers.
“Is this what you meant?” Sansa asks when he licks her skin. “About the way I—about the way I taste?”
Jon’s heart skips and his cock twitches. No, he thinks, it hadn’t been her neck or even her mouth he’d been dreaming of then, and he doesn’t intend to lie to her now.
“No,” he says, and his hand dips down past her hips to settle between her legs, “that’s not what I meant.”
“Oh,” Sansa sighs, then moans when he begins to rub her through her dress. “Oh…”
Her lips are on his neck now, sucking at his skin, surely leaving marks that will make him ache every time he passes a mirror. God, he thinks, and rubs her harder the more she kisses him, but he aches for her.
“Jon, more,” she moans into his shoulder. Her hips cant into his touch in a harried but sure rhythm. “Tell me more—”
“I want to see you,” he tells her again, without the haze of sleep to soften his desire. He tugs at the laces of her dress and hears a tear when he tugs too hard, but Sansa only shrugs out of the thing when he pushes it from her shoulders. “I want to see all of you, my brave, beautiful girl, I want to look at you and I want to take you every way you’ll have me.”
He trails kisses down her neck, across her collarbone, and sinks to his knees on the stone floor as he moves his mouth lower down the front of her shift. He pauses at her breasts, taking one in hand and the other in his mouth. His lips drag on the silk over her nipple, but Sansa’s moans are no quieter than they would be should he taste her bare skin.
His hands ruck her shift up to her waist as he continues down. He mouths at her through her smallclothes and her hands twist in his hair, her body shudders with shaking breaths, anticipation, arousal—the arousal he can feel, he can taste, through this little swatch of fabric that he tears away with even more reckless abandon than he’d torn away her dress.
“Yes,” Sansa sighs when he licks up her slit and groans. She curls her fingers more tightly into his hair and he laps at her greedily, like a man starved, like a man who never means to stop. “Jon, seven hells, yes…”
Her words, her sighs, that little hitch of her breath, the way her hips thrust to meet his attentions, it all spurs him on. Jon glances up to watch her, eyes shut and lips parted as all those delicious sounds fall from between them. He grips her around the knees and yanks her more fully against his mouth, taking her harder, fucking her with his tongue, inhaling the tangy musk of her cunt as he takes her and makes her want him more.
Jon thought that nothing could taste so sweet as the summer ale on Sansa’s tongue—but that was before he tasted her come against his.
He kisses his way back up her body, unlacing her shift as he goes, callused hands curving around the smooth dip in her waist. Sansa is tugging impatiently at his shirt now, undoing the buttons and pulling it off him so she can map her hands over his chest, his scars, his heated skin.
“What else, Jon?” she asks for the third time. He’s still kneeling on the floor between her feet, but he’s reared up to pull short, fevered kisses from her lips. “Tell me what else it is you want, what you dreamt of, what you want from me—”
For a moment, Jon thinks to tell her that he wants whatever she wishes to give. But it only takes one look at her face—so honest and earnest and in love—to tell him that she’ll give him anything, just as he'd give to her.
He kisses her once more, hard and fast and deep, before he stands to kick off his breeches. He’d been half-hard from kissing her, and harder still when he had his head between her legs. Before Sansa can so much as look her fill of him, he’s swept her up into his arms and taken her to bed.
It’s darker at this end of the room, the fire casting more shadows than light here, but Jon can still see the shine in her eyes when he takes her face in his hands and whispers, “I want you, Sansa.”
Her back is against the furs, and he props himself up on one elbow while his other hand moves over her body—her long, soft body that arches against his when their mouths crash together all over again. Sansa’s tongue slides into his mouth when his fingers stroke over and inside her cunt; and her own take him in a firm grip that has him thrusting and desperate to feel her clench and come around him.
“Sansa…” Jon hisses a breath out from between his teeth when he can’t take her touch any longer, not if he wants to be inside her and make it last through the night. He catches her wrist and presses his lips against her pulse point. “Love, I want to have you—”
“How?” She’s breathless, ready. Her palm is splayed over his heartbeat. “How do you want me?”
Her meaning is plain, and Jon shoots her a grin for it. He takes her by the hip and flips them, eliciting a squeal from Sansa that makes him chuckle. The sound turns abruptly to a groan when she straddles him. He can feel the heat emanating from her, engulfing him, and he wants her so badly that he’s half-mad with it—her wetness, her rosewater bath, the press of her fingertips into his skin, the way her pretty lips and lithe legs part for him…
Jon twists her hair around his hand and he kisses her neck, intent on leaving a mark to tell the world that she is his. He nips her skin and growls into her ear, “Ride me, Sansa.”
Her gasp turns to a moan when he enters her, and he draws out her name on a long, gruff sort of sigh when he finally feels her, hot and wet and all for him. Her hands smooth over his shoulders before her nails pinch and bite and hold him tight to her. Jon wraps an arm around her waist, hand kneading her hip as he directs her movements atop him.
“That’s it, love,” he murmurs. He catches her lips once, twice, and takes her breast in his free hand. “You feel—gods, Sansa—so good—”
She’s saying his name between shallow breaths as she rocks her hips against his seeking, pumping cock. Her mind must be as frazzled as his, as she can’t concentrate her kiss on his mouth or his neck, but drags her lips everywhere she can reach—his cheek, jaw, his temple, and she catches his earlobe between her teeth and oh, seven hells, but her moan sounds even better that close, when it echoes in his ear and travels through his bloodstream.
“I’ll marry you,” she tells him with her hands on his neck and her mouth touching the corner of his. Her breath is harsh and her words sweet. “Gods, Jon, I’ll marry you tonight, tomorrow, every day—” Sansa kisses him, and Jon melts into her— “whenever you like, whatever you want, I love you, love you, love you—”
“I love you,” he answers, just as earnestly. He grips her thighs and flips them again, so that he can move harder and faster and make Sansa’s toes curl into the furs beneath them. He plants hot, open-mouthed kisses down her cheekbones. “I love you, Sansa, sweetheart, my girl—”
Sansa’s hands are in his hair again, and she claims his wandering mouth with her own. Her hips arch off the bed and Jon hurries a hand between them, to finger her clit and make her come, because he’s close, so close, and he’s sure to unravel if Sansa keeps kissing him, touching him, holding, wanting, loving him, the way that she is.
He makes her come right before he does, swallowing his name on her lips as she does the same when his muffled shout crashes against her mouth.
The fire in the hearth has long since died. The only light in the room is the full moon’s glow filtering through the curtains, the only sound the burgeoning spring breeze and their labored breaths and the mad hammering of their hearts. Jon kisses her neck again, slowly and painstakingly, to be sure that he makes her feel as good as he can in the smallest of gestures.
“So,” he says, smiling, breathless, into the slope of her shoulder, “you’ll marry me tomorrow, then?”
Sansa laughs, and trails her hands down his back. “I suggested tonight as well. Why not now?”
“Well…” Jon lifts his head so that she might catch his smile in the moonlight, and he’s rewarded with one of hers. “I wasn’t quite finished with my dream earlier, was I?
“I’ve got plans for you tonight, Lady Stark,” he continues, and Sansa laughs again, rich and bright in the dark of their bedroom. Jon twines their hands together as he leans in, lips a whisper away from hers. “And then we’ll give our Northern lords the wedding they’ve been waiting for.”