Tyrion and Sansa spend the week in each others company. It is a delightful week. Tyrion never allows himself to explore King’s Landing. After all, rebuilding a kingdom takes a huge amount of work. However, Tyrion spends most of this week exploring King’s Landing with Sansa. He has always known she was intelligent and had so much potential, but Lady Sansa has grown into a fascinating and wonderful woman. She is funny, quick, kind, smart and beautiful. She has all the stubbornness and honor that the North is known for, but she has a playful nature, underneath the stern and unyielding exterior.
Every morning, he eats breakfast with the princes. Sometimes, the Queen is there. Tyrion enjoys it. It reminds him of the meals he shared with Tommen and Myrcella. Aegon is the talkative one, the firstborn, a natural ruler. Rhaegar reminds Tyrion of his dead father, Jon, reserved, thoughtful, perhaps a little melancholy. However, when they are together, the boys seem to even each other out. Sansa joins them every morning. He knows she comes to spend time with the children. They are two people who don’t have a family, and yet, both of them were raised to believe family was everything.
Tyrion watches as Sansa bites her strawberries all the way to their stem, staining her lips bright red. He finds himself thinking of how sweet her lips will taste if he was to kiss them. She catches him staring and she smiles softly.
Bethany is always at breakfast, eating with them. She usually works with the boys on their High Valyrian in the morning. But this morning, she has dark circles around her eyes and seems pale. Since she was a child, she is given to dreams, nightmares. Usually, they involve ravens and the dead Blackwoods buried underneath the giant weirwood at Raventree Hall. Sometimes, she is flying with raven wings. Sometimes, she is burning in dragon fire. Sometimes, she is drowning in dark waters surrounded by bodies.
When she has one of her bad nights, Tyrion has found he tries to be gentle with her the following day. He asks a serving girl to make her favorite breakfast. The girl comes back with a large bowl of oatmeal. Bethany eats the oatmeal with cream and sugared fruit. Usually, Tyrion teases her about eating such fare, but today he doesn’t. Instead, he asks Aegon to be his voice. Aegon, eager to be helpful and for the attention, happily agrees. Tyrion tells the story of how when the Wall still stood, he went all the way to the far North to see the Wall. While he was there, he climbed to the top, just to piss off the edge. This makes the boys erupt in laughter. Sansa joins in.
He takes Sansa out every day to see some part of the city. At first, they go to the docks, where they watch the fisherman and merchants bring their wares to the capitol. Sansa tells him of when she was a girl in King’s Landing how she would watch them and wonder where they were headed and how she wished she was on them.
Tyrion looks in the distance and thinks to himself how terribly sad their lives had been in those days He thinks that sounded like a wonderful game for a terrible time. He signs this and Bethany speaks for him. Sansa laughs.
Tyrion buys some fresh oysters and they eat them at a table, overlooking the sea. They drink spring wine, flavored with mint and berries until the color rises to their cheeks. They wander the shops and markets. Tyrion buys Sansa a necklace of silver with a wolf with diamonds and ruby eyes. While he is in the store, he thinks he cannot go empty-handed to Bethany, so he buys her a necklace of a weirwood tree covered in red stones for the leaves. They are both delighted
The eat lemon ices and candy and watch a play at the new playhouse.
They see the burned city and the newly rebuilt Dragonpit. He tells her that there was a clutch of eggs hatched last year. Five precious eggs. The Queen hopes they will hatch. She has sent for Maesters and wise men across the Narrow Sea to see if anyone might tell her how they can hatch.
While they are watching the workmen rebuild the Sept of Baelor, after all the people must worship the gods, Sansa asks him a question, “Will you take me to Casterly Rock?”
Tyrion looks at her as if she burned him. He looks at Bethany’s face. Her face is unreadable, but she looks intently at her shoes.
He takes Sansa’s hand and squeezes it. Perhaps he has been misreading Sansa. He signs quickly. Why would you want to go to Casterly Rock with me?
She smiles, as Bethany speaks his words.
Sansa speaks, “When we were married, Tyrion, you promised me that you would take me. A Lannister always pays his debts. I want to see the place where you rule, the place you were born, the place that made you. After all, you have seen Winterfell…”
I will take you gladly. He signs to her. Bethany repeats his words with a wistful tinge to her voice.
Over the week, Bethany teaches Sansa words in sign language. He signs to Bethany to stop teaching Lady Sansa.
Sansa pulls him aside. “I must be able to communicate with you, Tyrion. After all, what if I have something private to say to you… something that Bethany might be shocked to hear.”
He writes her a note. I would rather you not learn. It reminds me that I am less than a man, less than a dwarf. I would not have you learn.
Sansa crumples the paper “Do not be unkind, Tyrion It is not like you to be unkind to me..”
Tyrion writes another note, My lady, I have been apart from you for some time.
She takes his hand in hers and she leans in to whisper in his ear, “Let me learn. I intend for us to have secrets and be good friends. I will need to speak to you. I want this. Please, Tyrion. “
Tyrion shrugs, resigning himself to what will make her happy.
Late one night, Lady Stark comes to his room. The guard shows her in and leaves her in his rooms in the Tower of the Hand, newly rebuilt.
Sansa is in a silver robe. Tyrion does not know what is underneath her robe. Perhaps, she is wearing nothing. His throat is dry and he thinks he cannot breathe. He pours her a drink and signs to her. What can I do to help you?
It is a chilly rainy night and the fire is going. She takes him by the hand and leads him to his bed.
I am even more broken a man than before. He signs to her.
She signs back, You will do fine.
She laughs lightly and he sees her robe slip off her shoulder. Sansa does not have anything underneath the robe she wears.
She touches his leg. “I am no longer a maiden, like when we were married.”
Tyrion touches her bare leg that has slipped between the folds of the robe. He feels her warmth and the softness of her skin. Her face is all desire and she moans like his touch is the best thing she has ever felt. He wants to tell her that he is broken and beyond help. He wants to tell her that he is as ugly on the inside as he is on the outside, that he has done terrible things, that she should leave his room before she does something she regrets. He wants to speak how he hates himself and that he hasn’t been with someone in so long that he is unsure and a little afraid. But he cannot speak. Even if he could, he doesn’t think there are words in the world to describe what he is thinking.
She takes his face in both her hands, kissing his forehead. “I know.. I know and it will all be alright. I choose you.”
Sansa slides out of her robe. He hears this breath slip between his lips, to see her naked in his bed. She smiles and climbs into his bed.
Sansa speaks softly, as he follows her in his bed, saying, “Who better to commit an indiscretion with, but a man who cannot speak of them?”