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There were words enough in the world without his, though Tyrion Lannister did miss the sound of his voice and his words.

His days are filled with the sound of other people talking, petitioners for the Queen, guildmasters about taxes, the City guard about the city walls needing repair, envoys from Pentos and Meereen, and the Queen talking about what she wishes. Words surround him. He used to arrange words in skillful ways, adorn himself with his language. He was very clever with his tongue. Now, he is silent and must listen to the words of others.

He has spent the last five years being the Queen’s Hand, here in King’s Landing, as she rebuilt the Red Keep from ash and the rest of the Seven Kingdoms. Daenerys Targaryen, first of her name, is fierce and strong still. She rules alone, still. Most see her as a wise and just ruler, a hero of the War of the Dawn. There are some that hate her, but they keep these thoughts to themselves and do not speak such things

She values strength and truth. She loves the smallfolk and the vulnerable. She still has a great love of dark-haired men and occasionally, a discrete one will fall in her bed for a time, usually less than a fortnight. She values loyalty. Tyrion hasn’t always been loyal, however, a Lannister always pays his debts. Over the years, he has paid for most of his debts. None had been so dear or costly as his treachery to the Dragon Queen.

Before they returned here, triumphant over the Battle for the Dawn and Queen Cersei, she had his tongue removed for its treachery but kept his head firmly on his small body. After all, she needed his mind, not his tongue.

She had several maesters tend to him after his tongue was cut off. In truth, she only had the tip cut off, less than half an inch. Missandei stayed by his bed, and when he was well she taught him to sign language of the Summer Islanders. He can write and he has a girl to speak for him if he needs to speak.

His Queen could not tolerate his treachery that he chose his family over her. He understands her reasons, and though he wishes he had been able to persuade her to cut off his hand or an ear instead, he does not hate Daenerys for it. She needed to make an example of him.

Sometimes when he has drunk too much wine, he wonders why he did it. Cersei hated him his whole life, so why make a deal for her and her child’s throne. He thinks it must have been out of habit for him. He drank because it was familiar. He had gone to whorehouses because it was a routine. He had never gone against his family, and when Cersei had asked him if blood was thicker than water, protectively touching her stomach, he knew he wouldn’t go against his brother and sister. After all, they were the last Lannisters.

Now, he is the last Lannister. There are cousins with the last name Lannister and they push and struggle to get in his good graces to be heir to Casterly Rock. But he is the last of Tywin Lannister’s children and grandchildren. The Giant of House Lannister.

The Princes call him Uncle Hand and he swings the toddlers in his arms, Aegon the Seventh and Rhaegar, like they are his nephews. They are two good boys with a streak of silver in their dark curls and steely lilac eyes, almost like ice. When he tickles them and plays with them, he is sometimes reminded of Tommen and he knows why he betrayed his Queen. He would do it again if it would bring back that sweet boy. He knows his queen is grateful that they have their father’s hair. Even though they are five, scissors have not cut their hair yet. He teases her that soon they will have Dothraki warrior braids.

Queen Daenerys smiles and he knows she does not think that is a bad thing. Tyrion thinks wherever Jon Snow is, he probably doesn’t think it is either.

 

It makes sense to him the thing he was known for, his wit and his words, is what he lost.. Jaime lost his sword hand, Cersei lost her children, and he lost his tongue.

 

Of course, he has many things. He has his papers, his collection of books that grows every day. He has an empty Casterly Rock, ruling as both Hand and the Warden of the West, as his father did before him. Podrick is his castellan at Casterly Rock. He has a fleet of ships, soldiers, an entire household of staff both in King’s Landing and at the Rock. He has the mines, full of gold and silver. He has started planting vineyards in the southern Westerlands. He is hopeful in a year or two they might have a passable batch. It is a sadness of Lannisters, to be surrounded by things but to feel empty. He is the richest most powerful man in the Seven Kingdoms and yet sometimes he feels an aching.

There were some dark days after his punishment.

When he had been distraught, and when it had seemed unlivable, he had thought about killing himself. But Missandei had been there and so had the Queen. In fact, there had been many people who had come to cheer him up and keep him going. There were Seven Kingdoms who needed him. There was also the voices of Cersei and Tywin that echoed in his head he needed to prove wrong.

There had been a deep loss. Lucky for him, he had learned at an early age what loss was. He slowly healed, and on a sunny but crisp day, the Dragon Queen and her Hand rode triumphantly into the ruins of King’s Landing. He had stayed firmly there on her right side, passing her notes and having Bethany whisper in her ear his words.

Bethany Blackwood had been brought to him at Riverrun. It had been one of those very dark days when all had seemed hopeless. She had been eleven, still a child with dirt on her dress from the mud of the river. Missandei had brought her to him and told him that Lord Tytos had given his daughter to be a cupbearer to the Queen, but that the Queen thought she would be better to be the voice to the Hand. He had not wanted a voice but Missandei had persisted with teaching the girl and the Queen commanded she remain.

Bethany had a natural talent for languages. She learned sign language quickly, and then went on with Missandei to learn other more exotic ones. It was not uncommon for the two of them to be speaking in some foreign language or for Bethany to tell a joke to the Queen in Dothraki to make her laugh. Bethany was a daydreamer, always reading books and getting lost in her thoughts. Sometimes, he felt that Bethany was more than good with languages but that over the years, she had started to know him so well that she knew what he was going to say before he said it.

Quickly, his Queen had learned his sign language. The Queen was practical and she needed to communicate with her Hand. She was good with languages, a product of her life as a child, roaming Essos. They had also developed a language of their own, based on glances and body language, the way he held his arms, her hands and how she folded them, her delightfully expressive eyes.

He might never be able to taste the sweetness of a strawberry, but there was still bitter, there was still sour. Take away the sweetness and the bitter remains.

He might never pleasure a woman with his tongue, but he had fingers and a cock. He had gold enough to hire someone who could use their tongue on his lady. If he needed that... Perhaps he had enough left of his tongue. He had not been with a woman since she had cut out his tongue. He had felt unmanned and weak. He could not even go to the brothel, even after five years. If only Tywin could have known that was the way to stop him, he would have lost his tongue long ago.

The last few months, the Queen believes that it is now Tyrion’s duty to cement his legacy. Casterly Rock needs heirs. His Queen parades eligible ladies, daughters from Great Houses. before him. He thinks to himself that they are all very nice, but why would he saddle any of these nice girls with a noseless, tongueless dwarf, who sits on a mountain of gold. He is like a monster from a child's tale.

He sees their father's eyes, calculating is it worth it to marry their beloved girls to the richest and most powerful man in Westeros, if he is Tyrion Lannister. Sometimes, he wonders if he should marry Bethany, if Lord Tytos would allow it. She truly loves him and has been raised with him, so she does not flinch when he touches her, and she never has pity in her eyes. She cares for him and often chastises him when he does not eat or sleep as he should.

It is strange to think of her as his wife because he never thinks of her, as anything but a child in his care, like Podrick or Tommen. However, there are worse things a marriage could be based on. He could marry her, and maybe after a few years, things might change or deepen. Bethany is a small thing, slight and skinny. The Queen was the one who had mentioned Bethany to him after the last batch of girls failed to raise any interest in him. In that conversation, Daenerys mentioned Bethany’s hips are narrow and that she might not survive childbirth. It worries him that he would kill her like he did his mother.

He hadn’t expected to receive a letter with the grey wax seal of a direwolf. He had read the letter over and over. Sansa Stark was hoping he was well and would be coming to King's Landing to see her brother’s children. Actually, her cousin’s children, but once she claimed Jon Snow as her brother, she never let that title go. Not even as he lay in a pool of blood in the snow. She had pleaded with him to come back to them and cried as the dawn broke and the snow stilled.

Lady Sansa Stark is hoping Lord Tyrion will take some time and show her the gardens and give her a tour of the new castle, Dragon Keep.

Daenerys smiles gently when she sees that Lady Sansa Stark has sent her once husband his own private message. "Perhaps you have secrets with the Ice Queen... Perhaps you have ways to melt her frozen heart."

Smiling, he signs to her to respectfully and lovingly fuck off.

He laughs to himself. He doesn’t laugh out loud anymore. It is a terrible sound. More an animal noise. The sound of a demon monkey.

She laughs and says it is good to see love bloom in the heart of her old Hand.

Weeks later, when he sees Stark men and the wheelhouse riding toward Casterly Rock, his stomach flutters nervously. The Dragon Keep has prepared for her for weeks... The idea of her being here makes him nervous. It has been so long since they have seen each other and many unkind things have happened to both of them. He hesitates in whether he should go to greet her at the Gates with the Queen and the Princes. He decides he will go with her to meet Lady Sansa, but regrets the decision almost immediately.

She is still beautiful, tall and straight, pale skin like cream and a cascade of red gold cascading over her shoulders in elaborate braids. He wonders what it would look like if he could watch her unbraid it like red water in her hands. Or if he could unbraid it and watch it fall like a curtain over him as she laid above him in their bed.

It is a dream he has found himself thinking of her over the years

 

Behind her back, they call her the Ice Queen. He can tell by how she walks toward him that she likes the title. To be Queen of the North frozen, unfeeling, unattached, like a mountain of ice. It looks like pride and honor. It is a good look for her.

She smiles at him. as soon as the door to the wheelhouse opens. Of course, Sansa greets the Queen first. At first, it is formal bows and polite courtesies. Once that is done, she has the boys in her arms and she is admiring them. She has Daenerys, arm in arm, and they are giggling. He has a brief memory of her and Margery, young girls all innocence and youth. He smiles gently and listens to the boys each trying to compete for their Aunt’s attention with stories of the colors of their dragon eggs.

She looks laughs at how charming the boys are. She comes to him. “Lord Tyrion... It is good to see you well. I have worried about you all these years.”

He smiles and signs some words to Bethany..”Lady Sansa, I am Bethany Blackwood and I am Lord Tyrion’s translator.”

Aegon interrupts Bethany..”Uncle says he is well and he hopes the journey was good. “

Bethany smiles at the child, “Well done, my Prince. You are a quick learner. Lord Tyrion says he is well and he hopes the journey was pleasant. He says he is glad you are well and that you are as lovely as the day you first came to King’s Landing. “

She smiles at him. “I hope we will be able to spend some time together, while I am here.”

Bethany speaks again, “Lord Tyrion says he would be grateful for such wonderful company. but he has some important duties he must take care of and will see you at the feast in your honor tonight.”

When they get back to the Tower of the Hand, Bethany tells him how much prettier Sansa was than she had imagined. “She is almost as beautiful as the Queen.”

He signs to her with a playful smile, Almost.

She looks at him as he settles in with his papers and his lemon and mint water. “You must have loved her a great deal.”

He looks at her. She is sixteen and full of love stories. Last week, they received a message from her father. Lord Tytos has written the Queen to tell her that it is unseemly that Bethany translates for the Hand still and it is time for him to send her home to be married. He thinks Tytos Blackwood is right. A small piece of him wonders if he wrote back saying he would marry her would Tyrion be allowed to keep her. He is tired of loss. He signs to her that it was a marriage of his father's doing, unconsummated and loveless.

“That is not how I hear it, my Lord Hand. I have heard it said that on the day you married her you swore to win her heart. You would not take your rights as a husband unless she gave herself to you willingly until she loved you. It is very romantic the story of Lady Sansa and Lord Tyrion, the Demon Imp. To have someone defy his father to win his lady’s heart. Did you see the way she looked at you?”

He looks at her, signs that she is a foolish girl that listens to rubbish and for her to leave so he can do some work.

Hours later, Bethany meets him in his chambers, ready for the feast. Her hair is in curls and braids, shining black, a blue gown. He straightens his jacket and resigns himself to the fact no matter how fine the jacket he wears, he is still a scarred and mute dwarf inside the jacket. He looks at Bethany for her approval. She brushes the shoulders and straightens the shirt. With a stunning smile, she nods and signs to him that he is very handsome.

He signs back that a lady shouldn’t lie.

She walks behind him with his papers and his pencils to write if he needs to or to speak if he has something worth saying. He hears Sansa’s laughter long before he sees her. Of course, he knew she was coming. But to hear her sweet laugh over the cacophony of the feast makes his breath hitch.

Of course, the Queen sat Sansa next to him at the feast. She smiles at him, as he sits next to her. “Good evening she says.

He nods and smiles gently. He signs Good evening.

He is uncomfortable by her presence. Before her, he is ugly awkward malformed. To the rest of the world, he is the Lord of Casterly Rock. By the third course, he decides that more wine might help. After the fourth or fifth glass, she takes his hand in hers and whispers in his ear, “Surely, it is not so bad that you must be drunk my first night back. Surely, we can talk. I mean.. I came here and wanted so much to visit with you.”

Her whispers make all his hair stand on the back of his neck. For her to be that close to him is as if one of his dreams has come real. She licks her pink lips and smiles, squeezing his hand gently.

He looks at her, deeply, with sad eyes, and nods.

He makes some signs to Bethany, who hands him a strip of paper and a pencil.
He writes a few words and hands it to her with a smile.

I am sorry for my lack of words. I have been rendered speechless by your beauty

She laughs gently, kindly, and puts her hand on his and doesn’t move it for the rest of the feast.

It is a simple gesture, but it means a great deal.

Chapter Text

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?”

Chapter Text

If anyone understands that happiness is fleeting and is gone too quickly, Tyrion Lannister should understand and yet, he has allowed himself to believe that he might be able to be happy. Sansa has been gone for four months. One day, they were smiling and drinking tea in the morning light, signing all the things that had to be done and plans for the day, looking over at the messy bed that they shared the night and all the nights before that. One morning, Tyrion woke alone and she wasn’t there.

When she had decided to climb in his bed that night, he had been hesitant and unsure but by the end of the week, he felt confident that he could spend all his days with the Lady of Winterfell. He definitely wanted to spend all the nights until he died in her bed. It seemed that Lady Sansa wasn’t so frozen or frosty. He started letting his duties slip in his delirious happiness.

Daenerys removed the long red hair from his jacket and smiled as they received the envoy from Pentos. She just smiled. Once she had been so in love, she had forgotten herself in her happiness, forgotten what her plan had been. Daenerys did not shame him. She understood what that felt like. She mumbles something about if her Hand is not careful there may be a wedding by the time the Sept of Baelor is rebuilt.

Sansa is like a cat and she wraps up in him in the dark, in long stretches and warm delight.

However she begs him so sweetly to do the most deliciously wicked deeds and she feeds him lemon cakes from her fingers as he reads letters and papers, until he puts his papers down and does the things she asks him to.

Tyrion missed her. Perhaps he had made a wrong choice. Perhaps he should go to Winterfell
and claim his child that grew in her belly. Somehow convince her to pledge herself to him. Of course, that was how he had found himself in the mess.

Sansa had been teasing him. She had been signing that court had been saying that she was a woman of loose morals and that she had been ruined by the Imp’s wicked desires. She had received word from her castellan that the Northern Lords were impatient for her to return. She had been teasing him that she would be leaving him soon.

Tyrion had felt an overwhelming amount of emotion at her leaving and he took her hands in his. Marry me he had signed. Marry me and be my wife and stay with me.

Her blue eyes grew bright and then darkened. A cloud set over her face. She squeezed his hand twice and her face broke. “I am so sorry. I can’t. No.”

She fled from his room. For an instant, he thought to call after her and tell her to stop that he was teasing. He caught himself before sound left his mouth. He had no way to speak any of those things to her and he watched her run away. He sat down by the fire and wrote a letter to give her in the morning, hoping to explain his feelings.

Bethany had woke him in the morning, asking, “My Lord, what happened?”

What? He had signed.

“Lady Sansa left with the dawn and the tide to White Harbor and the North.”

He had looked at the letter he had written into the night. It had been his fifth attempt. He wanted to ask questions and figure out what had happened that she would disappear in the night with no word. However, Bethany Blackwood would have no insight into what happened.

 

When he went to breakfast, Daenerys was there and so were the princes, so there was little that could be said. However, over the day, it became apparent that Lady Stark had needed to attend some business and something had upset her. Tyrion returned to his room and called for a hot tub of water, and two jugs of wine. He looked into the fire that someone had lit for him. He starred in it for several minutes and then, he put the letter in the fire and finished two pictures of wine.

About a month ago, the Mistress of Whispers, Sarella Sand had said that Lady Stark was expecting and that the nursery was being prepared in Winterfell.

He wondered at this point if he should go North and see if she would come back and be with him. After all, the baby that grew inside her was his and he wanted to know it and have it know him.

Some days, he feels almost as lost, as he did after he was punished. He feels unsettled and unquiet. He wants to drink, but instead of losing himself in wine, he decides to go to Casterly Rock and visit with Pod.

Daenerys tells him that Lord Blackwood would like his daughter returned so she can be married. Tyrion writes back to him and tells him he will be going to Casterly Rock and will return her to Raventree after he is done. He sends word to Podrick Payne that he will be making him Lord of Castamere. It is time he gives the boy his own keep. After all, if something happened to him, the poor Lannister cousin that received Casterly Rock would not reward Podrick Payne for his service. He feels his mortality and his own lack of children means he will have no legacy of his own. After all, he cannot seem to keep a woman in his bed.

Shortly after they arrive in Casterly Rock, Bethany Blackwood turns seventeen. Tyrion has a cake made with spun sugar weirwood tree with ravens on it on the top. It is a magical creation and she is delighted. He gives her a golden necklace with a golden raven with onyx eyes.

She hugs him and kisses his cheek. “Thank you, my lord.”

“Happy Seventeenth Name Day, Bethany.”

 

They have a small party for her. Mostly household staff and whatever poor Lannister cousins that can come from the area. There is music and dancing. Tyrion drinks too much. Pod has turned into quite the man and cuts a striking figure in Lannister red. He has grown his hair to his shoulders. He makes a good Lord of Castamere. They think they might be able to reopen the mines in the next fortnight. Podrick assures him he will still be the castellan of Casterly Rock. After all, he is Tyrion’s man, loyal to the end.

Pod dances with Bethany several times. The last time, they are laughing when they separate and he brushes a curl that fell in her face. She blushes and catches Tyrion’s eye. She thinks of him as a father and is probably worried about what he thinks of her being so familiar with Pod.

Tyrion thinks that Pod is a son he will never have. Perhaps, he should make his heir.

At the end of the night, Pod comes and helps his Lord to his chambers.

“It was a good party, wasn’t it, Pod?”
“It was, my Lord.”
“Pod, when will you marry? We need to find you a woman. At least, one of us should be happy. From the way I hear it, your wife will be the happiest of us all.”

“My Lord, I have all I need.”

“Tomorrow, we will talk more about this.”

 

He wakes to Bethany knocking on his door. When Tyrion opens the door, he sees that Bethany has been crying. Her hair is long and down like she is ready for bed. She has her robe and her nightdress on underneath. She never wakes him and he gets a terrible feeling in his stomach that someone has hurt her. He feels his heart race and his mouth get dry.

She signs May come in but he already is pushing her in and shutting the door, He sits on a chair and motions for her to sit. Her eyes are so blue, outlined in red with dark lashes.

She sits and then in a second, she is on her knees, head in his lap, crying again

She takes his hand. ”Please don't send me away, my Lord. I love you. I would make a good wife. I know i am a silly girl, but I love you. I will die if you send me back. Please.”

She took off her robe, the motion made the dress slip off her shoulder. It was untied at the neck and he could see her neck, her shoulder, the trace of her breast. “It is my seventeenth birthday. If you take me, I will be damaged and no one will want me and I could stay.”

Tyrion signed You will never be so damaged. You are beautiful.

“No, I am not like The Queen or Lady Sansa. I like books and I could care less about dresses or my hair or knights. I am good with figures and could run a household. I have been around the court and I would never embarrass you. I have quite a head for politics and have quite the speaking voice.”

She laughs, trying to make a joke.

He pushed the hair back from her face, signing. You could never embarrass me. You are the voice of the Hand. What a lovely voice I have?

She smiled and his heart broke. How sad and sweet life was to send him her now? Everything his father could have wanted for him to have in a wife.. Everything a younger Tyrion desired. Perhaps, if he made an offer to Lord Tytos, he could marry this creature. After all, her father loves her and if she is devoted to me. He thinks about her in his bed and finds himself thinking of Sansa and how he misses her.

Bethany leans into him to kiss his cheek.

“Please I have read all I could, but I am unsure how to do this.. If you show me I will do all you ask. I just don't want to leave you. I know the Queen thinks I am ill-made to birth children, but my mother gave my father seven children and she was slighter than I. I am certain I could be a good wife.”
She kissed him softly and he pushed her gently away. “I could be your mistress, If I am unpleasing to you, you could marry another and keep me still. Just don’t send me away.”

He placed his fingers to her lips to stop the words from following. I would keep you always for you are dear to me. But your father will not agree and I would not dishonor you in anyway. The way I hear it is that your father loved you with all his heart. When he had to turn over one of them to be a hostage, he begged for it not be you. You father has let me have you for almost six years. Would the way to repay him by taking your honor and your maidenhead?

“I will die if I have to stay in Raventree. I will die. “

She runs from her room and he shuts the door. It is better this way. However, he thinks on it all night and wonders how unfair life can be.

In the morning, he sends Podrick to check in on Bethany. The man’s face lightens and Tyrion thinks perhaps when Bethany returns home, she will have a marriage offer to bring to her father.

 

Tyrion watches Pod walk with Bethany in the gardens that overlook the sea, as the sun sets below the Rock. It is a pretty sight to see the pair of them walk and whisper together, arm in arm. Pod was all the things she needed. Pod was patient, calm and strong. Pod was whole and so much younger than him. With a flick of his wrist, Pod was Lord of Castamere, as well as his castellan of Casterly Rock. He was both a hero of Blackwater Bay as well as a hero of the Second Battle for the Dawn. He had saved her elder brother, the bookish Hoster Blackwood, who was the heir of Raventree at the battle of Winterfell.

He looked at Janei Lannister, eleven and his only first cousin still alive. She was very much a Lannister She had been exposed to Tyrion her whole life, and still, he could see how she avoided looking at him directly, always polite. He could work with that. Someday she would love him. He was good with children and she was smart and sweet.

He signed to her that he was tired and it was time to retire. Bethany had been teaching her. Although she was not as quick as Bethany, she was a smart girl and was learning quickly.

“Of course, my lord.”

“Come,” he said, “We need to get you to your rooms and your Septa.”

She took his hand and he smiled gently reminding him of Myrcella who if she had lived would be a woman grown and a Princess of Dorne. He looked at Janei and realized they were almost the same height and he burst into laughter.

He returns to King’s Landing with Janei. Podrick Payne, Lord of Castamere, had accompanied Bethany home to her father’s castle. Pod had asked him if he could have his permission to ask for Bethany’s hand and Tyrion had signed nothing would make him happier.

When Tyrion returned to King’s Landing, the Queen called for him and told him he had a visitor that had only arrived the week before. Daenerys spoke, eyebrow raised, “I would have sent her to Casterly Rock, but she is in no condition to travel.”

Tyrion went to Sansa’s rooms to see if they could speak, to see if there would be anything she could say that would make sense to him what she had done. When her attendant opened the door, he found a very pregnant Lady Stark. Still, she was lovely, though he wondered if she had lost her mind traveling as pregnant as she was.

She spoke first, “I thought we might speak about all that has happened.”

“You left so suddenly..”

“King’s Landing can be difficult for me, Tyrion.”

“It is difficult for everyone.. You are pregnant?”

“Surely the Mistress of Whisperers told you..”

“Since Varys died, our knowledge is less, but I had heard, Sarella does her best when she is not inventing contraptions or performing scientific experiments.”

“I have heard Pod and Bethany will get married next month.”

He can stand no more pleasantries. He has been hurt by her leaving and standing here is reminding him of all his anger and his pain. “Sansa, you left .. with no word. You have sent no word to the Queen or me.”

She steps closer, “I have not been kind to you. I am sorry. It is clear there is much to say.”

 

At this moment, she cries out, bending over from pain and holding onto her stomach. He is afraid and a sound comes out of his lips, a panicked noise. It was so sudden so quick. No one heard it but he feels his face turn red with shame.

He signs to Janei, who calls to the guard, “Call for the Maester. Call for the Queen. “

The guard helps her sit, but panic and pain have settled in her face. The pain means the baby comes.

Tyrion waited in the hallway outside but one of the midwives came out and told him to go do something else. “This is the lady’s first child and it might take all night.”

He refused to leave the hallway.

There were so many things he had wanted to say to her, so many things they had needed to talk about. Now he might never be able to ask any of them or have any of his answers from her lips. Women died in childbirth. It was a dangerous thing. He could think of dozens of women he knew who died in the birthing bed. His mother was one of them.

What if the baby wasn’t his? She had never said it was. She had never said it wasn’t. The months lined up nicely to say it was his but he wanted her to say it. He wanted her to tell him that it was his and more importantly, he wanted to never be away from his child ever again. It was when he got to these thoughts that his head hurt. After all, Sansa needed to rule Winterfell. He had Casterly Rock, as well as the role of Hand of the Queen. How would he be able to convince her to stay with him?

She was not a typical woman. She had many responsibilities and ruled the entire North. She didn’t need him for power or wealth. She had her own.

He heard her call out for her mother through the thick oaken door. When he had waited for the princes to come, he had heard the Queen call out for her husband. Of course, Jon had been dead for several months and could not answer. Tyrion wanted to help Sansa, ease the pain and terror, though he didn’t think there was anything he could do to solve it.

Sitting on the chair, he remembered when Tommen was born. It was the first time he had sat in a hallway, waiting and feeling helpless. King Robert had gone hunting as soon as the first pains started. He had walked with Jaime to a bench outside Cersei’s rooms. They had sat together, talking and joking about the day, about the new prince or princess that would come, about sending word to father at Casterly Rock.

Cersei had called for Jaime. Jaime had clapped his brother on his shoulder and told him he would see him in a while. Tyrion had been confused and asked him that he wasn't actually planning on going into the birthing room. Jaime had smiled and said that he needed to be there for Cersei. “What can you possibly do?”

“Anything she needs but mostly, I comfort her…”

Tyrion rubbed his beard and thought for a few minutes about his brother and how much he had loved Cersei. He went to the door and listened to the muffled noises behind it. He took a deep breath and opened the door.

Several hours later, Tyrion Lannister held his daughter in his arms. She was a tiny thing but had green eyes that were curious and intelligent, even if she was only an hour old. Sansa was radiant. In her arms, she held his son, who came second and was having trouble being soothed. Tyrion had only hoped for one of these beautiful creatures and had been overwhelmed when they had told him another baby was coming. However, Sansa seemed to be fine. The midwives had said she was fine and just needed rest. Lady Stark did not seem like she wanted to rest. She mostly wanted her son to nurse. When the midwife had said she would send for a wet nurse. Sansa had declined and said she would feed her own children. However, his son did not want to eat.

Tyrion walked to her bedside with his daughter and laid her in her cradle. Then, he touched Sansa’s arm. He hoped she remembered all that Bethany had taught her because he had much to communicate with her and he wanted her to understand it all.

Tyrion told her he loved her and that he felt he did not want to live his life without her, now or ever. He told her he knew she hated King’s Landing and that he would resign as the Queen’s Hand. Daenerys would be fine without him and though he would miss her and the boys, it would be easier with Sansa and their children. However, they would have to figure out a system where they could alternate castles because he could not give up Casterly Rock, but he could not bear to be away from her and the children for any length of time. He needed her to be in his life whether or not she would marry him.

Sansa had smiled, taken his hand and kissed it. She patted the space next to her on the bed. He climbed next to her and watched her feed their son. Tyrion did not know how it would all work out for them. He had no idea what they would name the children, whether or not she would marry him, or how they could rule the westerlands and the North together, or what Daenerys might do when he told her he needed to resign. But she had come back for him, come back to try and make things work. Surely, they could find a happy ending.