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Boden's Mate

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Chapter One

 

Everything changed when Bran fell. Sansa still remembered when her father carried his limp and broken body back to the castle. Her mother's cries echoed throughout the silent and cold grounds. Catelyn held onto him so tightly, Sansa thought her mother might break whatever was left in the poor boy. That was the first moment, as a young girl, Sansa stood still and frozen, that she realized that everything was going to change. She realized that life was not like the songs the fools sang. Life was cold and cruel, and death was no different.

It was her first lesson.

The memories of those first fearful hours blurred together, but Maester Luwin took Bran from Catelyn's grieving arms, just has he had placed Bran into her arms the day he was born. Luwin carried the boy up to Bran's chambers and laid him on the soft furs that covered his bed. Bran was alive, but just barely. Catelyn, Arya and Sansa never left his side in those first initial hours. It was the first time that the two sisters sat together without an argument breaking through. Ned was angry to the point of blind rage. She remembered hearing the crash from several floors below. To this day, Sansa never knew what her father broke because he never spoke of it. Her father, while noble and gentle, had a quick temper. A Stark trait.

And few months after his fall Bran died and that temper broke.

Robb took over the duties as Lord of Winterfell while the rest of the family grieved. He took the step that was needed and became the heir that Ned was proud of. It was in those first dark days that Sansa really saw who her brother was and what a great Lord he would become. Rickon was so young that he didn't understand what had happened. He clung to his family and simply cried. Neither Sansa nor Arya wanted to leave their mother alone so they would take turns caring for their youngest sibling. It was the first decision that the two sisters could agree on.

The only sibling that didn't stay to see if Bran would wake was Jon, but as Sansa thought on it, he wasn't really wanted. That was something she was sorry for now. She hadn't seen him since she watched his horse gallop off from her chamber window. She still remembered Ghost's paw prints in the light summer snow. She knew Arya missed him but even to this day it was hard for her to admit how much Sansa longed to see him again. She regretted her actions toward him now.

The second lesson came when her father turned down the position for Hand of the King. That was the only strand of hope that Sansa felt in such a dark time. She thought that Kings Landing would be an escape. A place where the thought of Bran's lifeless eyes and her mother's sobs could fade into a distant memory. It was to be her future. The first steps toward the prince that would one day be her husband and into the chapter of her life that would make her queen.

What a silly fool I had been. Sansa thought bitterly. It had been six years since and how bleak those six years had been. She had cried when the King's party had departed. She was furious with her father for not taking the position. She yelled and screamed at him and he simply let her. Ned was too distraught to really muster the effort to correct his daughter. Robb however didn't let her treatment of their father go unpunished.

Of course King Robert still wanted to make an arrangement between Joffery and Sansa, something she wanted so badly. She thought that she was in love and wanted nothing more than to be Joffery's queen. Sansa shook herself. She couldn't think of that now. Things were bleak, that was certain but they were better than they had been in so long. While she was angry and broken, she simply wanted to enjoy the freedom.

Sansa leaned back and let herself rest against the Weirwood. The godswood is the only place she found comfort anymore. She often would sit there and sew or read while her father prayed. It was like a silent agreement between the two of them but they never spoke a word to each other. Not under the Weirwood. Her father had taken Robb and Theon to the village to deal with an issue, so Sansa was enjoying the silence. Being alone was a hard find in a place such as Winterfell. The godswood was the only escape, a place where very few people will come and bother her. But if someone, whether a drunk guard or an escaped wildling, Sansa made a vow that she would never become a victim.

Sansa reached down and pulled the small dagger from the holster on her thigh. It was a gift from Jon that she received on her last name day. Arya gave it to her with a letter from their brother after the festivities had ended and the two of them went to their chambers. How Arya kept this dagger a secret from their parents, she would never know. But then again, Arya had Needle and her mother had no notion of that weapon. What would father say if he knew I had this? It was made of valyrian steel and the handle had the engraving of a direwolf. It was light but deadly. After turning the dagger over in her hand for a few moments, she heard the soft crunch of footprints in the snow. Sansa put the weapon back in the holster where it could be easily accessed.

“I thought I would find you here.” Sansa turned and saw Lady Stark before her. Her mother wore the smile she reserved only for her children. Her long auburn hair was down and hung around her waist. The Tully fish pin nestled gently on her light green gown. Catelyn moved closer to her daughter, her cloak dragging behind her and causing a rift in the snow. The elder women sat down beside her daughter. Sansa placed the smile of the eldest Stark daughter on her lips. I can't let her see. Sansa thought. She needed to hold it all together. She didn't want her family to see who she really was, what she had become. She wanted to be the lady they thought she was so badly.

“You caught me just in time. I was about to go and look for Lady.” Sansa replied and Catelyn laughed lightly.

“Well I just saw her. She was chasing Nymeria, Shaggydog and Summer who were chasing Rickon.” That caused a genuine laugh out of Sansa. She could envision it. The three giant direwolves padding after the horse that carried her younger brother. Of course Rickon liked to ride fast and Sansa couldn't blame him for that. He was far more sheltered than any of the other Stark children. Riding was his only source of freedom.

“Horseback riding again?” Catelyn nodded but her lips thinned into a straight, displeasing line. It wasn't that her mother disapproved of Rickon's riding. It was exact opposite, she was glad that the nine year old boy had some sort of freedom and enjoyment. Ever since Bran's death, Rickon was not the same cheerful little boy anymore. No, it was the reminder on why he was riding.

At first, Sansa thought her parents were being irrational. When Tyrion Lannister came back from the Wall after riding off with her uncle and bastard brother, he received a cold welcome and it wasn't just the snow that brought the chill. He came back with a gift, a saddle for her brother, incase he ever awoke. Maester Luwin stated that if he ever did wake, Bran would be paralyzed but when he didn't, Ned locked the designs away in his solar. They remained there until a year after Bran's death, when Rickon found them nestled between some old documents. Like Arya, Rickon had a habit of snooping in places that he didn't belong. Rickon insisted upon having the saddle, he said that he couldn't remember what Bran looked like and wanted something that reminded him of his brother. It was a generous gift and she didn't see why her parents were reluctant to accept it. It wasn't until after Rickon convicted them to have the saddle made to honor Bran's memory that Arya told her about a conversation she overheard while exploring the hidden passageway that lead down to the kitchens.

Arya had a habit of wondering Winterfell's grounds. She learned a good deal about what went on around the castle and the secrets that it held. She heard horrid gossip of the servants and sometimes she saw more than she bargained for. Once she saw their ward, Theon having relations with a servant girl. That was how Arya leaned about what happened on a bride's wedding night. Theon had gotten a severe punishment from Ned once he learned of the whole incident. Arya was lucky. Sansa thought.

Arya overheard her parents arguing over the saddle. Catelyn never understood why Ned kept the design in the first place and she wanted nothing more than to throw them in the fireplace but it was the look of pure happiness on Rickon's face that prevented them from doing so. She didn't understand why her parents would turn down such a generous gift. Arya didn't hear the specifics but her parents blamed the Lannisters for Bran's death. To Sansa that made no sense because the Lannisters could do no wrong in her mind. On day a few months later, while feeling bold, Sansa asked Robb why they thought that the Lannisters could possibly be at fault for what happened to Bran.

Robb spun a story about the night Bran fell. Once Catelyn was able to leave her chambers after Bran's death, she went to the tower which he fell from. There she discovered a long golden lock, one that only could belong to Queen Cersei. At first Sansa couldn't believe that the Lannisters or Queen Cersei would do such a thing. At that time, she thought they could do no wrong. It wasn't until she became a closer acquaintance that she realized how wrong she was. She began to realize that the Lannisters were capable of all manner of perversions.

And she wanted them to pay for it all.

“It's all he seems to want to do.” Catelyn stated. It was true, getting Rickon off his horse was as difficult as it was to get Arya to act like a lady, who at that very moment was having secret lessons with Ser Rodrik Cassel. She knew he mother was unaware of the lessons but she was sure that her father knew of them, if not organizing them up himself. “But that is not why I came to speak with you.” Catelyn stood and held out her hand. “Let's take a stroll.” She held out her hand and Sansa took hold of it. They linked arms and began a leisurely pace out of the godswood.

They were silent for a moment, just taking in their surroundings. The snow was getting lighter now and the cold wasn't as bitter. Some say that the thaw was coming and summer would soon be upon them. A six year winter was much shorter than anyone expected, but it was still harsh. The last summer lasted nine years and hopefully this one will last just as long. If Sansa looked hard enough, she wondered if she could see the flowers begin to bloom. The small part of her that remained the hopeless romantic wondered if the new summer would bring new life to her. Yet, the bitter and cold part of her knew that it would always be winter.

“Your father and I are very proud of you Sansa. The women you have come in the last few years, well, you've matured into a beautiful young lady.” Catelyn stated with a soft smile playing on her features. It was when her mother smiled that Sansa could see the beauty that her mother was in her youth. Her mother rarely smiled like that anymore. She never fully recovered and when Bran died, a part of her did too.

“Thank you. You have no idea how much that means to me.” The lie slipped through her lips easily. Lying was natural now, almost like a second nature. She walked with the grace of a someone of her station, but she hated it all. Catelyn squeezed her arm with affection and it comforted her. After everything, the pain, the fear and most of all her foolishness, she still loved her family. She loved them but they all were so blind to what was right in front of them.“But I'm assuming that you did not come out here in the cold to praise me.”

“You always were quick witted.” Catelyn laughed lightly. “But you are right.” She paused and looked ahead. Winterfell was in sight and she could see people busy about up ahead. In the distance she could hear Rickon's laughter. “You're seventeen now. Your father and I have been thinking that it is time for you to marry.”

That was the last thing Sansa wanted to hear. Once upon a time that would have been everything she dreamed of. The thought of a handsome knight with blond hair and ice blue eyes to sweep her off her feet. She dreamed that he would be made of honor and bravery. She was wrong. Fairy tales didn't exist.There were no knights to come in and rescue her. If she needed someone to save her, she would have to do it herself.

“I see.” She didn't want to think about marriage but she knew the reason why her parents were pushing for it and she had been expecting this conversation for some time. At night, Sansa and Arya would sit up talking about the fact that several of the high born families were falling. Westeros was in trouble. Several families owed money to the Iron Throne and the Iron Throne owed money to the Iron Bank in Bravvos. The bank was now trying to collect. The throne and the highborn families were scrambling to pay their “taxes”. The Starks were no different.

The Boltons fell. The Peasburys fell. The Waynewoods.....the list never ended. The Greyjoys still lived in their ancestral home but their power has practically diminished. Theon didn't take that news well. While the Starks were not exactly destitute not all the families they presided over can afford to pay their taxes to the Starks, thus paying the taxes that the Iron Throne is demanding, much more difficult. Her parents were hoping that if they married off Sansa to a wealthy family, then perhaps her new husband would be willing to help with the financial needs of the North. In exchange, they would have the North as an ally and their armies if they ever needed them.

“Do you have any suitors in mind?” Sansa asked.

“No. We have discussed possible matches but we didn't want to make any arrangements without your input.” Catelyn stated and Sansa knew why. They broke her engagement with Joffery without her consent and she was different afterwards. They thought she was suffering from a broken heart and she let them continue on with that illusion. It was far easier than the truth. Outside of Arya and her brother Jon, no one knew. She planned on keeping it that way.

“I see.” While Sansa would have been happy to never marry, she knew that she would not be so lucky. “Thank you for letting me have a say in this.”

“Of course. I wouldn't force you to marry someone you didn't want to, neither you or Arya-or any of my children for that matter.” Catelyn stated. Sansa had to smile at that.

“Unlike you and Aunt Lysa?” Sansa asked. She knew that what her mother's thoughts on the matter. Catelyn loved Ned but she knew that she was lucky. Not every women is blessed with such a kind husband and she knew that the chances of Sansa and Arya ending up in a marriage where they were not kindly treated were great. As for her sister Lysa, Jon Arryn was always kind to her but there was no love there. Catelyn often said she didn't understand why her father married her sister to Jon Arryn but Ned always assured her how kind he was so she never questioned the matter any further.

“Exactly.” With that, mother and daughter walked toward to Winterfell, the saw a figure approach. The figure, while walking briskly, was still coming slowly. It was Maester Luwin. The maester was getting up there in age and his body didn't work the way it once did. He walked with a small limp caused by the pain in his left hip and he often complained of his fingers getting stiff easily. He had a piece of parchment in his had and once he was close, Sansa could see the worry on his face.

“A raven came my Lady. Lord Stark is not back from the village and I thought it would be best that someone should see this right away.” Maester Luwin handed the parchment to Catelyn. Sansa could see the Tully seal closing the letter inside. She watched as her mother open the scroll and her face turn grim. She let out a heavy sigh.

“Well this is to be expected, I suppose. But much sooner than he wanted.” Her mother said as her lips displayed a small thin line. Catelyn looked back at Maester Luwin. “We will have to prepare the spare rooms, we are to have a visiter.”

“Whose coming?” Sansa asked. She wanted to read that parchment but she knew that her mother would never allow it. Robb only was privy to matters of the North because he was the heir and would one day be Warden of the North. Catelyn wanted to protect the rest of her children for as long as she could.

“A tax collector.” The three of them began to walk briskly toward the castle. “He is an old friend and a few members of the royal guard will be joining him.” That was wise, Sansa thought. If he was coming to collect a good bit of money for the Iron Throne, then it would be necessary for him to have a guard with him. If he didn't, he would be the perfect target for thieves.

“Is he coming from Kings Landing my lady?” Maester Luwin asked. It took a month at least to travel from Kings Landing to the North. If that was the case, they would have some time to prepare and perhaps get their affairs in order.

“No. The letter was from my brother, Lord Baelish just collected his taxes. He left the Riverlands a week ago so he will be here in a few days if the weather permits.” Catelyn stated and Sansa pondered the name. Petyr Baelish. The name was completely foreign to her. It didn't surprise her though, her mother rarely talked about her childhood or any of the friends she had as a child. She always assumed it had to do with her engagement to her uncle Brandon and her uncle's death.

“When was the last time you saw him?”

“At your aunt's funeral.” Her aunt Lysa died two years ago and it was quite the scandal. It seemed that her aunt's personal musician had fallen in love with her and was displeased when she didn't return his affections. When Lysa rejected him a final time, the musician threw her aunt through the moon door. Her mother was gone for a solid month for the funeral. It was around the same time her father, Robb and some of the banner men had to travel to the Wall in order to assist with a Wilding problem.

“If he is an old friend, perhaps he will be.....I don't know...kind to us?” Sansa asked and she knew she sounded foolish. When it came to matters of coin, no one was kind. Catelyn gave her a small smile. She was proud of who her daughter became but enjoyed that Sansa still showed some signs of innocence. She wanted her to hang onto that part of her for as long as possible.

“I knew Petyr along time ago. He is not the same small boy I once knew. Who knows what he will do.” Catelyn stated as she walked up the stone steps of Winterfell. Sansa stopped and watched her mother leave her behind. She looked around and felt the light snow fall around her. Her mind buzzed with one question.

Who exactly was Petyr Baelish and why has her mother never mentioned him before?

Chapter Text

The ancient dining hall was chilly and it wasn't just the snow that made the Stark family quiver. Even with the fire crackling in the gates, the stone walls felt as though the white walkers have descended upon Winterfell. Yet, the other worldly creatures never made it past the Wall. Jon Snow, as Lord Commander, always kept the North and the Seven Kingdoms safe from what laid beyond the Wall. It had been years since a white walker made it past the Wall. The only sign of the lingering winter was the snow outside the castle walls, and even that was thinning.

The chill that made them all silent was the fact that the Lord of Winterfell was in a foul mood. Since coming back from the village earlier in the day and reading the raven that had been sent from the Riverlands, Ned had donned the Lord of Winterfell mask and never removed it. His relationship with King Robert was not what it once was. At one point Ned looked at Robert as a brother, even naming his first born son after him, but ever since Ned refused to take the position as Hand of the King, Robert was never able to look at his old friend the same. Robert understood the need for Ned to stay in Winterfell, for the sake of his family, but Robert felt as though it was a personal betrayal.

Robert still attempted to join their houses through Joffery and Sansa, but the attempt failed. He would visit the Starks with Joffery once a year in hopes that something would blossom between the two nobles. He was willing to travel in the dead of winter and when he got desperate, had Joffery fostered with the Starks for a few months. But now, when the engagement had been called off and with the snow not falling as thick or has heavy has it had in the middle of winter, the king sends a small man to collect his taxes. Not being bothered to make an appearance himself. To Ned, that felt as though Robert was trying to say how unimportant their friendship had been.

He was not looking forward to Lord Baelish's visit. While he knew that his wife was friends with him when they were children, and besides the stories Brandon would tell him before he died, Catelyn never told him much about the Master of Coin. She would only say that he was like a little brother to her. She said that he would never betray her. Yet, here he is, coming all the way to Winterfell to collect their people's money. He knew that Lord Baelish was coming on the command of the King but Ned was far to angry with the King to really see the difference.

Ned shook himself from his musings and looked around the table. He noticed that someone was missing. He sighed and tapped his calloused fingers on the wooden table while his free hand dug deep into the silver goblet.

“Where is Theon?” He asked. Robb diverted his eyes, causing a soft brown curl to hang in his eyes. That was what told his parents that he was withholding something. While Bran had once looked at his feet before he told a lie, Robb could not look either of them directly in the eye. It was a sign of weakness and Ned tried to break him of it. How could he be the Lord of Winterfell when everyone knew if he was going to lie? Of course, he tried to teach Robb and all of his children that it was never in the best interest to lie and the honorable path in life was honesty. “Robb, do you know where he is?”

“Down at the village, he didn't return with me. He wanted to stay behind.” When Ned had gotten word that a raven had come for him, he left Robb and Theon in the village with a few banner man, knowing that Robb could handle the duties without him. Ned galloped up the mud covered road and directly to Winterfell. He never stopped to think that his ward would not return once the issue with village well water was completed.

Missing the evening meal was becoming something of a habit for Theon. It started when the Greyjoys fell from their position. The Iron Islands had gone bankrupt early, long before any of the other kingdoms. Most say it was because of their rebellion against King Robert's early days on the throne. If they had just accepted the new king, things might have gone differently for them. When the news reached Winterfell, Theon took it harshly. He had always assumed that he would return home, and become Lord of the Iron Islands. Since their fall from grace, that was no longer a possibility. Theon felt lost and with very little purpose. Was he simply going to stay at Winterfell forever? Serve the people who took him from his home till his dying days? He simply didn't know.

“He is at the whorehouse again, isn't he?” Ned asked with a displeased sigh. It wouldn't be the first time Ned had to track down his ward at such an establishment. He didn't take any joy from going to places where women were forced to sell themselves. Yet, Theon visited them more often than Ned was pleased to learn. More than once he has gone down to the brothel and pulled a drunken Theon from the arms of some whore.

“Ned!” Catelyn said sharply, her eyes darting toward Rickon and Arya. The last snorted in her wine glass. Arya was no fool and she knew exactly what went on down in the village brothels.

“Forgive me.” Ned said to his wife with a small smile. Catelyn just gave him that loving look but he knew that he would pay for that later. When it came to her children, Catelyn was fiercely protective, especially after losing one of her own. “But Theon should be here. We need to discuss Lord Baelish's visit.”

“When is he coming Father?” Sansa asked politely. She was curious of course. She spoke briefly with Arya to see if she learned anything from her wonderings. If anyone would have heard some useful gossip, it would be Arya. They didn't have time to speak privately, but Arya hinted that she heard a few details but wanted to verify how accurate they were before speaking on them. Arya promised that Sansa would be the first to know what she had learned. The castle was abuzz with the news and surely rumors were bound to fly.

“We should expect him within a few days. A week at most.” Ned stated. His shoulders tensed and his children could see that he was uneasy. Their father was normally gentle and didn't let his anger show in front of them, but this was different.

“How much does the North owe to the Throne?” Robb asked. Ned sighed and his forehead creased. He stopped tapping his fingers and began to trace the small slash in the wood. Arya had created that slash a few years prior when she learned how to use a knife.

“40,000 gold dragons.” Ned said with a hint of worry in his tone. Catelyn's eyes grew wide. She knew that it would be a steep price but she never expected that much. Sansa looked down at her plate and felt gnawing pain of guilt in her stomach. The conversation she had with her mother earlier in the day played on her mind and she knew she was being selfish. Knowing that the North was close to going bankrupt, changed her perspective slightly. She never wanted to get married, not now. In truth, she didn't care about the North, she gave up on fairytales a long time ago, but she loved her family. If making a wealthy match meant saving her family and saving Winterfell, she might be willing to take those vows. She only asked that they allowed her input of the decision on who she married.

“Can we afford that?” Robb asked seriously. Ned didn't answer for several minutes, still tracing that slash in the table.

“The winter was harsh. Some of the families will not be able to pay their taxes...the Karstarks, the Umbers and we all know what happened to the Boltons.” When Roose Bolton's estate, Dreadfort began loosing money, he became even more ruthless in his commands and toward his treatment of his servants. Roose normally had a strong handle on his bastard Ramsey, but he let the boy do what he pleased and that mounted in a high body count. Eventually the servants turned on their masters and when Ned went to Dreadfort in order to intervene, he was too late and both Roose and Ramsey took on their own sigil.

Sansa shuddered.

“Are we able to pay it?” Catelyn asked worried tone. She ran through all the connections she had and came up empty. The Vale wouldn't help, not since her sister's death. The Riverlands were a possibility but she knew that her brother, Edmure, just received a visit from Petyr. While she knew the Riverlands were in decent standing, she didn't think they could afford the extra expense.

“Lord Baelish and I will be ridding to each house in order to collect. We will get what we can. We will have to cover what the families that can't pay. It will be difficult and we may have to go without a few luxuries but we will manage.” Ned stated and for a moment, Sansa thought her father was a fool. He was a great lord, that was for sure but he was too nobel and kind for his own good. Why pay the taxes of other families? She knew that if the Starks made up the difference, those families might be able to survive. However, how much would that cost the Starks? Why should her family end up in a similar position as the Boltons simply because a few nobel families can't pay their taxes. Winter was harsh on everyone.

She once would have admired her father for such an action but now she thought he was being foolish. Sansa looked over to Robb and could see the consequences playing on his mind, but he would always agree with their father. Robb would one day be Warden of the North and he would rule with the same nobility as the man who ruled before him.

“Once summer is here, things will get easier.” The remainder of the evening meal was a somber affair. All their minds were occupied on how the North would be able to pay the taxes to the Iron Throne. Sansa knew that their best chance at saving the Stark name, and not becoming another story like the Boltons, was for her and possibly Arya to make a good marriage. She knew Arya hated the thought of being forced into a marriage almost as much as Sansa did. She knew that no one would love her for herself, but instead want her for what she could give them.

Once the meal ended and the family members went their separate ways, Sansa wondered the castle. The halls were cold and damp. Torches that hung upon the stone walls causing a small amount of light to the dark hallways. Sansa walked slowly, letting her skirt dust the ground. She ran her fingers over the stone, letting herself feel the grime on the tips of her fingers. She paused at a painting of one of the old Kings of the North. Bran the Builder founded Winterfell and built the Wall. Part of her wished that the North was still its individual kingdom. She would have been a princess and she wondered if life would have been easier. She pulled away from the wall and continued down the hall.

Sansa neared her father's solar and she heard her parent's voices inside. She had planned to simply pass by the solar and leave her parents to their time alone but when she heard her father say her name she paused outside the wooden door that stood ajar. She knew that they wouldn't be able to see her but if she moved, they might hear the swish of her skirts or he tapping of her shoes.

“It would be best if she was married soon.” Ned's voice sounded grave and Sansa knew that her father hated the thought of selling his daughter off to the highest bidder. Yet, that was how the world worked for noble women in the seven kingdoms. Sansa hated it but she understood that it was her role to play. She didn't want a husband but she knew her place and she was to be a great lady.

“The Vale is prospering. The families there are doing far better than any of the seven kingdoms. Making a match with one of the families of the Vale might be the best course of action.” Catelyn stated.

“I hear Harrold Hardyng is looking for a bride.” Ned mused. The name was unfamiliar to Sansa and she wondered how many people in the kingdoms she didn't know. This was the second name in the span of a day that she has never heard of before. She knew the names the the houses who ruled over the kingdoms but the lesser houses always were foreign to her. “I think Sansa would like him. He is like a knight out of those songs she loves to sing and is very talented when it comes to a tourney. I will write to Lord Royce and learn what I can of the young man. If Lord Hardyng is indeed looking for a bride, then we shall entertain the idea.” Ned stated but his wife was silent for a few moments.

“I know it has been two years since I have been to the Vale but young Robin was very ill. If he still is unwell, Lord Hardyng is his heir. If Robin would die, Hardyng becomes Lord of the Vale.”

“And if Sansa marries him, she would one day be Lady of the Vale.” Ned said. At that moment, Sansa didn't want to hear anymore. She didn't want to be Lady of the Vale. She raised her hand to knock on the solar's door. “Come in.”

Sansa stepped into the solar slowly and placed a look of pure innocence on her face. She wore a small, loving smile and let the tension fall from her body. She didn't want her parents to realize that she had been eavesdropping on them.

“Do you need something dear?” Catelyn asked her daughter. The Lady of Winterfell eyes her eldest girl wondering if she had heard any part of the conversation that was held only moments prior. Upon inspection neither Ned nor herself could tell if something was amiss with their daughter.

“Maester Luwin said that the weather might be warming soon and I was wondering if you knew where my summer cloak had gotten too?” Sansa knew that if she simply passed the door she would have been seen by one if not both of her parents. If she turned back, she risked the chance of her parents hearing her leave. She found that her best option was to go inside the solar. However, she would need a reason as to why she was there.

Sansa was also curious. She loved her family but she didn't always trust that they would tell her everything. If her parents thought it was in her best interest, then they would withhold anything they thought could possibly cause her harm and she hated it. She hated being sheltered. Little did they know how far from sheltered she had become. She wanted them to come to her and tell her about a possible marriage to this Lord Hardyng. She wanted to be able to tell them that she didn't want to marry him. She didn't want them to tell her because she overheard them whispering about it when they thought no one could hear them. She just wanted her mother to keep her promise. She wanted to see if they would lie to her.

In order for her to avoid a lecture on eavesdropping and to see if her parents would really consider letting her make her own choices, or if they would choose a husband for her, she had chosen to lie and hopefully time would tell what their intentions where. Sansa found that the best lies always came from half truths. Maester Luwin did say that the snow would lighten and the weather would slowly warm. So, in theory it would be better for her to dig out her summer cloak, even if summer was a few months if not a year off. However, she knew exactly where that cloak was.

“The last I saw it was in the trunk with your summer dresses but it might have gotten moved in with Arya's things.” Catelyn stated. “When you do find it, bring it to me along with Arya's. Both of you have grown since winter has come. You might need a new summer cloak....well you might need a whole new set of dresses also.” With that Catelyn and Ned shared a look. Fabric could be expensive.

“Lets wait for summer to arrive before the two of you start sewing a whole new wardrobe.” Ned stated in a joking manner but his tone held a worried hint to it. Sansa knew what her father wasn't saying. Lets pay the taxes and see if they could afford to have clothes when summer arrived.

“Okay, well, I am headed in for the night.” With that Sansa crossed the solar and kissed her parents goodnight. When she was out into the darkened hall and well out of earshot of her parents, she leaned against the stone wall near Bran the Builder's painting. She wondered if this Harrold Hardyng would be kind to her if she was forced to marry him. Or would he be just as cruel and abusive as Joffery?

Chapter Text

It was an uncharacteristically warm day. The sun shown brightly through the leave-less trees. The snow was light and Sansa was almost willing to forgo her winter cloak. The cloak was heavy and it made her uncomfortably warm. She considered pulling out her summer cloak but her mother had it in her possession and she knew her mother would not take kindly to the idea of her child outside in the cold with only a light cloak. Sansa was a Stark of Winterfell, the cold did not frighten her but her mother grew up in the Riverlands and was still not accustomed to the cold as the rest of her family.

Sansa strolled along the grounds, which had become a common occurrence after being inside for long periods over the winter, with Jeyne Poole latched onto her arm. Jeyne was beautiful, with long dark brown hair that matched her wide brown eyes, and at one point Sansa thought Jeyne was her closest friend. As time moved on and Sansa matured, Jeyne seemed to stay the same childish girl. While Sansa still enjoyed the young girl's company, she had learned to simply tune out the useless chatter.

Before winter came, Sansa acted in the same manner as her friend. They would giggle like most girls do over boys and the dresses they would sew. They spent an agonizing amount of time picking the fabric and wondering if the knight in shining armor that would one day sweep them off their feet would like that color on them. When Joffery came with his family when King Robert asked Ned to be the Hand of the King, the two young girls would rave over how handsome the prince was. Sansa used to believe that his golden hair and blue eyes were the most handsome thing she had ever seen. They would spend every night in Sansa's chambers dreaming about what it would be like when Sansa became queen. Sansa would promise Jeyne that she would take her to Kings Landing and make her a lady in waiting.

When the engagement ended, Jeyne couldn't understand why Sansa wasn't distraught over the fact that she would not become Joffery's wife. Everyone, besides Arya, thought that she was heartbroken over the end to the engagement. She was heartbroken but not because she wouldn't become Queen Sansa of House Baratheon. Yet, Jeyene, while she was childish and naive, knew her friend and she could tell that there was a happiness to her that wasn't there toward the end of her engagement. It confused the steward's daughter. To her, Joffery was the prince that the songs always sang about, and not the monster Sansa knew he was.

“Have you spoken with Theon?” Jeyne asked in a sly voice. While she never directly told Sansa, the Stark girl knew that her friend developed romantic feelings for the young iron born, mainly because Theon was Jeyne's favorite topic to discuss. Sansa almost felt sad for Jeyne. Theon would only give Jeyne attention if she would open her legs for him. As far as Sansa knew, Theon had no indication of the girl's feeling for him because if he did, Sansa knew he would attempt to take the girl to bed.

Tears aren't a woman's only weapon. The best ones between your legs. Cersei's voice chimed in her head. She remembered the queen nurturing tone as Cersei patted her head gently. It took everything Sansa had to hold back the bile that rose up in her throat.

“No, I believe he went into the village today.” Most of Theon's time was spent down at either the local tavern or brothel. Theon was self-destructing and no matter how much Catelyn tried to shield her children from what was happening, they could tell that he was spiraling. Both Ned and Robb attempted to help him but Theon practically pushed them all away. It was as though he blamed the Starks for what happened to his family. “He might return soon though.” Sansa stated.

In reality she had no idea when Theon would return from the village. Lady padded out of the woods and over to Sansa. She met the direwolf and wrapped her arms around the wolf's neck. She buried her head into the direwolf's fur. If there was one thing left in the world that Sansa trusted, it was this direwolf. Jeyne watched Sansa cuddle the wolf and shuddered. She was never fond of the wolves.

“I think I will go and wait by the gates.” Jeyne stated as she sent Lady a withering look and started to walk off. Sansa smiled in relief. She couldn't bare to answer endless questions regarding Theon. She liked the man well enough, or at least she had, but she never really saw the appeal, especially when he reeked of wine and some whore's perfume.

“Yes, that seems like a splendid idea, doesn't it Lady?” Sansa continued to stroke the wolf's fur and it caused Lady to give out a satisfied purr. She broke away slightly and began to walk toward the Godswood and in the opposite direction of Jeyne. When she got close to the Godswood, Sansa paused and turned her head when she heard the distinct clank of metal meeting metal. She smiled lightly and turned her course toward the sound. She moved amongst the trees and into a small clearing that she forgot existed. She was about a half a mile from the Godswood. The clearing was small. She could tell that during the summer season, this clearing would be overcome with wild grass, plants and animals. It would be impossible to access because of the growth and in the dead of winter, the snow would be piled far to high.

Sansa stopped, leaned against a tree and crossed her arms with a small smile on her face. Arya was fencing with Robb and they were being supervised by Ser Rodrik. While she never understood Arya's desire to learn how to wheeled a sword, she couldn't deny that Arya had a gracefulness to her. It was as though the sword was true calling.

“You're dropping your shoulder.” Robb stated in a gentle but stern voice. “If you continue to do so, you're dead. It leaves a spot open and any experienced swordsman could easily strike.” Sansa could see that Arya didn't appreciate being corrected. She waited a moment before she lunged, swung Needle as though it was an extension of her arm. Robb was taken aback, not expecting the assault. Arya knocked her elder brother to the ground and he landed with a soft thunk. Arya pointed Needle at Robb, who was lying flat on his back.

“Perhaps you should be prepared for a surprise attack because any experiences swordsman would use that to his advantage.” Robb smirked as Ser Rodrik didn't attempt to hold back his laughter. His belly jiggled as his laughter rippled through the trees. Sansa broke into a wide smiled and began to clap loudly. Three heads turned toward her and she could see the embarrassment cross Robb's face. Robb was one of the best swordsman that Sansa knew, not that she knew many. Their father even said that Robb surpassed Ser Rodrik. While it wasn't common for Robb to attend Arya's lessons, if he had a free afternoon, he always enjoyed teaching his younger sister the proper technique when it came to matters of the sword.

“I think that is quite enough for today, Arya.” Ser Rodrik stated. He held out his hand for Robb, who grabbed ahold of it and the Master-at-Arms pulled the heir to Winterfell to his feet. “I look forward to telling your children about the time you were bested by your fifteen year old sister.”

“Maybe you will, or maybe you will be to senile to remember such a story.” Robb responded with narrowed eyes but a small smirk played on his lips. This caused Ser Rodrik to give another full belly laugh.

“Perhaps you're right.” The older gentleman stated. He looked at the three Stark children and gave them a warm smile “Remember, I want no knowledge of these lessons.” With that he gave them one last smile and bid them ado. He made his way out of the clearing. Robb and Arya grabbed their swords and shields. The three of them started to head out of the clearing and back towards the castle. They could make out Ser Rodrick's footprints in the snow and they could see him walking up ahead.

Robb looked around and only saw Lady padding behind them. He sighed in irritation but continued to walk in silence before deciding to speak.

“What are you doing this far outside the castle walls alone? Do you have any guards with you? The Godswood is one thing when Father is with you but wondering this far alone!” Robb stated. He was protective of Sansa, far more so than either Arya and Rickon. He blamed himself for not being there when she needed him the most. He would never be able to forgive himself if something truly horrible happened to his sister. For as long as he could remember, Sansa had been apart of his life. He remembered the days that Arya, Bran and Rickon were born, but Sansa had always just been there, playing with her dolls and singing her songs.

“I was heading toward the Godswood when I heard your sword-fighting and I had Lady with me. She could do far more damage than any guard.” It was true and she knew Robb agreed with her. She wasn't going to let fear rule her. If she let her past nightmares haunt her, she would never be able to leave her chambers. No, Sansa was the eldest daughter of Winterfell. She was made of steel and the cold.

“If the Wildlings-”

“The Wildlings don't scare me.” Sansa countered. They reached the front of Winterfell and Robb turned to his sister. She was stubborn and always had been. Robb took her arm gently and Arya just looked between her older siblings. She wanted to intervene and tell Robb that it wasn't what he thought but she knew better. This was Sansa's secret and the wasn't about to betray that.

“They should. I don't want to see you like that again.” Robb stated and for a moment, Sansa felt sorry for him but the moment was fleeting. She knew that he had her best interest at heart but the last time her family did what they thought was best, she ended up bruised and broken. Robb leaned in and kissed Sansa's forehead. “Get Arya inside and make sure mother doesn't see her. If she does then the Wildlings are the last thing we need to worry about.” With that Robb took Arya's shield from her and headed through the gates of Winterfell while the two girls walked along the stone wall towards the servants entrance in the back.

“You should just tell him.” Arya pleaded. While she loved the relationship she now had with her sister, part of her couldn't help but miss the old Sansa. The Sansa that would have cried if her dress got messy or when Arya would fling food at her during dinner. This Sansa was hard and cold. She had this mask that she wore around their family and only when they were alone, Arya could see how tired her older sister was.

“No.”

“If you just-”

“I said no. You don't understand.” Sansa stated with a harsh formality. Arya stopped and grabbed her arm, forcing Sansa to come to a halt. The shorter of the two looked up and met Sansa's eye. She had the forcefulness in her eyes that almost made Sansa falter.

“I don't understand? Who found you? Who covered you up? Who got Maester Luwin to make sure you were okay? Who came up with the story about the Wildlings? Who covered for you? Me. I lied to my own family for you.” Sansa looked away but she knew that her sister was still gazing at her. They didn't talk about it often but when they did, the outcome always stayed the same.

“You already told Jon, isn't that enough? They can never know.” She stepped forward and leaned down. She took Arya into her arms and held her. Sansa wasn't one for affection but she tried and Arya always treasured those small moments. “Look, let's not talk about, okay. Not now. Let's get inside and get you into proper lady's attire before mother finds you with a sword. And I do believe that you owe me some gossip.” Sansa smiled and Arya nodded but had her lips pursed in a very similar way that their mother's did when she was cross.

Sansa felt relieved. She didn't want Arya to push anymore. Part of her wished that her sister never found her but she knew that she would be dead otherwise. It was cold that night and the snow was unforgiving. If Lady wasn't there, Sansa knew that she would have frozen to death. She pulled herself from her thoughts as they neared the entrance.

Arya and Sansa quietly pushed the gate open and hasty ran across the yard where the roasters and hens were kept. They slipped into the kitchens and froze. They could hear their mother speaking with the cook about the meals that would be provided while their guest were residing with them. If Catelyn saw her youngest daughter dressed in boys clothes and covered in mud, the two girls knew how much trouble Arya would be in.

Arya grabbed Sansa's hand and pulled her toward a small wooden door. The younger girl opened the door and shoved her inside. Arya squeezed in behind her. It was a storage area of sorts. Sansa could see potatoes, herbs and a few other items that would be needed for cooking. Arya moved herself so she was toward the back of the storage room and tapped on the back wall. Sansa nearly jumped and part of the wall popped open. A wave of dust appeared and Arya grabbed her sister's hand again. She pulled her through the door and up a stairway. At the top of the stairway was a door and Arya pushed on the door. They slipped through the door and ended up in the corridor near Arya's chambers.

“How long has that been there?” Sansa asked in complete bewilderment. She had lived in Winterfell all her life and she never knew that passageway had always been hidden away. Arya laughed.

“I discovered it when I was five. Remember when I broke that doll you loved? You were so angry with me that I ran and had to find a place to hide. I think I hid in that passageway for about four hours.” Arya stated as they reached her chambers. She opened her door and let Sansa in behind her. She closed the door and latched the bolt at the top of the door. The last thing they wanted was their mother barging in on them while they were cleaning Arya up.

“I remember that! I was so furious but when our parents couldn't find you they nearly had all the banner-men searching the woods for you! When you magically turned up they were so relieved that you received no punishment, which made me even more angry!” Sansa giggled. She could feel herself relaxing. Arya was the only person in Winterfell, although she was pretty certain Maester Luwin suspected, who knew her secret and because of that, she could feel herself slipping back into what she referred to as the old Sansa.

Arya started to pull her muddy clothes off and walked over to basin. She had asked one of the servant girls to have a basin of water brought up to her chambers around mid-afternoon. By now the water would be cold but Arya was more than willing to deal with the icy water. It would be too suspicious if she called for a bath now. Arya began to rinse the muck and grim off her skin while Sansa went through her trunk looking for a dress. She grabbed a dark green dress, mainly because light colors got dirty easily in the cold winter. Mud would show easily on the hem of the dress.

Once Arya's clothes were picked out and laid out on the bed, Sansa walked over to the vanity and picked up her sister's brush. As the younger Stark girl washed herself, Sansa untangled the chocolate locks that were being held up by a ribbon. One by one she brushed the strands of her sisters hair.

“Tell me, did you learn anything about Lord Hardyng?” She asked. While she was most curious about this Petyr Baelish character, she was more concerned about Lord Hardyng. Lord Baelish would only be in her life for a month at most and then he would be on his way back to Kings Landing. However, if her parents decided that this Harrold Hardyng would make a good son-in-law, she would be stuck with him for life.

“Honestly, nothing of interest.” Arya stated and her elder sister sighed in disappointment. “I tried but I couldn't ask to many questions. You don't want mother and father to know you over heard them talking.”

“I know, I was just hoping to learn something about the man I might be forced to marry.” Sansa said. She didn't want to walk blind into another engagement. She wanted to know exactly what kind of man she would be bound to. Of course, there was the chance that she wouldn't even end up engaged to him and if she had anything to do with it, she wouldn't.

“Do you honestly think they will make you marry him if you didn't want to?” Arya stated and walked from the basin toward the bed. She picked up the chaise and slipped into it. Sansa grabbed the corset and wrapped it around her sisters middle. She began tightening it as she spoke.

“If they didn't believe that the Lannisters had something to do with Bran's death, I would be married to Joffery by now.” Sansa stated an Arya turned. The elder of the two picked up the green dress and helped her sister step into it. “And as far as I know, they have nothing against the Hardygn's. Why wouldn't they marry me off to him?”

“I guess you're right.” Arya stated. She was silent as she slipped on a pair of dark stockings and a pair of small slippers. Once dressed, she grabbed an outer clock that would be worn indoors to keep her from catching a chill. Arya pinned the cloak around her in a similar manner as her mother. She walked over to her vanity and looked at herself in the small mirror. Sansa came up behind her and began combing her hair again. Arya was not very talented when it came to doing her hair but Sansa had always been gifted in that area. “Do you think of him?”

“Of who?”

“Bran.” Sansa froze slightly but continued to work on her sisters hair.

“Everyday.”

“I think about him. About how he loved to climb and how excited he was to join the King's Guard when he grew up. Its all he talked about.” She stopped for a moment and took a deep breath. “And I think about those few days before he died. I can still hear his shallow breathing and I can see their faces . I see you in that woods and I hate them even more. I say their names every night and I dream about how I am going to kill them.” With that Sansa put the brush down and turned to her sister. She placed her hands gently on Arya's shoulders and looked her directly in the eye.

“Listen to me. Never say that. Ever. If the wrong person hears you, it would be considered treason and they will put your head on a spike. When King Robert passes and Joffery takes the throne, who knows what he will do.”

It was hard on their father when he turned down the hand of the kind. The only reason he even considered taking the position was because he believed his friend, the king, was in danger. Ned had to choose between his family and the man he once called a brother. It was a decision that nearly tore him apart but he did what he believed to be honorable and right.

“Do you pray to the old gods that King Robert will have a long life?”

“I don't pray to the old gods anymore.” Sansa stated. Arya didn't respond to that and as Sansa thought on it, she couldn't remember the last time her younger sister entered the Godswood when it didn't involve a fencing lesson. “But let us not talk of that anymore. Tell me, what have you learned of Petyr Baelish?”

Chapter Text

Arya turned on the seat and smirked. Sansa knew what she learned would have to be highly interesting. She expected as much. While there were no whisperings about Lord Hardyng, she knew there would be about Lord Baelish. Outside her father's solar, Hardyng's name never was mentioned and if Arya suddenly started asking questions, then it would raise some eyebrows. Yet, Sansa knew that the North was going to be abuzz with the news of the Master of Coin, and most of those people would not be happy with his coming. Why should they be? Here comes a man that they have never met, demanding money simply because the Iron Throne commanded it. Those people are not going to be willing to hand over several thousands gold dragons especially if it means a fate similar to the Boltons or Greyjoys.

Sansa knew that her father and Lord Baelish would be traveling around the North, one family at a time. They would visit one family, collect the taxes and then bring the gold back. They would be gone for a few days at a time before returning and preparing for the next family. Their mother said that Lord Baelish would be with them for several weeks, if not months.

Arya asked why they wouldn't just didn't visit each family in a consecutive order. Ned replied that it was because the gold would be to heavy for the horses to carry all the way back to Winterfell. When Arya asked about the gold making it back to King's Landing, Ned replied that Lord Baelish had sent each kingdoms taxes back in a carriage and an armed guard to accompany it. Lord Baelish hasn't been in King's Landing for close to a year.

Arya stood from the vanity and walked over to her chamber door. She leaned up against it and placed her ear against the wood. She wanted to make sure no one was standing outside her chamber who could possibly be listening to what she had to say. Arya was a very good eavesdropper and she knew that others could be just as good. When she was satisfied, she turned back and climbed on her fur covered bed and sat in a very unladylike position, with legs sprawled open and her dress riding up her legs. Sansa followed in suit but sat in a more dignified manner with her legs crossed and hanging off the side of the bed.

“Well, Maester Luwin and Ser Rodrik gossip worse than those barmaids down at the tavern.” Arya laughed joyfully. “You know he grew up with mother, correct? Mother and Lord Baelish, I mean.” Arya asked and Sansa nodded her head, indicating that she had indeed heard that from their mother's own lips. “Well, apparently he was in love with her when they were children.”

“You're joking?!” Sansa's ice blue eyes widened. She laughed lightly. It would explain why her mother never spoke of him. Even though Ned had a bastard son, he didn't like the thought of another man being in love with his wife, even if it was years in the past. She wondered if her father knew of the Lord's affection and if he did, it could explain her father was taking this visit as harshly as he was.

“Nope. When mother was engaged to our uncle Brandon, he challenged our uncle to a duel that nearly killed him.” Arya stated with intrigue. It shocked Sansa but Arya liked learning things about people. She liked overhearing things she rather shouldn't. She just liked being in places she knew she shouldn't be and that was always when she learned the most interesting information.

“Nearly?”

“Mother stepped in. Apparently she begged for his life and then once he recovered, our grandfather had him sent back to his home in the Fingers. Our mother never contacted him or saw him again until Aunt Lysa's funeral.” Sansa felt sorry for the young boy. Her father always talked about his older brother with affection but would he really have killed a young boy, simply because he loved his fiance? Now all the stories her father told her lost their luster. Sansa shook herself, she should know better. Everyone has their demons, even the dead and apparently her uncle would have killed a young boy simply because he challenged him.

“Do you think he still loves mother?” Sansa asked and Arya simply gave a shrug, indicating that she had no idea. The younger girl shifted on the bed, stretched her legs out and leaned back against one of her bed posts.

“I honestly don't know but from what Maester Luwin said, I highly doubt it.” Arya gave a smirk and paused. “ I doubt it because he married our aunt two months before she died.” That shocked Sansa that she turned so quickly that it caused her to topple off the bed. She landed on her back with a hard thud. She groaned and she knew that she would have a bruise in the morning. She could hear her sister's laughter coming from the bed. Sansa looked up and saw that Arya had move to be laying on her stomach, looking down at her. “Very graceful.”

“Yet, still far more ladylike than you will ever be.” Sansa snapped with narrowed eyes. She leaned up on her elbows and watched her sister continue to laugh at her. At one point it would have angered her greatly to hear her sister laughing at her in such a manner. Now, she found it rather enduring. Out of everyone in Winterfell and in the North, Arya was the only person Sansa felt she had any type of trust with anymore. “So he is our uncle?”

“I guess you could look at it like that but his marriage was so short, could he still be considered family?” Arya paused and sat up. “There was one thing that Ser Rodrik said that I found...I don't know...strange I suppose.”

“What is it?”

“Well remember how Ser Rodrick went to the Vale with mother when Aunt Lysa died?” She asked and Sansa nodded. In truth she remembered everything from that period in time and she hated thinking about it. “Well, he saw Lord Baelish and he said that he didn't appear to be, depressed or so any emotion at all really.”

“What are you saying? You think he wasn't upset that Aunt Lysa was murdered?” Sansa asked. She had never met her Aunt Lysa, but if rumors were true, she wasn't exactly in her right mind. There were rumors that she still breastfed her son even though he was nearing the age of ten. Her mother said the boy was sickly and Sansa could only assume it was because the mother was as well.

“Exactly. He wasn't even in the castle when she died. He learned of her death when he returned and..nothing. It was as though it was just another day.” Arya stated and Sansa felt relieved but she couldn't explain why.

Sansa leaned forward and pulled herself up. She walked over to the bed and held out her hand. Arya took a hold of it and let her sister lead her over to the vanity in order for her to finish her sister's hair. Arya sat down on the seat and Sansa began to pull the chocolate strands into a simple hairstyle.

“There is one thing I do find strange though.” Sansa stated and her younger sister looked at her in the mirror. “So this Lord Baelish loved our mother, was willing to fight in a duel for her and lost miserably. He was then sent off back home to the...Fingers?” Arya nodded in agreement and hissed slightly as her sister pulled to hard on a strand of hair. “Oh, hush. I didn't pull that hard. So he was sent back home, away from the women he thought he loved, never to speak to her again. Most likely learning that she didn't even marry the man who nearly killed him, and I'm guessing at this but it would have made him angry.”

“Why would that have made him angry?” Arya asked. Her brow creased in confusion. Sansa smiled lightly. She wished she had that same innocence still. She understood what it was like to truly hate someone. Arya said that she hated the Lannisters and Sansa knew that her sister truly believed that. However, hate took effort. It was all consuming. It caused a burning fire and blind rage that caused Sansa wanting to watch them die a slow and painful death. If Joffery died, and she had no part of it, she knew that it would leave her disappointed and possibly restless.

“Because he had no part in his death and our mother simply married his brother. If our uncle never died and she married him, at least his sacrifice would have meant something but his death and our parents marriage most likely made it seem worthless. Or at least that is how I would have felt.” Sansa stated as she finished the final touches of Arya's hair. The younger girl turned.

“You make our parent's marriage seem so cold. It's not like that.” Her voice was low but her eyes locked with Sansa's. Sansa knew that her parents loved each other and in a perfect world, she would love to have that but she also knew that it didn't start that way. It was built over time.

“Now. But when our parents got married, cold is exactly what it was. Jon is proof of that.” Arya looked away. “But that is besides the point. What I am trying to say is that this Lord Baelish loved our mother but then married her sister? If he still loved her, I don't think he would have married the closest imitation because it wouldn't be good enough. So, no I don't think he still loves mother, or Aunt Lysa for that matter, but this is all guess work of course.”

“And what makes you say that he didn't love Aunt Lysa?”

“Because as Ser Rodrik said he wasn't distraught that his brand new bride had died. Only a man who had no real feeling for his wife wouldn't be sad if she died. Not to mention if he had something to gain out of her death.” Arya looked at her sister with a raised eyebrow. “Well think about it, our cousin is still very young and this Lord Baelish would have been in step-father. Until Robin becomes of age, Lord Baelish would rule over the Vale.”

“So you are saying that this Lord Baelish had our aunt murdered in order for him to rule over the Vale, temporarily?” Arya asked. Sansa smiled lightly and shrugged. “Do you have so little faith in a man you've never met?”

“I could be completely wrong but its always better to assume the worst in people instead of the best. That way they can't disappoint you.” Sansa stated and her eyes shifted away from Arya. She focused on a stone wall above her head. Her thoughts drifted and she could feel herself breaking up inside. It was like the tiny steel box she locked all of the horrible things away broke. From time to time she could feel that steel box open and everything she worked to keep buried down was clawing its way to the surface.

Arya stood from the vanity and walked slowly toward her sister. She placed her hands on her shoulders and pulled into a hug. Sansa relaxed into her arms and began to sob. Sometimes it was just much to difficult to keep everything buried. She was so angry and frustrated that all she wanted to do was light a fire and watch the entirety of Westeros burn.

“I'm so sorry.” Arya whispered and ran her hand down her sisters back. She rocked her as Sansa just cried out her feelings. She needed this and Arya knew it. It had been so long since she let herself cry. She had shut herself down and refused to allow herself to really feel. Slowly, her tears began to fade and she pulled herself away from Arya.

“Sorry. I don't know what came over me.” Sansa stated as she took her sleeve and dried her tears. Arya was about to reply when there was a knock on her door and their mother's voice sounded on the other side. The sisters exchanged a look and they both dived, grabbing a few items, such as Aray's muddy clothes and Needle, shoving them underneath the bed.

“Coming.” Arya walked slowly over to the door as Sansa was still hiding anything would get Arya into any sort of trouble with their mother. The younger girl unlatched the bolt at the top of the door and opened it to reveal their mother. Catelyn looked worried.

“Arya have you seen-oh Sansa there you are.” Catelyn stated clearly surprised that her eldest daughter was spending time with her sister. Their relationship no longer had Arya throwing food at Sansa while Sansa stated how much she hated having Arya as a sister. While Catelyn loved the closeness the sisters have found over the last couple of years, it still shocked her when she would find them together. “We need the two of you in the courtyard. Riders have been spotted.”

They exchanged a look and the knew what their mother meant. Lord Baelish is close and the moment they had been anticipating was upon them. Catelyn moved aside and let her daughters pass her. She couldn't help but notice some clothes sticking out from underneath her daughter's bed. If she had time or energy she would demand to know what her daughter was up to. She would just have to push that aside for another time.

The three of them headed out to the court yard. Ned was there speaking with Maester Luwin and Robb. Rickon was playing with Shaggydog. When Ned saw Catelyn enter with their daughters he made the entirely of the Stark family stand in a single file line, in a similar manner as to the many times King Robert would come with Joffery.

Sansa thought back to the very first time the King came to Winterfell. She had felt a small burst of excitement inside of her. It was as though she knew her life was going to change. Sansa had that same feeling this time around. Yet, she couldn't help but feel nervous because she placed so much hope on the King's visit and all of that turned to ash.

She looked around and saw the same fasces that were present as before, except Theon. The ward was missing and that didn't sit right with Sansa. His actions in regard to how he was treating her family irritated her. Ned could have easily turned Theon out when the Greyjoys fell but instead he kept him, taught him and was attempting to help him further himself in life. Yet, Theon did nothing more than to throw Ned's generosity to the ground and spit on it.

It wasn't long before the sound of hooves galloping on muddy ground was heard approaching. The creaking sound of a carriage wheeling its way toward Winterfell could also be heard among the galloping and the snorting of the horses. The first sign of life through the gates were several gold cloaked men on top of horses carrying a banner.

Don't look at them. Don't look at them.

Sansa knew that these were the Kings men but the banner they carried had a mockingbird upon it. Sansa couldn't remember any of the great families have a mockingbird as their sigil and it made her wonder even more about who this Lord Baelish was.

The second thing through the gate was the carriage. It held no flare for it was simply black in color, no design on the side, and no indication of life inside. When the Queen rode in the carriage that brought her to the North, the carriage was brought toward the center in order of her to climb down. This carriage was pushed off toward the side. Gold. It was meant to carry the gold. Sansa thought to herself.

Once the carriage was pushed toward the side, Sansa could see one man without a gold cloak. When he climbed down from his horse, she could tell several things. He was a small man but there was a forcefulness to him that Sansa couldn't place. He was younger than she anticipated but still old enough to be her father. She expected him to be closer towards Ned's age but he seemed to be about ten years younger than him. She could tell, even though he wore a long black cloak, that this man was wealthy. Just by the type of fabric and the small details in the cloak gave away the fact that this man was just made of money.

“Cat.” Lord Baelish stated with a small smirk playing across his face. His voice was soft and with and edge that made a chill run down Sansa's spine. Catelyn stepped forward and hugged Baelish for a moment. Sansa could see her mother pull him tightly toward herself but Baelish pulled away far to quickly, something Catelyn seemed startled by. She expected this man to still be in love with her and this man was not.

“Hello Petyr, how was your journey?” She asked and that never ending smirk never left his features.

“Long. I'm sure my men would appreciate a rest for themselves and their horses.” Baelish stated and Ned made a movement, signaling Ser Rodrik to take the horses and for Maester Luwin to show the gold cloaks where they would be resting.

“Of course.” Catelyn moved slightly and Ned stepped forward. “Petyr, this is my husband Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell and the Warden of the North.” Most men would have shown how impressed they were to meet such a man with such an impressive title, yet Baelish made no indication of admiration. Instead he locked eyes with the man and gave another smirk.

“I've hoped to meet you for sometime Lord Stark. No doubt Lady Catelyn mentioned me.” His mannerisms were smooth and exact. Ned eyed him slowly, not exactly trusting the newcomer.

“She has Lord Baelish. I understand you knew my brother Brandon as well.” He stated and Baelish winced slightly but brushed his comment off with a slight laugh.

“All to well. I still carry a token of his esteem. From navel to collar bone.” His smirk was firmly in place as he made a movement with a gloved hand, sliding up his chest. Sansa couldn't help but look at his hands and she felt a sensation trickle over her, wondering what they looked like when the gloves came off. The movement of his hands and the tone of his voice made her feel a sense of desire she hadn't felt in a long time.

Sansa could tell that this man wasn't going to be bullied by her father. It wasn't that her father treated those below him with inferiority but it was because he view Lord Baelish as a threat. Whether it was because of his past feeling for his wife or because of the reason he was in the North, Sansa could not be sure.

“Perhaps you choose the wrong person to duel with.” Ned replied.

“Perhaps I did.” He stated and Ned simply eyed him, not exactly sure if he should trust him. Catelyn looked between the man she always viewed as a brother and the man she loved. This was not going to be an easy visit everyone concluded.

“Petyr, meet my children.” She took his arm and brought him toward the the spot Sansa stood with her siblings. “This is Robb my eldest and the heir to Winterfell.” Robb held out his hand and shook Baelish's hand. Robb was sizing him up in a similar fashion that his father had.

“Yes, I have heard a many great things about young Robb here. I hear that you are rather handy with a sword.” Baelish stated and Robb nodded, not sure how to reply. Her brother was sizing the man up in a very similar fashion as his father had done. Catelyn moved down the line and there he stood, directly in front of her. His grey-green eyes locking with Sansa's ice blue ones. She could feel his eyes trace over her and it made her want to step toward him.

“This is our daughter Sansa Stark.” Her breath froze as Baelish took her hand and kissed the top of her glove. She couldn't feel his lips on the back of her hand but it was enough for her stomach to drop and excitement to pulse through her. However, he dropped her hand as quickly as he picked it up. She barely heard her mother introduce Arya and Rickon because she was so fixated on his movements. His eyes would flicker toward her every few moments when he spoke with the last two of her siblings. He would smirk and smile but his eyes never showed any type of emotion.

This man was dangerous, she wanted him and that terrified her.

Chapter Text

The servants were on alert that night. They bustled about making sure that everything was perfect in order to make Lord Baelish's visit less stressful for the Starks. Happy masters meant happy servants. With winter coming to an end, the Starks didn't have anything spectacular or exotic when it came to food or wine, but they did their best with what they could produce. They pulled out the good silver instead of the plates and utensils that the family normally dined with. They wanted to prove to Lord Baelish that the Starks were still standing and would continue to do so.

The gold cloaks ate with the servants and Sansa was relieved. When they were around, they made her feel uneasy and reminded her of things that she would much rather forget. It was as though everywhere she turned, there was a gold cloak in sight. She would look at their faces to make sure that he wasn't among them. Logically, she knew he wouldn't be. He wouldn't leave Kings Landing just to simply escort the Master of Coin.

The dining hall only held the Starks along with Lord Baelish and a few servants to pour the wine. Ned and Baelish were speaking, mainly about the state of the North. Ned was wearing the Lord of Winterfell mask to perfection as he was seated at the head of the table. On his left was his wife while Baelish occupied the seat to the right. Robb leaned forward as he was seated beside Baelish and across from Sansa. Everyone was so occupied about the conversation going on between Ned and Baelish that no one paid any attention to Sansa, who was studying their guest.

She would watch how he would shift in his chair and how his hands would flex when he spoke. Sansa couldn't stop staring at his hands. She remembered how it felt when his hand made contact with her's. They were completely covered and it still sent tingles down her spine. Now his hands were bare and she could see his long fingers trace the silver goblet. She stared at his lips and thought about that small kiss he gave to the back of her hand. Sansa couldn't help but trace that spot where his lips met her gloved hand.

Most of all, Sansa couldn't help but notice how his eyes would flicker over to her. Those gray-green eyes would consume her in just mere moments before he would focus back on her father. A small grin would play across his thin lips and Sansa wanted to know what was going on behind those sharp features.

Sansa glanced around the table and it seemed that they all were to focused to notice what was going on right in front of them. Ned was to focused on what Baelish was saying to really notice what his eyes were doing. Catelyn was busy making it blatantly obvious to Baelish that she had no desire for him. Sansa could see that her parents were holding hands on top of the table and yet she could tell that it had no effect on Baelish. It was as though he couldn't care less if Ned and Catelyn really loved each other or not.

Robb was busy trying to keep up with the conversation. He would input his opinion and thoughts when he felt that they would be best received. Robb was talented at that, he knew he wasn't Lord of Winterfell yet but one day he would be and wanted to let Lord Baelish understand that. He did not want to be pushed to the side.

Arya was the last for her to focus on, seeing that Rickon was eating with Septa Mordane. Arya simply raised an eyebrow and flickered her eyes toward Baelish. Arya had been watching her sister all evening fawn over their guest. Arya couldn't see the attraction but this was the first time she saw her sister find anything beyond the Godswood and Lady interesting. While she may not like Baelish in such a manner, she couldn't help be happy that there was a spark of the old Sansa coming out to play.

“I hear that you hosted our young prince for a few months.” Baelish asked, directing his comment toward Ned, as a servant poured the Lord of Winterfell a new glass of wine. However, Baelish's eyes flashed over to Sansa as though he was calculating her reaction. Sansa didn't look at him but instead focused on her plate in front of her. She placed her fork in the tender beef, brought it to her mouth and chewed, knowing all the while that Baelish was watching her.

“Yes, Prince Joffery was fostered here about two years ago.” Ned replied. His tone was stiff and displeased. He never spoke the words aloud to anyone other than Catelyn but he was not found of his old friend's son. Joffery may be a Baratheon but Ned didn't trust his mother's family. It was the main reason why he broke the engagement between Joffery and Sansa. He believed the Lannisters were the cause of Bran's death. He did not want his daughter to be apart of that family.

“He always spoke so fondly of Winterfell.” Sansa looked up and met Baelish's eyes. It was as though he was trying to tell her something. At that, her breathing increased and her mind went into a frenzy. What was Joffery saying in the Capitol? What was he telling people? Sansa was counting on Cersei to have control over her son but had the Queen lost that control? She chanced one last look at Baelish and she could tell that for a moment, he regretted bring up Joffery.

He knew.

“The throne was most eager to make a match for Joffery. When I was at Highgarden I was able to broker a match between the prince and one Margaery Tryrell.” Baelish stated and glanced back at Sansa. She knew what he was trying to tell her. Joffery had a new bride and the chances of King Robert demanding Ned to marry Sansa to his son was slim to none. Thank you. She mouthed to Baelish and he just smirked in satisfaction, as though it pleased him that he made her happy.

“And when can we expect this royal wedding?” Ned asked. The lines in his forehead creased. Ned knew that if Joffery was getting married, then he would be expected to attend the wedding. All the high lords are required to attend such events. His eyes looked toward his eldest daughter, who he noticed was focused on her meal. Her wondered how an event would effect her, when she so dearly wanted to be the one who the royal wedding was for.

“Well the king requested it be as soon as possible but the Tryrells and the Queen wanted to wait until summer has fully arrived.” Baelish answered. Summer was rapidly approaching and if the weather continued to change as quickly as it had been, Joffery would be married before the year was out. With that Baelish lifted his goblet and drank lightly from the wine. Sansa noticed that he drank lighter than most men. Robb, Theon and sometimes even her father would gulp down the liquid, but Baelish drank slowly and gently. It was as though he never wanted the wine to control him. She watched as he set the goblet down and his tongue liked the wine from his lips. His eyes locked with hers again.

“Is that why King Robert made you Lord of Harrenhal?” Robb asked with curiously. Sansa looked toward Arya because she had let out that information. The younger girl shrugged and indicated that she had no idea. There are rumors that Harrenhal is haunted but Sansa didn't believe in ghost stories anymore.

“Yes, King Robert has been most kind in that regard.” Baelish stated with a smirk. “Of course its nothing more than a ruin for the time being but with the right amount of gold and men...well..I'm sure you can imagine.” Sansa believed him. She believed that he would turn Harrenhal into something great and something beautiful; something that would rival Winterfell. She wondered if she would ever get to see it, or would she be stuck in the North forever. Perhaps she would be shipped off to the Eyrie. Neither option seemed appealing to her.

“Yes. King Robert is very generous. Generous enough to bankrupt the Seven Kingdoms.” Ned snapped, his speech slightly slurred. To him, he never understood how the Seven Kingdoms fell into such debt. He knew that King Robert could be a fool but surely Jon Arryn was not. The man who fostered him during his youth never would have allowed the kingdoms to fall into such a state. He knew that it was possible that the debt was not acquired until after Jon Arryn's death but with this much debt, it seemed unlikely.

“I have been Master of Coin for many years and have always advised spending the crown's money wisely and I know the Hand always agreed. However, no amount of advising can change a king's mind once the course has been set. If the King followed my advise, the Kingdoms would be prospering.” Baelish stated, yet Sansa didn't completely believe him. The way he spoke and the smirk he wore made Sansa think that Lord Baelish enjoyed the fact that the Seven Kingdoms were scrambling.

The question was why? Why would he enjoy such a thing? He was sitting in a nice position, if she thought on it. He was Lord of Harrenhal and if everything went as planned, one day Harrenhal would reclaim its glory. Of course that depended if Lord Baelish had his way, which Sansa believed that he always got what he wanted. He was also Protector of the Vale, even if it was temporary. When her cousin Robin came of age and ruled over the Vale, he would turn to Baelish for counsel. If Robin died, as her mother suspected, then this Lord Hardyng would take the seat as Lord of the Vale. She wasn't certain but she would be willing to bet Lord Baelish planned for such an outcome as well as the outcome of Robin taking control.

Either way, he had the Vale and Harrenhal. He spoke that he was friendly with the Tryells of Highgarden, enough to broker a match with Joffery, leading Sansa to believe that he had the Lannisters and Baratheons as allis as well. Baelish was putting himself in a position of immense power.

“I do not believe that Jon Arryn would have allowed the crown to go bankrupt!” Ned stated, nearly pounding his first on the table. Sansa saw that her mother moved her father's goblet farther away from him. Her father wasn't one to overly drink but she knew he was stressed. She let her eyes flicker toward Baelish and she could see that he was finding direct amusement in her father's intoxication.

“Jon Arryn was one of the best Hand's the Seven Kingdoms has ever seen, but he has been gone for the last six years. Many things can change in six years. It has been a long and cold winter.” Baelish stated in a smug tone as though there was so much more to the story.

“I doubt the king was ever cold....at least his bed wasn't.” Ned muttered and Catelyn gave him and slight jab. Robb's shoulder's slumped and he shook his head. This type of behavior was uncommon for her father.

“Alright Ned, I think its time you went to bed.” Catelyn stated as she stood from the table. “Pardon us Petyr but I think it would be wise if I took my husband to bed.” She grabbed her husband by the arm and helped him stand. She put his arm around her shoulder and let her husband lean on her. While Catelyn was small, she was far stronger than she looked and her husband's weight was nothing to her. Ned muttered something and buried his face in his red hair.

“I'm sure that is something you've done hundreds of times already, my dear Cat.” Baelish stated with a leer. Catelyn let the remark go even though a retort was on the tip of her tongue. Robb hissed in displeasure, not liking his mother being disrespected in such a way. Sansa knew that if it would have been any other situation and if they didn't need Baelish at that exact moment, Robb would have called him out on such a remark. All the while Arya snorted in her goblet and Sansa held back a giggle.

The three Stark children watched their parents leave the dimly lit dining area. All the while Baelish watched Sansa. She glanced toward him and suddenly had to look down at her plate in embarrassment. She could feel the heat rise in her cheeks and she assumed that her face was as red as her hair. Baelish's eyes grew darker as he gazed at her as though she was stripped naked. She chanced a glance at him and his gaze never wavered. Her eyes shifted to Robb whose fingers were pinching the bridge of his nose while Arya was whispering to him. The entirety of the evening meal Baelish had been stealing sly glances at Sansa with her doing the same in return. Now, he was unabashedly staring at her as though he wanted to devour her. All she could think of at that moment was how much she wanted that. Not being able to take anymore of his penetrating gaze, Sansa stood and declared that she was headed to bed.

Without even saying goodnight or being a proper hostess, Sansa hurried out of the dining hall, passed a few guards and toward the stairwell. She raced as fast as her feet would take her and once she reached the stone landing she slowed to a gentle pace. She passed through the landing and headed down a darkened corridor with only the light from the torches leading the way. She was almost to the corridor that held her chambers when she heard someone call her name.

“Lady Sansa.” Sansa turned and saw Baelish walking towards her. He carried himself in a dignified manner but she could see that he was breathing heavily. He had chased after her. His eyes were piercing her's the exact same way they had been before she made her hasty exist. His leer was firmly in place and it made Sansa squirm. She knew that she should be disinterested in this man but there was just something in his manner that made her want him. This attraction was not something she was used to and she never felt this way with Joffery. “I was hoping to catch you before you reached your chambers.”

“Is there something I can help you with Lord Baelish?” Sansa asked him. She stood still and laced her fingers together. She hoped that if she stood stiffly enough, perhaps Baelish wouldn't be able to sense the emotions she was feeling. She had become a master at forcing her feelings into submission, attraction shouldn't be any different.

“Oh there are several things you could help me with.” Baelish asked, that leer growing even wider. Any hope of forcing her feelings into submission were completely forgotten and she could feel her lower parts of her growing warm. The closer Baelish got, the more Sansa squirmed. He could see right threw her and she knew her discomfort made him very pleased. “However, those things are not what I what I wanted to talk to you about. At least not yet.”

“I don't-”

“Have you ever experienced what a night of heavy drinking feels like?” Baelish asked and Sansa shook her head in the negative. While her parents allowed them to have wine, they always monitored how much they drank. A few times Robb, Jon and Theon had slipped into the kitchens and had gotten overly smashed. When they did, Ned always had them up early for a long day of riding and labor. “Good. Good. Men who drink to much always spill their secrets. It's best to be on the receiving end of those secrets than the one telling them.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Sansa asked in confusion. One second he was making innuendos and the next he was giving her advice. It was almost fatherly and yet he was nothing like her father. He reached out and took her hand into his. Sansa felt her stomach turn. Baelish took his thumb and began to run it over her knuckles at a slow pace. His eyes locked onto hers and devilish smirk appeared on his face.

“Think of it as a lesson.” He moved his hand up her forearm. “Your father is going to have a rough morning. We are riding out to White Harbor and will not be back for a few days. It's a shame to leave so soon after I arrived. It would please me very much if you came to the courtyard before dawn.” His hand reached her shoulder and he began tracing small circles over the fabric. Wanting to feel his skin on her's again, Sansa reached up and pulled his hand from her shoulder and linked her fingers through his. She kept her hand flat, only allowing their fingers to touch.

“And why would it please you Lord Baelish?” Sansa asked with a soft voice. Even though the only light were a few torches that lingered on the wall, Sansa could see his eyes begin to darken. She knew that this was a dangerous game that she was playing. Yet, she couldn't help herself. She knew that if she continued to act in such a manner, she was going to get burned. She had been cold for so long, perhaps a bit of heat is what she needed.

“Call me Petyr.” His voice was huskier than before and his breathing hallow. He stepped closer to her and for a moment, Sansa thought that he was going to kiss her but he didn't. Instead he reached with his free hand and traced her collar bone where the top of her dress rested. Slowly his hand moved toward the pulse in her neck. Baelish traced were the he could feel her pulse began to speed up. Then suddenly she went rigid and felt all of her muscles clench together.

Memories began to race into her mind. The thought of hands gripping her neck and the need to breathe becoming so urgent. The pain increased as her air way began to tighten. Sansa could almost feel the pull of her hair and sound of ripping fabric ringing in the air. The smell of wood and dirt flooded her sense of smell. Her breathing began to speed and she felt panic begin to rise. Her eyes darted around looking for an escape. She felt the fingers move rapidly from her pulse but she felt a tight squeeze on her hand.

“Sansa, look at me. Look at me.” Sansa focused on the squeeze on her hand and looked directly into Baelish's eyes. She felt herself begin to calm and he slowly placed his free hand on the side of her arm. He gently began to massage it in a comforting manner. Sansa felt her heart begin to slow and her breathing return to normal. She never removed her eyes from his as though he was the only person who could make this pain disappear. “You are safe with me. I promise, I won't hurt you.”

They stood there for a few moments as Sansa tried to relax herself. Baelish never let go of her hand and never stopped rubbing her shoulder. He wouldn't either, not until he knew she was going to be alright. He wouldn't leave her alone in such a state. Slowly, her posture loosened and she saw Baelish give her a smile. It wasn't that leery smirk he wore when he was gazing at her before. This was something else and it made her feel safe.

“How are you feeling?” He asked in a soothing manner. He stopped rubbing her shoulder and his hand drifted down slightly but he stayed in contact with her. She smiled and nodded. Baelish smiled in relief but his smile held a sadness to it. “That mask you wear, I've seen it a hundred times.” She didn't know what he meant but she wanted nothing more than to forget. She didn't want to dwell on the memories that surfaced and began to push them down. She wanted to focus on Baelish.

“Must be because I look like my mother.” Sansa whispered and Baelish let out a small chuckle. It was a quiet sort of laugh. If she had not been standing right there, she would have missed it. He wasn't a type of man who genuinely laughed often but when he did there was something more ominous behind it. Sansa felt a sort of pride to be able to bring that out in him.

“That is not what I meant.” Baelish leaned forward but kept his hands in their place, never moving them. He was so close that Sansa could feel his breath on her. His breath smelt of mint leaves and it was intoxicating. “You are far more beautiful than she ever was.” With those whispered words, Baelish pressed his lips to Sansa's cheek and letting them rest there for a few seconds before he pulled away slightly. “Come to the courtyard at dawn. At the very least so I know you are alight.” He whispered in her ear, letting his warm breath grace her earlobe.

He stepped back from her and let the hand that rested on her arm fall. He moved completely away before letting their linked hands break apart. When they finally were disconnected, Sansa felt a sort of loss. After losing that contact, she realized how comforting his touch was. Once he realized what set her off, he remedied it and pulled her back into a place of comfort. She knew that after this moment, she would desire his touches, especially the small ones.

“Goodnight Sweetling.”

Baelish gave her one last smirk and headed back down the darkened corridor. Sansa stood there watching him walk away. He never looked back. When he turned a corner and she could no longer see him, she rushed toward her chamber door and swung it open. She entered, closing it behind her and let herself fall against the wood. Sansa looked toward the window on the right side of the room. It was dark outside and the sun was nowhere to be seen; but Sansa knew that dawn came early.

Chapter Text

Sleep never came that night. Sansa laid in bed for hours, thinking about Baelish’s hand in hers and how it felt when his lips connected with her cheek. She always avoided physical contact for the most part. While she could stand a few touches from family, and even that was something that was relatively new, strangers were completely out of the question. At first, she couldn’t even receive a simple hug from her own father. Maester Luwin was always careful never to actually touch her with his bare hands. They all thought she was traumatized from a wildling attack, a lie she encouraged. Yet, she always suspected that Maester Luwin knew what actually happened in those woods but he never said a word about it. For that she was grateful.

Yet, here was a man she hardly knew and she was already craving his touches. She knew that she should not go to that courtyard at dawn to see Baelish but she couldn’t help herself. Sansa wanted to see him again. It would be days before she would be able to look upon his sharp features. That seemed unbearable to her. It wasn’t as though she was a love sick child. She knew what that felt like because she experienced that strong infatuation with Joffery. This time around she just wanted to feel his hand in hers again. She couldn’t make sense of it but she knew that while it was shocking and exciting, his skin on her's, it was also comforting.

When she glanced out her chamber window, Sansa knew that if she indeed was going to go to the courtyard to meet him, she needed to pull herself out of bed. While she was comfortable, she hadn’t slept. Sansa slipped out of the covers and felt the cold air hit her. She shivered, letting the goosebumps grace her porcelain skin. When her feet hit the wooden floor, it was as though it was made of ice. Even the hot springs under the castle could warm everything. She rushed over to her trunk and pulled a simple winter dress. It was dark but had lovely red detail. It was something she made a few years prior when she couldn’t bear to let the servants help her dress. It was something she could just slip on without any type of assistance. She pulled the dress on over her sleeping chaise. No one was going to know and she planned on crawling back into her bed once she departed from the courtyard. She grabbed one of her dark cloaks. She had a few to last her through the winter season and most of them had either the Stark direwolf sigil or some other type of embroidery. This cloak however, was plain black and wouldn’t stand out which is what she wanted. After running a brush through her hair, lifting her hood to cover her head, Sansa grabbed the candle by her bed and heading out her chamber door.

The corridor was dark and the only light was the flicker of the torches on the wall. The candle Sansa held in her hand was dim but it gave her enough light to see where she was headed. The castle was quite, with only a few servants going about their business for their morning routine. When she reached the landing of the stairwell, she could hear Ser Rodrik speaking to a stable boy down below about her father’s, Robb and Lord Baelish’s departure. Theon was supposed to be with them but he never returned to the castle the night before. Once she heard their voices fading into the distance, Sansa went slowly down the stairs. When she noticed no one was in sight, she sprinted across the entrance hall toward the giant oak doors that lead out into the courtyard.

Sansa sat the candle down seeing that it was light enough out for her to see her surroundings. She passed the two towers and went closer to where the gates were located. She paused for a moment when she saw Baelish up ahead. His back was to her and she could tell that his hands were engaged in some activity. Suddenly his arms lifted and a raven flew away from him with a note tied to its foot. Sansa wondered where that raven was going and who would be on the receiving end of it. She was never as nosey as Arya but she couldn't help but be curious.

“Lord Baelish?” Sansa stated causing the older gentleman to turn. He took a few leisurely steps in her direction. Sansa saw a small smirk appear on his face. He was dressed in his dark colors again but she could tell that his clothes were finely made. It was as though Baelish enjoyed proving to others how wealthy he was but not in an ostentatious way. Sansa was used to the finer clothes, while her parents were far more frugal with their gold than others, she still knew what fine fabric felt like. However, she could not conceive the wealth that Baelish portrayed.

“Petyr.” He corrected. Baelish was standing directly in front of her but he didn't touch her. While she was disappointed Sansa understood why. The court yard only had a few people around, servants preparing of the departure of the Lord of Winterfell along with his guest. However, it only took one servant to say the wrong thing to the right person and Sansa would find herself in the midst of serious trouble.

“Petyr.” Sansa amended and Baelish's smirk grew wider. It was as though the sound of his name coming from her lips pleased him. Yet, he still kept a distance and Sansa found herself wishing that the servants or anyone else in the courtyard would simply vanish. “Where is the raven headed?” Baelish turned his head slightly and smirked.
“King's Landing. The King will need word that I have arrived safely.” His eyes then traced over her and Sansa had the urge to pull her cloak tighter around her. It wasn't that she hated the attention he gave her, she just wasn't accustomed to it. When his eyes traced over her, she felt a thrill run through her. It sent a tingle down her spine.

“Among other things.”

“What other things?” Sansa asked and Baelish just gave her one of his famous smirks. She could tell that whatever was running through his mind was less than pure, and it excited her. His eyes pulled from her body and glimpsed around. When he was sure no one was watching them, he stepped forward and placed his hands on the side of her head. His fingers graced her hood that was still atop her head. Slowly he lowered the hood, letting her red hair that hidden beneath it flow. Baelish leaned forward and kissed her cheek gently.

“Nothing you need to worry about. At least not yet, Sweetling.” He whispered in her ear. Then suddenly he was stepping back from her and Sansa felt that loss. She looked over and saw that a servant girl had entered the yard. Baelish moved away toward his horse, making it look as though they were only having a simple conversation and that nothing untoward was happening.

She wanted to question him. She wanted to know what she didn't need to worry about. If it was anyone else, she would have pestered but she knew it was fruitless. He wouldn't tell her anything and perhaps it was that he couldn't. If that raven was for the King then it was no business of her's, even though she wanted to make it her business.

“Last night, when you said about the mask I wear, what did you mean?” Sansa asked in an unsure tone. While she laid awake at night reliving Baelish’s touches, her mind always wondered about his comment. He said he has seen it a hundred times, by who? If he didn’t mean her mother, who could he possibly mean? She did feel a rush of pride and triumph when he claimed that she was far more beautiful than her mother ever was. Ever since she was little, she had always heard what a beauty Catelyn Tully had been in her youth. She still was of course, only being in her late thirties.

Sansa suddenly realized that the age difference between her and Lord Baelish wasn’t as far away as she originally thought. He was of course old enough to be her father, but she knew by looking at him that was younger than her actual father. She knew that her mother was only a few years older than Baelish, claiming that he was always like a younger brother to her. If her math was correct, he could be no older than thirty-six years old.

“I meant exactly what I said. I’ve seen women and sometimes men in your position before. I’ve seen the way they hold themselves, the way they distance themselves from any contact, the way they speak with a harsh coldness in their tone and I’ve most certainly seen the way you reacted to my touch last night.” The way he spoke and the look he gave her wasn’t harsh or scolding. If anything it was as though he felt sorry for her. Sansa didn’t want anyone’s pity, especially not his. Pity was the last thing she wanted from him.

“And where have you seen these women?” Her voice was cold. She didn’t like being reminded of the reason she was the way she was. Yet, here was this man who brought these emotions out of her. She kept everything so buried deep down inside of her that it made her as cold as the winter that was coming to an end. But with one simple look from him, she felt emotions that she denied herself for so long flow through her. If she was honest with herself, not all the emotions were negative.

“On several of my girls.”

“Girls? I don’t-“

“Whores, Sweetling. One of my several whores.” Sansa let out a surprised gasp. She didn't expect that to be his response. Her mind started to run wild. What did he mean by his whores? As in more than one? Was he like Theon and spent time in brothels instead of with the ones who loved him? She watched him the night before and he didn't overly drink such as Theon would have. He cautioned her against it, saying that she would take leave of her sense and would spill secrets that she would rather not have people know.

“You mean you spend gold on-”

“I mean that I own several brothels in the capitol.” He stated in a voice that was matter of fact. It was as though it was another day and that it was very common for a man to own such an establishment, let alone more than one. “And before you ask, Sweetling, I don't mix business with pleasure.” He spoke with formality and Sansa believed him. She felt relieved and Sansa realized that she did not like the idea of another women touching him.

“Why? Why would you own such an establishment?” As a lady, Sansa was always taught to turn a blind eye when it came to the brothels or any other such establishment. Even now her parents rarely talked about what went on down at the village. It wasn't until Theon started visiting them so frequently that her parents started really talking about what went on beyond closed doors. She remembered the uncomfortable conversation she and Arya had with their mother. Sansa already knew and Arya had witness Theon's discussions first hand but it was still rather embarrassing.

“Whores bring in gold. If there is one thing that I am good at, it is bringing in gold.” Baelish smirked and stepped a bit closer. He still was far away enough for everything to appear innocent. Their voices were low enough for others not to overhear unless others were right next to them. “And owning brothels keeps me well informed.”
“How so?” It always seemed that Baelish knew what others didn't. Yet, she didn't understand how keeping whorehouses would let him know things such as what happened to her in the Godswood. Her sister found it strange that she spent a good amount of her time in those woods, seeing as it was the scene of her nightmares. Sansa felt that she needed to overcome her trauma, so she spent as much time as she could there.

“Another time perhaps? There is not enough time for me to show you.” Baelish stated as his eyes lingered over her person. Sansa once again felt that familiar tingle. She wanted to throw back a witty retort and she wanted his innuendos not to have this effect on her. Yet, it excited her because she knew it would be different. He wouldn't hurt her. He would choke her. He wasn't a good man, that much was very clear but he wasn't a violent one either. “Does it bother you? That I own brothels?”

Sansa thought on it for a moment, did it bother her? It would bother her if he would spend his time and gold on the whores. It would bother her if he allowed them to touch him. But she believed him when he said he didn't mix business with pleasure. The question was, did it bother her that he owed such establishments? Her father never would even think of making such an investment and neither would Robb. Theon most likely wouldn't mind but would end up using the merchandise more so than making a profit. Yet, those men were men she could never want. She didn't want a man like her father who was nobel and brave. Most men who claim to be so are liars. Yet, this man stood in front of her telling her exactly who he was.

“No, it doesn't.” With that Baelish smirked and Sansa knew that it pleased him. She felt a rush of pride well up inside her at the thought him being happy with her. She wanted to please him and she was afraid that she would do just about anything to make him happy. “So that is how you knew about me? Because one of your girls? Is it that obvious?” He was quiet for a moment and she could tell that he was lost in thought. She wanted to know.

“You hide it very well. No one would know what happened to you by simply looking at you. I'm just more accustomed to girls who have experienced such brutality. It was in the small things you did that made me realize.” Baelish stated in such a matter-of-fact tone that Sansa wondered if he found damaged girls to be normal in his line of work. He said he was accustomed to it but those were whores. Surely they expected it and knew what was going to happen. She was a lady and had no forewarning. “That and our young prince is not only sadistic but he has a rather loose tongue.”

“What?” Sansa snapped. Her heart rate began to speed up and her breathing increased. How much of a fool had she been? Of course Joffery would rave about what he had done. He was the prince and he could do what he pleased. He could demand someone's life and no one would bat an eye. “What has he been saying?”

“I won't go into particulars but you have a reputation in the capitol. I can tell now that most of what the good prince has been saying is all lies.” Baelish stated but it didn't make her feel better. She had thought she was able to keep it a secret. She was hoping that Joffery would have better sense but she forgot that Kings Landing was not Winterfell and that Joffery was a prince. He could do what he pleased. It made her angry and she wanted nothing more than to throw something breakable at his sadistic face.

“Is that why you like me Lord Baelish? Because I have a reputation?” Sansa was angry, but mainly at herself. She had been a fool and hated herself for it. She should have known better. She was falling back into the naive child she had been. She was hoping that Baelish liked her because of who she was but instead it was because of what he has heard of her.

“Sweetling, I don't just like you, I want you.” Baelish walked closer to her again and Sansa felt a chill rush through her. “Whether you are a pure innocent young lady or a damaged and manipulative women, I will enjoy corrupting you.” Sansa flushed. She didn't know how to respond because she was to busy clenching her thighs together.
“And what if I don't want to be corrupted?” She stated. She wanted to defy him just to see how far she could push him. Sansa knew that eventually he was snap and she was curious at what the reaction would be. Just the mere thought excited her.

“Oh Sweetling, you will be begging for it.” Baelish stated with a chuckle. That leer was on his lips and Sansa thought back to his tongue she saw licking the wine off his lips the night before. She wanted to know what those lips felt like. Sansa snapped herself out of the trance and needed to focus on something else. Something that would make her angry.

“So this reputation I have, I'm assuming its not flattering?” That caused Baelish to laugh again. He turned away from her and went over to his horse. He started to prepare for the ride. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see some of her father's men and gold cloaks entering the courtyard. Her father would soon be here in order to ride off and she knew that she should be heading back to her chambers. Sansa didn't want to, she wanted to keep talking to Baelish. He would be gone for days and she would be left there obsession over everything he said.

“People are more open in the Capitol. Joffery is spinning a tale that you seduced him and when I say Joffery I mean Queen Cersei. She had to create a story when her son spoke a bit to freely. Of course King Robert is far to angry with your father that he could care less if the prince ruined his best friend's daughter.” Baelish stated and Sansa thought, not for the first time, that the King was a fool. It would have been a perfect opportunity to force a marriage between her and Joffery. Yet, she knew the King was sitting on the Iron Throne doing nothing more than whoring and drinking himself into an early grave. “I'm actually surprised the news of you and Prince Joffery's affair hasn't reached Winterfell. Then again news does not travel as fast in the winter season.”

“It wasn't an affair. I wanted nothing to do with it.” Sansa snapped at him. Ned entered the courtyard looking rough. She turned back to Baelish who was keeping a safe distance from her. “This can't reach Winterfell. My parents can never know what he is saying in King's Landing. Please.” Baelish looked thoughtful for a moment.

“There are a few people I could buy off in order to keep your secret. Of course it won't be cheap.” Sansa nodded. She wasn't exactly sure what she would be able to offer in return but she was sure that he would request something specific. “But I won't ask anything from you. At least not this time.”

“Thank you-”

“Sansa!” She turned to see her father walking toward her. She could see that his eyes had bags underneath them and he was paler than she had ever seen him before. Obviously Ned was not going to have an enjoyable ride. Robb trailed behind him with a smirk plastered on his face. It was obvious that he was enjoying his father's predicament. Possibly because it would be some sort of payback for all those time Ned forced him to do labor after a night of drinking. “What are you doing up this early?”

Ned's eyes traveled between his daughter and Baelish. He didn't trust the man and it didn't help that Sansa looked like a younger version of his wife. He knew that once upon a time Baelish claimed to love Catelyn and he hasn't shown any indication that he still was. However, he has heard less than flattering things of the Master of Coin and didn't want him alone with Sansa.

“I wanted to see you and Robb off. You weren't here so I was entertaining Lord Baelish with tales of White Harbor.” Sansa lied threw her teeth with the perfect daughter of Winterfell mask in place. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Baelish smirking. He saw right through her and she began to wonder if he was the only one who would. Sansa stepped forward, stood on her tip-toes and kissed her father's cheek. She repeated the same thing with Robb. “Please be safe and return soon.”

“We will and don't cause any trouble while we are gone.” Ned stated believing his daughter would never cause any type of chaos. In his mind, she was a sweet innocent princess that never would do something amoral. “Lord Baelish, are you ready?”

“It appears far more than you are.” With that Ned gave a grunt in displeasure. He placed a soft hand on Sansa's back and led her away from Baelish. She turned back and looked at him. He flashed her one of his cheeky smiles and she felt herself flush again.

Sansa stood back as Ned and Robb prepared for their journey. They talked about the journey to White Harbor and how long it would take to get there. Sansa was looking at six days alone with her mother, Arya, Rickon and possibly Theon if he ever graced them with his presence. A few moments later she watched her father, brother and Baelish ride off with several Winterfell guards and gold cloaks. She ran to the gates and watched them ride off. She leaned against the stone and she had no idea how long she had stood there.

She felt he sun begin to warm on her face. She looked to the sky and she knew that it was going to be a clear day. While summer may be approaching, it was always cold in the North. Eventually she couldn't see the flags anymore. She was about to turn back toward the castle when a horse rode past her. Sansa turned quickly and saw Theon jump down off the horse. He took the reins and practically threw them at a servant girl. Sansa could feel the irritation and anger rise up in her. She pushed off the stone wall and all but stomped her way over to him.

“Nice of you to return.” The venom in her voice took Theon off guard. However that cocky attitude that he always seemed to have plastered on his face. “It's a shame you never came back last night. You just missed father and Robb ride off with Lord Baelish. I know they would have preferred for you to have been with them.”

“Where are they going?” Theon asked and Sansa could still smell the wine on him. She could see the tunic was untucked from his trousers. He had a bruise on his neck that he wasn't attempting to hide and his cloak had wrinkles on it that showed that his cloak was not just being used for keeping warm.

“To White Harbor, you know the biggest city in the North.” Nothing. “They will get the most gold there.” Theon just blinked at her. “For the taxes.” Sansa huffed when he didn't even respond. “You have no idea what I am talking about do you?”

“I don't care. Not like I'm going to be Lord of Winterfell one day.” Theon shrugged. At first, Sansa had felt sorry for him when the news of the Greyjoys reached them. She understood when he hit the depression stage because she felt exactly the same way. It wasn't until he started treating her family with contempt and spent more time at the whorehouse drinking himself to death that Sansa started to feel ball of hate bubble up inside of her. Sansa believed that life would be better at Winterfell without Theon and she wished there was a way to get rid of him.

Chapter Text

The crypts were always dark and dreary. The deceased members of the Stark family were buried there and some people believed that it was haunted. It was always an eery place but a ghost has never been spotted among those tombs. The only indication that something strange occurred in those dark halls was when Rickon would sometimes dream of them. The morning that Bran had died, Rickon had a dream that he saw Bran down in the crypts. Sansa had brushed the dream aside as a small child having a reaction to a traumatic event. However, that all changed when their mother's grief stricken cry rang through the halls of Winterfell.

Sansa stood in front of Bran's stone carved face and traced the lines of his face. She could hardly remember what he looked like but she knew this stone carving was hardly realistic. As she traced his face, she closed her eyes hoping to conjure an image in her mind of Bran's smiling face. She tried to see him and to remember what his smile was like but all she could focus on was the constant dripping noise of water hitting the crypt's floor. The musty smell of the cold air filled her nostrils and it made her chest feel frozen. The harder she focused, the farther Bran got away.

She pulled her hand away in irritation and huffed. Nothing was coming and it made the realization that she never was going to hear Bran speak again all to real. Sansa had so many regrets when it came to Bran's death. She was heartbroken when he died and all she wanted was to get as far away from Winterfell in order to pretend that it wasn't real. Realizing now how much of a mistake that would have been, Sansa was grateful she was forced to stay in the North. She shuddered to think what her life would have become if her father took the King on his offer to become the Hand. She was certain that she would be married to Joffery and nothing could be more terrifying than that.

Sansa wondered if Bran would have been disappointed in her. She knew that if the news of her ruin would ever reach her parents that they would just as be heartbroken. Ned would rage and declare war on the throne. She knew that the banner-men would follow him but he wouldn't have the support of the six remaining kingdoms. Catelyn would weep for her the daughter she used to be. Robb wouldn't say anything but simply hold her. He would just hold her and say how sorry he was before following their father into battle. Rickon wouldn't do anything because he was just a child of nine and too young to really understand.

Yet, how would Bran react? Sansa couldn't be sure. He would be thirteen now and nearly a man. He was just a child when he died and she had no idea what type of man he would have grown into. She didn't know how he would react to his sister's ruin. She walked away from Bran's statue and went to face another. When she was young and just a child, Sansa would sneak down here and watch her father weep over a statue of a women. She had no idea who she was until she gained enough courage to ask her mother. It was her Aunt Lyanna and Sansa realized years later that her father also prayed for her in the Godswood. She would hear him whisper her name as he sat under the Weirwood.

Unlike Ned, Sansa never prayed anymore. She believed that the Godswood was nothing more than empty woods. Gods didn't exits. They were nothing more than fantasies that people told themselves in order to sleep at night. Yet, when Baelish told her of the lies that Joffrey and Cersei where saying in King's Landing, for the first time in years she prayed. She prayed that the news would never reach her parents. She prayed because she felt as though she had no control and nothing else to lose. She could only hope that Baelish was good on his word and would never allow the news to spread any farther north.

“There you are.” A cheeky voice sounded from down the crypt. Sansa turned and saw Baelish strolling towards her with a lazy smirk upon his lips. He looked much like he did seven days ago when he first arrived. He looked worn from travel but still impeccable. His cloak was once again dark, a smart choice for a place that frequently got so muddy, but it still held golden embroidery that put Sansa's talent to shame. A mockingbird pin was nestled firmly on his chest, holding the cloak together.

“You're back.” Sansa replied with a genuine smile. She had been so worried about her parents learning of her reputation that she didn't realize how much she missed him. She knew him for less than a month but he has made such an impact on her that she already knew it was going to be strange when he was no longer here and back in King's Landing.

“Yes. We arrived about an hour ago and I was very disappointed you were not there to greet me. Your sister had to tell me where you were.” He inched closer to her and Sansa could feel her heartbeat speed up. She caught her breath when his fingers touched the small necklace that she wore. The necklace had a small silver direwolf pendant and when Baelish fingered it, she could feel the back of his fingers lightly graze across her collar bone. “Tell me something, how much do you trust your sister?”

“I trust her with my life. I tell her everything.” It was something in his eyes but Sansa could tell that there was no one in this life that Baelish trusted. Must be lonely. She thought. While she believed that the world was full of horrible people and everyone had the capability of betrayal she trusted her sister and that was enough for her. He gave her a small smile and pulled away from her. He walked around her to stare at the statue in front of them.

“Your Aunt Lyanna.” He stated as the two of them gazed at the statue.

“My father never talks about her.” She paused, reflecting on the statue and the Lord of Winterfell. “Sometimes I find him down here lighting the candles. They say she was beautiful.” She couldn't remember Bran's face and she wondered if her father remembered his sister's. Sansa was beginning to realize that it was a tradition that Starks didn't talk about siblings who have passed on. Outside of Arya, she never heard anyone mention Bran's name. Her father never talked about Lyanna and only her mother told her stories of her Uncle Brandon. Ned rarely mentioned him either.

“I saw her once.” Sansa looked at him in surprise. She knew that Baelish was connected to her family but she thought it was only on her mother's side. “I was a boy living with your mother's family and Lord Went of the great tourney at Harrenhal. Everyone was there; the Mad King, your father, Robert Baratheon and Lyanna. She was already promised to Robert.” He stopped for a moment and wore a small smile. Sana realized that it was the first true smile he wore. There was nothing devious about this smile. “You can imagine what it was like for me? A boy from nowhere, with nothing to his name? Watching these legendary men tilting at the lists? The last two riders were Barristan Selmy and Rhaegar Targaryen. When Rhaegar won everyone cheered for their prince. Everyone was laughing when he took off his helmet and saw his silver hair. How handsome he was until he rode right past his wife, Elia Martell and all the smiles died. I've never seen so many people so quiet. He rode past his wife and he lay a crown of winter roses in Lyanna's lap, blue as frost.” He stopped for a moment and Sansa could see into him. This was the real first glimpse into where Baelish came from. It startled her how young he appeared as the went down memory lane. “How many thousands had to die because Rhaegar chose your aunt?”

“Yes. He chose her. And then he kidnapped her and raped her.” In that moment Sansa could feel herself connected to her aunt more than any living relative she had, even Arya. They both where proclaimed to be beautiful. Both were claimed by a prince and both were brutalized by them. The only difference is that Sansa survived. She wondered if Lyanna had survived, would she feel this void of darkness inside her too? Sansa looked over to Baelish and he wore the most peculiar expression. It was as though he knew something she didn't. “What?”

“Come. Let's speak somewhere where the dead can't hear us.” Baelish places his hand on her arm and steered her away from Lyanna's crypt. He put her arm in his and they walked away from the dead. At first she had craved to be down here and for a statue to be made in her honor but as time moved forward, Sansa realized that death wasn't the answer. She still was unsure what it was but she knew it wasn't her death she craved.

“Are you going to tell me what you are thinking?” She asked. Over the last few years, Sansa had gotten talented at predicting people's thoughts. Most people think they are unpredictable when the truth was the exact opposite. Yet, Baelish was a complete mystery to her. She had no idea what he was thinking or what he planned to do. She only knew that he had some interest in her and she did not know how far that extended. He desired her, that much he admitted but she wondered if it went beyond that.

“If I told you, then it wouldn't be a secret.” He stated. His smirk was firmly back in place and she knew that whatever he was thinking, he wasn't going to tell her. She could beg and plead for him to spill what he knew but that would give him a satisfaction that she wasn't willing to give yet.

“And why do I feel as though you are full of secrets?” Sansa toyed with a small smile. If he wanted to play, she was more than willing to play on his level. She paused causing him to stop. She pulled her arm out of his and faced him. She was close and searched his eyes. Just like the night he stopped her outside her chambers, it was dark. It was as though what they wanted would always be hidden in the shadows. Everything she wanted and everything she was, was in the shadows. Sansa realized that this man didn't mind and would be willing to step into the shadows with her, if he wasn't there already. In the dark, she could see the lust fill his eyes. “If you won't tell me that one, tell me another.”

“You are far more dangerous than I thought.” With that he placed his hands on the side of her face, tracing her cheekbones with his thumb. Sansa placed her hands on his arms as he leaned in. His lips molded with her's. He reached up and knotted his hand in her red hair. He controlled the pace and Sansa was more than happy to follow his lead. It wasn't gentle but it wasn't rough either. It was slow and something deep down inside her wanted more. When they broke apart, he looked at her and she could see the same desire. His lips were red and swollen and Sansa could believe that her lips looked the same. His breathing was heavy and she could feel her heart beating so rapidly. “You won't like what I have to say.”

“I'm a big girl. I can handle it.” Sansa stated and Baelish smirked. He untangled his fingers from her hair and slowly glided them down the side of her arm. He saw her shiver, which gave him pleasure. She looked at him and she wanted him to kiss her again, but he didn't. She realized that he had far more self-control than she ever would. He turned and relinked their arms. They were silent as the strolled forward, lost in thought and it wasn't until they were close to the entrance that he spoke again.

“I was rather surprised when your father agreed to foster Prince Joffery when he made his displeasure for the Lannisters clear.” Baelish stated and Sansa's eyebrows creased. To her it seemed so clear as to why her father agreed to such an arrangement. He had no choice. The King commanded it.

“Prince Joffery is a Baratheon, not a Lannister. And the King commanded that his son be fostered here.” She stated in a tight voice. She didn't like discussing the time Joffery spent at Winterfell. It brought terrible memories and all she wanted was to enjoy Baelish's company. She wanted to feel his lips against her's again. She wanted to taste his mint upon her tongue. Yet, she felt as though she wasn't going to be getting anymore kisses after this conversation.

“Joffery is far more Lannister than he is a Baratheon.” He stated as he stopped her. They were just in front of the gates to the crypt. They were still hidden by the shadows and anyone who passed by would not be able to see them. “Sinister things are stirring in King's Landing. It's best that you remember that. Can you do that?” Sansa nodded in agreement. “You've met the King. You know he prefers the company of whores and anyone that will be willing fill his bed. Anyone other than his wife. He takes no shame in hiding it. I have provided several girls from him in the past, both virgins and more experienced girls. Some have birthed his bastards. Those children all had dark black hair, yet none of King Robert's true born children do.”

“What are you say? That Joffery and his siblings are Queen Cersei's bastard children?” Sansa asked. She couldn't possibly believe that to be true. If there was one this she understood about the Queen, it was that while she may despise her husband, she loved her position. She wouldn't jeopardize that for anything......unless. Unless the father was someone worth having her head put on a stick. “Whose the father?”

“The one person she trust the most.” Baelish paused, looking directly into Sansa's eyes. She knew what he was going to say but she wouldn't believe it until he said the words aloud. She didn't want him to. She didn't want to hear it anymore, but she needed to. “The Kingslayer.” With that, Sansa felt a wave of nausea overcome her. So many emotions coursing through her all at once. Disgust, anger, sadness, filth, fury, hatred and so many others.

“I'm going to be sick.” With that Sansa pulled away from Baelish so quickly that it nearly startled him. She was hunched over and the taste of mint was replaced with bile. Baelish moved and his long fingers took her red hair, pulling it away from her face. After a few more heaves, she stood and rested against the frozen stone walls. Baelish pulled out a handkerchief with an embroidered mockingbird on it. She took it gratefully. She wiped the corners of her mouth. “He touched me. That inbred bastard touched me and there was nothing I could do about it. He is an abomination. A monster.”

“I know.” He whispered. He placed his hands on her shoulder and squeezed. He brought her close and Sansa fell into his arms. She was taller than him but it wasn't difficult to place her head into the crook of his neck. She inhaled his scent and she felt comfort and safety. She lifted her head slightly and looked down the darkened hallway of the crypt. Suddenly her stomach felt queasy again as a realization came to her. At the tower Catelyn found a long golden hair.

“Bran. He saw them. And they pushed him. They killed an innocent child to cover up their....incest.” The initial shock and disgust was wearing out and being replaced with fury. The hate she felt for Joffery and his mother had always been built out of what happened to her in the Godswood. Now that she realized that their sins where far greater, Sansa wanted nothing more than watch the life leave their eyes. For the first time she felt something deep inside her and it ate her up inside. “Its treason in so many different ways. It's treason for Cersei to bare someone else's child let alone her brother's. It's treason for Joffery to sit on the throne when the King dies. It's treason for you even to accuse the Queen of such a thing and its treason for me to want it to be true so I have justification to watch them die.”

“Do you remember was I said before?” Baelish asked her. He looked deeply into her eyes and she nodded. “Sinister things are happening in King's Landing and who knows how it will play out.”

“How do you know this? You haven't been to the capitol in a year.”

“I have spies everywhere Sweetling and they keep me well informed.” He stated and Sansa pulled away slightly. She was still in his arms, not wanting to leave the protection of his arms but she needed to see his face. She looked at him and realized that whatever game he was playing, he was playing the long game. “Whatever happens I have plans and moves already in place. Whatever happens, he will never touch you again.” Baelish vowed and she believed that he would do everything in his power to help her even though she still didn't understand why.

“When I asked for a secret, why did you tell me one that could have your head end up on a spike?” Sansa asked. Part of her wanted to take back her request and never have him tell her. She wanted nothing more than to go back to that blissful ignorance. She wanted to be that naive child again where these things never would have occurred to her. She closed her eyes, wishing the image of Joffery, Bran and Cersei would leave her head.

“I always planned on telling you Sweetling, I just never thought it would be this soon.” With that, Baelish first kissed her forehead and then both of her eyelids. He slipped away from her and she opened her eyes. He was standing by the crypts entrance, bathed in the winter light. “You said you trust Arya with your life, now I'm trusting you with mine.”

She watched as he left the crypt and Sansa felt her chest tighten. She needed to get out of the darkness and away from the dead. She suddenly pushed herself through the crypt's gates. She rushed passed some of the gold cloaks and the banner-men. She briefly saw her mother who stopped to speak with her but Sansa didn't want to speak. She didn't want to speak to anyone. She wanted to be alone in her chambers and just absorb what Baelish told her.

She ran through the castle at breaking speed, not caring who saw her as she passed. When she reached her chambers, she opened the door and slammed it shut. Once she heard the door close, she collapsed in a heap and began to cry. The thought of Joffery and his true parentage plagued her. She hated thinking about what happened in the Godswood but she couldn't help the memories coming to her.

She felt his hands around her throat. She smelt the honey-sickle aroma of his breath and it made her stomach turn. She could feel the twigs digging into her back and the searing pain of her hair being ripped from her head. She felt a pair of strong hand pinning her wrists above her head. She was re-feeling everything she felt that night. It was all coming back to her at once.

Sansa heard someone knock on her chamber door but she ignored it. She heard the wooden door open and close. She looked up and through her tear stained eyes she saw her sister come closer to her. Arya reached out and held Sansa close. She buried face into her younger sister's neck and continue to sob. Arya didn't say anything at first but just ran her finger's through her hair.

“What did he do?” Arya's voice was stern and angry. She didn't like the idea of anyone hurting her sister again. Arya had become very protective of Sansa and would do just about anything to prevent her from experiencing that again. She had liked this Lord Baelish because she saw him draw something out in the eldest Stark daughter but if this was the outcome of a few moments alone together, Arya had no problem causing this man extreme pain.

“He didn't do anything. It's just something he told me.” And with that Sansa purged everything that happened since Baelish entered the crypt. She told her of the discussion of Lyanna and the idea of secrets. She told her of the kiss and how much she yearned for it to happen again....and then she told her about Cersei and Jaime's possible involvement with Bran's death, but left out the knowledge of their affair. While she was always honest with her sister, Sansa couldn't think of such details not when the thought still caused her stomach to churn. When Sansa looked into her sister's eyes she expected to see some kind of emotion.

What Sansa didn't expect was the pure hatred and anger that her sister portrayed. Arya pulled away from Sansa and calmly walked over to her sister's vanity. She fingered a glass that had been sitting there for the past week and after a moment she picked it up. Sansa flinched when the sound of broken glass hit the stone wall. Arya looked at her sister and her eyes were cold with no compassion in them.

“I want them dead. I want them all dead.” The air was thick between them and Sansa just gazed at her sister with compassion. “And I want to be the one to do it.”

Chapter Text

Crofters' village was small. It only held a few amenities for the surrounding houses and farmlands. They had a tavern that would host any passing traveler, although not many people traveled this far North. If they did, they most likely were making their way to the Wall in order to take the black. The village had a blacksmith that the Starks made good use of as well as the local candlemaker. There was a market that allowed the local farmers to trade their goods. The market had not been used as frequently in the past six years. Farmers just didn't have the crops to trade. There used to be a bakery but once winter came it was difficult for the baker to grow what he needed this far north. While the structure was still standing, the baker and his wife moved south. There where a few other shops, a tavern and of course, the whorehouse that was located toward the end of town.

Like the rest of the Seven Kingdoms, Crofters' village owed taxes. Their amount was lower than White Harbor's but it was still going to cost a pretty gold dragon. However, it was an easy ride to the village than it was to White Harbor thus Ned, Robb and Lord Baelish had no reason to travel far and could return to Winterfell by the end of the day. The taxes could be collected in day or two. It gave them a good long rest before they would need to travel a distance and Sansa was grateful for that.

The carriage creaked as it rolled along the muddy path. Catelyn and Arya sat beside Sansa arguing about a report Catelyn received Septa Mordane about Arya's lack of participation in their sewing lessons. Sansa had always been praised by the Septa while Arya was always scolded for her stitches, mainly because she didn't put any effort to take part in the lesson. At first it bothered her watching her sister always being the favorite but once her father allowed her to attend fencing lessons with Ser Rodrick, her irritation at Septa Mordane lessoned. That is until she would report to her mother about how she either didn't show or put no effort into them at all. That always caused an argument between mother and daughter.

Sansa was so used to Catelyn and Arya's arguments that she perfected the art of not hearing them. Instead she was gazing out the window at the riders. While the women rode in the carriage toward the village, the men rode horses. Out the window she could her father galloping next to Baelish. It appeared that they were deep in conversation, most likely about the taxes and how to deal with those who did not want to pay.

She continued to watch them out the carriage window, letting her mind drift. After she calmed down and allowed the news of Joffery's parentage sink in, Sansa was able to adjust her mindset to the cold and distance mask that she had painstakingly crafted. She was able to focus more on the kiss that occurred down in the crypt instead of her other revaluations. She found herself dreaming of Baelish's lips against her's and she wished that it would happen again. However getting time alone without prying eyes was difficult in a place such as Winterfell. She knew that Arya would always cover for her but after awhile she knew that her family would get suspicious if the moment Baelish disappeared, so did she.

While he couldn't touch her, his eyes made up for the lack of physical contact. At meals his eyes would always linger just a bit to long on her's and she always had to work to contain her blush. She knew what he was thinking and that is what caused her to have such a reaction to him. When he gazed at her and let his eyes trace the outline of her body, it took everything she had to prevent her fingers tracing her lips. In those moments she would always get vivid flashes of that kiss and the taste of mint would always linger.

Sansa jerked out of her trance when the carriage came to a sudden stop. The door opened and she saw Robb standing outside of it. He reached in and Sansa took his hand, allowing him to help her out of the carriage. As she climbed down her eyes met Baelish's who was standing with her father. He gave her that small smirk yet there was something more dangerous about it. It was as though there was a cruelty to his smile that she hadn't seen before. The gaze didn't last long but it was enough to get Sansa's mind racing.

Once everyone was out of the carriage, Arya stood next to Sansa and Catelyn looked between the two girls. She knew something was going on between the two of them but she couldn't exactly figure what it was. She loved the relationship the two girls developed over the years. Catelyn thought it was because of Sansa's supposed wildling attack but it ran much deeper than that. As much as she enjoyed the bond, she was not enjoying how they so willing covered for each other. She certainly never had such a relationship with Lysa.

“And where are the two of you headed again?” Catelyn asked for the thousandth time that morning. Sansa spun the story that she wanted to go the bookstore to see if they received a new shipment from King's Landing yet. Getting new books was a rare deal during the winter but it was always worth a try especially if one of her family members was headed into the village.

“The bookstore.”

“The both of you?”

“Yes.”

“I'm sure Sansa can find a book on her own. I would feel more comfortable if you stayed with us.” Catelyn stated. She felt the strong desire to separate her two daughters and it didn't help matters much that she was rather cross with Arya. However, Arya was beginning to panic. She couldn't go with their father because she wouldn't be able to go to the blacksmith. Of course she could give Needle to Sansa but as much as she loved her sister, Sansa would have no idea as to what needed done.

“I'll escort them to their destination Mother.” Robb stated and both Sansa and Arya felt a sigh of relief. Catelyn looked at her oldest son with narrowed eyes. The three Stark children attempted to put on the perfect look of innocence.

“You need to stay with your father to collect the taxes.” Catelyn looked at her eldest with suspicion. She trusted him because of the man he had become and he has never done anything to break that trust. He always did his duty just like his father and never complained. He excelled when he put forth the effort and was learning quickly at becoming the future Lord of Winterfell.

“I will walk with them and when we get there I will leave them and pick them up once the taxes are collected. You will stay put correct?” Robb stated looking at his sisters. Arya nodded and Sansa could help but smirk. She wasn't the only Stark child who learned to become a decent liar after all. Robb was surprising her. Granted he wasn't lying, but just leaving information out.

“Fine but I don't want either of you wondering off.” Catelyn stated and walked over to her husband who was waiting for her. Once Ned, Baelish and Catelyn walked off in the opposite direction, the three siblings went down the path that led to the bookstore but made a sharp turn down another road.

“Impressive.” Sansa smirked. She knew her mother would have allowed her to go on her own because she thought the young women wouldn't get into any type of trouble. However, with Arya along it was a completely different story. Robb blush lightly and laughed.

“I have no idea what you are talking about.” The blacksmith wasn't far from the village entrance. Robb pulled out Needle and handed it to Arya. “Once you are finished with this, go to the bookstore incase Mother decides to check up on you. It would be best if you buy something, anything really. Please don't wonder off.” With that Robb walked off leaving the two sisters behind. Arya raised her eyebrows in a laugh.

“Needle just needs sharpened, it won't take us very long.” With that Arya ducked under the open archway and into the blacksmith. Sansa leaned against the stone pillar letting the heat wash over her. On the rare occasion that she does come to the village, the blacksmith was the only person she ever saw not wearing a cloak. She always assumed it was because working side a place that is so warm all the time made the extra clothing unnecessary.

Sansa heard a giggle and she turned her head to see Theon walking down a back-alley street with a women who was practically molded into him. After a few seconds Theon pushed the women up against the wall and latched his lips onto hers. Sansa could see his hands roam her in a very indecent manner. She saw how Theon reached down to lift the bottom on her skirt and then his hand disappeared beneath the fabric causing the women to arch into him. Arya came back out after a few moments and stopped beside Sansa.

“He said it will only be a few moments.” Arya stated and then followed her older sister's line of sight. Her face twisted up in disgust. “Ugh. Really? Out in the open?” It was obvious that Theon was getting more and more brazen with his affairs. He really showed no discretion and it was as though he wanted to know how far he could go before there was any type of repercussions. However Sansa knew that if Theon was caught with his hand up the wrong girl's skirt, he wouldn't like the consequences.

“Yep. Looks like it.” After a few moments Theon pulled away from the women and her skirts fell. The women pulled on Theon's hands and led him inside the building, disappearing from sight. Sansa just glared at that door and scowled in displeasure. Upon learning that Baelish owed brothels, she realized it wasn't the brothels that disgusted her about Theon's actions, it was his complete disregard for her family and everything they have done for him. She didn't care if he visited brothels and laid with whores, if he did it with some discretion. It was easier to turn a blind eye at such actions if they were not laid out in front of her.

“It would appear that neither of you are fan of the young Iron Born.” The Stark girls turned to see Baelish leaning agains the stonewall of the blacksmith's shop. It appeared that he saw the same exact scene that they had witnessed. He was wearing that smirk but there was something cold about it. While it still sent shivers down her spine, Sansa could tell there was something menacing about it that had never been there before when he looked at her. He was clearly displeased.

“No I'm not. Perhaps you should take him to the Capitol when you return. He would be a good customer.” Sansa stated. While she didn't want Baelish to leave, she knew it was a matter of time and if he could take Theon with him it would make life at Winterfell that much easier.

“He would make a regular customer but not a good one. The Iron Island's are bankrupt. An heir with no gold doesn't make a good customer.” Baelish stated as he pushed off the wall and walked toward the two girls. “I hear congratulations are in order.”

“Congratulations? I don't understand?”

“I received a letter from Lord Royce. Apparently your father wrote to him hoping to make a marriage between you and the young Harrold Hardyng.” That was it. The reason why he seemed so cold. He didn't like the idea of her being married off this Lord Hardyng. She just realized that Baelish was Lord Protector of the Vale, the chances of him knowing Lord Hardyng were high. “If this is what you want, I could arrange the match easily. Young Harry will be worship the ground you walk on when I'm done and you will be his wife before summer is upon us.”

Baelish was jealous. Sansa knew she should try and defuse the situation and tell him she wanted nothing of the marriage. She should tell him that it was all out of her hands and that she had no part in the arrangement. It seriously infuriated her that her parents promised to keep her informed and then contacted a man she has never met in order hoping to make a marriage. However, she couldn't help and be curious about pushing Baelish further. She wanted to see what he would do.

“You know Lord Hardyng then? What is he like?” Sansa asked and she could see his eyes narrow in displeasure. He knew what she was doing and it only fueled his jealousy. She could see it in his eyes when the would flash dangerously to her. She felt Arya back away slightly but that look only pushed Sansa forward. “Is he handsome?”

“Oh yes. He is a very handsome with sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. Very noble and brave. A real prince that one. Talented when it comes to tourneys and the maiden who marries him will be the envy of the Vale.” Sansa saw his cheap shots for what they were, fury at a situation that he didn't plan for. Of course she knew that whatever happened he would turn it in his favor, if he felt the inclination to do so. “And he is of course the most dedicated father.”

“Father?”

“Yes. He has about four bastard daughters now. One of these days he is bound to produce a son. Pity for their mother's though, he simply tosses them aside once they give birth.” He stated and saw the scowl that was threatening to form on her lips. This Harry was another Theon and Sansa knew she would never be happy with someone like that. “Is that what you want Sweetling?”

Their eyes met and neither were willing to break away. She didn't know how to respond. Part of her wanted to continue to edge him on and see how much it would take for him to break. She wanted to know what he would do because she was sure that she would enjoy the outcome. Her mind flashed to the kiss in the crypt. The other part of her wanted to see if he would help her get out of this arrangement.

“No.” One simple word brought back that cheeky smirk back to his lips and Sansa realized that she missed it. While his irritation was fun to toy with she knew that making him happy was far more pleasing. She felt this surge of pride and affection at seeing his relief appear on his face. The three of them startled when they heard a couch beside them. The blacksmith stood there with Needle and his eyes darting between the three of them. Arya jumped forward and took the sword from the blacksmith's hands. Baelish stepped forward and withdrew a small black pouch. He handed the blacksmith five gold dragons and smirked. A sharpening of a sword normally cost only two silver stages.

“For your services and your silence.” The blacksmith looked at Baelish and the coins in his hand. He took the gold greedily and ducked back inside his shop. Sansa knew that the blacksmith would always give excellent service to them now and she could go inside and ask him for anything, which he would willing give. The blacksmith's family would be able to eat well for at least a month. “Enjoy your book m'lady.” Baelish nodded toward Arya and began to make his way down the cobbled street. Sansa huffed and started taking strides after him.

“Petyr.” She called and she saw him stop. He turned with a leer and a raised eyebrow. Her eyes darted around and she only saw a few villagers about, none of which paid her any mind. She looked over her shoulder and saw Arya standing a few steps behind her, watching her curiously. Baelish took a few paces toward her but stopped short at the appropriate distance. “You said you could make Lord Hardyng worship the ground I walk on. Could you do the opposite? Could you make it that he would want any other bride but me?”

“I could. It would be relatively easy.” He let silence over come them for a moment as Sansa watched his eyes. They trailed over her, from head to toe. She felt herself blush but wouldn't look away from him. If she looked away it would portray her as a weak naive child. She felt that she was anything but that. “Of course I would need something from you first.”

“Anything.” Sansa smiled and tilted her head slightly. She saw his eyes flash down to her lips and he licked his slightly. She knew what he was thinking. His mind was traveling to the crypt and the thought of his lips on her's. She knew that he wanted to feel that again because she certainly did. Sansa would kiss him again willingly, without wanting anything in return.

“Tell me how to do it?” He stepped closer and took her hand in his. He smirked at her and Sansa felt herself inhale sharply. “Tell me how to make this man not want to touch you. Tell me how to do it. Give me a plan. Give me direction.” His last words where whispered in her ear and she shuddered. She knew that after today the entire village would be wealthier after this. Ironic Sansa thought seeing as they reason he was in the village in the first place.

Sansa racked her brain. Different thoughts and ideas where running through her mind and it didn't help that he had his one hand running up and down her arm while the other stroked her knuckles. Even though his hands where covered by his gloves, it still caused a surge of desire run through her. How different he was now that he was happy. She glanced around and saw a few villagers glancing their way but she knew that Baelish would pay them well. Her reputation would be safe.

Her reputation.

“You said that I have a reputation in King's Landing. Send a raven to someone in the Vale. Anyone. Someone who likes to talk to anyone and everyone. Send them a raven hinting at my” Sansa leaned closer and pressed her lips his ear. “shameful behavior.” It took all the self-control she possessed but she pulled away and walked toward her Arya who was looking at her with shocked filled eyes. “I've come to realize that most men are hypocrites. Those who willing claim to be noble and brave rarely are. This boy seems to be willing to bed women but I doubt he would like a bride who is rumored to have done the same.”

“Very well.” Baelish stated with his eyes still lingering over her. “I will write to Myranda Waynwood's father the moment we get back to the castle. I'm sure he would be more than willing to inform dear Harry of everything I have to tell him.” With one last smirk Baelish withdrew the black pouch again and Sansa knew he would going to bribe a few people for their silence. “Of course I won't be able to control who else Lord Waynwood tells or who he writes.” She knew what he meant. Gold could buy silence but only so much.

“Its a risk I'm willing to take.” While the last thing she wanted was for her parents to learn of the rumors going around Kings Landing but if it got her of a marriage to Harrold Hardyng, she was more than will to gamble with it. He seemed pleased by the answer. His smirk grew wider and that mischievous glint was in his eyes. “Why are you so willing to help me? Besides the obvious?”

“Because I want to see what you are made of Sweetling.” With that he turned and walked in the opposite direction. Sansa turned and Arya was by her side with a worried look on her face. While Arya was fine with her sister getting to know Baelish, she didn't realize how deep the waters her sister was falling into were. If she sank any deeper there wouldn't be a way out. He would consume her and who knew what unspeakable things she would be willing to do.

“Sansa this is a dangerous game you're playing.” Arya stated. The two of them started walking quickly toward the bookstore. If they knew their mother, she would be at the bookstore looking for them. The last thing they needed was for her to see them somewhere other than they said they would be. She also couldn't see Needle but Arya was always talented at stashing the sword away at a moment's notice.

“I know.” Part of her was scolding herself for being so reckless. She knew that Baelish would take care of the bystanders but what if one of her family other than Arya saw her? Robb could have come around that corner at any second. Their mother could have come in search for them and she was pretty sure she suspected Arya of having a sword so the blacksmith would have been her first guess. Their father trusted them but could have come down that street to collect the taxes. Although she assumed the reason Baelish was there was in order to collect that part of the village. Theon could have walked out of the brothel and she knew he would say something in a heartbeat. The risks were running wild through her mind but she didn't care. Despite all of it, she couldn't wait to do it again.

Chapter Text

Winterfell was bursting. It was the first day in six years that snow didn't fall from the sky. In the last year the snow has gotten lighter and didn't pile as deep but everyday the sky would open and flakes would fall. Yet the sky was crystal blue and not a single flake was spotted. The sun shined warmer than it had in years and one of the servants swore they saw an icicle begin to melt. People were rejoicing at the real first sign of summer and the halls of Winterfell where mostly empty.

Yet, while most of the inhabitance of Winterfell ventured outside to enjoy the good weather, one person in-particular stayed within the stone walls. It wasn't that Arya didn't want to find Ser Rodrick for a fencing lesson or didn't want to be exploring parts of the Godswood that had been unreachable because of the snow, there was something else she had spotted in the sky. While not a single snow flake had been seen, Arya saw a clear black raven fly over head.

She knew that the raven would not be coming for her but instead for her father. The Lord of Winterfell was in the Barrowlands and had been for the last ten days in order to collect taxes. However, just because he was not psychically in the castle, Arya knew that the letter that the raven carried would still be opened. Catelyn always opened her husband's correspondences when he was away. It was a habit that developed early in their marriage and continued on throughout the years.

Arya knew that her mother would break the seal, read the letter and stow it away in her father's desk. Arya knew all the passageways and hiding spots in Winterfell and there was this small conclave hidden behind the painting of Brandon the Builder that was located near her father's solar. She stayed there for an hour, slipping in when she heard her mother's voice inside the solar and only leaving once she knew Catelyn was gone.

Very carefully Arya slipped out from behind the painting, making sure that she made no noise. The last thing she wanted was to alert a guard or her mother that she had been hiding in the conclave. While she could lie easily enough as to why she was there, she didn't want her mother to know the conclave was there at all. She lived through that ordeal when she was ten and her mother caught her using the passageway from the armory to the library. She learned that day to know for certain that no one is on the other side of a doorway before swinging it open. Catelyn was not sure if she was more angry about the unexpected door opening and causing a rather nasty bruise or the fact that her youngest daughter had been sneaking into the armory in order to play with the guards swords.

Once she was certain that no one else was in the darkened corridor Arya moved quickly from the painting toward her father's solar. Her skirts bustled at her ankles and her boots made a light tapping noise against the stone. Once she reached the solar's door she pressed her ears against the wood just to be sure that no one was waiting inside. She turned the bronze knob and huffed in frustration. The door was locked.

Rolling her chocolate brown eyes, Arya reached down and pulled out a small knife that she swiped from the kitchens. She took the knife and placed it inside of the keyhole. She turned it slightly until she heard a small click and pushed the door open. Arya stepped inside the solar and slowly closing the door behind her, making sure it made no sound as it closed. Once completely shut inside, Arya dashed toward her father's desk and pulled open a few drawers. Nothing.

Arya looked at the top of the oak desk and grabbed a few stacks of papers. She read through them, hoping to find what she was looking for. Of course she wasn't certain that the raven carried news that they craved. Arya was about to give in when a small scroll caught her eye. It was simply sitting near the quill and ink pot. She picked it up and noticed that the seal was broken. Smiling in triumph, Arya unrolled the scroll and read. Her smile growing wider as she placed the scroll back in the exact same spot as it was before. Leaving the desk behind, she headed over to the wooden door and poked her head out into the corridor. She paused and felt a spot of panic well up in her chest when she heard her mother's voice echoing down the corridor. Arya hadn't been seen but she knew if she didn't move quickly, she would see her mother more furious than she has ever seen her before.

Once the door was shut tight and locked she took off down the corridor as fast as her feet would carry her. She headed toward the Great Keep and she could feel the heat from the hot springs touch her skin. Before she could allow the heat the produce a sweat, Arya was climbing up a ladder and opened a small latch in the ceiling. Once she was through the latch, she was able to slide herself through a tiny passageway that went in a downward angle. At the bottom of the passageway was another latch and with her feet, Arya was able to push the latch open.

She slipped slightly and ended up landing flat on her back. She felt dazed for a moment before regaining her sense. She stood and looked around the glass gardens. It was always warm there because of the springs and it help them grow crops in any season. She walked slowly, letting the scenery take her. She always loved the glass gardens because no matter the season it always stayed the same. She headed down a few cobbled pathways before she heard a high pitched laughter.

Arya turned to follow the sound and saw Sansa looking bored as Jeyne Poole giggle beside her. Jeyne was telling a story that she seemed highly animated about. Her hands where moving as she talked and she seemed completely oblivious to the fact that Sansa was not paying the slightest attention to her. Instead of paying attention to her friend, Sansa was picking at her nails and wore a completely bored expression on her face. Smirking, Arya stepped up to them.

“I've been looking for you.” Arya stated, not bothering with pleasantries. Jeyne, who was completely wrapped up in her own story jumped and yelped in surprise. Jeyne placed her hand on her heart while Sansa placed a finger on the outside of her hear. Her face crunched up in irritation as she rubbed her ear. “I need to speak with you.”

Arya's eyes flashed toward the other girl, whose eyes was flashing between the two of them. She had a curious look upon her face as though she wanted to know what Arya had to say. While the steward's daughter wasn't the biggest fan of the younger Stark girl, she couldn't help but admit that she always had the most fascinating tales. She didn't fully understand the bond Arya and Sansa created over the last few years and she would be lying if she wasn't at all jealous.

“Jeyne, Arya and I really need to have some sister time. You understand, don't you?” Sansa asked her friend with a smile that most would assume is sincere. Yet, Arya knew her sister and that smile she flashed wasn't in the least a kind one. However, Jeyne wasn't understanding what Sansa was trying convey. While Sansa was talented at being subtle, Arya preferred a more direct approach.

“Go away Jeyne.” Arya stated and Sansa attempted to suppress a smirk. Jeyne huffed and narrowed her eyes at Arya.

“You don't have to be so rude.” Jeyne snapped and turned on her heels. The sisters watched her walk away and listen to her mutter about how Arya was anything but a lady. The two of them snorted and Sansa linked her arms with Arya. While Arya was not someone who liked to stroll in the gardens, she was always willing to humor her sister. Despite everything that has happened, Sansa still enjoyed a good stroll.

“I believe I owe you a thank you.” Sansa stated and Arya raised an eyebrow. “If you hadn't interrupted I would have had to continue to listen to her go on about Theon. If she tells me one more time about how his hair moves when he walks and what the crook of his smile was like, I might have vomited in the vegetable patch.”

“You don't find Theon's smile just dazzlingly? For shame. What is wrong with you?” Arya joked and Sansa elbowed her sister. Arya's smile grew even more wicked. “Of course Theon is no Lord Baelish.” She said in a sly manner and her sister blushed to the point that her face matched her hair. Once Arya got over the initial shock of Sansa's behavior in the village, she made it her mission to tease her sister at every possible interval. But the feelings being with Baelish brought out in her, it caused the desire to be brazen and everything that she was taught not to be. A lady never spoke to a gentleman the way she spoke to Baelish that day in the village. A lady never kissed a man she wasn't married to, especially in her family's crypt.

“Don't you have something you need to tell me?” Sansa asked and Arya laugh lightly. She laid her head on her sister's shoulder. Sansa had always been the tallest of the Stark children, even being slightly taller than Robb, and it made resting Arya's head on her shoulder that much easier.

“Yes. I do in fact.” The younger girl looked around to make sure no one was in sight. Knowing Jeyene, she would have stayed around simply to hear what the two girls where discussing. She was worried about what others thought of her and if any gossip about her would make their way back to Theon. She didn't want anything hurting her chances with him. “Father got a raven this morning.”

“Father gets ravens every morning.” Since Ned, Baelish and Robb left on another journey to the Barrowlands, the two girls have been watching the skies for ravens in hopes that Baelish would keep his word. They soon realized how often the Lord of Winterfell received contact from other parts of the Seven Kingdoms. Arya learned more of the responsibility her father held by breaking into his solar and reading his correspondence. Neither girl were jealous of Robb and the privy he held with their father anymore.

“Not from the Eyrie he doesn't.” Sansa stopped in her tacks causing Arya to stumble. Ice blue eyes where wide and Sansa could feel her heart begin to race. This was the moment she had been waiting for and dreading for the last two weeks. It was nearly unbearable because for ten of those days Baelish had been gone. At least when he was at Winterfell she had his innuendos and lustful stares to distract her. With him gone, she was simply alone with her thoughts.

“What did it say?” Her voice was hoarse and she could hardly hear herself. Arya was silent and she just looked at her sister. She felt her eyes water. It didn't work. She had hoped that Baelish's word about her reputation would ruin any chance she had to be forced into a marriage she didn't want. There must have been a factor she didn't think of. Perhaps he liked ruined girls. “No.”

“Lord Hardyng is to be married” Arya paused for a moment and then smirked. “to Myranda Waynwood.” With that Sansa snapped her head up and her eyes grew wide. The breath she didn't realize that she had been holding was released. Once she realized what her sister had done, Sansa raised her hand and smacked her sister on the shoulder. Hard. “Ouch!”

“That wasn't nice.” Sansa snapped as she felt her heart calm down. She breathed in deeply and let the relief wash over her. She would not have to marry Lord Hardyng. She wasn't sure if he was already engaged to this Myranda Waynwood when Baelish's letter reached Lord Waynwood, but she doubted it. Baelish would have known. Someone would have told him and he would not have acted like a jealous fool when he learned the news. Sansa smirked. She liked him playing the fool when it came to her. “Did the letter say anything else?”

“Just that Lord Royce was sorry to inform Father that Lord Hardyng was already promised to another.” Arya spoke and then took a slight breath. “There wasn't any mention of the rumors going around King's Landing but he did mention that Lord Hardyng wasn't interested in a bride of your......maturity.”

“Maturity? The letter actually said maturity?” Arya nodded. “He makes it sound as though I'm elderly!” She didn't know this Myranda Waynwood but she couldn't be any younger than her. “I suppose it is better than him just saying that I'm ruined.”

“I wouldn't say that too loudly.” Arya whispered and pointed. Just outside of the glass gardens stood Jeyne but she wasn't paying the girls any attention. Instead she was giggling wildly at Theon who looked as though he might spill his last meal at any given second. Neither Sansa nor Arya were surprised. Theon functioned at two levels, drunk and between some girl's legs or living with the aftereffect of a night of drinking and being between some girl's legs.

Jeyne reached out and touched Theon's arm. She clearly wanted to let Theon know that she was interested in him but it amazed Sansa how naive and clueless she was. Didn't she realize what Theon did with his time? It was no secret and he made no attempts to hide it, yet here was a young girl who could have a decent life with someone who was fit for her station throwing herself at someone less deserving in Sansa's opinion. Jeyne truly believed that he would one day wake up and realize that he loved her. They would have a beautiful wedding and they would ride off into the snow just like in those songs Sansa used to love.

To Jeyne, she was the hero. She thought that she would be able to save the young Lord from self-destruction and life would be nothing but a song. Sansa wanted to shake her and slap her to make her realize that Theon was never going to marry her. If anything he would convince her to life her skirts and it would ruin her, just like Sansa was. The only thing Sansa had going for her was the ability to hide what had happened to her. Yet she knew that Jeyne would never keep it a secret and that would be her downfall.

While Sansa found the girl irritating, she didn't want to watch what would happened to her. It wasn't that she really cared or felt any type of affection for Jeyne but the mere thought of an innocent girl being lead down a difficult path made Sansa want to step in. She was projecting and she knew it. Suddenly, Theon wasn't Theon anymore but instead Joffery. Sansa walked up to the two of them and looked between them.

“Sansa! Theon was just telling me the most interesting story. Apparently-”

“Jeyne I need to speak with Theon for a moment please.” Sansa flashed the young girl a small smile but it didn't reach her eyes. There was one time when Jeyne would have done anything Sansa asked without question but Jeyene had become defiant. Sansa couldn't blame her, not really. She hadn't been very kind to her the last couple of years. While she knew this, Sansa couldn't bring herself to feel guilty about her actions.

“Why?” Jeyne asked as she glared at Sansa, who had to hold back a laugh. She knew what this girl was thinking. Jeyene was worried that Sansa had decided to make a claim on Theon. Just the thought of such an act made the lady's stomach clench in disgust. There was no part of her that would ever allow Theon to touch her. “What do you have to say to him that you can't say to me?”

“Jeyne go away.” Arya huffed in annoyance.

“No.” With that Arya rolled her eyes and grabbed the grey wool that covered Jeyne's arm. Arya yanked and started to pull her down the hall. While the older girl might be taller, she was no match for Arya, who was not being kind as she dragged her away. All the way down the hall Sansa could hear the girl protesting for Arya to let her go.

“What do you want Sansa?” Theon asked with a tired voice. Sansa scrunched up her nose when the smell of ale rolled off of him. He brought his forefinger and his thumb to the bridge of his nose and pinched. It was as though he was fighting off a migraine and from the state of him, it really didn't surprise Sansa in the least. If anything she was surprised he was still able to stand.

“I want you to stay away from Jeyne. She is young and she doesn't need the likes of you ruining her.” She wanted to make herself clear. “She is innocent and still believes the world is made up of heroes that always win and for some reason that I cannot comprehend, she has casted you as the knight in shining armor. So do her a favor and break her heart now before she realizes who you really are.”

Theon was silent for a moment as he just looked at her. His eyes were empty at first but she was used to that. Yet after a moment there was a spark. Theon stood up straighter and his shoulder's squared. He shifted his weight onto one leg. Sansa had a stray hair hanging lose and when Theon reached up to tuck it away, her reflexes kicked in and she grabbed his wrist.

“Don't touch me.” Her voice was forceful but she sensed a tint of fear in it. Theon noticed it too and he gave her a disgusting smile. He pulled his wrist out of her hand with a jerk. Once his hand was free he continued to place that stray piece of hair behind her ear.

“As my lady wishes.” With that Theon turned on his heals and Sansa couldn't help but feel as though she made a big mistake. She let her emotions get the best of her wits and she acted on anger alone. She normally had better control but now she questioned herself. Theon had been whoring his life away and while it was disgusting, he wasn't causing any type of harm to anyone other than himself. Yet, she had never seen such anger in him before.

That look in his eye made her shiver. She remembered Theon as a child. He had been so happy and playful. He would always tell her stories of the Iron Islands even though he scarcely remembered them. He would tell her of the ocean and how the breeze from the sea salt felt against his skin. Theon always dreamt of going back to his home because she understood that Winterfell was nothing more than a temporary cage to him.

He had always been a friend to her, until he wasn't. Theon always enjoyed chasing girls, even before the news of his family's downfall reached them. Yet once that news broke its like whatever dream Theon had about home was suddenly gone. Sansa could sympathize with that but she couldn't condone the path he was heading down. It was like they were one and the same in many ways. Both of them had dreams of bigger and better things, and those dreams were crushed in the most brutal way possible. The difference came in the aftermath. Sansa simply shut down and became just as cold as the snow that fell outside. Where as Theon blocked himself out of reality to the point that all he could focus on were the things that were taken from him.

“Sansa!” She turned and saw Arya running towards her with a wide smile on her lips. Arya reached out and took Sansa by the hand. She started pulling her sister down the hallway but was much gentler than she had been with Jeyne.

“What is it?”

“Riders have been spotted near the King's Gate. I guess they took advantage of the nice weather and came back early.” With that Sansa's uneasiness was replaced with small flips of her stomach. Baelish was coming back to Winterfell and she wasn't going to be shipped off to the Vale like some prize. Despite Theon and the worries he gave her, nothing could break the grin that grew on her features.

Chapter Text

It was late out and a fire was lit in her crate. The stars hung over Winterfell as almost everyone in the castle slept. The corridors were silent except for the footsteps of the guards and the flicker of the torches that hung on the wall. It had been hours since the evening meal had passed and most of those who arrived back to Winterfell from the Barrowlands were exhausted. The meal that was prepared was simple yet enjoyable. The trip to the Barrowlands had been far more successful, causing Ned to feel as though the North wasn't as far in debt as he thought. Yet, he knew better than to assume that they were in the clear.

Both Ned and Robb claimed to be exhausted and retired to their chambers earlier than they would have on any other given day. Hearing that the Lord of the castle would be asleep well before the moon hung high in the sky, caused a devious smile to grace his lips. His grey-green eyes flashed to Sansa who had been sending him sly glances all evening. When their eyes would meet across the wooden table and the clanking to silver, Baelish's long fingers would grace his lips. It suddenly became as though everything tasted of mint.

Sansa couldn't help but feel the twinge of disappointment when Baelish claimed the same fatigue as her father and brother. He claimed that he would retire early as well, following Ned and Catelyn out of the dining hall. She had hoped that he would linger behind but as she watched him retreat, Sansa felt her stomach drop.

She stayed down in the Great Hall for a time with Arya before heading toward her chambers. The two girls parted ways at the landing, their chambers being in different corridors. It was dark and the only light that shown was the flames from the torches. As always, Sansa would let her fingers trace over the stone of the walls and she let herself linger ever so slightly in the halls. She knew that she was in for a restless night with nothing more than her tossing and turning.When she got close to her chambers she heard a noise that caused her stop. The noise was the sound of someone inhaling sharply and footsteps walking toward her.

Before she could turn, Sansa felt two strong arms circle around her waist. She felt her back lean against a strong chest and the feel of warm breath graced her neck. She felt one of his strong hands begin to trail a line from her waist to up to her collar bone. When he reached her shoulder he lowered the fabric down, exposing her skin. She felt the chill of the air linger over her skin and it was soon replaced with his lips. He placed as small kiss on her shoulder and then slowly trailed a small line with his lips until he reached the small of her neck. When he reached that spot, Sansa inhaled sharply and moaned. He sucked there for a moment before breaking away.

“Sweet dreams Sweetling.” With that he pulled away from her and Sansa could hear the quick pace of his footsteps retreating from her. She turned and saw him walking quickly down the corridor. He never looked back at her. Sansa took a few steps backwards and then turned so quickly that she almost stumbled.

That night when Sansa attempted to sleep, it never came. Her thoughts were plagued of his lips on her neck. She reached up and traced the spaces on her neck where his lips touched her skin. The fire in the crate was still flickering and Sansa watched the shadows dance across her walls. After a moment Sansa heard a small scuffle outside her door. Sansa sat up in her bed causing the warm fur blankets ripple down to her waist. It was quick and brief but Sansa saw a small piece of parchment slip underneath her door. She climbed out of her bed and headed over to the door. She bent down and picked up the parchment. It was smooth and unlike parchment her father used to attend to business. At the top was a beautiful mockingbird.

Come to the bridge above the Great Keep.

The handwriting was small and elegant. Sansa ran a fingertip over the words and she could feel the ink still wet upon the parchment. She folded the note and went over a candle. She put the note over the flame and lit the note on fire. She went over to her window, opened it and let the burning flames fly out into the night sky. She took a deep breath and saw mist flow from her lips. She felt the cold air enter her lungs, giving her the bravery she needed.

Sansa pushed away from the window, grabbed her robe and slipped on a small pair of boots. She tied the robe around her waist and ran the brush through her red hair before grabbing a candle. Sansa stepped out into the corridor, closed the door behind her and briskly walked down the stone passageway. She may not have known the castle as well as Arya but she knew the quickest route to the Great Keep. Once she reached her destination, Sansa looked up at the bridge that ran through the warmest room of Winterfell. While it was called a bridge, Sansa always thought it looked more like a room. It did connect the upper levels of the Great Keep together but the one side was covered in glass windows and the other was nothing more than a stone wall.

There was a small stone stairwell that lead up to the bridge and Sansa walked over to it. As she climbed the stone steps, she could see a figure move up in the bridge. She opened the door and stepped inside. Baelish stood there with his back to her, gazing out the glass window.

“Lord Baelish?” Baelish turned and gave her a small smirk. He strolled toward her at a heartbreakingly slow pace. Sansa could feel her heart begin to speed up at just the sight of him.

“I thought we were past all this Lord Baelish business. Call me Petyr.” With that he took the candle from her hands, letting his skin just brush against her's and sat the candle down on the window's ledge. His eyes traveled over her and she could hear him exhale as she noticed that she only wore her sleeping chaise and a robe to cover herself with. “I found that I had trouble sleeping and I wondered if you faired any better.”

“No, I did not.” The words were thick in her throat and they were hard to get out. She looked at him and for the first time since she had known him, he wasn't dressed to the nines. His breeches where looser with no belt holding them up and while his tunic was tucked in, it hung open letting Sansa see his smooth chest. Never before had she him without the long coat that seemed to always hold his appearance together. Even the mockingbird pin that he wore clasped to his collar was missing.

“Good.” With that Baelish smashed his lips to hers. While the kiss they shared in the crypt was dominating, it could not compare to the forcefulness of his lips against her during this kiss. Sansa reached her arms around his shoulders as she felt his tongue press against her lips and found it's way into her mouth. Their mouths continued to play with each other until Sansa had to break away for air.

Baelish moved his mouth along her jawline and he latched onto the small of her neck. Sansa craned her neck, giving him better access. He placed his hands on her hips and steered her so her back was resting against the stone wall. While he continued to suckle at her neck, he slowly began to untie her robe. When the belt of the robe was undone, he let the robe hang open as he took his hands and pushed the material off of her shoulders. While she was still completely covered by her sleeping chase, it clung to her in such a way that it didn't leave much to the imagination.

He trailed his kisses from the small of her neck to the top of her breast where the fabric met her skin. As he licked and sucked, Sansa was still uncertain what she should be doing and let him take the lead. His one hand was pressed against the stone wall and his other worked its way down her body, lightly grazing the hardened nub of her left breast. He reached down and holstered her left leg around his hip, allowing himself to press closer against her. Part of the long sleeping chase rode up, allowing the skin of her thigh to show and Baelish rested his hand there, drawing small infuriating circles against her sensitive skin.

Feeling the need to be doing something with her hands, Sansa began to slowly unbutton his shirt. Once the shirt was completely unfashioned, Baelish moved his hands and pushed the offending fabric off of him, letting his bare chest free. She wrapped her arms around his body, weaving her fingers through his black hair, pulling his head from her chest and she latched her lips back onto his. As they kissed, Sansa dragged her nails down his back causing him to hiss deliciously into her mouth.

Baelish placed his hand back on her leg that was holstered around his waist moved it forward. He slowly pushed the fabric of her sleeping chase toward her waist. When his hand got close enough he moved his hand southward and cupped her mound. Baelish spread her lips with his fingers and his thumb began to make the same movements against her nub as he had been against her leg. Sansa's hips jerked forward and she arched her back. Her mind flashed to the women she saw Theon with in the back alleyway and she understood the women's reaction. The things Baelish was doing to that part of her body was heavenly. Her hips began to move at their own accord as he continued to pleasure her. She moaned into his mouth causing Baelish to simply move his thumb faster.

Baelish moved one of his fingers down her fold and slowly he eased the finger inside of her. Feeling the finger enter her, Sansa froze. Her muscles tightened and locked while her fingers clawed against his skin. Baelish stood still and pulled his lips from her's. They locked eyes and he could see that Sansa was terrified.

“Breath Sweetling. I'm not going to hurt you.” Slowly he withdrew his finger and he could feel her relax against him. She unhooked her leg from his waist and slowly sank to the ground. Her heart was beating rapidly and she could feel that she was shanking. Baelish sat down on the ground next to her and took Sansa into his arms. He moved her gently so she was sitting on his lap and she rested her head on his shoulder. She felt him kiss the top of her head. “I'm not him. I promise you, I will never harm you.”

“I can't. I'm sorry. I can't.” There where tears streaming down her face. What she experienced with Baelish went far beyond anything she could have possibly imagined. The feeling he evoked make her entire body quiver. Yet, the moment she felt his finger enter her, all she could see was the prince and that caused her body to freeze.

“Not yet but you will.” His voice was soft. Baelish let the tears fall down her cheeks and onto his naked chest. Sansa could hear his heartbeat begin to slow and she so desperately wished she was able to finish what they had started. “And when you do, I promise that you will enjoy every moment of it. I will do things to your body that you never thought imaginable and you will beg for me to do it again.”

“You seem to be making me a lot of promises.”

“And I plan on keeping every single one of them.” She looked up at Baelish and his eyes poured into her. She vowed never to trust anyone again but when she looked at him, it made her want to put all her faith in him. She knew that he was a dangerous man and the things he made her feel went beyond anything proper. She knew that it would be crazy to trust him but she couldn't help let her feelings take over.

“Okay.” With that Sansa laid her head against his chest. She looked at him for the first time since he shrugged off his tunic. On his chest was a long white scar that went from his navel to his collar bone. The words he said to her father when he first came to Winterfell entered her mind. I still carry a token of his esteem. From navel to collar bone. She took her finger and traced the scar. “This came from my Uncle Brandon.”

“Yes. It did.”

“You were dueling over my mother.” Sansa stated and she felt Baelish pull away slightly from her. He looked down at her and Sansa could feel her heart speed up again. His expression was unreadable but she could tell that he wasn't angry. If anything his eyes seemed concerned.

“Yes. We were.” He careful in his response. Baelish wasn't sure exactly where she was going with this. It was not a secret that he dueled her Uncle Brandon when Catelyn's engagement had been announced. She had been so sure that he would win because that was how the stories went. The underdog always came out on top. When he lost and nearly died, he realized life wasn't a song. He realized that he would never win on those terms. Those rules belonged to them and he didn't need to play them. Instead he was going to fuck them.

“Do you still love her?” Sansa's voice was low as though she wasn't sure she wanted to ask him. She didn't want to anger him and she wasn't sure if she would like the answer. What if he said that he still loved her mother? Would she still be able to travel this road he was taking her down? Sansa didn't want to be a replacement. Baelish took her face in his hands and looked directly into her eyes.

“I loved your mother more than you could possibly know.” Sansa felt her heart sink and she attempted to look away from him but he would allow her to do so. He kept his hands firmly on the sides of her face. “I will always be fond of the girl she used to be, but she is not that girl anymore and I'm not that foolhardy boy. I saw her for the first time in more than nineteen years when your aunt died and I realized that Catelyn wasn't the women I built her up to be in my mind. So no, I don't love her.”

“And who am I to you?” What use am I to you?

“You are so much more than she ever was.” Sansa wanted to believe him but she wasn't sure if she could trust herself to. He could give her everything she ever wanted, she knew that but that doesn't mean that she wouldn't one day outgrow her usefulness to him. She smiled at him and leaned up and placed her lips on his. This kiss was light and he didn't push for more. He knew that she wasn't mentally prepared in that moment. He could wait and it would be thrilling to teach her everything he knew.

Sansa leaned down again, resting her head against his chest. She closed her eyes and just let herself rest there. He wrapped his arms around her and she wasn't sure how long they stayed there. She dozed in and out and every few moments she would feel Baelish kiss the top of her head. They didn't speak. They didn't need to because it was just comfortable just lying there in his arms.

“You should get back. We don't want anyone to catch us here.” He whispered to her softly after a few moments. She nodded and pulled away from him. Sansa picked up the robe that had been tossed aside and slipped it on. She looked over to Baelish who was redressing himself. She watched as his long fingers buttoned his tunic.

“I never did say thank you.” Sansa stated in an off handed manner. She looked at the candle on the window's ledge and noticed that it wasn't anymore. It wouldn't matter. The torches would cast enough light for her to make her way back to her chamber. The sun would be up soon enough.

“And what do you need to thank me for.” His leer was in place as he raised an eyebrow. “I never got you to that point....yet.” Sansa felt herself blush when her mind flashed to the memory of his hands causing her pleasure. She wasn't sure what he meant but if it had anything to do with his hands on her she couldn't wait to experience it.

“For Lord Hardyng.” Sansa said with a sly smile. Baelish returned her smile with a smirk as he tucked in his tunic. He laughed lightly and Sansa couldn't help but let her eyes travel over his body as he moved. “It's something I'm very thankful for.”

“I was simply following your directions Sweetling. You come up with the strategy all on your own.” He walked over to her and pulled her close. He wrapped his arms around her middle while Sansa's arms circled around his neck. He kissed her lightly on the lips before landing one on the tip of her nose, making her giggle. “When did you learn of this? I only received my raven when I returned here.”

“This morning....I guess yesterday morning actually. Arya might have broken into father's solar and read his mail.” This caused Baelish to laugh out loud and Sansa giggled again. He honestly could say that he wasn't in the least bit surprised. While some people would send someone else to do their dirty work for them, himself included, Arya would simply do the dirty work herself. “We were discussing it in the glass gardens before..” Sansa stopped her self and she had a scowl on her face.

“Before?”

“It's nothing.” She stated and pulled out of his arms. She turned but she felt him stop her. He wrapped his arms around her waits again, pulling her close so her back was touching his chest. Sansa couldn't help but put her hands on top of his locked ones.

“Tell me.” Baelish stated as he placed a kiss on her shoulder. She sighed and melted into his arms. She liked how comforting it was to simply be in his arms. While she highly anticipated the heated kisses and the passionate moments, the pure moments of letting him hold her caused just as much of a reaction.

“It's nothing but when Arya and I where talking about Lord Hardyng's engagement, I saw Theon talking with Jeyne.” When Baelish gave her a confused looked, she realized he was not sure who Jeyne was. “She is the steward's daughter. Anyway, Jeyne has taken a fancy to Theon, I can't understand why, and I'm worried that he will take advantage of her. I saw them and I got so angry that I told Theon he needed to stay away from Jeyne.” Sansa let out a huff and turned in Baelish's arm. “I don't even know why I care! I can hardly stand to be around her! She is so annoying and childish and she still believes that the world is this happy safe place. She just.......Jeyne reminds me of who I was...before. It's not that care if she is ruined. I don't really. It might actually make my life easier if she was but I just saw how I used to be when I looked at Joffery.”

“And that is why you where angry. You saw a young girl who might be taken advantage of. You were projecting and Sweetling, it is normal.” He leaned in and kissed her lightly. “I would have adored seeing you threaten the Iron Born. I'm sure it was a sight.”

“I wouldn't call it that but I'm sure it will backfire on me.”

“If it does, then you simply have to turn it to your favor.” This caused Sansa to throw her head back and laugh. Baelish couldn't resists the sight and latched his lips onto her neck. The feel of his tongue tracing her pulse point caused her to moan.

“And how” moan “am I” moan “to do that?” Sansa dug her nails into his arm and she couldn't help pull lightly on his hair. She dragged his lips from her neck and brought them back to her lips. They kissed for a few moments before they broke apart and rested their foreheads together.

“I'm sure you will think of something.” Baelish stated in a breathless tone. “The castle will be awake soon Sweetling. We wouldn't want you to gain a reputation now would we?”

Chapter Text

Sansa stuck the needle into the tan muslin and drew the green thread through the other side. She continued to do this as she created the small green bird. At first she wasn't sure what she was creating but it slowly started to resemble a small mockingbird. She thought about stopping herself and starting over but something felt right about the bird. Part of her wanted the bird to be real in order to see it fly. It would be a beautiful sight.

She glanced around the room and sighed in frustration. She was alone in Septa Mordane's chambers for a their lessons, something that was becoming a regular occurrence. However, Sansa seemed to be the only one who came today. It was no surprise that Arya decided to not make an appearance. Since the Septa spoke with Catelyn, Arya made it a point not to attend the lessons. Arya was most likely out in the Godswood somewhere having a fencing lesson away from Catelyn's prying eyes. However, Jeyne was no where to be found either. Sansa didn't know if she should be insulted or not. Ever since her sister had physically dragged Jeyne away from Theon, Jeyne had been far less kind toward Sansa. She guessed that their friendship had finally reached it's breaking point. Of course Sansa couldn't help but be relieved. Pretending to like someone was far more exhausting than she had realized.

Septa Mordane grumbled about attendance and stated that she was going to report Arya's absence to Lady Stark, again. No word of Jeyne missing graced the older women's lips. Sansa didn't know if this was because the Septa knew why Jeyne was not in attendance or if the women simply had some type of grudge against Arya. The Septa always seemed to dislike the young girl and Sansa could never figure out why. Although Arya needed to be careful for she was fencing on thin ice when it came to their mother. Catelyn knew that Arya was up to something and it wouldn't be long before she discover Needle and the fencing lessons.

Sansa heard a small creek outside the door and she snapped her head up. She looked toward the wooden door that stood ajar and she saw Baelish standing just outside of it. He had that infamous smirk in place and he crooked his finger at her. He was telling her to come with him. Sansa looked over to Septa Mordane, who didn't even notice the man behind the door. When she looked back at the door, Baelish was gone.

She wanted nothing more than to follow him. Looking over at the Septa she realized that the life of a lady was suddenly very dull. It seemed to be a trend with her lately. Before, Sansa used to live for her life at Winterfell but now it seemed that everything was so repetitive and boring. Perhaps it was because Baelish gave her a taste of a life so much more exciting than the existence she had been living. While she enjoyed sewing and strolling through the glass gardens, she wanted more out of her life. She didn't want to simply become a lady of some grand house and to birth sons but instead she wanted more for herself. She wanted to make her life her own.

“Septa, I'm not feeling very well. I think I best take a rest in my chambers.” Sansa stated and she saw the Septa huff again. She understood that the women was irritated but was there any point the lessons if no one came to them anymore. Sansa was talented at sewing but she found no point in it anymore. How was sewing pretty little birds onto muslins going to help her run a great household? The life she had been taught to lead simply made no sense anymore.

“Yes. Go.” The Septa snapped and threw her muslin onto the wooden seat beside her. Sansa almost felt bad for lying but decided not to be. It took to much effort. She stood and went toward the door. Sansa stepped out into the corridor and she didn't see Baelish in sight. She walked down the corridor at a slow pace. Suddenly she felt a set of long fingers weave their way into her's.

The feel of his hands linked with her's always made Sansa's heart flow in a rapid manner. Her memory flashed to the wicked things those hands have done to her. The last few nights, after everyone has gone to sleep, Sansa would sneak out of her chambers and down to the great keep. Each night she would allow him to assault her with his tongue and his hands. He never went beyond what she was willing to do and he would stop the moment she commanded it.

“Come with me.” Baelish stated with a hush and he pulled her further down the corridor. He dragged her toward a set of stairs that where reserved for the servants. Catelyn told her once that the mark of a good servant was that they were not seen in the household unless they were called for. In order to achieve such a goal, separate stair cases and entrances were built long ago. They reached the bottom landing and suddenly Baelish pulled her into a dark corner.

Two guards passed and Baelish made sure that they were gone before he continued to pull Sansa down the corridor. He seemed to be in a rush because it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with him. They didn't speak but Sansa was focused on her keeping her feet moving fast enough. Eventually they reached the level of the castle that rested just above the unused dungeons. He pulled her further into the darkened corridor and Sansa realized that they were headed toward the apothecary.

Once they reached their destination, he pulled her into a small opening. The door to the apothecary was opened only slightly but it was enough to allow Sansa to see inside. The apothecary's walls where lined with jars, herbs and books that Maester Luwin used for remedies to varies aliments. However, it wasn't what was on the walls that Sansa focused on. Instead in the center of the apothecary was an old wooden table and it appeared that a half dressed Jeyne was writhing on it.

Jeyne's skirts were bunched up at her waist and her breasts were hanging out. Her brown hair was spread across the table and her one hand was clutching the wood while her other was weaved through dirty blonde hair that was stationed between her legs. The noises that Jeyne made caused Sansa to blush. Suddenly Theon pulled himself out from between her legs and leaned up to kiss Jeyne. Sansa moved to look away but Baelish wouldn't let her.

“Look at them.” He whispered, making sure not to alert the lovers. Sansa watched as Jeyne sat up to fuss with Theon's breeches and when she saw them drop, Jeyne laid back down on the table again. Theon aligned himself with Jeyne's entrance and when he entered her, Sansa saw the girl arch of the table with a load moan. She noticed how Theon's hips pounded furiously against her as he leaned up to take one of her breast in his mouth. She felt Baelish's hands wrap around her and she pressed against him. Baelish's hand went to her clothed breast and began to play with her. His other hand traveled down to cup her through her dress. It took everything Sansa had to hold back a moan. “Look how she writhers against him. How she enjoys it. When I have you, the pleasure I give you will not allow you to withhold your moans as you are doing so right now. See how she bites her lip? That is so she stays quiet, and not to attract unwanted attention.”

Baelish pulled her from the door and away from the scene they had witnessed. He dragged her farther away and Sansa's mind raced. Suddenly she couldn't take anymore. She grabbed Baelish by the front of his fine coat and slammed him up against the stone wall. She latched her lips to his and kissed him furiously. She molded her body to his and Baelish placed his hands on her hips, trusting his hips toward her. They kissed passionately for several moments but when Sansa moved her hands to undress him, Baelish stopped her.

“Not here. Not now. Later.” His voice was thick with desire and Sansa knew it was well balanced self-control that allowed him to stop her. He tightened his grip on her hips and flipped them. Suddenly Sansa felt herself be shoved up against the wall. Baelish removed his hands and leaned away from her. He placed his now free hands on each side of her face, his palms touching the stone wall. “Think of what you just saw. Of who you just saw. The leverage is in your hands. Time is of the essence Sweetling. Think fast.” With that he kissed her one last time. It was gentle and sweet. He pushed off the wall and walked away from her.

Sansa was left against the wall feeling pent up and frustrated. Once her breathing calmed and her heart returned to a normal pace, her mind began to work. She just witnessed Theon having relations with Jeyne. After she specifically told him to keep his hands off of her. However, she wasn't surprised that he defied her orders but what did surprise her was Jeyne's reaction. The way she withered and arched against him were the actions of someone who long ago gave up her maidenhead. It seemed that Jeyne had been keeping secrets. She was sure that Theon was the only man Jeyne had been with however, whether their relations started before or after Sansa threatened Theon, she wasn't sure. Either way, Sansa knew that this was not the first time they had been together.

She pushed off the wall when an idea came to her. She didn't feel the slightest bit guilty for what she was about to do. Theon defied her, something she wasn't going to tolerate and Jeyne was keeping secrets from her. This was her one opportunity to make both of them disappear. She had to act quickly because she knew that they wouldn't be in the apothecary all day. She wasn't exactly sure how long these types of relations lasted so the sooner she found who she was looking for, the better.

She searched the closets parts of the castle and when Sansa reached the great hall, she looked around to see Baelish sitting there with Ned, as though he didn't just have his daughter shoved up against a wall. She briefly wonder what would happen if her father learned of the things she allowed Baelish to do with her body. She shuddered, not allowing herself to imagine such a thing.

She pulled her eyes away from them and saw Maester Luwin sitting with her younger brother Rickon. It appeared that they were working on his lessons, just has he had done with Bran when he was alive. Sansa smiled lightly and walked over to them. She was sure to cool her features and make it appear as though she was feeling ill. She knew she had to be flushed from the recent events, something she hoped would work in her favor.

“Maester Luwin? Would I would be able to speak to you for a moment?” Sansa asked, putting a slight wince on her face. She strategically placed her hand on her lower abdomen. Luwin looked at her with concern. He turned to Rickon and told him to continue working on his lessons. Luwin stood and led her out of the great hall. Sansa glanced toward Ned and Baelish. The latter throwing her a sly smile.

“Is everything alright my lady?” Luwin asked with concern. For a brief second, Sansa felt guilty for what she was about to do. Not because of Theon and Jeyne but because of her respect for Luwin. He had always been so kind to her and when Arya had discovered her in the Godswood, he always kept his silence of what he knew. She knew he kept moon tea in his apothecary under lock and key, incase Theon would ever get one of the servant girls with child. However after her attack, Arya said it was extremely easy to get to when she snuck into the apothecary. It was simply left out on the table, waiting to be taken. After that, the moon tea went back to its proper place. It was as though he knew she needed it but would never give it to her directly.

“Yes.” She paused and looked down at her shoes. “This is slightly embarrassing but I was wondering if you had any of those herbs you give Arya when her monthly pains plague her? I was hoping-”

“Say no more child. Come with me.” Luwin gave her a fatherly smile and led her down the hall. She gave him a small smile, hoping she looked embarrassed. She didn't say a word as they walked down the corridor. Once they reached they reached the entryway outside of the apothecary, Sansa noticed that the door was in the exact same position as it was when she and Baelish left. It took everything she had to suppress a smile. Without a second thought, Luwin pushed the door open and halted to a stop. The sudden stop almost made Sansa run into him. Luwin held out his arm, blocking her from entering.

While they had moved away from the table, Theon and Jeyne were still in the apothecary and in a compromising position. The skirts that had been bunched around her waist, now hung around Jeyne's ankles. However, her chest was completely bare as she pressed herself against Theon's naked chest. Theon himself was completely naked.

“In the name of the old gods, what are you doing?!” Luwin bellowed causing Jeyne to jump away from Theon. Jeyne quickly took her hands and covered herself while Theon simply stood there, proud as the day he was born. Sansa made sure to craft a completely shocked face with wide eyes and a slacked jaw. In order to keep up with appearances, Sansa made sure to look away from Theon's figure. “My lady please excuse yourself and ask you father to come here immediately.”

Sansa nodded and backed out of the room slowly. She made eye contact with Theon and couldn't help herself. She threw him a small satisfied smirk. She could tell that he was furious with her. He had thought she would never betray Jeyne and that he would get away with defiling her young friend. However, Sansa had no problem throwing Jeyne to the wolves and that was something Theon didn't anticipate.

Sansa made quick motion of making her way down the corridor and back to the great hall. The entire way, she had to fight a bubble of excitement and she had to suppress a giggle that threatened to break through. The adrenaline of what she had just done was intoxicating and she wanted more. This game was dangerous and she couldn't help but desire more of it. This was far better then being a proper lady who wasted her days with sewing and strolls in the garden.

Once she reached the great hall, Sansa calmed herself and crafted a frenzied and shocked look upon her person. She rushed into the hall and ran over to the table that Ned and Baelish sat at. She stood there and made a show of catching her breath. Ned looked shocked and worried about his daughter while Baelish leaned back, simply enjoying the show.

“Sansa is everything alright?” Ned asked as he stood with a extremely concerned look upon his face. He placed a hand on the sides of her arms in order to calm her. Sansa placed her hand on top of his and grasped it tightly. She needed to make it seem as thought she needed that comfort of a father's embrace. If it seemed that she was disturbed by what she had seen then the far angrier her father would be.

“Maester Luwin needs you in the apothecary. There is an emergency. I can't explain it. I don't-” Sansa rambled on and didn't meet her father's eyes. Ned leaned in and kissed the top of her head with affection and pulled away.

“It's alright. Stay here.” With that he headed out of the great hall and Sansa felt herself relax. A small smirk replaced her shocked expression and her eyes latched with Baelish's. He seemed extremely pleased as he raised he clapped his hands lightly, applauding her.

“Bravo. I almost believed you for a moment. You would make a marvelous actress.” Baelish smirked at her and took a drink of his goblet. He leaned leisurely back in his chair and crossed his legs. Sansa walked around the table and sat down in a chair beside him. “Now we just wait for the fallout. I'm assuming the Lord of Winterfell will be less than pleased to learn that his ward has been taking samples from inside the castle.”

“My father has strictly forbidden it. Although it is no secret that Theon has bedded some of the servant girls. Arya caught him once. However, bedding a servant girl and bedding the daughter of my father's favorite steward are two very different things.” Sansa stated with a satisfied smirk on her face. She glanced over to the other side of the room and saw Rickon studiously reading the book Luwin left him with.

“It's surprises me that little bastard versions of Theon are not running around.” Baelish stated, looking at Rickon. While they spoke in low tones and the young boy would not be able to hear him, he would have seen them talking. It was something that couldn't be avoided.

“Maester Luwin had taken care of that.”

“Wise man.” Baelish stated. “How do you feel about this? Your friend is ruined. If you decided to do nothing, this could have stayed a secret. She could have gone to Maester Luwin if she ever got with child. No one would ever have to know.”

“No. If Jeyne carried Theon's child she would have been far to overjoyed to end the pregnancy. She would have ruined herself because she thought that Theon would marry her. I was just quickening the inevitable.” Sansa stated and she truly believed what she said. “If she would have come to Theon with the news of a child, he would have thrown her aside.”

“Like you said, bedding the daughter of your father's favorite steward is something you just don't do. Almost like bedding his daughter.” Baelish smirked. Sansa returned his leer with a matching smile. She shifted in her seat, angling herself in a way that brought her close to him but was not touching him. While she has not taken Baelish to bed, she knew it was only a matter of time. The idea of relations between a man and women still frightened her but the feel of his hands on the nub between her legs was enough for her to forgo that fear when it came to him. The images of Theon's naked image, while she found it nauseating, made Sansa wonder if she would wither for Baelish the way Jayne withered for her lover.

“Is this what you do with your time Lord Baelish?” Sansa whispered to him. She tilted herself lower, allowing the dress she was wearing to slid down and expose the tip of her cleavage. His eyes trailed over her and rested on her chest. “You set up people's lives in such a way that you can knock them down?”

“It's the game.” He leaned in to whisper in her ear. “And I find that people set their own course and I just alter them. You're a natural at it, it would be a shame for your talents to be wasted up here in the North. I can teach you everything I know. I can show you the game, teach you to move and to manipulate. With my wits and Cat's beauty, the world will be yours Sweetling.”

She wanted nothing more than what he was offering. The life she was given, the life of a small protected wolf caused her nothing more than pain and heartache. She had been sheltered and taught false ideals that when everything she thought was true suddenly shattered, it ripped the heart out of her. Sansa turned from porcelain, to ivory and eventually to steel.

“Teach me.” Sansa whispered and she saw Baelish smile. It was that smile that he gave her when he was pleased with her. Sansa leaned back into her chair, straightening herself into the proper lady-like appearance. Her eyes flickered over to Rickon again and he still seemed engrossed in his book. She smirked at that. Suddenly there was a commotion going on just outside the great hall. Baelish stood and held out his hand.

“Then the first lesson starts now. Time to see the fall out of your little plan.” Sansa took his hand and stood. He led her out into the corridor where she saw her father yelling and causing a scene. Theon was staring back at him with pure fury. It was that same look that Theon had given her the day she told him to stay away. Jeyne, who was fully clothed now, was sobbing hysterically in Maester Luwin's arms.

“You're not my father.” Theon stated. His teeth where clenched together. Sansa turned when she felt small hands wrap around her. She looked down and Rickon clung to her side, terrified. Sansa placed her arms around him in comfort. She glanced over and noticed that Catelyn, Robb and Arya, who was dressed in boys clothes, had joined them in the corridor.

“No I'm not but I am your Master.” Ned said with such outrage that Sana had never seen before. Theon just looked at the Lord of Winterfell and then suddenly Theon spit in Ned's face. Any noise that was being made suddenly disappeared, even Jeyne's crying ceased. No one breathed. Ned took out a handkerchief and wiped the saliva off of his face. “You will marry Jeyne Poole. And then I banish you both to the Iron Islands and you are never to set foot in the North again.”

Chapter Text

The dining hall was silent as the grave. No one uttered a word. The clanking of silver as they ate their supper and the pouring of wine by the servants was the only sounds to be heard. Every few seconds someone would glance at Theon, who was forced to attend evening meals from that point forward. The news about the confrontation between Ned and Theon was the talk of Winterfell. The servants whispered about the story as they always did when new gossip presented itself and the story changed depending on who was telling it.

Some say that Theon forced himself upon Jeyne and the Lord of Winterfell was forcing the marriage in order to avoid having to send his ward to the wall as a rapist. Others claim that Jeyne seduced him in order to entrap him into a marriage. Some say she was already pregnant. Others say she was pregnant and the reason they were in the apothecary was because he was forcing her to drink moon tea in order to abort the child.

The one thing Sansa found most intriguing about the whole ordeal was that her name was not mentioned in any versions of the story. It was like she had never been there to witness anything. It was as though she had never entered that apothecary with Luwin at all. Sansa had no proof but she was willing to bet that Baelish had something to do with the missing part of the tale. She chanced a look over to him and she noticed that he was the only person who seemed comfortable at the table. In fact, it was almost as though he enjoyed the atmosphere around him, like he thrived of it.

Baelish glanced over to her and caught her eye. He raised his eyebrow at her in question and she simply threw a smirk back at him. She felt a kick of her shin and her eyes snapped to her sister who was sitting directly across from her. Arya's eyes flashed to the head of the table and Sansa saw Ned looking at her strangely. She caught his eye and gave him a confused smile. He returned her small gesture with that fatherly grin he reserved for his children. Ned leaned over and spoke with Baelish. Ned's eyes flickered toward Sansa as he spoke and Baelish whispered something back but she could not make out what was being said. Ned leaned back in his chair, seeming satisfied.

Sansa glanced back at Arya, who seemed to be more relived than she was causing her to lean back in her chair in a very unladylike manner. Catelyn who saw such mannerisms snapped at her youngest daughter. Arya straightened herself with a highly annoyed look upon her face. Sansa looked at her sister in confusion and Arya just rolled her eyes.

Needle. Arya mouthed to her and Sansa's eyes widened.

She found it? Sansa mouthed back and Arya nodded. She saw Robb look between the two of them in shock and he simply shook his head. She felt sorry for him because she knew that if Catelyn discovered Arya's little secret they all were going to be in trouble for it. Robb had covered for Arya more times than Sansa had and she suddenly wondered how much trouble their father was in. He was the one who set up the lessons after all. If Catelyn was going to furious with any of them, then it should be all of them.

“Sansa. Arya. Enough.” Catelyn snapped and the two of the ceased their silent conversation. Ned shot his wife an apologetic smile but she was having none of it. While Sansa knew that her father dealt with a horrible blow to his ego, Catelyn was not going to let him off the hook easily. Ned Stark was having a very bad day. A snort sounded from the end of the table and the brief distraction from the days events had disappeared.

“Do you have something to say Theon?” Ned snapped at him. Theon who had been drinking out of his silver goblet all but slammed it down upon the table. The sound caused Sansa to jump and she saw the red wine that he had spilled trickle its way toward her.

“Yes, in fact I do. When exactly will this farce of a wedding take place? When will you force me into more shackles and chains? Winterfell wasn't enough of a prison, was it? You have to bind me this way as well?” Theon's voice slurred and Sansa wondered how much wine he actually had.

“Winterfell has never been your prison. It has been your home as much as it has been my children's.” Ned replied with matching fury. His voice was stone cold and Sansa knew it was best to stay silent. She chanced a glance at Baelish, who was wearing his infamous smirk. She was correct, he was enjoying this. This was the fallout he had told her about and he was thriving on it. Once Theon was no longer in Winterfell, Sansa felt that she would enjoy the outcome so much more. “And to answer your previous question, you will be married in a fortnight, once we return from Deepwood.”

“Two weeks.” Theon spat, gulping down more wine. “Are we to be married in the Godswood as well? A good Northern wedding?”

“You do not deserve the honor of being married in the Godswood.” It was no secret that the Godswood was a place that Ned held dear to his heart. Several times Catelyn had mentioned that the Godswood still made her feel like an outsider at Winterfell. It was a tradition that if there was a wedding held at Winterfell, it would take place in the Godswood. However, Ned couldn't stomach the thought of letting Theon have such a privilege. Not after he disrespected not only his Master, but the entire Stark family. “The wedding will be held in the Great Keep and the feast afterward will be in here.”

“And I get no say in this?” Theon asked. He seemed so despondent just then and Sansa could see the small boy she grew up with for a split second. The moment left as fast as it had come and the defiant, winter hating Theon put his mask back in place. “Figured as much.”

“You lost that right when you took advantage of a young girl.” Ned stated. The venom in his voice made even Robb shrink in his chair. Ned always preached to respect those around them and never take advantage of another. A lesson Theon often disregarded. When she was younger Sansa lived by that rule except when it came to Arya. As children Arya and Sansa bickered over every little thing. Now Sansa found it highly ironic that it was the exact opposite.

“Jeyne is no young girl. She enjoyed every second of it. Ask Sansa, she was there. She saw everything!” Theon leaned over the table and if there were not several people seated between them, she was certain that she would have been able to smell the wine on his breath.

“Enough!” Ned yelled, pounding his fists on the table as he stood. Theon ignored him.

“She knew we were in there, I don't know how but she knew and she lured Maester Luwin to the apothecary in order to catch us. She orchestrated this entire thing days ago.” Theon looked at her with such hate, Sansa almost felt frightened. She glanced around the table and noticed how Baelish was eyeing the younger man with such violence that it made Sansa fill with calm. Baelish would never allow him to touch her. Some way, some how he would move winter itself in order to protect her. “Tell them Sansa, tell them how you threatened me?”

“What is he talking about Sansa?” Catelyn asked her daughter. She looked concerned and confused. She believed that her daughter would never have purposely ruined someone she proclaimed to be a friend. Catelyn still saw that gentle nature Sansa always had in her. The mere thought of such a thing would never occur to her.

“I don't know what he is talking about. I never threatened him.” Sansa stated and looked directly into Theon's eyes.

“Liar!”

“It wasn't a threat Theon.” Sansa stated and looked between her parents. Both Ned and Catelyn were looking at her with such intensity that it almost made her squirm. “The day you returned from the Barrowlands, Arya and I had taken a stroll through the glass gardens. I saw Jeyne and Theon and Jeyne was making it fairly obvious what her intentions were...not in that manner but more over that she wanted to let him know that she was interested. I knew Theon would never marry her so I asked him to be kind and let her down gently.” Sansa looked back at Theon and she never broke eye contact. “I thought I was doing them both a kindness. Obviously I was mistaken.”

“Why didn't you tell me this?” Ned asked with a soft voice. He wasn't disappointed, the Stark children always knew when their father was disappointed. He just seemed lost. Ned didn't realize that his daughter had more to play in this scandalous affair. With recent events, it was like he was seeing a side to Sansa that he didn't know existed. It was something in her that was made of stone.

“I thought that was the end of it. I have not seen them together since and I thought Theon let her down gently. Jeyne has not been coming to lessons and I thought she was just heartbroken and that she would come around eventually when she felt better. It never occurred to me that it was the exact opposite.” She paused again and forced her eyes to begin to water. The tears began to flow and she felt Catelyn take her into her arms. “I didn't know they were in the apothecary. I swear it. I just wasn't feeling well and went to Maester Luwin, hoping to get some relief. When we entered and saw them together. I so shocked, I couldn't-”

“Shh Sansa, It's all right.” Catelyn stated and kissed the top of her head. She held her like she had when Sansa was a small child. She could still feel the tears on her face. She glanced up to see her father looking at her concerned and to see Baelish smirking. Baelish lifted his goblet to his lips as though he was toasting to her. It was an stunning performance.

“Oh she has you all fooled.” Theon spat.

“Enough!” Ned spat again. He snapped his fingers and two Winterfell guards suddenly stood by Theon's side. “You proclaim to be our prisoner than I will make you one. Take him to his chamber and makes sure he doesn't leave.” With that the two guards led a furious Theon out of the dining hall and Sansa suddenly felt exhausted.

“Excuse me. I don't feel hungry anymore.” Sansa stated and took the cloth that had been resting in her lap and threw it on the table. Catelyn stated that she would be up to check on her later. Sansa nodded and made brief eye contact with Baelish. Meeting him would wait until after Catelyn was pacified. Sansa didn't want to meet Theon on her way back to her chamber so she exited the dining hall by using the servant's entrance. She didn't make it far before she heard her father's voice call after her.

“Sansa.” She looked at her father. He looked as he always did; rugged and solemn. Her father had never been a joyous man and Sansa always wondered why. He had everything any man would want. He was the lord of a great house, a beautiful wife and to the best of his knowledge, dutiful children. Yet he never seemed truly happy. Catelyn always said that the stress of his position took it's toll and that he seemed like never wanted it in the first place. Ned wasn't meant to inherit his position, Brandon Stark was meant to be Lord of Winterfell and if he hadn't gone to an early grave, Sansa would have a different father. “Are you alright?”

“Yes. It's just been a very long day.” She wasn't lying. The events of the day made it feel as though time moved at a slower pace. The evening meal in its self felt like an eternity. She wanted nothing more than the castle to go to sleep so she could leave her chamber and find herself in Baelish's arms again. The feel of his hands on her sent shivers down her spine.

“I know you're still reeling from today and I just want to make sure that you're not upset.” Ned asked and Sansa looked down at her feet. She was not exactly sure how she wanted to answer such a question. Was she upset about the day's events? No. If anything she felt extremely giddy at the prospect of Theon leaving Winterfell and she knew she wasn't the only one. She felt a slight twinge of guilt at the thought of Jeyne being banished as well but she was more than willing to accept the poor girl's fate if it removed Theon from Winterfell.

“I'm fine. Really. I am little shocked but I'm not naive and I know what occurs behind closed doors.” Ned was taken aback slightly and Sansa gave him a small smile. “Mother had a conversation with Arya and I when Arya caught Theon with that servant girl a few years ago.” A very vague conversation but a conversation none the less.

“I should have taken action then.” Ned muttered in spite. Sansa agreed with him but held her tongue. Angering her father was not something she wanted to do at that exact moment. However she did think it was foolish to allow Theon the liberties he had taken. She knew that Ned didn't turn a blind eye completely, he did attempt to help him battle his issues but he could only help Theon if Theon wanted to help himself. “Are you sure that you are okay?”

“Yes. I'm more upset that Jeyne lied to me. I thought I was being a good friend but I guess I was wrong. I wish she would have just told me.” Sansa linked her hands together and attempted to look meek. She was hoping to convey bashfulness and sadness but also wanted to avoid looking him in the eyes. If she did, she might lose her nerve and she couldn't afford to do that. While she had been lying to him for years, he was still her father and she loved him.

“It's not your fault.” Ned stated as he reached out and placed his hands on her shoulder. He gave her a tight fatherly squeeze and it made Sansa smile. She stepped closer to him and kissed his cheek. She whispered him a goodnight and made a move to leave but Ned stopped her. “There is one other thing I wanted to ask you about.”

“What is it?” Sansa grew concerned. She didn't like how he was looking at her, as though he was searching for something. She was sure that whatever he would find, she wouldn't like the outcome.

“Rickon mentioned that he saw you speaking with Lord Baelish. Your brother mentioned that he touched your hand.” Ned stated in a low and calm voice but his eyes told a different story. He was worried and Sansa felt panic rise up in her. She could not afford for Ned to learn of Baelish and her's liaison. “Did he try anything improper?”

“What? No. Of course not.” She wasn't lying. In that particular moment Baelish acted in the most gentlemanly manner possible. If anything it was her who was acting improper. If Rickon had been in any other position in the dining hall he would have seen a completely different side to that conversation.

“Are you sure?”

“Of course. Lord Baelish has been nothing but kind to me. I was upset and he was trying to give me comfort.” Sansa looked at her father and she could see that he believed her. She felt brave then and wanted to see how far she could push this. “He has been very kind to me and seems very fond of me. Of all of us really.” While he certainly was fond of her, she couldn't exactly be certain if Baelish felt the same for any of the other Stark family members.

“How much time have you spent with him?” Ned asked in a hushed tone and Sansa could tell that Baelish was the last man in Westeros that he wanted spending time with his daughter. That wouldn't do in Sansa's mind and she would have to change his. It would be difficult but she was sure over time and with the help of Baelish, Ned would soon begin to trust him.

“Not much but we've spoken. He told me stories of his childhood. He spoke of mother and their time at Riverrun.” Sansa had to withhold a smirked when he saw Ned's chocolate eyes focus on her more intently. The creases in his features lessoned slightly but it wasn't out of relaxation. It was exactly what Sansa suspected because she had been worried about it in the beginning. Ned still thought Baelish loved Catelyn but Sansa knew that wasn't the case anymore. His love for Catelyn was nothing more than a mere memory.

“What did he say?”

“Just that he missed the Riverlands and he regretted his foolishness with Uncle Brandon. He told me of the silly crush he had on mother.” She knew it went well beyond a crush. Catelyn had been his first love much like Joffery had been her's. Both of them regretted their firsts in many ways but it shaped them into the people they had become. Even with everything she was forced to endure, Sansa couldn't regret the person she was becoming. She rather liked her. Sansa placed a small smile on her lips, hoping Ned would see what she wanted him to see.

“He isn't a good man Sansa.” He placed his hands back on her shoulder and squeezed again. She showed him a young girl with a crush on an older man. It was every father's worst nightmare. She was unclear on how this attraction she had with Baelish would end but she knew that she wouldn't always be in Winterfell; with or without Baelish. “I will find you a husband who deserves you.”

“Like Harrold Hardyng?” She couldn't stop the words flowing from her lips and the shocked look upon her Ned's face was well worth it. It was clear that he thought she was in the dark when it came to the hopes of matching her with the young Harry. Ned's shoulder's slumped and he dropped his hands to his side.

“How did you know about Lord Hardyng?”

“Lord Baelish informed me that you had sent a letter to Lord Royce in hopes of a possible marriage. He also informed me about Lord Hardyng's engagement to Myranda Waynwood.” A half truth. It took every piece of strength Sansa had to keep a smug look from forming on her features when Ned let out a huff of frustration. “He is Lord Protector of the Vale. He knows what happens in the Vale just like you know the comings and goings of the North.”

“You would have liked him, Lord Hardyng I mean.”

“I'm sure I would have. I would have liked his bastard daughters even more.” She could see that Ned was startled. He was unaware that Lord Hardyng was a father to several bastard children. “When Lord Baelish told me about you wanting to marry me to Lord Hardyng, I asked him what he was like. I knew nothing of this man you were planning on handing me over to and Lord Baelish was very honest. Something I am thankful for. I wouldn't have been happy to learn that the man I married was no better than Theon.”

“We wouldn't have married you to him if you didn't want it.” Ned stated hopelessly. He could tell that his daughter was hurt by his actions and Sansa wasn't even putting on a show at this point. It wasn't until that exact moment that she realized how angry she was at her parents for keeping her out of this decision. The burn of disappointment scorched through her like a fire.

“Really? Because if Lord Hardyng wasn't already engaged I would be on my way to the Eryrie right now.” Sansa realized that tears were flowing down her cheeks. “I know you are getting desperate and in order for you to attempt to regain any type of financial security for the North you need me to make a good match but I would like to have a say in it. I have to live with the choice for the rest of my life.”

“Lord Baelish wouldn't make a good husband Sansa.” Ned stated with formality. He could tell that his daughter was developing a fondness for the Master of Coin and he didn't feel comfortable with it. He had thought that perhaps Baelish had made some inappropriate remarks or gestures toward her but he never imagined Sansa would have returned feelings for the man.

“I'm not saying that I want to marry him or anyone really. All I want is a choice. I don't want to be forced into a marriage that will only bring me misery. If I end up miserable, then I want it to be of my own making, not someone else's.” With that, Sansa turned and made her way down the corridor, letting the tears flow as she walked.

Chapter Text

It wasn't long before Catelyn came to see her eldest her daughter. They sat together on the fur covered bed and conversed about what Sansa had seen in the apothecary that day. While Sansa remained guarded in her responses, not wanting to let on that she had more of a hand in Theon and Jeyne's discovery, she rather enjoyed her mother's attentions. When she was younger and before Bran's death, she had been rather close with her mother. They used to be so similar and both found the world to be so beautiful. Yet, everything changed when Bran fell from that broken tower.

Losing a child changed Catelyn, it hardened her. She became far more protective than she had been before, holding her children close but pushing them away all the same. Sansa remembered what is was like when her mother would come to tuck her in at night. She would take the brush and run it through her red hair all the while telling her stories of when she was a little girl. They would giggle when Catelyn would tell her the story of how she fell in love with her husband. Seeing him for the first time as she walked down the aisle and getting to know if as her first born grew within her. It was all so romantic to Sansa and she felt as though her mother's life was just like a fairytale. She wanted the world to be the same for her. She wanted her life to be a song.

Then Bran fell and her mindset changed. Catelyn grew distance and while over time, she went back to nurturing her remaining children, she just was not the same. When Sansa had her accident, she remembered how Catelyn sat beside her bed day and night. Sansa almost confessed everything when the King's party had left for the final time. She held her tongue when Prince Joffery still strutted around Winterfell as she laid in her room healing. However, the moment he was headed back to King's Landing, Sansa almost confessed that Wildings had nothing to do with why she nearly died. Then she remembered her mother's cries as her son was murdered by the Lannisters. Sansa couldn't condemn her mother to that misery twice.

So Sansa buried her secret deep within herself, begging Arya to keep her silence. When she learned that Arya had written to Jon at the Wall and told him about the truth behind her attack, Sansa was furious. It was the worst but last argument the sisters ever really shared. When Jon wrote to Sansa and provided her with a small gift in the form of a dagger, it was the first time she allowed herself to shed a single tear over what had happened. The emotions she buried so deep rose to the surface for the very first time.

Yet, when Catelyn came to Sansa's chambers and began to comb through her hair like she had done all those years ago, it almost made Sansa forget about everything had happened. They chatted about everything and giggled like young school children telling secrets. It wasn't until Catelyn started to braid her daughter's hair that the topic of Theon was broached.

Catelyn was worried the effect of what Sansa had seen would have on her. She still believed that her daughter was still innocent and untouched. She had spoken to both of her daughters about what happened in the marriage bed but having seen it first hand was something completely different. Of course the knowledge that Baelish had been there when Sansa first discovered the couple was completely foreign. She had no idea that Sansa was far from innocent.

“Do you have any questions?” Catelyn asked with a gentle tone. “Is there anything you might be curious about?”

“I'm just questioning Jeyne's judgment. How could she possibly allow Theon to do such things to her?” She wasn't lying because she truly didn't understand what the young girl was thinking. While she knew she would take Baelish to her bed long before she was married, she had no illusions on who he was. She knew exactly what she was getting into but she couldn't understand how Jeyne thought Theon was the knight she always dreamed of. Theon held no secrets and he was exactly the man that he portrayed himself to be.

“She is in love and people do foolish things when they are in love.” Catelyn smiled at her. Sansa stayed silent for a moment. Once upon a time, Sansa believed herself to be in love with Joffery but even before she realized his true character, she never would have allowed him to have his way with her in such a manner. Now there was a man who made her feel such desire that she never thought was possible. It wasn't just the physical attraction but what he could teach her that also drew her to him; but did she love him? Sansa wasn't sure if she capable of loving anyone anymore.

“Does it hurt?” While she enjoyed the attentions Baelish gave her, she couldn't help but be frightened by allowing him to be fully inside of her. Part of her wanted to let him have full liberties over her person while the other part clenched at the mere thought of it. But seeing Jeyne gain so much pleasure from the act made the fearful part of her grow smaller and smaller.

“The first time will hurt but over time, if your husband knows what he is doing then it will be one of the most pleasurable experiences of your life. It will create a bond between you and your husband.” Catelyn finished the braid and turned to face her daughter. She smiled gently and took her hands into her own. “But you must not make the same mistake as Jeyne. Never allow a man into your bed before your wedding night.” She leaned up and kissed the top of her head. Catelyn's hair touched the side of her face and inhaled the soft scent of dew. “I'm going to sleep. If you have anymore questions I am always here to answer them.”

Catelyn left her daughter and showed herself out of Sansa's chambers. Sansa laid against the brown furs, not even bothering to undress herself. She leaned over and glanced outside her chamber window. It was dark but not time for her to sneak out and meet Baelish. She closed her eyes and allowed time to race past her as she reflected back on her mother's words. They rang in her ears and she kept running over and over in her mind.

Never allow a man into your bed before your wedding night. She found it odd that her mother never mentioned Lord Baelish. It was as though she no notion of their affection and it appeared that Arya's secret wasn't the only one he kept.

A light knock on her door made Sansa startle. She pulled herself from her bed and went to the door. She walked quietly to the door and pressed her ear against it. It was quiet and Sansa thought for a brief second that whoever knocked had left.

“Open the door Sweetling.” Baelish's smooth voice sounded through the wood and it caused Sansa's heart to race. She bit her lip in anticipation and opened the door to reveal Baelish in all his glory. He was still dressed as he had been during the evening meal. His long coat that covered his breeches was a very dark green and it made the silver mockingbird pin gleam. She stood aside and allowed him to enter her chamber. She poked her head into the corridor. When she was satisfied that no one had seen him enter, she shut the door and reached to the lock at the top, bolting it shut.

“What are you doing here!? Did anyone see you?” Sansa whispered. The last thing she needed was a guard seeing Baelish enter her chambers and informing her father. After seeing his reaction to Theon bedding Jeyne, she couldn't imagine the fury if he caught a grown man doing the same to his daughter. Baelish just smirked at her.

“The guards are far more concerned with making sure Theon stays in his chambers. I could have walked from my chambers to your's with not a stitch of clothing on my person and no one would have been the wiser.” He stepped closer to her and ran his fingers over her braided hair. She felt his fingers graced her skin lightly and her mother's words disappeared from her thoughts.

“My father is getting suspicious of you. He warned me that you're not a good man.” This caused Baelish to give a low and dark chuckle. Sansa felt heat rush to her loins and she wanted to feel his lips on her. However he pulled his hand away and moved toward the vanity.

“He was right. I'm not a good man.” With that she watched as he pulled the mockingbird pin from his coat. He placed it down on her vanity and slowly began to unbutton his coat. Once it was undone he shrugged it off and laid it down on the wooden chair. He kicked off his boots, one by one and then slipped off the wool stockings that kept his feet warm. Sansa watched his bare feet flex and rest on the wooden floor. He walked toward her and she could feel the room grow increasingly warmer.

“Then it is fitting that I'm not a good girl.” Sansa smirked at him and that caused him to chuckle again. He reached out to her and placed his hands on her hips. He spun her around and pressed her back against his chest. He kissed the spot just behind her ear as he began to slowly untie the front of her dress.

“But you are a good girl.” Baelish whispered to her. “You're my good girl. And I am very proud of you. The outcome of your little scheme was far more successful than even I anticipated.” The ties were completely undone and the purple dress opened. He let it hang open, showing her corset and chase but he didn't push the dress off of her shoulders. He reached inside and grasped her breast through the fabric of her corset. “A good girl deserves a reward.”

Baelish swung her back around and latched his lips with her's. Sansa pushed herself against his chest and wrapped her arms around his neck. She weaved her hand through his black hair and dug her nails into his scalp. Baelish hissed against her lips. His arms went underneath the dress and he wrapped his arms around the lower part of her body. His hand trailed down to her bottom, wrapped around her and he hoisted her up off the floor.

Sansa squealed in surprise as she felt herself be lifted off of the floor. He walked over to the bed and lightly tossed her on it. She propped herself up on her elbows and she watched as Baelish slowly strip himself of his tunic. She couldn't help but blush as he stood in front of her in nothing more than his breeches. He gave her a leering smirk when he saw her bit her lip and her eyes trail over him. It's not the first time she saw his chest unclothed, she still found it tantalizing. Baelish crawled onto the bed and over top of her. He leaned down and kissed her gently. He moved his lips from hers to kiss the corner of her mouth and began to slowly tail kisses down her jawline and he placed a final kiss on the small of her ear again.

“Lie back.” He whispered and she felt his hot breath grace the side of her ear. Sansa followed her orders and laid herself down against the furs. She felt the lump of her braid under her head and the chill of the cold air around her. “ I won't hurt you, Sweetling. I promise.” Unable to speak, Sansa just nodded her head. He bent down to kiss her again and Sansa felt the whole weight of his body against her's. She tensed lightly but when she felt his lips slowly move down the side of her neck, she began to relax and couldn't help but focus on his kisses.

Ever so slowly he kissed down her chest and she felt his tongue poke out when he reached her cleavage. For a moment she thought he would have pulled at her corset but he left it completely intact. Baelish lifted himself up and moved to make his way off of the bed. Sansa wore a confused look upon her face but when he slowly trailed his fingers over her clothed torso. When he reached the end of the corset, she felt his hands dig into her hips and he pulled her across the fur blanket so her legs were hanging off the side of the bed. The sudden action caused her to giggle. She propped her self up again, which Baelish quickly pushed her lightly back down so she was flat on her back once more.

Slowly he took each of her boots off and tossed them down with a soft clunk. He took his hands and ran them up her leg and an extremely slow manner. When he reached the top of her stockings he curled his fingers inside of the cloth and pulled them down, tossing them aside. He then moved to do the same to the other leg but stopped when he felt something odd. Sansa felt her heart race when she felt him unhook the holster. He held a small dagger in his hand and he noticed a small direwolf engraved upon the handle.

“And what is this?” Baelish asked and Sansa noticed his voice held a huskier tone than normal. He placed the dagger on the wooden trunk that stood at the foot of her bed. He returned to her leg and pulled off the remaining stocking.

“A gift.” He took her foot and placed a kiss on the top of it. He trailed his fingers up the side of her calf, allowing his lips to follow. Sansa hissed at the feel of his lips against her cool skin.

“From who?”

“Jon.” She whimpered as he suckled at her thigh. He was so close to the point she needed him to be but yet so far away. The ache she felt between her legs yearned to be soothed. Baelish pulled himself upward, trailing his fingertips along her thigh. He placed his knee between her legs and with his fingers he touched the small pearl that was nestled between her lips. Sansa arched and whimpered at the contact.

“Good.” He twirled the pearl and Sansa cried out. Baelish leaned up, took her lips and kissed her hard. “Always keep it on you.” Twirl. “Never leave without it.” Twirl. “Use it. Don't hesitate.” Twirl. “The right blow, right here.” He kissed the hollow of her neck. “Will kill a man.” His finger moved faster against her and Sansa rotated her hips, hoping to cause more friction. “Trust me.” With that, Baelish moved southward and before Sansa could comprehend what happened, his finger was replaced with his tongue.

“What are you-ugh” Sansa's hands reached down and weaved her fingers through his dark hair. She started to arch her hips against causing him to grasps her hips in order to hold her still. The moans that escaped her lips only encouraged him. She had to bit down on her lips to keep herself from growing any louder. They couldn't afford for a guard to break down the door and catch them in such a compromising position. It wasn't long before her toes curled and her back arched in sweet agony. “Petyr” Before she could fully come down from her high, Baelish crawled up her body and kissed her again. Sansa could taste a sweet tang upon his lips, mixing with his usual mint and it took a moment to realize that it was her, she was tasting upon his lips. He grasped her hips tightly and flipped them over.

Sansa found herself on top of him, straddling his legs. Baelish pushed the purple dress that still hung out off of her shoulders. Her braid was completely disheveled and he noticed that she looked frightened. He sat up causing her to slide closer to him. She moaned when her core graced his clothed bulge but the fear still caused her to tense at the thought of that part of him being so close to her. He placed his hands on the side of her face, tracing his thumb across her cheekbone as his eyes made contact with her's.

“You're in control. You take the lead.” Sansa nodded and reached down, attempting to unlace his breeches. However, his hands moved from from her face and grabbed her hand. “Not yet. Not tonight. Just like this.” She smiled in relief. She would have gladly given herself over to him completely but it gave her comfort not to do so. She wasn't completely ready yet.

Baelish placed his hands on her hips and she placed her's on top of his. Slowly he began to rotate her hips in a circular motion. She felt the cloth of his member grow closer and closer to her. He grunted and placed his face in the hollow of her neck. He traced her pulse with his tongue as her hips began to pick up speed. She moved faster and faster against him, searching for that bliss again. Soon enough she was soaring. He removed his lips from her neck in order to kiss her lips.

“Sansa.” He whispered against her lips and Sansa saw his face constrict. His jaw went slack and his eyes closed. They stilled and Baelish simply held her close for a moment. Once their breathing had been restored to normal, Sansa lifted herself off of him and practically fell against the pillows. Baelish laid down beside her and linked her hand with his. They did not touch except for their linked hands. He lifted her hand and kissed it gently. “I will miss you while we're gone.”

“Where are you going?” Sansa asked. With the excitement of the day and the pleasure she endured, she nearly forgotten about the knowledge of Baelish leaving with her father. While she was disappointed that he would be leaving in the morning, she couldn't help but feel her eyes begin to droop. She realized how completely exhausted she was.

“Deepwood.” He stated. He moved so he was lying on his side. He propped himself up on his elbow and reached down to take her face in his hand. He lowered his head and kissed her deeply. When they broke apart, he rested his forehead against her's. “We won't be gone long. A week at most. Your father is eager to return, what with the wedding and all.”

“Theon-”

“Will be riding with us. Ned wants to keep him close. You will be safe here in Winterfell. I can promise you that.” She smiled lazily at him and closed her eyes. She felt Baelish kiss each of her eyelids before he kissed her forehead. “Sleep. I will see you when I return.” She hardly felt the crease of the bed as he left it.

When Sansa awoke the next morning, she noticed that she was completely covered by the furs that laid on her bed. She reached down and felt that her corset had been removed. She had slept in only the chaise she wore underneath it. Sansa felt grateful that he had taken it off, even if she wasn't awake to enjoy it. She glanced around the room and her clothes that had been thrown about the floor the night before had been neatly folded on the wooden chair by her vanity.

She pulled herself from her bed and went over to the vanity. She sat down on the wooden chair and pulled the dress that was neatly folded into her lap. She brought the dress to her nose and inhaled. His scent still lingered on the fabric. The memories of his lips on her body flew back to her and it caused her to smile. The week would be long but she knew that his return would be well worth the wait. She stood and walked over to the trunk, with the dress in her hand. She opened the trunk and placed it into the trunk.

Sansa walked back over to the vanity while she started to unbraid her messy hair. She was about to call for a serving maid when she saw her neck in the mirror. She clasped her hand over the lower part of her neck and her ice blue eyes grew wide. She removed her hand and saw a purplish bruise was placed just at the point that her neck met her shoulder. She knew exactly how such a mark made it upon her person but she was completely unaware that such a thing could be possible. Sansa huffed in frustration, wondering how she was going to cover up such a mark. A very modest dress she supposed.

She pushed away from the vanity and walked over to her bed to grab her candle. While the sun had risen slightly, her room still held a darkness to it. When she reached the bedside table, Sansa paused. Beside the candle laid her direwolf engraved dagger with a silver pin in the shape of a mockingbird propped up against it.

Chapter Text

The Weirwood stood tall and the red leave blew it the light breeze. The breeze caused the weather to seem colder than it was. Snow could be seen blowing lightly across the grounds. If it wasn't for the sun showing it's light through the clouds then the day would have been bitterly cold. Yet, the moment the rays would hit Sansa's pale skin it would make the time spent outside worth the chill.

She breathed in deeply, allowing the frozen air enter her lungs causing a beautiful pain in her lungs. She rested her head against the bark of the tree. The weather, while it took a wintry turn, was still lovely for someone who was born in the North. The weather made a perfect excuse for Sansa to wear the dresses that she had packed away when it started to become warm. She made sure that the dresses she wore covered the small of her neck. The purplish bruise that lingered on her skin wasn't fading. While it would be more convenient for the bruise to fade, part of Sansa wanted it to stay exactly where it was.

Sansa ran her hands down the brown dress, easing out the creases. She smiled a cheeky smile when she felt the small bump that was close to the side of her hip. Just beneath her dress was the silver mockingbird pin that Baelish had left on her bedside table, neatly pinned to her corset. She didn't like the thought of leaving it in her chambers seemed unbearable. Sansa wanted it close to her and placing it somewhere that no one would see felt appropriate. Every time she felt it more or when she would grace it with the side of her arm, her mind would flash to his hands and his tongue on her. She shivered at the memory.

Lady came toward her from somewhere in the woods. Her grey-white fur blowing lightly in the wind. The direwolf laid down and placed her head on Sansa's lap. She slowly began to rub the wolf behind the ears. Lady had always been protective of her and was always within quick distance of her master. Sansa assumed it was because the wolf found her too late once. She had failed to protect her and the wolf would never fail again. Sansa leaned down and kissed Lady on the top of her head.

She had always found it amusing that the direwolf that was carved on her dagger, resembled Lady. She wasn't sure if Jon had it engraved to resemble her specific direwolf or if it simply turned out that way. As she continued to pet Lady, Baelish's words about her keeping the dagger on her at all times rang loud and clear. She rarely ever left her chambers without it but if she did she knew that Lady would always be nearby.

“You're not being a very good friend.” Arya's voice sounded from the side of the tree, with her own direwolf at her side. The younger girl was perched up against it, with her arms crossed. She was in a dress, as she had been all week. Not once wearing the boys clothes she wore during her fencing lessons. The dress was a dark blue dress and even the cloak she wore to keep herself warm was lovely. Her long brown hair was piled on top of her head in a small bun. She almost looked like a lady of the North.

“Well don't you look pretty?” Sansa replied and Arya rolled her eyes as she scowled. She pushed herself off of the tree and sat down beside her sister. Nymeria followed her master and sat down beside her. “Did Mother dress you this morning?” Sansa snickered as Arya huffed.

“Father said to humor her until he returns from Deepwood.” Arya stated and Sansa looked down at her lap. She didn't need to be reminded of Deadwood. It had only been a few days but she missed him. She knew that he would be home within a week but it still ached that he was not at Winterfell. It didn't help matters that her courses came the day after his departure. Although it worked in her favor causing Catelyn to believe that it was her courses that caused her to seek out Luwin that dreadful afternoon. “I'm hoping that he will be able to convince her to return Needle but I doubt it. She was rather angry with him the morning they left.”

“You know their arguments do not last long, especially if they have been apart for days at a time.” Sansa replied, hoping to calm her sister's nerves. Arya had been forced to go without her fencing lessons and forced to attend the sewing lessons with Septa Mordane. Arya had been in a foul mood for the entire week. “And why exactly am I being a bad friend?”

“Oh, Jeyne. She is complaining that you are not in the castle right now helping her prepare for her wedding. I told her that you were rather cross with her and she could not imagine why.” Arya stated and that caused Sansa simply shake her head. She had been avoiding the bride as much as she could. She almost found relief in the sewing lessons because Jeyne declared that she was soon to be a married women and had no time for such nonsense. Septa Mordane was more than willing to be rid of her. “Although I should tell her that she should be thanking you. If you didn't know she was in the apothecary with Theon then she would still be sneaking around the castle, risking the chance of birthing his bastard.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about.” Sansa stated innocently. However, she looked at Arya with a small deceiving smile. While she never spoke the truth allowed, Arya knew that Theon had been telling the truth that night. Sansa had known exactly what was occurring in the apothecary and convinced Luwin to make his way toward the place of medicine.

“Of course you don't.” Arya laughed. She leaned against the tree and her sister's shoulder. It made Sansa wonder why her sister wasn't angry with her. If anyone else had learned of Sansa's deception they would have judged her for it. If they knew the part she played, the part Baelish played, they never would be able to look at her the same. The part that scared her the most was that she wanted them to really see her. She wanted them to see who she really was because this part she was playing of the dutiful daughter was exhausting. Yet Arya didn't care. Sansa could fall into the worst of humanity and Arya would always be by her side. Sansa smiled and laced her fingers through her hand. “I heard something interesting today.”

“Hmm?” Sansa smiled lazily.

“Walder Frey died.” Arya stated and Sansa looked surprised. She never met Lord of the Crossing but she heard that he was old, very old. He married several times to women who were far younger than himself. There were rumors that he would never die and that his children would pass on long before he did.

“Where did you hear this?” The elder girl asked. “Eavesdropping again?” Her tone was teasing and Arya giggled. It amazed Sansa how often her sister could go unnoticed. Even though she was the nobel daughter of the house Stark, Arya could almost become invisible to those around her. It was a useful skill and one Sansa wished she could have such an ability. She always seemed to attract attention anywhere she went. She knew she was beautiful and part of her wished that she wasn't. If she wasn't beautiful then maybe she would still be innocent.

“No. I just happened to be looking for you when I passed by Maester Luwin and Ser Rodrik. They were gossiping as ever.” Sansa snorted in the most unladylike manner. Maester Luwin and Ser Rodrick were thick as thieves and gossiped worse than bored old women. It always amused her that they would whisper secrets to each other in the way she would with Arya.

The two girls heard light footsteps in the snow and they looked up to see Catelyn walking toward them. She wore her signature green dress and her long hair was left down around her waist. The Tully fish pin held her dress together and Sansa realized that her mother never really embraced the direwolf. Catelyn would always be a fish in a North full of wolves.

“I wondered where the two of you were off to.” Catelyn stated with a small gentle smile. While she had been rather cross with her children and her husband, she still showed them affection. She had always been the disciplinarian of them all. While Ned was willing exact justice in the name of the King, it was far more difficult for him to punish his own children. “May I join you?” The girls nodded and Catelyn sat down across from them.

“Is it true that Walder Frey died?” Arya asked.
 
“Yes, a fever took him. His son Stevron sent word to the kingdoms. A funeral will be held at the Twins.” Catelyn replied. Sansa noticed that her mother didn't appear distraught by the news. Catelyn met the man a few times in her life but she never formed a favorable opinion of him. “It's a shame. He was just married.” Sansa and Arya shared a quick look between each other.

“I bet his new bride killed him.”

“Arya!” Catelyn scolded while Sansa laughed. Neither girl could help but notice the small smile playing on Catelyn’s lips.

“What, it’s no secret that he had little success with his wives. One of them was bound to off him eventually.” Arya stated causing Sansa to laugh harder. She wasn’t completely sure as to why she found this as amusing as she did. She didn’t know Walder Frey but he was legendary, and not in a good sense. Sansa was laughing so hard that she held her stomach and toppled over onto Lady’s side. The wolf looked disturbed for a moment before closing her eyes again and falling back asleep.

“And here I was thinking I might allow you to resume your fencing lessons.” That sobered everyone up immediately. Arya sat up straighter and looked directly at Catelyn, who was still wearing a small smirk. Sansa looked between her sister and her mother, not allowing herself to speak. While it made no difference to her if Arya was allowed to continue practicing sword play, she wanted her sister to be happy and if fighting like a boy made her smile then Sansa encouraged it.

“What?” Arya whispered and Sansa was sure she wasn’t breathing.

“You can continue with your lessons if you promise to be careful and no more sneaking around with that sword of yours.” Arya nodded in agreement. Her head bobbing excitedly. “You also must continue attending your lessons with Septa Mordane and you must actually participate while you are there. I don’t want any bad reports.”

“But she hates me!”

“She does not hate you but I will consider the merits of the reports if I do receive any of them. Deal?” Arya nodded. “Now, I put the sword back on you bed. I’m sure Ser Rodrick wouldn’t say no to a lesson.” Arya squealed and threw herself into Catelyn’s arms. She hugged her mother tightly and Catelyn just smiled, holding her back. Sansa could tell that her mother always intended to allow her sister return to her lessons.

“Thank you thank you thank you.” Arya rambled and jumped up. She said “thank you” to her mother once last time before she left the Godswood in breaking speed. Nymeria followed her master. Both Catelyn and Sansa watched the younger girl run away from them alongside her wolf. Sansa had a lazy smile on her face as they were left alone.

“That was kind of you.” Sansa replied.

“I’m her mother. I’m allowed to be kind every now and then.” Catelyn smiled and moved to sit next to her daughter. She took Sansa’s hand into her own. Sansa’s mind flashed to the conversation she had with her mother the night before Ned, Robb, Theon and Baelish left for Deepwood. She felt as though a similar conversation was going to be held. That night she assumed that her father didn’t have a chance to tell her about is concerns regarding Baelish because her mother never mentioned him. “Your father is worried about you.”

“What do you mean?” She wondered why her mother was bringing this up now. She had several days to corner her in regards to Baelish but instead she waits until the day before her husband’s expected return. Sansa knew that her mother was busy, what with helping Jeyne plan the wedding and her normal expectations as Lady of Winterfell. However, Sansa dined with Catelyn and Arya every night. She could have easily detained her afterward the meal or even come to her chambers in the evening. Yet, she had done none of those things. Perhaps it was because Baelish was currently not in Winterfell and that caused her not to feel the need to broach the subject right away. Or she needed time to process how exactly she was going to approach the subject.

“Your father is concerned that you are getting to close to Lord Baelish.” Catelyn stated gently. Sansa huffed in frustration and rolled her eyes. Sansa understood her parents concern because she had to admit that Baelish was not a good man. He was the last person any parent would want their daughter involved with. However, she didn’t care about her parent's concern. While she knew it was irrational, she felt jaded that they showed little concern when it came to Joffery. The only reason they ended the engagement was because they didn’t trust the Lannisters, not that she blamed them. They murdered Bran after all. Yet, Joffery had them fooled. Of course they saw him as a spoiled little boy who always got what he wanted but they didn’t see him for the sadistic prince that he was. Ned simply saw him as an old friend’s son, and yet he wasn’t even that.

“I don’t see why he is making such an issue about Lord Baelish. The man in question has been nothing but kind to me.” Sansa stated honestly. He had been very kind, to her and only her. She just wasn’t going to say how kind he had been. She was sure that Ned would have him run through with a sword if he ever learned of the things she let him do with her body.

“He is certain that he has taken a special interest in you and is afraid that you return that interest. He is concerned of the choices you would make. I know you well enough to know that you would never allow him to take advantage of you and Petyr would never force you into something you didn’t want.” Catelyn stated and Sansa could tell that she was being very careful with the words she was using.

“I’m not saying that Lord Baelish is my choice but would it be horrible if he was? I mean he would be kind to me and like you said, he would never force me into something that I didn’t want. He is wealthy and for more connected than father for example. He would be more than willing to assist the North because he would be family. He is by far the most intelligent person I have ever met and he challenges me.” Sansa paused trying align her words in such a specific manner. “You know him better than anyone. Would he really be such a bad choice?” 


“He is just not who we would have picked for you.” Catelyn stated softly. Her eyes were sorrowful but it wasn’t that she was sad or even depressed. The sorrow came from the realization that Sansa was no longer a child. A women full grown sat beside her and she wondered when exactly that had occurred.

“Like you would have picked Harrold Hardyng?”

“Your father said you were angry about that.” Catelyn stated and she suddenly huffed in frustration. “It was none of Peter's business to tell you such things.” Sansa wondered how long she had been waiting to voice her anger at Baelish. If Sansa hadn’t brought Lord Hardyng’s name into the conversation, she was certain her mother would have avoided it all together. She simply didn’t want to see her daughter’s anger.

“But at least he was honest with me! You promised to keep me informed with the decision but I have to hear from someone else that you were making marriage inquires on my behalf?” Sansa thought it best to forgo the information about her eavesdropping on her parents. That would only make the situation far worse. “Can you imagine how that must have felt? I don’t want to marry a stranger. I don’t want to go to bed with a man I don’t know.”

“I met your father the day we married and we are very happy with the life we have built.” Catelyn stated in rebuttal.

“I know that. I know you and father love each other dearly but that is rare. If you would have married me off to Lord Hardyng, I would have ended up miserable. I eventually would have learned that he would leave my bed in search for another’s. I would have had to deal with his bastard children running around.” Sansa looked directly at her mother and saw her flinch. Jon. Jon had always been a sore spot for Catelyn. Sansa knew that the moment she brought up the topic of bastard children her mother would be more sympathetic toward her. “You of all people should understand that.”

“I would never want that for you.” Catelyn stated in a low voice. Ned breaking their marriage vows and producing his bastard child was something she never was really ever able to forgive him for. She wasn’t sure how she would have survived if Ned had completely disregarded her and produced several more children that were not her’s. It was hard enough to face Jon when he was at Winterfell, she couldn’t imagine how it would have been if there were more of him. When Jon took the black and went to the Wall, it was the only relief she had at such a time. There had always been a small part of her that felt guilty for her actions toward Jon but she couldn’t bring herself to feel anything else. Her guilt lessoned when he made something of his life. Lord Commander is an achievement at any age but seeing that he was still so young made it even more impressive. What made her happy was that he was Lord Commander away from Winterfell. “Petyr just isn’t who he used to be.”

“The funny thing is, he said the same exact thing about you.” Sansa replied and Catelyn looked at her in surprise. When she saw Baelish for the first time after close to twenty years, she was surprised that he was no longer the clever boy she had known. Instead he turned into the intelligent and powerful man that stood in control of the Vale. There was a darker edge to him that she never thought was possible for him. “He told me stories of when you were children. He said that he loved you and it took a long time for him to let go of that. When he saw you after Aunt Lysa's had died, he realized that you were not the women he built up in his mind. People change. He might not be your choice but he might be someone else's.”

“Is he your choice?” It was as though she was more willing to be open to the possibility, whether or not she liked the idea. Catelyn might not be excited by the prospect of Petyr as her son-in-law but she at least wouldn't fight her like her father would.

“I don't know.” It was the truth. Sansa didn't know if Baelish was her choice. She honestly had no idea what she wanted from him in the long term. She knew she wanted him to teach her everything he knew. She wanted to be able to manipulate people and move in such a way that everything fell into her favor. She didn't know anyone else who would be able to teach her such things. However, while their game might be one thing in Winterfell, it would be far more dangerous in King's Landing. Did she really want to go there? Put herself in such a position that she was constantly looking over her shoulder?

Sinister things are stirring in King's Landing. Baelish told her that once. He told her to remember it. King's Landing was dangerous and that mere thought of going there terrified her. She would have to see Joffery again and she would be perfectly happy if that never were to occur. It would be walking straight into the lion's den if she decided to play Baelish's game.

However, the game thrilled her. She only had a mere taste of what the game could offer and she was sure it was far more exciting than she was expecting. Creating Theon's downfall caused the blood to rush through her veins that she felt intoxicated. Then Baelish's reward caused a new high that she could't wait to experience again. She was certain that he would give her anything she asked for. If she wanted diamonds from Asshai, then diamonds she shall have. If she wanted the lion to bleed, then blood she shall have.

Yet, was that enough for her to consider taking the Baelish name? Trade in her direwolf for a mockingbird? Sansa didn't know the answer. When she imagined marriage, it was to a faceless stranger who brutalized her every night in the same manner Joffery had. She feared marriage. She feared becoming someone's property; a toy to be dangled and played with. She felt that Baelish would be different, that she would be his equal but she couldn't allow hope to rule her. If she did, then it would ruin her far more than she already was.

Lysa Arryn.

The name sounded in her mind so forcefully. Sansa and Arya once discussed the possibility of Baelish having a hand in his wife's death, but he had just been a name to her then. Now, he was so much more than that and the possibility that he murdered his wife lingered in the back of her mind from time to time. She believed it possible. He was never cruel to her and never laid a hand on her in a manner that she never wanted. Yet, she knew that he was dangerous and if he needed someone gone, one way or another that person would be gone. If he needed Lysa out of the way in order to gain control of the Eyrie, then her corpse would be the only thing left of her. Sansa could never be sure but she knew that he either had her killed or he did it directly, covering his tracks later.

It made Sansa wonder what would happen if she outgrew her usefulness to him. He liked her now, when she would fall on her back for him and when he had the thrill of molding her into a version closer to himself. But what would happen when time moved forward and they had been bound to each other for so long? What would happen to her?

Would her fate be similar to Lysa Arryn's? A broken body thrown out the moon door? Or would it be an ending much sweeter? Either way, Sansa knew that her story wasn't a fairytale but a tragedy instead.

Chapter Text

The wedding between Theon Greyjoy and Jeyne Poole was held on a dark and rainy day. The rain was so cold that it was almost frozen as it fell from the sky. The clouds were dark and stormy, causing the wind to howl in the most ferocious manner. The howl was louder than any direwolf and the sound haunted the walls of Winterfell. The weather caused the more suspicious lot to believe it was an omen. They said it felt like the beginning of the end of Winterfell.

While a chill rang through the stone halls, one person in particular couldn't allow the foul weather to spoil her happiness. She stood in Sansa's chambers preparing for her last few hours of being Jeyne Poole. Even the sounds of the unforgivable rain hitting the glass wouldn't damper her spirits. She giggled and laughed as the servant girls pinned her hair. Sansa was willing to bet that Theon has bedded each one of those girls, an irony that Jeyne was either ignorant to or just simply ignored.

It was in that moment, watching Jeyne love the attention she was receiving, that Sansa realized what a perfect nobel born she would have made. Her innocence and vanity suited the role perfectly. She would become Lady of the Iron Islands one day. A useless title now but a title none the less. She wondered how long it would take before reality sunk in. If the rumors she heard were true, then the Iron Islands were as unforgiving as the ocean its self. They would break a girl like Jeyne.

Sansa sat on the bed leaning on her hands and played the part of a dutiful friend. She smiled at all the right places and laughed when Jeyne expected her to. She let the girl ramble on about how wonderful her life would be and how dear Theon was. Sansa rarely needed to speak because Jeyne filled the silence with her chattering. While she pretended to be happy, Sansa couldn't find herself more annoyed. She knew that she just had to grin an bear it. The knowledge that in the morning both Theon and Jeyne would be on their way to the gods forsaken islands to live out their days in misery was reward enough for her.

When Sansa would sink into the bed the next night, Theon and all the distress he brought to her and her family would be removed. She could only hope that their paths never crossed again. Once Jeyne's hair was pinned up in a perfect manner, Sansa shooed the girls away. She slid slowly from the bed and placed her hands on the white fabric that laid upon the bride's shoulders. She gave a gentle squeeze and Jeyne placed her hand on top of Sansa's.

“I'm nervous.” Jeyne whispered. It was gentle and childlike. It almost made her forget that Jeyne wasn't a maiden. The way she spoke would make anyone believe that this was a girl who was terrified to go to the marriage bed. Yet Sansa knew that this wasn't an act because while Jeyne could keep secrets, she wasn't one to outright lie. Sansa knew how to play her parts well but Jeyne was not an actress. “This is all I've ever wanted and now that I have it, I'm scared.”

“You will be fine. Theon will take you away to the Iron Islands and it will be like the songs we used to sing.” Sansa stated with a small smile on her face. Jeyne seemed to be pacified. She suddenly stood from the vanity and took the taller girl into an embrace. Sansa was stiff and patted the bride on the back, hoping she would pull away. After a moment she did and Sansa could see a watery smile.

“Do you think we will see each other again?” Jeyne asked in a low voice. If Sansa tried hard enough, she could almost feel sorry for her. She was being ripped away from her home and sent to a place that she had never been before. It would be scary for anyone. Yet, Sansa couldn't muster the energy. Theon would be gone and any sacrifice Sansa had make, she was willing to do so.

“Maybe one day.” Sansa stated and she prayed to the old gods that she never laid eyes upon her again. A light knock sounded on the door and Sansa moved across the chamber to answer it. Once the door was open, Vayon Poole, Jeyne's father stood behind it. In his hand was an old hat that was being twisted so tightly it would almost be unwearable. It was no secret that Vayon made it quite clear of his disappointment in his daughter. If Ned had not commanded Theon to marry Jeyne, Sansa was certain this man would have done something to the Iron Born in retaliation.

“Lady Sansa, would you permit me a few moments with my daughter before the ceremony?” Sansa nodded and stepped aside to allow the older man to enter. When Jeyne saw her father she looked down at the ground almost in shame. Sansa stepped outside into the corridor and closed the door behind her. She knew that it wouldn't be long before the ceremony would start and she figured it would be best to head to the Great Keep.

She could still hear the wind howl and for a few moments it caused a chill to run down her spine. Guards were posted all around the corridors that led to the Great Keep. It was a tradition to make sure that the bride walked down the aisle safely but the guards littering the halls was a bit extreme. Sansa was led to believe that it wasn't the bride they intended to protect but rather to prevent the groom from fleeing. She also believed that the guards were there to prevent her from spending to much time alone with someone in particular.

Once Sansa reached the Great Keep, she saw a swarm of people lingering. It wasn't a big wedding but most of Jeyne's family was in attendance. She saw Mrs. Poole standing in a corner crying, shooting daggers at Theon who was standing by a Septon. There was only one Septon in the North because most of the citizens still prayed to the Old Gods. Ned found that it would be insulting to allow Theon to be wed in front of the Weirwood and in front of the Old Gods. So he allowed a Septon into Winterfell in order to wed Jeyne and Theon in the eyes of the Seven.

Sansa moved to the other side of the keep, passing Mrs. Poole. Vayon had been silent as the grave when the news of his daughter's ruin first came to light. It was a deadly silence that brought chill to the bone until his rage took over. His wife wailed and became inconsolable when she learned that Jeyne would be taken away by the man who forced himself upon her, at least that was how Mrs. Poole believed the incident transpired. Mrs. Poole had begged Ned to reconsider, to allow Jeyne to stay in her home. Ned would never allow it because he believed that Theon needed to be punished. He felt sorry for the girl but she made her bed and now it was time for her to lie in it.

Ned stood by the Septon and Theon, keeping a close eye upon the groom who looked miserable. He did not look like a man who was about to be married. If anything he looked as though he was about to head to the execution block. While he was finely dressed Sansa could tell that he looked ill. She imagined he spent his last night as a bachelor drinking himself into a stupor. If he hadn't been locked in his chambers she knew he would have been whoring himself.

Sansa moved to stand by Arya who was speaking in low tones with their mother. Once again Arya was dressed beautifully in a dress that was only worn for special occasions. While Arya was in deep green, Sansa's dressed was a dark burgundy with a black belt around her waist. The red hair was piled upon her head with a few curls dangling around her porcelain skin.

Her eyes moved across the aisle and saw Baelish looking at her. His eyes were soft and he gave her a small smile. Beautiful. He whispered and Sansa smiled back at him. He had been back for two days and they rarely had a moment together. The castle was crawling with more guards than before and Sansa knew it couldn't be just for Theon. She never seemed to find a moment alone because everywhere she turned, someone seemed to be there. If she leaved her chamber after dark for any reason there would be a guard there to see her. A late night visit and rendezvous became impossible. Being able to see him but not touch him made Sansa ache for him even more. Any doubts and fears, while they still lingered, always seemed to erase themselves when he looked at her.

Before long a silence grew over the crowd and Sansa looked over to the entrance of the Great Keep. Vayon stood there with Jeyne on his arm. Sansa saw the bright look upon her face and she knew that her wedding was the last time she would ever truly be happy. It almost caused her to feel sorry for the girl. While every member of the small gathering knew the story behind the couple, no one could fault that it was a beautiful wedding. They walked slowly up the aisle and Vayon took his daughter's hand and placed it in Theon's.

Theon took the golden embroidered cloak off of his shoulder's and placed it upon Jeyne's signaling his protection of her. A beautiful lie. There would be no protection for Jeyne in Theon's care. Sansa could see the golden kraken on the cloak as it hung off of her shoulders. The Septon spoke but Sansa couldn't hear him. Instead she focused on the couple and how different they were. The bride was overjoyed yet the groom looked as though he would rather die than be married to her.

Sansa turned her head and saw Baelish watching her. His eyes flickered to the ceremony and then back at her. The words that the Septon was preaching washed over her and she couldn't look away from Baelish. She wondered what he was thinking and if the vows penetrated him as the did her.

“Father, Smith, Warrior,
Mother, Maiden, Crone, Stranger.
I am hers/his and she/he is mine,
From this day until the end of my days.”

“My Lords, My ladies, you stand here in the sight of gods and men to witness the union of man and wife. One flesh, one heart, one soul......now and forever” Jeyne leaned in to kiss Theon but Sansa missed it, as did Baelish. While the rest of the congregation lightly gave a small applause, Sansa didn't even flinch. The two of them seemed to be lost in their own world. She was sure she would have stood there for hours on end if she had not felt Arya's hand touch her arm. Sansa jumped and looked down at your sister. Arya smirked, shook her head and linked her arm with Sansa's. As she was being dragged out of the Great Keep, Sansa looked over her shoulder to see Baelish watching them leave.

The feast was held in the dining hall and it was lovely as it was loud. The drink flowed freely and as the hour grew darker, the more intoxicated the wedding party grew. If it had been any other situation, Ned would have dictated how much his children drank but on this occasion, he himself was far to intoxicated to notice. Theon sat at the high table beside Ned, who arranged the seating as such in order to keep a strong hand over the groom, and he indulged himself as he always did. The only difference was that he was not loud and boisterous but deadly silent instead.

Jeyne sat in-between her father and Theon simply looking around. She wore a small smile on her face and would on occasion lean over to speak to Theon who would grunt in reply. Jeyne never noticed her new husband's distaste. Robb had been seated between Arya and Sansa but he moved off some time ago and Sansa had lost track of him. Catelyn had moved toward her drunken husband and was busy keeping him from completely eviscerating the groom. Baelish moved and sat between the two girls. While he was focused on Sansa he positioned himself in a way that included Arya if she desired to be so.

“Enjoying you drink, Lady Sansa?” Baelish asked and a Sansa flushed. She looked at him and raised her eyebrow. It has been the first words that he has uttered to her since he returned that hasn't been completely supervised by her father. If either of them attempted a moment alone together it seemed that someone always prevented that from happening.

“You once told me that indulging yourself with drink would only cause the secrets you hold dear to come tumbling from your lips.” She smirked at him in a stone cold sober manner. She raised her glass and sipped slowly from it. He leered at her. “I believe you said it was some helpful advice.”

“I am pleased that you take my counsel seriously.” He turned and looked at the younger girl. “And what you Lady Arya? Do you enjoy your wine.” Baelish asked and Arya just rolled her eyes. While she could tell that the two of them enjoyed their word play, Arya did not have the enjoyment for it. Games bore her because she felt that being direct was a far better approach.

“I don't like wine.” Arya replied in a bland manner, causing Baelish to laugh. His smile grew wide as he took in the girl. Arya was a girl of fifteen and nearly a women grown but her appearance made her seem so much younger. It was that appearance that made her so easy to over look and Baelish realized that it could be used to his advantage one day.

“Good. A women with your skills would always prove more valuable if she had her wits about her.” Baelish smirked. He looked at her and Arya squirmed slightly. It wasn't the same look he gave Sansa but Arya felt as through he was evaluating her worth. Before Arya could reply Sansa jumped in with narrowed eyes.

“Pray Lord Baelish, may I inquire after something?”

“As you wish Lady Sansa.” Baelish stated and crossed his legs. He was curious as to what she had to say but Arya simply snorted. While the two of them might be enjoying their conversation, she found herself growing bored. She missed Jon in those moments. He always made events such as these far more entertaining.

“What exactly did you and my father speak of when you were in Deadwood? Because I found that since your return I have scarcely have a moment alone....with anyone.” She found the constant companionship of someone whose main purpose was to avoid her moment alone with the one person she wanted to be alone with irritating. She had come to learn more of the guard's names in the last two days that she had in the seventeen years she had lived in Winterfell.

“We spoke of many things. We spoke of taxes, the state of the North, the wedding and even shared a few conversations about his bastard son.” Baelish stated. She wondered what kind of interest he would have in Jon but she didn't dwell on that curiosity to much. “I may have also mentioned a certain fondness I have developed for you.”

“What!? You-”

“Shh Sweetling. We don't want you drawn attention to us now do we?” Baelish moved in his seat and turned his back on Arya, whose eyes were darting between the two of them. He leaned in but never touched her. He looked directly at her. “I didn't speak of anything scandalous my dear because I'm sure I wouldn't live to tell the tale if I did. I just may have hinted at the fact that I enjoy your companionship. You've already planted the seed in your father's mind and it was best to nurture the idea. While a blindside can be tantalizing and satisfying, sometimes it is best to have your foe expecting the outcome.”

“And what are we nurturing exactly?”

“All in good time.” Baelish replied. He took her hand and brought it to his lips. While the very proper kiss on the hand was in full view of everyone, hardly anyone saw a thing. Their judgment and vision was clouded by wine. Baelish stood from his seat. “I'm headed down to your father's solar. I need to review some accounts. If you would like to join me, I'm sure you will find a way to slip away.”

With that Baelish left the two girls sitting at the table to enjoy the feast. Sansa watched him navigate his way through the crowd. When he reached the two giant wooden doors he paused and turned around. He looked directly at her and smirked. When he slipped away, Sansa's eyes traveled the crowd. Mostly everyone was merry and loud. Arya moved to the seat that Baelish had just vacated.

“What do you think you are doing?” Arya asked in a hushed tone. She knew that her sister was playing a game with Baelish but Arya chose to ignore what she deemed was obvious. The one that thing that the sisters had in common was their desire for more than the life they were given. Arya felt that she was destined for something far greater than becoming a lady of some great house. She could see that Baelish might be a way out for Sansa and perhaps a way out for her as well. Yet, Sansa's actions went beyond anything she could have anticipated.

“Playing the game.” Sansa replied as chaos erupted around them. There were cheers and cries as Jeyne was lifted up into the air along with Theon. The bedding ceremony began and Sansa knew that this was her chance. She joined the crowd and moved along with them them as they pulled at Jeyne's clothing. She could hear Jeyne's shrieks and giggles over the crowd. Never before has she heard a bride so eager for her wedding night. All the brides she had seen on their wedding day always seemed so nervous about the marriage bed. Yet Jeyne knew what was to come and she anticipated it.

The crowed moved out into the hall. Sansa stayed with the them as the moved and drunkenly shouted. They carried the bride and groom through the torched lit corridors toward the bed chamber that had been set aside for this occasion. The crowd sat both Jeyne and Theon on the ground. Jeyne was high on adrenaline and excitement that she grabbed Theon and locked her lips onto his. The crowd cheered and Sansa looked around. The faces she saw were mainly made of servants and guards. She saw not one member of her family or even Jeyne's.

Sansa slipped away from the ground and started to head back toward the Great Keep. She could hear the crowd coming back hoping to rejoin the feast. When she reached the Great Keep she peered inside quickly and saw that her father was still seated at the head table, his head was down. Sansa could only assume that he indulged a bit to heavily. She didn't blame him, he had been far to stressed the last couple of weeks. Catelyn sat beside him, running her fingers through his brown hair and whispered in his ear. Robb sat next to his father and was in deep discussion with Vayon and a sobbing Mrs. Poole. She had no idea where Arya was.

Sansa turned when she heard the crowd approaching. If she was going escape, now was her chance. It appeared her family was going to remain in the dining all for some time and the crowd would surly be a distraction. They would have awhile before her family discovered her absence but it would be enough time. Sansa pushed away from the wooden doors and started to run down the corridor. She wanted to be away from the crowd when the made their way into the dining hall.

She heard her feet hit the stone flooring along with her hurried breath echo off the walls. The sounds of the drunken crowd grew fainter and fainter behind her. She turned a corner and then another weaving her way through the halls of Winterfell. Eventually she saw her father's solar in sight. When she reached the door she paused before pushing it open. She stepped inside and locked the door behind her.

Baelish was seated behind her father's desk with a candle lit beside him. He moved a quill against a parchment bound book. She had never seen him at work before and she had to admit that it was attractive. When he saw her enter, he threw her that infamous leer and slowly closed the book and pushed it aside. He stood from behind the desk and placed his palms against the wood.

“That was faster than I was anticipating. Perhaps I still underestimate you.” His voice was low and husky. Sansa stepped forward and placed her fingers on the desk. She trailed her fingers against it as she made her way around the desk and toward Baelish.

“I left with the bedding ceremony.” Sansa whispered. She picked up the candle and blew the flame out before placing it back onto the desk. The solar was dark but a few candles remained lit in the candelabra, allowing light to flicker against the shadows. The storm still raged outside and the rain could be heard hitting against the window. “I don't have to much time before it is noticed that I am missing.”

“Then I guess we have to make most of the time we have.” With that Baelish grabbed Sansa and locked his lips with her's.

Chapter Text

Baelish was seated behind her father's desk with a candle lit beside him. He moved a quill against a parchment bound book. She had never seen him at work before and she had to admit that it was attractive. When he saw her enter, he threw her that infamous leer and slowly closed the book and pushed it aside. He stood from behind the desk and placed his palms against the wood.

“That was faster than I was anticipating. Perhaps I still underestimate you.” His voice was low and husky. Sansa stepped forward and placed her fingers on the desk. She trailed her fingers against it as she made her way around the desk and toward Baelish.

“I left with the bedding ceremony.” Sansa whispered. She picked up the candle and blew the flame out before placing it back onto the desk. The solar was dark but a few candles remained lit in the candelabra, allowing light to flicker against the shadows. The storm still raged outside and the rain could be heard hitting against the window. “I don't have to much time before it is noticed that I am missing.”

“Then I guess we have to make most of the time we have.” With that Baelish grabbed Sansa and locked his lips with her's. Their lips molded together in a hurried frenzy. His tongue traced the outline of her lips, begging for her to allow him to enter. Her lips parted allowing him access to her tongue. They battled for a moment until Petyr broke away. Sansa latched onto his throat and began suckling up and down his neck. Petyr moaned and hissed when Sansa's teeth grazed his skin.

Sansa placed her hands on his chest and pushed him into her father's chair. He looked at her with lust filled eyes. She placed her knees on each side of his legs. She straddled him and sat on his lap. Their breath mingled together and Sansa weaved her fingers through his hair. She pulled his head back and latched her lips to his again. They kissed for a few moments as Baelish allowed her complete control. When she pulled away, Sansa bit down on his bottom lip causing him to moan.

Baelish placed his hands on her hips, bring her center closer to him. She arched her back and began to rotate her hips against him. The movements were slow and agonizing but when Baelish would attempt to increase the pace, Sansa would pull at his hair in punishment. He ran his hand up the side of her leg, causing her burgundy dress to bunch up at her waist. When he attempted move his hand toward her center, she caught his wrist and pulled his hand away from her.

“Tsk tsk.” Sansa leaned in, pressing her breast against his chest and placed her lips by his ear. “No touching.” She bit down lightly on his ear before nipping her way down his neck. “Did you know that you left me with a bruise? Right here?” Sansa asked as she continued to rotate her hips in an painfully slow manner. Baelish simply grunted in response. “I think it would only be appropriate if I repaid the favor.” With that Sansa continued to rotate her hips and nip at the small of his neck.

Baelish just sat there in complete agony as he allowed Sansa to have complete control over his person. She removed her hand from his hair and placed both of them against his chest. As she continued to suckled at his neck she began to slowly undo each tie on his coat. Eventually each button was undone and Sansa pushed the coat open to reveal the tunic underneath.

She detached her lips from his neck and began to undo the ties of his tunic. One by one she pulled the strings loose revealing his chest. She pushed the coat he was still wearing off of his shoulder's. Baelish moved his arms in order to pull the coat completely off. Once that was removed, Sansa untucked the tunic from his breeches and pulled it over his head. She tossed down the tunic on the floor and it landed by the chair they were currently occupying.

Sansa leaned in to kiss him again and she jerked her hips forward causing the chair to creek. She unlocked their lips and kissed her way down his jaw. She kissed the spot where a bruise was forming and Baelish could feel her smile against his skin. She didn't linger there long but trailed a line of kisses long his collar bone. She pulled one of her legs off of the chair and placed her boot covered foot on the ground. The loss of contact almost made Sansa whimper.

With her new found leverage, Sansa was able to place a kiss at the very top of his scar. She moved so her other leg was completely untangled from him. She moved her hands to the handles of the chair. Slowly she kissed her way down his chest and never once breaking away from the scar. As Sansa grew closer and closer to his navel, she heard Baelish take in a sharp breath.

“Sweetling what are you doing?” He asked looking down at her. Sansa didn't answer him. She could tell that his eyes grew dark and that there was a hunger in them. She leered at him and placed herself on her knees. Sansa ran her hands up his arms and then at a agonizing pace she ran the tips of her fingers down his chest, following the invisible trail of kisses she left behind.

She reached for the first string holding his breeches together. She pulled it apart and then pulled the next one, followed by the next one. Soon his breeches were completely undone and Sansa pushed the fabric aside. She couldn't help but freeze at the sight of him. It was bigger than she thought it would be. It was long, hard and wet and this was the first time she ever saw a man's genitalia up close and personal. Her eyes grew wide at the thought of allowing that anywhere near her.

Ever since the night that Baelish put his lips to the most personal area of her body, Sansa couldn't help but think about doing the same. She knew roughly what a man looked like unclothed, she did have brothers after all, but she never imagined it would be like this. She felt a hand be placed on her cheek and she tore her eyes away from his member.

“You don't have to do anything you don't want to do.” His voice was low and caring. His concern gave Sansa the strength she needed. She turned her head and kissed the palm of his hand.

“I want to.” She moved up and pushed him lightly so he would lean back in his seat. Baelish got a small gleam in his eye and gave her that famous smirk. Sansa leaned forward and placed a kiss on the tip of him. She heard him hiss and that made her smirk. Sansa poked her tongue out between her lips and licked the entire length of him. The sudden assault caused Baelish to suck in a breath.

“Oh gods.” His voice was throaty and breathless. Sansa glanced at him and she saw him swallow. Seeing him in such a manner made her feel powerful and she wanted to continue pleasuring him. She opened her mouth and took him in fully. She had to pause for a moment to allow her throat muscles to relax in order to prevent herself from gagging. The taste of his wasn't as bad as she imagined. He was salty and sticky but not disgusting as she thought this might be.

Slowly, Sansa began to bob her head. Baelish moved his hands and threaded them into her elegant curls. She knew that her hair would be a mess after this but she couldn't bring herself to really care. His hands tightened slightly and started to direct her movements, something she was grateful for. She followed the pace that he had set.

“Use you hand.” Listening to his command, Sansa took one of her hand and covered the part of his that was engulfed in her mouth. “Now grip me” She did. “Lightly” She released her pressure slightly. “Good. Now massage-oh Sweetling” Looking up slightly, she found that his head and fallen backwards and his eyes were closed. His bottom lip was sucked in between teeth and she presumed it was to prevent him from crying out too loudly. While the storm outside would cover their moans, getting to loud could still cause problems. “Stop. Stop.” With a gentle yank of her hair, Baelish pulled Sansa away from him.

“What? I thought-” Before she could even finish her sentence, Baelish pulled her up from her knees and devoured her lips. His arms wrapped around her and scooped her up. He placed Sansa on her father's desk. While his lips still attacked her, he removed the black belt that was holding the dress together. Once that offensive article of clothing was removed and tossed aside, the remainder of the dress fell down around her waist. Nestled on the side of her corset, Baelish saw the small mockingbird pin that he had left her. Seeing it there caused a smile to appear on his lips. He traced the silver pin with his fingertips.

“I wondered where you put that.” Baelish place a few kisses on her jawline.

“I wore it everyday.”

“Good.” He kissed her lips again. His fingers went to the back of her corset and began to untie them. Sansa couldn't help but notice that he seemed to have no trouble unlacing it. It would appear that he was highly skilled at unlacing corsets and she didn't know if she should feel grateful or jealous. He pulled the corset from her and tossed it in the same direction as her belt. Baelish placed his hands on her shoulders and then pushed the straps of her chaise down. He followed the fabric down her skin, grazing her newly exposed breast as he went. He reached out and took one of her breast into her hands, allowing his thumb to run over her peak. He messaged her and it caused a low whimper to escape her lips.“Beautiful.”

He lowered his lips toward the tops of her breasts and kissed her cleavage. He moved his lips downwards and he took a peak fully into his mouth. Sansa threw her head back and moaned at his assault. Eventually he moved onto her her other breast. His hand went to message the breast that was not being kissed by his lips. Sansa grew tired of his actions, laced her fingers in his hair and pulled his head up to her lips.

Their kiss was feverish and hasty. Sansa parted her legs in order to make room for Baelish to come closer. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pushing her breasts against his naked chest. The feel of skin on skin contact was exhilarating. Baelish ran his hands up her stocking covered calf and began to undo the holster that held her dagger. Once the leather straps were completely undone, he pulled it away from her and placed the dagger on the end of the desk. His hands traveled farther north and when he grazed her nub, Sansa's hips jerked forward. Baelish played with her for a moment before leaning in to whisper in her ear.

“Do you want this? I can stop.” Baelish looked directly into her ice blue eyes, searching for her permission. His voice was breathless but Sansa found his hard to focus on that with his finger doing such naughty things to her.

“No. Please. Don't stop. I want you.” Baelish kissed her then in a soft and gentle manner. She felt his hand move away from her. He pushed the breeches that still hung open down around his ankles. He took himself in hand and Sansa could feel his tip near his entrance. She looked him directly in the eye and Sansa saw no malicious there. There was no cruelty, no evil. Just him. Sansa took his lips in her's and kissed him. Slowly Baelish eased his way inside of her. It was agonizingly slow but soon he was inside her completely, filling her to the hilt. It wasn't painful but tight and slightly uncomfortable. Their lips broke apart and their foreheads together.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes.”

“Lie back.” Sansa did as she was told, allowing the cold wood to hit her bare back. Her eyes focused on the stone ceiling and the shadows that danced across them. The sound of the never ending storm raging outside filled her ears. Baelish gripped her hips and ever so slowly he began to move his hips. Sansa could feel him leave her slightly before entering her again. It was a motion he repeated over and over again.

It was nothing like Joffery. There was no pain. There was no more fear. Just this antagonizing pleasure. After a few thrusts, Baelish began to pick up speed and it only increased her desire. Sansa reached behind her and gripped her hands against the creaking desk. The moans and whimpers that were coming from her lips only caused him to thrust against her faster.

One of his hands left her hips and went toward her center. As he continued to move inside of her, his finger began to assault her pearl. This caused Sansa to fully arch off the desk and release a deep moaned that had been hanging in the back of her throat. She was soaring. Her toes curled in her boots and nothing else mattered of than the sweet pulse running throughout her.

“I can't. I have to-” Suddenly Baelish was no longer inside her. He pulled out of her so quickly that the lose of him caused Sansa to sit up so quickly. She was still dazed from her release that she didn't full quite understand what had happened. Her eyes widened when she saw Baelish take himself in hand and furiously move his hand up and down his member. It wasn't long before she saw that constricting look upon his face and she watched as he spilt himself into his hand.

Baelish stood still for a moment, allowing himself to breath. It wasn't long before his flaccid member was released and he bent down to pull his breeches up. He fastened himself tightly before moving toward his coat that was still sprawled open on her father's chair. He removed a handkerchief from a pocket and wiped off his hand thoroughly. He folded the handkerchief in half and walked over to the side of the desk. He wiped off the edge of the desk where some of his seed had spilt. They didn't need Ned investigating the small sticky substance on his desk and how it got there.

Baelish folded the handkerchief again and walked toward Sansa. He stepped between her legs again and kissed her lovely on the lips. She felt the cloth begin to wipe her clean of her own juices and of his. The moment was odd but she couldn't help but feel comfort in the actions. It was caring, gentle and it pacified her doubts.

He moved his hand to her hair and smirked. She could only imagine the state that it was in. He began to remove the pins and ties causing her red curls to fall down her back. He ran his hands through the curls, removing any knots that might have form. His eyes lingered over her and he seemed to be enjoying the sight. Baelish kissed her again and she could feel the satisfied smile against her lips. He grabbed the straps of her chase, she looped her arms through them and he brought the to her shoulders.

Baelish held out his hand which Sansa eagerly took. She hopped down off of the desk and tumbled slightly. He caught her with a small chuckle. She was still completely dazed at what had just transpired. He moved to grab the dagger off the desk and kneeled in front of her to fasten it around her leg. He bent down to pick up her corset that was still lying on the ground. He unhooked the mockingbird pin and placed it on the desk. He turned her around, wrapped the corset around her waist and began to tie it. Sansa was surprised that he knew how to do such a thing. Unlacing a corset was one thing but for a man to know how to do the exact opposite was surprising.

As he slowly dressed her, her mind began to wonder. Her senses were returning to her. Once he was finished with the laces, she felt him wrap his arms around her middle and hold her. He placed his head on her shoulder and kissed the small of her neck. She leaned back into him and let the moment take over.

“Can I ask you something?” Sansa asked. Her voice was low that Baelish almost missed it. He kissed her neck again in a gentle manner. Sansa placed her hands on his.

“Sweetling, you could ask me anything in this moment and I wouldn't be able to deny you.” He replied and Sansa smiled. If she was of sounder mind, she would have replied with a quick retort but she was exhausted from their activities and had no desire to tease him when he was being sweet. She turned around in his arms and locked her arms around his neck. She leaned in and kissed him.

“After I had....finished?” Sansa asked in a confused tone. She was unclear of the correct terminology but Baelish nodded, understanding what she had meant to say. “After I had finished, why did you pull yourself out of me?” She wasn't expecting him to do so. She was expecting him to release himself inside of her just as her mother had explained would happen on her wedding night.

Joffery hadn't pulled out of her. She shuddered to remember feeling the hot seed spilling inside of her. She remembered how he just pulsed inside of her, with her arms pinned above her head. She had stopped crying and fighting by that point. Joffery pulled himself out and stood to clean himself. He showed no affection toward her or no sorrow. He couldn't even look at her. He simply left her in the Godswood to die, broken and beaten.

Yet, it was so different with Baelish. He made sure she enjoyed herself and the thought of him being inside her was now something she didn't find terrifying. She knew that she wanted to do it again, and again. Before she had met him, she didn't understand how relations between a man and a women could be pleasureful. After Arya had caught Theon with that servant girl years ago, Catelyn explained that it would be a joyous experience. This conversation occurred so shortly after......

Sana couldn't allow herself to think of the word.

For so long she had believed that her mother was wrong. It couldn't be pleasureful. There was no possible way for such a thing to occur. She believed that her mother was soothing their fears and pacifying them until the trust had to be told. Not until Baelish had she realized how wrong she was. It was so much more than she was expecting and so much more than her mother prepared her for. Sansa wasn't prepared for him to pull out of her. She didn't realize that he could do such a thing, or that he would want to.

“Wouldn't it have been more pleasurable for you to stay?” This caused Baelish to smile. He leaned up and kissed her on the forehead. He slowly pulled away from her and walked over to the chair they had previously gotten carried away on. He bent down and retrieved his tunic, throwing it on over his head. He tucked it into his breeches and began lacing the fine fabric back up.

“It would have been far more enjoyable to allow myself to release inside of you. The thought is very pleasing.” He walked slowly back over to her and placed his hands back on her hips. He felt the burgundy fabric that was still hanging loosely off of her hips. He raised the dress up, slipping her arms through the sleeves and asking her to hold the dress closed. He retrieved the black belt from the ground and wrapped it around her waist. He locked it in place and Sansa was once again fully dress. If it wasn't for the loose curls hanging around her waist, she would have looked exactly like she did at the wedding. “I would have enjoyed very much.”

“If it would have been so enjoyable, then why didn't you?”

“Isn't it obvious Sweetling? I can't risk getting you with child.” The thought never occurred to her, not now and not then. It was Arya who snuck into Maester Luwin's apothecary to get the moon tea for her in order to prevent pregnancy the first time. It wasn't until Arya had made her the brew that she even considered the possibility of having Joffery's child. She was certain she was going to keep what happened in this solar between Baelish and herself. Arya's quick thinking would be no use to her now. If she did find herself with child after this night, she knew she wouldn't be able to get rid of Baelish's child. Anyone else's child might be easier to be rid of, but not his. “At least not yet.”

“Not yet?” Sansa pulled away from him. She looked at him with confusion. “What do you mean, not yet?”

“When I leave Winterfell, I have every intention to taking you with me.” Baelish leaned in again and kissed her. Their lips mingled for a few moments before he kissed the corner of her mouth and slowly down her jaw. When he reached her ear, Sansa could feel his hot breach against her skin. “I intend on taking you to King's Landing with me, as my wife.”

Chapter Text

Sansa's ice blue eyes were wide. Wife. Marriage. Husband. The words hit her like a ton of bricks being dropped on her. While the thought had crossed her mind when she was toying with her parents, she never seriously thought that Baelish even wanted to marry her. He never spoke of it allowed and he never showed any interest other than teaching her how to play the game and lifting her skirts. Not that she minded either of those things.

However the thought of becoming Lady Baelish and mingling her name with his's forever was terrifying. It was not the thought of being with him per se but more over the thought of marriage that scared her. If she married him she would become his property forever and she didn't want to belong to anyone. She wanted to be her own person and make her own choices. She knew that would never happen because she was a women in a man's world.

When she looked at Baelish she felt a thrill run through her. His smile and the way his eyes would rank over her would make her feel safe and wanted. The way he spoke to her made her feel important. Yet, that was now but how would it be in five, ten years down the road? How would their marriage fair in a place such as King's Landing. That place a cesspool for hate, lies and the perfect place for a marriage to be torn apart.

Would they survive that? If she allowed herself to be with this man for better or worse, could she honestly survive the slow descent of him hating her? She knew that he was dangerous and if she became his wife, wouldn't she be the same? Before he mentioned the word 'wife' she wanted nothing more than to become like him. To play the game and make those who ruined her life pay for the damage they have caused.

She wanted to punish the Lannisters for killing Bran. She wanted nothing more than to see them burn. She wanted to see Joffery choke on his own vomit. She knew that Baelish in some way could make that happen. He could make everything thing she ever wanted come true with the snap of his fingers. If she desired it then it would her's.

Then what? What happens when her end game is complete and then there is nothing left but the two of them? Could something else bind them together? Or would she outgrow her usefulness to him and then what would happen to her? That thought scared her. She had no concept of what her future would be like. When she was younger she knew that her role in life was to marry a wealthy man and rule his home. When Joffery entered her life the idea of becoming Queen was dangled in front of her. When she realized how cruel life would be as Queen, it dashed any concept of what the future for her would be like.

But Baelish was offering her one. A future full of lies and deceits. A future that was based around a game that could possibly get her killed in the process. The question was how she would die? Would it be at the hands of Joffery, the Lannisters or her own husband? The moment he decided that she would no longer be of any use to him, would he snap his fingers and bring about Sansa's downfall?

Lysa Arryn.

That name haunted her. She was the women who came before her. She knew that Baelish loved her mother at one time but she never became his wife. Lysa had. Lysa married Baelish and then she was murdered. Thrown out the moon door by her lover. But that story just didn't make sense to her. Why would Lysa marry, at the time, a low born lord with nothing to his name, unless she loved him? If she loved him then she never would have taken a lover. No lover, no murder. Unless it was her husband who killed her.

“You want me to be your wife?” Sansa asked and she stood dumbfounded in the middle of her father's solar. Baelish looked at her with a naughty smirk. His picked up his coat that was lying on the wooden chair and put it back on. “Do I get any choice in the matter?”

“Of course you have a choice. I told you once that I would never force you into something you don't want. I want to marry you but if you don't want me then you have fooled me and I am not an easy man to fool.” Baelish stated and Sansa looked away. She didn't know what she wanted and it scared her that she was even willing to consider it.

“All of this. The game, the lessons, your body in mine, was so I would marry you?” If that was the case, she felt used. She had only felt that way once in her life and she hated it. She vowed that she would never allow herself to fall victim to such an emotion again. Yet, here she was, not wanting to believe the man who she considered a mentor would do such a thing to her.

“No. All of this. Everything I've taught you and everything I've done to you is because I want to marry you. Why would I invest so much time in you if I was just going to leave you here in the North where you would be no use to anyone? If I had no intention of marry you, I never would have touched you.” Baelish replied. He stepped closer to her and picked up her hands to place a light kiss on them. He never let them go.

“So is that all I am to you? An investment?” She felt insulted by that. She knew that no one would want to marry her because they loved her but instead for what they could gain for an alliance with the North. She wanted to know if Baelish was the same. Was he only interested her by what could gain from her? Here she had fooled herself into believing she was different. “Am I just another one of your whores?”

Baelish looked at her, running this thumb over her knuckles. He was gentle and his eyes explored her's. It was as though he was looking for something. He seemed despondent and unsure. He dropped her hands and placed them on her cheek. He leaned in and kissed her forehead. He moved away from her and sat down in her father's chair.

“It saddens me that you would think that.” He paused searching her eyes hoping to find whatever it was that he was looking for. He sighed and ran his fingers through his black hair. “You are not one of my girls. You are no whore. I told you once that I don't touch my girls and if you were I wouldn't have bedded you. No, you are worth far more than that to me. Talk to me Sansa.”

“About what?” Sansa replied and crossed her arms. While she was moved by his sweet words she wasn't ready to give into him yet. She was stubborn and would fight him until she got all the answers she wanted. Before she agreed to spend her life with him, if she would even agree, she wanted to make sure it was the right choice. Baelish laughed but it came out in a huff more so than an actual laugh. He was frustrated.

“I cannot convince you to marry me if I don't know what the problem is. Please, talk to me Sansa. I am more than willing to ruin, fuck over and dispose of anyone you would ask of me and the least I ask of you is to tell me why you are rejecting me?” There was malicious in his voice similar to the jealousy she heard the day he discovered her father's plan to marry her off to Harrold Hardyng. Unlike the day in the village however, she had no desire to push and tease him. She felt guilty for his anguish and that she was the reason it was caused.

“Lysa Arryn.”

“What?” Baelish was startled. Sansa could tell that out of everything she could have said, his first wife's name was not among them. It was obvious to her that he had not thought of Lysa for a very long time. She wasn't sure if that worried her or if it should bring her some sense of comfort. She realized that she was jealous of Lysa, because she had him first. How could someone be jealous of a ghost?

“Lysa was your wife was she not?” He didn't say anything because she already knew the answer. She stepped closer to him and looked him directly in the eyes. “You married Lysa Arryn and the marriage didn’t even last a year before she died. I want you to tell me how your first wife died.” He was still silent and Sansa could tell that he was weighing his options. He could lie to her but he knew that she would see through that. Baelish wanted to marry her and he knew in order to make that happen he would have to be honest with her.

“She was murdered.”

“By whom?” Sansa’s voice was stern and unwavering. Her eyes were cold and Baelish knew that his answer was critical. He didn’t want to voice the truth aloud. Sansa was growing impatient and huffed. “Who murdered Lysa Arryn, Petyr?” He had asked several times for her to call him by his first name but she always called him Lord Baelish. Part of him knew she did that just to cause a reaction out of him. However, hearing her use his first name in such a manner worried him but he still wanted a lifetime of it.

“I did.” Suddenly the ice broke and all Sansa could think to do was laugh. It wasn’t a happy laugh but more of a hysterical one. She ran her hands through her red hair and turned away from Baelish. She continued to laugh and every time she looked at him it caused her to laugh harder. He just stood there staring at her, completely unsure on how he should proceed. He was used to crying women, a side effect of owning a brothel, but this was something completely new to him. “Sansa?” He reached out but she backed away from him.

“How can you expect me to marry you when you just admitted that you murdered your first wife?” Sansa asked. Her eyes were wide with complete disbelief. “What happens when I suddenly start to bore you? Will you kill me too? Will I have to go to bed every night wondering if I will wake up in the morning?” Baelish looked at her with concern. Slowly he walked over to her and she didn’t back away. He placed his arms on her shoulders and looked at her directly in the eye.

“I understand you concern. I really do but let me ask you something.” Baelish paused and continued to rub soothing circles on her arm. “If you had the perfect moment to kill Joffery Baratheon, would you take it? If you saw Joffery standing on an edge of a wall or a moon door, would you push him without a second thought?” Sansa knew the answer. She knew that if she had the opportunity, she would gladly push Joffery to his death. Sansa nodded her head and Baelish smiled for a moment.

“Yes. I would.”

“Then I want you to understand something Sweetling. I loved your mother more than you could ever know. The night I challenged your uncle, I lay feverish and sickly because he nearly killed me. Your mother never came to by bedside. Not once. Lysa did however and in my feverish mind I thought she was Catelyn.” Sansa never knew this. She never knew this part of the story. She knew that there had been a duel, Baelish lost and her mother begged for his life. It was a story straight out of a fairytale but the aftermath was so much darker than Sansa realized. “I bedded her. I bedded her and I thought she was her sister. I thought she was your mother. Once my fever broke, I realized what I had done and I was……she took something from me and I hated her for it.”

“But you married her? If you hated her so much why would you marry her?” It made very little sense to Sansa. Why on earth would he marry someone he hated? She knew that he wasn’t forced into the marriage and he accepted his vows on his own accord.

“I needed the Vale, so I put myself in a position where I could have it.” Baelish replied and he looked directly at her. Suddenly everything clicked in her mind. Jon Arryn and the suspicious circumstances of his death. Lysa Arryn being pushed out the moon door. Everything pointed back to Baelish.

“You killed them both? Jon and Lysa? Why?”

“I didn’t murder Jon Arryn. Lysa did. I may have planted the idea in her mind. I may have given her the poison and I may have orchestrated his death but I didn’t officially kill Jon Arryn. I did however kill his wife.” Sansa just continued to stare at him. “As I was saying, you wouldn’t hesitate to kill Joffery if you had the chance. Lysa is my Joffery. I used Lysa until I couldn’t use her anymore and then I got rid of her.”

Sansa put herself into his position. If she had the opportunity to drain Joffery of everything he was worth and then end his life, she would do it. She hated him to the point that the sound of his name caused her sight to go red. It made her blood run cold and for any hope for her to return to the person she had been as gone. If Baelish felt the same for Lysa, could she fault him? Could she truly hate him for taking revenge on his stolen innocence? If she did then she would be nothing but a hypocrite.

“What of Jon Arryn? What purpose did his death serve?”

“He was looking into things I would have preferred him to stay out of. He was looking into who the father of Cersei’s children were. I needed the king to be carless, something Cersei was very good at causing him to be. If Cersei was removed then it would have been far more difficult for me to bankrupt the Seven Kingdoms. Therefore, Jon Arryn needed to be removed and I wanted the Vale under my control for a time being. Two birds. One stone. Killing Lysa was just a bonus.”

“You bankrupted the Seven Kingdoms? Why? How has no one figured that out?” Sansa was stunned. While she was still reeling from the knowledge that he murdered Lysa, that news made more sense to her. It was the magnitude of Baelish’s dealings that completely shocked her. She knew he was dangerous and she knew that the game he played was dangerous but never before had she realized just how far he would go to achieve what he wanted.

“I'm very good at covering my tracks.” His smirked reappeared and Sansa could tell that he was very pleased with himself. “I needed a few high born families to be in my pocket and what better way to achieve such a goal than to save high born families from financial ruin. The last year has been very beneficial for me.” Baelish said no more and Sansa knew he wasn't going to go into further detail. “I want you to understand that I killed Lysa because I had the opportunity and it was something I had desired since I was a fifteen year old boy. I would never do that to you. You mean so much than some pawn in my game. If you married me, you would be my equal. Okay?”

Sansa knew she was fighting a losing battle. No matter what her doubts and fears were, she knew that she wanted him. Her fears about Lysa were justified. He didn't just kill her in order to gain control of the Vale. Baelish desire for Lysa's death was based out of the same hate and fury that she felt in regards to Joffery. Sansa couldn't fault him for that. While Jon Arryn meant something to her father, he meant nothing to her. She never even met the man. The financial ruin of the Seven Kingdoms was an ingenious move in his game. When I was at Highgarden I was able to broker a match between the prince and one Margaery Tryrell. He told her father that the very first night he spent at Winterfell. He spent the last year putting people into places where they would be useful to him and she admired him for that.

“Okay.” Her voice was low. Baelish moved behind her and wrapped his arms around her middle. He placed his chin on her shoulder and Sansa couldn't help but lean into him. She wouldn't deny that the feel of his arms holding her brought comfort to her. He kissed her shoulder causing her to let out a small sigh.

“Why do I feel as though there is more worrying you than Lysa?” Baelish asked. She stayed silent, not really knowing how to answer him. Was there other things bothering her? Of course. She just didn't know how she wanted to tell him. She didn't want to be afraid. She didn't want to be a victim, but that was how she felt. Sansa was a victim and it severely infuriated her. “What is it Sweetling?”

“Joffery.” Her voice was low and if he wasn't listening for a response, he would have missed it. He turned her around in his arms and kissed the top of her head again. Baelish placed his hands on the side of her shoulders and gave a comforting squeeze.

“If you accept me as your husband, you will have all the privileges that I have. You would not be my prisoner but my partner in the game, in everything. I will teach you everything I know and the world will be yours. You will have all the freedom you could want. The riches, the power, the land and one day, if I play my cards correctly, armies would all be yours.” Baelish paused. He raised one of his hands from her shoulder to her cheek. He grazed his thumb over her cheekbone. “Among all of that you would have my protection. I vow that I will never allow him to touch you again.”

Baelish's voice was deadly and Sansa knew that he would do everything his power to keep her safe. If anyone even threatened her, she knew that he would make sure they paid for it. If he had the power to bankrupt the Seven Kingdoms, murder the hand of the king and have no one be any the wiser, he would be able to keep her safe. Her fears about Lysa faded away and she knew that if she was going to align herself with anyone, it was to be this man.

If she turned away from him now, never to look back, her parents would still find her a husband. No one would ever be able to compare to him. No other man would be able to give her the things he promised. He was a risk and a gamble but if the risk was high enough, the higher the reward would be. The idea of joining her name with his still scared her but at least she knew her marriage bed would be anything but dull. After having him, Sansa wasn't sure she would be able to allow herself to have anyone else.

Sansa pressed herself to him and locked her lips with his. They molded perfectly together. It was a light kiss and playful. She could feel Baelish smile against her lips. She almost wanted to wipe that smile off his face. He knew he had won and like most men, he was smug at his victory.

“So does this mean I have a new bride?” His tone was light. His hands moved to her hips and brought her close to him. Sansa wrapped her arms around his shoulders. She bit her lip coyly and let out a small giggle. She felt like a girl again, dreaming what her future would be like. The only difference was the future she dreamed of now was full of revenge and the most unlikely of husbands. “If you continue to bite that lip, I just might have to do it for you.”

“Then bite it.”

Baelish crushed his lips to her's and turned her so she was pinned up against the stone wall. The kiss was rough and she was sure she wasn't able to get any closer to him. Their tongues battled for dominance, a battle she knew she was losing. When they broke apart Baelish kissed his way down her neck and along her collar bone. Eventually he stopped and rested his head against her shoulder. His breathing was heavily. She kissed his head but he wasn't letting her go, not that she minded.

“If you didn't need to find your way back to your chambers I would throw you back on that desk and fuck you again. However, it would be unfortunate for Ned or your brother to decide to visit the solar and see me having my way with you.”

With that, Baelish let her go with a gentle kiss to her lips. Sansa moved from him and went over to the desk. She leaned against the desk and propped herself up on the desk so she was sitting on it. Sansa crooked her finger at him, asking him to come to her. He walked slowly over to her and placed his hands on either side of her. He raised an eyebrow at her and a leer was firmly in place. Sansa reached behind her and grabbed the mockingbird pin that was placed on the desk. She held it up with a small smirk.

“Keep it.” He whispered but Sansa shook her head.

“Without this pin, you might as well be naked, not that I would mind of course.” She teased. She unhooked the pin and placed it on the collar of his coat, where it belonged. “When I become your wife, I expect to have one just like it.” That caused Baelish to kiss her again, fiercely. With that she slid off the desk and headed toward the door. When she reached the door she turned back with a smirk. “You might have convinced me to marry you but you still have to convince my father.”

Chapter Text

The dawn cam early. Sansa lingered in bed as the sun rose and caused an orange hue to drape across the sky. She slept peacefully the night before, even though she crawled into bed at a rather late hour. Once the adrenaline left her body and she fell into the furs, she drifted off easily. As she slept she could still hear the sound of the wedding feast continuing on, floors below her. Occasionally she would hear a shout or a cheer that would rouse her but for the most part her sleep was deep. However, once the sun rose and the light shined through her window, Sansa was drawn from her slumber.

While she was awake, she felt no need to pull herself from the warm and comfort of her bed. After a night of weddings and feast, most of Winterfell would still be abed. Sansa was comfortable and she could have lounged there for the rest of day but she knew it was inevitable that she would have to rouse herself from her bed, just not yet.

Sansa's mind began to wonder to the night before. Theon and Jeyne married but it wasn't the ceremony that stood out in her mind. It wasn't even the thought of how her back felt against the wood of her father's desk as she allowed Baelish to completely defile her, although that wasn't far from her mind either. No, the thoughts that filled her mind was that she was to be married. For so long so she dreamed of being a bride and walking down a snow covered path to her white knight. That dreamed ended long ago but here she lay, almost an engaged women.

The most ironic thing to Sansa was that Baelish wasn't a white knight. He was the farthest thing from a white knight as he could possibly achieve. He was no hero like in the songs. If anything he was the villain in the black hat who plotted the downfall of those heroes she used to love. Sansa realized now that heroes rarely became the victors. If she planned to achieve everything she wanted to in her life, being a hero would get her nowhere. Sansa wouldn’t become the princess the players sang about. Instead she was becoming the wicked witch the fairytales loved to condemn. What surprised Sansa the most was how much she yearned for that darkness.

The old Sansa would have condemned him for the deaths of Jon and Lysa Arryn and the countless lives he had ruined by bankrupting the Seven Kingdoms. Now she understood it. He was willing to do anything in order to get what he wanted. He had the patience and skill to slowly bring about the fall of those he deemed to be his foes. She wouldn't want to be on the end of his anger or one of his schemes. She never would be, she would be his partner and he would help her watch the world burn.

She was no longer the Sansa who dreamed of the happily ever after. The old Sansa never would have allowed a man such as Baelish to take her in her father's solar, on his desk as she arched against him. The old Sansa would have waited for her wedding night to allow the faceless stranger she built up in her mind to have her maidenhead. She would have been more like Jeyne, a blind and senseless fool.

Sansa never wanted to be that person again.

When a knock sounded on her door Sansa groaned. A few more knocks proceeded and the handle turned allowing Catelyn to step into her daughter's chambers to rouse her. She stepped over to the bed and drew the furs back. Sansa groaned again in discontent but made no movements as her mother pulled the pillow out from under her head.

“Theon and Jeyne will be departing shortly and Jeyne wants to say goodbye.” Catelyn replied. While Sansa normally was an early riser, Catelyn wasn't surprised that her daughter seemed reluctant to climb out of bed after a night of feasts and celebrations, if that wedding is what she would refer to as a celebration. “How much did you drink last night?”

“A half a glass of wine.” Sansa replied truthfully. She didn’t drink much as a general rule. It wasn’t just the advice Baelish had given her at one point but she really was not a fan of wine. She could not understand the appeal to overly drinking something that would change your perception. “And I don’t want to see them off.” She saw Jeyne and Theon marry the night before and she was perfectly fine with that being the last interaction she had with the couple.

“You drank less than your father and he is still down in the courtyard to see them off. Up. You also have your lessons with Septa Mordane this morning so no lounging in bed today.” With that Catelyn pulled the sleeping girl up and out of bed. “I will call the servants for a bath.”

“No!” Sansa stated loudly, causing Catelyn to startle. She looked at her daughter in confusion and Sansa had to think of an excuse quickly. “Later. I will bathe later. I’m sure there are those who need it far worse than I do. Robb drank a fair bit last night and could probably use it far more than I. I wouldn’t want to put the servants out. I can wait.” The words tumbled out in a rush, causing to Catelyn to look at her daughter suspiciously.

“Alright. Dress and we will see you in the courtyard. Jeyne is most excited to be on their way.” Catelyn stated. Her voice held a disbelieving tone. While Sansa was never cruel to the servants or looked down upon them, she never went out of her way to make their job easier. With one last concerned look, Catelyn left the girl’s chambers.

It wasn’t that Sansa would hate a bath, she just wasn’t ready to be rid of him yet. She could still feel him lingering on her skin. If she bathed now, she would be rid of that and she didn’t know when their next moment alone would occur. She had agreed to marry him and knew that she would have the rest of her life to feel him on her skin, but rest of her life was a long way off. She was just not ready to let go of that yet. The memory was still fresh in her mind that it almost burned.

Sansa dressed slowly. On an occasion she would wince from moving too quickly. Her body was not used to the previous night’s activities. It wasn’t a painful ache but one that brought a smile to her lips. Walking was slightly uncomfortable as was sitting down. She also noticed a bruise that was in the shape of a handprint on her hip. If she had indeed allowed her mother to call for a bath, it was certain that a servant girl would have seen the mark. By the time she would have informed Baelish, she rumor would have spread throughout Winterfell that even attempting to bribe the servant into silence would have been pointless.

Once Sansa was completely dressed, she left her chambers in order to make her way to the courtyard. Once again guards were posted closer to her chambers and whenever she turned a corner, there seemed to be someone there watching. She huffed in annoyance. One day those precautions would be useless because she would be his wife and he could what he pleased with her. The thought was thrilling.

If Father allows you to marry him. That thought was depressing. She knew that Ned would be far from happy to allow such a thing. He was distrustful of Baelish and if she was completely honest, he was wise to do so. Baelish himself admitted that he was not a good man and the things he had done and said to her the night before only confirmed that. Sansa also knew that something as trivial as parent consent would not prevent him from taking the bride he so desired.

When Sansa pushed open the oak doors that led out into the courtyard, she could feel the difference in the weather. It was far warmer than the day before and it wasn’t for some obvious storm damage, she never would have guessed that the weather had been less than forgiving. She saw that some servants and guards were preparing for the newlyweds departure. Guards would be traveling to the port that housed the boat that would sail to Iron Islands with Theon and Jeyne in order to make sure they arrived safely before returning to Winterfell.

Sansa looked through the swarm of people and she spotted Baelish standing near the carriage that she assumed would house Jeyne and a few maids during their travels. Theon of course would be riding his horse alongside the guards. A welcome relief from Jeyne, she supposed. Baelish was standing with her father and they appeared to be deep in discussion.

“Sansa!” Jeyne called from inside the carriage. Jeyne pushed through the door and went sprinting toward the other girl. When Sansa’s name was called, Baelish’s head turned and he caught her eye his hand instinctively reached for his clothed neck. She could tell that he was making a circular motion and there was a satisfied leer on his lips. Sansa returned the smirk but it didn’t last long as she felt someone practically collide into her. Jeyne forcefully wrapped her arms around the taller girl’s neck that it almost made her stumble off of her feet. “I’m going to miss you!”

“I will miss -.” Sansa’s lie was cut off before she was even able to utter her thoughts.

“I mean you were my best friend here and now we are to be separated! It will be so weird here without me around. I hope you don’t get lonely.” Suddenly a thought occurred to the new bride and her face lit up like a freshly lit candle. “Perhaps you can foster with us for a few months! I’m sure your father would allow it! I mean Theon is practically your brother and you’re my best friend! Once we arrive at the Iron Island and are settled I will make some inquires!”

There was no way in seven hells that Ned would allow his daughter to spend a moment of unchaperoned time in the Iron Islands. Not that she even wanted to go there at all. She hoped that by the time Baelish was finished collecting the taxes for the North, she would be a married women making her way to King’s Landing. While the thought of King’s Landing still terrified her, knowing that Baelish would move all the Seven Kingdoms in order to protect brought her some comfort.

“Jeyne, I –“

“Oh, Theon has finally arrived! After last night I wasn’t sure if he would rise at all.” A blush appeared on Jeyne’s face and she let out a small giggle. “I really shouldn’t be speaking about such things to you should I? Well you will completely understand once you are married. It’s fantastic I assure you.” Sansa wasn’t so certain how fantastic Theon would be. “I really should see how he is fairing, leaving his home and all.” Jeyne stood on her toes and kissed Sansa on the cheek before running off in the direction of her new husband. “I’ll write soon.”

Sansa huffed in frustration. She was forcefully pulled from her bed in order to be brushed off by someone she didn’t even like. She wasn’t used to people brushing her aside. The only person who had done so was Joffery and she was forced to accept his treatment. He was a prince after all. However, it felt more insulting for Jeyne to do such a thing to her. Granted she had not been a very good friend to her as of late and it was partially her fault she was being banished to the Iron Islands. Although from how she was acting, Jeyne didn’t seem too saddened by the prospect. Not wanting to stand there looking like a fool, Sansa frustratingly walked toward her father and Baelish.

“A trip to Bear Island wouldn’t be prudent. I already know their financial status won’t be able to cover the taxes that they owe. We would be traveling for days only to come right back empty handed. It would be wiser to send a raven stating that Winterfell will cover the taxes.” Ned stated in a strained voice. While Sansa knew that her father was relieved that Theon would be away from Winterfell, she could see that he was still stressed about the state of the North.

“While it might be easier to send a raven and possibly save time, I wouldn't say it is a wise decision. You've already paid most of Deepwood's taxes, against my counsel and if you pay Bear Island's as well, Winterfell might be bankrupt within a year.” Baelish pursed his lips and Sansa could tell that her father's need to always do the right thing was causing a strain on Baelish. “I would advise you to focus on Winterfell and let the Mormont's worry about Bear Island.”

“Despite the actions of Ser Jorah, the Mormonts are good people.” Ned replied looking at Baelish as though he was heartless. Sansa couldn't help but agree with Baelish. Why should her family suffer because of her father's honor? While she knew that the reason the North was in this predicament was because Baelish felt the need to bankrupt the Seven Kingdoms, it would be on her father’s conscience if her family declined in status.

“The Starks are good people too. Tell me, which family would you rather save?” Ned scowled at the smaller man but didn't reply. They turned to see Sansa nearing them. Neither gentleman seemed overly pleased with the other. She wondered how her father was impacting whatever scheme Baelish had up his sleeve. It was obvious that Ned wasn't doing what Baelish wanted him to do.

“Perhaps we shall discuss this later. Come to my solar once they leave through the King's Gate. I'll make sure Robb is in attendance.” Ned said with annoyance. He just wanted this entire day to be over, for Theon would be gone and for this tax issue to resolve itself. However that was not likely.

“Yes. Your solar. A wonderful place to discuss business.” Baelish stated with a satisfied leer upon his face. Sansa could feel her heat up and if her father had not been in attendance, she would have given Baelish a lecture. While she would always look back on that memory with pleasure, she did not need Baelish making innuendos to her father because one day he might just figure out what exactly happened in his solar. With a wide smug smile Baelish turned to her. “Lady Sansa.” He stated in greeting.

“Lord Baelish.” She looked at him directly in the eye. Sansa was silently telling him to behave which of course only made his leer grow wider. He was enjoying himself and there was nothing Sansa could do to put an end to it. While the proper side of her wanted to scold him for his thoughts, because she knew exactly what he was thinking, the naughtier side wanted to relish in their little escapade. With that Baelish took his leave causing Sansa to watch his back retreat.

“Sansa.” She shook herself and looked at her father who was watching her intently. “Are you alright?”

“Yes. Sorry. I'm exhausted. I was up late last night what with the wedding and all.” While all of that was true, Sansa was up late but it had very little to do with the wedding. “Mother pulled me out of bed in order to see Jeyne off. If it wasn't for that I would still be asleep.” Ned smiled gently at her. He couldn't see anything other than his little girl. He could not imagine the small child he raised doing some of the things she had done, or what she let Baelish do to her.

“I'm sure you can fall back asleep once they leave.” Ned stated with a warm smile. Sansa laughed and wrapped her arms around herself.

“I wish. I have a lesson with Septa Mordane and I'm sure I'm going to have to drag Arya out of bed.” Ned laughed lightly and agreed. They both knew that Arya was not going to be pleased about being dragged from her warm slumber. She wasn't exactly sure what her sister got up to after the wedding but she was certain that it involved pointy objects and a Master at Arms. “Was what Lord Baelish saying true, about the North?”

“Don't worry about that. I'll take care of it.” Ned leaned in and kissed her forehead before walking away. She watched him leave and it infuriated her. If she would have asked Baelish, he would have at least been honest with her if he had to withhold that information. He never would have brushed her off and told her not to worry as though she was small minded. She looked over and saw Jeyne holding her mother tightly in an embrace. Mrs. Poole was weeping and Sansa could tell it would be a few moments before they would depart. Everyone else seemed ready to leave but Jeyne was holding everything up, as usual.

Sansa decided that there was no point in spending more time outside when she really didn't care when they left, just that they did. She entered the castle and started to make her way toward the staircase when Theon, who followed her inside, stopped her in her tracks. She took him in and for the first time in years, he didn't reek of wine or ale. He looked worn and exhausted but that could have been from over excreting himself on his wedding night. While he might not like his bride, he wasn't going to waste a perfect opportunity to lay between a woman's legs.

“It just infatuates you that he still treats you like a child, doesn’t it?” Theon stated and his voice was rough. His eyes were cold and angry. Ever since she told Theon to take his advances elsewhere instead of focusing on Jeyne, he looked at her with this cold disdain that sent shivers down her spine. Then that fury only escalated. While the guards being present everywhere she turned, annoyed her, at least she knew that the chances of Theon getting her alone was unlikely. She looked around the entrance hall and they were along. The guards seemed to be preoccupied outside.

“What do you want Theon?” Sansa asked. She did not want to deal with him. She wanted him to be on his horse and on the King's Road heading toward the port that would take him to the Iron Islands. This was one of the reasons on why she wanted to stay in her bed, dreaming about Baelish's body inside of her's, not harassed by someone she felt repulsed by.

“I want to know how you did it.” Theon hissed. She could tell that he had been holding in his anger at her since the moment she and Luwin entered the apothecary. He blamed her for his banishment and for the fact that he was now a married man. If he was not about to leave Winterfell forever, she might have been worried about his actions. “How did you know where we were?”

“I don't know what you are talking about Theon.” Sansa attempted to move her way around him but he grabbed her wrist. His grip was tight and he pulled her backward. Sansa thought for a moment that he might break her wrist. She jerked her hand hoping that it would allow her to break lose but it only caused Theon to squeeze her wrist harder. “Let go, you're hurting me.”

“I want to know how you did it.” Theon stated through clenched teeth. Sansa attempted again to pull her wrist away from him but he wasn't letting go. A third hand suddenly gripped Theon's wrist and Sansa looked to see Baelish standing so close to Theon and herself the scent of mint reached her nostrils.

“I would advise that you let go of Lady Sansa.” His voice was low and deadly. His eyes held a deadly fury that she had never seen before. His gaze never waived from Theon's. “Because if you don't, I will make sure that you never make it to the Iron Islands. An accident is easy to arrange.” Theon looked at Baelish and then at Sansa. A small smirk appeared on his lips and he squeezed just a bit harder. Sansa whimpered at the pain and tried again to pull her wrist free.

“I get it now. Tell me Lord Baelish how long was it before she opened her legs for you?” Theon asked and Baelish's anger increased. “Because if I knew she was that easy I would have attempted to taste that sweet nectar a long time ago. I figured she was too much of a frigid bitch.” Baelish didn't respond instead he stared daggers at Theon. After a moment, Theon let go of her hand which she cradled to her chest. Theon scowled at the two of them. “At least I got my answer.” With that Theon turned and left the entrance hall. Baelish took Sansa's wrist into his hand gently. Is fingers ran over the red mark that was forming on her white skin. Is fingers ran over the red mark that was forming on her white skin. His touch was soothing and gentle.

“Are you alright?” Baelish asked in a calm voice. While his tone was reassuring, his eyes told a different story. They were hard and stony. She could see the fury leaking behind his perfectly crafted mask. In that moment Sansa realized that if anything ever happened to at the hands of another, Baelish would make sure that they paid dearly. He really was a dangerous man but he was her dangerous man and that made her feel powerful. He would do just about anything she asked of him. “It looks like your wrist will bruise but nothing more serious than that.”

“I’m fine. I will go see Maester Luwin. I’m sure he will have something that will be able to help with the soreness.” She knew he was deadly serious about arranging an accident for Theon and while she didn’t like the man, she didn’t want him dead. She still remembered the small child he used to be. She remembered how curious he used to be and how he would explore Winterfell’s grounds with Robb and Jon. “Don’t do anything. Let him go.”

“What?”

“Theon. Let him go. He will live out his life on the Iron Islands and we will never hear from him again.” Her voice a gentle and Baelish searched her eyes. “Don’t kill him. Not for this.” Sansa reached up and took his face in her hands. She looked at him directly in the eyes and asked him again. “Don’t kill him. He is gone and not our problem.” She glanced around and when she was certain that they were alone, she kissed him lightly.

“Is that what you really want?” Baelish asked. He didn’t want to simply let Theon live his life far away from her. Theon touched her and that was something he couldn’t stand that that. But Sansa was asking him to have mercy and he was slowly learning that he wouldn’t be able to deny her anything. She could see his resolve in regards to her wishes. She knew that he did not like the idea of simply letting Theon go but if she wished it, Baelish would grant it.

“Yes, it is.” She kissed him one last time and Baelish rested his head against her forehead.

“Okay.”

Chapter Text

Petyr Baelish leaned back in the wooden chair with a satisfied smirk gracing his lips. He crossed his legs and tilted his head to the side, taking in the view. Ned was sitting behind his desk reviewing the financial status of Bear Island and all Baelish could imagine was how Sansa looked when her back arched off the desk as he defiled her. Watching Ned work was so much more amusing with the knowledge that the Lord of Winterfell knew nothing of the debauchery that took place at his desk.

Robb sat in the chair next to Baelish and looked concerned. Baelish had always assumed that the young lord would follow in the footsteps of his father but he was surprised to learn that Robb agreed with Baelish in regards to the North’s finances. Robb also thought it would be foolish to allow Winterfell to pay the taxes for Bear Island. Of course Robb had said the same thing for the entirety of the North but Ned wouldn’t listen. He was stubborn and would be willing to bankrupt his own family in order to protect his honor and pride. Ned felt that he was doing the right thing but in reality he was just being foolish.

He looked over to Robb and measured him. He never really thought of the young lord outside of the part he would play in his game. Now as he looked at him and learned Robb’s capabilities, he would be a far better Lord of Winterfell than his father. Perhaps he would be far more useful than Baelish had originally anticipated. He wasn’t willing to alter his course completely but Baelish knew that Ned would be reluctant to follow his advice and he would have work with a backup plan.

Baelish was always well prepared. While he had hoped that Ned would act in one manner he was more than prepared for the outcome of Ned’s reluctance to follow his advice. He had never met Ned before coming to the North but he had known Brandon. If Ned was anything like his older brother, then Baelish knew that once Ned was instilled with an idea, changing his mind would never happen. In that case Baelish would be forced to work around Ned and possibly lose gold in the process. Gold was easy to come by for him and it would be easy to regain his losses, he just hated having to do so.

Sansa. It really all boiled down to her as he always knew it would. She was key. She may not be the heir to Winterfell but she was the key to the North. Baelish always knew that he would marry her, long before he even came to the North. Taking her for a bride was essential. The only thing he hadn't anticipated was actually growing fond of her. He had heard stories of her throughout King’s Landing, some which he knew to be false but the stories of her beauty and her worth rang true. He never expect to find the fire and quick wit behind that beautiful face, something he soon relished in.

So he tested her. He wanted to see what she would be willing to do. When the hiccup with Harrold Hardyng arose, he wanted to see what she was made of. So he let her decide her own fate. If she chose Hardyng, he would have had her married to the young falcon and allowed her to bear his child. Once an offspring was produced, there would be no need for Hardyng and he would find a way to be rid of him, something he knew Sansa would have had a hand in. Baelish then, after a time, would marry the Lady of the Vale, as he had once before. However, Sansa did not choose that path, much Baelish’s delight. He knew he would not have liked the idea of Sansa being married to that brainless twit but he would have dealt with it until he didn’t have to anymore.

When Sansa told him he held no desire to become Lady of the Vale, Baelish felt a sense of relief rush through him. No. He didn’t want another man to touch her. She belonged to him and only him. So he started to mold and fuck her into the women he knew she was destined to become. He came to the North to collect a bride but Baelish knew he would be leaving with a consort who would possibly be the best investment of his life.

“Traveling to Bear Island would be a waste of resources when we know the outcome. I will make the necessary arrangements to have the gold be paid from Winterfell’s fund. We then can focus our efforts on Greywater. That journey will take several days and far more resources.” Ned stated and tossed his quill on the desk. The lines in his forehead creased in worry. Baelish could tell that he was concerned which was exactly where he wanted him. A man who was concerned and frightful was far easier to maneuver than someone who was self-assured.

“While I agree it would be a waste of resources to travel to Bear Island, paying their taxes is an expense that Winterfell simply cannot afford.” Robb stated diplomatically. His tone was controlled but Baelish could see the frustration behind his words. “Who knows how long it would take to regain the gold we would lose. Our family might fall in the meantime.”

“So you’re proposing we let the Mormonts fall? Lose their home? How many servants would lose their lively hood to support their families? How many of them would die?” Ned stated and Robb sighed. Baelish could tell he was weighing the two evils in his head. Ned was correct, all those terrible things would happen if the Mormonts were unable to pay their taxes. The Iron Bank was a cruel being and couldn't care less about people’s lively hoods, something Baelish made sure he capitalized on. However, that fate was bound to happen to someone and if Ned insisted on saving the Mormonts, it was possible that the Starks would lose everything. “You want to send them to the same fate as the Boltons?”

“I severely doubt that the Mormonts will meet the same fate as the Boltons. They may go bankrupt but they are not a cruel lot. Their servants will not skin them alive as Roose and his bastard were.” Baelish stated with a wave of his hand, as though completely dismissing Ned’s concerns. “They could end up in the same predicament as the Greyjoys. They could still have their home but their lands would be completely seized by the Iron Bank. They wouldn’t be able to afford servants and life would be very difficult but not life or death. The servants would find work in houses that are more financially secure.”

“Wishful thinking but something I am not willing to risk.”

“Well if that is your decision, you are Lord of Winterfell.” Baelish stated with a grim smile. He knew this was coming and had planned for it. “If you are set on squandering Winterfell’s income then you best be prepared to regain those loses.” Baelish stated and Robb shifted his full attention to the Master of Coin. Baelish was pleased to see it because Robb’s input and decision was key.

“And how do you propose we achieve that?” Ned huffed. He tapped fingers in irritation and leaned back into his chair. Baelish smiled wickedly as his mind flashed to Sansa's beautiful body against that desk. If he wasn't so sure that Ned would have him murdered on the spot and if it wouldn't hurt Sansa, he would love to goad a reaction out of him.

“A marriage contract.”

“Excuse me?” Ned's eyes narrowed and his skin turned slightly redder. Baelish knew the man was suspicious of him. While he didn't outright tell Ned of his interest in his daughter, he made it no secret that he had grown fond of Sansa. He mentioned on an occasion how beautiful she was or how intelligent she turned out to be. Once he even stated that he expected her to be like her mother but was pleasantly surprised at how different they were. He told him nothing concrete but enough to get Ned's slow mind turning.

“Our young Robb is of marrying age. Winterfell would benefit from an alliance with another great house. He has to marry eventually and now would be a perfect time to do so.” Baelish stated and he knew that both Stark men would be taken aback by suggestion. Ned relaxed for a moment but Robb seemed perplexed. It seemed that the young lord never gave any real thought to marriage. It was simply an abstract concept to him.

“Do you have someone in mind?” Robb asked. His voice hallow but curious. Perfect. Baelish knew that Robb would be hesitant but he would do his duty and marry much like his father before him had. He wasn't well traveled and had not been fostered in another home, so a marriage would have to be made through negotiations and not out of romantic gestures.

“When I was visiting the Twins, Walder Frey was very ill and it was clear that he would be passing on before the year was out.” Lies. “I got to know his son, Stevron fairly well and he mentioned that he was hoping to marry off his sisters quickly.” Half-truth. “You Starks are a prominent family, I'm sure Stevron would be more than willing to discuss negotiations. I could help you broker such a match. The winter has been rather kind to the Freys. Their financial status is more than suitable.” Baelish had made sure of it.

“And how would this match help the North?” Ned asked.

“The Crossing. Stevron is new to his title and most likely will agree any marriage contract if it meant to be rid of one of his sisters. I'm sure I could negotiate an impressive dowry. You could either take a large amount in a lump sum or take a smaller sum and demand a certain percentage of the toll they collect from those who cross at the Twins. I would suggest the latter. Far more profitable in the long run.”

“And you would be willing help arrange such a match?” Ned asked with slight contempt in his voice. He didn't trust Baelish and did not believe that he was willing to help broker the marriage contract without some kind of compensation in return.

“Yes.”

“What do they look like? Does he have a specific sister in mind or would I be able to choose?” Robb asked. He looked at Baelish and he seemed so young in that moment. It was the first time that Robb truly showed his youth to him. He acted the part of a man, a true heir to Winterfell. It was obvious that the death of his younger brother and having to assume the role of Lord while his parents grieved really took a toll on him. He was an impressive young man but one with so much growing to do.

“I'm certain that Stevron would allow you have your pick of whichever sister would please you.” Baelish stated and he was being honest. While Walder Frey was in perfect health when he visited the Twins, he knew the man would be on his death bed soon enough. Stevron wasn't a smart man but he was a greedy one. It wasn't difficult to convince Stevron and Walder's new wife to slowly poison the older man. It wasn't difficult to acquire such a poison. It wasn't difficult to make Stevron feel as though he was in Baelish's debt. A debt he planed on collecting. Walder Frey had been an intelligent but cruel man; a man not easily manipulated. Stevron Frey was a fool. Kill the man's father, pull the Twins out of debt, make the promise to marry off one of his sisters to a high lord and Baelish was golden in his eyes. “But I will be honest, they are not what most would consider beauties.”

“I see.” Robb looked constricted as though he was residing himself to having an ugly wife. Baelish felt for the boy because he knew that sinking feeling. He had agreed to marry Lysa Arryn once upon a time. While Baelish knew his marriage was only temporary, Robb was considering a long life with such a woman.
“There is one of his sisters though. Roslin is not a great beauty but still very pretty. A small woman around your sister's age, Sansa I mean. Not Arya. Roslin is sweet a bit shy but very kind. She looks nothing like her father but favors her late mother, Bethany Rosby.” Baelish stated and he saw the small smile appear on his lips. “When I leave for King's Landing I will have to pass through the Twins, come with me, you and your father. We can broker such a deal then.”

“Father?”

“It would be something to consider.” Ned stated, still not believe everything that Baelish was feeding them. He could see no reason how Baelish would benefit from arranging a match between Robb and Roslin Frey, if that was the sister he chose. Ned knew that Baelish was very talented when it came to matters of coin and he was in the North to do a job. However, it seemed to Ned that Baelish was going above and beyond what was expected of him. It made Ned suspicious. Men like Baelish do not make such gestures out of the kindness of his heart. Strings would always be attached.

“Of course there is another option.” Baelish smirked. “If you are completely decided to pay the Mormont's and any everyone else's taxes, the dowry and gold you would receive from the Crossing's toll would be enough to help rebuild Winterfell's financial security, after a time. It would take several years and possibly long after you are in Winterfell's crypt for it to reach it's splendor again.” Baelish paused letting the despair and reluctance sink in. “However, if a third party would be willing to pay the taxes on your behalf, then it would only take a year at most for Winterfell and the North as a whole to regain it's status.”

“And who exactly would be willing to do such a thing?” A disbelieving smile appeared Ned's face. He leaned forward and placed his elbows on the wooden desk in front of him, linking his calloused hands together. Baelish couldn't help but form a leer on his lips as Ned rested against the exact same place his daughter had called out Baelish's name as he fucked her.

“I would pay all 40,000 gold dragons of your debt if you would allow me have the honor of Sansa's hand in marriage.” It was as though the air had been sucked out of the room. Neither Baelish nor Ned broke eye contact. Robb was looking between the two of them, not certain if he heard Baelish correctly or not. Ned was unwavering but Baelish wasn't one to back down easily. He lost one duel with a Stark a long time ago and he knew one way or another, he would not lose this one.

“No deal.”

It was the response that Baelish had been expecting. He knew Ned would not be willing to hand over his precious child to a man such at himself. He was prepared for this. He had planned for it. The morning after he arrived at Winterfell, before Sansa left her chambers to wave goodbye to him, he sent a raven to King’s Landing. The letter that the raven carried told King Robert that he had arrived safely and that he would be sure to do his duty. He also carefully crafted a story of how taken he was with the eldest Stark daughter. He hinted that he knew Ned would be reluctant to the match and it appeared he planned on keeping his child by his side till the end of his days. All lies of course but lie that the king would easily believe.

The King was furious with Ned for not accepting the position of Hand of the King, a position that he then foolishly handed to Stannis, and of course the final straw was when Ned broke off the engagement between Sansa and Joffery. Since then, Ned held no favor with the King and that was something Baelish was more than willing to profit from. The King of course granted his consent and Baelish would be allowed to marry Sansa out of mere spite for Ned. Baelish was certain that the King would find it greatly humorous that Ned’s eldest daughter would be married to such a low lord, that he would have pushed aside any type of evidence to the contrary. He did such things when it came to the Targaryen Queen. The King was a blind fool and only saw what he wanted to see.

It was irrelevant whether Ned gave his consent or not, Baelish would be leaving for King’s Landing with Sansa by his side, wife or not. Of course it would make his schemes go far smoother if Ned would consent and it would also save Sansa some unnecessary heartache. He hadn’t cared for her feelings when he sat at Riverrun crafting this particular scheme. Listening to Edmure Tully praise the young lady was helpful in deciding how he was going to convince her to fall in love with him. Of course the moment he met her, he realized how little her family really knew her and love wouldn’t get him anywhere with her. As he grew to know her, he actually started to feel a tender regard for her. It became more than the simple need to marry her but grew to actually wanting to marry her.
He also realized that if she had not desired a match with him, he wouldn’t force her hand. He would allow her to make her own decisions and he would have reevaluated his plans, as he has done so many times before.

“I’m more than willing to pull the entire North out of debt and the only thing I ask for in return is your daughter’s hand in marriage. I find that it is a very generous trade off and everyone would profit from it. Sansa included.” Baelish stated and Ned’s fury was apparent on his face. Baelish found an odd sense of satisfaction in that.

“Why exactly do you want to marry my sister?” Robb asked reasonably. Baelish looked toward the younger man and smirked. While it couldn’t be said that Robb liked Baelish, he had at least grown to respect him. He had seen the Master of Coin in his element and couldn’t help but admire how he could make just about any situation profitable. If Sansa married him then at least he knew that his sister would be well provided for.

“I have grown rather fond of her.”

“And how far has this fondness grown?” Ned spat. Baelish could tell what he was thinking. With the increase of guards stationed around Winterfell, it was obvious that he was worried that Baelish would make some untoward advances on his daughter. The truth was on the tip of his tongue. He could easily state in great detail what he did to Sansa on that very desk, in her chambers and in various places in the castle but he stayed silent. The only thing that would achieve would be a dagger through the heart.

“I want to make her my wife, I would say that is very fond.” Baelish stated with a passive face, not allowing the truth to appear on his face. That leer he was known for itched to make an appearance but Baelish withheld doing so. He couldn’t allow Ned to see what he was thinking. “And I’m merely asking out of a courtesy.”

“A courtesy?!” Ned stated in an outrage. “Without my consent you cannot marry my daughter so I do not see how that would be a courtesy.”

“I’m a man who gets what he wants. I knew you would be less than willing to allow me Sansa’s hand in marriage. So I sent a raven to the King.” Baelish stated with a smirk. He saw Ned’s brow constrict in confusion while he heard Robb hold back a disbelieving laugh. At least one of them understood what Baelish had done.

“What does Robert have to do with this?” While the relationship between Ned and King Robert is strained and distant to say at best, Ned never would have thought that the King would grant something such as his daughter’s marriage without consulting him first. Yet, that is exactly what had happened. Baelish knew it was a devious move and a lesser man would have felt guilty at such actions but he was not a lesser man.

“He already granted me permission to marry her if I so desired.” Baelish stated and he saw Ned’s hand flex in anger. This was going to be less than pleasant and Baelish felt a sudden relief that Robb was in the solar with them. Robb would not allow his father to murder the Master of Coin, whether or not he wanted him for a brother-in-law. While the only thing Ned saw was the color red, Robb could see the consequences of murdering one of the King’s trusted advisors. While Baelish had a hand in killing the most trusted of advisors, the difference would be that Ned didn’t have such cleverness to get away with it. “Either way, I will be leaving King’s Landing with Sansa by my side, with or without your permission.”

Baelish’s declaration didn’t sit well with Ned. He was silent for a moment, just looking at Baelish. The latter man could see his face become cold and stony as the summer snows that had a habit of falling in the North. Then, after a moment, the silence broke and Ned reached across the desk grabbing Baelish by the throat. Baelish felt the Lord of Winterfell’s fingers wrap tightly around his neck and pulled him forward. He landed square on the desk, mirroring the position Sansa was in when Baelish had fucked her.

Of course Baelish couldn’t fully enjoy the irony. He was far too busy attempting to grasp for breath. Ned’s fingers only grew tighter and tighter. He could barely register Robb attempting to pull his father off of him and Baelish knew he would forever be thankful for his actions. However, Robb had very little success in achieving his goal. Baelish once again failed to take into consideration how strong the Starks were physically. He had done so with Brandon and now with Ned. This was the last time Baelish would make that mistake.

“Father! Let. Petyr. Go.”

Suddenly air filled Baelish’s lungs as Ned’s fingers left his throat. Once he felt the relief, Baelish brought his hand to his neck that was still throbbing from the assault. He slid lightly off the desk and looked up. In the doorway stood Sansa with both Catelyn and Arya behind her. Perhaps it was the lack of oxygen but Baelish realized how beautiful she really was. Her long red hair was lose and it hung down around her shoulders. Her dress was black and it caused her skin to appear ivory. In the flicker of the candle light he could see her ice blue eyes blazed with fury.

Sansa squared her shoulders as if she was prepared for war. She placed one foot in front of the other and entered the solar fully. This was her battle and Baelish realized how important it was for her fight it. He would gladly step aside and allow her to have this victory and he wondered if this would be a prelude to how their marriage would function. If it was, then Baelish knew that he found the perfect partner in this game.

Chapter Text

Sansa stood in the doorway and saw her father with his hands around Baelish’s throat. Baelish was sprawled across her father’s desk and it was obvious that he was in extreme discomfort. Robb was trying his best to stop their father from killing the man, something she would have to thank him for later. She knew exactly why her father was acting in such a manner. Sansa, along with her mother and Arya, had heard the trail end of their conversation. Baelish had asked for her hand in marriage, something that was obviously denied.

Both Baelish and Sansa knew that her father was not going to allow her to marry him willing. Baelish however left out the part that he already asked the king for permission, which was granted. She would have to have a small conversation with him about that later after she saved him from the painful death her father clearly had planned.

“Father. Let. Petyr. Go.” Her voice was cold and held venom in it. Ned’s head snapped up and he looked at her. His hands loosened and Baelish was able to escape the other man’s grasp. He fell slightly off of the infamous desk. He was grasping at his clothed neck in obvious discomfort. He looked at her and she saw a flash of relief cross his features. Good. Sansa wanted him to be pleased to see her. She took pride in that. It was clear that Baelish would not be able convince her father so she would have to do it herself.

She stepped into the solar and felt the air receive a sudden chill to it. Everyone was silent and the only noise that could be heard was the flicker of the torches. Baelish was still grasping at his neck. Catelyn moved toward him and if she had not been furious with her father, it might have bothered her. However, she knew that Baelish was fine and if it made Catelyn feel useful, let her care after an old friend. Both Arya and Robb gravitated toward their sister.

“It’s Petyr now, is it?” Ned asked in a deathly cold voice. She heard that tone very few times in her life. The first time was when she was a very small child. Catelyn attempted to hold a conversation about having Jon fostered in another home, in hopes of being rid of the boy. Ned didn’t take it well and stated that she shall never attempt to pawn his son off to someone else again. It was the worst argument in living memory that her parents ever had.

The second time was when Bran died. The argument between the Lord of Winterfell and King Robert that was created out of the boy's death, was legendary. It was forceful, cold and Sansa believed it broke any type of respect that Ned might have had for the King. Ned was too distraught over the death of his son and the King was trying to force a position upon him that he did not want. Sansa had snuck down and listened outside the solar door, completely distraught that she would not be going to King’s Landing.

The third time was once again between Ned and King Robert. When Ned broke off the engagement between Joffery and herself, the already strained relationship reached the breaking point. The King was hoping to join their houses in some vain hope of keeping her Aunt Lyanna alive in his memory. While Ned understood the King’s desperation to keep the memory of his long lost love alive, he simply did not trust the Lannisters enough to allow his daughter to be so close to them. This confrontation occurred a day after her “wilding” attack. The King had attempted to come to her chambers, demanding her opinion. Her father stopped him and she had never before found comfort in that voice.

She realized that he only used that deadly tone when it came to his children. If Ned felt that his children were threatened, he would use any force necessary to protect them. Despite her anger and frustration with her father, Sansa felt a wave of love for him. He loved her because she was his daughter and he would do anything it took to protect her. But she didn’t need his protection anymore. Sansa wouldn’t waiver. She couldn’t, not if she wanted to make her own decisions. She wouldn’t be afraid of her own father.

“What else am I supposed to call the man I plan to marry?” Sansa asked. His glare was made of steel and it penetrated through her. She felt Robb place his hands on her should and try to convince her to allow him to deal with their father. Sansa just pushed him off. Arya reached for Robb and pulled him away from Sansa. Arya had complete faith that her sister would be able to handle herself. It seemed that Arya and Baelish were the only ones who believed that she could.

“Everyone else. OUT.” Ned hissed through his teeth.

“Ned perhaps it would be best if we…” Catelyn started but Ned cut her off.

“OUT.” Ned shouted. His gaze never left her’s. They stood still as statues, neither willing to waiver. She heard Robb and Arya leave with whispered voices. She knew that neither of them would travel far. Both of them would want details of what happened inside this room. Catelyn moved to Baelish again and placed a hand on his arm.

“Petyr, perhaps we should have Luwin look at your throat.” Catelyn stated in a kind voice. Sansa could only imagine the smirk on his lips but she wasn’t willing to look away from her father. She heard Baelish cough and it was clear that his throat was still bothering him. She wasn’t surprised, her father had held a tight grip on his throat.

“No, I should be fine. The discomfort is fading.” His voice was hoarse and he was a liar. If Sansa had not left a lip shaped bruise on the base of his neck, he gladly would have allowed the Maester examine his neck. However, Baelish was wise enough to know that it would not be prudent at such a time to have that little secret get out. If Baelish glanced at Sansa she didn’t know because she continued to stare at her father. Catelyn and Baelish left the solar; closing the door behind them and leaving father and daughter alone.

“Please inform me what you are thinking? Have you lost your mind?!” Ned asked with compete disbelief in his voice. He knew that his daughter had developed feelings for the Master of Coin because she all but admitted it to him. When he was collecting taxes in Deepwood it plagued him and the smug comments about how much Baelish enjoyed her company didn’t ease his worries. He wanted nothing more than to keep them apart and he only had one idea as to why Sansa would willingly allow herself to marry such a man. “Has he ruined you?”

“No.”

“Don’t lie to me. Has he ruined you?” Ever since Baelish had come to Winterfell, Sansa had been different and just his morning something about her had changed. He didn’t want to believe it and he simply pushed the thought out of his mind but with Baelish’s request he couldn’t deny the possibility. “If he even touched you, I will kill him.”

“He has not ruined me. I promise.” In a way, it was the truth. Baelish was not the man who ruined her. That honor belonged to Joffery and Joffery alone. If anything Baelish helped piece her back together and gave her a purpose in life. He gave her direction and something more than the hollow existence that she was living before. Ned looked at her and Sansa felt that for the very first time, that he was really seeing her.

“Then explain why you would be willing to marry such a man.” Ned asked. The both stood still and just gazed at each other. The only thing that stood between them was the desk that she allowed Baelish to bed her on and the same desk that Ned tried to kill him on. “I just don’t understand you could possibly be thinking.”

Sansa did not know exactly how to reply. Why did she want to marry him? He was the one person who could give her exactly what she wanted. There was this desire she had for him that was paralyzing. The conversations they held were stimulating and it made her feel intelligent. He never pushed her aside as though she wouldn't understand. He wanted to teach her and she was more than eager to learn. Then there was that feeling she had when she was with him. This calm but exciting feeling that built up inside her when he was near. She couldn’t explain it but it was terrifying and perfect.

“I’m thinking that he is my choice. I don’t know what else to tell you.” Sansa stated honestly. She couldn’t tell him that Baelish was going to help seek revenge on the man who robbed her of her innocence. She couldn’t tell him that she liked the feel of him between her legs. She couldn’t describe what she was feeling. She could not put it into words. “You said that you would allow me to have my choice. Well I’ve made it. I choose him.”

“No. I won’t let you.” Ned shook his head and sat down in his chair. He seemed resolved to forbid her from making this choice. She wondered if Baelish had been anyone else, would he have let her marry that stranger. Was he just completely set against Baelish because he had history with Catelyn or did he truly believe him to be a monster? She knew that Baelish was in many ways a horrible person but Sansa felt that he decided to hate him before even allowing himself to prove his worth.

“King Robert has already granted his permission, whether I'm married to Petyr or not, I'm going with him.” Sansa stated and Ned shook his head. Sansa huffed and walked around the desk and perched herself against it. She crossed her arms gently seeing that her wrist still throbbed. It was the reason why they were headed toward the solar in the first place. Septa Mordane noticed that Sansa was unable to fully participate in her lessons and when she checked her wrist, she called for her mother directly. Catelyn had been shocked by the bruising on her wrist and Sansa was very honest when she told her how she had injured it. She told her what Theon had said to her and how Baelish had stepped in. She avoided the vulgar questions he asked Baelish and completely left out the small kiss they had shared. “What are you going to do? Lock me in a tower? Not permit me to leave?”

“If I have to, I will.” Ned stated with a steady resolve. It would be easy. All he would have to do would be to lock her away and have several guards posted outside her door, day and night. But even that would fail. Gold would cause any guard to turn his head and Baelish would make sure he found the one guard that would do just that. They would be on the King's Road before anyone knew she had left. She would hate to leave under such circumstances but she would.
“And you would thank me for it.”

“No, I would grow to hate you for it.” The words sunk in and Ned let his head fall backward. Sansa felt guilty and she wished that things would be different. Life would be easier if he would just agree. If he forced her hand and prevented her from marrying Baelish, only to ship her off to someone he deemed suitable, she knew that she never would be able to look at him the same way. “Don't make me hate you.”

“I just wants whats best for you.” Ned said in a helpless tone. He reached out to place his hand on her arm and when he graced her wrist, she pulled back quickly with a hiss. Sansa's face twisted in pain and Ned looked at her in concern. He reached out and gently took her wrist into his hand. He pulled the fabric of her sleeve and saw the severe bruising along her porcelain skin. He touched it gently and Sansa winced. “What happened?” When she didn't answer right away, Ned jumped to the worst conclusions. “Did Lord Baelish-”

“No. Not him. Theon.” Ned looked at her with surprise. He had kept Theon under a very strict supervision, that he wasn't sure how he would have harmed her. If Ned himself wasn't with Theon then a guard was.

“When?”

“He cornered me before they left this morning. He still blames me for his banishment and being forced to marry Jeyne. Theon wanted to know how I orchestrated it. I told him I didn't know what he was talking about but he didn't listen. He just grabbed by wrist and wouldn't let go.” Sansa stated and looked at the state of her wrist. She couldn't deny that it looked as nasty as it felt. She should have gone straight to Luwin but she decided to head to her chamber instead, wanting to be alone. “If Petyr hadn't stepped in when he did, Theon might have broken my wrist.”

“What are you talking about?”

“He saw the altercation and intervened. Preventing Theon from taking it any further.” Sansa stated and it took her a moment to realize she never really allowed the altercation to affect her. She suddenly realized that it could have gone far worse than it had. She shook herself, not allowing herself to go down such a path. It would only lead to dark places.

“Is that how he convinced you to do this? Come in and save the day so you feel obligated to marry him? Or is it something else? Is he pressuring you into this? If this is about the taxes, there is another way. I won't make you do this.” Ned stated taking her good hand into his but Sansa yanked it back out again. She pushed off the desk and turned about the room. She was at a lost because it seemed that her father was determined to make Baelish out to be the villain.

“It has nothing to do with obligation or pressure or taxes! This is my decision! I want this!” Sansa paused and took a deep breath. “When Petyr brought up the idea of marriage I was hesitant because in all honesty I never wanted to marry! I would have been happy to stay unmarried for the rest of my days but he gave me choice. He told me that if I didn't want to marry him, then he would leave and I would never see him again. The mere thought of him just being gone, hurt.” The words spilled from her mouth before she could stop them and she felt her insides constrict. She never realized just how much she wanted him before.

“He won't make a good husband, Sansa!” Ned stated in a frustrated manner. He pushed himself out of his chair and started to pace. Sansa just watched him as he twisted and turned. He ran his hands through his hair and she wondered if he would pull it out of his skull because he was gripping it so tightly. “He is not a good man Sansa. He will only end up hurting you.”

“I know exactly who he is and its why I chose him.” She slumped, letting her arms fall completely to her side. She just didn't know how to make Ned understand without spilling every little secret that she and Baelish shared. “He is everything that I want. He gives me a purpose. What purpose do I serve sitting in Winterfell, spending my days sewing and smiling?”

“I would find you a husband who would give you a purpose if that is what you wanted! Just tell me what you want!” Ned shouted louder than he had before. He grabbed a globe that was made completely of glass and threw it. Sansa just stood there mystified as she heard the glass shatter against the wall. She had seen him angry but he never yelled at her like that and he definitely never threw anything at her. She felt the tears begin to sting in her eyes. She looked down at her hands when they started to fall. “Sansa.” Ned stepped forward and brought her into his arms. He held her close like he had when she was just a small child.

“Why can't you just let me have this?”

“He won't make you happy.” With that Sansa pushed away from him and sat back down in one of the chairs behind his desk. She ran her hands through her hair, not looking at her father. Ned walked over and knelt down before her. “You deserve so much more. Someone kind and nobel. Someone brave. Lord Baelish is none of those things.”

“I told you, I know exactly who he is.” Sansa whispered. “The world is cold and cruel. It hardens the softest of men. How many wars have you fought? How many people have you lost? I don't want a knight whose whole life is about winning tourneys or what his family name can buy him. I don't want a Harrold Hardyng. I want someone who can survive. I want Petyr.” Sansa stated through a tear stained face. Ned didn't know what to say but he would rather fight a thousand wars instead of continuing this conversation.

“When did you grow up?” His voice was just above a whisper. It felt that just a moment ago, Sansa was a small child who was the embodiment of everything that was pure and innocent. Yet the woman who sat in front of him was someone who has been trapped by darkness. She had survived winter, death and so much more.

“Apparently when you weren't looking.”

Ned sighed and sat down on the ground. His back leaned against the wooden desk and he closed his eyes. He was so tired. Ned had been so worried about Sansa and what designs Baelish had for her. He was terrified of losing her. He already lost one child and he didn't think he would survive the lose of another. He reached up and took her hand in his. He nearly lost her once.

Arya had come running into the dining hall screaming about the Godswood. They ran, Catelyn, Robb and even Theon. The sight of Sansa lying there in the snow with her hair flayed out behind her, nestled beside two direwolves was immobilizing. The contrast between her red hair the white of the snow reminded him of blood. He picked her up in the same manner he had his broken son three years before. He carried her into Winterfell and placed her in her bed. He kissed her forehead and prayed to the gods that his daughter would return to them. Day in and day out they listened to her shallow breathing until she grew stronger. The Sansa that recovered was changed and Ned was only beginning to realize that.

Luwin assured them that she would live but it was only because of the direwolves. If they had not laid next to her, the cold would have killed her. He remembered the handprints around her neck and from that day forward, Eddard Stark hated the Wildlings. When Jon wrote to him asking for help defending the Wall against the Wildings, he gladly would watch them all burn.

He felt like a failure. He couldn't protect his own children. Jon was fighting for his life and the lives of others everyday. Robb was a man long before his time; allowing himself to grow hard when his parents simply couldn't deal with the pain and the grief. Arya had a vengeance and a fury in her that Ned feared would consume her. Bran was buried deep within Winterfell's crypts long before his time and Rickon...sweet innocent Rickon. Who knows how long he will remain untouched.

“I just don't want to lose you.” Ned whispered. The was the crux of it. The thought of Sansa being married to such a man would be like losing her all together. She would either go to King's Landing, never to return or Baelish would turn her into someone he wouldn't recognize. He wanted her protected and somewhere safe. He wanted her in a place where she would remain untouched and no harm would come to her.

“You don't have to.” Sansa moved off the chair and sat on the ground beside her father. She placed her head on his shoulder and she felt him kiss the top of it. “I'm getting married. I'm not dying and its not like you won't ever see me again. Petyr wouldn't do that. He wouldn't keep me from you or any of us.” She paused for a second and looked at her father directly in the eye. “I'm getting married but I'll always be your little girl.”

Ned broke then. Tears streamed down his eyes and he simply held her in his arms. He remembered the day she was born and he knew that giving her away would be one of the hardest things he would ever have to do. He knew that he would never like Baelish nor trust him. When he came to Winterfell he thought he would have to worry about Baelish still being in love with Catelyn, it never occurred to him to worry about his daughter.

“I don't like this.”

“You don't have to.” Ned turned and looked her directly in the eye. He placed his hands on her face and wiped the tears away. He leaned in to kiss her forehead and held her close.

“I want you to promise me something.” Ned took a deep breath, hating himself for what he was about to do. It went against everything he was and everything he stood for. “If he is ever cruel to you or harms you in any way, you will tell me. No matter where you are or who you become, you are a daughter of the North and Winterfell will always be your home.” Sansa smiled then and launched herself into her father's arms.

“I promise.”

Chapter Text

News of the engagement between Lord Petyr Baelish and Sansa Stark flew across the North like wildfire. While many of the great Northern houses were saddened to see their perfect and unspoiled Sansa bound to such a man, they could only assume one thing, that it was a political match. The gold they had paid to the Iron Throne was suddenly returned to them and they all assumed that in return for Sansa's hand, Baelish would be responsible for paying their debts. While the North loved Sansa, they were more than willing to see her married to a man they all hated in order to save their own families. What was one girl's sacrifice to that of an entire kingdom?

The Winterfell household took the news differently. The servants whispered about it, as did the guards. Rodrick had sent her pitying looks when he learned of the news. Luwin had said no words to her but hugged her tightly. While Arya had always been close with Rodrick, due to their mutual love of fencing, Luwin had always been partial to Sansa. He was the one person who psychically cared for her when she needed it. Sansa knew that he would take her secret to the grave with him. It almost broke her heart to see him so saddened by the news of her engagement. She held him close and vowed to him that she would be happy. Luwin had told her through teary eyes that he only wanted her to find herself again and to have everything life could offer. His words softened her heart a little.

Ned had practically disappeared from everyone. The only time the family saw him was during meal times; the rest of the day was spent in his solar with the wooden door locked tightly, keeping everyone else at bay. While he has agreed to allow the marriage to take place, because he didn't want his pride to cost him his daughter, he wasn't exactly pleased by the prospect. He was completely civil with Baelish but Sansa could tell that there was a real hatred burning under the surface.

Catelyn accepted the engagement but whenever the topic arose, her lips thinned in a displeasing manner. She also always seemed to be within an arms reach of Sansa. She refused to allow the newly engaged couple a moment alone. If they would take a stroll through the Glass Gardens, Catelyn would trail behind with just enough distance to allow Sansa to voice her displeasure aloud without the fear of repercussions. While he never said so directly, Baelish was not one who enjoyed being chaperoned. He did not take kindly to the thought of someone trailing his every move.

A raven was sent to the Wall informing the Lord Commander of the impending nuptials. Jon wrote a reply stating that he would ride for Winterfell in order to attend the ceremony. He gave no indication whether or not he was pleased or displeased by the news. Sansa however was pleased to know that she would be able to see Jon one last time before she would be headed toward King's Landing. Baelish also seemed highly interested in meeting Jon, something that Sansa found bizarre. He had never mentioned his interest in Jon before. When she asked why, Baelish would just smirked at her and would reply with some cryptic answer, which would only infuriate her.

Robb had taken a far more diplomatic approach. He accepted the engagement but also decided to make the most of his sister's betrothed. He wanted to learn from him and Baelish was more than willing to teach him. He offered his counsel and said that if Robb ever needed advice on anything, that Sansa and himself would just be a raven away in King's Landing. While most would think Baelish was being kind, Sansa knew he was solidifying an alliance with the future Lord of Winterfell. If Baelish would ever need it, she knew the North would back him simply because Sansa was his wife. The North adored Sansa.

Arya had taken to Baelish long before the rest of the Starks. When she learned of the engagement, she just shrugged her shoulder's proclaiming that it was a forgone conclusion. Arya did make more of an effort to speak with Baelish than she had before and in return Baelish took an interest in her lessons. He would inquire after what she was learning and what she intended to do with her skills. When Arya would reply that she was unclear what her future held, Baelish would just smirked and replied that he was certain something would come her way.

Sansa knew that she should be concerned with her betrothed's interest in her siblings but she couldn't really bring herself to be displeased by it. Baelish was more than willing to murder, ruin and dispose of anyone she wished, Sansa was willing to allow him to use her connections to further whatever agenda he had. If his new found understanding with Robb allowed Baelish to have his input in the North, then Sansa would turn her head. What she couldn't fully understand was his interest in Jon and Arya. Sans contemplated such possibilities as she watched Arya train in the courtyard with Rodrick. Her back leaned against the wooden bench as she crossed her legs.

Arya was covered from head to toe in mud. It had snowed the night before but the warmth had melted the snow, causing the simplest of walks to become a mess. The hem of Sansa's dark blue dress was deep in mud and she knew it would be just awful to remove the stains. She watched how Arya would duck and dive to avoid a blow here and there. It appeared that she had no qualms about her clothes being ruined.

Baelish strolled over and sat down beside his new fiance. He crossed his legs and Sansa turned to him. He was wearing his long black coat and his mockingbird pin was perfectly placed. Upon closer inspection Sansa noticed that his beard was scruffier than normal. The grey mingled with the black and Sansa couldn't help but admit how attractive she found it. Sansa's eyes flickered and saw her mother standing on the balcony in one of the towers. It appeared that Catelyn was watching Arya but Sansa knew that as long as Baelish sat by her side, her mother would not be far.

“You look beautiful.” Baelish stated as his eyes roamed over her. Sansa blushed lightly which only made him smirk at her. She knew exactly what he was thinking because she was wishing the same thing. It had only been a week since their engagement had become official but since then their escapades had ended. It was not as though they wanted to keep their hands off each other but rather because they were forced too. They knew it was because Ned wanted to keep her innocent for as long as possible.

“Thank you.”

“I just spoke with your father. We were discussing the particulars of our arrangement. Apparently your uncle Edmure will be visiting for our wedding.” When Baelish said the word 'wedding' Sansa's stomach turned and a small smile formed on Baelish's lips. “I was rather surprised that he would be willing to make the journey.”

“Do you get along with my uncle?” She didn't know her uncle well but she had met him on several occasions. She knew that her mother wrote to him weekly and she would receive a letter in return. While the relationship between Catelyn and Lysa had always been strained, Edmure was always close with his sister. Her mother once said that Edmure didn't have what many people would consider a close friend.

“We were roughly the same age when I was fostered at Riverrun. We went on some adventures together.” Baelish stated as he wore a small smile. Sansa wondered what he was like as a child. He once told her that he had been a clever but naive child. Once he was banished from Riverrun he had lost contact with Edmure and Catelyn, never seeing them until Lysa had died. He then saw Edmure again when he went to Riverrun to collect the taxes for the Riverlands. “He spoke fondly of you when I was at Riverrun.”

“Really?” Sansa stated with a small smile. She suddenly had the desire to run her hands up his leg toward his member but she knew that if she even attempted, her mother would appear beside them in an instant. Baelish had once kissed her cheek on one of their strolls, a mere peck and before his lips even left her skin, Catelyn stood beside them with a disapproving look upon her face. “And did my uncle volunteer this information or were you prying it out of him?” Sansa bit her lip attempting to with hold a naughty smile.

“I may have made a few inquires.” Baelish replied with devilish smirk as he turned toward her. He leaned in closer as did Sansa. They were still inches apart and not touching. It was pushing the boundaries and Sansa wondered if she would be able to sneak out that night to see him but she knew that it was unlikely. She didn't want her father murdering the groom before the wedding.

“And did you learn anything of interest?”

“Oh, many, many things Sweetling.” Baelish drawled. He itched to reach for her but only flexed his fingers instead. The tension between the two of them was far more tortuous now than it had been before their engagement. Now he knew what she was like. He knew what she tasted like and how she felt beneath his fingertips. He wanted her again but he knew that under the current circumstances, that it would not be possible. “I learned that Riverrun is a rather dull affair compared to Winterfell.”

“Perhaps it wasn't the location that was dull, but rather the company you kept.” Sansa whispered in a breathless tone. She shifted herself in an uncomfortable manner and Baelish's smirk grew wider. He daringly took her hand and brought it to his lips. His eyes locked with her as she felt his lips on her skin again. It wasn't enough but it would have to do. Baelish let go of her hand after a moment and Sansa pulled it back to her side.

“Perhaps you're right.” Baelish pulled back then just in time for an extremely muddy Arya to slid in between the two of them. Sansa jumped away slightly, not wanting mud to get on her clothing. Baelish laughed lightly at the intrusion but still held that naughty smirk on his face.

“I would suggest that if the two of you actually want a wedding to be held, then you might want to behave yourselves.” Arya stated with a light tone. Her eyes flickered to the balcony and the couple both turned to see Catelyn glaring down upon them. Baelish's smirk grew wider as he lifted his hand and gave her a gentle wave. It took everything Sansa had to hold back a laugh, something Arya didn't even attempt to do. The younger girl clutched her stomach and shook her head. “Do you ever behave?”

“Do you?”

“Never.”

“Good.” Baelish laughed and Arya smiled. Arya could see why her family distrusted the man but she couldn't help but enjoy his company. He treated her like an equal and not a small child. He made it clear that he encouraged her pursuits with the sword and if she ever needed assistance he would be more than willing to help her.

“Other than my uncle attending our wedding, what else did you and my father discuss in his solar, Lord Baelish?” Sansa asked with a small smirk. Baelish returned the gesture and simply looked at her. The two of the shared a knowing glance. Baelish raised his hand to the small of his neck as though he was remembering something. Arya looked between the them and shook her head.

“I do not want to know.” With that Arya pulled herself from the bench, grabbing Needle which had been left perched against a wagon and returned to Rodrick, who had been joined by Robb. Before long the distinct sound of metal upon metal and a few commanding shouts had started again.

“We discussed many things. Ironed out the particulars of the marriage contract.” All teasing was pushed aside and Baelish grew serious. Sansa looked at him curiously. While the wedding was to be held soon, it was unclear of when exactly because no one outside of Sansa and Baelish, wanted to speak of it. Ned would grow somber and Catelyn would purse her lips. While Catelyn never once said she was against the match, she made it clear that she wasn't exactly pleased with it either.

“Well?” Her curiosity was eating her up inside. There were not many details to plan because Sansa knew that she would have a traditional Northern wedding. Unlike Jeyne's wedding, Northern weddings were universally the same. It would be held in the Godswood with candles lighting the way. Her father would hand her over to Baelish while Robb officiated the ceremony. There was no need for a Septon with the Old Faith; they only needed the Old Gods.

“We will be wed the day after your brother arrives from the Wall. No more than a week from now.” Sansa sucked in a breath and Baelish returned it with a gentle smile. “Your father wanted to stall awhile longer but I told him that I am needed in King's Landing as soon as possible. He seemed displeased but agreed non the less.”

“In one week we will be married?” So soon.

“One week.” Baelish's tone was breathless and the way he looked at her made her heart begin to race. This wasn't the look he gave her when he wanted to bury himself between her thighs. No, this was a look of something deeper that Sansa could not place. “In one week you will be Lady Baelish and everything I have will be yours.”

“So it's not just your need to return to King's Landing then?” While she knew that their marriage would be beneficial for both of them, it amazed her how much she actually wanted to be his wife. Those words she spoke to her father that day in the solar rang true. While the idea terrified her, it wasn't until the words stumbled from her lips that she realized how much she wanted him. She chose him and she would forever stand by that decision.

“No. It is not.” His words rang sincere and it brought a small, girlish smile to her face. She was happy and it felt so foreign to her. She never wanted this feeling that ran through her veins to ever fade. She was well aware that all happiness faded but for a while she was willing to let herself just feel. She had denied herself of that gift for so long. “Sweetling, when we arrive in King's Landing, I ask that where ever you go, Lady must accompany you.”

“Of course.” She readily agreed. Sansa was overjoyed with the prospect of becoming his wife but the thought of King's Landing still instilled a fear that she knew may never fade. The prospect of Lady always being by her side was more than just comforting. Even if the direwolf was not in sight, she would at least be close enough to strike in a moments notice. “What else did you discuss?”

“Robb mostly.” Baelish replied and Sansa nodded expecting that. Winterfell might have been abuzz with the knowledge that she was soon to be wed but another Stark was soon to be engaged. A letter had been sent to the Twins requesting a meeting in regards to negotiating a marriage contract, something which they eagerly replied in agreement. “We will leave two days after the wedding and when we reach the Crossing we will foster with the Freys for a few days in order to come to an agreement.”

“What of Father and Robb?” She questioned.

“They will travel along side us. We will part ways once the deal as been made. Your father and Robb will return to Winterfell and we will continue our journey south.” She smiled gently at him but it didn't reach her eyes. Baelish noticed the shift and reached out. He took her hand and came it a gentle squeeze. “What is it?”

“Nothing really. It's just that it will be comforting to have them close for a little longer, even if it is just father and Robb.” She laughed lightly and shook herself. “I'm so pleased that we are to be married but its scary to leave them behind. I had thought Jeyne foolish when she told me of her fears but now I understand. You will be the only family I have in such a foreign place.”

Baelish looked at her and she could see his mind turning. Sansa wasn't playing him and this wasn't a calculated move on her part, and he could see that. She truly was saddened to leave them behind but now that had she told Baelish of her fears and he felt the compulsion to fix them. Sansa wasn't asking him to but she knew that he would at least try.

“I can try and convince your father to allow Arya to travel to the Twins with us. I can't guarantee it but I will at least try and persuade him.” He gave her that boyish grin that he rarely shared with anyone and Sansa vowed to at least make that grin appear once a month, if not more for the rest of her life. “Of course your father may deny the request out of foolish pride and you might have to convince him yourself. You have already proved that you are talented in that regard.”

“A daughter is any father's weakness.” Sansa laughed lightly. She turned to look toward Arya as she continued to fight with her sword. The younger girl's laughter rang out among the court yard and it attracted the attention of those around her. Even Catelyn broke her gaze from Sansa and Baelish to give a warm smile to her youngest daughter. Arya was holding her stomach and just laughing hysterically as Robb laid on the ground. “I will miss her most of all.”

Suddenly Robb launched himself from the ground. He was cover head to toe in mud and Sansa assumed that Arya was the culprit. Robb ran toward his sister who darted around a wagon. He continued to try and catch her but Arya was always talented at evasion. Eventually the elder Stark took hold of Arya around the middle and spun her around. Their laughter mingled together and Rickon began to giggle around them. Sansa just sat back and watched. While she was never one to participate in any type of roughhousing, she would miss being a spectator.

While Sansa watched her siblings, Baelish watched her. The look of pure joy and sadness all played across her face. The way the corners of her lips rose when one of the Stark children did something amusing made Baelish's stomach knot. He wanted to see her that happy for the rest of her day. Perhaps one day it would be their own children who caused that look.

He never before really considered having children. When the decision to take Sansa as his wife he knew that children would be a side effect of marriage but he never considered that he would be a father. When he was married to Lysa, he merely tolerated her beastly son and it was only to keep him in her good graces for a time. Baelish knew that he would never get Lysa pregnant again and he would always grateful to her father for forcing the moon tea down her throat. He could never imagine being bound to Lysa in such a way forever. Yet, if Sansa bore his child he was certain it would be a completely different experience.

“She will always be welcome in her home if she so desires to be there.” Baelish whispered and Sansa turned to look at him. She gave him a smile in gratitude. “If you ever miss her, then you just say the word and I will have a raven and rider sent out the same day to retrieve her.”

“While I'm sure I would love have Arya close to me whenever I pleased, I highly doubt that father would allow her to come to us, not matter how much I missed her. Ravens will have to be enough for a time.” Sansa stated. She was touched by his concern but she knew the reality of Arya ever staying with them for a time would never happen.

“Perhaps I won't give him a choice.” Baelish stated with a smirk. “You certainly didn't.” That caused Sansa to laugh with her head held back. She covered her lips with her hand when she caught the attention of her mother, standing guard on the balcony. Baelish, who realized he was still holding Sansa's hand, let go of her.

“No I suppose I did not.”

“And I am sure that Arya will miss you just as you will her. If we send the offer to her directly before even consulting Ned or Catelyn, you know Arya will pester herself until they give in.” Baelish paused and reached over to tuck a stray red hair behind her ear. “Like you said, a daughter is any father's weakness.”

“And if we ever have a daughter Petyr, will you deny her anything?” Sansa asked and Baelish just smiled.

“If she looks like you, I won't be able to.”

Chapter Text

The tension in the castle lightened slightly. The appearance of Edmure Tully eased the worries and brought a welcome distraction to the residence of Winterfell. Edmure had always been a serious man with a dry sense of humor. He hid behind his auburn beard as though it was a mask. He was always considered to be aloof but it was more of the fact that he was a shy man who didn't show his emotions easily. He wasn't one who grew close to people easily but once he could claim someone a friend, he would forever be loyal.

Ned had welcomed the appearance of his brother-in-law and wasted no time in quizzing Edmure on the knowledge he held in regards to Baelish. Edmure was honest. He told him that while he would never be able to fully trust Baelish, he knew that he would never physically harm Sansa. As children, Edmure could never fully consider him a friend, even if they had their moments, because Baelish spent most of his time chasing after Catelyn. Edmure had never been a social man and he was far worse as a child. He was simply too shy to even attempt becoming friends with him.

Baelish continued to assist Ned with the North's finances and Edmure was a welcome buffer between the two men. Edmure was able to keep Ned from physically assaulting Baelish and he attempted to silence the Master of Coin with a look when he would over step his bounds, which was often. The three of them, along with Robb would spend hours in Ned's solar creating a budget and plan the future of the North. Baelish proclaimed that the moment he was wed to Sansa, he would send word to King's Landing that the North's taxes would be paid in full from his own personal accounts.

Robb spent the majority of his time questioning his uncle on the Frey daughters. Edmure had attended the service for Walder Frey, seeing that the Twins were only a day’s journey from Riverrun, but he admitted he didn't see much of them. Edmure wasn't one who connected well with those of the opposite gender, unless it was his sister. Edmure offered to travel to the Twins alongside them in order to offer assistance in brokering the marriage contract. Ned readily agreed because he trusted Edmure far more than he could even begin to like Baelish. Baelish only smirked and agreed with no complaint.

Sansa saw less of Baelish during her uncle's visit but it wasn't without the lack of trying. Any time they attempted a moment alone, either Baelish would be pulled away on some type of business or Catelyn would need Sansa's input in regards to the wedding. She currently was sitting on her bed, watching her mother dig through all of her old dresses, deciding which ones Sansa would need in King's Landing. The wedding was in two days and her trunks were all but packed.

Her chambers were bare, every inch of her was packed away except for a few dresses that would get her through until the wedding. The wedding night would not take place in her childhood room. Instead it would be in the guest chambers that Baelish had been using. It was symbolic to her in many ways. She would no longer be Sansa Stark but instead Lady Sansa Baelish. While she was thrilled for this new adventure, she couldn't help but become sentimental. She remembered everything that had taken place in this room and it all seemed so bleak now.

“Sansa?” She turned to see her mother holding a light blue dress in her hands. Catelyn was looking at her strangely and Sansa felt guilty for not even paying attention to anything she had been saying. “Are you alright?”

“Yes. I'm fine. Just thinking.” Sansa replied and Catelyn got a small smile on her face. She folded the gown and placed it into the truck, along with all the other dresses Sansa would be taking with her. Catelyn moved around the bed, the train of her ivy green dress trailing behind her. She sat down on the furs beside her daughter and placed her hand on Sansa's knee. She gave it a gentle squeeze and just smiled at her.

“Did I ever tell you about the night before my wedding?” Catelyn asked and Sansa shook her head. Her mother never was one to become sentimental. She rarely had ever spoken of her childhood or what came before her life at Winterfell. She had never heard of Baelish before his visit to the North. She realized that there was so much about her mother she didn't know.

“No. You haven't.”

“Well, I was nervous. Far more nervous than you appear. I never met your father and I wondered if he was anything like your uncle. I remember packing up my chambers but unlike you I had to do it alone. Well, I had a few servants to assist me but I had no one to calm my fears. I couldn't sleep and I was absolutely terrified about my wedding night.” Catelyn paused and looked at her. “At least you know Baelish and I hope he will be kind to you.” Whether he would be kind and gentle, she didn't know but she knew either way, she would enjoy her wedding night very much. “Do you have any questions?”

“No.” She looked away from her mother but felt her grab her hand. How could she have any questions when she already knew what to expect? She already had the worst and the best of it all. Nothing could surprise her anymore.

“Well, if you change your mind I'm here.” Catelyn smiled. “Always. Your father and I may not have wanted this for you. Petyr may be the last man we ever thought you would marry but we are proud of you.” Sansa laughed lightly. She wondered how proud of her they would be if they knew the things she had done and the things she is planning on doing. She wasn't exactly what her future would hold and the journey she would take but she knew that it wasn't going to be easy. She knew that it would be dark, twisted, bloody and possibly the best thing that could ever happen to her. Her life would go against everything her family stood for and everything they had taught her.

“Even Father? He hates this.” While she never wanted to admit it, it hurt the way he looked at her. When he gazed at her, it was as though he was mourning her. It wasn't as though she was just getting married and moving away but instead it was as though she had died. Sansa didn't want her family to grieve for her, she had done that enough already. The girl she had been died a long time ago and Sansa already put her to rest. Perhaps the rest of her family should to.

“He hates it more than you know.” Catelyn stated with a laugh. Sansa looked down at her hands and her mother could tell that it hurt her. “He doesn't trust Petyr and he never will. It's just something you will have to learn to live with.”

“He is not a bad man.” Lie.

“But he is not a good one either.” Catelyn rebutted. “When we spoke at the Weirwood that day, I knew you would choose him. There was no way around it. I thought long and hard about how I was going to stop this. I even considered sending you to Edmure for a while, at least until Petyr would be finished here.” She stopped and just looked at Sansa.

“What changed?”

“I realized that I would have to send you out into the world one way or another. I couldn't protect you forever. I realized that you would have to learn that the world is a cold and cruel place, but perhaps you already have. Then I thought about Petyr and how he would do anything to keep what he has achieved safe. If you were his wife then he would protect you with everything he had, simply because you were his.” Catelyn sniffed and brought her hand to her eyes to wipe away the tears that were forming. “The things he would do. The things I think he has done. He is not a good man.” She stood from the bed and walked over to the window, gazing out into the sky. “But he will keep you safe and that is all I care about.” Sansa moved to comfort her but stopped when her door burst open.

“Sansa!” Arya stumbled in, causing both mother and daughter to jump. Arya landed with a loud thump and was holding her chest. She was clearly out of breath. She stood and laughed lightly. “A rider has been spotted on the King's Road with a direwolf following behind him! Jon has come early!” Her smile was wide and excited. Arya and Jon had always been close and this would be the first time in years that they had really seen each other.

“Go.” Catelyn said through tight lips. Sansa knew that Jon would always be a sore subject for her mother but she couldn't blame Jon. He never asked to be born. She picked up a simple black cloak, slipped it on and walked over to her mother. Sansa kissed her mother on her cheek but felt Arya's hand slip into her's. Arya pulled her and dragged her through the door. The younger girl began to pick up speed and if it wasn't for Sansa's long legs, she wouldn't have been able to keep up.

They ran as fast as they could through the stone corridors, taking the shortest route possible. Sansa's long red hair was flying behind her and her dark blue dress swished around her ankles. Briefly she noticed that Arya wasn't dressed like a farmer's boy. Instead she wore a purple dress and her hair was pulled back into a bun. They reached the stairway and saw that Robb was speaking to Baelish at the bottom. Once they reached the bottom, Arya paused, let go of Sansa's hand and looped her arm through Robb's.

“Jon has been spotted on the King's Road.” Arya stated as she dragged Robb toward the wooden door and pushed them open. Sansa turned toward Baelish and smiled. She held out her hand and Baelish took it greedily. He lifted it to his lips and kissed it slowly. She could feel his smirk against her skin.

“In a hurry?” Baelish stated in a smug tone. This would be the first time she had felt his skin against her's in days. The last would have been the simple kiss on the hand the day they sat on the bench in the courtyard. While she has felt more of him in the past, the fact that it had been close to three weeks since that night in her father's solar caused Sansa yearned for him. Even the more innocent of touches, such as a kiss on the hand sent a shiver through her entire body.

“With you? Never.” Sansa giggled and Baelish smirked at her. She entwined her fingers with his and began to pull him toward the door. “Come and meet my brother.” Baelish didn't reply but she could tell there was a glint in his eye. She couldn't place exactly what he was thinking but he was plotting something. If she wasn't anxious to see Jon, she would have demanded to know what he was thinking.

“Gladly.” Sansa pushed the doors open and pulled Baelish into the courtyard. Arya was bouncing on the heels on her feet and Sansa could tell that she was biting her lip in order to prevent herself from squealing. Robb placed his hands on her shoulders and laughed. Arya had turned around and hit him on the arm. Ned stood near them and his fatherly smile was perfectly in place. However, it slipped ever so slightly when he noticed Sansa's hand linked with Baelish's. Instead of saying anything, Ned simply turned and spoke to Edmure who was standing by his side. Edmure shook his head slightly, patted Ned on the shoulder before heading inside.

“Lord Baelish.” Edmure greeted civilly.

“Lord Tully.” Before Sansa could remark on the exchange a rider was let through the gates. It was a black horse and she could tell that there was very little luggage on the back of the horse and a pure white direwolf followed behind. A few servants approached and took the reins of horse. Jon Snow slowly climbed down off of the horse and Sansa took him in. As she remembered, he was dressed head to toe in black. He wore a fur coat that made him look broader than he actually was. His hair was long and curly as it ever had been. From a distance he seemed unchanged but Sansa knew differently. He had been marked by war, love and loss.

Arya took off and ran straight toward Jon. Sansa saw a wide smile break out on his bearded face. Arya launched herself into his arms and Jon swung her around in a circle. Arya's feet were completely off the ground and her laugh could be heard throughout the courtyard. He put her down on the ground and looked at her.

“Well look at you. You almost look like a girl.” Jon laughed and Arya reached up to pitch him but he couldn't feel it through the thick fur of his coat. He laughed and hugged the girl again. The two of them took a few steps and Robb embraced his brother tightly. Ned stepped forward and took his son into his arms. They held each other for a few moments, saying a few words that Sansa couldn't hear. When they broke apart, Jon looked over his father's shoulder and saw Sansa. The looked that past across his face could only be described as deep sadness. “And there is the bride.”

Jon stepped forward and engulfed her in his arms. He squeezed her and Sansa buried her face into the furs of his coat. She inhaled the scent of musk and snow; it caused her to feel comfort and warmth. It had been so long since she had seen Jon. Letters and ravens have been sent and it was no secret that Ned has gone to the wall a few times in order to help with a few situations on the Wall but Jon has never been back to Winterfell since Bran’s death.

“I'm so sorry.” Jon whispered into her ear. Sansa stiffened slightly but eased up after a moment. She nearly forgot that he knew. He knew but promised never to say a word. He would have had all the reason in the world to and it would have been easy with all the times Ned has been to the wall. Yet, he kept his silence just has he kept the vows he made when he took the Black.

“Don't be. I survived. In more ways than one.” Sansa pulled away slightly to look into his eyes. “I promise.” Jon looked at her as though he was searching for something; a sign of some type of weakness or a sign that she was broken. He only saw a women who was far stronger than she ever should have become.

“My gift?” The direwolf engraved dagger that was currently holstered on her calf. She rarely left her chambers without it. It was six months after her attack that she received the dagger from Jon. She never had to use it but it would only take the one time she would forget it or leave it behind, and that is when she would need it the most.

“I kept it on me; always.” With that Jon gave that frown that always seemed to be in place. She had forgotten such a detail about her brother. When she thought on him, it always amazed her how far he has come; he became Lord Commander of the Wall in just two years after taking the Black. She had forgotten how brooding he always seemed to be. He pulled away then and looked over her shoulder to her betrothed.

“You must be Lord Baelish.” Jon stated and held out his hand. Baelish took it and Sansa could tell that Jon was gripping it tightly. It was warning and a threat.

“I am.” Baelish smirked at him in that manner that always made Sansa feel weak in the knees. Yet, he wasn't looking at her. Instead he was eyeing up her brother and Jon was doing exactly the same. “I have heard many things about you Jon Snow. Impressive things.”

“As I have you.” Jon stated. Neither were willing to let go of the others hand first. It appeared that they both wanted to have the last word. Jon's stoic face poured into Baelish's smug one. The longer Jon glared at him the wider Baelish's smirk grew. “You hurt my sister and I will kill you.”

“You're not the first person to threaten me with such violence.” Baelish replied, which was news to Sansa. She knew her father had actually caused him physical harm but she was foolish to think that it was the end. No, her father, Robb and possibly her Edmure threatened Baelish within an inch of his life. She could only imagine her betrothed's highly amused reactions.

“Don't make me be the last.” Jon threatened and let go of Baelish's hand. They continued to stare at each other and Sansa wondered if she should intervene but she could tell that Baelish was enjoying every moment of their interaction. It was as though he was calculating Jon's potential for something and once again, Sansa wondered what interest he had in her brother.

“Jon.” Ned's voice sounded and Jon broke eye contact with Baelish. “Why don't you get settled in? Join us for the evening meal and we can catch up.” Ned leaned in and hugged his son again. “It's good to have you home.”

“Thank you.” Jon smiled. Ned pulled away and Robb stepped up to hug Jon once again. It only lasted a moment before he broke away. Ned made his way into the castle while Jon turned to look at both Sansa and Arya, who was still bouncing on the heels of her feet. “Do my lovely sisters want to walk me to my chambers?” Arya laughed and launched herself onto his arm again. “And of course your ugly face is always welcome.” Jon indicated toward Robb.

“I'll be in after a moment.” Sansa replied with a smile. Jon nodded and leaned in kiss Sansa on the cheek. Jon, Robb and Arya entered through the wooden doors as a servant grabbed the few belongings Jon brought with him. Sansa turned to look at Baelish and raised her eyebrow. She stepped forward and wrapped her arms around his neck. He responded by linking his fingers together at the small of her back. “And what exactly was that?”

“I don't know what you mean.” Baelish replied with a smirk. Sansa laughed lightly and leaned in to kiss his lips. They were to be married in two days. If a servant saw them or someone else, then she didn't really care anymore. The kiss was gentle and sweet. When they broke apart Sansa smiled at him and laughed lightly.

“Liar.” She replied and Baelish smirked again. He leaned in to kiss her again but Sansa placed her finger on his lips. Baelish's grin widened and kiss the tip of her finger. He was being playful and Sansa couldn't help but giggle. Moments like these were rare and she wanted to cherish them but her curiosity was eat at her. “What exactly do you want with Jon?”

“Your brother is far more...interesting than even you know. More interesting than even he knows.” He bit her finger lightly before leaning in to kiss her again. This kiss was more forceful and once they broke apart, Baelish took her bottom lip in between his teeth. “I will tell you one day Sweetling but not yet. I have an inkling of greater things but I want to see where the stones will fall first.” With that, he pecked her lips and pulled away from her. She narrowed her eyes at him in mock fury which only caused him to laugh. He moved away from her and walked inside the castle.

Sansa sighed in frustration. That was the first real contact they had been allowed in days and it only caused her to yearn for more. She knew it was because she couldn't have him, which only made her want him more. Part of her wondered if he was enjoying this torture she was enduring. At night she couldn't but allow her hand to wonder down her body, hoping to ease that tension she continuously felt.

She pulled herself from her musings and looked around. She noticed how a few of the stables boys and the servant girl pulling water from the well were giving her side glances. She didn't care, not anymore. They could gossip and laugh all they wanted, in two days’ time she would be married to him and any action she wanted to take with her husband, she could do so. No a single person would have the right to judge her for it.

Sansa glared at them all and made her way into the castle to look for Jon, Arya and Robb. She knew her mother would hold herself up in her daughter's chambers in order to avoid Ned's bastard. Baelish would be in search of her father and uncle to discuss matters of business while Jon spent the afternoon with his siblings. Perhaps for a few hours she can allow herself to slip into the girl she used to be. Perhaps she could block the nightmare that the six year winter had brought them. Perhaps she could allow herself to be Sansa Stark for one last time before she had to say goodbye to Winterfell forever.

Chapter Text

On the day of her wedding, Sansa awoke in her chambers one final time. She laid in her bed, staring at the wooden ceiling letting her nerves get the better of her. Never again will she wake in this room. Never again would she see the sun pear through that window first thing in the morning. She would never feel these sheets and that fur against her skin. Laid before her were the last few hours she would spend as Sansa Stark. It was utterly terrifying but equally exhilarating.

Part of her felt like it wasn't even happening. Before her life turned into a nightmare, Sansa had always dreamed what her wedding would be life. She knew that her family would insist on a Northern wedding, which she was perfectly fine with but she thought there would be more to do, more to plan. Yet, there was nothing but a few short decisions. Her mother handled everything, only asking her input on what she wanted her wedding clothes to be like and the food that would be served.

There were not many people who would be attending the wedding. Besides a cousin who still lived in the Fingers, Baelish didn't have much in the way of family. Seeing that her entire family lived in Winterfell, beyond Jon and her Uncle Edmure, there wasn't anyone to invite. The wedding would be small and she preferred it that way. No longer did she want to make a big event out of it.

Jeyne had been completely frazzled and anxious for her wedding, wanting everything to be perfect but Sansa felt nothing of that sort. She wasn't frenzied or stressed. Nothing like that hit her until that very moment. She was getting married. Today and she was terrified. It wasn't the thought of Baelish and having him by her side that scared her but the thought of what their life would be like. How dangerous her life would be.

King's Landing. Joffery. Cersei. All of them. They were the ones who scared her. The life she would be leading would include, death, blood and it could possibly destroy any part of her that was left. It would eat away at her until she was someone unrecognizable. The only part that she was certain about was the groom. Baelish made her feel comfortable and safe. She knew he was dangerous and that he could ruin her so easily if things went wrong.

It scared her how he could break her. He made promises and she knew he would deliver. While he may withhold information from her, he has never lied to her. She remembered the look he gave Theon when he had put his hands on her. It was murderous, cold, and if she hadn't begged him, Theon would be dead by now. He would kill for her. Sansa was beginning to realize that, when it came to him, she might do the same.

The way she felt for him, it was deeper than she expected. She desired him, that was certain but it went beyond simple lust. When he sat beside her or just looked at her, there were these knots in her stomach and a warmth that spread through her. She liked to listen to him speak and really hear what he had to say. Perhaps it was because they were about to be married in a few hours but Sansa had the sudden urge to see him.

Sansa was pulled from her thoughts when her door opened. Arya stepped in and closed the door behind her. She was still dressed in her sleeping chase with a black robe wrapped around her. She kicked off her boots and Sansa sat up with a smile. She opened her arms and Arya launched herself into them. They both laughed as the fell backward onto the bed. Arya curled underneath the fur covers and snuggled up to her sister.

“This is the last time we will be able to do this.” Arya whispered as she laid her head down against her shoulder. Sansa wrapped her arms around her sister and began to run her fingers through her hair. She knew that she would miss Arya but she suddenly realized that Arya would miss her. She wasn't sure what her sister would do in her absence but she wondered what her day would be like and if she would continue with her fencing. She knew Arya would but she suddenly realized that she would miss it all.

“I wouldn't say that. We can do this when you come and visit us.” Sansa stated with a smile. After Baelish had promised to allow her sister to come to King's Landing whenever she felt the need to see her, she had decided that she would some how convince their father to allow that to happen. Arya suddenly laughed, pulling Sansa from her thoughts.

“I'm sure your new husband would have an issue with his sister-in-law crawling into his bed.” Arya laughed and Sansa's face grew red. It dawned on her that she would be sharing a bed with Baelish. While she dreamed about the night they shared in her father's solar and anticipated having him between her legs again, it never really occurred to her Baelish would share her bed every night. In order to brush off her embarrassment she placed her hands on her face and laughed.

“I didn't think of that.” Sansa stated and Arya giggled at her embarrassment.

“Obviously.” Arya stated through a smile. “But I do have good news. Father pulled me aside last night and asked if I wanted to accompany them to the Twins.” Sansa got excited and sat up. Her smile grew as did Arya's. “I already have my trunk packed.” Sansa squealed and hugged her sister just in time for their mother to enter. She smiled at the exchange between siblings. She coughed lightly and the two girls broke apart. A few servants entered the chamber, carrying a large basin and a few buckets of steaming hot water.

“Arya, Sansa needs a bath. Why don't you get dressed and the two of you can continue the bonding once she is finished.” Catelyn stated with a small smile. Arya nodded and jumped off the bed. She slipped her boots back on and walked around the bed to Sansa. She hugged her tightly and whispered how happy she was for her. The younger girl left the room but stopped one last time to shoot her sister a wide smile.

Catelyn fussed around the chamber, making sure everything was in order. The servants continued to fill the basin as well and a few of them moved to make up the bed. Others started to build a fire in the fireplace. Sansa moved to the window, looking outside to see the North from that view one last time. However, her eye drawn to two people on the ground. Sansa's window faced north and in the far distance she could see the Wall. What she rarely saw were people below her window, yet both Baelish and Jon seemed to be in a rather heated discussion. Sansa slowly opened the window in order to see them better.

Jon ran his fingers through his dark curls, a piece of paper gripped in the other. He was pacing while Baelish just leaned against the stone wall with his arms crossed. Sansa could tell that he said something because Jon held up his hand to silence him. After a moment Jon stated something and stormed off away from Baelish. He stood there for a moment and then looked up. He saw her standing in the window and she could tell that his lips formed that smirk that she loved. He raised his hand and gave her a gentle wave but she only returned it with the quirk of her eyebrow.

“Sansa! It's freezing.” It was cold but not freezing. Catelyn never really adapted to the North's harsh weather. “Close the window before it cools your bath.” Catelyn stated and rushed over to the window to pull it shut. When she saw Baelish on the ground below, she pursed her lips into a thin line. She shut the window and ushered Sansa into the steaming hot water. The warmth engulfed her and the hairs on her pale skin stood at the change. She sank beneath the surface for a moment, allowing her hair to become drenched.

Sansa allowed herself to be poked and prodded by servants and her mother. She was scrubbed to an inch of her life but her mind was occupied to really notice. Her mother and the servant girls all assumed it was wedding nerves that kept her silent. While she was nervous, it was the disagreement she just witnessed that filled her thoughts. Baelish made it no secret that he was interested in Jon but he never told her why and she never really inquired after her curiosity. Perhaps that was a mistake.

Once the bath was complete, Sansa pulled herself out of the water and into the chilly air. Catelyn wrapped her daughter in a robe and brought her to sit by the fire. They slowly towel dried her hair as Catelyn prattled on about something of another, yet Sansa paid her no mind. She watched the crackle of the flames and realized that the ice inside of her was beginning to melt. The fire consumed her. She may be a daughter of the North but children leave their home eventually to become someone else. The cold wouldn't be in her forever.

Once she was dry, Sansa dressed quickly and made some excuse to her mother about wanting to find Arya. She felt a slight twinge of guilt because this was the last morning her mother had with her daughter before she was a married women but she couldn't hold in her curiosity anymore. If she was going to spend her life with him, she was going to demand answers. She roamed the castle looking for him and it wasn't until she neared her father's solar that she found him. She would have missed him if his hand hadn't slipped into her's, pulling her into a darkened conclave. It was a tight space and Sansa found herself pushed up against the stone wall. Baelish put a finger to his lips, asking her to be silent. So she listened and what she heard was arguing. The voices belonged to Jon and her father.

“You should have told me!?” Jon's furious voice sounded through the stone walls. It echoed and it sent a chill right through her. She had never heard her brother that angry before. He has argued with Robb, as brother's often do, but she never heard such rage before.

“I was doing what I thought was best.” Ned replied in a stern voice. It wasn't as forceful as Jon's but Sansa could hear a hint of desperation in it. “I was waiting for the right time, which never seemed to come!”

“The right time!? When? I'm not a child and I haven't been for years! You've been to the Wall dozens of times in the last six years and not even then have you mentioned it! I asked and I asked but not once would you answer me!” Jon shouted.

“I was protecting you!”

“Protecting! Protecting?!” Jon stopped yelling and silence took over. After a moment, Jon spoke again but it was quieter this time. “I can't do this right now. If it wasn't for Sansa getting married today I would have left already but I will stay for her sake. I will leave at first light as planned but after that I will need time. Don't come to the Wall unless I ask you too.” With that Sansa heard the solar door open and saw Jon storm past. In his fury, he didn't even notice the bride and groom lurking in the shadows. Once they heard the solar door close again and a few footsteps heading in the opposite direction, Baelish released Sansa from the wall.

They moved out into the light and Sansa turned the argument she just her over in her head. Ned had been keeping secrets from Jon and whatever it was, Jon felt that he had the right to know. She turned to look at Baelish and she placed her hands on her hips. They have never really argued but she felt as though this would be their first.

“What was that?”

“An argument.” Baelish replied with a coy smile upon his lips. He was proud of himself and was more than willing to show it. That only caused Sansa to grow more impatient. She knew he was stubborn and secretive, she was going into this marriage with that knowledge on hand but it didn't mean that was any less frustrating.

“Don't be cute Petyr.” Sansa snapped. “What was that about?” He didn't reply but just looked at her and Sansa huffed in frustration. That only caused Baelish's smirk to grow wider. “We are to be married in a few hours, so if you want our marriage to start off in a good place you will be honest and tell me what you and Jon were discussing this morning under my window because whatever it was caused a rift between him and my father.” Baelish was silent for a moment before sighing in defeat.

“You are far more dangerous than I thought.” He stated, echoing the words he once said to her in her family's crypt. Only this time he didn't lean in to kiss her. “I've always found Jon interesting and when he agreed to come to the wedding I was most pleased.”

“Why?”

“Because I always found it odd that the honorable and nobel Ned Stark would ever have an affair that would lead to a bastard child. If the rumors were true about the Lord of Winterfell, Jon Snow should have never been born.” Baelish stated. He placed his hands in her's and Sansa let him. He began to run his thumbs over her knuckles.“Unless he lied.”

“My father's isn't a liar.”

“Being a liar is something far better than being an adulterer.” He placed his hand on her cheek and looked directly into her eyes. “I'm a liar. I lie everyday but I would never be an adulterer.” She knew that Baelish would never bed another women. She would never have to worry about his bastard children running around and she found comfort in that.

“Please don't lie to me.” Sansa didn't know if she could handle having to always question his words and wondering if he was being honest with her. She would spend a lifetime picking through everything he said in order to give herself some piece of mind. So she begged him to be honest with her. She looked him directly in his grey-green eyes and begged him, something she was not accustomed to doing.

“Okay.” Baelish took a deep breath. “A few years ago a maester came into my employ. Before his death..” He paused when Sansa raised her eyebrow, causing him to smirk. “Of natural causes I assure you. Before his death he told about a child he helped deliver in the middle of King Robert's rebellion and in exchange for his silence he was paid a healthy sum of gold dragons. The news of this child caused me to learn many things. The first was that your father has never been unfaithful to your mother.”

“I don't understand.” Sansa shook her head. Her father had been unfaithful. Once. He made one mistake and he spent the rest of his life paying for it. Everyday, Catelyn still looked at Ned with a small heartbroken look and Sansa was sure that he wouldn't have allowed himself to deal with his wife's torture unless he deserved such treatment.

“The mother, was Lyanna Stark and Jon Snow is her bastard.” Sansa moved away from him and shook her head in disbelief. Baelish moved and wrapped his arms around her middle. His hands rested on her stomach and she linked her fingers through his.“I knew this was going to hurt you and I'm sorry for that. It is why I was hesitant to tell you.” Baelish's tone held concern and she believed him.

“Who is the father?” Her voice was hollow and numb.

“I don’t know.” Baelish stated and Sansa gave him an incredulous look. Baelish smirked. “I honestly don’t know. I have two theories but there is no way of actually proving them. Whoever the father is and depending on Jon’s decisions from this point forward, hopefully it will be to our advantage.” Baelish stated and Sansa didn’t respond. Instead she just gave him a look. “King Robert has, in the past, insinuated that when he and Lyanna were betrothed to each other, they anticipated their marriage vows. If his words are true and not just wishful thinking on his part, she would have to be pregnant before she ran off with Rhaegar Targaryen. I do not believe Jon to be King Robert’s bastard but if he is, then he is rightful heir to the Seven Kingdoms.”

“But King Robert has several bastard children. If Jon is King Robert’s child, what makes him the heir over any of the others?” Sansa asked. She was shutting down her emotions, trying to allow her thoughts to clear. She couldn’t let this emotionally affect her and Baelish needed her to be able to focus. Jon would always be Jon to her, no matter what his parentage was. She loved him either way. Once her thoughts where clear, she was able to process Baelish’s words more clearly. “Wait, you said ‘ran off’. Aunt Lyanna was kidnapped? Wasn’t she?”

“Such a quick mind. It’s one of the things I adore about you. No, Lyanna was never kidnapped. She fell in love with Rhaegar Targaryen. She left with him willingly and she died close to eight months after the tourney at Harrenhal, in childbirth. Your father was present at the birth and promised his sister that he would protect her child. So, he pawned the child off as his own in order to protect him.” Sansa didn’t say anything but stayed still in Baelish’s arms. “On the off chance that Jon is King Robert’s bastard, he would be the heir to the throne because the king has no true born heirs and Jon would be his eldest living son. If the king knew that Lyanna bore him a child, a son, he would have no concern over disowning the children he thinks he has with Cersei and allowing Jon to take the throne. However, Cersei would have had Jon killed before allowing him on the throne. But, it is far more likely that Rhaegar was his father and if that is the case, the king would be the one to have him murdered and he wouldn't think twice about it, and possibly your father as well for keeping Jon from him.

The reality of the situation started to hit her hard and the anger she felt for her father started to fade. She understood why her father made the choices he made. If she had been in Lyanna’s circumstances and she had borne Baelish’s child out of wedlock and she died because of it, she would hope that Robb would protect that child if Baelish was unable to do so. She couldn’t hate her father for the lie and it actually caused her to respect and love him more for it. Perhaps he would understand why she lied about the Wildings attacking her. Both lies were born out of love.

“And you told Jon this?” Sansa asked, turning in her lover’s arms. Wouldn’t it have been safer for Jon and all of those involved for this secret to remain exactly that, a secret? The only thing that she could see accomplished was a feud between her father and Jon, something she wished she could be angry at Baelish for. However, the news of Jon’s possible parentage and the combination of their wedding only being a few hours away caused her to be far too exhausted to feel any anger. “What purpose did it serve?”

“I don’t know. It all depends on Jon’s actions and what he does with the news. It could amount to nothing. But, if it does amount to something, this could protect us in the end. Jon would never harm you, in anyway and I’m hoping that he would feel indebted to me for telling him the truth.” Baelish turned Sansa around in his arms and took her face into his hands. “This is the game Sweetling. This is how it is played. Gambles and risks and sometimes you won’t always know what the outcome will be. Sometimes you will hurt the ones you love in the process. I’m doing this to protect us. You and me. That is my concern, first and foremost. Always.” He pleaded with her. “Do you understand?”

Sansa wanted to hit him and to be angry with him but this was the life she signed up for. This was the life she was preparing to lead. If causing a mere argument between her father and the man she thought was her brother, then she had no business being in such a life. She knew that it was never going to be easy. So, she did exactly what she did with Jeyne. She was going to push her concerns and her guilt aside. She was going to accept whatever the game threw at her and the consequences that came along with it.

“Yes. I understand.” Sansa whispered and Baelish leaned in to kiss her on the lips. It was gentle and kind. He knew she was upset but she was willing to accept his actions. He would have to get used to including her in his schemes. It would be a hard lesson to learn but he was willing to try for her. The kiss lasted for a few minutes before the broke apart.

“Now, let us not worry about this anymore today. It is out of our hands for now. Let us worry about what is taking place in a few hours.” Baelish took her hands into his and smirked. The nervous knot in her stomach returned and Sansa couldn’t help but smile widely at him. Baelish couldn’t help himself and he leaned in and kissed her again. “There she is. My Sweetling.” Kiss. “Go. We both have things to accomplish. The next time I see you will be in the Godswood and you will be my wife.” With that, Baelish kissed Sansa one last time before leaving her standing in the stone corridor, watching as he retreated from her.

Chapter Text

The day grew colder and the clouds opened up, causing snow to be released from the sky. The snow graced everything it could touch, lying there, pure and innocent. White covered the land and it gave a beautiful hue to Winterfell. It was a true winter day as the snow continued to fall. The castle was as cold as it was quiet. The only sound that could be echoed through the stone corridors was the flicker of the touches. The servants were busy and only a few whispers could be heard.

It was as though the castle was deserted and Sansa knew it was because everyone was congregated at the Weirwood. The servants would all be in the kitchens or the dining all, preparing for the feast that would be held after the ceremony. For the first time in hours she was completely alone. The servants had been dismissed, asked to attend to other tasks and her mother and sister had left her to her thoughts. Sansa sat at her vanity and looked at herself in the mirror.

Her red hair was braided into an elaborate bun on the top of her head. The bright color of her hair caused a huge contrast against the white of her skin. She looked like winter personified and it made her fully realize that these were the last few moments she would spend as Sansa Stark. She looked around her chambers and there was nothing left. It was stripped to its bones and there was no sign of her anywhere in it. Arya's laughter was nowhere to be found. Her trunk had been removed hours earlier. The red and blue blanket that her mother had made her no longer hung over the rocking chair in the corner. This chamber belonged to Sansa Stark but Sansa Stark no longer existed. She realized how she so readily let go of the girl she was in exchange for the woman she was becoming. However, this chamber would always be haunted by the ghost of Sansa Stark.

She felt so alone in that moment. The quiet began to eat away at her, silence by silence. She leaned against the wooden post of the bed she would no longer sleep in. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. She yearned for something, anything; some type of noise to indicate that time was moving forward. She had been standing still in her existence for so long that she wanted nothing more than time to catch up with her.

A knock echoed through the chamber and Sansa rushed to the door. She opened the door forcefully and saw her father, Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of North standing in the corridor. He was dressed impeccably from head to toe. Even his light brown was pulled back instead of simply hanging around his face. Sansa saw that beneath his eyes were red; he had been crying. Sansa looked at him with deep sadness and wrapped her arms around him. Ned buried his face into her neck and let out a sob. He held so tightly that she almost couldn't breathe. Eventually he let go of her and placed his hands on her shoulder.

“You don't have to do this. If you want to end this engagement, it's not too late.” Ned stated in a hoarse and hallow voice. Sansa couldn't look at him so she turned her eyes downward. She took her hand and eased an imaginary crease out of her snow colored dress. Her wedding dress was pure white as freshly fallen snow. Her shoulders were covered by fur that rivaled Ghost's thick coat. The fur was attached to an intricate outer coat that was held together by two silver fish pins. “Please.”

“I don't have to do this but I want to.” Sansa leaned up and kissed his cheek, something she had always done as a child. It felt right to do it one last time at his unmarried daughter. As her lips touched his cheek she could feel the soft tears fall from his eyes. When she broke away, she reached up and wiped a stray tear away. “I still love you all. That will never change.”

“You've always been so beautiful.” Ned stated in a whisper. He took a deep breath and held out his arm. With one last look around her chambers, Sansa slid her arm into his. She said one finale goodbye and closed the door behind her. Neither of them spoke as they walked through Winterfell. She could feel him tense with each step. They paused at the giant wooden doors for Ned to pick up the lantern that had been waiting for them on the stone steps. When the stepped fully into the outdoors, Sansa closed her eyes. The snow was still falling but only just slightly and she wanted to feel the flakes land on her face before they moved forward.

The Godswood felt alive. The breeze pushed the leaves, but gently. The branches creaked, welcoming her into their mist. Lanterns, similar to one Ned held in his hand, lit the way deeper into the darken wood. Sansa could feel the snow crunch beneath her boots. With each step along the snow covered path, she killed the girl and the woman was born. A crowd of black was ahead, mingling in the glow of the lanterns. Not a single color could be seen beyond the red of the Weirwood that stood tall and proud. As they approached, the crowed parted and created an aisle between them. As they slowly walked between the crowd, she could feel their eyes on her but she only saw two figures standing ahead. They both stood still as statues, neither moving.

Sansa saw him then. Baelish stood a ways back from her brother, and the look upon his face made her feel powerful. She read desire, anguish, longing, fear, excitement and so much more in each crease of his face. She couldn't help but smirk in triumph at him. His dark clothes were elegant as ever and his mockingbird pin gleamed in contrast to the dark fabric. When they stood directly in front him, she saw his finger's flex, itching to reach out to her. Baelish's apparent need for her caused her to be able to put the final nail in her coffin. A goodbye never felt so perfect before.

“Who comes before the Old God's this night?” Robb's voice sounded from in front of Baelish. His tone was firm and hard. It was as though if he allowed any emotion beyond steel to be voiced, he might completely crack and allow his perfectly crafted mask to come tumbling down around him.

“Sansa, of the House Stark, comes here to be...” Ned breathed in and swallowed, “to be wed. A women grown, true-born and noble. She comes to beg the blessing of the Gods. Who comes to claim her?” His voice broke at the last part. She squeezed his arm slightly but she never took her eyes off of Baelish. He stepped forward, aligning himself next to the Heir of Winterfell.

“Petyr, of House Baelish, Lord of Harrenhal, Protector of the Vale and Master of Coin. Who gives her?” Baelish's voice washed over her as though she was coming up for air for the very first time. His voice and his presence allowed her to breathe again after drowning for so long. The ice on the water cracked and Sansa thawed as though his voice was a ray light beaming down upon her.

“Eddard, of the House Stark. Lord of Winterfell, Warden of the North and her father.” His voice was stronger than before and it was as though he had surrendered in battle. It was the same voice he used when he was forced to execute a deserter from the Wall. It was a voice that he hated but used when the situation was warranted.

“Lady Sansa, do you take this man?” Robb asked and Sansa just smiled. She suddenly realized that she was crying. The tears fell from her eyes freely but it wasn't out of sadness. She could taste the salt on her lips but she continued to smile. Baelish looked at her as though she was the world laid out in front of him. She felt as though she was everything he had worked for and that she was his reward. Maybe he was her's.

“Yes.” It was just above a whisper but they heard it. Baelish smiled that boyish smile and it made her heart lurch. Ned took her hand and slowly placed it into Baelish's. It took him a moment to let go. When she finally felt Ned's hand slowly slide completely out of her's, her hand was engulfed by Baelish's. Ned stepped back allowing Sansa to move forward and stand completely beside Baelish.

“Lord Baelish, do you take this woman?”

“Yes.” The word sound and one final breeze blew past them, causing the flames to flicker. Baelish leaned in and place his lips upon hers. The kiss was gentle, slow and almost innocent. It lasted only a moment but it was so much more than any other kiss they shared. This was the kiss that killed Sansa Stark and allowed Sansa Baelish to be reborn.

Lord and Lady Baelish turned, with their hands still locked together, to face those who witnessed the ceremony. A dozen faces peered at them, all with tear stained eyes. Not one smile was among them yet the tears were not all born out of sadness. They were the tears of realizing how finale this all was. Sansa was gone and yet she stood there in front of them. Each member of her family stepped forward and took the bride into their arms. Arya was first, with tears streaming down her eyes. Sansa could never, in living memory remember seeing her sister cry. Not even when Bran died. Robb was next and then was followed by Jon. Being in their arms felt like comfort and a home that had been long forgotten. Her mother was next. Catelyn was a mess of tears trailing down her face and then finally, her father stood in front of her. He placed his hands on her shoulders, squeezed and pulled her into a tight embrace. Baelish stood back, allowing her this moment before he took her hand again, linking his fingers with her’s.

Slowly they began to walk down the aisle together, the crowd slowly following behind them. The closer they reached the gates of Winterfell, the more the chatter of the crowd began to grow. It never became loud or boisterous but instead it was calm and collected. Neither Baelish nor Sansa spoke a word. They just allowed the moment to overtake them. Winterfell drew near and the crowd entered its ancient walls. Calm and methodic music could be heard coming from the dining hall.

Sansa hadn't noticed before but the corridor was filled with the same lanterns that lit the pathway in the Godswood. She had never seen Winterfell so beautiful. This was her last night sleeping in its walls and she never before realized how divine it was. She wondered if Harrenhal would be as ravishing. She looked over to her husband and knew that he would make it that way for her if she so desired.

The dining hall was decorated far more elegantly than it had been for Jeyne's wedding. The decorations were simple, ivory hanging on the walls with white roses lingering in the vines. The same lanterns filled the hall with light causing shadows to dance on the stone walls. The wooden tables were lined up in a way that caused them to face the high table. Baelish led her to the high table and held her chair for her. She sat down and watched those around her file in and take their seats. The wedding was far smaller than Jeyne's but far more elegant.

“Are you well Sweetling?” Baelish asked in a calm tone. He placed his hand on her forearm gently. She looked at his hand and realized that he could touch her in any way he pleased. In return, she received the same privilege. There would be no one to oversee them. Her mother wouldn't be lurking around a corner, waiting for them to step out of line. They were bounded together in a way that couldn't be broken.

“I'm perfect.” Sansa replied and Baelish smiled widely. He leaned in and kissed her again. It wasn't a powerful or passionate kiss but it was something deeper. She could feel him smile against her lips and it caused Sansa to laugh. It was a joyous laugh that echoed throughout the dining hall. The eyes of her family watched her. She continued to laugh and they realized that it was the first time they heard it in a very long time. They couldn't understand why they never noticed it missing before.

“Me too.”

Music began to play in a more boisterous tone. The noise level began to grow as the wine flowed and the tension eased. Ned move to sit on her other side and he placed his hand gently on her arm while her other hand remained linked with Baelish's. She turned to her father and gave him a warm, light smile. He returned the smile in kind and she realized he didn't seem so sad anymore. While he appeared far from happy, he seemed far more content than the man who had just given her away.

The small party grew joyful and laughter could be heard ringing throughout the dining hall. Sansa just sat and enjoyed the meal, the company and felt complete for the first time in years. Baelish squeezed her hand gently, causing her to turn and face him. He still wore that boyish smile that she grew to adore. He seemed happy to be there and happy with her. He may not have been what she was expecting in life but he was far better than any knight she could have wished for.

He seemed so relaxed and content. He never let go of her hand and he would periodically glance over at her. She wondered if he felt the as jittery as she did. It was clear that he was pleased and it was more than just one of his schemes being successful. It was as though she was more than just a piece in his game. She knew that he was using her in many of the same ways she was using him but their relationship was so much more than that. It was built on lies, deceit and the darkest of plans but their foundation was as solid as it could be.

“Have I told you how beautiful you are tonight?” Baelish asked her softly. He raised her hand to his lips and that naughty smirk replaced the boyish smile. Sansa could tell that his mood had shifted and he felt playful. She always enjoyed him when he was in a mischievous state of mind. Trouble usually followed but she was certain that any trouble he caused on this night she would certainly enjoy. No one had the right or ability to separate them now.

“No. But it was implied.” Sansa stated and returned his smirk with a matching one of her own. His eyes flickered to her father to make sure he was distracted. Catelyn, whose eyes were still red, had moved to sit by her husband and had him occupied. Baelish leaned in toward his new bride and she could feel his warm breath grace her skin. He kissed her cheek briefly before moving toward her ear.

“I will greatly enjoy being buried inside you tonight, Lady Baelish.” His tone was husky and it made her squirm in her seat. “And you, my dear wife, will be hoarse in the morning from screaming my name.” He kissed her cheek again and it made her shiver to feel his lips on her skin again. Once he pulled away she bit her bottom lip in order to keep her from whimpering. She turned to look at him and saw that smug smile on his lips. Sansa narrowed her eyes in mock fury which caused him to laugh. He raised his eyebrow at her and Sansa huffed.

“Behave.” She whispered to him. His eyes traveled over her body in desire and his smirk grew wider.

“Never.” Her thoughts went into a frenzy. The memory of his chest pressed against her. The taste and smell of him filled her senses and it caused Sansa to breathe deeply. She dug her nails into the wood of the chair and she was certain that she would cause herself to have splinters. Sansa was anxious, wanting time to move faster. The entire day had moved slowly and Sansa thought the moment she was yearning for would never come. She felt a hand on her arm and turned to see her father looking at her in concern.

“Sansa. Are you alright?” Ned asked. His brows were knit together in a worried manner. His eyes roamed her face, which she could only assume she was as bright as her hair. She certainly felt flushed and it didn’t help that she could feel her husband laughing beside her. She would have to speak to him about that later.

“I’m fine. It’s just warm in here, that’s all.” Sansa replied and Ned seemed pacified. He nodded and moved away slightly. Deciding that he didn’t want to be seated any longer, Ned stood from the table and made his way toward the table that held her siblings. She felt a slight wave of guilt when Jon’s face became stony and cold as Ned approached. Ned touched Jon on his shoulder and the younger man pursed his lips. Ned whispered something into Jon’s ear and the younger man nodded. The two of them moved away into a corner but didn’t leave the dining hall.

The shock of Jon’s parentage still ran through her. To her, Jon would always be her brother. For a time she considered him below her because of his bastard status but once she grew as a person, she realized just how wonderful he was. It didn’t matter to her who his true parents were, she still loved him. She just felt guilty for his pain and how her father was scrambling to be in his good graces again.

Collateral damage.

His pain and anyone else’s would be collateral damage in the game of thrones. People would die, she knew this. She was prepared to set the world ablaze in order to achieve her goal, but it didn’t make it any easier. She would do things that she wished she didn’t have to. Sansa turned to look at her new husband. His eyes were also trained to the conversation between Ned and Jon. She took his moment of distraction to observe him.

They were so similar she realized. Both of them loved someone who hurt them deeply and that love nearly got them killed. Such love hardened them and pushed them into darkness. They both were willing to do things that were considered amoral in order to get what they wanted. She knew that Baelish had done things in the past that she couldn’t even contemplate doing. He had his fair share of blood on his hands and she knew that in time, she would join him there. He had married Lysa, a women he despised simply in order to gain something he needed. Sansa was certain she would never be able do such a thing. She only planned on being married once.

Sansa reached out and took his hand again. Baelish turned to look at her. She had the urge to drag him from the dining hall but the bedding ceremony wouldn’t occur for some time. It wouldn't be prudent for her to leave the feast early, no matter how much she wanted to. She was certain that Baelish wouldn't mind the thought of her dragging him away from the feast and if he knew that she even considered it, he might promote the idea. She looked around and realized that while people would glance their way, no one could hear them over the noise. She smirked as a wicked idea sprung to mind.

“Tell me Lord Baelish, how loud will I be screaming?” She asked innocently. She grabbed a slice lemon cake and allowed the center to smear on her fingers. Slowly, she licked each of her fingers, one by one. Each one would enter her mouth and she would suck them until they were clean. Once her fingers were clear of lemon, she picked up a dining towel and wiped her lips. She saw his eyes trail down to her lips and his tongue licked his.

“Loud enough that even your father will hear you.” Baelish shifted and Sansa could tell that he was uncomfortable and aroused. “And in the morning, you will be walking bow legged and he will know that I defiled and penetrated his daughter, thoroughly and often.” He smirked at her and reached across her in order to grab a lemon cake. His arms brushed across her chest, causing her to suck in a breath. He placed the lemon cake in his mouth, looking completely pleased with himself.

“While that sounds delectable, I would strongly advise against me voice my pleasure so thoroughly.” Sansa stated in a tone that she hoped made her sound unaffected. She failed and they both knew it. Baelish seemed too smug to be concerned by her lack of interest. They knew that their night would not be filled with sleep but instead they would be indulging in their desires that they have been denied.

“And why would that be?”

“Because I would hate to be a widow so soon after becoming a bride.” Sansa replied with a smirk and Baelish burst out laughing. His laughter attracted a few looks but it was fleeting because a loud bang sounded from the other side of the dining hall. The wooden doors burst open and a haggard man rushed in. Sansa recognized him but couldn't recall his name. His hair was long and untidy. His cloak was disheveled and even from the distance she was across the hall, she could tell that he seemed out of breath. The music stopped and everyone looked at him in question.

“The King! The King is dead! The King is dead!”

Chapter Text

Baelish's chamber was bigger than she expected. There was a wooden four-poster bed pressed against the back wall and a fur carpet covered the floor. His trunk was nestled against the end of the bed and she noticed that her's was pushed up against the wall, under the window. She knew that the servants had moved the trunk the day before, something she found odd seeing that it would be loaded onto a carriage the following day. Sansa's eyes traveled to the bed again and saw the elegant furs that covered the feather mattress. Of course her husband insist on the best. Part of her wanted to drag her new husband to the bed and let him throw her down upon it.

However, she was far too angry to allow him that privilege just yet. The King was dead, killed by a boar that he was hunting. A perfect death and easily blameless. The King was dead. Something that was the last thing she could possibly want. If the King was dead, then Joffery would sit upon the Iron Throne and she would have to pledge her loyalty to him. The thought of Joffery being king made her stomach twist in disgust. The damage a psychopath could do when he had an entire county in his hands was enormous. He could potentially eradicate an entire kingdom and he would feel no guilt in doing so. Instead he would receive pleasure in such actions.

Sansa turned about the room and looked at the candles that were lit, causing a small amount of light to dance around the walls. It caused a romantic and lustful atmosphere that under other circumstances, Sansa would have taken full advantage of. She heard the door close behind her with a quick snap. She turned to see her husband standing by the door, eyeing her closely. Her posture stiffened and she crossed her arms. When the news that the King was dead had rung across the dining hall, she had turned to Baelish and saw the lack of surprise on his face.

Her husband walked toward her slowly with a tentative look upon his face. He was worried and frightened, something that pleased her. They always said that the worst fight was always the first and they were about to have a fight on an epic sale. He placed his hands on the side of her arms and looked her directly in the eyes. His eyes pleaded for her to understand but she was far too angry for her to even think of brushing this aside.

“Sansa-” Baelish's words were cut off when Sansa raised her hand and brought it down across the side of his face. The sharp smack echoed around the room and bounced off the stones. He moved his jaw in discomfort and brought his hand to his face to rub the place where her hand connected with his skin. She raised her hand to hit him again but he grabbed her wrist. His hold wasn't crushing as Theon's but instead it was gentle and loose. “Sansa, let me explain.”

“Did you know?” She spat at him. Baelish opened his mouth to reply but before she would even allow him to speak, she placed her finger on his lips. “Don't you dare lie to me. You promised me this morning, on our wedding day that you would never lie to me. So help the Old Gods if you break that promise already. Did you know that the King was going to die?” Her tone was fierce and hard. Baelish kissed her finger before taking her hand and kissing her palm.

“Sinister things are happening in King's Landing.” The words echoed and her mind flashed to her family crypt. The place he kissed her for the first time. The place where she learned the truth about Joffery and his siblings. The place where he gave her that first warning. He knew the King would die the entire time he had known her, perhaps even longer. He knew what Joffery had done to her and yet left out the information that when they reached King's Landing, Joffery would be King. Perhaps he thought she would have changed her mind about marrying him. Would she have? She didn't know.

“Did you have a hand in it? Did you help kill the King?” It came out as a whisper. A desperate whisper. She closed her eyes and allowed the tears to leak out. Baelish pulled her to him and she realized that she had been shaking. The fear was getting to her, consuming her.

“No. I promise you that I did not help murder the King.” Baelish placed both of his hands on her tear stained face. “But I know who did.” She opened her eyes and saw the sincerity in his eyes. He wanted her to understand and Sansa forced herself to be willing to listen. She wanted to blame him but she believed him when he said that he didn't help murder the King. That brought some comfort.

“Who did?”

“The Queen.” Sansa remembered how disgusted Cersei had been with her husband each time they visited Winterfell. It was obvious that she loved her position but despised her husband. It came as no surprise to Sansa that Cersei would be the one who arranged his death. “She started planning before I left King's Landing a year ago. When her father, Tywin Lannister, discovered her affair with her twin brother, he banished Jaime back to Casterly Rock in order to protect the secret of Joffery's parentage. I made certain that the Westerlands was the first Kingdom I traveled to. I had my suspicions of the Queen's motives but I couldn't be certain.”
“What did you learn?” She had no idea that the Kingslayer had been removed from the Capitol. She was certain that Tywin had covered the banishment with some clever story. Jaime was the heir to Casterly Rock so it wouldn't be too difficult.

“That the Queen was going to kill her husband. Jaime has a loose tongue when applied with too much wine and no memory of what he told me.” Baelish smirked slightly, obviously proud of his scheme. “The Queen convinced the King's squire, her cousin Lancel to apply the King with so much wine that he would become foolish on his hunt and the planned worked perfectly. What Jaime didn't know was that his sister was also sleeping with the squire. Something he would not have been pleased to learn.”

“If you knew of this plan, why not put a stop to it? I thought you needed the King?” Sansa asked. He told her that the reason he had Jon Arryn murdered was because he was looking into Cersei's affair. If the King learned of it, he would have happily placed her head, along with her children's, head on a spike but Baelish needed the King to be foolish, and that was something the Queen made him, foolish. Thus, he needed Jon Arryn removed.

“I needed the King to bankrupt all of Westeros. The King served his purpose. If he lived or died, it was irrelevant.” With that Sansa huffed and pulled away from him. She paced for a few moments. Irrelevant. How those words cut through her. The King's death was anything but irrelevant to her.
“Irrelevant?! How is the King dying and Joffery taking the throne irrelevant?” She wrapped her arms around herself, hoping for some type of security. “You know what he did. You know what Joffery did. How can you say that it is irrelevant? He-” She couldn't say the words. Instead her hand flew to her mouth and she turned her back on him. Baelish moved forward and wrapped his arms around her waist. She couldn't help but lean back into him.

“I always planned on taking you as my wife, even before I met you, I will not lie to you about that. But when I came to Winterfell, I never expected to have developed the...fondness that I have for you. By the time I was here, Cersei's plans had already been set in motion and with me hundreds of miles away, there would be no possible way to put an end to it.” He paused for a moment, kissing her cheek and holding her close. “But I can promise you this, Joffery will never touch you again. I will make sure you are guarded at all times. When you want to be alone, Lady will never leave your side and at worst you have your dagger.”

“What if all that fails?” Sansa whispered. She wouldn't lie and say that his words were not comforting. It was obvious that he meant them but she was still afraid. Afraid that Joffery would somehow find his way to her. He was the king now and could do as he pleased. No one would be able to stop him. If he wanted her, all he would have to do is take her. Not even her husband would be able to stop that. She could hope that his family would keep a leash on him but that was no certainty.

“Then his death will be a bloody one.” His voice was serious and deadly, it was the same voice he used when Theon threatened her. He meant every word. Baelish's arms tightened around her waist. “I promise you on my life that I will do everything in my power to protect you. Everything I do. Every life I take and every move I make will be for you, for us.”

“But what does all of this serve?” Sansa questioned in a soft voice. She was thawing. Her fear and her anger were slowly beginning to fade. She linked her fingers through his and felt him grasp them. “Your schemes and your plans, all it does is create chaos. A gaping pit of chaos to swallow us all.”
“Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder.” Baelish spoke with such strength and certainty that Sansa turned in his arms. She looked at him and held her breath. “Many who try to climb it, fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb but they refuse. They cling to the realm or the gods or lobe. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”

She looked at Baelish with a blank face, her features cold as stone. His words still echoed into her and a warmth spread through her veins. She reached up and traced the mockingbird pin that was placed on his black coat. She was a mockingbird now and this was her time to fly. If she had to fly through chaos, at least she would have someone by her side, a bigger mockingbird to shield her if need be. Sansa moved her fingers from the pin and dug her nails into the dark coat. She pulled him close to her and crashed her lips to his.

The kiss was passionate and exciting. Baelish wrapped his arms around her waist as Sansa dragged one of her hands from his chest into his black hair. Her nails dug into his scalp and Baelish moaned that the pain. Her other hand hurriedly began to undo the ties that held his coat together. Once it was completely open, Sansa removed her hand from his hair and pushed the coat off of his shoulders. The kiss never broke.

Once the coat landed on the ground with a soft thunk, Baelish pulled her back to him roughly. Their tongues battled for dominance and when Sansa needed to breathe, she pulled on his hair and removed his lips from hers. He placed his hands on her waist and forced her to turn around. She expected him to wrap his arms around her, something that has become a habit of his but instead she felt him fuss with the ties of her dress. Eventually he got impatient and just ripped the entire back of her dress open.

A cold breeze grace her skin. However, the chill did not last long as Baelish placed his hands on her skin, trailing them inside of dress. He reached up and took her breast into his hands as his began to kiss the side of her freshly exposed neck. The feel of his hands on her bare breasts caused her to whimper loudly and for her head to fall back onto his shoulder. He pinched and pulled on her nipples. She bit her lip hoping to quell a moan.

“No, Sweetling. I want to hear you.” He continued his assault on her breast as his lips licked, sucked and bit at her neck. Sansa released her bottom lips from her teeth and allowed herself to whimper. She could feel her husband smile against her neck. Eventually, she turned in his arms and smashed her lips to his again. Her hands made a fist in his tunic and she ripped it open before pulling it out of his breeches. Once the tunic was pulled through his arms, Sansa threw the offending garment onto the wooden floor, causing his chest to become bare. “That was silk.”

“Don't care.” Sansa stated as she began a trail with her lips down his jaw and onto his neck. Baelish pulled at the dress that was still covering her chest. He worked the dress down her arms and allowed it to hang around her waist. Baelish placed his hands on her back and smashed her to his chest. The feel of her breast against his naked chest caused a loud to sound from the back of her throat. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders as Baelish began to push the dress down her legs completely.

When the dress pooled around her feet, Sansa stepped out of the mass of fabric. Sansa stood in front of her new husband almost completely naked. His eyes trailed over her and his penetrating gaze made Sansa's arousal pool between her legs. Baelish stepped forwards and placed one of his fingertips at her collar bone. Slowly he trailed that finger down her collar bone and traced her breast, skipping over her nipple. He ran his finger down the side of her waist and he leaned down in front of her. He unhooked the holster that held her dagger as he placed a gentle kiss on the red hair that covered her mound. The brief kiss caused another moan to leave her lips.

Baelish tossed the dagger across the chamber and it sounded with a loud thunk as it hit the stone wall. He stood and kicked off his boots before removing his wool stockings. He grabbed Sansa below her bottom and lifted her up. She responded by wrapping her legs around his waist, pressing her soaked core to his bulge. The newlyweds moaned at the contact. They rested their foreheads together and lightly kissed each other. Baelish walked toward the bed and tossed Sansa upon it, causing her to laugh.

Baelish smirked at her as she propped herself up on her elbows. She returned his smirk and quirked her eyebrow at him. He grabbed her ankle and removed one of her boots. He tossed it over his shoulder before removing the other one. He slowly dragged her stockings off of her thighs and crawled up her body. Sansa bit her lip in excitement and he leaned down to kiss her. She reached in between them and slowly untied the laces on his breeches. Once the laces were completely undone, Sansa placed her hands his chest and pushed him away.

She leaned up and moved him so his back was against the bed. She curled her fingers at the top of his breeches and started to pull them down. He lifted his hips in order to make it easier for her to pull them off. Once the breeches were discarded, Baelish moved to flip them back over but Sansa pushed him back down onto the bed. She smirked at him and quirked her finger at him. Satisfied at her plan, Baelish leaned back and allowed Sansa to straddle him. She sat down on his member, allowing her juices to drench him. She rotated her hips and his members slipped through her folds but never entered her. She leaned down and kissed him. He wrapped his arms around her, pressing her to his chest.

Slowly, Sansa pushed away and sat higher up on his knees. She bit her bottom lip and locked her eyes with him. Her husband reached down and took himself into his hand. His other hand moved to her hips. She lowered herself onto him, causing her face to constrict in pleasure. Baelish looked at her and he had never seen a more beautiful sight. Her hair was still done up in that elegant braid piled up on her head. Her skin was flushed and she was completely unashamed at being bare in front of her.

He placed his other hand on her hip and he began to move her up and down. Sansa placed her hand on top of his and allowed him to take control. The feel of him inside of her was heaven. She could hear her voice making inalienable noises. The faster she moved her hips, the louder she became. Baelish moved one of his hands to her pearl, twirling it under his finger.

“Petyr!” Sansa shouted and leaned forward. She placed her hand on the headboard, changing the angle. She rocked her hips faster and harder as Baelish worked on her. She could hear his panting breath from under her. She looked at him, locking her eyes with his. He leered at her in complete desire, which caused a tight sensation to build up in side of her. She closed her eyes and began to chase that goal, harder and faster. Eventually she felt herself clench around him and her muscles spasm.

As the bliss soared through her, she barely felt her back hit the furs that were placed on the bed. She felt her legs spread wider as her husband pounded into her fast and furiously. Once her high completely subsided, Sansa pushed her hips up against him, matching the rhythm he set. It wasn't long before his face constricted and he called out her name into her neck. He stilled above her and Sansa could feel his seed spill into her. Baelish propped himself above her, resting his weight on his arms. His hand moved a few stray hairs that had fallen out of her braided bun, away from her face. He kissed her gently on the lips.

“Oh Sweetling.” His voice was breathless and satisfied. He kissed her again before moving himself off of her. When he pulled out of her, Sansa whimpered at the loss. Baelish landed on the bed next to her. He reached out and linked their hands together. He brought the back of her hand to his lips. Once his lips broke away from her skin, he opened his arms. “Come to me.” Sansa smiled in a girlish manner, and moved to wrap her arms around his chest. She placed her head on his skin and absentmindedly traced the scar on his chest.

“You seemed pleased.” Sansa stated and Baelish laughed. She could feel the vibrations in his chest that was caused by his laughter. His hand reached up and slowly he began to undo her hair. Slowly she could feel her hand fall down her back and her husband's fingers run through her hair. He kissed the top of her hair with a smile.
“As you should be too, my little wife.” Baelish stated against her hair.

“I'm still mad at you.” Sansa leaned down and kissed his chest before tilting her head to look at him. She kissed him on the lips. His smirk could be felt against her lips. In truth she was still angry and most likely would be for a while. She just wasn't going to allow that anger to override her. If she got too frustrated with him, she was certain that he would allow her to work out her anger on his person, and he would enjoy every moment of it.
“You seem furious.” With that, he reached down and tickled her waist. Sansa squealed loudly at the assault. Once he stopped, she realized how loud her laughter was and got embarrassed. She flopped on her back and placed her hands over her face. Baelish took her wrist gently and stopped her from hiding herself from him. Once her hands were pulled away, he could see her face was bright red. “What is it Sweetling.”

“They are going to hear us!” Baelish chuckled. He was sure that at some point a guard or servant had passed by their chambers during their pursuits. If they hadn't, there were chambers located beside, above and below theirs. While he didn't care if anyone heard him pleasuring his wife, he knew that she would be embarrassed. These people had known her since she was a child and here she was acting in the most wantonly way possible. He enjoyed every moment of it but he was certain that she would not be able to look a few people in the eye in the morning.

“Sansa, you chanted and moaned my name. I would be very surprised if they haven’t heard you already.” Baelish stated with a smirk. Slowly he trailed his hand down her flat stomach and toward her center. He parted her lips and graced the nub stationed between her legs. Sansa whimpered at the contact. Her mouth parted in pleasure and her head fell back ward. Baelish leaned down and took her nipple into his mouth, sucking it for a moment. “And it is something I plan to cause several times tonight.”

Chapter Text

A bird could be heard chirping through the window. It continued to sing as the sun slowly peeked its way over the mountain top. The song could be heard even though the window of Lord and Lady Baelish's chamber was closed. The bride was asleep with her naked chest pressed against the feather mattress. Her hair was sprawled across the pillows and her eyes completely shut. She was exhausted because sleep didn't come easily to her the night before. The reason being was that her new husband remained buried deep inside of her for most of the evening.

Baelish was propped up on his elbow, examining his sleeping wife. He looked out the window and saw the sun begin to peak through the window. He knew that they would be departing in an hour or two. Sansa would need to rise and he knew she would not be pleased to be woken. It was only four hours ago that she had fallen asleep in his arms after being completely spent. A wicked smirk appeared on his lips and he leaned forward. He moved her red hair to the side, exposing her pale and naked back. He drew lazy circles on her back but she only whimpered.

He leaned in and placed a kiss on the base of her neck. His lips sucked at her skin and his tongue licked her lightly. He started to trail his lips down her back. Two kisses down, Sansa started to moan but it wasn't out of pleasure. Hearing her discontent, Baelish smirked even wider. He placed his hand on the small of her back and slowly made it's way under the sheet. He slid his hand down her bottom and he slowly moved it in between her folds. Sansa arched off of the bed and whimpered.

“Petyr.” She whined and her hands curled against the sheet. Baelish slipped a finger and then another inside of her and started to pump it in and out. His lips still kissed the skin of her back as she withered against him. “Petyr, I'm trying to sleep.” Sansa stated in a breathy moan. Baelish of course didn't stop but instead increased his pace.

“Rise and shine Sweetling. We have a long day ahead of us.” He stated but he was certain she didn't hear him. Her thoughts were focused on his hands and the budding tension that was building inside of her. Suddenly her body arched and she called out his name. Baelish pulled his fingers out of her and Sansa turned on her back.

Her legs parted automatically and Baelish nestled himself between them. He took himself in hand and slowly eased his way inside of her. Sansa whispered his name when he was fully seethed inside of her. He rested his forehead against her's and they just looked at each other. Sansa's hands were placed on his shoulders. Baelish bent down and captured her lips with his.

He started to move slowly in and out of her. It was an agonizingly slow pace and caused both of them to whimper and moaned against each other. Sansa dragged her feet up against his calfs and parted her legs wider. She arched against him and the changed the angle of their bedding session caused him to go deeper.

“Sansa.” Baelish whispered into her neck. Sansa weaved her fingers through his hair while her other hand dragged her nails down his back. The nails dug into the skin of his back, causing Baelish to still and spill himself inside of her. They stayed together, just allowing themselves to catch their breath. Sansa wrapped her arms around his shoulders and kissed him. They kissed lazily and they smiled into each other. After a moment, Baelish pulled himself out of her and moved beside her.

He laid on his back and Sansa moved into the nook of his arm. She rested her head against his chest and he held her closely. His fingers ran up and down her arm in a lazy manner. She felt him place a kiss on the top of her head and she smiled. She closed her eyes and felt herself begin to drift back off to sleep.

“Sansa, we have to get up.” Baelish stated and his wife grunted. He laughed lightly and could feel her smile against him. He shook her gently and Sansa snuggled in closer to him. She lifted her leg over his waist and pulled herself so that she was as close to him as possible.“If we plan on leaving on time, we need to prepare for the day.”

“Don't want to.” She mumbled but Baelish could hear that she was far more awake than she pretended to be. “Although if you continue to wake me in such a manner, I might just become a morning person.” Her husband smiled into her hair. One thing he learned about her the night before was that if he placed his hands in the perfect position, she would squeal. He did just that and his new wife jumped off him, causing him to burst out laughing. “How rude!” Sansa slapped him lightly.

She reached down and pulled the furs up close to her, covering her naked chest. Her eyes were narrowed at her husband, who was propped up on one arm with the sheet covering his waist. His leer was firmly in place.

“Are you awake now?” Baelish stated in a satisfied tone. Sansa could tell that he was overly pleased with himself. Although it was no wonder why, he had just spent the better part of the last twelve hours making her scream him name. Any man would be smug after such a time. His eyes linked with her's and she couldn't help but feel the corners her mouth turn up.

“Yes, no thanks to you.” She laughed lightly. “What are the plans for today?”

“Well, we are going to get dressed” Baelish leaned up and kissed her shoulder, “and then as the servants take our trucks to the carriage, we are going to have breakfast with your family.” He kissed her neck before wrapping his arms around her. “Once we are fed and happy we will set off southward.” She leaned down and kissed him. “Are you okay?”

“I'm beyond terrified but having you there will make me feel...I don't know.” She was silent and looked at her hands. Baelish kissed her shoulder again in comfort. “I just...as long as Joffery is king I never will feel safe in King's Landing. It was one thing when he was the prince but as king he has so much more power.” She teared up and her husband brought her into his arms.

“I meant what I said last night. I will protect you at all cost. I will never allow him to touch you again.” His voice was serious and stern. She knew that he meant every word. What concerned Sansa was the chance that he would fail. She knew her husband wasn't used to failing but it could happen. Everyone failed every now and then. She just hoped that protecting her wouldn't be something he failed at.

“I still can't believe you didn't tell me.” Her voice was soft and he could tell that she wasn't angry anymore. Sansa took all of her anger out on him the night before and once she achieved that release, she just felt scared. While bravery was something that ran through her Stark blood, she couldn't help but have this sinking feeling inside of her that King's Landing would only bring about her downfall.

“I knew that Cersei would make an attempt on her husband's life but I didn't know when. I had thought that she would at least wait a bit longer but I think she was getting impatient. Being married to a man who disrespected her as frequently as he did, I think it ate away at her.” Baelish stated. “Many claim that she is one of the most beautiful women in all of Westeros and the man who called himself her husband, had no desire for her. I'm sure her vanity couldn't handle such a blow.”

“Do you think she is beautiful?” Sansa asked and her husband could hear a hint of jealousy in her tone. It caused him to smirk. He liked the thought of her being jealous over him. It brought a sense of primal pride out in him.

“Of course.” Sansa glared at him and pinched his chest. He raised a hand in defeat and laughed. “I won't lie, the Queen is very beautiful but she is a horrible person, almost as bad as me. Her whole fetish of sleeping with members of her family, such as Jaime and Lancel causes any desire for her to be squashed.” Sansa seemed pacified. He kissed the top of her head again. “She may be beautiful but she is no Sansa Baelish.”

The sound of hearing her new name caused a heat to run through her. She pushed her husband against the headboard and straddled him. She ground her self against him causing a moan to elicit from his lips. She crashed her lips to his and rotated her hips. Baelish hissed against her and she could feel him harden against her folds.

“Sansa we don't have much time.”

“Then we will be quick.”

“You didn't say that last night.”

“Stop talking.” Sansa crashed her lips to him against and sat up slightly. She placed her hands on the headboard that her husband leaned against. Baelish took himself into his hand before Sansa lowered herself down on him. She didn't waste time to allow herself to adjust to him, she just started rocking and riding him. The headboard banged loudly against the stone wall and neither of them were quiet.

Sansa leaned back and grabbed his legs behind her. Baelish couldn't help himself but he ran his hands up her torso and grabbed her breast. Sansa sucked in a breath as he began to pinch her nipple. Soon he leaned up and took her breast into his mouth. She moaned at the contact and let go of his legs. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders while she laced her fingers in his hair, pulling him away from her breast and latched their lips together. It wasn’t long before the two of them fell over the edge.

Sansa moved off of him and leaned back against the headboard as Baelish pulled himself from the bed. He was completely naked and seemed comfortable with that fact. He walked around the bed and Sansa just admired his form. He bent down and grabbed the breeches that had been discarded the night before. He pulled the breeches on and tide the ties loosely. He went to his truck and pulled out a fresh pair of clothing as well as picking up his coat he wore the night before. He unhooked the mockingbird pin from it. Returning back to his trunk he pulled out a silk blue robe.

Baelish walked over to the bed and handed his wife the robe. He smirked at her hair that was completely disheveled and leaned down to kiss her on the lips. It was a quick peck before he moved away from her. Sansa sat up and put on the robe. It was slightly too big for her but she allowed tied it around her waist. The fabric was far more luxurious than what she was used to. It felt soft and lovely against her skin. It wasn’t warm but she knew it would do perfectly in the South.

Leaving her side, Baelish walked toward the corner of their chambers. He bent down and picked up the dagger that had been tossed there the night before. Sansa looked at him strangely and he pulled the dagger from the holster. He held the dagger in his hand and he walked toward the other side of the bed. He pulled the fur down toward the end of the bed.

“What are you doing?” Sansa asked. She moved off of the bed and stood there beside it. Baelish smirked at her and cut his own finger with the dagger, causing it to bleed. He squeezed his finger, causing the blood to drip onto the white sheet. Sansa watched him as he spread the blood across the sheet. “The servant will never be able to remove that!” She remembered the first time her courses came and they bloody mess that had been created.

“I know but the servants need to think that your maidenhead had been taking last night and not before. A small amount of blood will convince them of such things.” Sansa had completely forgotten that the night before was the first time she was supposed to bring a man to her bed. “While it may not be important in the capitol, seeing that most already believe that you seduced the new King into your bed years ago, but I promised you that I would never would allow your reputation to be ruined in the North.” She smiled at him.

Sansa begged him once to keep the news of her ruin away from her family and away from the North. Joffery had bragged about bedding her and Cersei had to correct her son’s loose tongue. In order to prevent outrage at the prince forcefully ruining a high lord’s daughter, she spun the story that Sansa had seduced the prince. However, such actions didn’t sound as though it was something the Queen would have done. Sansa wondered if the news of her apparent seductions had more to do with Tywin Lannister than it did Cersei. He had his own son banished to Casterly Rock in order to separate the twins in order to protect the family. Sansa was sure that cleaning up his grandson's mess would far easier than pulling two lovers apart. He would do anything to protect his family.

“What if I don’t care anymore?” She looked at her husband and he cocked his head to the side slightly.

“What are you saying?” Baelish asked. He had done a great deal to cover their tracks. They were reckless before and he knew it; it was part of the thrill. Yet, he made sure that if even tiniest hint of their affair had reached the ears of an outsider, they would be compensated greatly. She wanted the North to remember her as this untouched porcelain doll, when she was anything but. If that is what she wanted, then he was more than happy to make that happen.

“The North will always be my home and I will always be welcomed here, no matter the state of my reputation. But in the capitol, I’m already ruined aren’t I? I certain there will be questions about our marriage. So if they are expecting a seductress, then that is what I will give them.” She smirked a naughty smirk and locked her eyes with her husband’s. “I will make them all want me and yet none of them will be able to touch me.”

“Except me.” Baelish stated with a wide leer. His eyes were trailing her and there was a mischievous glint in them. His mind was scheming and planning. She felt powerful. She was pushing her fear aside and allowing the possibilities of King’s Landing wash over her. He was her partner and with him by her side, anything she wanted was possible.

“Yes. Only you.” Sansa stated. She walked around the bed, dragging her fingertips along the sheets and wrapped her arms around his middle. She placed her chin on his naked shoulder. “I will flaunt my relationship with you. I will make them all know that only you can touch me and I will make them all want me. Joffery is King and can have anything he wants but not me. No. I will make him remember what he did but I won’t give him the satisfaction of thinking that he broke me.”

“That’s my girl.” Baelish turned in her arms and kissed her. “With your beauty, your smarts and my help, King’s Landing will fear and love you. Men will worship the ground you walk on and women will want to be you.” He kissed again. “But tempting Joffery, it will be like taunting a lion. It’s dangerous. A big gamble and a high risk.”

“You once told me that the higher the risk, the bigger reward.” Sansa stated as she drew small circles on his chest. She bit her lip and Baelish kissed her. “I’m counting on his grandfather to keep him on a tight leash. From what you told me of Tywin Lannister, I’m assuming he is not a man to be to go against, even if Joffery is the King. I will use that to my advantage. I will make Joffery want me, but he can’t have me. I will be his downfall. I will see him bleed.”

“He could easily break his engagement with Margaery Tyrell and have me killed. Then marry you in order to have you.” Baelish countered. While he was less than fond that outcome, it was a possibility. He didn’t believe that Joffery was cunning or intelligent enough to think of such things, but Cersei was. She was weak when it came to her son. If Joffery wanted something, she would bend over backwards to insure that he had his desires fulfilled. Yet, Tywin was not so easily displaced. As long as Tywin was alive, he would rein in Joffery's temptations. Perhaps her scheme had some merit.

“No. They won’t kill you. You’re far too loyal to the throne to be rid of. Who else will bring the kingdoms out of financial ruin? Who aligned such a powerful match between the throne and a powerful family? No. The throne values you too much to be rid of you.”

“I think I have fully corrupted you and what an enjoyable process it was.” Baelish stated with a smirk. He was proud of her. The way her mind worked fascinated him. He rarely found someone who could scheme on his level. He would bring down the entirety of Westeros if she so pleased but he was beginning to see that in time, she could complete such a task on her own. “I’m certain that I will reap the benefits.”

“Oh I’m sure that there are a few ways that you can continue to corrupt me on.” Sansa stated as she bit his lip. “If not, then we will just to find a way to keep ourselves occupied.” She trailed her hands down his chest toward the ties of his breeches. “We will have to perfect our craft to the point that it is a well-constructed dance, both in the bedroom, and outside of it.”

“Yes. We will.” Baelish stated as he caught her wrist. He gently pulled it away from him. “Unfortunately, now is not the time for such activates. We don’t have time.” Sansa pouted, sticking her lip out and Baelish leaned in and kissed it gently. “Later.”

“Promise?”

“Always.” He kissed one last time before pulling away from her. He walked over to his clothes and put his ivory green tunic on. “Get dressed. If we stall any longer we will miss breakfast and I rather not explain to your father why you missed the meal this morning.” He grabbed the coat that he pulled out of his trunk and put his arms through the sleeves. “He is already rather cross with me.” He stated as he tied the ties of his coat together. Sansa smirked.

“And why would that be?” His wife asked in a cheeky. She walked over to her own trunk and pulled out the first dress she found, along with a chase and corset. She looked over to her husband and saw that he was adjusting the mockingbird pin on the dark coat. Once it was adjusted, he sat down on his trunk in order to slip his wool stockings on along with his boots. It amazed Sansa how easily it was for men to prepare for the day. She would be in the chambers for at least another hour in order to dress simply and comfortably for a day of travel.

“Many, many reasons Sweetling.” Baelish stated with a smirk. “The first reason being I married and obviously defiled his eldest daughter.” Sansa shot him a look of contempt and rolled her eyes. “The second being that Jon might have indicated I was the one who told him about his mother.” He stood and glanced at himself in the mirror. He flattened his hair. He turned and appeared to be ready for the day. “And I’m certain he just hates me, not that I blame him.”

“My poor husband. It must be exhausting having such a father in law.” Sansa teased and Baelish smiled. He placed his hands on her hips and leaned in to kiss her again. They stood in such a manner for a few minutes. He pulled away from her and kissed the top of her head.

“Get dressed and I will see you at breakfast.”

With that, Baelish left her in the chambers alone. She walked out into the corridor for a moment, calling for a few servants to assist her with getting prepared for the day. Her eyes traveled to the bed and saw the blood upon it. It wasn’t much, but enough to be convincing. Perhaps she should blush and be embarrassed at the obvious signs of her wedding night. She laughed lightly and walked to the window. The bird was still singing. It was warm, or at least, what the North considered warm. Far warmer than it had been in a long time. Sansa could see that the snow from the night before had all melted and left a muddy ground behind. She closed her eyes and breathed in the breeze. Summer had arrived at last.

Chapter Text

As she walked down the stone corridor, Sansa wondered if the guards always kept a straight face, avoiding any type of contact or if it was because she had been so loud the previous night that no one could look her in the eye. Her boots echoed off the stone floor as she passed by each and every one of them. She was not sure if she should be the one who was embarrassed or if they should be. They all knew exactly what she had done the night before. Even if they did not hear her scream out her husband's name, it was common knowledge what happens on a wedding night.

She continued to force herself to stroll down the corridor. She could feel their eyes watching her and she wondered if she was walking differently. Baelish spent their wedding night invading her person is many different ways so if she was indeed walking differently, it would not surprise her. She was sore but it wasn't entirely unpleasant. The ache between her legs caused her mind to drift to the naughtiest of things.

Once she reached the dining hall, Sansa pushed the wooden doors open and strolled toward the table that her family was seated at. She noticed that the decorations from the wedding feats were still hanging on the walls but the spare tables had been removed from the hall. She knew that the decorations would come down once she had left Winterfell but it made her happy to see it decorated with such splendor still. It would be a pleasant memory to hold onto.

Her eyes traveled to the table that her family dined at. They were silent and their eyes were all upon her. Her father was at the head of the table, as always, and he wore a depressed look upon his features. Sansa was uncertain if it was the knowledge that she was no longer a maiden that saddened him or if it was the death of his old friend. She was certain that even though the King and her father had a falling out in the past, his death would still cause him pain.

Her mother was situated beside her husband and appeared to be extremely angry. Catelyn's eyes were narrowed and her lips were pursed. She was playing with the food in front of her but it was clear that she was not eating it. Edmure was seated beside his sister in the seat that Sansa normally occupied. She noticed that the only vacant seat was stationed between her husband and Arya and across from her uncle. Sansa walked around the table and took her seat next to Baelish, who promptly grabbed her hand and kissed the back of it, in front of her entire family. No one said a word.

Robb was seated next to Edmure and Sansa noticed that he was avoiding all eye contact with her. She suddenly remembered that his chambers were located directly above the ones she and Baelish had consummated their marriage in. Slightly embarrassed, Sansa decided it was best not to look at her brother at all during the meal. She could feel Arya vibrating beside her as she attempted to withhold her laughter. Sansa felt her face heat up and the only thing she could think to do was pick up the goblet that a servant just filled with water. She sipped lightly at the water and she noticed that Jon was not at the table.

“Where is Jon?” She asked turning to her father. She hoped that distracting them from the obvious would allow her embarrassment to fade. She saw that her mother's knuckles whited as she gripped her fork tightly. Her eyes shot a hurt look toward her husband and dared him to say anything.

“He left this morning. Early.” Catelyn stated and Sansa realized that her mother knew. Ned must have come clean about the truth of Jon's parentage. She wondered if her father was concerned that Baelish would have let something slip to her mother. While Sansa knew that there would have been no point of informing Catelyn, seeing that there would be no direct benefit from such an action, Ned could not be sure of what action Baelish would take.

“I see. I would have liked to say goodbye to him.” Sansa stated and looked at her father. She smiled lightly at him, wanting him to believe that she was none the wiser of the truth. Ned smiled gently at her but said nothing. He wouldn't come clean to her and that saddened her. He would always see her a child.

“I'm sure you will see him again.” Ned state before turning to Baelish. “Lord Baelish, Edmure and I were speaking at the feast last night after you and-” Ned paused and Sansa could tell that his mind went to a place he rather night think on. “After you had left the feast, we were discussing the King's death. We thought it would be wise if we accompanied you to King's Landing once we depart from the Twins. We have to fledge our loyalty to the new king and I would like to pay my respects to Robert.” His voice was hard as he spoke to Baelish. He was less than pleased to be in his new son-in-law's presence.

“I agree that it would be wise to fledge your loyalty early.” Baelish stated. He picked up his own goblet and drank lightly. His eyes flickered to her and she felt her stomach lurch. Her family would be close by in King's Landing and she felt relieved in a way. “I will have to adjust a few travel plans but nothing that would be to difficult.”

“I do not agree with this Ned.” Catelyn stated and she all but threw her fork down, causing it to clank against the silver. Her father sighed and Sansa could tell that while she had been screaming out her husband's name, her mother had been yelling out her father's but only in a different manner. It must have been an exhausting evening for the Lord of Winterfell.

“Cat-”

“No! I already have to send one child to that lion's den, I do not want to send anymore.” Her voice was harsh and cold. Edmure leaned in to say something to her but she brushed him away. Catelyn thought that sending her children to King's Landing was as though she was losing them and that was a nauseating feeling.

“I promise that nothing will happen to them.” Ned stated but Catelyn wasn't listening. It was obvious that it was not just the thought of being lied to during their entire marriage that caused her anger, it was the thought of sending her children into a dangerous place. She had already lost one child, she did not believe that she would survive losing another.

“You don't know that.” Catelyn whispered and Edmure put a hand on her arm. Sansa could see her husband looking at her mother in question. She suddenly realized that the two of them never really discussed Bran, but rather he just knew about his death.“I can't go there and look that women in the eye as I bow to her son. I will not do it.”

“You're not coming?” Sansa asked. Catelyn was supposed to following them to the Twins but it seemed that those plans have changed. It made Sansa's heart sink, seeing that these would be the last few moments alone with her mother and they would be spent with her being angry. The thought felt as though something sharp pierced her heart. She would miss her mother dearly and knew that it would be months if not years before she would see her again.

“No. I am not.”

“I think King's Landing will be exciting.” Arya stated. She attempted to sound innocent but Sansa could see the wheels turning in her head. She couldn't imagine the things Arya would find herself involved in when they arrived at the Capitol but she was sure that she would find a way to make the Lannisters pay for the damage they have done. She would make all of those involved in Bran's death, beg for her mercy before she watched the bleed.

“You're not going.” Catelyn stated in a firm voice.

“What?! No! I want to!” Arya challenged. Panic filled Sansa and she could see that Arya was feeling the same way. Neither girl wanted to be separated at such a time like this. It would be a comfort to have Arya close in a new place. Baelish saw the panic in his wife's eyes and looked toward Ned who seemed completely defeated. Sansa could tell that he was just at a loss for right thing to do. Ned so desperately wanted the world to be black and white but it was no such thing.

“I think it would be best if you stayed behind Arya.” Ned spoke, agreeing with his wife. The newlyweds could tell that the only reason he agreed to allow Arya to stay in Winterfell was because Catelyn wished it. Arya had been so happy to learn that she would be going to the Twins and Ned was never one who could refuse his children's happiness.

“I know that it would bring joy to my wife if Arya would accompany us to King's Landing.” Baelish's voice sounded methodically and Sansa turned to her husband. He was still looking at Ned and completely ignoring the glares Catelyn was sending his way. She laced her fingers through his, hoping that he understand her gratitude.

“I think it would be best if you minded your own business Lord Baelish.” Ned stated harshly. Baelish narrowed his eyes and his lips pursed out, something Sansa learned that he did when he was irritated. Her mind flashed to the incident in the village when he learned of her parent's scheme to marry her to Harold Hardyng. That seemed so long ago now. She never would have imagined she would be sitting here, married to the man who saved her from such a horrible fate.

“If it concerns my wife's happiness then it is my business.” Baelish stated in a cold tone and Ned flinched. Sansa was sure that he wasn't flinching at Baelish's tone but rather the word 'wife'. Sansa was Baelish's wife now and he wanted to make sure that they were well aware of such a fact. Sansa pulled her hand from Baelish's and placed it on his forearm.

“Father, please let Arya come. I'm unsure when Petyr and I will be back at Winterfell and I don't want to wait that long. I will miss all of you and if any of you can come to King's Landing I would be grateful. With Mother not coming, it would be wonderful to have at least one of them with me for the first few months.” Sansa pleaded with her father.

“Please let me go!” Arya chimed in and Ned looked at his two daughters. He sighed and looked over to his wife, whose face was stone cold. Everyone at the table knew exactly what he was thinking and Catelyn didn't like it. As Lord of Winterfell, he had every right to override his wife, yet he rarely ever did so.

“No Ned.”

“Catelyn.”

“No.” Their eyes locked with each other. Neither wavered for a moment before she pushed her chair away from the table and huffed. Catelyn stood and crossed her arms. “Fine. I see that I will be out numbered on this. Go if you must. All of you. But Rickon stays. Sansa can I have a word with you?” With that Catelyn strolled out of the dining hall.

Sansa turned to smile at her husband and stood from the table. She could hear Arya squeal and leapt to hug their father as Sansa left the dining hall. Once she stepped into the corridor, she saw that her mother was waiting for her. Catelyn smiled lightly but Sansa could tell that she was still angry. Her mother stepped forward and placed her hands on Sansa's shoulders. Her mother started to tear up and took her eldest daughter into her arms.

They stood there for a moment, simply holding each other. Sansa knew that these were the last moments she would have with her for a very long time. She didn't know when she would see her again and Sansa started to tear up alongside her mother. When they broke apart, Catelyn put her hand on Sansa's cheek and wiped a stray tear away.

“I feel like I'm losing you.”

“I'm only just got married. It had to happen eventually. It's just not how you expected it to happen. You're not losing me. I promise. Petyr would never keep me from my family, surely you know that. He has already told me that if I desired to see any of you then he will find a way to make that happen.” Sansa stated but saw the unconvinced look her mother gave her. She reached out and placed her hand on her forearm. “He only asked that Arya come to King's Landing because it would make me happy.”

“If it would be anywhere else, then perhaps I would feel differently but that place....those people.” Catelyn looked away. The older women wrapped her arms around herself. Sansa had never seen her mother seem so unsure of herself. She had seen her mother consumed by grief and terrified of losing one or more of her children but never uncertain. “I can't send my children into the clutches of the Lannisters, but it appears I have no choice.”

“Come with us. Please. I would love to have you there with me. I'm sure I am going to be lost navigating the ins and outs of being married and having my mother close would make me feel..I don't know....safe? More comfortable?” Sansa stated with a small laugh. She didn't know why but the thought of her mother being close made her feel safe. “Please come with us.”

“I can't.” Catelyn whispered. “I just can't. They murdered your brother. How can I bow to someone whose family killed one of my own?” Sansa just stared at her mother. If only she knew the extent of what the Lannisters have done; to her, and to the world around them. Perhaps it was better that she didn't. “I begged Ned, I begged him to end the engagement between you and Joffery. I couldn't bare the thought of you married into such a family. While I may not be pleased with Petyr, he is a far better choice than Joffery. At least I know you will be protected with him.”

“I want you to know that I will be happy with him.” Sansa stated and her mother sighed. Catelyn reached out and placed her hand on Sansa's cheek. She searched her daughter's face, looking for anything that would cause her to worry.

“I have to ask but last night, after the feast...was he kind to you?” Catelyn was asking about her wedding night. It was clear that she had not heard the moans and screams as Robb had. She was certain that if she had, she would not be posing that question in the first place. With the knowledge that her mother remained in the dark about just how well her wedding night went, that meant her father was unaware as well.

“It was perfect.” Sansa looked away and smiled. “He was very kind.” He was during at least one of their sessions. She was sure she would have at least a few bruises on her person due to one of the more adventurous positions. She blushed just thinking about it, something Catelyn mistook for modesty.

“Good. I was worried.”

“Sansa.” The two of them turned to see her husband walked toward them. Catelyn didn't miss the way Sansa smiled at him as he approached or the sly smirk he gave in return. She remembered those days, the early ones of her marriage. While it appeared that her daughter was far more comfortable with her husband than she had been, she still missed those days with Ned. She supposed it was due to the fact that Sansa and Baelish had time to become comfortable with one another while she didn't even know Ned when they married.

Baelish strolled slowly toward them and he carried a small leather pouch with him. When he reached them he held the pouch out to her and she took it from him. She opened the pouch and saw an assortment of fruits, cheeses and some bread. She looked at him in question.

“What is this?” Sansa asked.

“Food. Everything has been loaded onto the carriages and your father wants to leave as soon as possible. You didn't get a chance to eat much so I made sure that the servants packed something for you to have during our travels.” Baelish stated with a gentle smile. Catelyn leaned over to see what was in the bag. She spotted the food and couldn't but to repress a smile. She wondered if Baelish had ever been that considerate towards her when they were younger. She couldn't recall him being that way with her when they were children. It calmed Catelyn's nerves slightly to see such a display of affection. Perhaps Sansa would be taken care of and not just protected.

“Thank you Petyr. Although I am certain that Arya will eat most of it.” Sansa laughed lightly and looked at her husband shyly. He smiled back at her and Catelyn couldn't help but see the light exchange between them. It was the look of new lovers and she remembered the feeling. How exciting it had been and it was as though they shared a secret that no one knew. It softened her resolve. She was by no means pleased at the thought of her children being in King's Landing but the simple gesture between Baelish and Sansa made her slightly less angry.

“I will have the servants gather up a second pouch.” Baelish stated with an amused smirk. Sansa was touched by his gesture. She knew that not everyone saw that side of him; the side that was gentle and caring. The reason why the never saw it was because he didn't normally care about others. She was special and the one person he did care about. The fact that he would be willing to pack a second pouch of food for her sister just to make her happy, showed how special she was.

“I'll get it.” Catelyn stated as Baelish pulled away. “I want to say goodbye to Arya and Robb as well as speaking to your father. I'll take care of it.” Catelyn stepped forward and took Sansa into her arms one last time. She hugged her tightly and sucked in a breath. “Promise me that you will write. Promise me. If you need anything, I'm only a raven away.”

“I promise.” Sansa stated and Catelyn kissed her forehead. She pulled away and placed her hands on her daughter's shoulder. Sansa placed hr hand on top of Catelyn's and squeezed it. “I will write to you when we reached the Capitol and as often as I can.”

“Thank you.” She whispered. She kissed her forehead again before turning away. She smiled at Baelish in her usual stiff manner. “Petyr it was a pleasure to see you again. I'm sure we will meet again.” Sansa was pleased that at least one of her parents would be civil with her husband. If only her mother was coming to the Capitol with them then she might be able to hold back her father if the need ever arrived. While he may not have heard them on their wedding night, he was bound to in the month it takes to travel to King's Landing.

“We are family now after all.” Baelish stated with a leer. Catelyn faltered slightly before nodding and walking back toward the dining hall. Once she was out of sight, Baelish took Sansa into his arms. He kissed her lightly. “I missed you.” Sansa laughed against his lips and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. They kissed again, both smiling against into each other.

“You saw me an hour ago.” Sansa counted. She wouldn't lie and say that the entire time the servants were helping her dress, that she though of him and missed him. The servants of course were made it no secret that they knew that Sansa was no longer a maiden. Baelish's blood on her sheets had done the trick. When the servants stripped the sheets off of the bed, they kept sending her sly looks.

“Too long. Especially since for the next several hours I will be riding a horse next to your father who would love to behead me at this point. And you Sweetling, will be tucked away in a carriage, out of my sight.” Baelish leaned in and kissed her cheek. Sansa felt his hot breath against her skin and it caused her to moan in remembrance of the night before. “Especially when I'd rather be riding you.”

“Behave.” Sansa stated but could help but laugh because in truth, she would rather be doing the same thing. She kissed him again before pulling away to lace her fingers through his. “On a serious note, thank you for the food. I would have been starving later and I am not a pleasant person when I am hungry.” They walked slowly toward the courtyard.

“Noted. I will always make sure there is always plenty of food around for you.” Baelish joked. He stopped and looked at her with a serious face. “I just want you to be happy.” Sansa smiled and leaned into him. She kissed him again and placed her hand on his cheek.

“With you, I'll always be happy.” Baelish gave her that boyish smile and led her out into the courtyard. Sansa paused again and looked up at Winterfell. She was exchanging her old home for a new one. Sansa Stark was a daughter of the North but Sansa Baelish was a bride of the South. Her new home would be built out of sunlight instead of snow. She could only hope that the rays would burn her in the process. With one last goodbye, Sansa kissed the stone of the castle she always called home and allowed her husband to lead her away.

Chapter Text

The wheels of the carriage turned against the muddy pathway, splashing everything it passed. It rocked and creaked making the journey uncomfortable for those who rode inside it. The large party had been traveling for three days and it would be another few days before they reached the Twins. Their stay at the Twins would be brief, no more than a day or two; just enough time to arrange a marriage between Robb and one of the Frey daughters.

The night before, as they laid naked and spent in their tent, Baelish told Sansa he would not be surprised if Stevron accompanied them to King's Landing. It would be wise due to the fact that it was required that all high and low lords fledge loyalty to the new king. Sansa had not been aware of such practices but the only king that had ruled during her life time had been King Robert. Never before had a new king been crowned for her to bow to.

She realized that King's Landing would be filled with all the high lords and ladies from all over Westeros. This would have been a dream come true once upon a time. The thought of being in King's Landing was right out of those songs she loved to sing. She would have thought it would be the beginning of her song and maybe it was. Maybe her song was just different than she thought it would be. It would be something darker and far more primal than her old fragile self could handle.

While the thought of King Joffery being able to lord over her, terrified her to her very core, her fear was subsiding slightly. She knew that the closer they came to the capitol, the more terrified she would become. Of course, she knew Baelish would keep his promise and never allow anything sinister to happen to her. He would move all of Westeros and dethrone Joffery himself in order to keep her safe and in return, she was willing to do the same.

Sansa was jerked from her thoughts as the carriage hit a rock in the mud covered road, causing the carriage to rock to the side. She shook herself and focused on the other side of the carriage. Arya was stretched out in the most unladylike manner imaginable. She was bored and Sansa couldn't blame her. While it was exciting the first day, travel quickly became tiresome. Sitting in a carriage for hours on end irritated them both. Arya would rather spend her time exploring the land that they camped at while Sansa spent the few hours they stopped in order to eat and sleep, entwined with her husband.

Arya huffed loudly and Sansa laughed at her. The younger girl shot her an annoyed look which only caused Sansa to laugh harder. Sansa had her sewing with her as well as a few books but Arya was not satisfied with such distractions. She wasn't one to sit still for long periods of time and she itched for the carriage to stop in order for her to just explore. However, Sansa wasn't sure how long they had before the sun set and she knew that they would stop well before then in order to have camp set up by nightfall. That is if there are no taverns that they would pass on their travels.

“Bored?” Sansa asked. She smiled at her sister's irritated look. She reached down and pulled out one of the books Baelish had bought her in the town they passed the day before. Sansa had made an offhand comment about how it never occurred to her to bring a few books along with her to keep her occupied. Baelish had disappeared for an hour after they had checked into the tavern and returned with a hand full of books; more books that she could read the length of their travels. She told him in great detail that she did not need such gifts but he simply smirked at her. He proclaimed that his gifts were perks of becoming Lady Baelish. She had teasingly asked him if Lysa received such gifts and his reply was that the only gift he gave her was a push through the moon door.

“More than you know. At least you have something to keep you occupied.” Arya stated, taking the book out of her sister's hand. She flipped through a few pages before huffing and throwing the book on the seat beside her. Sansa smirked at her sister, being impatient as ever. “Plus you have your husband to keep you occupied at night.” Her tone changed to a light, teasing manner which caused Sansa to blush furiously.

“I don't know what you are talking about.” Sansa replied, avoiding eye contact with Arya, which only caused Arya to laugh. Sansa narrowed her eyes and her sister just smiled wider. “Is this what you are going to do in order to entertain yourself? Tease me about what my husband and I do in the privacy of our tent?”

“Privacy? Sansa, there is no privacy when we are traveling. The two of you can be heard throughout the camp at night. Father has taken to making his tent is as far away from the two of you as possible. I mean, did you see him yesterday morning? He looked like he was going to kill Lord Baelish!” Arya laughed and Sansa blushed even a deeper red. “I mean, do the two of you even talk or are your mouths to busy doing other things?”

“Petyr and I talk about everything!” Sansa exclaimed. It was true, they talked about everything they could think of. In the first days of her marriage Sansa learned more about her husband than she expected and in return she told him things that she never felt comfortable admitting before. Of course most of these conversations happened while they were naked and entwined with each other.

“What could the two of you possibly talk about?” Arya asked with a laugh. While she assumed that her sister and new brother-in-law found something in common to discuss, she had no idea what it possibly could be. Sansa got a wicked smile and Arya wondered if she should regret asking her sister such a question.

“We talk about the naughtiest of things.” Sansa stated and Arya made a show of gagging. Sansa laughed. “He tells me of his life and how he has gotten as far as he had in life and I do the same. He also spills the secrets of King's Landing.” That caught Arya's attention. She sat up straighter, or at least as straight as the bumpy ride would allow.

“Tell me!”

“I can't tell you everything.” Sansa stated as Arya pouted. She leaned forward and lowered her voice. “But apparently Ser Lores Tyrell likes to keep the company of men in his bed instead of women.” Arya's eyes grew wide with the news. While it wasn't unheard of for a man to bed another man, it was quite the scandal when it did indeed happen. “And Petyr told me that that Ser Lores's favorite bedmate is none other than Renly Baratheon.”

“Seriously?! The late king's brother?” Arya was stunned. She never met either of those people but she had heard their names. Beyond being talented at tourneys, Arya has heard very little of Ser Lores. Renly was another matter. Their father had told them stories of the younger man but Ned never indicated that Renly would prefer the company of men over women. Of course it was possible their father didn't know.

“Yes. Apparently their affair has been going on for years and is well known among the court. However that isn't the scandal.” Sansa smiled. She had been as shocked as Arya at first to the point that she asked Baelish if he ever desired a man. His facial expression and how he pinned her to the bed with his length inside of her, proved to her that he only desired the female form. “Petyr received a raven this morning. After King Robert died, Renly fled the Capitol. No one has seen him since, yet Ser Lores remains at court.”

“Trouble in paradise?”

“King's Landing is anything but a paradise.”

“But why else would he leave? His eldest brother is dead, if the rumors of Stannis are true, then he is not one who would be close to his younger sibling, and if he and his lover are no longer together, what would he have left in King's Landing?” Arya asked and Sansa looked at her. Arya was quick and she knew her mind was catching on quickly. “Unless he knew something. He must have known something that would cause him to flee. I wonder what it could be.” Arya looked at her sister. “You know don’t you.”

“Yes.” Arya waited for Sansa to tell her but she stayed silent for a moment. She bit her lip and looked at her younger sister with concern. “It is really one of those things that I shouldn’t say. It’s not that I don’t want to tell you, I just don’t want your head to end up on a spike. Nor mine or my husband’s for that matter.” Sansa’s mind flashed to her family’s crypt and the secret Baelish had shared with her. She hated to dwell on such a secret. Baelish had risked so much to tell her the truth of Joffery’s parentage and while she trusted Arya with her life, if the wrong person overheard such a tale, it could ruin everything. Sansa found that it was best to keep Arya in the dark for the time being, at least until it was important that she knew the truth. “Renly left King’s Landing because he knew what would happen to him if he stayed. Please understand why I must keep this from you.”

“Okay.” Arya stated, she wasn’t pleased at the idea of her sister keeping secrets from her but it was clear that Sansa had a reason to keep such things from her. Her curiosity of course was peaked but she was willing to wait for such knowledge. She was sure that it would come out eventually, one way or another. “Are there any other secrets you can tell me?”

Sansa remained silent but smirked. She mentally ran through all the secrets, lies and schemes Baelish had told her. There were so many little games at play in the Capitol that it was difficult for her to simply pick one or two. She of course would not reveal anything that would be detrimental to her husband, such as his part in Jon Arryn’s death, but she would have no problem condemning someone else. The question was who was she most willing to throw to the wolves.

The Queen. Arya hated the Queen almost as much as Sansa did.

“Well, Queen Cersei has taken a lover.” Sansa stated and Arya snorted. It of course was no big surprise. When the King and Queen had visited Winterfell in the past, it was no secret that neither of them felt any regard for each other. The King had bedded every serving wench, servant and prostitute that would allow him to do so. All the while, the Queen showed so much contempt for him that the news of her taking another man to bed was not shocking at all.

“I was hoping for something more dramatic.” Arya stated and Sansa rolled her eyes. She knew her sister would be less than pleased with such a tale. She wanted something more. Something that would cause her toes to curl. “Not a secret that the common fool would have been able to guess. I mean, her husband is dead and it would be no shock for her to find someone to warm her bed before his corpse is even cold.” Sansa snorted and laughed. She never said when the affair started but Arya assumed that it started after the King’s murder.

“It is highly scandalous for the Queen take a lover while her husband is still alive.” Sansa stated and Arya’s widened slightly. It was a surprise but not enough to fully shock her. “It is even more shocking when the Queen and her lover are behind the death of the King.”

“But the King was killed by a boar?”

“Was he?” Sansa asked cryptically. “It was known that King liked to indulge on wine, having too much during a hunt could be catastrophic. If someone, say the King’s squire, was to ensure that the King had his fill with a wine that may or may not have been laced with something.”

“Are you saying that the Queen and the King’s squire plotted to kill the King?” Arya asked, unsure of what to make of such news. “Wait, you said that the Queen and her lover were the ones who made an attempt on the King’s life. Are you saying that the Queen has taken a lowly squire has her lover?” When Sansa stated that Cersei had taken a lover, Arya assumed it would have been another high lord or someone with power. The idea that the Queen was bedding a lowly squire baffled Arya.

“It makes perfect sense if you think on it. If you wanted to kill someone, the best option was to get close to the person who is around them the most.” Sansa stated. “In this case it was the squire. He was around the King the most and the King allowed him access to his person above all others. While it was not born out of trust, it was enough for the Queen to use such closeness.”

“But wouldn’t the squire be loyal to the King?” Arya asked. She thought on her father’s squire and she knew that he would never betray Ned. There was a bond that a lord creates with their squire. It is very similar to the bond that a lady forms with her handmaiden. “I mean sleeping with the Queen is one form of betrayal but to actually plot and kill him is more than just breaking loyalty.”

“You’re right. However, would the squire have ever been loyal to the King if he was a Lannister?” Sansa asked and she let that stir between them for a moment. She could see the thoughts running through her sister’s mind. The disgust and disbelief was paramount on her features. “The King’s quire was Lancel Lannister, the Queen first cousin.”

“Queen Cersei bedded a member of her own family?” Arya asked in nauseating disbelief and Sansa almost stated that a cousin was far better than a twin brother. However, she held her tongue, knowing that she couldn’t reveal such a secret. It wasn’t completely uncommon for cousins to marry and have relations but it wasn’t the normal practice. “And she did so in order to kill her husband. No one can claim she is not dedicated to her cause.”

“That is one way of interpreting it.” Sansa replied. Arya grew quiet and distant, staring out the carriage window. Sansa could tell that her mind was turning and that she was trying to understand everything Sansa had told her. However, Arya was not one to remain quiet for long and the fact that she wasn't saying anything, worried Sansa. “Are you okay?”

“I'm just thinking.”

“About?”

“You said that there were things that you were not able to tell me. Renly left because of something that would have gotten him killed.” Arya paused for a moment before continuing in a heavy voice. “Yet, you willingly told me that the Queen was bedding someone other than her husband and possibly was involved in his murder. Even hinting that the Queen had been unfaithful is treason; claiming that her and her lover killed the King would get far worse than your head on a spike. What worries me, is the secret you keep. If what you told me is nothing compared to that, then I fear what will happen to you.”

Sansa didn't reply at first. She was touched by her sister's concerns and would't lie to say that they were not unwarranted. If word of Joffery's parentage reached the wrong people and such words could be traced back to either Sansa or Baelish, both she and her husband would be labeled as traitors and put to death. Arya was right, the though of Cersei's affair and the King's death paled in comparison to Joffery's true bloodline. After learning the truth, nothing surprised her anymore and she had forgotten that her sister still had that luxury.

“Don't worry about me. Petyr will make sure nothing will happen to me.” Sansa reached out and took Arya's hand into her's, hoping it would bring some type of comfort. The weight of the world she was entering was hitting her in full force. The nauseating feeling in the pit of her stomach returned and part of her wanted to break down and cry. She realized that she has not really cried since Baelish came into her life. It took all of the walls she had built up over the years in order to keep the tears at bay.

“He is a dangerous man isn't he? Your husband?” Arya looked deeply into her sister's eyes, searching for the truth. When she found what she was looking for, she smiled. She leaned forward and took Sansa into her arms. She squeezed her tightly and kissed her red hair. “Good.”

The two of them felt the carriage begin to slow and Arya peaked out of the small window. She saw that the sun had moved in the sky and it would be dark within a few hours. Camp needed to be set if they planned on having any type of shelter to sleep in.

There were voices outside and when the carriage came to a complete stop, the door opened revealing Robb who had been riding his horse up head of the crowd. Arya was the first to exit, leaving Sansa sitting in the carriage. She could hear her brother calling her name but she didn't move. She tried everything she could to keep her walls sternly in place but no matter how hard she tried, they were cracking. She had allowed herself to become comfortable, confidant and happy that she became out of practice in holding her emotions in.

She felt the carriage move slightly and heard the door close. She looked up when she felt a hand slip into her's. Baelish sat across from her and it was clear that he seemed concerned. His grey-green eyes poured into her ice blue orbs and she completely broke. Sansa's began to sob. Baelish reached forward and took her into his arms, placing her on his lap. He kissed the top of her head as his fingers ran down her spine. He simply held her as she cried and once she was finished, he kissed her lightly.

“As much as I adore having you in my lap, I must confess I like it better under different circumstances.” Baelish stated and Sansa snorted. She laid her head against his shoulder. He kissed her head again and she could feel his smile against her red hair. “Are you okay?”

“Yes. I just...it was something Arya said.” Sansa stated and she could feel her husband tense under her. “She didn't mean to upset me. Not at all. Its just, she made me realize how dangerous this really is. Everything we will be working for, it could cost us our lives. And the thought of Joffery...I wanted to make him pay and make him realize what he can't have but I don't know if I can. I don't know..I'm so scared and I realized that one wrong move could cost both of our lives and-” The words were tumbling out in a rush but Baelish stopped her with a small kiss.

“I promise you Sansa that if there is even a hint that Joffery wants our heads, we will leave the Westeros and never look back.” He kissed her again. It was gentle and comforting, far differently than the passionate ones they were used to sharing. Once he pulled away, Baelish pulled her close, tucking her head under his chin. “As for Joffery, I don't want you to do anything you don't want to. If you want to stay clear of him, then that is what I want you to do. Taunting him would be dangerous.”

“I don't want to give him the satisfaction. I don't want him to have that power over me.” Her voice was harsh and cold. While the thought of seeing him again terrified her and she wanted nothing more than to see his body twitch in agony, she wanted to prove that he didn't break her. She needed to prove that she was stronger than him; that she was as strong as winter.

“He doesn't and he never will.” Baelish assured her. He took her face into his hands and wiped the tears away. “Instead of purposely taunting him, perhaps giving him as little attention beyond what is required would be best. Be polite and kind but don't engage him. Treat him like a stranger. Focus on Margaery. Befriend her. My spies tell me he cannot deny her anything and that she has him wrapped around her finger. To get to him, the best way is through her.”

She thought of Cersei and Lancel. The best way to the King was the one who was closets to him. If Margaery was the key to Joffery, then perhaps molding her plan after Cersei would be the best course of action. Of course the plan would be different but hopefully it would have the same outcome. Once Sansa wanted to be just like the Queen. Now, she wanted nothing to do with her. Yet, Sansa knew that she would have to sink to her level in order to achieve her goals.

“And what of the court?”

“Prove to them that you're my equal. Prove to them that you are just as dangerous as I am.” He kissed her again. “I know you. I know what you are capable of and I know that when we get to King's Landing, the game will be yours.”

Chapter Text

The Twins were imposing and they gave a haunting glow to the land surrounding them. They were two castle, identical in appearance that were connected by bridge that ran over the rushing river. The bridge was narrow, and would only allow two carriages to pass through them at a time. Each end of the Twins was surrounding by moat with a draw bridge that was lifted at all times. It was guarded and once the toll has been paid, travelers were allowed to pass through.

The Riverlands were vast but nowhere near the size of the North. There was a moisture to the air that Sansa was unfamiliar with. She was used to breathing in the cold, that the light dampness that lingered in the Riverlands was shocking to her. She also never seen to many trees and woods surrounding the land, nor was she used to the sound of rushing water that constantly evaded her senses. Being in such a place made her wonder what it would have been liked for Baelish and her mother to grow up in such a place. She had only been in the Riverlands for just over a day but she could tell that it was beautiful.

The Crossing was located directly on the King's Road. A toll must be paid in order to pass through or travelers would have reroute themselves hundreds of miles in order to avoid such a toll. It was far easier and in the long run, cheaper just pay a small price in order to continue on the most direct route headed south. The large party that traveled from Winterfell, while guests of the Twins, still had to pay the toll.

Stevron had welcomed his guest into his home with grace, yet Sansa could tell that he was anything but gracious. In the two months that had passed since Walder Frey’s death, Stevron had allowed the position of Lord of the Crossing to swell his ego. He was as much of a fool as he was a lord, which was easy to predict. She could see how easily it would have been for her husband to convince him to murder his own father. It was obvious that the loved the position he coveted more than his own flesh and blood. He treated his sister’s poorly and it made Sansa wonder how long Stevron would hold his position. Of course it all depended on how long Baelish needed him to be Lord of the Crossing.

He had greeted Baelish warmly, calling him an old friend and Sansa assumed he really believed that her husband was a friend of his. He was a fool and Sansa only tolerated his presence because she knew that her husband needed him for the time being. Stevron was loud, obnoxious and he clearly thought himself above his sisters. The way he simply lined them up, telling Robb to choose which ever one suited his fancy was something Sansa found disturbing. Robb and her father were taken highly aback and both of them proclaimed that they would think on the decision.

Although the choice was clear. The Frey daughters were less than pleasing. Most were women of wider birth with nappy hair and had sickly appearances. Some were gentler looking but still held a displeasing appearance. However, Roslin Frey held a simple beauty but a beauty none the less. If Sansa had met her before knowing her name, she never would have guessed that she was the daughter of Walder Frey. She was a small girl of Sansa’s age with long brown hair that reached her waist. Her skin was pale and it reminded Sansa of the fresh fallen snow she would see back at Winterfell. Her eyes were brown and appeared far darker than they actually were due to the porcelain tone of her skin.

While Robb never directly said that he would choose to marry Roslin over the other sisters, it became clear when Roslin picked up a small violin. She was beyond talented and at least she knew Winterfell would one day be filled with music. That gave Sansa a sense of comfort and she could already tell that she would grow found of the women who would be her sister-in-law. She could only hope that her brother felt the same.

While he was pleased with Roslin, there was an awkward tension between them. Robb made the best effort he could to get to know the younger girl and she was receptive toward him, but there was no connection between the two of them. They were friendly with each other and Sansa hoped that over time something would blossom because she wanted her brother to be happy. She could tell that Roslin was a good person, shy and quiet but a good person none the less.

“What do you think of her?” Sansa asked Robb when he disbanded from Stevron’s solar along with Ned and Baelish. The eldest Stark siblings strolled along the bridge that linked the two castles. He seemed perplexed and undecided. Sansa had no worries that Robb wouldn’t follow through with the marriage. He was too much like their father, honorable and one to keep his word. If he didn’t, Sansa knew that Stevron would cause an issue for Baelish. While Stevron felt that he owes her husband a great deal, with removing Walder Frey from the Twins and arranging this marriage, if this deal went south then things could become difficult for Lord and Lady Baelish.
Robb was quiet at first. He seemed pensive and completely lost in thought. She understood the feeling, while she wanted nothing more than to marry Baelish, she had been scared. Of course her fears were far different than his but either way, marriage was not something to be taken lightly. It actually made her proud that he was concerned and nervous. She could only hope that he would grow to hold some affection for her and for Roslin to have some affection in return.

“She is pretty, and she is a very talented musician.” Robb stated and Sansa could tell that he was depressed. It wasn’t that he was unhappy with the bride but more over the entire situation. He didn’t blame her or take his frustrations out on the innocent girl he would be marrying, which could not be said for other grooms who would have found themselves in a similar situation. Robb was being very kind.

“This is a good thing Robb. It will help the North and over time you may grow fond of each other.” Sansa stated, hoping to pacify her brother. She wanted him to be happy of course but she knew that Baelish could not afford for Robb to change his mind and not marry Roslin. It was extremely important that he stick to his word. “You can’t change your mind now.”

“I’m not going to!” Robb exclaimed. “I know how important this is. I know it will help pull the North out of financial ruin but don’t you think both of us have sacrificed enough? Roslin is a sweet girl who would make any many happy but she is not my choice. I want to be able to choose who I spend my life with.” Robb huffed in frustration and ran his hands through his chocolate curls.

“You are the heir to Winterfell and you agreed to take one of the Frey daughters as your wife. You have to do your duty.” Sansa countered. “Just like I have.” That caused Robb to huff in cynical amusement. “Both of our marriages will pull the North out of ruin.”
“Yes. We’ve all heard the duty you’ve preformed, behaving in such a way that is beneath you. You’re no better than Jeyne. At least you chose your husband!” Robb stated and Sansa flinched. The only time her brother ever spoke to her in such a tone was after Bran had passed and her father turned the position for Hand of the King down. She had been awful and deserved such treatment at the time. Now however, she did nothing to warrant his cruelty. “I’m sorry. That was unkind. I’m just frustrated with all of this. Excuse me.” The two of them reached the gates of the castle that faced north. Sansa watched her brother walked inside as she remained standing on the bridge, listening to the river flow beneath the stone.

Sansa closed her eyes and let the sound of the rushing water fill her senses. It was still a sound that took some getting used to but Sansa found it peaceful. She understood why it was hard for her mother to let go of the Riverlands and embrace the North. The North was far harsher than the environment Catelyn had been raised in. Harrenhal was located north of the Twins but it still resided in the Riverlands. Sansa wondered if she and Baelish would ever really retire there. She knew her husband was hoping to resign his position of Master of Coin and become a full lord once Harrenhal was rebuilt. She wondered if she could hear the river flow from her new home as she could at the Crossing.

“He is never going love me, is he?” Sansa turned when she heard a voice speak behind her. Roslin stood there on the bridge and Sansa wondered how much of the conversation with her brother she had heard. The look upon the girl’s face was heartbreaking and distraught. She suddenly realized that it wasn’t just her brother who was dreading this match, but the bride was as well.

“Roslin, I’m sure that with time you and my brother will become very fond of one another.” Sansa replied and Roslin gave her a small smile. However, Sansa could tell that her brother’s betrothed didn’t believe her but was grateful for the encouragement. Roslin wrapped her arms around herself, as though she was protecting herself from a chill. There was a slight breeze coming from the river below but nothing that would cause hair to rise on the skin. Then again, Sansa was raised in far colder weather and maybe this was what the Riverlands considered to be cold.

“It is not that Lord Robb Stark isn’t kind or wouldn’t make a good husband for any women, but…” Roslin paused and looked down at the river. Sansa followed her line of sight and saw Roslin’s reflection in rippled water. Her reflection was ashen and hallow. This was a girl whose heart had been broken and Sansa knew exactly how she was suffering. Roslin was in love, but it wasn’t with her brother.

“Who is he?” Sansa asked softly but Roslin only smiled in return. It was a light smile and Sansa knew that she was thinking of whoever held her heart. She tiled her head and looked back at Sansa. “Someone who doesn’t even know I exist.” She laughed lightly then and placed her hand on her lips. At first glance, Roslin appeared fragile and breakable but upon closer inspection, Sansa realized that Roslin Frey was made of steel just as she was. Sansa wondered what caused this girl to harden herself “Don’t worry. I will marry your brother and I will make the best of it. Girls like us always do their duty, don’t we?”

“What happened to you?” The words flew from her lips before she could even stop them. Sansa looked down at the stone and felt herself blush. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked that. Forgive me.” Roslin reached out and squeezed Sansa’s arm gently.

“It’s okay.” She pulled away and wrapped her arms around herself again. She looked down the river and appeared lost for a moment. “I was the one who found my father. I knew my father was a cruel man but he was my father. My siblings didn’t care for him so when he didn’t rise in the morning, I went to check on him. I still remember how blue he was and so cold. His body was lifeless and his eyes were wide open. There was bile still running from his mouth.” Sansa couldn’t move, enraptured by the sincere tale Roslin was telling her. “The Maester claimed he died of a fever but any fool can see that he was poisoned. My brother murdered my father, although I’m sure you already knew that.”

Her tone wasn’t hostile or cold. Roslin didn’t blame Sansa nor her husband but she knew the role Baelish played in the death of her father. This was a girl who knew her place and accepted it, even if it meant allowing parts of her to be chipped away, piece by piece. Roslin would carry her silence to the grave. While Sansa knew it wasn't to protect herself and her husband but rather the brother that murdered Roslin's father. She wasn't protecting him out of love but rather out of the duty she must have learned from her mother. It was the same duty and allowed her to be loyal Walder Frey even though he gave her no reason for such loyalty.
“Roslin, I'm so sorry.” Sansa stated as she saw her husband strolling down the bridge. He was a ways away and she could see that Baelish was in no hurry. Roslin looked over her shoulder when she saw Sansa look away. She smiled at the taller girl and laughed lightly.

“Don't be.” Roslin eyed her from head to toe causing Sansa to feel as though she was being expected. “I'm glad that the rumors I heard about you turned out to be false.”

“Rumors?”

“Surly you've heard them.” Sansa knew that there were rumors flying around about her but she didn't realize that they have reached the Riverlands. She wondered briefly why her uncle has not mentioned them to her father, because she was sure that he would have said something to her if he had. Sansa shook her head and Roslin's eyes widened. “Oh, I shouldn't have said anything.”

“What are they saying?”

“You really want to know?” Sansa nodded and Roslin took a deep breath. “Well, some say that you're a fool but I can tell that you are far more intelligent than those who are saying such things. Another is that your father married you off to Lord Baelish in order to save the North. I suppose that is true but I feel as though there is so much more to the story. You appear far too happy with your husband to have been a daughter that was simply sold off to the highest bidder. Although what surprised me most was how pleased Lord Baelish was with you.”

“What do you mean?”

“You are more than just a pawn to him, as I am. Every move he makes as a purpose. Stevron has spoken of Lord Baelish and it is clear that your husband has made a good deal of promises to my brother. All of which he has kept. Now, your husband is someone whose intelligence overrides my brother's and one day Lord Baelish will collect on his generosity. If my brother doesn't deliver, well Lord Baelish has enough to ensure that Stevron wouldn't survive if he refuses.” Roslin grew quiet as Baelish approached them. She smiled lightly at him, covering for worries. “Lord Baelish.”

“Lady Roslin.” Baelish responded in greeting as he wrapped his arms around Sansa’s waist. As on instinct she leaned into him but her eyes remained on Roslin's. She could tell that Roslin was scolding herself for revealing so much, but it was as though she yearned to tell somebody what she was thinking and once the words started to tumble out, there was no putting a stop to them. This was a girl who had no one to speak to.

“Is that the only thing you have heard?” Roslin seemed surprised that Sansa was willing to continue with their discussion. “Anything you want to say to me, you can say to my husband. He already knows the best and worst of me. Any rumors that have been said about me, it cannot be any worse than either of us expected.” Roslin nodded and bit her lips before speaking again.

“They say you seduced the new King, when he stayed with you at Winterfell. Some of my sisters have giggled about it. Stating that you came to the King's chambers and crawled into bed with him. It was said you were with child but your father forced you to get rid of the child. It was speculated that you were hoping that the child would cause you to be forced to marry the King. They claim that the reason the engagement ended between the two of you was because the child died.”

“And what do you think?” Sansa asked, in a stone cold voice. While she knew that the rumors would be less than pleasant, hearing them out loud caused a pain inside of her that she was not expecting. Baelish's arms tightened around her and she placed her hands on his, searching for comfort.

“I think that you are just like so many girls before you and many who will follow. I hear that the new King is cruel. My brother told me he beat a servant girl to death because she wasn't fast enough getting his wine. That was of course before he was King and before his grandfather was at court.” She paused and looked at Sansa. “The King is monster and I think you that you are no fool. Trying to get pregnant with his child would have been foolish.” With that Roslin smiled and turned away. The newlyweds watched her stroll down the bridge.

Sansa looked out and watched the river flow. She leaned into her husband's arms, just allowing her thoughts to take her. She knew that Joffery was cold and cruel. It was no surprise to her that he had murdered a girl for a small mistake. She knew that he got away with it, with his mother more than willing to cover up his dirty little deeds. She could only hope that Tywin had a stronger hold on his grandchild that his daughter did.

Part of her wanted to never set foot in the Capitol. If the construction on Harrenhal was finished and not in ruins, she might have begged Baelish to take her there and allow them to live out their lives in peace. She could easily enjoy life in the Riverlands, far away from a psychotic king. She could easily fall into a life with Baelish there. Their days filled with laughter and little games while their nights would be spent entwined with each other, calling out each other's names. Once Baelish felt his wife relax, he kissed the small of her neck. Sansa released a whimper and he smirked against her skin.

“What are you thinking?” Baelish asked and his voice washed over her. She smiled lightly and closed her eyes. With the sound of the water flowing by and the light Riverlands breeze brushing past them, it was easy for her to fall into her fantasy. “You only smile that way when I've just been inside of you.” Sansa slapped him lightly which only caused him to laugh.

“I was thinking of Harrenhal.” She traced her fingers on his hand and let the small smile linger on her face. Dreaming of Harrenhal made her fears of Joffery be pushed back down. She found the closer they drew to King's Landing, the more terrified she became. A couple of times her husband had to calm her down when she felt her fear begin to over load her. “I was thinking about how easy our life would be if we could just go there. It might be a bit less exciting but safer. Our children would be able to run amongst the trees and they would never have to worry the lies of court.”

“It's a beautiful dream. I do hope that one day, when I am no long Master of Coin and when I achieve everything that I need to, that we can retire there.” He kissed her shoulder. “I like the idea of our children being raised away from court. I've seen what happens to children who are born into the court life and when we have children, I want nothing more than to keep them away from such things.” Sansa never really heard him speak of their children before. She knew that it was a foregone conclusion that she would carry his children, it was the whole purpose of marriage, but she often wondered what kind of father Baelish would be. Would he really ever be able to leave court in order to ensure the safety of his children? Or would send his family to Harrenhal while he stayed behind? Sansa turned in his arms and wrapped her arms around his shoulders.

“Would you be able leave? Really? Could you give up your schemes and live a quiet life with your wife and children? Or would grow discontent with such a life?” She asked and he gave her that smirk that he used when he wanted to pin her up against a wall and ravish her. She cocked her eyebrow at him and leaned in. She kissed him lightly but wouldn't allow it to grow to passionate.

“There are many things that can be accomplished from long distances. Just because we would be tucked away at Harrenhal, does not mean that we would grow bored. Perhaps that is what I am working for. Preparing for our future and our children's future and the future of the Baelish name.” He placed his hands on her stomach and drew small circles over her clothing. “When you start to grow my child I will make sure that he or she will have the best of everything and that means a life far away from King's Landing. It may not be right away but I promise that if our child is born in the Capitol, he or she will have no memory of such a place.”

“Perhaps? What are you after Lord Baelish?” Baelish smirked widely. He began to respond but Sansa placed a finger on his lips. “And if you say everything Petyr, I might have to smack you.” He chuckled and kissed her finger. He opened his mouth slightly and bit the tip of her finger gently. Sansa giggled and shook her head. “I believe I asked you a question.”

“What do I want? Hmm? Let's see. I wanted ships as a boy and now I have dozens. I wanted to be far away from the Finger's and now I live in the Capitol. I wanted to be rich and now I am one of the richest men in all of Westeros. I wanted a beautiful wife and here she is, resting in my arms.” His eyes trailed over her and Sansa pushed his shoulder lightly. She leaned in and kissed him quickly.

“Flattery will get you nowhere. All of that is past tense and those are things you have already have. What about the future Petyr Baelish? What does he want?” She asked him softly but he just smirked at her. He was clearly in a playful mood and sometimes she wondered how he switched so easily. One moment he is concerned about her but once he knew she was perfectly okay, he switched moods.

“Everything.”

“Petyr.”

“Alright, alright. I want everything that was denied me as a child. I am a man that came from nothing and should have amounted to nothing more than a low level Lord. But it wasn't enough for me. So when I say I want everything, I mean everything.” Sansa crashed her lips to her husband and they kissed forcefully. “And what of you Lady Baelish? What do you want?” Sansa looked into his eyes and she knew that whatever she told him, he would give her.

“Vengeance.”

“Then vengeance you shall have.” Baelish leaned in and kissed her again. They stood there on the stone bridge of the Crossing devouring each other. Their future and their passed rested on that bridge. Turn north and the past lingered in the cold of the snow. Turn south and their future was weaved in the heat and sun.

Chapter Text

While Sansa found the Riverlands beautiful, the Eyrie was the exact opposite to her. While it was green, much like the Riverlands, it had this fog and mist that covered everything it could touch. It held an eerie hinge that casted a mystical spell over the land that made Sansa jump at every bump in the road. It didn't help that Roslin was riding in the carriage alongside her and Arya and the small girl appeared to be afraid of nothing. It was as though she was completely numb to the world around her. Sansa felt more like the Eyrie with its pointed mountains and its hidden shadows. Perhaps that is why it frightened her so much. They were so similar.

As she watched the scenery pass by, she could understand why her husband wanted the Eyrie as well as why he hated it. The Eyrie was powerful and even a simple traveler could tell that just by passing by. Yet, it represented everything he hated and lost in life. The Eyrie was Lysa Arryn and his ruined childhood, but just like with Lysa, Baelish was more than willing to control it in order to achieve his goals.

Baelish controlled the Eyrie. He owned land in the Riverlands. He had an alliance with the Tyrells as well as one with the North through their marriage. The Lord of the Crossing owed a favor and practically his entire seat to Baelish. He was slowly becoming the most powerful man in Westeros but with each inch of power, the bigger the risk became. She wasn't clear exactly where his schemes would take them but she hoped that it would at least give her the revenge she desired.

Sansa looked out the window again as the mountains passed them by. If it wasn't for Baelish, she was certain that she would have become mistress of all of it. Every peak, tree top, hill tribe and fog would belong to her. She would have been Lady of the Vale and that was a prospect that Sansa dreaded. The Vale could be seen in the distance and she wondered if Harrold Hardyng was happy with his Myranda. She hoped so because Myranda, even though she never met her, was far better suited for the position than Sansa ever would be.

She let her mind drift to the horror of what her life could have been. She was certain the fog would have consumed her and that her life would have ended the spark in her. She imagined her days filled with loneliness as Harrold bedded the servants who served her. Their children ignorant to who their father really was and Sansa wouldn't have the heart to break the truth to them. The loneliness would have froze her and caused to break completely.

Unless Baelish came to the Vale.

Sansa smirked. If she had never met Baelish and was forced to become a Hardyng, only to meet him later, she was sure that a scandalous affair would have blossomed between the two of them. She could only imagine the places they would have snuck off to. She assumed it would have been exactly like the nights she met him in the darkest parts of Winterfell. She would have carried his love child and birthed his bastard. She would have never wanted anything more.

Sansa placed her hand on her stomach and cringed. Her courses had come two days earlier and she always hated them. They were bloody, uncomfortable and they made her want to cry at the drop of a hat. Along with them came disappointment. She had hoped that the many times she allowed Baelish inside of her would have caused her to be with child. She cried when she realized that she had started to bleed. Baelish told her that in time, their child would be born.

Roslin gasped loudly and pointed out the carriage window. Black smoke was rising through the trees and they could see a flicker of a fire. They felt the carriage halt to a stop, causing Sansa to fall forward into her sister. The three girls threw open the carriage door and stepped out on to the dirt covered pathway. Guards, banner-man and their companions were jumping from their horses to stare at the scene in front of them.

The guards dashed into the trees and Ned came up to the three girls. He looked directly at Arya and told her to stay by the carriage. He looked at his eldest daughter, begging her to do the same but he knew that he held no command over her anymore. Sansa looked around for her husband but could not see him in the mass of chaos. She glanced at her sister and saw her simply staring out into the woods; as though she heard something. Once Ned was out of sight, Arya sprinted into the trees. Sansa called after her and without even glancing at Roslin, Sansa ran after her.

As she ran farther and farther into the trees, calling after her sister. She could hear the crackle of branches beneath her boots. She heard a growl and out of the corner of her eye she saw Nymeria running through the trees alongside her. Sansa was sure Lady was not far behind. However, Nymeria was in tune with Arya and the direwolf would know where her sister would be. Sansa changed her course and followed Nymeria. It wasn't long before her skin began to sweat and a fire raged in front of her.

The fire burned in a stone, rundown building. It seemed mostly contained but it caught on a few of the trees that surrounded the building. It would spread and there wasn't much time but Sansa wasn't going to leave without finding her sister. She looked around hoping to see Arya among the trees but it wasn't Arya she saw. The fire was the first thing she noticed but once the obvious was disregarded, Sansa stepped forward and focused on what was lying on the ground.

Bodies. Dead bodies littered the leaf covered ground. They were young boys ranging from late childhood to early teens. There were a few older men but they were mostly young boys. They were beaten, bloody and murdered. Their eyes hung open and Sansa could tell that their souls had left them. She could the fire flicker behind her and she could smell the smoke. She felt a hand grasp her wrist and Sansa turned to see Baelish, wide and terrified. He pulled her to him in a bone crushing embrace as though they had been separated for an entire winter. Once he released her, he placed his hands on the sides of her face.

“You weren't at the carriage and Roslin said you chased after Arya. Are you alright?” She couldn't speak, instead her eyes turned back to bodies that littered the ground. A few men passed the two of them, pausing when they saw the bodies but continued to move. Sansa heard yelling and orders being given but she couldn't focus on what she was hearing; until she heard a direwolf howl. The howl was piercing and the sound reminded Sansa of Lady’s howl when she was left dying in the snow infested Godswood. Her eyes widened and she grabbed Baelish’s hand. He allowed her to pull him through the wooden area.

It only took a few moments and she saw Robb running in the same direction. The three of them reached a small section that was located around the burning building. Lady, Nymeria and Greywind were all surrounding a cage that held three prisoners. Above the cage was a tree that had caught fire and it appeared as though that the one branch would break at any moment. If it did break, the burning branch would land directly onto of the case, causing the three men inhabiting it to burn to death.

“Arya! What are you doing?” Robb shouted but their younger sister didn’t hear him. Instead she picked up a rock and started to bang it against the lock that held the cage of the door closed. She repeated the motion over and over until the lock broke off. Two of the men pushed out of the cage and knocked Arya over, causing her to land on her side against a rock. Her head landed against the rock and she called out in pain. Sansa made a move to assist her sister but Baelish held her back. Robb ran past the two of them but before he could reach Arya, the third man from the cage, crawled out and lifted Arya into his arms. Sansa could see that she was bleeding slightly but appeared to be conscious. Both Robb and Sansa rushed to the stranger’s side in order to see their sister.

“The fire is going to spread. We need to move. Now.” The man spoke with an accent that was unfamiliar to Sansa. Before she could get a decent look at the man who saved her sister, he moved around them and headed toward the tree. The three direwolves raced through the trees ahead of them. Baelish linked his hand with his wife’s and pulled her to follow. Robb was ahead of them and Sansa looked back in time to see the branch break from the tree and land directly on the cage.

She felt numb as her husband navigated their way back toward the King’s Road. Her mind flew to the fire and the dead boys. Someone had caused this and took the lives of those children. It wasn’t that she felt sick or nauseated by the sight but rather she felt guilty at the fact that their deaths meant nothing to her. They were children who were brutally killed and she didn’t shed a tear. It was certainly a shock and she was sad as to what happened to them but she refused to allow it to affect her. She already had so many emotions running through her that she couldn’t handle anymore.

Once they reached the King’s Road, the stranger laid Arya on the ground and Ned ran toward his daughter. Arya brought her hand toward the cut on her head and hissed. She moved her hand to block the sunlight from her eyes because it caused her pain. Ned knelt down by his daughter and took her into his arms. He held you close and inspected the gash in her forehead.

“I told you to stay by the carriage.” Ned’s voice was hollow and it appeared that he had been terrified. Sansa could understand why. Baelish wrapped his arms around Sansa’s middle and she leaned into him. The adrenaline was leaving her and she could feel exhaustion take over. Ned looked over to his two eldest children and when he saw that they were perfectly fine, he continued his focus on Arya. He called for water and some bandages. The Maester from the Twins who was traveling alongside Stevron moved to assist the younger girl. Ned moved away, allowing the Maester to take over her care. “What happened?” Ned asked, looking between Sansa and Robb but before either of they could answer, the stranger stepped forward.

“The girl saved three lives today.” The stranger said and Sansa was able to fully look at the stranger. He was tall and was wearing ragged clothing. He was dirty but that was to be expected if he had been in that cage for any long period of time. However, what stood out most about his was his hair. One side was completely white while the other was red. Sansa was unsure who this man was but she knew that he was dangerous.

“Who are you?” Ned asked and his eyes darted around, obviously looking for the other two men he claimed Arya saved. “And where are your two companions?”

“My name is Jaqen H’ghar and the two men who I was trapped alongside with, ran in the opposite direction. Where they went I cannot be certain.” Jaqen H’ghar stated and Sansa noticed how he never stated that he was trapped in a cage that was transporting prisoners. His accent was smooth and it was clear that he was intelligent. Sansa wondered what he was imprisoned for.

“What happened here?”

“We were being transported to the Wall. There were about twenty of us, all dead now.” H’ghar responded but gave no further information. Sansa thought that if the group was being taken to the Wall, it meant that he was being taken forcefully. He was locked in a cage and she assumed he must have been banished to the Wall, along with the two other men. Now, it was curious to Sansa why he didn’t flee with the other two men. He was now free and would not have to take the Black if he so chose not to, but he stayed with the men who easily could have him sent to the wall against his wishes.

“Who attacked you?” Ned asked. The Lord of Winterfell eyed the other man and Sansa could tell that her father thought that he was dangerous and didn't trust him. “My son is the Lord Commander of the Wall, I will have to inform him of the tragedy that had taken place here. If you still wish to take the Black, I’m sure my son will be pleased to have you.” H'ghar's features remained passive but it was obvious that his mind was working through his options.

“You’re heading south. Towards King’s Landing I assume?” Ned nodded in agreement. H’ghar’s eyes traveled to Arya who was still on the ground, her wound being nursed by the Maester. Sansa noticed that even though Arya was being poked and prodded in a very uncomfortable way, she never took her eyes from H’ghar. “A debt is owed.” He whispered lightly. If Sansa was not standing beside the man, she wouldn’t have heard it at all. She looked over to her husband and it was clear that he heard the words as well. “Gold Cloaks attacked us during our travels. If it would be suitable for you, I would like to travel back to King’s Landing. If not, I will make my own way.”

“Why would the King’s guard set out and attack a party traveling to the Wall?” Ned asked. “If you do not want to travel to the Wall I am sure we can handle one more person joining us.” Ned didn’t trust the man which was clear but found no reason as to why he should deny him. He hadn’t taken his vows and thus Ned knew that he could not be considered a deserter, thus he warranted no punishment that was given to those who deserted the Wall.

“They were looking for someone. A boy named Gendry.”

“Was this boy traveling with you and did they find him?” Ned asked and H’ghar hesitated before he answered. It appeared that he knew more than he was willing to give Ned. Yet, his eyes kept looking toward Arya and Sansa wasn’t sure if she was comfortable with the man’s fascination with her sister.

“No. They did not find him. He is gone.” H’ghar replied and Ned nodded, satisfied with the answer. Sansa wondered what the King’s Guard would want with a boy named Gendry, someone who she had never heard of before. Could it be the same reason Renly disappeared from the Capitol or a reason completely unrelated? Sansa looked toward her husband and he wore that familiar look upon his face. She knew he would be sending a raven to the many people he had working for him in King’s Landing, trying to discover who this Gendry was and why he would be running from King’s Landing. “I thank you for your generosity.”

“Jory, make sure our guest has a horse for his travels.” The head of her father’s guard stepped forward and motioned for H’ghar to follow him. The two of them left, heading toward the back of the heard and Ned turned back to Arya. “I should send you right back to Winterfell for disobeying me.”

“I’m sorry but I couldn’t just leave them there.” Arya stated. She hissed again when the Maester attempted to clean her wound. “I heard them screaming and I just couldn’t live with myself if I allowed someone to burn to death when there was something I could do about it.” Arya was a true Stark because she knew that her father would have done the exact same thing she had done. Baelish pulled on Sansa’s hand and began to pull her from the small gathering that was forming around Arya. Looking over her shoulder to see if her sister was indeed alright, she allowed herself to be steered away from the mass of people. He walked her back to the carriage and Sansa saw Roslin standing near her brother, who was speaking with Edmure. Baelish pulled her around the carriage and out of sight of the trio who was on the other side.

“Are you alright?” Baelish looked at her with true concern in his eyes. She realized that when he didn’t find her by the carriage, he must have panicked and ran into the woods after her. She felt guilty for causing him such worry. At the time, all she could think about was following her sister and prevent her from falling into harm’s way. Sansa leaned up and placed her lips upon his. It was a gentle apology.

“I’m alright. Exhausted but alright.” Sansa replied. “I’m sorry for frightening you.” Baelish gave her a weak smile and pulled her close. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and rested her head on his shoulder. She felt him kiss the top of her red hair. She inhaled but instead of smelling mint as she normally would have, her husband smelt of soot and smoke. She pulled away and looked him in the eyes. She could tell that while he was concerned for her, he was also running the events through his head. “Do you know who this Jaqen H’ghar is?”

“No.” Baelish stated. “But I have a theory.” When he didn’t elaborate, Sansa raised her eyebrow, causing her husband to laugh. “If he is who I think he is then your sister just made a very useful friend.” He smirked slightly at the thought. “I’ve used their services before and they are not cheap. I wonder who hired him and why he is here. Of course as long as neither of us are the recipient of such services, I will leave that matter alone.”

“Services? Who exactly is this man?”

“An assassin.” Sansa’s eyes widened at the news. She wasn’t sure if she was shocked by the news that her sister just saved a man who received compensation for taking other's lives or that her husband has used such services before. Neither particularly bothered her but the news on both accounts were still startling.

“And do you plan on using my sister’s connection to further your own agenda?” There were possibilities there of course and for a split second, Sansa allowed her mind to wonder down the path of who she would have this assassin take care of instead of getting her own hands bloody but Baelish shook his head in the negative direction. She pouted, sticking her bottom lip out. He leaned in and took her lips in-between his teeth. “Why not?”

“I’m more curious to see what Arya does with such a friend and how she asks him to repay such a debt.” There was a mischievous glint in his eye and it always baffled Sansa at the interest Baelish had for Arya. He explained why Jon fascinated him and Robb was obvious but Arya was still a mystery to her. He always took interest in her sword play and now he seemed pleased with Arya’s new friend. It was almost as though he nurtured Arya’s violent side. “But what I do intend to investigate is why Gold Cloaks attacked a party traveling to the Wall. Such things are not heard of.”

“Do you know who this Gendry is?”

“No. But I intend to find out.” Voices began to approach and it appeared that the party would begin their travels again. A few men would be staying behind in order to give those boys who were slaughtered a proper burial but the rest would be continuing south. Baelish led Sansa back around the carriage, toward the carriage door. She looked around and noticed that Stevron had moved away but Roslin was still making conversation with Edmure.

Baelish opened the door to the carriage and helped Sansa inside. Before she sat down in the carriage, he held out her hand and kissed the back of it. She smiled at him and batted him away slightly. He laughed and retreated. Sansa watched his back as he walked away from the carriage. She leaned back into the seat and sat alone for several minutes. She eventually heard Arya’s voice approach and distantly heard her father say something.

“I will. I promise.” Arya replied in an exasperated tone. Arya placed her hand on the handle and Sansa saw the door move slightly. However, Arya paused and Sansa turned her head when she heard that strange accent again.

“Girl.” H’ghar stated and Sansa assumed that he was hoping to have a moment alone with her. But seeing that Arya had been injured, she had been surrounded by people. Sansa heard the door creak as though Arya let the door handle go. She heard the crutching of stone and it seemed that Arya moved away from the carriage. “A man owes you a debt. A man pays his debts. A man owes three.”

“Three what?”

“The Red god takes what is his, lovely girl. And only death may pay for life. You saved me and the two I was with. You stole three deaths from the Red God. We have to give them back. Speak three names, and a man will do the rest. Three lives I will give you. No more, no less. And we’re done.”

Sansa’s mind worked furiously. Her sister could choose man, women or child and this man would kill them for her. All she would have to do is say their name and she would sign their death warrant. There were so many possibilities that Sansa could use. Yet, none of them really came to her, except one and this one wasn’t something she was willing to do. Arya stepped into the carriage and froze. She locked eyes with her sister and it was clear that Arya understood that Sansa heard the entire conversation.

“Joffery. Is mine.”

Chapter Text

The farther south they traveled, the nicer the taverns became. The wood of the tavern was slightly less warn and each room had their own fire place, which Sansa was surprised to learn was not common in every tavern. This one in particular was extremely elegant but Sansa bulked at the price for just one night in a place like this. Most of the party set up camp in the woods surrounding the tavern but Baelish insisted that he and his wife would be staying in comfort for the night. A few others besides the newlyweds also paid to stay the night in the tavern, but those were few and far between.

Their chamber was bigger than most, a chamber that was reserved for only the wealthiest. A four-poster bed was pressed up against the south wall. The sheets were made of light silk, although Sansa believed that her husband instructed such sheets to make up the bed. She was certain that such finery would never belong to a tavern, no matter how lavish it might be. Sansa stood from the vanity and walked barefoot toward the bed. She giggled and jumped onto the bed, letting her back hit the many pillows that lined the bed.

They had been traveling for over a month and this would be the first real bed she slept in since leaving Winterfell. The other taverns they had slept in, while more comfortable than a tent, were not as extravagant. The night they slept at the Twins had been pleasing but Stevron made no efforts to really impress his guests. When she first stepped into the chamber, she had squealed and turned to kiss her husband on the cheek. He wore a wide smirk and it was obvious that he was pleased with her happiness. It was clear that he knew that she was growing tired of traveling and no matter how nervous the idea of King's Landing made her, it would be nice to be able to have a place to call home again.

Sansa closed her eyes and let the silk just rest on her skin. Baelish had stepped out in order to collect some ravens that had come for him and once her trucks had been brought up to their chambers, she wasted no time stripping off her dress and tearing her corset off. She was in nothing more than her chase that went under her dress. It was no wonder she felt relieved to have her clothing disregarded because she never realized how hot the Mediterranean climate would be. Baelish had made an off hand comment about having to order her some lighter dresses but she had been far to busy worried about what his hands were doing to her to really comprehend what his lips were saying.

The door creaked opened and her husband stepped into the chamber with several pieces of parchment and a few small packages in his hand. He seemed distracted by his reading but when he looked up and saw Sansa lying comfortably in the middle of the bed. He smirked at her and slowly sat the items he was holding in his hand down upon the wooden vanity.

She sat up on her elbows and looked at Baelish from head to toe. He dressed lighter in the warmer weather. He still wore long coats that nearly touched the floor but they were made of silk instead of heavier material. They were beautifully intricate in design and soft a the touch. While Sansa already had an issue with keeping her hands to herself when it came to her husband, the silk only made it all to easy for her to reach out and run her fingertips up his arms.

Baelish kicked off his boots and made his way toward the bed as he rolled his sleeves up to his elbow. He climbed on the bed and eased his way up to Sansa who laid flat on her back, resting her head against the pillows. Baelish rested his body weight on top of her and Sansa made herself comfortable underneath him. She reached up and wrapped her arms around his shoulders.

“I see you are making use of the bed?” Baelish asked. Sansa giggled and leaned up to kiss him. He smiled into her lips but made no move to take anything further. He moved off of her and leaned himself against the headboard and Sansa pouted. Ever since her courses came and went, relations have been minimal but not for the lack of trying. It appeared that her father made it his personal mission to keep the two of them apart for the remainder of their journey. Sansa moved to place her head on his lap and Baelish began to run his hands through her red hair.

“I noticed you received a few ravens.” Sansa replied and Baelish chuckled. He continued to run his fingers through her hair. “Did you find anything interesting? Are their scandals brewing in King's Landing that we should be aware of when we arrive?” They were two days away from arriving in King's Landing and with every passing second, Sansa grew more and more concerned about the inevitable.

“Well, Stannis Baratheon has been arrested for treason.” Baelish stated in almost off hand manner. Sansa sat up straight, with wide eyes which caused Baelish to laugh. “Sweetling, you can't be that surprised. It's almost to be expected.” He smirked and Sansa narrowed her eyes. He seemed extremely smug and satisfied.

“What did you do?”

“I just made sure that the Gold Cloaks remained loyal to the throne instead of partaking in any offers that may have been extended their way.” Sansa crossed her arms and smirked at him. What Baelish meant was that he gave them so must gold that any other offer would seem cheap in comparison. “We need Joffery on the throne for a bit longer and Stannis was attempting to overthrow him.”

“Overthrow him how?” Sansa asked. She knew that Stannis had been made Hand of the King when her father refused the position. Baelish had once told her that while he was the Hand, he held no real power. When King Robert was alive, he completely ignored any advice that Stannis offered. She was sure that the complete disregard would have ate away at Stannis. Now that his brother was dead, he attempted to overthrow the new king, Stannis must have known that he was the rightful heir to the throne. “Stannis knew that Joffery wasn't King Robert's son.”

“Yes and he attempted to prove that Joffery was Cersei's in-breaded bastard. He almost succeeded. However if Stannis took the Iron Throne then it would very bad for us.” Sansa leaned in and Baelish wrapped his arms around her. If Stannis would sit upon the Iron Throne, Sansa knew that everything Baelish had worked for would have disappeared. Stannis would have eventually discovered Baelish's role in bankrupting Westeros and that alone would have led to his execution. If Stannis ever uncovered any of the other dealings he had a hand in, then she knew both of them would be dead before Stannis even had a chance to warm the Iron Throne.

“Did you learn anything about the boy named Gendry?” She whispered as she traced the mockingbird pin that was pinned to his silk coat. He had told her after the massacre in the Eyrie that was was going to write to his contacts in King's Landing and discover why exactly the Gold Cloaks had killed those boys and why they were after this Gendry. He leaned down and kissed the top of her head before speaking.

“He is one of King Robert's bastards.” Baelish stated in disinterest. “Which is unsurprising, seeing that he had so many. When Stannis attempted to over throw the new king, he purposefully leaked the truth about Joffery's parentage, Joffery decided to have every single one of his bastards executed, including the infants. This Gendry left King's Landing just after the order was given and no one has seen him since.” Sansa closed her eyes but all she could see was those poor innocent boys whose corpses were left to rot by the men who murdered them.

“Why now? Why would Stannis wait to reveal the truth until after his brother's death?” It didn't make sense to her. “Stannis had six years as Hand of the King to convince his brother of his wife's infidelity. So why now?”

“Because King Robert wouldn't listen. You've met the king before and you know how he was. He would do anything to just spite his brother. If Stannis revealed the truth, King Robert wouldn't believe him simply because it came from Stannis. However, that would only be possible if Stannis was aware of Cersei's affair with Jaime. Jon Arryn and Stannis were looking into King Robert's bastards but Jon Arryn never informed him as to why. He believed that it was far too dangerous. Trust me Sweetling, if Stannis knew the truth before, I would has assured that he was long in his gave by now.”

“Then how did Stannis learn the truth?” Sansa looked at her husband and saw that wide grin appear again. “You informed him didn't you?” She all but laughed. Of course he did. He knew exactly what Stannis would do if he learned such information and Baelish needed Stannis out of King's Landing and in no position of power. Baelish slid off the bed and held out his hand.

“Enough talk for now. I have a gift for you.” Sansa looked at him with a small smile and placed her hand into his. He pulled her from the bed and led her over to the vanity. She sat down upon it and Baelish pulled out one of the small satchels that had arrived with his letters. He pulled apart the brown strings that were holding the package together and pulled out a small velvet box. Very slowly he clicked open the clasp that held the velvet box closed and revealed what laid inside.

It was a replica of his mockingbird pin but instead it was a pendant that was attached to a black choker. The mockingbird was smaller than her husband's and it had a more delicate touch to it but it was still very beautiful. It was silver, just like his and Sansa could see that pendant could slip off the choker easily. Sansa fingered the bird lightly and gave her husband a small smile through the mirror. Baelish took the choker from the box and pushed her hair to the side. He fashioned the choker around her neck and Sansa let it rest against her pale skin.

“It's beautiful.”

“I ordered about thirty different colored chokers and several chains, all of different makings, to fit that pendant.” Baelish leaned down and kissed her shoulder. He trailed his lips from her shoulder to her neck and then he kissed the spot behind her ear. “You can wear that pendant everyday and no one would ever question who you are and that you're mine.” Their eyes locked in the mirror and Sansa could feel her heart begin to beat faster.

She stood from the vanity and turned around to face him. Her hand reached up to her shoulder and she slowly pushed the small strap of her sleeping chase down. She did the exact same thing to the other strap, all the while Baelish stood still. His eyes traced her body as the chase slipped from her body and landed on the floor. Sansa stepped out of the dress and toward her husband, wearing nothing more than the choker with the mockingbird pendant.

Baelish placed his hands on her naked hips and Sansa leaned in to kiss him fully on the mouth. She pressed herself against his clothed chest. He moved his arms to pull her closer as she weaved her hands into his black hair. They kissed for a few moments, their tongues battling with each other. Baelish reached up to unclip his pin which held his coat together. However, Sansa stopped his hand.

“No. Leave it on.” Sansa whispered to him. She took his hand and led him over to the bed. Baelish followed her willingly. She sat down on the bed and scooted back, allowing the silk to brush against her naked skin. Her eyes never left her husband's. He crawled onto the bed after her and she leaned back against the bed. Her legs parted slightly as he settled between them. He kissed her lips again but it was only a few light kisses. Soon his lips trailed down her neck and her collar bone as he slowly made his way to the pendant.

Once he reached the pendant, he placed a kiss on the small mockingbird before moving further south. He kissed the top of her breast before taking the tip between his lips. Sansa moaned with his tongue swirled against the peak. He reached up and cupped the other breast with his hand, allowing this thumb to trace over the other peak. Once he was done suckling, he switched over to the other breast and gave it the same treatment. Sansa put her hands into his hair and kneaded his scalp with her fingers.

Slowly he trailed his lips away from her breast and down her flat stomach. He nipped and lightly bit at her skin. Sansa was certain she would be covered in his bites come morning, something she didn't mind. It wouldn't only be the mockingbird pendant that would signify that she was his. As his lips kissed lower, he moved his hand to part her legs. He kissed the inside of her thighs but avoided the place she desired most. Sansa whimpered and moaned when Baelish missed her center. She arched her hips hoping to create some kind of friction. She could feel him smirk against her thigh and very slowly he stuck his tongue out and licked the entire length of her slit.

“Petyr!” Sansa's toes curled and she arched of the bed. He licked and sucked at her pearl. Sansa looked down and she could see the smug look on his face. He was enjoying her reactions to his mechanisms. She felt him insert one of his fingers inside of her and it caused her to break eye contact. Her head fell back against the bed as he added a second finger and then a third. He pumped his fingers in and out of her, picking up speed as he went. Her moans grew louder and louder until the tension she felt building inside of her snap. Her toes curled and her back arched off the bed. “Petyr!”

She felt him withdraw from her as she came down from her high. She propped herself back up on her elbows, breathing heavily. Baelish watched her for a moment, letting his eyes linger at her heaving chest. The mockingbird pendant moved with each breath she took. Sansa sat up and pushed the opening of his coat aside. She pulled at the laces holding his breeches together and once they were fully apart, she pushed them down far enough to allow his hardened member to be free. She smirked up at him as she took his member into his hand. She moved her hand up and down his length but he stopped her before she was able to take him into her mouth.

“Lean back.” Baelish whispered and Sansa obeyed. She leaned back onto her elbows. Baelish pushed her legs farther apart before aligning himself with her opening. He eased into her and Sansa bit her bottom lip between her teeth. Baelish dug his fingers into her hips and started to move slowly in and out of her. Sansa looked down to where they were connected and she watched her husband pick up his pace. Faster and fast his hips began to beat against her. Sansa reached down and began to twirl her pearl with her finger.

“Don't stop. Please don't stop.” Sansa whimpered. She could see the coat move as he pounded inside of her. His mockingbird pin moved as the coat swayed. She heard her husband groan in pleasure and she knew that he was getting close. She moved her finger against herself faster, urging herself closer to that edge. Soon she felt herself fall over that edge again and she watched as her husband's jaw slacked and his seed spilled inside of her. Sansa let her arm give out and she collapsed against the bed. Baelish chuckled and pulled himself out of her. She was still sensitive and the loss of contact caused her to whimper.

“Satisfied Sweetling?” Baelish asked with a self-satisfied tone. She popped her head up and saw that her husband wore that smug look upon his face. He was rather pleased with himself, as he always was when had just been inside of her. She narrowed her eyes and took her foot and pushed him away lightly. He laughed at her actions and grasped her ankle, which he kissed lightly.

“You're rather pleased with yourself, are you not?” Sansa teased and Baelish smirked at her. She pulled her ankle away and scooted herself up toward the headboard. Baelish tossed her a handkerchief, which she used to clean herself. She then pulled the silk sheets down and settled underneath them. She laid her head against the pillows and watched her husband move about the chamber.

“And you're not?” He continued to smirk at her. His fingers unclasped his mockingbird pin and placed it on the vanity. He undid the laces of his coat and shrugged it off. He tossed it onto his trunk before removing his light stockings. He pushed his breeches down his legs and pulled each of his legs out of them. He tossed the breeches beside the coat and pulled his silk tunic over his head. “I do believe that you were the one screaming my name.”

“I did no such thing.” She teased, knowing full well that she had voiced her pleasure loudly. Baelish smirked at her again before strolling stark nude toward the bed. Sansa couldn't help but admire his form. Once he reached the other side of the bed, he pulled down the silk sheets and climbed into bed next to her.

“Liar.” He leaned in and took her lips into his. Sansa wrapped her arms around his shoulder's as she felt him press her into the pillows. She felt his breast press against his naked chest and he placed his hands on her hips causing her to smile against his lips. He pulled away and kissed the tip of her nose. “Hi.”

“Hi.” She smiled at him. Baelish laid down against the pillows and pulled her close to him. Sansa snuggled into the nook of his arm and placed her heads against his chest. Her one hand reached up and took the small mockingbird pendant in her hand. She traced the silver and smiled . “I don't believe I said thank you for the gift. I adore it.”

“Sweetling, you stripped off your chase, led me to the bed wearing only the gift I gave you and let me fuck you fast and hard. That is thank you enough.” Baelish leered at her and Sansa slapped his chest lightly. He laughed and she could feel the vibrations of his chest beneath her. She blushed lightly which only caused his to laugh harder. She honestly had no clue why his words still made her blush. During intercourse, she felt no embarrassment and didn't feel the need to hide. Yet, his crude words always brought a tint to her skin. She wouldn't change it for anything.

“Crude.” She whispered against his chest. She kissed him lightly before relaxing next to him. She wrapped her leg around his middle. Baelish began to traced the length of her spine with his fingertips. Such action could easily cause her to fall asleep. “Where did you get this?”

“I sent a raven to the man who made mine. I was notified that it was finished while we were at the Twins and had him send it here. I knew that the raven would be here around the same time that we would arrive.” Sansa looked at him with a small smile. She really did adore the pendant and never expected him to gift her with it. It was a surprise and she would cherish it always.

“When did you order it?”

“The morning after the night we spent in your father's solar.” Her mind flashed to that night and she could almost hear that storm raging outside. She remembered what it was like to feel him for the first time and how she wished they could have had one last moment against that desk. She felt her husband harden slightly beneath her and she knew that his mind was drifting to the same memory as her. She bit her lip and sat up slightly.

“Well, I simply adore the mockingbird and I want to wear it always.” She sat up and threw her leg over his chest so she was straddling him. “But I want to give you a proper thank you, one that only you will enjoy.” She leaned down and kissed him firmly on the lips. She then trailed her kisses down his jaw and to his collar bone.

Sansa kissed and nipped her way down his chest, trailing her nails behind her. Baelish hissed that the contact but let her have her way with him. She scooted herself down, pushing the silk sheets away from him and looked at his hardened member. She licked him and she heard him groan deeply from above her. She took him fully into her mouth and she felt him weave his fingers into her red hair. She bobbed her head but allowed him to guide her with his hands. She reached up and cupped him which only caused him to pull at her hair harder; not that she minded. She moaned and the vibrations called him to call out.

“Sansa! Stop. Please.” He pulled her away from him, causing his member to slip through her lips. She looked at him confused but her confusion ended when he grabbed her shoulders and threw her against the bed. It wasn't even a few seconds before he was on top of her and buried deep inside of her. It was fast, hard and rough. He pounded against her so furiously that she had to grab the headboard, which was clanking loudly against the stone wall, in order to just keep up with him.

“Petyr!” Her legs were spread wide and up in the air. She wasn't expecting this. She was going to get him off with her mouth as a thank you but he always stopped her from allowing him to finish in that manner. He claimed that he preferred to be inside of her when he found his release. Sansa found her release far quicker than him because he was still pounding her when she came down from her high. She dragged her nails down his back and arched her's, pressing her breast against his chest. The contact caused him to still and spill himself inside her again.

Sansa brought her legs down and let them rest against the bed. She was exhausted and spent; something she could tell that Baelish felt as well. He didn't move but allowed his weight to rest against her. His face was buried in her neck and she could feel him breathing heavily; his breath gracing her sticky skin. He was still inside of her and she knew he would be for a few more moments while he caught his breath.

“Now that was a thank you.”

Chapter Text

King's Landing smelt of dead bodies and shit. The moment the carriage wheeled through the gates, it took everything Sansa had not to vomit out the window. When Baelish opened the carriage door and helped his wife down the steps he saw her pale and nauseated face. He assured her that over time she would grow use to the stench and eventually she wouldn't even notice it. Sansa didn't believe him but hoped that he was being honest with her.

Some of the servants took their trunks up to their suits, before Baelish and Sansa had the opportunity to even enter the castle. They would be presented in the evening to the King but they had a few hours before they needed to be in the throne room. Baelish led Sansa through the castle and it baffled her how many people were located there. She supposed that not everyone lived there on a full time basis but instead visiting in order to pledge their loyalty.

A few people stopped to speak with Baelish and he introduced his wife, causing their beady eyes to look her over. While no one would say it to her directly, she got the impression that all of them either judged her or pitied her. Either way, Sansa wasn't happy with either option. She would reply with something graceful and witty, always making it clear that she was Lady Sansa Baelish now and not Sansa Stark. It seemed to confuse the lesser minded men she met.

Baelish took her to their suits and she was stunned by the beauty and the size of it. It was filled with all manner of color and splendor. There was a large wooden table that sat in the middle of the stone covered room with a bowl of the most delicious fruit sitting in the center of the table. There were a few plush couches that were pushed up against the walls and several brightly covered curtains hanging from the windows. Wooden bookshelves lined the walls and were filled with several leather bond books. There were a few doors lined the walls, each leading to a different part of their suites.

He then led her through a wooden door that led to a chamber that Sansa could only assume was a bathing area. Baelish had wrapped his arms around her waist and told her that this was originally meant to be his chambers but decided that he wanted to sleep never to her every morning. A large tub was stationed in a corner and was hidden behind a gold changing screen. A vanity was on the other side of the chamber and a small table was littered with different kind of soaps and shampoos. There was a small shelf under the table that was filled with the softest towels Sansa could imagine.

Baelish stated that he would be back within the hour to collect her for the presentation. He kissed her cheek and let her alone in the bathing chamber. She heard him leave the suit and Sansa decided to explore for a moment while she waited for her new handmaiden to arrive in order to assist her. She entered the main area again and smiled when she saw Lady sprawled out on one of the couches. The large direwolf was nearly falling off of the couch. Sansa walked over to the wolf and scratched her behind the ears before placing a kiss on her head.

She walked through the other door that was located on the other side of the room. She pushed the door open and entered what she assumed was the sleeping chambers. The largest bed she had ever seen was pressed against the farthest wall. The bed was covered in colorful silk and pillows of purple, red and orange colors. Sansa walked across the chamber and ran her finger tips across the silk. There was a pair of glass doors that were covered by red curtains, blocking the chamber from view. The doors opened to reveal a balcony that overlooked the ocean. On the other side of chamber was a small archway that lead into a small room with small stain glass windows lining the stone walls. This room was empty. A nursery.

She turned when she heard the door open and Lady begin to growl. Sansa moved quickly and saw a poor terrified women leaning up against the wooden door with wide eyes. The girl had dark curly hair that was halfway held back with Sansa assumed was a clip. She was in a pale pink dress that was had a silver plate around her neck and a matching belt around her waist. It was clear that the dress was less than extravagant but was still made of finer material than most servants.

“Lady!” Sansa stated in a stern voice and the direwolf backed away. The wolf crawled back up on the couch and stretched out. The girl pulled away from the wall slightly and slowly backed away from the wolf but never took her dark eyes off of Lady. “She won't hurt you. Not without my command. I'm Lady Sansa Baelish and who are you?”

“Shae m'lady.” Shae stated with confidence and gave a small curtsy. She had an accent that wasn't native to Westeros and it made Sansa wonder how exactly she came into her position. Sansa's eyes traveled over her with suspicion. Baelish had warned her to trust no one in King's Landing. She had hoped that she would grow close to her handmaiden but she wondered if that would be the case with Shae.

“I see and who appointed you Shae?”

“The King. He said I was gift.” A spy, and more likely one from the Lannisters and not just the King. The thought of receiving any type of gift from the King made her nauseous. She nodded and made her way toward the bathing chamber again and Shae followed her. Sansa sat down at the vanity and pulled her hair down from the top of her head. Shae stood behind her and waited for instruction. It was clear that Shae was not used to being a handmaiden and perhaps was never one before.

“I want my hair braided and then pulled up on top of my head. Do you think you can handle that?” Sansa asked and Shae nodded. The foreign girl agreed and began her work. While Sansa was certain that she had never been a handmaiden before, she couldn't deny that she was talented when it came to hair. “How old are you Shae?”

“Twenty-four.” Not a girl then, Sansa corrected and that made her all the more dangerous. Shae appeared younger than she was, much in the same way Arya appeared and Sansa knew how Arya used that to her advantage. She wondered if Shae was of the same inclination. Sansa then began asking Shae questions as she worked on her hair. She asked where she came from, a question she skillfully avoided, how she came to Westeros, how she knew the King and several other inquiring questions, none of which Shae answered to Sansa's satisfaction.

Once Shae was done with her hair, Sansa inspected her handy work and couldn't deny that she was impressed. She wanted something similar to the style she wore when she got married but this was completely different but just as beautiful. She nodded in satisfaction to the other woman and stood from the vanity. Sansa swept from the bathing chamber and through the main room to the sleeping chamber.

“In that truck,” Sansa pointed the the trunk that was located beneath a small window. “is a silk blue dress with white crystal beading in the back. That is the dress I want to wear for the presentation.” It had been a gift from Baelish that he gave her when they passed through the village just outside of King's Landing. Shae nodded, pulled the dress from the trunk and laid it out on the bed.

Sansa walked over to what appeared to be a dresser but the drawers were far to small. Sansa opened each one and saw chokers of all different colors and chains. There were also barrettes and hair clips of all kinds along with some other extravagant jewelry. She smirked and shook her head. Her husband was far too generous. She ran her fingers over the chokers and pulled one that was a light blue. She walked over to the dress and held the choker next to the dress and noticed that they would be a perfect match. She place the choker on the bed and reached behind her to unclasp the black choker she was currently wearing. She slid the mockingbird pendant off and looped it through the new choker. She walked away from the bed and slowly undid her dress.

She slid it from her shoulders and asked Shae to undo her corset. The dress she would be wearing had no need for a corset or even a chase underneath. It would show more skin than she was used to but Baelish assured her that it was custom in King's Landing due to the hot weather. Once the corset was off and placed on the bed, Shae held up the dress. The front was made of silk but their was a second layer that prevented from showing to much of her body through the dress. The back was silk as well but only covered from her bottom down. The rest was completely open but had an intricate design made completely of white crystals.

Sansa kicked off her boots and stockings and slipped her chase off. Shae eyed the knife that was holstered on her thigh. Sansa saw her looking at the dagger and pursed her lips. She was completely naked in front of a stranger but she refused herself to be embarrassed. Instead she stood tall and proud and glared at Shae.

“Mention that to no one, do you understand me?” Sansa warned and Shae looked Sansa directly in the eyes. Slowly Shae lifted the bottom of her skirt and twisted her foot slightly to reveal her own holster that held a long and thin dagger. Sansa smirked and nodded at her. There was far more to Shae than even Sansa realized. She of course was worried that Shae would report back the Lannisters about her dagger but she wanted to test her. She wanted to see where her loyalty would lie. She expected no loyalty from her but she needed to know who Shae reported to.

Sansa slipped the dress on and Shae adjusted the back of it. Shae picked up the choker and fastened it around her neck. The foreign girl walked over to the trunk and picked up a pair of crystal sandals that Baelish had bought his wife alongside the dress. Sansa slipped the shoes on, finding it odd that most of her feet were uncovered. Sansa walked over to the full length mirror that was hanging by the archway that led to the nursery. Sansa took in her appearance and had to admit that she was beautiful.

The two women turned when they heard the door creak open and Baelish stood in the archway. His eyes traveled the length of her and his devious smirk appeared on his lips. She saw Shae stiffen as though his leer was something that Sansa needed to be protected from but Sansa brushed right by her and kissed her husband fully on the lips; proving that the last person she needed protecting from was Baelish.

“Shae this is my husband, Lord Baelish, Petyr, this is Shae my handmaiden and a gift from the King.” Baelish's eyebrow raised and he gave her a brief nod before turning to the handmaiden. He greeted her, proclaiming that he was highly pleased with his wife's beautiful appearance before turning back to Sansa.

“The presentation will be starting soon and we needed to be headed downstairs.” Sansa nodded in agreement and felt her stomach churn. She dug her nails into her husband's arm. This was the moment she had been dreading. Sansa began to shake and she closed her eyes. “Leave us.” Baelish's voice sounded and Sansa heard the door close. He steered her toward the plush chair near the wardrobe and rubbed his arms gently. “Are you alright?” Sansa nodded and Baelish leaned up to kiss forehead. “We will be in a hall full of people. That is the last place that the King would ever harm you or anyone else, not when he needs to win public opinion, which he is lacking at the moment. Not to mention Cersei and Tywin will also be in attendance.” Sansa snorted and Baelish gave her a small smile. “I despise them just as much as you do but their presence will be useful.” Sansa nodded and leaned up to kiss him gently. “Are you ready?”

“As I ever will be.” She answered and stood. She looped her arm through his and held it closely, vowing only to let it go when she had to do the curtsy. The remainder of the time she would stay latched to his arm. Baelish led her out to the main part of their suits and she saw Shae waiting for them. There was worry in her eyes and Sansa felt flattered at her concern. She stopped, bringing her husband to a halt. “Shae, I would be very grateful if you could unpack our trunks and have our clothes hanging in the wardrobe when we return.” Shae nodded in agreement. “Thank you. Come Lady.” The direwolf jumped from the sofa and padded after Sansa and Baelish. There was no way she was entering the throne room without her wolf by her side.

Baelish and Sansa strolled down the stone halls, arms linked together. Her mind was racing and Sansa needed something to distract herself. She tried admiring the castle or even watching the people they passed but nothing would do. The people gave them a wide birth as they walked down the corridor, mainly because none of them had seen a direwolf in person before. The distance they gave her and her husband actually gave Sansa a sense of comfort. Lady would be useful for many things and this would just add to that list.

“Did you learn anything of interest since we arrived?” Sansa whispered. Baelish turned his head and looked at her, clearly not expecting her to speak. He nodded and waited to pass a few more people before he divulged in the secrets he learned. He leaned closer to her and Sansa could feel his warm breath against her ear.

“I learned that we are to have a rather busy day tomorrow.” He leaned away and smiled at a few people who passed by. They turned a corner and there were very few people who lingered there. Sansa was sure that this was a shorter way to the throne room and while she knew it would give them some privacy, she wasn't thrilled that she would be that much closer to facing Joffery for the first time in three years. “Stannis Baratheon is set to be executed at noon tomorrow.”

“What!” Sansa paused in her tracks looking at her husband with wide eyes. She looked around and noticed that they were alone in the corridor. “So soon? I thought he would have a trial or something? But to have him executed without time to...I don't know.” Baelish walked closer to her and placed his hands on her shoulders in comfort.

“Stannis has proved himself to be a traitor in the crown's eyes. Not to mention that Joffery knows by now of his true parentage and wants rid of anyone who might challenge his throne. Which is why he ordered all of King Robert's bastards to be slaughtered, why Gold Cloaks are searching all of Westeros for a boy named Gendry, and why Renly fled before Joffery had a chance to arrest him. Anyone who is a threat to his throne will die.” Sansa swallowed and nodded.

“Didn't Stannis have a daughter?” Sansa whispered. Baelish nodded. “What happened to her?”

“She disappeared.” Sansa raised an eyebrow and her husband smirked. She would bet anything that he knew exactly how and why Stannis's daughter vanished. “She vanished the same day as Renly. I'm positive that Stannis knew what he was getting into could possibly end his life and wanted Shireen gone. When his wife died in childbirth last year, his daughter was the last thing he had to hold onto. So he arranged Renly to flee the city with her.”

“I thought Stannis and Renly hated each other.”

“They did but Shireen was the only thing they could agree on.” Sansa nodded. In any other situation, the knowledge that Shireen, a young girl who she never set eyes upon, was safe and would not have to watch her father be executed would bring Sansa comfort. She linked her arms through Baelish's again and they began their stroll. They turned and weaved their way through the castled until hey made their way to a small entranceway where a crowed of people were waiting. She saw several people she recognized and many she didn't. Edmure was near the front and a few ways back she saw Roslin, who looked beautiful, standing near her brother.

Ned, who was dressed in a grey tunic with large direwolf pin on his front and his hair tied back to keep the light brown curls from his face. Robb was standing next to him and he wore his signature blood red with the grey direwolf etched onto chest. Arya, who looked completely bored, was also dressed to the nines. Her long brown hair was piled onto the top of her head with a few loose curls lining her face. She was in a light green dress that Sansa recognized as her's from a few years ago, before her growth spirt. Ned turned when they saw them enter and he eyed his daughter from head to toe. His lips pursed and it was clear he disapproved of the dress she had decided to wear. Yet, he said nothing, instead trailing his eyes toward Lady who stood by her side.

“Do you think it wise to bring Lady with you. I commanded Robb and Arya to leave their's behind.” Ned asked and Sansa could tell that Arya wanted to bring Nymeria with her. She was sure that Nymeria and Greywind were in the Godswood somewhere, hunting for some innocent prey.

“I asked Sansa to keep Lady with her at all times. King's Landing is not Winterfell and I would be distraught if anything would happen to her.” Baelish stated and kissed Sansa on the cheek. She smiled but even his kind words could not prevent her from feeling scared. Her nerves were a wreck and she felt that at any moment she might either vomit or cry. She felt a hand slip into her's and she turned to see Arya standing by her side. Sansa gripped her hand tighter.

Slowly the doors at the front of the entranceway opened. She could see into the throne room but it was difficult to make everything out over the heads of all the people. One by one, names of the nobel houses would be called and a few people would leave the entranceway to pass through the giant wooden doors. It would be a few moments of quiet, a few words needed to be exchanged between the King and the nobles. Soon the crowed thinned and it was their turn. Arya stood on her tip toes and kissed Sansa on the cheek.

“You're stronger than him. Remember that.” Arya stated and slowly let go of her hand. Baelish tightened his grip on her arm and they stepped through the wooden doors. They paused once they passed through them and Sansa looked around. All eyes were on them. Some were looking at her husband while other's eyes were trained on her. Whispers followed as they looked at her with slow judgmental glares. Some eyes were wide with fear when they saw Lady at her heels.

“Lord Petyr and Lady Sansa of House Baelish of Harrenhal.” Their names rang through the hall and Sansa dug her nails into Baelish's arm. He made no motion of pain or that he minded her intrusion. Sansa squared her shoulder's and looked straight ahead. She inhaled deeply and put one foot in-front of the other. Her gaze never wavered as they drew closer and closer to the Iron Throne. She could hear voices trailing them as they passed but she couldn't make out what they were saying. Either way, she didn't care. Her eyes were locked with the throne and she could feel her face fall into the mask of stone.

The King came into view then, with his ever faithful guard, Ser Meryn Trant standing guard behind him. Sansa had the urge to raise her hand to her throat but couldn't give either of them the satisfaction. Joffery was taller than she remembered, he must have grown. His hair was as golden as ever and that entitled sneer was still plastered on his flawless skin. He was beautiful but the look in his eyes were pure evil. He sat upon the throne in a lazy, comfortable manner as though he had always been there. The crown rested upon his head was made of pure gold it made him appear so much more terrifying than he had been that night in the Godswood.

King Joffery of House Baratheon sat before her on the Iron Throne as the most powerful man in the Seven Kingdoms and it took everything she had inside of her not break into a thousands tiny little pieces. Simply being in front of the monster who robbed her of everything she once held dear made her want nothing more than to take the strings that held his elegant coat together and strangle him with it. She wanted to watch the life leave his eyes.

Sansa's eyes locked with Joffery's cold ones and she felt the rush of pure hatred run through her. Bloodlust pounded in her ears and it took everything she had to keep her mask perfectly in place. It was hard for her to keep her emotions from playing on her features. She felt Lady stiffen beside her but she never uttered one growl and just like her master, the direwolf's eyes watched the new King. Joffery didn't even seemed phased by the direwolf's presence.

King Joffery of House Baratheon sat in front of her on the Iron Throne.

King Joffery of House Baratheon was the most powerful man in all of the Seven Kingdoms.

King Joffery of House Baratheon robbed Sansa of her innocence.

King Joffery of House Baratheon haunted her nightmares, while she was both awake and asleep.

King Joffery of House Baratheon was Sansa's own personal demon.

And she felt herself bow to him.

Chapter Text

Sansa never broke eye-contact with the King. Not once. When her knees were bent, they nearly touched the stone floor. She bowed as far as she could, all the while glaring into his eyes. Joffery sneered at her. His cruel eyes traced her body while his fingers went to his lips. Sansa knew that he was reliving the Godswood again and what she must have felt like. That look and those eyes sent a shiver down her spine. She felt bile rise in her throat and it threatened to spill out onto the ground. She swallowed it down, refusing to give him the satisfaction that he had any type of control over her.

She stood slowly and squared her shoulders. She linked her arms through Baelish's, grasping him as tightly as she could. Her nails dug into his arm again and she felt a small margin of calm wash over her. Baelish gave Joffery a steady glare, marking his territory, and flashed his infamous leer at the young King. Joffery's hand twitched slightly, knowing he couldn't touch her without the entirety of Westeros revolting around him. That displeased sneer appeared on his lips and for the first time since she laid eyes upon him again, she smiled. Her smile almost caused to her laugh at him. His anger and frustration gave her power and felt high on it. Baelish gave her that. Her feelings were mixed between terror and elation.

Feeling slightly more secure standing next to her husband, Sansa broke her eyes contact for a moment, allowing her to take in those who surrounded the King. On his left was the Queen Mother, Cersei Lannister. She looked as elegant and beautiful as ever. She wore that false smile that made Sansa admire her so long ago. She was graceful and had the presence of a true Queen. Sansa hated her because all she could see was the women who murdered her brother and the mother who born a monster; Sansa wanted nothing more than to wrap her gold hair around her neck and hold it tight. Three people surrounded Cersei, her two other children Myrcella and Tommen and a tall man who Sansa could only assume was her father, Tywin Lannister.

However, there were two people next to Tywin that she had never seen before. There was an older women who was extremely beautiful. She had chestnut curls piled up on her head with hints of grey littered through it. She stood a ways back but there was an essence of power about her. Next to her was a younger girl with long hair the same tint as the older women. Sansa could only conclude that his was her daughter. The older women leaned up and whispered into Tywin's ear and he nodded. Whoever they were, they were in bed with the Lannisters and were no friends of Sansa's.

Her ice blue eyes passed over them all and looked toward Joffery's other side. Next to him was a very beautiful women around her age sitting next to him. Her chocolate hair was long enough to reach her waist. She held herself in a very graceful manner and Sansa could tell that behind her pretty face was a mind far sharper than Joffery's. The woman reached up and took Joffery's hand in her's. Joffery kissed it and Sansa knew it was an attempt to taunt her. Yet, it made her feel powerful. This was Margaery Tyrell and Sansa could tell that she had Joffery wrapped around her finger; something that would provide to be useful for Sansa.

She smiled then, wildly. Joffery was terrifying that was certain however, the thought that someone had any type of control over him, and he was completely unaware of the fact, brought joy to her. If she could befriend Margaery then perhaps she could influence him and his decisions. She knew that Baelish had an alliance with the Tyrells. He put them in a position of power and could easily take it away. She knew that they would want to make him happy. If Margaery was on the throne and with Baelish having some influence over the Tyrells, he had influence over the King and all of Westeros. Of course Joffery was reckless and could very well decide to ignore Margaery and all of his other handlers, but it was a risk she was willing to take. All Sansa had to do was gain Margaery’s trust. If Margaery wanted Sansa unharmed, then unharmed Sansa would be. She could tell that Joffery wanted to make Margaery happy, at least for the time being. He had been sweet to her in the beginning too.

Suddenly there was movement from beside Cersei and Sansa turned her head quickly. Myrcella stepped down the stone steps and walked toward Sansa and Baelish; both were caught off guard by her actions as was her family. Cersei had reached out to stop her daughter from moving forward but Tywin placed a hand on her shoulder, holding her back. Joffery leaned forward his eyes darting between his sister and Sansa.

“Lady Sansa, it is such a pleasure to have you at court.” Myrcella leaned forward and engulfed Sansa in a hug. She could feel the princess’s breath on her cheek has she whispered to her. “I’m so sorry for my brother, what he did to you. I’m just so sorry.” Myrcella pulled away and plastered a smile on her face. Sansa was touched by the princess’s words and she could tell that she was sincere. “I’m hoping that while you are here we can rekindle our friendship.” They had never been friends, not even the slightest. Myrcella took her hand in her’s and squeezed it gently. She turned and face the throne, but never let go of Sansa’s hand. “Joffery, it’s just wonderful that Sansa is here. Isn’t it?”

The siblings glared at each other, neither willing to waiver. Sansa gathered a significant amount of information in that glare. Myrcella was no fool and she was by far more intelligent than either of her brothers. She knew exactly what Joffery was, what he had done and what he might continue to do as King. Yet, the most important piece of information was that Sansa realized that Myrcella wasn’t afraid of her brother and was more than willing to challenge him. Myrcella declared Sansa a friend in front of the entire court and the court loved their princess; something Myrcella clearly used to her advantage.

“Yes. It’s just…wonderful.” Joffery sneered at her. An evil spark gleamed in his eyes. Slowly, he stood from the Iron Throne and took one step at a time. It was as though time slowed for Sansa and she could feel her heartbeat increase. Myrcella’s hand squeezed tighter and she felt Baelish stiffen beside her as the King approached, yet neither were able to do anything about it. It would be foolish to challenge the King. It wasn’t long before Joffery was standing directly in front of Sansa and she felt as though her insides were going to claw their way out of her. Her head felt light and she thought she might collapse on the ground if he came any closer.

The smell of honey filled her nostrils. Her mind flashed to the night in the Godswood and it took everything she had to not completely freeze and revolt. She wouldn't allow him to have that satisfaction. No, she would pretend that he didn't faze her. Joffery placed his hands on her shoulders and leaned in. He placed one kiss on her left cheek and then on her right. The touch, while it unnerved her, it was more of the fact that she was forced to kiss him back. Lady gave a small growl, that only Sansa could hear, from beside her. Joffery pulled away from her as fast as he came and stepped back toward the Iron Throne.

Sansa looked around and dug her nails into his arm, deeper and deeper. Two faces stood out to her; Margaery just appeared sympathetic while Myrcella was furious. The princess gave Sansa's hand one last squeeze before she made her way back toward her mother. Sansa smiled but could feel her sides churning. She felt dirty and disgusting. She wanted nothing more than to scrub her body clean. Baelish pulled her toward the side and and her mind was completely blank.

They stood on the side of the throne room and she could hear the chatter around her, yet she couldn't process any of it. Lady curled at her feet and she absentmindedly reached down to caress the wolf behind her hears. She felt Baelish rub small circles on her hand was still digging into his arm. She must be hurting him but he gave her no complaint. His gentle touches caused her nerves and disgust to be under control. The fact that his hands had just been on her was hitting her with complete and total revulsion. She could still feel his hands on her shoulder and his lips on her cheeks and that memory took everything she had inside of her not to break down.

“Sweetling, tell me you're alright.” Baelish's voice sounded and she turned to him. His eyes shown bright and concerned. She could see that he was furious and if there wasn't so much to loose, he would have strangled the King on that very throne. There was bloodlust running through him and she could see that he had the urge to kill those who harmed her in the past. She wasn't able to speak because if she did, she was sure she would spill the breakfast she ate that morning all over the stone floor. Instead she just shook her head but she could tell that her husband didn't believe her.

“Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell and Warden of the North with his son, Lord Robb Stark, Heir to Winterfell and his daughter Lady Arya Stark.” Sansa turned and saw her family slowly make their way toward the King. Ned appeared depressed and Sansa could only assume that it was because the last time he stood in those stone halls was during King Robert's Rebellion. Robb appeared indifferent toward the King but Sansa could see that her sister glared at Joffery with complete and total vengeance. All three of them bowed with their eyes on the King, yet each one read something different.

A small movement on her left caught her eye. She turned to see the young woman with long brown hair watching the three Starks with interest. She leaned back and asked her mother something and gave a gentle smile. Her eyes never left them and she blushed slightly. She saw that her brother had noticed her and his grin was the cause of her blush. Sansa's eyes continued to dance between Robb and the young woman. She grew displeased at the glances between the two of them and the look on her brother's face made her startle. He desired this unknown woman.

“Lord Robb, it has come to my attention that you are to be married. Is this so?” King Joffery's voice sounded. Robb's eyes snapped from the young woman toward the King. The young woman's eyes darted between the King and Robb with worry. Robb cleared his throat and stood tall as though he was a man about to enter a war.

“I am.” His eyes traveled back to the young woman and Sansa could read the complete disappointment on her features. She looked down at her hand's and it appeared as though she might start to cry. Sansa felt sad for the girl but it was important to learn now that Robb was off limits and perhaps it best for her to turn her affections elsewhere.

“Where is the blushing bride? I believe that she is here, isn't she? Step forward.” King Joffery proclaimed in his cocky all important voice. Sansa was sure that he knew that neither Robb nor Roslin were eager to be married to each other. She was unsure how such knowledge had been acquired but it wouldn't surprise her that Cersei had her spies lingering in the Riverlands.

Slowly, Sansa felt Roslin step from behind her and toward the center of the hall. Stevron followed her with his chest puffed out and looked exceedingly proud and self-important. Sansa could tell that Roslin felt uncomfortable in the King's presence but placed each foot in front of the other. She bowed to the King again and saw that Robb held out his hand. The look upon Robb's face was almost heartbreaking. This was not a man who adored his bride but rather a man who accepted his fate. Roslin placed her hand in her betrothed's and stood next to him.

“Your Grace.” Roslin's voice was soft but it rang crystal clear.

“Well, are you not a beauty.” King Joffery stated and his eyes trailed over her in a sadistic manner. Sansa knew that he was imagining the worst possible torture he could imagine to inflict upon her. She was certain that Joffery wouldn't touch her but a servant girl would be screaming in the night. King Joffery stood and extended his arms toward Robb and Roslin. “Lord Robb, you are an old friend. I valued my time at Winterfell greatly. There are many aspect of you home that I enjoyed, particularly the Godswood for instance.” Sansa stilled, knowing that his words were directed at her. “And it is because of that friendship that I extend this offer. Since my father's untimely death, my lovely Margaery and I were forced to put our wedding on hold until the proper mourning time has passed. However, the preparations have all been made. I insists that you marry in our steed.”

The hall was alit with cheer. To the outside world it appeared to be a generous offer from the King. However, Sansa saw it for exactly what it was, a taunt. The Starks were no friends of the Lannisters and Joffery was making it plain as day that he viewed them as an enemy. To Ned, he was flaunting Bran's death in front of him. To Robb, it was the power the King held to force his hand. To Sansa, it was the loss of her stolen virtue. To Arya, it was a combination of all three. They all hated the King and yet the King was the only one with the power in the rivalry.

“My sister would be very grateful Your Grace!” Stevron exclaimed with a wide smile, not seeing the cruelty that the King was portraying. “Wouldn't the be right, dear sister?” Roslin looked at her brother with a hopeless look in her eyes. Roslin would always be loyal to her family and while she wanted nothing more than not to marry Robb, she would do so because that is what was commanded of her.

“Of course. I would be honored Your Grace.” Roslin stated with her head held high. Sansa could see Roslin's shoulder's square and her gaze never left the King's eyes. If the King was going to condemn her to a miserable marriage, then he was going to have to look at her as he did so. King Joffery's sadistic smile grew and he was very pleased with the turn of events.

“Wonderful. The wedding will commence in a weeks time.” With a wave of his hand, he turned and sat down upon his throne as he dismissed them. Ned, Robb and Arya along with Roslin and Stevron moved from the center of the hall and toward the crowd. The Starks were the last to be presented so the court completely disbanded. Laughter and chatter could be heard as the people of the court began to move to socialize. There would be a feast held to honor the King and those who presented themselves to him. It was to show gratitude for their loyalty, however, Sansa wanted no part of it.

“Get me out of here.” Sansa whispered hoarsely to her husband. She looked at Baelish and he could tell that she was cracking. He placed his hand on the small of her back. He steered her around the bodies and avoided anyone who even appeared as though they would want to make conversation. Lady trailed at their feet which helped the navigation of the court. Yet, it seemed as though the crowd prevented Sansa and Baelish from getting toward their destination.

“Lady Baelish.” Baelish froze in place and she saw that methodical mask fall perfectly into place. He turned and Sansa followed suit. Margaery was gliding toward them with a few gaggle of girl behind her. She smiled warmly at her but Sansa wondered how friendly it really was. Margaery paused a few paces back with her eyes on the direwolf. The wolf intimidated her slightly but she smiled; it took far more than some teeth and fur to frighten her. “I was hoping to have a moment before your husband stole you away.” Margaery smiled at Baelish. “It's always a pleasure to see you Lord Baelish.”

“As it is you, Lady Margaery.”

“Lady Baelish, my grandmother and I were planning on having lunch tomorrow after, well, the unpleasantness that is set to occur. We would be delighted if you were able to join us.” Margaery spoke with grace and Sansa could see how easy is was for the world to adore her. Anyone who even glanced at her could fall under her spell. It was no wonder that Joffery would do anything to please her. Sansa wondered how long she would be able to hold such power with him. Before to long he would turn on her just as he did Sansa.

“Nothing would make me happier, Lady Margaery. I would be glad to dine with you.” Sansa stated with a smile gracing her lips. She needed to befriend her and it would have been unwise to turn down the offer. While she knew that is was unlikely but she had wanted some time to adjust to King's Landing before falling directly into the game. Yet, there was no rest in life they would lead. Everything could change in a moment and if she let herself rest, she could lose everything. “And please, call me Sansa.”

“Only if you call me Margaery.” Margaery seemed genuinely happy with Sansa's acceptance. She reached out and took Sansa's hand and gave her a small squeeze. “I feel as though we are destined to be great friends. I will see you tomorrow then.”

“Tomorrow.” Sansa replied with a smile and watched as Margaery turned away. Her own person ladies followed her, leaving a massive amounts of giggling in their wake. Sansa looked around and saw that all eyes were upon her and that everyone witnessed the exchange. She came into this court as the ex-fiance of the King and the women who they believe seduced him but she was leaving as not only as a friend of the princess but a friend of the future Queen. She was Lady Baelish and Sansa vowed that the court around her would realize that. She turned to her husband who stood patiently by her side. “Let's go.”

Sansa linked arms with Baelish and they glided toward the door. Sansa held her head high looking at everyone as she passed. She felt that familiar fear and panic rise up in her again. The wooden doors opened and they entered the entranceway. Instead of heading down the pathway that led to their suits, Sansa all but ran toward the door that lead to a large stone balcony. The balcony overlooked the sea and she found some comfort in the sounds of the crashing waves.

She rested her hands flat against the hot stone. Her eyes closed as she attempted to calm the nerves that were pulsing through her. Behind her eyelids she could see Joffery's sneer glaring down at her from the throne. She could feel his lips upon her skin and his hands ripping at her dress. Sansa felt cold as though she was lying in the snow again. She dug her nails into the stone as she felt herself begin to shake. Her stomach churned and the bile she had been repressing rose in her throat. She leaned over the stone wall and heaved everything she eaten that day into the sea below.

Sansa felt Baelish rest his hands on her back. He drew small circles on her back and whispered sweet nothings in her ear. Once everything had been expelled and all she could do was dry heave, Baelish pulled her into his arms and allowed herself to weep in his arms. Baelish placed a small kiss on the top of her head. He rocked her and held her as she allowed all her emotions to be drained from her. Once she was finished and she had nothing left inside of her, did she pull away.

“Sansa, speak to me.” Baelish took her hands and kissed them. She smiled at him and kissed his head. She stood away from him for a moment and wrapped her arms around herself. Her heart began to slow and her mind became clearer. It was a moment of weakness but one that she needed. She held her ground in the throne room against Joffery and would have to do so again. She knew that all eyes had been upon her at various points and would continue to be so.

“I'm fine. I just needed....I don't know, a moment to feel.” Sansa stated and Baelish nodded. He went behind her and wrapped his arms around her middle. Out of habit, Sansa leaned into him and let his warm overtake her. She always found comfort in his embrace. She placed her hands on top of his and closed her eyes. “Thank you for being there and not leaving me.”

“I vowed to stand beside you and I always will.”

She looked up at him and kissed his cheek. She turned in his arms and wrapped her's around his neck. She rested her forehead against his. They leaned there for a time, allowing her to adjust to the events that had just transpired. When she broke away from him, Sansa looked around her and saw her father staring at them. His face was complete ashen as he stared at them and by his side as a plump bald man who wore rich purple robes.

“Who is that man?” Sansa asked and Baelish turned his head to follow her gaze. She saw her husband sneer toward the man. She pulled away slightly and looked at him. He gave her a small chuckle before placing a kiss on her forehead.

“That is the eunuch, Lord Varys.” Baelish has told her of him before, calling him the Spider. He told her tales of their contest and maneuvers they played with each other. She turned to look at the man and saw him whisper into her father's ear. Ned never moved nor reacted toward what Varys was saying to him. Instead his eyes focused directly on his daughter and Sansa realized what he was being told. Of course Varys would hear of the rumors, for he heard everything. The complete broken look upon his face confirmed it for Sansa.

Ned Stark knew the truth.

Chapter Text

The steam rose from the wooden tub as though a storm was brewing. The water was hotter than Sansa normally liked it but she needed to feel the scorching pain that came with boiling water. Once Baelish and she made their way back from the presentation and the feast that accompanied it, Sansa ordered Shae to draw her a bath. Once the tub was full and Shae poured the sweetest scents into the water, Baelish dismissed Shae stating that he would take care of his wife from there. The foreign woman gave a small bow before leaving the chamber.

Sansa sat in the water with her husband lounging beside the tub in nothing more than his breeches. In any other circumstances, Baelish would have been in the tub with her but she just couldn't face such an activity yet. It wasn’t that she didn’t desire her husband, for she always did, but it was the fact that she could still feel Joffery on her skin. She could feel his hands on her shoulders and his lips on her cheek. Just the memory of honey invading her personal space made her want to vomit again.

She scrubbed her skin as hard and as rough as she could. No matter how many times she washed her body, she couldn’t feel clean enough. The stench of him still lingered and nothing she could do would erase it. Baelish sat down by the tub and simply held her hand while she attempted to disinfect herself. He didn’t push her or even attempt to speak. He just sat there, holding her hand when she needed it or washed a part of her when she requested it.

He remained passive as she cleansed herself. His face was stone and hard, yet his emotions were anything but that. He wanted nothing more than to kill Joffery for simply touching her but he knew that doing so would be unwise and could potentially cause them to lose everything they had worked for. Baelish hated seeing Sansa in such pain and self-loathing but it was an unfortunate side effect to the trauma she had suffered. It had been three years since the incident in the Godswood but seeing him for the first time made it feel as though it just occurred. The emotions that were coursing through her were temporary but it didn’t make them any less real.

Sansa put her head under the water again, hoping that when she came back to the surface, the feel of him would be gone. Baelish stood and grabbed some rose scented shampoo and walked over to his wife. He poured some of the shampoo into the palms of his hand and rubbed them together. He walked behind his wife and began to massage the shampoo into her hair. She moaned at the contact and he dug his nails into her scalp. Once her hair was thoroughly lathered, she dunked her head under the water again and Baelish helped her rinse her hair.

Living in Winterfell, bathing and washing hair was a luxury that was reserved for special occasion or at least once a month. Yet, she knew that her husband would allow her such privileges as often as she wanted. After the day she had with the court, she knew that a bath was warranted and her husband didn’t even utter a single word. He just stripped his clothes down to the bare minimum and sat beside her if she needed anything. She was certain that there were far more productive things he could be doing but he pushed all of his responsibilities to the side in order to comfort her.

“Sansa!” Ned’s voice sounded from the main room of their suits. Baelish and Sansa both jumped when they heard their suit door bang open. They could hear the wood slam again the stone wall and heavy boots could be heard making their way toward the bathing chamber. Ned stood in the doorway looking at the two of them. Baelish brought his hands to the water and washed them while he glared at Ned. “Can I speak with you Sansa?”

“I think now is not the best time, Eddard. My wife is rather upset at the moment.” Baelish’s voice was cold and harsh. Sansa looked between the two of them and she noticed that both Robb and Arya were behind their father. Robb was attempting to pull Ned back and Arya was sending Sansa sympathetic looks. Sansa reached out of the water and grabbed her husband’s hand.

“It’s alright Petyr. I will speak with him.” She shifted slightly, still allowing the water to cover her completely. She looked toward Ned and smiled. “Give me a moment and I will be out. Petyr will you show them to the main room?” Baelish nodded and motioned for his father-in-law to leave the bathing chamber. He looked at his wife and she gave him a nod, indicating that he should follow her father. Arya lingered behind and grabbed a towel from the table that was pressed up against the stone wall. She walked over to the tub and helped Sansa out of the water.

“Robb and I tried to calm him down but he is furious. I’m sorry but he heard the rumors.” Arya handed her the towel and Sansa began to dry herself. She pointed toward a silk blue rob that hung on a hook on the wall. Arya grabbed the robe and handed it to her. Sansa dropped the towel and tied the robe around her.

“What exactly has he heard?”

“That you let Joffery bed you while he visited Winterfell.” Sansa sighed. She knew that Lord Varys had spoken to him in regards to her reputation but she didn’t know the exact rumor that he told him. She supposed that it was best that he heard this rumor because it prevented him from allowing his temper to overthrow his common sense. If he heard the rumor that Joffery forced himself upon her, she was certain that Stannis would not be the only one being executed the following day.

Sansa nodded and closed her eyes. She inhaled deeply, attempting to gather the courage to go and handle her father’s irate temper. She walked barefoot with her hair dripping wet into the main room. Baelish was seated at the table with his eyes trailing Ned, who was pacing back and forth. Robb was standing near the wall and looked at Sansa when she came into the room. The look in his eyes were a mix of disbelief and disappointment.

“Father.” Sansa stated in a small voice, as though she was attempting to calm a caged animal. Ned turned and she could see the furious look in his eyes. Baelish stood and stepped closer toward Sansa. He stayed a few paces away but close enough to intervene if his services would be need.

“Everyone out.”

“I would much rather they stay.” Sansa replied and Ned huffed. They looked at each other and their gazed never moved from each other. Eventually one of them would break and Sansa knew that her father had an iron will. “I take it that your conversation with Lord Varys pertained to me and my relationship with the King.” Her voice was steady and she attempted to keep her eyes on her father but she could tell that he was enraged, but he didn’t say a word. “You asked me once if Petyr ruined me. I answered you honestly, he didn’t. That honor belonged to Joffery.” That caused Ned to snap and he roughly pushed the glass contents of the small side table onto the floor, causing them to shatter. Robb placed his hand on their father’s chest and pulled him back. Robb looked at Sansa and the only description should could give the look was one of shame.

“That vase was expensive.” Baelish replied in a dry and bored tone. Ned whipped around and glared at his son-in-law. The complete lack of surprise on his face at Sansa’s admission made him even more furious. Ned huffed in contempt.

“I take it you were aware of their little tryst?” Ned spat. “Tell me Lord Baelish, did you bed my daughter before you married her as well? Is that what drew you to her?” Baelish gave him a cocky smile, which answered Ned’s answer. However, Baelish would never voice the truth out load.

“What happens between myself and my wife will remain between the two of us.” His voice was calm and many would believe that his tone was nonchalant, however, Sansa could hear the deadly seriousness in it. It was as though he was tempting Ned to divulge further into their marital bed because the Lord of Winterfell would not enjoy the outcome. Ned pursed his lips and turned back to his daughter. He looked completely ashamed of her and she knew that she wouldn't allow him to feel that way about her.

“We raised you better than this. What could you have possibly been thinking to allow yourself to fall into bed and give you maidenhead to a man whom you were not married to?” Ned asked and the anger was slowly falling away from his voice. He just looked lost and disappointed in his daughter for the very first time in his life. The look he gave her the night she begged him to allow her to marry Baelish didn’t rival the disappointment he had now.

“Let me make one thing crystal clear. I never fell into bed with him. In fact I never allowed him to do anything. Every moment he touched me I wanted it to stop, yet when you’re held down and have nowhere to run to, that’s become impossible. The feel of him was painful and I hated every minute of it.” It was as though the room froze. Arya moved forward and slipped her hand into Sansa’s. Robb’s arms dropped to his side and his eyes were wide. He sunk into the chair that was located behind him. The shame was replaced by complete glass shattering heartbreak as the reality set in. Baelish didn’t move but his eyes never left Sansa, watching to see how she was handling her emotions. While he was concerned for her, he wanted her to face as much of this as she could.

Ned was completely frozen, not even allowing air to enter his lungs. His eyes began to water and a few tears slid down his cheek. He stepped forward slowly and placed a hand on her cheek. He held it there for a moment and pulled her toward him. He kissed her forehead and just let the tears fall into her red hair.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Ned asked and his voice was hoarse. Sansa had only heard that tone in his voice once before. When Bran had died, Ned couldn’t speak. The loss of his child broke something inside of him and Sansa knew he was feeling such heartbreak again. It was the voice of complete desperation. “You could have come to me.”

“And what would you have done?” Sansa asked. She pushed away from him, anger completely taking her over. “Gone after Joffery? Forced me to marry him? What? Any outcome of me coming to you would have ended in catastrophe. Either you would have killed him and ended up being executed for killing the prince OR King Robert would have forced me to marry him and I would have ended up that monster’s bride.” Ned just looked at her with such a hopeless expression. He didn’t have the answers and he so desperately wanted to. “Both options were the last things I could ever want.”

“We could have stopped it.” Robb voiced from the chair and Sansa huffed. She gave a pitiful laughed and shook her head. She loved her brother but sometimes he spoke before thinking everything through. She was willing to understand that he was completely shocked but even he should have realized that there was nothing he could have done.

“How? How exactly would you have stopped the prince from taking exactly what he wanted? Tell me. I would love to know.” Sansa’s voice was ice and the look she threw her brother was the coldest he ever received from her. He looked away and shook his head.

“I don’t know.” He sounded completely broken. “I just don’t know.”

“When? Where?” Ned asked. He didn’t want to know. He wished he could go back to being in the dark. He wished Lord Varys never introduced himself. He wished he never allowed himself to be pulled aside. He wished that he never welcomed the King and the Lannisters into his home. He wished he could take it all back. If he could then perhaps Sansa would remain untouched and Bran would still be alive. “I need to know.”

“During their last visit, the night of feast.” Sansa looked down at her hands. She didn’t want to reveal the next part. She knew that while it was hard for him to accept everything she just told him but the next part would completely shatter him. Faith relating to the Old Gods was a major part of who Ned was and to learn that they stood by and did nothing while his daughter was violated would cause a major revelation for him. “It was in the Godswood…under the Weirwood.” She could see it in his eyes, the pain, the grief and the realization.

“That night. The Wildlings...” His eyes snapped to Arya, realizing that both of his daughter's had lied to him. Arya had been the one who told him of her attack. She led them to the woods. She said that Wildlings had attacked her and he never questioned it further. He trusted his daughters and he never would have thought that they would have lied to him about something so serious. “No. No! I don't believe you. I asked Maester Luwin if you had been violated that night and he said no.”

“He lied.” The words got stuck in her throat. She knew that Luwin kept her secret. She knew that he was no fool and knew what a girl looked like when a man forced himself upon her. They never spoke of it but to hear the older man's devotion touched her. She could only hope that when she was in his presence again, that she would be able to thank him properly. “He lied to protect me.”

“No. He wouldn't. I asked him directly. I looked him in the eye and he vowed that you were still pure. He wouldn't lie. Not to me. No.” Ned stuttered and began to pace. He ran his finger's through his hair and he would grip the roots as though he wanted to pull his curls from the head. He was breathing heavy and Robb stood, hoping to calm his father down. Ned was in complete disbelief. “No. You're lying. This...no. It couldn't have happened. Not there. Not to you.”

“Don't you dare accuse me of that.” Sansa hissed through her teeth. “I didn't ask for this. I didn't ask to be led out into the Godswood. I didn't ask to be cornered at the Weirwood. I didn't ask to be hit across the face. I didn't ask for Meryn Trant's hands to wrap around my neck, squeezing so hard that I couldn't breathe.” Her voice began to shake and her eyes welled up with tears. “I didn't ask to have my hands pinned above my head so that I couldn't move. I didn't ask for my dress to be torn. I didn't ask for my legs to forcefully pulled apart. I didn't ask for Joffery to rape me.”

Sansa froze. Ice welled up inside of her and she felt all of her control to shatter into a thousands shards, causing her insides to bleed. Her body began to shake and her breath to inhale sharply. One hand went to her hair while the other clutched at her chest. Her vision went blurry and her knees gave out. She felt a pair of strong arms catch her but she couldn't be certain of who they belonged to. She could hear something wheeze and wail but was unaware of where the sound was coming from. It took a moment for her to realize that she was the one making such a noise.

Rape. Sansa never allowed herself to utter or think the word. It was the one thing she never allowed herself to really acknowledge. While she logically knew what had happened to her she never really accepted it. She buried it so far down inside of herself and let if fester. The word grew angry inside of her and ate away at her. For the first time since it happened, she was finally accepting that it happened and it was a pain that she had felt before. Part of her would rather relive Bran's death and never feel the way she felt in that moment again.

Sansa had been raped and it took three years to finally come to terms with it.

She cried. She allowed all the pain and grief she held within her for the last three years to tumble out of her. She allowed the tears to continue to fall until her voice became hoarse. She was unsure of how long she was there but it felt like years before she was able to become aware of her surroundings. Once her tears would no longer fall, she inhaled the scent of mint. Baelish's arms were around her and his face buried into her hair. He was whispering to her but she couldn't make out what he was saying.

Sansa looked down and realized one of her hands was linked her father's. Ned was sitting on the wooden floor just holding her hand. His face was fractured in grief. He didn't blink and couldn't remove his eyes from her. Ned watched his daughter completely break down and lose control; it was the one of the most agonizing moments of his life. Ned held his sister in his arms as she took her last breath; Ned carried his son's broken body to his death bed; Ned held his daughter's hand as she accepted that she had been raped. Each moment changed him and each moment would forever be engrained into his soul.

Arya was standing over them with tears running down her face. She was completely silent and her face would have appeared impassive if it was not for her tears. Robb pulled Arya close and just allowed him. Robb watched his sister and she had never seen him so hopeless. She knew that he wanted to fix her but there was no way that she could fixed. Baelish did his best to patch her up and make her whole but there would always be a crack in her. She would never be the same and her family was finally beginning to realize that.

“I'm going to kill him.” Ned's voice sounded hard and furious. She had never seen her father that hostile, even when she walked into her father's solar and saw him choking Baelish. He pushed himself off the floor and headed toward the door. He was blinded by fury and the entire room knew that if he was allowed to leave, Joffery would be dead by morning. Sansa looked at her husband in panic and Baelish left her side and rushed after Ned.

Before Ned was able to open the wooden door, Baelish pushed it shut. He stood in front of it, refusing the Lord of Winterfell to pass by. Ned glared at his son-in-law and threatened him within an inch of his life if he did not move away from the door. However, Baelish did not budge and he stood his ground, glaring at the taller man.

“If you walk out this door and go after Joffery, do you honestly think that you will succeed? He is guarded at all times and even an attempt on his life will have your head on a spike by morning. What will that serve? Your children will see you murdered. A man is being executed tomorrow for attempting to overthrow the King, what do you think will happen to the man who attempts to kill him?” Baelish's words echoed through Ned and he could see him thinking them through.

“He needs to pay for what he has done.” His voice was hallow and broken. Sansa could tell that he was on the verge of completely losing control. His shoulder's were shaking and his breathing harsh. Sansa pulled herself from the ground and walked toward her father. She placed her hand on his arm and squeezed.
“And he will.” They all turned toward her. Her face had turned to stone. Her voice was cold and impassive. The overwhelming sorrow was being replaced by fury. She was angry and she allowed the darkness to fully take over her. The blackness that she was terrified of falling into fully consumed her. Her mind calculated and set her course toward what exactly she wanted. “He will feel the fear that he caused me. He will choke on his own vomit and I will watch the life leave his eyes. I will watch him bleed because I will allow Westeros to burn before I allow him to outlive me.”

Baelish stepped away from the door and walked toward her. He wrapped his arms around her middle and kissed the top of her head. Arya smiled at her, proud at her sister's choice of words. Minus Baelish, Arya was the only one who understood her bloodlust for vengeance. If Sansa wanted nothing to do with Joffery's demise, then Arya would make sure he paid with his life. Robb stepped back slightly and it was as though he was seeing his sister for the first time.

Ned just looked at her, with his heart still broken. The women who stood in front of him was not the daughter he raised. That girl died three years ago and Ned was completely unaware to mourn her. He missed the moment when her entire world changed and he wished he could have been there. He wished he could have held her close and protected her from harm. Yet he couldn't. One of the worst nightmares that could happen to a father had become a reality and he would be forced to stand at the sidelines and allow his daughter to turn into someone he never wanted her to become.

“I bowed to him. I pledge my loyalty to the man who raped my daughter.” Ned stated and his shoulder's slumped, feeling sick. He walked toward the couch and sat down. He placed his face into his hands. Sansa walked over to him and got on her knees in front of him. She took his hand's into her and kissed them. He looked up and into her eyes.

“So did I.”

“How can Robert's son be so cruel?”

“Because-” The words started to form but Sansa stopped herself. Her father already knew far to much. She wanted to tell him the truth but just like she had done with Arya, she held herself back. Telling Ned who Joffery's real father was would only cause him more pain and anger. He would do everything he could in order to see Joffery dethroned and it would cost them their lives. If he believed that Joffery was the rightful heir, Ned would hate him but he would believe that there was nothing he could do. He would feel hopeless but he would be alive. “Because he is also Cersei's.”

Chapter Text

Sansa awoke with a few kisses being placed on her nose. It felt like a light tickle against her skin. Her eyes fluttered open and she saw her husband's grey-green eyes peering down at her. She smiled widely and leaned up to kiss him on the lips. Their tongues toyed with each other for a moment before he broke away. He pulled her naked body toward his and within a few moments she could feel herself drifting off again; the sound of his heartbeat luring her to sleep.

He had worshiped her the night before, after her family left their suit. All of her emotions played out while he licked and nipped at her. Baelish was slow, showing her his devotion to her. She needed him after the events of the day. While it was slow and gentle, neither lasted long in each other arms. The exhaustion from the presentation, Joffery and her confession to her father left them all reeling. She needed feel something positive and familiar in order to wash away the feelings of bloodlust and misery.

She had cried during his attentions but it wasn't out of pain or sadness. The tears were driven from feeling something so powerful and so wonderful. Baelish took away what he could and replaced it with himself. While memories would always linger, and there would be moments when lost herself to them, Baelish would always be there to bring comfort and pleasure back to her darkness.

“Sweetling, I have to leave and I want to kiss you goodbye.” Baelish whispered, causing Sansa to whimper. She pulled him closer against her, locking her fingers together and refused to allow him to slide out of bed. Baelish chuckled at her antics. “I really do have to rise. You are more than welcome to doze for a while longer if you so choose but I don't want you to wake up alone after our first night here.”

Sansa groaned and released him. She laid on her back and Baelish propped himself up on his arm. He leaned down and took Sansa's lips into his. He placed his hand on her jaw and kissed her harder. Sansa wrapped her arms around his shoulders, pulling him closer. She arched against him and she spread her legs. Baelish slid into her easily. He trusted against her slowly and deliberately. His hand ran down her stomach and toward her center. His finger circled her nub and it wasn't long before the two of them fell over the edge.

Baelish pulled out of her and rolled on his back. He caught his breath for a moment and slowly slid out of the bed. Sansa curled the sheet around her naked body and watched her husband move around the room. He was completely naked and Sansa couldn't help but admire his form. He went to a basin that they kept in their sleeping chamber for situations such as this. Baelish quickly cleaned himself before moving toward the wardrobe. He pulled out a set dark robes and dressed. He slipped his boots on and then pulled out a long purple scarf that he fastened around him. He placed his mockingbird pin on his shoulder in order for it keep hold on his shoulder. He turned back to the bed and walked over to his wife. He sat on the side and leaned down to kiss her. This kiss was light and playful.

“Why are you leaving me so early?” Sansa pouted and Baelish laughed. She reached up and traced the mockingbird on his shoulder. That pin had become such a fascination to her, more so since he gave her a pendant version of it. “Wouldn't staying in bed with your young naked wife seem so much more pleasant?”

“Oh Sweetling. I would much rather stay here and fuck you till you can no longer walk but unfortunately I have whores that need to be kept in line.” He leaned down and kissed her again. When he pulled away, Sansa's bottom lip pulled out into a pout. He bit her lip playfully. “Relax. Enjoy your morning and I will see you before your lunch with the Queen of Thrones and Lady Margaery.” He looked at her seriously, concern playing in his eyes. “Are you alright? After last night, how are you, really?”

“I'm okay. Not perfect but I will be okay.” He accepted that answer but didn't move away. “Will you be back in time to see Stannis's execution?” Baelish nodded and Sansa sat up in bed. The sheet slid down around her waist. Baelish couldn't help but allow his eyes to linger over her. “Can I come with you? To your whorehouse? I want to learn what it would be like to run one, with you.” She bit her lip as she looked coyly at him.

“I will teach you anything you want to learn, but not today. Today will be busy enough.” He kissed her again before leaving her. He looked out the window and smiled. “You have some time before you need to make yourself presentable. If you decide to leave the suits, please take Lady with you.” When she agreed Baelish gave her that famous leer that she adored. He kissed her one last time before heading out the door.

Sansa laid in her bed for a time, sleeping for an hour until she heard the door to their suits open. She sat up when she saw Shae enter. Shae was staring at the floor where the glass shards of the vase her father had broken still laid on the ground. The woman looked worried but Sansa told her to leave it. She nodded and followed Sansa back into her chambers but couldn't help but too looked over her shoulder at the glass.

She asked her handmaiden to pull out her purple and gold dress from the wardrobe. The dress was purple that hung on her shoulders with a long cleavage and a golden flare undertone. Her shoulders would be covered in the dress the sleeve stopped where her arm began Sansa slid from the bed and dressed lazily. She pulled a gold belt from the small wardrobe along with a golden chain.

The two ladies walked toward the bathing chamber and Sansa sat in front of the vanity. Her hair was to be simple; nothing more than a few strands of her hair forming a half braid in the back of her head while the rest of her hair hung loose around her waist. Sansa looked at herself as Shae worked on her. She was searching for some difference in her and found nothing. She felt different, freer than she had been the night before. The pain and darkness still lingered but it was enough to make a difference. She stood and fastened the belt around her waist while the gold chain danged low into the cleavage. The mockingbird pin was placed onto the chain and shown beautifully against her white skin. Shae brought her a simple pair of golden tinted sandals that slipped onto her feet.

Sansa left the suits and wandered the castle. She was headed nowhere in particular but wanted to learn the layout of the castle. Stannis’s execution was approaching and she knew she didn’t have a significant amount of time. She allowed herself to lounge in her suits far longer than she had originally wanted. However, after the night before, the rest was needed.

“Little dove.” The familiar musical voice sounded from a very short distance. Sansa turned and saw the Queen Mother strolling towards her with her guards in place. She was in her signature blood red with her golden locks piled onto of her head. Sansa curtsied, as was custom and smiled at Cersei. Cersei placed her hand on a few strands of Sansa's hair and gave her a gorgeous grin. “Three years and you've turned into a great beauty. Come; stroll with me.” Sansa nodded and looped her arm through the Queen's. The two began to wander toward the courtyard where the execution would be held. Their pace was leisurely and Lady padded alongside them.

“It is wonderful to see you again, Your Grace.” Sansa replied perfectly. Cersei chuckled and Sansa knew that she was attempting to play the naive child she had been the last time they had met. Cersei had never disliked her but she never thought she was very intelligent either. Sansa knew that it was important for her to continue to see her in such a light. If she was not a threat to the Queen, Cersei would underestimate her.

“Yes, it is, especially when we parted it was on less than pleasant terms.” Cersei stated and Sansa forced her face to remain passive. The last conversation the Queen had with her, Sansa was lying broken in her bed after her son assaulted her. “And here you are now; a married women fully grown. It's a pity your husband isn't as pleasing as you. You deserved so much more.” The words dug into Sansa and it took everything she had to hold back her tongue. She wanted to tell the Queen that she would always choose Baelish over her son; but knew she couldn't.

“He would have not been my first choice of course, but Petyr has been nothing but kind to me.” Sansa looked down at her hands and blushed. “I was hesitant at the idea of marrying him of course but it was best for the North. I was pleasantly surprised that when I got to know him better, he was nothing like I expected. He is no Prince Joffery, I’m sorry… King Joffery of course but he will do just nicely.” She didn’t want Cersei to know that Baelish had been her choice. She wanted to play the dutiful daughter who married the man her parent’s commanded her to. She also didn't want appear unhappy either.

“Well, I’m pleased that you are happy with your husband.” Cersei replied with tight lips. It was obvious that while she thought Baelish was loyal to the throne, the idea of anyone wanting him as a husband completely baffled her. She never would have expected Sansa to willingly be involved with such a man unless her parents forced her hand in the marriage. Cersei smirked, Baelish must have played this girl well. Cersei had always known that Sansa was a fool, she found it part of the younger girl’s charm. “I had hoped that one day you would have been my daughter in law.”

Cersei had been very disappointed when Ned had insisted on breaking the engagement between Sansa and Joffery. While it wasn’t that she was extremely fond of the younger girl, the version of Sansa she knew would have been easy to control. Joffery would have grown bored of the girl but Sansa still would have been his queen. A broken queen is easily controlled and Cersei would still be able to hold her position of power through Sansa.

“I wasn’t deserving of him.” The words were like bile in her mouth. It was a hard lie to allow to slip through her lips. The mere thought of Joffery being better than her was a nauseating sensation. It was a bitter thought that he was high above her in station and practically untouchable. “He has someone now who will make a far better queen than I ever could. I’m sure you very fond of Lady Margaery. The two of you seem so similar that I am certain you have become fast friends...” Sansa smiled widely Cersei and couldn’t help but notice how she flinched when Margaery’s name was mentioned. Sansa found that highly interesting at Cersei’s complete dislike of her name.

“Yes. We are very close.” Lie. It was obvious that the Queen hated Joffery’s betrothed. Sansa’s mind started to turn and knew that perhaps this dislike would be useful. If she could create a rift between mother and son, pushing Joffery farther into Margaery’s arms and into her control, the less power the Lannisters would have in regards to the throne.

“My lovely sister, may I have a word?” A deep voice sounded from behind Cersei and Sansa startled slightly. Cersei moved and revealed her younger brother, the dwarf walking toward them. It would have been no surprise that Sansa would have missed him, for he was a very tiny man. Cersei scowled at him, something her brother found in amusement. “Ah the new Lady Baelish. I must say that you are far lovelier than your predecessor.” This caused Sansa to giggle. The stories she heard of Lysa would cause no one to say that she was lovely. Tyrion took her hand and kissed the back of it. “I've heard that you and your husband will be in need of a new vase.” Beyond those in the suit last night, Shae was the only person who has seen the broken glass. Shae would be the only one she knew who would have reported it. Tyrion was unexpected but not the worst Lannister by far. Shae’s connection to Tyrion could prove to be useful in the long run.

“What do you want Tyrion?” Cersei hissed at him. Tyrion smiled at her and Sansa realized that Cersei’s hatred of her dwarf brother caused him amusement. She looked between the two of them, making note of the sibling rivalry. She had never really seen them interact, even when they both were at Winterfell. Sansa wondered if there was anyone’s company that Cersei enjoyed beyond the family members she bedded and her children. Sansa knew that the Queen had a ghastly soul but Baelish’s words about the Queen rang loudly in her ears. Cersei was beautiful but on the outside only.

“A moment alone would be nice.” Tyrion smiled at Sansa and it was obvious that she was dismissed. She felt a rush of relief pass through her. The last thing she wanted was to be in Cersei’s presence so any excuse she had not to speak with her, she would take it. Sansa smiled and nodded toward the smaller man.

“Of course.” Sansa curtsied again. “You’re Grace. Come Lady.” Sansa moved away and the direwolf followed. She could feel the sibling’s eyes trailing her as she left. She turned a corner and made her way down a set of stone steps. She slowly made her way toward the courtyard and noticed that it was filled with a massive amounts of people. She searched the crowed and saw her husband speaking with her father on a balcony that overlooked the crowd. People parted the way easily and Sansa climbed the wooden steps to the balcony.

Baelish and Ned seemed to be in a serious discussion and Sansa was certain that she was the topic of conversation. Ned’s eyes furred and he bit his lip. He gave her a small smile when he saw her approach. Baelish turned and he held out his hand. He gave her cocky smirk and she placed her hand in his. Ned stepped forward and kissed her on the forehead. He didn’t say anything but he wanted to show her that the news he learned the night before didn’t affect the way he viewed her. She was still his daughter and Sansa knew that he spent the entire night processing that information. He exchanged a few more words with Baelish and left the balcony. Sansa leaned against the railing and Baelish placed his hands on either side of her.

“And what were the two of you discussing?”

“You.” Baelish chuckled. He placed a kiss on her cheek. She smiled at the affection. “You’re father wanted to make sure that you were well this morning. I told him that you were in high spirits. Of course I didn’t inform him how high your spirits were.” He whispered and it caused her to shiver. She gave him a naughty smirk and he chuckled. “He seems frustrated that there is nothing he can do about Joffery. I find that it would be best if he remained in the dark about his little secret.” Sansa nodded in agreement. “And how was your morning, after I left you of course?” Baelish smirked.

“Oh, it was dreadfully dull. Slept awhile longer, explored the castle, took a stroll with the Queen. Nothing interesting.” Sansa teased. Baelish raised an eyebrow and smirked. He knew they couldn’t speak of it here, too many prying eyes were around. He leaned in and Sansa could feel his warm breathe against her skin. She turned her head and his face was inches from her’s. It would be so easy to lean forward and capture his lips but she didn’t.

“Sound awful.” He chuckled. “When we are alone you will have to tell me all about your conversation with the Queen I’m sure it was very illuminating.” He pulled away then and Sansa laughed at him. She turned away then and eyed the crowd. She could see several people she recognized and many that she did not. Within the crowd she saw her brother Robb speaking with Jory. She saw him look up and his eyes trail toward his side. There stood the young women who had been behind Tywin when Sansa and Baelish were presented. Her mother was with her and nearly stopped the girl from stepping forward.

The woman moved forward and introduced herself to Robb. Sansa could see her brother give her an overly friendly smile, one he never gave Roslin. He picked up her hand and kissed the back of it gently. The woman’s mother moved forward and began to steer her daughter away from Robb. The woman looked over her shoulder at him and Robb watched as she was dragged away.

“Petyr, who is that woman? The one in the yellow dress being pulled toward the gates?” Sansa asked and it took Baelish no time to know who she was asking about. It appeared that he witnessed the same small moment of affection that she did. It would be dangerous for Robb to break his engagement when his wedding was now less than a week away. While she knew that her brother need not always be faithful to Roslin, it would be unwise to take someone who is influential at court as his mistress; worse if that woman had ties to the Lannisters.

“Jeyne Westerling, the daughter of Lord Tywin’s mistress Sybell.” Baelish stated and it explained why they were standing alongside Tywin during the presentation. This Jeyne Westerling may be harmless but her mother certainly was not. It was clear that Robb was infatuated with Jeyne and Sansa wondered if her brother would think with his head or the appendage down below. “I fear that your brother may have developed an attraction to young Jeyne.”

“Would the Freys take offense if Robb stepped outside of his vows?” Sansa asked. Baelish huffed in dry amusement. His eyes were trained on her brother. Robb was still gazing after Jeyne who had been removed from him. It was clear that Sybell wanted her daughter as far away from the Starks as possible. Sansa could only assume that it was because Jeyne had to marry someone of status; what other reason would she have for being at court?

“Robb could fuck a hundred women, but as long as he married Roslin, Stevron could care less. It’s not the Freys we would have to worry about.” Her husband’s meaning was clear. The Westerlings were in bed, literally, with the Lannisters. Whatever their alliance was, it could be dangerous for them if Robb decided that he wanted Jeyne instead of Roslin. However, Sansa’s thoughts were pulled from her brother and toward the gates opening in the courtyard.

Soon the trumpets sounded and the King entered the crowed with several of his guard trailing behind him. His mother along with his grandfather were also in attendance. The entire crowed bowed to the King as he passed. There was a platform that stood on the far end of the courtyard and Joffery climbed the stairs to stand above the rest. Even from a distance, Sansa could see Joffery’s cold smirk spread across his lips. He enjoyed the power and knew that with time, his cruelty would only grow worse.

“My ladies and gentleman, it’s a sad day today. We are gathered to witness a traitor in our midst. It pains me to admit that my own blood wishes to defy me. He spews vile lies and wishes to steal the throne from me, your rightful King.” Joffery spoke loud and clear. The crowd’s eyes were trained on him, never wavering. Sansa knew that he enjoyed the perks of being King and made a habit of grandstanding. “Bring me the traitor.”

The gates opened again several Gold Cloaks dragged a man who was bound in chains. Stannis Baratheon was dirty, beaten and Sansa could tell, underfeed. She wouldn’t have been surprised if he had been tortured; even less if Joffery had done it himself. She didn’t know the man but seeing anyone in such a state would be a reason to doubt Joffery as a King. Yet, the crowd hissed at him, not knowing that Stannis was indeed the true heir to the throne. The guards dragged him toward Joffery and pushed him on his knees. Sansa knew that even if he tried, he would not be able to stand on his feet. She looked toward her husband and saw no regret on his features. They were stone and cold. Baelish had done what needed to be done. Stannis would have overthrown Joffery and if Stannis sat on the throne everything they have worked for would have ended.

Joffery began speaking again but Sansa tuned him out. A movement across the heads of the massive crowd caught her eye. There was another balcony located directly in front of them. Several people stood there watching the King give his speech. Sansa’s eyes fixated on one person in particular. Jaqen H’ghar stood with his hands pressed against the wooden railing. His white and red hair hung around his shoulders. She noticed that her sister weaved herself between two men and stood beside H’ghar, yet neither of them said a word.

“This man is my uncle. My father’s brother; a man who wished he could call himself king. Yet he is on his knees in front of the rightful King, as nothing more than a traitor.” The crowd cheered and a few people threw food and other things at Stannis. Stannis didn’t even flinch when he was hit. Joffery smiled at the man’s broken spirit. “My mother wishes me to let Lord Stannis join the Night’s Watch. Stripped of all titles and powers, he would serve the realm in permanent exile. But she has the soft heart of a woman. So long as I am your king, treason shall never go unpunished. Sir Ilyn, bring me his head!” The executioner strolled across the platform and pulled a sword from a tan cloth. The crowd grew louder and louder; cheering for the traitor’s head. Stannis looked up at the crowd and it appeared that he closed his eyes. His lips moved and while Sansa didn’t know what he was saying, she could tell that he was praying. Who he was praying to would forever remain unclear but watching a man accept his enviable death moved her. She knew her husband had blood on his hands but this would be the first time she witnessed someone lose their life because of his actions. Sansa reached for Baelish and he wrapped his arms around her; she found comfort in his arms.

Sansa’s eyes were drawn to her sister again. Arya looked at her and gave a small smile. She stood on her tip toes and whispered something in H’ghar’s ear. The man didn’t even react. Arya pulled away and Sansa saw her sister disappear behind several people. Sir Ilyn raised the sword high in the sky that it reflected off of the sun. He swung it forward and Stannis Baratheon was dead. His head rolled on the ground as his headless body was thrown to the side as though he was nothing of importance. Sir Ilyn picked the head up and rammed it onto a spike. The crowd cheered again. Stannis Baratheon was dead but Sansa knew that he was not the only one who was condemned to die that day.

A warrant had been issued.

A death was to be repaid.

One unknown name had been spoken.

Only two names remained.

Chapter Text

The gardens of the Red Keep were beautiful. It was just pathways and pathways that were lined with all different colored flowers and vines. It was the most beautiful sight Sansa had seen in a very long time. The glass gardens of Winterfell were lovely but nothing like this. The glass gardens were used to grow food during the long cold winters and during the summer snows. The North was not a place with fertile ground. Everything was dead and cold for most of the summer season that even attempting to grow something would be foolish. The hot springs under Winterfell made the ground perfect for planting crops, and it would be pointless to even attempt to grow something so beautiful.

Yet the gardens Sansa strolled through were not meant for food; they were meant for pleasure and beauty alone. Part of her wished that life could be like the garden; just lovely and perfect. That the outside was just as it seemed; instead it was more like the thorns that pricked fingers for blood. Perhaps life was just like a garden; a garden full of thorny roses that were hungry for blood.

Lady was in heaven. The direwolf trotted along the stone pathway and loved to sniff at the flowers. She couldn't help but pounce on any bugs that may cross her path. Sansa giggled at the wolf's childish behavior. She wanted so desperately to be like the wolf at that moment, carefree and happy. However, her mind kept replaying Stannis execution in her head. Baelish had caused it, a fact she knew long before Sir Ilyn swung the sword.

Sansa knew that her husband had blood on his hands but this was the first time that she had witnessed it firsthand. Watching a man die was startling and it surprised her how well she was adapting to such a traumatic event. Perhaps the shock in her was just warn out. There was nothing left in the entirety of Westeros to shock her anymore.

She thought on Baelish and realized that the old Sansa, the one who Joffery never touched, would have hated him. She would have called him a murder and a coward. Now, the knowledge that her husband had arranged a man's death made her want to throw him down and impale herself upon him. She never would have thought that murder would be considered foreplay for them. Unfortunately she was unable to have him. Sansa had promised to meet Margaery and her grandmother for lunch, all the while Baelish sat in his solar going over dreadfully dull numbers.

Sansa saw Margaery sitting with an older women under a canopy and around an delicate iron table. Margaery looked as beautiful as ever, with her long brown hair flowing and a blue dress that showed even more skin than Sansa was willing to show. Yet, Sansa's eyes were drawn to her companion. This must have been Lady Olenna Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns. The elder woman wore a cap that completely covered her head and the only skin Sansa could see was the white of her face. Margaery looked up and smiled widely. She stood from her chair and glided toward her.

“Sansa! Welcome. I was hoping you would arrive soon.” Margaery kissed each sides of her face. Sansa smiled at her. Once her family had left their suits and the married couple had their way with each other, Sansa laid in her husband's arms listening to the tales of his time in Highgarden. He spoke of his deceptions and how he convinced the ever proud Mace Tyrell to marry his daughter to the prince. Margaery took Sansa's arm and led her to the canopy. “Lady Baelish, it is an honor to present my grandmother, Lady Olenna of House Tyrell.”

“Well that is a nasty beast isn't it?” Olenna stated not even glancing at Sansa but rather fixed her beady eyes upon Lady. The direwolf was sitting poised as her master, never moving from the spot next to her. “Well you have it well trained I will give you that. Kiss me child.” Olenna reached out her hand and Sansa took it, placing her lips on the back of the wrinkled hand. Once she released her hand Margaery motioned for her to take a seat across from them and she realized that this was not going to be a lunch but rather an interrogation. Sansa couldn't but allow her walls to be firmly in place. The Tyrells may be allies with her husband but that by no means made them trustworthy.

“I want to thank you for inviting me to dine with you. It was very kind of you to offer.” Sansa replied and Margaery smiled at her as she picked up a ripe strawberry from the wooden bowl placed in front of them. Olenna however, continued to watch her, never revealing any type of emotion. “My husband has told me many tales of Highgarden and he speaks very fondly of it and the family who occupies it of course.”

“We highly enjoyed Lord Baelish's visit. He proved very helpful, didn't he grandmother?” Margaery stated and Sansa could tell that the younger Tyrell was more diplomatic than the elder. Olenna was far to curt to deal with such nonsense. “You in particular enjoyed his visit.” Olenna snorted and Sansa could tell that she was less than fond of Baelish but rather respected him instead.

“Enjoy wouldn't be the word I'd use, but I didn't eviscerate him completely. He did, however play a curious game of chess, the only man who has beaten in the last forty years.” It was clear that Olenna found men to be of the lesser sex, something that was highly uncommon. She didn't tolerate fools and most men proved to be a fool. Baelish must have challenged her, something she clearly was not used to and it caused an alliance to be formed. Sansa had originally thought that it was Mace Tyrell that controlled his family but it was obvious that she had been wrong. The way to Highgarden's heart was through Olenna.

“My husband does have a mind that is as quick as it is wicked.” Sansa smirked, allowing her mask to fall slightly. “And the same could be said for his tongue.” Margaery choked slightly on her drink, clearly not expecting such a comment from the other woman, Olenna however just looked at her. A small smile graced her lips and she laughed.

“I had wondered what bribery Littlefinger had to pull in order to marry you.” Sansa almost flinched at the name. She had only ever heard it spoken once before and it was from her husband's lips. While he didn't completely hate the nickname, he wasn't fond of it either. “Now it is apparent that perhaps he had to do nothing at all. He found a woman on his level whose father was foolish enough to allow her to marry him.”

“I wouldn't say my marriage was foolish. I'm rather fond of my husband.” Sansa reached toward the center of the table and picked a lemon cake. Her favorite and she was certain Margaery and Olenna already knew that. “Although it is no secret my father was less than thrilled with the idea. He took some convincing.”

“And how was the honorable Eddard Stark persuaded?” Margaery asked. Sansa looked at her and realized how soft her tone was compared to the sharp invasions of Olenna's. While she was far kinder, Sansa made no mistake that she was just as intelligent. “He does not appear to be a man who is easily bribe, especially when it comes to his daughter's hand in marriage. It is a curious thing that Littlefinger was able to convince him at all.”

“My husband was unable to convince my father of anything, he was far too busy with my father's hand around his neck to really be concerned with a marriage proposal.” This caused Margaery to laugh and Olenna to smirk. Sansa proved to be more than they expected; they expected a weak child who was pawned off by her parents in order to pay a debt, not the calculating woman who sat before them. “I had to be the one to do all the talking.”

“I like her.”

“And that Lady Baelish is a high praise for my grandmother doesn't like anyone, not even my father, her own son.” Margaery stated and Olenna huffed. Sansa raised her eyebrow in question. The Queen of Thorns had to love her own child. If Cersei could love a monster such a Joffery, Olenna could love an imbecile such as her son.

“Do you know my son? The Lord of Highgarden?”

“I haven't had the pleasure.” It was a sinister type of chuckle that Olenna gave. It almost surprised Sansa how much the woman disliked her son. She seemed rather fond of her granddaughter but it might also be because Margaery was far more intelligent than most and her son was not. Sansa wondered what her opinion of her grandson was. How did she view that member of her family who preferred a man’s company over a woman’s?

“No great pleasure, believe me. A ponderous oaf. His father was a ponderous oaf as well. My husband, the late Lord Luthor. He managed to ride off a cliff while hawking. They saw he was looking up at the sky and paying no mind to where his horse was taking him. And now my son is doing the same, only this time he’s riding a lion instead of a horse.”

“Grandmother! What will Sansa think of us?” Margaery stated with a laugh of disbelief. Sansa could tell that she had hoped that her grandmother would have been on her best behavior but it was obvious that the hope was in vain. Olenna didn't understand the term best behavior and she said exactly what was on her mind, no matter the context.

“She might think we have some wits about us. One of us, at any rate.” Olenna replied. She huffed in contempt and frustration. It was as though she felt as though she was the only one who didn't deal with other people's bullshit. It was one of the many reason why she hated King's Landing. Everyone was willing to dance around the subject and play their games, while Olenna was more than willing to be direct and be honest to everyone, even if that honesty is not what they wanted to hear. “Now, tell me the truth about this royal boy, this Joffery.”

Sansa attempted to appear taken aback but she wasn't surprised in the slightest. The woman who is marrying the man Sansa had been terrified of, wanted to understand what her future would be like. Sansa could lie and tell her that she seduced the King into bed one night. She could be honest and tell her everything that had happened and then some. It was a fine line to walk and Sansa honestly wasn't sure which route she wanted to take.

“Me? What could I possibly tell you about the King? Margaery has been in King's Landing for months if I understand correctly. Wouldn't that be enough time to get to know her betrothed? Petyr and I knew each other only little over three months before we were married, and I feel as though I know him better than anyone.” Had it only been that long? Four and a half months since Baelish came to Winterfell? Her life had changed so completely since then; that it felt like a life time ago.

“Yes you. Who else would know better? You were betrothed to him for years before your family broke off the engagement. Margaery had less than half of that to get to know the boy.” And she had done a far better job of taming him than Sansa ever could. “We've heard some troubling tales. Is there any truth to them? Has this boy...mistreated you?”

Sansa looked at the older woman and didn't say a word. Her face was stone cold and passive. She fingered the lemon cake until it crumbled between her fingers. Olenna and Margaery remained quiet, allowing her to think her words through. She could tell them the truth and expose everything that had happened, but would that be wise? It could possibly put her and Baelish in jeopardy if the wrong person overheard them. She could lie, saying that Joffery the kindest man she had ever known. He had been kind to her when they first were betrothed, treating her as though she was already his queen, but over time his mask slipped and the cruel boy she knew now slipped through. How would that affect them once Olenna realized she had lied?

“I'm to be his wife, I only want to know what that means.” Eventually Joffery would grow tired of Margaery and she would be forced to endure his sadistic cruelty. Sansa looked over at Margaery and realized she was more than willing to sacrifice her in order to protect herself and her husband. She would gladly watch Margaery and the rest of the Tyrells burn if it kept her family from harm.

“King Joffery is kind, gentle and strong.” Sansa stated. It was the motto she recited over and over to herself when Joffery first started to torment her during his time at Winterfell. It wasn't obvious at first, a mean word here or there but over time he would harm her. She had started to hid it from her family but it was the middle of winter and the bruises were easy to hide. She would justify his actions at first, repeating those words over and over again, until he raped her. It was like a cord snapped inside of her and she broke down completely. She grew to hate him and once she learned of the Lannisters role in Bran's death, the hate grew deeper.

“Yes yes yes, and he fights bravely, feeds the poor and reads to orphans.” Olenna stated and huffed. It was clear that she didn't believe a single word she said. Sansa just looked at the woman, willing herself not to break. The pain she had felt the night before slowly began to creep back into her. She tried to push it down but it was swelling hard and fast inside of her. “But what is he really like? Speak freely, we would never betray your confidence. I swear it.”

“Does he give you gifts? Little trinkets? Here and there?”

“Yes.”

“That is how it starts. He will shower you in gifts, compliments and anything you could possibly want. Then one day you will say something, small and insignificant and he will insult you for it. But it won't be direct no, it will be subtle. You won't even realize it happened. The insults will be more obvious but you will believe him. He will grab you the wrong way once, leave a bruise. He will apologize and the gifts will start again.” She laughed lightly. She had been such a fool; a little naive fool. Tears began to well in her eyes and they fell silently down her cheeks. “It won't last. It never lasts and each time it gets worse until he takes everything from you. It hurt and I thought...he just left me there to die. He's a monster.”

“Oh. Well, that's a pity.” Olenna stated and Margaery nodded. They seemed disappointed but unsurprised. Sansa reached toward the center of the table and picked at the fruit that laid there. She popped one into her mouth and chewed. She was trying to force the emotion back into their steel box that she had crafted for them. Margaery reached out and took her hand into her's. She smiled at her and she could see the kindness in her; her soft heart. She could only hope that Joffery didn't ruin that about her.

“I'm so sorry. You must have been very brave to live through that.” Sansa smiled at her and could see why it was so easy for her to win the public's opinion. They all loved her and adored her; Margaery was Joffery's only redeeming quality. Perhaps Margaery would be his downfall. With a King like him and Queen like her, only one would survive that marriage. Sansa could only hope that she was around to see it.

“Don't stop the wedding.” Sansa stated in a hoarse voice. She cleared her throat after a moment, grabbing her goblet. The liquid cleaned her aching throat and she placed it back down on the table. “My husband...we would be very disappointed if Margaery wasn't on that throne. You know what happens to people who disappoint him.” Sansa looked directly at Olenna, as though she was tempting her to break this engagement. If she did, both of them knew what happens to those who Baelish deemed a bad investment.

“Have no fear. The Lord Oaf of Highgarden is determined to have Margaery be queen. Even so, we thank you for the truth.” Olenna stated in a calm voice. She brushed off Sansa's warning as an afterthought. “We have no intention of breaking the engagement so you and Littlefinger can rest easy. You will have your queen and the Lannisters will be dethroned.”

“I vow that as long as I am Queen, he will never touch you.” Margaery stated. While she put on a brave face, Sansa could see that she was concerned. Joffery had only been kind to her but she could see the cruel side to him. He never hurt her but his temper got the best of him. He had beaten servants in front of her and tortured animals. Margaery pretended that she enjoyed it and that she was like him. The better actress she became the more control she had over him. “I want us to be friends and if I want you happy, then happy you shall be.”

“Don't make promises you can't keep.” Sansa laughed. “I'm like a toy to Joffery. He will always enjoy making me suffer and even you can't change that. No matter how good of friends we become.” She paused and took a deep breath. She placed her mask perfectly in place. “Although I have to admit that you have done wonders on him. He worships the ground you walk on. Whatever spell you have on him, don't let if fade.”

“If Joffery has tormented you as you claim, then why come all the way to King's Landing once he took the throne?” Olenna asked. Sansa looked away from Margaery and toward the elder Tyrell. It was clear that while she liked Sansa, she didn't particularly trust her. It wasn't clear if the mistrust was due to Sansa herself or who she was married to. “You're smart woman, you should have stayed away and yet you married a member of his small counsel. Why?”

“The same reason you allow Margaery to marry him. Tell Lady Olenna, if you didn't want Margaery to marry Joffery, you could end it today. You could end everything and no one would be the wiser. But you don't. Why? And it is not because of your son.” Olenna didn't reply, instead holding her tongue and she just watched Sansa, who gave a rather contemptuous laugh. “No. We both need Joffery, as much as I hate admit it.”

“You’re no fool, I admire that about you.” Olenna replied with a smirk. “Although, I’m not sure it is a comfort for Littlefinger to have such a wife. It is clear that he is dangerous on his own but with a wife such as you, it’s a perfect storm. The things the two of you will accomplish will be staggering. Perhaps I will stick around until the wedding after all……once the postponement is over of course.” She added in an offhand manner.

“And I’m sure that you had nothing to do with that, of course.” Sansa replied with a smirk. It was common for wedding or any type of festivities would be postponed if a family member died. Seeing that the King’s ‘father’ had passed away, Joffery would not be able to marry until the mourning period was completed. However, it had been over a month since the King’s death and Joffery should be free to marry as pleases in a few weeks. However, no wedding had been announced and Sansa was certain that Olenna had a hand in the delay.

“Of course not.” Olenna replied and Sansa smirked at her. Margaery said nothing and Sansa could get a read on her. She wasn’t sure if the younger Tyrell wanted the postponement or if she wanted the marriage to take place. It was obvious that she wanted to be queen but did she want a king? Margaery would be a great queen, one where her people would adore her. However, it would be far easier if she had a king that she could control. Either way, Margaery would be a powerful friend to have in their corner. “You’re going to have him assassinated, aren’t you?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Sansa replied. She wasn’t going to admit her hopes but it was indeed what she wanted and she could tell that Olenna wouldn’t stand in her way if she desired such things. She was unsure on exactly when or how she would take such action but one day, Sansa would have his blood on her hands; not just for herself but for Bran as well. If she could burn the entirety of the Lannisters, she would take that opportunity. “Even thinking such things is treason.”

“Your smirk says everything my dear.” Olenna replied but shared the same smirk. “I suppose it is a good thing that you and your husband are friends of ours. I would hate to be on your bad side. Well, I suppose that you best begin working on Tommen my dear. You have done wonders with Joffery, I’m sure that Tommen would be an easy feet.”

“I would be careful of course Margaery, making Joffery jealous would be unwise.” Sansa stated and Margaery smiled. Sansa could see the wheels turning in her mind; planning the seduction of a fourteen year old boy would be simple compared to the seventeen year old sadistic King. Tommen was gentle and had a kind heart but was a fool. Margaery could play the victim of Joffery’s abuse, gaining Tommen’s sympathy. Tommen would never confront his elder brother but would be more than welcoming to assist a terrified woman.

“Don’t worry about Joffery or Tommen. I will have them under control.” Margaery stated with a small smile. She had been quiet during their lunch, allowing her grandmother to take the reins but Sansa could tell that Margaery was not one to stand on the sidelines. “I will have both of them eating out of my hands.” Sansa smirked and picked up her goblet, taking another drink. Perhaps Margaery and she would become good friends after all.

“I’m sure you will.”

Chapter Text

The sun had set and the flicker of torches echoed through the castle. It was dark but voices could still be heard, laughing and talking through any open window. Sansa supposed that was how life would be in King's Landing. It was never quiet and no matter where she turned, someone would be just around the corner. She just never realized how crowded it would be. She knew that with time, people would leave and the noise would go down; she would just have to get used to the constant chatter.

She was sitting out on the balcony looking over the city. She could see candle light flickering in windows or a moving ball of light as someone walked through the streets. Shae was with her, reading from one of the books, not wanting to leave her new mistress alone. Sansa had found it odd seeing that she knew that she was reporting to Tyrion Lannister, a fact that he made perfectly clear, but Shae seemed concerned about her. It was as though the foreign woman recognized something in her that she saw in herself. Sansa had attempted to dismiss the woman a few hours earlier but Shae stated that she would wait for Baelish to return.

A few hours after her lunch with Margaery and Olenna, Baelish had sent word that there were some issues with the books he kept as Master of Coin and it would take a few hours to sort out. So, instead of dining with her husband, Sansa ate with her father, brother and sister. It was an awkward meal, everyone still reeling from the night before. When Sansa stated that she would be having her evening meal with them, Ned ordered her favorites to be served. Giving Sansa gifts was the only way Ned knew how to connect with her. Robb simply dotted on her causing Sansa to never have to lift a finger. Arya just sat back and did absolutely nothing that she wouldn't normally do; something Sansa was grateful for.

Now, hours after the meal had been finished and the sun had set, Sansa sat on their balcony, waiting for her husband to return. Waiting wasn't something she prone to doing. It wasn't awfully late but Sansa hadn't even undressed for the evening. Sansa pushed from the iron chair, causing Shae to stir. Sansa entered her suits and went toward her sleeping chambers. She opened her wardrobe and pulled out a cloak. It was made of purple silk and it matched the purple dress she was wearing.

“M'lady, what are you doing?” Shae asked. She had thought that her mistress would be ready to turn in for the night but it appeared to be the exact opposite. Sansa turned and grabbed her dagger from the bedside table. She lifted her dress and fasted the holster around her calf.

“I'm going to find my husband. You are dismissed for the night.” With that, Sansa swept past Shae and called for Lady. She left her suits with her direwolf, not bothering to grab a candle on her way out. King's Landing was far better lit at night than Winterfell had ever been. She walked the stone corridor quickly. She would pass a few people and she never bothered to stop and speak with anyone. She knew what their topic of conversation would be and she had no desire to talk of Stannis Baratheon anymore. The man was dead and she had decided to move on from it.

She never lifted her hood. There was no point. Lady was trotting beside her and everyone would know that it was her under the hood. If she desired to be hidden and unnoticed, she would have changed her clothes and left Lady back in her suits, or let the wolf roam on her own. Yet, she found that it didn't matter if people knew she was going to visit her husband, there was nothing scandalous in that.

She found his solar quickly. Baelish had pointed it out to her when they first arrived the day before. He had taken her on a small tour of the castle as they were making their way toward the small area they would call home for awhile. She followed the path she remembered toward his solar and once she reached it, she noticed that there was a guard standing outside the door. She recognized that it was one of the guards Baelish paid rather well; he had pointed them all out to her so she would know which ones were in his pocket. She made a move to open the door but the guard stopped her.

“Lord Baelish asked not to be disturbed.” The guard stopped her and Sansa looked at him in an annoyed manner. She bit her lip and crossed her arms. If she wanted to see her husband, a guard was not going to stop her.

“I'm his wife. If I want to see my husband, then I shall do so.” Sansa replied but the guard didn't budge. She huffed in frustration and reached for the door again. The guards placed his hands on her shoulders and moved her away. It wasn't rough but it was enough for Sansa to tense up and panic. The last time a guard with a gold cloak touched her had been out of cruelty. Seeing her mistress's distress, Lady bared her teeth and growled. The guard took in the large angry direwolf and slowly backed away.

The door to the solar opened and Baelish looked around it time to see the guard release his wife. He had heard the commotion outside his door and decided to investigate. He knew that the hour was growing late and that he would be heading back to their suits but he didn't expect to find his wife waiting outside his door. He took in the scene before him and noticed his wife's distress. He stepped forward and took Sansa into his arms while Lady continue to growl at the terrified guard.

“What is going on here?” Baelish demanded at the guard who couldn't speak. His eyes were wide and never left Lady. Lady's hair was standing on end and she was crouched down low as though she was about to pouch at any second. “Lady! In!.” The direwolf whimpered and slowly made her way into the solar. Since her mistress's marriage, Lady had taken to Baelish because of the close bond he had with Sansa. Lady could sense his protective nature over Sansa and whenever he gave a command, the direwolf obeyed. “I will ask you again, what happened?”

“You asked not to be disturbed, sir.” The guard replied and looked directly at Baelish, who sighed in irritation. Sansa was still buried in his arms and he could feel her tremble slightly. Her emotions were still racing from the events of the day and while the guard was not the gold cloak who participated in her rape, it was still too raw to allow any gold cloak to place his hands on her.

“My wife can disturb me at any time.” Baelish stated in a stern voice. He leaned in and kissed the top of her head. He took his one hand and pushed the door open farther. Sansa moved inside the solar and Baelish turned back to the guard. “And you are never to put your hands on my wife in any manner, is that understood?” The guard nodded and Baelish shut the door with a quick snap.

Sansa looked around the solar and noticed how elegant it was. This room, much like their suits, was full of color. Baelish certainly liked the finer things in life. There was a wooden desk across the room and it was piled with books on top of it. There were several bookshelves filled with books and a few couches that lined the walls. She walked over to one of the couches and sat down upon one. Baelish followed her and sat down beside her, gathering her in his arms.

“Sweetling. Are you alright? What are you doing here?”

“I'm okay. I just wasn't expecting him to touch me, that is all.” Sansa replied and she could feel her husband tense under her. She knew that he didn't like the idea of anyone touching her in any manner besides him and it was something she could agree on. She still felt uncomfortable when her own family hugged her; Baelish was always the exception. He as the only person that she would allow to have full control over her person. “It was growing late and I missed you. I thought I would come and see what was taking you so long.”

“The hour is growing late.” Baelish stated as he looked out the window. He gave a small laugh and kissed the top of her head. “I guess I will have to remember that I have a young wife at home that needs my company. Forgive an old man Sweetling, it is easy to fall back into old habits.” Sansa giggled and kissed him. “The books took a bit more time than I anticipated. I knew that man I put in my place was an imbecile but not this much. I've been gone a year and I realized that cleaning up the mess he created would take more time than I anticipated.”

“If he was such an idiot, why did you allow him to be your replacement?” Sansa asked. She shifted so her legs would drape over his legs. She leaned back on the pillows and allowed his hands to begin to draw small circles on her legs.

“I put him as my replacement because he was an idiot.” Baelish stated and Sansa nodded. It would be unwise for her husband to assign his job to anyone who could possibly uncover his dealings. Someone with a clue as to what they would be doing could easily discover exactly how Westeros became so in debt to the Iron Bank. “Enough talk about boring old numbers. Tell me, what did you discuss with the Queen and how did your lunch go today? I'm sure both were very interesting.”

“Well, the Queen thinks I'm a fool and that you have been playing me from the start.” Baelish smirked at that. He slowly began to trace his hands up her legs and back down again. Each time his hands grew higher and higher. “She also hates Margaery. She stated that she wished that I was going to be her daughter in law. I think that is something we could use.”

“Tell me how.” Baelish stated in the tone he reserved for when he was coaching her. He found an sense of satisfaction when he was mentoring her. It was foreplay for them, just as the game was an aphrodisiac. Sansa kicked off her sandals and shifted slightly so that her one foot was behind her behind him. Baelish moved that her legs were on either side of him but never moved to lay on top of her.

“I think that if we can cause was rift between mother and son it will make taking control of the throne so much easier, and Margaery is the perfect excuse. The closer the King becomes to Margaery the more power the Tyrells have. More power for the Tyrells and less for the Lannisters.” Sansa stated as she bit her bottom lip. Her finger trailed down to touch her mockingbird pendant that was lying in between her covered breast. The dress had a dangerously low cleavage; her breast were covered but the valley between them were bare. The mockingbird pendant lay perfectly between them. She could see her husband's eyes dark with lust at the site of it.

“And your meeting with our future queen and her feisty grandmother, how did that go?” Baelish asked in a husky voice. He grasped on of her ankles and placed a kiss on one of them while his other hand hiked her dress up her legs. He licked and nipped causing her to whimper. “What did you think of Lady Olenna's thorns?”

“I thought they were perfectly lovely.” Sansa giggled as she felt one of his hands slide up toward her hip and underneath her dress. His thumb pressed against her nub and Sansa bucked against him. He didn't move his thumb but instead held it against her waiting for her to tell him more. “She wanted to know of Joffery's character.” Baelish began to move his thumb in a circular motion against her and Sansa's head fell back.

“And what did you tell her?”

“The truth.” Baelish pressed harder causing her to hiss. “She pried it out of me, but it was as though she already knew from Margaery.” He began to twirl his thumb again. “She told Margaery to get close to Tommen. Margaery stated that it wouldn't be difficult because Tommen isn't the brightest boy. A few easy lines here and there about how horrible Joffery is, Tommen will be eating out of her hand.” Baelish smirked and rewarded her with slipping one and then another of his fingers inside of her. He slowly began to pump them in and out of her. Sansa arched against him and grabbed the arm of the couch behind her. A loud moan escaped her and she was certain that the guard standing behind the door would have heard her.

“Anything else?” Baelish shifted and got on his knees in front of her. His hand still working her and he enjoyed watching her arch and moan under him. His motions were slow, purposefully keeping her from falling over the edge. “Tell me exactly what the Queen of Thorns told you. What is she thinking? What is she planning?”

“She thinks we are going to kill Joffery. She seems pleased with the idea-ah!” Sansa arched as he curled his fingers inside of her, hitting a particular spot. She could tell that her husband was pleased with her because his motions began to pick up pace. Faster and faster his hands moved in and out of her. It wasn't long before her toes curled and she was flying. Baelish withdrew his hands from inside of her and climbed on top of her. He leaned down and kissed her lightly. Once she was coming down from her high, she reached up and traced his cheekbone. “She loves Margaery, she does not want to see her married to such a monster. If we don't kill him; she might.”

“Perhaps we should keep our hands clean.” Sansa smirked and raised her eyebrow in question. Baelish laughed lightly. “In this matter. Let Olenna take control. Allow her to protect her granddaughter. Either way the outcome with be in our favor.” Sansa looked at him, keeping her emotions passive. She weaved her hands through his greying black hair and curled her fingers. She tugged at his hair and pushed him back into a sitting position. She sat up and straddled his legs.

“I want him to suffer.” Sansa leaned down and took Baelish's lips in her own. The kissed for a few moments before Sansa broke away. “I want to hear him breathe his last breath.” She began kissing down his jaw. “I want want to watch the life leave his eyes.” She began to suck on his neck and she knew that she would leave a mark for the world to see in the morning. Sansa brought her lips to his ear and breathed deeply. The next words came out in a whisper. “Joffery is my Lysa. He is mine.”

She pulled away and looked down at him. There was a flicker of understanding. He would give her anything she wanted and if she wanted Joffery's blood on her hands then he would do anything to make that happen. Sansa smirked, knowing she would get her way. She reached down and untied the laces of his breeches. He lifted his hips lightly in order for her to pull his member out. Baelish bunched her skirts up around her hips and she lowered herself onto him.

Sansa moaned at the feel of him. She felt full and wonderful with him inside of her. She kissed his lips as she began to rotate her hips. It was slow and the sound of their moans echoed against the stone walls. It was clear that the guard outside, while clueless as to what their foreplay entitled, knew exactly what they were doing just behind the door. Anyone who may have passed by the solar would have been able to hear them. The knowledge that someone could hear her fucking her husband, didn't embarrass Sansa in the slightest. Instead it edged her forward.

“Petyr!” Sansa yelled and threw her head back. Baelish leaned up and wrapped his arms around her waist. He latched his lips onto her porcelain skin. His tongue licked at her collarbone and he slowly trailed his lips down to the valley of her breast. Once he reached her pendant, Sansa changed direction of her hips, causing him to hiss against the mockingbird.

“You're such a naughty girl.” Baelish stated with a smirk on his face. He wrapped his hand in her long red hand and pulled. He roughly pushed her back down onto the couch. Her head hit against the pillow and she cried out in pleasure at the unexpected turn of events. Her legs spread wider, allowing him sit lie comfortably between them. “I want to hear you scream for me.”

He started to pound against her and Sansa did exactly as he requested. She screamed, whimpered and moaned so loudly that no one would be unclear of exactly how her husband pleased her. It wasn't slow and gentle as he hand been the night before. It was a power struggle and it was intoxicating. She would pull and scratch at his clothing while her lips bit his. Baelish would groan against her ear and kiss her jaw bone. The couch below them creaked and moaned so much that in the back of Sansa's mind, she was concerned that it would break below them. However, no matter how hard he rutted against her, the legs of the couch never gave out. She moved her foot against his clothed legs and her fingernails clawed at him.

“Gods Sansa.” Baelish all but yelled out as Sansa arched against him. A wicked gleam appeared in her eyes and she smirked at him. She placed her hands on his chest and pushed him. Caught off guard, Baelish tumbled backward and his back hit the wooden floor. He groaned, more out of shock than pain. Sansa moved off the couch and crawled on top of him just in time for the wooden door to swing open. The guard had thought something untoward had happened to his master but his eyes widened when he saw Baelish's young wife on top of him. Baelish looked at him briefly and with a rough, husky voice dismissed the guard, who scurried out of the solar as quickly as he came. Baelish reached down and gripped Sansa's hips tightly. “Tsk Tsk. What will he think of us now?”

“Don't care.” Sansa leaned down and kissed him passionately. “You did say I was a naughty girl.” She lifted herself up slightly and took his member in hand, lowering herself down upon him again. She placed her hands on his chest and began rocking against him. It was quick and hard causing her nails to dig into his chest. Baelish trailed his hands up her leg and toward her center. He wasn't going to last long and didn't want to leave her feeling unsatisfied. After a few moments of thrusting and screaming, both fell over the edge together.

Sansa rolled off of him and landed on the floor, breathing heavily. Baelish reached down and took her hand in his, kissing the back of it. They two of them laid there, allowing their hearts to slow and their breathing to go back to normal. Baelish turned his head and looked at his wife.

“Please know that anything you want, I will get it for you.” Baelish stated and Sansa nodded. He was referring to her request that Joffery's life belonged to her. He completely understood why she felt that way, because he knew how much he desired to throw Lysa through that moon door. Baelish tucked himself back in his breeches, not even bothering to clean himself, and stood. He held out his hand to Sansa, who took it happily. “Let me show you something.”

“And what will you be showing me?” Sansa asked as he pulled her from the floor. He led her over to his desk and sat down behind it. He held out his arms, welcoming her into them. She happily sat down on his lip like a small child out sit on her father's lap. He scooted them closer to the desk and opened one book.

“These books belong the Seven Kingdoms. Its the accounts and gold that belongs to each of the houses and the throne as a whole. It holds all the loans that have been taken out and to whom the debt is owed. As you can see, the Iron Bank is the biggest shareholder of the Seven Kingdoms. Most of the money is owed to them. If you look over here,” Baelish traced his finger over the page toward some numbers that were located on the other side. “This is the record of all the taxes that have been repaid this past year.” Baelish then flipped a few pages and at the top was his name. “This is our account.”

Sansa's widened. The numbers on that page were numerous. She knew that her husband was wealthy but she never imagined that he would be this wealthy. He was by far one of the most riches men in all of Westeros. However, she noticed that none of the gold in his possession came from embezzlement. There was a category for every single deposit and it was noted exactly where exactly his money came from. She knew that he had squandered the finances of everyone in the entirety of Westeros but not is own, and he kept record of it in order to protect himself.

She took the books from him and slowly flipped through them. It wasn't obvious but it was there. Each family's account, which she assumed he gained access to over the year he traveled around the Seven Kingdoms, seemed to be in order. There seemed to be no hint of foul play but Sansa continued to flip each page and read. It was spelled out how exactly Westeros lost it's money, yet none of it could point to Baelish. He covered his tracks far to well. Sansa turned in his arms and looked at her husband. He wore that famous smirk on his lips and she could tell that he was pleased with himself.

“This is how you bankrupted the Seven Kingdoms. These are the royal ledgers!” Sansa stated and Baelish nodded. He pulled her closer to him. “And you just leave here, in your solar?”

“Oh no Sweetling. These are kept in one of my brothels. One of the reasons I needed to head there so early this morning.” He bit her ear slightly. “Shall I take you there tomorrow when I return them? Shall I show you how our gold is made?” He chuckled at her and she could feel his breath against her skin. “I'm certain we could find a thing or two to do while we are there.”

Chapter Text

The brothel was colorful. It was covered in plush rugs, fancy pillows and silk curtains covering the windows. It was very clean and felt very luxurious. If this was not a place of fortification, Sansa thought that she could have just laid down and rested her head. She was tired but it was no surprise for her husband had wore her out the night before. After their adventure in the solar they continued to devour each other back in their chambers.

When they woke later than normal, Baelish dragged his wife out of bed and demanded her to be dressed. They left the Red Keep quickly, leaving Lady behind. She was certain that the direwolf was in the Godswood with Greywind and Nymeria by now. She had thought that they would leave under some type of cover but instead, it was as though Baelish flashed the news that he was taking his wife to one of his brothels.

They traveled through King's Landing and made it to the brothel quickly. The brothel itself was up scale and Sansa noticed that a mockingbird was painted on the front entrance. Once they entered, Baelish spoke harshly to a tall woman with curly red hair piled on top of her head. He ordered all of the prostitutes who were not occupied with customers to congregate in his solar. Baelish's solar was large with plush furnishing and gold windows with black iron covered by deep red curtains. The doorways were covered with beads that hung from the archways.There was a couch pushed up against the back wall and a table in front of it with a wide arrange of fruit. There was a musician who played the harp in the common room and along with the artwork that hung on the wall, the brothel had a very elegant feel to it.

The girls and to Sansa's surprise, boys entered his solar in all manner of dress; some less than others. Baelish had them all line in a single orderly fashion. Sansa noticed that the tall red headed woman stood back with an equally tall blond man. She could only assume that they were above the rest in some fashion. Baelish sat down on one of the plush chairs by the window on the left side of the room. Sansa walked up the line and inspected each girl and boy. Some were old and some were young; some light some dark; tall and short. She had to admit that they would serve all manner of tastes.

There was one girl she noticed, in the middle of the line, was a tall girl around her age. She was taller than Sansa and her red hair was lighter than her's but she couldn't deny the resemblance. She moved away from her and continued to inspect the rest of the prostitutes. Eventually Sansa turned away and walked over to her husband with a smirk on her face. Baelish held out his hand and Sansa placed her's in it, causing him to lift it to his lips. He stood from his chair and grabbed his wife around the waist. He kissed her passionately in front of the entire room. Once their lips broke apart, Baelish moved to eye the crowd, never letting go of his wife.

“I would like to introduce to you my wife, Lady Sansa Baelish. She will be here from time to time, and sometimes she will be here during my absence. Any concerns or anything at all can be reported to her and she will handle it as she sees fit. Is that clear?” There were a few nods and murmurs in agreement. “Good, back to work. Ros, Olyvar, please stay.” The rest of them left through the beaded covered archway. Baelish led Sansa toward the two reaming prostitutes in his solar. “Sansa this is Ros and Olyvar. Ros runs the establishment while we are away and Olyvar assists. You will see him around the castle, spending time with our Ser Loras. If either of you ever have anything to report, feel free to tell her if either of you cannot find me.” The two of them bowed and agreed. Baelish dismissed the two of them and once they were gone he pulled her close again. “Alone at last. Tell me your thoughts.”

“I think its a very pleasing establishment. I can see why men and some women would choose to come to you when they needed some kind of fix.” She smirked at him. In truth she was rather impressed. When she thought of a whorehouse, her mind went to a dirty run down building with unkept people. Yet, her husband's establishment was far nicer than some nobles lived in. “But my main question is, what is the master's fetish? What does he crave? Tell me Lord Baelish, what do you desire?”

“I desire..” Baelish's eyes roamed her coy smile. She was feeling playful and he was enjoying every moment of it. Sansa grabbed his hands and slowly led him toward his desk. She stepped up the couple of steps and pushed herself up to sit on the wooden desk. She crossed her legs and bit her bottom lip. “I desire a vexing young woman in a pink dress that is held together by black ties in the front.” Baelish reached and slowly began to untie the front of her dress. “I desire a woman in a black chocker with my sigil on it. What I desire is sitting on my desk, begging me to fuck her.”

Sansa smirked wildly at him and leaned up to kiss him. His tongue invaded her mouth and she arched her back when she felt his thumb run over the peak of her breast. He pushed the pink fabric aside, allowing her chest to be bare to him. Sansa worked on his coat and once it was completely open, she pushed it off his shoulders, leaving him standing in his breeches and tunic.

Baelish leaned down and took one of her breasts into his mouth. Sansa moaned against him as he bit at her nipple. She uncrossed her legs and spread them for her husband. She wrapped the one around his waist pulling him closer to her. She weaved her hands into his hair and threw her head back as she cried out his name.

“Uh um.” The two of them froze and Baelish broke away from her. He turned, still blocking his wife from view and saw Lord Tyrion Lannister standing in the archway. Sansa quickly began fastening the front of her dress. Once she was presentable she noticed that Tyrion was not alone but was accompanied by a scruffy looking man with brown facial hair and a sword on his belt. “Please, don't stop because of Bronn and I. We do love a good show.”

“I'm sorry Lord Baelish, I tried to stop them but they insisted on forcing their way in.” Olyvar stated looking haggard. It was clear that he had tried to stop the intruders but was unsuccessful. Baelish didn't reply, instead he continued to glare at Tyrion, making it obvious that he was frustrated to have been interrupted.

“It's alright Olyvar. You may go.” Sansa stated and the boy left in a hurry. It was clear that he didn't want to displease Baelish, something that she could understand completely. Although, she was certain that his reasons for making his employer happy were completely different than her's.

Baelish turned to make sure his wife was properly dressed and moved away from her. He bent down to pick up his coat but didn't put it back on. Instead he flung it on one of the chairs behind his desk. He sat down in the master's chair while Sansa remained perched on the desk. Tyrion and Bronn moved closer, Bronn grabbing one chair and placing it in front of the desk. Tyrion sat down in the chair while Bronn simply stood behind it.

“And what do we owe the pleasure of your visit Lord Tyrion?” Baelish asked in a questioning tone. Sansa could tell that he was less than pleased. It wasn't everyday that they were interrupted during one of their tryst and forced to stop. Most people would stay away if they heard the noises they would make but that seemed not to be an issue for Tyrion. Instead it seemed to amuse him.

“I just heard that the two of you would be in the neighborhood and I decided it was time I paid a visit...for business anyway. I've spent plenty of time here for pleasure.” Tyrion stated and Bronn smirked. Sansa had heard of his reputation in the North for visiting the brothels there. It would not surprise her if he was someone who frequented Baelish's establishment.

“You mean to say that Shae informed you of our whereabouts?” Sansa stated with a smirk. She cocked her head and out of the corner of her eye, she could see the corners of Baelish's mouth perk up. Tyrion smiled as well. She knew that he let slip of the broken vase on purpose, as though he was telling her that Shae belonged to him in the same way Baelish owned Ros and Olyvar.

“I knew that you would pick up on that.” Tyrion stated, looking at her. His eyes traveled the length of her but it wasn't in the same manner that Baelish looked at her. It was as though he was studying her worth and not her sexuality. She was Baelish's wife and Tyrion wasn't fool enough to mess with that. “My sister thinks that you are an empty headed child and it pleases me to see her wrong. I actually get some kind of joy out of it. But that is besides the point.”

“Then what is the point?” Baelish snapped. Sansa felt for him. He was frustrated and needed some type of release. Sansa would be more than willing to accommodate his frustration but she knew that he was not one to have people watch them in the bedroom. Baelish was many things and being possessive was one of them. He didn't want anyone else seeing his wife with her legs spread. “Did you come all this way to tell us that you planted the whore you like to fuck to spy on us?” Sansa startled slightly but she hid it well. It never occurred to her that Shae would be more to Tyrion than an informant, which made Shae slightly less trustworthy.

“I didn't place her, and she is no more a whore than Lady Baelish is.” It was a compliment she supposed. “I was just as surprised as you were when she told me of her placement.” Baelish sat up straighter and looked at Tyrion. If Tyrion didn't put Shae into their service than who did? Shae had stated that she was placed by the King but Sansa knew Joffery. He wasn't cunning enough to think of placing his uncle's mistress in his ex-betrothed service in order to spy on her. “After a bit of...convincing, I discovered that Lord Varys placed her there. Not surprising since they have an odd friendship. I never did understand it.” Lie. Sansa could tell that Tyrion thought very highly of the eunuch. “Something about the good of the realm. I can promise you that she is not there to spy on you Lady Baelish. She genuinely likes you.”

“I'm still not seeing the point.” Baelish stated. Sansa knew that he was filing the information that Varys placed Shae in their services for another time. Of course he would be asking his old friend of his intentions. He knew that Sansa was pleased with Shae's services thus far and if Sansa could gain the handmaiden's trust, perhaps Shae would prove useful. “Why are you here?”

“Anxious to continue your activities I see.” Tyrion stated and Bronn laughed. It was clear that the taller man was not used to holding his tongue but was told to let Tyrion take the lead. Baelish did not react well to the jab, and continued to glare at the dwarf. “I'm here to offer an olive-branch of sorts. A truce if you will.” Baelish looked interested and leaned back again.

“A truce?”

“Yes.” Tyrion stated and smirked. He knew that he had Baelish's interest peaked. Sansa looked to her husband and wondered what he would do with such a truce. They would take it of course, seeing as it would be bad form to simply turn the offer away. The question was, would they keep to it? Sansa slid off the desk and walked around toward her husband.

“And what would this truce consist of?” Sansa asked as she sat on the arm of Baelish's chair. Her husband wrapped his arm around her hips, holding her in place. Sansa leaned against him, propping her elbow on his shoulder, allowing her to rest her head against her head against her hand. “And why should we trust anything you offer?”

“I see you have her well trained Lord Baelish.” Tyrion stated with a laugh. Sansa's eyes narrowed and Tyrion held up his hand in apology. “I meant no offense Lady Baelish. It just amazes me at the women you have become since the last time I saw you. You were just a girl then.” Tyrion stated and there was a sad look in his eyes. Guilt. He felt guilt at what his nephew had done to her. “Which brings to as why I am here. As you may know my father has been named Hand of the King.” Sansa didn't know that.

“And what does that have to do with you?” Baelish asked. The news of Stannis's execution masked the fact that Tywin had taken over the position of Hand of the King. She couldn't tell whether or not he knew but either way, he was less than pleased. It was just another notch in the Lannisters power. She knew that knocking the Lannisters from their pedestal wasn't as personal for him as it was for her, but he still wanted the same outcome. After that, Sansa wasn't so sure.

“Everything. My brother has been in Casterly Rock for the last two years and is getting restless. My father is traveling home in hopes of arranging a marriage for Jaime, I doubt he will be successful.” Tyrion stated with a smirk and everyone knew why. While Cersei was more than willing to bed other men besides her twin brother, Jaime was shamelessly devoted to his sister. “During my father's absences I will be acting in his steed as Hand of the King.”

“I take it that you have some interesting plans for your temporary stay as Hand?” Baelish stated. Sansa looked between the two men and they both were dwelling on the word 'temporary'. She could understand the appeal of temporarily being the Hand. In power for long enough to do what needed to be done, but would avoid the nastiness of what came with being Hand. The last two had died well before their time.

“I have a few things up my sleeve.” Tyrion stated in a vague voice. Sansa could only imagine what he was planning. She was certain that Tyrion was not as clever as her husband but then again, she could be bias. “What I am offering is this, you stay out of my way with the assurance that nothing I do will affect either of you or Lady Baelish's family. I have no use for harming them. And in return ask the same of you.”

It was an interesting offer and it wasn't exactly an alliance. It was a truce to stay out of each other's way. Tyrion could operate as he pleased and the same could be done for Sansa and Baelish. There was the chance that their moves would cross one another but it was a chance they had to take. Although it would make some of their choices that much more limited. They could either take the deal or leave it, either way it would be a test.

If they didn't take the deal, then Tyrion would know they were plotting something that could harm his family. If they took the deal and then backstabbed him; well that would be just as telling. If they took the deal and kept their word, then perhaps Tyrion could become a powerful friend. However, Sansa was unsure if she ever wanted to be friends with a Lannister, even a decent one.

“If I am understanding you correctly, during the time that you act as Hand of the King, you will leave myself, my husband and my family alone?” Sansa asked and Tyrion nodded. “And all you ask is that we leave you and your family alone?” No deal. Sansa wanted nothing more than to watch the Lannisters burn, if Tyrion was asking her to take that off the table then she was not willing to keep any deal she made with him.

“I think you misunderstood me Lady Baelish. You can scheme all you want when it comes to my sister and that awful creature I have the misfortune of calling a nephew and King. Any plans you have for them, I don't care. I have burned that bridge along time ago. As long as you leave me and my plans alone, I will do the same for you.” Tyrion paused. “Although I am rather fond of Myrcella and Tommen, but they are more of a request than a demand.”

Sansa looked at Baelish and it was clear that he was considering the terms. If they took the deal, it wouldn't change their course to much. They still would be able to move forward with their plans. There was a plot involving Tommen but it wasn't theirs, they were more than willing to just stand aside and allow Margaery to play with the boy. Other than the chance of a broken heart, no real harm would come to him.

“We will accept your deal on one condition.” Baelish stated and Sansa could tell that whatever he was thinking, it would be a deal breaker. If Tyrion didn't agree, then it gave them a reason not to accept the truce without them appearing as though they were his enemies. Even before he made this offer, Sansa never considered the dwarf in her plans but if he was acting as Hand of the King, that could possibly change. If he was good to his word, it could be beneficial to them to have the Hand not be plotting against them for a time. Then the deal would be null and void once Tywin returned to King's Landing.

“I'm listening.”

“You keep your nephew on a short leash and away from Sansa. If I get wind that he even hurt a hair on my wife's head, there will be no more deal.” Baelish leaned forward, placing his elbows on the desk. His voice was low and deadly. If Joffery harmed her in anyway, Baelish was stating that he would hold Tyrion personally responsible. Tyrion was silent for a moment and turned to Sansa.

“I am very sorry for what he did to you and for my sister for attempting to cover up his actions with such vile lies. I assure you that most do not believe them.” Sansa smiled lightly, touched by his concern. “I will attempt to control my nephew but you must understand that holding Joffery back is like caging an angry lion. Sooner or later he will lash out.”

“We understand the risks Lord Tyrion.” Sansa replied and linked her hands with Baelish's. “If you can control Joffery and no harm comes to us, then you have our word that we will leave you and your schemes alone.” While he was Hand of course. The moment Tywin returned, Tyrion would become fair game again.

Sansa of course had to admit that she didn't mind Tyrion. He was one of the few Lannisters that if he lived to the end of this game, she wouldn't mind. In another world she might have even admired him and his kind words. He had always been sweet to her and her family. When Bran had died, he seemed sincere when he offered his condolences. During that first visit at Winterfell, when King Robert asked Ned to become Hand of the King, she had grown to tolerate the dwarf. Her selfish attitude and mindset had found him distasteful, no matter how kind he had been. He had seemed to really enjoy Winterfell and the North in general.

Yet, he never came with King Robert and Queen Cersei the times they visited Winterfell. She wondered if Joffery would have been able to harm her if Tyrion was there. Tyrion seemed to be the only one willing to correct Joffery with any means possible. It was as though the dwarf knew exactly what the young King was capable of and that scared him just as much as it did Sansa. Tyrion wasn't blind to the monster his sister birthed.

Cersei's only redeeming quality was the love for her children. She would be willing to do anything to protect them and Sansa could understand that, for Tommen and Myrcella. Those two were lovely children that any parent would be proud of. Yet, Joffery was a monster and she could never understand how any mother would be willing to protect him. If any of her siblings had done such horrible things, she could not see Catelyn protecting them. It would hurt her certainly but she would never make such allowances for her children.

Her mind wondered to what their children would be like. She had been toying with the idea and she wouldn't lie and say that it didn't excite her. She wanted to give Baelish a child. After the damage Joffery had done, Sansa never thought she would have children but now she couldn't deny that it would happen one day. She could only hope was that the Lannisters would be dead and that they could never harm them. The last thing she wanted was for her children to be subjugated to such cruelty.

Suddenly the doors to Baelish's solar opened and Olyvar rushed in, carrying a letter in his hand. Both Sansa and Baelish thought that Olyvar would deliver the letter to one of them but instead he handed it to Tyrion. The dwarf seemed to be just as surprised as they were. Olyvar gave a small look of apology to Sansa and Baelish before leaving. It was silent as Tyrion opened the letter. Sansa could see his small eyes trace over the words. He sighed and slowly folded the letter back up and handed it to Bronn.

“Well that is unfortunate. My dear Cersei is going to be heartbroken.” Tyrion stated mournfully. Sansa leaned forward and looked at the dwarf. He seemed sad for a moment but then laughed. “It appears that my family has just suffered a loss. My cousin, Lancel has committed suicide. My sister was rather found of him.”

Suicide. Lancel Lannister committed suicide and Sansa almost wanted to laugh. She may not know the exact manner as to how he died but she was certain that Lancel didn't take his own life. His death had been ordered and Lancel had been murdered. One name had been crossed off Arya's hit list and she wondered exactly who was left remaining.

Chapter Text

Ser Lores Tyrell pivoted against his opponent. His sword was quick and sharp and Sansa could tell that he was talented. Although, she could see that he was more concerned with how he appeared, with his golden curls and keeping his armor clean, more so than how he performed on the field. He would have been the perfect knight that Sansa’s old self would have dreamed about. It would have been years before the old Sansa would have realized that he appeared to be one man but was really another. She would have not taken kindly to learn that her husband bedded other men.

Margaery had asked Sansa and Arya to dine with her while her brother fenced. While the invite didn't sound appealing in the least, she knew she needed to befriend Margaery and when the offer was given, it was important that she accept. It took some convincing but Arya agreed to attend, making Margaery very pleased. The three of them sat and watched Lores fence with another knight and it was clear that Arya was itching to pick up a sword. She bit down on her stubbed nails and would twitch in her pale green dress.

No matter what her efforts were, it seemed very difficult for her to be able to spar as she had in Winterfell. Instead she was forced to watch someone else fence when she was certain she would have been able to beat him. Robb had promised to fence with her while they were in King's Landing but with the wedding approaching, his mind had been on other things. Not only had that but Arya been up to her own mischief. There was just very little time in a day to accomplish everything.

Margaery stood and cheered in a triumphant tone when her brother knocked the other knight to the green grass. Margaery was overly excited for her brother and Sansa could tell that the two of them were close. It was clear that they would do anything to protect each other. If Lores ever saw his sister being mistreated by the King, she was sure that Lores would follow in Jaime Lannister’s footsteps and become a Kingslayer. Sansa looked at the two men and noticed that Olyvar was attending to Lores. Sansa grinned, knowing exactly that the younger man was spying on behalf of her and her husband.

Margaery laughed and left the crimson colored canopy that had be set up in order for the ladies to keep cool while they watched the fencing match. The future queen glided gracefully toward her brother and her laughter could be heard from across the yard. Sansa looked at her sister and noticed that Arya was eyeing the siblings. Sansa knew that Arya was thinking of Robb and Jon, her brothers that would spar with her when they were at Winterfell. While it was still the early days of living in King’s Landing, she could tell that Arya was missing the old days of home and when life was far simpler.

Sansa felt a tiny bit of homesickness at that moment. She would never go home to Winterfell as a Stark again. Baelish would take her to visit her family, that was certain, but it would never really be home. King’s Landing could never be home to her even if her mission of getting Joffery off the throne is successful. Harrenhal had possibilities and if the work and gold that they put into the estate did their job, it would prove to be gorgeous. She found the Riverlands to be very beautiful when she had been there and could feel herself growing to love the surrounding areas.

She reached out and took Arya’s hand into her’s and squeezed. The younger girl smiled warmly and it saddened Sansa. She knew that her family was not going to stay in King’s Landing for long and once they set off toward the North, Arya would be going with them. She had thought of trying to convince her father to allow Arya to stay with them but now that he knew the truth of what Joffery had done to her, she knew he was not going to allow his still innocent daughter to stay in such a place. He didn’t want to leave Sansa behind either but at least she would have Baelish to shield her. Ned also had no choice in the matter. Sansa was married to Baelish and anything he wanted would overrule what her father desired.

“So, Lancel Lannister? An interesting choice.” Sansa stated in a light manner. Lancel’s ‘suicide’ had been the topic of conversation for the last couple of days, even overthrowing Stannis’s execution for such gossip. However, she knew that Lancel did not kill himself; he had been found hanging in his suite but Sansa was certain that he was not the person who hoisted him into that noose. When she informed Baelish of her thoughts on his death, he smirked widely and stated that Arya’s choice could prove to be useful. His mind began to scheme but said nothing further on the subject.

“I needed a test run.” Arya shrugged as though the man’s death that she had a hand in was nothing important. It always amazed Sansa at how nonchalant Arya could be about such things. “I wanted to verify H’ghar’s word. I didn’t want to name someone who had power because that would be suspicious but I wanted someone who would hurt the Lannisters. Lancel was Cersei’s lover, seemed like a good choice to me.”

As Sansa thought on it, she saw the logic behind Arya’s choice. It would be unwise to name someone in power due to the fact that their death would be suspicious. It was smart for Arya to want to fly under the radar at first. She wanted to gain more information before deciding who her remaining two names should be. H’ghar stated that he would remain in King’s Landing until the debt was repaid, no matter how long it took. Arya requested that he remain, even if she did not and one way or another, she would get the names to him. Sansa could only assume that she was saving the larger names for when she was no longer in King’s Landing, in order to protect herself and her family.

“What are the two of you gossiping about over here?” Margaery stated with a wicked smile. She giggled and walked around the table in order to take her place next to Sansa. “Don’t worry, whatever the two of you are plotting, I will not stand in your way.” Sansa raised her eyebrow at her and giggled.

“We were doing no such thing.” Sansa stated causing both Arya and Margaery to laugh. Sansa raised the glass tea cup to her lips and grinned into the tea. “We were just discussing Robb and Roslin’s wedding.” Her brother was set to be married within the next few days and the closer the date came, the more unpleasant Robb’s mood became. It concerned Sansa because she noticed that he was spending less and less time with Roslin, as though being in her presence was disappointing. She wondered that when he was leaving Roslin to her own devices, such as her spending time with Stevron who was always in the company of Edmure, whose company he was seeking. It certainly wasn’t his family’s.

“Ah yes. Your brother’s wedding that is replacing mine. No worries though, my time will come soon enough.” Margaery stated with a wicked gleam in her eye. She tossed her long brown hair over her shoulder in confidence. It was clear that she had been working on Tommen when Joffrey was not in sight, playing the victim and the terrified bride. One way or another Margaery would become queen. “Roslin is a pretty little thing isn’t she? I’ve heard ghastly rumors of the Frey daughters but it appears that Roslin is perfectly lovely. Oh! Myrcella! Come join us.”

Princess Myrcella was strolling through the gardens and spotted the small group of girls. She slowly made her way toward them when Margaery called after her. Myrcella was as beautiful as she always way, a perfect replication of Cersei. Of course her heart was far kinder and her mind more intelligent. If Cersei had been more like her daughter, Sansa was sure that she would have the love of her people, even if she still feel in love with her brother.

“Good afternoon Ladies.” Myrcella stated and Sansa took in her appearance. She was wearing darker colors than normal to show that she was in mourning but her long blonde hair hung around her waist as always. Sansa could see the hint of red rubies that held part of her hair back. Sansa wondered how long Myrcella and her siblings had worn their mourning clothes when King Robert had died, seeing that none of them were dressed in mourning for their ‘father’ when they arrived in King’s Landing. For Lancel, Sansa knew it would only be a few days since he was only a cousin. By the time Robb’s wedding was here, they would be able to dress in their normal flare and colors again.

“I’m so sorry for your loss. I only met Lancel once but he seemed to a spirited man.” Margaery stated sincerely and Myrcella smiled but it didn’t reach her eyes. Sansa was unclear if the small smile was out of grief or something else. The princess sat down at the end of the plush red couch that had been placed under the canopy for their comfort. Margaery took Myrcella’s hand and gave a squeeze. “We are to be sisters one day and I hope that you know if you need anything during this time, I am more than willing to be friend.”

Sansa watched the interaction with peaked interest. Margaery was taking the integration of the Lannisters seriously. Cersei hated her and it was clear that Margaery felt the same, however she was working on making all three of the Queen’s children adore her. Joffrey worshiped the ground his lady walked upon, Tommen wanted to save her from being brutalized and if she played her cards correctly, Myrcella would look at her as a sister. She would have the royal family at her beck and call and there was nothing Cersei would be able to do about it. The more isolated Cersei became, the better.

“I thank you for your kind words. I wasn’t close with my cousin but my mother was. She is broken up about his death. She doesn’t believe that he would have done such a thing to himself.” Myrcella stated in an offhand comment. Arya and Sansa shared a look between the two of them. It appeared that Myrcella didn’t think that anything untoward happened to her cousin but if Cersei thought so, then the Queen wouldn’t rest until the truth revealed itself.

“Oh, that’s awful.” Margaery stated but Sansa could tell that she enjoyed the idea of Cersei being in pain. Sansa could understand how she completely disliked the older woman. When Sansa thought that Cersei was going to be her mother-in-law, she had adored her at first. She would go out of her way to please the woman but when Cersei’s true colors began to show, the more Sansa felt that burning hatred begin to grow in her. When Joffrey began to change and become violent towards her, she had thought that perhaps Cersei would be an ally in protecting her against her future husband. However she quickly learned that in Cersei’s eyes, Joffrey could do no wrong, even if it meant a few bruises on her Sansa’s ivory skin.

Sansa looked up and saw Baelish strutting across the perfectly green grass. He was holding one of his many leather ledgers that he would take to small council meetings with him. She beamed when she saw him and could help but notice how he didn’t even glance toward Olyvar and Lores. However she knew that her husband was well aware of his spy’s movements. She would see the many little birds that her husband had in his pocket around the Red Keep and there have been times when a couple would stop her when they needed to relay something to her husband.

“Good afternoon ladies.” Baelish greeted them smugly and Sansa wondered why he seemed so impressed with himself at that moment. He hardly glanced at Margaery and Myrcella but gave Arya a small smile before turning his gaze directly on Sansa. She felt her face heat up under his penetrating eyes. “I was hoping to borrow my wife for a few moments.”

“No.” Margaery exclaimed. She linked her arm through Sansa’s and held her close. Margaery’s eyes narrowed in mock fury at Baelish. “You have the pleasure of her company all the time and I only get to steal her for a few hours. She is mine Lord Baelish until I deem fit to release her!” If her tone had not been in a joking tone, Sansa knew that Baelish would not have taken kindly being denied access to his wife. Since he knew that Margaery was teasing, he simply gave his future queen a small indulgent laugh.

“What if I promised to return her in perfect condition in a few moments?”

“I do not think that you are capable of returning her without a few marks or two.” Margaery stated and Sansa felt her face go flush. Her jab was at the black and blue love bite Sansa had on her neck, something which she attempted to hide with one of her chokers. She would have succeeded if Margaery hadn’t been setting beside her and felt the need to comment on it. Baelish didn’t respond but instead sported his self-satisfied look upon his face, obviously proud of his mark. Deciding that she would not like to be embarrassed any more, Sansa stood and took her husband’s arm.

“I will be back in a moment.” Sansa stated and began to pull her overly pleased looking husband away from the table. She knew that always found pride when he marked her with his lips, letting the world know that she was his wife and that he was the only man who could touch her.

“Behave!” Sansa heard Arya yell behind him. Baelish turned and looked toward her sister.

“Never!” She heard Arya laugh behind her. While she couldn’t claim that Baelish and Arya were close, they seemed to have an odd sense of humor with each other. Sansa looked over her shoulder and could see Margaery gripping Arya’s hand in laughter. Arya’s face was bright red from laughing hysterically. Even Myrcella, who was always poised and kind, was laughing. Sansa knew that once she returned from her stroll with her husband, she would be teased mercilessly.

“And what was so important that you had to pull me away from my luncheon?” Sansa asked in mock scolding. He led her toward some tall ivy hedges that was formed into a small maze. Sansa had never entered them because she felt as though she would get lost in them. However, Baelish had informed her that they were perfect when it came to holding private conversations. They would be blocked from view and there was always so many people about that it would take some effort to eavesdrop on a conversation.

The maze was rows and rows of tall green bushes and they were covered in different kinds of flowers of all colors; red, blue, pink, yellow. It was beautiful and serene and Sansa could easily get lost among them; it reminded her of those fairytales she loved so long ago. Baelish was silent at first, weaving the two of them deeper into the maze. He looked over his shoulder for a second, to make sure that no one was following them. After a moment he stopped, opened his ledger and pulled out a parchment. He handed it to Sansa, who began to read over its contents. Her eyes widened when her eyes flew over the intricate handwriting.

“This is a confession!” It was in Lancel’s hand. It was a long detailed confession on how he and another person conspired and succeeded in killing King Robert. The letter then also went on to say how the guilt ate away at him and that the evil act he committed led him to take his own life. Sansa was baffled and completely confused. Her wide shocked eyes met her husband’s. “I don’t understand, how do you have this? Lancel was..” Baelish placed his hand on Sansa’s lips and brought his finger to his lips, signaling her to watch was she was telling him. “What is this?” She whispered.

“That Sweetling is a copy of a forgery.” Baelish whispered in a low voice and took the letter from her hand. “Lancel’s belongings are being searched as we speak and I’ve made sure that a letter identical to this one would be found in his chambers. I’ve also made sure that the knowledge of the existence of the letter would reach the King’s ears.” Baelish moved away from her and toward one of the many torches that lined the hedges. He took the letter and placed it into the flames. The two of them watched it burn, making sure no trace of the letter was left. “I do know several good forgers.”

“Why would Joffrey care if King Robert-?” Sansa paused when she heard a high pitched laughter. She stepped closer to her husband and he wrapped one arm around her waist while he sat the ledger at their feet. He then linked his fingers together behind her back and Sansa wrapped her arms around his shoulders. If anyone would pass them, they would appear to be nothing more than lovers in an embrace. Their conversation continued in whispers “Why would Joffrey care if King Robert had been murdered? He wasn’t his real father and he is aware of this fact. Also the letter indicates a partner but does not name one. It wouldn’t be much use if the King cannot place blame.”

“You wanted to play Joffrey against his mother. Lancel’s death gives us that perfect opportunity. Joffrey looked at King Robert as his father for his entire life until recently. He always sought the man’s approval, learning that he was not the son of Robert’s wouldn’t change that. If anything it would make him more desperate to keep the throne.”

“That doesn’t change..” Baelish silenced her with a kiss. The giggles were back and she allowed her husband to kiss her until she was certain that the others had gone. They broke apart and rested their heads together, in order to make certain that they were alone. “This doesn’t change anything. Joffrey will know that King Robert was murdered but the letter does not name Lancel’s accomplice. How would that break Joffrey from Cersei?”

“Exactly. If Joffrey knows of this letter, he will be ruthless until he uncovers the truth. Cersei, seeing how her son reacted to the news, would do anything to push the issue under the rug and out of sight. Perhaps claiming the letter to be false or attempting to blame someone else. She is distraught about Lancel. All of that will point to guilt when Joffrey learns that his mother helped Lancel murder Robert.” Baelish smirked. “All of which will cause distrust between mother and son; something Margaery will be able to work off of.”

“Still does not explain how Joffrey will learn of Cersei’s involvement.” Baelish gave her a small smile that did not reach his eyes. She knew that he would have thought this through. He never would have proposed an idea unless he thought of every angle and everything that could possibly go wrong. “I assume that you have thought of this as well.”

“There are many ways that Joffrey could hear of the role his mother played, some may not even come from us. What I have thought of is how we would have learned such precious information.” Baelish grinned wider and picked up the ledger, falling completely into his Littlefinger persona. “I have a girl in my employee who serviced Lancel in the past. She knows enough intimate details of our late Lancel to convince even the Queen herself. If Lancel visited her before he died and in a moment of passion confessed to her his involvement with the Queen, well it seemed only fitting that she inform myself.”

“How well will this employee of yours be compensated?” Sansa asked. It was a brilliant plan and it covered their tracks completely. It would cause the necessary divide between mother and son as well as keeping their hands out of the mess. If the knowledge never made its way to the King, Baelish and she would be able to explain how they knew of the truth behind King Robert's death. It wouldn't be pleasant but it would be enough to throw suspicion off of them.

“Very well.” Baelish leered at her and Sansa bit her lip. She wondered if she would be the only wife in all of King's Landing who would be thrilled that her husband had paid a whore. She leaned in and kissed him hard on the lips. He responded and they fought for dominance for a moment. When they broke apart, Sansa looked at him coyly. “Was that a reward for good behavior?”

“No. That was a reward for being naughty.” Sansa giggled and attempted to leave him. However Baelish was not having such behavior. He grabbed her by the waist and wrapped his arm around her. He latched his lips onto her throat and Sansa moaned lightly. She clenched down on her tongue, holding in the desire. She knew that now was not the place to allow her husband to undress her. Anyone could walk by in a second and while the thought would be exhilarating, it also would be scandalous. It appeared that Baelish was thinking along the same lines because he loosened his hold slightly.

“Then I expect such treatment all of the time.” He kissed her on the small of her neck. Sansa giggled at the contact and she could feel the smile on his lips. He started to tickle her sides and Sansa jumped away. She hit his shoulder but could deny the joy she got out of his playful side. She linked her hands with his and they slowly began to make their way out of the maze. They bantered back and forth, laughing with each other as they went.

It didn't last. Sansa stopped in her tracks when the scene in front of her came into vision. It appeared that they were not the only ones making use of the maze. The laughter she had heard when they were deeper in the maze had come from Jeyne Westerling. While it would not be worrisome to hear the girl laugh, what worried her was that she had laughed for her brother. Robb was walking with his arm linked with Jeyne's. They walked around a corner, completely oblivious to the fact that they had been seen.

“He is such a fool.” Sansa stated in complete disbelief. She knew that Jeyne had an interest in her brother but she had hoped that her brother would have more common sense than to allow himself to become close with a woman who was not his bride. Any respect that she may have had for her brother was slowly slipping away. It wasn't the idea that he could be unfaithful to Roslin, but rather who he was being unfaithful with. He had to realize how dangerous an affair with Jeyne Westerling would be.

“I will take care of this.” Baelish promised and Sansa nodded. He grabbed her hand and led her out of the maze. Sansa looked over her shoulder and watched the spot where her brother had disappeared, hoping that her brother would regain his senses and return to Roslin before he ruined not only his life or his family's, but the entire North's as well.

Chapter Text

The grey stone had cracks in it. The castle was ancient and Baelish had counted the cracks several times during long and tedious meetings. He had always found the small council meetings painfully dull with equally dull people. He would listen to a vast majority of issues and complaints, some of which he caused and very few had any solutions. He could have easily fixed some of the issues that arose but most of the time, he found that it was in his best interest not to do so. Once the stones fell, Baelish liked to see where they would land. He would sit at the table and listen to the six other members draft ideas that he knew would ultimately fail and was always amused when they did.

He almost missed the days when Robert was king. During those times he could at least find enjoyment out of the members who had seats on the council. While some of those members were scattered around the table Baelish sat at, the new members were ones he would love to be rid of, mainly the spoiled child who ranted and raved and the mother who allowed such behavior from her offspring. Joffrey tapped his fingers against the wooden table and Baelish could count each mark his nails left. He was certain that the boy King's fingers would bleed soon enough; and if he had his way, it wouldn't be just his fingers that bled.

The small council consisted of Cersei, on her son's behalf, Pycelle, Ser Barristan Selmy, Baelish, Varys and Tyrion. Tyrion was acting as Hand of the King but it seemed that he was almost as bored as Baelish. He knew the seriousness of his nephew’s anger and attempted to correct him but Cersei didn’t take kindly to the brother she hated scolding her son. Tyrion remained quiet for a time, only adding a few words here and there when it was important. There was no real reason for the meeting, only to listen to the boy king demand answers that no one wanted to give him. Tyrion was a wise man, Baelish had to admit it. He knew exactly who was behind King Robert’s murder and just like Varys, Tyrion didn’t want to be the man who broke the news. Baelish was willing to do such a thing, but not just yet.

Cersei placed a hand on the blood red robes that her son wore. She was hoping to calm and appease him but Baelish could see through her motherly attempts. She was concerned and Joffrey's treatment of the issue made her scramble. She underestimated his reaction to the news that the man he had called father had been murdered. He knew that Jaime was indeed his true father but it wasn't so easy to simply replace the idea of the man that King Joffrey was raised to idolize.

Cersei never imagined that her son would be devastated to learn what happened the day King Robert's wine was spiked. She had hated her husband so much that it never occurred to her that her children might be hurt by such actions. Baelish could see the panic and fear behind her golden curls and her lion facade. Joffrey's cruelty was widely known but Cersei would never have imagined that his temper would be directed at her, now watching him, Baelish could see that she was not so certain anymore.

“Lord Varys, are you certain you have heard nothing in regards to my father's murder?” Joffrey snapped and glared at the eunuch. King Joffrey rarely attended the small council meetings, far less than his predecessor did. He normally sent his mother in his stead. In the six weeks since he had been crowned he had attended only two meetings; the very first one and the meeting that was currently in progress.

“I have asked all of my informants if they have heard anything murmurs in regards to King Robert and his passing. The news of his murder and Lancel's suicide has come as a great shock to us all.” Varys replied and gave a meaningful look toward Baelish. Lies. All lies. Baelish was certain Varys had heard the same whispers that he had because they shared some of the same contacts.

Joffrey huffed in displeasure and tossed the parchment in the center of the table. Baelish had read it several times, both before and after it was planted in Lancel's belongings. Cersei eyed the parchment with contempt and betrayal. It was clear that she believed that Lancel wrote those words and Baelish had to withhold a smirk, he knew the best forgers in all of King's Landing. It was clear that the Queen was unaware when she was being played.

“Nothing? Nothing at all?” Joffrey barked and Pycelle flinched. It was clear that the decrepit and perverted old man had not been paying attention. It almost amazed even Baelish that Pycelle still remained on the counsel, or was even alive. Then again he was the Queen's most trusted informant and that was the only reason Baelish could see him still functioning in such position.

“Well, there is one interesting fact that I discovered but it wasn't about your father.” Joffrey leaned back and waved his hand, asking Varys to continue. “There is a small boy who sells apples in the alleyways of King's Landing. He told me that he has seen Lancel come and go from a brothel in the city.” Varys stated and all eyes shifted to Baelish. The Master of Coin pursed his lips and cocked his eyebrow at Varys. He was an old friend and one of the very few people who understood how dangerous Baelish was. Baelish had always found their verbal sparring matches enjoyable yet Varys seemed far too interested in his affairs as of late.

“Is this true Lord Baelish?” Cersei asked. He could hear the hurt in her tone, she had obviously thought that she was the only lover Lancel had. It was true of course, once Cersei had taken him to bed, Lancel didn’t frequent his brothel as he had before but that was a fact that the Queen had no need to know. Baelish wondered what bothered her more, the fact that her son might discover her part in King’s Robert’s death or the fact that Lancel bedded another woman. Baelish never understood how a woman such as her could evoke such devotion of not one but two men. “Was my cousin a patron of yours?”

“Almost everyone at this table has been a patron of mine.” His eyes flickered toward Varys and Cersei; the two exceptions. Even Joffrey had inquired after his services, although his tastes were of a peculiar kind. “Lancel was no different. He came to me asking me to supply a girl for him, which I did happily. He saw her on several occasions.” Baelish stated and Varys gave him a contemptuous look. It was clear that Varys was very aware of the half-truths in his statement. Varys wanted to put Baelish into a corner. Tyrion looked between the two of them with an amused look on his face. “Although I have only been back in King’s Landing for almost a week so I cannot tell you the last time he visited my establishment.”

“And you?” Cersei asked, directing her ire to her brother. “Have you seen Lancel during one or your visits? It is no secret that you love your whores.” She spat at him and Tyrion could only grin at her. He picked up the golden goblet and slowly drank his wine. He was on his third glass since the meeting had started.

“I was far too busy to concern myself with other patrons.” Tyrion stated and Cersei huffed. She shook her head at him and the dwarf placed the goblet back down on the wooden table. For a brief second it was as though Tyrion's eyes flickered toward Baelish. The two of them knew Lancel had not been to the brothel in months. “Why are you so concerned with Lancel’s bed partners? One would think you would be angry at him for murdering your husband, not visiting a brothel.” Cersei gave no reply only glared at her brother.

“What does it matter if Lancel was sleeping with whores or not? How would that relate to finding out who helped him murder my father?!” Joffrey exclaimed. He pushed away from the table in anger and began to pace. Baelish could see the murderous glint in his eye and glanced over to Tyrion. He could tell that the dwarf was concerned. The last time Joffrey had been this furious, he'd ordered for all of King Robert’s bastards to be executed and not a single person had been able to stop him.

“When some men bed a woman, they can become…..sentimental afterward. Sometimes they spill their secrets.” Baelish stated with a leer, enjoying the small lesson. Cersei was glaring at him but said nothing. The entire table minus Joffrey, Ser Barristan and Pycelle knew that the Queen had relations with Lancel and they all knew that she would never admit to it. “I can see what this girl knows, if anything at all.” Baelish stated, knowing perfectly well what his whore would say because he had coached her.

He spent hours with the girl whom Lancel had visited no less than six times before his relationship with Cersei began. Baelish learned every sexual position, act and fantasy that Lancel desired. He then coached the whore on the story about Cersei and Lancel plotting to kill the King. Baelish also invented the story of Lancel's depression and self-hatred about the murderous act he had committed as well as having the desire to protect the Queen.

“Good. Find out what she knows and if there is anything to report I want you inform me directly.” Joffrey huffed. He quickly turned on his heels and stormed out of the small council meeting. Cersei glared at Baelish whose features remained passive. She gracefully rose from the table and left the room, her green skirts trailing after her. Ser Barristan and Pycelle followed her out, leaving Baelish alone with Varys and Tyrion.

“You're playing a dangerous game, my friend.” Varys said in a sly tone. He stood from the table and walked around toward the other side. It always amused Baelish how Varys seemed to glide when he walked, it almost made him seem less of a man than he already was. “Tell me, how have you been since you left King's Landing a year ago? I was shocked to hear you married, pity I wasn't invited to the wedding.”

“Marriage does have a certain appeal. I must say I have grown rather fond of my lady wife.” Baelish sneered at Varys. He felt smug when his mind flashed to Sansa. He had heard a few whispers about men who found his wife desirable. It made him proud to hear such things because he was the only one who knew what she was really like in bed. If he didn't respect her as he did, he would have boasted about the fine nectar between her legs.

“Everyone's well aware of your enduring desire for Lord Stark's wife. It's a wonder that you married her sister and then her daughter. I do have to say that your third choice is far more appealing than your second one.” Varys laughed lightly and it had a false air to it. “Is your new young wife enjoying the gift I gave her?”

“If you are referring to Shae, I will say that Sansa is growing very close with her. It's very touching that you would want my wife to have such a dear friend. Should I thank you for such a kind gesture or should be concerned about what goes on in my own chambers?” Baelish stood and looked directly at Varys. He was not pleased to hear that Shae had a close friendship with the Spider. He had half a mind to dismiss the foreign girl but Sansa insisted that she stay and Baelish had difficulty denying his wife anything.

“Spying on you has never been my primary ambition, I promise you.”

“If you had a cock Lord Varys I would ask you to take it out so the two of you can measure and find which one is longer.” Tyrion stated in a bored tone. The dwarf slid off his chair and began to waddle his way out of the chamber. “The two of you can continue this pissing contest without me.” Baelish sneered at Varys and turned to follow Tyrion out. He stayed a few paces away before calling out to him. He watched how the smaller man walked. It was almost as though he had difficulty but Baelish couldn’t be sure if it was due to his short legs or the amount of wine he drank.

“Lord Tyrion.” Tyrion turned at the mention of his name. The dwarf seemed unsurprised at Baelish's intrusion, if anything he appeared to be annoyed. He flexed his small fingers and adjusted the maroon coat that covered his tunic. Tyrion narrowed his dark eyes and looked at Baelish with concern. Ever since their agreement, Tyrion had not spoken or associated with either Lord or Lady Baelish. He had no need for them and he assumed they felt the same way. “I heard that congratulations are in order. For your brother anyway.” It wasn’t public knowledge but the news of Jaime Lannister’s engagement had reached the ears of some of Baelish’s informants.

“Yes. I am to gain a new sister.” Tyrion stated, wondering exactly what the Master of Coin was indicating. Tywin was still at Casterly Rock and would be for the next few weeks, not much time but enough for Tyrion to accomplish the few things he was hoping to achieve. He just needed people to stay out of his way. If everything went according to plan, Bronn would be in charge of the King’s Guard and they would all belong to Tyrion. There was also the small matter of Dorne and the damage Tywin caused when King Robert to the throne; killing Elia Martell and her children. If Dorne could trust the Lannisters again, perhaps the power that he could slowly feel slipping away could be regained.

“And how is the Queen taking such news? I’m sure she will be thrilled to have a young lady under her wing. She does know Casterly Rock after all.” Baelish taunted. They both knew that Cersei, with her long gold hair and stunning beauty, was not taking Jaime’s engagement well. She may have been bedding Lancel, but Baelish wondered if her thoughts were with her twin brother the entire time. Tyrion laughed a hollow and deep laugh. He wouldn’t lie and say that he didn’t enjoy his sister’s misery.

The last couple of years had strained their relationship. Cersei had attempted to have Shae deported from Kings Landing. However, seeing that the news of Jaime and Cersei’s affair had just come to light to their father, it was the one and only time in living memory that Tywin chose his dwarf son over the favored twins. While Tywin was less than pleased that Tyrion was involved with another whore, it was a far better option than an incestuous relationship between the twins. He allowed Shae to stay in the capitol and Jaime was banished to Casterly Rock. Now, Tywin was attempting to marry his eldest son off in order to continue the Lannister blood line and to keep the twins apart.

“Cersei has certainly had some recent personal blows lately. The idea that our brother will be joined in matrimony hasn’t really sunk in yet. Although, I have noticed some hostile reactions toward the bride.” Tyrion stated. He crossed his small arms and looked up at the taller man. It was rare that Baelish towered over someone who wasn’t a child or a woman. He had always found his height useful when his opponents underestimated him but he couldn’t deny the rush he got from being taller than someone.

“Jeyne Westerling is a sweet girl. Beautiful too.” When he learned of Tywin arranging the marriage between Jeyne and Jaime, Baelish was extremely pleased. He knew that a women such as Sybell Westerling wouldn’t bed a man unless there was a purpose. Having her favorite daughter become the wife to the heir of Casterly Rock would cause any vain and greedy mother to do just about anything. He almost had to admire her; she was using the Lannister’s vulnerability and desperation to forward her own agenda. If she wasn’t bedding one of the people who Baelish wanted removed from power, he could have seen Sybell being a good friend to Baelish and Sansa. “I’m curious how Jaime but most importantly your father would react to the news that Jeyne might not be pure on her wedding night. It would be devastating to learn that a child born to her may not be her husband’s.”

“What are you saying?” Tyrion asked. His face constricted in concertation. He shifted his feet against the stone floor. The idea of Jeyne not being pure was something that he knew his father never would have considered. Jeyne was chosen for the simple fact that she would be easy to control. Sybell made sure exactly who her daughter associated with and that no suitor had come calling on her. The Westerlings had been a small and poor noble house for at least a hundred years. Now with Westeros being in almost complete financial ruin, Sybell was using that opportunity to elevate her family’s status.

“I’m saying that her mother should be concerned with whom her daughter is spending her time with. Perhaps keep a closer eye on her. Guard her if you will.” Baelish stated in a firm tone. It was important that Jeyne be separated from Robb. Sybell would not take kindly to her daughter being ruined and the chance of Jeyne becoming mistress of Casterly Rock to slip through her fingers. If Robb really needed to release some tension and his own bride would not do, Baelish would be more than willing to allow him use of some of his girls. He may even be able to acquire one who bore a similar resemblance to Jeyne if he was so inclined.

“And why are you informing me of this?”

“Because you are acting as Hand of the King. You have pull with Sybell and it would be beneficial to your family if Jeyne remained pure for her husband.” Baelish’s voice was low and cunning. It was the tone he used when he was manipulating and scheming. He knew that Tyrion wasn’t an easy man to control but he would do his best to make sure that Tyrion saw eye to eye with him. Figuratively of course. “It would be in both of our interests if Jeyne remained under lock and key until she is safely in Casterly Rock.” Or until the Starks left King’s Landing; Baelish wasn’t picky.

“I thought we agreed to keep each other out of our schemes? Breaking the deal already? That’s a bit fast, even or you.” Tyrion said laughing. He had no illusions that Baelish was a man of his word, having broken so many promises in the past, however, he had not expected for him to go turn his back so quickly. He had hoped that his child bride would have had a tighter hold on him. The Sansa he had known back in Winterfell was a bright eyed child who was as honorable as the Stark name. Tyrion was surprised to see the vindictive and cold creature that Baelish married. Another thing he would have to thank Joffrey for.

“Is it really going back on our deal if what I am proposing is in both of our interests?”

“Fair point.” Tyrion stated and took a few steps toward Baelish. He crooked his finger and the mockingbird bent down to the lion. “If you can keep the young wolf’s teeth out of Jeyne, I will make sure that her mother knows of her daughter’s whereabouts.” Tyrion stated. “Tell Robb congratulations and that he is a lucky man. Roslin Frey is a woman of many qualities. I’m sure he will be very happy with her.”

Tyrion gave a small chuckle before he turned and waddled away. Baelish stared after him and wondered what exactly the dwarf had up his sleeve. He knew that Tyrion wasn’t one to go back on his word and that whatever he was planning didn’t directly involve himself or his wife. He had no use for Tyrion at this point so he was more than happy to allow the little man have his victory for the moment. As long as Tyrion stayed out of his way, Baelish would have no need to out maneuver him in some way.

“Lord Baelish.” Baelish turned and saw Olyvar walking briskly toward him. The young man’s blond hair was slick back and his bright blue robes shone on him. He was beautiful and he was by far one of Baelish’s best earners. He was also willing to do just about anything that was asked of him as long as it came with a pretty prize. Ros was not an overly big fan of his but the two of them worked well together. He had uses for Olyvar that Ros could not fulfill and it was a relatively simple decision to promote the boy.

“What is it?” Baelish asked, his grey-green eyes looking around. It would not do well for the wrong set of eyes to see them together. Only few people knew that Olyvar worked out of Baelish’s brothel but most knew him as Loras’s squire. He assumed that the Tyrells knew that Olyvar was also Loras’s new lover. It would not do well for the Tyrell’s to think that Baelish had someone feeding him information on them.

“There is news from the North. I heard Lady Olenna discussing it with Lores. It will be all over King’s Landing soon but I thought you should hear of it before then, for your wife’s sake.” Olyvar looked around and leaned in. “Lord Commander Jon Snow has abandoned his post. He hasn’t been seen in days and there is no hint of him anywhere. They are labeling him a deserter.”

Chapter Text

The candles flickered as they hung from iron chandeliers, adding a distinguished touch to what was by far the most lavish wedding Sansa had ever seen. The feast was held in the Queen's Ballroom and was one of the largest in the Red Keep. It seated close to one hundred people but there were not that many guests in attendance. Most of the high lords who pledged their loyalty left King's Landing in order to head back to their own homes.

The Queen's Ballroom was decorated beyond any extravagance she could have imagined. It was almost as though everything dripped with diamonds and rubies. The goblets were made of pure gold and the food all but melted in her mouth. Banners and tapestries hung on the walls and it almost made her laugh that the direwolf sigil and the twin towers sigil mixed together throughout the ballroom. The drunker of the guests exclaimed that the two mixed well together. The news of the Lord Commanders desertion and Lancel’s suicide were the topics of all conversation.

Yet, while it was a wedding for a Stark, Sansa couldn't help but notice some of the smaller things. The tablecloths were a deep blood red as were some of the streamers dangling from chandelier to chandelier. While the Stark and Frey banners hung on the stone walls, this was a wedding for a lion. The rational side of Sansa knew that the cloths and streamers were leftovers from what should have been Joffrey's and Margaery’s wedding but she couldn't help but feel slighted for her brother. Robb deserved a wedding befitting the heir of Winterfell, not one that had been discarded by the King. It appeared however that she was in the minority to think so. Those around her were laughing, drinking and dancing. The music that played was fast and exhilarating. She couldn't deny that the atmosphere was intoxicating. There was a haze over every member of the party and Sansa attributed it to the free flowing wine.

She moved slowly amongst the crowd, gazing at those she passed. She had spent the majority of the wedding feast with Margaery and Myrcella. Arya had disappeared hours before and Sansa could only assume a certain sword was with her. Her husband was speaking in hushed tones with Lord Tyrion. Gods only knew what mischief those two were getting up to.

Sansa turned and looked toward the high table. It was by far the grandest in the entire room. It was long and elegant with an assortment of food, candles and decorations that matched the splendor of the entire ballroom. Roslin looked beautiful, as Sansa knew she would. Her gown was ivory and her hair was piled high with pearls scattered throughout. The Stark cloak still hung off her shoulders. Robb was dressed elegantly in dark robes that rose high on his neck with a direwolf clasp on the front holding the ensemble together. His hair was tamed and pulled away from his face. He looked handsome and Sansa was proud of him for not going back on his word, but she couldn't help but notice how distant the bride and groomed seemed. Their bodies were angled away from each other and they were both deep in conversation with other people instead of each other. Robb was in what looked like a serious discussion with Ned while Roslin spoke softly with Edmure. Neither paid much attention to the other. Sansa remembered her own wedding and how their hands remained linked during the feast, the barbs they shared and the teasing moments between them but there seemed to be none of that between Roslin and Robb.

She tore her eyes from the wedding party and let them linger over the guests. Everyone seemed to be laughing and drinking. Groups of people were gathered about and laughter filled the air. It seemed that everyone was in the company of another person, except for one. Sansa looked up and saw Jeyne standing alone on one of the balconies. Even from a fair distance away her stunning appearance couldn’t detract from the distraught look upon her face. She also couldn’t help noticing the guard that stood a ways back watching her every move.

Sansa strolled through the crowd smiling and laughing with other guest but her ice blue eyes always traveled toward that balcony that Jeyne never moved from. After a time and half a glass of wine, Sansa slowly made her way up the stairs, holding her deep blue skirts in her hand as she went. Once she reached the top, she let the skirt go and glided toward Jeyne, her hands trailing along the wooden railing. She looked down into the crowd and caught Baelish's eyes. He wore that incredibly proud leer on his lips. Sansa walked around Jeyne and stood next to her, only inches apart.

“The bride is beautiful, isn't she?” Sansa asked in a cheerful voice. “I wish I would have thought to use pearls in my hair when I was married. She is such a dear girl and I couldn't ask for a better woman for my brother to marry.” Jeyne said nothing but Sansa could see her shoulders tense in her gold dress. “I do not believe that we have been formally introduced. I'm Lady Sansa Baelish.” Sansa held out her hand but Jeyne didn't take it.

“I know who you are.” Jeyne stated in a flat, dead tone. Her eyes were hollow and lifeless as though there was nothing behind them. Sansa would have felt sorry for her if she weren’t the woman who could ruin everything. Robb married Roslin but that didn't mean he would completely stay away from Jeyne. She still posed a danger. Jeyne slumped against the railings. “Your brother has told me about you.”

“All good things I hope.” Sansa teased but Jeyne just looked at her with a vacant expression before turning back to the joyful crowd. It appeared that the last thing Jeyne wanted was to make small talk with Sansa. However, there was something she needed to make perfectly clear. “I hear congratulations are in order. Jaime Lannister is a catch. Any woman would be lucky to call herself his wife.” When Baelish had informed her that Jeyne was betrothed to the Kingslayer, it made Sansa both relieved and nervous all at the same time. The pit of her stomach knotted at the thought. “Any thoughts for your wedding?”

“No.”

“I'm sure you've thought of something? Will it be here or at Casterly Rock? Have you met Jaime Lannister? I have. He is very handsome if you were curious. Golden hair. Green eyes. Looks like King Joffrey almost.” Jeyne winced at that and Sansa realized that she was indeed aware of Joffrey's true parentage. “He has a far kinder and braver manner about him of course.”

“What do you want?” Jeyne turned and crossed her arms. Her brown eyes narrowed and she drew herself to her full height. She was still shorter than Sansa but it didn't seem to faze her. Sansa could do just about anything and it appeared that Jeyne wouldn't care in the slightest. “I would like to be alone.”

“There are many things I want.” Sansa stated. “I want some more wine. I want to go to sleep tonight in my husband’s arms after I’ve fucked him. I want Harrenhal to be completed so I can raise my children there. I want to go to the Riverlands and never look upon King's Landing again. I want King Robert to be alive. I want my brother to be alive. I want my innocence back.” She stepped forward and peered down at Jeyne with a menacing glare. “But most of all, I want you to stay away from my brother.”

Jeyne was silent and unmoving. This wasn't a girl who would be easily bullied but she wasn't strong either. Sansa could see some of her old self in her; a naive girl who still believed that the world was full of fairytales. Jeyne had believed that there would be a way that Robb would never marry Roslin. She had dreamed that the two of them would ride off into the sunset. When Robb had indeed married Roslin, it had crushed her.

“He doesn't love her.” Jeyne huffed in frustration, crossing her arms.

“Love? Love?” Sansa let out a cynical cackle. “You think this is about love?” She started to laugh almost hysterically. “Love... Love will only bring you pain. It will rip out your insides and claw you to pieces. You think my brother loves you? He has known you for a week and a week is not long enough to love someone.” Sansa said with heated passion. She had thought she loved Joffrey and he brutalized her in ways that she never could have imagined.

Sansa's thoughts flickered to her husband but she shut down those emotions like she had done hundreds of times. They never said the words and she knew that they never would. Neither of them could; they were far too damaged to do so. They built a life together and she knew that he would kill for her, just as she would for him. She felt whole when she was with Baelish and that was something far deeper than anything she ever felt for Joffrey. Baelish was Sansa's other half and she would do anything for him; but she would never tell him she loved him. What they had was far deeper and darker than any emotion that could be expressed aloud.

“Does Robb know how bitter you have become?” Jeyne asked. “He told me you know, what the King did to you, not that it matters, everyone already knew. I'm so sorry that King Joffrey has ruined you so completely. I'm sorry that he has turned you into this shell of a person. Robb is broken up about it. He hates himself and wishes there was something he could have done. He wants to save you like a big brother should. I don't think he realizes how beyond saving you are.” Jeyne looked down at the high table again. She smiled and her fingertips touched her pale pink lips. “I love him.”

“Love isn't the thing he wants from you. What he wants is between your legs.” Sansa snapped furiously. An angry burning sensation coursed through her as Jeyne's words took hold. This girl pitied her and that was something Sansa couldn't allow. She didn't want anyone’s pity, especially not hers. “This is what is going to happen. You will leave my brother and his new wife alone. They will return to the North and you will go to the Westerlands and become Jaime Lannisters's wife. You will bear his children and Roslin will bear Robb's. You will live your lives and move on.” Jeyne was silent for a moment and for a second she seemed defeated.

“Go back to your husband Lady Baelish. The two of you really are perfect for one another. At least you found happiness in that.” Jeyne turned away from her and walked toward the ever present guard. “I would like to return to my chambers now.” The guard nodded and the two of them walked down the darkened corridor with Sansa watching them as they went. She tried and failed to convince Jeyne to stay away. She knew she wouldn't. If someone had tried to convince Sansa to stay away from Joffrey all those years ago, she wouldn't have listened. Sansa had only wished to spare her the tragedy of what would happen if she continued on with her brother. She could only hope that her family left King's Landing soon; even if it meant taking Arya with them.

“Well the two of you will never be friends.” A sly voice came from a few paces away. Sansa turned and saw Lord Varys peering at her. He didn't appear to be devious or hostile. If anything he just seemed curious about her. The way his eyes trailed over her, it was as though he was studying her; taking her in completely. “When I heard my dear friend had married, I assumed that he would be bringing a simpering child bride to court but instead he returned with an equal. It pleases me to see you so well suited.” Sansa was still feeling defensive and narrowed her eyes. “That was meant to be a compliment.”

“Should I find it reassuring that you care so much for my husband’s happiness?” she asked, finding the bald man’s concern humorous. The very few things she had seen of Varys thus far only pointed to the fact that he was attempting to challenge Baelish. Her body tingled with the sensation that she should not trust the man. However, Sansa had to acknowledge the fact that she hardly trusted herself, let alone anyone else. “Strange that if you are so concerned with my husband’s happiness, you would try and defy him as you are.”

“Actually, I rather enjoy him.” Varys chuckled lightly. He stepped forward, his hands still locked together under his lavender sleeves. His robe was long and flowing against the stone floor. Sansa saw that he had a feminine air about him, which she could only attribute to the fact that he no longer had the appendages that made a man. “I hear that you are settling in well at the Red Keep, making friends left and right.”

“You mean Shae reported that I’m making friends and who they are.” Sansa replied. She had quickly grown to adore Shae. She was competent in her duties and the foreign woman always seemed concerned with Sansa’s wellbeing. “What I don’t understand is why you put Tyrion’s lover as my handmaiden in order to spy on us.”

“Shae isn’t there to spy on you, that I can promise you.” Sansa gave a disbelieving huff. She saw enemies around every corner in King’s Landing and Varys was no different. Baelish had told her tales of the two of them outmaneuvering each other and the little games they liked to play. She could understand that Varys was the closest thing Baelish had to a friend but that didn’t make him trustworthy. “I was expecting a child bride, I wasn’t expecting the woman you have become and that saddens me. You should have had the world at your feet, not living this life. But I guess we all have scars in our past.”

“Why does my past interest you? What game are you playing Lord Varys?” Sansa asked. His soft words and pity made no sense to her. She hated the idea that both Jeyne and Varys seemed to pity her. While she would do anything to have her innocence back, she never wanted to go back to the narrow minded child she had been. Having such a soft heart in the dark and decrepit world they lived in was beyond foolish.

“I’m not your enemy Lady Baelish, nor your husband’s. The sooner the two of you realize that, the easier it will be, because one day we will be on the same side.” Varys stated and began to walk away from her. “Use Shae. She is more valuable than you realize. I placed her into your service in order for you to use, not to spy on you.”

“What of Lord Tyrion? She is obviously involved with him.” Sansa rebutted. How exactly could she trust someone who spent her free time on a regular basis in the bed of a lion? She liked her and enjoyed her company but Sansa could never find it in her to really reveal any type of secrets to her. Baelish didn’t like her in the slightest. He scowled anytime he would come back to the chambers and see her there. Of course she made herself scarce when he was home, due to how physical Sansa and Baelish were with each other as well as the fact that he treated her as though she was a statue in their home. He was never openly rude to her because he knew it would upset Sansa but he never went out of his way to be kind to her either.

“What occurs between the two of them when they are alone, I cannot say.” Varys replied and Sansa glared at him. Varys was the Spider and knew everything that occurred in King’s Landing. If he couldn’t tell her how often Shae and Tyrion spent the night together, then he was not doing his job properly. Baelish knew that Varys had arranged the secret visits for Tyrion and Shae when Shae had been hiding at one of the few brothels Baelish did not own; a fact that Varys knew very well. “However, it appears that things are not as rosy between those two love birds as they once were.”

Sansa turned her head and looked down to the crowd. There was laughter and cheering; drunken theories on where the Lord Commander had escaped to and whether he would be caught. When Ned heard the news that the boy he raised as his own abandoned his post, he said nothing. His lips remained sealed whenever the topic arose. He was even pulled in for questioning by the small council to see what he knew. He simply replied that they had a disagreement a few weeks back and since then, Jon had not been in contact.

Varys sighed and begrudgingly strolled over to the railing that Sansa leaned against. Her eyes never left her father and her insides twisted. Ned never looked at her the same and that devastated her. It wasn't that he was ashamed of her but more that he was ashamed of himself. He had failed to protect her as a father should. While she was suffering and screaming, he was inside Winterfell drinking wine with the King. She wished that he never learned the truth.

“And what of my father? What use was it to tell him that I seduced King Joffrey?” Sansa asked defeated. She was weary and the small bit of wine she drank in celebration of her brother's wedding was leaving her. Sansa knew that she was becoming cold hearted and with each passing day in King's Landing, she could feel herself harden more. Yet, she still cared for her family. She wanted Robb to be happy in his marriage and she wanted Arya to be able to be that wild child she had once been. She wanted her father to look at her the way he had when he thought she was the pure lady she had once been. She wanted to hear her mother laugh and see Rickon horseback ride again.

Sansa wanted to speak to Bran one last time.

“Lord Stark is Warden of the North and the best friend of the late King. Does your father not deserve to know what type of King he is now bowing to?” Sansa frowned but didn't say anything, allowing Varys to continue to speak. “Your father hates the Lannisters almost as much as you do. He would never defy them of course but it is always best to know who your allies could be when things turn south.”

“Could you be any more cryptic?” Sansa snapped and Varys laughed at her in pure joy. He could see the difference between Baelish and Sansa. Baelish was talented at the dance of verbal sparing, however, his wife was far more blunt when she needed to be. He could tell that she could manipulate and save face with the best of the big players at court but there was a deadly edge to her that even Margaery didn't have. It put a dose of fear in him at the thought of her being in Baelish's hands.

“I can be.” He chuckled again. “I'm the master of whisperers and I hear many things, some good and some of the most terrifying. Those in power think that they are untouchable and that they will never fall from grace. Yet, I served under Aerys Targaryen and I know just how far a powerful man can fall.” He stood behind her and pointed lightly. Joffrey stood with Margaery by his side. He demanded the crowd part, causing a wide circle amongst the people. Tommen stood behind him with a look of pure loathing on his features. Myrcella whispered something in Tommen's ear, appearing to stop him from lunging at his brother, but only slightly. “Do you honestly think a King like that, one whose own siblings hate him, will be in power forever?”

“Not if I have any say in the matter.” Sansa replied with a scowl on her lips. The desire to end Joffrey's life grew stronger and stronger as each day passed. She wanted nothing more than to take her long fingers and wrap them around his royal neck. Sansa would squeeze until he could no longer breathe and his limbs would go limp. Whenever she looked at him, she found herself day dreaming about it more and more vividly.

“There are many people surrounding the King who want the same as you and others who would do anything to see that our cruel King remains in power.” Joffrey laughed as a fool was dragged to him and forced onto his knees. Meryn Trant stood over the fool, tall and proud, raising what appeared to be a wooden club and brought it down swiftly against the fool. “The fool wrote a song about the King, calling him a bastard and his mother a whore.”

“He is going to kill him.”

The music stopped when the screaming started. Harder and harder Meryn Trant beat the fool. Out of the corner of her eye she saw her father and her brother stand at the high table but none stopped him. No one could. Joffrey was the King and could brutalize whomever he pleased. Joffrey clapped and laughed, urging his guard to beat him harder.

“Oh yes. Possibly rip out his tongue first and then feed it to him. That is his usual torment for fools who sing awful songs. He really enjoys watching what it takes to viciously pummel a man to death, I'm sure you've heard about the servant he beat to death. The crossbow is another favorite.” They called Aerys Targaryen the Mad King but Joffrey had to be far worse than him. Westeros revolted against Aerys for far less. “Look around. See the faces of the court. This is how you will know who your enemies really are.”

For the first and possibly last time, Sansa obeyed Varys. She tore her eyes aways from the monstrous scene playing out as though it was on a stage and looked at its audience. Margaery stood behind Joffrey and the horror was obvious on her face. Tommen linked his hand with her's as Myrcella wrapped her arms around Joffrey's bride. Cersei had her backed turned, appearing as though the fools murder was not happening at all. Tyrion stood by with a furious look on his face. Her husband stood by and appeared impassive.

Yet, Sansa knew exactly where those players stood. She searched the faces of the lesser known players. Some of the women had tears running down their faces while others just appeared petrified at what they were witnessing. The men appeared harder, shielding their daughter's and wives. However, it was those that simply turned away or ignored the fool's screams that Sansa made note of. Soon the screaming stopped and all that was left was a bloody corpse, gracing the ballroom floor.

“And this is my gift to you Lord Robb Stark.” Joffrey announced as he flickered his hand towards the corpse. “Congratulations on your most happy day.” Silence hung in the air. No one dared to speak or move as the body just lay there, covered in his own blood. “I'm sure it is a day that you will always remember.”

Chapter Text

It was almost as though a silent fog was descended the entirety of the Red Keep. Hushed congratulations were given to the newlywed couple but even Robb and Roslin didn't want to hear them. No one spoke of the wedding, fearing as though bad luck would follow them. No one talked about the fool or what he had done to deserve such treatment. They only spoke of his violent death and how he screamed as he died. Those scream still haunted the red stone that made up the castle.

Some said that the death of King Robert was just the beginning of the end of days. The knowledge of his murder and everything that followed caused a ripple effect. Stannis treason and execution only be followed by Lancel's 'suicide' and 'confession' added to the rumors and stories that flew down the red halls. Theories about the Lord Commander and his disappearance faded into nothing once the fool gave his last cry.

The morning after the wedding and the bedding ceremony, Roslin emerged with tears in her eyes. Sansa saw her and simple took her into her arms, holding close. The new bride broke down in his arms and Sansa asked if her brother had been cruel to his new wife. Roslin swore that he was nothing but gentle and sweet but it wasn't her he was thinking of. He whispered Jeyne's name as he spilled his seed inside of her. Yet, it wasn't even him dreaming of another woman that tore at her heart but rather the fact that Robb wasn't the man she wanted to give her maidenhead to. Roslin wouldn't name him but Sansa could only guess whom her new sister dreamed of on her wedding night.

Once Sansa was able to leave the despondent bride, she took a stroll through the halls of the Red Keep. Lady trotted faithfully by her side as Shae lingered beside her. Her mind was traveling a thousand miles with each passing step. Seeing Roslin's tears caused Sansa to have second thoughts about the arrangement between Robb and the Freys. Sansa had been concerned that Robb would do something foolish but Baelish promised that one way or another Robb would be at that alter and that Jeyne would be kept under lock and key.

Baelish had kept his word, as he always did when it came to his wife. Everywhere Jeyne went, a guard followed. A few choice words in Ned's ear had him preaching about duty, honor and the Stark name. They all knew that the last thing Robb wanted was to disappoint his father and fail in his duty as the heir to Winterfell. While she wanted her brother to be happy, she and Baelish needed the North to prosper, which could only be achieved with it reclaiming its financial security. Roslin along with her brother Stevron offered that.

Her moments of doubt could never outweigh what she knew she would gain from their conspiracies. Everyone had a part to play and she needed to continue to remind herself of that. She turned her head slightly to Shae, who remained silent during the entire stroll. Sansa wondered if Shae could be trusted. Varys might have assured her that the exotic handmaid wasn't planted as a spy but she was unclear on how much Varys could be trusted no matter how much he vowed that he was not their enemy and that in many ways, they were after a common goal. Sansa had never directly asked Shae about Tyrion but beneath her beautiful face, Sansa could see a pain etched into her large dark eyes.

In a flash of insight Sansa realized that Shae wasn't sent to her in order to report the on goings between her and her husband. Instead she was placed with Sansa to cause the handmaiden to question who her loyalty belonged to. Varys wanted Tyrion and Shae separated but the question was why? Shae was obviously Tyrion's weakness but what would Varys gain from having Shae removed?

The scheming and plotting was exhausting. The aftermath of Robb's wedding caused her body to ache and her stomach to churn. The fear that Joffrey instilled inside of her caused her to be far more nauseous than she had ever been. King's Landing was eating away at her and it was slowly becoming obvious to Shae and Baelish. They worried for her but knew that she was made for the cold and the ice. She was a daughter of the North and she refused to allow the southern heat melt her.

“Lady Baelish.” A soulless tone graced her ears and Shae placed her hand on Sansa's forearm. The two women turned to see the King of the Seven Kingdoms strutting toward them with an evil leer playing on his lips. Meryn Trant was faithfully by his side as though Joffrey owned him. Out of reflex, Sansa felt herself give him a curtsy. Lady growled lightly, recognizing the two men's scent. “I was hoping to have a word with you....without the wolf.” Joffrey's cold eyes showed fear as they fell upon Lady. Every inch of her being wanted to refuse the King's request but she knew that she couldn't. “I'll have her killed if you don't send her away. You know I will.”

“Lady. Go.” Sansa commanded and the wolf backed away, obeying her master. Lady's hair remained standing on end as she slowly left her master. Once the wolf was gone and out of sight, Joffrey reached out and traced his finger down her collarbone. Sansa wanted nothing more than to bat his hand away but she knew that it would be unwise to do so. “What can I do for you, Your Grace?”

“I held a small council meeting two days ago where I gave your husband an assignment. I have not heard anything as of yet. I'm growing impatient.” Joffrey said in a haunting tone. Two days was hardly enough time to complete anything, really. She knew what Joffrey was after and while the girl had been prepped, it still took some time to make her story completely believable. Baelish was currently at his brothel preparing the girl for questioning.

“My husband is looking into what you asked of him as we speak. I'm sure that he will have something to report soon.” Sansa replied in a diplomatic tone. Her eyes traveled to Meryn Trant who was sporting a nasty grin on his plump lips. Sansa felt a shiver travel through her body as she watched him flex his hands. The memory of them wrapping themselves around her neck caused her to force herself to hold back tears. “I will relay to him that you are inquiring after him Your Grace.”

“So Lord Baelish has informed you of what he is doing. Fool. Once should never burden a woman with a man's business.” Joffrey's fingers touched his lips and his eyes roamed the length of her body. It was a gift to know that, while he had forced his way inside of her, he had never seen her naked. He could imagine all he wanted but it was something she would never allow to happen. She would kill him first; plunge her dagger directly into his royal neck. “Tell me, how does it feel to know that once he leaves your bed, your husband goes to his whores?”

“My husband had always been honest with me about everything and I know exactly what he does with his whores.” The answer to that question was nothing. Baelish never touched any of the girls he owned and she believed him. However the King had no need to know that Baelish was slowly training her how to run a brothel. He had taken her to the whorehouse two other times since their meeting with Lord Tyrion and she was beginning to understand why men found pleasure in such places.

Hearing the sounds of men and women claiming each other in the most primal of ways was intoxicating. The brothel had several small holes that allowed Baelish to ensure that his girls were doing what he bought them to do. Baelish had taken her to each and every one of those little peepholes and they watched couples do the most sinful of acts. Watching such things made her burn and her husband was always willing to accommodate her desires. They had taken each other in all manner of perversions in every part of the brothel that they could find.

“And how does your husband feel about the fact that I had you first?” Joffrey asked, reaching out and tracing her curves over her dress. His fingertips lingered over her breasts and she forced herself to repress the bile that was threatening to make its way up her throat. Shae squeezed her hand in comfort but did nothing else. Crossing the king in any regard was very dangerous. “Or perhaps that is why he married you. You spread your legs so easily that you are nothing more than a common whore.”

“Lord Baelish married me for many reason, just as I married him. If I had to compare, I would have to say that my husband is more than satisfied in that regard.” Sansa stated, knowing perfectly that her words would be an insult to him. She knew that his ire would be unpleasant for her but it was necessary. She couldn't tell him everything at once if she wanted it to be believable. Joffrey needed to believe that he forced the information out of her. “If you will excuse me Your Grace, I will pass your request off to my husband.”

Sansa made a move to pass him but Joffrey's hand reached out and stopped her. She froze, not allowing herself to shake from the feeling of his bare hands on her skin. The thought of him being anywhere near caused her heart to speed up and her reflexes told her to run. Yet, she was rooted on the spot, looking directly at the man who caused her so many nightmares. Gathering all of her courage, Sansa turned her ice cold eyes to glare directly into his. When he raped her, Joffrey had refused to look at her but in that moment, she refused to allow him to look away.

“He told you. Your husband must enjoy you often if he spills his secrets so easily.” Neither of them looked away. It was a battle of wills and Sansa knew that she could win. Her open defiance caused him to bulk slightly. This was not the young girl whose innocence he stole but instead before him stood a dark and harden women that he helped create. “What has he told you?”

“Nothing Your Grace. I'm nothing more than a stupid whore.” She bit at him and clenched her teeth. Joffrey gave a half laugh and looked her over one last time. His hands let her go and Sansa began to move away. For a brief second she felt herself relax, hoping to put some distance between herself and the King but she couldn't be that lucky.

“Ser Meryn.”

Suddenly Sansa felt herself being thrown backwards and her back hit the stone wall. Her head hit the stone and before she was able to catch her breath, Ser Meryn Trant was standing in front of her. Shae screeched and Sansa could see that Joffrey was holding her back as she attempted to get to her mistress. Meryn Trant locked his plump fingers around her neck and began to squeeze. Sansa's hands went directly to his wrists, hoping to full his fingers from her throat.

She felt herself gasping for air as her fingers dug into the guard's skin. He lifted her easily so that her feet were dangling, attempting to touch the ground. She could hear herself wheezing but his fingers grew tighter and tighter around her throat. It was as though the harder she pulled at his hands, the stronger he grew. Her eyes looked directly at the guard who almost seem aroused from psychically abusing her.

Her mind flashed to Winterfell's Godswood and how the freshly fallen snow had felt against her skin. The air was extremely hot but Sansa felt as though ice had engulfing her. She began to relive that moment so vividly. She could see the darkened sky that released the snow and she could feel the harsh breeze rush against her thighs. When Joffrey threw Shae to the ground and stepped beside Meryn Trant and Sansa, he pushed a stray hair behind her ear.

“I want you to tell me everything you know. If you do not, well... I'll make sure the child you bear will not be your husband's.” Joffrey whispered in her ear as his guard continued to squeeze. The prince placed his hand on her stomach as though he was caressing her. “You would like that wouldn't you. I bet you were disappointed when you were not with child when I left you in Winterfell. Let her go.”

Meryn Trant released her and Sansa fell onto the stone ground, landing on her hands and knees. The air filled her lungs sharply, causing her throat to throb in pain. Her fingers reached up and attempted to touch her throat but it was far too bruised for even the lightest contact. Shae reached for her but Joffrey pushed her away, causing her to fall against the stone. Meryn Trant reached down and grabbed Sansa by the shoulders. He lifted her up and placed her feet on the ground.

“Tell me. Who helped Lancel murder my father?” Joffrey asked and Sansa remained silent. “Nothing to say? Hit her.” Meryn Trant raised his fists and struck the right side of her face and then the left side for good measure. The blows caused a thumping pain on her cheekbones and she knew that by morning they would be bruised. “Want to speak now?” Sansa coughed lightly and could taste blood pooling in her mouth.

“You won't like the answer.” Sansa stated and her voice was hoarse; she could hardly recognize it. She sounded like the homeless men who drank themselves into a stupor. She touched her face and hissed. Once she touched the forming bruise, it caused a searing pain to race through the entire side of her face. “My husband is hesitant to tell you because....because what he learned is treason. He is worried you won't believe it and punish him.” Joffrey stepped forward and placed his finger under her chin. He gently pushed her head up to look at him. It was a gesture he was fond of doing when they first were betrothed to one another. It was the look and gesture of the monster she had fallen in love with.

“Whatever you tell me, I will cause you and your husband no harm because of it.” Joffrey promised and Sansa didn't believe him. Everything that that left his perfectly shaped lips was a lie. He could whisper the most beautiful of tales to her and Sansa knew that it would never be the truth. Everything his promised would turn to ash if she dared even hoped for it to become true. She learned that lesson in the cruelest way possible. “Who helped murder my father?”

“Your mother.” Her voice cracked and the sharp pain seared again. Joffrey's features remained blank as her looked at her. It was as though she was being strangled again because all the air seemed to have evaporated from the corridor. Shae who had seemed to have been forgotten was able to wrap her arms around her mistress, reminding her distantly of another's presence.

“You're lying.”

“Why would I lie about something like that? What would I have to gain?” Sansa stated as she leaned into Shae. Her legs felt weak and she wanted to collapse against her. “Your mother and Lancel were having an affair. Lancel hadn't been to the brothel in months, not since my husband was here last. They conspired together to kill the King in order to be together.”

“I don't believe you.” Joffrey hissed through clenched teeth. His fingers weaved through his perfect golden hair as though he was trying to pull them from the roots. His eyes burned with fury but it wasn't exactly directed at her, which made Sansa realize that he was thinking. Joffrey had never been the brightest of men but in the few years that she had seen him, it was obvious that he had gained some wisdom. “My mother was devoted to my father.”

“Was she? Always?” Sansa asked and she could tell that Jaime flashed though his mind. He didn't say anything but Sansa pressed on. “When he died, did she cry? Even once? How long did she stay in mourning? Did she seem upset after his passing? How long did it take before she started whispering in your ear? How long before she started attending the small council meetings on your behalf?” She could see that her words were having an affect on him. Sansa could see that the last seven weeks he had been King flowing through his mind.. “She loved being Queen. Nothing more.”

“She won't be Queen forever.” Joffrey snapped and Sansa could see him recognizing Cersei's behavior. Joffrey licked his lips and whispered something to Meryn Trant, who nodded. For a brief second, Sansa thought that the guard was going to strike her again, however, the blow never came. “Margaery will be my queen.”

“Which your mother hates the thought of.” Sansa declared, jumping at the opportunity. The King looked at her with a question written in his eyes. “Margaery is perfect and would make the perfect Queen. I was never good enough for you. You deserved someone better. Margaery adores you, she has told me so herself. You are a great King and with Margaery by your side, the two of you will be the best monarchy Westeros has ever seen.” The horribly beautiful lie slipped through her swollen lips.

“Margaery is far better than you.”

“She is. I was never fit to be queen. I would have been far to easy for outside influences to manipulate. Margaery would be far too loyal to you for anyone to try and turn her against you. Your mother told me that she wished I had married you; not because she liked me but because she would have been able to continue to rule through me.”

“She always did say that you were a stupid child.” Joffrey stated. He thought about betrothed and couldn't help but agree with Sansa. Margaery was willful and intelligent, something he admired about her. She had a thirst for power and violence that matched his own. She was the perfect bride for him. However, he thought about the interactions between her and his mother. Cersei had always been cold to Margaery and never treated her has her equal.

Joffrey stepped forward and reached out to Sansa. He traced the bruise on the side of her face with a gentle hand. Sansa hissed but made no movements. She was in pain but she would only allow herself to acknowledge it once Joffrey was gone. She needed her words to work on him. If they didn't, her and her husband could fall into a dangerous predicament. While the beating was horrid and it would fuel her nightmares, it came with a purpose. It was a sacrifice she was willing to make if it furthered their agenda.

The farther Joffrey grew from his mother and the closer he grew to Margaery, the less power the Lannisters had. Margaery would make a great Queen, it didn't really matter who her King was. However, it would be far too soon to dethrone Joffrey just yet. Tommen would be far easier to control but his trust needed to lie with Margaery and not his mother. Margaery needed more time with the younger man in order to have Cersei completely isolated and powerless. Once Cersei was in the perfect position, Sansa would take Joffrey from her and watch as Margaery and Tommen took the throne; giving the power completely over to the Tyrells.

Joffrey drew his fingers from the bruise and he slowly weaved them into her bright red hair. His fingers curled and the King tugged on the locks roughly. He pulled her hair, causing her head to be yanked backwards. Sansa cried out in both surprise and pain. Joffrey leaned in and she could feel his honeysuckle breath against the lobe of her ear. “If I hear a word of this from anyone other than you or your husband, I will have both of your heads. Do I make myself clear?”

Sansa nodded and Joffrey pushed her backwards. She collapsed and Shae caught her. Joffrey turned and strolled away with Meryn Trant faithfully by his side. Sansa watched them go and once they were out of sight, she allowed her legs to fully give away. The weight of her body caused Shae to sink with her and the two women sat on the stone ground.

“My Lady, what can I do? You need help.” Shae whispered and Sansa reached for her neck. The adrenaline was quickly fading that the pain was becoming worse. Spots were slowly invading her vision and it felt as though her throat was closing in on itself. The touched the handprint that had been left by Meryn Trant and winced at how sensitive it felt.

“Petyr. I need Petyr. Please.”

“Lord Baelish is at one of his brothels.” Shae stated. Baelish was deep inside King's Landing and it would take some time for Shae to get her to him. Sansa just glared at her handmaiden but didn't say anything. She was willing to make the journey if it got her to Baelish. She wasn't dying, she knew but if someone didn't look at her neck soon, she wasn't sure what the damage would be. She wanted Baelish with her. She needed him there. “I will get you there. I will...I know who I can ask to get you there.”

Chapter Text

The mockingbird gleamed against the wood of the brothel. It didn't take long for Shae to take her there. Sansa was taken back to her chambers first and only left alone for a moment. She'd moved herself onto one of the plush red sofas and simply laid there; waiting for someone to find her. Her entire body ached. No damage had been done to her lower extremities but her neck was swollen and black and blue.

She needed to keep her lips, covered in blood due to Ser Meryn Trant's blows to her face, parted in order for her to breath. Her breaths were slow and shallow, anything deeper was to painful to consider. When she attempted to inhale it was as though she swallowed a glass full of needles. The pain made her eyes water and the tears leaked down over her bruises. The salt from her tears made the bruises and cuts on her cheekbones burn as though they were on fire. It wasn't the worst pain she experienced but it came a close second.

Sansa felt her eyes begin to droop and slowly her entire world was consumed in black. Her nightmares were filled with Joffrey's cold cruel words and Meryn Trant's eyes glaring deep inside of her. She couldn't look away from those angry eyes. The look in them could only be described at pure pleasure. It was the look Baelish gave her when he released his seed inside of her womb.

The dream changed and an old nightmare returned, one she had several times before when she thought she was going to become Joffrey's bride. The boy king sat upon the Iron Throne and Sansa sat by his side with a spiky gold crown on her head. Small, blonde haired children surrounded them, all with the same cruel laugh as their father's. The crown found its way around her neck drawing tighter and tighter, spikes digging into her chin causing her to bleed but the dark red rubies adorning it sucked in the blood running down in rivulets. Sansa tried to scream but when she opened her mouth only a hoarse squeak would be released from her lungs. No amount of fighting made the pain subside enough for her cry out for help. She was completely at the mercy of the crown that surrounded her neck.

Then the dream changed. Baelish stood by her side with his Littlefinger mask perfectly in place. He never looked at her, not once. Then in front of the Iron Throne was Arya, on her knees, covered in blood and waiting for an execution.

Suddenly Sansa was jerked from her nightmare filled sleep and awoke to see Varys standing kneeling beside her with Shae standing over his shoulder, peering down at her with a worried expression. Her vision was blurry and it almost appeared as though there were two of him. The twin Varys' swayed and grew hazy again. Her eyes slowly began to close and Varys shook her again.

“Lady Baelish, I need you to stay with me.” Varys lifted her head up and a pounding headache throbbed in her skull. She moaned when he moved her but she allowed him to do so. He was gentle with her, hoping not to cause her anymore harm than what had already been done to her. He fluffed a pillow and placed it behind her back. Sansa leaned against it and she saw Shae bring at glass to her lips. “We need you to drink this.”

Water. The liquid that hit her lips was water. She choked on it at first, causing her to cough it up but it only took a few moments for her to be able to relax her muscles and swallow. The coolness of the fluid soothed the ache in her throat and allowed her to relax. She was by no means cured but it was clear that Varys meant no harm to her. If anything he wanted to protect her.

“Thank you.” Sansa replied. The water had done her good but it still hurt to speak. She coughed and she felt Shae rub her back gently. Sansa took another sip of water and moved her feet off of the sofa. Her body ached as she sat up and she attempted to stand but felt her head spin causing her to have to sit back down. Shae caught her arm when she nearly toppled over.

“Are you able to travel my dear? If not I can send word for Lord Baelish to come here.” Varys looked at her but Sansa looked into his eyes. She wanted out of the Red Keep. She wanted as far away from Joffrey as possible. Varys nodded and stood. He helped her stand and lean against him. Shae ran to her wardrobe and pulled out a dark cloak. She wrapped the cloak around her mistress's shoulders. Sansa leaned against Varys again and he wrapped his arms around her tightly.

The trip was short. It appeared that Varys knew the quickest way through King's Landing. The daylight made it difficult for Sansa to remain hidden but she noticed that people seemed to look away when Varys passed. Shae, who was also covered by a cloak, remained by her side. Sansa felt comforted and protected. Looking at the foreign woman, Sansa realized that Shae would do anything for her and perhaps she wasn't the enemy after all.

Sansa turned and saw the bright white stone building with a huge mockingbird on the wooden doors. Never before would she have thought that a place where women were forced to sell their bodies would bring her hope and relief. Shae forcefully banged on the door and when it opened Ros appeared at the door. When she saw Varys, she immediately moved to close the door to him but Sansa lowered her hood and allowed Ros to get a good look at her face. Ros's eyes widened and they were ushered inside quickly.

“Get Lord Baelish. Now.” Shae snapped, her hands never leaving her. Ros scurried away and Sansa noticed that some of the girls were looking at her curiously. They all belonged to her husband, so she had no concern that they would whisper about what they had seen however she was worried about a few of the patrons that frequented the establishment. Her eyes darted around quickly, the colors and the perfume of the brothel began to run together

Ros returned quickly and Baelish was by her side. He seemed confused at first, clearly not aware of what occurred in the entrance way; an emergency certainly but Ros gave no particulars. When Baelish's eyes landed on his wife, they widened and the look of pure fear crept over his face. He rushed to her and Sansa pushed away from Varys. Once Baelish reached her, Sansa collapsed into his arms. Her knees gave out completely and he bent down to lift her into his arms. He carried her toward one of the back rooms with a large canopy bed in the center. He laid her down upon the silk sheets and sat down beside her.

“What happened to you, Sweetling?” Baelish whispered, knowing the answer. Sansa just looked at him and mouthed the King's name. She could see the fury and anger rage in her husband's eyes. He leaned down and kissed her forehead in a loving manner. “Did he....” He couldn't ask the question but Sansa knew what he was implying. Did he force himself on her again because if he did, she knew that Joffrey would be dead by morning and all of their planning would be for naught. Sansa shook her head negatively and Baelish felt relieved.

Baelish stood and adjusted himself. He was calm, collected and it was absolutely terrifying. He wasn't a man that got violent when angry. No. His anger showed in smaller and far more deadly ways. He was intelligent and far more calculated. Sansa was his wife and the exception to everyone of his rules. They may argue, just as any couple but he would never harm her in anyway. If he did then she knew that she greatly made a mess of things between them. She vowed to never allow that to happen.

“Ros call for the maester, the one the girls use, make sure you inform him that it is an emergency and if he is not here within the hour he will never work in King's Landing again.” Ros nodded in fear, hearing the burning fury in his voice. “Olyvar send word to the Starks. Inform them that Lady Baelish has had an accident and that we will be back in our chambers once the maester looks her over. Make sure that no one is around when they messenger reaches them.” Both Olyvar and Ros left the chamber in a hurry.

Sansa made a motion to sit up and Shae rushed to her side. She helped her moved forward and adjusted the pillows behind her. Baelish hoovered over her but allowed Shae to fuss over his wife. It pleased her to see Baelish putting his pride aside and allowing the handmaiden to do her job.

“Water.” Sansa asked, her voice still hoarse and could only be heard by those who sat next to her, and even that with great effort. Baelish turned and looked for the first person he saw. He pointed at the random prostitute and ordered her to bring plenty of water into this chamber. The girl came back quickly and Baelish took the water from her, shooing her away. Baelish tipped the glass forward and Sansa took a big gulp to the liquid. She found that it was easier to swallow than before but still hurt to do so.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Varys standing by the door. He looked at her with pity and concern. She was touched by his generosity and wondered how she would ever be able to repay him. When Shae had said that she would get Sansa to Baelish, one way or another, she had assumed that Shae would involve Tyrion, yet was pleasantly surprised when it was Varys who woke her from her nightmare. Baelish also must have seen her eyes travel to where Varys was standing because he pushed away from the bed and strolled over to the other man.

“I suppose I owe you a great deal, old friend.” Baelish stated and it was by far the most honest words that have ever left his lips when speaking to Varys. The eunuch smiled, understanding that this was as close as Baelish would ever going to get to saying 'thank you'.

“I did it more for her than I did for you, I hope you understand. She is far more likable than you.” Varys japed causing Baelish to smile at him but it lacked its usual malice and for the first time, Varys realized how precious Sansa was to the Master of Coin. He knew that Baelish lusted after her but he imagined that it went beyond that. He had thought the marriage to Sansa was another move to him in the game, however it was clear that their marriage was built on more just the thrill of the game. “If there is anything that I can do, please don't hesitate to ask.”

“There is one thing.” Baelish stated and Varys seemed unsurprised. Sansa sat up straighter and looked between the two men. Shae attempted to get her to drink more but ignored her attempts. Baelish laughed but everyone could hear how cold it was. “Bring me Tyrion Lannister.” Shae snapped her head toward the two of the men standing across the room. Sansa could tell she was panicked but couldn't tell if it was out of concern for her lover or the fact that she would be seeing him. Varys's words rang through her head again. Things were not as rosy as they once had been between Tyrion and Shae.

“Very well.” Varys nodded and turned. He glided toward the exit, leaving Baelish staring after him. Baelish turned and walked back over toward his wife. He waved his hand and Shae stepped away from Sansa. Baelish sat down and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. Sansa leaned into him and couldn't but inhale the scent of mint. She felt comfortable in his arms and allowed herself to feel safe for a moment. Her body ached from exhaustion and her various injuries.

“Where was Lady?” Baelish asked and his eyes where directed at Shae. She stilled, having forgotten about Lady and she could only hope that the wolf was alright. She would not put it past Joffrey to have the animal killed out of pure spite for the news she had delivered to him.

“The King made her leave. We didn't have a choice.” Shae answered and Sansa could see his thin lips form a straight line. With each passing second, Baelish grew more and more furious with the young King. Her husband was intelligent but she could only hope that he wouldn't do anything reckless. Her wounds would heal and neither of them could risk losing everything they had worked for.

“I will have a guard trail you at all times. This will not happen again.” Baelish hissed and Sansa sat up to stare at him. She wasn't pleased at the idea and narrowed her eyes at him. She knew the guard wasn't due to the fact that her husband didn't trust her but rather it was due to the fact that he wanted to keep her safe. She opened her mouth with a rebuttal but Baelish placed his long finger on her lips. “Do not argue with me on this. You will have a guard. End of story.” His voice was harsh and cold, something that infuriated her. He never used that tone with her and she vowed that it would be the last time. She attempted to argue but Ros entered the room with the maester.

Baelish untangled himself from Sansa and greeted a rather young looking man. He had red hair, similar to her shade, and was as uncoordinated as he was tall. He smiled wide and Sansa looked at the man in curiosity. She had expected someone similar to Pycelle. He was harmless, that was certain and almost seemed embarrassed to be in such an establishment. He refused to look any of the girls in the eye. The man looked almost innocent but he could only be the best maester if Baelish employed him.

“Everyone out.” Shae and Ros both left the chamber.

“One of the girls get a um...rough customer again?” The maester asked, looking briefly at Sansa on the bed. The maester made their way toward the bed and touched her neck. Sansa hissed and the maester gave her a gentle smile in apology.

“She isn't one of my girls. She is my wife.” The maester seemed surprised at the news and jumped. He knocking into the stand, nearly spilling the glass of water over the floor. Baelish must have been unsurprised by the maester's clumsiness because he didn't even react. “You treat her with the upmost respect, do you understand me?” His voice was commanding and threatening. The maester nodded and Baelish turned to sit in one of the chairs in the corner.

The maester worked over her, touching her here and there. It was uncomfortable and when she would hiss in pain as his hands made contact with a sensitive part of her neck, he would apologize profusely. During the entire examination, her eyes never left her husband's unless they had to. He simply stared at her, a broken expression on his features. It wasn't long for the examination to be completed and the maester turned to Baelish, who stood.

The examination was mercifully short and the maester turned to Baelish, who stood.

“The damage is significant but could have been much worse. With a few days rest she will recover just fine. I recommend giving her some milk of the poppy for the pain and to help her sleep.” The maester pulled out a small vial of a white substance and handed it to Baelish. “Just for tonight. We don't want her to become addicted. Weaning oneself off such an opiate is nasty business. After today, just make sure she applies firemilk to wounds. It will cause some burning but it will help it heal.” Baelish thanked him and watched as the maester left the room.

Baelish helped her sit up on the bed. He crawled on the other side and Sansa curled up into his arms. He uncorked the bottle of milk of the poppy and Sansa took it from him. It was bitter and had a sour aftertaste but she could feel it work almost immediately. The ache and the pain began to slip away as she felt her eyes droop. She fell into a dreamless sleep as her husband whispered sweet words to her and kissed the crown of her red hair.

When she awoke again, several hours later, darkness filled the room. She reached out for Baelish but the other side of the bed was empty. It took her a few moments to realize that she was not in their bed at the Red Keep but instead she was sleeping in one of the lavish beds the brothel provided. The soreness of her neck made the events of the day come rushing back to her. She dwelled on them for a few moments before she heard yelling. She realized what exactly had awakened her.

Sansa pushed herself off of the bed and touched the wooden floor with her bare feet. She walked toward the yelling and screaming, passing some of the prostitutes as she went. All of them looked at her with sympathetic glances, knowing exactly the pain she was suffering from. Not a single one stopped her once she reached her husband's solar. She pushed the door open and saw her husband looking far more furious than she had ever seen him.

He was in nothing more than his tunic and breeches. She could see the remainder of his clothing tossed to the side along with his boots. He had been here for hours, most likely waiting on her to recover. When she entered, Baelish's head turned to her and he quickly made his way to her. He wrapped his arms around her and brought her into an embrace.

“Sansa, you need to be resting.” Baelish whispered to her and kissed her ear. However, Sansa's gaze stopped over his shoulder. Tyrion Lannister sat in one of the chairs by the wooden desk. He crawled down and walked toward her. He took her hand and gave it a tight squeeze. Baelish narrowed his eyes at the contact, obviously not wanting anyone else touching her.

“I'm deeply sorry for my nephew's behavior. I will make sure he is made aware that such things will not be tolerated.” Tyrion stated but they all knew it was a waste. Joffrey would do as he pleased. He had a fool murdered in front of the entire court and no one lifted a finger. A scolding from his dwarf uncle was not going to put any type of fear in him.

“Thank you for your kind words.”

“Lord Tyrion and I were just discussing how his nephew should be dealt with.” Baelish hissed and the dwarf pinched the bridge of his nose. Sansa could tell that they had been in deep discussion for several hours and neither of them were getting anywhere with the other. She could only imagine what her husband was proposing.

“And I was trying to talk your husband out of following in my brother's footsteps and becoming a kingslayer.” Tyrion stated and it became clear. Baelish was out for blood and it didn't matter who stood in his way. One way or another he was going to see to Joffrey's demise. Sansa kissed her husbands cheek and linked their fingers.

“Rest assured Lord Tyrion, your nephew isn't in any immediate danger from us. He is safe for now.” Sansa replied and it looked as though the tiny man was going to have a rebuttal but stayed silent. Baelish didn't look pleased either but allowed her to take the lead. While he wanted nothing more than to see their sadistic king choke on his own blood, he understood that she wanted Joffrey's death to be on her hands. “I thank you again for you kind words and your concern.” Knowing when he was being dismissed, Tyrion offered his sympathies again and headed toward the door.

“One more thing.” Baelish called, causing Tyrion to stop and turn to look back at the couple. Baelish still had his hands on his wife as he glared at the smaller man. “Any type of deal we may have had dwarf, is now null and void. I hold you personally responsible for what happened today. I will do as I see fit and if you get in my way then so be it.”

“I hope that you do reconsider Lord Baelish.” He stated as he left the couple alone. Tyrion realized today that no one had any type of control over the King. He tried to tame the boy but he was far too wild and grown into his habits to have him change now.

“Sansa-” She touched her lips to her husband's. The kiss was gentle, seeing that her lips were still swollen, but the contact made her heart race. When she pulled away, she rested their foreheads together. He pulled her close, wrapping his arms around her completely. His hug was tight and he buried his face into her hair. Sansa understood that when he realized that it was she that Varys brought into the brothel, he had been terrified. She pulled away slightly and placed her hand on his cheek.

“We can't kill Joffrey. Not now. It will look far to suspicious if we do.” Baelish huffed and pulled her back to him. He knew she was right. He had known that he was being irrational, something he was not accustomed to being, but when it came to her it was as though he lost all sense. “He will die. I will make sure of that but we have him exactly where we want him. He is furious with Cersei.”

“I know.”

“Send him Lancel's girl. She can tell him exactly what we want him to hear and maybe he can take his frustrations out on her and leave me alone.” Sansa stated, knowing that she was condemning some faceless girl to death. She didn't want to ever see her because Sansa knew that the prostitute would haunt her dreams at night. “I'm okay. I promise.”

“I just...seeing you...because of him.” Baelish's jaw locked for a moment and he kissed her shoulder. He needed to inhale her scent and feel her against him. He needed to know that she was real and alive. “I lost my head for a moment.”

“It's alright.” Sansa leaned in and kissed him again on the lips. She pulled away from him and brought his hands to her lips. She kissed his knuckles, hoping to give him some kind of comfort. “Let's stay here tonight. I'm exhausted and I could use some more sleep. Join me?” Baelish nodded and moved to grab his discarded clothing. “And Petyr. One more thing.” Baelish turned to look at her in confusion. “No guard.” He attempted to argue but she held of her finger. “No. Guard. Period.”

Chapter Text

A small council meeting was held three days later. It was a painful three days not only physically but emotionally as well. Ned had been waiting in their chambers the next morning with an impatient demeanor about him. It was clear that he had received Baelish's summons and it appeared as though he slept in their chambers. Sansa felt guilty that she made him wait so long but she couldn't make the journey. Her body ached and she just felt completely exhausted from the day’s events. The moment Ned got a glimpse of Sansa and the handprints that lingered on her neck he broke down. He pulled her close and simply held her, allowing his tears to drip into her hair. Sansa stood stiff and solid in his embrace but she never moved, allowing her father to grieve. His desperation caused her more guilt and sorrow than she could ever let him know.

His tempter began to get the best of him. He yelled, threw thing and cursed anyone who got in his path. He threatened to call his banners and start a war against the throne, completely disregarding his old friend's memory. Seeing that it was the last thing Sansa would want, she got on her knees, held her father's hand and begged him not to start a war on her behalf. If he did, they would all be dead by morning. Robb disagreed with her. He wanted to march against the Iron Throne and burn Joffrey for everything he has done.

“You couldn't save me then. You must not blame yourself for what he did to me. Please. Do this for me. I don't want a war started because of my stolen innocence. Don't make me into another version of Aunt Lyanna. Don't turn me into a story that children tell when they learn the history of the war against King Joffrey. Please! Don't do that to me. Don't turn me into a ghost.” After a long contemplation and silence, Ned shook his head and told Robb not to call them. He felt as though he was making a mistake and going against his better judgment but listened to his daughter's cries and pleas. The only request he made in return was that Baelish remove Sansa from King's Landing as soon as he was able; Baelish gave a small nod but said nothing in return.

Robb stormed away then and Roslin let him go. He wouldn't listen to her and she didn't have the energy to fight with him. She was more useful to Sansa. Arya wanted to run to Jaqen H’ghar but Sansa insisted that she’d promised that Joffrey’s life belonged to her, thus putting an end to that discussion. While Arya agreed, the younger girl remained silent on the subject and Sansa knew that she would not simply forget the incident.

When Baelish realized that he would be called away on council business, he was reluctant to leave Sansa alone in their chambers. His anger had calmed and he was able to think more clearly than he had been when Sansa was brought to him in the brothel. He knew the King would be looking at him, weighing his expressions and reactions due to the brutality against his wife. Baelish couldn't reveal anything. Ned had agreed to keep her company in her husband’s absence. When she told Baelish that she would not require a guard, he found it fit that a guard did not include her father, brother, uncle, sister or any other member of her family. Sansa found that in the last three days, she was never alone.

Sansa had not been able to leave their chambers for three days but news of the outside filtered through Baelish, Arya and Margaery easily. The tale of the King ordering Meryn Trant to viscously beat Sansa traveled through court like wildfire. While it was only ever rumored that Joffrey had raped Sansa a few years prior, the beating had only confirmed it. Margaery proclaimed that it was the talk of the castle and attempted to brighten Sansa’s spirits with the tales that were being spun. While Sansa was still raw from the experience, she couldn’t help but laugh at some of the more ridiculous ones. While Margaery never said it directly, Sansa could tell that the future queen felt guilty about what happened to her friend.

Sansa had been resting in her chambers when one of the Queen’s personal guards handed her a summons to make her way to the Queen’s chambers. Sansa was no fool and knew that the Queen wanted to meet with her when her son was occupied. It was now common knowledge that Cersei had been banned from all small council meetings by order of the King. Beyond that, Sansa was unaware of any other punishment that had been handed out to her.

The summons didn’t come until after Margaery had left that day and Baelish had been called away. She had been sitting in the common area of their chambers with her father, Arya and Roslin. Roslin had come every day in order to assist in applying the chalky firemilk. She’d assisted the Twins maester before her marriage. While she wouldn’t say anything, it was obvious she needed something to fill her days with seeing as her husband only seemed to visit her at night.

Ned had been reluctant to allow his eldest daughter to leave with the guard but had no choice but to relent. The Lord of Winterfell had never felt so powerless as he did since he had arrived in the the Capitol. He had no authority here and while he wanted nothing more than to call his banner man and declare war against the throne, Ned was no longer to foolish boy he had once been. He believed in honor and duty but that would achieve nothing when he was forced to bow to a King who had no honor. When he rode to fight in Robert's Rebellion, he only had a wife to think of and nothing more. Now his actions would have far greater consequences. The possible death of his children was not something he was willing to gamble with.

Sansa appeased Ned by proclaiming that she would take Lady with her. The direwolf had not left her mistress’s side since Baelish had called her out of the Godswood. It was clear that the wolf realized that Sansa was injured and became even more protective of her than before. Besides Baelish and her immediate family, Lady refused to let anyone near her unless Sansa commanded her to kneel. The grey and white wolf would simply lie at Sansa’s feet, fixing anyone who came near her with a glare.

The Queen’s chambers were not what Sansa expected. She had thought that it would be covered in red silk with golden accents positioned in the corners and hanging from the windows. However, the chamber seemed far more friendly and welcoming than she expected. It was filled with cream colored silk and more windows than Sansa had ever seen of the Red Keep. The balcony doors were open and she could feel the fresh breeze on her face when she entered the chambers. The sound of birds could be heard throughout the chamber as well as the waves hitting the rocks. When the Queen had requested an audience with Lady Baelish, Sansa had all but panicked. She knew that she could not refuse such an offer, doing so would be suicidal but taking it could also be detrimental.

“Come here Little Dove.” Cersei reached out her one hand when Sansa entered the chambers. She fixed her gaze on the Queen and noticed that she was not the only woman who experienced Joffrey’s brutality. Cersei’s golden hair was braided and pinned on the back of her head. Sansa could only assume it was in order to keep the hair from brushing against her swollen eye and the large gash against her cheekbone. Her red dress lay against her fair skinned collarbone but could not hide the entire purple bruise that was forming. When Cersei reached out to Sansa, it was clear that she was favoring her right arm. It appeared that Joffrey had done far more damage to his mother, than he had done to her. Sansa smiled inwardly at that.

“Your Grace. I’m sorry to hear that you are unwell. I pray that you recover soon.” Sansa replied in the gentle tone that had once been accustomed to her. Her voice was growing stronger with each passing day but it was far from normal. Cersei noticed the changed and could only smile at her. Cersei waved her hand, asking Sansa to take the seat at the small table that had been set up on the one balcony. Sansa obliged, sitting across from the woman who murdered her brother. It seemed wrong in so many ways for her to drink tea and eat crumpets with her, pretending she was in the dark about what happened that day in the broken tower.

“You're perfect, aren't you? Wishing the Queen well?” Her tone was cold and haunting. Sansa looked into her green eyes and saw that they appeared dead. She didn't know exactly what had happened between mother and son but it was fairly obvious that Cersei had had a significant falling out with the King. Sansa was certain that the King would never actually execute the Queen but the distance between them would make Margaery's job of controlling Joffrey's decisions far easier.

“You are the Queen, of course I would want-”

“Oh, shut up you little fool!” Cersei snapped at her and Sansa could smell the wine on her breath. It was still early in the day but she assumed that the wine took away the pain that Cersei must be in. Sansa glanced around and noticed that besides Lady, they were completely alone. Not a single servant would pray witness to their conversation. Sansa made the decision not to eat or drink anything the Queen gave her even if Cersei was consuming them herself. She had killed one Stark already; she wouldn't put it past her to kill another.

“I'm sorry Your Grace.” Her tone was bashful and she looked down. Sansa rubbed Lady's ears hoping that she appeared sorrowful. She was trying to channel the old Sansa, the one who found it devastating to even consider disappointing her. Lady gave a soft mewl at the contact and Cersei's eyes drifted to the wolf for a second before returning them to Sansa.

“I should have you punished for telling my son about my affair. I would have rather kept that little detail a secret. Of course, what amazes me is that you even knew of it. Perhaps it is your husband that I should punish.” Cersei raised her teacup and drank from it lightly. When she lowered the cup back onto the cream colored tablecloth, Sansa noticed that the Queen's tea was far redder than it should. Wine, perhaps the late King Robert and his wife had more in common than she realized. “I always thought Lord Baelish was a far more intelligent man than to spill his secrets to his silly wife.”

“I do not understand what you mean.”

“Of course you don't. Perhaps I should spell it out for you then.” Cersei took another gulp of wine and slammed her teacup down upon the table again. “My husband was my king and my king was my husband. I hated them both. I was married to him for seventeen years. At first I was infatuated of course, but it wasn't long before I realized what kind of man I married. I'm certain after a time you will experience the same hate Lady Baelish, with whoremonger for a husband.” She laughed cynically and Sansa felt that hot piecing anger flow through her again. “I killed him. There I said it. I killed King Robert of House Baratheon and I had my lover help me do it.” She leaned so far over the table that the smell of wine made Sansa want to vomit.

“I never would have said anything. I promise! Petyr and I were not going to say anything. He was going to tell King Joffrey that he knew nothing. My husband has always been loyal to the throne, to you. He always told me that in a place like this I need to be loyal to the throne.” Sansa sniffed and she could feel the tears pooling in her eyes. “I wasn't going to tell him but then he had Ser Meryn Trant beat me. I thought he was going to kill me. I didn't want to die and I would have told him anything just to make the pain stop! I'm so sorry Your Grace, I just wanted the pain to stop-”

“Shh...little dove.” Cersei reached across the table and took Sansa's hand. The Queen's hands were smooth and soft; it made her light headed just feeling them. This conversation was already exhausting her. “I forget sometimes that you are nothing more than a child. I admire your loyalty to me Sansa, I truly do.” She squeezed her hand again all the while giving her that motherly smile that she had once admired. “However, I find it odd that your husband would tell you such things. Lord Baelish is far more intelligent than that.”

Sansa paused but her mind was thinking through every possible angle that she could spin this conversation. It was important for her to protect Baelish with everything she had. Of course she knew that the Queen thought her as a pawn in her game because she believed her to be a fool. Old Sansa would have thought that Cersei would protect her but she knew better now. Her loyalty no longer belonged to Cersei but instead to Baelish.

“You taught me a lesson once, a long time ago.” Sansa's voice grew low, knowing that this was the only honest thing she would ever allow herself to tell the Queen. “You saw me, broken and beaten in the worst possible way. This...” She waved her hand to face, pointing to the damage Joffrey had done. “…is nothing. This I can bear with only a bit of mild pain.” She leaned back into her chair and looked out over the waves. “When Joffrey raped me, you came to me and offered me no comfort but taught me something instead. You told me that a women's best weapon was the one between her legs. I'm only heading your advice.”

“Perhaps I was wrong about you. You're no fool. You do what you need to do to survive.” Cersei laughed. She still viewed Sansa as weak and no threat to her but she saw her clearly for a moment. She was no longer a girl but instead a woman who did what she had to do in order to stay alive. Cersei respected her more for it. “Does your husband know that you keep his secrets?”

“Petyr likes to talk when we are done and I listen. I hear everything he has to say and I will never betray him.” Sansa said and her voice was harder than the Queen had ever heard it before. The two women looked at each other as though they understood each other for the first time. “You claim to have hated your husband enough to kill him. I don't hate Petyr and I certainly don't want him dead. He is nothing but kind and good to me. He is the best I could have asked for.”

“Better than my son?”

Far better. The words were on the tip of her tongue but she held back. Marriage to that monster would have made her life a living nightmare. The brutality she experienced days earlier would have been a daily torment. Sansa was strong and she could weather any storm that came her way but if she had been forced to marry him as the girl she used to be, he would have broken her.

“Joffrey is my King and Petyr is my husband. My husband is loyal to the King, therefore so am I.” They were silent for a moment; neither willing to look away from the other. It almost surprised her how Cersei was the first to look away.

“Perhaps it is best that you didn't marry my son. He would have killed you within your first year of marriage.” Cersei took another sip of wine and Sansa just watched her, thinking on those words. She knew that Joffrey would have made a horrid husband and she almost pitied Margaery because of it. However, she believed that Joffrey wouldn't have killed her. No, she would have killed herself first before ever giving him that pleasure.

Before Sansa could even give a reply, the Queen's chamber door opened and Ser Barristan Selmy entered with two royal guards behind him. The look upon the Lord Commander of the King's Guard could only be described as pain and loathing. Barristan was an honorable man who always did what was commanded of him, even when he hated the task. It was clear that Barristan was having a very bad day.

“What do you think you are doing? Entering my chambers without permission!” Cersei exclaimed as she stood from her chair. The breeze caused her hair to blow in the wind and Sansa could see the beauty that the Seven Kingdoms raved about. The younger woman stood as well but slowly backed away, her eyes darting between the Queen and Lord Commander of the King’s Guard. She knew that it would be best if she stayed out of their way and allow this to play out instead of intervening.

“I’m following orders Your Grace.” Barristan took a deep breath, gathering all of his courage to look the Queen in the eye. “I am here to escort you to the dungeons my lady. You are being arrested under suspicion to conspire to murder the late King Robert. You are to be confined to the dungeons until the King is presented with either evidence of your innocence or guilt.”

“My son would never order to have me imprisoned.” Barristan stepped toward her but Cersei backed away. It was clear that the Queen was not going to go willingly. She would fight, kick and scream before she let them take her away to rot in some cell. “No. Joffrey wouldn’t do this. Not to me. This is Tyrion.”

“I am following the King’s orders.”

“No! That monster I have the misfortune to call a brother planted the idea in his head. He’s been waiting to do this since the moment our father named him Hand of the King in his stead. He’s wanted me to fail since we were children.” Cersei spewed and Sansa thought back to the meeting she and her husband had with Tyrion. The dwarf asked them to keep him out of their schemes, something they were willing to do until Joffrey assaulted her. However, he proclaimed that Cersei and even the King were fair game. He only asked that his own schemes not be interfered with. It was clear that Cersei was correct, Tyrion did want her out of his way and it was clear that neither sibling cared much for the other.

“It would make this easier if you come willing.” Barristan was calm and Sansa realized how conflicted he was about this arrest. He had sworn to protect both the King and the Queen. Now the King was commanding the Queen become a prisoner in the darkened dungeons. It was also clear that Barristan held no respect for the King but it was his sworn duty to carry out any commands that he was given.

“You can’t do this to me.” Cersei hissed again and moved around the table, hoping that perhaps the table would be able to protect her from the guards. Sansa quickly darted through the archway and into the room, wanting to put enough distance between herself and the Queen. It was clear that Cersei was not going to go down without some fight and Sansa felt no need to be in between her and the guards. “I am the Queen!”

“Take her.” Barristan replied with a heavy sigh and the two gold cloaks advanced. Cersei moved around the table, knocking the chairs over as she went. Sansa moved toward the Queen's bed and leaned against the wooden post. If Cersei glanced her way even for a split second she would have seen the wide smirk she was unable to entirely contain. She was enjoying Cersei's fall from grace far more than she had expected.

It only took a few moments before the gold cloaks were able to apprehend the Queen. Each of the latched onto opposite arms, causing her to yank one arm to lean farther into the other guard. The two of them began to drag her out of her chambers. She wasn't going quietly and continued to fight with the guards. Sansa could hear the Queen's screams echoing off of the stone. Barristan followed his men out and walked behind them, never touching her.

Sansa stepped out into the corridor and watched as the guards struggled to keep Cersei upright. She kicked and bit each of them as they dragged her across the floor. Slowly the chaos died as she was dragged farther and farther away. Both Baelish and Sansa wanted to isolate Cersei by turning her son against her. The plan worked far better than even they had anticipated.

Sansa was no fool and she knew that Cersei would not be in the dungeons forever. She was certain that someone was sending a raven to Tywin Lannister in Casterly Rock even as she stood there alone in the corridor. Joffrey may have wanted his mother imprisoned but Tywin would not allow his daughter to rot in some cell. Tywin was the only person in all of Westeros who could pull Cersei from her son's torment. The King may not like his advice but gold won wars and Tywin was by far one of the riches men in the Seven Kingdoms. It may only be temporary but Cersei was out of power. Joffrey was isolated with only Margaery whispering in his ear.

The news that Joffrey imprisoned his own mother would rock the entirety of Westeros. The small folk already despised their King and this would only anger them more. How can anyone bow to a King who turns his back on family? Even if the story of Cersei's involvement with King Robert's death reached the ears of the citizens, it would not take away their hate.

A King that is hated is far easier to topple and replace.

Chapter Text

Chapter Forty Five

The silk felt wonderful against her skin. As she moved and arched off the bed, the coolness of the sheets only heightened her pleasure. It was as though Lord and Lady Baelish were running on a high. They knew it was temporary but they needed to make the best of the King's slow descent from popularity. The news that he ordered Cersei's imprisonment raced through the Capitol, reaching the far ends of the Seven Kingdoms in record time. While she had never been a popular Queen, the citizens hissed in displeasure when they spoke of the Queen's dishonor, which only solidified in their minds how cruel the King truly was. The only redeeming quality Joffrey had left was his engagement to Margaery.

Moments after witnessing Cersei's downfall, she rushed to her husband's solar to share the news only to find that he already knew having just come back from the small council meeting. He proceeded to take her against his desk in celebration. Since then they have not been able to keep their hands off each other. Whenever they were alone, talking became their last propriety. In the week that followed Barristan taking Cersei to her cell, Baelish and Sansa would retire at sundown. She would find herself in a similar position as she was currently; with her back against the silk sheets, her legs spread wide and her husband sucking at her nether lips.

Today was no different. The two of them had just ended their day at the brothel and Sansa couldn't wait to return to the Red Keep to lay claim to her husband. Unfortunately her plans were put on hold when Olyvar came to report on Margaery's progress with the King. Baelish was highly pleased to learn that while Joffrey had taken up residence in the small council meetings, Tyrion was not the only person who had influences over the young King's decision making. Joffrey would moan about his duties to his betrothed and she, in return, would offer advice subtly steering Joffrey towards decisions that favored the Tyrells and Baelish. She was so cunning that the young King had no idea he was being played. When Sansa saw her husband sporting his overly pleased grin, she could wait no longer so she linked her fingers through his and led him to an unused room in the brothel.

No sooner was the door closed that Baelish launched on her, almost tearing through her smallclothes, licking and nipping at her pearl inserting a finger inside of her and pumping it wildly. Sansa's back arched and her hand went to Baelish's hair. She cried his name and it could be heard throughout the brothel but her voice was not the only one. Hearing other women being bedded was something Sansa found incredibly arousing. Watching another woman ride one of her husband's patrons would always make her wet without fail.

Her hips rutted against him and Baelish placed his free hand on her in order to keep her still. Sansa bit her lips holding back a whimper as heat began to build in her stomach. It wasn't long before she felt that familiar burst echoed through her body. She could feel his lips kiss the inside of her thigh as she attempted to catch her breath. He kissed up her leg and over the top of her stomach. His lips lingered longer on her breasts as she began to come down from her release.

Baelish broke away from her breasts and latched onto her lips. They kissed and Sansa widened her legs so he could fit more comfortably between them. The broke apart and Baelish took himself in hand. He positioned his member at her entrance and pushed inside. Sansa hissed in pleasure at the feel of him. Her feet ran the length of his leg as he rotated his hips, thrusting in and out of her as fast as he could.

Sansa dug her nails in his back, leaving bright red marks in their wake. Baelish fastened his lips onto her neck, biting and sucking at her while they moved in sync. He pulled away and moved to a sitting position. Sansa crawled onto her husband’s lap and aligned herself once again. She sank down onto him and circled her hips, resuming their bedding session. Baelish dug his fingers into her hips and groaned at the contact. Up, down, up, down; the movement was repeated over and over; faster and faster with their screams of pleasure echoing throughout the chamber.

It wasn’t long before the two of them could feel the other nearing their release. Not wanting to leave Sansa unsatisfied, Baelish moved his finger to her nub and twirled it in a circular motion. She cried out his name, arching her back causing her breasts to press against his bare chest. Baelish felt her muscles clench around him and he fell over the edge with her. Sansa wrapped her arms around his shoulders and rested her head in the crook of his neck. Their breathing was heavy and he could feel his heart beat slow as he drew small circles on her back.

After a moment, Sansa let him go and fell on her back causing her red hair to spread across the silk covered pillow. Baelish followed suit and laid next to her. He took her hand in his, linking their fingers, and kissed the back of it. She closed her eyes and slowly began to drift. Baelish chuckled and propped himself up on his elbow, looking down at his dozing wife with a warm smile. He leaned forward and kissed her nose and then both of her eyelids. Sansa groaned and swatted at him, causing him to laugh.

“Exhausted Sweetling?” Baelish teased and Sansa whined at being disturbed. She nodded and snuggled into his side. He shifted and opened his arms, allowing her to wrap herself around him. He held her close and kissed the top of her head before burring his face in her hair. He inhaled deeply, allowing Sansa’s scent to wash over him. “Perhaps I have ravaged you too much.”

“Never.” Sansa’s muffled reply came. They laid there for a few moments, Baelish running his fingers through her hair as she drifted in and out of sleep. After a time, Baelish leaned down and kissed the top of her head again before pulling away. Sansa groaned and tightened her hold on him. He chuckled, making her open her blue eyes and glare at him in mock fury. It was clear that she wanted to sleep and not to be disturbed. “Where are you going?”

“I have a brothel to run and whores to keep in line. Sleep. I will be nearby.” Baelish whispered, untangling himself from his wife. He slid out of bed and picked up his dark breeches off the ground. He fastened himself then grabbed the maroon silk tunic making sure to look presentable once more. Sansa lay on the bed, watching her husband dress. She always enjoyed watching him get ready in the morning, adoring how his back flexed as he moved his arms. It was a common occurrence for Baelish to be the first to rise and Sansa would linger in bed to watch him prepare for the day.

He didn’t finish dressing however, content to leave his coat and the silver mockingbird pin attached to it, linger on the ground. His boots remained discarded as well as he walked barefoot toward the door to pick up his ledger. They had both been in such a hurry to disrobe each other that it had tumbled to the floor forgotten. He settled himself in a plush chair in the corner and began reviewing what Sansa assumed were financial matters of Westeros.

Sansa napped for a time only waking when a knock sounded at the door. Baelish looked up. His brow creased in annoyance as he closed the ledger and headed toward the door. Sansa reached down and pulled the silk sheet over her in order to cover herself. She sat up in bed as her husband opened the door to reveal Ros standing behind it. She seemed nervous as she noticed that Sansa was naked in bed. In Ros’s profession she was used to seeing naked women all the time but none of them were Lord Baelish’s wife. She wondered if Baelish had put a rule in place about disturbing them when they were alone.

“I’m sorry my lord but this was just delivered and it seemed rather urgent.” Ros stated and handed the parchment she had been carrying to Baelish. He opened the letter and stepped away from the door. Ros stepped into the room as Baelish continued to read the letter. Sansa noticed a spark in his grey-green eyes and a wide smirk appeared on his features. Whatever news Baelish had received pleased him greatly. The way the lines crinkled as he smiled and the brightness in his eyes made Sansa smile at him. Witnessing his joy made her cold insides melt.

“Oh Tyrion, you brilliant, foolish dwarf.” He laughed and turned quickly to grab his coat. “Ros, help Lady Baelish dress. We don't have much time.” Baelish commanded with a snap of his fingers, before leaving the room. Ros gathered the remaining discarded clothing littering the floor. Sansa pulled herself from the bed and allowed Ros to push and pull at her. She stepped into the shift and allowed Ros to tie the corset around her waist. She put her arms into the dark blue dress and tied the front as Ros ran a brush through her hair.

Baelish returned with two black cloaks in his hand. He strolled over to Sansa and handed her one before continuing to dress himself. She fastened it around her shoulders, watching as her husband did the same. She was very curious as to what news would prompt her husband to this haste. He thanked Ros who nodded and left the room, closing the door behind her. Baelish turned Sansa around and quickly began to braid her hair.

“Petyr, what is going on?” She asked as his skilled fingers made quick work of her hair. Once she could tell that he was finished she turned to look at him. He placed his hands on both of her shoulders, grabbing the hood in his hands and pulling it up over her head, covering her hair completely. He then did the same thing to his own hood. “Where are we going?”

“Lord Tyrion has been a very busy boy. He is no fool and realizes that his sister will not be rotting in a cell forever so he is using his time wisely.” Baelish whispered and linked their hands together.

It was true, since Cersei's downfall Tyrion has made some interesting moves. Cersei had been certain that her brother was behind her arrest and she was correct. Joffrey had called for her head but it was Tyrion who reasoned with the King during the small council meeting and convinced him to imprison her in order to await a trial. However, he knew that once Tywin got wind of Cersei's arrest, he would come to the Capitol as quickly as he could, cutting Tyrion's reign as Hand of the King short. He took control of Joffrey, scolding him and guiding him in a way that his mother never did, allowing Margaery to play the dutiful shoulder to cry upon. When Joffrey would rage at the being talked down to and proclaim himself King, Tyrion would always have some rebuttal. He took control of the small council, advising the King far better than Cersei ever did. He viewed the royal ledgers and attempted to find ways in order to bring Westeros out of debt. He removed Cersei's spies and loyal advocates, banishing them so once Cersei was released she would have no one on her side, other than her father and her brother Jaime.

All the while Baelish stepped aside and allowed the dwarf his control. The moves he made neither benefited nor harmed them. Baelish had buried his dealings well enough that one would have to be looking specifically for his deceptions in order to spot them. If Tyrion had, he said nothing. Baelish still harbored some anger toward him but hid it well. He went about as though their agreement was still in place yet Sansa knew that one day Baelish would punish the dwarf for not controlling his nephew better.

Baelish pulled Sansa through the brothel and out a back entrance in order to avoid being seen. It was dusk and darkness was slowly falling over King's Landing. They weaved through alleyways and streets, getting farther and farther away from the brothel and the Red Keep. Her feet began to ache from walking at a brisk pace for so long and she was thankful when they finally reached a tavern located on the far end of the Capitol.

The tavern was dark and but the sound of drunken laughter could be heard from inside. A few people stumbled outside, obviously inebriated as the couple walked through the door. A whiff of ale and human body odor hit Sansa full force, causing her stomach to churn. She gagged and Baelish looked at her with concern. She brought her hand to her lips and closed her eyes, waiting for the nausea to pass.

“I'm alright.” She whispered. “Really. What are we doing here?”

“One of my men owns this bar.” Baelish stated as he looked her over, making sure that she was indeed alright. “He keeps me informed of anything of interest that may happen in this part of King's Landing. A man was spotted entering the tavern a few hours ago, hoping to have a room for the night.” He leaned forward and kissed the top of her head before whispering in her ear. “I need you to stay close to me. Do not leave my side.” Sansa nodded and linked her hand with his again.

“What does this have to do with Lord Tyrion?” Baelish just smirked at her and pulled her into the tavern. The inside was just as dark as the outside but far dirtier. The men who drank around the tables were not of the honorable sort. Their eyes drifted over her and they licked their lips. Baelish held her close to him, claiming his territory as his eyes drifted over the crowd. Sansa felt chills run up her body and was relieved when her husband pulled her toward the back and away from the crowd. There was a man seated alone. Sansa could not make him out, only seeing a hooded figure hunched over a table.

“You've had a rather interesting week I hear.” Baelish proclaimed and Ser Barristan Selmy looked up. He looked haggard, worn and hidden by his dark cloak. There was a fresh bruise gracing his cheek and his lip was cut. Baelish sat upon the stool across from Barristan while Sansa stood over his shoulder, hidden by the shadows. “Arresting the Queen and being dismissed from your position all within the span of a few days. That’s impressive.”

“Lord Baelish, I shouldn't be surprised. I’m sure that you own this tavern or someone who does at least.” Barristan picked up a dirty wooden cup and drank deeply from it. Sansa could smell the ale from where she stood but the knight didn't appear to be drunk. He just seemed sad. It startled Sansa slightly to hear of Barristan being dismissed. He was loyal to the throne and possibly one of the few honorable people left at court. “The imp replaced me with that man of his. Bronn I think his name is.” Tyrion now controlled the gold cloaks and as long as Bronn stayed in that position, Tyrion always would.

“And what excuse did the dwarf give for excusing you?” Baelish asked. Sansa moved closer and sat next to her husband, appearing in front of Barristan for the first time. The elder man seemed shocked to see her in such a place but said nothing. It was clear that the man seemed surprised that Baelish would bring his wife to tavern with drunken men with no honor. Barristan had pitied her when he heard the whispers of Baelish’s marriage, thinking back on how a lovely girl such as Sansa was forced to marry a man such as Baelish. While he never really viewed Baelish as a threat of any sort, he didn’t trust the man either. Barristan hated the games being played in court and did his best to steer clear of them, only obeying the vows he had taken when he joined the King’s Guard.

However, his opinion changed when he arrested the Queen. He was surprised to learn that the Queen was not alone when the warrant was issued, instead having a luncheon with Lady Baelish. When Cersei was dragged away, for a brief second he saw the flicker of enjoyment cross Sansa's features. He swore he only imagined it but over the next few days he paid close attention to her; how she spoke with others, acted with those she liked and disliked but most importantly, how she was with her husband. Barristan quickly realized that the daughter of the honorable Lord Eddard Stark had become a cold and distant woman.

Sansa returned the knight’s gaze, only breaking away when she sat her hand upon the table and quickly pulling it away coated in a sticky substance that she could not identify. The table was filthy, covered in dirt, food and stains. For a brief second Sansa shuddered. Even in Winterfell during the cold winter season when mud would be tracked throughout the castle, she had never seen anything like this. She was not used to a place as disgusting as this tavern. It was nauseating and Sansa didn’t want to touch the table top with her bare hands again, so she placed them in her lap; the imitating a perfect lady. She scowled and Barristan laughed cynically at her. The thought of how Ned’s daughter could turn into such a creature saddened him. He never believed the rumors of Sansa’s reputation to be true, or at least that she had been taken by the King willingly; neither did the rest of the court. Most pitied her and found her to be this sweet and pure lady of the North. Barristan wondered how many people she had fooled.

“He said I was growing too old for my position. What use is it to you?” He leaned back in the wooden chair and crossed his arms. His eyes darted between the two of them and grew uneasy when Baelish smirked at him.

“You’re an honorable man, Ser Barristan. You made vows to protect the King and never wavered in that regard, even when the King did not deserve such loyalty.” Sansa listened to her husband and realized why he brought her along. It was a learning opportunity and Baelish was always eager to teach her how to play the game of thrones. “You served under the Mad King, something that could not have been enjoyable. Were you relieved when King Robert took the throne only to learn that he was a drunken fool? And the Queen, well…she never was a kind woman was she? And her son who now sits upon the Iron Throne, almost as though the Mad King ruled again.”

“What are you after Lord Baelish?”

“How would you like to serve a monarch who truly deserves the title? Not a boy who likes to torture small animals in his spare time?” Baelish’s smirk grew wide and Sansa looked at him in confusion. Margaery? Tommen? She knew that they were hoping to place Margaery in a position of power in order to rule over Westeros alongside Tommen one day. It was unclear if Baelish was promising Barristan a position back with the King’s Guard once that day came to pass. Even if Tommen became king, how would Baelish achieve such a goal when the Lannister would still be sitting on the throne?

Perhaps once Margaery gave Tommen a son, the King could be disposed of? Margaery would rule in her husband’s stead until her son became of age? That could be years and Margaery would have time to overhaul the entire Seven Kingdoms. The child could be groomed to Baelish’s satisfaction to the point that when that child sat on the throne, Baelish would be able to pull the strings from behind the scenes.

“And where would I find such a King?”

“I never said anything about a king.” Baelish smiled wide and it was clear that he had Barristan’s attention. “It is no secret that you were fond of Rhaegar Targaryen. He was an impressive man and would have made a great King. However, his sister is far more impressive.” Sansa’s eyes grew wide. What Baelish was speaking of, was beyond treason. She had heard whispers of the Mother of Dragons but knew only very little of her. “Daenerys Targaryen has conquered several cities in Slaver's Bay, freeing the slaves and is ruling as Queen in the city of Meereen. She has raised three full-grown dragons and has an army of Unsullied who are devoted to her. She has been compared to her brother Rhaegar. Tell me, would you serve her?”

Barristan was quiet but Sansa could see the curiosity in the knight's eyes. She had never known Rhaegar Targaryen but she was raised with the knowledge that he was nothing more than a monster. The story she had learned was that he fell in love with her aunt Lyanna, kidnapped her, raped her and then murdered her. It wasn't until Baelish told her of the tragic love the two had shared and how her death started a war leading to Robert's Rebellion. While she knew the truth, she still found it odd that someone would admire the deceased prince. Yet, Barristan served directly under him and if what her husband said was true, he respected the young man far more than he did the currant monarch.

“You're not a man of selfless acts. If I do cross the narrow sea and travel to Meereen, what would you get out of me serving Queen Daenerys?” Sansa noticed how he referred to Daenerys as Queen. It was as though he already made his decision to pledge his loyalty to her. Her eyes flickered to Baelish and it was clear he noticed the same wording as she did.

“Nothing much.” Baelish leaned forward and threw that wide crinkled smile at him. “The Lannisters will not be in power forever. They are already beginning to fall. Cersei rots in a cell, Myrcella and Tommen hate Joffrey and will turn on him. Joffrey has no one loyal to him, not even his family. When Tywin Lannister rides for the Capitol, he will release his daughter, turning the King against him. The Lannisters will tear themselves apart, piece by piece, leaving the throne for the taking.” Baelish stood and held out his hand. Sansa took his readily and stood. “I will send you a raven from time to time, with news about the goings on in Westeros. All you would have to do is inform the Queen and make sure she is aware where the information came from.” Barristan shook his head and took a large gulp of the ale in his cup.

“I feel as though I am making a deal with the devil.” There is was, a deal made in a dingy tavern in the outskirts of King's Landing, one that would be considered treason. If the wrong person heard it, Sansa's and Baelish's heads would be displayed for everyone to see.

“Perhaps you are.”

Chapter Text

The throne room was empty, an uncommon occurrence to be sure. The pillars stood tall, from floor to ceiling, ivy weaving its way around the heavy stone, reminding Sansa of the fairytales she loved as a child. The marble floor sparkled and shined as her boots trailed across them, each of her steps echoing off the walls and the vast empty space was far more intimidating now, than when it was filled with people.

The stone steps that led to the Iron Throne were far thicker than she anticipated. Sansa and Arya sat upon them and the elder girl allowed her mind to drift. This was where her grandfather, who died long before she was ever conceived, burned to death. The Mad King lit him on fire when he demanded a trial by combat. If she closed her eyes, she could see the flames and his screams resonate throughout the hall. She could smell the stench of burning flesh mingle with the sweet aroma that always seemed to linger around the throne.

When her eyes opened she saw Arya glaring at the throne. It was an ugly thing; made completely of iron and the points of the swords rose high, towards the ceiling. The throne was fashioned entirely out of enemy swords by Aegon I Targaryen when he first conquered the Seven Kingdoms. She wondered about the Targaryen dynasty and if it would be more suitable than the Lannister one. Some say that the gods flipped a coin each time a Targaryen was born; they would either be brilliant or completely mad. If the Targaryen queen proved to be mad, Sansa would willing watch her torture each member of the court if it meant the Lannisters were no longer in power.

Arya never moved her eyes from the throne. It was as though she was willing it to burn or shatter. If she could reach up and pull each sword from its place, she wouldn't hesitate to do so. Arya had been quiet of late. Every time Sansa tried to engage her, her sister pulled away. She knew that Lancel's death weighed heavily on her. The idea of taking a life in order to repay justice was heroic and romantic but the reality was far from that. Lancel's lifeless body hanging from a rope haunted her dreams, much like some faceless girl haunted Sansa. Blood was on both their hands but they wore their heads high and marched forward, just like they always would.

A name had not passed her lips since the first one. She knew she had two more people who would die but part of her was just not ready to find H'ghar just yet. Arya knew she would, when the pain faded slightly and the dreams began to drift away. Sansa had been hardened long before Arya, who was just beginning to build that stone wall deep inside of herself. Sansa's had been in place for so long that manipulating Lancel's death felt as though it was second nature.

Arya pushed herself off the grey stone steps and walked toward the throne. She reached out and ran her hand over the armrest stroking it for a moment with a blank look on her face. Sansa stood and moved toward her sister. She placed her hands on her shoulders and rested her chin on the top of her hand. Arya leaned into her and the two of them looked at the throne.

“It's grotesque.” Arya blurted out and Sansa giggled. Her laughter rang through the halls, bouncing off the pillars. Her body vibrated and Arya cracked a wicked smile. She turned her head toward her sister and Sansa saw that mischievous gleam in her eye. “Sit on it!”

“What? No!” Sansa exclaimed with a high-pitched squeak. Arya tossed her head back and laughed. The shock on Sansa's face was far too amusing for Arya to hold her laughter back. The elder girl narrowed her eyes and shook her head. She was right of course; the throne was disturbing.

“What, you don't want to be Queen?” While many would itch to sit on this seat of swords, Sansa never wanted such a horrid burden. She found that she would make a terrible queen and the risks associated with such a position were too high for her liking. She would much rather control everything from behind the hideous chair.

“No. Never.” Arya smiled gently at her. She turned and wrapped her arms around her middle, the two of them just glaring at the throne. At one point, Sansa had wanted nothing more than to be queen. She wanted to rule at Joffrey's side and to be loved by all of Westeros. Now, she would give almost anything to avoid that crown upon her head.

The throne room doors opened and the two girls turned quickly at the noise. Myrcella and Tommen entered, speaking in hushed tones. The two siblings have been inseparable since Cersei's imprisonment. It was widely known that Myrcella had begged her brother to allow them to visit the Queen but he refused the request. Arya had found it strange that either sibling would want contact with the woman who murdered their father but Sansa held her tongue. It was clear that Myrcella was no fool and knew exactly who her true father was; however it remained unclear if Tommen knew the truth. Whether he knew or not, Margaery had done her job well enough and Tommen felt no compassion for his brother.

The two blond siblings stopped when they saw that they were not alone. They shared a look and the two of the strolled forward. While Tommen could be considered handsome, it was offset by his sister’s beauty. Myrcella was far more lovely than any woman Sansa had ever seen. What made her frightening was how intelligent she was behind that stunning face. Her lips broke into a sad smile as she engulfed Sansa into an embrace then, did the exact same to Arya, who was far more surprised than Sansa had been.

“I just heard. I'm so sorry.” The princess stated and the sisters exchanged a confused look. Myrcella's eyes drifted between the two of them and grew concerned. “Do you not know?” Her hand reached out and gripped Sansa's forearm. She gave a gentle squeeze and it took everything Sansa had not to pull away from her. The touches outside of her family and Baelish were something she was not comfortable with.

“What are you talking about?”

Myrcella's eyes went wide and her head turned toward her brother as though she didn't know what to say. Whatever she had to say made Sansa grow nervous. She could feel her stomach drop, knowing that whatever news the princess was reluctant to share would be serious, and the more the silence stretched, the more concerned Sansa grew. Arya seemed nervous as well and it was clear that she was thinking along the same lines.

The door opened again and Baelish hurried into the hall. His grey-green eyes searched the entire room and once they landed upon Sansa, he couldn’t quite hide his sadness. To anyone who didn't know him as she did, it would appear as though he was completely unaffected; however the minuscule expression that he was displaying caused her insides to knot. Something was horribly wrong and whatever it was Sansa's blood ran cold. She inhaled and it was as though she was in the North again; that sharp pain pierced her lungs, tearing it to shreds.

Once Myrcella saw Baelish approach, she turned and grabbed Tommen, who remained silent during the whole exchange and pulled him aside The royal siblings stayed by the Iron Throne and Sansa couldn't help but notice how Myrcella would turn and glance at them as though she was curious as to what was about to happen.

“Sansa...”

“What is going on Petyr?” He was quiet, only looking at her. He had never been in this position before. When delivering bad news he had never been one to spare the other person's emotions. Now however, Sansa meant the world to him, how she reacted actually mattered to him. He hated to see her in pain and he knew that she already carried a shroud of pain about her. “Tell me.”

Arya stepped toward her sister and placed her hand on Sansa's shoulder. She reached up and grasped her hand tightly, bracing for the worst. Arya was just as concerned because Baelish's eyes would flicker over to her every few seconds as though it would affect both of them. Baelish took a deep breath, as though he was accepting his fate.

“There was a raven from the North, from Maester Luwin.” Sansa nodded, urging him to continue. “It appears that it became common knowledge that your father and Robb were heading South to pledge their loyalty to the new King. Word traveled to the Iron Island's and Theon gathered a few banner-man and attempted to invade Winterfell.” Baelish said and his wife could feel a sharp pierce through her lungs again. Theon's face crept into her mind and the furious glare he had given her moments before his carriage left, taking him and his new bride away from her forever, mocked her. Her free hand went to her wrist remembering the sprain that he left there.

“Attempted? Meaning they didn't succeed?” Arya whispered. While she felt that she was needed in King's Landing, she had longed for Winterfell and for home. She had prayed to the Old Gods, wishing that they could turn back time and resurrect Bran from the dead. She wanted nothing more than the Lannisters to never have come to Winterfell, leaving them in peace. Yet she knew that would never happen and she would be forced to live in the nightmare they were dealt.

“They held Winterfell for a few days before some northern men rallied and overthrew Theon and his men. They were able to regain control but not without damage to Winterfell itself.” Baelish paused looking at Sansa. “And not without some losses.”

“Who?”

“Ser Rodrick. He was executed for defying Theon's wishes. Theon demanded he bow to him and he refused, calling him a traitor.” Arya wrapped her arms around herself and sniffed. She had always been close with Ser Rodrick ever since they began their training lessons. He became like a second father to her in many ways. He was a shoulder for her to lean on when she needed advice that she didn't feel comfortable going to her father for. Sansa reached her arms out and brought Arya toward her chest.

“Who else?” Silence. “Petyr, who else?”

“Rickon.” Her baby brother's name sounded like a crack in spring ice. She felt her heart completely still for a beat before she willed it to start beating again. It felt as though the air was sucked from the room, making it impossible to breath. The only thing Sansa could focus on was worried expression her husband was giving her. “Catelyn challenged Theon, she wasn't going to allow him control over Winterfell. Rickon got in between them in order to protect her. Theon had been drinking... Rickon died in your mother's arms.”

Sansa closed her eyes and remembered how her mother cried when Bran died. Those haunting screams that only a mother who lost a child could produce. It was a pain that rivaled no other. She sat by Bran's bedside as he slowly died and Sansa could only imagine how devastating it would have been to watch her youngest child bleed out in her arms.

“Did Maester Luwin say how my mother was handling it?” Sansa asked in a hoarse voice. She was patching herself together as best as she could. Arya was trembling in her arms, unable to contain the sobs that wracked her body. Sansa knew her self-control would only last so lo