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Alone On Christmas? Mad At Dad?

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Westeros > King’s Landing Area > King’s LandingPersonals > Casual Encounters

Alone on Christmas? Mad At Dad?

I am a 29 year old felon with no high school degree, visible tattoos, long hair, and a dirty old van, one year younger than me painted like Eddie Van Halen’s guitar. I also have a souped up “death” car. Your choice. I can play anywhere between the ages of 25 and 35, depending on if I shave. I’m a damn good line cook at one of the greasiest diners in town, and work late nights at a bar on the weekends. My specialty drink is anything involving rum. Due to a childhood incident, I also have some wicked looking scars on half my face that are guaranteed to worry your parents. I can say I got them from my time in prison.

If you’d like to have me as your strictly platonic date for Christmas, or any family gathering for that matter, but have me pretend to be in a very long term or serious relationship with you, to torment your family, I’m game.

I can do the following, at your request:

-Openly hit on other female guests while you act like you don’t notice
-Start instigative discussions about politics and/or religion
-Propose to you in front of everyone (really cheap ring or a Ring Pop, your choice)
-Pretend to be really drunk as the evening goes on (I don’t drink much anymore, but I used to, a lot, so I know the drill)
-Start an actual, physical fight with a family member, either inside or on the front lawn for all the neighbors to see

I require no payment, but the free meal I will receive as a guest, and possible gas money if it requires going out of King’s Landing.

• do NOT contact me with unsolicited offers or services

**********

November 27 - Sansa

“Aunt Lysa is calling me. Why is Aunt Lysa calling me?” Arya asked her sister. Sansa looked down, guilt written as clearly across her face as if it had been written on her forehead.

“Um... I may have declined her calls…for the past week?” Sansa said, her voice rising in pitch. She was terrible at keeping secrets, but this was just so embarrassing!

“Uh, ok, spill.” She declined the call from their aunt, but Arya was old hat at that. Sansa, on the other hand, she was practically a mini clone of Catelyn Stark, sister to their crazy aunt, and the personification of the Tully Code. She could have a tattoo of Family, Duty, Honor on her arm and no one would bat an eye. She never avoided family, and to do so would mean something awful. And it was awful. Not world-shattering. More like I dropped a glass, it shattered into a million pieces, and now I have to pick them up by hand.

“Aunt Lysa is… Remember how she decided to play matchmaker with Robb?”

“Yeah, of course. Set up a blind date with Merry Frey. They hit it off and got married, two kids.” Arya sipped her coffee. That was old news.

“And how she matched up Jon?”

“Never thought he'd go for a wildling girl, but I love Ygritte,” Arya said. “I even like their hellspawn.”

“Me too. She's great. And what about Theon?”

“He's still dating Olyvar, another match by Aunt Lysa.” Again, old news.

“And you and Pod?”

“Complete fluke that I fell for him, but yeah.” Arya was getting impatient.

Sansa winced. “Well, she decided to set her sights on me, except…”

“Except?”

“All her matches are terrible! Five guys! And all five of them are either creeps or gay! Now she's bugging me about this other one, so I've… been…” She sighed. “I've been avoiding her. Mom says she's invited the guy to Christmas dinner. And if we were having Christmas at Winterfell this year, she could do something about it…”

“But Aunt Lysa is hosting this year,” Arya finished for her.

“Yeah. And I can't avoid Christmas!” Sansa slumped across their kitchen table. Her dog, Lady, lay her head down on the table as well, looking back and forth between the two Starks. “Maybe I should just meet the guy…”

“Or…”

“Or you could take a stand. Prank her. I know a guy. Well, Pod knows a guy. He's been doing this for a few years now. Basically, he hires himself out as a fake boyfriend. Only asks for gas money and a free meal. He's got a personal ad. Lemme look it up.” Arya went over to their computer and started searching Craster’s List. “Here we go! Super easy to find.”

Sansa came over and read the ad over Arya's shoulder. “Scars? Tattoos? I don't know, I just want Aunt Lysa to stop. I get the feeling this will just make it worse.”

Arya swiveled in her chair to face Sansa. “Ok, hear me out. This may or may not work, but it would be really funny no matter what. Hire the guy. Get him to do the whole act. Then at the end, tell her the truth, and then say you appreciate her efforts, but you'll find love when you find it. Sort of like a shock therapy treatment, I suppose.”

“I don't know… is he actually a nice guy?”

“Hell if I know. You could meet him? Talk to him about it? Like I said, Pod knows him. It would be easy to set up a meet.”

“I guess that would be ok…”

Arya grabbed her phone and texted furiously. “Ok, he'll meet you this evening at the diner he works at. Seven ‘o clock. Don't be late.”

**********

Sansa got to the diner at fifteen ‘til seven. He was not kidding about the grease, she thought as she walked into the place. She could feel the difference in the air as soon as she stepped inside. Pod had given her the guy's number and she texted him to let him know she was there already and apologized for being early.

SClegane: don't worry about it. be with you in a minute. sit at the end of the counter, near the kitchen door.

She sighed and found the spot he indicated. The place was nearly empty, but from what she could tell, the diner’s rush hours were at the beginning and ends of shifts. Ah, shift work. I do NOT miss that. She ordered a coffee from the waitress, a busty redhead named Ros, and waited for this Sandor guy to make an appearance.

Chapter Text

November 27 cont.

Shit. Sandor grabbed his phone and ran to the back restroom.

SC: WTF DUDE. you didn't tell me she was gorgeous!?!

Pod: does that matter?

SC: when the chick is THAT ridiculously good looking!? FUCK YES. IT MATTERS

Pod: sorry! i didn't know!! that it mattered, i mean

SC: she looks nothing like your wife. are you sure they're sisters?

Pod: harsh, man. yes, they're born of the same parents. Arya takes after their dad. Sansa takes after their mom. do you want to back out? she was on the fence about the entire thing anyway

SC: might be running as soon as she fucking sees me anyway

Pod: she KNOWS about your scars.

Sandor could practically see his friend’s eyeroll. He had been hanging around Arya too long to not be doing it.

Pod: it was in your ad, remember? and… i sort of showed her a picture of us from the last LARP session we did.

SC: …

Fuck.

She knows about that?

Pod: yeah, sorry. she was bugging me for a photo and it was the only one I had! she thought it was cool tho. said you looked awesome in that red tunic, the one with the dog on the front.

SC: I'm so sure. Ok, going out there.

Sandor straightened his clothing and his hair as best he could. He had been doing this schtick for nearly three years now, and plenty of the girls (and a few guys) had been knockouts, but this one, this Sansa, sister to the wife of his friend, she put them all to shame.

He walked back through the kitchen and out the side door. She turned to him and her eyes went wide.

Fuck…I knew it, I fucking knew it...

“By the Seven, you're really tall!” she exclaimed.  

That’s… that's a new one...

“I mean, I expected you to be tall, but jeez! How tall are you?” She got up and stood next to him, using her hand to measure herself against his shoulder. “Wow. I barely come up to your shoulders.”

“Uh, six foot, seven inches… how tall are you?”

“Five foot, eight inches,” she replied. “Tallest one in my family if I wear heels. My brother Robb is the same height as me, if I wear flats.”

“Ah.” He felt awkward.

“Oh, right, probably should get down to business.” She sat back down, this time at a table. He sat down, trying to remember she was just another woman, needing his assistance. He had done this dozens of times before.

“So what exactly is the situation?” he asked. “Parents bugging you?”

“My aunt, actually. She's been playing matchmaker with all of my brothers and with my sister, and she's been successful, but when she set her sights on me…” She raised her hands up in defeat. “I tried to talk to her about it, but she insists she can find me someone, if I just give them a chance. But, I'm actually fine with being single. I have my sister, a few close friends, my dog… I don't need a man to be happy. She is NOT accepting that as an answer though.”

“You have a dog?”

She smiled. “Yeah, my fur baby, Lady. She's great. A weimaraner. Huge, but really just a big puppy.”

“You seem like a cat person.”

She laughed, a lyrical bell sound. “Cats are nice, but I'm actually allergic to them.”

“Oh.”

“You? Cats or dogs? Or other?”

“Dogs. Cats are alright, but totally dogs. Horses are pretty cool, too.” He wasn't sure why he was making small talk, but he almost felt like a natural at it.

“Yeah? Pod said you guys sometimes ride horses for the larp thing?”

“Ah, sometimes, yeah…”

She touched his hand, sending sparks flying through his skin. “It seems like a lot of fun. Really, it does.”

“Uh, so, your aunt… what are you thinking there?” He couldn't help it, but he was flailing. Returning to the topic of fake dating was his safety zone.

Her hand stayed on his for a few more seconds before she pulled it back. “I don't know. Arya said to hire you as a short of shock treatment, and then when we're leaving, tell her the truth. But I think that just showing her I ‘found’ someone will be enough.”

“Might work. Whichever one you feel more comfortable with is fine by me, just so long as I know which one to go with. Certainly doable on my end. When is this for?”

“Christmas. And it would be in the Vale, but since you live in town, you can ride with me, Arya and Pod. Are you available?”

He nodded. “Yeah, no family to celebrate Christmas with.”

“Oh, I'm sorry…”

“Don't be. Parents passed away a while ago, elder brother is in jail, and my younger sister is finding herself as she hobos her way across Essos.” He shook his head. “She should just admit she likes living like a nomad and be done with it.”

“She sounds fun.” She smiled at him again. Damn, she's even prettier when she smiles.

“So, how much do you want me to do?” The idea of proposing to this woman was giving him palpitations, though he could easily start a fight over her. For her. Damnit.

“Hmmm… I guess, if you could just pretend we've been dating? I honestly don't need you to be overtly awful, like you described in your ad. She, my aunt, knows for a fact that I was single as of last week, so I'll tell her we started dating and the reason I was avoiding her was because I didn't want to hurt her feelings.” She stared off into the distance for a moment. “Is it strange?”

“What?”

“To go into a home and pretend to be this...character? Just so someone can mess with their family?”

“A little.”

“Why do you do it?” She seemed genuinely interested and the diner wasn't exactly busy.

He shrugged and decided to give her the short version. “Started off as a favor for a friend. Ros over there?” He pointed to his co-worker. “Her parents are royal pricks about the fact that she works for a living. Keep telling her to find a rich husband so they can live the good life. One look at me and they stopped talking to her. It's a lot of pricks that usually contact me, to be honest, but once in awhile, like Ros and you, it's just people who need a little help.” He shrugged a second time. “And I get bored. It's kind of fun, as long as you can take the horrified looks.”

“Hmmm…” She didn't say anything, just looked at him thoughtfully as she considered his words. “Well, I look forward to working with you. I suppose we can text each other to learn details a couple should know about?”

He usually just asked for an info sheet but didn't mention that. “Yeah, that’s fine. I better get back to work.”

“Give me your phone first,” she said, holding her hand out.

“I already have your number.”

She rolled her eyes. “I know. I just want to add in some info.”

“Fine, fine. Give it to Ros when you're done, alright?” He unlocked it, opened it up to the contacts, and handed it over. “I'll be watching to make sure you don't mess it up.”

“You're doing me a favor. Why would I mess up your phone? It's just rude.” He put his hands up and walked back to the kitchen. Several minutes later, Ros handed him his phone as Sansa waved goodbye to him. She's got a nice ass, too, he thought, the door jangling shut behind her.

“She seems nice,” Ros said. “Very sweet. Not like that last bitch.”

“Yeah, she was something else, wasn't she?” He looked down at his phone. The contact info was still open, so it was easy to see what changes she had made. Her home address, a short list of possible nicknames in the notes section and a photo. Several photos, he realized, once he opened the photo gallery app. She had attached one of her doing a simple smile. The rest were of her making various faces. He snorted at the one of her crossing her eyes and pressing her finger to her nose to make herself look like a pig. She’s got a sense of humor, he thought with a smile.

SC: What’s with all the photos?

SansaStark: I hate being a faceless contact in someone’s phone. Just giving you some options. I put the “normal” one in, but feel free to change it! :)

SC: you’re a little odd :) most people wouldn’t be this into a fake relationship

SansaStark: I prefer the term “quirky” :D and I believe in giving my all in everything I try at. 110%!

SC: Very odd. I mean quirky. ha ha

SansaStark: :P

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December 22

“What are you smiling at?” Arya asked. Sansa looked up quickly from her phone.

“Nothing! Just a cute photo of Lady. Wanna see?” She held up her phone, but Arya turned to the actual dog.

“Why would I want to see a photo of this dumbutt when I can just look into her dumb eyes?” She leaned down and pet Lady’s head, scratching behind the ears. “Who’s a big, dumb puppy? Are you a big, dumb puppy? Yes you are!” Lady licked happily at Arya’s face.

“Arya…”

“I know, I know, don’t tease her. One day, she’ll maul me in revenge.” Arya sighed and got a biscuit out for Lady. “She’s such a doofy dog though! I can’t help it.” She heard Sansa grumbling behind her. “So you ready to take the ‘boyfriend’ to meet the parents and crazy aunt?”

“Yeah. He wants to take his own car, but I was thinking I should probably go with him, make sure he doesn’t get lost. Remember what happened to Pod that first year?”  

Arya turned. “Oh...yeah...you should probably ride with him. So are you going to ask him to do anything outrageous? I was kind of hoping to see him pick a fight with someone. Dude could do some damage.” She hopped onto the sofa closest to the tv and kicked her feet up over the armrest. “Or the politics talk? Oh oh oh! Is he going to hit on the other women there?”

“What?! No! He’s not going to do any of those things.”

Arya narrowed her eyes at her sister. “What about the proposing thing?”

Sansa went bright red. “Um, probably not…”

“What about the drunkenness?” It was starting to sound boring. “C’mon, you gotta give the guy something to do!”

“He’s just going to be there. Pretending to be my boyfriend. That’s all.”

“That’s all?”

“Yep.” Sansa gave her a small smile.

“That’s the most boring thing I’ve ever heard.”

Sansa rolled her eyes. “Well, I’m sorry, but he’s a really nice guy and I feel bad making him do that stuff! I just want Aunt Lysa to back off, I don’t want to scare her! Oh, but he did say if I change my mind, I can just whisper it to him. And he suggested that I get some matching ink,” she said, pulling down the neck of her shirt a bit. Arya gaped at the little bird tattoo now sitting on her sister’s chest.

“No way! When did you get a tattoo??”

“It’s not real. It’s semi-permanent ink. Stays on for about a week, and then fades away completely two more weeks after that. Neat, huh?” Sansa asked, all sparkles and smiles.

“That’s… that’s devious. I like it!”

Sansa giggled. “I thought you might. I bought a kit. I can do some on you. I was thinking of adding some more, like lacey lines around my wrists.”

“How’d you draw the bird on there though? Looks like a difficult angle,” Arya asked peering closely at it. It just looked so real.

“Oh, um, actually, Sandor did it. He’s a very talented artist.” Sansa looked away, blushing slightly.

“Wait...Sandor, as in the guy you’re fake dating? When did you see him?” As far as Arya was aware, they had only been texting a bit, in order to get to know each other and make the relationship seem real.

“Um...yesterday. We met up to discuss final plans and he drew it on me. Like I said, he’s really nice, once you get to know him.” Sansa still wasn’t looking her in the eye. “Um, so… I’ll let him know he can pick me up tomorrow. Then, want to go out to dinner? I’d rather not leave dishes in the sink, nor do I want to do dishes again.”

“Sure,” Arya said, eyeing her sister as she scampered off, Lady hot on her heels. She couldn’t...could she? Nah…  

Chapter Text

December 23

The drive up to the Vale was relatively uneventful. Arya allowed Pod to drive while she scoped out the situation in the car behind them. “Anything interesting going on?” he asked her, as they pulled out of the gas station they had stopped to refuel at. She looked up at him from her binoculars.

“They're laughing together. He told a joke, something about pirates, I think, it's hard to read his lips, and she completely cracked up.” Arya went back to staring at her sister and Pod’s friend. “Do you think...could she actually like him?”

Pod shrugged. He did, in fact, think Sansa might like Sandor, and he knew for a fact that Sandor liked Sansa. He protested it, of course, but Pod knew his friend well enough to know when he liked someone. But Arya was protective of Sansa, ever since the last boyfriend put the redhead off of dating for a good long while, and she would go after Sandor with a vengeance if she knew. Never mind the fact that Sandor was only gruff on the outside, and he would never harm anyone who didn't take the first swing. Pod sighed. He loved Arya, but sometimes she went a little crazy.

Chapter Text

December 23 cont.

The other siblings had been warned about the “plan”, so when Robb, standing in front of the great window facing the driveway, saw the great hulk driving his sister around in a classic Impala, he was only mildly surprised. The guy was intimidating, standing taller than Sansa, even in heels, twice as wide, and muscled like a bull. His face was half mangled, extending up into his hairline, though he did attempt to cover it with the long stringy hair he did have. He was trying to remember what she had said the guy's name was. Xavier? Alexander? No… Xander?

Neither Sansa nor the hulk had noticed they were being watched. The hulk looked up at the Arryn family house, a look of dread on his face. Sansa took his hand in hers, and said something that reassured the hulk. The look that passed between them was so soft, maybe even loving, that Robb almost forgot it was fake. Then the hulk said something that made Sansa's eyes go wide, and she let go of his hand to smack him, giggling as she did so.

At least they're friendly with each other, he thought. Pod’s car rolled up beside the black Impala, and Arya shrieked as she jumped out of the car. Robb shook his head and stepped outside.

“What the hells was that?! You could have killed her with crapass moves like that!!” she was yelling at the hulk.

Sansa was attempting to calm Arya down. “I'm fine! We only went a little over the speed limit, and you were the one that challenged us…”

“Shut up, Sansa! I am going to kill this moron!!” Arya lunged at the hulk, but he easily caught her punch.

“Arya! Stop it! Aunt Lysa is--”

“Arya Stark-Payne! You will stop that at once!” The shrill voice of their aunt carried well across the cold air. Arya growled, but thankfully backed away from the hulk. Lysa brushed past Robb and Pod to shake her finger at Arya. “You may be a married woman, but if you dare start a fight in my home, I will spank you like a child.”

She turned to greet the hulk, the forced smile on her face quickly changed to true horror.

The hulk grinned, twisting his scars into an even more terrifying mess. “Sandor Clegane. Pleasure to meet you,” he rasped. Robb noticed Sansa slipping her hand into his again. So the charade begins.

“Why don't we grab your bags and get inside?” Robb suggested. “Too cold outside for this.”

The hulk, Sandor, carried all of his bags and Sansa's. In one go. Hells, in one hand, didn't even break a sweat. Left him able to grab Sansa's hand and walk her inside. Lysa ran after them and Robb just stared. Arya threw a bag at his head, bringing him back to reality. “You gonna help or what?”

Chapter Text

December 23 cont.

Ned wasn't sure how he felt about this new boyfriend of Sansa's. He was nothing like her previous few. But, maybe that's a good thing. It was the little things he noticed.

Harry Hardyng, the man Lysa had invited and then did not disinvite once she heard about Sandor, was college educated, had a prestigious job, was charming, a smooth talker, and didn't treat Sansa like he, her father, expected her to be. Arya was his little warrior, but Sansa was a princess. It was this Sandor who treated her right. A man convicted of burglary in the third degree and covered in tattoos, who worked in a greasy spoon and a dive bar, who hadn’t even graduated from high school because he was arrested and convicted of a felony offense, and had trouble speaking as eloquently as Harry, but he was honest. It was him  who treated Sansa with respect, though his courtesy could use some work. Ned had to admit the man’s crude jokes were very funny, while Harry’s carefully crafted riddles fell a bit flat. Adding to that, according to Sansa, Lady was completely in love with Sandor as well. Sadly, since Lysa didn't allow pets in her home, Lady was in a kennel back in the city and could not assess Hardyng.

“Mr. Stark,” Sandor said, poking his head into the kitchen. His voice sounded like gravel that had gone through a blender, and he kept his head down so his hair could fall over his scars. Ned was standing at the stove, cooking dinner for everyone. “Mrs. Stark asked me to get the cookies she made.”

“They’re on the counter over there, son.” Ned watched the man carefully. His posture and movement were actually quite graceful, despite his size. “Before you take those, I’d like to ask you a question.”

“Are you going to ask me what my intentions are for your daughter?” he said, a slight sneer to his lip, but Ned was more amused than anything else.

“Maybe when you’re actually dating her.”

His daughter’s fake boyfriend looked surprised, dropping the asshole act. “She told you?”

“No. I had my suspicions, and you just confirmed it. It’s because of Lysa, isn’t it?” Ned asked with a sigh. Sandor nodded. “Ah, well, secret is safe with me. Catelyn’s going to be disappointed though.”

“She is?”

“Son, fake or not, you’re the first boyfriend that Sansa’s brought to meet the family that she hasn’t wanted to kick out before the actual family gathering.” The man’s eyes went wide. “Besides, you two seem to get along pretty well. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.”

“Uh… thanks? I think…” he mumbled, grabbing the plate of cookies and running out of the kitchen. Ned chuckled as he turned back to his cooking.

Chapter Text

December 23 cont.

“What do you mean, you don’t believe in the Seven?” she heard from the next room. Catelyn rolled her eyes. Why my sister thought THAT manboy would be suitable for Sansa, I have no idea, she thought. Lysa was playing the piano, some archaic Christmas tune that had no lyrics, while Catelyn sat behind her, reading the story she would later read out loud to the grandchildren.

Unlike Lysa, Catelyn didn't care if Sansa was dating anyone or not, but if she was dating someone, Catelyn insisted on background checks. Ned agreed and used a private eye to get the more detailed information.

On paper and at first glance, Harrold seemed like the better man, but Catelyn disliked him immensely.

“I'm saying exactly what I mean,” she heard Sandor rasp. “I don't believe in any gods.”

“That's insane! Blasphemous! You'll end up in the Seven Hells with that sort of thinking.”

Catelyn snuck into the living room where the children and grandchildren were sitting around, taking a seat close to Sandor. Rickon and Bran had yet to arrive, but the others were here. Robb and Merry were wrangling their twin two-year-old boys and trying to keep them from knocking over things. Jon and Ygritte’s five-year-old daughter was climbing all over Arya, who delighted in throwing the child over to Podrick. Rayder would squeal and then proceed to abandon Pod to start the process all over again. Jon and Ygritte simply laughed as they watched the show. Theon and Olyvar were making out in the corner, ignoring everyone. Sansa was seated on the couch next to Sandor, who had his arm around her shoulders as she leaned into him.

Ned had let Catelyn in on the truth of their “relationship”, which was disappointing, but considering Lysa’s ideas of Sansa's perfect match, she could completely understand. They're both excellent actors, she thought. I know the truth but I still find it hard to believe.

“I don't believe there is anything after death. So…not exactly concerned with ending up there.” Sandor sounded tired to Catelyn's trained ears.

“I'm sorry, I don't mean to offend you or anything…” Don't you, Harry? “But that is just wrong. The Seven are the true gods of Westeros and anyone who thinks different is an idiot. Let me get you another drink while you ponder that.”

She heard Sandor sigh heavily, then turn to Sansa and said softly, “How're you doing, little bird?”

Nicknames. Very in depth fake relationship. Wonder what Sansa calls him, if anything?

“Muh hed fell funny, begai,” Sansa answered.

Begai?

“Sansa… are you drunk?” he asked, leaning in.

“Nuuuuu? Havnt bean drunkin’ nutting but oreng souprise...” she slurred.

“My drink? I’ve barely touched it… You’ve been drinking it?” Sandor asked.

“Yum num bum… bum? Niiice bum. I likes yor bum,” she tittered at Sandor. “Can eyes squeezens it?”

“Shit, how strong was this drink?” He took a large swig, then frowned. “Sansa, are you a lightweight?”

“Was dat?”

Sandor sighed. Catelyn was highly amused. She and Ned had never forbidden their children from drinking, had taught them about drinking responsibly, in fact, but Sansa hadn’t been all that interested in general. It was little surprise that she had such a low alcohol tolerance.

“Another Orange Surprise, Clegane?” Harrold asked, coming back into the room.

“Nah, I’m good. Seems Sansa’s been drinking mine.” Sandor put his glass down on an available coaster and got up. “She needs to rest and drink lots of water.”

“I’ll take her to her room,” Harrold quickly offered. He placed the perspiring glass on the antique wood coffee table.

“Nuuuuuuooooooo…” Sansa whined. “Yor not… not… San...door.” She lifted her arms up to the scarred man and made some more whining noises.

“Use your words,” he said, but he was grinning. He picked her up easily. “I’ll get her to her room, and then come back for a pitcher of water.”

“I’ll have one ready for you,” Catelyn told him, getting up and patting his arm.

“Sndeeeeerrr…” Sansa moaned.

“Yes?”

“We havnet hud sexies yet, but I raaaaaaaalllly want to. Yer so smexy...stexy...sextsey… hot.” Catelyn bit back a laugh as Sansa nuzzled Sandor and he turned a bit pink.

Arya snorted in the background and Robb threw a pillow at her. Lysa wandered in, curious about the commotion. “What’s going on? Why’s Sansa asleep in his arms?”

“Nut ass-leep. Heh, ass,” she giggled. “Lemme squeezes yurs, Sendar…”

“Sandor had an Orange Surprise, but it was Sansa who was drinking it. She’s not used to alcohol at all,” Catelyn explained to her sister.

Lysa frowned. “I thought you were in AA?” she asked Sandor. “Why were you drinking?”

His eyebrows went up. “No. Not an alcoholic. I just imbibed too much when I was younger, had my fill, I suppose. I wasn’t even aware Orange Surprise was an alcoholic drink.”

“I told everyone you weren’t to have any alcoholic drinks,” Lysa persisted. Catelyn’s eyes glided over to Harrold, who was trying to not attract any attention.

“Unt Lysha, why you so pushy?” Sansa interrupted. “Es unca Toros nut sexying yoo ‘nuff? Cuz… Ay dun need amen. Mun. Mon?”

“Man,” Sandor supplied helpfully. “You don’t need a man.”

“Yesh, min. Dun need one. Wunt one, butts dun need one. Wunt Sander. Mai men, Sundar… Dat ash. Assm. Ass. Dat ass. Umph.” Sansa couldn’t even keep her eyes open. “Squeezens. AY SHULL DO IT,” she exclaimed, pointing her finger up high into the air and nearly hitting poor Olyvar in the eye.

Sandor admirably did not start laughing as the rest of the Starks did, but he smiled as he carried Sansa out of the room as she tried to reach his bottom and failed.

“Tch, he's just trying to avoid the truth of the Seven,” Harrold grumbled.

“Dude. Shut up,” Arya said with a dangerous smile. “There are many different beliefs in this household right now, you're just trolling for a fight.”

“Arya, be nice,” Lysa warned.

She smiled and said, “No. He just claimed the true gods of Westeros are the Seven and anyone who doesn't believe in or worship them is an idiot . We have freedom of religion in this country, Harry. I pray to the Many Faced god. My parents and siblings pray to both the old gods and the Seven.”

“Hey!” Theon called out, coming up for air from his boyfriend.

“Oh, right. Theon’s a worshipper of the Drowned god. And Aunt Lysa and Uncle Thoros worship R’hllor. There are many different beliefs, so...shut the fuck up, Harry.”

Catelyn saw Lysa's mouth draw into a tight line as Harrold apologized profusely.

Chapter Text

December 23 cont.

“Sansa doing ok?” Bran asked. He and Rickon had just arrived in time for dinner. Sandor had come down to eat and informed everyone Sansa would not be joining them. The man his aunt had invited, Harrold, looked very put out for some reason, but was conversing with Rickon for the moment.

“She'll be fine,” the fake boyfriend said. “She's going to have a hell of a headache when she wakes up. I'll be taking her some food after we eat. Would have done it already, but she was out like a light once I got her to bed.”

Bran studied the man. He was incredibly tall, quiet, but he saw how he took notice of everything. Bran wouldn't be surprised to know nothing escaped this man's knowledge.

“Alright, settle down, everyone,” Ned said. He was setting the last dish on the table. “Food’s ready.”

Bran sat next to Sandor, curious about the man. He knew a little, that he “sold” himself as a false boyfriend for family gatherings. He knew Sansa thought highly of him, else she wouldn't speak so much of him. There had been a lot of “Sandor said this” and “Sandor thinks that” in the last few phone conversations he had had with her.

Bran wanted to talk to Sandor a bit more, but Harrold, or “Harry” as he told them to call him, wouldn't shut up.

“I recently was promoted from Administrative Managing Assistant to Senior Managing Assistant. A raise is forthcoming as well. Mr. Baelish is very impressed with my work. Says I could even make as high as Senior Managing Administrative Assistant by next year.”

“That is absolutely fantastic, Harry,” Aunt Lysa beamed. Uncle Thoros’ had finally made an appearance, but he seemed uninterested in his wife’s pick for Sansa. Bran was of a similar mind.

“And what is it that you do?” Harry said to Sandor, smirking.

“Short order cook during the week, bartender on the weekends, though I was thinking of quitting one. Hard decision though. The diner gives me the morning shift, while the bar is strictly evenings and late night, but the bar pays better,” Sandor replied evenly, keeping eye contact with Harry.

“Why quit one?” Lysa asked. “I assume you need the money…”

“Not really. Got a lot saved up, I don't spend a lot, and I'd like to have more time to spend with Sansa.” He shrugged, pushing his food around on his plate. “Could quit both jobs for the next five years if I wanted, and not have to worry about money, but I prefer to stay somewhat busy. I like to work, though not a lot of places are willing to hire guys like me.”

“Oh…” was all Aunt Lysa said. “Your car must be quite expensive to keep up, though? It’s very nice.”

Sandor shook his head. “Nah. I do all the maintenance myself. Rebuilt it, actually. My grandfather, on my mom’s side, taught me. He ran one of the best shops in town.”

“Oh? What shop is it?” Theon asked. “Could use a good reference. Last guy I went to tried to rob me blind.”

Sandor shook his head. “I know a few places I can recommend, but Granddad was run out of business years ago. One of those nationwide corporate chains that thrives on taking out the competition, no matter how small they are. He died a few months after he had to close the shop.”

“That was before your arrest, son, wasn’t it? What caused you to do what you did?” Ned asked. Sandor looked up, surprised, but nodded. “Shame that you got caught, but it was a noble effort. Admirable, even.”

“What? Getting arrested?” Harry said with a sneer. “How noble can he be? He went to prison for three years!”

Ned chuckled. “Yes, but he brought down a crooked company in the process, and donated all of their ill-gained money to various charities. Modern day member of the Brotherhood Without Banners. Though that was the reason you had to drop out of school?” Sandor nodded. “Well, I still find it admirable.”

Harry made a noise, showing he wasn’t impressed. Aunt Lysa looked concerned.

“Harry, that's a nice car you've got out there as well,” Ned remarked casually. Too casually, Bran thought. And here it comes. He felt more gleeful about it than he should have. He glanced around at his siblings to see that they were smiling too, knowing what was about to happen.

“Oh! Yes, newest model. I, um, upgraded recently.” Harry’s ears turned a little pink as he shoved a large bite of mashed potatoes into his mouth.

“Ah, yes, terrible accident that was. But no one else was hurt, correct?”

Harry paled a bit. “No, just the...telephone pole. I wasn't driving drunk, sir.”

“Didn't say you were,” Ned said with a gentle smile. “How's your aunt? Mrs. Waynwood, yes?”

“She's fine, sir. She was just remarking the other day that she wanted to visit the North next year,” Harry said. Bran rolled his eyes. The man was obviously trying to win brownie points, but Father was just lulling him into a false sense of security.

“She's welcome at Winterfell anytime. And your children?”

“They're doing well, too, sir. I--” Harry stopped suddenly and all the blood drained from his face. Bran wanted to laugh. Several of his siblings snickered, but his father somehow managed to keep a straight face.

“Six and eight year old daughters, right?” Ned asked calmly. Aunt Lysa was horrified. Bran guessed that she hadn’t known. Uncle Thoros’ eyebrows went up.

“Y-yes, sir.”

“And you're only twenty-four. Remarkable. I was twenty when Robb was born. Had a hell of a time with fatherhood, though I wouldn't trade it for the world. It is very admirable for you to be a father to two children by two different women, and still have time for work and courting a potential wife.” Ned sipped his wine, never taking his eyes off Harry.

“Yes, sir, thank you, sir,” Harry said meekly.

“So what exactly does a Senior Managing Assistant do?” Ned asked, taking a sip from his beer glass.

“Uh, well, I assist the Administrating Managerial Assistant...”

“But what do you do? What are you job duties?”

Harry stumbled with his words, “Well, that’s… I… um… among my many duties, I am responsible for answering telephone calls, maintaining diaries of both the Assistant Manager and Manager, arranging appointments, taking… uh, messages.” Bran noticed Harry fiddling with his phone at an angle. “Um...and typing and word processing, filing, organising and servicing meetings  by producing agendas and taking minutes, managing databases, prioritising workloads. I also help the Assistant Manager with recruiting, training and supervising junior staff… Uh... oh! Also, with handling correspondence, implementing new procedures and… uh, administrative systems... liaising with relevant organisations, coordinating mail-shots and similar publicity tasks. You know, that...that sort of thing.”

Bran whispered to Sandor, “Was he looking it up?”

“Might have been,” Sandor whispered back. “Either that or was giving a tickle to his pickle.” Bran snorted his laughter.

Ned had his eyebrow raised at Harry, “Harrold, are you the assistant to the secretary?”

“Uh...no?" Harry asked with slight panic, but it was a rhetorical question. Bran knew. All of his brothers and his sister knew. Every question his father asked of any potential boyfriend or girlfriend of the Stark horde was rhetorical. He just wanted to see how they would answer. Sandor was passing with flying colors. Harry...not so much.

Chapter Text

December 23 cont.

Rickon had stolen the bratman’s phone. It had taken less time than he expected to unlock it. “You owe me five bucks,” he told Arya. “It was totally sixty-nine, sixty-nine.”

Arya grumbled and forked over the money. Rickon couldn’t help grinning as he pocketed it. They were in Rickon’s guest room, the phone hooked up to his computer as they downloaded the contents.

“Ok, it’s done. And we’ll get updates on what he’s doing in real time. Now, let’s see what this dude has been up to-- Wow. That’s… That’s an impressive amount of porn.” He showed the screen to Arya.

“Gross, his last search was for redheaded MILFs. Better warn Mom and Aunt Lysa…” Arya unhooked the phone and opened it up to the Contacts.

“What are you doing?”

“Just looking at who he’s chatting with. Oh, there’s a lot of women’s names in here. And...omg, there’s stars.”

Rickon looked over at her. “Stars?”

“This fucker has a star rating for all of these women! Sansa’s in here, no phone number, but he’s got notes… Oh, fuck, this dude is gross…”

“What’s it say?”

“Nothing I want to say out loud,” Arya snapped. “That does it. I’m switching the names on these women.”

“You’re gonna what?”

She held up the phone. “I’m going to switch the names for these contacts. Might wreak a little havoc, might not, but I’m going to do it.”

Rickon didn’t say anything for several minutes. He just watched Arya painstakingly switch names around. Finally, he said, “You know… you could...text some of them…”

She looked up. “Text them?”

“Yeah, invite them over. Tell them it’s a romantic getaway…” He shrugged. “Just a suggestion.”

A slow grin spread across Arya’s face. “You’ve got the best ideas, man.”

Chapter Text

December 24

Jon padded down the stairs in his flannel pajamas to the kitchen early the next morning, yawning as he ran a hand through his curly locks. He wanted to get the coffee maker started before Ygritte woke up. She was a grumpkin before her morning caffeine jolt. Plus, their little munchkin had pushed him out of bed in her sleep. He heard voices arguing from the kitchen. Aunt Cat and her sister, he thought.

“Lysa, this is wrong!”

“If he’s as true to her as you believe, then what’s the harm? Besides, I haven’t seen little Myranda in such a long time…”

“She’s the biggest flirt in the entire region! If she sets her sights on him--”

“He’s a big boy, Cat,” Lysa hissed. “If he loves her, he won’t be tempted. If he’s not right for her, than that will answer that. Besides, it’s my house. You cannot tell me what to do.”

Jon couldn't see them, but he had a strong suspicion that Aunt Cat’s forehead vein was pulsing terribly. He backed up several steps, then started again towards the kitchen, making enough noise so that they heard him coming.

Chapter Text

December 24 cont.

"So you think this Myranda is being brought here with the specific purpose of breaking up Sansa and her fake boyfriend?” Bran asked Jon later.

Arya snorted. “Good. I can't fucking stand that guy,” she told them. Jon had pulled her and Bran over to Robb’s room and they were discussing what they should do, or if they should do something. Merry was listening with great interest, not minding that her goodsiblings were invading their room at such an early hour.

“But they're so great together!” Merry protested. Her husband and the others nodded in agreement.

“He's a total douche and I'll be fucking ecstatic once this mummery is done,” Arya spat out.

“So hostile, little sister,” Jon said, ruffling her hair. “Sandor’s a pretty chill guy. He was telling me that when he was in prison, he was taken in by one of those Big Brother programs, except in this case, it’s former convicts who have turned their lives around mentoring guys already in jail. He would be much worse if it hadn’t been for his mentor.”

Arya snorted again.

“Why do you dislike him so much?” Merry asked. “He’s been nothing but kind and respectful of Sansa.”

Arya turned away, still sulking. Robb piped up, “I know why. She’s just pissed that she challenged him to a race, did her usual cheating, but still lost.”

A round of “aahhhhh” was heard from the others. Arya flipped them off.

Chapter Text

December 24 cont.

“I cannot believe your aunt would invite someone like him,” Olyvar said as they got ready for the day. “He’s probably diseased beyond treatable medicines. He frequents the cat houses more than any man I’ve ever known, and I’m pretty certain he goes to the disreputable ones as well, since we had to turn him away when his tests came back positive.”

Theon chuckled. Olyvar was a host at one of the top pleasure houses in the city, and had been surprised to see a client, but was less surprised that Harry hadn’t recognized him.

“He never looks at faces. And I don’t have any parts that interest him, so...yeah. Not a surprise there.”

“Are you going to tell her? Aunt Lysa, I mean?” Theon asked, throwing his arms around his boyfriend.

“Nah, that would be a horrible way to repay her, since I have her to thank for introducing us, and Harry’ll self destruct on his own.” Olyvar kissed him. “Now, let’s go see what your dad cooked up for breakfast.”

**********

They were passing by Sansa’s room when Sandor opened the door and came out into the hallway.

“Hey! Uh, Theon, right?” the man asked him. Theon nodded. “Can you tell me where to find more towels? Sansa kind of...messed hers all up. Now she wants to clean up and…”

“I can show you,” Olyvar offered. He kissed Theon on the cheek. “Why don’t you go check on your sister, love?”

Theon walked cautiously into Sansa’s room as Olyvar and Sandor headed off in search of clean towels. “Sansa? You alive?”

“Yeah. My head is killing me though,” came her voice from the bed. She was sitting up, but leaning against the headboard. “Sandor gave me some medicine. Made me drink so much water…”

“It’ll help,” Theon said, patting her knee gingerly.

“I didn’t...I didn’t say or do anything too embarrassing, did I?” she asked. “Sandor refuses to tell me, kept redirecting the conversation.”

“Um…” He had found her obsession with Sandor’s ass particularly amusing. It was a nice one, to be fair. “So...couldn’t help but notice your boyfriend was coming out of your room at such an early hour,” he said, taking a page from Sandor’s book and trying to distract her.

Sansa chuckled. “Your mind better not be in the gutter. He spent most of the night taking care of me and making sure I didn’t choke on vomit in my sleep. He’s the best boyfriend I’ve ever had and he’s not even really my boyfriend.”

“I’m loving the irony,” Theon said, grinning. Sansa returned it with a small smile and closed her eyes. “You know, I’ve been wondering, he does this on a regular basis, right?”

“Mmhmm. Holiday gatherings, usually, but also any family gatherings like reunions and whatnot,” she said, her eyes still closed. “Why do you ask?”

“Why does he do it?”

Sansa opened one eye and looked at him. “You’re asking why?”

“Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of odd.”

She sighed. “I asked him that. He said it started off as a favor for a friend. Nice girl, you’d like her. Then he just kept doing it because it was amusing and he was bored.” She was staring off into the distance. “I think it’s a little more than that. I think he was lonely, as well as bored. He doesn’t have a lot of friends. Pod’s one, and he has two close friends from his time in jail, Beric and Tormund, but they don’t live in King’s Landing.”

“And you? You’re friends with him now, aren’t you?”

She smiled. “Yeah. We’re friends.”

He wanted to ask more, but Olyvar and Sandor returned with the towels.

Chapter Text

December 24 cont.

The family gathered in the living room after breakfast. Sansa looked a bit green, but seemed well enough as long as her fake boyfriend had his arm around her. She was showing off her tattoo, but had ended up admitting it was only temporary when Rickon had pointed out repeatedly that Sansa wasn’t capable of handling the pain. Ygritte wasn't the most educated woman, but she knew people. Her goodsister had feelings for the big galoot, and anyone who didn't see it was denser than Jon. Anyone who refused to see it was an idiot.

Thoros was in the middle of explaining the available activities for the day when the butler appeared to announce a new arrival, Ms. Myranda Royce. The buxom woman had a not-so-secret smile on her face as she eyed all the men in the room. Ygritte’s narrowed when Myranda eyed Jon appreciatively, but it was Sandor she went after whenever he stepped away from Sansa. It got bad enough that he yelled at her with full force while they were ice skating on the lake out behind Miss Lysa’s house, making her scream like he was murdering her.

She ran away, the coward, right smack into that pretty Southron fellow, the one that kept proving himself to be the fop Ygritte had pegged him for. She wondered if Jon would mind terribly if she pegged the man to take him down a notch or two. I’ll offer to let him watch, she decided with a grin. Let him take me from behind as I take the fop. It will be a wonderful sandwich of fucking.

The two idiots disappeared together when they thought no one was looking, but Ygritte was. She delighted in telling Miss Lysa that if she was looking for Harry, she was absolutely sure she saw him head back inside. The screams they all heard several minutes later had them all (except poor green Sansa and Sandor, who stayed with her) running to the source.

Miss Lysa was standing in the doorway to the library. The Southron idiot was trying and failing to pull his pants up, his sadly unimpressive cock flailing around as he tried in vain to stuff it inside the skinny jeans he was wearing, while the buxom harlot was trying to button her blouse. By the looks of it, the two had been trying to have sex on the desk Miss Lysa kept in the library when she found them. Ygritte had to stifle her laughter. They all did, except Miss Lysa, who couldn't stop staring in horror at the man's misshapen, mediocre member.

It got even funnier when the butler announced that Mr. Hardyng had some guests and led in several women who were looking at each other and their surroundings in confusion. Ygritte heard Arya and Rickon snicker as Harry Hardyng flailed his way through explanations that ultimately lead to the women clawing and scratching at each other and Hardyng.

Hardyng, Royce and the other unwelcome women were kicked out before lunch, much to everyone's delight.

Chapter Text

December 24 cont.

“Where did I go wrong?” Lysa wailed. Her husband was trying to be soothing, but she was too deep in her misery and fourth martini for it to be effective. “Viserys was too obsessed with dragons. Ramsay turned out to be a gay, bondage freak. Willas, also gay, and in love with a Martell. Smalljon had nothing in common with her and made sexual advances before their food even arrived. Joffrey was just as bad, except he berated her in front of the entire restaurant for being a ‘tease’ and a ‘bitch’ when they had only known each other ten minutes!”

“Sansa seems happy with this Sandor, different as they are,” Thoros said. She stared at him.

“But he's so wrong for her! She's so beautiful and adorable and he's... not. She could have famous singers, A-listers, even princes begging to have her, and this...this... Sandor? He's low born. A felon. A greasy tin spoon to her porcelain tea set.”

“That's a bit harsh, Lysa love. He's not a bad man. He treats her well, has a steady income and is good for conversation. Try spending some time with him. You'll see,” Thoros said, kissing her on the forehead.

Lysa sulked for the next few hours, but finally joined the family when her son arrived home. Robin had been touring Lys on a school sponsored art tour, and was full of wild tales. He was also enchanted with Clegane the moment he set eyes on him, declaring that he must paint this specimen of masculinity along with his dear cousin, the height of femininity. “It will be the perfect yin and yang for my winter break project!” he declared.

Lysa watched with an open mind as the huge scarred man interacted with her family. She had been having doubts about Harry when she saw him flirting with some of the maids before Sansa's arrival. Then there was the odd job titles. She should have known they were too fancy to be true. The man worked for Petyr Baelish, for crying out loud. Lysa had learned long ago to not trust him, even if he was a profitable businessman. She should have known that Harry would pick up some of his more unscrupulous behaviors. She couldn’t forget his close minded views on religion either, or his previously unmentioned children.

A father! He’s a father! Of two little girls. If my math is right, the first one was born when he was just sixteen years old. How did I not know of that? And drunk driving? This Sandor might have had a problem with drinking, but he was never stupid enough to drink and drive. Ned had shown her his file on both men, and it had been an eyeopener.

I suppose that… maybe I was riding high off of my previous matchmaking successes, she considered to herself. And I may have been a bit lax when I suggested those other men to Sansa because of that. She watched her niece whispering to the scarred man. She was glowing. They both were. And I suppose I may have judged Clegane based off his looks, convinced as I was of how perfect Harry was. She sighed. I suppose Sandor Clegane is actually a pretty good match.

“Sansa, Sandor. Upon further reflection, I give my blessing of your relationship,” Lysa said suddenly, causing everyone around to look at her.

“Um, thank you?” Sansa said, a slightly confused smile on her face. “We, um… We have something to tell you, Aunt Lysa. You see--”

“You see,” Clegane interrupted. “I have something I want to ask Sansa, if you will all indulge me.”

Lysa’s eyes went wide as Clegane got down on one knee in front of Sansa. The others were whispering to each other in awe. “Oh my…” she whispered as Thoros slid to her side and wrapped his arms around her. “Did you know?” she asked him. He shook his head.

“Sansa Stark,” Clegane said, bringing out a comically large ring box. “Will you…” He opened the box to reveal a candy gemstone on a plastic ring, “Will you date me? And only me?”

Lysa didn’t quite understand why everyone cheered (except Arya, who rolled her eyes) when Sansa yelled Yes! and launched herself at Clegane, kissing him furiously, but if they wanted to make their relationship exclusive in such an odd fashion, who was she to judge?

Fin