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Gentle and Surly; Fierce and Brave

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It had been almost six months since they had all first found each other, but to him it seemed like a lifetime. Hardly being away from one another for any significant period of time made it feel that way. It had been a long time since anyone had accepted him for who he was, scars, gruffness, and all. The zombie apocalypse had made people run from him more than they did before it had all begun. He was no stranger to the solitary life, the life of being stared at and ridiculed.

Yet, this group of people he was with. These survivors, because that was what they were, liked him, fucking trusted him even. It had taken him a while, but he had warmed up to the idea of Arya and Gendry together, though Arya pushed his buttons more than he cared to admit. Hell, that was one of the reasons he was starting to like her; not many people stood up to him or goaded him for fear of any consequences that might follow. He was a mean looking bloke, and he knew that. The scar just added to his threatening posture.

As well as trusted, he even considered himself to be a part of the group instead of just being on the sidelines, expendable should push come to shove, and it was all because of his little bird. Not that he had made her his yet. He would never admit it, but he had fallen for her, for her gentleness and her timid nature. Despite having said that, she had followed him the first day she had seen him. Then she hadn’t left, or was it he who hadn’t left? He wasn’t sure anymore. The weeks seemed to blend into one. He would leave the cabin, check the snares, reset them if necessary, then go for a perimeter check with Gendry, kill any of the walkers in the pits, and remove some if they were piling too high. Then he would either sit, and gut the kills or he would teach Sansa some form of new defensive maneuver. His daily routine didn’t very much before the zombies, and it didn’t vary much now, and that was just how he liked it. His day ended after Arya took her turn checking the snares, and he would then proceed to dress that ready for cooking too if there was any. Arya would often chuck the whole thing at him instead of handing it to him. He was loath to admit it but it brought a smile to his face. When she walked off into the cabin behind him, it would show on his face, but not to her or Gendry. The only person he would smile behind would be his little bird.

Whenever he was sat at the bench outside the cabin, one of those park benches for picnics, he would remember when his little bird had said that she wanted to sit outside but not on the mud. The very next day he pilfered it from a pub some ten miles down the road. It wasn’t clean, there was a very nasty blood stain on one side of it, but he knew it would please his little bird. Her reaction was not what he had been expecting, not at all. Tears had welled up in her eyes, and she had the audacity to punch him in the chest before turning, and running inside. It was only later he learned from Arya that he shouldn’t have gone, and risked himself for it, Sansa was scared for him. Gendry had just shook his head, and laughed at him like he was being an idiot.

Now, though, it was where they would do most things. There was enough room for them all to sit, but he had the designated bloody section of it. That was how he preferred it though, his back was to the house so he could see danger coming first. Sansa would sit next to him, sometimes their legs would brush. Sometimes, she would brace her hand on his shoulder when she got up. It was moments like these that made him feel normal again...almost.

Although today, everything had changed. Gendry and Arya had already excused themselves, and gone to their room in the cabin. No more than a single bed and a rickety chest of drawers fitted into it, but they were lucky there was even a bed or a mattress left there. They could accumulate clothes easily, and blankets or things to use as blankets, but to get another mattress was difficult. Sandor had already been sat outside when his little bird joined him on the bench.

“Are they at it again, Little Bird?” he asked gruffly as Sansa sat down next to him demurely.

“If by 'at it again' you mean ruining my sleep, then yes,” Sansa ground out. She tried and failed to stifle a yawn.

“Oh Little Bird, you can’t even say the word can you?” Sandor looked at her, as if daring her to say what her little sister was up to now. He was rewarded with a blush.

“It’s not proper to talk about that.”

“I don’t think there’s anything proper anymore.”

“I suppose you’re right….Sex...Sex...Sex...Sex,” each time she said the word it seemed to get louder. The first time his little bird said it, it was tentative like she was testing it. She became more and more animated too. By the fourth time she was raising her arms and looking up at the sky. Though the last was almost at a shout, and Sandor found himself covering her mouth with his hand.

On the inside he was laughing at her antics, but on the outside his eyes were hard as they bore down into her. “Don’t you forget what’s out there. Even if we keep all of it away from you, it’s still out there, best not bring them down on us, Sansa.”

He pulled his hand away, and was surprised to see that Sansa had a smile on her face. Her hand was coming up towards him, he refrained from grabbing it. It touched his face, the side with his scars, feather light. Her face came towards him then.

“You called me by my name.” Her eyes were searching his. He made eye contact with her.

“Aye, what of it?” he asked, trying to make light of the situation. The next thing he knew was that he had an armful of Sansa. Her lips were on his. She was hugging him from the side, and he let her. After getting over his shock, he moved his lips against hers. She tasted sweet, like lemon cake. He placed his hands on her, and when he wasn’t rejected or pushed away he relaxed from his rigid pose. Her arms moved upwards towards his neck and hair. She was pulling him closer to her, moulding her form to his. Their kiss deepened. Turning from chaste to downright dirty, they exchanged saliva when their tongues tangled with one another. He could feel his jeans tighten around the crotch area before he pulled away from her. Her lips chased his for a second, but he stopped her by placing his hands firmly on her shoulders.

“Sansa, you don’t know what you’re doing to me, you’re worth so much to me, much more than a pack of cigarettes,” Sandor was saying, trying to push her away. Instead, she reached a hand down and touched him through his jeans. Her hand moved over him. He almost came right then.

“Trust me, I know exactly what I’m doing,” Sansa deadpanned before getting up from the bench, sashaying inside with a come hither motion.

Sandor obeyed. They spent the night together in her room. It was the master room of the hunting lodge. The only other room, besides Arya’s and Gendry’s, contained a small kitchen area and a double seater sofa. He usually cramped himself up on the sofa or slept on the bench outside the cabin. Riskier, but it was more than what he was used to.

When Sandor awoke, he looked at Sansa who was still deep in sleep, and thought ‘If all it took for that to happen, I would have called you by your name the day we met.’ He tucked her flaming hair behind her ear, and whispered, “I’ll protect you, my Little Bird,” as he kissed her on the forehead. He stayed still after that, not risking waking her any more than he already had. He would stay for as long as he could before Gendry would knock on the door, and tell him it was his turn to go check the snares.

Out of their group, he, Arya and Gendry were the better fighters, but Sansa was the person who helped keep up morale and kept the group together. It was she who had suggested digging a large trench around the cabin to fortify it. It wouldn’t stop live ones but it would stop the dead. Gendry was skeptical, and Arya wanted to move on, but he saw the idea through, and they had made a home of the place. Without Sansa, he would have left the others before even joining them. Without her, he would be alone. Being alone before the world went to shit was one thing, but belone after it had gone to shit was another thing entirely. He was glad he didn’t have to be alone anymore. He would stay with his little bird for as long as she fucking let him.