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The Beginning

Chapter Text

Sansa stood off to the side, near the commander’s SUV, watching in anticipation as the firefighters pulled the woman from the crumpled car. Sansa pulled her cardigan closer around her body, gulping. It was summer but in the shadow of downtown, with a light breeze, Sansa shivered.

Please let him be okay, she thought to the Old Gods.

The woman was laid out on a stretcher, strapped down, and rushed to one of the two waiting ambulances. One of the firefighters turned around and approached Sansa. She clutched the wolf necklace around her throat, unable to catch her breath. Sansa shook her head. Please, no.

“You’re Ms. Sansa, right?” he wondered.

“Y-yes,” she stuttered, barely finding her voice.

“The boy, Damon, he’s asking for you. Are you his mother?” he asked curiously.

“No, I’m his social worker. I’ve known him since he was two.” Sansa glanced at the ambulance that was pulling away. “That woman is his mother.”

The firefighter nodded and asked suddenly, “Are you squeamish?”

“Oh Gods,” she gasped, “is it that bad? Is he going to die?”

The firefighter caught Sansa’s elbow to steady her. “No, ma’am. He’s not dying. He’s in okay shape from what we can see. He’s just trapped for now. The woman, the driver, she bled a lot. It’s all over.”

“No, I’m not squeamish,” Sansa said, steeling her backbone.

“Would you be willing to come over and calm him while we work? He’s squirming and we need him to hold still.”

“Of course, of course!” she nearly cried out.

The firefighter led Sansa by the elbow over to the ambulance first. One of the paramedics held out her jacket for Sansa. She took it and put it on. It was big on her. She looked between them, “What do I need this for?”

“To protect you from sparks and small shards of flying metal. We are going to have to cut Damon out,” he said, leading her towards the car.

A couple of firefighters moved out of their way. The one who had his head on the window stood up and turned around. He was tall, massive really. Sansa swallowed visibly and looked to him for direction – all of the others seemed to follow his lead.

“Ms. Sansa?” His voice was deep, and raspy.

Sansa nodded.

“My name is Sandor. Damon will be glad to see you.”

Without asking, Sandor shuffled Sansa sideways and crouched to look through the window. Sansa followed his lead. Just as she was about to gasp, Sandow covered Sansa’s mouth with his hand.

He leaned in close to her ear and whispered, “Try not to show your fear; in your face or in your voice.”

Sansa chin quivered but she nodded. Sandor pulled his hand away slowly.

“How is he okay? How is he alive?” she whispered as softly as she knew how.

“The will of the Gods,” Sandor replied. “From what we can tell, it looks much worse than it actually is. But we are going to have to cut him out. Damon keeps moving though. We don’t want him to shift the car any or—”

“He’s six! How can he shift the car?” she exclaimed, tearing her eyes from Damon and staring at Sandor.

“Nothing is structurally sound with the car anymore,” Sandor explained patiently. “The wrong movement could move something critical. We also don’t know,” he continued, “if Damon has any injuries or how bad they could be. Staying still is safest for him. Can you help?”

Sansa nodded, “I can try.”

“Good.”

“Just tell me what you need me to do.”

“Talk to him. Keep him calm.” Sandor instructed and turned back to the crumped car. “Damon?”

“Sandor?”

“Yeah, it’s me. How are you feeling buddy?”

“I’m scared.”

“That’s okay. I have someone here for you,” he said. He glanced at Sansa and touched her hand.

She jumped a little and swallowed, nodding. “I’m here too Damon.”

“Ms. Sansa?”

“Yes,” she smiled, tears falling down her cheeks. “They said that you were asking for me.”

“I’m scared. I can’t see you! Ms. Sansa, where are you?!”

Sansa looked at Sandor, unsure of what to do. Sandor grabbed Sansa’s hand and snaked their arms into the wreck. Sansa’s hand touched Damon’s leg.

“What’s that!” he screeched, jerking away from the touch.

“Damon, it’s just Ms. Sansa’s hand,” Sandor replied calmly. “Since you can’t see her, she’s going to hold your leg. Is that okay?”

“Yeah,” he said, his voice shaky.

“We can see his face and chest,” Sandor said softly into Sansa’s ear, “but we don’t know why he can’t see us in return.”

Sansa nodded, wiping her nose on the jacket sleeve. “You’re doing a good job, Damon. I’m really proud of you.”

“Can I get out now?”

“Yes, sweetie, the firefighters are working on it.”

“It’s getting harder to breathe,” Damon said.

Sansa’s eyes went wide and she stared at Sandor’s face. It remained neutral. He waved his hand overhead and snapped. The firefighters began to move around, doing something. Sansa couldn’t care less what.

“Damon, does it hurt to breathe?” Sandor asked.

“No.”

“But it feels like you can’t get enough air?”

“Yeah.”

Sandor nodded to Sansa, whispering, “Panic, or claustrophobia.” To Damon he said, “I need you take a deep breath for me, little guy.”

“Just like we’ve practiced,” Sansa jumped in. “In through the nose – one, two, three, four, five. Out through your mouth like you’re blowing bubbles through a straw – one, two, three, four, five. Again – one, two, three, four, five. Out – one, two, three, four, five.”

Sansa repeated this with Damon as she rubbed circles into his leg – his calf? His thigh? She wasn’t sure.

“How does it feel now D?” Sandor asked. “Can you breathe easier?”

“Yeah.”

“Good. Can your arms reach your face without hurting to move?”

Damon raised one hand up and touched his nose.

“Good!” Sansa praised, “that’s so good. Did it hurt?”

“No.”

“Okay, little guy,” Sandor said. He slid his arm into the car along Sansa’s, this time holding a mask. “The paramedic has given me a mask to give to you.”

“What’s a paramedic?” he asked.

“A doctor who travels in ambulances,” Sansa replied.

“That’s smart.”

“Yeah,” she chuckled, “It’s really smart.”

“Damon, I need you to put the mask over your mouth and nose. Then put the elastic over your head to keep it in place.”

“I only have one arm,” he whimpered. “I can’t.”

Sansa watched Sandor carefully despite him never giving anything up with his face.

“That’s okay. I can reach your face with my hand. I’ll hold it in place, and you put the elastic over your head. How does that sound?”

“I think I can do that.”

“Okay, can you guide the mask to your face? I don’t want to poke your eyes out.”

“That would be bad,” Damon chuckled.

“Aye, very bad.”

Sansa smiled and watched as Damon fumbled for Sandor’s hand. He found his wrist and pulled the mask to his face. Sandor held the mask. Damon struggled but finally managed to pull the elastic around his head.

“I’m pulling my hand away Damon, and in a second you should start to get clean air. It might feel cold in your chest.”

“Is Ms. Sansa still there?” his voice was only mildly muffled by the oxygen mask.

“I’m here Damon!” Sansa called out. “I’m not going away.”

“Keep him distracted,” Sandor whispered, “he’s starting to wiggle again.”

Sansa nodded, “Damon, can you tell me about the animals you’ve discovered recently?”

“Why?”

“Because I haven’t seen you in a little bit. You need to catch me up.”

“I learned about polar bears.”

“Oh yeah?”

“They look really cute but are actually very dangerous.”

“Good, good,” Sandor whispered. “Keep him going, here’s what’s going to happen next.”

“…But their habitat – that’s where they live – is disappearing…”

“We’re going to start cutting into the car. It’s going to be loud—”

“Is it going to hurt him?” she whispered. Then she asked louder, “Damon, what do polar bears eat?”

As Damon began to describe their eating habits, Sandor shook his head, “No, but I’m going to need your help. Have him cover his body as much as possible with this blanket. And keep your hand in his. It’s going to be very loud and very scary for about two minutes.”

“Can I cover his ears instead?”

“If you can reach.”

Sansa nodded but said, “Damon, can you listen to me for a minute?”

“Yes, Ms. Sansa?”

“I’m passing you a special blanket. I need you to cover yourself with it as best you can. Your head, your body, your arms – everything. Do you understand?”

“Like a ghost?”

Sansa grinned, “Exactly. Like the Halloween costume we made for you last year!”

Damon grunted and muttered to himself as he pulled the blanket around himself. When he was done, he shouted, “I did it, Ms. Sansa!”

“You look so spooky!” she said back. “Can you explain Climate Change to me to distract me, Damon? That sounds bad.”

“Yeah, it is really bad.”

She thought that Sandor nearly smiled at her.

“Now I, Ms. Sansa, am going to shield you from the saw. Keep your face tucked into my chest, okay?”

Sansa gulped. “Da-Damon?”

“Yes, Ms. Sansa?”

“I need you to listen to me very closely,” Sansa said as she slid her other hand inside the car. “Sandor’s friends are going to have to cut into the car to get to you. It is going to be very loud. I am going to cover your ears with my hands. I want you to clench your eyes closed, as tight as you can. If you’re scared, squeeze my arm as hard as you can. Do you understand?”

Damon nodded.

“Damon, you can’t move,” Sandor instructed. “And try not to scream.”

“Remember, to just squeeze my arm,” Sansa insisted.

“Are you ready Damon?” Sandor asked.

“Uh-huh,” he said.

Sansa pressed her hands against Damon’s ears. At the same time, Sandor straightened up and unzipped his coat. He spread it opened and pulled Sansa to lean into him. He tucked her head against his chest – his very defined chest – and covered her ear with his hand. His other hand wrapped around her body, keeping her pinned against him. He smelled like the pines in the north…

“Keep your eyes closed too,” Sandor reminded her. His voice rumbled in his chest. Sansa felt it as much as she heard it.

She nodded and instinctually turned her face more towards his body.

Behind them, a saw started up. A moment later the metal of the car was vibrating around Sansa’s arms. A high pitched and shrill grinding screamed out into the sunlight. Sansa bit her lip and pressed herself even closer to Sandor. She couldn’t keep herself from shaking. Damon was squeezing her wrist nearly painfully so. But he listened to Sandor and never made a peep. As promptly as the saw started, it was turned off again.

“Ms. Sansa, let go of his ears,” Sandor prompted her.

She followed his instruction but didn’t pull away from him or the car.

“How are you doing Damon?” Sandor asked.

“Am I free?”

“Just about,” Sandor promised. “Ms. Sansa is going to step back from the car. You can still talk to her. Me and my friends are going to put a collar around your neck to keep you from injuring yourself further. Okay buddy?”

“Okay,” he squeaked.

Sandor stood but Sansa didn’t move. He wrapped his arms around her and lifted her a few inches off the ground to move them away from the car. When her feet touched ground again, Sansa was shaking so hard that Sandor kept his arm around her. “Ms. Sansa are you alright?”

“Is he…what if he’s really hurt?”

“That’s what we’re figuring out. The collar is a precaution before we move him.”

“He said he can’t feel anything.”

“That doesn’t mean anything for sure,” Sandor countered.

He turned his head a wolf whistled. A paramedic appeared at Sansa’s side, the same one who had given her the jacket. She took Sansa’s waist to help to steady her as Sandor stepped away. She felt so…empty and unsafe without him next to her.

“Sandor!” Damon screamed “Ms. Sansa!”

Sansa slapped her hand to her mouth to stifle her sob. Another paramedic wrapped a blanket around her shoulders too. Neither tried to lead her further away from the car.

“I’m here Damon!” Sandor replied, kneeling back at the car. “What’s wrong?”

“It was so quiet! I didn’t hear anyone.”

“We’re all here. You can take the blanket off your head.”

“And Ms. Sansa?”

“She’s answering some questions about your health for the paramedics,” Sandor lied easily. “She’s asked me to keep you company for a minute. You look very smart, you know, in that collar.”

“It feels strange.”

The other firefighters began arranging themselves and a backboard to prepare to receive the boy.

“Do you want to know what you look like?” Sandor asked.

“What?”

“A cat or a dog with a cone on their head.”

Damon cackled. “Cats are better than dogs!”

“Nah, dogs are great,” Sandor replied easily. “Okay Damon, are you ready to come out?”

“Yes!”

“I’m going to walk you through what’s going to happen. Can you listen closely?”

“Yes.”

“Good lad. First, remember to stay relaxed the whole time. Don’t try to get yourself out. My buddies are going to do that for you. They’ll pick you up and pull you out. You’ll get put on a backboard.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s a piece of metal with a cushion on it. It has handles so that we can carry people without hurting them.”

“Like a cot?”

“Aye, it’s very similar to a cot,” Sandor agreed. “And once you’re lying on the backboard, I’m going to have to put some straps around you. On your head, your chest, your hips, and your ankles.”

“Okay,” Damon croaked.

“Then Ms. Sansa can hold your hand and you’ll be free from the car. How does that sound to you?”

“Good.”

“Good. Are you ready?”

“No…”

“What’s wrong? Talk to me buddy. I may be super strong, but I don’t know how to read minds.”

“Are you a superhero?”

“Yeah, something like that,” Sandor replied.

Sansa smiled; he did certainly look like one.

“What are you worried about Damon?”

“I peed myself.”

Sandor let out a chuckle and nodded, “That’s quite okay.”

“Mom says its bad. And she hits me when she finds out!”

Sandor glanced back at Sansa and she saw murder in his eyes – but not at her.

“Listen to me, Damon. You’ve been in the car for a while now. You’re scared and you can’t move. It is perfectly okay that you peed yourself. I’ve done that too.”

“Right now?”

“No, not right now. But recently when I was in a tight spot, just like you, and I couldn’t move for a long time. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’ll get you out and cleaned up.”

“Is Ms. Sansa going to be mad?”

“No!” Sansa cried out. “No Damon! Sandor is right, it’s okay. No one is mad at you.”

“Okay.”

“Are you ready to get out then?”

“Mm-hmm.”

Sansa could hear his whimper from two meters away. Her knees felt weak. The paramedic kept her upright. The other moved closer to the backboard, ready to spring into action. One of the firefighters with a slighter frame than Sandor crawled into the space the saw had made. He hooked his hands around the boy’s body and began pulling him out.

“You okay?” Sandor asked.

“Are you pulling me?”

“No, my friend Howl is.”

“Are you leaving me?” Damon was almost out of the car.

“Not until you’re in the ambulance and on the way to the hospital.”

“Okay.”

Damon’s head, then his chest emerged. Then he was out of the car. The other firefighters lowered Damon onto the backboard. Sandor knelt next to him and gave the boy’s hair a light rustle.

“See?” he said, “You’re alright. Can I strap you in now?”

Damon nodded as much as he could with the neck brace on.

Sandor started with the ankles and worked his way up to his head. Two firefighters stood at each end of the backboard and lifted it into the air. Sandor stood with it and kept his large hand on Damon’s chest. They carried him to the ambulance where he, and the backboard, were placed onto the stretcher. Sandor turned part of his body and motioned for Sansa to come over. She ran and placed a large kiss on Damon’s forehead, grabbing his hand.

“I’m here Damon. It’s going to be okay.”

“I was so scared,” he murmured as a paramedic covered him with a blanket. The other stuck a needle in his arm for a saline drip bag. Then they were cutting open his shirt and carefully putting sticky pads on his chest.

“You were also so brave,” Sansa replied, trying to control her tears. “My dad always told me that you can only be truly brave when you are the most afraid.”

“He sounds smart.”

“Yes,” Sansa laughed, “yes he was.”

“Is Sandor still there?”

“I’m here buddy,” Sandor replied, squeezing the boy’s foot.

“I’m glad you’re a superhero.”

“Thank you,” Sandor replied, his voice a little huskier.

“Let’s get you inside the ambulance,” one of the paramedics said.

“Go on Damon,” Sansa said, “I have to stand aside to get you in, but I’ll be right behind you.”

“Okay.”

As Damon was lifted, Sansa turned and slammed her body into Sandor’s, hugging his torso. He froze in shock then slowly patted her back. “Thank you,” she cried into his shirt.

“You’re welcome,” he gruffed. Sansa couldn’t help but smile at the vibration in his chest, despite the tears that streamed down her face.

Sansa pulled away, wiping her cheeks. She turned with one last glance at the very tall, very dark, and very handsome man before climbing into the back of the ambulance. Sandor closed the doors and then they were speeding away.

Chapter Text

Damon was released from the hospital after a week. His mother never made it out alive. Sansa tried to reconcile herself every night with the fact that she was almost glad his mother had died. She knew that it made her a terrible person. And if she leaned towards her mother’s Gods, she’d be going straight to the Seven Hells as soon as she died because she was glad that a woman had died. But if she leaned towards her father’s Gods, she thought that they might understand her happiness that a physically abusive mother could no longer hurt her six-year-old son.

The first place that Damon wanted to go was to the firehouse to thank the fire fighters for rescuing him. Sansa had to force her to control her tears; that boy had such a good heart.

“Of course we can go see them!” Sansa laughed as she buckled Damon into the booster seat in the back of her beat up sedan.

“They can sign my cast!” he exclaimed, waving around his plaster-covered arm.

Sansa laughed and started the engine. “They sure can. But remember, they may not be there right now. If they’re not, we’ll make sure to come back and see them another time. Okay?”

“They’ll be there.” Damon’s surety always warmed Sansa’s heart.

And he was right. As they pulled into the firehouse parking lot, Sansa could see the ladder truck out on the drive, the ladder extended, and some firefighters cleaning it while others climbed to the top.

“Can you make out the fire truck?” Sansa asked Damon as she helped him out.

“A little!”

“Take my hand now,” Sansa said, handing him his cane and holding out her arm. Damon took both but hardly used the former. He was jumping up and down as they walked into the glass plated front office.

“May I help you?” a man asked, looking up.

“Thank you!” Damon screamed.

“Haha, not yet, Damon,” Sansa chastised him gently. She looked at the firefighter. “Hi, my name is Sansa Stark, this is Damon Jonsson. He was in a car accident last week and some firefighters from your house rescued him from the car. He’d like to see them and give his thanks.”

“Are they here?” Damon demanded in a hushed whisper.

“The accident down on Bell Avenue?” the man asked, typing on the computer.

“Yes, that’s the one.” Sansa really didn’t want to know how many accidents they responded to in a day or why the man had to look up the accident in the computer.

“Yeah, that crew is on right now. They’ll be stoked to see you. Follow me.”

The man stood from his desk and led them through a door and down a hallway. Then he walked through another open door that landed them in the middle of the partially empty garage. Damon eagerly looked around, trying to take in as much as he could. Sansa kept a firm hand around his since he was refusing to use his cane.

The man whistled, “Howl, Hank, Tim! Ya got a visitor!”

Three firefighters came over, wiping their hands in rags. They had been working on the maintenance of the trucks. Sansa was prepared to introduce Damon when the one who had pulled him out, Howl, beamed and exclaimed, “Damon! Hey buddy!”

“He remembers me!” Damon grinned up at Sansa.

Howl knelt in front of Damon. Damon jumped slightly at the sudden presence. Howl didn’t let it affect his smiling face. “You look good, little man. And you only came away with a broken arm, huh?”

Damon shook his head exaggeratedly. “I can’t see either. Just light and dark. Colors too.”

“You’re doing such a good job, I didn’t even notice,” Howl complimented. “What brings you to our house?”

“Where’s my superhero?” Damon suddenly demanded.

“Who?” Howl looked up at Sansa.

“Sandor,” she said. “He keeps calling Sandor his superhero.”

“Ah,” Howl nodded. “Damon, can I take your hand?”

Damon nodded, letting go of Sansa. He reached out until he found Howl’s arm.

“I’m really sorry, Damon, but Sandor left this morning.”

“Where did he go? Is he coming back?” Damon sounded really sad. He dropped his cane and reached out to pat Howls face – a new habit he had formed over the week when he didn’t understand something. It was as if he believed that feeling the way someone’s face looked would give him the answers he lacked.

Howl took the touching in stride. “He won’t be back for a few weeks.”

“Why? Did he get hurt?”

“No, little man,” Howl assured him. “Sandor has another job. He only volunteers with us when he’s in town. He travels a lot.”

“Oh…” Damon’s shoulders dropped. “I wanted to say thank you…”

“Damon,” Sansa said. “Howl and the others helped you too.”

“I know,” Damon mumbled, looking to his feet.

Another firefighter dropped to his knees next to Damon. “My name is Mike, Damon.”

“Hi, Mike,” he said, still not looking up.

“I was the one to cut the car up to get to you. Do you want to check out the saw we used?”

“Yeah!” Damon shouted, not upset anymore.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Sansa began. She had flashes of Damon trying to touch the live machinery and losing fingers because of it.

“We won’t turn it on,” Mike promised.

“Please Ms. Sansa!” Damon begged.

“Oh, alright, but stay next to Mike the whole time,” Sansa said caving. “And don’t forget your—”

But Mike hand already heaved Damon over his shoulder and was striding away. Damon cackling the whole time.

“Cane,” Sansa finished, bending over to pick it up.

Hank and Tim went off with Mike and Damon but Howl stayed with Sansa. “Would you like a coffee?”

“Yeah, that’d be nice. Three sugars and one cream.”

“Be right back.” Howl disappeared for a minute. When he came back, he was pushing two rolling chairs. On one sat a tray that held two cups, a carton of creamer, and a sugar bowl. Howl offered the empty chair to Sansa and then held up the tray for her to take a mug and measure how much of each condiment she wanted.

“Thank you,” she said leaning back.

“You’re welcome. I figured it would be easier just to let you make it the way you want it.”

“That’s very considerate.”

“It’s the least I could do. You look ragged, if you don’t mind me saying,” Howl said, setting the tray down on the floor between them. He crossed his ankle over his knee and turned to watch Mike leading Damon’s hands over the saw that was not on.

“It’s been a long week,” Sansa admitted.

“How long was he in the hospital?”

“Just got out. This was the first place he wanted to go.”

“That’s sweet.”

“That’s Damon in a nutshell,” Sansa chuckled. “I’ve been staying at the hospital with him at night. During the day I’ve got my job I have to do. There are other kids I have to look out for.”

“What’s his situation then?”

“I can’t tell you that.”

“I mean, the basics,” Howl corrected. “You’re his social worker but he seems to be really fond of you and he completely trusts you. The driver, that woman, he was his mother, right?”

Sansa nodded.

“How’s she doing?”

“Didn’t make it,” Sansa muttered into her cup.

“Oh,” Howl let the moment pass and took a gulp himself. “Where’s the kid going now?”

“Back to a foster home. We were able to arrange it with a family that he’s met before and they have previous experience with disabled individuals. No one knows how long they’ll keep him, or if he’ll be bounced around from home to home until he ages out. Of course, adoption is an option for him,” Sansa couldn’t stop herself from talking. It felt so good to just get it out. “But with his injuries, it makes it significantly harder and more unlikely.”

“His arm doesn’t seem that bad.”

“It’s not, just a broken arm.”

“But then—”

“He wasn’t partially blind before the accident.”

“Ah.” Howl fell into silence.

Sansa understood. It was a lot to take in. And cases like Damon’s only made her already taxing just that much harder to emotionally deal with. That was why her office was chronically understaffed.

“He seems to be adjusting well enough,” Howl commented.

Damon was climbing into the cab of one of the trucks and trying a helmet. He had a permanent smile on his face and near constant giggles as Mike and the rest of the firefighters who had come out to play passed the six-year-old around.

“Yeah…”

“But you’re worried about that?” Howl asked.

“Yeah, I just hope the therapy sessions help. He’s a good kid. I don’t want him to get lost in the system or give up hope on life.”

“I think he’ll be alright.”

“Thanks,” Sansa said sincerely. They sat in silence for a few minutes until Sansa’s curiosity got the best of her. “So, Sandor is just a volunteer?”

Howl nodded. “Been volunteering since he was in high school.”

“What does he do otherwise?”

Howl shrugged, “Don’t know. The man keeps his private life very private. All I know is that he travels a lot. Overseas mostly, I believe. But I don’t know what he does or who he works for. I do know that Clegane can speak a surprising number of languages.”

“Clegane?”

“That’s his family name.”

“Ah.”

“Why does he volunteer?”

“I think he gets bored at home. Probably likes the comradery we have. And it keeps us in shape.” Howl finished his coffee and set it down on the tray. “What’s your interest in Clegane?”

“Mostly for Damon,” Sansa said, though one corner of her lip turned up. “He’s been asking about his superhero all week.”

“I’m not surprised, honestly.”

“Does Sandor get a lot of little boys wanting to see him?” she teased, a twinkle in her eye.

Howl laughed, “No. I only meant that it is not uncommon for survivors of accidents and tragedies to become somewhat attached to their rescuer. I still have this old woman who makes me a beautiful cake, one a month, on the dot.”

“Why a cake?”

“Pulled her from her burning cake shop.”

“How long have you been getting cakes?”

Howl leaned back and looked at the ceiling, scratching his chin thinking. “Hmmm, almost twenty years, I think. The lady is probably in her seventies now.”

“What kind of cakes?”

“Oh man, all sorts. I’ll show you.” Howl jumped up and motioned for Sansa to follow him.

With a glance back at Damon, who was thoroughly entertained now by sliding down the firehouse pole, Sansa trailed behind him into the main living space of the house. The wall above the dining table was neatly plastered with hundreds of photos of cakes. Not just any sort of cake. Elaborately decorated ones; multitiered and fondant covered in all sorts of colors and shapes. Sansa couldn’t help but gasped as she stepped closer to examine the photographs.

“You mean cakes!” she laughed.

“Yeah. Takes the whole house about five days on average to eat one. That’s every shift, not just my shift. These things are huge and rich. All the flavors you can think too!” Howl looked fondly at the photos and smiled to himself. “What I’m trying to get at, Ms. Sansa, is that it is okay that Damon is fixated on Clegane. He was the first one to find him, after all.”

Sansa spun around on her kitten heel, her hand absently playing with her wolf necklace again. “He was?”

Howl nodded. “A couple of us went to the driver. A couple of us set up traffic control measures. You know, routine stuff. Clegane has an eye for the little details. Captain may be the one ultimately calling the shots, but when Clegane is on the job, we all listen to him. He’s like a second Cap, though he doesn’t have the rank. While we get to work with the obvious, Cap looks at the big picture, but Clegane examines the scene up close, for the hard to catch things.”

Sansa smiled, “You do make him out to be a superhero.”

“Sometimes I wonder,” Howl grinned. “That car last week was so mangled, we focused on the driver. I didn’t think that anything else could be in the car, let alone alive. But Clegane did what he does. He found Damon and never left the window. Kept him talking, kept him calm – until you arrived that is.”

“Does he have kids?”

Howl shook his head, “I wouldn’t know. I don’t even know if he’s got a special person. Why?”

“Just curious,” Sansa shrugged. “He was really good with Damon. He seems really good with kids and people.”

Howl threw his head back and laughed heartily. “Clegane is not good with people!”

“Really?” Sansa was taken aback. The big man had been so kind, so calm, so amiable – how could he not be good with people?

“Yeah, that man has a very fowl mouth. He only tells the truth, even when a little white lie might be the kinder thing to do. And even then, he doesn’t speak a lot; mostly he just grunts or barks at people.”

“I don’t see it,” Sansa murmured as Howl led Sansa back to their chairs in the garage.

“Guess he was trying to keep you calm,” Howl shrugged, “or maybe he thinks you’re pretty. Who knows what goes on in that burned skull of his?”

“Oh…so those were burns?”

“Yup. He’s had them as long as I’ve known him.”

Damon came running over then, led by Mike. “Ms. Sansa! Ms. Sansa!” he cried out as he leapt onto her lap when he felt her legs. “Can we stay for dinner?”

Sansa smoothed down his ruffled hair. “Where are your manners? It’s rude to invite yourself for dinner, Damon.”

“No! Mike invited us!”

Sansa looked up.

Mike shrugged sheepishly. “I said if it was okay with you.”

“Oh, I’m sorry Damon,” she said sadly. “Kevin and Mel Danvers are expecting us soon.”

“Why can’t I stay with Mike!” Damon demanded, nearly screaming and starting show that he really was just a boy. “I like him, and he likes me!”

Mike pulled Damon off of Sansa’s lap and held him on his hip. “There’s no need to yell at Ms. Sansa, Damon,” he scolded softly. “It sounds like you have dinner plans already. That’s okay.”

“But I wanted to eat with you.”

“Not this time,” Mike regretfully said. “We’ll have to do dinner some other time.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, you’ll have dinner over here soon.”

“Promise?”

“I promise,” Mike replied. “But remember, it is up to Ms. Sansa if and when.”

“And Kevin and Mel,” Sansa added standing.

“Humpf.” Damon pouted, crossing his arms.

“Who are Kevin and Mel?” Mike asked Damon.

“The next family I’m going to live with.”

“They’re a couple I’ve worked with for a few years,” Sansa said as though she needed to explain it to the fire fighters. She passed her mug to Howl with a thankful smile.

“I don’t want to live with Kevin and Mel!” Damon screamed. “I want to stay here!”

“What did I say about screaming?” Mike asked.

“Not too,” Damon whispered.

“Good boy.” Mike chuckled then, “This is a fire house, Damon. Even I don’t live here.”

“Can I live with you then? At your house?”

Mike frowned sadly. “No, it sounds like Kevin and Mel are really nice people. They already have a place for you.”

Damon proceeded to pout.

“Come on Damon,” Sansa said, holding out her arms. “It’s time to go.”

“I’ll walk you guys to the car,” Mike replied, still holding Damon.

Sansa dropped her arms and nodded. She turned to follow Howl back through the firehouse to the parking lot. Mike sat Damon down next to the car as Sansa opened the back door. Damon was still pouting and trying to look as mad as possible.

“What’s wrong?” Mike asked gently.

“I didn’t get to see Sandor.”

“I’m sorry bud. I know he would have wanted to see you too.”

“I guess I’ll go now,” he mumbled.

Mike placed his hands on Damon’s shoulders, “Maybe in a month or so, ask Kevin and Mel if you can come visit the fire house again. You’re always welcome as long as it’s okay with your foster parents and Ms. Sansa.”

Damon’s face picked up and he touched Mike’s, feeling his expression. “Really?”

“Of course. And Sandor might be around then, when you come back.”

“Okay!” Damon gave Mike a big squeeze then allowed Sansa to help him into the car.

As they were pulling away, the entire firehouse was standing outside waving. Sansa told him as much.

“Bye! Bye! Bye! Bye! Bye!” Damon repeated loudly out the window, waving frantically.

Sansa settled into the short drive across town. Her thoughts wandered as Damon drifted into a nap, head uncomfortably craned to the side against the window. Sansa sighed. It was surprising to her that she too was a little disappointed that Sandor hadn’t been around. Maybe she was even more than a little disappointed.

You just want to say thank you to him personally, she tried to convince herself. Or was it something else?

Chapter Text

“Well look who the cat dragged in!” Tormund roared as he opened his front door.

Sandor rolled his eyes, leaning against the front railing. He had his hands stuffed deep in his pockets and wanted nothing more than to sleep.

The ginger with blue eyes had other ideas, however. He grabbed Sandor’s elbow, picked up his duffel bag, and pulled him inside. “Come eat! Have a drink!” He dropped the bag next to the couch and closed the door.

“Tor, I just want to go home,” Sandor grumbled as he was pushed down the hallway before being directed to sit at the dining room table. “I’m here for my keys.”

“How long was the plane ride this time?” Tormund said, ignoring Sandor and sitting down two plates of Swedish meatballs and two beers on the table.

“Long,” was all he said – was all he could say. Sandor couldn’t help himself but pick up the beer and take a long drag. It was cold and it was his favorite.

“And you don’t get cabin service with the way you fly!” Tormund stuffed his fork in his mouth. He chewed with his mouth closed but still held his grin, his beard bobbing slightly with the bounce of his jaw.

Sandor didn’t respond. Food would be nice, he reasoned with himself, and he knew that he didn’t have much more than some protein bars back in his own kitchen. His resolve collapsed and he began eating. Tormund beamed in triumph. Grudgingly he admitted that his friend was right; Sandor was starving. He ate three platefuls but limited his beer to just the one.

“Have another one!” Tormund egged when they were done.

“Dude I have to drive home,” Sandor said tossing his plate in the dishwasher. “It’s the whole reason I’m here – to get my truck.”

“Drive home tomorrow. Sleep on the couch here.”

Sandor froze. He took breath and swallowed before slowly turned around. Tormund was closing the fridge and opening another beer, for himself Sandor hoped. With the sudden silence in the room, Tormund looked up and saw the glare that Sandor was giving him. They stared at each other for a long time. The face clock on the wall ticked the seconds away, which turned into nearly two minutes.

Tormund was the first to cave, he exhaled loudly and shook his head. He bat his hand in the air as if he were swatting at Sandor playfully. “Fuck. I’m sorry man. I know you can’t do that. Forget I said anything at all.”

Another minute ticked by slowly.

“Beric told you then?” Sandor finally huffed.

Really, he wasn’t surprised. The three of them had been thick as thieves back in the day. In fact, Tor and Beric hadactually been thieves at one point. And if Beric told Tor, then Sandor didn’t have to talk about it. Didn’t have to explain anything. He’d been using Tormund’s house for a couple of years, so Sandor reasoned that it was probably a good idea that he knew. But it was better this way, Beric telling him. The less Sandor himself told anyone the safer he was.

“Yeah, I’ve known for years,” Tor replied.

That surprised Sandor. Tor had never given a hint that he knew. He never asked questions and was always up for whatever bullshit story Sandor told him. At least in the beginning; lately Sandor had stopped bothering with coming up with a cover. “Going out of town” was simple. It was also the truth.

Tormund opened the cabinet over the fridge and pulled out a small safe the size of a gun or jewelry box. He sat it on the counter. Tor pulled his keys out of his pocket and unlocked the safe with the smallest one on the ring. He opened the hinged lid and slid it across the counter to Sandor, leaving the keys hanging from the lid. The act caused Sandor to sigh.

Sandor pulled out his wallet and slid it in the front pocket of his jeans. The smart phone, he left on the counter, while he pulled out the gun and slid it into his belt at the small of his back.  He picked up his keys by hooking around his middle finger and then slipped the dog tags around his neck. Carefully, reverently, he tucked them under his tee shirt. In their place, Sandor filled the empty safe with the wallet he had had in his pocket when he arrived. He knelt and rolled up his pant leg enough to unstrap the ankle holster. He sat it in the safe when he stood. He closed the lid and twisted the key to lock it. Sandor slid the safe back over to Tormund up took the keys and tossed them on the table before returning the safe to the cabinet above the fridge.

“You doing anything tomorrow?” Tormund asked casually.

“Got a shift.” Sandor really did appreciate the privacy his best friend offered him concerning things that Tor had no business knowing.

“Seriously?” Tormund raised his eyebrows. “You’re not taking a day to rest?”

Sandor shrugged, “You know I go stir crazy if I don’t have things to fucking do.”

“Still.”

“It’s not like I’ll be running into burning buildings this week. I’ll probably either be in the Ambo tomorrow or some sort of office work and never set foot outside of the station,” Sandor said as he turned on the phone. “Haven’t had this fucking thing in a couple of weeks to get the schedule from the Chief. They won’t have me do anything crazy though. They never do.”

“Good. I worry about you brother.”

Sandor rolled his eyes but otherwise ignored the sentiment. Touchy-feely, ooey-gooey was not his strong suit. He changed the subject easily enough from his job to Tormund’s. “How are them babies treating you?”

“I hear the mockery in your tone.”

“You could be a Viking, with the way you look and talk and act, and yet you work with babies. It’s hard not to!”

“You knock my job, but I fucking love it.” Tormund followed Sandor back to the front door.

“Yeah, yeah I know you do.” The corner of Sandor’s mouth ticked up. Though Viking he may look, Tormund was really a softy underneath. Sandor needed a softie in his life. “Thanks for dinner Tor. It was really good.”

“Mama’s recipe never fails.”

“Take care now,” Sandor said as he picked up his duffel. He didn’t do long, drawn out good-byes or see-you-laters.

“Let me know when you have a night off in the next week. We need to go out for a drink!” Tormund called as Sandor walked to his truck parked at the curb.

He opened the door, tossed his bag to the passenger seat and slid into the truck. He called back to his best friend just before closing the door, “Sure man, I’ll let you know tomorrow what night will work.”

The drive home was only about twenty minutes. Traffic was sparce and he hit every green light for once. Sandor parked in his spot in the garage and opted for the elevator instead of the stairs, this one very rare time. He had been awake for – he checked his watch – nearly forty hours at that point. Sandor unlocked his door and sighed in relief to just be home.

As much as he wanted to dump everything on the floor and simply collapse into bed, to push everything off until the morning, organization and regimen were ingrained into his very being. His keys went on the hook near the door; his boots side-by-side on the mat under his coat rack, where he hung his jacket. Sandor checked every possible hiding spot in the apartment – of which there were very few – before locking the door and the two deadbolts and sliding the chain lock into place. He carried his bag into the bedroom and threw the dirty clothes into the hamper before stripping naked and repeating the process. The duffel went on the hook in his closet. Sandor took a quick shower to wash off the grime that air travel always provided, complimentary.

Then, and only then, did Sandor slip into his bed between the crisp, clean high thread count sheets. He had a vague awareness of plugging in his phone before slipping into unconsciousness.

 

He had been right.

The next three days at the fire house, Sandor manned the front desk. He answered phone calls, tracked down reports, and handled requisition requests. He yelled at the different shifts for not cleaning up the kitchen after themselves or not plunging the toilet. These tasks certainly weren’t his favorite part of the job, but it beat trying to figure out what to do at home. And he was grateful for the rest; the last assignment had been more grueling than expected.

Sandor was a fit man. He worked out every morning for an hour and a half. He ate as clean as he could whenever he could. He drank lots of water and he didn’t smoke. His biggest vice was enjoying a good drink with his friends – and that didn’t happen very often. But that three-week assignment had been a constant round of being awake, on watch, for 36 hours at a time. Minimum. It had taken its toll on everyone.

But it was what happened on his way home, his fourth day of being back stateside, that shook him and convinced him he did need a day off.

It was nearly midnight. He was coming up to stop at a stop sign on a side, residential street, when his truck suddenly lurched. Stunned, Sandor shook his head and blinked rapidly.

He let his head fall back a moment as he groaned, “fuuuuuuuuuuuck.”

He had lightly rear-ended the small sedan in front of him. It was just a bump but was enough for the car to put on their hazards. Sandor put his truck in park and turned off the engine. He got out and walked around his hood where his bumper was kissing the sedan’s. It didn’t look that bad under the streetlamp.

The sedan’s driver got out and closed their door rather gently. Then, “are you fucking kidding me! Did you not even see me?”

Sandor whipped around at the voice and offered, “The damage doesn’t look that bad. A scratch and maybe a small dent.”

“It’s you!” she said looking up into his face, straight on without flinching.

“Me?” he asked, unsure if he was more dumbfounded by her apparent recognition of him or the fact that she was unfazed by his burn scars.

“Yeah! You!” She still sounded mad but there almost more excitement in her voice than bitterness. “Damon has not stopped talking about you and it’s been a month! But hey, I guess every little boy needs a real-life superhero.”

“Damon?” Why did that name sound familiar?

“Oh,” she looked crestfallen for a moment. “I guess you must see a lot of people. I’m not surprised you don’t remember me, or Damon. One six-year-old in a car accident probably isn’t all that memorable.

Damon. Superhero. Car accident. Her red hair. Then it hit Sandor harder than he had hit her car and he felt his breath hitch in his voice. He swallowed hard as she looked away and pulled out her phone.

She had helped him keep the boy in the crumpled car calm while they cut him out. It had happened a day or so before the assignment. Right before the ambulance had taken the kid, Damon, away, she had raised up on her toes, wrapped her arms around his neck, and given him a hug in appreciation. What was her name…

“Ms. Sansa,” he rasped softly.

She glanced at him in response to her name before speaking on the phone. “Hi, yes. My name is Sansa Stark. I’ve been involved in a fender bender…No, ma’am. No one is injured…It doesn’t look terribly bad, but I would like an officer to come out and file a report…For insurance purposes, yes…oh, uh…” Sansa spun around in her sneakers. “The intersection of Wiltshire and Broadview…No, Will-T-shire…Yeah, Avenue…Broadview street…Okay, thank very much… Oh! Please don’t use the siren…Thanks.”

Sansa lowered her phone and turned to look closer at their touching vehicles. “Yeah, you’re right. It doesn’t look bad.”

“I’m really sorry, Ms. Sansa.”

“Sansa, please,” she said without looking at him. “Since we were already on a first name basis that is, Sandor.”

The way she said his name was almost poetic. He cleared his throat. “I’m sorry for tapping your car. I’m also sorry I didn’t recognize you right away. It’s been a long couple of weeks.’

She hummed, “yes, it has hasn’t it?”

Sansa turned away from him and peaked through the window to the backseat.

“Let me give you my number and—”

Sansa whipped around and glared at him, “are you seriously trying to hit on me right now?”

Sandor took an involuntary step back. Her eyes were blazing, and her voice was deadly. He furrowed his brow, “What? No! I was going to say, let me give you my number and insurance information. That way you can have your insurance contact my insurance. And whatever repairs need to happen, if any, can get taken care of. Or, if you prefer to not bother with those leeches, you can just call me with the amount, and I’ll handle it directly.”

“Oh.” Sansa looked down at the pavement.

Sandor could almost swear her cheeks turned pink.

“Why on earth would you think that I’d fucking be trying to pick you up right now?”

Sansa visibly tightened her jaw and squared her shoulders as she looked up and met Sandor’s eyes. They were blue. Like Tormund’s, but brighter, more vivid, more other-worldly. They were beautiful.

“It wouldn’t be the first time a man has tried some ridiculous fucking scheme, at the most inappropriate times, in the hopes of taking me home for the night, if not just a few hours.”

Sandor wasn’t sure which emotion was stronger. The enticing thought of taking her home for the night. The alarming way he was turned on by her use of language that matched his. Or the anger he felt at men who acted like uncontrollable beasts.

“Besides, I don’t know if you haven’t been following me and rear-ended me on purpose.”

“Excuse me?” that was surprising. “People do that sort of shit?”

“Like I said, ridiculous fucking schemes,” Sansa spat as she crossed her arms over her chest.

Sandor kept his eyes on her face, though it was so tempting to just glance down.

“And don’t try anything either,” Sansa added. “The police are on their way and I have children in the backseat.”

“You have kids with you?” Sandor felt his face pale a bit. “Fuck. Are they okay?”

“Yes,” she said, softer as the edge subsided in her voice. “Neither woke up.”

“You have kids? No wait,” Sandor shook his head, that wasn’t right. “You are a social worker, aren’t you? Not that doesn’t mean you can’t have your own kids.”

“No kids of my own,” Sansa admitted.

Sandor leaned his back against his truck and hooked his thumbs in his front pockets, trying to assume the least threatening posture possible considering his sex and physical stature. Sansa seemed receptive to his actions and relaxed her shoulders a bit.

“Me neither,” he said. “No kids, I mean.”

“Really?” Sansa looked surprised. “You were so good with Damon. I really thought that had a kid, or at least are around kids a lot.”

Sandor shook his head. “I’m only ever around them if they’re involved in whatever incident I’m called in on.” Sandor snapped his fingers as flashing blue and red lights appeared down the street from them. “That’s why you didn’t want a siren. Sleeping kids.”

Sansa nodded, “It’s been a rough night for them.”

“Everyone alright?” the officer said, parking. He got out of the squad car. “Ma’am?”

“Yes, officer,” Sansa replied. “No injuries. Just a bit of a fright.”

“Can you please get your license and registration?” he asked her.

“Of course.”

The officer took a few photos of their cars touching and then turned to Sandor. “Sir, have you been drinking?”

“No, sir,” Sandor replied.

“I noticed your volunteer fire fighter plate above your state plate.”

“Yes, sir. I was on my way home from the firehouse. Must have been on autopilot. When I came to a stop, I must have misjudged the distance between my car and hers.”

“You look tired.”

“I am,” Sandor admitted.

“I’ll need to see your license and registration, and badge as well – for verification of your plate. Insurance card too.”

“Of course. Can I get it out of my glove box?”

“Sure. And can you back your truck up a few feet for photos?”

“Yes. But, for the moment,” Sandor pulled his wallet out of his pocket and handed over his driver’s license and his concealed carry permit, “my 9mm is tucked into my belt on my back.”

The officer took Sandor’s cards and studied them closely. Then said, “thanks for letting me know.”

Sandor turned and opened his door and sat sideways in his seat as he leaned over and dug through his glove compartment until he found the packet he was looking for. He straightened in his seat and turned over the engine. Sandor reversed a few feet. As he cut the engine and stepped out of the truck, a wailing cut through the night. Sandor and the officer both looked to Sansa, who was opening up the rear door of her sedan. She leaned into the car and a moment later stood up while cradling a baby in her arms.

No, Sandor thought as she walked towards them, papers tucked under her arm, a newborn.

Sansa bounced gently as she swayed back and forth. For a moment she looked very frazzled. “Sorry.”

“No need to apologize ma’am,” the officer replied. “May I?”

“Oh! Of course.” Sansa turned slightly to allow the officer to take her papers from under her arm.

“How old?” he asked.

“Nineteen days.”

“Aw.” The officer leaned in slightly. “So tiny. I remember when mine were that small. They sure grow up fast! You look so put together! Congratulations. I’ll be right back with the report.”

The officer walked back to his car and got in. Sansa glanced back at the open door of her car, still bouncing.

“The other one still sleeping?” Sandor asked, unable to tear his eyes away from how she cradled the babe against her chest.

“Thank the Gods,” she said exasperatedly.

“Can I ask you a question?” he wondered.

“Sure.”

“Are you not bustled at his comment on being put together?”

“Why should I be?” she wondered. “He’s just a man who thinks it’s his place to tell me if I look good or not. Like there is some ideal standard that a woman must look like after having a birthing a watermelon out of her vagina.”

Sandor kept his face neutral though he fought the need to blush and cough. “So why then didn’t you correct him? On how he’s not your kid?”

Sansa shrugged. “Sometimes it’s just easier. Like I said, he’s just a man who thinks he needs to validate women. I’ll probably never see him again so it’s not worth the breath. Oh, and this is Annabelle. She’s a she.”

“She’s cute.” Sandor had no idea what constituted a cute baby. But this Annabelle wasn’t too bad. “Nineteen days, huh?”

“Yeah, that’s where I was – on my way home from the hospital, picking them up.”

“The other one just as young?”

“No. Eighteen months.”

“Wow.” Sandor had no idea how he was able to stand on the side of a road, at midnight, talking to a gorgeous ginger, and about babies, of all topics.

“Alright, folks,” the officer returned, passing them back their papers. “Here’s a copy each of the incident report. You can get on your way and put the little ones to bed.”

“Thanks, officer,” Sansa replied. “But I’ll have to wait till she settles down to get her back in the car. I don’t want to wake up her sister.”

“I’ll stay with her,” Sandor found himself saying.

“Is that alright with you, Mrs. Stark?”

“Yeah, it’s fine,” she replied, much to Sandor’s surprise. “Funny enough, we already knew each other. Loose friends.”

“Okay then, you folks have a good night.”

“You too officer, thank you.”

“Thanks,” Sandor added.

The officer got in his squad car, turned off the lights, and rolled away.

Before Sandor could say anything, Sansa turned to him and grumbled, “I don’t need some man to protect me.”

“I wasn’t trying to imply anything! Swear to the fucking Gods.” As soon as it slipped his mouth, Sandor realized he probably shouldn’t have been cussing in front of the baby. But it was a baby, it didn’t understand what he was saying.

Sansa raised her eyebrow.

“I figured that I put you in this bloody mess, the least I could do is wait till you’re back on the road before I take off.”

Sansa eyed him for a long moment. Annabelle was curling and uncurling her tiny hand around Sansa’s pointer finger as she began to quiet down. Sansa still bounced lightly on her toes. “Really?”

“I can’t say that wanting to make sure you, and the kids, are safe before I leave wasn’t part of my decision,” Sandor admitted. “But I would have done the same thing if you were a man.”

Sansa didn’t reply right away. She looked down to Annabelle, who looked back up at her in silence with a dream like look on her face.

“Well,” Sandor cleared his throat, “I guess I’ll go if you don’t—”

“We went to the fire house,” she interrupted him, still not looking at him.

Sandor stopped moving and waited. Though he couldn’t see her face, she moved her lips. In a smile or in a frown, he couldn’t decipher it.

“Damon and I. We went for a visit after he got out of the hospital. It was the only place he wanted to go. Had been talking about it all week. Talked the ears off every nurse, doctor, and tech that would stay for five minutes and listen. All he wanted to do was say thank you to everyone. And see his superhero.”

Sansa looked up then, right into Sandor’s eyes. It felt like she could see his soul. He felt naked, exposed. And in the seconds of silence, while he was trying to figure out what to say, Sansa continued talking.

“We went and found out that you weren’t there. Damon was really upset. The other guys on your shift, they took him to look at the trucks and distracted him. He got to play on the fire pole and shoot a hose. He loved making the trucks honk and the sirens wail. And when it was time to go to his new foster family’s house, he nearly threw a fit.”

The way Sansa was looking at Sandor, it made him feel…things. It made him feel like the superhero that that boy had seen him as.

“Your coworkers were amazing with Damon. They really were. When I check in with him and his family once a week, the first, middle, and last thing he asks me is, ‘have you seen Sandor?’ or ‘have you heard when Sandor is coming back?’. Now all he wants to be when he grows up is a fire fighter like you.” Sansa shrugged. Suddenly she turned pink and looked down at Annabelle, who had finally fallen asleep. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything. You probably don’t want to hear—"

“No,” Sandor finally found his voice. Even to his own ears it sounded husky, thick. “Thank you. I just uh, I have never had someone seek me out after their accident.”

“Oh Gods, I’ve embarrassed you. I’m so sorry.”

“No, well yes,” Sandor found himself admitting, “but it’s okay.”

“I should buckle her back in,” Sansa said more to herself than him. She turned away and leaned back into the car. Sandor heard a series of clicks before Sansa stood up. She closed the door as quietly as she could. Without really looking at him, just in his general direction, Sansa said, “I, uh, well good night.”

“Sansa, wait,” Sandor called out.

She paused before getting behind the wheel.

“I meant what I said. Get the insurance worked out. Or call me – or text – if you need money for the repair. And before you say anything,” he hastily added as she opened her mouth, “I am not saying that because I don’t think you can’t pay for it. I’m saying that because it is my fault. My schedule is not regular so any time, day or night, I’ll get and respond to the phone.”

Sansa picked at the seal on her car door for a moment. Finally, she nodded, “Yeah, okay. Thanks.”

“Can I ask you one last thing?”

“Sure.”

“What’s going to happen to the kids?”

Sansa smiled sadly. “I can’t tell you.”

“But they’re going to be okay?”

“Yeah,” she replied softly, “I hope so.”

“Are you taking them to a family, like you did with Damon?”

Sansa nodded. “In the morning. They’re good people.”

“And tonight?”

“They come home with me for now.”

Sandor wasn’t sure what to say to that. To him that implied she lived for her job and her job was her everything. She probably didn’t have a person at home waiting up for her, and that made him sad. She took care of these children and helped them through some of the worst times in their lives – he wondered who took care of her when she needed it.

“Drive safe,” he finally said.

“Yeah, you too, superhero.”

Right before she closed the door, another thought occurred to him. “Sansa?”

She was already sitting but leaned out and looked at him. “Yeah?”

“When you can, if you still want to, let me know and I’ll make sure I’m around at the fire house so that you can bring Damon by. I heard we owe someone a dinner and I have a feeling that that someone is Damon.”

This time when Sansa smiled, it wasn’t sad. It was overjoyed and it reached past her eyes and transformed her whole face. “Yeah, Damon still wants to do dinner. I’ll call you.”

“Okay then,” he said returning her smile. “Night.”

“Good night Sandor.”

Sansa closed her door, started the engine, and pulled away while Sandor was still standing next to his truck with his hands shoved into his pocket.

Sandor drove very carefully, the rest of the way home. He parked. Head resting against the steering wheel, he called the Chief.

“Mormont.” His voice was gruff and straight to the point.

“It’s Clegane.”

“What’s up that couldn’t wait until the morning?”

“I need to take a few days off.”

“This is really short notice.”

Sandor sighed. “I know, I don’t want to have to ask. But I do.”

“What’s come up?” Mormont’s tone softened.

“I’m tired, Chief.”

“Aren’t we all?”

“No, I was in a small fender bender on my way home.”

“Are you alright?”

“Barely a scratch on my truck. The car has a minor dent. I’m fine. But it was a wake-up call. I’ve been pushing myself too hard.”

“Yeah, okay. Take three days and give me a call to let me know where you’re at.”

“Thanks, Chief.”

“Get some sleep Clegane.”

“I plan on it.” Sandor climbed out of his truck and once again to the elevator to his apartment. It was becoming a bad habit that he needed to nip in the bud…in the morning.

Once again, he found himself going through the usual motions to secure his apartment for the night. As he lay on his back staring at the ceiling, sleep creeping in, he thought about the red head with blue eyes in a little black sedan. She had had two kids in the back. If he had been going faster, or if he hadn’t stopped at all…Sandor figured that if he ever heard from Ms. Sansa Stark again, it would be to get her car fixed. She’d never bring Damon back to the fire station; he wouldn’t if he was in her position. As Sandor fell asleep, he told himself that was probably for the best. He had too much in his life already. No need to complicate things by adding the possibility of a relationship.

Chapter Text

Sansa balanced the dishes in one arm and rang the doorbell with the other. She tucked her hair behind her ear, wishing she had pulled it up instead of leaving it loose. But she always wore her hair up for work. It was Sunday. It was her day off. She had wanted to switch it up a little bit but now she was wondering if that had been a good idea. After a moment the door opened.

“San! You’re here!” Tormund boomed as he held his arms open high and wide. He wore only a tee shirt and jeans, no shoes. “Come in!”

“I’m sorry I’m late, Torm,” Sansa huffed as she stepped into his house. They exchanged a side hug and she kissed his cheek. “I was waiting on my car to get inspected. The mechanic was taking forever. It should have been done last week.”

Tormund laughed as he pointed to the dining table where she could put the desert. “Isn’t your brother your mechanic?”

Sansa frowned, “Yes, exactly. Thank you! Ricky is great except he doesn’t balance things very well and is also terrible at bookkeeping. He figured that, because I’m his sister, I would be okay with being pushed to the back of the line. Well, no, Ricky, I am not fine with that! I’m a paying customer just like everyone else. If he were doing it for free, then I’d totally understand.”

“But he’s not,” Myrcella said, appearing from around the corner.

“Exactly!” Sansa leaned in to give her co-worker a hug.

“Come outside,” she said, taking Sansa’s hand. “Some burgers have already come off the grill and disappeared but there will be more to come soon.”

“Just a whiskey for me for now,” Sansa said as she pushed her sunglasses back on her face. She stepped onto Tormund’s back deck and looked around his yard. There were perhaps a dozen and a half people milling about and chatting.

“Bar’s over by the grill. Help yourself!” Myrcella replied before dashing away to another conversation that called out to her.

And just like that, Sansa was standing alone. Awkward. As usual. Sansa sighed, she worked so much she didn’t often socialize. Her work family and her family were her social circle. It made coming to these get-together’s somewhat uncomfortable. But, she reasoned with herself, at least the booze is free and plentiful.

It was warm out. Sansa was grateful that she’d remembered to put on sunscreen this morning. Her evergreen sundress and cream wedge heels exposed a lot of her skin. As she walked towards the grill, she could feel the heat from it too, in addition to the sun. She spotted the bar table near the grill and made her way towards it. She was in the middle of pouring herself a rather tall tumbler of Scotland’s finest when she was suddenly in a shadow. Then the person backed into her.

She sloshed some whiskey on her hand. Sansa looked up and nearly squeaked. “Oh!”

“Sorry! Didn’t see you there,” he said as he turned around and looked down. Surprise was suddenly plastered on the good half of his face.

“You need to stop literally bumping into me,” she said, only half joking. “First my car and now me?”

When he said nothing, Sansa raised her hand and sucked the whisky off her skin. Sandor watched her mouth. She was grateful that she worked with kids; it allowed her to keep her face straight when what she wanted to do was smirk at the way he licked his own lips.

“Ms. Sansa?” his voice was low and raspy when he finally spoke.

“I thought I told you to call me Sansa,” she replied raising the glass to her lips.

“Aye, you did.” Sandor watched the movement with his eyes, cocking his eyebrow. “Should I make a comment about your drink amount or are we not there yet as friends, Sansa?”

“That depends,” she replied.

“On?”

Sansa allowed the corner of her mouth to turn up. “Why you’re following me.”

“But I’m not. I was here first.”

Sansa grinned. “You sound like my five-year-old’s.”

“They have the right of it then, sometimes,” he growled.

“But what are you doing here?”

“San!” Tormund called down from the deck, interrupting Sandor’s chance to explain.

Both Sansa and Sandor turned around and called back to him, “Yeah?” His voice low and hers harmonizing against his, an octave higher. All three of them froze. Those at the party who were close enough to hear the exchange and understand what had just happened hooted and cheered.

“Oh fuck!” Tormund hooted, as he came down the stairs carrying a platter of uncooked hotdogs. “I never realized I call both of you San! Sandor, meet Sansa. Sansa, this is Sandor.”

“We’re already acquainted,” Sansa replied sweetly.

“Really?”

“Met her at an accident a month or two back,” Sandor said.

“Well, isn’t this just the weirdest coincidence? San and San!”

“How do you two know each other?” Sandor wondered.

“We work together,” Tormund said as he wrapped an arm around Sansa’s middle and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Sansa felt herself turn pink and unable to meet Sandor’s intense gaze. Why it suddenly mattered to her what he thought confused her. “I give her my babies when the age out of my care.”

“Ah,” he nodded. Sansa could see the two pieces connect in his body language. “You’re both social workers.”

“Yup! Man,” Tormund rubbed his hands together excitedly, “I’m so glad my best friend and my work wife have finally met! San get these dogs cooked! San keep him company! Get along you two!” Tormund bounced away then to see to someone who had called his name about starting up a fire in his firepit.

Sandor turned back to the grill and opened the lid. More heat rushed over Sansa and she fanned herself with her hand. Sandor flipped the burgers and made space for the hotdogs before turning around and leaning against the low stone wall. He took a sip of his beer as he observed her.

“Who would have thought we’d have mutual friends?” Sansa mused, moving to sit on the wall next to him.

“Implying something?”

“Only if you’re able to make comments on my drinking.”

Sandor gave her a side eye. She was smiling mischievously at him. He shook his head and finished his beer. “That is quite a serving.”

Sansa shrugged, “It’s been a week.”

“How’re the kids?”

“Hmm?” Sansa said.

“The ones you had with you when I rear-ended you?” Sandor pushed off the wall. He opened the grill, turned the hot dogs, and closed it again.

“Oh, they’re good. The little one, Annabelle, had a family who wanted to adopt her.”

“But her sister?” Sandor popped the top off another beer.

“When they heard about Mary, they adopted them both.”

“A happy ending then.”

“Yeah,” Sansa tipped her head back to drain her tumbler. “It doesn’t usually happen that way with siblings.”

“What about the rest of the week?” Sandor wondered, “I’m sure you have more kids to look after than just them.”

“Oh, I do,” Sansa held her glass towards him. “Top me off, San?”

“Sure, here you go, San.” Sandor poured her more whiskey, though this time it was a reasonable amount.

Sansa stuck out her bottom lip in a pout.

“Careful with that lip,” he said huskily.

“What are you going to do about it?”

Sandor’s breath hitched in his throat. He cleared it and turned to the grill shaking his head.

Sansa found it quite a thrill that she flustered the big tough firefighter so much. Such a

“Hot dogs are up!” he boomed, startling Sansa.

She squeaked, jumping. Her hand flew to her heart.

Sandor glanced at her as he piled the hot dogs and hamburgers onto the platter with a pair of long tongs, though they were disappearing as fast as he was providing them. He turned away and shouted again, “Tor! Bring me the rest of the grill items!”

Sansa shrieked again, her hand still over her heart. Her chest rising and falling quickly.

Tormund appeared with a platter before disappearing again. Sandor glanced at Sansa again as he began to repopulate the grill. “You alright there, Little Bird?”

“I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone with as loud of a voice as you!” she replied, draining her glass. “And I have five brothers! And an Ayra!”

“An Arya?” Sandor replied, sitting down next to her.

“My sister. When we were growing up, she was adamant that she wasn’t a boy, though she had short hair like my brothers and wasn’t into the girly things that I was. Technically she’s my sister but describing her as an Arya is more accurate. There literally is no one quite like her.”

“Big family huh?”

“Yeah. What about you?” Sansa asked, pushing him with her shoulder. He didn’t even sway. Sansa bit her lip at the realization that Sandor was a solid wall of muscle. She figured he was, because he was ripped, and his arms bulged deliciously in his tee shirt, but feeling it again, even for the briefest of moments, was something else; was the things of her dirtiest dreams.

“Haha, not so fast,” Sandor replied, though his tone suggested he wasn’t joking. “I’m not drinking nearly enough to dip into the family conversation.”

Sansa slipped off the wall and smoothed down the back of her dress as she walked over to the bar. She could feel Sandor’s eyes on her the whole time. Maybe she was swinging her hips just a little bit extra to rile him up. It was the least she could do after his booming voice. Sansa sat her tumbler down on the bar table and picked up the bottle of whiskey instead. She turned around and held it up, grinning.

“What’re you going to do with that?” Sandor asked.

Sansa strode towards him, purpose in her hips – and she didn’t miss the flicker of his grey eyes as they filtered between studying her face and trailing them down her body before jumping back up again.

“No, seriously, Little Bird, what are you going to do with that?” he asked almost nervously as she stopped inches away from standing between his splayed knees.

Sansa put the bottle to her lips and took a long drink, holding Sandor’s eyes the whole time. He gulped. She lowered her hand and licked her lips, exaggerating the motion. Then, she held out the bottle between them. “You’re turn, big guy.”

“I’m cooking.”

“I thought you were grilling?”

Sandor shook his head, “You’re scrambling my brains.”

“Some whiskey to help smooth them out?”

“I’m grilling, San.”

“San, you’re huge,” Sansa replied, still grinning. “If I can hold as much as I do, one gulp isn’t going to cause you to set the place on fire.”

Sandor eyed her before wrapping his hand around the bottle, encompassing her fingers too. But he didn’t let her pull her hand away. Instead he pulled her to lean closer to him.

Sansa glanced between his face and their fingers. She felt her face flush and butterflies erupt in her stomach.

“Aye,” he said leaning in, still holding her in place. “I can grill and drink at the same time.”

“Are you scared I’ll drink you under the table?” Sansa leaned in farther, whispering. Their faces were only inches apart.

“I’d like to see you try.”

“Then what’s the hold up?”

“I don’t joke about things catching fire.”

Sansa blinked, leaning back. “Right, cause you’re a fire fighter.”

“No,” his voice dropped. “Cause of my face.”

It donned on her that he was serious. That that look in his eye was him waiting for her to fake some excuse to go find someone else to be entertained by. Well, he’s not getting off that easily. Sansa held his glare for a long moment, then licked her lips again. His eyes flashed down for a moment and back up. Sansa raised her free hand and brushed some hair off of his face. He nearly winced but remained still while she studied his face, and his burn scars. All she felt was sadness for him when she knew that he expected disgust.

Sansa allowed a little smile to twerk up the corner of her mouth and let her hand drop to his knee. He started at the contact and narrowed his eyes, like he was trying to figure out her angle. The joke was on him: Sansa didn’t have an angle.

“Well then, Sandor, that’s ironic because you may just end up burning the rest of the meat instead.”

“Fuck,” his hissed and stood up. He let go of the bottle and brushed by her. He threw open the grill, muttering curses under his breath. Sansa faintly heard “fucking woman”, “siren ways”, “bloody distracting,” and “I’m so fucked” muttered under Sandor’s breath. Hastily he pulled the rest of the meat off the cooking grate.

When he shouted again, Sansa was ready.

Sandor turned off the propane before scrubbing the grill. He closed the lid. Sandor turned back to Sansa, shaking his head.

She held up the bottle again, “you’re a ways behind me, San. Gotta catch up.”

“I’m driving today.”

Sansa shrugged. “So? Take a cab home.”

Sandor stepped close to Sansa, nearly pinning her against the wall. He leaned over and whispered into her ear, “And how are you getting home, Little Bird?”

She turned her head so that their lips were nearly touching. Sansa could smell a burger and beer on his breath and was alarmed by how much it turned her on. She swallowed – loud enough she swore he had to hear, though he didn’t make an indication that he had – and murmured, “I came in a cab.”

“Oh?” he grinned, pulling back a bit. “So, you planned on getting wasted at a backyard get together, now did you?”

“My car is in the shop,” she said, wanting him near her again, “or did you forget that I got rear-ended recently.”

The amusement drained from his eyes. He started to pull away, but Sansa grabbed the front of his tee shirt and held him place. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“How bad is it?” he asked though she might have described it as a croak. “The car, I mean. I never heard from you.”

“Just a little dent and some scratches in the paint. I didn’t want to bother you,” Sansa said shrugging. It was now her turn to look away. She twisted her hands on his shirt, suddenly nervous for some reason.

“That was weeks ago, how long can it take to fix that?” he asked. When she didn’t reply he used his hand to lift her chin so she could see the intense steely gray of his eyes. “Are you downplaying how bad it actually is, Little Bird? I don’t like liars.”

Sansa fortified her posture, trying to ignore the way his hand was so warm on her skin. “I don’t lie. My littlest brother is my mechanic and he’s taking forever to get around to my car. He’s also decided I need a complete tune up and detailed cleaning job while he’s at it.”

“Then how are you getting around?”

“He has a car I’ve been borrowing.”

“You need to call me tomorrow.”

“Why?” she asked, turning her head slightly to the side.

“Because I’m going to get you a rental.”

“Oh, no,” Sansa protested, shaking her head. “Ricky says it’ll be done this week. There’s no need Sand—”

“If you want a drinking partner today, you’ll do as I ask.”

Sansa took a deep breath. He smelled so musky, but nothing descript enough she could place. It reminded her of the accident and how he had held her close with a hand on her head… Sansa closed her eyes for a moment to clear her mind out of the gutter. She asked, “You’ll take a cab home?”

Sandor’s breath tickled her neck as he leaned in and whispered, “perhaps we could share one,” as he pulled the bottle from her fingers.

He stepped back and Sansa reluctantly let go of his shirt. He took a long swig. Sansa admired the way his Adams apple bobbed while he swallowed. Then she realized that he wasn’t drinking anymore and that she had been staring. She blushed and sat on the wall, looking down at the stone pavers. Gods it was hot outside.

The giant man held out the bottle. But when she made to take it, he moved it just out of reach.

“Are you cutting me off?” she asked, annoyed.

“Just wondering if you ate before you came.”

“What’s it to you?”

“Just wondering if I need to cut you off. So, did you eat? Cause you haven’t touched anything here that I’ve noticed.”

“I had breakfast this morning, yes,” she replied irately.

“But you didn’t have a meal this afternoon? Before you got here?”

“What are you my mother now?”

Sandor chuckled, “You’ve had a lot to drink already. You’re flushed and it’s hot out here. I’ve seen enough alcohol poisonings. I don’t want to have to pump your stomach. It might kill the, ah, the mood between us.”

“I’m fine,” she replied, trying to grab the bottle again.

Sandor tsked. He sat the bottle out of her reach on the wall and turned away. Sansa huffed and crossed her arms, well aware that doing so pushed her breasts taught in her dress. She watched as he walked over to the food table and moved about. She couldn’t see what he was doing but when he finally turned back around, he held a plate piled with food.

Sansa gaped. “I couldn’t possibly eat all of that!”

“It’s for both of us. I haven’t eaten yet either and I am starving.”

Sansa had nothing to say to that.

“Grab us two water bottles,” he instructed as he picked up the whiskey bottle. “And follow me.”

Sansa stood, “where are we going?”

“Do you want more whiskey?” he asked, a twinkle in his eyes.

Sansa glared but dug in the cooler next to the bar table to find two bottles.

Sandor led her around and behind the grill into the shade of trees next to Tormund’s house. Under one, there was a bench. He sat on one side, not quite all the way to the edge, and placed the plate in the center. Sansa sat on the other side and leaned the water bottles against the back. She held out her hand for the whiskey.

“Nope, eat first.” Sandor picked up a hamburger and took a huge bite out of it.

Sansa pursed her lips and chose a hotdog. Ketchup, mustard, relish – simple and just how she liked it. She wondered how he knew. She looked up to see him watching her intently. To punish him in return, Sansa kept the eye contact as she opened her mouth. As she took her first bite, she tried to make it as sensual as she could for him. It must have worked because his eyes didn’t stay on hers for long. When she finished the hotdog, he still hadn’t finished his hamburger.

Sansa picked up a napkin and dabbed at the corners of her mouth. “May I have the whiskey now?”

Sandor stuffed the remainder of his hamburger in his mouth – which immediately sent her mind down that train of thought – and passed her the bottle. She took a swig and sat it between them. Sansa picked up another hotdog. She moaned this time as she ate it, only exaggerating the sound a little bit. “Gods, I didn’t realize I was this hungry.”

“Told you so. Glad I could save you a trip to the emergency room,” he replied, popping a few chips in his mouth.

“I mean,” Sansa swallowed, “I love my job, but the city health insurance is shit.”

“Oh yeah?”

“A trip to the emergency room would probably clean me out except for my savings. And depending on what needed to be done, it could wipe out my savings too.”

“Just remember to eat before you drink and stay hydrated with water, and I think you’ll be fine.” Sandor grinned. “At least when it comes to alcohol poisoning.”

“What about you?”

“What about me?”

“What sort of health insurance do you have?”

“Trying to see if I’m a good catch?”

Sansa grinned as she munched on a cucumber slice. “Nah, just curious for now. Do they provide insurance for volunteer fire fighters?”

“Nah, but I have it through my other job.”

“And that is?” Sansa waited but Sandor didn’t reply. She tried again, “Your buddies at the station wouldn’t tell me what it is that you do when you aren’t pulling little boys from extremely smooshed cars.”

“It’s ‘cause they don’t know,” Sandor replied, drinking and passing it back to her.

Sansa didn’t like that he was avoiding the topic. Her brothers hated it, but she was like a hound when she caught the scent of something she wanted to know more about. Though, that trait had always worked well in schooling and in her career. Sansa decided to push. “So, what is it that you do then?”

“I travel with work.”

She rolled her eyes and made sure he saw it. Sansa took a bit swallow. “They told me that much.”

Sandor glanced at his hands as he swirled around the artichoke dip with a piece of pita. “I don’t like lying, San. And I don’t want to lie to you.”

Sansa chuckled; she knew that much already. “Then just tell me, San.”

She nudged his shin with the toe of her shoe.

He looked up at her and placed his hand atop hers that rest on her knee. It dwarfed hers. She liked it.

“Though you haven’t known me long, can you trust me? Can you let me leave it as just traveling for work? At least just for now?”

“Of course I trust you,” she replied immediately. And she did. She felt safe with him. She felt that he was as pure as they come.

“Then you’ll let it be for now?”

“Why?” she whispered, toying with the line between serious and playful. “I understand secrecy and discretion – I’m a social worker, San. I just…you have my mind running wild now.”

Sandor took a breath. He watched her for a minute before saying, to her neck instead of her eyes, “I want this to go somewhere. All I can tell you is that I’m in the national defense sector. And that I’m not allowed to talk about work.”

“Ah,” Sansa nodded, trying to suppress her grin. “So, I was right. You could be a spy.”

“Sure,” he shrugged.

“Do you look good in a well-tailored suit and tie?” Now her imagination was truly running wild.

Sandor smirked, “Trying to imagine me in a pair of tight pants, San?” he asked as he took the whiskey bottle and drained a bit of it.

“Actually Sandor,” she replied, taking it from his hands and finishing it off, “I’m trying to imagine getting you out of a pair of tight pants, though I might leave the tie on.”

Sandor nearly choked on the water he had opened. He sputtered and coughed as he sat the bottle down, thumping his chest with his fist.

Sansa realized that may have been too forward, too honest, too fast and felt herself turning tomato red. She quickly pulled her hand out from under his. She turned on the bench to face straight ahead, instead of facing him, and fluffed her hair so it fell down the side of her face. It created a curtain between them. But it wasn’t enough. She still felt exposed. And things had gone back to awkward, when they had been going so well.

“Sorry,” she stuttered, “if that was too, too…if that was unwanted.”

Sandor startled her by brushing the hair out of her face and tucking it behind her ear. But still she refused to look in his direction and pushed down the urge to fan herself – she knew hew face had to be red.

Sandor traced her jawline with a knuckle, leaning over their now empty plate. “Was that the whiskey talking Little Bird? Or is that really you, thinking about me like that?”

“Does it matter?” she whispered, swallowing.

He gently turned her face with her fingertips and slid closer to her on the bench. “Only to determine what happens in the future.”

Sansa’s eyes flickered to his and suddenly she couldn’t look away.

“One means we ditch the party,” he continued, “take that cab – to your place or mine, I don’t give a shit which – and have a little bit of fun for the evening.”

“And the other?” she gulped as his thumb brushed over her bottom lip.

“The other means that we ditch this party, take that cab to your place or mine, I still don’t give a flying fuck which, and have some fun tonight – all night long. And maybe later this week too. And then perhaps after I take you on a date next weekend.”

“Why would you want to do that?” she asked, breathless. He was sucking up all of her air. All that she could breathe was him.

Sandor leaned in and brushed his lips against her ear. It sent a visible shudder down her spine.

“Because,” he said, lightly licking her ear lobe, “I don’t just want this to be just a tonight thing. If you want to see me again after today, that is.”

“I’m mortified,” she admitted out of the blue.

Sandor started to pull away, but her hand jumped to the back of his neck and held him in place.

“No, don’t look at me like that, San, please. I’m not, no, oh Gods,” realization hit her as he shifted his head ever so slightly to allow his hair to drop over his scars a bit more, “no, not that. You think that I meant your scars. You’re wrong. No,” Sansa shook her head vigorously, and raised the other hand to cup his burned cheek, “I mean, I’m thinking about what Torm will think of us leaving together? I don’t know how I’ll be able to face him in the morning at work – or ever again!”

“Cause you’re ashamed to having gone home with someone who looks like me?”

Sansa rolled her eyes and growled, “would you fucking listen to me? Mother have mercy, you’re thick brained. It’s got nothing to do with you damn scars, Sandor. I don’t want Torm to know what I’ve been up to.”

“Have you never done this before?” he wondered, unsure.

“Course I have!” she scoffed. “Have you?”

“You think I could be a spy and you don’t think I would have slept my way around the world?”

“See? It’s just as ridiculous of a question when you ask it as when I do.”

“Okay, point taken.”

“I’ve just never hooked up with a collogues best friend!” The possibility both thrilled her and terrified her. She hoped he could see both when he looked at her. “I made it a rule for myself, a long, long ass time ago, that I wouldn’t hook up with my brother’s friends. It’s too weird and it causes too many issues for all parties involved. And that’s what Torm is to me, he’s like a brother.”

“Why would he have to know?”

“He doesn’t have to know,” she insisted.

“But how would he find out?” Sandor countered. “You are so worried about his reaction, but he doesn’t have to know.”

“He’ll know. He will know, if we fuck around together and things go sideways…”

“So,” Sandor grinned, “you do want to fuck me.”

“Was there any doubt?” she threw back without missing a beat. “I just don’t want to ruin what Torm and I have, or what you and Torm have.”

“Why would you be the one to ruin it?”

“It’s always the woman’s fault,” Sansa spat. “I’ve seen it too many times with my brothers, with my friends, and firsthand. Something goes south and it’s the woman’s fault even when it wasn’t.”

“But what if this doesn’t go south?”

“Are you willing to risk it?”

“Are you willing to go to work tomorrow, sated and thoroughly fucked, and face Tor, with the minute possibility that he might figure it out?”

“That depends. Is that a threat or a promise?” Sansa wondered as she pressed her forehead against his.

“Which do you want it to be?”

“Both.”

And then Sansa leaned in and pressed her lips against his. Before he could react though, she pulled away and stood up, smoothing her dress. “How do you plan on getting me out of here, Super-Secret Spy Sandor, without anyone recognizing it for what it is? Because I am not ready to prance around in front of people. I like my privacy.”

“I like my privacy too.”

“Well then I guess that settles the matter of no sexy shots being posted online.”

“Absolutely no sexy shots online.” Sandor stood and brought his face close to hers once more, adjusting his crotch as he did so, grinning. “But perhaps a sexy shot or two just for my eyes only.”

“If you’re a good time,” she replied.

“I plan to be.”

“I’m picky and I know what I like.”

“Good.” He turned away and picked up their plate and the bottles – the whiskey one now empty. As he passed by her, he paused. Sandor pressed his nose in her hair, just above her temple and inhaled. He followed it with a prolonged kiss in the same spot.

Sansa swallowed hard and felt her knees nearly go weak.

“I like a woman who isn’t afraid to tell me what she wants. Though I can’t say I’ve ever met anyone quite like you, I can say this: I want to know everything about you – and I mean everything.”

Sansa closed her eyes, biting her lip. “Tell me how we’re going to get out of here, and I’ll let you do almost whatever you want.”

Sandor nearly purred as he ran his arm down her back and over her ass, though he didn’t linger anywhere for more than a moment. “Go call us a cab, San, and meet me out front. I’ll toss this junk and be right behind you. Separate exits, and all that.”

“You’ll really meet me out there?” Sansa asked, turning to look up at him.

“And pass up a chance to take you home?” Sandor asked as though he expected it to be a rhetorical question.

“You wouldn’t be the first.”

“I’ll be there, Little Bird. And you may like it enough to never want anyone else to meet you out front again,” he replied.

Sandor turned on his heel and strode back towards the party.

Sansa stood there fanning herself to calm down. Pull yourself together, she reminded herself, it’s just a bit of fun because you need to relax and he’s willing.

She walked as casually as she could away from the bench. Then, Sansa went back into the house, trying not to rush, and picked up her phone and keys off the table. She left the half eaten dishes – Tormund would bring them to work washed - and headed to the street as she called for a cab.

Chapter Text

“Tor,” Sandor called as he dropped his and Sansa’s plates in the trash.

The big ginger turned away from his extended family that he had been chatting with. His face split in two with a grin. “San! I was wondering where you got to. These burgers are perfect! Remind me to always put you on the grill!”

“Uh, thanks,” Sandor replied. Hastily he added before Tormund could rope him into a long conversation, “Let’s talk.”

“Sure. What’s up man?”

Sandor pulled him towards the fence, out of earshot from anyone else. He swiped his hand through his hair while he wracked his brain trying to figure out where to start. Finally, he settled on, “I swear to your Old Gods and my mother’s New, that if you mess this up for me, I will skin you alive, starting painfully slow with your cock. They will never find your fucking body and all of your babies will suddenly be Dadmund-less. So, think of all of the babies who won’t be saved by you if you fuck this up for me.”

“What are you talking about?” Tormund still looking mildly amused, but not threatened, like he had before Sandor began talking.

“Keep your face straight and don’t react.”

“Okay.”

Sandor eyed him a moment. Tormund waited patiently for him to continue. There was nothing left to do but sigh and say, “Sansa and I are getting out of here. Together.”

To Tormund’s credit, his mouth only twitched against the smile that Sandor knew he was trying to hold back, and his eyes twinkled. The Free Man half coughed, half cleared his throat in his effort to remain passive and neutral.

“Why would you ever think I’d ruin this for you?” he ultimately asked, clearing his throat.

“Because you’re you,” Sandor growled. “If you make any comment about this to her until she brings it up, there’ll be hell to pay.”

“What? Why? San, you’re not making a ton of sense. You two are hooking up – I don’t see why that’s such a big deal.”

“She has some rule about not fucking her brothers’ friends.” Sandor replied. “And I guess you’re like a brother to her. It makes things weird for her.”

He squinted, trying to tell himself that it was the sun getting in his eyes…except they were standing in the shade of the neighbors oak tree, and he had to admit to himself that he was excited to have something with the stunning, clever, unbelievable, Ms. Sansa Stark. He hadn’t really thought about her, on his mission, other than that hug she’d given him. But after he’d rear-ended her, her fire-colored hair and sapphire eyes dogged him at the most inopportune times.

He continued, “If she knew I were telling you, Tor, about us, she’d never come home with me. I’d never see her again, and she’d never talk to me again. She’s already embarrassed at what you might think and say about the whole thing. She’s nervous about this messing up each of our friendships with you. So just don’t say anything. Okay? Just don’t.”

“Ah, yeah, I get it. The “brother’s friend”problem.” Tormund nodded, clapping Sandor on the shoulder.

Did everyone, besides Sandor, know about this unwritten rule?

Tormund covered his heart with his hand before holding his fingers up like a Boy-Scout, “Not a peep from me shall be heard until she says something. But in return, I get to pester you all I want. And you’ll answer my questions.”

“Deal.”

They shook hands and Tormund finally grinned. Sandor rolled his eyes.

“So then, how’re you sneaking her out?” Tormund asked as he looked around, presumably searching for the other red head. “I’m assuming she doesn’t want to be seen leaving with you….” The ginger sucked in a quick breath and shook his head, “fuck you know what I mean, San. It’s not like that.”

“Yeah, I know,” he said though suddenly the doubt was back in his mind, that little peach pit in the bottom of his stomach telling him that this was too good to be true.

“Bah, don’t let me psych you out,” Tormund teased, slapping Sandor heavily on the back. “If she doesn’t want me to know, she doesn’t want everyone else to know either. Want me to open the side gate for you to sneak out of?”

“Nah, she’s already heading out front; calling a cab,” Sandor said managing to find his voice in the pits of his sudden nervousness. He pushed his hand into his pocket. “Here. Here are my keys,” Sandor said pressing them into Tormund’s palm.

“San didn’t drive here. How are you two getting home?”

“Cab, remember?” Sandor replied backing away. He was excited again. Just him and Sansa, all night long… “Wish me luck Tor! I may have met my match in whiskey consumption.”

“Have fun!” Tormund called after him as Sandor slipped his way through the crowd and into the house.

As he walked by the dining room table, he snagged a handful of cookies from a container and a cupcake from another as he walked casually through the house. Someone came out of the bathroom and stopped him to ask if he was leaving.

“Yeah,” he said, his cheek full of one of the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookies he’d ever tasted. “Was a long couple of days at the fire house. I’m beat. Great seeing you again!”

“Take care man!” came their reply as they rejoined the party.

Sandor pulled the front door open and stepped onto the porch. He hadn’t realized he’d been holding his breath until he swallowed his bite and gasped for air. Sansa was standing only a few feet into the road, waving at the black cab that was slowing down to look at house numbers. She didn’t ditch me. The flood of relief was overwhelming for a moment.

The cab stopped in front of Sansa and she opened the back door. Bending down – and Gods those legs were perfect, and that ass… – she leaned into the cab and said something before straightening up and turning back towards the house. She saw him and her face split into a wide grin.

“Well?” she called to him.

“Well what?”

“Are you coming along or are you just going to stand there like a doofus and see me off?”

Sandor jogged down the steps and was at her side in a few strides. He bent down and whispered in her ear, “No one has ever called me a doofus and I don’t plan on starting to be one now.”

“Good,” she replied back, pulling away. “What’s in your hands?”

“Some fucking gloriously made cookies and a cupcake that smells incredible. Want a bite?” Sandor held up the last too cookies in his hand in offering. And somehow, in that moment, he wondered if he’d stick by her side and spoon feed her if she were suddenly quadriplegic. The answer was quickly turning from an “I don’t know” to a “Fuck yes”.

Sansa laughed, crow’s feet appearing on the outside of her eyes, and stood aside to have him slide across the back seat. “Just get in you, big man.”

Sandor did as he was directed. After she sat beside him, closed the door, and had given the cabbie her address, Sandor tried to offer it to her again.

Again, she laughed, “You really didn’t have to get at doggy-bag, San. There are plenty of extras sitting on the kitchen counter.”

“Please don’t fucking tell me that you made them?”

“Guilty as charged!”

“Gods, San these are perfectly made,” he moaned.

She leaned over the seat and tugged at him until he bent down. Into his ear she whispered, “You had better make that sound again for me later.”

Tingles went down his spine sending gooseflesh around his skin. He may have even shuddered when she followed up her threat with a little kiss on his ear. He swallowed and forced himself to not look at the cabbie. “Oh, I can promise you that! That will not be difficult to do, especially if you have more cookies like this.”

“Try the cupcake,” she suggested, as she pulled away. “It’s a new recipe I’m trying out. I can’t quite decide how I feel about it.”

Sandor carefully lifted the cupcake to his lips and took a huge bite – half of the cupcake to be precise. Moist chocolate flavor erupted on his tongue. A minty, and somewhat crunchy, frosting complimented the cake. Only half intentionally he moaned again. “San, holy fuck,” he swallowed. “If you’re unsure about how you feel about this recipe, I might throw myself in front of a tyrant firing squad to try your favorite recipes.”

“Really?” Sansa wondered, another smile growing across her face. “You’re not just saying that?”

“Nope,” he shook his head, “Like fires, I don’t joke about tyrannical firing squads.”

Her smile faded, as she eyed him. She couldn’t tell whether or not he was serious. But that fact was for him to know and her to never find out. Instead, Sandor slid his pointer finger through the frosting and ran it down her nose. She jumped, shrieking just a bit and swatting his hand away. But he grabbed her wrist and pulled her towards him. Sansa was laughing soon enough.

“What was that for!”

“I wanted to see you smile again,” he replied earnestly. “Bad enough that I sacrificed a bit of this frosting.”

“It’s a good thing I have a bowl of it in my refrigerator, huh?”

He narrowed his eyes because he knew she was serious. “You minx.”

The cab came to a stop in front of Sansa’s building. She passed the cabbie the fare and climbed out, pulling Sandor’s hand the whole time. He managed to slam the door shut with the toe of his boot before spinning Sansa around and pecking her nose with a kiss. He pulled away to make a show of licking his lips.

Sansa watched him intently, her tongue mimicking his.

She took a deep breath that caused her chest to rise and fall – a fact that he appreciated dearly – and started backing away. “Do you want to come in then?”

He stepped where her foot had been as they moved towards the door. “Very much so.”

Sansa bit her lip and turned to pull him inside. The doorman opened the door and gave her a head bow, “Afternoon, Ms. Stark.”

“Afternoon Montos.”

“You have a little something,” he poked his own nose with a gloved hand, “just there.”

“I know,” she rolled her eyes at Sandor.

“Will you be seeking revenge, Ms. Stark?” he wondered, and Sandor placed his accent as a Summer Islander.

“Absolutely, Montos, abso-fucking-lutely.”

“Good.” Montos bowed again as Sansa walked through the entry. He called after them, “enjoy your evening, Ms. Stark and friend.”

When the elevator doors opened, Sansa pushed him against the wall and jabbed her finger on the 6th Floor button. “I plan on enjoying it, thoroughly,” she muttered as she pressed herself against him and rubbed her face up under his chin. When she licked him, he realized that she was licking the frosting off his skin. Suddenly the elevator, though despite it being empty except for the two of them, was too public for everything he wanted to do to the woman he had his arms around.

The elevator dinged before he could capture her lips and she giggled, yanking away from his embrace and dashing down the hallway. Sandor growled and took off after her; though he didn’t have to run. His long strides were enough to bring him behind her as she unlocked a door.

Her door.

Sansa pulled him inside and closed the door quickly. He was behind her, pulling her against him, the top of her ass pressing against his stiff erection. Sandor pushed her hair away from her neck and shoulder so that he could nibble at her skin. One spot he found, caused her to buck into him as her knees started to give way. Easily enough, Sandor ran his arm around her stomach to hold her close and support her.

“Mmmm,” she hummed as he continued to kiss her shoulder. “I’ve got to…lock the door.”

“I’m not stopping you,” he replied, his voice low.

“But you’re distracting me.”

Sandor reluctantly pulled his head away and straightened up, though he didn’t let go of her stomach. That was when he noticed the door. It had the standard knob lock and a deadbolt. But there was also a chain lock, Jimmy Proof deadbolt, Gatehouse lock, and a rim latch lock. Every lock that apartment doors could have, she had.

Sansa secured the door and typed the security code into the panel next to the door before kicking her heels to the side. “Much better,” she sighed as she leaned back against him.

Sandor twirled her around but kept his hands on her hips. “What’s with all of the locks?”

She glanced over her shoulder and shrugged, “all front doors have locks.”

“But not every door lock on the market.”

Sansa pulled away, stiffening, and brushed passed him to the kitchen. He followed, noting everything along the way. It was an open floor plan in a remodeled brick building. There was still exposed bring on nearly all the walls. Green blackout curtains framed the big window overlooking the street below. Pictures hung on the wall, placed just so; he’d have to examine them more later. The kitchen island was huge, with bar seating on one side and a sink and counterspace on the other. The wall behind the sink was lined with cabinets and cupboards reaching the floor. A stove was centered with the sink and counters split off on either side. On one edge of the wall, the refrigerator stood while on the other edge there was floor-to-ceiling storage, the same width as the fridge, making the kitchen perfectly symmetrical. At least one potted plant occupied nearly every surface. He noted a door on the other side of the fridge – master or spare bedroom? On the other side of the living room, old glazed nearly-floor-to-ceiling windows teased at the room beyond.

The quick analysis he took, in less than thirty seconds, told him a lot about the woman who had brought him home. She was homely and liked simple but tasteful things. She had to have some money because he couldn’t fathom that a social worker could afford an updated apartment like this that had a doorman – especially if an emergency room visit held the potential of wiping out her savings. But she was humble. She didn’t flaunt the money. And something, something had spooked her enough to have her install six door locks.

Now, Sansa was reaching into the cupboards and pulling out two stemless wineglasses. She refused to look at him as she walked around him to the hutch next to the window. She came back with a bottle of scotch in her hand and poured them both four fingers. But she didn’t offer him a glass. Sansa picked up one and threw it back.

Sandor approached the island. He gripped the corners of the granite countertop and leaned on it, hunching his shoulders. “Did I say something wrong Sansa? Did I do something wrong?” he asked, watching her face closely.

Sansa still refused to look at him. There was a tiny bit of scotch left in her glass and she swirled it around, studying it, contemplating it. She was a social worker, not a criminal or terrorist like he usually interrogated, so he knew that he had to be patient, to let her answer in her own time, but also that he didn’t have to wait very long.

“I don’t like talking about the locks,” she said only a moment later.

“May I ask you just one question – if you answer it truthfully?”

Sansa looked up and he could no longer read her ocean blue eyes. She sucked her lips in between her lips, contemplating him. Then she nodded and finished her glass.

“Why did you insist on having installed, and then using, so many locks, plus a security system, when two of the locks engage automatically and you have a secure building with a doorman?”

She slid his glass over to him and poured herself another. After a sip, she looked into the sink and said in an empty voice, “I had a crazy boyfriend. And that led to a cheating bastard. And he led to a stalker and creep. Who finally led me to my abusive ex.” She scoffed, “all in the span of less than five years,” and gulped her drink.

“Are you sure you want me here?”

“That’s another question,” she said looking up.

“But it’s not about the locks.”

“It’s not, not about the locks.”

Sandor glanced down at the amber liquid. He lifted his eyes as he spoke. “I want you to be comfortable, to feel safe. Communication is important and I need to know if I should leave.”

Sansa studied his face. “Please don’t tell Torm about the first three boyfriends. He only knows about the last.”

Sandor straightened up and slid his hand across the counter, though he stopped just short of her fingers. It was her move. “I’d never tell Tor about any of them unless your life were in danger.”

Her fingers touched his and he remained still. She was in control – something told him that she needed to know that. “You have more questions you want to ask, San,” she said.

How she could read his face when he was sure he had left it expressionless stumped him. So, he nodded. “Aye, but you answered truthfully. Only one question with the truth. That was our deal.”

“Thank you,” she whispered. Her hand disappeared from his as she quickly turned away and wiped her eyes.

Sandor picked up his scotch and sipped on it, giving her time to come back from wherever in the recesses of her mind she had gone. Sansa cleared her throat and opened the oven. A full sheet of cookies came out in her hands. She sat it on the island and nudged it towards him.

“I told you I have more.”

“Don’t fucking tempt me,” he replied, trying to make her smile. “I could eat all fifteen of these, right here and now.”

“There is still another sheet in the oven.”

Sandor considered her for a moment when an idea popped into his head. “You did say that you have more frosting, right?”

“Yeah,” Sansa opened the refrigerator and twisted the top off a large glass jar. “Why?”

“Can I have a butter knife?”

She eyed him but opened a drawer and passed it to him, hilt first. “Why?”

“I’m curious about something.” Sandor scooped up some frosting with the knife and then picked up a cookie. He smeared the frosting onto the cookie. Then, he stuffed half of it into his mouth. He moaned again while he chewed and swallowed. “I was right.”

“I never…” Sansa pulled the knife from his hand and repeated his steps. She hesitated before taking a bite, “I never thought to frost the cookies.”

“Go on,” he encouraged, bending over to rest his forearms on the counter. He began to prepare another cookie and said, “try it.”

Sansa took a dainty bite and it was her turn to moan. Sandor swallowed hard at the sound. She was nodding, her eyes closed as she dissected the taste on her tongue.

“What do you think?” he asked her.

Sansa opened her blue eyes and they were back to being the emotive, clear blue that he had come to know. “You’re a genius.”

“I have another idea in mind,” he said, stepping around the corner of the island.

Sansa watched his movements but didn’t move away. When he was next to her, he slid his fingers along her jaw and around to thread in her hair at the nape of her neck. He leaned in close to her face. Her eyes fluttered closed. Sandor dragged the tip of his nose along her cheekbone, then parted his lips to lick the corner of her mouth where she had frosting.

“Mmm,” he whispered, not an inch away, his voice dropping octaves, “tastes better on you. Just like I thought.”

“What else have you thought?” she whispered back, her breath filling his world.

“You are sure that you’re okay with me being here?” he wondered. He needed the clarification.

“I wouldn’t have suggested it otherwise.”

Sandor closed the gap between them and locked their lips together. Hers were so soft, so supple. So eager. When she bit his top lip, Sandor growled. He brought his other hand around to slide down from her shoulder to her ass – it felt even better than it looked. He tightened his grip in her hair as he pulled her closer to his body. His erection pressed into her abdomen and he bucked his hips forward in want of more.

Sansa’s hands were on his hips and sliding around to the front. He felt her fumble with the button of his jeans. The unmistakable sound of his zipper sliding down reached his ears at the same time the pressure in the front of his trousers lessened. But she didn’t continue. Instead, Sansa’s hands slipped under his shirt; short manicured nails lightly scratching at the hair on his stomach. All the while, she was battling his tongue with hers.

“Woman, you’re torturous,” he growled into her mouth as her hands tailed down once more to play with the hem of his boxer briefs. He dropped his other hand to her ass and easily lifted her up. He turned them and sat her on the counter. Their faces were at almost an equal height now.

“I know,” she replied, pulling back. Then she started pulling his tee shirt up, up, up; until he had no choice but to let go of her hips and help her finish pulling it over his head.

“Wow,” was all she said, eyes roaming his torso and arms.

“You’re turn,” he said as he reached around to start to pull down the zipper of her sundress.

“Nope,” she grinned, shrugging his hands away.

“You took off a layer from me and now I get to take off one from you,” he said and pressed his hips into the counter – so close to the apex of her thighs but so far away. Sandor dropped his hands to her knees and slid them up just a bit on the exposed skin caused by her dress riding up from spreading her legs to allow him to stand between them. “I think that would only be fair, don’t you?”

“Nope,” she replied again. “See, you’re still wearing more layers than I am. It’s your turn still.”

Sandor growled but pulled away until his butt hit the counter behind him. He crossed his ankle on his knee and began untying his boot – all the while keeping his eyes glued on Sansa; her flushed face, her mussed up hair, and the shadow at the top of her legs, under that green dress that was suddenly his enemy. Sandor pulled off his sock then switched feet and shed that boot and sock as well. Sansa held out her hand, beckoning him to return to her, which he did so readily.

He crashed their faces together and kissed her hungrily. She tasted like scotch with a hit of dill relish and hot dog and he’d be damned if he didn’t admit that he found that sexy as fuck. His hands gripped her ribs, refusing to touch her chest because he had a feeling that it was torturing her just as much as it was killing him. Slowly, he slid his fingers around and located the zipper and started to pull down. At the same time, Sansa used her hands and her toes to drop his pants from his hips. Then her hands were clutching at his ass, kneading and pulling him closer to her.

Her zipper was all the way down but for some reason her dress wasn’t coming off. The rational part of him acknowledged that it was because they were pressed together. But Sandor didn’t want to pull away from her and he wanted her naked. He nipped at her chin, moaning, “I’m down to just my shorts, Little Bird. I’m ready for you to lose this dress.”

“Really?” Sansa looked down at her heaving breast and pouted, “And here I thought that it made me look really good.”

Sandor hooked her legs around his hips and pulled her from the counter, spinning her around. “You’ll be the death of me. You look fucking incredible in the dress. But now I want to see you outside of the dress. I want to know what this dress is hiding from me. I want to see you so I can worship you.”

Sansa kissed him hard then let her legs drop. He sat her down, sensing that’s what she wanted. It was. She spun on the ball of her foot and sauntered away from him. Her back was just as pale as her thighs, with a light speckling of freckles. Her lower back, so close to her ass, teased him with two dimples. Sandor couldn’t help it; he grabbed his cock just to relieve a bit of the ache. As she walked away, Sansa pulled one strap down her arm. Then the other. She paused next to the couch, her entire back bare to him now, glancing over her shoulder with her bottom lip tucked under her teeth. Sandor’s knees nearly buckled under him. Then, Sansa turned her face away from him again and continued walking towards the frosted glass. As she reached the doorway there, she let her dress drop into a pool around her ankles. Sandor had to grab the island to keep his legs under him.

She wore a pair of skimpy black lacey panties. Most of her ass was exposed, except for what was covered by the small upside-down triangle of lace. As Sansa started to turn back to look at him, Sandor strode across the room confidently. He stooped a bit so that when he wrapped his arms around her stomach, picking her up, her core landed against his cock. She giggled, wrapping her arms around his neck, as Sandor didn’t falter. He continued into the room behind the glass wall and to the bed he found under a window to the right.

Sandor knelt on the bed, leaning over to lay Sansa gently down under him. His lips were on her neck, nipping and sucking. She bucked her hips up against his and Sandor ground down against her. The moan that came from her was almost enough to undo Sandor then and there. And then her hands were slipping down between them, under the elastic of his shorts. And then she had his cock in her hands.

Sandor dropped his forehead to her breastbone; his nose against her tit. He opened his mouth and flicked his tongue against her hardened nipple. The harder he sucked, the harder she gripped his cock. Sandor switched tits, his hand massaging where his lips had just been, and pulled her nipple between his teeth, flicking it lightly with his tongue.

Sansa arched her back, pushing her tits even more into his face. Her other hand found his balls and cupped them, playing, massaging, squeezing. Then the hand on his cock disappeared. He glanced down to find her struggling to push down his shorts and her panties at the same time. She quickly gave up though and slipped her hand between her own thighs. Her legs butterflied around him, her ankles on his thighs, pulling him down.

“Is that what you want?” he asked her, still molding her tits in his palm. “Someone to play with your cunt?”

When she grinned devilishly, Sansa’s eyes sparkled. “You won’t be the only one receiving pleasure tonight. If I have to do it myself, I will.”

Sandor sat up on his heels. Now he could see her tits and they were perfect. Round, not quite symmetrical, tipped in a rosy pink. His eyes drifted down her stomach. His breath hitched at the topaz stud in her belly button. Then lower, lower, until her wrist disappeared under black lace. Her fingers worked lazily.

“Don’t move, don’t stop” he commanded, standing.

Sansa let her legs fall open, watching him with heavy eyes as he watched her fingers move. Then he dropped his shorts and her eyes widened. She licked her lips and swallowed hard when he cupped his balls and began stroking himself.

“My face isn’t the prettiest but fuck me if I don’t know that my body is defined,” he murmured.

“I think your face is…” Sansa paused, closing her eyes and moaning. She opened them again, this time her pupils were blown large and she looked at him as if she wanted to devour him. “Just as sexy as the rest of you.”

Sandor knelt back on the bed and commanded again, “don’t stop.”

He hooked his hands around her panties and began pulling them down her hips, slowly revealing her hand moving through her wet pink lips, framed by a thatch of curls the same color as the hair on her head. Sandor paused, he was mesmerized, watching her finger herself. Sansa slid her other arm up her stomach to her tits and began playing with them too.

That jarred Sandor into action. He pulled Sansa’s panties off her legs before spreading them wide, for a better view. He picked up one leg, kissing her ankle; trailing his tongue up her calf; nipping at the back of her knee; pecking kisses up the back of her thigh. And then he could smell her and his mouth watered. Right before he reached those curls, Sandor trailed his tongue across the back of her hand, causing her to moan and buck her hips. Sandor repeated the process with her other leg before crawling up the bed.

His thighs were on either side of her ass. Hers encompassed his. Sansa watched his hands as he went back to stroking himself. With his other hand, he covered hers and slid a finger inside. She groaned, lips parted, squeezing her tit harder. Suddenly, she grabbed his cock tight with her wet hand and continued the movements he had been doing himself. Now he got to see her lower lips in all of their dripping glory, and one – no now two, as he added another – finger inside of her.

Sandor reached with the hand that had been on his cock and lightly trailed it from the fingers that fucked her, through her lips. He paused when he found her swollen nub, rubbing circles into it as she made the most delicious sounds. Then he continued up to her neglected tit and pinched the nipple hard again.

“Add another,” Sansa directed, sliding her free hand down to her clit.

Ever one to follow orders, Sandor added a third finger and Sansa’s legs hooked behind him, pulling their cores closer together.

“Faster. Beckon me,” she panted, her fingers moving faster on her clit and her grip on his cock tightening as she began pumping faster.

Sandor obeyed and found a rhythm with her hand. He groaned as a small shudder enveloped his fingers.

“What else?” he wondered. “What else can I do to fuck you? To pleasure you? I want to make you shudder. I want to see your tits bounce. I want to make you cum around my fingers. What do you need from me?”

Her eyes were latched on his. She licked her lips slowly. “Fuck my hand. Fuck my hand hard. Watch as I play with myself. Watch your fingers fuck my cunt. Pinch my nipples. I want to see you pleasure yourself with me so much that you cum all over me.”

Sandor growled as he thrust his hips against her hand. “Where the hell have you been my whole life, Little Bird?”

“Waiting for you to rock my world,” she replied instantly. Then, “how does that feel for you?”

“Tighter,” he rasped as he fucked her faster – both with his fingers and with his cock. Sansa switched hands and he moaned at the wetness now pulling at his skin. She parted her lips with two fingers and focused on that little nub with one, moving faster and faster.

“What else are you going to do to me?” she wondered.

Sandor leaned over her so that he could lick her lips as he pumped his hips. “I’m going to spill all over your stomach while your cunt clamps down on my fingers and your fingers bring you higher and higher and higher.”

Sandor could hardly believe that she was starting to lose her rhythm the more he spoke. “My, does my voice turn you on?”

“Every part of you does,” was her reply muffled by her groaning as she pulled on his cock. “Don’t stop.”

“And when you think you’re finally down from your climax, I’m going to push my cock inside of your still fluttering cunt. And I’m going to fuck you until we both come again.”

“How?” she whispered, nipping at his nose. “What position?”

“Perhaps before the night is through, we’ll try them all. But this first time? Like this, with you under me. Then I’ll slide you to the edge of the bed and spread your legs. I’ll stand and fuck you laying down, so that I can play with your clit at the same time.”

Sansa moaned hard, curling her body up towards him. He could feel her starting to come apart at the seams, so he fucked her hand faster and harder, whispering things to her, their eyes still locked together.

“Look down,” he finally demanded.

Sansa tilted her chin down, and O forming on her lips as he grunted as he came on her, just as she wanted. But he wasn’t even done when she found her own orgasm. He watched her face as the pleasure rippled through her body; her fist around his cock tightening almost deliciously painfully. She was still shaking when Sandor pulled his fingers from her and guided her to guide him to press his tip against her entrance.

“I want to feel the inside of you,” he said, “but if you want me to use a condom I will. I’m clean.”

“I’m clean,” she replied, pulling him so just his head was inside. Sandor growled in ecstasy.

“I’ll have to pull out and spill on your stomach again then,” he replied as he pushed himself in further.

“No,” Sansa protested, “I’m on the pill and I’m not ovulating right now. I want to milk you to completion.”

“I bend to your will,” he moaned as he thrust the rest of the way inside.

Sansa cried out as he began thrusting.

Her free hand opened the nightstand drawer and pulled something out. A moment later a vibration startled him, and he pulled his head back from her neck where he had been nuzzling her. In her slender hand, Sansa held a purple vibrator. He raised his eyebrows at her.

“Don’t think I can do the job a second time?” he wondered.

Sansa pushed it between them until it sat on her clit. “Makes everything feel better.”

“For you maybe.”

Sansa pushed it lower and the hard plastic came in contact with his base. “Fuck me like you want. And tell me that doesn’t feel good for you too.”

Sandor resumed moving his hips. After a moment of getting used to the sensation, he had to admit that she was right. She was moaning, groaning, panting, and bucking against him, in what he could only assume was a drawn-out climax. He even found himself getting harder faster.

“Gods, Sansa,” he moaned in her ear as he pounded into her with more vigor, chasing that edge that was almost within reach. Sandor adjusted his knees and his hands for better support, sitting up a bit, and increased his pace even more. Sansa’s tits did indeed bounce beautifully. She moved her wrist, adjusting the vibrator’s position and she gasped.

Sandor grunted in return, thrusting hard as she milked him into his second climax. When he was spent, he dropped his head next to hers on the pillow, panting.

Sansa pulled the vibrator out from between them and turned it off.

He was softening inside her but still he didn’t want to pull out.

“Sandor,” she murmured in his ear.

“Mmmm.”

“Roll over.”

“Mm-mmm,” he shook his head. “I’m good right here.”

“But I have to get up.”

“You’ll have to give me a few minutes before I try to walk out of here.”

Sansa kissed his cheek. “No doofus, I have to pee now. You can stay here like a pile of mush if you want.”

“And you’ll come back to bed?”

“Of course, it’s my bed.”

Sandor pulled out of her and dropped on his side, next to her, finally opening his eyes a bit. Sansa stood up and he watched her hips sway as she crossed the bedroom to the bathroom. She closed the door.

A few minutes later, Sansa reemerged. Her hair was combed but she remained naked. She passed him a washcloth. “Clean up, I’ll be right back.”

“Where are you going?” Sandor asked as he began cleaning himself.

“You’ll see.”

He heard the front door locks unlock and get relocked again. Then she moved to the other side of the main room and another couple of clicks occurred – Sandor assumed that she was locking the windows. Sansa reappeared carrying the tray of cookies and the frosting container along with the scotch bottle and a jug of water. She sat it on the quilt before slipping in next to her but under the covers. Sansa fluffed the pillows so that she was upright against the headboard and pulled the tray closer to her.

“Would you like a cookie?” she wondered, holding one out to him.

“I’d rather cuddle,” he replied, taking the cookie anyways.

“But I’m hungry now,” she said, smothering frosting on a chocolate chip cookie. “We can cuddle after we eat.”

“I’ll have to make you dinner then,” Sandor said sitting up.

“Dinner?” she wondered.

“It’s still only…” Sandor glanced at his wristwatch, “not even half five.”

“Hmm,” she said chewing, “I thought it was later than that.”

“Trying to kick me out?”

“Nope. Just going to make the suggestion that you can make me breakfast.”

Sandor leaned over and kissed her bare shoulder. “I’ll have to do both then.”

“Two meals for two orgasms? That sounds like a fair deal,” she agreed, grinning.

Sandor grabbed another cookie, watching the angel in bed with him.

He ended up making Sansa pasta while she cut fresh garlic bread. They ate naked at the bar at the island, talking about sports and how neither of them knew very many people at Tormund’s barbecue. When Sandor was nearly done with his plate, Sansa picked up a noodle between two pinched fingers, and dropped it on his lap.

“Oops,” she said innocently. “I guess I’ll have to clean that up.”

Sandor closed his eyes in pleasure as Sansa got off her chair and leaned over to pick up the noodle off his thigh with her tongue, which inevitably swiped over his tip, springing it to life.