Margaery had lost all will to keep going. Trudging through the barren North, she saw nothing but pallid snow. It surrounded her with a fury, as if the gods themselves were angry she survived.
They weren't wrong. She wanted to die.
A bluff of it wind slapped against her hair, stinging the burns across her skin and setting them on fire. She groaned, doubling over.
Snow fell in vicious sheets, draining every ounce of willpower she had left. The trees had become darkened piles akin to sheathed swords. Darkness engulfed her like a raven's wing, causing her stomach to clench in fear.
When she had heard the news- Sansa was the Queen of The North- she had been overjoyed, but also disgraced. She was strong, controlling and, in hellish ways, manipulative. But never to Sansa.
Despite what people thought, she would never hurt the girl. She could never bring herself to do wrong by her, for some betraying reason. It weighed her down during her time in Kings Landing, knowing her motives should be rooted in something besides love.
She gasped at the thought. Her mind wandered to Loras, his death. His charred and mangled body strewn across the Sept steps. He was dead, and it was her fault.
Tommen. That wasn't love, that was duty. Duty and desire for the throne. Shame crept up her throat and she stumbled.
Her grandmother Olenna who thought she was dead. Her life had fallen apart, hanging on her shoulders in a way that made her collapse.
As she had fled, hearing of Tommen's suicide, she heard more rumors than she would like to admit. Sansa Stark was a Bolton, and it didn't take a huge leap of logic for her to determine what that meant. Her heart trimmed with pity and agony. Everything had gone to the seven hells.
That was until she saw the lights. A few lone spires of light, flickering torches glowing through windows across the sea of snow.
The towers of Winterfell rose up ahead and she nearly cried in relief. Her step increased, having long since gone numb.
Her body shook and she shivered uncontrollably, nearly stumbling into the gates.
A few guards stood above her, looking down in anger and irritation from the cold. Their burly shapes made her stomach churn uncomfortably, reminding her of The Mountain.
"Who are you?", one of them boomed through the spray of the whiteout.
"M- Margaery Tyrell.. I'm here to see Lady Sansa", her voice trembled but she forced the anxiety down.
One of the men laughed half heartedly, not caring in earnest.
"Funny, I thought you died in the Sept? Or am I seeing a ghost?", he chuckled. "Get lost."
"Sansa will vouch for me..", she forgot to call the lady by her title which visibly displeased the guards.
They turned their backs.
Margaret opened her mouth but the words died in her throat. She rested her head against the cold door, trying to avoid the burns that marred her face.
Tears came to her eyes, dripping down her cheeks and freezing. The pain from her wounds had been numbed by adrenaline, but now it all rushed back.
She wanted to scream.
She wanted to die.
"You say you are Margaery?", the voice was small but form.
Margaery shot up, looking skyward with blurry eyes. Above her, on the frozen rampart, stood a girl. She was smaller but evidently skilled, her expression solid and unwavering.
That must be Arya, she thought numbly.
"Y- Yes", Margaery said, sounding small and miserable.
Arya raised her eyebrows, lip curling in a sneer. "We'll let Sansa be the judge of that."
The gates freaked open, to Margaery's dismay. Whether it was pity for her state or a shred to trust from Arya she didn't know, but followed the girl in the castle halls.
Margaery wrapped the blanket further around her shoulders, shivering and shaking uncontrollably, even despite the for that cracked met her knees.
A few guards stood around the hall, eyeing her warily. But she couldn't bring herself to care.
Her burns ached but she ignored the pain, shrinking in on herself to hide the shame she felt. She was no longer beautiful, no longer desirable. No longer someone Sansa would want to protect.
The door opened slowly and with an echoing click. Margaery turned as her breath caught in her throat. In the doorway stood Sansa Stark.
She was taller than Margaery remembered, her face set in stone like her sister. She stood tall, spine straighted and denying any thought that she had once lived through torment.
Her eyes remained with a spark of disinterest but when they locked with Margaery's her composure crumbled. A mix of relief and shock.
Margaery's lips parted but she turned away quickly, trying not to show her face. Half of it had been burned beyond repair, beyond love.
She barley heard when Sansa ordered the men outside, who listened without question.
When they had gone Sansa let out a breath. "Margaery?", her voice was barley above her whisper. "We received a raven you were dead."
"Well I am very much alive", the older girl feigned a smile, though her quivering lips betrayed her joy.
Sansa pursed her lips as if it was more habit that reaction and knelt down next to the fire, staring at it for moment.
The words shook Margaery and she fumbled for the right words. "M- my brother's trial.. but.. The Sept.. I knew something was wrong. I- I knew It! B.. but.. we got out. M- me and Loras but he", she broke off, nearly choking. Tears spilled from her eyes and she wanted to scream, nearly doing so.
Before she could react a pair of warm arms wrapped around her, grounding her in an aura of comfort. Margaery leaned into it, clinging onto Sansa's cloak and sobbing.
Sansa held her closer, gently running her hands through Margaery's now blackened hair. Sansa felt her heart shatter, breaking into pieces and scattered around in her chest.
"Its ok. You're hear now, nothing can hurt you", the lady whispered, lightly kissing Margaery's hair.
Margaery stiffened, heart burning. She shook her head slightly. "You can't be seen with my Sansa..", She trailed off. "What will people think about.."
Sansa shook her head quickly, knitting her brows together and holding Margaery at arms length. The older girl looked away. Sansa caught her chin though, pulling them to a shakily held eye contact.
"You will never disgust me. You were the light in the darkness, the only person who kept me sane during my time in King's Landing. Don't ever think that will change", Sansa rested a tentive hand on Margaery's unburnt cheek.
Margaery started to shake, sucking I'm a breath but leaning into the other girl's touch. "I'm sorry."
Sansa cocked her head to the side. "Sorry for what?"
"Sorry for not doing this sooner", she leaned in and pulled the other girl into a chaste kiss.