When she was growing up in Winterfell she had never really drank very much. Sansa and Arya were allowed a very small glass of wine each at large feasts, but they had been very rare occasions in Winterfell, so she had not had the time to properly acquire any sort of tolerance to alcohol.
In Kingslanding she had not liked to drink at all; at first it was because she did not like the taste, and it simply seemed completely unmannered to get drunk at the dinner table. It didn’t help that every time she reached for her goblet of wine, Septa Mordane would give her that look. Afterwards, when there was no Septa Mordane around the table to tell her off, she still did not drink. Seeing how Cersei would throw back wine like it was water furthered her aversion to alcohol even more, and Sansa hated the way it would turn the Queen’s words into daggers.
The ale she had drank at Castle Black was repulsive and had burned her throat so badly she believed for a second that she had drank wildfire by mistake. Yet, there was precious little else to drink in the North, especially during winter, and so Sansa had drank nothing but water and hot tea for a long while. And anyway, she would need her wits about her for the upcoming battle, it would not do to be inebriated during a crisis.
After many years of cold harsh winter, it was a blessing to everyone to see the first shoots of spring creep through the snows. Rationing had been hard, and staying warm had been even harder, but it was now over. And there were many reasons to celebrate.
About a sennight ago Brienne had come to her, with very red cheeks, and suspiciously mussed up hair, and asked for her blessing to wed the Kingslayer. It had come as a surprise to absolutely no one that the two wished to marry. They had been living as man and wife for roughly two years now anyway. They did make a striking pair: tall and blonde and covered head to toe in armour. During the battle they had fought together side by side and it had been like a beautiful and deadly choreographed dance.
Sansa had given her blessing readily and enthusiastically, and in her heart she could not help but think that their relationship was like some sort of twisted version of the stories she had loved so much as a child. There was definitely a romantic notion in their story somewhere; Brienne had been the charming, noble knight who had freed the beautiful Jaime from a terrifying beast (read: Cersei Lannister). And it was a little bit funny to imagine Jaime Lannister as a damsel in distress, he would look much better in a dress than Brienne, Sansa thought.
The wedding was set for the first full moon of Spring. It would have to be a huge celebration, the first thing to bring true joy to Winterfell after the long, hard winter.
So, Sansa had sent for many caskets of southern wine. It was not her finest decision.
One drink, Sansa’s a little spacey.
Her eyes were just slightly glossed over. You probably wouldn’t even notice if you weren’t looking very carefully. But Jon spent hours with Sansa everyday going over the ledgers and so he was able to see quite clearly that she her focus was just a bit off.
The wedding had been beautiful and fun and the perfect antidote to the harsh colds of winter. During the actual ceremony under the wierwood, there had been few people, just a handful of friends and one family member – and however vehemently he denies it, Tyrion had cried buckets. But now, what felt like the entire population of the North had gathered in the Great Hall for a feast of massive proportions. Sansa had certainly made the right call in requesting large quantities of well, everything. It seemed like the Northmen were in competition with the Free Folk to see who could drink who under the table quickest.
Jon sat with his half-sister turned cousin on the left side of the table, as the newlyweds sat centre stage, seemingly completely oblivious to the chaos going on in the hall. He was not complaining. It was a pleasure to sit beside the most beautiful woman in the room, and she was radiant tonight, in a grey dress that made her skin glow and her hair shine. The front of her dress was cut lower than he was used to however, and it was distracting to say the least.
The wine Sansa had ordered was far too sweet for Jon, and so he slid his goblet over to her, and motioned to one of the cupbearers to bring him a horn of ale instead. This, looking back on things, was mistake number one.
She had drunk the wine at an alarming speed, especially for someone who was very much not prepared for the consequences.
“…pardon?” Sansa eyes seemed to finally find a focus, as she asked him to repeat himself.
“I said, there will be at least three brawls tonight, if the Free Folk don’t stop drinking.” Jon was smirking just a little as he repeated himself. It was cute, he thought, to see her let loose a bit, and act her age for once.
“Right, yeah, sure.” She replied, with absolutely no idea what they were talking about. Jon’s eyes are so pretty, was the topic she was much more interested in. Is it just me, or are they particularly pretty today? It must be the candle light, she decided. I wonder if he will ask me tonight.
“Do you think we should tell them – “Jon started to speak, but Sansa interrupted with a quite bizarre question. Well, it was bizarre to Jon, who was unfortunately not privy to the conversation Sansa was having with herself, in her head. “We should really get more candles, don’t you think?”
“… erm alright, if you think so.” Jon answered after a moment. This seemed to be the right response, as Sansa hummed and began to nod lightly. Then, again her eyes went a bit glassy and she seemed to lose herself in thoughts once more, and Jon thought he should probably give up on any conversation for the time being.
Back in the mind of Sansa Stark, she let her imagination run a little wild with the thoughts of all the candles she would buy. And oh! Would he let her put more candles in his room? And then Sansa’s mind went to mush, with ideas and images of Jon, bed, candles, pretty eyes.
Jon noticed then that Sansa’s cup was empty, and that really wouldn’t do, and called for more wine. And yes, in hindsight that was mistake number two.
Two drinks: Loud Sansa.
“Excuse me, ladies and lords!” Sansa all but yelled from her place on that dais, “Oh wait, that’s not right! Lords and ladies, yes that sounds better.”
Everyone gathered in the Great Hall looked up to see the Lady of Winterfell swaying gently in place, holding her now empty cup in one hand, with her other hand resting on the shoulder of Jon Snow – or Jon Targaryen or Aegon Targaryen or whatever his name was now. She had even broken Jaime and Brienne out of their little bubble. They were still holding hands under the table though; Jaime’s fingers were entwined with his new brides, as his golden hand rested on the table.
“Thank you everyone for being here to celebrate the happy couple,” and yes, even in the newly quietened Hall, she was still practically yelling, “let us toast to their happiness, and ask the Gods to bless them with a long and prosperous summer!”
Her words were met with shouts and the clashing of cups as people drank deep. The people gathered in the Great Hall were far too busy cheering and drinking in agreement to notice how Sansa wobbled quite significantly as she sat back down. Jon saw however and helped to steady her as she sank back into her chair.
“Thank you Jon.”
And while she might have meant well, thanking him for his help, Jon did not expect her to stay at the same volume level, with which she had spoken to the Great Hall.
Jon still held a rather startled expression as he motioned for the cupbearers to once again fill Lady Starks goblet. And really, that might have been mistake number three, if Jon hadn’t claimed plausible deniably on grounds of noise related brain damage.
Three drinks: Sansa dance pants.
Singers were hard to find. People did not travel all the way to Winterfell during winter, and even the wedding of the heir to Tarth could not tempt entertainers from their safety in the South.
There was still music though, as the soft sounds of lutes and harps echoed through the Hall in Winterfell. It is nicer this way, thought Sansa, as she reminisced on her own weddings. One had been so loud and lively that she could not hear her own panicked thoughts of bedding dwarfs and disappointed mothers over the songs. Her other wedding had been so quiet that she had thought it possible that everyone could hear how her heart pounded against her ribcage. Would ever she have another wedding?
Now however, there was the lulling melodies of the sting instruments in the background and she could hear the voices, the beautiful Northern voices, of her people alive and well and happy.
Jaime and Brienne would never have a first dance, it was not their style, but what is a wedding without dancing? There was a space in front of the dais where a few couples had twirled along to the musicians and looking at them made Sansa ache. It was like there was a physical pull to the dance floor; she needed to dance like she needed to breathe. Looking over at Jon, she pined and felt her shoulders drop as she realised that he would never dance with her. But she could imagine, oh how she could imagine. Sansa thought of his strong, callused hands gripping her waist, holding her own hand delicately in his, and how sweet they would look intertwined like that. People who had known Catelyn and Ned said that to see the two of them together was like seeing ghosts of the past. Would it be like that if they danced with each other? Would people say that they made a fine pair? Would it make Jon rethink their painfully platonic relationship?
Underneath the table, Sansa’s feet started to itch, then to shuffle and then to tap. She needed to dance. Now.
Raising slowly from her seat she looked for a willing partner to sweep her off her feet. Who could she coerce into dancing with her? Her blue eyes scanned the room and landed on a possible target. He was clearly well into his cups, with ruddy cheeks and bright eyes. Sansa had never had a conversation with him, but he seemed like a decent man, and he was Jon’s friend, she thought, so most likely kind enough to dance with me.
On a mission now, she all but leapt of the dais, and began to stalk her prey.
Jon had been left on his own then at the end of the table and watched her movements curiously. What was she doing? Where was she going? He thought himself very subtle as he got up and walked over to where Arya was sitting, on the benches in the Hall, next to her bastard blacksmith.
“Oh, so now you want to talk to me?” Arya’s eyebrows were raised, and her tone was teasing. “Now that Sansa’s decided you’re too boring.”
“Hush you, maybe I wanted to talk to Gendry.”
The man in question looked at him in pity, and Arya laughed at him. Jon was never a very good liar, and he was about as transparent as the glass gardens they were rebuilding. Then she turned to him with a smile in her eyes.
“So, why did she abandon you then? Did you forget to compliment her hair, or did you spill ale on her dress?” She did not mean it in the same way she might have years ago; this was not the same cruel belittling of their childhood, but rather fond teasing that had developed as the sisters had rebuilt their relationship.
Jon shook his head and sighed. He hadn’t done either thing. When he had collected her from her room to escort her to the Godswood earlier that day he had told her how beautiful she looked, and her cheeks had reddened so prettily as she had thanked him. And all throughout dinner he had been polite, and they had chatted easily, as they did most days. So, then why had she walked away from him without so much as a ‘goodbye’? His conversation with Tyrion came to the forefront of his mind, and he found himself truly doubting what Lannister had said, maybe she wouldn’t say yes, after all if she couldn’t stand to sit with him for more than an hour, how could she stand to sit with him for the rest of their lives?
“I think I might know what she’s up to.” Gendry piped up and tilted his head in the direction of the musicians. Because there, right in the middle of the dance floor was Sansa, beautiful, clever, graceful Sansa, dancing with Tormund Giantsbane of all people.
It was truly quite the sight, and many people were gawking. The Lady of Winterfell was currently being twirled and spun about, laughing and smiling like she had not done so in years. Tormund seemed to be enjoying himself just as much, as he attempted to keep up with the quick music, and his very enthusiastic partner. His laugh was bellowing across the Great Hall as she pulled him along in every different direction. Neither of them were remotely in time with the music, and there were no clear steps being followed, but they both looked so happy it was enough to make Jon jealous. He should be the one making her laugh like that, spinning her about the floor as her hair whipped around her like fire. Evidently Arya thought so to.
“You should have asked her to dance.” She pointed out uselessly, as Jon sulked and looked on. Tyrion was so wrong.
After watching them for a while, Jon could not torture himself much longer. Seeing her smile and giggle was not worth the pain of seeing her with someone else.
Reaching across the table to a jug of wine, he poured himself a cup, and was about to drown his sorrows in it, when the cup was snatched out of his hand and downed in one go. And as far as mistakes go, that was not even slightly his fault, that was all Sansa.
Four drink Sansa is a bit of a perv.
It had been a long day already, and her dancing had truly tired her out. Jon’s wine really helped; her throat had been dry and scratchy after so much laughter. Is that what it feels like to be happy and innocent?
Her feet were sore, and she could feel her bones becoming weary. So, it only made sense to sit down on the bench across from Arya and Gendry…. next to Jon… right next to Jon. It was only a little bit embarrassing how much it pleased her to feel his leg against hers, and their shoulders pressed together. They were almost the same height, she was tall and willowy like her mother and he was just an inch shorter, so they lined up perfectly, head to toe. He’s so warm.
On the other side of the table, Arya and Gendry struggled to keep straight faces at the expressions on the pair opposite: Jon was red as they had ever seen him, and Sansa had a blissed out smile on her lips as she leaned in even closer – as if that was even possible – into Jon’s body.
“So, Sansa, what were you and Tormund laughing about? I didn’t realise you were that well acquainted” Arya asked her sister, trying to pull Sansa’s attention away from Jon.
“Hmm? Oh! He was telling me the most interesting story about Jon.” And at this revelation Jon could not have appeared more worried, as he pulled away from Sansa and levelled her with a very serious look. Gods what had he told her? Tormund could be very vulgar when he drinks, and when he doesn’t drink come to think of it.
Sansa payed no mind to Jon’s little freak out however and leant in closer to the table with lazy eyes, and spoke in a loud voice, as if this conversation was happening across the courtyard, rather than across a narrow table.
“Apparently, Jon gives a very good Lord’s Kiss.”
A beat of silence followed.
If Jon had been red before, he was positively glowing now. There could be no blood left in the rest of his body. Sansa was waggling her eyebrows at Arya, as if she needed to make it anymore obvious what they were talking about.
Unable to control themselves, Arya, Gendry and just about everyone else around the table broke out into screams of laughter, slamming fists onto the table, which shook the plates and toppled over their cups.
“Right I think that’s about enough out of you,” Jon was still blushing like a maid, but he managed to haul a very startled Sansa out of her seat and began to pull her in the direction of the doors, “I’m taking her Ladyship to her rooms, goodnight everyone, don’t be up too late.” And with that they were both off, Sansa had resisted a little at first, but when she realised what was happening she got on board pretty quickly, half-heartedly waving goodbye to her sister. Alone time with Jon? Yes please!
The two left the Great Hall as people jeered and whistled behind them. Someone (definitely Tyrion, who had been watching the events unfold from the dais) shouted: “I thought the bedding was for Brienne and Jaimie?” However, the newlyweds had crept off long ago, and had made it as far as the stables before they began to pull at each other’s clothes.
Five drink Sansa is weirdly confident.
Jon hadn’t so much dragged Sansa down the corridor, more like she had dragged him. He was confused why she was in such a hurry to reach her room, when she had seemed very content in the Great Hall moments ago. Perhaps a little too content, he thought bitterly, knowing that it was only her inebriated state which led to her being quite so open with their friends.
When they reached her door, Sansa yanked Jon in by the collar of his shirt. He had many fantasies that started this way, but none of them involved a very drunk and stumbling Sansa.
She closed the door behind them and stepped further into the room, walking across to her desk where there was an untouched jug of wine sat off to the side. She had no interest in it before, but her maid always brought her a fresh jug every morning just in case she developed a taste for it. Right now, she could think of nothing she wanted more than another cup of wine. Well except for maybe a tall glass of Snow. She drained her cup in one go, staring into Jon’s steely eyes, as she let her mind run away with itself.
He was still where she had left him, pressed against the closed door, and he had watched her hips swing as she crossed the room, and had to question his sanity when he found the simple act of her drinking wine was causing his breaches to tighten ever so slightly. The way her tongue had darted out to claim the last taste of wine from her lips, what he would not give to kiss those lips and chase the taste of that Dornish red.
The room was quiet and still, the noise from the hall was barely touching them in here. There was a tension between them that had not existed before, that was not present when they broke their fasts most mornings, in this very room.
Tell him, tell him now. The thought had been whirling around in her mind for some time now, and whether it was the wine, or the optimism that spring brought, now felt like the right time.
“Its time,” she said, her voice was strong and betrayed none of the fears she had been carrying around in her chest for some time now, and she pointed a finger in his direction “for you to ask me to marry you.”
She had heard the conversation between Jon and Tyrion at least two weeks ago now. They had been waiting for her in her solar and had left the door ajar. Sansa had not meant to eavesdrop, honestly, but they had been talking in aggressive whispers and her curiosity was peaked; she knew from experience that no good came from keeping secret in this castle.
2 weeks ago:
“– listen to me, spring is coming and the Northern lords wont waste one moment in asking for her hand.” Tyrion sounded unusually frustrated, but that made no sense. Why would Tyrion be angry with Jon? And whose hand were they talking about?
“She doesn’t want me! She doesn’t want to marry ever again. Not after what Bolton did to her.” Oh. They were talking about her. And Jon. About her and Jon. Married?
“I know, I know. But she loves you – “
“NO. She doesn’t. Not like that. I’ll hear no more of this”
She had waited outside the room for a minute, long enough to fully catch her breathe and make sense of her thoughts. This would have to wait for later, so Sansa pushed all thoughts of Jon and marriage into the back of her mind and pushed open the door to her solar.
Jon seemed frozen. Of all the things she could have asked him. But of course, she already knew about that, was there anything in Winterfell that she did not know about?
“Do you- do you want me to ask?”
He was so unsure of himself. No one had the ability to make him doubt himself like she did, she was so unshakeable, even know she looked at him with curious eyes and the hint of a smile on her lips. It felt so surreal. Since that conversation with Tyrion two sennights ago, there had been no more talk of marriage, but that did not stop him from thinking about it. When they ate together in the mornings he had to reign himself in, tell himself that this was not the domestic bliss of marriage but instead simply a platonic relationship between cousins.
“Jon,” her voice was soft, and her smile was softer, “of course I want you to ask.”
The words were spoken so quietly, and this moment felt so intimate. But it was all that was needed to wake Jon up, and kick him into action. His quick steps across the floor felt jarring in the stillness. Jon’s hands came up, one gently took the cup from her hand and placed it on the desk behind her, and the other came to rest on her hip, the feeling of her dress beneath his fingers was exquisite. There was barely an inch of space between them; they were breathing the same air.
“Sansa Stark, will you marry me?”
Hungover Sansa was happy.