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Behind Enemy Lines

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Chapter 1: Reconnaissance 

 

Hiding her hands in her lap to mask her nervousness, Sansa fidgeted with skin around her nails. Outwardly, she was the portrait of calm, her eyes never straying from Lord Varys since the moment she entered the poorly lit study . The eunuch liked to build suspense. He had a flare for the dramatic, which was certainly why he was taking longer than normal to read the parchment she had given him. Her throat was dry when she swallowed, an indication that she was more than just nervous, but riddled with anticipation. 

 

Observing the ex-Master of Whispers unabashedly, Sansa noted that he wasn’t completely expressionless as he read the parchment--yet again. The plump eunuch wore the kind of look a cat might when it was about to pounce on a particularly tasty mouse. He was savoring it, making sure he could draw this feeling out as long as possible before having to come back to the real world. It was driving Sansa to madness, but the last thing she needed to do was show a crack in her icy exterior. 

 

The pressures placed upon her in the last few months had been extraordinary; it was a wonder she hadn’t buckled from the stress of it all. The preparation of Winterfell and their allies for a battle with the Night King, losing so many in the war, and picking up the pieces after. There had been many a night where she sat alone in her room fighting the tears that would inevitably come. She did not feel sad for herself, but she felt the pain of her people. Now, some would be marching with Jon, to claim a land she had little interest in. Sansa didn’t like it one bit.

 

Hosting the Targaryen Queen had been the icing on a particularly bitter cake. Sansa had hoped for more understanding between them, some sort of professional agreement in such difficult times. It was not to be. In the end, the famed Dragon Queen was as obsessed with the Iron Throne as all the foolhardy men before her. It was a poisoned prize, and Sansa had no intention of taking it. 

 

She had other things in mind.

 

When Varys’ violet eyes finally raised to meet her own, she could see a slight grin forming on his plump face. “It’s bold, my Lady,” he said thoughtfully, “but you must have known that before you brought this to me. So my only question is, why come to me at all?” His eyebrow lifted while he put the parchment back on the desk and waited patiently for her answer. 

 

It had been a great risk for her to visit him this evening, even if it was within the depths of her own castle. The Dragon Queen would march south tomorrow, taking her armies, Jon, and Lord Varys with her. Sansa had known that if she didn’t seek the eunuch out now, then she may never have a chance at the information she craved. Unfortunately she knew this game, and if you wanted to get something you needed to give something first.  

 

It had been a gamble, a decision she had not taken lightly.

 

“I value your opinion, Lord Varys,” her words came out smoothly though they were lies. She did value his opinion, but not on the document she had given him. Sansa was after information of a different sort. 

 

Chuckling, Varys continued. “Well, in that case--do the walls have ears?”

 

Sansa shook her head. She had gone to great lengths to secure the castle and keep it under her control despite the presence of the Dragon Queen. While she knew almost everything that went on, she did not need the depth of spying that Varys had implemented in King’s Landing. 

 

Narrowing his eyes a bit and placing his hands on the desk, he spoke, “You came here because you detected a chink in the armor, because you know things are becoming difficult with our Queen .”

 

She said nothing, merely eyed the eunuch knowingly. This made him smirk, “If you do this,” he pointed to the parchment. “If you get him to hand over his armies and join the North, it will be a great victory,” he paused. “But it will also carry danger.”

 

Sansa leaned in and Lord Varys continued, “It will be seen as good at first; as a way to weaken the Lannisters and help our Queen gain territory.” 

 

He stopped then, as if trying to discern more information from Sansa’s stony exterior before he spoke again. “What neither she nor Jon will realize, at the beginning, is how strong you will become. With a man like that at your side, and the kinds of men he commands, you are certainly preparing yourself for the...inevitable.”

 

“I don’t know what you mean?” Sansa replied innocently.

 

“Let’s not play this game, my Lady. While Lord Baelish may have trained you well, he seems to have neglected the art of lying.” They stared at one another for a moment, each sizing up their opponent.

 

“You would not have come to me at this time of night, sharing with me a plan that could be considered treasonous, if you had not wanted something important in return.” 

 

Sansa said nothing, but she didn’t need to. Lord Varys was perceptive to a fault, as a good master of whispers should be. “You know the moment she takes King’s Landing, she’ll come back for the North. She’ll demand you bend the knee and when you do not, she’ll march right back to claim your homeland in blood.”

 

“The thought had crossed my mind,” Sansa said, feeding Lord Varys what he so desired.

 

“So what are you really here for?” His eyes were piercing, and Sansa knew there was no way to get around the elephant in the room. 

 

“I want to know what kind of man he is,” she said simply.

 

He laughed at her words, “You want me to tell you the kind of man Sandor Clegane is? Oh dear, dear.”

 

“As the Master of Whispers I’m sure you must have kept tabs on him during your time in the capital,” Sansa tried to keep her desires controlled, not wanting him to understand how badly she needed this information.

 

“I know more than I care to when it comes to some,” he was toying with her slightly. Those beady little eyes of his daring her to tip her hand. “ In the case of Sandor Clegane, however, he is exactly how you see him, Lady Sansa. A fighter, a murderer, a commander. There’s not much more to it than that.”

 

“And his loyalties, his habits?” she asked.

 

A grin spread across Vary’s face when it finally clicked what she was after. There was something in him that wanted to pull it out of her, flaunt it in her face. Sansa was not above giving him this pleasure, if that meant getting what she wanted. 

 

“He is loyal, it’s a trait of his house. Almost to a fault I’d say,” he smirked, dragging his words out as he did so.

 

“To Cersei?” She asked a little too quickly for her own liking, playing ever so slightly into the eunuch's hands.

 

“No,” he answered. “His true loyalties lie elsewhere.” Varys allowed those words to settle a moment. “This,” he tapped the paper, “could persuade him.”

 

“And his habits?” she enquired.

 

At this the eunuch smiled broadly. “What exactly do you mean, my Lady?”

 

Their eyes were locked in a standoff as Lord Varys pressed her. He would get no greater pleasure than to hear the words pass her lips.

 

Gathering up all of her dignity, Sansa decided to feed his desires. “Does Clegane have bastards? Does he like to whore?”

 

Varys grinned pompously and settled back in his chair. 

 

“Those things could be very useful moving forward,” she added, trying to downplay her need to know, but failing miserably.

 

“He whores, though not to a fault and certainly not very often,” Varys began all the while smiling to himself. “He’s picky about women, but you know as well as I the kind of woman he desires.”

 

Sansa felt a wave rush over her body, what did he know of her interactions with Sandor Clegane in King’s Landing? Who else knew? Her eyes must have given her nervousness away for Varys giggled in that unsettling way eunuchs often did.

 

“No bastards that I’m aware of, and surely we’d know of them. The seed is strong in the Cleganes and no monstrous child has graced our lands yet,” he paused a moment as if considering something devious, before addressing her again. “One would almost think you’re in this for more than survival. A woman of your status never marries for love, she marries for what she can gain. However you, my Lady, I’m not so sure.”

 

“The inner workings of my heart are none of your concern, my Lord. I’ve asked for your advice and gotten what I’ve come for,” she snapped.

 

Lord Varys kept his eyes trained on her, “My Lady, even a good dog bites when pushed in a corner. You’d do well to remember that.”

 

“A wolf fears no dog, my Lord. Their domestication often makes their bark worse than their bite,” she was in no mood to continue their games. If anything, Sansa wanted to move into the next part of her plan.

 

At this the plump man chuckled, “Oh dear. It has been so many years since you last saw him, I dare say he has no idea what’s coming for him.”

 

At this Sansa smiled, rolled up the paper, and turned to exit his room. She would give Varys no more of what he wanted today.

 

“How will you do it?” Varys called to her before she reached the door. “He’s surrounded by an army and if you were to be caught sneaking behind enemy lines, Lady Sansa, it could be very bad for you.”

 

At this she merely grinned to herself, knowing she had both intrigued and baffled the eunuch. “I have my ways,” she said simply, unlatching the door and stepping through.

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: Duped

 

Sandor nestled into the dark corner of the commandeered inn and began his evening meal. Sandor liked the dark. There was an anonymity to it where a man could be alone even while surrounded by people. From this vantage point he could watch his men without being watched himself, and he far preferred that to being the center of attention. 

 

The rain hadn’t stopped for four days, leaving his army bogged down at the Twins. The Freys had been more than generous to offer their castle as accommodation, but Sandor knew what happened even if you broke bread there--and that left an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. Loyalty to the Lannisters didn’t automatically mean loyalty to the Hound; though his reputation was often enough to intimidate other lords into doing his bidding. Old Walder Frey was a lying, cheating, cunt with no love for anybody but himself. This meant Sandor had refused his offer in favor of commandeering this inn for him and his officers to rest. 

 

It was a comfortable place, his room had a nice feather bed for one, and Sandor didn’t mind the opportunity to rest his old bones. Fighting took its toll, it always did. So he was content to drink his ale in the semi-darkness, and listen to the murmur of his soldiers while they finished their dinner. 

 

Sandor had heard talk amongst the lads of the Dragon Queen’s army, and had paid special attention to the reports on her dragons. He had no love of the creatures, no matter whose side they were on. He particularly hated the idea of being on the receiving end of dragon fire. 

 

It unsettled him.

 

The whole war unsettled him. 

 

Cersei Lannister was living a lie if she thought she could meet the Targaryen bitch in a normal battle and win. Dragons didn’t show fear like men, and if they did, those scaly buggers certainly didn’t respond to it by running away. Fear drove everything on the battlefield, anyone who said otherwise was lying. Fear of retribution, fear of losing one’s family, fear of dying--there was no such thing as courage in the Hound’s eyes. Courage was merely fear dressed up to look like an expensive whore. It was a way to create prestige out of horror--to have something for the living to celebrate. Dragons didn’t care about prestige, or their families, and probably not even their lives. They were oversized, dangerous pets in Sandor’s view. Ones he had an ever waning interest in meeting.

 

The stories that had been coming back from the field were enough for any common soldier to know Cersei was on borrowed time. Whole battalions burned alive, the army of the dead destroyed at Winterfell. It was enough to drive a man to become a hermit. He had considered this prospect many times since the Battle of the Blackwater. Yet Sandor continued to fight on the side of the Lannisters, not out of loyalty, but because the devil you knew was better than the one you didn’t. 

 

Sandor had also heard about the Dragon Queen’s time in Essos, and it hadn’t been pretty either. Much like her father, she had a ruthless side that seemed to teeter on madness. Her exploits had the feeling of tyranny passed off as liberation. The Hound spat at this thought, knowing it was a dangerous road to travel--doing one thing and making it look to the outside world as something else. As the tip of a tyrant’s spear, Sandor knew better than anybody the lengths they were willing to go to for power.

 

An indifference had grown within him, one that stretched just to the bounds of his own skin. Sandor didn’t have traditional reasons for living, Bugger those, he thought cynically. He was a man who operated on a highly evolved survival instinct. Something inside him just wouldn’t allow the Stranger to take him, and would go to any length to keep it as such.

 

Shaking his head, Sandor took a long gulp of ale. Anyone who wanted to take the Iron Throne had to be crazy in his estimation. They certainly lacked a certain level of survival instinct. Man or woman, the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms lived on borrowed time, and being mentally unstable didn’t help matters much. If anything, it’s a fucking requirement, he smirked and brought a piece of chicken to his lips.

 

In the current fight for Westeros, both Queens were crazy in their own right. It wasn’t that he didn’t think a woman was capable of rule. In his experience they were just as ruthless, cunning, and flawed as any man. It was the fact that these two women were squaring off that made Sandor uneasy. But at least I have status with one of them , he thought bitterly. In the worst case scenario Sandor knew he could make his way across the Narrow Sea, start over, Perhaps even train dogs and live in peace . The very thought almost made him laugh outright, because it was so ridiculous. A fall back into flirting with the hermit lifestyle. But who knows?

 

A flagon of ale slammed down next to him on his lonely table, ripping the warrior from his thoughts. “Is this seat taken?” A woman’s voice came from behind him, with a tone he knew could only mean one thing.

 

Not looking up at all, Sandor rasped, “It is. Now leave the ale and get the fuck out of my sight, wench.”

 

This only seemed to encourage her, much to his dislike. “Mmmm, they told me you’d be surly.” Her hand went over his shoulder and down the front of his tunic before Sandor yanked it violently in front of him. Her skin became exposed from the speed of his grasp, it was white and clean-- Beautiful . Certainly not the skin of a two bit whore.  

 

“I said, get out of my face,” he warned, not wanting his silence interrupted by anyone, especially a woman. 

 

“I assure you I make very good company,” she persisted, though her arm was still under his control. His grip strengthening around her thin wrist.

 

She was only making him more angry, because he was sure once she saw him, she’d think twice about her offer. “You so sure you want a monster, woman?” Sandor turned his head to glimpse the woman’s face, but had no such luck. It was too dark in this corner where they were, and her cowl shrouded her head almost completely, save for the end of an auburn colored braid. 

 

It hung slightly outside of her cowl down the front of her cloak, appealingly.

 

Sandor felt that pang of want in this chest, his mind racing back unbid to the Battle of the Blackwater, to a very different red-head. That was many years ago, almost a lifetime.

 

Quickly turning his attention back to the woman behind him, Sandor could feel his annoyance mounting. His growl didn’t shake her at all, if anything her voice got deeper and more eager. “I asked for the biggest, meanest, most battle hardened bastard here and all of those men said he was sitting right here, in this corner.”

 

Exhaling deeply, Sandor thought through his next move. “I’m not payin’ if that’s what you’re askin’,” he snapped, unwilling to haggle over the price of dipping his cock into a whore’s cunt. Farmer’s daughters were easier to convince and cheaper by far, sometimes even free.

 

Pulling her arm out of his iron grip, the woman annoyingly took the seat next to him, her face still shrouded in darkness. “If you’re good enough,” she challenged, “then I’d be happy to pay you for your troubles.”

 

Taking a swig of the new flagon she had put down, Sandor almost spit it out in laughter. “A whore who pays men to fuck her? Doesn’t sound like a quality whore to me.”

 

At that she laughed as well, and there was something oddly familiar about it. Sandor focused his eyes on the woman, despite the sudden heaviness of his lids. He could see nothing other than the gentle roll of her breast under the cloak she still wore. It was dry, which meant she’d been in the inn for a while, though she couldn’t have been staying there. He and his troops had secured this place, which made her appearance here all the stranger. 

 

Sandor didn’t quite know what to make of that.

 

Her voice was soft, “I’m a courtesan on my way to Sunspear. My job is to entertain the high lords in any way they see fit. Be it through music, scholarly debate, or sex. But you see, I tire of high lords in their silks. Their bodies either too fat or too skinny, most of them old enough to be my grandfather.” 

 

The woman leaned into him, her hand coming to rest on his upper thigh. “In my private life, I search for strong, rugged men with something healthy between their legs.” Seeing he wasn’t pushing her away, she leaned over to whisper in his ear, “A man who can fuck me blind is what I want. I want to scream my pleasure to the heavens and watch my skin turn pink from the effort. There’s nothing else to do in this weather anyway, is there?”

 

Sandor swallowed hard, feeling the blood rushing to his cock. If she was anything she was persistent, and he was almost certain she was beautiful. My kind of beautiful . Her porcelain white skin, soft as a young deer hide. Her hair the color of the sunset. The gentle roll of a small but healthy breast, beautiful. It was not so often that a woman like that crossed his path, and even less that she wanted to sleep with him.

 

What would it hurt? he thought, And there is nothing else to do, probably for the next few days. He grinned in the candle light.

 

His silence seemed to be taken for acceptance, because she put her hand over his. “Come, finish your drink and I’ll take you to my room.”

 

Gulping down the final bit of his ale, Sandor stood up and felt woozy. He couldn’t remember how many he’d had, but not enough to feel like this. She was there to steady him though, taller than he expected, fitting neatly with her shoulder under his armpit. 

 

“This way, my room is in the back,” she whispered, guiding him to the servant’s area in the back. They walked through the kitchen, exited the door, and walked through the mud and the rain. In the distance, though his head was swimming, he could see a small building, a cottage. 

 

Something wasn’t right, but Sandor couldn’t seem to get his head to stop his feet from moving. It was as if he had no other choice but to follow this woman through the rain to the dark cabin at the edge of the property. Out of earshot and sight of his men, away from everything. Fuck.

 

Sandor’s legs felt weak and he swerved a bit in the mud. “Come on. We’re almost there,” the woman’s voice was so damned familiar, but everything was so jumbled in his head he could not quite place it. King’s Landing? he wondered, his mind taking him away from the dangers his gut spoke of.

 

“I can’t wait to have you all to myself,” she teased, urging him further.

 

It was the twinge in her voice that made him realize that something was really wrong, and that this odd feeling he had was not from too much ale, but from drinking the wrong ale. Sandor tried to push her away, but only found himself falling to the ground. The water was cold, the mud thick on his trousers. 

 

A wave of helplessness overtook him, his body no longer his own.

 

“What the fuck have you done?” he said, though weaker than he would have liked. 

 

Sandor tried to hit out at her, balling up his fist and swinging sloppily. He missed terribly only falling chest first into the deep mud. A roar escaped his lips, but he was sure it was not loud enough for any of his men to hear. The rain struck the forest around them with such voracity, that it was nearly deafening.

 

His vision was swimming, everything was slowly going black.  I’ve been duped, was the last thing he thought before the darkness overtook him.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Traitors

 

As he slowly opened his eyes, the first thing Sandor registered was his head; it felt like it was exploding out of his skull. His return to consciousness was a painful, wretched experience. Something akin to getting kicked by a horse after drinking yourself into a stupor.  

 

What in the bloody seven hells happened? Sandor struggled to put the pieces together. Suddenly, even painfully, the events of the evening came flooding back to him. There were just flashes at first; the inn, the woman, her trickery. 

 

Where’s my sword? Sandor was bound to the bloody thing. It was an extension of himself and he was loath to have it stolen from him, especially given the circumstances. 

 

It won’t take me long to track the wench on her way to Sunspear, then I’ll make her squeal. Rough up that pristine skin of hers. Not one to be taken a fool, the Hound would need to make an example out of her, show that a moment of weakness could be corrected with a few well placed smacks. She had unwittingly found his soft spot. The wench was a memory of a woman he knew he could never have, but pined after like a green boy all the same. A pretty, red-headed, expensive whore was still a poor substitute for her, but Sandor was good at using his imagination when the need took him.

 

Unfortunately, it seemed as though he would not be so lucky tonight. He moaned, his head still pounding. As the room came into view, Sandor felt relief knowing she had not dumped him out in a pigsty somewhere in the rain and cold. The cottage, which he found himself in, had a comfortable feather bed and a well tended fire crackled. It warmed the room against the rain and wind. By all accounts it was cozy here, especially if one were to leave out the part about how he came to be here. There was no way to know how long he’d been out, but the rain still hit the windows with force; the black of night still visible from where he lay.

 

Pulling his legs up, Sandor realized things were not as easy as he thought. A rope pulled at his ankles, his legs were spread such that each limb was tied firmly and neatly to the bed posts. His arms were at his sides; wrists tied to the bed frame so that he had a natural, comfortable position on the bed. For a woman who wanted to rob him, she had taken some care for his comfort. That did little to stem his rising anger.

 

“Fuck!” Sandor exhaled angrily, realizing that the night might not be completely over, he felt ready to kill anybody who fucked with him despite his captivity. He also felt like a bloody idiot, who probably deserved whatever happened next. Sandor pulled with his legs and arms, but knew there was little chance of getting out. Even a man of his size would need space to gather the strength to rip himself from these restraints, and the bed conveniently prevented that.

 

Lifting his head, Sandor took stock of his condition. Well my gold and sword are fucking gone, he loathed the idea of being robbed. It angered him greatly, mostly because he had been so stupid. The one night I listen to my cock and this is where it gets me! Sandor rolled his eyes in frustration, feeling his rage building.

 

He was basically naked, his small clothes barely covering what they should, even in the best of times. The bit of black cotton was low on his waist, and covered to just under his bum. The lacing was loose and only just keeping all his bits in place. He hated the long double trousers most men wore and preferred the feel of his tight leather pants on his legs.

 

“Ahh, I see you’re awake.” Sandor’s blood boiled, for it was the voice of the tavern wench who had so easily duped him. She was behind the headboard and he couldn’t move his head in the right position to see her face. This angered him all the more.

 

“What kind of sick shit are you into?” He sneered, “Untie me and give me my things. I’ll even give you a day’s head start.”

 

“Threatening me, even in such a state?” He could hear her chuckle softly, “Oh, I think you’d rather I be nice to you Clegane, given the predicament you currently find yourself in,” she used his name, which perked Sandor’s ears up. “The ropes are merely a formality—for now.” There was something in her voice that made it hard for Sandor to know if she meant to do it again under different circumstances or to take the restraints away. Surely she wanted to keep it ambiguous.

 

She knows who I am, Sandor knew instantly this meeting had been anything but chance. His gut had, of course, been telling him that the whole time, yet he had chosen to ignore it. Who did I kill? Her husband? Her son? Bloody vengeful cunt! The Hound’s body count was so high, there was no telling why a woman would want to drug and torture him. All he could do was lie there helpless and know that she probably had more than one good reason to hate him.

 

The wench didn’t answer him immediately, taking her time to enjoy the power she had over him. He could feel his blood coursing even more through his veins. When she finally spoke, her voice was low and gravelly—a wholly unexpected tone for Sandor. “And if I may say, you look much more imposing without the burden of your clothes.”

 

It was an edge in her voice that gave her away, something he had known so well once, but had not heard in many years. Sandor felt his muscles tense at the thought of who it could be. It can’t be, not her, he thought.  His chest rumbled at the idea that, after all these years, they had again crossed paths--and that fate had not been responsible for it—it had been her choice.

 

Inhaling deeply, Sandor prepared himself for who he might see, hoping it would be anyone else but her. When she stepped into the light, no amount of preparation could have stopped her from stealing his breath away. Sansa’s damp auburn locks flowed over her shoulders, her white tunic still wet from the rain. An underbust black corset kept her waist shapely, leading into black leather riding pants. She was no longer a girl, had clearly not been for quite some time. More beautiful than ever, he thought, catching himself from saying it outloud. 

 

His appreciation for her form and beauty didn’t quash the anger and humiliation now reaching a boiling point in his chest. 

 

Just the idea that he had fallen for her, of all women, only fueled his bellicose temperament.

 

“Bloody Sansa Stark,” he spat, “if you’re gonna take your revenge on me then you’d better get on with it. Never been raped before. Don’t be gentle either, girl, I’ll take none of your Mother’s mercies.”

 

Sandor wore a feral grin on his face, made even more so by his disfigurement. He knew what had happened to her in Winterfell; how she’d been sold off to Bolton’s sadistic bastard. As such, the words he chose had not been by accident. Sandor wanted to rile her up. It was psychological warfare now and all he needed was for her to slip up so that he could escape.

 

Instead, her perfect face cracked an uneven smirk at his words, “I didn’t know you had a sense of humor, Clegane. I’ll have to remember that for next time. How is that said though? You can’t rape the willing?” Her eyes traveled down to the where his cock was slowly escaping from its flimsy cloth prison. Just the thought of her naked was enough to start the rush of blood between his legs, it always had been. Before it had shamed him, now he was surprised by the heavy interest she was giving his most valued part.

 

“Had you wanted a peep show, girl, you had only but to ask. I guess Bolton’s bastard left you hungry for more. Believe my words when I say I’d give it to you in that little cunt of yours until you couldn’t take it anymore. Then I’d pleasure that sweet little arse until you go hoarse from the screamin’.” Sandor watched her face carefully, detecting only a quick flash of anger and outrage, before she recovered a more neutral expression. He had hit a nerve and hoped to use that to fanagle his freedom. 

 

What Sandor couldn’t deny was that she was different than before. He could see that in the way she moved, how she spoke, and how her eyes raked over his soldier's body with more than a passing interest. Sansa was a woman now and with that came certain desires he knew he could fulfill better than any soft cock lord in their jewels and their silks. That part of her act in the inn had not been a lie. She had certainly drawn from the possible suitors around her, young men with little experience and old men who had sworn their swords to her grandfather. It didn’t take a fool to know that, especially after the Battle of the Long Night. Sandor had already heard many harrowing tales. Many good men and lords had died. Sandor snorted, the idea of being a stud for a high-born lady not escaping his dark sense of humor. It only took wiping out all the worthy suitors of the North to get me here, he didn’t hide his smile and was sure she was wondering what he was thinking.

 

If she had truly been searching for a man, Sansa had not needed to capture him by nefarious means. The Little Bird stole my heart a long time ago . He had  never forgiven her for that, for making him weak in the knees as she did. Something about her made him softer and more feeling that he was used to. Without knowing, their short time together in King’s Landing had changed him fundamentally--though he didn’t dare show it. Any point of weakness was one for the Lannisters, or his other various enemies, to exploit.  

 

That soft spot he had for her, however, was being tested as he lay there helpless in front of her. Sandor couldn’t let it stand. 

 

“Untie me,” he ordered, “and I promise we can pick-up right where we left off at the inn.”  Sandor did his best to not sound too threatening, he even chuckled darkly as he said it. His looks were not in his favor when promising a woman who had tricked, drugged, and tied him up, that he wasn’t going to hurt her. With Sansa though, he knew he could never really hurt her. Even as angry as he felt, there was something in him that could do no harm to the girl. If anything I’d follow through on his threat to give her a night to remember. Fill her sweet little cunt in a way it had never been before. This line of thinking was not helping his cock, however, the traitorous thing growing rapidly under her stare.

 

She paused too long for Sandor’s liking as she considered something, then pulled up a chair and sat next to the bed. “A tempting offer, but we need to talk business before pleasure. Aside from that, you haven’t instilled a sense of trust that would lead me to untie you.”

 

She’s shrewd, Sandor realized. The girl she had been, was gone. That’s what the real world does, kills the good in you, makes you suspicious. I wouldn’t trust me either.  

 

Now, Sandor couldn’t be sure who was staring back at him, with her curious blue eyes. The woman in front of him had infiltrated his camp and was holding him prisoner under the noses of his men. It was bold. Vastly different from the young girl he had known in the capitol, and yet, somehow, it had been there all along. She had just needed time to grow; to become a wolf. The mere thought of her tying him to this bed was enough to bring his erection to a nearly complete state. Its large, rounded head peeking up from beneath the waistline of his underwear--greeting the warm air of the cottage. Her eyes flickered to it and stayed a while. 

 

He wasn’t angry if truth be told, he was just upset that he’d been so easily outwitted by the woman he loved.

 

It was extremely uncomfortable to be so exposed in front of her. His cock was like a bloody weather vein, telling her the true pulsing of his heart. It would be difficult to lie to her, seeing as his most prized possession had a mind of its own. But she must have known that, for she smiled to herself in a satisfied way, as if she knew something he didn’t.

 

“Business?” he asked, “I’m in no position to negotiate treaties, girl. We’re not in Dorne where all their business is handled in a bloody whore house.” Sandor spat, “Take that pretty arse of yours to King’s Landing if you want that. They’ll welcome you with open arms I’m sure.” He smirked, wondering what would happen next. He couldn’t tell if she liked him or hated him; her face was a well constructed wall, only allowing certain emotions to show while shielding the rest.

 

“I don’t want peace, Clegane. I want you.” She waited to see if she could catch an emotion rising unbid from his face, but she could not. While he had certainly not expected that to come out of her mouth, Sandor was seasoned enough to know that he should not give away more than his cock already was. Bloody bastard of a traitor!

 

The Hound spat out a condescending laugh, “I’m not some fucking pet you can just take home. I’m not gonna eat out of your hand and do your bidding like a good boy.”

 

At that she stood and paced the room, her leather riding pants hugging that sweet arse of hers so tightly, Sandor couldn’t help but think of what it might look like without her clothing. The thought of her straddling him backwards, her hands gripping him above the knees, her backside moving back and forth over his cock while she chased her pleasure. It’d be enough to make a man go insane. 

 

“What does Cersei give you to inspire such loyalty? Money, lands?” It was a serious question, and Sandor was surprised the conversation would take such a turn. It was far from an interrogation for information, it confused him.

 

He merely stared back at her, not wanting to answer. What would it matter if she knew? And why was she here to begin with? Perhaps his silence would get more of a rise out of her than his words.

 

“I asked you a question,” she rasped threateningly. 

 

She looked down at his cock again, now well outside of his waistband and stretching up toward his belly button, made all the harder by her harsh tones. Part of him liked her strictness, her heavy hand. Under normal circumstances a little bondage was something to be enjoyed, but this was no normal situation. As it was, part of him hated being helpless in front of her. It was the perfect mixture to make him go bloody wild on top of her. Sandor loved the tension, half the fun was the game and his little bird was playing it well. 

 

Sansa’s eyes flickered back to his own, “It seems you enjoy a firm word,” she took the liberty of dragging her nails up his thigh, ending at his belly button--less than an inch from the tip of his cock. “What about a gentle one?”

 

Leaning in, Sansa made sure her face was mere inches from his own. She smelled sweet, like she had in King’s Landing. “If you think Cersei Lannister will win this war you’re wrong. As for men in your position, the Dragon Queen is not very sympathetic to those who would fight against her, I’ve seen it with my own eyes.”

 

“I bet she loves traitors even more,” Sandor whispered almost mockingly. He knew now what she would ask him, but she was giving off two very different signals. One that told of an unbridled desire and the other that wanted something for political gain. He knew he needed to be cautious.What Sansa was doing would be considered treasonous in any court on Westeros, Sandor could smell it in the air, feel it in the mood of the room. If I turn tail I would not be trusted. Yet Sansa is going against her Queen, on the side of the Targaryans but making her own dealings. It was a dangerous game she was playing.

 

At this she chuckled, affirming that he was on the right track. Sandor saw a flush rise in her neck that he had not seen before, a further sign that he had hit the nail on the head. Affectionately, Sansa went to move some of the hair from his face, her fingers tracing over his scars. Sandor pulled his head away as best he could, he had never liked anybody to touch him there, but she persisted. 

 

“Do they hurt? Or is it my touch you despise so much?” She asked somewhat absentmindedly as she took in his face. 

 

“They don’t hurt, and you’d do well to keep your hands to yourself. Even a trained dog will bite,” Sandor warned, finding discomfort with her closeness. He didn’t know what to make of it; what she was after and that made him unwilling to play her games. Sandor had long dreamed of her touching him like this; wanked to it for certain. But in this moment, he needed to know what she was after, plain and simple. No more of this bloody beating around the bush nonsense!

 

“Your manhood would say otherwise,” Sansa lifted an eyebrow, rather satisfied with herself. It was a very different kind of interrogation than what he was used to. Sandor had been caught and beaten before. He was prepared for such scenarios, but not for this. He couldn’t find fault with her tactic though, no matter what he was saying, his cock would always be an indicator of his true feelings.

 

“Seems there’s more than one fucking traitor in this room,” lifting an eyebrow, Sandor could see he had driven the message home. He wasn’t about to make a deal with her before knowing what was up her sleeve. For as much as he felt for Sansa, Sandor’s survival instinct still trumped all other emotions.

 

“Now don’t play with me, girl. Tell it straight,” the Hound was completely calm when he spoke. His anger extinguishing, Sandor exhaled deeply. “Don’t gawk at me like I’m some piece of bloody meat. Cut me loose.”

 

Their eyes met, and for the first time that night, Sandor knew exactly what she was thinking.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: Trust

 

For the first time in many years, Sansa looked deep into Sandor Clegane’s eyes. They were the color of the most brilliant anthracite, giving them a shiny appearance in the dim light of the cottage. Truly beautiful, she thought, knowing she had met her match. Had it not been these same eyes that had promised to keep me safe all those years ago? My how things have changed.

 

The Hound was not crafty in the way of Lord Baelish, nor was he backstabbing like Cersei. Sansa would have been ready for that, known what to do when faced with such motivations. Sandor was different. He was his own man, interested in survival and nothing more. There would be no placating him with lands, no bribing him with frivolous things such as money. It’s hard to entice a man who wants nothing. Sansa knew this instinctively. She also knew that every man wanted something. If Lord Baelish had taught her anything it was that.

 

He’s right though, we’ll never get anything done this way .

 

Sansa took in Sandor’s perfect form one last time. She had not considered what years of fighting and war could do to a body, but she was certainly appreciative. Sandor was the mould that every man would want to be cut from. He’s so strong, lean and, she smirked, well proportioned all over. Her eyes went again to his belly button, his manhood stretching proudly toward her, practically begging for her touch.

 

He has a feral, deadly beauty . So different from what would be considered traditional and yet…” her thoughts trailed off. 

 

Chuckling lightly to herself, Sansa had never intended to relieve him of his clothing. It had merely been a way of keeping him from catching his death; a result of overestimating the sleeping agent she had put in his ale. Originally she had hoped he would fall once inside the cottage, away from the view of his men. Of course this had not been her luck. He’d pushed her away and stumbled into the mud soaking himself in the cold northern rain. Her eyes flickered to where his clothing was drying carefully next to the fire. 

 

Amazing what a couple of stable hands will do for money, she thought. It had been pure luck that a couple of them had been sitting in the barn, playing cards to sit out the storm. For the promise of coin they had asked no questions, simply dragged the commander of an occupying army up a huge flight of stairs and helped her undress him. True patriots, Sansa chuckled to herself.

 

It makes for a pleasant distraction, she mused, finding it good that she had gotten a proper look at all Clegane had to offer. Her mind still playing with the idea of him agreeing to her traitorous plan. A plan that involved much more than simple formalities.

 

Her eyes went to the ropes holding the warrior in place. It had been many years since she had seen Clegane, or even spoken to him. Tying him up had been a measure for her own safety.  

 

Their last private encounter had been one she would not soon forget. He had held a blade to her throat and demanded a song, his breath smelling of alcohol, his body shaking in fear. The night of the burning of the Blackwater. She had rejected his plea to take her away from the castle. He’d slinked off, and Sansa had been sure he would turn craven and run off. Instead, he had distinguished himself in battle. Some said he fought as if he had nothing to lose. A crazy man, a man with no fear of the Stranger.

 

Sansa had fled the city soon after the battle, having never spoken with him again. It was a regret she carried with her, not having the opportunity to tell him why she did not go with him that night. I was young, afraid, and I already had another plan in place. That much he had probably already gathered, to escape the Red Keep one needed a plan and help.

 

The bed was pushed against the wall so that it  fit in one of the corners of the room. As such, Sansa could not simply walk around and cut all his limbs free. Pulling a knife from her boot, she considered her options. Tying him up had been easier and far less exciting, as the Hound had been unconscious. Now, he was very much aware of her. As a matter of fact, his eyes had not left her since her true identity had been revealed.

 

Perhaps it’s not so silly to think I could persuade him. 

 

Moving to the foot of the bed first, Sansa freed his feet. They were easily accessible, the footboard of the large feather bed was much lower than the headboard and not pressed against a wall. His hands, however, would be more difficult. Clegane was perfectly calm, but she could see how his eyes studied her every movement with the precision of a true swordsman. If he had been concerned about her nicking him by accident, he did not show it. He was the picture of calm, his breathing steady. 

 

Not upset that she would have to get closer to her captive, Sansa went to straddle the warrior. Crawling on the bed and throwing her right knee over his massive torso, a knowing smirk crossed his face as she did so. It seemed she was incapable of hiding her attraction to him, or the Hound had extraordinarily good senses. She suspected the latter, but there was nothing she could do to stem her feelings especially now that they were physically far too close. Sansa leaned over him so as to cut his left hand free. Her hair fell over her shoulders and pooled onto his exposed belly. She could feel a flush rise in her chest despite herself. 

 

Clearing her throat, Sansa moved on carefully to his right hand.  

 

Once free, Sansa could hear the rustle of the sheets, feel the muscles in Sandor’s abs tense. His chest rose so quickly from the bed she had naught the time to blink. Gasping in surprise, Sansa dropped her knife on the mattress as he wrapped one arm around her lower back, and dug the other into her hair. Her hands went to his able shoulders in order to stabilize herself. At least I didn’t shriek like a little girl, Sansa thought in relief.

 

It was clear by the way he gripped her, one hand spread across her hip and the other poised to control her head, that the Hound knew his way around women. The pressure of his fingertips on her bum was assertive, but teasing. His other arm snaked around her body such that he could keep her firmly in place; the palm of his meaty hand coming to rest at the back of her head. There was tension in the air, a thin line between anger and untamed sexual desire. 

 

The only sound Sansa could hear in the dark room was the air rushing from her lungs. A twinge of fear punctuating the overwhelming feelings of lust building within her. She fought to regain her composure, knowing that the mask of ice and indifference she usually wore would protect her. She hoped it would stop her from giving more away to the Hound than she already had.

 

Despite her best efforts, Sansa’s skin prickled at the thought of what he might do next, the feeling of his manhood against her leather riding pants making her core throb uncontrollably

 

Clegane inhaled her scent without moving, true to his namesake. It was as if he could feel the pheromones roll off of her. As if her smell was all he needed to know how badly she wanted him. The Hound smirked knowingly, “Didn’t you say business before pleasure?” he whispered into her neck almost tauntingly. She swallowed hard at his words.

 

He suddenly pushed her leg to the side and stood  from the bed. It seems I’m not the only one who likes to play games, she thought. It surprised Sansa that he had not given into his baser desires, as she would not have pushed him away. She was, however, grateful for his resolve. There were many things to discuss tonight, and she had not risked her life for the frivolity of a sexual tryst. 

 

Sansa’s eyes moved to observe Clegane as he walked around the room. His underwear hung loose on his hips, creeping down to expose the upper cleft of his bum. He flexed his hands and moved his legs and shoulders around, regaining his balance. His muscles bulged as they slid under his skin, attentive to his every command. Sansa wondered if he was moving in such an enticing way because she was watching. She quickly shook such childish thoughts from her head. 

 

Stopping at a pitcher of wine, Clegane took it, then paused before pouring. “That same shite isn’t in here, is it?” he asked, a wry grin on his face as if he had enjoyed it the first time.

 

Sansa shook her head. He’s right to be cautious.

 

He drank deep and smacked his lips together as if refreshed. Walking over to his clothing Clegane felt them all to see if they were dry. Not satisfied with their state, Sansa watched him turn his massive back to her and lace  his underwear properly. I guess we’ll continue our conversation semi-clothed, she smirked. 

 

After an extended silence, he spoke. “What do you want from me? It can’t just be my pretty face and the pleasure of my company.”

 

Sansa stood from her position on the bed, taking a deep breath to calm her nerves. The Hound had always unsettled her, just not always for the same reasons. “The Battle of the Long Night…” she trailed off a moment, her voice filled with emotion she did not want to show. “We withstood the army of the dead, but only at great cost.”

 

Seeing that he was listening, Sansa took a moment then continued. “Many Northmen were lost, and now the Dragon Queen takes some of them, with her own Unsullied, and they march South.” She walked toward him, her eyes were pleading though she did not want them to be. “Alone, I cannot stand against her. I need you by my side. Your armies, your tactical mind...I need…”

 

He was uncomfortable with this line of discussion, she could see it in how he bristled at her words. “She’s a tyrant the same as your Queen,” Sansa interjected. “I have no interest in serving a tyrant, no matter what Jon says.”

 

“According to the law, doesn’t he have more claim to the North than any Stark alive? Bastard or not, seems our laws favor male heirs,” Sandor said. He was testing her, she could see it. He was not in the wrong to do so, it would be ludicrous to align with the wrong person.

 

A twinge of guilt filled her before she spoke, knowing Jon did not want this secret out. “He has more claim to the Iron Throne than he does to the North. His father is Rhegar Targaryan, his mother, my aunt.”

 

The Hound snorted and let out a whistle, “Well ain’t that shit.” He ran his fingers through his beard a moment and walked around the room as if he was thinking about something. “And the Dragon bitch knows this? Can’t imagine she’d be pleased.”

 

“She knows,” Sansa confirmed. “It could be his death warrant…”

 

“Shed no tears for the boy,” Sandor cut her off, noticing her voice becoming emotional. “He’s your blood, but he’s also a Targarian. And that makes him dangerous.” Their eyes met and she knew he was right. She could not save everybody and Jon was grown; she hoped he knew what he was doing. She hoped he would see his loyalty was folly, and take the crown for himself. 

 

Sandor crossed his arms over his chest, and cocked his head to the side. “You want me to convince my officers to switch sides?” Sansa nodded in confirmation.  

 

“Cersei is a bitch, but she pays, she keeps their families safe. If you ask me, it sounds like we’d only be bouncing from one crazy queen to another. The Iron Throne…”

 

“Is not of interest to me obviously,” Sansa cut him off harshly. “I’ve seen what it does to people, how it blinds people to their own darkness, kills them. I want only what’s mine; what rightfully belongs to me. I want to be the Queen of the North and nothing more.”

 

He laughed condescendingly, “No matter who wins the war now, they’ll just march back and try to take the North. Don’t count your precious Jon out of that mix either. Seems to me like we’d just be prolonging an inevitable death, not escaping it.”

 

“I’d rather die the Queen of the North than the servant of a tyrant.” When he shook his head and turned Sansa advanced on him, reaching out to grab Sandor’s arm. “I don’t expect you to just change sides out of the goodness of your heart.”

 

Sandor turned, their bodies very close. “There are many minor lordships to be given to your officers, their men can have land. We need people in the North to farm, hunt...start over. They’ll have a plot of land for their families and then some--of that you can be sure.”

 

He was listening, so she pressed on. “As for you. It’s not that I just want to give you a cabinet post, I want…” she found it hard to say the words, though she had practiced them many times, “...I need a man like you not just by my side, but as the Lord of Winterfell. As my consort and closest advisor.”

 

With that she pulled out some papers from the front of her riding pants. They had been hidden there so as to not be stolen or lost. She lifted the parchment pieces between them. Sandor’s eyes never left hers as he took the documents from her hand. He was searching her eyes for something, and Sansa was doing her best to show him what she wanted.

 

“And here I thought you were the romantic type,” he teased turning so he could better look at the documents. Sansa snorted in frustration at his continued japes. There was nothing romantic about being a high-born lady, she had figured that out long ago.The marriage contracts were meant to confirm her intentions, to promise him and his army land and freedom in the North. It was a pact, and alliance.

 

He began to read the contract in the firelight, taking some steps away from her and pacing the room. She was relieved that they were no longer so close, the surprising depth of her attraction to him was fogging her mind. She had remained firm though. She knew her plan was good if he were to simply listen.

 

“Who knows about this other than me?” he asked out of the blue, his tone troubled. 

 

“The Maester who signed it.” Sansa answered, but could not lie to him about the other. “And Lord Varys.” 

 

At that he rolled his eyes, “And you trust him to keep this secret?”

 

“I do,” she answered, her voice growing in the authoritative strength she knew she had within her, “but it doesn’t matter so much anymore. I received news from Tyrion right before I left Winterfell. Lord Varys was murdered by dragon fire. No trial, no charges, only the notion that he might have been plotting against The Dragon Queen.” Sensing his growing unease, she continued. “But he said nothing, Tyrion would have mentioned it. It went with him to the grave.”

 

“Good,” Sandor answered throwing the marriage contracts into the fire.

 

“What are you doing? Those were meant to be your insurance. My promise to follow through on my words…” Sansa lunged toward the fire in vain, completely taken aback by his actions.

 

Sandor approached her and threaded his fingers in her hair, bringing her face to look at his own. “Bloody things will get us both killed. Look at me,” he ordered.

 

She did, her hands reflexively coming to his chest. His eyes were stormy, tumultuous and full of fire--though she knew he loathed it. “There was a time when you couldn’t look upon my face, your disgust was too strong. What changed?”

 

It was as if she were mesmerized by him, Sansa tried to utter words but found she could not. Swallowing hard, she tried again, “I grew up.” She answered, “I realized that of all the men in my life, you were the only one that treated me with respect. And aside from that I…, I…” She could not say what she wanted to say. That she had often thought about him at night, that her body had yearned for him. That she had promised herself to seek him out if she survived the Long Night, swore never to lose him again.

 

She didn’t need to, he brought his lips to hers with a hunger to match her own. She sighed, her arms naturally coming around his strong body, gripping him tightly to her. 

 

It felt right, it was right. 

 

His beard rubbing against her soft face, his lips and tongue aggressively seeking  her mouth. Sansa was far from the shy girl she had once been. Smirking into his lips, she moved her hand to what she wanted, bringing it over the lacing of his underwear. He was getting hard again, and it was thrilling. Sandor was grunting at her touch, his lips moving to her neck, nipping at her shoulder. By the gods he’s delicious, Sansa could hear herself think. To be in the arms of a proper man was indescribable, even for the bards who wrote her childhood fairytales.

 

A rough pounding on the door, shook them from their moment. Their eyes met and Sansa knew what to do. She moved quickly and silently to the bed, pulling her tunic over her shoulders and pulling the sheets up-- giving the appearance of nakedness. Unlacing his small clothes, so as to appear that they had been haphazardly thrown on, the Hound threw the door open.

 

“What?” His voice was full of anger, as if he’d been disturbed from his sexual tryst. 

 

Sansa’s eye was trained on the door, her hair obscuring her face. It was a page, they’d taken too much time. She breathed a sigh of relief though, fearing it would be several officers of his unit instead of the skinny lad that stood at the door. 

 

“You disappeared, my Lord. Heard you picked up a strumpet and moved  here rather drunk. It’s near morning…it’s been a long….” the young lad wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, more just repeating what had been told to him. His fear of Sandor was palatable. 

 

“Save your worry for battle, boy. To think a bloody woman a threat; you gonna hold my cock next when I take a piss?” Sandor’s voice had turned to that condescending tone she knew so well. Sansa herself had been on the receiving end of his pointed tongue, but he had to allay any fears his officers might have.

 

The boy studdered at the door, realizing that it perhaps had been a stupid concern. Sansa moaned gently, as if to call the Hound back to bed.

 

“And I’m not done yet, she’s still wet and full of energy…” he rasped in his usual angry tone, threatening retribution for pulling him from what he wanted.

 

“A rider from King’s Landing has come, my Lord. It’s important ...I was told to ...”

 

She saw Sandor look back at her, then turn back to the boy and nod. “I’ll be there in a minute. Scram!” 

 

Once the door was shut, Sandor rested his arm on it and exhaled. Then he turned to her, “You have to leave. If I can convince my officers, how are we to do this efficiently?”

 

She was shocked at how simple the whole exchange had been. Sansa had convinced herself that he would push her hard, belittle her, fight against her will. The Hound had done none of those things. He had simply looked into her eyes and knew she spoke the truth. Perhaps he really can smell lies.

 

“Well need to make your defeat look legitimate. Meet me at the White Knife. It will get you and your armies off the King’s Road and out of the path of the dragons.” Sansa felt a thrill running through her body, excitement that her plan might actually come together.

 

“If I can convince them, we’ll be there,” Sandor confirmed, pulling on his damp clothing though not all that happy about it.

 

“And if you can’t convince them?” she asked, not hiding the worry in her voice.

 

“Then we’ve dug our own graves, me and my men,” he answered evenly. As if it were just standard fare for a soldier. A bleak life, Sansa thought.

 

There was a long silence as Sansa pulled her cloak on. She hoped very much nothing would come between them, but then again, many things were out of her control. Walking down the stairs of the cottage quietly they came out of the door together. The rain had stopped, At least one good thing , she realized.

 

Their eyes met one last time. Sansa made a move to kiss him but Sandor’s hand stopped her, “Rule one, I never kiss a bloody whore. Don’t know where their mouth has been.” Then he grinned broadly, knowing he’d shocked her.

 

Sansa felt the blush rise in her cheeks. She knew naught of men’s dealings with whores, and had nearly forgotten she had played as one. Nodding so as to keep up their charade, she turned to her horse. There was much to prepare, and much to do before they could be free. She only hoped that now it would all work out.

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: Defeat

 

“Ohi, I bet I can get that bastard to bark like a dog!” 

 

“And I bet I can get him to fuck a bitch!” 

 

The two men fought back and forth, much to Sandor’s morbid delight. He’d not had the luck to be captured by a son of a high-born northern lord. As usual his luck always had a downside, two bloody foot soldiers with the mark of the direwolf on their tunics in this instance. 

 

Better than nothing, he had thought while he surrendered to the idiots. Now Sandor was seriously regretting his decision, finding gutting them a much more enticing solution to his current problem. 

 

Deep down he knew it was too late to really do anything, having allowed himself to be captured purely on the basis of a promise. Words said in the dark of night from a woman who had changed so much since he had seen her last, it had been impossible to see the youthful girl he had once known. A woman with a strength born of hardship, Sandor had thought in the days since their meeting. 

 

Every strong woman had cowered from something at least once in her life, Sandor knew this better than most. That’s how mental strength comes about, right? Had he not once feared his brother to the point of hiding in his own home? Had he not become the towering monster of a man that he now was because of this?

 

No matter how big and mean he was, at this moment, Sandor was woefully at the mercy of a couple of simpletons with no more than four teeth between them. He was on is knees in the dirt. The weight of his armor feeling all the more heavy the longer he knelt by the side of the damn road. His hands were bound behind his back, a makeshift dog collar around his neck with a rope for a leash. Yes, the two cunts in front of him had found it fit to enslave him as they would his namesake. 

 

“Put that bloody thing down before you poke your eye out!” Sandor barked as the two men marveled at his sword. They’d probably never seen anything so shiny in all their sad little lives. The last thing he needed was a couple of idiot peasants making a muck of his most prized possession. He was bound to the bloody thing after all.

 

The particularly ugly one came over to Sandor and punched him in the face. Outweighing the man by at least half, and standing surely a full head and shoulders taller, the Hound didn’t even give him the dignity of making it look like it had hurt at all. “What’re ya gonna do next?” he spat, “Give me a fucking handjob? Your fist on my cheek feels like I’m being caressed by a damn woman!”

 

Sandor was rewarded with the butt of a spear to the back of his head, which did elicit the reaction both men wanted. “Fuck,” he spat, struggling to keep his balance on his knees. That had been painful, a lump was already forming.

 

If he had to endure this too much longer, he was going to rip himself from his restraints and shove one of their heads up the other’s arse. It only seemed a fitting death for a pair such as that. 

 

“Bark you whoreson!” Ordered the younger one, yanking on Sandor’s leash. 

 

Sandor was seething by this point, every muscle in his body was tense with anger and the need for revenge. Pulling his neck quickly in one direction he nearly succeeded in pulling the kid to the ground. That gave him a satisfied smile.

 

“You think you’re bloody funny?” Asked the ugly one. “Well I’ll show you funny…”

 

“No you will not,” came an all too familiar voice from behind the two men. Sandor had to merely shift his eyes to see who it was. 

 

Sansa had arrived on a dappled grey mare with her sworn sword and some other officers in tow. Brienne of Tarth? Better a woman protecting her than some young pup . Sandor suppressed a grin. He was a jealous man by nature, and would not have stood for some young knight to be constantly in her presence. 

 

He’d lived that once before, knew the kind of torture it was to a red blooded man.

 

Both of Sandor’s captors were flabbergasted that they were actually in her presence; they were deciding whether they should bow or get on a knee. Confused in their own idiotic way the pair ended up doing something in the middle. Eitherway, it was clear the Lady of the North was by no means impressed.

 

“Get that ridiculous thing off of him this instant,” she ordered, her tone leaving no room to argue.

 

“But we was just…” started the ugly one.

 

The look Sansa gave he was priceless, as if she’d rip him limb from limb if he continued speaking. “You have both done me a great debt, and you shall get your rewards. Now he is my prisoner, and you will not touch a hair on his head.”

 

“Uhh…thank you m’Lady, thank you.” Both men seemed thrilled at the idea of getting some kind of reward.

 

Sansa turned her attention to him, her blue eyes sparkling brightly in the sunlight. When she had come to him at the Twins, she had been unsure, almost desperate. Her back had been against a wall. Sansa had been holding things from him, doing her best to remain aloof. Yet all it had taken was her kiss, the way she had quivered in his arms to make Sandor realize what her true intentions were. True, she had told him of her offer of marriage, combining their forces and their houses to rebuild her homeland. Yet, It was one thing to enter into an agreement with terms, and another to desire it so deeply that your body reacted as viscerally as hers. Those were the things you couldn’t fake and that was what had convinced him of her intentions. 

 

As she dismounted, Sandor couldn’t help but watch the way in which her legs moved. It made him want to be that horse, made him desire her squeezing him between her thighs just as tightly. The thump of his cock on his codpiece was even more an indication of how he felt about this moment, the moment when they would see one another after their night of negotiations at the inn. 

 

Walking over to where he knelt Sansa gripped him by the chin and pulled his face so that they were nearly nose to nose. Sandor looked her straight in the eye, endless blue pools staring back at him. He wished he could devine what she was thinking, knowing she was purposely holding back from him. A show for her men. The cold Lady of Winterfell staring the big bad Hound down. 

 

Their mouths were so close, Sandor thought for a brief moment that she would kiss him as she had in the inn. Warm, hungry, with a passion he had rarely felt from a woman. A very different side to the icy Lady of Winterfell, Sandor exhaled loudly.

 

Sansa didn’t kiss him though, pulling her head away. “We are rounding up your men as we speak. Neither you nor they shall lay claim to the North. Ever!”

 

A wry grin passed Sandor’s lips as her guard let out a cheer. She was quickly turning this into a Northern Freedom war, and he knew she was doing it as planned. Though, Sandor could not fight the fearful pang which rose in his chest. This feeling that maybe he has been duped a second time. The fear that everything in the inn had been a lie, a lie to get him to do as she pleased so she could reap a victory. Sandor was done with being a pawn, his value no more than that of what his sword and strategic mind could bring. Somehow it was worth the risk and the pain of her desire for him not being true.

 

His worries were quickly doused as she turned to her sworn sword. “Lady Brienne, you are the only one I trust to take the Hound back to Winterfell. I want him bathed and put in fresh clothing when I arrive. We have much to talk about.”

 

Sandor could see the disbelief cross the other woman’s face, surely it was not standard practice for the Lady of Winterfell to interrogate soldiers. He couldn’t help but look as smug as he felt in that moment.

 

“Yes, my lady.” The blonde warrior answered, dismounting from her horse. That’s right, do what she tells you. There was little doubt now that Sansa would make good on her promise. Somehow he had always known that, but he had been burned so many times by those in power, it had been hard to accept it. She intended to marry him, to be his woman and it made him feel different. 

 

The Lady Brienne was nearly as tall as him, her armor surely weighing almost the same. You had to have a bit of respect for a woman like that; one who would swing a sword with any sort of talent in a metal carapace weighting easily eighty pounds. His weighed one hundred, being oversized as he was. 

 

This is gonna be fun, Sandor realized, rising to his knees slowly and feeling the blood rush freely into his lower legs. If he was to mount his own horse with his hands tied behind his back, it would be quite a feat. His captor’s sworn sword was clearly coming to that conclusion as well, eyeing Stranger and then the area around.

 

You’ve gotta be kidding me, Sandor laughed out loud, but kept his words to himself, as the Lady Brienne scuffled down to one knee and threaded her fingers together, making a small step for him. 

 

Sandor lifted an eyebrow of contempt at the woman who knelt before him. Without the use of his hands to steady himself, he threatened to fall over. It wouldn’t do to bungle this infront of Sansa or anybody else for that matter. The Hound threw Brienne a threatening look, understanding that she now intended on going through with this as it was playing out.  

 

Reluctantly, Sandor put his right foot in her threaded fingers, then tensed his core. It wasn’t easy to swing a leg as big and iron clad as his own over a horse like Stranger. The stallion was bred for war and in no mood to stand still with foreign soldiers around him. As such he stamped his hooves nervously, giving cause for Sandor and his chivalrous lady knight to stagger slightly.

 

Seeing that he might fall over, Lady Brienne used one of her hands to give Sandor an extra push over. “Easy woman, I’m not a cheap tavern whore,” Sandor taunted as her hand slipped up his leg to his bum in order to get him atop his horse. The look on the female warrior’s face was priceless, this extreme distaste mixed with hatred that he would even insuenate she would touch him inappropriately. 

 

Sandor stole a look back at Sansa, she was watching him intently. He couldn’t wait to have her all to himself, to have nothing stand between them.

 

Once he was settled and Brienne had taken Stranger’s reins, Sansa turned her attention to the two men who had captured him. What they discussed though, Sandor could not say. They were quickly out of earshot. He was certain the Tarth bitch didn’t want to be stuck on this road to Winterfell any longer than he did, so she made a swift pace. 

 

It was unusual to hold a horse with only your legs, not having the ability to balance yourself by adjusting your shoulders comfortably. Sandor did his best to brush it off. The hardest part was almost over, Winterfell was so close he could smell it.

 

“I know you,” Sandor said after some time. “You’re Brienne of Tarth, Renley’s sworn sword. I guess the second time’s a charm then.” Sandor chuckled darkly at his own joke, knowing it would get to the woman.

 

“I advise you to be quiet,” Brienne said sharply, not even looking back. “If I remember correctly, your charge didn’t last very long either.”

 

At that he did laugh. Any reference to Joffry was cause for him to grin, “Can happen to the best of us. At least I wasn’t in love with the little fucker.”

 

At that she did turn, a sneer on her face at his self satisfied grin. “Be quiet.”

 

“Where’s the fun in that? Besides, it’s a long way to Winterfell. It’ll seem all the longer in silence. And seeing as I might be staying in Winterfell for a time...” Sandor was no more happy to be pulled on a horse behind Brienne as she did bringing him back North. It wasn’t hard to see from her body language and short, abrupt conversation.That didn’t mean he couldn’t get a little information out of the person closest to Sansa.

 

Brienne said nothing, which didn’t mean no. Sandor decided to see how much he could push her. “It must be a tough job, protecting the Lady of Winterfell. The way I hear it, neither of the queens likes her.”

 

She bristled at this admission, but kept her mouth shut. “They’re jealous if you ask me,” he proffered. Watching the woman’s ears perk up and hearing her snort in agreement.

 

“Her people love and revere her, that’s not hard to see. She’s also not hard on the eyes.” At that Lady Brienne turned to give him a threatening look.

 

“What? Every warm blooded man in the Seven Kingdoms knows it. She must have suitors tripping over themselves…” Of course he was digging for information. The Hound wasn’t one to walk completely blind into such a scenario. 

 

“The Lady Stark’s romantic life is none of your concern.” Brienne interjected. Sandor fell silent a moment, and that seemed to spur the lady knight on. “You talk as if you had a chance with her.”

 

Sansa has told her nothing, that in itself was quite something. As funny as it sounded, Sandor wanted them to have secrets, needed to know he had Sansa had something special. That was why he pressed on in the most asshole way he knew. “Got a cock for one,” he answered smuggly.

 

He was awarded a glare of contempt from the woman fighter in front of him, at which he chuckled. “You tellin’ me that Western blood isn’t as good as Northern? That a man in his prime is worse than what the Long Night left in its wake?”

 

Brienne’s eyes grew wide at his words, and Sandor knew he had hit a nerve. “It’s not hard to notice, even on my side of the war. Lordlings with a screech in their voice lead armies for the North before they’ve earned it. Old men who can barely make it atop their horse do their best to combine strategies. The army of the dead struck a blow to the great houses of the North, any blind man can see that.”

 

“And you think you have something to offer her? Something the Lady Stark can’t find in another more appropriate match?” She stopped the horses and looked Sandor square in the eye, as if she would be able to know if he were lying or not just by examining his expression. 

 

“Aside from being an accomplished military leader and a respected fighter?” Sandor paused to rub it in a bit. Brienne might have been known for her fighting abilities, but if she could lead an army on the scale he could, was either not known or not talked about. He wanted to get under her skin, unsettle the woman. “No man in the Seven Kingdoms could keep her warm at night like I can. I hear the northern nights are long and hard, just like my…”

 

Before he could finish his sentence, Lady Brienne made his horse come to an abrupt stop, sending much of his weight forward and nearly toppling Sandor from his horse. Her face was flushed red with anger, “Another word and I’ll drag you to Winterfell behind that horse!”

Whether her threat was real or not, Sandor couldn’t say. Only that she had effectively cut off any conversation between them, and any chance of him filling this long road to Winterfell with any further information gathering. The little he learned had been useful though, what he had suspected true. Sandor didn’t know whether he should be angry that he was  picked out of desperation or happy that once Sansa had realized she needed a proper man, she had thought of him. 

 

Sandor chucked at his own self deprecating humor, knowing it would come off strange to his female captor. He didn’t care though. Out of the jaws of defeat, he was about to clench something well worth fighting for.