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Stark Reflections

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Sansa sat on a large boulder as she shrugged off her heavy backpack. Over the past weeks, she'd become accustomed to the weight of it. Sansa never dreamed that she'd make it this far, and yet, here she was, somewhere near the California-Oregon border on the Pacific Crest Trail. She took a deep breath and admired the scenery around her. This was about as wild as the wilderness got. In every direction was thick lush forest as far as the eye could see. Her resting spot was on a bluff overlooking a steep slope to a crystalline lake below. To call it breath-taking was an understatement.

Sansa had learned a lot on her first ever solo backpacking expedition. She'd been hiking and backpacking with friends before, but this time she had needed to be alone, relying only on herself for survival. Too much of her life had been spent relying on others - family and friends - to help her through every little difficult spot she'd gotten herself into, which had been often. It had been her own decision to take a stab at life the hard way. Sansa had no problem admitting to the realization that she been spoiled and pampered most of her life. It had been hard at first, but she was getting the hang of it.

The trip had, admittedly, knocked her down a few pegs. Maybe that's what she needed. Sansa had been raised in a white upper-middle class family of highly educated professionals. She'd been taught that she was better than everyone else - she had the attitude and the wardrobe to prove it.  But for all the money and privileged lifestyle she had experienced, humility was a lesson not taught to her by her parents. And it was a lesson that had come too late in her life.

It was that same superior attitude that had gotten her father killed. Sansa's father, Ned, had been naive in thinking that he could wander into just any old neighborhood simply because he was a doctor. When he happened across a beaten woman, he had attempted to help, but it had all been a ruse to rob him. He had been stabbed only once, but that was all it took and then he was gone.

Since the death of their father, the remaining Stark family had been thrown on its ass as their world seemed to change before them in the blink of an eye. Ned's body was barely cold in the ground when Catelyn kicked Jon out of the house.

Jon had been the product of an affair for which Catelyn had never forgiven her husband. Reluctantly, she had agreed to allow the child to be raised in their home, but refused to be responsible for him in any way. Even as he proved himself to be a worthy human being as he got older, Catelyn had no love for Ned's illegitimate son. With her husband gone, Catelyn let her true feelings take over and told Jon to leave. Now, Jon was in Alaska working the oil fields.

Angry with his mother for breaking up the family and ousting the half-brother he'd been so close to, Robb rebelled by joining the Marines and was now stationed in Iraq. With Robb gone, Theon had nowhere to go and no longer felt welcome in the Stark home, especially with all the family drama that was going on. Theon and Robb had been best friends. Theon had come from a family of drunks and drug users, so Catelyn and Ned had welcomed the boy from the broken home into their own household and raised him as if he was one of their own. But with Robb and Ned both gone from his life, Theon fell into the patterns of his own family. Sansa had a vague idea of where he was, probably living under a bridge somewhere in Chicago.

And then, when things had finally started to settle down again, Arya decided to come out of the closet. The night she decided to inform Catelyn that she was a lesbian and introduced the family to her girlfriend had been an absolute disaster. With Arya and Catelyn at each other's throats, Arya threw herself into her love of sailing and was now somewhere in the South Pacific exploring the world from the sea. Arya and Sansa had never been that close, but now she missed her little sister dearly.

Through all of it, Sansa was the last of the good little Stark children. Until she met Joffrey. She had been so naive, holier-than-thou, and self-centered, that she when she finally discovered just what kind of person he really was, she left him, and the state, and fled to Seattle. She threw herself into her studies at medical school. After that, she did her residency at Grey-Sloane Memorial. It was there that she met her Doctor McDreamy, Ramsay Bolton. He had turned out the be the world's most sadistic bastard, but by the time she had realized it, it had been too late.

The cherry on the sundae was that she was currently a third year resident and she still hadn't chosen her specialty. Catelyn had been calling, wanting to know about her latest boyfriend, how she was doing at work, and how she'd done on her medical exams. Sansa was so filled with shame at the state of her affairs that she couldn't face her family. She constantly ignored calls and text messages from her brothers and sister. She answered only occasionally just so they'd know she was still alive. 

Sansa had needed to take this trip. Perhaps it was to prove to herself that she was worth something. Maybe she needed to discover her own inner strength. As she looked down at her trail map, she wasn't so sure she had it in her to keep going. She edged a dirty and ragged, unpolished fingernail along a squiggly line and gazed about her for some sort of landmark to get her bearings.

"I think I'm in Oregon now," she muttered to herself. But really, she had no idea. She was completely lost.