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First Impressions

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“Fuck!” Sansa muttered to herself and hit the steering wheel in frustration. “Shit.. I’m never late. I’m NEVER late!”

Somehow, yelling to no one in particular always helped. She was sitting in her car, at the last stoplight between herself and her son, Oliver, who was waiting for her at school. Probably on the curb, in the rain. Alone. Possibly sobbing uncontrollably. Even though the sun was shining happily above her and she knew they had designated teachers assigned to wait with the students, she couldn’t help but lean into the more dramatic side of her imagination.

What she said was true - she really had never been late to pick him up before. Today was a special circumstance because she was coming from a real estate meeting for a possible new location for her and Margaery’s business. As exciting as that was, she couldn’t really focus on that now, because the guy in the car in front of her was texting and NOT paying attention to the light.

“MOVE! Stop texting and driving! Let’s gooooo!!”

Somewhat startled at being screamed at, he lurched his car forward and made the left turn with Sansa’s car following swiftly behind. She made the prompt right turn into the school parking lot, nearly squealing her tires as she found a spot and slammed her car into park. She flung open the car door, springing from her seat, and slamming the door behind her as she sprinted to the student pick up area. She was really, really late. She ran up to the school, wincing when she saw that Oliver was the last kid left waiting.

Shit. At least it’s not really raining. and he’s not even alone.

She saw a man kneeling down, talking to Oliver, who was nodding along to whatever the man was saying.

“Oliver! Ollie, I’m here! I’m coming!” Oliver looked up when he heard her voice, smiling at her as the man turned to face her as he stood up. Gods, he’s tall. She finally arrived at her son’s side, pulling him into a hug and apologizing profusely to both him and the giant of a teacher who was waiting with him.

“I am SO incredibly sor-“

“School ended 20 minutes ago.” The towering man interrupted her apology, looking less than impressed at her time management skills.

“I know. I promise, I’ve never, ever been late before. I just had this meeting today, and it ran over even though I TOLD Margaery that I absolutely, 100% HAD to leave at one-thirty.” She was babbling, and the worst part was she knew she was babbling, but she couldn’t help it. She hated when people even remotely thought she was being a negligent mother. Even this huge, unknown teacher whom she hadn’t even gotten a good look at until now.

He stood at about 6 and a half feet, still looking at her skeptically. He had a faint scar covering almost the entire right side of his face. He was dressed in athletic gear - what looked to be a moisture wicking polo shirt with the school mascot embroidered on the left side of his huge chest (Go Direwolves!) tucked into black shorts. A school badge on a lanyard, identifying him as Sandor Clegane, Physical Education Teacher, hung around his neck.

“Mama, look! Coach Key-gane was showing me his whistle! Look, Mama!” Oliver was holding a whistle, ardently trying to shove it in Sansa’s face. “He said I can’t blow into it because it would be loud. But I could blow it softly. I told him I would be super, super soft with it. Right, Mama? I can be soft.” 

Before she could answer him, Clegane squatted down, putting himself on Oliver’s level. “I believe you, Oliver, But remember what else I said? Whistles are not only loud but they’re for..?”

Oliver’s little shoulders slumped dejectedly as he finished the sentence. “…teachers only.” He dropped the whistle into Mr. Clegane’s waiting hand.

Clegane put his hand on Oliver's head, ruffled his hair. "Thanks, Oliver." 

“You're welcome, Coach Key-gane.” Oliver mumbled. He glumly kicked his little foot and caught the edge of his shoe on a tiny rock. Just like that, a new game was born in which Oliver just had to see how far he could kick this little rock down the sidewalk, all previous disappointment completely forgotten.

Sansa pressed her lips together, trying to hide her amusement, lest her 5 year old think his anguish entertained his mother. She stuck her hand out to the man next to her, trying to fully show her appreciation to him genuinely. “Mr. Clegane, thank you so much for waiting with Oliver. I’m Sansa Stark, his mother.” The warmth she had seen briefly on his face while he talked to Oliver had cooled just slightly. He clasped her hand in his, quickly letting go so he could turn his body towards Oliver, who was running up and down the sidewalk near them.

“It’s Coach Clegane, and it’s my job. I’m the new hire here, so I share car pick up duty in the afternoons.” He bent down to pick his clipboard off the bench, putting his whistle in his pocket as his eyes scanned the list on his board. “He was my last kid so unless you need anything..?”

“Oh. Um. No, no. We’re all set. Thank you again.” She tried to beam her brightest smile at him, eager to make up for her terrible first impression. His eyes looked up at hers, a quizzical look on his face as his brows drew together. He cleared his throat and glanced down at his board again. “Have a good day, Mrs. Stark.” He began to walk back towards the entrance of the school.

“oh, y-you too! Thank you, Coach Clegane! Bye!!” Ok, it’s too much, Sansa. Like, chill. She glanced over at Mr - no, Coach Clegane, seeing if he happened to glance over his shoulder back at her.

He didn’t.

Yeah, not your best first impression there, Sans. Shake it off.

She called out to Oliver that it was time to go home, and they walked hand in hand back to her car. As Oliver regaled her with all the adventures he had at school that day, she couldn't help but go over her interaction with the Coach again.  Grey eyes. He had grey eyes, have I ever seen that color before?